News in Brief

Russians to assist in Arafat grave exhumation

The Palestinian president says Russian experts will join a team of Swiss and French investigators in exhuming the remains of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat later this month. Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday he hopes that, thanks to the Russian involvement, "new facts will arise or be known about the causes of death." The underlying source of an illness Arafat suffered in his final weeks has never been clear. The new probes come after a Swiss lab discovered traces of a deadly radioactive isotope on clothes said to be Arafat's, sparking new accusations he was poisoned. (AP )

UN nuke chief: Cleanup ongoing at Iran site

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog says apparent efforts by Iran to dismantle a suspected nuclear site are continuing ahead of a visit by agency officials next month. The International Atomic Energy Agency has raised concerns about what appears to be months of work to scrub the Parchin military complex of possible traces of nuclear weapons-related work. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said during a visit to neighboring Iraq yesterday that activities to dismantle Parchin are ongoing, though he declined to give details. (AP )

AMIA campaign wins Yahoo! prize

The "Bread of Memory" campaign to commemorate the 1994 bomb attack on the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires won the Yahoo! Big Idea Chair Award this week. The campaign was launched in July by Ogilvy & Mather Argentina, and featured Food Factory chef Tomas Kalika sharing his bread recipe, which is said to contain ingredients that help improve memory. The recipe for the "bread of memory" and the names of the victims of the attack appeared on a website which went viral. Bread also was distributed in Buenos Aires City on July 18, the anniversary of the 1994 bombing that killed 85 and injured hundreds. (JTA )

Rabbis urge Cuba to release Jewish prisoner

More than 500 rabbis urged the release of Alan Gross, citing an assessment by a U.S. radiologist that the American contractor jailed in Cuba might have a cancerous growth. The letter to Cuban President Raul Castro cites an assessment last month of Gross' Cuban medical records by a U.S. radiologist, which says that what Cuban doctors identified as a hematoma behind Gross' right shoulder is likely a tumor. Most of the rabbis signing the letter are American and represent all streams. A number are from Israel and Canada. Gross, 63, was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison for "crimes against the state." (JTA)

TA Cinematheque to screen Bursztyn retrospective

A retrospective on the films of Yigal Bursztyn will be held from November 22 through 30 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. Four films by Bursztyn, who has worked as a director, screenwriter and professor of cinema, will be shown: "Everlasting Joy," 1996, starring Ariel Zilber, featuring a plot line in which the 17th century Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza lives in an apartment building in Holon and together with his neighbors pursues the search for happiness; "Zimzum," 2002, starring Assi Dayan and Ravit Rozen, who is also known as Tinkerbell, about an Israeli army brigade commander who goes to visit friends with his girlfriend, who is 20 years his junior; "Out of the Blue," ,2008 about two poor vagabond friends who meet a beautiful rich woman; and "War Notebooks," 1988, a three-part documentary series on the fateful week that preceded Israel's declaration of independence. (Nirit Anderman )

Amir Manor grabs awards in Greece

The film "Epilogue" which is known in Hebrew as "Hayuta and Berl" won four awards Saturday at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece. Directed by Amir Manor, the film, which depicts the troubles an elderly couple encounter in adjusting to changes around them, won for best screenplay, but was also awarded a special jury prize for originality and innovation, another for the "human value" award, as well as the audience award in the festival's international competition. (Nirit Anderman )

Acollective to play Tel Aviv's Barby club

The band Acollective will appear at the Barby club in Tel Aviv on December 22 in a concert that concludes a series of appearances the group has made following the launch last year of its "Onwards" album. The disk was produced by Christopher Shaw. Over the weekend, it was confirmed that Acollective will appear at next summer's Glastonbury Festival in England. (Uri Zer Aviv )

Hong Kong film wins top prize at Rehovot international film festival

"A Simple Life" by Hong Kong director Ann Hui won the award over the weekend for the best feature film at the International Women's Film Festival in Rehovot. The movie tells the story of a woman who worked as a maid for one family for 60 years and was later taken care of by a member of the family for whom she was a mother figure. The best short film award, which includes a NIS 16,000 payment, was given to Rony Sasson-Angel's "Wherever You Go," about two women running away from the past. (Nirit Anderman )

Bat Yam Museum director defends choice of exhibit

The director of the Bat Yam Museum for Contemporary Art, Joshua Simon, has been accused of a conflict of interest for mounting an exhibition at the museum this month of the work of members of the first graduating class of the continuing education program from the Midrasha art school at Beit Berl. The critics point out that Simon is on the staff of the school, but in his own defense, Simon countered that the continuing education program at the Midrasha was new and in his words "an alternative to programs at other institutions" and "stronger and richer" than the others. Simon said the criticism showed a lack of understanding of the field. (Ellie Armon Azoulay )