Newsletter : 6fax1004.txt
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Israeli Researchers Find Gene to Help Treat AMD
Israeli researchers have identified a human gene that may be used in treating
age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that reduces and then destroys the
ability to see. Researchers at Israeli company Quark Biotech Inc. spent eight years
researching the disease before identifying gene RTP-801. According to Israel21c, Pfizer
U.S. pharmaceutical company has licensed the gene and cut a deal with Quark that may be
worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Fatah, Hamas Prepare for War with Israel
Hamas has smuggled up to 1,300 tons of weapons from Egypt into Gaza and is preparing
for the option of launching a large-scale conflict with Israel. So states a Fatah report
quoted by WorldNetDaily.
The weapons, WND reports, include between several hundred and 1,300 tons of advanced
rockets; anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles; rocket propelled grenades; raw explosives;
rifles; ammunition; and other heavy weaponry.
Israel has long complained that the arrangements at the Egypt-Gaza border crossing are
not satisfactory, and that the European monitors are ineffectual in stopping the
smuggling. Then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed to the deal last November, after U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice arrived in the region and gave her stamp of
WND's Aaron Klein quotes Abu Ahmed, leader of the northern Gaza chapter of
the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, as saying the terrorists are working towards,
and succeeding in, turning Gaza into a Hizbullah-like threat against Israel.
"We learned from Hizbullah's victory that Israel can be defeated if we know
how to hit them and if we are well prepared," Abu Ahmed said. "We are
importing rockets and the knowledge to launch them and we are also making
many plans for battle."
WND also quotes another terrorist leader - Abu Abdullah, reported to be a top member of
the Izaddin Al-Kassam Brigades of Hamas - detailing the preparations for war against
"In the last 15 months," Abu Adullah said," though the fighters of Hamas kept the
ceasefire, we did not stop making important advancements and professional training on the
military level. In the future, after Hamas is obliged to stop the ceasefire, the world
shall see our new military capabilities." He said that Hamas and Hizbullah, which has
cells in Sinai, are cooperating in importing rockets and guerilla training.
Palestinian Fatah Faction Threatens to Kill Leaders of Hamas
By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem) & IsraelNationalNews.com
Tensions are running high in the Gaza Strip, where fighting between rival Palestinian
factions has left 12 people dead since Sunday. It is part of an escalating power struggle
between the ruling Islamic terrorist group Hamas and the more moderate Fatah terrorist
Palestinian gunmen from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of Fatah, have
issued a leaflet threatening to kill the top leaders of Hamas. The hit list includes
Khaled Mashaal, the top leader of Hamas based in Syria, and two senior interior ministry
officials in Gaza.
The leaflet described these leaders as traitors and accused them of inciting a deadly
wave of violence in Gaza.
A spokesman for the Damascus headquarters of Hamas terror chief Khaled Mashaal said
Tuesday night he doubted reports that Fatah-linked terrorists had threatened to kill Hamas
Mohammed Nazzal told the Iranian news agency IRNI, "I believe these messages are fake.
It is obvious that there are forces interested in injuring Palestinian unity and spurring
The State Department has designated Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade as terrorist
Clalit Health Services Lures Teens with Online Sex Site
Clalit Health Services has found a new way to reach adolescents: an Internet sex site.
The site, called "Clalit 20 plus," includes a forum with questions about sex, chats with a
sexologist, a guide to sex toys and explanations about how to achieve female orgasm. A
warning posted at the entrance to the site says that content is intended for surfers 16
The site is branded with the colors of the logo for Clalit Health Services, and the
logo itself appears on many of the pages. The URL for this site has been transmitted
virally among the e-mail accounts of many teenagers in the past few weeks. So far the HMO
has refrained from advertising it in newspapers or on radio.
The term "viral advertising" refers to a marketing strategy in which an online message
is created that is interesting and entertaining enough to prompt recipients to pass it on
to others. In this manner, a brand - in this case Clalit Health Services - manages to
spread awareness of its product or service across the Web like a virus, at low advertising
By means of this new site, which deals with topics that usually come under censorship,
Clalit can talk to teenagers in their own language without fear of of being censored by
regulations that apply to advertisements on television and radio? Clalit stands to profit
from roping in teenagers and making them members later on.
The viral advertising method by commercial enterprises that are looking to appeal to
teens is more effective in certain areas (mostly related to humor or sex) than routine
advertising, which usually hits cynical defensive walls of consumers sated with routine
Israeli Company Brings Out the Celebrity in You
An addictive new face recognition technology that twins you with your celebrity
doppelganger is now taking the web by storm.
Developed by Israeli company, MyHeritage, the site enables users to send in a
photograph of themselves, family or friends, and seconds later receive up to 10 pictures
of their celebrity look-alikes.
The celebrities include anything from Hollywood A-list actors like Angelina Jolie or
Brad Pitt, to athletes, politicians, scientists and even long-forgotten historical
MyHeritage has 2.38 million subscribers, a figure that its founder and CEO, Gilad
Japhet estimates will be around 2.5 million as this article reaches the press. Around
100,000 photos are uploaded to the site every day, and MyHeritage has become the 19th most
talked about company on Internet blogs, beating Internet giants like ICQ, which only
appears in the 82nd slot.
So what is it about this free celebrity service that so appeals to the Internet
community? "It hit a nerve," says Japhet who personally selected the 3,200 celebrities who
appear on the site. "We live in a celebrity culture. People are obsessed with celebrity;
it answers a basic human need. They also love to feel good about themselves, and this site
allows them to do this."
In fact, the celebrity search is just one amusing feature on what is actually quite a
serious site. MyHeritage was designed as a genealogy tool to help users research and build
their own interactive family trees, and to create a new social network for families," he
"We are bringing back the missing social unit on the Internet - the family," says
Japhet. "On the Internet today there are sites to help you keep in touch with friends, and
sites to help you stay in touch with business colleagues, but keeping in touch with the
family isn't done very well. We have pinpointed that niche and are building on it."
Interest in genealogy has leapt over the last 10 years as the Internet has made
researching family history easier than ever before. MyHeritage hopes to build on this
interest with three new products that were launched in beta in mid July.
The first of these, Family Tree Builder, allows users to build and synchronize their
family trees. Users can post photographs on the free site, and add comments about the
pictures. Unlike existing genealogy software, this is an interactive Internet-based
program. Family members are invited to visit the site and add their own comments, or post
their own photos.
"This has appealed to both professionals and amateurs," says Japhet. "It's alive and
easy to share with your family."
Family Pages, the next in MyHeritage's product line, is a family-based social network
that allows users to create a community site for their relatives. Individuals invite
family members to join, and all members can share photos, comments, news, recipes, stories
and family trees. "This is a place for the family to meet on the Internet," says Japhet.
"It's a very rich experience."
The program also automatically lists birthdays and other anniversaries, and can send
out reminders so that you don't forget important family occasions. "This bridges the gap
that modern life has brought into the family," says Japhet. "Families once lived in
villages and saw each other on a daily basis. Now they are dispersed and it's hard to keep
Since the technology is still only at beta stage, capacity is limited. Those who want
to open a family site must currently request an invitation from MyHeritage to do so. There
are currently about 3,000 users, and Japhet says feedback has been excellent. "The service
is growing very nicely."
The company also plans additional features including a program that will allow family
members to share their medical history. Users can find if they are at risk from any
genetic disorders, or keep track of blood groups, in case anyone in the family needs a
blood transfusion. "Proper sharing of information can save lives," says Japhet.
Family Pages is free, but if a family needs extra storage space or additional features,
different versions can be purchased for anything from $30 to $150.
Both Family Tree Builder and Family Pages include face recognition technology. This has
many benefits, and helps users identify which side of the family long lost relatives hail
from, and can even identify who the newest baby in the family actually resembles - mom or
dad, or maybe great aunt Doris.
The last in the company's product line is MyHeritage Research, a search engine that
allows users to conduct genealogy searches simultaneously inside hundreds of databases on
Combined results are received in real-time. This is a major time-saver, as anyone who
has ever tried to find distant relatives on the Internet will know. Searching databases is
not only highly complicated, but extremely time-consuming as well. Normal search engines
simply cannot do it. The technology is similar to that used for shopping comparison sites,
but was developed specifically for genealogy, handling specific genealogy traits like
phonetic spelling variations.
The service has already been used by tens of thousands of people.
Japhet came up with the idea of MyHeritage because of his own interest in genealogy. At
the age of 13 he took part in a school project to build his family tree. He began talking
to his grandparents and listening to their stories, and quickly became enamored. "I got
the genealogy bug," he admits.
For the next 20-odd years it was nothing but a dormant hobby, but in 2000, Japhet a
high-flyer in Israel's vibrant high tech industry, decided to give himself six months off
to study his own family tree. Japhet, whose family comes originally from Eastern Europe,
met family members and distant relations, keeping track of their stories and adding them
to his family tree.
"I met relatives in their 80s and 90s. They were working treasures," he says. "They
shared memories of a life that has now disappeared. It was a fascinating time. You learn a
lot about humanity and about yourself by speaking to these people."
For his project he scanned thousands of old family photos, viewing scenes of Jewish
life in Poland and Russia that disappeared many years ago. "It was during this time that I
realized face recognition could be an awesome tool," says Japhet. "If enough people
contributed their family trees and family albums to one system you could trace your own
relatives through other people's family trees."
At 36, Japhet acknowledges that he is a strange bird in the genealogy world, where most
people tend to be over the age of 55. It is this age difference that gives him an edge, he
says. "There has been very little innovation in the genealogy world before now," he
Japhet set up MyHeritage in 2003 and bootstrapped the company for the first two years.
In 2005, he raised capital from two private Israeli investors, Yuval Rakavy - the seed
investor in firewall leader Check Point Software; and Aviv Raz, the lead investor in
Empire Online, a company that floated on AIM last year with a valuation of $1 billion.
Today MyHeritage employs 27 people. It plans to raise revenues through subscriptions
and advertising. Additional revenues will come through value-added services like photo
printing, old photo restoration, family tree printing, family tree DNA kits etc.
Japhet's goal is to continue adding new features that will keep the users coming.
Celebrity search will be enlarged, and MyHeritage plans to introduce a new animated morph
feature that will allow users to see their own face being transformed into that of their
celebrity look-alike. In addition, the company plans celebrity look-alike competitions.
For example, August can become Angelina Jolie month, then users can send in their own
look-alike snaps, and users will vote on the top 50. "We don't underestimate the power of
this service," says Japhet.
He also hopes that that the number of people using MyHeritage's genealogy services will
continue to build steadily. "We want to build the world's largest family tree-based
community," explains Japhet. "We envisage tens of millions of people participating and
sharing with their families."
Aside from being good for business, this will also fulfill Japhet's own dream - to
build a global community site with millions of well-researched and annotated family trees
where he can trace his own relatives through MyHeritage's face recognition technology.
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