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

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Desperation Grows As Rains Pound Haiti

LES CAYES, Haiti-Thousands of Haitians sought shelter in schoolhouses Saturday as the death toll from Tropical Storm Noel rose to 143 across the Caribbean.Heavy rains continued to pound Haiti, leaving U.N. and Haitian officials temporarily stranded as they toured Haiti's flooded southern peninsula.Noel, which was lashing the northeastern United States with high winds and rough surf Saturday, is the deadliest storm of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, with the greatest devastation on the waterlogged island of Hispaniola, shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.Desperation set in at shelters in the volatile Port-au-Prince slum of Cite Soleil, with people at one schoolhouse complaining on Saturday that U.N. guards abandoned the site overnight, allowing for a group of machete-wielding men to enter and threaten to rape young women.Roseline Pierre, a 46-year-old mother with four children, said they had not received any food since Friday afternoon, and that shelter officials locked them out of classrooms Friday night, forcing everyone to sleep in the yard."What they're doing to them is terrible," said Laine Pierre Raymond, an official with the Ministry of Interior who toured the shelter on Saturday and criticized authorities for their inaction.Maj. Gen. Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, Brazilian commander of the U.N. force, also visited the shelter and denied guards had left their post overnight. He said responsibility for the nearly 10,000 evacuees rests with Haitian authorities.But the Haitian government, still struggling to rebuild after years of turmoil, has been almost entirely dependent on overtaxed international aid groups and U.N. peacekeepers to cope with the disaster.In the southwestern town of Les Cayes, residents demanded government compensation for cows, goats and even TV sets they lost in the flood."It rained for two days without stopping," said 44-year-old farmer Marcel Delswain. "We lost our land. We lost our food. We feel abandoned."Agricultural fields have turned into lakes as water cascaded down eroded mountains, pumping plumes of sediment into the Caribbean Sea.Rains let up in the neighboring Dominican Republic, however, allowing flights carrying urgently needed relief supplies. An estimated 67,000 Dominicans were left homeless.Tropical Storm Noel killed at least 57 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic has confirmed 84 deaths from the storm. Noel killed at least one person each in Jamaica and the Bahamas, and prompted the evacuation of 30,000 people in Cuba, where 60 percent of roads and highways were damaged or flooded.Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage toured flooded areas on Saturday and said he discussed the storm's impact with the island's ailing leader Fidel Castro. "Comrade Fidel has been kept abreast of all the damages," Lage said on state TV.Impoverished Haiti, however, is particularly vulnerable to flooding because people have cut down most of the country's trees to make charcoal, leaving the hillsides barren and unable to absorb heavy rain.Before Noel hit, at least 37 people had died in floods last month during a deluge that wrecked a town north of Port-au-Prince. The Dominican Republic is not as deforested but also suffers from severe flooding because of its steep mountains and people who live in simple homes along its rivers.U.S. Coast Guard crews deployed to Dominican Republic rescued several people Friday, including a man tangled in a barb-wire fence who was submerged up to his neck in water. Rescuers also saved a man in his 70s or 80s trapped in a second-story home with a 9-year-old child. Crews delivered 15,900 food rations, according to a statement released by the agency.

As in the days of Noah....

GodTube Provides Christian Web-Video Alternative

PLANO, Texas-Chris Wyatt is on a mission. Walking hastily through his cavernous fourth-floor headquarters in suburban Dallas, the founder of the Christian version of YouTube is searching for an available conference room.He quickly passes reminders of his success: a group of customer service representatives on the phone, animated meetings in progress and extra office space that GodTube.com is preparing to move into.Finally settled, the nattily dressed former TV producer insists he is as surprised as anyone that the site was identified earlier this year by comScore as the fastest growing on the Web."I thought I was going to be a seminary student and then work maybe a couple hours a week," he said. "Now I'm taking online courses because I can't get over to the seminary,I'm so busy".GodTube.com, a video-sharing site with Christian content, drew more than 4 million unique visitors during October.It maintains more than 150,000 registered users with active profiles. Plans for the future include producing entertainment programs at the site's headquarters north of Dallas.GodTube is among religion-based Web sites that closely copy popular secular models.MyChurch.org is similar to the social networking site MySpace, and Conservapedia.com is the religious right's response to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.Similar sites target Muslim and Jewish audiences.Wyatt, GodTube's CEO, is reaching more people than he could hope for in a lifetime of pulpit appearances. He points out that GodTube.com users on Sunday mornings outnumber megachurch pastor Joel Osteen's congregation in Houston.Wyatt, 38, said the GodTube venture, supported by financial partners in business and ministry, has yet to make a profit.He said the site earns money through banner advertising, the sale of premium services and providing data to media ministries about viewers. The site never sells personal information, he said, adding that operating the site is enormously expensive.GodTube videos includes music, comedy and heated theological debates. Two of the most viewed include a corny rap remix called "Baby Got Book" and a 4-year-old girl reciting Psalm 23 from memory. "Basically, whenever I realized she could recite it, I pulled out my digital camcorder and I put it on my blog," said the girl's father, Brian Mosley of Allen, Texas.A co-worker put it on GodTube, where it has been viewed more than 4 million times. The nonprofit ministry where Mosley works, Bluefish TV, offers downloads of the video and other religious materials for sale to church leaders."It's neat to see our ministry get more exposure because of one clip on GodTube," Mosley said. "I think for people who are looking for Web sites with Christian-specific content, it's meeting that need in a great way."Sid Emory, a staff member at Lake Robinson Community Church in Taylors, S.C., said he looks for ideas on GodTube that can be used in his church."I watch videos from all over. Most of the time I'm watching either pastors, or skits that people have done," he said. "There's just a huge resource of stuff like that. I'm starting to post my own stuff."GodTube reviews every video uploaded and rejects those with objectionable content. Members of other religions are invited to participate on the Web site, but they cannot proselytize. Atheists are welcome, too, and they may share their point of view, "as long as it's done respectfully."Wyatt, a member of First Baptist Church of Dallas, describes the site as a neutral "Switzerland" open to various theological viewpoints. That doesn't mean shots aren't being fired.Videos being viewed recently include "Why Pentecostalism is not of God," "Mormonism exposed," and "The papacy is NOT biblical."With more than 25,000 videos on the site and 300 to 500 arriving each day, some question how Wyatt can continue monitoring them all. He maintains that the job is not as difficult as it might seem. About 10 people are monitoring content at any one time, said Wyatt, who hires seminary students for the task."It's not really as intensive a process as you might think it is," Wyatt said.Still, many videos have yet to be posted on the site."We are current on all our approvals," Wyatt said. "However, we only support five languages and there are several hundred that have not approved because we are looking for the appropriate translators to hire part-time."GodTube also is expanding. The Web site announced the launch of a new social network this month along with Internet tools like "Video Police," in which parents report concerns by clicking a button that brings up an interactive window to talk with a staff member.Wyatt moved to Dallas last year to attend the nondenominational Dallas Theological Seminary. He created GodTube as a resource for churches and put a test site up early this year. The official launch was in August, when it was rated the fastest growing site.He said he still intends to become an ordained minister, but his seminary studies have moved to the back burner."It was a major surprise and with a great amount of joy that I have the skill set to do this," he said.

As in the days of Noah.....

END TIMES WEATHER:October Tornado Outbreak Sets New Record

Last month saw a record October for tornado outbreaks, with 87 twisters forming in just one three-day span, government meteorologists announced today.The outbreak, from Oct. 17 through Oct. 19, surpassed the previous record of 63 tornadoes set along the Gulf Coast from Oct. 23 through Oct. 27 in 1997, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).The total number of tornadoes reported in October, 105, came in second behind the 117 tornadoes reported in October 2001. Records go back to 1950.The massive outbreak occurred because two weather systems that had high potential to form tornadoes were simultaneously positioned over the country."The positioning of the jet stream from southwest Texas to northeast Michigan with readily available moisture streaming inland from the Gulf created conditions favorable for tornado activity in the country’s mid-section," said Joe Schaefer, director of NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.A low pressure system was the primary cause of storms that produced six tornadoes on Oct. 17 through the morning of Oct. 19 in the coastal regions of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle.The remaining 81 tornadoes were produced by a system of low pressure that extended from the Central Plains to the Great Lakes.Intense thunderstorms developed ahead of the system, spawning tornadoes from southwestern Missouri to Michigan. Five fatalities, two in Missouri and three in Michigan, were associated with these storms.Though tornadoes form more often in the spring months, conditions favorable to their development can certainly occur in the fall."These storms are a reminder to all that tornadoes can develop any time of year, and anywhere," said Schaefer. "When severe weather is forecast, people should stay on top of developments closely. Monitor television and radio or listen to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, the fastest and most direct link to hazard watches and warnings from local National Weather Service forecast offices."

As in the days of Noah....


"The Lord is righteous in all his ways,and holy in all his works.
The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him,to all that call upon him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him:he also will hear their cry,and will save them.
The Lord preserveth all them that love him...."
PSALM 145:17-20

PERSECUTION WATCH:Judge rules beating victim is guilty....

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As in the days of Noah.....

ISLAMIC INVASION WATCH:Muslim footbaths 'cannot go unchallenged'

A plan for the new Indianapolis airport that includes footbaths for Muslim cab drivers "cannot go unchallenged," according to the pastor of a local church fighting the project.In a letter to Mayor Bart Peterson, Rev. Jerry Hillenberg of Hope Baptist Church has asked for a meeting over the accommodation now pending in plans being developed by the airport authority."I still desire to speak personally with you about this issue. It cannot go unchallenged and unattended to," he wrote. "It remains a concern of the public at large, and certainly is a concern of this pastor and our congregation."All of the input that we have received from the citizens of this city, county, surrounding counties, across the country, and around the world; has run 10 to one against the installation of these religious implements," he said."Most realize that public property, owned by the taxpayers, cannot be used by Christians for religious displays or implements of their religiosity. Then, the question amongst them becomes: Why can it be used for Muslims?" A spokeswoman for the mayor said he was the wrong person to contact, since the airport authority was the agency making such decisions, and a spokeswoman for that group referred WND questions to an outside consultant.The consultant, David Dawson, said the Muslim footbaths proposed are a "safety" issue because cab drivers now perform that function by using ordinary restroom sinks."The designers of the building [are] dealing with the known behavior of the taxi drivers who wash their feet during the day and … use counter level sinks," he told WND. That, he said, creates "dangerous situations and a messy situation."Their resolution is to put a sink in the floor "so that would reduce the possibility of accidents or injury."He said it remains to be given final approval by the airport authority, which is a public entity connected to the city since the mayor appoints members of the authority board.But Hillenberg told WND he and several others have repeatedly request meetings with the mayor and he "has refused … to meet with anyone who is opposed to the installation of these foot washing sinks.""I made the request … and received a form letter response from his assistant of "Constituent Services" Elizabeth Gerwels instructing me that the mayor was unable to meet with me and for me to contact the Indianapolis Airport Authority," he said.Hillenberg said the question that need answers include:
Why was such a plan adopted in the first place?
Why would public funds be used to foot the bill?
Why was not this issue covered during the budget process?
Will religious implements for other organizations be purchased?
And what is the reasoning behind the support for Islam?
At a recent rally on the issue, Hillenberg quoted Justice Hugo Black's opinion in Everson v. Board of Education in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1947:
"The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vise versa."Hillenberg sad while he disagrees with that, "it has become the law of the land" and it has been "rammed down our throats in every area of the public square."He said it's been used to remove prayer from public school, remove prayer from convocations and commencements, remove Nativity displays from public property, remove Christmas trees and Christmas celebrations and songs and remove the Ten Commandments from public display."Now, we are faced with a governmental full court press to give overt preference to one religion over Christianity, that religion is Islam. The installation of Islamic foot washing sinks on the Indianapolis International Airport … constitutes a wanton display of religious preference," he said.He said if it truly is not preferential treatment, then he would volunteer to install a display of the Ten Commandments on public property, because Christians are commanded not to pray five times a day, but to "pray without ceasing," "to be praying always," "to be praying continually" and "always pray and not to faint."Hillenberg earlier pointed out there's no real need for the footbaths, because the Quran does not require washing with water.Such footbaths also have been an issue at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix where airport officials boasted of the new customer service feature, and at Kansas City where the features were installed but airport officials said they were for a number of different uses.But Hillenburg said his Quran gives an exemption to faithful Muslims who don't have ready access to water for their washing prior to their five-times-a-day prayer rituals.What should they use? Dirt."They don't have to have water. The airports should just put some dirt out there," he said.
The Quran, as translated by Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, the foreign minister of Pakistan in 1947 and later a judge at the International Court of Justice at the Hague, and published by Interlink Publishing Group, in fact, appears to document just that."O ye who believe, when you make ready for Prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and pass your wet hands over your heads, and wash your feet up to the ankles. Should you have consorted with your spouses, purify yourselves by bathing. Should you be ill or on a journey, or one of you comes from the privy, or you have consorted with your spouses and you find not water, then have recourse to pure dust and having placed your hands on it pass them over your faces and forearms. Allah desires not to put you in a difficulty, but desires to purify you and to complete His favour unto you that you may be grateful," according to Chapter 5, sections 7-8 in that edition.A second reference, Chapter 4, section 44, reads: "O ye who believe, approach not Prayer when you are not in full possession of your faculties, until you realize the true import of your supplications, nor when you have consorted with your wives, except during the course of a journey, until you have washed. Should you be ill or on a journey, or if one of you comes from the privy, or you have consorted with your wives and you find no water, then betake yourselves to clean dust and wipe therewith your face and your hands. Surely, Allah is Most Indulgent, Most Forgiving."

As in the days of Noah.....

US bishops face legal action from Episcopal church

Two senior Anglican bishops are facing legal actions from their own church in the US.In Pennsylvania, the liberal diocesan bishop Charles Bennison has been suspended by the Primate, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, while accusations that he concealed a relative’s abuse of a teenage girl are investigated. And in Pittsburgh, the conservative diocesan bishop Bob Duncan has been warned that he could face disciplinary procedures under Canon Law over proposals that his diocese seccede from the wider pro-gay Episcopal Church.Both actions have stunned Episcopalians, who have been left in no doubt that their leader, a formidable woman who was formerly a marine biologist, is determined to take whatever steps necessary, both to stamp out abuse and also to maintain unity. The Bishop of Pennsylvania is accused of concealing a close relative’s sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl in the 1973.Bishop Jefferts Schori told Bishop Bennison this week that he was to cease all episcopal, ministerial and canonical acts. The ban comes into effect on tomorrow night, meaning he can lead his diocesan convention on Saturday.According to the church indictment, Bennison reacted “passively and self-protectively” and “failed to take obvious, essential steps to investigate (the relative’s) actions, protect the girl from further abuse, and find out whether other children were in danger.”A church court will hear the charges next year.In Pittsburgh, the diocese has been debating constitutional changes that could begin the process of formal schism from The Episcopal Church. If the diocese goes down this path, legal action could be taken against the Bishop Duncan which could see him deposed and declared to have abandoned communion from The Episcopal Church.Pittsburgh is one of at least four dioceses out of 110 taking steps to re-align under the leadership of another Primate, possibly from Africa.The others are Fort Worth in Texas, Quincy in Illinois and San Joaquin, California. Fort Worth will consider similar proposals next month.

As in the days of Noah....

Tracking Down the Tale of the Knights Templar

RL: What were some of the charges against them?
BF: The accusation of heresy focused on them denying Christ, spitting on the cross, and giving ‘three obscene kisses’ on the low spine, the navel and the mouth.
RL Were these charges true?
BF No. In reality, this was an initiation ceremony. It was performed to show the new knights the humiliation they could suffer if they fell into the hands of the Saracens. The hearings made Pope Clement conclude that the ritual was not blasphemous, although he did find the Templars guilty of lesser infractions of church law because of this ceremony.
RL: The Pope's absolution did not prevent the King of France from burning many Templar leaders at the stake and basically dissolving the order. Could you explain why Clement V did nothing to save the Templars?
BF: The risk for the Pope was a schism in the Church. So he decided to sacrifice the Templars. The order was already enjoying a bad reputation because of charges of heresy and sexual misconduct
RL: The Catholic Church has been asked by several supposed descendants of the Templars to offer apology for what happened 700 years ago. What do you think?
BF: A serious historian knows that medieval issues must remain confined to the Middle Ages. You cannot transfer such issues, even if they are dramatic, to present time.
There has been a lot of talking about the Templars. So many books have taken inspirations only from legends, obscure traditions, supposed secret rituals and lost treasures. This has nothing to do with the historical documents.
RL: Your discovery is going to rewrite the history of the Templar order. Have you received a free copy of the Vatican book?
BF: No, but I am not missing it. After all, it is such a large book I would not know where to put it. The only place I can think of is a box under my bed, but I think it would not be the best company to sleep with.

As in the days of Noah....

Pentagon seeks huge new bunker-buster for Iran

WASHINGTON-The Democrat-controlled Congress is examining a request to develop a new bomb designed for a U.S. air strike on Iran.The Bush administration wants $88 million for the production of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP. The 30,000-pound conventional bomb, meant for deployment by the B-2 aircraft, would be the most powerful bunker-buster ever designed.Analysts agree that MOP was designed to destroy Iranian and North Korean underground facilities, such as Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment plant, Middle East Newsline reported. The bomb was said to be able to penetrate more than 65 meters of earth."It'll go through it like a hot knife through butter," John Pike, a leading U.S. weapons analyst, told Congressional Quarterly.The administration did not explain the use of MOP. A White House statement cited "an urgent operational need from theater commanders" in its funding request to modify B-2s to carry MOP."We are not authorizing Bush to use a 30,000-pound bunker buster," Rep. Jim McDermott, a Washington Democrat, said, according to the Congressional Quarterly report. "They've been banging the drums the same way as they did in 2002 with Iraq."MOP has been developed by Boeing, which completed the first test of the bunker-buster in March 2007. Two months later, Northrop Grumman, won a $2.5 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to modify the B-2 to carry the new weapon."We need to have this as a conventional weapon," Rep. Norm Dicks, a Washington Democrat and a member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said. "It adds to our deterrent.""I would characterize it as routine," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said. "The focus that we all have is on using diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions to persuade the Iranian government that they are isolated, they need to alter their policies and ambitions."The Democratic-led Congress has been divided over whether to fund U.S. military preparations for any war with Iran. Most of the Democratic leadership has warned that a U.S. air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would result in a major war in the Middle East ahead of the U.S. elections in November 2008.
As in the days of Noah.....

Thousands flee over false alarm....

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SIGN of the TIMES:Teen allowed 'calming' smokes

A YEAR 10 student has been given permission to take [[[cigarette breaks while at school because her doctor says she is clinically addicted to nicotine.]]] Tara Lewis, 16, who smokes as much as a packet a day, is allowed to smoke between classes [[[to relieve the "stress" of her Year 10 studies.]]](sigh...)Stromlo High School has granted the amazing concession to the Canberra teenager despite the ACT Government boasting of its plans to tighten laws to stop underage smoking.It is also illegal to supply cigarettes to anybody under the age of 18. Yet the Government has for years allowed smoking at five selected year 11 and 12 colleges in the Territory and will only introduce a total ban from January 1, 2008.The school's decision also mocks the $25 million the Federal Government is investing over the next four years in a national campaign to stop young people aged between 12 and 24 from smoking.The high school student told The Sunday Telegraph it was a "massive" relief to be able to smoke at school as[[[ it helped to calm her down. ]]][[["As soon as I've got a cigarette in my hand, I'm calmer," she said.]]]Stromlo High School gave her permission for "smoko" breaks following advice from Tara's mother, Patrece, and her family doctor. [[["We were worried that she wasn't going to finish year 10 if she couldn't smoke,"]]] Ms Lewis, 35, said.The ACT Department of Education denied it gave Tara permission "to go out for a smoke" in school grounds. It said she was allowed to leave the school during lunch breaks due to "exceptional circumstances"."We were trying to work out the best way to get her through year 10," the spokesman said.The ACT's Opposition Leader Bill Stefaniak slammed the decision.[[[["She's at an age where she's not legally allowed to smoke, and I'm amazed anyone suggests there is any medical reason for her to smoke,"]]]] he said.Anti-smoking campaigner Anne Jones, of Action on Smoking and Health, said the school was reckless in facilitating Tara's addiction.'It's unconscionable for a school to be setting up a convenient place for students to smoke."They have obviously been conned by her."Ms Jones said the school should be supplying Tara with nicotine patches or gum. Tara's mother, also a smoker, said the situation reached breaking point last month when her daughter was placed on detention, and prevented from leaving the school grounds.[[[["She was really stressed. She just calms down if she has got a cigarette; otherwise she storms in the door, cranky and angry."]]]]Ms Lewis said she made the request during a meeting with a teacher and the vice-principal. "I told them her major problem is when she is stressed, if she could just have a cigarette to calm her down and stop her getting angry."I said: 'I've talked to the doctor about it'."Both teachers said: 'Okay, I don't see why not'."Under the special rule, Tara said she can smoke in school grounds, near the staff carpark, but must remain away from other students.Tara's mother said she had started rewarding Tara with just six cigarettes a day if she did chores and behaved at school."It's not like I want my kid to smoke. I've done everything to get her to stop it, so if I can control it and say 'when you can have a cigarette, you do chores', that might help."I don't want her smoking. It's the last thing you want to let your kid do."Parents were outraged last week that the school was breaking strict rules and the law."I think it's ridiculous," said one parent. "The school has a strong anti-smoking policy, yet does this."
As in the days of Noah....


"I cried unto the Lord with my voice;with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication.
I poured out my complaint before him;I shewed before him my trouble.
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,then thou knewest my path..."

Nuclear plant employee stopped with explosive device

A contract employee at the largest nuclear plant in the nation was stopped at a plant entrance Friday with a "relatively small" explosive device in his truck, officials said."This would be no story at all if it weren't for where the man worked," a law enforcement official involved in the case said.
"There is no connection to terrorism. There is no threat to public safety."The employee was on his way to work at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Wintersburg, Arizona, at about 6 a.m. when a routine security sweep at a checkpoint found the item, according to Jim McDonald, spokesman for Arizona Public Service Company, which owns the plant.He described the device as a "pipe bomb."A capped pipe was found in the truck bed, said Victor Dricks, regional spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.The pipe had suspicious residue, but APS said initial checks failed to show any explosive material on the pipe. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office took the pipe and tested it."MCSO bomb squad tests later determined that the capped pipe was a credible explosive device," APS said in a written statement.The man was detained and is in the custody of the sheriff's office.The device is not something the employee would have used in his work, which deals with computers and software, sheriff's spokesman Paul Chagolla said.He is a middle-aged out-of-state subcontractor working at the plant who resides at a Phoenix apartment complex, Chagolla said, describing the employee as cooperative.The plant is on lockdown until a security sweep is completed, McDonald said."We have a large and well-trained security force that followed the procedures exactly the way they're supposed to," he said.Dricks said officials declared an "unusual event" at the plant-the lowest of four emergency classifications.The device was "relatively small" and its volatility had not been determined, APS spokesman Mark Fallon said.The pipe was "in plain view of the security officers" and the employee apparently was not attempting to hide it, he said.The law enforcement official involved in the case said it appeared to have been tossed into the bed of the pickup "more or less at random," and could have been thrown there by someone else-a possibility police have not ruled out.Moreover, the device was so small that it would not have destroyed the truck if it had detonated, let alone a large facility like Palo Verde, the official said.Based on what they know so far, authorities may not arrest the employee, the official said.
Even if someone were to smuggle a pipe bomb into a nuclear plant, the damage would not be catastrophic, said David Heyman, director of the Homeland Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies."The Department of Homeland Security has put in place buffer programs," Heyman said."They've spent tens of millions of dollars across the country in critical infrastructure, making sure if you get through one layer, you have to get through another and another. Before you get to that reactor, you have to get through a whole lot of security," he said.Palo Verde is the largest electrical producer of any power plant in the country-the equivalent of nine Hoover Dams.

As in the days of Noah....

Outbreak fears in Mexico

VILLAHERMOSA,Mexico-Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans fled a flooded region of the Gulf coast Friday, jumping from rooftops into rescue helicopters, scrambling into boats or swimming out through murky brown water.President Felipe Calderon called the flooding in Tabasco state one of Mexico's worst recent natural disasters, and pledged to rebuild.A week of heavy rains caused rivers to overflow, drowning at least 80 percent of the oil-rich state. Much of the state capital, Villahermosa, looked like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, with water reaching to second-story rooftops and desperate people awaiting rescue. Food and clean drinking water were extremely scarce in Tabasco state, and federal Deputy Health Secretary Mauricio Hernandez warned that there could be outbreaks of cholera and other waterborne diseases.
"With so many people packed together there is a chance that infectious diseases could spread," he said.Officials tested for 600 suspected cases of cholera, but none was positive, he said. The waterborne sickness, which can be fatal, has not been reported in Mexico for at least six years.
The government also sent 20,000 Hepatitis A vaccinations and were giving booster shots to children to prevent outbreaks, Hernandez said.Medical care was difficult, however, because at least 50 of the state's hospitals and medical centers were flooded.Hotels, parking garages and other dry structures were converted into temporary shelters for those forced from their homes.
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Flag-burning 'lesson' provokes UM student

ORONO, Maine-A University of Maine student alleges her former professor [[[[offered extra credit to class members if they burned the American flag or the U.S. Constitution or were arrested defending free speech.]]]]On the first day of class, associate professor Paul Grosswiler offered the credit to members of his History of Mass Communications class, according to sophomore Rebekah McDade. Disturbed by the comment, McDade dropped the class and intends to take the course again next semester with a different professor."I was offended," McDade said Friday. "I come from a family of military men and women, and the flag and Constitution are really important symbols to me because of my family background."In an e-mail responding to a request for comment from the Bangor Daily News on Friday, Grosswiler said he thought McDade misunderstood the class discussion, which was intended to elicit thought about the First Amendment. He said he has held this same discussion for years without incident."I don’t intend for students to burn either the Constitution or the flag, and over the years hundreds of students have understood that," Grosswiler wrote.The incident was made public recently when The Leadership Institute, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization, distributed a press release detailing the classroom discussion. The Leadership Institute was founded in 1979 by Morton Blackwell and has a mission to identify, recruit, train and place conservatives in politics, government and the media, according to the organization’s Web site.A field representative for the institute met McDade on Oct. 1 at UM, when she shared her experience and expressed an interest in spearheading a group "Students for Academic Freedom," Blackwell said Friday.The group’s initial goal would be to convince UM to enact a "Student Bill of Rights," as other colleges have, which would protect students from professors who treat and grade students differently based on religious or political beliefs, McDade said. The institute has assisted McDade in the startup process, she said."When we heard the story, we said ‘Hey, this is probably worthwhile our doing a news release,’" Blackwell said. "When you expose leftist abuses, it invigorates conservatives. I am sure that the administration, like most administrations we deal with, is not happy when leftist abuses come to life. They far prefer to have students under their thumb and indoctrinated."McDade said Friday she was a little uncomfortable with the publicity and that it might have gotten out of hand. She said her intent was not to put the focus on Grosswiler, but to give students an opportunity to voice their concerns.A journalism and political science double major, McDade said the first class of her fall semester at UM began with the typical syllabus introduction and class overview. Despite repeated "liberal" comments made by Grosswiler, McDade said, she was not uncomfortable in the classroom until the flag burning comment.
"Everyone is entitled to their own political beliefs, and more power to you if you are passionate about it," McDade said.When Grosswiler listed the extra-credit opportunities, McDade said the class of approximately 50 students grew very quiet, and some questioned whether he was serious.At first, student Kathleen Dame said she thought Grosswiler was joking, but then he went on to explain to the class that burning the flag was not illegal. While Grosswiler approached the topic in a serious manner, Dame said she felt he used it as a tool to educate the class on the First Amendment."It was pretty outlandish and [he was] trying to prove a point," Dame said Friday.While McDade said she would not be surprised if students followed through with the flag burning, Dame disagreed.UM spokesman Joe Carr said Friday that Grosswiler’s classroom comments were not intended to be taken literally and that extra credit would not be granted for carrying out such activities.A second person in the class did submit a complaint about the lecture, but Carr did not know in what form it was filed. When asked whether the university would pursue disciplinary action, Carr replied, "No."He said Grosswiler has worked at the University of Maine since 1991, is one of the more veteran professors in the department of communication and journalism, and is a "well-respected member of the faculty."In his e-mail Friday, Grosswiler, who is a former BDN employee, explained that he refers to provocative examples, such as flag burning, to demonstrate the courage necessary to support free expression."(sigh.....)If they don’t tolerate thought that they hate, they don’t believe in the First Amendment," he wrote."I applaud the student’s exercise of free expression. If she had stayed in the class, I would have given her extra credit for publicizing her opinions."
As in the days of Noah....

KNOWLEDGE SHALL INCREASE:Devices Enforce Cellular Silence, Sweet but Illegal

SAN FRANCISCO-One afternoon in early September, an architect boarded his commuter train and became a cellphone vigilante. He sat down next to a 20-something woman who he said was “blabbing away” into her phone.“She was using the word ‘like’ all the time. She sounded like a Valley Girl,” said the architect, Andrew, who declined to give his last name because what he did next was illegal.Andrew reached into his shirt pocket and pushed a button on a black device the size of a cigarette pack. It sent out a powerful radio signal that cut off the chatterer’s cellphone transmission-and any others in a 30-foot radius.“She kept talking into her phone for about 30 seconds before she realized there was no one listening on the other end,” he said. His reaction when he first discovered he could wield such power? “Oh, holy moly! Deliverance.”As cellphone use has skyrocketed, making it hard to avoid hearing half a conversation in many public places, a small but growing band of rebels is turning to a blunt countermeasure: the cellphone jammer, a gadget that renders nearby mobile devices impotent.The technology is not new, but overseas exporters of jammers say demand is rising and they are sending hundreds of them a month into the United States-prompting scrutiny from federal regulators and new concern last week from the cellphone industry. The buyers include owners of cafes and hair salons, hoteliers, public speakers, theater operators, bus drivers and, increasingly, commuters on public transportation.The development is creating a battle for control of the airspace within earshot. And the damage is collateral. Insensitive talkers impose their racket on the defenseless, while jammers punish not just the offender, but also more discreet chatterers.“If anything characterizes the 21st century, it’s our inability to restrain ourselves for the benefit of other people,” said James Katz, director of the Center for Mobile Communication Studies at Rutgers University. “The cellphone talker thinks his rights go above that of people around him, and the jammer thinks his are the more important rights.”The jamming technology works by sending out a radio signal so powerful that phones are overwhelmed and cannot communicate with cell towers. The range varies from several feet to several yards, and the devices cost from $50 to several hundred dollars. Larger models can be left on to create a no-call zone.Using the jammers is illegal in the United States. The radio frequencies used by cellphone carriers are protected, just like those used by television and radio broadcasters.The Federal Communication Commission says people who use cellphone jammers could be fined up to $11,000 for a first offense. Its enforcement bureau has prosecuted a handful of American companies for distributing the gadgets-and it also pursues their users.
Investigators from the F.C.C. and Verizon Wireless visited an upscale restaurant in Maryland over the last year, the restaurant owner said. The owner, who declined to be named, said he bought a powerful jammer for $1,000 because he was tired of his employees focusing on their phones rather than customers.“I told them: put away your phones, put away your phones, put away your phones,” he said. They ignored him.The owner said the F.C.C. investigator hung around for a week, using special equipment designed to detect jammers. But the owner had turned his off.The Verizon investigator was similarly unsuccessful. “He went to everyone in town and gave them his number and said if they were having trouble, they should call him right away,” the owner said. He said he has since stopped using the jammer.Of course, it would be harder to detect the use of smaller battery-operated jammers like those used by disgruntled commuters.An F.C.C. spokesman, Clyde Ensslin, declined to comment on the issue or the case in Maryland.Cellphone carriers pay tens of billions of dollars to lease frequencies from the government with an understanding that others will not interfere with their signals. And there are other costs on top of that. Verizon Wireless, for example, spends $6.5 billion a year to build and maintain its network.
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Bahrain:Iran trying to acquire nuclear weapons

Bahrain's Crown Prince, Sheik Salman bin Isa al-Khalifa, said Friday that Iran is striving to acquire nuclear weaponry, Israel Radio reported.Al Khalifa said that at the very least, Iran is attempting to gain the ability to produce nuclear weaponry. The statement would make Bahrain the first Arab nation in the Persian Gulf to claim that Iran is attempting to deceive world leaders in relation to its nuclear aspirations.Al Khalifa warned that the crisis could worsen and draw the region into military conflict. For this reason, he said, it must be resolved by diplomatic means. Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday tried dispelling fears that Germany is reluctant to back new sanctions against Iran because of its strong commercial ties with Teheran. Steinmeier made it clear that Germany is in sync with other Western powers.Speaking at a news conference in Tel Aviv after talks with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Steinmeier stressed that Germany would not stand in the way of tougher sanctions."Germany's position does not differ from that of the United States or some other European countries. If Iran refuses to provide answers, we should think about the possibility of European sanctions," he said.Asked if Germany would support further sanctions, he said, "Yes, if what we are trying now is not successful, then we must not only think about sanctions, but also decide on them."

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CULTURE of DEATH:Happy with his brother, the boy who refused to die

They say twins share a strong bond-but the one between Gabriel and Ieuan Jones was unbreakable. When doctors found that Gabriel was weaker than his brother, with an enlarged heart,and believed he was going to die in the womb, his mother Rebecca Jones had to make a heartbreaking decision.Doctors told her his death could cause his twin brother to die too before they were born, and that it would be better to end Gabriel's suffering sooner rather than later.[[[[Mrs Jones decided to let doctors operate to terminate Gabriel's life.]]]]HERE COMES THE ORDEAL....(sigh....)Firstly they tried to sever his umbilical cord to cut off his blood supply, but the cord was too strong.They then cut Mrs Jones's placenta in half so that when Gabriel died, it would not affect his twin brother.But after the operation which was meant to end his life, (tiny Gabriel had other ideas)What about God's will for this boy/s...????.Although he weighed less than a pound, he put up such a fight for survival that doctors called him Rocky. Astonishingly, he managed to carry on living in his mother's womb for another five weeks - until the babies were delivered by caesarean section.Now he and Ieuan are back at home in Stoke - and are so close they are always holding each other's hand.Mrs Jones, 35, a financial adviser whose husband Mark, 36, is a car salesman, said:"It really is a miracle.{{{{Doctors carried out an operation to let Gabriel die - yet he hung on."It was unbelievable.""When I felt him kicking madly the morning after the operation, I suddenly knew that he was going to hang on."The doctors couldn't believe it when they could still hear his heartbeat the next morning."}}}}(1) Mrs Jones learned she was expecting twins when she was ten weeks pregnant. She said: "When they told us we were over the moon."But at her 20-week scan, doctors had some devastating news. One of the boys was half the size of his brother.They didn't know what was causing it, but somehow he wasn't getting enough nutrients.Then doctors said his heart was three times normal size and it was likely he would have a heart attack or a stroke in the womb.Mrs Jones said:"They told us that if he died, it could be life threatening for his brother."We had to decide whether {to end his life} and let his brother live, or risk them both."They said it would be {impossible} to keep him alive afterwards as he was so poorly.{{{It would be kinder to let him die in the womb with his brother by his side than to die alone after being born."That made my mind up for me. I wanted the best thing for him."}}}(2)At Birmingham Women's Hospital, when Mrs Jones was 25 weeks pregnant, doctors tried to sever Gabriel's umbilical cord to cut off his blood supply and allow him to die.But the cord was too thick, and they could not cut through it.As a last resort they divided Mrs Jones's placenta so that when Gabriel died, it would allow Ieuan to survive. Mrs Jones said: "I put my hands on my stomach thinking of Gabriel. It was devastating. I had said my goodbyes. "But the next morning Mrs Jones felt Gabriel kicking.A scan showed his heart was still beating. She said: "No one could quite believe it."Gabriel hung on, and his enlarged heart started to reduce in size. He also gained weight.Mrs Jones said:"They thought it may be because the placenta had been divided. Inadvertently, it had evened out the distribution of nutrition between them, allowing Gabriel to survive.'When Mrs Jones reached 31 weeks doctors carried out a caesarian to deliver the twins. Ieuan weighed 3lb 8oz and Gabriel 1lb 15oz. Both were kept in hospital, but since going home they have thrived. At seven months, Ieuan weighs 15lb and Gabriel 12lb 6oz.Mrs Jones said:"The boys are so healthy, they have huge appetites too.Ieuan is the noisy one, while Gabriel is always laughing, it's like he's just so happy to be here."There is such a strong bond between them."They are always holding hands and if one cries, the other reaches out to comfort him."(3)"Doctors tried to break their bond in the womb, but they just proved it couldn't be broken."(4)

PS:(1)The operation to let Gabriel die....Why don't we call it more for what it really is...???MURDER....
(2)So Mrs Jones wnated the BEST FOR HIM.....so she allowed doctors to try to kill him in different ways...but nothing worked....
(3)Of course his brother is always there to try to comfort him....THANKS A LOT MOMMA FOR TRYING TO KILL MY BROTHER!!!!!!
(4)Doctors didn't try to break their bond in the womb....THEY TRIED TO MURDER HIM using everything possible.....!!!!!PRAISE GOD THEY COULDN'T....
I wonder what these kids will say when they grow up and learn the truth about the attempted murder of Gabriel.....Cool mom....!Amazing how people's minds is so deprived of sense and life and how much people is still under satanic bondage in this wicked world.....hopefully mrs.Jones will get to know Jesus soon.....!!!!!

As in the days of Noah......

SIGN of the TIMES:Sexual harassment on the rise in Egypt

CAIRO-From lewd looks to inappropriate touching, experts say Egypt's growing street harassment of women is a deep-rooted and largely ignored problem shackling the country's progress.Sexual harassment in public areas is not limited to a specific age category or social class, says the independent Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights (ECWR), which is spearheading a campaign against this "social cancer" in Egypt.Nor does an outward expression of piety protect from sexual harassment, generally defined as "all unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature, making women feel uncomfortable and unsafe.""As soon as I step onto the street, I am surrounded by sexual predators," Rasha Shaaban, 23, from the Mediterranean city of Alexandria told AFP. "I don't feel safe, the problem is getting worse. It has become so bad that I want to leave Egypt."According to the state National Centre for Social and Criminal Research, sexual crimes are on the rise but while they give no official figures, ECWR says that two women are raped every hour in this country of 80 million and that 90 percent of offenders are jobless men.There are many contributing factors to the increase in sexual harassment. Rising unemployment may push some men to display their machismo on the streets. The huge cost of marriage and the fact that sex outside marriage is forbidden may also explain the behaviour, experts say."Men take out their frustration, not just sexual, against women," Engy Ghozlan, who runs the anti-harassment campaign at ECWR, told AFP.But some men, who believe a woman's job is to look after the home, say that those out on the street are fair game."When (a woman) walks out into the street in tight trousers and tight belts, she deserves what she gets," said Mohamed al-Sayyed, 32, who works as an assistant at an upmarket hairdresser in Cairo. "The women who come here are different from the ones in my village," he said.Sayyed grew up in a village near Menya, in the conservative Egyptian south. "My female relatives would never be seen swaying in the street like this," he said, defensively explaining the occasional wolf whistles "and more" he directs at Cairene women.One sociologist, Dalal al-Bizri, sees a strong link between growing religious conservatism and sexual harassment. She told AFP that a puritan view of Islam brought over from religiously strict Saudi Arabia is partly responsible for the "culture of hate" against women."In the sermons of wahhabi (ultra-conservative) preachers on satellite television, we hear the worst things about women, like the fact that they should not be on the street but at home... that they have an inferior status," Bizri said.The damage is not only to women's psyche but to the whole country's economic development, according to ECWR. "There are women who stop going to work, or to university because of harassment," said Ghozlan. "How can the country develop if everyone doesn't mobilise against it?""If the minister of tourism wants to keep his tourists, the security services should be stricter with people harassing women on the streets," she said. "If I went to a country where I wasn't respected, I wouldn't go back."However, one stumbling block is that authorities refuse to admit there is a problem, Ghozlan said. And when they do, it's a question of "OK, it exists, but it's very exaggerated in the media."According to her centre, of the 2,500 women who reported cases of sexual harassment to ECWR, only 12 percent went to the police with their complaint.It is "a total lack of confidence in the police and judicial systems," she said.Following the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in 2006, women's rights activists angrily spoke out against what they called authorities' acceptance of sexual harassment against women, after a mob of men openly molested women in central Cairo.The incident was widely reported in the press, and some bloggers posted footage on their websites."They were touching women all over, the veiled ones and the non-veiled ones," said Wael Abbas, an Egyptian blogger who witnessed the event.The interior ministry at the time denied any mass harassment took place, saying it had not received any formal complaints.

As in the days of Noah....


"Lord,I cry unto thee:make haste unto me;give ear unto my voice,when I cry unto thee.
Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense;and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Set a watch,O Lord,before my mouth;keep the door of my lips."
PSALM 141:1-3

Hundreds of thousands flee Mexico floods

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico - Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans fled a flooded region of the Gulf coast Friday, jumping from rooftops into rescue helicopters, scrambling into boats or swimming out through murky brown water. President Felipe Calderon called the flooding in Tabasco state one of Mexico's worst recent natural disasters, and pledged to rebuild.A week of heavy rains caused rivers to overflow, drowning at least 80 percent of the oil-rich state. Much of the state capital, Villahermosa, looked like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, with water reaching to second-story rooftops and desperate people awaiting rescue.At least one death was reported and nearly all services, including drinking water and public transportation, were shut down. The flood affected more than 900,000 people in the state of 2 million — their homes flooded, damaged or cut off by high water.A 10-inch natural gas pipeline sprang a leak after flooding apparently washed away soil underneath it, but it was unclear if other facilities operated by the state-run Petroleos Mexicanos were damaged or if oil production was affected.
Workers tried to protect Villahermosa's famous Olmec statues by placing sandbag collars around their enormous stone heads, and built sandbag walls to hold back the Grijalva River in the state capital.But the water rose quickly, surprising residents used to annual floods and forcing soldiers to evacuate the historic city center. The dikes failed Thursday night, and water swamped the capital's bus station and open-air market.Rain gave way to sunshine Friday, but tens of thousands of people were still stranded on rooftops or in the upper floors of their homes. Rescue workers used tractors, helicopters, jet skis and boats to ferry people to safety, while others swam through water infested by poisonous snakes to reach higher ground.Calderon met with state officials and flew over the affected areas. The extent of the flooding was clear from the sky-Tabasco state seemed like an inland sea with only rooftops and treetops protruding from the water."This is not just the worst natural catastrophe in the state's history but, I would venture to say, one of the worst in the recent history of the country," Calderon said Friday during an emergency meeting with state officials in Villahermosa.The president ordered the armed forces and federal police to maintain order and prevent looting, and asked residents to remain calm. He canceled a trip to Panama, Colombia and Peru."Once we have passed the critical stage ... we are going to reconstruct Tabasco, whatever it takes," Calderon said.Mexicans rallied around the disaster, with people across the country contributing money and supplies. Television stations dedicated entire newscasts to the flooding and morning shows switched from yoga and home improvement to calls for aid. Friday was the Day of the Dead holiday, but banks opened to accept donations for flood victims.Food and clean drinking water were extremely scarce in Tabasco state, and federal Deputy Health Secretary Mauricio Hernandez warned that there could be outbreaks of cholera and other waterborne diseases."With so many people packed together there is a chance that infectious diseases could spread," he said.Officials tested for 600 suspected cases of cholera, but none was positive, he said. The waterborne sickness, which can be fatal, has not been reported in Mexico for at least six years.The government also sent 20,000 Hepatitis A vaccinations and were giving booster shots to children to prevent outbreaks, Hernandez said.Medical care was difficult, however, because at least 50 of the state's hospitals and medical centers were flooded.Hotels, parking garages and other dry structures were converted into temporary shelters for those forced from their homes.Guadalupe de la Cruz, a receptionist at the Hotel Calinda Viva Villahermosa, said the hotel's meeting rooms were being used as shelters for employees' families. She said the 240-room hotel was completely booked, mostly by people who had fled their homes.Many people were headed to nearby cities unaffected by the floods. Highways that weren't covered with water were packed with residents fleeing in cars and on foot. The exodus appeared to be orderly with no reports of violence.
Villahermosa resident Mauricio Hernandez, 27, who is not related to the federal official, paid a taxi to go to Cardenas, 30 miles away. From there, he planned to hop a bus to the port city of Coatzacoalcos."We are leaving because we cannot live like this," he said. "We don't have any water, and the shelters are full. Where are we going to go?"State officials sent 50 buses to a museum in the capital where hundreds of people gathered."We wanted to stay in the city but it is no longer possible," said Jorge Rodriguez, 43. "We have lost everything."

As in the days of Noah....

DICTATORSHIP WATCH:Amendments would let Chavez run again

CARACAS, Venezuela-[[[[Venezuela's pro-government National Assembly overwhelmingly approved constitutional reforms on Friday that would greatly expand the power of President Hugo Chavez and permit him to run for re-election """""indefinitely.""""]]]]The 69 changes to Venezuela's Constitution now go to citizens for a Dec. 2 vote.The proposed changes, Chavez's most radical move yet in his push to transform Venezuela into a socialist state, threaten to spur a new wave of political upheaval in this oil-rich South American country already deeply divided over Chavez's rule.{{{{{The amendments would allow the government to expropriate private property prior to a court ruling and take total control over the Central Bank, create new types of property managed by cooperatives, and extend presidential terms from six to seven years while allowing Chavez to run again in 2012.}}}}}All but seven of the assembly's 167 lawmakers voted for the changes by a show of hands."Today the Venezuelan people have a pencil in their hands to write their own history, and it's not going to be the history of the elite," said pro-Chavez lawmaker Earle Herrera.Concerns that the measures will weaken civil liberties have been raised by university students, opposition parties, human rights groups and representatives of Venezuela's Roman Catholic Church.Critics also worry the reforms would allow Chavez to remain in power for decades like his close friend Fidel Castro of Cuba.Calling the reforms "unconstitutional," dissident lawmaker Ricardo Gutierrez railed against pro-Chavez congressmen for approving amendments "that don't have anything to do with giving more power to the people."Chavez, a retired army lieutenant colonel who was first elected in 1998 on a populist platform and has repeatedly defeated his political adversaries at the polls, denies the reforms are antidemocratic.Most "Chavistas," as the president's supporters call themselves, back the reforms as a novel means of giving neighborhood-based assemblies called "communal councils" greater decision-making power as Chavez steers Venezuela toward what he calls "21st-century Socialism." Among other changes, the reforms would enshrine socialist concepts in the constitution, reduce from 18 to 16 the minimum voting age and increase the number of signatures required to trigger a presidential recall vote.Government supporters wearing red-the color of Chavez's ruling party-cheered outside the assembly in downtown Caracas as lawmakers left the building and walked to the nearby National Elections Council, where officials scheduled the Dec. 2 referendum on the reforms.{{{{{{{Jose Manuel Gonzalez, president of the Fedecamaras business chamber, warned of grave consequences if voters agree to the amendments."If this reform is approved, it destroys the future of our institutions, isolates us as a nation, brings us back to the past and distances us from modernity and progress," he told Union Radio.}}}}}}}{{{{{{On Thursday, protesters staged the biggest demonstration against Chavez in months, and appeared to revive Venezuela's languid opposition. Soldiers responded with tear gas canisters, plastic bullets and water cannons to scatter tens of thousands who said the amendments would violate civil liberties and derail democracy.The pro-government VEA newspaper on Friday predicted an overwhelming victory and urged government supporters to join "a life or death battle in which the present and future of the Venezuelan nation is in play."}}}}}}}
PS:VENEZUELA is geaded to everlasting DICTATORSHIP like poor Cuba,with this lunatic in power....trying to bring utopia to Venezuela....What a sad thing to see this wonderful nation in this state.....!!!!

As in the days of Noah....

Weakening Noel parallels US coast

NASSAU, Bahamas-Hurricane Noel, the deadliest storm to hit the Atlantic this year, paralleled the U.S. coast on Friday, losing strength as it headed north towards Nova Scotia.Noel slammed the Caribbean earlier this week with heavy rains that caused flooding and mudslides, leaving 118 dead, officials said.After drenching the Bahamas and Cuba on Thursday, the Category 1 hurricane's sustained winds were at 80 mph on Friday and its center was about 425 miles south of Cape Hatteras, N.C., the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Noel is moving to the north-northeast at about 17 mph, but was expected to pick up speed.Jack Beven, a hurricane specialist at the center, said Friday that "we don't expect the center to cross the U.S. coast. The track would take the center of the system over Nova Scotia."But Beven also noted that the storm "is going to increase rather significantly in size" and that its effects could be felt in the U.S. Forecasters say 2 to 4 inches of rain could fall in North Carolina's Outer Banks, while isolated areas of New England might see 6 inches.On Thursday, muddy rain-swollen waters overflowed a dam in Cuba, washing into hundreds of homes, over highways and knocking out electricity and telephone service. Dozens of small communities were cut off.Cuban soldiers went door-to-door in low-lying areas and evacuated about 24,000 people, according to state radio and television reports. At least 2,000 homes were damaged by flood waters, but there was no official word of deaths.In Ciego de Avila province in central Cuba, flooding wiped out nearly 2,000 tons of corn, potato, banana, cucumber and tomato harvests, said Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, a vice president.The storm brought a record 15 inches of rain to the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said. Flooding killed at least one man in the Bahamas and forced the evacuation of almost 400 people. Ingraham said the majority of the evacuees were from the northeast Bahamian island of Abaco.Residents of Andros Island, one of the least-developed in the Bahamas, hunkered down as Noel's winds howled and rain pelted windowpanes."The walls were rattling, but we rode it out pretty well," said Angela Newton, who was waiting Thursday for the power to come back on.Rescuers in Dominican Republic took off in helicopters and boats to reach isolated residents for the first time in three days. Hundreds of volunteers joined Dominican civil defense forces to help stranded residents, as rescue teams left at dawn Thursday — many in boats loaned by private owners.More than three days of heavy rain caused an estimated $30 million in damages to the Dominican Republic's rice, plantain and cacao plantations, said Minister of Economy Juan Temistocles Montas. Government officials will request loans from the Inter-American Development Bank to help with the recovery.Rescuers in Hispaniola, the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, found a rising toll of death and damage: at least 73 dead in the Dominican Republic and 43 in Haiti, where the majority of bodies were found in and around the capital of Port-au-Prince. One person was killed in Jamaica.

As in the days of Noah.....

Britain 'gravely concerned' at Pakistan events

LONDON-Britain is "gravely concerned" at Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's declaration of a state of emergency and urged him to act within the constitution, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Saturday.Britain recognised the threats to peace and security in Pakistan, but its future lay in "harnessing the power of democracy and the rule of law to achieve the goals of stability, development and countering terrorism"," he said."I am gravely concerned by the measures adopted today, which will take Pakistan further from these goals," he said in a statement issued by his office."It is vital that the government acts in accordance with the constitution and abides by the commitment to hold free and fair elections on schedule which President Musharraf reiterated to the (British) Prime Minister (Gordon Brown) when they spoke on November 1," he added.Musharraf declared a state of emergency earlier Saturday, citing judicial interference in the business of government and the threat from Islamic militancy as the reason.Miliband said London would raise its concerns with Islamabad "at the highest levels". The foreign secretary said he would speak personally with his Pakistani counterpart, Khurshid Kasuri."We are working closely with friends of Pakistan across the international community to encourage all parties to show restraint and to work together for a peaceful and democratic resolution," Miliband said."We hope that the strong communities in the United Kingdom of Pakistani origin will also use their contacts through family and business to make the case for democracy and the rule of law."Miliband visited Pakistan in July, meeting Musharraf and Kasuri for talks on the need to crackdown on Taliban extremists using the lawless western regions of the country for attacks on coalition forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.There are also historic links between the two countries: Pakistan was created in 1947 by the partition of India after Britain left as a colonial power.At the last nationwide census in 2001, there were nearly 750,000 people Pakistanis living in Britain, the largest proportion of the country's two million or so people of south Asian origin.

As in the days of Noah....

Al-Qaida's No. 2 threatens Libya

CAIRO, Egypt-Al-Qaida's No. 2 figure harshly criticized Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in a new audio tape Saturday, accusing him of being an enemy of Islam and threatening a wave of attacks against the North African country because it improved relations with the U.S.In the 28-minute audio tape called "Unity of the Ranks," Ayman al-Zawahri also announced that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was joining ranks with al-Qaida."The Islamic nation is witnessing a blessed step ... The brothers are escalating the confrontation against the enemies of Islam: Gadhafi and his masters, the Washington crusaders," al-Zawahri said in the audio tape. The recording could not be independently verified, but it appeared on a Web site commonly used by insurgents and carried the logo of al-Qaida's media production house, as-Sahab.The recording also carried a message from Abu Laith al-Libi, a Libyan al-Qaida commander in Afghanistan who accused Gadhafi of decades of tyranny."He is the tyranny of Libya and is dragging the country to the swamp," al-Libi said in the recording that also featured old video footage of him walking with other masked gunmen."After long years, he (Gadhafi) discovered suddenly that America is not an enemy ... and is turning Libya into another crusader base," said al-Libi, who has appeared in several recent al-Qaida videos.For decades, the U.S. had regarded Libya as a pariah state after Gadhafi came to power in a military coup in 1969 and turned against the West.Libya was demonized for sponsoring various terrorist groups and for trying to undermine pro-Western governments in Africa. Washington put Libya on a list of state sponsors of terrorism and imposed sanctions that barred American companies from doing business in the oil-rich country. In 1986, U.S. warplanes carried out airstrikes against Libya.But the tide started to turn in 2003, after Gadhafi's surprise decision to dismantle Libya's clandestine nuclear program. That same year, Libya reached a $2.7 billion settlement with families of the victims of the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, and the next year it paid $170 million in compensation to the families of the 170 victims of the 1989 bombing of a French UTA passenger jet.The U.S. resumed full diplomatic relations with Libya last year and removed Libya from the State Department's list of terrorism sponsors.The State Department also has praised Libya's cooperation in helping the U.S. in the search for al-Qaida and other terror suspects in the Middle East and North Africa.

As in the days of Noah....

Kurds promise response to Turkish strike

QANDIL MOUNTAINS, Iraq-A defiant spokesman for the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party said Saturday that if Turkey attacks the group's bases in Iraq's rugged northeastern mountains, the clandestine organization's fighters "will teach the Turks an unforgettable lesson."Sozdar Avesta, a member of the party's political bureau, told The Associated Press in an interview in Iraq's ungoverned border region that despite international pressure the guerrilla group would not abandon its decades-long struggle against Turkey."We are fighting for the liberation of Kurdish people, we are fighting for our identity, language, our legitimate rights and self-determination," said Avesta, 35, one of a number of women PKK members.Her remarks came as officials from Iraq and the United States, at an international meeting in Istanbul, pledged to try to stop cross-border attacks by PKK forces against military forces in Turkey's heavily Kurdish southeast.The Turkish government has threatened to send troops into Iraq to chase the insurgent fighters, after a series of deadly clashes between the PKK and Turkish military in Turkey in recent months.Officials fear that large-scale fighting in northern Iraq could destabilize the relatively peaceful north, and jeopardize gains that U.S. officials say have been made in the rest of the country.Iraq's central government has pledged to track and arrest leaders of the PKK, and cut off supplies. But any crackdown would require the cooperation of Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.Turkey has accused Iraqi Kurdistan officials of backing the PKK, a charge that both the regional government and the guerrilla group deny.Under intense political pressure from Baghdad and the U.S., Iraqi Kurdish officials Saturday closed the Irbil and Sulaimaniyah offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Solution party, alleged to have close ties to the PKK. The two cities are the largest in Iraq's northern Kurdish region.Regional authorities have sought to prevent journalists from talking with the PKK leadership by closing roads into the Qandil Mountains, where various Kurdish rebel groups have historically sought shelter. But an AP reporter managed to meet PKK officials there late Friday.In a compound in the mountains here, the PKK flew their banned flag and decorated their offices with portraits of Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK leader arrested in Kenya in 1999. He is currently in a Turkish prison.The compound was far from any village, but the rebels had satellite television, and generators provide electricity.Iraqi Kurdish leaders say they are urging the PKK members to lay down their arms and seek a political settlement with Turkey. Avesta suggested that the guerrillas see little reason to negotiate with Ankara."Working to obtain rights under dictatorships without resorting to arms is a difficult and impossible matter," Avesta said.She defended the PKK's assaults on Turkish forces, saying Ankara had a history of "detention and genocide campaigns against the Kurds. Therefore the PKK took up arms to defend itself."And she warned that if Turkey launches attacks inside Iraq, the PKK will respond. "The PKK fighters will teach the Turks an unforgettable lesson," she vowed.The United States and the European Union have labeled the PKK a terrorist organization. The group's tactics have included car bombings, suicide bombings and kidnappings.Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Turkish officials Friday the PKK was a "common threat" and that the United States would help Ankara in its fight against them. Iraq promised Saturday at a conference with Rice and Turkey's foreign minister to work with its neighbors and the U.S. to combat the guerrillas.Bozan Takeen, a senior member of the PKK, denied that PKK fighters use Iraqi territories to launch attacks inside Turkey, calling the allegations "baseless." And he accused Ankara of trying to pit Kurd against Kurd."They want the two Kurdish political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan to attack us, but this will not happen," he said.Takeen said the PKK isn't intimidated by the threat of an assault by Turkey, a member of NATO. The Turkish military reportedly has amassed 100,000 troops along the Turkey-Iraq border."Turkish attacks will strengthen our determination to struggle harder to gain our rights," Takeen said.One PKK fighter, Madani Kurdistani, 20, said he joined the PKK six years ago when he was just 14. Turkish authorities in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, he said, are pressuring his family, hoping they will persuade him to turn himself in.He refuses."I am fighting for the sake of people," he said, carrying a Kalashnikov assault rife."Life without freedom is a meaningless one. We have to pay the price of the freedom."

As in the days of Noah....

LAND FULL of VIOLENCE:Italy expels Romanians deemed dangerous

ROME-Italy began deporting Romanians with criminal records in response to a streak of violent crime blamed on immigrants, authorities said Saturday. A knife-wielding mob attacked a group of Romanians in Rome.Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu warned of rising xenophobia in Italy. Earlier this week, he backed the crackdown and came under criticism at home for apologizing for violence blamed on Romanian immigrants."We should fight against the wave of xenophobia that is manifesting itself in Italy and we must fight against the bad image that Romanians who are working in Italy have," Tariceanu said Saturday.Up to 10 people wearing motorcycle helmets attacked a group of Romanians with knives, metal bars and sticks Friday night in the parking lot of a Rome supermarket, police said. Three Romanians were injured, one with serious head wounds. Police said they were looking for the attackers.Authorities in Milan said that four Romanians with criminal records were put on a flight to Bucharest on Friday night, and that deportations for 12 other Romanians had been authorized.They were the first reported expulsions since Premier Romano Prodi's center-left government approved a decree Wednesday night allowing the deportation of European Union citizens deemed dangerous.The head of the Association of Romanians in Italy, Eugen Terteleac, said he welcomed the expulsions as long as government power "isn't abused. But he denounced the mob attack and accused the media of creating a "climate of uncertainty and alarm.""The Romanian community is living through a nightmare," he said in a telephone interview.Pressure on authorities to crackdown on immigrants rose after the wife of a top navy commander was beaten to death near a Gypsy camp on Rome's outskirts earlier this week. A young Romanian man who lived in the camp was arrested for the attack.Romanians have poured into Italy since their country joined the European Union at the start of year, taking jobs as bricklayers, maids and janitors. Romanians number some 560,000 in Italy, or roughly 1 percent of the population.Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema condemned the mob attack in Rome as "gang aggression unworthy of our country."But he also told Sky TG24 TV there was "an emergency linked to the flood of people from Romania," referring to a spate of violent crimes.Two other Italians have been killed in recent attacks blamed on Romanians: a woman stabbed in the eye in a Rome subway and a cycler beaten by suspected Romanian muggers. Three Romanians were also arrested in the mugging of Oscar-winning director Giuseppe Tornatore in Rome.In a northern Italy, a young Romanian man was arrested last month for the rape of a woman on the steps of a church. In Milan, the 75-year-old owner of a coffee bar in Milan was beaten and her daughter raped behind the counter during a robbery allegedly committed by four Romanians.As part of the crackdown, bulldozers in Rome for a second day knocked down shantytowns where thousands of foreigners live without permits.Italy's reaction to the crimes by Romanians "is normal, there's fear," said a Romanian waiter who would only give his first name, Constantino. But he said he was considering returning to his homeland."The expulsions make people fear safe. But, personally, I don't want to stay here any more," he said.

As in the days of Noah...


"I said unto the Lord,Thou art my God:hear the voice of my supplications,O Lord.
O God the Lord the strength of my salvation,thou hast covered my head in the day of battle..."
PSALM 140:6-7

NAZI REVIVAL WATCH:Concert at Nazi death camp canceled

BELGRADE, Serbia - A rock concert planned for Saturday at the site of a World War II Nazi death camp in Belgrade was canceled after protests by Jewish groups.The Serbian organizers of the concert by the British band Kosheen said the event was canceled after "pressure from foreign and domestic media."Some 48,000 Jews, Serbs and Gypsies perished at the Sajmiste camp in the 1940s."We hope that the big publicity created around the Staro Sajmiste site will be used for solving the problem of renovating the place," said the concert organizers, the Long Play company.Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's chief Nazi hunter, in a statement Friday called the planned concert "a heartless insult to the memory of the victims of the Nazis."For Serbia's dwindling Jewish community, the planned concert was the latest indignity to befall the site, which they say needs to be saved from decades of neglect.Nearly all of Belgrade's 8,000 Jews were killed at Sajmiste soon after it was set up in 1941 at the site of the Belgrade Fair exhibition ground. Thousands of leftists and Serb nationalists also were killed at the camp.Most of the inmates were murdered while being transported in "gassing trucks"-vans with their exhaust pipes attached to the sealed cabin-to mass graves on the outskirts of Belgrade.

As in the days of Noah....

Thousands return to safer Iraqi capital

BAGHDAD-In a dramatic turnaround, more than 3,000 Iraqi families driven out of their Baghdad neighborhoods have returned to their homes in the past three months as sectarian violence has dropped, the government said Saturday.Saad al-Azawi, his wife and four children are among them. They fled to Syria six months ago, leaving behind what had become one of the capital's more dangerous districts-west Baghdad's largely Sunni Khadra region.The family had been living inside a vicious and bloody turf battle between al-Qaida in Iraq and Mahdi Army militiamen. But Azawi said things began changing, becoming more peaceful, in August when radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his Mahdi Army fighters to stand down nationwide.About the same time, the Khadra neighborhood Awakening Council rose up against brutal al-Qaida control-the imposition of its austere interpretation of Islam, along with the murder and torture of those who would not comply.The uprising originated in Iraq's west and flowed into the capital. Earlier this year, the Sunni tribes and clans in the vast Anbar province began their own revolt and have successfully rid the largely desert region of al-Qaida control.At one point the terrorist group virtually controlled Anbar, often with the complicity of the vast Sunni majority who welcomed the outsiders in their fight against American forces.But, U.S. officials say, al-Qaida overplayed its hand with Iraq's Sunnis, who practice a moderate version of Islam. American forces were quick to capitalize on the upheaval, welcoming former Sunni enemies as colleagues in securing what was once the most dangerous region of the country.And as 30,000 additional U.S. forces arrived for the crackdown in Baghdad and central Iraq, the American commander, Gen. David Petraeus, began stationing many of them in neighborhood outposts. The mission was not only to take back control but to foster neighborhood groups like the one in Khadra to shake off al-Qaida's grip.The 40-year-old al-Azawi, who has gone back to work managing a car service, said relatives and friends persuaded him to bring his family home."Six months ago, I wouldn't dare be outside, not even to stand near the garden gate by the street. Killings had become routine. I stopped going to work, I was so afraid," he said, chatting with friends on a street in the neighborhood.When he and his family joined the flood of Iraqi refugees to Syria the streets were empty by early afternoon, when all shops were tightly shuttered. Now the stores stay open until 10 p.m. and the U.S. military working with the neighborhood council is handing out $2,000 grants to shop owners who had closed their business. The money goes to those who agree to reopen or first-time businessmen.Al-Azawi said he's trying to get one of the grants to open a poultry and egg shop that his brother would run."In Khadra, about 15 families have returned from Syria. I've called friends and family still there and told them it's safe to come home," he said.Sattar Nawrous, a spokesman for the Ministry of Displacement and Migration, said the al-Azawi family was among 3,100 that have returned to their homes in Baghdad in the past 90 days."In the past three months, the ministry did not register any forced displacement in the whole of Iraq," said Nawrous, who is a Kurd.The claim could not be independently verified, but, if true, it would represent a dramatic end to the sectarian cleansing that has shredded the fabric of Baghdad's once mixed society.The head of the ministry is Abdul-Samad Rahman, a Shiite appointed to his job by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is accused of promoting the Shiite cause to the detriment of Sunnis. Under Saddam Hussein, the Sunni minority ruled and heavily oppressed many in the Shiite majority.Part of the inflow can be attributed to stiffening of visa and residency procedures for Iraqis by the Syrian government.Mahmoud al-Zubaidi, who runs the Iraqi Airways office in Damascus, the Syrian capital, the flow of Iraqis has almost reversed.What were once full flights arriving from Baghdad now touch down virtually empty, he told Al-Sabah, the government funded Iraqi daily newspaper. Now the flights are leaving Damascus with more passengers but the volume of travel is off considerably.On average, 56 Iraqis — civilians and security forces — have died each day so far in this very bloody year. Last month, however, the toll fell to just under 30 Iraqis killed daily in sectarian violence.More than four months after U.S. forces completed a 30,000-strong force buildup, the death toll for both Iraqis and Americans has fallen dramatically for two months running.Across Iraq Saturday, 18 people were killed or found dead in sectarian violence, well below the year's daily average.
As in the days of Noah....