Category Archives: Government

How Syrians Saved an Ancient Seedbank From Civil War

Wired

A year and half after the war began, the fighting drew close enough to Aleppo that the Center’s international staff was advised to leave Syria. That left about 50 Syrian staff members responsible for completing the second round of the evacuation: shipping as many samples as possible to the Svalbard Seed Vault in Norway. That’s the “backup to the backup,” the genebank designed to outlast all other genebanks from its location in the Arctic Circle and come to the rescue in case of worldwide, catastrophic crop destruction, explains Salazar, whose organization oversees the Svalbard collection.

Even as the area around the genebank fell under the control of two competing armed groups and the remaining staff reckoned with several kidnappings, they managed to backup 80 percent of the center’s collection in Svalbard. The last shipment farrived at Svalbard in March 2014—nearly two years after Amri and much of the rest of the international staff had relocated to Rabat, Morocco. Last month, the Center won the Gregor Mendel Innovation Prize—coveted among plant breeders—for its rescue and preservation of the genebank. And amazingly, the Aleppo site continues to be operational. The Syrian staff has managed to keep the electricity on and the genebank intact through four years of war.

Now comes the hard part: planting the seeds the team sent away and regenerating those crops far from home. Usually, genebanks store about a pound of each kind of seed they collect, but the “safety duplicated” samples stored at other genebanks are only about half an ounce, says Thomas Payne, the head of the genebank at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center outside of Mexico City, which stores many of ICARDA’s emergency backups.

Half an ounce isn’t enough to share with farmers, one of a genebank’s central missions. “What is the value of having all that material secured but not accessible?” Payne says. The Center has granted Payne and his team permission to open their duplicated wheat samples and start planting them at the Mexican center, both to help bulk up the collection and make sure the samples are still viable. After all, “just because something’s in the refrigerator, it doesn’t mean it’s alive,” Salazar points out.

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Filed under Culture, Farming, Middle East

Hypocrisy at its finest…

Apple’s gay CEO slams Indiana, yet opens stores in Saudi Arabia

In what Indiana‘s governor and his supporters describe as defense of any given individual’s religious convictions, detractors roundly decry as blatant discrimination against the LGBT community. Possibly the best explanation of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) rendered down to two sentences would be that as reported by CBS News on March 30, 2015, “Supporters say it protects a person or business owner from government persecution when following their religious beliefs. But opponents say the measure gives businesses a free pass to refuse gay and lesbian customers on religious grounds.”

Despite the Hoosier State’s Governor Mike Pence stressing the new law wouldn’t legalize discrimination against certain individuals or groups, but instead would protect the religious convictions of service providers such as pro-life pharmacists forced to sell abortifacients (abortion-inducing drugs), a number of high profile pro-LBGT advocates have slammed Pence and the Indiana legislature. One of the more prominent would be Apple CEO Tim Cook, who the Gawker.com news portal tagged in 2011 as “The Most Powerful Gay Man in America.”

As reported by CBS, Cook took to the editorial pages of The Washington Post slam the RFRA as he believes it “goes against the very principles our nation was founded on.” Not done yet, Cook also opined “On behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement.”

However, Cook made no mention of Apple Inc. expanding to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last year. As reported by Arabian Business on Dec. 20, 2014, Apple opened two new stores in Riyadh and Al Khobar. According to Apple’s official website, the corporation has well over 14 retail stores within the Kingdom, as well as numerous other stores the width and breadth of the Muslim World. A number of the same Muslim-majority nations also adhere to Islamic Shari’a law which clearly states homosexuality to be illegal.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia takes it a bit further. Saudi Arabia executes homosexuals. Publicly executing homosexuals isn’t the only Shari’a compliant move taken in the oil rich nation. Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the powerful Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared in 2012 that it is “necessary to destroy all the [Christian] churches of the region.” Not finished with calling for the death of homosexuals or bulldozing churches, the Sheikh also gave the official thumbs-up for 10-year-old girls to be married off against their will.

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Filed under "Community Organizers", Apple, Cronyism, Culture, Elitism, Entitlement, Government, Hypocrisy, Islam, LGBT, Liberals, Middle East, Shariah, Stupidity, Useful Idiots

Republicans warn world that Obama U.N. plan could be undone

Yahoo

The Obama administration’s plan for U.N. climate change talks encountered swift opposition after its release Tuesday, with Republican leaders warning other countries to “proceed with caution” in negotiations with Washington because any deal could be later undone.

The White House is seeking to enshrine its pledge in a global climate agreement to be negotiated Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris. It calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by close to 28 percent from 2005 levels within a decade, using a host of existing laws and executive actions targeting power plants, vehicles, oil and gas production and buildings.

But Republican critics say the administration lacks the political and legal backing to commit the United States to an international agreement.

“Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

But elements of the administration’s climate policy already face legal challenges. On April 16, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. will hear arguments from 13 states opposed to as-yet-unfinalized regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that target emissions in existing power plants.

And McConnell’s warnings echoed the tone of a March 9 “open letter” from 47 Republican senators to Iran, in which they warned a Republican president would not be bound to honor a nuclear agreement struck by Democrat Obama without congressional approval, calling it a “mere executive agreement.”

Some observers said that resistance to the administration’s climate policies leaves foreign governments questioning whether Obama’s commitments can last.

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Filed under "Global Warming", "Intelligence", "Transparency", Cronyism, Democrats, Elitism, Entitlement, Executive Order, Government, Hypocrisy, Liberals, Politics, President

Israeli Company’s Vaccine Blocks 90% of Cancer Types

INN

An Israeli biotech company is developing a vaccine for cancer that it says can help prevent the return of the lethal disease for 90% of the different types of cancer.

Vaxil BioTherapeutics based in Nes Ziona has been developing ImMucin for more than five years, and already has seen strong success in testing indicating it can be a vital tool in combating cancer. The disease kills eight million people worldwide per year, and sees 14 million new cases diagnosed annually according to the World Health Organization.

“Vaxil is developing a drug to keep the cancer from coming back,” Vaxil’s CFO Julian Levy told NoCamels. “We are trying to harness the natural power of the immune system to fight against cancer by seeking out cancer cells and destroying them.”

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Filed under Cancer, Health, Israel, Medical Discoveries

GOP Finally Has Tool to Repeal ObamaCare

Breitbart

Over the next two weeks, while Congress is in recess, the House and Senate will begin to hammer out small differences between the budget resolutions that passed each chamber. Leaders in both chambers have vowed to meet the April 15th deadline to produce a final budget resolution.

The final product of House and Senate negotiations on a budget resolution matters less than the process by which any deal will be enacted. Congress, particularly the Senate, can use “reconciliation” to make policy changes that involve the final budget agreement. Reconciliation limits the amount of debate in the Senate on the final resolution and, most importantly, operates outside the filibuster process, so it requires only a simply majority of 51 votes for passage.

Reconciliation was used in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was in the White House and Republicans controlled Congress to produce the last real balanced budget. It was used to pass the Bush tax cuts early in his presidency. It was also used to enact ObamaCare.

Keep these examples in mind, because if the GOP finally uses its power to repeal ObamaCare under reconciliation, the media will no doubt scream about the “unprecedented” nature of the congressional actions.

With reconciliation, the GOP now has the very tool it campaigned for during these past 5 years. It could repeal ObamaCare, enact long-overdue tax reform and give citizens real choices over entitlement programs. It can push its policies without the specter of a government shutdown or against the false narrative of a government default.

Obama will no doubt veto the final budget resolution, especially if it repeals his signature legislative legacy. Fine. No single action will better define the stakes in the next presidential election.

Congress can simply make small changes to the final document and repeatedly resubmit to Obama for his continued vetoes. In this case, he alone will be blocking the adoption of a final budget resolution. The media will no doubt try to continue his false “GOP obstructionist” narrative, but the optics will be inescapable for voters.

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Filed under "Transparency", Amendments, Government, Insurance, IRS, ObamaCare, Politics, Taxes

What? You didn’t know?

So Yeah, Israel Has Nuclear Weapons

“Israel has nuclear weapons,” she told the suddenly-interested class, “and we aren’t afraid to use them if we have to.” She looked around, aware that they were quieter than they had been, “Does that frighten you?” she asked.

Several nodded and she added, “good.”

Israel has nuclear weapons. Unlike the United States, which has had nuclear weapons for more than 70 years and betrayed our trust by releasing documents that confirm this, we’ve never used nuclear weapons to kill anyone. Unlike Iran, which doesn’t have nuclear weapons (yet), Israel has never threatened to blow a nation off the face of the map.

For the past 24 hours, after hearing that the United States, under the leadership of Barack Hussein Obama, deliberately stabbed Israel in the back by releasing documents that confirm what most of the world has known or suspected for decades, I was rendered mute with anger. Every post I thought of making usually included at least one four letter word and often many of them.

And so I waited and thought and then I remembered my mother speaking before the Austrian kids who then decided rather than visit Italy, they would take their senior class trip to Israel.

When the world is a bit condescending, antagonistic and certainly against Israel in so many ways, perhaps the United States unwittingly did us a favor. The word is out. Israel has nuclear weapons.

Does that scare you?

Good.

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Filed under Israel, War

Sources Say, Erik Prince was hired by crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together a 800-member battalion

YourPOC

According to the New York Time, Erik Prince billionaire founder of Blackwater was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by a reputable source.

The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest in their crowded labor camps or were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.

The U.A.E.’s rulers, viewing their own military as inadequate, also hope that the troops could blunt the regional aggression of Iran, the country’s biggest foe, the former employees said. The training camp, located on a sprawling Emirati base called Zayed Military City, is hidden behind concrete walls laced with barbed wire. Photographs show rows of identical yellow temporary buildings, used for barracks and mess halls, and a motor pool, which houses Humvees and fuel trucks. The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, according to the former employees and American officials.

In outsourcing critical parts of their defense to mercenaries — the soldiers of choice for medieval kings, Italian Renaissance dukes and African dictators — the Emiratis have begun a new era in the boom in wartime contracting that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. And by relying on a force largely created by Americans, they have introduced a volatile element in an already combustible region where the United States is widely viewed with suspicion.

The United Arab Emirates — an autocracy with the sheen of a progressive, modern state — are closely allied with the United States, and American officials indicated that the battalion program had some support in Washington.

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Filed under Middle East, Military, War

Walking softly and carrying a big stick…

Saudi Arabia says it won’t rule out building nuclear weapons

Saudi Arabia will not rule out building or acquiring nuclear weapons, the country’s ambassador to the United States has indicated.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia would ever build nuclear weapons in an interview with US news channel CNN, Adel Al-Jubeir said the subject was “not something we would discuss publicly”.

Pressed later on the issue he said: “This is not something that I can comment on, nor would I comment on.”

The ambassador’s reticence to rule out a military nuclear programme may reignite concerns that the autocratic monarchy has its eye on a nuclear arsenal.

Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60% of Pakistan’s nuclear programme in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice, the Guardian newspaper reported in 2010.

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Filed under Government, Middle East, Military, War

US allies fear Obama admin leaking information to Iran

Hotair

Just how badly has Barack Obama and his administration damaged relations with our allies in the Middle East? NBC’s Richard Engel reports that the Sunni nations in the region have begun to fear that the Obama administration leaks intel to Iran as part of its efforts at rapprochement with the mullahs, which is why the US got blindsided by the Saudi-led coalition’s operations in Yemen. The White House’s “incoherence” in policy, Engel reports, has most of them losing confidence in American leadership, according to Engel’s contacts (via Free Beacon):

ENGEL (1:58): I know several people in the US military who were taken by surprise by this [action in Yemen]. Senior officials who would have been expected to know that there was going to be an operation in Yemen, they didn’t. They were finding out about it almost in real time.

And they believe, and some US members of Congress believe, that the reason Saudi Arabia and other states didn’t tell the US that it was going to launch this war against Shi’ite backed, or Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, is because Saudi Arabia and other countries simply don’t trust the United States anymore, don’t trust this administration — think the administration is working to befriend Iran to try and make a deal in Switzerland, and therefore didn’t think that the intelligence frankly would be secure.

I think that is a situation that is quite troubling for US foreign policy, where traditional allies — like Saudi Arabia, like Egypt, like the United Arab Emirates — don’t know if the US is reliable at this stage to hold onto this information when it comes to Iran.

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Filed under "Community Organizers", "Intelligence", "Transparency", Cronyism, Democrats, Elitism, Entitlement, Foreign Policy, Government, Hypocrisy, Iran, Liberals, Middle East, Politics, President

Feds to Weigh Children in Daycare

WashFreeBeacon

Bureaucrats from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will weigh and measure children in daycare as part of a study mandated by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The agency published a notice in the Federal Register on Friday proposing data collection on what meals are served in professional and home daycare facilities and how much physical activity children perform.

Aside from assessing how healthy the food in daycare is, the USDA will also check the weight and height of roughly 3,000 children.

“Children will be asked to cooperate with study staff who will weigh and measure them for the Standing Height and Weight Form,” the notice said.

The study is required by section 223 of Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by Mrs. Obama and passed in 2010. The main aspect of the law implemented new standards for school lunches.

A lesser-known requirement of the law is the “Study on Nutrition and Wellness Quality in Childcare Settings (SNAQCS),” which the USDA announced Friday. The public will have 60 days to comment.

The USDA said the data collection is important since more than 30 million kids are in daycare.

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Filed under Cronyism, Democrats, Elitism, Entitlement, Health, Hypocrisy, Liberals, Nanny States, Nutrition, Politics, President