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

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Licence to clone human embryos in Australia closer

AUSTRALIA'S first licences to clone human embryos could be granted as early as this week.A National Health and Medical Research Council panel met in Canberra on Friday to consider applications from two separate research groups. The green light for the controversial science could lead to a cure for such afflictions as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases and type 1 diabetes in less than 10 years.A Monash University team and another based at the Melbourne lab of the Australian Stem Cell Centre have each partnered with Sydney IVF to submit licence requests.The teams want permission to create cloned human embryos using spare eggs left over from fertility treatment.The applications are the first submitted since federal government legislation allowing therapeutic cloning came into a force a year ago.The laws forbid licence holders merging a sperm and an egg to create an embryo.The licences, if granted, will allow only somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), where cloned embryos are created by fusing spare, unfertilised IVF eggs with genetic material - a skin cell, for example - from another person.The cloned embryos would be destroyed once stem cells were collected, and before the embryos reached seven days old.Embryonic stem cells excite researchers and patients because they can be turned into every type of tissue or structure in the body with the ability to replenish damaged or diseased cells.The licence applications are likely to reignite emotional debate among political leaders, religious groups and ethicists.Religious groups and ethicists have raged against the science, saying it it tantamount to the destruction of human life.They are also concerned about where the supply of human eggs will come from.In Australia, human eggs - an essential ingredient in therapeutic cloning - can only be donated by IVF couples who don't need them.The nine-member NHMRC embryo research licensing committee could reach a decision on the applications this week.Both the research teams have applied for $1 million grants under a joint Victorian and NSW government stem-cell research program. Sydney IVF research director Tomas Stojanov said he was confident that both applications - involving staff from Monash and the Australian Stem Cell Centre - would be approved.Sydney IVF has successfully established embryonic stem-cell lines using other methods and already holds five NHMRC licences for other techniques."We're very experienced in this science," he said.Mr Stojanov confirmed the NHMRC contacted him on Friday after the licensing committee meeting in Canberra.He said stem cells produced by therapeutic cloning could offer good opportunity in drug discovery and determining mechanisms of disease."If we did this, we'd be the first in the world," he said."We're very skilful at this and believe we can be the first."Mr Stojanov was quick to point out the research would involve excess human embryos and embryos that were not clinically viable.Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories director Professor Richard Boyd said he was hopeful his team could produce the world's first cloned SCNT embryos.The team would "see the world in our rear-vision mirrors" if they received Federal Government approval, he said.An NHMRC spokeswoman confirmed the licensing committee was considering "a number of applications".But it could not say when a decision would be made.

As in the days of Noah...

Landslide crushes two as floods continue

TWO people have been killed in Hong Kong when their hut was crushed in a landslide triggered by some of the worst rain in the city since records began.The landslide sent a 20-tonne wall crashing onto the hut that the pair, a man and a woman, were sleeping in, local broadcaster RTHK reported on its website. Emergency workers used cranes to lift the wall and dug a tunnel to reach the pair, but they were dead by the time rescuers reached them. Authorities in the southern Chinese territory warned people to beware of further landslides and opened emergency shelters for people in need of accomodation. The Hong Kong Observatory said more than 200mm of rain was dumped overnight on the city, which experienced winds of up to 70 km/h. Between 8am and 9am alone it recorded 145.5mm, the highest hourly rainfall since records began. RTHK said accidents caused by the rain injured 16 people, two of whom were still in hospital. The city's schools and courts were shut and the downpour caused severe flooding across some streets of Hong Kong island. Water was almost up to the windows of parked cars as people rolled up their trousers and waded through knee-deep floods. People tried to continue their journey on foot as water flowed over pavements in the heavily hit western district of Sheung Wan. Hong Kong is regularly hit by severe rain and even typhoons during the summer months, but residents said today's downpour was particularly severe. "This is the heaviest rain I have seen in years," said office worker Edmund Kwan. Shopkeepers stacked sandbags in an effort to keep the water out. Streets in the city's Wan Chai business district were also under heavy water. The rain caused several delays at Hong Kong's International Airport on Lantau Island, one of the worst-hit spots in the territory, an Airport Authority spokeswoman said. The main road to the airport was closed because of flooding, RTHK said.

As in the days of Noah...

PESTILENCE WATCH:Yellow fever hits Congo deportees

Yellow fever is sweeping through the thousands of Congolese expelled from Angola, a local official says.At least 10 people have already died, says the mayor of Lutembo in south-west Democratic Republic of Congo.The town's hospital, which is chronically short of medicines, is struggling to cope.More than 20,000 Congolese diamond miners have been expelled from Angola in recent weeks. The UN is trying to reach the remote region by helicopter.Previous mass expulsions in the area were halted by an agreement between the two countries but with Angola preparing for elections later this year, correspondents say the authorities are keen to rid the area of foreigners.Last year, the two countries resolved their border dispute.They have both experienced years of war, which correspondents say has led to confusion over their common boundary.The area is rich in oil and diamonds.

As in the days of Noah...

RUMOURS oof WARS:Ugandan rebels 'prepare for war'

Uganda's rebel leader Joseph Kony(picture left) is reportedly preparing a new offensive after refusing to sign a peace deal.
Diplomats say his Lord's Resistance Army is forcibly recruiting fresh fighters and acquiring new arms in neighbouring countries.His fighters are reported to have attacked South Sudanese forces, killing 13 troops and seven civilians.Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and the region's armies have this week all suggested taking military action.The LRA is believed to be digging up arms caches and resuming their usual practice of abducting civilians, who are then press-ganged into acting as fighters, porters or concubines.This is said to be taking place in a large area encompassing parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Sudan.Around 1,000 new recruits have been added to around 600 existing combatants.There are also reports that Chadian rebels have been seen offering them fresh supplies of weaponry.
Former Ugandan peace envoy Betty Bigombe says it is a tragedy that Mr Kony refused to sign the peace deal agreed by his representatives after two years of talks in April."I still hope he will re-consider and sign," she told the BBC.But President Museveni has regional support for military action.Earlier this week, senior army officers from Uganda, South Sudan and DR Congo agreed on a plan to launch a joint military operation to crush the LRA.However, BBC Africa analyst Martin Plaut says this strategy has been tried many times before, and even with Western backing, no-one has ever been able to capture or kill the elusive rebel leader.Earlier, the Catholic Archbishop of Gulu in northern Uganda called for a peace deal between the government and the LRA.Archbishop John Odama warned that the failure to achieve peace would destabilise the region and reverse the progress made during the peace talks."If we go now for war, it means we're throwing all this away," he said."This war was national and it has gone now to what we call regional, and therefore it is spreading. If it can be stopped before it goes to that extent, the better for Africa," he said.Throughout the peace talks, in the South Sudan capital Juba, Mr Kony remained in DR Congo, while he and his top commanders were the subjects of arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.He is accused of numerous war crimes, including mutilating and abducting civilians and forcing thousands of children into combat.

As in the days of Noah...

ONE WORLD RELIGION:Backed by Clinton, Blair launches Faith Foundation

NEW YORK-Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, joined by his old friend Bill Clinton, launched his Faith Foundation on Friday with a call for more idealism and less religious extremism.Taking a break from the presidential campaign of his wife, Hillary Clinton, the former U.S. president described Blair as "a good man as well as a great leader" and said the Faith Foundation would build on Clinton's own foundation's work in using religion to bridge divides. "His own religious faith is genuine, deep and shapes his life," Clinton said of Blair, who converted to Catholicism in December after stepping down as prime minister last June.Blair, whose faith was often viewed with suspicion by the British media, said he was inspired to create the Faith Foundation by the Clinton Global Initiative, which works on issues of poverty, climate change, health and education.Blair, who is an international envoy for Palestinian economic development, said increasing globalization requires peaceful coexistence and cooperation."We must be global citizens as well as citizens of our country," he told an audience of academics, media, and business and religious leaders. "Idealism becomes the new realism."Blair cited a Gallup Poll showing the percentage of people in most Muslim countries who said religion was an important part of their lives is in the high 80s or 90s; in the United States around 70 percent, and in Europe under 40 percent."You cannot understand the modern world unless you understand the importance of religious faith," Blair said.Among the foundation's goals will be to counter extremism, which he said was present in all the six leading faiths-Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jewish."Though there is much focus, understandably, on extremism associated with the perversion of the proper faith of Islam, there are elements of extremism in every major faith,"(1) Blair said. The foundation will work with Yale University, where Blair will lead a course on "faith and globalization."The foundation also will partner with a group called Malaria No More which aims to prevent the 1 million annual deaths from malaria within 10 years-a goal Blair said was achievable by using bed-nets and medicines.Malaria No More encourages mosques, churches and other religious institutions help distribute those items.Blair swept to power in Britain on a wave of optimism in 1997, but by the time he stepped down, his popularity was dented by his support for the Iraq war. Clinton's final years in office overlapped with Blair's first term and both said they had developed a close friendship since then.

PS:(1)This one statement is interesting....I know they consider "certain christians"as extremists and in the same category than jihadists....
I dont know the whole thing is SPOOKY and smells like ANTICHRIST TALK.....
DO I have to start an Antichrist Watch already??????
Well....we are nearer than EVER..........
As in the days of Noah....

Myanmar: Monsoon season brings more suffering

YANGON, Myanmar-A severe shortage of housing has left hundreds of thousands of cyclone survivors in Myanmar exposed to heavy rain as the monsoon season begins, aid agencies said Saturday.Aid agencies say hundreds of thousands of survivors are without shelter as the monsoon season begins.The U.N. and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said there was an urgent need for tarpaulins to provide temporary shelter to an estimated 1.5 million homeless survivors. Otherwise, the threats of hunger and disease could intensify, they warned."Exposure to the elements five weeks after a disaster of this magnitude has to be a major concern," spokesman John Sparrow said. "People are in a weakened condition. They are sick; they are hungry. Without shelter, their whole situation is seriously exacerbated."Sparrow estimated that only a quarter of those who needed shelter materials had been reached. Watch refugees talk about the lack of aid »The U.N. estimates that 2.4 million people were affected when Cyclone Nargis hit May 2-3 and that warns that more than 1 million still need help, mostly in the hard-to-reach Irrawaddy Delta.John Holmes, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said "relatively few" of those survivors who were badly affected by the storm had not received any sort of aid. But he said the U.N.'s effort needs to be stepped up because many survivors still needed help and supplies."I think people are getting to all the main places, although it's not always as easy as it should be," he said. "There's no evidence of starvation at the moment, although as I say many people are still in significant need of aid."U.N. officials and aid groups have criticized the regime for hindering access to the delta, saying it has prevented enough food, water and shelter from reaching desperate survivors.The U.N. also said Saturday that a lack of funding was hindering the aid effort, with only $20 million of the required $50 million received to finance logistic efforts that allow it to extend aid operations into remote regions.The U.N. has said that access could also be greatly improved if the country's military junta would accept American offers of support which include the use of military helicopters to ferry aid to remote locations.The U.S. military said it was keeping 22 helicopters on standby in case Myanmar's ruling junta reversed its rejection of such help for cyclone victims, saying the aircraft could reach survivors within three days.With only seven Myanmar government helicopters reportedly flying, relief supplies are mostly being transported along dirt roads and then by boat. International aid agencies say boats able to navigate the delta's canals are scarce and efforts to import vehicles had been hampered by government red tape."Of the 1 million or 1.5 million people in need of relief support, we think that between 450,000 to 750,000 are in emergency need," said Lt. Gen. John Goodman, commander of Marine Forces Pacific and head of the U.S. relief operation for Myanmar.They could be reached "over the course of a three-day period" by American helicopters and landing craft, he said from a temporary U.S. staging area at Utapao, Thailand.Goodman said the junta was "still considering" the offer of the use of U.S. helicopters, which would include allowing Myanmar officials aboard all U.S. helicopters to monitor their routes and to unload relief supplies.The country's military leaders are particularly sensitive to allowing U.S. helicopters into the delta, given the fact that Washington has been a leading critic of the junta for its poor human rights record and refusal to hand power to a democratically elected government.

As in the days of Noah...

Iran protests threats from Israeli official

Iran's United Nations delegation accused the Security Council of "emboldening" an Israeli official into threatening to attack Iran over its nuclear weapons development program, according to Iran's state-run media."The Israeli regime has been emboldened due to carelessness and silence of the Security Council," the delegation said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Security Council, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported Saturday.The letter was a reaction to a story printed Friday by Israel's largest mass-circulation daily, which quotes Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz threatening to attack Iran if it continues to develop nuclear weapons."The window of opportunity has closed. The sanctions are not effective," said Mofaz, who was born in Iran in 1948. "There will be no alternative but to attack Iran in order to stop the Iranian nuclear program."The tough rhetoric, published in Yediot Ahronot, has political resonance in Israel amid talk that Mofaz has begun jockeying to replace embattled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as the ruling Kadima Party's leader and prime minister.At least one Cabinet member, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, has called for Olmert to step down because of allegations arising from a corruption inquiry.Mofaz, Israel's transport and road safety minister, is the main Israeli liaison with the United States on strategic issues, and his views on security have great import. He is a former defense minister, a former armed forces chief and a member of Israel's Security Cabinet.Iran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, namely to create energy. In the past, it has described interactions with the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog as positive.But the most recent report by International Atomic Energy Agency hints at frustrations from the agency's investigators, who say Iran is withholding critical information that could determine whether it is trying to make nuclear weapons.Aside from Israel, Iran's nuclear program has spurred concerns in the United States and much of the West. After the IAEA released a similar report in March scrutinizing the program, the U.N. Security Council voted to impose new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.Shortly after last month's report was released, Ali Larijani, formerly Iran's top nuclear negotiator, was overwhelmingly elected as parliament speaker-and immediately warned that Tehran may reconsider cooperating with the IAEA.Meanwhile, Iran's ambassador to France, Ali Ahani, said talks are the best way to approach the nuclear program, IRNA reported."The only solution to Iran's nuclear case is negotiation and confidence building," Ahani told former French envoys at Sorbonne University in Paris."We suspended our enrichment activities for two years voluntarily. We even accepted additional protocol, which authorized IAEA to visit Iran's nuclear facilities whenever they wanted," he added, according to IRNA."Iran is not seeking an atomic weapon, but it is following its rights as specified in the (Nuclear) Non-Proliferation Treaty," he said.
As in the days of Noah...

Iraqi leader arrives in Iran for talks

BAGHDAD, Iraq-Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki arrived in Tehran on Saturday for a visit with top Iranian officials, his office said, while car bombings renewed violence at home.Al-Maliki is expected to discuss a wide range of issues, including Iran's alleged backing of insurgents in Iraq.The long-term security relationship being negotiated between the United States and Iraq also could be on the agenda.Al-Maliki, along with lawmakers and Cabinet ministers, is to meet with Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other senior officials, according to Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency.Concerns that Iranian agents are training and arming Shiite militants in Iraq have persisted. Iraqis and Iranian leaders alike are also concerned about the long-term security relationship the United States is forging with Iraq.A government official said al-Maliki will underscore to Iran that any long-term agreement willl not permit "American forces to launch attacks or conduct warfare or any kind of aggression against any neighboring country from Iraqi soil."Al-Maliki's media adviser, Ali Hadi, said negotiations are in their "very early stages.""The treaty is purely an Iraqi-American treaty; the Iranians have nothing to do with it. We will not discuss the progress or the key elements of agreements or disagreements with them because this is an Iraqi issue," Hadi said.The visit to Iran is al-Maliki's third since he became prime minister more than two years ago. The two countries, which are neighbors, both have Shiite Muslim majorities.Bombings in Baghdad on Saturday afternoon killed four people and wounded nearly two dozen others, an Interior Ministry official said.A parked car bomb exploded near a bus station in Tayaran Square in central Baghdad, killing three civilians and wounding 15 others.A suicide car bomb struck a police patrol in Nisoor Square in western Baghdad, killing a police officer and wounding seven people, including four police officers.Meanwhile, coalition troops in northern Iraq killed four militants and Iraqi soldiers working to keep the peace in Baghdad's Sadr City seized a large quantity of weapons, the U.S. military said.U.S. and Iraqi troops are taking on Sunni insurgents in Nineveh province and Shiite militants in Sadr City, where a cease-fire is in place after weeks of fierce fighting between troops and militia groups.Troops near Baaj, about 80 miles southwest of Mosul, killed the four in raids on "foreign terrorist safe houses." They destroyed two buildings, weapons, and a vehicle, the military said.Iraqi soldiers in Sadr City found caches containing rifles, rocket launchers, rocket-propelled grenade propellants, mortar and artillery rounds, an anti-tank mine, and explosives. They also found fake ID cards, license plates, videotape, and telephones, the military said.
As in the days of Noah....

JIHAD WATCH:Muslim Extremist's Web Site Stirs Mixed Emotions in Charlotte, N.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.-In a quiet, upscale neighborhood in Charlotte, N.C., rows of custom-style homes and neatly landscaped lawns represent the American dream.But one local resident has shattered that image, calling for the death of American troops in Iraq and supporting Al Qaeda through his Web site, which he reportedly runs from his parents' home.Samir Khan is the man behind Revolution.Muslimpad.com-a radical Islamic site that praises Usama bin Laden and asks for Allah to “curse more American soldiers."The site posts videos of U.S. Humvees being blown up by roadside bombs in Iraq.It aims to inspire young Muslims to wage war against the West.Terrorism experts say the Web site, written in English, is one of the premiere sites for Western audiences to get access to radical Islamist propaganda.Khan, 22, declined requests for an interview, even when approached outside his home with cameras rolling. When asked if the messages on his site represent Islam, Khan would say only that “they represent Muslims.”In an e-mail sent to FOX News, Khan lashed out at the "arrogance" of the media, saying it should focus instead on converting to Islam. "When you go down in to the earth six feet deep, nothing will matter except what Religion you died upon," he wrote.Following a FOXNews.com report last month profiling his Web site, Khan railed against "the Kuffaar" — non-believers — who wrote the article and affirmed his belief that jihad is "an Islaamic obligation" rooted in Muslim texts.Words like those stir mixed emotions in Charlotte, among the general public and among the 8,000 Muslims who live there.Imam Khalil Akbar, a religious leader in Charlotte, condemned Khan’s site, saying its views do not reflect “mainstream Islamic thinking” and do not represent the Muslim community at large.“I would reject categorically those kinds of encouragements to look up to people like bin Laden,” Akbar said.Neighbors described Khan — who immigrated to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia when he was 7 years old — as “friendly” and “reserved.” They said he launched his Web site while taking classes at Central Piedmont Community College and selling Cutco knives.Abdullah Mahmud, an acquaintance of Khan’s who attends the same mosque, the Islamic Center of Greater Charlotte, defended Khan's viewpoints, saying his anger stems from the United States' foreign policy and occupation of Iraq.Mahmoud said the blood-drenched videos Khan shows of U.S. soldiers injured in combat “serve the purpose of making the reality of the Iraqi scene visible to people.”“Those videos are not much different than videos involving American soldiers targeting Iraqi civilians,” he said. “You have to look at both sides here.”One of Khan’s neighbors, Ron Williams, also defended Khan’s right to free speech.“Our actions (in Iraq) were interpreted broadly in the Muslim world as an attack on Islam,” Williams said, “I defend his right to speak out.”But Jarret Brachman, director of research at West Point's Center for Combatting Terrorism, said Khan’s call for violence takes his anti-American views one step further.“To be unhappy with U.S. foreign policy is one thing, but to advocate violence by promoting Al Qaeda is another,” he said.“This is the most sophisticated and aggressive Web site in English that really puts out bin Laden’s ideology and the message that’s promoted by Al Qaeda,” he added.Brachman said Khan's site "raises the threshold for what it means to be a good, pro-Al Qaeda Web site" and is "the best in English."A graphic prominently displayed on the site shows a picture of Abu Yahya al-Libi, a prominent Al Qaeda spokesman whom Brachman calls “Bin Laden 2.0.”“He’s the guy poised to take over the movement after bin Laden fades away,” Brachman said. “The fact that Khan would display him like he does means he’s trying not only to show he’s an insider, but also to model himself after him.”The exact dangers his site poses are difficult to assess, experts said.“It doesn’t necessarily move someone to action immediately, but it primes the pump,” Brachman said. “It gets somebody motivated to think more about Al Qaeda and so over the long term this is a very threatening message that he’s promoting.”
Click here to see more reactions from Charlotte's Muslim community.

PS:ONLY IN AMERICA an ELEMENT like this kind can roam around free and enjoy of our freedoms that soldiers like the ones he loves to see killed--died for us to have.How come somebody can't go pick him up and send him back to Saudi Arabia--one way ticket?????
IF a CHRISTIAN would do the same in Saudi Arabia would be at the best in jail for life.....first choice would be BEHEADING of course.......
As in the days of Noah...

END TIMES WEATHER:Midwest Flooding

Church of England:Government Favors Islam

The British government's "deep religious illiteracy" is failing society as it discriminates against Christian churches and favors other faiths, including Islam, the Church of England fires off in its strongest attack on the government in decades...
The policies of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have helped to generate a spiritual, civic and economic crisis in Britain, according to an important Church of England report.Labour is failing society and lacks the vision to restore a sense of British identity, the report says in the Church’s strongest attack on the Government for decades. It accuses the Government of “deep religious illiteracy” and of having “no convincing moral direction”.The report, commissioned for the Church of England and to be published on Monday, accuses the Government of discriminating against the Christian Churches in favour of other faiths, including Islam. It calls for the appointment of a “Minister for Religion”, who would act as the Prime Minister’s personal “faith envoy” and who would recognise the contribution of faith communities to Britain across every government department.The 180-page report, seen by The Times,describes the Government as moral, but lacking a “compass” and reflects an attempt by the Church to carve out an effective role for itself in the 21st century as a provider of welfare for young and old.The report was commissioned by the Bishop of Hulme, the Right Rev Stephen Lowe, Bishop for Urban Life and Health, with the support of the archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu.The report comes only days after Dr Sentamu accused Mr Brown of sacrificing liberty for misguided notions of equality and of betraying new Labour’s mantra of “rights and responsibilities”. It shows the extent to which church leaders feel betrayed by the Government’s embrace of a secular agenda.The authors find evidence of deep-seated hostility to the Church in particular, excluding it from important areas of policy and research – despite Mr Blair being one of the most devout prime ministers of the past century. They portray a Government committed to research into Muslim communities but barely interested in Christian involvement in Britain’s civic and charitable life.This is in spite of what the authors describe as centuries of pioneering work by the Church in areas of welfare and social provision. “We encountered on the part of the Government a significant lack of understanding or interest in the Church of England’s current or potential contribution in the public sphere,” the report says.Academics from the Von Hugel Institute at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, approached every Church of England bishop as well as more than 250 MPs, peers and academics. About 70 of the 106 diocesan and suffragan bishops responded.“Every participant in our study from the Church agreed that there was a deep ‘religious illiteracy’ on the part of the Government, especially on the local level, and that an increased tendency to centralised, mega-contracts in some government departments was bad for the whole of the voluntary sector,” they write.In its strength of feeling it echoes the Faith in the City report of 1985, condemned by one government mininster as “Marxist” because of its criticism of the effects of Thatcherism on Britain’s inner cities. But, far from being a left-wing attack on a Conservative administration, this Church report found many of David Cameron’s policies to be more worthy of praise.Outlining evidence of huge fault-lines in the relations between Church and state, they write: “The Government is planning blind and has no convincing moral direction.” They set out recommendations designed to put the Church back at the heart of social and welfare provision, for funds to research the role of “theology” and “spirituality” as motivations in charity organisations and for the archbishops of Canterbury and York to set up a “Anglican Philanthropy Fund” to cash in on a new generation of potential donors.
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
As in the days of Noah...

China Denies Report That It Copied a US Government Laptop

PAGAN WATCH:Revered Monkey God Named Chairman of India Business School

LUCKNOW, India-He's a revered Hindu monkey god. And now, he's the chairman of an Indian business school.Hanuman, the popular god known for his strength and valor, has been named official chairman of the recently opened Sardar Bhagat Singh College of Technology and Management in northern India, a school official said Saturday.The position comes with an incense-filled office, a desk and a laptop computer. Four chairs will be placed facing the empty seat reserved for the chairman and all visitors must enter the office barefoot, said Vivek Kangdi, the school's vice chairman."It is our belief that any job that has the blessings of Lord Hanuman is bound to be a success," said Kangdi.All Hindus know that Hanuman can lift mountains and leap oceans, but ancient texts make no mention of his business acumen."When we were looking for a chairman for our institution, we scanned many big names in the field of technology and management.Ultimately, we settled for Lord Hanuman, as none was bigger than him," Kangdi said.Hanuman is one of the most popular gods in the crowded pantheon of Hindu deities. His most famous feat, as described in the Hindu epic the Ramayana, was leading a monkey army to fight the demon King Ravana and rescue a kidnapped princess.The Sardar Bhagat Singh College in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, awards bachelor's degrees in engineering and management. The school opened last year.

As in the days of Noah...

OBAMA WATCH:"Show Me Your Friends and I'll Show You Your Future"

The Rapture And The Tribulation Period

OBAMA WATCH:Many black pastors openly promote Obama

HAMPTON, Va. - An island in a sea of pastel suits, alligator shoes and elaborate pocket squares, the Rev. Jeffrey Bryan stood out at a meeting of black ministers for his simple fashion choice: Denim shorts and a black T-shirt emblazoned with the face of presumed Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.He's posted campaign signs and even has snapshots of himself with Obama, who once made a stop at his Newark, N.J., church.But that's as far as he'll go to show his support - there will be no sermons peppered with "Obama in '08.""It's a historical time for black people, we cannot ignore what's going on," said the pastor, who was nonetheless resolute that "you can't tell people who to vote for."In the black community, the pulpit has long played a powerful role in shaping voting decisions. But the role of the church in politics has been under increased scrutiny since uproars involving prominent pastors.Now, as the nation stands closer than ever to electing its first nonwhite president, pastors face a delicate balancing act: Maintaining the church's historical status as a bridge between blacks and politics, while being careful not to overstep their bounds _ even at a time when their considerable sway with black voters could help shape history.At an annual minister's conference in Hampton this week, a gathering of roughly 7,500 pastors, faith leaders agreed they would continue pushing for Obama, personally supporting the candidate whenever they can.But they were unanimous in saying they would steer very clear of anything that could be construed as endorsement and were careful to frame plans for support as a private choice.The Rev. William B. Moore, a Philadelphia pastor, said he's helped organize voter drives in his congregation, given money to the campaign and posted an Obama '08 sign.But he didn't plan much else."The black church has, over the years, made that distinction between church and state and God and state. I think the media has made it more than it really is," he said, later adding, "We know how to walk that line."The Hampton Ministers' Conference, which began in 1914, gathers church leaders to discuss issues of faith and relate them to daily life. As Obama claimed the delegates necessary to secure the Democratic presidential nomination before a crowd of cheering thousands in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday, the energy rippled through the conference. Just a year earlier, the Illinois senator used the conference to challenge the Bush administration for failing to diffuse a "quiet riot" of discontent brewing in black America.By midweek, pastors openly supported Obama's historic candidacy - but chose their words carefully. Many said they personally endorsed him, but stopped short of saying more.Robert Franklin, head of Atlanta's Morehouse College, urged pastors to seize the spirit of the day - one of interracial cooperation - in a speech Tuesday."That's part of the attraction of Sen. Obama," he said afterward. "He gets that."Later in the week, Franklin warned churches against endorsing a candidate. Federal tax rules bar nonprofits from engaging in partisan activity.His comments reflect a changing landscape in which churches, long an unchallenged force in politics, have come under increased scrutiny.This election year has seen an effort by the IRS and church-state separation watchdog groups to significantly step up their monitoring of churches and other nonprofits. Obama's own denomination, the United Church of Christ, was investigated and quickly cleared by the IRS for hosting the candidate at the religious group's national meeting last year.Meanwhile, pastors' sermons are being posted on YouTube and analyzed for any clue to the values of the candidate.Obama distanced himself from his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, after video snippets of Wright's sermons were broadcast and the clergyman made contentious public appearances. Obama recently left the Chicago congregation where he had been a member for over 20 years.John McCain, the certain Republican presidential nominee, has had his own pastor troubles. He accepted, and then spurned, prominent Texas preacher John Hagee's endorsement and later rejected Ohio Pentecostal pastor Rod Parsley's endorsement because of their controversial remarks.Some pastors at the Hampton conference wouldn't talk publicly about politics, fearful of hurting their church.One reverend who didn't want to be identified told an Associated Press reporter he believed some churches might increase security and monitor for recording devices during Sunday morning services.Some criticized media coverage they say focused on black ministers doing something white ministers have done for years.Michael Battle, president of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, pointed to ministers like Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson."For a long time those preachers have been very,very engaged in this effort to get people to register and to vote for the candidate of their choice - so it is not new to the black church, nor is it new to the white church, to encourage participation in the democracy," Battle said.

PS:How can a BORN AGAIN PASTOR endorse a fellow that IS FOR ABORTION and HOMOSEXUALITY????????
I guess the "pastor"....IS NOT SAVED after all........

As in the days of Noah...

OBAMA WATCH:Africans Mull What an Obama Presidency Could Mean

Nairobi, Kenya-Africans should not expect any major changes in U.S. policies towards the continent if Sen. Barack Obama becomes the next American president, political analysts are cautioning as Africans celebrate his all-but-certain nomination.In Kenya, the home of Obama's late father, talk from the streets to government offices has been dominated by the issue, with many debating the possible benefits an Obama presidency could hold for Kenya and Africa.Having secured the Democratic nomination, the Illinois senator is expected to face Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in November's presidential election.Njoki Ngari, a Nairobi nurse, said she expected that as president Obama would help finance the building of needed social infrastructure, such as public hospitals.James Onyango, who hails from the same locality as Obama's father -- a Kenyan also named Barack who returned to the country when his son was young, and died more than 20 years ago -- said the villagers were hopeful that if Obama became president, they would see the construction of roads, schools and hospitals.Analysts here say Africa has received considerable positive attention from President George W. Bush, and from former President Bill Clinton before him, especially in helping the continent meet the challenges of diseases like AIDS, end conflicts as in the case of Sudan's north-south civil war, and obtain preferential trade access to the U.S. market.But Dr. James Khangati, who teaches political science at several private universities here, said that with his part-African heritage, Obama will find himself under pressure to exceed his predecessors' achievements when it comes to Africa.It was difficult to know exactly how he would respond, he said."If we go by the history of American politics, we should not expect drastic policy changes," Khangati said. "The focus issues will continue to be dominated by anti-AIDS and malaria campaigns, terrorism, oil and [promoting] democracy."Prof. Makau Mutua, a Kenyan who teaches at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, said Africans should lower their expectations regarding the possibility of an Obama victory in November, because an American presidency is subject to larger national interests.The basic duties of an American president -- to implement foreign policy to enhance U.S. interests abroad and pursue a domestic policy that will bring economic prosperity to the nation -- would continue to be the key focus, he wrote in the Nairobi Daily Nation ."Kenyans, Africans and black people the world over must curb their enthusiasm about what an Obama presidency can do for them," Mutua said.Meanwhile, Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa of the Council of Imams and Preachers, Kenya's top Islamic body, said he expected Obama to improve relations between the U.S. and Muslims across the world."We expect Obama to move away from confrontational policies and unite the U.S. and the rest of the world," he said. "We expect him to be close to Africa if he finally wins the presidency."The challenge posed by Islamic extremism has been an important factor in Washington's relations with Kenya, which has experienced more terrorism than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa.Al-Qaeda bombed the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi -- and its counterpart in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania -- in August 1998, killing more than 200 people. Terrorists in Nov. 2002 bombed an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa and tried to shoot down an Israeli passenger jet leaving Nairobi.
By Stephen Mbogo

As in the days of Noah....

OBAMA WATCH:Attendee Describes Obama Meeting at Home of William Ayers

Weather Underground member Bernadine Dohrn went to Cuba in 1969 with "romantic anticipation." When she returned, "There is no doubt that her views were buttressed by what she saw and heard down there."Those observations came from Dr. Quentin D. Young, quoted in a 1976 FBI report on the Weather Underground, a left-wing domestic terrorist group. Young would go on to become the family physician for Dohrn and her husband William Ayers, who, in a piece published in The New York Times on September 11, 2001, said of his years in the Weather Underground: "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."Young said that he rarely saw Ayers because "he didn't get sick very much."Young, however, was part of the small party that gathered at the Chicago home of Ayers and Dohrn in 1995 when Illinois State Sen. Alice Palmer said she would be running in a special election for Congress and passed the torch to community organizer and lawyer Barack Obama to take her place in the state legislature."It was in Bill Ayers' comfortable home. It was a small group, half a dozen. There was no fundraising," Young said in an interview with Cybercast News Service. "Hyde Park is a very political community. It's probably the most liberal community in Chicago so people are active in politics. Events like this, where you are invited to meet candidates or support them, it's not uncommon to have a dozen such invitations over a period of months."Obama, who claimed the Democratic Party presidential nomination this week, discussed his association with Ayers during an April 16 debate with Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) on ABC News after moderator George Stephanopoulos asked him about it and quoted Ayers's statement from the September 11, 2001 issue of The New York Times."This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from," said Obama. "He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense, George."Sen. Clinton questioned the adequacy of this response. "[B]ut I also believe that Senator Obama served on a board with Mr. Ayers for a period of time, the Woods Foundation, which was a paid directorship position," Clinton said. "And, if I'm not mistaken, that relationship with Mr. Ayers on this board continued after 9/11 and after his reported comments, which were deeply hurtful to people in New York and, I would hope, to every American, because they were published on 9/11, and he said that he was just sorry they hadn't done more."And what they did was set bombs. And in some instances, people died," Clinton continued. "So it is -- I think it is, again, an issue that people will be asking about."Obama has faced scrutiny in recent months for other associations he formed during his rise through Illinois politics. Last week, he quit his long-time membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ. Before that he publicly disassociated himself from the church's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who had made anti-American and racially inflammatory statements. The Obama campaign did not respond to questions on this story after repeated attempts during the past two weeks. Young questioned the significance of the gathering at the Ayers-Dohrn home, where he said Obama spent more time talking about his background and education than any public policy issue. "I don't view it as his introduction to politics," Young said. "I would be surprised if Alice Palmer didn't have other meetings with him."Palmer could not be reached for comment for this story. Obama and Palmer had a falling out. After losing the Democratic congressional primary to Jesse Jackson Jr., Palmer decided to try to regain her state Senate seat. At that point, Obama took legal action to keep her off the ballot.Young has been a long-time advocate for a single-payer healthcare system, and said he has attended the annual "Debs Dinner" in Chicago, named for the Socialist Party's presidential candidate in the 1900s, Eugene V. Debs, and sponsored by the group Democratic Socialists of America. Young was a medical volunteer for the demonstrators in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and treated protesters who were beaten by police. Subpoenaed to testify before Congress later that year, he declined to tell an investigative committee if he was a member of the Communist Party USA, but in subsequent news reports said that he was not a member.Ayers, who could not be reached for comment after repeated attempts, worked together with Obama on the board of the Woods Foundation of Chicago, a grant-making organization that works with various nonprofits in the Chicago metropolitan area. Ayers joined as chairman in 1999. Obama left the board in 2002.After the bombings in the 1970s, Ayers was a fugitive from justice for nine years, but the federal charges against him were dropped when it was determined the case was based on illegal wiretaps, New York Times has reported. He is currently a professor of education at the University of Chicago.Young defends Ayers, saying he is highly regarded in Chicago, and believes that the quote about the bombs was misinterpreted."It's not the approach to political change I would have," Young said. "When he said 'we didn't do enough,' I think he meant we didn't do enough to stop the war. He has worked hard to be a good scholar and a good citizen.
By Fred Lucas
As in the days of Noah...

LEWDNESS WATCH:Ministry leader upset with homosexual book at Barnes and Noble store

A Barnes and Noble bookstore in Collierville, Tennessee has come under scrutiny by the president of Worldview Weekend.Brannon Howse says he walked into the store recently with his 11-year-old son and was shocked at what he found on a table they passed by. "There lying on one of the tables was a big old coffee table book with a full color, full frontal nudity photo of a gay man," he reports.Howse asked for a conference with management and was tended to by an assistant manager-who immediately understood the complaint. He says the assistant manager was very concerned, and even "got a little tears in her eyes."According to the assistant manager, similar situations had occurred and she asked management to do something about it. But management said that would amount to censorship. The assistant manager went on to say that a child had been molested in the store's bathroom, and that they find that sort of material in there all the time.Howse then told her that they are "creating an environment" that is dangerous for children by allowing that sort of material out in the open.The book may violate Tennessee obscenity laws, says Howse. He is looking into potential legal action.

As in the days of Noah...


CHESTERFIELD, S.C.--A bomb plot at the local high school was thwarted several days after a prayerwalk there as part of a revival initiative by the Chesterfield Baptist Association in South Carolina. Robert Dickard, director of missions for the association, told Baptist Press that the May 4-10 revival week, which had been planned for months, was all the more poignant for the community because God recently had spared their children from a looming tragedy.Chesterfield High School is a high-achieving student body known for outstanding ACT scores, and it's "the last place in the world I would have anticipated this happening," Dickard said. On April 19, a senior honors student was arrested for plotting to use explosives at the school the following Monday.The student, identified by the Associated Press as 18-year-old Ryan Schallenberger, was turned in by his parents who discovered a package containing 20 pounds of ammonium nitrate and then found a cassette tape he wanted played after he died.AP said authorities found a 50-page journal in which Schallenberger had written notes on more than 10 types of explosives he had evaluated as well as detailed plans to bomb Chesterfield High School."He said death was better than life," Craig Townsend, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said in a federal hearing April 29. "He told the sheriff he wanted to die and go to heaven and once he got there, he wanted to kill Jesus."Dickard told Baptist Press that in preparation for the community-wide revivals, groups of pastors, deacons, Woman's Missionary Union participants and youth had been meeting to pray for God to move in their city.It so happened, he said, that more than 100 people from local churches gathered at Chesterfield High School to prayerwalk on the property the Tuesday night before Schallenberger was arrested. They prayed for the students, the teachers and for revival services the churches would be hosting on the high school grounds in the coming days, not knowing what would soon show up in headlines."The sheriff said had [the student] been able to pull this off, he would have killed probably 100 people," Dickard said. "I believe in response to the prayers of God's people, God stopped that thing from taking place. I really do."The idea for the revivals stemmed from a group of pastors in the association who had been burdened about the need for revival in their city for more than a year, and much prayer led to a concrete strategy."We have 60 churches in our association, and we divided those into seven geographic zones," Dickard said. "Then in January we had a leadership banquet where we invited every pastor and the leadership team from every church, which could have been staff members or deacons or whoever they consider their leadership team."At the banquet, Dickard delivered a five-year history of church attendance, baptisms and giving in the local association. He also shared statistics from the county government regarding crime and other issues the churches would be interested in addressing."I looked at the total population of the county and I looked at the total number of people in church on any given Sunday," Dickard said. "The ratio had been dropping every year. I think people in the churches saw how desperate we were for God to do something in our midst."At a subsequent meeting in March, the director of missions met with the pastors to talk further about demographics and to devise a plan for reaching their city for Jesus."I said, 'Here are your particular church demographics, here are the demographics of the association, of the county,'" Dickard recounted to BP. "'What we're asking is for your group of churches to work together to plan revival services for the first week of May."'You can choose your location. It can be in one of your churches, it can be in another auditorium, it can be wherever,'" he said. "'You decide in your group of churches who the speaker will be, who the musicians will be. But all of the county in those seven geographic zones will be having revival services at the same time.'"The pastors took the challenge, which picked up the name "The Connection," based on Ecclesiastes 4:12, "... a cord of three strands is not easily broken," and a May 4 community-wide kickoff was sponsored by the Chesterfield association."We rented the evangelism tent from our state convention," Dickard said. "It seats about 1,100 people, and we overflowed that tent. We had 1,200 or 1,300 people there just for the kickoff service. It was a powerful time."On Monday through Friday, the churches met in their regions to have their individual services. Some of them decided that the pastors themselves would preach, one each night," he said. "Some of the areas decided they would bring in a vocational evangelist, but it was up to the groups."Attendance at the services was far greater than he had anticipated, Dickard said, and decisions for Christ were made each night."On Saturday we came back together for a celebration rally and had testimonies from the seven areas of exactly what God did," he said. "We had a baptism rally where the churches in those zones would bring their folks and baptize them. We had a huge baptism rally, and I don't know exactly how many we baptized, but the service lasted about two hours."The director of missions said the simultaneous revivals were a tremendous success because they energized local churches."The amazing thing that's come out of this is the churches have said, 'Such a move of God happened in our group, we've decided that at least once a quarter we're going to do this again -- our churches are going to come together for a joint worship service,'" Dickard said.More prayer went into the revival preparations than anything he has been part of in many years, Dickard said. And though it was sponsored by a Southern Baptist association, he said Methodists, Presbyterians and people from other denominations also took part."It was a great thing, and I would encourage other associations or groups of churches to do this because it really turned into a move of God," Dickard said. "The spirit continues. I've had folks come to my office I've never met before -- pastors and laypeople and deacons -- just weeping because of an awesome sense of God. They were saying, 'In some way, let's continue this on.' So we're going to see how God's going to use this in the weeks and months to come."
By Erin Roach--staff writer for Baptist Press.
As in the days of Noah...

Iran Threatened with Miltary action

CULTURE of DEATH:Australian Government Considering Lifting Ban on Foreign Aid For Abortion

CANBERRA, AU - There are two countries in the world, Australia and the USA, that refuse to allow their foreign aid monies to be used to fund abortion in developing nations. Now the Australian Labour government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is reconsidering its country's position.Australia's ban on aid money being spent on abortion was established 12 years ago by the former conservative government led by John Howard, who was a close ally of the US. In 2001, US President George Bush banned funding to international family planning groups that offered abortion services.Mr. Howard lost last November's election to centre-left Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the governing Labour party has been asked to debate a report produced by the Parliamentary Group on Population and Development (PGPD) which focuses on lifting the ban.Conservative opposition Senator Ron Boswell told an ABC interviewer, "There has been no country that has come to us and specifically said we want aid to fund abortions. If we are going to give money, there's plenty of ways to give it. Health, clean water, food, but if someone wants to fund abortion, let it not be us."Senator Boswell warned that Prime Minister Rudd - a regular churchgoer - could expect a voter backlash among Christians if the ban is overturned."All bets will be off with the churches as far as Mr. Rudd is concerned," he told ABC. "He cuddled up to the churches for the last election. If he does this to them then they'll turn upon him."While some members of the main opposition Liberal Party support lifting the ban, party leader Brendan Nelson said that while birth control advice could be appropriate, "I don't believe that Australian aid money should be used to support abortion."The main argument used by those advocating the use of foreign aid to promote abortion is to give women in developing countries the same "rights" as women have in Australia, where abortion is available virtually on demand throughout the country.Australian Greens leader Senator Bob Brown said, "I think there'll be a big backlash against Senator Boswell and others by the majority in Australia who would support this very civilised way of behaving. That is, treat people overseas the way we treat people here in Australia, give them the same rights where we can."West Australian Liberal backbencher Mal Washer, chairman of the PGPD, said, "No one likes abortion - I don't like abortion - but it is ridiculous that we can't give any advice to women overseas about abortion at a time when the government funds abortion advice to women in this country."However, Washer failed to address what the result of the Australian government's funding of "abortion advice to women" was. Stats show that the state of Victoria reports that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in abortion. This high abortion rate combined with Australian couples increasingly having only one child may portend a demographic collapse for the country.A report today by news.com.au says that according to a Macquarie University study published in the independent academic magazine, Journal of Population Research, the percentage of Australian couples having only one child increased from 8 per cent in 1991 to 11 per cent in 2001, and could be 15 per cent by 2021.The report explained that although they can afford more children, many couples are choosing not to have them because they are intent on "getting ahead," and believe single children were "higher quality" and more likely to succeed with more parental attention.The report also cited China's controversial one-child policy as affecting the Australian fertility rate."Australian women born in South-East Asia, particularly China, are more likely to have just one child. Some of these women may have been sterilised, or coerced in their birth country, but some genuinely preferred only one child. Women who were not married at the time of the first birth are also more likely to stop at one child, reflecting the greater instability of non-marriage relationships."

As in the days of Noah...

BLASPHEMY WATCH:Catholic Group Protests New York Student Paintings

NEW YORK-A Roman Catholic watchdog group is protesting a student art exhibition in which religious symbols including a crucifix and rosary are depicted in sexually explicit paintings."I have the sneaking suspicion that these paintings made the cut precisely because they were an assault on Catholic sensibilities," Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, said in a statement Thursday.The works on display at the private Cooper Union school include paintings, sculpture, graphic design and video installations chosen by the faculty. The exhibit began May 27 and ends June 10.The target of the protest is a series of paintings by Felipe Baeza. One of them depicts a man with his pants down and a crucifix in his rectum. A Latin caption says, "The day I became a Catholic." Another painting shows rosaries with male genitalia, and a third a man with a halo and erection.Donahue said the public "should expect more from the art faculty at a distinguished institution of higher education."In a statement, Cooper Union responded that the art show ending the academic year is curated by faculty of the schools of architecture, engineering and art."Hundreds of student works are shown annually without censorship - a tradition at the school since its founding by Peter Cooper 150 years ago," the school said.The Catholic League, a New York-based group, has a record of protesting art it deems offensive.In 1999, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani threatened to cut off city funding for the Brooklyn Museum if it did not remove a canvas depicting a black Madonna decorated with elephant dung and female genitalia. The Catholic mayor called it "insulting to Catholics," and the league urged a boycott of the museum.The League also got involved in the outcry over a 1987 photograph by Andres Serrano of a crucifix submerged in urine. Last year, it helped secure the cancellation of a planned Holy Week exhibition featuring a nude, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ.
PS:What this world calls ART is-- in most part--just as twisted and sick as those who"create it"...Let's remember that satan is still the prince of this world.....
As in the days of Noah...

LAND FULL of VIOLENCE:Woman Burnt Alive In Dispute Over Bathwater.

Hamas, Fatah delegates meet Senegal's Wade: media

DAKAR-Hamas and Fatah delegates have met Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade in a first round of mediation aimed at finding a common position for an eventual deal with Israel, Senegalese state media reported on Saturday. Wade said at an Organisation of the Islamic Conference summit he hosted in March that Israeli President Shimon Peres had asked him to intervene to achieve peace in the Middle East and that the Palestinians had also agreed to his mediation."The head of state of Senegal is talking with the delegates from Hamas and Fatah one after the other," Senegal's official daily Le Soleil quoted Wade's spokesman El Hadj Amadou Sall as saying of the talks, which the paper said began on Friday."The first phase is an interPalestinian phase ...(to) agree on a common position leading to peace with Israel," Senegalese state news agency APS quoted Sall as saying."At the moment he is talking in turn with delegates from Fatah and Hamas. The proper negotiations will take place in seven stages," he said.Sall was unavailable for immediate comment on Saturday.A Hamas spokesman in Gaza could not confirm the meeting."We do not have any information concerning a meeting between Hamas and Fatah in Dakar," he said.
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Sarkozy urges reconciliation on Lebanon visit

BEIRUT-French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged Lebanese leaders on Saturday to seal reconciliation through dialogue and commitment to an agreement that has pulled the country back from the brink of civil war.Sarkozy, heading a large delegation, arrived in Beirut for a one-day state visit. He became the first Western leader to visit the Lebanese capital since the election of President Michel Suleiman last month.Lebanon's political crisis was defused by a Qatari-mediated agreement in Doha after the worst bout of internal fighting since the 1975-1990 civil war. Suleiman was elected in line with the deal but leaders have so far struggled to form a national unity government."The Doha agreement improved the situation and led to national reconciliation. President Suleiman has a major responsibility to make this reconciliation succeed," Sarkozy said at Beirut airport."All sides must implement their commitments through dialogue," the French president said with Suleiman by his side. He added that the Lebanese must look forward to "a future based on dialogue".Sarkozy held talks with Suleiman before a lunch at the presidential palace attended by leaders of the main Lebanese political parties, including the head of the parliamentary bloc of the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah group."The painful crisis is behind us," Suleiman said at the lunch. "The Doha agreement... has reestablished political stability in Lebanon which encourages us to revive the role of constitutional institutions."Inside these institutions and through dialogue all political differences will be resolved," Suleiman said.
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As in the days of Noah....

Hamas Dismisses Threats Of Military Action.

QUAKEWATCH:Indonesian Volcano Alert

Jun. 7 - A volcano warning has been issued on the island of Sulawesi, after Mount Soputan began spewing smoke and lava.
Indonesia has raised the alert for a volcano in Sulawesi to the highest level after it began spewing lava and clouds of ash.....

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Japan, US say joining hands in nuclear power plants

As oil prices surge to record levels, Japan said Saturday it would help build nuclear power plants in the United States, sensing opportunities for Japanese companies."We reaffirmed our commitment to promoting bilateral nuclear energy cooperation," said a joint statement after talks by Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari and US Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman.Energy ministers from the world's two largest economies said in the statement they intended to "consult on potential financing support measures that would facilitate nuclear power plant construction in the United States."The move came on the sidelines of one-day talks among the two countries, India, China and South Korea in this northern Japanese city which voiced "serious concerns" about spiraling oil prices.Nuclear power has come under renewed spotlight amid record-setting oil price rises, with the United States building new nuclear power plants for the first time in 30 years.There are plans to build more than 30 nuclear power plants in the country, raising the need for funding, a Japanese statement noted."It is highly possible that Japanese companies will take part in many projects in the US market, the world's largest," it said."If we make progress in policy cooperation with the United States regarding financial support, Japan's nuclear power industry will be able to make a leap in overseas operations," it said.Foreseeing growth, Japan's Toshiba Corp. in 2006 invested more than four billion dollars to acquire US nuclear plant maker Westinghouse Electric Co. in one of the biggest Japanese purchases overseas in years.Westinghouse said in May it had signed a deal to build two nuclear power reactors in the US state of South Carolina.Japan and the United States also said earlier Saturday that they would cooperate in research on methane hydrate, the "ice that burns" considered a promising future energy source.Eleven major economies are holding talks this weekend in Aomori, Japan. Oil prices on Friday posted their biggest ever one-day rise, soaring to 138.54 dollars in New York after hawkish remarks by a senior Israeli official about oil producer Iran.
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GAY AGENDA WATCH:Italy gay pride march protests against government and Church

ROME-Some 10,000 dancing and singing homosexuals and gay-rights supporters marched through Rome on Saturday, many of them chanting slogans against the Vatican and Italy's conservative new government.The yearly Gay Pride march took on added political significance because city officials denied a request for the march to end with a rally near the Basilica of St John's in Lateran, the pope's cathedral in his capacity as bishop of Rome.City officials said the march would disturb a concert that had been planned for inside the basilica. The new conservative city administration also refused to give its patronage to the march."The denial of St John's Square and the patronage of this demonstration were grave decisions that were steps backwards," said Vittoria Franco, equal opportunities minister in the leftist shadow government.The new conservative government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has made it clear it has no intention of passing legislation that would give gay couples some sort of legal recognition.That promise had been made by the previous centre-left government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi but was blocked by opposition from the Vatican and the Italian Catholic Church.Berlusconi and the Vatican see eye-to-eye on many issues and his government's relationship with Church is much more cordial than that of the previous government."Berlusconi kisses the pope's slipper and says 'yes' to everything. We risk a theocracy and clerical dictatorship," said Franco Grillini, a homosexual who was a parliamentarian in the previous government.Mock marriages were performed on some of the floats drawn through the city as scantily clad homosexual men danced on other floats.
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PS:I think the only othe time in history that homosexuality and depravity was rampant as it is today was before the flood and we can remember what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah...the cities of the plain......
As in the days of Noah....

IAEA chief warns against nuclear plant attacks

BERLIN-Threats to attack nuclear plants on suspicion they would one day make bombs could undermine the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said.
"Unilateral military action undermines the international treaty framework. We're standing at an historic turning point," Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Der Spiegel magazine.A senior Israeli official said on Friday an attack on Iran looked "unavoidable" because U.N. sanctions seemed unable to prevent Tehran developing nuclear technology with bomb-making potential.ElBaradei said a growing threat to peace was coming from proliferation and an increasing readiness to consider military action against nuclear targets regarded as suspicious.Israel and the United States have not ruled out a last resort attack on Iran to smash its atomic programme, something critics including ElBaradei say could ignite the Middle East. The Israeli official's warning was the most explicit yet.Iran has said it is enriching uranium only for electricity, not weapons, and that the programme will remain under U.N. monitoring. Iran has hindered U.N. investigations and curbs the scope of inspections."The willingness to cooperate on the Iranian side leaves something to be desired. We have pressing questions," ElBaradei said, alluding to intelligence reports that Iran has secretly researched ways of designing a nuclear weapon.He said the Islamic Republic, which is deeply hostile to Israel, was "sending a message to the whole world: we could build the bomb relatively soon."ElBaradei did not elaborate on this point in excerpts of his remarks released by Der Spiegel on Saturday ahead of Monday's publication.
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As in the days of Noah...

GAY AGENDA WATCH:Legal issue affects timings of gay weddings

SAN FRANCISCO-Drew Snyder and William Ballentine had a commitment ceremony with all the trimmings four years ago, the closest they could get to a wedding at the time.Now that California's highest court has held that two men may be legally married starting later this month, friends want to know when the Los Angeles couple plan to take their relationship to the next level. The answer: Not any time soon.The problem is a citizen referendum on the November ballot that would overturn the state Supreme Court's landmark decision that denying gay couples the right to wed was discriminatory. It means same-sex couples face the uncertainty of whether they would still be legally wed if the ballot measure were to pass.No thanks, say Ballentine and Snyder. Better to wait until after the election, when they will know whether voters have allowed gay marriages to go ahead."If they were to say no and we hadn't gotten married, we could live with that," said Ballentine, a 31-year-old mortgage banker. "If we did get married and that happened, it would add insult to injury.""Why go through it all and have that disappointment?" agreed Snyder, 37, a real estate agent.The ballot initiative, known as the California Marriage Protection Act, would amend the state constitution to "provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Its language was taken directly from a gay marriage ban enacted by voters in 2000, one of two the Supreme Court majority found unconstitutional and struck down in its May 17 decision.The phrase "valid or recognized" is what worries some same-sex marriage supporters. The question is how, if the amendment passes, the state would treat marriage licenses issued between June 16—when the high court's ruling takes effect at 5 p.m.—and Election Day.Shannon Minter, who successfully argued the case as legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said licenses that thousands of same-sex couples are expected to seek during the five-month window would not be rendered void automatically.Rather, it would be up to the measure's sponsors or another party to seek to have them nullified through additional litigation, according to Minter. He doubts the courts would go for it."There is no precedent for taking away someone's married status retroactively. It just has never been done before, and the practical consequences would be unimaginably devastating," Minter said.Nevertheless, it could take years of legal wrangling before couples know their unions are secure.Glen Lavy, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal firm that argued for upholding California's one man-one woman marriage laws, said that if his firm didn't try to have the initiative apply to existing marriages, it's only a matter of time before someone else did."It is inevitable that when the marriage amendment passes in November there will be a cloud on the validity of any same-sex marriage license that is issued," he said.Such gloomy forecasts have Karen Bowen, 48, and Beth Gerstein, 47, mothers of two who live in Berkeley, thinking long and hard about getting married. They have been together nearly 20 years and were among the 4,000 who joyfully wed at San Francisco City Hall in early 2004 after Mayor Gavin Newsom decided to challenge state law by extending marriage licenses to same-sex couples."It seemed really clear to us it was a political statement. It wasn't going to last," said Bowen.Six months later, when the Supreme Court voided all the unions sanctioned by the city, "it was still very painful," she added. "It will be even worse were we to have these dashed hopes, to get married without it really counting."Gerstein and Bowen do intend to tie the knot some time before November."I want for our kids to know we are part of a movement that I think of as historic," Gerstein said. "Even if it doesn't work out, I'll get married as many times as it takes because we should be able to get married."Douglas Kmiec, a Pepperdine University constitutional law professor who filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to reserve marriage for a man and a woman, agrees that what will become of the same-sex marriages sanctioned in the coming months "is open to debate" if the amendment passes.Kmiec predicts the outcome eventually will be decided in favor of gay couples by the Supreme Court. Just this past week, the court refused to grant a request to delay the issuance of marriage licenses."If they were concerned about the validity of those public acts, they would have been more inclined to put matters on hold," Kmiec said. "They fully realize people are going to be relying on these public licenses, changing their plans and planning their futures in relation to this authority."
As in the days of Noah...

Iran and the Problem of Evil

Ever since World War II, we have been driven by a passionate desire to understand how mass genocide, terror states and global war came about – and how we can prevent them in the future.Above all, we have sought answers to several basic questions: Why did the West fail to see the coming of the catastrophe? Why were there so few efforts to thwart the fascist tide, and why did virtually all Western leaders, and so many Western intellectuals, treat the fascists as if they were normal political leaders, instead of the virulent revolutionaries they really were? Why did the main designated victims – the Jews – similarly fail to recognize the magnitude of their impending doom? Why was resistance so rare?Most eventually accepted a twofold “explanation”: the uniqueness of the evil, and the lack of historical precedent for it. Italy and Germany were two of the most civilized and cultured nations in the world. It was difficult to appreciate that a great evil had become paramount in the countries that had produced Kant, Beethoven, Dante and Rossini.How could Western leaders, let alone the victims, be blamed for failing to see something that was almost totally new – systematic mass murder on a vast scale, and a threat to civilization itself? Never before had there been such an organized campaign to destroy an entire “race,” and it was therefore almost impossible to see it coming, or even to recognize it as it got under way.The failure to understand what was happening took a well-known form: a systematic refusal to view our enemies plain. Hitler’s rants, whether in “Mein Kampf” or at Nazi Party rallies, were often downplayed as “politics,” a way of maintaining popular support. They were rarely taken seriously as solemn promises he fully intended to fulfill. Mussolini’s call for the creation of a new Italian Empire, and his later alliance with Hitler, were often downplayed as mere bluster, or even excused on the grounds that, since other European countries had overseas territories, why not Italy?Some scholars broadened the analysis to include other evil regimes, such as Stalin’s Russia, which also systematically murdered millions of people and whose ambitions similarly threatened the West. Just as with fascism, most contemporaries found it nearly impossible to believe that the Gulag Archipelago was what it was. And just as with fascism, we studied it so that the next time we would see evil early enough to prevent it from threatening us again.By now, there is very little we do not know about such regimes, and such movements. Some of our greatest scholars have described them, analyzed the reasons for their success, and chronicled the wars we fought to defeat them. Our understanding is considerable, as is the honesty and intensity of our desire that such things must be prevented.
Yet they are with us again, and we are acting as we did in the last century. The world is simmering in the familiar rhetoric and actions of movements and regimes – from Hezbollah and al Qaeda to the Iranian Khomeinists and the Saudi Wahhabis – who swear to destroy us and others like us. Like their 20th-century predecessors, they openly proclaim their intentions, and carry them out whenever and wherever they can. Like our own 20th-century predecessors, we rarely take them seriously or act accordingly. More often than not, we downplay the consequences of their words, as if they were some Islamic or Arab version of “politics,” intended for internal consumption, and designed to accomplish domestic objectives.Clearly, the explanations we gave for our failure to act in the last century were wrong. The rise of messianic mass movements is not new, and there is very little we do not know about them. Nor is there any excuse for us to be surprised at the success of evil leaders, even in countries with long histories and great cultural and political accomplishments. We know all about that. So we need to ask the old questions again. Why are we failing to see the mounting power of evil enemies? Why do we treat them as if they were normal political phenomena, as Western leaders do when they embrace negotiations as the best course of action?No doubt there are many reasons. One is the deep-seated belief that all people are basically the same, and all are basically good. Most human history, above all the history of the last century, points in the opposite direction. But it is unpleasant to accept the fact that many people are evil, and entire cultures, even the finest, can fall prey to evil leaders and march in lockstep to their commands. Much of contemporary Western culture is deeply committed to a belief in the goodness of all mankind; we are reluctant to abandon that reassuring article of faith. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, we prefer to pursue the path of reasonableness, even with enemies whose thoroughly unreasonable fanaticism is manifestThis is not merely a philosophical issue, for to accept the threat to us means – short of a policy of national suicide – acting against it. As it did in the 20th century, it means war. It means that, temporarily at least, we have to make sacrifices on many fronts: in the comforts of our lives, indeed in lives lost, in the domestic focus of our passions – careers derailed and personal freedoms subjected to unpleasant and even dangerous restrictions – and the diversion of wealth from self-satisfaction to the instruments of power. All of this is painful; even the contemplation of it hurts.
By Rush Limbaugh
"We spend between the two kids, on extracurriculars outside the classroom, we’re spending about $10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements. And summer programs...Do you know what summer camp costs?”
--remarks by Michelle Obama to a group of women in Zanesville, Ohio, where median annual household income is $37,000.
by SusanGo
As in the days of Noah...