Saturday, July 29, 2017

Are the Lebanese descended from the ancient Canaanites?

There is a story in the Bible that tells of God’s call for the annihilation of the Canaanites, a people who lived in the area that is now Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian territories thousands of years ago. “You shall not leave alive anything that breathes,” God said in the passage. “But you shall utterly destroy them.” But a genetic analysis has found that the ancient population survived that divine call for their extinction, and their descendants live in modern Lebanon. “We can see the present-day Lebanese can trace most of their ancestry to the Canaanites or a genetically equivalent population,” said Chris Tyler-Smith, a geneticist with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute who is an author of the paper. “They derive just over 90% of their ancestry from the Canaanites.” Tyler-Smith and an international team of geneticists and archaeologists recovered ancient DNA from bones belonging to five Canaanites retrieved from an excavation site in Sidon, Lebanon, that were 3,650 to 3,750 years old. The team then compared the ancient DNA with the genomes of 99 living people from Lebanon that the group had sequenced. It found that the modern Lebanese people shared about 93% of their ancestry with the Bronze Age Sidon samples. “The conclusion is clear,” said Iosif Lazaridis, a geneticist at Harvard who was not involved in the study. “Based on this study it turns out that people who lived in Lebanon almost 4,000 years ago were quite similar to people who lived there today, to the modern Lebanese.” Marc Haber, a postdoctoral fellow at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in England and lead author on the study, said that compared with other Bronze Age civilizations, not much is known about the Canaanites. “We know about ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks, but we know very little about the ancient Canaanites because their records didn’t survive,” he said. Their writings may have been kept on papyrus, which did not stand the test of time as clay did. What is known about the Canaanites is that they lived and traded along the eastern coast of the present-day Mediterranean, a region that was known as the Levant. “What we see is that since the Bronze Age, this ancestry, or the genetics of the people there, didn’t change much,” Haber said. “It changed a little, but it didn’t change much and that is what surprised me.” He said researchers thought that migrations, conquests and the intermixing of Eurasian people — like the Assyrians, Persians or Macedonians — with the Canaanites 3,800 to 2,200 years ago might have contributed to the slight genetic changes seen in modern Lebanese populations. Still, the Lebanese retain most of their ancestral DNA from the Canaanites.

African-American patients have increased gene mutations in tobacco-related tumors, study finds

African-Americans typically have worse outcomes from smoking-related cancers than whites. Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found that African-Americans have an increased mutation rate in several genes, including the best known in tobacco-related tumors, TP53. "We know TP53 mutation happens in 55% of all cancer patients," said the study's lead author, Wei Zhang, Ph.D., Hanes and Willis Family Professor in Cancer at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist. "In our study, we found that the African-American population had close to a 70% mutation rate. This data suggests that increases in TP53 mutation in African-Americans may be responsible for the observed resistance to chemotherapy and a poorer prognosis overall." The scientists found a significantly increased mutation rate in the TP53 gene in the African-American groups studied. The researchers also found that a number of genes - including those that repair DNA damage and remodel chromatin - mutated at higher frequencies in the African-American cancer patients.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Barbaric Muslims: Some 20 people from Multan, Pakistan, have been arrested for ordering the rape of a teenage girl, in revenge for a rape her brother allegedly committed

Police said that the families of the two girls are related. Members of both had joined forces to decide what should be done. "A jirga [village council] had ordered the rape of a 16-year-old girl as punishment, as her brother had raped a 12-year-old," police official Allah Baksh said. He said that the village council was approached recently by a man who said that his 12-year-old sister had been raped by their cousin. The council then ordered the complainant to rape the sister of the accused in return - which police say he did. The girl was forced to appear before the group and raped in front of them and her parents. The mothers of the two girls later filed complaints at the local police station. Medical examinations have confirmed rape in both cases. Another officer, Ahsan Younas, said that the first girl to be raped was aged between 12 and 14. The victim of the revenge rape is said to be 16 or 17. He said that police had registered a complaint against 25 people, and that the suspect accused of raping the 12-year-old was still at large.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Jewish Privilege: New legislation in Congress would criminalize support for the international boycott against Israel

A group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison. The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23, 2017. The bill was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year. The bill’s co-sponsors include the senior Democrat in Washington, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, and several of the Senate’s more liberal members, such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Maria Cantwell of Washington.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Studies show that 16%–37% of white Americans admit moderate to strong disapproval of close relatives engaging in interracial romances with blacks

Historically, white Americans have been least accepting of interracial romances between whites and blacks, and this tendency continues to emerge in contemporary public opinion polls. Given societal norms prohibiting the expression of racial prejudice, there is good reason to believe that rates of disapproval are underestimated. Evidence suggests that whites' implicit racial attitudes tend to be considerably more biased than their explicit racial attitudes. Whites tend to be less accepting of interracial romance for themselves than for others. Qualitative analysis of attitudes toward interracial romance shows that although most whites report explicit approval of interracial romance, they go on to explain why they would avoid it for themselves. Recent findings from a large demographically representative survey of Americans indicated that 38% of whites were unwilling to engage in any type of romantic relationship with a black person. Moreover, data from actual online dating profiles in the United States showed that over 50% of white profile owners were unwilling to date blacks.

Friday, July 21, 2017

A black thug has been convicted of punching and kicking his five-year-old stepson to death for losing his shoe - despite the little boy pleading: "I'm sorry"

Marvyn Iheanacho, 39, faces life behind bars after he was found guilty of murdering Alex Malcolm in a fit of rage in a south-east London park. Witnesses to the brutal attack described hearing a child's fearful voice saying "sorry", loud banging and a man screaming about the loss of a shoe. Alex died in hospital two days later after suffering fatal head and stomach injuries, with a postmortem showing he sustained nearly two dozen bruises.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A black woman who'd been married for just four months before her husband died has been found guilty of his murder, and she could get life in prison without parole for her crime

Uloma Curry-Walker, 45, was convicted of aggravated murder, conspiracy, and other charges surrounding the 2013 death of firefighter William Walker, with prosecutors painting her during the trial as having fallen into financial straits and approaching her 17-year-old daughter and daughter's boyfriend with a deadly plan: Find someone to take out her husband, William Walker, so she could collect his life insurance money, which was contained in a $100,000 policy. Curry-Walker handed over a $1,000 down payment to her daughter's boyfriend, Chad Padgett, to find a hitman, which precipitated a chain of events leading to her husband's slaying. But what William Walker's death didn't bring to his widow was the life insurance money, as he had never named his wife as the beneficiary after they married. Who did get the money: his ex-wife, who was still named as the beneficiary on the plan. Padgett, Curry-Walker's daughter, and two men who tried to kill William Walker (one of them was the successful hitman) took plea deals in exchange for testimony against Curry-Walker, who had said in her initial confession that her husband had abused her. Her daughter, the only one involved who won't go to jail (she'll spend a month in a juvenile detention center), said during the trial that her mother had informed her: "No one would believe I would hire a bunch of kids to kill someone when I know people that could."

Caracas, Venezuela, has the unwanted distinction of being the most dangerous city in the world in a new survey

The report takes a look at global homicide rates and finds that the city's mix of gang warfare and political unrest puts it at the top of the list. Here are the 10 worst:
1. Caracas, Venezuela; homicides per 100,000: 130.35
2. Acapulco, Mexico; 113.24
3. San Pedro Sula, Honduras; 112.09
4. Distrito Central, Honduras; 85.09
5. Victoria, Mexico; 84.67
6. Maturín, Venezuela; 84.21
7. San Salvador, El Salvador; 83.39
8. Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela; 82.84
9. Valencia, Venezuela; 72.02
10. Natal, Brazil; 69.56
The most dangerous city in the United States is St. Louis, at No. 14.

Friday, July 14, 2017

An Iraqi woman has appeared in court in Ireland charged with the murder of her three-year-old son at their Dublin home

The body of Omar Omran was found at an apartment in the Riverside complex, Kimmage. He had been stabbed to death. His mother Maha Al Adheem, a doctor who is originally from Iraq, appeared at Dublin District Court. The 42 year old has been remanded in custody. During the hearing, a detective sergeant gave evidence of the arrest. He said that about 45 minutes after she was charged, Maha Al Adheem said: "Yes it was my knife. Yes it was my hand. It was not me. It was the power."

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Black homeowners did poorly during the Obama presidency

The nation's homeownership rate appears to be stabilizing as people rebound from the 2007 recession that left millions unemployed and home values underwater, but a new report finds that African-Americans aren't sharing in the recovery. The report by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies said that the disparity between whites and blacks is at its highest in 70-plus years of data. By 2016, the African-American homeowner rate had fallen to 42.2% and lagged 29.7 percentage points behind whites, nearly a percentage point higher than in 2015. In 2004, the pinnacle of US homeownership, three-quarters of whites and nearly half of blacks owned homes, according to the Harvard study. An analysis of Census Bureau statistics shows that some pockets of the Midwest and California had the lowest homeownership rates for African-Americans, while some areas of the South had the highest.

“Finis Germania”

The late German historian Rolf Peter Sieferle has upset his more politically correct countrymen with his posthumous collection of observations on Germany’s political culture. He has even taken on the sacred cows of the Holocaust and mass immigration. Sieferle is critical of Germany’s postwar culture of Holocaust memory, which he argues has taken on the traits of a religion. The country’s sins are held to be unique and absolute, beyond either redemption or comparison. “The First Commandment,” he writes, “is ‘Thou shalt have no Holocausts before me.’ ” Hitler, in retrospect, turns out to have done a paradoxical thing: He bound Germans and Jews together in a narrative for all time. In an otherwise relativistic and disenchanted world, Sieferle writes, Germans appear in this narrative as the absolute enemies of our common humanity, as a scapegoat people. The role is hereditary. There are Germans whose grandparents were not born when the war ended, yet they, too, must take on the role. On the issue of mass immigration he believed that Germany’s self-demonization had left it unable to say anything but yes to a million or so migrants seeking entry to Europe in 2015 and that such a welcome was unsustainable.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Muslim groups in Malaysia and Indonesia have called for a boycott of Starbucks because of the coffee chain's support for LGBT rights

Malaysian group Perkasa, which supports a hard-line form of Islam and nationalism, has called on its more than 500,000 members to stay away from Starbucks coffee shops. Recently, leaders of Indonesia's second largest mainstream Muslim group, Muhammadiyah, with an estimated 29 million members, denounced the chain. The groups were apparently reacting to comments made several years ago by former CEO Howard Schultz in support of gay rights that drew renewed attention amid an increasingly anti-LGBT climate in both of the predominantly Muslim countries. At a 2013 shareholders meeting, Schultz responded to a shareholder who thought the coffeemaker's support for gay marriage hurt the bottom line: "Not every decision is an economic decision," Schultz said. "The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people.” Perkasa said in a statement that the Malaysian government should revoke the trading license given to Starbucks and other companies such as Microsoft and Apple that support LGBT rights and same-sex marriage. Amini Amir Abdullah, who heads Perkasa's Islamic affairs bureau, said that Muslims should stay away from Starbucks because its pro-gay rights policy is against Islam and Malaysia's constitution. Sodomy is illegal in Malaysia and punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, but a case before the Constitutional Court is seeking to criminalize gay sex and sex outside of marriage.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Arthritis causes pain and suffering for millions of people around the world, but it's also the byproduct of an evolutionary mutation that allowed our ancestors to make the move from Africa to colder climates tens of thousands of years ago

Researchers at Stanford University have discovered that a genetic variation made humans shorter and more compact as a means of protecting them against frostbite in the colder temperatures of northern climates. In addition, their limbs got shorter, making them less vulnerable to breaking as a result of falls. The downside of this evolutionary adaptation was an increase in the likelihood of osteoarthritis. The Stanford study shows how a variation in the GDF5 gene became more prevalent in humans moving out of Africa into colder climates 50,000 to 100,000 years ago. This variation doubles the chances of developing painful joint problems while also reducing height by about 0.4 inches on average. And since arthritis generally doesn't develop until after the age of reproduction, the gene mutation was passed on from generation to generation. The Stanford researchers discovered that the genetic variation causing this increase in arthritis is common among Europeans but very rare in African populations.

Monday, July 3, 2017

White and black children in the United States did not benefit equally from a recent reduction in infant mortality, according to new research

From 2005 to 2015, the mortality rate among white infants declined from 5.7 deaths per 1,000 births to 4.8 per 1,000 births. Among black infants, the death rate declined from 14.3 per 1,000 births in 2005 to 11.6 per 1,000 in 2012, where it plateaued before going back up to 11.7 per 1,000 births in 2015. For every thousand births, there were 8.6 more infant deaths among blacks than among whites in 2005. The difference fell to 6.6 extra deaths in black infants in 2012 but rose again to 6.9 extra deaths in 2015.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Up to three quarters of Germany’s refugees will still be unemployed in five years’ time, according to a government minister, in a stark admission of the challenges the country faces in integrating its huge migrant population

Aydan Özoğuz, commissioner for immigration, refugees and integration, said that only a quarter to a third of the newcomers would enter the labor market over the next five years, and “for many others we will need up to 10”. The admission could prove awkward for Angela Merkel as she seeks a fourth term as chancellor in Bundestag elections in September 2017. Merkel saw her poll ratings plummet in 2015 when she responded to Europe’s gathering refugee crisis by throwing open Germany’s borders. The migrant issue no longer dominates the country’s nightly news bulletins, but pollsters say that the question of how it will absorb the 1.3 million migrants who have arrived here since the start of 2015 is still one of voters’ key concerns. Initially, the influx of so many working-age, highly-motivated immigrants spurred optimism that they would mitigate Germany’s acute skills shortage and solve the demographic crisis posed by its dangerously low birth rate. Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of carmaker Daimler, said that the refugees could lay the foundation for the “next German economic miracle”. But those hopes have faded as a new realism about the migrants’ lack of qualifications and language skills sinks in. “There has been a shift in perceptions,” Özoğuz said. Many of the first Syrian refugees to arrive in Germany were doctors and engineers, but they were succeeded by “many, many more who lacked skills”.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Experts have long known that African American men are more likely to die from prostate cancer, but a new study may have found the reason why

Previous research has shown that black men are 74% more likely to get the disease than white men and are twice as likely to die from it. Now a new study suggests African-American males have a certain genetic makeup that makes prostate tumors more aggressive and resistant to drug treatments. Researchers believe this difference may contribute to the large mortality disparity between black and white men when it comes to the cancer. The study was done by researchers at the George Washington University (GW) Cancer Center in Washington DC. Experts found that genetic variation, called differential RNA splicing, could play a role in tumor aggressiveness and treatability of African-American men. The study reported that the splicing led molecules to contain different combinations of cell proteins, which eventually made tumors more aggressive. When exposed to prostate cancer treatments, due to the genetic variation of these proteins, the drug was ineffective and was also resisted by the body. Principal researcher Dr Norman Lee said: "We found that the protein isoforms expressed in African Americans with prostate cancer do not always respond to targeted therapies. Whereas these drugs were found to be effective in European Americans with prostate cancer and do end up killing off the cancer. This is a mechanism for drug resistance."