An Eye for an Eye?…
The murdered bodies of three Israeli citizens were found yesterday by sanitation workers. The men had been stabbed repeatedly and stuffed into the trunk of an abandoned car parked along Jaffa Road. All three were identified as ultra-orthodox Hassidic Jews and followers of the Admor of Gur Rabbi Alter.
Police sources speculated that the slayings of the Gur Hassidim were in retaliation for the brutal attack last June 2nd on Agudah Yisrael Rabbi Porush, leader of a rival ultra-orthodox Hassidic sect. They noted that all three victims were members of the Gur youth group “Mighty are the Fists of the Lord” and had been prime suspects in the earlier assault. Asked why no legal action had yet been taken on the Porush case, Police Inspector Moshe Avni pointed out that Rabbi Porush had refused to file charges against his attackers, claiming not to have seen them clearly and anyway that “The Lord will avenge His own.” Asked to comment yesterday on the slayings of his alleged assailants, Rabbi Porush replied: “Righteous is the Justice of the Lord.”
The Admor Alter was unavailable for comment. Friends said that he had left for the United States to seek the spiritual advice of New York City olive oil magnate Don Vito Corleone.
Mr. Timur Jumblatt of West Beirut yesterday announced his engagement to Miss. Mary Gemayel of East Beirut. Mr. Jumblatt is the eldest son of Walid Jumblatt, president of the Progessive Socialist Party of Lebanon and hereditary tribal chieftain of the Lebanese Druze. Miss. Gemayel is the only child of Amin Gemayel, President of Lebanon and a leader of the Maronite Christian Lebanese.
Asked whether the planned marriage was primarily a political match, Mr. Jumblatt hotly denied any such speculation, claiming that he was sure it would be love at first sight when he met his bride at the wedding ceremony. However, he did admit hoping that his future son from the marriage would help to unite Druzes and Maronites in true blood-brotherhood, and might someday succeed in reunifying war-torn Lebanon. The name for such a future son was still under negotiation: “My dad would like ‘Kamal’ in memory of his father, who was murdered by the Syrians in 1977, but Mary’s Old Man prefers ‘Bashir’ in memory of his brother, who was murdered by the Syrians in 1982. Mary and I are leaning toward ‘Attila,’ or maybe ‘Genghis.’ ”
Family sources revealed that the wedding would be held on neutral territory at an undisclosed time and location. The ceremony will be private, with only close family friends and bodyguard contingents invited. Alternates have been designated against the unfortunate possibility that either or both of the happy couple is assassinated prior to the marriage.
Pyongyang, North Korea.
President Kim Il Sung of North Korea yesterday awarded a further unprecedented honor to his son and likely successor Kim Jong Il. In a ceremony attended by the entire diplomatic community as well as hundreds of thousands of ordinary North Koreans, President Kim designated young Kim as “the official and fully legitimate Eldest Son of God.” Longtime foreign observers expressed little surprise over the nature
of this new title.
Hozfallah Khomeini yesterday denounced the political policies of his younger brother the Ayatollah Rudallah Khomeini, spiritual leader of Iran. Speaking to reporters at a press conference held in the holy city of Qom, the elder Khomeini claimed that the Imam had been “a brash, hot-blooded youngster in the 1920s and is still a brash, hot-blooded
youngster today.” Expanding on this theme, Mr. Khomeini charged that many of the world’s troubles are due to the physical and mental immaturity of major political leaders such as President Ronald Reagan (72) of the United States, President Konstantine Chernenko (72) of the Soviet Union, and Party Leader Deng Xiaoping (82) of the People’s Republic of China. “About the only leader of the younger generation who hasn’t fouled up is that quiet young man (Emperor) Hirohito (82) of Imperial Japan. I once met his grand-father…”
Asked to comment on his brother’s statements, the Ayatollah Khomeini (83) replied: “Poor old Hozi must have gone senile at last. His support for some sort of political gerontocracy is ridiculous.” The elder Khomeini turned 97 last week.
English Printers Strike
Arthur Wilson, president of the British Union of Printing Machine Watchers, yesterday announced that his 13,500 members planned a strike in the near future. Key union demands were higher pay, shorter hours, and better benefits. This strike will be the tenth since 1968, when a bitter job action succeeded in forcing employers to abandon plans to reduce their labor force following the installation of completely automatic printing machinery.
Cocaine Si, Jose Non
La Paz, Bolivia. The Bolivian government last night denied rumors of an impending
governmental shake-up. Commenting on reports that the 1st Armored Brigade had entered the capital city of La Paz and surrounded the Presidential Palace with tanks, President Jose Lopez Viega labelled the stories as true but misleading. “The glorious 1st Armored is on annual Autumn manuevers,” he explained.
However, diplomatic sources in La Paz point out that the commander of the 1st Armored, Jose Viega Viega, who is also the President’s half-brother, has long had a bitter quarrel with members of the current Bolivian cabinet. In his role as Minister of Cocaine, he has often claimed to have been cheated out of his rightful share of illegal cocaine sale profits by the Minister of Drug Enforcement, Jose Lopez Lopez, the President’s other half-brother.
Foreign businessmen based in La Paz expressed concern that impending political disorder might interfere with the harvest and export of the cocaine crop, and lead to a severe shortage in the United States and other industrialized nations. They suggested that the U.S. government should consider establishing strategic reserves of this very vital commodity.
1984 in Moscow
Pravda yesterday announced that Eric Blair, better known as George Orwell, had been posthumously awarded the Soviet Union’s highest civilian honor, The Order of Lenin, First Class. The announcement cited the books Animal Farm and 1984 as
“heroic exposes of the totalitarian nature of American-style capitalist imperialism.”
Pravda went on to say that since Orwell’s books had long been out of print in the Soviet Union, a new limited edition was being prepared for publication. It is rumored that the entire edition has already been bought out by the Ministry of State Security, which plans to use the books as standard texts in several training courses.
Tirana, Albania. Party Leader Enver Hoxha six weeks ago announced that Albanian
scientists and engineers had recently developed a dramatically new means of transportation, the steam locomotive. Speaking before an excited audience of Communist Party officials, Hoxha pointed to the invention as proof of Albania’s continuing lead in international science and technology, and as a strong sign of the superiority of Albania’s true Marxism-Leninism to the Capitalist and Revisionist ideologies of America, Russia, and China.
The announcement required six weeks to reach the coastal port of Durres by pack-mule.
Japanese Auto Strike
Takeo Mishimi, president of the United Japanese Auto Workers, yesterday announced plans to bring his 800,000 members out on strike. Mishimi said that major Japanese auto manufacturers had been completely intransigent on the issue of modifying the length of the standard work-week. “Our goal is 55 hours and we won’t settle for anything less,” he warned, adding that management’s offer of 52 hours was “completely unacceptable.”
The standard work-week in the Japanese auto industry is currently 50 hours.
President Gaafar Numeiri was yesterday evening sentenced by an Islamic court to thirty lashes for being in possession of a bottle of American Whiskey. The sentence was carried out immediately.
The incident began earlier in the day, when President Numeiri was returning from a reception given in his honor at the American embassy. A pedestrian noticed the unlucky leader drinking from a suspiciously-shaped bottle while travelling in his chaffeured limousine toward the Presidential Palace. The citizen quickly alerted local Islamic Religious Police, and gave chase, attracting a large crowd of supporters as he pursued the President’s car through the streets of Khartoum. Within minutes, radioed commands had set up a roadblock along the route, trapping the Presidential party. After winning a pitched battle with Presidential bodyguards, the Religious Police and pious citizens dragged their leader off to a local Sharia, where the Whiskey was tested, and sentence pronounced and
Later, when asked whether he now regretted having imposed Islamic Law in the Sudan last May, President Numeiri refused comment.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Molommo Molamma, Supreme Chief of the United Clans of New Guinea, has declared war on Bulgaria, the Soviet Union, and “all other evil tribes connected with the cowardly attack on our friend and blood-brother, TheGreat White Father (Pope John Paul II).” Molamma’s declaration, said to have been made some time in the last few weeks, was prompted by the arrival via surface mail of the June 15, 1984 edition of The International Herald Tribune, which carried an account of the secret Italian report confirming an East Bloc role in the 1981 attack on the Pope. Last year’s Papal visit to New Guinea had made a strong impression on all New Guineans, and Molamma along with his fellow clan chiefs unanimously voted for war by throwing bloodly spears at a photograph of Leonid Brezhnev from a 1966 issue of Life magazine.
Supreme Chief Molamma was unavailable for comment. Aides said that he and his warriors were at a secret jungle camp, sharpening their knives in preparation for a canoe-borne head-hunting raid on Vladivostok.
Jolly Roger, Inc.
The Thai government yesterday announced that it would henceforth issue privateering licenses upon payment of a large registration fee. The licenses will be valid for the period of one year and will allow owners to threaten, rob, rape, or kill the passengers and crew of any desired non-Thai ship found within Thai territorial waters.
Strvai Ramanachong, Thai Minister for Maritime Commerce and Piracy, defended the controversial decision as “inevitable” given current realities. “Last year there were 2754 reported pirate attacks in our territorial waters, during which over $97,000,000 worth of property was stolen or destroyed. In this same period, only four pirate ships were captured, three of these times by rival pirates vessels. By licensing our pirates, we will be able to curb any negative aspects of piracy, greatly reduce our official crime rate, and eliminate our government’s budget deficit.” Ramanachong’s statement was criticized as “long overdue” by spokesmen for Thailand’s 500,000 strong Union of Sailors, Fishermen, and Heroic Pirates.
The governments of Nigeria, the Philippines, and Indonesia are said to be closely studying Thailand’s new policy towards piracy.
Red Thoughts, Green Cash
Beijing, People’s Republic of China.
Heng Yizhang, director of the state-owned Shining Sun Tourist Enterprises, has announced the opening of a new package tour for Western visitors to China. Called “Thirty Days of Maoist Glory,” this deluxe tour will feature visits to all the major holy sites of Maoist Chinese Communism as well as guided walks along portions of the Long March route, personal meetings with unrepentent ex-Red Guards of the Cultural Revolution, and several days of intense physical labor alongside rural peasants. Heng identified “rich and pious Western Maoist radicals” as the target market for the new tour, and claimed that the steep $10,000 price tag would pose little barrier to such potential clients. “Our preliminary market survey indicated that Western Maoist radicals have a median family income of over $80,000 per year and are very ideologically committed. We have already sold nearly 2000 tour packages in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Berkeley, California alone.”
Heng also unveiled future plans for a package tour aimed at Westerners of a more conservative persuasion. Called “Kuomintang Victories and Trumanite Treachery,” the tour will focus on the glorious military career of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek and will be operated as a joint venture with the Nationalist government on Taiwan. Advertisements are currently being placed in Reader’s Digest and The John Birch Society Newsletter.
Funny, You Don’t Look It
Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The public records bureau of Northern Ireland yesterday released a report documenting a sharp rise in the number of citizens converting to Judaism. In the decade 1960-96, only 23 conversions were recorded; during 1970-79, the number jumped to 4826; and conversions are now running at an annual rate of 6000-7000.
Officials speculated that the trend may be due to the long-standing sectarian violence between Ulster’s Protestant and Catholic commmunities, and the greater safety accorded to Jewish “neutrals.” In support of this explanation, they noted the mushrooming growth of
“Jewish paraphenalia shops,” specializing in the sale of Stars-of-David, prayer shawls, skull caps, and bumper stickers reading “Don’t Shoot: I’m Jewish.” By the year 2000 at current rates of conversion, Northern Ireland will be second only to Israel in the relative size of its Jewish population.
The bureau report also notes a significant rise in conversions to Islam, Buddhism, Sun Worship, and Scientology.
Pretoria, South Africa.
The South African government remained unsettled yesterday, following the unexpected racial reclassification of several leading political figures.
The origins of the scandal—styled “Racegate” by the press—may be traced to the publication of last April’s issue of The Journal of Racial Hygiene, which carried a short article on the use of forensic techniques in achieving posthumous racial classification.
The article cited the case of Female Subject 8607, who, though previously believed to have been Caucasian, was conclusively proven to have been of mixed race by bone-fragment and dental evidence. Investigators from the Bureau of Racial Documentation learned from
the researchers that the anonymous subject was Vilma Schmud Botha (1726-1767) of Paarl, Cape Province, and began the lengthy task of tracing her descendents for reclassification under South Africa’s strict Apartheid laws. These persons were eventually found to include some 43,000 current South African citizens, among them Prime Minister P. W. Botha, Foreign Minister Pik Botha, and ex-Minister Fanie Botha, as well as one of
history’s greatest Afrikaaner military heroes, General Louis Botha. All these men and women were officially reclassified as “Colored” (mixed race) and given 48 hours to leave areas designated as white-only.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Botha denied persistent rumors that government officials had unsuccessfully attempted to suppress the reclassification report. He refused to comment on whether the Prime Minister was planning to resign or to appeal the change in his racial status.
Other reaction was mixed. Conservative opposition leader Andries Treurnicht demanded the arrest and imprisonment of “all Kaffirs (black savages) in Afrikaaner clothing” under South Africa’s Racial Immorality Laws, while a spokesman for the ANC black guerilla group offered the Prime Minister a seat on its politburo.