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The Declaration of White Independence: Fourth Political Theory

A unilateral assertion offered to and for consideration by the European Descended People of the fifty united States of America and all ...

28 February 2015

Very Rare Black Hole May Be Missing Link In Evolution

“In paleontology, the discovery of certain fossils can help scientists fill in the evolutionary gaps between different dinosaurs. “We do the same thing in astronomy, but we often have to ‘dig’ up our discoveries in galaxies that are millions of light years away.”

Using observational data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Network, the research team identified what astronomers call an “intermediate-mass black hole” (IMBH).

Black holes are known to come into 2 main classes: stellar-mass black holes that are around 5-30 times the mass of the Sun, and supermassive black holes, which are found at the center of most galaxies and weigh millions or even billions times the Sun’s mass. And as their name suggests, IMBHs fall in between these two classes, with masses ranging from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand solar masses.

Now, researchers have possibly identified one such IMBH, called NGC2276-3c, with a mass of about 50,000 times that of the Sun. This discovery could possibly answer some longstanding questions about how black holes evolve and grow over time.

“Astronomers have been looking very hard for these medium-sized black holes,” said co-author Tim Roberts, of the University of Durham. “There have been hints that they exist, but the IMBHs have been acting like a long-lost relative that isn’t interested in being found.”

Further studies of NGC2276-3c could provide insight into how black holes in the early Universe influence their surroundings, and close an important gap in the black hole family tree.

Italy pro-White rally draws thousands in Rome

The Northern League protest comes as polls suggest that it is gaining support for its attacks on austerity and immigration policies.

Thousands of supporters of Italy's Northern League have poured into one of Rome's biggest squares for a rally against immigration, the EU and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government.

League leader Matteo Salvini accused Mr Renzi of substituting the country's interests to those of the EU.

He also criticised the government's record in dealing with Romanian truck drivers, tax, banks and big business.

A large counter-demonstration against Mr Salvini was also held in Rome.

Opinion polls suggest that Mr Salvini is rapidly gaining in popularity.

They show him as being second only to Mr Renzi, prompting some to dub him as "the other Matteo".

Mr Salvini described the government's immigration policies as "a disaster"

The Northern League was once a strong ally of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, but it has sought to find new allies as he struggles to shake off a tax fraud conviction that forced him out of parliament.

Mr Salvini's fiery rhetoric against the European Union, immigration and austerity politics had led to comparisons being drawn between him and French National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

The counter-demonstration staged by an alliance of leftist parties, anti-racism campaigners and gay rights groups was held only a few hundred metres from the Northern League rally.

Many protested under the banner "Never with Salvini".

'Foolish servant'

"The problem isn't Renzi, Renzi is a pawn, Renzi is a dumb slave, at the disposal of some nameless person who wants to control all our lives from Brussels," Mr Salvini told the rally at the Piazza del Popolo.

He told his supporters that the prime minister was the "foolish servant" of Brussels.

Mr Salvini spoke of a "different Europe, where banks count for less, and citizens and small businessmen count for more".

"I want to change Italy. I want the Italian economy to be able to move forward again, something that is obstructed by Brussels and mad European policies," he said, describing the government's immigration policies as "a disaster".

The two protests come just over two months ahead of regional elections in May.

Analysts say Mr Salvini could emulate other right-wing European leaders and capitalise on growing resentment against immigration, especially after recent attacks by Islamic extremists and the influx of migrants brought to Italy by Libyan-based smugglers.

Germany's far-right Pegida movement sets up in Scotland and plans anti-Islam march in Edinburgh

THE first demonstration by the Scottish branch of Pegida, the far-right anti-Islam movement from Germany, is planned for Edinburg this month.

Organisers of Pegida Scotland say they are in talks with police about holding an evening rally in the capital's city centre on March 21.

Pegida - a German acronym which translates as "patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the west" - has held weekly marches in Germany since October last year.

The radical group, which protests against a perceived "Islamisation" of Europe and the West, attracted 25,000 people in one rally in January following the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Scottish organisers of Pegida told the Sunday Herald they were in regular talks with German members, who offered support and advice.

Pegida UK - another branch of the movement - held its first UK rally in Newcastle yesterday.

Around 400 far right demonstrators turned out for the march, which was backed by the British National Party (BNP), through the north-east English city.

At the same time about 1000 people, including politician George Galloway, counter-demonstrated against their extreme views, under the banner Newcastle Unites.

Russell Brand showed his support for the counter-protestors on Twitter saying: "I won't be in Newcastle today marching against racism but I'm against racism wherever I am."

Pegida insists it is not far-right and it is not racist.

A spokesman from Pegida Scotland, who asked not to be identified, said a group of organisers had been working with the German branch, and hoped to visit Berlin soon to attend a rally to "see how it's done there" and "get some ideas".

Pegida Scotland is due to hold their event on March 21 - a week after a planned protest by the Scottish Defence League outside Holyrood on March 14.

Opponents will hold counter-demonstrations at each event.

The Pegida Scotland spokesman said their Facebook page, which also claims to represent north east England, was started four weeks ago. It has more than 3300 'likes'.

A YouTube video featuring images from 9/11 and 7/7 as well as messages including "This is God's country, we are the people" was made to introduce the branch.

In a post on February 18 they said: "We have now put together a fantastic team, we hope you will be a little patient...Our mission is simple ... rid our island of Islam."

The spokesman defended their beliefs. He said: "We're just a bunch of like minded people that's against the Islamification of Europe.

"We won't tolerate any neo-Nazi elements creeping in, we're totally against that. We're in contact with the German organisers quite a lot. We spoke to them and asked how they would feel about it (setting Pegida Scotland up) .

"There isn't a group in Scotland like this. There are groups who try to highlight it but they go about it the wrong way. They have neo-Nazi elements creeping into the organisation."

The spokesman said the group would not gather in communities where they could be accused of causing tensions.

He said: "We won't be going into any areas - for talking sake - Govanhill, Pollokshields - to cause racial tensions.

"I think that was the thing with other groups - they wanted to have a demo in Govanhill. That is never going to happen (with Pegida)."

When asked to respond to accusations that Pegida is racist, the spokesman said: "I think it's very difficult when you're dealing with the left wing because no matter what you say you're just a racist, fascist, neo-Nazi knuckle dragger in their eyes...I always say it's a non-racist, non-violent organisation and that is the way it will stay."

Luke Henderson, 46, coordinator of the Edinburgh branch of Unite Against Fascism (UAF), said: "The concern around Europe is that there's been a rise of far right and racist parties and they've used Islamophobia as a means of organising and recruiting and gaining political advantage.

"We stand opposed to the racist message of far right groups and indeed groups like UKIP as well."

Henderson claimed there was an overlap between Pegida, SDL and the BNP.

He said: "They're the extremists - their Facebook pages and their members and their organisers claim to be against extremist Muslims but time and time again they make nasty and vicious statements towards all Muslims.

"No one wants to admit to being racist these days - even the racists know it's bad press."

The UAF are worried about an increase in small far-right groups.

Henderson said: "There is a toxic mix created by political parties like UKIP and mainstream parties relentlessly blaming or suggesting that immigrants are to blame for problems in this society - low wages, insecurity at work, shortage of housing, when the reality is it was the economic crash caused by the richest bankers and financiers in this country.

"It will get worse unless people stand up. That's why we organise these protests. Don't be fooled by these hardcore racists, these hardcore Nazis."

Zareen Taj, of the Muslim Women Association Edinburgh, compared the Pegida movement to Greek political party Golden Dawn, which was widely accused of being fascist.

She said: "It is very sad the SDL and Pegida are dividing communities. They claim to be against extreme Muslims but they are against any Muslim activity.

"Right wing people want to grow their members. With Golden Dawn we saw the same thing and now Pegida - they are jumping on the bandwagon."

A spokeswoman from Edinburgh City Council said they had not received notifications for SDL or Pegida marches, but some static demonstrations do not require a licence.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "There are numerous demonstrations in Edinburgh each year and events are policed appropriately and proportionately to allow for lawful protest and to minimise the impact on the public."

Make this the year YOU discover a new destination

Life 'not as we know it' possible on Saturn's moon Titan

A representation of a 9-nanometer azotosome, about the size of a virus, with a piece of the membrane cut away to show the hollow interior.

A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has been modeled by a team of Cornell University researchers.

Taking a simultaneously imaginative and rigidly scientific view, chemical engineers and astronomers offer a template for life that could thrive in a harsh, cold world - specifically Titan, the giant moon of Saturn. A planetary body awash with seas not of water, but of liquid methane, Titan could harbor methane-based, oxygen-free cells.

Their theorized cell membrane, composed of small organic nitrogen compounds and capable of functioning in liquid methane temperatures of 292 degrees below zero, is published in Science Advances, Feb. 27. The work is led by chemical molecular dynamics expert Paulette Clancy and first author James Stevenson, a graduate student in chemical engineering. The paper's co-author is Jonathan Lunine, director for Cornell's Center for Radiophysics and Space Research.

Lunine is an expert on Saturn's moons and an interdisciplinary scientist on the Cassini-Huygens mission that discovered methane-ethane seas on Titan. Intrigued by the possibilities of methane-based life on Titan, and armed with a grant from the Templeton Foundation to study non-aqueous life, Lunine sought assistance about a year ago from Cornell faculty with expertise in chemical modeling. Clancy, who had never met Lunine, offered to help.

"We're not biologists, and we're not astronomers, but we had the right tools," Clancy said. "Perhaps it helped, because we didn't come in with any preconceptions about what should be in a membrane and what shouldn't. We just worked with the compounds that we knew were there and asked, 'If this was your palette, what can you make out of that?'"

On Earth, life is based on the phospholipid bilayer membrane, the strong, permeable, water-based vesicle that houses the organic matter of every cell. A vesicle made from such a membrane is called a liposome. Thus, many astronomers seek extraterrestrial life in what's called the circumstellar habitable zone, the narrow band around the sun in which liquid water can exist. But what if cells weren't based on water, but on methane, which has a much lower freezing point?

The engineers named their theorized cell membrane an "azotosome," "azote" being the French word for nitrogen. "Liposome" comes from the Greek "lipos" and "soma" to mean "lipid body;" by analogy, "azotosome" means "nitrogen body."

The azotosome is made from nitrogen, carbon and hydrogen molecules known to exist in the cryogenic seas of Titan, but shows the same stability and flexibility that Earth's analogous liposome does. This came as a surprise to chemists like Clancy and Stevenson, who had never thought about the mechanics of cell stability before; they usually study semiconductors, not cells.

The engineers employed a molecular dynamics method that screened for candidate compounds from methane for self-assembly into membrane-like structures. The most promising compound they found is an acrylonitrile azotosome, which showed good stability, a strong barrier to decomposition, and a flexibility similar to that of phospholipid membranes on Earth. Acrylonitrile - a colorless, poisonous, liquid organic compound used in the manufacture of acrylic fibers, resins and thermoplastics - is present in Titan's atmosphere.

Excited by the initial proof of concept, Clancy said the next step is to try and demonstrate how these cells would behave in the methane environment - what might be the analogue to reproduction and metabolism in oxygen-free, methane-based cells.

Lunine looks forward to the long-term prospect of testing these ideas on Titan itself, as he put it, by "someday sending a probe to float on the seas of this amazing moon and directly sampling the organics."

Stevenson said he was in part inspired by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, who wrote about the concept of non-water-based life in a 1962 essay, "Not as We Know It."

Said Stevenson: "Ours is the first concrete blueprint of life not as we know it."

Spectacular insights into the early life of galaxies

Astronomers at the Very Large Telescope have taken the best 3D-pictures of the early universe ever. They discovered objects emitting so little light that the Hubble Telescope could not find them.

Astronomers, who want to look deep into the universe and back in time must focus their telescopes on the same place in the sky for as long as possible. This is how researchers take so-called deep-field pictures.

The most wellknown of them come from the Hubble Space Telecope. In 1995 astronomers first focused on a region of the skies in the Northern Hemisphere to research galaxies that are extremely far away and in early stages of their development.

Three years later, the astronomers selected a region of the skies in the Southern Hemisphere where they repeated the observation procedure for ten days.

The resulting pictures are considered a milestone in cosmology. Researchers found a lot of valuable information in them, helping them to check previous theories and models like the question whether the universe really looks the same everywhere. And indeed: The pictures showed many galaxies of similar shapes and colors.

The universe as wee see it

Theoretically, everything that we see today developed out of a hot, homogenous gas. That includes stars and galaxies like our Milky Way. Soon after the Big Bang, dark matter triggered the compression of that gas into matter as we know it today. Wherever that mysterious dark matter was, the matter we find today was concentrating.

In the small boxes one can see the objects, newly discovered with the MUSE Instrument.

Over billions of years the structures got bigger and bigger. The first stars and galaxies and eventually also the large spiral galaxies like the Milky Way emerged. How these structures developed and will develop in the future is a central question of astronomy. To answer that question, astronomers need the most detailed pictures possible of galaxies in different stages of their development.

Celestial Secrets

So far research has shown that the Milky Way has grown by cannibalizing other galaxies - grabbing stars, pulling them away and even swallowing some. Astronomers have seen many such incidents where galaxies get intermingled and eventually merge.

Even our Milky Way and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy are on a collision course. Both are racing toward at each other with a speed of 400.000 kilometers per hour. Their gravity will eventually bind them together and make one huge elliptic galaxy out of them.

The early stages in the development of galaxies is largely unknown. Very young galaxies are so far away from us that even deep-field pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope are unable to deliver that information.

A new window into the universe

Last year scientists started using the new Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, including the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer MUSE. It combines observations of the skies with spectroscopy. For each pixel in a picture it provides a spectrum, disclosing the intensity of different colors of light at that point. This enables the scientists to study different views of a given object at different wavelengths.

Now the astronomers used MUSE to observe the same area in the southern skies that Hubble observed in 1998. Hubble had ten days for its observation, Muse only took 27 hours. Nonetheless, Muse discovered more than 20 new objects, which Hubble was unable to see. The researchers are thrilled.

This is, how the Merger between Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy could look like in four Million years.

"After only a few hours we looked at the data and already identified several new galaxies," project head Roland Bacon from the French Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon said. "This was very encouraging. It is like finding fish in the deep sea: Every new catch triggers lots of excitement about what kind of species we may have found."

The three-dimensional picture of the early universe shows: With MUSE, astronomers can research the makeup and distance of far away galaxies and even movements within these galaxies very precisely. This will help scientists to understand what was happening when these galaxies were born.

24 February 2015

One Fifth of Germans Call for Revolution, a Third Reject Capitalism

A rally by the anti-Islam group Pegida in Dresden, Germany. A new study has warned that Germany’s political centre is under attack from a ‘new irrationalism’

One in five Germans believe revolution and not reform is the best way to preserve living standards, according to a new study warning that Germany’s political centre is under attack from a “new irrationalism”.

Some 60 per cent of Germans quizzed by researchers at Berlin’s Free University described their homeland as an imperfect democracy where business has a greater say on daily life than voters. More than a third - 37 per cent - agreed that capitalism leads “inevitably to poverty and hunger”.

The 650-page survey, titled Against State and Capital - For the Revolution, is based on a representative survey by the Infratest dimap polling agency.

The study began life as a study of structural similarities between thinking in Germany’s extreme-left and extreme-right camps, in particular doctrinal fanaticism and claims to hold a monopoly on truth.

In total, the researchers found that about one sixth of Germans hold left-radical views, with some four per cent having a closed hard-left world view.

Some 14 per cent back violence against “the system” while nearly half - 46 per cent - spoke in favour of abolishing the state’s monopoly on the use of force.

Suspicion of government

Researchers noted in the results a growing suspicion of central government and of mainstream media, as well as an openness to conspiracy theories.

Recent developments suggest such thinking has already seeped into the German mainstream, from the rise of the Islam-critical Pegida movement in Saxony to empathy with Russia in the Ukraine standoff, twinned with suspicion at the influence of Nato and the role of Berlin.

For researchers, the data shows a clear, sizeable bloc of those who are anti-capitalist, anti-fascist and thinking critically about democracy in Germany.

A quarter-century after German unification, researchers said the results identified a “left-wing extremist potential” of 17 per cent in western Germany’s population, with a potential of 28 per cent in the former socialist east.

Some 42 per cent of the total German population saw socialism as a “good idea, poorly implemented”,a figure which rose to 59 per cent in eastern Germany. Some 41 per cent of the population agreed that “social equality for all is more important than freedom of the individual”.

With an eye on the recent NSA-Snowden affair, some 27 per cent fear state surveillance has put Germany on a slippery slope to a new dictatorship.

Anti-establishment thinking

The spread of anti-establishment thinking can be seen beyond the usual quarters, particularly in the rise of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party. Its eurosceptic, bailout-critical platform has found equal favour with older western German conservatives and eastern German left-wing voters, as well as with hard-left and extreme-right camps.

Seven decades after the second World War ended, the researchers have sounded the alarm bell, saying “outdated anti-fascist” thinking that “suns itself in its moral superiority” has done little to stop a drift from the political centre.

“Political danger is looming at the fringes,” the authors warn, “not least through old resentments and new irrationalism that has declared war on reason.”

Le Pen backs Italy pro-White Salvini

Matteo Salvini & Marine Le Pen

National Front leader Le Pen will send a video message to be aired at Saturday’s protest in Rome against Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Matteo Salvini said on Monday.

“Marine Le Pen will also wear a “Renzi go home’ t-shirt,” the Northern League (Lega Nord) leader said on his political party’s radio station. The rally seeks to criticize a wide range of government policies, covering everything from unemployment to immigration and tax.

The pro-White National Front and Northern League parties are united by euroscepticism and their fierce anti-immigration stance. Le Pen's party has been gaining ground in France recently, winning over 1,200 municipal seats in elections last year.

Salvini has sought Le Pen’s backing in recent months as he seeks to gain broader support beyond his stronghold in northern Italy.

He has placed huge importance on the Rome rally, stating that it will be more significant than a Milan march where the Northern League already boasts substantial support.

Salvini will be joined in the Italian capital by Giorgia Meloni, leader of the pro-White Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) party. The Northern League leader will return the favour by appearance at Meloni’s rally in Venice on March 8th, Rai News said.

US states breaking away from Washington: Ron Paul

Former American presidential candidate Ron Paul says states will eventually break away from the United States but the good news is that secession is already underway.

The former Texas congressman made the remarks during a speech at a pro-secession conference, titled “Breaking Away: The Case for Secession”, late last month.  The video of Paul’s speech surfaced on Friday.

“I would like to start off by talking about the subject and the subject is secession and, uh, nullification, the breaking up of government, and the good news is it’s going to happen. It’s happening,” Paul told a gathering at the libertarian Mises Institute on January 24.

He said that Congress would not approve secession, but the process rather would be de facto.

“And it’s not going to be because there will be enough people in the US Congress to legislate it. It won’t happen. It will be de facto. You know, you’ll have a gold standard when the paper standard fails, and we’re getting awfully close to that. And people will have to resort to taking care of themselves. So when conditions break down, you know, there’s going to be an alternative. And I think that’s what we’re witnessing,” Paul stated.

He also said that the US central bank, which he considers responsible for many of the ills afflicting America, would end and the states would simply stop listening to federal laws they didn’t agree with.

The veteran American politician said the Federal Reserve “is going to end. There is going to be a de facto secession movement going on. The states are going to refuse to listen to some of the laws.”

He added that “the American people are waking up to that, and as far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier.”

Amid the growing anger with Washington, polls show that nearly a quarter of Americans want their states to break away from the United States and become an independent country.

The results of a Reuters/Ipsos poll released in September last year show that 24 percent of Americans strongly support or tend to support the idea of their state separating from the union.

Experts say last year’s Scottish vote for independence along with the falling public approval of the White House is increasing interest in breaking away among the American public.

23 February 2015

France's National Front: Marine Le Pen's pro-White party is leading in the polls ahead of next month's local elections

France popularity poll

New poll from Le Figaro has the National Front receiving 30% of the vote

The popularity of France's pro-White National Front party continues to grow apace, with a new poll placing Marine Le Pen's party as favourites in next month's local elections.

According to an Ifop survey commissioned by Le Figaro newspaper, the National Front enjoy the support of 30 per cent of the public, ahead of a combined score of 28 per cent for the conservative UMP and centrist UDI parties.

President Francois Hollande's Socialist party currently sits in third place with 20 per cent, with his personal approval ratings have slipping to 24 per cent just a month after he was lauded for his handling of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

At the end of 2014, with an approval rating of only 12 per cent, Hollande was the least popular President in France's history.

The poll also showed National Front voters to be the most mobilised, with 53 per cent intending to vote in the March local election, as opposed to around 45 per cent of voters for the country's other main parties.

The pro-White, anti-immigrant, anti-EU party came first in last year's European Parliament elections in France, and has been hovering just below 30 per cent approval for several months now.

Earlier this month, the ruling Socialist party were able to beat off the surging National Front in the by-election in the Doubs, in eastern France.

Since then the party has been in crisis, with Hollande's economic reform programme prompting an attempt from the left to oust the President.

20 February 2015

Zionist Joe Biden endorses White genocide

During introductory remarks at a three-day summit to address violent extremism on Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden welcomed future waves of immigration which he predicted are “not going to stop.”

Forty religious, business and civic leaders are convening at the summit to address extremism in the wake of Islamic terrorist attacks in France, Canada, Belgium, Australia and Denmark.

“I’m proud of the American record on culture and economic integration of not only our Muslim communities but African communities, Asian communities, Hispanic communities,” Biden said. “And the wave still continues. It’s not going to stop. Nor should we want it to stop. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the things I think we can be most proud of.”

Embracing immigration was part of the theme of the summit — stated numerous times by Biden — that “inclusion counts.”

Joe "I am a Zionist" Biden

The key to preventing young people from gravitating towards extremism is to form coalitions to ensure that “every child in every minority community in America — particularly now in the Muslim-American community — is able to feel like we see them,” Biden said.

“We are a melting pot,” Biden said of the U.S. “It is the ultimate source of our strength. It is the source of who we are.”

“It started all the way back in the late 1700s. There’s been a constant, unrelenting stream of immigration. Not in little trickles, but in large numbers.”

Biden also welcomed the moment when the U.S. becomes a so-called “majority-minority” nation.

“Folks like me who are Caucasian of European descent — for the first time in 2017 we’ll be an absolute minority in the United States of America,” Biden said. “Absolutely minority. Fewer than 50 percent of the people in America, from then and on, will be white European stock. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a source of our strength.”

 But the Zionist-Jews have a different kind of "strength," says Zio-Joe

Biden stated the wrong year by which whites will become a minority. The U.S. Census Bureau has projected that that will occur in 2043.

The summit’s community-oriented approach to addressing extremism will “go beyond a military answer” and “beyond force,” Biden said.

“We have to work from the ground up and engage our communities and engage those who might be susceptible to being radicalized because they are marginalized,” he continued.

“Societies have to provide an affirmative alternative for immigrant communities — a sense of opportunity, a sense of belonging and that discredits the terrorist appeal to fear, isolation, hatred, resentment.”

Biden’s most eye-grabbing remarks at Tuesday’s event concerned his claims about his relationship with Somali-Americans from his hometown of Wilmington, Del. (RELATED: ‘There’s An Awful Lot’ Of Somali Cab Drivers, Joe Biden Says)

“I might add if you ever come to the train station with me you’ll notice that I have great relations with them because there are an awful lot of them driving cabs, and are friend of mine,” Biden said. “For real. I’m not being solicitous; I’m being serious.”

19 February 2015

Evolving a bigger brain with human DNA

The size of the human brain expanded dramatically during the course of evolution, imparting us with unique capabilities to use abstract language and do complex math. But how did the human brain get larger than that of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, if almost all of our genes are the same?

Duke scientists have shown that it's possible to pick out key changes in the genetic code between chimpanzees and humans and then visualize their respective contributions to early brain development by using mouse embryos.

The team found that humans are equipped with tiny differences in a particular regulator of gene activity, dubbed HARE5, that when introduced into a mouse embryo, led to a 12% bigger brain than in the embryos treated with the HARE5 sequence from chimpanzees.

The findings, appearing online Feb. 19, 2015, in Current Biology, may lend insight into not only what makes the human brain special but also why people get some diseases, such as autism and Alzheimer's disease, whereas chimpanzees don't.

"I think we've just scratched the surface, in terms of what we can gain from this sort of study," said Debra Silver, an assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology in the Duke University Medical School. "There are some other really compelling candidates that we found that may also lead us to a better understanding of the uniqueness of the human brain."

Every genome contains many thousands of short bits of DNA called 'enhancers,' whose role is to control the activity of genes. Some of these are unique to humans. Some are active in specific tissues. But none of the human-specific enhancers previously had been shown to influence brain anatomy directly.

In the new study, researchers mined databases of genomic data from humans and chimpanzees, to find enhancers expressed primarily in the brain tissue and early in development. They prioritized enhancers that differed markedly between the two species.

The group's initial screen turned up 106 candidates, six of them near genes that are believed to be involved in brain development. The group named these 'human-accelerated regulatory enhancers,' HARE1 through HARE6.

The strongest candidate was HARE5 for its chromosomal location near a gene called Frizzled 8, which is part of a well-known molecular pathway implicated in brain development and disease. The group decided to focus on HARE5 and then showed that it was likely to be an enhancer for Frizzled8 because the two DNA sequences made physical contact in brain tissue.

The human HARE5 and the chimpanzee HARE5 sequences differ by only 16 letters in their genetic code. Yet, in mouse embryos the researchers found that the human enhancer was active earlier in development and more active in general than the chimpanzee enhancer.

"What's really exciting about this was that the activity differences were detected at a critical time in brain development: when neural progenitor cells are proliferating and expanding in number, just prior to producing neurons," Silver said.

The researchers found that in the mouse embryos equipped with Frizzled8 under control of human HARE5, progenitor cells destined to become neurons proliferated faster compared with the chimp HARE5 mice, ultimately leading to more neurons.

As the mouse embryos neared the end of gestation, their brain size differences became noticeable to the naked eye. Graduate student Lomax Boyd started dissecting the brains and looking at them under a microscope.

"What we found is a piece of the genetic basis for why we have a bigger brain," Wray said. "It really shows in sharp relief just how complicated those changes must have been. This is probably only one piece—a little piece."

Far-right Jobbik second most popular party in Hungary

The rise in the number of undecided voters has stopped, and the unpopularity of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party has not grown further, either, the findings of three pollsters showed on Wednesday. The far-right extremist Jobbik party has increased its fan base and it has clearly become the second-largest political power in Hungary.

Pollster Medián has published the findings of its February survey on Wednesday, which has given us the chance to take a look at the approval rating of political parties via the averages of the three main pollsters. This is what you can see on the chart below.

We should stress that Medián gauged political affiliations in December and January, whereas Tárki has not released the results of a poll in February therefore the chart above does not include its own readings yet.

The latest data have come from Medián, which showed 27% approval rating for Fidesz, 14% for Jobbik, 11% for the Socialist Party (MSZP), 5% for the Democratic Coalition (DK), 4% for green party LMP and 3% for Együtt among eligible voters. The new figures show that after the popularity of Fidesz plummeted at the end of last year, the governing party boosted its appeal in this group by 1%, but the other parties’ support has increased more than that, either. The only exception is DK whose approval rating went up 2% in two months. The results published by economic and political news website hvg.hu show 45% for Fidesz, 21% for Jobbik, 17% for MSZP, 7% for DK, 5% for LMP and 4% for Együtt among voters with a firm party preference.

Russian armed forces returning to Latin America

Vladimir Putin said that he would not allow the West to achieve military superiority over Russia. Russia will continue strengthening the nuclear potential, develop space forces, navy and long-range aviation. The Russian Navy plans to commission two new nuclear submarines. However, Russia lacks a developed system of bases that had been lost after the collapse of the USSR. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu tried to fill the gap during his tour of Latin America on February 11-14.

The results of the visit have not been disclosed. It is possible, though, that Defense Minister Shoigu was sounding out opportunities for Vladimir Putin's possible visits to the above-mentioned countries to sign adequate agreements. In Nicaragua,  an intergovernmental agreement was signed to establish a simplified procedure for vessels of the Russian navy to enter Nicaraguan ports. Another agreement was signed to train military specialists at Russian universities. Venezuela offered its "friendly ports" to Russian ships as well. The country is willing to organize joint drills with Russia, including with the use of multiple rocket launchers. It is possible that aircraft of the Russian Air Force may land in the country someday soon as well.

During the meeting with Cuban leader Raul Castro in Havana, Russian Defense Minister Shoigu said that "military relations develop constructively." Shoigu expressed Russia's gratitude to the Cuban side for the honors given to Russian military ships and vessels during their call at the port of Havana. It goes about The Victor Leonov electronic intelligence ship that paid a visit to Cuba in January 2015 and a couple of times in 2014. 

Russia and Cuba agreed to train Cuban specialists in Russia. This is a very important aspect, as it means the technical and mental attachment of the armed forces of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela to Russia. This marks a return to the Soviet system of allied military cooperation between Russia and Latin America. 

This long-term strategy imposes obligations on Russia to supply its allies in Latin America with advanced weapons, including air defense systems, aircraft and warships. Such issues were discussed in Nicaragua, Pravda.Ru wrote with reference to defensa.com website. "Moscow will begin shipping patrol gunboats in Managua during the second half of 2016 as part of the package that Russia offered Nicaragua last year." 

Furthermore, if we sell or have plans to sell S-300 and S-400 systems to Beijing and Tehran, why not selling them to Managua, Caracas and Havana? Brazil has recently acquired mobile anti-aircraft Pantsir S-1 (NATO reporting name SA-22 Greyhound) systems, as well as Igla MANPADs totaling 955 million dollars.

The contract for the purchase of Pantsir S1 is to be signed in July 2015, according to the Ministry of Defence of Brazil. The systems will serve to defend the presidential palace, strategic factories, such as Embraer factory of aerospace and defense equipment, a submarine base and Itaguaí Naval Shipyard, where Brazil is building its first-ever nuclear submarine.

Russian forces returning to Latin America

On January 30, Army General Valery Gerasimov said in Moscow that Russia was planning to hold first talks with military authorities of Brazil, Vietnam, Cuba and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to hold "a number of joint naval and air exercises." 

Brazil is very important for Russia in terms of strategic partnership within the framework of the BRICS organization. Russia is unable to resist the United States in Latin America, but it can do something if the country works within the limits of this  bloc.

Alberto López Girondo, a political analyst and columnist at Revista Accion from Argentina, told Pravda.Ru that Russia should cooperate with the countries of Latin America, "to strengthen strong ties between Russia, the countries of Latin America and the BRICS countries in search of new geo-political scenarios."

The expert, however, does not find it expedient to resume the work of the Cuban base in Lourdes. During the Soviet times, the Cuban base was used as a base of  electronic intelligence in light of the talks between Havana and Washington. According to the expert, now is not the time when this can happen, as it is more important for Cuba to get rid of the trade embargo.

Lopez Girondo does not think that one can be optimistic about strengthening Russia's influence in Latin America.  

"I think it goes about a trend of increasing Russia's influence in the region, but the trend is unfavorable for the United States, - Vladimir Yevseyev, Director of the Center for Public Policy Research told Pravda.Ru. - Latin America is waiting, when Russia comes to the region. Russia is developing relations not only with Brazil, a member of the BRICS, but also with Argentina. Russia works to create an alternative to the US. This is very important for many countries, because if there is an alternative, they feel more confident in the international arena. 

"Through the territory of Nicaragua, it is planned to build a new canal parallel to Panama Canal. In this case, vessels of the Russian fleet will be able to enter the Gulf of Mexico, that is exit the Pacific Ocean to enter the Atlantic. This is highly important, because in this case, Russia will be able to ensure so-called nuclear deterrence, because the Russian navy has long-range cruise missiles. If such Russian vessels are deployed somewhere near the territory of Cuba, they will be able to attack the United States. This is our response to the deployment of US military objects near the Russian border. If the United States continues to behave the same way, probably, Russia will make further steps to resume the work of the military facility in Lourdes," Vladimir Yevseyev told Pravda.Ru.

"The United States is quite vulnerable. One may eventually have to create missile defense from the side of Florida, rather than Alaska. All these issues arise and require huge financial resources. I think it will convince the United States of the short-sightedness of this kind of policy. The Americans thoughts that Cuba would fall into their arms, but the Cubans asked the Americans to withdraw the Guantanamo military base first," the expert told Pravda.Ru. 

18 February 2015

Classical Nova Explosions are Major Lithium Factories in the Universe

Artist's rendition of a classical nova explosion (Credit : NAOJ) A classical nova explosion is thought to occur on the surface of a white dwarf (center right) with a close companion star (center left; a sun-like main sequence or more evolved star). When the distance between two stars is close enough, the outer gas of the companion starts to accumulate on the surface of the white dwarf via an accretion disk. The thicker gas layer on the white dwarf increases its temperature and density. Then, nuclear reactions occur with a different way from those inside stars. In the case of stellar interiors, the huge energy produced by nuclear reactions in the core is balanced by the gravity of the surrounding gas, and then the reaction becomes stable. However, the nuclear reaction in a thin gas layer on the surface of a white dwarf has a different result. It becomes a runaway nuclear reaction, and results in an explosion that blows away the gas layer.

Lithium is a key element in the study of the chemical evolution of the universe because it likely was and is produced in several ways: through Big Bang nucleosynthesis, in collisions between energetic cosmic rays and the interstellar medium, inside stellar interiors, and as a result of novae and supernova explosions. This new observation provides the first direct evidence for the supply of Li from stellar objects to the galactic medium. The team hopes to deepen the understandings of galactic chemical evolution, given that nova explosions must be important suppliers of Li in the current universe.

Lithium: the Key to Understanding the Nucleosynthesis in the Universe

The universe consisted primarily of hydrogen (H) and helium (He) immediately after the Big Bang except for very small amounts of Li. Since there are other elements heavier than H and He in the universe now, astronomers want to understand how the heavy elements — such as carbon (C), oxygen (O), and iron (Fe) (which are present in our bodies) — are produced. Such heavy elements are mainly produced in stellar interiors or supernovae. Then, they are supplied to the interstellar medium as seed materials for next generation of stars.

Li is the third lightest element following H and He, and is familiar to us as the base material for the Li-ion batteries used in PCs, smart phones, eco-cars, etc. Big Bang nucleosynthesis produced a very small amount of Li (Note 2). Collisions between galactic cosmic rays (energetic atomic nuclei traveling with very high speeds) and atomic nuclei in the interstellar medium are also assumed to produce Li by breaking heavy elements’ nuclei (e.g., C, O). Low-mass stars like the Sun, and events such as supernova explosions are also considered as candidates of Li production sites. Furthermore, scientists have been assuming that novae should also produce this element (Figure 2).

Because many sites and events can produce Li as described above, Li is the best indicator to probe the complete chemical evolution of the universe. Many scientists have studied this element by measuring the amount of Li found in various stars in our galaxy. This allowed them to estimate the amount produced through each process. Today, as a result of these indirect approaches, low-mass stars or nova explosions are thought to be the most important candidates for Li production in the current galaxy epoch. (Note 2). However, there have been no direct observations of the processes (Note 3).

Impact of this Research

The amount of Li rapidly increases in the galaxy in the current epoch, where the amounts of heavy elements have increased. Therefore, it has long been speculated that low-mass stars with longer lifetimes should be among the major suppliers of Li in the universe. Because nova explosions occur in binary systems evolved from such low-mass stars (especially 3He-rich companion, which is necessary to produce 7Be), they are strong candidates as Li suppliers. The observations made using the Subaru HDS provide the first strong evidence to prove that novae produce significant amounts of Li in the universe. This discovery confirms the chemical evolution model from the Big Bang to the present universe, as predicted by scientists.

Furthermore, the observed amount of Li produced in this nova explosion is proven to be higher than predicted by theoretical estimates. Nova Delphini 2013 shows rather typical characteristics of classical novae. If other novae also produce a large amount of Li as Nova Delphini 2013 did, nova explosions must be recognized as very major Li factories in the universe. In near future, more observations of other nova explosions will provide much clearer model of Li evolution.

Full article available here.

16 February 2015

France PM Manuel Valls 'under Jewish influence' says former socialist foreign minister

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and his Jewish wife Anne Gravoin

A former French foreign minister under the socialist government of Francois Mitterrand has claimed that prime minister Manuel Valls is under Jewish "influence" of his wife Anne Gravoin, a celebrated violinist of Jewish origin.

Roland Dumas, who also served as president of the Constitutional Court, said that Valls has "personal alliances".

"Everyone knows that he is married to someone ... someone very good who has an influence on him," he said on an interview with BFMTV channel.

Asked whether Valls is under Jewish influence, Dumas said: "Probably, I think so."

"Of course [he is influenced by his wife] Why not? Why not tell?" he continued.

It is not the first time that Valls is "accused" of being controlled by some sort of Jewish lobby within his domestic walls.

Last April, footballer Nicolas Anelka claimed that Valls was influenced by his Jewish wife to ban his friend and comedian Dieudonné accused of anti-Semitism.

Anelka was handed a five-game ban by the FA and left British team West Bromwich Albion after he celebrated a goal with the so-called "quenelle" salute, which was first conceived by Dieudonné in December.

In January 2014 the French government moved to prevent Dieudonné's national tour over the alleged anti-Semitic contents of his show.

The ban was strongly supported by the then-interior minister, Manuel Valls.

Dumas, who was foreign minister under President François Mitterrand from 1984 to 1986 and from 1988 to 1993, also praised the father of Manuel Valls in his interview. "I know his family. The father was a great Spanish Republican and a good painter. He remained in France when Franco [Spanish dictator] came to power. It means something to me! He [Valls] took the opposite view," Dumas said.

The comments came after hundreds of graves at a Jewish cemetery in Sarre-Union, a small town near the German border, have been defaced by unknown assailants.

The graveyard was left "in ruins" and 300 and 400 tombs were desecrated.

Jacques Wolff, a local Jewish community representative, said that "all the graves were knocked over or crashed". French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said a criminal investigation into the incident has been launched.

France's President Francois Hollande described the incident as "odious and barbaric" attack against French values.

"France is determined to fight relentlessly against anti-Semitism and those who want to undermine the values of the Republic," Hollande said.

Why Do Starburst Galaxies 'Burst'? ALMA Sees Super Stellar Nurseries at Heart of Sculptor Galaxy

Starburst galaxies transmute gas into new stars at a dizzying pace – up to 1,000 times faster than typical spiral galaxies like the Milky Way. To help understand why some galaxies "burst" while others do not, an international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to dissect a cluster of star-forming clouds at the heart of NGC 253, one of the nearest starburst galaxies to the Milky Way. 

"All stars form in dense clouds of dust and gas," said Adam Leroy, an astronomer formerly with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville, Virginia, and now with The Ohio State University in Columbus. "Until now, however, scientists struggled to see exactly what was going on inside starburst galaxies that distinguished them from other star-forming regions."

ALMA changes that by offering the power to resolve individual star-forming structures, even in distant systems. As an early demonstration of this capability, Leroy and his colleagues mapped the distributions and motions of multiple molecules in clouds at the core of NGC 253, also known as the Sculptor Galaxy. 

Sculptor, a disk-shape galaxy currently undergoing intense starburst, is located approximately 11.5 million light-years from Earth, which is remarkably nearby for such an energetic star factory. This proximity makes Sculptor an excellent target for detailed study.

“There is a class of galaxies and parts of galaxies, we call them starbursts, where we know that gas is just plain better at forming stars,” noted Leroy. “To understand why, we took one of the nearest such regions and pulled it apart – layer by layer – to see what makes the gas in these places so much more efficient at star formation.” 

ALMA’s exceptional resolution and sensitivity allowed the researchers to first identify ten distinct stellar nurseries inside the heart of Sculptor, something that was remarkably hard to accomplish with earlier telescopes, which blurred the different regions together. 

The team then mapped the distribution of about 40 millimeter-wavelength “signatures” from different molecules inside the center of the galaxy. This was critically important since different molecules correspond to different conditions in and around star-forming clouds. For example, carbon monoxide (CO) corresponds to massive envelopes of less dense gas that surround stellar nurseries. Other molecules, like hydrogen cyanide (HCN), reveal dense areas of active star formation. Still rarer molecules, like H13CN and H13CO+, indicate even denser regions.  

By comparing the concentration, distribution, and motion of these molecules, the researchers were able to peel apart the star-forming clouds in Sculptor, revealing that they are much more massive, ten times denser, and far more turbulent than similar clouds in normal spiral galaxies. 

These stark differences suggest that it’s not just the number of stellar nurseries that sets the throttle for a galaxy to create new stars, but also what kind of stellar nurseries are present. Because the star-forming clouds in Sculptor pack so much material into such a small space, they are simply better at forming stars than the clouds in a galaxy like the Milky Way. Starburst galaxies, therefore, show real physical changes in the star-formation process, not just a one-to-one scaling of star formation with the available reservoir of material. 

“These differences have wide-ranging implications for how galaxies grow and evolve,” concluded Leroy. “What we would ultimately like to know is whether a starburst like Sculptor produces not just more stars, but different types of stars than a galaxy like the Milky Way. ALMA is bringing us much closer to that goal.”

These results are accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal and are being presented February 15, 2015, at a news conference at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in San Jose, California.

Angela Merkel's conservatives suffer worst election result since WWII

Germany’s rapidly rising Eurosceptics have dealt a fresh embarrassing blow to Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats party in state elections in Hamburg.

Alternative for Germany (AfD), which wants to force crisis-hit countries such as Greece out of the single currency, looked likely to win its first seats in a west German parliament.

The AfD vote was hovering just above the 5 per cent threshold needed to win seats in parliament in initial projections based on a partial vote count.

The AfD made significant gains from Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats, who saw their share of the vote fall by a projected 5.9 per cent in one of their worst results in recent times.

Hamburg, one of three city states along with Berlin and Bremen, has been a fortress for the centre-left Social Demoracts since the Second World War, and the winner of the vote was never in doubt.

AfD supporters react to preliminary election results in Hamburg

But this was the first time support for the AfD has been tested in a west German state, after it made striking gains in the less affluent east last year.

It is also the first election since the anti-Islam and anti-immigrant Pegida movement swept though the German political scene.

Unlike Eurosceptic parties in other countries, the AfD is not opposed to the EU, but wants an end to the single currency, starting with the expulsion of poorly performing economies like Greece.

AfD gains in Hamburg were not as dramatic as last year’s in Thuringia, where it won 12 per cent of the vote, or Brandenburg and Saxony, in each of which it won around 10 per cent

“I am pleased that we have entered parliament,” the party’s local leader, Jörn Kruse, said. “I am confident that the count will confirm what the forecast says.”

Jörn Kruse of the AfD political party

There was good news for the Free Democrats, Germany’s closest equivalent to the Liberal Democrats, who were wipeed out in federal elections last year in a backlash against their coalition with Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

Projections saw the Free Democrats winning their first seats since that debacle, with around 7 per cent of the vote.

The Social Democrats lost their absolute majority, but looked set to dominate any coalition with 47 per cent.

15 February 2015

US helped Israel with H-bomb - 1980s report declassified

Conceding to a federal lawsuit, the US government agreed to release a 1987 Defense Department report detailing US assistance to Israel in its development of a hydrogen bomb, which skirted international standards.

The 386-page report, “Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations,” likens top Israeli nuclear facilities to the Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories that were key in the development of US nuclear weaponry.

Israelis are "developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level,” said the report, the release of which comes before Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's March 3 speech in front of the US Congress in which he will oppose any deal that allows Iran's legal nuclear program to persist.

"I am struck by the degree of cooperation on specialized war making devices between Israel and the US," Roger Mattson, a formerly of the Atomic Energy Commission’s technical staff, said of the report, according to Courthouse News.

The report’s release earlier this week was initiated by a Freedom of Information Act request made three years ago by Grant Smith, director of the Washington think tank Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy. Smith filed a lawsuit in September in order to compel the Pentagon to substantially address the request.

"It's our basic position that in 1987 the Department of Defense discovered that Israel had a nuclear weapons program, detailed it and then has covered it up for 25 years in violation of the Symington and Glenn amendments, costing taxpayers $86 billion,” Smith said during a hearing in late 2014 before Judge Tanya Chutkan in US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Smith described in his federal court complaint how those federal laws were violated by the US in the midst of Israel’s budding nuclear program.

"The Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 prohibits most U.S. foreign aid to any country found trafficking in nuclear enrichment equipment or technology outside international safeguards,” Smith wrote.

“The Glenn Amendment of 1977 calls for an end to U.S. foreign aid to countries that import nuclear reprocessing technology."

In November, Judge Chutkan asked government lawyers resistant to the report’s release why it had taken years for the government to prepare the report for public consumption.

“I’d like to know what is taking so long for a 386-page document. The document was located some time ago,” Chutkan said, according to Courthouse News Service.

“I've reviewed my share of documents in my career. It should not take that long to review that document and decide what needs to be redacted.”

The government’s representatives in the case -- Special Assistant US Attorney Laura Jennings and Defense Department counsel Mark Herrington -- initially said confidentiality agreements required a “line by line” review of the Defense Department’s report. They later shifted, arguing that its release is optional and not mandatory, as "diplomatic relations dictate that DoD seeks Israel's review."

Smith and the US agreed that the government would redact sections of the report on NATO countries, though the passages on Israel remain intact.

"The capability of SOREQ [Soreq Nuclear Research Center] to support SDIO [Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, or “Star Wars”] and nuclear technologies is almost an exact parallel of the capability currently existing at our National Laboratories," said the report, written by the Institute for Defense Analysis for the Department of Defense.

"SOREQ and Dimona/Beer Sheva facilities are the equivalent of our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories...[and have] the technology base required for nuclear weapons design and fabrication."

The report’s authors Edwin Townsley and Clarence Robinson found that Israel to had Category 1 capability regarding its anti-tactical ballistic missile and “Star Wars” weapons programs.

"As far as nuclear technology is concerned the Israelis are roughly where the U.S. [w]as in the fission weapon field in about 1955 to 1960,” the report said. It should be noted that the Israelis are developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs."

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s planned address before the US Congress was controversially arranged by Republican leadership without consultation of congressional Democrats or the White House.

The speech will occur weeks before Netanyahu will seek reelection, and is to center around his opposition to any agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, a deal the US -- while levying heavy sanctions on Tehran -- has pursued despite protests from its preeminent ally in the Middle East, Israel.

Tehran’s nuclear program is legal under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Israel is one of the few United Nations members that is not a signatory.

Israel Urges Mass Jewish Immigration After Denmark Attacks

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Jews in Europe to move to Israel after a synagogue guard in Copenhagen was among two people shot dead in attacks that stunned the Danish capital.

Assaults on Jews in Europe are expected to continue, Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, according to a statement from his office.

“Jews deserve protection in every country but we say to Jews, to our brothers and sisters: Israel is your home,” he said. “We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe,” he said.

Netanyahu asked the cabinet to allocate 180 million shekels ($46 million) for a plan to absorb new immigrants from France and Belgium, where safety concerns rose after Islamist militants attacked Jewish targets, and from war-ravaged Ukraine.

Immigration from France, home to about 500,000 Jews, doubled in 2014 to about 7,000 from the previous year, a 25-year high. A record 8,000 people visited Israel opportunity fairs held across France in the first week of February by the Jewish Agency, the Israeli quasi-governmental agency that promotes immigration.

Danish police on Sunday killed the unidentified suspect in the attacks, which also claimed the life of a participant in a rally to support free speech. The shooting near the synagogue, following the Jan. 9 killing of four French Jews in a Paris grocery, has heightened concern in Israel over the safety of Europe’s Jewish communities.

Paris Shooting

Netanyahu made similar statements about immigration after the Paris shooting, saying Israel would welcome European Jews who chose to emigrate out of safety concerns. Some European Jewish leaders accused Netanyahu at the time of undermining their communities and ignoring security threats in Israel. The prime minister’s critics said the premier was seeking to drum up domestic support before national elections in March.

Denmark’s 7,000 Jews have been considered one of the most secure Jewish communities in Europe since the Second World War, in which most were spared the Nazi death camps when the Danish resistance movement aided in their 1943 escape from the German occupation into neutral Sweden.

Netanyahu’s “message today that there can be no Jewish life anywhere but here, is not one that in any way helps a community in Denmark going through an earthquake,” said Danish-born Jerusalem Rabbi Michael Melchior in a phone interview. Jews should move to Israel “out of choice” and not fear, said Melchior, whose son works as a rabbi in the Copenhagen synagogue that was attacked.

After the shooting in Denmark, Moshe Kantor, the leader of the Brussels-based European Jewish Congress, said European governments aren’t doing enough to protect their Jewish communities against militants.

The attack “demonstrates that defensive measures to protect the public, and the Jewish community in particular, are not enough,” Kantor said by e-mail. “The authorities must change the paradigm and take the battle to the radical Islamist enclaves, prevent the next attack and bring the terrorists and their supporters to task.”

14 February 2015

Netanyahu to tour Israel in Bibi-bus

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to meet with ordinary citizens next week around the country on a “Bibi-bus,” Likud officials said on Thursday.

The bus will make its first stop on Friday in Herzliya without Netanyahu, but with MK Danny Danon. MK Miri Regev’s “Miri-van” will also continue visiting development towns and poor neighborhoods that are the Likud’s traditional electorate.

Into the Kraken: NASA shows submarine plans for seas on Saturn’s moon Titan

What could be more exotic and exciting than a liquid methane sea on a faraway moon?

NASA has the answer: The space agency has prepared a video showing a plan for a submarine designed to study the depths of a sea on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.

Titan is the only known body in our solar system with liquid seas and lakes, aside from Earth. And NASA wants to know what Kraken Mare, the largest sea on Titan, is like.

NASA has developed a plan to eventually put a submarine into the depths of a methane sea on Saturn's moon Titan

“This craft will autonomously carry out detailed scientific investigations under the surface of Kraken Mare, providing unprecedented knowledge of an extraterrestrial sea and expanding NASA’s existing capabilities in planetary exploration to include in situ nautical operations,” NASA said. “Sprawling over some 1,000 kilometers, with depths estimated at 300 meters, Kraken Mare is comparable in size to the Great Lakes and represents an opportunity for an unprecedented planetary exploration mission.”

The space agency first began talking about the submarine project last year. Scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, the Applied Physics Lab, and the Applied Research Lab prepared the video presentation for this month’s NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program.

“The mission concept we propose to study,” NASA said, “will investigate a full spectrum of oceanographic phenomena: chemical composition of the liquid, surface and subsurface currents, mixing and layering in the ‘water’ column, tides, wind and waves, bathymetry, and bottom features and composition.”

NASA is said to be contemplating a mission to send the submarine to Titan by 2040.