Thursday, September 24, 2009

Saudi Arabia opens first mixed-gender university

By Ulf Laessing and Asma Alsharif - - - - - o o o o o - - - - - THUWAL, Saudi Arabia, Sept 23 - - - - - o o o o o - - - - - (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia opened its first co-educational university on Wednesday, a high-tech campus with massive funds which reformers hope will spearhead change in the Islamic state. Western diplomats hope the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which has attracted more than 70 professors and 800 students from abroad, will stimulate reform after recent setbacks such as shelving municipal elections and cancelling cultural events opposed by clerics. - - - - - o o o o o - - - - - King Abdullah has promoted reforms since taking office in 2005 to create a modern state, stave off Western criticisms and lower dependence on oil.But he faces resistance from conservative clerics and princes in Saudi Arabia, one of the world's top oil exporters. - - - - - o o o o o - - - - - Al Qaeda militants launched a campaign against the state in 2003, blaming the royal family for corruption and opposing its alliance with the United States. It was mainly Saudis who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. targets. Officials who back Abdullah fear that without reforms young people will be drawn to militancy in the future."Undoubtedly, scientific centres that embrace all peoples are the first line of defence against extremists," Abdullah told regional leaders such as Presidents Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Abdullah Gul of Turkey, Western officials and Nobel laureates during the inauguration. - - - - - o o o o o - - - - - Supporters are presenting KAUST as a tangible gain for the king's plans, which have included more long-term projects such as an overhaul of courts, the education system, and building "economic cities" to create jobs for the young population."KAUST is eventually some tangible result after so much was planned and so little done," said a Western diplomat in Riyadh. - - - - - o o o o o - - - - - Former U.S. diplomat John Burgess wrote in his Saudi blog "Crossroads Arabia": "There is truly no other university in the world so well-equipped. Anywhere. The issue is, of course, what is to be done with the equipment and that remains to be seen". - - - - - o o o o o - - - - - One of the main goals is to produce Saudi scientists but so far locals, who had to compete in a tough admission process, make up only 15 percent of students coming from 61 countries, said KAUST President Choon Fong Shih of Singapore.MIDDLE OF NOWHERELocated next to the Red Sea village of Thuwal north of Jeddah, the 36-square-mile campus has lured scientists from abroad with luxury packages and a life far from the reality of the Islamic state, where clerics have wide powers over society in an alliance with the Saudi ruling family."The community's design facilitates access to the Red Sea and encourages active, healthy living and group interaction," says the KAUST website. Unlike in Saudi universities, male and female students can attend classes together and mix in cafes. - - - - - o o o o o - - - - - With more than 70 green spaces, gyms, clinics, spacious residential districts and staff driving around in electric cars there is no reason to leave the campus, which is far from the prying eyes of the religious police.Staff were full of praise for the university."One of the motivations (to come here) was that ... anything that I would dream of is here," said India's Kultaransingh Hooghan, a computer researcher who just relocated to Thuwal."There is no barrier in science," said Canada's Jasmeen Merzaban, an assistant professor of biochemistry. "Whether you are a woman or a man, working side by side you don't look at the gender at all. It's all based on science."KAUST is run by the state oil company Aramco, which has a similar liberal enclave at its headquarters in Dhahran on the Gulf coast. It is outside the control of the education ministry. - - - - - o o o o o - - - - - Columnist Abdullah al-Alami, who worked at Aramco, said more Saudis must enrol to make KAUST a success. "Fifteen percent is a small start, but remember that when Aramco was established the percentage of Saudis was less than 5 percent. Today, Saudi employees make up more than 90 percent of the Aramco population," he said. Analysts and diplomats say it is the state education system that Saudi Arabia needs to reform."KAUST is impressive but starts at the wrong end. Instead of pumping billions into universities you need to reform primary schools focusing on religion," said another Western diplomat. (Editing by Andrew Hammond and Tim Pearce) - - - - - o o o o o - - - - - Source :

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Suntory, partners develop world's 1st blue chrysanthemum

Osaka - - - - - - oooo - - - - - -
Suntory Holdings Ltd said Monday its joint research team with two partners has developed the world’s first chrysanthemum with blue petals. - - - - - - oooo - - - - - -
The joint research was conducted by Suntory, the National Institute of Floricultural Science of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Australian biotechnology company Florigene Pty Ltd, Suntory said.According to Suntory, chrysanthemums come with petals in various colors such as white, yellow and red but lack the gene necessary to produce the blue pigment delphinidin. - - - - - - oooo - - - - - -
The blue chrysanthemum was developed by incorporating blue pigment-producing genes from pansies, campanula and other plants. As the petal color has a purplish hue, the research team will work on making it bluer.

Japanese society going over to the 'Dark Side'

TOKYO ---- oooo ---- Illegal loan sharks who prey on increasingly desperate borrowers; rampant tax evasion; trolls in cyberspace who recruit group suicides or who serve as middlemen for prostitution by minors, or who arrange services of hitmen. Some sell their family registry data to abet sham marriages with foreigners. “Hakobiya” (mules) smuggle drugs and other illegal substances, assuming the risk of imprisonment for a round-trip ticket abroad and a pathetically small payout. - - - - - -oooo- - - - - - Biweekly magazine Sapio (Sept 9) takes up these and other matters in a 12-page special section titled “Writhing of the ‘Dark Society’ that is Swallowing up Japan.” The title and articles that follow imply Japan is becoming a society where the law of the jungle reigns. - - - - - -oooo- - - - - - The three-page story on tax evasion could well provide inspiration for a remake of “Marusa no Onna.” In fiscal 2008, the National Tax Agency charged companies and individuals with evasion to the tune of 35 billion yen, the top five offenders being mining and metals firms, real estate companies, worker dispatch firms, commodities brokers and pachinko shop operators. - - - - - -oooo- - - - - - Investigators armed with search warrants did their digging in places like the back yard of a Fukushima factory owner, where they unearthed a canister containing 73 million yen in cash. In addition to heavy fines, the most serious violators face imprisonment. - - - - - -oooo- - - - - - Basically, any current news topic can be spun off as an opportunity for creative con artists. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication’s PR activities for the switchover from analog to digital TV in 2011, for example, have spurred a host of new scams. Some crooks call on householders, clad in uniforms resembling those worn at mass appliance retailers; others present business cards introducing themselves as staff of the above ministry’s “Promotional Business Bureau.” In both cases, their aim is trick naïve people into signing up for unnecessary rewiring work or electronic components. - - - - - -oooo- - - - - - High-pressure sales techniques for energy-efficient water heaters and other products related to the so-called “eco boom” have resulted in well-meaning householders being bilked out of millions of yen. A standard MO is to tell potential buyers they’re entitled to a government rebate. “But eligibility is limited, so you have to sign up right now or you can’t get it,” a salesman will say. Within weeks of the outbreak of H1N1 influenza, hucksters were peddling spurious medications. Now, with reports of the first fatalities and fears of an epidemic as the weather turns cooler, more flu-related scams are a virtual certainty. - - - - - -oooo- - - - - - When it comes to illegal profiteering, however, virtually nothing is sacred. This year being the 20th anniversary of Emperor Akihito’s ascension to the throne, as well as the 50th anniversary of his marriage to Empress Michiko, there’s been a leap in scams by companies marketing deluxe framed portraits to people who didn’t order them. - - - - - -oooo- - - - - - “If you receive goods you didn’t order, you can just dispose of them after 14 days,” advises Asao Ito, a spokesperson for the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan. “But it seems the greater the esteem a person holds toward the imperial family, the harder it is for him to discard such pictures. - - - - - -0000- - - - - - “Scammers are harnessing that psychology to their advantage.” - - - - - -oooo- - - - - - Source :

'Protecting' Jewish girls from Arabs

Sep 18, 2009 - - - - - By ABE SELIG - - - - - Every night, dozens of young men in Jerusalem's Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood take to the streets and go out searching for girls. - - - - - But theirs is not a promiscuous search. In fact, the group of some 35 volunteers is looking to prevent such interaction and to stop what neighborhood residents have overwhelmingly complained is a growing problem in Pisgat Ze'ev - Arab men going out with Jewish girls. What was once a rare occurrence, residents say, has become the norm in this north Jerusalem suburb, which shares a side of the security barrier with the Palestinian village of Anata and the scattered dwellings on the edge of Shuafat refugee camp. - - - - - Residents now say that, due to Pisgat Ze'ev's location and increasingly mixed Arab-Jewish population, the phenomenon of mixed dating has grown, with violent outbursts breaking out frequently between Arab and Jewish youth over the matter, and with growing communal anger over what many here feel is simply unacceptable. - - - - - "A rare occurrence?" a shopkeeper in the local mall asked sardonically this week when asked about the situation. "My friend, it's not rare at all, this has become the reality. Pisgat Ze'ev has turned into one gigantic whorehouse, please excuse the expression." - - - - - "[The young Arab men] come here to the mall and we see it all the time, they take the girls to the bathroom, they laugh with each other about it. And as if that wasn't worse, one of them opened up an actual whorehouse just up the street. There are Jewish girls in there! It's nothing short of a disgrace!" - - - - - Enter Eish L'Yahadut (Fire for Judaism), a volunteer group made up of both religious and secular Pisgat Ze'ev residents, who walk the streets at night looking for local girls out with Arab men. - - - - - "We're not aggressive, and we don't use violence," said Moshe, a 31-year-old member of the group who spoke to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. - - - - - "Our goal is to be in contact with these girls and try to explain to them the dangers of what they're getting themselves into. In the last 10 years, 60 girls from Pisgat Ze'ev have gone into the [West Bank Arab] villages," he said. "And most of them aren't heard from after that." - - - - - Moshe said that his group also maintains contact with the Arab men as well, in an effort to convince them that pursuing such relationships is not in their best interest. "One of the girls we're in contact with, her father is a commander with the Jerusalem Police," Moshe said. "Once the guy she was with heard about that, things changed." - - - - - While some girls are receptive to the group's efforts, others are not. "But we keep trying," Moshe said. "These are girls who usually don't know any better, who come from troubled homes, and they're swept up by the guy's charm or nice clothes. We try to show them that these aren't the most important things, and we have women who speak to them as well." - - - - - According to Moshe, the group is currently in contact with 17 girls, the majority of whom are in high school. The group has encountered physical confrontations, but, Moshe said, iits work is done within the full confines of the law, and the Arab men they approach are often receptive as well. - - - - - However, Arab residents of the neighborhood told the Post that the group has been a problem. "They come out all the time and hassle us," said Imad, who works in the Pisgat Ze'ev mall. "I was out with this girl the other night, and they came up and started talking to us. I don't like it, you know? What do they care who I'm with?" - - - - - But for Moshe and his group, the importance of their job lies with the girls they say they are protecting. "Sometimes these guys are abusive to the girls," Moshe said. "While that usually starts after they're married, there was an incident recently where one of these guys was beating the girl up in the middle of the street. We got involved, and she left him, but it's a shame that it has to come to that." - - - - - Another major issue for the group are the brothels that have sprung up in the neighborhood. In addition to their nightly "patrols," the group stages protests outside the houses of ill repute in an effort to pressure the owners to shut them down. - - - - - "Our mission is not against Arabs," Moshe said. "But it is for the protection of Jewish women, wherever they may be. And with regards to the brothels, the police don't interfere, because they're run by crime families. But if enough residents stand up against them, I believe they will be shut down." - - - - - In that vein, Eish L'Yahadut is planning a rally next Thursday in front of the mall, to protest the brothels and what it calls "police inaction" over the matter. - - - - - "We want to get the neighborhood involved," Moshe said. "Because it's our neighborhood, and if we don't stand up for it, no one will." - - - - - Source : Related : - - - - - Petah Tikva discourages girls from interacting with Arabs

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Musharraf admission: What’s so surprising?

Arun Kumar Singh - - - - - - Sept.16 : - - - - - - Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s latest admission that military aid provided by the United States to Pakistan for the war against terror during his tenure had been used to strengthen defences against India, and that he ensured Pakistan’s strategic weapons programme was "speeded up", as well as China’s latest border incursions should finally clear the cobwebs from the minds of India’s political leadership. - - - - - - Many Indians wonder why we continue to suffer nasty surprises at the hands of Pakistan and China. Forty-seven years after the Sino-Indian war in 1962, India has again been taken by surprise by China in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Uttarakhand. - - - - - - India’s lack of strategic culture has been repeatedly exposed and its military often forced to fight under very disadvantageous conditions. - - - - - -

Our political-bureacratic leadership has allowed defence preparations to fall below critical levels while following a policy of "passive, low, reactive defence". Hopefully, the restrictions imposed on the Indian Army — not being allowed to patrol some "sensitive areas" on the Sino-Indian border — will be lifted before the Chinese seize more of our territory. - - - - - -

There should be no doubt as to why Pakistan and its terrorists will always aim to cause mayhem in two places in India — Mumbai and Vadinar. Mumbai is the financial capital of India. Its stock market turnover is four times that of Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And Vadinar is a small coastal town in Gujarat’s Jamnagar district. Vadinar port in the Gulf of Kutch has three oil refineries, with the capacity of 99 million tonnes and over two million tonnes of fuel storage. Both are India’s economic jugular, and attacking these will keep India economically hyphenated to Pakistan. - - - - - -

Fortunately, the Coast Guard’s new North-West Command for Gujarat, with its headquarters at Gandhinagar, has become functional. It is expected to be formally inaugurated by the defence minister in October. Hopefully, this new command will urgently receive additional vessels and aircraft to ensure the safety of Gujarat, including Vadinar. - - - - - -

What is the second-best method to hit Mumbai and Vadinar apart from terrorist attacks? The answer: cruise missiles with land attack capability, launched from ships, submarines and Maritime Patrol aircraft like the P-3C Orion. Theoretically, the 120-km range Harpoon anti-ship missile, with a 250 kg warhead, fits the bill perfectly for Pakistan as an interim system while ratcheting up the production of its larger Chinese-gifted 500-km range Babur cruise missiles to build a stockpile of 450. - - - - - -

The long-term aim of Pakistan’s Babur cruise missiles (these can be delivered by fighter or maritime patrol aircrafts to extend their range) is to counter India’s over-publicised Ballastic Missile Defence System (BMDS) and give Pakistan a "cheap" but massive first-strike capabilty intended to overwhelm India’s nuclear retaliation capability. - - - - - -

Right now, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is designed to counter India’s superior conventional military power, but the Babur cruise missile, along with new miniaturised plutonium warheads, will put Pakistan in a different league altogether. The newer versions of the Harpoon — which Pakistan is hoping to acquire from the US — already comes with a built-in secondary land attack capability. What Pakistan apparently tested a few months ago was the older anti-ship Harpoon missile. - - - - - -

Given today’s miniaturised Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), any missile specialist should be able to convert the vintage anti-ship Harpoon to a land attack capable missile with reasonably accurate chances of hitting the oil refineries at Vadinar and the various installations in Mumbai port. The only problem would be how to replace the 250-kg conventional warhead in the 53-centimetre diameter, cylindrical Harpoon missile with a plutonium miniature nuclear warhead. Most Indian scientists will tell you that it’s impossible for Pakistan to achieve this. Here also I expect China to transfer the technology of a proven miniaturised nuclear weapon which would fit the Babur and possibly the Harpoon cruise missiles. - - - - - -

The question is what are the launch platforms for the modified land-attack Harpoon missile? The answer is simple. The two older French-built Agosta 70 submarines and the half-a-dozen American P-3C Orion aircraft are the ideal launch platforms. The missile has sufficient stand off range to hit Vadinar and Mumbai. - - - - - -

The media has given enough details of Pakistan’s new Khushab 2 and 3 reactors that are expected to produce about 15 to 30 kg of plutonium for three to 10 miniaturised nuclear weapons per year. The latest media reports indicate that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons stockpile has now grown from 70 to 90. I have no idea about India’s nuclear weapons stocks, and am uncertain about how many Agni-type missiles India can produce per year. - - - - - -

China will take Indian deterrence seriously only after we induct the 5,000-km Agni-5. The recent controversy about the 1998 thermonuclear tests "fizzle" has not cleared the air. As a nuclear specialist, it is my opinion that a lot of luck would be needed to get a complex thermonuclear prototype device to function properly for the first time and, even if it did, it would need at least two more confirmatory tests in a rugged "militarised" form. Deterrence works best when it’s based on hard reality, and not ambiguous discussions. - - - - - -

China, as expected, has kept the pressure on India, with the latest news of its forces violating Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Uttarakhand. China has mastered the art of long-term strategic planning and obviously, its gameplan is to keep India tied down by the triple threats that emerge from China, Pakistan and Pakistani-sponsored terrorists. - - - - - -

India’s external affairs ministry should stop justifying China’s daily incursions by talking about "the differing perceptions on the Line of Actual Control". China will stop its incursions only when it is deterred by India’s conventional and strategic defence capability. India needs to change its "no-first-use" nuclear policy. - - - - - -

Vice-Admiral Arun Kumar Singh retired as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam - - - - - -

Source :

Can Facebook fail?

Andrew Keen - - - - - - Okay, I admit it. I was wrong. Wrong about Facebook, even wrong about Mark Zuckerberg. For the last couple of years, I’ve been imagining Facebook as the next dotcom Titanic, the classically over-hyped Silicon Valley start-up, all youthful bluster, but neither a business model nor any meaningful revenue. With its Twitter obsession and endless rumors of anarchy at its Palo Alto offices (not to mention Ben Mezrich’s less than stellar semi-fictional book about Facebook’s founding), I’ve always assumed that Facebook would fail in some meltdown of historic proportion. - - - - - -

But, in a blog post today, Mark Zuckerberg began with some stunning news: - - - - - -

“As of today, Facebook now serves 300 million people across the world. It’s a large number, but the way we think about this is that we’re just getting started on our goal of connecting everyone.” - - - - - -

Just started on connecting everyone? Wow. You’ve got to admire the boy’s chutzpah. He’s got 300 million users - with 50 million added in the last 75 days, and now he’s focused on “connecting everyone” (all eight billion of us? - thus giving a nice synergy to Facebook’s $8 billion valuation). You can’t argue with 300 million users. Facebook is now too large to fail. At worst, it will turn into AOL. At best, it will become a legal monopolist like Google. - - - - - -

But Zuckerberg followed up with even bigger news. Facebook is now profitable: - - - - - -

We’re also succeeding at building Facebook in a sustainable way. Earlier this year, we said we expected to be cash flow positive sometime in 2010, and I’m pleased to share that we achieved this milestone last quarter. This is important to us because it sets Facebook up to be a strong independent service for the long term. - - - - - -

Facebook, therefore, is not the next big thing; it is the current big thing. - - - - - -

So Facebook is not only the King Kong of the social media business, but it’s also “cash flow positive”. What this guarantees, I suspect, is a Facebook IPO in the next year. Could this be Netscape 2.0? Will a Facebook IPO ignite the public market for technology again? - - - - - -

The Netscape parable, however, might be a word of warning for Zuckerberg. Back in August 1995, the Netscape web browser ruled the world in the same way as Facebook is dominating the social media space. But Netscape got acquired by AOL, the kiss of death for any technology company and a 90% market share in the mid nineties eventually collapsed to a pitiful 1%. Is it possible, then, that Facebook could still screw up? Is it the AOL or the Google of social media? - - - - - - Source :

9/11 - 50 Questions Still Shrouded in Mystery !

THE ROVING EYE - - - Fifty questions on 9/11 - - - By Pepe Escobar - - - It's September 11 all over again - eight years on. The George W Bush administration is out. The "global war on terror" is still on, renamed "overseas contingency operations" by the Barack Obama administration. Obama's "new strategy" - a war escalation - is in play in AfPak. Osama bin Laden may be dead or not. "Al-Qaeda" remains a catch-all ghost entity. September 11 - the neo-cons' "new Pearl Harbor" - remains the darkest jigsaw puzzle of the young 21st century. It's useless to expect US corporate media and the ruling elites' political operatives to call for a true, in-depth investigation into the attacks on the US on September 11, 2001. Whitewash has been the norm. But even establishment highlight Dr Zbig "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski, a former national security advisor, has admitted to the US Senate that the post-9/11 "war on terror" is a "mythical historical narrative". - - - - - - The following questions, some multi-part - and most totally ignored by the 9/11 Commission - are just the tip of the immense 9/11 iceberg. A hat tip goes to the indefatigable work of;; architects and engineers for 9/11 truth; the Italian documentary Zero: an investigation into 9/11; and Asia Times Online readers' e-mails. None of these questions has been convincingly answered - according to the official narrative. It's up to US civil society to keep up the pressure. Eight years after the fact, one fundamental conclusion is imperative. The official narrative edifice of 9/11 is simply not acceptable. Fifty questions - - - - - - 1) How come dead or not dead Osama bin Laden has not been formally indicted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as responsible for 9/11? Is it because the US government - as acknowledged by the FBI itself - has not produced a single conclusive piece of evidence? - - - - - - 2) How could all the alleged 19 razor-blade box cutter-equipped Muslim perpetrators have been identified in less than 72 hours - without even a crime scene investigation? - - - - - - 3) How come none of the 19's names appeared on the passenger lists released the same day by both United Airlines and American Airlines? - - - - - - 4) How come eight names on the "original" FBI list happened to be found alive and living in different countries? - - - - - - 5) Why would pious jihadi Mohammed Atta leave a how-to-fly video manual, a uniform and his last will inside his bag knowing he was on a suicide mission? - - - - - - 6) Why did Mohammed Atta study flight simulation at Opa Locka, a hub of no less than six US Navy training bases? - - - - - - 7) How could Mohammed Atta's passport have been magically found buried among the Word Trade Center (WTC)'s debris when not a single flight recorder was found? - - - - - - 8) Who is in the possession of the "disappeared" eight indestructible black boxes on those four flights? - - - - - - 9) Considering multiple international red alerts about a possible terrorist attack inside the US - including former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice's infamous August 6, 2001, memo - how come four hijacked planes deviating from their computerized flight paths and disappearing from radar are allowed to fly around US airspace for more than an hour and a half - not to mention disabling all the elaborate Pentagon's defense systems in the process? - - - - - - 10) Why the secretary of the US Air Force James Roche did not try to intercept both planes hitting the WTC (only seven minutes away from McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey) as well as the Pentagon (only 10 minutes away from McGuire)? Roche had no less than 75 minutes to respond to the plane hitting the Pentagon. - - - - - - 11) Why did George W Bush continue to recite "My Pet Goat" in his Florida school and was not instantly absconded by the secret service? - - - - - - 12) How could Bush have seen the first plane crashing on WTC live - as he admitted? Did he have previous knowledge - or is he psychic? - - - - - - 13) Bush said that he and Andrew Card initially thought the first hit on the WTC was an accident with a small plane. How is that possible when the FAA as well as NORAD already knew this was about a hijacked plane? - - - - - - 14) What are the odds of transponders in four different planes be turned off almost simultaneously, in the same geographical area, very close to the nation's seat of power in Washington, and no one scrambles to contact the Pentagon or the media? - - - - - - 15) Could defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld explain why initial media reports said that there were no fighter jets available at Andrews Air Force Base and then change the reports that there were, but not on high alert? - - - - - - 16) Why was the DC Air National Guard in Washington AWOL on 9/11? - - - - - - 17) Why did combat jet fighters of the 305th Air Wing, McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey not intercept the second hijacked plane hitting the WTC, when they could have done it within seven minutes? - - - - - - 18) Why did none of the combat jet fighters of the 459th Aircraft Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base intercept the plane that hit the Pentagon, only 16 kilometers away? And since we're at it, why the Pentagon did not release the full video of the hit? - - - - - - 19) A number of very experienced airline pilots - including US ally Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a former fighter jet pilot - revealed that, well, only crack pilots could have performed such complex maneuvers on the hijacked jets, while others insisted they could only have been accomplished by remote control. Is it remotely believable that the hijackers were up to the task? - - - - - - 20) How come a substantial number of witnesses did swear seeing and hearing multiple explosions in both towers of the WTC? - - - - - - 21) How come a substantial number of reputed architects and engineers are adamant that the official narrative simply does not explain the largest structural collapse in recorded history (the Twin Towers) as well as the collapse of WTC building 7, which was not even hit by a jet? - - - - - - 22) According to Frank de Martini, WTC's construction manager, "We designed the building to resist the impact of one or more jetliners." The second plane nearly missed tower 1; most of the fuel burned in an explosion outside the tower. Yet this tower collapsed first, long before tower 2 that was "perforated" by the first hit. Jet fuel burned up fast - and by far did not reach the 2000-degree heat necessary to hurt the six tubular steel columns in the center of the tower - designed specifically to keep the towers from collapsing even if hit by a Boeing 707. A Boeing 707 used to carry more fuel than the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 that actually hit the towers. - - - - - - 23) Why did Mayor Rudolph Giuliani instantly authorized the shipment of WTC rubble to China and India for recycling? - - - - - - 24) Why was metallic debris found no less than 13 kilometers from the crash site of the plane that went down in Pennsylvania? Was the plane in fact shot down - under vice president Dick Cheney's orders? - - - - - - 25) The Pipelineistan question. What did US ambassador Wendy Chamberlain talk about over the phone on October 10, 2001, with the oil minister of Pakistan? Was it to tell him that the 1990s-planned Unocal gas pipeline project, TAP (Turkmenistan/Afghanistan/ Pakistan), abandoned because of Taliban demands on transit fees, was now back in business? (Two months later, an agreement to build the pipeline was signed between the leaders of the three countries). - - - - - - 26) What is former Unocal lobbyist and former Bush pet Afghan Zalmay Khalilzad up to in Afghanistan? - - - - - - 27) How come former Pakistani foreign minister Niaz Niak said in mid-July 2001 that the US had already decided to strike against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban by October? The topic was discussed secretly at the July Group of Eight summit in Genoa, Italy, according to Pakistani diplomats. - - - - - - 28) How come US ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine told FBI agent John O'Neill in July 2001 to stop investigating al-Qaeda's financial operations - with O'Neill instantly moved to a security job at the WTC, where he died on 9/11? - - - - - - 29) Considering the very intimate relationship between the Taliban and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the ISI and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is Bin Laden alive, dead or still a valuable asset of the ISI, the CIA or both? - - - - - - 30) Was Bin Laden admitted at the American hospital in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on July 4, 2001, after flying from Quetta, Pakistan, and staying for treatment until July 11? - - - - - - 31) Did the Bin Laden group build the caves of Tora Bora in close cooperation with the CIA during the 1980s' anti-Soviet jihad? - - - - - - 32) How come General Tommy Franks knew for sure that Bin Laden was hiding in Tora Bora in late November 2001? - - - - - - 33) Why did president Bill Clinton abort a hit on Bin Laden in October 1999? Why did then-Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf abort a covert ops in the same date? And why did Musharraf do the same thing again in August 2001? - - - - - - 34) Why did George W Bush dissolve the Bin Laden Task Force nine months before 9/11? - - - - - - 35) How come the (fake) Bin Laden home video - in which he "confesses" to being the perpetrator of 9/11 - released by the US on December 13, 2001, was found only two weeks after it was produced (on November 9); was it really found in Jalalabad (considering Northern Alliance and US troops had not even arrived there at the time); by whom; and how come the Pentagon was forced to release a new translation after the first (botched) one? - - - - - - 36) Why was ISI chief Lieutenant General Mahmud Ahmad abruptly "retired" on October 8, 2001, the day the US started bombing Afghanistan? - - - - - - 37) What was Ahmad up to in Washington exactly on the week of 9/11 (he arrived on September 4)? On the morning of 9/11, Ahmad was having breakfast on Capitol Hill with Bob Graham and Porter Goss, both later part of the 9/11 Commission, which simply refused to investigate two of its members. Ahmad had breakfast with Richard Armitage of the State Department on September 12 and 13 (when Pakistan negotiated its "cooperation" with the "war on terror") and met all the CIA and Pentagon top brass. On September 13, Musharraf announced he would send Ahmad to Afghanistan to demand to the Taliban the extradition of Bin Laden. - - - - - - 38) Who inside the ISI transferred US$100,000 to Mohammed Atta in the summer of 2001 - under orders of Ahmad himself, as Indian intelligence insists? Was it really ISI asset Omar Sheikh, Bin Laden's information technology specialist who later organized the slaying of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi? So was the ISI directly linked to 9/11? - - - - - - 39) Did the FBI investigate the two shady characters who met Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi in Harry's Bar at the Helmsley Hotel in New York City on September 8, 2001? - - - - - - 40) What did director of Asian affairs at the State Department Christina Rocca and the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef discuss in their meeting in Islamabad in August 2001? - - - - - - 41) Did Washington know in advance that an "al-Qaeda" connection would kill Afghan nationalist commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, aka "The Lion of the Panjshir", only two days before 9/11? Massoud was fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda - helped by Russia and Iran. According to the Northern Alliance, Massoud was killed by an ISI-Taliban-al Qaeda axis. If still alive, he would never have allowed the US to rig a loya jirga (grand council) in Afghanistan and install a puppet, former CIA asset Hamid Karzai, as leader of the country. - - - - - - 42) Why did it take no less than four months before the name of Ramzi Binalshibh surfaced in the 9/11 context, considering the Yemeni was a roommate of Mohammed Atta in his apartment cell in Hamburg? - - - - - - 43) Is pathetic shoe-bomber Richard Reid an ISI asset? - - - - - - 44) Did then-Russian president Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence tell the CIA in 2001 that 25 terrorist pilots had been training for suicide missions? - - - - - - 45) When did the head of German intelligence, August Hanning, tell the CIA that terrorists were "planning to hijack commercial aircraft?" - - - - - - 46) When did Egyptian President Mubarak tell the CIA about an attack on the US with an "airplane stuffed with explosives?" - - - - - - 47) When did Israel's Mossad director Efraim Halevy tell the CIA about a possible attack on the US by "200 terrorists?" - - - - - - 48) Were the Taliban aware of the warning by a Bush administration official as early as February 2001 - "Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs?" - - - - - - 49) Has Northrop-Grumman used Global Hawk technology - which allows to remotely control unmanned planes - in the war in Afghanistan since October 2001? Did it install Global Hawk in a commercial plane? Is Global Hawk available at all for commercial planes? - - - - - - 50) Would Cheney stand up and volunteer the detailed timeline of what he was really up to during the whole day on 9/11? - - - - - - Source :

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nimah Nawwab - A Saudi Arabian Poetess

Nimah Ismail Nawwab is a writer, photographer, lecturer and internationally recognized poet. Educated in Saudi Arabia, she is considered a trailblazing writer and poet. Her work and her book have been featured in Newsweek International, MSNBC, AP, The Washington Post reproduced in the Japanese English Yomiuri Shimbum, LA Times, Asian Age, the Malay Berita Harian, Hi magazine, Arabian Lady, Arab News and Saudi Gazette. She has been interviewed by Channel News Asia, NPR and others. Her widely read articles have been translated into Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and Arabic including others. A voice from an ancient land, her work is both regional and global.` Nimah seeks to build bridges of understanding and was recently dubbed a ‘cultural ambassadress’ and a ‘voice for Arab women’ based on a range of interactive readings and presentations in various countries across the East and West. Her poetry has been published on several websites, translated into numerous languages and taught at schools and colleges in Arabia, the U.S, Canada, Singapore, Japan, India and others. The first Saudi Arab woman poet to be published in the United States, her pioneering work includes a historic, first-of-its-kind public book signing in Arabia and another in Washington D.C. She is also a poetry judge and facilitator of poetry sessions in several countries. Nimah has been nominated a Young Global Leader of the Young Global Leaders Forum, an affiliate of the World Economic Forum, joining 175 new leading executives, public figures and intellectuals from 50 countries. Nimah is currently working on two anthology projects revolving around women and youth. Her poems about freedom, women, family, culture, faith, tradition, tolerance and change are woven together within The Unfurling, which can be purchased through She may be contacted at The poet’s website: Source :

No ordinary woman - From Fiji Island

By MERESEINI MARAU Monday, September 07, 2009
FULORI Rainibogi is no ordinary woman.
At 50 years old, this Nakorovatu woman from Matailobau in Naitasiri is the leader of 175 police officers, two police stations and seven police posts in the Sigatoka Police District. She is the acting officer in charge of Sigatoka district.
Acting Assistant Superintendent Rainibogi is a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a policewoman and a leader.
With all those responsibilities on her shoulders, ASP Rainibogi has a lot on her plate. But this down to earth woman from the mountains believes she can handle all that through the strength she's acquired from above.
When she was called to serve in the Salad Bowl of Fiji, ASP Rainibogi was reminded of the Bible verse- Isaah 6: 8 "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send and who will go for me?'. I said send me".
While her superior gave her one week to consider her new post, ASP Rainibogi instantly accepted it and said she was ready.
For her, serving the community always comes first.
She is always ready to help those who seek a helping hand.
ASP Rainibogi said being posted to Sigatoka was like going back home.
"I spent my primary school days here in Sigatoka," she said.
Her father, a retired policeman, spent some years serving there.
"I was raised by my grandparents, I came straight from my grandparents in the village to be with my parents," she said.
"But I really missed my grandparents so I returned to the village."
ASP Rainibogi attended Vunidawa District School, Naitasiri High School and then Ratu Sukuna Memorial School.
It was while staying in the village after school that she decided to follow her father's footsteps. And her dream was confirmed when her father called her up and told her to go for a police recruitment drive.
She recalled having to cross the Wainimala River to get to Suva for the recruitment. "Getting to Suva was not easy," she said. "
We came in a boat from the one side of the river to get to the road."
But it was worth every effort when she was one of those selected to join the force.
ASP Rainibogi started off as a constable.
After 28 years of dedicating herself to the force, her contributions were finally recognised when she was promoted to sergeant in 2005.
She never dreamt of being where she is now.
"I just keep working, my primary goal is to provide service to the community." she said.
ASP Rainibogi said that "maybe if I was going for the promotions, I would not have lasted".
"For me I just keep working," she said.
"And I know this has brought me through over the years."
Although she has never been on any overseas mission, the soft-spoken mother of three has served in all sections of the force - operations, administration and community.
She is now serving in her fourth division after having served at CPS in Suva, Labasa, Korovou and Police Headquarters.
Apart from her police duties, ASP Rainibogi is a family-oriented person.
"My family is always there," she said. " I know I have an important role to play in my family's life."
ASP Rainibogi is married to Isireli Rainibogi, a former soldier of Vuo in Labasa.
They have three children one daughter and two sons and a grandson.
While Mr Rainibogi is away in Iraq, ASP Rainibogi knows she has to be a father and a mother to their children.
Their eldest daughter Ateca is married and lives with her family, her youngest Jone is at home with her.
Her middle child Apenisa is with the Youth with a Mission organisation in Australia.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What is our Choice : Starvation or Self Sufficiency in Food Production?

Why Pakistan can’t learn from Malaysia’s revolutionary Deep Tropical agricultural system that is a model for feeding the world – fast – and bringing the developing nations out of feudal poverty. We have got genius brains and man-power to achieve self-sufficiency in Food production only if big feudal-lords, agricultural scientists and multibillionaire businessmen like Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari demonstrate their true patriotism and establish an institution to think up creative ideas of emergency Food production. We can create some different methods that suit our local atmosphere and weather conditions. Shall we but when? Our water resources are decreasing day by day and we are still in a quandary about whether Musharraf should be punished or not or what to do with 17th amendment. Shame on the government that is spending billions of rupees on the safety and security of its ministers and high-ups and criminally ignoring the Food crisis that looms large depicting a horrible picture of the future. At least Mr. Prime Minister should take up the matter with the US government to provide assistance and necessary technology to increase our agricultural produce to the extent of self-sufficiency. It is possible only if Mr. Zardari lets him visit United States independently….! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Excerpts from a thesis by Mohammad Peter Davis and N. Yogendran - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The thesis could be downloaded in PDF form at the right of this blog. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The need for self-sufficiency and the threat to national survival has driven us to find a fast solution for producing emergency food for Malaysia. We believe that our Deep Topical agricultural system, which has blossomed only in the last year or so, after 20 of rather lonely research and entrepreneurship, can also be adopted immediately by those developing tropical countries that have sufficient rainfall or underground water and later by the rest of the tropical nations as nuclear-powered desalinated water comes on stream. - - - - -
Malaysia is now making great advances with its Deep Tropical agricultural system that “double leapfrogs” both the backyard farming in developing countries and the grazing systems in more advanced temperate countries. A Deep Tropical intensive dairy farm in Malaysia, based on grass plantation and climate-controlled-housed cows, which started from scratch in September 2007, is today selling commercial quantities of top quality milk and by December 2009 will be well on target to produce 15,000 liters of milk per day, from a 150-hectare grass plantation employing just 25 staff. - - - - -

Best Sleep Positions To Rid Aches, Pains

Senior Editor For "Body+Soul" Magazine Shares The Best Ways To Sleep To Alleviate Or Prevent Sleep-Related Pains - - - - - - - - -
Play CBS Video Video Best Sleep Positions - - - - - - - - - -
Body + Soul magazine's Terri Trespicio demonstrated which sleep positions are best for your spine. - - - - - - - - - -
Terri Trespicio, a senior editor for "Body+Soul" magazine has a model demonstrate different sleep postions. (CBS/The Early Show) Only On The Web Your Health In Focus - - - - - - - - - -
CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook hosts a weekly show, CBS Doc Dot Com, all about health issues. - - - - - - - - - -
Stories - - - - - Study: Many Kids Not Getting Their Zzzzs All About Sleep - - - - - - - - - -
(CBS) How you sleep at night can directly effect how you feel during the day: certain sleep positions are more likely to lead to aches and pains. Terri Trespicio, senior editor for "Body+Soul" magazine, showed Early Show co-anchors how to prevent some of those sleep-related pains. According to Trespicio, sleeping on your back is actually the best possible position for your body. "It is the best for your spine if you had no pillow. - - - - - - - - - -
Ideally, the best way is on your back with no pillow," she told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith and Early Show weather anchor and features reporter, Dave Price, who are both back sleepers. If you don't use a pillow, it will allow your spine to rest with its natural curves in place. Trespicio also points out that if you do use a pillow and it's too thick, it can pull your head and neck forward and affect your breathing. - - - - - - - - - -
Therefore, you have to loosen up your neck when you're done. She suggests doing a "neck release" by tilting your head to the side until you feel a pull and hold for two counts. This balances and stretches the neck muscles, freeing the vertebra in your neck to find their natural alignment. To further alleviate the pain, you can lay on your back, get a rolled up towel and place under your shoulder blades, and just lay there for about 5 minutes. - - - - - - - - - -
You can also work your way up to 15, she says. "It's incredibly relaxing. It keeps the head and neck back," Trespicio explained. Trespicio moved onto stomach sleepers, which she says is the worst position of all, affecting your lower back, neck and potentially your lungs. - - - - - - - - - -
"Sleeping on your stomach flattens the natural curve in the lower back and keeps your head turned to one side all night, which distorts the alignment of the spine in your neck," she explained. Trespicio suggests that stomach sleepers, which includes Early Show co-anchor Chris Wragge, buy and use a body pillow to help train them to sleep on their sides and to do side stretches as well. - - - - - - - - - -
For side sleepers, which includes Early Show co-anchors Julie Chen and Maggie Rodriguez, Trespicio says the big problem with that position is putting your arm or hands under your head. "Resting your head (which weighs about 10 pounds) on your arm for hours at a time stresses the body, pressing on the nerves that run through the top of the shoulder and down the arm, resulting in numb fingers," she said. - - - - - - - - - -
In addition, Trespicio says the shoulder you sleep on also gets hiked up toward your ear, which constricts the shoulder and neck muscles. Side sleepers can do a shoulder stretch, which stretches the back of the shoulders which tend to get compressed by the weight of your head. - - - - - - - - - -
The shoulder stretch involves a yoga strap or if you don't have one, you can use a belt. This stretches and brings balance to the muscles of the neck and shoulders and opens the chest. To read the full story, "Sleep On It," visit - - - - - - - - - -

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Let us make Paper Planes again !

by Saalik Siddikki - - - - - - - -

Yesterday I watched a young boy desparately trying to make a paper plane to fly but in vain. I had an urgency but his gloomy face compelled me to stop and help him solve the most difficult quiz of his age. - - - - - - - - I taught him to transform a simple plane out of an A4 size paper. The moment he saw the plane floating in the air brought a broad grin on his face. - - - - - - - - In actual fact, I have lately been passing through (rather resisting) the process of a severe nervous breakdown using my strongest power tool of positive thinking. And tell you what the child's grin made my day and relieved me of the irritant feelings for a couple of hours. - - - - - - - - I continued my travel to downtown, accomplished the necessary tasks and went to Jinnah Bagh (previously Lawrence Garden and one of my favourites in Lahore) to refreshen myself by taking pictures of amazing trees. Photography is my passion. - - - - - - - - While sitting there it just struck my nostalgic memories that I have not made a paper plane purely for myself almost during the last 42 years! (Now I'm 53). I assume you must also have the same experience. Now it seems to me a bit lamentable really. Oh my God, how and why I missed the priceless excitement for such a long time. I used to teach my own three kids, till 2000, how to make paper planes but they were meant only for them. None for me. - - - - - - - - Perhaps curiousity of growing age engaged me in other activities like sports, studies and watching television. - - - - - - - - The small boy's face is still before my eyes and I visualize my childhood going through the same pains of experimenting small miracles. And I have now decided to make it a habit to go in the parks, make paper planes only for myself and teach the wandering kids, with no apparent activity in mind, to fold the paper at perfect angles and enjoy the thrill of watching the drones going in the air. Most of them know well what a drone is. - - - - - - - - The war against terror definitley has some positive aspects. It has enhanced common man's vocabulary. - - - - - - - - While net surfing, I have discovered two best websites on making paper planes. Would like to suggest to you too to please bring a little change in your daily life that is being bombarded with tensions, frustrations, irritant behaviours and traffic nuisance.

Travel For The Handicapped

Israel places enormous importance on providing comfortable conditions for travelers with disabilities. Considerable efforts and resources have been invested to enable the handicapped visit destinations and attractions and to receive service comparable to that received by the general public. - - - - - - - - The Israel Government Tourist Corporation, the executive arm of the Ministry of Tourism for developing infrastructure, has initiated numerous projects designed to make dozens of tourist sites throughout the country accessible. We encourage travelers with disabilities to come to Israel to travel, tour, and visit these sites. New sites have been made accessible and old sites have been renovated to make them more suitable. - - - - - - - - For example, the summit of the Massada fortress near the Dead Sea is now accessible, and wheelchairs can now reach the upper level of the site. A special area on Masada has been adapted so that persons with visual disabilities can touch and feel the surroundings. Other sites, such as the Knights’ Halls in Acre (Akko), and the esplanade and amphitheater in Caesarea (Keysariya)have also been made accessible for the handicapped. - - - - - - - - ACCESS ISRAEL provides detailed free information in English and Hebrew on sites accessible to travelers with disabilities: This site offers detailed, up-to-date and reliable information on accessible tourism sites and accommodation, tours, halls, cultural events, restaurants, festivals, car rental agencies and other useful information for special needs travelers. Personalized accessible travel planning advice for Israel is also available. A book describing accessible places is also available from - - - - - - - - Itineraries for People with Mobility ChallengesAdditional information and tips for people with disabilities is available at: - - - - - - - - Milbat - - - - - - - -

The Israel Center for Technology and Accessibility. Milbat, situated at the Sheba Medical Center (972-3-5303739) specializes in building, transport and other aides for people with disabilities. The center gives advice on transport solutions for people with disabilities. More Information is available at the Milbat website. - - - - - - - - Yad Sarah - - - - - - - -

Yad Sarah is a volunteer organization with branches all over Israel that lends tourists wheelchairs, crutches and other aides without charge and only a secutity deposit. More information is available at Yad Sara website.or by calling +972-2-6444555.

Source :

Pay Attention to Saudi Arabia

A new player has appeared in Israel's political environment in recent months: - - - - - - - - Saudi Arabia. After years of behind-the-scenes activity, Crown Prince Abdullah has come out with an initiative aimed at "saving the Palestinians" from Ariel Sharon's iron fist and dragging President George W. Bush into deeper involvement in the region. The American press provides a multitude of reports about the Saudi activities. Last August the prince was furious with Bush, who had expressed firm support for Israel, and the prince threatened to cut off ties with the U.S. In response to the ultimatum, Bush sent a letter to Riyadh, promising to change direction. The Qaida attack on New York and Washington interrupted that plan, which was to include a first meeting between Bush and Yasser Arafat. This week, Abdullah surprised again. - - - - - - - - In an interview with Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, Abdullah spoke of a draft speech he has prepared for the upcoming Arab summit in which he would propose full normalization of relations with Israel in exchange for a full withdrawal from the territories. The Saudis carry a lot of weight in the Arab world, and have significant influence in Washington, even after the erosion of their stature since September 11. Abdullah has good reasons for his sudden interest in the Palestinian problem. He is concerned about the stability of his regime, if the fires spread. It's relatively easy for him to shift attention to the Palestinian problem, given the blow Saudi Arabia suffered in American public opinion after September 11, when it became clear that not only is Osama bin Laden a Saudi, but so were 15 of the 19 hijackers. - - - - - - - - Jerusalem has noticed something happening in Saudi Arabia, which has stepped up its pressure on Washington through its long-time Ambassador Bandar bin Sultan. Jerusalem has received reports that the Saudis have contracted a PR firm in the U.S., and they've begun meeting with dozens of congressmen who never interested them in the past. But Israel knows very little about Saudi Arabia. There's no systematic intelligence collection, there's a modicum of understanding about basic processes and phenomena in the kingdom, but there's no deep penetration of the country. "We're simply not there," says one senior official. - - - - - - - - The Americans refused in the past to provide information to Jerusalem about their friends in Riyadh. But that changed somewhat after September 11, especially on matters concerning terrorism. But even now, nobody in the Israeli establishment has any firm knowledge of how decisions are made by Abdullah or about his diplomatic initiatives. Nor is there any real information about Saudi aid to Hamas and similar organizations. As opposed to Egypt, which maintains channels of communication with the Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign Ministry, there are no contacts between Jerusalem and Riyadh. - - - - - - - - Even during the rosiest periods of the Oslo process, the Saudi Arabians maintained a chilly distance. From their perspective, there's an interesting mirror image of Israel. Just as Israel sees the long arm of the oil emirates in Washington, the Saudis are convinced that the pro-Israeli lobby is behind all the media criticism of Riyadh in America. A very senior official in one of the previous U.S. administrations recently passed the message to Israel that it should lay off Saudi Arabia. It's not your enemy, he told Israeli officials. Saudi Arabia may be extremist in religion, but it is politically very moderate, and it's important not to act against it. Officials in Jerusalem say there's nothing to worry about. The Saudis depend on the Americans and their stature in Washington is at a nadir. - - - - - - - - It's enough to track their activity through American sources. That's wrong. Saudi Arabia's growing involvement, and especially the diplomatic initiatives taken by Crown Prince Abdullah, require a different approach by Israel, both in intelligence collection and in secret diplomacy. Just as the Iranian threat in the last decade required the intelligence community and the political echelon to devote resources and attention, so the threat - and potential - of the political opening in Riyadh require a new approach. - - - - - - - - Source :

Seven Jewish Americans Control Most US Media

From John Whitley11-21-3 : - - - - - - - - From southern France, Christopher Jones summarizes and comments on a report on the assassination of President Kennedy. Need I stress that WAIS censors only direct attacks on other WAISers and grossly improper laguage. - - - - - - - - Christopher says: "I glanced at the Kennedy assassination site and found this; it fits into our discussion of Hollywood stereotypes and the slavish behavior of the US press after the 9/11 tragedy and in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. In a quick rundown, the website recapitulates an old story that I heard back in the late sixties and early seventies in California: that Kennedy was liquidated by the mafia whose kingpin was Meyer Lansky (pal of Lucky Luciano). In fact, I could add a small tidbit which the author may or may not have covered: that Marilyn Monroe was murdered by the mafia as a warning to her lovers; Bobby and Jack Kennedy. The story of the Corsican hit squad was documented in a TV documentary in Europe. Of course it would be interesting to know more about Auguste Ricord and his collaboration wih the Gestapo and if he had anything to do with our old friend, Mandel Szkolnikoff. - - - - - - - - "Today, seven Jewish Americans run the vast majority of US television networks, the printed press, the Hollywood movie industry, the book publishing industry, and the recording industry. Most of these industries are bundled into huge media conglomerates run by the following seven individuals: - - - Gerald Levin, CEO and Director of AOL Time Warner - - - - - - - - Michael Eisner, Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company - - - - - - - - Edgar Bronfman, Sr., Chairman of Seagram Company Ltd - - - - - - - - - Edgar Bronfman, Jr, President and CEO of Seagram Company Ltd and head of Universal Studios - - - - - - - - Sumner Redstone, Chairman and CEO of Viacom, Inc - - - - - - - - Dennis Dammerman, Vice Chairman of General Electric - - - - - - - - Peter Chernin, President and Co-COO of News Corporation Limited - - - - - - - - Those seven Jewish men collectively control ABC, NBC, CBS, the Turner Broadcasting System, CNN, MTV, Universal Studios, MCA Records, Geffen Records, DGC Records, GRP Records, Rising Tide Records, Curb/Universal Records, and Interscope Records. - - - - - - - - Most of the larger independent newspapers are owned by Jewish interests as well. An example is media mogul is Samuel I. "Si" Newhouse, who owns two dozen daily newspapers from Staten Island to Oregon, plus the Sunday supplement Parade; the Conde Nast collection of magazines, including Vogue, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Allure, GQ, and Self; the publishing firms of Random House, Knopf, Crown, and Ballantine, among other imprints; and cable franchises with over one million subscribers." - - - - - - - - I coul d add that Michael Eisner could depart Disney tomorrow but the company will remain in the hands of Shamrock Holdings, whose principal office is now located in Israel". - - - - - - - - ml - - - - - - - - Bronfman Group Buys Time Warner Music - - - - - - - - NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Warner Inc. (TWX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Monday said it would sell its Warner Music business to a group led by media mogul Edgar Bronfman Jr. for $2.6 billion, in a move to trim the media group's debts and signaling a return of the former Seagram chairman to the music business. - - - - - - - - The Bronfman group beat out a bid by EMI (EMI.L: Quote, Profile, Research) for the recorded music portion of the business for an estimated $1 billion. - - - - - - - - By choosing the Bronfman bid, Time Warner is forsaking $250 million to $300 million in cost savings it could have realized by combining with EMI, home to such acts as The Beatles and Radiohead. Warner Music artists include Madonna, Led Zeppelin and R.E.M. - - - - - - - - On the other hand, Time Warner is getting more cash up front by selling the entire business, which includes the music publishing company, and will have an easier path to regulatory approval. In the past, European and U.S. regulators have frowned on consolidation within the music business. - - - - - - - - Bronfman's team, backed by some of America's biggest private equity houses including Thomas H. Lee Partners, is betting it can slash costs and turn Warner Music around ahead of a comeback in sales, a major challenge in an industry currently in decline. - - - - - - - - Bronfman has had long ties to the music business, first as a songwriter for the likes of Dionne Warwick and Celine Dion, and later as head of Seagram when he bought entertainment group MCA from Japan's Matsushita for $5.7 billion. On his watch, the renamed Universal Music bought Polygram, creating the world's largest record company. - - - - - - - - Bronfman merged his family's entertainment empire with France's Vivendi three years ago, only to see the family fortune disintegrate. When Vivendi put its entertainment assets on the block earlier this year, Bronfman led a group to buy the assets back but was ultimately outbid by NBC. - - - - - - - - Hit by rampant piracy and competition from other entertainment such as video games, music sales are expected to fall for the fourth year in a row in 2004. - - - - - - - - Earlier this month Sony Music (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) agreed to merge with Bertelsmann AG's (BERT.UL: Quote, Profile, Research) BMG. - - - - - - - - © Reuters 2003. All Rights Reserved. - - - - - - - - Source :

Make a date with dates to protect your arteries

Dates are very sweet but they don't raise blood sugar levels and do help protect against the clogging of arteries (atherosclerosis), according to new research at the Rambam Medical Center and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. - - - - - - - - According to a study by Technion Prof. Michael Aviram that will soon be published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, dates offer a bonanza of health benefits. They improve cholesterol profiles and suppress the oxygenization of cholesterol, which causes fatty plaque to stick to the endothelium of the vessels in the heart and those leading to the brain. - - - - - - - - Aviram has long studied the benefits of specific fruits and vegetables on health and was the first to cite the pomegranate, red wine (grapes) and olive oil in suppressing the development of heart disease and stroke. - - - - - - - - "There was a suspicion that dates are sugar bombs," said the Technion/Rambam researcher. But studies on healthy people found that eating 100 grams of dates a day for a month did not cause an increase in blood sugar but did significantly bring down levels of triglyceride fats in the blood. It also minimized oxygenization of cholesterol. - - - - - - - - He studied two date varieties - Halawi and Medjool - and found that Halawi dates were slightly better at protecting against atherosclerosis than the Medjool, though both are beneficial. - - - - - - - - Source : Jerusalem Post

Window on Israel: A slap in the face for Obama?

Has Israel insulted the United States by approving construction on some 500 new dwellings in the West Bank, and indicating that construction will continue on about 2,500 others? This against President Obama's plan for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations based upon a complete construction freeze, including neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. - - - - - - - - Or is it a reasonable response to a naive American conception that the settlements are a major obstacle preventing agreement between Palestinians and Israel? - - - - - - - - Perhaps the Israeli response is appropriate, but presented in a way that is insulting. If Netanyahu was working with the Americans on the conception of a freeze, what he has done seems far from that. And was it nice to announce new construction a day before the long Labor Day weekend, when Americans would be away from their desks? - - - - - - - - Those inclined to judge Israel should begin by noting that the decision has the backing of the Labor Party. It is the leader of that party, Ehud Barak, as Defense Minister with responsibility for the West Bank, who is signing off on the permits for new construction. Those who think that Israelis' style is flawed might also consider the Americans' style. To begin the process by demanding the cessation of construction in east Jerusalem was a fatal error. It provoked ridicule as well as rejection. Arabs but not Jews could build in specific neighborhoods. - - - - - - - - The Americans were too close to the Palestinian demand that no Jews remain in what they see as Arab land. Denying Jews the right to live where they want does not play well in this society. It provoked intense opposition to any freeze, and may have led the settlers and their allies to increase plans for West Bank. What Labor and the rest of the Israeli government have done reflects the frustration of the Israeli establishment with Palestinian responses to offers made by Barak (and Clinton) in 2000, and Olmert in 2008. Palestinian rejections did not come with counter offers. Palestinians have not offered inducements for a better deal. - - - - - - - - They repeatedly demand actions that Israel cannot accept, most notably the swamping of Israel with untold numbers of Palestinians. President Obama failed to obtain concessions from Palestinians and Arab countries that would make it easy for Israel to accept a settlement freeze. Israel found itself under intense pressure to make the concession of a settlement freeze, without getting anything significant in exchange. - - - - - - - - The President should know that business in the Middle East, and perhaps in the Middle West, does not work that way. Explosions in Iraq and Afghanistan do not portend greater success in those places, and he may not be doing any better with his health plan in Congress. A decade in Chicago politics and two years in the United States Senate may not have been sufficient preparation for the world's biggest job. Source : Jerusalem Post

Yale criticized for nixing Muslim cartoons in book

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press Writer John Christoffersen, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 17 mins ago - - - - - - - - NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale University has removed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad from an upcoming book about how they caused outrage across the Muslim world, drawing criticism from prominent alumni and a national group of university professors. - - - - - - - - Yale cited fears of violence. - - - - - - - - Yale University Press, which the university owns, removed the 12 caricatures from the book "The Cartoons That Shook the World" by Brandeis University professor Jytte Klausen. The book is scheduled to be released next week. - - - - - - - - A Danish newspaper originally published the cartoons — including one depicting Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban — in 2005. Other Western publications reprinted them. The following year, the cartoons triggered massive protests from Morocco to Indonesia. Rioters torched Danish and other Western diplomatic missions. Some Muslim countries boycotted Danish products. - - - - - - - - Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry. - - - - - - - - "I think it's horrifying that the campus of Nathan Hale has become the first place where America surrenders to this kind of fear because of what extremists might possibly do," said Michael Steinberg, an attorney and Yale graduate. - - - - - - - - Steinberg was among 25 alumni who signed a protest letter sent Friday to Yale Alumni Magazine that urged the university to restore the drawings to the book. Other signers included John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, former Bush administration speechwriter David Frum and Seth Corey, a liberal doctor. "I think it's intellectual cowardice," Bolton said Thursday. "I think it's very self defeating on Yale's part. To me it's just inexplicable." - - - - - - - - Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, wrote in a recent letter that Yale's decision effectively means: "We do not negotiate with terrorists. We just accede to their anticipated demands." - - - - - - - - In a statement explaining the decision, Yale University Press said it decided to exclude a Danish newspaper page of the cartoons and other depictions of Muhammad after asking the university for help on the issue. It said the university consulted counterterrorism officials, diplomats and the top Muslim official at the United Nations. - - - - - - - - "The decision rested solely on the experts' assessment that there existed a substantial likelihood of violence that might take the lives of innocent victims," the statement said. - - - - - - - - Republication of the cartoons has repeatedly resulted in violence around the world, leading to more than 200 deaths and hundreds of injuries, the statement said. It also noted that major newspapers in the United states and Britain have declined to print the cartoons. - - - - - - - - "Yale and Yale University Press are deeply committed to freedom of speech and expression, so the issues raised here were difficult," the statement said. "The press would never have reached the decision it did on the grounds that some might be offended by portrayals of the Prophet Muhammad." - - - - - - - - John Donatich, director of Yale University Press, said the critics are "grandstanding." He said it was not a case of censorship because the university did not suppress original content that was not available in other places. - - - - - - - - "I would never have agreed to censor original content," Donatich said. - - - - - - - - Klausen was surprised by the decision when she learned of it last week. She said scholarly reviewers and Yale's publication committee comprised of faculty recommended the cartoons be included. - - - - - - - - "I'm extremely upset about that," Klausen said. - - - - - - - - The experts Yale consulted did not read the manuscript, Klausen said. She said she consulted Muslim leaders and did not believe including the cartoons in a scholarly debate would spark violence. - - - - - - - - Klausen said she reluctantly agreed to have the book published without the images because she did not believe any other university press would publish them, and she hopes Yale will include them in later editions. She argues in the book that there is a misperception that Muslims spontaneously arose in anger over the cartoons when they really were symbols manipulated by those already involved in violence. - - - - - - - - Donatich said there wasn't time for the experts to read the book, but they were told of the context. He said reviewers and the publications committee did not object, but were not asked about the security risk. - - - - - - - - Many Muslim nations want to restrict speech to prevent insults to Islam they claim have proliferated since the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. - - - - - - - - Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, a world affairs columnist and CNN host who serves on Yale's governing board, said he told Yale that he believed publishing the images would have provoked violence. - - - - - - - - "As a journalist and public commentator, I believe deeply in the First Amendment and academic freedom," Zakaria said. "But in this instance Yale Press was confronted with a clear threat of violence and loss of life." - - - - - - - - Source :

Amir Khan offered fight with Manny Pacquiao

In a conversation with Bob Arum, as we discussed the visit of Muhammad Ali last week to the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the head of Top Rank revealed that Amir Khan was offered the challenge of fighting the world’s No 1 pound for pound fighter Manny Pacquiao this autumn. By all accounts, his family had turned the fight down insisting it was too early in his career. Khan has come on in leaps and bounds under Freddie Roach, but would he have been ready for an assault on the terrifyingly fast Pacquiao ? - - - - - - -
Perhaps not, but judging by how Roach talks about their sparring sessions, Amir is not far behind. Many will speculate that he is too vulnerable, but you could also argue that the young tyro from Bolton is not too far away from such a challenge. No doubt Pacquiao fans would disagree, but I would give Khan, perhaps 18 months down the line, a decent shot at Pacquiao. - - - - - - - -
Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, revealed that Khan, now the World Boxing Association 140lb champion, had been made the offer – through his family - while talks were going ahead with both Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley as Pacquiao’s handlers sought to sign him with an autumn fight, soon after the Filipino fighter, regarded the best boxer pound for pound in the world, had defeated Mancunian Ricky Hatton at light-welterweight for the first time in his career. - - - - - - - -
Arum, speaking exclusively to The Daily Telegraph, explained: “Before we had signed with Cotto [for the Nov 14 fight in Las Vegas] Amir’s name was on the table, we offered him the fight, but his father, and his family felt it was too early in his career.” - - - - - - -
“Amir Khan has all the attributes of a great champion, and I think he’s going to be a superstar in the sport,” said Arum. “Okay, so he had a loss in his career, he made a mistake, but he looks great now. He was young when he made the mistake against the Colombian fighter [Breidis] Prescott. It was a great performance which won him the world title against [Andreas] Kotelnik, and you can only see him getting better. I can definitely see Amir and Manny meeting in the ring down the line.” - - - - - - - -
Arum, whose days as a promoter began with Muhammad Ali in 1966, but which continue to this say with his Top Rank organisation enjoying unparalleled success with Pacquiao, insists the following Pacquiao enjoys amongst one people – The Filipinos – mirrors the affection Ali enjoyed around the world in his pomp. - - - - - - - -
The problem at present is that the two fighters share a mutual coach, and training facilities, in Roach, who admits that when the pair begin sparring, there is electricity in the Wild Card Gym, in Hollywood, Los Angeles. “It’s like putting a light to firewood, or watching two cocks fighting. They both have killer speed, which is what sets them apart,” says Roach. “For three rounds, it is really fast. And in speed, Amir probably has the edge on Manny. After Manny, I really believe that Amir Khan is my next superstar,” said Roach, who has trained 23 world champions. - - - - - - - -
However, it has emerged in the last week that Khan’s next challenge may be a first defence of his WBA light-welterweight title, with his promoter Frank Warren believed to be in talks with Ukrainian-born New Yorker Dmitry Salita, 27, who is unbeaten in 31 contests. - - - - - - - -
Source : New York Times

Heidi Smith and Mohsin Ahmed

Heidi Kay Smith and Mohsin Saeed Ahmed are to be married Sunday at Starved Rock Lodge in Utica, Ill. Imam Mujadid Shah, a Muslim cleric, is to officiate. -------- The bride, 30, and the bridegroom, 29, are graduate students at Columbia. She is pursuing a doctorate in biological sciences and received a master’s degree last year. He is in his final year of a joint M.D. and Ph.D. program and received a doctoral degree with distinction in neurobiology last February. -------- The bride graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her mother, Dorothy K. Smith, lives and works in Bloomington, Ill., where she is a registered nurse at the OSF Medical Group, an internal medicine practice. -------- The bridegroom graduated magna cum laude from Cornell. His parents, Sayeeda B. Zain and Mushtaq M. Ahmed, live in Pittsford, N.Y. His mother is an associate professor of oncology and biochemistry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. His father works in Tonawanda, N.Y., as a chemical engineer at Praxair, a maker of industrial gases in Danbury, Conn. -------- Source : New York Times

Your Brain Is Organized Like a City

A big city might seem chaotic, but somehow everything gets where it needs to go and the whole thing manages to function on most days, even if it all seems a little worse for the wear at the end of the day. Sound a bit like your brain? - - - - - - - Neurobiologist Mark Changizi sees strikingly real similarities between the two. Changizi and colleagues propose that cities and brains are organized similarly, and that the invisible hand of evolution has shaped the brain just as people have indirectly shaped cities. It's all driven by the need for organization and efficiency, the researchers say. - - - - - - - - "Natural selection has passively guided the evolution of mammalian brains throughout time, just as politicians and entrepreneurs have indirectly shaped the organization of cities large and small," said Changizi, an assistant professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute "It seems both of these invisible hands have arrived at a similar conclusion: brains and cities, as they grow larger, have to be similarly densely interconnected to function optimally." - - - - - - - - There's some simple logic to the idea, and it's rooted in observations of real animal brains:As brains grow more complex from one species to the next, they change in structure and organization in order to achieve the right level of interconnectedness, the researchers argue. One couldn't simply grow a double-sized dog brain, for example, and expect it to have the same capabilities as a human brain. A human brain doesn't merely have more "dog neurons," but, instead, has neurons with a greater number of synapses than that of a dog - something crucial in helping to keep the human brain well connected. - - - - - - - - To draw a crude analogy, you don't just take small-town streets and build a city out of them. You need wider streets, more stoplights, and so on. - - - - - - - - Or as Changizi puts it, you can't string three Seattles together to get a Chicago; there would be too many highways with too few exits and lanes that are too narrow. - - - - - - - - In doing the math, the researchers found common "scaling laws" for brains and cities on several measures. For example, as the surface area of a brain or city grows, the number of connectors (neurons or highways) increased at a similar rate for each. Likewise, a bigger city needs more highway exits in the same proportion as a bigger brain needs more synapses, the things that connect neurons. - - - - - - - - "When scaling up in size and function, both cities and brains seem to follow similar empirical laws," Changizi said. "They have to efficiently maintain a fixed level of connectedness, independent of the physical size of the brain or city, in order to work properly." The findings are detailed this week in the journal Complexity. - - - - - - - - Source :

Monday, September 7, 2009

Slim or die man sheds 44 stone

Lose weight or die! That's the stark ultimatum doctors delivered to a 39-year-old Englishman, who grew to a colossal 60 stone. Colin Corfield's battle for survival was the subject of a poignant and moving ITV television documentary. Filmed over two-and-a-half years, 'Lose 30 Stone or Die' depicts his bid to reclaim his life after drug and alcohol problems in his early 20s sent his weight spiraling out of control. --------
The Runcorn pub landlord in Cheshire was warned two years ago that his own body fat could suffocate him. So he decided to take drastic action and have risky gastric surgery. It has proved such a success that he has now shrunk to 16 stone! In the TV program screened in December 2007 he said life was "fantastic" and he was looking forward to his first real Christmas in decades. "I won't be stuck in a corner watching everyone else, feeling like I'm putting people out. It's my first Christmas as the new me. "While Colin has a new appetite for life and can walk everywhere, work properly, socialise and feels good about myself, it wasn't always that way. As a teenager he found it hard to deal with a drinking domineering father and he turned to food for comfort. --------

He was obese by the time he reached 30 and when he began running his own pub, his weight spiraled out of control. "I was a big fella so I could drink 20, 30 pints in a day and not get drunk," he recalled. He ate takeaways at 2am. He snacked on crisps, chocolates and diners all day. He tried diets and several times managed to lose 10 stone, but then he would put it back on again. --------
By the autumn of 2005, Colin was so big he couldn't leave his bed and simple tasks like going to the toilet and getting washed were impossible for him. "I'd never let anyone weigh me. But I must have been 60 stone. I couldn't walk more than a few steps or go out," he emembered. Whenever I could, he would go up on the roof and hose myself down with a hosepipe "like an animal" and he would use a bucket for a toilet. Nights were especially dangerous. Colin needed an oxygen mask so his weight wouldn't crush his lungs. "It was degrading. I was so depressed. I couldn't see the point of going on," he said, admitting he had contemplated suicide. --------
Then he saw a TV programme about gastric surgery and thought it would work for him. His family found a surgeon willing to cut away most of his stomach and his mother sold her bungalow to raise the necessary £32,000. But despite Colin cutting down on alcohol and food, and slimming to 48 stone, the surgeons' instruments were too small to cope with his size when they tried an operation in November 2005. "I was distraught," Colin said, told he had to lose another 10 stone. He went back to his diet and hired out a local pool to swim in private. He reached his target weight of 38 stone in November 2006 and the drastic surgery finally went ahead. --------
The doctors had warned him that one in 19 people die during the procedure but Colin was happy to take the risk. If I hadn't he would have died anyway, he believed. Colin has now been left with a stomach the size of an egg, enough for him to survive on. Instead of a large cooked breakfast, he now begins his day with a single Weetabix. --------
He has also replaced the pints with an occasional Southern Comfort. "Food isn't a big deal for me anymore. I was addicted but now I am full after my small meal. Now I feel fantastic. "I was very, very sad at the time I was heavy. But I'm not sad anymore - I've got my life back. "I can go back and watch the match at Everton. I used to do it all the time before I got too big to get through the turnstile," said Colin. - March 26, 2008. --------