Israel accepted into UN space coalition after 32-year wait | New York Post

Syria and Libya were already members, but Israel wasn’t?

It took “intensive diplomatic efforts” to secure the acceptance after reps for Syria and the Arab Group long opposed Israel’s inclusion in the Vienna-based committee.

“The vote today proves that there are some countries who find it more important to bash Israel than to contribute to the International community, like Qatar who abstained on the vote, even though it was a vote on its own acceptance to the committee,” the Israeli mission said in a statement.

via Israel accepted into UN space coalition after 32-year wait | New York Post.


Fatah on the verge of eruption – Israel News, Ynetnews

In its early days, Tanzim was a secret organization compiled of local political activists, students, and released prisoners, which executed Fatah’s policies: Be it social activities, organizing support rallies for the regime, or rioting against Israel. Later, during the second intifada, Tanzim’s militants committed terror attacks against Israeli security forces and civilians, including the terror attack in Kibbutz Metzer, where five people were murdered – including a mother and her two children.
The basic structure of the organization remains, and nowadays it serves as Fatah’s “shadow army” operating on the Palestinian street, alongside the PA’s security forces.
However, the ties between the heads of Tanzim and the Mukataa in Ramallah are growing weaker by the day. Abbas’ security forces can’t enter some of the refugee camps because the Tanzim militants kick them out.

via Fatah on the verge of eruption – Israel News, Ynetnews.


Sentenced to Be Crucified – The New York Times

It’s time for a frank discussion about our ally Saudi Arabia and its role legitimizing fundamentalism and intolerance in the Islamic world. Western governments have tended to bite their tongues because they see Saudi Arabia as a pillar of stability in a turbulent region — but I’m not sure that’s right.
Saudi Arabia has supported Wahhabi madrasas in poor countries in Africa and Asia, exporting extremism and intolerance. Saudi Arabia also exports instability with its brutal war in Yemen, intended to check what it sees as Iranian influence. Saudi airstrikes have killed thousands, and the blockading of ports has been even more devastating. Some Yemeni children are starving, and 80 percent of Yemenis now need assistance.

There’s also an underlying hypocrisy in Saudi behavior. This is a country that sentenced a 74-year-old British man to 350 lashes for possessing alcohol (some British reports say he may be allowed to leave Saudi Arabia following international outrage), yet I’ve rarely seen as much hard liquor as at Riyadh parties attended by government officials.

via Sentenced to Be Crucified – The New York Times.


With the Saudis, the West Should Take No Prisoners | Human Rights Watch

Allies such as the United States and the United Kingdom rarely criticize Saudi abuses; one U.S. official even recently “welcomed” Saudi Arabia’s participation at the Human Rights Council. British Prime Minister David Cameron responded to the possible flogging of Mr. Andree by meekly asking Saudi officials not to carry out the punishment.

However, the unprecedented attention on Saudi Arabia’s abuses in 2015 may be altering these dynamics

via With the Saudis, the West Should Take No Prisoners | Human Rights Watch.


Abbas: ‘We Welcome Every Drop of Blood Spilled in Jerusalem’ – WSJ

the apathy shown by the international community to the death-culture fostered by Palestinian elites, and the unbalanced manner in which subsequent violence is often treated by the international media—as if there is any kind of symmetry between terrorists and their victims—is doing long-term, and possibly irrevocable, harm to generations of Palestinians.

via Abbas: ‘We Welcome Every Drop of Blood Spilled in Jerusalem’ – WSJ.


The Guardian: Through Islamist Eyes

I emailed The Guardian on 2 October to ask for the right to reply to David Shariatmadari’s apologetics for Islamism. My article, Why I Speak against Islamism, was finally published on 13 October at 5pm after much delay and back and forth over “edits.”

On 8 October, the Acting Editor for Comment is Free wrote to say a “very light edit” had been done on my article including “a few tweaks for flow, house style, and to make the piece as accessible as possible for non-expert readers.”

Shockingly, the “light edits” included substantial changes, including the removal of references to Ali Shariatmadari and CAGE prisoners as well as all the relevant links, which would have helped “non-expert readers.”

Moreover, where I mentioned Islamism as a killing machine with an example of Bangladesh, Islamism was changed to “violent jihadis”. After asking that it be kept as is (since even those not deemed violent jihadis by the Guardian are killing people via “Sharia” laws for example), it was changed to “violent Islamists”, which I again challenged. The sentence was then tweaked to what it is now.

Despite my insistence, however, references to Ali Shariatmadari and CAGE were not included (which meant I had to remove the Emwazi reference as it was linked to the CAGE example). I was told: “The line about CAGE and defensive jihad was removed on the advice of our lawyers” and that “the description of the Islamic cultural revolution as “Ali Shariatmadari’s ‘Islamic cultural revolution’” would be confusing to readers.”

Clearly, the problem is not just David Shariatmadari’s but the Guardian’s editorial line in favour of the Islamists.

Below I publish my original piece for all to see.

via The Guardian: Through Islamist Eyes.


Start-up NewSpace: What Entrepreneurs Should Know, Because Mark Watney Needs You | Space Frontier Foundation

Opening this Friday, “The Martian” depicts a future most space-enthusiasts would drool over. But in reality, a future where humans make regular trips to other planets will require a lot of help from entrepreneurs, not just NASA. Fortunately, things are moving quickly. According to a recent CB Insights report, as of July, funding for space startups in 2015 has topped investment in the previous three years combined at almost $1.2 billion. Speaking with Chad Anderson, managing director of the Space Angels Network, 2015 has been an exciting year, pointing out how small satellites are hitting the mainstream media, spurred on by Planet Labs’ successes in Earth-observation CubeSats: “There are now more remote sensing start-ups than I can count on both hands.”

What Investors Look For – A Conversation with the Space Angels Network

A complete and humble management team.

Realistic expectations and an understanding of the key assumptions and market dynamics that underlie the business model.
Something completely new OR a way to do something 10x better, faster, cheaper than anyone else in the market.

Near-term profitability. “[The Space Angels Network] is very interested in big vision, opening up new markets and blazing the trail. But we are also looking for companies that can make money along the way. That is really important,” says Anderson.

A clear plan. Anderson added that entrepreneurs don’t have to have it all figured out, but they do have to have a clear vision of where they’re going: “You have to have a really good idea as to what are the key variables of your business plan, and all the reasons why your team is the right team to be the one to pull off what has never been done before.”

Demonstrated resourcefulness. “We’re always thinking about how much an entrepreneur can accomplish with the money we invest. If you’re able to generate market traction with no funding, that’s a pretty good indicator of potential with investment. To succeed in space, you may also need to disrupt some very established players. You have to know what you are getting into, to fly in the face of adversity and be resourceful,” says Anderson.

via Start-up NewSpace: What Entrepreneurs Should Know, Because Mark Watney Needs You | Space Frontier Foundation.


The Latest: Death toll in Saudi hajj tragedy reaches 719 – The Washington Post

The Saudi civil defense directorate says that as of late Thursday, the death toll from the horrific crush during the hajj pilgrimage stood at 719, but that the figure probably would rise as bodies continued to be counted and sent to the morgue.

via The Latest: Death toll in Saudi hajj tragedy reaches 719 – The Washington Post.


Saudi Arabia asked to halt man’s beheading, crucifixion – CNN.com

(CNN)A group of U.N. experts has joined rights groups in calling on Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of a Shiite man convicted of crimes reportedly committed as a teenager during protests inspired by the Arab Spring.

Ali al-Nimr, the nephew of firebrand Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, faces execution by beheading and an additional rare punishment of “crucifixion,” which means publicly displaying the body after death as a warning to others, according to Saudi state media.

“Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offense, and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations,” the U.N. group said in a statement Tuesday, invoking the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Saudi Arabia is a party.

via Saudi Arabia asked to halt man's beheading, crucifixion – CNN.com.


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