November 6, 2006

News for November 6, 2006

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Heading Home from Watchman Speaks 2 October 29, 2006

I just wanted to share my recent God encounter on my way home from the Watchman Speaks 2 conference this weekend.

I was on my last leg back to Seattle from Houston. I was heading to my seat on the airplane and there was a large black man sitting in the middle of the three seats. I took my seat next to the window and eventually, the woman who had the isle seat, Marilyn, came on the plane. Recognizing the uncomfortable gentleman sitting between us, she asked if he would like to switch seats with her to which he happily agreed. So she sat down next to me and he sat on the isle.

The flight was full and there was a slight mix-up with the seating. It turned out the black gentleman was in the wrong seat and was actually supposed to be across the isle. This meant Marilyn's trade wasn't necessary and just as they were about to all switch to their right seats, it was decided that it was fine for everyone to sit where they were. So the flight took off and nothing much happened. Then I started talking to Marilyn and she asked what I was doing in Detroit.

Now I had been praying that if God had anyone He wanted me to interact with that I was available and ready with His leading. I had determined that since the topic of Bible prophecy isn't always the best way to start a conversation with a Christian let alone a non-believer, that I would instead start by saying it was a conference on European politics and lead into the prophecy aspect later if it came up. When I had told her what I did for a living (computer stuff) and that I was at a European politics conference, she couldn't put the two together. I don't blame her, but it peaked her curiosity and she asked how they are related.

So I told her I'm a Christian and started talking about the basics of how European politics plays into Bible prophecy and showed her Herb's book, Recommendation 666. I continued to talk with her about a whole bunch of topics related to Christian beliefs and my personal testimony, etc. This brings me to another digression.

Before I left for the conference, I knew I would need my collection of DVD's on diverse Christian subjects on this trip. I figured it would be at the conference where I could share some of it with those interested. While I did find some interested people, there really wasn't much time so I didn't get to show it. However on the way back, thanks to my company giving me a laptop to use, I was telling Marilyn of the chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea and other archaeological evidence of Biblical stories. It suddenly dawned on me that I could show her and she was interested so I did and she was intrigued.

What was also fascinating was her telling me that she was noticing that almost every stranger she started talking to was telling her that they were Christians. I then pointed out to her the coincidence of her seating on that flight and how if that black gentleman hadn't been in the wrong seat, she would never have switched and we probably would never have talked. I could tell that got her attention.

As it turns out, she was tired, but very interested in the conversation and had been looking for churches and just moved to the Seattle area. I gave her my card with my website and my church's business card, so she has the opportunity to come if she would like. I would ask everyone who reads this to pray for Marilyn, that God would guide her steps as she searches Him out and continue to bring others into her path as she said has been happening. God is calling her and I believe she is answering.

I could tell by talking to her that her heart was destined for heaven and a closer relationship with Christ. So please keep her in your prayers as she has some difficult life decisions to make in the near future and like us all, needs God's love, support, and direction.


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Biblical Masterpiece Published In English for First Time — Sets Specific Date for Creation of the World (November 4, 2006) - Most people would say: "Nobody knows." But the author of the book frequently described as the greatest history book ever written, said the world was created Oct. 23, 4004 BC – making it exactly 6,009 last Monday. In the 1650s, an Anglican bishop named James Ussher published his "Annals of the World," subtitled, "The Origin of Time, and Continued to the Beginning of the Emperor Vespasian's Reign and the Total Destruction and Abolition of the Temple and Commonwealth of the Jews." First published in Latin, it consisted of more than 1,600 pages. The book, now published in English for the first time, is a favorite of homeschoolers and those who take ancient history seriously. It's the history of the world from the Garden of Eden to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Of course, there will be those who disagree with Ussher's calculations of time – especially evolutionists who need billions of years to explain their theory of how life sprang from non-life and mutated from one-celled animals into human beings. Ussher's arrival at the date of Oct. 23 was determined based on the fact that most peoples of antiquity, especially the Jews, started their calendar at harvest time. Ussher concluded there must be good reason for this, so he chose the first Sunday following autumnal equinox. Although the autumnal equinox is Sept. 21 today, that is only because of historical calendar-juggling to make the years come out right. If you think this is a startling fact – an actual date for Creation – you haven't seen anything until you've pored through the rest of Ussher's "Annals of the World." It's a classic history book for those who believe in the Bible – and a compelling challenge for those who don't. more...


Russia says believes Iran's nuke program peaceful (October 31, 2006) - Russia said on Tuesday it believed Iran's nuclear program was peaceful, and a political dialogue, not sanctions, must be used in talks with Tehran. "We do not have information that would suggest that Iran is carrying out a non-peaceful (nuclear) program," Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov told a news conference in Moscow. "We believe that the possibilities for continuing political discussion around this problem (Iran's nuclear program) have not been exhausted," he said. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation on Monday that talks over Iran's nuclear dispute were being hindered because the European side did not have enough authority. "The most important problem in continuing Iran and Europe's negotiations (over the nuclear issue) is the European side's lack of enough authority (to take decisions)," an Iranian television report quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Putin. In a statement on Monday, the Kremlin said Putin had told the Iranian leader that Moscow favored further talks. Iran says negotiations are the only way to resolve the dispute. But Iran's failure to meet a U.N. deadline to halt enrichment has opened up the possibility of U.N. sanctions. European states have prepared a draft sanctions resolution but Russia has voiced misgivings. "Sanctions should not be adopted for their own sake," Ivanov said. European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana held months of talks with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani. But those talks did not reach a deal and Solana said this month it was up to Iran to decide if talks should continue. more...
| Iran | Islam | EU/UN | Solana |

Next thing you know, this will be used as a reason to pass the EU constitution giving power to Javier Solana so he can make a difference in Iranian negotiations. Like Herb says, Solana is sorely needed as a Foreign Minister by the European Union, they know it and Solana knows it. This could be used for a power play.

US-Led Military Thrust Focuses Heavily on Broad Naval Deployment (October 30, 2006) - Hundreds of US and allied war ships foregathered in the strategic seas of the Middle East and India in the last days of October 2006 for two primary missions: To prepare for a US-led military strike against Iran which has stepped up its uranium enrichment program with a second centrifuge project - undeterred by the prospect of UN sanctions; and measures to fend off palpable al Qaeda threats to oil targets. DEBKAfile’s military sources provide details of the massive deployments: 1. A large-scale US-Indian sea exercise called Malabar 06 is in progress off the Indian coast of Goa, ending Nov. 5. The American vessels taking part are the USS Boxer carrier, the USS Bunker Hill guided missile battle cruiser, the guided missile destroyer USS Howard and the USS Benfold , as well as the Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine Providence and the Canadian guided missile frigate HMCS Ottawa. Indian maritime might is displayed with its warships like INS Beas , INS Mysore , INS Shakti , INS Ganga , tanking ship INS Gharial , submarine INS Shankush and Coast Guard ship CGS Samar Malabar also involves the landing of large number of soldiers ashore, ahead of the Indian acquisition of the massive amphibious USS Trenton transport dock which can carry six helicopters and about a 1000 soldiers. more...
| America |


Mideast peace at critical stage, warns EU's Solana (October 30, 2006) - EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana warned that the Middle East has reached a critical point but that ending the Israeli-Palestinian crisis could provoke movement on many stalled fronts. "The Middle East is going through a very crucial moment, in several directions," said the European Union's top diplomat as he left Cairo at the end of a six-day tour to assess developments in the region first hand. "We think that the centre of gravity, in order to solve the problems of the Middle East, has to be given a push on the Palestinian-Israeli track," he told reporters travelling with him. "Without solving that we will have very little chance," he added. During his trip, Solana spoke with leaders in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, with most discussions focusing on how to get the Jewish state and the embattled Palestinians talking again. Achieving that, EU officials say, could be a key that unlocks other parts of a vastly complicated Middle East puzzle stretching from Egypt up to Lebanon, over to Syria and then across to Iran. Domestic concerns for Israel and the Palestinians are severely hampering progress, however. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government has been badly weakened by its 34-day summer war against Shiite Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, which coincided with a second front in the poverty-hit Gaza Strip. more...
| Israel | Islam | EU/UN | Solana |


Merkel says Germany 'will not solve' EU constitution limbo (October 30, 2006) - German chancellor Angela Merkel has said that her country's EU presidency in the first half of next year will "not solve the problem" of the shelved EU constitution, following discussions on the charter with Dutch leader Jan Peter Balkenende. Ms Merkel on a visit to The Hague on Friday (27 October) made some of her most downbeat statements so far on Berlin's chances of reviving the EU constitution. "The German presidency will certainly not solve this problem," she said after talks with Mr Balkenende whose country rejected the charter in a popular referendum last year. German-Dutch ties over the issue are seen as problematic with Ms Merkel having frequently vowed to save as much of the existing text of the constitution as possible despite the Dutch "no". But after her meeting with Mr Balkenende, Ms Merkel highlighted the consensus between the two countries on the need for reform of the current EU treaty, while avoiding to call the EU constitution by name. "I believe we find ourselves together here, because we agree that the Nice Treaty is not sufficient, that we need something that shows our further European commitment," she said. A quick-fix solution to the constitutional deadlock would be hard to find given the French and Dutch "no" votes, she explained. more...
| EU/UN | Solana |

This EU Constitution will create the EU Foreign Minister position that Javier Solana will fill among his many other roles in the EU as Secretary-General. All of Europe is giving their power and authority to this one man who is planning on solving the Middle East crisis. Sound familiar? There is a time of false peace coming to the Middle East and Israel will be allowed to rebuild their temple on the Temple Mount. It will happen, it's just a matter of when. Given the news as of late, time is looking short.

U.S. sets ambitious "global" NATO summit agenda (October 30, 2006) - The United States set out an ambitious agenda on Monday for transforming NATO into a global security organization at a summit next month but acknowledged that some European allies have misgivings. U.S. NATO ambassador Victoria Nuland said the 26-nation alliance had gone beyond debates about whether to act outside its Euro-Atlantic area, deploying forces on four continents in the last 18 months, most importantly in Afghanistan. NATO is already performing missions in practice for which it has yet to adapt its theory, she said, forecasting tough drafting debates before the November 28-29 summit in Riga, Latvia. "We want NATO to be able to demonstrate when our heads meet four weeks from now that we have an alliance that is taking on global responsibilities, that it increasingly has the global capabilities to meet those responsibilities, and that it is doing it with global partners," Nuland said in a speech to the Center for European Policy Studies think-tank. The alliance is fighting Taliban guerrillas in Afghanistan, supporting African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, patrolling former Yugoslav battlefields in Kosovo and has flown relief supplies to earthquake victims in Pakistan. more...
| EU/UN |

Excerpt from Herb's commentary: "So the Western leaders got together and decided to make NATO a model for their new post-Cold War security scheme. As I thought about this, I realized that NATO expansion was, in reality, an attempt to create a new pan-European security arrangement and, if possible, a New World Order Read it here." And the Beast Goes On

From Jerusalem to Texas ... Interviews with Democrat-supporting terrorists reverberates (November 6, 2006) - From Jerusalem to Fort Bend County, Texas, WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein's interviews with Middle East terrorists supporting the election of Democrats in tomorrow's midterm congressional elections are still reverberating. Palestinian preachers at mosques throughout the West Bank and Gaza are teaching that the high American casualty rates in Iraq during October are due to Ramadan prayers offered by Muslims throughout the region, reports All Headline News in Jerusalem. Correspondent Ryan R. Jones cites Klein's interview with one terrorist who said the death of American troops is "promised by Allah in the holy Quran." "It is the realization of the verse of El Phil (the elephant) where Allah hit the Prophet's enemies with special and very warm Sejeel stones. The rockets and mortars of the mujahedeen in Iraq are the Sejeel stones of our days," said the Hebron-based cleric. He cites another interview by Klein with Jenin-area Islamic Jihad leader Abu Ayman who told WND: "We saw in Iraq this month how Allah helped the mujahedeen fighters to mark a great victory ... . During Ramadan (which ended last week), it is known that the motivation of the Muslims and of the mujahedeen in particular is higher than in any other period of the year." Meanwhile, Texas' Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers cites WND's exclusive story in defense of a local Democrat campaign slogan under fire from their opponents. more...
| Islam | America |

Now I think all sides of politics are corrupt now-a-days, so this isn't intended to support one side over the other. According to the Bible, our current path will lead to the same place no matter what we do because the Bible is never wrong and we can't change it. So having said that, I think it's interesting that terrorists support a particular party. It shows who they view as benefitial to their cause. Anything that has such support by the ones who want us all dead or Muslims puts up big red flags for me.

Syria Threatens War With Israel (November 5, 2006) - A senior Syrian government minister said on Sunday that if Israel does not enter negotiations over the surrender of the Golan Heights, his nation may resort to armed conflict against the Jewish state. Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal as said at the opening of a three-day media forum in the demolished former Golan town of Quneitra that unless Israel agreed via negotiations to return the territory it captured in the 1967 Six Day War, Syria could turn to "other means ... beginning with legitimate resistance." Bilal's statement coincided with assessments by Israel's General Staff that Syria and Hezbollah could launch a coordinated assault on the Jewish state as early as next summer. According to Ha'aretz, the Israel Defense Forces are actively preparing for such a development. Following Israel's 34-day war with Hezbollah last summer, the Syrian leadership made statements suggesting that it viewed such a conflagration as a way to focus greater international attention on its efforts to regain the strategic Golan Heights.
| Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam |

I haven't really brought it up lately, but remember the destruction prophesied to Damascus in Isaiah 17 which hasn't happened yet. We don't know for sure if this destruction is from God, or if it's through another nation like Israel. If it's through Israel, the stage is definitely being set for a pre-emptive strike by Israel against Syria. Keep watching!

Saddam, 2 others sentenced to death (November 5, 2006) - An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced Saddam Hussein to the gallows for crimes against humanity, closing a quarter-century-old chapter of violent suppression in this land of long memories, deep grudges and sectarian slaughter. The former Iraqi dictator and six subordinates were convicted and sentenced for the 1982 killings of 148 people in a single Shiite town after an attempt on his life there. Shiites and Kurds, who had been tormented and killed in the tens of thousands under Saddam's iron rule, erupted in celebration — but looked ahead fearfully for a potential backlash from the Sunni insurgency that some believe could be a final shove into all-out civil war. Saddam trembled and shouted "God is great" when the hawk-faced chief judge, Raouf Abdul-Rahman, declared the former leader guilty and sentenced him to hang. Televised, the trial was watched throughout Iraq and the Middle East as much for theater as for substance. Saddam was ejected from the courtroom repeatedly for his political harangues, and his half-brother and co-defendant, Barzan Ibrahim, once showed up in long underwear and sat with his back to the judges. The nine-month trial had inflamed the nation, and three defense lawyers and a witness were murdered in the course of its 39 sessions. more...


Real Conspiracies: Transforming the World by Subverting the Church (November 3, 2006) - "...we have seen how Dr. Walter Rauschenbusch... and the leaders of the social-action movements in the churches decided to do away with Christian individualism and turn to outright collectivism, using the church as their instrument.... Religion was only a means toward achieving socialism. And, like all other false prophets who have infiltrated religion through he centuries, [Rauschenbusch] used a 'front' or disguise. This disguise, as we have seen, was 'The Kingdom of God.' The Kingdom was not pictured as a spiritual society into which men and women had to be born as individuals through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior, but as a collectivist society which would be brought about by... eradication of poverty, redistribution of wealth... and 'economic justice.'"[1] Edgar Bundy, Collectivism in the Churches. "Rockefeller promoted universal ecumenism by stating in December 1917... 'I see all denominational emphasis set aside....I see the church molding the thought of the world... I see it literally establishing the Kingdom of God on earth."[2] Dr. James W. Wardner, Unholy Alliances. The Social Gospel of the early 20th century shifted the focus of many church leaders from God's unchanging Truth to the world's pliable ideals. Socialist seminary professors, pragmatic pastors, and deluded idealists validated their visions with hand-picked Bible verses that "fit" their social message. "Offensive" words like sin and redemption were redefined, contextualized or ignored. No need for the cross, since all people were considered essentially good. Naturally, as socialist ideals tore away at the old Biblical barriers to spiritual pluralism, the change process accelerated. Even "conservative" pastors -- like their purpose-driven guides -- began to view Christianity primarily as good "deeds, not creeds."[3] TRANSFORMATIONAL TACTICS In Part 2, we documented these early strategies, patterned after the Kremlin's plan for the Soviet "church." more...


Blair 'ordered U-turn on faith schools admissions' (November 3, 2006) - Tony Blair ordered the Government's U-turn over plans to force faith schools to admit pupils from other religions, according to the Catholic journal The Tablet. A campaign led by the Catholic Church forced Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, into a rapid climbdown last week over his proposal under which faith schools could have been ordered to admit up to 25 per cent of their pupils from other faiths or none. According to tomorrow's issue of The Tablet, the rethink followed pressure from Mr Blair as well as Labour backbenchers. It quotes a source who knows the Prime Minister well as saying: "Tony will have picked up the phone to Alan and said 'Look, this is not a good idea'." Instead, Mr Johnson reached a voluntary agreement with church representatives under which faith schools will have the option of taking "up to" 25 per cent of pupils from outside their own religion and will be inspected by Ofsted for "integration" as well as standards. Labour MPs who oppose faith schools were appalled. One said: "The Catholics are lucky Blair is still Prime Minister." In an interview with the journal, Lord Adonis, the Education minister, admitted the Government had not handled the issue well. He blamed the need to respond quickly on the move, in the House of Lords, by Lord Baker of Dorking, the former Tory education secretary, to force faith schools to adopt more inclusive admission policies. more...


Think Again: Democrats go European (November 2, 2006) - Israelis would like to believe that American support for the Jewish state is strong, bipartisan, and will ever remain thus. Contrary to that happy scenario, Israel definitely has a dog in next week's American midterm elections. Deep ambivalence toward Israel has infected the Democratic Party. A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll comparing voter attitudes on the war in Lebanon and toward Israel shows Republicans to be far more supportive of Israel than Democrats: 54% of Democrats advocate that the United States adopt a more neutral - i.e., less pro-Israel - stance to the Middle East, as opposed to only 29% of Republicans. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans felt the Israeli bombing in Lebanon was fully justified, as opposed to only 29% of Democrats. A recent Zogby poll showed that almost exactly the same number of Americans believe that an "Israel lobby" influenced America's entry into the deeply unpopular war in Iraq. Those who hold this view are found overwhelmingly in the Democratic Party. Key Democratic constituencies are deeply ambivalent about Israel. African Americans are three to four times as likely to hold anti-Semitic views as whites, and that may be reflected in the votes of the Congressional Black Caucus on Israel-related issues. Past labor leaders, like Lane Kirkland, were strongly internationalist in outlook. Today, however, the union movement is primarily concerned with globalization, and has become increasingly isolationist in orientation, with a concomitant resentment of any military or foreign aid spending that reduces domestic spending. more...
| Israel | America |


Homosexuals suspected of vandalizing synagogue (November 2, 2006) - Worshippers who arrived to services early Thursday morning were shocked to see the windows smashed and grafitti on the walls of the synagogue reading "If we can't march in Jerusalem, you won't walk in Tel Aviv." Searches are being conducted in the area for the vandals, who left behind considerable damage but no casualties. Rabbi Yitzchak Bir, a "gabai," who is in charge of the synagogue said: "It's bewildering that this synagogue of all places was vandalized, a vibrant synagogue which serves all the young people in the area," he said. "I think that had such a thing happened in London or any other place in Europe, the State itself would have wreaked havoc and call for a stop to this lawlessness and vandalism," he added. Rabbi Yosef Gerlitzky, the Chabad emissary in Tel Aviv and Rabbi of the synagogue told Shturem.net: "It's shocking. This synagogue has been serving the community for over 70 years. We have social services that help out impoverished and needy residents both religious and non-religious. "Before every holiday the synagogue and Chabad House in it distributes hundreds of food packages to needy families. It organizes a day camp during the summer so young children won't have to roam the streets and get into trouble. It conducts daily activities for senior citizens. Most of all during the war in Lebanon two months ago, the synagogue provided Sabbath meals for dozens of families who fled the north and found refuge in Tel Aviv. How can they stoop so low. It is just beyond me." more...
| Israel |


Russia, China won't back Iran sanctions (November 2, 2006) - Russian and China indicated that they will not support a draft U.N. resolution imposing tough sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt its nuclear enrichment program. The comments by Russia's foreign minister and China's U.N. ambassador were the strongest reactions yet to the draft by the two key U.N. Security Council members, and signaled difficult negotiations ahead on the resolution drawn up by Britain, France and Germany. "We cannot support measures that in essence are aimed at isolating Iran from the outside world, including isolating people who are called upon to conduct negotiations on the nuclear program," the Interfax news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying Wednesday. China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said "there are still different views on what kind of actions the council needs to do under the current circumstances." Wang said "the major concern" is that some members want tough sanctions like those in the resolution that the council approved on Oct. 14 to punish North Korea for conducting a nuclear test. more...
| Iran |


Iran-Hamas Summit in Coming Weeks (November 1, 2006) - A Palestinian Authority-Iranian summit is to take place in the coming weeks with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh traveling to Iran to meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The meeting was confirmed by Haniyeh’s office. This will be the first official visit of the Hamas leader to Iran, though Hamas terror chief Khaled Mashal (pictured above) met with Ahmadinejad previously. Iran has been a major backer of Hamas throughout the period since the terror group won the PA elections. During that time, most of the PA’s Western funding sources have withheld funding pending a Hamas recognition of the Jewish state. The top Hamas official will also be visiting Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Qatar, and Lebanon. Analysts are concerned that the Iranian-Hamas summit will increase the coordination between the two entities, both publicly seeking the liquidation of the Jewish state. more...
| Israel | Islam |


Why Israel Will Go to War Again – Soona (November 3, 2006) - There will soon be another war in the Middle East, this time a renewal of the conflict between the Israel Defence Force (IDF) and Hizbollah. The conflict is inevitable and unavoidable. It will come about because Israel cannot tolerate the rebuilding of Hizbollah's fortified zone in south Lebanon, from which last year it launched its missile bombardment of northern Israel. Hizbollah has now reconstructed the fortified zone and is replenishing its stocks of missiles there. Hamas is also creating a fortified zone in the Gaza Strip and building up its stocks of missiles. Israel, therefore, faces missile attack on two fronts. When the Israel general staff decides the threat has become intolerable, it will strike. What happened in south Lebanon earlier this year has been widely misunderstood, largely because the anti-Israel bias in the international media led to the situation being misreported as an Israeli defeat. It was no such thing. It was certainly an Israeli setback, but the idea that the IDF had suddenly lost its historic superiority over its Arab enemies and that they had acquired military qualities that had hitherto eluded them was quite false. Hizbollah suffered heavy losses in the fighting, perhaps as many as 1,000 killed out of its strength of up to 5,000 and it is only just now recovering. What allowed Hizbollah to appear successful was its occupation of the bunker-and-tunnel system that it had constructed since June 2000, when the IDF gave up its presence in south Lebanon, which it had occupied since 1982. Although the IDF had got into south Lebanon, the casualties it had suffered in entering the fortified zone had alarmed the government and high command, since Israel's tiny population is acutely vulnerable to losses in battle. Israel's plan was to destroy Hizbollah's tunnels and bunkers, but the sending of a United Nations intervention force did not allow the destruction to be completed before the IDF was forced to withdraw. more...
| Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam |


Supercow and Pigs That Glow at Night - an Average Day on the GM Farm (November 3, 2006) - Channel 4 is to unveil a shocking menagerie of genetically modified animals in a new show revealing the frightening leaps technology has taken. Among the bizarre engineered creatures from around the world is a giant cow, three times the size of ordinary cattle, reared without fat to produce gallons of milk. But the so-called Belgian Blue - pictured here - is perhaps the least disturbing of the creatures to be shown in the three-part series Channel 4 Farm this winter. There are also glow-inthedark pigs and goats which produce spider's silk. TV scientist Olivia Judson and journalist Giles Coren travel the world to visit the places where these animals are now being reared. There is even a genuine "allotment" of growing human noses. Channel 4 director of television Kevin Lygo said: "This is an exciting science series about genetic modification. Everything on the Channel 4 Farm is real. You may think these creatures are the future but they are the reality, living right now. "We've discussed how to do science endlessly and how to make it accessible and I think this does just that. It's looking at what is going on, what it means and asking what the implications are for our world. It's high time someone did this on telly." more...
| Technology |


Muslim insurgents behead 14-year-old Christian boy (October 31, 2006) - A website in Assyria is confirming that a 14-year-old Christian boy who was working a 12-hour shift maintaining an electric generator has been murdered by Muslim insurgents. The Assyrian International News Agency said the tragedy was reported by an Assyrian language web page at www.ankawa.com. The youth was identified as Ayad Tariq, who lived in Baqouba, Iraq, and was at work on Oct. 21 when a group of "disguised Muslim insurgents" went into the power plant shortly after his shift began at 6 a.m. The website reported the insurgents asked him for his identification and, according to other witnesses who hid and stayed alive to report on the attack, questioned his identification card's reference to him as a "Christian." Are you truly a "Christian sinner," they asked. "Yes, I am Christian but I am not a sinner," he replied. The insurgents then called him a "dirty Christian sinner," grabbed his limbs and held them while beheading him, the witnesses reported. They were shouting, "Allahu akbar! Allahu Akbar!" during the murder, witnesses said. An organization called AssyrianChristians.com said they are the indigenous people of Iraq, with a population that has been in the Middle East from the time of Christ. However, they have faced a number of purges by the region's rulers over time, including the present attacks by powerful Islamic factions across Iran, Iraq and neighboring nations, officials said. Only two generations back, Assyrian Christians made up 20 percent of the population of the Middle East, but during the Assyrian Genocide of 1915, an estimated three million Christians were slaughtered there, the organization said. Current estimates are that there are about 2.5 million Assyrian Christians in Iraq. more...
| Islam |


Brand New Substance Created From Water (October 27, 2006) - If you think we know all there is to know about water, think again. Scientists claim they have created a totally new alloy of hydrogen and oxygen molecules by splitting water. It takes high-energy X-rays and an extremely high pressure, but the end result is a solid mixture of H2 and 02 that has never been identified before, they say. The discovery could change our understanding of the complex chemistry of water. The new alloy is "a highly energetic material", says Wendy Mao at Los Alamos National Laboratory, US, who led the research. "It may help us find a way of storing energy." Mao’s team subjected water to a pressure 170,000 times greater than atmospheric pressure at sea level. Then they bombarded it with X-rays, causing the water molecules to split and reform into a previously unknown crystalline solid made of H2 molecules and 02 molecules. The phenomenon has been missed by hundreds of previous experiments, researchers say, because it only happens after several hours of exposure to 10-kiloelectronvolt-X-rays. "We managed to hit on just the right level of X-ray energy input," says team member Russell Hemley, at the Carnegie Institution’s geophysical laboratory in Washington DC, US. "Any higher, and the radiation tends to pass right through the sample. Any lower, and the radiation is largely absorbed by the diamonds in our pressure apparatus," he explains. After making several nanograms (10-9 of a gram) of the new alloy, researchers tested its properties by subjecting it to a range of temperatures and pressures, and further bombardment by X-rays and laser radiation. As long as it remained under a pressure 10,000 times greater than at sea level, it was "surprisingly stable", they say. more...
| Technology |


Europe: Racing to Damascus (November 2, 2006) - After long period of isolation from West, in last week alone Germany, Great Britain, France and Spain all send envoys to Damascus. Syrian officials: Meetings are expression of European position, which is in opposition to the will of the American Administration that wants to isolate Syria. A shot in the dark between Syria and the West? No less than five Western emissaries arrived in Syria within the last week. Official Syrian sources reported Wednesday that "The meetings are an expression of the European position, which is in opposition to the will of the American Administration that wants to isolate Syria." A series of parleys (between the envoys and Syrian officials) were held this week, after a long period of Syrian isolation from the West, since the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (in a car bombing in February). The meetings began with the arrival of German Foreign Ministry director-general, who met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem, on Sunday evening, followed by Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos. London sent British Prime Minister Tony Blair's top Foreign Office aide, Nigel Sheinwald, who said that a French security official secretly visited Damascus this week. It's worth pointing out that France, headed by President Jacques Chirac is particularly hostile towards Syrian leader, President Bashar Assad, since the Hariri hit. It was also reported this week that the Polish foreign minister also paid a call in Damascus. Diplomatic sources told the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat that, "Feelers being sent out by Western states towards Syria are in their infancy, and are meant to get a sense of how Syria plans deals with a range of issues, notably, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian issue, as well as the willingness of Syria to play a constructive role in these matters." One example would be the issue of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, or the degree of support for the Lebanese government, headed by Fouad Siniora. "We have made it clear to the Syrians that they can choose between playing a more constructive role, regionally, or continuing to support terrorism in the face of opposition by the International community," in the words of one Downing Street official, who denied that the visit was a sea change in attitudes towards Damascus.
| Islam | EU/UN |