Displaying posts published in

February 2018

Israel innovation makes up half of Merck healthcare revenue, top official says Kai Beckmann, CEO of Performance Materials at Merck, says ‘our collaboration has deep roots’ as the German pharma and chemical giant expands Jerusalem lab By Shoshanna Solomon

Israeli innovation is behind almost half of the healthcare revenues of the 350-year-old German pharmaceutical and chemicals firm Merck, Kai Beckmann, CEO of Performance Materials at the firm, said in an interview on Tuesday.

“Roughly almost half of (our) healthcare revenue is based on innovation stemming from Israel,” Beckmann said. “This tells us a lot of the story of how important” Israel is to Merck.

The Rebif drug marketed by Merck to help decrease the frequency of relapse symptoms of multiple sclerosis had sales of some 1.7 billion euros in 2016, while the Erbitux drug for patients with cancer of the head and neck, also based on Israeli technology, had global sales of around €1 billion, he said.

Merck’s range of products includes biopharmaceutical therapies for cancer and MS, and liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group, which was established in 1668.

Beckmann spoke with The Times of Israel as the German giant, which employs 52,000 employees globally and had total sales of €15 billion in 2016, inaugurated on Tuesday a new technology innovation laboratory at its subsidiary, Qlight Nanotech in Jerusalem, which it bought in mid-2015 to boost its expertise in liquid crystal display materials and OLED materials.

Peter Smith We All Have Skin in the Immigrant Game

Our prosperous and free Western societies can absorb large numbers of those with different outlooks on work and life. But there are limits. Only the terminally daft believe, let alone advocate, that an open borders approach to immigration will produce anything but discord, division and woe.

Nancy Pelosi set some kind of record for talking in the US House of Representatives. Over eight hours straight apparently, reading letter after letter from illegal immigrants. I’ll venture a guess that she didn’t read anything from the many American parents who have lost a child to the activities of illegals. Mind you, she has to be congratulated for staying awake, on her feet in high heels, while all those about her succumbed to dozing off.

This comment from her marathon performance took the cake.

“I’m reminded of my own grandson. He is Irish, English, whatever, whatever, and Italian-American, he is a mix. But he looks more the other side of the family, shall we say. And when he had his sixth birthday… he had a very close friend whose name is Antonio, he’s from Guatemala. And he has beautiful tan skinned, beautiful brown eyes, and this was a proud day for me, because when my grandson blew out the candles on his cake, they said did you make a wish?

He said yes, he made a wish. What is your wish? I wish I had brown skin and brown eyes like Antonio.

So beautiful. So beautiful. The beauty is in the mix. The face of the future for our country is all-American. And that has many versions.”

Leave aside the fact that Pelosi’s mind is unfathomable. I’d like to mess with her story.

I want little Antonio to wish that he were white and blue-eyed, just like Ms Pelosi’s grandson. Now that’s a story she could have conjured with. White envy. Inferiority complexes among the brown young. Yet more evidence of white supremacism insidiously infecting the very young.

Turkey’s Operation in Northern Syria by Sirwan Kajjo

The evolving U.S.-Kurdish partnership has alarmed Turkey. Ankara fears that establishing a Kurdish-led entity on its southern borders would empower its restive Kurdish population, particularly PKK fighters.

Washington needs to ensure that its Kurdish partners on the ground are protected and not distracted from the main mission, which is defeating terror in Syria.

Turkey’s offensive against Syrian Kurds will serve only to aggravate the multi-layered conflict in Syria, making it even harder for international interlocutors to bring an end to the seven-year civil war and secure a much-needed political settlement for the country.

A Turkish assault against Kurdish forces in Syria, such as the ongoing one, was expected by everyone, including the U.S.

Now, three weeks into its controversial offensive against a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria, Turkey’s military is facing fierce resistance from the U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in the city of Afrin.

Observing the daily operations since they began on January 20, it is noticeable that the Turkish military and its allied Syrian rebels, backed by Turkish air support, have made little progress in taking control of Kurdish-held territory — the main objective behind Ankara’s decision to launch the offensive in Syria.

So far, Turkey’s advances have not gone beyond seizing a number of villages along its border with Syria, according to local sources.

Since mid-2012, the Afrin region in northwestern Syria has been controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). That occurred after the withdrawal of Syrian regime troops, which then began to focus on fighting rebel forces elsewhere in the country.

Death of Democracy? – Part II by Denis MacEoin

The irony, of course, is that so many people, have adopted a way of interpreting human rights and liberal values in a manner that often undermines them.

It is time for some home truths. Islam has been at war with the West for some 1,384 years, with very little respite. When Muslim Arab armies invaded Syria in 634, went on to destroy all but a rump of the Christian Byzantine empire (which it finally defeated when the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453), took control of Spain, Portugal, Sicily and other lands on the north Mediterranean coast, it was the start of endless jihad wars.

Most importantly, we seem unable to understand that Islam is, above all else, a totalitarian project covering all aspects of human life from the spiritual to the material, from law to government to clothing to food to sex to taxation and more. This totalitarianism rejects democracy in the most basic way, as having come from mere humans rather than divinely, from Allah.

Unfortunately, concluding that modern terrorism “has nothing to do with Islam” or that “Islam is a religion of peace” visibly contradicts the historical record.

Much of the weakness we have identified in so many modern European states comes, ironically, from many of our strengths. We have much to be proud of. However imperfectly at times, we have replaced tyranny with democracy, guaranteed freedom of speech and the press, ensured rights for all citizens, provided legal and political foundations for the growing empowerment of women, struggled against racist and religious bigotry, brought homosexual men and women out of the closet, given protections to the environment and wildlife, extended healthcare provision to most people, abolished the death sentence in all European countries (and Israel), and instituted regulations to block and punish crimes such as people trafficking, slavery, and drug smuggling.

The best example of what this means is to be found in the state of Israel. It is precisely because Israel and a majority of Israelis have, from the beginning, combined Jewish ethical values with Western Enlightenment beliefs, that makes it stand out so sharply against all its neighbours. Human rights abuses in Iran, the Arab states, Turkey, and beyond guarantee that Israel, however much abused by international bodies and media, and however flawed, is, in fact, a bastion of democracy, human rights, equality under the law and the positive values that go with them.

Republican Embarrassments By Victor Davis Hanson

Free-marketers are right that tax cuts stimulate economic growth that in turn lead to expanding production and eventually more federal tax revenue.

But the problem traditionally has been that to obtain tax reductions, Republicans also have had to sign on reluctantly to larger expenditures. Or, worse, they willingly believed they could spend more, simply because more money poured into the federal treasuries.

George W. Bush doubled the national debt. After running against Bush profligacy (remember the Chinese credit card trope), Barack Obama doubled it again by doubling Bush’s levels of borrowing. Conservatives blasted Obama for his even greater lack of thrift. The Tea Party movement emerged in reaction to reckless expenditures and borrowing to fund Obamacare.

Now Donald Trump is caught in the same old matrix. His deregulation, tax cuts, and energy expansion will likely increase federal revenue. But his various budget concessions and his own proposed increases in defense spending and infrastructure would likely bleed the budget at a far greater rate than the growing federal revenue.

Once again, new spending will discredit conservative vows of budget prudence and supply-side economics. (Budget-wise, what good does it do to expand the economy if the political price is acquiescence to ever greater and costlier government?)

Overused Cries of Racism Make It Harder for Us to Unite When a coin toss is deemed racist, the charge has lost all meaning. By John Fund

Every time you think there’s nothing left, no area or topic, where race can’t be injected into the conversation, you’re wrong. An African-American skater on the U.S. Olympic team refused to attend the opening celebration because of the results of a coin toss that decided whether he or a white female skater would represent the United States at the ceremony.

The skater, Shani Davis, said the coin toss was “dishonorable,” even though it was the previously agreed-upon method for breaking a tie vote among U.S. athletes. Davis included the hashtag #BlackHistoryMonth2018 in his tweet along with a list of his accomplishments that he said should have made him the flag-bearer. It seems as if Davis is alleging the first racially motivated coin toss in Olympic history.

Race also factored in another Olympic controversy last week. Fox News vice president John Moody penned an opinion column that took potshots at a Washington Post story in which U.S. Olympic Committee officials touted the diversity gains among this year’s Winter Olympics team even though the team remained “overwhelmingly white.” Jason Thompson, the USOC’s director of diversity and inclusion, told the Post, “We’ve just been trying to find ways to make sure our team looks like America.”

Moody took issue with this approach, saying, “In Olympics, let’s focus on the winner of the race — not the race of the winner.” He noted that there were no plans to fix the disparity among races in the National Basketball Association, where 81 percent of the players are African-American. Others have noted that there are understandable reasons of geography and interest level that may explain racial disparities at the Olympics. In this year’s Winter Olympics, 4 percent of the U.S. team was African-American, while 13 percent of the general population is African-American. In the most recent Summer Olympics, in Rio, 23 percent of the U.S. team was African-American.

American Media Can’t Stop Gushing About the North Korean ‘Charm Offensive’ at the Olympics By Debra Heine

Many Americans over the weekend observed the mainstream media’s fawning coverage of North Korea at the Olympics with abject disgust — especially in light of the hostile coverage of Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence.

The over-the-top praise of the North Korean cheer squad and Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un, has been nothing short of disgraceful.

Yo-jong (whose leering, smirking mug brings to mind Kill Bill’s meteor hammer-wielding villainess Gogo Yubari) is the deputy director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of North Korea’s Workers’ Party and a member of the Politburo. This is probably not a pleasant woman.

CNN was impressed, however: “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics,” the network gushed on Saturday. CONTINUE AT SITE

Pelosi’s Race Lessons Nancy Pelosi’s intriguing – and disquieting — story about her grandson. Bruce Bawer

Worse things have happened in the last week or two. Worse things have been said. Yet what sticks in my mind and won’t go away are a few sentences that came out of Nancy Pelosi’s mouth during her marathon speech to the House last Wednesday.

She was there, on the House floor, to speak up for the so-called “Dreamers” – people who were brought illegally to America by their parents when they were children and who now want to be accorded legal residency, if not citizenship.

As Pelosi and other advocates for “Dreamers” have tirelessly asserted, some of them have made exemplary contributions to the United States. Others, however, in the course of agitating for residency status, have engaged in activities that hardly serve their cause.

They’ve waved Mexican flags. They’ve posed for pictures giving the finger to Mount Rushmore. They’ve cursed America, they’ve sneered and snarled at it – exhibiting a hostility to the country so intense that it makes one wonder just why they’re so eager to be Americans.

And yet they’ve been taken up as heroes by the left – even as others who’ve gone through the laborious and expensive process of securing U.S. residency legally have been made to feel like fools for doing it the right way.

It was because of the “Dreamers” that the Democrats closed down the government for a couple of days, causing military families to worry that their paychecks might not show up in the mail. And it was because of the “Dreamers” that Pelosi, age 77, broke the record for the longest speech ever given on the House floor – eight hours and ten minutes.

Shadow War Between Iran And Israel Erupts Into Open Warfare Israel obliterates Syrian and Iranian targets following brazen UAV intrusion. Ari Lieberman

The shadow war between Israel and Iran burst into open warfare over the weekend with a brazen and reckless Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intrusion into Israeli airspace. The drama unfolded on Saturday at 4:25 a.m. when an Iranian reconnaissance drone, believed to be a knockoff of the American RQ-170 Sentinel UAV, penetrated into Israeli airspace for approximately 90 seconds before being shot down by an Israeli Apache attack helicopter of the 113th Squadron near the Israeli town of Bet Shean in the Jordan Valley.

Israeli intelligence had been monitoring the aircraft and its flight path soon after it took off from an Iranian controlled airbase called T4 located near the Syrian city of Palmyra. Immediately after intercepting the drone, the Israeli Air Force attacked the command and control vehicle responsible for controlling and monitoring the UAV, and obliterated it.

Returning IAF aircraft were met with a hail of anti-aircraft fire. According to Israeli sources, the Syrians fired between 15 and 20 antiaircraft missiles. One of them, believed to be either a long-range SA-5 or medium-range SA-17, locked on to an F-16 Sufa fighter bomber and exploded near the aircraft, peppering the jet with shrapnel.

Both pilot and navigator safely ejected and the plane crashed in a field in Israel’s Jezreel Valley. Fortunately, no civilians were hurt. The navigator will likely be released from the hospital today or tomorrow, while the pilot is still recovering from abdominal injuries but is said to be fully conscience and breathing on his own. His condition continues to improve and doctors are optimistic.

The Fake National Security Behind Obama’s Watergate What the fake claims of national security are really hiding.Daniel Greenfield

Before the Nunes memo was released, Democrats, the media and its intelligence sources insisted that it would undermine national security, reveal tradecraft secrets and even get agents killed.

Senator Cory Booker warned that it might be treasonously “endangering fellow Americans in the intelligence community.” It was, but not in the way that he meant. The memo didn’t have anything resembling classified information it. Neither did the Grassley-Graham criminal referral which was heavily redacted to screen out all the “classified information.” What did the classified information consist of?

The Grassley-Graham criminal referral went through two FBI redactions. Julie Kelly at American Greatness compared the two versions to see what was hidden.

Most of the redactions in the first version, that were exposed in the second version, involved the problems with the FISA warrant application’s reliance on Christopher Steele. The references to the FISA warrant, which is classified, allowed figures in the FBI to redact it. But none of the references reveal anything damaging to our national security. They do raise serious questions about the FBI’s actions.

The FBI redacted the fact that the FISA warrant was thoroughly based on the Clinton-Steele dossier. Even if the FISA application is classified, Clinton opposition research isn’t. The FBI redacted the accusation that the FISA warrant had failed to state that Steele had been working for the Clinton campaign. That certainly isn’t classified information though it took a lot of work to expose.

The redaction even cut the FBI’s own revelation that Steele went rogue because he was upset at the reopening of the Clinton email investigation. The original documents that mention this may have been classified, but there is no legitimate national security reason for hiding this information from the public.

Revealing it exposes no “tradecraft” secrets that our enemies might exploit. It certainly won’t get anyone killed. Though it could and should get some of those responsible fired.