20 February 2018 - 6 Adar 5778 - ו' אדר ה' אלפים תשע"ח
Carmel School partners with Israel’s GreenStart Academy E-mail

Carmel School Association of Hong Kong, in partnership with GreenStart Academy from Ha Kfar HaYarok (“the Green Village”), Israel, launched Carmel’s Elsa High School GreenStart Academy.

This unique new educational programme is focused on the art of autodidactic learning via technology, science and innovation projects, led by Israeli innovation experts and students visiting Elsa High School for a week in December.

GreenStart Academy, founded by Israeli engineer Yooda Or, is a technology youth movement with an outstanding record of achievements in science and innovation competitions. It has produced numerous successful startups in Israel and around the world. Some of its studentled innovations, driven by human and societal concerns and approaches, are now either fully operational or in development. Examples include:
• An app that helps autistic children express themselves.
• An app that helps groups of people (youth, elderly, etc.) travelling in areas with no internet or Wifi to stay connected through their phones, and to trigger alarms when one member gets separated from the group.
• A device that helps hearingdisabled people to distinguish sounds from ambient noise.

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All of Hong Kong lights up for Chanukah E-mail

For most kids (and adults), Chanukah is a time for latkes, donuts, gifts, gelt and colourful candles. Last December, Chabad of Hong Kong inspired a new Chanukah highlight for the children and parents of 20 families here. The third night of Chanukah brought a new way to celebrate as nearly 50 people fanned out across Hong Kong to spread the true message of the Festival of Lights.

From Lantau to Repulse Bay and from Kowloon to Central and the Mid-Levels, light stations were set up and over 2,000 bracelets with the message of “Light up the world with Kindness” were distributed to passers-by. The response from the recipients of these bracelets and the participants in these events was truly beyond Chabad’s expectations. Each light station was equipped with a pull-up sign, a large supply of rubber bracelets in English and Chinese, and light-up bracelets and hats for the station “managers”.

The event grew out of a simple discussion at a Kiddush lunch at Chabad a few weeks prior. A WhatsApp group was quickly put together, details were discussed, supplies were ordered from China and within a week the organisers and volunteers were ready to “hit the road”.

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Celebrating Thailand’s National Day in Israel E-mail

The Royal Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv hosted a reception on 5 December to mark the occasion of the National Day of the Kingdom of Thailand. Many distinguished guests from the Israeli Government, the diplomatic corps, the public and private sectors and the Thai community attended the event at the Hilton Hotel.

In special attendance was Ayoub Kara, Minister of Communications; guest of honour Meron Reuben, Chief of State Protocol, and Gilad Cohen, Deputy Director General, Head of Asia and Pacific Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ms Penprapa Vongkovit, Thailand’s Ambassador to Israel, delivered a speech emphasising the importance of 5 December as Thailand’s National Day, the Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and Thailand’s Father’s Day. In addition, the United Nations General Assembly has declared 5 December as “World Soil Day”.

It also marked a very special occasion for Thais: a sandal-wood-laying ceremony to bid a sad final farewell to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol, which was held at the Thai-Israel Friendship Pavilion in Ben Shemen Park, Modi’in.

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Shimon Biton sentenced to death for Thailand killing E-mail

An Israeli man has been sentenced to death for murdering and dismembering a countryman in a fit of jealousy in Nonthaburi, Thailand, in 2016.

Shimon Biton, 50, admitted to killing 63-year-old Eli Cohen and burying parts of his body in freshly poured concrete under the stairs in his home, as reported in the December 2016 issue of Jewish Times Asia.

Biton was arrested along with his 17-year-old son when police found traces of blood and then discovered some of Cohen’s remains in concrete at their home in the Phattharawan housing estate in Bang Bua Thong district of Nonthaburi in November 2016.

Biton, who has a long criminal record and was a former police informant in Israel, told police he had killed Cohen, reportedly a friend, after discovering that Cohen had had an affair with Biton’s wife, Nantiya Saengurai.

Ms Nantiya disappeared before the killing took place. Her family believes she is also dead and they suspect Biton of involvement in her disappearance after he gave them conflicting accounts about what had happened to her.

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Drug smugglers jailed in Auckland Print E-mail

A New Zealand court sentenced three Israelis to prison for attempting to smuggle drugs into the country. Victor Borisenko, Vladislav Pischako and Guy Shalom were each sentenced to eight years and three months for bringing US$2.5 million worth of MDMA crystals, or Ecstasy, into the country.

The three, all in their midtwenties, flew to Auckland from Singapore in early 2017. X-ray scans at the airport revealed the 8.7 kilograms (19 pounds) of drugs hidden beneath wooden false bottoms in their suitcases.

Peter Lewis, customs manager at Auckland Airport, warned: “Criminal syndicates may think they can get away by sending drug couriers during peak travel times because Customs is focused on clearing passengers. While this is true for our legitimate travellers, we wear two hats and are just as focused on catching criminals.” He added that New Zealand has one of the world’s highest street values for Ecstasy.

(Issue Feb 2018)

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