Netanyahu Fails, Japan Imports Ebola

Grind for October 26th
“At every party there are two kinds of people – those who want to go home and those who don’t. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other.”
– Ann Landers

Close But No Cigar

The Headline

Israeli PM fails to form a new government (again)

The Grind

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to form a majority government of at least 61 seats following the September election.

The election was essentially a re-vote after Netanyahu failed to pull together secular and religious factions of the Knesset (parliament) to form a majority government after elections in April.

At the time, he managed to block President Reuven Rivlin from giving another lawmaker the chance to form a government.

The Details

This time around, the president has granted Benny Gantz (head to the Blue and White party) 28 days to form a majority government.

Gantz will face the same difficulties that sidelined Netanyahu, including demands from the secular Yisraeli Beiteinu party that some ultra-orthodox Jews be drafted into the military.

Netanyahu, who faces a series of corruption charges that could lead to his indictment, has already promised to bring down any government Gantz tries to form that relies on support from Israel’s Arab parties.

Gantz has not stated whether or not he will seek support from the Arab parties, which Netanyahu has accused of ‘supporting terrorism and rejecting Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.’

“I will stand as the head of the opposition and work together with my friends to bring its downfall quickly,” promised Netanyahu.

Gantz wants to form a “liberal unity government” with the two largest parties, but has refused to sit with Netanyahu while he faces corruption charges. To accomplish his goal, he must convince Netanyahu’s Likud party to abandon its leader.

If Gantz fails to form a majority government, Israel will hold a third election.

Say What

The Headline

Japan imports deadly viruses in preparation for 2020 Olympics

The Grind

To mitigate the chances of a disease outbreak at the 2020 Olympics, Japan is preparing diagnostic tests for five deadly pathogens: Ebola and four related viruses that produce deadly fevers.

In September, Japan imported live samples of each virus to measure the efficacy of its diagnostic tests, which will be used to determine whether an individual with one of the viruses is still contagious.

The Details

The viruses, which are the most dangerous ever to be imported by Japan, are being held in a special containment facility at the National Institute of Infectious Disease (NIID), located about 20 miles west of Tokyo.

Researchers working at the NIID must wear pressurized, full-body suits (similar to the suits worn by astronauts), are required to shower and change their clothing upon entering, and must go through a decontamination procedure when exiting.

“We have come to a good level of understanding on the matter,” notes prominent lawmaker Takumi Nemoto. “It is a major stride towards protection” against disease as Japan prepares to welcome guests from all over the world.

Residents living near the NIID aren’t thrilled by the project, which was announced to them in November after the viruses had already been imported.

“It is nonsense for the government to tell us to accept the plan because of the Olympics,” said one local. “We are worried and cannot accept it.”

Did you know… Men get hiccups more often than women.