Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Israeli sperm quality down and Israeli fish shows female characteristics

I read with interest the following article from the leading paper in Israel:


Last update - 10:03 11/05/2009

Study: Quality of Israeli sperm down 40% in past decade

By Ofri Ilani

The quality of Israeli sperm has declined alarmingly in the last decade, according to recent research conducted at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus.

The cause for the decline is not known, but it's believed by some researchers to be connected to the exposure of children and pregnant women to hormones and other contaminants in food and water.

Conducted by Dr. Ronit Haimov-Kokhman, the study showed a 40-percent decline in the concentration of sperm cells among the country's sperm donors from 2004 to 2008, compared to those of donors from 1995 to 1999. Hadassah's sperm bank is now turning away two-thirds of potential donors because of low-quality sperm, as opposed to one-third in the past.

Haimov-Kokhman's research is to be presented today at a conference of the Israeli Society of Fertility Investigation in Tel Aviv.

Kokhman said the study was carried out to test the theory of the director of Hadassah Hospital's sperm bank, Ruth Har-Nir, that sperm quality was in decline.

The research confirmed that in 10 years, the average concentration of sperm among donors declined from 106 million cells per cubic centimeter to 67 million per cubic centimeter. The rate of sperm motility has also declined: from 79 to 67 percent, although the profile of donors did not change over that period; they are still young, healthy and do not smoke.

According to Haimov-Kokhman, the quality of sperm has declined in most Western countries, but in Israel it has been particularly rapid.

"If we keep going at this rate, a decline of 3 million cubic centimeters of sperm cells per year, we'll reach an average of 20 million in 2030. The World Heath Organization defines this as fertility impairment."

Studies showing a decline in sperm quality began to be published worldwide more than a decade ago, along with research indicating a rise in the rate of defects in the male reproductive system.

In Israel, too, a study was published about a year ago, showing an increase of about 30 percent in defects in the male reproductive system. In addition, in the past decade, the number of cases of testicular cancer has doubled.

A number of chemicals in the ground and in drinking water have been identified as impacting hormone levels and secondary sexual characteristics. These chemicals include plasticizers called phthalates, used in food wrappings, cosmetics and a various insecticides. Studies published in Britain have highlighted a clear connection between continual decline in sperm counts and chemicals in the environment.

"I would suggest that a concentration of estrogen in the water is a cause of change, Haimov-Kokhman says, noting that hormones in the ground come from both human and animal waste that reach the aquifer via sewage. "The ground is full of estrogen that produces estrogen-saturated fruits, vegetables and plants."

A study published in Israel two years ago revealed that the high level of female hormones in a stream near Beit She'an, apparently originating from women swimmers who were taking birth-control pills, caused fish to develop female characteristics. However, the researchers say that the level of hormones in the country's main waterways is negligible, and cannot be the source of impairment of the male reproductive system.

"While it's true that the evidence is only circumstantial, even the connection between smoking and lung cancer took a generation to prove," Haimov-Kokhman notes.


Apparently if the trend continues to 2030 Israelis will be classified as "infertile" or needing "fertility impairment". I wonder if this will be an issue since by 2030 most of Israel's natural predators (cheifly Palestinians) will probably be exterminated or contained in foreign prisions.

That's what happens when you steal someone else's water!

Israel and UAE Women

I read this excellent article in The National the other day:

Don’t lecture UAE on women, Israel told

Mahmoud Habboush

* Last Updated: March 29. 2010 1:15AM UAE / March 28. 2010 9:15PM GMT

BANGKOK // An Israeli politician got more than he bargained for when he said UAE leaders should be talking about women’s rights in the country instead of lobbying against Israel’s actions in East Jerusalem.

Majalli Wahabi, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, was reminded by a female UAE official that according to UN data, the Emirates rank higher on the empowerment of women than his country.

Mr Wahabi spoke shortly after Abdul Aziz al Ghurair, Speaker of the FNC, addressed the annual meeting of the International Parliamentary Union meeting in the Thai capital.

Just before the meeting concluded, Amal al Qubaisi, the FNC’s only elected woman member, took the podium.

“Jerusalem is home to 220 historical sites with symbolic value not only to Islam but also to international heritage,” said Dr al Qubaisi, who wrote her doctorate dissertation on the preservation of architectural heritage.

She said Israeli practices in Jerusalem contravened the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit the destruction of cultural heritage by occupying powers in territories under their control.

As for women’s rights, Dr al Qubaisi noted the Emirates ranked 17th in the world for women empowerment, while Israel was 24th, according to the UN’s Human Development Report 2009.

She added that women occupy 23 per cent of the FNC’s seats, eight per cent of Cabinet positions, 33 per cent of leadership positions and 66 per cent of public positions.

“Women are empowered in the UAE at all political, social and economic levels,” Dr al Qubaisi said.

Her remarks were greeted with applause by many of the representatives of the 131 parliaments attending the conference.

The Israeli official had criticised the UAE’s insistence that Israeli actions in East Jerusalem be included on the meeting’s emergency agenda, saying that earthquake relief in Haiti was a more pressing matter.

“The Israeli practices in Jerusalem are not only a breach of Palestinian Arabs rights, but a violation and a threat to the feelings of Muslims around the world,” Mr al Ghurair said in his speech.

The Israeli government announced earlier this month plans to build 1,600 Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem while the US vice president, Joe Biden, was visiting Israel, triggering a rare row between the Jewish state and the US.

“I request the formation of an international parliamentary committee to look at what is happening in Jerusalem and report to the union’s conference next year,” Mr al Ghurair said.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, warned on Saturday at the opening of the Arab League’s summit in Libya that the peace process was unlikely to move forward “as long as Israel maintains its settlement policy”.

Islamic and Arab states have repeatedly criticised Israel’s excavation works outside the Al Aqsa mosque. Many Palestinians believe that Israeli extremists want to destroy the mosque to rebuild the ancient Solomon’s Temple in its place.

Mr al Ghurair said that changing the Islamic features of Jerusalem “is an unambiguous violation of the international treaty signed by all countries with regard to protecting the cultural and natural heritage of humanity”.

“We, the Arabs, have tentatively listened to the calls by the international community for peace with Israel,” said Mr al Ghurair.

“And the Arab leaders have held on to the Arab peace initiative throughout their meetings and resolutions, but our calls have been ignored.”

mhabboush@thenational.ae http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100329/NATIONAL/703289866/1186/enewsletter

Also.. this video clip is EXCELLENT.. I suggest you view it.. another excellent piece of work by Dr Norman Finkelstein.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Unsquare Dance - Dave Brubeck

Check out these dance moves...

The last 20 seconds of the dance is just spectacular :)

The Brubeck magic lives on...

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Let’s Talk About Israeli Racism

An amazing post from a fellow blogger:

Just yesterday, I wondered to a friend if maybe Benjamin Netanyahu is disrespecting Barack Obama in part because he is black? And lo and behold, David Bromwich wrote today in the Huffington Post:

“Racism as much as fear drives the Israeli policy toward Palestinians. This has always been known. But who now will deny that there is also, in the Israeli distrust and visceral ridicule of Barack Obama, an undercurrent of racism?”
He goes on to point out the parallel between racism against Palestinians by the Israeli settler movement, and racism against blacks by their staunchest supporters in the U.S., the white evangelicals he calls Christian Zionists. It is almost as if, their segregationist fantasies defeated here at home, the religious right is projecting them onto the Holy Land by helping the settler movement to build an apartheid state.

“The operation of Israeli racism against a black American president is powerfully enforced by the settler movement and by its American allies, the Christian Zionists. … Settler racism and Christian Zionist racism (associated with the ‘birther movement’ in the U.S.) converge in a belief in the political and the social superiority of Israeli Jews over Palestinians — a superiority that for the Christian Zionists corresponds (in ways that need no comment) to the natural superiority of American whites to blacks.”
He calls on Americans to become aware of the racist nature of the Israeli settlement project, and its implications for American security interests.

“Will Americans now stop calling the annexation wall — which cuts off West-Bank Israeli colonists from their Palestinian inferiors — ‘the security fence’? It is a wall. Its function is only partly to secure. It is there also to separate, to mark off, and to overawe. … The separation produces…a condition of constant inequality. It seems too weak to call the result ’segregation.’ Ehud Barak, a solid authority one would have thought, has recently called it apartheid, and language that is accurate in the eyes of the defense minister of Israel should be good enough for Americans. …
“The existential threat in the vicinity of Israel is not extermination but expulsion. And Israel is the agent rather than victim of that threat. The project is being carried forward by legalized acts of dispossession, by harassment, by deprivation of useful work, and by the deliberate infliction of misery.”
Fortunately, he feels that Americans are starting to become aware of these ugly truths. Beginning with the war in Gaza, and continuing through the diplomatic crisis surrounding Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, forty years of self-imposed silence in the American media, which have prevented a frank discussion of Israel’s policies, are starting to fray.

“So the door to an honest discussion of Israel and Palestine has been opened wide. Too wide for AIPAC, and all its journalistic outlets, to close with their usual dispatch. We are in possession now of the realistic knowledge that Israel’s policies endanger American troops and American interests; that by creating new terrorists, those policies also threaten the security of the United States. …
“It is one thing to sacrifice yourself for a friend in the cause of justice; another to sacrifice yourself for a friend in the cause of injustice.”


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

How will Israel spin this?

Thank you Ultra Blue

from the bbc:


Date: 23 March 2010

Expulsion of diplomat sends a strong signal to Israel

By Jeremy Bowen
BBC Middle East Editor

Mr Miliband took the decision after an investigation by British Police
Britain's foreign secretary David Miliband has taken the decision to expel an Israeli diplomat after the UK's serious organised crime agency turned up evidence that Israel cloned British passports.
The Israeli diplomat is not the ambassador himself, but the expulsion sends a very strong signal to Israel of Britain's disapproval and anger.
The indications are that the person who will go will be the head of the London station of Mossad - Israel's secret intelligence service.
Diplomatic sources say Britain does not have evidence that Mossad murdered senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.
However, the accusation was made by police in the United Arab Emirates.
They presented CCTV footage showing an alleged Israeli hit squad, some disguised with wigs and others wearing tennis gear, following Mr al-Mabhouh in the hours before he was killed.
Britain's relations with Israel have been difficult for some time.

Mr Mabhouh was murdered in a Dubai hotel room, police say
Israel resents Britain's support for greater clarity in the labelling of products from Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
And late last year the former Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni - now Israel's opposition leader - was forced to cancel a trip to Britain at short notice after a warrant was issued for her arrest on war crimes charges.
Worldwide, Israel is now under all-round diplomatic pressure from its allies.
The Americans, with the support of Britain among others, are pushing Israel to stop building for Jews on occupied land in Jerusalem, on the grounds that it makes negotiating peace with the Palestinians next to impossible.
Past attempts
If Israel is implicated in the murder of Mr al-Mabhouh, it won't be the first time.
During his first term as prime minister in 1997, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the poisoning of another Hamas official, Khaled Meshaal in Jordan.
However the attempt was bungled after Mr Meshaal's bodyguard captured two of the Mossad hit team.
Mr Netanyahu was forced by a furious King Hussein to send the formula for the antidote to Jordan.
Mr Netanyahu also had to offer to release the Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin to Jordan to mollify the King, who had recently signed a peace treaty with Israel.
Sheikh Yassin was a thorn in Israel's side until he was killed in an air strike in Gaza in 2004.
Mr Meshaal survived and is now the leading political figure in Hamas, living in exile in Damascus.
The attempt to kill him was one factor that led to the Israeli public turning against Mr Netanyahu in elections in 1999.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Brubeck Jazz by others

Here's some beautiful clips, renditions rather than originals.

The bit at 1:20 is just amazing, how he modulates from one key to another!

The bit at 1:50 is hideous!

The kid below is just amazing:

I had to dig this classic one out of youtube!!!
Of course it's by the man himself, Dave Brubeck, but I thought u might appreciate the classical look of the "magic" carpet!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Urbanization (sic) of Dubai

I found these amazing pictures via NASA (I subscribe to the newsletter).
They chart the rapid development of Dubai via sattelite images from 2002 to 2010.
I'll shut up and let the pictures do the talking.

By the way it's worth checking NASA's page on this as they have twice the number of pictures that I have uploaded.


Friday, 19 March 2010

Emirates or Etihad?

Do you remember this piece of news a few weeks back?

Emirates, the Dubai government-owned airline, said the logo of Gulf rival Etihad Airways appeared on its in-flight entertainment system due to a “technical error.”

The branding of Etihad, owned by Dubai’s neighbour Abu Dhabi, was shown intermittently in the background of a film playing during Emirates flights last month.


Well, seems the tides have turned!

Or maybe it's just me.

Click here: http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100320/TRAVEL/100315941/1188/enewsletter

And in more detail...

What do you think? Or do I just have too much time on my hands this beautiful Saturday morning?

Take Five

So, I was riding in the hood, minding my business, looking for a sand-dune to attack with my new bike, and I come across a boat parked in between two villas. I don't notice it for long and continue riding past in 3rd gear, looking out for any kids that usually play on that street corner.

So, I do my business in the sand, then I come back, a bit sweatier than usual, and I notice the same boat, in the same place, but now I notice the name. It's called "take five" but transliterated (not translated) into Arabic!!!!

I thought I had to take a picture of this in Arabic to show it to my dear friend Louis. So here it is:

What is infinitely more funny is that after taking that picture, I decided to walk around the boat, and I saw something written in English. So I decided to take a snap:

For those of you who have no clue about the subject matter, the boat owner is obviously a Jazz fan, and he's paying homage to the one and only Dave Brubeck and his time-less classic "Take Five"

Enjoy! Thanks Paul Desmond. Shot in 1961.

FYI, back in the early 2000's, I had the honour to meet the great legend himself LIVE at a concert. He kept us waiting for hours and after more than 12 songs, he played Take Five as his last song. It's a brilliant bloody classic!

In case you can't get enough, here is a more recent clip with better sound quality:

Long live Brubeck!

He almost graduated from music school without being able to write music, that's how talented he was!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Israel supermarket spoof parodies Dubai killing

From the famous BBC:


An Israeli supermarket chain is using a spoof of surveillance footage showing the alleged assassins of a Hamas commander in a television advert.

The advert's fake grainy surveillance footage shows actors wearing elaborate disguises.

Dubai police released footage they said showed the assassins of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, some dressed for tennis, as they followed him through his hotel.

Israel's secret service is widely suspected of being behind the killing.

But the government says there is not enough proof that its agents were involved.

In the advert for Mahsanei Kimat Hinam shops, disguised customers prowl the supermarket's aisles and an actress wearing a wide-brimmed hat says she: "cannot admit to anything". The final line is: "We offer killer prices."

Advertising executive Sefi Shaked said the campaign was inspired by the original footage.

"We were fascinated by the technique of using surveillance cameras instead of high-production cameras, and the latest events in Dubai have given us a great opportunity," he said.

"It's a parody, a take-off of what happened in Dubai. All the Israeli television comedy shows have done it, so why shouldn't we?" he added.

Can you spot the difference between both pictures?

Who said Israelis can't be funny?

PS: BBC bias is evident, they used the word "killing" instead of "assassination" in their headline. However, this is another matter altogether.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Touring Doha

As you know my dear readers, I am a big fan of motorbikes.
Here's a recent clip showing what I've been up to during my last visit to Doha.
Needless to say, kids, do not do this at home (or on the streets)!

It appears that this was filmed during a bad-hair-night! hahahaha

Friday, 12 March 2010

Pulling the Tablecloth

I loved this clip.. thanks to my supplier/agent :)

I wouldn't watch it past 45secs!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Belly of the beast

Some Spectacular footage, even if I say so myself, captured on a Contour HD helmet cam, secured to the the nose gear. The flight was JNB-MPM and we were cleared for a visual approach onto RWY 05 as...

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Mundo dos Sonhos - Dubai Assassination

(click on image to enlarge)

Edna Spennato's newest work reminds us very clearly of Gulliver's travels and the people of Lillyput while the latest "pre-emptive" strike on sovereign UAE soil reminds us rudely of people without morals, religion, or goodness left in them.

I encourage you to read the full words at the artist's blog here:


FYI, I'm against the police calling for PM's of other countries to be arrested no matter how bad the PM is. This is a political matter and that's a job for our President.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Israel anounces settlement expansion on eve of peace talks

RAMALLAH // Israel yesterday announced plans for a controversial settlement expansion just a day after a divided PLO Central Committee reluctantly agreed to endorse US-sponsored proximity talks.

The plans for 112 apartments in the ultra-Orthodox Beitar Illit settlement in the Bethlehem area were announced as an exception to the partial settlement construction freeze that Israel agreed to in November under US pressure.

It is unlikely to play well with US administration officials, as the announcement coincides with what is supposed to be the finalisation of preparations for indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians and on the morning of the visit of Joe Biden, the US vice president.

In an interview published yesterday in Yedioth Ahronot, an Israeli daily, Mr Biden said the partial settlement construction freeze had not come through agreement with the United States or the Palestinians and that it was “not everything that we wanted”.

for more...http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100309/FOREIGN/703089835/1185/enewsletter

Jordanian Bedu

Jo-Bedu or http://jo-bedu.com/ have been kindly introduced to me by the lovely Roba at itoot. They have a cracking collection of t-shirts, and if you're in Amman it's definitely worth paying them a visit.

Here's a selection of their work, you can get more than 400+ pictures on their facebook page:


If you're in Amman please buy me one!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Mabhouh gone quiet

Hasn't the media gone silent on the recent Dubai assassination?
Steps need to be taken to ensure that the UAE does not turn to a place where filthy monkeys do their filthy business.

Abed Al Raouf Al Mabhouh (centre), the son of Mahmoud Al Mabhouh, carries the coffin of his father along with Hamas members during his funeral procession at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, near Damascus, Syria on January 29, 2010.

Image Credit: AP

Friday, 5 March 2010

UAE Blue Eyes

This is one of the earliest works by one of my brothers.

You know who you are.

Much love,

5o N

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Jordanian Clothing Line

This goes out to all my Jordanian friends with all my love.