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

Saturday, March 14, 2009

TERROR WATCH:Bin Laden Says Israel's Gaza Offensive Is a 'Holocaust'

CAIRO-Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden called Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip a "holocaust" and lashed out at Arab governments that he said failed to stop the bloodshed in an audio recording broadcast Saturday.Bin Laden, whose message was released in excerpts on Al-Jazeera TV, called Arab leaders hypocrites and accused them of sacrificing the Palestinians in Gaza and collaborating with Israel. The three-week offensive, which ended on Jan. 18, killed about 1,300 Palestinians, according to Palestinian human rights groups."It was clear that some of the Arab leaders have collaborated with the Crusader-Zionist alliance against our people, those whom America calls the moderate leaders," said bin Laden. "We must disown ourselves from all those" governments.He did not mention any governments by name in the brief excerpts, but Egypt, in particular, drew criticism during the offensive for not opening its border with Gaza to more aid shipments and humanitarian cases.
Both Israel and Egypt have closed their borders with Gaza since the Islamic militant group Hamas violently seized control of the Palestinian territory in June 2007. The closure deepened economic hardship in the already impoverished strip, home to 1.4 million Palestinians.It was bin Laden's second audio message on the Gaza offensive since January, when he urged Muslims to launch a jihad against Israel. It was not possible to verify the message's authenticity. A spokesman for Al-Jazeera refused to say how the network obtained the recording.The terror leader again urged Muslims to fight Israel."The Gaza holocaust, amid this prolonged embargo, is an important historic event and a catastrophe that shows the necessity of distinguishing Muslims from hypocrites," he said."It is not right that our situation after Gaza will be as it used to be before. There should be serious work and preparation for jihad to fulfill righteousness and defeat evil."
As in the days of Noah...

Cell Phone Tracking Can Locate Terrorists - But Only Where It's Legal

Technology that tracks millions of 911 calls from cell phones in the United States every month is being deployed in Middle Eastern and Asian-Pacific countries to track terror suspects-but legal obstacles prevent widespread usage in the U.S., and some critics say this hampers authorities from tracking suspected terrorists and other dangerous criminals on American soil.
Location intelligence,or LOCINT,lets investigators locate a cell phone within 50 meters -meaning if a suspect is carrying a cell phone and authorities know his number, they can follow his "digital footprint"wherever he goes.Had the technology been in use during the terror attacks in Mumbai in November, authorities could have used it to identify every cell phone operating in the vicinity of the attacks, potentially cutting off the terrorists' main line of communication.LOCINT's inventor, a Pennsylvania-based company named TruePosition, says the system could also prove vital in investigating a terror bombing in which a device is triggered by a call or text message originating from a mobile phone.It could also create a "geo-fence" to protect America's borders."When you establish a geo-fence, anytime a mobile device enters the territory, our system will be alerted and provide a message to the customer," said Victor Li, TruePosition's vice president of marketing. "We realize that this has a lot of value to law enforcement agencies outside of search and rescue missions. It gives rise to a whole host of new solutions for national security."Li said the innovation is rooted in a sophisticated technology called Uplink Time Difference of Arrival (U-TDOA), which uses cell towers to "triangulate" a phone's location in any environment-even if the cellular phone does not have a Global Positioning System that can offer location accuracy to within roughly 30 meters."GPS doesn't work well in urban areas and it works very poorly in indoor environments," Li told FOXNews.com. "When life is at stake and every minute counts, GPS is just not the right technology."Using more than 75,000 location measurement units nationwide, TruePosition also uses its U-TDOA technology to locate an average of more than 5 million 911 calls in the United States per month, or more than 165,000 per day on AT&T and T-Mobile networks.Company officials say no other mobile intelligence gathering database system can provide such a "unique solution" to enable private enterprises and government agencies to protect citizens and combat crime.But the U.S. Constitution prevents LOCINT from being used unchecked in the United States. In many cases, law enforcers must obtain a judge's warrant before pinpointing the location of a cell phone or tracking its owner...
By Joshua Rhett Miller
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As in the days of Noah...

Iranian president declares his country a space and nuclear power...

TEHRAN, March 13 (RIA Novosti)Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday that pressure from Western powers trying to keep Iran in economic isolation have in fact spurred the country to become a space and nuclear power."Had you not been bad-tempered and blocked the way, the Iranian nation would not have been present in space, and would not have become a nuclear power," Fars news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying at the inauguration ceremony of a natural gas deposit in the Bushehr province.Iran put its first communications satellite, Omid (Hope), into a near-Earth orbit on February 2. The research satellite was carried into orbit by a home-made launch vehicle, Safir (Messenger). Iranian Communications Minister Mohammad Soleimani earlier said that the country's scientists were working on the creation of four new satellites to be placed into near-Earth orbit.The Iranian president said Western powers are unable to stop Iran's technological and scientific progress with their "spiteful actions." He also called the international economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program a "grave blunder.""Of course, we believe that the Iranian nation can tread the path to progress under God's mercy," he said.Western powers led by the United States, along with Israel, have accused Tehran of attempting to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology for their delivery.Iran says it needs its nuclear program for electric power generation, and its missile program for space exploration.
As in the days of Noah...

Report:Cuba,Venezuela could host Russian bombers

MOSCOW-A Russian Air Force chief said Saturday that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has offered an island as a temporary base for strategic Russian bombers, the Interfax news agency reported. The chief of staff of Russia's long range aviation, Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, also said Cuba could be used to base the aircraft, Interfax reported.The Kremlin, however, said the situation was hypothetical."The military is speaking about technical possibilities, that's all," Alexei Pavlov, a Kremlin official, told The Associated Press."If there will be a development of the situation, then we can comment," he said.Zhikharev said Chavez had offered "a whole island with an airdrome, which we can use as a temporary base for strategic bombers," the agency reported."If there is a corresponding political decision, then the use of the island...by the Russian Air Force is possible."Interfax reported he said earlier that Cuba has air bases with four or five runways long enough for the huge bombers and could be used to host the long-range planes.Two Russian bombers landed in Venezuela last year in what experts said was the first Western Hemisphere touchdown of Russian military craft since the end of the Cold War. Cuba has never permanently hosted Russian or Soviet strategic aircraft. But Soviet short-range bombers often made stopovers there during the Cold War.Russia resumed long-range bomber patrols in 2007 after a 15-year hiatus.Independent military analyst Alexander Golts said from a strategic point of view there was nothing for Russia to gain from basing long-range craft within relatively short range of U.S. shores."It has no military sense. The bombers don't need any base. This is just a retaliatory gesture," Golts said, saying Russia wanted to hit back after U.S. ships patrolled Black Sea waters.Moscow and the new U.S. administration of President Barack Obama have appeared to want to mend their relations, which reached a post-Cold War low last year when Russia's invasion of U.S. ally Georgia compounded disputes on security and democracy.U.S. plans initiated under former President George W. Bush to position defense missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic had particularly irked Russia, which has welcomed his successor's apparently more cautious approach to the divisive issue.Venezuela and Cuba, traditionally fierce U.S. foes, have close political and energy relations with Russia.
By DAVID NOWAK, Asssociated Press Writer
As in the days of Noah...

NAU WATCH:Obama reverses opposition to Mexican trucks;White House reacts to diplomatic pressure with vow to retain program

One day after signing the $410 billion omnibus funding bill into law, along with provisions ending the Department of Transportation's Mexican truck demonstration project, the Obama administration has announced intentions to restart the program as soon as possible.Debbie Mesloh, a spokeswoman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, told the Associated Press Obama has asked the office to work with Congress, the DOT, the State Department and Mexican officials to come up with legislation to create "a new trucking project that will meet the legitimate concerns" of Congress and the U.S. under the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.The Obama administration's determination to see Mexican long-haul rigs roll throughout the U.S. is a setback for labor unions, including the Teamsters, who supported Obama in the 2008 presidential election, in part on his promise to renegotiate NAFTA to preserve U.S. jobs.The sharp policy reversal will also be a blow to many Democrats in Congress, including Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., who fought hard for the past two years to stop the project out of concerns that Mexican trucks do not conform with U.S. safety regulations. After Tuesday's vote in the Senate to pass the funding bill with language ending the truck project, the Mexican government put immediate pressure on the Obama administration to reinstate approval for Mexican trucks to operate throughout the U.S. "Mexico still believes that the United States' noncompliance on this issue, more than 14 years overdue, is a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement," Mexican Embassy spokesman Ricardo Alday told the AP.Alday insisted Mexico is willing to work with Congress and the U.S. "in finding a solution that honors its international obligation."The Mexican truck issue became rancorous over the past two years as Bush administration Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters fought off repeated efforts by Congress to confine Mexican trucks to a narrow 20-mile-wide commercial area north of the southern border.WND reported that after the truck project began, an examination of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration database revealed hundreds of safety violations by Mexican long-haul rigs on U.S. roads.The contention of opponents has been that Mexican trucks and truck drivers do not reliably meet U.S. standards.
As WND reported, in a contentious Senate hearing last March, Dorgan got Peters to admit that Mexican drivers were being designated at the border as "proficient in English" even though they could explain U.S. traffic signs only in Spanish.In the tense hearing, Dorgan accused Peters of being "arrogant" and in reckless disregard of a congressional vote to stop the truck project by taking funds away. As WND reported, opposition in the House was led by DeFazio, who in September 2007 accused the Bush administration of having a "stealth plan" to allow Mexican long-haul rigs on U.S. roads."This administration [of President George W. Bush] is hell-bent on opening our borders," DeFazio then said, "but has failed to require that Mexican drivers and trucks meet the same safety and security standards as U.S. drivers and trucks."Previously, Peters had argued the wording of the Dorgan amendment did not prohibit the Transportation Department from stopping a Mexican truck project already under way, even if the measure prohibited DOT from starting any new project.Despite strong congressional opposition, the Department of Transportation under President Bush had announced it planned in its final months to extend the truck project for another two years – an attempt to force the incoming Obama administration to comply.
By Jerome Corsi
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As in the days of Noah...

Obama's Poll Numbers Are Falling to Earth

It is simply wrong for commentators to continue to focus on President Barack Obama's high levels of popularity, and to conclude that these are indicative of high levels of public confidence in the work of his administration. Indeed,a detailed look at recent survey data shows that the opposite is most likely true. The American people are coming to express increasingly significant doubts about his initiatives, and most likely support a different agenda and different policies from those that the Obama administration has advanced. Polling data show that Mr. Obama's approval rating is dropping and is below where George W. Bush was in an analogous period in 2001. Rasmussen Reports data shows that Mr. Obama's net presidential approval rating-which is calculated by subtracting the number who strongly disapprove from the number who strongly approve-is just six, his lowest rating to date.Overall, Rasmussen Reports shows a 56%-43% approval, with a third strongly disapproving of the president's performance.This is a substantial degree of polarization so early in the administration. Mr. Obama has lost virtually all of his Republican support and a good part of his Independent support, and the trend is decidedly negative.A detailed examination of presidential popularity after 50 days on the job similarly demonstrates a substantial drop in presidential approval relative to other elected presidents in the 20th and 21st centuries. The reason for this decline most likely has to do with doubts about the administration's policies and their impact on peoples' lives.There is also a clear sense in the polling that taxes will increase for all Americans because of the stimulus, notwithstanding what the president has said about taxes going down for 95% of Americans. Close to three-quarters expect that government spending will grow under this administration.Recent Gallup data echo these concerns. That polling shows that there are deep-seated, underlying economic concerns. Eighty-three percent say they are worried that the steps Mr. Obama is taking to fix the economy may not work and the economy will get worse. Eighty-two percent say they are worried about the amount of money being added to the deficit. Seventy-eight percent are worried about inflation growing, and 69% say they are worried about the increasing role of the government in the U.S. economy...
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As in the days of Noah...

UPDATE: Sales of guns, ammo still high; 'Hoarding' of ammunition since Obama election created shortage...

A Ruger .380, a popular concealed-carry weapon, is seen Thursday with .380 (left), 9 mm, .45 and .40 caliber cartridges. The gun sells for $329. SHERRY BROWN/Tulsa World
Four months after the election of President Barack Obama, firearms and ammunition sales in Tulsa remain at a fever pitch.Popular self-protection ammunition is often sold out at local stores, weapons are flying off shelves and the state reports an 87 percent increase in concealed carry permit applications for February 2009 over February 2008. "People are hoarding. They're creating a shortage," Jim Prall at Sports World on 41st Street said of ammunition sales. "We've sold more ammunition in the last three months than we sold last year." Gun sales spiked in November with the election of Barack Obama and Democrats adding to their majority in Congress. But local gun dealers say the spike is turning into a steady climb with political worries about gun rights as well as worries about the economy and potential for increased crime. Prall said his store planned ahead for the increase, having seen a similar spike after Bill Clinton was elected, but the previous jump in sales pales in comparison to what's happening now."Most we're selling now we got back in September, but we bought pallets then where normally we wouldn't have ordered that much." The surprise sales come with .380 caliber semi- automatic pistols. A relatively small self-protection weapon, it's not one that people typically fire in great quantity at the firing range, Prall said. Yet, the ammunition is now hard to find. "Nobody would have predicted that," he said."What's happened is everybody is afraid because the Democrats are anti-gun," said David Stone, president of Dong's Guns and Ammo on East Admiral Place. Internet chatter about bills in Congress that would create additional taxes on firearms and ammunition components, require strict licensing and ban more types of so-called "assault weapons" add to the concern, Stone said."That's just driving everyone into panic mode," he said."We're selling 10 times the ammo we used to." Similar bills have come up in Congress before, but few have advanced."We ran completely out here of 9 mm and .380," said Johny Mathews, product and service manager at the U.S. Shooting Sports Academy on East 66th Street North."We were begging, borrowing and stealing from wherever." Concealed-carry classes at the academy are booked through April."We used to do 15-person classes, and now we do 24 because of the demand," he said. Mathews believes that politics are partly to blame, but the economy also has people worried."It's 50/50, I think" he said."When people lose jobs and get desperate, good people can sometimes do bad things. People hear more about home invasions, robberies, and they think it will only get worse. Then they're afraid they might lose their guns or ammo, so they stock up." Sales are so intense that Stone has limited sales of .380 ammo to one box per customer at Dong's. He has .380-caliber handguns for sale, and likes to be able to sell ammunition to whoever buys a gun, he said. A shipment of 10 Ruger .380 LCP handguns was sold in 24 hours this week-seven the first day, three the next."Last week I had 28 boxes of .380, rationed to one per person, and it was gone in three days," Stone said. Academy Sporting Goods stores also are low on .380 ammo."The other day we got 16 boxes of .380 and a guy came in first thing and bought all 16," said Jon Ide, hunting and fishing sales associate at the 41st Street store."A few people are doing all the buying, and it's the people who are trying to just get a box or two that can't find any." The increased sales comes with an increase in Oklahomans seeking concealed-carry permits. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation pulled in additional help last month so it could process concealed-carry permit applications within the required 90 days, according to the supervisor of the self-defense licensing unit. Unit workers do not release their names. The 87.2 percent increase for February 2009 over the same month last year was partially due to renewal applications for permits issued three and five years ago. But new applications have steadily risen in the past three years, and increased markedly since November, she said. She couldn't share the monthly breakdown on numbers, but as an indication of the volume said the state issued a total of 18,510 permits in 2008. The bureau's annual reports show the state issued 16,426 permits in 2007 and 9,529 in 2006. There are 75,525 valid active concealed-carry permits in Oklahoma, she said.
By Kelly Bostian
As in the days of Noah...

NWO WATCH:Home Law Raises Concern:Sellers Will Be Required To Provide Thumbprint Before Deal Is Approved

CHICAGO (CBS)Real estate certainly has its risks and fraud is a growing problem, but now there's a new law that's supposed to protect buyers. As CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli reports the new law will also place an unusual burden on the seller.Fingerprinting is something we often associate with crime.So the fact that Cook County home sellers-and homeowners across the state-will soon have to provide a thumb print left some people shocked."I wouldn't like that at all. I don't think that's necessary," said Chicagoan Donald Hayes."I don't know what I think about that. Not very good, I think", said Jenny Armstrong of Lake Villa.The new law, which is set to go into effect June 1, 2009, will force anyone selling property in Cook County to provide a thumbprint from their right hand."No more so than any law abiding citizen walking down the sidewalk should be fingerprinted; just for selling my house, that's ridiculous," said Gerald Cain of Land Acquisitions, Inc.Cain has been in the real estate consulting business for decades. He says the law is intrusive and threatens to create fraud when it's designed to prevent it.Cain has been notarizing documents for more than a quarter century, but he says unless the fingerprint rule is revoked, he plans to get out of the business."I would probably just quit; liability for me is too much," Cain said.Joseph Rogul of the Professional National Title Network isn't worried about the law and rather welcomes it."We're in favor of it. Fraud has been a big problem for title companies like us. We don't think it will add too much of a burden on us," said Rogul.Rogul says consumers will likely have to pay a little more, but he believes the benefits will outweigh the costs,because widespread fraud in the industry means widespread costs, which are typically passed on to the consumer. The law specifies that consumers can be charged up to $25 to cover fingerprint processing costs. Unless it's reintroduced, the thumbprint rule is set to expire in 2013.Cain is calling on lawmakers to repeal the provision.
By Mike Puccinelli
As in the days of Noah....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Democratic Congresswoman Defends $500,000 Earmark for ‘Poop to Power’

CEO: 45% of world's wealth destroyed...

NEW YORK-Private equity company Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) CEO Stephen Schwarzman said on Tuesday that up to 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed by the global credit crisis."Between 40 and 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half," Schwarzman told an audience at the Japan Society. "This is absolutely unprecedented in our lifetime."But the U.S. government is committed to the preservation of financial institutions, he said, and will do whatever it takes to restart the economy.U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner plans to unfreeze credit markets through a new program that will combine public and private capital in a fund that would buy bank toxic assets of up to $1 trillion."In all likelihood, that will have the private sector buy troubled assets to clean the banks out in terms of providing leverage... so that we can get more money back into the banking system," Schwarzman said.He expects the private sector to end up making "some good money doing that," but added there were complex issues on how to price toxic assets.He put part of the blame for the financial crisis to credit rating agencies."What's pretty clear is that, if you were looking for one culprit out of the many, many, many culprits, you have to point your finger at the rating agencies," he said.Rating companies have been the focus of intense criticism for their role in granting top "AAA" ratings for complex bonds that later plummeted in value, resulting in subsequent rating cuts, in many cases to junk status. "Once you bought into...the Triple A paper and it turned out to be paper that was in many situations going to end up defaulting, then you really had the makings of a global problem," he said. Schwarzman said problems were then exacerbated by mark-to- market accounting rules.Those rules ask banks and other financial institutions to price assets at a value related to how they would be sold in the open market.Blackstone reported a quarterly loss in February after writing down the value of its portfolio and eliminated its fourth-quarter dividend.Asked where was a good place to invest, Schwarzman said it made sense to buy cyclical names, which are less exposed to the economic cycles.He said investors also may find value in debt products, including "senior layers of certain securitizations," where investors can see 15 percent to 20 percent returns, he said.Geographically, he said there were "pockets of strength" in China, which is committed to getting to an 8 percent growth level, and in India, where the economy is slowing but banks are in good shape.
(Editing by Andre Grenon)
By Megan Davies and Walden Siew
As in the days of Noah...

China "WORRIED" about Safety of American Treasuries

BEIJING-China's premier expressed concern Friday about its holdings of Treasuries and other U.S. debt, appealing to Washington to safeguard their value, and said Beijing is ready to expand its stimulus if economic conditions worsen. Premier Wen Jiabao noted that Beijing is the biggest foreign creditor to the United States and called on Washington to see that its response to the global slowdown does not damage the value of Chinese holdings."We have made a huge amount of loans to the United States. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I'm a little bit worried," Wen said at a news conference following the closing of China's annual legislative session."I would like to call on the United States to honor its words, stay a credible nation and ensure the safety of Chinese assets."Analysts estimate that nearly half of China's $2 trillion in currency reserves are in U.S. Treasuries and notes issued by other government-affiliated agencies.Wen's comments foreshadowed possible appeals to President Barack Obama,who will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao at a London summit of leaders of the G-20 group of major economies on April 2 to discuss the global financial crisis.Washington is counting on China to continue buying Treasuries to fund its massive stimulus package. Last month, visiting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought to reassure Beijing that government debt would remain a reliable investment.China's foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, said Wednesday during a visit to Washington that Beijing wants to "strengthen macroeconomic policy dialogue"with the Obama administration."They are worried about forever-rising deficits, which may devalue Treasuries by pushing interest rates higher," said JP Morgan economist Frank Gong. "Inside China there has been a lot of debate about whether they should continue to buy Treasuries."The comments come as finance ministers and central bankers of the G-20 gather in London this weekend to discuss the crisis and possible remedies.U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is pressing for a new coordinated stimulus but European governments are reluctant to take on more debt before they see how current plans are working. The Europeans want to emphasize the need for greater regulation of markets, including a crackdown on tax havens and increased control over hedge funds.In Beijing, Wen expressed confidence China can emerge from its slump "at an early date," and said the government is ready to expand its 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus to boost growth in the world's third-largest economy.Communist leaders worry about rising job losses and possible unrest amid a trade slump that saw Chinese exports fall 25.7 percent in February from a year earlier. They have promised to spend heavily to create jobs and boost exports."We already have our plans ready to tackle even more difficult times, and to do that we have reserved adequate ammunition," Wen said."That means that at any time we can introduce new stimulus policies."In nearby Japan, Prime Minister Taro Aso called Friday for a fresh stimulus to help lift the world's second-largest economy out of "an unprecedented economic crisis." The comments helped spark a rally in Japan's stock market, where the Nikkei 225 stock index surged 5.2 percent.China's Wen and other officials point to rising bank lending, power demand and other signs the stimulus is taking effect. But growth in retail sales is weakening, suggesting it has yet to spur private sector spending and investment, which analysts say will be key to its success.Wen said Beijing can meet its 2009 growth target of 8 percent, despite skepticism by private sector economists, who expect as little as 5 percent. That would be the strongest of any major country but could lead to more waves of job cuts."I really believe we will be able to walk out of the shadow of the financial crisis at an early date," he said. "After this trial, I believe the Chinese economy will show greater vitality."The premier promised to focus on job creation and give more help to smaller companies, which he said generate 90 percent of Chinese new employment. "We will pay all attention possible to this issue and we will never overlook this issue," he said.Wen said Beijing wants the London summit to focus on the plight of poor countries."We must see to it that we show concern for developing countries,and help developing countries-the least-developed ones in particular-become an important topic on the agenda," he said.
By JOE McDONALD--AP Business Writer
As in the days of Noah...


While publicly identifying with the nation's have-nots, the Obama administration has been cultivating the Beltway social elite behind the scenes.Earlier this year, the Obama administration invited top editors of three of Washington's local luxury lifestyle magazines-Capitol File, DC magazine and Washington Life-to a meeting where they discussed, among other things, how President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama can embrace Washington's glittery social scene.The White House is "identifying taste makers in order to help create grass-roots interest in some of the programs they are working on," said Washington Life's Michael Clements, who attended the meeting. "They wanted to introduce themselves. It was certainly a departure from previous administrations."
The Obamas "are trying to push the vibrancy of Washington night life to the forefront," said Tony Hudgins, the associate publisher of DC magazine, who also attended the meeting, organized by Michael Strautmanis, a deputy to Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
A White House aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity dismissed the notion that a publicly populist Obama White House is privately courting socialites, contending that the meeting was held to explore how the Obamas can "engage in the community." The aide also pointed out that similar meetings were held with representatives of sports, entertainment and philanthropic organizations in Washington.The outreach to the luxury lifestyle glossies, which cater to the region's highest socioeconomic strata with knowing coverage of everything from the choicest real estate and most exclusive parties to the plushest resorts and spas, is not the only recent evidence that the Obama administration is eager to forge ties with the nation's social and style arbiters.Last month, White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, who has said she intends to make the White House the "people's" mansion, was rubbing shoulders with the kinds of people who land in the pages of People at New York Fashion Week.A chic and soignee Ms. Rogers was photographed seated next to fashion high priestess Anna Wintour at the Carolina Herrera fashion show, where a design bears a price tag in the thousands.White House sources have been cited in the press explaining that Ms. Rogers was on a mission to recruit young artists and new ideas for White House entertaining.But a White House aide speaking on the condition of anonymity disclosed to The Times that Ms. Rogers made her trip to New York for Fashion Week on her own time and at her own expense.
By Stephanie Green
As in the days of Noah...


--Obama Declares: Economic crisis 'not as bad as we think'...
As in the days of Noah....

FBI Raids Obama Official's Former Office

A District of Columbia employee and a technology consultant have been hit with corruption charges after a raid on the former office of a city official who now works for President Barack Obama...

Obama's chief information officer on leave after FBI raid

WASHINGTON-An employee of the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer and a private contractor were charged with corruption Thursday after an FBI raid at the former office of one of President Obama's appointees,Vivek Kundra. Kundra is on leave from his White House job until further details of the case become known, a White House source tells the Associated Press.Kundra has not been linked to Thursday's raid.Yusuf Acar, 40, acting chief security officer of the D.C. Office of the CTO, was charged with bribery of a public official, money laundering, wire fraud and conflict of interest.Acar was ordered held without bond until a hearing Tuesday.FBI agents found $70,000 in Acar's Northwest D.C. home when they arrested him Thursday morning.Acar, a native of Turkey, is responsible for buying D.C.'s computer equipment and hiring contract workers for various D.C. agencies. Acar, who has been with the agency since December 2004, has an annual salary of $127,468, according to charging documents.Sushil Bansal, President and CEO of Advanced Integrated Technologies Corporation (AITC) and a former D.C. government employee, was charged with bribery of a public official, money laundering, wire fraud and conflict of interest.Bansal, 41, was released but ordered not to engage in overseas financial transactions and had to surrender his passport. Bansal, of Dunn Loring, Va., is due back in court on April 21.Government records show Bansal, a native of India, is not a U.S. citizen and holds an H-1B visa,which is given to foreign workers in specialty occupations. Authorities say Acar and Bansal, along with others, used a variety of schemes to defraud the D.C. government, including billing the District for inventory that was never delivered and billing "ghost" contract employees who never worked.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
By Mark Segraves, WTOP Radio
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Obama admininstration to end use of term 'enemy combatant'

WASHINGTON-The Obama administration is abandoning one of President George W. Bush's key phrases in the war on terrorism: enemy combatant In court filings Friday, the Justice Department said it will no longer use the term to justify holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
Obama still asserts the military's authority to hold detainees at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. But his Justice Department says that authority comes from Congress and the international laws of war, not from the president's own wartime power as Bush had argued.The Obama administration's position came in response to a deadline by U.S. District Judge John Bates,who is overseeing lawsuits of detainees challenging their detention. Bates asked the administration to give its definition of whom the United States may hold as an "enemy combatant."
The filing back's Bush's stance on the authority to hold detainees, even if they were not captured on the battlefield in the course of hostilities. In their lawsuits, detainees have argued that only those who directly participated in hostilities should be held."The argument should be rejected," the Justice Department said in its filing. "Law-of-war principles do not limit the United States' detention authority to this limited category of individuals. A contrary conclusion would improperly reward an enemy that violates the laws of war by operating as a loose network and camouflaging its forces as civilians."Attorney General Eric Holder also submitted a declaration to the court outlining President Barack Obama's efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within a year and determine where to place the 240 people held there. He said there could be "further refinements" to the administration's position as that process goes on. "Promptly determining the appropriate disposition of those detained at Guantanamo Bay is a high priority for the president," Holder wrote.The Justice Department says prisoners can only be detained if their support for al-Qaida, the Taliban or "associated forces" was "substantial." But it does not define the terms."The particular facts and circumstances justifying detention will vary from case to case, and may require the identification and analysis of various analogues from traditional international armed conflicts," the government lawyers wrote. "Accordingly, the contours of the `substantial support' and `associated forces' bases of detention will need to be further developed in their application to concrete facts in individual cases."
By NEDRA PICKLER--Associated Press Writer
As in the days of Noah...

KNOWLEDGE SHALL INCREASE:Brain Scans Can Read Memories,Scientists Find

Humans create memories of locations in physical or virtual space as they move around-and it all shows up on brain scans.Researchers tracked brain activity related to "spatial memory" as volunteers moved about inside a virtual reality setup. Their new study challenges previous scientific thinking by showing that memories are recorded in regular patterns. "Surprisingly, just by looking at the brain data we could predict exactly where they were in the virtual reality environment," said Eleanor Maguire, a neuroscientist at the University College London in the U.K. "In other words, we could 'read' their spatial memories. "Maguire and her colleagues focused on the hippocampus, or a small part of the brain that deals with navigation, memory recall and imagining future events. Neurons known as "place cells" activate in the hippocampus and inform people of where they are as they move around.The researchers used an fMRI scanner to detect blood flow changes in the brain, and study the activity of the place cells as a volunteer controlled movement inside the virtual environment. They then ran the results through a computer algorithm developed by Demis Hassabis, another neuroscientist at University College London.Earlier studies with rats had also focused on the hippocampus and measured activity at the level of dozens of neurons at most.But that research had suggested that the brain did not record memory in any sort of regular pattern-a trend that this latest study may overturn. Maguire and Hassabis examined thousands of neurons as opposed to just dozens, which allowed them to pick out broader patterns."By looking at activity over tens of thousands of neurons, we can see that there must be a functional structure-a pattern-to how these memories are encoded," Maguire said. "Otherwise, our experiment simply would not have been possible to do."Mind-reading research has grown increasingly sophisticated over the years. Another recent study predicted people's preference for one of two drinks with 80 percent accuracy. And earlier findings showed that people's brains reflect abnormal activity up to half a minute before making errors.The latest findings on memory could lead to many more studies that examine how actual memories end up encoded across our brain cells, Maguire said.She and Hassabis want to look beyond spatial memories to see if brain scans can pick up patterns in our memories of the past, as well as visions of the future. Such work could also have clinical implications for understanding diseases that attack memory."Understanding how we as humans record our memories is critical to helping us learn how information is processed in the hippocampus and how our memories are eroded by diseases such as Alzheimer's," added Demis Hassabis.

HONOUR KILLING USA WATCH:New Yorker Accused of Beheading Wife in Honor Killing Pleads "Not Guilty"

BUFFALO, N.Y.-The founder of a Muslim-American television channel has pleaded not guilty to murder in the beheading of his wife.Muzzammil Hassan is charged with second-degree murder for the Feb. 12 death of his wife, Aasiya, at the offices of Bridges TV in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park.The 44-year-old businessman was arraigned Friday morning and ordered held without bail.Aasiya was stabbed multiple times and decapitated.The president of the National Organization for Women's New York chapter has condemned her death as an honor killing-a characterization local victim advocacy groups oppose.The couple launched Bridges TV in 2004, saying they hoped to balance negative portrayals of Muslims.
(Picture left:March 13: Muzzammil Hassan, left, stands with his attorney James Harrington at his arraignment in Erie County Court in Buffalo, N.Y./AP)

PS:I pray justice can be done to Aasiya that was murdered in a horrible barbaric way,and I pray for her children that God will intervene on their behalf being that they are now--orphans--because of this tragedy...
Folks,this is happenning here in our own backyards....
As in the days of Noah...

Argentine Jew:"I Was Beaten for Probing 1994 Terror Bombing"

Claudio Lifschitz, a former legal investigator of the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association.(AP)
Claudio Lifschitz shows the initials AMIA, as the Jewish center is known, carved on his back.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina-A criminal attorney who accused former President Carlos Menem of covering up the nation's worst terrorist attack testified Wednesday that he was kidnapped and tortured last week by masked gunmen seeking information about the case.The apparent abduction of Claudio Lifschitz on Friday has raised new questions about whether powerful people still have something to hide about the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center that killed 85 people.Lifschitz told The Associated Press that he was driving through Buenos Aires with his secretary on Friday when a van cut him off. Three masked gunmen jumped out, put a plastic bag over his head and shoved him into the van, he said.He said the men claimed they were members of the government's SIDE intelligence agency and shouted "don't mess with the SIDE!"He said they carved the initials of the Jewish center-AMIA-on his back, and used a blowtorch to burn a number-309827-onto his left forearm.Lifschitz said he doesn't know the number's significance, but interpreted it as a reminder of Nazi tattoos on concentration camp prisoners."I felt a burning and stinging on my arm. And then I felt my back was burning, since they were slashing my back," he said, showing the scars.Lifschitz could be important to Argentina's long-stymied effort to seek justice in the bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association building, which prosecutors believe was orchestrated by Iranian officials.The initial bombing probe was run by Judge Juan Jose Galeano. As his chief aide, Lifschitz had access to inside information.Six years after the attack, Lifschitz accused Galeano of steering investigators away from evidence that a businessman whose family came from the same village in Syria as Menem's had contact with the bombers, and might have been involved in the bombing itself.Lifschitz has accused Menem, Menem's brother Munir and the head of SIDE at the time, Hugo Anzorreguy, of pressuring Galeano to cover up the trail at the request of this businessman, Kanoore Edul.Lifschitz also has alleged that SIDE agents caught Iranians in Argentina on wiretaps before and after the bombing, but that the recordings had disappeared.Lifschitz told the AP that his kidnappers grilled him about what he knows of SIDE connections to the bombing, as well as the recordings' whereabouts.He said he told them he had no copies to hand over, and that he has only read transcripts of the alleged conversations, but never listened to the tapes.A SIDE spokeswoman told the AP that the intelligence agency had no comment.Lifschitz told the AP he thinks his kidnapping was prompted by declarations he made a day earlier to Judge Ariel Lijo, who is investigating Galeano's handling of the bombing case. Lifschitz said he was dropped off in the street after an hour and immediately made a police report. Police had already been alerted by his secretary.Investigations into the bombing and the alleged coverup have regained momentum.Interpol now has seven Iranians and a Lebanese terror suspect on its most-wanted list in connection with the bombing.Menem has long denied the allegations and accused President Cristina Fernandez and her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, of persecuting him politically.Brought into court Monday for the first time, Menem, 78, refused to testify and instead presented a written statement that prosecutors criticized as vague. Under Argentine law, Menem is obliged to appear in court but can decline to answer questions.Judges have not yet approved charges against the Menems,Edul or Anzorreguy.Alfredo Neuberger, a member of the Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations, called for a full investigation of the "grave and strange" attack on Lifschitz.
by AP
PS:I pray someday the TRUTH will come up and justice can be done on the favor of families,friends and neighbours of all those that were murdered during this infamous terrorist attack.Memen is a shister,a fraud,destroyed Argentina and definitely is responsible for allowing the Iranians to get into the country and move and bomb with total impunity.oh...BTW Menem is a "fake catholic".In reality he is still a muslim...
As in the days of Noah....

U.S. Shoots Down Iranian Drone Flying Over Iraq

An American fighter jet shot down an Iranian drone as it was flying over Iraq, U.S. military sources in Baghdad tell Danger Room.Details of the previously-unreported shoot-down, which occurred last month, are still sketchy.But we do know that American commanders have long accused Tehran of supplying weapons and training to all sorts of Iraqi militant groups.Shi'ite militias fired Iranian rockets at U.S. troops in Iraq, according to the American military; Sunni militias allegedly used Iranian armor-piercing bombs to reduce U.S. vehicles to ribbons.In early 2008, however, the torrent of Iranian weapons into Iraq slowed to a trickle, the U.S. said. And now, the new Obama administration is looking for ways to reach out to the Tehran regime-dangling invitations to international conferences, and offering promises of renewed relations.
Which means the drone incident comes at a particularly sensitive time.Iran has built an array of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. The pneumatically launched Ababil ("Swallow") has a wingspan of more than 10 feet, and cruises at 160 knots, according to Globalsecurity.org. The Mohajer or Misrad ("Migrant") drone is a bit smaller, and slower-flying.Iran has supplied Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group, with both models. Misrad drones flew reconnaissance missions in both November 2004 and April 2005. Then, in 2006, during Hezbollah's war with Israel, the group operated both Misrads and Ababils over Israel's skies. At least one was shot down by Israeli fighter jets.Since then, Tehran claims to have radically upgraded its unmanned fleet. In 2007, Iran said it built a drone with a range of 420 miles.In February, Iran's deputy defense minister claimed its latest UAV could now fly as far as 600 miles-a huge improvement over crude drones like the Misrad, if true. Iran often exaggerates what its weapons can do. But, if this drone really can stay in the air for for that long, the Washington Times notes, "it could soar over every U.S. military installation, diplomatic mission or country of interest in the Middle East." Including those in Iraq.
UPDATE: So I finally got a hold of a spokesman for Multi-National Corps-Iraq.His response:"I believe MNF-I [Multi-National Forces-Iraq-Corps' bosses, basically] is taking the lead on this incident."So then I reached out to MNF-I. A spokesman there wouldn't confirm the shoot-down. Nor would he deny it."We've got nothing for you, Noah," the spokesman said.
[Photo: Globalsecurity.org]
By Noah Shachtman
As in the days of Noah....

GROWING TENSIONS:Japan at Odds with North Korea

Japan May Shoot Down North Korea Rocket

Japan today threatened to shoot down a satellite that North Korea plans to launch early next month if it shows any signs of striking its territory.Tokyo's warning that it would deploy its multibillion-dollar missile defence system raised tensions in the region after North Korea said that it had identified a potential "danger area" near Japanese territory along the rocket's flight path. The regime told the International Maritime Organisation that the missile would be launched during daylight between 4 and 8 April, and that its boosters would fall into the Sea of Japan-about 75 miles (120km) from Japan's north-west coast-and the Pacific Ocean.Officials in Tokyo said they reserved the right to destroy any threatening object in mid-flight, despite North Korean warnings that it would consider such a move an act of war."Under our law, we can intercept any object if it is falling towards Japan, including any attacks on Japan, for our security," Takeo Kawamura, the chief cabinet secretary, told reporters.Despite repeated assurances from Pyongyang that the rocket is a vital part of North Korea's space programme, other countries in the region suspect the hardware is a Taepodong-2 ballistic missile.South Korean intelligence has reported a build-up of activity in recent days near the missile's launch pad at Musudan-ri base on its neighbour's north-east coast.Any missile launch, even one intended to put a satellite into orbit, would represent a snub to the US administration, which has repeatedly invited the communist state to return to negotiations over its nuclear weapons programme.Last month the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, urged the north to cancel the launch, which US officials say would be in violation of a 2006 UN security council resolution.The South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement: "If North Korea goes ahead with the launch, we believe there will be discussions and a response by the security council on the violation of the resolution."The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, said a missile or satellite launch would "threaten the peace and stability in the region."After Japan's transport ministry ordered airlines and shipping companies operating in the area to take precautionary measures, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways said they would alter flight paths on several European and other routes.Speculation has been mounting for weeks that North Korea was about to put its hitherto unreliable missile technology to the test. The regime suffered a setback in 2006 when a Taepodong-2 missile-theoretically capable of reaching Alaska-blew up moments into its flight.Japan has intensified efforts to protect itself against conventional missile attacks since 1998, when the north test-launched a long-range rocket over its territory without warning.In response, Japan and the US have jointly developed a ballistic missile defence system that includes interceptor missiles on board ships and Patriot missiles dotted around Tokyo.But experts believe that a rocket capable of launching a satellite into orbit may be too high to intercept.
By Justin McCurry in Tokyo

As in the days of Noah...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

SC Governor:"USA faces Zimbabwe-Style Economic Collapse if it keeps spending..."

COLUMBIA, South Carolina-The United States faces a Zimbabwe-style economic collapse if it keeps "spending a bunch of money we don't have," South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Wednesday.Sanford, a Republican, has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration's $800 billion stimulus plan. He said he'll turn down about a quarter of his state's $2.8 billion share unless Washington lets him use that money to pay down debt."What you're doing is buying into the notion that if we just print some more money that we don't have and send it to different states, we'll create jobs," he said. "If that's the case, why isn't Zimbabwe a rich place?"Zimbabwe has been in the throes of an economic meltdown ever since the southern African nation embarked on a chaotic land reform program. Its official inflation rate topped 11 million percent in 2008, with its treasury printing banknotes in the trillion-dollar range to keep up with the plummeting value of its currency.But with South Carolina's unemployment rate now the second-highest in the country, state lawmakers will attempt to override Sanford and take the $700 million if he turns it down, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said."They will use the total economic stimulus to stimulate the economy, jump-start it, so we can get out of the ditch we are in as a state and as a nation," Bauer, a fellow Republican, said in a written statement Wednesday.Labor Department figures released Wednesday showed South Carolina's January unemployment rate hit 10.4 percent, second only to Michigan's 11.6 percent.
Sanford is one of several Republican governors who have criticized the nearly $800 billion stimulus package, which passed with minimal GOP support in the Senate and none in the House of Representatives.
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Hold the ‘Catastrophe’: ‘Highly Optimistic’ Obama Says Economy ‘Not as Bad as We Think’

U.S. Warships Head for South China Sea After Standoff

WASHINGTON-A potential conflict was brewing last night in the South China Sea after President Obama dispatched heavily armed American destroyers to the scene of a naval standoff between the U.S. and China at the weekend.Obama’s decision to send an armed escort for U.S. surveillance ships in the area follows the aggressive and co-ordinated manoeuvres of five Chinese boats on Sunday.They harassed and nearly collided with an unarmed American vessel.Washington accused the Chinese ships of moving directly in front of the U.S. Navy surveillance ship Impeccable, forcing its crew to take emergency action, and to deploy a high-pressure water hose to deter the Chinese ships. Formal protests were lodged with Beijing after the incident.On a day that Obama and his senior officials met the Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, in Washington, Beijing showed no sign of backing down. Its military chiefs accused the unarmed U.S. Navy ship of being on a spying mission.The U.S. keeps a close eye on China’s arsenal, including its expanding fleet of submarines in the area. Washington says that the confrontation occurred in international waters, but Beijing claims nearly all the South China Sea as its own, putting it in conflict with five other nations that have claims over different parts of the waters.The episode complicated fragile military relations between the U.S. and China, which appeared to have improved after the two held defence talks in Beijing last month.Obama yesterday urged more military dialogue with China to avoid similar incidents after talks with Mr Yang, the White House said. “The President also stressed the importance of raising the level and frequency of military-to-military dialogue,” it said.
Continue reading at the Times of London
PS:I wonder what in the world is BHO thinking....
As in the days of Noah...

Pelosi Downplays Second Stimulus Package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is taking a wait and see approach to another economic stimulus package.Pelosi said she wants to see the first stimulus package 'play out' before considering a second package...

OBAMA:"Troop Move to Mexican Border under Consideration"

WASHINGTON-President Obama weighed in Wednesday on the escalating drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border, saying that he was looking at possibly deploying National Guard troops to contain the violence but ruled out any immediate military move."We're going to examine whether and if National Guard deployments would make sense and under what circumstances they would make sense," Obama said during an interview with journalists for regional papers, including a McClatchy reporter."I don't have a particular tipping point in mind," he said. "I think it's unacceptable if you've got drug gangs crossing our borders and killing U.S. citizens."Already this year there have been 1,000 people killed in Mexico along the border, following 2008's death toll of 5,800, according to federal officials who credit Mexican President Felipe Calderon for a crackdown on drug cartels.But the spillover on the border-for example, to El Paso from neighboring Ciudad Juarez-has created a political reaction.In a recent visit to El Paso, Texas Gov.Rick Perry called for 1,000 troops to protect the border.Obama was cautious,however. "We've got a very big border with Mexico,"he said."I'm not interested in militarizing the border."The president praised Calderon, "who I believe is really working hard and taking some extraordinary risks under extraordinary pressure to deal with the drug cartels and the corresponding violence that's erupted along the borders."Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., chair of a key subcommittee on border security, will hold a hearing Thursday on Mexican border violence."Last week Mexico sent an additional 3,200 soldiers to the border," Sanchez said in a prepared opening statement for the hearing, "increasing the total number of Mexican soldiers combating drug cartels to more than 45,000."Sanchez chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security's subcommittee on border, maritime and global counterterrorism."It should be noted that over 200 U.S. citizens have been killed in this drug war, either because they were involved in the cartels or were innocent bystanders," she said. "With those concerns in mind, it is essential that the Department of Homeland Security, along with other relevant departments, continue to pursue a contingency plan to address 'spillover' violence along our border."At a hearing this week, Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, who visited Mexico last month as part of a congressional delegation tour, praised the so-called Merida Initiative-a drug cartel fighting agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that provides Mexico with $1.4 billion to control drug trafficking."From helicopters and surveillance planes to non-intrusive inspection equipment, the U.S. investment is intended to provide the hardware necessary for the Mexican government to extend its authority to those remote and hard-to-access parts of the country ravaged by the drug trade," said Granger.That agreement between Calderon and President George W. Bush will be updated, Obama said."We expect to have a comprehensive approach to dealing with these issues of border security that will involve supporting Calderon and his efforts in a partnership, also making sure we are dealing with the flow of drug money and guns south, because it's really a two-way situation there," said Obama."The drugs are coming north, we're sending funds and guns south," he said. "As a consequence, these cartels have gained extraordinary power. Our expectation is to have a comprehensive policy in place in the next few months."
(David Goldstein of the Kansas City Star contributed.)
By Maria Recio McClatchy Newspapers
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PLAYING GOD WATCH:Artificial life "could be created within five years'

Laboratories across the world are closing in on a "second genesis"-an achievement that would be one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time.Prof David Deamer, from California University, said although building a new lifeform from scratch is a daunting task he is confident it can happen in five to 10 years.He said:"The momentum is building-we're knocking at the door."A synthetic, made-to-order living system could produce everything from new drugs to biofuels and greenhouse gas absorbers. Opponents of the controversial research claim the technology could lead to machines becoming "almost human".But there would be no safety issues for a long time as any initial organisms would be very primitive and need large-scale life support in the lab, reports New Scientist.The finishing line could be in sight after geneticists Professor George Church and Dr Michael Jewett, of Harvard Medical School, told a synthetic biology conference in Hong Kong that they had synthetically created part of a cell, called a ribosome.The breakthrough offers hope that they could create an entire cell; something Prof Church believes would be a relatively minor challenge.He said:"There's nothing you'd expect to go wrong - the way we expected things to go wrong with the assembly."However, according to Dr Anthony Forster, of Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, who is also creating a synthetic living cell in a test tube with Prof Church, "until you actually try this you won't know"."Having said that we know cells can do it so we should be able to do it sooner or later." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/sciencenews/4974917/Artificial-life-could-be-created-within-five-years.html
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Astronauts Seek Refuge as Space Junk Threatens Space Station

AP: The crew of the international space station had a close call with space junk. The three astronauts took refuge for 11 minutes Thursday in a Russian escape capsule before returning inside. Officials were worried that the space station might get hit with a piece of space junk.

SISTERS UNITE...!:Executive Order creates White House Council on Women and Girls

President Barack Obama Wednesday paid poignant tributes to the grandmother who raised him and his mother who died of cancer, at the launch of a high-level forum to advise him on women's issues.Obama also held up the life story of his wife and "rock" Michelle and the example of his foe turned ally, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,as he signed an executive order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. "The purpose of this Council is to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly in all matters of public policy," Obama said.The council will meet regularly, he said, and will include Clinton, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Attorney General Eric Holder among other members, Obama said."I sign this order not just as a president, but as a son, a grandson, a husband and a father,"Obama said.He cited the example of his mother, Ann Dunham, who educated herself even while she worried about paying the bills and cared for Obama and his sister as a single parent.Obama also recalled the example of his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who worked hard in the corporate world, but then hit a glass ceiling and saw less qualified men get jobs ahead of her."I've seen Michelle, the rock of the Obama family, juggling work and parenting with more skill and grace than anybody that I know," he said."I had the privilege of participating in a historic campaign with a historic candidate who we now have the privilege of calling Madam Secretary."The new council will work to ensure each government agency is directly orientated to improving the economic status of women and to try to frame policies that establish a balance between work and family.It will also work with the vice president's office and the Justice Department to seek ways to halt violence against women in the United States and abroad, and work to improve women's healthcare.

As in the days of Noah...

NWO WATCH:Nobel-prize winner backs One World Currency

KAZAKH President Nursultan Nazarbayev has won backing for his plan for a single world currency from an intellectual architect of the euro currency, Nobel-prize winner Professor Robert Mundell.Nazarbayev, speaking at an economic forum in the glitzy new capital he has built on the Kazakh steppe, defended his proposal for the "acmetal'' world currency saying it might "look kind of funny'' but was not.And he received intellectual support from the Canadian economist Prof Mundell, who helped lay the intellectual groundwork for Europe's single currency."I must say that I agree with President Nazarbayev on his statement and many of the things he said in his plan, the project he made for the world currency, and I believe I'm right on track with what he's saying,'' Prof Mundell said, adding the idea held "great promise''.Mr Nazarbayev and Prof Mundell urged the Group of 20 leading developed and developing economies to form a working group on the proposal at their summit on the global economic crisis in London on April 2."We should deliver our thoughts and the thoughts of this conference to the leaders of those countries,'' Mr Nazarbayev said, referring to the G8 and G20 nations.Mr Nazarbayev, who has held his post since Soviet times and has seen his oil-rich state hit badly by the crisis, unveiled his proposal last month and said yesterday the UN should oversee the currency's introduction.Though a boost for what might seem an other-worldly plan, Prof Mundell has previously suggested single currencies are only appropriate for countries with similar economies.Mr Nazarbayev's coining of "acmetal'' combines the Greek word "acme,'' meaning peak or best, and "capital.''
Article from: Agence France-Presse
From correspondents in Astana, Kazakhstan http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25173126-12377,00.html
As in the days of Noah...

US-CHINA Tensions Mount


Hu urges staunch defense days after U.S. spat

BEIJING-Chinese President Hu Jintao urged the military to "staunchly defend" national sovereignty in comments published days after a brief confrontation with a U.S. Navy ship.Hu's comments to People's Liberation Army officers, published in the official People's Daily Thursday, did not mention the PLA Navy's run-in Sunday with a U.S. Navy survey ship off the Chinese island province of Hainan.There have been no signs that Beijing wants to expand the dispute, in which China says the U.S. ship violated its sovereignty by monitoring waters in its exclusive economic zone.Washington has said its ship, the Impeccable, was in international waters.Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, visiting Washington, said Wednesday that relations were "at a new starting point and have important opportunities to develop," the ministry website (http://www.fmprc.gov.cn) reported.But Hu, who also serves as Communist Party chief and supreme military leader, made it clear that Beijing does not want to be seen as bowing to others."Vigorously advance modernisation of national defence and the military," Hu said Wednesday, speaking to PLA officers attending the annual session of the Party-run parliament."Staunchly defend national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and provide a powerful support and assurance for protecting national development interests and broad social stability."Hu will have his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama when both leaders attend the G20 summit on the global financial crisis in London next month.
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China to U.S.:"Back Off on Surveillance Missions"

BEIJING-China's Defense Ministry has demanded that the U.S. Navy end surveillance missions off the country's southern coast following a weekend confrontation between an American vessel and Chinese ships.In its first public comment on the Sunday episode, the ministry repeated earlier statements from the Foreign Ministry that the unarmed U.S. ship was operating illegally inside China's exclusive economic zone when it was challenged by three Chinese government ships and two Chinese-flagged trawlers."The Chinese side's carrying out of routine enforcement and safeguarding measures within its exclusive economic zone was entirely appropriate and legal," ministry spokesman Huang Xueping said in a statement faxed overnight to reporters."We demand the United States respect our legal interests and security concerns, and take effective measures to prevent a recurrence of such incidents," Huang said.Despite the sharp remarks, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met in a private meeting Wednesday in Washington D.C. to say the countries agreed on the need to reduce tensions and avoid a repeat of the confrontation.But neither side yielded in their conflicting versions of events, even as they prepare for a much-anticipated first meeting between Hu and President Barack Obama at next month's G20 summit in London.The U.S. says that Navy mapping ship USNS Impeccable was operating legally when it was harassed by Chinese boats in international waters about 75 miles (120 kilometers) off China's southern island province of Hainan.Defense Department officials say the Impeccable was on a mission to seek out threats such as submarines and was towing a sonar apparatus that scans and listens for subs, mines and torpedoes. With its numerous Chinese military installations, Hainan offers rich hunting for such surveillance.Of particular interest is the new submarine base near the resort city of Sanya that is home to the Chinese navy's most sophisticated craft.Satellite photographs of the base taken last year and posted on the Internet by the Federation of American Scientists show a submarine cave entrance and a pier, with a Chinese nuclear-powered Jin class sub docked there.
by AP
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