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February 17, 2014 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-17

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6A - Monday, February 17, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Snake-handling pastor
dies from reptile bite

Man refused
medical treatment
after bitten during
church service
Jamie Coots, a snake-handling
Kentucky pastor who appeared
on the National Geographic
television reality show "Snake
Salvation," died Saturday after
being bitten by a snake.
Coots was handling a
rattlesnake during a Saturday
night service at his Full Gospel
TabernacleinJesus Name Church
in Middlesboro when he was bit,
-another preacher, Cody Winn,
told WBIR-TV.
"Jamie went across the floor.
He had one of the rattlers in his
hand, he came over and he was
standing beside me. It was plain
view, it just turned its head and
bit him in the back of the hand ...
within a second," Winn said.
When an amhilance arrived at

the church at 8:30 p.m., they were
told Coots had gone home, the
Middlesboro Police Department
said in a news release. Contacted
at his house, Coots refused medi-
cal treatment.
Emergency workers left about
9:10 p.m. When they returned
about an hour later, Coots was
dead from a venomous snake bite,
police said.
In January 2013, Coots was
caught transporting three
rattlesnakes and two copperheads
through Knoxville, Tenn.
Wildlife officials confiscated the
snakes, and Coots pleaded guilty
to illegally wildlife possession.
He was given one year of
unsupervised probation.
Coots said then he needed
the snakes for religious reasons,
citing a Bible passage in the book
of Mark that reads, in part: "And
these signs shall follow them that
believe; In my name shall they
cast out devils; they shall speak
with new tongues; They shall
take up serpents; and if they drink

any deadly thing, it shall not hurt
them; they shall lay hands on the
sick, and they shall recover."
Coots said he took the passage
at face value.
"We literally believe they want
us to take up snakes," Coots told
The Associated Press in February
2013. "We've been serpent han-
dling for the past 20 or 21 years."
After he was bitten Saturday
night, Coots dropped the snakes, but
then picked them back up and con-
tinued on. Within minutes, Winn
said Coots headed to the bathroom.
His son, Cody, told the
television station his dad had been
bit eight times before, but never
had such a severe reaction. Cody
Coots said he thought the bite
would be just like all the others.
"We're going to go home, he's
going to lay on the couch, he's
going to hurt, he's going to pray for
a while and he's going to get better.
That's what happened every other
time, except this time was just so
quick and it was crazy, it was really
crazy," Cody Coots said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left and Israeli Labor party lawmaker Hilik Bar attend a meeting with adelegation of
mostly Israeli university students and activists at the presidential headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday.
0 0
Palestinian president shows
flexibility on refugee issue

Four South Korean tourists
killed in Sinai bus bombing

First visitor attack
in a decade may be
linked to al-Qaida
CAIRO (AP) - An explosion
tore through a bus filled with
South Korean sightseers in the
Sinai Peninsula on Sunday, killing
at least four people and raising
fears that Islamic militants have
renewed a bloody campaign to
wreck Egypt's tourism industry.
The bombing near the tip of
the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqaba was
the first attack against tourists in
Sinai in nearly a decade.
There was no immediate claim
of responsibility. But the blast
bore the hallmarks of attacks
blamed on the al-Qaida-linked
militant groups that have been
battling government forces in
Sinai's restive north for years.

At least three South Korean
tourists were killed and 12
seriously wounded, according to
Egyptian security officials. The
Egyptian bus driver was also
among the dead, the officials said.
"I am deeply saddened by the
incident," Tourism Minister
Hesham Zazou told state TV.
The Egyptian presidency called
the attack a "despicable act of
cowardice" and vowed to bring
the culprits to justice.
Egypt's vital tourism sector,
which normally accounts for about
11 percent of the economy and 20
percent of all foreign currency
revenue, has been badly hit by the
deadly turmoil that has roiled the
country since the 2011 revolt that
overthrew ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Sunday's blast came as signs of a
slow recovery in the industry were
emerging, especially at Red Sea
resorts in Sinailike Sharm el-Sheik.

"The sad consequence for
Egypt is that this takes the
tourism industry and devastates it
for years into the future," said Jon
Alterman, director of the Middle
East Program at the Center
for Strategic and International
Studies in Washington.
Egyptian security officials said
they believe the blast was caused
by either a car bomb or a roadside
bomb that was detonated by
remote control.
Rescue workers found the
remains of four and perhaps five
people, according to Khaled Abu
Hashem, the head of ambulance
services in southern Sinai.
In Seoul, the foreign ministry
said in a text message that 31
passengers from a church in
Jincheon were being led by a
South Korean tour guide. Two of
its citizens were killed and nine
wounded, the ministry added.

Abass said he
doesn't want Israel
(AP) - The Palestinian president
on Sunday reassured a group of
young Israeli activists visiting
his West Bank compound that
he has no intention of flooding
Israel with Palestinian refugees
- his most ambitious attempt
yet to directly influence Israeli
public opinion over the heads
of a largely hard-line Israeli
President Mahmoud Abbas
made a series of conciliatory
statements on some of the most
sensitive issues in peace talks,
including alleged Palestinian
incitement against Israel and
recognition of Jewish suffering
in the Holocaust, as he sought
to rally support for U.S.-backed
peace efforts.
Abbas delivered his message at
a sensitive time in the peace talks.
The sides have been conducting
behind-the-scenes negotiations
for nearly seven months. With
an April target date approaching,
there have been no signs of
progress. The talks have been
marred by finger pointing, with
both sides accusing each other of
hindering the negotiations with


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rigid demands.
Speaking to some 300 Israeli
university students and activists,
Abbas signaled new flexibility
in one of the thorniest issues
of the conflict: Palestinian
refugees' "right of return" to lost
properties in what is now Israel.
"I am not looking to drown
Israel with millions of refugees
to change its nature," Abbas said.
"We want to put the problem on
the table and find a creative solu-
tion... you will be satisfied and we
will be satisfied."
The fate of the Palestinian
refugees is one of the most
emotional issues in the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict.
Some 700,000 Palestinians
either fled or were expelled from
their homes during the war sur-
rounding Israel's establishment
in 1948. Today, the number of
refugees and their descendants
number about 5 million people,
spread mostly throughout the
West Bank, Gaza Strip and neigh-
boring Arab countries.
In Israel, there is a broad
consensus against accepting a
large-scale resettling of these
refugees in any future peace deal,
fearing they would dilute Israel's
Jewish character.
Israeli leaders have long
demanded that the Palestinian
leadership publicly renounce the
right of return, and say refugees
should be resettled in a future
Palestinian state or offered
In Palestinian society, though,
there is an overwhelming
demand for refugees to be able
to return home. Abbas is himself
is a refugee from what is now
Safed in northern Israel, though
he has said he has no intention of
seekingto live there.
The refugee issue is one of the
Palestinians' most important
cards in the peace talks, and
something that is unlikely to be
addressed until the final stage of
Taysir Nasrallah, the head
of a committee representing
Palestinian refugees, said "no
one can concede" their rights
and said Abbas' comments were
politically motivated. "We will
retain these rights no matter how
long it would take us to achieve
them," he said.
Kerry is expected back in
the region in the coming weeks
with a proposed outline of a final
peace deal. By hosting the Israeli
delegation, Abbaswasattempting
to reach out to the Israeli public,
where skepticism about reaching
an agreement remains high.
Sitting in front of a large
poster of a dove soaring over the
ancient walled city of Jerusalem
with a Palestinian flag attached
to its wings, Abbas ran through
a list of oft-repeated Israeli max-
ims questioningthe Palestinians'
readiness to make peace.
Addressing a common Israeli
notion that the Palestinian leader
speaks moderately to Israelis
and foreign leaders but takes
a tougher tone with his own
people, Abbas said, "We don't
have two languages. We speak in
one language. we have nothing to
As for the common saying by
Israeli leaders that the country
does not have a true partner for
peace, Abbas said, "I am your
Israeli leaders often accuse

the Palestinians of promoting
incitement and hatred in
textbooks and official media.
"This is true. It exists," Abbas

said regarding incitement,
without elaborating as to what
But he said Israel refused an
offer to establish a joint commit-
tee with the Palestinians and the
U.S. to address incitement in both
Israeli and Palestinian societies.
Abbas seeks the West Bank,
east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip
- territories captured by Israel
in 1967 - for a Palestinian state
alongside Israel. He has said
he would be willing to alter the
border with "land swaps" to
allow Israel to keep some of the
Jewish settlements it has built.
Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu wants to
retain parts of the West Bank
and opposes any division of east
Jerusalem, home to sensitive
religious sites. Israel withdrew
from Gaza in 2005, and Hamas
militants subsequently seized
control of the area.
The Hamas takeover, which
was followed by years of rocket
attacks on Israel, has raised fears
that the West Bank could follow a
similar path if Israel withdraws.
Abbas said Palestinians seek
a demilitarized state, which
he said proves Palestinians do
not seek violence with Israel.
He also rejected claims that a
book he published in the 1980s
denied the Holocaust. "I know
millions of Jews were killed in
the Holocaust," he said.
While claiming east
Jerusalem as the Palestinian
capital, Abbas said he wants it
to function alongside Israel's
capital, keeping Jerusalem as
one undivided city. "What is
the problem with that? This is
coexistence," Abbas said.
As for claims in Israel that he
rejected a generous peace offer
from former Israeli Prime Min-
ister Ehud Olmert in 2008,Abbas
said peace talks fell through
because "Olmert fell" out of
power. Olmert resigned amid
corruption allegations. "We had
to go back to square one," he said.
In a question and answer ses-
sion, Israelis asked repeatedly if
he would be willing to recognize
Israel as a Jewish state, one of
Netanyahu's key demands.
Abbas has rejected the
demand, saying it would
undercut the rights of refugees
and Israel's own Arab minority.
But he said if Israel received such
official recognition from the
United Nations, he would accept
it as well.
The audience of young
Israelis, mostly affiliated with
dovish political parties and
coexistence activities, greeted
Abbas' comments with multiple
bursts of applause. Israeli Labor
party lawmaker Hilik Bar, who
organized the event, called the
meeting "unprecedented."
It was only a decade ago that
the Muqataa, the Palestinian
government headquarters where
they were visiting, was under
siege by the Israeli army.
Today, the army keeps
Ramallah, the administrative
and financial capital of the West
Bank, off-limits to Israeli Jewish
citizens, making Sunday's trip a
firstvisit for many of the Israelis,
who took photos of themselves
next to Palestinian flags inside
the Muqataa.
"You need to pinch yourself,"
Amir Rosenthal, 26, a philosophy
and economy student at the

University of Haifa, said about
meeting Abbas. "It's real. He's
friendly, he wants peace, and I'm
here in Ramallah."

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