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

Saturday, September 13, 2008

'Muslim Massacre' Video Game Has 'American Hero' Avatars Wipe Out Followers of Islam

A VIDEO game made by an Australian man that encourages players to massacre Muslim people has caused international outrage. Muslim Massacre is promoted as taking place after the US "declares war" on the religion of Islam and encourages players to wipe out followers. "The United States of America has declared war on Islam!" the Muslim Massacre website says."Take control of the American hero and wipe out the Muslim race with an arsenal of the world's most destructive weapons."The targets appear as bearded men wearing normal clothes or characters in black outfits with facemasks. Later levels include suicide bombers and a "boss" opponent resembling Osama Bin Laden.
Mr Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the UK Muslim youth organisation the Ramadhan Foundation, said the game was unacceptable, tasteless and deeply offensive."When kids spend six hours a day on violent games they are more likely to go outside and commit violence," he said."If it was the other way around, with a game featuring Muslims killing Israelis or Americans, there would be uproar and rightly so."
Muslim Massacre was developed by Eric Vaughn, known online as "Sigvatr", a 22-year-old from Brisbane. He first released it online in January this year.The game begins with audio from George Bush speeches, edited together to sound like a condemnation of Muslims.The graphics are similar to 1990s arcade shooter games, with a bird's eye view showing the protagonist, a tiny pixelated US soldier, running and shooting other characters.Mr Vaughn's website links to other projects such as a fictional sporting league for real-life massacre shooters and a webcomic. Muslim Massacre bears a resemblance to two other independently-developed "shock" games released online: V-Tech Rampage (2007), which recreated the Virgina Tech shootings and Super Columbine Massacre RPG! (2005), which was a recreation of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings.Those who have played Muslim Massacre provided mixed feedback to Mr Vaughn.
"I think it’s brave, because it’s the kind of satire that many people will misunderstand, especially in America and in Islamic countries," said a comment posted on Mr Vaughn's website."Still, you can’t be misunderstood any worse than the ‘super columbine massacre’ guy."The Ramadhan Foundation has asked the British Government to conduct an inquiry into the game and urged internet service providers to block access to it.
Ramadhan Foundation statement -http://www.ramadhanfoundation.com/muslimmassacre.htm
By Chloe Lake, Technology Editor
PS:This is UNACEPTABLE...!Violence generates more violence.Not all muslims are terrorists.BUT there are some that HATE ALL MUSLIMS just because many of them have radicalized and turn into dhimmis and jews haters.This type of games are indoctrination games that will breed more violence...straight from hell...
As in the days of Noah...

Honduras in diplomatic snub to U.S. over Bolivia

TEGUCIGALPA-Honduras, a former U.S. ally in Central America now run by a leftist government, told a U.S. envoy not to present his credentials as ambassador on Friday in a diplomatic snub in support of Bolivia.President Manuel Zelaya said, however, that he did not want to upset his country's relations with Washington.Bolivia and anti-U.S. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are in a fight with Washington over what they see as U.S. support for violent protests against Bolivian President Evo Morales.Zelaya, who has moved Honduras closer to Chavez, was due to receive a new U.S. ambassador on Friday in a ceremony at which the envoy would present a letter with his diplomatic credentials. But Zelaya temporarily put off the event in support of Bolivia, a government source said."The government decided to temporarily suspend the reception of the new ambassador's letter of credentials in solidarity with Bolivian President Evo Morales," the source said. The snub means envoy Hugo Llorens is not officially U.S. ambassador.The United States imposed sanctions on aides to Venezuela's Chavez on Friday in retaliation for his expulsion of the U.S. ambassador, escalating a crisis that raises the specter of a possible oil supply cutoff.Zelaya later told reporters his intention was to show solidarity with Morales and he would receive the new U.S. ambassador's credentials at a later date."In no way do we want to provoke a problem with the United States," he said. "In no way are we breaking relations."Bolivia and the United States expelled their respective ambassadors earlier this week after Morales accused Washington of supporting the opposition in the Andean country.
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As in the days of Noah...

Martial law in troubled Bolivia

LAND FULL of VIOLENCE:Bolivia, opposition eye compromise to end violence

Anti-government demonstrators destroy a Venezuelan national flag during a protest rally in Santa Cruz, September 12, 2008
LA PAZ-Bolivia's government and a main opposition leader voiced hope for reconciliation on Saturday after overnight talks to end a wave of political violence that killed at least 17 people and prompted martial law.Leftist President Evo Morales called the talks to defuse a bitter power struggle with governors who oppose his socialist reforms and want a bigger share of energy revenue.The government of the poor South American country declared martial law late on Friday in the remote Amazon region of Pando, scene of the worst violence. Morales said on Saturday he saw no reason to expand the martial law decree beyond Pando.A sailor and a civilian were killed in fighting when the army took control of the airport in Pando's capital, Cobija, from protesters, Cabinet minister Ramon Quintana said on Saturday."Today the armed forces will have to use urban combat tactics to remove these armed groups" of protesters, Quintana said from Cobija.The governor of natural gas-rich Tarija province, Mario Cossio, held talks at the presidential palace with the country's vice president into the early hours."We have fulfilled the objective of opening talks, and let's hope that in the coming hours this turns into a sustained process of dialogue which results in a pact to resolve problems in the framework of national reconciliation," Cossio said.
As in the days of Noah...

Blasts rock Indian capital

Five bombs explode in Indian capital

NEW DELHI-At least five bombs exploded in the heart of India's capital New Delhi on Saturday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 20 others, local television said.Police and witnesses said two went off in dustbins in and around Connaught Place, a shopping and dining area popular with tourists and locals in the centre of the city.Others exploded in busy markets around the city, within minutes of each other."The blasts were caused by bombs," Rajan Bhagat, Delhi police spokesman said.One exploded in a newly constructed park in the centre of the Connaught Place roundabout, built above one of the main stations of the Delhi Metro. Another went off in a dustbin near a metro station entrance on a main arterial road leading into the area."Around 6:30 pm we heard a very loud noise, then we saw people running all over the place," said Chanchal Kumar, a witness whose shirt was soaked in blood of several victims he had helped shift into ambulances."There were about 100-200 people around this place," he said, adding the blast site was crowded. Other injured people were carried away in police vans while a three-wheeler auto-rickshaw parked near one dustbin was badly damaged, witnesses said."It was a huge blast," said another witness, Sanjeev Gole. "I was around the corner from the road. I came running down and I saw at least four to five people lying on the road."
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As in the days of Noah...

Russian troops withdraw from Poti

Russian troops withdraw from Georgian port region

POTI, Georgia-Russian troops withdrew from the region around Georgia's Black Sea port of Poti on Saturday, within a September 15 deadline set for the first phase of a pullback brokered by France.Georgia welcomed the move, and said it hoped Russian forces would keep to an October 10 deadline to withdraw completely from Georgian territory outside the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.A Reuters reporter saw troops in armored personnel carriers and trucks pull out from positions on the outskirts of Poti after dawn. The reporter said Russian forces had also left another three positions on the way to nearby Senaki. Russia's foreign ministry confirmed that troops were being withdrawn in line with the agreement signed on September 8."All Russian peacekeepers will be withdrawn from the five checkpoints between Poti and Senaki no more than seven days following the legally binding agreement on the non-use of force against Abkhazia signed on September 8, 2008," ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said on NTV television."Our peacekeeping forces are currently being withdrawn from these five checkpoints," Nesterenko said.Russia sent forces deep into Georgia last month after repelling an attempt by Tbilisi to retake the breakaway, pro-Russian South Ossetia region.On Monday, Moscow agreed to withdraw its troops from "security zones" inside Georgia around South Ossetia and a second breakaway region, Abkhazia, within a month.
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As in the days of Noah...

German police arrest suspected al Qaeda supporter

BERLIN-German police have arrested a 30-year old Turk suspected of having collected money and equipment for al Qaeda, prosecutors said on Saturday.Germany's federal prosecutor's office said Oemer Oe., who was arrested on Friday, had also tried to recruit militants to al Qaeda training camps since 2006.The 30-year-old had worked on the orders of Aleem N., a German of Pakistani origin, who was arrested in February and has been charged with "membership in a foreign terrorist organization and "offences against foreign trade legislation"."(Oemer Oe.) is accused of collecting cash and equipment in Germany for al Qaeda fighters from the beginning of 2005 until the beginning of 2007, on the orders of ... Aleem N.," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.Aleem N. had handed over the items, which included a bullet-proof vest and a laptop, to al Qaeda officials in the Afghan-Pakistani border region, the office said.Oemer Oe. had stayed in an al Qaeda training camp in 2006, the prosecutor's office said.
As in the days of Noah....

Muslim Moderates Promoting Tolerance and Dialogue Struggle to be Heard

Jihadists try to kill diplomat in Muhammad Teddy Bear revenge plot

Worth killing for....
More on this story: the assassination plot was Teddy Bear Rage.
"Mohammed teddy row sparked Islam murder plot," from the Daily Record, September 13:
TERROR suspects tried to kill a British diplomat in revenge for a teacher letting kids name a teddy Mohammed, it was revealed yesterday.
The unnamed diplomat escaped unhurt when he disappeared into a crowd on the day the five men were to execute their plot in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.
Details of the would-be assassination came out during the trial of five men accused of killing a US diplomat in Sudan when police general Abdul Rahim Ahmed Abdullah said the five were Islamic fanatics seeking revenge for the teddy bear incident in Khartoum.
Last year, teacher Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was jailed for 15 days for insulting Islam by allowing pupils to name their class mascot Mohammed.
She was later pardoned and allowed to return to the UK.
The five suspects are charged in the killing of American envoy John Granville, 33, and his Sudanese driver.
Posted by Robert
As in the days of Noah....

Israel asks U.S. for arms, air corridor to attack Iran

The security aid package the United States has refused to give Israel for the past few months out of concern that Israel would use it to attack nuclear facilities in Iran included a large number of "bunker-buster" bombs, permission to use an air corridor to Iran, an advanced technological system and refueling planes. Officials from both countries have been discussing the Israeli requests over the past few months. Their rejection would make it very difficult for Israel to attack Iran, if such a decision is made. About a month ago, Haaretz reported that the Bush administration had turned down an Israeli request for certain security items that could upgrade Israel's capability to attack Iran. The U.S. administration reportedly saw the request as a sign preparations were moving ahead for an Israeli attack on Iran.Diplomatic and security sources indicated to Haaretz that the list of components Israel included: Bunker-buster GBU-28 bombs: In 2005, the U.S. said it was supplying these bombs to Israel. In August 2006, The New York Times reported that the U.S. had expedited the dispatch of additional bombs at the height of the Second Lebanon War. The bombs, which weigh 2.2 tons each, can penetrate six meters of reinforced concrete. Israel appears to have asked for a relatively large number of additional bunker-busters, and was turned down. Air-space authorization: An attack on Iran would apparently require passage through Iraqi air space. For this to occur, an air corridor would be needed that Israeli fighter jets could cross without being targeted by American planes or anti-aircraft missiles. The Americans also turned down this request. According to one account, to avoid the issue, the Americans told the Israelis to ask Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for permission, along the lines of "If you want, coordinate with him." Refueling planes. An air attack on Iran would require refueling of fighter jets on the way back. According to a report on Channel 10 a few weeks ago, the U.S. rejected an Israeli request for more advanced refueling tankers, of the Boeing 767 model. The refueling craft the Israel Air Force now uses are very outmoded, something that make it difficult to operate at long distances from Israel. Even if the Americans were to respond favorably to such a request, the process could take a few years. The IDF recently reported that it is overhauling a Boeing 707 that previously served as the prime minister's plane to serve as a refueling aircraft. Advanced technological systems. The Israeli sources declined to give any details on this point. The Israeli requests were discussed during President George W. Bush's visit to Israel in May, as well as during Defense Minister Ehud Barak's visit to Washington in July. In a series of meetings at a very senior level, following Bush's visit, the Americans made clear to the Israelis that for now they are sticking to the diplomatic option to halt the Iranian nuclear project and that Jerusalem does not have a green light from Washington for an attack on Iran. However, it appears that in compensation for turning down Israel's "offensive" requests, the U.S. has agreed to strengthen its defensive systems. During the Barak visit, it was agreed that an advanced U.S. radar system would be stationed in the Negev, and the order to send it was made at that time. The system would double to 2,000 kilometers the range of identification of missiles launched from the direction of Iran, and would be connected to an American early warning system. The system is to be operated by American civilians as well as two American soldiers. This would be the first permanent U.S. force on Israeli soil. A senior security official said the Americans were preparing "with the greatest speed" to make good on their promise, and the systems could be installed within a month. The Israeli security source said he believed Washington was moving ahead quickly on the request because it considered it very important to restrain Israel at this time. At the beginning of the year, the Israeli leadership still considered it a reasonable possibility that Bush would decide to attack Iran before the end of his term. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in private discussions, even raised the possibility that the U.S. was considering an attack in the transition period between the election in November and the inauguration of the new president in January 2009. However, Jerusalem now assumes that likelihood of this possibility is close to nil, and that Bush will use the rest of his time in office to strengthen what he defines as the Iraqi achievement, following the relative success of American efforts there over the past year and a half.
By Amos Harel and Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondents
As in the days of Noah...

Ahmadinejad:Iran will support Hamas until collapse of Israel

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Friday to keep supporting the Palestinian militant group Hamas until the "collapse of Israel." The Iranian news agency Khabar quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh that Iran views the support of the Palestinian people as part of its religious and national duty and that Iran will stand behind the Palestinian nation "until the big victory feast which is the collapse of the Zionist regime." In a phone conversation between the two leaders, the Iranian president said that the continued Hamas resistance against Israel and the group's achievements would always be "a source of pride for all Muslims."Iran does not acknowledge the sovereignty of Israel and vowed to support Hamas until what Ahmadinejad calls "deliverance from Zionists (Israel)." Haniyeh, the leader of the Islamist Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, was elected Palestinian prime minister in 2006, but was dismissed in June 2007 by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after Hamas violently seized control over the Gaza Strip from Abbas' Palestinian Authority.
As in the days of Noah...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Russia says it must stake claim to Arctic resources

MOSCOW-Russia must stake its claim to a slice of the Arctic's vast resources, the secretary of Russia's Security Council said on Friday at an unprecedented session of the council held on a desolate Arctic island.Russia, the world's second biggest oil exporter, is in a race with Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States for control of the oil, gas and precious metals that would become more accessible if global warming shrinks the Arctic ice cap.Underlining Russia's claims to the region, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev assembled the defence and interior ministers and the speakers of both houses of parliament for the meeting on the Arctic island, Russian news agencies reported.Russia, the world's biggest country, says a whole swathe of the Arctic seabed should belong to it because the area is really an extension of the Siberian continental shelf."The Arctic must become Russia's main strategic resource base," Russian news agencies quoted Patrushev as saying. The Council usually meets only in Moscow.Patrushev, formerly Russia's powerful domestic spy chief, said competition from other Arctic powers was increasing and that Russia must strengthen transport links across its Arctic regions to drive development.Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States and Denmark-which governs Greenland-all have a shoreline within the Arctic Circle, and have a 200-mile (320-km) economic zone around the north of their coastlines.Russian officials say they are entitled to a bigger share. They base the claim on the contention that the Lomonosov ridge, a vast underwater mountain range that runs underneath the Arctic, is an extension of the Siberian continental shelf.Under the United Nations Law of the Sea treaty, any state with an Arctic coastline that wishes to stake a claim to a greater share of the Arctic must lodge its submission with the U.N.'s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.Russian geologists estimate the Arctic seabed has at least 9 billion to 10 billion tonnes of fuel equivalent, about the same as Russia's total oil reserves.Last year a submersible with a senior Russian lawmaker on board planted a Russian flag on the Arctic seabed. The crew were greeted as heroes when they returned to Moscow.Russian news agencies said the special Security Council session was held at the Nagurskaya base, Russia's most northerly border outpost. The base is on Alexandra's Land, part of the Russian-controlled Franz Josef archipelago.
As in the days of Noah...

George Bush isn't in charge, says Vladimir Putin

In a thinly veiled dig at George Bush, Vladimir Putin today suggested that the US President was not in charge of American affairs, saying that it was “the court that makes the king”.Amid heightened tensions with the US in the wake of the war in Georgia, the Russian Prime Minister insisted that the US leader was a man of honour and integrity, but blamed members of the administration for the sharp deterioration of relations with Russia. ”I still hope we will maintain good relations, but it is the court that makes the king,” he told a group of foreign journalists in an interview at his residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.He nonetheless spoke fondly of his relationship with Mr Bush, saying, only half-jokingly: ”I treat President Bush better than some Americans would”.At times Mr Putin displayed genuine anger, particularly when discussing the deployment of US navy warships just off the Russian Black Sea coast. Much of his criticism was aimed directly at the Bush administration which he accused of training and army the Georgian military and encouraging its leadership to launch last month’s assault on the breakaway province of South Ossetia."Should we have wiped the bloody snot off our face and bowed our head? Should we have waved our penknives?” he said in response to the mobilisation of Georgian tanks and troops.
By Richard Beeston, Sochi
As in the days of Noah...

Colossal Hurricane Ike Nears Landfall With 110 MPH Winds

GALVESTON, Texas-A monster-sized Hurricane Ike bore down on the Texas coast late Friday, threatening to rattle the sparkling skyscrapers of America's fourth-largest city, shut down the heart of the U.S oil industry for days and obliterate waterfront towns already flooded with waist-high water.Though nearly 1 million people evacuated coastal communities in the days leading up to the storm, tens of thousands ignored calls to leave and decided to tough it out. But as wind-whipped floodwaters began crashing into coastal homes, many changed their minds. Galveston fire crews rescued more than 300 people who were walking through flooded streets, clutching clothes and other belongings as they tried to wade to safety."We were going street by street seeing people who were trying to escape the flood waters," Fire Chief Michael Varela said. "I'm assuming these were people who made the mistake of staying."At 600 miles across, the storm was nearly as big as Texas itself, and threatened to give the state its worst pounding in a generation. It was on track to crash ashore early Saturday as possibly a Category 3 storm with winds topping 111 mph and a two-story storm surge near Galveston, the same site that suffered the U.S.'s worst natural disaster when a storm struck without warning and killed 6,000 more than a century ago.Officials were growing increasingly worried about the stalwarts, and many communities imposed curfews to discourage looters. Authorities in three counties alone said roughly 90,000 stayed behind, despite a warning from forecasters that many of those in one- or two-story homes on the coast faced "certain death."At dark Friday, the Coast Guard suspended a search for a 19-year-old man who was lost in waves off North Padre Island, about 10 miles east of Corpus Christi...
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As in the days of Noah....

Christians Observing Ramadan

Ramadan is not just for Muslims. FRANCE 24 met with a few Christians in Paris who observe the holy month...
Guillaume Maillet, a French medical student, observes Ramadan (a holy month for Muslims). For him it’s a gift to his girlfriend. “I’ve been observing Ramadan for the past two years and I think I’ll observe it again in the future. I’ve nothing to lose. It’s manageable physically; and I think it’s an ideal way to prove my love to my better half,” Maillet says.At the same time Guillaume doesn’t want to go overboard, he fasts only on his days off from work. He enjoys the serene ambiance at home before breaking the day’s fast. “In the evening, I love sharing Iftar (the first meal to break the day’s fast) with my girlfriend. There is a tiny notion of a reward and there is something euphoric about the whole thing.” He recalls the excitement during Christmas when Santa Claus climbs down the chimney to leave gifts. “We wait in excitement, day and night on 24th (Christmas eve), to discover our gifts the next day,” says Maillet.While Maillet says the process reminds him to think about those who are starving, he admits that he wasn’t motivated by spirituality to observe Ramadan.
“I don’t drink…not even on the sly!”
God, Islam, mektub (destiny), spirituality, religion…these words often come to the mind during the month of Ramadan. However they aren’t very significant to Jean-Pierre Malvis. The 32-year-old French engineer already finds it hard to follow Catholic principles. Unlike Maillet, Malvis observes Ramadan for only one or two days as a sign of “solidarity and respect for his wife.”“I just follow whatever she does. I don’t eat, I don’t smoke and I restrict myself from the same activities as she does. And imagine this….I don’t drink, not even on the sly!”So what does he learn after an entire day of fasting? Nothing much, admits this agnostic who describes himself as someone who doesn’t take fasting too seriously. “Apart from the fact that historically Ramadan is for the rich, who deprive themselves of all luxuries to experience what the poverty-stricken people go through, I find no other reason than this,” Malvis says. He bitterly adds “At least I know that I’ll eat in the evening but the poor don’t know when they will eat next. This is something I find strange in Ramadan.”This, however, is not the case for 24-year-old Miguel Chemin, resident of Arceuil, in the Parisien banlieue. He immerses himself in the religious ambiance which characterizes this sacred month. A Christian who converted to Islam after marrying a Tunisian woman, Chemin doesn’t observe Ramadan partially. He fasts during the entire month and increases his religious activities. “The first time I fasted only for the first four days but for the past four years I observe fasts the entire month,” says Chemin.
“Ramadan purifies my soul and washes away my sins”(1)
Armed with faith and desire, Miguel Chemin observes the fast only for God. Initially he did it to please his girlfriend. Our relationship was in its early stages and it was important to show her family that it was something serious. Today he thinks the benefits are countless. “Ramadan purifies my body and soul. It washes away all my sins and helps me get a step closer to the master of the Universe. For Chemin “Tomorrow, even if I’m no longer with my wife, I would continue to follow the same path; it’s mektub (destiny). God wanted my life’s path to cross with that of Islam.”
How many Christians observe Ramadan in France? A question that leaves an official at the Paris Mosque surprised. He admits that they never pondered over the question. “It’s true that many Christians come to the mosque to eat during Iftar but we never thought of asking them if they were fasting or not; it’s a sensitive question related to their personal life,” he admits.Close to 4 million Muslims live in France. It’s the country’s second religion after Christianity. Mixed marriages are also on the rise. According to statistics published by the National Institute of Demographic Studies or INPED, close to 20,000 mixed marriages took place in 2006 alone.
PS:(1)According to the Bible-the Word of God-the way to Wash AWAY SINS is thru repentance of sin and accepting the redemptive work of Jesus in the cross of Calvary.It is thru HIS BLOOD that our sins are washed away:
--"For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."(Acts 22:15-16)

--"Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."(Acts 5:31)

--"To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace..."(Ephesians 1:6-7)

Jesus payed the PRICE in FULL for our sins-the sins of all humanity-and no fast,no ritual once a year can wash away our sins...It is thru faith in JesusChrist the Risen Lord that we have forgiveness of sins and their washing away thereof thru His sacrifice as of a Perfect Lamb.ONly in JESUS there is REDEMPTION OF SINS,for as it is written:
--"This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."(Acts 4:11-12)

--"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."(1 Timothy 2:3-6)
One last word.No man can serve two masters,as it is written:
--"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. "(Matthew 6:24)
IF you are truly saved you cannot partake of Ramadan,and still be a born again christian;the same way you cannot partake of any other ritual offered to an idol and worship the Lord Jesus.How can you worship idols and strange gods and still call on the name of the Lord as ABBA FATHER....?
May be it is a time for some to truly think about making a decision to whom you will follow...
As in the days of Noah...

Paris crowds greet pope on leafy Left Bank

PARIS-Paris's Left Bank, a haunt for Bohemian students and earnest philosophers, was invaded on Friday by Roman Catholic faithful who turned out in their thousands to catch a glimpse of Pope Benedict.Making his first visit to France as pontiff, Benedict demonstrated his popular appeal, with flag-waving crowds filling the leafy avenues around the capital's imposing Notre Dame cathedral as he arrived for an evening service."I am astounded to see so many people here, especially so many youngsters," said Lucien Charles, 75, who traveled with his wife from the Val d'Isere in southeast France to see the German pope.Police estimated around 40,000 people thronged the squares and streets around Notre Dame to welcome the pope, old and young mixing together on a sunny autumnal evening.The Roman Catholic Church set up giant screens along the banks of the River Seine to let the crowds listen to a speech the pope made to intellectuals and artists, and then follow the vespers prayer service."Oh, he speaks better French than Pope John Paul," said Juliette Balmont, an elderly French woman, resting on a stool.The 81-year-old Benedict, who often appears more austere and distant than his predecessor, delivered a complex, difficult text that some on the streets found hard to follow."It is good to have a Church that presents a strong, dense message, not some flabby, flashy message," said Antoine Dargnies, a banker who came to see the pope after work. http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSLC18662520080912
As in the days of Noah...

Pope's first visit to France

RCC WATCH:Pope leads French Catholics for mass, pilgrimage

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday leads an expected 200,000 followers in an open-air mass in Paris to celebrate his first official visit to France, the "eldest daughter" of the Catholic Church.Following the ceremony at the historic Invalides complex south of the River Seine, the 81-year-old pontiff will leave on a pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Lourdes, where another 200,000 people are set to flock for his visit.The leader of the world's one billion Roman Catholics arrived Friday on a four-day trip which comes as France faces a freefall in the number of churchgoers despite its deep Christian heritage.He received a triumphant welcome on the first day of his trip, with 40,000 people turning out to hear him lead evening prayers at the emblematic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.On Friday the pope threw his weight behind a call by President Nicolas Sarkozy to rethink the strict separation of religion and state.Sarkozy, a twice-divorced lapsed Catholic, broke a French taboo during a trip to the Vatican last year by calling for a "positive secularism" that would allow space for religion in public life.In reply, Benedict agreed that it was "fundamental" to "insist on the distinction between the political realm and that of religion" but also to recognise religion's role in building an "ethical" society.While Catholicism remains by far France's number one religion, the country is also home to Europe's biggest Muslim and Jewish communities and staunchly upholds a 1905 law enshrining the separation of Church and State.Following a reception hosted by Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni, the pope met with French Jewish leaders, telling them that "to be anti-Semitic was also to be anti-Christian", before holding brief talks with leaders of France's five-million strong Muslim community.France's former chief rabbi, Joseph Sitruk, spoke afterwards of "a historic rapprochement between Judaism and the Church."In a keynote speech later before some 700 politicians, artists and religious leaders, at a majestic Cistercian college in central Paris, the pope warned that humanity faced "disaster" if it turned away from religion. "What gave Europe's culture its foundation-the search for God and the readiness to listen to him-remains today the basis of any genuine culture," Pope Benedict said.This is Benedict's first trip to France since his election in 2005 following the death of John Paul II and his 10th trip abroad after Australia in July.Known as the Church's "eldest daughter" since Frankish king Clovis converted in the fifth century, France is home to 35 million baptised Catholics, although polls show few feel a strong sense of belonging to the Church.Fifty-one percent say they consider themselves Catholic, down from 80 percent in the early 1990s, and only 10 percent attend mass regularly.Late Friday tens of thousands of people took part in a candlelight procession from Notre Dame to the Invalides, many carrying sleeping bags and food to keep them going until the mass.After Saturday's mass, the pope flies to Lourdes for commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the Vatican-recognized apparitions of the Virgin Mary to a peasant girl.More than 200,000 people are expected to descend on the southwestern town where Bernadette Soubirous is said to have seen the mother of Jesus Christ 18 times over a period of a few months in 1858.Some 9,200 police will be mobilised to ensure security during the visit.The pope wraps up his trip Monday with a mass for the sick in Lourdes that the Vatican has portrayed as an opportunity for Benedict to shed his reputation as a cold theologian and show his compassionate side.
by Emma Charlton
As in the days of Noah....

Keep God, religion in society, Pope tells French

PARIS-Pope Benedict began a four-day visit to France on Friday with a plea to the French to keep God in their lives and let religion help create a better world.Meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace in central Paris, the German-born pontiff praised France both for the deep Christian roots of its culture and the "serene and positive dialogue" between faith and power. Sarkozy, who has broken a political taboo by speaking openly and positively about the role of religion in society, said it would be "a folly" for France to ignore its long history of Christian thought about God, man and nature.Church bells rang out across Paris to greet the pope as he arrived at the Palace after his arrival from Rome for his first trip to France as pontiff."It is fundamental, on the one hand, to insist on the distinction between the political realm and that of religion," Benedict said in fluent French.It was also necessary, he added, "to become more aware of the irreplaceable role of religion for the formation of consciences (and) the creation of a basic ethical consensus within society".Roman Catholic France maintains a strict separation of church and state that has long limited faith to the private sphere. The French Church struggles with a shortage of priests and Sunday Mass attendance is below 10 percent.But religion has re-emerged as a factor in public life in recent years, especially because of the growth of Islam, and French Catholics have increasingly spoken out on social issues.

As in the days of Noah...

Religion slowly returns to public sphere in France

PARIS-Religion has returned to the public sphere in proudly secularist France and Islam, religious ignorance and the late Pope John Paul all had something to do with it.And, although he is twice-divorced and only goes to church occasionally, President Nicolas Sarkozy is also doing his part to keep it there.The separation of church and state is deep in the political DNA in this traditionally Catholic country. Regular Sunday Mass attendance is down in the single figures. Priests almost never wear a Roman collar outside of their churches.But things have changed over the past decade. After being all but stamped out of the public sphere, the question of faith has returned to political debates and gained prominence in the media. It's a minority voice, but is louder and more confident.Pope Benedict's visit to France this weekend highlights that new-found confidence among Roman Catholics, the cultural majority in this country even if less than 10 percent of them are regular Sunday churchgoers."Religion has taken a much bigger place in the public sphere in the past 10 years," said Frederic Lenoir, editor-in-chief of the bimonthly magazine Le Monde des Religions."We were used to it being a private phenomenon," he said. "People could believe and practice, but nobody was interested. Journalists didn't care. But then we realized there was a kind of return of faith in the public sphere, because of Islam."Now the second-largest religion in France, Islam became an issue in the 1980s and 1990s as more women donned headscarves, demanded separate hours in public swimming pools and refused to be treated by male doctors in hospitals.
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RCC WATCH:No new Lourdes miracles despite eased criteria

PARIS-When Bishop Jacques Perrier said the Roman Catholic Church would ease some criteria for miracles, skeptics foresaw a wave of pious believers claiming they had been healed at the famous shrine in his diocese of Lourdes.New categories were needed, Perrier argued, because medical progress in recent decades had made it all but impossible to meet the strict scientific criteria for certifying miracles at the pilgrimage site in southwestern France.Perrier proposed the new categories-declared, unexpected and confirmed healings-to allow the Church to officially honor the pilgrim's recovery and the spiritual experience that went with it, even if it cannot be called miraculous.Now, two years later and just before a visit to Lourdes this weekend by Pope Benedict, the bishop told Reuters there had been anything but a rush of healings. In fact, not a single new case of stunning recovery from serious illness has been established."This is a very difficult idea to get across because it is a graduated system," Perrier said by telephone from Lourdes when asked about the reform that skeptics have dubbed "miracle lite.""A binary message-that something is black or white, yes or no-is easy," he said. "But it will take at least 10 years to get people used to this idea."Of the six million pilgrims who visit Lourdes each year, about 40 claim they have been miraculously healed there. But doctors usually end up telling them their recoveries were not totally inexplicable.There are at least four cases being examined now that could be declared healings if they are not recognized as full miracles, he said. But that could still take several years.
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In Lourdes, everything is ready for the pope arrival

Many stayed behind on Texas coast

HOUSTON - Authorities say tens of thousands have ignored evacuation orders and are staying behind as Hurricane Ike takes aim at the Texas coast.An Associated Press survey shows that in three counties alone, some 90,000 people have chosen not to leave despite dire warnings from forecasters.The emergency management coordinator for Galveston County estimates that 80 percent of the residents evacuated. That leaves more than 11,000 residents in the county that is expected to take a direct hit from Ike's massive storm surge.Farther up the coast, officials say half the residents of Beaumont stayed put less than two weeks after many evacuated for Hurricane Gustav, only to see the storm miss the city entirely.
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Crews Prepare to 'Save Lives' As Ike Approaches

Texas Hospitals Prepare for Hurricane Ike

As Hurricane Ike bears down on Galveston and Houston, two Texas hospitals are bracing for the storm.“We’re at emergency status, only essential personnel remain at the hospital,” Marsha Canright, director of public relations at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, told FOXNews.com. “The neonatal babies are going to San Antonio by air. We stopped taking new patients on Monday. We just have very ill people at the hospital.”The hospital, which had about 600 patients at the beginning of the week, is now down to about 450. Canright said the hospital also housed 95 inmates from Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and they were evacuated to a facility in Tyler, which is north of Galveston.Since the hospital has switched from paper files to electronic files, it is much easier to transfer a patient’s medical records during the hurricane evacuation,Canright said.Gale Smith, a spokeswoman for The Methodist Hospital System in Houston, said they prepare all year for a crisis such as this.As of Friday morning, the hospital still had 700 patients in admission, she said.“As far as our patients, there are no plans to evacuate them,” Smith said.Both hospitals plan to keep their emergency rooms open. There will be some Galveston residents who won’t evacuate, Canright said, and the trauma center will be ready and able to accommodate anyone who has been injured by the hurricane.“When Rita hit two years ago, we still had fires, and people were burned, or cut by flying glass, and they needed to be treated,” Canright said. “We expect those things to occur.”After Tropical Storm Allison hit in 2001, Smith said The Methodist Hospital installed a high-tech flood protection system.“We installed flood doors around the perimeter of the hospital campus. And in preparation of Ike, some of these doors are already closed, and we will close additional ones as we see the need.” Both hospitals have a number of generators on upper-level floors, which are well above the "strike range," and Houston’s Methodist Hospital installed submarine doors in a tunnel system underneath the hospital.“Our generators could run for days,” Smith said. “We are already very well-equipped. If more patients come in, we will not turn them away.”If you live in the path of Hurricane Ike, and plan on evacuating from your home, remember to take these three things with you:
1. Any medicine you might need. If you have time to get refills, do so, but if not, carry an empty prescription bottle to help a doctor know what kind of medicine to give you.
2. ANY medical records you have. “Sometimes this is just as important as anything else,” said Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing editor of FOXNews.com.
3. Lots of bottled water. “[Water] is the first thing to become contaminated,” Alvarez said, “and it’s very hot and humid. You will need it.”
VIDEO: Click here to watch a video on evacuation necessities.

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Curfew in Place Ahead of Hurricane Ike

Citing Faith and Fate, Some Choose to Ride Out Ike

SURFSIDE BEACH, Texas-Authorities say tens of thousands have ignored evacuation orders and are staying behind as Hurricane Ike takes aim at the Texas coast.An Associated Press survey shows that in three counties alone, some 90,000 people have chosen not to leave despite dire warnings from forecasters.The emergency management coordinator for Galveston County estimates that 80 percent of the residents evacuated. That leaves more than 11,000 residents in the county that is expected to take a direct hit from Ike's massive storm surge. Farther up the coast, officials say half the residents of Beaumont stayed put less than two weeks after many evacuated for Hurricane Gustav, only to see the storm miss the city entirely. At first, even the threat of "certain death" was not enough to persuade Bobby Taylor to flee this small town directly in the path of Hurricane Ike.His wife, Elizabeth, had already decided to leave before police drove a dump truck through flooded streets, urging people to get out. Those who refused were told to write their names on their arms in black marker, so their bodies could be identified later.Elizabeth came back to persuade her husband to leave and was waiting for him when he waded in waist-deep water up the main street, towing a blue kayak. She greeted him joyously. "Now I'll pray for our neighbors," she said.More than a million people evacuated southeast Texas ahead of Ike. But citing faith and fate, tens of thousands more ignored calls to clear out, coastal authorities said. The National Weather Service warned that people in smaller structures in some areas "may face certain death."The choice to stay-always questionable, sometimes fatal-was an especially curious one to make so close to Galveston, site of a 1900 storm that killed at least 6,000 people, more than any other natural disaster in U.S. history. Mayor Larry Davison Davison said authorities had been told the man had left, but later saw him on his porch. He had no phone."When we finally saw him, it was too late to get back in there," the mayor said. "We had to retreat."A mandatory evacuation order was in place, but there were no signs anyone was being forcibly removed. "We're not going to drag them out of there and handcuff them," Davison said. "They've made their decision."Forecasters said Ike could pack a 20-foot storm surge when it rolls ashore early Saturday near Surfside Beach. By midday Friday there was 5 feet of water in some places, with more coming in.It was enough to persuade the Taylors' neighbors to relent. David Fields, 45, and wife Dondi, 50, had written their Social Security numbers on their arms. Dondi Fields added "I (heart) U" on her right arm-for her kids, she said."We didn't want anybody to have to risk their life to come and get us," Dondi Fields said.Nearby Freeport was all but deserted, and quiet except for the increasingly roiling sea. Truck driver Darryl Jones Sr. and his neighbor, Keith Glover, talked about the impending hurricane without concern. Nearly everyone around them had obeyed a mandatory evacuation order."I'm just enjoying the serenity, really," said Jones, 48, sitting in his electric golf cart."You never know what the aftermath might hold, but right now it's very peaceful."Glover, who works for the nearby city of Clute, will work removing debris after the storm, but said he would have stayed anyway."Worrying's a sin," he said.At By George Automotive repair shop, owner George Elizondo and others in Freeport gathered to grill chicken leg quarters, shoulder steak and tortillas with pico de gallo. Coolers from the nearby grocery store sat filled with soda and beer.The hurricane block party tradition began with Hurricane Rita in 2005, when Elizondo and others stayed behind to offer mechanical help to anyone those heading out."If it really gets bad, we'll get in our trucks and we'll drive out," Elizondo said. "Where's the burden in that? We're driving, we're ahead of the storm and there's no one on the road. There's no danger for us. "Water already covered one low-lying road in Freeport near refineries and a listing shrimp boat. The road became an attraction for those who stayed. Truck after truck pulled up, drivers jumping out with video cameras in hand. One woman leaned comically into the wind, smiling for the camera."It's going to be fun," Jerry Norton said as he snapped a cell phone image of the flooded road. He said he was sending the picture to his children and grandchildren who fled inland to Austin.Norton said he had filled his bathtubs with water-for drinking, but also for flushing toilets in case the sewer system breaks down. He bought groceries and secured doors and windows."If my stuff is going to get washed away, I'm going to watch it get washed away," Norton said.Some who stayed behind in Galveston relied on faith. Retiree William Steally, 75, said he was planning to ride it out, but his wife and sister-in-law left Thursday."She got scared and they left. I told them I believe in the man up there, God," Steally said as he pointed to the sky. "I believe he will take care of me."Others quieted their own concerns and rolled with it.Clarence Romas, a 55-year-old handyman, said he would ride out the storm in his downstairs apartment with friends.As for the "certain death" warning? "It puts a little fear in my heart," he admitted, "but what's gonna happen is gonna happen."
As in the days of Noah...

Hurricane Ike Grows As It Closes in on Texas

Threat Potential of Ike is Evident

Fifteen foot swells are already pounding the sea wall leaving debris scattered along the road that parallels the shoreline. This is one monster storm. There will be no hiding underneath the bed from this. Emergency crews are staging at the Galveston convention center, parking vehicles inside in hopes of preventing the pummeling Ike is sure to deliver.Three storms in as many weeks leave looking forward to the end of this tropical season. While I was able to find safe harbor for my sat. truck in Gustav and Hannah, the topography in Galveston didn’t allow that same level of security. After morning lives along the sea wall I have moved inland a bit to avoid the flooding. Protection from wind and storm surge are the two major factors in covering any hurricane. I found wind protection, but with the imminent threat of massive flooding Galveston Island is no place to park 700 K worth of mobile digital technology.Predictions of a 20-foot storm surge will top the 17-foot sea wall and would have allowed fishes swimming in my truck. Stay tuned to blogs from Brooks Blanton and Maggie Lineback during the storm for up to the minute reports from coastal communities. Steve Harrigan will provide live coverage via Streambox technolgy throughout the storm and all of the Fox crews are sure to capture some very dramatic video of this monster storm as it attempts to swallow Galveston! Hannah was a great “spectator” storm.I hope the people of Galveston Bay do not take Ike so lightly.
by Jeff Burton
As in the days of Noah...

Ike Prompts Price Hike at Some Fla. Gas Stations

Freight Ship Carrying 22 People Stranded Off Galveston in Path of Hurricane Ike

GALVESTON, Texas-Twenty-two men aboard a 584-foot freighter adrift in the Gulf of Mexico faced riding out Hurricane Ike if the situation remained too dangerous for a rescue attempt, the Coast Guard said Friday.Chief Petty Officer Mike O'Berry initially said stormy seas would prevent Coast Guard aircraft or vessels from reaching the ship about 90 miles southeast of Galveston. Category 2 Ike's 105-mph winds could cause 50-foot waves, the Coast Guard said. But by mid-morning Friday, Petty Officer Tom Atkeson said the Coast Guard was looking at the range of the assets it had to safely get to the vessel to rescue the crew, if necessary."The limitations were what we had in the area at the time. Now we're looking at seeing what we can get out there, possibly in a range to assist them," Atkeson said. He did not elaborate on what aircraft the Coast Guard would need.The Coast Guard is in constant communication with the ship via Marine radio, said Atkeson, who identified the vessel as the Antalina.The freighter is registered out of Cyprus and owned by Perovo Shipping Ltd. The freighter's operator is TEO Shipping Corp., according to Atkeson.There was no indication that the ship was taking on water, Atkeson said."We don't have any information from the crew that that's the case," Atkeson told The Associated Press. "They've lost propulsion and steering" and were drifting southwest.The Coast Guard at 4:17 a.m. CDT Friday received a radio distress call from the vessel.Ike's eye was forecast to strike somewhere near Galveston late Friday, but the massive system was already buffeting Texas and Louisiana.The National Weather Service warned residents of smaller structures on Galveston they could "face certain death" if they ignored an order to evacuate; most had complied.

As in the days of Noah...

Ike Near Major Hurricane Status; Winds at 110 MPH

GALVESTON, Texas-Hurricane Ike, a colossal storm nearly as big as Texas itself, began battering the coast Friday, threatening to obliterate waterfront towns and give the skyscrapers, refineries and docks of the nation's fourth-largest city their worst pounding in a generation.But even as towering waves started crashing over the 17-foot Galveston seawall and floodwaters rose in low-lying areas, it became clear that many of the 1 million coastal residents who had been ordered to get out refused to so and were taking their chances.Authorities in three counties alone said roughly 90,000 stayed behind, despite a warning from forecasters that many of those in one- or two-story homes faced "certain death.""I believe in the man up there, God," said William Steally, a 75-year-old retiree who planned to ride out the storm in Galveston without his wife or sister-in-law. "I believe he will take care of me."At about 600 miles across, the hurricane was a monster, taking up almost the entire northern half of the Gulf of Mexico. As it zeroed in on the coast, it trapped 60 people who had to be rescued from the floodwaters near Galveston by helicopter, breached levees in rural Louisiana, and tossed around a disabled 584-foot cargo ship in the Gulf.As of 5 p.m. EDT, Ike was centered about 135 miles southeast of Galveston, moving at 12 mph. It was close to a Category 3 storm with winds of 110 mph, and was expected to strengthen by the time the eye hit land. Forecasters predicted it would come ashore somewhere near Galveston late Friday or early Saturday and pass almost directly over Houston.Because of the hurricane's size, the state's shallow coastal waters and its largely unprotected coastline, forecasters said the biggest threat would be flooding and storm surge, with Ike expected to hurl a wall of water two stories high-20 to 25 feet-at the coast.The Federal Emergency Management Agency said more than 5.5 million prepackaged meals were being sent to the region, along with more than 230 generators and 5.6 million liters of water. At least 3,500 FEMA officials were stationed in Texas and Louisiana.To avoid highway gridlock, authorities instructed most of Houston's 2 million residents to just hunker down.Still, authorities warned that the storm could travel up Galveston Bay and send a surge up the Houston Ship Channel and into the port of Houston, the nation's second-busiest port-an economically vital complex of docks, pipelines, depots and warehouses that receives automobiles, consumer products, industrial equipment and other cargo from around the world and ships out vast amounts of petrochemicals and agricultural products.The oil and gas industry was also closely watching Ike because it was headed straight for the nation's biggest complex of refineries and petrochemical plants.Wholesale gasoline prices jumped to around $4.85 a gallon for fear of shortages.The storm could also force water up the seven bayous that thread through Houston, swamping neighborhoods so flood-prone that they get inundated during ordinary rainstorms. Bachir Annane, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Research Division, said Ike's surge could be catastrophic, and like nothing the Texas coast has ever seen."Wind doesn't tell the whole story," Annane said. "It's the size that tells the story, and this is a giant."Ike would be the first major hurricane to hit a U.S. metropolitan area since Katrina devastated New Orleans three years ago. For Houston, it would be the first major hurricane since Alicia in August 1983 came ashore on Galveston Island, killing 21 people and causing $2 billion in damage. Houston has since then seen a population explosion, so many of the residents now in the storm's path have never experienced the full wrath of a hurricane.
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U.S., China Laying Plans in Case North Korea Collapses

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is more impaired from the stroke he apparently suffered last month than reports from the region suggest, and the United States and China are holding talks about what to do if the government in Pyongyang collapses,FOX News has learned.A senior Bush administration official says that although Kim may not be close to death, the U.S. does not accept reports from South Korea that he’s on his way to a rapid recovery.The official told FOX News the United States is naturally engaging the Chinese about what to do if there is ensuing instability in North Korea.There is no logical successor to Kim. He has not been grooming one of his sons to replace him, as Kim’s father, Kim Il Sung, groomed him.The official told FOX News there are no signs of instability in North Korea now, but the likelihood of a smooth transition of power in that country is not high.The source said the Chinese are reluctant to admit the discussions publicly, because of their close relationship with North Korea.The official said Kim obviously is physically impaired or he’d have taken part in this week celebration marking the nation's 60th anniversary. The ceremony contained some production elements to obscure the fact that Kim wasn’t there.Media reports Thursday said Kim’s condition has improved but that he could have partial paralysis on one side.With that degree of physical impairment, doctors say, there is often some mental impairment. And if he were incapacitated, it could have serious implications for international negotiation on the country’s nuclear disarmament.The Bush official pointed to two recent decisions in the six-party talks that both need Kim’s approval and seem to have been put on hold: North Korea’s release of a verification protocol on its nuclear disarmament, and an agreement with the Japanese on abductions.The official called the talks with the Chinese about as sensitive as they come. He said it would be irresponsible, given North Korea’s nuclear weapons, not to be holding them.

As in the days of Noah......

U.N.'s Ban urges North Korea to dismantle nuclear program

UNITED NATIONS-U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday he was worried about North Korean plans to reassemble nuclear facilities and urged Pyongyang to keep its promise to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Last week U.S. officials said North Korea had taken out of storage some mothballed equipment at its Yongbyon nuclear complex in what appeared a sign of displeasure over talks on ending its atomic programs.Ban, who is South Korean, told reporters he was "concerned deeply by (North Korea's) decision to go back to reassembling the nuclear facilities."They must commit to their agreement among the six-party talks for the early realization of the denuclearization process," he said.Pyongyang, which tested a nuclear bomb in 2006, began disabling the Soviet-era reactor and other facilities at Yongbyon in November 2007 as a step toward dismantling them completely. The move came in exchange for economic aid and political concessions including removal from a U.S. terrorism blacklist.But Pyongyang announced on August 26 it would stop disabling Yongbyon and accused Washington of violating the denuclearization deal negotiated in six-party talks that included the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States. Pyongyang said it did so because Washington had failed to drop it from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. The United States countered that North Korea must first agree on a system to verify its disclosures about its nuclear programs.Reacting to reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was recovering from a stroke, Ban said he hoped this would not affect Pyongyang's commitment.
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China says West is inciting unrest in Xinjiang

BEIJING-The governor of west China's tense Xinjiang region has lashed out at Western countries for instigating unrest in the area, but said their schemes would never succeed as only very few people supported separatism.Oil-rich Xinjiang, strategically located on the borders of Central Asia, has been rocked by sometimes violent unrest this year, including the killing of 16 armed police just before the Beijing Olympics, blamed by China on Muslim militants.The region's governor, Nuer Baikeli, said "Western hostile forces" unhappy with China's rise were directly supporting groups opposed to Beijing's rule in the region in the name of democracy and human rights."They all along have been direct behind-the-scenes backers and patrons of the 'three forces' at home and abroad," Baikeli said, referring to terrorism, separatism and extremism. "They are the most important external factor in the continuing rise of ethnic splittist, destructive activities in Xinjiang, and the large threat they pose from abroad to our national security and social stability will exist for a long time," he added."Our struggle against ethnic splittism, in essence, is a struggle against Western hostile forces' plots to 'Westernize' and 'split' our country, it is the continuation of the struggle the Chinese people have had for 100 years or more against imperialist plans to split China."Baikeli's strident and uncompromising comments, in a speech to Communist Party officials, were carried on central government website www.china.com.cn on Friday. They had appeared earlier in the week in the Xinjiang Daily.Many of Xinjiang's 8 million largely Muslim Uighurs chafe at the strict controls on religion that China enforces and resent influxes of Han Chinese migrant workers and businesses. Uighurs make up slightly less than half of the region's people, and most of the rest are Han.

As in the days of Noah....

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Death to Israel"


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Muslim Woman Feared Kidnapped Is A Runaway


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Teacher Used Muslim Student As Terrorist Example

CHICAGO-A Chicago teacher is under fire for singling out the only Muslim student in her class while talking about the Middle East. The teacher has now been reassigned to another school. However, the young boy's family is demanding answers. CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli reports that the family met behind closed doors at Chicago Public Schools headquarters for two-and-a-half hours in a meeting presided over by a federal mediator. All sides have agreed to meet again next month. The teacher in question is no longer working at the same school, but if the Pakistani-American family at the center of this story has their way, she might not be working much longer. "He came home and before he even took his backpack off, he had tears in his eyes already," said Mohmmad Fahad Choudhary, victim's brother. Mohmmad talks about the day his little brother came home from school saying his teacher had singled him out in front of his class as an example of a terrorist. "She used the example of if Saleh were to go on to an airplane, put his backpack down and put two wires together and the plane were to blow up - and she didn't make a point," said Christina Abraham, Council on American-Islamic Relations. Saleh Choudhary did not want to go on-camera to talk about the incident, which happened last April while he was a sixth-grader at Brentano Academy, but his brother says the 13-year-old's life hasn't been the same since. "Everybody started teasing him and calling him a terrorist after the comments were made by the teacher," Mohmmad said. Within days after the teacher allegedly made the comment during a history discussion, the family filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. Today, representatives from the federal government and CPS met with the family and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "The family does want her fired, they don't believe that she should be teaching students anymore," Abraham said. The superintendent of Chicago Public Schools says lengthy suspension or possible termination is on the table. "We have huge concerns about the conduct of the teacher," said Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan. "From my standpoint, what happened is absolutely unacceptable and we're looking at some very severe sanctions because of that behavior." As of right now, the teacher is still on the job at a different school. The teachers union says it will do whatever it takes to ensure that its members' rights to due process are fully enforced.They also question the timing of today's announcement – on the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks – but the family says today was simply the first day when all the parties could agree to meet.

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Top cleric in Saudi judiciary: it's OK to kill owners of TV networks airing 'immoral content'

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia-Saudi Arabia's top judiciary official has issued a religious decree saying it is permissible to kill the owners of satellite TV networks that broadcast immoral content.The 79-year-old Sheik Saleh al-Lihedan said Thursday that satellite channels cause the "deviance of thousands of people."Many of the most popular Arab satellite networks-which include channels showing music videos often denounced as obscene by Muslim conservatives-are owned by Saudi princes and well-connected Saudi businessmen. Al-Lihedan did not specify any particular channels.Al-Lihedan is chief of the kingdom's highest tribunal, the Supreme Judiciary Council. Saudi Arabia's judiciary is made up of Islamic clerics whose decrees, or fatwas, on everyday issues are widely respected. Their fatwas do not have the weight of law. In the courts, cleric-judges rule according to Islamic law, but interpretations can vary.Al-Lihedan was answering listeners' questions during the daily "Light in the Path" radio program in which he and others make rulings on what is permissible under Islamic law.One caller asked about Islam's view of the owners of satellite TV channels that show "bad programs" during Ramadan."I want to advise the owners of these channels, who broadcast calls for such indecency and impudence ... and I warn them of the consequences," he said."What does the owner of these networks think, when he provides seduction, obscenity and vulgarity?" he said."Those calling for corrupt beliefs, certainly it's permissible to kill them," he said. "Those calling for sedition, those who are able to prevent it but don't, it is permissible to kill them."Among the most viewed Arabic satellite networks is Rotana, which airs movies and music videos. It is owned by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a billionaire businessman and member of the royal family whom Forbes ranks as the world's 13th richest person.Al-Lihedan sparked controversy in the past by issuing a decree that Saudis can join jihadists to fight U.S. troops in Iraq.

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Indonesian party seeks anti-porn bill as Ramadan gift

JAKARTA-An Indonesian Islamic party is hoping an anti-pornography bill that has been in parliament for over three years will be passed within a few weeks as a "Ramadan present" for Muslims, a newspaper report said on Friday. Lawmakers in the world's most populous Muslim nation have so far stopped short of passing the bill, which aims to shield the young from pornographic material and lewd acts, because of criticism it would threaten Indonesia's tradition of tolerance."It will be a Ramadan gift," Mahfudz Siddiq, a Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) member of parliament was quoted by the Jakarta Post newspaper as saying. He said the bill was urgently needed because of widespread moral decadence in Indonesia.The fasting month of Ramadan began on September 1 and ends with Eid-al Fitri celebrations a month later.The Jakarta Post said a parliamentary committee deliberating the bill is set to table the final draft in parliament in the next few weeks.A politician from Golkar, the main party in the ruling coalition, said the passage of the bill was inevitable, given the unwillingness of groups supporting it to seek a compromise."Unless there are widespread rallies against the bill across the country, the constellation will not change," Harry Azhar Azis was quoted as saying in the Jakarta Post.Golkar, former president Suharto's political vehicle, is a strongly secular and nationalist party.The draft of the legislation contains provisions that could jail people for kissing in public and criminalize many forms of art or traditional culture that hinge on sensuality.
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PS:Egypt is the larger comsumer of porn in the Middle East,followed by Syria.
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Muslims watch a lot TV during Ramadan

Paris Muslims break Ramadan fast in soup kitchen

PARIS-It's sunset in the French capital, and hundreds of hungry people are poised to begin their meals at the sounding of a Muslim call to prayer.Elsewhere in the world, the call rings forth from the minarets of mosques, but inside a tent in a gritty part of north Paris, it comes from a tinny radio speaker.For the holy month of Ramadan, a soup kitchen has opened outside Cite Edmond Michelet, a tough public housing project in Paris' notorious 19th arrondissement. On the menu is a traditional dinner, starting with yoghurt and dates."A lot of people can't make ends meet nowadays, but they'd never tell you," said Ali Hasni, 45, a volunteer for the non-profit group "Une Chorba Pour Tous" (Soup for Everyone).France is home to Europe's largest Muslim minority and debate about the integration of these 5 million people into an avowedly secular society is a recurring theme in a political arena where only a handful of Muslims hold government posts.The tower blocks surrounding the tent are a common sight in the French urban landscape.Often run down, the forbidding high-rises are home to many Muslim immigrants who came here to work in the construction boom of the 1960s and 70s, as well as immigrants from other faiths.Many tower blocks were on the frontline in 2005 when mainly immigrant youths rioted across France after two teenagers were accidentally electrocuted in a power sub-station after a run-in with police. Violence has flared sporadically in many such neighborhoods since then. http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL941743220080912
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PESTILENCE WATCH:IRAQ: Cholera claims five lives

Medvedev condemns Georgia NATO membership promise

MOSCOW-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday NATO's promise to extend membership to Georgia was unjust, humiliating and intolerable to Moscow.Briefing Russia experts, Medvedev compared Georgia's attack last month on its rebel, pro-Russian enclave of South Ossetia to the al Qaeda attacks on the United States which killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001.He said Russia-which responded by sending troops and tanks deep into Georgia and routing it in a five-day war-would have acted just as decisively if the former Soviet republic had already had a roadmap for NATO membership instead of just a promise of future entry."NATO won't become stronger this way, global tensions won't be reduced. What if Georgia had a NATO membership action plan? I would not wait for a second in making the decision I made at that time. What would the consequences be? They could be much worse," he said. NATO's treaty provides for member states mutually to defend each other against aggression. The membership action plan does not provide the same protection, but members may nevertheless feel obliged to intervene.Georgian membership would be a destabilizing factor, both for the Western military alliance and for the volatile Caucasus region, Medvedev said in an impassioned presentation to the annual meeting of the Valdai Club, which groups journalists and Russia analysts."The situation is not fair to Russia, it is humiliating to Russia and we are not going to tolerate this any longer."
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