Sunday, 30 August 2009

Somali Islamists pull teeth from "sinners"

MOGADISHU, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Somali Islamist group al Shabaab is forcibly removing gold and silver teeth from residents in southern Somalia because it says they contravene strict religious law, locals from a coastal town said on Monday.

Residents in Marka say al Shabaab has been rounding up anyone seen with a silver or gold tooth and taking them to a masked man who then rips them out using basic tools.

'I never thought al Shabaab would see my denture as a sin. They took me to their station and removed my silver tooth,' resident Bashir told Reuters.

'I met several men and women whose dentures were being pulled out by a masked man they called a doctor. The doctor used a pincer or his gloved hand depending on the strength of the tooth,' Bashir said.

Iran: Ban all strikes on nuclear facilities

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Iran will propose that the United Nations nuclear watchdog ban all pre-emptive military strikes on nuclear sites. Iran told The Associated Press, which first reported the prospective proposal Wednesday, that the proposal is not related to the possibility of an Israeli military strike on its nuclear installations.

The AP quoted Iranian diplomats as saying it will seek support from the 150-nation International Atomic Energy Agency during its September general conference for a generally worded statement prohibiting attacks on nuclear installations anywhere in the world.

Hamas Trains New Generation of Teenage Terrorists

Hamas is training a new generation of terrorists in Gaza, where 50 percent of the population is under the age of 18, according to the French news agency AFP. The news agency reported that young teenagers lie on beds of nails while two other boys stand on their chests, prompting a nine-year-old to say, 'No one will be able to mess with us after we become kung fu masters. Everyone will be afraid of us.'

Hamas has been training teenage terrorists for years, and its terrorist leaders previously have been photographed training children at “summer camps” on the ruins of Jewish communities destroyed after the Israeli government’s expulsion of Gaza’s Jewish residents four years ago.

NM Rothschild pitches motorway privatisation plan

A radical plan to raise £100 billion by privatising the motorway network has been presented to the three main political parties by NM Rothschild, the influential investment bank according to an article in the Sunday Times.

Rothschild, an architect of several privatisations, made its pitch in the weeks running up to the summer recess on July 21, Whitehall sources said. Bankers told leading politicians that the sale of the roads overseen by the Highways Agency — all motorways and most big trunk roads — could help revive battered public finances.

Toll-road companies and infrastructure funds would compete to operate and maintain stretches of the network

Evolution of the Appendix: A Biological ‘Remnant’ No More

“Creationists will have a field day with this one,” writes one blogger on the news. Bingo.

Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, even if simply because scientists have known about the appendix’s function for some time now. Creationists—whose research was not clouded by evolutionary presuppositions—had an easier time documenting the appendix’s importance, such as in a paper from 1988. News to Note reported on determinations of the appendix’s function as well, in October 2007 and June 2008. (We touched on the topic two weeks ago when reporting on discoveries of the spleen’s functions.)

The latest news is of further research by some of the same scientists who had previously cast light on the appendix’s function. In a twist, those scientists have used evolution-based approaches to show that the appendix isn’t a vestigial by-product of evolution."

Voodoo in Obama’s White House? No Says Obama

Kristen Atkinson, a blogger over at the Townhall website, has posted an article claiming Marian Robinson, the 72-year old first grandmother who lives at the White House, is practicing Santería, otherwise known as voodoo. A close friend of Michelle Obama says the president became furious at his mother-in-law.

Robinson, concerned about her failing health, invited an old friend from Chicago to visit her at the White House and the friend performed a Santeria ceremony in the residence. “No voodoo in the White House. Absolutely. I don’t care what you call it,” Obama allegedly declared.

Iran’s Crumbling Judiciary

"Iran’s judiciary is facing a deep crisis. The Stalinesque show trials alone would be comical if not for the serious and grave nature of them. Dungeons in the Interior Ministry, torture to the point of death, and all around lawlessness have come to characterize the judicial system over the past few weeks.

Of course such developments are not news to those like the author who are familiar with the way things have taken shape in Iran over the past 30 years. But even so, the breakdown of the judiciary has never been so glaringly visible.

The judiciary chief is Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi. He was born 61 years ago in Najaf, Iraq, in a family that has had a long tradition of being part of the clerical establishment. He was a student of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr who was the ideological founder of the Islamic Dawa Party — the party of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maleki of Iraq – and was executed by Saddam Hussein in 1980. Al-Sadr is also father-in-law of the Shiite firebrand, Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi nationalist and fierce opponent of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. His two cousins, Mohammad Sadegh al-Sadr and Imam Mousa al-Sadr, were also very prominent Shiite clerics. (Mousa al-Sard disappeared in Libya many years ago. He was presumably murdered by Libya’s intelligence service.)"

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Iran leaders pave way for messianic 'Mahdi'

Iran last week held a multi-day conference, bringing together politicians, mullahs, students – Shiite and Sunni alike – to plot what can be done on this earthly plane to hasten the coming of the anointed one, a messianic, endtimes personage known as the Mahdi.

It wasn't a conference covered by the western press.

But Joel Richardson, author of the new book, "The Islamic Antichrist," reported today on the conference, which have been held for the last five years – all in a bid to lay the groundwork for an apocalyptic vision of the day Muslims will rule the world.

"For the past five years, the Iranian religious and political leaders have annually gathered together for two days in the city of Qom for what is called 'The International Conference of Mahdism Doctrine,' sponsored by the Bright Future Institute," explains Richardson in a WND commentary today. "The purpose of the Bright Future Institute, according to their website, is 'to introduce Imam Mahdi to the world' and 'to pave the ground for his reappearance.' After attending last year's conference, Dr. Timothy Furnish, in an article entitled 'the Importance of Being Mahdist,' featured in the Weekly Standard, also cited President Ahmadinejad describing the purpose of the conference as helping to 'bring all of humanity to the knowledge of the true savior of mankind, Imam al-Mahdi.'"

Ayatollah sees global Islamic 'Mahdi' army

Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei yesterday called on Muslim nations around the world to unite militarily in response to the imminent coming of Islam's messianic savior – the Mahdi.

Khamenei, through his spokesman Ali Saeedi, specifically beckoned the nations of Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan to join together with Iran in preparation for the Mahdi's soon coming.

The purpose of uniting now, a report in Al Arabiya explained, is to fight Israel and the U.S. – seen as the two greatest obstacles to the coming of the Mahdi and the age of Islamic 'justice' that would ensue.

'We have to train honest forces that can stop the obstacles that may hinder the coming of the Mahdi like the United States and Israel,' Saeedi stated. Saeedi also emphasized that the Iranian revolutionary guard possessed a special religious authority to prepare the way for the Mahdi.

Muslim radicals behead Christian orphan workers

Four Christians working in Somalia to provide services to orphans have been executed by beheading by al-Qaida-linked interests who told their families that is the penalty for apostasy.

The report on the outrage comes from International Christian Concern, which said the executions took place sometime after the kidnapping of the Christians July 27, but it only discovered the tragedy recently.

The organization identified the Christian orphanage workers as Fatima Sultan, Ali Ma'ow, Sheik Mohammed Abdi and Maaddey Diil. They had been kidnapped in the coastal Somalian town of Merca, about 50 miles from Mogadishu.

According to ICC, al-Shabaab, an Islamic extremist organization, claimed responsibility and said the Christians were killed when they refused to renounce their faith in Jesus.

Iranian ex-MPs challenge Khamenei

"A group of former Iranian MPs has appealed to a powerful clerical panel to investigate if Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is fit to rule.

The call was made to the Assembly of Experts, which under Iranian law has the power to remove the supreme leader.

In a letter, the group denounces the crackdown on protests after June's disputed poll and the resulting trials.

Meanwhile a senior cleric has said a reformist leader should be prosecuted for alleging protesters had been raped."

Obama’s life at risk in health care battle

"White House officials are 'privately admitting concern' for President Barack Obama's safety as incidents of attempted or threatened violence against the president skyrocket in the midst of the country's heated health care debate.

That's the word from an ABC News report that says racist groups are thriving on the backlash in some corners of the United States to a black president who is working overtime to overhaul the country's social safety system."

Friday, 28 August 2009

Kremlin bill on using army abroad

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has introduced a bill to parliament that would allow the country's armed forces to intervene beyond Russia's borders. The bill would allow Russian troops to be used abroad "to rebuff or prevent an aggression against another state" or "protect Russian citizens abroad".

Mr Medvedev said the bill was linked to last year's war with Georgia over South Ossetia, Russia's Interfax reports. Moscow said it was protecting Russian citizens in South Ossetia.

Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent

Britain and the rest of the European Union are ignoring a demographic time bomb: a recent rush into the EU by migrants, including millions of Muslims, will change the continent beyond recognition over the next two decades, and almost no policy-makers are talking about it.

The numbers are startling. Only 3.2 per cent of Spain's population was foreign-born in 1998. In 2007 it was 13.4 per cent. Europe's Muslim population has more than doubled in the past 30 years and will have doubled again by 2015. In Brussels, the top seven baby boys' names recently were Mohamed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza.

Europe's low white birth rate, coupled with faster multiplying migrants, will change fundamentally what we take to mean by European culture and society. The altered population mix has far-reaching implications for education, housing, welfare, labour, the arts and everything in between. It could have a critical impact on foreign policy: a study was submitted to the US Air Force on how America's relationship with Europe might evolve. Yet EU officials admit that these issues are not receiving the attention they deserve.

Jerome Vignon, the director for employment and social affairs at the European Commission, said that the focus of those running the EU had been on asylum seekers and the control of migration rather than the integration of those already in the bloc. "It has certainly been underestimated - there is a general rhetoric that social integration of migrants should be given as much importance as monitoring the inflow of migrants." But, he said, the rhetoric had rarely led to policy.

Obama denies yet another Christian value

The Obama administration continued its half-a-loaf approach to gay rights issues Monday by filing documents claiming that federal laws banning same-sex marriage are discriminatory, even as the federal government continues to defend them.

In its nine-page brief, the Justice Department stated that the Obama administration opposes the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act as discriminatory and supports its repeal. Yet the motion also calls for the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a gay California couple seeking to overturn the federal marriage law.

'This brief makes clear, however, that my Administration believes that the [Defense of Marriage] Act is discriminatory and should be repealed by Congress,' President Obama said in a statement, noting that the Justice Department 'traditionally' files briefs defending the law 'when acts of Congress are challenged.'

Russia set to modernize Libya's Soviet-era tanks

MOSCOW, August 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Libya have signed a contract to overhaul at least 145 T-72 Russian-made battle tanks in service with the Libyan Army, a senior government official said on Monday.

Moscow and Tripoli have been involved in talks on the modernization of the T-72 tanks since 2006 as part of renewed efforts to revive bilateral military-technical cooperation.

"Work has been conducted in the Libyan direction, and we have already made headway after signing a number of contracts with the country over the past year, including on the modernization of T-72 tanks," Konstantin Biryulin, deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

The official said talks on Russian arms deliveries to Libya are underway, but refused to disclose any details of the future contracts due to their confidential nature.

"I do not want to help our competitors in their work [on the Libyan arms market]," Biryulin said.

Russia has encountered tough competition with Western nations in arms sales to Tripoli since the UN lifted sanctions against Libya in 2003, when the Libyan president announced he would halt the country's nuclear weapons program and accepted responsibility for the 1998 terrorist bombing over Lockerbie in Scotland, agreeing to pay compensation to the victims' families.

Libyans hope for Lockerbie bomber's return

"TRIPOLI, Libya — Just in time for galas marking 40 years since the country's revolution, Libyans are anticipating another cause for celebration — the possible return home of the Lockerbie bomber, a man they see as an innocent victim of the West's campaign to turn their country into an international pariah.

Under giant posters of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, workers sweated in the midday heat Wednesday putting finishing touches on huge rock concert-style stages, scaffolds and backdrops for next week's anniversary festivities in Tripoli's central Green Square, overlooking the Mediterranean's blue waters.

Officials have touted this year's celebrations as the grandest ever marking the 1969 military coup that brought to power the man referred to be Libyans as 'the Brother Leader.' Billboards of Gadhafi around the square and the city tout his achievements — one heralding Libya's 'New Dawn,' another hails him as 'the architect of a unified Africa.'" The Associated Press

Trouble is now brewing for the scottish minister and relations between UK and USA over Lockerbie:

"The Scottish parliament is returning to work a week early, and there's increasing pressure on Gordon Brown to reveal how much he knew about plans to release the Lockerbie bomber. Julian Borger looks at the evidence, and says any "smoking gun" would be a major blow for the prime minister.

A House of Lords inquiry has been told by four former cabinet secretaries that Labour has eroded the powers of cabinet so much that it poses a threat to our system of government. Nicholas Watt says, though, that not everyone believes collective decision making is the best way to run the country." The Guardian

Thursday, 27 August 2009

World’s Largest Temple Model Inaugurated next to Temple Mount

( The world’s largest model of the Holy Temple was inaugurated Wednesday only a few hundred meters away from the Temple Mount, the site where the Temple existed up until 70 CE.

The model, built at a scale of 1:60, was built by Michael Osanis for the Aish HaTorah Yeshiva in Jerusalem’s old city, and is displayed on the roof of its new museum, which at seven stories above the Western Wall plaza has a breathtaking view of the Temple Mount."

Iran allows U.N. inspectors to visit nuclear reactor

"The Associated Press reported Thursday that there may be important developments in the standoff between Iran and the international community over the Iranian nuclear program.

Diplomats in Vienna said that U.N. inspectors were allowed last week to visit Irans new, nearly-completed nuclear reactor. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency were also allowed to expand their monitoring at another Iranian uranium enrichment site.

Charles Ferguson, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on nuclear non-proliferation, joins Martin Savidge to discuss what these developments might mean."

Iran missile said to pose Europe threat in 3-4 years

"HUNTSVILLE, Alabama (Reuters) - Iran could have the ability to strike most of Europe with a ballistic missile within three or four years if it made an all-out push, the former head of Israel's missile defense program said on Thursday.

If correct, the timeline cited by Uzi Rubin, a leading authority on Iran's program, puts a fresh note of urgency into a diplomatically thorny debate over building a multibillion-dollar anti-missile shield in Europe.

U.S. officials have cast the timeline further out, leaving longer to sort out defenses.

'If they push it -- put all the budget, put all the engineers -- three or four years' is all it would take to give Iran's existing ballistic missile a range of 3,900 kilometers (2,438 miles), enough to hit London, Rubin told a U.S. Army-sponsored missile-defense conference in Huntsville, Alabama. 'Will they do it? I'm not sure.'"

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

DEBKAfile's unmasking of Iran's designated defense minister as terrorist spurred wide outrage

"Last Thursday night, Aug. 20, DEBKAfile first exposed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's defense minister Ahmadi Vadhidi as wanted by Interpol for the 1994 Buenos Aires atrocity, a massive bombing attack on the Jewish community center in the Argentine capital which left 84 people dead and hundreds wounded.

This story, instantly picked up by world media (without attribution), spurred general outrage and protest - in particular, from the Argentine prosecutor and Jewish community. The US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said if Vahidi was indeed the man wanted by Interpol, it would be very disturbing to see him confirmed in the Iranian cabinet. Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak voiced deep concern, commenting that the Islamic Republic was showing its real face.

The following is the text of DEBKAfile's exclusive as published in its English edition early Friday, Aug. 21:

Ahmadi Vadhidi, whom President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has designated Iran's next defense minister, was head of the notorious al Qods Brigades which ordered and organized the bombing attack on the Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that left 84 people dead.

Interpol has issued an international warrant for his arrest for this crime. (See attached photo)"

Yemen War: Where US and Iran Jockey for Regional Primacy

In two weeks of warfare, the Yemen conflict has left more than 2,000 dead and up to 150,000 people homeless. Yet the Yemeni army has failed to break through to the Iranian-armed and trained rebel strongholds in the northern mountains of Saada province, even as the Saudi air force pounds rebel positions.

This is the second war in less than a year in which US allies are pitted against Iran-backed forces. The first was Israel's three-week campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which ended last January.

Why is US National Guard recruiting for 'internment' cops?

An ad campaign featured on a U.S. Army website seeking those who would be interested in being an 'Internment/Resettlement' specialist is raising alarms across the country, generating concerns that there is some truth in those theories about domestic detention camps, a roundup of dissidents and a crackdown on 'threatening' conservatives.

The ads, at the website as well as others including, cite the need for:
'Internment/Resettlement (I/R) Specialists in the Army are primarily responsible for day-to-day operations in a military confinement/correctional facility or detention/internment facility. I/R Specialists provide rehabilitative, health, welfare, and security to U.S. military prisoners within a confinement or correctional facility; conduct inspections; prepare written reports; and coordinate activities of prisoners/internees and staff personnel."

Muslim leader wants Temple rebuilt

In a historically unprecedented development, a famous Turkish Muslim leader and a prominent group of Israeli rabbis have joined together on one of their declared goals, to rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Adnan Oktar, who uses the pen name of Harun Yahya, is a controversial but highly influential Muslim intellectual and author with over 65 million of his books in circulation worldwide. Oktar recently met with three representatives from the re-established Jewish Sanhedrin, a group of 71 Orthodox rabbis and scholars from Israel, to discuss how religious Muslims, Jews and Christians can work together.

The objectives of the alliance include waging a joint intellectual and spiritual battle against the worldwide growing tide of irreligiousness, unbelief and immorality. But even more unusual is their agreement with regard to the need to rebuild the Jewish Temple, a structure Oktar refers to as the "Masjid (Mosque)" or the "Palace of Solomon." An official statement about the meeting has been published on the Sanhedrin's website. Concluding the statement is the following call:

Out of a sense of collective responsibility for world peace and for all humanity, we have found it timely to call to the world and exclaim that there is a way out for all peoples. It is etched in a call to all humanity: We are all the sons of one father, the descendants of Adam, and all humanity is but a single family. Peace among nations will be achieved through building the House of G-d, where all peoples will serve as foreseen by King Solomon in his prayers at the dedication of the First Holy Temple. Come let us love and respect one another, and love and honor and hold our heavenly Father in awe. Let us establish a house of prayer in His name in order to worship and serve Him together, for the sake of His great compassion. He surely does not want the blood of His creations spilled, but prefers love and peace among all mankind. We pray to the Almighty Creator, that you harken to our Call. Together – each according to his or her ability – we shall work towards the building of the House of Prayer for All Nations on the Temple Mount in peace and mutual understanding. By Joel Richardson © 2009

Israel weighs Iranian threat

"JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel makes no secret that it sees Iran is its biggest threat but the scale of the threat is less clear cut. Israel's recent military exercises are seen by some as a show of strength to Iran. Israel's recent military exercises are seen by some as a show of strength to Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not missed an opportunity to name Iran as the number one threat, and like his predecessors he has said Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran.

Tests are ongoing for Israel's arrow missile system, designed to intercept incoming rockets -- although Israel does not openly say which direction they'd come from.

Last week, CNN filmed Netanyahu aboard an F15 fighter-bomber jet while touring the Hatzerim air force base near Beersheva. He said: 'My biggest impression today is the obligation to carry out the mission of defending Israel.'

Last month, two Israeli warships and a submarine made a rare journey through Egypt's Suez canal. Last year, the Israeli air force tested its fighter jets and helicopters on a 870-mile sortie -- roughly the distance between Israel and Iran's main uranium enrichment plant at Natanz."

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Lutheran split over gay clergy

"Traditionalist US Lutherans have warned they might leave to form another denomination after their Church voted to allow gay people to act as pastors.

Delegates voted on Friday to allow people in life-long monogamous gay relationships to become ministers.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Elca) is one of the largest to open the role to gay men and women.

The decision comes a month after the Anglican Church in the US voted to allow the ordination of gay bishops."

Debaptise Yourself!

There is a current fad for non-believers to debaptise themselves. This falacy of misunderstanding started in the UK and is gaining speed in the USA. More than 100,000 Britons have recently downloaded "certificates of de-baptism" from the Internet to renounce their Christian faith. Here are some films made by atheists about the current fad.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Kirk Cameron Talks with Gang Members

The team went back to the pier recently and bumpe into one of the gang members in this video. The man had repented, had left the gang and was now a Christian and that he felt terrible about that day as he was drunk. He also mentioned that Mario (the guy Kirk is talking to in the video) was also a Christian, married and teaches Sunday School.

Mini-Scale Model of Temple Amazes Experts

In a small town called Needham in eastern England lies a 1,800-square foot project that is still a well-guarded secret from most of the world: possibly the most accurate model of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in existence. Its builder is a retired property-developer named Alec Garrard, who has been working on it for nearly 30 years – and expects to continue to do so until his dying day. “It’s not me who says it’s the most accurate model of the Temple in the world,” he told Israel National Radio’s Walter Bingham. “It’s the experts who come and say so!”

Garrard told him that he began building his Holy Temple for his own pleasure, and “didn’t realize the great interest it would attract.” He says he always built models as a child, but gave up the pastime in his teenage years when he became “seriously interested in religion” and active in his church. However, at age 50, after a series of clashes with various church leaders, he decided to return to model-building. He can't exactly explain why, but his first, and only, subject became the Holy Temple built in Jerusalem some 2,500 years ago, and later added on to by King Herod.

The model Temple in the English countryside town is built, at a 1:100 scale, of thousands of tiny clay bricks and tiles, all of which Garrard fashioned, baked, and painted manually. In addition, he has made some 4,000 ¾-inch human figures – “each one with its own costume and playing its own part in one scene or another.” These scenes include the offering of sacrifices, taking part in the Temple service, and more.

Full Story Here at Israel National News

Tornado takes out conference centre where Lutheran Church discusses Homosexuality

"On a day when no severe weather was predicted or expected...a tornado forms, baffling the weather experts—most saying they’ve never seen anything like it. It happens right in the city. The city: Minneapolis.

The tornado happens on a Wednesday...during the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's national convention in the Minneapolis Convention Center. The convention is using Central Lutheran across the street as its church. The church has set up tents around it’s building for this purpose."

Taliban cut off fingers of Afghan voters

"KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Making good on a threat of election day violence, the Taliban sliced off the index fingers of at least two people in Kandahar province, according to a vote monitoring group.

After they cast their ballots, the fingers of Afghan voters are stained with ink to prevent them from voting multiple times. The fingers of the two women in Kandahar, a stronghold of the Taliban, were cut off because they voted, said Nader Naderi of the Free and Fair Election Foundation.

The Taliban had vowed to disrupt Thursday's election and the risk was too great for some Afghans to venture out, especially in the southern provinces that form the heartland of the radical Islamist group."

CIA Conducted Mock Executions of Detainees - Political News -

WASHINGTON -- The CIA's internal investigator found that agency interrogators conducted mock executions of terror suspects and in one case threatened a detainee suspected in the USS Cole bombing with a gun and power drill, FOX News has confirmed.

The disclosures are contained in a 2004 report by the CIA's inspector general, which has been kept secret and is to be released next week, a source confirmed to FOX News.

Iran Tries to Suppress Rape Allegations -

"BEIRUT, Lebanon — Iran’s clerical leadership on Friday stepped up a campaign to silence opposition claims that protesters had been raped in prison, with prayer leaders in at least three major cities denouncing the accusations and their chief sponsor.

The accusations of rape — usually a taboo subject in Iran — have multiplied and provoked strong reactions in the days since a reformist cleric and presidential candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, broached the subject last weekend. His allegations added fuel to an already volatile debate about prison abuse in the wake of Iran’s disputed June 12 election."

Atlantic storm upgraded to hurricane

The U.S. National Hurricane Centre upgraded a storm churning in the Atlantic Ocean to a hurricane early Monday morning as the first named storm to hit land this year came ashore in Florida.

Hurricane Bill is the first hurricane of the Atlantic season. Bill was upgraded from a tropical storm at about 5 a.m. AT (4 a.m. ET) on Monday as it churned about 1,735 kilometres east of the Lesser Antilles in the Atlantic.

Bill is moving on a west-northwest track at about 35 km/h with sustained winds of up to 150 km/h and is expected to intensify over the next couple of days, according to the hurricane centre. The hurricane centre said Bill's winds could reach up to 177 km/h.

"Bill could become a major hurricane by Wednesday," the centre said in an alert. The five-day forecast for Bill shows the hurricane passing northeast of Puerto Rico and heading toward Bermuda. Earlier Monday, tropical storm Claudette made landfall near Fort Walton Beach, with sustained winds of up to 80 km/h, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader met with visiting former U.S. President Bill Clinton in Pyongyang on Tuesday and received a verbal message from U.S. President Barack Obama, Pyongyang's state media reported. Kim hosted a dinner for Clinton at the state guest house, said Radio Pyongyang and the Korean Central Broadcasting Station.

Clinton arrived in North Korea earlier Tuesday, a trip apparently aimed at winning the release of two American journalists detained in the communist state since March.

Lebanese Army's shock: National Internet routed through… Haifa

"A large Lebanese army force which raided the Lebanese Internet network center on Mt. Barukh east of the Lebanese town of Jezzine Saturday, Aug. 8 was dismayed to discover the exchange center which carries all of Lebanon's Internet links using equipment made in Israel. An intelligence sweep found the servers were routed to an exchange center in Haifa."

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Global Government Rising

The push towards a one world government goes forwards ...

Part #1

Part #2

Part #3

Part #4

Part #5

Part #6

NY Times article on the Pope
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday called for a radical rethinking of the global economy, criticizing a growing divide between rich and poor and urging the establishment of a “true world political authority” to oversee the economy and work for the “common good.”

Obama makes plans for Middle East peace conference this year

"DEBKAfile's political sources report that Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak's prediction Tuesday, Aug. 4, that the US is preparing to present a 'Middle East peace plan' within weeks, which Israel should accept, was misleading, although he admitted the details had not been worked out yet.

According to our Washington sources, the Obama White House is not thinking in terms of a new peace plan but a multinational conference on the lines of the Madrid conference convened by the first President George Bush to take place in November this year. Israel may not be too eager to take part because as in Madrid 1, it will be heavily outnumbered."

IDF visit to the US Marine Corps

The IDF liaison officer to the Marine Corps, Lt. Colonel Avi Gil, visited the U.S. Marines Jungle Warfare school last summer, along with officers from other armies. What does Israel have to do with Jungle Wafare? In what faraway front may Gil, who will soon command the Efraim Brigade, find himself in the footsteps of rope-swinging Tarzan?

That is not important. At the Israel Defense Forces they like to 'open up new fields,' acquire information on new subjects, especially when it is clear that Israel will no longer fight on its own, but as part of an alliance whose headquarters are in Washington.

Rapture Part 3

If you have missed parts 1 & 2 you may see them here

US Should Assist Israel if it Attacks Iran

"The former United States Ambassador to the United Nations sat down with Russia Today this week to discuss the possibility of Israel attacking Iran by the end of the year.

John Bolton has recently suggested that Israel will attack Iran by the end of 2009 because of its alleged nuclear weapons program. The former Ambassador stated that there will be two scenarios: use force against Iran or allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons.

“President Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off the map, and given that it will only take two or three nuclear weapons to do just that, I don’t think the Israelis are going to sit back. A nuclear Holocaust, a repeat of killing six million Jews is not something Israel will simply wait for,” said Bolton in a sit down interview with Russia Today."

MP to launch new bill in Parliament to strengthen the law against assisted suicide

"A Conservative MP is to launch a fight in Parliament to strengthen the current law against assisted suicide.

Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire and a former nurse, is opposed to moves to make assisted suicide legal and will set out a private members’ bill in the autumn to block any such change. She is planning to bring the bill to fight obvious attempts by the Government and prosecutors to effectively make it legal to assist someone take their own life.

Ms Dorries said on Tuesday: ‘I will challenge any moves to legalise assisted suicide. The Law Lords have called for clarification. My bill will seek to make that for proper due care and attention paid to the letter and spirit of the existing law – that assisting suicide is an illegal act."

Friday, 21 August 2009

Big Brother is watching you with RFID microchips

Imagine you’re at the grocery store and you take some tortellini from the cooler. Embedded in the packaging is a microchip that emits radio waves. The next thing you know, an ad for a high-end pasta sauce is flashing on a screen mounted on your shopping cart.

Then imagine that by scanning your house for the tiny chips implanted in every manufactured item you own, a thief generates an inventory of your clothing, DVDs, and pricey electronics, and decides to rob your house.

Finally, imagine you walk into an airport and a security officer is immediately able to find out your identity, banking information, and travel history by reading data stored in a chip in your passport—or even implanted under your skin.

Although these scenarios may sound like science fiction, the technology—known as radio-frequency identification, or RFID—is already being used to track goods such as Gillette razor blades and Gap clothing in stores. The patent for a chip that could be used in passports to monitor people in airports belongs to IBM, and a company called VeriChip is marketing a chip that is implanted under the skin in order for people to keep tabs on children, the elderly, and prisoners.

Fetuses Found to Have Memories, Say Researchers

They weigh less than 3 pounds, usually, and are perhaps 15 inches long. But they can remember. The unborn have memories, according to medical researchers who used sound and vibration stimulation, combined with sonography, to reveal that the human fetus displays short-term memory from at least 30 weeks gestation - or about two months before they are born.

'In addition, results indicated that 34-week-old fetuses are able to store information and retrieve it four weeks later,' said the research, which was released Wednesday.

Obama talks drugs, trade, immigration on Mexico visit

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (CNN) -- President Obama said Monday the United States remains Mexico's partner in the fight against drug cartels, despite some calls in the United States to delay counter-narcotics aid because of alleged human rights violations by Mexican soldiers.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon reaffirmed his commitment to transparency and human rights in his offensive against the cartels, Obama said.

Are we moving into the final moves for the North American Union

Read more about the coming North American Union:

Iraq's Assyrian Christians find temporary home in Kurdistan

For Rajo Qardaq Palander, a church security guard, the breaking point came last year, when insurgents demanded that he pay $20,000 or abandon his home in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood.

The choice was easy. He slipped out of Dora in the dead of night, joining the exodus of Assyrian Christians from Baghdad and Mosul to this haven in Iraq's Kurdish-controlled north.

'I held on as long as I could,' Palander, 35, said. 'I have no future in Iraq.'

One of Iraq's most ancient national groups, the Assyrian Christians, who are Eastern Orthodox Christians, have largely quit their ancestral home in Arab Iraq and fled to the Kurdish region, where tens of thousands now live, or abroad.

Iran's "special" prisons for breaking political opponents

Exposed here the first time are the seven secret prisons where opponents to the Iranian regime are subjected to murder, rape, broken bones and other savage abuses. The infamous Kahrizak prison on the southern outskirts of Tehran was not shut down as reported. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wanted the building demolished to the last stone to conceal the atrocities perpetrated there but he was not obeyed.

Until the defeated Iranian presidential contender Mehdi Karroubi broke the wall of silence surrounding the Islamic Republic's prisons to demand an investigation into allegations of rape, little attention was paid to the abuses meted out to protestors who dared to claim that the June 12 election was rigged.

These abuses are inflicted routinely and systematically in seven secret prisons where political detainees are held at the behest of the revolutionary Islamic regime.

Ahmadinejad faces legitimacy crisis in new term

"BEIRUT (Reuters) - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began his second term as Iran's president on Wednesday weakened by the turmoil since his disputed re-election in June and under fire from reformists, moderates and even some of his hardline allies.

Western leaders, already upset by Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel rhetoric, Holocaust denial and uncompromising nuclear line, refused to congratulate the president on his inauguration, although their counterparts in Japan and Turkey did so.

Snubbing the 53-year-old president might play into his hands, argued Alireza Nader, a RAND Corp analyst.

'Isolating Ahmadinejad internationally may strengthen his appeal among his hardline supporters,' he said. 'As a politician, Ahmadinejad thrives on confrontation, especially on foreign policy issues such as the nuclear program.'"

Fatah Reveals Its True Colors

"Fatah does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, nor have we ever asked others to do so,” Rafik Natsheh, a member of Fatah’s influential Central Committee, said last month.

“We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel,” said Mohammed Dahlan, a top adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in March. “On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel, even today.”

“The desire for popular support has not moderated Hamas, but has radicalized Fatah.” — David Schenker, Foreign Policy

Extreme statements. Yet neither of these men are known as extremists. Natsheh was an outspoken critic of then-PA President Yasser Arafat several years ago. Ynetnews called Dahlan one of Fatah’s “most moderate figures.”"

Hezbollah preparing rockets for Israel attack

"The Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah has stockpiled 40,000 rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv. The Times of London has reported that militants are being trained in the use of the rockets which have been stored near the border with Israel.

Hezbollah is also believed to have thousands of other weapons, including long-range ground-to-ground missiles and anti-aircraft missiles to use against Israel."

New fire starts in Idaho; Alaska fire is biggest in U.S.

"The new Warm Springs Fire in the Nez Perce National Forest 23 miles east of Elk City has burned 111 acres.

Meanwhile, the Railbelt Complex in the Fairbanks, Alaska, area increased Saturday to 438,447 acres, reported the National Interagency Fire Center.

A total of 23 fires have burned 826,111 acres in Idaho, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas, Oregon, Utah and Washington, NIFC said."

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Extremists call for caliphate in London(istan)

Conference season starts a bit early for Islamists hoping to make Britain part of the Islamic caliphate (Khilafah), and Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain’s national Conference, “The Struggle for ISLAM and the call for Khilafah” in London today will certainly be one of the less tedious get-togethers this year (although less chance of a boozy one-night-stand, admittedly).

You may have heard of the group. They were built up by sponging radical cleric Omar Bakri Muhammad, who once called the 9/11 hijackers “magnificent” and spouted the cause of jihad against the West while scrounging £250,000 off the British taxpayer. Hizb have come close to being banned for their support of Islamic extremism, but our weak, enfeebled government, desperate not to upset anyone, worried it might drive them underground. Well, they sound like they’re really inside the big tent right now.

Surviving Secular College

I can say from experience that being a biblical creationist at a secular college has its challenges. In addition to the normal academic pressures faced by all students, the consistent Christian must learn to be discerning about the views and interpretations expressed by his or her professors. This requires extra research as well as time (a valuable commodity while in college!). Such intellectual challenges occur in the midst of a social environment that is hostile to Christianity.

Many Christian parents are concerned that such a secular environment may lead their children to walk away from the Church. This concern is justified, since studies have shown that around two out of three Christian students from conservative churches will leave the church when they become adults.

Israel bombs Gaza tunnel in retaliatory strike

GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli warplanes bombed a tunnel under the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt Monday, the first such attack in almost two months, the Israeli military said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the raid, in which there were no reported casualties, was in response to firing from Gaza and that Israel would respond to every shooting.

'We aren't ready to accept rocket fire at our communities,' he said at a meeting in southern Israel with former Jewish settlers Israel removed from Gaza under a 2005 pullout.

'Our enemies should know this is our policy. We aren't ready to absorb rocket fire on our settlements.'

Iran's nuclear aspirations threaten the world

The Islamic Republic has proved it only uses talks with the West as a delaying tactic as it relentlessly pursues nuclear arms. Only severe sanctions backed by military threat will have any impact. Defying both history and logic, the idea that the West should diplomatically engage with Tehran still commands an important following.

Despite the massive waves of demonstrators across Iran who charged their government with rigging the June 12 presidential elections, there still are officials in the Obama ad- ministration who seem to believe that engagement with the Islamic Republic should "remain on the table," as columnist Roger Cohen put it in the New York Times Magazine this week. Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, agrees: "We would like very much that soon we will have the possibility to restart multilateral talks with Iran on the important nuclear issues," he said on June 24.

But they're wrong, just as they have been from the start. Indeed, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about sticking to engagement. The main one is that it has already been tried -- and utterly failed. Iran has consistently used the West's willingness to engage as a delaying tactic, a smoke screen behind which Iran's nuclear program has continued undeterred and, in many cases, undetected.

Hamas may have committed war crimes

"GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A prominent human rights group said there is 'strong evidence' that Gaza's Hamas rulers committed war crimes by allowing militants to fire rockets from the territory, killing civilians in Israel, in a report released Thursday.

The 31-page report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch focuses on Hamas's actions in connection with Israel's three-week offensive in Gaza that ended in late January. Human Rights Watch, as well as other groups, have previously produced reports accusing Israel of committing war crimes during the offensive designed to stop Palestinian rocket fire.

'Hamas rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians are unlawful and unjustifiable, and amount to war crimes,' said Iain Levine of Human Rights Watch. But the report stopped short of clearly stating that Hamas militants were guilty of war crimes, with officials saying only a court could make that accusation."

Italian Prime Minister legalises Vigilantes

"Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government, which has already put several thousand soldiers on the streets of Italy, was yesterday to legalize vigilante patrols and set out the guidelines under which they can operate.

The plans prompted an outcry from opposition politicians and police unions, but got a mixed reception from Italy’s mayors, who must decide whether they want law enforcement volunteers in their towns. An overwhelming majority of those in favor run ­cities in the north, where the anti-immigrant Northern League has long argued for wider use of vigilantes.

The interior minister, Roberto Maroni, a member of the Northern League, denied that the plan was to introduce vigilantism to Italy: “The decree does not create [vigilante] patrols; it regulates them.”"

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Two Thirds of Jews want the Temple rebuilt

About two thirds of the public want the Temple rebuilt, including about half of secular Israelis, a new survey conducted for Ynet and the Gesher organization revealed. The survey was held by the Panels Institute among 516 respondents that are a representative sample of the adult Jewish population. The margin of error was 4.3%.

Initially, the respondents were asked what happened on Tisha B'Av (Ninth of Av), and showed impressive knowledge. Ninety-seven percent responded that the Temple was destroyed, while only 2% said they did not know.

The second question was whether respondents wanted to see the Temple rebuilt. Sixty-four percent responded favorably, while 36% said no. An analysis of the answers showed that not only the ultra-Orthodox and the religious look forward to the rebuilding of the Temple (100% and 97% respectively), but also the traditional public (91%) and many seculars – 47%.

Read about the The Holocast of Jerusalem

Ezekiel on Iran

Turkey is not European

Will Turkey ever join the EU? Writing in the Guardian, Tariq Ramadan argues that the EU must let the former Ottoman power back into Europe and that they’ve only barred Turkish membership out of fear, xenophobia and, of course, Islamophobia:

Political parties that call for an increasingly narrow view of Europe are gaining ground. These parties promote a strictly Judeo-Christian perspective of European history, mistrust of Islam, repressive hardline immigration policies and reject a Turkey they claim is overpopulated and excessively Muslim.

He then goes on to make this extraordinary claim:

The arguments that locate Turkey outside European history and geography cannot withstand analysis. For more than four centuries the Ottoman empire shared and shaped the political and strategic future of the continent. During the late 19th and early 20th century, it became the “sick man of Europe”. Even today, Turkey’s historical and economic influence continues to be substantial.

Hypothesizing on the Iran, Russia, U.S. Triangle

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleFor the past several weeks, STRATFOR has focused on the relationship between Russia and Iran. As our readers will recall, a pro-Rafsanjani demonstration that saw chants of “Death to Russia,” uncommon in Iran since the 1979 revolution, triggered our discussion. It caused us to rethink Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Russia just four days after Iran’s disputed June 12 presidential election, with large-scale demonstrations occurring in Tehran.

At the time, we ascribed Ahmadinejad’s trip as an attempt to signal his lack of concern at the postelection unrest. But why did a pro-Rafsanjani crowd chant “Death to Russia?”

What had the Russians done to trigger the bitter reaction from the anti-Ahmadinejad faction? Was the Iranian president’s trip as innocent as it first looked?

Whispers of war; racial tension in Britain; plus, forget Cash for Clunkers, get a free AK-47

United States Vice President Joseph Biden dangled the red cape before Russia recently, practically daring the Kremlin to charge. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last month, Mr. Biden said that Russia is confronting some “very difficult, calculated decisions.”

“They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they’re in a situation where the world is changing before them and they’re clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable,” he said, before noting that these things should not be said publicly.

The vice president is right about Russia’s pressing domestic challenges. But its military might and aggressive foreign policy has experienced quite a revival in recent years. And with the window of opportunity closing before some of these crippling domestic problems set is, the Kremlin’s time to act is now.

Would Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be willing to start the war with Israel?

"And what about his relationship with Ayatollah Khamenei. President Ahmadinejad began his second term in office.


1. Except of the presidential elections which points in the political career of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are crucial in your opinion and why?

2. How would you describe his relationship with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei? Do their political and religious views differ and how?

3. Imagine Iran has resources to attack Israel. Would he be really willing to consider it and to push it through the Iranian system of governance or many of his controversial speeches in the past were just unhelpful rhetoric?"

Venezuela announces new arms purchase from Russia

"Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez reported on Wednesday on his next visit to Russia, where he plans to sign multiple agreements, including one instrument to buy several tanks and shield the country against the deployment of US troops in Colombia.

'Now, one of the things we are planning to do is going to Moscow (…) We will buy several battalions of Russian, cutting-edge tanks,' said the president during a press conference with foreign correspondents."

Is Local government after more of your money?

"Faced with the need to rein in expenditure, Councils are going to be tempted instead to drive for more income. Thwarted by some government control over Council Tax levels, and disappointed by the grant settlements from the centre, we should be ready for further increases in the level and range of fees and charges they impose.

I have no objection to the principle that the user should pay. Imposing a charge for something I want which the Council supplies is fine. What I object to is having to pay rip off monopoly prices for things they make me have but do not want, or high monopoly prices for things I would rather buy from some one else if they would let me. Paying for something I have already paid for through my taxes, like parking space on local roads, can also be vexatious."

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Return of Christ

What Makes a Christian Martyr Differ from Other Faiths’ Martyrs?

“He was a martyr for a good cause.” A person is put to death (often quite brutally) because he refuses to recant his beliefs and teachings when he is demanded to do so by angry opponents. So, we have Muslim martyrs, Jewish martyrs, communist martyrs, Christian martyrs, Buddhist martyrs, Hindu martyrs, etc. They are all the same, right? Not really.

The English word “martyr” is an almost direct transliteration from the New Testament Greek word, martus, which originally meant a “witness.” It was especially used in the early church to signify those who were witnesses of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (e.g., Acts 1:22), and consequently many of those apostles died giving testimony of their Lord. In current usage it usually means one who is killed for refusing to renounce their religious faith, practices, and beliefs.

Construction minister gunned down in Russia's Ingushetia

ROSTOV-ON-DON, August 12 (RIA Novosti) - Ingushetia's construction minister was gunned down in his office on Wednesday, an Interior Ministry official in Russia's volatile southern republic said.

'Unknown gunmen fired at Ruslan Amerkhanov, the construction minister, at about 10:35 a.m. Moscow time (06:35 GMT). Details of the attack are being verified,' the official said on the telephone.

The minister's aide was later reported to have been injured in the attack. Two gunmen were reported to have fled the scene in a car.

The killing is the latest in a series of high-profile attacks in the North Caucasus republic.

Moral maze: A one way ticket to Dignitas?

Assisted suicide has been in the news again. Backed by the pro-euthanasia organisation known as “Dignity in Dying”, Debbie Purdy has won her case in the House of Lords and the Director of Public Prosecutions has been forced to issue guidance indicating the factors to be taken into account in deciding whether or not someone who “aids or abets” a suicide under the Suicide Act 1961, should be prosecuted. Debbie Purdy, a strong personality, described in The Guardian as “a self-confessed adrenaline junkie who had revelled in travelling the world diving from planes, conquering mountains, trekking through jungles and exploring the depths of the oceans”, but tragically now a multiple sclerosis sufferer, wanting to exercise complete control in death as she has in life."

Muslim extremists call for Caliphate in London

"Furious Londoners are demanding to know why a Muslim extremist organisation they say is ‘peddling divisive hatred’ was allowed to hold a conference for 2,000 people in London’s East End.

Residents of Tower Hamlets, a London borough to the east of the City of London and north of the River Thames in East London, have contacted their local councillors about Hizb ut-Tahrir taking over Stepney’s Troxy theatre for the conference on Sunday, 26 July 2009, with police being deployed outside.

Tim Archer, a council Tory Opposition deputy leader, said: ‘It is extremely dangerous that this organisation is coming to the East End. Hizb ut-Tahrir is known for peddling hatred and violence that can be divisive in the community.’"

Russian secret service helped Hizballah bust Israel's Lebanese spy rings

Western intelligence sources in the Middle East have disclosed to DEBKAfile that a special unit of the Russian Federal Security Service - FSB, commissioned by Hizballah's special security apparatus earlier this year, was responsible for the massive discovery of alleged Israel spy rings in Lebanon in recent months with the help of super-efficient detection systems.

Those sources report that the FSB and Hizballah have amassed quantities of undisclosed data on Israel's clandestine operations in Lebanon and are holding it in reserve in order to leak spectacular discoveries as and when it suits their purpose.

This disclosure, if borne out, would indicate that the Russian agency, which specializes in counterespionage, is engaged for the first time in anti-Israel activity in the service of an Arab terrorist organization. An Israeli security source describes this turn of events extremely grave. It also cast an ominous slant on Moscow's deepening strategic involvement in Syria.

Tehran prepares to declare three detained Americans "Israeli spies"

"On Aug. 5, the day of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's inauguration as president, Tehran officials said they could not confirm or deny Iran was holding three American journalists detained on July 31 while crossing from Iraq into Iran on the Kurdistan border. According to DEBKAfile's Iranian sources, Tehran is preparing to claim the three captives, Jewish Americans, are Israeli spies, arousing fears in Washington and Tehran that the newly elected president plans to use his captives as a stick to humiliate the Obama administration and force an apology for the way it treated him.

Ahmadinejad is furious over the White House's refusal to congratulate him on his reelection, although Washington did say that the US recognizes him as the president of Iran. He is plotting to use the three Americans to provoke a new crisis between his government and Washington. Mustafa Najr will therefore not be reappointed defense minister but interior minister instead so as to put a hardliner in charge of the American detainees.

To turn the screw, Tehran will spread a thick smoke screen over their fate after which they will be accused of having been assigned by Israeli and US intelligence to spy on Iran."

RBS loses a packet

"You may have heard on the BBC that RBS made £15 million. If only.

The loss for shareholders (yes, us the taxpayers) was £1 billion for the six months. There was a collosal £7.5 billion of write offs. The operating loss was £3.35 billion.

The bank has started to shrink its size dramatically. The balance sheet has been reduced by a quarter, from £2.2 trillion to £1.64 trillion , but is still bigger than the national income.

If you want to know why there isn’t enough credit in the UK economy you should start by looking at the government’s very own big bank and its policy. It has set out to cut its loan to deposit ratio to 100% from 150%. That will mean reining in its lending. It is also planning to more than halve its reliance on wholesale funds, again pointing to less lending.

Meanwhile according to news reports the staff costs are up 11%!"

John Redwood, MP

Who will rid us of these turbulent banks?

"Who will rid us of these turbulent banks? The government has landed taxpayers in a dreadful and expensive mess.

First they blundered by allowing banks to lend too much and balloon their balance sheets in the good times. The Regulators fell down on the job. The government encouraged them for political reasons, wanting to keep interest rates too low and credit plentiful. Few were to be denied a mortgage, regardless of whether they could pay it back."

Monday, 17 August 2009

Government shouldn’t decide 'when to pull the plug on grandma'

WINTERSET — Americans should be scared of provisions in a health care bill currently in the U.S. House because it will allow the government to have a say in end-of-life decisions, Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley told a crowd of more than 300 Wednesday morning.

“In the House bill, there is counseling for end of life,” Grassley said. “You have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. Should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma”

The conspiracy theory of the government deciding who lives and dies has been making the rounds of late, gaining momentum after former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin posted a message on her Facebook saying President Obama’s health care plan might kill her child who was born with Down Syndrome.

Philippines clashes leave 43 dead

At least 43 people - including 23 soldiers and 20 militants - have been killed in clashes in the southern Philippines, an army commander says.

Maj Gen Benjamin Dolorfino said 400 troops launched co-ordinated attacks on a camp belonging to Abu Sayyaf rebels on the southern island of Basilan.

He said soldiers recovered home-made bombs and 13 high-powered firearms.

Fighting has ceased, but troops were combing the area to see if two targeted Abu Sayyaf chieftains had been killed.

U.K. Hits Back at U.S. Health Reform 'Untruths'

The Health arguements in the states have caused a major US/UK arguement.

LONDON -- Britain's health care service says it is sick of what it calls lies from critics of President Obama's health care overhaul.

Pilloried by right-wing opponents of Obama's health plan, Britain's National Health Service, known here as the NHS, is fighting back.

'People have been saying some untruths in the States,' a spokesman for Britain Department of Health said in a telephone interview. 'There's been all these ridiculous claims made by the American health lobby about Obama's health care plan ... and they've used the NHS as an example. A lot of it has been untrue.'

Pope prays at Muslim, Jewish sites

"JERUSALEM | Pope Benedict XVI prayed at Muslim and Jewish holy sites at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Tuesday, calling on men and women of good will to undertake sincere dialogue to build 'a world of justice and peace for coming generations.'

'Here the path of the world's three great monotheistic religions meet, reminding us what they share in common,' Benedict said on the second day of his visit to Israel as he became the first pope to visit the Dome of the Rock shrine inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound dominating Jerusalem`s Old City."

Bible Literacy and Home Bible Studies

A recent study by The National Biblical Literacy Survey found that Bible literacy is declining among people under the age of 45 in the UK. A majority of young people didn't know some of the most basic Bible stories. For instance, 62 percent of respondents didn't know about the Prodigal Son, and another 60 percent couldn't tell who the Good Samaritan was. These same people might turn to the Bible in a time of stress, but a significant number thought it was an outdated irrelevant book. Yet, as in the days of John and Charles Wesley, spiritual life can be found in small groups in the UK, gathering to study the Scriptures and to encourage and disciple one another.

In recent years the number of home churches and small group fellowships in the United States has risen exponentially. Since the year 2000, it is estimated that more than 20 million Americans have begun exploring alternative forms of worship, including home churches. A survey conducted in 2006 by the Barna group concluded that about nine percent of adults in the United States today attend a house church – a decade ago that number was less than one percent.

Quakes and Typhoons: What's Up with Mother Nature? | LiveScience

It may seem like Mother Nature is pulling out all the weapons in her arsenal, after a spate of earthquakes and cyclones struck Asia in recent days, but the fact that these events coincided is just that — a coincidence.

Typhoon Morakot was the first to strike, slamming into Taiwan Sunday and causing disastrous mudslides with its torrential rains. Scores are feared to have died in the maelstrom.

While the Taiwanese were lashed by the storm's wind and rain, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake rumbled off the Japan coast, also on Sunday. On Tuesday, Japan was struck again by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake that triggered a small tsunami and caused buildings to sway in Tokyo, some 90 miles away, according to news reports. While the Earth trembled, the country was also seeing rain from Typhoon Etau.

Minutes before, another earthquake had ruptured in the Indian Ocean on Tuesday, north of India's Andaman Islands. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) put the magnitude of that temblor at 7.6.

See more here ...
Hospitals urged to treat disaster victims on credit
1,000 Taiwanese found alive after Typhoon Morakot
Japan digs out from typhoon, quake disasters

Logical Fallacies: The Fallacy of Equivocation

When debating on any topic, it is very important that we pay close attention to the meaning of words and how they are being used in the debate. Most words have more than one meaning, but only one of these meanings will properly fit the given context. When someone shifts from one meaning of a word to another within an argument, he or she has committed the fallacy of equivocation.

Here is a facetious example: “Doctors know a lot about medicine, and Dr. Lisle is a doctor. So, he must know a lot about medicine.” This short argument shifts from one meaning of the word doctor (medical doctor) to another (Ph.D.), making the argument fallacious. This use of equivocation is sometimes called a “bait and switch” fallacy because the listener is baited on one meaning of a word, and then the meaning is switched to draw a faulty conclusion.

What Will a Muslim Europe Look Like?

The Telegraph recently made headlines with a survey that suggested that a fifth of the European Union will be Muslim by 2050. This is if anything an understatement of the situation, since once you subtract Eastern European states and focus in on Western European countries such as England, France and Italy… or Sweden, Islam will comprise a sizable enough minority to be considered a state within a state. And even the most pessimistic statistics will grow gloomier if 75 million Turks inside the presently Islamist Turkey will become part of the European Union.

Meanwhile always eager to get ahead, Russia estimates that Islam will become its predominant religion by 2050. The Russians, both under the USSR and in the Putin era, have done everything they can to try and raise the birth rate, but remains at half that of Uzbekistan, or even war torn Chechnya. With the Russian population set to fall by almost 50 million, to 100 million in 2050, the Muslim birth rate will have made up the surplus. Having tried all the usual financial family incentives and even made an effort at luring back its former Jewish emigrants, Russia is now counting on its state run network of mosques, which can only preach Jihad at America, England and any non-Russian infidels, to maintain control. It is an absurd strategy, but no more so than Europe’s own.

Nigeria survivors describe night of terror by sect

"MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — They came in the night, screaming as they attacked policemen and soldiers in a series of assaults that escalated into a bloodbath that left more than 700 people dead.

Victims described the July 26 onslaught to The Associated Press Tuesday, detailing highly coordinated and ruthless attacks by the radical Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

From hospital beds with family members kneeling at their feet, survivors said attackers used guns, knives and machetes — the latter to avoid accidentally shooting each other — as they swept through military barracks, police stations, homes of law enforcement officials and at least 22 churches.

They said Nigerian security forces had been unprepared for the militant offensive that spread last week to four states in northern Nigeria, even though moderate Muslim clerics had sounded warnings about the group."

US pledges support for Somalia

"Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, is due to meet with Somalia's president to discuss how to stabilise the war-torn country battling with Islamist fighters.

The interim government of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, backed by an African peacekeeping force, has come under attack from groups including al Shabaab, which want to impose their interpretation of Islam across the country.

Clinton is expected to promise financial aid, including shipments of weapons, to the Horn of Africa nation at talks in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, on Thursday.

'We know we're facing a very difficult conflict, and we also know that the presence of al Shabaab and terrorist elements within Somalia poses a threat,' she said ahead of the meeting."

Tension on Israel-Lebanese border rises as Iran sends Hizballah upgraded missiles

"Israel, Lebanon and Iran have been trading charges of responsibility for the rising military tensions on the Lebanese-Israeli border in the past week. DEBKAfile's military sources disclose that the Lebanese Shiite Hizballah is preparing for the intake of self-propelled anti-air SAM-8 missiles and an upgraded version of the Iranian ground-ground Fateh-110 missile, whose warhead carries half a ton of explosives with a 200-kilometer range.

Iran appears concerned that President Barack Obama, whom Tehran sources see as frustrated by his failure to cut the Assad regime in Damascus away from its bonds with Tehran, may give Israel a green light to punish Hizballah. The Iranians have responded by pumping up allegations of Israeli threats and building up Hizballah's arsenal with deliveries of advanced air-to-air, ground-to-ground, and shore-to-sea missiles for crippling Israel's military and battering its civilian population in the event of a flare-up."

Sectarian violence hits Pakistani town

On a street in the small Punjabi town of Gojra, house after house stands gutted and looted.

One home in particular is the focus of attention. The windows and doors are gone, what is left of the furniture lies gnarled inside, and some of the ceilings have collapsed. People are peering into a small bedroom at the back of the building.

It is from here that the charred bodies of six members of the Hameed family, from Pakistan's minority Christian community, were recovered. The youngest of the dead was four-year-old Mousa.

Lutherans prepare to debate gay clergy

The nation's largest Lutheran denomination will consider lifting its ban on gay and lesbian clergy who are in lifelong, monogamous relationships as it gathers this month for a churchwide meeting.

More than 1,000 delegates will debate church policy Aug. 17-23 at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) biennial General Assembly in Minneapolis.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Iran inmates 'tortured to death'

One of Iran's defeated opposition presidential candidates has said some protesters held after June's disputed poll were tortured to death in prison.

The claim by Mehdi Karroubi comes days after he said a number of prisoners, both male and female, had been raped.

Officials deny the rape claims, but admit that abuses have taken place.

The BBC's Jon Leyne says the opposition is using the issue to keep up political pressure without directly questioning Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's poll victory.

Growing Speculation on Fate of Missing Ship

The disappearance of a Russian-manned cargo ship in the Atlantic more than two weeks ago spawned a variety of theories and intriguing reports Thursday as the search drew in investigators from across Europe. (Aug. 13)

Runaway cites fear of father over leaving Islam

A Northeast Side 17-year-old who ran away, saying that her father would kill her for leaving Islam, is in state custody in Florida. But Sgt. Jerry Cupp of the missing-persons unit of the Columbus police special-victims bureau, disputes Fathima Rifqa Bary's allegation. He said her father, Mohamed Bary, appears to be a loving parent who knew about her conversion to Christianity months ago.

The New Albany High School cheerleader, who goes by Rifqa, disappeared on July 19, prompting fears that she had been abducted, Cupp said. Authorities soon found that she was staying with a married couple who pastor a church in Orlando.

'She was petrified that her dad would kill her,' said the Rev. Beverly Lorenz, who leads Global Revolution Church in Orlando along with her husband, the Rev. Blake Lorenz.

God of Wonders (DVD)

Prophecy News Watch - Biblical Prophecy in the News: "A feature-length Discovery-quality documentary without the evolutionary bias. Stunning nature footage, scientific insights and Scriptures combine to reveal the wonders of our Creator as observed throughout His creation.

God's wonders surround us. And these marvels reveal much about our Creator. Through creation we glimpse His power and wisdom, His majesty and care. Creation is speaking to those who will listen…"

Wanted Islamist terrorist Noordin M. Top killed

"A six-year manhunt and a 17-hour firefight in Indonesia's Java town of Temanggung ended early Saturday, Aug. 8 in the death of Noordin M. Top, one of the most wanted terrorists in Asia. As linchpin of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, Top was believed by the FBI to be behind hundreds of deaths in attacks which included the twin hotel bombings in Jakarta last month, the 2004 attack on the Australian embassy and the Bali nightclub massacre in 2002."

Richard Dawkins interviews creationist John Mackay

A civil debate off stage between Richard and John.

Eight Christians burnt to death in a senseless attack by Muslims in Pakistan

"Hundreds of Muslims torched and looted Christian homes in Gojra, Pakistan, burning to death eight Christians.

Hundreds of armed Muslims set alight and looted dozens of Christian homes in Gojra town in Pakistan last week, after unsubstantiated rumours that a copy of the Koran had been desecrated by a Christian. Local officials said the rumours which led to the killing were false. Shahbaz Bhatti, the Minister for Minorities, said that a Christian neighbourhood had been attacked by a mob ‘misled by Muslim extremists’."

Russian Subs Patrolling Off East Coast of U.S.

"WASHINGTON — A pair of nuclear-powered Russian attack submarines has been patrolling off the eastern seaboard of the United States in recent days, a rare mission that has raised concerns inside the Pentagon and intelligence agencies about a more assertive stance by the Russian military.

The episode has echoes of the cold war era, when the United States and the Soviet Union regularly parked submarines off each other’s coasts to steal military secrets, track the movements of their underwater fleets — and be poised for war.

But the collapse of the Soviet Union all but eliminated the ability of the Russian Navy to operate far from home ports, making the current submarine patrols thousands of miles from Russia more surprising for military officials and defense policy experts."

Birthplace of Roman emperor found in Italy - Yahoo! News

"ROME – Archaeologists have unearthed a sprawling country villa believed to be the birthplace of Vespasian, the Roman emperor who built the Colosseum, they said Friday. The 2,000-year-old ruins were found about 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Rome, near Cittareale, lead archaeologist Filippo Coarelli said.

The 150,000-square-feet (14,000-square-meter) complex was at the center of an ancient village called Falacrine, Vespasian's hometown.

Even though there are no inscriptions to attribute it for sure, the villa's location and luxury make it likely it was Vespasian's birthplace, Coarelli said."

Geckos' Amazing Grip Is Triggered By Gravity

Geckos are very adept at climbing through difficult terrain using an intricate adhesive system. Until now it has not been known when and how they switch on their unique system of traction.

Scientists at the University of Calgary and Clemson University in South Carolina have discovered that the geckos' amazing grip is triggered by gravity.

"Geckos use microscopic, hair-like filaments to attach to surfaces. Only at certain angles do they switch on their traction system, however" says Russell, a biological sciences professor at the U of C. "We are trying to understand this process, which will help in mimicking it for application to robotics."

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Entering the Greatest Depression in History

While there is much talk of a recovery on the horizon, commentators are forgetting some crucial aspects of the financial crisis. The crisis is not simply composed of one bubble, the housing real estate bubble, which has already burst. The crisis has many bubbles, all of which dwarf the housing bubble burst of 2008. Indicators show that the next possible burst is the commercial real estate bubble. However, the main event on the horizon is the “bailout bubble” and the general world debt bubble, which will plunge the world into a Great Depression the likes of which have never before been seen.

The housing real estate market, despite numbers indicating an upward trend, is still in trouble, as, “Houses are taking months to sell. Many buyers are having trouble getting financing as lenders and appraisers struggle to figure out what houses are really worth in the wake of the collapse.” Further, “the overall market remains very soft [...] aside from speculators and first-time buyers.” Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington said, “It would be wrong to imagine that we have hit a turning point in the market,” as “There is still an enormous oversupply of housing, which means that the direction of house prices will almost certainly continue to be downward.” Foreclosures are still rising in many states “such as Nevada, Georgia and Utah, and economists say rising unemployment may push foreclosures higher into next year.” Clearly, the housing crisis is still not at an end.

Ronald S. Lauder in WSJ: Mideast Peace Starts With Respect

Mr. Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress made headlines this week, standing up for Israel.

Ronald Lauder Stands Up for Israel!In light of a Fatah convention that confirmed that these "moderate Palestinians" will not recognize a Jewish State, and growing evidence that the Obama administration is preparing to launch a full scale diplomatic offense on behalf of the Palestinians, at the expense of Jerusalem and Israel's security -- Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, became the first major Jewish leader to defend Israel against this Obama-driven onslaught.

Note to Obama: The Palestinians still haven’t recognized the Jewish state.

More than one American president has tried to bring peace to the Middle East, and more than one has failed. So as the Obama administration outlines its own prospectus for a comprehensive settlement to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and the wider Arab world, it would do well to take note of some potential pitfalls.

Rule No. 1: Respect the sovereignty of democratic allies. When free people in a democracy express their preferences, the United States should respect their opinions. The current administration should not try to impose ideas on allies like Israel.

U.S. to Resume Training Georgian Troops

WASHINGTON — The United States is resuming a combat training mission in the former Soviet republic of Georgia to prepare its army for counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan, despite the risks of angering Russia, senior Defense Department officials said Thursday.

The training effort is intended to prepare Georgian troops to fight at NATO standards alongside American and allied forces in Afghanistan, the Pentagon officials said.

Russian officials have been informed, American officials said. The training should not worry the Kremlin, they said, because it would not involve skills that would be useful against a large conventional force like Russia’s.

A Fearful Thing, Betraying Israel

Hal talks about recent reports that prove even further that the entire world seems to be against Israel, just as the Bible predicted.

The Future of Babylon Project - eNews for July 07, 2009

"Babylon is on its way toward popularity once again. A mere 2600 years ago, Babylon stood as the greatest city on earth, the capital of the world. The grandeur of the mighty city can be vaguely imagined by gazing on the heaps of broken rock at its ancient site on the Euphrates River. Now, the Iraqi and US governments are preparing to develop the area as a tourist attraction. While promoting tourism may not rebuild Babylon, it will bring money into the country and provide plenty of industry to the local populations. And it may bring Babylon into the public mind once again."

Hizbul boss told his men to strike terror in India

"Two suspected Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, who were arrested in Delhi, had met the outfit's chief Syed Salahuddin in terrorist training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir where he asked them to carry out terror strikes in India, police claimed on Friday.

Javed Ahmed Tantray and Ashiq Ali Bhatt, the alleged militants belonging to Jammu and Kashmir who were remanded to police custody till August 17 by a court on Friday following their arrest from central Delhi's Daryaganj at around 11 pm on Thursday night, had met Salahuddin several times after their first introduction in 2003.

'(A few months back) Salahuddin told them that they will be given some important assignment in India in near future,' Joint Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) P N Aggarwal told media persons in Delhi."

Strong 7.1-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes

"A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 has shaken the Japanese capital of Tokyo and surrounding areas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

There have been no immediate reports of damages or casualties from the temblor, which halted trains and rattled furniture and walls in Tokyo homes at 7:56 p.m. Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The agency says there is no danger of tsunami from the quake, which was centered in the Izu Islands, 192 miles south southwest of Tokyo."

Friday, 14 August 2009

Ancient toolmakers discovered fire treatment

WASHINGTON – Maybe it was an accident or perhaps an ancient experiment. Many thousands of years ago, early humans somehow figured out they could make better stone tools by treating the rocks with fire. Evidence of that, dating 72,000 years ago, has been found on the southeastern tip of Africa, researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

The find pushes back the first evidence of such technology by at least 45,000 years, according to Curtis Marean, a paleoanthropologist at the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, a co-author of the report.

'Heat treatment technology begins with a genius moment — someone discovers that heating stone makes it easier to flake,' Marean said in a statement. The new discovery is then passed on and improved.

The researchers found items made from a stone called silcrete, which usually was poor for tool making. But heating it causes it to change color and alter its grain structure, making it more usable.

Pastors' right to talk about Jesus threatened

A case in which two preachers, including an American, were arrested for talking in public about Jesus will be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, according to a law firm working on the case.

Officials with the International Human Rights Group have announced plans to prepare the appeal of the case involving Larry Keffer, who works through the Biblical Research Center in Tampa, Fla.