Saturday, July 07, 2007

Two Muslim bombers were rejected for hospital jobs in Australia -- but fine for Britain's good old NHS!

Two of the men arrested over the weekend terror attacks in Britain applied to work as doctors in Western Australian but were rejected - and at least one is related to the young Gold Coast doctor set to spend a week in secure custody.

As new links emerged in the car bomb investigation last night, a Brisbane magistrate gave police approval to detain Mohamed Haneef - arrested at Brisbane airport on Monday night on suspicion of being connected to a terrorist group - for another four days. Dr Haneef is the cousin of Sabeel Ahmed, 26, one of seven suspects detained in Britain, and may have been related to another suspect arrested when a Jeep Cherokee exploded at Glasgow airport.

The West Australian branch of the Australian Medical Association, which runs a recruitment agency in the state, last night revealed that Dr Ahmed and his brother Kafeel had applied for work but had been rejected. Dr Haneef and Sabeel Ahmed worked together in Britain. According to reports, Kafeel is also known as Khalid Ahmed, who suffered life-threatening burns when he drove the Jeep packed with petrol and gas canisters into the Glasgow terminal building.

London's The Daily Telegraph said Dr Haneef and the two Ahmed brothers were born and raised in Bangalore, India, and graduated with medical degrees from the Rajiv Gandhi University.

AMA state president Geoff Dobbs said the association had also rejected an application from Gold Coast doctor Mohammed Asif Ali, who worked with Dr Haneef and drove him to the airport before the suspect's laptop was found in his car. "We believed their qualifications and references did not meet the standards required in Western Australia," Professor Dobbs said, adding that one of the three had made repeated applications for work. The Medical Board of Western Australia last night refused to comment on the case, while its Queensland equivalent offered no fresh information.

Before leaving Britain last year, Dr Haneef left his mobile phone SIM card with Sabeel Ahmed. Reports suggest the prime suspect in the bombings, Jordanian-trained doctor Mohammed Asha, contacted Dr Haneef via email and text messages. Dr Haneef's family insist he is innocent.

The eight detained suspects are doctors or have medical links, and a British cleric claims to have been warned by an al-Qa'ida figure in Iraq in April that "those who cure you will kill you". Police found suicide notes left by the occupants of the Jeep, which allegedly indicated they intended to detonate the vehicle while still inside. Allegations emerged that Bilal Abdulla, a suspected passenger in the Jeep, was associated with a hardline Muslim group in 2004.

Police have been interviewing Dr Haneef's colleagues, some of whom trained in India and worked in Britain, amid fears of a "sleeper cell" in Australia. The case has renewed debate over overseas-trained doctors and prompted Queensland Senate candidate and One Nation founder Pauline Hanson to call for free medical degrees for Australians to bolster the system.



Brits have miserable weather so it is obviously a relief to have global warming to blame it on. And the recent floods fall into that category, of course. Not so fast, says the article below. Such fluctuations were known and explained (in various ways) long ago

June's rains did not break the monthly rainfall record for England and Wales, despite what many newspapers claimed. But, according to folklore, last Sunday's wet weather carried a dire warning: "If the first of July be rainy weather/ It will rain more or less for four weeks together." Many similar traditions, such as St Swithin's Day on July 15, reveal that people have long recognised how summer weather can settle into long-running patterns.

There is science to this too. Much of our rains are driven over the Atlantic by the jet stream, a river of wind a few miles up in the atmosphere. In the summer, the jet stream often migrates north, taking bad weather away from the UK. But this summer, high pressure to the north has blocked off that route and the jet stream has dug in over Britain. Its sluggish movement has reduced depressions and their weather fronts to a crawl, giving plenty of time for rain to fall.

This is not climate change, though. Will Hand, a forecast researcher at the Met Office, has studied previous extreme rains in Britain. "The depressions that gave such heavy frontal rain recently were typical of 20th-century rainfall extremes," he explained. He cites the Great Borders Flood of August 1948 as an example, when a slow depression flooded the River Tweed, sweeping away 40 bridges and disrupting mainline rail services for two months.


London court jails 'cyber-jihadis' for incitement to violence

I am inclined towards the moderate libertarian view that incitement to violence is reasonably denied free speech protection so see the verdict as justifiable:

"Three "cyber-jihadis" who used the internet to urge Muslims to wage holy war on non-believers were jailed for between six-and-a-half and 10 years today in the first case of its kind in Britain. Tariq Al-Daour, Younes Tsouli and Waseem Mughal had close links with al-Qaeda in Iraq and thought there was a "global conspiracy" to wipe out Islam, the Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London was told.

Moroccan-born Tsouli, 23, was jailed for 10 years; UAE-born Al-Daour, 21, received a six-and-a-half year sentence; and 24-year-old Mughal, who was born in Britain, was given seven-and-a-half years.

Sentencing them, Judge Charles Openshaw said the men had engaged in "cyber jihad", encouraging others to kill "kuffars" or non-believers. "It would seem that internet websites have become an effective means of communicating such ideas," he said, although he added that none of the men had come close to carrying out acts of violence themselves. Referring to Tsouli, whom he recommended for deportation to Morocco after serving his sentence, he said: "He came no closer to a bomb or a firearm than a computer keyboard."

Al-Daour, from west London, yesterday admitted "inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the United Kingdom which would, if committed in England and Wales, constitute murder." Tsouli, also from west London, and Mughal, from Kent, southeast England, admitted the same charge on Monday. The guilty pleas came part way through a trial which had run for two months.


British Jewry in crisis

The call for a boycott against Israeli academicians by the British University and College Union (UCU) reflects the depths to which vicious hostility against Israel has become ingrained in British society. It is an abomination for "educators," purporting to be liberal or progressive, to sanction a dastardly resolution boycotting academics from the only democratic state in the Middle East. It is especially bizarre because Israeli universities are pluralistic with no limitations on the enrolment of Israeli Arab students. In stark contrast, many Palestinian Arab "universities" promote a cult of death, suicide bombers and the destruction of the Jewish state.

It may be politically incorrect to describe such boycotts as anti-Semitic rather than anti-Israel. But the time has now surely come to call a spade a spade. To demonize Israel while ignoring the brutal denial of human rights in Islamic states - with 400,000 murdered in Darfur alone - does not merely reflect distorted double standards. Notwithstanding the high proportion of turncoat Jews among boycott proponents (and even ex-Israelis), by any benchmark this must be deemed an anti-Semitic act.

The noxious atmosphere radiating venom against Israel is now so intense that it is reminiscent of what European Jews must have endured in the 1930s when they were transformed into pariahs. Whereas the early Nazi anti-Jewish boycott initiatives were against Jewish enterprises, today these activities are directed against the surrogate of the Jewish people, the Jewish state. Of course Jews in England are not about to be herded into concentration camps. But there are undoubtedly other ominous similarities.

It is noteworthy that in the 1930s, liberals and the Left defended Jews against the Nazis. Yet today they are leading the pack against Israel and align themselves with the darkest forces of fundamentalist Islam who proudly proclaim their intent to fulfill the Nazi objective of annihilating Jews and their institutions.

THE NIGHTMARE is heightened when even many of those who recognize the potency of the Islamic threat to Britain's open society blame these Islamic excesses on Israel. In their distorted world view, had Israel not been created, Muslims would not have been humiliated and the rage against the West would not have eventuated. The extent of the grotesque distortion of reality is reflected in opinion polls which demonstrate that the average Briton has been brainwashed into believing that Israel represents the greatest threat to world peace, even exceeding Iran.

Of course, much responsibility for this negative climate rests with successive Israeli governments which failed to grapple with the war of ideas or provide guidance to Diaspora Jewish communities. The cynical outbursts of failed politicians like Avrum Burg who demonize their own country and the utilization of Israeli universities as launching pads for anti-Israeli activity by extremist post- Zionist academics also contributed toward the delegitimization of the Jewish state. However, all this does not invalidate the obligation of Anglo Jewry to defend itself.

ON PREVIOUS occasions I expressed concern about the passivity of those Anglo-Jewish leaders who, as an act of faith, rely unduly on silent diplomacy and maintain a low profile out of a concern not to rock the boat. The impotence of their proclaimed policy of "whispering" rather than "shouting" in response to anti-Semitic acts and delegitimization of Israel is exemplified by the recent painful debates over whether to hold public activities on the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War lest it provoke the enemy, and Jewish inclinations to hold protest meetings in closed areas.

Such attitudes have resulted in Anglo-Jewish leaders frequently being depicted as "trembling Israelites." Their behavior contrasts starkly with the French Jewish leaders who displayed courage and determination in the face of anti-Semitism. The core of the problem is that many British Jewish leaders remain in denial and either downplay or refuse to face the reality of the waves of anti-Semitism - disguised as anti- Zionism - which are engulfing them. This was reflected at the annual president's banquet of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. At a time of profound crisis in Israel, with anti-Semitism at an all time high in England, I was reliably informed that the address by board president Henry Grunwald centered on the obligation of Anglo-Jewry to protest against the infringement of human rights in Darfur. Of course what is happening at Darfur is an outrage to humanity to which Jews must be especially sensitive. But for a Jewish leader to refer at such an occasion almost exclusively to Darfur, virtually ignoring the fires that are burning in the Jewish world and the existential threats facing Israel, says it all.

IN THE wake of the reprehensible boycott resolution, the Board of Deputies stands exposed in all its nakedness. There is of course no guarantee that tougher counter action would necessarily have prevented the passage of the resolution. But we will never know, because Anglo-Jewish leaders relied principally on back channels to combat the resolution and were shocked when it was carried. Now they have launched a campaign to reverse the decision.

After the passage of such an abominable resolution, one would surely have expected every Jewish leader, every rabbi, and every activist, to stand up and express anger and disgust against such a moral outrage. Instead we heard expressions of regret, and reasoned academic responses. What were lacking were outpourings of moral indignation that such a biased and evil resolution could have been incubated by educators in the birthplace of democracy.

Of course there are voices of protest. Melanie Phillips the courageous journalist and author of the acclaimed Londonistan is having a major impact. Ronnie Fraser has been conducting a tough uphill campaign on behalf of Academic Friends of Israel. Andrew Balcombe, the chairman of the British Zionist Federation, in an interview with the BBC accused the UK of being the most anti-Semitic country in Europe. Many rank and file British Jews are willing to confront the anti-Semites but are being deterred by "leaders" who insist that strident protest activities are counterproductive.Perhaps the time has come for British Jews to bypass their timid representatives and initiate action independently.

THE GREATEST negative fallout from the passivity of Anglo Jews is not that anti-Semitism will grow - which it undoubtedly will. It is the impact that such cowardly behavior will have on future generations of British Jews. What can one expect in the years to come from today's youngsters who see their parents and leaders fail to confront those who demonize Israel and the Jewish people? If the official leadership of Anglo-Jewry does not change its attitude, the current malaise may only represent the tip of the iceberg.



A few times a year the British media of all stripes goes into a tizzy of panic when one climate scientist or another states that there is a possibility that the North Atlantic ocean circulation, of which the Gulf Stream is a major part, will slow down in coming years or even stop. Whether the scientists statements are measured or inflammatory the media invariably warns that this will plunge Britain and Europe into a new ice age, pictures of the icy shores of Labrador are shown, created film of English Channel ferries making their way through sea ice are broadcast...

The panic is based on a long held belief of the British, other Europeans, Americans and, indeed, much of the world's population that the northward heat transport by the Gulf Stream is the reason why western Europe enjoys a mild climate, much milder than, say, that of eastern North America. This idea was actually originated by an American military man, Matthew Fontaine Maury, in the mid nineteenth century and has stuck since despite the absence of proof. We now know this is a myth, the climatological equivalent of an urban legend.


Asthma in the genes too

A PREVIOUSLY unknown gene may be the solution to the puzzle of childhood asthma. The link between the gene and the disorder is so strong that scientists may have a complete understanding of what causes asthma within three years, predicts the team leader, British respiratory physician William Cookson. "I'm upbeat that we're going to do it," said Dr Cookson, with the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London.

Along with European and US colleagues, Dr Cookson reported overnight in the journal Nature that mutations in the novel gene ORMDL3 had a strong association with childhood asthma. "It's a potential target for therapy," Dr Cookson said. "But we're not completely sure what this gene does." His team found the mutations and the gene by comparing DNA from thousands of people with and without childhood asthma.

Molecular biologist Carolyn Williams, head of the genetics unit at the Lung Institute of Western Australia, said the result was extraordinary. "In all the years we've been looking. we've never found such a strong line between a genetic mutation and asthma," she said. Although numerous genes have shown small effects on susceptibility to childhood asthma, Dr Cookson said none had proved as closely tied as ORMDL3.

New data analysed by epidemiologist Guy Marks of Sydney's Woolcock Institute of Medical Research showed roughly 11 per cent of Australian children had asthma. "This is an important study in adding to knowledge of genetic risk factors of asthma," said Associate Professor Marks, who also heads the Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring. Associate Professor Marks said childhood asthma was caused by a combination of poorly understood genetic and environmental factors.

Peter Le Souef, a respiratory physician at the University of Western Australia in Perth, praised Dr Cookson's team's gene-scanning prowess. "They're the best in the world at it," he said. But Professor Le Souef said Dr Cookson's three-year timeline was overly optimistic. "We need to see how the finding replicates in further populations of children, as well as knowing its function," he said. To that end, Dr Cookson's group hopes to nail down ORMDL3's role in the body, asthmatic and otherwise.


Organic produce has more flavonoids: So what?

The flavonoid faith rolls on

Organic fruit and vegetables may be better for the heart and general health than eating conventionally grown crops, new research has found. A ten-year study comparing organic tomatoes with standard produce found that they had almost double the quantity of antioxidants called flavonoids which help to prevent high blood pressure and thus reduce the likelihood of heart disease and strokes. Alyson Mitchell, a food chemist, who led the research at the University of California, believes [Isn't faith wonderful?] that flavonoids can also help to stave off some forms of cancer and dementia.

She found that levels of quercetin and kaempferol, both flavonoids, were on average 79 and 97 per cent higher, respectively, in organic tomatoes. Her findings are due to be published in full in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Dr Mitchell said that previously it had been hard to make comparisons between organic and conventionally grown produce because of difficulties in comparing soil quality, irrigation practices and the handling of harvested produce. But for this study researchers used data from a long-term project in which standardised farming techniques were used to reveal trends in crop productivity. The team believes [More faith!] that the different levels of flavonoids in tomatoes are due to the absence of fertilisers in organic farming.

Plants produce flavonoids as a defence mechanism; they are triggered by nutrient deficiency. Feeding a plant with too many nutrients, such as inorganic nitrogen commonly found in conventional fertiliser, curbs the development of flavonoids. The lower levels of flavonoids in conventional tomatoes were caused by "over-fertilisation", the research team concluded.

The Soil Association is now pressing the Food Standards Agency to review its guidance on the merits of organic as opposed to conventional fruit and vegetables. Peter Melchett, its policy director, said that there was now a rapidly growing body of evidence which showed significant differences between the nutritional composition of organic and nonorganic food.

Recent research in Europe found that organic tomatoes contained more vitamin C, B-carotene and flavonoids than conventionally grown tomatoes. Organic peaches and organic apple puree were also found to have more antioxidants. Lord Krebs, the former chairman of the Food Standards Agency and now Master of Jesus College, Oxford, said that even if such benefits existed, higher flavonoid levels did not make organic food healthier. "This depends on the relevance of the differences to the human body," he said. "Tomato ketchup has higher levels of lycopene [a strong antioxidant] than either organic or conventional tomatoes. So if you wanted lots of lycopene you should eat tomato ketchup."

The Food Standards Agency, however, has commissioned a three-year study into the benefits of flavonoids. It said: "There is accumulating evidence that dietary flavonoids. . . may in large part explain the cardiovascular disease benefits of increased fruit and vegetable intake."


Wilfully blind Brits: "On BBC Radio Four's Today programme this morning (0755 approx), the reformed Islamist extremist Hassan Butt patiently spelled out to presenter Jim Naughtie that Islamist terrorists carry out their acts of mass murder as an expression of religious faith and fervour. They do it, he said, `for the pleasure of God'. Far from being acts of despair, these terrible atrocities are acts of religious exultation. If we don't understand, even now, that what we are facing is a religious war, a jihad against the unbeliever and backsliding Muslims across the world we cannot possibly hope to defend ourselves against it. Yet while former Islamist extremists such as Hassan Butt and Ed Husain are urgently telling us the truth, Gordon Brown's new administration is shutting its ears and embarking on a suicidally stupid and cowardly strategy. Astoundingly, it has decided to deny the religious element of this jihad altogether, to redefine Islamic terrorism as mere criminality and to ban all terms that call this horror by its proper name"

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