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

Saturday, February 23, 2008

DECEPTION WATCH:Secret plan to avoid church gay split

The Archbishop of Canterbury is backing secret plans to create a "parallel" Church for American conservatives to avert fresh splits over homosexuality.Dr Rowan Williams has held confidential talks with senior American bishops and theologians who oppose the pro-gay policies of their liberal leaders.A handful of hardline American dioceses are already defecting from the Episcopal Church, the American branch of Anglicanism, and transferring their loyalties to a conservative archbishop in South America.Dr Williams is desperate to minimise further damage in the run up to the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference this summer which could be boycotted by more than a fifth of the world's bishops.His recent comments backing aspects of sharia law have heightened tensions by further alienating Africans who are struggling with militant Islam in their dioceses.According to insiders, Dr Williams has given his blessing to the plans to create an enclave for up to 20 conservative American bishops that would insulate them from their liberal colleagues.The scheme would allow them to remain technically within the Episcopal Church but under the care of like-minded archbishops from abroad.The Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, a moderate conservative, has agreed to participate, and other primates could be recruited. However, the initiative is likely to infuriate liberal leaders of the Episcopal Church, who will see it as an attempt to undermine their authority and interfere in their affairs.Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, the head of the Episcopal Church, has been cracking down on any diocese or parish that seeks to leave, and numerous legal actions are under way.She and her colleagues have already rejected similar proposals suggested at a meeting in Tanzania last year of all the primates, the leaders of the 38 independent Churches that constitute the Anglican Communion.However, she met a group of conservative bishops and theologians in New York last week after hearing that Dr Williams was sympathetic to the new proposals.Dr Williams, whose leadership has been under growing attack from conservatives, has been privately encouraging such a development for a number of years. So far, however, he has failed to broker a deal with Bishop Jefferts Schori, a feminist who backed the 2003 consecration of Gene Robinson as Anglicanism's first openly gay bishop.With several hundred of the world's 880 bishops expected to boycott the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, a schism is looking inevitable unless Dr Williams can paper over the cracks.Lambeth Palace declined to comment.

As in the days of Noah....

School shooter studied Hamas, says friend:'He would especially enjoy practicing his Arabic on me'

A former Northern Illinois University newspaper reporter says the killer who gunned down five innocent students in an apparently unprovoked attack liked to study Arabic and the terror group Hamas."'Assalamo alikum,' he [Steve Kazmierczak] would say to me, which means 'peace be with you' in Arabic," wrote Rasmieyh Abdelnabi in an essay published in the Chicago Sun-Times."He would proceed to ask me how I was doing and what I was up to, all in Arabic with a thick accent and a huge, excited smile," she continued.She said the two met in class at the university, took several classes together over the years, and periodically kept in touch when they didn't share classes."Our topics of choice: foreign policy and the Middle East. He would especially enjoy practicing his Arabic on me. In 2004, NIU decided to offer a year's worth of Arabic classes. Steve took both classes without hesitation, excited as could be," she wrote. Just over a week ago, Kazmierczak burst into a lecture hall and shot and killed five students and then himself. The New York Times reports he was taking an anti-anxiety drug and a sleeping aid in addition to the antidepressant Prozac.But authorities have yet to announce what they believe could have been a motive for his attack, which left Daniel Parmenter, 20, of Westchester, Ill.; Catalina Garcia, 20, of Cicero, Ill.; Ryanne Mace, 19, of Carpentersville, Ill.; Julianna Gehant, 32, of Mendota, Ill.; and Gayle Dubowski, 20, of Carol Stream, Ill., dead.On Thursday, a week after the attack, the university observed five minutes of silence, one minute for each of the victims.
Abdelnabi wrote that she initially could not believe Kazmierczak was the killer."But now I find myself wondering if I ever knew Steve, the man who shot and killed five people and then himself in a lecture hall at my alma mater, Northern Illinois University," she said.She found out about the killings through a text message from a friend, and confirmed it online.She said she acted as his "walking dictionary" occasionally. "'What does this word mean in English?' or 'What is this word in Arabic?'" she reported he would ask."Once we took a course called 'The Politics of the Middle East.' At the beginning of the course, our instructor informed us a research paper would be due by the end of the semester. Steve decided on Hamas, which is known mainly to the world as being a Palestinian terrorist group, which was the first thing that interested Steve about the group. But he also heard Hamas funded many social services, which also interested him. How could one group be put into two completely different categories, Steve would ask," she wrote.
"Unlike most of us, Steve started his research from day one, reading every book he could find on Hamas. He'd give me a status report when we saw each other in class. Steve said that his perception of Hamas changed with all the research he did," she said.Authorities also have reported that Kazmierczak took several precautions that would impede investigators, including removing a memory card from his cell phone and removing the hard drive from his computer.
Hundreds of witnesses are being interviewed, but university officials have said it's unclear of Kazmierczak's reasons.On a a blog called Muslim Watcher, writer Bruce Keegan noted Abdelnabi was the women's representative in the Muslim Student Association at NIU.

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JIHAD WATCH:Study: 3 in 4 U.S. mosques preach anti-West extremism

An undercover survey of more than 100 mosques and Islamic schools in America has exposed widespread radicalism, including the alarming finding that 3 in 4 Islamic centers are hotbeds of anti-Western extremism, WND has learned.The Mapping Sharia in America Project, sponsored by the Washington-based Center for Security Policy, has trained former counterintelligence and counterterrorism agents from the FBI, CIA and U.S. military, who are skilled in Arabic and Urdu, to conduct undercover reconnaissance at some 2,300 mosques and Islamic centers and schools across the country."So far of 100 mapped, 75 should be on a watchlist," an official familiar with the project said.Many of the Islamic centers are operating under the auspices of the Saudi Arabian government and U.S. front groups for the radical Muslim Brotherhood based in Egypt.Frank Gaffney, a former Pentagon official who runs the Center for Security Policy, says the results of the survey have not yet been published. But he confirmed that "the vast majority" are inciting insurrection and jihad through sermons by Saudi-trained imams and anti-Western literature, videos and textbooks. The project, headed by David Yerushalmi, a lawyer and expert on sharia law, has finished collecting data from the first cohort of 102 mosques and schools. Preliminary findings indicate that almost 80 percent of the group exhibit a high level of sharia-compliance and jihadi threat, including:
-Ultra-orthodox worship in which women are separated from men in the prayer hall and must enter the mosque from a separate, usually back, entrance; and are required to wear hijabs.
-Sermons that preach women are inferior to men and can be beaten for disobedience; that non-Muslims, particularly Jews, are infidels and inferior to Muslims; that jihad or support of jihad is not only a Muslim's duty but the noblest way, and suicide bombers and other so-called "martyrs" are worthy of the highest praise; and that an Islamic caliphate should one day encompass the U.S.
-Solicitation of financial support for jihad.
-Bookstores that sell books, CDs and DVDs promoting jihad and glorifying martyrdom.
Though not all mosques in America are radicalized, many have tended to serve as safe havens and meeting points for Islamic terrorist groups. Experts say there are at least 40 episodes of extremists and terrorists being connected to mosques in the past decade alone.Some of the 9/11 hijackers, in fact, received aid and counsel from one of the largest mosques in the Washington, D.C., area. Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center is one of the mosques indentified by undercover investigators as a hive of terrorist activity and other extremism.It was founded and is currently run by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Imams there preach what is called "jihad qital," which means physical jihad, and incite violence and hatred against the U.S.Dar al-Hijrah's ultimate goal, investigators say, is to turn the U.S. into an Islamic state governed by sharia law.
Another D.C.-area mosque, the ADAMS Center, was founded and financed by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and has been one of the top distributors of Wahhabist anti-Semitic and anti-Christian dogma.Even with such radical mosques operating in its backyard, the U.S. government has not undertaken its own systematic investigation of U.S. mosques.In contrast, European Union security officials are analyzing member-state mosques, examining the training and funding sources of imams, in a large-scale project.Some U.S. lawmakers want the U.S. to conduct its own investigation."We have too many mosques in this country," said Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y. "There are too many people who are sympathetic to radical Islam. We should be looking at them more carefully."

As in the days of Noah....

WITNESS:"Hijab problem" sparks police standoff in Tehran

Fredrik Dahl has been reporting for Reuters from Iran since March 2007. A native of Sweden, he has also worked in Helsinki, Brussels, Sarajevo, Belgrade and London during 20 years with Reuters. In the following story, he recounts how he watched Iranian police detain a woman deemed to be violating the Islamic dress code.
By Fredrik Dahl
TEHRAN-Wearing a brightly colored headscarf and high-heeled boots, the woman refused to be bundled into the police van without a fight.Protesting loudly and even trying to escape, her standoff with Iranian police cracking down on women violating the Islamic dress code lasted several minutes.But the outcome of the drama shortly after dusk on a cold winter's day on Tehran's most famous boulevard was never in doubt.Two female police officers in head-to-toe black chadors pushed her into the white vehicle which then drove off into the bustle of tree-lined Vali-ye Asr Avenue."Hijab problem," one male onlooker said, referring to the clothes women must wear in Iran to cover their hair and disguise the shape of their bodies to conform with Iran's Islamic laws.Based in Tehran for the past year,I have often written about police detaining women who challenge the dress codes that have been more strictly enforced under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.But this was the first time I saw it happening. To judge by the passers-by who stopped in the lamplight on the snowy pavement, or the people peeping out through the windows of the neighborhood grocery store where I was buying milk, my curiosity was shared.
The dark-haired woman, who appeared to be in her 30s, argued in a high-pitched voice with a burly, bearded male police officer towering over her in his green uniform.When his female colleague put a hand on the woman's shoulder to lead her into the van, she angrily pushed it away and shouted. Then suddenly she turned and tried to run away.She did not get far. The two female officers grabbed her and shoved her into the police vehicle. The door was slammed shut and the van disappeared into Tehran's evening rush hour.
"Not good," a fellow shopper told me in halting English, shaking his head in disapproval at the police action.Thousands of women have been hauled in or warned by police in the 10 months since the authorities launched one of the strictest campaigns in recent years.In addition to the annual summer crackdown, when sweltering heat prompts some women to shed clothing, police in December announced a drive against winter fashions seen as immodest, such as tight trousers tucked into long boots.Iran's clerical leaders say Islamic attire helps protect women against the sex symbol status they have in the West. But young women in wealthier urban areas often defy the restrictions by wearing tight clothing and colorful headscarves that barely cover their hair. The codes are less commonly flouted in poor suburbs and rural regions.Even men with spiked haircuts deemed too "Western" are being targeted by the authorities in the latest clampdown.
One Iranian woman in her early 40s told me later the campaign had persuaded her to dress more conservatively, but younger women "are not scared anymore".Those found dressing inappropriately may be warned or, if they are repeat offenders, can spend the night in a police station and may also be fined.The authorities say they are "fighting morally corrupt people". An opinion poll published by the semi-official Fars News Agency last year said most Iranians polled supported the way police were dealing with women wearing "bad hijab".But there was little obvious sign of approval from the small audience who watched the incident in Elahiyeh, a relatively well-off suburb in north Tehran.Then after a few sighs and a bit of muttered discussion, the customers shrugged off the commotion and returned to their shopping, as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.I stepped out into streets blanketed in snow during Iran's coldest winter in decades, wondering about the woman.

As in the days of Noah....

Cuba to name new leader to succeed Fidel Castro

HAVANA-Cuba's rubber-stamp National Assembly will name Fidel Castro's successor on Sunday, ending the 49-year rule of the bearded revolutionary who turned Cuba into a communist state on America's doorstep.His brother Raul Castro, who has been running Cuba since the 81-year-old leader was sidelined by illness 19 months ago, is widely expected to become the next president.The 614-member legislature meets at 10 a.m. EST.An announcement on composition of the Council of State, the island's highest executive body, is expected in the afternoon.Fidel Castro, who has aged from a military fatigue-clad commander in chief who gave seven-hour speeches under the Caribbean sun into a shuffling old man, has not appeared in public since undergoing intestinal surgery in July 2006.He will retain significant but potentially waning influence as first secretary of the ruling Communist Party. Castro announced his retirement as president last Tuesday, almost half a century after he ousted a U.S.-backed dictator in an armed revolution and began to create a persona that would turn him into an icon of the left, a perpetual thorn in Washington's side and a tyrant to his foes.He said he was too weakened by his undisclosed illness to continue governing but would soldier on in the "battle of ideas" by writing articles.Anti-Castro exiles and U.S. President George W. Bush have led calls for democratic reform on the island.But in the streets of the capital Havana, the mood is more of indifference than expectation of political changes. Few think that with Fidel Castro gone the West's last communist state will crumble swiftly like many Soviet allies did.Some of his staunchest supporters think he is still the unquestionable "leader of the revolution" and will continue pulling the strings of power."He has not left power. Fidel will never resign from revolution and power. What he is doing is resigning his posts, like the Che (Argentine revolutionary Ernesto Guevara) did," said Alejandro Ferras, 87, who followed Castro into the near suicidal attack on the Moncada army barracks in 1953.
"He will continue fighting like a soldier in the Battle of Ideas," Ferras said in his dilapidated Old Havana home, where he has lived for 62 years.An army general who has lived in the shadow of his more famous and charismatic brother, Raul Castro is considered a manager more concerned with putting food on Cuban tables than waging an ideological war against the United States.As acting president, Raul Castro has fostered debate on the failings of Cuba's state-run economy and raised expectations that reform may be coming. In December he stated that Cuba has "excessive prohibitions."But so far he has delivered little other than relaxing customs rules for appliances and car parts that are much in demand,and desperately short in supply, in Cuba. Many Cubans hope they will soon be allowed to freely buy and sell their homes, travel abroad and stay at hotels and beaches where only foreigners can now set foot.Last year, Raul Castro extended an olive branch to the United States, saying he was open to talks but only after President George W. Bush, who tightened economic sanctions and travel restrictions to Cuba, leaves office.Bush administration officials rejected the offer, calling Raul Castro "Fidel Lite" and denouncing what they see as the handing of power from one dictator to another.

As in the days of Noah....

Ahmadinejad: US Should Apologize to Iran

TEHRAN, Iran-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on the U.S. and its allies Saturday to "apologize" to Iran for accusing it of seeking nuclear weapons-a day after the U.N. nuclear watchdog released its latest report on Iran's atomic program.Ahmadinejad said the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency vindicated Iran and warned that Tehran would take unspecified "reciprocal measures"against any country that imposed additional sanctions against Iran.The IAEA report said several past questions about Iran's nuclear program had been resolved,but highlighted Tehran's continued refusal to halt uranium enrichment.Ahmadinejad said in a televised address to the nation that the best way for the U.S. and its allies to "compensate for their mistakes" is to "apologize and pay compensation.""If they continue" pursuing sanctions, he said, "we have definitely drawn up reciprocal measures." Ahmadinejad did not elaborate.
As in the days of Noah....

CULTURE of DEATH:Artist hanged herself after aborting her twins

An artist killed herself after aborting her twins when she was eight weeks pregnant, leaving a note saying:[[[["I should never have had an abortion. I see now I would have been a good mum."]]]][[[Emma Beck was found hanging at her home in Helston, Cornwall, on Feb 1 2007. She was declared dead early the following day - her 31st birthday.Her suicide note read: "I told everyone I didn't want to do it, even at the hospital. I was frightened, now it is too late.I died when my babies died. I want to be with my babies: they need me, no-one else does."]]]The inquest at Truro City Hall heard that Miss Beck had split up with her boyfriend, referred to as "Ben" after he "reacted badly" to the pregnancy. She saw her GP before the termination, but missed an appointment at a hospital in Penzance. She then cancelled, but later turned up to an appointment at a clinic at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske.The counsellor was on holiday so a doctor referred Miss Beck to a pregnancy counselling telephone service eight days before carrying out the abortion when she was eight weeks pregnant, the inquest heard.[[[The coroner, Dr Emma Carlyon, ordered that the identities of the doctor who performed the abortion and her lead consultant be kept secret.]]]{{{{The inquest heard that Sylvia Beck, the victim's mother, wrote to the hospital after her daughter's death, saying: "I want to know why she was not given the opportunity to see a counsellor."She was only going ahead with the abortion because her boyfriend did not want the twins."I believe this is what led Emma to take her own life - she could not live with what she had done."}}}}[[[[[[[The doctor said: "I discussed Emma's situation with her, and wrote on the form, 'Unsupported, lives alone, ex-partner aware'."It is normal practice to give a woman the number for telephone counselling when a counsellor is not available."I am satisfied that everything was done to make sure that Emma consented to the operation.She added: "We have since appointed more counsellors so there is more holiday cover."Katie Gibbs, Miss Beck's GP, told the hearing: "She was extremely distressed by the abortion procedure, and I didn't think she ever came to terms with it."She had a long history of anxiety and depression. Despite my best efforts, she was not willing to see a counsellor after the termination."Her boss at the clinic, said: "The time that can be given to a woman by a counsellor is limited in a busy hospital."I am satisfied everything was done to make sure Emma was consenting to surgery. I don't feel there was any gap in the counselling service."There were lots of individuals who would be alert to any doubts. The comments made by Emma's mother are not about a doctor I recognise."Mrs Beck told the court: "Emma was considered a talented artist, and sold a number of paintings."She was pleased when she became pregnant, but Ben reacted badly to the news."Recording a verdict of suicide, Dr Carlyon said: "It is clear that a termination can have a profound effect on a woman's life."But I am reassured by the evidence of the doctors here."]]]]]]
PS:What a horrible tragedy!!!!!!And this bunch of "doctors"....you talk about "seared conscience"(1 Tim 4:2)......they have absolutely no conviction of any wrong doing....This is the pathetic world in which we live in....And what about the sorry irresponsible father....?Why is it that there is no legislation against this crime...????Horrible...a soul in hell and two precious babies in heaven....A total of three wonderful lives lost for ever....!!!!!

As in the days of Noah....

North Korea Praises Castro as Closest Comrade After His Resignation

SEOUL, South Korea-North Korea praised Fidel Castro on Saturday as a close ally who did not allow U.S. sanctions and a blockade to hinder his leadership of Cuba."The Korean people have regarded Fidel Castro as the closest comrade-in-arms and comrade, and will make positive efforts to steadily consolidate and develop the relations of friendship with the fraternal Cuban people," the North's official Korean Central News Agency cited the Foreign Ministry as saying.The ailing 81-year-old leader ended his 49-year rule of the Caribbean nation when he resigned as president Tuesday.Most expect Castro's brother Raul, five years his junior, to succeed him. Raul Castro has been acting president since his brother fell ill in July 2006.The ministry wished Fidel Castro a swift recovery, hoping "everything will go well in Cuba in the future too," KCNA said."Fidel Castro has wisely led the party, government and people of Cuba to triumphantly advance the socialist cause in Cuba despite the U.S. persistent sanctions and blockade," it said.North Korea and Cuba are among the last surviving communist regimes in the world. The two countries are on the U.S. blacklist of states sponsoring terrorism, along with Iran, Syria and Sudan.
As in the days of Noah....

Denver Public Schools Consider Offering Contraceptives to Students

DENVER-Denver's public schools are debating whether to offer contraceptives in school clinics.The debate began last week in a school board meeting.The board took no action except to accept a report on the proposal.The Rocky Mountain News said the report calls for several additions to the clinic system, including contraceptives.Other additions would be preventative dental care, more nurses and creating a school for students with severe mental or chronic mental problems.The contraceptive proposal drew negative responses from religious groups and organizations who want to reduce the teen pregnancy rate.
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Japanese rocket launch

PESTILENCE WATCH:Measles cases jump to record high

The number of measles cases in England and Wales jumped more than 30% last year to the highest level since records began in 1995.The Health Protection Agency (HPA) recorded 971 cases during the year - up from 740 in 2006.The agency issued a warning last summer urging parents to get their children immunised with the MMR jab.Experts have repeatedly stressed that public concerns about the safety of the jab have no foundation.MMR immunisation rates dipped following research which raised the possibility that the jab may be linked to an increased risk of autism.However, the research has since been debunked, and a string of studies have concluded that the triple vaccine - which protects against rubella and mumps as well as measles - is perfectly safe.The latest figures show that there were 272 confirmed cases of measles in the final quarter of 2007, compared with 412 the previous quarter.
Specific groups
The HPA report said most reported cases of measles were associated with outbreaks in travelling and religious communities where vaccine uptake has been historically low.There have also been numerous smaller outbreaks in nurseries and schools.Most of the measles cases (79%) were in children under the age of 15.A total of 90 cases were among children under one, 312 were in one to four-year-olds and 237 cases were in five to nine-year-olds.Among those aged 10 to 14, there were 128 cases, according to the HPA.During 2007, 73% of cases were reported in south eastern England, with 424 cases in London and 159 in the East of England.Dr Mary Ramsay, a HPA consultant epidemiologist, said: "This increase in measles cases is of concern.
"Although MMR coverage is starting to improve, we know that large numbers of children are still not fully protected."Therefore we expect to see more large outbreaks of measles in the future."Dr Ramsay said the difficulty was predicting when and where the outbreaks would occur. "The only way to reduce the impact of such outbreaks is to ensure the uptake of the MMR vaccine increases, and that older children who have missed out come forward for vaccination.
"Our main focus is to remind people that they need two doses of the MMR vaccine to be fully protected."Anyone who has not had two doses could be at risk of this serious infection."A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "MMR uptake has increased in recent years - now about 17 out of every 20 children have the MMR vaccine before they are two years old."We want to see more children protected against these potentially serious diseases."

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U.S. says missed intelligence after spy act expired

WASHINGTON-U.S. spy agencies have missed intelligence in the days since terrorism surveillance legislation expired, the Bush administration said on Friday, but Democrats accused it of fear mongering and blamed it for any gaps.U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey(picture left) and Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell fired the latest shot in the administration's battle with Congress to obtain new legislation to wiretap terrorism suspects.The officials told Congress telecommunications firms have been reluctant to cooperate with new wiretaps since six-month temporary legislation expired last weekend."We have lost intelligence information this past week as a direct result of the uncertainty created by Congress' failure to act," the two officials told House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes in a letter.They urged Reyes, a Texas Democrat, to reconsider his opposition to legislation passed last week by the Senate.But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republican lawmakers and the administration had failed to participate on Friday in congressional staff negotiations over the bill, and noted President George W. Bush opposed extending the temporary act."The president and congressional Republicans have only themselves to blame," for any missed intelligence, said Pelosi, a California Democrat.The measure passed by the Senate would provide retroactive lawsuit immunity to firms which cooperated with warrantless wiretaps that Bush authorized after the September 11 attacks.
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BIG BROTHER WATCH:Car-sharing cameras being tested

A new generation of road camera which can deduce how many people are in a car is to be tested for the first time.It will initially be used to monitor car-sharing lanes in Leeds, but councils across Britain are said to be interested in using the technology.Four out of five cars driving into cities at rush hour have only one person in them.The government believes encouraging people to share journeys will help combat congestion. It wants councils to look at building more "high-occupancy vehicle" lanes.Enforcing the lanes has previously been a problem. In the US drivers often trick police and cameras with dummies and even large dogs to allow them to use lanes reserved for more than one person.The new camera, developed at Loughborough University, can see how many people are in a car by detecting water and blood content.The technology could lead to a big increase in the number of car-share lanes on British roads.The inventor of the camera, Professor John Tyrer, believes the camera is key to reducing congestion."It allows you to automatically count people. That means you can sort out the congestion on the roads now the lanes now actually work properly," he said."That pools through to the congestion charging so they can charge differently or reduce the rates dramatically if you've got more people in the cars, and the same with car parking."Car-sharing lanes are already in operation in areas of Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol and North Somerset.In Birmingham - on the A47 Heartlands spine road - only cars carrying at least two people are allowed to join motorbikes and cycles in using the lane, in a bid to ease congestion into the city centre.Work is currently taking place on the M1 in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire to widen the road for a car-sharing lane.
Environmental benefits
Roads minister Rosie Winterton welcomed moves encouraging car sharing."We're certainly encouraging local authorities to look at innovative solutions to the problems that are created by congestion," she said."High-occupancy vehicle lanes can be part of that because they certainly encourage car sharing. It also contributes to improving the environment and can cut the cost of travelling as well."But Edmund King, president of the AA, said that in practice, car sharing does not work."Most of us today work flexible hours. We don't go to work or come home from work at the same time," he said."Plus they're incredibly difficult to enforce, and if not many people use them they're actually a waste of road capacity."

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Iran says more sanctions won't halt nuclear plan

TEHRAN-World powers can pass U.N. sanctions resolutions for 100 years without deterring Iran from its nuclear ambitions, Iran's president said on Saturday.Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's defiant comments came a day after a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Iran was being more transparent about its nuclear plans but was not doing enough to clear up concerns about whether Tehran had military aims.Tehran insists its plans are peaceful. But the United States, which has accused Iran of seeking to build nuclear bombs, said Friday's International Atomic Energy Agency report was a good reason to impose more U.N. sanctions."If they want to continue with that path (of sanctions), we will not be harmed. They can issue resolutions for 100 years," the president told state television in an interview. Those leading the bid to impose more penalties, an apparent reference to Washington, and its allies could not "bring the Iranian nation to its knees," he said."If they continue (with this pressure), we have designed reciprocal actions," he said without elaborating.Iranian officials have previously warned that the Islamic Republic could review cooperation with the IAEA, if pushed.The president declared the IAEA report a "victory" for the Iranian nation, pointing to areas of the document which showed Iranian cooperation had cleared up suspicions.
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As in the days of Noah....

PESTILENCE WATCH:Bluetongue risk 'starts in April'

Livestock farms in the UK will again be at risk from bluetongue from the second half of April, predict scientists.Researchers have produced a map showing when farms in different parts of England and Wales are at most risk.They say midges that could spread the virus will become active from the middle of March, but could begin infecting livestock just weeks later.Last year, only a small number of farms were affected, but scientists warn many more are at risk during 2008.The head of the team feared that a vaccine would not be ready until after the first animals had become infected.Philip Mellor of the Institute for Animal Research warned that the disease, if left unchecked, would spread across the country this year."In the UK in 2007, the disease involved between 60 or 70 farms," he told BBC News."But with the sort of increase in infection we've seen in northern Europe, we'd be expecting thousands of farms to be infected this year."Professor Mellor's team has been studying the lifecycle of midges and what happens to them when they are infected with the bluetongue virus.The researchers have discovered that if the temperature doesn't drop below 15C (59F), it would take about two weeks for the insects to build up a sufficient amount of the virus to infect livestock. Assuming that this year's weather follows the same pattern as 2007, they have built up a picture of how they think bluetongue could spread.Current estimates suggest that animals in Kent will be the first to be at risk from 21 April. But days after, midges in other parts of southern England could begin spreading infection.By May, outbreaks could be happening in Wales and the Midlands; towards the end of the month and early June, the disease is predicted to have made its way to northern England.According to one of the scientists involved, John Gloucester, who is on secondment from the Met Office, the projections should help the government contain the disease."At the end of the day, we can't stop the midges from flying from one area to another," he told BBC News."But clearly we can target the vaccines and general surveillance in the areas that are first likely to become infected."The government's acting chief vet Fred Landeg has ordered 22.5 million doses of vaccine."Almost certainly the disease will re-emerge because that's been the experience of northern Europe," he said."Unlike last year in northern Europe, we hope that vaccine will be available and should limit clinical signs in herds and protect them from infection."But I think if people don't vaccinate you will see the disease re-emerge with a vengeance and slowly spread."Professor Mellor's and his team's projections suggest that the first infections could begin before the first batches of vaccine are available to farmers."This vaccine is supposed to arrive in May this year - that's the time that virus transmission should be getting underway," he explained."So it's a race between the delivery of vaccine and transmission of the virus - it is going to be a very close race."
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Bomb blast hits bus near Colombo

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-A bomb exploded inside a bus near Colombo, injuring at least two people Saturday, according to Sri Lankan police.Police said they suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in the attack, which happened in Mount Lavinia, a suburb of the Sri Lankan capital.Sri Lanka has been in turmoil for the past several years, despite a Norwegian-brokered truce reached in 2002. On January 16, the government formally withdrew from the cease-fire with the separatist group.In the first six weeks of 2008, the conflict has claimed more than 180 civilian lives-an average of 30 a week, International Committee of the Red Cross said in a report last week. Another 270 people were injured.The casualties have come from a wave of attacks on buses, train stations and other public places that the government has blamed the Tamil Tiger rebels of carrying out. The fighting in Sri Lanka pits government forces in a country dominated by the Sinhalese ethnic group against rebels from the Tamil minority. The rebels are fighting for the creation of an independent nation, citing discrimination by the Sinhalese.

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LAND FULL Of VIOLENCE:East Timor extends emergency rule

East Timor's parliament has extended a state of emergency imposed after attacks on the nation's top leaders.The emergency rule, which will be in place for another 30 days, includes a ban on rallies and a night-time curfew.Since the attacks, which left President Jose Ramos-Horta critically wounded, security personnel have been hunting for the rebels behind the shootings.More than 1,000 police and soldiers paraded through the city's streets on Friday in an apparent show of strength.
Hunting the rebels
In the aftermath of the 11 February attacks, the country declared a state of emergency which was due to end on Saturday.Lawmakers have now voted by 34 to 12 to extend it by another 30 days, with the government issuing a statement saying that "criminal groups still walk free and are a serious threat to the organs of the state and to the people".Army and police officers are scouring the hills around Dili in their search for the rebels, who are renegade soldiers with grievances dating back to the violence that paralysed East Timor in May 2006."Wherever they are hiding, in rat holes or under stones, we will chase them," army commander Brig Gen Matan Ruak told reporters."Our operations will also be against their supporters and those who provide them with food and credits for their cell phones."So far the security services have issued arrest warrants for 17 people, including Gastao Salsinha, who replaced Alfredo Reinado as the rebels' leader after he was killed during the attacks.Meanwhile Mr Ramos-Horta is continuing to recover from the injuries he sustained.He has undergone a series of operations at an Australian hospital, for bullet wounds to the back and chest, and on Thursday he regained consciousness from a drug-induced coma.Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao was also attacked by the rebels on same day as the president, but he was not hurt.
As in the days of Noah...

Latin America nuclear pact signed

Argentina and Brazil have agreed to build a joint nuclear reactor to address looming energy shortages. The agreement came as part of a plan by South America's two biggest economies to extend defence and energy projects.It was announced after talks in Buenos Aires between Argentine President Cristina Fernandez and her Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.Brazil would export electricity to Argentina in the winter months ahead amid shortage fears, Mr Lula said."We're going to launch a satellite jointly and develop a nuclear project," said Mr Lula.He added that the venture would "serve as an example in this world, ablaze with the temptation to build up arms and with political and ideological intolerance".Each country currently has two operating nuclear plants, and both have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Bolivian gas dispute
The two leaders see the joint nuclear project as a way to increase energy supply while raising their profile on the international stage, says the BBC's Americas editor Warren Bull.But while energy issues dominated the first of two days of talks, the two presidents did not refer directly to a dispute over the ratio of Bolivian gas supplied to the two countries.La Paz currently prioritizes its exports to Brazil, its biggest client, which imports 30 million cubic metres of Bolivian natural gas per day.Argentina imports a maximum of 7.7 million cubic metres per day from Bolivia, and would like a bigger share.There are fears it could suffer from acute energy shortages during the southern hemisphere's winter months ahead.It is hoped the issue will be resolved during a joint meeting with Bolivian President Evo Morales on Saturday.

As in the days of Noah...

DICTATORSHIP WATCH:Mugabe 'confident' of sixth term

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says he is confident his ruling Zanu-PF party will win next month's elections.He was speaking at a rally to launch his campaign for a sixth term in power and celebrate his 84th birthday.Thousands gathered at the rally in the town of Beitbridge on the border with South Africa.Launching his manifesto in the eastern town of Mutare, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, said Zimbabwe was bleeding under "dictatorship".The presidential, legislative, senate and local council polls are scheduled for 29 March.
Economic crisis
Mr Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980.
Zimbabwe is suffering an economic crisis, with annual inflation of 100,000%, and unemployment at 80%. There are also severe food and fuel shortages.Many of Zimbabwe's problems have been blamed by the opposition and Western countries on the policies of President Mugabe.But he told his supporters that his party would win the elections "resoundingly" and he was ready for a fight with those who criticised his presidency, including President Bush and British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown."It is the sanctions that they have imposed which have caused a great deal of harm on the economy," he said.
Mr Tsvangirai - who leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - is one of three candidates challenging him in the presidential poll.The others are independent candidates - former Finance Minister Simba Makoni and Langton Towungana.Mr Makoni, 58, has pledged to turn round the country's economic fortunes if elected.He has been expelled from Zanu-PF, and Mr Mugabe has compared him to a prostitute.Launching his campaign before thousands of supporters in Mutare, Mr Tsvangirai said:"All of Zimbabwe is in the custody of a dictatorship. We're all bleeding, but we're marching on. We're weak and with hunger, but we're stronger with anger."He said the Zimbabwean economy was "an enclave economy that is uneven, unequal and virtually dead"."Zimbabwe is one of the world's great humanitarian crises," he said.BBC southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles says Mr Mugabe's annual birthday celebration is always a lavish occasion, and the state media have poured adulation on the Zimbabwean president this week.Across the border in South Africa, Zimbabwean exiles have been staging an anti-Mugabe demonstration.Roy Bennett of the MDC addressed the crowd of about 200 exiled Zimbabwean activists."After 28 years, a man who is now 84 years old is having a birthday party. A birthday party while everybody around him is starving and dying."

As in the days of Noah....

Jail for Facebook spoof Moroccan

A Moroccan computer engineer has been sentenced to three years in jail for setting up a Facebook profile in the name of a member of the royal family.Fouad Mourtada was arrested on 5 February on suspicion of stealing the identity of Prince Moulay Rachid, younger brother of King Mohammed VI.The Casablanca court also ordered Mr Mourtada, 26, to pay a $1,300 fine.The prosecution had urged the court to impose a sentence which set an example for others.Mr Mourtada was convicted of "villainous practices linked to the alleged theft of the prince's identity".In his defence, he said he admired the prince, and that the Facebook entry was just intended to be a bit of fun.
'Beaten unconscious'
A website supporting him published a letter addressed to the prince apologising for the incident.
The letter, reportedly penned by Mr Mourtada's family, requested clemency."Fouad Mourtada, like thousands of people who create fake profiles of well-known personalities or celebrities on Facebook, has in no way acted in a willingness to cause nuisance to Your Highness, for whom he has always shown the greatest of respect," the letter on the Help Fouad website reads.Earlier this week some Moroccan bloggers went "on strike", suspending their regular blog entries for 24 hours in protest at Mr Mourtada's detention.According to the website, he told family members who visited him in jail that he had been blindfolded and beaten unconscious at the time of his arrest.


As in the days of Noah...

Slovenia independence leader dies

Slovenia's former President Janez Drnovsek, who helped lead his country to independence and EU membership, has died at the age of 57, his office says.Mr Drnovsek was prime minister from 1992 until 2002, when he was elected president. He did not run for a second term in December due to ill health.No cause of death was given, but he had a cancerous kidney removed in 1999.The disease later spread to his lungs.The illness prompted him to promote a healthy lifestyle and vegetarian diet.In recent years, Mr Drnovsek wrote three books on spirituality which became best-sellers in Slovenia and were translated into several languages.
A trained economist and former banker, Mr Drnovsek was first elected to the Slovenian parliament in 1986, and served as a chairman of the former Yugoslavia's rotating presidency between 1989 and 1990.In 1991, he helped secure multi-party democracy and independence for Slovenia by acting as the country's main negotiator in talks with the Yugoslav army.After the collapse of the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia (Demos) coalition in 1992, Mr Drnovsek helped found the centre-left Liberal Democrats and led the party to victory in that year's parliamentary election.During the 10 years he served as prime minister, Mr Drnovsek helped build a healthy economy and stable democracy, and played a major role in preparing Slovenia to join the European Union and Nato in 2004.In 2002, he ran for the presidency of Slovenia, and was elected in the second round.After three years in the post, Mr Drnovsek revealed that doctors had diagnosed what he described as incurable "formations", believed to be cancer, on his lungs and liver.The diagnosis prompted him to radically change his life. He cut his staff, quit the Liberal Democrats and launched a Movement for Justice and Development open to "all people who wish to change the world for the better".He became a champion of the environment, animal rights and the oppressed, criticised his government and often boycotted state occasions."It is hard for me to say if the change was only caused by the illness," he told the Associated Press last year. "It is true that the illness acts as a shock - it awakens one."He did not run for a second five-year term in December and was succeeded by Danilo Tuerk. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7260349.stm

As in the days of Noah....

North Korea detains Russian ship

A Russian cargo ship has been detained and boarded by armed coastguard agents in North Korean waters, Russian maritime officials say.The Lida Demesh, carrying a consignment of cars from Japan, was heading for the Russian port of Vladivostok when it was stopped by patrol near Cape Musudan. No reason was given for the search, but Russian sources said the ship may have gone too close to a missile test site.A similar incident in 2005 took 15 days to resolve through diplomatic channels.The ship had sought shelter from a storm in North Korean territorial waters.
Strong winds
On Saturday, an official at Vladivostok's maritime rescue centre, Vladimir Yeroshkin, said the Lida Demesh had been detained and boarded by the North Korean coastguard about 3-5 nautical miles (5.5km) from Cape Musudan."An armed group boarded the ship and ordered the captain to change course and go to a North Korean port [Chongjin]," he told the Russian NTV network.Mr Yeroshkin said the centre had been told the ship's 25 crew-members were fine and that there had been no threat to their lives.North Korean officials in Russia said they were not aware of the reasons for the detention, but Mr Yeroshkin said strong winds might have accidentally forced the vessel into North Korean territorial waters."The forecast for our region is a N-NW wind, 15-18 metres per second," he said."This is a small two-hold ship. It is quite possible that weather conditions forced it to move closer to the coast."Most countries claim an area extending 12 nautical miles (22.2km) from their coast as territorial waters.
As in the days of Noah....

MUTTAWA WATCH:Saudi men arrested for 'flirting'

Prosecutors in Saudi Arabia have begun investigating 57 young men who were arrested on Thursday for flirting with girls at shopping centres in Mecca.The men are accused of wearing indecent clothes, playing loud music and dancing in order to attract the attention of girls, the Saudi Gazette reported.They were arrested following a request of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The mutaween enforce Saudi Arabia's conservative brand of Islam, Wahhabism.Earlier in the month, the authorities enforced a ban on the sale of red roses and other symbols used in many countries to mark Valentine's Day.The ban is partly because of the connection with a "pagan Christian holiday", and also because the festival itself is seen as encouraging relations between the sexes outside marriage, punishable by law in the kingdom.The Prosecution and Investigation Commission said it had received reports of such "bad" behaviour by 57 young men at a number of shopping centres in the holy city of Mecca, the Saudi Gazette said.The guardians of some of the men defended their actions, however, saying they would regularly get together at the weekend to have fun without ever violating laws governing the segregation of the sexes, it added.

As in the days of Noah....

Iraq warns Turkey over incursion

Iraq's foreign minister has warned that any escalation of Turkey's operation against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq could destabilise the region.Hoshyar Zebari said the "limited"raid into a remote, uninhabited area should end"as soon as possible".And the Kurdish regional leader said a "massive resistance" would be mounted if civilians were attacked.Both Turkey and the rebels have given conflicting casualty figures. The US and the UN have urged restraint.Correspondents say the aim is to isolate rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK, and to prevent them using northern Iraq as a launch-pad for attacks on Turkish soil.More than 30,000 people have been killed since the PKK began fighting for a Kurdish homeland in south-eastern Turkey in 1984.The US, the EU and Turkey consider the PKK to be a terrorist organisation.
Infrastructure targeted
Turkey said its ground forces had crossed the border to tackle rebels late on Thursday after an air and artillery bombardment.Ankara says 79 Kurdish rebels and seven Turkish soldiers have been killed in two days of fighting. Rebels said they had killed 22 Turkish soldiers - with "not more than five" PKK soldiers wounded. There is no confirmation.Reports from Turkey on the size of the assault force have varied from 3,000 to 10,000 soldiers.Without confirming any figures, PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, has said the offensive is limited in scale and troops will return as soon as possible.Iraq's foreign minister said his government had only had been informed of the Turkish incursion "in the last minute" - and did not approve it."This is a limited military incursion into a remote, isolated and uninhabited region," Mr Zebari told BBC."But if it goes on, I think it could destabilise the region, because really one mistake could lead to further escalation."Mr Zebari said despite a Turkish promise to Baghdad that Turkish troops would "avoid targeting the infrastructure", a number of bridges had already been destroyed. Kurdish region leader Massoud Barzani said the regional government would not be a part of the conflict between the Turkish government and the PKK fighters."But at the same time, we stress that if the Turkish military targets any Kurdish civilian citizens or any civilian structures, then we will order a large-scale resistance," a statement from Mr Barzani's office said.Turkey has carried out at least one ground incursion, as well as frequent air and artillery strikes, against suspected PKK targets in Iraq since parliament authorised the army to act in October 2007.But this operation's timing is unusual as the mountainous border area is still covered with heavy snow, the BBC's Sarah Rainsford reports from Istanbul.Nor have there been any major PKK attacks inside Turkey for some time, she adds.Washington said it had been informed of the incursion in advance and that it had urged the Turks to limit their action to precise targeting of rebel Kurdish targets.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about the situation."The protection of civilian life on both sides of the border remains the paramount concern," he said.

As in the days of Noah....

BIG BROTHER WATCH:Mandatory DNA database rejected

Calls to put the DNA of every UK resident on a national database are impractical, the government has said.A senior police officer has argued for a universal register, after two killers(picture left)were convicted on DNA evidence.Sally Anne Bowman's killer, Mark Dixie, and Suffolk serial murderer Steve Wright were both captured because their DNA was taken after unrelated offences.But the Home Office said a mandatory database "would raise significant practical and ethical issues".The DNA database, which covers England and Wales, currently contains around 4.5m profiles - routinely taken from criminal suspects after most arrests.It is already the largest of its kind in the world but is controversial.Since 2004, the data of everyone arrested for a recordable offence - all but the most minor offences - has remained on the system regardless of their age, the seriousness of their alleged offence, and whether or not they were prosecuted.
'Reasonable and proportionate'
Steve Wright was on the system after being convicted of theft in 2003, and when police found his DNA on the bodies of some of his victims they matched it with his profile.But Mark Dixie was not on the system at the time of Sally Anne Bowman's murder in 2005.It was only when Dixie was arrested for assault after a fight in a bar that his DNA was taken and he was linked to the murder.He was arrested within five hours.Det Supt Stuart Cundy, who led the murder hunt which led to Dixie's conviction, said: "It is my opinion that a national DNA register - with all its appropriate safeguards - could have identified Sally Anne's murderer within 24 hours."Instead it took nearly nine months before Mark Dixie was identified, and almost two-and-a-half years for justice to be done."The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) is also calling for a debate on the issue.Lincolnshire's Chief Constable, Tony Lake, who speaks for the association on DNA, said he was not convinced by the need for a universal database, but recognised the arguments on both sides.He said: "If there was a national database of everybody then we would solve more crime, of that there is absolutely no doubt..."But any database that we hold has to be reasonable and proportionate in the eyes of the public."
No 'silver bullet'
Home Office minister Tony McNulty said a national database was not a "silver bullet" and it would raise practical as well as civil liberties issues."How to maintain the security of a database with 4.5m people on it is one thing," he said."Doing that for 60m people is another."Shadow home secretary David Davis said the debate about a DNA database should be put on a "statutory footing"."Only then can we address anomalies like the fact that database contains details of hundreds of thousands of innocent people..."But does not hold the details of every serious offender."The Liberal Democrats said the party was opposed to the idea of a national system saying it did not "stack up on practical grounds".Home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne told the BBC it would involve "a massive intrusion into civil liberties".He said there would be "a real question mark over potential abuse if DNA samples and details were lost".
Human rights
In September 2007, Lord Justice Sedley - one of England's most experienced appeal court judges - called for the register to be made universal.He condemned the existing system as "indefensible", said it was biased against ethnic minorities, and it would be fairer to include everyone, guilty or innocent.Human rights organisation Liberty said a universal database could be open to abuse.But law reform group Justice said a national database should either list those guilty of a crime or everybody in the country.Meanwhile, the existing register could be threatened when the European Court of Human Rights is asked to rule next week on a test case of two Britons who want their details removed from the database.The pair, from Sheffield, had their DNA taken after they were arrested in 2001, but charges were not pressed.The applicants say their human rights have been infringed by the decision to leave their details on the database, despite the fact that they had never been found guilty of a crime.
As in the days of Noah....

New breakthrough in Uganda talks

The Ugandan government has signed a new agreement with the Lord's Resistance Army rebels, a day after the LRA walked out of peace talks in South Sudan.The agreement allows the rebels to be considered for government, diplomatic and military posts.But they will not be assigned these posts automatically, as the LRA wanted.Talks broke down on Thursday after the government refused the rebels' demands for cash and positions in government as a condition for disarming. In the current phase of the peace talks, the LRA negotiators got much less than they asked for, the BBC's Sarah Grainger reports from Kampala.They had demanded five cabinet minister positions, five ambassadorial posts and 20 other top government jobs.They wanted LRA fighters integrated into the army at their current rank, and they wanted resettlement packages for themselves, including a "golden handshake" in cash and kind on completion of a peace deal.The government negotiators have now agreed to consider people from the conflict-affected areas for appointment to top political and diplomatic positions.Former LRA combatants will be assessed for rank and experience before being integrated into the army.The agreement makes no mention of resettlement packages for the LRA peace team.
Our correspondent says the deal came as a surprise so soon after the talks broke down.She says, though, that the LRA's wish list had always seemed unobtainable, and their apparent willingness to accept compromises will be good for their public image.On Tuesday, the two sides finalised an agreement over justice and accountability for war crimes, which had been a major obstacle.A special division of the Uganda High Court will be set up to try those accused of serious crimes. The rebels hope this means their leaders will not be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court, which has issued arrest warrants for three of them.Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, as well as the details of a full ceasefire, still need to be discussed.The government has given the LRA until 28 February to end the war.Around 20 years of fighting with the LRA has killed tens of thousands of people and uprooted some two million.

As in the days of Noah...

JIHAD WATCH:Saudi Arabian Bankers Fueling Global Islamic Jihad

Rachel Ehrenfeld, Director of the American Center for Democracy, said at the Jerusalem Conference Tuesday that Saudi Arabian bankers are the main financiers of global terrorism.Corrupt “Sharia financing” banking practices - legal under Islamic law - are a fairly new phenomenon, Ehrenfeld said. They were first developed by the Muslim brotherhood in the 70s, following the financial power gained by Saudis during the oil boom. ”Saudis are using money in order to corrupt the West, to fund terrorism, and eventually to take over the West,” said Ehrenfeld. “For years, Saudi Arabia has been a main supporter of terrorism, both physically and financially, and their illegal activity is now causing many innocent investors to commit serious crimes without even the knowledge that they are doing so.”According to Ehrenfeld, Saudi Arabian bankers have roughly $1 trillion ready to be invested through means of what she terms “financial Jihad.” The financial practices she refers to as “Sharia financing” are run according to Islamic law, governed solely by the Koran and with no distinction between public and private practices. “Legitimate financing goals are literally indistinguishable from immoral and illegal practices, causing unsuspecting companies and individuals to unknowingly fund terrorism.”“Sharia financing means complete and total submission to Islamic bankers,” Ehrenfeld explained. “Investors give over all rights to choose what their money supports. They are virtually forced to divest from any company or concept that is not in agreement with Muslim ideology or belief, including any company that is even inconsequentially involved with Israel. Additionally, Saudi Arabian bankers have the right to list and delist companies as they please, without legitimate cause or legal course of action."“Not surprisingly, these illegal banking practices do not have security, which comes at a very large price to investors, who are at great risk both of losing their money, endangering their shareholders, and being prosecuted by American banking laws, which strictly forbid the financial support of terrorism. Besides the money that is used to support Islamic agenda, 20% of funds are labeled ‘mandated charity’ and go directly to foreign companies in support of terrorism.”Ehrenfeld warns: “They are expanding fast, and are now in more than 80 countries, and more than 300 financial institutions around the world. This is really spreading like wildfire.”
by Talia Zarbiv
As in the days of Noah....

Saudi Arabian Bankers Fueling Global Islamic Jihad

Kosovo may split into two parts - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW-Russia does not rule out the possibility of Kosovo splitting into Serbian and Albanian parts."A situation is emerging which in the future may lead to the self-isolation of Kosovan Serbs who disagree with or do not accept the unilateral proclamation of the independence of Kosovo by Pristina,"Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko,deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's fourth European department in charge of relations with the Balkans,told Interfax on Friday. "This can easily lead to the actual division of Kosovo," he said. http://www.interfax.ru/e/B/politics/28.html?id_issue=11975602

As in the days of Noah....

Friday, February 22, 2008

Engineering students walk on water

Stealth bomber crashes on Guam

HAGATNA,Guam-A B-2 stealth bomber crashed Saturday at an air base on Guam, but both pilots ejected safely and were in good condition, the Air Force said.It was the first crash of a B-2 bomber,said Capt. Sheila Johnston,a spokeswoman for Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.Thick,black smoke could be seen billowing from the wreckage at Andersen Air Force Base, said Jeanne Ward, a resident in the northern village of Yigo who was on the base visiting her husband. Ward said she didn't witness the crash but noticed a rising plume of smoke behind the base's air control tower.She said crowds began to gather as emergency vehicles arrived."Everybody was on their cell phones, and the first thing everyone wanted to know was did the pilots make it out in time,"she said.A board of officers will investigate the accident.Each B-2 bomber costs about $1.2 billion to build. All 21 stealth bombers are based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, but the Air Force has been rotating several of them through Guam since 2004, along with B-1 and B-52 bombers.The rotations are designed to boost the U.S. security presence in the Asia-Pacific region while other U.S. forces diverted to fight in the Middle East.The B-2 was first publicly displayed in 1988 and took its first flight a year later.The first bomber was delivered to Whiteman in 1993.The accident occurred 11 days after a Navy plane crashed into the ocean about 20 miles northeast of Guam's Ritidian Point. Four aircrew members ejected from the EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft and were rescued by helicopter.Guam is a U.S. territory 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii.
As in the days of Noah....

Chile drought affects 120,000

Sweden Home to More Iraqi Refugees Than Other European Countries

Fatin Kjalil is an Iraqi Christian. She was born and raised in Baghdad, earned a Ph.D. in physical education and worked at the city's university.But,with the war in Iraq,her world started to crumble."After the war I can't do anything because this very difficult for me because no security and you can't get any safety in Iraq,"Kjalil said.By 2004,most of her family had already fled.But, it was only after militants kidnapped and gang-raped one of her cousins and murdered another that she decided to leave."They kill him and leave him in the street,"Kjalil said."After that,I decide to leave my country and come to Sweden.I come here because my father and my mother, my sisters and brother are here."She came to Sodertalje,a small city outside of Stockholm.In the past five years,5,500 Iraqis have made it their home.That is twice as many as the State Department says the United States has admitted since the war began.In addition to Sweden's generous welfare system,what attracts Iraqis to Sodertalje is a Middle Eastern migration route dating back to the late 1960s when Assyrian Christian immigrants from Lebanon, Syria and Turkey put down roots here.And,that means today's refugees find themselves feeling at home. But Sodertalje Mayor Anders Largo says the added immigrants are stretching the resources of the city of some 80,000 people."Of course, it's a problem with a lot of people coming in a short time,"Largo said."It's a problem with flats [apartments].It could be 20 persons living on the floor in a small flat and,of course,a problem in the kindergarten and in the schools and it takes too long time before they get a job."Many native Swedish residents of Sodertalje agree."It is difficult for the city, especially education and work,"says one resident."All of them living in a small apartment, I think it is bad for that," says another."I think it is good that they can come here and be safe and get a home," says another resident.Now, Sweden is considering whether to change the way it looks after Iraqi asylum-seekers.The country has already accepted 50 percent of all the Iraqis who fled to Europe after the invasion.The danger of small pockets of Iraqis creating ghettoes is driving Swedish lawmakers to consider legislation that would force immigrants to accept living in a different town, away from the established community.Iraqi journalist Iskander Bikasha says Sweden has taken on more than its fair share of refugees and says it is up other countries to help out."That will lessen the pressure to Sweden and the Iraqi people will have another door open,"Bikasha said.But, in nearby Stockholm, Swedish Minister for Migration Tobias Billstrom says he does not believe asylum is the answer for Iraq's minority population."The Iraq people have to sit down and try to work out their disagreements, trying to resettle people and accepting ethnic cleansing is simply not an answer to the problem, in my mind," he said. Back in Sodertalje,Fatin Kjalil sees her time in Sweden as temporary. She says she is grateful to be surrounded by her family,but that she has not found work here. She does not want to be a burden on her host country and is not ready to turn her back on Baghdad."I want now, if the security is very good in Baghdad, I will return," Kjalil said."I can live in Sweden-it is not a problem for me.But I want to go back to Baghdad.I like Baghdad." In the safety of Sweden, she prays for peace in Iraq so she and thousands like her can one day return home.

As in the days of Noah....

Kosovo's stark warning

Kosovo's US-backed declaration of independence is deeply troubling. By setting a precedent of legitimizing the secession of disaffected minorities, it weakens the long-term viability of multi-ethnic states. In so doing, it destabilizes the already stressed state-based international system.States as diverse as Canada, Morocco, Spain, Georgia, Russia and China currently suffer problems with politicized minorities.They are deeply concerned by the Kosovo precedent.Even the US has latent sovereignty issues with its increasingly politicized Hispanic minority along its border with Mexico.It may one day experience a domestic backlash from its support for Kosovar independence from Serbia.Setting aside its global implications, it is hard to see how Kosovo constitutes a viable state. Its forty percent unemployment is a function of the absence of proper economic and governing infrastructures.In November 2007, a European Commission report detailed the Kosovo Liberation Army's failure to build functioning governing apparatuses.The report noted that "due to a lack of clear political will to fight corruption, and to insufficient legislative and implementing measures, corruption is still widespread… Civil servants are still vulnerable to political interference, corrupt practices and nepotism." Moreover, "Kosovo's public administration remains weak and inefficient."The report continued, "The composition of the government anti-corruption council does not sufficiently guarantee its impartiality," and "little progress can be reported in the area of organized crime and combating of trafficking in human beings."Additionally, the prosecution of Albanian war criminals is "hampered by the unwillingness of the local population to testify" against them.This is in part due to the fact that "there is still no specific legislation on witness protection in place."The fledgling failed-state of Kosovo is a great boon for the global jihad.It is true that Kosovar Muslims by and large do not subscribe to radical Islam. But it is also true that they have allowed their territory to be used as bases for Al Qaida operations; that members of the ruling KLA have direct links to al Qaida; and that the Islamic world as a whole perceived Kosovo's fight for independence from Serbia as a jihad for Islamic domination of the disputed province.According to a 2002 Wall Street Journal report, al Qaida began operating actively in Kosovo, and the rest of the Balkans in 1992. Osama bin Laden visited Albania in 1996 and 1997. He received a Bosnian passport from the Bosnian embassy in Austria in 1993. Acting on bin Laden's orders, in 1994 his deputy, Ayman Zawahiri set up training bases throughout the Balkans including a training center in Mitrovica, Kosovo. The Taliban and al Qaida set up drug trafficking operations in Kosovo to finance their operations in Afghanistan and beyond.In 2006, John Gizzi reported in Human Events that the German intelligence service, BND confirmed that the 2005 bombings in Britain and the 2004 bombings in Spain were organized in Kosovo. Furthermore, "the man at the center of the provision of the explosives in both instances was an Albanian, operating mostly out of Kosovo…who is second ranking leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Niam Behzloulzi."Then too, at its 1998 meeting in Pakistan, the Organization of the Islamic Conference declared that the Albanian separatists in Kosovo were fighting a jihad. The OIC called on the Muslim world to help "this fight for freedom on the occupied Muslim territories."Supporters of Kosovo claim that as victims of "genocide," Kosovar Muslims deserve independence. But if the Muslims in Kosovo have been targeted for annihilation by the Serbs, then how is it that they have increased from 48 percent of the population in 1948 to 92 percent today? Indeed, Muslims comprised only 78 percent of the population in 1991, the year before Yugoslavia broke apart.In recent years particularly, it is Kosovo's Serbian Christians, not its Albanian Muslims that are targeted for ethnic cleansing. Since 1999, two-thirds of Kosovo's Serbs — some 250,000 people — have fled the area...
By Caroline B. Glick
To read more go to:
As in the days of Noah...

Could Jesus Return at Any Moment?

Where is the concept of "imminency" taught in the Bible?
Does the Bible indicate that it’s possible for the Lord Jesus to return even today to rapture His Bride the Church out of the world? I’m convinced that it does indicate that. The New Testament teaches the imminency of the Lord’s return, and that means that Christ could return at any moment. Even back in New Testament times He could have returned at any moment. Now, He hasn’t yet, but it was possible back then. And the imminency concept carries with it the idea that there may be many things that would happen before Christ comes, but biblically there’s nothing that has to happen before the Lord Jesus would come to rapture the Church out of the world to be with Him in the Father’s house in Heaven.
Now, where do we get this concept that the Lord could come at any moment, maybe even today?
Well, there are a number of passages in the New Testament that really convey that concept and I’d like to deal perhaps with just three of them for our study today. First, in 1 Corinthians 16:22, the Apostle Paul said to the Corinthian Christians, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema." And then Paul interjected at the end of this verse, interesting expression, "Maranatha!" Now, what does that term mean?Well, it’s very interesting to note that that word was derived from the Aramaic language. Let me explain. The Aramaic language was the language that was spoken in the land of Israel during Jesus’ day. From all we can discern, that was even the language the Jesus spoke while He was here in the world. It was kind of a mixture of Hebrew and importing things from other languages where the Jews had lived over the centuries.This was an Aramaic expression. In fact, "Maranatha" is made up of three Aramaic words: the first one is the word mar which meant "Lord," and then the next one is ana which means "Our," and the third was tha which means "Come." So putting it together, Maranatha means "Our Lord, come." The interesting thing is, this was in the form of a petition so that when Christians would make that statement, as Paul did here, he was actually petitioning the Lord to come.Now, the question is, "Why petition the Lord to come if He can’t come at any moment?" If you know that He can’t come until a year from now, or ten years from now, or a hundred or a thousand years from now, it would really be useless to be petitioning the Lord as if He could come right now.Another intriguing thing about this is that, although this is an Aramaic expression which apparently began with Jewish believers in the Lord Jesus in the land of Israel during the first century, here Paul uses this word to Greek speaking people at a Greek Church in the city of Corinth. And he’s writing it in a letter that he wrote in the Greek language.So scholars have asked the question: "Why would Paul throw out an Aramaic term at people who knew the Greek language and in a Greek book that he’s writing?" Scholars have concluded that the reason for that is that this expression had become a widespread expression by Christians all over the ancient world. Even though they may not have known any other expression in the Aramaic language, they learned what this one meant, so they used it as a byword. Some feel they even used it as a greeting when they would see each other to identify themselves as believers. They would say, "Maranatha" (Our Lord, come.) But again, it’s conveying a concept that the Lord could come at any moment, otherwise, why petition Him to come? It’s imminency that’s being conveyed here.A second significant passage out of many others in the New Testament on the imminency of the Lord’s return is 1 Thessalonians 1:10. Here the Apostle Paul is in this context is talking about commendable attitudes or deeds which were characteristic of the Thessalonians Christians of this time. And one of those commendable attitudes or actions was this: they were "waiting for God’s Son from Heaven."Now, some fascinating things about the verb form translated "wait." That word literally meant "to wait up for," and it was used back in the ancient world for people who were waiting up for the arrival of a person whom they were expecting to come. Now, the idea behind that is, they were waiting up for this arrival. It’s the idea that they didn’t go to bed at their normal time. And the reason they wouldn’t go to bed at their normal time was because they were expecting this person could arrive at any moment.If they knew that this person couldn’t arrive, say, for another four, five, six hours, the normal thing for them would not be to wait up but to go to bed for the four, five or six hours, set the alarm clock (if they had alarm clocks at that time), and then wake up at the time that they knew the person would arrive. So the very fact that Paul says that the Thessalonian Christians had the attitude of waiting up for God’s Son to come from Heaven tells us that they were expecting Him to come from Heaven at any moment.Another interesting thing about this term, and scholars point this out, is that this indicates patience and confidence. And in addition, it’s in the present tense and normally in the original language of the New Testament the present tense, unless the context tells us otherwise, has the idea of a continuous action. So Paul was teaching here that the Thessalonian Christians were continuously and patiently awaiting the Lord’s coming, waiting up for Him to come, because they were confident that He could come at any moment. Again, the idea is, they believed in the imminent return of the Lord Jesus.Now, a question we could ask at this point was this: Where did they get this idea from, that the Lord could return at any moment? Well, when you read the book of Acts, which records what Paul did when he went to the city of Thessalonica on one of his missionary journeys, we find that Paul is the one who taught them what they knew about the Scriptures and the truth of God.When you read 1 Thessalonians there are several indications. Paul reminds them of things that he had taught them when he was with them. So if the Apostle Paul had been their major teacher of God’s truth, to my way of thinking, that implies that Paul was the one who had taught them of the imminent coming of Christ, that He could come from Heaven at any moment for His believers to take them home to glory to be with Him. It’s very intriguing to notice as well that Paul did not rebuke them or correct them for having this expectation and this attitude and there’s no indication that he rebuked them or corrected them at all. In fact, when you read the context, he seems to be commending them for having this attitude. So I get the distinct impression that Paul was fully convinced himself that the Lord come return at any moment, and therefore they were right in having this expectancy.Then, a third passage that I’d like to focus our attention upon for the imminency of the Lord’s return is in James 5. We want to begin with verse 7: "Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord; behold the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth and has long patience for it until he receive the early and latter rain. Be you also patient; establish you hearts, for the coming of the Lord draws nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge stands before the door."I’d like to draw your attention to two verb forms that James uses here. At the end of verse 8 he says, "the coming of the Lord draws nigh" and then in verse 9, "the judge stands before the door." A very important thing to note here is that, in the original language that James wrote, both of those verbs are in what the Greeks called the perfect tense. And the significance of the Greek perfect tense was that it is referring to an action that was completed in the past, but then there is a resultant state that continues on from that action. It just continues on indefinitely.What James is indicating there is this: that the Lord’s coming had already drawn near before James wrote this letter and the Lord’s coming continues to be near at hand, even while James wrote the letter and it would continue thereafter.And as well, "the judge stands before the door"; he was saying that there’s a sense in which Jesus Christ as the Judge of believers took His position of the door of Heaven and was standing there; He even took that position and began to stand there before James wrote this epistle and He continues to stand at the door of Heaven.A number of scholars that I researched on this said James is trying to emphasize to his readers the imminency of the Lord’s return. The idea is, the Lord could come as the Judge of Heaven through that door of Heaven at any moment and then immediately, Christians would stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ. They have their works as believers evaluated by the Lord. It’s imminency that he’s talking about here. And I’m convinced that just as it was imminent back then, the Lord could have stepped through the door of Heaven at any time.The same is true today—Christ could step through the door of Heaven at any moment, and we who are believers in Jesus Christ would be ushered into His presence and then would stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ to have our works evaluated by the Lord.
by Dr. Renald Showers -

As in the days of Noah...