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

Friday, May 9, 2008

U.S. Urges Hezbollah To Stop Disruptive Activities.

Apocalypse threatens to engulf Burma but junta seizes aid

BURMA is facing a disease epidemic of "apocalyptic proportions" after the military dictatorship blocked aid efforts and seized vital supplies forcing the United Nations' World Food Programme to temporarily halt mercy flights.As the death toll from Cyclone Nargis climbed towards 100,000, with a further 1.5 million people left homeless and starving, the Disasters Emergency Committee yesterday warned of a catastrophic humanitarian disaster to follow unless the Burmese government accepted assistance from world aid agencies. Last night the United Nations World Food Programme agreed to send in two further plane-loads of aid scheduled to arrive today, after initially calling a halt to its aid programme when two planes were impounded by the government on Friday. The WFP had sent some aid on a scheduled Thai Airways cargo flight on Thursday which went through without problems, however a bureaucratic mix-up led to the seizure of cargo from the next two flights. Instead of immediately whisking the consignment, which included 38 tonnes of high-energy biscuits and relief equipment, to the disaster zone in the Irrawaddy Delta it was immediately confiscated. "All of the food aid and equipment that we managed to get in has been confiscated," said Paul Risley, spokesman for the UN's World Food Programme in Bangkok. He said: "It is being held by the government. It is sitting in a warehouse. It is not in trucks heading to Irrawaddy Delta where it is critically needed. The frustration caused by what appears to be a paperwork delay is unprecedented in modern humanitarian relief efforts.It's astonishing. "The United Nations also last night launched an international appeal for $187 million and urged the Burmese government to permit humanitarians into the country. Sir John Holmes, the UN secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and the UN's emergency relief co-ordinator said: "Every hour that passes more lives are lost."Despite the plight of its people, the Burmese government, who for over forty years have viewed the West with deep suspicion and hostility, is adamant that while aid is welcome, aid workers are not. Yesterday, members of the Disasters Emergency Committee said "they could do more" without opposition from the military junta. Tim Costello, chief executive of World Vision Australia, said suspicion of foreign aid workers was hampering their work. He warned of an epidemic of "apocalyptic proportions" if aid does not get through. But he urged donors to continue giving, saying the charities were making a difference...
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As in the days of Noah...

10 million child deaths a year preventable, charity says

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Nearly 10 million children die each year from treatable illnesses like diarrhea and pneumonia -the vast majority of them in the developing world, according to the U.S.-based charity Save the Children. Child death rates are worst in Laos, Yemen, Chad, Somalia and Ethiopia, and eight of the 10 worst-ranked countries are in sub-Saharan Africa.Simple health initiatives such as oral rehydration to combat diarrhea can dramatically improve the chances of survival for children, David Oot, Save the Children's associate vice president, told the Associated Press. The Philippines has cut its child death rate almost in half since 1990 with such techniques. Such strategies placed the Philippines, Peru, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkmenistan at the top of 55 developing countries in terms of child survival.More than 200 million children worldwide under age 5 do not get basic health care that would save lives, such as prenatal care, skilled birthing assistance, immunizations and treatments for diarrhea and pneumonia. Low-cost techniques-inexpensive antibiotics and oral rehydration solutions-could save more than 6 million children a year from preventable or curable causes, the report said. The top killer of children under 5 is pneumonia, while diarrhea ranks second.
As in the days of Noah...

Hezbollah militants take over West Beirut

BEIRUT, Lebanon-Hezbollah militias took control of western Beirut on Friday, dealing a major blow to the U.S.-backed government in Lebanon. Walid Jumblatt, a Druze leader and part of the March 14 pro-government coalition, described it as a "coup." Jumblatt's coalition called the takeover an effort to "bring Syria back to Lebanon" and extend Iran's reach to the Mediterranean. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Hezbollah leaders of trying to "protect their state within a state."Hezbollah leaders did not make public statements Friday. Two pro-government TV stations were shut down-and the building of one, Future TV, was soon on fire.Nadim Mounla, the head of Future TV, said Hezbollah had sent a "clear message" that it would destroy the stations.The building housing offices of a newspaper was set on fire as well. It and the two TV stations are owned by the prominent Hariri family, leading supporters of the government.Hezbollah "turned their weapons...toward the hearts of the innocent civilians of Beirut," said Samir Geagea, executive director of the Lebanese forces, reading a statement after a meeting of the pro-government March 14 coalition."They invaded their neighborhoods and shelled their homes with a hail of bombs that were sent from Tehran through the Damascus gateway," he said."The purpose behind this coup is to bring Syria back to Lebanon and allow Iran to reach the Mediterranean," he said.Syria and Iran support Hezbollah, and Syrian troops occupied Lebanon from 1990 until 2006.Iran on Friday said "U.S.-Israel adventurism" is the "main cause for lingering crisis and instability" in Lebanon.State-run news agency IRNA, citing Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini, added that "Iran's stand on Lebanon has always been based on non-interference in a matter that is entirely related to the Lebanese nation, alone."And Syria's state-run news agency SANA said President Bashar al-Assad discussed Lebanon during a meeting with Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani."The two sides hoped that the brothers in Lebanon would be able to find a solution to this situation through dialogue among themselves in a way that preserves the security and stability of Lebanon," al-Assad said.The country's elected, pro-Western government has long been locked in a power struggle with Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006.Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called that conflict "a strategic and historic victory" but acknowledged underestimating the cost in lives and destruction.In public statements and demonstrations in recent years, the Shiite militant group backed by Iran and Syria threatened to use its power and popularity to oust the Sunni-led government, triggering fears of a new civil war that could further destabilize the volatile region.Lebanon was crippled by a 15-year civil war that ended in 1990.Government troops and another militia group, Fatah al-Islam, fought a series of bloody battles last year over control of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. More than 150 people were reported killed in those clashes.In a written statement, the U.S. secretary of state said the United States is "deeply concerned" about the violence."Backed by Syria and Iran, Hezbollah and its allies are killing and injuring fellow citizens, undermining the legitimate authority of the Lebanese government and the institutions of the Lebanese state," Rice wrote."Seeking to protect their state within a state, Hezbollah has exploited its allies and demonstrated its contempt for its fellow Lebanese. No one has the right to deprive Lebanese citizens of their political and economic freedom, their right to move freely within their country or their sense of safety and security."The White House said Rice is reaching out to the Lebanese government. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said she also discussed Lebanon with officials from Saudi Arabia, France and the United Nations.National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe, at a White House press briefing, said, "We are very troubled by the recent actions of Hezbollah.We urge Hezbollah to stop their attempt to defy the lawful decisions taken by the democratically elected Lebanese government."The Lebanese army did not join the battles that erupted this week.Taking sides could throw the military-with its own political factions-into disarray.Soldiers instead effectively negotiated a surrender of pro-government positions, Lebanese Internal Security Forces and Western military observers said.Jumblatt said the government is "now at the end of a gun barrel" and expects the "conditions for surrender will be offered sooner or later.""I think ... it's a coup," he said in a phone interview. "The Lebanese army is in total paralysis."With pro-government gunmen out of the way, fighting in the capital eased a bit Friday after two days of intense gunbattles echoing through Beirut's streets.At least 11 people have been killed and 44 wounded in the clashes since Wednesday, according to Lebanese Internal Security Forces.Earlier this week, the government demanded Hezbollah shutter its telecommunications operations, which Hezbollah called an act of war. The government also fired the chief of security at the Beirut airport amid a probe of allegations that Hezbollah had installed cameras and other monitoring equipment there to spy on political opponents.Saad Hariri, the leader of the government's bloc in parliament, is the son of the late former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, whose 2005 assassination sparked protests that brought the current government to power and led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops.Since then, dynamics in Lebanon have been reshaped by the war between Hezbollah and Israel, and by the ongoing power struggle between Hezbollah and the government.

As in the days of Noah...

First Snowflake Family

'God’s plan was well in place for these embryos, and that was a plan of adoption instead of destruction.'
After years of infertility and being diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, Marlene Strege of California began to explore adoption. Her doctor recommended embryo adoption, and she and her husband, John, posed the idea to longtime friend Ron Stoddart, executive director of Nightlight Christian Adoptions. Stoddart investigated the idea and eventually created the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program.After prayer and research, the Streges adopted a frozen embryo, and on Dec. 31, 1998, they became the proud parents of the world’s first snowflake baby, Hannah.Ten years after her first Mother's Day, Marlene Strege spoke with CitizenLink about the adoption of their little snowflake.
1. Why did you choose embryo adoption?
It seemed like it would be OK before God because we knew that it was already a human life, but I wanted to get confirmation so I contacted three Lutheran pastors we knew, and then we contacted Focus on the Family. I sent a letter to Dr. Dobson, and the following Saturday he called me at home. He sought counsel from three people and agreed that if the original family is not going back to the embryos then yes, (people) need to adopt them. So that was total confirmation for me.Legally, we didn’t need an attorney because the legal status of the embryos is personal property, which I find horrifying because we know scientifically that these are human lives. But I’m not telling some child some day that she was donated, so we went though everything to adopt that the state of California requires. I wanted to know that as parents whatever we did was going to be honorable, first and foremost, before God, and then honorable before man.
2. How have you been involved in protecting these tiny humans?
We just wanted to grow our family; we had no idea this thing was on the horizon. We were asked to testify before Congress when Hannah was 2 years old. We’ve been to Washington several times to educate legislators on embryo adoption, and there’s now federal grants to raise public awareness. And, we stood with President Bush for his first veto (to limit federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research). So Hannah had been to the White House three times and met the president twice by the time she was 7. The president called her a pioneer.God’s plan was well in place for these embryos, and that was a plan of adoption instead of destruction. And that’s His plan for mankind-a plan of adoption instead of destruction.
3. Does Hannah understand what it means to be a snowflake?
Hannah says, “I was adopted as a seed and put in my mommy’s stomach to grow.” And she does have an awareness of this whole stem-cell thing. She’s been with me when we talk to legislators. When we came back from one of our trips she said, “Mommy, I just don’t understand. Why do scientists want to kill snowflakes? You can’t kill snowflakes; they’re kids.”Then she drew 22 posters of the same thing, and when I looked at it, it took my breath away because she had captured this whole debate. She drew three pictures of embryos and put faces on them. She said, “The first one is a little girl, and it’s me, and I have a happy face because I was adopted. The second one has a sad face because he’s still waiting for a mommy and daddy to get him. And the third one has a straight line for his face and he’s saying, ‘Are you going to kill me?’ ”I showed it to Senator (Sam) Brownback, and he actually used it in his speech before the Senate.
4. How many snowflakes have been adopted through Nightlight’s Snowflake Embryo Adoption Program?
Hannah was 22 months old when the second and third snowflakes were born-they were twins. Then in June of 2006, we celebrated the 100th and 101st snowflakes-twin girls.Now the number is 170 children born, and 26 (moms) are due.
5. What advice would you give to an infertile couple exploring their options?
You need to know where God is leading you and really prayerfully consider it.There are no guarantees; just lean on where God is leading you.Through our adoption agency, we do a lot of activities with families that have adopted, whether it’s international or domestic adoption or snowflake or some of them have even done foster.So I wouldn’t say that embryo adoption is better than the others.I think they’re all valid forms of building your family.
As in the days of Noah...


"Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;
Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him

Acts 3:1-10

Famine fears for North Korea, aid group warns

SEOUL, South Korea-North Koreans are dying because of food shortages in rural areas, and a massive famine is just a matter of time, a South Korean aid group said Friday. The food situation was as bad as the famine that hit the country in the mid-1990s, which left as many as 2 million people dead, Seoul-based Good Friends-a Buddhist-affiliated group that sends food and other aid to the North-cited an unidentified North Korean official Friday as saying."So far, mass deaths have not occurred as people have become more used to starvation than in the 1990s, but famine is a matter of time," the official was quoted as saying by the aid group.Good Friends also quoted Kim Ki-nam, 39, a resident of Sariwon, south of Pyongyang, as saying one or two deaths were happening every day in rural areas around the city.North Korea has relied on foreign assistance to help feed its 23 million people since the mid-'90s.This year's food situation has worsened because last year's harvests were hampered by devastating floods.The North also has refused to ask for help from South Korea after a new conservative government took office in February that has been critical of the Pyongyang regime.The aid group urged North Korea to acknowledge the situation's seriousness and ask for international help to prevent massive famine. It also urged South Korea to soften its position on the North and offer aid without waiting for Pyongyang's request.The United States has offered to provide food and held talks this week in North Korea over how to guarantee aid gets to the needy. North Korea said Thursday the talks were "in-depth and good."The World Food Program warned last month the North faces a food crisis, saying the country's annual food deficit is expected to nearly double from 2007 to 1.83 million tons. The U.N. agency estimated 6.5 million people were short of food, and the number could rise if shortages were not addressed.
As in the days of Noah...

Pressure mounts on Zimbabwe amid fresh violence claims

HARARE-Pressure mounted on Zimbabwe Thursday to admit foreign observers to oversee a presidential election run-off amid fresh claims that pro-government militias were deliberately instilling terror.The opposition said 30 supporters had now been killed and a union chief said 40,000 farmworkers and their dependents had been made homeless, although authorities played down the levels of violence.Six days since results from an inconclusive March 29 poll were announced, there was still no word on when a second round would take place nor whether the opposition Movement for Democratic Change(MDC)would participate. Its leader Morgan Tsvangirai has argued that President Robert Mugabe, who lost the first round but not by a sufficient margin for the MDC to avoid a run-off, is trying to spread fear to cling on to power.In its latest death toll, the MDC said it now had information 30 supporters had been killed by Mugabe supporters in attacks in rural areas. "What is worrying is that each day comes with gory stories of how human beings are being treated," said spokesman Nelson Chamisa."This is why we are appealing on bended knees to the international community to assist in ending the carnage."The leader of a Zimbabwe farmworkers' union told a press conference in South Africa that 40,000 people had been driven off their land since March 29 either as a result of direct attacks by militias or through fear."They have been accused of voting for the opposition. Most of them are either on the roadside or sheltering at some farms," said Gertrude Hambira, general secretary of the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe.Hambira said militias were targeting rural areas, traditional strongholds for Mugabe where he did worse than expected on polling day. International disquiet, however, is growing, with UN chief Ban Ki-moon calling for international observers to oversee the run-off and the White House pressuring Mugabe and his supporters to put an end to the violence.In a statement, Ban said "future stages of the electoral process must be conducted in a peaceful, credible and transparent manner in the presence of international observers" while also voicing concern about violence.US national security council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Mugabe and his supporters needed "to refrain from (violence and intimidation) against those who are supporting the opposition."Gordon Brown, prime minister of former colonial power Britain, echoed the calls for overseas scrutiny.Further evidence of restrictions placed on the media also surfaced on Thursday with news of the detention of a local newspaper editor and a photographer from news agency Reuters.The photographer, Zimbabwean national Howard Burditt, had been arrested on Monday, charged with using a satellite phone to file pictures, but was released on bail, the news agency said later on Thursday.
The editor, of Zimbabwean independent weekly newspaper The Standard, was arrested Thursday for publishing an opinion piece written by an opposition leader, his colleagues said.In comments in the state-run Herald newspaper on Thursday, police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena cast doubt on the MDC's claims about the numbers of dead, saying "three of the cases had no basis whatsoever while others were under investigation."The run-off should in theory take place on May 24, but the electoral commission has indicated the deadline will be missed and the head of a South African observer mission has said the country is too violent to hold an election.The MDC says figures released last Friday were doctored to save Mugabe's skin. The 84-year-old, Africa's oldest leader, has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.Once seen as a post-colonial success story, Zimbabwe has been in economic meltdown since 2000 when Mugabe embarked on a programme of land reforms which saw thousands of white-owned farms expropriated.Inflation now stands at over 165,000 percent and unemployment is above 80 percent, while around a third of the 13 million population has left the country.
As in the days of Noah...

Beirut Battle

Shiite Militias Seize Beirut Neighborhoods

BEIRUT, Lebanon-Heavily armed Hezbollah fighters seized control of large parts of western Beirut on Friday, patrolling the deserted streets in a raw show of force that underscored the Shiite militia’s refusal to back down in its escalating confrontation with the American-backed government. Hezbollah allies also forced a government-allied satellite TV station off the air and burned the offices of its newspaper affiliate, as Sunni fighters loyal to the government largely melted away, outnumbered and outgunned, during a third day of armed clashes here.Those humiliating blows made clearer than ever the power of Hezbollah and its allies, who are allied with Iran and Syria, over the government majority in the political stalemate that has crippled Lebanon for 17 months.By Friday afternoon, a long column of Hezbollah fighters and paramilitaries was riding joyfully through west Beirut in trucks, cars, and scooters, shouting and firing their weapons into the air in a victory celebration.The government majority issued an urgent appeal for help from other nations Friday evening, calling Hezbollah’s actions an “armed coup” on Lebanon and its democratic system using “weapons sent by Tehran.”The gun battles of the past three days have pitted Sunni Muslims against Shiites, with Lebanon’s divided Christians -including Michel Aoun, the former general who is allied with Hezbollah-sitting out the conflict. The clashes appear to be exacerbating sectarian tensions between Muslims here, in an ominous echo of the civil conflict in Iraq.Lebanon’s army-the one institution viewed as neutral in Lebanon’s bitter political struggle-has stood by during the clashes, unwilling to take sides. Hezbollah and its allies handed control of some government offices to the army on Friday after commandeering them, hoping to avoid being seen as a conquering force.Three days of street battles here have left at least 11 people dead and 20 wounded, after the government majority provoked a confrontation by challenging Hezbollah’s telecommunications network on Tuesday.It was unclear what the developments would mean for Lebanon’s political future. For now, they seemed only to lead to stalemate and a deepening of Lebanon’s troubles. For 17 months, Lebanon has had a political crisis between the Hezbollah-led opposition supported by Iran and Syria and the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who is backed by the West and Saudi Arabia. The standoff has left the country without a president since November.The clashes began Wednesday, a day after the government decided to take steps against Hezbollah’s telephone network. Lebanese officials consider the network a violation of the country’s sovereignty. The fighting escalated Thursday, after Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, said the government’s decision was “a declaration of war.”But he said Hezbollah would back down if the Sunni forces left the streets of Beirut and the government reversed its decision on the telephone network.After Mr. Nasrallah’s speech, Saad Hariri, the leader of the largest bloc in Parliament, proposed a deal to end the fighting and called the government’s decision a misunderstanding.Mr. Hariri said any move on the network should be left up to the army command, and he urged the immediate election of the army commander, Gen. Michel Suleiman, as president and the convening of a national dialogue among the rival factions.Later on Thursday night, Al Manar television, which is run by Hezbollah, said the group had rejected Mr. Hariri’s proposal. The station cited a pro-Hezbollah official, who said the group and its allies would reject any ideas for ending the conflict that were not proposed by Mr. Nasrallah.Still, on Friday, the Shiite militias began to open up roads that had been blocked since a general strike began on Tuesday, including allowing cars through to the airport, and seemed to be waiting for the government to reverse its decision on the telephone network.In Israel, officials said they were tracking the events across the northern border closely but were keeping their response muted, clearly anxious not to throw any fuel on the fire.The government refrained from making any public statements on Friday, though a senior official described the situation across the border as “very serious.” President Shimon Peres, an elder statesman now in a largely ceremonial position, told reporters that what was happening in Lebanon was a “tragedy,” but that it had “nothing to do with Israel.”Israel was embroiled in its own month-long war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006 after the Shiite militia captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid. But despite a concerted bombing campaign, Israel was unable to stop Hezbollah’s rockets that continued to rain down on northern Israel until the last day of the war, and has still not secured the return of the soldiers.Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, has argued that the war was not a failure, insisting that it left Hezbollah seriously weakened, but recent Israeli security assessments estimate that the Shiite organization now has double the number of rockets it had before the war, and that they have grown in range.“There is no alarm, but there are worries,” said Aharon Zeevi Farkash, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, in a telephone interview on Friday. “If in the end Nasrallah wins, of course it will have an effect on Israel in the longer term,” he said. “We will have a Shiite religious state on our northern border. It will be like having an immediate border with Iran.”But if Mr. Nasrallah fails, Mr. Farkash added, Hezbollah could turn its arrows against Israel as a distraction. “We have to be very sensitive and let it remain an internal Lebanese issue,” he said.
As in the days of Noah...

In Visit to Israel, Bush Can Prevent A War With Iran

When President Bush visits Israel next week, he should offer to bring that ally fully into the U.S. missile defense network-a step that might forestall an Israeli attack on Iran this year.Two of the most strategically minded Members of Congress I know-Reps. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.)-have enlisted 63 colleagues to urge the move as Bush prepares to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding.Specifically, the bipartisan group is calling on Bush to give Israel the advanced X-band radar system that would enable Israel to knock down Iranian missiles early in flight."It would be an appropriate birthday gift,"Harman told me in an interview, "and would help ensure that Israel survives to celebrate its 120th."Equally important in the short run, Kirk said, "it would lower everyone's temperature around Iran's nuclear and missile programs" and reduce the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran - or a joint attack with the U.S. - that would could have devastating worldwide repercussions.Middle East experts I've talked to say the chances are 50-50 that Israel will try to destroy Iran's nuclear installations - or ask that the United States join it in doing so.The attack would come this year, these experts say, because Israel fears that a new U.S. president, especially a Democrat, would engage in drawn-out diplomacy with Iran, whose regime would use the time to continue developing nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.Separate from the nuclear issue, several Mideast experts I trust - moderates, not super-hawks - also think that the chances of a U.S.-Iran war are greater if Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) gets elected than Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) or John McCain (R-Ariz.) because Iran may judge him a "weak" president on the model of Jimmy Carter, "test" him more aggressively and miscalculate his resolve.Possible Iranian "tests" include inspiring a Shiite militia takeover of the Iraqi government, attacks designed to humiliate the United States as its troops withdraw, an attempt by Iran-aided Hezbollah to topple the government of Lebanon or joint Hezbollah-Hamas attacks on Israel.On the nuclear front, the logic for an Israeli attack on Iran is this: Israel regards Iran's nuclear and missile programs as a threat to its existence, especially because Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has explicitly declared intent to "annihilate" the "Zionist regime."In 1981, Israeli planes bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor and last September Israel did the same to a Syrian reactor built with help from North Korea, which would seem to set the precedent for an attack on Iran.Neither of those nuclear programs was as extensive as Iran's is today-and Iran already has tested missiles capable of reaching Israel.However, an attack on Iran's facilities would be difficult because they are numerous, scattered and buried - which is why Israel might ask for a joint attack with U.S. warplanes and cruise missiles.Bush is being urged by some neoconservative activists to destroy Iran's nuclear threat before he leaves office. Some anti-neocons claim that there is a struggle going on within the administration over the issue between the State and Defense departments, which favor diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran and oppose military action, and Vice President Cheney, who believes diplomacy will never work - as, indeed, it so far has not.Whether or not the United States actually joined in an Israeli attack, the U.S. would not avoid blame and the consequences could be dire - perhaps including Iranian-inspired terrorist attacks in the U.S., all-out Shiite militia assaults on U.S. troops in Iraq and disruption of worldwide oil supplies.As an alternative to a military strike, commentators headed by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer and Sen. Clinton advocate that the U.S. should counter Iran's nuclear threat with Cold War-style deterrence.Clinton said last month that the United States could "totally obliterate" Iran if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. She also proposed extending America's nuclear "umbrella" to Arab states in the region to keep them from "going nuclear."Kirk, while not opposing deterrence, said that including Israel fully in the U.S. missile-defense system would be a better alternative, particularly because "deterrence only works against a rational regime" that would not risk destruction of its own population. Iran's leaders, on the other hand, adore martyrdom.Kirk and Harman are long-standing advocates of missile defense for Israel. In the 1990s, Harman, formerly ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, promoted development of the Arrow anti-missile system, which is now Israel's primary defense against Iran. More recently, Kirk, a Naval Reserve intelligence officer and co-chairman of the bipartisan House Iran Working Group, successfully urged the Bush administration to include Israel in the U.S. global anti-missile network.X-band radar, Kirk said, would "allow Israel and the United States to see the earth through a common window" and more than quintuple Israel's warning time against an Iranian missile attack from one minute with its current system to six minutes and allow an intercept with Arrow missiles outside Israeli territory.Kirk and Harman persuaded a broad swath of influential House Members to join in a letter to Bush urging the project, including the chairmen and ranking members of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees and arch-conservatives and left-liberals.Additionally, Kirk said, he's been "working it hard" with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, White House National Security Adviser Steven Hadley and other U.S. and Israeli officials in advance of Bush's visit.He told me he's concerned that officials in both countries have other, more short-term priorities - diplomatic moves for the Mideast peace process and research on short-range anti-rocket systems - but that these could be part of a package Bush delivers in Israel along with the X-band system.To prevent a war, Bush should take Kirk and Harman's advice. And, I'd say, if a Democrat becomes president, Harman would make a great director of national intelligence. And, if McCain is elected, Kirk ought to be his national security adviser.
By Mort Kondracke-Executive Editor of Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill since 1955

Mosques: We will not bury this Muslim

The leadership of the Germantown Masjid has refused to conduct funeral services for Howard Cain, the bank robber who killed Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski with a Chinese-made semi-automatic rifle."No, we will not bury him at Germantown Masjid," said Tariq El Shabazz, managing director of the mosque. "We don't want one slight scintilla hinting that we condone his behavior."On Sunday evening, a friend of Cain's family asked if Cain's burial could take place at the mosque on Germantown Avenue near Logan Street, El Shabazz said.El Shabazz declined to conduct the service after researching Islamic law and meeting with Saadiq Abdul Jabbar, chief executive of the mosque; Imam Talib Abdullah, and others."We don't tolerate that kind of behavior," El Shabazz said."Their actions are not from Islam.You don't dress like a woman, you don't rob people or transgress against them or commit murder.On all three grounds, they are dead wrong. "We are not saying that Muslims should not bury him, or that he should not have Janaza [funeral prayers]," he added. "He is a Muslim and he has that right, but we don't want that here."The religious leaders offered to "talk the family through the washing of the body and Janaza prayers,"El Shabazz said, "but we didn't hear anything more from them after we stated our position."El Shabazz, who is also a defense attorney, was just as adamant about fugitive Eric Floyd, who was arrested last night."That boy needs to...answer for what he did," El Shabazz said. Since Sunday morning, Imam Abdullah has been preaching five times a day about the officer's murder.Abdullah "is rough on his own people," Jabbar said. "He's an elder in the mosque, a religious teacher who has stature and he makes you feel the wrath of Allah."At Friday's Jumah prayers, "Abdullah is going to deliver a very strong message about that kind of behavior, and take the position that the Muslim community has to stand against something like this," said Jabbar, referring to the killing of a police officer."You have to be clear and come out against them, even if they are in your flock," he added.Asked if the burial service would take place at the Philadelphia Masjid, at 47th Street and Wyalusing Avenue, a source said: "I'm telling you now. We ain't burying him here." *

PS:Congrats to this muslim leader....!!!!We need more like this in our country
As in the days of Noah....

Western nations start planning Lebanon evacuations

Western nations began drawing up plans to evacuate their nationals from Lebanon on Friday, with governments advising against travel to a country on the brink of all-out civil war.Italy led the way with a "national air bridge" being set up by new foreign minister Franco Frattini, ANSA news agency quoted him as saying on his first full day in office.Elisabetta Belloni, head of a crisis unit in the Italian foreign ministry, told Italian television that Frattini had asked for a review of an existing evacuation plan, although she added it had yet to be activated.
Opposition Hezbollah gunmen seized control of predominantly Muslim west Beirut from pro-government forces on Friday-the third day of sectarian violence which has seen at least 11 people killed and dozens wounded.Rome's new foreign minister, who was sworn in on Thursday, asked that "special attention be paid to the central part" of Beirut where the fighting has been the heaviest, Belloni said.The foreign ministry said some 600 Italians live in Beirut, including about 50 in the city centre.Italy's 2,500 soldiers make up the largest contingent in the 13,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which was beefed up in 2006 following a war between Hezbollah fighters and Israel in southern Lebanon that left more than 1,200 people dead.Hours after taking the oath of office, Frattini said Italy may rethink the rules of engagement for its UNIFIL soldiers.Britain meanwhile warned its citizens on Friday to give Lebanon a wide berth, amid concerns that the conflict will deepen."We advise against all travel to Lebanon. The violent exchanges on the streets of Beirut and elsewhere between opposition and pro-government groups...continue to pose a danger to bystanders," the Foreign Office said.It cautioned Britons currently in Lebanon to "exercise particular vigilance at this time and wherever possible avoid areas where there has been fighting in recent days."London also warned that visitors to the country were likely to get stuck there, with roads to neighbouring Syria subject to closure.Other countries took broadly similar lines, with the Slovak foreign affairs ministry said all non-essential travel should cease immediately. "In case of imperative journeys they should contact the Slovak embassy in Damascus," foreign ministry spokesman Igor Skocek told AFP.In the Netherlands, the Dutch foreign ministry said it was prepared for the eventuality of evacuations, adding: "It's not on the agenda for the moment, but if it becomes necessary, we're ready."The Hague had already advised against travel to Beirut, but extended the warning to the rest of Lebanon on Friday, with Norway following a similar course.
As in the days of Noah...


"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved

Acts 2:37-47

US says Syria, Iran behind Lebanon violence

WASHINGTON-The Bush administration accused Iran and Syria on Friday of fueling ongoing violence in Lebanon by inciting members of the radical Shiite Hezbollah movement to take up arms against the country's western-backed government.As Hezbollah militants seized control of large parts of Beirut, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denounced the show-of-force, which she said was being supported by Iranian and Syrian elements, and reaffirmed the firm support of the United States for Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's shaky coalition."Backed by Syria and Iran, Hezbollah and its allies are killing and injuring innocent citizens and undermining the legitimate authority of the Lebanese government and the institutions of the Lebanese state," she said. "Seeking to protect their state within a state, Hezbollah has exploited its allies and demonstrated its contempt for its fellow Lebanese.""We will stand by the Lebanese government and the peaceful citizens of Lebanon through the crisis and provide the support they need to weather this storm," Rice said in a statement released after she spoke by phone with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and France about the situation. Rice was also trying to reach Saniora.Rice's statement was read to reporters by State Department spokesman Sean McCormack who said the United States had evidence that Iran and Syria, in particular, were beginning to take an active role in encouraging the violence that has killed at least 14 people and wounded 20 since it began Wednesday."It is becoming more apparent now that the linkages that we know exist and are ongoing between Hezbollah and Syria and Iran are starting to manifest themselves in the current crisis," he said. "At the beginning we didn't see it, but we are now."Specifically, McCormack said U.S. officials were seeing "groups and individuals that are known associates and proxies of Syria ... starting to engage. Groups that are linked to Syria and that are in Lebanon right now are taking a much more active roll in fanning the flames and violence and attacks that are destabilizing the political situation."He would not specify which "groups and individuals" were involved, nor would he say if the United States had similar evidence of involvement by specific Iranian elements beyond Tehran's general support for Hezbollah.The United States has grown increasingly concerned about the violence-Lebanon's worst sectarian fighting since the 1975-1990 civil war-as it has unfolded and Hezbollah has taken control of key parts of Beirut from Sunnis loyal to the Saniora's government, which has been wracked by a long-running political deadlock.But it has thus far ruled out anything other than political and diplomatic support, praising the administration as well as the army, which has stayed out of the fighting, for their professionalism and commitment to the Lebanese people. "The army is acting in a professional manner," McCormack said. "We believe it is an effective professional force that is working on behalf on this government and on behalf of the Lebanese people. We think that the government is exercising sound judgment."The army has pledged to keep the peace but not take sides in the long deadlock-which pits Shiite Hezbollah and a few allies including some Christian groups, against the U.S.-backed government, which includes Christian and Sunni Muslims.
As in the days of Noah...

CNN Correspondant Reports From Beruit While Pinned Down By Gunfire

Gunmen seize parts of Beirut

Hezbollah overruns west Beirut as Lebanon on brink

Hezbollah gunmen seized control of west Beirut on Friday after a third day of battles with pro-government foes in the Lebanese capital pushed the nation dangerously close to all-out civil war.The sectarian fighting had eased by early afternoon as the army and police moved across areas now in the hands of Shiite opposition forces who routed Sunni militants loyal to the Western-backed government."There are no clashes anymore because no one is standing in the way of the opposition forces," a security official said on condition of anonymity.The rattle of gunfire and the thump of exploding rocket-propelled grenades rang out across mainly Muslim west Beirut during much of the morning as Sunni government loyalists fought street battles with Shiite gunmen.At least 11 people have been killed and dozens wounded in the fighting that erupted on Thursday after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said a government crackdown on his Iranian-and Syrian-backed group was a declaration of war.The unrest triggered urgent international appeals for calm amid fears that the protracted political feud could plunge the divided multi-confessional nation back to the dark days of the 1975-1990 civil war.Beirut residents were fleeing for shelter elsewhere as tanks rolled through the streets and hundreds of riot police and troops patrolled the city, but did not get involved in the fighting.
Lebanon was largely cut off from the outside world, with the international airport and Beirut port shut and some roads to neighbouring Syria blockaded by burning tyres.Arab nations led by regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia are pushing for a special session of foreign ministers to tackle the crisis and some Middle East states have begun trying to evacuating residents.President Shimon Peres of Israel-whose country fought a devastating war against Hezbollah in 2006-claimed the violence was fomented by Iran to further what he said was Tehran's goal to control all of the Middle East.In Damascus, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad-whose country is Iran's closest regional ally-said the unrest was a purely "internal affair."Witnesses reported fierce gunbattles in several parts of west Beirut as the Sunni neighourhoods considered bastions of Lebanon's ruling bloc fell to militants from Hezbollah and its ally Amal."Everyone is running away," said 35-year-old businessman Imad as people rushed to stores that remained open to stock up,while others remained trapped in their homes by the fighting."It was a hellish night.The armed militants were everywhere shooting all over the place," said Rima, another west Beirut resident.Hezbollah, the most powerful armed movement in Lebanon, has also forced the shutdown of all media belonging to the family of parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri, while a rocket hit the outer perimeter of his Beirut residence.Hariri, whose father Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in 2005, had made a television appeal to try to calm the situation but this was rejected by Hezbollah.Gunmen firing rocket-propelled grenades surrounded the headquarters of the Hariri's Future Television and his movement's Al-Mustaqbal newspaper early Friday, forcing all its media outlets to close."The army is in control of institutions placed under its authority, such as the media outlets of the Future Movement," the army said."It also controls the area around the government headquarters, the central bank, major roads and the area where Hariri and Jumblatt's residences are located in west Beirut," referring to prominent Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.Air traffic was paralysed for the third straight day with no flights scheduled to land or take off from Beirut international airport, an airport official said, after Hezbollah supporters blocked access with mounds of earth and burning tyres.Nasrallah delivered his defiant speech on Thursday after the government launched a probe into a private communications network run by Hezbollah, which is seen in the West as a terrorist outfit and which critics say has become a "state within a state.""The decisions are tantamount to a declaration of war and the start of a war...on behalf of the United States and Israel," Nasrallah charged. "The hand that touches the weapons of the resistance will be cut off."The United States delivered a blunt warning to Hezbollah to stop its "disruptive activities" while UN Security Council members said they were "deeply concerned" over the crisis, a view reflected by other Arab and European leaders.The crisis will be the focus of talks between President George W. Bush and Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora in Egypt next week during the US leader's tour of the Middle East.Regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia, which backs the Siniora government, called for an urgent meeting of Arab foreign ministers, while Yemen suggested army chief Michel Sleiman be mandated to chair a dialogue to resolve the crisis.The long-running political standoff, which first erupted in November 2006 when six pro-Syrian ministers quit the cabinet, has left the country without a president since November, when pro-Syrian Emile Lahoud stepped down.
While the rival factions have agreed on Sleiman as a consensus candidate, they disagree on the make-up of the new cabinet and so far 18 sessions of parliament to choose a president have been cancelled.
As in the days of Noah...

British Airways takes beef off the menu to avoid offending Hindus

For decades the national dish has been a staple meal on the national carrier.But now British Airways has taken beef off the menu for economy passengers amid concerns about its "religious restrictions".The airline has instead switched to a fish pie or chicken dish option for the so-called "cattle class" passengers. BA's second-biggest long-haul market is to India, where the majority Hindu population do not eat beef because of their beliefs. The decision to scrap the nation's favourite fare was described as a "great shame" by the English Beef and Lamb Executive, formerly part of the Meat and Livestock Commission.A spokesman said: "It is regrettable that Britain's flag carrier is not proposing to serve Britain's national dish."It is a meal we are rightly proud of. Roast beef and beefeaters are symbols or Britain used to promote tourism."Our beef is also much in demand overseas. It is predominately grass fed and highly praised for its flavour. "It is obviously up to British Airways to decide what they serve on flights, but beef is an ideal meat for making into airline meals." A BA spokesman said the it stopped serving beef to economy class passengers last month.He added: "We can only serve two options and beef and pork obviously have religious restrictions."We have to try to use two meals which appeal to as many customers as possible. This summer season we are offering customers in World Traveller on most longhaul flights a choice of chicken and tarragon or fish pie."We also look at trends from major supermarkets to see what types of meals are popular and fish pie style meals are selling well at the moment."These two meals proved popular in tasting tests and are also proving popular on board."It has nothing to do with the fear of causing offence-we always offer alternative meals for people with special dietary requirements if they order in advance."We are still serving beef based meals on certain menus in First Class and Club World and are currently deciding on whether or not to use beef on the menus for World Traveller customers for the winter season."The Hindu Council UK said: "The Hindu community will welcome this decision and the news it has been made partly because Hindus don't eat beef."Hindus have a great deal of respect for British culture and are well integrated into the British way of life, so it's good to see evidence of how they are literally flying the British flag by choosing British Airways."That said, Hindus are tolerant of the beliefs of others and do not expect everyone to stop eating a food because they do not eat it."In the past three months world beef prices have risen from about £2,500 a tonne to more than £4,000 a tonne, largely because of the weakening dollar and rising feed costs.BA also said that cost is not a reason for the decision to stop serving beef.
As in the days of Noah....

CIA:China's military could get 'adversarial'

China’s rise is posing serious challenges and its military buildup and international behavior could produce an “adversarial” relationship with the world,CIA Director Michael V. Hayden(picture left) said last week. “After two centuries of perceived Western hegemony, China seems to be determined to flex its muscles,” Hayden said. China and India will affect strategic planning, he said.“Competition for influence will characterize the relationships between China, India, Japan and other emerging powers,” Hayden said during a speech at Kansas State University. “But China, a communist-led nuclear state that aspires to and will likely achieve great power status during this century, will be the focus of American attention in that region of the world.”Hayden said there are differing views about China’s rise and its motivations. His view is that China is an economic competitor and increasingly becoming a “geopolitical” competitor.“But China is not an inevitable enemy of the United States of America. There are good policy choices available to both Washington and Beijing that can keep us on the largely peaceful, constructive path that we've both been on now for about 40 years,” he said.China’s military buildup is the most significant aspect of Beijing’s growth, Hayden said, noting that the PLA has integrated the U.S. conflict lessons learned in both Persian Gulf wars.“They've developed an integrated advanced weaponry into a modern military force,” he said. The new Chinese military power could pose a risk to U.S. forces and interest in the region, and the military buildup is also about projecting the image of strength, he said.“It sees an advanced military force as an essential element of great power status, and it is the intelligence community's view that any Chinese government, even a democratic one, would have similar nationalist goals.” http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2008/ea_china0124_05_09.asp
As in the days of Noah....

Victory Day: Military Parade Through Moscow — Full Version


"Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ

Acts 2:29-36

Nuclear missiles parade across Red Square

Nuclear missiles and tanks paraded Friday across Red Square for the first time since the Soviet era but new President Dmitry Medvedev warned other nations against "irresponsible ambitions" that he said could start wars.Marching bands and 8,000 troops goose-stepped across the square, followed by a huge display of heavy weapons including Topol-M ballistic missiles and T-90 tanks, and a fly-by of warplanes.Reviewing his first parade as commander in chief, Medvedev warned against "irresponsible ambitions" that he said could spark war across entire continents.In an apparent attack on US foreign policy and Western backing for Kosovo's independence,Medvedev also criticised "intentions to intrude in the affairs of other states and especially redraw borders."Alongside the new president was his mentor and now prime minister, Vladimir Putin, standing under bright sunshine in a tribune in front of Lenin's Mausoleum, the Soviet holy of holies that was screened off by a giant hoarding inscribed with May 9, 1945.The show of strength on the 63rd anniversary of victory against Nazi Germany symbolised Moscow's growing boldness following eight years of rule by Putin, whose hawkish policies have set Russia at loggerheads with Western capitals.Medvedev, who was inaugurated Wednesday, is a close ally of Putin and had been his aide for much of the last two decades.Many analysts believe that Medvedev, 42, will be a weak president reliant on the support of Putin, 55, who on Thursday became prime minister.Other observers say the untested Medvedev will grow into the presidency, which carries huge powers in Russia-as symbolised by the Red Square parade.Earlier Putin said the parade was not "sabre-rattling" but "a demonstration of our growing defence capability."The commemoration came after Washington on Thursday said Moscow had expelled two of its diplomats.US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday dismissed the move as "just the usual tit for tat" in response to Washington's expulsion of a Russian spy.Tensions with the United States have been particularly high over Russia's pro-Western neighbour Georgia, which has received US backing for its bid to join the NATO military alliance.On Thursday Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said his country and Russia had come close to war "several days ago" after Russia ramped up support for separatists controlling Georgia's Abkhazia region.Medvedev told veterans invited to a Kremlin reception after the parade that "we must unite the international community so as not to allow the spread of new, very frightening threats," ITAR-TASS news agency reported.On the streets of Moscow, the atmosphere was festive for one of the country's best-loved holidays.Amid re-runs of World War II films, television stations showed soldiers parading through cities across the country.Veterans were shown with chests loaded down with medals, while some young soldiers were dressed in World War II uniforms, complete with old-fashioned rifles and red stars on their helmets.The occasion reflects the trauma of World War II in which millions of Soviet citizens died before driving back the Nazis, but also a large measure of Soviet-style propaganda which airbrushed dark aspects of the story-not least Stalin's massive wartime repressions.The reappearance of massive weapons in the capital after a break of 18 years required extraordinary preparations.Ahead of the parade, the cobbles of Red Square were specially reinforced to cope with tanks and other heavy weaponry, while the Kommersant newspaper said nearby subway tunnels had been reinforced to prevent them collapsing.Twelve air force planes were to ensure clear skies over Moscow with the use of cloud-seeding technology.
As in the days of Noah....

PESTILENCE WATCH:Train quarantined in Canada after passenger dies

Canadian authorities quarantined a Via Rail passenger train after one person died and several were seriously ill on Friday,local media said.Police and ambulances rushed to the scene in the hamlet of Foleyet in northern Ontario to tend to those with flu-like symptoms and find out what was causing the illness, said public broadcaster CBC."They've got the train quarantined," town official Deborah DesRochers told CBC."They're trying to isolate what it is."According to reports, as many as 10 people were ill with flu-like symptoms when the train crossing Canada with 260 passengers and 30 crew made its regular morning stop in Foleyet.The illnesses appeared to be contained in two rail cars.Via Rail and health officials were not immediately available to comment.
As in the days of Noah....

UN halts aid to Myanmar after junta seizes supplies

YANGON, Myanmar-Myanmar's junta seized U.N. aid shipments headed for hungry and homeless survivors of last week's devastating cyclone, prompting the world body to suspend further help on Friday.The U.N. said the aid included 38 tons of high-energy biscuits and arrived in Myanmar on Friday on two flights from Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates."All of the food aid and equipment that we managed to get in has been confiscated," U.N. World Food Program spokesman Paul Risley said. "For the time being, we have no choice but to end further efforts to bring critical needed food aid into Myanmar at this time."Myanmar's government acknowledged taking control of the shipments and said it plans to distribute the aid "without delay by its own labor to the affected areas."In a statement e-mailed to The AP, government spokesman Ye Htut said the junta had "clearly stated" what it would do and denied the action amounted to a seizure."I would like to know which person or organization (made these) these baseless accusations," he said.(oh....what a scumbag!!!!!!!!!!)The WFP's regional director, Tony Banbury, directly appealed to Myanmar's military leaders in an interview with Associated Press Television News."Please, this food is going to people who need it very much. You and I, we have the same interests," Banbury said. Those victims—those 1 million or more people—who need this assistance are not part of a political dialogue. They need this humanitarian assistance. Please release it."At least 65,000 people are dead or missing and entire villages are submerged in the Irrawaddy delta after Saturday's cyclone. Many of the survivors waiting for food, clean water and medicine were crammed into Buddhist monasteries or camped outdoors.Aid groups warned the area is on the verge of a medical disaster and that thousands of children may have been orphaned. The U.N. estimates 1.5 million people have been "severely affected" and has voiced "significant concern" about the disposal of dead bodies."Many are not buried and lie in the water.They have started rotting and the stench is beyond words,"Anders Ladekarl, head of the Danish Red Cross.About 20,000 body bags were being sent so volunteers from the Myanmar chapter of the Red Cross can start collecting bodies, he said.In the village of Kongyangon, someone had written in Burmese,"We are all in trouble. Please come help us" on black asphalt, a video from the Norway-based opposition news network, the Democratic Voice of Burma, showed. A few feet away was another plea: "We're hungry."In Yangon, the price of increasingly scarce water has shot up by more than 500 percent, and rice and oil jumped by 60 percent over the last three days, the Danish Red Cross said.The U.N. has grown increasingly critical of Myanmar's refusal to let in foreign aid workers who could assess the extent of the disaster with the junta apparently overwhelmed. None of the 10 visa applications submitted by the WFP has been approved."The frustration caused by what appears to be a paperwork delay is unprecedented in modern humanitarian relief efforts,"Risley said."It's astonishing."The junta said in a statement Friday it was grateful to the international community for its assistance—which has included 11 chartered planes loaded with aid supplies—but the best way to help was just to send in material rather than personnel.It is not clear how much of aid has been delivered to the victims in the Irrawaddy delta."Believe me the government will not allow outsiders to go into the devastated area," said Yangon food shop owner Joseph Kyaw,"The government only cares about its own stability. They don't care about the plight of the people," he said.One relief flight was sent back after landing in Yangon on Thursday because it carried a search-and-rescue team and media representatives who had not received permission to enter the country, the junta said. It did not give details, but said the plane had flown in from Qatar.According to state media, 22,997 people died and 42,019 are missing from Cyclone Nargis. Shari Villarosa, who heads the United States Embassy in Yangon, said the number of dead could eventually exceed 100,000 because of illnesses.Grim assessments were made about what lies ahead. The aid group Action Against Hunger noted that the delta region is known as the country's granary, and the cyclone hit before the harvest."If the harvest has been destroyed this will have a devastating impact on food security in Myanmar," the group said.The U.N. was putting together an urgent appeal to fund aid efforts over the next six months. Spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told reporters that the exact amount of the appeal would be specified later Friday.The International Organization for Migration says it is asking for $8 million as part of the appeal. The U.N. refugee agency says it needs $6 million to fund the immediate shelter and household needs of 250,000 people.France was sending a navy ship loaded with 1,500 tons of humanitarian aid to Myanmar, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said Friday.Private donations also were flowing to aid organizations, including a luxury river cruise liner donated by a British travel company to transport relief and 25,000 shoes sent by a U.S.-based group.But Myanmar has snubbed a U.S. offer to help, refusing to take advantage of Washington's enormous ability to deliver aid quickly, which was evident during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen nations.Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej told reporters Friday that he will try to go to Myanmar on Sunday to persuade the junta to accept U.S. help.But the junta told Samak his Myanmar counterpart is too busy to meet with him, said a Thai army general, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
PS:The JUNTA is the worst SCUM BAGS I've ever seen!!!!!!Let's PRAY for the poor people suffering and dying right now in Burma,Just BECAUSE the government wants them DEAD....!!!!UNBELIEVABLE!!

As in the days of Noah...

Burma death toll worse than Tsunami

THE death toll in cyclone-ravaged Burma could hit 500,000-more than TWICE the total killed by the Boxing Day Tsunami.Last night’s warning came as it emerged that 17 Britons, including ex-pats and backpackers, were still missing.The UN World Food Programme said on Friday it would resume aid flights, despite the military government’s seizure of deliveries at Yangon airport."The World Food Programme has decided to send in two relief flights as planned tomorrow, while discussions continue with the government of Myanmar on the distribution of the food that was flown in today, and not released to WFP", said Nancy E. Roman, WFP’s communications and public policy director. The UN food agency had previously said it would suspend aid flights over the seizure today.The shipments of 38 tonnes of high-energy biscuits, enough to feed 95,000 people, were intended to be loaded on trucks and sent to the inundated Irrawaddy delta where most of the estimated 1.5 million victims of Cyclone Nargis need food, water and shelter.Sources said 200,000 people were already dead or dying.But the figure could rise to HALF A MILLION through disease and hunger if the nation’s hardline army rulers continue to block aid for the devastated lowlands of the Irrawaddy Delta.That would dwarf the 230,000 deaths across South East Asia in the 2004 catastrophe.Nyo Ohn Myint, of exiled opposition party The National League for Democracy, told The Sun at a border crisis centre: “Much of this will be a man-made disaster, caused by the military regime.“The bodies need to be collected and burnt as soon as possible or disease will claim many more lives.But the government has organised nothing and its 400,000 soldiers are doing nothing while undistributed aid piles up.“They are hoping bodies will be washed out to sea so the final count is smaller-but it could kill half a million people within a matter of weeks.The world must know what is going on.”Disaster struck on Saturday when 120mph Cyclone Nargis forced ashore waves up to 20ft high.The Irrawaddy town of Labutta -population 80,000-was wiped off the map.Local doctor Aye Kyu told how families clung to trees as their homes were swept away.He said:“I asked survivors how many there were left.They said about 200.”A spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid said: “The entire lower delta region is under water.Teams are talking about bodies floating around. This is a major, major disaster.”The UN World Food Programme said up to a million may have been left homeless in the vital “rice bowl” farming region alone.In the city of Bogalay, 95 per cent of homes are thought to have been destroyed.In the township of Dedaye, south of the main city Rangoon, desperate kids scavenged among the debris of their homes for anything useful to survival.On the outskirts of Rangoon forlorn families, including a mother cradling her screaming baby, queued for emergency handouts of rice.In Britain, International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander told MPs the situation was “grave”.The UK has so far pledged more aid than anyone, announcing a £5million package to be channelled through the UN.Charities Save the Children,Oxfam and the British Red Cross have also swung into action.But most of the aid is yet to be distributed because of the secretive Burmese junta, led by ruthless General Than Shwe.His isolationist regime is paranoid an influx of foreigners might have a political impact on a national referendum due tomorrow, set to strengthen the army’s grip still further.Just four of the air force’s 80 helicopters have been used to move food, water and medical shipments.Meanwhile, many desperately needed supplies remain in neighbouring countries awaiting clearance, along with aid workers denied visas.Aid packages which have made it to Rangoon Airport were still on the tarmac.There were fears that some could be stolen and sold on by corrupt officials.Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, insisted: “We can’t wait for them any more.“The Security Council must pass a resolution for aid delivery now.“We need to see the British, French and US navies begin delivering assistance. Every extra day lost is causing the deaths of yet more innocent victims.”The Burmese embassy in London claimed aid workers were not being allowed in because of fears for their safety.An official said:“The Irrawaddy Delta region is hard to travel at the best of times. Once it is safe, we want more in the country as soon as possible.” http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1143691.ece
As in the days of Noah....

Military Junta: We Need the Aid, Not Expertise

UN to resume food aid flights to Myanmar

GENEVA-The United Nations says it will resume food aid flights to Myanmar on Saturday. It also forecasts heavy rains next week in the country already devastated by a cyclone.The U.N. food program says it will send two planes with goods to feed hungry survivors.The World Food Program had suspended help after Myanmar's junta seized U.N. aid shipments headed for hungry and homeless survivors.WFP chief spokeswoman Nancy Roman said Friday that negotiations are continuing to release two planeloads of high-energy biscuits impounded by Myanmar.
As in the days of Noah...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

PERSECUTION WATCH:Pastor’s daughter gang-raped in Bangladesh

To read these sad news from Bangladesh and more updates on Myanmar go to:
As in the days of Noah....


"Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance

Acts 2:22-28

LEWDNESS WATCH:Military porn problem

Georgia lawmaker and former Marine Paul Broun wants an outright ban on the sale of pornography on military installations.The Military Honor and Decency Act (HR 5821) would close a loophole in current law that is allowing the sale of sexually explicit material on American military bases located in the U.S. and around the world. A Defense Department board ruled last year that magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse are not pornographic. But the measure sponsored by Congressman Broun (R-Georgia) modifies definitions of "nudity"and"lascivious"to make it much more difficult for the board to approve the sale of sexually explicitmaterial.Broun, a Marine veteran and Christian, says he is merely trying to get the Defense Department to uphold the law."A lot of people in my Tenth Congressional District in Georgia would find this very objectionable to have their tax dollars expended on supporting, subsidizing the sale of pornographic material on military bases. Now this doesn't have anything to do with censorship. Military officers, military personnel can get pornography from multiple sources.The thing is, it's against the law-and we shouldn't be subsidizing it,"Broun contends.According to Broun, taxpayers should never have to pay for the distribution of pornography."The Department of Defense is supposed to review what is sold in military exchanges around the world on a yearly basis," he explains."From 2000 all the way to 2005, they didn't have a meeting to review what was being sold. When they just had a recent review, they found a lot more objectionable material that was being sold,and that material was removed. But I don't believe they should sell any of this objectionable material that people, without any question, would say that Playboy and Penthouse magazine are sexually explicit magazines designed to illicit a sexual response from individuals," Broun explains. The GOP lawmaker believes the sale of porn on military bases has harmed military members in numerous ways, including "escalating the number of violent, sexual crimes, feeding a base addiction, eroding the family as the primary building block of society, and denigrating the moral standing of our troops both here and abroad." Since being introduced in the House on April 16, HR 5821 has been referred to the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Serviced Committee.
As in the days of Noah....

DECEPTION WATCH:In N.O., Stetzer explains emerging church

NEW ORLEANS-The best way to understand the "emerging church" is to approach the movement from a missiological perspective, Ed Stetzer(picture left)told a Baptist College Partnership meeting at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.The emerging church movement, much like postmodernism, has proven too diverse for easy definition, with participants scattered along a lengthy continuum, said Stetzer, who is an experienced church planter and director of LifeWay Christian Resources' research division. Participants in the emerging church say much of contemporary Christianity is consumer-driven, Stetzer noted. The movement essentially seeks to express Christianity in a way relevant to people outside the church."The emergent/emerging church stands as something of a collective voice in an attempt to call attention to the ways in which contemporary expressions of Christianity have been domesticated," Stetzer said in his April 4 comments.That collective voice originated in a 1997 event sponsored by the Dallas-based Leadership Network, Stetzer noted. The gathering, which met near Colorado Springs, Colo., was aimed at raising up new leaders who would reach young Americans with the Gospel."The name chosen for the gathering of about a dozen young leaders...was 'Gen-X 1.0,'" Stetzer explained. "Leadership Network offered a tag line for their logo. It said, 'Advance Scouts for the Emerging Church.' At this point, the term was really descriptive of the project to locate and encourage future church leaders."That gerund would eventually become a noun, and a movement would be born," he said.In time, the movement has both organized and diversified, Stetzer explained. Because emerging Christianity stresses contextualization, the "look" of emerging churches varies from place to place.Over time, however, groups within the movement have sought to update both ecclesiology and theology. That is where groups like Emergent Village enter the scene.At the heart of the emerging church movement is a desire for more effective contextualization and practice of the Gospel, Stetzer said. In general, the emerging church values putting Christian faith into action."For those in the emergent church, practice is considered a first-order spiritual matter, while doctrine is a second-order spiritual issue," Stetzer said. "The values of the emerging church illustrate an emphasis upon practice they believe is missing in more conservative forms of the faith."Christian leaders both inside and outside the movement have phrased the emerging church's practice-centered values differently, Stetzer noted. He identified four main values, for example, held by the liberal-leaning Emergent Village: a commitment to the way of Jesus, commitment to the church in all its forms, commitment to God's world by living missionally and commitment to one another. Theologian Scot McKnight expressed his view of the emerging church's values in terms of "five streams flowing to Lake Emergent": prophetic or provocative, postmodern, praxis-oriented, post-evangelical and political. Fuller Theological Seminary professors Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger identified nine characteristic practices of emerging churches in their 2005 book, "Emerging Churches": identify with the life of Jesus, transform the secular realm, live highly communal lives, welcome the stranger, serve with generosity, participate as producers, create as creative beings, lead as a body and take part in spiritual activities.Stetzer's own categories address both the practice and the theology of the movement."Relevants" attempt to contextualize worship and message while remaining theologically conservative and biblically based."Reconstructionists" are largely concerned with church structures and may lean toward a house church model for church life."Revisionists" reject the historic form of the church and the Gospel and revise biblical stances on issues such as gender roles, homosexuality and the authority of Scripture.Many conservative evangelicals affirm the contextualization emphasis of the emerging church while rejecting some of the more liberal theological leanings of groups like Emergent Village, Stetzer noted. "Evangelical circles have very quickly developed a shorthand," he said. "That shorthand goes something like this: 'I'm emerging, but I'm not emergent.'"I believe it's largely because many evangelicals who want to embrace some of the emerging church don't want to embrace some of what they hear coming from Emergent Village."New Orleans Seminary professors Jack Allen and Page Brooks and Matt Pinson, president of Freewill Baptist Bible College in Nashville, Tenn., offered their responses to Stetzer's presentation. Overall, they agreed with Stetzer's assessment of the movement and voiced their concern for continued commitment to a robust theology and holy living within the emerging church.Stetzer's paper and the three panelists' responses will be included in the upcoming issue of the Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry, published by New Orleans Seminary's Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry (http://www.baptistcenter.com/)
By Michael McCormack a writer for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
PS:Stetzer did a fairly good job trying to describe the emerging church but failed to mention the DECEPTION in it....
As in the days of Noah...