Members of Congress urge admin to enforce new visa waiver program rules


Twenty members of the U.S. House sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday expressing their opposition to the administration's intention to waive the new restrictions on the Visa Waiver Program. Following Iranian protests that the new measure violated the nuclear deal reached in July, Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Saturday indicating that the administration would work to bypass the law. In his letter, Kerry explained that the administration would implement the law in such a way “as not to interfere with legitimate business interests of Iran.” Kerry told Zarif that the administration had a “number of potential tools,” one of which is the wavier authority.

The letter to Kerry, written by Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.), was also signed by Chair of the House Ethics Committee, Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), and Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). The members of Congress told Kerry that it was “beyond belief” that the concerns of Iranian officials “would supersede a newly-enacted U.S. law designed to protect the American people from terrorism.” The letter continued, “There is no legitimate justification to create a special exemption for Iran from an anti-terrorism and security law that was specifically designed to include Iran. Iran does not get to veto U.S. security measures.”

Following Kerry’s letter to Zarif, Eli Lake and Josh Rogin wrote in Bloomberg View, “Now the administration is trying to sidestep a recently passed provision to tighten rules on visas for those who have visited Iran.” Executive Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Mark Dubowitz told Bloomberg View, "If the United States Congress cannot implement a more secure visa procedure for those who travel to state sponsors of terrorism like Iran, then the Iran deal ties the hands of lawmakers to a greater extent than even deal critics feared.”


The David’s Sling mid-range missile interceptor, jointly developed by American and Israeli defense contractors, has completed its final test and is prepared to be deployed next year, The Times of Israel reported on Monday.

In the final test of the series, an interceptor missile was successfully launched, performed all flight phases, and engaged the target, said a representative from Rafael Industries, which helped develop the missile system. […]

The various parts of the David’s Sling system, including the Multi-Mission Radar to detect targets and the Battle Management Center, which calculates defense plans, worked as they should, the official said.

David’s Sling, also known as Magic Wand, will be handed over to the Israeli Air Force and undergo additional exercises before full deployment. As a medium-range missile interceptor, it is slated to replace the Patriot missiles currently used by Israel. It will join the Iron Dome defense system, which is used to defend against short-range missiles and rockets. The Arrow-2, which is operational, and Arrow-3, which is under development, are designed to protect Israel from long-range missiles.

Israel’s Rafael Industries is the system’s prime contractor, while the U.S. defense giant Raytheon is a sub-contractor. Rafael also developed the David Sling’s interceptor missile, called Stunner, with Raytheon’s support. The system’s Multi-Mission Radar is manufactured by Elta, which is a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, while the Battle Management Center was developed by Elisra, a subsidiary of the Israeli electronics giant Elbit.

Defense News reported:

Hundreds of Israeli and American industry developers, program officials and uniformed operators from Israel’s Air Defense Force participated in Monday’s tests, which put the system through several operational scenarios against multiple targets representing “representative and relevant threats,” said Shlomo Hess, Rafael program manager.

“Today, all these unique technologies that comprise the David’s Sling Weapon System became operational,” said Hess.

“It’s very rare to achieve all the goals in such a complex test series … against long-range targets with heavy warheads capable of sustaining very big collateral damage. We are all in a very high level of excitement,” he said.

The David’s Sling system is designed to be effective against Hezbollah’s “increasingly accurate” arsenal, which includes Syrian 302 mm rockets and Iranian Fatah-110 rockets. It was also designed to intercept Scud-B ballistic missiles, which can carry one-ton warheads.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon credited his country’s “rare-quality capabilities,” as well as U.S.-Israeli cooperation on both the governmental and industrial level, including generous funding from Washington, for the successful development of the project. (via


NeuroQuest Development Center is working with the University of California-San Diego to collect and process blood samples for clinical validation trials of NeuroQuest’s blood test for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Designed to be an inexpensive, convenient alternative to costly positron emission tomography (PET) brain scans, the NeuroQuest blood test can potentially identify a pre-clinical stage of AD years before the onset of noticeable symptoms. The blood test is based on the principles of protective autoimmunity and nearly 20 years of award-winning research led by Prof. Michal Schwartz of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and president of the International Society of Neuroimmunology. Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. Yet there is no objective, accurate, cost-effective and practical tool for early diagnosis. Human trials in Israel showed NeuroQuest’s blood test to be 87 percent accurate with an 85% specificity rate in detecting Alzheimer’s and ALS, two common neurodegenerative diseases. With blood tests, anything over 70% is considered medically significant. In addition, recent pilot testing of NeuroQuest’s biomarker technology in Australia surpassed current standards of specificity and sensitivity set by the US Alzheimer’s Association. “Based on our pilot test results, we are cautiously optimistic about our upcoming US clinical trials,” said Dan Touitou, CEO of NeuroQuest. The national clinical trial for older individuals who may be at risk for AD is funded by the National Institute on Aging, Eli Lilly and Company, and several philanthropic organizations. Validation studies for NeuroQuest’s diagnostic blood test will continue in Australia and the United States through 2017. (via Israel21c)

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