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

Saturday, March 22, 2008

BIG BROTHER WATCH:Comcast Cameras To Start Watching You...???

If you have some tinfoil handy, now might be a good time to fashion a hat. At the Digital Living Room conference today, Gerard Kunkel, Comcast’s senior VP of user experience, told me the cable company is experimenting with different camera technologies built into devices so it can know who’s in your living room.The idea being that if you turn on your cable box, it recognizes you and pulls up shows already in your profile or makes recommendations. If parents are watching TV with their children, for example, parental controls could appear to block certain content from appearing on the screen. Kunkel also said this type of monitoring is the “holy grail” because it could help serve up specifically tailored ads. Yikes.Kunkel said the system wouldn’t be based on facial recognition, so there wouldn’t be a picture of you on file (we hope). Instead, it would distinguish between different members of your household by recognizing body forms. He stressed that the system is still in the experimental phase, that there hasn’t been consumer testing, and that any rollout “must add value” to the viewing experience beyond serving ads.Perhaps I’ve seen Enemy of the State too many times, or perhaps I’m just naive about the depths to which Comcast currently tracks my every move. I can’t trust Comcast with BitTorrent, so why should I trust them with my must-be-kept-secret, DVR-clogging addiction to Keeping Up with the Kardashians?Kunkel also spoke on camera with me about fixing bad Comcast user experiences, the ongoing BitTorrent battle and VOD. But he mostly towed the corporate line on these issues (the monitoring your living room came up after my camera was put away).
Written by Chris Albrecht

As in the days of Noah....

PALESTINIAN CHILD ABUSE WATCH:Horrific Arab Twist on an Ancient Blood Libel

[[[[[[[[[Palestinian Authority children in Gaza are being raised to believe the ancient Eastern European blood libel myth about Jews, with a twist: in this version, the Jews don't make matzah from children's blood; they burn them alive...((((((According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Gaza children were recently taken to an exhibit depicting Israel burning children in a crematorium.))))))The exhibit was created by a body named “The National Committee for the Defense of Children from the Holocaust.”The exhibit also featured a black platform with the words, “Stop the Israel’s Holocaust” [sic]. Both are used to reinforce programs on PA TV (the television station controlled by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah terror group) that brainwash Arab children to believe that Israel burned children during the Holocaust.About 1.5 million Jewish children were murdered during the Holocaust which accompanied World War 2. They were shot, gassed, tortured, worked, starved,frozen,neglected to death-and on some occasions,burned alive.]]]]]]]]]]Complete details about the exhibit and the TV programs can be found on the PMW website.Oslo Accords negotiator Dennis Ross, a former senior State Department official, told the New York Sun last week that he sees no signs that the Bush administration is dealing with the issue of incitement. "I have not even heard the Bush administration talk about it," he said. He revealed that during the Oslo talks, the PA agreed to review media incitement against Israel but that little change has taken place.[[[[[[[[[[From medieval times, Anti-Semites have promoted the belief that Jews kidnap and murder gentile children and use their blood in the preparation of matzah for the Passover holiday.This belief has also been resurrected recently in the Russian Siberian city of Novosibirsk, where posters have been put up warning gentile parents to “keep their eyes and ears open” and “watch their children” to guard them from “these disgusting people."]]]]]]]]]]]
As in the days of Noah....

ISLAMIC CRAZE WATCH:Two of Britain's most dangerous Islamic terrorists moved to new prison - because they complained fellow inmates were 'too white'

[[[[[[[[[[Two of Britain's most dangerous terrorists have been moved to different prisons after complaining their fellow inmates were "too white".Dhiren Barot and Omar Khyam asked to be transferred from high-security Frankland prison near Durham.(((((((Barot masterminded a radioactive bomb plot involving limousines packed with nails and explosives and Khyam plotted to blow up Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.))))))They said they were at risk from other inmates-who are predominantly white-and claimed the environment was "dangerous" to ethnic minority prisoners.]]]]]]]]]](ha,ha,ha...dangerous environment...???It is thought they had received death threats and attacks. Although their requests were initially turned down, Barot, who is serving a minium of 30 years, has since been moved to Belmarsh in south-east London.Khyam has also been moved to Full Sutton near York.{{{But news of the transfers has sparked outrage, with the Prison Service being accused of caving into prisoners' demands.}}}Barot's solicitor Miss Mudassar Arani, asked if his client could be removed from Frankland prison after a fellow inmate threw boiling water and oil over him last July.The 35-year-old suffered serious burns and spent a week in hospital.Prisoner Gary Moody was charged with wounding and assault but the case was dropped when Barot refused to press charges.Miss Arani said that Frankland was "an extremely dangerous environment for ethnic minority prisoners who now fear for their safety."She added that Barot was one of 20 Muslims in the prison which held 734 inmates.[[[[[[[[[[And she alleged there was a "white supremacist"(well....Boo Hoo....wwhat do they expect...?Oxford graduates there...??? culture at Frankland and called for the creation of Muslim-only prisons.]]]]]]]]]]It is understood that Barot was originally housed in Belmarsh prison before being moved to Frankland for radicalising other inmates.Hate preacher Abu Hamza, 49, and July 21 ringleader Muktar Said Ibrahim, 29, are also housed at Belmarsh.After he was injured in the attack, she said he was treated like a normal prisoner and locked in his cell from 4pm until morning, despite needing support to do basic tasks, such as make a phone call. Yesterday, a spokesman for her office said both Barot and Khyam had been transferred. Khyam, who was sent to Frankland from Belmarsh last June, had also complained of death threats.His solicitor Imran Khan said the move was a "victory for common sense". But Patrick Mercer, a Conservative MP, criticised the decision.He said: "Prisons are not meant to be run for the convenience of the prisoner."It is not up to them to dictate how to serve their sentence."I think we have to remember who's in charge. "These people have been convicted of hideous crimes."A spokesman for the Prison Service refused to comment.
PS:These guys are UNBELIEVABLE.....!WHo is in charge in the UK...???Have they already passed Sharia'a Law and I didnt hear about that....?????
As in the days of Noah....

SIGN of the TIMES:School arranges morning-after pills for girls of 14 after end-of-term party descends into drunken orgy

[[[[[[[[[Teachers had to arrange morning-after pills for girls as young as 14 after a class party degenerated into an orgy of binge-drinking, drugtaking and underage sex.The school said yesterday that "a disturbingly high" number of pupils had unprotected sex while drunk as up to 200 teenagers ran riot at a village hall.In stark terms, it warned parents of the risk of pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease, telling them: "Assume the worst." During the unsupervised party the hall was badly damaged and nearby residents were horrified when the revellers spilled out into the street, among them a boy stripped to his boxer shorts and scantily-clad girls.The local pub landlord said he was threatened when he refused to sell them alcohol and cigarettes.It went so far out of control that the school has taken the dramatic step of writing to all parents graphically describing what went on.]]]]]]]]]]The party was held at the village institute in Wray, on the edge of the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, by Year 11 pupils from Queen Elizabeth School in nearby Kirkby Lonsdale.Parents and hall officials are believed to have been told there would be adult supervision, but the teenagers had apparently forged signatures. After complaints from villagers, the comprehensive's deputy head, Alison Hughes, wrote to parents in stark terms.Along with "significant and harmful quantities" of drink, the children had also taken illegal drugs. Mrs Hughes added that underage sex among the partygoers - aged between 14 and 16 - had been widespread and warned that some of them may be at risk of pregnancy or sexually-transmitted diseases.She said most of the girls who had unprotected sex "were too drunk to be in control of themselves. The risks are real. Assume the worst." The girls were referred for sexual health care.Mrs Hughes also reported criminal-damage to the hall and said one boy "could have died" as a result of the cocktail of drink and drugs he apparently unwittingly consumed.Villagers said some of the children tried to break into the ambulance that took him to hospital.The deputy head said many parents wrongly assumed that because the party was being held at a village hall, there would be a responsible adult involved, and urged them to be more careful in future."This is the underside of teenage life in this area," she added. Around 70 children from the school are thought to have been among the estimated 200 party-goers.The event is thought to have been organised by two friends who sold tickets to classmates, many of whom passed the details to others.Neil Taplin, landlord of the George and Dragon, said youths had urinated against his pub's walls and sworn when he refused to serve them alcohol and cigarettes.Although an ambulance crew attended, no calls were apparently made to police.Locals who went to clean up said they found broken glass, bloodstains and evidence of drug-taking. A new sink had been smashed.Sue Rowland, who chairs the village institute committee, said the pupils had forged adults' signatures, leading them to believe it would be a supervised event.She added: "We haven't received an apology from any of the teenagers."It is not the first time children from the school have been accused of running riot. In December 2006 there were tales of drunkenness, damage and sex after a group booked out the village institute in Kirkby Lonsdale itself.

As in the days of Noah....


"And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple;and he healed them.
And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did,and the children crying in the temple,and saying,Hosanna to the son of David;they were sore displeased,
And said unto him,Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them,Yea;have ye never read,Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
And he left them,and went out of the city into Bethany;and he lodged there."

MAtthew 21:14-17

BLASPHEMY WATCH:Milwaukee newspaper promotes homo-sex play on Good Friday:Protests planned following advertisement for 'Res-erection'

A host for a Milwaukee-based radio talk show, Crosstalk America, says she will be leading a protest against the city's local newspaper, the Journal Sentinel for publishing on Good Friday an advertisement for an explicit sex show being highlighted as part of "The Res-erection" tour.The advertisement is for "Puppetry of the P---," which is to appear next month at the city's Miramar theater.The ad features two men, partly in silhouette, who appear to be nude, and whose privates are covered by "The Res-erection Tour!" slogan."As a long time reader of the Journal Sentinel and a national Christian talk show host, I am going to call for subscribers to reconsider their subscriptions in light of this decision," Ingrid Schlueter, of Crosstalk Radio Talk Show, told WND.[[[[[["It is apparently no longer safe to even open the local paper at home. The moral squalor in our culture worsens because few are prepared to take a public stand and risk abuse for doing so. We're going to take a stand,"]]]]]] she said.She described the ad as "homo-erotic" and condemned its apparent "mocking of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ," especially on such a day as Good Friday."It's clearly not what you would expect for a big city newspaper," she told WND. "You'd expect this in a seedy, fringe newspaper found in a coffee shop."She said she had tried to contact the newspaper to express her concern, but had not heard back yet. WND did get a response after leaving a message for publisher ((((((Elizabeth Brenner)))))).[[[[[["We've run this ad multiple times. This ad isn't just targeted on Good Friday," she said. "It's run for the last two or three weeks."I guess you've made an assumption this is targeted to this particular week with some intent. I happen to know this ad has run throughout the month of March. That would lead me to believe there was no particular intent with running it today," she said.She noted, however, she could not speak for the intent of the Miramar, which purchased the ad.]]]]]]Schlueter said she didn't want to be an "angry Christian, always protesting something."
"But this is so egregious. This is a morality issue. You don't have to have a journalism degree to figure out this doesn't work," she said.She said she'll announce further plans for protests on her radio program."A number of friends are going to be joining me down at the Journal Sentinel for a protest next week and I am also using the radio show to let fellow Christian Journal Sentinel readers know that there's a place to voice their concern," she said.The description of the show on the Miramar website warned of the show's explicit nature."Make no mistake, there are no sock puppets in this show! This eye POP-ing show is exactly what it pretends to be; two naked p--- puppeteers on stage presenting the ancient Australian art of genital origami with an astounding series of p--- installations," the website says.It gets more and more graphic from there on, advising it is a "non-sexual adult show."
PS:As USUAL satan ALWAYS STIRRS HIS OWN at this time of the year....This is so sick that revolts my stomach....Lots of BLIND and LOST people still out there!!!!Thats why Jesus went to the Cross,Died and Resurrected!!!!So they can also be FORGIVEN AND FREE!!!!!
As in the days of Noah....

PERSECUTION WATCH:Canada orders ministry by christians shut down....

"Canada is no longer a christian nation...and Watch out America...!!!!"-said Lorri Mac Gregor.....
To read these news go to:
As in the days of Noah....

DICTATORSHIP WATCH:After Castro,African Is Longest-Ruling

LIBREVILLE, Gabon-Behind the tall white walls of a grandiose home belonging to the world's longest-ruling president, ostriches, buffalo and camels roam neatly landscaped lawns-part of a vast private complex said to include a crocodile wetland and lake topped with lotus flowers. In the poverty-stricken shell of a city outside, where the poorest pick through garbage for scraps to eat, Omar Bongo's mustachioed face is omnipresent: gazing solemnly from glass building facades, beaming proudly from ubiquitous billboards, woven into the fabric of countless shirts worn from the coast to the farthest reaches of the forested interior.He may be short in stature, but he is larger than life in the oil-rich Central African nation he has ruled for 40 years-so long that he's the only president most of his subdued 1.5 million people (life expectancy, 53) have ever known.Bongo became the longest-ruling head of state, not counting the monarchs of Britain and Thailand, after Fidel Castro resigned last month, ending 49 years in power.While most Gabonese genuinely fear the 72-year-old autocrat and there is little opposition, many accept his rule because he has kept his country remarkably peaceful and governed without the sustained brutality characteristic of many dictators."God brought him to us and only God can call him away," said forestry worker Ignasse Minaga, who was born the same year Bongo became president, in 1967. "For us there is only Bongo. He is irreplaceable." Minaga lives in the president's native Bongoville, a tiny village rising out of jungle greenery at the end of a freshly paved road complete with high-wattage, functioning light-poles-luxuries rare in most of Gabon's undeveloped interior.Struggling to stabilize after becoming independent of colonial rule in the 1960s, Africa has suffered its share of "Big Men," many of whom use fear, patronage and rigged elections to cling to power. A few are still around, such as Libya's Moammar Gadhafi (38 years) and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang and Angola's Jose Eduardo dos Santos (28 years).Like many of the continent's "Big Men," Bongo has displayed plenty of dictatorial tendencies. His government has jailed journalists who dared criticize him personally, and has cowed most of the rest into self-censorship. But Gabon's prisons are not filled with political prisoners and rivals don't disappear or turn up mysteriously dead in the night.Instead, he "attacks his opponents by bringing them into his fold, offering them top posts, giving them a piece of the pie,"said Moussirou Mouyama, a linguistics professor at Libreville's Omar Bongo University."He's like a boa constrictor. He suffocates his prey until it's weak, then swallows it."Bongo's principal opponent in the 2005 election was Pierre Momboundou. After losing the vote by a landslide, Momboundou asked for and got $7 million a year later for development in his constituency (he's now a member of parliament). He insists the transaction has not defanged his criticism of Bongo. But Gabonese journalists say he doesn't speak out much anymore."It's belly politics," Mouyama said. "If you don't go along, you don't eat."The most vocal critics today are from a movement called "Bongo Must Go," whose 40-year-old U.S.-based leader Daniel Mengara has called for an armed rebellion (there's no sign of one).Gabon today is "neither dictatorship nor democracy, neither paradise nor hell," said Louis-Gaston Mayila, who heads a pro-Bongo political party from an office featuring a framed photo of him whispering in the president's ear. "We are something in between."That "in-between" has put Gabon in first place among countries in mainland sub-Saharan Africa on the U.N. Human Development Index, which measures literacy, education and other markers of national well-being. It puts Gabon ahead of Africa's richest economy, South Africa, and its most respected democracy, Botswana.But Gabon's wealth depends on dwindling oil reserves, and its democracy is problematic...
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As in the days of Noah....

Spanish Easter a balancing act between pride, faith

SEGOVIA, Spain-At the base of the Roman aqueduct in the Castilian city of Segovia, penitents don tunics, capes and pointed hoods and wait silently to begin their march to the Gothic cathedral in the centre of town.The joint procession of religious brotherhoods accompanying their treasured sculptures of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary during the Holy Week before Easter dates back 101 years in this picturesque Medieval city 60 km (40 miles) northwest of Madrid.While Segovia's celebrations of "Semana Santa", or Holy Week, are not as famous as those of Spanish cities such as Seville and Malaga, organizers say interest is growing thanks partly to an increased focus on cultural activities including concerts and photo exhibits alongside the religious rites." Our Semana Santa has been declared of regional tourist interest, and now we're aiming for recognition at the national level," said Alberto Herreras, head of the committee of the city's confraternities which organizes the week's events.As a native of Segovia involved in the Easter rituals for half a century since he was six, Herreras is proud of the achievement. But he's also keenly aware of the risks the higher profile carries.In an era where many festivals around the world have lost their association with the Christian faith for many, Herreras does not want to turn Holy Week into just another tourist attraction.Already, Segovia draws hundreds of thousands of tourists every year to its 2,000-plus-year-old aqueduct, the photogenic Alcazar castle and the winding alleyways dotted with dozens of bars, cafes and Romanesque churches.A rapid train service that opened last month now zips passengers from Madrid in 35 minutes, and that is sure to boost the number of tourists during Semana Santa this year, a tourism official said.
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PS:I should add that all these "RELIGIOIUS RITES"are just that and belong to the myriad of "RITES" of the Roman Catholic Church,most of which-actually- has nothing to do with the passion,death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesuschrist.its a kinda spooky to see people "disguised' like that with the pointed hoods and all,but tat serves as a sample to show that these'customs" are not born from the Holy Bible but of the traditions of men.....
As in the days of Noah....

Gaddafi son said mediating over Austrian hostages

BAMAKO-A son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is mediating in the case of two Austrians held by al Qaeda in North Africa and is hopeful they can be freed soon, an Austrian politician was quoted as saying on Saturday.
Saif al-Islam, who heads the Gaddafi Foundation charity, was in touch with the kidnappers, Carinthia governor Joerg Haider told the Austrian news agency APA.The mediation of Gaddafi's son, who has studied in Austria and is a friend of right-wing populist Haider, raised some hopes for the release of the two Austrian tourists who were seized in Tunisia last month and are reported to be held in northern Mali.The Algerian-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said it seized them on February 22 and in Web postings on Islamist forums has demanded a ransom and the liberation of 10 militants held in Algeria and Tunisia. It has set a deadline of midnight on Sunday for its demands to be met.
"Negotiations have entered a decisive phase," Haider quoted Saif al-Islam as saying on Saturday, according to APA."Saif believes that in the next few days there could be a decision on the fate of the Austrians," Haider said. It was the third time they had spoken in about 10 hours.
Earlier on Saturday, Haider quoted Saif al-Islam as saying: "It is going well."Saif al-Islam was involved in negotiations last year to free six foreign medics sentenced to death for infecting Libyan children with HIV.
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As in the days of Noah....

Turkish Kurds clash with police

Kurdish spring festivals in Turkey turn violent

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey-More than 100 Kurdish demonstrators and 10 policemen were injured and more than 160 Kurds detained across southeastern Turkey on Saturday when police broke up spring festival celebrations, security sources said.Turkish police firing water cannons, teargas and wielding batons clashed with demonstrators in the streets in the southeastern cities of Van and Siirt.More than 60 Kurdish demonstrators and two policemen were injured in fighting in Van after security forces tried to disperse a crowd of nearly 10,000 Kurds celebrating Newroz and shouting slogans supporting the banned separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Tensions are high in Turkey's mostly-Kurdish southeast as military operations against the PKK have continued after the military launched an eight-day operation into northern Iraq to wipe out PKK camps there.The clashes on Saturday began when police tried to break up Newroz celebrations they said were unauthorized.In Siirt 32 demonstrators and eight police were injured in more violence after police tried to disperse a group of 3,000 people with teargas and water cannons.More than 100 Kurdish demonstrators were detained in the province of Sanliurfa, near Turkey's border with Syria, for participating in another unauthorized Newroz celebration. Clashes also erupted between about 2,000 revelers and police in Hakkari near the city government building.Newroz, Nevruz in Turkish, is celebrated in Iran, northern Iraq and central Asia as the beginning of spring. In Turkey it has been associated with Turkey's large Kurdish population in the southeastern part of the country.
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As in the days of Noah....


"And Jesus went into the temple of God,and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple,and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers,and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them,It is written,My house shall be called the house of prayer;but ye have made it a den of thieves."

Matthew 21:12-13

ENVIRO WATCH:Israel taps into water know-how

Cheney arrives in Israel for Mideast peace push

US Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Israel on Saturday to promote Middle East peace and highlight the US ally's "right to defend itself" after Saudi talks on sky-high oil prices.Cheney headed to a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert shortly after his arrival and was on Sunday to hold talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and prime minister Salam Fayyad in the occupied West Bank.The US vice president was to focus on "ways forward in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Israel's right to defend itself against terrorism," his spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said ahead of the visit.In Ramallah, he was to "reaffirm the president's commitment to the current efforts towards the two-state solution and efforts to strengthen Palestinian institutions," said McBride.The vice president was coming from Riyadh, where he stopped as part of a nine-day trip that has included surprise stops in Iraq and Afghanistan and a visit to Oman. He is scheduled to visit Turkey before returning to the US.Cheney met with Saudi King Abdullah on his horse farm Friday for about four and a half hours, and also sat down with Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi, amid rising election-year anger among US voters about soaring energy costs.They discussed "what could be done shorter term, but probably more about what's necessary to do over the medium and longer term," a senior US official told reporters Saturday on condition of anonymity.It was not clear whether Cheney had pushed his long-time friend-aides say they grew close during the 1991 Gulf War when Cheney was defence secretary-to increase production in a bid to lower record oil prices.But there was "a lot of commonality in their assessment about the structural problems confronted by the global energy market now, and some discussion of probably the way forward," said the official.Cheney and his host also discussed "Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, energy, Israeli-Palestinian issues, some bilateral questions before us,"the official said."I can't tell you much about the conversations themselves, these are especially confidential and private conversations," the official said as Cheney attended a classified briefing at the US embassy.Cheney's visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories aims to prop up faltering peace efforts weeks before US President George W. Bush returns to the region in May for the 60th anniversary of the creation of Israel. Among the topics on his agenda in Jerusalem and Ramallah is what to do about the Gaza Strip, the impoverished Palestinian territory under a strict Israeli blockade and controlled for nine months by the Islamist Hamas group.Abbas and Hamas-which Washington brands a terrorist organisation and refuses to engage directly-have been bitterly divided since the group drove Abbas's forces from Gaza in June and took control over the territory.The rivalry has been a key factor in the stalemate on Middle East peace talks since a November US-backed conference in Annapolis, where a deal to revive the negotiations after a seven-year freeze called for Abbas to tighten security and for Israel to freeze settlements.The talks have made almost no progress since, with the Palestinians accusing Israel of pressing ahead with several settlement projects and Israel charging that the Palestinians are not doing enough to rein in militants.
As in the days of Noah....

BIG BROTHER WATCH:Signs of Possible Deal on New ID Rules

WASHINGTON-There are signs of a potential compromise to end the Bush administration's standoff with states resisting new standards for driver's licenses.For people who live in those holdout states, the dispute raises the specter of hassles at airports and federal buildings.At issue is a law known as Real ID that would require new security measures for state-issued driver's licenses. The Bush administration says the law, passed after the Sept. 11 attacks, will hinder terrorists, con artists and illegal immigrants. Opponents say it will cost too much and weaken privacy protections.Unless holdout states send a letter by the end of March seeking an extension, their residents no longer can use a driver's licenses as valid identification to board airplanes or enter federal buildings beginning in May, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has warned. They would have to present a passport or be subjected to secondary screening.Only three states-Maine, Montana and South Carolina-have not sought extensions or already started moving toward compliance. New Hampshire has asked to be exempted, but Homeland Security Department officials have not found the state's letter to be legally acceptable. But on Friday, the agency granted Montana an extension even though state officials did not ask for one and insist they will not follow the law. Gov. Brian Schweitzer, D-Mont., told The Associated Press that administration officials "painted themselves in a corner."Chertoff has offered to phase in requirements over about 10 years. But with President Bush leaving office in January, a decision to move ahead with Chertoff's plan will rest with the next administration.By 2014, according to the plan, anyone seeking to board an airplane or enter a federal building would have to present a Real ID-compliant card, except people older than 50, officials said. That exception would give states more time to get everyone new licenses, and officials say the threat from someone in that age is much less. By even people over 50 must have a Real ID-compliant card to board a plane.Last week, five senators appealed to Chertoff to exempt all 50 states from the approaching deadline. Chertoff, in letters sent to the lawmakers Friday, said Congress had set the date when the law went into effect in 2005 and "I cannot ignore it."Yet hours after Chertoff sent them, Assistant Secretary Stewart Baker told Montana's attorney general that the government would grant the state an extension even though it explicitly was not seeking one. Baker said the state's new license security measures already met many Real ID requirements anyway."I can only provide the relief you are seeking by treating your letter as a request for an extension," Baker wrote.Schweitzer said his state had not backed down.The agency's approach to Montana could provide an easy way out for the remaining states resistant to Real ID. It also suggests the government does not want to go ahead with its plan to conduct extra screening on residents of certain states.To Tim Sparapani, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, "this concession is proof positive that in the face of opposition from the states, DHS will blink every time. Congress needs to step in and replace Real ID with a plan that works."Critics of the plan say that by linking a number of government databases, Real ID could make people's identities less secure; Chertoff has dismissed that claim. Some governors complain compliance will cost their states a small fortune.To quell that criticism, the government has reduced the expected cost of putting the law into place from $14.6 billion to $3.9 billion.Among other details of the Real ID plan:
_The traditional driver's license photograph would be taken at the beginning of the application instead of the end. If someone is rejected for failing to prove identity and citizenship, the applicant's photo would be kept on file and checked if that person tried again.
_The cards will have three layers of security measures, but will not contain microchips. States will be able to choose from a menu of security measures to put in their cards.
_After Social Security and immigration status checks become national practice, officials plan to move on to more expansive security checks. State motor vehicle offices would be required to verify birth certificates; check with other states to ensure an applicant does not have more than one license; and check with the State Department to verify applicants who use passports to get a driver's license.
As in the days of Noah....

END TIMES WEATHER:Sandstorm envelops Beijing

Cyber Vigilantes Track Extremist Web Sites, Intelligence Experts Balk at Effort

MIAMI,Fla.-While the debate grows on how to tackle global jihadism on the Internet, some security experts warn that "cyber vigilantes"-people who track and help shut down terror-related Web sites-are compromising government investigations with their amateur sleuthing tactics.Michael Radu, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and an expert on terror-related Web sites, said the government is already overburdened trying to monitor the thousands of sites on the Web believed to contain radical Muslim messages.These cyber vigilantes, he said, are not helping.“It is very unlikely they will find something of significance in the Internet that the government doesn’t already know,"Radu said."They are redundant at best.”Cyber vigilantes typically troll the Internet, searching message boards, Web sites and media sharing sites for incendiary postings from people with ties to terror groups like Al Qaeda. Using Arabic translation software, they monitor postings and even assume fake identities to join online conversations.One of them is Bill Warner, a Sarasota, Fla.-based private investigator and a self-proclaimed cyber-crusader.Just last month alone, Warner was instrumental in helping shut down three Web sites hosted by a Tampa Internet service provider (ISP) that contained text, images and video related to attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.One site contained footage of a U.S. military mine sweeper being blown up by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). According to Warner, the site claims that all the troops aboard the vehicle were killed. (http://www.alekhlaas.info)the/ same site, which is still operational, shows what appears to be footage of fighters in Afghanistan firing on U.S. troops and what is believed to be the destruction of an American mine sweeper in Iraq.Warner said the popular site is nearing 19 million hits over the last 10 months, and is among a growing number meant to incite would-be followers to join the ranks of extremist groups like Al Qaeda and provide information on how to carry out attacks and build weapons."This is what Al Qaeda does now," said Warner.He said the World Wide Web is where the real fight for global jihad is being fought.Sites such as these are often hosted by ISPs in the U.S. because they have large bandwidth, making posting and viewing large videos easier. Because of the anonymous nature of the Internet and foreign language content, U.S.-based ISPs can't provide sufficient screening and oversight.Warner said he alerted the local police and the FBI in Tampa after he identified three Web sites hosted by the Florida ISP. In some cases the sites were removed within hours. But he said others remained online for days after he reported their presence.But not everyone thinks Warner's vigilance is helpful."There are a lot of weekend warriors and quasi vigilantes out there that think they can do what the government can't," said a private intelligence contractor for the U.S. government who has been investigating jihadist Web sites for more than 15 years. The contractor spoke to FOXNews.com on condition of anonymity due to his continuing work with U.S. intelligence.He said that when cyber-sleuths alert authorities or ISPs to the whereabouts of an extremist site, the page is removed-only to reappear somewhere else, and sometimes within hours."For those working in the intelligence community, it becomes extremely costly, because then they have to go looking for the sites all over again," said the private intelligence contractor, noting that U.S. intelligence often knows of the sites for a long time and monitors their traffic to look for clues to their origins, creators and visitors.When the site comes down, he said, intelligence investigations can be ruined."They have good intentions, but end up doing more harm than good," he said.But Yigal Carmon, President of the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Middle East media monitoring group, said the sites reported by Warner are tools of "ideological recruitment" that should be removed from the Internet entirely, and especially from American ISPs."Why is it that [an] American ISP can host them?" Carmen asked. "When these sites appear there, the whole war on terrorism becomes a joke."Lt. Col. Joseph Felter of West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center said the increased participation to battle online terrorists is a good thing."The more people that we get involved combating the threat, the better,” said Felter. “God knows the enemies are getting a whole lot of people on board.”But Radu warns that without specific knowledge of extremist groups or languages like Arabic, Urdu and Farsi, Cyber vigilantes don't always understand what they're looking at.“Those people are nuisances, nuisances that already burden an overworked government and should be discouraged,” Radu said. “No matter what their intentions are, they are overburdening the government” and “have nothing to contribute.”Cyber vigilante Aaron Wisesburd has taken a similar approach to Warner, tackling terror-related Web sites and reporting his findings to authorities.Wiseburd, the creator of the Web monitoring site Internet Haganah, which collects and stores intelligence for governments to use, said he was responsible for the dismantling of thousands of extremist sites.Weisburd's critics say posting of sensitive material on his site may reveal too much and jeopardize ongoing investigations.Wiseburd is reticent to discuss his efforts,due to safety concerns-he said he has received death threats and a handwritten note mailed to his home from a disgruntled site creator. But he said he won't stop fighting the emerging threat of cyber terrorism.He and Warner say their work is an important part of stopping terrorist groups from gaining a recruiting foothold in the U.S. and inspiring others to form their own spin-off extremist groups."If a Web site is calling for U.S. citizens to be killed, it should be shut down,"Warner said."If it incites these wackos who don't have direct allegiance to Al Qaeda to commit attacks, then it shouldn't be on the Internet, period."But a private intelligence contractor said winning the War on Terror isn't just about shutting down sites; it's about tackling the heart of the problem."Great. Somebody shut down a bunch of websites. What we're trying to do is find out where the terrorists are."

As in the days of Noah....

Rival Cypriot leaders take step towards peace

NICOSIA-Rival Cypriot leaders met on Friday and agreed to begin fully fledged talks on the future of the divided island in three months, with both men saying they aimed to find a solution quickly.The meeting was the first between new Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, whose election in February sparked a renewed drive for a solution to the 34-year division, and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.In a show of goodwill, they agreed to reopen a landmark street running through the heart of Europe's last divided capital to kickstart the peace drive, according to a joint statement read out by the UN representative, Michael Moller.The Ledra Street crossing in the centre of Nicosia, "will as soon as technically possible open and function in accordance with the established practices at other crossings," he said.The mayor of the Greek Cypriot municipality said the crossing, in the heart of the shopping district, should be open by March 31.Advisers from both sides are to meet next week to form working groups and technical committees to set agendas for future talks, the statement said."The leaders ... agreed to meet three months from now to review the work of the working groups and technical committees and using their results to start fully fledged negotiations under the auspices of the secretary general of the United Nations," it said.The two leaders stood side by side at the end of a three-hour meeting at Moller's residence in the UN-patrolled Green Zone that divides the island.Hailing "a new era" in relations between the two communities, Talat told reporters: "We want to solve the Cyprus problem as soon as possible. Our position is (to do that) by the end of 2008."We are not avoiding any meetings or coming together before this time (three months). We discussed procedure ... we didn't mention anything about the basis or the parameters of the solution," he added.Christofias replied: "We will try our utmost to come to an agreed solution in the interests of the Cypriot people as soon as possible."We want to underline what we agree on and not what we disagree on. We shall examine any possible disagreement together."Moller described the meeting as "very positive and cordial" and said the two leaders had achieved "a great degree of convergence."Cyprus's former colonial ruler Britain hailed the return to talks after four years of deadlock under former Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos."The meeting between the leaders of the two communities is a step towards real progress in the region and demonstrates the sort of leadership needed to reunite Cyprus," British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said.British ambassador Peter Millett said it was "an important first step towards negotiation on the key issues which we hope will lead to reunification of the island."It is a clear sign that the two leaders have the political will to tackle the issues and work for a solution," he added.The US State Department welcomed what it called a "positive" meeting."We are encouraged by the leaders' agreement to rejuvenate working group meetings immediately, and to resume full-fledged negotiations in three months in pursuit of a comprehensive settlement that would reunify the island into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation," spokesman Sean McCormack said.Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops occupied its northern third following an Athens-engineered coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece.Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan proposed a plan that would have ended the division, while offering a significant degree of autonomy to both sides. The plan was rejected by Greek Cypriots but accepted by Turkish Cypriots in 2004 referendums.
As in the days of Noah....

Pious Christians worldwide mark crucifixion of Christ

SAN PEDRO DE LA LAGUNA, Guatemala-Devout indigenous Guatemalans carried an effigy of Christ on the cross and pilgrims descended on Jerusalem as Christians worldwide marked Good Friday,the most sombre day of their calendar, commemorating the crucifixion of Christ. Indigenous Tzutujiles from this town some 170 kilometers (100 miles) west of the capital Guatemala City carried a heavy platform measuring 10 meters long (32 feet) and three meters (10 feet) wide on which stood a lifesize image of Jesus on the cross.The faithful carried the representation for five hours walking through the Solala municipality's streets, some of which were covered with flowers, sawdust, and pine branches, said Felix Gonzalez, a local town official.In the most extreme display of penance, a handful of devout Roman Catholics in the northern Philippines went through an agonizing Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment that has become a gruesome and increasingly controversial annual ritual.Neighbors costumed like Roman centurions dragged penitents through the village streets of San Pedro Cutud and toward a barren hill where three wooden crosses and a large crowd of at least 2,000 tourists awaited. Seven-inch (18-centimeter) metal nails were driven into both palms and feet as they lay spread-eagled over the crosses, which were then raised for about five minutes before being hauled down again and the nails pulled out.The process was repeated for a total of nearly 20 volunteers.Many more whipped their own backs until they ran blood.The Roman Catholic Church frowns on such extreme practices and the Filipino health department had warned penitents to take anti-tetanus shots first and to sterilize their equipment.In Jerusalem, psalms and incense filled the air, as thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world prayed along the traditional route Jesus took to his crucifixion.The faithful, several of them bearing large wooden crosses, walked in procession along the cobblestoned streets of Jerusalem's Old City, following the Via Dolorosa, or Way of Suffering, where Jesus is said to have carried the cross on which he was later crucified by the Romans."This is where Jesus suffered, and we are following in his footsteps," said Flora Seguirante, a doctor from Toronto, Canada, her voice quivering with emotion. "I can't describe my joy at being here, at praying here."As the pilgrims intoned their psalms, their voices mingled across the stone facades of the Old City with the Muslim call to Friday prayers broadcast from numerous minarets.In Rome, under driving wind and rain, Pope Benedict XVI, 80, opted out of carrying a symbolic cross to conclude a traditional Good Friday procession.Benedict, who earlier celebrated mass at St Peter's Basilica, had already decided to take part in only the final three of the 14 Stations of the Cross commemorating the path Jesus took to his crucifixion.The last two years Benedict, who was elected in 2005, took part in the entire walk, carrying the cross at the first and last stations.The riots in Tibet cast a shadow over the Vatican's Easter observances this year, which have Chinese overtones to reflect Benedict's advocacy of greater freedom for China's tiny Catholic minority.The theme, more political than religious this year, is "Christian martyrs living in the 21st century."In the Spanish city of Seville, several hundred thousand people followed the colorful Holy Week processions when thousands of hooded penitents parade through the winding streets.The Spanish press meanwhile noted the "paradox"between the popularity of the processions and the declining numbers of churchgoers. Catholic priests in Colombia appealed for prayers on behalf of the hundreds held hostage by the Marxist-inspired rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and said social justice was the way toward peace."We pray once more for the liberation of the kidnapped, for their families, so that they may return soon to the liberty," said a message by the Episcopal Conference that was read in most churches across the country.A handful of hostages have been released in recent months, but among those still in captivity are French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, three Americans, and scores of Colombian military and police officers that the FARC want to trade for 500 imprisoned rebels.

As in the days of Noah....


"And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way;others cut down branches from the trees,and strawed them in the way.
And the multitudes that went before,and that followed,cried,saying,Hosanna to the son of David:Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord;Hosanna in the highest.
And when he was come into Jerusalem,all the city was moved,saying,Who is this?
And the multitude said,This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee."

Matthew 21:8-11

Sarkozy,Brown to unveil nuclear cooperation plan

LONDON-Britain and France will announce a deal to build new nuclear power stations and export the technology worldwide during President Nicolas Sarkozy's state visit next week, the Guardian reported Saturday.Britain approved the construction of a new generation of nuclear plants in January and wants to take advantage of French expertise to help build them, the paper said.The announcement is due to be made at a summit involving Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Arsenal football club's Emirates stadium in north London Thursday.Brown hopes that the venture will help Britain to develop a skilled labour force to work in the power stations which would then work alongside French workers to sell power stations abroad in the next 15 years, the paper said.The plan to build more nuclear power stations in Britain with private sector help has proved controversial with some campaigners, who question the cost of the project and how the waste will be disposed of.The Guardian also reported that Sarkozy and Brown would unveil a drive against illegal immigration during the two-day state visit, which starts Wednesday.This will include an increase in the number of lorry checks at French and British ports and confirmation that there will not be a second immigration reception centre at Sangatte, near Calais, in northern France.
As in the days of Noah...

Musharraf party to nominate PM candidate

ISLAMABAD,Pakistan-Allies of President Pervez Musharraf said Saturday they would field another candidate for Pakistan's prime minister after withdrawing their original nominee a day earlier.The reversal appeared to be due to a disagreement between the country's two main pro-Musharraf parties.One of the parties, Karachi-based Mutahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, withdrew its candidate as a "good will gesture" to slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's followers,who won the most parliamentary seats in elections last month.The MQM withdrew Farooq Sattar's candidacy late Friday after meetings in London and Karachi, said lawmaker Haider Abbas Rizvi.But Musharraf's own party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, said Saturday that it planned to field a candidate to be announced Sunday. Party chairman and president Chaudry Shujaat Hussain said the Sattar's withdrawal did not reflect the will of all pro-Musharraf lawmakers."We will contest the election. We have made this decision," Hussain told reporters Saturday in Islamabad.The reversal means whomever is nominated by Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party will not run uncontested.Makhdoom Amin Fahim, an aristocratic party stalwart, has long been considered the front-runner for prime minister. As vice-chair of the Pakistan People's Party, he led Bhutto's followers in parliament during her nearly eight-year exile.But the party has stalled on nominating Fahim amid speculation that Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's husband and political heir, wants the job. He is currently ineligible because he does not hold a parliamentary seat. However, he could appoint a stand-in and run for a seat in a by-election within months.The battle for prime minister has strained party unity-even before it forms a coalition government that faces massive challenges including a wave of Islamic militancy, high inflation and electricity shortages.The new administration will be led by followers of Bhutto and another ex-premier, Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted in Musharraf's 1999 coup.A confrontation still looms between Musharraf and Sharif, who has been one of the most vocal in calling for the unpopular president's resignation or impeachment.Zardari and Bhutto's 19-year-old son are expected to announce a candidate Saturday evening, ahead of a vote two days later in parliament. After confirmation by parliament, the new premier is set to take an oath from Musharraf on Tuesday, said presidential spokesman Rashid Qureshi.Bhutto's son was appointed party chairman after his mother died in a December suicide attack, but his father is running things while the 19-year-old continues his studies at Oxford University.A Friday editorial in one of Pakistan's main English-language dailies, The News, decried the PPP's "bitter infighting" and "clumsy manner" in which the choice of a premier has been conducted."The plan from the Zardari camp seems to be based around the rather optimistic premise that Fahim may not be willing to confront young Bilawal, both because of his age and because of the emotional standing he carries as the son of the slain Benazir Bhutto," the editorial said.

As in the days of Noah....

Flooding, heavy snow plague Midwest

VALLEY PARK,Mo.-Residents of this Meramec River town are crossing their fingers in hopes hat the community's new earthen levee, built to withstand a 100-year flood, will pass its first big test.The surging Meramec was expected to crest Saturday at a record 40 feet-24 feet above flood stage and within three feet of the levee's lip.Flood-weary residents of Missouri, Arkansas and Ohio also were fighting to save their homes after heavy rain pushed rivers out of their banks.In addition to this past week's rain, a lingering storm blew more snow through parts of the Upper Midwest on Saturday, a day after it canceled flights and some Good Friday services.More than a foot of snow fell Friday in parts of southern Wisconsin and nearly as much blanketed southeastern Minnesota.Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport was closed overnight because of the snow, and reopened late Saturday morning. About 200 people had to spend the night at the terminal, said airport spokeswoman Pat Rowe. Some outgoing flights were still canceled Saturday because planes couldn't get to the airport Friday night, she said.Milwaukee's 10 inches of snow Friday brought the city's total this season to 94.8 inches, its second-heaviest on record.Farther east, in Ohio, Cleveland and Youngstown each had 7 inches of snow and counting by Saturday, just two weeks after the Cleveland area saw a foot of snow, the National Weather Service said."Everyone is pretty tired of the snow but I think most people will agree these types of storms aren't unusual in the spring," weather service meteorologist Steve Davis said.At least 16 deaths have been linked to the weather over the past week, and two people are missing since their vehicles were swept away by rushing water in Arkansas.Parts of the Midwest got a foot of rain over a 36-hour period this week, causing widespread flash flooding. The worst flooding was along smaller rivers. The Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers saw only minor flooding.The Army Corps of Engineers expects the $49 million levee at Valley Park to hold. If it were to break or was overtopped, nearly one-third of town's 6,500 residents could see their homes damaged or destroyed. Authorities were taking no chances and set up a staging area of rescue trucks and stationed a boat in a school parking lot near the town."The center of the flood fight now moves right here to the Meramec River and southern St. Louis County and Jefferson County," Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said late Friday.In southern Missouri, water poured through breaches in levees and forced authorities to evacuate towns west of Cape Girardeau. At least 200 homes and 13 businesses have been evacuated in Cape Girardeau County, said emergency management director Dick Knaup.At least 70 Missouri counties have reported flooding this week.Rivers receded Friday in Ohio, but several areas remained under flood warnings. About 60 state roads were closed or partly blocked by flooding; crews were trying to pump water off a major route into Columbus, according to the State Highway Patrol.Residents of the tiny Arkansas community of Georgetown along the White River were urged to leave the area Friday after forecasters said rising water would cut off their access and strand them well into next week. "Stock up or get out. You may be there a few days," said Steve Bays, a weather service hydrologist in North Little Rock.

As in the days of Noah....

Palestinian talks in Yemen await Hamas response

SANAA-Reconciliation talks between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas hinge on Hamas' response to a proposal about the future of the Gaza Strip, the Yemeni foreign minister said on Saturday.Under the draft agreement from the Yemen-sponsored talks, Hamas and Fatah would agree to hold direct negotiations in early April about a Yemeni plan calling for the situation in the Gaza Strip to return to the way it was before Hamas took it over.The issue has been a main point of contention, with Fatah demanding that Hamas Islamists give up control of the territory, which the group seized in June after routing Fatah forces."A final formula was reached and Fatah agreed to it...Our brothers in the Hamas movement asked for an opportunity to consult their leadership,"Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi told reporters.A Hamas official said: "The main stumbling block is Fatah's insistence that Hamas cease its control of the Gaza Strip."The Palestinian ambassador to Yemen, named by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, said Hamas was given until late Saturday to respond."The Yemenis have proposed a final version after consultation with (both Palestinian) delegations. Hamas asked for time for further consultations.The Yemenis gave them only until tonight," Ahmad Deek told Reuters by telephone, confirming that the Fatah team had accepted the plan.The plan also envisages Palestinian elections, the creation of another unity government and a rebuilding of Palestinian security forces along national rather than factional lines.In Gaza, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh expressed hope the talks would succeed.
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China ups Tibet death toll, fears unrest may spread

KANGDING,China-China said 19 people died in riots in the Tibetan capital last week and official media warned against the unrest spreading to the northwest region of Xinjiang, where Uighur Muslims bridle under Chinese control.Eighteen were burnt or hacked to death in the Lhasa violence, Xinhua news agency said. It has repeatedly quoted officials as saying separatists backed by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama,engineered the protests. But China's handling of the unrest has been met by mounting international concern, overshadowing the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games in August the host wants to a celebration of its arrival as a world power.Xinhua said 18 civilians and a policeman died in Lhasa. A total of 382 people were wounded, 58 seriously in the violence.Exiled Tibetans claim as many as 100 have died in the protests which spilled over this week into neighboring ethnic-Tibetan areas.
The official media of the northwest region of Xinjiang warned against outbreaks of unrest there inspired by Tibetan protests."No matter whether it's Tibetan independence, Xinjiang independence or Taiwanese independence, their goal is all the same-to create chaos and split the motherland," said a commentary on the official Xinjiang news Web site (http://www.tianshannet.com/).
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Taiwan chooses new president

Taiwan's Ma wins election

TAIPEI-Taiwan's main opposition Nationalist Party won the presidential election by a landslide on Saturday, heralding improved ties with giant neighbor China which claims the self-ruled island as its own.But President-elect Ma Ying-jeou(picture left) said he would only consider signing a peace deal with China, an offer Beijing has made with conditions, if it stopped aiming missiles at Taiwan.China has claimed Taiwan as its territory since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 and has threatened to bring the island under its control-by force if necessary. Taiwan says China has more than 1,000 missiles aimed at the island."Cross-Strait relations have stagnated, so we have to prioritize things," Ma told reporters after announcing his victory to thousands of supporters who screamed, blew party horns and set off fireworks in downtown Taipei. "First is normalization of (economic) relations, and then a peace agreement.But, he said, "before we can talk about peace, we need to remove the threat".Ma said he had no plans to go to China but hinted that he would visit other major nations before taking office on May 20. Japan and Singapore congratulated him on Saturday.Chinese President Hu Jintao offered broad peace talks with Taiwan earlier this month, but under the so-called "one China" policy, which defines the island and the mainland as part of a single country, a concept Taiwan's current government rejects.Ma also billed himself as an economic revival president amid inflation and wage concerns that analysts said swayed the vote.
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As in the days of Noah....


"And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem,and were come to Bethphage,unto the mount of Olives,then sent Jesus two disciples,
Saying unto them,Go into the village over against you,and straightway ye shall find an ass tied,and a colt with her:loose them,and bring them unto me.
And if any man say ought unto you,ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them;and straightway he will send them.
All this was done,that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet,saying,
Tell ye the daughter of Sion,Behold,thy King cometh unto thee,meek,and sitting upon an ass,and a colt the foal of an ass.
And the disciples went,and did as Jesus commanded them,
And brought the ass,and the colt,and put on them their clothes,and they set him thereon."

Matthew 21:1-7

ENVIRO WATCH:Climate facts to warm to

CATASTROPHIC predictions of global warming usually conjure with the notion of a tipping point, a point of no return.Last Monday-on ABC Radio National, of all places-there was a tipping point of a different kind in the debate on climate change.It was a remarkable interview involving the co-host of Counterpoint,Michael Duffy and Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.Anyone in public life who takes a position on the greenhouse gas hypothesis will ignore it at their peril.
Duffy asked Marohasy: "Is the Earth stillwarming?"
She replied: "No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you'd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years."
Duffy: "Is this a matter of any controversy?"
Marohasy: "Actually, no. The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued ... This is not what you'd expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you'd expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up ... So (it's) very unexpected, not something that's being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it's very significant."
Duffy: "It's not only that it's not discussed. We never hear it, do we? Whenever there's any sort of weather event that can be linked into the global warming orthodoxy, it's put on the front page. But a fact like that, which is that global warming stopped a decade ago, is virtually never reported, which is extraordinary."
Duffy then turned to the question of how the proponents of the greenhouse gas hypothesis deal with data that doesn't support their case. "People like Kevin Rudd and Ross Garnaut are speaking as though the Earth is still warming at an alarming rate, but what is the argument from the other side? What would people associated with the IPCC say to explain the (temperature) dip?"
Marohasy: "Well, the head of the IPCC has suggested natural factors are compensating for the increasing carbon dioxide levels and I guess, to some extent, that's what sceptics have been saying for some time: that, yes, carbon dioxide will give you some warming but there are a whole lot of other factors that may compensate or that may augment the warming from elevated levels of carbon dioxide.
"There's been a lot of talk about the impact of the sun and that maybe we're going to go through or are entering a period of less intense solar activity and this could be contributing to the current cooling."
Duffy: "Can you tell us about NASA's Aqua satellite, because I understand some of the data we're now getting is quite important in our understanding of how climate works?"
Marohasy: "That's right. The satellite was only launched in 2002 and it enabled the collection of data, not just on temperature but also on cloud formation and water vapour. What all the climate models suggest is that, when you've got warming from additional carbon dioxide, this will result in increased water vapour, so you're going to get a positive feedback. That's what the models have been indicating. What this great data from the NASA Aqua satellite ... (is) actually showing is just the opposite, that with a little bit of warming, weather processes are compensating, so they're actually limiting the greenhouse effect and you're getting a negative rather than a positive feedback."
Duffy: "The climate is actually, in one way anyway, more robust than was assumed in the climate models?"
Marohasy: "That's right ... These findings actually aren't being disputed by the meteorological community. They're having trouble digesting the findings, they're acknowledging the findings, they're acknowledging that the data from NASA's Aqua satellite is not how the models predict, and I think they're about to recognise that the models really do need to be overhauled and that when they are overhauled they will probably show greatly reduced future warming projected as a consequence of carbon dioxide."
Duffy: "From what you're saying, it sounds like the implications of this could beconsiderable ..."
Marohasy: "That's right, very much so. The policy implications are enormous. The meteorological community at the moment is really just coming to terms with the output from this NASA Aqua satellite and (climate scientist) Roy Spencer's interpretation of them. His work is published, his work is accepted, but I think people are still in shock at this point."
If Marohasy is anywhere near right about the impending collapse of the global warming paradigm, life will suddenly become a whole lot more interesting....
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A Dutch Antagonist of Islam Waits for His Premiere

GEERT WILDERS’S bleached-blond hair goes to the root of his character. For more than two decades, Mr. Wilders, the controversial anti-Islam member of the Dutch Parliament,has dyed his hair a provocative-some say extreme-platinum blond.The color makes him stand out in a crowd, not terribly practical for someone facing periodic death threats from Muslim extremists.But Mr. Wilders has built a career-and a new political party-on a risky and defiant outlandishness that encompasses everything from his hairstyle to his anti-Islamic rhetoric. Days away from releasing a much-anticipated film critical of the Koran, Mr. Wilders recalled in an interview the advice he received years ago from political leaders about how to get ahead.“First, you have to moderate your voice about Islam,” he remembered their telling him. “Second, change your stupid hair.”He has refused to do either.“If people push me, I do exactly the opposite,” he said.Mr. Wilders, 44, is in the news here these days for a 10-to-15-minute film he says he has made depicting the Koran as the inspiration for terrorist attacks and other violence. Having failed to persuade a single Dutch television network to broadcast the film in its entirety, he said he planned to release it on the Internet by the end of this month.He routinely equates the Koran with Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” saying it should be banned in the Netherlands, and he declared in an interview that the Prophet Muhammad could be compared to the German dictator.“In his Medina time, if he would be alive today, Muhammad would be treated as a war criminal, being sent out of the country, being sent to jail,” he said.Moderate Dutch Muslim leaders like Mohamed Rabbae, chairman of the Dutch Moroccan Council, are exasperated by Mr. Wilders’s standpoint on Islam and its prophet. “Wilders is a little bit crazy, if I may say it in this way, because he is fighting against somebody who has been living in the sixth century, not in our time,” Mr. Rabbae said.Virtually no one knows exactly what is in Mr. Wilders’s film; even the Netherlands’ worried prime minister has not been granted a screening. But the simple fact that Mr. Wilders is its muse makes people here and in parts of the Islamic world nervous.Mr. Wilders said he made the film to show that “Islam and the Koran are part of a fascist ideology that wants to kill everything we stand for in a modern Western democracy.”SOME here see Mr. Wilders’s film-titled “Fitna,” Arabic for civil strife-as a potential hate crime and have already filed police complaints in various Dutch cities, concerned that his past statements and the film will polarize religious groups and foster discrimination.His supporters say he protects traditional Dutch values. His critics, and there are many, say he is an out-of-control, right-wing extremist risking his country’s good name for his own political gain. Others are even harsher; one former trade union leader called Mr. Wilders “evil.”“Of course I am not evil,” Mr. Wilders responded, looking a little annoyed. “Do I look evil to you? Maybe I do, but I’m not.”Mr. Wilders, who lives under constant police protection in an undisclosed location, is undeterred by threats from the Taliban to escalate attacks against Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan if the film is released.Nor is he moved by Dutch expatriates abroad who, remembering the fallout from the Danish cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad, worry that the film may make their lives harder, or even dangerous...
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Friday, March 21, 2008

Israel grounds some F-16 fighters over cancer fears

JERUSALEM-The Israeli air force said on Friday it was suspending training flights using U.S.-made F-16I fighter jets after finding a suspected cancer-causing substance in the cockpit.Israel informed Lockheed Martin Corp, the U.S. defense contractor that manufactures the F-16, that formaldehyde residues were leaking into the cockpit, the military said in a statement."Tests have shown that the substance is formaldehyde, which was recently identified as a carcinogen," the statement said.The two-seater F-16I, known in Israel as the "Storm", was designed specifically for the Israeli air force."The air force has passed the information to the aircraft manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, and tests are being coordinated with the company," the statement said.An army spokeswoman said only training flights would be grounded.
As in the days of Noah....

Tsunami victims flooded again

QUAKEWATCH:Big quake,aftershocks hit China's Xinjiang

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As in the days of Noah....

King drags Bhutan into democracy and first elections

THIMPU-The tiny and deeply traditional Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan takes a slightly nervous step into the modern world on Monday when it holds the first parliamentary elections in its history.Its northern neighbor Tibet may be writhing in protest under Chinese rule, but Buddhist Bhutan, a nation of just 600,000 people, is making a different kind of history.Bhutan's fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, not only surrendered power without a struggle, he actually imposed democracy against the will of many of his subjects, before abdicating in favor of his Oxford-educated son in 2006."At first people were pleading with the king not to do this," said Kinley Dorji, managing director of the state-owned newspaper Kuensel. "People were looking around at what is happening in South Asia and saying 'no thank you'.""But His Majesty said you can't leave such a small, vulnerable country in the hands of only one man, who was chosen by birth and not by merit."Bhutan had been largely peaceful under a century of royal rule, aside from ethnic tensions that erupted in 1990. The chaos, conflict and corruption of democracy in its giant southern neighbor India left many people scared.In 1960, Bhutan was a mediaeval place, with no roads, cars or hospitals. It has hauled many of its people out of poverty since then, but is still only opening up slowly.Even today national dress is compulsory, knee-length robes with long socks for men, elegant gowns for women. Criticism of the elite was almost unheard of, even a year ago.
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As in the days of Noah....

Career Criminal in Iowa Sentenced to Church for 8 Consecutive Sundays

With a lengthy and violent criminal record to his name, Pachino Hill is going to church.Hill, 29, of Davenport was sentenced Wednesday by Scott County Associate Judge Christine Dalton to a counseling program offered by Third Missionary Baptist Church. She also ordered him to attend church there eight consecutive Sundays, to pay a fine and be on probation for one year.If he doesn’t comply, he faces up to two years in prison for eluding and driving while barred. The charges are the result of a police chase from Rock Island to Davenport in October.“Let’s give it a shot,” Dalton said of the counseling program plan presented to her by Hill’s attorney, Brenda Drew-Peeples, and supported by Rogers Kirk, pastor at Third Missionary. “I’m all about one more chance.”The counseling program, Drew-Peeples said, is a chance for Hill to gain role models who are responsible men and are contributing to society.“I believe God has a plan for Pachino Hill’s life, and I believe it’s coming to fruition,” she said.Prosecutor Marc Gellerman did not object to the counseling program but did request that Hill attend church services.“I would think that listening to Rev. Kirk every Sunday would be very beneficial for Mr. Hill,” Gellerman said, adding that Hill reaching out to Kirk “says a lot.”Hill agreed to the counseling program and to attending church. Kirk will report to the court on Hill’s progress. A hearing is set for May 21.However, Hill also faces charges in connection with the incident in Rock Island County. A plea hearing is set for today. Prosecutor Margaret Osborn will request jail time, she said.Hill was driving a car with a broken headlight one night in October, down Fifth Street in Rock Island, testified Rock Island County Sheriff's Deputy Justin Chisholm.Chisholm turned around and attempted to stop the Dodge Neon that Hill was driving. Instead, Hill took off and headed for the Centennial Bridge.Hill and Chisholm crossed the bridge, turned right onto 2nd Street in downtown Davenport, up Main Street, over to Brady Street and then onto 12th Street.Chisholm lost sight of Hill and his passenger in his car. As he turned onto 12th Street, approaching Pershing Avenue, he spotted Hill and his passenger running from an alley. Police later recovered the Neon parked behind a house in the alley.Chisholm chased the two on foot, east toward Iowa Avenue. Chisholm used his Taser to bring Hill to the ground. Hill was then arrested.Hill was charged when he was 14 years old with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Lawrence Brown Johnson. He was accused of giving the gun used in the shooting to Clyde Edwards Jr.Hill pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and terrorism. Hill was sentenced to 15 years in prison.At the time, then-Scott County Attorney Bill Davis said: "If we had gone to trial and if Pachino were convicted of first-degree murder, he would have gotten life in prison." He thought that considering Hill's young age, the plea was appropriate."This is one of the few chances we get to do some good. We have two young men who still will have a chance at life if they decide to do some good," Davis said at the time.In December 2002, Hill was one of three men charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at a Davenport police officer. One of those bullets missed the head of the Cpl. Dennis Colclasure by six inches, police investigators said.A lack of evidence caused Scott County prosecutors to drop those charges. Hill was convicted of possessing a firearm as a felon in connection with that incident, but a judge later ruled the evidence insufficient to charge him with any offense and dismissed the case.In October 2004, Hill was arrested for helping Bryan Mitchell of Davenport leave the area of the fatal shooting of Grayling Church, 20, of Davenport. He also was accused of concealing the weapon and keeping witnesses from giving statements. He was found not guilty of that charge.In March 2006, Hill was charged with attempted murder in the shooting of a 28-year-old man in the thigh. He pleaded guilty to assault resulting in bodily injury and was sentenced to one year probation and a $250 fine.It wasn’t long before Hill began being arrested again.He was charged with child endangerment in April 2006, on a drug charge in July 2006 and a domestic assault charge in August 2006. That charge prompted a police search because he fled after hitting a former girlfriend in the forehead with a bottle and slashing two tires on her car.He received probation for the child endangerment and drug charges. The domestic assault case was dismissed.In July 2007, he led police on a chase during a traffic enforcement effort on the Centennial Bridge. He pleaded guilty to driving while barred and received probation.His probation was revoked because of the most recent chase. If he does not complete the terms of the sentenced imposed Wednesday, eight months will be added to the two-year prison sentence.

As in the days of Noah....


"Finally,brethren,pray for us,that the word of the Lord may have free course,and be glorified,even as it is with you:
And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men:for all men have not faith."

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2