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Israel backs off talk about killing Arafat

Compiled from Times wires
Published September 16, 2003

JERUSALEM - Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Monday that it was not Israeli policy to kill Yasser Arafat, toning down remarks by the deputy prime minister, who said Sunday that killing Arafat was an option under consideration by the government.

The Israeli government decided Thursday to "remove" Arafat at a time of its choosing, without ordering any immediate action. Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that killing Arafat is "one of the options" being considered, along with exile and isolation in his headquarters.

On Monday, Shalom said no move against Arafat was imminent and that killing him was not formal policy.

Americans awarded damages in bombing

WASHINGTON - A federal judge has ruled that the Iranian government must pay more than $400-million in damages to eight Americans injured in a 1997 suicide bombing in Jerusalem.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina said the attack at a pedestrian mall was carried out by members of the terrorist group Hamas. Urbina said evidence shows the organization receives training, money and operational support from Iran.

The lawsuit is among dozens filed against Iran under a 1996 U.S. law that allows Americans to sue nations that sponsor terrorism for damages suffered in terrorist acts.

Victims can collect a portion of their damages from the U.S. government. Frozen Iranian assets in the United States serve as collateral for the payments.

Chavez gives, gets lesson in spelling

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spent Monday teaching adults how to read - only to misspell a word himself.

Chavez ordered the country's television and radio stations to broadcast the two-hour lesson as part of his literacy campaign.

Venezuelans watched as Chavez wrote on the board: "adquerir," Spanish for "to acquire." It's spelled "adquirir."

Education Minister Aristobulo Isturiz pointed out the mistake. "I correct my mistake," Chavez said, walking over to the board to erase it.

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