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

Saturday, January 12, 2008

APOSTATE CHRISTIANITY WATCH:Gay Church in Florida Seeks a New Denomination

A church in Daytona Beach, Fla., has voted to leave the gay Metropolitan Community Church denomination in favor of a mainline denomination-[[[most likely the United Church of Christ.]]]Robert Gagnon, a professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, said [[[[there are several denominations that would welcome Hope Metropolitan Community Church and its gay-friendly doctrine.]]]]“You certainly have problems developing in the American Baptists, in Methodists, and then a step further, you get to Presbyterians and then Lutherans," Gagnon said. "It’s even worse, of course, when you get to Episcopalians.”H.B. London, vice president of church and clergy at Focus on the Family, said it’s difficult to know when to leave a denomination that’s leaning toward gay-friendly theology. “When the basic tenets of the Christian faith are being disputed," he said, "that’s the time to start looking over your shoulder and see if there is a safer haven in which to settle.”

PS:It doesn't surprise me that the United Church of Christ will welcome this"church"...The UCC has become like a big pandora box where when you open it you never know what you're gonna find.....All sorts of apostates,deceived and deceivers are found there...If u that are reading belong to that and feel offended....sorry....but it's the truth....and if you defend them,u should be better examine IF YOU ARE TRULY SAVED or SIMPLY DECEIVED....It is tragic that more than one denomination or church would receive this Hope whatever they call themselves church....It's tragic...but it's a sign of the evil times we are living in....
I have absolutely no problem with gays visiting my church,IF they want to hear the message of Hope and Truth in the Gospel...and they want to get saved
What I have a problem is to bring in a bunch of people that are comfortable INN their sins and DONT WANT TO GET SAVED,but WANT TO HAVE SOME RELIGION IN THEIR LIVES,as to APPEASE THEIR CONCIOUSNESS...
Notice that I don't say gays...I say SINNERS in general...Homosexuality is not worse that being a thief,an adulterer,etc,etc...SIN is SIN before God's eyes and we CANNOT CALL HOLY something that is PROFANE.Period.
These gay church can call themselves whatever they want....IF they DONT REPENT and TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS,they are still as lost as the thief and adulterer.....and that includes their pastors and deceived ministers...
IT's biblical,so don't send me HATE EMAILS because of this one ---PLEASE---GO TO THE BIBLE....
As in the days of Noah....

New Jersey Passes Dangerous Hate-Crimes Bill

New Jersey lawmakers voted Monday to give transgendered individuals special rights. If Gov. Jon Corzine signs the legislation, the state would be the 12th to grant such strong rights. According to gay-activist groups, New Jersey has 153 laws to protect homosexuals and transgendered people.The first section of the bill adds “gender identity or expression” to the existing hate-crimes law, which includes sexual orientation, race and religion. The bill also requires all new police officers to attend a mandatory, two-hour hate-crimes sensitivity training.“This particular piece of legislation is very strong because it includes ‘gender expression,’ which is not defined,” said Greg Quinlan of New Jersey Family First, the legislative arm of the New Jersey Family Policy Council. “What does ‘gender expression’ mean?”In December, a federal hate-crimes measure fell apart over the effort to protect "actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity."Caleb H. Price, research analyst for Focus on the Family, said the New Jersey legislation is not necessary."Not only is there no need for adding the category of 'gender identity or expression'," he said, "but this category is inherently ambiguous and unlimited-and is subject to an ever-morphing understanding of a person’s 'perceptions' about their biological gender."Quinlan said the bill puts families, particularly women and children, in danger.“What is the protection from these people going into a restroom where they identify themselves as a different gender, yet they’re using the facilities at the same time you are?” he said.“It’s exposing children-an unintended consequence of the law.”The legislation also creates a Commission on Bullying in Schools, which has nine months to investigate and make recommendations to the governor.“New Jersey already has anti-bullying laws in place,” Quinlan said, “but the bullying commission is set up to be totally sexually oriented.”The bill is on Corzine’s desk."The people of New Jersey have got to stand up,” Quinlan said. “It’s time to speak up.”
If you live in New Jersey, urge Gov. Corzine to veto this bill. You can find contact information through our Action Center.
As in the days of Noah....

Burma's Control of Transportation System Contributes to Hunger

Burma is not short of food. The country saw a rise in its rice exports in 2007. But the United Nations World Food Program says the military government's tight restrictions on the movement of people and goods within the country is keeping an estimated five million Burmese without adequate nutrition.Paul Risley, the WFP's Asia spokesman, tells VOA getting food to the remote areas where it is needed most is one of the biggest challenges the agency faces. Transportation is tightly controlled, he says, and very expensive."The transportation system is very much a closed...state-regulated, state-administered program," he said. "So much of our food is transferred and transported by companies and transport companies that are owned by the government and the ruling elite." WFP officials say entrusting food shipments and paying donated money to the corruption-ridden state transportation system presents a dilemma for the agency. Risley says the WFP has controls in place to make sure the food ends up in the right hands."All of the food that we distribute is grown locally. We purchase rice that is grown in the delta regions of Myanmar, and thus usually our biggest expense is in transporting that rice or other food commodities toward the remote regions where we provide it to the communities," said Risley. "So, we are very concerned that our funding be spent solely on the transport of rice and other commodities, and not to go to the benefit of any particular individuals and families or people that are associated with the government of Myanmar."The WFP says Burma's military government has eased recently eased transport restrictions in one area of Rakhine state.Agency officials say they hope more areas will follow.Some governments including that of the United States have restricted direct aid to Burma as the country's military rulers continue to crack down on political dissent. However, U.S. and WFP officials plan to meet in Washington and Rome in the coming days to discuss a possible boost in U.S. assistance.U.S. First Lady Laura Bush, who has taken the issue of Burma as a personal cause, last week issued a statement condemning the Burmese military rulers on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the country's independence.Mrs. Bush said the Burmese people are living in fear and poverty under the leadership of the generals, who she said have plundered the country's economy and rich natural resources, making Burma one of the poorest countries in the region.

As in the days of Noah....

LEWDNESS WATCH:Florida Library Refuses to Limit Access to Pornography

After a young girl noticed a man viewing pornography at a library in Florida, the man simply was asked to close the site and was monitored. Library administrators claimed they were required to allow access to pornography sites.But the 2003 Children’s Internet Protection Act requires public libraries to use filtering and blocking technology to keep federal funding. The American Library Association (ALA), with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is circumventing the law.David Miller, vice president of public policy at Ohio's Citizens for Community Values, said the ALA has no legal authority, but does have "a very liberal policy when it comes to patrons' access to material, and its members are encouraged to push those same ideas and policies.”That includes granting every request to view filtered or blocked sites, often with the knowledge that kids will see them, too.Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at Concerned Women for America, said the ALA and ACLU are using scare tactics to get libraries to allow unlimited access.“We know that the ACLU and other organizations are using the First Amendment and saying this is an infringement on First Amendment rights for libraries, and it infringes upon the rights of the individual using the library," he said.“Well, that’s simply not true.”Since the 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding the Children's Protection Act, the ACLU has advised libraries to turn down federal funding rather than be censored.
As in the days of Noah...

DECEPTION WATCH:Evangelical Leaders Pledge Common Cause with Islam

"...They apologize for the 'sins of Christians,' leave the deity of Christ open for discussion..."
An attempt by leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) to [[win friends and influence Muslims]] is alienating another group-evangelical Christians.Reactions have been negative and strong. Islam expert Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo has called it a [“betrayal”] and a [“sellout.” Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Seminary (Southern Baptist), termed it “naiveté that borders on dishonesty.”Others are just beginning to hear of it. In November, NAE President Leith Anderson and NAE Vice President Richard Cizik signed onto a Christian response to an invitation to dialogue from 138 Muslim leaders around the world.Their response-initiated by Yale Divinity School and endorsed by other liberal Christian leaders-apologized for the sins of Christians during the Crusades and for “excesses” of the global war on terror, without mentioning Muslim atrocities.It appeared to leave the fundamentals of Christianity-especially the deity of Christ-open for discussion.It even seemed to acknowledge Allah as the God of the Bible. “Before we ‘shake your hand’ in responding to your letter,” it stated, “we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world.”The very name of the Muslim communiqué-A Common Word between Us and You-is from a verse in the Quran that condemns “people of the Scripture” (Christians) for alleged polytheism (the doctrine of the Trinity).Mohler said the agreement “sends the wrong signal” and contains basic theological problems, especially in “marginalizing” Jesus Christ. He also condemned the apology for the Crusades.“I just have to wonder how intellectually honest this is,” he said. “Are these people suggesting that they wish the military conflict with Islam had ended differently-that Islam had conquered Europe?”Neither Anderson nor Cizik could be reached for comment. On the NAE Web site, Anderson asserts he signed the letter as a private individual, although he is identified as NAE president. He also seems to acknowledge problems with the statement.“Sometimes we all sign onto things that are not all that we would like them to be,” Anderson wrote. “Even after we write and say our own words, we discover that we wish we had done better.”Gary Bauer, president of the Campaign for Working Families, told CitizenLink the NAE leaders “have left the (card) table without their pants-that is, they’ve been taken and may not even realize they’ve been taken.”Bauer said he already was dismayed by the NAE’s recent controversial excursions into questionable areas such as global warming.“Many of us have been concerned about the NAE getting into all sorts of areas where it has had no previous expertise,” Bauer said. “And now, I’m afraid, I see signs that they’re going down the same road that the National Council of Churches is going.”The National Council of Churches has embraced liberal causes and is affiliated with ultra-liberal groups, such as MoveOn.org and People For the American Way.Sookhdeo called for Christian leaders who signed the letter to withdraw their names, saying the confession of guilt puts Christian communities in Muslim areas of the world at risk.“I find it difficult to understand how senior evangelical leaders in the West can join hands with other Christians who actually are betraying the Christian faith (and) their Christian brothers and sisters in the Muslim world,” he said.
Read the Yale document and the list of signers. You also can read the original Muslim statement.
PS:THis whole thing makes my stomach crawl and it's more than I can take while Im sick....Ill elaborate on a later blog what I think about these clowns meeting with this group of muslims....
As in the days of Noah....

Phone companies cut FBI wiretaps due to unpaid bills

WASHINGTON-Telephone companies have cut off FBI wiretaps used to eavesdrop on suspected criminals because of the bureau's repeated failures to pay phone bills on time.A Justice Department audit released Thursday blamed the lost connections on the FBI's lax oversight of money used in undercover investigations. Poor supervision of the program also allowed one agent to steal $25,000, the audit said.
In at least one case, a wiretap used in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigation "was halted due to untimely payment," the audit found. FISA wiretaps are used in the government's most sensitive and secretive criminal investigations, and allow eavesdropping on suspected terrorists or spies."We also found that late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence," according to the audit by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.More than half of 990 bills to pay for telecommunication surveillance in five unidentified FBI field offices were not paid on time, the report shows. In one office alone, unpaid costs for wiretaps from one phone company totaled $66,000.The FBI did not have an immediate comment.The report released Thursday was a highly edited version of Fine's 87-page audit that the FBI deemed too sensitive to be viewed publicly. It focused on what the FBI admitted was an "antiquated" system to track money sent to its 56 field offices nationwide for undercover work. Generally, the money pays for rental cars, leases and surveillance, the audit noted.It also found that some field offices paid for expenses on undercover cases that should have been financed by FBI headquarters. Out of 130 undercover payments examined, auditors found 14 cases of at least $6,000 each where field offices dipped into their own budgets to pay for work that should have been picked up by headquarters.The faulty bookkeeping was blamed, in large part, in the case of an FBI agent who pleaded guilty in June 2006 to stealing $25,000 for her own use, the audit noted."As demonstrated by the FBI employee who stole funds intended to support undercover activities, procedural controls by themselves have not ensured proper tracking and use of confidential case funds," it concluded.Fine's report offered 16 recommendations to improve the FBI's tracking and management of the funding system, including its telecommunication costs. The FBI has agreed to follow 11 of the suggestions but said that four "would be either unfeasible or too cost prohibitive." The recommendations were not specifically outlined in the edited version of the report.

As in the days of Noah....

JIHAD WATCH:'Victory shall be ours by blood and will,' says Hizbullah chief

Hizbullah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said Friday that "President Bush will force the Palestinians to give up on the right of return and accept refugees settling in other Arab nations."Nasrallah spoke at a rally honoring the Muslin New Year, which was held at the Sayyed Al-Shuhada mosque in Beirut: "The Zionists will take their pick out of the '67 territories, Jerusalem and the settlement, and will give the Palestinians whatever crumbs they'll have left over."He (US President George W. Bush) will demand the Lebanese accept reality and acknowledge Israel… that is Bush's testament, which he feels like he can dictate to us," said Nasrallah.Resistance, he continued, is the only way: "We will not emigrate… We will stay on our land, in our cities and villages, even if our homes are destroyed and our soldier captured."The only way to deal with the Israeli plan for our region in through resistance... As I have promised you before – we are going from victory to victory, and it shall be ours by blood and will."In a televised speech given earlier in the week, on the occasion of the Muslim New Year, the Hizbullah leader spoke at length about Bush's visit to "occupied Palestine," saying "Bush arrived here as if he is the defender of freedom and democracy."If he goes back 60 years, who started the killings? The Palestinians didn't do it, and the Jews who lived in Arab states lived peacefully. The ones doing the killing were Zionist gangs."Nasrallah also slammed American media outlets and their "pro-American-Zionist allies" for presenting Israel as a symbol of democracy in the region. His comments were met by chants of "Death to America and to Israel" from the crowd.Bush, warned Nasrallah, views Israel "as a Jewish state, that is, racist...its existence is premised on race. Israel aspires for a racially pure existence. "Should Israel choose to attack Lebanon again, he said, "it would suffer a defeat worse than the one bestowed on in the last war (the Second Lebanon War).Nasrallah met with Muslin clerics last week and assured them he was doing all he could to "prevent the American and Israeli attempts top revoke a war between brothers," adding that "the American plan could never find success in Lebanon."
As in the days of Noah....

TERROR WATCH:Tip prompts German terror alert

Lebanese authorities warned of terrorist attacks on targets within Germany after arresting an al-Qaeda suspect in Beirut, prompting the Justice Ministry in Berlin to increase security, authorities said Saturday."There was a tip from Lebanon - a warning tip," said Stefanie Amft, a spokeswoman for German federal police. She gave no further details, except to say it was part of a global threat. "It is known that Germany is part of this worldwide threat," she said.Germany was alerted after Lebanese authorities arrested a suspect on Thursday who was believed to have phoned a threat to the German Embassy in Beirut earlier in the week, a senior Beirut police official said.The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation, said suspect Mohammed Naddoum was arrested after allegedly threatening to strike German security targets."Using special technology, the police were able to trace the man's location and identity and arrest him," the official said. Naddoum confessed to making the call and having ties to al-Qaeda, the official said, adding that "Investigations are still under way to confirm his affiliations and intentions."
Report: Explosives already inside Germany
The official said police also arrested a Palestinian identified as Khodr al-Hinnawi on Friday after Naddoum repeatedly mentioned his name in interrogations. Police were in contact with officials from the German Embassy in Lebanon, the official said.Germany's Focus magazine identified the suspect as "Mohammed N." and reported that he was a Syrian accused of al-Qaeda ties.It did not cite its sources.The suspect allegedly said a German-Turk, a Saudi and an Australian already were in Germany planning an attack on Berlin's Justice Ministry or other agencies to avenge the prosecution of al-Qaeda suspects in that country,the Focus report said.It said explosives for the alleged attack were already inside Germany.A Justice Ministry spokeswoman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity,refused to confirm any details but said officials were aware of the issue and had taken
"increased security measures" to protect employees.
As in the days of Noah....

NUCLEAR WATCH:Syria rebuilding alleged nuclear site bombed by IAF

Syria has started to rebuild the site of an alleged nuclear facility bombed by the Israel Air Force on September 6, 2007, according to a report released Friday by The New York Times. A satellite photograph of the site shows new construction in place that resembles the former building, which according to foreign media reports was a nuclear facility in northeastern Syria built with North Korean assistance. Syria and North Korea, however, have both vehemently denied any nuclear cooperation. The New York Times reported that the new satellite photograph shows a tall, square building under construction that appears to bear close resemblance to the original structure, with the exception that the new roof is vaulted instead of flat. The report also quoted David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that has analyzed the Syrian site, who maintained that due to the international uproar following the September bombing, it can be assumed that the new building is not a reactor. "The new building," he is quoted as saying, "covers whatever remained of the destroyed one." On Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief, Mohamed ElBaradei told the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat he had no information on any Syrian nuclear plans, but said he hoped to pay a visit soon to the Syrian site bombed by the IAF. ElBaradei said the IAF strike "set a bad precedent." Israeli officials have been largely silent about the affair. The IDF only recently relaxed censorship to allow Israel-based journalists to report that Israel Air Force aircraft attacked a military target deep inside Syria. Syrian President Bashar Assad has since maintained that Israel bombed an "unused military building" in the September raid.

As in the days of Noah....

Bush ends peace mission without breakthrough

KUWAIT-U.S. President George W. Bush wrapped up his mission to Israel and the occupied West Bank on Friday, emboldened enough to have predicted a peace treaty within a year but with no major breakthroughs for his efforts.Bush arrived on Friday evening in Kuwait, the first of five stops with Arab allies he hopes will aid the fragile peace process and help contain Iran's growing regional clout.Bush met Kuwait's ruler, who thanked him for his efforts to make progress on issues crucial to the Middle East.U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said talks would now turn to "the threats that we've seen in the Gulf, the problem of extremism, whether it be extremism from al Qaeda, Sunni extremism, or whether it be Iran and its tentacles, like Hezbollah and the part of Hamas that Iran supports."Gulf states have battled al Qaeda militants in recent years, but they are also concerned about the crises in Lebanon and Iraq, as well as the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.Kuwaiti media said the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, would tell Bush of his concerns that a U.S. strike on nearby Iran would destabilize the Gulf, key to world oil supplies.Bush is likely hear a similar message from other Gulf Arab leaders who want to curb their Shi'ite Muslim neighbor's nuclear program without resorting to war.Kuwait, which also neighbors Iraq and is a base for thousands of U.S. troops, has said it will not allow the United States to use its territory for any strike against Iran."The president will make very clear that the United States takes very seriously its commitments to our allies in this region..." Rice said aboard Air Force One on the way to Kuwait.
Bush flew out of Tel Aviv after painting an upbeat picture from talks this week with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas intended to build on a U.S.-hosted international peace conference in November.Sending a symbolic message, Bush ended the first leg of a week-long Middle East tour by visiting the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus is believed to have intoned "blessed are the peacemakers," and the ruins of Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.Challenging skeptics, Bush said on Thursday there would be a signed peace treaty before he left office in January 2009.Olmert's spokesman said Israel endorsed Bush's call for a rapid peace deal but made clear it does not see the final establishment of a Palestinian state this year.Mark Regev said Israel hoped for a "historic agreement" in 2008 that would outline the framework of a future Palestinian state, with implementation contingent on Palestinians meeting security commitments.The White House had kept hopes for progress on a two-state solution during Bush's visit low. Some analysts said his real goal was to find a legacy other than the unpopular Iraq war.Rice said the peace process had been stuck as the road map dictated which sequence the moves by each side had to happen."What Annapolis did was to break that tight sequentiality and to say you can do these in parallel," she said, referring to road map obligations and negotiations for final status.While Abbas and Olmert praised Bush's peace bid, neither offered significant concessions to the U.S. leader.Bush seemed to harden his tone towards U.S. ally Israel, urging an end to "occupation" in the West Bank, something he has not done often and rarely in such pointed fashion.At the same time, he pressed Abbas to rein in militants and reaffirmed Washington's commitment to Israel's security.He left Abbas, whose Fatah group lost control of the Gaza Strip to Hamas Islamists in June, and Olmert, who is also politically weak, with an admonition to make difficult choices.
In travels over the next few days, Bush said he would urge Arab allies to "begin to reach out" to Israel to help nurture the peace process. After Kuwait, he will head to Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.Bush has accepted Israel's invitation to return for its 60th anniversary celebrations and said he would use the visit "to help the peace process move forward." Bush set no date for the trip but Israel's independence day falls on May 8 this year.
However, a key hurdle to a peace deal is a sense among many Arabs of U.S. bias in favor of Israel. There are also doubts about Bush's newfound commitment to resolving the conflict. "There isn't going to be a blinding flash in any of this, not on this trip, not on the next trip but this is a process of moving forward," Rice said. "You will see that as the bilateral process continues to move forward the Arabs will do more..."

As in the days of Noah....

Solar Cycle 24 begins

"On january 2 2008,a reversed-polarity sunspot appeared—and this signals the start of Solar Cycle 24," says David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.Solar activity waxes and wanes in 11-year cycles. Lately, we've been experiencing the low ebb, "very few flares, sunspots, or activity of any kind," says Hathaway. "Solar minimum is upon us."The previous solar cycle, Solar Cycle 23, peaked in 2000-2002 with many furious solar storms. That cycle decayed as usual to the present quiet leaving solar physicists little to do other than wonder, when would the next cycle begin?The answer is now."New solar cycles always begin with a high-latitude, reversed polarity sunspot," explains Hathaway. "Reversed polarity" means a sunspot with opposite magnetic polarity compared to sunspots from the previous solar cycle. "High-latitude" refers to the sun's grid of latitude and longitude. Old cycle spots congregate near the sun's equator. New cycle spots appear higher, around 25 or 30 degrees latitude.The sunspot that appeared on January 4th fits both these criteria. It was high latitude (30 degrees N) and magnetically reversed. NOAA named the spot AR10981, or "sunspot 981" for short.Sunspot 981 was small-only about as wide as Earth, which counts as small on the grand scale of the sun-and it has already faded away. But its three day appearance on Jan. 4-6 was enough to convince most solar physicists that Solar Cycle 24 is underway.Doug Biesecker of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, likens sunspot 981 "to the first robin of spring. There's still snow on the ground, but the seasons are changing." Last year, Biesecker chaired the Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel, an international group of experts from many universities and government agencies. "We predicted that Solar Cycle 24 would begin around March 2008 and it looks like we weren't far off," he says.The onset of a new solar cycle is significant because of our increasingly space-based technological society."Solar storms can disable satellites that we depend on for weather forecasts and GPS navigation," says Hathaway. Radio bursts from solar flares can directly interfere with cell phone reception while coronal mass ejections (CMEs) hitting Earth can cause electrical power outages. "The most famous example is the Quebec outage of 1989, which left some Canadians without power for as much as six days."Air travel can be affected, too.Every year, intercontinental flights carry thousands of passengers over Earth’s poles. It's the shortest distance between, say, New York and Tokyo or Beijing and Chicago. In 1999, United Airlines made just twelve trips over the Arctic. By 2005, the number of flights had ballooned to 1,402. Other airlines report similar growth."Solar storms have a big effect on polar regions of our planet," says Steve Hill of the Space Weather Prediction Center. "When airplanes fly over the poles during solar storms, they can experience radio blackouts, navigation errors and computer reboots all caused by space radiation." Avoiding the poles during solar storms solves the problem, but it costs extra time, money and fuel to "take the long way around."Now for the good news: More solar storms also means more auroras—"the greatest show on Earth." During the last solar maximum, Northern Lights were spotted as far south as Arizona, Florida and California. Not so long ago, only visitors to the Arctic regularly enjoyed auroras, but with increasing attention to space weather and constantly improving forecasts, millions of people at all latitudes will know when to go out and look.Much of this is still years away."Intense solar activity won't begin immediately," notes Hathaway. "Solar cycles usually take a few years to build from solar minimum (where we are now) to Solar Max, expected in 2011 or 2012."It's a slow journey, but we're on our way.
As in the days of Noah...

JIHAD WATCH:'We will blow up Eiffel Tower'

PORTUGUESE air traffic authorities have intercepted a message describing a militant threat against the Eiffel Tower and passed it to French authorities, a Portuguese source said."It is true we intercepted a conversation with terrorist threats to the Eiffel Tower yesterday," the source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters."Our air force informed the French air force of this matter.Paris police referred inquiries to the Eiffel Tower where nobody was immediately available for comment. French daily Le Monde reported today that intelligence services were tracking the authors of the message.The newspaper said Portuguese air traffic authorities had intercepted a "vague and confused" short wave radio message yesterday, according to a police source.The French capital is already at its second-highest security alert level, and further public security measures would serve little purpose, Le Monde quoted police as saying."We've been at red for several months. It's the highest level before scarlet alert which is implemented when there are attacks," the local police headquarters told the newspaper.The Eiffel Tower is one of France's best-known sights and welcomes millions of tourists each year.Since it was built for the 1889 World Fair, over 230 million people have climbed its 1665 steps or taken the elevators to admire the views from the top of the 324m high structure.Several apparent threats against Paris and prominent personalities have also been identified on an Islamist website and are being taken seriously following the murder of four French tourists in Mauretania last month, French media said.
As in the days of Noah...

HONOUR KILLING WATCH:Girl afraid of marriage was murdered, says coroner

A TEENAGE girl who feared a marriage was being arranged by her parents [[[was killed unlawfully,]]] a coroner said yesterday. Shafilea Ahmed, 17, was found dead on a river bank five months after she disappeared, following claims from friends and teachers that she feared being forced into marriage.Police launched a murder inquiry and arrested her parents on suspicion of kidnapping the teenager, from Warrington, Cheshire – but both were released without charge.Ian Smith, the East and South Cumbria Coroner, told the inquest: "Shafilea was the victim of a very vile murder. I believe she was taken from her home on the 11th of September (2003(. I do not believe she ran away. She was murdered. I'm convinced of that because of the way in which the body was disposed. It had been hidden and she had been taken many miles away from home."He said the concept of an arranged marriage was "central" to the circumstances leading up to her death.During the four-day inquest in Kendal, Cumbria, Shafilea's mother accused detectives of not doing enough to find her daughter's killer.Shafilea's body was discovered after heavy floods washed away the dense undergrowth in which it was hidden on the banks of the River Kent at Sedgwick, Cumbria, in February 2004.Yesterday Shafilea's parents, Iftikhar and Farzana, said they would challenge the coroner's ruling of unlawful killing.Their solicitor Nadeem Ullah said: "The Ahmeds disagree with the decision of the coroner's court and they are currently receiving advice regards appealing the decision of the coroner by judicial review."Mr Smith said: "Shafilea was a very frightened young woman and she was frightened of the consequences of an arranged marriage."He said her fears were first aroused after a phone conversation in 2002 between her father and his uncle in Pakistan. They had discussed a possible arranged marriage between Shafilea and the uncle's son.Mr Ahmed told the hearing such an arrangement needed the consent of the boy and girl, but the coroner said he believed the "greater family" had more say on the issue and could impose pressure for it to go ahead.He said: "Shafilea did not want to be married, full stop, at this point. She did not want to marry someone she did not know or may not like."She wanted to forge ahead with a career, she did not want to stop her studies and she did not want to live abroad. Rightly or wrongly, she feared all these things might happen."Shafilea ran away for ten days in February 2003 and told housing officers: "My parents are going to send me to Pakistan and I'll be married to someone and left there."Mr Ahmed said in evidence he accepted his daughter's reply of "no way" when a potential suitor was mentioned.Mr Smith said there was no proof Shafilea's parents had hit her or stolen money from her, but he believed she had told friends this was the case. Taxi driver Mr Ahmed said he last saw his daughter doing her homework on the night of her disappearance. The student was reported missing a week later by a former school teacher.Mr Ahmed said he did not report her missing after police dismissed his previous reports she had gone missing in November 2002 and January 2003.Ruling the cause of death as "unascertained", Mr Smith said he was satisfied that she did not die of natural causes or suicide.Pathologist Dr Alison Armour told the hearing the most likely cause was by smothering or strangling.Supt Geraint Jones, Cheshire Police's Superintendent and the senior investigating officer, said: "This remains a live murder inquiry. There is someone out there who knows what happened to Shafilea and has not told us."

Lyrics were found in the bedroom of Muslim teenager Shafilea after she disappeared .In one song, Happy Families, the westernised teenager refers to a clash of cultures and her family's preoccupation with "honour".She wrote: "I don't pretend like we're the perfect family no more/Desire to live is burning/ My stomach is turning/But all they think about is honour/I was like a normal teenage kid/Didn't ask 2 much/I just wanted to fit in/But my culture was different/But my family ignored."A second song, I Feel Trapped, refers to an unspecified
event that changed her previously happy life.She wrote: It was my last year in school/So happy with my friends I got lots to do/But came this day when everything changed/I came home it seemed like a normal day/But sumthing wasn't right/I wish I coulda changed the event/I shoulda killed myself instead/I'd rather have been dead/Coz now I have a burden on my chest/And no it won't go away, the guilt, the pain."In the chorus she wrote: "I feel trapped so trapped, I'm trapped/I'm trapped, so trapped I'm trapped/(I don't know wot to do) I feel trapped."The inquest also heard how Shafilea had been taken to Pakistan on a family holiday, possibly without any warning.Mr Smith said he believed she deliberately drank bleach as a "desperate measure to get herself out of a situation she didn't want to be in".[[[Her parents claimed she had mistaken the caustic substance for mouthwash.]]]
PS:I'm getting kind of tired of posting these type of hineous crimes against muslim women....Something has to be done,not only in this case,but in all the other cases,to bring all the people involved into justice,so they can pay for these murders....
What kind of a person/persons would kill their own flesh,their own child....???These people are monsters.....
THIs is SICK,and HAS TO STOPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As in the days of Noah....

Moz warns flood victims

Maputo - Mozambique's disaster management officials on Friday warned people who slipped back home after evacuating from flood-hit parts of the country they would be forced to return to resettlement areas.Floods in Mozambique, a feature of the summer rainy season, have claimed three lives so far since December. In neighbouring Zimbabwe the death toll stands at over 30.Joao Ribeiro, deputy national director of the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC), accused evacuees who returned home despite the worsening floods in the valleys of four major rivers of undermining state efforts to avoid fatalities.Officials at the National Emergency Operations Centre said people who had returned home to flood-hit parts of Inhambane province would be moved back to camps on higher ground, by force if necessary.Mozambique is on maximum flood alert level as continuing rainfall in neighbouring countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi nudged up the levels of the Pungue, Buzi, Save and Zambezi rivers to dangerous levels.
Given the threat of the river bursting its banks, authorities have been releasing water from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi at the rate of 6 600 cubic metres per second, flooding lower parts of Tete province.Farms, factories and government buildings have been inundated.
Standing at Samora Machel bridge, in Tete, peasant farmer Aldina Fernando told local television: "I've lost the entire crop. Everything has gone with the water. It's been a waste of time and hard work.""The water is nearing each time I look around," Marcelino Adriano, a security guard at a local soap and oil factory, said. "Maybe tomorrow I won't be here."So far 41 000 people had been evacuated from their homes to temporary shelters, Minister of Home Affairs Lucas Chomera told public Radio Mozambique.Three people had drowned in Sofala province, Chomera said. But authorities fear the casualties may be higher as thousands of people remain stranded in remote water-logged areas.The INGC has been praised for coordinating an efficient rescue and relief effort, contrasting with the chaotic scenes of 2000 and 2001 when some 700 people died and around half a million were displaced by devastating floods.

As in the days of Noah....

PESTILENCE WATCH:Vomiting bug 'hits three million'

Almost three million people have been affected by the norovirus stomach bug so far this winter, figures suggest.Surveillance from the Health Protection Agency shows cases in England and Wales are double those seen last year.Doctors advise people to stay at home for 48 hours after symptoms have gone to cut the risk of the bug spreading.The HPA said the norovirus season began unusually early. For every one of the 1,922 reported cases, it is estimated another 1,500 have been unreported.These cases will have been in people who did not visit the doctor.This equates to around 2.8 million people affected so far this winter and the virus is still circulating.Norovirus - also known as winter vomiting disease - is the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis in the UK.Hospitals have been affected by outbreaks with many wards around the country having to close to new admissions to prevent the spread of the illness.
Easily spread
Onset is very sudden with vomiting and diarrhoea.Some people may also feel feverish.Illness can occur at any age because immunity to it is not long-lasting.It is not normally dangerous but the very young and very old are most at risk of complications from dehydration.The HPA said they had expected a higher number of recorded cases as methods used for detecting norovirus in the laboratory had improved.But they advised people to practise good hygiene including hand washing and disinfecting contaminated surfaces if anyone has become ill.Food preparation should also be avoided until 48 hours after symptoms have disappeared.There is no specific treatment for norovirus other than letting the illness run its course but it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially in the very young or elderly.Professor Steve Field, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the advice issued last week on staying at home if you become ill and not rushing back to work was helping to slow the spread of the illness. "Anecdotally the pressure seems to be coming off - we're delighted that people are following the advice and taking the pressure off the health service."

As in the days of Noah....

EU WATCH:Military approves EU Chad mission

Military officials have approved a European peacekeeping force in Chad and the Central African Republic.The contingent will have the task of protecting refugees from Darfur and people displaced by internal fighting.EU ministers will still have to rubber-stamp the 3,500-strong force in time for a launch in early February.
Diplomats said that a shortfall of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft had been solved by further contributions from France, Belgium and Poland.
Repeated delays
The mission has been delayed several times since November 2007, but a French government spokesman said on Thursday that President Nicolas Sarkozy had authorised additional resources to help "unblock" the situation.The Italian government has also offered to provide a hospital.Chiefs of staff and EU ambassadors will consider the plans which are then likely to go before an EU Council of Ministers meeting at the end of January.
Friday's military meeting in Brussels was chaired by Irish commander Lieutenant General Pat Nash who is due to run the operation from its headquarters near Paris.
Four sectors
The force which has a UN Security Council mandate is known as Eufor Chad/CAR and is expected to be deployed in four areas, three in Chad and one in the Central African Republic. More than 200,000 refugees from Darfur are in camps in the region, along with 178,000 displaced Chadians and 43,000 Central Africans.A French brigadier general will take charge on the ground.France has promised to deploy at least 1,350 troops and the Irish Defence Forces are to send a further 450.French troops are already stationed in eastern Chad and 50 elite soldiers from the Irish Army Ranger Wing are said to be ready to begin long-range patrols. Further contributions are to come from Austria, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain and Sweden.
As in the days of Noah....

US: Time is Now to Resolve Kosovo Status

State Department officials say the United States supports, and is encouraging, a coordinated international response to the anticipated Kosovo independence move.But they are non-committal about a New York Times report Friday that the United States and Germany have agreed to swiftly recognize an independent Kosovo and are urging the rest of Europe to follow suit.The Times report said President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed in a recent conversation that recognition is vital to the stability of the western Balkans. It said the United States is aggressively pressing the European Union to not delay acceptance of the prospective new state, even by a week.State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said he was unaware of a specific agreement to act in concert with Germany on Kosovo. But he said U.S. support for implementing the Ahtisaari plan has long been clear and that the Bush administration expects broad international support for such an outcome."We believe that the time for resolving the final status of Kosovo is now," he said. "We are committed to an implementation of the Ahtisaari plan, and that includes supervised independence for Kosovo. No secret about that, but there's nothing new out there in terms of our views or our approach to this."After months of failed negotiations with Serbia to resolve Kosovo's status, the majority ethnic-Albanian province is expected to declare independence within weeks, possibly after elections in Serbia are completed February 3. Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations since 1999, when NATO intervened to halt a Serb military drive against ethnic-Albanian separatists.Serbia adamantly opposes independence for Kosovo, instead offering the region maximum autonomy. Belgrade has gotten diplomatic support from Moscow, which vows to veto any U.N. Security Council move authorizing independence.Spokesman Casey said despite the Russian position, the United States expects the international community, broadly speaking, to be united on Kosovo's final status, as it has been throughout the diplomatic process.A senior official here said the United States is still trying to get Russian support for the Ahtisaari formula, arguing that it would be better for Moscow to be in, rather than out of, the international consensus.Wednesday, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns congratulated Kosovar leaders on forming a coalition government and pledged full U.S. support for the earlier possible resolution of Kosovo's final status.A written statement said the United States believes prompt implementation of the Ahtisaari plan, including its measures to protect Kosovo's Serb minority, will promote regional stability and enable both Serbia and Kosovo to move toward greater cooperation with NATO and the European Union.

As in the days of Noah....

GAY AGENDA WATCH:Prof teaches 'being gay' with taxpayer funding:'Being homosexual doesn't mean you don't learn how to become one'

A University of Michigan class that earlier prompted state lawmakers to consider a 10 percent budget penalty for the school and is taught by a homosexual professor openly endorsing the "uncompromising political militancy" of "lesbian and gay studies" is returning.But so is the opposition.The class at the tax-funded University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is called "How to be Gay: Male Homosexuality and Initiation," and is taught by David Halperin(picture left).It surfaced in 2000, returned the following year and again a couple years later. Now university officials have confirmed it is returning, and Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, said "it was and remains an outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars.""Each time it has been offered we have renewed our objections to it. The first time around the Michigan House of Representatives came with a few votes of cutting the university budget by 10 percent," he said.He said Halperin "makes no bones about it on the other side of the world, knowingly using tax dollars to promote the militant political agenda of homosexuality." Glenn was referring to Halperin's writings on his activities as part of his work in Australia, where he spends part of each year.There, Halperin has written, "The fact is that lesbian and gay studies simply is the academic wing of the lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender movement … no one in the field has ever (to my knowledge at least) contested this…""Let there be no mistake about it: lesbian and gay studies, as it is currently practiced in the U.S., expresses an uncompromising political militancy," he wrote."We have lobbied universities and professional associations to adopt and enforce anti-discrimination policies, to recognise same-sex couples, to oppose the U.S. military's anti-gay policy, to suspend professional activities in states that criminalize gay sex or limit access to abortion, and to intervene on behalf of human rights for lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men at the local and national levels," he wrote in Australian Humanities Review."Just because you happen to be a gay man doesn't mean that you don't have to learn how to become one," he writes in the University of Michigan course description. "Gay men do some of that learning on their own, but often we learn how to be gay from others, either because we look to them for instruction or because they simply tell us what they think we need to know, whether we ask for their advice or not."Further, he advises potential students, "the course itself will constitute an experiment in the very process of initiation that it hopes to understand."University officials posted a defense of the decision to allow the course on the university website, a tacit acknowledgment of its controversial nature."This course is not about encouraging people to become gay, but about how individuals in our society create meaning and beliefs about gay culture from literature and the arts," explained Robert M. Owen, associate dean for undergraduate education. "The course also makes no assumptions about the sexual orientation of its students.""We are aware that much of the concern is with the title of the course and acknowledge that the interpretation of that title is very troubling for some people. The English Department … approved this course," he said.Provost Paul Courant boasted of the evolution of the school into one "of the finest public institutions of higher education in the world" and attributed that to "the free and open exchange of ideas."He said Halperin's course "is similar to literature courses taught at many other universities in our state and across our country."
Concerns over Halperin's actions were raised even within the homosexual community. In an online forum for homosexuals, one wrote, "Having a course in initiating young people into the gay lifestyle? Isn't that what Christian Fundementalists (sic) claim actually goes on in the gay community? Thank you Dr. Halperin for confirming their suspicions."Halperin also has written that, "I still find the possibility of an open, uncensored, honest, and sexually explicit gay male literature thrilling, and I expected my students to do the same…""Lesbian/gay studies necessarily straddles scholarship and politics …. It would be hard to be more explicit than that," said Halperin, who is has written several homosexual-oriented books.In the past, Glenn promised, "Every time U-M offers this ludicrous class, you and I cannot fail to speak out against it."Reports said in 2003, Halperin refused to meet Glenn's offer for a face-to-face public debate on the merits of the class.
As in the days of Noah....

POLICE STATE WATCH:Open season on homeschoolers:'The situation is horrible. We must leave our country'

Homeschoolers need to be making plans to flee Germany en masse after a government document implied the advent of a coming crackdown that would target them, an advocate says.The government letter is addressed to "School Administrations of State and Private Schools" and its subject line specifies "Custody withdrawal for violation of mandatory school attendance.""The German court determined that the parents' refusal to send their children to either a state or a state approved private school is a misuse of parental custody rights, which violates the well-being of the child," the letter, dated just a few weeks ago, said, "and which requires actions by the family court. …""We ask for acknowledgment and compliance," the letter, signed by N. Hauf., director of school affairs, said.WND has carried numerous reports of homeschooling families in Germany running afoul of that nation's Nazi-era law banning homeschooling, and being fined or otherwise penalized. In recent days, however, the threats against homeschooling parents frequently have included loss of custody of their children, and several families already have fled.The government letter was forwarded to the United States by a homeschooling advocate in Germany, who expressed his own personal fears for the safety of his family and contemplated leaving his home country himself. "It is very likely that our family will have to leave the country this year. Maybe I have to bring my children and my wife to a place of safety within the next weeks or even days," the advocate said in a personal message to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the world's largest homeschool advocacy organization, which has been involved in a number of recent cases in Germany."The behavior of German authorities against families who homeschool goes against the very fiber of what free and democratic societies stand for – that governments exist to protect the rights of people not to take them away," Mike Donnelly, a staff attorney for the HSLDA, said. "In Germany it appears that the judicial, executive and legislative branches of government do not care to protect the human right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children which includes the right to homeschool – a view shared by nearly all other western civilized countries."The government letter was from the State of Bavaria's Ministry of Education and appeared to be directed to local school officials, essentially declaring an open season on homeschoolers in Germany.It followed a recent Federal High Court decision, which now remains under appeal,that "schulverweigerung"-or those who "refuse" to give their children to public school authorities-actually are misusing their parental rights.It calls for action against those people, and finishes with the phrase, translated into English, meaning, "To your attention."That, the German homeschool advocate said, is an encouragement for civil and criminal case authorities to act against such families.
To read more go to:
As in the days of Noah....

Pentagon Releases Video Depicting Confrontation Between U.S. and Iranian Forces

WASHINGTON-The Pentagon released video Friday it says depicts the entire confrontation last Sunday between U.S. and Iranian naval forces in the Persian Gulf.The more than half-hour video, shot by a crew member on the bridge of the destroyer USS Hopper(picture left), was unedited, said, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.The often uneven and grainy video shows crew members answering radio calls and monitoring the five Iranian boats and for much of the time follows one or more of the fast boats moving around the U.S. ships.It chronicles crew members communicating with each other on the Hopper, as well as U.S. crew on the other two ships in the convoy. And as the incident escalated, sailors can be heard growing more agitated about how fast and close the small boats were moving near the ships.The Pentagon released the entire video of the event after days of fielding questions about the origin of a voice on the initial video that warns in English: "I am coming to you" and then, "You will explode after ... minutes."
Less than five minutes of the video footage was released Tuesday.The confrontation reflects a shift in military strategy by Tehran to use its Revolutionary Guard's fast boats in a more aggressive manner in the region, the top U.S. military officer said Friday.And while Adm. Mike Mullen-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-said he could not himself tell if verbal threats heard in a U.S.-aired tape of the confrontation actually came from the Iranian boats, he said the clash was the most "provocative and dramatic" he has seen to date."The incident ought to remind us all just how real is the threat posed by Iran and just how ready we are to meet that threat if it comes to it," Mullen said.The incident Sunday ended peacefully with no warning shots fired, the U.S. military said.But in December, the Navy said Friday, one of its ships fired warning shots at a small Iranian boat in the Strait of Hormuz during one of two serious encounters that month.
The USS Whidbey Island fired the warning shots on Dec. 19 in response to a small Iranian boat that was rapidly approaching it, said a Navy official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.In the second incident that month, the USS Carr encountered three small Iranian craft on Dec. 22, two of which were armed, said the official. The USS Carr did not fire warning shots but sent warning blasts on the ships whistle, which caused the boats to turn around.The reports come a day after the United States lodged a formal diplomatic protest with Iran over an incident Sunday.Adm. William J. Fallon, the top U.S. military commander in the Mideast, said Friday that Iran runs the risk of triggering an unintended conflict if its boats continue to harass U.S. warships in the strait.

As in the days of Noah....

DECEPTION WATCH:Episcopal Church Suspends Calif. Bishop for Pushing Secession

FRESNO, California-The Episcopal Church banned a California bishop from practicing his religious duties until March after he led his congregants to secede from the national church.[[[Bishop John-David Schofield drew sharp criticism from the U.S.-based denomination when he urged his conservative diocese to sever its ties to the church last month in a fight over the Bible and homosexuality.Clergy and lay members of the Diocese of San Joaquin became the first full diocese to break from the U.S. wing of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican family when they voted to secede Dec. 6.]]]Schofield cannot give sermons, do confirmations or perform any religious rites until the national denomination's leaders meet to determine a final judgment by March 13, the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson, canon to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, said Friday."He was aware of the consequences of his action, warned repeatedly, and there comes a time when it is important for the church to hold its own leadership accountable," Robertson said."This allows him time to recant and to steer off this course," he said.[[[[The bishop gave no signs of changing direction in a statement issued late Friday by the diocese."It is the primary duty of bishops to guard the faith and Bishop Schofield has been continually discriminated against for having done so," the statement read. ]]]]"How is it that over 60 million Anglicans worldwide can be wrong and a few hundred thousand in the American Church can claim to be right?"Despite the secession vote, the national church considers the diocese and its property to still be a part of the U.S. denomination, a claim Fresno leaders reject."The holdings of the diocese are still holdings of the diocese unless the court rules something differently," said the Rev. Van McCalister, a diocesan spokesman, in an interview Thursday. "There isn't any law to deal with this because nobody foresaw that such a thing would happen."[[[[The San Joaquin diocese's decision to affiliate with the like-minded Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will likely kick off a legal brawl over the diocese's multimillion dollar estate.]]]]The Fresno-based congregation had explored breaking ties with the American church since 2003, the year Episcopalians consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.[[[Schofield and other conservatives believe Scripture bars same-sex relationships, and the Fresno bishop counseled his flock that they risked moral decay by staying within the church.]]]The diocese serves about 8,500 parishioners in 47 congregations in central California.
PS:May the Lord help bishop Schofield in this endeavour standing by what the Bible says....
As in the days of Noah....

Astronomers Describe Violent Universe

WASHINGTON-The deeper astronomers gaze into the cosmos, the more they find it's a bizarre and [[[violent universe.]]]The research findings from this week's annual meeting of U.S. astronomers range from blue orphaned baby stars to menacing "rogue" black holes that roam our galaxy, devouring any planets unlucky enough to be within their limited reach."It's an odd universe we live in," said Vanderbilt University astronomer Kelly Holley-Bockelmann. She presented her theory on rogue black holes at the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Austin, Texas, earlier this week.It should be noted that she's not worried and you shouldn't be either. The odds of one of these black holes swallowing up Earth or the sun or wreaking other havoc is somewhere around 1 in 10 quadrillion in any given year."This is the glory of the universe," added J. Craig Wheeler, president of the astronomy association. "What is odd and what is normal is changing."Just five years ago, astronomers were gazing at a few thousand galaxies where stars formed in a bizarre and violent manner.Now the number is in the millions, thanks to more powerful telescopes and supercomputers to crunch the crucial numbers streaming in from space, said Wheeler, a University of Texas astronomer.
Scientists are finding that not only are they improving their understanding of the basic questions of the universe-such as how did it all start and where is it all going-they also keep stumbling upon unexpected, hard-to-explain cosmic quirks and the potential, but comfortably distant, dangers.Much of what they keep finding plays out like a stellar version of a violent Quentin Tarantino movie.The violence surrounds and approaches Earth, even though our planet is safe and "in a pretty quiet neighborhood," said Wheeler, author of the book "Cosmic Catastrophes."One example is an approaching gas cloud discussed at the meeting Friday.The cloud has a mass 1 million times that of the sun. It is 47 quadrillion miles away. But it's heading toward our Milky Way galaxy at 150 miles per second. And when it hits, there will be fireworks that form new stars and "really light up the neighborhood," said astronomer Jay Lockman at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in West Virginia.But don't worry. It will hit a part of the Milky Way far from Earth and the biggest collision will be 40 million years in the future.The giant cloud has been known for more than 40 years, but only now have scientists realized how fast it's moving. So fast, Lockman said, that "we can see it sort of plowing up a wave of galactic material in front of it."When astronomers this week unveiled a giant map of mysterious dark matter in a supercluster of galaxies, they explained that the violence of the cramped-together galaxies is so great that there is now an accepted vocabulary for various types of cosmic brutal behavior.The gravitational force between the clashing galaxies can cause "slow strangulation," in which crucial gas is gradually removed from the victim galaxy."Stripping" is a more violent process in which the larger galaxy rips gas from the smaller one. And then there's "harassment," which is a quick fly-by encounter, said astronomer Meghan Gray of the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.Gray's presentation essentially showed the victims of galaxy-on-galaxy violence. She and her colleagues are trying to figure out the how the dirty deeds were done.In the past few days, scientists have unveiled plenty to ooh and aah over:
—Photos of "blue blobs" that astronomers figure are orphaned baby stars. They're called orphans because they were "born in the middle of nowhere" instead of within gas clouds, said Catholic University of America astronomer Duilia F. de Mello.
—A strange quadruplet of four hugging stars, which may eventually help astronomers understand better how stars form.
—A young star surrounded by dust, that may eventually become a planet. It's nicknamed "the moth," because the interaction of star and dust are shaped like one.
—A spiral galaxy with two pairs of arms spinning in opposite directions, like a double pinwheel. It defies what astronomers believe should happen. It is akin to one of those spinning-armed flamingo lawn ornaments, said astronomer Gene Byrd of the University of Alabama.
—The equivalent of post-menopausal stars giving unlikely birth to new planets. Most planets form soon after a sun, but astronomers found two older stars, one at least 400 million years old, with new planets.
"Intellectually and spiritually, if I can use that word with a lower case 's,' it's awe-inspiring," Wheeler said. "It's a great universe."
On the Net:
American Astronomical Society:
Hubble Space Telescope:
As in the days of Noah....

FRANKESTEIN SCIENCE WATCH:Europe set for debate rerun on ‘Frankenfoods’

Europe is set for a rerun of the heated debate over genetically modified “Frankenfoods”, after regulators declared on Friday that meat and milk from cloned pigs and cows and their offspring were safe to eat.The finding comes as GM foods are about to reignite trade friction between the US and European Union, with a deadline set to expire on Friday night by which the EU must comply with a World Trade Organisation ruling to allow imports of GM seeds.While it could be years before meat and milk from cloned animals are on dinner plates in the EU, the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) issued a “draft opinion” that such livestock and their products were as healthy and nutritious as their natural-born kin. “Healthy clones and healthy offspring do not show any significant differences from their conventional counterparts,” it said.Efsa has invited views on its opinion before drawing up a definitive conclusion in May. Its deliberations come as the Food & Drug Agency in the US is expected to reach a final decision on the issue, possibly next week.The developments would boost a handful of US biotechnology companies that have been working on cloning animals, mainly cattle, for the past four years. They say cloning would help farmers by increasing the availability of elite breeding stock.Europe is already sharply divided over GM food, dubbed “Frankenfood” by opponents, with just one product-a pest-resistant maize-approved for cultivation. Austria and Hungary have banned even that and France is set to follow suit.In the US, consumer acceptance of plant biotechnology in foods is high.Acceptance of biotechnologically altered animal produce is much lower, although a survey last year by the International Food Information Council showed that 61 per cent would purchase products derived from genetically engineered animals if they were FDA-approved.In a sign of possible unprecedented congressional involvement in the process, Democratic senator Barbara Mikulski has called on the FDA to delay its final decision about cloning, pending further scientific tests. “We do not know enough about the long-term effects of introducing cloned animals, or their offspring, into our food supply. What’s the rush?” she asked.Following Friday’s scientific report from Efsa, the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies expects to deliver its report on Wednesday about the ethical and practical effects of approving food from cloned animals.The gulf between attitudes across the Atlantic on GM crops has already led to a trade spat with Washington, which won a WTO ruling in 2004 that the EU was illegally blocking GM produce. European farmers said they were not seeking to use cloning but feared a loss of competitiveness if the US went ahead and imports were allowed. “It is essential to inform the consumers and citizens about the state of play already and not wait until this new technology is on the shelves,” said Pekka Pesonen, secretary-general of Copa-Cogeca, which represents them.Friends of the Earth said the Efsa ruling was “unsatisfactory” because there was a shortage of scientific evidence.
As in the days of Noah...

CULTURE of DEATH:Embryonic stem cell lines created without destroying embryo

CHICAGO-In a bid to sidestep the ethical debate over the use of human embryos in medical research, scientists have developed a way to derive viable stem cell lines without harming the embryo.They did so by extracting a single cell from the embryo-as in vitro fertilization clinics do when they test for genetic defects-and introducing a common molecule called laminin to keep it in a stem cell, or pluripotent, state. Subsequent development of the embryo was unaffected by the biopsy, according to the study published Thursday by the journal Cell Stem Cell.The new technique holds the promise of dramatically speeding up clinical applications of stem cell therapies for a wide range of debilitating diseases and illnesses.Stem cells are considered a potential magic bullet because they can be transformed into any cell in the body and potentially used to help replace damaged or diseased cells, tissues and organs.However, embryonic stem cell research is highly controversial because, until now, viable embryos were destroyed in the process of extracting the stem cells.Two groups of scientists recently bypassed this problem by transforming human skin cells into stem cells.Skin cells will likely become the most common source of stem cells, said Australian researcher Alan Trounson, who heads the world's biggest stem cell research project at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. But skin cells are still far from ready for clinical use because the transformation process introduces potentially deadly genetic alterations and viruses.Which means embryonic stem cells, which do not carry the same risk of mutation, are currently the only option for therapeutic applications, Trounson said."There will (also) be a lot of people interested in the embryonic stem cells because they are the gold standard," he told AFP, explaining that the stem cells derived from skin have not been fully investigated.Stem cell pioneer Robert Lanza hopes the technique he helped develop to preserve the embryo will spur US regulators to allow funding for research on new embryonic stem cell lines.Progress in the promising field has been stifled by restrictions on access to federal funds in the United States and outright bans on embryonic research in other countries due to ethical concerns."Within the next few months we could make as many of these cells as we like," said Lanza, chief scientific officer at Advanced Cell Technology."We really can't afford to hold this field up any more."Lanza also cautioned against relying upon the stem cells derived from skin."I've been in this field for too long and been fooled too many times. When you have something you move ahead," Lanza said in a telephone interview."These are useable. They are not genetically modified. They're here."But a leading opponent of embryonic stem cell research said Lanza's method-while "morally laudable" in principal-"still fails to deliver any kind of ethical solution.""Any procedure that places at risk the health and life of a human embryo for purposes that do not directly benefit the embryo is morally unacceptable," said Reverend Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

PS:It's so sad that "scientists" are still playing God with embryos....I don't understand why in the world they don't get it,being that there are many other ways to get stem cells without using embryos.....

As in the days of Noah....

Taiwan nationalists win parliamentary vote

TAIPEI-Taiwan's opposition nationalists, who favour closer ties with China, on Saturday won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections, boosting their party's chances of regaining the presidency in March.The win by the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) dealt a devastating blow to the party of President Chen Shui-bian, whose drive to assert Taiwan's independent identity has irked Beijing and the United States, one of Taipei's key allies."I am willing to shoulder all of the responsibility," a stern-faced Chen told a press conference, announcing he would resign as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), effective immediately."I feel very sorry and I feel shame for this election result," he said, calling the result the "worst setback" in his party's history.The KMT and its smaller allies won 86 of 113 seats in the new streamlined parliament, while the DPP only won 27, according to final official results released by the central election commission."It is clear that people are yearning for change, after eight years of suffering," KMT presidential candidate and frontrunner Ma Ying-jeou told a press conference.
Hundreds of supporters cheered as Ma spoke at party headquarters, popping open champagne bottles, singing songs and waving flags, as others set off firecrackers outside.Ma pledged that if elected in two months, he would work to improve relations with China, allowing mainland tourists to visit Taiwan and reinstating direct postal, commerce and transportation links that were cut off six decades ago.Ma, who leads the DPP's Frank Hsieh in opinion polls ahead of the March 22 presidential contest, also said he would "push for a peace accord" with Beijing, which still regards Taiwan as part of its territory.Chen has been blamed for both raising tensions with China and failing to revive Taiwan's sluggish tech-heavy economy-two issues that have dominated both the parliamentary campaign and the race for the presidency.Chen, who was first elected in 2000 and re-elected four years later by a narrow margin, is not eligible to stand for a third term.The KMT, which held a slim majority with its allies in the outgoing parliament, says pursuing warmer ties with China will help the island's economy by opening the door to new jobs and investment.Chen, who campaigned tirelessly for his DPP, argued that Taiwan's separate identity is vital to its democracy, and warned voters that the KMT would sell Taiwan out to China if returned to power.The KMT ruled here from 1949, when Taiwan and China split at the end of a civil war between the nationalists and Mao Zedong's communists, until Chen took office in 2000.A win for the KMT in both the legislative and presidential elections could end years of political gridlock on this island of 23 million people.But analysts said the March contest pitting Ma against Hsieh was far from over."A lot can happen in the two-month run-up to the presidential race," said Chang Ya-chung, a political science professor at National Taiwan University."In Taiwan, the situation can change overnight."The DPP did not come close to meeting Chen's target of winning 50 seats in the new parliament, halved from its current 225 seats in a bid to improve efficiency.Both parties were dogged by allegations of corruption in recent months, with Chen's wife on trial for misuse of public funds, his son-in-law convicted of insider trading and his Vice President Annette Lu indicted for graft.Ma was last month cleared of graft and breach of trust charges, clearing the way for him to run for office, but prosecutors have decided to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

As in the days of Noah....

Musharraf rejects U.N. inquiry on Bhutto

PARIS-Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf ruled out a U.N. inquiry into the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, as demanded by her party, saying that Pakistan should not be compared to Lebanon."It is not possible. Is another country involved?" he said in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper published on its Web site on Friday. "Pakistan is not Lebanon." Bhutto's party has called for a U.N. inquiry into her death comparable to one into the 2005 killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, whose death was blamed by many Lebanese on Syria. Damascus denies involvement.Musharraf said Pakistan had its own institutions to manage the inquiry into Bhutto's assassination, and noted they would also be helped by British police.He said there was a campaign by al Qaeda to undermine Pakistan but denied his country was about to fall apart. "They do not have the capacity to destabilize the country, but their suicide attacks create disorder and dishearten the population. However Pakistan is not on the verge of disintegration. "He also said Pakistan's economy would survive if the United States decided to cut financial aid-as suggested by some politicians unless Pakistan does more to fight terrorism and restores full civil rights."Do you think Pakistan would die if it didn't receive this money? Our economy is doing well," he said."Over the last 6 years, we have received a total of around $9 billion. More than half for fighting terrorism ... If the Americans don't want to pay any more, they should ask other people to help them. But the fight against terrorism would suffer," Musharraf said.

As in the days of Noah....

DICTATORSHIP WATCH: Indonesia's Suharto ill, country prepares for his death

MATESEH, INDONESIA-As Indonesia's former President Suharto lay critically ill in hospital on Saturday, the military and police rushed to prepare the Suharto family's mausoleum in central Java for his burial.The 86-year-old Suharto, who ruled Indonesia for more than three decades, suffered multiple organ failure on Friday and was put on a ventilator to help him breathe. On Saturday, doctors said his condition had improved and that he showed a response.
But at the Suharto family's mausoleum, 35 km (21 mile) northeast of the Javanese royal city of Solo, soldiers and military police guarded the complex as workmen unloaded tents and an excavator was brought in to prepare Suharto's grave.Reporters in Solo were issued with press IDs saying "Press - Funeral of Grand General (Retired) H.M. Soeharto.""We are anticipating all possibilities. It is part of the police job," said Dodi Sumantyawan, the central Java police chief, after surveying the Suharto familymausoleum. The Giribangun mausoleum, a three-tiered building with wooden pillars and a stupa-like roof, is perched on a hilltop and surrounded by trees.Suharto's wife Tien, who was a member of the Solo royal family, is buried there in a chamber with walls of intricately carved wood.A few visitors stopped by at the mausoleum.Sumiarsih, who traveled from the neighboring district of Sragen with her son and husband to pay homage at Tien's grave, said she prayed for Suharto's recovery."He's done a great service to the nation and we hope he can be well again," she said.
With the former strongman in a critical condition, the question of whether to continue legal proceedings against him for corruption is being vigorously debated by politicians and members of the public.In an apparent attempt to defuse the debate and avoid openly criticizing Suharto, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told a news conference on Saturday afternoon that this was not an appropriate time to discuss the legal case against Suharto."I'm still of the opinion that it's not right to talk about it given the current health condition of Pak Harto," the president said, referring to Suharto by his popular name."Pak Harto was a leader of this nation. His contributions to this nation are not small. As a human being, however, like other people, Pak Harto has weaknesses and mistakes."[[[Critics say Suharto and his family amassed as much as $45 billion in kickbacks or deals where political influence was a key to who won a contract, charges he and his family denied.After he quit office, Suharto was charged with embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars of state funds, but the government later dropped the case due to his poor health.Last year, state prosecutors filed a civil suit seeking a total of $440 million of state funds and a further $1 billion in damages for the alleged misuse of money held by one of Suharto's charitable foundations.]]]
The sudden deterioration in Suharto's health last weekend prompted some politicians to call for legal proceedings against him to be dropped.However, the attorney-general, who visited the ailing Suharto and his family in hospital overnight, told reporters that the government would still seek an out-of-court settlement in a graft case against the former general."The President gave instructions to me to pursue the family of Suharto to finalize an out-of-court settlement of the civil case," Attorney-General Hendarman Supandji told reporters at the hospital.Suharto was rushed to Pertamina hospital a week ago suffering from anemia and low blood pressure due to heart, lung and kidney problems.Family members gathered at the hospital as his health deteriorated during the week, while a "who's who" of Indonesian society, including relatives, various government ministers, businessmen, religious leaders, and military men, have flocked to his bedside to pay their respects.[[[Suharto came to power after an abortive coup on September 30, 1965 that was officially blamed on the communist party. Up to 500,000 people were killed in an anti-communist purge in the months that followed.Some Indonesians, though, look back with nostalgia to the Suharto era, when Indonesia was one of Asia's tiger economies, and refer to him fondly as the "Father of Development."]]]

PS:It's a very interesting fact that at the time of death,big and small,old and young ,poor and rich,dictators or goor rulers.....we are all equal...there is only two options,according to the Bible....heaven or hell...Death levels everybody...
It's also a fact that whenever it comes to dictators,people in their countries have always different views of the matter,some still support them,some others just cry at the very mention of their names,when they remember the horrors they went thru....
I pray somebody would go to his death bed and talk to him about repentance and heaven today....
After all Suharto-before God's eyes- is just a sinner as you and me.....
Can you picture being a dictator most of your life and then ending up in hell for eternity???

As in the days of Noah....