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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Schizophrenia linked to sleep abnormality: Study

Healthier people were found to have higher levels of sleep spindle activity than people with schizophrenia. Photo by Wokandapix/Pixabay

BOSTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A sleep abnormality likely plays a role in the onset of schizophrenia, researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center suggest in a new study.
In the study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, investigators sought to develop a better understanding of the genetics that regulate individual sleep patterns, and how they relate to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. The research team says the mental ailment can be traced to sleep spindle activity in the brain.

"One of the most exciting advances in sleep research over the last decade has been the growing understanding of sleep's causal relationship to psychiatric disorders," senior author Robert Stickgold said in a press release. "Here, we reviewed the evidence that reduced sleep spindle activity predates the onset of schizophrenia and contributes to its cognitive deficits and other symptoms."
To test their hypothesis, Stickgold and his team examined a host of studies which linked spindle activity with cognitive functions associated with schizophrenia, which includes poor motor memory and learning in addition to lower IQ. Healthy people, the researchers found, have higher spindle activity, suggesting a lull in their performance may be linked to psychiatric disorders.
"It makes sense that if you have a deficit in these spindles, you'll also have a deficit in these cognitive functions," Stickgold explained. "But it wasn't known if reduced sleep spindle activity was a basic feature of schizophrenia or a side effect of living with it and taking medications for a decade or longer."
Stickgold went on to add that while individuals with depressed sleep spindle activity may not have schizophrenia themselves, they share half of their genes with someone who does. The research team says their findings may link spindle activity to a broader range of mental ailments.
"t's becoming increasingly clear that sleep not only controls memory and emotional processing in all of us, but that deficits in sleep probably contribute to a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, ADHD, bipolar disorder, PTSD and depression," Stickgold added. "Now we can begin tracing it all the way from the genes to the disorders themselves."

Monday, 17 October 2016

Abu Dhabi Launches Israeli Surveillance System

  • News Code : 786126
  • Source : Middleeasteye

In a new step of Arab-"Israeli" normalization, authorities in Abu Dhabi announced on Wednesday the launch of an emirate-wide surveillance system installed by an "Israeli"-owned security company.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The Abu Dhabi Monitoring and Control Centre [ADMCC] said the new Falcon Eye surveillance system "links thousands of cameras spread across the city, as well as thousands of other cameras installed at facilities and buildings in the emirate".

An official statement reported by Arabian Business said Falcon Eye will "help control roads by monitoring traffic violations while also monitoring significant behaviors in the city [Abu Dhabi] such as public hygiene and human assemblies in non-dedicated areas".

Major General Mohammed Khalfan al-Romaithi, who heads the Abu Dhabi police force and chairs the ADMCC, said Falcon Eye is "part of the vision of the emirate of Abu Dhabi to pursue its efforts to build a confident and safe society, and a sustainable and globally open and competitive economy".

However, Abu Dhabi authorities did not reveal that the company behind the development of Falcon Eye is owned by businessman and former "Israeli" intelligence agent Mati Kochavi.

According to The Middle East Eye [MEE] the system has been developed by the Swiss-headquartered security company AGT International, which has Mati Kochavi, a former "Israeli" intelligence agent with strong links to the Tel Aviv regime's spy service, as its CEO and founder.

Kochavi is known to be a regular visitor to the UAE, where "Israeli" are officially - but rarely in practice - banned from entry.

While "Israeli" apartheid regime officials have at times been keen to talk up their relationship with Abu Dhabi, the two regimes' security relationship has had a lower profile.

Last November, the Associated Press reported that the "Israeli" regime was set to open a "permanent mission" in the UAE, which it said was to operate as part of the International Renewable Energy Agency [IRENA] in the Emirati capital.

The MEE reported last month that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, an Emirati deputy prime minister, was the key supplier of livestock to the "Israeli" apartheid entity, shipping thousands of heads of such animals to the entity through a nexus of companies.

Did Morocco Help Win Six Day War?

As Israel prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War next year, it might seem that the basic narrative is already well-known. As Egypt and Syria massed to launch a war to annihilate the Jewish state, Israeli forces pre-emptively struck, destroying the Egyptian air force on the ground and seizing the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, and Gaza Strip. King Hussein II’s decision to join in the war in order to perhaps have a share of the spoils led to Jordan’s defeat and ultimate expulsion from the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem. Israel’s campaign was militarily bold and brilliant. It was a complete victory and reshaped the Middle East to the present day.
Now, it seems, there is more to the story. From the Times of Israel:
Israel largely has Morocco to thank for its victory over its Arab enemies in the 1967 Six Day War, according to revelations by a former Israeli military intelligence chief. In 1965, King Hassan ll passed recordings to Israel of a key meeting between Arab leaders held to discuss whether they were prepared for war against Israel. That meeting not only revealed that Arab ranks were split — heated arguments broke out, for example, between Egypt’s president Gamal Abdel-Nasser and Jordan’s King Hussein — but that the Arab nations were ill prepared for war, Maj. Gen. Shlomo Gazit told the Yedioth Ahronothnewspaper over the weekend.

BDS and Anti-Semitism Shutter Israeli Restaurant in Munich

Did Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) put a Jewish eatery out of business in Germany?
The Jewish owner of Munich’s Schmock Israeli restaurant announced he’s closing after 16 years because of rising anti-Semitism — and strong anti-Israel sentiment — in the Bavarian capital.
Florian Gleibs even placed a large sign in Schmock’s window reading: “We are not involved with politics.” But the hostility toward him and his restaurant continued, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“The BDS campaign disguises the socially unacceptable,” Charlotte Knobloch, the head of Munich’s Jewish community and a Holocaust survivor, told The Post. “It has modernized the Nazi slogan ‘Don’t buy from Jews!’ by demanding, ‘Don’t buy from the Jewish state.’”
BDS has held anti-Israel events in Munich municipal facilities for years, the Post reported.

Gleibs owns two other Munich restaurants, including the Jewish-themed Meschugge. He plans to reopen Schmock as a Laotian eatery.
Michael Kaminer is a contributing editor at the Forward.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Why Bibi Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

Unless we change the award’s silly criteria, there’s a good case to be made for the Israeli prime minister’s significant contribution to regional stability

Because I am the sort of sad and stooped dope who still believes institutions are indispensable for the cultivation of human life, I was confused by the announcement earlier this month that the Nobel Peace Prize this year will be awarded to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos.
I adore the Nobel Peace Prize, or, rather, the idea of the Nobel Peace Prize. I am grateful to know that somewhere in Norway, cooler heads deliver a collective nod to those of us who’ve toiled for harmony and reconciliation. This is why I was willing to forgive the Nobelists their moments of folly, like anointing the unrepentant terrorist Yasser Arafat, say, or honoring F.W. de Klerk, who dispatched his troops to murder five Azanian separatists—the oldest was 17, the youngest 12, and all were napping in front of the TV when the government’s gunmen burst in—just weeks before traveling to Oslo to collect his medal. Such politicking, I suppose, is hard to avoid if you’re trying to inspire real change; the inspiration business is all about playing the odds, and sometimes you’re going to put all your chips on a recipient who offers nothing but platitudes that quickly curdle. That’s pardonable. But Santos? That’s much harder to understand.
The Colombian, after all, was awarded the Nobel for a peace deal with the FARC guerillas that his people rejected in a referendum just the week before. It’s not too hard to see why the nays had it: The deal—negotiated by Cuba’s Castro regime, a major military supplier of the Marxists terrorists—would have rewarded the FARC for nearly half a century of bloodshed by guaranteeing the group’s leaders 10 seats in parliament and no prison time. This was clearly and intimately understood in Colombia, but something must’ve been lost in translation as news of the deal’s rejection made its way north, and the Norwegian arbiters of peace remained convinced that their insights trump those of the poor saps who would actually have to live with the deal and its consequences.
That’s a troubling departure, and one that should prompt us all to reconsider the prize and its role as an engine for good. What criteria ought we apply when elevating someone to the ennobled rank of peacemaker? It’s not too complicated a question: If you’ve sought out peaceful solutions when violent ones were ready at hand; if you’ve helped bring stability to a region submerged in chaos; if you’ve curbed the worst angels that everywhere guide the hearts of men and pursued the path of least bloodshed and suffering—then surely you deserve our gratitude and our laurels. And if that’s the case, the next Nobel Peace Prize ought to go to Bibi Netanyahu.
I say this not as a big fan of the Israeli leader, about whom I’ve been griping since he was first elected two decades ago and whom I believe to be a deeply imperfect leader. Nor am I interested in mere provocation, a substance too many of us who live much of their lives online freely abuse. I care only for observable reality, where, if we’re being honest, it’s often sunny in Jerusalem these days.

Consider the evidence: With three of his country’s four neighbors ravaged by turmoil, Netanyahu, Israel’s second-longest serving prime minister, has kept things rock solid. Despite being engaged in a limited-scale military operation in Gaza that reduced GDP by 0.3 percent, the country’s economy continues to grow at a rate that a Wharton-issued report called “admirably steady.” And despite a flurry of Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and endless provocations from Hamas to the south and Hezbollah to the north, Netanyahu, unlike some of his more heralded predecessors, has skillfully avoided major conflagrations, using force judiciously and effectively, even as he would’ve been justified to succumb to those who called for less-measured retributions.
Never mind all that. In our brittle culture, it’s hard to make the case for rewarding a leader for simply doing his job and being responsible, which is also why I won’t dwell on the merits of Netanyahu’s decision to avoid repeating the precedent set by his predecessors and refuse to unilaterally bomb the nuclear facilities of Israel’s most bitter enemies. But the case for Netanyahu extends further, and to grasp it you’d need to look beyond Israel’s borders. You’d need to look to Egypt, say, where Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s regime, at war with jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula, is currently benefiting from what some officials are calling an “unprecedented” level of collaboration with Israeli intelligence. The notoriously chilly peace between Israel and Egypt is warming up on other fronts as well: In July, Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, arrived in Jerusalem for an official visit, the first of its kind in nearly a decade. In other diplomatic news, Netanyahu’s government has succeeded in considerably strengthening Israel’s ties with other Arab nations, which is why the Jewish state is set to open a diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi, and why you can now read pro-Netanyahu op-eds in the Saudi press. Finally, understanding the crucial importance of a sound energy policy to the future stability and prosperity of the region, Netanyahu managed to curb the crisis with Erdogan’s belligerent Turkey, rekindling relations and dispatching his energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, to Istanbul to meet with his Turkish counterpart and discuss a collaboration that is only likely to grow with the recent discoveries of natural gas in Cyprus and elsewhere in the region.
Far from the isolated pariah some fashionable academics and opinion writers like to portray it as, Israel under Netanyahu is safe and stable, enjoying fruitful relations with neighbors near and far, and leading some of the key military and economic initiatives the region needs to stave off Armageddon. Add to that Israel’s repeated aid to the suffering people of Syria—everything from taking a risk and opening its borders to facilitate aid to those who need it most to taking in more than 2,000 Syrian refugees and treating the wounded to excellent medical care—and you have a solid case for Bibi, peace Nobelist.

Of course, his isn’t the kind of peace they like in Norway. It’s not about grand, symbolic gestures. It produces no heart-warming and easy to understand narratives about miraculous transformations. It’s a more difficult peace. It’s peace achieved by a thousand cunning and largely invisible calculations. It’s peace that realizes it has no meaning unless it is ready to use force when its subjects need to be kept safe from harm. It’s peace as it is lived not on vaunted podiums in faraway capitals but in the dusty streets of nations intimately acquainted with war: flawed, maddening, tired, and a thousand times better than any alternative.
So give Netanyahu his due, and give him the prize next year. Or, alternatively, radically reconsider the category, and give out an award not for peace—an ephemeral thing not even the most soulful among us can fully grasp—but for justice, a far more earthly notion, entirely measurable and rooted in the unshakable idea that actions have consequences and that consequences speak louder than a hundred lofty Oslo toasts. Either way, to paraphrase another one of the prize’s laureates whose peacemaking promises quickly turned sour, it’s time the Nobel committee gave us nothing short of change we can believe in.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Fury as Unesco denies Jewish connection to Judaism’s holiest sites

By Daniel Sugarman, October 13, 2016
The Western Wall, with the Temple Mount behind (Credit: Flickr/Desired)
The Western Wall, with the Temple Mount behind (Credit: Flickr/Desired)
A Unesco resolution denying the historic connection of the Jewish people to Temple Mount has drawn harsh criticism from Israelis on Thursday.
Although the resolution acknowledges the importance of Jerusalem to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, a specific portion referring to the Temple Mount only discusses its importance to Muslims, and not to Jews.
The site is named only by its Arabic name, Haram al-Sharif, rather than in Hebrew or English.
The Western Wall plaza is initially only given its Islamic name, al-Buraq plaza. The site’s Hebrew name, Hakotel Hama'aravi, is only mentioned later, in quotation marks.
Twenty-four nations voted for the resolution, 26 nations abstained and two were completely absent, while six – the United States, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia – voted against.
MK Isaac Herzog, the Leader of Israel’s Opposition, said: "Unesco betray their mission, and give a bad name to diplomacy and the international institutions.
“Whoever wants to rewrite history, to distort facts, and to completely invent the fantasy that the Western Wall and Temple Mount have no connection to the Jewish people, is telling a terrible lie that only serves to increase hatred."
Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel, said: “No forum or body in the world can come and deny the connection between the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and Jerusalem; and any such body that does so simply embarrasses itself.
“We can understand criticism, but you cannot change history."
Speaking in a House of Lords debate on Israel on Thursday afternoon, Lord Rabbi Sacks described the Unesco vote as "an outrage, and will achieve nothing but to further damage trust and set back prospects for peace."

AJC Deplores UNESCO Revisionism on Jews and Jerusalem

NEW YORKOct. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC deplored today's UNESCO vote erasing any Jewish connection to Judaism's holiest site, the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem.  UNESCO, the cultural arm of the world body, adopted the resolution onJerusalem by a vote of 24 to 6, with 26 abstaining.
"A minority of UNESCO members, led by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Arab countries, has sought for a long time to exploit this body to castigate Israel," said AJC CEO David Harris, who in recent weeks met with a number of world leaders urging rejection of the resolution.  "The United StatesUnited KingdomGermanythe NetherlandsLithuania and Estonia have asserted moral leadership by firmly and unequivocally rejecting this blatant historical revisionism. Let's be clear what's at work here: This is another attempt to undermine the very foundation of the State of Israel and the documented, age-old historical Jewish connection to the land. And unlike previous such resolutions, notably, not one European nation lent its support this time."
The UNESCO resolution refers to the Temple Mount only by its Muslim name, and thus ignores both Jewish and Christian ties to the holy sites in Jerusalem's Old City.
Harris also pointed out that PA President Abbas has yet to respond to the invitation from Prime Minister Netanyahu, expressed at the UN General Assembly last month, to visit Israel and address the Knesset.
"Palestinian-inspired UNESCO resolutions – or, for that matter, absurd calls by the PA to revisit the Balfour Declaration of 1917 – do not bring the day of Israeli-Palestinian peace any closer," Harris said. "Only direct bilateral negotiations can achieve that goal."

SOURCE American Jewish Committee

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