Good News, Israel

Compliments of Anglo Raanana Real Estate

Believe It Or Not for the Week

    Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, 63% more than the U.S. It also has the most physicians and engineers per capita.

* Scotland has Nessy, a messy monster, the US has Yeti or Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman, a hairy fellow, Australia has the Great White, that got a really bum rap from Steven Spielberg and we have the most beautiful of all, an [as yet] unnamed mermaid and she [or it, depending on how much of a skeptic you are] is back in the news, this time courtesy of an NBC TV news feature team which arrived in Bat Yam, just down the road from Tel Aviv and started filming in the hope of getting something on record. A few nights went by…nothing and then…a sighting. The show’s researchers dived after the figure but were unable to trace her. A fishy story? Apparently not. The show’s findings, along with the footage shot by several bystanders, were transferred to the Center for Coastal Ocean Research in Los Angeles. The Center director’s verdict after examining the evidence? Not quite proven that the figure in the footage was indeed the creature called a ‘mermaid’ but, and this is a scientist talking remember, it still remained a viable option. So there we have it folks, a mermaid and she’s all our own.

* Bezeq, arguably Israel’s leading, and at one time, only, telecommunications Company, recently privatized, had revenue of NIS 2.915 billion in the first quarter of 2010, a rise of 4.4% over the corresponding quarter of 2009. Net profit was up 5.4% to NIS 642 million. It’s amazing what a little competition can do.

* The Israeli Pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai is up and running and swamped by visitors, according to all reports, who have come to see what’s new in Israeli technology. Our people say that the Chinese are fascinated by anything Israeli and the proof of that pudding is in the long lines waiting to get in to see what Israel has to offer and to learn about the country generally. Minister of Welfare and Social Services Isaac Herzog spoke at Beijing University and was accorded a warm reception. There was an expression sometime back; ‘Go west, young man’ Perhaps Israelis should change geographical direction and go east.

* A call by the EU Progam for Research and Development for projects in software, hardware and communications has resulted in 34 joint efforts by Israeli and European companies, with an aggregate budget of €17 million. The latest grants boost the total amount awarded to Israeli companies under the EU7 to date to €290 million, a lot of money but also an indicator of Israel’s leading role in the field and the dynamic cooperation between us and the EU

* Israel took one step closer ? or seven steps to be exact ? toward becoming a rugby power yesterday as the International Rugby Board announced that the national team had leaped seven places in the world rankings following its 19-17 victory last week over Luxembourg [for the first time in four outings] in the European Nations Cup. The victory in Luxembourg was Israel’s 10th straight, solidifying its place atop Division 3C . Rugby? Israel? Who would have thought?

* Israel’s job market continues to improve. The number of available jobs in the business sector on an average daily basis totaled 56,500 in the first quarter of 2010, well up on 2009 and 67% more than Q1 ‘08. These figures were published this week by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor’s Research and Economics Administration. Yet another indicator of a strong and growing economy.

* Bleeding in the colon is not GN. When we don’t know what causes it then the news becomes even worse, that is until Given Imaging and its PillCam, a tiny camera that is swallowed and takes pictures of the digestive tract, came along. That was all some time ago and now the good news gets even better with the advent, announced Tuesday, of PillCam Express. PE, as the name indicates speeds up the whole process, but not only that, it makes swallowing and eliminating the device very much easier. There we are, another day, another improvement to make life easier even under trying circumstances.

* Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world’s biggest manufacturer of generic drugs, yesterday filed its financial statement for the first quarter of 2010, in which it met both its expectations and its guidance. Israel’s largest company reported a 16% year-over-year increase in revenues to $3.65 billion with operating profits touching $1bn. Sales of the Company’s proprietary [as distinct from generic] drug, Copaxone for the treatment of MS are constantly creating new records and were up 28% to $800m. We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again; one look at Teva’s results will make you realize that generic drugs are really good for the Company but they make treatment more affordable without sacrificing efficacy and that’s GN all round.

* The Tzafit power plant near Gedera began generating electricity on Tuesday while powered by natural gas. The Israel Natural Gas Pipelines Company and Israel Electric Corporation recently completed the process of connecting the plant to the main natural gas pipeline. Tzafit, which will provide an output of 250 megawatts, joins the four other power plants that already operate without CO2 emissions. Wind, gas and sun replacing the yucky stuff like coal and oil? Sounds good to us.

* Talk-show and lifestyle guru Oprah Winfrey made the share price of Israeli company UltraShape, which developed a device that dissolves fat, skyrocket [by 63%]. In an article published on the website of Oprah’s magazine on April 19, the company’s [UltraShape’s not Oprah’s] technology is hailed as one of the most promising innovations in the cosmetics world. Many dermatologists and plastic surgeons are confident that in the coming years they’ll be able to eliminate unwanted fat painlessly, without the invasiveness and risks of liposuction. The article explained that the technology leads to the safe removal of fat cells, which are destroyed by ultrasound and eliminated from the body as waste. Can Oprah really do all that?

* Norwegian investors, who reportedly have $600 million in assets, are seeking industrial, real estate, and agricultural technology investment opportunities in Israel, and have set aside $60 million for this purpose. Oh the irony of it. Norway leads the charge for disinvestment and now this. Well, it all ultimately makes for GN.

* Dudi Sela won the Rhodes Challenger tennis tournament last week by defeating Rainer Schuettler of Germany 6-3, 7-6. Sela’s take-home prize was 4,300 euros – plus he gained 80 points in the ATP ratings. With this victory the Israeli player avenged his recent loss to the German in the semifinals in Athens. Dudi returned to home base as the #1 seed in the Israel Open in Ramat Hasharon, which began this week. Meanwhile Shahar Pe’er has been stopped in the third round of the $2m Italian Open in Rome by her Nemesis, Venus Williams [look, if you’re going to have a Nemesis you may as well pick one as good as Venus], but by all accounts Shahar is playing extremely good tennis and beating the best including four players in the top ten.

May 7, 2010 | Comments »

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