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Significant Lives

Towering Iraqi Jewish Historian Passes

September 24th 2017

Israeli flag and clouds

Iraqi Jews in Israel and abroad are mourning the death, on the second day of the Jewish New Year, of Professor Shmuel Moreh, 85, emeritus professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Born Sami Muallem in 1932 in Baghdad’s upmarket district of Bataween, Professor Moreh was a well-respected academic (as chairman of the Association of Academics from Iraq in Israel, he presided over the publication of countless books), who excelled in his command of the Arabic language.

Immigrating, together with most of Iraq’s Jews, to Israel with his family in 1951, he received his B.A. and M.A. from the Hebrew University in Arabic literature and Islamic Studies and his Ph.D. in modern Arabic poetry (SOAS, London University) in 1965. He was a poet and a prolific author of over 20 publications in English, Hebrew and Arabic.

His memoirs were serialised in the online Arabic medium Elaph in 2009 -10 and awakened huge interest among Iraqis in their lost Jewish community. The series was later published in Arabic as Baghdad Mon Amour. Read more ..


Arab Slave Trading

Egyptian Muslims paid for every Christian girl taken into slavery

September 22nd 2017

Coptic Girl

Known only by a pseudonym, “G” is an Egyptian former Muslim who has admitted to abducting Coptic Christian girls and women to be sold as sex slaves to Muslim masters. He said that before leaving Islam behind, he participated in a Salafist Muslim network that has actively targeted Christian girls since the 1970s. G said that the network’s activities are at their peak currently under the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. 

“They keep a close eye on Christians’ houses and monitor everything that’s going on. On that basis, they weave a spider’s web around [the girls],” he said. G added that the network uses subtle techniques to entrap unwitting girls. He explained, “A Muslim boy tells a Christian girl he loves her and wants to convert to Christianity for her,” then after beginning a romantic relationship with the target and deciding to run away together, he said that what the victims don’t know is that they are being kidnapped. “Most of the time they will not marry their kidnapper, but someone else.”

Read more ..

Campus Hate

Evergreen Settles with Weinstein, Professor at The Center Of Campus Protests

September 18th 2017

Blackboard classroom

The Evergreen State College professor at the center of campus protests this spring will receive $500,000 in a settlement that was announced Friday.

Bret Weinstein and his wife, Heather Heying, resigned from their faculty positions effective Friday. The couple filed a $3.85 million tort claim in July alleging the college failed to “protect its employees from repeated provocative and corrosive verbal and written hostility based on race, as well as threats of physical violence,” according to the claim.

Weinstein had criticized changes to the school’s annual Day of Absence after white students who chose to participate were asked to go off campus to talk about race issues. He called the event “an act of oppression,” according to emails obtained by The Olympian. Weinstein later appeared on Fox News and wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Read more ..


Jewry On Edge

David Myers: Wrong Choice by Center for Jewish History

September 17th 2017

boycott Israel t-shirt

When a respected and apolitical institution like the New York-based Center for Jewish History (CJH) hires an anti-Israel academic to be its new CEO and president, something has gone terribly wrong. UCLA Jewish studies professor David N. Myers may present a moderate façade, but his academic and political affiliations expose his radical core.

The pro-Israel community has taken notice. Ronn Torossian, Hank Sheinkopf, and George Birnbaum wrote an op-ed calling attention to Myers's "extreme viewpoints" and charging CJH with making an "unfit choice." The Israel Group urged opponents to write in protest. JCCWatch and Americans for a Safe Israel announced plans for an October 18 street protest outside CJH.

Predictably, the academy has rallied around Myers. Jewish studies scholars by the hundreds signed a petition supporting him. Jonathan D. Sarna and David Ellenson of Brandeis University lauded Myers as the "very model of an engaged and responsible scholar," even calling him "the embodiment of the center." Read more ..


The Digital Age

World’s first 8K-compatible TVs and Displays to hit China

September 8th 2017

Android

Sharp's AQUOS 8K Series of 8K-compatible TVs and displays are what the company claims to be a world first, planned for release in China in October, in Japan in December, in Taiwan in February 2018, and in Europe in March 2018.

8K displays deliver ultra-high-definition images with 16 times the resolution of full-HD which could not be expressed with 4K images. It reproduces images with ultra-fine details even the naked eye cannot capture.

In October 2015, Sharp had released an 85-inch 8K monitor using an 8K LCD panel, and the advanced wideband digital satellite broadcast receiver compatible with 8K ultra-high-definition (UHD) broadcasts in 2016, followed in June 2017 with the release of a 70-inch 8K monitor. The Japanese company aims to complement its 8K TVs by accelerating development of 8K broadcast receivers, 8K cameras, and other 8K products to lead the world by

Read more ..

Inside Jewry

Hillel at the Crossroads. Part III: NEU Hillel Protests “Fear-Based Tactics”

August 31st 2017

Eric Fingerhut
Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut

Part 3 of Edwin Black's latest 4-part investigative series, "Hillel at the Crossroads," is based on more than 100 interviews in 4 countries, and the acquisition of many documents and internal emails. See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Sheldon Goldman was hesitant and uncertain about what to do next.

As board chairman of the Northeastern University (NEU) Hillel, Goldman had witnessed what he termed an administrative “inquisition” by Hillel International against his chapter, programs and staff. The charges were denied by Hillel International. But Goldman had reached his limit. Read more ..


The Edge of RFID

Drones Take RFID to the Next Level

August 29th 2017

Flying Robot

Cheap, battery-free RFID tags, which receive power wirelessly from scanners and then broadcast identifying numbers, enable warehouse managers to log inventory much more efficiently than they could by reading box numbers and recording them manually.

However, the scale of modern retail operations makes even RFID scanning inefficient. Walmart, for instance, reported that in 2013 it lost $3 billion in revenue because of mismatches between its inventory records and its stock. Even with RFID technology, it can take a single large retail store three months to perform a complete inventory review, which means that mismatches often go undiscovered until exposed by a customer request.

To addres this challenge, MIT researchers have developed a system that enables small, safe, aerial drones to read RFID tags from tens of meters away while identifying the locations of the tags with an average error of about 19 centimeters. Such a system could be used in large warehouses for both continuous monitoring, to prevent inventory mismatches, and location of individual items, so that employees can rapidly and reliably meet customer requests.

Read more ..

Phoenix Police Department Surreptitiously Implements New Immigration Policy

August 27th 2017

Stop the Raids immigration protest

With Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio removed from office by a tidal wave of liberal-left activities during the election, the city of Phoenix is taking the opportunity to revise its policy for dealing with illegal immigrants. In addition, President Barack Obama’s Justice Department successfully prosecuted Sheriff Arpaio for his alleged “racial profiling” of lawbreakers from Mexico.

See the Video

Along with the ouster of Arpaio by rich and powerful Democrats — especially billionaire businessman George Soros — Arizona’s largest city is now declared a “sanctuary” for illegal aliens after its police chief held a private meeting with a leftist group that demanded a change in immigration enforcement policies, records obtained by Judicial Watch show.
Phoenix’s new Chief of Police Jeri Williams is one of a growing number of progressive law enforcement executives who are yes men and women for Democratic politicians. Read more ..


Inside Jewry

Hillel Set to Announce David Project Integration

August 23rd 2017

Eric Fingerhut
Hillel CEO Eric Fingerhut

Hillel International is set to release today a long-discussed integration with The David Project. An advance draft of the release obtained from Hillel sources, reads as follows:

************************

"Hillel International today announced that it has reached an agreement with The David Project to integrate the pro-Israel group into Hinenu, Hillel’s Israel Education and Engagement department.

The two organizations have a long-established partnership that will be formalized to serve the missions of both organizations. The David Project will strengthen its proven methodology for building diverse pro-Israel support on campus, while helping Hillel empower Jewish students on campus to create enduring connections to Israel.

Read more ..

Palestinians on Edge

Israeli Courts Allow Palestinians to Sue PA for torture

August 21st 2017

Palestinian Authority police

It is one of the most bizarre in years, as it involves Palestinian Authority citizens coming before the courts of the Israeli “occupation” to get justice for their mistreatment by their own PA law enforcement.

Eight Palestinians were disqualified from receiving damages when the court ruled they had been involved in common crimes and their treatment was a local Palestinian issue.

But the majority of the group – represented by West Bank resident and Israeli lawyer Menachem Kornvich – will now take part in hearings before the court on the amount of damages they can expect to receive. A team of Israeli lawyers representing the PA, including Yosef and Yehonatan Arnon, will attempt to minimize those damage claims.

According to the court, PA officials tortured various plaintiffs by “beating them on all parts of the body, hitting them with lead pipes, extinguishing cigarettes on their bodies, hanging them in torture positions for hours and starving them.” Read more ..

Venezuela on Edge

Venezuelan Jews Fleeing Turmoil Get ‘Lifeline’ In Israel, Encounter New Challenges

August 18th 2017

El Al Boeing 747-200

As the political and economic situation in Venezuela becomes increasingly unstable, Jews are fleeing the South American nation, with many choosing to immigrate to Israel. 

Conditions in Venezuela began deteriorating in 2013 following the death of the country’s former president, Hugo Chavez, and the ascension of his chosen successor Nicolas Maduro, a former bus driver.

During the past four years, inflation has skyrocketed under Maduro’s rule, leading to shortages in food and basic supplies such as medicine and toilet paper. Venezuelans stand in long lines—sometimes for 12 hours—just to obtain bare essentials.

“There is no value to life right now in Venezuela,” Adele Tarrab, a Venezuelan Jew who moved to Israel with her family in 2015, told JNS.org. “I’ve actually seen people get killed for bread.”  Read more ..


The Race for Autonomous Cars

Mobileye Plans Test Fleet of 100 Self-driving Cars

August 14th 2017

Traffic Jam

Having concluded the acquisition of the smart imaging company Mobileye, Intel announced first projects with company in the field of autonomous driving. Mobileye will build a fleet of 100 fully automated vehicles (Level 4) on the roads of the USA, Europe and Israel. The first cars are scheduled to start operation this year.

Building cars and testing them in real-world conditions provides immediate feedback and will accelerate delivery of technologies and solutions for highly and fully autonomous vehicles,” said Amnon Shshua, CEO and CTO of Mobileye and soon-to-be vice president of Intel Corp. "Geographic diversity is very important because different regions have very diverse driving styles, road conditions and traffic signs. Our goal is to develop autonomous vehicle technology that can be offered anywhere, so we have to test and train the vehicles at different locations." In the planned vehicle fleet, Mobileye will contribute its own competences in the fields of computer vision, sensor technology and sensor fusion and map creation, while Intel is contributing resources in the field of open computing platforms, data centers and 5G communication.

Read more ..

The Edge of Cyber

Iot Devices Becoming 'Cyberweapon Of Choice' For Attackers

August 14th 2017

Shadowy Computer User

A new report from cloud and security solution provider F5 Labs (Seattle, WA) examines how attackers have developed botnets - or "thingbots" - to target IoT devices.

IoT devices, says F5, have become "the cyberweapon delivery system of choice" for attackers building botnets - collections of Internet-connected devices that are infected and controlled by a common type of malware. Botnets can overwhelm systems with traffic with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, steal data, send spam, and allow an attacker access to the device and its connection.

According to the latest report, IoT attack activity grew 280% from the prior six-month period. This included "massive growth" due to the Mirai malware - which turns networked devices running Linux into remotely controlled bots that can then be used as part of a botnet - and subsequent attacks.

Read more ..

The Genetic Edge

One Small Step for Medicine, One Giant Leap for Eugenics

August 10th 2017

walking on beach

On August 2 scientists published the results of the first experiments conducted on human embryos using the gene editing tool CRISPR/Cas9 in the United States [1]. These experiments have shown greater efficacy in editing embryos than previous attempts. At first glance, it might seem like efforts to prevent the inheritance of genetic disease, or treat it at an early stage, are a good thing to pursue. Nonetheless, some elements of these experiments – including both methodology and intentions – raise serious ethical concern.

Reproductive exploitation of women

In order to conceive human embryos for these experiments, the scientists needed human eggs. They therefore recruited healthy women who were paid to undergo ovarian stimulation to produce eggs for the research. Ostensibly these women did not “sell” their eggs but were “compensated” for their “time, effort, and discomfort” and presumably also for risks associated with the process.

Read more ..

The Trump Era

More Than 1.1 Million Fewer Americans on Food Stamps Under Trump

August 8th 2017

onions peppers parsley radish

More than 1.1 million Americans dropped off the food stamp rolls since President Trump took office in January 2017, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics on food stamp enrollment.

Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dropped to 41,496,255 in May 2017, the most recent data available from the USDA, from 42,691,363 in January 2017 when Trump took office. According to the latest data, SNAP enrollment during the first few months of Trump’s presidency decreased by 2.79 percent.

Food stamp participation on average in 2017 has dropped to its lowest level since 2010, and the latest numbers show that this trend is continuing. Trump proposed cuts to SNAP in his 2018 budget proposal, suggesting that states match up to 20 percent of federal money allotted for the food stamp program and expand work requirements for able-bodied adults receiving food stamps.

Read more ..

Broken Borders

College Park MD Considers Giving Noncitizens Local Voting Rights

August 7th 2017

Vote Buttons

Officials in College Park are weighing a plan that would make their city the largest in Maryland to give undocumented immigrants a right to vote in local elections, a long-standing practice elsewhere in the state that has drawn new scrutiny amid the simmering national debate over immigration.

The Prince George’s County city, home of the flagship University of Maryland campus and some 30,000 residents, is considering a measure to let noncitizens cast ballots for mayor and City Council — making it the latest target in a movement that has had more success in Maryland than anywhere else in the United States.

College Park officials are debating the charter amendment after a divisive national election in which immigration played a prominent part. Many left-leaning cities, including Baltimore, are now at odds with President Donald J. Trump's initial efforts to fulfill a campaign promise to crack down on immigration violations. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

When Female Fighters Lead the Charge

August 6th 2017

Syrian Kurdish protesters

The first battle in northern Syria, which has a Kurdish majority and lies along the Turkish border, broke out in 2012 when several armed opposition groups crossed the border and attacked Syrian regime forces concentrated in Ras al-Ayn. After the groups took control of the city, Kurdish military units formed the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which proclaimed in their founding declaration that their goal “is to defend Kurdish-majority cities.” Another group was also founded: the Women’s Protection Units, or the YPJ, which aimed to use armed battle as a way of liberating women from terrorism and patriarchal thinking as well as alleviating women’s grievances in general.

As the Islamic State group (ISIS) began to emerge in Syria and advance towards Kurdish-majority cities and towns in the north, the YPJ’s reputation began to spread. Fighting alongside the YPG, YPJ fighters were sent to the front lines in every battle against ISIS. Around this time, the media began focusing on the YPJ’s victories as well as the women of various ages who fought fiercely in its ranks and who often lost their lives on the front lines.

Read more ..

Campus Hate

The New 'Social Justice Movement' – Why Colleges Are Breeding Grounds for Anti-Semitism

July 24th 2017

uc davis swastika door

They hung up their swastikas. They threatened their Jewish class mates. They chanted "gas them, burn them, humanity cannot progress with the parasitic Jews."

These are the sounds that echoed in the lecture halls of Germany's finest universities. But, I'm not talking about those universities; I am talking about American college campuses.

Those swastikas that were hung up on campus buildings? That was done by students from Stanford University, George Washington University, U.C. Davis, and Drexel University.

Those chants to burn and gas Jews?  That happened at U.C. Berkeley.

Anti-Semitism is happening now. Not on the other side of the world in a generation that is not ours. It's in today's headlines. As an active pro-Israel student with Christians United for Israel and the Philos Project, I have seen a deep hatred for the Jewish state spread like wildfire. Read more ..


The Edge of Hate

European Human Rights Court Rejects Free Speech Defense of Extremist Videos

July 22nd 2017

Behead those who say islam is violent

Europe's top human rights court ruled on Thursday that online videos considered by a Belgian court to be Islamist hate speech were not protected under free speech provisions.

Fouad Belkacem is a Belgian national currently imprisoned for his activities as the head of Sharia4Belgium, an organization banned for recruiting foreign fighters to participate in militant activities in the Middle East.

The European Court of Human Rights evaluated Belkacem's argument that his remarks in a series of videos on online platform YouTube fell within his freedoms of expression and religion and were not meant to incite violence.

In the videos, Belkacem had called on viewers to "overpower non-Muslims, teach them a lesson and fight them", content the Court called "markedly hateful" and "vehement". He had also called for the violent establishment of Sharia law.

The ECHR upheld the 2013 decision of Belgium's top court, which found that, far from simply expressing his views, Belkacem had incited others to discriminate on the basis of faith and to violence against non-Muslims.

Belkacem is serving a 12-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2015 of leading a terrorist group in the country's largest trial of militants. Belgium continues to grapple with a comparatively high number of nationals who have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join jihadist groups. Read more ..


The Digital Age

After 17 Years, Trump Finally Ends America's Y2K Prep Program

July 21st 2017

Computers multiple

We can finally say good-bye to the threat of the Y2K bug. Twenty years after preparations began the federal government is ending requirements to track the so-called Y2K bug.

In 1997, actions were begun to avert what some thought was a coming catastrophe.  Many electronic systems formatted a year’s date using only the final two digits.  Such as 97, 98, and 99.  It was thought that systems would mistake the year 2000 as the 1900 creating unimaginable havoc.

Government at the federal, state and local levels prepared for the worst.  So did business.

Some predicted a disaster of epic proportions.  In the end, the year 2000 came and went.  With a whimper. Read more ..


The Trump Era

Non-citizens Found at Jury Duty after Court Uses Voter Roll for Pool

July 21st 2017

Vote Buttons

President Trump formed the 12-member White House Commission on Electoral Integrity, which is headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, after repeatedly claiming that millions of people voted fraudulently during the 2016 general election. It met on Wednesday, hearing from Pence that the commission “has no preconceived notions or preordained results.” The commission has heard from 30 states who intend to comply with the commission’s earlier request to provide information about registered voters, including what elections they have voted in and whether they have been convicted of a crime.

Several states, including California and Mississippi, have refused to comply with the request, citing concerns over voters’ privacy. 

Kobach defended the commission’s request for voter information from every state, citing his own state’s 128 cases of alleged voter fraud as a major concern. “The commission is not set up to prove or disprove President Trump’s claim,” Kobach told CNN on Wednesday before the commission’s first meeting. “This commission is going to be looking at real figures, real numbers, real voter rolls and real cases.”

Read more ..

Broken Borders

Replacement Migration--Discovered UN Report Outlines Migrant Waves Replacing Existing US Population Base

July 15th 2017

Syrian Protesters

While the limit on the number of refugees entering the United State has been reached, if the United Nations has its way, more can be expected. While the Trump administration set a limit of  50,000 refugees entering the U.S., the number of refugees worldwide recently hit a historical high of 65.5 million, according to the UN. Because the United States is a member of the UN, it is continuously under pressure to accept more.

The refugee cap set by the current administration was reached on July 12, but because of a Supreme Court ruling last month, more refugees can still enter if they can prove close familial ties to persons already living in the country. As a result of the high court’s ruling on Trump's travel ban executive order, according to the State Department, as of July 13, persons who have a “credible claim to a bona fide relationship” to a person or an entity in the country will be eligible for admission. Read more ..


Education on Edge

B'nai Brith Canada Demands Correction of School Textbook Suggesting Child Soldiers

July 13th 2017

Blackboard classroom

It would seem that $10.5-million terrorist Omar Khadr and Israeli children have something in common.

Both are not child soldiers, or was not in the case of the 30-year-old confessed murderer Khadr, who has been painted as a child soldier at the age of 15 when he came under the spell of al-Qaida and tossed the grenade that killed U.S. Sgt. Christopher Speer.

You might say the term child soldiers is employed when convenient considering the Grade 6 Social Studies textbook, Canada and the Global Community, published by Nelson Canada, being used in 800 elementary schools across the province.

The book’s first chapter on Human Rights claims that children are still being used in “armed conflicts” in more than 20 countries. One of those countries listed - alongside Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Libya and Yemen - is Israel. Read more ..


The Digital Age

Can We Make the Internet of Things Secure?

July 12th 2017

Trendy Kitchen

In the simplest terms, Internet of Things (IoT) is the addition of some internet connectivity to everyday objects.  Security cameras, for example, previously had to be hardwired.  Now they are generally WiFi-connected, allowing camera information to be transmitted to the security control system and allowing the security control system to broadcast its collected information to a remote command center or even to a tablet or smartphone.  Then, if the camera has PTZ (pan, tilt, and zoom) functions, the user can redirect the camera, zoom in on an anomaly, or follow an object.

There is hardly a new product that does not try in some way to offer IoT capability.  The simplest products gather information from the broader internet and relay it to the user.  A “smart” refrigerator can tell you when your grapes are getting low or close to spoilage.  It can order grapes for you and have them delivered, or tell you where grapes are on sale and how close to your house the sale is.  Read more ..


The Edge of Cyber

Half of all countries lack cybersecurity plans, says UN

July 10th 2017

Chinese hacker at computer

Only about half of all countries have a cybersecurity strategy or are in the process of developing one, says the latest cybersecurity report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN's specialized agency for information and communication technology.

The latest findings were published in the Global Cybersecurity Index 2017 (GCI-2017), which measures the commitment of ITU's 193 member states to cybersecurity in order to raise awareness. It found that about 38 percent of countries have a published cybersecurity strategy, while an additional 12 percent of governments are in the process of developing one.

According to the report, the top 10 most committed countries were Singapore, United States, Malaysia, Oman, Estonia, Mauritius, Australia, Georgia, France, and Canada. Russia was ranked at number 11.

Read more ..

Germany on Edge

German Court Rules in Favor of "Sharia Police" Under Anti-Brownshirt Laws

July 4th 2017

Shariah police Germany

Even after facing a series of radical Islamist attacks, rapes and assaults, a criminal court in Germany has given its blessing for a quasi-squad of Muslim refugees  and immigrants to act as de facto Sharia police. The court sanctioned these Middle Eastern and North African men to continue enforcing Islamic law in the city of Wuppertal. Of course, there are no female Sharia cops.

Wuppertal is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in and around the river Wupper valley, and is situated east of the city. Wuppertal’s population, according to a 2013 census is about 343,000. However, the German government has allowed hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees to enter the country without any background checks or anti-terrorism investigations.

The statute to which they were acquitted outlaws uniforms that are deemed threatening to the public, such as those of Hitler’s Brown Shirts. Read more ..


The Edge of Autism

Largest-ever Study Examines Autism and Pollution Link During Pregnancy

June 29th 2017

Black infant

A new nationwide study found a doubled autism risk among children of women exposed to high levels of particulate air pollution during pregnancy.

The association was strongest when the exposure occurred during the third trimester. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk.

The researchers saw no increased autism risk if the pollution exposure occurred after birth or before conception.

The study, led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, was funded in part by Autism Speaks. It appears online today in Environmental Health Perspectives.

“It’s important to remember that not all mothers exposed to air pollution during pregnancy will have a child with autism and not all children with autism were necessarily exposed to air pollution in utero,” comments epidemiologist Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks associate director for public health. (Rosanoff was not directly involved in the study.) “We know autism is a complex disorder and underlying genetic and biological factors interact to influence susceptibility,” he says. “The next step is to identify the biological mechanisms that connect air pollution to autism and identify ways to treat if not prevent the harm to brain development.”

Meanwhile, Rosanoff says, the findings suggest a need to revisit public health policies on pollution limits with an eye to reducing exposures, especially among pregnant women.

Bolstering earlier studies
Smaller studies have suggested that exposure to air pollution during pregnancy increases autism risk. However, these earlier studies were limited in scope – tracking pregnant women and their children in just a few communities.

The new investigation spanned all 50 states by tapping into the national Nurses’ Health Study II, which has 116,000 participants. The analysis looked at pollution exposures before, during and after the women’s pregnancies.

Why look at fine particulate matter?
Particulate matter is a mixture of airborne particles and liquid droplets. (See image above.) It comes in a range of sizes and can be composed of many materials and chemicals. The most worrisome are particles small enough to be inhaled. Fine particulate matter (smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter) is of special concern because it can penetrate deep into the lungs. Vehicle exhaust and other combustion byproducts are high in fine particulate matter. So the greatest exposures tend to occur near busy roadways.

The researchers explored the association between autism and exposure to particulate matter before, during and after pregnancy. They also calculated exposure during each pregnancy trimester. In all, the researchers were able to collect this type of complete exposure information for 160 women whose children developed autism. For comparison, they also looked at 1,000 participants whose children who did not develop autism. The two groups were similar in age, socioeconomic status and other factors - aside from pollution exposure - known to influence health risks.

The analysis found that children born to mothers exposed to the highest levels of fine particulate pollution during pregnancy (above 16.7 µg/m3) were twice as likely to develop autism than were children born to mothers exposed to the lowest levels (below 12.3 µg/m3). However, autism rates increased with exposure levels across the range.

The researchers found the most significant association with autism when the exposure occurred during the third trimester.

By contrast, they saw no association when exposure occurred after birth (early infancy) or before the woman conceived.

They also found little association with exposures to large particulate pollution (dust, mold, etc.).

“This not only gives us important insight as we continue to pursue the origins of autism spectrum disorders, but as a modifiable exposure, opens the door to thinking about possible preventative measures,” says senior author Marc Weisskopf.

Developmental pediatrician Paul Wang, Autism Speaks’ head of medical research, concludes:

“These results powerfully add to the accumulating evidence that air pollution is a significant risk factor for autism. In particular, they suggest that exposure during pregnancy, as opposed to early life, is most critical.”

Science hasn’t identified how pollution exerts its effects on the developing brain, Dr. Wang notes. "It may affect brain cells directly, or through pathways associated with inflammation."

A new nationwide study found a doubled autism risk among children of women exposed to high levels of particulate air pollution during pregnancy.

The association was strongest when the exposure occurred during the third trimester. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk.

The researchers saw no increased autism risk if the pollution exposure occurred after birth or before conception.

The study, led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, was funded in part by Autism Speaks. It appears online today in Environmental Health Perspectives.

“It’s important to remember that not all mothers exposed to air pollution during pregnancy will have a child with autism and not all children with autism were necessarily exposed to air pollution in utero,” comments epidemiologist Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks associate director for public health. (Rosanoff was not directly involved in the study.) “We know autism is a complex disorder and underlying genetic and biological factors interact to influence susceptibility,” he says. “The next step is to identify the biological mechanisms that connect air pollution to autism and identify ways to treat if not prevent the harm to brain development.”

Meanwhile, Rosanoff says, the findings suggest a need to revisit public health policies on pollution limits with an eye to reducing exposures, especially among pregnant women.

Bolstering earlier studies
Smaller studies have suggested that exposure to air pollution during pregnancy increases autism risk. However, these earlier studies were limited in scope – tracking pregnant women and their children in just a few communities.

The new investigation spanned all 50 states by tapping into the national Nurses’ Health Study II, which has 116,000 participants. The analysis looked at pollution exposures before, during and after the women’s pregnancies.

Why look at fine particulate matter?
Particulate matter is a mixture of airborne particles and liquid droplets. (See image above.) It comes in a range of sizes and can be composed of many materials and chemicals. The most worrisome are particles small enough to be inhaled. Fine particulate matter (smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter) is of special concern because it can penetrate deep into the lungs. Vehicle exhaust and other combustion byproducts are high in fine particulate matter. So the greatest exposures tend to occur near busy roadways.

The researchers explored the association between autism and exposure to particulate matter before, during and after pregnancy. They also calculated exposure during each pregnancy trimester. In all, the researchers were able to collect this type of complete exposure information for 160 women whose children developed autism. For comparison, they also looked at 1,000 participants whose children who did not develop autism. The two groups were similar in age, socioeconomic status and other factors - aside from pollution exposure - known to influence health risks.

The analysis found that children born to mothers exposed to the highest levels of fine particulate pollution during pregnancy (above 16.7 µg/m3) were twice as likely to develop autism than were children born to mothers exposed to the lowest levels (below 12.3 µg/m3). However, autism rates increased with exposure levels across the range.

The researchers found the most significant association with autism when the exposure occurred during the third trimester.

By contrast, they saw no association when exposure occurred after birth (early infancy) or before the woman conceived.

They also found little association with exposures to large particulate pollution (dust, mold, etc.).

“This not only gives us important insight as we continue to pursue the origins of autism spectrum disorders, but as a modifiable exposure, opens the door to thinking about possible preventative measures,” says senior author Marc Weisskopf.

Developmental pediatrician Paul Wang, Autism Speaks’ head of medical research, concludes:

“These results powerfully add to the accumulating evidence that air pollution is a significant risk factor for autism. In particular, they suggest that exposure during pregnancy, as opposed to early life, is most critical.”

Science hasn’t identified how pollution exerts its effects on the developing brain, Dr. Wang notes. "It may affect brain cells directly, or through pathways associated with inflammation."

A new nationwide study found a doubled autism risk among children of women exposed to high levels of particulate air pollution during pregnancy.

The association was strongest when the exposure occurred during the third trimester. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk.

The researchers saw no increased autism risk if the pollution exposure occurred after birth or before conception.

The study, led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, was funded in part by Autism Speaks. It appears online today in Environmental Health Perspectives.

“It’s important to remember that not all mothers exposed to air pollution during pregnancy will have a child with autism and not all children with autism were necessarily exposed to air pollution in utero,” comments epidemiologist Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks associate director for public health. (Rosanoff was not directly involved in the study.) “We know autism is a complex disorder and underlying genetic and biological factors interact to influence susceptibility,” he says. “The next step is to identify the biological mechanisms that connect air pollution to autism and identify ways to treat if not prevent the harm to brain development.”

Meanwhile, Rosanoff says, the findings suggest a need to revisit public health policies on pollution limits with an eye to reducing exposures, especially among pregnant women.

Bolstering earlier studies
Smaller studies have suggested that exposure to air pollution during pregnancy increases autism risk. However, these earlier studies were limited in scope – tracking pregnant women and their children in just a few communities.

The new investigation spanned all 50 states by tapping into the national Nurses’ Health Study II, which has 116,000 participants. The analysis looked at pollution exposures before, during and after the women’s pregnancies.

Why look at fine particulate matter?
Particulate matter is a mixture of airborne particles and liquid droplets. (See image above.) It comes in a range of sizes and can be composed of many materials and chemicals. The most worrisome are particles small enough to be inhaled. Fine particulate matter (smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter) is of special concern because it can penetrate deep into the lungs. Vehicle exhaust and other combustion byproducts are high in fine particulate matter. So the greatest exposures tend to occur near busy roadways.

The researchers explored the association between autism and exposure to particulate matter before, during and after pregnancy. They also calculated exposure during each pregnancy trimester. In all, the researchers were able to collect this type of complete exposure information for 160 women whose children developed autism. For comparison, they also looked at 1,000 participants whose children who did not develop autism. The two groups were similar in age, socioeconomic status and other factors - aside from pollution exposure - known to influence health risks.

The analysis found that children born to mothers exposed to the highest levels of fine particulate pollution during pregnancy (above 16.7 µg/m3) were twice as likely to develop autism than were children born to mothers exposed to the lowest levels (below 12.3 µg/m3). However, autism rates increased with exposure levels across the range.

The researchers found the most significant association with autism when the exposure occurred during the third trimester.

By contrast, they saw no association when exposure occurred after birth (early infancy) or before the woman conceived.

They also found little association with exposures to large particulate pollution (dust, mold, etc.).

“This not only gives us important insight as we continue to pursue the origins of autism spectrum disorders, but as a modifiable exposure, opens the door to thinking about possible preventative measures,” says senior author Marc Weisskopf.

Developmental pediatrician Paul Wang, Autism Speaks’ head of medical research, concludes:

“These results powerfully add to the accumulating evidence that air pollution is a significant risk factor for autism. In particular, they suggest that exposure during pregnancy, as opposed to early life, is most critical.”

Science hasn’t identified how pollution exerts its effects on the developing brain, Dr. Wang notes. "It may affect brain cells directly, or through pathways associated with inflammation."

A new nationwide study found a doubled autism risk among children of women exposed to high levels of particulate air pollution during pregnancy.

The association was strongest when the exposure occurred during the third trimester. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk.

The researchers saw no increased autism risk if the pollution exposure occurred after birth or before conception.

The study, led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, was funded in part by Autism Speaks. It appears online today in Environmental Health Perspectives.

“It’s important to remember that not all mothers exposed to air pollution during pregnancy will have a child with autism and not all children with autism were necessarily exposed to air pollution in utero,” comments epidemiologist Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks associate director for public health. (Rosanoff was not directly involved in the study.) “We know autism is a complex disorder and underlying genetic and biological factors interact to influence susceptibility,” he says. “The next step is to identify the biological mechanisms that connect air pollution to autism and identify ways to treat if not prevent the harm to brain development.” Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Fox in the Hen House: Allowing Terrorists to Re-enter Prisons

June 29th 2017

prison cell northern ireland flickr

Recent articles by the IPT and other news organizations have addressed the growing concerns regarding the upcoming release of over a hundred inmates convicted of terrorism related crimes. Experts have spoken on the lack of a bona fide strategy that will address the unique security issues presented when a terrorist is released. The need for post release specialized supervision programs is clear.

The one idea that should not be on the table is to allow them to re-enter prisons to speak with inmates as a religious volunteer. Yet this is exactly what has happened in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) for the last two years.

Edwin Lorenzo Lemmons, also known as Asad al Salaam, is an employee of the Muslim Chaplain Services of Virginia. He is licensed in the state as an Islamic clergyman authorized to perform marriages and other religious ceremonies. He has been issued a statewide pass to enter any VADOC facility and speak with inmates. He is currently teaching a class in Arabic for inmates. He is also an ex-offender. While that in itself is not unusual, many ex-offenders, in a desire to give back and help others in similar situations, have successfully done so. This particular ex-offender, Edwin Lorenzo Lemmons, (FBI # 939113RA3), is quite unique. Read more ..


India on Edge

Movement Toward Dalit Emancipation in India Can't Be Halted, Bishop D'Souza Says

June 28th 2017

Dalit Protests

The issue of India's discriminatory Hindu caste system in which hundreds of millions of people are oppressed second-class citizens is now "occupying center space" in India's national politics as two politicians from India's lowest caste have been nominated to be the nation's president.

Bishop Joseph D'Souza, moderating bishop of the Good Shepherd Church of India and president of the All India Christian Council, has praised the fact that two politicians who were born into India's poor and deprived "Dalit" caste will face off in the presidential election in July.

Earlier this month, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the head of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), nominated Bihar governor and Dalit leader Ram Nath Kovind to be the National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate. Read more ..


The Edge of Music

Singer Susan Boyle Brutally Mugged by Teen Gang

June 27th 2017

Music

Susan Boyle, whose rags to riches story has captivated music lovers ever since her Britain’s Got Talent debut, was attacked by a gang of as many as 15 teen assailants near her home in Scotland. Boyle has been regularly victimized by attacks. The latest episode has left her “cowering in fear,” according to a spokesman. The 56-year-old singer has Asperger syndrome and has been deliberately targeted by thugs near her home in Blackburn, West Lothian. She has been subjected to regular verbal abuse, while the group also throws stones at her car. 
 
In one incident, the teens set a piece of paper alight and threw it at her when they spotted Boyle at a shopping mall, and called her an “ugly old bitch.” A witness told The Mirror that members of the gang threw stones, screamed and shouted abuse at the singer while she was riding on a bus.

Boyle has become a favorite in the United Kingdom and throughout the English-speaking world. According to the Sunday Mirror, most of the teens are boys. A spokesman for Boyle is seeking police protection for her.

Read more ..

Women on Edge

Female Genital Mutilation Not Opposed by Liberal Immigrant Groups

June 25th 2017

Woman

Cracking down on a gruesome medical procedure has met opposition fueled by political correctness. According to the Centers for Disease Control estimates, more than half a million young women and girls living in the U.S. are at risk of female genital mutilation.

The procedure is practiced in many African and Middle Eastern countries.  Globally, 3 million young girls have the procedure forced on them each year.  Refugees have imported the practice to the U.S.

Earlier this year, it was learned two Minnesota families took their 7-year old daughters to a Michigan doctor to perform the procedure.

This past spring legislators in Minnesota crafted a bill aimed at eliminating the practice in that state.  Minnesota has a large Somali population.  The bill included education and outreach efforts and increased penalties.

The proposed legislation sailed through the Minnesota House but met fierce opposition in the Senate.

Several immigrant groups opposed the legislation.  They argued the bill was too punitive and it was offensive to some immigrant communities.  Read more ..


Campus Hate

‘I Felt Afraid’ -- Lawsuit Claims Public University Fostered anti-Semitism on Campus

June 20th 2017

Magen David Swastika

A group of students and community members filed a lawsuit Monday against San Francisco State University and its leaders, alleging that the public school has fostered a climate of anti-Semitism “marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus.”

“I didn’t have the right to speak on my own campus; I felt afraid as a Jewish student,” said Jacob Mandel, who just graduated from San Francisco State. It wasn’t just that he was being shouted down at events by students politically opposed to Israel, he said in an interview, but that “the administration was actively working against me. … I felt really powerless.”

Dan Ojeda, university counsel for San Francisco State, responded with a brief statement soon after the lawsuit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California: “The University was not aware of the complaint and has not had an opportunity to review or respond to it.

“We have been working closely with the Jewish community, among other interest groups, to address concerns and improve the campus environment for all students.  Those efforts have been very productive and will continue notwithstanding this lawsuit.”

The suit comes at a time when Muslims and other groups feel increasingly vulnerable, and as debate heats up over free speech and academic freedom on campuses nationally, after controversial speakers have been canceled, protested and shouted down on some campuses — and have even sparked violence and rioting. Read more ..


Palestinians on Edge

U.N. Report Blames Israel for Palestinian Men Beating Their Wives

June 18th 2017

Arab internet

A new report by a United Nations expert, and submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council, blames Israel in part for Palestinian men beating their wives — offering more fuel to those in the Trump administration seeking to leave the council over its anti-Israel bias.

The document, first reported by U.N. Watch, which monitors the international body, was written by Dubravka Šimonović — the Special Rapporteur on violence against women — who filed dual reports based on her trips to the region in 2016. The report in question focuses on the “causes and consequences” of violence against women in the region.

Read more ..

The Edge of Justice

Employee Penalized By Airports Authority For Passover Files Amicus Trump Travel Ban Case

June 15th 2017

Nathan Lewin and Alyza D. Lewin

Lewin & Lewin filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Trump travel ban litigation to alert the Supreme Court to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ conflicting rulings and the  double standard demonstrated by 10 appellate judges  between  a claim of religious anti-Muslim discrimination and a comparable claim of religious bias made by an Orthodox Jewish woman. Susan Abeles’ friend-of-the-court brief demonstrates the disparity in the Fourth Circuit between the summary rejection of her claim of anti-Jewish religious employment discrimination and the Fourth Circuit’s approval of claimed anti-Muslim bias in the Presidential travel ban.

After working for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for 26 years, Susan Abeles lost her job for observing Passover, an important Jewish religious holiday. A Virginia federal district court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Ms. Abeles. Ms. Abeles’ appeal to the Fourth Circuit was supported by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the American Jewish Committee, and the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs. Read more ..


The Urban Edge

Hyper-Local Air Pollution Maps Show Air Quality At Street Level

June 12th 2017

Chicago skyline

The maps were developed with the use of Google Street View cars that were equipped with a sensor system from enviromental sensor company Aclima (San Francisco, CA) designed to collect high-quality air pollution data on moving vehicles day after day. The data was collected over the course of a year in 78 square miles of Oakland, California, providing one of the largest data sets of air pollution ever measured of single city streets according to the researchers.

The new mobile technique is claimed to map urban air pollution at 100,000 times greater spatial resolution than is possible using traditional stationary government air quality monitors, of which there is typically only one for every 100 to 200 square miles. As a result, it enables users to see how dramatically air pollution can vary on even a block-by-block basis and could, say researchers, address major air quality monitoring gaps worldwide as well as shed light on the health effects on city dwellers.

Read more ..

The Farhud

Farewell Salim Fattal, Custodian of Farhud Memory

June 2nd 2017

Expelled Jews from Arab countries

Ever heard of Salim Fattal? Most Jews, especially those in the English-speaking world, will not recognise the name. But among the Jews of Iraq, Salim Fattal is a giant of a man. First and foremost, he will be remembered as the custodian of the memory of the Farhud, the 1941 pogrom which sounded the beginning of the end for the Jewish community of Iraq.

Salim Fattal died on May 31, in Israel at the age of 87. A writer, film director and pioneer of Arabic broadcasting in Israel, his passing occurred 76 years to the day since the outbreak of the Farhud, an event he did so much to document. In 2012, he came to London to show to members of my organisation Harif the first episode of the TV series he made in the 1960s, recording eye-witness testimonies. Salim Fattal broke down while recalling the murder of his uncle in the Farhud. Read more ..


India on Edge

A Monumental Shift in India's Caste System

May 28th 2017

Dalit Woman in native dress

The basis of India's caste system is the preservation of the purity of blood, and, if India is honest with herself, such ideology is a close cousin to the Aryanism that drove Nazi Germany to eventually murder countless millions in order to promote "racial purity."

According to the Manusmriti — the manual on the caste system — the blood of the upper castes gets polluted when there is a mixed marriage with someone from a lower caste. Detailed instructions are therefore outlined in order to prevent inter-caste relations of any kind, including marriage. The consequences of violating them can be dire: in some cases, families have publicly lynched their sons and daughters because they were in an inter-caste relationship. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Syria Has Effectively Ceased to Exist

May 27th 2017

Medvedev and Assad

On my last night in Damascus, some younger members of the Ministry of Information-sponsored delegation in which I was taking part decided to have a drink. It was late April, and the bars and restaurants were doing good business in the cool and breezy evenings. An inebriated Russian journalist, accompanied by a uniformed Russian soldier entered the bar opposite our hotel in the Old City where my colleagues were sitting. Words were exchanged. An altercation began.

At a certain point, the Russian journalist produced a pistol and aimed it at the forehead of one of the delegation's participants. He then entered our hotel, and threatened one of the employees there, all with his uniformed colleague silently accompanying him. Read more ..


Germany on Edge

Europe: Muslim Atrocities against Women? So What!

May 24th 2017

Turkish Flags

It happened again last week. Two Turkish nationals in Schwerin, Germany were arrested for raping a 13-year-old girl after forcing themselves into her home.

Recently, a judge in Germany acquitted a Turkish drug dealer of raping one of his customers last August. He had forced himself on her for four hours and left her incapacitated for weeks. He told the judge that in the culture from where he came, what she "had experienced as rape" might be considered merely "wild sex."

What "culture" is this?

According to the Turkish women's rights organization "We Will Stop the Murders of Women," which publishes monthly reports, in March of this year alone, 35 women were killed; 14 others were exposed to sexual violence, and 63 children were molested. Many children, the report said, had been sexually abused for years, and often attempted suicide. Read more ..


Campus Hate

Proposed Michigan Law would Suspend Students for Suppressing Speech

May 21st 2017

Boycott Divest Israel demo

A Michigan state senator recently introduced a bill that would require public institutions to suspend students found responsible for disrupting speech. Senate Bill 350 is one of two free-speech bills (the other is SB 349) proposed by Republican Sen. Patrick Colbeck, both of which would expand free-speech protections for college student and eliminate so-called “free speech zones.” “Schools are not abiding by the First Amendment now despite clear legal precedent for them to do so.”

[RELATED: MAP: Campus free-speech bills gaining steam nationwide]

SB 350, though, proffers an additional stipulation that would require all public colleges and universities in the state to adopt a “statement warning that any student who has twice been found responsible for infringing upon the expressive rights of others will be suspended for a minimum of 1 year or expelled.”

Read more ..


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