Shorts: world

British lawmaker loses job over bombing remark

london (jta) | A British lawmaker lost her party job for saying she might be a suicide bomber if she were Palestinian. Speaking at a pro-Palestinian lobby Friday, Jan. 23, and later repeating her comments on national television, Jenny Tonge said she did not condone suicide bombers’ actions but understood their motivation.

“I do understand why people out there become suicide bombers — it is out of desperation. If I was in their situation,” she said, “I might just think about it myself.”

The leader of Tonge’s Liberal Democratic Party, Charles Kennedy, announced her dismissal as the party spokeswoman on children.

Also in Britain, nearly one in five Englishmen would prefer a Jew not be prime minister. The poll found that 18 percent disagreed with the statement “A British Jew would make an equally acceptable prime minister as a member of any other faith.”

Israeli-Palestinian expedition hits Antarctic mountain

london (jta) | Eight Palestinians and Israelis on Thursday, Jan. 22, climbed an unconquered Antarctic mountain to prove that “our people can and deserve to live together in peace and friendship.”

“We have named it ‘Mountain of Israeli-Palestinian Friendship,'” expedition leader Heskel Nathaniel told The Associated Press by satellite telephone from the peak of the snow-capped, windy 2,770-foot mountain near the Bruce plateau in Antarctica.

“By reaching its summit, we have proved that Palestinians and Israelis can cooperate with one another with mutual respect and trust,” Nathaniel said.

Israel says violent anti-Semitism down, except in France

paris (jta) | Violent anti-Semitic attacks were down worldwide in 2003 except in France, according to the Israeli government.

There were 235 violent anti-Semitic attacks last year, compared with 319 the year before, the survey found.

But the number in France rose sharply, from 69 in 2002 to 85 in 2003. In the United States, the number dropped from 12 to seven.

Victims of Nazi experiments compensated

berlin (jta) | Starting this week, 1,778 victims of Nazi medical experiments will get one-time compensation payments from Germany.

The Claims Conference identified the victims who, under an agreement with the German government, will receive payments of about $5,400 each.

Under Nazi rule, German doctors and scientists conducted experiments on Jews including sterilization, amputation of limbs, organ removal, infusion of infectious diseases, immersion in ice water and the infamous experiments on twins. Most experiments tested how much pain, torture or disease human beings could endure before dying, so the vast majority of experiment subjects were killed.