Pension for family of master bomber

PEOPLE
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The Independent Online
Like the bereaved relatives of any dues-paying member of the Jordanian Engineers' Association, Yehiya Ayyash's family will receive money from that professional body. Ayyash, the Palestinian bomb-maker known as ''The Engineer'', was killed on 5 January, when a mobile telephone he was using exploded. Israel has been blamed.

''Like any association member who dies, his family gets 1,000 dinars (pounds 910) in a lump sum and then a monthly salary of 60 dinars,'' according to an association spokesman.

Trained as an electrical engineer, Ayyash is believed to have masterminded seven suicide attacks by Palestinian militants in which scores of Israelis were killed.

A new institute of peace studies, set up by two unlikely partners, could be the legacy of Leon Klinghoffer, the elderly American shot and pushed overboard in his wheelchair during the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation and Klinghoffer's daughters, Ilse and Lisa, may end their long legal wrangle by creating the institute, which would promote programmes to resolve conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere. After Klinghoffer's death, his family sued the PLO and the travel agency that booked his Mediterranean cruise. The PLO has denied responsibility for the hijacking, arguing that it was carried out by a faction hostile to its leadership. Still, plans for the proposed institute may be finalised shortly, with the PLO providing the initial funding.

A computer virus named after the leader of a failed coup in Venezuela in 1992 is conducting its own putsch against Microsoft Windows 95. Named after Lieutenant-Colonel Hugo Chavez, the virus wipes out computer information after displaying a Venezuelan flag and a picture of the retired military man.

''There is a Chavez virus,'' a Microsoft spokesman said. ''At noon and 6pm, the national anthem starts to ring out, the flag appears on the screen with the effigy of Chavez and the slogan 'Let's all fight for Venezuela'.'' Then the hard-disk data starts to disappear.

The virus hasn't been as easy to put down as Chavez's coup attempt four years ago, nor has the ex-colonel let non-users of Windows forget him. In a weekend TV interview, he urged Venezuela's President, Rafael Caldera, to organise a referendum on his rule or risk "growing civil resistance''.

If Mr Caldera were to be booted out, he could well be replaced by one of the most popular politicians in the country, the mayor of the Caracas municipality of Chacao. Re-elected in December with 96 per cent of the vote - the most one-sided win in 37 years of Venezuelan democracy - Irene Saez, 34, is not just another pretty face, although she was Miss Universe 1981. She is widely hailed for running that Venezuelan rarity, an honest and efficient municipal government.

Jerzy Urban, the chief apologist for the imposition of martial law in Poland the year that Ms Saez was wearing her tiara and sash, has been suspended from journalism for a year. He also received a suspended jail term for ''revealing state secrets'' in his weekly publication Nie (No).

Despite their revulsion over Nie, other papers in the country have leapt to his defence in the name of press freedom.

For his part, Mr Urban remained defiant, saying government departments ''should not blame journalists for using ... secrets which flow from state organs like water from a leaky pipe''.

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