Funny Seth Rogen gets serious in DC

Actor Seth Rogen delivered a prepared statement during a U.S. Senate hearing on Alzheimer’s disease Wednesday — and it’s safe to say it was unlike most Capitol Hill testimonies.

“Thank you for the opportunity to testify today and for the opportunity to be called an expert in something, because that’s cool,” Rogen jokingly began. “I don’t know if you know who I am, chairman. I know you never saw ‘Knocked Up,’ which is a little insulting.”

Rogen then delivered a heartfelt testimony about his mother-in-law’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, peppering it with jokes poking fun of himself.

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Charles Krauthammer: The myth of ‘settled science’

Another fantastic op-ed by Krauthammer. This one on climate change, global warming, whatever you want to call it.

“The myth of ‘settled science’,” by Dr. Charles Krauthammer for The Washington Post, February 21, 2014:

Irepeat: I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.

“The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist in chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge. Take a non-climate example. It was long assumed that mammograms help reduce breast cancer deaths. This fact was so settled that Obamacare requires every insurance plan to offer mammograms (for free, no less) or be subject to termination.

Now we learn from a massive randomized study — 90,000 women followed for 25 years — that mammograms may have no effect on breast cancer deaths. Indeed, one out of five of those diagnosed by mammogram receives unnecessary radiation, chemo or surgery.

So much for settledness. And climate is less well understood than breast cancer. If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing? And how is it that the great physicist Freeman Dyson, who did some climate research in the late 1970s, thinks today’s climate-change Cassandras are hopelessly mistaken?

They deal with the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, argues Dyson, ignoring the effect of biology, i.e., vegetation and topsoil. Further, their predictions rest on models they fall in love with: “You sit in front of a computer screen for 10 years and you start to think of your model as being real.” Not surprisingly, these models have been “consistently and spectacularly wrong” in their predictions, write atmospheric scientists Richard McNider and John Christy — and always, amazingly, in the same direction.

Settled? Even Britain’s national weather service concedes there’s been no change — delicately called a “pause” — in global temperature in 15 years. If even the raw data is recalcitrant, let alone the assumptions and underlying models, how settled is the science?

But even worse than the pretense of settledness is the cynical attribution of any politically convenient natural disaster to climate change, a clever term that allows you to attribute anything — warming and cooling, drought and flood — to man’s sinful carbon burning.

Accordingly, Obama ostentatiously visited drought-stricken California last Friday. Surprise! He blamed climate change. Here even the New York Times gagged, pointing out that far from being supported by the evidence, “the most recent computer projections suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter.”

How inconvenient. But we’ve been here before. Hurricane Sandy was made the poster child for the alleged increased frequency and strength of “extreme weather events” like hurricanes.

Nonsense. Sandy wasn’t even a hurricane when it hit the United States. Indeed, in all of 2012, only a single hurricane made U.S. landfall. And 2013 saw the fewest Atlantic hurricanes in 30 years. In fact, in the last half-century, one-thirdfewer major hurricanes have hit the United States than in the previous half-century.

Similarly tornadoes. Every time one hits, the climate-change commentary begins. Yet last year saw the fewest in a quarter-century. And the last 30 years — of presumed global warming — has seen a 30 percent decrease in extreme tornado activity (F3 and above) versus the previous 30 years.

None of this is dispositive. It doesn’t settle the issue. But that’s the point. It mocks the very notion of settled science, which is nothing but a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate. As does the term “denier” — an echo of Holocaust denial, contemptibly suggesting the malevolent rejection of an established historical truth.

Climate-change proponents have made their cause a matter of fealty and faith. For folks who pretend to be brave carriers of the scientific ethic, there’s more than a tinge of religion in their jeremiads. If you whore after other gods, the Bible tells us, “the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit” (Deuteronomy 11).

Sounds like California. Except that today there’s a new god, the Earth Mother. And a new set of sins — burning coal and driving a fully equipped F-150.

But whoring is whoring, and the gods must be appeased. So if California burns, you send your high priest (in carbon-belching Air Force One, but never mind) to the bone-dry land to offer up, on behalf of the repentant congregation, a $1 billion burnt offering called a “climate resilience fund.”

Ah, settled science in action.

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47 Jordanian (1 out of 3) MPs call to cancel Israel peace treaty over Knesset Temple Mount debate

Lawmakers in Amman sign petition criticizing the Jordanian Government for not taking a “strong and solid stand” against the Knesset.

Police patrol near the Temple Mount

Police patrol near the Temple Mount

The Jerusalem Post (Feb 26) — The Knesset debate on Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Tuesday sparked  a furious reaction from Jordanian legislators in Amman including calls to cancel the peace treaty with Israel and to return the Jordanian envoy from Tel Aviv.

In the peace treaty signed between the two governments nearly 20 years ago, Israel acknowledged the HashemiteKingdom’s “special role” in the custodianship of the holy sites in Jerusalem.

The Wakf Muslim religious trust was given oversight of the holy site following theSix Day War in 1967.

On Tuesday, right-wing MKMoshe Feiglin (Likud Beytenu) protested the limitations on Jewish worship on the Mount in the first ever debate on sovereignty of the site ever to be held in the Knesset plenum.

The debate came on the same day as the latest in a series of rioting on the Mount in the past month, by Arabs who object to any Jewish presence on the holy site. Tuesday morning’s riot resulted in three arrests and two police officers lightly injured. Stun grenades were used to disperse the rioters.

Although the Supreme Court has upheld Jewish prayer rights on the site, the court allows police to prevent any form of worship there if they believe such activities will incite a “disturbance to the public order.”

In response to the Knesset debate, 47 Jordanian MPs signed a petition on Tuesday that called for the cancellation of the 1994 peace treaty with Israel, The Jordan Times reported.

The petition criticized the Jordanian government for not taking a “strong and solid stand against the Knesset’s attempts to revisit Jordan’s role as custodian of the Islamic and Christian shrines in Jerusalem,” according to the report.

MP Yihya Saud, Chairman of the House Palestine Committee, urged the government to expel the Israeli ambassador in Amman and recall the Jordanian ambassador from Tel Aviv in response to the Knesset debate, according to the news outlet.

Further, the report cited Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh as saying last week: “Not one and not even 1,000 Knesset members can cancel the Hashemite custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy shrines in Jerusalem.”

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Op-Ed: Iran Has the Bomb

This is an excellent and probably accurate op-ed about Iran’s nuclear capabilities and nuclear ambitions.

“Iran Has the Bomb,” by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry for IsraelNationalNews.com, February 26, 2014:

A prudent U.S. foreign and defense policy would assume that Iran’s nuclear weapons program is probably on a par with North Korea’s.

For several years now, myself and others have been warning that Iran probably already has the bomb. Contrary to Obama Administration promises that they will know when Iran crosses “the red line” to build the bomb, we have warned that such claims are false.

U.S. intelligence is not good enough to so precisely and with such high confidence monitor and verify the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

…These intelligence blind-spots align perfectly with U.S. monitoring gaps against Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The Defense Science Board Report is tantamount to an admission that Iran probably already has the bomb.

Clandestine Nuclear Weapons Program

Like the North Korean nuclear weapons program, Iran’s nuclear weapons program is clandestine, mostly underground, mostly inaccessible to international inspections, and impenetrable to U.S. national technical means. Most of what we know about Iran’s nuclear program has been disclosed voluntarily by Tehran to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The U.S. did not even suspect Iran was working on the bomb until 2002, after the program was in operation for some 15 years.

We should know from our own experience that Iran probably already has the bomb. During its World War II Manhattan Project, when nuclear weapons were only a theoretical possibility, and working with 1940s era technology, the U.S. built two atomic bombs of radically different design that both worked perfectly — in a mere three years.

Iran, with access to copious unclassified information on nuclear weapon designs, working with 21st Century technology, helped by the A.Q. Khan network, North Korea, Russia, and China, supposedly has been unable to build the bomb — after thirty years of trying. This is an implausibly optimistic assessment.

North Korea developed its first nuclear weapons in no more than 8 years.

Unreported by the mainstream media are warnings that Iran might already have the bomb by such experts as former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey; former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council Fritz Ermarth; President Reagan’s Science Advisor Dr. William R. Graham; former Director of the Defense Nuclear Agency Vice Admiral Robert Monroe; former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Ambassador Henry Cooper; and Israeli intelligence officers, the latter going public in the Israeli newspaper Maariv in September 2013.

Historically, the U.S. intelligence community has underestimated and been surprised by foreign nuclear weapon programs. They were surprised by the first Soviet A-bomb test in 1949, by the Soviet H-bomb test in 1955, by China’s first nuclear test in 1964, by discovery after the 1991 Persian Gulf War that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was within 6 months of developing an atomic bomb, by Pakistan and India’s nuclear tests in 1998, and by North Korea’s nuclear test in 2006.

Nuclear Testing Not Necessary

Nuclear testing is not necessary to develop a nuclear weapon deliverable by aircraft or missile. The U.S. Hiroshima bomb (a “gun-type” uranium bomb) was not tested before use — Hiroshima was the test. Israel, South Africa, and North Korea all developed nuclear weapons without nuclear testing…

See No Evil

America has a bigger problem with its intelligence community than the inadequacy of national technical means to monitor rogue state and terrorist nuclear weapon programs.

Intelligence community leaders General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and Michael Morrell, until recently the Deputy Director of CIA, are proven liars, willing to lie to Congress and the American people to cover up the failures and transgressions of the Obama Administration.

Clapper lied about National Security Agency spying on the American people. He lied again in covering for President Obama’s false assertion that North Korea does not have nuclear missiles — during the crisis over North Korea’s threatened nuclear missile strikes in 2013 — belittling the Defense Intelligence Agency’s accurate assessment that Pyongyang does, in fact, have nuclear armed missiles.

Morrell lied when he altered CIA talking points on Benghazi to protect then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration.

Clapper and Morrell are clear indicators that the Obama Administration has corrupted — the technical word is “politicized” — the intelligence community. How can Congress and the American people trust their intelligence leaders to tell the truth about anything that reflects badly on this White House? The fish rots from the head down.

The biggest liar is in the White House.

The Obama Administration’s Geneva interim agreement with Iran is probably calculated to kick the can down the road so some future administration will get blamed if Iran eventually does a nuclear test. The model is the Clinton Administration’s Agreed Framework with North Korea, which never had any realistic chance of denuclearizing North Korea, but kicked the can to the Bush Administration, so they got blamed for the North Korean bomb when Pyongyang tested in 2006.

Nuclear Surprise

If Iran already has the bomb, why have they not yet tested?

Fritz Ermarth thinks Iran is following the example of North Korea, and probably wants to clandestinely build such robust capabilities so that its nuclear status will become irreversible.

Israel and South Africa never tested because they elected to pursue a policy of deliberate ambiguity, to reap the deterrence benefits of being known nuclear weapon states while avoiding the international opprobrium of making their nuclear status official by testing.

However, most of my colleagues and I conclude from analysis of Iranian and Jihadi statements and writings that Tehran is not interested in the bomb for status or deterrence. The word “deterrence” does not even appear in their military writings about the bomb. It is all about nuclear use, in particular a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that would cause a protracted national blackout, potentially killing millions of Americans through starvation and societal collapse.

For example: “If the world’s industrial countries fail to devise effective ways to defend themselves against dangerous electronic assaults, then they will disintegrate within a few years…. American soldiers would not be able to find food to eat nor would they be able to fire a single shot.” (Tehran, Nashriyeh-e Siasi Nezami)

The mullahs who run Iran want the bomb for reasons of religious eschatology having to do with the Shiite version of Apocalypse, the return of their 12th Imam, and the ultimate triumph of Islam in the secular and spiritual universe. In this vision, the Jews and Infidels (that’s us) must convert or die.

The Islamic Bomb has nothing to do with deterrence theory or geostrategic calculations familiar to Western nuclear strategists. The Mullahs have their own timetable for the Apocalypse. They hold a “12th Imam Conference” in Tehran every year to study signs and portents. Their development of nuclear weapons, and the failure of the West to stop them, is itself interpreted as one of the “miracles” indicating the Apocalypse is nigh.

The possibility of nuclear EMP attack is another “miracle” as it destroys the high-tech society and weaponry that is the source of U.S. strength. In this view, Western materialism and worship of the False God that is Technology becomes our downfall.

A Nuclear EMP attack would cause us to destroy ourselves by means of the corrupt lifestyles of an anti-spiritual civilization wholly focused and dependent upon high-tech materialism. We would die for our sins in the perfect act of divine retribution:

“In the context of the final battle… all of the planes and satellites will fall, computers will fail, other equipment will be made useless and… the Earth will be shaken … by nuclear war,” prophesy Abdallah and Shayk Muhammed an-Naqshbandi, “Technology will stop or turn against the Americans.”

The Congressional EMP Commission warned that Iran has several times detonated its Shahab III missile at high altitudes, apparently simulating a nuclear EMP attack. Iran has also demonstrated the capability to launch a ballistic missile from a freighter and make a nuclear EMP strike anonymously, and so perhaps escape retaliation. Iran has also orbited several satellites on trajectories consistent with practicing a surprise nuclear EMP attack against the United States.

Iran has not conducted a nuclear test because its theocracy is not interested in diplomatic “signaling” or Western theories of nuclear deterrence and arms control bargaining. When the mullahs are ready, they will make a surprise nuclear attack. The vaporization of New York City and an EMP attack that crashes American society will be their nuclear tests.

The bottom line is that Iran is a nuclear truck bomb headed our way.

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry served in the CIA, the House Armed Services Committee, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the Congressional EMP Commission, and is the author of Electric Armageddon and Apocalypse Unknown both books available through CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com.

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Make sure you are fully armed for ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’

‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ as seen by a Black South African who actually lived under apartheid.

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“Israeli Apartheid Week 2014″

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Source 1: tips-for-countering-israeli-apartheid-week-starting-on-college-campuses
Source 2: Zionist Organization of America

MYTH 1: JEWS HAVE LITTLE HISTORICAL CONNECTION TO ISRAEL
Jews have lived continuously in the land of Israel for over 3000 years; the Arabs arrived through multiple invasions, beginning in the 7th Century AD. In the year 70 AD, when the Jewish civilization was already over 1000 years old, the Romans forced most of the Jews of Judea and Samaria (now the West Bank) into exile. By the end of the 19th Century, the majority population of Jerusalem was Jewish.

MYTH 2: ISRAEL IS AN APARTHEID STATE
“Apartheid” refers to the system created by South Africans in which “non-white” residents of that nation were denied citizenship and basic civil rights, and were forced to live in separate residential areas with segregated and inferior educational and medical services. Those wishing to demonize and destroy Israel now falsely call it “an Apartheid state.” But the only true Apartheid states in the Middle East are Islamic states in which Jews are not allowed to live and where Christians, Baha’is and other religious minorities are objects of discrimination and persecution.

There are 1.4 million Arabs living in Israel with civil rights that are the envy of the Arab world. Israeli Arabs vote in Israel’s elections, have representatives in the Israeli Parliament, sit on Israeli courts and on the Israeli Supreme Court, and serve as tenured professors teaching in Israeli colleges and universities. The Arab citizens of Israel have more rights, and enjoy more freedom, education, and economic opportunity than the inhabitants of any Arab or Muslim state.

MYTH 3: THE HOLOCAUST IS EUROPE’S PROBLEM; PALESTINIANS HAD NO ROLE IN IT
The Arabs generally and the “Palestinians” specifically were supporters of Hitler in the 1930s. The father of Palestinian nationalism, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was a devoted Nazi who spent the war in Berlin and worked with members of the Third Reich to plan death camps for the Jews of the Middle East. Today he is revered by the Palestinians as the George Washington of their cause. The Muslim Brotherhood translated Mein Kampf into Arabic in the 1930s and called for the destruction of the Jewish state at its birth. Today Arab leaders call for the destruction of the Jewish state and routinely deny that the Holocaust with which their forbears collaborated actually took place.

MYTH 4: ISRAEL OCCUPIES ARAB PALESTINE
Since Roman times when the Philistines inhabited the region around Jordan (hence the name “Palestine”) there has never been a political entity – neither a province nor a state – called “Palestine” and no one claimed there was until well after the United

Nations created Israel in 1948. The land on which Israel was created by the U.N. was also used by the colonial powers to create Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan. It was land that had belonged to Turkey for 400 years. The Turks are not “Palestinians” and are not even Arabs.

There never was an Arab country called “Palestine” or inhabited by “Palestinians.” Before the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964, which was sixteen years after the birth of Israel, no Arab political entity was called by that name.

MYTH 5: THE KORAN DESCRIBES JERUSALEM AS HOLY TO ISLAM
The Koran does not mention Jerusalem because Mohammed never set foot in the city. Jerusalem was conquered by Muslim armies in 636 after the death of Mohammed. Muslim jihadists claim that the Koran mentions “The Furthest Mosque” — Al-Aqsa in Arabic – and that this is a Koranic reference to Jerusalem. This is a lie. The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem had not been built when the Koran was written, so the reference is to some other (or any other) “furthest mosque.” In contrast, Jerusalem is and has always been a holy city to Jews. The daily prayers of the Jews are focused on Jerusalem. The Hebrew Bible mentions Zion and Jerusalem a total of 809 times.

MYTH 6: THE ARABS WANT PEACE AND A STATE ON THE WEST BANK
The Arabs rejected peace and a state on the West Bank first in 1948 when it was offered to them by the U.N. and then in 2000 when it was offered by Presidents Clinton and Barak. In 1949, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which the U.N. had designated as a homeland for the Arabs, were annexed respectively by Jordan and Egypt. When the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1964 its covenant made no mention of liberating the West Bank or Gaza from Jordan and Egypt. The PLO leadership stated that its goal was to “push the Jews into the sea.” Today the “liberation” of Palestine “from the river to the sea” is still the goal of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA). The war in the Middle East is about the desire of the Arabs and Muslims to destroy Israel; it is not about the desire for a Palestinian state.

MYTH 7: THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON IS NOT JEWISH
This lie is one of many designed to steal the history of the Jews in order to justify erasing them from the Middle East. When the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, it immediately began a campaign to delegitimize Israel by rewriting history with the intention of denying Israel’s right to exist. Among its false claims is that the remains of the Temple of Solomon – the Western Wall – are in fact the remnants of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Al-Aqsa Mosque was deliberately built on top of the Temple after the Muslim conquest to humiliate the conquered. This is the same imperialistic tradition that prompts jihadists today to build a mosque at Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 attack.

MYTH 8: ISRAEL’S SECURITY FENCE IS AN “APARTHEID WALL”
This is two lies in one. The West Bank fence is a fence, not a wall. About 97% of the fence is made of chain-link material. The remaining 3% is concrete, designed to repel sniper fire in particular areas. The fence was built in 2003 in response to thousands of suicide bombings and rocket attacks on Israeli citizens by Palestinian terrorists, sponsored and armed by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. The fence was built to keep out terrorists, not Arabs.

In the years since the construction of the fence, terrorist attacks have declined by more than 90%. The fence is Israel’s legitimate defense against a ruthless and amoral terrorist aggressor.

MYTH 9: ISRAEL IS THE CAUSE OF THE REFUGEE PROBLEM
The Palestinians claim there are 5 million Palestinian refugees who fled Israel during the 1948 war. This is false. There were only 500,000 Arab refugees from the 1948 war – an unprovoked war that Egypt and four other Arab states had launched against the newly created state of Israel. In the aftermath of the war, more than 500,000 Jewish refugees were driven out of the Arab states in the Middle East. There are no Jewish refugees today, sixty years later, because Israel resettled them.

Why are there still Arab refugees? The Arabs have been given billions of dollars by Israel and the United States to relocate their refugees. But the Arabs are still in refugee camps. While Israel resettled Jewish refugees, no Arab country would take in the “Palestinians” who were forced into camps and were kept there by the Arab regimes to stir up hatred against the Jews. The refugee “issue” has been created by the Arab regimes as a weapon in their war against the Jews. It should be resolved by resettling the inhabitants of the refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza where almost all of them have lived all their lives.

MYTH 10: ISRAEL COMMITS WAR CRIMES BY KILLING CIVILIANS
This is the Big Lie, coming as it does from Palestinians who have made terrorist attacks on civilians a weapon of choice, and who make martyrs and national heroes out of suicide bombers.

The Gaza strip was a base for 7,000 rocket attacks against schoolyards and townships in Israel before the Israelis responded in 2007. During Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza rocket sites there was one civilian death for every 30 terrorists.

By contrast, a 2001 study by theInternational Committee of the Red Cross found that the civilian-to-military death ratio in wars fought since the middle of the 20th Century has been 10:1 – ten civilian deaths for every soldier death. In other words, the Israelis protect civilians at a rate 300 times greater than any other national army. As Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz observes, “No army in history has ever had a better ratio of combatants to civilians killed in a comparable setting.”

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Russia cries ‘mutiny’ over change in Ukraine

1386542856-putin-hands-off-ukraine-demonstration-in-london_3453593The Washington Post (Feb 25) — Russian leaders expressed their distrust and dislike of Ukraine’s new government on Monday, saying it came to power through “armed mutiny,” just hours after the authorities here announced a nationwide manhunt for ousted president Viktor Yanukovych on charges of “mass murder of peaceful civilians.”

Russia questioned the legitimacy of Ukraine’s interim leadership, charging that it used a peace deal brokered by Europe to make a power grab and to suppress dissent in Russian-speaking regions through “terrorist methods.”

The tone was much harsher than any previous Russian response to the events of the past few days. “If you consider Kalashnikov-toting people in black masks who are roaming Kiev to be a government, then it will be hard for us to work with that government,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday.

Ukrainian lawmakers, now largely foes of Yanukovych, were defiant. Asked about Russia’s displeasure, parliament member Yuriy Derevyanko said: “They can take it or leave it. It’s not their business.”

The search for Yanukovych was backed up by warrants authorizing the arrest of the ousted leader and 50 members of his government for their roles in the deaths of 88 Ukrainians killed by riot police and in street clashes over the past week, said Arsen Avakov, the interim interior minister.

Ukrainian officials said Yanukovych has used helicopters and ground vehicles to travel from his palatial estate outside Kiev to Kharkiv in the east, and then on to an airport in Donetsk, where border guards stopped two chartered jets from leaving the country. Some suspect that he may have moved on to Ukraine’s Crimea region, which has a strong Russian-speaking majority.

Ukraine’s parliament was rushing ahead to form a caretaker government and appoint a new prime minister. The move is crucial to help the country continue to meet its financial obligations and, most important, to borrow money.

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Judge: Spying on NJ Muslims by NYPD was legal

NEW YORK (AP) Feb 21 – A federal judge has ruled that the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey was a lawful effort to prevent terrorism, not a civil rights violation.

In a decision filed Thursday in federal court in Newark, U.S. District Judge William Martini dismissed a lawsuit brought in 2012 by eight Muslims who alleged that the NYPD’s surveillance programs were unconstitutional because they focused on religion, national origin and race. The suit accused the department of spying on ordinary people at mosques, restaurants and schools in New Jersey since 2002.

Martini said he was not convinced that the plaintiffs were targeted solely because of their religion. “The more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies,” he wrote.

The judge added: “The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself.”

Farhaj Hassan, a plaintiff in the case and a U.S. soldier who served in Iraq, said he was disappointed by the ruling.

“I have dedicated my career to serving my country, and this just feels like a slap in the face – all because of the way I pray,” he said.

The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and the California-based civil rights organization Muslim Advocates, which represented the plaintiffs, also called the decision troubling.

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How Isolated is Israel?

Israel economyThe Ettinger Report (Feb 14) — How Isolated is Israel?

1.  A record of 5.3 million tourists in Israel in 2013.

2.  A record of $83.2BN foreign exchange reserves reflects the strength of Israel’s Shekel, at a time when the currencies of the emerging markets plummet.

3.  A record of $2.3BN invested in 662 Israeli startups in 2013 (21% above 2012), according to KPMG and IVC (Globes, January 23, 2014).

4.  Over 250 multinational research & development centers operate in Israel (Globes, February 13).

5.  “Funds from the US, Europe and China are showing interest in dozens of Israeli companies that will be forced on to the auction block by Israel’s efforts to increase competition…. The sale [of dominant Israeli companies] is required by a law passed in December, 2013 to loosen the grip conglomerates have on the economy…. [Israel’s economic] growth is projected to outpace both the US and the euro area this year and next.  The stability of the Israeli economy, and its fundamentals, make it attractive to foreign investors…. You are buying not because of a crisis in Israel, but because there is a desire to boost competition (Bloomberg, February 4, 2014, Alisa Odenheimer and Sharon Wrobel).”

6.  Australia’s Woodside Petroleum, Ltd. will join explorations in Israel’s Leviathan offshore natural gas field, accepting a Memorandum of Understanding – to be completed by March 27 – which will provide the Australian giant with a 25% equity for $2.7BN (Globes Business Daily, February 10, 2014). Cyprus negotiates a $3BN natural gas import from Israel.

7.  Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich on Intel’s 40 year operations in Israel: “It’s a microcosm of Intel, a complete Intel within a single country. It’s about the only place where you have a complete cross-section of the company in one country.”

8.   Lockheed Martin’s Vice President of International Engineering and Technology, John Evans announced a joint investment, with EMC, in Israel’s cyber technologies: “We recognize evolving global needs, as well as the wealth of innovation taking place within Israel and its universities.”

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Anti-Israel bias: The Truth about the UN

85% of UN General Assembly resolutions condemn one country: Israel. How is that possible? Watch Ambassador Danny Ayalon’s simple explanation:

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Feb 20: Ambassador Danny Ayalon spreads the truth about the UN. Hypocrisy and cynicism have taken over the United Nations, the delegitimization perpetrators and Israel boycotters take advantage of the UN’s image as an advocate of human rights in order to pass anti-Israeli resolutions which attempt to isolate Israel. It is important to spread the truth that the UN has been transformed into a political arena by undemocratic states who trample on human rights, and UN resolutions must be treated accordingly”.

Israel’s Good News Newsletter to 23rd Feb 2014

Brought to you by verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com:

The largest Israeli buyout by an Asian company.  Japanese Internet giant Rakuten has just bought Israeli-developed video and voice communications app Viber for $900 million.  Viber allows users to make free phone and video calls within its network, and has over 200 million users all over the world.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/japanese-internet-giant-snags-viber-for-900m/

 

How isolated is Israel?  Good economic summary by Yoram Ettinger.

http://theettingerreport.com/Overseas-Investments/How-Isolated-is-Israel-.aspx

 

Google buys advanced Israeli security.  IT giant Google has acquired the staff and intellectual property of Israeli start-up SlickLogin.  The Israeli company is developing applications using ultrasound and smartphones, to allow users more easily to login securely. SlickLogin’s founders served in the IDF elite cyber security unit.

 

The invisible keyboard for both blind and sighted.  Israel’s Inpris is using crowdsourcing to raise the finance to launch two versions of its invisible keyboard: the UpSense Super Keyboard for single-handed gesture typing, and the UpSense Super Braille Keyboard for a blind person to type with two hands.
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Explore Israel. Try out this exciting interactive video tour of the Jewish State.

 

Israeli wins BAFTA award.  Israel’s Niv Adiri won a British Academy of Film and Television award for his work in the team responsible for the groundbreaking sound work on the blockbuster “Gravity.”  The team has also been nominated for an Oscar.

 

Easing immigration for French Jews.  Israel’s minister of immigration absorption was in Paris and promised to “erase all bureaucratic hurdles” for new immigrants.  Sofa Landver plans to submit her ideas at a future Israel cabinet meeting.  3,301 French Jews immigrated to Israel in 2013 – the largest figure out of France since 2000.

 

Ancient Judean village revealed.  The remnants of a 2300-year-old rural village have been excavated on the outskirts of Jerusalem.  It was discovered in June, when work began on building a pipeline to deliver natural gas from the coast. The Israel Antiquities Authority has been excavating the Second Temple era site ever since.

 

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For Americans, Israel is the MVP

usa israel

Israel HaYom (Feb 21) — At a time when the White House is pressuring Israel to make dramatic concessions, the Jewish state is enjoying an all-time popularity high among Americans, and therefore among their elected officials in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

According to a February 18, 2014 Gallup poll, Israel is the most valuable player in the Middle East — 72 percent have a “very/mostly favorable” view of it — leading all other Middle East countries by a wide margin: Egypt (45%), Saudi Arabia (35%), etc.

Israel’s popularity is at its highest since 1991, when Gallup first polled Americans on foreign countries, compared to 2009 (63%), 2010 (67%), 2011 (68%), 2012 (71%) and 2013 (66%).

Israel is more popular than most Western democracies, while the Palestinian Authority is ranked among the least favorable (19% favorability), along with North Korea (11%), Iran (12%), Syria (13%) and Iraq (16%). Thus, when U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the 2014 State of the Union address, he was greeted with indifference when stating: “American diplomacy [aims] to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians.” However, the president triggered resounding applause when continuing: “… and lasting peace and security for the state of Israel — a Jewish state that has known that America will always be at their side.”

The Gallup findings reveal that the more experienced and mature Americans are, the higher Israel’s favorability: 81% among those 55 or older (who tend to be more knowledgeable about international relations, in general, and Israel in particular), 72% among those in the 35-54 age group and 64% among those between the ages of 18 and 34.

The Gallup data highlights the fact that Americans in general, rather than U.S. Jewry, are the main source of intense identification with the Jewish State. That is also the case on Capitol Hill, where the key U.S.-Israel initiatives have been conceived and led by Christian legislators (most notably, the late Senator Daniel Inouye). In fact, the vast majority of Americans have embraced the idea of a Jewish state since the 17th century pilgrims — long before the integration of the Jewish community into American society, and many years before the founding of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Such determination was underlined by an October 2013 Pew Research Center poll: 55% of America’s Christians (and 82% of evangelicals) — compared with 47% of American Jews — asserted that Israel was given to the Jewish people by God. An April 2010 Quinnipiac Institute poll documented an overwhelming majority of Americans (66% against 19%) urging Obama to be more supportive of Israel.

While Obama suffers from erosion of support by an increasing number of legislators from his own party — as has been the case with all second term presidents — while his approval rating drops to 40% according to a Gallup poll on February 16, and while polarization among constituents and legislators has been dramatically intensified, the record support of the Jewish state has been one of the few bipartisan consensus issues in America.

The support of Israel has been enhanced by the anti-U.S. Arab tsunami from the Persian Gulf to northwest Africa, the rising threat of Islamic terrorism — which has penetrated the U.S. mainland through hundreds of sleeper cells — and the rapidly expanding and mutually beneficial cooperation between the U.S. and Israel, commercially and militarily.

Moreover, support for Israel has been bolstered despite the tension between the White House and Jerusalem, due to the fact that most Americans do not consider the Jewish state a classic foreign policy issue. Americans have always considered the Jewish state an integral part of the American story, morally, culturally and politically.

The February 18 Gallup poll reflects the vitality and potency of the U.S.-Israel covenant, which has withstood wars, crises and pressure, constituting a robust tailwind behind the surge of the Jewish state from a remnant of the Holocaust to the prime ally of the U.S.

Former CIA official accused of misleading lawmakers on Benghazi

gty_benghazi_dm_130425_wblogFox News (Feb 20) — Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell is facing accusations from Republicans that he misled lawmakers about the Obama administration’s role in crafting the bogus storyline that a protest gone awry was to blame for the deadly Benghazi attack.

Among other discrepancies, Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee allege Morell insisted the talking points were sent to the White House for informational purposes, and not for their input — but emails, later released by the administration, showed otherwise.

“We found that there was actual coordination which could influence then — and did influence — what CIA conveyed to the committees about what happened [in Benghazi],” Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., told Fox News.

Burr was one of six Republicans who leveled the allegations against Morell, who also served as acting director, in an addendum to a recently released Senate Intelligence Committee report. According to the claims, in late 2012, Morell testified the so-called Benghazi talking points were sent to the White House “for their awareness, not for their coordination.”

The 16-page addendum continues, “No effort was made to correct the record … the Acting Director’s (Morell) testimony perpetuated the myth that the White House played no part in the drafting or editing of the talking points.”

After Morell’s 2012 testimony, committee Republicans say they insisted on reading the raw email traffic in the days leading up to then-Ambassador Susan Rice’s controversial Sunday show appearances, where she linked the attack to a protest. Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., told Fox News in a recent interview that they only got the emails between the CIA, State Department and White House because lawmakers threatened to hold up former White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan’s confirmation as CIA director.

Once the emails were released, Republican lawmakers say the conflict with Morell’s testimony was clear. Morell, who at the time was CIA Director David Petraeus’ deputy, was at the heart of the process, cutting some 50 percent of the text — and Republicans say White House coordination began at the earliest stages.

Click here for full article.

Glenn Beck Breaks Down How the Ukrainian Conflict Marks an Important Step in the Return of the ‘Red Menace’

Glenn Beck speaks with TheBlaze’s chief Washington correspondent Sara Carter on his television program Feb. 20, 2014.

Glenn Beck speaks with TheBlaze’s chief Washington correspondent Sara Carter on his television program Feb. 20, 2014.

TheBlaze (Feb 20) — Is America handling the upheaval in Ukraine the same way it did the 2011 protests in Iran? That’s what Glenn Beck and TheBlaze’s chief Washington correspondent Sara Carter argued Thursday, saying the result of both is a steady expansion of the “red menace,” Russia.

Beck has long said the “one movement” America should have stood for amid the upheaval surrounding the “Arab Spring” was Iran. While the president and various members of his administration have stood boldly for those on the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria, its comments on Iran were much more perfunctory.

In the end, the protests were squashed, and many of the activists were killed or imprisoned.

Beck went to a chalkboard that illustrates a prediction he made years ago, that the “Arab Spring” protests would cascade across the region, and the instability would sweep west into Europe.

A map indicates areas of instability on the Glenn Beck Program Feb. 20, 2014.

A map indicates areas of instability on the Glenn Beck Program Feb. 20, 2014.

If the conflict in Ukraine becomes militarized, Beck and Carter said, there will be refugees spilling across borders and Georgia will likely be “swallowed up” in the instability.

“We spent how much treasure as a country,” Beck said, “and the ‘red menace’ is coming back this way again!”

Carter agreed: “There is a cold war underway that we are not being made aware of publicly, but behind the scenes our intelligence officials and our European officials are saying the cold war is here. It’s on.”

Click here for full article.

Islamist Rebels Reportedly Forcing Women in Parts of Syria to Wear Face Veil

A woman wearing a face veil.

A woman wearing a face veil.

Recently Islamic supremacists and Leftists celebrated “World Hijab Day,” in supposed solidarity with the Muslim women who have allegedly faced discrimination and harassment for wearing the hijab (face veil). I trust that in light of this news story that the organizers of World Hijab Day will now organize World Hijab-Free Day, in honor of all the women who are threatened and brutalized for not wearing the hijab.

“Islamist Rebels Reportedly Forcing Women in Parts of Syria to Wear Face Veil,” TheBlaze, February 20, 2140:

Hardline jihadi rebels continue to try to impose sharia law in the parts of Syria where they operate, the latest report being that they are ordering women to appear in public only if wearing an Islamic veil.

Reuters reported that the Islamic Law Council of Deir al-Zor issued a statement saying women had until Saturday to cover up their faces when appearing in public. It did not specify what punishment they might otherwise face.

“Given that sins are the main reason delaying victory, the legal council in the town of Deir al-Zor is obliged to promote virtue and prevent vice,” the statement read.

According to Reuters, the statement was posted on Facebook and reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Human Rights Watch published a study last month reporting that Islamist groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Al Nusra Front were forcing women and girls to cover up with a veil and loose, full-length robes in northern and northeastern Syria.

“In some areas, the groups are imposing discriminatory measures prohibiting women and girls, particularly those who do not abide by the dress code, from moving freely in public, working, and attending school,” Human Rights Watch said last month.

Among the many examples of the efforts by hardline jihadi rebels to impose sharia law even without deposing President Bashar Assad are: the sentencing of a man to beating with a metal pipe and the killing of a 14-year-old Syrian boy last year who had made a joke referring to the prophet Muhammad.

In some areas, rebels have tried to put an Islamic stamp on day-to-day issues including marriage, divorce and the licensing of vehicles, the Washington Post reported last year.

In January, Reuters reported that ISIL had issued orders in the northern province of Raqqa prohibiting the playing of music outdoors, the display of photographs of people in shop windows, and the sale of cigarettes. It also ordered all men to attend Friday Muslim prayers.

See How Jimmy Fallon Kicked Off First Star-Studded ‘Tonight Show’ After Replacing Jay Leno

NEW YORK (AP) — If Jimmy Fallon had already proven he was a natural hosting NBC’s “Late Night,” he left no doubt Monday that “The Tonight Show” now fits him like a glove.

As promised during the much-promoted run-up to his “Tonight Show” debut, Fallon made no drastic changes to the “Late Night” formula that had served him for five years. He remained funny, gracious, bubbly and, above all, comfortable presiding over a show that was different mostly for its earlier time slot, its classier production values and legendary brand name.

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One of the more memorable moments came when Fallon and Will Smith performed the “evolution of hip-hop dancing” together:

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Back at his desk, he voiced what seemed like an aside: “To my buddy who said that I’d never be the host of ‘The Tonight Show’ – and you know who you are – you owe me a hundred bucks, buddy.”

With that, Robert De Niro burst through the curtain and plunked a hundred dollars on Fallon’s desk.

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But that wasn’t all. In rapid succession, a parade of other celebs circled through right behind him. They included Joe Namath, Rudolph Giuliani, Lindsay Lohan, Lady Gaga, Mike Tyson, Stephen Colbert and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Charles Krauthammer: How to fight academic bigotry

imrsThis brilliant op-ed is about a month old, but is just as relevant today as the boycott-Israel movement (BDS) is growing everyday.

“How to fight academic bigotry,” by Charles Krauthammer for The Washington Post, January 9, 2014:

For decades, the American Studies Association labored in well-deserved obscurity. No longer. It has now made a name for itself by voting to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians.

Given that Israel has a profoundly democratic political system, the freest press in the Middle East, a fiercely independent judiciary and astonishing religious and racial diversity within its universities, including affirmative action for Arab students, the charge is rather strange.

Made more so when you consider the state of human rights in Israel’s neighborhood. As we speak, Syria’s government is dropping “barrel bombs” filled with nails, shrapnel and other instruments of terror on its own cities. Where is the ASA boycott of Syria?

And of Iran, which hangs political, religious and even sexual dissidents and has no academic freedom at all? Or Egypt, where Christians are being openly persecutedOr Turkey, Saudi Arabia or, for that matter, massively repressive China and Russia?

Which makes obvious that the ASA boycott has nothing to do with human rights. It’s an exercise in radical chic, giving marginalized academics a frisson of pretend anti-colonialism, seasoned with a dose of edgy anti-Semitism.

And don’t tell me this is merely about Zionism. The ruse is transparent. Israel is the world’s only Jewish state. To apply to the state of the Jews a double standard that you apply to none other, to judge one people in a way you judge no other, to single out that one people for condemnation and isolation — is to engage in a gross act of discrimination.

And discrimination against Jews has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism.

Former Harvard president Larry Summers called the ASA actions “anti-Semitic in their effect if not necessarily in their intent.”I choose to be less polite. The intent is clear: to incite hatred for the largest — and only sovereign — Jewish community on Earth.

What to do? Facing a similar (British) academic boycott of Israelis seven years ago, Alan Dershowitz and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg wrote an open letter declaring that, for the purposes of any anti-Israel boycott, they are to be considered Israelis.

Meaning: You discriminate against Israelis? Fine. Include us out. We will have nothing to do with you.

Thousands of other academics added their signatures to the Dershowitz/Weinberg letter. It was the perfect in-kind response. Boycott the boycotters, with contempt.

But academia isn’t the only home for such prejudice. Throughout the cultural world, the Israel boycott movement is growing. It’s become fashionable for musicians, actors, writers and performers of all kinds to ostentatiously cleanse themselves of Israel and Israelis.

The example of the tuxedoed set has spread to the more coarse and unkempt anti-Semites, such as the thugs who a few years ago disrupted London performances of the Jerusalem Quartet and the Israeli Philharmonic.

Five years ago in Sweden, Israel’s Davis Cup team had to play its matches in an empty tennis stadium because the authorities could not guarantee the Israelis’ safety from the mob. The most brazen display of rising anti-Semitism today is the spread of the “quenelle,” a reverse Nazi salute, popularized by the openly anti-Semitic French entertainer, Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala.

In this sea of easy and open bigotry, an unusual man has made an unusual statement. Russian by birth, European by residence, Evgeny Kissin is arguably the world’s greatest piano virtuoso. He is also a Jew of conviction. Deeply distressed by Israel’s treatment in the cultural world around him, Kissin went beyond the Dershowitz/Weinberg stance of asking to be considered an Israeli. On Dec. 7, he became one, defiantly.

Upon taking the oath of citizenship in Jerusalem, he declared: “I am a Jew, Israel is a Jewish state. . . . Israel’s case is my case, Israel’s enemies are my enemies, and I do not want to be spared the troubles which Israeli musicians encounter when they represent the Jewish state beyond its borders.”

Full disclosure: I have a personal connection with Kissin. For the past two years I’ve worked to bring him to Washington to perform for Pro Musica Hebraica, a nonprofit organization (founded by my wife and me) dedicated to reviving lost and forgotten Jewish classical music. We succeeded. On Feb. 24, Kissin will perform at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall masterpieces of Eastern European Jewish music, his first U.S. appearance as an Israeli.

The persistence of anti-Semitism, that most ancient of poisons, is one of history’s great mysteries. Even the shame of the Holocaust proved no antidote. It provided but a temporary respite. Anti-Semitism is back. Alas, a new generation must learn to confront it.

How? How to answer the thugs, physical and intellectual, who single out Jews for attack? The best way, the most dignified way, is to do like Dershowitz, Weinberg or Kissin.

Express your solidarity. Sign the open letter or write your own. Don the yellow star and wear it proudly.

 

Read more from Charles Krauthammer’s archivefollow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

Israel’s Good News Newsletter to 16th Feb 2014

Brought to you by verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com:

IDF and USAF medics sign agreement.  (Thanks to Herb) The IDF Medical Corps and the American Air Force Medical Department signed a cooperation agreement to share and develop techniques and technologies that will save lives on the battlefield and during humanitarian rescue missions.

http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/10778/new-agreement-idf-u-s-air-force-will-help-save-lives/

Israeli wins global young scientist gold medal.  Hebrew University of Jerusalem doctoral student Yossi Kabessa won the Singapore Challenge gold medallion and $100,000 at the Global Young Scientists Summit in Singapore. He designed a system to detect dangerous materials in large water supply systems.

http://www.afhu.org/hebrew-university-phd-student-wins-gold-medal-global-young-scientists-summit-singapore

Sorek goes live.  As Israel prays for the end of its current drought, the new Sorek large-scale desalination plant has completed testing and is now fully operational.  Its reverse osmosis membranes can produce 624,000 cubic meters of water a day – two-thirds of the combined output of the existing Ashkelon and Hadera facilities.

http://www.waterworld.com/articles/wwi/print/volume-28/issue-6/technology-case-studies/desalination/sorek-stands-tall.html

Israel is creating a water surplus using desalination.  The above, plus this article explains why, despite current drought conditions throughout the Middle East, Israel is currently supplying ample water to all of its citizens – and (in future) possibly most of its immediate neighbors.

http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059994202

What makes Israel a Start-up Nation? There was rare praise from the BBC, when its technology correspondent paid a visit to Israel. The report includes filmed items shown on BBC TV news.

http://bbcwatch.org/2014/02/11/bbc-technology-correspondent-visits-the-start-up-nation/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26071818

Foreign investors flock to Israel.  Overseas investment in the Israeli Stock Exchange tripled in 2013 from $410 million in 2012 to $1.5 billion.  Bio-techs, banks and communications companies were the most popular.

http://www.jpost.com/Business/Business-News/Foreign-investment-in-Tel-Aviv-Stock-Exchange-tripled-in-2013-340834

What is Israel worth to the EU? Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar presented a report on January 30 arguing that Israel is strategically vital for a secure, prosperous and influential Europe.  Key areas include intelligence on terrorism threats, natural gas and 11% of European Research Council projects.

http://www.foi.org/israel-in-the-news/news-archives/israels-strategic-worth-eu-oren-kessler-and-alice-/

Two top hotels.  Two Israeli hotels have made it into Travel + Leisure magazine’s 2014 It List, which introduces the 70 most promising new hotels in the world: The Ritz-Carlton in Herzliya and Alma Hotel & Lounge in Tel Aviv.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4486548,00.html

What a goal!  The sports world is heralding the incredible goal that Israeli soccer player Barak Yitzhaki scored for Maccabi Tel Aviv against Maccabi Haifa recently.  He performed the famous bicycle kick to perfection.

http://www.jerusalemonline.com/culture-and-lifestyle/israeli-soccer-player-wows-world-with-bicycle-kick-3578

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