• Saudi Arabia's top cleric says Iran's leaders 'not Muslims'

    06/Sep/2016 // 563 Viewers

     

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's top cleric is revving up the kingdom's rhetoric against Iran, saying in comments published on Tuesday that Tehran's leaders are "not Muslims," in response to rancorous remarks from Iran's supreme leader.

    The remarks by Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh came a day after Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Saudi authorities of killing Muslims injured during last year's crush of crowds at the hajj pilgrimage.

    Their confrontational comments mark a sharp escalation in the countries' faceoff as their spat plays out across the region.

    Khamenei, in remarks published on his website Monday, said the "heartless and murderous Saudis locked up the injured with the dead in containers — instead of providing medical treatment and helping them or at least quenching their thirst. They murdered them."

    Mostly Sunni Saudi Arabia and majority Shiite Iran back opposite sides of the wars in Syria and Yemen, and support opposing political groups in Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon.

    In comments to the Makkah newspaper, the top Saudi cleric was quoted as saying that Khamenei's remarks are "not surprising" because Iranians are descendants of "Majuws"— a term that refers to Zoroastrians and those who worship fire. Zoroastrianism is a monotheistic religion predating Christianity and Islam and was the dominant religion in Persia before the Arab conquest.

    "We must understand they are not Muslims, for they are the descendants of Majuws, and their enmity toward Muslims, especially the Sunnis, is very old," the Saudi cleric said.

    The September 2015 stampede and crush of pilgrims killed at least 2,426 people, according to an Associated Press count. Iran had the highest of death toll of any country, with 464 Iranian pilgrims killed.

    Saudi authorities have not released any findings of their investigation into the hajj disaster. Preliminary statements suggested the crush was caused when at least two large crowds intersected.

    Khamenei also blamed Saudi Arabia for an earlier crane collapse in Mecca that killed 111 people, and urged Muslims around the world to reconsider Saudi Arabia's custodianship and management of Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina where the hajj is performed. He also said Saudi rulers promote sectarian strife and arm "wicked takfiri groups" — a reference to extremist Sunni militants who denounce other Muslims as heretics and non-believers.

    The two countries severed diplomatic relations in January after Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric and angry Iranian crowds overran Saudi diplomatic missions.

    Negotiations between the two countries over hajj security measures also collapsed earlier this year, prompting Iran to declare it would not be sending any of its citizens to this year's pilgrimage, which begins this weekend.


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  • Breaking News: US defies Russia, responds in the strongest form, rains missiles on Syria in response to Syria's chemical attack on Tuesday

    07/Apr/2017 // 1124 Viewers

     

    PARIS, APRIL 7, 2017: (DGW)THE United States of America denouncing the alleged chemical attack by Syria on northern Syria on Tuesday has responded in the strongest form by launching no fewer than fifty missiles against Syria, Al-Jazeera has reported.

    A US military source confirm the completion of tomahawk missiles numbering  50 in the operation after a suspected chemical weapon attack on Idlib province.

    Confirming the use of gas attack, Turkey's Health Minister told journalists that Sarin gas was used by the Syria military in the above-named region.


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  • Israeli Start-Up Seeks to Turn Water into Juice

    07/Dec/2015 // 355 Viewers

     

    An Israeli start-up company called The Right Cup has developed a fruit-scented cup that tricks the brain into thinking it is drinking juice instead of plain water.

    The company said it has been able to take fruit flavors, which beverage companies use in their drinks, and safely insert them directly into the cup instead of the drink.

    “Our unique design positions your nose right over the opening, so your nose fully picks up the fruit aroma while your tongue flirts with a hint of sweet taste,” a company promotion said.

    The Right Cup recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo that sought to raise $50,000. But as of Dec. 2, the campaign has raised nearly $109,000.

    Isaac Lavi, co-founder and CEO of The Right Cup, said he was inspired to create the product after being diagnosed with diabetes at age 30.

    “My doctors advised me to stay away from sugary beverages and to drink only plain water. This was very hard because I hated the taste, or actually the lack of taste,” Lavi told Mashable.

    The company sees the cup as a simple alternative to get people to drink less sugary beverages like soda and juice, which experts point to as a significant cause of rising diabetes and obesity levels. The Right Cup also hopes it can help increase water intake and reduce plastic bottle waste.

    The scented cup will initially come in four flavors—mixed berry, orange, apple, and lemon lime—and will retail for $35 sometime next year.

    By: JNS.org

     

     

     

    Source: United with Israel


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  • 4 Palestinians shot dead attempting to stab Israeli soldiers

    07/Jan/2016 // 198 Viewers

     

    JERUSALEM (AFP) - Four Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces Thursday after attempting to stab them in two incidents in the southern West Bank, the army said.

    "Three attackers, armed with knives, attempted to stab soldiers guarding the Gush Etzion junction," a statement said, adding that troops responded by firing at the assailants.

    A military spokeswoman told AFP all three were killed.

    Gush Etzion is a settlement bloc south of Jerusalem, and its junction has been a focal point in three months of Palestinian attacks targeting Israeli security forces and civilians.

    A short while later, a Palestinian armed with a knife attempted to stab soldiers northeast of Hebron, a statement said. "The force thwarted the attack and shot the assailant, resulting in his death."

    The three would-be assailants from the Gush Etzion incident were identified in Palestinian media as Muhanad Kawazbeh, 20; Ahmed Kawazbeh, 21, and Alaa Kawazbeh, 20, all from Sair village, northeast of Hebron.

    They were said to be relatives of Ahmed Kawazbeh, 18, who was shot dead after stabbing a soldier at the Gush Etzion junction on Tuesday.

    Twenty-two Israelis, an American and an Eritrean have been killed in Palestinian attacks including stabbings, car rammings and gunfire targeting security forces and civilians since October 1.

    At the same time, 143 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, most while carrying out attacks.

     

     

     

     

    AFP

     


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  • No emergency evacuation for 80,000 Russians still in Egypt: Moscow

    07/Nov/2015 // 326 Viewers

    © AFP/File | A tourist poses on a camel at the beach in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on November 3, 2015

     

    MOSCOW (AFP) - 

    Nearly 80,000 Russians are currently vacationing in Egypt but there will be no emergency evacuation, with tourists set to return home when they want, an official told AFP.

    "Nearly 80,000 tourists are in Egypt," Irina Tyurina, a spokeswoman for the Russian Union of the Tourism Industry, told AFP after a government meeting.

    "There will be no evacuation," she said, adding that most were staying in Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.

    Russia halted flights to Egypt on Friday amid growing fears that a Russian jet downed last weekend over the Sinai peninsula with 224 people on board was bombed.

    Empty planes are being sent to Egypt to bring Russian holidaymakers home, but they will be able to return at their own pace, official said.

    "Tourists will be returning from Egypt to Russia when they planned to," said Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who is in a charge of a task force established to oversee the return of tourists.

    "Most people left for two weeks -- our usual holiday tour lasts two weeks -- therefore they will return in about two weeks," he said in televised comments late Friday.

    Russia followed in Britain's footsteps, saying that holidaymakers will be returning home without their hold luggage, which will be brought back to the country separately.

    The emergencies ministry will later Saturday be sending two planes, one to Hurghada and another one to Sharm el-Sheikh, to pick up tourists' luggage, a spokeswoman, Tatyana Zholobova, told AFP.

    The number of Russian tourists travelling abroad has gone down significantly due to a plunge in the value of the ruble on the back of falling oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

    But affordable destinations such as Egypt are still popular with Russian holidaymakers, especially during school holidays.

    Russians, who have bought tour packages to Egypt, are now offered to travel to Turkey instead, tourism officials said.

    "A tour operator is right now offering to fly to Turkey under the same conditions which were stipulated in a holiday package for Egypt," one tourist, Andrei Kuznetsov, said in televised remarks.


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  • How Did Life Arise on Earth? - Ker Than

    07/Nov/2016 // 355 Viewers

     

    Earth is estimated to be about 4.5 billion years old, and for much of that history it has been home to life in one weird form or another.

    Indeed, some scientists think life appeared the moment our planet's environment was stable enough to support it.

    The earliest evidence for life on Earth comes from fossilized mats of cyanobacteria called stromatolites in Greenland that are about 3.7 billion years old. Ancient as their origins are, these bacteria (which are still around today) are already biologically complex—they have cell walls protecting their protein-producing DNA, so scientists think life must have begun much earlier. In fact, there are hints of life in even more primeval rocks: 4.1-billion-year-old zircons from Western Australia contain high amounts of a form of carbon typically used in biological processes. [7 Theories on the Origin of Life]

    But despite knowing approximately when life first appeared on Earth, scientists are still far from answering how it appeared.

    "Many theories of the origin of life have been proposed, but since it's hard to prove or disprove them, no fully accepted theory exists," said Diana Northup, a cave biologist at the University of New Mexico.

    The answer to this question would not only fill one of the largest gaps in scientists' understanding of nature, but also would have important implications for the likelihood of finding life elsewhere in the universe.

    Lots of ideas

    Today, there are several competing theories for how life arose on Earth. Some question whether life began on Earth at all, asserting instead that it came from a distant world or the heart of a fallen comet or asteroid. Some even say life might have arisen here more than once.

    "There may have been several origins," said David Deamer, a biochemist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "We usually make 'origins' plural just to indicate that we don't necessarily claim there was just a single origin, but just an origin that didn't happen to get blasted by giant [asteroid] impacts."

    Most scientists agree that life went through a period when RNA was the head-honcho molecule, guiding life through its nascent stages. According to this "RNA World" hypothesis, RNA was the crux molecule for primitive life and only took a backseat when DNA and proteins—which perform their jobs much more efficiently than RNA—developed.

    "A lot of the most clever and most talented people in my field have accepted that the RNA World was not just possible, but probable," Deamer said.

    RNA is very similar to DNA, and today carries out numerous important functions in each of our cells, including acting as a transitional-molecule between DNA and protein synthesis, and functioning as an on-and-off switch for some genes. [Extreme Life on Earth: 8 Bizarre Creatures]

    But the RNA World hypothesis doesn't explain how RNA itself first arose. Like DNA, RNA is a complex molecule made of repeating units of thousands of smaller molecules called nucleotides that link together in very specific, patterned ways. While there are scientists who think RNA could have arisen spontaneously on early Earth, others say the odds of such a thing happening are astronomical.

    "The appearance of such a molecule, given the way chemistry functions, is incredibly improbable. It would be a once-in-a-universe long shot," said Robert Shapiro, a chemist at New York University. "To adopt this [view], you have to believe we were incredibly lucky."

    The anthropic principle

    But "astronomical" is a relative term. In his book, The God Delusion, biologist Richard Dawkins entertains another possibility, inspired by work in astronomy and physics.

    Suppose, Dawkins says, the universe contains a billion billion planets (a conservative estimate, he says), then the chances that life will arise on one of them is not really so remarkable.

    Furthermore, if, as some physicists say, our universe is just one of many, and each universe contained a billion billion planets, then it's nearly a certainty that life will arise on at least one of them.

    As Dawkins writes, "There may be universes whose skies have no stars: but they also have no inhabitants to notice the lack."

    Shapiro doesn't think it's necessary to invoke multiple universes or life-laden comets crashing into ancient Earth. Instead, he thinks life started with molecules that were smaller and less complex than RNA, which performed simple chemical reactions that eventually led to a self-sustaining system involving the formation of more complex molecules.

    "If you fall back to a simpler theory, the odds aren't astronomical anymore," Shapiro told Live Science.

    Trying to recreate an event that happened billions of years ago is a daunting task, but many scientists believe that, like the emergence of life itself, it is still possible.

    "The solution of a mystery of this magnitude is totally unpredictable," said Freeman Dyson, a professor emeritus of physics at Princeton University in New Jersey. "It might happen next week or it might take a thousand years."

    Editor's Note: This article was first published in 2007. Tia Ghose contributed updates to this report.

    Credit: Live Science


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  • Disguised as stone-throwers, infiltrators open fire on Palestinians

    07/Oct/2015 // 182 Viewers

    AFP / by Sarah Benhaida and Andrea Bernardi | Israeli soldiers and infiltrated members of the Israeli security forces detain a Palestinian stone thrower during clashes in Beit El, on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 7, 2015

     

    RAMALLAH (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) - 

    In a matter of seconds, the men wearing scarves over their faces and throwing stones along with a group of Palestinians pulled out their pistols, opened fire and blew their cover.

    "Mustarabiin!" rang out among the crowd of about 100 Palestinians who had been hurling stones at Israeli soldiers for several hours at the Bet El checkpoint outside Ramallah.

    It is a word used to refer to those who disguise themselves as Arabs.

    The incident on Wednesday, captured on video by an AFP journalist, offered a rare glimpse of what appeared to be Israeli infiltrators embedded in a group of Palestinian stone-throwers.

    The Palestinians regularly accuse Israel of placing Arabic-speaking infiltrators among demonstrators in order to make arrests.

    The infiltrators on Wednesday grabbed and beat one man while pulling out their pistols, opening fire as stones flew toward them. Three people were wounded, including one left in a critical condition after being shot in the back of the head.

    They had been there for at least 30 minutes, AFP journalists reported, but were impossible to recognise beforehand. As riots have spread through east Jerusalem and the West Bank, stone-throwers have almost always been masked or wearing traditional Palestinian keffiyeh scarves.

    Arriving with backpacks, trainers and jerseys of Barcelona and the French national football teams, they mixed with students who had called for a "day of rage."

    One infiltrator even had a green scarf for Islamist movement Hamas trailing from the pocket of his jeans.

    Responding to the call from student guilds, the protesters left from Bir Zeit University under the rallying cry: "Bir Zeit was a stronghold of the intifada (uprising).

    "It must lead the movement again."

    Clashes broke out immediately after they arrived at Bet El, which has become the site of daily protests amid the recent wave of unrest.

     

    - Pistols pointed -

     

    The infiltrators joined the front line, dozens of metres (yards) from soldiers posted there with jeeps and armoured vehicles.

    At first, they threw stones like the others. Protesters hid behind a rubbish bin that served as a makeshift barricade against rubber bullets fired by Israeli troops along with tear gas and stun grenades.

    In an instant, the infiltrators withdrew from the crowd and pulled out pistols, as the protesters realised what was happening. The protesters threw stones at the men, four of whom pointed their weapons and opened fire.

    Three others who were unarmed grabbed two wounded youths and beat them. One youth who ran was hit in the back of the head.

    Israeli soldiers rushed to the scene and fired in the air. Both the infiltrators and the soldiers then grabbed three of the youths and brought them toward jeeps and armoured vehicles, leaving streaks of blood on the ground.

    "Be careful -- they arrested them. They're mustarabiin," one protester said.

    Another said "they're always in the middle of the crowd."

    Israel's military declined to comment directly on who the infiltrators were. Spokesman Arye Shalicar said only that the army is equipped with such units, without confirming whether or not those involved in Wednesday's incident were among them.

    Shalicar confirmed that one of the wounded protesters from Bet El was held by Israel and is in critical condition.

    After being dragged toward the military post, the three wounded protesters were on the ground surrounded by soldiers before being loaded aboard army ambulances.

    The person hit in the back of the skull tried to lift his head several times and breathed with difficulty. Another was wounded in the thigh, while a third writhed on the ground.

    by Sarah Benhaida and Andrea Bernardi


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  • Iran fires ballistic missiles, U.S. hints at diplomatic response

    08/Mar/2016 // 340 Viewers

     

    By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and Doina Chiacu

     

    DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) test-fired several ballistic missiles on Tuesday, state television said, challenging a United Nations resolution and drawing a threat of a diplomatic response from the United States.

    Two months ago, Washington imposed sanctions against businesses and individuals linked to Iran's missile program over a test of the medium-range Emad missile carried out in October 2015.

    U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington would review the incident and, if it is confirmed, raise it in the U.N. Security Council and seek an "appropriate response".

    "We also continue to aggressively apply our unilateral tools to counter threats from Iran's missile program," Toner added, in a possible reference to additional U.S. sanctions.

    An Iranian state television report showed a missile being fired from a fortified underground silo at night time. The presenter said it was a medium-range Qiam-1 missile, and the test took place in the early hours of Tuesday.

    The report said the Guards had fired several missiles from silos across the country, though it only showed footage of one. "The missiles struck a target 700 km away," said Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC's aerospace arm.

    State-run Press TV had earlier shown footage of the Emad missile, Iran's most advanced model under development, being fired. However, that footage appeared to be of the earlier October launch that triggered the U.S. sanctions.

    U.S. and French officials said a missile test by Iran would violate U.N. Security Council resolution 2231, which calls on Iran not to conduct "any activity" related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

    However, Washington said that a fresh missile test would not violate the Iran nuclear deal itself, under which Tehran agreed to restrict its atomic program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. The deal was endorsed in resolution 2231.

    It is unlikely the Security Council would take action on Iranian missile tests, diplomats say.

    While most of its 15 members would agree with the United States and France about a likely violation of resolution 2231, Russia and China, which have veto power, made clear during negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal they did not agree with continuing the U.N. restrictions on Tehran’s missile program and arms trade.

    DETERRENT POWER

    Hajizadeh said sanctions would not stop Iran developing its ballistic missiles, which it regards as a cornerstone of its conventional deterrent.

    "Our main enemies are imposing new sanctions on Iran to weaken our missile capabilities … But they should know that the children of the Iranian nation in the Revolutionary Guards and other armed forces refuse to bow to their excessive demands," the IRGC's website quoted Hajizadeh as saying.

    Iran always denied any link between its ballistic missiles and its disputed nuclear program, which is now subject to strict limitations and checks under the nuclear deal.

    Tuesday's test is intended "to show Iran's deterrent power and also the Islamic Republic's ability to confront any threat against the (Islamic) Revolution, the state and the sovereignty of the country", the IRGC's official website said.

    While any missile of a certain size could in theory be used to carry a nuclear warhead, Iran says the Emad and other missiles are for use as a conventional deterrent. Recent work has focused on improving the missiles' accuracy, which experts say will make them more effective with conventional warheads.


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  • Al Qaeda chief tells jihadist fighters in Syria: Unite or die

    08/May/2016 // 399 Viewers

     

    AMMAN (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged rival jihadist fighters in Syria to unite or risk death but again decried fellow Sunni Muslim militants Islamic State as "extremists" in an audio recording posted online on Sunday.

    As successor to Osama bin Laden, Zawahri has the allegiance of al Qaeda branches in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. But the group's dominance is being challenged by Islamic State, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq and followings in Libya and Yemen.

    In Syria, al Qaeda offshoot Nusra Front and Islamic State are the two most powerful groups fighting government forces. Once a single group, they split in 2013, largely due to a power struggle among leaders.

    "We have to want the unity of the Mujahideen in Sham (Syria) so it will be liberated from the Russians and Western crusaders. My brothers ... the matter of unity is a matter of life or death for you," Zawahri said.

    The authenticity of the recording, the first since January, could not be immediately verified, but it had the hallmarks of previous Zawahri tapes. In January, the Egyptian former doctor called for revenge after Saudi Arabia executed dozens of militants.

    He is believed to be hiding in a border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    On the recording, Zawahri lambasted a U.N.-backed political process to find a solution in Syria, and praised Nusra Front, which controls most of Idlib province.

    Nusra is also part of an alliance of Islamist brigades known as Jaish al Fateh, which is leading battles against Syrian government forces and its Russian- and Iranian-backed allies in the southern Aleppo countryside.

    In January, Nusra Front tried unsuccessfully to convince rival Islamist factions to merge into one unit, including the powerful Ahrar al-Sham.

    Zawahri also emphasized once again the ideological divide between al Qaeda and Islamic State, which is fighting a Western-led coalition and Russian forces while also clashing with Western-backed rebels and the Syrian army.

    He described them as "extremists and renegades" whose followers would eventually disavow their beliefs and methods.


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  • Netanyahu tells police to bar ministers from Al-Aqsa compound: report

    08/Oct/2015 // 167 Viewers

     AFP/File | The Al-Aqsa compound is the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred in Judaism

     

    JERUSALEM (AFP) - 

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered police to bar ministers and lawmakers from visiting the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, the Haaretz daily reported on Wednesday.

    Clashes have rocked the compound, which is holy to both Muslims and Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount, in recent weeks amid a spike in tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

    The latest reported measure to bar Israeli politicians from the Al-Aqsa mosque compound would be aimed at lowering tensions and reducing the level of Palestinian violence.

    The Al-Aqsa compound is the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred in Judaism. It is located in east Jerusalem, annexed by Israel in 1967 in a move never recognised by the international community.

    Muslims fear Israel will seek to change rules governing the site, which allow Jews to visit but not pray to avoid provoking tensions.

    An increase in visits by Jews in recent weeks over a series of Jewish holidays has added to tensions.

    Israel's Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who has come out in support of the right of Jews to pray in the compound, is among those to have visited the site.


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