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

Friday, October 12, 2007

SIGN of the TIMES:Youth suicide climbs at alarming rate, report says

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-The number of youth who take their own lives increased by 8 percent in a period of one year, the largest single-year rise in 15 years, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Scott Stevens, director of student ministry at LifeWay Church Resources, told Baptist Press it's not uncommon for youth ministers to hear teenagers voice thoughts of suicide."Teens face challenges of many kinds, not to mention the pressures of a performance-based existence where often the only time they feel accepted is when they excel in their performance-in athletics, academics, etc.," Stevens said. "Unfortunately, teen suicide continues to be a permanent 'solution' to what are often painful but temporary problems."The study, released in September, found that after a 28.5 percent decrease in suicides among people ages 10-24 from 1990 to 2003, rates jumped 8 percent in 2004. Observers say they're not sure whether it's a one-year spike or the start of a trend, according to a report by USA Today.The most significant increase was found among girls ages 10-14, an age and gender group which saw suicides rise 76 percent from 56 per 100,000 in 2003 to 94 per 100,000 in 2004, the study said. Hanging and suffocation were the most common forms of suicide in that group, accounting for 71.4 percent of the deaths."Knowing that every incident is unique, I wouldn't begin to prescribe a universal solution," Chad Childress, director of children's and student evangelism at the North American Mission Board, told BP. "However, the one thing I do know is that every teen must have unconditional love, acceptance and appreciation. I believe those are best found in two spheres of influence."First, the home must be the safe haven to unload and find freedom to mess up. Second, a community of friends and adults [is needed to] speak life, purpose and meaning into the lives of their friends," Childress said. "For those of us who call the name of Jesus Christ, we must lead the way, be the influence and proclaim freedom that is found in Christ alone."Some of the warning signs parents and youth workers can look for include talking about taking one's life, feeling sad or hopeless about the future, changes in eating or sleeping habits, and losing the desire to take part in favorite activities, the lead author of the study said."Proper response is the key," Stevens of LifeWay said. "Any time a student voices suicidal thoughts, they must be taken seriously and not discounted as a mere cry for attention."Key questions to explore include whether the student has thought about how he/she might commit suicide and whether the student has the means to carry out the suicide, Stevens said."In addition, one might ask the teen to contact them if they feel like they are about to take their own life. Immediate intervention is needed," Stevens said. "Parents and other authorities and caregivers must be alerted. This is not a time for secrets, and if a teen's friend is voicing thoughts of suicide, they need to share this information with an adult."Stevens has had the experience of sitting in a living room with a mother and father while the body of their son, who had shot himself, was still in the bathroom."Words are not adequate at such a time, and I believe the most we can offer is a ministry of presence. The best thing I had to share with these grieving parents, and that I shared at this young man's funeral, was that I knew he had accepted Christ as his Savior during our DiscipleNow weekend a few months earlier and was confident of his eternal home," Stevens said. "When it comes to suicide, especially teen suicide, there will always be more questions than answers. That's why any threat in this direction must be dealt with immediately."A Centers for Disease Control survey found that 17 percent of high school students said they'd seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months, 13 percent said they had created a plan to commit suicide, and 8 percent said they had tried to kill themselves."This study demands that we strengthen our efforts to help parents, schools and health care providers prevent things that increase the risk of suicide," Ileana Arias, director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, told USA Today. "We need to build on the efforts dedicated to education, screening and treatment and bridge the gap between the knowledge we currently have and the action we must take."

As in the days of Noah...

GAY AGENDA:Judge Rules Lesbian Students Do Not Have Special Rights

When a couple was caught kissing in the halls of California's Santiago High School, school administrators, following their rules, notified the parents. For their courtesy to Mom and Dad, the school district got sued. Why? The students self-identify as lesbians, and one of the girls was outed to her mom.The American Civil Liberties Union and the Gay Straight Alliance Network brought the federal suit, claiming the girls were disciplined because they were gay. Judge James Selna disagreed, saying the discipline, "was not motivated … by sexual orientation.""Schools have a right to set rules for public displays of affection, and they have a right to enforce these rules with appropriate discipline," said Kevin Snider of the Pacific Justice Institute. "If the student had won in this case, that would have undermined the Bill of Rights. It's not surprising in many ways that the ACLU once again shows its confusion over due process rights."Melissa Fryrear, director of the gender issues department at Focus on the Family, said she wasn't surprised that gay activists took up the case."We know that one of the common tactics is to try to make people involved in homosexuality look like victims," she said. "Thankfully, in this case the judge saw through that charade."Gay activists cannot have it both ways, to be considered a special class at whim whenever it does or does not benefit them."

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LAND FULL of VIOLENCE:Nigeria to feed prisoners more

Abuja - Nigeria has raised the feeding allowance of inmates of its over-crowded prisons to 200 naira ($1.5) from 150 as part of measures to improve their welfare, says the information minister. John Odeh said: "Cabinet approves that the feeding sum of 150 naira be increased to 200 naira per inmate with effect from January 01 2008 because it has to be included in the budget." He said the government was worried about the appalling conditions in prisons, which had led to a series of bloody riots in recent weeks.Water and power supplies would also be improved upon in the coming days, he assured. Odeh said there were more than 40 000 inmates in the country's jailhouses, 80% of them still awaiting trial.Last month, eight inmates of Agodi Prison in southwest Nigeria were killed during an attempted jailbreak. They were protesting poor living conditions in their cell.Amnesty International had condemned prison conditions in Nigeria, describing them as appalling, with "forgotten inmates" locked away for years without trial simply because their files had been lost.An Amnesty delegation recently spent two weeks in Nigeria, visiting 10 prisons in the states of Enugu, Kano and Lagos and in the Federal Capital Territory around Abuja.It called on the government to improve conditions and to ensure all prisoners were tried within a reasonable time.

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Tibetan protesters infiltrate Chinese embassy in New Delhi

NEW DELHI, India-Some 30 Tibetan exiles protesting Chinese religious policies stormed the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on Wednesday, with several breaching the front gate and chaining themselves to the flag pole inside, police and witnesses said.Others repeatedly sprayed "Free Tibet" in red paint on the embassy walls and the main gate before many of the demonstrators were forcibly taken away by Indian police, according to an Associated Press photographer at the scene.The activists were protesting a recent Chinese order that Beijing must approve all of Tibet's spiritual leaders, known as Lamas. For centuries, the search for the reincarnation of lamas-including Tibet's spiritual head, the Dalai Lama-has been carried out by select Tibetan monks."This order is an attempt to undermine the influence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama," said Dorjee Bhondup, a leader of the Tibetan Youth Congress who was at the protest.The protest is one of a series in India against what the Tibetan exiles say are China's continued attempts to subvert Tibetan Buddhist culture and strengthen Beijing's hold on the Himalayan region.In August, thousands of Tibetan exiles marched through New Delhi to protest the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Chinese plans to have the Olympic torch run go through Tibet.
India has been a center for the Tibetan exiles since the Dalai Lama fled there in 1959 after a failed uprising and set up his government in exile in the northern town of Dharmsala.However, India has tempered its support for the Tibetan cause in recent years as it seeks to improve relations with China. Last year, to avoid embarrassing visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao, India imposed a series of restrictions on Tibetan activists and protesters.India's Foreign Ministry had no comment on Wednesday's incident.Descending from a bus, the activists ran through the embassy's main gate that was guarded by private guards only. About six of the protesters scaled an inner wall and entered the main embassy compound where they chained themselves to a flag post and waved the Tibetan flag.After about 15 minutes Indian police arrived and detained the protesters.Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said 22 protesters had been detained but no charges would be filed against them.Bhagat denied there had been a breach of security. "They were taken away because demonstrations are not allowed in that area," he said.
Phones at the Chinese Embassy rang unanswered.The demonstrators were protesting the new order, which came into force in September and states that all future incarnations of living Buddhas related to Tibetan Buddhism must get Chinese government approval.China's officially atheistic communist government has increasingly sought to direct Tibetan Buddhism, for centuries the basis of Tibet's civil, religious, cultural and political life.Reincarnated lamas often lead religious communities and oversee the training of monks, giving them enormous influence over religious life in Tibet.China already insists that only the government can approve the appointments of the best-known reincarnates, including the Dalai and Panchen Lamas, the No. 1 and No. 2 figures in Tibetan Buddhism.In 1995, the Dalai Lama chose 6-year-old Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama, the most exalted figure of Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. The boy and his family disappeared soon after and have not been heard from since.China's communist-led government later named Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama and said Nyima and his family were being kept in a secret location for their protection.
"On behalf of every Tibetan we call on the Chinese government to withdraw this order," Bhondup said.

As in the days of Noah...

Belarus to 'build nuclear plant'

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko says his country needs to build a nuclear power station.The creation of a domestic nuclear energy source was essential to guarantee "national security", Interfax news quoted Mr Lukashenko as saying.Work on the reactor would start in 2008, he said. It is expected to be ready in four to eight years.Belarus relies heavily on Russian gas for its energy, and rows over payments have prompted threats of supply cuts. "Unfortunately, energy has been turned from a purely economic issue into a political one, into a factor affecting relations with other countries and with organisations," Mr Lukashenko was quoted as saying. Belarus' nuclear plant is expected to cost up to $2.8bn (£1.4bn) to build, with much of the money being raised through external borrowing.Mr Lukashenko has enjoyed closer relations with Moscow than the leaders of other post-Soviet states such as Ukraine and Georgia - both of which also rely heavily on Russian gas.All three countries have accused Russia of using its monopoly of energy supplies as a political tool.Moscow denies the charge, arguing it has had to raise gas prices because subsidies granted during the Soviet era are being phased out.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7039403.stm
As in the days of Noah....

Wars in Africa wipe out aid gains

A report on armed conflict in Africa has shown that the cost to the continent's development over a 15-year period was nearly $300bn (£146bn).The research was undertaken by a number of non-governmental organisations, including Oxfam.It says the cost of conflict was equal to the amount of money received in aid during the same period.This is the first time analysts have calculated the overall effects of armed violence on development. The report says that between 1990 and 2005, 23 African nations were involved in conflict, and on average this cost African economies $18bn a year.It concludes that African governments have taken encouraging steps at a regional level to control arms transfers, but that what is needed is a global, legally-binding arms trade treaty.The president of Liberia, which is just starting to recover from a long civil war, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, also wrote the preface to the report. She told the BBC "the proliferation of weapons is a key driver in armed conflicts"."We need to restrict the supply of guns to African conflict zones - and an arms trade treaty is a vital way to do this", she said.
Ongoing burden
The BBC's Johannesburg correspondent Peter Biles says that some costs of war, such as increased military spending and a struggling economy continue long after the fighting has stopped.Liberia's Defence Minister, Brownie Samukai told the BBC's Network Africa programme that to his knowledge expenditure this year alone included sums of $11m and $35m "for training, equipment, facilities, buildings and construction - a combination of these types of expenditure."The researchers say that although the number of armed conflicts is falling in Africa there is no room for complacency, with little hope of a swift settlement in either Sudan or Somalia.And some experts argue that Africa actually needs to increase its arms spending.
Haneelmoed Heitman - the Africa correspondent for Jane's Defence - told the BBC "in a lot of countries the primary problem is that the national security forces are too small, too ill-equipped and too ill-trained to actually provide any sort of security".He cites the example of Cameroon which has some 12,500 troops to cover around 400,000 sq kms with no transport or reconaissance aircraft."Without helicopters for tactical movement", says Mr Heitman, "it's physically impossible for them to deploy to counter banditry or insurgency".He concludes that most African countries need to spend more on military equipment - but primarily on transport such as helicopters to allow them to mobilise to deploy against the "bad guys".
As in the days of Noah...

Are Christians Contributing to Unbelief?

There is a tendency today to believe that America is becoming increasingly secular, in the sense that more and more people are either atheists or agnostics. However, that is not what the evidence reveals. In fact, 89 percent of Americans still claim to "believe in God" or claim to have "a strong sense of religious faith" and only 11 percent claim to be atheist or agnostic. This latter figure has remained relatively unchanged for decades. Granted the term "believe in God" can include those completely unrelated to faith in Jesus Christ, cultural Christians, or the faithful follower but that is not my point. Last week NBC Nightly News featured a story in conjunction with their "Faith in America" series. According to the story, Americans actually remain strongly "religious" and the only change has been in the fact that we are seeing an increased level of comfort among the unbelieving to express themselves. They pointed to the popularity of prominent atheist writers such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris--all of whom have had hugely successful books on the New York Times Best-Seller list.This raises the obvious question: If Americans remain so staunchly religious then why do books such as Hitchens' God is Not Great, or Dawkins' The God Delusion and many others which challenge faith seem to be gaining popularity? Why are so many Americans who evidently claim to believe in God and describe themselves as having "religious faith" buying books attacking the existence of God? Clearly I believe we are talking about spiritual seekers and not necessarily spirit-filled believers. And for that reason, this is a very important question for the Church to grapple with and not ignore.J. David Kuo, who served in the Bush White House for two-and-a-half years as a Special Assistant to the president and eventually as Deputy Director of the Faith-Based Initiative, offers one possible suggestion as to why this may be. According to Kuo, a self-professed conservative Christian, growing interest in questions about God's existence may be the result of a "backlash against the mingling of religion, politics and public policy," and this idea that "Jesus was about a particular conservative political agenda." In essence, he means that the actions of some Christians may be encouraging the spiritual seeker to further doubt the existence of God. Some of us may be tempted to react to these statements but I want to encourage you to look beyond your feelings and return to the question at hand. For Christians, there is always an imperative for self-critique in the light of Scripture and we must be willing to face the toughest questions about ourselves first. As Christians we must constantly test our attitudes and actions against the truth of Scripture and be prepared to abandon our positions when found to be in conflict with Scripture. Furthermore, I am not suggesting that Kuo is, in fact, correct, only that his suggestion warrants objective examination by those who are truly committed to living in obedience to Christ. Could it be that our own actions are causing the religiously-inclined but nonetheless lost to doubt the existence of God? Is it possible that the Church is pushing people toward unbelief by virtue of its approach to culture and the world? Has Christianity become so politically defined that true faith and the person of Jesus Christ is obscured in the minds of many? Is it possible that Christians are conducting themselves in such a way that the spiritually seeking are looking anywhere but to Christ? I don't know for sure but I certainly think it is possible, and that is enough to make me examine myself in light of these questions. It should cause us all to examine ourselves. This growing interest in "questioning the existence of God" seems to parallel the decline in church attendance or more precisely, those leaving the institutional church. According to Reggie McNeal, author of The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church, "They are not leaving because they have lost their faith. They are leaving the church to preserve their faith." McNeal adds, "They contend that the church no longer contributes to their spiritual development." This would certainly be the natural consequence of a Christianity that has lost its Christ-centeredness.McNeal goes on to say, "The bottom line is that the bottom is not looking too good... Underneath the semblance of an American culture influenced by Christianity, the tectonic plates have shifted."
To read more go to:
PS:THE ANSWER IS...."YES"....(sigh)
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CULTURE of DEATH:MPs told home abortions are safe

It is safe for women to perform their own medical abortions at home, experts have advised MPs.Currently, women seeking an early termination - up to nine weeks - take two tablets under medical supervision.The Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV recommendations emerged as part of an inquiry into the UK's 40-year-old abortion legislation.However, the Department of Health said there were no plans to the change the law.The two abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, are not licensed to be used in the home and the second drug can only legally be given by a registered medical professional.
Controversy
The Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists back a change to this, but the RCOG says more research is needed to assess the acceptability of home abortions.Medical experts, including the British Medical Association, also suggested that laws requiring women to have the signatures of two doctors if they want an early abortion could be scrapped.Women will never be the winners with such an approach .Opponents said neither proposal would help women.Julia Millington of the ProLife Alliance said: "With abortion virtually on demand in the UK and annual figures escalating, how extraordinary that the major concern of the pro-choice lobby is the abolition of the doctors' role in the consultation process, plus increased use of self-administered medical abortion."They pass from the gruesome rhetoric of the back street abortion without proper medical care to themselves promoting it in the back bedroom."Neither is desirable and women will never be the winners with such an approach."
An RCOG spokesman said: "There is an increasing body of evidence from both developed and developing countries that home use of mifepristone/misoprostol is safe, effective and acceptable to many women."Rebecca Findlay, spokeswoman for the fpa (Family Planning Association), said: "Giving British women the option to choose whether to have the second stage of a medical abortion in the safety and quiet of their own home, a common practice in other countries, will make an enormous difference to women's experiences of having an abortion."The Royal College of Nursing said the law should be changed to allow nurses to prescribe the medication needed to carry out early medical abortions.RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: "Extending the role of nurses and midwives in this area would prevent women in some parts of the UK being delayed in seeking an early abortion, making the procedure much safer with one small reform."
PS:In other words they are telling women that "IT IS SAFE FOR THEM TO MURDER THEIR CHILD "INNN" THEIR WOMBS HOME,WITH TWO PILLS...."Now you tell me that that is NOT MURDER.......Unbelievable.....
As in the days of Noah...

Bhutto faces corruption setback

Pakistan's Supreme Court is to rule on whether a government amnesty lifting corruption charges against former PM Benazir Bhutto is legal. The amnesty was one of Ms Bhutto's conditions for her return to Pakistan next Thursday ahead of a possible power sharing deal with President Musharraf.Gen Musharraf won another term in office in presidential elections held last Saturday.That election is also being challenged in the Supreme Court.
No protection?
The court's Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, said he would hear five petitions against the amnesty, known as the National Reconciliation Ordinance.He said the court would rule on whether the "ordinance and its provisions are beyond the constitution".Chief Justice Chaudhry said anyone granted an amnesty under the ordinance would "not be entitled to claim any protection if this court concludes that the ordinance and its provisions are beyond the constitution," the AFP news agency reports.It is not due to start detailed work on the case for another three weeks.The petitions were put forward by a leading Islamic politician, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, and four other individuals.Friday's decision opens the possibility of the court both declaring that Gen Musharraf cannot continue to be president and also of Benazir Bhutto facing trial in cases dating back nearly 20 years.Ms Bhutto has declared that she will fly into Karachi on Thursday. She leads the country's biggest party, the Pakistan People's Party.
She and President Musharraf have been in prolonged negotiations about a power sharing arrangement.
Pledge
Gen Musharraf has been under pressure from Washington to reach a deal as the US has become increasingly concerned at his growing unpopularity in Pakistan.On Wednesday he asked Ms Bhutto not to return from her self-imposed exile until his re-election had been endorsed by the Supreme Court.However, her advisers said she would ignore the request. Gen Musharraf made clear in a BBC interview on Friday that he would not prevent Ms Bhutto from returning.

As in the days of Noah....

Mo. schools expel Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON-A new law has made Missouri the first state to ban Planned Parenthood from teaching sex education classes in public schools.The legislation's enactment gave permanent status to the Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Services Program, allowing schools to emphasize abstinence during sex education classes. The law also prevents any personnel affiliated with abortion clinics from teaching sex education classes.Gov. Matt Blunt, R.-Mo., signed the bill into law at Concord Baptist Church in Jefferson City on July 6, saying in a written statement, "All life is precious and needs to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect."Abortion providers like Planned Parenthood should not be supplying our students with information about sexual health," Blunt said. "This vital legislation ensures that our children get the information they need from their teachers, parents and physicians."Jim Sedlak, vice president of the American Life League, applauded Missouri's action, saying in a news release,"The elected officials in Missouri understood the conflict of interest that exists when Planned Parenthood is allowed to teach or provide material for sex education classes. To have an entity that profits from the sale of birth control and abortion teaching our children about sex is ludicrous."Sedlak cited the example of a Planned Parenthood-endorsed book titled "It's Perfectly Normal" that is used in public school sex education classes. The book, which is meant for children ages 10 and older, gives nine reasons to have an abortion."According to Planned Parenthood data, 70 percent of its customers are under the age of 25 -- and 27 percent are under the age of 20," Sedlak said. "So high school and college girls are Planned Parenthood's major customers -- exactly the ones who are reached by Planned Parenthood's sex education programs in the schools."Recent figures released from the state health department show Missouri's residents had nearly 12,000 abortions in 2006, a 2 percent increase from the previous year. The actual number of abortions performed in the state decreased 5 percent to about 7,500, as most women traveled to Kansas for the procedure.The new law also established the Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Public Awareness Program, which provides funding for assistance and counseling to pregnant women who want to place their babies for adoption. Additionally, the legislation requires abortion clinics that perform second- and third-trimester abortions, or at least five first-trimester abortions per month, to be classified as ambulatory surgical centers.A federal judge has delayed enforcement of the clinic reclassification section of the law, but the other two provisions went into effect Aug. 28.After issuing a preliminary injunction in August, Judge Ortrie Smith responded Sept. 24 to a suit by Planned Parenthood and an abortion doctor by ordering the clinic regulation section not to be enforced for at least 60 days. During that time, the abortion providers and the state will negotiate on some provisions in the law.An alert released on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America's website said the new measure could prevent clinics in Kansas City and Columbia from performing abortions and will "remove the requirements of comprehensive, medically accurate sex education from public schools."The Kansas City Star reported that the law could require $2 million in renovations at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia, where the main campus of the University of Missouri is located. The newspaper also reported the Kansas City clinic most likely would stop performing abortions.Missouri state regulations require ambulatory surgical centers to have halls leading to operating and recovery rooms at least 8 feet wide and halls at least 5 feet wide in other areas of the facility. The clinics now also must meet regulations for emergency equipment, infection control and medical staffing.Missouri pro-life advocates achieved another victory last March, when Blunt announced plans to halt state taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood programs that provide cervical cancer and breast cancer screening.Blunt said in a news release, "Patients should not have to go to abortion clinics to access life saving tests." He also said, "Women may access important preventative care without contributing to the abortion providers' goal of facilitating the destruction of innocent life."

As in the days of Noah...

On Anniversary of Bali Bombing, JI Terrorist Group Still Dangerous

Five years ago, explosions tore through two nightclubs in Bali, Indonesia, killing 202 people. The blasts put a terrorist group called Jemaah Islamiyah on the map. But they also put it squarely in the sights of the Indonesian government. More than 400 arrests later, analysts say Jemaah Islamiyah is now a much weaker organization. But they warn it could still come back. Trish Anderton reports from Jakarta.Ever since the bombs went off at Paddy's Pub and the Sari Club, Jemaah Islamiyah has been on the run. Indonesian authorities have arrested many key figures in the organization, often known as JI They captured its alleged military leader, Abu Dujana, in June. Sidney Jones, an analyst with the International Crisis Group in Jakarta, says the police crackdown has forced the group to reconsider its tactics."I think there's a realization that the bombings undertaken mostly by a splinter group of JI damaged the organization - through arrests, through surveillance and through reputation, so the focus seems to be on rebuilding," she said.Jones estimates Jemaah Islamiyah still has about 1,000 members. She believes that, five years from now, the organization will still exist, but it's not clear what form it might take.
"Either we could see JI turn into something more akin to a social organization with a radical ideology but not necessarily any outlet for those energies, or if we continue to see large numbers of Muslims being killed in the Middle East, in some conflict, that would help provide additional fuel for the fire," she said.Jones says other conflicts that could re-energize Jemaah Islamiyah include the sectarian unrest in southern Thailand, and any development that could be seen as threatening to Muslims in Indonesia.Zachary Abuza of Simmons College in Boston has written extensively about Jemaah Islamiyah. He agrees the group is keeping a low profile these days. But he worries it is borrowing a technique from the Palestinian militant organization Hamas - improving its public image and luring new members through social outreach."They've been given a lot of political space to set up front companies or publishing houses or charities or social welfare organizations and that's what they're throwing themselves into," he said. "They're simply lying low, because they're not getting arrested. It's allowing them to regroup, it's allowing them to go out and build up [a] base of popular support."The Bali bombing anniversary is being marked by ceremonies in Bali and in Australia, which lost more citizens in the attack than any other country. Among those attending the Australian gathering will be Geoff Thwaites, whose son Robert was killed."You have longer periods where you're not hurting, you have deeper depressions when you are hurting, and much deeper feelings about the folks that are trying to cause us pain," he said.Thwaites says he supports the death sentences handed down to three of the Bali bombers, who are scheduled to be executed in the coming weeks. But he doesn't blame or fear Indonesians as a whole. He spends a lot of his time in Indonesia now, running a foundation he established in his son's name to help victims of terrorism and disasters. Currently, the organization is building houses in parts of Indonesia's Aceh province devastated by the 2004 tsunami.

As in the days of Noah...

Muslims Worldwide Celebrate Eid-al-Fitr

Tens of millions of Indonesians are filling the roads, buses, trains, ferries, and planes in an annual exodus to return to their birthplaces to celebrate the end of the Islamic fasting month, called Idul Fitri here.In Jakarta, businesses and shops are closed and the usually gridlocked streets are nearly empty as about half the capital's 12 million people leave the city for their hometowns. Idul Fitri marks the end of the month of Ramadan, when Muslims are required to abstain from food, drink and sex during daylight hours.Chris, a British Muslim married to an Indonesian woman compares Idul Fitri to the Christian celebration of Christmas."It's very much like Christmas or Thanksgiving for Muslims. And in Indonesia, this going home tradition's very strong, so the roads are blocked, millions of people are returning home," he said. "Me and my family are going to my wife's sister's house where they'll have a lot of people gathering and having fun, basically. Kids will get new clothes, we'll get some fireworks, that kind of stuff - it's just a good family time."During Ramadan, bars, clubs and most entertainment spots have been closed. But some that dared to stay open have been raided by police or attacked by hard-line Islamic groups.Eid begins on Saturday and includes asking for forgiveness for transgressions committed during the year, so as to make a fresh start."I'm going to the mosque with my family then I'm going to visit my extended family," said Zakky, an office worker in Jakarta. "We're going to forgive each other - say sorry for what we have done in the last year and then so we can have the day really as - start the day clean like Idul Fitri should be, a day of cleanness."For most of the Islamic world Eid al Fitr begins on Saturday, but, millions of followers of Indonesia's second largest Muslim organization, Muhammadiyah Ulama, mark the holiday Friday.

As in the days of Noah...

SIGN of the TIMES:Opium Cultivation Blossoms in Burma

Officials with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime say opium poppy farming is expanding in Burma after several years of dramatic crop declines.Poppy cultivation in Burma decreased more than 80 percent from 1998 to 2006 following an eradication campaign in the area where the borders of Burma, Thailand and Laos meet, an area known as the Golden Triangle.But the number of hectares used to grow the crops in Burma has bounced back 29 percent this year.A U.N. report released this week cites corruption, poverty and a lack of government control as causes for the jump.Xavier Bouan is a crop-monitoring expert for the UNODC in Burma. He recently told journalists in Bangkok that security is loose in Burma's northeastern Shan state, where insurgents from the Shan ethnic minority have fought the military for decades."There's no possibility of improvement in terms of opium poppy elimination or conduction alternative development as long as there is not any peace and security in those areas," said Bouan.U.N. officials say it is not clear if the recent crackdown in Burma against pro-democracy demonstrators has yet affected opium cultivation.However, Sandeep Chawla, head of research and policy in the UNODC in Burma, says in general fluctuations in poppy crops can be tied to political stability."Yes, we are very concerned about it as we must be because if the spike is indeed the beginning of a trend, then it rather changes the picture, where if the trend continues next year then it will be even more to worry about. So we need vigilance now and we need to be very careful with the situation," said Chawla.Analysts say the military may be distracted from its efforts to eradicate opium as it focuses on suppressing the pro-democracy movement.Khuensai Jaiyen is the director of the Shan Herald Agency for News, which focuses on Burma's ethnic Shan community. He also is an expert on the Burmese drug trade.He says Burma's military has already relaxed security in some areas, and the recent crackdown could worsen law enforcement."The army has no time to patrol the countryside anymore," said Jaiyen."They were only focused on the possible unrest that might have cropped up in the main towns and cities. Their main focus has never been opium eradication. Their main concern is to cling on to power."Burma is the world's second biggest producer of opium, which is used to make the highly addictive drug heroin.Afghanistan is by far the world's top producer, with an estimated 90 percent of the world's opium poppy crop.
http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-10-12-voa10.cfm
As in the days of Noah....

ENVIRO WATCH:Millions more to move for Chinese dam

BEIJING-China plans to relocate up to 4 million people from areas surrounding the Three Gorges Dam - the world's biggest hydropower project - because of rising concerns over the environment and landslides, state media reported Friday.For years, China steamed ahead with construction of the project, dismissing most warnings of environmental peril. In the last month, however, officials have made unusually candid statements that the country could face a catastrophe if it fails to act quickly to stop riverbank erosion and other problems caused by the dam.The reservoir already has forced 1.4 million people out of their homes amid criticism the project has wreaked ecological havoc and forced people to move to places where they cannot make a living.On Friday, state media and the region's local government signaled rising concern over the dam's impact, saying as many as several million more people would have to be moved from areas adjacent to the reservoir in a form of "environmental migration."Citing other media reports, the official Xinhua News Agency put the number of people to be moved as high as 4 million in the next 10 to 15 years. Other reports gave a lower estimate. The 21st Century Business Herald newspaper said 2.3 million people would be moved to urban areas by 2020.The true numbers to be affected aren't clear.The reservoir area "has a vulnerable ecological environment, and the natural conditions make large scale urbanization or serious overpopulation impossible here," Chongqing Vice Mayor Yu Yuanmu was quoted as saying by Xinhua.Promoted as a cure-all for Yangtze River flooding and an alternative to coal-fired power generation, the dam is already starting to exact a price beyond its $23.6 billion construction cost.Environmentalists have repeatedly pointed to problems including serious pollution from the submerging of hundreds of factories, mines and waste dumps, and runoff from heavy industry upstream. Seasonal variations in the reservoir's water level will create filthy swamp conditions, while the dam's very presence blocks migration routes, leading to a crash in fish stocks, they warn.Taking their cue from a greater emphasis on the environment under current Chinese leader Hu Jintao, Chinese officials appear less willing to defend the dam, said Peter Brosshard, policy director with the Berkeley, Calif.-based International Rivers Network that has long warned of problems ahead for the dam."Officials definitely seem to have become more outspoken about the problems," Brosshard said.Seeking to stem further degradation, Chongqing's plan calls for the establishment of a green belt surrounding the reservoir to curb pollution and prevent further erosion of the Yangtze's banks."We will actively carry out an environmental protections based on protecting forests and preventing landslides and a policy of environmental migration for environmentally fragile and sensitive areas," said an outline of the report, posted on the Chongqing regional government's Web site.The outline said the region's urban population was expected to grow by about 4 million between 2010 and 2020, largely through rural migration and expansion of the city, but also through relocating residents from areas surrounding the reservoir where the environment was "especially delicate and particularly sensitive."Asked for details, Wang Qing, an official with the Chongqing Development and Reform Commission, said people would be "encouraged and guided to move," but didn't say how many.Hu Jihong, the commission's office director, said there had been incorrect media reports on the relocations, but added: "We think it's not worth commenting."The unwillingness to talk appeared to reflect sensitivities over the previous round of relocations that were plagued by reports of corruption and complaints of poor conditions for migrants in their new homes.Charles Freeman, who holds the Freeman Chair in China Studies at Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that because of the ambitions of the dam project, many of the environmental and social problems may have been foreseen, but were not well-addressed."The problem when you have a project as massive as this, which is inherently tied to grand national ambition, is that some of the details and the very human aspects associated with it tend to get swept under the rug," he said.Begun in 1993, the left bank of the dam began generating power in 2005, and turbines on the right side of the dam started sending their first trickle of electricity to the power grid this summer. The project is scheduled to be fully running by 2009.

As in the days of Noah....

PESTILENCE WATCH:Old virus causing new disease in United States

WASHINGTON-A strain of virus best known for causing colds and "stomach flu" is becoming more common and more dangerous, U.S. researchers report.They said that adenovirus 21 was surprisingly common and was causing an unexpected level of severe disease and deaths.The researchers used a new test developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and said the wider use of such tests might help doctors and health officials better understand what diseases are making people sick."It makes the case that if you did survey regularly and routinely for adenoviruses you would get more information and a little advance information on where the bad ones are likely to pop up and to be ready," said Dr. Catherine Laughlin of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which paid for the study.Adenoviruses cause colds, bronchitis and stomach upsets, but can also cause chronic airway obstruction, a heart infection called myocarditis, a sometimes deadly bowel condition called intussusception and sudden infant death at birth.Gregory Gray of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa and colleagues were trying to get a handle on which types of adenoviruses were most common and which were causing serious outbreaks of disease.This had not been easy to do because the old diagnostic tests were slow and could not differentiate easily among the different strains of adenovirus. And doctors rarely test patients to see what infection they have."The new test is very elegant and specific," Laughlin said in a telephone interview.Gray's team used the test on 2,200 samples from 22 U.S. medical facilities, including eight military sites. Military personnel are especially susceptible to outbreaks of all kinds of disease, including adenoviruses.
KILLER VIRUS
Adenovirus 21 was found in 1 percent of specimens in 2004, but in 2.4 percent in 2006. And it was making people much sicker than the other strains, killing 50 percent of bone marrow transplant patients, for instance.These patients are at extra risk from infections as their entire immune systems are destroyed before they get transplants of new bone marrow tissue."For both populations, we observed a statistically significant increasing trend of adenovirus type 21 detection over time," Gray and colleagues wrote in their report.And half of them were sick enough to be hospitalized."The high prevalence of hospitalization among the patients with adenovirus infection was surprising," Gray's team wrote in their report, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.Laughlin said the test would need to be commercialized, but having it available might encourage companies to develop better drugs and vaccines against adenoviruses."I think there will also be more effort in drug and vaccine development, especially because the numbers of immunosuppressed people that we have around really has been increasing," she said -- including cancer patients, organ recipients and people infected with the AIDS virus.The Department of Defense has also contracted for a new vaccine against adenovirus types 4 and 7.

As in the days of Noah....

PERSECUTION WATCH:Airport employee suspended for displaying a picture of Jesus

To read this and many other news about christian persecution in the world,go to:
http://persecuted-church.blogspot.com/
As in the days of Noah...

U.N. Chief Says Evangelicals, MDGs a Natural Fit

ARLINGTON, Va. – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the common social concerns of the UN and the evangelical community as he informed leaders Thursday of the progress toward the Millennium Development Goals.United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon addresses a group of evangelical leaders as part of the Global Leaders Forum in Arlington, Virginia on Oct. 11, 2007.Like “you who contribute so much to causes close to our hearts – peace, good works and prosperity for all – … I believe in moral passion grounded in concrete action” he said in the opening of his much-anticipated address.Ban was the first U.N. secretary general to speak at a National Association of Evangelicals summit.Yet NAE’s president, Leith Anderson, was quick to emphasize that the focus of the two-day gathering, which ends Friday, is not on the high-profile U.N. speaker but rather on the teaching of the Gospel.“We are not here for the secretary-general,” stated Anderson ahead of the dinner speech. “We are here for the people who are poor, hurting and marginalize. He (Ban) is here to give us insight so we can help those people.”Most of Ban’s Thursday night address was spent on informing and updating evangelical leaders on the MDGs – eight social goals that governments worldwide have committed to fulfill by 2015. The MDGs include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and reducing child mortality.“I know you are familiar with this war,” said Ban.“Christian evangelicals have pursued a similar calling for more years than the United Nations have existed,” he acknowledged. Christians were praised for delivering aid, urging the cancellation of debt, and fighting AIDS around the world.The secretary-general reminded the evangelical crowd of the long history that faith-based organizations have had with the United Nations.In 1945, out of 42 non-governmental organizations involved in the creation of the United Nations 14 were faith-based. Now, there are about 4,000 NGOs accredited with the United Nations of which 400 are faith-based organizations.“This should be of no surprise considering the nature of our common cause,” commented Ban. The dinner with Ban was the first part of the two-day Global Leaders Forum convened by the National Association of Evangelicals and Micah Challenge USA. The forum has brought together evangelical leaders from the US and the Global South.“The time for biblical justice is now but it is appropriate for all times in all places in all situation,” said Richard Cizik, vice president of government affairs at the NAE. “What our cry is is a cry for biblical justice in the time of need.“We are reaching out,” Cizik declared. “This is not mushy, social gospel. This is not hogwash. This is what Jesus himself said.”On Friday, after hearing the U.N. secretary-general’s address, leaders will discuss issues including poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, bioethics, human rights, creation care, torture, and peacemaking.“More than ever, we need the National Association of Evangelicals, the Micah challenge and others in the faith communities to help the goals to be achieve,” said Ban.“Your engagement can push governments to follow through on their commitments.”

As in the days of Noah....

Mugabe 'can attend summit'

Lisbon - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe can attend the EU-Africa summit in December despite vehement British opposition, Portugal's Foreign Minister Luis Amado said on Thursday.
"If the meeting in Lisbon takes place in the presence of Mugabe, he must hear what is said not only by European countries but also by some African nations," Lusa news agency quoted Amado as saying in Pretoria.Amado, whose country is the current EU president, said it was important to "respect the sovereignty of all the states in the region, the importance of the process of regional political integration ... and Africans assuming a greater role in politics."British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he may boycott the December 8-9 summit if Mugabe is permitted to break an European Union travel ban to attend.There has been no EU-Africa summit for seven years, partly due to divisions over whether Mugabe, in power in Zimbabwe since its 1980 independence from Britain, should be allowed to attend.The European Union accuses Mugabe's government of committing human rights violations and throttling democracy and has imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe which is gripped by a major economic crisis.
"At the heart of the EU, we cannot confuse our actions, our vision and our means of action ... including pertinent sanctions against (Mugabe's) regime - with our approach to the EU-Africa summit," said Amado."I am convinced that the summit will open a new page in Europe's relations with Africa ... with the possibility of approving a common strategy, to define an action plan and a mechanism of cooperation," said the Portuguese minister.

As in the days of Noah....

'We'll become more radical'

Moroni - The leader of a rebellious island in the Comoros archipelago rejected new African Union (AU) sanctions on Thursday as likely to hurt the population while radicalising his position even further.A six-month impasse over disputed elections on the breakaway island of Anjouan has brought a new round of instability to the Indian Ocean archipelago, which has endured 19 successful or attempted coups since independence from France in 1975.Trying to force Anjouan president Mohamed Bacar to accept new elections and respect national authorities, the AU on Wednesday slapped sanctions on top officials including a travel ban, freezing of funds and restriction of air and sea links.
'Force us to become even more radical'
"The AU measures are going to produce the opposite effect," Bacar told Reuters by telephone. "They force us to become even more radical in our positions."Comorian federal troops tried unsuccessfully to take control of Anjouan buildings and install a replacement president as mandated by a court in May.Several soldiers died in those clashes.Bacar was re-elected in a June poll that went ahead despite the federal government's order it should be delayed, a boycott of other candidates, and international condemnation.The national government of President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, an Islamic imam-turned-politician, has since threatened to re-invade Anjouan and has appealed for AU military help.The AU says its sanctions will be applied for 45 days first, before it considers "further measures".Bacar said the AU, as a mediator, had no right to impose sanctions, and should support his call for inter-island dialogue."The solution to this crisis is Comorian and we have proposed an inter-Comorian round-table," he said."How can you really think three months of negotiations are long enough and that it is useful and urgent to take measures penalising the people of Anjouan?" he added of the AU's involvement in the crisis at the national government's request.
'We live better than in Grande Comore'
If elections are to be re-held, that should apply on all three islands, not just Anjouan, Bacar added. All Comorians would suffer from sanctions, he said."In Anjouan, we live better than in Grande Comore and Moheli, where there is shortage of nearly all basic products. Those two islands supply themselves from Anjouan. So this embargo risks hurting them in the first place."
A spokesperson for Sambi's government welcomed the AU move.The rocky Comoros islands, which lie off east Africa, retain some autonomy through local leaderships under the terms of a 2001 peace deal, but also share a rotating national president.First settled by Arab seafarers about 1 000 years ago, and later serving as a haven for pirates pillaging Indian Ocean shipping, the islands, which have a population of about 700 000, were annexed by France in 1904.

As in the days of Noah...

The Great Debate: Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

Do you believe Islam is a peaceful religion? It is on trial. Come and hear the verdict.
For the last four years Arabic Christian Perspective (www.ministrytomuslims.com) has been asking Muslim leaders to argue their side of this topic, but have not received any willing and qualified debaters. Finally, Nadir Ahmed, a Muslim backed by the Islamic Center of Peoria, IL, has decided to take the challenge. He has debated several other evangelical debaters in the US and is determined to "expose the propaganda against Islam." On the other side, Sam Shamoun, a Christian scholar-writer from the website www.answering-islam.org, believes Islam is not a religion of peace but rather one of violence and hatred.[[[amen to that]]] Hear from the Qur'an, Hadiths and other holy books of Islam concerning this issue.The debate is scheduled for November 3rd, 2007 in Fullerton, CA. The debate begins at 2:00pm (registration begins 1:30pm at the door). This event will be held at Hope International University 2500 E. Nutwood Ave., Fullerton, CA 92831 in the Pacific Auditorium. The goal of the debate is to seek the truth about Islam and disclose any misconceptions or deceptions currently being circulated within Western culture. Admission is $8.00 for the general public and free for students.This is a public event. We invite all media and government officials to use this debate as an opportunity to report the truth and protect our nation. Pastor George Saieg, Founder and Director of Arabic Christian Perspective, is available for interviews Wednesday to Friday from 9am to 5pm at 866.533.6659.
PS:Islam is not a religion of peace.Period....People can try to downplay it like it is peaceful but in its core IT IS NOT....If not look at the picture above left....that's just a sample....or remember september 11,or remember our baptist brother kidnapped and killed by two gun shots on in the back of the head,stabbed multiple times and given a final blow to the head,in Gaza this past weekened just because he was a christian and refused to convert to Islam......
As in the days of Noah....

Poland honors 53 who risked lives to save Jews in World War II

Polish President Lech Kaczynski on Wednesday led a ceremony at Warsaw's National Opera House honoring individuals who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, many of whom already hold the Righteous Among the Nations award bestowed by the Yad Vashem Holocaust authority. Wilm Hosenfeld, a German officer who helped save Szpilman, Polish-Jewish musician and subject of Roman Polanski's Oscar winning film, The Pianist, also received a posthumous award, presented to his grandchildren by Kaczynski. Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev thanked some 53 awardees on behalf of Israel, after each was escorted to the stage by two Polish children, one Jewish and one Catholic."You were lonely and isolated and frightened. You have proven to us that it is within each of us to fight evil. The Jewish people will forever remember you and the lessons you have taught us," Shalev said. U.S.-based Jewish lawyer Michael Traison, who attended the ceremony, told Haaretz that the Polish presidents' address elicited an emotional response among the 2000-strong crowd. "Again today (Kaczynski) sounded more like the president of the Jewish people than of Poland. As right wing as may be his followers, this man has a passion for our people that he does not try to tone down in his public statements," Traison said. Czechoslovakia on Tuesday bestowed its highest military decoration upon a Briton who helped hundreds of Jewish children avoid being sent to Nazi concentration camps. Sir Nicholas Winton, 98, was awarded the Cross of Merit of the 1st class by Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova for saving 669 Czechoslovak children from death by organizing train transport from Prague through Germany to London at the outbreak of the war in 1939. The children reached foster parents in England and Sweden. "I am completely overwhelmed that this should happen to me for something I did before most of you were born," Winton said during a ceremony at the defense ministry. Winston has been honored by Czech and British authorities in the past and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said Tuesday he would nominate Winton for the Nobel Peace Prize. Web sites specializing in betting Tuesday nominated a Polish Holocaust heroine among favorites to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Irene Sendler was honored earlier this year in Poland for her role in saving 2,500 Jewish children from the Nazis in Warsaw. The committee was due to name the winner of the $1.53 million prize on Friday.

As in the days of Noah....

Awake To Righteousness

"Be not deceived:evil communications corrupt good manners.
Awake to righteousness,and sin not;for some have not the knowledge of God:I speak this to your shame."
1 Corinthians 15:33-34

SIGN of the TIMES:Sexually Transmitted Infections Soar in California

An estimated 1 million young Californians had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in 2005, including one in every four to five 15- to 24-year-olds in Los Angeles County, researchers said Tuesday.The study, reported in the Los Angeles Times, also found that the cost of treating the new infections is more than $1 billion a year."This is no surprise," said Linda Klepacki, sexual health analyst for Focus on the Family Action. "California has insisted on teaching contraceptive-based sex education in their schools all along. They expect teens to be sexually active. They don’t raise the health standard to abstinence."There were less than five California abstinence education programs funded by the federal government for next year. It's clear California supports sexually active teens, and STI rates will naturally explode with these policies."The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2004 that 9.1 million new STIs occurred nationwide among 15- to 24-year-olds in 2000, with a direct medical cost of $6.5 billion.

As in the days of Noah....

CULTURE of DEATH:California Clergy Helping with Assisted Suicide

Pastors are among the volunteers who will administer the End-of-Life Consultation program — an assisted-suicide effort in California. [[[Those involved insist they aren't breaking the law. ]]]Ron Prentice, executive director of the California Family Council, said there's a higher law that must be respected.“For certain clergy to think that God’s interest in the whole of life somehow dissipates when terminal illness comes is ridiculous, and certainly not biblical," he told Family News in Focus. “The way God has set up life is certainly to regard life at every stage with the highest degree of respect.”The consultation program leaves Focus on the Family Action senior bioethics analyst Carrie Gordon Earll with more questions than answers.“Where are the drugs coming from?" she asked. "What do they mean by 'monitor the patients'? What are they going to do if something goes wrong — are they going to call 911 or are they going to put a pillow over their face and suffocate them?”Earll said most people who choose assisted suicide have seen or fear a long, drawn-out, painful death.“Today’s palliative-care and symptom-management techniques are able to take care of those issues," she said. "We need to be turning to palliative care, not turning to so-called clergy who want to supervise and monitor people as they die.”

As in the days of Noah....

Giant Atmospheric Waves Over Iowa

Those giant waves—"undular bore waves"—were photographed Oct. 3rd flowing across the skies of Des Moines, Iowa. (Credit: KCCI-TV Des Moines and Iowa Environmental Mesonet SchoolNet8 Webcam.)"Wow, that was a good one!" says atmospheric scientist Tim Coleman of the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) in Huntsville, Alabama. Coleman is an expert in atmospheric wave phenomena and he believes bores are more common and more important than previously thought.But first, Iowa: "These waves were created by a cluster of thunderstorms approaching Des Moines from the west," he explains. "At the time, a layer of cold, stable air was sitting on top of Des Moines. The approaching storms disturbed this air, creating a ripple akin to what we see when we toss a stone into a pond."Undular bores are a type of "gravity wave"—so called because gravity acts as the restoring force essential to wave motion. Analogy: "We're all familiar with gravity waves caused by boats in water," points out Coleman. "When a boat goes tearing across a lake, water in front of the boat is pushed upward. Gravity pulls the water back down again and this sets up a wave."Playing the role of boat, the thunderstorms tearing across Iowa on Oct. 3rd spawned a train of four waves. "
To read more go to:

As in the days of Noah....

Rethink on human hybrid experiments

A radical Government re-think on the law governing hybrid embryos will allow scientists to carry out virtually any work they like - if it is approved by regulators.The move opens the door to experiments involving every known kind of human-animal hybrid. These could include both "cytoplasmic" embryos, which are 99.9% human, and "true hybrids" carrying both human and animal genes.In addition "chimeras" made of a mosaic-like mix of cells from different species, and "human transgenic embryos" - human embryos modified with animal DNA - will also be allowed under licence.Provision has also been made for the regulation of hybrid embryo research to incorporate any unforeseen developments that might arise in the future.Ministers have moved a long way from original White Paper proposals for an outright ban on all human-animal embryos, prompting outrage from scientists.The new measures are contained in a revised version of the Human Tissue and Embryology Bill which will be included in the Queen's Speech next month. They have been set out as part of the Government's response to a parliamentary committee's verdict on the Bill.Another major change is that plans to combine two regulatory bodies into a single authority have been dropped. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and Human Tissue Authority (HTA) will now remain separate entities. They were to have been fused together to create a new Regulatory Authority for Tissue and Embryos (RATE).The Scrutiny Committee of MPs and peers that reported on the Bill in August had recommended putting the issue of whether or not to allow animal-human embryos to a free vote in both houses of Parliament. It said if a decision were taken in principle to permit such research, it should be up to regulators to decide what experiments can be licensed.The revised Bill does more than even the committee asked for. It effectively removes the barriers completely, permitting the creation of all four currently envisaged types of hybrid embryo, subject to a licence being granted by the relevant regulatory authority - in this case the HFEA.Allowing scientists to work on human-animal hybrid embryos will greatly speed up progress in stem cell research. Researchers hope to use embryonic stem cells (ESCs), which can transform into virtually any kind of body tissue, to investigate the causes of human diseases and develop new therapies for currently incurable conditions such as Parkinson's and type 1 diabetes.

As in the days of Noah....

BIG BROTHER WATCH:UK 2017: under surveillance

IT is a chilling, dystopian account of what Britain will look like 10 years from now: a world in which Fortress Britain uses fleets of tiny spy-planes to watch its citizens, of Minority Report-style pre-emptive justice, of an underclass trapped in sink-estate ghettos under constant state surveillance, of worker drones forced to take on the lifestyle and values of the mega-corporation they work for, and of the super-rich hiding out in gated communities constantly monitored by cameras and private security guards.This Orwellian vision of the future was compiled on the orders of the UK's information commissioner - the independent watchdog meant to guard against government and private companies invading the privacy of British citizens and exploiting the masses of information currently held on each and every one of us - by the Surveillance Studies Network, a group of academics.On Friday, this study, entitled A Report on the Surveillance Society, was picked over by a select group of government mandarins, politicians, police officers and academics in Edinburgh. It is unequivocal in its findings, with its first sentence reading simply: "We live in a surveillance society." The information commissioner, Richard Thomas, endorses the report. He says: "Today, I fear that we are, in fact, waking up to a surveillance society that is already all around us."The academics who compiled the study based their vision of the future not on wild hypotheses but on existing technology, statements made about the intentions of government and private companies and studies by other think tanks, regulators, professional bodies and academics.The report authors say that they believe the key theme of the future will be "pervasive surveillance" aimed at tracking and controlling people and pre-empting behaviour. The authors also say that their glimpse of the future is "fairly conservative. The future spelled out in the report is nowhere near as dystopian and authoritarian as it could be."
Here's how 2017 might look...
BorderGuard The Jones family are returning to Britain from holiday in America. "It's hard to know the difference between the two countries by what the family experience at the border," say the Surveillance Report authors. Britain, America, all EU countries and all members of the G10 have outsourced their immigration and border control services to massive private companies. In this vignette, the futurologists give the company the name BorderGuard.Thanks to the never-ending war on terror, these governments have developed "smart borders" using hidden surveillance technologies. Cameras and scanners at passport control monitor faces, irises and fingerprints checking them off against records of biometric passports, or the British ID card system. BorderGuard has access to state and transnational databases and can also data-mine information on individuals - such as consumer transactions - via a paid-for service provided by specialist companies trading in information held on every individual in the land.For families like the Joneses, crossing borders is relatively swift and painless. The wealth of information held on them means they can be quickly identified and processed. But citizens of nations not signed up to the BorderGuard scheme face hostile and lengthy investigations while crossing frontiers.
Racial profiling is now the norm. Asian features inevitably mean being pulled to one side - whether or not you carry a biometric passport or ID card.Brandscapes Retail chains and mega-malls now use huge shared databases - which began with data-mining reward card information - to create a "brandscape" for every shopper.Smart tags buried in a shopper's clothing "talk" to scanners in shops. The system then connects to consumer databases, revealing where the clothing was bought and by whom and what other purchases the person has made. The system knows who you are, where you live, what you like and don't like. Intelligent billboards at eye level then immediately flash up adverts dove-tailed to the consumer profile of the individual.
The wealthiest consumer-citizen can even become a "cashless shopper". For £200, a chip can be implanted in the human body which is loaded with a person's bank and credit details. From then on, it's their arm that will be scanned in a shop, not their credit card. "Cashless shoppers" also get first-class service in mega-malls, with special lounges, spas and massage facilities reserved only for them. Urban myths, however, are springing up that muggers are targeting these elite consumers and cutting the chip from their arms. There are also concerns about hackers being able to upload viruses to the chip or empty the chipholder's account.Tagged Kids Scandals about child abductions and murders during school hours mean teachers prefer tagging a child to facing legal liability for their injury in a court. Drug testing in schools has also become an accepted part of life following pressure by the government to identify problem children earlier and earlier in life. What children eat in schools is also monitored by parents, as boys and girls are required to swipe their school card every time they visit the canteen. The card contains information on school attendance, academic achievement, drug-test results, internet access and sporting activities. The card's records are used to assess whether the child has passed or failed their citizenship programme.Shops are also monitoring children in order to tap into the lucrative youth market."Children," the report says, "are gradually becoming socialised into accepting body surveillance, location tracking and the remote monitoring of their dietary intake as normal."Elites and Proles Most cities are divided between gated private communities, patrolled by corporate security firms (which keep insurance costs to a minimum) and high-crime former council estates. On most estates, private companies are tasked to deal with social evils.
Offenders have the option of having a chip voluntarily implanted in their arm so they can be monitored at home using scanners and sensors. Estates can be subject to "area-wide curfews", following outbursts of antisocial behaviour, which ban anyone under 18 from entering or leaving the estate from dusk until dawn.Community wardens armed with Tasers enforce the law. CCTV cameras can be viewed by residents at home on their television's security channel.In gated communities, meanwhile, no-one can get in or out unless their car's number plate is authorised by the automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) devices located on gates. There are now so many ANPR cameras across the land that it's almost impossible to drive the length of a street without details of your car being logged by the state.The aesthetics of surveillance Security has been "aestheticised" - incorporated into the design of architecture and infrastructure - so that it is almost unnoticeable now. "It is ubiquitous but it has disappeared," the report authors say. Anti-suicide-bomber bollards outside embassies and government buildings are secreted in the ground, only being activated in an emergency when passers-by breach the range of security sensors.Anti-government protesters are monitored by small remote-control spy-planes, which were introduced for the 2012 London Olympics but remained a permanent fixture.CCTV is now embedded at eye level in lamp-posts to enable the use of facial recognition technology.Protest and virtual surveillance Following protests, individual demonstrators can be monitored by camera until private security contractors for the local authority in which the demo took place get a chance to question them. Helmet-mounted cameras scan the biometrics of anyone being questioned. All guards and police are also now monitored by surveillance devices in their handheld computers. Ironically, this has triggered civil liberties concerns within the police union. The report uses two "protesters", Ben and Aaron, as an example of how police might treat dissenters. When they are taken into custody by private security guards in Westminster, Ben undergoes the usual DNA swab, which is analysed instantaneously, and hands over his ID card for scanning. ID cards are still theoretically voluntary, but not having one makes life almost impossible. Aaron is a refusenik and doesn't own a card. That means he can't apply for a government job or claim benefits or student loans. He can't travel by plane or even train. To make matters worse, Aaron is a young black man - meaning he is deemed a "high category suspect" and is routinely stopped and brought in to the nearest police station for questioning.
Once Ben is released, police monitoring systems piggy-back on his hand-held device to track him as he travels across the city. He's also been put on a communications watchlist which means all his internet and e-mail traffic is saved by his ISP and passed to police. As most phone calls are online now, police also get access to these communications as well.Call centre drones Call centres monitor everything that staff do and surveillance information is used to recruit staff. Potential employees are subjected to biometric and psychometric testing, as well as lifestyle surveys. "Their lives outside work," the authors say, "and their background, are the subject of scrutiny. It is felt to be increasingly important that the lifestyle profile of the employee match those of the customers to ensure better customer service." Recruitment consultants now frequently discard any CV which does not contain volunteered health information.Once hired, staff are subjected to sporadic biometric testing which point to potential health and psychological problems. Thanks to iris-scanning at a gym connected to the company, employees can be pulled up at annual assessments for not maintaining their health. Periodic psychometric testing also reveals if staff attitudes have changed and become incompatible with company values.Big Brother is looking after you Homes in the ever-growing number of retirement villages are fitted with the "telecare" system, with motion detectors in every room, baths with inbuilt heart monitors, toilets which measure blood sugar levels and all rooms fitted with devices to detect fire, flood and gas leaks. Panic buttons are also installed in every room. Fridges have RFID scanners which tell the neighbourhood grocery store that pensioners are running short on provisions. The goods are then delivered direct to the doorstep.Huge databases in hospitals are able to compare tests on patients throughout the country. This allows doctors to red-flag risk factors earlier than ever before, meaning that a patient's statistical risk of suffering, for example, a heart attack, are predicted with much greater accuracy. The NHS will be locked in a battle with insurance companies who want access to health information for commercial purposes. The temptation for the NHS is the large amounts of money on offer. The authors point out that Iceland sold its national DNA database to private companies for research and profit in 2004.The data shadow Those rich enough can sign up to "personal information management services" (Pims) which monitor all the information that exists about an individual - a person's so-called "data shadow". The Pims system corrects incorrect information held by government or private companies.Those who can't afford Pims have to live with the impact that incorrect data can have on their lives, such as faulty credit ratings. "Some are condemned to a purgatory of surveillance and an inability to access information," the report authors say.
But for other people total surveillance has become an accepted way of life. Some voluntarily carry out surveillance on their whole lives - so-called "life-logging" where an individual uploads online details in realtime about everything they do.

As in the days of Noah....

Ahmadinejad's Strategy for Destroying Israel

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is obsessed with one subject, the destruction of Israel. His strategy for doing so combines political and military elements. His aim is to delegitimize Israel in the eyes of the West and cut it off from US support.On the political side, he is an insistent propagandist who has no problem ignoring fact and evidence to boldly lie and repeat false claims. One major set of falsehoods has to do He is an insistent propagandist.with the origin of the modern State of Israel. He ignores the one-hundred-year history of the building of the Yishuv, the three-thousand-year-old Jewish historical and religious connection with the Holy Land, and proclaims that Israel is a colonial Western imposition with no roots in the area. While questioning that the Holocaust ever happened, he says that Western guilt brought Israel into being. He avoids touching upon the true political and military struggle, including the war against five Arab armies, which led to the creation of state.In another area, he skillfully plays upon American weariness with the conflict in Iraq, and the desire for peace, and blames the Zionists for causing the war there. While his own ultimate game plan calls for the downfall of the United States and the coming of Shiite Islamic rule of the world, a key preliminary step is having the US cut off Israel, leaving it isolated in the international arena.The political isolation and delegitimization of Israel would conceivably make more penalty-free the other leg of the strategy - the military one. Iran has illegally persisted in its plan for enriching uranium and attaining a nuclear capability. It is going full-steam ahead in defiance of United Nations sanctions. It has threatened Israel and US forces in the Middle East with massive destruction. It is doing all in its power to attain a nuclear option, but at the same time it is building up the military power of Hizbullah in Lebanon, of Hamas in Gaza and of Syria. It is providing weapons and manpower that will enable those forces on Israel's border to have greater effectiveness in attacking Israel's civilian population, thus weakening the Jewish State. This may be preliminary to a conventional war strategy; however, Ahmadinejad's Iran has often used surrogates in terror attacks in the past, and it is not inconceivable that it might pass on weapons of mass destruction to those on Israel's borders.Ahmadinejad's predecessor and rival Akbar Hashem Rafsanjani openly spoke up of a nuclear war with Israel in which Israel would be destroyed and the vastly more populous and expansive Iran would survive. Despite Ahmadinejad's persistent denials that Iran wishes to attain a nuclear capability, it is not very difficult to connect having such a capability with Ahmadinejad's obsessive dream of destroying Israel.At the same time as the military options are being built, Ahmadinejad has proclaimed his own "peace plan" for the region. This would involve bringing five million Palestinians to the Holy Land and having them join with the Palestinians here in voting in a referendum, Iran... might pass on weapons of mass destruction to those on Israel's borders.which would peacefully lead to the dissolution of the Jewish State. As even he probably knows, such a plan is unlikely either to be forced on Israel or accepted by it. So, he may well be offering the idea for pure propaganda purposes; i.e., when the military option does come into play, he can well claim that he has pushed for peace all along, while Israel and the United States rejected it.Ahmadinejad has other strategic ideas in mind, including the Messianic Islamic one of the coming of the Twelvth Mahdi and the great world upheaval that will lead to the new Islamic conquest of the Earth. But that is the big and final stuff; before that, he is obsessed with destroying Israel.Ahmadinejad and the Iranian nuclear program have not been stopped yet. For Israel's political and military leadership, there is no more urgent task.He may be a manipulative Machiavellian liar, and a fundamentalist Islamist primitive, but Ahmadinejad is absolutely serious in his intention to destroy the Jewish State and to eventually bring down the US, as well.

As in the days of Noah....

War clouds loom ever more menacingly over Iran

FROM this week, it emerged that Britain and France have joined Jordan and the United Arab Emirates as allies in a new US war against Iran.While the West Asian nations have not only agreed to assist US forces in logistics but are also training with them for aerial coordination and forces interoperability, the European nations add a special weight as permanent members of the UN Security Council.The Sarkozy government has made France an unreserved US war ally, and last month Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned the world to prepare for a war against Iran. In recent days the Britain of Prime Minister Gordon Brown has gone further, reportedly supporting a drive to war with a supply of British special forces troops.The official word from London is that diplomacy is still the preferred course to stop Iran’s nuclear enrichment project. But that is not expected to work since unlike North Korea, the United States is offering neither concessions nor compromises to Iran.Besides, British press reports say that even the nuclear issue is now redundant as a pretext for war, since Iran’s crimes are now judged to be its alleged support of Iraqi insurgents, supply of weapons to militant groups, and being the potential chief beneficiary of a post-Saddam Iraq.In addition, Shi’ite Iran is accused of supporting Afghanistan’s Sunni Taliban, which Teheran has long opposed. British military commanders and diplomats in Afghanistan have lately added their weight to US allegations that Iranian sources have been supplying Taliban fighters.Last Saturday, chief US military commander in Iraq Gen David Petraeus raised the stakes by accusing Iranian ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi-Qomi of being a member of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite al-Qods force. Petraeus offered no evidence and Iran denied the charge, but the accusation has the effect of neatly sidelining diplomacy in favour of military action.The Qods force is also blamed for training militant groups in Iraq, a new rationale for a US attack on Iran. There are other indicators that the White House is shifting to a war footing.On Monday, the Daily Telegraph newspaper said President Bush was given to understand that Britain is “on board” a war against Iran. London has not refuted such an understanding is in place.Britain’s SAS (Special Air Service) and SBS (Special Boat Service) are expected to be pressed into action, particularly in demining Iranian ports and harbours. The role of the British navy is said to be crucial in keeping the Straits of Hormuz open.Pentagon officials have been cited as saying that in his meeting with Bush in July, Brown expressed support for “tactical strikes” against Iran but not a full-scale war. Nonetheless the effect of such strikes would amount to the same thing.The White House plan is to blast some 20 suspected military and nuclear sites out of a possible 2,000 in Iran. That could provoke Iran to retaliate, which would then trigger all-out war.A US general said Iran needs to wreak only as much damage as “10 dead American soldiers and four burnt trucks” to trigger a full-scale US war against it. Teheran has already said it would do much more by unleashing missiles if attacked even in a tactical strike.David Wurmser, former adviser to Vice-President Dick Cheney, wants two wars – against both Iran and Syria. His recent retirement could mean Washington is likely to go for just one war, against Iran, for now at least.However, Defence Secretary Robert Gates is believed to be pushing hardest against war, and is working with the directors of National Intelligence and the CIA to advise Bush against attacking Iran. Against them are pro-war neo-conservatives led by Cheney.Iran has dismissed the threat of war as mere US psychological warfare; but like all threats, to be credible it needs to be “actionable”. More than in Saddam’s Iraq before, both the United States and Iran are now set for war.The US views anti-government protests in Iran as a sign of vulnerability, while Teheran sees a US attack as a means of unifying the nation under the government. And like Iraq but unlike North Korea, Iran does not have nuclear weapons to retaliate with, thus remaining open to a US attack.
http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?file=/2007/10/10/columnists/midweek/19128723&sec=Midweek
As in the days of Noah....

IF IN THIS LIFE ONLY....

"If in this life only we have hope in Christ,we are of all men most miserable"
1 Corintinas 15:19

NAZI REVIVAL WATCH:Anti-Jewish Attacks in US, Columnist Suggests Jews be Christians

Anti-Semitic activity in the U.S. is on the rise, with two incidents reported this week on the eastern seaboard as top political columnist declares on national television that “it would be better if we were all Christian.”A rabbi suffered critical wounds after being severely beaten in the latest of several anti-Semitic attacks that have hit the community of Lakewood, New Jersey, home of the world-famous Lakewood Yeshiva.Rabbi Mordechai Moskowitz, age 53, was beaten earlier this week as he was walking to a synagogue. The attacker wielded an aluminum baseball bat and inflicted critical wounds on his head and other parts of the body, but Lakewood officials have not concluded the incidentwas anti-Semitic.Several weeks ago, attackers pelted a group of orthodox Jewish youth with eggs in a nearby community. Tension in the city has increased fears among the Jewish community. One teenage boy reported that a woman asked him to accompany her from a store to her car 100 feet away because she was afraid she would be attacked.Anti-Semites scrawled a Nazi swastika in a Columbia University bathroom, two days after a noose was found on a black professor's door. University president Lee Bollinger said the swastika has been removed.The Nazi symbol was accompanied by a drawing on a bathroom door of a man wearing a skullcap (kippa). Bollinger said police are investigating.The incident occurred two weeks after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the university.
Commentator Says Perfected Jews Would be Christians
Controversial right-wing political commentator, columnist and best-selling author Ann Coulter shocked a cable TV talk-show host by saying during an appearance Monday that Jews need to be “perfected” by becoming Christians.Coulter continued her anti-Semitic conversation with an invitation to Donny Deutsch, the host of the CNBC show, “The Big Idea,” to “come to church with me.” Arutz-7's Yishai and Malka Fleisher discussed Coulter's anti-Semitic evangelical views this week on their Israel National Radio tallk show.Deutsch, who is Jewish, clearly could not believe what he was hearing, and reworded his question to the outspoken columnist: We should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians?”
Coulter’s response: “Yeah.”
Deutsch attempted during the interview to pin down what appeared to be Coulter’s clearly anti-Semitic stance. She didn’t budge. “We just want Jews to be perfected, as they say….
His response: “Wow, you didn’t really say that, did you?”
Coulter’s answer: “Yes. That is what Christianity is. We believe in the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. [While] You [Jews] have to obey laws... “
Deutsch told the audience leading up to the commercial break, “If Ann Coulter had any brains she would not say Jews need to be perfected. I’m offended by that personally.”
Following the commercial break, Deutsch gave Coulter a opportunity to explain why she thinks the entire country – and by extension, the entire world – should abandon any faith other than Christianity.
“Don’t you see how hateful, how anti-Semitic…….. How do you not see? You’re an educated woman. How do you not see that?” he pursued.
“That isn’t hateful at all,” she responded. “For me to say that for you to become … a perfected Christian is not offensive at all.”
For a transcript of the interview, click here.
by Hana Levi Julian
As in the days of Noah....