These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 18, 2012.
Monday, 18 June 2012
Summer Sports Injuries
Sports have long been the greatest single cause of injury in the western world, though as a cause of accidental fatality it remains comparatively infrequent. Not all such injuries are inevitable, however, or inseparable from the sporting activity which give rise to them.
A paper in a recent British Medical Journaldemonstrates that it is possible for adolescent female soccer players to avoid nearly two-thirds of the anterior cruciate ligament injuries to the knee to which they are susceptible, by the simple expedient of performing a 15-minute neuromuscular warm-up exercise before the beginning of a match.
The study was carried out with characteristic thoroughness in Sweden, where 309 clubs with adolescent female players were randomly allocated to those whose players performed the warming-up exercises under the direction of a trainer and those whose players did not. The rate of cruciate ligament injury was calculated over the following season of seven months.
Seven of 2479 players who performed the exercises had such an injury in the course of the season, while 14 of 2085 who did not perform them were injured in this way.
Assuming — as seems likely — that each player played twenty matches during the season, this means that 12,395 hours of exercise had to be performed to avoid about 8 cruciate ligament injuries, that is to say 1,565 hours per injury avoided. There is, of course, no objective method of determining whether the effort was worth it; it depends on the scale of values employed. What would the players who exercised have been doing if they had not done their exercises? Chatted about their boyfriends? This might surely seem a more agreeable way to spend fifteen minutes.
To avoid a similar number of cruciate ligament injuries boys would have to exercise for even longer, for they are not so susceptible to such injuries in the first place.
Curiously, the exercises did not protect against other knee injuries deemed to be serious, of which there were 19 in the exercise group and 17 in the control group. Nor was the overall rate of acute injury of the knee (serious and non-serious) reduced: it was 48 in the exercise group and 44 in the control group.
Assuming what may not be entirely true, that knee injuries are randomly distributed in the population of female adolescent soccer players (that is to say they do not have individual differences in their susceptibility to them), the chances of an adolescent female soccer player suffering an acute knee injury over five seasons is about 10 percent, and slightly more than 5 percent for a serious knee injury. This is a very high risk: it is even possible that drivers who habitually drive while over the limit get away with it more often than that.
Of course, drunk drivers injure people other than themselves, but so do soccer players. It is, after all, in tackles that most cruciate ligament injuries on the field occur; and while it is true that soccer injuries very rarely kill, a cruciate ligament injury can lead to a lifetime of pain.
The case for banning adolescent female soccer on grounds of health and safety, then, is clear, especially in those countries in which, unlike Sweden, there is no doctor or physiotherapist on call to treat the injured. What other activity would be tolerated that had so high a risk of painful or serious injury? And what is true of soccer is true of virtually all sports, so many of which end in pain and injury. In a world in which thousands of children die of diarrhoeal diseases, why should so many medical resources be diverted to treating what are, after all, self-inflicted injuries?
First published at PJMedia where many commenters didn't get the joke.
The Christian minority in Syria is facing a growing threat and thousands are being forced to flee their homes as they face harassment and discrimination from radial Islamist factions of the opposition.
At least 9,000 Christians from the western Syrian city of Qusayr were forced to seek refuge after an ultimatum from a local military chief of the armed opposition, Abdel Salam Harba, Fides news agency reports.
In the latest outburst of violence a Christian man was shot dead by a sniper in Qusayr, which neighbors the restive city of Homs.
There have been reports last week that some mosques in the city have announced from the minarets: "Christians must leave Qusayr within six days, which expires this Friday."
Two Catholic priests who fled Qusayr confirmed to the news agency that they heard the ultimatum "with their own ears" repeated from the minarets.
"The situation is unsustainable in the area and exposed to total lawlessness," Fides sources on the ground say. They also fear that the fate of Christians in Qusayr could soon affect the 10,000 believers who live in other villages in the area.
The areas controlled by the opposition are witnessing the rise of radical forms of Sunni Islam with the extremists not willing to live in peace with the Christians. Many of these gangs and armed groups operate independently of the Free Syrian Army, which rejects such kinds of discrimination against minorities.
Apart from religious rifts, the violence against the Christian community may also be fueled by the fact that they have openly expressed support to the regime. Bashar Assad, as well as his late father, Hafez Assad, guaranteed secular rule in Syria, protecting Christians from discrimination and guaranteeing their rights.
On Wednesday, an armed group broke into and desecrated the Greek-catholic church of St. Elias in Qusayr.
"It is the first time in the ongoing conflict that such an episode has occurred in which sacred symbols are deliberately hit," a local source told Fides.
Christians make up about 10 per cent of the country’s population with most belonging to the denomination of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.
When Will They Awake From "That Deep Dream Of Peace"
Islamists taking over while Western liberals, led by president, still deep in ideological slumber
In February 2011, a few weeks after Egypt’s uprising erupted, when the Arab Spring was supposedly just around the corner and meant to bring us a new Middle East in the undying spirit of Shimon Peres, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times stood at Tahrir Square and delivered his own, no less immortal vision.
Friedman, whose name is mentioned by Israel’s finest colleagues without forgetting to note that he is “the world’s most important journalist,” examined the Cairo square with his sharp eyes, and found no hint of Islamic inspiration or influence, and certainly no Islamic forces behind the scenes patiently waiting for the reward that Tahrir’s “Facebook kids” will hand over to them.
Is Syria the next Iraq? / Ron Ben-Yishai
Op-ed: Just like Iraq, Syria may split into hostile, autonomous regions in post-Assad era
What he did see using his incredibly developed journalist prowess was genuine de-colonization of Egypt, the rise of progressive democratic forces that will forever change Egypt’s dictatorial face, an Egyptian Pharaoh (Mubarak) removed from power with the vigorous encouragement of President Obama, and an Israeli Pharaoh (Netanyahu) who, being a lowly man, cannot grasp the significance of the regional change. So much for Thomas Friedman’s interpretation.
As we know, much water, and mostly blood, has flowed through the Middle East ever since then. In Tunisia, which was meant to pave the way for positive change, we saw the establishment of an Islamic Brotherhood-led government after the victory of the Ennahda party, which has made the sources of its authority clear to all.
Meanwhile, Libya of the post-Gaddafi lynch mostly makes sure that Gaza’s arms warehouses are well stocked. In Syria, they make sure to meet the daily massacre quota. In Egypt, the Islamic Brotherhood and the Salafis are taking over parliament. The Brotherhood’s Mohammad Morsi is about to succeed the terrible Mubarak who slipped into a coma, while the Tahrir kids bemoan their “stolen revolution.”
Yet in New York, the “world’s most important journalist” still does nothing but write about the march of folly of those who, unlike him, have yet to recognize this great Mideastern era.
Overdose of wishful thinking
Yet Friedman is no more than an example of an allegory for the way many in the West, including its leaders and journalists (led by Obama) formulate their doctrine in line with the ideological color of their worldview, and as result of an overdose of wishful thinking. For them, reality is no more than a burdensome nuisance.
According to this mechanism, the Egyptian people’s deep desire for democracy, equality, civil rights and respect for women and minority rights is attested to by the tens (or hundreds) of thousands of people in Tahrir Square, and not, heaven forbid, by the mood of the more than 80 million citizens of this country.
According to polls undertaken in Egypt in 2008 and in 2010 by Gallup, some 95% of Egyptians want Islam to have greater influence in politics, 64% want Islamic Law to be the basis for legislation, 54% support public segregation of men and women, 82% support stoning as punishment for adultery, and 84% endorse the death penalty for those who shun Islam.
In 1979, in the name of noble human rights ideals, Jimmy Carter abandoned the Persian Shah, paved Khomeini’s way to Tehran, and with his own hands turned Iran from America’s most important ally in the Persian Gulf to an Islamic Ayatollah republic.
In 1991, in the name of lofty democratic ideals, and with the encouragement of the West, Algeria too decided to play the democratic game. The government called elections, the Islamic FIS party won a majority, the election results were dismissed, and the country found itself in a bloodbath that lasted for more than a decade and claimed some 100,000 victims.
In 2006, in the service of these same ideas, the Bush Administration forced Ariel Sharon and the Palestinian Authority to hold democratic elections. The vote indeed took place, Hamas won the jackpot, and we all know Gaza’s history ever since then.
Yet since the outset of 2011, equipped with the same divine ideals of spreading democracy to all, including the Levant, and utilizing an amazing inability to foresee the future, Obama, Friedman and the finest liberal forces in the West continue to joyfully market their goods, while refusing to wake up from the ideological slumber they’ve slipped into many years ago.
BERLIN – Newly released files from Germany’s domestic intelligence agency Verfassungsschutz (BfV) reveal that neo- Nazis worked with the radical Palestinian group Black September in the 1972 Munich terror attack, according to a Der Spiegel magazine story on Sunday.
According to the online report, police in the city of Dortmund sent a notice to the BfV, in which they noted that “Saad Walli, an ‘Arab-looking man’ met conspiratorially with the German neo-Nazi Willi Pohl.”
Saad Walli was the cover name for Abu Daoud, who is widely believed to be the ringleader of the plot that resulted in the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic games. Pohl allegedly bragged to his employer about his contact with the extremist PLO wing.
According to the BfV documents, which Der Spiegel obtained in advance of the 40th anniversary of the murders, there are no indications that the German authorities acted on the information provided to them by the Dortmund police. That helps explain, said Der Spiegel, how the Palestinians prepared the attack in the Federal Republic without being caught.
It is unclear why the German domestic intelligence agency and the state and federal criminal police authorities failed to act on the information from the local Dortmund police officials. Critics have long accused German authorities of a lax enforcement policy toward radical Islamic groups.
In connection with another slated PLO attack in Germany, the PLO’s secret service head – Abu Ijad – assigned Pohl to plan kidnapping operations at the Cologne cathedral and in the city halls of a number of German cities. In late October 1972, the authorities arrested Pohl and an accomplice in Munich, and the police confiscated machine guns, hand grenades and other military equipment. In one suitcase, police found a threatening letter by the Black September group. The letter was directed toward a judge who investigated three PLO terrorists involved in the 1972 attacks.
After the PLO hijacked a Lufthansa plane in 1972, German authorities released the three terrorists. Critics say Germany had failed at the time to clamp down on Palestinian terror activity in Germany. Despite the overwhelming proof of Pohl’s terror activity, Der Spiegel noted that Pohl was given a mild sentence of two years and two months in prison for weapons possession. Four days after the sentence was imposed on Pohl, he fled to Beirut.
Mohammed Morsi Muslim Brotherhood Candidate Wins Egyptian Presidency
Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian Presidential Winner
Muslim Brotherhood Peace and freedom Party Candidate
While the world media breathed a sigh of temporary relief about the results of Greek elections, yesterday with little impact on the crises in the Euro Zone, the EU and world trade, they have yet to focus on the Presidential victory by Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi. His election to Egypt’s Presidency follows the High Court ruling declaring illegal the Parliamentary elections over the period from November 2011 to January 20102 . The Muslim Brotherhood party took nearly half the seats in those parliamentary runoff elections. The Muslim Brotherhood Peace and Freedom Party has protested the court ruling. That supposed ‘soft coup’ by the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) didn’t boost the voter interest in their preferred candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last Prime Minister. Further Christian Copts, a significant minority in Egypt, have good reason to be concerned about a future Egyptian government led by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood with support from fundamentalist Salaist preachers and Qatar-backed tele preacher, the anti-Semitic Yusuf al Qaradawi. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri urged fundamentalist Egyptian Muslims to vote for Morsi. Moreover conservative Egyptian Muslim women came out in droves to cast a ballot for Morsi. Morsi’s election will also throw in doubt the 33 year old cold peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The SCAF might seek to maintain the treaty via veto power over whatever Constitution emerges from a new Parliament. President Obama has cozyed up to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa region as witnessed by attendance of key State Department Muslim Ummah outreach officials and National Security advisors at a recent Saban Center for Middle East Policy US World Islam Forum in Qatar in late May.
The Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi claimed victory earlier today in Egypt's first presidential election following the toppling of Hosni Mubarak's regime last year.
The Islamist group was about to portray itself as a the victim of a military coup following the decision by the Supreme Court to dissolve the Islamist dominated Parliament on the grounds that the electoral law that led to the election of a number of Islamist MPs was unconstitutional. Additionally, Youssef al-Qaradawi, a radical Qatar-based cleric has called on Egyptians to vote for Morsi, suggesting that voting for Shafiq is a ''perjury''. Even al Qaeda leader, Aymann al-Zawahiri, issued a statement urging Egyptians to vote for Morsi.
It also appears that Morsi polled well amongst women. Indeed, female activists were an important component of the Brotherhood's strategy to get the vote out inside a conservative family-oriented society. Female activists were recruited to engage in door-to-door campaigning designed to target women. A similar approach that used by Hamas' in Gaza in 2005. Shafiq, on the other hand, managed to win major touristic governorates in Luxor and the Red Sea, suggesting the sector's fear from the Islamic agenda that could block significant flow of income for the country.
The significance of the election lies in the fact that Egyptians have voted for a president without a constitution or a parliament, following the Supreme Court decision last Thursday to disband the legislature elected last January. Under the new dispensation, the president will hold the executive authority without adequate or appropriate checks and balances in place.
That said, the power of the Muslim Brotherhood may be somewhat checked by undisguised power grab by the "transitional government", headed by military generals the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). SCAF has unilaterally awarded itself new powers, including veto power over the text of a new permanent constitution and the power to decide on all matters relating to its operations. The statement issued by SCAF suggests that it will work to safeguard Egypt's strategic relations with Israel and the US, and ensure that the peace treaty will remain in effect even if the Muslim Brotherhood controls both the legislative and the executive branches of government. In addition, SCAF has announced that no new parliamentary elections will take place until a permanent constitution has been approved. This decision has been greeted with anger and dismay on the Egyptian street with many claiming that this amounts to a military coup.
Given this situation, domestic exhaustion and further tensions should be expected both within Egyptian civil society but also at a political institutional level. Indeed, following the SCAF statement questions remain over whether the armed forces will fall under the ultimate authority of the executive branch and/or whether they will actually obey presidential orders. Civil rights activists claim that SCAFs declaration rendered the scheduled handover of power to a democratically elected executive meaningless.
From a regional context, the events of the last week in Egypt could be read as a proxy war between two Gulf Arab powers: Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The former backs the Muslim Brotherhood through funding, clerical consultations and massive media coordination, while latter has backed SCAF and its favoured candidate Shafiq.
In 2003, Samer worked as a reporter in Baghdad for MSNBC and later as a Foreign Desk Editor for Alaswaq Business Daily in Jordan. He has been published in The Guardian, The Jerusalem Post, The Lebanese Daily Star, The Jordan Times and The Yale Political Journal and has made numerous appearances on BBC World, MSNBC and Al Hurra TV. Libdeh holds an MA in international politics and security studies from Bradford University, as well as a certificate in policy analysis from the State University of New York and a BA in psychology from the University of Jordan.
The story of how the President's grandfather was jailed by British troops in 1949 and brutally whipped for aiding the violent struggle for Kenyan independence is probably untrue, a new book has concluded. It is a harrowing tale of torture in a colonial prison in Kenya that is said to explain the President's coolness towards Britain and even his removal of Winston Churchill's bust from the Oval Office.
David Maraniss, the author of Mr Obama's most comprehensive biography so far, said five associates of Hussein Onyango Obama doubt he was even jailed. One told him: "People make up stories". Mr Onyango, a Muslim convert who worked for the British Army in Burma during the Second World War, was accused of sympathising with the burgeoning pro-independence movement that eventually turned into the Mau Mau rebellion in 1952.
Mr Obama wrote in his memoir, Dreams From My Father, that his grandfather "was placed in a detention camp" after being reported as a subversive "to the white man" by a rival land-owner. After his release, "he was very thin and dirty", he "had difficulty walking, and his head was full of lice," wrote Mr Obama, who was told the story by relatives during his first visit to Kenya in 1988.
Mr Onyango's third wife, Sarah, has claimed that her late husband had his testicles crushed and his nails and buttocks pierced as jailers at Kamiti Prison outside Nairobi sought information on the rebels. Mrs Onyango, who is now 90, said Mr Onyango still bore scars from his treatment when he died in 1979, and that the story tarnished her step-grandson's view of the British. The President "has never believed the British do anything for a common good, rather than their selfish interests," she told an interviewer in 2010. "He said the whole act sounded barbaric. He wondered why the British never respected African culture."
Mr Obama denies this, yet the story has over the past four years been cited as an explanation for his snub of then-prime minister Gordon Brown, his early reluctance to talk about the "special relationship" and his decision to return a bust of Churchill that George W. Bush had displayed in the White House.
Zablon Okatch, who worked with Mr Onyango as a servant for American diplomats after his supposed detention, told Maraniss: "Hussein was never jailed. I know that for a fact. It would have been difficult for him to get a job with a white family, let alone a diplomat, if he once served in jail".
Dick Opar, a former senior Kenyan police official, said he "would have known" if Mr Onyango had been detained. "People make up stories," said Mr Opar. "If you get arrested, you say it was the fight for independence, but they are arrested for another thing".
Even one of Mr Onyango's daughters, Auma Magak, told Maraniss: "He was not detained", suggesting that he had once been kidnapped by thugs and the story had been twisted through the generations.
Maraniss also notes that no records exist of the detention and that within a year of his supposed imprisonment, Mr Onyango's son, Barack Obama senior, was accepted into a prestigious boarding school in western Kenya.
The alleged inaccuracy in Mr Obama's backstory is one of several noted by Maraniss, who also discloses the true identities of several girlfriends that the President compressed into one character in his 1995 memoir.
Shmuel Katz: â€œHearing is Believingâ€� on Israelâ€™s Peace Treaty with Egypt
Israel Egypt Border Fence
Don’t count on the survival of the 33 year old Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt. The likely Presidential victory of Mohammed Morsi , the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in Egypt may not be stopped by the ‘soft coup’ of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in Cairo. Just look at the recent Sinai terrorist attack on the work party building a barrier along Israel’s southern border with Egypt. Three terrorists and one Israeli contractor were killed, while another Israeli was wounded. Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak noted in a Jerusalem Postarticle set against the backdrop of Egypt’s Presidential runoff elections:
We expect the President to take responsibility for all of Egypt's international commitments including the peace treaty with Israel and to ensure security arrangements are in place in the Sinai to stop these kinds of attacks.
There are a lot of Israel’s supporters, myself included, who viewed the Egyptian Peace Treaty, negotiated between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter at Camp David in 1979 as a capitulation of Israel’s strategic depth. The Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai is ill equipped to monitor increasing al Qaeda and Palestinian terrorist activity. If SCAF fails to survive or checkmate a Muslim Brotherhood regime, you can bet on who loses the strategic high ground. Therefore Israel will proceed with completion of the security fence between the two countries.
Shmuel Katz 1914 to 2008
David Isaac of Americans For a Safe Israel reminds us of someone who opposed his friend Israeli PM Menachem Begin’s conclusion of the 1979 Camp David Accords, Shmuel Katz (1914-2008). Katz had been a personal advisor to Begin, but publicly broke with him over the Peace Treaty with Egypt. Katz was in the High Command of the Irgun during the War for Independence and like Begin was a member of the first Knesset. Katz, a South African by origin, came to the pre-State Palestine in the 1930’s, a supporter of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founder of Revisionist Zionism. Jabotinsky urged Katz to go to London in 1940 to edit the Jewish Standard that espoused raising a Jewish army to fight the Nazis. Katz returned to Palestine in 1946 to assume a top role in the Irgun, The Revisionist Zionist militia. Katz had a multifaceted career as a journalist, author, historian, and political activist. Katz was the author of Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, Lone Wolf: A Biography of Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky and The Aaronsohn Saga.
Isaac noted in his blog post, “Hearing is Believing” Katz’s opposition to the 1979 Camp David Accords and relevance today:
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Israelis Cling to Faith in Peace Treaty,” reports that many Israeli officials “are finding solace in the view” that the peace pact with Egypt will hold despite the advent of the Muslim Brotherhood.
This is startling given the September 2011 ransacking of the Israeli embassy by Egyptian rioters, the incessant calls by Brotherhood leaders to liberate the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, and the vaporization of Israel’s natural-gas supply from Egypt.
Shmuel gave up on the Egypt-Israel treaty 35 years ago, right from its inception, and he publicly warned about its dangers throughout the years. A mere three months after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s dramatic visit to Jerusalem, Shmuel wrote:
If there had not in the past three months been other sufficient indications, then Sadat’s angry refusal to make microscopic “concessions” in territory where Egypt has had no sovereignty, which is certainly not “sacred” and which is of no importance to Egyptian security — but which is important for an attack on Israel — are enough to demonstrate that this man does not envisage peace with Israel but (in the words of the Prime Minister) peace without Israel. (“From No-Man’s Land to ‘Sacred Soil,”The Jerusalem Post, Feb. 28, 1978):
It seems Israeli officialdom is still playing catch-up. Why was Shmuel able to see the treaty for what it was while so many Israelis were not? Was he like a prophet of old, divinely gifted with second sight?
Shmuel would have been amused. The only difference between Shmuel and so many Israelis is that, unlike them, he didn’t replace thinking with wishful thinking. And, he listened. As Shmuel said in an episode of “Firing Line” (April 1, 1979):
I don’t think that the question is primarily one of an article in an agreement. I am looking at what is being said in the periphery of the agreement by Egyptian spokesmen. … Now as far as the intentions of Sadat are concerned, I believe what he says. You can’t ignore the fact that when you’ve had a peace process or negotiations going on for a whole year, that just as you’re about to sign the treaty, one side says, “I’m not signing unless I am given the right to go to war,” and then say you don’t take it seriously.
Representing the other side in this “Firing Line” debate was Prof. Shlomo Avineri of Hebrew University, who dismissed Shmuel’s example of what Egyptian spokesmen were saying as mere “rhetoric.”
Paying no mind to what the Arabs say continues today. Indeed, it’s necessary if the fiction of a peace treaty is to be maintained. The Wall Street Journal article mentioned above quotes Giora Eiland, a former Israeli national-security adviser, as saying, “I don’t think we should see a dramatic change in the strategic policy of Egypt in the future no matter who is elected and no matter how blunt the statements by this future president might be.” Not only is Mr. Eiland discounting past statements, he’s conveniently brushing off future ones as well.
Sadat not only ensured for his nation the removal of Israel’s effective security belt — down to the last grain of sand and the last Jew — which would protect it in a future war, but, despite Begin’s protestations, he also in fact achieved (by the addendum to Clause Six of the Peace Treaty) adequate formal legitimization for joining a future all-Arab war against Israel, under whatever pretext may then be available to Egypt.
That war has yet to come. But Shmuel never pretended to know when. He just knew it would come.