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

Saturday, August 9, 2008

ISLAMIC CRAZE WATCH:Random House Pulls Novel With ‘Islamic Themes’ for Fear of Violent Backlash

RCC WATCH:Hawaii Teacher's Cure Clears Way for a New Saint

AIEA, Hawaii -When cancer spread into her lungs, doctors told Audrey Toguchi(picture left) she had six months to live, at best, and suggested chemotherapy as the only option. Toguchi, however, turned to another source-a Catholic missionary who died more than a century ago."I'm going to Molokai to pray to Father Damien," Toguchi calmly told Dr. Walter Y.M. Chang after hearing her death sentence. "Mrs. Toguchi, prayers are nice and it's probably very helpful, but you still need chemotherapy," replied Chang, who earlier had removed a fist-size tumor from Toguchi's left buttock that was the source of the cancer in her lungs.Defying Chang and the pleas of her husband and two sons, Toguchi caught a flight from Honolulu to the remote peninsula of Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai to pray at the grave of the priest who had ministered to people with leprosy until he, too, caught it and died in 1889."Dear Lord, you're the one who created my body, so I know you can fix it," Toguchi prayed."I put my whole faith in you. ... Father Damien, please pray for me, too, because I need your help."(sigh.....)On a doctor's visit on Oct. 2, 1998, a month after cancer was first detected in her lungs, doctors expected the tumors to have grown. Instead, they had shrunk, and by May 1999 tests confirmed that they had disappeared without treatment.Chang and a half-dozen other doctors, including a cardiologist, oncologist, pathologist and radiologist, couldn't explain it. Chang, who does not belong to any religion, urged Toguchi to report it to the Catholic church.The Vatican conducted an extensive review and concluded Toguchi's recovery defied medical explanation.On July 3, Pope Benedict XVI agreed and approved the case as Damien's second miracle, opening the way for the Belgian priest to be declared a saint.The Vatican requires confirmation of two miracles attributed to a candidate's intercession before canonization, or sainthood.Church authorities approved Damien's first miracle in 1992. In that case, Sister Simplicia Hue of France, who was dying of a gastrointestinal illness, recovered overnight in 1895 after she began a novena, or nine days of prayer, to Damien. Toguchi's story, and identity, were kept secret for years while the church investigated her case. Today, the 80-year-old retired schoolteacher talks openly of her experience.She and her husband of 50 years, Yukio, live in the hills above Pearl Harbor, just up the road from Aiea High School, where she taught social studies.Toguchi is a deeply religious and kind woman who is generous with hugs and smiles to everyone she meets. As a teacher, she often told students how special they were and earned the nickname "Ma" for her nurturing ways. Since retiring in 1995, much of her time now goes to her garden.Toguchi doesn't care for the title "miracle woman," as some have called her."I'm just a regular Joe Blow. You can tell," she said. "I still don't know why this happened to me."Chang says Toguchi's chances of survival at the time of his diagnosis were zero, even if she had agreed to chemotherapy."It may have delayed her eventual demise, probably slow (the cancer) down, but eventually, she would have succumbed to this vicious cancer," said Chang, who retired in 2004.Toguchi had been diagnosed in December 1997 with liposarcoma, an uncommon tumor that arises in deep fat tissue—in this case, her buttock. She had several operations followed by radiation. A month later, doctors found and removed an unrelated cancer in her thyroid gland.In September 1998, an X-ray showed three growths in her lungs. A needle biopsy of one showed it was consistent with the liposarcoma found in her left buttock. Follow-up X-rays showed the growths were shrinking on their own.Dr. Richard Schilsky, a University of Chicago cancer specialist who is president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said it's "highly likely" that the lung had already been seeded with liposarcoma cells when her original tumor was found.Schilsky said it isn't clear that all three lung growths were cancer, since only one was biopsied. And there are several reasons people get small inflammatory nodules in the lungs that might resolve spontaneously."The point here is that the primary tumor was treated," and that could have helped her immune system control any remaining cancer in her body, said Schilsky, who did not treat Toguchi. He based his comments on Chang's case report in the October 2000 edition of the Hawaii Medical Journal.Rare cases of spontaneous remission, or regression, are reported, mostly involving melanoma skin cancer, kidney cancer or lymphoma—hardly ever solid tumors like breast, prostate or colon cancers, Schilsky said."The bottom line is, it probably does happen. Obviously, it happens very rarely because it is the nature of cancer to grow, not to regress," he said.Chang agrees that "no one truly knows" why some cancers disappear."For the true believer or faithful, this is a miracle. For the true skeptic, this is a random or very unusual coincidence. For the doctor and scientist, we call it complete spontaneous regression of cancer."Toguchi believes it was Damien and looks forward to the day when the priest is canonized, which is expected early next year. She plans to go to Rome for the ceremony.Damien, born Joseph de Veuster, arrived in the islands in 1864. Nine years later he began ministering to leprosy patients on Molokai, where some thousands had been banished amid an epidemic in Hawaii in the 1850s. After contracting the disease, also known as Hansen's disease, he died on April 15, 1889, at 49.His remains were moved to Belgium in 1936. A relic of his right hand was returned to his original grave on Molokai after he was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995.His life and work have inspired many, from Mother Teresa, who lobbied for Damien's sainthood, to Mahatma Gandhi.Toguchi returned to Damien's grave after the cancer disappeared. This time, she took her husband, Yukio, who comes from a Buddhist family and attended Methodist church growing up on the sugar plantations of Maui.
"I'm not the praying type but I just wanted to say 'Thank you,'" he said. Every day is a blessing to him now, he said.Audrey Toguchi still prays often to Damien, asking him to help others. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,400984,00.html
As in the days of Noah...

PESTILENCE WATCH:38 People in Venezuela Die After Being Bitten by Vampire Bats

CARACAS, Venezuela-At least 38 Warao Indians have died in remote villages in Venezuela, and medical experts suspect an outbreak of rabies spread by bites from vampire bats.Laboratory investigations have yet to confirm the cause, but the symptoms point to rabies, according to two researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and other medical experts.The two UC Berkeley researchers — the husband-and-wife team of anthropologist Charles Briggs and public health specialist Dr. Clara Mantini-Briggs — said the symptoms include fever, body pains, tingling in the feet followed by progressive paralysis, and an extreme fear of water.Victims tend to have convulsions and grow rigid before death.Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the rabies program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, agreed with their preliminary diagnosis."The history and clinical signs are compatible with rabies,"Rupprecht told The Associated Press on Friday."Prevention is straightforward: Prevent bites and vaccinate those at risk of bites."Venezuelan health officials are investigating the outbreak and plan to distribute mosquito nets to prevent bat bites and send a medical boat to provide treatment in remote villages on the Orinoco River delta, Indigenous Peoples Minister Nicia Maldonado told the state-run Bolivarian News Agency on Thursday.Outbreaks of rabies spread by vampire bats are a problem in various tropical areas of South America, including Brazil and Peru, Rupprecht said.He said researchers suspect that in some cases environmental degradation — including mining, logging or dam construction projects — may also be contributing to rabies outbreaks."Vampire bats are very adaptable," Rupprecht said. And when their roosts are disrupted or their normal prey grow scarce, "Homo sapiens is a pretty easy meal."More study is needed to confirm through blood or other samples from victims that it is the rabies virus in Venezuela, researchers say.At least 38 Warao Indians have died since June 2007, and at least 16 have died since the start of June 2008, according to a report the Berkeley researchers and indigenous leaders provided to Venezuelan officials this week.All victims died within two to seven days from the onset of symptoms, Briggs said.One village, Mukuboina, lost eight of its roughly 80 inhabitants — all of them children, he said.During a study trip Briggs and Mantini-Briggs made through 30 villages in the river delta, relatives said the victims had been bitten by bats. The couple have worked among the Warao in Delta Amacuro state for years and were invited by indigenous leaders to study the outbreak."It's a monster illness," said Tirso Gomez, a Warao traditional healer who said the indigenous group of more than 35,000 people has never experienced anything similar.Another tropical medicine expert, Dr. Daniel Bausch of Tulane University in New Orleans, agreed the symptoms and accounts suggest rabies transmitted by bats, and if confirmed, "probably a vaccination campaign would be in order."The common vampire bat, which feeds on mammals' blood, swoops down and generally approaches its sleeping prey on the ground. The bat then makes a small incision with its teeth, and an anticoagulant in its saliva keeps the blood flowing while it laps up its meal with its tongue.The researchers in Venezuela have begun taking precautions. Mantini-Briggs, a Venezuelan former health official, said she started to wonder about her own health Friday while talking with biologist Omar Linares, a bat expert at Caracas' Simon Bolivar University.She remembered there was blood on her sheet after sleeping in a hammock in a village two weeks ago. Initially she dismissed it as nothing important, but she also remembered her finger hurt that morning and that she saw two small red dots there.Linares suggested she get rabies shots immediately. "They're vaccinating me," Mantini-Briggs said. "I'm sure a bat bit me."
As in the days of Noah....

Report: Explosions rock restive Chinese region

URUMQI, China - A series of pre-dawn bombings Sunday killed or wounded at least four people in a restive region of western China, state media said.The bombings occurred amid tightened security after an attack here last week left 16 border police dead and 15 others wounded in the Muslim region of Xinjiang.Police suspect that those killed or injured in Sunday's explosions were behind the bombings which struck Kuqa county in the south of Xinjiang, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The agency said witnesses reported seeing flashes of fire and heard gun shots following the explosions.Xinhua said local military sources confirmed the incident and said they have deployed forces to the area, which was also sealed off by police. Kuqa is 460 miles from Urumqi, the regional capital.A woman on duty at the emergency unit of the Kuqa People's Hospital said one man was pronounced dead upon arrival while several other people were in critical condition."There were several explosions in several places in the county seat of Kuqa this morning and we heard them from the hospital," said a woman on duty at the hospital, who would only give her last name, Tian.Witnesses reported that explosions hit government offices and public security and military police posts, said Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the Germany-based World Uighur Congress, which supports independence for the region.A man who answered the phone at the Kuqa county government's duty office said he was not aware of the explosions and refused to give his name.Repeated calls to the county's public security bureau rang unanswered.The latest violence comes after two Americans closely linked to the U.S. Olympic volleyball team were stabbed, one fatally, in a bizarre attack Saturday in the Chinese capital on the first day of the Beijing games.Normally tight security in Xinjiang was increased in the past week after the fatal attack on border police in the city of Kashgar Monday. The assailants rammed a stolen truck into the group before tossing homemade bombs and stabbing them.On Thursday, a videotape was released threatening attacks during the Olympics.The videotape was purportedly made by the Turkistan Islamic Party, a Muslim group believed to be based across the border in Pakistan, where security experts say core members have received training from al-Qaida. Xinjiang is a large, rugged territory — one-sixth of China's land mass — that is home to the Uighurs, a Muslim minority with a long history of tense relations with the Chinese. The Uighurs, with a population of about 8 million, have complained that the Communist government has been restricting their religion and Turkic culture."We have been appealing to Beijing to solve the issue through political dialogue to prevent the situation from deteriorating, but they have never taken it seriously," Raxit said in an e-mail. "On the contrary, they heightened the suppression. Beijing should be directly responsible for today's incident."Beijing has accused Uighur groups of using terrorism in a violent campaign to split Xinjiang from the rest of the country. China's state-run media have reported sporadic bombings, shootings and riots in the territory over the years, but the dispatches are often sketchy and difficult to verify.Kuqa, a county of 400,000 people, is a popular tourist destination in Xinjiang and is rich in oil and gas resources.
No other details were immediately known.
As in the days of Noah...

Nagasaki remembers

Japan remembers Nagasaki atomic bomb victims

TOKYO-Japan marked the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki with a solemn ceremony on Saturday and a call for world powers to abandon their nuclear weapons.Thousands of children, elderly survivors and dignitaries in the city's Peace Park bowed their heads in a minute of silence at 11:02 a.m. (10:02 p.m. EDT), the time the bomb was dropped, to remember the tens of thousands who ultimately died from the blast."The United States and Russia must take the lead in striving to abolish nuclear weapons," Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue said at the gathering, which included Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda."These two countries ... should begin implementing broad reductions of nuclear weapons instead of deepening their conflict over, among others, the introduction of a missile-defence system in Europe."Britain, France and China should also reduce their nuclear arms, he added.About 27,000 of the southwestern city's estimated 200,000 population died instantly from the bomb, and about 70,000 had died by the end of 1945.Nagasaki was bombed by the United States on August 9, 1945, three days after the western city of Hiroshima, where the blast also killed tens of thousands immediately and many more later from radiation sickness.On August 15, Japan surrendered, bringing World War Two to an end.Fukuda said Japan had to fulfill its responsible role as a nation of peace
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As in the days of Noah....

Death toll in South Ossetia reaches 2000

Russia bombs airfield, masses troops, says Georgia

TBILISI-Loud explosions rocked Georgia's capital early on Sunday, and a senior official said Russian warplanes had bombed a military airfield outside Tbilisi."Three bombs were dropped on a military airfield belonging to Tbilaviastroi plant. There were no casualties," Shota Utiashvili, the head of the Georgian Interior Ministry's information department, told Reuters.The plant has been producing Sukhoi Su-25 ground fighters since Soviet days.He corrected his earlier information that Tbilisi's international airport had been the actual target.Reuterscorrespondents in Tbilisi heard the three loud bangs shortly after 0530 (0130 GMT).Utiashvili said in the past few hours Russia had brought 6,000 troops into Georgia and a further 4,000 troops by sea and Russian forces were preparing to attack at dawn."All of them are waiting for dawn to start active actions. Georgia faces a humanitarian catastrophe," Utiashvili said.Russian troops and tanks rolled into ex-Soviet Georgia on Friday after Georgian forces began an assault on the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which wants to become part of Russia.
As in the days of Noah....

U.N. council meets again on South Ossetia crisis

UNITED NATIONS-The U.N. Security Council was meeting on Saturday to discuss the escalating conflict in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia but was too split to issue a unanimous call for a ceasefire, diplomats said.The meeting was the council's third emergency consultations on the crisis in as many days. Council envoys had been drafting an appeal for an end to the hostilities but were too far apart in their views to be able to come to an agreement. "We've pretty much given up on the idea of issuing any kind of statement at this point," a Western diplomat told Reuters.It was unlikely that the council would try to take any action at the moment, he said. Since Russia is a permanent veto-wielding council member, it can block everything.After listening to the Georgian and Russian envoys hurl accusations of "ethnic cleansing" at each other on Friday, the Security Council remained deadlocked in a way that was reminiscent of the Cold War, with the United States and Britain firmly on Georgia's side against Russia.Pro-Western Georgia earlier called for a ceasefire after Moscow's bombers widened an offensive to force Tbilisi's troops back out of the region in the Caucasus mountains.Moscow says its military has been responding to a Georgian assault to retake South Ossetia. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has said the two states were at war.The United States and Britain have urged Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia, while French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed a three-point plan to end the fighting that would include a withdrawal of Russian and Georgian troops to the positions they held before the conflict started.
To read more go to:
As in the days of Noah....

Conflict over S. Ossetia intensifies

Russian jets targeted major oil pipeline: Georgia

TBILISI-Russian fighter jets targeted the major Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline which carries oil to the West from Asia but missed, Georgia's Economic Development Minister Ekaterina Sharashidze said on Saturday."This clearly shows that Russia has not just targeted Georgian economic outlets but international economic outlets in Georgia," she said at a news briefing.There have been no independent verifications of Russian jets targeting the BTC pipeline. http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL961816420080809
As in the days of Noah...

2,000 civilians dead in Tskhinvali fighting: agency

MOSCOW-At least 2,000 civilians have died in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali as a result of fighting between Russian and Georgian forces, Russia's ambassador to Georgia told the Interfax news agency on Saturday.Vyacheslav Kovalenko told the Russian agency that 13 Russian peacekeepers were killed and up to 70 injured in the fighting.


As in the days of noah...

South Ossetian capital completely destroyed

Abkhaz separatists strike disputed Georgia gorge

SUKHUMI, Georgia-Abkhazia said on Saturday it has launched an operation to drive Georgia out of a disputed gorge, possibly opening a "second front" in Tbilisi's battle to retain fractious breakaway regions.The separatist foreign minister Sergei Shamba said Abkhazian artillery and warplanes struck Georgian forces in Kodori, a narrow gorge which cuts deep into the Abkhazian territory and is an ideal route for any invasion in the region.The attack came less than 48 hours after Georgia sent troops to retake the breakaway province of South Ossetia, triggering an invasion of Russian forces dispatched to restore the status quo."Abkhazian forces, in response to the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia, have started a military operation the Kodori gorge to clear it from illegal Georgian troops," Shamba told Reuters.Shamba said at midday (12 p.m. EDT) Abkhaz warplanes launched airstrikes at the Tbilisi-controlled upper part of the Gorge and artillery was pounding the area. "Today was only the initial part of the operation by heavy artillery supported by aviation," Shamba said.Georgians denied an all-out Abkhaz attack and said they were ready to face down any aggression."Rebels in Abkhazia have not attacked the Georgian forces," Kakha Lomaia, secretary of Georgia's Security Council, said. To read more go to:
As in the days of Noah....

Much at stake in Georgian conflict

Georgian pullout way out of crisis: Medvedev

MOSCOW-A pullout of Georgian troops from the conflict zone is the only solution to the South Ossetian crisis, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told President George W. Bush in a telephone conversation on Saturday."The Russian president has specifically stressed that the only way out from the tragic crisis provoked by the Georgian leadership is a withdrawal by Tbilisi of its armed formations from the conflict zone," a Kremlin statement said.Medvedev also said a signing of a binding agreement not to attack each other between South Ossetian separatists and Georgia was also a must, the Kremlin said.He said there were thousands of casualties and tens of thousands of refugees in South Ossetia, along with widespread destruction as a result of "barbaric action" by the Georgian authorities.Medvedev told Bush that Russia's sole aim was to end the violence as soon as possible and defend the civilian population.
As in the days of Noah...

War victim trapped in basement with son's body

Georgia resumes shelling the South Ossetian capital

Father of Former Olympian Killed in Beijing

Heavy flooding troubles Guatemala

Guatemala-The president of Guatemala has declared a state of emergency due to excessive rain. Rainfall in some areas reached as much as 377 percent higher than the average in the rainy season.More than 50 communities in the eastern region of Guatemala have been affected by the onslaught of floodwaters.The rain has caused mudslides, collapsed roads, and flooded rivers in many remote areas.In many cases, the mudslides buried homes, destroyed bridges, roads, farmland, and cut off electricity, phone lines, and food access for thousands.It is difficult for many residents to find food, water, and shelter.Children are also suffering from diarrhea, lung infections, flu, fungus, and other illnesses.The government estimates the storms have resulted in heavy agricultural losses, leaving approximately 1,335,000 residents in an increased state of food insecurity, which could last for the remainder of the year.Orphan Outreach based in Dallas, Texas is partnering with ministry programs in Guatemala City, as well as working in the communities of Panabaj, Pacux and Lemoa.
As in the days of Noah....

Tropical Storm Kammuri:More than 100 dead or missing in flash floods

HANOI - More than 100 people were dead or missing in flash floods and landslides as heavy rains brought by tropical storm Kammuri pounded mountainous northern Vietnam, officials said Saturday. At least 72 people died and 37 were missing since the storm hit the poor and widely deforested region from Friday, having previously lashed Hong Kong and southeastern China, central and provincial emergency officials said. Worst-hit was Lao Cai province near the Chinese border, where at least 36 people died and 32 were missing, hundreds of houses were destroyed or damaged, and transport links were cut, isolating some areas, emergency officials said. "Landslides have hit many areas, but flash floods have caused the largest number of deaths," said Pham Van Quang, an official with the provincial flood and storm control committee. "It's still raining hard here. "At least 800 houses have been destroyed or damaged. We are still trying to get in touch with local authorities to help the people there.Rescue efforts are ongoing but they are being slowed by the severe weather." Quang said that authorities were updating the figures of dead and missing, but that they had no contact with some districts because of cut telephone lines and roads, including the "completely isolated" Bat Xat district. At least 25 people died and four were missing in neighbouring Yen Bai province, said emergency services official Nguyen Thi Hai Yen, who said the Red River that also flows through the capital Hanoi had dangerously swollen. In coastal Quang Ninh, eight people died, including a five-year-old boy whose family home was buried in a landslide, and seven construction workers whose roadside tent was buried under an avalanche of mud and rocks. Three people died in Phu Tho province and one person was missing.
As in the days of Noah....

HONOUR KILLING WATCH:Christian allegedly murdered

ISTANBUL-Local Pakistani police declared the death of a young Christian man in May to be a suicide requiring no investigation, but a high inspector has reopened the case and taken two Muslim suspects into custody.Adeel Masih, 19, was found dead on May 4 in Hafizabad, Pakistan. His family and human rights lawyers believe the relatives of a 19-year-old Muslim woman, Kiran Irfan, with whom Masih had a one-year relationship, tortured and killed him. His family has dubbed his death an “honor killing.”
Marriage between Christian men and Muslim women is forbidden according to a strict interpretation of sharia (Islamic Law), and even social contacts such as these can incite violent reactions in Pakistan, a majority-Muslim nation of 170 million.Local police in Gujranwala, in Punjab province, did not charge Irfan’s family with any crimes and effectively declared them innocent when Masih’s family first came to the station in May, according to the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), a Lahore-based Christian legal advocacy group.CLAAS then presented the case to the office of inspector general of Punjab province, who reopened it on July 18. Afterwards the young woman’s father and one uncle, Muhammad Riasat, were taken into custody. The district police office is currently leading the investigation.Members of the Masih family said that when they first tried to register the case with local police three months ago, officers did not cooperate in launching an investigation because the suspects were Muslim and the victim was a Christian, according to CLAAS.“The police said, ‘We will first inquire whether Adeel has committed suicide,’ because the culprits told the police about the fact that their daughter wanted to embrace Christianity because of Adeel,” said Aneeqa Maria, a case worker for CLAAS. “In this way the police were biased and lingered on the matter, because if there is a long delay in the lodging of a first incidence report, the case becomes weak.”On July 4 the Masih family brought the case to CLAAS, which applied to the district police in Gujranwala. The case moved up the police chain of command and went all the way to the office of the inspector general of Punjab. It was reopened two weeks later.Masih’s friendship with Irfan began about one year ago. His mother learned of their contact six months later and warned his son to end it due to the dangers. She then told Irfan’s family about their relationship, which both families considered culturally inappropriate.Irfan’s family began to harass Masih’s parents and threatened to kill him if they ever again heard that their son was contacting their daughter.They said they “would not allow a Christian man to disgrace Islam this way,” according to CLAAS. Masih disappeared on May 1 while en route by motorbike to visit Irfan. Her father, Mohammed Irfan, and her two uncles, Muhammad Amjad and Muhammad Riasat, reportedly followed him. They then abducted him and threw his motorbike into a nearby canal, a local resident told CLAAS.Two hours after Masih disappeared, Irfan’s family called his relatives, claiming he had committed suicide near a canal 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Gujranwala. The family searched for two days with the assistance of divers but failed to find him. Police found Masih’s body on May 4 in a canal in Hafizabad, 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Gujranwala.According to Masih’s relatives, members of Irfan’s family held Masih in captivity and tortured him for two days.An autopsy report obtained by Compass states Masih sustained scalp and brain injuries. There were marks on his hands and feet indicating he had been bound.When Masih’s family originally tried to register the case, accusing the culprits of murder, kidnapping, obstructing justice and conspiracy, police took no action. After an autopsy was performed on Masih’s body, according to CLAAS, his family attempted once more to register the case, but police officials said they would first investigate if Masih had committed suicide.According to CLAAS, the First Incidence Report of the crime was not registered with the police until May 20, nearly three weeks after Masih disappeared.Attempts by Compass to reach English-speaking officers at the Gujranwala police station, where Masih’s family originally filed a complaint, were unsuccessful.
Irfan and Riasat are expected to be charged in a local criminal court for murder, kidnapping, obstructing justice and conspiracy. No date has been set for the trial.
As in the days of Noah...

Obama promises "change" for America one homosexual adoption at a time

Barack Obama has once again reaffirmed his support for homosexual adoptions and his intentions to repeal federal regulations protecting the traditional family built on marriage.The Illinois Senator sent a letter outlining his position to Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of the Family Equality Council, after the homosexual lobby group demanded his response to Republican presidential contender John McCain's statement to the New York Times three weeks ago:"I don't believe in gay adoption."
The letter gave Obama an opportunity to curry favor with the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) lobby."We also have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT families," wrote Obama. "Because equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights is not some abstract principle; it's about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom."He continued, "That's why we have to repeal laws like the Defense of Marriage Act. That's why we have to eliminate discrimination against LGBT families. And that's why we have to extend equal treatment in our family and adoption laws."Obama had prefaced his letter by emphasizing the "vast array of diverse traditions, cultures and histories" of the United States and said that the "desire to build a life with a loved one, to provide for a family and to have children who will grow and thrive ... are desires that all people share, regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.""We know," he said, "that the cost of the American dream must never come at the expense of the American family. For decades we've had politicians in Washington who talk about family values, but we haven't had policies that value families. Instead, it's harder for working parents to make a living while raising their kids. It's even harder to get a break."
PS:Thanks a lot "Christian"Barack....!!!!
As in the days of Noah...

Billboards announce: 'Sharia law is hate':Group hopes to spark debate over accepting Islamic rules in U.S.

An organization in Florida plans to educate what it perceives as an increasingly culture-tolerant public about the horrific dictates of Islamic law by purchasing billboard space with a simple, but confrontational message: "Sharia law is hate."The Central Florida chapter of the United American Committee, a nonprofit group that seeks to educate Americans on the threat of Islamic extremism, is raising money to purchase a six-month contract to display the billboard, which the group hopes will awaken the public to discussing the full extent of Islamic law."The UAC's goal in this project is to raise awareness because most people have no idea what Sharia law is," Alan Kornman, director of UAC's Central Florida branch, told WND. "We are confident people will see the billboard and learn on their own what Sharia law is and come to their own conclusions. At the very least, we hope our billboard will spark public debate on this overlooked issue."The billboards will also include a link to UAC resources where people can learn more about Islam's Sharia law, a set of religious codes – both moral and legal; Sharia law recognizes no separation of church and state – that bind both Muslims and Islamic nations."Under Sharia law if you are accused of stealing, a hand and foot from opposite sides are amputated. If you are caught having an affair, the woman is stoned to death and the man is given 80 lashes. If you change religions, you can be charged under apostasy laws and given the death sentence by a legal Sharia court. If you want to marry a nine-year-old child, Sharia law condones pedophilia, because Mohammad married Aisha at six and consummated the marriage at age nine. I find these and many more practices of Sharia law despicable and hateful," said Kornman.In nations with large Muslim populations, coordinating the nation's laws with the laws a large minority demands to be governed under has proven difficult. WND has reported on Canada's faltering attempts to incorporate Sharia law and on some of the stir created when England's Archbishop of Canterbury recommended adopting tenets of the Islamic religious code.Kornman told WND that Americans need to understand the enmity between the American way of life and living under Sharia law."If a person condones (the horrors of Sharia law enforcement), then living under our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is not possible," Kornman said. "The two systems will never be ideologically compatible."In addition to the billboard campaign, the Central Florida UAC has purchased airtime for half-hour radio programs, the first scheduled for Sept. 12 on Orlando-area station WEUS, AM 810. The group said in a press release that the shows will focus on "discussing everything you will never hear from the mainstream press."The group's billboard proposal, while unusually confrontational in its language, is not the first attempt at utilizing the power of advertising in the culture clash between Islam and America's Western way of life.WND reported earlier on a series of advertisements employed by Islamic groups on New York City's subway system.Another group called Jihad Watch has blazed the trail with billboard campaigns, two of which you can see above left.While Jihad Watch reports their billboards were subject to editing by the billboard company, the Central Florida UAC's billboard plans are likely to be subject to heated controversy. Kornman, however, told WND that he stands behind the message that Sharia law is a hate-based ideology."Sharia is the glue that holds an Islamic society together," Kornman told WND. "The harsh punishments associated with Sharia law in all facets of day-to-day life create a never-ending atmosphere of abject fear for those living under Sharia law.""For those people calling me hateful, then they would have to condone child marriages, amputations for stealing and death for apostates to name only a few punishments attached to Sharia law. If my critics condone this type of activity under any circumstances, then it is they who are hateful towards anyone who is non-Muslim and should look into their own mirror before crying hate speech," he said.
As in the days of Noah...

Tyson plant adds Muslim holiday,keeps Labor Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Union workers and officials at a Tyson Foods plant in Tennessee said Friday they have agreed to reinstate Labor Day as a paid holiday, and the plant will also observe the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr this year.Tyson had previously agreed to drop Labor Day and substitute the Muslim holiday as part of a new 5-year contract to accommodate Muslim workers at the plant in Shelbyville, which is about 50 miles south of Nashville.The decision sparked widespread criticism, from local politicians to talk radio to the Internet.The Springdale, Ark.-based company said it requested reinstating Labor Day after complaints from plant workers and the public.Union members voted Thursday to reinstate Labor Day as one of the plant's paid holidays and keep Eid al-Fitr as an additional paid holiday for this year only. For the remainder of the contract, workers will have Labor Day and a personal holiday, which can be used to observe Eid al-Fitr or another day the employee's supervisor approves.Union officials have said at least a couple hundred of the 1,200 plant workers are Muslim.Eid al-Fitr-which falls on Oct. 1 this year-marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.Muslim civil rights advocates criticized Tyson Foods, and a union official said the company's response was disingenuous."This wasn't something imposed. It seems that this backtracking would be the result of the backlash from anti-Muslim hate (Web) sites and Islamophobes on the Internet," (*)said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for Washington D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.Stuart Appelbaum, president of the union headquartered in New York, said he was surprised by the reaction to the holiday change."I would have thought that people would have been more sensitive and sympathetic to the concern to the members of our community, who want to celebrate their religious faith," he said. "It's a little disingenuous to say that they (Tyson) were responding to employee concerns. The proposal came from workers themselves."Tyson's previous decision to drop Labor Day as a paid holiday drew intense scrutiny. In a letter to the Shelbyville Times-Gazette newspaper published Thursday, the local mayor and other state elected leaders said substituting Labor Day "for a nontraditional holiday is unacceptable.""For over a hundred years, Labor Day has stood as a symbol to honor the working men and women of this country. But for the past few years traditions like Labor Day have been under attack. This time it's gone too far and we, as patriotic Americans, must draw our line in the sand," the letter said states.Requests for workplace accommodations of Muslim religious obligations have become common around the country, say Muslim advocates.In 2005, 30 workers walked off the job at a Dell Inc. plant in Nashville after alleging the company refused to let them pray at sunset.Last year, dozens of Somali meatpacking workers at a Nebraska plant quit their jobs because they were not given enough time off for Muslim prayers, though they eventually returned to work at the Swift & Co. plant.(*)
On the Net:
Tyson Foods: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/ap/ap_on_bi_ge/storytext/tyson_labor_day/28523112/SIG=10ni0p86g/*http://www.tyson.com/
Council on American-Islamic Relations: http://www.cair.com/
PS:I'm really tired of certain muslim groups like CAIR pushing THEIR BELIEFS with THEIR HOLIDAYS on the US.
(*)Newsflash for Ibrahim Hooper:YES there are millions of americans that are tired of this pushing.Mr Hooper:This is not the Middle East,this is not Syria,Saudi or UAE.We are still a christian nation and with your pushing you are perceived as trying to destroy our holidays by replacing it with yours and in so doing trying to make out of America something that it NEVER WAS.
That's why--may be-- you get people not to like you vvery much,you know????
IF you dont like it...well think about the many thousands christians and from other beliefs living in the Middle East to whom muslims subject to all kinds of persecution and imprisonment and death,JUST BECAUSE they ARE NOT MUSLIMS....
SO since this is not the Middle East,you will have to submit to our laws and ordinances and holidays as many NON MUSLIMS humbly and silently submit to in your countries...
How would you like Mr Hooper of a Christmas day or a sunday off for worship in places like Saudi or Pakistan??????uh???????
(*)Everytime muslims have moved west,they have brought controversy with them....
So why do they move out of their countries after all IF we are all DHIMMIS,and INFIDELS and HELL BOUND and BLASPHEMERS according to your beliefs....???
Whenever you learn to respect other peoples beliefs and are willing to live under their laws,then.....may be you won't have people looking crooked at you all.
So Mr Hooper...be thankful that here in the US--still today--you can say whatever you want without worrying that your head would be severed from the rest of your body,or that you would be stoned,or hang,or shot,like it happens to non muslims in muslim countries...
So enjoy this freedom and let us americans take care of our history and our celebrations and holidays that remember us the greatness of those that went before us and built this nation....
You--still today--have the right not to like it as it is and say it freely....
But you dont have the right of trying to DES-WRITE our history and trying to change it into something that was not,is not and will never be....
As in the days of Noah...

Anti-Abortion Photo Display Planned in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI-An anti-abortion group plans to stage a day-long protest display in downtown Cincinnati.The Center for Bio-ethical Reform will exhibit large, graphic pictures of aborted fetuses on Fountain Square as part of a project comparing abortion to genocide. The Friday event brings a controversial topic to a public forum that's a popular lunchtime spot and now known for being family friendly.The anti-abortion group had a smaller exhibit at the recent NAACP convention in Cincinnati. In 2006, it flew banners with fetus images on the city's riverfront.
As in the days of Noah...

GAY AGENDA WATCH:NY Lawyers Defend Move to Recognize Gay Marriages

NEW YORK - State lawyers are defending New York Governor David Paterson's move to recognize out-of-state gay marriages.They asked a Bronx judge to dismiss a Christian legal group's argument that the governor is overstepping his authority. The case comes as thousands of gay New York couples are expected to take advantage of a new Massachusetts law letting them wed there.Same-sex couples cannot marry in New York, and the state's highest court has said only the Legislature can change that. But Paterson's counsel told state agencies in May that a recent state court ruling required them to recognize gay marriages legally performed elsewhere.The Christian group, the Alliance Defense Fund, says the issue should be decided by the Legislature, not the governor.
As in the days of Noah...

Russian troops in Tskhinvali to help stop violence

Fighting with Russia spreads to cities across Georgia

TBLISI, Georgia (CNN)-Bombs rocked Tbilisi early Saturday morning as the fight between Georgia and Russia over a breakaway region intensified and moved into the Georgian capital. Government buildings, including the Parliament, were evacuated when the bombs fell. Heavy casualties have reported on both sides since Russian forces moved Friday into South Ossetia, a pro-Russian autonomous region of Georgia.Russian bombers were targeting Georgia's economic infrastructure, National Security Council secretary Alexander Lomaia said, including the country's largest Black Sea port, Poti, and the main road connecting the southern part of Georgia with the east and the airport.Georgian television reported that the port had been destroyed...

As in the days of Noah...

People Form Peace Chain in Georgia's Capital,Tbilisi

Raw video,Tbilisi,Georgia,August 08/08:Thousands of Georgian people take to the streets building a peace chain in the center of the capitol Tbilisi....

As in the days of Noah...

Medvedev: South Ossetia Situation a 'Humanitarian Catastrophe'

DZHAVA, Georgia-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev described the situation in Georgia's embattled breakaway region of South Ossetia as a "humanitarian catastrophe," Reuters reporeted Russian news agencies as saying Saturday."People who are responsible for this humanitarian catastrophe should carry responsibility for what they have done," they quoted Medvedev as telling officials summoned to discuss humanitarian aid to the province. "Our task is to help overcome the consequences of the humanitarian catastrophe. "Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said some 1,500 people have been killed in fighting in South Ossetia.Lavrov said in a conference call with foreign journalists that the deathtoll is continuing to rise.Medvedev said Friday that Russian troops in South Ossetia must force Georgia into a cease fire and also protect civilians in the province, most of whose residents hold Russian passports.Fighting raged for a second day Saturday in the South Ossetia region as the country's interior ministry accused Russia of launching new air attacks on three military bases and key facilities for shipping oil to the West.Russia dispatched an armored column into South Ossetia on Friday after Georgia, a staunchMost of the capital of Tskhinvali was in ruins. Carcasses of burned Georgian tanks and dead bodies littered the streets, and sporadic shooting continued through the night and into the morning.The fighting, which devastated the capital of Tskhinvali, threatened to ignite a wider war between Georgia and Russia, and escalate tensions between Moscow and Washington. Georgia said it was forced to launch the assault because of rebel attacks; the separatists alleged Georgia violated its own cease-fire.Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili accused Russia of waging an aggression against his country. Russia said it needs to act to protect its peacekeepers and civilians in South Ossetia, where most residents hold Russian passports.Georgia's Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said the Vaziani military base on the outskirts of the Georgian capital was bombed by Russian warplanes during the night and that bombs fell in the area of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.He also said two other Georgian military bases were hit and that warplanes bombed the Black Sea port city of Poti, which has a sizable oil shipment facility.Utiashvili said there apparently were significant casualties and damage in the attacks, but that further details would not be known until the morning...
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As in the days of Noah...

Russia says has control of S.Ossetian capital

GORI, Georgia-Russia said it had driven Georgian forces from the capital of South Ossetia on Saturday as part of an operation to force Georgia to accept peace in its breakaway region."Tactical groups have fully liberated Tskhinvali from the Georgian military and have started pushing Georgian units beyond the zone of peacekeepers responsibility," Tass quoted Ground Forces commander Vladimir Boldyrev as saying.Russian warplanes widened the offensive outside the immediate conflict zone to include strikes deep inside Georgia on the second day of fighting.Jets carried out up to five raids on mostly military targets around the Georgian town of Gori, close to the conflict zone in South Ossetia, a Reuters reporter at the scene said. But he saw at least one bomb hit an apartment, killing five people. Russia said the death toll in the two-day conflict had hit 1,500 and was rising, prompting warnings from President Dmitry Medvedev of a humanitarian catastrophe that Moscow was determined to halt by force."Our peacekeepers and reinforcement units are currently running an operation to force the Georgian side to (agree to) peace," Russian news agencies quoted Medvedev as saying at a meeting with Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. "They are also responsible for protecting the population. That's what we are doing now," Medvedev added. Russian troops poured into South Ossetia on Friday, hours after Georgia launched a large-scale offensive aimed at restoring control over the province lost after a war in the early 1990s.
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As in the days of Noah...


"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
And Jesus answered and said unto them
, Take heed that no man deceive you.
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
All these are the beginning of sorrows..."

Matthew 24:3-8

Russian bomb hits Georgia town, at least 5 dead

GORI, Georgia-A Russian warplane dropped a bomb on an apartment block in the Georgian town of Gori on Saturday, killing at least 5 people, a Reuters reporter said.The bomb hit the five-story building in Gori close to Georgia's embattled breakaway province of South Ossetia when Russian warplanes carried out a raid against military targets around the town.A Reuters reporter saw five bodies lying in the wreckage of the house. Several soldiers took several injured people to jeeps to be evacuated to hospital.A man sitting in front of the burning apartment block was seen clutching the body of his dead brother and trying to clean blood from his face.
As in the days of Noah...

Day one of the Georgia-South Ossetia military conflict

Russia sending more troops to Georgian region

MOSCOW-Russia's military on Saturday said army units had arrived overnight in South Ossetia to bolster troops acting as peacekeepers and announced the imminent arrival of additional reinforcements, Russian news agencies reported.
Igor Konashenkov, an aide to the Russian infantry commander, was quoted by the agencies as saying units of the 58th army would seek to "establish peace" in the region, scene of fighting between Russian and Georgian forces for two days. Additional "special units", he said, would arrive "in the next few hours".Konashenkov said three members of the Russian peacekeeping units had been killed overnight, bringing total losses to 15.
As in the days of Noah...

Shelling of South Ossetia capital stopped

China invokes Olympics in urging South Ossetia ceasefire

BEIJING-Chinese state media urged a ceasefire between Russia and Georgia on Saturday, invoking the "sacred" opening of the Beijing Olympics to call for both sides to stop fighting over South Ossetia.China's grand opening for the Games on Friday was overshadowed by military confrontation between Russia and Georgia over the disputed breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Beijing's official Xinhua news agency was quick to hold up the spirit of the Beijing
Olympic Games in calling for the two European countries to stop fighting."The eighth of August 2008 was a sacred day," said the commentary."With the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games, the world has entered an Olympic period.... During these special days, the outbreak of armed clashes in South Ossetia is something the world's people do not wish to see."Invoking the Olympic spirit, the commentary called for a ceasefire.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also issued an appeal calling on all warring nations to honor a traditional truce during the Games."A ceasefire can give people the chance to reflect on the massive carnage brought by war," the Xinhua commentary said. "We hope the various parties in the South Ossetia dispute exercise calm and restraint and solve their differences through negotiations and not force." http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSPEK20856020080809

As in the days of Noah...

Georgian ambassador plea

Russia, Georgia seek control of South Ossetia capital

GORI, Georgia-Russian forces battled pro-Western Georgian troops in South Ossetia on Friday in an escalating conflict that threatens to engulf a key energy transit route to Western Europe.Both sides ignored pleas from world leaders for calm as Moscow and Tbilisi blamed each other for the fighting in South Ossetia which began after several days of skirmishes.Georgian forces shelled the capital of its breakaway region, which separatists said left 1,400 people dead.Moscow said its troops were responding to a Georgian assault to retake the region, which broke from Georgia as the Soviet Union was collapsing but has no international recognition.The crisis, the first to confront Kremlin leader Dmitry Medvedev since he took office in May, with violence flaring in a region seen as a key energy transit route where Russia and the West are vying for influence. The hostilities dampened investor confidence and hit the Moscow stock exchange.Georgia said Russia bombed airfields and Poti port deep inside its territory and Tbilisi and rushed tanks and troops into South Ossetia, formally still a part of Georgia, to reinforce its small force of peacekeepers."If the whole world does not stop Russia today, then Russian tanks will be able to reach any other European capital," President Mikheil Saakashvili said.A top Georgian official said Saakashvili was planning to declare martial law within hours, a move that will gives him a free hand to manage the conflict.The U.N. Security Council held a second meeting on the conflict on Friday, and diplomats said they hoped the council would unanimously call for a ceasefire.
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As in the days of Noah...

Georgia set to declare martial law

Georgia says to withdraw 1,000 soldiers from Iraq

TBILISI-Georgia will withdraw 1,000 soldiers from Iraq to help fight off Russian forces in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, the head of Georgia's Security Council, Kakha Lomaia, said on Friday."We have already communicated to our American friends that we are going to withdraw half our contingent of soldiers in Iraq within days because we are under Russian aggression, "Lomaia told Reuters. "These are some of our best soldiers," he said.
As in the days of Noah....

Georgia: Russia enters into 'war' in South Ossetia

Over 1,300 people are reported dead after Russian forces responded to a Georgian attack on rebels in the breakaway province of South Ossetia by mounting a full scale invasion....

Columns of Russian tanks plunged the two neighbours into war as they filed into South Ossetia, marking the Kremlin's first military assault on foreign soil since the Soviet Union's Afghanistan intevention, which ended in 1989.Russian tanks rolled towards the capital of South Ossetia and fighters bombed Georgian air bases after Georgia launched attacks on rebels in the breakaway region. South Ossetia won de-facto independence in a war which ended in 1992 but has been a source of tension ever since, along with Abkhazia, another separatist region.Russian peacekeepers have suffered 12 dead and 150 wounded, the peacekeeping forces were quoted as saying by Russian news agencies, while over 1300 civilians are reported to have been killed.
"Now our peacekeepers are waging a fierce battle with regular forces from the Georgian army in the southern region of Tskhinvali," a representative of the Russian force was quoted as saying by Interfax.Reports last night claimed that Russia had started to bomb civil and economic infrastructure, including the Black Sea port of Poti and the military base at Senaki. Between 8 and 11 Russian jets reportedly hit container tanks and a shipbuilding plant at the port."I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars," said Lyudmila Ostayeva, 50, who had fled with her family to Dzhava, a village near the border with Russia."It's impossible to count them now. There is hardly a single building left undamaged."The confrontation between the two countries deepened in April when Nato promised that Georgia would be allowed to join - although no clear timetable was offered.
The European Union was trying to secure a ceasefire in the pro-Russian enclave. The United States and the EU sent a joint delegation to the region in a bid to halt the fighting, while Nato called for an immediate end to the clashes and for direct talks between Russia and Georgia.
Any ceasefire would be unlikely to hold. Hours after President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, a devoutly pro-Western leader, declared a unilateral ceasefire on Thursday night, his forces began an artillery barrage against Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital.The fighting broke out as much of the world's attention was focused on the start of the Olympic Games. Many leaders, including Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President George W Bush, were in Beijing watching the opening ceremony.Mr Putin declared: "War has started." Victor Dolidze, Georgia's ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said: "If this is not war, then I wonder what it is."Mr Dolidze told the OSCE's permanent council in Vienna that Russian forces had been bombing Georgian territory since the morning, according to a diplomat who attended the 45-minute meeting.Vladimir Voronkov, Russia's representative, told the assembly that "the true story is very different." He accused the Georgian side of launching a massive attack in defiance of diplomatic efforts.As the roar of warplanes and the explosion of heavy shells sounded outside Tskhinvali, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, accused the Georgians of driving people from their homes."We are receiving reports that a policy of ethnic cleansing was being conducted in villages in South Ossetia, the number of refugees is climbing, the panic is growing, people are trying to save their lives," he said in televised remarks from the ministry.Georgia, which would be hugely outnumbered in an all-out confrontation with Russia, said that it had control of the capital, but there were reports of Russian tanks on the outskirts and that Georgian forces had started to retreat.Georgia will withdraw 1,000 soldiers from its military contingent of around 2,000 troops in Iraq to help in the fighting against South Ossetian separatist rebels, a top Georgian official said.Georgia has asked the US military to provide aircraft to move Georgian troops home from Iraq as fighting rages in Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region, a US military official said Friday.US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia."The United States calls for an immediate ceasefire to the armed conflict in Georgia's region of South Ossetia," Rice said in a statement."We call on Russia to cease attacks on Georgia by aircraft and missiles, respect Georgia's territorial integrity, and withdraw its ground combat forces from Georgian soil," she said.The United States is working actively with its European allies to launch international mediation to end the crisis and senior US officials have spoken with the parties in the conflict, she added.A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana: "We repeat our message to all parties to immediately stop the violence."In Washington, State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said the US was sending an envoy to the region "to engage with the parties in the conflict".
By Adrian Blomfield in Gori
As in the days of Noah...

Georgia to impose martial law, port bombed: official

TBILISI-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili will declare martial law in a few hours time, the secretary of Georgia's Security Council said early on Saturday."The president is going to declare a state of martial law within a few hours," Kakha Lomaia told Reuters."Russia has bombed the (Black Sea) port of Poti and the military base at Senaki. We think Russia has started to bomb civil and economic infrastructure."In the port of Poti, the Russian fighter jets hit container tankers and a shipbuilding plant, Georgia's Deputy Economic Development Minister Vato Lezhava told Reuters. He said between 8 and 11 Russian jets were involved in the attack.
As in the days of Noah...

Fighting resumed in South Ossetia

KNOWLEDGE SHALL INCREASE:Scientists Create Stem Cells for 10 Disorders

NEW YORK-Harvard scientists say they have created stems cells for 10 genetic disorders, which will allow researchers to watch the diseases develop in a lab dish.This early step, using a new technique, could help speed up efforts to find treatments for some of the most confounding ailments, the scientists said.The new work was reported online Thursday in the journal Cell, and the researchers said they plan to make the cell lines readily available to other scientists.Dr. George Daley and his colleagues at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute used ordinary skin cells and bone marrow from people with a variety of diseases, including Parkinson's, Huntington's and Down syndrome to produce the stem cells.The new cells will allow researchers to "watch the disease progress in a dish, that is, to watch what goes right or wrong," Doug Melton, co-director of the institute, said during a teleconference."I think we'll see in years ahead that this opens the door to a new way to treating degenerative diseases," he said.The new technique reprograms cells, giving them the chameleon-like qualities of embryonic stem cells, which can morph into all kinds of tissue, such as heart, nerve and brain. As with embryonic stem cells, the hope is to speed medical research.Research teams in Wisconsin and Japan were the first to report last November that they had reprogrammed skin cells, and that the cells had behaved like stem cells in a series of lab tests.Just last week, another Harvard team of scientists said they reprogrammed skin cells from two elderly patients with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, and grew them into nerve cells.Melton said the new disease-specific cell lines "represent a collection of degenerative diseases for which there are no good treatments and, more importantly, no good animal models for the most part in studying them."A new laboratory has been created to serve as a repository for the cells, and to distribute them to other scientists researching the diseases, Melton said."The hope is that this will accelerate research and it will create a climate of openness," said Daley.He expects stem cell lines to be developed for many more diseases, noting, "this is just the first wave of diseases." Other diseases for which they created stem cells are Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes; two types of muscular dystrophy, Gaucher disease and a rare genetic disorder known as the "bubble boy disease."Daley stressed that the reprogrammed cells won't eliminate the need or value of studying embryonic stem cells."At least for the foreseeable future, and I would argue forever, they are going to be extremely valuable tools," he said.The reprogramming work was funded by the National Institutes of Health and private contributions to the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

As in the days of Noah....

Friday, August 8, 2008

DECEPTION WATCH:Anglican Head Compared 'Faithful' Gay Relationships to Marriage

LONDON-The spotlight is back on Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams today after letters emerged in which the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion says gay relationships could "reflect the love of God" in a way comparable to marriage, according to media reports.Williams allegedly affirmed his liberal position on homosexuality in a leaked exchange of letters between 2000 and 2001 with Deborah Pitt, an evangelical living in his former archdiocese in south Wales. According to media reports, Williams asserts in the letters his belief that parts of the Bible relating to homosexuality were addressed "to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety in their experience" rather than gay people in a relationship."I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness,” one letter was quoted as saying.As a theologian, Williams is liberal on the issue of homosexuality but adopts a more conservative position as leader of the Anglican Communion, which officially regards homosexuality as incompatible with Scripture.The archbishop’s comments come just days after the conclusion of the once-in-a-decade Lambeth Conference, which reaffirmed the Anglican Communion’s official line on homosexuality.Bishops at the conference, which ended on Sunday, called for an immediate halt to same-sex consecrations and blessings, and the suspension of cross-border interventions.Williams said at the end of the conference that the Anglican Communion would be in “grave peril” if member churches failed to observe the moratorium.The 77-million member Anglican Communion has been wracked with division, particularly since the 2003 consecration of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. More than 200 conservative bishops boycotted the Lambeth Conference in protest of the presence of pro-gay bishops, including some of those involved in the consecration of Robinson.They held their own meeting, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), in Jerusalem in June.In his strongest public acknowledgement of GAFCON to date, Williams had said he would look for ways to “build bridges” with bishops in the movement, who include Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi, Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen, and a number of UK bishops, including the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev Michael Nazir-Ali.Williams said he would send out a pastoral letter to each of the GAFCON bishops as a first step, but added that the bridge-building process would need some “teasing out” in the coming months.
As in the days of Noah....

Faster, Higher, Stronger Human Rights

The modern Olympic Games have always made politics and sport strange bedfellows.On one hand, the Games provide an opportunity for nations to cast aside their differences and compete on a level playing field. On the other hand, they often highlight the stark differences in the world's geopolitical makeup.The Beijing Games of 2008 are no different. Though it boasts a massive population and booming economy, the Chinese government's "improvements" on human rights have been miniscule. Forced abortion, censored speech, and religious persecution have been hallmarks of the communist regime.Even as government officials prepare to take President Bush on a tour of state-sanctioned churches, China Aid reports that House Church Alliance President Zhang Mingxuan, his wife and another pastor were arrested and detained this week-presumably for unregistered religious activity. Today in Beijing President Bush briefly addressed China's human rights problem: "We must [...] be candid about our belief that all people should have the freedom to say what they think and worship as they choose. We strongly believe societies which allow the free expression of ideas tend to be the most prosperous and the most peaceful." We at FRC agree with the president, but as the Olympics seek to take us "Faster, Higher, Stronger," the advance of human rights in China should live up to the same motto.
by Tony Perkins
As in the days of Noah...

California Marriage Amendment Backers Lose in Court:Judge Upholds Redefined Prop.8 Ballot Language

Pro-family attorneys are vowing to go back to court to get biased, pro-homosexual language removed from the ballot title and summary for the California marriage protection amendment.The amendment states that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." But somehow, Attorney General Jerry Brown reinterpreted that as eliminating "the right of same-sex couples to marry."Timothy Chandler, legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), was in Superior Court in California Thursday arguing that Brown's editorializing is illegal."The issue before the voters is whether or not California should define marriage as between one man and one woman," Chandler explains. "And rather than presenting it that way to the voters, the attorney general got political with it." Instead of providing a neutral and unbiased ballot title and summary, says the ADF attorney, Brown bowed to "political pressure" and "gave a biased and prejudicial summary"-in effect failing to follow his obligation under state law. "The attorney general is required by law to provide an objective summary of what the proposition would do to the law," Chandler explains. But the Superior Court disagreed Friday, ruling that Brown was within his rights to define the amendment as taking away rights, even though those alleged rights were only recently created by the California Supreme Court."In this case, the Attorney General did not abuse his discretion in concluding that the chief purpose and effect of the initiative is to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, even if the initiative also has other purposes and effects," wrote Judge Timothy Frawley. "The Attorney General's title is an accurate statement of the primary purpose and effect of the measure. It is not argumentative or inherently prejudicial."The original ballot title described the amendment as a change to the state constitution that would "provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Chandler hopes a three-judge panel of the California Appellate Court will overturn Frawley's decision."This is an emergency petition to try to get the court to order the attorney general to provide a unbiased ballot title and summary before the ballots are begun to be printed here in California, which starts next week," says Chandler.Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and ProtectMarriage.com say they intend to file the appeal immediately.
As in the days of Noah...

By rowing, Olympian intends to worship

BEIJING-Jane Rumball may look like she's only rowing when she steps into the boat with her Canadian teammates to compete in the Beijing Olympics.Rumball sits in the stroke seat of the women's eight event, which begins Aug. 10. She sits in front of the coxswain and sets the rhythm and pace that everyone behind her follows.But for Rumball, her sport involves much more than just the physical and mental exertion it demands."I can't sing at all, but I can row," Rumball said. "That's my expression of worship. I'll be giving my best 'thank you' performance on the water on the biggest stage in the world."Rumball has good reason for using rowing as a way to thank and worship God -– because God used rowing to bring Rumball to faith in Jesus Christ.Growing up on the east coast of Canada, Rumball was not raised in a Christian home.Shortly before starting college, her parents went through a nasty divorce.That nudged Rumball to leave her hometown and move to London, Ontario, and the University of Western Ontario."It was kind of like the perfect storm-the culmination of my parents going through this divorce, and moving to a new place, and disillusioned a little bit with rowing as well," Rumball said.She tried out for the university's rowing team and made it, but she will forever remember the reactions of the two young women who did not."One went off, kind of cursing the coach and the system, and saying it was completely unfair," Rumball recalled."The other girl, even though she went through the same process, seemed totally at peace with it. She was also very genuinely encouraging to everybody."The second girl, Laura Jackson, had been dubbed "Permasmile" by the rowing team."She seemed to always be smiling, and she smiled so big that you could barely see her pupils," Rumball said. "I had no idea what color her eyes were."Jackson's calm and dignified response to getting cut from the team left a permanent impression on Rumball. It also forced Rumball to ask a question for which she didn't have an answer: How could this girl be so happy and at peace when she's not even on the team?"It really, really bugged me, because I had made the team, and I knew the reaction I would have had if I had been cut," Rumball said. "I knew I would have been more like the other girl."A few months later, Rumball discovered the answer to the question that perplexed her. A representative from Athletes in Action, a Christian sports ministry, spoke in her kinesiology class. He asked the class to fill out a survey, which Rumball did.Do you believe in God? Yes, she answered.Do you read the Bible? No.Last question: Do you want to know more about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Rumball hesitated."That's the first time I'd ever actually heard of that even being a possibility," she said. "I had no understanding of it before. I grew up going to church as more of a social checkmark, but I never really understood this whole personal relationship thing."I actually circled yes, and I don't know why at the time."Rumball walked out of the class and immediately bumped into Jackson. She told Laura that she had just filled out an AIA survey. Come to find out, Jackson was involved with the AIA ministry on campus, and she invited Rumball to the next AIA event -– a dessert party/movie night for girls. Rumball accepted, and she remembers what she saw when she walked into the room that night."It's like I walked into a whole roomful of Lauras," she said. "It was so unsettling to me."But yet Rumball could sense in that room a peace and joy that she couldn't explain. She returned to her room later that night and began sobbing. She remembers saying to the Lord, "Whatever they have, that's what I want."What they had was salvation through Jesus Christ. Rumball asked God to save her, and shortly thereafter one of the AIA staff members began working with Rumball and teaching her about the Bible and Christianity.She met her husband Adam a few weeks later. He also had become a Christian during his time at Western Ontario University and is now pastor of High Park Baptist Church in Toronto.Rumball continued to excel in rowing, even winning a world championship in the sport in 2006. She was at the Athens Olympics in 2004 as part of a medical team, but this will be her first time to compete in the Games.For Rumball, though the world championship is usually a lot harder than making the Olympic team, there's still something special about the Olympics."People come out of retirement just for the Olympics," she said. "For me, it's something that I've always wanted to be able to experience."Even more important to Rumball, however, is the legacy she leaves to her teammates. She has Laura Jackson to thank for that."Laura had such an impact on who I was, and obviously, she led me without even using words necessarily," Rumball said. "She led me to understand that there's more to life than what you can put on your resume, whether it's sport or academic."Even though she didn't make the varsity team, she had an eternal, lasting impact on me," Rumball continued. "I want to be that same kind of role model with my team. I want to be able to be Christ's light on the team."
By Tim Ellsworth, director of news and media relations at Union University;he is covering the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing for Baptist Press.
As in the days of Noah...