The Race for EVs
|Christoph Hammerschmidt ||April 14th 2017|
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The Electromobility Index periodically compares the competitive positions of the seven most important automotive geographies China, France, Germany Italy, Japan South Korea and USA in terms of technology, industrialization and market.
According to the study, Germany currently holds the technology pole position in the race about electromobility – a little bit surprising, given the success of Tesla in the US and the relatively high market penetration of electric vehicles in France. Wolfgang Bernhardt, Roland Berger Partner and expert for automobile markets, explains why.
Israel on Edge
|Edwin Black||April 10th 2017|
pproximately two million Children of Israel are now encamped in the Sinai following their extraordinary exodus from Egypt yesterday. Just days ago, they were slaves to Pharaoh. Today, they are free men and women, destined for self-determination in a land of their own. Only now are the details of their fantastic experience coming to light.
The dramatic sequence of events began some weeks ago with the unexpected return of exiled prince Moses, who previously fled Pharaoh’s wrath after slaying a taskmaster. In his daring appearance at the Palace, the inarticulate Moses, speaking through his brother Aaron, declared himself to be the personal emissary of a powerful new “God,” previously unknown to the Royal Court. Moreover, Moses asserted that his God was the protector of the Children of Israel, who have been in bondage for more than four centuries in Egypt.
The entire Royal Court was aghast as Moses demanded that the Children of Israel be permitted to travel three days into the desert for an unprecedented “feast and sacrifice” to their God. Making clear that he was not asking a Court indulgence, Moses looked straight at Pharaoh, stamped his roughhewn staff and issued the ultimatum that would be his rallying call during the coming days: “Let my people go.”
Laughter echoed throughout the hall as Pharaoh sneered, “Who is your ‘God?’ I know him not. Nor will I let Israel go!” Read more ..
The Trump Era
President Donald Trump faces problems in the building of a security barrier or “border wall” between the United States and Mexico. But thanks to some GOP lawmakers, including Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers, who is a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, and serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, there is a new bill introduced in the House of Representatives that will help in achieving this important security barrier. Part of Trump’s border security plan is the use of surveillance drones to alert Border Patrol agents.
Congressman Mike Rogers introduced HR 1813, the Border Wall Funding Act of 2017. This bill, which is supported and endorsed by FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, would impose a 2% fee on all remittances headed south of the US border. Remittances, or wire transfers, are commonly used by illegal immigrants to move money from the US to their home countries. In 2014, Mexico alone received over $24 billion in remittances sent from the US, while other South and Central American countries received over 15% of their GDPs in the form of remittances. Read more ..
China on Edge
|Rodger Baker||April 7th 2017|
Flying into Singapore's Changi Airport, one is struck by the fleet of ships lined up off shore, the tendrils of a global trade network squeezing through the narrow Malacca Strait. Singapore is the hub, the connector between the Indian Ocean, South China Sea and Pacific. Since the late 1970s, with little exception, trade has amounted to some 300 percent of Singapore's total gross domestic product, with exports making up between 150 and 230 percent of GDP. Singapore is the product of global trade, and the thriving multiethnic city-state can trace its trade role back centuries.
Having arrived in Singapore from Auckland, the contrast was stunning. It's not that New Zealand isn't heavily integrated into global trade networks — some 50 percent of its GDP is based on trade, and since its early days as a British colony it has been heavily dependent on distant trade partners. Read more ..
The Edge of Terrorism
|Cynthia Farahat||April 4th 2017|
Middle East Quarterly
What to make of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)? During the Obama years, it became commonplace for the U.S. administration and its Western acolytes to portray the Muslim Brotherhood as a moderate option to "more radical" Muslim groups. Thus, for example, U.S. director of National Intelligence James Clapper incredibly described the organization as "largely secular" while John Esposito of Georgetown University claimed that "Muslim Brotherhood affiliated movements and parties have been a force for democratization and stability in the Middle East."
On the other hand, in 2014, the United Arab Emirates formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood and its local and international affiliates, including the U.S. based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), as inter-national terrorist groups. Read more ..
Iran on Edge
|Abigail R. Esman||March 24th 2017|
On a warm day last April, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe dressed her toddler Gabrielle, kissed her parents goodbye, and set off to catch her flight back home to London.
She never made it.
Instead, Islamic Revolutionary Guards apprehended the then-37-year-old at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport and transported her to Iran's infamous Evin prison, where prisoners are routinely tortured and women subjected regularly to sexual abuse and rape.
In September, the dual British-Iranian citizen, who had been visiting her parents in Tehran before being apprehended, was sentenced to five years imprisonment on vague "national security charges." Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Dan Posnansky||March 22nd 2017|
|Jonathan Spyer||March 16th 2017|
The Jerusalem Post
On the surface, the wars in Syria and Iraq are continuing at full intensity. The fight between Iraqi government forces and Islamic State in western Mosul is proving a slow, hard slog.
This week, government forces captured the police directorate and the courts complex in the city, moving toward the denser warren of the Old City. The jihadists are fighting for every inch of ground.
Further west, the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) succeeded in cutting the last road from the Islamic State capital of Raqqa to its stronghold in Deir al-Zor.
In the fight between the Assad regime and the Sunni Arab rebellion against it, a rebel attempt at a counterattack in the city of Deraa has led to renewed bloodshed. The regime is continuing its attacks on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta east of Damascus, despite a new Russian-brokered cease-fire. Read more ..
Israel on Edge
|Jeff Morgan||March 14th 2017|
On Sunday, March 26, I will have the honor of leading a seminar discussion and wine tasting at the annual AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C. The seminar is called “The Politics of Wine in Israel.” I will be joined by Israeli winemakers Yaacov Berg (Psagot Winery) and Nir Pelter (Pelter/Matar Winery). Also with us will be wine importer Jay Buchsbaum, from Royal Wines, the largest importer of Israeli wine in the U.S.
In a recent blog, I wrote about Israel’s wine renaissance. It truly is a rekindling of a distant time when Israeli wine was considered to be among the best in the world, circa 2,500 years ago! Our own California winery, Covenant, has invested in Israel since 2013, when we began making wine there as well.
The current crop of modern-day Israeli wineries is a testament to Jewish winemaking heritage and tradition. In the last 20 years, we have seen a rise in wine quality as well as the number of Israeli wineries, which number well over 300 today. Yet Israel’s wine culture remains besieged by a foreign amalgam of meddlers. Read more ..
The Anthropological Edge
|Annalee Newitz||March 9th 2017|
There are two central mysteries about human history in Australia. First, when did people arrive on the world's southernmost inhabitable continent? And second, how did they colonize it? A paper in Nature offers new answers, based on an extensive analysis of decades-old DNA.
The Edge of Film
|Penelope Poulou||February 10th 2017|
The 89th Academy Awards are upon us, and critics and Hollywood insiders are placing bets on which nominees will go home with the coveted statuette. The idea of the Academy is to judge films on their artistic merit, but as always, political considerations and even current events can have an impact on who wins an Oscar.
Damien Chazelle’s nostalgic musical La La Land may be the big winner this year. The film offers a tribute to Hollywood musicals, has great cinematography, good music and a tear-jerking story; but, some critics question if the film really deserves all of its 14 nominations. That number has been equaled by only two other movies throughout Hollywood history: the 1950s drama All About Eve starring Bette Davis, and James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic.
Ads, money influence Oscars
Giovanna Chesler, director of the Film and Video Studies program at George Mason University in Virginia, says that as in any other campaign, robust advertising and a large amount of money can have as much influence as artistic merit in securing a film’s road to the Oscars.
She says that in some categories, such as the Documentary category, filmmakers have to submit a $50,000 fee just to be considered for a nomination. She says such fees guarantee screenings of the prospective nominees’ films in core markets during the Oscar season.
A filmmaker herself, Chesler says she has renewed faith in the Oscars because, as she puts it, “in this year’s nominees you see more talent reflected, not just the marketing ability of the industry.”
Oscars less white
There are more nominations for minority films and actors. She points to art films like Moonlight, a coming-of-age drama about an African-American boy growing up in a drug-infested community, and Denzel Washington’s movie adaptation of the play Fences, about a struggling husband and father who, despite his personal flaws, is working hard to make his mark in the world. Read more ..
The Edge of Nature
|Ewen Callaway||February 7th 2017|
Any insect unlucky enough to land on the mouth-like leaves of an Australian pitcher plant will meet a grisly end. The plant's prey is drawn into a vessel-like ‘pitcher’ organ where a specialized cocktail of enzymes digests the victim.
Now, by studying the pitcher plant's genome—and comparing its insect-eating fluids to those of other carnivorous plants—researchers have found that meat-eating plants the world over have hit on the same deadly molecular recipe, even though they are separated by millions of years of evolution.
“We’re really looking at a classic case of convergent evolution,” says Victor Albert, a plant-genome scientist at the University of Buffalo, New York, who co-led the study. Read more ..
Obama and Israel
|A. Savyon and Yigal Carmon and U. Kafash||February 4th 2017|
On January 30, 2017, U.S. sources announced that Iran had conducted a failed test of a new ballistic missile,the Khorramshahr. According to reports, the missile exploded after a 965-km flight. Both Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif (on January 31) and Defense Minister Dehghan (on February 1) stressed that Iran "asks permission from no one in the matter of its defense program."
It should be emphasized that contrary to statements by Iranian regime spokesmen who say that Iran's missile program is defensive, missiles with a 2,000-km range are strictly offensive and strategic. This is why Iran has faced constant demands to stop developing them. Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Martin Barillas||February 2nd 2017|
According to a report by the Washington Post, some 180 federal employees have registered for training on the February 4-5 weekend in both the rights of workers and in civil disobedience. The report said that dozens of federal bureaucrats attended a support group that foments opposition to the Trump administration, less than two weeks after the inauguration President Donald Trump.
While the Post report pointed out the obvious public protests that have emerged since the beginning of the Trump administration, “there’s another level of resistance to the new president that is less visible and potentially more troublesome,” it said. This “growing wave of opposition,” the report said, is from within the federal government and federal employees who are supposed to implement the new president’s policies to the administration: a growing wave of opposition from the federal workers charged with implementing any new president’s agenda. Read more ..
The Edge of Terrorism
|Ammar Anwer||January 28th 2017|
I grew up in Rawalpindi, a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan, in a family who had links with the Deoband school of thought (A sub-sect of Sunni Islam in the sub-continent) and Jamaat-e-Islami, the largest Islamist Party in the sub-continent. I was inspired by the influential Islamist scholar of the 20th century, the founder of Jamaat -e-Islami, Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maududi.
Maududi thought that a state could either be religious or irreligious. Therefore, he did not agree with the view that secularism is just the separation of religion from a state's affairs. In fact, he strongly argued that secularism would give rise to atheism, or a lack of belief, in society. He saw religion as the ultimate source of morality, therefore, when people become un-Islamic, society would also become unethical. Read more ..
The War Against Christianity
|Martin Barillas||January 20th 2017|
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Nearly 1 million Christians have been murdered for their faith over the last decade, according to research conducted by a think tank affiliated with the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. Additionally, the annual report by Gordon-Conwell's Center for the Study of Global Christianity found that as many as 90,000 Christians were martyred in the last year, or approximately 900,000 or more.
The finding that one Christian every six minutes were killed in 2016 was leaked by Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne in a December 2016 interview. The report on the leak received considerable media attention before the actual release of the annual report. The center asserts that an average of 90,000 Christians have died each year on average from 2005 to 2015.
An email from the organization to supporters read, "In the last week, several news organizations reported on the persecution of Christians around the world and cited our figure of 90,000 Christian martyrs in 2016."
The Edge of Terrorism
|John Rossomando||January 14th 2017|
Time continues to tick away for former CIA agent Sabrina de Sousa, who faces extradition from Portugal to Italy Tuesday to face a four-year jail sentence for her involvement in the highly classified Bush era extraordinary rendition of a radical Muslim cleric known as Abu Omar.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has been aggressively advocating on her behalf.
An Italian court convicted de Sousa in absentia in 2009 for allegedly planning the operation. None of the defendants were informed of the charges against them by their Italian court-appointed lawyers. She never was informed of the charges against her before the trial.
"The trial was a prosecutor's dream. You have a court where you have no American defendants," de Sousa said. Read more ..
The Edge of Science
|Dina Fine Maron||January 11th 2017|
The Pentagon’s research and development division, DARPA—the creative force behind the internet and GPS—retooled itself three years ago to create a new office dedicated to unraveling biology’s engineering secrets. The new Biological Technologies Office (BTO) has a mission to “harness the power of biological systems” and design new defense technology. Over the past year, with a budget of about $296 million, it has been exploring challenges including memory improvement, human–machine symbiosis and speeding up disease detection and response.
DARPA, or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is hoping for some big returns. The director of its BTO, neuroprosthetic researcher Justin Sanchez, recently spoke with Scientific American about what to expect from his office in 2017, including work on neural implants to aid healthy people in their everyday lives and other advances that he says will “change the game” in medicine. Read more ..
Hannity sat down with Assange in London's Ecuadorian embassy, where the Australian native has been holed up for five years battling extradition to Sweden on unrelated charges. Part I of the interview is set to air Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on Fox News Channel's "Hannity."
In excerpts released prior to airing, Assange is adamant that the hacked emails his organization released of Clinton official John Podesta did not come from Russia, as the Obama administration has claimed.
“We can say, we have said, repeatedly that over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party,” Assange said.
More than 50,000 emails were released during the 2016 presidential campaign, exposing dubious practices at the Clinton Foundation, top journalists working closely with the Clinton campaign, key Clinton aides speaking derisively of Catholics and a top Democratic National Committee official providing debate questions to Clinton in advance.
Hannity told Fox News' Bill Hemmer "I believe everything (Assange) said," and praised the Internet activist for his commitment to government transparency. Read more ..
Obama and Israel
|Daniel Pipes||December 30th 2016|
Cutting Edge contributor
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How to explain the recent uproar in U.S.-Israel relations? I refer to President Barack Obama's decision to abstain at the U.N. Security Council, precisely contradicting his own views of just a few years earlier; Secretary of State John Kerry's 75-minute rant against Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu; and Netanyahu's intemperate responses, such as warning the New Zealand government that its support for the UNSC resolution amounts to a "declaration of war."
High politics of this sort is usually viewed through the lens of ideas and principles. But at times, it's better to leave all that behind and look at psychology - in other words, the basic human emotions and relations we all experience.
The Race for Alternative Fuels
|Marc J. Rauch||December 19th 2016|
THE AUTO CHANNEL
I first learned about the potential of alternative engine fuels in the late 1970's while doing some unrelated marketing research in the giant New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. I came across a book that described turning corn and other farm crops into ethanol and methanol.
For a guy who grew up primarily in Brooklyn and Queens, farming was as alien to me as the dark side of the moon. Nevertheless, the story was riveting because it presented economic possibilities that made my head spin: replacing foreign petroleum oil fuels with domestically produced fuels from crops...WOW!
With the 1970's oil crisis still very much on my mind (and on the minds of most Americans), it was a thrilling discovery. But as I was busy trying to build an advertising agency the last thing I could focus on was where to build silos in NYC to house all the harvested crops needed to produce biofuels. Read more ..
|By Martin Barillas||December 17th 2016|
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According to WSB-TV Atlanta, three state election agencies are confirming that their systems were subjected to cyber attacks linked to Department of Homeland Security IP addresses. The report says that Georgia, Kentucky, and West Virginia have reported attacks. Aaron Diamant
of WSB-TV posted on Twitter, “Documents we just got show WV & KY elections agencies link suspected cyber atracks [sic] to same DHS IP address as GA incident.”
In an interview with Diamant, the Secretary of State of Georgia, Brian Kemp, said that his agency has endured cyber attacks since February. All of the intrusions have been traced back to internet provider addresses for the federal Department of Homeland Security. "We're being told something that they think they have it figured out, yet nobody's really showed us how this happened,” Kemp said. "We need to know." Kemp has informed President-elect Donald Trump of the developments and has demanded an investigation.
The Trump Era
|James Kouri||December 15th 2016|
One of the main issues that propelled Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to victory was the promise of a wall being built at the United States border with Mexico. The response by the news media, their favorite Democratic politicians and illegal-immigration advocates was astounding, with newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the Internet awash in comments that Trump was a racist, a bigot, and a xenophobic bully.
But the truth — noticeably avoided by the media — is that the U.S. Congress passed a bill and it was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006 ordering a wall to be built at the U.S.-Mexican border and more Border Patrol agents should be hired for the Southern border.
“The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, required DHS to complete construction by December 31, 2008, of either 370 miles or other mileage determined by the Secretary, of reinforced fencing along the southwest border wherever the Secretary determines it would be most practical and effective in deterring smugglers and aliens attempting illegal entry,” according to Global Security. Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Armstrong Williams||December 8th 2016|
Cutting Edge Contributor
In recent days the media has been abuzz with speculation over cabinet appointments within the incoming President-elect Donald Trump administration. Specifically, much talk has focused on Dr. Ben Carson and his announcement that he was not interested in serving in a cabinet post.
Observers have tried to read the tea leaves and read into some underlying story as to how Dr. Carson arrived at this decision and what it signals. However, they are missing the point.
I have known Dr. Carson and his family for 25 years. This is a man who possesses remarkable vision. He imagined possibilities in his chosen field of medicine and then made them a reality.
He was the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the United States at the age of 33 when appointed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1984. He has served on the boards of major companies like Costco and Kellogg, received more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees, numerous national merit citations, and was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008. And yet, arguably the most important thing that makes Dr. Benjamin Carson a fantastic appointee for the cabinet position of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is his compassion.
Dr. Carson believes that whenever there is a concentration of people with a lot of poverty, it doesn’t matter what their race is. A multitude of conflict and the types of trouble we have seen over the past decade will continue if we aren’t able to carry out the mission of HUD. HUD's mission to create "strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all… improving the quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.” Read more ..
Democrats in Disarray
|Steven Emerson||November 30th 2016|
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's announcement earlier this month that he wants to be the Democratic National Committee's next chairman drew quick support from several key lawmakers, including Jewish senators Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders.
Ellison backers also have defended him against claims he may hold anti-Semitic views in addition to being anti-Israel. A column in Israel's liberal daily Haaretz quotes two rabbis praising Ellison, D-Minn., as "the best of our constitutional democracy and the best of America" and "an extraordinary leader. Anyone who would associate him with any kind of hatred hasn't met him and certainly hasn't worked with him."
A 2010 audio of Ellison speaking at a private fundraiser obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism calls such praise into question. In a fairly intimate setting, Ellison lashed out at what he sees as Israel's disproportionate influence in American foreign policy. That will change, he promised, as more Muslims gained political influence: Read more ..
Turkey on Edge
|Stephen Schwartz and Veli Sirin||November 23rd 2016|
The Weekly Standard
Turkey's Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, appears as the sole person in his country's politics who knows what he wants. Erdoğan seeks absolute power and acts against all obstacles to his ambitions. He is eager to identify new "enemies" whose purported conspiracies he believes justify his harsh rule.
Through the end of October and most of November, Erdoğan has carried out a spree of enhanced repressive measures. This latest onslaught reflects his current fixation on a referendum, proposed for spring 2017, to ratify or reject constitutional amendments that would provide a dramatic increase in his presidential powers. Read more ..
Palestinians on Edge
|Mohammed Daraghmeh||November 21st 2016|
Hatem Abu Riziq used to prowl the narrow alleyways of the West Bank's largest refugee camp battling the Israeli army. But these days he is turning his gun's barrel toward the Palestinian leadership.
With the long-ruling Palestinian Fatah faction torn by rivalries, fierce shootouts between Palestinian security forces and Fatah-aligned gunmen have erupted in recent months, plunging the Balata camp into unrest and lawlessness.
The violence, much of it directed at a Fatah leadership seen as corrupt and out of touch, comes as the movement prepares to hold an overdue leadership conference at the end of the month and reflects a combustible power struggle between the faction's aging leader, President Mahmoud Abbas, and exiled rival Mohammed Dahlan, a former top aide who has the backing of some gunmen and disaffected Fatah activists. Read more ..
The Edge of Terrorism
|Abigail R. Esman||November 14th 2016|
Another week, another barrage of headlines illustrating the depth of Europe's terror threat. The following examples came during a 24 hour window earlier this month: "Schiphol Airport Was Possibly A Target Of Terror Cell That Attacked Paris;" "Police In Brussels Stabbed In Possible Terror Attack;" and "MI5 Missed Chance To Foil Paris And Brussels Attacks."
It is news to no one that Islamic terrorism is everywhere now, and principally in Northern and Central Europe. But the three news stories, and the Schiphol and MI5 revelations in particular, demonstrate the enormity of the challenges now facing European counterterrorism officials. Read more ..
Poland on Edge
|Rachel Donadio||November 12th 2016|
New York Times
Conceived nearly a decade ago in a moment of pan-European
optimism, the Museum of the Second World War here seeks to tell a story of
devastation that transcended national boundaries. Its collection includes
Soviet and American tanks; keys to the homes of Jews murdered by their Polish
neighbors in the village of Jedwabne; flags from the Polish Home Army, which
fought the Nazis; and an Enigma encoding machine.
But today, this state-financed museum’s fate is uncertain, caught up in the
country’s cultural and political battles. After five years of construction, at
a cost of 449 million zlotys (about $114 million), the museum may not open in
January, as scheduled. Even if it does, the government may starve it of
Piotr Glinski, the culture minister of Poland’s conservative government, has
criticized the museum’s expansive approach and says it should focus more on the
Polish experience. In a move that would oust the museum’s director, the
minister has called for the museum to merge with another museum, which exists
only in name. That institution is dedicated to the Battle of Westerplatte, the
first battle of the war in September 1939, when Polish forces fended off the
Nazis before surrendering — an event he regards as more symbolic of heroic
Polish self-defense. Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Martin Barillas||November 11th 2016|
Online media and newspapers were quick to pick up a story that Muslim female student in Louisiana was assaulted by two white men wearing Donald Trump clothing who allegedly stole her headscarf and wallet. The assault supposedly took place just hours after President-elect Trump’s electoral victory.
The female student at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette alleged that she was walking on campus at 11:00 a.m. on November 10 when two white men descended from a grey four-door sedan and struck her with the metal object and knocked her to the ground, according to local reports. The men allegedly tore off the student’s headscarf and stole her wallet. She claimed that they kicked her as well. She told police that one of the men was wearing a white cap that had the word “Trump” on it. While local authorities did not say whether the alleged victim is Muslim, they did describe her headscarf as a “hijab,” a garment worn by Muslim women. Read more ..
|Martin Barillas||November 7th 2016|
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In emails revealed by the WikiLeaks
hacking organization led by open-government advocate Julian Assange, CNN asked staff at the Democratic National Committee to pitch questions to ask Republican presidential primary contenders Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in the early months of 2016. Entitled “Cruz on CNN,” an email sent by DNC research director Lauren Dillon on April 28 to fellow Democrats says, “CNN is looking for questions. Please send some topical/interesting ones.”
Days before, in advance of an interview Trump was scheduled to have with CNN news anchor Wolf Blitzer, Dillon asked for questions, too. In an email entitled, “CNN questions for Trump,” Dillon wrote, “Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Trump on Tues ahead of his foreign policy address on Wed.”
The Digital Edge
|Larry Greenemeier||November 2nd 2016|
With this year’s approaching holiday gift season the rapidly growing “Internet of Things” or IoT—which was exploited to help shut down parts of the Web this past Friday—is about to get a lot bigger, and fast. Christmas and Hanukkah wish lists are sure to be filled with smartwatches, fitness trackers, home-monitoring cameras and other wi-fi–connected gadgets that connect to the internet to upload photos, videos and workout details to the cloud. Unfortunately these devices are also vulnerable to viruses and other malicious software (malware) that can be used to turn them into virtual weapons without their owners’ consent or knowledge.
The recent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks—in which tens of millions of hacked devices were exploited to jam and take down internet computer servers—is an ominous sign for the Internet of Things. A DDoS is a cyber attack in which large numbers of devices are programmed to request access to the same Web site at the same time, creating data traffic bottlenecks that cut off access to the site. In this case the still-unknown attackers used malware known as “Mirai” to hack into devices whose passwords they could guess, because the owners either could not or did not change the devices’ default passwords. Read more ..
The Edge of Health
|Laurie Powell||November 1st 2016|
Focus for Health
Just when we thought we had it all figured out… what was the good fat: olive oil… what was the bad fat: lard & butter. Just when we got used to fat free milk and yogurt, those low-cal store-bought cookies over homemade cookies, and the slimming breakfast shakes, BAM! We get the smack down. Turns out all those diet drinks and low fat foods we were consuming were low in fat but full of sugar. And, surprise, surprise. Fat isn’t the culprit for making America obese and diabetic. It’s been the sugar all along. SMH! Last month, The New York Times exposed the sugar industry’s false “scientific” health data showing the increase in heart disease caused by a diet that includes fat. They covered their own sweet buns about the unsubstantiated risk of a high fat diet and the very real dangers of sugar. Read more ..
|Yori Yalon||October 31st 2016|
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A 1,000-year-old early Muslim inscription provides yet more crucial proof of Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem.
At a conference on Thursday, archaeologists Assaf Avraham and Perez Reuven presented an ancient Muslim inscription that refers to the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount as "Bait al-Maqdess," an Arabicized version of the Hebrew words for the Temple, Beit Hamikdash.
The inscription was discovered at a recently excavated central mosque in the village of Nuba near Hebron.
The conference also presented other sources from the early Muslim period referring to the Dome of the Rock as "al-Maqdess." These findings demonstrate how Jewish tradition influenced the religious worldview of nascent Islam in the seventh century.
"At the start of the Muslim period, religious rites were held inside the Dome of the Rock compound that imitated the ceremonies conducted in the Jewish Temple," Avraham said at the conference.
"The people who conducted those ceremonies would purify themselves, change their clothes, burn incense, anoint the rock with oil, place curtains around the Foundation Stone, just like the ornamental curtain that existed in the [Jewish] Temple.
"In addition, those worshippers would wear ceremonial clothing and use incense burners over the Foundation Stone. These actions teach us that the Muslims saw the Dome of the Rock as the continuance of the Jewish Temple."
Israelis and Palestinians
|Sam Orez||October 28th 2016|
RT and agencies
An Israeli-Palestinian summit in Moscow would be a “thoroughly prepared” event aimed at reviving the reconciliation process, rather than yet another meeting for the sole purpose of holding talks, the Russian Foreign Ministry says. Moscow is continuing consultations with both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but does not “force” the events, because the revival of reconciliation talks is a “sensitive matter,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told TASS upon his return from Israel on Thursday.
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“This issue is very sensitive for the both sides. That’s why we’re currently undergoing the process of preparations and coordination with both sides. So far it happens through diplomatic contacts,” Gatilov said.
|Rachel Bracker||October 25th 2016|
ISRAEL21c, a non-profit organization and online news source, has launched an interactive, multi-media exhibition that explores the global reach of Israel’s humanitarian aid and development assistance.
“My Name Is Israel” is the second in ISRAEL21c’s series of Do-It-Yourself exhibitions for readers and users. The exhibit covers 15 ways that Israel has sent aid to 140 countries, including disaster relief, community building and medical care.
It include articles, photos and videos that show disaster relief for earthquakes, floods and hurricanes—including search and rescue, medical aid, psychological assistance, and post-disaster assistance efforts—as well as efforts to bring clean water and efficient agricultural practices to developing countries. Read more ..
The Race for Energy Conservation
|Jim Bird||October 19th 2016|
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Much time is spent discussing the need for more efficient use of limited energy resources, and with good reason. Energy demand continues to grow and the number of loads is predicted to climb exponentially as Internet of Things (IoT) deployment becomes real. In 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published an enlightening (and somewhat sobering) document titled More Data, Less Power.
It’s a 170-page fact-laden discussion of global IT energy usage with recommendations for managing the predicted growth of worldwide power consumption over the next few decades. The list of contributors is impressive, including the U.S. Department of Energy, tier-one telecom manufacturers, big data, big network and everyone in-between.
|Sam Orez||October 17th 2016|
from Fox and agencies
Hillary Clinton’s aides and supporters expressed concern about public perception of the Clinton family’s charitable enterprise, with one left-leaning pundit writing that Clinton seemed unaware of the “danger” of her “money problem,” according to purported emails just disclosed by Wikileaks.
Opinion columnist Brent Budowsky was chiefly concerned with the potential damage that could be caused by the publication of Peter Schweizer’s 2015 book “Clinton Cash,” emails show. The bestseller explored whether there was a relationship between donations made from foreign entities to The Clinton Foundation and the contracts that were approved by then-Secretary of State Clinton for foreign companies. Hillary Clinton has denied the allegations of quid pro quo.
“I have been vigorously criticizing the Schweizer book, but I absolutely believe the Clintons have a money problem, and they are not fully aware of the danger of this,” Brent Budowsky wrote in an April 26, 2015, email to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.
Budowsky warned that congressional Republicans could try to ensnare Clinton in “a long-term perjury trap and endless cycles of news stories.” He was also troubled the public could grow weary “talking about Clinton issues and may simply want to move on.” Read more ..
London on Edge
|Steve Emerson||October 15th 2016|
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According to the Sunday Times of London, the British Home Office is attempting to censor a new report that accuses the government of failing to integrate immigrants and tackle counter extremism, "by allowing some areas to operate as if they were Muslim-only zones."
Authored by Dame Louise Casey, the government's integration tsar appointed by David Cameron, the report's release has been delayed for months after Home Office officials intervened because of its findings.
In an October 9 article, the Sunday Times states the report blames the government for its failure to mitigate the rapid pace of immigration and to implement a coherent strategy to enhance the integration of various communities. The report also describes how the government allows certain Muslim-dominated regions to operate independently, where state schools shut down for Islamic prayers on Friday.
Sweden on Edge
|Martin Barillas||October 13th 2016|
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Swedes are outraged after reports circulated that seven male asylum-seekers attacked and raped a wheelchair-bound woman. Swedish poilce report that the 30-year-old disabled woman was gang raped by the six men after she had asked to use a toilet at an asylum center after sharing a taxi with a resident of the center. Once she was invited inside, she was raped by the man and six of his fellow migrants. Furious Swede assailed a migrant reception center in Visby, chucking rocks at it. Attorney Staffan Fredriksson, the victim's representative, told local newspaper Aftonbladlet: "She followed him in and had no fears that something would happen. Then the man took advantage of the situation. The abuse started in the toilet. Where they came from we don’t know. This was going on for a couple of hours. She got paralyzed in this situation and was not able to bring herself to resist physically, other than saying no.”
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