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

Saturday, January 5, 2008

ISLAMIC CRAZE WATCH:Bishop: Extremism Creating 'No-Go' Areas for Non-Muslims in Britain

LONDON-Islamic extremism in Britain has created communities that are "no-go areas" for non-Muslims, a Pakistani-born Church of England bishop said in The Sunday Telegraph.Michael Nazir-Ali, the bishop of Rochester, told the newspaper that Britain's policies of multiculturalism have created separate Muslim communities that fail to integrate into mainstream society. "There has been a worldwide resurgence of the ideology of Islamic extremism. One of the results of this has been to further alienate the young from the nation in which they were growing up and also to turn already separate communities into `no-go' areas where adherence to this ideology has become a mark of acceptability," said Nazir-Ali."Those of a different faith or race may find it difficult to live or work there because of hostility to them," he said.A British Muslim leader criticized Nazir-Ali's comments."It's irresponsible for a man of his position to make these comments," Imam Ibrahim Mogra of the Muslim Council of Britain said in comments published by The Sunday Telegraph."He should accept that Britain is a multicultural society in which we are free to follow our religion at the same time as being extremely proud to be British. We wouldn't allow 'no-go' areas to happen.Nazir-Ali did not identify any such "no-go areas" in Britain, a predominantly Christian country with a Muslim population of about 1.6 million, many of whom live in northern England.The majority of Britons are members of the Anglican Church of England, the country's officially established Christian church.

As in the days of Noah.....

PERSECUTION WATCH:Afghan clerics warn Karzai against missionaries

To read these news go to:
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Abused Muslim Women in U.S. Gain Advocates

CHICAGO-After enduring seven years of beatings from her husband, a young Yemeni-American woman recently fled to a local shelter, only to find that the heavy black head scarf she wore as an observant Muslim provoked disapproval.The shelter brought in a hairdresser, whose services she accepted without any misgivings. But once her hair was styled, administrators urged her to throw off her veil, saying it symbolized the male oppression native to Islam that she wanted to escape.Instead the woman, who asked for anonymity because she feared further violence from her relatives, decamped to the Hamdard Center for Health and Human Services in suburban Chicago, a shelter that caters mainly to Muslim women by not serving pork and keeping prayer rugs handy. Such shelters are extremely rare nationwide, activists say, because Muslim Americans only recently began confronting the issue of spousal abuse.Domestic violence among Muslims has long straddled a blurry line between culture and religion, but now scattered organizations founded by Muslim American women are creating a movement to define it as an unacceptable cultural practice. The problem occurs among American Muslims at the same rate as other groups, activists say, but is even more sensitive because raising the issue is considered an attack on the faith.“The Muslim community is under a lot of scrutiny, so they are reluctant to look within to face their problems because it will substantiate the arguments demonizing them,” said Rafia Zakaria, a political science graduate student at Indiana University who is starting a legal defense fund for Muslim women. “It puts Muslim women in a difficult position because if they acknowledge their rights, they are seen as being in some kind of collusion with all those who are attacking Muslim men. So the question is how to speak out without adding to the stereotype that Muslim men are barbaric, oppressive, terrible people.”The answer, she and other activists have concluded, is to show that Muslim Americans are tackling the problem.“Domestic violence is an issue we can deal with as a community, and not by saying we don’t have this problem, which is obviously a lie,” Ms. Zakaria said.Some activists describe being expelled from mosques and holiday fairs when they first tried to broach the topic five years ago, but they have achieved a wider audience by allying themselves with sympathetic clerics.The Yemeni-American woman sought advice from several imams after her Yemeni husband of just a few months started to slap, punch and degrade her.The clerics offered marriage counseling, but only if the husband came too, a condition she knew doomed the idea. Her sister suggested she lose weight and be more obedient. Her father encouraged obedience, too, while her husband hit her through three pregnancies. After she filed for divorce, she said, her father hauled her home and hit her too, for shaming him.“Both my dad and my husband told me that women don’t talk back,” said the 29-year-old woman. “They told me the Koran said I had to be obedient, and I answered that it does not say beat up your wife.”At Hamdard, calls for help come from Muslim women as far afield as Wisconsin, Kentucky and Louisiana, shelter workers said, far more than they can accommodate with just 11 beds. They turned away 647 women and children in 2007, said Maryam Gilani, the director of Hamdard’s domestic violence program, noting that about 55 percent of the women the center helped were Muslim. Some large, wealthy Muslim communities, like the one in the San Francisco area, have been unable to raise money for a shelter, which activists attribute to the wish to label the problem as foreign to Islam.“There was resistance, and there still is,” said Ms. Gilani, adding that opponents dismissed shelters as some kind of brothel. “There are some who say what we do is not right, you have to stay with your husband and make it work. They try to turn it either into a religious thing, or they say that it is just a normal thing that happens in the family.”The challenge for most organizations is getting accurate legal information to women who are often closeted at home and may not speak English. Hamdard developed several novel solutions. Briefing area grocery store owners and hairdressers that cater to Muslims produced numerous referrals. More often, it organizes mosque seminars about breast cancer, then slips in a few minutes about domestic violence.
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PESTILENCE WATCH:Tuberculosis exposure feared on India-to-U.S. flight

WASHINGTON-U.S. health officials are trying to track down 44 people who sat near a woman infected with a hard-to-treat form of tuberculosis aboard an airliner from India to determine whether they have been infected, authorities said on Friday.The infected woman is 30 years old and is being treated for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, or MDR TB, at a hospital in the San Francisco area, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She had been diagnosed in India with MDR TB but traveled last month anyway, the CDC said.She traveled from New Delhi to Chicago on American Airlines Flight 293 on December 13, and then to California on a domestic flight, officials said. The CDC said the woman, who was not identified by name, sought hospital treatment for coughing up blood, fever and for chest pain.The CDC said the facts of the case indicated "a potential for transmission of drug-resistant TB infection to others."The case follows one last year in which a TB-infected Atlanta-area lawyer sparked an international health scare by flying to and from Europe for his wedding and honeymoon.The CDC said health authorities in 18 U.S. states and in India were trying to locate 44 fellow passengers aboard the flight from India to test them for possible infection. All sat within two rows of the woman or were crew members working in the same cabin."These persons should receive an initial evaluation and testing for TB infection, with follow-up 8 to 10 weeks after the December 13 flight for re-evaluation," the CDC said.CDC spokeswoman Christine Pearson said, "It's too early to say whether there are any additional cases." The CDC did not say how many of the fellow passengers had been reached.Authorities are not searching for passengers from the second flight because they say there is only a minimal chance of infection during a short-duration flight.TB is a sometimes fatal bacterial infection usually attacking the lungs. Some forms are particularly dangerous because they resist treatment by antibiotics. MDR TB is a relatively rare type of the disease that is resistant to at least two of the first-line drugs for tuberculosis.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080104/tc_nm/tuberculosis_usa_dc;_ylt=AgF1rCSL.Y9VxlYM3_qOdftZ.3QA
As in the days of Noah.....

Al-Qaida videos now on cell phones

CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Qaida video messages of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri can now be downloaded to cell phones, the terror network announced as part of its attempts to extend its influence.The announcement was posted late Friday by al-Qaida's media wing, al-Sahab, on Web sites commonly used by Islamic militants. As of Saturday, eight previously recorded videos were made available including a recent tribute to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former al-Qaida in Iraq leader killed by U.S. forces in Iraq in June 2006.In a written message introducing the new cell phone videos, al-Zawahri, al-Qaida's No. 2 figure, asked followers to spread the terror group's messages."I asked God for the men of jihadi media to spread the message of Islam and monotheism to the world and spread real awareness to the people of the nations," al-Zawahri said.Videos playable on cell phones are increasingly popular in the Middle East. The files are transferred from phone to phone using Bluetooth or infrared wireless technology.Clips showing former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's execution in December 2006 showed up on cell phones soon after his death. In Egypt, images showing police brutality have been passed around via cell phones including one video that showed an arrested bus driver being sodomized with a stick by police in the fall 2006.Video and audio tapes from various Islamist groups including al-Qaida are available on militant Web sites but require a computer and a fast Internet connection-often rare in the region-to download.But the eight videos currently available to download to cell phones by al-Sahab range in size from 17 megabytes to 120 megabytes, requiring phones to have large amounts of free data capacity. Al-Sahab has promised to release more of its previous video messages in cell-phone quality formats.The terror network has been growing more sophisticated in targeting international audiences. Videos are always subtitled in English, and messages this year from bin Laden and al-Zawahri focusing on Pakistan and Afghanistan have been dubbed in the local languages, Urdu and Pashtu.In December, al-Qaida invited journalists to send questions to al-Zawahri. The invitation was the first time the media-savvy al-Qaida offered outsiders to "interview" one of its leaders since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

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Bhutto's husband calls for UN probe

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Benazir Bhutto's widowed husband accused members of Pakistan's ruling regime of involvement in his wife's killing and called Saturday for a U.N. investigation, as British officers aiding Pakistan's own probe pored over the crime scene."An investigation conducted by the government of Pakistan will have no credibility, in my country or anywhere else," Asif Ali Zardari, the effective leader of Bhutto's opposition party, said in a commentary published in The Washington Post. "One does not put the fox in charge of the hen house."Calls for an independent, international investigation have intensified since the former prime minister was killed Dec. 27 in a shooting and bombing attack after a campaign rally. Opposition activists denounced the government's initial assessment that an Islamic militant was behind the attack and that Bhutto died, not from gunshot wounds, but from the force of the blast.President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that investigators may have drawn conclusions too quickly and mishandled evidence, including hosing down the site hours after the attack.But he insisted the government was competent to run the investigation with the help of forensic experts from Britain's Scotland Yard. The United States said it did not believe a U.N. investigation was needed.The British investigators arrived at the site of the attack in the city of Rawalpindi under heavy police guard in a convoy of sports utility vehicles. They spoke to local security officials and repeatedly walked from the park where Bhutto held her final campaign rally to the spot outside where her departing vehicle was attacked.Local police parked a truck where Bhutto's had been, and the British investigators took photographs of it and filmed it from different angles, including from a nearby rooftop.Zardari said no government investigation would satisfy him. He reiterated his demand for a U.N. probe modeled on the investigation into the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and urged "friends of democracy in the West, in particular the United States and Britain, to endorse the call for such and independent investigation.""Those responsible-ithin and outside of government-ust be held accountable," he wrote.Also Saturday, the government accused a leading international think tank of "promoting sedition" for urging Musharraf, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror, to resign.The report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group called Musharraf "a serious liability, seen as complicit" in Bhutto's death.In a statement, the government said the report "amounts to promoting sedition" and the group "neither has the credentials, nor the credibility and lacks representational standing specially on Pakistan's national affairs" to comment on Pakistan.Also Saturday, gunmen shot and killed one paramilitary soldier and wounded two others in the southwestern city of Quetta, said Rahmatullah Niazi, a senior police official. The motive behind the attack was not known, he said.

As in the days of Noah...

Peace plan, Iran on Bush Mideast agenda

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Saturday tied his fresh push for Mideast peace to the fight against terrorism and U.S. efforts to counter Iran's quest for greater influence in the region. "As we saw on September the 11th, 2001, dangers that arise on the other side of the world can bring death and destruction to our own streets," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "Since then, extremists have assassinated democratic leaders from Afghanistan to Lebanon to Pakistan.They have murdered innocent people from Saudi Arabia to Jordan and Iraq. "They are seeking new weapons and new operatives so they can attack America again, overthrow governments in the Middle East and impose their hateful vision on millions."In his radio broadcast, Bush briefly sketched the agenda for his eight-day trip to the Middle East, which begins Tuesday, the same day as the New Hampshire presidential primary.Bush is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories, plus Arab allies Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. He said he will encourage Israelis and Palestinians to make "tough decisions on complex questions" so an elusive peace deal could be reached."I am optimistic about the prospects," Bush said.His advisers, however, have all but ruled out a three-way meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders during the trip, dampening any thoughts that the president's personal diplomacy would yield a concrete peace accord at this time.Bush said he will urge Arab leaders to support negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians and stress the "importance of countering the aggressive ambitions of Iran."The president argued that success in Mideast peace is crucial to success in the battle against extremists, to whom the violent, intractable Israeli-Palestinian dispute is a potent recruiting tool."I know it is not always obvious why events in the nations of the Middle East should matter to the American people," Bush said. "But in the 21st century, developments there have a direct impact on our lives here."Bush's series of bilateral meetings begin Wednesday in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres. On Thursday, Bush travels to the West Bank, an Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory, to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at their headquarters in Ramallah.Before leaving Israel on Friday for Kuwait, Bush will also meet with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now the Mideast representative for the so-called Quartet-the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States.

As in the days of Noah....

400K without power amid Calif. storm

SANTA ANA, Calif.-A levee break flooded hundreds of homes Saturday as the storm that has pummeled the West Coast with high wind and heavy rain dropped a thick blanket of snow on the Sierra Nevada on Saturday.Thousands of people had no power in three states and thousands more had been told to leave their homes in mudslide-prone areas of Southern California.Up to 44 inches of snow had fallen in some parts of the Sierra Nevada, the National Weather Service said Saturday morning. Forecasters expected the storm to dump as much as 10 feet at higher elevations of the mountain range by Sunday.East of the Sierra in Nevada's Lyon County, a levee broke early Saturday along an agricultural canal, releasing water as much as 3 feet deep into the town of Fernley and stranding about 3,500 people, authorities said. Rescuers were using school buses, boats and helicopters.No injuries were reported.The Fernley area had gotten heavy rain on Friday plus snow."It was a mess up there last night," said Chuck Allen of the Nevada Department of Public Safety. "It's so cold here. The snow is about 2 inches in depth and the temperatures are right near the frigid mark both for the rescuers and rescuees."Flights were grounded Friday and trucks overturned in Northern California as wind gusted to 80 mph during the second wave of the arctic storm that has sent trees crashing onto houses, cars and roads. Hundreds of thousands of customers lost power from central California into Oregon and Washington.In the south, residents of Orange County canyons that were stripped by wildfires last fall-making them susceptible to mudslides-nervously watched weather reports to learn when they might be hit by the fierce wind and heavy downpours forecast for the area."There's a little bit of a letup right now in the rain, but there's still a huge band of rain that's going to come in today," Ted MacKechnie, a National Weather Service forecaster, said Saturday morning. About 3,000 people in four canyons had been told to leave their homes by 7 p.m. Friday, Orange County fire Capt. Mike Blawn said.
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080105/ap_on_re_us/winter_storm;_ylt=ArOmU42q3u5rg4loCUmcKlas0NUE

As in the days of Noah....

Georgian leader poised for election win

TBILISI, Georgia - President Mikhail Saakashvili appeared poised for an election victory on Saturday, according to early exit poll results in this former Soviet republic where the former hero of democracy now faces accusations of authoritarian leanings.An exit poll showed President Mikhail Saakashvili winning Saturday's election with 53.8 percent. He needs an absolute majority needed to avoid a runoff election in two weeks. The exit poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.The U.S.-educated Saakashvili led mass street protests that ousted a Communist-era veteran from power following fraudulent elections in late 2003. He won a January 2004 election with more than 96 percent of the vote and set out to transform the bankrupt country into a modern European state.Now the Rose Revolution hero, who was much lauded in the West, is fighting to stay in office amid opponents' claims that he has ignored the needs of the poor and shown a tendency toward authoritarianism.The head of an international election monitoring mission said about two hours before the polls were to close that the election to that point appeared to be fair."From what we're seeing now ... there does not appear to be anything to suggest there is an election being stolen," said Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat heading a mission sent by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.In November, many Georgians were angered after police violently dispersed peaceful demonstrations and Saakashvili imposed a state of emergency that included banning independent TV news broadcasts. The crackdown called into question Saakashvili's commitment to democracy. Saakashvili defused the crisis by calling an early election, cutting short his own five-year term.Saakashvili has focused his campaign on increasing social welfare support. He has said the election has put at stake his plan to change Georgia into a country worthy of membership in NATO and the European Union.After voting in Tbilisi, Saakashvili-whose team has been accused of planning to rig the election-said he was dedicated to having it be free and fair."We are committed to having Georgia as a beacon of democracy in our part of the world," he said, with his Dutch-born wife and their two young sons at his side.He faces his toughest competition from Levan Gachechiladze, a member of parliament who represents an opposition coalition that wants to do away with the presidency. If a parliamentary system is established, as the coalition wants, Gachechiladze would step down.
"I am 43 years old and I never lie," he told supporters Thursday. "I will be gone. It's not a fight for me, for my presidency, it's a fight for democracy."At a central Tbilisi polling station Saturday morning. David Machavariani, 22, said he was voting for Gachechiladze because he wants to do away with the presidency."I want a strong prime minister and a strong government," Machavariani said.Niko Jialishvili, 52, said he was voting for Saakashvili."He has created jobs.He has raised salaries, pensions," Jialishvili, a taxi driver, said after casting his ballot. "There is light, there is gas, there is everything."Opposition leaders say their supporters are ready to return to the streets Sunday if the vote is not free and fair. However, the Tbilisi mayor's office turned down a request for permission to hold protests on the city's main avenue.After he voted, Gachechiladze said his supporters reporting numerous violations across the country. "We are ready to respond to all those violations," he said without elaborating.The opposition's plans to protest also have been undermined by a scandal that has discredited one of the leading candidates, billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili. He has admitted offering large sums of money to police if they side with protesters. Georgian authorities say he offered $100 million.Saakashvili's campaigners have been accused of improper use of government funds and voter intimidation by Transparency International.The OSCE observer mission said earlier that it had received apparently credible reports of abuses.Saakashvili's campaign chief, David Bakradze, said there may have been some individual violations, but that that should not be surprising given Georgia's lack of experience with competitive elections. He said he was certain observers would find the "overall climate was free and fair."During Saakashvili's time in office, he has cracked down on organized crime and corruption, modernized the police force and the army, restored steady supplies of electricity and gas and improved roads. The result has been economic growth of about 10 percent per year and a steady rise in foreign investment, but many complain the economic success has not yet benefited much of the population.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080105/ap_on_re_eu/georgia_presidential_election;_ylt=AsjRZiIElvhayEUIMc2Jglqs0NUE
As in the days of Noah....

Levee breaks in Nevada, 3,500 stranded

FERNLEY, Nev.-A canal levee ruptured early Saturday after heavy rainfall, pouring more than 3 feet of near-freezing water into 800 homes and stranding 3,500 people across a square mile in their agricultural desert town, authorities said.A section of the Truckee Canal up to 50 feet long broke around 4 a.m. in Fernley, about 33 miles east of Reno, officials said. No injuries were reported.Truckee River water flowing into the canal was diverted upstream and water in the canal was receding by noon, said Ernie Schank, president of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District."We're still rescuing folks and getting people to shelter safely," said Chuck Allen of the Nevada Department of Public Safety."I'm hoping the brunt of this is over. We sort of have some control today because it's not raining," he said.The break might have been started by burrowing rodents, an official said, though the cause wasn't clear.Ten school buses were used to carry residents to shelters at schools, and bulldozers were brought in to shore up the levee, Allen said.More than 100 people had gathered at a high school shelter by midday."Unfortunately, there are people with damaged houses, people refusing to leave their houses," Fernley Mayor Todd Cutler said.The nearby Fallon Naval Air Station provided two helicopters and by midmorning had rescued 18 people."Some folks were standing in their driveways and some were on top of their buildings," said Zip Upham, a spokesman for the Navy training facility.The break came as a storm pummeled the West Coast, raising a threat of mud slides and flooding in California, blacking out thousands of customers and blanketing the Sierra Nevada range with deep snow.However, Schank said the break may started with rodent burrowing that weakened the canal's earthen bank."Evidently it was a rat or a gopher hole. The canal did not overtop the bank," he said.The irrigation district has a bounty on gophers, said Kate Rutan, an administrative assistant at the district office. "Gophers are terrible for making a hole ... and once (water) finds a weak spot, it will go for it," she said.The Fernley area had gotten snow plus heavy rain on Friday.The Fernley area had gotten snow plus heavy rain on Friday. The town sits about halfway between Lake Tahoe, where the river originates, and Pyramid Lake, where it empties about 100 miles downstream."It was a mess up there last night," Allen said. The snow is about 2 inches in depth and the temperatures are right near the frigid mark both for the rescuers and rescuees."The canal brings water from the Truckee River, starting just east of Reno and running to the farming community of Fallon, about 60 miles away. In December 1996, flooding from a rupture of an irrigation canal that is part of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District surrounded about 60 Fernley homes with as much as 2 feet of water.On Jan. 3, 1997, flooding from the Truckee River swamped motels, casinos and other businesses in Reno and made hundreds of homes uninhabitable.

As in the days of Noah.....

Friday, January 4, 2008

Launch of European and Japanese space labs delayed

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida-Fixing what may be a design problem on the space shuttles will keep European and Japanese laboratory modules destined for the International Space Station grounded for weeks, NASA said on Thursday.The U.S. space agency rescheduled its first flight of the year for no earlier than January 24 but said a more realistic date for launching Europe's Columbus laboratory aboard the shuttle Atlantis will be around February 2, John Shannon, the deputy shuttle program manager told reporters on a conference call."Everything has to go exactly right for us to make the 24th," Shannon said.The first part of Japan's Kibo complex would then fly on shuttle Endeavour about five weeks later. It originally was set for launch on February 14, a date that is no longer possible.Launch attempts of Atlantis were postponed on December 6 and December 9 due to erratic sensor readings in the spacecraft's hydrogen fuel tank. NASA had hoped to try again on January 10 but decided late last month that it would need more time to fix the problem.The sensors, which operate like dipsticks to gauge fuel levels, are part of an emergency system to cut off the shuttle's three hydrogen-burning main engines if the tank runs dry because of a leak or other problem during the climb to orbit.Running the engines without fuel could cause their pumps to break and possibly trigger a catastrophic explosion. NASA engineers decided the fuel sensor glitch resided in a plug-like connector that relays electrical signals from the sensors in the tank through wiring leading to the shuttle's engine compartment.
To read more go to:
As in the days of Noah....

EVOLUTION WATCH:Academy stresses evolution's importance

WASHINGTON-The National Academy of Sciences on Thursday[[[[[ issued a spirited defense of evolution as the bedrock principle of modern biology, arguing that it, not creationism, must be taught in public school science classes.]]]]]The academy, which operates under a mandate from Congress to advise the government on science and technology matters, issued the report at a time when the theory of evolution, first offered in the 19th century, faces renewed attack by some religious conservatives.[[[Creationism, based on the explanation offered in the Bible, and the related idea of "intelligent design" are not science and, as such, should not be taught in public school science classrooms, according to the report.]]]{{{"We seem to have continuing challenges to the teaching of evolution in schools. That's something that doesn't seem to go away," Barbara Schaal, an evolutionary biologist at Washington University in St. Louis and vice president of National Academy of Sciences, said in a telephone interview."We need a citizenry that's trained in real science."}}}Evolution is a [[[[[[theory]]]]]] explaining change in living organisms over the eons due to genetic mutations. For example, it holds that humans evolved from earlier forms of apes.The report stated that the idea of evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith. "Science and religion are different ways of understanding the world. Needlessly placing them in opposition reduces the potential of each to contribute to a better future," said the report.But teaching creationist ideas in science classes confuses students about what constitutes science and what does not, according to the report's authors.
To read more go to:
PS:It's just simply hilarious and pathetic at the same time the way in which "evolutionists" are trying to reafirm a BIG FAT THEORY...They wouldn't do so IF they wouldn't feel threatened....Evolution is a THEORY....And there is overwhelming evidence of it....the point is that "evolutionists" keep holding on to this nonsense and won't let go...IF they don't want to teach "intelligent design" at public schools is fine...Public schools are a mess anyway...Compared to other countries our public school falls really far behind and short....A shame...It's amazing how much damage a backslidden believer(Charles Darwin) can do,even after he's gone for so many years....

As in the days of Noah....

QUAKEWATCH:Indonesia mud volcano breaches barrier, sparks panic

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http://quakewatch.blogspot.com/

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JIHAD WATCH:Wiesenthal Center calls on UN to formally address suicide attacks


















A week after pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack, a Jewish human rights group has taken out a full page ad in the New York Times on Friday demanding that the United Nations formally address suicide bombings. The ad by the Los Angeles based Simon Wiesenthal Center features a picture of Bhutto beneath the words "SUICIDE TERROR: What more will it take for the world to act?" and calls on the United Nations for a special session devoted to the issue. "Unless we put suicide bombing on the top of the international community's agenda, this virulent cancer could engulf us all," it reads. "The looming threat of WMDs in the hands of suicide bombers will dwarf the casualties already suffered in 30 countries."In the ad, which will also run in the International Herald Tribune, the Simon Wiesenthal Center also calls on the United Nations to declare suicide bombings "crimes against humanity."Rabbi Marvin Hier, the center's founder and dean, said Bhutto's assassination showed it was time for the United Nations to devote a full special session to ending suicide bombings. "If we don't put it on the top of the international agenda, the causalities we are seeing now will be nothing compared to what's in store for us in the future," he said by phone. "Thirty or 40 years from now the reports will be: '100,000 people died today in suicide biological attack.'" Hier noted that the UN has called special sessions to deal with such issues as global warming and AIDS and should do the same for suicide bombings in 2008. Bhutto's assassination last week, as she left an election rally in Rawalpindi, threw Pakistan into turmoil and left questions about who was behind the gun and suicide bomb attack.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/941726.html


As in the days of Noah....

POLICE STATE WATCH:Parents race to escape before court takes kids

A homeschooling family is trying to arrange an escape from Germany before authorities can complete a court action that would give the state custody of their five children, according to a pro-family advocacy organization.The case involves Klaus and Evelyn Landahl, who have been living in Altensteig with their five children under the age of 13, including four who are school age, according to officials at Netzwerk-Bildungsfreiheit.And this case is just one of two where the parents are arranging to move out of Germany in order to provide what they consider the best schooling opportunities for their children, according to the U.S.-based Home School Legal Defense Association.The second family was identified as Dagmar and Tilman Neubronner, who have had an ongoing battle with local authorities over the education of their children, but now have confirmed plans to leave Germany and give up residency there.The urgent court action, however, targeted the Landahl family, according to Netzwerk-Bildungsfreiheit.Officials there said the father already is in England, but the mother, Evelyn, remains behind in Germany because one of her children is being treated in a hospital. "They have deregistered children and wife in Germany, but nevertheless the mayor of Altensteig, the town where the Landahls lived, has filed a lawsuit with the local family court to take custody of the children away from the Landahls," an organization spokesman said."As the mayor knows that the family wants to leave Germany and that they have deregistered, his attempt is that the family court takes custody away in a so-called … (preliminary warrant) which means that custody can be taken away without a hearing [for] the parents," he said. "The final decision of the court can be pronounced later, but its intention is to prevent the parents from leaving the country with the children."He said in this case, authorities are seeking to deprive the parents of their right to make decisions about their children's schooling as well as their right "to determine the place of abode." He compared the actions of the German government to those more usually associated with the old East Germany or Soviet Union in that "not only parental rights are limited more and more, also the right to choose where you want to live is restricted."Reports said the family already had rented an apartment abroad and begun the process of moving, but then were served with a legal notice of the lawsuit regarding custody.The HSLDA, which has been active in other cases of German families falling victim to government enforcement of that nation's Hitler-era ban on homeschooling, said the policy "is in stark contrast to all other democratic and free societies that embrace homeschooling and recognize that parents have the primary responsibility and inalienable right to direct the upbringing and education of their children."The organization called it "tragic" that German families "must choose between living in their homeland and homeschooling their children.""Such behavior should not be tolerated by the rest of the free world and we call on governments and private citizens to take action to tell Germany that such policies are an embarrassment to them and must be changed," the group's statement said.The update on the Neubronner case, currently pending in Bremen, came from the family itself."We are leaving Germany for now, and our children and my husband Tilman have already given up their permanent residence in Germany," said a note from Dagmar Neubronner. "I will maintain my permanent residence in Bremen because I am the bearer of our small publishing house…""Fortunately, we have been invited to several places in Europe. That is why our new life will start with a very long journey to see all those places and meet supporting friends and families," she wrote. "Nevertheless, it is hard to leave everything behind, especially our tomcat (a neighbor will take care of him), our relatives and friends and choirs and music ensembles and sports teams, our house and garden – our town and our country."An enclosed note from the family's lawyer said, surprisingly, the German Federal Constitutional Court recently granted the family's appeal.The family had sued because members were denied legal aid in their contest against an administrative court over penalties that the government was imposing for their homeschooling. The request for legal aid had been rejected because authorities ruled the "prospect of success [was] too small."While that decision has been overturned, the family still chose to leave Germany because of continuing threats from the "federal minister of education" to impose penalties adding up to $10,000, plus "further coercives."The government already had searched the home for items that could be sold to pay the penalties, and had shut down the family's access to bank accounts."Only jail and loss of custody are left" as potential penalties, their lawyer concluded."The Neubronners have decided that the risk to their family is too great to remaining Germany," HSLDA said. "The family will leave Germany to protect their children from the threat of being taken away from the family and so that they can continue to homeschool."Government officials repeatedly have expressed a determination to stamp out "parallel societies" and that includes homeschooling.German officials also have targeted an American family of Baptist missionaries for deportation because they belong to a group that refuses "to give their children over to the state school system."And a teenager, Melissa Busekros, eventually was returned to her family months after German authorities took her from her home and forcibly detained her in a psychiatric facility for being homeschooled.WND has reported further on other families facing fines, frozen bank accounts and court-ordered state custody of their children for resisting Germany's mandatory public school requirements, which by government admission are assigned to counter "the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion or motivated by different world views.""Even the United Nations has called on Germany to reform the way it treats homeschoolers. We appeal to the German people and German leadership to do what is right and to protect rather than attack families who choose to homeschool their children," the HSDLA has noted.In the case involving Melissa Busekros, a German appeals court ultimately ordered legal custody of the teenager who was taken from her home by a police squad and detained in a psychiatric hospital in 2007 for being homeschooled be returned to her family because she no longer is in danger.The lower court's ruling had ordered police officers to take Melissa – then 15 – from her home, if necessary by force, and place her in a mental institution for a variety of evaluations. She was kept in custody from early February until April, when she turned 16 and under German law was subject to different laws.At that point she simply walked away from the foster home where she had been required to stay and returned home.Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has commented on the issue on a blog, noting the government "has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion or motivated by different world views and in integrating minorities into the population as a whole."Drautz said homeschool students' test results may be as good as for those in school, but "school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps students to become responsible citizens."The German government's defense of its "social" teachings and mandatory public school attendance was clarified during an earlier dispute on which WND reported, when a German family wrote to officials objecting to police officers picking their child up at home and delivering him to a public school."The minister of education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling, " said a government letter in response. "... You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers. ... In order to avoid this in future, the education authority is in conversation with the affected family in order to look for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement."
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59536
As in the days of Noah....

SIGn of the TIMES:Agents warn of new drug hitting U.S.

Federal agents are targeting a turbo-charged form of Ecstasy that is gaining in popularity, fearing it will lead to fatal overdoses similar to ones experienced a few years ago caused by heroin mixed with fentanyl.Michigan and nine other states along Canada's border would see the first wave of any such overdoses, and officials are warning that the so-called "extreme Ecstasy," which is mixed with methamphetamines, is becoming a problem."They (drug dealers) are remarketing and packaging it and trying to glamorize it," said Scott Burns, deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. "We just went through this issue with fentanyl. We learned a lot of things from that. We have to get on it early and get on it aggressively." Lax views toward drug use in Canada, coupled with successes scored by U.S. agents against European Ecstasy producers and smugglers, have fueled the problem, Burns said. Federal agents seized about 5.4 million dosage units of Ecstasy in the 10 states near the Canadian border in 2006, up dramatically from the 568,000 units seized in 2003, according to statistics from Burns' office.About 55 percent of the units had methamphetamines in them, Burns said.Royal Canadian Mounted Police officials do not dispute that their country has seen an increase in Ecstasy production or smuggling. They said 5.2 million units smuggled in from Canada were seized in the United States in 2004, up from 1.1 million in 2004, according to data collected with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, RCMP officials said.RCMP officials could not say how much of what was seized had methamphetamines. "Prior to the past few years, we were seeing drugs brought into Canada," said RCMP Corporal Cathy McCrory."We have taken the unsavory title of exporter of this drug."Richard Isaacson, special DEA agent and public information officer for the Detroit field division, said it is too early to call extreme Ecstasy a problem in Michigan. But he said there is no denying that Ecstasy is coming into the country in droves through Canada."This is one of the major routes Ecstasy is making its way into the U.S.," he said, noting the Detroit office handles Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky."It needs to be understood that Ecstasy on its own is a dangerous, potentially fatal drug. People have died from ecstasy.Mixing it with another hallucinogen you are going to exacerbate the damage."Burns said federal drug officials now will warn medical facilities, drug treatment sites and others to get the word out."This is a public health issue," Burns said.

As in the days of Noah....

British Investigators Arrive in Pakistan to Join Bhutto Probe

Pakistani officials say the Scotland Yard team will lend forensic and technical expertise to the investigation, which is being carried out by the government as controversy swirls around the death of Ms. Bhutto.Supporters of Ms. Bhutto, along with her family and her political party, the Pakistan People's Party, say the former prime minister was shot and killed by a gunman while leaving a political rally in her car.Television footage shows a man firing three shots at the back of Ms. Bhutto's head. She slumps down into the car, and then a suicide bomb goes off. Her aides say they saw a bullet wound in her head after the attack. But the government says she was killed when she ducked the blast of the suicide bomb that followed the gunshots, cracking her skull on the sunroof of her car.President Pervez Musharraf denied Thursday that a security lapse on the government's part was to blame for the assassination. He blamed Ms. Bhutto for standing in the open and waving to her supporters when she knew there was a danger of an attack."Who is to blame for the coming out of the vehicle and standing outside? Who is to blame? The law enforcement agencies?" he asked. "The others were sitting inside and they were secure."The government says al-Qaida is responsible for Ms. Bhutto's assassination. Her supporters say the government is at least partially responsible, by failing to provide adequate security, while others believe elements within the government carried out the assassination.Mr. Musharraf says that partly because of the controversy, he decided to bring in Scotland Yard investigators."Here is a situation where a leader of her stature has got assassinated and the whole country is in turmoil and it has reverberations all over the world," he said."Therefore I thought, here is a situation where maybe we need to go beyond ourselves to prove to the world and to prove to our main people here…that we don't mind going to any extent, because nobody's involved on the government side or the agency side. So therefore we went for Scotland Yard."Ms. Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party is demanding a United Nations investigation into her murder, saying that will be the only way to get at the truth.

As in the days of Noah....

International researchers address first ever conference on Men and Abortion

"Consequences in the life of a man involved in abortion often cause collateral damage in his family, work, or his social contacts. However, according to the researchers it is rare that a prior abortion is factored into a present crisis of relationship or altered behavior."
(Anchorage, Alaska)—How do we bring about the restoration of fatherhood? That was the question on the mind of those from 28 states and nine countries, gathered in November, at St. Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco, for the first ever conference on the effects of abortion on men. With a review of traditional male roles including that of provider and protector, the "Reclaiming Fatherhood" conference began. Research reflecting the extent of the father-loss crisis, along with new tools for those involved in the work of healing of post-abortive men, engaged the attention of the 170 psychotherapists, clergy, and lay counselors. Seven researcher/psychotherapists who treat male abortion-related issues presented the results of their years-long investigations along with newly developed therapies. What follows are some highlights of those findings.Statistics reflect that one in four women have had an abortion. But abortion is not just a woman's issue; it also affects men. In 1981, the first clinical evidence of abortion-related trauma was presented before the U.S. Congress by Vincent Rue, Ph.D. At that time Dr. Rue showed a correlation between abortion's impact on men and relationships. Research now shows that boys, adolescents, and men need treatment for father loss issues as they, themselves, have been affected by the (emotional) loss of their fathers or of their fatherhood through abortion. Consequences in the life of a man involved in abortion often cause collateral damage in his family, work, or his social contacts. However, according to the researchers it is rare that a prior abortion is factored into a present crisis of relationship or altered behavior. Dr. Rue pointed out that while men are less likely to seek help for emotional needs, seeing it as a sign of weakness; they often are forced to do so when faced with aberrant behaviors involving addictions, rage, or dangerous activity.Andrzej Winkler, M.A., a Polish psychotherapist who has worked with patients throughout Eastern Europe, reports over a period of thirty years concerning his treatment of gynecologists and anesthesiologists seeking help due to major depression. To numb their emotional pain, these clients had become addicts, participated in knowingly high-risk activity, or attempted suicide. Intake interviews revealed that all had been or were presently involved in the abortion industry. Though they had not connected their emotional decline to their occupation, they had, on a subconscious level, become unable to live with themselves. Research has also shown that men who have participated in abortion are more apt to have a diminished regard for women, and struggle with sexual addictions including a high use of pornography. Another important aspect of this conference was recognition that there is a masculine side of healing.
To read more go to:
As in the days of Noah....

Film team shares message of peace in violent African prison

Africa-A "JESUS" film team traveled to a harsh prison in an African country, unnamed for security reasons.The warden initially refused to allow them in, but when the team suggested that Jesus could bring peace to his prison, he had a change of heart. Most of the inmates had never heard the Gospel. At the end of the film, many indicated a desire to trust Christ.The response was so strong that the team asked the warden if they could show "JESUS" again later. The team also established a New Life Training Center in the prison, to disciple the new believers. According to the ministry, when the graduation ceremony for those who completed the NLTC training was held, there were 1,000 inmates in attendance.Each gave a testimony of how Jesus had radically changed his life. That night, 47 more prisoners surrendered their lives to the Lord.

As in the days of Noah...

World Vision closes offices in Kenya, urges peace

Kenya-World Vision is one of many ministries feeling the pressures of the tension in Kenya. Due to safety concerns, their offices in the country have closed.However, this is not stopping their relief efforts to an estimated 150,000 displaced people.World Vision is planning to provide mobile toilets, water cans, and blankets to communities who need them.However, barricaded roads and fuel shortages are making their work difficult. As of Thursday, though, they were planning on flying in supplies within 24 hours. Communities are living with little food and other essential items. People are seeking safety at police stations, schools, and church compounds. While offering relief, the ministry continues to send out safety alerts as they monitor the situation. World Vision is part of a coalition of 140 national and international organizations calling for the violence to end and for peace to be restored. The operations director for World Vision Kenya, Thomas Ruttoh, says they have appealed to the PNU and ODM leaders to stand up for peace. He also said that the courts of law should respond to the current situation as a matter of urgency.Kenya's media outlets are being restricted, making information and credible details difficult to find.

As in the days of Noah....

Symposium: The Day After

Recent reports indicate that Israel is preparing for the day that the Mullahs in Iran get their hands on nuclear weapons. Israeli ministers are drafting proposals on what Israel will have to do in this nightmare scenario.What exactly should Israel do? What can it do? What must it do? Are pre-emptive measures part of the possibilities?To discuss this issue with us today, Frontpage Symposium has assembled a distinguished panel.Caroline Glick, let’s begin with you.What are your thoughts on Israel preparing for The Day After? That is assuming, of course, that we are not already in era of The Day After, which might very well be.
Glick: While I think that it is essential for Israel to prepare for all possible futures regarding the Iranian nuclear project, just as it is essential for Israel to prepare for all possible contingencies regarding all issues relating to its vital security interests, I find it deeply disturbing that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert publicized the fact that Israel is preparing contingencies for the day after Iran enters the nuclear club.There are two specific reasons that his decision is troubling. First, it sends a defeatist, and by all accounts incorrect message that Israel is incapable of preventing the Iranians from accomplishing their aim of acquiring nuclear weapons.For over ten years, one of the main goals of Israel’s military procurement operations has been to ensure that Israel has the wherewithal to strike Iran’s nuclear installations, both above the surface and underground. Several years ago, Israel Air Force Commander Eliezer Shkedi was assigned command over Israel’s operations against Iran while Mossad Director Meir Dagan was given overall command over Israel’s operations against Iran’s nuclear program. These moves were aimed at ensuring that Israel is capable of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. There is no reason to assume that Israel’s efforts in this regard have come to naught. And so it is strange that Olmert should be signaling that it has.The defeatism signaled by Olmert’s reported instructions to his cabinet members is deleterious to Israel’s international position. It lends the impression of Israeli impotence and helplessness.Second, it lends credence to the view that there is something basically acceptable about the Iranian nuclear project. When Israel, which Iran has announced its intention to destroy, says that it is considering how it will contend with a nuclear-armed Iran, it tells the world that it is acceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons.Many claim that Olmert’s statement should be seen as a smoke-screen behind which Israel and perhaps the United States is operating in order to dispel Iranian fears of an impending strike against its nuclear installations. This is a comforting notion. But prior experience with the Olmert government, and indeed with the Bush administration in contending with Iranian aggression tends to minimize the possibility that this is the case. In the summer of 2006, when Israel fought a proxy war against Iran’s Hizbullah terrorist organization in Lebanon, both Israel and the US behaved with supreme incompetence. Both the Olmert government and the Bush administration’s willingness to surrender to Arab and European pressure to enable Hizbullah to emerge from that war more or less unscathed showed that neither government is competent to either understand the danger of an emergent Iran or of contending with it.Moreover, it must be borne in mind that that Olmert made his reported statement about Iran’s nuclear program on the eve of the Annapolis summit. There, Israel will be pressured to make massive concessions on its security and national wellbeing to Fatah in the interests of Palestinian statehood. It is widely accepted that which given the weakness of the Fatah government and its refusal to take action against either Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists or terrorists affiliated with Fatah, the Annapolis summit has no chance of advancing the cause of peace. And so, some argue that the entire rationale of holding the conference now is to buck up a Sunni Arab coalition against Iran. This line of argumentation makes little sense on its face. After all, if the Annapolis conference is geared towards isolating Israel by pressuring it to make concessions that will threaten its security and long-term viability vis-à-vis the Palestinians, how can it be said to show a strong face against Iran. When Olmert’s statement regarding Iran’s nuclear program is added to the mix, it makes the view that Annapolis is somehow supposed to advance an anti-Iranian coalition all the more difficult to accept. By signaling that it is in need of international assistance to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities at the same time that it faces an international onslaught of pressure aimed at forcing it to make massive territorial and political concessions to the Palestinians, Israel is merely strengthening the view that Iran has nothing to fear from Israel. By so signaling Israel is also telling the Arab world that it has no reason to take action against Iran because there is no chance that such action will be successful.
By Jamie Glazov
To read more go to:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=414975A3-2853-45D4-A2A5-C19AEC4A5FF2
As in the days of Noah....

Islamic Misogyny

A Muslim girl has been murdered, and the Left, which claims to care about women and their oppression, is silent.Aqsa Parvez(picture left), a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl living in Canada, was, according to police, strangled to death by her father because she refused to wear the hijab. Muhammad Parvez, Aqsa’s father, has been charged with murder, and her brother, Waqas Parvez, with obstructing police. A friend of Aqsa explained: “She wanted to live her life the way she wanted to, not the way her parents wanted her to. She just wanted to be herself, honestly she just wanted to show her beauty, and not be pushed around by her parents telling her what she has to be like, what she has to do. Nobody would want to do that.”One might have assumed that the Left would be leading the charge against a culture that victimizes those who want to live their lives the way they want to, but that has not been the case. Leftist publications had little to say about her death. Feminist writer Katha Pollitt, as of this writing, still hasn’t written a word about it. Nor has anyone else at The Nation. CounterPunch? Not a word. The National Organization for Women? Nothing. Even Human Rights Watch has shown no interest in the case of Aqsa Parvez.By contrast, on December 14, Horowitz’s FrontPage Magazine published an article about the incident called “Horror Under the Hijab,” by Stephen Brown. Then followed my article, “Canadian DisHonor Murder,” on December 19. Of course, Katha Pollitt and others on the Left would take issue with both of those articles, since Brown wrote about an “unbelievable attempt to detract people’s attention from the real issue of Muslim intolerance, even hatred, towards females’ desire for freedom,” and I suggested that “an examination of some elements of Islamic theology and culture was necessary in order to try to prevent more young Muslim girls from being similarly victimized in the future."The Daily Kos was not moved. It devoted one of its two posts on the killing of Aqsa Parvez to asking, “Why, why, WHY is it that whenever someone who is Muslim, or has a Muslim-sounding name, does something... it’s automatically blamed on Islam?” Of course, the answer to this is that Muslims who commit acts of violence so often explain those actions by reference to Islam, but that possibility isn’t part of the Left’s worldview. It is noteworthy also that the Daily Kos has not hesitated to blame Christianity for the decline of public education, for instance, or to claim on the basis of the actions of a few individuals that “Apocalyptic Premillennial Dispensationalist Christianity is the de-facto state endorsed religion in the US armed forces.” Only when it comes to Islam are such large conclusions, no matter how well supported by the evidence, never acceptable.Rather than making the hijab murder a cause celebre the way it did, for instance, with the Matthew Shepherd murder, the Left has, moreover, attacked Horowitz and Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week for raising concerns about Muslim women in the first place. “The Islamofascist Awareness people aren’t interested in what’s actually going on in the Muslim world. They just use the woman question as an easy way to target Muslims.” So said Columbia University anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod over the phone to Pollitt, who highlighted the quote in an attack on Horowitz in The Nation. Pollitt airily dismissed the central charge of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week organizers-that the academic Left was ignoring the plight of women in the Muslim world-with a flick of the wrist: “And how likely is it that women’s studies professors think female genital mutilation is great and honor killing is ‘just their culture’?” Abu-Lughod also told her that Columbia’s women’s studies department was offering three courses on women in the Islamic world, “none of which paints a rosy picture.”But if this is the case, why is every Islamic crime of violence against Muslim women-and the Parvez case is just the most recent in a long line-met with silence? Why hasn’t Katha Pollit been using her bully pulpit to make this murder a major story? Because she is more interested in protecting “the Muslim world” than its victims.The silence extends also to Noorjehan Barmania, who took up Pollitt’s criticism of Horowitz in The Guardian. “It was Katha Pollitt,” she declared, “who made me see it….She speculated that by focusing on the oppression of women, Horowitz had found an easy way to target the Muslim world.” Well, then, why doesn’t Barmania offer an alternative from the Left? Why doesn’t she outdo Horowitz in championing the rights of women in the Islamic world? Why doesn’t she demand justice in the Aqsa Parvez case and eloquently, more eloquently than David Horowitz, decry this barbaric murder? Because to do so would be to break ranks with the Left’s vision of an America that is inauthentic in everything except its Islamophobia. Barmania and Pollitt seem impervious to the irony: although they attack Horowitz for allegedly being a faux feminist, his FrontPage magazine is one of the few places that is actually standing up for this poor girl, and calling for an end to the conditions that led to her murder in the first place.Pollitt concluded her attack on Horowitz in The Nation by recounting Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s “rightward trajectory,” and suggesting: “Maybe we leftists and feminists need to think a bit more self-critically about how the AEI-to say nothing of the clownish Horowitz-managed to win over this bold and complex crusader for women’s rights.” This is a calumny against Hirsi Ali, who accomplished more in one book, Infidel, than Katha Pollit has in an entire career, and who is forced to move through her public life with five bodyguards because of the cowardly ambivalence of people like Pollit who see her merely as a prize won by the vast right wing conspiracy. If such people will not unambiguously defend Aayan Hirsi Ali, perhaps the most knowledgeable and outspoken critic of violence against Muslim women in the world, it is little wonder that they won’t defend a 16 year old girl in Canada whose life was taken by that violence.

As in the days of Noah....

Quantum leap in technology to unravel 'cosmic web' of universe

CHICAGO-Scientists believe that a quantum leap in computing power and the development of powerful new telescopes will soon unravel the "cosmic web," a theory by which the universe is bound by invisible threads of "dark matter."In a series of articles in Friday's edition of Science magazine, leading astrophysicists explain how new technologies and experiments being launched in the coming years will open a new window onto the origins and complexities of the universe.Current tools have granted a rough picture of how the universe was born out of the Big Bang and is held together by the gravitational pull of mysterious "dark matter."But they are not precise enough to truly map the cosmic web, which is said to hold together the 100 billion bright galaxies in the known universe, or reveal details like how galaxies form and interact. Several upcoming projects will help change that, the authors argue."We are on the verge of making tremendous progress thanks to the new observatories (being planned) theoretical progress being made and the advances in super computing," explained Harvard University's Claude-Andre Faucher-Giguere, lead author on one of the articles.When new projects come on line, astrophysicists will be able to use radio waves to look back in time for a picture of the dark days of the universe before the stars and planets emerged."A long, long time ago the universe was filled with neutral hydrogen, but at some point the first stars formed and the universe transitioned from neutral to ionized and the neutral hydrogen disappeared," Faucher-Giguere said in a telephone interview.Low-frequency observatories currently being built or planned and the powerful James Webb Space Telescope scheduled to be launched in 2013 will troll the far reaches of the universe for a sign of neutral hydrogen."As you look farther through a telescope you looking at the universe at an earlier period," he said in a telephone interview.If they are able to look far enough to find this neutral hydrogen, astrophysicists will be able to prove that their theory of the formation of the universe is correct, Faucher-Giguere said.Another key upcoming project is the European Space Agency's GAIA experiment, which will measure and map the motions of more than a billion stars in our galaxy beginning in 2011.Coupled with proposed advances in the tools used to collect astrological observations, these measurements should be able to show us in the coming decade how galaxy clusters are formed, wrote lead author Rodrigo Ibata of Strasbourg's Observatoire Astronomique."We will, for the first time, be able to reunite the long-dispersed stars from ancient accretion events, completely dissecting the Milky Way and laying bare its history," he wrote."We will then be able to directly determine to what extent the Galaxy was built from dwarf galaxies that fell in through the local cosmic web."
Another frontier in which much progress is expected is the discovery of missing baryons, which are the protons and atomic nuclei of which stars, planets and even people are made. Astrophysicists can currently only account for about half of the baryon mass which ought to be present under our standard model of the universe. The remainder is believed to be hidden in a "web of warm-hot intergalactic medium.""Finding the missing baryons and thereby producing a complete inventory of possibly the only detectable component of the energy-mass budget of the universe is crucial to validate or invalidate our standard cosmological model," lead author Fabrizio Nicastro of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.The advent of high-resolution x-ray and ultraviolet optics has allowed astrophysicists to begin tracking the cosmic baryons, he wrote.


As in the days of Noah....

FRANKENFOOD WATCH:US regulators set to approve cloned meat, milk

NEW YORK-The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to declare milk and meat from cloned animals and their offspring safe to eat as early as next week, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.The federal agency decision would come after more than six years of deliberation on the issue, the newspaper said, without naming its sources.FDA spokeswoman Kimberly Rawlings told AFP that the food agency "is still working to finalize our risk assessment activities" and that it could not say when the process would be complete.The FDA ruled in 2006 that milk and meat from cloned cattle, swine and goats were no different from healthy, conventionally bred animals, but has asked producers not to sell products from cloned animals pending a safety ruling.It previously described cloning as a more advanced form of breeding technology already used in the cattle industry, such as artificial insemination, embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization, the Journal said.Even if the agency does approve such products, it could be three to five years before US consumers see milk and meat from offspring of cloned animals on store shelves, the newspaper said.It said that because cloned cattle cost 15,000 to 20,000 dollars per copy, most cloned animals would be used for breeding.A green light from the FDA would be a milestone for biotech companies that want to center their business on producing copies of prize dairy cows and other farm animals, it added.Meat or dairy products from cloned animals or their offspring would however likely face deep-seated opposition from consumers groups, some of whom still routinely refer to foods such as genetically-modified corn as "Frankenfood.""Most consumers do not find this appealing," the paper quoted Marguerite Copel, from Dean Foods Co., one of the top US milk producers, as saying, adding that the company would not sell milk from cloned animals.
The paper said consumer wariness could also lead to a backlash from opponents in US Congress and markets such as the European Union over concerns that it is too early to say for sure if food from cloned animals is safe.Further concerns center on the higher number of health problems that cloned animals tend to experience at birth, compared to conventionally-bred animals.The US food industry was divided on the issue, the paper said, with some big food companies saying they are not interested in products from cloned animals or their offspring, while others are actively exploring the possibilities.Some in the meat industry consider that consumers would come to prefer products from cloned animals, given leaner and larger cuts of meat, it said. "These animals are not some kind of freaks of nature," James Hodges, president of The American Meat Institute Foundation told the newspaper.The European Food Safety Authority, the European Union's equivalent of the FDA, would likely deliver its own initial assessment on food from cloned animals next week, but a final decision was not expected for months, it added.
Regulators in countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Japan and New Zealand, which already have livestock clones, although they rarely enter the food chain, would be closely watching the FDA decision, the paper said.A special European ethics commission was also conducting its own studies on the question of whether cloning is inhumane, it added.

As in the days of Noah....

Saakashvili touts Georgian 'miracle,' opposition cries foul

TBILISI-Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili urged voters to reaffirm their country's democratic path in a snap presidential election as the opposition accused him of rigging Saturday's poll.Saakashvili told 20,000 flag-waving supporters on the eve of voting that they should re-elect him as head of the strategic ex-Soviet republic to "show the whole world that Georgian democracy is still alive."He told journalists later that in his four years since taking power in the 2003 Rose Revolution,a"miraculous transformation" had made Georgia a "beacon of democracy, a beacon of economic success." Hundreds of international election monitors have swarmed into Georgia and their judgement will likely be important in determining the future of Saakashvili's drive to build closer ties with NATO and the European Union.But the opposition said the vote-called a year early in response to violent unrest this November-had been falsified in advance. They vowed to stage street protests.Opposition candidates said media bias in favour of Saakashvili and the use of state resources to support his campaign made a fair contest impossible."If these kinds of things continue, and I am 100 percent sure that this is continuing, then we can't recognize" the election, leading challenger Levan Gachechiladze told journalists after meeting with European observers.Gachechiladze said Saakashvili was planning to use "non-legal and bad exit polls" to claim victory and promised to "continue protests and everything under the constitution" to oppose him.Authorities insisted that the election Saturday would be conducted fairly."These are the first elections (in Georgia) conducted in a real competitive situation," David Bakradze, Saakashvili's campaign manager and a government minister, told journalists.He said the opposition was mounting "a campaign to discredit the election and to create the perception" that it was unfair."If Saakashvili wins, they'll say 'it was not free and fair, it was rigged and that's why we lost,'" he said.Two other opposition candidates also threatened Friday not to recognize the vote.David Gamkrelidze of the conservative New Rights party said Saakashvili did not have enough support to overcome the 50 percent threshold required to avoid a run-off vote in two weeks' time."If he decided to manipulate the results and win in the first round, I think it will be quite difficult to accept and recognize the results," Gamkrelidze told journalists."It was not a just election so we won't recognize the results. He won't have any legitimacy from us," opposition candidate Giorgi Maisashvili also told journalists.Saakashvili called the snap poll after clashes between police and anti-government protesters on November 7 and the imposition of a state of emergency that lasted nine days.The crackdown appalled many Georgians, who had backed Saakashvili's 2003 pro-democracy Rose Revolution, and also alarmed his allies in Europe and the United States.Polls commissioned by the seven candidates in Saturday's contest offer conflicting data.But most analysts believe Saakashvili, a multilingual, US-trained lawyer, is well ahead of his nearest rival, Gachechiladze, a wine entrepreneur and lawmaker.Georgians are holding a parallel referendum on whether they want to join NATO.They are expected to register a resounding "yes," in a rebuke to former ruler Russia which has imposed economic sanctions on Georgia and supports two separatist enclaves in the north of the country.

As in the days of Noah.....

Olmert: Israel fails to halt settlements

JERUSALEM - Israel has failed to uphold its promise to halt building in settlements, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an unprecedented acknowledgement Friday ahead of President Bush's visit to prod Israel and the Palestinians toward a final accord.Any agreement is to be based on the internationally backed "road map" peace plan, which was revived ahead of the recent Mideast peace summit in Annapolis, Md., where Israel and the Palestinians officially relaunched talks after seven years of violence. The road map foundered shortly after it was presented in 2003 because neither side met initial obligations: Israel did not halt West Bank settlement construction and the Palestinians did not crack down on militants.Israel has long maintained that it has the right to continue building in existing settlements to account for ill-defined "natural growth" of the existing settler population-something the "road map" explicitly bans. But in his interview with The Jerusalem Post, Olmert acknowledged that Israel was not honoring its commitments."There is a certain contradiction in this between what we're actually seeing and what we ourselves promised," Olmert said."Obligations are not only to be demanded of others, but they must also be honored by ourselves. So there is a certain problem here," the newspaper quoted him as saying.Olmert added, however, that Israel believes a Bush letter to the Israeli government in 2004 "renders flexible to a degree what is written in the road map."In that letter, Bush wrote that "existing Israeli population centers" should be taken into consideration when the final borders of a Palestinian state are set down. Israel takes this to mean it will be able to retain major West Bank settlement blocs, where much of the controversial construction is going on.Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat welcomed Olmert's remarks. When both sides admit they are not carrying out all their obligations, that "should be the way for both of us to carry out our obligations," Erekat said.Vice Premier Haim Ramon said Friday that Israel might begin dismantling about two dozen unauthorized settlement outposts in the near future-another road map obligation"I hope and also believe that in the near future, during the U.S. president's visit to Israel and afterwards, real steps will be taken to remove those outposts," Ramon told Israel Radio.The outposts are generally tiny settler encampments, meant to expand Jewish presence in the West Bank, which the Palestinians claim as part of a future state, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Israel captured all three territories in the 1967 Mideast war. It immediately annexed east Jerusalem but evacuated Gaza in 2005.Israel has stepped up efforts to make peace with the moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, ever since the Islamic Hamas routed Abbas' Fatah forces and took over Gaza in June. At Annapolis, both sides set a December 2008 target-the end of Bush's tenure-for a final deal.Olmert told The Jerusalem Post that a peace agreement might not be reached this year as Bush hopes-something he has said before. But Bush has not pressured Israel to advance in the negotiations, Olmert said.Israel has demanded that Abbas clamp down on militants, while carrying out its own operations against extremists in the West Bank and Gaza.Two Hamas gunmen were shot and killed by Israeli troops along Gaza's border with Israel before dawn Friday-bringing to 11 the number of Palestinians killed since militants fired a rocket a day earlier on a major Israeli city.The military struck Gaza with aerial and ground attacks after the Israeli town of Ashkelon was hit Thursday with a rocket that has a deadlier warhead and longer range than those usually fired. Four of the 11 Gazans killed were civilians.A rocket fired late Friday afternoon struck a house in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. No injuries were immediately reported. A little-known Fatah offshoot, Mujahedeen Brigades, claimed responsibility.Israel also kept up a military operation in the West Bank town of Nablus that has injured 35 people and kept 150,000 residents confined to their homes under a curfew for three days.Nablus, a center of militant activity, is a test case of Abbas' ability to impose law and order in the West Bank.In coordination with Israel, Palestinian security forces have deployed around the city in recent weeks, but Israeli troops unilaterally launched the operation in Nablus on Wednesday after announcing they discovered a militant weapons lab there.A statement from Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's office on Friday said he considers the Nablus operation "destructive to his government's efforts in the security field.""These Israeli aggressions have a very negative influence on the efforts to revive the peace process," read the statement.Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the Palestinian security forces were not yet ready to take over full responsibilities in the West Bank."At the moment, it is clear that much, much work still has to be done to rebuild and reform Palestinian security," he said.

As in the days of Noah....

TERROR WATCH:Five al Qaeda suspects detained in Mauritania admit Dakar Rally targeted, as hundreds of disgruntled teams head home

Hundreds of crews gathered in Lisbon heard at the last minute Friday that the organizers, the Amaury Sport Organization, had called off the challenging 9,000-mile Dakar Rally for the first time over terror threats. Five suspects were detained by Mauritanian intelligence over the murders of a French family of four on Dec. 24 and three soldiers. DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that the suspects told interrogators in Nouakchott that Al Qaeda’s next target in the series was to be the Dakar Rally. The jihadist group, they said, had deployed terrorist teams in a wide net across the Sahara, Mauritania and Senegal, poised to kill rally participants and take hostages. Eight of the rally’s stages transit Mauritania.More than 600 cars, trucks, motor-cycles and their crews were set to start the 30th annual Dakar Rally, known as the Everest of off-road racing, Saturday, Jan. 5 and ending at Dakar on Jan. 20 after driving through harsh Saharan terrain. More than 80 percent of the field had invested a year’s hard work and private funds in preparing for the event.In 2004, several stages of the Dakar Rally were called off because of terror threats in Mali - but never has al Qaeda succeeded in forcing the cancellation of an entire major sporting event. According to our counter-terror sources, al Qaeda’s No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri, who directs the movement’s Maghreb branch, is responsible for this “success.” It has aroused fears in international sporting circles that al Qaeda, having flexed its muscles in Africa, will now try and force the cancellation of the 2008 Beijing Olympics by intimidation.It is also a grave setback for AFRICOM which the US established to combat terror Since the tough anti-terrorist Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president, Al Qaeda appears to have set its sights on French targets. Monday, Dec. 31, a French aid worker was shot dead in Burundi and another injured. Five people have been detained in connection with the shooting. Algeria is being used as the base and jumping of center of al Qaeda in the Maghreb, as well as its victim. Abdelaiz Bouteflika’s intelligence services were unable to thwart recent suicide attacks in the country.

As in the days of Noah....