Islam on Edge
|Mosques in Berlin|
The mass rape of hundreds of German women mostly by Muslim migrants last New Year's was recently revealed to be far worse than originally acknowledged. Authorities now believe that more than 1,200 women were sexually assaulted – more than twice the original estimate of 500. While more than 2,000 men were allegedly involved, only 120 suspects — about half of them recently arrived migrants — have been identified.
One explanation for why it took half a year for the full extent of the crime to be revealed is the German police's effort to avoid a public backlash against refugees. But ultimately, Holger Munch, president of the German Federal Crime Police Office, acknowledged to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that there is "a connection between the [sexual assaults] and the rapid migration in 2015." Read more ..
Saudi Arabia on Edge
|Stephen Schwartz||July 21st 2016|
The Weekly Standard
The rulers of Saudi Arabia have announced a new program for cultural renovation of architecture associated with the life of Muhammad. As described in the leading pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat, a Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has begun planning rehabilitation of sites in Mecca, the direction of prayer for Muslims around the world, and Medina, which includes the Prophet's Shrine, where Muhammad is said to be buried.
The restorations would include Jebel Al-Nur, the "Mountain of Light" in Mecca, where Qur'an is believed to have been first revealed to Muhammad, and locations where he is said to have sojourned. Jebel Al-Nur is a key topic in this discussion. In Medina, sites identified with battles fought by the Muslims, and four early mosques, are due for reorganization and restructuring. Museums drawing on Islamic military history and other themes will be opened and guides to the attractions provided. Read more ..
After Hitler's defeat in May 1945, many Nazis melted away from the Reich, smuggled out by such organizations as the infamous Odessa group and the lesser-known Catholic lay network Intermarium, as well as the CIA and KGB. They ensured the continuation of the Nazi legacy in the postwar Arab world.
Egypt was a prime destination for German Nazi relocation in the Arab world. Dr. Aribert Heim was notoriously known as "Dr. Death" for his grotesque pseudo-medical experiments on Jewish prisoners in the Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, and Mauthausen concentration camps. He was fond of surgical procedures including organ removals without anesthesia, injecting gasoline into prisoners to observe the manner of death, and decapitating Jews with healthy teeth so he could cook the skulls clean to make desk decorations. Dr. Heim converted to Islam and became "Uncle Tarek" Hussein Farid in Cairo, Egypt, where he lived a happy life as a medical doctor for the Egyptian police.
Two of Goebbels's Nazi propagandists, Alfred Zingler and Dr. Johann von Leers, became Mahmoud Saleh and Omar Amin respectively, working in the Egyptian Information Department. In 1955, Zingler and von Leers helped establish the virulently anti-Semitic Institute for the Study of Zionism in Cairo. Hans Appler, another Goebbels propagandist, became Saleh Shafar who, in 1955, became an expert for an Egyptian unit specializing in anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist hate propaganda. Erich Altern, a Gestapo agent, Himmler coordinator in Poland, and expert in Jewish affairs became Ali Bella, working as a military instructor in training camps for Palestinian terrorists. A German newspaper estimated there were fully 2,000 Nazis working openly and under state protection in Egypt. Read more ..
Confronting the Holocaust
Times of Israel
In recent years, some in the African-American community have expressed a disconnect to Holocaust topics, seeing the genocide of Jews as someone else's nightmare. After all, African-Americans are still struggling to achieve general recognition of the barbarity of the Middle Passage, the inhumanity of slavery, the oppression of Jim Crow, and the battle for modern civil rights. For many in that community, the murder of six million Jews and millions of other Europeans happened to other minorities in a faraway place where they had no involvement. Read more ..
After the Holocaust
Cutting Edge contributor
Nathan Lewin and daughter/law partner Alyza D. Lewin. (photo credit: Rikki Lewin)
The story of Chiune Sugihara – the Japanese consul in Kovno, Lithuania, who disobeyed his government’s orders in 1940 and issued transit visas through Japan to thousands of Jews seeking to flee war-torn Europe — wasn’t widely known until 1985, when Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial authority, honored him as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.
But I grew up hearing Sugihara’s story because he saved my father’s life. My father, the attorney Nathan Lewin, is a Sugihara survivor. I also have a family connection to something that few others have known until very recently — the answer to a long-unsolved mystery surrounding Sugihara’s rescue of an estimated 6,000 Jews.
Why did the Dutch consul in Kovno, Jan Zwartendijk, begin issuing the “Curaçao visas” – the Dutch endorsements that appeared to permit travel to the island of Curacao, Holland’s territory off South America upon which Sugihara relied when issuing visas? Why did Zwartendijk begin writing in Jewish passports that a visa was not needed to travel to Curaçao? Read more ..
The Race for Driverless Cars
|Christoph Hammerschmidt||March 14th 2016|
A 360 degree surround sensing system today creates a virtual image of a car's environment, enabling the electronic systems to keep the vehicle in the selected lane and to hit the brake if an obstacle emerges. Now Honda has added a predictive element - their Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC) system can tell if a fellow car driver has the intention to cut in.
Has Honda the proverbial crystal ball? No - the i-ACC uses camera and radar to sense the position of other vehicles on the road. The system runs an algorithm that can determine the likelihood of vehicles in adjacent lanes cutting-in. For this purpose it evaluates the relation between the vehicles in the surroundings and how they change. According to Honda, the predictable time horizon is about 2 seconds. And of course the outcome of the computation is not a 100% sure prediction, it is more like a guess, albeit a rather good one.
The system has been devised by European and Japanese developers and is based on real-world research of typical European driving styles. It will make its debut this year on the new European CR-V, building upon the traditional Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system.
Traditional ACC systems keep a preselected longitudinal velocity, which is only reduced for maintaining a safe distance to a car in front. However, if a vehicle cuts in from a neighboring lane, the traditional ACC system reacts later thus requiring stronger braking. Read more ..
After the Holocaust
|Betty Kliewer||January 21st 2016|
Cutting Edge contributor
The article has been updated to reflect the upcoming anniversary, known as yahrzeit, of Ethel Katz's death.
When 79-year-old Polish Holocaust survivor Ethel Katz died in West Palm Beach last week after a protracted illness, a profound legacy died with her. Ethel was born in Bialystok, Poland with the name Edjya Katz. For decades, her amazing story has been told and witnessed in newspaper and magazine articles, books, documentaries, TV presentations and lectures worldwide. Having personally seen the videos, testimonies, and confirmations from others, and also interviewed her in person ... one can only call her survival bone-chilling.
Her nightmare began in August 1943 in a shaking boxcar on its way to the Treblinka death camp.
As the 13-year-old Edjya squatted on the floor, hearing the thumping track below, it was impossible to comprehend the murderous plans for her and her family. At one point, her mother whispered to her, "You're a skinny one, Edjya." Her mother gestured toward the top of the boxcar, to the thin vent. Read more ..
Europe on Edge
|George Friedman||September 3rd 2015|
When France, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed the Schengen Agreement in 1985, they envisioned a system in which people and goods could move from one country to another without barriers. This vision was largely realized: Since its implementation in 1995, the Schengen Agreement eliminated border controls between its signatories and created a common visa policy for 26 countries.
The treaty was a key step in the creation of a federal Europe. By eliminating border controls, member states gave up a basic element of national sovereignty. The agreement also required a significant degree of trust among its signatories, because it put the responsibility for checking foreigners' identities and baggage on the country of first entry into the Schengen area. Once people have entered a Schengen country, they can move freely across most of Europe without facing any additional controls. Read more ..
The Digital Edge
|Rich Pell||August 10th 2015|
Using a flying drone capable of detecting Internet-connected devices, information security firm Praetorian (New York, NY) was able to identify over 1,600 unique IoT devices in a test flight over Austin, TX. Part of an IoT Map Project designed to map and examine the security of connected devices, the drone is able to collect data on ZigBee-connected devices up to 100 meters away by tracking their communications. According to the company, the drone can detect devices' security settings and manufacturers, as well as whether the devices are used in commercial, residential, or industrial areas.
"[The IoT devices] communicated over a wireless protocol called ZigBee. This protocol is open at a network level. So when the devices start connecting they send out beacon requests. We capture data based on this," says Praetorian vice president Paul West Jauregui. Read more ..
The Digital Edge
|Paul Buckley||August 5th 2015|
A European team of security researchers have identified a potential privacy invasion 'black hole' that could exploit phone batteries to pinpoint their owners and track them around the internet. The security issue centres around afeature of the HTML5 specification that allows websites to find out how much battery power a visitor has left on their laptop or smartphone. The security researchers, Lukasz Olejnik and Claude Castelluccia from INRIA Privatics with Gunes Acar and Claudia Diaz of KU Leuven, ESAT/COSIC and iMinds warn n their paper entitled â€˜The leaking battery: A privacy analysis of the HTML5 Battery Status APIâ€™ that the information can be used to track browsers online.
The battery status API is currently supported in the Firefox, Opera and Chrome browsers, and was introduced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 2012 to help websites conserve usersâ€™ energy. The energy saving feature enables a website or web-app to check when the phone user has little battery power left to allow the phone to switch to a low-power mode by disabling extraneous features to eke out the battery's energy. The same information can be used to identify phones as they move around the internet, allowing people to be tracked. Read more ..
Turkey on Edge
|Burak Bekdil||July 23rd 2015|
Two of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's children are better known by the public than the other two. His 34-year-old son, Bilal, made his debut at the Turkish hall of fame when recordings of phone-tapped conversations he had with [then prime minister] Erdogan were leaked on the internet.
The recordings appeared to capture the prime minister passionately instructing his son to dispose of large amounts of hidden funds from their private home in the midst of a corruption investigation. Although Erdogan later admitted that his private phones had been tapped, he rejected the telephone conversation with Bilal as "complete lies," fabricated by an Islamist group that wanted to discredit his government and take over state institutions in Turkey. Read more ..
Jewry on Edge
|Edwin Black||July 10th 2015|
Cutting Edge Contributor
Looking back after 50 years of service to the Anti-Defamation League, retiring national director Abraham Foxman expressed passionate worry to journalist Edwin Black about the safety and security of Jews overseas and Israelâ€™s position in the world. Excerpts from his exit interview follow, edited and condensed for continuity, clarity, and length.
Edwin Black: Looking back over a half century, how does it strike you?
Abraham Foxman: Boy, how wrong they were! When I came on this job, I read a lot of stuff about the future of the Jewish community. I wanted to know what I would be facing. One thing that the sociologists and prognosticators said 50 years ago was "Anti-Semitism, itâ€™s a historical fact of the past. You donâ€™t have to worry about it â€” weâ€™re just going to point to it when we fight other prejudices." Boy how wrong they were! The other thing they said was â€œIn 50 years, Israel will be a normal nation among all the nations.â€ Boy how wrong they were! Israel has become "the Jew amongst the nations." Read more ..
The New Egypt
|John Rossomando||June 9th 2015|
Egypt asked the U.S. ambassador in Cairo to account for the Obama administration's allowing Muslim Brotherhood officials to visit Washington for a private conference this week sponsored by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID).
Egypt sought the recent meeting with Ambassador Stephen Beecroft to show its displeasure with American policy toward the Brotherhood, which it labels a terrorist organization.
Delegation members include Amr Darrag, whose handling of drafting and ratifying Egypt's December 2012 constitution led to fears the Brotherhood aimed to impose a theocracy; and Wael Haddara, a Canadian Brotherhood member who served as an adviser to deposed President Mohamed Morsi. Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Jared Wadley||May 26th 2015|
Women in abusive relationships feel depressed not only from the violence but from the loss of their sense of belonging, a new University of Michigan study finds.
In a new study published in Violence Against Women, researchers examined the relationship between domestic abuse, belongingness and depression of 71 female patients in a Southeast primary care clinic.
Domestic abuse led to women having greater depressive symptoms, but losing a connection with the spouse, family or home also factored into the depression, said Edward Chang, U-M psychology professor and study's lead author.
The study's respondents ranged in age from 46 to 64. When asked about the frequency of being abused by a partner, 32 percent reported some form of abuse. The women rated if they felt a sense of belonging, as well assessed their levels of depression.
The findings not only build on earlier research, but they go further to support the contention that one compelling manner in which domestic abuse may lead to the development of depressive symptoms in women is through a loss in belongingness, Chang said. Read more ..
The Race for Biogas
|Abigail Klein Leichman ||May 21st 2015|
When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the sukkah of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during the Jewish harvest holiday last October, he was treated to a demo of a machine the government has given to Bedouin families to convert organic waste into clean biogas for cooking, heating and lighting, as well as organic liquid crop fertilizer.
"He got very excited and told us, 'Millions of women and children die each year due to indoor smoke from open fires. This is just the thing they need. The UN should be purchasing these units!' recalls Ami Amir of HomeBioGas, which develops and manufactures a new class of anaerobic biodigesters to convert organic waste to clean renewable energy. He asked us to be in touch with the UNâ€™s Food and Agriculture Organization to see where and when our systems could be deployed.â€ Read more ..
After the Holocaust
|Bernard Banks||May 17th 2015|
from Chiangrai Times and agencies
Israelâ€™s Ambassador to Thailand expressed extreme disappointment Thursday over
statements made by a minor Thai royal denying the holocaust of WWII.
Ambassador Simon Roded expressed â€œdisappointment and Extreme Regretâ€ over the
comment by ML Rungguna Kitiyakara, a descendent of 19th-century King Rama V of
Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported.
On his Facebook, ML Rungguna praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as a genius and
patriot, and said the holocaust was â€œPropagandaâ€.
Mr Rodedâ€™s statement, written in Thai, said it was â€œa shame that someone with
such opportunity, and educationâ€¦ would perpetuate a myth that history has
Around 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the Third Reich.
ML Rungguna wrote of his appreciation to Hitler on April 20, he Nazi leaderâ€™s
birthday, He said he beleived Hitler made some mistakes but he was a genius and
a patriot, so his life was worth studying. ML Rungguna viewed that Hitler was a statesman who had been destroyed by Jewish
bankers and Zionists and been imputed as the bad guy for the holocaust which ML
Rungguna claimed did not actually occur. It was propaganda to establish
sympathy to expel and kill Palestinians from their homeland so the Jews would
have their own state, he wrote. Read more ..
Islam on Edge
|Steven Emerson||May 13th 2015|
For the third time this year, Islamist radicals in Bangladesh hacked a secular writer to death in public. Four masked men chased down Ananta Bijoy Das Tuesday morning as Das left his home in Sylhet. They hacked him with machetes after running him down. "Ananta died on the spot," Metropolitan Police Commissioner Kamrul Hasan told the Daily Star. "Ananta was an organiser of local progressive publication outlet Jukti (logic) and a relentless writer on science."
Das was 31.
On March 30, Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, 27, was murdered on his way to work. Like Das, Babu's writings criticized religious fundamentalism. On Feb. 26, American citizen Avijit Roy was killed, and his wife severely injured, when attackers jumped them at a book fair. Roy had been threatened for his writings against religion, including his statement that religious extremism is like a virus: "if allowed to spread [it] will wreak havoc on society in epidemic proportions." Read more ..
The Digital Edge
|Christoph Hammerschmidt||May 12th 2015|
Do car owners have confidence in algorithms and control units that eventually could take over the command over their vehicles? A recent study reveals deep-seated concerns.
The German subsidiary of IT consulting company CSC recently conducted a poll among a representative cross section of the population in Germany, Austria and Switzerland showed that though car drivers acknowledge that the digitization of the car offers some benefits, their confidence into this technology is not really unlimited.
Almost 70 percent of the respondents said they were afraid of malicious hackers taking over the car. Almost the same percentage said they simply donâ€™t trust enough into the technology to leave the responsibility for driving to the machine. Two thirds expressed doubts that in the case of an accident the liability issues could be settled to their disadvantage.
Nevertheless, there was also a strong majority expecting that automated driving would improve traffic safety. Four out of five respondents found it essential that after an accident automatics systems such the eCall would speed first aid after an accident, and the same percentage said they expect that Connected Car schemes would spread information on accidents and other hazards quickly to other traffic participants.
â€œThe Connected Car is one of the most crucial subjects for the automotive industryâ€, said Claus SchÃ¼nemann, general manager of CSC Germany. â€œAlmost 70 percent of the consumers are in favour of this technology and regard it as a relief in long-distance highway travel or in dense commuter traffic. Read more ..
UK on Edge
|George Friedman||May 5th 2015|
The United Kingdom is going to the polls on Thursday. Elections electrify the countries in which they are held, but in most cases they make little difference. In this case, the election is a bit more important. Whether Labour or the Tories win makes some difference, but not all that much. What makes this election significant is that in Scotland, 45 percent of the public voted recently to leave the United Kingdom. This has been dismissed as an oddity by all well-grounded observers. However, for unsophisticated viewers like myself, the fact that 45 percent of Scotland was prepared to secede was an extraordinary event.
Moreover, this election matters because UKIP â€” formerly the United Kingdom Independence Party â€” is in it, and polls indicate that it will win about 12 percent of the vote, while winning a handful of seats in Parliament. This discrepancy is due to an attribute of the British electoral system, which favors seats won over total votes cast. Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Marla Paul||April 27th 2015|
Most psychiatric disorders - including depression -- do not predict future violent behavior, according to new Northwestern Medicine longitudinal study of delinquent youth. The only exception is substance abuse and dependence.
"Our findings are relevant to the recent tragic plane crash in the French Alps. Our findings show that no one could have predicted that the pilot - who apparently suffered from depression - - would perpetrate this violent act," said corresponding author Linda Teplin, the Owen L. Coon Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "It is not merely a suicide, but an act of mass homicide."
The study did find, however, that some delinquent youth with current psychiatric illness may also be violent. For example, males with mania were more than twice as likely to report current violence than those without. But these relationships are not necessarily causal.
Delinquent youth with psychiatric illness have multiple risk factors -- such as living in violent and impoverished neighborhoods. These environments may increase their risk for violent behavior as well as worsen their psychiatric illness.
"Providing comprehensive treatment to persons with some psychiatric disorders could reduce violence," said Katherine Elkington, study first author and an assistant professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry at Columbia University Medical School and New York Psychiatric Institute. "We must improve how we address multiple problems -- including violent behavior -- as part of psychiatric treatment." Read more ..
The Digital Edge
|Peter Clarke||April 20th 2015|
Annual shipments of wearable cameras will surpass 30 million units by 2020 according to market research firm Tractica. GoPro rugged and waterproof cameras for sports applications are leading the field at present but more general consumer, enterprise and public safety applications are not far behind and will drive strong growth in the second half of this decade, Tractica claims. Wearable cameras are a logical extension of the smartphone camera, enabling hands-free functionality that allows users to capture both planned and spontaneous moments by using body or head mounts or by clipping the camera to clothing.
The market for wearable cameras is an early stage and experiencing rapid growth as the use cases for wearable cameras expand. Tractica forecasts that wearable camera shipments will increase from 5.6 million in 2014 to 30.6 million units annually by 2020. That is equivalent to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the period of about 32 percent. Read more ..
Technology and Society
|Tony Trueman||April 14th 2015|
Facebook can help people recover from mental health problems but it needs to be used cautiously and strategically as it can also make symptoms worse, new research shows.
Dr Keelin Howard told the British Sociological Association's annual conference in Glasgow on April 15 that users she interviewed found their paranoid, manic and depressive symptoms could worsen as well as improve.
Dr Howard, of Buckinghamshire New University, carried out research with 20 people aged 23-68 who had experienced conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
She told the conference that social media like Facebook could provide a source of social support and connection that were important for recovery. Some participants were positive about Facebook, saying it helped them recover by making them feel less alone, allowing them to express themselves and be part of an online community. Read more ..
The Edge of Climate Change
|David Biello||April 13th 2015|
Crickets chirp and bees buzz from sedum flower to flower atop the post office in midtown Manhattan during a visit to the 9th Avenue facility on a perfect New York City fall day. On a sprawling roof that covers most of a city block a kind of park has been laid, sucking up carbon dioxide and other air pollution, filtering rainfall, making it less acidic.
Such verdant roofs may form part of an effective strategy for both cooling buildings and helping combat climate change, according to recent research. Other solutions cited in a study include white roofs that reflect more sunlight back to space or hybrid roofs that combine aspects of white and green, or planted, roofs. Read more ..
Qatar on Edge
|Onn Winckler||April 12th 2015|
Middle East Quarterly
Most states do not divulge all demographic parameters of their population. At times, this data is unavailable due to the weakness of the regime as is the case with many sub-Saharan African countries and, more recently, with Yemen, Syria, and Iraq due to their prolonged civil wars. In other countries, such as the United States, Belgium, and France, there is a lack of data on the religious composition of the population due to official separation of church and state.
While none of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have ever published the religious composition of their indigenous populations, Qatar has lagged further behind: It does not even make public the total size of its indigenous population, considered "a national secret." As the online editor of a Qatari-based business publication was told when approaching the Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA) for the data: "We regret to inform you that the required data is not available." Read more ..
Turkey on Edge
|Burak Bekdil||April 10th 2015|
Middle East Forum
In 2008, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's official news agency, Wafa, reported that Israel had released poison-resistant rats to drive Arab residents of Jerusalem out of their homes. Scientists are still trying to understand how rats are trained to distinguish between Muslim, Christian and Jewish residents of a city.
In 2011, Saudi Arabia announced that it had "detained" a vulture carrying an Israeli leg band. The griffon vulture was carrying a GPS transmitter bearing the name of Tel Aviv University, and was condemned for being a part of a "Zionist espionage plot." We are still waiting to hear if the bird was beheaded or sentenced to life in prison. Read more ..
The Digital Edge
|Matthias Poppel||April 9th 2015|
Matthias Poppel, chief operating officer for EnOcean GmbH claims that all of the technologies are in place to allow the Internet of Things to flourish. All that is needed are the standards and the vision to overcome the fragmented nature of the applications space.
A major challenge implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) is deploying large numbers of sensor and actuator nodes and connecting them in a suitable way. The characteristics of energy-harvesting wireless technology make it the perfect fit to bridge the last mile in an IoT network: small devices working without cables and batteries allowing a simple installation as well as quite easy gradual up-scaling in the number of deployed units. At the same time, the components require minimal service and maintenance effort. Read more ..
The Edge of Terrorism
News24 and agencies
Kenya has suspended the licences of 13 Somali remittance firms following the massacre at a Kenyan university last week, Somalia's central bank governor said on Wednesday, and Kenyan media reported that dozens of bank accounts had been frozen.
The killing of 148 students by Somalia's al-Shabaab at Garissa, about 200km from the border, has piled pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta to deal with the Islamists who have killed more than 400 people in Kenya in the last two years.
Kenya's biggest selling Daily Nation newspaper said on Wednesday that the government has "frozen the accounts of 86 individuals and entities suspected to be financing terrorism in the country", including Somali remittance firms. Read more ..
The Digital Edge
|Jean-Pierre Joosting||April 6th 2015|
Read more ..
In the spirit of Lord of the Rings, could a ring, in this case a clever piece of technology, become a powerful tool for controlling everything. Ring from Logbar Inc., CA is a wearable input device that lets the user perform a multitude of tasks such as gesture control of smart appliances and devices, send texts, pay bills and so on. The company is currently running a kickstarter campaign and to get the device mass produced, with shipping expected to start in 2014.
Ring uses a Bluetooth Low Energy signal to connect to smart devices. Basically Ring detects the movement of the finger that is inside and identifies the gesture being made. Gestures can be performed anytime and anywhere. A lot of the companies IP is in the development of this gesture recognition technology with a particular focus on the accuracy of recognition and power consumption.
|Rodger Baker and John Minnich||March 24th 2015|
Last week, China's anti-corruption campaign took a significant turn, though a largely overlooked one. The Supreme People's Court released a statement accusing former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, the highest-ranked official thus far implicated in China's ongoing anti-corruption campaign, of having "trampled the law, damaged unity within the Communist Party, and conducted non-organizational political activities." In Chinese bureaucratic speak, this was only a few steps shy of confirming earlier rumors that Zhou and his former political ally and one-time rising star from Chongqing, Bo Xilai, had plotted a coup to pre-empt or repeal the ascension of Chinese President and Party General Secretary Xi Jinping. Thus, the court's statement marks a radical departure from the hitherto depoliticized official language of the anti-corruption campaign. Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Laurel Thomas Gnagney||March 17th 2015|
Increasing the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products will prevent or delay tobacco use by adolescents and young adults, particularly those ages 15 to 17, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.
The committee that conducted the study included Rafael Meza, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Patrick O'Malley, research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research.
The team estimated the likely reduction in tobacco-use initiation that would be achieved by raising the minimum age of legal access (MLA) to tobacco products to 19, 21 or 25 years old. They used two tobacco-use simulation models to quantify the accompanying public health outcomes. Read more ..
Palestinians on Edge
|Michael Johnson||March 13th 2015|
Palestinian Authority security forces arrested up to 100 Hamas members during a series of raids in the West Bank over the past two weeks. The detentions mark only the latest setback in Fatah-Hamas relations following the adoption of an unity agreement last spring.
According to Middle East Monitor, many of the Palestinians arrested include "university professors, schools teachers, doctors, imams" with some previously spending time in Israeli jails. Additionally, the PA has failed to disclose a reason for the arrests or charged any Hamas members publicly.Hamas leaders call the detentions arbitrary and politically motivated, saying that the PA feels threatened by Hamas's rising popularity in the West Bank. Meanwhile, other Hamas officials said that Fatah is "part of the occupation system and is only working to preserve [Israel's] security." However, it remains unclear if the crackdown is related to recent PLO deliberations to end security cooperation with Israel over Jerusalem's withholding of tax revenues from the cash-strapped PA. Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Jennifer Santisi||February 28th 2015|
Researchers are investigating new directions in the science of spending. Four presentations during the symposium "Happy Money 2.0: New Insights Into the Relationship Between Money and Well-Being," delve into the effects of experiential purchases, potential negative impacts on abundance, the psychology of lending to friends, and how the wealthy think differently about well-being. The symposium takes place during the SPSP 16th Annual Convention in Long Beach, California.
Research published in the journal Psychological Science has shown that experiential purchases--money spent on doing--may provide more enduring happiness than material purchases (money spent on having). Participants reported that waiting for an experience elicits significantly more happiness, pleasantness and excitement than waiting for a material good. Read more ..
The Edge of Terrorism
|Anav Silverman ||February 19th 2015|
Following the terror attacks in Copenhagen, where a Jewish man was killed last weekend, a group of young Muslims in Norway are organizing a peace rally at an Oslo synagogue on the Jewish Sabbath this upcoming Saturday, February 21.
One of the rally organizers, Yousef Assidiq told Tazpit News Agency that it was important for him to let those who wish to harm Jews know that they will have to get by him first. â€œI want to say on Saturday that if anyone wants to attack Jews either verbally or physically, that they will have to go through me first. An attack on Jews is an attack on me and on all Muslims,â€ Assidiq told Tazpit.
According to the Facebook page for the event, the participants will be forming a human ring around the synagogue in order to protect the Jewish worshippers inside. â€œWhen Jews are afraid to wear the kippa, the Star of David, and are afraid to go to the synagogue, then it feels like an attack on me,â€ said Assidiq. Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Jonathan Sacks||February 16th 2015|
Jobbik, otherwise known as the Movement for a Better Hungary, is an ultra-nationalist Hungarian political party that has been described as fascist, neo-Nazi, racist, and anti-semitic. It has accused Jews of being part of a â€œcabal of western economic interestsâ€ attempting to control the world: the libel otherwise known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fiction created by members of the Czarist secret service in Paris in the late 1890s and revealed as a forgery by The Times in 1921.
On one occasion the Jobbik party asked for a list of all the Jews in the Hungarian government. Disturbingly, in the Hungarian parliamentary elections in April 2014 it secured over 20 per cent of the votes, making it the third largest party.
Until 2012 one of its leading members was a politician in his late 20s, Csanad Szegedi. Szegedi was a rising star in the movement, widely spoken of as its future leader. Until one day in 2012. That was the day Szegedi discovered he was a Jew. Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Greta Guest||February 15th 2015|
About a third of all people who were single at some point in the last 10 years have used dating websites, and a quarter of those have married or entered long-term relationships.
University of Michigan research breaks new ground on how people make romantic choices by analyzing troves of data from a major online dating site.
Perhaps it's fitting that the first step to unraveling how people screen options, think and act when looking for romance online comes from a marriage of sorts between marketing and sociology.
Fred Feinberg, U-M professor of marketing and statistics, joined Elizabeth Bruch, U-M professor of sociology and complex systems, and Kee Yeun Lee of Hong Kong Polytechnic University to dig through user data from a dating website to reveal what people actually doâ€”not what they say they doâ€”when it comes to romance. Read more ..
The Digital Edge
|Alison Bruzek||February 15th 2015|
Early adopters of technology are usually assumed to be the young and eager. But an increasing number of gadgets are designed not for the stereotypical technophile but for the elderly person. And why not? Between 2010 and 2050 the U.S. population of people aged 65 and up will more than double, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts.
Smart, networked sensors and monitorsâ€”part of what is known as the Internet of Thingsâ€”could help make seniors more independent by letting doctors or relatives keep tabs from afar. â€œWe have received significant interest from elder care providers who are seeking to keep the elderly in their homes rather than moving them to assisted-living centers,â€ says technologist Jason Johnson, chair of the Internet of Things Consortium. The market for remote patient monitoring is expected to grow from $10.6 billion in 2012 to $21.2 billion in 2017, according to research firm Kalorama Information.
Among the new systems to enter the market is a set of sensors called Lively. The sensors can be placed on cabinets, drawers or appliances to track activity patterns and send data to loved ones.
Other technologies have a slightly different aimâ€”to help those who live in senior communities remain in the most independent setting possible. The eNeighbor remote-monitoring system, marketed by Healthsense, uses sensors throughout the residence to detect motion (including falls) and to chart bed rest. eNeighbor can also provide reminders for medication or make distress calls in case of an emergency. Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Martin Barillas||February 12th 2015|
Cutting Edge Contributor
A candlelight vigil was held on the evening of February 11 night on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for three Muslim students shot to death in what friends and family insist was a hate crime. Thousands of students gathered on the grounds of the university to pay tribute to newlyweds Deah Shaddy Barakat and his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and Yusor's sister, 19-year-old Razan Abu-Salha, who were murdered on February 10 at an apartment complex outside the campus.
A neighbor, 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, has been charged with first-degree murder in the connection with the killings. Police assert that a long-simmering dispute over parking space at the complex sparked the shootings, but Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, the father of the slain women, said on February 11 he believes the shootings to be a hate crime. He said Hicks had confronted his daughter and her husband a few times while carrying a gun on his belt. Hicks had declared himself an atheist in several Facebook postings and had also depicted firearms. Read more ..
Europe on Edge
|George Friedman||February 11th 2015|
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, accompanied by French President Francois Hollande, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 6. Then she met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Feb. 9. The primary subject was Ukraine, but the first issue discussed at the news conference following the meeting with Obama was Greece. Greece and Ukraine are not linked in the American mind. They are linked in the German mind, because both are indicators of Germany's new role in the world and of Germany's discomfort with it.
It is interesting to consider how far Germany has come in a rather short time. When Merkel took office in 2005, she became chancellor of a Germany that was at peace, in a European Union that was united. Germany had put its demands behind it, embedding itself in a Europe where it could be both prosperous and free of the geopolitical burdens that had led it into such dark places. Read more ..
The Digital Edge
|Kate Crawford||February 7th 2015|
Many of us now expect our online activities to be recorded and analyzed, but we assume the physical spaces we inhabit are different. The data broker industry doesnâ€™t see it that way. To them, even the act of walking down the street is a legitimate data set to be captured, catalogued and exploited. This slippage between the digital and physical matters not only because of privacy concernsâ€”it also raises serious questions about ethics and power.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal published an article about Turnstyle, a company that has placed hundreds of sensors throughout businesses in Toronto to gather signals from smartphones as they search for open wi-fi networks. The signals are used to uniquely identify phones as they move from street to street, cafÃ© to cinema, work to home. The owner of the phone need not connect to any wi-fi network to be tracked; the whole process occurs without the knowledge of most phone users. Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Jared Wadley||February 5th 2015|
Immigrant Hispanic parents spank their young children less often than U.S.-born Hispanic parents, a new University of Michigan study found.
The findings show that cultural values may help Hispanic immigrants maintain positive parenting practices and parent-child relationships, despite, on average, greater financial pressures and other factors often associated with greater use of spanking.
Prior studies reported that Hispanics, when compared with whites and African-Americans, were generally less likely to use physical or psychological aggression against young children. However, other studies have not analyzed the link between culture and spanking when it involves Hispanic immigrants to the United States.
In this new U-M study published in the February issue of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, researchers found that immigrant parents are more likely to endorse traditional gender roles and attend religious services more frequently than their U.S.-born counterparts. Read more ..
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