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

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gay Catholics plan 'respectful presence' along pope's route

Not all Catholics are welcoming Pope Benedict XVI with open arms. Gay Catholics and especially gay Catholics associated with DignityUSA will launch formal protests in Washington and New York against Benedict and his "anti-gay stances."Mark Matson of Powell, Ohio, is president of the board of DignityUSA, the nation's largest organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics."We, along with many Catholics, disagree with the church's official position about teachings on sexual issues," Matson said."Our particular area of focus is around sexual orientation." There are lot of faithful Catholics who dissent from the church's teachings on sexuality.For example,Catholics and birth control. Most lay Catholics don't follow the church's teaching on birth control issues or family planning. There are major disconnects between what Catholics do and what the church demands of them."Matson characterizes DignityUSA as a "voice of faithful dissent." On Saturday, April 12, the organization will stage a protest demonstration-The Global Impact of Pope Benedict's Anti-gay Campaign-at Ralph J. Bunche Park across the street from the United Nations in New York City."The Vatican demands strict allegiance,"Matson said."The current pope is about orthodoxy. But a fundamental teaching of the church is the primacy of conscience. This means any Catholic whose conscience is well-informed by the teachings of the church ultimately has to follow their conscience."On Tuesday, when the pope arrives, DignityUSA will demonstrate along the pope's motorcade route through Washington D.C. The group will be present during the pope's meeting with U.S. bishops Wednesday."We're going to have a presence on the parade route with signs," Matson explained. "It will be a respectful presence by a portion of his flock that has been ignored and vilified."

As in the days of Noah...

Islam: Nazis 'sowed seeds of anti-Semitic hatred in Arab world'

Rome-The World War II Nazis spread their anti-Semitic hatred of the Jewish race to Arab states, a legacy that al-Qaeda (photo) has fed off, the German historian Matthew Kuntzel, argues in his book 'Jihad and Jew-hatred'.The book seeks to trace the origins of anti-Semitism present in the Arab world and evaluate the role it has played in the contemporary jihadist 'world view'. He argues that the Nazis 'exported' their hatred of Jews via the media and writers, with the back-up of German politicians. Anti-Semitism took root within nascent Arab nationalist movements - Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood and in Shia Iran, Kunztzel claims, quoted by Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore. The anti-Semitism of Islamism then fused with that of the nationalists - a mix embodied by the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini. He was head of the Palestinian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood,and of the Palestinian Arab nationalist movement.Husseini orchestrated the 1936-1939 Palestinian revolt against the British, with the political and financial support of Nazi Germany and of Italian wartime dictator Benito Mussolini. He spent 1941-1945 in Berlin, from where he launched anti-British jihadist messages to the Arab world.Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's attacks against western countries, first announced in 1998, have continually found inspiration from anti-Semitism, Kuntzel argues.Bin Laden equates the West/America with "the Jews" and takes it as axiomatic that "the Jews are out to dominate the world," Kuntzel claims.Kuntzel quotes bin Laden's 'Letter to the American People' of October, 2002, in which he states: "You are the worst civilisation that has ever existed, because the Jews have seized control of your economy, and through it your media, and now they control every aspect of your life and your policies."Bin Laden's ideological mentors are the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, believed to be the ideologue of the modern-day concept of global Jihad, and Abdullah Azzam.Azzam is a Palestinian born in Jenin, who studied at Cairo's al-Azhar University and was the spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood at the University of Damascus, Syria, from 1971-1973. Together with bin-Laden, Azzam founded in the early 1980s the first office for the mujahadeen in Peshawar, in Pakistan's restive North West Frontier Province, which borders Afghanistan. This office recruited volunteers to join mujahadeen fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. It became 'al-Qaeda', which means 'the base' in Arabic. Bin Laden and Azzam were subsequently joined by Bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, a veteran from the Muslim Brotherhood.The existence of a global Jewish conspiracy was one of the fundamental principles of Nazism transmitted to the Arab world, along with anti-liberalism and hatred of democracy, Kuntzel argues.He claims it was the spread through the Arab world of the notion of an international Jewish conspiracy that explains the Muslim Brotherhood's call during the 1930s for a global Jihad against the tiny Jewish community in Palestine [as the Palestinian territories were called at the time].It also explains why membership of the Muslim Brotherhood leapt from 800 in 1936 to 200,000 in 1938, Kuntzel contends. By this time, the Muslim world had to view the Jews as a radical threat, Kuntzel argues."We were the first to think of translating [Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's National Socialist tract ] 'Mein Kampf', one of the Syrian Baathist leaders Sami al-Jundi, is quoted as saying.The Jews had fought a war against Muslims for 14 centuries that continued to the present day, "helped by Christians and idolatry", according to Qutb."As a result, Allah [...] made Hitler overcome them [the Jews]," Qutb is cited as saying.
As in the days of Noah...

Italy:Muslim running for Rome city council urges more focus on immigration

"It is necessary for us to participate in political life, in the life of political parties. The political forces, on their part, must then give ample space to issues such as immigration and integration."
Rome-Among those running for the elections this weekend to choose representatives for Rome's city council is Khalid Chaouki, (picture left)the founder of a group known as the Young Muslims, an association that brings together second generation Muslim immigrants in Italy."The fact that a young Muslim is already a candidate on the same level as many other Italian citizens represents a new and important step," said Chaouki in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI). Chaouki is running as a candidate with the list of Francesco Rutelli, the centre-left Democrat Party nominee for mayor of Rome. "The role of those elected to institutions is to try and explain that being Muslim is not an identity per se, but being a Muslim means being a person who takes to his heart the problems of the country and of the city in which he lives and who is convinced that politics or the participation in politics, is a commitment to the service for the common good," said Chaouki. "The presence of Italian Muslims in institutions also serve make it normal for Muslim citizens to participate in the political life of the country."However Chaouki also knows there its a long road to achieving this goal. He could not hide his envy for the situation of second generation immigrants in neighbouring countries such as France where they have managed to occupy important positions in various departments such as the department of Justice. "I want to know long it's going to take for the Italian society to evolve before it's possible for an Obama, the son of an immigrant, can dream to lead the country," he said. Chaouki believes that the blame, in part, lies with the new Italian citizens. "Certainly the antipathy that many Italians have towards politics in general is also present among the new citizens," he said. "But it is necessary for us to participate in political life, in the life of political parties. The political forces, on their part, must then give ample space to issues such as immigration and integration."Chaouki, was a member of Italy's Consulta Islamica, a government-appointed body created to represent the various Muslim groups in Italy, which he claims has not lived up to its potential."In the Consulta I have had a glimpse of a space in which one can open a dialogue between the diverse realities of Islam in Italy, but unfortunately not all of the components shared this spirit of dialogue and the need to create an Italian Islam.""Some Muslim representatives of the Consulta wanted to transform it into a small parliament for Muslims in Italy, losing sight of its main objective, which is to open a direct dialogue with the Muslim community in Italy.""For some members of the Consulta, mosques are only places of hate and terrorism and not places of worship with institutional rights," he said. The candidate for Rome's adminstrative elections was critical of the Italian Islamic community, which he said is "lacking in a democratice and liberal culture and is "incapable of managing a civil confrontation between Muslims living in Italy."
As in the days of Noah....


"After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea;and there he tarried with them,and baptized.
And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim,because there was much water there:and they came,and were baptized.
For John was not yet cast into prison.
Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.
And they came unto John,and said unto him, Rabbi,he that was with thee beyond Jordan,to whom thou barest witness,behold,the same baptizeth,and all men come to him.
John answered and said,A man can receive nothing,except it be given him from heaven.
Ye yourselves bear me witness,that I said,I am not the Christ,but that I am sent before him.
He that hath the bride is the bridegroom:but the friend of the bridegroom,which standeth and heareth him,rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice:this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
He must increase,but I must decrease."

John 3:22-30

CULTURE of DEATH:Truth on trauma in abortion

SOMETIMES light begins to shine into corners where there has been darkness for a long time, perhaps generations. Today, in Australia, the public is being offered much more information on the causes, side-effects and consequences of abortion.Surveys have brought us more information on the role of fathers, on the reluctance of most mothers who abort, and on the almost contradictory views of the majority, who simultaneously support the right of a woman to abortion but are deeply uneasy about the extent of the practice.Pregnancy is not a disease or illness, but a natural event. A woman's body is programmed to nurture and sustain life, and her whole psychology changes, with her body, during the nine months of pregnancy.She can feel drawn in different directions, marvelling at the mystery of new life, but overwhelmed by the prospect of so much responsibility; worried by concerns about health or finance, but excited by the prospect of a new human being to be loved.Abortion is another matter altogether, when a mother is violently disconnected from her child. This is a genuine trauma, an unnatural death, where a mother has often violated her natural instincts as well as her moral sense.Occasionally, we hear of tragic situations where a father is unable to stop the abortion of his child by the mother. This is rare, as the boot is often on the other foot.Statistics indicate there is a high level of coercion driving women into unwanted abortions and that the male partner plays acentral role in 95 per cent of abortion decisions.The 2005 Post Abortion Review by the Elliott Institute in the US claimed 80 per cent of women would give birth if given support.An abortion clinic security guard testified that women were threatened or abused by men who took them to there and, in the US, murder is the number one cause of death among pregnant women.In the past, the psychological and spiritual agony experienced by many mothers after abortion was ignored by the media, denied by mental-health professionals and scorned by the women's movement.Women were told that abortion would bring them relief, but often found only depression and grief whose causes they did not recognise.The woman's loss is often secret, preventing help from family and friends. In any case, society generally doesn't want to know.For some years, evidence hasbeen published in top-level journals such as the British Medical Journal about post-abortion traumas in the US, Britain and Finland.This complements New Zealand research by Professor David Fergusson about a higher suicide risk, more depressive psychoses, nightmares, flashbacks and emotional numbness.In 1989, a panel from the American Psychological Association concluded unanimously that legal abortion "does not create psychological hazards for most women undergoing the procedure".Such a claim is no longer valid.
Cardinal Pell is Australia's most senior Catholic cleric.
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Clinton Portrays Herself as a Pro-Gun Churchgoer

VALPARAISO, Ind. - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton managed to co-opt Mr. Obama’s message of hope and optimism, beginning a speech in Valparaiso, Ind., by talking about how positive and “fundamentally optimistic” Americans are.“We don’t get bogged down and looking back – we’re always looking forward,” she said, as heavy applause nearly drowned out her words. “Whatever obstacle we see, we get over it. Whatever challenge we have, we meet it. We’re the problem-solvers, we’re the innovators, we’re the people who make the better future.”For the third time since Mr. Obama’s remarks were made public Friday night, Mrs. Clinton criticized him at length, saying his comments seemed “kind of elitist and out of touch.”“I disagree with Senator Obama’s assertion that people in our country cling to guns and have certain attitudes about immigration or trade simply out of frustration,” she said.[[[[[[[[[[She described herself as a pro-gun churchgoer, recalling that her father taught her how to shoot a gun when she was a young girl and said that her faith “is the faith of my parents and my grandparents.”]]]]]]]]]]http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/12/clinton-portrays-herself-as-a-pro-gun-churchgoer/
Read also:
Hillary Clinton Appeals For Gun Control Lobbying
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Deadly Mosque Bombing in Iran

Administration Set to Use New Spy Program in U.S.

The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea's legal authority.Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department will activate his department's new domestic satellite surveillance office in stages, starting as soon as possible with traditional scientific and homeland security activities-such as tracking hurricane damage, monitoring climate change and creating terrain maps. Sophisticated overhead sensor data will be used for law enforcement once privacy and civil rights concerns are resolved, he said. The department has previously said the program will not intercept communications."There is no basis to suggest that this process is in any way insufficient to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans," Chertoff wrote to Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.), chairmen of the House Homeland Security Committee and its intelligence subcommittee, respectively, in letters released yesterday."I think we've fully addressed anybody's concerns," Chertoff added in remarks last week to bloggers. "I think the way is now clear to stand it up and go warm on it."His statements marked a fresh determination to operate the department's new National Applications Office as part of its counterterrorism efforts. The administration in May 2007 gave DHS authority to coordinate requests for satellite imagery, radar, electronic-signal information, chemical detection and other monitoring capabilities that have been used for decades within U.S. borders for mapping and disaster response.But Congress delayed launch of the new office last October. Critics cited its potential to expand the role of military assets in domestic law enforcement, to turn new or as-yet-undeveloped technologies against Americans without adequate public debate, and to divert the existing civilian and scientific focus of some satellite work to security uses.Democrats say Chertoff has not spelled out what federal laws govern the NAO, whose funding and size are classified. Congress barred Homeland Security from funding the office until its investigators could review the office's operating procedures and safeguards. The department submitted answers on Thursday, but some lawmakers promptly said the response was inadequate."I have had a firsthand experience with the trust-me theory of law from this administration," said Harman, citing the 2005 disclosure of the National Security Agency's domestic spying program, which included warrantless eavesdropping on calls and e-mails between people in the United States and overseas."I won't make the same mistake....I want to see the legal underpinnings for the whole program."Thompson called DHS's release Thursday of the office's procedures and a civil liberties impact assessment "a good start."But, he said, "We still don't know whether the NAO will pass constitutional muster since no legal framework has been provided."DHS officials said the demands are unwarranted."The legal framework that governs the National Applications Office...is reflected in the Constitution, the U.S. Code and all other U.S. laws," said DHS spokeswoman Laura Keehner.She said its operations will be subject to "robust," structured legal scrutiny by multiple agencies.

As in the days of Noah....

BIG BROTHER WATCH:Google Earth, U.N. Pair Up to Map World Refugees' Movements

GENEVA-Internet search giant Google Inc. unveiled a new feature Tuesday for its popular mapping programs that shines a spotlight on the movement of refugees around the world.The maps will aid humanitarian operations as well as help inform the public about the millions who have fled their homes because of violence or hardship, according to the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, which is working with Google on the project."All of the things that we do for refugees in the refugee camps around the world will become more visible," U.N.Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees L. Craig Johnstone said at the launch in Geneva.Users can download Google Earth software to see satellite images of refugee hot spots such as Darfur, Iraq and Colombia. Information provided by the U.N. refugee agency explains where the refugees have come from and what problems they face.Although not all parts of the world are displayed at the same high resolution, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company has made an effort to allow users to zoom in closely on refugee camps.In the Djabal refugee camp in eastern Chad, which is home to refugees from the conflict in neighboring Darfur, Google Earth users can see individual tents clustered together amid a sparse landscape, and learn about the difficulty of providing water to some 15,000 people.Google says more than 350 million people have already downloaded Google Earth. The software was launched three years ago and originally intended for highly realistic video games, but its use by rescuers during Hurricane Katrina led the company to reach out to governments and nonprofit organizations.Google Earth has since teamed up with dozens of nonprofit groups seeking to raise awareness, recruit volunteers and encourage donations.Among them are the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the U.N. Environmental Program and the Jane Goodall Institute."Google wants to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," said Samuel Widmann, the head of Google Earth Europe.The company estimates that 80 percent of the world's information can be plotted on a map in some way. Rebecca Moore, who heads the Google Earth Outreach program for nonprofit groups, said the company does not control the information published using the software.Google is considering offering a stand-alone version of its mapping software that can be used by aid workers in the field who do not have an Internet connection on hand, she said.Google said it will also provide nonprofit groups in several countries with training and free copies of its $400 professional mapping software, an offer it plans to roll out across the globe over time.
As in the days of Noah....

Under fire, Obama clarifies small-town remarks

INDIANAPOLIS-[[[Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama tried to quell a political furor on Saturday over his comments about small-town Pennsylvanians, saying he used the wrong words to describe their mood.]]]Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate John McCain kept the heat on the Illinois senator for his comments that small-town residents were bitter over job losses and turned in frustration to religion, guns and anti-immigrant sentiments.Clinton, campaigning in Indiana before the state's May 6 contest, said the comments were elitist, divisive and out of touch and did not reflect the values of Americans she met."I don't think it helps to divide our country into one America that is enlightened and one that is not," Clinton, a New York senator, said in Indianapolis.[[[[[[["If you want to be the president of all Americans, you need to respect all Americans."]]]]]]]Obama said he did not use the right language to describe the anger and frustration small-town residents feel about the struggling economy and the failure of government to help them."I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois, who are bitter," Obama said in Muncie, Indiana."So I said well you know when you're bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community," he said."Now, I didn't say it as well as I should have."
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PS:This guy is a joke....Truth is is that he BELIEVES in what he said to be the truth.....Well...he just lost the votes of the folks in small towns across America that ARE NOT BITTER....This guy is so detaced from reality that is not even funny........
As in the days of Noah.....

Haiti's government falls after food riots

PORT-AU-PRINCE-Haiti's government fell on Saturday when senators fired the prime minister after more than a week of riots over food prices, ignoring a plan presented by the president to slash the cost of rice.Sixteen of 17 senators at a special session voted against Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis,(picture left) an ally President Rene Preval placed at the head of a coalition cabinet in June 2006 that was meant to unite the fractious Caribbean nation.The move by opposition senators was seen as a serious but not crushing blow to Preval, whose 2006 election brought a measure of calm to the poorest country in the Americas as it searched for political stability after decades of dictatorship, military rule and economic mayhem.The clash with senators came after the president of the country of 9 million people-most of whom earn less than $2 a day-managed to persuade rioters to end a week of violence in which at least five people were killed. Stone-throwing crowds began battling U.N. peacekeepers and Haitian police in the south on April 2, enraged at the soaring cost of rice, beans, cooking oil and other staples.The unrest spread this week to the capital, Port-au-Prince, bringing the sprawling and chaotic city to a halt as mobs took over the streets, smashing windows, looting shops, setting fire to cars and hurling rocks at motorists.U.N. troops, stationed in Haiti since Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted as president in a revolt in 2004, fired tear gas and rubber bullets on several occasions to disperse protesters.On Saturday a Nigerian U.N. peacekeeper was shot to death near the main Catholic cathedral in downtown Port-au-Prince, close to the large and often violent slum of Bel-Air, a Haitian police officer and U.N. commander said.
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"For every one that doeth evil hateth the light,neither cometh to the light,lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light,that his deeds may be made manifest,that they are wrought in God."

John 3:20-21

Death toll from Iran mosque bomb rises to 10

TEHRAN-The death toll from a bomb blast at a mosque in southern Iran on Saturday had risen to at least 10 and more than 160 were wounded, Iranian Press TV state television reported on Sunday.On Saturday, Iranian media reported at least nine people had been killed and that more than 100 were wounded.Press TV, Iran's English-language satellite station, said no one had claimed responsibility yet for the bombing.

As in the days of Noah...

UN agency says soaring cereal prices threaten peace and security

ROME-Soaring cereal prices are a growing threat to world peace and security and to the human rights of developing countries facing food crises, the head of the UN food agency warned Friday."I'm surprised I have not been summoned to the UN Security Council, since many problems discussed there do not have the same consequences for peace and security in the world and the human rights of people who need to be fed," Jacques Diouf told a news conference in Rome.At least five people have died in violent protests against high food and fuel prices in Haiti's capital, while similar disturbances have rocked Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries in the past month.In Pakistan and Thailand, army troops have been deployed to avoid the seizure of food from fields and warehouses.Noting growing unease over supplies across in the developing world, Diouf said Friday that new funding of between 1.2 billion and 1.7 billion dollars (1.1 billion euros) is needed to help developing countries deal with the crises.Thirty-seven countries currently face food crises, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation said in its latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation Report."In October already we made statements to different media warning that there will be food riots because we had all the signals pointing to that," Diouf said, calling for high-level representation at a world summit on food security that FAO is to host in Rome June 3-5."To be frank I think we've already lost a lot of time," said the Senegalese FAO chief."Ahead of the planting season from March to July we hoped for huge programmes. Unfortunately it didn't happen," he said, adding: "We believe there is a need for massive transfers of seeds."
While in New Delhi on Wednesday, Diouf said: "In the face of food riots around the world like in Africa and Haiti, we really have an emergency," noting that food stocks are at their lowest since 1980.Cereal prices have risen as a result of steady demand, supply shortages and new export restrictions but supplies could improve with an expected increase in production of 1.6 percent to a record 2.16 billion tonnes, the FAO report said.Diouf said seed prices have risen 36 percent for maize and 72 percent for wheat, while fertiliser has gone up 59 percent and feed 62 percent.In a complex system that varies according to different countries' political economies, factors behind the soaring prices include global warming, rising demand for biofuel, rising meat consumption and speculation on commodity futures, Diouf said.Jose Sumpsi, Diouf's assistant for technical cooperation, told reporters: "The markets are not working well. A few operators are controlling everything, raising the prices of inputs."He said not only the global market but regional, national and local market systems needed reforms.

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KNOWLEDGE SHALL INCREASE:Robot anaesthetist developed in France

PARIS-A prototype robot that can induce a general anaesthetic for operations has been developed in France using American equipment and tested on some 200 patients, the project team leader has announced. "The automatic pilot system relieves the anaesthetist of one of his tasks so that he can devote himself to the extremely important job of monitoring the patient's state," said Professor Marc Fischler, head of anaesthetics of the Foch Hospital in Suresnes, who developed the system with two other specialists.The anaesthetist's task would otherwise include administering anaesthetic drugs and pain-killers, as well as overseeing the patient's condition during the course of the operation.The French system has been tested on more than 200 patients in 10 French hospitals, as well as one in Belgium and one in Germany."We have been fine-tuning our version for the last four years," said Fischler, speaking Friday."In the short term it's still a research tool, but I can imagine that in the longer term it will become an instrument in everyday use," he commented."We didn't actually invent the system, but we developed it further and we're still the only team in the world so far to have actually induced a general anaesthetic by means of the system, as well as using it during the operation," he added.
"Furthermore, we can handle patients regardless of how serious their condition and even for long operations (up to 14 hours)," said Fischler."Our added value is the software."The system includes a bispectral monitor developed in the United States some years ago which can analyse the depth of the anaesthetic by recording brain activity. An electrode on the patient's brow enables the monitor to situate the depth of anaesthesia somewhere between zero and 100, depending on the bispectral index.Data is fed into a computer which controls the supply of morphine and hypnotising drugs, with the entire process constantly monitored by anaesthetists.
The bispectral index (BIS) can calculate the patient's brain state and signal any major malaise occurring.A bispectral index is a neurophysiological monitoring device which continually analyses a patient's electroencephalograms during general anaesthesia to assess the level of consciousness.

As in the days of Noah....

Maoists surge to the fore in early Nepal vote count

KATHMANDU-Nepal's Maoists emerged Sunday as strong early leaders in crucial elections for an assembly that is expected to abolish the world's last Hindu monarchy.The fiercely republican Maoists, who just three years ago were locked in a bloody conflict with the government, have surprised analysts and diplomats who had predicted a much lower level of support.Vote counting continued Sunday-and indeed will last for weeks yet-but by late Saturday the Maoists had won or were leading in 82 constituencies.One of them was won by the movement's charismatic leader Prachanda.The Nepali Congress-Nepal's biggest party with 133 seats in the current 330-seat interim parliament-won or was leading in just 28 areas, election commission spokesman Laxman Bhattarai told AFP.Around 10 million Nepalese voted in Thursday's polls to elect a 601-member assembly whose first tasks will be to rewrite the constitution and abolish the royals.Maoist pre-vote claims that they would emerge as the single biggest party were dismissed as campaigning bluster, but it now looks possible."The people have given us the benefit of the doubt because we come from a different background than the rest of the parties," Ananta, the deputy head of the "People's Liberation Army," told AFP.Around two and a half years ago, Ananta led the last Maoist attack of the war, when 11 policemen were killed after hundreds of rebels stormed a post on the outskirts of Kathmandu.On Saturday, he won an assembly seat in a town just outside the capital."We were portrayed as a party that didn't have much influence or general support. We have proved all the people that said that wrong," said Ananta.Around 10,000 jubilant Maoist supporters gathered outside Kathmandu's main counting centre Saturday to celebrate the victory of chairman Prachanda, whose victory in a constituency in the capital was announced Saturday.Political analyst and professor Lok Raj Baral said the support shown at the polls for the Maoists had caught many off guard."Everyone has underestimated them," hed said.Nepalese voted for the Maoists to allow the Himalayan country to begin its recovery from a decade of bloody civil war that killed at least 13,000 people and crippled an already fragile economy, he told AFP."The people have voted for them so they won't return to the jungle. People have given them a chance because they want radical change," said Baral.The conflict ended in a 2006 peace deal between the Maoists and mainstream parties.Once deadly enemies, the mainstream parties and the rebels made an alliance after King Gyanendra, in February 2005, had sacked the government and assumed direct control.His future as monarch is increasingly bleak, as Nepal's interim government agreed last December that the first meeting of the constituent assembly would formally abolish his dynasty.Thursday's polls, the first major elections here in nearly a decade, were the climax of the peace deal that saw the former rebels place their militia in UN-monitored camps.Arjun Narsingh KC, the spokesman for the Nepali Congress of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, admitted they had faced a formidable foe at the ballot."We have now realised their management and operations were scientific," he said.

As in the days of Noah...

More Catholic schools closing across US

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.-For 46 years, crime, recessions and hurricanes proved no threat to the daily ritual of St. Monica School, where the entire blue-and-white uniformed student body gathered outside each morning to join in prayer. Come June, though, the tradition will fade away, and "amen" will close St. Monica's morning recitations for the last time. The school, a home-away-from-home for mostly minority students, will close.As Pope Benedict XVI next week makes his first trip to the U.S. as pontiff, Catholic schools across the country, long a force in educating the underprivileged regardless of their faith, face the same fate as St. Monica.About 1,267 Catholic schools have closed since 2000 and enrollment nationwide has dropped by 382,125 students, or 14 percent, according to the National Catholic Education Association.The problem is most apparent in inner cities, in schools like St. Monica with large concentrations of minorities whose parents often struggle to pay tuition rather than send them to failing public schools."We lose the kids. They can't afford it. And then as the school gets smaller, you have to raise the tuition to pay the costs and it's a vicious cycle," said Sister Dale McDonald, the association's director of public policy and education research.The pope will gather with Catholic educators during his visit, but not those who run elementary schools-the meeting is with college presidents.St. Monica has been operating on a deficit for about a decade. Enrollment went from 368 students in 2004 to 196 today. Requests for financial aid increased. The Archdiocese of Miami devoted more than $2.7 million in subsidies over the past seven years to keep it open."There's not the numbers there to keep going," said Kristen Hughes, superintendent of schools for the archdiocese."The economy really has had a huge impact."McDonald notes Catholic schools have been closing since their peak in the 1960s, when there were 12,893 schools with about 5.25 million students.Today, there are 7,378 schools with 2.27 million students.The decline in enrollment is accelerating, fueling further school closures.The recent economic downturn is being blamed for some of them, but McDonald said dioceses' huge payouts to settle sex abuse lawsuits could have played a role too."We have no direct correlation," she said, "but as the dioceses have gone into financial debt the funds to subsidize these schools would be diminished."High school enrollment has remained roughly the same and schools are opening in suburbs, particularly in the West and Southwest. The Northeast and Midwest have been hit hardest.Some dioceses have turned to public-private partnerships to keep schools open, and others have created consortiums of schools to share resources. In the Archdiocese of Washington, officials plan to convert seven schools into publicly funded charter schools this fall.Taking taxpayer money means sacrificing the core element of Catholic schools: their faith. The schools won't be able to have prayers, and will have to strip religion from the curriculum. That has prompted petitions from parents who want the schools to stay as they are."What is lost is the teachings of the Catholic faith," said Joe McKenzie, a 41-year-old technology consultant who has two children at St. Gabriel School in Washington. "That voice will be silent."McDonald said she is concerned, too. Catholic schools were once considered vital to passing on the faith to the next generation and to exposing multitudes of non-Catholics to the church. With declining enrollment, the church will need to find new means.Perhaps most distressing to McDonald and others is the loss of schools in the inner city."The church has always had a strong sense of mission, particularly to the poor," she said. "As it becomes more and more difficult, not only on the poor but on middle-income people, we're not really fulfilling the mission of the church to serve all if we only can afford to serve the people who can afford the big bucks. "The issue has caught the attention of President Bush, who called faith-based schools "lifelines of learning" in his State of the Union address and said they were disappearing at an alarming rate.The White House will host a summit on the topic later this month.Advocates for Catholic schools say it's in the public's interest to preserve them. McDonald said.Catholic school students save the government $19.8 billion annually."They've left these urban inner-city schools when they close and they have to go somewhere," said Virginia Gentles, who oversees the nonpublic education office of the U.S. Department of Education. "It could be tough for the districts financially and from other standpoints to absorb those children."For now, parents still line up in cars outside St. Monica each afternoon to pick their children up. Many say how sad they are to see it close.

As in the days of Noah....

Tanzania expects trouble-free torch run

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - The mayor of Tanzania's main city received the Olympic torch from a Chinese official Saturday and assured him its run through the East African nation would be smooth.On Friday, Kenyan Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai said she had pulled out of the torch relay in Tanzania to protest China's human rights record.Journalists and Tanzanian sports officials watched as a Chinese Olympic official stepped off a plane and handed the torch over to Dar es Salaam's mayor, Adam Kimbisa. About a dozen riot police surrounded Kimbisa as he received the torch and passed it to be taken to a bus."It is a great honor and privilege for Tanzania to host this torch. Don't worry, all preparations are all set," Kimbisa said.Major demonstrations have followed the torch's relay around the world on the way to Beijing for the summer Olympic Games. Thousands of protesters angry at China's human rights record have demonstrated.The procession in Argentina on Friday was the most trouble-free so far. Secretary-General Filbert Bayi of the Tanzania Olympic Committee said no street demonstrations or attempts to snatch the torch are expected during Sunday's procession through the country's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.The torch goes to Oman on Sunday.

As in the days of Noah....

Friday, April 11, 2008

Saudi Blogger Posts Anti-Christian Video

BEIRUT, Lebanon-A Saudi blogger has made a short video featuring alleged Christian extremists preaching violence and a Bible passage calling for war, in response to an anti-Quran film that sparked protests across the Muslim world.Raed al-Saeed told The Associated Press on Thursday that the purpose of his six-minute video is to show Islam should not be judged by watching Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders' movie "Fitna," which links terror attacks by Muslim extremists with texts from the Quran."It is easy to take parts of any holy book that are out of (context) and make it sound like the most inhumane book ever written," al-Saeed said in a statement posted at the end of his video. "This is what Geert Wilders did to gather more supporters to his hateful ideology. To create schism."Al-Saeed, 33, said he lifted footage showing alleged Christian extremists and British soldiers beating up Iraqis from YouTube and used the same methods Wilders did. The video appeared to include footage from "Jesus Camp," an American documentary about a summer camp for evangelical Christians that was nominated for a 2007 Academy Award.However, al-Saeed said his movie, entitled "Schism," was not directed against Christians.Wilders' film has angered Muslims around the world, sparking angry street protests in several countries and triggering calls for a boycott of Dutch goods.Within 12 hours of posting, al-Saeed said his video was removed from YouTube in Saudi Arabia with a message from the site saying the content was inappropriate."I sent it again with a message saying, 'Before you delete Schism, look at Fitna. Delete both if you deem them inappropriate,'" he said.Late Thursday, al-Saeed's video still could be accessed on YouTube and other Web sites, he said, adding that it had been viewed by more than 5,000 users.
PS:TRUTH is that there is nowhere in the Bible where it says that we should KILL BY THE SWORD NON CHRISTIANS that dont want to convert....and to be honest with you you can't compare...Muslims are upset by the movie,but it sadly shows the TRUTH....Bad they dont like it...


"For God so loved the world,that he gave his only begotten Son,that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned:but he that believeth not is condemned already,because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation,that light is come into the world,and men loved darkness rather than light,because their deeds were evil."

John 3:16-19

OBAMA:"Change We Can't Believe In"

Responding to accusations that his campaign has been too quiet on homosexual issues, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) stated his views in detail in one of his most pointed interviews to date. Sitting down with reporters from the gay magazine The Advocate, Obama was frank about the major current issues. Here is the Democratic frontrunner in his own words:
"I have actually been much more vocal on gay issues to general audiences than any other presidential candidate probably in history... I reasonably can see 'don't ask, don't tell' eliminated. I think that I can help usher through an Employment Non-Discrimination Act and sign it into law... The third thing I believe I can get done is in dealing with federal employees, making sure that their benefits, that their ability to transfer health or pension benefits the same way that opposite-sex couples do, is something that I'm interested in making happen... And finally, an area that I'm very interested in is making sure that federal benefits are available to same-sex couples who have a civil union... I, for a very long time, have been interested in a repeal of DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act]."
As in the days of Noah....

QUAKEWATCH:Swarm of earthquakes detected off Oregon

Scientists listening to underwater microphones have detected an unusual swarm of earthquakes off the central Oregon Coast.Scientists don't know what the earthquakes mean, but they could be the result of magma rumbling underneath the Juan de Fuca Plate...
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As in the days of Noah....

ISLAMIC INVASION USA WATCH:Public School Funded by Tax Dollars Teaches Muslim Curriculum

"THERE SHALL BE FAMINES":Desperate North Korea seeks food aid - UN official

SEOUL-Impoverished North Korea is seeking international aid to battle one of its worst food shortfalls in years, a senior U.N. official based in Asia said on Friday.Agricultural experts in Seoul have said the shortfall may be one of the worst since famine hit North Korea in the 1990s, the result of flood damage last year, high commodity prices and political wrangling with major food donor South Korea."The North Koreans know that they are facing a difficult situation and have made it increasingly clear in the past few weeks that they will need outside assistance to meet their growing needs," the U.N. official said, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. North Korea, which even with a good harvest still falls about 1 million tonnes, or around 20 percent, short of what it needs to feed its people, relies heavily on aid from China, South Korea and U.N. aid agencies to fill the gap.The UN official said it was clear from a variety of sources that the food security situation was worsening in North Korea and that it needed to be addressed.Last month Kwon Tae-jin, an expert on the North's agriculture sector at the South's Korea Rural Economic Institute told Reuters that if South Korea and other nations did not send food aid, the North would be faced with a food crisis worse than the one in the 90s.A famine in the mid-to-late 1990s killed more than 1 million North Koreans in a country of about 23 million.The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation said in late March it sees the North having a shortfall of about 1.66 million tonnes in cereals for the year ending in October 2008.North Korea for years has been able to receive massive food aid, with few questions asked, by left-of-centre South Korean governments who have seen the handouts as a small price to pay to keep the peninsula stable. But the conservative government that took power in South Korea in February said there would no longer be a free ride for its capricious neighbour and wants to see progress on ending its nuclear weapons programme.North Korea has no plans to ask Seoul for help but recently appealed to China for aid, the South's Hankyoreh newspaper last week quoted diplomatic sources as saying.The South typically sends about 500,000 tonnes of rice and 300,000 tonnes of fertiliser a year. None has been sent this year and without the fertiliser, North Korea is almost certain to see a fall of several tens of tonnes in its harvest, Kwon said.The North will start to feel the shortage the hardest in the coming months when its meagre stocks of food, already depleted by flooding that hit the country last year, dry up and before the start of its potato harvest in June and July.China, the closest the North has to a major ally, has too many problems of its own, such as keeping runaway grain prices under control, to help its destitute neighbour, experts said.But experts doubt that North Korea will offer to make concessions in international talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons programme in order to receive food aid.

Operation Beijing storm:rockets target rain

BEIJING-China is preparing an arsenal of rockets and aircraft to protect the Olympics opening ceremony from rain, hoping to disperse clouds before they can drench dignitaries at the roofless "bird's nest" stadium.Officials believe there is a 47 percent probability of rain during the August 8 opening ceremony and a 6 percent chance of a heavy downpour and will try to drain humidity from clouds before they reach Beijing.More than 100 staff at 21 stations surrounding the city will have 10 minutes' notice to fire rockets or cannons containing silver iodide at approaching clouds in the hope of making them rain before they reach the stadium. Three aircraft will also be on stand-by to drop catalysts to unleash rain from the clouds."We've worked with neighboring provinces on a contingency plan for rainstorm and other weather risks during the ceremonies," said Wang Yubin, the deputy chief of China's meteorological service assigned to the Olympics.The government has spent $500,000 to build up Beijing's cloud seeding capacities over the last five years and authorities will conduct practice runs in June and July. It typically uses pellets of silver iodide, which is highly insoluble in water and can concentrate moisture to cause rain.Zhang Qiang, head of Beijing's Weather Modification Office, believed her staff can fend off drizzle, but could be powerless in the face of a heavy downpour."I hope God will not send any storms to Beijing," she said.
Take a look at the Countdown to Beijing blog at blogs.reuters.com/china
As in the days of Noah......

PESTILENCE WATCH:Accidents at disease lab acknowledged

WASHINGTON - [[[[[[[[[[The only U.S. facility allowed to research the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease experienced several accidents with the feared virus, the Bush administration acknowledged Friday.]]]]]]]]]]]]A 1978 release of the virus into cattle holding pens on Plum Island, N.Y., triggered new safety procedures.[[[[[[[While that incident was previously known, the Homeland Security Department told a House committee there were other accidents inside the government's laboratory.The accidents are significant because the administration is likely to move foot-and-mouth research from the remote island to one of five sites on the U.S. mainland near livestock herds. This has raised concerns about the risks of a catastrophic outbreak of the disease, which does not sicken humans but can devastate the livestock industry.]]]]]]]Skeptical Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee demanded to see internal documents from the administration that they believe highlight the risks and consequences of moving the research. The live virus has been confined to Plum Island for more than a half-century to keep it far from livestock.The 1978 accidental release "resulted in the FMD virus in some of the cattle in holding pens outside the laboratory facility," Jay Cohen, a senior Homeland Security official, wrote in response to the committee."Detailed precautions were taken immediately to prevent the spread of the disease from Plum Island, and new precautionary procedures were introduced."Cohen, undersecretary for science and technology, said there also have been "in-laboratory incidents" — contamination of foot-and-mouth virus within the facility but not outside it — at Plum Island since 1954. That was the year the Agriculture Department acquired the land and started the Plum Island Animal Disease Center.One government report, produced last year and already provided to lawmakers by the Homeland Security Department, combined commercial satellite images and federal farm data to show the proximity to livestock herds of locations that have been considered for the new lab."Would an accidental laboratory release at these locations have the potential to affect nearby livestock?" asked the nine-page document. It did not directly answer the question.A simulated outbreak of the disease in 2002 — part of an earlier U.S. government exercise called "Crimson Sky" — ended with fictional riots in the streets after the simulation's National Guardsmen were ordered to kill tens of millions of farm animals, so many that troops ran out of bullets. In the exercise, the government said it would have been forced to dig a ditch in Kansas 25 miles long to bury carcasses. In the simulation, protests broke out in some cities amid food shortages."It was a mess," said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who portrayed the president in that 2002 exercise. Now, like other lawmakers from the states under consideration, Roberts supports moving the government's new lab to his state. Manhattan, Kan., is one of five mainland locations under consideration. "It will mean jobs" and spur research and development, he says.Other possible locations for the new National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility are Athens, Ga.; Butner, N.C.; San Antonio; and Flora, Miss. The new site could be selected later this year, and the lab would open by 2014. The number of livestock in the counties and surrounding areas of the finalists range from 542,507 in Kansas to 132,900 in Georgia, according to the Homeland Security Department's internal study.Foot-and-mouth virus can be carried on a worker's breath or clothes, or vehicles leaving a lab,and is so contagious it has been confined to Plum Island since the research began. The existing lab is 100 miles northeast of New York City in the Long Island Sound. Researchers there who work with the live virus are not permitted to own animals at home that would be susceptible, and they must wait at least one week after work before attending outside events where such animals might perform, such as a circus.Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee also are worried about the lab's likely move to the mainland. Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., and the head of the investigations subcommittee, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., also demanded reports about "Crimson Sky" and other studies on the consequences of live virus research on the U.S. mainland. Cohen, the Homeland Security official, said those documents were provided.Two lawmakers from New York, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. Timothy Bishop, both Democrats, expressed concerns in letters they wrote last year about the Homeland Security Department's ability to protect the existing lab at Plum Island, which relies for security on a private security company and local police rather than federal agents."We are particularly concerned that DHS has not been meeting the security needs of the facility since Federal Protective Service agents were removed from the island," Clinton and Bishop wrote in a letter obtained by The Associated Press.Cohen responded that Plum Island used a contract with a private security firm and relied on an agreement with local police, who were deputized to enforce federal laws on the island.
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As in the days of Noah....

Why China is the REAL master of the universe

Cecil Rhodes, the businessman-imperialist of Africa, the creator of Rhodesia, suffered no flicker of doubt about who were the masters. "To be born an Englishman," he mused, "Is to win first prize in the lottery of life." It wasn't idle boasting. In the jingoistic triumphalism of the late 19th century, when waving the Union Jack was a simple pleasure, people sang: "Rule Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves" without any irony. It was a statement of fact. A quarter of mankind lived under the British flag in the largest empire the world had ever known. And many of those parts that weren't under Britain's rule - such as the U.S. - had been created by Britain.British missionaries had opened up the Dark Continent almost unchallenged. The British Army found it easier to invade troublesome nations - or most of them - than it does nowadays. Britain was the workshop of the world, dominating science, manufacturing and trade.To many Victorians, unquestioning of the ideology that underpinned much imperialism, British supremacy was a simple matter of racial supremacy - Europeans, and the English in particular, were fated to be the masters.The truth is that we are masters of the world no more.The global power shift from the West to the East is no longer just a matter of debate confined to learned journals and newspaper columns-it is a reality that is beginning to have a huge impact on our daily lives.What would those Victorian masters of old have made of the fact that Chinese security men were on the streets of London this week, ordering our own police about and fighting running battles with British protesters while bewildered athletes carried the Olympic torch on its relay through the capital?It was a brazen display of how confident China has become of its new place in the world, just as the British Government's failure to take a firm stand on Chinese abuses of human rights shows how craven we have become.The dire warnings from the International Monetary Fund this week that the West now faces the largest financial shock since the Great Depression, while the Asian economies are still powering ahead, simply underlines our vulnerability in this new world order.The desperately weakened American dollar appears to be on the verge of losing its global dominance, in the same way as sterling lost it a lifetime ago.The credit crunch has brought home to all of us in Britain how over-reliant our country has become on financial services. Meanwhile, the loss of our manufacturing industries to Asia continues unabated.Last month, an Indian company, Tata, bought up what was once the cream of British manufacturing - Jaguar and Land Rover.A couple of years ago, Nanjing Automotive, a Chinese company, snapped up MG Rover.Just as the 19th century was the British century, and the 20th century was the American century, the 21st century is the Asian century.But the handover of global power from the UK to the U.S. was trivial compared to what is happening now.The U.S. was Britain's offspring, based on the same values and the same language.It, too, was an Anglo-Saxon country, and passing the baton across the Atlantic ensured the continuation of the Anglo-Saxon world order, based on democracy, free trade and a belief in human rights, upheld through international institutions that both powers supported.But the world order we have grown used to - and comfortable with - over the last century is coming to an end.Napoleon III compared China to a sleeping giant and warned: "When China awakes, she will shake the world."After a long hibernation, China, and her 1.3 billion people - twice the population of the U.S. and EU combined - is awaking almost overnight.And not just China. The world's second most populous country, India, is industrialising at a historically unprecedented pace.Their economies are growing on a long-term basis about four times the speed of the UK's and that of the United States. Goldman Sachs, the bank, recently predicted that by 2050, China and India would have overtaken the U.S. to be the world's first and second biggest economies.We have long heard about the benefits this brings, in terms of plentiful cheap goods from toys to TVs, and huge opportunities for Western companies to sell their wares in these booming markets.But there are also downsides, which are becoming more apparent. Unskilled workers in the West have become unsettled by the threat to their jobs as production moves East.The most vulnerable Western workers have found their wages stagnate as they struggle to compete in an increasingly global market place.And competition for raw materials is pitting East against West.The economic explosion of China, and to a lesser extent India, has given them an almost overpowering hunger for raw materials with which to build their factories, homes and cars.Wherever you turn, the rise of Asia is making its impact felt on our existence.Every time you complain about the price of petrol being over £1 a litre, it is to the Far East you have to look to find the culprits.
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As in the days of Noah....


"Nicodemus answered and said unto him,How can these things be?
Jesus answered and said unto him,Art thou a master of Israel,and knowest not these things?
Verily,verily,I say unto thee,We speak that we do know,and testify that we have seen;and ye receive not our witness.
If I have told you earthly things,and ye believe not,how shall ye believe,if I tell you of heavenly things?
And no man hath ascended up to heaven,but he that came down from heaven,even the Son of man which is in heaven.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish,but have eternal life."

John 3:9-15

Polygamist sect encouraged fear

SAN ANGELO, Texas - All their lives, the girls in the polygamist sect in the West Texas desert were told that the outside world was hostile and immoral, and that venturing beyond the brilliant white limestone walls of their compound would consign them to eternal damnation.Now, if the state gets its way, hundreds of the girls could be put in foster homes, in what could be a wrenching cultural adjustment that may require intensive counseling."What they are up against is having to deprogram an entire community," said Margaret Cooke, who left the sect with seven of her eight children near the end of 1994. The children "are so naive and they have been sheltered to the point that they don't even trust their own judgment."Marleigh Meisner, a spokeswoman for the state Children's Protective Services, said the agency is working with mental health and other experts to make the children's transition as easy as possible.Meanwhile, in court papers unsealed Friday, authorities said they found a "cyanide poisoning document" in their search of the compound in the town of Eldorado. But the 80-page list of items seized gave no further explanation.Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange said the document consisted of pages torn out of a first-aid book on how to treat cyanide poisoning. But she said she didn't know why the sect would have such information on hand.Child welfare officials seized more than 400 children, most of them girls, in the raid on the compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, saying the youngsters were in danger of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.The renegade Mormon splinter group requires girls at puberty to enter into polygamous marriages with much older men and produce children, authorities say. The sect also teaches children to fear the outside world, including the very authorities who removed them until a court hearing Thursday that will help determine their future."You're taught to fear everyone and everything," said Cooke, herself a 16-year-old bride.The children and the 139 women who followed them voluntarily out of the compound are being so secretive that child welfare officials are having trouble sorting out who the youngster' parents are.Most of the children are the offspring of the faith's inner circle — including its now-imprisoned prophet, Warren Jeffs — who were born since construction began on the compound in 2003, or were hand-selected by Jeffs to come to the enclave, which the sect regards as part of Zion on Earth.In 2003 and 2004, Jeffs, the spiritual leader of an estimated 6,000 followers in two adjoining towns along the Utah-Arizona line, plucked children under the age of 6 to bring to Texas without their parents, former sect member Isaac Wyler said."Over age 6 they were too contaminated for the world to be of use to God," said Wyler, who still lives in Colorado City, Ariz., and has 39 siblings. "He picked the ones that would be the most obedient, the ones that would be qualified to go to Zion."Authorities raided the Eldorado ranch April 3 after a girl from the clan made a whispered telephone call for help to a family violence shelter. The 16-year-old, who indicated she was a few weeks' pregnant, said her 50-year-old husband beat and raped her. The girl has not yet been identified among the 416 children and may not even be among them.In the call, the girl said that sect members warned her that if she ever left, outsiders would hurt her and force her to cut her hair, wear makeup and have sex with many men.Most of the sect's children have never attended public schools or worn modern clothing. The girls wear long, pioneer-style dresses and keep their long hair pinned up in braids.In their search of the compound, police uncovered dozens of journals and other documents that contain birth, marriage and other genealogical records. That may help social workers match children with their parents.The hearing next Thursday will determine whether the state gets full custody of the children or whether they can return to the compound in Eldorado.

As in the days of Noah....

GOOGLE execs refuse papers request to photograph their homes...

THEY spend their days devising technology that eats away at privacy but when it comes to disclosing their own personal information the people behind Google's prying mapping systems are less than co-operative.Google Australia is expected within months to launch an application that will publish highly detailed, street-level photos of much of Australia, in a move that has drawn strong criticism from privacy advocates. Google's picture-snapping cars have been cruising Australia's suburbs since late last year, with pictures of thousands of homes expected to be uploaded to the internet with Street View's launch.While Google has defended the project, the internet company baulked when The Weekend Australian requested the personal details and addresses of the group's key figures to allow the paper's photographers to take pictures of their homes. "Providing those details would be completely inappropriate," said Google spokesman Rob Shilkin.He said Street View only contained imagery "that anyone can already see walking down a public street"."The imagery available in Street View will contain imagery of neighbourhoods, cities and local terrain and has been a highly requested feature by Australians," Mr Shilkin said.According to property searches conducted by The Weekend Australian, Google's general manager Karim Temsamani owns a single-storey house in the eastern Sydney suburb of Kensington that he bought for $2.25 million in May 2006. The four-bedroom, two-bathroom property - The Weekend Australian has deliberately withheld exact addresses to protect the executives' privacy - has a two-car garage and covers 506sqm. Google Australia's only Australian director, Mark Tucker, lives in a house in Mona Vale, in northern Sydney, which is held in the name of his wife, Anne Marie Tucker, and was bought in 1990 for $410,000.Of more interest is information pertaining to Mr Tucker's business affairs, revealed in corporate records.According to data filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, six different Mark Tuckers live at the Mona Vale address. All were born in the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly - but on slightly different dates.According to ASIC records one Mr Tucker was born on January 21, 1953, one was born on January 13,1953,another born on January 25, 1953.Another Mr Tucker - who is both the director and secretary of a company called Bahama Acres Holding Company - is registered as living at the same address but was born on January 12, 1953.A Mark Tucker living at the Mona Vale address - who is currently the director of the Tucker Family Superannuation Co - was born on January 12, 1963, while another Mr Tucker at the same address was born on March 12, 1953.Mr Tucker said those ASIC birthdate entries were "typographical errors" that would be corrected.Further internet searches of Google's key players reveal that Sydney-based Lars Rasmussen, the man credited as the creator of Google Maps, owns a house in Denmark and was born on January 11, 1963. In January last year Mr Rasmussen set up a company Grazzhopper Australia, which he currently runs with Victorians Paul Barret - of Nunawading - and Debbie Young, of Point Cook.Mr Rasmussen owns 74 per cent of the company via his Denmark-based company LHR Holdings. He also owns 45,000 shares in a North Adelaide-based company Cohda Wireless.Mr Shilkin said the drivers of Google's picture-taking cars were instructed to "stay on public roads only" and the group was "focusing on finding ways" to ensure faces and licence plate numbers were not identifiable. "Street View contains a simple process for the flagging and removal of imagery that will be available in Australia," he said.
By Anthony Klan
As in the days of Noah...

Rice criticizes Carter over Hamas plans

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized former President Carter on Friday for his reported plans to meet the exiled leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas during a visit to Syria.Carter has not confirmed the plans to meet Khaled Mashaal, but Hamas has said the former Democratic president sent an envoy to Damascus requesting a meeting with the militant group's officials."I find it hard to understand what is going to be gained by having discussions with Hamas about peace when Hamas is, in fact, the impediment to peace," Rice said at a press event with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.Rice was responding to a question about Carter's plans but did not mention him by name."Hamas is a terrorist organization," she said, repeating the Bush administration's explanation for why it will not meet with members of the group.The State Department says it twice advised Carter against meeting any representative of Hamas. A Carter-Mashaal meeting would be the first public contact in two years between a prominent American figure and Hamas officials.A press release from the Carter Center said the former president was to lead a study mission to Israel, the West Bank, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan as part of his "ongoing effort to support peace, democracy and human rights in the region."Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work in mediating conflicts while in office and his humanitarian travels for the Carter Center since. One of his mediations was the 1978 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, for which Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Israel's Menachem Begin were awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.

As in the days of Noah...


Huffpo's Mayhill Fowler has more from Obama's remarks at a San Francisco fundraiser Sunday, and they include an attempt to explain the resentment in small-town Pennsylvania that won't be appreciated by some of the people whose votes Obama's seeking:
"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them...And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
That's a pretty broad list of things to explain with job loss.
By Ben Smith
As in the days of Noah...

Protests meet Olympic torch in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Argentine runners relayed the Olympic torch past fenced-off protesters on Friday, as hundreds of China supporters in red windbreakers tried to reverse weeks of bad publicity for the host of the Summer Games.Activists opposing China's human rights record (picture left)unfurled banners and promised "entertaining surprises" but pledged to keep their demonstrations peaceful after protests marred stops in London, Paris and San Francisco. Hundreds of spectators cheered as Chinese delegates wearing Argentina's blue-and-white lit the torch from a lantern that has carried the flame from the site of the ancient Olympic games in Greece.Mayor Mauricio Macri held the slender aluminum torch aloft, then passed it to three-time Olympic windsurfing medalist Carlos Espinola, who jogged into Buenos Aires streets flanked by Chinese bodyguards. Heavyset police from Argentina's navy huffed to keep up.A sea of about 500 China supporters in red windbreakers handed out by organizers waved banners and denounced what they called political interference in the ceremony."We are here to celebrate Olympics!" said Shao Long Chen, a 19-year-old Chinese immigrant. "It's a great source of pride for us that the Olympics are being held in Beijing and that the torch is passing through Buenos Aires."As for the pro-Tibet protesters nearby, he said: "They're using sports to deliver a political message, and that's not right."

As in the days of Noah....

Gates: Iran boosts support for militias

WASHINGTON-Iranian support for militias in Iraq has grown, top U.S. defense leaders said Friday, asserting that recent battles in Basra gave the Iraqis an eye-opening view of Iran's increased negative role there. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. will be as aggressive as possible to counter that increase, adding that the Iraqis "are in a position themselves to bring some pressures to bear on Iran."Speaking after he and his commanders spent three days on Capitol Hill mapping out progress in Iraq, Gates also acknowledged that future troop withdrawals will go more slowly than he had initially hoped last year."I think that the process has gone a little slower," Gates told a Pentagon news conference Friday. He said that plans-endorsed by Bush on Thursday-to halt troop withdrawals at least until mid-September would make it a "real challenge" to pull out five additional brigades by the end of the year.Last year Gates said he was holding out hope that the U.S. presence in Iraq could drop to about 10 brigades-or roughly 100,000 troops by the end of this year. On Thursday, he told senators he had abandoned that hope.Iran's role has been one of the complicating factors."I think that there is some sense of an increased level of supply of (Iranian) weapons and support to these groups," said Gates, referring to what the military has termed "special groups" of Shiite militants. "But whether it's a dramatic increase over recent weeks, I just don't know."He and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said recent clashes between Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias in Basra highlighted the increase in Iranian support."I think the Iraqi government now has a clearer view of the malign impact of Iran's activities inside Iraq," said Gates. "I think they have had what I would call a growing understanding of that negative Iranian role. But I think what they encountered in Basra was a real eye-opener for them."Late last year, military commanders suggested Iran may be slowing the flow of illegal weapons across the border into Iraq. And Tehran recently helped broker a truce between the Iraqi government and radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Mahdi Army is battling U.S. and Iraqi troops in Baghdad.On Friday, Gates and Mullen discounted that suspected decrease in weapons flow.In related comments, Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador in Iraq, said Friday that the Bush administration wants to test whether Iran is really interested in talking to the United States about Iraq.He said that even though Iran has backed out of recent appointments to meet with him for such discussions, he's ready and waiting for the meeting. Crocker said the administration thinks it's worthwhile to make the case to Iran that it should butt out of Iraq's internal affairs.Gates, meanwhile, said Friday that he doubts Muqtada al-Sadr would be subject to arrest by U.S. forces. Al-Sadr is believed to be in Iran while elements of his militia in the Sadr City section of the capital fight Iraqi government troops supported by the U.S. military.Asked if an arrest was possible, Gates said, "I would be surprised along those lines-a move to arrest him.He is a significant political figure. We want him to work within the political process.He has a large following. It is important that he become a part of the process, if he is not already."Gates said anyone who is prepared to "work within the political process in Iraq, and peacefully, are not enemies of the United States."Separately, Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told a small group of reporters at the Pentagon that al-Sadr's organization has to be reckoned with."It is a movement that must be addressed and, to varying degrees, accommodated," Petraeus said.A senior aide to al-Sadr was assassinated Friday in the holy city of Najaf, officials said. Authorities immediately announced a citywide curfew and security forces were seen deploying on the streets. The killing threatened to raise tensions amid a violent standoff between al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.Mullen, appearing alongside Gates at the news conference, said he regards al-Sadr as "somewhat of an enigma.""So, I think Sadr clearly is a very important and key player in all this," Mullen added. "Exactly where he's headed and what impact he'll have long term, it's, I think, is out there still to be determined." While Gates said troop withdrawals will go more slowly than he initially wanted, he reiterated that he is "confident that we will have a lower number of troops" in Iraq next year. "I'm not saying when in 2009, but I believe we will have a lower number of troops in Iraq in 2009," he said, adding that he also still hopes it will be possible to withdraw more U.S. forces this fall after a pause this summer."I certainly hope, continue to hope, that conditions will allow us to remove more troops by year's end," he said. "That hope for return on success is shared by the president, General Petraeus, Admiral Mullen and the chiefs. But we're all realistic. The history of this conflict has demonstrated that we must always be prepared for the unpredictable and that we must be extremely cautious with our every step."President Bush announced Thursday that after the currently scheduled troop withdrawals are completed in July, he would give his top commander in Iraq 45 days to evaluate the effects of the drawdown. That would be followed by an indefinite period to reassess U.S. troop strength in Iraq and determine the timing of additional troop reductions.
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As in the days of Noah...

Japan says no to Chinese torch guards

TOKYO-Japan will not allow the squad of Chinese flame guards to intervene with the Beijing Olympic torch's progress when it arrives in a Japanese city this month, the national police head was quoted as saying on Friday."We should not violate the principle that the Japanese police will firmly maintain security," Kyodo news agency quoted Shinya Izumi, head of the National Public Safety Commission, as saying."We do not know what position the people who escorted the relay are in," Izumi was quoted as saying."If they are for the consideration of security, it is our role."The torch is set to arrive in Nagano, central Japan, where the Winter Games were hosted in 1998, on April 26, after passing through Buenos Aires, Mumbai, and Canberra, among other cities.A phalanx of large and physically fit Chinese men in blue-and-white track suits has been trotting besides the torch along its ambitious global torch route and turned off the flame several times in Paris earlier this week.Chinese state media have reported that the "flame protection squad", consisting of some 70 members of China's People's Armed Police, has been employed by the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee to safeguard the fire for 24 hours a day.But the squad's heavy-handed approach in managing the torch relay-which has been a magnet for chaotic demonstrations in London, Paris, and San Francisco over China's human rights record and recent government crackdown on monk-led protests in Tibet-has made some uncomfortable.Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said Australia, not China, would be the one to provide security for the flame when it comes to his country..Despite heightened security concerns, Japan's Olympic Committee was quoted as ruling out the possibility of shortening or making any other changes to the torch relay in Nagano.

As in the days of Noah...


"There was a man of the Pharisees,named Nicodemus,a ruler of the Jews:
The same came to Jesus by night,and said unto him,Rabbi,we know that thou art a teacher come from God:for no man can do these miracles that thou doest,except God be with him.
Jesus answered and said unto him,Verily,verily,I say unto thee,Except a man be born again,he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him,How can a man be born when he is old?can he enter the second time into his mother's womb,and be born?
Jesus answered,Verily,verily,I say unto thee,Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh;and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee,Ye must be born again.
The wind bloweth where it listeth,and thou hearest the sound thereof,but canst not tell whence it cometh,and whither it goeth:so is every one that is born of the Spirit."

John 3:1-8