Germany. Jewish community of Berlin awarded Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Yoshka Fischer with the Heinz Galinski prize. The award nominated in honor of a died in 1942 head of Berlin Jewish community was delivered to Fischer for the German assistance to Israel. Nearly 500 guests visited the ceremony. The community leader Alexander Brenner read the congratulation letter to Fischer on behalf of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Italy. The court didn't change the life imprisonment sentence for a former SS corporal Michael Seifert, known as "a Bolzano butcher". In April 1945 the guard murdered 18 Jewish prisoners in the concentration camp in suburbs of this city. Verona tribunal sentenced him to the highest, according to Italian laws, measure of punishment in November 2002.
Motivating this decision the judges mentioned "absolute absence of any repenting" on the part of the accused. Materials on his extradition are under consideration in Canada, where an old Nazi resides.
Brazil. Nearly 1800 persons have visited first Jewish humor festival in Rio-de-Janeiro. Actors showed parodies and extracts from plays, ancient and modern Jewish music was played. "Bney Brit" was the sponsor of the action. Money, received from the action, will be spent on charitable projects.
Europe. Radicals from the society for protecting animals' rights attacked "Shkhita" - a religious ceremony of killing animals suitable for cooking kosher meals. A campaign on prohibiting the import of kosher products has started in Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Norway. One of the deputies has recently said during the discussion of an "anti-kosher" bill in Norwegian parliament: "If they (i.e. Jews) do not like something, they may leave somewhere else to reside".
The government of Switzerland decided to abrogate the bill forbidding shkhita adopted back in Middle Ages. Nevertheless, even nowadays 76% of population consider this abrogation as discrimination of animals.
The number of Jews in the world (now there are 12.9 million of them) yearly becomes 50 thousand persons less. This process is more intensive in USA, where the number of Jews has reduced by 300 thousand persons during recent 10 years, constituting 5.2 million in 2002.
The Jewish population of former USSR decreased from 1.45 million in 1989 to 437 thousand in 2002.
As a rule, demographic decrease takes place due to the low level of birth, emigration as well as a great number of mixed marriages, which exceeds 50% in some Western countries.