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The announcement on Tuesday came after 13 fires were ignited in Gaza border communities the previous morning. One of the incendiary balloons landed on a kindergarten building, according to reports, but did not cause any injuries.

Eight fires were ignited over two hours on Tuesday afternoon alone in the wake of the announcement, Ynet reported.

The fuel is used to power Gaza’s only electric plant. In recent weeks, in response to the arson balloons, Israel has also placed restrictions on the Gazan fishing zone.

Call for recognition of ME pogroms

A British legislator has called on the government to recognise the plight of Jews forced to flee their homes in Arab countries in the 20th century.

Theresa Villiers, who represents the Conservative Party, said the government should acknowledge Jewish refugees when discussing the Middle East, and urged fellow Parliament members to support efforts to preserve Jewish sites in the region, the Jewish Chronicle reported on Monday.

About 850 000 Jews were forced to flee their home countries in the Middle East and North Africa following the establishment of Israel in 1948. Many faced violence, and had to leave behind most of their property.

Villiers, who is not Jewish, previously served as secretary of state for Northern Ireland.

Nintendo store for Tel Aviv

Nintendo has only two retail stores in the world – one in New York, and now one in Tel Aviv.

The official Nintendo retail store opened on Monday at Dizengoff Center, 14 years after the first store opened in New York in Rockefeller Center. A third official store is scheduled to open in Tokyo in the fall.

Nintendo products were only recently introduced to the Israeli market. Prior to this, Israelis had to purchase consoles and games abroad.

Contraceptive pill inventor dies

George Rosenkranz, a chemist who synthesised the key ingredient in the birth control pill, has died.

Rosenkranz, a Hungary native who immigrated to Cuba to escape the Nazis, died on Sunday at his home in Atherton, California, at the age of 102.

He and two Jewish chemists, Carl Djerassi, a refugee from Austria, and Luis Miramontes, synthesised the progesterone that was to be used in one of the first two combined oral contraceptive pills.

Norethindrone, which the three chemists developed in 1951, at first was used as a fertility treatment, only demonstrating its effectiveness for birth control after five years of trials, according to the New York Times. Rosenkranz’s team also achieved the first practical synthesis of cortisone, in 1951, according to the Times.

Rosenkranz studied organic chemistry in Switzerland, earning his doctorate in 1940 before immigrating to Cuba. After World War II, he became the research director of Syntex Corporation, a pharmaceutical laboratory in Mexico. He became a Mexican citizen in 1949. Rosenkranz became chief executive and chairman of Syntex, which grew into a diversified international pharmaceutical and biotech company. He retired in 1981.

UN plans conference of terror victims

The United Nations is to hold a global conference of terror victims while commemorating the 25th anniversary of the attack on the AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) Jewish centre in Buenos Aires.

The UN said the aim of the conference would be to come up with concrete recommendations on how member states could deal with terror.

Its undersecretary general of counterterrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, announced the conference on Monday at UN headquarters in New York. The conference will bring together victims, member states, experts, and civil organisations, according to the announcement.

The ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the AMIA bombing is among a series of more than 20 such events being held in major cities around the world from 4 June to 18 July. Monday’s event was organised by the World Jewish Congress and Argentina’s government.

No one has been convicted for the bombing, which left 85 people dead and hundreds wounded. Argentina and Israel have long pointed the finger at Tehran, implicating several former Iranian officials and Hezbollah in the AMIA attack, and also in the 17 March 1992 terrorist attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29, and injured more than 200.

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