"Am I therefore become your enemy,because I TELL YOU THE TRUTH...?"
(Galatians 4:16)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Russia warns of arms war in space

MOSCOW-Russia's military space commander vowed to retaliate with an arms race if any country started putting weapon systems into orbit, he said in remarks published on Wednesday."We need to have strong rules about space, to avoid its militarization and if any country will place a weapon in space, then our response will be the same," Space Forces Commander Colonel-General Vladimir Popovkin told the newspaper Trud.Popovkin's remarks were the latest in a series of increasingly assertive statements from the Russian military, which is alarmed at what it sees as a growing hardware imbalance with the West.Stung by NATO expansion up to Russia's borders, President Vladimir Putin has given notice that Russia intends to pull out of a treaty limiting conventional forces in Europe.Tensions between Russia and Washington have deepened over U.S. plans to rekindle the stalled "Star Wars" program from the 1980s with a new generation of missile defense shields.Popovkin said no country had the right to declare itself the master of space, so strike forces shouldn't be deployed there.He avoided naming names but his comments follow growing friction over space between Moscow, Washington and Beijing. Earlier this year China tested an anti-satellite missile and the U.S. has been developing weapons which can hit satellites.Russia has more than 60 military and dual-purpose satellites in orbit for communications and intelligence, Popovkin said.Russia's space forces have responsibility for military and dual-use spacecraft launch as well as helping defend the country from hostile intercontinental missile attacks.Although the forces were left blind in some areas after the break-up of the Soviet Union, they were now reorganized, Popovkin said.
"In 2009, we'll begin testing a new generation satellite. Already, Russia can detect any ballistic missile being launched from earth towards Russia," he said.

As in the days of Noah....

Bible and Historical Facts About Iran

Many of our readers have asked questions about Iran and what we should know about this important and strategic country in our world. The earliest history we have deals with ELAM. At the time of Abraham (about 4000 years ago-Genesis 14) we learn of a confederacy of nations that appears to have as its leader a man named Chedorlaomer who is stated to be the "king of Elam." In a battle with the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham and his 318 trained men pursued them and rescued Lot.The prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 21:2) mentions Elam and seems to imply a relationship with ancient Media (the Medes). The prophet Jeremiah also refers to Elam in Jeremiah 49:34-39 and refers to their coming destruction as a nation. The dating of this prophecy is at the time of Zedekiah, king of Judah. It perhaps occurred by the domination of Babylon who also destroyed Jerusalem in 586 b.c. The interesting Biblical fact of prophecy in Jeremiah 49:39 is this: "But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the Lord." It is quite possible that this is a reference to the future Day of the Lord.In the 7th century b.c. a small kingdom was established at Parsumash under Achaemenes whose name is used by history in describing the first Persian dynasty. The son of Achaemenes was a man named Teispes (675-640 b.c.), and apparently his kingdom was dominated by the Medes. After he was given his freedom from the control of the Medes, history records that the weakness of Elam allowed him to gain control of the province of Parsa (modern Fars). It was the Assyrians under Ashurbanipal that put an end to the nation of Elam.The son of Teispes was Cyrus I who came in contact with the Assyrians as the leader of the Persians. The son of Cyrus I was Cambyses who married the daughter of the Median king Astyges. Their son of Cyrus I was Cambyses who married the daughter of the Median king Astyges. Their son was Cyrus II, known in history as Cyrus the Great (559-530 b.c.), the first great and dominant king of ancient Persia. Cyrus II also conquered the Medes, and defeated his grandfather Astyges, and made the Median capital of Ecbatana his own capital. Cyrus also invaded Asia Minor and defeated Croesus, king of Lydia. He also captured Babylon in 539 b.c. (the official date of the fall of the Babylonian Empire) with little resistance.The son of Cyrus II was Cambyses II (529-522 b.c.) who conquered Egypt. Cambyses II was succeeded by Darius I, known as Darius the Great (522-486 b.c.) and as Darius Hystaspes (his father was one of the satraps of the Persian Empire). Darius created 20 satrapies (provinces) in order to administrate effectively the growing strength of the Persian Empire. Darius I also moved the capital from Pasagadae to Persepolis. He was a follower of Zoroaster and a worshiper of Ahura Mazda (also followed by Xerxes and Artaxerxes of Biblical history). This is the same king mentioned in the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah. The Temple project was completed by the Jews in 516 b.c. during his reign.Darius I was succeeded by his son Xerxes (485-465 b.c.). An inscription at Persepolis lists the nations under his control. He is also the same King Ahashuerus mentioned in the Book of Ester. Following his reign, Artaxerxes Longimanus I came to power (465-424 b.c.) and it was in the 20th year of his reign that the decree to restore the wall of Jerusalem was given to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:1).According to Daniel 9:24-27 that decree to restore the wall was the beginning of a "countdown" to the coming of the Messiah-the prophecy known as the 70 weeks." But, it was not "weeks" but rather "years" to which the Hebrew word for "seven" was pointing. A prophetic year of 360 days (lunar calendar) multiplied by 483 years brings us to 173, 880 days from the decree to Artaxerxes Longimanus I until the Messiah would come. Two tragic events are mentioned by Daniel that would take place before the final 70th "seven" would begin: the Messiah would be "cut off" and the city and the sanctuary" of Jerusalem would be destroyed. We are still waiting for the beginning of the 70th "seven"-known to Bible students as the coming Day of the Lord (mentioned 25 times in the Bible) or the Tribulation Period (Matthew 24:21-22).After the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus I, Darius II came to power (423-405 b.c.) followed by Artaxerxes Mnemon II (404-359 b.c.), Artaxerxes Ochus III (358-338 b.c.), Arses (337-336 b.c.), and Darius III (335-331 b.c.), whose armies were defeated by Alexander the Great in 333 b.c. Upon the death of Alexander in 323 b.c., Persia came under the control of one of Alexander's generals (Seleucus). According to Daniel 11 there was continual conflict between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies (another general who was given Egypt) over the Land of Israel, a fact that is still remembered by Iran today.Bible students are quite aware of the presence of Persia in the battle that attacks the Land of Israel (Ezekiel 38-39). Persia seems to be the lead country in that attack (at least they are mentioned first in the list).This amazing empire of the past continued to be known by the name Persia until 1935 a.d. when its name was changed to Iran. The official modern language of Iran is Persian or Pharsi, an indo-European language written in Arabic characters.In 1979 a.d. Iran experienced what history calls "The Islamic Revolution." Shiite Muslims took over the country and installed Sharia Law. Although many Arabs live in parts of the country, Iran is NOT an Arab state. Their connection and support with Arabs is completely based upon the religion of Islam. In many cases throughout the history of Islam, Iran has been a powerful force to oppose the Sunni Muslims of Saudi Arabia who control the holy sites of Islam at Mecca and Median. Iran also experienced eight years of war with its western neighbor Iraq when Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, was in power. Many Shiite Muslims from Iran have populated the southern regions of Iraq and now have become a powerful force in the elected Parliament of Iraq. Historically and traditionally, Iran believes that Iraq belongs to them as well as many other countries in the Middle East (including Israel). They desire the glory of the former Persian Empire (one of the largest empires of history in terms of geography) to be restored.It should be obvious that Iran (primarily because of oil) is now a major player in the world both politically, economically, and militarily. They are the main suppliers of weapons to Islamic terrorists throughout the Middle East. Most of their weaponry has been made possible by Russia, China, and North Korea.The Nation of Israel faces serious challenges from the leadership of Iran and its continual threats. The Lord God of ISRAEL hears them all and Biblical prophecy will include Iran among all the nations of the world that come against Israel. They will suffer defeat at the hands of the returning Messiah, our blessed Lord Yeshua!
by: Dr. David Hocking -

As in the days of Noah....

Vatican paper set to clear Knights Templar

The mysteries of the Order of the Knights Templar could soon be laid bare after the Vatican announced the release of a crucial document which has not been seen for almost 700 years.A new book, Processus contra Templarios, will be published by the Vatican's Secret Archive on Oct 25, and promises to restore the reputation of the Templars, whose leaders were burned as heretics when the order was dissolved in 1314. The Knights Templar were a powerful and secretive group of warrior monks during the Middle Ages. Their secrecy has given birth to endless legends, including one that they guard the Holy Grail.Recently, they have been featured in films including The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.The Order was founded by Hugues de Payns, a French knight, after the First Crusade of 1099 to protect pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem. Its headquarters was the captured Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, which lent the Templars their name.But when Jerusalem fell to Muslim rule in 1244, rumours surfaced that the knights were heretics who worshipped idols in a secret initiation ceremony.In 1307, King Philip IV "the Fair" of France, in desperate need of funds, ordered the arrest and torture of all Templars. After confessing various sins their leader, Jacques de Molay, was burnt at the stake.Pope Clement V then dissolved the order and issued arrest warrants for all remaining members. Ever since, the Templars have been thought of as heretics.The new book is based on a scrap of parchment discovered in the Vatican's secret archives in 2001 by Professor Barbara Frale. The long-lost document is a record of the trial of the Templars before Pope Clement, and ends with a papal absolution from all heresies.Prof Frale said: "I could not believe it when I found it. The paper was put in the wrong archive in the 17th century."The document, known as the Chinon parchment, reveals that the Templars had an initiation ceremony which involved "spitting on the cross", "denying Jesus" and kissing the lower back, navel and mouth of the man proposing them.The Templars explained to Pope Clement that the initiation mimicked the humiliation that knights could suffer if they fell into the hands of the Saracens, while the kissing ceremony was a sign of their total obedience.The Pope concluded that the entrance ritual was not truly blasphemous, as alleged by King Philip when he had the knights arrested. However, he was forced to dissolve the Order to keep peace with France and prevent a schism in the church."This is proof that the Templars were not heretics," said Prof Frale. "The Pope was obliged to ask pardon from the knights."For 700 years we have believed that the Templars died as cursed men, and this absolves them."

As in the days of Noah.....

US 'must break Iran and Syria regimes'

America should seize every opportunity to force regime change in Syria and Iran, a former senior adviser to the White House has urged."We need to do everything possible to destabilise the Syrian regime and exploit every single moment they strategically overstep," said David Wurmser, who recently resigned after four years as Vice President Dick Cheney's Middle East adviser."That would include the willingness to escalate as far as we need to go to topple the regime if necessary." He said that an end to Baathist rule in Damascus could trigger a domino effect that would then bring down the Teheran regime.In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the first since he left government, he argued that the United States had to be prepared to attack both Syria and Iran to prevent the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East that could result in a much wider war.Mr Wurmser, 46, a leading neo-conservative who has played a pivotal role in the Bush administration since the September 11th attacks, said that diplomacy would fail to stop Iran becoming a nuclear power. Overthrowing Teheran's theocratic regime should therefore be a top US priority.Iran was using Syria as its proxy against Israel and among Sunni Arabs and both regimes had to be overthrown, he insisted."It has to be, because who they are is now defined around provoking a wider clash of civilisations with the West. It is precisely to avoid this that we need to win now."Both countries were part of a "proliferation consortium", possibly in league with North Korea, that is helping Teheran to acquire a nuclear bomb, he said.If Iran was seen to be powerless to prevent regime change in Syria, Mr Wurmser claimed, Teheran's prestige would be undermined just as the Soviet Union's was when it failed to come to the aid of Syrian forces during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.Regime change was possible because Syria was "weak and rattled" while Iran had adopted a "go-for-broke strategy" of stirring up regional tensions to overcome the reality that "the foundations of the regime in Teheran are fragile".A situation such as last year's attack on Israel by Hezbollah, which was backed by Iran and Syria, could provide an opportunity for US intervention.Although Mr Wurmser's recommendations have not yet become US policy, his hard-line stances on regime change in Iran and Syria are understood to have formed the basis of policy documents approved by Mr Cheney, an uncompromising hawk who is deeply sceptical about the effectiveness of diplomatic pressure on Teheran.Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State and an advocate of multilateral diplomacy, currently holds sway within the Bush administration but Iran's intransigence on the nuclear issue and its role in the Iraq insurgency could well shift the balance back towards Mr Cheney.Limited strikes against Iranian nuclear targets would be useless, Mr Wurmser said. "Only if what we do is placed in the framework of a fundamental assault on the survival of the regime will it have a pick-up among ordinary Iranians."If we start shooting, we must be prepared to fire the last shot. Don't shoot a bear if you're not going to kill it."Mr Wurmser emphatically denied recent allegations he told a small group that Mr Cheney intended to press Israel to launch strikes against Iran in order to provoke a retaliation that the US would then respond to.It was "fantastical" to suggest that he or Mr Cheney would "try to cause a war that the president expressly doesn't want", he said. "Everything that was done was to execute the policies of the president and not to subvert them."Mr Wurmser, an outspoken proponent of removing Saddam Hussein in the years before the 2003 invasion, was highly critical of British forces in southern Iraq. "Being in Basra, the British had a major role to play and they didn't really play it very well."Under British presence, the Iranians extended their power considerably. British troops are still there but Iraqis see them as dead men walking.... everybody's looking towards who is the real power that fills the vacuum and that then translates into an Iranian-American confrontation in that area."British withdrawal, he said, could be a plus for the US. "It frees our hand to deal aggressively with their [Iran's] structures. Once we have responsibility for that area, we'll have to do what we need to do and that could well mean troops on the ground."Although he conceded many mistakes had been made by the US in Iraq, Mr Wurmser said there were now reasons for optimism. "While Iraq became more violent, it also became in some ways the international bug-zapper of terrorists."It was the light that attracted all the terrorists of the world. And that became the battleground, and this is a decisive battle. I think the battle is turning in our favour now, and this is a defeat that it will take the al-Qaeda world a long time to recover from."In the meantime, the US still had the power to deal with Iran militarily. "If we decided from no preparation to doing something in Iran, while it would cause a lot of heartburn among many people in the Pentagon, we could do it."I would never underestimate the raw capability of the United States in any off-the-shelf situation. If that's what we decided to do, things can be done."

As in the days of Noah...

Bush says he is 'very optimistic' about Palestinian statehood

U.S. President George W. Bush said in comments aired on Friday he was "very optimistic" a Palestinian state could be set up alongside Israel and that next month's Middle East conference could lead towards peace in the region. Israeli sources say November 26 is the date set for the U.S.-led Mideast peace conference to be held in Annapolis. The United States has yet to confirm the date. "I am very optimistic that we can achieve a two-state solution," Bush said in comments on Al Arabiya television that were dubbed in Arabic. "We will host the international peace conference and it will be attended by the interested parties and a delegation from the Arab League and it is an opportunity for serious... discussions over the road forward to lead to a two-state solution and efforts will be made to reach this objective," Bush said. "I want to affirm that the two-state solution is part of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and that our strategy is for all parties to attend at the table for the sake of a comprehensive peace. We want to push this issue," Bush continued. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met on Wednesday in Jerusalem to begin drafting a joint statement ahead of the summit. The parties differ greatly on the results they would like the conference to yield, with Abbas looking for agreement on core issues - Jerusalem, refugees and borders - while Olmert seeks a vague statement of interests. The joint statement on which negotiating teams have begun work may include references to the core issues of a final-status agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian state, but such references would be non-committal, and the statement will deal only with issues that enjoy clear agreement. Israeli officials said the statement would be "significant enough but general enough to avoid a blow-up and a crisis." They also said "the parties understood there was no point to pledging that the statement would include agreement on core issues, but that if there were issues on which agreement could be be reached, they would be included in the statement.""The stage at which the parties are at now is like a young couple that first moves in together,"a Palestinian source told Haaretz. "It shows progress, and can lead to marriage, that is, to a peace agreement, but it might bring up all kinds of differences of opinions and lead to a painful break-up." Senior Palestinian Authority officials said Olmert and Abbas' giving a green light to the negotiating teams to start work indicates headway, although no progress has been made on the permanent status issues. The negotiating teams are to meet Sunday to work on the joint statement. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to arrive in Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Monday to see if a joint statement can include the core issues. A government official said that as Rice worked over the past two weeks to persuade the Arab countries to join the summit, she realized that "success for the Arab countries would be only if the core issues were mentioned in one way or another in the joint statement." Olmert said during his meeting with Abbas: "I am serious in my intentions, and I want to work together so the regional meeting will be a success." Said Abbas, "I believe Olmert, and agree that timetables will just overshadow and disturb." Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki reiterated statements by Abbas that participants at the Annapolis summit would need to set a timetable to implement the agreement, and that within six months the Palestinians want to see formulation of the agreement completed. He added that Abbas would bring any agreement to a referendum. An Israeli source said, "There was agreement at the meeting that it was not necessary to talk about timetables." The source said the Palestinians understood progress should be made in keeping with the road map, "because among other things they are not prepared for the war on terror."

As in the days of Noah...

Korean leaders 'committed to peace'

The leaders of North and South Korea have agreed to push for a full peace deal formally ending the Korean War, and introduce regular cross-border freight train services to boost economic cooperation.The moves come as part of a wide-ranging reconciliation pact agreed on the final day of a landmark summit in Pyongang.The declaration was signed on Thursday by Roh Moo-hyun, the South Korean president, and Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader.The talks between the two marked only the second ever meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea in more than half a century.Under the declaration, the two leaders also pledged to create a joint fishing zone along their disputed sea border – a frequent source of tensions between the North and South.North Korea has never recognised the sea border, which was drawn unilaterally by United Nations forces after the Korean War.Just hours before the declaration was signed, news came from Beijing that North Korea had agreed to a six-nation plan to dismantle all its nuclear facilities by the end of this year.In a nod to the nuclear deal, the two leaders agreed to make joint efforts to ensure the plan is implemented smoothly – the first time Kim has personally put his name to denuclearisation efforts.In other points, the two leaders also agreed they would hold "frequent" future summits - although no timing for any such encounters was given - and they agreed to increase cross-border family reunions, saying they would hold such meetings "constantly".The issue of divided families is a deeply emotional one in both countries.
Kim, in his usual khaki jumpsuit, and Roh shook hands, smiled and clinked glasses of champagne after signing the agreement.
Brink of war
North and South Korea have stood on the brink of a return to war for more than five decades, ever since the Korean War was brought to a halt with a ceasefire in 1953.In the declaration signed in Pyongyang, Roh and Kim agreed that a more formal end to hostilities must be put in place."North and South Korea shared the view they must end the current armistice and build a permanent peace regime," they said.The two leaders also said that both sides had "agreed to closely co-operate to end military hostility and ensure peace and easing of tension on the Korean peninsula".However, while an agreement to push for a formal end to the war is a significant step forward, any actual treaty will also have to include China and the US, both of which fought in the Korean War.The US still has some 50,000 troops based in South Korea.As for South Korea itself, it was never a signatory to the original armistice.
Question of trust
Interviewed by Al Jazeera, Brian Bridges, a professor of political science at Lingnan University, Hong Kong, said: "North Korea is in a difficult economic situation ... and Kim Jong-il has to face the reality of how to get aid, how to get foreign investment into his country to raise the living standards of his people."To do that it requires dialogue and engagement and giving up some of the nuclear weapons or nuclear processes that he has been involved so far."He has become slightly more realistic about what can be achieved. ... He is becoming much more attuned to international opinion and maybe he is coming out of his shell and becoming much more engaged."
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As in the days of Noah....

BIG BROTHER WATCH:Contractors Plan to Scan D.C. Motorists

Washington road contractors have some innovative and perhaps intrusive traffic control strategies.Civil contractor Transurban doesn't want Washington D.C. drivers cheating its toll system-so it is going to scan them. An expansion of a major Washington D.C. highway I-495, the Capital Beltway, is planned to start next year.The highway loops around D.C. and crosses through Maryland and Virginia suburbs.The expansion plans to bring privately operated toll lanes to the table as an alternative for commuters in rush hour traffic. The big perk is that carpoolers will get to ride in these lanes for free under the current plan.Enforcement though is a sticky issue; how to determine people from decoy dummies or large dogs riding in the passenger seat? Rather than manually policing the area, the companies owning the project have proposed using technology that would scan drivers and passengers with bursts of infrared light that detect the reflectivity of human skin.Ken Daley, a senior vice president of one of the two companies contracted for the project, says that the technology is so advanced that it can accurately ID a human face from an animal such as a pet.Transurban has given no word on whether the devices might also be used for "national security" or other government purposes.Washington D.C. drivers are not very happy about the proposal.They are voicing their concerns to the government, raising uncertainty of whether the project will be approved. Aside from the general discomfort with the idea of being watched, they fear the move could be used against them legally or monetarily.Divorce courts could theoretically file for images of a route the husband or wife might have taken to see where they were really going to.Employers could do the same if they suspected an employee of using their sick days for vacation.Worse yet, insurance companies could use the information to ID drivers with long commutes and up their rates. Ginger Goodin, an engineer at the Texas Transportation Institute, feels bad for the concerned commuters. "Commuters feel a sense of privacy in their vehicle, even though they may not really have it if you look at the legal cases,” said Goodin.“But if they just can't stomach [scanning systems], then they have their choice, right next to it, to use the general-purpose lane."The case is drawing attention as it may become an example by which other states choose their policies. Maryland and Virginia both have planned expansions on their books. California and Colorado both have privately run toll roads that are currently free to carpoolers. In California, police wait behind concrete blocks ready to jet out and pull over offenders. In Colorado, they use a much simpler system which simply has drivers peel off into a separate lane mid-trip where they are visually checked to avoid payment.The D.C. area contractors' moves will likely stir up a hornet nest of privacy concerns. The issue is strikingly similar to the fears surrounding RFID implants and the prospect of mandatory chipping. Last year Scott Silverman, Chairman of the Board of VeriChip Corporation, who make the only FDA approved RFID implant, proposed a solution to the problem of illegal immigration-mandatory microchipping of guest workers and anyone found to be illegally dwelling in or trying to enter the U.S. The previous day President Bush, whose former head of the Department of Health and Human Sciences Tommy Thompson is currently serving on Verichip's board, had called for "high-tech measures to solve the immigration problem."There is significant pending and passed legislation that aims to protect constituents from unwanted intrusion and scanning.As reported by DailyTech, California's state Senate recently passed a bill banning companies or anyone else from forcing a California citizen to be involuntarily microchipped.These issues will not go away as technology becomes more and more entrenched in our day to day lives.People will likely struggle with these complex moral issues as they ponder whether the benefits of increased safety are worth someone being able to watch them in their daily lives.

As in the days of Noah....

ONE WORLD RELIGION WATCH:General Assembly session on interreligious dialogue advances values – President

The General Assembly today convened its first-ever high-level dialogue on interreligious and intercultural understanding in a move the 192-member body’s president termed a step forward for advancing the values enshrined in the United Nations Charter.“By convening this event, the General Assembly has taken an important stand,” Srgjan Kerim told participants. “We are reaffirming the values enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But more importantly, we are taking concrete steps to advance these values around the world.”The Assembly President, who convened the two-day session, called for a sustained international effort to address the issue through exchanges of information. “We must begin a global dialogue, using public campaigns and all forms of media, to spread greater awareness of the issues,” he declared.“Governments can play an additional role by adopting educational curricula that instil values of peace and tolerance,” he added, pointing out that children are not born with prejudice.In order to “eliminate all distorted notions that deepen barriers and widen divides,” he called for a “multi-faceted dialogue that promotes unity in diversity, and replaces misunderstanding with mutual understanding and acceptance.”The active involvement of the media, private sector, civil society, faith groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be crucial to this effort, he said. “Their insights and outreach will be instrumental in helping to achieve our goal.”Toward that end, he welcomed an informal interactive hearing planned for the afternoon aimed at fostering an exchange of views among Member States and civil society and the private sector. Among those slated to participate are leading academics, religious leaders and other civil society representatives.Also addressing the event today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need to promote the idea that differences among peoples, far from being a threat, are what enrich humanity as a whole.“It is time to explain that different religions, belief systems and cultural backgrounds are essential to the richness of the human experience,” Mr. Ban said. “And it is time to stress that our common humanity is greater – far greater – than our outward differences.”Mr. Ban said that the different people he has met in his travels during his first nine months in office all share one common emotion – “a universal longing for peace, and an aspiration of prosperity.”Mr. Ban noted that today’s gathering comes at a particularly auspicious time, as Jews mark the celebration of the Torah and Muslims approach the end of the holy month of Ramadan. “Such occasions remind us that men and women of faith around the world can be brought together, rather than separated, by their convictions and their belief in something greater than themselves.”He also pointed out that in today’s era of global travel and instant satellite transmissions, people everywhere are encountering “less of the familiar, and more of ‘the other,’” leading to increased tensions among cultures and religions.In light of that trend, Mr. Ban emphasized that “it is time – indeed, it is past time – for a constructive and committed dialogue; a dialogue amongst individuals, amongst communities, and between nations.”

As in the days of Noah....

NWO WATCH:Microsoft-loving (former) security czar calls for closed internet

Richard Clarke, the man who served President Bush as a special adviser for cyber security, has a five-point plan for saving the internet.Speaking at a Santa Clara University conference dedicated to "trust online," Clarke called the net "a place of chaos in many ways, a place of crime in many ways," but laid out several means of righting the ship, including biometric IDs, government regulation, and an industry wide standard for secure software. He even embraces the idea of a closed internet - which seems to have sparked a death threat from net pioneer Vint Cerf."A lot of these ideas go against the grain. A lot of these ideas are ones people have already objected to - because of certain shibboleths, because of certain belief systems, because of certain idealogical differences," Clarke said. "But if we're going to create trust in cyberspace, we have to overcome some of those shibboleths, overcome some of those ideological differences, and look anew at these ideas."According to Clarke - who was also a special assistant to the President for global affairs and national coordinator for security and counter-terrorism - about 35 per cent of all U.S. citizens would rather shoot themselves than carry a national ID card. But he thinks they're being silly. He believes biometric IDs are an essential means of fighting online crime."One thing you could do with a biometric ID card - if you wanted to - is prove your identity online," he said, as if taunting his critics.Yes, he realizes that internet mavens value online anonymity. But he insists this has nothing to do with biometric internet IDs. "One of the ideological underpinnings of the internet is that we're anonymous," he said. "Well, guess what? We're not anonymous. Amazon and DoubleClick and all those other companies already know everything about what you're doing online." ID cards don't eliminate anonymity, he explained, because anonymity is already gone. Then he added that Bill Gates agrees with him.Next, Clarke called for more government oversight of the net. According to his rough calculations, 75 per cent of all U.S. citizens are against government regulation of any kind. But he thinks they're being silly too. "You don't want government regulation? Then just let your kids eat all that lead off their toys."In short, he believes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should force ISPs to crack down on cyber-crime. "[The FCC] could, for example, say to all the ISPs, 'You will do the following things to reduce fraud, bot nets, malicious activity, etc."Isn't the government one of the problems where online privacy is concerned? It is, as Clarke pointed out. He also called for a nonpartisan organization dedicated to fighting abuses of government power. "What if we had a champion in the government who we trusted on privacy rights and civil liberties? What if we had a government advocate with real power to ensure that the government doesn't violate privacy rights."That's three points from the five-point plan. Two more to go.
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EU lawyers agree on treaty text

Legal experts from the 27 countries of the European Union have agreed on a draft reform treaty.The treaty is set to replace the defunct European constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters.Portugal, which holds the EU presidency until the end of the year, hopes to get agreement on the treaty at an EU summit in Lisbon later this month.Possible domestic opposition to the treaty in Poland and Britain mean they may present the biggest hurdles.The treaty aims to streamline the workings of the EU bloc, which has almost doubled its membership in the last few years.Legal experts have been making slow progress on the EU reform treaty since July, but they have now apparently got a text they can all agree on.As the negotiations were conducted mostly in French, it will take until the end of the week to translate and make it more widely available on the internet.The final work focused on Britain's opt-out from the sensitive area of judicial co-operation and the powers granted to the EU's highest court over member states' compliance with EU rules.
Election issue
A Portuguese diplomat said Britain should be satisfied with the outcome, but he insisted there was no guarantee of an agreement at the Lisbon summit. He said it was not the end of the process and it was wise to be cautious.One reason for caution is Poland, increasingly seen in the EU as an unpredictable partner. With an early election scheduled just two days after the summit, Warsaw is bound to stick to its demands for greater powers to block EU decisions.
Meanwhile, there is intense speculation in Britain that Prime Minister Gordon Brown may also call a snap election, and opposition conservatives have made it clear they will turn a demand for a referendum on the new EU treaty into a key political battleground.

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Missile defense system is up and running, military says

WASHINGTON: After a successful test last week, the tracking radars and interceptor rockets of a new American missile defense system can be turned on at any time to respond to an emerging crisis in Asia, senior military officers said Tuesday.General Victor Renuart Jr., the senior commander for defense of United States territory, said that the antimissile system could guard against the risk of ballistic missile attack from North Korea even while development continues on a series of radars in California and the Pacific Ocean and on interceptor missiles in Alaska and California.While the new system is limited, it is the most extensive anti-ballistic missile system the Pentagon has fielded since the Safeguard ABM system near Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota was briefly operated, starting in 1975. Congress immediately voted to shut it down, and it operated for only a few months."We can bring missiles up or take them down as need be so that they can continue doing the testing," said Renuart, commander of the military's Northern Command, based in Colorado Springs. But, he added, "I'm fully confident that we have all of the pieces in place that, if the nation needed to, we could respond."He said the system showed an initial capability in July 2006, when American missile defense went on alert as North Korea staged missile tests. Because the array of interceptors and radars remains under development, it has never received the military's official status of being an operational weapons system.Renuart spoke during a Pentagon news briefing on Tuesday that offered a recap of a missile defense test held on Friday that was deemed a success.Lieutenant General Henry Obering III, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said the target missile was launched from Kodiak Island, Alaska, and tracked by radar at Beale Air Force Base, near Sacramento. The interceptor missile was fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Santa Barbara, California, scoring a direct hit on the dummy warhead."Does the system work? The answer is yes to that," Obering said. "Is it going to work against more complex threats in the future? We believe it will."Obering acknowledged that no decoys were flown in the path of the interceptor on Friday as might be expected in a real missile attack. Skeptics have challenged the Missile Defense Agency to conduct more realistic tests that would include even primitive technologies designed to fool the interceptor. These include balloons and chunks of metal that separate from the missile along with the warhead.The general said the next test, which is expected in the first half of 2008, would include countermeasures to gauge the interceptor's ability to differentiate between the real warhead and decoys. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are scheduled to meet up in Moscow later this month for joint talks with their counterparts on Russia's objections to American proposals for missile defense in Central Europe. American plans call for 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic to defend against a possible missile attack from Iran.Obering said Friday's successful test would help make the Bush administration's case with allies."I think it helps us in a very real way, because, as I have had conversations with our European partners and allies and NATO partners in the past, one of the questions I do get asked is, well, this system is not proven," Obering said. And this, he added, goes a long way "to answering that question."

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Outgoing Head Calls on Churches Not to Lose Pentecostal Experience

As new leaders for the Assemblies of God prepare to officially take office Oct. 8, the outgoing head is advising the Pentecostal group to continue embracing their Pentecostal practice.Mainly, relying on the Holy Spirit, according to General Superintendent Thomas E. Trask. Pentecostalism is one of the fastest growing segments of global Christianity with at least 500 million adherents worldwide.And where countries are openly Pentecostal, they are experiencing "remarkable growth," said Trask in an interview with Today's Pentecostal Evangel, a publication of the Assemblies of God."In the American culture, it's easy to think we can build the Church apart from the work of the Spirit," he said. "But history shows us where that leads. Churches that once had the touch of God have lost it because they did not rely on the Holy Spirit. We too can lose the touch of God."When he came into office 14 years ago, Trask felt the Lord give him a mandate to emphasize prayer and fasting and the work of the Spirit, he said."We must not let go of our Pentecostal experience," the Pentecostal head highlighted.Trask announced in July that he would step down in the middle of his four-year term as general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. He led the denomination for 14 years but said he would remain active in ministry. Dr. George O. Wood was elected in August as his successor.Officially stepping down this month, Trask leaves years of achievements as well as unfulfilled tasks – all of which centered on soul winning – that he hopes will be picked up in the coming years.Their relationship with Convoy of Hope, a nonprofit that provides disaster relief and outreaches to the poor, proved to be one of the greatest achievements during Trask's leadership. It influenced the believers to go outside their sanctuaries and into the communities "to touch hurting people who need Jesus," he said."We must never lose our passion for personal evangelism," Trask emphasized.Anticipating the return of Jesus, the outgoing leader called the Church to have a sense of urgency for reaching people for Christ "because someday it will be too late."Also, six years ago, Trask helped launch the Vision for Transformation to strip away policies, practices and bylaws that were limiting innovation and hindering their effectiveness in reach the world for Christ, he said in the interview. Trask hopes churches will constantly look at ways of being more effective and relevant in a changing culture while being wary of the culture "infecting" the church.Today, he sees the vast majority of the denomination's ministers and laity wanting to be led by the Spirit and he holds great hope.They also want to follow Jesus, want to share Christ with the unsaved, want to learn from God's Word, and possess a deep love for the church, said Trask."Our lay-people are the finest you'll ever find, and they are hungry for more of Jesus."Although valuing the Pentecostal practice of the Assemblies of God, Trask reminds the denomination that "it's not about the Assemblies of God.""It's about building the Kingdom of God," he said, explaining his willingness to work with other denominations and groups."We're not the only church God is blessing. He blesses us so we can be a blessing to others. How can we bless others if we stay within our own circle?” he posed."As much as we love this church, we have to remember that when we get to heaven we won't be issued Assemblies of God badges."

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Papua New Guinea welcomes new Christian radio stations to educate citizens

Papua New Guinea-Two new FM repeater stations in Papua New Guinea bring the total number of stations up to 12.HCJB Global's partner, Wantok Radio Light, broadcasts radio programs throughout the country. Between 30 and 40 FM stations will be needed to reach everyone in the country as citizens are spread out across very remote areas.The two stations and the Christian broadcasting is strongly supported by the government since the constitution says, "This is a Christian country."Chairman of the Board at HCJB Ron Cline says, "They want to make sure their people are grounded. If we say we're a Christian nation, then we need to know what that means, and we need to know what we believe. So we're using radio to teach our people on a consistent basis."The government is also looking out for the youth of the country."They have a generation growing up incredibly influenced by the West, and they are not as receptive to the Gospel as their parents were under missionaries and in mission schools. So the older generation has looked at the younger generation and said, 'The only way we're going to reach them is through radio,'" says Cline.Cline says during their visit for the dedication they were able to meet with the president and the prime minister as well as Papua New Guinea's FCC. Their partner does efficient work, and the community pays for the station once its established. The country is very excited to have the programming. You hear it in all the shops, and we heard it in the banks. You hear it everywhere," said Cline.The two new stations are located off the main island on the autonomous region of Bougainville on Buka Island and on the island of New Britain in the city of Kimbe. The stations were made possible by a special offering for the Wantok Radio Light ministry at an NRB convention last February. The recent dedications were done, as requested by the WRL director, by Frank Wright and Ron Harris of NRB.There are 18 similar repeater stations in the works in the country. Cline says the reception they've received has been encouraging."This is a win-win-win situation," he said. Therefore, they are on the lookout for the attack of the enemy to hinder their success.
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KNOWLEDGE SHALL INCREASE:The amazing pain-absorbing orange foam

It is the stuff of comic books. A luminous orange foam that protects against pain - even when someone hits you over the head with a shovel.At first glance, "d3o" looks like slab of putty or a piece of Play Doh, easily pulled or squeezed into a multitude of shapes.But, hit it with a mallet, or a hammer, or a baseball bat, and everything changes.Instead of splattering all over the room, d3o tenses up, in the same way as a body builder would firm up his abdominal muscles after inviting someone to punch him in the stomach, and the force of the blow is absorbed.So successful is the light-weight material at protecting against harm that it has been incorporated into a host of sports gear, including ski suits, shin pads and motorcycle gloves.Snowboarders can buy d3o-lined woollen beanie hats, while riot police in the US are trying out gloves with d3o-reinforced knuckles.Sewn into ski suits, the material helped several American skiers glide towards gold at last year's Winter Olympics in Turin.If all that were not impressive enough, it even protects against the pain of being hit over the head with a shovel.Richard Palmer, d3o's inventor, is so confident of its miraculous properties, that he is happy to give demonstrations that involve him being smashed over the head or across the knee with a spade.Mr Palmer, a Brighton-based engineer who developed d3o after suffering one snowboarding accident too many, said: "Ironically, the faster the impact, the better the material works."It is not a circus act, it is product that goes into your clothing. Hopefully, you will never have to use it, but, if you do receive an impact, you will get a much higher level of protection than normal."Although the exact formulation of d3o is a trade secret, Mr Palmer, 40 says it is a polymer with similar properties to a lump of wet sand or a mixture of cornflour and water.He said: "There's a number of fluids that when you try to move them quickly they don't like it and they stick together."The most obvious example from the kitchen is cornflour and water."d3o is like a thick liquid but when you try to move it or shock it, it turns into a solid."When the manmade material is shocked, or hit, the molecules inside lock together, absorbing the impact and cushioning the wearer from the blow.Mr Palmer, 40, said: "If you want to protect the body from impact, you need to reduce the amount of force going in and spread it over as wide an area as possible. Our material does a bit of both."It is, however, only effective when placed against a part of the body where the bone is close to the surface, such as the elbow, knee or skull.Nor are d3o-lined clothing or beanie hats a substitute for proper protective gear, such as snowboarding helmets.Mr Palmer said: "Our beanie will not give you the same protection as helmet."But for those snowboarders who choose to wear a beanie, it is a lot better than a normal beanie."
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Questions Raised Over US Terror Exercise

The nation is preparing for its biggest terrorism exercise ever later this month when three fictional "dirty bombs" go off and cripple transportation arteries in two major U.S. cities and Guam, according to a document obtained by The AP.Yet even as this drill begins, details from the previous national exercise held in 2005 have yet to be publicly released information that's supposed to help officials prepare for the next real attack.House members demanded answers Wednesday, including why the "after-action" report from 2005 hasn't been made public. Congress has required the exercise since 2000, but has done little in the way of oversight beyond attending the actual events.Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, did not get a direct answer to why it has taken the department two years to finish the after-action report."I'm just wondering how much of that information you gleaned is actually current enough to move forward with," Thompson, D-Miss., told Dennis R. Schrader, a preparedness official at the Department of Homeland Security. Wednesday was Schrader's 45th day on the job at the department, and he did not have most of the answers lawmakers were seeking on the $25 million exercise.Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., suggested the department might be hiding something by not releasing the report. "Is it so sensitive because there was a lot of failures in this exercise?" he asked. "You know Katrina wasn't exactly a home run."The fourth Top Officials exercise dubbed TOPOFF takes place during the week starting Oct. 15. The program costs about $25 million a year and involves the federal government's highest officials, such as top people from the Defense and Homeland Security departments."The challenge with TOPOFF is not the exercise itself. It's to move as quickly as possible to remedy what perceives to be the problems that are uncovered," former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in an interview with AP this week.
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Israeli raid caused electronic disruption over wide areas of Syria

The lid of secrecy covering the Sept. 6 Israeli air strike into Syria remains tight but one new theory emerging amid the speculation is that the Israeli conducted an electronic warfare exercise in preparation for future strikes or an attack on Iran.Authoritative reports from the Middle East stated that the Israel operation included extensive electronic warfare jamming by aircraft. The Israeli were testing the capabilities of Russian-made air defenses, including both radar and missiles located near Damascus and south of Homs near the Lebanese northern border.The raid was unprecedented in the blanket of jamming and electronic disruption that it caused over wide areas of Syria enroute to the target point, a base near the Euphrates River.
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Syrian guerrilla group 'ready for attacks'

A recently formed Syrian guerrilla group modeling itself after the Lebanese Hezbollah militia is preparing for "resistance attacks" against the Jewish state, leaders of the purported group stated during in-person interviews released in a new book.The information comes as Israel yesterday broke its nearly four-week silence and admitted officially the Jewish state's warplanes struck a "military installation" in Syria last month, prompting some officials in Damascus to call for retaliation, including guerrilla raids against Israel.In his new book, "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land, Jihadists Reveal their Global Plans – to a Jew!" WND Jerusalem bureau chief obtained access to the leadership of the new purported Syrian group, calling itself the Committees for the Liberation of the Golan."If an agreement is not quickly forged between Israel and Syria [for an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan], we will begin attacks," a senior leader of the Committees told Klein, speaking on condition his name be withheld.
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"In this was manifested the love of God toward us,because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him.Herein is love,not that we loved God,but that he loved us,and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
1 John 4 :9-10

NWO WATCH:Kansas governor attended Bilderberg meeting

While Texas Gov. Rick Perry received significant Internet attention for participating in the secretive Bilderberg annual meeting in Turkey, the attendance of a second U.S. governor was largely overlooked.WND has confirmed Kathleen Sebelius, the Democratic governor of Kansas, attended the annual meeting of the Bilderberg Group May 31 to June 3 in Istanbul.Spokesman Seth Bundy of Sebelius' office told WND the Bilderberg Group paid for the airfare, but Sebelius expensed the state of Kansas for $1,274 to cover her Ritz Carlton luxury hotel room in Istanbul.Bundy refused to give WND any information about Sebelius' speech to the Bilderberg Group or about the meeting agenda and attendee list, even though expenses from her trip were paid from public taxpayer funds. When WND asked Bundy why Sebelius attended the secretive meeting, he responded glibly, "Because she was invited."WND asked Bundy if Sebelius met with Perry in Istanbul. Bundy said he didn't know.Bundy also told WND he had never heard of the Trans-Texas Corridor and did not know if Sebelius supported the extension of the superhighway north. Sebelius attracted national attention in May 2004 by signing a Kansas law granting illegal immigrants a tuition break at the state's public colleges and universities.According to the AP, last month, Sebelius signed an executive order covering 25,000 of the state's 41,000 employees prohibiting on-the-job harassment against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and people who have undergone sexual-reassignment surgery.Vote Match lists Sebelius as a pro-choice advocate who believes abortion is a private decision between a woman and her doctor.

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CULTURE of DEATH:Abortions linked to breast cancer again

A new study shows that abortions can be classified as carcinogens, because the number of breast cancer cases can be predicted reasonably accurately based on the number of abortions in a given population.The study, "The Breast Cancer Epidemic: Modeling and Forecasts Based on Abortion and Other Risk Factors," was done by Patrick S. Carroll of London-based research institute PAPRI and the results were published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons this week.It shows, that among risk factors, abortion is the "best predictor of breast cancer." The results show that countries with higher abortions rates, such as England and Wales, higher breast cancer incidence is reported. "Where abortion rates are low (i.e. Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic) a smaller increase is expected," the study said.Karen Malec, of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, works to publicize such links in the group's battle against breast cancers.The results, she told WND, "weren't a surprise at all." "Actually women have the right to be told this particular research and the biology supports what we know about female biology during pregnancy," she said. "Women should be told-especially before the birth of a first child- abortions are highly, highly, carcinogenic."Carroll used a mathematical model to develop forecasts for the numbers of breast cancers in several countries based on abortion, and found that when matched with the actual numbers of cases later reported, the forecasts were very accurate "The forecast predicted 100.5 percent of the cancers observed in 2003, and 97.5 percent of those observed in 2004," the study reported."It's time for scientists to admit publicly what they already acknowledge privately among themselves-that abortion raises breast cancer risk-and to stop conducting flawed research to protect the medical establishment from massive … lawsuits," Malec said.Malec has been among those critical of studies that appear to disprove a link between abortion and breast cancer, noting that such studies many times are set up to reveal what those researchers choose to have as results.The Carroll study concluded that, "The increase in breast cancer incident appears to be best explained by an increase in abortion rates, especially nulliparous abortions, and lower fertility."The results included that,"The South East of England has more breast cancer than other parts of the British Isles. It also has the highest abortion Rate. Ireland has the lowest reate of breast cancer and the lowest abortion rate.""We have had sufficient evidence to support an abortion-breast cancer link, through biological, epidemiological and experimental evidence … since the 1980s," Malec told WND."They knew it back then, but nobody told women that this research was even going on," she said.Her coalition, which was founded to protect the health and save the lives of women by educating and providing information on abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer, regularly confronts supporters of abortion, whose work denies such a connection."They're very wealthy. It's a money industry, just like tobacco," she told WND."A woman who has had an abortion is at risk for breast cancer," she continued. "It's [the research] showing that the researchers can predict, they can forecast the breast cancer rates in nations that have accurate statistics on induced abortions using their particular mathematical models. They can forecast what the breast cancer rates are going to be in nations that have adequate data."But she said it's not hopeless for those who have had abortions."There are things women can do to bring down the risk," she said, including having a child. "Increased child bearing, starting at a younger age, this is the very best way to prevent breast cancer."WND earlier reported when a study, "Induced and Spontaneous Abortion and Incidence of Breast Cancer Among Young Women," by Karin Michels of Harvard Medical School and others, was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. It found negligible connections between abortion and breast cancer.But an expert said it essentially was meaningless....
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Darwin challenged,research censored:Christian university removes professor's website, data from public view

Baylor University Professor Bob Marks, whose research could be the foundation for a major challenge to Darwin's theory of evolution, is at odds with his historically Christian employer, which ordered that his work be taken off the Internet.Maybe it's because for so many years the logical alternative to evolution, which is grounded on principles such as random selection and survival of the fittest, has been disregarded and ridiculed by the scientific community. And intelligent design, as it is called, presumes the existence of an outside intelligence influencing life, according to a critic of the university.Walt Ruloff, the executive producer of Premise Media, who worked with actor Ben Stein on a new project called "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," about the monopoly Darwinian beliefs hold in academia, wrote in the Baylor student newspaper about his concerns."As many of you have heard, Marks, a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been conducting research that ultimately may challenge the foundation of Darwinian theory. In layman's terms, Marks is using highly sophisticated mathematical and computational techniques to determine if there are limits to what natural selection can do," he wrote. "At Baylor, a Christian institution, this should be pretty unremarkable stuff. I'm assuming most of the faculty, students and alumni believe in God, so wouldn't it also be safe to assume you have no problem with a professor trying to scientifically quantify the limits of a blind, undirected cause of the origin and subsequent history of life? "But the dirty little secret is university administrators are much more fearful of the Darwinian Machine than they are of you," he said."Here's what's going on: Somebody within the scientific community let [Baylor dean Ben] Kelley know that Marks was running a website that was friendly to intelligent design. Such a thing is completely unacceptable in today's university system – even at a Christian institution. Kelley was probably told to have the site shut down immediately or suffer the consequences," Ruloff said."What are those consequences? The ultimate penalty is to have Baylor marginalized by being designated as not a 'legitimate institution of higher learning.' So designated merely for the 'crime' of allowing Neo-Darwinism to be questioned, since conventional elitist wisdom holds it's no longer a theory but an inviolable truth."Prof. Marks told WND he could not comment since his lawyer and the university are in negotiations over the situation. And Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said there are "ongoing legal discussions that we hope will be resolved to both party's mutual satisfaction.""What I can tell you is we're optimistic that it will be resolved satisfactorily to all parties," she told WND. "This has to do with the policies and procedures here at the university, as far as posting research on a website, and the use of the university's name. We're not talking about a content issue, we're talking policy and procedure."However, she told WND she was unaware of a single other instance in which any research posting by any Baylor professor had been treated in a similar fashion.Ruloff, however, has. "Google the names of Richard Sternberg, Caroline Crocker, Guillermo Gonzalez, Dean Kenyon and Bill Dembski and see what you find," he said. "These distinguished scientists have suffered severe consequences for questioning Darwinian theory…"
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Iran Could Strike U.S. by 2015, U.S. Officials Say

WASHINGTON-Iranian technology is on pace to build a long-range missile that could strike the US within a decade, a high-level Pentagon official told FOX News.But a successful test of a missile defense program completed last week is giving military leaders more confidence that an airborne attack from Iran can be thwarted-if the US is able to convince Europe to go along with the plans to build an anti-missile system there against strong Russian opposition."Most of the intelligence experts predict that sometime before 2015, or in that time frame, the Iranians will have developed the capabilities to threaten the United States, from a missile technology perspective, "Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, chief of the U.S. missile defense program, said Tuesday in a Pentagon interview with FOX News. Of concern Obering said is Iran's ability to take shorter range technology and improving it to longer and longer ranges.Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Wednesday the U.S. was in no position to start a war against Iran given its military commitment in Iraq.Growing international political tension with Iran over its nuclear program and its role in orchestrating insurgent attacks in Iraq has given military officials here reason to step up their efforts in developing a workable missile defense system.Right now, the administration is working on a plan to build a missile defense system to protect against Iranian weapons in friendly host countries in Europe. But those plans have been loudly criticized by Russia-which thinks the system could be used to attack their own missiles
Additionally, U.S. lawmakers have stripped $85 million from the program in their consideration of the Defense Authorization bill. Prior to its passage in the Senate Monday, lawmakers said there should be an approval from the host countries, including Poland and the Czech Republic, before that money slated for construction is authorized.But last week's successful interceptor missile system test conducted by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency off the coast of California gave the program a needed shot of confidence. The system was designed to simulate an attack from North Korea or possibly Iran."It was a picture perfect intercept," Obering said. Since 2001, six out of nine test flights have been successful and three have failed. Obering said there has not been a failed intercept test in 2 1/2 years. Last year, a test did not come to completion when the test missile failed to launch properly.The interceptor missile was fired from Alaska, flying for 24 minutes before being struck by the interceptor missile, which was fired from Vandenburg Air Base in California, and flew seven minutes. The two missiles collided over open ocean, smashing to pieces miles above.The program has its roots in the 1980s Strategic Defense Initiative — dubbed the "Star Wars" program-started in the Reagan administration. Since 1983 it has cost $100 billion. Despite the money stripped out, the 2008 Defense Authorization bill included $8.6 billion for the program.This missile defense system in California and Alaska is designed to protect against North Korean missiles fired from Asia. It is similar to the system that the US would like to place in Europe to protect against Iranian missiles.The European system, Obering said, would be created specifically to intercept Iranian missiles. Obering strongly denied the Russian charge-that it could be used against them-saying the system would be too close to Russia launch points to be effective."The system we are fielding has nothing to do with Russia," Obering said today.The acrimony between Americans and Russians over the antimissile system comes as Russia has been sending bomber flights over U.S. and European interests, including new reports of their bombers flying just outside U.S. airspace in Alaska seven times since July 1. For its part, Iran isn't officially fazed by U.S. plans to defend against any missiles. In June, Iran's top nuclear negotiator called the plan "the joke of the year."

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Pentagon observes Muslim holy month

Navy imam Chaplain Abuhena M. Saifulislam lifted his voice to God as he called to prayer more than 100 Department of Defense employees Monday at a celebration of Ramadan at the Pentagon.“God is most great,” sang the lieutenant commander and Islamic leader, in Arabic, as iftar-the end of the daily fast began.Uniformed military personnel, civilians and family members faced Mecca and knelt on adorned prayer rugs chanting their prayers in quiet invocation to Allah.“We do all we can to help meet the religious needs of our soldiers,” said Deputy Pentagon Chaplain Army Maj. Alan Pomaville, a Christian, who attended the iftar alongside the Muslim chaplains. “The leadership in the [Defense Department] wants to care for the body of the whole soldier.”As the Pentagon celebrated Ramadan, the White House is in preparations for an iftar feast tomorrow, said Lt. Cmdr. Saifulislam, who will be participating at the White House events.“President and Mrs. Bush host an iftar dinner every year because they want people around the world to know how much they respect Islam and the many Muslims living in the U.S. who are free to worship as they want, and are an integral part of our society," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.With the Pew Hispanic Center estimating the U.S. Muslim population in 2007 at 2.35 million people and growing, it's no surprise to see the Muslim population play an important role in all facets of government, said Defense Department officials.Defense officials could not readily provide current estimates on the number of Muslim service members, but said the department works diligently to provide spiritual counseling and guidance to service members of all faiths.

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KNOWLEDGE SHALL INCREASE:Robots may aid aging Japanese population

TOKYO-If you grow old in Japan, expect to be served food by a robot, ride a voice-recognition wheelchair or even possibly hire a nurse in a robotic suit-all examples of cutting-edge technology to care for the country's rapidly graying population. With nearly 22% of Japan's population already aged 65 or older, businesses here have been rolling out everything from easy-entry cars to remote-controlled beds, fueling a care technology market worth some $1.08 billion in 2006, according to industry figures.At a home care and rehabilitation convention in Tokyo this week, buyers crowded round a demonstration of Secom Co.'s My Spoon feeding robot, which helps elderly or disabled people eat with a spoon- and fork-fitted swiveling arm.Operating a joystick with his chin, developer Shigehisa Kobayashi maneuvered the arm toward a block of silken tofu, deftly getting the fork to break off a bite-sized piece. The arm then returned to a preprogrammed position in front of the mouth, allowing Kobayashi to bite and swallow."It's all about empowering people to help themselves," Kobayashi said. The Tokyo-based company has already sold 300 of the robots, which come with a price tag of $3,500."We want to give the elderly control over their own lives," he said.The rapidly aging population here has spurred a spate of concerns: a labor shortage, tax shortfalls, financial difficulties in paying the health bills and pensions of large numbers of elderly.Moreover, a breakdown of family ties in recent years means a growing number of older Japanese are spending their golden years away from the care traditionally provided by children and grandchildren.That's where cutting-edge technology steps in.A rubber and nylon "muscle suit" developed by the Tokyo University of Science helps keep the elderly active by providing support for the upper body, arms and shoulders.Powered by air pressure actuators, the prototype suit-which looks like an oversized life jacket-provides subtle backing to help older people lift heavy objects.The intelligent wheelchair TAO Aicle from Fujitsu Ltd. and Aisin Seiki Co. uses a positioning system to automatically travel to a preset destination, and uses sensors to detect and stop at red lights, and to avoid obstacles.Another wheelchair designed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology responds to oral commands like "forward" and "back," "right" and "left."Then there are cars designed for easy entry for the wheelchair-bound or those with difficulty walking, like Toyota Motor Corp.'s Welcab series. Its slogan: "A car that's more patient than your daughter."Tired? Retire to a Lowland futon bed by Kaneshiro Tsuhso Inc. that can be adjusted into a reclining seat.And there's help for caregivers, too.A full-body robotic suit developed by the Kanagawa Institute of Technology outside Tokyo is a massive contraption powered by 22 air pumps to help nurses hoist patients on and off their beds.Sensors attached to the user's skin detects when muscles are trying to lift something heavy-and signals to the air pumps to kick in to provide support.Though the suit makes its wearer look a little like Robocop, a student who was easily lifted off a table in a demonstration said he felt comfortable during the test."It doesn't feel at all like I'm being lifted by a robot," he said."This feels so comfortable and very human."

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END TIMES WEATHER WATCH:Another warm winter seen for much of U.S.

NEW YORK -Long-range weather forecasts are predicting a warmer than average winter with less precipitation for much of the United States except the Pacific Northwest."It will be a lot like last year but the climate models are even more in agreement now than they were last fall," said Mike Halpert, head of forecast operations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center. "Temperatures will be warmer than average in most places except the northwest of the country, which could see some cold."Forecasters believe the emergence of a La Nina condition-unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean-will be the main factor behind the anticipated warmth for much of North America. "Computer models that simulate La Nina conditions have come up with an overwhelming consensus of above-normal warmth for a large part of the (energy) consuming east and back into the southern Rockies," said Jim Rouiller, senior energy weather forecaster at Planalytics in Wayne, Pennsylvania.The forecast warmth could come as a relief to heating oil consumers who are facing higher prices with crude oil trading above $80 per barrel and lower fuel inventories. Distillate fuel stocks, which include heating oil, are 13 million barrels lower than last year, according to U.S. government data. Private weather forecaster WSI Corp warned last week that while temperatures in the Northeastern United States, home to the world's largest heating oil market, may be cooler than normal in October, the chill was unlikely to last long enough to deplete burgeoning natural gas inventories."Typically, in the eastern U.S., La Nina means a warm October and a cold December," WSI forecaster Todd Crawford said, but added that cold ocean temperatures in the northern Pacific indicate a colder October than would normally be forecast.U.S. natural gas inventories grew by 57 billion cubic feet in the week to September 28, the U.S. government reported Thursday. The increase was less than had been expected by analysts, but overall stocks are 7.5 percent above the five-year average for this time of year.

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ENVIRO WATCH:Indonesia to Plant 79 Million Trees In Single Day

JAKARTA, Indonesia-Indonesia, which is losing its forests faster than any other country, hopes to plant 79 million trees in a single day ahead of a major U.N. climate change meeting later this year, a forestry ministry spokesman said Friday."We aim to get Indonesia greener as soon as we can and reduce forest degradation as much as possible," said Masyhud, who goes by a single name.The trees, mostly eucalyptus and teak, will be planted across the world's fourth largest nation on Nov. 28, he said. The country's president will take part in the campaign, said Masyhud.Masyud said saplings would be distributed in advance to more than 70,000 villages across the country, where community elders, government officials and villagers would plant them.Environmental group Greenpeace said in May that Indonesia was losing its forests faster than any other country, with the equivalent of about 300 soccer pitches destroyed every hour. The forestry ministry did not contest the statement. Around 1.8 million hectares (4.5 million acres) of forest were destroyed each year between 2000 and 2005, a rate of 2 percent annually or 51 square kilometers (20 square miles) a day, the group said.In addition to massive commercial logging for timber, Indonesian forests are also being decimated by fires and land clearing for palm oil plantations.Masyhud said that since 2003 the government has launched several conservation initiatives, including signing agreements with Japan and the EU banning the import of illegally logged products.Indonesia will host a major U.N. climate change meeting in December on the resort island of Bali. Environment ministers from 80 countries will meet there to begin talks on what actions the world must take after the first commitment period of the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012.

As in the days of Noah....

NASA: China May Get to Moon Before U.S. Can Return

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida-The Soviets beat the US at getting a satellite, and a man, into space.Now, the Chinese may get to the moon before the U.S. can make a return visit.Fifty years after Sputnik became the world's first artificial satellite, a new race is under way with the finish line on the moon. NASA, the former lunar champion, already is predicting defeat."I personally believe that China will be back on the moon before we are," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said in a low-key lecture in Washington two weeks ago, marking the space agency's 50th anniversary, still a year away."I think when that happens, Americans will not like it. But they will just have to not like it."Griffin's candor startled many in the space community, but insiders acknowledge the reality. China has pulled off two manned spaceflights with its own rockets and is eager to head for the moon.NASA has a 2020 deadline for returning Americans to the moon. China would like to beat that.It has a probe poised for a launch to the moon, supposedly before year's end. The lunar orbiter is to be followed by a lander and then, by 2017, a robotic mission to return moon rocks. Whether China could land one of its "taikonauts" there before American astronauts arrive is uncertain.The U.S. is "more technically advanced. We certainly could be back on the moon faster than the Chinese, but we don't have the political will and therefore the resources to do it," said Joan Johnson-Freese, head of the Naval War College's national security decision-making department.Russia-the early day winner with the launch of Sputnik on October 4, 1957, and the first spaceman, Yuri Gagarin, on April 12, 1961-is no longer the competitor it was under the Soviet Union banner.Although Russia is a key player in the international space station, with its Soyuz rockets regularly ferrying crews and cargo, it's figuring to team up with the United States in the moon arena.It was just four years ago that China became only the third country in the world to launch its own rockets with people on board. Now it is aiming to build its own space station to orbit Earth, as well as a mission to the moon in 10 to 15 years.Unlike the intense, cash-heavy days of the late 1950s and 1960s, budget constraints have slowed NASA's previous rocket-fast pace. It will be 16 years from the time President Bush set the lunar goal in 2004-if NASA even gets to the moon by 2020.That's twice as long as it took after President Kennedy issued the challenge in 1961; Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin fulfilled it in July 1969."Apollo was a Cold War program. It was as much a war-fighting program as any tank or plane," and both the U.S. and Soviet Union were starting from the same place, Johnson-Freese said. The Chinese, on the other hand, started halfway up the learning curve, she noted, having borrowed their spacecraft design from the Russians.NASA insists it's not a race anymore, with grander, longer-range goals than Apollo's flags and footprints. Think lunar bases, with encapsulated minivans for transporting astronauts."The U.S. has to get over this feeling that it has to be a competition," said White House science adviser John Marburger.Competition or no, the prize will encompass more than any lunar treasures."I think we will see, as we have seen with China's introductory manned space flights so far, we will see again that nations look up to nations that appear to be at the top of the technical pyramid and they want to do deals with those nations," Griffin said."That's one of the things that made us the world's greatest economic power. So I think we'll be reinstructed in that lesson in the coming years."

As in the days of Noah....

'Brain Interfaces' Let Players Control Video Games With Thoughts, Not Thumbs

Thumbs. Who needs 'em?Technology developers are poised in the next month to debut new "brain-computer interfaces," which will allow video game players to control their PlayStations and Xboxes with their thoughts, not their fingers.The devices are powered by neurosensors, attached to points on the scalps of players, where the "Alpha," "Theta" and "Beta" brain waves can be detected, according to researchers.These sensors are connected to the game controls, which move the on-screen characters left or right, up or down, faster or slower, depending upon the thoughts of the players. "Frontlines," "Doom" and "Tetris" may never be the same again."The technology is similar to the electroencephalogram that neurologists and other doctors use to measure brain activity," said Domenic Greco, a doctor of clinical psychology and the founder of SmartBrain Games, a developer in San Marcos, Calif. "It's a neuro-feedback system which sends a signal of brain activity to a specially designed game controller."These consumer technologies have been in development for years, but there will be "announcements that are coming in the next month with several collaborators," said Stanley Yang, CEO of NeuroSky, a developer of BCI sensors based in San Jose, Calif. "This is with well-known companies."Some of the developers are keeping details very closely guarded, however."We very much appreciate your interest in Emotiv Systems and would love to keep you updated on all the news," said spokeswoman Susanna Hughes in San Francisco. "Unfortunately, at this time Emotiv will not be able to participate as the team is very much focused on development of the product, but there will be some announcements in the next couple of months."
• Click here to watch a YouTube clip demonstrating Emotiv's brain-controller interface.
Flight Simulators
The secretive culture surrounding the technology development is somewhat understandable, as these kinds of technologies first emerged in government laboratories.NASA developed brain-computer interfaces for flight simulators at its Langley space flight center during the 1990s, and earlier this decade it licensed the technology to SmartBrain Games.Other developers emerged out of the fringes of the medical sector, where experimental brain-computer interfaces were used by psychologists and neurologists and other clinicians to train children with ADD how to concentrate or quadriplegics how to use their limbs again after an accident.These kinds of technologies emerged a few years ago and worked with an array of off-the-shelf games and game platforms. But they were designed for doctors, not for consumers, as the outputs were still similar to those seen on brain wave monitors at hospitals."One of the major challenges was that individuals had to come to an office of the doctor-psychologists, pediatricians, neurologists-and the doctors would administer the training," Greco said."That was the downside professionals needed to monitor this training, listening for feedback, and coach patients through it."With the new consumer versions of this technology coming to market, consumers may see several benefits of this kind of brain training in addition to the excitement of playing a game without hand controls.One benefit is that players can "improve their general concentration and focus," Greco said. "That has a lot of potential with the aging of the baby boom."They can also improve their ability to relax, as stressful thoughts will speed up a game, and cool, calm and collected thoughts will slow things down on-screen, Greco said."You can also check other mental states- like attention and focus," Yang added.This feature can also alter the game, in real-time, making it more challenging to play if the sensor detects that the player is bored in the early stages of play. "If the game is trying to detect your focus, it would be on a zero to 100 scale," Yang said.
There are other applications available in the lab, but the developers aren't rushing out to market with them."We have a lot of different capabilities, but we're only releasing capabilities that are proven for everybody," Yang said."There is a big difference between science and engineering-engineered products work for everybody all the time."We try to go the engineering way-not pushing out all of our technologies, but only those that are tested in various temperatures, humidity and with different age groups. We want this to be viewed as a mature, wearable technology."Scientists said there may be side-effects to the technology, as there are with all new innovations.Greco is concerned that consumers may get into a relatively relaxed brain state, characterized by "Alpha" waves-the same brain waves present when one is about to sleep-then go out to the garage and try to drive a real car, with adverse consequences, such as an accident.Said Greco: "When you start messing with the brain, that raises concerns."

As in the days of Noah....