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  • U.S. court orders Iran to pay $247.5 million to N.J. family

    WASHINGTON, March 15 (JTA) — As he stood in a federal courtroom here, listening to a judge issue a landmark ruling, Stephen Flatow’s thoughts turned to his daughter’s smiling face. “Alisa had this very big smile on her face all the time, and she’s smiling today,” Flatow said last week, moments after U.S. District Court…

  • Jewish support builds for anti-persecution bill

    WASHINGTON, March 31 (JTA) — As Congress took its first action last week on legislation targeted at religious persecution abroad, support for such a law continued to build among Jewish groups. The House International Relations Committee approved the Freedom From Religious Persecution Act last week by a vote of 31-5, handing a victory to religious…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Activists turn to states to ensure religious rights

    WASHINGTON, May 13 (JTA) — In the year since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, lawmakers and activists have been scrambling to find ways to ensure that Americans are able to practice religion free from government intrusion. Much of that effort has centered around crafting new federal legislation to restore…

  • Negotiators mum on talks to resolve claims against Swiss

    WASHINGTON, April 28 (JTA) — Talks to resolve claims stemming from Swiss actions during World War II have opened — but no quick settlement is in sight. The first round of talks, held in Washington under U.S. State Department auspices, comes on the heels of a pledge last month by Switzerland’s three largest banks to…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Pained families of terror victims demand justice for the perpetrators

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (JTA) — It has been almost two years since Matthew Eisenfeld and Sara Duker boarded Jerusalem’s bus No. 18 on the last day of their lives. For the parents of the two Americans killed in that February 1996 terrorist bombing attack, the pain endures. “Our families hoped and prayed that one day…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Church-state tug of war to heat up Congress’ session

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (JTA) — When Congress returns later this month from its winter recess, the tug of war across the line separating church and state is likely to increase in intensity. This is, after all, an election year. Indeed, as the November congressional campaigns heat up, many issues long on the legislative agenda acquire…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Swiss talks reach ‘critical’ stage as unofficial deadline approac

    WASHINGTON, June 10 (JTA) — As negotiations to settle Holocaust-era claims against Switzerland reach a critical stage, there is no clear indication that efforts to reach an agreement will succeed. Despite an unofficial June 30 deadline, a key player in the negotiations said there was unlikely to be any agreement soon. At the same time,…

  • Court: suspected war criminals cannot invoke Fifth Amendment

    WASHINGTON, June 25 (JTA) — The Supreme Court has issued a decision that is likely to boost efforts to bring Nazi war criminals to justice. The high court, by a 7-2 vote Thursday in a case of a suspected Nazi collaborator, ruled that the Fifth Amendment’s right to remain silent applies only to criminal proceedings…

  • Swiss banks may face sanctions if ‘global settlement’ not reached

    WASHINGTON, March 17 (JTA) — As the key players in the standoff with Swiss banks over Holocaust-era claims prepare to meet in New York next week, the prospects for reaching a “global settlement” remain far from clear. If negotiations do not produce a settlement or significant progress toward a settlement by March 31, Swiss banks…

  • Religious persecution legislation hailed by Jews and religious right

    WASHINGTON, May 17 (JTA) — Finding rare common ground, Jewish groups and members of the religious right are hailing the passage of legislation aimed at punishing countries guilty of religious persecution. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the Freedom From Religious Persecution Act on May 14 by a vote of 375 to 41. The bill…