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

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Prophecy: Islam and Satan - Walid Shoebat (Part 1)

Bhutto Autobiography: Bin Laden's Son Killed Me

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto names the 16-year-old son of Usama Bin Laden as the leader of one of four gangs of “designated assassins” sent to kill her in a posthumous autobiography excerpted in The Times of London on Sunday.Bhutto, who was assassinated as she left a rally in Rawalpindi in December, revealed she was warned by both President Pervez Musharraf and a “friendly Muslim government” that Hamza Bin Laden was planning her murder. The naming of Bin Laden’s teenage son appears to bolster intelligence claims that Hamza is being groomed as a future leader of Al Qaeda.In her new autobiography, Bhutto writes: “I was told by both the Musharraf regime and the foreign Muslim government that four suicide bomber squads would attempt to kill me.These included, the reports said, the squads sent by the Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud; Hamza Bin Laden, a son of Osama Bin Laden; Red Mosque militants; and a Karachi-based militant group.”Last September Hamza was described in reports as a senior Al Qaeda leader who had been waging jihad in the lawless tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

As in the days of Noah...

Rare Tokyo snow strands 10,000 at Narita airport

A rare snowfall in Tokyo left nearly 10,000 passengers stranded overnight at Narita airport after about 50 international flights were cancelled, the airport authority said Sunday.The season's first snowfall in the greater Tokyo region measured 3.5 inches in the center of the capital on Saturday, the heaviest accumulation in eight years, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.At Narita airport, some 40 miles from downtown Tokyo, 51 international flights were cancelled as airport workers were unable to remove snow from runways quickly enough.More than 90 other flights were delayed for a night, leaving passengers stuck in the terminal, an airport public relations official said."A total of 9,690 passengers were stranded overnight at the two terminals. We provided blankets and extended the time for air-conditioning and lighting to accommodate them at lobbies," the official said."We also opened special paid waiting lounges for free of charge."At Tokyo's domestic Haneda airport, some 100 flights were cancelled on Saturday, disrupting the travel plans of some 14,000 passengers.At least 125 people have suffered broken bones and other minor injuries in Tokyo after slipping in the rare snow by midday Sunday, fire officials said, while 200 others were reported hurt in nearby prefectures.It usually snows lightly only a few times a year in the Tokyo region, located on the warmer Pacific side of Japan's main island.Coastal regions have experienced Japan's deadliest winter in more than two decades, with at least 102 deaths recorded by Tuesday, with many of the victims crushed by snow or falling from buildings while clearing snow from roofs.Most of the dead have been elderly people. The death toll is the highest since 1983-1984, when 131 people died in snow-related incidents.
As in the days of Noah....

Anti-headscarf rally in Turkey

Israelis told to prepare 'rocket rooms' for war

Retired senior officers told Israelis on Saturday to prepare "rocket rooms" as protection against a rain of missiles expected to be fired at the Jewish state in any future conflict.Speaking on radio as part of a military propaganda offensive, retired general Udi Shani said: "The next war will see a massive use of ballistic weapons against the whole of Israeli territory."Shani was tasked recently with drawing up a report on the way the military authorities operated during Israel's 2006 summer war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. During that conflict thousands of rockets hit Israel, but were limited to the north of the country from where hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated.The character of war has changed, said the general."Strikes to the rear must now be taken into account-that is what will come and we must prepare in a totally different way for this eventuality," he said.Another reserve officer, Colonel Yehiel Kuperstein, added: "Protection of civilians must today be assured even inside their homes."There is no absolute protection, but the best possible sort is that of a room able to provide shelter" inside houses, he said, evoking the norms in force in Israel for several years which envisage each apartment having a room with reinforced walls able to serve as a shelter."Today in Israel only one third of apartments have such a room able to provide shelter... they have neither an air filter nor ventilation system enabling anyone to stay there for a long time," Kuperstein said.At the beginning of 2008 the military command in charge of passive defence began an information campaign to prepare Israelis for any future conflict "in the light of lessons drawn from the war in Lebanon."The authorities have distributed a brochure in six languages with advice on what to do, particularly in the event of missile attacks, as well as launching a campaign on radio and television.The report of a commission of inquiry into failings in the Lebanon war, which was released on Wednesday, highlighted serious errors in the protection of frontline residents.As the Israeli military bombed and shelled much of the infrastructure of Lebanon and killed an estimated 1,200 Lebanese, the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah fired more than 4,000 rockets at north Israel during the 34-day war.Around a million Israelis took to primitive shelters or fled to safety in the south of the country.
As in the days of Noah....

Hamas to Allow Egypt Border Closing

RAFAH, Gaza Strip-Egypt will close the breached border with Gaza on Sunday, and Hamas will not try to prevent it, a senior Hamas leader said after holding talks with Egyptian officials. "Tomorrow (Sunday) is going to be the last day for the border to be open like this," Gaza's Hamas strongman, Mahmoud Zahar, told the Arab satellite TV station Al-Jazeera, after returning to Gaza.Zahar said Hamas would not prevent a closure of the border. However, he said in exchange Egypt agreed to allow thousands of Palestinians currently stuck in Egypt to travel to third countries and would coordinate with Hamas on border issues.
As in the days of Noah....

Chad Rebels Clash With Government Forces in Capital; Head Toward Presidential Palace

NAIROBI, Kenya-Hundreds of rebels penetrated the capital of Chad on Saturday, clashing with government troops and moving on the presidential palace after a three-day advance through the oil-producing central African nation, officials and witnesses said.Rebels said they would protect foreigners trying to leave N'Djamena."We will not stop the embassies from evacuating people," Mahamat Hassane Boulmaye of the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development told The Associated Press. "We will try to protect them if it is necessary." He was reached on a Sudanese mobile telephone number and said he was speaking from Chad's border with Sudan.Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French military spokesman, said groups of rebels gathered outside the capital, N'Djamena, overnight before 1,000 to 1,500 fighters entered early Saturday and spread through the city.A leader of Chad's main opposition alliance, which is unarmed and not associated with the rebels, said shooting erupted after rebels entered the city around 8 a.m. but appeared to die down about two hours later. Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh said about 12:45 p.m. that there were no soldiers in his neighborhood and state radio had gone off the air."At the moment we are not hearing any firing ... The rebels are in the city. Civilians are in the streets. They are watching what is happening," said Saleh.The renewed fighting has led the European Union to delay its peacekeeping mission in both Chad and neighboring Central African Republic, which was due to be up and running early next month, said Commandant Dan Harvey, speaking at the EU military headquarters in Paris on Friday. The deployment of the advance force could be postponed for days, he said.The force already has met repeated delays. It is aimed at protecting refugees from the conflict-wracked Sudanese region of Darfur, which borders Chad, as well as protecting Chadians and Central Africans displaced by turmoil in their own countries.The new head of the African Union said Saturday that the bloc would not recognize Chadian rebels should they seize power."If the rebellion succeeds, certainly we will excommunicate them from the African Union until normalcy and democratic institutions are restored in that country, if it has to happen that way at all," Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete told a news conference.The United Nations decided to temporarily evacuate all its staff from Chad's capital because of the fighting, said William Spindler, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.The French and American governments told their citizens to assemble in secure locations.The U.S. Embassy said in a bulletin on its Web site that any American citizens seeking evacuation should immediately move to the embassy. State Department spokesman Karl Duckworth said the embassy had authorized the departure of nonessential personnel and family members."At this time the U.S. is monitoring the security situation closely," Duckworth said in a statement."The serious violence that has occurred has not been directed at any U.S. personnel or facilities. We are taking all appropriate precautions to ensure the security of U.S. mission personnel and all American citizens in Chad."France's embassy in Chad sent messages over Radio France Internationale telling citizens to head to the Lycee Francais high school and two other locations in N'Djamena, a French diplomatic official said on condition of anonymity because government policy barred him from providing his name.A hotel operator at the Hotel le Meridien, about a mile from the headquarters of President Idriss Deby, said gunfire and explosions had been resounding through the capital since 7 a.m.The man, who would not give his name, said he had not seen any rebels. The line went dead before a reporter could get more details. Other phone lines were also dead and the information could not immediately be confirmed.Rebels in more than a dozen vehicles drove past the Libya Hotel, which overlooks the parliament building, said a man who answered the telephone at that hotel."I saw more than 15 vehicles and they (the rebels) were firing into the air," said the man, who also would not give his name.He said he also watched looters go into a police station opposite the hotel, stealing chairs and throwing papers on the ground.Rebel forces have been advancing on the capital for three days in about 250 pickup trucks after crossing the border from Sudan, some 510 miles to the east of N'Djamena.Clashes broke out Friday morning near Massakori, northeast of N'Djamena, and moved closer to the capital to Massaguet, said Burkhard, the French military spokesman. France-Info radio said helicopters bombarded rebel positions.Chad, a French colony until 1960, has been convulsed by civil wars and invasions since independence, and the recent discovery of oil has only increased the intensity of the struggle for power in the largely desert country.The most recent series of rebellions began in 2005 in the country's east, occurring at the same time as the conflict in neighboring Sudan's western region of Darfur saw a rise in violence. One Chadian rebel group launched a failed assault on N'Djamena, in April 2006.The governments of Chad and Sudan repeatedly exchange accusations the one is backing the other's rebel groups.Deby himself came to power at the head of a rebellion in 1990; he has won elections since, but none of the votes were deemed free or fair. He brought a semblance of peace after three decades of civil war and an invasion by Libya, but became increasingly isolated and members of his own family have joined Chad's latest rebellion.U.N. officials estimate that around 3 million people have been uprooted by conflicts in the region, including the fighting in western Sudan's Darfur region and rebellions in Central African Republic.France sent more troops late Thursday to boost a longtime military presence in Chad. About 1,500 French citizens live in Chad, most in N'Djamena. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris late Friday to discuss the situation in Chad, his office said.Air France canceled its scheduled daily flight to N'Djamena on Friday because its personnel there "had no access to the airport," an airline spokesman said. The spokesman said it was not clear why access to the airport was blocked.
As in the days of Noah....

SIGN of the TIMES:University Professor Assigns Students to Make Fully Operational Torture Devices

LONDON-Homework is not meant to be comfortable, but one professor's effort to get his students to create fully operational torture devices has even some of his colleagues wincing.
Students at Kent University School of Architecture in southeast England were asked to manufacture the devices as part of an attempt to sensitize them to the principals of ergonomics-the science of reducing fatigue and discomfort-according to this week's issue of The Architect's Journal.A copy of the assignment-entitled "Torture"-carried on the publication's Web site showed a diagram of a Gestapo electric torture table and invited students to "look at the dark side of ergonomics.""Proposals have to be realizable in 2008.... No Sci-Fi devices please," the assignment said. "It has to be fit for purpose, robust and effective and well thought out; it has to work."The assignment suggested using recycled material. It also warned against using mains electricity."We don't want you to become a victim of your own device," it said.The Journal said the assignment was written by Kent University tutor Mike Richards. No one at the university or the Royal Institute of British Architects immediately responded to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment Saturday, but The Guardian newspaper quoted one of the institute's former presidents, Paul Hyatt, as saying he was appalled by the project.

As in the days of Noah....

Friday, February 1, 2008

Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, faces death threats

The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, is under police protection after he and his family received death threats over his claim that parts of Britain had become “no-go areas” for non-Muslims.The Bishop is also facing anger from the most senior members of the Church of England hierarchy for his comments on Islam.The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has made Islam a priority of his archiepiscopate and set up a Muslim-Christian forum to promote relations between the faiths in 2006. One senior cleric told The Times yesterday: “The Bishop of Rochester is in effect threatening to undo everything we have done.”The cleric said that some congregations in cities such as Leicester, where interfaith work was a priority, were increasingly wary of donating money towards this work. Church leaders in towns with a large Muslim population were anxious that relations with their neighbours were being undermined. Dr Nazir-Ali was in India when staff at his home in Rochester took a number of phone calls threatening his family and warning him that he would not “live long” if he continued to criticise Islam. He has been given an emergency number at Kent Police, along with other undisclosed protection measures, and said that the threats were being taken “seriously”.Speaking to The Times, Dr Nazir-Ali, who is on the conservative evangelical wing of the Church and is Britain’s only Asian bishop, said: “The irony is that I had similar threats when I was a bishop in Pakistan, but I never thought I would have them here. My point in saying what I did was that Britain had lost its Christian vision, which would have provided the resources to offer hospitality to others.”He said that this absence of a Christian vision had led to multiculturalism. “Everyone agrees that multiculturalism has had disastrous consequences, and that segregation and extremism have arisen from this.”The Bishop said in an article in The Sunday Telegraph that Islamic extremists had created no-go areas across Britain where it was too dangerous for nonMuslims to enter. He said that people of a different race or faith faced physical attack if they lived or worked in communities that were dominated by a strict Muslim ideology.Dr Nazir-Ali told The Times: “I have had 1,000 letters, and 95 per cent have been supportive. There is no point in being in denial. We have to face the consequences.”The Bishop went further last night with an additional statement posted on his website. He said: “It has been asked what I meant by ‘no-go’ areas. I would wish to make it clear that I was not referring, as some have implied, to the situation which arose in some neighbourhoods in Northern Ireland some years ago which the authorities felt constrained from entering.”He said that he was referring to a development reported by bodies such as the Commission on Integration and Cohesion last year and Trevor Philips, chairman of the Equality and Human Righjts Commission, more recently. The Bishop said: “This is the phenomenon that is referred to as ‘parallel lives’, ‘separated’ or ‘self-contained’ areas or communities.”He said that Christian workers in some areas were unable to practise the full range of ministry “either because it is felt to be inadvisable or because of intimidation by extremist views and actions”. In addition, converts to the Christian faith found it “difficult or impossible” to live in certain areas. “This is too widespread a phenomenon to be ignored and deserves proper discussion and debate,” the Bishop said.“I repeat what I said in an earlier comment, that I deeply regret any hurt and do not wish to cause offence to anyone, let alone my Muslim friends, but unless we diagnose the malaise from which we all suffer we shall not be able to discover the remedy.” Muslims should only be granted the right to broadcast a “call to prayer” from a mosque in Oxford if church bells are allowed to ring out across Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia, Christian campaigners said yesterday. Eddie Lyle, chief executive of Open Doors, the missionary agency that serves persecuted Christians, called for “reciprocity” from Muslim countries. The Rev Charlie Cleverly, Rector of St Aldate’s in Oxford, said this week that the proposal for an Islamic call to prayer from a mosque in Oxford should not be approved by the city council.

As in the days of Noah....

GAY AGENDA WATCH:Judges: 'Gay' exposure OK for kindergarteners

In a case that could wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court, an appeals panel upheld dismissal of a lawsuit by Massachusetts parents seeking to prevent discussion of homosexual families in their children's elementary school classrooms. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday agreed with a judge's decision last year that a school can expose children to contrary ideas without violating their parents' rights to exercise religious beliefs."Public schools," wrote Judge Sandra L. Lynch, "are not obliged to shield individual students from ideas which potentially are religiously offensive, particularly when the school imposes no requirement that the student agree with or affirm those ideas, or even participate in discussions about them."Lynch reasoned that schools must accept the Massachusetts high court's groundbreaking 2003 decision ruling "that the state constitution mandates the recognition of same sex marriage".As WND reported in 2006, U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf dismissed the civil rights lawsuit by David and Tonia Parker of Lexington, concluding there is an obligation for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality.The Parkers' lead attorney, Jeffrey Denner, declared after yesterday's ruling the parents are preparing to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court."We are fully committed to go forward," he said, according to the non-profit advocacy group MassResistance."We will continue to fight on all the fronts that we need to."David Parker said the ruling "will surely embolden and enable the schools even more on this if it's not fought." "There's going to be an accountability, you can count on it," he said.The dispute began in the spring of 2005 when the Parkers then-5-year-old son brought home a book to be shared with his parents titled, "Who's in a Family?" The optional reading material, which came in a "Diversity Book Bag," depicted at least two households led by homosexual partners.The Parkers filed suit against the Lexington school district in 2006 and later were joined by Joseph and Robin Wirthlin, whose second-grader's class was read a story about two princes who become lovers.In another parents-rights case in Massachusetts, Norfolk Superior Court Judge Patrick F. Brady in December allowed Cohasset Public Schools to move forward with special education for an eighth-grader even though the parents opposed the plan.MassResistance, which has supported the Parkers, contended Lynch's opinion virtually ignores a major argument made by the Parkers' attorney, Rob Sinsheimer, "that the basic constitutional protections of religious belief are being trampled on by the school."MassResistance notes Lynch uses the state's controversial 1999 Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework to justify homosexual-oriented "tolerance" lessons in the lower grades, but she "completely ignores the fact that that document was clearly intended as a non-mandatory, informal set of guidelines."The group points out Planned Parenthood is promoting a bill this year to make the document a formal legal guideline. MassResistance said that to read the concluding words of Lynch's ruling "is to experience a real sense of the term 'banality of evil.'"Lynch reasoned that "the mere fact that a child is exposed on occasion in public school to a concept offensive to a parent's religious belief does not inhibit the parent from instructing the child differently."The opinion said the judges cannot see how the Parker's son's "free exercise right was burdened at all: two books were made available to him, but he was never required to read them or have them read to him. Further, these books do not endorse gay marriage or homosexuality, or even address these topics explicitly, but merely describe how other children might come from families that look different from one's own.There is no free exercise right to be free from any reference in public elementary schools to the existence of families in which the parents are of different gender combinations."The panel said the Wirthlin's son "has a more significant claim, both because he was required to sit through a classroom reading of 'King and King' and because that book affirmatively endorses homosexuality and gay marriage. It is a fair inference that the reading of 'King and King' was precisely intended to influence the listening children toward tolerance of gay marriage. That was the point of why that book was chosen and used."But the judges also dismissed the Wirthlin's argument."Even assuming there is a continuum along which an intent to influence could become an attempt to indoctrinate, however, this case is firmly on the influence-toward-tolerance end," the opinion said. "There is no evidence of systemic indoctrination. There is no allegation that Joey was asked to affirm gay marriage. Requiring a student to read a particular book is generally not coercive of free exercise rights."
As in the days of Noah....

Hip hijabs take off in Canadian winter

TORONTO-As temperatures drop in Canada this winter, Muslim women have a new-and warmer-alternative to their traditional hijabs.A young entrepreneur from Ottawa has designed fashionable head covers, made from water-resistant nylon and lined with fleece, which can be worn alone or over a traditional hijab.The toasty hijabs are the brainchild of Abeer Al-Azzawi, a 24-year-old graduate student who got into design because of a gap she saw in the clothing market for young women. "There's so much out there for girls who wear anything else, but (not so much) for a 14-year-old who wears a hijab, if she wants to go shopping on a Saturday morning," said Al-Azzawi, who launched her online enterprise, queendom-hijabs.com, about eight months ago.She now sells a line that includes a hardy nylon winter hijab and a light, organic model she's dubbed "So Soy".She has customers in North America, Europe and Japan.Al-Azzawi's focus is on making head coverings that Muslim women in the West can feel comfortable wearing."I can make (hijabs) better for girls who want to wear the hijab, but are scared," she said. "I can do that for them.""Response has been great. Some hijabs are out of stock, because the minute they're made, they're out the door." There has been opposition to Al-Azzawi's designs. One woman sent her an e-mail saying that her products were not hijabs and that she should not be selling them as such.A traditional hijab is a single piece of cloth looped around the head, neck and chest, then tucked or pinned. Al-Azzawi's are pulled over the head like a balaclava or secured at the neck with velcro.Many of her hijabs are brightly colored and stitched with contrast piping."The hijab is supposed to be about modesty," said Sharifa Khan of the University of Toronto Muslim Students' Association. "It's really supposed to deflect attention away from you."Khan, who is not familiar with Al-Azzawi's designs, wears a simple black hijab that covers her head, neck and chest. She said it fits with the commandments of the Koran.But there is dispute as to what a hijab should be, and even if it is necessary in this day and age, Khan added.While the controversy hasn't hurt business on Al-Azzawi's Web site, so far she hasn't had much luck getting her designs on to store shelves in Canada."It's a very specific-like a religion-specific item," said Jennifer Sachs of accessory boutique Clic Klak in Toronto's Queen West fashion district. "It's not something everyone will buy."
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As in the days of Noah....

U.S. nuclear power plants to get more Russia uranium

WASHINGTON-U.S. nuclear power reactors will be able to obtain more supplies of Russian enriched uranium for fuel, under a trade deal signed by the two countries late on Friday.The agreement will provide U.S. utilities with a reliable supply of nuclear fuel by allowing Russia to boost exports export to the United States while minimizing any disruption to the United States' domestic enrichment industry."The agreement will encourage bilateral trade in Russian uranium products for peaceful purposes," said U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. "It will also help to ensure that U.S. utilities have an adequate source of enriched uranium for U.S. utility consumers.Gutierrez and Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency Director Sergey Kiriyenko signed the deal allowing for sales of Russian enriched uranium directly to U.S. utilities. Before the agreement, such direct transactions were not permitted.For years, the U.S. government has restricted Russian uranium shipments, fearing Russia would dump uranium in the U.S. market and financially hurt the major American uranium supplier, USEC Inc.A spokesman for the Russia's Atomic Energy Agency said with the new trade deal "the volumes of direct deliveries of uranium enrichment services may total 20 percent of the market, so one in every five atomic stations in the U.S. will work thanks to the import of Russian uranium enrichment services."Under the deal, Russian uranium exports to the United States would increase slowly over a 10-year period, beginning in 2011, when shipments would be allowed to reach 16,559 tons.Exports would then increase about 50 percent annually over the next two years and increase more than tenfold from 41,398 tons in 2013, when the current "Megatons to Megawatts" program expires, to 485,279 tons the next year...
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As in the days of Noah....

Indonesia cleans up after floods, 3 die in Jakarta

JAKARTA-Indonesia's capital was cleaning up on Saturday after several days of torrential rain engulfed parts of the city with up to 1.5 meters (5 ft) of water, killing three people and displacing around 7,000, a health official said.The rains, which also caused serious travel chaos and closed the capital's main airport for several hours, had stopped in Jakarta on Saturday but some areas of the city remained under water."We can confirm three people were killed in West Jakarta after being washed away by the current,"Rustam Pakaya, head of the health ministry's crisis centre, said by telephone.Pakaya said that 6,820 people were still in shelters across Jakarta, a city of 14 million that is regularly hit by floods at this time of year.Jakarta's main airport had briefly been forced to shut on Friday, after rain and fog slashed visibility to less than 300 meters, delaying more than 40 flights."It is back to normal, some delayed flights from yesterday have already departed," Hariyanto, an official at Soekarno-Hatta airport, said.The main airport toll road was still partly closed, he added.Floods and landslides also hit other parts of Java Island, as well as Sulawesi Island and Sumatra Island this week, killing at least 12 people, but the situation had improved in most areas, Pakaya said.

As in the days of Noah....

I'll be president of Europe if you give me the power - Blair

Former PM consults old Downing Street allies on campaign for new EU role
Tony Blair has been holding discussions with some of his oldest allies on how he could mount a campaign later this year to become full-time president of the EU council, the prestigious new job characterised as "president of Europe". Blair, currently the Middle East envoy for the US, Russia, EU and the UN, has told friends he has made no final decision, but is increasingly willing to put himself forward for the job if it comes with real powers to intervene in defence and trade affairs. Blair, who is being actively promoted by the French president Nicolas Sarkozy, recognises he would need to abandon his well-paid, private sector jobs if he won.His wife Cherie-often portrayed as seeking ever more wealth and well-paid consultancies for her husband-is understood to be supportive of him accepting the job.Some Blair allies also say that he now recognises that as envoy in the Middle East he is not going to be allowed to become the key player in furthering Israeli-Palestinian talks this year, and will be reduced to a role of supporting political development in Palestine and boosting its economy.[[[The president of the European council of ministers is a post created under the Lisbon treaty. The president will be the permanent chair of the council of ministers, Europe's chief decision-making body.]]]Jonathan Powell, Blair's Downing Street chief of staff, is among the former lieutenants he has met to discuss a bid for the European role.Some senior figures believe he could yet be a loser in the carve-up of four big European jobs due to be distributed at the end of the French presidency in the second half of this year. Some claim that if the commission president, José Manuel Barroso, wanted to remain in post for a second term, it would be difficult for Blair, a political ally and previous advocate for Barroso, to hold the parallel, prestigious European council job. Decisions also have to be made on the appointment of a new, "high representative" on foreign policy, and the post of president of the European parliament. Smaller EU countries are sensitive about key jobs being taken by leading figures from larger countries, especially from one that is not part of the eurozone or the Schengen free-movement area, and that actively supports Turkish membership, as Britain has. Some French socialists have already come out against Blair, citing his role in the war in Iraq. Former French president Valéry Giscard D'Estaing has also expressed his opposition.It is thought that the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is not persuaded of the advantages of a Blair presidency. The Christian Democrats have recently been politically weakened in state elections, and fear a Blair presidency might strengthen the German Social Democrats. Neither the Germans nor the French would push Blair if they believed his appointment was going to be opposed by Gordon Brown.Blair himself is still doubtful that the role of council president will become a powerful job, saying he senses that even pro-Europeans might recoil from ceding power from the nation state.With most countries currently focused on ratifying the Lisbon treaty through their national parliaments, decisions on the powers of the full-time president are unlikely to be made until the second half of the year.Apart from Blair, two other candidates most often mentioned are the former Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, promoted by Germany, and the current Luxembourg prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker.
As in the days of Noah....

GAY CRAZE WATCH:Now Brits ban 'mum' and 'dad'...New rules demand sensitivity for 'gays'

Only months after a plan generated by California's legislature created a ban on the use of "mom" and "dad" in public schools, the Brits have announced a similar move, with orders for teachers to be more sensitive to homosexuality and not use terms like "mum and dad."According to a report in the Mail online, a guidance plan has been released to tackle "anti-gay bullying" in schools in Britain. Written by the homosexual activist group Stonewall and announced by government Schools Secretary Ed Balls, the plan tells teachers not to make assumptions about a "mum and dad," perhaps instead referring to "parents."And it directs teachers to introduce to students as young as age four the idea of same-sex couples in order to battle "homophobic" attitudes.The California plan, which now is being targeted by an initiative effort that aims to take the issue to voters to have them overturn it, mandates a positive-and no other-portrayal of bisexuals, homosexuals, transgenders and others choosing alternative sexual lifestyles in public schools.Officials with Save Our Kids are working on the initiative to recall the law, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.The new California law demands, "No teacher shall give instruction nor shall any school district sponsor any activity that promotes a discriminatory bias because of a characteristic including perceived gender."Opponents say it does now ban anything that can be "perceived" as being discriminatory, up to and including references to "mom" and "dad" or "husband" and "wife.""The terms 'mom and dad' or 'husband and wife' could promote discrimination against homosexuals if a same-sex couple is not also featured," said Meredith Turney, the legislative liaison for Capitol Resource Institute."Parents want the assurance that when their children go to school they will learn the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic-not social indoctrination regarding alternative sexual lifestyles.Now that SB 777 is law, schools will in fact become indoctrination centers for sexual experimentation,"she said.In Britain, the advisory notes that teachers should educate students about civil partnerships and homosexual adoptions, and that students who call classmates "gay" should be treated just like they are racists.Teachers also should avoid any references such as "be a man" or accusations students are acting like a "bunch of women."The plan warns such words lead to bullying of those "who do not conform to fixed ideas about gender."Instead, homosexual staff members should be encouraged to "discuss" their "private lives.""It might be time-consuming at first, but a consistent 'zero-tolerance' approach to such language is central to achieving progress and an environment in which being gay is not thought of as being inferior," the government report warns."Schools need to make it clear to pupils that homophobic comments are as serious as racist comments, and homophobic incidents are as serious as other forms of bullying.""I am proud the Government and the department are being robust about this," Balls said. "It is our view that every school should have a clear policy on tackling all forms of bullying, including homophobic bullying."Less than a year earlier, the Scottish National Health Service decided to become "LGBT-friendly" by issuing directives to workers to halt any and all uses of "father," "mother," "husband," "wife" etc...Police already are cracking down on such offenses in British schools. According to a Lifesite News report, in 2006, a 14-year-old school girl was arrested by police and detained in a cell for three hours after she asked to be moved into a group of students who spoke English in class. And in 2007, a 10-year-old boy was questioned after the boy sent an email calling another boy "gay."While British plans are to reach out to teach homosexuality to students as young as four, WND has reported that the California plan to establish SB777 as state law was supported by organizations recommending homosexual literature to children as young as age two.A list of school resources, sponsored by a homosexual-advocacy group called Safe Schools Coalition, suggests that for those who are only two years old, there's "Felicia's Favorite Story,"which tells how she was "adopted by her two mothers."Other resources being promoted in light of California's adoption of SB 777 as state law include books authored by officials for Planned Parenthood and the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network.One book, called "Tackling Gay Issues in School," is for kindergarten through grade 12, and offers a "rationale (for the inclusion of les/bi/gay/trans issues in school)." It features recommended "extracurricular" activities for classes.For months while California lawmakers discussed Senate Bill 777, opponents worried about its usefulness in censoring public school curricula to include a pro-homosexual bias. Supporters, however, steadfastly maintained that it only clarified anti-discrimination laws already on the books. They still hold that stance, with recent statements from both Schwarzenegger's office and Equality California.Sabrina Lockhart, a spokeswoman for the governor, insisted it is a "technical bill" intended to clarify anti-discriminations laws."It simply takes anti-discrimination language used in other areas of state law such as employment and puts that in the education code," she said.And Ali Bay of Equality California told WND the new law "doesn't require that any specific curriculum be included in California's classrooms.""All along, Capitol Resource Family Impact has maintained that the true agenda behind SB 777 is to infuse school curriculum with pro-homosexual, and other controversial lifestyles, propaganda.The proponents of the bill countered that this was not true and the law would merely 'streamline' anti-discrimination laws for schools. Based on our 20-year experience with the homosexual lobby, we know that a common tactic is to maintain innocence and then utilize vague language to push a radical agenda. We expected the same of SB 777 and we are already witnessing the same pattern," said Karen England, chief of the CRI.WND already has reported how the Gay Straight Alliance has forwarded instructions to its California chapters with information on how to make sure homosexuality is taught in public schools, and its warning having students and parents simply "tolerate" homosexuality is not enough."Tolerance education is an important first step, but we need to push further," the instructions said."Infuse LGBTQ curriculum into history, social science, and literature classes," is the organization's plan.The British advisory also noted that such homosexual teachings need to permeate the education system.
As in the days of Noah....


Women's Forums on Islamist Websites - Tools For Preparing Women to Carry Out Jihad and Suicide Operations By: *D. Hazan is a research fellow at MEMRI.
A number of Islamist websites include special forums for women and for the Islamic family. A review of these forums reveals that over two-thirds of their participants are men, that their objective is essentially indoctrination, and that their principal concern is with issues such as encouraging women to carry out suicide operations - for example, by relating and extolling biographies and testaments of female martyrs in Islamic history and in modern times. These forums urge women to take an active part in jihad, or at least to support its fighters through financial contributions. They also promote jihad education from an early age, publicize various sheikhs' fatwas on jihad and martyrdom, and highlight the reward that awaits both male and female martyrs in Paradise.The following are excerpts from materials from the following websites:
www.al-hesbah.org/v - a forum for women and Islamic families; www.shmo5alislam.net/ - an Islamic women's forum; and www.al-faloja.info/vb - an Islamic family forum.
"How I Hoped to Turn My Body into Slivers to Tear the Sons of Zion to Pieces, and to Knock with Their Skulls on the Gates of Paradise"
An Al-Hesbah subscriber calling herself Umm Hamza Al-Shahid wrote a message titled "Secure Yourself a Chandelier under the Throne [in Paradise]," in which she encouraged Muslim women to carry out suicide bombings. Following are excerpts:"The souls of the martyrs dwell inside the bellies of green birds [that roost] on chandeliers hanging from the royal throne [of Allah in Paradise]. They roam freely in Paradise, and then come to roost on the chandeliers... Sister... [think] what a [wonderful] life that is, how [wonderful] Paradise is, and what we miss living here [in this world]... You know that a martyr does not die. He lives, and will never know death, for it is said [in Koran 2:153]: 'And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead; nay, [they] live, but you do not perceive [it].'"You surely ask: 'What is the way to martyrdom for me, as a woman?... How can I find the way?' Before I answer, let me say: Has it occurred to you that the very first Muslim who had the privilege of becoming a martyr was a woman, [namely] Sumayya bint Khayyat? She was cruelly tortured by the leader of the infidels, the bitter enemy of the faith, Abu Jahl, but remained steadfast in her religion and faith... She spat in his filthy face, leaving him no choice but to draw his sword and stab her, and then her pure body was cast in the desert of Mecca, while her pure soul ascended to Paradise... Take her example, sister. She had the honor [of becoming a martyr] before the [first] man had [this honor]. Allah does not prevent us from... following in her footsteps."Sister, do you fear the horror of death and the agony of dying? [Know that] the pain felt by a martyr as he is killed is like the pain of a [wasp's] sting. Having heard this, are you still afraid to dare? Don't you wish such an end - an easy transition from this world to Paradise, without pain or agony?... Since death is inevitable, why should we not leave this transient [world] in our best capacity, [that is,] as martyrs? These are the words of one of our sisters who has already achieved this goal, Rim Al-Riyashi. [1] She was only 22 years old, and a mother of two small children, but she considered her life [in this world] of little worth [and sacrificed it] for the sake of Allah in order to wave the banner of Islam, saying in her will: 'I have long yearned for this martyrdom for the sake of Allah. I have long anticipated it. How happy I will be, and how great will be my joy if Allah accepts me as a martyr. By Allah, my heart is filled with many emotions, and I cannot control them... As if a beautiful dream were taking over my body, as if my heart were beating out the words, "Allah, accept me as a martyr." How I have yearned to turn my body into slivers that would tear the sons of Zion to pieces; and to knock with their skulls on the gates of Paradise. By Allah, even if you broke my bones and hacked me to pieces, you would not be able to destroy my faith or rip my banner. How I kept telling myself: The Jews are the enemies of Allah, so fill with hatred for them and turn your blood into a path on which you will walk to Paradise." [2]"She Penetrated Deeper into the Crowd, Her Breath Coming in Spurts and the Spark of Death Shining in Her Eyes, and... Allah Akbar!... The Body-Parts of the Jews Scattered Everywhere, and the Black Blood Spilled on the Soil of the Prophets, While Her Pure Soul Ascended to Paradise"In another posting, headed "Indeed, Men Do Not Have a Monopoly [on Martyrdom]," Umm Hamza Al-Shahid described the last moments of a woman suicide bomber: "She recited the morning prayer... and then sat invoking [the name of] Allah until dawn. In her mind she heard the words of a brother who had [chosen] the path [of martyrdom]: 'Even if I had died while praying, [3] I would have regretted having missed the opportunity to die as a martyr [in a war] for the sake of Allah.' She went out and walked silently... her [soul] filling with a deep and confident tranquility. She fingered the explosive belt hidden under her clothes to make sure that it was tightly fastened. She went on. Then a crowd of filthy Jews appeared in the distance and she hurried to meet them. She managed to slip into the crowd without anyone noticing her. Her heart palpitated, not out of fear of the despicable [Jews], but because her momentous meeting with Allah was drawing near. It seemed to her that the sky shone lighter and brighter than before. She penetrated deeper into the crowd, her breath coming in spurts and the spark of death shining in her eyes, and... Allah Akbar! The explosion rang out loud, violent, deafening and destructive. The body parts of the Jews scattered everywhere, and the black blood spilled on the soil of the Prophets, while her pure soul ascended to heaven, to the chandeliers [of Paradise, an abode of] light, peace and eternity." [4] ....
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PS:IF this is not the ULTIMATE WOMEN ABUSE...I dont know what is.....
As in the days of Noah....

Hamas: We Won’t Allow Egypt To Close The Border

Interesting... Hamas is openly stating that they won’t let Egypt control the border with the Gaza strip. Just how they’re going to follow up on their threat isn’t exactly clear:
Hundreds of Hamas supporters protested on the breached Gaza-Egypt border Friday to demand it remain open, while Egyptian troops poured cement and laid down metal spikes in a new attempt to halt the influx of Gazans.Gaza’s Hamas rulers want a role in running the border with Egypt, a demand rejected this week by Egypt and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.It remains unclear whether Hamas will use force to keep the border open.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, said he would not allow the border to be resealed.
Curious, isn’t it, that there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the world press about the Israelis having the gall to build a wall between themselves and Gaza to stop the flow of suicide bombers that were making their lives hell, but not a word has been mentioned about the wall Egypt has had at the Gaza border for years.Until the Palestinians tore it down, that is.
I think you could safely call that selective criticism.It will be entertaining to see what happens if the maniacs in Hamas turn their homicidal fury on Egypt.
By Pilbrim

As in the days of Noah.....

Weapons trader accused of selling to Iran

SAN FRANCISCO-A weapons trader accused of selling sensitive technology to Iran was held in San Francisco Friday pending a detention hearing, ABC News reported.Laura Wang-Woodford allegedly earned millions from her deals but had eluded U.S. law enforcement until her arrest Dec. 24 at the San Francisco International Airport. She had reportedly just flown in from Singapore to visit her mother.U.S. government officials said Wang-Woodford has been selling munitions to Iran for more than 16 years. Wanted by the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other U.S. authorities, Wang-Woodford runs a firm in Singapore called Monarch Aviation, the report said. She and her British husband, Brian Woodford, were indicted in 2003 by a federal grand jury in New York.The indictment alleges the Woodfords sold sensitive munitions technology to Iran through Monarch. One official said Wang-Woodford had several items showing recent deals made by Monarch and documents relating to Chinese missile systems. A letter filed with the court Friday by the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York said she was in possession of a catalog dealing with surface-to-air missile systems and rocket launchers.

As in the days of Noah....

Why American Evangelicals are the West's Last Hope

Christopher Hitchens-the author of God is not Great-is an anomaly: Unlike most secularists, he is deeply alarmed by the rise of Islam. While Hitchens tries to sound a warning trumpet, most of his fellow secularists are either oblivious to or even sympathetic to that against which he warns.Michael Hodges, to mention one, writing in Time Out London enthusiastically enumerated the many benefits that would supposedly accompany Islam's takeover of his society. Such a development would, in his view, translate into appreciable improvements in ecology, public health, diet, social justice, education and the arts, among others. Remarkably enough, Hodges also included inter-faith and racial relations on his list. Jews and Christians in particular, he said, would enjoy special protection by virtue of being ‘peoples of the book.'This kind of cultural inanity worries Hitchens who has repeatedly tried to rouse his secularist colleagues from their nihilistic stupor. So far his efforts have mostly fallen on deaf ears.But Christopher Hitchens is more than just a committed secularist; he is also an aggressive atheist who objects to religion in all of its manifestations. His sharpest invective, however, Hitchens reserves for Christianity. His intense dislike of it came out not long too long ago in a series of interviews occasioned by the death of Jerry Falwell. Within hours of Falwell's passing, Hitchens called him a ‘toad,' ‘charlatan' and a ‘wicked man' among other things. His view of Falwell's co-religionists is no less unflattering.‘Stupid and uncultured' is how he once memorably described Christians as a group. But this would not be the worst of it; in addition to being dim-witted, Christians are, Hitchens thinks, highly dangerous, because they seek to impose their religion and values on the rest. It was primarily Falwell's political activism that made him so repulsive to Hitchens. This is how he put it:The evil that he did will live after him. This is not just because of the wickedness that he actually preached, but because of the hole that he made in the ‘wall of separation' that ought to divide religion from politics.It is this alleged desire on the part of Christians to take over that makes Hitchens deem Christianity to be nearly as great a threat as is Islam. Hitchens is half right. He is right about Islam but wrong about Christianity...
Through mass immigration (legal and illegal), Muslims have virtually colonized large parts of the European continent. By now they are the largest minority in almost every member state of the European Union (EU) and in some countries such France they account for more ten percent of the population. Within a number of EU states there are now Muslim enclaves that are in effect under the rule of Islamic Sharia; police no longer dare to enter those precincts to enforce the laws of the host countries. Things are becoming so dire that the French government has published a list of 751 ‘sensitive urban areas' within the borders of France which authorities are no longer able to control.The way the French government makes this information available is emblematic of the catastrophic way things are tending. Published on the internet, concerned citizens can now locate the ‘sensitive areas' in two ways. They can either click on ‘carte' which takes them to a detailed map where the zone in question is neatly demarcated in red; or, they can click on ‘rue par rue' where they find street-by-street delineation complete with geographic coordinates...
By Vasko Kohlmayer
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GAY AGENDA WATCH:Court: Gay marriage in Canada should be recognized in New York

ROCHESTER-An appeals court has ruled that a gay couple’s marriage in Canada should be recognized in New York.The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court today reversed a judge’s ruling in 2006 that Monroe Community College did not have to extend health benefits to an employee’s lesbian partner. Patricia Martinez, a word processing supervisor, sued the school in 2005, arguing that it granted benefits to heterosexual married couples but denied them to Martinez and her partner,Lisa Ann Golden. The couple formalized their relationship in a civil union ceemony in Vermont in 2001 and were married in Canada in 2004.The college refused to add Golden to the health care benefits because its contract with the Civil Service Employees Association did not address benefits for same-sex partners. Since then, the contract has been enhanced to extend benefits to an employee’s domestic partner.State Supreme Court Justice Harold Galloway dismissed Martinez’s lawsuit in August 2006, saying that the state does not recognize same-sex marriages.The state Legislature “currently defines marriage as limited to the union of one man and one woman,” he wrote.The appellate judges disagreed, determining that there is no legal impediment in New York to the recognition of a same-sex marriage.The state Legislature “may decide to prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages solemnized abroad,” the ruling said. “Until it does so, however, such marriages are entitled to recognition in New York.”

As in the days of Noah....

U.N. chief Ban in Kenya to help end political turmoil

NAIROBI-U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is in Kenya to push mediation talks between feuding political leaders in the East African country to end weeks of violence following last year's disputed presidential election, U.N. officials said Friday."The aim of his visit is to offer support to the Annan-led mediation panel and be briefed by the U.N. country team on the humanitarian crisis,"a U.N. spokesman said. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has been leading mediation talks between two bitter rivals, President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, amid political mayhem sparked by a flawed election in December.Odinga, a populist politician and businessman, has refused to recognize President Kibaki's reelection, accusing him of having rigged the polls.More than 850 people have been killed over the last month and 300,000 others have been displaced in the postelection crisis.Earlier this week, a top U.S. diplomat in Africa described the violence in parts of Kenya as "clear ethnic cleansing."Jendayi Frazer, U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said the mass displacement of civilians in the Rift Valley was part of an "organized effort."The majority of the displaced are from President Kibaki's Kikuyu ethnic group, who were kicked out of their homes by opposition supporters, mainly Kalenjins, who have a historic claim to the land.The U.N. Security Council has said it deplores the postelection violence and expressed support for Annan's efforts to mediate between the country's president and his main opposition rival.Japan has expressed concern about the worsening situation in Kenya. On Friday, Japanese officials said the government had contributed some $4 million for humanitarian assistance through U.N. agencies for internally displaced people.Japanese officials said the emergency grant assistance is to alleviate their hardships, especially the most vulnerable-mostly women and children.

As in the days of Noah....

Navy Test Fires Powerful Electromagnetic ‘Railgun’

NAZI REVIVAL WATCH:Germany launches comic book on Holocaust

BERLIN-German schools will launch a comic book next week that aims to teach above all underprivileged children about the Nazi era and the Holocaust.Although German schools already make a big effort to give pupils a thorough education about the Nazi era, racist violence remains a problem, and the revival of Germany's Jewish community has brought a rise in anti-Semitism with it.The Tintin-style comic book is called "The Search", and tells the story of Esther, a fictional Jewish survivor of the Holocaust.Created by the Dutch cartoonist Eric Heuvel, it is already available in the Netherlands. Berlin's Anne Frank Centre, which is backing the project, thinks it will serve a purpose in Germany, too."There is not a major gap in the way Germany teaches the history of this era, but this is a new approach," said spokeswoman Melina Feingold, noting that the book could reach some of the children who are least interested in schoolwork:"We hope the comic will get even underprivileged kids interested in learning about the Holocaust."The 61-page book, already available in various European languages, will be used alongside worksheets in history classes at secondary schools in Berlin for six months, after which the project hopes to go nationwide.The book, based on fact, describes how Jews in Germany and the Nazi-occupied Netherlands experienced the genocidal Nazi persecution that took the lives of 6 million European Jews....
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PESTILENCE WATCH:India isolates 26 people on bird flu fears

KOLKATA, India-India put 26 people in isolation after they fell sick while culling poultry in a state affected by bird flu, while medical staff were monitoring hundreds of others, officials said on Friday.Those quarantined in the eastern state of West Bengal complained of fever and respiratory distress over the past few days, but health staff said it was unlikely they had bird flu. India has not reported any human infection of the H5N1 bird flu virus in its four outbreaks of avian influenza since 2006."The preliminary tests for bird flu are negative, but more tests are being conducted and the list of sick people reviewed every day," R.S. Shukla, a senior health official, told Reuters.Bird flu has spread to 13 of West Bengal's 19 districts, spelling trouble for parts of India's poultry business.Egg exports from the world's second largest producer have dropped about 50 percent in the past two weeks, leaving the industry with losses of around $20 million, trade officials said.Consumption of poultry products has fallen to negligible levels in West Bengal, but chicken sales are recovering in the rest of India after an initial wobble when the latest outbreak was announced.Veterinary staff have culled 2.6 million birds, completing what officials said was a successful operation that had brought the bird flu situation under control.The focus now is on hundreds of medical and veterinary workers and villagers who had come into close contact with dead or sick birds. Officials said health staff returning home after the culling operation had been asked to get themselves checked.Dozens of isolation wards had been created in hospitals in the affected districts to handle any sudden rush of suspected human cases.Experts fear the H5N1 strain could mutate into a form easily transmitted from person to person, leading to a pandemic, especially in countries such as India where people live in close proximity to backyard poultry."We are aware of the consequences of a possible human infection and we are taking all possible measures," Surjya Kanta Mishra, the state's health minister, said.Bird deaths were reported from the north Indian state of Haryana, close to New Delhi, but authorities said preliminary tests for bird flu had turned up negative."There have been some deaths, but these are due to septicaemia and not avian flu," V.P Nehra, a senior animal husbandry official, said.

As in the days of Noah.....

Pentagon rejects report, says ready for WMD attack

WASHINGTON-The Pentagon on Friday insisted it is ready to respond to a chemical, biological or nuclear attack inside the United States, rejecting an independent panel's criticism of its preparations.But the Pentagon conceded it is not yet satisfied with its plans to respond to some of the 15 catastrophic attack scenarios that federal agencies have been ordered to prepare for, such as a nuclear attack or a series of chemical attacks throughout the country.Paul McHale, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said plans to respond to those scenarios would be improved this year."We are prepared to respond," McHale said. "We are not prepared to respond with the speed, the efficiency and the effectiveness that we intend to achieve."McHale said detailed plans for a response to a major hurricane or pandemic influenza were well developed and on par with the blueprint drafted for war operations.When it came to responding to a nuclear attack, a series of dirty bomb attacks, an aerosolized anthrax attack or a series of chemical weapons attacks throughout the country, the current plans were inadequate, McHale said."That is a candid recognition, a blunt recognition that we are not where we need to be," he said.McHale dismissed the harsh criticism directed at the Defense Department on Thursday by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserve and its chairman, retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro.
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Israeli Embassy Under FIre...

ENVIRO CRAZE WATCH:Hurricane Hysteria Revisited

Will global warming increase hurricane activity? Two studies published in the last week arrived at opposite conclusions.A link between warmer sea surface temperatures and increased North Atlantic hurricane activity “has been quantified for the first time,” according to a study by University College London researchers that was published in Nature (Jan. 30). They claim to have associated a 0.5 degree Celsius increase in sea surface warming with a 40 percent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity during 1996-2005 as compared to the average activity during 1950-2000.“The scientists who have linked global warming to stronger storms said the study makes sense, and is, if anything, just repeating and refining what they have already said,” the Associated Press reported (Jan. 30).But the study result isn’t surprising considering it was derived from a computer model that included only two variables-sea surface temperature and atmospheric wind field-which the researchers claim explain about 75 percent of the variance in Atlantic hurricane activity between 1965-2005. They claim to have teased out the association between sea surface temperature and hurricane activity by statistically removing the influence of wind from the model.Sea surface temperatures and wind, however, aren’t the only factors affecting hurricane activity. The model omitted at least two other known factors-atmospheric humidity and sea level pressure-and other more mysterious factors such as the tendency of hurricane activity to occur in cycles that are decades long.Even though sea surface temperatures seem to have warmed, it’s not at all clear that Atlantic hurricane activity has truly increased. As recently described in World Climate Report, the average hurricane activity during 1995-2005 was greater than that during 1971-1994, but the 1970s and 1980s witnessed unusually low hurricane activity. So the increased hurricane activity of 1995-2005 “thus appears to represent a recovery to normal hurricane activity, rather than a direct response to increasing sea surface temperature,” according to World Climate Report.Finally, regardless of whether warmer sea surface temperatures are associated with increased hurricane activity, the University College London researchers admitted that, “Our analysis does not identify whether greenhouse gas-induced warming contributed to the increase in water temperature and thus to the increase in hurricane activity.”Since the entire global warming debate depends on whether manmade greenhouse gas emissions drive climate change, without a link between such emissions and sea surface temperature changes, the claimed sea surface temperature-hurricane activity link is, at best, an academic point.The other hurricane study, published in Geophysical Research Letters (Jan. 23) and not widely reported by the media, comes from climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
By Steven Milloy
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Cuba Is Expanding Its Overseas Spy Network, Top Intelligence Expert Says

MIAMI, Fla.-Cuba is expanding its intelligence operations in the Middle East and South Asia to keep a closer eye on U.S. military operations there, according to a former top Defense Intelligence Agency official.Chris Simmons, a former DIA counterintelligence Cuba analyst, said Havana has placed top intelligence operatives in key embassy postings in countries such as Iran, Turkey and Pakistan to gather information for Cuba’s own defenses and provide intelligence to America's enemies."Havana has an insatiable appetite for information about U.S. military operations as well as U.S. intelligence operations," Simmons told FOXNews.com. "They see it as a requirement for protecting the regime."Cuba has sent "ambassador spies"-intelligence chiefs-turned-diplomatic envoys-to regions where the United States has active military operations, Simmons said. Before adopting this strategy, Cuba placed such people in the United States.One of these is Gustavo Machin Gomez, who heads the Cuban mission in Pakistan. He was one of 14 Cuban diplomats expelled from the United States on espionage charges in 2003.Another, Ernesto Gomez Abascal, Cuba’s ambassador to Turkey, was either an intelligence agent or an intelligence collaborator who was Cuba’s ambassador to Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, according to Simmons. Cuba's increased relations with Pakistan and Iran offer other signs of its expanding spy network, Simmons said. In 2006, Havana reopened its embassy in Pakistan after 16 years, and Iran and Cuba are believed to be working together to jam U.S. radio and TV programming into Iran."I think that it’s very clear that Cuba is opening up another front in the war with the United States," said Roger Noriega, former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs from 2003 to 2005."That’s the Cuban revolution’s primary occupation and preoccupation," Noriega added.For decades, Castro's spies have successfully monitored activities at America's domestic air and naval bases, which allowed them to anticipate every major U.S. military deployment, from the 1983 invasion of Grenada to the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Simmons said.Cuban intelligence has "whipped the asses of American intelligence for decades," Noriega said. He warned that Cuba could be brokering "intelligence information to firm up political support or just help out their friends, be they terrorist organizations or just hostile governments."Cuba's new strategy follows a series of intelligence setbacks that forced the Castro regime to re-think the way it monitors U.S. military movements. Those included the closing of a Cuban intelligence center in Canada, the 2003 expulsion of several Cuban diplomats working in Washington and the arrest of one-time DIA Cuba analyst Ana Montes, who for more than a decade was believed to be passing U.S. secrets to the Castro government.It's believed that some of those secrets were passed on to Russia, China and Iran.Some experts have expressed doubt that Cuban diplomats with former intelligence ties in these and other countries are, in fact, spying on their host countries. "Ambassadors usually don’t go spooking around," said Larry Birns, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs.Pentagon officials and the DIA refused comment on Simmons’ assessment of Cuba’s spying practices. "We are always concerned about the safety of our military members abroad," said a DIA official who requested anonymity.Several attempts to contact Cuban officials at the country’s interest section in Washington were unsuccessful. But Simmons, who founded the Cuban Intelligence Research Center in Leesburg, Va., said Cuba's far-reaching spy network-with more than 11,500 agents, including some 3,500 focused on foreign operations-is a concern.He said the Castro government could be providing Iran with its knowledge of U.S. military capabilities, at a price."Historically, in the Castro regime, when it comes to intelligence sharing, nothing is free," Simmons said.U.S. lawmakers are calling for greater attention to be paid to Cuba’s diplomats and their activities. Rep. Lincoln-Diaz Balart, R-Fla., said "insufficient attention" was being given to threats of potential links between Cuba and state sponsors of terrorism such as Iran. He spoke following a recent briefing Simmons gave to Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.Said Simmons: "The Cubans have a front-row seat and everyone is too busy to pay attention to what they are doing."

As in the days of Noah.....

Third Internet Cable Cut in Middle East

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates-A leading Internet provider in the Emirates said an undersea cable had been cut early Friday in the Persian Gulf, causing severe phone line disruptions here and compounding an already existing Internet outage across large parts of the Middle East and Asia after two other undersea cables were damaged earlier this week north of Egypt.Omar Sultan, chief executive of Dubai's IPS DU, said the incident was "very unusual." He said it wasn't known how the underwater FLAG FALCON cable, stretching between the United Arab Emirates and Oman, had been damaged."The situation is critical for us in terms of congestion" on international lines, Sultan told The Associated Press, but refused to speculate on the extent of the damage.DU said in a press release that the cause of the incident "had not yet been identified."The owner of the FALCON cable, U.K. FLAG Telecom said the cable was cut at 05:59 GMT Friday, 56 kilometers (34.8 miles) off the coast of Dubai and that a "repair ship has been notified and expected to arrive at the site in the next few days."The U.K. company is also the owner of one of the undersea cables that were sliced Wednesday in the Mediterranean Sea. That damage triggered wide Internet outages, hampering businesses and private usage across the Mideast and Asia.A FLAG official in India, speaking on condition of anonymity because of company policy, said workers were still trying to determine how the Persian Gulf cable was cut.
He declined to comment on whether the cut was somehow linked to Wednesday's cut in Egypt, but said he did not believe FLAG's cables were deliberately targeted.As in the case of the Mediterranean damage, which Egyptian officials said was caused by a ship's anchor when a vessel couldn't dock in the port of Alexandria, there was also speculation that an anchor had sliced the Persian Gulf cable.DU said the incident "added further complications to the existing cuts on the FLAG Europe-Asia and SEA-ME-WE4 cables" off the coast of Egypt and that the Persian Gulf cut "impacted all international voice calls through the DU network," leading to "severe congestion and degradation of international voice calls."It said national calls in the Emirates and Internet access were not affected.DU serves large residential communities of expatriates in the Emirates, including residents on the man-made luxury islands off the coast of Dubai. The Internet provider also serves Dubai International Financial Center.The full impact of the latest incident on trade in the Mideast's business hub will not be gauged until Sunday, the first working day after the Friday-Saturday Muslim weekend.Earlier Friday, FLAG said that a repair ship was expected to arrive Tuesday at the site of the damaged cables off the coast of Alexandria, and that repair work would likely take a week.The Mediterranean cut took place 8.3 kilometers (5 miles) from Alexandria, on a stretch linking Egypt to Italy, the company said but gave no explanation why repairs would take so long. Alexandria harbor has been closed for most of this week because of bad weather.Egypt's Minister of Communications and Information Technology Tarek Kamil said Friday that the Internet service in the country would be up and running to about 80 percent of its usual capacity within 48 hours, revising an earlier statement that this level would be restored by late Friday."However, it's not before ten days until the Internet service returns to its normal performance," Kamil told the Friday edition of the state Al-Ahram newspaper. There are eight million Internet users in Egypt, according to a ministry count.Kamil described Wednesday's damage as an "earthquake" and said the reason behind the cut would only be determined once repair teams with their robot equipment reach the damaged cables.The official MENA new agency quoted Kamil as saying technicians managed to raise the level of the Internet service Thursday to about 45 percent and that Telecom Egypt would get soon a bandwidth of 10 gigabyte to be increased to 13 gigabyte-close to the country's total capacity of 16 gigabytes.But Internet access remained sporadic Friday.The paper also said that state Telecom Egypt on Thursday "sealed a deal" for a new 3,100 kilometer (1,900 miles) -long undersea cable between Egypt and France, also through the Mediterranean that would take over 18 months to complete. It did not say who Telecom's partners in the deal were.

As in the days of Noah....

World Bank Using U.S. Funds To Boost Iranian Industry, Gas Sectors

WASHINGTON-The World Bank is using millions of dollars in American taxpayer funds to help Iran build up its industrial and natural gas sectors, FOX News has learned. This comes at a time when the United States and the United Nations are actively working to discourage the international community from conducting commercial transactions with Iran and its energy sector,in particular. The World Bank's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) pledges money to secure foreign investments in developing countries, and the U.S. government is one of the agency's largest contributors. U.S. contributions since 2000 have totaled nearly $24 million. Documents and public filings obtained by FOX News show the MIGA has issued $122.2 million in guarantee coverage for three companies from Thailand and Japan, that have in turn invested a total of $42.8 million in a state-owned Iranian petrochemical company.The MIGA guarantees insure the three investors-Cementhai Chemicals Company and National Petrochemical Public Company Ltd., both of Thailand, and Itocho Corporation, of Japan-against the risk of "war and civil disturbance," and any potential breach of contract by the government of Iran.In addition, Itocho is providing the Iranian company, Mehr Petrochemical, with a $96 million shareholder loan, which also is underwritten by MIGA.Iran's National Petrochemical Co. chairman Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh serves on the board of Mehr Petrochemical, according to Middle East financial industry-watch site, http://www.zawya.com/. The National Petrochemical is a subsidiary of the Iranian Petroleum Ministry.
First-Time Aid to Iran
The project marks the first time MIGA has provided such coverage for foreign investment in Iran. The timely infusion of foreign cash, according to MIGA documents, will enable the Islamic republic to mine the South Pars gas field, a giant offshore gas reserve in the Persian Gulf, and to construct and operate a nearby high-density polyethylene plant, where the gas will be processed for industrial uses.These projects, a MIGA summary states, will help Iran "diversify the country's exports away from oil" and "contribute to government revenues."The South Pars project is not MIGA's only thrust into Iran, however. The agency's paperwork for a separate project shows a $5 million equity and loan guarantee provided to a Turkish company whose plants in Iran produce and export polypropylene containers. The documents say Iran's economy is "over-reliant on oil," and boasts the Turkish venture will "help diversify Iran's economy ... while introducing state-of-the-art, lean manufacturing techniques that can be replicated for use in other industrial facilities."
At Odds With U.S. Policy?
American and allied officials at the U.N. have been working for years to discourage foreign investment in just such kinds of projects in Iran, fearing they will directly or indirectly aid the Islamic republic's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as well as the regime's support for terrorist groups across the Middle East.Last October, the Bush administration designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its elite Quds Force as terror organizations-the IRGC for weapons proliferation, and the Quds Force for support of terrorism. At the time, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice standing by his side, told reporters "it is increasingly likely that if you are doing business with Iran, you are doing business with the IRGC."Paulson also called on "reputable institutions" not to serve as "bankers to this dangerous regime" and concluded "many banks around the world have decided as a matter of prudence and integrity that Iran's business is simply not worth the risk."Assistant Secretary of State Sean McCormack disclosed last June that the State Department had been contacting multinational firms and state-owned companies around the world, counseling them against financial transactions with the Iranian regime and its subsidiaries."We've talked to Shell Oil,"McCormack told reporters June 12."We've talked to the Chinese national oil company.There have been several others as well,...giving them informational briefings and talking to them about whether or not, really, this is the right time to be making those sorts of big bets on the Iranian energy sector when you have a country that is already under [U.N. Security Council] Chapter 7 resolution," referring to a U.N charter section that deals with international threats.McCormack continued: "And it raises the question of, well, is this the kind of investment climate that you want to enter into? These are big bets of billions of dollars that people are calculating they're going to get returns over a significant number of years. And if you have that level of uncertainty, I think the business end will make their own calculations about whether or not that's the place where they want to invest their money."The World Bank has apparently decided otherwise, according to U.S. Reps. Steve Rothman, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill. — a former Bank staffer. They say the global lending institution has "transferred at least $50 million in U.S. and allied taxpayer funding to Iran" over the last six months.In a letter to Rice and Paulson dated Jan. 30 and obtained by FOX News, Rothman and Kirk argued the World Bank is "undermining the Iran policies of the U.N. Security Council, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States by giving technical assistance, loans and investment guarantees directly to the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."The letter urges the Bush administration to "align the World Bank board to the policy" of the U.N. Security Council, by suspending all World Bank loans to Iran and all guarantees on foreign investment in the country.Contacted by FOX News, a World Bank spokesman noted that MIGA's $127 million in guarantees was approved by the agency back in 2005, and that such guarantees do not involve disbursement of funds unless a claim is made by a foreign investor."The World Bank Group complies with UN sanctions on Iran," the Bank's website states, adding: "Arrangements have been put in place to ensure disbursements under project agreements are utilizing banking channels that are not subject to sanctions lists."The State Department did not respond to FOX News' requests for comment.


As in the days of Noah.....