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Archive | 2012 | March | 28

PICTURES: Israeli, Canadian among world’s best-looking transexuals

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March 28, 2012
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Celebrity, LGBTQ
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Jenna Talackova, RuPaul, Dana International: World’s Best-looking Transsexuals

Dana International was named among World’s Best-looking Transsexuals. The Israeli superstar is leading the list with the American RuPaul and the recent Canadian beauty contest drop-out Jenna Talackova

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DJ Offer Nissim to Open for Madonna, Ha’Yehudim for Guns N’ Roses

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March 28, 2012
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Celebrity, Music
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Renowned French electronic music DJ and producer Martin Solveig and fellow popular Israeli DJ Offer Nissim have both been confirmed as the official warm up acts for Madonna’s Israeli concert, that will kick off her world tour in support of her 12th studio album “MDNA”, which was released on Monday to rave reviews and major global buzz. The two will play at the premiere night and the recently added subsequent concert.

The Parisian Solveig, who ranks no. 29 in Britain’s DJ Mag Top 100 DJs list for 2011, is one of the numerous co-producers of the queen of pop’s latest effort, ultimately responsible for 3 tracks which made to the record, including the first single“Give Me All Your Luvin’”, featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.

The Tel Aviv born Nissim has been a standout figure in the world wide DJ scene, having done highly praised remixes for such artists as Beyonce, Britney Spears and Madonna herself. In Israel he also known for discovering local pop diva and world transsexual icon Dana International. “It’s a dream come true for me, to get such an estimate from someone like Madonna, who’s always up to date with what’s happening in the music world,” said Nissim in an official statement, “She has always been ahead of her time and knows how to reach a variety of audiences”.

In related news, veteran Israeli hard rock band Ha’Yehudim (The Jews) have also been confirmed today as the local warm up act for Guns N’ Roses’ July 3rd concert at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv. While tickets for Madonna’s premiere concert of her tour were on high demand and cleared the way for a second date added last week, it still remains to be seen if Axel Rose’s troupe would be able to fill up their venue.

Source: Abbanibi.com

Centennial for Israel’s Technion Institute

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March 28, 2012
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One hundred years after the Technion’s cornerstone was laid, the now world-famous science and technology institute celebrates its achievements.

“Israel can win the battle for survival only by developing expert knowledge in technology,” said the great scientist Albert Einstein in 1923. He had come to the Jewish homeland to plant a palm tree in his capacity as the first president of the Technion Society.

The following year, what is now the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology opened in Haifa with 17 students — 16 men and one woman.

But the hard work of Einstein and many others toward founding Israel’s first modern university had been years in the planning. “The Technikum” was meant as an alternative for European Jewish youth who were denied opportunities for technical studies in their native countries. This dream of establishing and maintaining a basis for Jewish industry got its tangible start on April 11, 1912, with the laying of the Technion cornerstone.

Now one of the premier technology institutes in the world, the Technion is in the last few months of its centennial celebration. And it has been a banner year for the institute. Prof. Dan Shechtman became the third Technion faculty member to win a Nobel Prize, and the Technion was chosen from many other applicants to found an applied science and engineering institute in New York City in tandem with Cornell University.

To kick off the year-long celebration last April, the Technion produced a short film highlighting its origins and major accomplishments, says Danny Shapiro, the university’s public affairs officer.

Full story via MFA

Cleantech Investing In Israel, The Startup Nation

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March 28, 2012
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Israel is the “Start-Up Nation.”  The tiny country has more scientists, engineers, and start-ups, per capita, than any other nation in the world.  Numerous Israeli firms have been acquired by leading multinationals including Google, IBM, and HP.  Other Israeli start-ups have gone public; more than 50 Israeli firms are listed on the NASDAQ alone.

Israel is also a hotbed of cleantech entrepreneurship. According to a new report from the Cleantech Group and WWF, Israel is the second most innovative country worldwide for cleantech.  (Denmark ranked first).  “Coming Clean: The Cleantech Global Innovation Index 2012” finds that Israel leads the world in creating cleantech companies and has produced a disproportionate number of high-quality firms.

Israel Cleantech Ventures (ICV) is the leading cleantech venture capital firm in Israel.  To learn about Israeli cleantech innovation and ICV’s strategy and investments, I spoke with the firm’s three founding partners: Jack Levy, Meir Ukeles, and Glen Schwaber.

Q: Israel is often described as the “Start-Up Nation.”  Why?

A, Jack Levy: Per capita, we have by far the most start-ups, particularly in cleantech. Although Israel is 60-plus years old, the country’s private sector is really young.  Its roots are in the 1980s and 1990s.  A lot of the dynamism in the economy really comes from that.  Another driver is the military experiences that young people go through, which gives them great responsibilities, great opportunities, and a can do attitude.  But the driver that is most important and hardest to replicate is cultural, the perspective that failure can be one step along the way.  America shares that perspective, but there are plenty of other cultures where a fear of failure keeps very talented people from taking risks or leaving larger organizations to start enterprises.  Israel has a risk-taking culture.  A lot of it comes from the fact that the downside is not as strong.  If you fail, you’ll try to learn from that failure and keep going.  People won’t hold your failure as a strike against you.

Q: In what areas is Israel strongest in cleantech innovation?

A, Meir Ukeles: At Israel Cleantech Ventures, we focus on areas that make sense in Israel for venture investing.  Generally these are areas where Israel has very strong roots, in traditional energy and water industries.  Israel is a dry country with a lot of sunlight and, up until recently, no domestic fossil fuel resources.  Not surprisingly, technologies for solar, water efficiency, water treatment, water reuse and, in the last 10-15 years, desalination, have pretty deep roots.  Call that one bucket.

The second bucket are startups that draw on technology innovation and intellectual capital out of what would be called traditional technology industries: semiconductors, power electronics, communications, and wireless in particular.  There has also been some innovation in energy storage, a lot of which over the years was funded by or benefited from research and development done in the military and in the defense establishment and then, in the last 20 years, has been a hotbed of more traditional venture-backed, for-profit activity.  There is a lot of innovation that comes from those roots and finds its way to the biggest problems of our era: resource efficiency, resource imbalances, and the environmental footprint of consumption.

The third bucket is from pockets in which Israel’s traditional industrial base has a lot to contribute.  Chemicals are one area where there is a lot of competence, some of which flows to the water industry.  Other aspects go to agritech and green fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.

Q: Are you seeing more dealflow in agritech?  Are you becoming more excited about agritech?

A, Jack Levy: The answer to both questions is yes.  The underlying business drivers and the reasons to be excited about sustainable agritech are quite clear.  Agritech gets to the heart to what people think about when they think about cleantech: doing more with less.  Growing more with less, with marginal land or with marginal water.  Increasing yields or designing into seeds the crop protection chemicals that you otherwise need to distribute in old-fashioned and potentially problematic ways.  These are massive global opportunities.

Israel has already established itself as a strong source of innovative technologies, both in terms of gene discovery for plant genomics and for breeding.  The agronomy community in Israel has been very strong.  We have seen large multinationals get active in the Israel market, not only partnerships, but also with acquisitions.  Syngenta and Monsanto have consummated acquisitions in Israel.  That leads to a virtuous cycle of talent that gets exposed to the ways that these companies work, that stays in Israel and comes back here.  Agritech is also an area, like solar and like water, on which the academic community in Israel has been focused for decades.  All of this makes Israel very fertile, no pun intended, for agritech startups. We are definitely seeing an accelerated pace for the number of companies we are looking at in this area, with strong, experienced entrepreneurs.

A, Meir Ukeles: We are very interested in the meeting of distributed intelligence technology.  Think of the intelligence that you have resident in your smartphone.  We are interested in the meeting of that with the needs of modern agriculture.  The opportunities to unlock the flow of information offered by the modernization of communication infrastructure is very exciting in terms of what that can offer to the agriculture market.

Full story via Forbes

Israel Land Administration aims to facilitate 57 new solar energy projects

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March 28, 2012
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The Israel Land Administration will install a series of zoning mitigations meant to facilitate existing solar energy projects, an ILA statement said.

Some of the proposed mitigations include allowing agricultural communities to sublet up to 62 acres of land for solar energy projects, with ILA fees incorporated into the lands capitalization fees.

ILA Director Benzi Lieberman said that the new mitigations will allow for more entrepreneurs to enter the field and will assist in promoting the field of renewable energy in Israel.

Initially, the mitigations will be applied to existing ventures, which have been set up on agricultural land.

“Several petitions to that effect have been filed with the ILA and after reviewing them and consulting with the proper professional bodies, we have decided to allow entrepreneurs that have already established solar energy project, enjoy venture-boosting mitigations, which will promote the renewable energy field in Israel,” Lieberman said.

The Israel Land Administration is also reviewing new guidelines in the field, he added.

Source: Ynetnews.com

Israeli Lee Korzits wins gold medal at Sailing World Cup, secures spot at 2012 London Olympics

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March 28, 2012
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Sports
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Israeli windsurfer secures spot in 2012 Olympic Games after winning first place in Cadiz. Last day of sailing canceled due to weather conditions

Israeli windsurfer Lee Korzits won the women’s RS:X title at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Cadiz, Spain on Wednesday after weather conditions prevented organizers from holding the medal race.

This marks the third time Korzits wins the world championship, the first being in Cadiz in 2003, and the second in Perth, Australia last December.

The Israeli windsurfer, who recently celebrated her 28th birthday, has known a turbulent career during which she had left the sport, been injured and underwent a surgery that left her inactive for almost two months. However, she made a swift recovery evident in last week’s race.

Kortzis achieved an almost perfect record in the Cadiz World Cup, winning four sails and being in the lead throughout the competition. The gold medal now secures her a spot at the London Olympic Games.

This will be her second appearance at the Olympics, after competing in Athens in 2004. Her recent win in Spain will award her with a NIS 100,000 grant. Her coach, Ben Finkelstein will receive half of the amount.

Source: Ynetnews.com