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Archive for Thursday, August 14, 2003

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August 14, 2003

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Egypt

Arafat's sister dies

Yousra Abdel Raouf al-Kidwah, a sister of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, died Wednesday in Cairo, Palestinian officials reported. She was 77.

Al-Kidwah died at Cairo's Palestine Hospital, where she has been treated for various illnesses for a month. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Al-Kidwah's husband, Jarir al-Kidwah, is an adviser to Arafat, and her son Nassir is the Palestinian representative to the United Nations.

Arafat will not attend today's funeral in the Gaza Strip because of Israeli restrictions on travel, said an aide, Ahmed Abdel Rahman. Arafat would have to request permission to leave the West Bank, and Israel refuses to guarantee he will be able to return.

Belarus

Jewish groups protest stadium reconstruction

Belarusian Jews and international Jewish organizations have appealed to soccer's governing bodies to boycott teams from this former Soviet republic because of the renovation of a soccer stadium built over a Jewish cemetery.

Construction workers began enlarging Grodno's Niemen stadium in January, dumping aside truckloads of dirt that also contained human jawbones, broken headstones, gold teeth and even entire skulls.

The bones are the remnants of a once-vibrant Jewish community that was nearly wiped out in World War II. In 1953, the stadium was built over the Jewish cemetery, which had held the remains of about 14,000 people.

"Discussions about stopping the reconstruction of the soccer stadium on the site of the cemetery ... haven't produced any positive results," said Yuri Dorn, president of the Jewish Religious Union of Belarus.

The Jewish community and its supporters abroad hope FIFA and UEFA, soccer's world and European ruling bodies, penalize Belarusian soccer teams and that a match scheduled for Aug. 14 in the Belarusian capital between Grodno's soccer team and a Romanian club will be canceled.

Singapore

Cockroaches hamper domino-record attempt

Cockroaches are just a creepy, crawling nuisance to many -- but for Ma Lihua, who has been painstakingly setting up dominoes for the past six weeks in preparation for the world's longest solo topple, they are the enemy.

One bug alone knocked down 8,000 tiles -- a day's work for Ma.

Ma, 24, a domino-laying expert from Beijing, has been putting in 13-hour days to meet her deadline. She hopes to topple 350,000 tiles Monday.

"There's been an ongoing problem with cockroaches getting on the floor and they can wreak havoc with 350,000 dominoes," said Brian Kim, Singapore manager of LG Electronics, the Korean company sponsoring the event.

Kim said the record Ma was attempting to break was set by German Klaus Friedrich, who single-handedly set up and toppled 281,581 dominoes in 1984.

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