A delegation of senior Israeli officials that left for Washington over the weekend will ask the American government Monday evening for some $2.2 billion in special aid for the disengagement plan.The U.S. has already assured Israel in principle that it will provide funding for the military outlays related to the disengagement plan and for developing the Negev and the Galilee, and this week's talks will focus on the details of the aid package, government sources in Jerusalem said Sunday.About a third of the money would go toward relocating Israel Defense Forces bases from the Gaza Strip to areas within the Green Line, and the rest would go toward developing the Negev and the Galilee. Israel is asking for payments to be spread out over a few years.
Levi e-mails to note the above from Aluf Benn's "Israel to ask U.S. for $2.2 billion in pullout aid" (Israel's Haaretz).
Dominick e-mails to note Frank Millar and Gerry Moriarty's "Republican leaders consider possible 'new mode' for IRA" (Irish Times):
The IRA will not disband but will have no role other than to pursue the goal of a united Ireland by purely peaceful means, in the scenario now being considered by republican leaders.
Sinn Féin MPs Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are believed to be intimately involved in the internal republican debate which the two governments hope will yield a statement from the IRA about its future status within weeks. However, The Irish Times understands that decisions about the IRA's possible "new mode" will not involve the holding of a republican convention or changes to the IRA's constitution and mission statement.
The London bombings should increase the pressure on the IRA to finally deliver weapons' decommissioning and the end of all paramilitary activity, according to Conservative Northern Ireland spokesman David Lidington.
From the BBC, we'll note Alan Johnston's "Prominent Palestinian MP resigns:"
One of the best-known figures in the Palestinian parliament, Marwan Kanafani, has resigned.
Mr Kanafani said he was stepping down in protest at law and order problems and the general lack of reform.
His criticism comes as the Palestinian leadership is preparing to cope with challenges thrown up by Israel's forthcoming withdrawal from Gaza.
Mr Kanafani was once at the heart of the Palestinian government, and acted as Yasser Arafat's spokesman.
Lloyd e-mails to note David Eimer's "Chemical weapons test site fuels rage over Japanese wartime atrocities: Scientists find evidence of vast plant that used POWs as human guinea pigs in gas and biological warfare" (the Uk's The Independent):
Chinese scientists have found the site of a huge Second World War Japanese army chemical weapons testing facility. Located in the remote grasslands of Inner Mongolia, the site was used by the Japanese to test poison gas bombs from 1940 onwards. Chinese prisoners of war, captured during the 1937-45 Sino-Japanese War, are believed to have been used as human guinea pigs during the tests.
As many as 250,000 Chinese died between 1937 and 1945 as a result of being exposed to such weapons. More than 2,000 people have subsequently been killed and injured by chemical weapons that were hastily abandoned by the Japanese army at the end of the Second World War. Only two weeks ago, three people in the southern province of Guangdong were hospitalised after inhaling gas that had leaked from discarded artillery shells. Japanese authorities estimate there are 700,000 such weapons scattered around China; the Chinese put the number at two million.
The plant, which is about 20 miles south-east of Hulun Buir city in the far north of Inner Mongolia, was found by a team led by Jin Chengmin from Harbin Municipal Academy of Social Sciences. He said: "It covers an area of 40 square miles. It may be the largest and best-preserved gas experiment site in the world. We've found more than a thousand pits that were used for experiments, as well as trenches and shelters for people and vehicles."
And from the BBC, we'll note Henri Astier's "French expat recalls NZ bombing:"
On a cold winter morning in July 1985, I walked into the French embassy in New Zealand to catch up with the news from home.
I got there early, hoping to beat fellow French expats to the week-old newspaper that had just arrived.
But no-one cared about Le Monde on that Thursday. For once, the Wellington embassy was abuzz with local news.
Someone had blown up a Greenpeace ship in Auckland overnight, killing a photographer.
"The radio ran interviews this morning, and they're all blaming the French!" said a young diplomat.
Opposition to nuclear tests in the Pacific was running high in New Zealand.
[. . .]
It turned out that the New Zealanders had something to be paranoid about.
By mid-September, after weeks of denial by Paris, a man and a woman arrested in connection with the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior were exposed as French spies.
Commander Alain Mafart and Captain Dominique Prieur were on an official mission to stop Greenpeace snooping around nuclear test sites.
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