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

Saturday, November 1, 2008

PERSECUTION WATCH:"Speechless...Silencing the Christians" returns this Saturday night

Be sure to tune into the new episodes of “Speechless … Silencing the Christians” beginning tonight.The program airs at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on the INSP network. You can also watch on the Internet at http://outbound.afa.net/track?type=click&mailingid=alert_speechless_110108&messageid=alert_speechless_110108&databaseid=1234&serial=1181235206&emailid=analiachilders@yahoo.com&userid=20278023&extra=&&&100&&&http://www.afa.net. Click on the Speechless banner.
Saturday night’s episode is titled “Christians Need Not Apply - Part 1.”
All across the country, Christians are being hounded out of jobs, simply because of their beliefs. On this episode of “Speechless . . . Silencing the Christians,” you’ll learn why two women were fired from the University of Texas at Arlington for praying for a co-worker after hours. How a counselor lost her job for sticking to her religious convictions, and why a receptionist at a family services agency was harassed for her Christian faith....
To read more go to:
As in the days of Noah...

OBAMA CRAZE WATCH:Seattle Paper Prints Addresses, Photos of Homes With Republican Signs...

This is one of the houses featured in the article that follows...IF I was the owner of this house I would be calling my lawyer.....
Note:What follows is an unbelievable article that shows to what extent the devotion and craze for Obama can go...!!!!!
Hell Houses
Topography of Terror: The Eastside Edition

by Stranger Staff
Cobwebs and witches are for children and morons. If you're looking for the most hair-raising Halloween horrors, try scouring the streets of the Eastside. That's where we found the most pants-wettingly scary houses, sure to give you night terrors well past Halloween and all the way until November 4. Because in an election year, nothing's more terrifying than the future.....
"No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear," wrote British philosopher Edmund Burke in 1756. It's as true today as ever. Case in point: this bloodcurdling Mercer Island lawn display, a quadruple whammy of Republican propaganda capable of driving the most reasonable citizen to insanity. By day, it's a standard collection of yard signs on a well-manicured lawn. But at night, it's a GOP graveyard, where the yard-sign tombstones are unearthed by zombie candidates hungry for brains.Do you have what it takes to drive a stake through the heart of zombie Dino Rossi or blast a shotgun into the chest of zombie Dave Reichert or fight off the reanimated ashes of Steve Litzow, swirling out of that terrifying urn? Run.....(1)
You can read the rest of this crazy and honestly dangerous stuff at:
PS:IF I was the owner of one of these houses I would certainly be calling my lawyer about this......
So the comments above in red(1) are not to be taken as serious threats against individuals....????Shouldn't somebody be looking into it....?UNBELIEVABLE....
As in the days of Noah....

Barack Obama's Family in Kenya Stops Media Interviews

The Kenya family of US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has halted all media engagements until after the US presidential election on November 4 .The move has been taken to give Obama’s paternal grandmother, Mama Sarah Onyango Obama a break, according to a family member Mr Said Obama.In the recent past, a battery of local and international journalists have been visiting the home on a daily basis to seek interviews from the 85-year old granny.But Mr Said Obama said the family would open up to the media on November 5, a day after the elections.And on Wednesday, Siaya District police chief Mr Johnston Ipara said security officers would restrict entry to the home to ensure the family privacy is guaranteed.“People who visit the family’s home in K’Ogelo will be restrained from conducting interviews to the family members,” he saidMr Ipara added the move was taken to ensure that people, especially the media, do not pre-empt the outcome of the US elections by using comments from the family members.“We do not want Mama Sarah Obama to be disturbed at the moment she needs time to monitor the elections as they unfold,” said Ipara.He said all visitors to the home would be thoroughly screened by the police before being allowed in.
Meanwhile, Obamamania continued to grip Kisumu town and its environs as hawkers cashed in on the craze to sell branded T-shirts, caps and badges.Dancehalls have also recorded a high number of songs recorded in vernacular languages in praise of the US presidential candidate
whose father was Kenyan.
Source: The Daily Nation
By Eric Oloo
As in the days of Noah...

OBAMA'S AUNT ZEITUNI:Neighbors Are Surprised to Learn Obama’s Aunt Lives in Their Public Housing Complex

To read more of this story go to:
To watch the video click on the URL below:
As in the days of Noah...

The Inconvenient Obama

Sen. Barack Obama has a problem. And it lives in a hut.His name is George Hussein Onyango Obama, and he is the 26-year-old half brother of Mr. Obama, the multimillionaire autobiographer who neglected to write that his paternal sibling lives on less than a dollar a month in the outer slums of Nairobi, Kenya.They have met twice.Unearthed by Italian Vanity Fair and virtually ignored by the American press, the inconvenient George Obama could emerge as a compelling character in the freshman senator's carefully edited road-to-the-White-House narrative - especially now that his campaign has unleashed a personal attack on Sen. John McCain's station in life.The Obama hit job on Mr. McCain seizes on his clumsiness in answering a reporter's question about how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own. "I think - I'll have my staff get to you," Mr. McCain fumbled. In a well-funded nationally televised ad spot titled "Seven," Mr. Obama's messenger twice repeats the correct answer as the words on the screen reinforce the meme of class warfare."Seven. Worth $13 million."The Sunday morning shows parroted Mr. Obama's shocking discovery that the McCain family is well-off.Smarting Obamaniacs campaigning for their messiah are now scripted to ask voters in battleground states how many houses they own and participate in an official campaign contest,"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: McCain Edition."Winners receive hope, change and fist bumps - spoils of the "new kind of politics."Someone who made $4.2 million last year and lives in a mansion that a mobster helped pay for should not be throwing stones. When Mr. Obama's flesh-and-blood lives in squalor, raising the standard of living of his opponent's extended family is probably not a smart idea.It's scary to think that this could be a preview of an Obama presidency in which attacking the rich is all the rage, and the rich in the news media pretend it's OK. Hugo Chavez is having a helluva run bringing down his formerly prosperous nation of Venezuela with that formula.Mr. McCain, of course, would be publicly eviscerated if he funded an ad campaign called "12" - as in the amount of dollars a year Mr. Obama's half-brother subsists on. The message also could accurately point out that Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, have consistently fallen short of the national average in charitable contributions since they entered the highest income bracket - despite their ballyhooed "progressive" religious faith that touts "economic equality.It would also be fair game now to point out that preaching "social justice" pays better than being a United States senator. The Trinity United Church of Christ is building a mansion for the Rev. Jeremiah Wright that includes an elevator, a butler's pantry, a bar, a rubberized exercise room - and the 10,000-square-foot estate backs up to the Odyssey Country Club. (Memo to wealthy Caucasian Republican members of the golf club: "Fore!")Attached to Mr. Wright's church-funded property is a peculiar $10 million line of credit - presumably, none of which will be given to George Obama.Mr. McCain's ad also could highlight that Michelle Obama is on leave from her $317,000-a-year job at the University of Chicago Medical Center, which is now under scrutiny - along with Obama campaign chief David Axelrod and two other staffers - for a scheme that, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, "steers patients who don't have private insurance - primarily poor, black people - to other health care facilities.""The medical professionals who have come to me are accusing the university of dumping patients on its neighboring institutions," Toni Preckwinkle, alderman for the 4th Ward, told the paper.Patient-dumping poor blacks may be interesting, but not quite as newsworthy as John McCain marrying a beer heiress 28 years ago.
Does anyone think if Mr. McCain had a sibling living in a trailer park making minimum wage (892 times more than Mr. Obama's half brother's yearly income) that the mainstream media and the Obama campaign wouldn't notice?In fact, last week National Public Radio ran a piece titled, "Cindy McCain's Half Sister 'Angry' She's Hidden," highlighting that Mr. McCain's wife's half sister was left out of her father's will. The piece was duly filed under the publicly funded network's "conservative compassion deficit" media template.Yet Mr. Obama has a half brother who lives in Africa on three cents a day, and the story breaks in an Italian magazine and is picked up by a London newspaper and a few others in Australia. Perhaps the story would be carried widely in America if they could figure out how to blame President Bush. But as Bob Geldof pointed out, he "has done more [for Africa] than any other president," and of the press harshly judged, "You guys didn't pay attention."Nor will they pay attention that the McCains have adopted a poor Bangladeshi child and done untold amounts of humanitarian and charity work.What makes this story newsworthy for Italians, Brits and Aussies, but not Americans, is that the U.S. free press is free to ignore stories that could take down their preordained president. And after the Internet and talk radio-driven "Swift Boat" story unexpectedly sank their last guy, the mainstream American press is taking extra precautions this time around.If for some inexplicable reason the media are forced by their online and talk radio betters to run with this outrageous and creepy story, key Obama supporter Oprah Winfrey can come to the rescue at the Democratic National Convention. On Night 3, the billionaire television hostess can synthesize her two best show archetypes: the heart-wrenching family reunion and "Oprah's Favorite Things," the giveaway of material goods.Imagine the emotional fireworks when 75,000 Obama supporters at Invesco Field witness Barack Obama reconnecting with his destitute half brother as is he lavished with Kai Body Butter & Buffer, Perfect Endings Cupcakes by Williams-Sonoma, Hand-Blown Crystal Champagne Glasses by Deborah Ehrlich and a Pure Simplicity Pumpkin Purifying Mask.Controversy averted. Because Democrats care more.
By Andrew Breitbart
Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the news Web site breitbart.com and is co-author of "Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon - the Case Against Celebrity."

As in the days of Noah...

Obama aunt from Kenya living in US illegally

WASHINGTON-Barack Obama's aunt, a Kenyan woman who has been quietly living in public housing in Boston, is in the United States illegally after an immigration judge rejected her request for asylum four years ago, The Associated Press has learned.Zeituni Onyango, 56, referred to as "Aunti Zeituni" in Obama's memoir, was instructed to leave the United States by a U.S. immigration judge who denied her asylum request, a person familiar with the matter told the AP late Friday.This person spoke on condition of anonymity because no one was authorized to discuss Onyango's case. Information about the deportation case was disclosed and confirmed by two separate sources, one of them a federal law enforcment official. The information they made available is known to officials in the federal government, but the AP could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved in its release.Onyango's refusal to leave the country would represent an administrative, non-criminal violation of U.S. immigration law, meaning such cases are handled outside the criminal court system. Estimates vary, but many experts believe there are more than 10 million such immigrants in the United States.The AP could not reach Onyango immediately for comment. No one answered the telephone number listed in her name late Friday. It was unclear why her request for asylum was rejected in 2004.Onyango is not a relative whom Obama has discussed in campaign appearances and, unlike Obama's father and grandmother, is not someone who has been part of the public discussion about his personal life.A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Kelly Nantel, said the government does not comment on an individual's citizenship status or immigration case. Onyango's case-coming to light just days before the presidential election-led to an unusual nationwide directive within Immigrations and Customs Enforcement requiring any deportations prior to Tuesday's election to be approved at least at the level of ICE regional directors, the U.S. law enforcement official told the AP.The unusual directive suggests that the Bush administration is sensitive to the political implications of Onyango's case coming to light so close to the election.Kenya is in eastern Africa between Somalia and Tanzania. The country has been fractured in violence in recent years, including a period of two months of bloodshed after December 2007 that killed 1,500 people.The disclosure about Onyango came just one day after Obama's presidential campaign confirmed to the Times of London that Onyango, who has lived quietly in public housing in South Boston for five years, was Obama's half aunt on his father's side.It was not immediately clear how Onyango might have qualified for public housing with a standing deportation order.
As in the days of Noah...

Friday, October 31, 2008

"I AM MY BROTHER'S KEEPER":Boston Housing Authority ‘flabbergastered’ Barack Obama’s aunt living in Southie

HOME SWEET HOME: Zeituni Onyango, whose nephew is Barack Obama, lives in public housing on Flaherty Way.Photo by Stuart Cahill
A Boston Housing Authority director says Barack Obama’s aunt, a Kenyan woman who has lived in public housing for five years, is an “exemplary resident” and only recently did anyone know of her connection to the presidential contender.Obama’s campaign spokesman Reid Cherlin confirmed to the Herald yesterday that Zeituni Onyango, 56, who lives on Flaherty Way in South Boston, is Obama’s aunt on his father’s side.Onyango, a Kenyan native, is believed to be the “Aunti Zeituni” in Obama’s memoir, “Dreams From My Father.”It wasn’t until recently, when a London newspaper started making inquiries about Onyango, that Deputy Director Bill McGonagle learned of the link.McGonagle said BHA employees were caught off guard.“We were as surprised as anyone,” he said. “We were a little bit flabbergasted.”Onyango has lived in Boston public housing for five years, McGonagle said.“She has been an exemplary resident,” he said.She received a small stipend over the past year for working six hours a week as a volunteer resident health advocate in her complex, he said.Little else is known about her.
Onyango had conversations with several BHA employees in recent days about her blood ties to the senator, McGonagle said. She proudly displays photos of Obama, including some that appear as old as 25 years, inside her first-floor apartment, McGonagle said.A message left at Onyango’s apartment was not returned.McGonagle asked that the media respect Onyango’s privacy.“She is feeling very put upon,” he said.
By Jessica Fargen
As in the days of Noah....

OBAMA and PALIN-McCAIN EFFIGIES:"Two different outcomes....".

A mannequin dressed as Sarah Palin hangs from a noose at a home in West Hollywood, Calif.
Also displayed at the West Hollywood home was a mannequin of John McCain emerging from flames.
LEXINGTON, Ky.-A University of Kentucky student and another man were arrested Thursday, accused of hanging a life-sized likeness of Barack Obama from a tree on the campus.The incident was one of several in recent weeks involving effigies of the presidential candidates or their running mates. No charges have been filed in four other cases that have made national headlines......UK President Lee Todd said the effigy violates the university's code of ethics, and Fischer faces punishment that could include expulsion."As outrageous and offensive an act as the effigy was, I truly believe it has mobilized our campus, the community and the state in an effort to battle racism," Todd said Thursday.
"...Creator Chad Morrissette decided to remove the figures after discussing the situation with West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang, Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said."My understanding is that the mayor had a long talk with the man and convinced him to bring it down. The homeowner began to realize what they had done caused a little more of a reaction than they had hoped for," Whitmore said. Just earlier Wednesday, the homeowners still maintained it was a harmless Halloween work of art and vowed the effigy would stay up "until Saturday." Whitmore says the rest of the scene -- with John McCain popping out of the chimney surrounded by fake flames -- is still on display.
PS:Interesting...isn't it....?When somebody hangs an Obama effigy it is RACISM and people gets arrested and booted from college....
When it is a Sarah Palin hanging from a noose or a McCain emerging from the flames is is"A HARMLESS HALLOWEEN WORK OF ART...and they'll keep it till Saturday...."
Don't you see some good ole BIAS here....?
Am I the only one seeing this....?
Or is it that if we tell "ARTIST MORRISSETTE"to pull those disgusting displays of hatred down it is--HOMOPHOBIA....???
Two effigies--two different outcomes.....
As in the days of Noah...

Three Reporters From McCain-Endorsing Newspapers Removed From Obama's Plane

Journalists from three major newspapers that endorsed John McCain-the Washington Times, the New York Post and the Dallas Morning News-have been booted from Barack Obama's campaign plane for the final leg of the presidential race.The Washington Times reported Friday that it was notified of the Obama campaign's decision Thursday evening-even though the paper has covered Obama from the start. Executive Editor John Solomon told FOXNews.com that the Obama campaign said it didn't have enough seats on the plane, but "I don't think the explanation makes sense to us.""We've been traveling since 2007 with him...We're a relevant newspaper-every day we break news," Solomon said. "And to suddenly be kicked off the plane for people who haven't covered it as aggressively or thoroughly as we are ... it sort of feels unfair."He said the newspaper protested but was turned down again by the campaign."I can only hope that the candidate who describes himself as wanting to unite the nation doesn't have some sort of litmus test for who he decides gets to cover the campaign," Solomon said, noting that the Obama campaign's decision came just two days after the paper endorsed McCain.According to the Web site The Drudge Report, the three newspapers' reporters were told to find alternative transportation by Sunday so that the plane could accommodate "network bigwigs" and reporters from two black magazines, Essence and Jet.Also joining up with the Obama campaign are the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. According to the campaign, the decision to shuffle around reporters was made because they did not want to add a second plane. "Unfortunately, demand for seats on the plane during this final weekend has far exceeded supply, and because of logistical issues we made the decision not to add a second plane," Obama senior adviser Anita Dunn said in a written statement."This means we've had to make hard and unpleasant for all concerned decisions about limiting some news organizations and in some cases not being in a position to offer space to news organizations altogether."Campaign aides said they are assisting other news outlets with hotel rooms and buses so they can still cover the race. Dallas Morning News Editor Bob Mong told FOXNews.com that the "indication" from the Obama campaign was that they were kicked off the plane since they don't represent a national outlet and they don't represent a swing state."We argued that [considering] the size of the Morning News and stature, we obviously would want to be on board," Mong said. "We're obviously not happy about it, and continue to protest."He said, in fairness, that the McCain campaign recently pulled Morning News staff off the Republican's plane when space became an issue-but he said the Morning News would be back on McCain's plane again this weekend.Obama is not the only candidate to play hardball with the press. McCain's campaign has reportedly barred Time columnist Joe Klein and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who have been critical of the Republican candidate, from the Republican candidate's plane.
Click here to read the story on the Obama campaign's decision in The Washington Times.
Click here to read the story on The Drudge Report.

As in the days of Noah....

Joe the Vet Endorses McCain in YouTube's Most Popular Election Video

John McCain's most powerful ad-an open letter to Barack Obama in which an Iraq War veteran criticizes his stand on the war-didn't cost the Republican candidate a dime.In "Dear Mr. Obama," army veteran Joe Cook stands in front of the camera and scolds the Democratic presidential candidate for calling the Iraq war a mistake. The two-minute video, which was posted on YouTube, has gotten more than 11 million hits and is the most popular election video on the site.

In the video, Cook tells Obama why he disagrees with his Iraq war policies and says he's supporting McCain. At the end, he walks away from the camera, revealing that he has a prosthetic leg.Cook, 23, was wounded in Iraq in June and returned home to Wauconda, Ill., to recover. He said he enlisted three years ago because of his family's dedication to serving their country. His parents were both marines, and he has two brothers in the military.Now that he's back from Iraq, Cook continues to help his fellow service members, running a business with a neighbor that provides valet parking services at veterans' hospitals."When I first got back it was all about the recovery and everything like that, but as the race starting going on, I got more involved," he said, explaining why he made the video. "I started reading about McCain and stuff. He's a leader. I can really respect him, seeing as he's a vet as well."Cook said he has already cast his ballot in Illinois early voting.Video director Michael Brown, who teamed up with Cook to create the video, said he was inspired to make the video because he wanted to share the experiences of soldiers that aren't reported in the media and to lend support to McCain for his position on the war."Obama has been squealing since 2002 that Iraq is a mistake," Brown said. "He's using the military as pawns, he has not brought our troops home and he has not done any good. When he says it's a mistake, he's disrespecting our guys.""I'm not connected with any campaign," Brown said. "In fact, what's interesting is, before this the only thing I've ever done politically is put a sign in my yard."Brown said he contacted Cook about making the video after meeting him at a parade the town held in Cook's honor in July. He said he thinks the video's effectiveness comes from its simplicity."Joe collaborated on the script to ensure its authenticity and truthfulness, which was important," he said. "That's what works so well."Both Cook and Brown are surprised by the popularity of the video."Obviously we didn't think it was going to get up to 11 million hits," Cook said. "It's a little crazy, but anything I can do to help. I think it's a good way to express what I felt and I thought it was good. I thought Mike Brown did a phenomenal job."
By Jennifer Lawinski
As in the days of Noah...

OBAMA WATCH:Protesters March Outside LA Times Offices Demanding Release of Secret Obama Tape

"I believe a major news organization is willfully withholding important information."
Jewish Journal: Protesters storm LA Times, demand Obama-Khalidi tape

OBAMA CRAZE WATCH:Erica Jong Tells Italians Obama Loss "Will Spark the Second American Civil War.Blood Will Run in the Streets"

It seems that the final days of the presidential campaign have made Erica Jong and her friends more than a little anxious.A few days ago, Jong, the author and self-described feminist, gave an interview to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the choicest bits of which were brought to my attention by the reliably sharp-eyed Christian Rocca, the U.S. correspondent of Il Foglio, who published excerpts on his Camillo blog.Basically, Jong says her fear that Obama might lose the election has developed into an "obsession. A paralyzing terror. An anxious fever that keeps you awake at night." She also says that her friends Jane Fonda and Naomi Wolf are extremely worried that Obama will be sabotaged by Republican dirty tricks, and that if an Obama loss indeed comes to pass, the result will be a second American Civil War. Here's a translation of Jong's more spirited quotes to the Milan-based Corriere, as selected by Rocca.
"The record shows that voting machines in America are rigged.""My friends Ken Follett and Susan Cheever are extremely worried. Naomi Wolf calls me every day. Yesterday, Jane Fonda sent me an email to tell me that she cried all night and can't cure her ailing back for all the stress that has reduces her to a bundle of nerves.""My back is also suffering from spasms, so much so that I had to see an acupuncturist and get prescriptions for Valium.""After having stolen the last two elections, the Republican Mafia…""If Obama loses it will spark the second American Civil War. Blood will run in the streets, believe me. And it's not a coincidence that President Bush recalled soldiers from Iraq for Dick Cheney to lead against American citizens in the streets.""Bush has transformed America into a police state, from torture to the imprisonment of reporters, to the Patriot Act."
She also laments that not all of America's men of letters share her devotion to Obama."Tom Wolfe and John Updike are men of the right and Philip Roth is at this point a hermit who leads a monastic life in Connecticut, far from everything and everybody."Luckily, she said there is her and Michael Chabon, who, she says, have "taken the place of Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer respectively."They have the same political sensibilities, she said, but a better "sense of humor."
by Jason Horowitz
PS:These lunatic liberal feminists are surely a bunch of confused and unhappy women...Not being able to sleep at night....???What a bunch of wimps!!!!!!!
As in the days of Noah....

Clinton: Obama Asked Me To Tell Him What To Do About Economy

“He said, ‘Tell me what the right thing to do is. What’s the right thing for America? Don’t tell me what’s popular. You tell me what’s right — I’ll figure out how to sell it.’” Bill Clinton

Vietnam floods kill 14, Hanoi streets under water

HANOI-Floods from heavy rain in Vietnam's central provinces have killed at least 14 people in the past week, including four children, the government and state media said on Friday.Many roads in the capital, Hanoi, were submerged, with up to 1 meter (yard) of water in some places, and some residents had abandoned cars and motorcycles.Torrential rain pounded northern Vietnam early on Friday, threatening dangerous flash floods in six mountainous provinces, state weather forecasters said.Three girls aged 11 and 12 returning from school and a two-year-old boy were among the victims of floods that have hit nine central provinces since October 24, the government's disaster management unit said in its daily report.Seven people died in Ha Tinh province, three in Quang Ngai and two in Nghe An, while Quang Nam and Phu Yen provinces each reported one death.Up to 330 mm (13 inches) of rain had pounded Nghe An province, 300 km (186 miles) south of Hanoi, since Wednesday, halting traffic, while landslides had eroded many sections of the north-south Ho Chi Minh highway in Thua Thien-Hue province.Vietnam's main agricultural area, including the Central Highlands coffee belt and the Mekong Delta rice basket, have not been affected by the floods, although rain disrupted coffee harvesting this week.The harvest is due to peak in mid-November in the Central Highlands, two weeks earlier than usual, but rain could prolong the drying process and damage bean quality, traders said.
Typhoons and floods have killed several hundred people in northern and central provinces since the start of this year. The flood and storm season ends next month in the central region, which is widely exposed to the sea.
As in the days of Noah...

Jurassic Park:Prehistoric Reptiles Breed Again...

WELLINGTON, New Zealand-A rare reptile with lineage dating back to the dinosaur age has been found nesting on the New Zealand mainland for the first time in about 200 years, officials said Friday.Four leathery, white eggs from an indigenous tuatara were found by staff at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in the capital, Wellington, during routine maintenance work Friday, conservation manager Rouen Epson said.
"The nest was uncovered by accident and is the first concrete proof we have that our tuatara are breeding," Epson said. "It suggests that there may be other nests in the sanctuary we don't know of."
Tuatara, dragon-like reptiles that grow to up to 32 inches, are the last descendants of a species that walked the earth with the dinosaurs 225 million years ago, zoologists say.They have unique characteristics, such as two rows of top teeth closing over one row at the bottom.They also have a pronounced parietal eye, a light-sensitive pineal gland on the top of the skull. This white patch of skin — called its "third eye" — slowly disappears as they mature.A native species to New Zealand, tuatara were nearly extinct on the country's three main islands by the late 1700s due to the introduction of predators such as rats. They still live in the wild on 32 small offshore islands cleared of predators.A population of 70 tuatara was established at the Karori Sanctuary in 2005. Another 130 were released in the sanctuary in 2007.The sanctuary, a 620-acre wilderness minutes from downtown Wellington, was established to breed native birds, insects and other creatures securely behind a predator-proof fence.Empson said that the four eggs — the size of pingpong balls — were unearthed Friday but that there were likely more because the average nest contains around ten eggs.The eggs were immediately covered up again to avoid disturbing incubation.If all goes well, juvenile tuatara could hatch any time between now and March, she said.
As in the days of Noah...

QUAKEWATCH:Minor quakes hit Dallas area; no damage, injuries

DALLAS-Several minor earthquakes gave some Texas and Oklahoma residents an early Halloween scare, but no damage or injuries were reported. A 2.5-magnitude quake at 11:25 p.m. Thursday near Grand Prairie was followed by a series of other small earthquakes in the Dallas suburb, then a 3.0-magnitude quake at 12:01 a.m. Friday in nearby Irving, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.Irving police received 911 calls from about 25 people saying they had felt the quakes, but there were no reports of injuries or damage, Officer David Tull said Friday morning.USGS geophysicist Randy Baldwin says aftershocks could last several days.On Thursday, a 3.1 magnitude quake was reported about 11:30 a.m. near McCloud, Okla., some 180 miles north of the Dallas area, according to the USGS. There were no reports of damage or injury there, either. The Oklahoma quake is considered a separate event from those in Texas, said USGS geophysicist Jessica Sigala.
On the Net:
To read more go to:
As in the days of Noah...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Qaeda wants Republicans, Bush "humiliated": Web video

DUBAI-An al Qaeda leader has called for President George W. Bush and the Republicans to be "humiliated," without endorsing any party in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, according to a video posted on the Internet."O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him," Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, in a video posted on the Internet.Libi, one of the top al Qaeda commanders believed to be living in Afghanistan or Pakistan, called for God's wrath to be brought against Bush equating him with past tyrants in history.The remarks were the first comments from a leading al Qaeda figure referring, albeit indirectly, to the U.S. elections.Muslim clerics often end sermons by calling on God to guide and support Muslims and help defeat their enemies.In 2004 al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden issued his first video in more than a year just days before the elections to deride President Bush and warn of possible new September 11-style attacks.Bin Laden made little mention of Bush's Democratic challenger John Kerry, telling Americans: "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands and each state which does not harm our security will remain safe."
As in the days of Noah...

US shuts Damascus embassy amid rising tensions

The statement cited “increased security risk and rising tensions.”DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Syrian government expects more US attacks after Sunday's US raid in the north which left 8 people dead. A spokesman in Damascus announced Wednesday night, Oct. 30, that if US strikes are repeated, Syria will break off security cooperation not only with the US but also with Iraq on their common border. The situation is explosive enough to lead to a Syrian declaration of war if Iraqi forces hit terrorist bases on its soil.Thursday, Syrians will demonstrate against the US helicopter-borne raid in the north. US official has said a smuggler of foreign fighters into Iraq was targeted. "The U.S. Embassy in Damascus remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations and other violent actions against U.S. citizens," said the embassy spokesman.DEBKAfile’s sources reported earlier that following a Syrian threat of “painful responses” for the American attack, the embassy had prepared for extreme events, such as possibly a Syrian military siege of the embassy, violent demonstrations or even a direct attack that would force the evacuation of staff.The embassy spokesman declined to comment on whether the number or status of US diplomats in Syria could change.Our sources believe that the Assad government’s closure of the American cultural and school Monday and protest to the UN Secretary General and Security Council Chairman were only the beginning and that more extreme steps are in store in Syria and Iraq.Following pressure from Tehran, the Baghdad government denounced the American incursion into Syria after first accusing Damascus of cross-border terror against Iraq.

As in the days of Noah...

Lebanon says Syria to put more troops on border

BEIRUT-Syria will deploy more troops along its border with Lebanon in an effort to stop smuggling, the Lebanese army said on Thursday.The deployment along Syria's side of Lebanon's eastern border follows the stationing of hundreds of Syrian troops on Lebanon's borders in the north-a region where Damascus has warned of a threat from Islamist militancy. Lebanese army chief Jean Kahwaji and his Syrian counterpart Ali Habib discussed the deployment of Syrian army units "along the length of the eastern border in the coming few days," the Lebanese army said in a statement.It did not say how many troops would deploy.The Syrian army had completed its deployment on its own side of Lebanon's northern border, the statement said, adding that the two commanders had discussed the new steps in a phone call."This deployment comes in the framework of measures to stop smuggling and prevent the movement of people illegally across the borders," the statement said. Witnesses in Lebanon said Syrian troops had already started to deploy.Syria's deployment in the north was a cause for concern among anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians, who feared that Damascus might be planning to intervene in its smaller neighbor.Syria controlled politics and security in Lebanon until 2005 when the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri triggered international pressure that forced it to end its 29-year military presence in the country.Northern Lebanon has been the scene of a series of recent attacks on the Lebanese army. The public prosecutor this week accused 34 Islamists, including Lebanese, Saudis, Syrians and Palestinians of carrying out the deadly bombings.Syria has said a vehicle used in a suicide attack in Damascus last month had crossed into the country from an Arab neighbor. It has not said which country. Syria's Arab neighbors are Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon.

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Thousands of Syrians protest in Damascus at U.S. raid

DAMASCUS-Thousands of Syrians held a government-backed demonstration in Damascus on Thursday to protest against a U.S. military raid in the east of the country that has put a further strain on U.S.-Syrian ties.The U.S. embassy in Damascus had closed for the day due to security concerns. Syria says the raid killed eight civilians. A U.S. official said it was believed to have killed a smuggler of foreign fighters into Iraq.The crowd, mostly state workers and students of government schools, gathered in a central Damascus square a few kilometers (miles) from the U.S. embassy. Riot police surrounded the embassy, which was pelted with stones during a protest in 1998 over U.S.-led airstrikes on Iraq.Some demonstrators carried banners denouncing the United States and Israel and praising Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "We sacrifice our blood for you, Bashar. Down with America," some members of the crowd shouted.
The raid undermined U.S.-Syrian ties which were already strained by other disputes, including U.S. accusations that Damascus has not stopped foreign fighters crossing into Iraq.Syria, listed as a state sponsor of terrorism by Washington, has been under U.S. sanctions since 2004 for supporting Lebanese political and guerrilla movement Hezbollah and other groups including the Palestinian Hamas.Washington recalled its ambassador to Syria following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in February 2005, which many Lebanese blame on Syria. Damascus denies any involvement.Outraged by the raid, Syria ordered the closure of an American school and an American cultural center in Damascus. The two institutions must close by November 6.The U.S. embassy in Damascus had said that it will not be staffed on Thursday due to an "increased security risk" and that "unforeseen events or circumstances may occur that could cause the U.S. Embassy in Damascus to close to the public for an unspecified period of time."

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Syria closes U.S. institutions after raid

DAMASCUS-Syria decided on Tuesday to close an American school and a cultural center in Damascus, in an apparent response to a U.S. military raid that the authorities said killed eight civilians.The move marks a further deterioration in relations between the United States and Syria, which are already strained by U.S. charges that Damascus is failing to do enough to stop militants from entering Iraq to attack its forces.Syria has expressed outrage at Sunday's helicopter raid on a village near the Iraqi border, calling it an act of "terrorist aggression." Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said Syria would defend itself if such an attack were repeated.The United States has refused to publicly confirm U.S. involvement in the raid, in which residents and Syrian officials say U.S. troops landed by helicopter.But a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the raid was believed to have killed a main al Qaeda operative who had helped smuggle foreign fighters into Iraq."What they are saying is unjustified. I deny it totally," Moualem told Reuters in London.Syrian Culture Minister Riad Agha said the U.S. school and cultural center would remain closed indefinitely."We were waiting for the United States to present us with superior culture, knowledge and technology but instead they presented us with the corpses of our children on the street," he told Reuters Television. "The Americans claim that they fight terrorism, but they are terrorism itself," Agha said.The U.S. embassy on Monday warned Americans "that unforeseen events or circumstances may occur that could cause the U.S. Embassy in Damascus to close to the public for an unspecified period of time."
Syria is on a U.S. list of states that support terrorism, and is under a host of U.S. trade sanctions over its support for the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah.Washington recalled its ambassador to Syria following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in February 2005.General David Petraeus, the former U.S. commander in Iraq, said this month that the flow of fighters from Syria had fallen to 10 or 20 a month from a peak of 160.Syria has asked the U.N. secretary general and the president of the Security Council to take action to prevent a repeat of the U.S. attack, Syria's U.N. envoy said.
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IAEA diplomats say evidence warrants follow-up nuke probe in Syria

Diplomats in Vienna said Tuesday, Oct. 28, that freshly evaluated soil and air samples provide enough evidence to warrant a follow-up probe by the UN nuclear watchdog at the suspected Syrian nuclear site at El Kibar bombed by Israel in September 2007.IAEA experts want to revisit the site and also follow up on US, Israeli and other intelligence allegations that North Korea had been helping Syria build a plutonium reactor there.Damascus has denied running a covert program.DEBKAfile’s military sources reported exclusively on Oct. 4 that Syria had resumed its nuclear program at installations scattered across the country and that North Korean nuclear experts were back.For this article click HERE
According to recent American reports, a Syrian military delegation visited Pyongyang to find out whether their arms deals and nuclear collaboration were at risk as a result of Kim Jong-il’s ill health.Our sources also disclosed that IAEA director Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei and his deputy Dr. Olli Heinonen have been at odds for months over whether the UN watchdog should push ahead with its probe against Syria.ElBaradai argued there was no evidence to support US and Israel claims that Syria had been building a reactor, but Heinonen, who led an agency inspection in Syria last June differed and wants to go on with the investigation. According to our sources, Heinonen as demanded access to the west bank of the Euphrates River opposite the El Kibar site, where Syria is believed to have cleared the ground of the debris left by the Israeli bombardment.He also wants to question named army officers, engineers and technicians alleged to have been engaged in the program. Heinonen submitted to the government in Damascus a list of Syrian officials with dates on which they are suspected of having met secretly with North Korean nuclear physicists. He has asked for clarifications on the subject of those encounters.On Oct. 3, Damascus offered to continue to cooperate with the IAEA but stated that no more inspections would be allowed because the locations requested were restricted military areas.The deputy director’s dossier will be submitted to the agency’s board meeting next month. If further probes are recommended and Syria stalls, the way will be opened for a complaint to the UN Security Council and possible sanctions against Damascus.

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Syria asks U.N. council to prevent new U.S. attacks

UNITED NATIONS-Syria's U.N. envoy said on Tuesday that he has asked the U.N. Security Council to take action to prevent a repeat of a U.S. attack last weekend on Syrian territory.
Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told reporters that he made the request in duplicate letters to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui, who holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council.In the letters he asked Ban and the council "to assume their responsibilities in a view to preventing the renewed perpetration of such aggression against Syria and to hold the American administration responsible for such aggressive acts and for its outcome."
The Syrian envoy declined to say whether he wanted the council to issue a statement of condemnation or if he wanted a resolution, which would be a much stronger form of protest.He said it was up to the council president to decide what action was appropriate. However, Ja'afari said he wanted the council to hold the United States responsible "politically" and "legally".The United States, like Britain, France, China and Russia, is a permanent veto-wielding member of the council and can prevent it from taking any steps in response to the incident.A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the raid by U.S. forces inside Syria on Sunday was believed to have killed a major al Qaeda operative who had helped smuggle foreign fighters into Iraq. Damascus said those killed were innocent civilians. http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE49R6BL20081028
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Oil worker bodies arrive in Khartoum

China condemns Sudan killings as terrorist crime

BEIJING-China on Tuesday condemned the killing of five of its citizens in Sudan as a terrorist crime and urged the Sudanese government to protect Chinese residents and property.The five men killed on Monday were among nine Chinese oil workers kidnapped in central Sudan over a week ago. Two escaped, but two remain in the hands of the kidnappers.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu expressed "pained grief and condolences" for their families and said President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao had told the ministry to do all it could to ensure the safe return of the missing men."China treasures its friendship with Sudan ... We also ask that Sudan, while ensuring the safety of our missing personnel, make all-out rescue efforts," Jiang told a news conference in Beijing.She also urged Sudan to "adopt all beneficial steps to ensure the safety of lives and property of Chinese personnel in Sudan." This was the third such kidnapping in the energy-producing state of South Kordofan in the past year, marking an escalation of risk in the region where China has a big stake.South Kordofan borders Darfur, where China has become a focus of controversy over bloody ethnic strife that has raged there since 2003. Beijing has contributed to a peacekeeping mission seeking to end the strife, but critics say its oil deals and arms sales help prop up Khartoum and abet its policies in Darfur.The Sudanese Foreign Ministry blamed the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Darfur rebel group, for seizing and killing the Chinese. A London-based JEM official has denied the group was involved.The nine workers were snatched near a small oilfield where they were doing contract work for the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC). The company is a consortium led by China's CNPC that includes India's ONGC, Malaysia's Petronas and Sudan's state-owned Sudapet.
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Syria, Hizballah on alert for Israeli action after US raid

DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report that Damascus and the Lebanese Hizballah have alerted their forces to a possible Israeli strike against Hizballah’s arms smuggling routes, supply sources, and stocks, using as a precedent the US cross-border raid which killed eight people at an al Qaeda base in northern Syria Sunday, Oct. 26.Those sources report that Syrian president Bashar Assad and Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah fear that US-Israeli military synchronization for Israel’s attack on Syria’s nuclear reactor in September 2007 may have been repeated in Sunday’s American raid at Abu Kemal. According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, intelligence analysts in Damascus, Beirut and Tehran have concluded that US Air Force planes, specifically those providing an umbrella for the helicopter-borne raid, flew over Israel before reaching Syrian skies.They point out that, on the morning of the attack, Israel’s military intelligence chief, Brig. Amos Yadlin, appeared before the cabinet session in Jerusalem with an unusually grave assessment of the military collaboration between Damascus and Hizballah.He disclosed that Syria had become “Hizballah’s arms warehouse” and was catering to “every single Hizballah wish for strategic resources.”Syria has given Hizballah, DEBKAfile reveals, medium-range surface rockets, radar systems and anti-air missiles. Yadlin reported that “Assad trusts Hizballah more than his own army.” Its operatives work out of Syria without any restraint.
Damascus and Hizballah find room for anxiety in three more events:
1. Israel’s chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazy met the UNIFIL commander Gen. Claudio Graziano last week and put him on notice that Israel would no longer put up with the ongoing Syrian violations of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which imposed an embargo on arms supplies to Hizballah.
2. Before Sunday’s cabinet meeting, defense minister Ehud Barak and Gen. Ashkenazi put their heads together on ways to halt these violations.
3. Barak then phoned Gen. Graziano to reiterate that Israel had run out of patience with Syrian arms smuggling to Hizballah.
Israel normally liaises with the UNIFIL commander through the OC Northern Command, Brig. Gad Eisenkott. Direct high-level contacts are rare.
All these pointers to possible Israeli military action in the steps of the American raid have made Damascus and Hizballah’s leadership anxious; they fear Israel has reached breaking-point and may no longer choose to look the other way on Hizballah’s massive rearmament.

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ElBaradei wants N.Korea back anti-nuclear pact

UNITED NATIONS-The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei said on Monday that he hoped North Korea would soon return to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, from which it withdrew five years ago.But a North Korean envoy, speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, left no doubt that tension remained in Pyongyang's relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which he said was partly responsible for the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.Earlier this month inspectors from the IAEA were allowed to re-seal equipment and reactivate monitoring cameras at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex after the United States struck a deal with Pyongyang to re-launch a faltering disarmament process.North Korea tested a nuclear device in 2006.Disarmament experts say that with North Korea outside the verification process associated with the NPT, which is aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and eradicating the world's atomic arsenals, the IAEA has little hope of ensuring that North Korea does not revive its weapons program.In his annual report to the 192 U.N. member states, the IAEA's director-general made clear that he, too, wants North Korea back in the 1968 treaty."I naturally still hope that conditions can be created for the DPRK (North Korea) to return to the NPT soon and for the resumption by the Agency of comprehensive safeguards," ElBaradei told the General Assembly.North Korean U.N. envoy Sin Sang-chol indicated that his country was not ready for normal relations with the nuclear agency. He told the assembly that the IAEA continued to have a "prejudiced and unfair position" on the Korean nuclear issue.He said the nuclear crisis was the "result of the hostile policy of the United States of America toward the DPRK."North Korea, Sin said, remained a target for a "pre-emptive nuclear strike" by the United States. He also accused the IAEA of colluding with Washington to arrange "special inspections" to spy on North Korea.Pyongyang would be watching the IAEA's behavior on the Korean nuclear issue closely, Sin said."Unless the IAEA takes an impartial position in solving the problems in keeping with its assigned mission, any (IAEA) measures ... will not help solve the nuclear issue," he said.North Korea withdrew from the NPT in 2003 after expelling all IAEA inspectors from the country. The Vienna-based agency's small crew of inspectors had been there to verify Pyongyang's compliance with a 1994 deal with the United States that required North Korea to mothball the Yongbyon reactor.The 1994 agreement fell apart in 2002 when the United States accused North Korea of running a clandestine uranium enrichment program outside the Yongbyon plant, a research reactor that was capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium.The latest disarmament deal, under which Pyongyang has agreed to continue dismantling Yongbyon, was the result of years of so-called six-party talks among North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the United States.

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Executions, Torture in North Korea 'Worse Than Animal Slaughter':WARNING GRAPHIC....!!!!!!!

SEOUL, South Korea-The condemned inmate, his body torn apart by guard dogs, slumped unconscious as the three executioners fired. The bullets shattered his skull, splattering blood near other prisoners forced to watch.His offense: trying to escape from the remote prison camp in North Korea."People were seized with fear but no one could say anything," former prisoner Jung Gyoung-il said, recalling the 2001 execution. "That's worse than the way animals are slaughtered."For a decade, North Korea has denied such accounts from defectors, and South Korea has shied away from them to maintain good relations with its wartime rival. But now, under new President Lee Myung-bak, South Korea is investigating alleged abuses, including the prison camp system. South Korea's state-run human rights watchdog is interviewing defectors and is hosting a two-day international forum on the issue this week.Meanwhile, U.S. President George W. Bush has made the push to crack down on rights abuses in North Korea one of his last missions before leaving office in January. He signed a law promoting the U.S. special envoy on North Korean human rights to ambassador and making it easier for refugees from the North to settle in the U.S.The focus on alleged abuses has infuriated North Korea, which dismisses the accusations as a U.S. plot to overthrow its government. The country's Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland called Seoul's moves proof that South Korean officials are "sycophants toward the U.S." and "maniacs" who risk confrontation with the North.North Korea runs at least five large political prison camps, together holding an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 inmates, according to the U.S. State Department. The gulags remain one of the Stalinist regime's most effective means of controlling its 23 million people, analysts say.During the rights forum that started Wednesday, the U.N. investigator on human rights in North Korea demanded Pyongyang reform its prison systems and terminate public execution, calling the country's gulags "appalling" facilities."With regard to the substantive issues of human rights as a whole, the pictures are still sadly very negative on many fronts," Vitit Muntarbhorn said.South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o, in written remarks to the forum, also said "severe outrages against humanity" such as executions and vivisection are reported to have frequently occurred in the North's prison camps.Satellite images show the camps in valleys tucked between mountain ranges, each covering up to 100 square miles. Former prisoners say the camps are encircled by high-voltage electrified fences and have schools, barracks and work sites.Offenses meriting banishment to a prison camp include everything from disparaging North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to trying to flee the country, defectors say.Former prisoner Jung said he spent three years in Camp No. 15 in Yodok, about 70 miles northeast of the capital, Pyongyang, on charges of spying for South Korea.Jung, who was working for a state-run trading company, claims the charges were fabricated by security agents seeking promotion. After months of torture, Jung said he acknowledged the charge. By then he had lost nearly 80 pounds.Shortly after his release, he fled to South Korea in 2004 with his wife and two daughters and now works for a civic group on North Korean prisons.At Yodok, Jung said, the 400 inmates in his section subsisted on 20 ounces of corn each — the equivalent of one medium-size can daily — while toiling at mines, farms and factories for 13 to 15 hours a day. Many died of hunger and diseases brought on by malnutrition, he said. Some managed to trap vermin and insects."People eat rats and snakes. They were the best food to recover our health," said Jung, 46, adding he still suffers from ulcers, headaches and back pain.One inmate, Choe Kwang Ho, sneaked away from his work for 15 minutes to pick fruit. He was executed, his mouth stuffed with gravel to prevent him from protesting, Jung recalled."I still can't forget his emotionless face," he said.Life at the four other camps was even worse, Jung said. A former North Korean prison guard said only two inmates have ever escaped from the camps known as "total control zones.""Inmates there don't even have time to try to catch and eat rats," An Myeong-chul said in an interview in Seoul.An said he served as a guard and driver at four camps before defecting in 1994.If a female inmate got pregnant, he said, she and her lover would be shot to death publicly. Then, An said, prison guards would cut open her womb, remove the fetus and bury it or feed it to guard dogs.Forced abortions are common, and if babies are born, many are killed, sometimes before the mother's eyes, defectors say. Grandparents also may be punished since whole families are imprisoned."We were repeatedly taught they were the national traitors and we have to eradicate three generations of their families," he said.An, 40, defected after his father, a former Workers' Party official, killed himself after being accused of criticizing the government food rationing system as inefficient. Now working at a bank in South Korea, An said he pushes for the abolishment of North Korea's prison camps as the least he can do to offset his work as a guard.Public executions are not limited to the gulags.Before he was imprisoned, Jung took his eldest daughter, then 8, to the execution of a prisoner in 1997 in the city of Chongjin. She watched solemnly as the inmate's skull was smashed to pieces."She asked me, 'Hey Daddy, is he vomiting?"' Jung recalled, a bitter grimace curling his lips. "I should not have taken her there."

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N. Korea's Kim Jong Il Suffers 'Serious' Setback

SEOUL, South Korea-South Korean intelligence indicates that ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il suffered a serious setback and has been hospitalized, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
The report in the Dong-a Ilbo, citing an unnamed government official, comes a day after Japan's prime minister told lawmakers in Tokyo that Kim is probably in a hospital, though "not unable" to make decisions.The chief of South Korea's National Intelligence Service had told lawmakers Tuesday that Kim was "not physically perfect" but still able to rule the country.The spy agency and South Korea's Unification Ministry said Wednesday they were aware of the Dong-a report, but could not confirm it, saying only that intelligence obtained Sunday suggested "a serious problem" in Kim's health.Kim, 66, reportedly suffered a stroke and underwent brain surgery in August.
North Korea, however, denies he is ill.Speculation about the reclusive leader's health grew when he missed a September military parade marking North Korea's 60th anniversary. He then disappeared from public sight for two months.North Korea has sought in recent weeks to tamp down rumors about Kim's health with news reports and footage portraying the leader as active and able, attending a soccer game and inspecting a military unit. The reports, photos and video are undated.The latest footage, aired Monday and Tuesday on North Korean television, showed Kim hitting the road earlier this year to tour farms and factories and to see the sights across the communist North.The 50-minute montage set to patriotic music showed a sprightly Kim in his trademark jumpsuit and sunglasses in film shot in May, months before his reported stroke.Kim, who rules the Stalinist nation with absolute authority, has not publicly named any successors, leading to concerns about an uncertain future in the impoverished, nuclear-armed nation.Japan's Fuji television reported Monday that Kim's eldest son, Kim Jong Nam, flew recently to Paris to recruit a neurosurgeon to treat his father. South Korea's spy chief Kim Sung-ho also said the son was believed to have traveled to France recently.The French weekly Le Point said on its Web site Tuesday that French neurosurgeon Francois-Xavier Roux, who is a close friend of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, was traveling to North Korea to give medical care to Kim.But Roux denied Wednesday that he was on a secret mission to North Korea. Reached by The Associated Press on his cell phone, the physician said he was in Beijing for a meeting of neurosurgeons — "nothing extraordinary.""If I was at Kim Jong Il's bedside, I wouldn't be answering the phone," Roux said. "I am in Beijing. I am staying in Beijing."Roux told the AP that his trip to China had nothing to do with Kim. He blamed the confusion on "a Japanese TV station (that) has done some brainwashing, some manipulation," apparently referring to the Fuji television report.

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Somali Islamists say will not observe peace deal

MOGADISHU-A powerful Somali Islamist group that boycotted U.N.-brokered peace talks said Monday it would not respect a ceasefire reached over the weekend until all Ethiopian troops backing the government had left the country.
The hardline Islamist Shabaab faction, which launches attacks on government positions almost every day, said the agreement signed between the government and the more moderate but exiled Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) Islamist group was only a ploy to splinter the opposition.
Sunday's deal was reached in neighboring Djibouti after the government agreed to an opposition demand to ensure the exit of Ethiopian troops, which joined Somali government forces to push Islamists out of Mogadishu in late 2006."Fighting will go on in Mogadishu and we shall not stop until all foreign troops leave our country," said Sheikh Muktar Robow Abu Mansoor, a spokesman for al Shabaab."The Djibouti conference is useless because it was meant only to divide the Islamists," he told a news conference in Mogadishu.Under the ceasefire pact, Ethiopian troops should start re-locating from parts of Mogadishu and the garrison town of Baladwayne on November 21. A "second phase" of withdrawal would be completed within three months, but the deal did not say by when all Ethiopian troops would have to have left the country.The plan calls for a 10,000-strong security force jointly set up by the government and the opposition to fill the security vacuum left by the Ethiopian soldiers."Islamists fighters and government soldiers will never be put together and positioned at the bases that Ethiopian troops will leave," Mansoor said.Addis Ababa said it backed the deal requiring its soldiers to leave the Horn of Africa country."The agreement reached in Djibouti, between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS), is in line with our policy of orderly withdrawal," foreign ministry spokesman Wahade Belay said."Ethiopia will implement the decisions reached by the two parties in Djibouti Sunday."Ethiopian troops helped Somali government forces expel Islamists from the capital in 2006, ending their six-month rule of most of the south. But Islamist fighters regrouped to launch an insurgency from early 2007 that has killed at least 10,000 civilians and displaced about 1 million people.As Somali politicians arrived in Nairobi Monday ahead of a meeting of the east African inter-governmental bloc IGAD, regional leaders were expected to press the Somali government to allow some power-sharing with opposition leaders."Whether of moderate views or no views, we want all of them to be part-and-parcel of the leadership of the country because divided they won't get anywhere," Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said ahead of the IGAD summit.Somalia has suffered 17 years of civil conflict since warlords toppled a military dictator.
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U.S. Military Hands Over Southern Province to Iraqis

KUT,Iraq-The U.S. military on Wednesday handed over security responsibilities for the southern province of Wasit to Iraqi authorities in a move that signals the growing capabilities of the country's fledgling security forces.Wasit province is the 13th of Iraq's 18 provinces to return to full government control. Iraqi authorities are now in charge of security throughout the mostly Shiite south of Iraq.U.S. forces will remain in the mostly Shiite province to assist the Iraqis when needed.Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie lauded Wasit's Iraqi security forces when he addressed the handover ceremony in the provincial capital Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad."Security forces in Wasit from the police and army have reached a reliable level of training and skill that they are able to take over security responsibility in the province." he said.Wasit borders Iran and was a stronghold of militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army before U.S.-backed Iraqi forces cracked down on the militia this year.The No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, told the handover ceremony that Wasit seven months ago saw a weekly average of up to 18 attacks but now goes for weeks without an incident.U.S. and Iraqi forces have been jointly seeking to shut down arms smuggling routes from Iran that use Wasit as a transit point before the weapons are taken elsewhere in Iraq. The weapons are thought to be going to Shiite militant groups."The security conditions in Wasit province greatly affect the security of Baghdad and many other parts of the country." said Austin. "In the last few years, enemies have attempted to move their weapons and explosives through this province to attack Iraqi security forces and coalition forces in other parts of the country."The Wasit handover came one day after the government authorized Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to reopen negotiations with the United States over the draft of security agreement that would allow U.S. forces to stay in Iraq through 2011.Critics say the draft does not go far enough in protecting Iraqi sovereignty, and major Shiite politicians argue it stands little chance of approval in parliament in its current form.The U.S. has suggested it may not be ready to offer more concessions.

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Pakistan Tells U.S. to Stop Missile Strikes

ISLAMABAD,Pakistan-Pakistan's government summoned the U.S. ambassador on Wednesday to urge an immediate halt to missile strikes on suspected militant hide-outs near the Afghan border.Missile attacks have killed at least two senior Al Qaeda commanders in Pakistan earlier this year, putting some pressure on extremist groups accused of planning attacks in Afghanistan-and perhaps terror strikes in the West.However, a marked uptick in their frequency has badly strained America's seven-year alliance with Pakistan, where rising violence is exacerbating economic problems gnawing at the nuclear-armed Islamic republic's stability.Having called in U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson on Wednesday, "a strong protest was lodged on the continued missile attacks by U.S. drones inside Pakistani territory," a Foreign Ministry statement said.The attacks were resulting in the loss of "precious lives and property" and "undermine public support for the government's counterterrorism policies," the statement said. "It was emphasized that such attacks were a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and should be stopped immediately," it said.American commanders complain that Pakistani forces have not put enough pressure on militants in its remote and impoverished border regions, an area considered a possible hiding place for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri.Reflecting that frustration, U.S. military and CIA drones that patrol the frontier region are believed to have carried out at least 15 strikes since mid-August, including one that killed about 20 people at the home of a Taliban commander on Monday.The United States rarely confirms or denies involvement.Lawmakers on Monday passed a resolution condemning the attacks and calling on the government to take "more effective measures" to stop them.The Foreign Ministry said it gave a copy of the resolution to Patterson on Wednesday.
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Suspected U.S. strike in Pakistan kills 20: militant

ISLAMABAD-Missiles from a suspected U.S. drone aircraft killed up to 20 militants in a Pakistani region on the Afghan border on Monday, officials said, hours before Afghan and Pakistani tribal and political leaders met to discuss peace.Violence has surged in both Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent months, raising fears about the future for both countries at the heart of the U.S.-led global campaign against militancy. The violence has strained ties between U.S. allies Afghanistan and Pakistan, with Afghanistan complaining Pakistan has not done enough to stop Taliban fighters infiltrating from sanctuaries in its northwestern Pashtun lands.Deteriorating Afghan security has frustrated the United States and led to a string of U.S. strikes on militant targets in Pakistan, angering Islamabad, which says the attacks bolster support for Islamist militants.The violence in Pakistan has also unnerved investors and exacerbated an economic crisis which is expected to force the country to seek International Monetary Fund help within days.The latest suspected U.S. missile strikes were on two houses in the town of Shakai in South Waziristan, in a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud."They were very accurate. The missiles struck rooms where the guests were having dinner. None survived," a militant said by telephone. "We've recovered 20 bodies," said the militant, who declined to be identified.The Pentagon said it had no information on the drone strike.Mehsud is Pakistan's most notorious militant commander, blamed for a string of suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan and the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto last year.He also supports Taliban militants battling U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.Pakistan officials said a low-level Pakistani Taliban commander who had links with veteran Afghan militant commander Jalaluddin Haqqani was killed in the strike.Also killed were some foreign militants who had attended the funeral of a younger brother of Mehsud, Yahya Mehsud, an intelligence official said.The younger Mehsud, who was not a member of his brother's militant group, was shot by unidentified gunmen at the weekend.
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