Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday's Eids

Related: The End of Ramadan

This should get you off to a good $tart:

"SoftBank Group’s $100 billion Vision Fund, which has attracted investment from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Apple Inc., and other large institutional backers, is investing in cutting-edge technologies. Once considered purely theoretical, researchers have made strides in building functioning quantum computers based around a number of different designs and approaches. International Business Machines Corp., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and Rigetti Computing, a San Francisco-based quantum computing startup, have created working machines around one method, while IonQ, a spin-out from the University of Maryland and Duke University, is working on technologies based on another. Microsoft is backing a third architecture, but has yet to create a working machine. D-Wave, a Canadian company, is the only firm to sell quantum computers today; its system is based around yet another architecture and can only solve a limited set of problems compared to those Google, IBM, and the others have been working on....."

All the better to collect and correlate all the data. In regards to other things, they dunno.

Meanwhile, air bag maker Takata is seeking bankruptcy protection from sea of lawsuits. So that is what bankruptcy is for.

Good thing the price of gas went down last week. The delivery of Micky-Ds will be cheaper (chocolate for desert).


"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was in London on a private visit, cut short his stay and was returning to Pakistan, officials said. Imran Khan, the country’s most prominent opposition politician, called the accident “a national tragedy of epic proportions.”

ISIS flares up in the Philippines, and now this while Sharif is in London?


"Turkey rejects demand to remove troops from Qatar" Associated Press  June 25, 2017

ISTANBUL — Speaking after Eid al-Fitr prayers in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the demand to pull the Turkish troops ‘‘disrespectful’’ and said his country would not seek permission from others when making its defense cooperation agreements.

He said Turkey would continue to support Qatar against the many sanctions it has faced since several Arab countries moved earlier this month to isolate the country for its alleged support of terrorism. Turkey shipped supplies and food via cargo planes to Qatar after its neighbors closed down air, land, and sea routes.

The United States said the demands on Qatar by its Mideast neighbors ‘‘will be very difficult to meet.’’ But the United States isn’t rejecting the demands outright.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson added in a statement Sunday, however, that the list of demands from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates includes major areas that ‘‘provide a basis for ongoing dialogue leading to a resolution.’’

He called on Arab countries to ‘‘sit together’’ with Qatar.....



Turkish police use plastic bullets, tear gas to break up LGBT crowd

Gay pride parades sound a note of resistance, and face some

A Day with the First Family

Tillerson wasn't invited:

"Where Trump zigs, Tillerson zags, putting him at odds with White House" by David E. Sanger New York Times   June 25, 2017

WASHINGTON — Some in the White House say the discord in the Qatar dispute is part of a broader struggle over who is in charge of Middle East policy — Tillerson or Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior adviser — and that the secretary of state has a tin ear about the political realities of the Trump administration.

Can't see to well, either.

Others think it is symptomatic of a dysfunctional State Department that, under Tillerson’s uncertain leadership, does not yet have in place the senior political appointees who make the wheels of diplomacy turn, but criticism from Trump’s aides is not Tillerson’s only problem. In recent days, each of his top priorities has hit a wall — as a behind-the-scenes mediator in the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the effort to enlist China to force North Korea to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the Russians disinvited one of his top diplomats, and in Congress, where there is now anger and defiance.

I'm not surprised the Russians did that. That last time Tillerson was there he took the equivalent of crapping on the Russian porch before knocking.

In hearings this month, Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, declared Tillerson’s plans for a 30 percent cut in the department’s budget a “waste of time” that he would not even review.

What does Israel want?

“I have a hard time thinking of one who has come in with little foreign policy experience and has less interest in surrounding himself with the people who know something about the regions and issues that he has to deal with,” said Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.....

And founding signatory of the PNAC.


Also see:

29 Guard members on way to Afghanistan

Key Democrat agrees with Trump: Obama should have acted on hacks

Searching for 2020 vision

Who put the ‘M-E-N’ in selectmen?

The state Senate


"6 hurt as car strikes people at Muslim celebration in Britain" Associated Press  June 25, 2017

LONDON — Six people, including three children, were injured Sunday after a car ran into a large crowd gathered to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in the northern English city of Newcastle.


Police said there was no information suggesting the incident was terror-related.

Police believe a woman who had been celebrating Eid with her family was driving the car that struck the crowd outside the Westgate Sports Center, Assistant Chief Constable Darren Best said. Northumbria police arrested the woman, 42, who remained in custody. The force said it was not looking for other suspects.

‘‘We have no information to suggest this is terror-related; however, this is a serious collision with multiple casualties, and extensive inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances around this tragic incident,’’ Best said.

The collision took place outside the sports center when many were just leaving a prayer gathering marking the end of Ramadan, according to the nearby Newcastle Central Mosque, which organized the Sunday morning family event called ‘‘Eid in the Open.’’

‘‘Immediately after the Eid prayers when the people were starting to leave the venue, a car collided with pedestrians. The injured were immediately attended to by the emergency medical services and the police,’’ it said.

Video on social media, apparently taken minutes after the crash, showed a field where dozens of people in Muslim dress, including children, screamed and rushed forward to see what happened.

The ambulance service said three children and three adults were being treated at a local hospital for injuries suffered in the crash.


They were all on there way home:

"List of British towers failing safety tests rises to 60" by Sylvia Hui Associated Press  June 25, 2017

LONDON — The national testing was ordered after an inferno engulfed Grenfell Tower in west London on June 14.

In north London, officials trying to avoid another fire disaster sought to complete the evacuation of hundreds of apartments in four towers deemed unsafe. They faced resistance as some 200 residents refused to budge.

The council of the London borough of Camden ordered residents from about 600 apartments at Chalcots Estate to leave late Friday as a precaution after fire inspectors found problems with the towers’ fire doors and gas pipes.

The council said residents must leave immediately because of those issues and because the towers were encased in similar cladding to the material used at Grenfell Tower.

Hundreds were put up in hotels and other temporary accommodation. The evacuees now face up to four weeks in limbo as workers try to upgrade the buildings’ fire safety features. Council leader Georgia Gould said those still staying in their homes must leave for the renovations to begin.

And how did that go over?

One upset mother told Cllr Gould, pictured, her children had been left distraught after abandoning their home
One upset mother told Cllr Gould, pictured, her children had been left distraught after abandoning their home (Time Ireland/Associated Press)

I don't think you convinced her.

Sayed Meah, 34, who lives with his mother and wife, said he would not move until the company that helps care for his mother agrees to provide service at a new location. He said he and other residents are determined to remain in their apartments until a legal notice is obtained or they are ‘‘dragged out by their fingernails.’’

Refurbishment of the Chalcots towers was overseen by Rydon, the same company involved in the renovation of the now-ruined Grenfell Tower. London Mayor Sadiq Khan backed the Camden Council’s decision to evacuate the apartment blocks.

By 1998, regulators in the United States — where deaths from fires are more common than in Britain or Western Europe — began requiring real-world simulations to test any materials to be used in buildings taller than a fire ladder.

And then, in September 2001, well, you know.


Also a big day in FranceWest Berlin, and in the World.


"Scores still missing in massive China landslide; 10 bodies found" Associated Press  June 25, 2017

MAO COUNTY, China — Sitting on the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau in Aba prefecture’s Mao County, Xinmo has in recent years become a tourism destination for its picturesque scenery of homes in lush meadows tucked between steep and rugged mountains. But after the landslide, the village was reduced to a vast area of rubble.

As heavy machines removed debris and men scoured the rubble for survivors on Sunday, relatives from nearby villages sobbed as they awaited news of their loved ones.

People grieved on Sunday at the site of a landslide in China’s Sichuan Province.
People grieved on Sunday at the site of a landslide in China’s Sichuan Province (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press).

‘‘It was as if strong winds were blowing by, or a big truck rumbled by,’’ said Tang Hua, a 38-year-old woman from a nearby village. ‘‘The houses were shaking, as if there were an earthquake. We rushed out and saw massive smoke. With a thundering sound, the smoke suddenly lifted. We realized it was a landslide.’’

‘‘As we ran for safety, we looked this way and saw the village flattened,’’ she said.

Tang has relatives in Xinmo, but she said little could be done at this point. ‘‘The whole village is done for,’’ she said.

The landslide carried an estimated 635 million cubic feet of earth and rock — equivalent to more than 7,200 Olympic-sized swimming pools — when it slid down from steep mountains. Some of it fell from as high as 1 mile.

It buried about a mile of road and blocked a one-mile section of a river....


RelatedIn Boston, Dalai Lama preaches compassion

They didn't hear him on Deer Island or in Jamaica Plain.

Is there anything the Chinese can do for distraction?

"Michael Bay’s ‘‘Transformers: The Last Knight,’’ the fifth installment in the Hasbro series, scored a franchise-low domestic debut, but the second ‘‘Transformers’’ movie to star Mark Wahlberg, still showed its might overseas -- in China. Future business will tell whether the grosses are enough to cover a hugely expensive movie: $217 million to make, plus nearly as much to market. ‘‘Wonder Woman’’ and ‘‘Cars 3’’ tied for second place with $25.2 million domestically. Nearly a month after opening, Patty Jenkins’s ‘‘Wonder Woman’’ continues to be a major draw....."

Gone from opening at $100m, to $58m in its second week, to $40.8m last week, and now $25m in it's fourth week. That's better than most.


"Israel strikes targets in Syria for 2nd day" Associated Press  June 25, 2017

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military on Sunday said it attacked a series of targets belonging to the Syrian military, after several projectiles from neighboring Syria landed in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights for a second day.

False flag projectiles to justify it!

The military said it targeted two Syrian artillery positions and an ammunitions truck. There were no immediate reports of casualties. But as an added precaution, the military instructed Israeli civilians from gathering in open areas in the border area.

It was the second straight day that Israel responded to what it has described as errant fire from Syria. Israel has tried to stay out of the six-year civil war in Syria and refrained from taking sides, but has responded to spillover fire on numerous occasions.

Actually, they have taken sides.

Israel also is believed to have carried out airstrikes on suspected weapons shipments to its archenemy Hezbollah.

‘‘Our policy is clear: We will not tolerate any spillover or trickle whatsoever — neither mortars nor rockets, from any front,’’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday.


That includes the female front:

"In about face, Israel freezes Western Wall mixed prayer plan" by Aron Heller Associated Press  June 26, 2017

JERUSALEM — The Israeli government froze a long-overdue plan Sunday to open a mixed-gender prayer area at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, a major policy reversal that infuriated the liberal streams of Judaism that represent most Jews in the United States.

The program was never implemented as powerful ultra-Orthodox members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government raised objections to the decision after they had initially endorsed it.

Netanyahu, trying to placate both his coalition partners and wealthy American Jewish donors, had promised the new $9 million plaza for mixed-gender prayer would be established.

On Sunday, he ordered top aides to formulate a new plan but said little more. In another controversial decision Sunday, his government promoted a bill to maintain the ultra-Orthodox monopoly over conversions.

It set off a cascade of criticism from liberal groups both in Israel and abroad.

‘‘I’m outraged by this government decision. I think it shows cowardice. For two years we negotiated in good faith with the government,’’ said Anat Hoffman, chairwoman of the Women of the Wall group, which has pushed for egalitarian access to the wall.

Imagine sitting across from them during peace talks.

‘‘And then today they decide that it is null and void, that they’re not going to implement it, that equality is out the window,’’ she said.

Earlier in the day, her group held its weekly prayers at the site and was harassed by ultra-Orthodox worshippers.


American Jews, who have long lamented Israel should be as accepting of their religious practices as they are of their financial and political support, have been pushing for the new prayer area and had warned that if the deal did not go through it would lead to a dangerous rupture with North American Jewry.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest stream of Judaism in the United States, said the decision could lead many to rethink their support for Israel.

They will rethink -- and send the checks anyway.

‘‘There is a limit to how many times you can be delegitimized and insulted,’’ he said. ‘‘This is the core mission of the Jewish state — to be a home for all Jews . . . it is unthinkable but the unthinkable just happened.’’

What a mushroom cloud over a world city?

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, head of the New York-based Rabbinical Assembly, an association for Conservative movement rabbis, said the decision was not surprising given the clout of ultra-Orthodox parties yet shocking nonetheless for its divisive message. Still, she said it would not affect her devotion to Israel. 

That's not the message I'm getting in Bo$ton.

‘‘The people of Israel still need our support and our love and the fact that an unbelievably, spectacularly shortsighted government cannot see its way to understand the critical importance of unity of world Jewry is something that is the fault of the politicians,’’ she said. 

So J-Street and all the other Zioni$t-lite groups aren't really serious? Just controlled opposition to make it seem like their is disagreement and debate -- as Palestinians die and their land is stolen.

‘‘Israel is turning its back on the institutions through which we love Israel.’’

The liberal Jewish groups had accused Netanyahu of delaying implementation because of pressure from the two ultra-Orthodox parties that keep his narrow coalition afloat. 

Who would catch him if he fell?

Ultra-Orthodox rabbis strictly govern Jewish practices in Israel such as weddings, divorces, and burials. The ultra-Orthodox religious establishment sees itself as responsible for maintaining traditions through centuries of persecution and assimilation, and it resists any inroads from liberals it often considers to be second-class Jews who ordain women and gays and are overly inclusive toward converts and interfaith marriages.

Arieh Deri, head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, said he was pleased the government blocked a plan that would have harmed the ‘‘sanctity of the site.’’

‘‘Preserving the status quo of the Western Wall reflects the will of most of the people,’’ he said. ‘‘There is no room there for destructive factions whose only purpose is to desecrate the site.’’

You know what would be said of them were they Islamic.


So Israel is really a THEOCRACY, huh?


"Robert Kraft, in an interview at the Cannes Lion Festival of Creativity in France Friday, [said] Trump’s economic plan “will be excellent for America and the Western world. One of my big concerns is that people like ourselves have done well, but working-class people have not. It behooves us to get government working together to take care of them and get them the proper health care,” Kraft said....."

 Pre$$ tried to blitz him on Comey, but best-man Youk was the one who toasted the bride.

Professor who said Otto Warmbier got ‘what he deserved’ loses job

See what happens when you call out Jewish supremacism?

Government websites hacked with pro-Islamic State rant

I have to say, that made me laugh when I saw it at the top of the Globe's World news.

Done my business; time to enjoy the summer.