Highlights from the free weekly newsletter verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com:
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Pancreatic cancer treatment trials continue. Jerusalem-based biotech Tiltan has raised $1.5 million for the completion of its on-going Phase II clinical study of TL-118, an anti-angiogenic therapy for treating metastatic pancreatic cancer. 80 patients are being tested in seven major Israeli oncology centers and also two in the US.
Generating stem cells quickly and cheaply. (Thanks to Israel21c) Israeli biotech Cellect has developed a stem cell collection kit that could revolutionize the treatment of leukemia and other immune-related diseases. Cellect’s kit takes only 10 hours to generate sufficient stem cells for bone marrow transplants.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
IDF’s first female Christian officer. Yasmin Chayach has become the first Christian woman to complete the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer’s training course. Chayach, who is from Acre, follows in the footsteps of her brother, who also served in the IDF. Christian enlistment in the IDF tripled in 2013.
Improved Israel-Arab view of the Jewish State. In a University of Haifa study, the percentage of Israeli Arabs who recognize Israel’s right to continue to exist as a Jewish and democratic state (53%) rose in 2013 compared to 2012 (47%). 64% (up 5%) thought Israel was a good place to live.
Israelis help AIDS patients in Africa. Professor Dan Engelhard of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center founded the Art Joy Love organization to help AIDS patients. In Uganda, his doctors, nurses, medicine, medical clowns, social workers and other volunteers in 18 months have reduced AIDS from 18% down to 16%.
India’s Foreign Minister is another friend of Israel. Last week I reported that India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a friend of Israel. He has now appointed India’s first female Foreign Minister. Sushma Swara served as chairwoman of the Indo-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group from 2006 to 2009.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Israeli chips run Cisco’s best router. Cisco Systems recently declared the ASR 9000 to be its most successful high-end router in a decade. Good news for Israel’s EZchip, which makes the processor that powers it.
Israeli students excel at Asian Physics Olympiad in Singapore. Israeli 12th graders returned from the Asian Physics Olympiad (APhO) 2014 with two silver medals, three bronze medals and three honorable mentions. Each of the delegation’s eight members came home with an award. 27 countries competed.
Israeli students win engineering prize in Turkey. Three Israeli students from Ben Gurion University won second place at the International Cultural and Academic Meeting of Engineering Students conference (ICAMES), a worldwide engineering project competition organized by the Bogazici University in Istanbul.
Free drinking water stations – global pilot begins in Tel Aviv. (Thanks to Size Doesn’t Matter) Israeli start-up Woosh has launched its global pilot, providing free drinking water in Tel Aviv’s public spaces.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Fitch Ratings give Israel another “A” credit rating. Fitch gave as positive, Israel’s fiscal consolidation and narrowing of budget deficits. It also noted, “The start of gas production has caused a structural improvement in the balance of payments that will support continued current account surpluses.”
Teva’s new treatments are worth $1b. In 2014 Israel’s Teva is launching Zecurity (migraine patch), Adasuve (inhalation powder to treat agitation in schizophrenia patients) and DuoResp Spiromax, (an inhaler). The combined peak sales of these products are estimated to be $1 billion. It also has 15 treatments in Phase III trials.
Israel passes US, Europe in plastic bottle recycling. 54 percent of Israel’s plastic bottles were recycled in 2012, compared to 31.8% in the U.S. and 52.4% in OECD countries. 2013 data shows that Israel recycled 56% of its plastic bottles. 350 million bottles were recycled thanks to more than 20,000 recycling deposit stations.
Five Israeli companies list on London AIM. Israel’s Marimedia, a provider of solutions for optimizing for the sale of online advertising space, has just listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Other 2014 Israeli (or Israeli subsidiary) AIM listings include SafeCharge, Summit Germany, XLMedia and Bagir.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Israeli student film wins Oscar. “Paris on the Water,” by Tel Aviv University master’s student Hadas Ayalon, is one of three winners in the foreign film category of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 41st Student Academy Awards competition. The award will be presented on 7 June in Los Angeles.
Justin Timberlake brings ‘Summer Love’ to Tel Aviv. American pop star Justin Timberlake rocked tens of thousands of fans in Park Hayarkon during his first-ever Israel concert. Before the event he prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem – the photo posted on his facebook site received over 250,000 likes.
Bob Dylan recommended Israel to the Rolling Stones. Ronnie Wood, guitarist for The Rolling Stones, revealed that Bob Dylan put the idea in the Stones’ circle to include Israel as a tour stop. “He said he loved it there,” said Wood. “I said, we’ve never been there, so we’ll have to go play there one day, so there you go.”
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