In March 2011, Israel’s Iron Dome missile interception system was deployed, after four years in the making. The intention was to form a protective canopy over the country, rendering its population centres as impregnable as possible to attacks from short-range artillery and rockets. But now, to the gall of many Israelis, the future of the system has been thrown into doubt. In terms of size, Israel is roughly comparable to Wales. This, together with the close proximity of a host of hostile neighbours, means that millions of Israelis live within easy range of artillery attack. During the Lebanon War
Iron Dome functions better than anything else on earth at intercepting low-tech incoming stuff -- not that it has many competitors. It is still under development and constant improvement. Cancel something because it's not perfect? If someone died because it only took out 6 of 7 targets ... How many casualties would there have been without it?
Israel's enemies show no signs of stopping their lobbing of mortars and rockets: What would the author suggest as an alternative to Iron Dome? The only one that comes to mind is for Israel to go in and wipe out the belligerents completely. Ultimately, I think it will come to exactly that, but the Palestinians had better hope otherwise.
An author has rewritten the history of Britain using predictive text. Hugh Kellett, 57, looks at how different our past would be if it had been recorded using auto correct on a mobile phone. His new book Glitzch features famous figures from history such as Floral Nightgown (Florence Nightingale), Horny Nylons (Horatio Nelson) and Changes Darling (Charles Darwin). It also includes the Royal family such as Catering Middleman (Catherine Middleton), Vanilla Darker Vowels (Camilla Parker-Bowles), Problem of Males (Prince of Wales) and the Prince of Cartridges (The Prince of Cambridge). [Snip] Major events from history are remembered in the book,
Two cult leaders suspected of enslaving three women for more than 30 years at a house in south London targeted vulnerable overseas students who were struggling to adjust to life in Britain, it has been claimed. Aravindan Balakrishnan and his wife Chanda, who ran a Maoist collective in the 1970s, recruited mainly women who shared their far left ideology. But once they joined they fell under the spell of the charismatic leaders, and found it hard to leave, according to experts. “Most were foreign students who seemed to have difficulty adjusting to life in the UK. They refused to recognise
A senior advisor to the Saudi royal family has accused its Western allies of deceiving the oil rich kingdom in striking the nuclear accord with Iran and said Riyadh would follow an independent foreign policy. Nawaf Obaid told a think tank meeting in London that Saudi Arabia was determined to pursue its own foreign and policy goals. [Snip] Mr Obaid said that while Saudi Arabia knew that the US was talking directly to Iran through a channel in the Gulf state of Oman, Washington had not directly briefed its ally. "We were lied to, things were hidden from us," he
A lot of people have been on Tim Scott’s case this past week--Democrats, reporters, even some Republicans--because he passed on the chance to endorse Lindsey Graham on national TV. Gasp. When Scott appeared Wednesday on CNN’s “Crossfire,” South Carolina’s junior senator was asked twice if he endorsed Graham’s re-election campaign. He would not say “yes” or “no.” “You know, as you three have heard recently, I am up for … up for re-election myself,” Scott said. “I’m going to make sure Tim Scott gets out. I’m going to allow all the other folks on the ballot to represent themselves very
Oil prices have fallen after Iran agreed a deal to curb some of its nuclear activities in return for easing of international sanctions against it. Iran holds the world´s fourth-largest oil reserves but its exports have been hurt by the tough sanctions. Though Iran will not be allowed to increase its oil sales for six months, the deal has eased tensions in the Middle East--a key oil-producing area. Brent crude fell more than 2% in early Asian trade on Monday. It dropped by $2.42 to $108.63 per barrel, while US light sweet crude fell 84 cents to $93.64 per barrel.
French spies hatched a plan to murder hook-handed hate preacher Abu Hamza on the streets of London, it was claimed last night. Intelligence services plotted to assassinate the cleric while posing as members of the far-Right group Combat 18. They came up with the audacious plan because they were “fed up” with Britain harbouring terrorists as tensions rose over the scale of Islamist extremism in Britain. A report, by the campaign group Hope not Hate, also claimed that French spies planned to send fake death threats to Hamza purporting to be from Combat 18 before shooting him with a rifle.
The onward march of Iran’s nuclear capabilities ended at dawn yesterday when America achieved a landmark accord with its foremost enemy. Because of this enlightened diplomacy, the world is a safer place and troublesome and concerned US allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia should calm their fears. That, at least, was the spin on the Geneva agreement offered by John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, at a 5am press conference. Given that Iran’s nuclear ambitions have had no rational purpose except to give its ruthless leaders the option of building the ultimate weapon, we are entitled to approach
Israel´s prime minister harshly condemned the international community´s nuclear deal with Iran on Sunday while Saudi Arabia remained conspicuously quiet, reflecting the jitters felt throughout the Middle East over Iran´s acceptance on the global stage. While most Gulf countries remained silent in the first hours after the deal was reached in Geneva, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasted little time in criticizing it, calling it a ´historic mistake´ and saying he was not bound by the agreement.[Snip] He reiterated a long-standing threat to use military action against Iran if needed, declaring that Israel ´has the right and the duty to
Top U.S. diplomats spent months meeting with Iranians in a series of secret, bilateral negotiations that hammered out most of the details of the nuclear deal with the Islamic republic--an agreement that is being criticized by Israel and some in Congress as giving away too much in exchange for too little. [Snip] ´Today the world became a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world made a significant step in obtaining the most dangerous weapons in the world,´ Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday. The one-on-one discussions between Iran and the United States were personally authorized
The US secretary of state has said the deal reached on Sunday over Iran´s nuclear programme will make Israel and the Middle East a safer place. John Kerry was speaking after Iran agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities in return for about $7bn (£4.3bn) in sanctions relief. Israel, however, has described the agreement as a "historic mistake". Iran´s president said its right to uranium enrichment had been recognised, but Mr Kerry denied this. Tehran has, however, agreed to stop all enrichment above 5%. World powers suspect Iran´s nuclear programme is secretly aiming at developing a nuclear bomb--a charge
The East Coast is bracing for a powerful weather system that has killed eight people as it barrels across the country and looks to cause severe travel disruptions for the Thanksgiving holiday. Charging from the West Coast to the East, the monster storm has killed eight people, caused hundreds of accidents and cut power to scores of Americans. The system is forecast to bare down on the busy northeastern corridor right as travelers begin making their way to family and friends on the busiest travel day of the year. Dire predictions for the northeast are preceded by severe weather in the South
All negotiations boil down to a few existential issues: Security, Resources, Control, Reputation/Recognition and Time/Risk. Plus, depending on how the other aspects are tackled, Trust. Skilful negotiators trade both within and between these ideas. [Snip] Right at the heart of the agreement is Trust: how can the West trust the Iranians not to cheat? This is answered by bringing in an unusually intrusive international inspection regime led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), whose expert inspectors will have daily access to key Iranian installations. In return Western governments will need to do what they have promised by way of
JERUSALEM -- Israel´s prime minister has criticized the international community´s nuclear deal with Iran as a "historic mistake." Speaking to his Cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel is not bound by the deal and reserves the right to defend itself. That is a reference to possible military action against Iran. Israel believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, although Tehran denies that. Netanyahu said the deal would not adequately stop Iran, while also giving it relief from sanctions. "Today the world became a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world
Though the Obama administration said that individuals making under $45,960 would get Obamacare subsidies, low-income young people in most of America´s big cities who relied on that promise are discovering they will be ineligible for them. According to a CNN report, though young people are now required to purchase insurance under Obamacare or pay a fine, "many low-income younger Americans won´t get any subsidy at all" because, as the Obama administration claims, the "cost of insurance is lower than the government initially expected." In April, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "told a
The sounds of Christmas in the Obama White House mean James Taylor, Mariah Carey and Nat King Cole. “The kids tease me that they know it’s Christmas when I pull out my playlist,” First Lady Michelle Obama tells Ladies’ Home Journal. The holiday tunes are accompanied by hot chocolate and a fire in the Yellow Oval room as President Obama and his family decorate their tree. “Christmas has always been a special time in my household,” Michelle Obama says in the December/January issue. “Growing up, we lived in a little-bitty apartment, but my mom put her heart and soul into decorating that house.”
“For the first time in nearly a decade we have halted parts of Iran’s nuclear program” announced a jubilant Barack Obama after the news of the just-signed Geneva six-month interim agreement with Iran. But the American goal for the accord was that the Iranians not “advance their program” of building a uranium nuclear bomb (and perhaps a plutonium bomb too); the apparent deal exactly permits such advancement, plus sanctions relief to Tehran worth about $9 billion. This wretched deal offers one of those rare occasions when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid. An overeager Western government, blind to
Bankrupt and hemorrhaging population, the city of Detroit is banking on greener pastures to lead its rebirth. A private company is snapping up 150 acres on the Motor City´s East End -- property where more than 1,000 homes once formed a gritty neighborhood -- and turning it into what is being billed as the world´s largest urban farm. Hantz Woodlands plans to start by planting trees, but hopes to raise crops and even livestock in the future, right in the midst of the once-proud city. “We are interested with moving into different types of agriculture,” Mike Score, president of Hantz,
America has long had two embassies in Italy: One for the country, the other for the Holy See. Barbie Latza Nadeau on why soon there will be only one. Citing security concerns without naming a specific threat, the U.S. State Department is planning to shutter its embassy to the Holy See inside the lush Villa Domiziana overlooking the Circus Maximus and Palatine Hill in central Rome. The embassy, which has been in operation since 1984 when Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II signed an accord, will essentially be swallowed up by the larger, more influential U.S. embassy to Italy.
The Obamacare rollout remains a debacle, but now enough time has passed that smart people are beginning to dissect what went wrong. So far, the best take I´ve seen comes from Internet pioneer Clay Shirky, who notes that the politicians weren´t listening to the people doing the actual work. I was talking about this to my Administrative Law class not long ago. I had told them that there are few real secrets in D.C. because everyone sleeps with everyone else. A student then asked why both the administration and the GOP seemed to have been blindsided by the Obamacare website problems. "I guess nobody was sleeping with the techies,"
Located just 50 miles off the U.S. coast, north of New York City, sits Petra, a heart-shaped island that now belongs to Brad Pitt, after Angelina reportedly shelled out £12.2million to buy it for his 50th birthday. Pitt is apparently an architect fanatic, so when Jolie discovered that the island´s only two homes were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, she was sold. Pitt once said,“When I discovered Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright, it changed my life.” A source revealed that “as soon as Angelina heard the island was on the market she arranged a viewing. She was really impressed.
Normally, I don´t traffic much in gossip, but the case of Valerie Jarrett is different. She may well be the most powerful woman in America, and almost certainly is the most powerful member of the Obama administration. The adjective "shadowy" definitely applies to this woman who enjoys her power through her relationship to the President, having never been confirmed by Senate hearings. Her title as "Senior Adviser" to the President barely scratches the surface of her real power. President Obama has time for his 150+ rounds of golf, his extensive television watching, and his expertise on March Madness bracketology because ValJar,
"I cannot tell a lie." That´s the signature line from a classic American story. When the nation´s first president was asked as a boy if he had chopped down his father´s cherry tree, he didn´t say "I can neither confirm nor deny those reports," or "it depends on what the meaning of the word ´is´ is." George Washington told the truth even if it got him in trouble. The moral of the story -- Washington was a great leader because he would not lie, and all presidents should be as honest as our founding father. Well, guess what? That story about
The Elders, an organization of elder statesmen, peace activists and human rights advocates that includes former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, welcomed the interim agreement reached in Geneva between the P5+1 groups and Iran early Sunday. “We are all aware of the risks involved,” said Jimmy Carter. “But I am convinced that, after 35 years of animosity and distrust, there is an historic opportunity to rebuild relations with the government and people of Iran on solid foundations of mutual respect.” Kofi Annan, the chairman of the Elders and former secretary-general of the UN, said he hoped the deal would be "swiftly followed up
The Rev. Al Sharpton has retail bigwigs shaking in their fine leather boots after giving them a drop-dead date of Monday to appoint a special task force on racial profiling. Or else. The ultimatum came after an intense, three-hour meeting Friday involving Sharpton, other community advocates and top retail executives, including Barneys CEO Mark Lee and Macy’s vice president Bill Hawthorne. “I feel like I’m holding my Christmas shopping money until I see what happens,” Sharpton said after the meeting at The Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Midtown. “People should not be spending their money where they are treated as suspects rather than prospects.”