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Pro-Hamas Groups Push Critical Race Theory, Socialism In US

Pro-Hamas Groups Push Critical Race Theory, Socialism In US

Authored by Brad Jones via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A California woman…

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Pro-Hamas Groups Push Critical Race Theory, Socialism In US

Authored by Brad Jones via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A California woman sobbed as she learned her friend’s 19-year-old son was kidnapped by the Hamas terrorist group in Israel.

Protesters wave Palestinian flags in support of Palestinians and socialism in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The next day, on Oct. 12, as news of pro-Palestinian “Day of Resistance” rallies spread across the United States, the woman, who is of Jewish heritage and asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, broke the tragic news: Her friend’s son had been murdered by the terrorists.

The same evening, a group of activists in south Los Angeles staged a protest in solidarity with Palestinians. Two days later, demonstrators again rallied—this time thousands gathering near the Israeli Consulate, at one point shutting down the on- and off-ramps to Wilshire Boulevard from the 405 Freeway.

At the Thursday protest, activists equated the plight of Palestinians to those of “indigenous peoples.” They called the Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip an “occupation” steeped in racism. They blamed the “capitalist” Jews and white Europeans for the loss of their “indigenous lands” and called for a socialist revolution.

All resistance to colonial occupation is justified!” shouted one speaker at the event.

Protesters chanted, “From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go,” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” among other slogans. They blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for children killed in retaliatory attacks on Palestine and condemned Zionism, equating it with South African apartheid, fascism, and Nazism.

Thousands of demonstrators waving Palestinian flags and signs denouncing “Israeli apartheid” march in Los Angeles on Oct. 14, 2023. (David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images)
Julia Wallace of Service Employees International Union speaks in support of Palestinians in Los Angeles on Oct. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The protest, at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Figueroa Street, was organized by Unión del Barrio and the Association of La Raza Educators and other left-wing activist groups known for their support of critical race theory, or CRT, and the state-imposed ethnic studies program.

Julia Wallace of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spoke out against Zionism. She called for defunding police as “enforcers of capitalism,” saying they should be ousted from the labor union.

Another speaker called for a protest outside the south Los Angeles Police Department station on Oct. 22.

“Let’s take over the police station,” he told the crowd of about 30 supporters.

Meanwhile, an Oct. 16 Reuters/Ipsos poll shows most Americans see Hamas as a terrorist organization, while they view Israel favorably. An Oct. 13 Rasmussen poll found most U.S. voters blame Palestinians for the conflict and agree with calls for the “eradication” of Hamas.

On Oct. 15, thousands of people showing support for Israel rallied in Los Angeles, walking down Pico Boulevard to the Museum of Tolerance.

Demonstrators attend a rally in solidarity with Israel in Los Angeles on Oct. 10, 2023. (Ethan Swope/Getty Images)

Support for Israel

Ric Grenell, a Californian and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany who also served as Acting Director of National Intelligence in the Trump administration, condemned the recent attacks on Israeli civilians.

He stated on Twitter on Oct. 13, the Democratic Socialists of America and student groups that support Hamas “are a real threat to America.”

“Voting for Democrats who support Socialists like @DemSocialists and ‘Sanctuary Cities’ policies will absolutely lead to people entering our country freely who haven’t been vetted by U.S. immigration services. ... We must have laws that protect us against people entering the U.S. who support terrorists like Hamas.

Michael Shellenberger, an author and San-Francisco-based political activist who co-founded the California Peace Coalition and other groups, condemned the terrorist attacks on the Israeli people.

“We unreservedly condemn the atrocities carried out by Hamas and support the right of Israel to defend itself and protect its citizens,” he wrote. “The stories and images of the attack shock the conscience. Nothing on earth could justify such crimes. We condemn those on the radical left who have defended the actions of Hamas terrorists.

“We are pro-Israel, by which we mean we defend its right to exist and its right to defend itself,” he continued. “At the same time, we urge Israel and its supporters, including the United States, to, in their response, abide by international law in general and the Geneva Convention in particular. That means doing everything possible to avoid killing or injuring civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

Kelly Schenkoske, an independent researcher and education advocate, and a critic of critical race theory being taught in California classrooms, denounced the protests pushing critical ideologies.

“We’re seeing protests at college campuses nationwide in support of Palestine, but this issue does not just reside on our college campuses, it resides in the K-12 sector, especially within ethnic studies,” Ms. Schenkoske said.

A Palestinian flag is waved at a rally in support of Palestinians, in Los Angeles on Oct. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The state-imposed ethnic studies curriculum in California is “filled with radical ideology,” she said.

“The same activists demanding safe schools promote antisemitic ethnic studies content aimed at decolonizing education [and] promoting critical consciousness and training in neo-Marxism. We need to defund antisemitism in schools entirely,” she said.

Deborah Fillman, a former teacher and education analyst based in North Carolina, told The Epoch Times that California schools are teaching “lies” as historical information through its ethnic studies programs.

They’re doing it under the guise of social justice, which is false. There’s no justice that can come from murder. There is no legitimate resistance that comes from the wanton slaughter of innocent civilians,” she said.

“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” is a Hamas slogan that means “all the Jews have to go—the eradication of Israel,” said Ms. Fillman, who is Jewish.

The pro-Palestinian protestors aren’t calling for a two-state solution but are instead supporting Hamas when they chant those words, she said.

“It is literally a war crime—every single thing [Hamas] did—including using their own people as human shields,” Ms. Fillman said.

Colonizer Versus Oppressed

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a co-founder and director of the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organization that combats antisemitism, told The Epoch Times that proponents of ethnic studies have used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “as a way to essentially beat up their political enemies.”

The pro-Palestinian protestors are using the tenets of critical race theory to frame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms of the colonizer and the oppressed, she said.

 

“It’s the whole binary oppressed-oppressor [concept] at the heart of ethnic studies that they’ve expanded to talk about politics and international politics,” she said. “In this case, their political agenda aligns up with Hamas’s political agenda which is to destroy Israel.”

Hamas doesn’t talk about colonialism, she said.

“It talks about Holy War, it talks about jihad,” and it calls for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from what it considers Muslim lands, Ms. Rossman-Benjamin said.

The recent “beheading of babies, rape, kidnapping, and massacres” represent the worst and largest number of atrocities committed against Jews since the World War II Holocaust, she said.

For Jews, this is really unprecedented in two generations,” she said.

The AMCHA Initiative issued a statement saying it is “shocked and horrified at the gruesome massacre of over 900 Israelis—children, mothers, grandmothers, fathers, entire families—hundreds of them gunned downed at a music festival ... reports of rape and torture, and an estimated over 100 Israelis kidnapped, including children, the elderly, a Holocaust survivor, young women, teenagers, and families.”

The Jewish community in the U.S. is now bracing for more pro-Palestinian protestors across dozens of university campuses expressing support for “this genocidal campaign,” AMCHA stated.

The Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee and more than 30 other student groups recently signed a statement arguing that Israel’s “apartheid regime” is entirely to blame for the attacks. However, following public backlash, at least five organizations that initially signed the letter withdrew their support.

“We will work hard to expose and combat on-campus supporters and apologists for terror, especially the faculty and departments who provide academic legitimacy for the murder of Jews while disingenuously wrapping themselves in the mantle of academic freedom,” AMCHA stated. “Our hearts are broken, but our resolve is not. We stand united with the Jewish people in Israel and around the world.”

 

At the University of California—Santa Cruz (UCSC), the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) department, which studies “race intersectionality in the context of power,” put out a statement Oct. 11 in support of the Palestinian people.

“In this moment—when we are grieving lives lost, fearing the many more to come, and witnessing Israel once again retaliate against a trapped Palestinian population in Gaza—we want to underscore the need for study,” CRES stated. “What we are witnessing needs to be understood in the context of 75 years of settler colonial displacement, military occupation, and enclosure. As in the past, racialized media coverage dehumanizes Palestinians, delegitimizing their aspirations for freedom from militarism, colonial rule, and incarceration.”

The department claims the world is witnessing “the circulation of technologies that are weaponized against Palestinians first, and, subsequently, our most vulnerable populations in the United States, on our borders and globally,” and cites this as the reason why it supports “the critical study of Zionism.”

The university has received pushback from at least seven members of the faculty, including Ms. Rossman-Benjamin’s husband, Ilan Benjamin, a chemistry professor. On Oct. 4, the group sent a letter to UCSC Chancellor Cynthia Larive expressing “grave concerns” ahead of the inaugural conference of the Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism, held on Oct. 13–14.

Although the conference has been condemned in the Jewish community “for its deeply offensive, antisemitic content and goals,” the letter focuses on the fact the conference is co-sponsored by three academic units at UCSC: the CRES department, the Center for Racial Justice, and the Center for Creative Ecologies, the faculty members wrote.

“While these three units may justify their co-sponsorship as a legitimate expression of academic freedom, we vehemently disagree,” they wrote. “It is an outrage that three departments at a publicly funded university are not only sponsoring a politically motivated and directed conference that limits participation to those who agree with the conference’s antisemitic goals, they are committing their department to embracing these goals, thereby threatening their own faculty and students, and members of the entire campus community. This is not a legitimate expression of academic freedom, but rather an egregious abuse of it.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/17/2023 - 20:45

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Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide…

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Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide Black Lives Matter riots in the summer of 2020, some elite colleges and universities shredded testing requirements for admission. Several years later, the test-optional admission has yet to produce the promising results for racial and class-based equity that many woke academic institutions wished.

The failure of test-optional admission policies has forced Dartmouth College to reinstate standardized test scores for admission starting next year. This should never have been eliminated, as merit will always prevail. 

"Nearly four years later, having studied the role of testing in our admissions process as well as its value as a predictor of student success at Dartmouth, we are removing the extended pause and reactivating the standardized testing requirement for undergraduate admission, effective with the Class of 2029," Dartmouth wrote in a press release Monday morning. 

"For Dartmouth, the evidence supporting our reactivation of a required testing policy is clear. Our bottom line is simple: we believe a standardized testing requirement will improve—not detract from—our ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to our campus," the elite college said. 

Who would've thought eliminating standardized tests for admission because a fringe minority said they were instruments of racism and a biased system was ever a good idea? 

Also, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. More from Dartmouth, who commissioned the research: 

They also found that test scores represent an especially valuable tool to identify high-achieving applicants from low and middle-income backgrounds; who are first-generation college-bound; as well as students from urban and rural backgrounds.

All the colleges and universities that quickly adopted test-optional admissions in 2020 experienced a surge in applications. Perhaps the push for test-optional was under the guise of woke equality but was nothing more than protecting the bottom line for these institutions. 

A glimpse of sanity returns to woke schools: Admit qualified kids. Next up is corporate America and all tiers of the US government. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/05/2024 - 17:20

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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