March 28, 2006

News for March 28, 2006

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EU’s ‘big three’ in crisis, says third way guru (March 24, 2006) - France, Germany and Italy are facing an economic crisis with worrying levels of unemployment, Tony Blair’s intellectual guru has declared on the eve of an EU summit which starts in Brussels this afternoon. In a rare insight into the prime minister’s private thoughts about some of Britain’s closest European partners, Anthony Giddens warned of further trouble unless the three countries reform. “Is there enough shock in France and Germany and Italy to produce ... changes because a great deal of Europe’s unemployment is concentrated in those three countries?” the academic asked in an interview with Guardian Unlimited. “There manifestly is a kind of crisis in France, Germany and Italy.” Lord Giddens’ remarks came as the EU’s 25 leaders prepare to descend on Brussels this afternoon for their annual spring summit, which is traditionally devoted to jobs and economic growth, known in EU parlance as the “Lisbon agenda”. The meeting, which was meant to show voters that European leaders are concentrating on bread and butter issues after the rejection last year of the EU constitution, is being held amid an increasingly gloomy economic climate. Violent street protests have erupted in France as students battle against a key reform designed to lower France’s chronic youth unemployment which, at 23%, is among the worst in Europe. The “first employment contract” (CPE) is meant to encourage companies to hire young people by making it easier to fire workers under the age of 26. With the French government destabilized by the street protests, Paris is spearheading a wave of protectionism that has alarmed more liberal countries like Britain. Dominique de Villepin, the embattled French prime minister who is championing “economic patriotism”, has named 11 “strategic” French business sectors which should be shielded from foreign bidders. more...

Daniel 7:7-11
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

Saddam, Al Qaeda Did Collaborate, Documents Show (March 27, 2006) - A former Democratic senator and 9/11 commissioner says a recently declassified Iraqi account of a 1995 meeting between Osama bin Laden and a senior Iraqi envoy presents a “significant set of facts,” and shows a more detailed collaboration between Iraq and Al Qaeda. In an interview yesterday, the current president of the New School University, Bob Kerrey, was careful to say that new documents translated last night by ABC News did not prove Saddam Hussein played a role in any way in plotting the attacks of September 11, 2001. Nonetheless, the former senator from Nebraska said that the new document shows that “Saddam was a significant enemy of the United States.” Mr. Kerrey said he believed America’s understanding of the deposed tyrant’s relationship with Al Qaeda would become much deeper as more captured Iraqi documents and audiotapes are disclosed. more...


Sky watchers await total eclipse- Skywatchers across the globe are preparing to watch a total eclipse of the Sun on Wednesday. An area spanning 14,500km (9,000 miles), from Ghana to Mongolia, will see the Moon completely cover the Sun for several minutes on 29 March. During the “totality”, darkness will fall over the surrounding landscape and the solar atmosphere - or corona, normally hidden from view - is visible. Some countries have gone to great lengths to attract eclipse watchers. “Solar eclipses are the ultimate astronomical show,” said Dr Robert Massey, senior astronomer at the UK’s Royal Observatory Greenwich.


We’re on the eve of World War III’ (March 28, 2006) - Global civilization is on the verge of “World War III,” a massive conflict in which the Islamic world will attempt to impose its ideology on Western nations, according to Meir Amit, a former director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. Amit, one of the most esteemed figures in the international defense establishment, warned Islamic nations and global Islamist groups will continue launching “all kinds of attacks” against Western states. He urged the international community to immediately unite and coordinate a strategy to fight against the “Islamic war.” “We are on the eve of war with the Islamic world, which will wage a war and all kinds of actions and attacks against the Western world. We already noticed the terrorists in the world hit Spain, England, France. I call it World War III. You must look at it from this angle and treat it wider, not as a problem of terrorism here and there,” said Amit, speaking during an exclusive interview with WND’s Aaron Klein and ABC Radio’s John Batchelor broadcast on Batchelor’s national program, for which Klein serves as a co-host. (Listen to the Amit interview.) Amit served as Mossad chief from 1963 to 1968. He directed some of the most notorious Mossad operations during that time and pioneered many of the tactics currently used by intelligence agencies worldwide. The subject of multiple books and movies, Amit is routinely described as a “living legend.” Now in his mid-80s, Amit serves as chairman of Israel’s Center for Special Studies. The former intelligence chief referenced recent terror attacks against Israel, Europe and the United States; Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions; the insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan; and worldwide Muslim riots. “It looks to me like it is a kind of coordinated or contemplated problem to somehow impose the Islamic idea all over the world,” Amit said. more...


Dutch Consider Legalizing Infanticide (March 28, 2006) - Infanticide used to be taboo in the Western world. But the government of the Netherlands is currently considering what many consider to be unthinkable - the creation of legal standards for pediatric euthanasia. According to the London Times, a committee will soon be set up to regulate the practice, which doctors have quietly been performing for years in the Netherlands. Shockingly, Dutch politicians have not faced the wrath of many domestic or foreign critics. Only Italian Parliamentary Affairs minister Carlo Giovanardi has created a ripple of continental dissent to the new policy. “Nazi legislation and Hitler’s ideas,” he told an Italian radio program last week, “are re-emerging in Euope via Dutch euthanasia laws and the debate on how to kill ill children.” Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkeende was quick to react, saying the Nazi comparison was “unacceptable” and assuring his fellow Dutchmen that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi maintained Giovanardi spoke only for himself, not the Italian government. Thus far, Giovanardi has refused to back down from his comparison. The commission will likely issue regulations similar to the Groningen Protocol, a document drawn up in 2004 by the Groningen University Medical Center to establish internal guidelines for its euthanasia program that terminated the lives of 22 disabled newborns from 1997 to 2004. According to Colleen Campbell, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Groningen Protocol declared a newborn subject to euthanasia if “his diagnosis and prognosis are ‘certain,’ his suffering is ‘hopeless and unbearable,’ and his qualify of life is ‘very poor,’ according to the child’s parents and ‘at least one independent doctor.’” more...


Pope visit to Moscow looks increasingly possible (March 28, 2006) - Long-strained relations between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches are improving quickly and a papal trip to Moscow in coming years looks increasingly possible, a Vatican official said on Monday. Some differences remain to be ironed out before Pope Benedict could make the trip, but a new spirit in bilateral talks has already brought progress, Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Vatican’s Council for Christian Unity, told Reuters. A papal visit to the home of the Russian Orthodox Church, the largest in worldwide Orthodoxy, was the great unfulfilled dream of the late Pope John Paul II. But a thaw in chilly relations with Moscow has come under his successor Benedict. “We had a difficult period behind us but now things are moving,” he said in an interview. “There is a new spirit today.” One of the main hurdles to a papal visit was Russian Orthodox suspicion that the Vatican tried to win over Orthodox believers to Catholicism after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 opened Russia to religion again. Kasper said the two churches had set up a commission to review the charge of Catholic proselytism, or wooing away of Orthodox faithful, and that it was working very well. “We are convinced the proselytism problem can be solved easily,” he said. “If there are concrete cases, we are ready to investigate and if there are misuses, we will change things.” The next step was to work out an agreement on this between Benedict and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy II, he said. “If we can find such common formulas, I think a meeting can be possible,” he added. more...


Evangelicals seeing the error of ‘replacement theology’ Link Lost (March 27, 2006) - Dr. John Hagee, the American evangelical pastor who last month announced plans for a Christian-style AIPAC, says the organization is a “canopy group” encompassing Christian supporters of Israel from across America and is coming together “with a speed and harmony I never would have believed possible.” Hagee says he attempted something similar, though on a smaller scale, 25 years ago, but to no avail. “I called 30 pastors together... At the end of the first hour, I lost 29 of them.” Now, by contrast, “I called 400 [pastors] and all 400 have agreed to participate in Christians United for Israel.” The San Antonio, Texas-based Hagee specifies three primary aims for the group: one, to unite Christian supporters of Israel to speak “with one voice for a common cause”; two, to establish a “rapid response” capability that can flood Capitol Hill with e-mails, faxes and phone calls at short notice on issues of concern to Israel; and three, to organize “Night to Honor Israel” events in every major US city “so that the Jewish people can see and feel Christians expressing the love of God to them without a hidden agenda.” The new initiative by Hagee, who has collected and distributed millions of dollars to Israeli causes over the past 25 years, raises questions about what precisely he means by “support for Israel” and whether there are conditions for that support. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, he said “Christians United for Israel is completely loyal to the positions of the Bible” and that he does not seek to influence the Israeli government or to support political candidates in Israel or America. But that “loyalty” to the Bible, in his interpretation, for instance, means not backing the relinquishing of biblical territory. It’s an apparent contradiction that he reconciled as follows: “The Bible says that God gave the Jewish people this sacred land. ‘It’s yours. Don’t give it away. If you choose to give it away, that’s your business. We’re still friends, although we feel you make the wrong choice. I wouldn’t stop supporting Israel because of your choice.’” more...


Vatican Sees Warming Relations With China (March 27, 2006) - The Vatican’s foreign minister said Saturday that the “time is ripe” for the Holy See and Beijing to establish diplomatic relations, and confirmed it is ready to move its embassy from Taiwan. However, there were some things that the Vatican will not give up, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo said, in an apparent reference to the Roman Catholic Church’s tradition that the pope names his bishops. China demands a say in the appointment of bishops. “As is known, there have already been various contacts, with ups and downs,” Lajolo said in an interview with Hong Kong station I-Cable TV. “It seems to me that the Holy See has clearly explained what it is asking for, what it is ready to concede and what it can never give up if it is to remain faithful to itself. In our opinion, the time is ripe.” The text from the interview was made available at the Vatican during the ceremonies installing 15 new cardinals, including Hong Kong Bishop Joseph Zen, an outspoken champion of religious freedom in China. Zen acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that the appointment of bishops was the chief obstacle, but said he was confident a formula could be found to overcome the differences. more...


What’s behind today’s epidemic of teacher-student sex? (March 27, 2006) - It was a bizarre and emotional courtroom scene, but one occurring with disturbing frequency these days. A popular middle school teacher, 43-year-old Pamela Diehl-Moore, had tearfully pleaded guilty to having sex with a child - a 13-year-old male student who had just completed 7th grade - and now stood before a Hackensack, N.J., judge awaiting sentencing. And what would that sentence be? Considering all the intense media coverage of male sexual predators victimizing female children, one might expect a stiff prison term, accompanied by a withering rebuke. But when New Jersey Superior Court Judge Bruce A. Gaeta opened his mouth, the words that came out did not express criticism of the teacher, nor acknowledge any damage she had done to her victim. “I really don’t see the harm that was done here,” the judge proclaimed, “and certainly society doesn’t need to be worried. I do not believe she is a sexual predator. It’s just something between two people that clicked beyond the teacher-student relationship.” “Clicked”? With a 13-year-old? “Maybe it was a way for him, once this happened, to satisfy his sexual needs,” the judge added. “People mature at different rates.” Gee thanks, Judge. According to court transcripts, Gaeta summed up his shocking judicial leniency this way: “I don’t see anything here that shows this young man has been psychologically damaged by her actions. And don’t forget, this was mutual consent. Now certainly under the law, he is too young to legally consent, but that’s what the law says. Some of the legislators should remember when they were that age. Maybe these ages have to be changed a little bit.” more...


Brighter sun adds to fears of climate change (March 26, 2006) - THE amount of sunshine reaching earth is increasing, accelerating the pace of climate change, scientists have found. A series of independent studies around the world show a significant rise in the amount of sunshine penetrating the atmosphere to be absorbed by the earth’s surface and turned into heat. The research will concern climate researchers who are already predicting a rapid rise in global temperatures due to man-made emissions of so-called greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. “The enhanced warming we have seen since the 1990s along with phenomena such as the widespread melting of glaciers could well be due to this increased intensity of sunlight compounding the effect of greenhouse gases,” said Professor Martin Wild of the Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Science in Zurich, Switzerland. Researchers will present their findings to the European Geophysical Union conference in Vienna next week. They reverse a 30-year trend. Measurements of sunshine levels between 1960 and 1990 had shown a decrease in the amount of sunshine reaching the earth, a phenomenon known as global dimming. more...


Are Terror Cells for Sale in NW Ohio? (March 26, 2006) - Are terror cells for sale in Northwest Ohio? The FBI is investigating two incidents this week locally, where Middle Eastern men bought big quantities of disposable cell phones. NBC-24 was the first Toledo TV station to tell you about an investigation in Defiance. Now authorities are looking at similar suspicious activity in Bowling Green. The concern: terrorists want them. The disposable cell phones have pre-paid minutes and come already programmed, which makes them almost untraceable to a terrorist. NBC-24 has learned there’s a big black market for them. Police say two men walked into a Bowling Green WalMart Wednesday night and bought nine disposable cell phones. A similar incident occurred Monday in Defiance when a man bought thirty of the pre-paid cell phones from several stores.Police in both communities have found common threads. “Common threads would be men of Middle Eastern descent as well as a vehicle bearing a Michigan license plate, says Lt. Brad Conner of the Bowling Green police department.” more...


Israeli leader’s party will divide Jerusalem (March 26, 2006) - Just five days before national elections here, acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima party revealed yesterday it would divide Jerusalem and allow a Palestinian state to be established in parts of Israel’s “eternal capital.” The revelation follows months of denials by top Kadima officials that the party would advocate withdrawing from Jerusalem. “The Old City, Mount Scopus, the Mount of Olives, the City of David, Sheikh Jarra will remain in our hands, but [regarding] Kafr Akeb, Abu-Ram, Shuafat, Hizma, Abu-Zaim, Abu-Tur, Abu Dis, in the future, when the Palestinian state is established, they will become its capital,” said Otniel Schneller, a Kadima member who represented the party at a debate yesterday on dividing Jerusalem. The neighborhoods Schneller listed are located on Jerusalem’s periphery near the city’s border with the West Bank. Schneller said Kadima supports “separation between us and the Palestinians who don’t live in the heart of Jerusalem,” claiming there would be “no concessions” on sites that are sacred to Jews. Several Kadima officials and leaders associated with the party’s now comatose founder, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, previously made statements about dividing Jerusalem that immediately were denied by the party. more...


‘Satanic’ art in Catholic Church exposed (March 26, 2006) - Could the Roman Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis be tied to embedded Satanic and occultic imagery in its artwork - some of it hundreds of years old? That is the seemingly incredible thesis of a new documentary, “Rape of the Soul,” made not by anti-Catholic bigots, but by devout followers of the Church. “Rape of the Soul” is in theatrical release in major cities, including New York and Los Angeles. The documentary explores the prevalent use of satanic, sexual, occult and anti-Catholic images in historical and contemporary religious artwork. The film also discusses the mysterious acceptance of the artwork at the highest and most trusted levels of the Catholic Church. “Rape of the Soul” is rated R because of the disturbing content involving demonic, violent and sexual imagery. The film, which is being released by Silver Sword International, contends a major cause of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church could be due to prolonged exposure to sexual and satanic images being incorporated into the religious art. more...


Solar eclipse on 29th (March 25, 2006) - The Meteorological department on Friday said a partial solar eclipse will be witnessed in Pakistan on March 29. A statement said it will be a total solar eclipse for some parts of South America, West and North Africa, South East Europe and Central Asia. The announcement said the path of totality will start at the sunrise from North East Brazilian coast and will then pass through Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Libya, Egypt, Turkey, Georgia, Southern Russia and Kazakhstan and will end at sunset to North West Mongolia. The duration of totality will be four minutes 11 seconds maximum (not for Pakistan. The extreme northern region of the country will observe maximum magnitude of around 57 per cent while the extreme southern region will observe minimum magnitude up to 17 per cent. People have been advised not to observe the sun directly because the sunlight causes harm for eyes in normal conditions as well as during the eclipse. The observers must use a 'solar filter glasses.


Geomagnetic flip may not be random after all (March 24, 2006) - One of the most fascinating natural phenomena on Earth is the flipping of its magnetic field, which has occurred hundreds of times in the last 160 million years. When the magnetic field flips, the North Pole becomes the South Pole and vice versa. The last time this happened was some 780,000 years ago, so we could be heading for another reversal soon. Now, physicists in Italy have found that the frequency of these polarity reversals is not random as previously thought but occurs in clusters, revealing some kind of “memory” of previous events (physics/0603086). Although a full geomagnetic polarity reversal can take thousands of years to complete, the implications could be enormous. As well as affecting the migration trajectories of birds and other animals, the disruption to the Earth’s magnetic field could expose the Earth to hazardous cosmic rays -- a scenario that some researchers have linked to mass extinction events like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs around 65 million years ago. Geoscientists believe that our planet’s internal magnetic dynamo is responsible for pole reversals, but the actual mechanism is not well understood. Previous analyses assumed that the number of times the poles have reversed over last 160 million years follows a Poisson distribution, implying that the events are random. The Poisson distribution tells you the probability of a number of events occurring in a fixed time if the events are independent and the average rate is known. A good example of the Poisson distribution in physics is the likelihood of unstable radioactive nuclei decaying in a certain period. more...


Philippines Volcano Belches Ash Big Eruption Feared (March 22, 2006) - A Philippines volcano spewed a column of ash nearly a mile (1.5 kilometres) into the sky late on Tuesday, raising fears of a major eruption. Officials said they were considered increasing the alert level after Mount Bulusan in the central Philippines belched ash an hour before midnight (1600 GMT). The Philippine Institute of Seismology and Vulcanology (Phivolcs) said the ash was unlikely to cause any harm. But researcher Jojo Cordon said more earthquakes had been recorded in the area recently, a possible sign that the volcano may be about to erupt more powerfully. He said the ash column may have been created by a reaction between water and hot materials, a “possible sign of rising magma”. A four-kilometer (2.4-mile) exclusion zone is already in place around the 1,565-meter (5,133-foot) volcano, which is 600 kilometers (370 miles) southeast of Manila. Cordon said Phivolcs is considering raising the alert level for Bulusan from level one to level three, indicating “moderate unrest.” The highest alert level is level five, indicating an actual eruption of lava. more...