Good News, Israel

Compliments of Anglo Saxon Raannana Real Estate

Quote for the Week

    “And while the mavens at the Treasury were talking growth of 1% this year they’re now predicting nearer to 4% [we’re saying 4.7% and please remember where you first heard it].”

(GN ISRAEL 06 08 10. Yes dear readers that’s us quoting ourselves which modesty usually forbids us to do but this one was too good to miss [see opening item below])

· Well 4.7% it is [see Quote for the Week above] That’s how much Israel’s GDP grew on an annualized basis in the second quarter of 2010, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported today [and bravo for them we’re their greatest fans]. And despite the crisis all over the world, it just keeps on growing. Now, we aren’t going to bore you with a lot of numbers so sit back and take our word for the following:

    ü The Bank of Israel’s Composite State of the Economy Index rose in July following gains in previous months

    ü Manufacturing production was up all round

    ü Hi-tech was up more than medium and low tech

    ü The Balance of payments deficit was down

    ü There was a significant rise in investments in fixed assets like real estate.

    ü The inflation rate was way below the Treasury’s forecast

So the Economy had its ups and downs but all the ups were in the right places and so were the downs. We’ve just joined the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] and our growth is ahead of all the members including the US, the UK, France and a whole host of others, except Germany. How did we manage we ask ourselves? And the answer we think is that there is no messing about, all the right people did the right things at the right time. Tight fiscal control, often at the risk of political popularity, by the treasury, the correct monetary decisions by the Bank of Israel [BOI] led its Governor, the indefatigable Prof Fisher, the commercial banks not bowing to the temptation to hand out ‘easy’ credit and a magnificent team effort from all the guys out there, beavering away sans limelight at keeping the Economic wheels spinning. A small miracle? Yes, but then again this is the land of small miracles – and big ones too.

· Elon Lindenstrauss is a top mathematician, really top, who feels perfectly at home in the rarified atmosphere of the abstract while not being all that relaxed in front of journalists and cameras. But that was his lot today [Thursday] when he was awarded the prestigious Field’s Medal, dubbed “mathematics’ Nobel Prize,” given once every four years. Lindenstrauss (40), born in Israel and a Jerusalem resident, is a graduate of the Air Force’s elite Talpiot program, holds the rank of major (res.) and was even awarded the highly-regarded Israel Defense Prize. He has a math and physics undergraduate degree and a masters and doctorate in mathematics from the Hebrew University, a mathematician with a Made in Israel label attached. The good prof. is no stranger to the world of prizes and awards having won a number of them including the European Mathematical Union prize and the Fermat Prize for Mathematics of the Toulouse Mathematics Institute. A star in the mathematical firmament

* “The soft palate is controlled by cranial nerves which are “always very well conserved following severe injury,” according to Noam Sobel, one of the lead researchers in the development of an astounding product that we’re going to tell you about. Sobel and others developed a way to convert sniffs, yes like the thing you do when you’ve got a cold, into electrical signals. Able-bodied folk who tested the device, that sits at the opening of the nostrils and is connected to a small pressure sensor, quickly learned to play computer games and write sentences simply by sniffing. Next came the people who really need it, quadriplegics [paralyzed from the neck down] and “locked-in” individuals — people who are paralyzed by injuries or strokes but whose mental faculties remain intact -. They performed, well small miracles, they typed, moved the cursor on the computer, surfed the internet, copied and pasted words into a search engine you know all the things we take for granted but which they haven’t been able to do for years. Sobel with the typical understatement of a scientist said “We had one patient who couldn’t even communicate by blinking and now she sends us emails by sniffing. That’s pretty moving,” The researchers then pushed the envelope and devised a program to drive an electric wheelchair by sniffs. A 30-year-old man who had been paralyzed from the neck down for six years sniff-drove – see it’s even got a name, sniff-driving, logical enough – a wheelchair through a maze and was as good a sniff-driver as the healthy participants by his second attempt. Amazing! And the best news is that once it’s on the market it will be really cheap.

* Mention pole vaulting to an Israeli and he will say Alex Averbuch to you and with good reason. Alex an immigrant from the FSU is an outstanding sportsman with medals galore to prove it and a very fine human being who made a singular contribution to Israeli athletics. One of Israel’s most recent immigrant athletes has now brought great honor to the country with a silver medal at the Diamond League Grand Prix in London. U.S.-born Jillian Schwartz competes at pole-vaulting and looks to fill the vacuum that Alex left when he retired recently. Jillian said that she has a good chance of joining the list of top 10 pole vaulters of 2010. We’ll be watching with interest.

* Romanian officials say a team of ten Israeli doctors, burns specialists, have arrived in Romania to treat seven premature babies who are in critical condition after a fire in an intensive care unit in a Bucharest hospital. A Romanian health official says the Israeli doctors arrived Wednesday at the Grigore Alexandrescu children’s hospital and immediately got to work. Once again Israelis at the humanitarian forefront of wherever they’re needed most.

* IBM Corporation recently acquired Israeli data storage company Storwize Inc. for $140 million. Investors who had made the wise choice of putting their money in Storwize got an average three-fold return on investment. Lucky them.

* Our Prime Minister has achieved a great deal in his time starting with participation in the daring operation to release the Sabena airplane from its hijackers, getting a Master’s degree from MIT, serving as Israel’s ambassador to the UN, being arguably the best finance minister that we’ve ever had and this week he made history as the first Israeli Prime Minister to pay an official visit to Greece, returning Mr Papandreou’s jaunt to Israel last month. They discussed wide ranging topics of mutual interest and it seems the Greeks could become our best friends in the region. As for the Turks well everybody predicted that the flotilla incident would affect trade between us and so it did; Israeli exports to Turkey were 8.5% higher in July the second full month since the incident, than in June, so it would seem that our next door neighbors, well almost, are in no hurry to boycott Israel. All to the good.

* While the men try hard to grab the limelight it’s the ladies who do the scintillating, at basketball at any rate [and a lot of other things too we would imagine]. They played and beat Latvia a team that had a place in the Beijing Olympics in an away game on Tuesday. We watched while the blues and whites, playing disciplined and skillful hoops scored a well earned 71-66 victory to take them to the top of Group B.

August 22, 2010 | Comments »

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