News for March 28, 2007
Arab leaders unanimously approve Saudi peace initiative at Riyadh summit
(March 28, 2007) - The plan offers Israel
recognition and permanent peace with all Arab countries in return for an
Israeli withdrawal from lands captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. It also
calls for setting up a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital
and a just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees. At the summit,
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah called for an end to the international blockade
on the Palestinian government. The king said: "It has become necessary
to end the unjust blockade imposed on the Palestinian people as soon as
possible so the peace process can proceed." The European Union's foreign
policy chief, Javier Solana, yesterday urged Arab states to be flexible
in their land-for-peace offer to Israel. Addressing the Arab summit, Solana
called for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 boundaries. He called the
Arab initiative a general concept that has to be developed. He also urged
Arabs and Israel to deal with the plan as a starting point in negotiations.
In a written message to the Arab leaders gathered in Riyadh, Solana said
the EU hopes all the members of the Arab League will fulfill their responsibilities
and contribute to the success of this enterprise. "Failure to rise
to today's challenges will put the Middle East at risk of missing the train
of human and economic development," he said in the message. Before
arriving in Riyadh, Solana expressed optimism that the relaunched initiative
could reinvigorate the Middle East peace process. Solana's presence at the
summit was designed to highlight the European Union's support for the peace
initiative, officials said. If Israel rejects the Arab peace initiative,
it means it is not interested in reaching a peaceful solution with its neighbors,
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said yesterday. Speaking at the summit,
al-Faisal said, "If Israel refuses, that means it doesn't want peace."
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh urged Arab leaders not to compromise
on the Palestinian refugees' right to return to their homes in Israel, a
clause in the initiative which Israel has asked to modify. "I expect
the Arab summit meeting to reiterate the Arab countries' commitment not
to compromise on the Palestinian refugees right of return," Haniyeh
said. At the summit, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged
Arab leaders to prove they were serious about peace with Israel by reviving
their five-year-old initiative. "The Arab peace initiative is one of
the pillars for the peace process ... This initiative sends a signal that
the Arabs are serious about achieving peace," Ban told Arab leaders. "When
I was in Israel I urged my Israeli friends to take a new look at the initiative.
Here in Riyadh, I also urge you, my Arab friends, to benefit from this initiative
and reiterate your commitment to it." At the summit, Arab League chief
Amr Moussa urged Israel to accept the initiative rather than ask for changes. "The
Israeli response was to ask for an amendment. We tell them to accept it
first," Moussa told Arab leaders. "We are at a crossroads - either
we move toward a real peace or see an escalation in the situation."
It appears to be in the hands of Israel now. They have been threatened with continued violence if they don't cave and give up the land. They have said in the past that they would never give up that land retaken in 1967, but given their past concessions and fears of the future, will that position hold? I believe peace will come out of this time, even if it is a false, temporary peace. The EU is on the side of the Muslims, wanting the land given up to them. If Israel caves in under the fear and pressure, they will get a temporary peace, but it will be short-lived. See my estimation from my research of the coming times.
Wild Weather Strikes Southern California (March
28, 2007) - A quick wintry blast brought fierce winds and cold temperatures
to normally mild Southern California, but did little to quench the parched
region. Tuesday's storm startled residents, who watched as clear morning
skies quickly darkened and gusting winds ripped roofs off several buildings,
capsized boats and downed power lines and trees. "I've never seen weather
like this," said Larry Prantner, manager of Cavi at the Big Oaks Lodge
restaurant in the Santa Clarita community of Saugus. "It's March and
I'm wearing a coat and starting a fire at the fireplace." The storm
was created by moisture and cool air sweeping through warmer, dry air, meteorologists
at the National Weather Service said. Warmer temperatures were expected
through the rest of the week. While the weather system sprinkled snow and
hail across mountain and high desert communities, it wasn't nearly enough
to make a dent in the huge shortfall of rain so far this year. "In
most places, we got zero or trace amounts of rain," Bonnie Bartling,
a National Weather Service specialist, told the Los Angeles Times. "Even
in the mountains, we didn't get a whole lot of rain. This was mostly a wind
system." Los Angeles is facing its driest year on record. Only 2.47
inches of rain have fallen in downtown Los Angeles since July 1. In a normal
year, more than 13 inches of rain would have fallen by now. On Tuesday,
winds tore off the roof of Orange County Fire Authority's aviation building
in Fullerton and harbor patrol officers made numerous rescues involving
capsized craft in Newport Bay and offshore. A large section of roof laminate
and asphalt tile landed on four cars and caused minor damages, but no injuries,
said Orange County fire Capt. Stephen J. Miller. He said fire crews also
responded to numerous reports of downed trees and power lines. more...
Accept peace plan or face war, Israel told (March
28, 2007) - The "lords of war" will decide Israel's future
if it rejects a blueprint for peace crafted by the entire Arab world, Saudi
Arabia's veteran foreign minister warned yesterday. As leaders began gathering
in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, for today's summit of the Arab League, Prince
Saud al-Faisal told The Daily Telegraph that the Middle East risks perpetual
conflict if the peace plan fails. Under this Saudi-drafted proposal, every
Arab country would formally recognize Israel in return for a withdrawal
from all the land captured in the war of 1967. This would entail a Palestinian
state embracing the entire West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its
capital. Every Arab country will almost certainly endorse this blueprint
when the Riyadh summit concludes tomorrow. Prince Saud said Israel should
accept or reject this final offer. "What we have the power to do
in the Arab world, we think we have done," he said. "So now it
is up to the other side because if you want peace, it is not enough for
one side only to want it. Both sides must want it equally." Speaking
inside his whitewashed palace, surrounded by luxuriant lawns and manicured
flower beds resembling a green oasis in the drabness of Riyadh, Prince Saud
delivered an unequivocal warning to Israel. "If Israel refuses, that
means it doesn't want peace and it places everything back into the hands
of fate. They will be putting their future not in the hands of the peacemakers
but in the hands of the lords of war," he said. Prince Saud dismissed
any further diplomatic overtures towards Israel. "It has never been
proven that reaching out to Israel achieves anything," he said. "Other
Arab countries have recognised Israel and what has that achieved? "The
largest Arab country, Egypt, recognized Israel and what was the result?
Not one iota of change happened in the attitude of Israel towards peace."
Israel has numerous reservations about the Arab peace plan - which was previously
proposed at a summit in 2002. Israel fears any hint that Palestinian refugees
would have the right to return to their homes in the event of a peace settlement.
Study may help develop ADD treatments (March 29, 2007) - Spot a bear in the woods, and a different part of your brain will yell "pay attention" than if you were studying bears at the zoo. New research shows it takes one part of the brain to start concentrating and another to be distracted. This discovery could help scientists develop better treatments for attention deficit disorder. "This ability to willfully focus your attention is physically separate in the brain from distracting things grabbing your attention," said Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He led the study, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science. "Now we know these two things are separate, it raises the possibility that we can fix them independently," Miller said. There are two main ways the brain pays attention: "top down" or willful, goal-oriented attention, such as when you focus to read, and "bottom-up" or reflexive attention to sensory information — loud noises or bright colors or threatening animals. Likewise, there are different degrees of attention disorders. Some people have a harder time focusing, while others have a harder time filtering out distractions. Scientists knew that paying attention involved multiple brain regions but they did not know how, because studies until now have examined one region at a time. Miller hooked painless electrodes onto monkeys to track how two key areas react together when the brain jumps to attention. The monkeys were trained to take attention tests on a video screen in return for a treat of apple juice. Sometimes they had to concentrate, picking out, say, only the left-leaning red rectangle from a field of red rectangles; in the same way, the human brain picks a friend's face out of a crowd. Other times bright rectangles — the attention-grabbers — flashed off the screen at the monkeys. When the monkeys voluntarily concentrated, the so-called executive center in the front of the brain — the prefrontal cortex — was in charge. But when something distracting grabbed the monkeys' attention, that signal originated in the parietal cortex, toward the back of the brain. The electrical activity in these two areas began vibrating in synchrony as they signaled each other. But it was at different frequencies, almost like being at different spots on the radio dial. Sustaining concentration involved lower-frequency neuron activity. Distraction occurred at higher frequencies. So, Miller concluded, scientists one day might find a treatment that essentially turns up or down the volume to boost attention. more...
E-paper comes of age (March 28, 2007)
- The newest, cutting-edge displays are more papyrus than plasma screen.
Electronic paper, long hyped as the technology that would make newspapers
and books obsolete, is finally making its way into consumer products, powered
by E Ink Corp. The decade-old Cambridge company has grown 200 to 300 percent
each year, and over the past few months, its retro-looking black-and-white
displays have appeared in high-profile products such as the Sony Reader
tablet, a Motorola cellphone highlighted at this year's Consumer Electronics
Show, and a foldable, pocket-sized screen that won the Most Innovative Technology
Award at the GSM Association's 2007 Global Mobile Awards last month. "They
have the incredible screen technology, and they have patents that make what
they're doing pretty unique and unassailable," said James McQuivey
, analyst at Forrester Research. "There are other ways to provide this
kind of low-power flexible display, but their technology is really the one
to beat." While the concept of a digital screen that looks, bends,
and folds like paper has been around for decades, E Ink has been a leader
in bringing the technology to the marketplace. The company holds more than
100 patents on its "electrophoretic" ink technology -- which literally
means "the movement of particles by an electrical field." Electric
charges sent along a grid embedded in the paper cause tiny black and white
particles to move up and down, creating text and images. It may take a cosmic
cultural shift to make e-books mainstream, but the screens also use so little
power that they may herald the birth of a whole new generation of displays,
from e-newsprint to digital shelf labels. Unlike traditional digital screens,
which form images using light that shines out of the display, e-paper reflects
ambient light, adding up to big power savings. A typical 12-inch tablet
display requires the equivalent of 36 AA batteries to stay on for 20 hours
-- an equivalent electronic paper display would use only one AA battery,
according to E Ink marketing director David Jackson. PHOTO GALLERY:
The future of electonic displays: E-Paper more...
Darfur: The Continuing Crisis (March 27, 2007) - Reports indicate humanitarian access is shrinking rapidly in Darfur where relief workers are attacked and intimidated. While the crisis in Durfur Sudan shows no sign of easing, Christians are banding together to help the victims of what many are calling a genocide. Latest UN statistics suggest more than 200,000 people have been killed in the Muslim against Muslim violence. Food for the Hungry's Matt Ellingson says that has forced many people from their homes. "Over the entire situation over two million people have been in need of support -- food, until peace is found there. Food for the Hungry has partnered with a total of six organizations. providing support in the areas of nutrition, health and the provision of water." The partnership is made up of Food for the Hungry, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, World Relief, World Concern, Medical Teams International, and MAP International. While Food for the Hungry typically works through the local church, they can't in this case, says Ellingson. He says unconditional love is the way they show God's love to those in need. "There are many, many different communication styles and that is the one that is the most appropriate, useful and impacting in this setting. To love the person in the action of providing the basic needs of life are huge in this setting." According to Ellingson, funding is a big need right now. "It is expensive in Darfur. Insecurity has affected a lot of things. We routinely have to adjust schedules and destinations and continually have to think about how we're going to exit a situation if an incident arises." Pray that the people they're serving would experience the love of God and that the situation in Darfur would stabilize so their work can be more effective. Click here to get more information.
Israel, Palestinian Leaders Agree To Regular Talks
(March 27, 2007) - Israeli and Palestinian
leaders have agreed to hold confidence-building talks every two weeks that
could eventually lead to discussions on a Palestinian state, U.S. Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday. An official in Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert's office, speaking amid Israeli media reports of dissonance
with Rice over how to proceed toward peacemaking, made clear substantive
negotiations on statehood would not be on the agenda for now. "The
issues would be security, humanitarian and the political horizon,"
the official said, the latter term a loose reference to a U.S.-backed vision
of a Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel. "Political horizon
is not about specifics," the official said, appearing to rule out any
discussion soon on core issues such as the future of Jerusalem, the borders
of a Palestinian state and the fate of Palestinian refugees. On her fourth
visit in four months, Rice has been trying to revive peace hopes dimmed
last year by the establishment of a Hamas-led Palestinian government and
further complicated by the creation earlier this month of a unity administration.
The power-sharing partnership between Hamas Islamists and President Mahmoud
Abbas's Fatah faction has not met demands by a Quartet of Middle East mediators
to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept existing interim peace
accords. At a news conference postponed from Monday evening after reported
discord with Olmert, Rice said the prime minister and Abbas "have agreed
that they plan to meet together bi-weekly." "We are not yet at
final-status negotiations. These are initial discussions to build confidence,"
Rice said. Olmert told reporters on Monday he would maintain constant contacts
with Abbas, but did not say how frequently they would meet. The Israeli
leader said after the unity government was inaugurated he would limit such
talks to humanitarian issues. Saeb Erekat, a senior adviser to Abbas, said
Rice "managed to keep the door open between us and the Israelis which
was closing rapidly in the past few days." more...
I'll consider summit with Arab leaders, PM tells UN chief
(March 27, 2007) - UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon will leave Israel on Tuesday for the Arab leaders' summit in Riyadh,
where he is expected tell Saudi King Abdullah that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
is willing to consider a peace summit between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the
moderate Arab countries. The UN chief is expected to deliver a message to
the king from Olmert, who believes that the Saudi peace initiative is "good
and challenging" and could serve as a basis for a dialogue, excluding
a number of reservations. In their meeting Monday, Ban told Olmert about
the Quartet's plan to convene a summit between Saudi Arabia, Israel and
moderate Arab countries in order to advance the peace process based on the
Saudi initiative. "If I receive such an invitation, I will consider
it positively," the prime minister replied with a smile. The UN secretary-general
will convey this message to King Abdullah, as well as Olmert's praises for
the king's courage and decisiveness. "The Saudi initiative points to
the kind's leadership," the prime minister said. Olmert does not accept
the clause in the Saudi initiative discussing the right of return, but Quartet
representatives made it clear on Monday that a dialogue could be launched
in order to decide on the agreements and leave the disagreements for the
end. The UN chief is expected to tell the Saudi king and the Arab leaders
that Olmert is furious over the fact that the kidnapped Israeli soldiers
have yet to be released, and that he made it clear that if there was dramatic
development in that area he would find it difficult to convince the Israeli
public that there was room for peace initiative. more...
Peace is definitely more spoken of now than before in the Middle East. Fear, funding, and deception are all playing part in this play for peace in the Middle East. Israel fears the chants of destruction and Islam fears the lack of funding to accomplish their chants. The European Union is supplying the funding through the ENP, a seven year deal strengthening a previous 1995 agreement. Deception is being played all around the table as the two faces of Islam confuse and divide the West. One face plays the part of peacemaker while the other shows the true heart of Islam as written in their holy book, the Koran. It is the spirit behind the lies, and Lucifer is the master of lies. In diplomacy, the lies mask the truth, which is chanted daily in the streets of Islamic nations and daily in the mosques around the world. Death to Israel, death to the USA. I believe the first seal has been opened. The rider on the white horse is going forth to conquer by peace. He has been given a crown and authority by the 10 horns [10 voting member-states], who have also given him their power. There is so much more than meets the eye of those not watching, which is why I'm sharing my observations with you. I know these kinds of things have been said before, but never before have so many events lined up with Bible prophecy from the description of the man of sin to the description of his kingdom and actions.
U.S. Navy Launches Show Of Force Off Coast Of Iran
(March 27, 2007) - The U.S. Navy on Tuesday
began its largest demonstration of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003
invasion of Iraq, led by a pair of aircraft carriers and backed by warplanes
flying simulated attack maneuvers off the coast of Iran. The maneuvers bring
together two strike groups of U.S. warships and more than 100 U.S. warplanes
to conduct simulated air warfare in the crowded Gulf shipping lanes. The
U.S. exercises come just four days after Iran's capture of 15 British sailors
and marines who Iran said had strayed into Iranian waters near the Gulf.
Britain and the U.S. Navy have insisted the British sailors were operating
in Iraqi waters. U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl said the U.S. maneuvers were
not organized in response to the capture of the British sailors — nor were
they meant to threaten the Islamic Republic, whose navy operates in the
same waters. He declined to specify when the Navy planned the exercises.
Aandahl said the U.S. warships would stay out of Iranian territorial waters,
which extend 12 miles off the Iranian coast. A French naval strike group,
led by the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, was operating simultaneously
just outside the Gulf. But the French ships were supporting the NATO forces
in Afghanistan and not taking part in the U.S. maneuvers, officials said.
Overall, the exercises involve more than 10,000 U.S. personnel on warships
and aircraft making simulated attacks on enemy shipping with aircraft and
ships, hunting enemy submarines and finding mines. "What it should
be seen as by Iran or anyone else is that it's for regional stability and
security," Aandahl said. "These ships are just another demonstration
of that. If there's a destabilizing effect, it's Iran's behavior."
Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border
(March 27, 2007) - Russian military intelligence
services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran's
borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday. "The latest military
intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both
an air and ground operation against Iran," the official said, adding
that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when
an attack will be launched. He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to
deliver a strike against Iran "that would enable the Americans to bring
the country to its knees at minimal cost." He also said the U.S. Naval
presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years
reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March
2003. Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical
Sciences, said last week that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive
air strike on Iran's military infrastructure in the near future. A new U.S.
carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf. The USS John C. Stennis,
with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18
Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear
submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by the USS
Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006. The U.S. is
also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.
How reliable is information out of Russia? I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if plans are being made to do something. Given Bible prophecy though, Iran will have to be around to attack Israel, so I doubt this will go anywhere. If it does, perhaps that will be the trigger that removes America from significance in the world through terrorist attacks?
China to Take Down World Markets (March 27, 2007)
- We are looking right now at the following situation. China is about to
drop the world markets in stemming their bubbles – stocks and real estate
and manufacturing. I notified PS subscribers that China is going to prick
the world stock bubbles – as the emerging manufacturing giant, just like
the USA did in the 1929/30’s. China has indicated – their Premier no less
– that they intend to take matters into hand in 07 and that means, as we
have already seen, that another China market crash is in the cards. I wrote
an article several years ago about the bubble number. IT is 18%. When markets
reach a speed of 18% growth it is all over. China is now at 18% growth.
China, now cannot control their bubbles – manufacturing, stocks and else
– at this rate without a drastic action – and if you followed Premier Wen’s
comments – he – China is now ready to pull the plug. China is going to lead
the world stock markets to doom, just like the emerging world economic power
did in the 1920’s – the USA. The latest manifestation of this was their
combined interest rate hike and stock liquidity drain. That tanked world
markets and led to massive Yen carry selling, several weeks ago. That is
the end of world stock bubbles. I just put out alerts to Prudent Squirrel
subscribers about the fact that Iran is blowing up and that is overriding
the now apparent stock drops this week in Asia and the US- as far as Gold
is concerned. But another major issue aside from gold, is the imminent collapse
of world financial bubbles and China is about to lead the way. The Prudent
Squirrel Newsletter is Chris Laird’s Macro economic gold newsletter. It
is published 44 times a year on Sunday. Subscribers also get mid week email
market alerts, but these are not guaranteed delivery. The Prudent Squirrel
Newsletter is one of the ONLY forward looking gold and economic newsletters
you will find. Subscribers were alerted to the Iran situation Monday, and
in the Sunday NL, as well as the emerging stock weakness in Asia and the
US – both counter to each other gold wise, but the Iran concerns are winning
the day right now. Stop by and have a look.
If any kind of strike to take America out is seriously in the works, expect that it will come when we are perceived weak. Much of our industry has been moved out overseas and our economy is built on dreams and wishful thinking propped up by private banking. Our enemies know how to hit us when they can't do it literally...yet. Many will play the blame game, but we are all to blame.
No, I am not saying America is Babylon, but the same spirit behind Babylon of old is controlling all nations today. Our world is a material one and those of the world focus on that aspect. We are called out of the world. There is a saying that the love of money is the root of all evil. There is a reason for that. Our first love is our Savior, Yeshua. America's turning from God to the ways of Babylon will bring judgment on this nation too. Let us repent and get closer to Christ. He will provide for our needs. We need Him more than anything this world has to offer and He will shake this world, bringing that which the world loves to naught, giving them a chance to recognize the only true source of life, joy, peace, happiness, and love - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
China Shifts to Euros for Iran Oil (March 27,
2007) - China's state-run Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, the biggest buyer
of Iranian crude worldwide, began paying for its oil in euros late last
year as Tehran moves to diversify its foreign reserves away from U.S. dollars.
The Chinese firm, which buys more than a tenth of exports from the world's
fourth-largest crude producer, has changed the payment currency for the
bulk of its roughly 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) contract, Beijing-based
sources said. Japanese refiners who buy about 500,000 bpd of Iranian crude,
nearly a quarter of Iran's 2.2 million-bpd shipments, continue to pay in
dollars but are willing to shift to yen if asked, industry sources and officials
said separately. Iranian officials have said for months that more than half
the OPEC member's customers switched their payment currency away from the
dollar as Tehran seeks to diversify its reserves, but news of the Zhenrong
change is the first outside confirmation. The price of the oil is still
based on dollar quotes. The shift, being watched closely by foreign exchange
traders, comes amid an extended row between Tehran and Washington over Iran's
nuclear programme. China, which depends on Iran for about 12 percent of
its imported crude oil, has at times used the threat of its United Nations
veto to blunt Western measures. more...
It's interesting that the EU, which I believe to be the fourth kingdom -- the 10 toes of Daniel 2, is where the nations are moving to financially and politically. Fits pretty good with Bible prophecy. It also removes America from significance as these other stories support. It may be slow, but it will come...sooner rather than later it would seem.
New IBM Chip Moves Data at Light Speed (March
26, 2007) - IBM researchers are touting a new, tiny optical transceiver
chipset that can move data at speeds up to 160 GB per second, which is eight
times faster than previous optical components. The new chipset generates
fast data transfer rates because it uses light pulses to move data instead
of sending electrons over wires. If the infrastructure is in place to do
it, the new technology can enable one to download a typical feature-length
high definition film in a single second, according to IBM. For most consumers,
however, this new chipset is only a glimpse of the future. The first use
of this technology will most likely show up in business computing solutions
well before consumers get a chance to move movies at the speed of light. "The
achievement here is to pack an incredible amount of aggregate bandwidth
into a very small optical transceiver chipset," Marc Taubenblatt, senior
manager of IBM's optical communications group at IBM's TJ Watson Research
Center, told TechNewsWorld. The chipset is only 3.25 by 5.25 millimeters. "From
an IBM perspective, we're interested in making ever more powerful computer
systems, and to do that you've got to connect up the microprocessors in
the system with ever-increasing bandwidth," Taubenblatt explained. "As
the microprocessors increase in performance, you've got to connect them
with bandwidth to match that -- and that starts getting increasingly difficult.
What we're looking at is an era where we're going to have to hook up microprocessors
almost entirely with optics," he added. Instead of connecting high-powered
computer systems with optical cables, IBM is shooting to connect at the
microprocessor level -- essentially on the same card. The new chipset would
appear first in IBM's supercomputing solutions, but it will take a few years. "There's
a big industry out there to make electrical printed circuit boards, and
we need that industry infrastructure to make optical printed circuit boards,"
Taubenblatt noted. Even though the chipset would support downloading a movie
in a single second, there are many hurdles to overcome before anyone will
see household use. "An interconnect such as this wouldn't really have
much, if anything, to do with movie download times," Gordon Haff, an
analyst for Illuminata, told TechNewsWorld. "Those are limited by the
bandwidth of the pipes in the telco or cable company infrastructure -- especially
the 'last mile' to home or business. The connections within a server, optical
or copper, serial or parallel, really have nothing to do with the speed
of these networks." While IBM doesn't intend to do any consumer-related
development, the company says the low-cost, small-size nature of the chipset
would allow others to build on it. more...
Confident Turkey looks east, not west (March
26, 2007) - Turkey was not invited to Europe's big birthday bash
yesterday despite being an official candidate for EU membership. Ankara
expressed disappointment at a "missed opportunity". Media reaction
to the perceived snub was sharper. "In the 1990s, the EU was a giant
organisation governed by prominent leaders," said leading columnist
Mehmet Ali Birand. "Today it has become a fat midget that lacks perspective
and is governed by small-thinkers." Disillusion with the EU has deepened
since Brussels part-suspended talks in December after a row over Cyprus.
The hostility, as seen from Ankara, of French presidential candidate Nicolas
Sarkozy and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has poisoned the pot further.But
anger and frustration is slowly giving way to a new, more assertive idea:
that perhaps Turkey does not really need Europe after all ... - ... and
the EU will come to regret its insultingly complacent chauvinism as Turkey
goes its own way. "Europeans underestimate the importance and influence
of Turkey," said Fuat Keyman, professor of international relations
at Istanbul's Koc university. "If they are serious about the future
of Europe as a power in global affairs, they need to change their thinking."
Turkey was recalibrating its external ties and the EU was but one part of
the equation, Dr Keyman said. "Membership should not be seen just as
a gift to Turkey. There are benefits for Europe, too." Semih Idiz,
a foreign affairs columnist, goes further: "The EU is off the radar.
It has confirmed Turkey's worst expectations. At present, it's an irrelevancy."
Turkey's new-found confidence about life beyond Europe is based in part
on a booming economy, whose sustained, IMF-supervised 7% annual growth rate
far outperforms large EU states. Export earnings are rising too, including
in the Arab lands of the old Ottoman empire. more...
This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise considering the times we live in and how Bible prophecy places Turkey in the attack on Israel along with Russia and Iran among others.
Aftershocks keep Japan peninsula on edge (March
26, 2007) - Aftershocks kept residents of central Japan on edge on
Monday, more than a day after a strong earthquake that killed one person,
injured about 200 and flattened homes. Sunday's 6.9 magnitude quake, which
struck the Noto peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture, about 300 km (190 miles)
west of Tokyo, destroyed houses, buckled roads and cut off water and electricity
supplies to thousands of homes. A 5.3 magnitude tremor, one of more than
200 aftershocks, struck early on Monday, and a 4.4 magnitude quake jolted
the area in the early evening, Japan's Meteorological Agency said. Officials
warned that more could occur. About 2,600 people spent the night in evacuation
shelters and many were set to do so again on Monday. "The aftershocks
kept me awake and I only slept about an hour," said Yoko Yamashita,
60, who spent Sunday night in a shelter in the hard-hit rural city of Wajima.
About 5,600 households lacked tap water in Ishikawa on Monday afternoon
and drinking water was being distributed. "I wanted water to clean
my face and wash the rice (before cooking), but there wasn't enough,"
Yamashita said. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary panel in
Tokyo that 68 houses, many of them old wooden structures with heavy tile
roofs, had been destroyed and another 164 badly damaged. The government's
disaster agency put the total number of damaged houses at 564. An emergency
relief team of firefighters that had been searching the rubble of collapsed
houses confirmed that no one was trapped, an Ishikawa prefecture official
said. Shogoro Hashimura, 81, hid under a table at the office of his sawmill
in Wajima when Sunday's quake struck. "When I looked outside, my lorry
was trapped under the rubble and woodchips and lumber were strewn all over,"
he said. The plight of Wajima's elderly highlights the vulnerability of
Japan's ageing population when disasters strike. more...
Drive for Mideast peace gains momentum (March
26, 2007) - An international diplomatic drive for Mideast peace gained
momentum Monday, with Israel welcoming the idea of a regional peace summit
and Saudi Arabia suggesting it would consider changes in a dormant peace
initiative to make it more acceptable to Israel. Senior U.S. and U.N. officials
confirmed they were trying to bring Israelis and Arabs together in a wide
push for peace, but acknowledged the idea is still at an early stage. The
new developments came at a time of high-profile diplomacy, with the U.N.
chief Ban Ki-Moon and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both in the
region for talks with Israeli and Arab leaders. The international officials
are trying to break an impasse following formation of a Palestinian unity
government that includes the Hamas militant group. Immediately after the
government was formed, Israel ruled out peace talks with the Palestinians
until Hamas explicitly recognizes the Jewish state. But on Monday, Israeli
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he "wouldn't hesitate" to take
part in a regional summit. Palestinian officials cautiously endorsed the
idea. Any such meeting — especially if Saudi and Israeli officials were
to publicly meet — would be a huge symbolic breakthrough. Saudis and Israelis
are believed to have held private meetings in the last year. Hopes have
been raised in the past, only to be subsequently dashed. This trip follows
several months in which Rice has tried to put substance to the goal of President
Bush four years ago to eventually have an independent Palestinian state.
On this trip, Rice says she is developing a common set of questions that
both sides can use for discussions with her or on their own. After talks
with Israeli and Palestinian officials, she traveled to Amman, Jordan, for
a second meeting with the moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas
of Fatah, and separate talks with King Abdullah II of Jordan. "Some
good things are there. We just have to put them together," Rice said
Monday before returning to Israel, where she was to meet for a second time
with Olmert, too. A senior U.S. official traveling with Rice said Monday
that one idea that is being pursued is to bring Israel and the Palestinians
together as part of wider talks involving moderate Arab countries and the "Quartet"
of Mideast peacemakers — the U.S., European Union, U.N. and Russia. The
Arab countries involved in the efforts would include Egypt and Jordan, which
both have peace agreements with Israel, as well as Saudi Arabia, which does
not. "It's a good idea that's out there," the U.S. official said,
adding it was "premature" to schedule a meeting. He said talks
were taking in place in Washington and Arab countries. "The options
are being looked at for how you have a more active Arab-Israeli track,"
he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the proposal hasn't
been formally unveiled. At a joint news conference with Olmert in Jerusalem,
Ban confirmed that consultations on bringing the many parties together were "ongoing,"
but said further talks were needed. Olmert said he would look at an invitation
to such a summit "in a very positive manner." more...
Earthquake, tsunami rock Puntland (March 25,
2007) - A powerful earthquake of unknown magnitude hit a northeastern
Somalia town with many people unaccounted for overnight, local official
said on Sunday. The tremble rocked Qandalla town of the semi-autonomous
region of Puntland in northeastern Somalia. At least eight people are missing
and are feared to have died in the quake. Saed Waberi, the chairman of Qandalla
said the earthquake generated a tsunami which rocked the town mid last night
causing casualties. Powerful ocean waves wiped out the town destroying many
fishing boats. 16 people were rescued from the waves. It was for the first
time that tsunami hit northeastern Somalia town of Qandalla since December
2004 when tsunami waves from as far as Indonisia hit Hafun district of Puntland
settlements. Meanwhile the Somalia tragedy follows an earthquake of magnitude
7.1 which struck off the west coast of Japan's largest island, Honshu. At
least one person was killed and 150 were reportedly injured by the tremor
which was felt in the capital, Tokyo. A tsunami warning was issued for a
short time in Ishikawa prefecture, with swell of up to 50cm reported.
Iran raises the hostage stakes (March 25, 2007)
- The 15 British sailors and Royal Marines captured by Iranian Revolutionary
Guards in a waterway separating Iran and Iraq were yesterday trapped in
an outbreak of aggressive political brinkmanship that may mark a bleak turning
point in the West’s relations with Tehran. Officials in London and Washington
remained publicly optimistic that Iran would respond to international pressure
and free them within days, despite claims by a senior military official
in Tehran that the captives had “confessed” to illegally entering Iranian
territorial waters on Friday in a pair of rigid inflatable boats known as
RIBs. Yet there were ominous signs from Tehran that hardline religious elements
were seeking to turn the incident into a major confrontation with the West.
Several conservative student groups called on the Iranian government not
to release the service personnel until five Iranians detained by US forces
in Iraq earlier this year were released. The groups also called for the
cancellation of United Nations sanctions imposed on Iran after a unanimous
security council vote in New York last night. The new sanctions were in
response to Tehran’s refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment programme,
which may be used to build nuclear weapons. Iran shrugged off the vote and
vowed to pursue its nuclear goals. “Suspension is neither an option nor
a solution,” said Manouchehr Mottaki, the foreign minister. “I can assure
you that pressure and intimidation will not change Iranian policy.” There
was also a demonstration by 500 student radicals gathered on the Iranian
shore of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, where the Britons were seized shortly
after they had completed a routine antismuggling inspection of a dhow laden
with vehicles. In a sinister echo of the US embassy hostage crisis in Tehran
in 1979, the students chanted “Death to Britain” and “Death to America”.
The British captives were said by one Iranian source to have been moved
yesterday into the notorious dungeons of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard
Corps (IRGC) at the Ghasre Firouzeh military complex in Tehran.
Gulf economies to 'drop the dollar' (March 25,
2007) - Gulf economies will move away from a dollar currency peg
and shift foreign exchange reserves away from dollar to other currencies,
including the Chinese yuan, the chief executive of Dubai International Financial
Centre (DIFC) has said. Nasser al-Shaali noted that the UAE central bank
had already started buying euros - part of its strategy to move about 10
per cent of its reserves into the single European currency before the end
of the year. "We've seen, for example in the case of the UAE central
bank, a movement into the euro," al-Shaali told the Reuters Middle
East Investment Summit. "In the future, most likely, we predict some
of the economies in the region will adopt the Chinese yuan currency as well,"
he said, noting that he was not aware of that happening at the moment. He
said the appetite of the region as a whole was to increasingly diversify
exposure. "The investment strategies of Dubai Holdings entities, Kuwait
Investment Authority and so on ... you will see a lot of these bodies start
looking at Eastern Asia more aggressively along with a lot of institutional
and private investors in the region," he said. Saudi Arabia, the largest
Gulf Arab economy, as well as Qatar, Oman and Bahrain have ruled out changes
to their dollar pegs, adopted in preparation for a monetary union planned
for 2010. more...
Declaration on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Signature of
the Treaty of Rome (March 24, 2007) -
Europe's leaders will mark the European Union’s 50th birthday and set the
clock ticking on a European Constitution Mark II in Berlin this weekend.
The Daily Telegraph has obtained a draft copy of the “Berlin Declaration”
to be agreed by Tony Blair and Europe’s other leaders on Saturday and unveiled
on Sunday. The text takes great care to avoid the word “constitution” but
on the insistence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, current holder of
the EU presidency, it does commit Britain to a new European Treaty before
2009. “Fifty years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, we are
united in our aim of placing the EU on a renewed common basis before the
European Parliament elections in 2009,” says the text. The
timeline is a headache for Mr Blair as it could mean burdening his successor,
Gordon Brown, with controversial negotiations over new powers for Europe
in late 2008 and early 2009, at the same time as British general elections.
Mrs Merkel will use a working lunch in Berlin on Sunday to hold Europe’s
leaders to a timetable to resurrect elements of the old constitution, rejected
by French and Dutch voters in 2005, such as a European foreign minister,
EU president and new powers to tackle global problems such as climate change.
Speaking to this newspaper earlier this week, European Commission President
José Manuel Barroso warned Britain against trying to ditch the old constitution.
“That treaty was signed by all the member states of the EU, they put their
signatures there, so I believe they have the obligation to work constructively
find a solution as close as possible to the original,” he said. Preparing
the declaration has been uphill work for Mrs Merkel. The original idea had
been for all 27 EU leaders to sign the text. But opposition from the Czech
Republic sank the idea and 23 copies of declaration, in each of the EU’s
official languages, will now have only three signatories: Mrs Merkel, Mr
Barroso and the German President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering.
Now Scientists Create a Sheep That's 15% Human (March 24, 2007) - Scientists have created the world's first human-sheep chimera - which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs. The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells - and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer. Professor Esmail Zanjani, of the University of Nevada, has spent seven years and £5million perfecting the technique, which involves injecting adult human cells into a sheep's foetus. He has already created a sheep liver which has a large proportion of human cells and eventually hopes to precisely match a sheep to a transplant patient, using their own stem cells to create their own flock of sheep. The process would involve extracting stem cells from the donor's bone marrow and injecting them into the peritoneum of a sheep's foetus. When the lamb is born, two months later, it would have a liver, heart, lungs and brain that are partly human and available for transplant. "We would take a couple of ounces of bone marrow cells from the patient,' said Prof Zanjani, whose work is highlighted in a Channel 4 programme tomorrow. "We would isolate the stem cells from them, inject them into the peritoneum of these animals and then these cells would get distributed throughout the metabolic system into the circulatory system of all the organs in the body. The two ounces of stem cell or bone marrow cell we get would provide enough stem cells to do about ten foetuses. So you don't just have one organ for transplant purposes, you have many available in case the first one fails." At present 7,168 patients are waiting for an organ transplant in Britain alone, and two thirds of them are expected to die before an organ becomes available. Scientists at King's College, London, and the North East Stem Cell Institute in Newcastle have now applied to the HFEA, the Government's fertility watchdog, for permission to start work on the chimeras. But the development is likely to revive criticisms about scientists playing God, with the possibility of silent viruses, which are harmless in animals, being introduced into the human race. more...
Rumbling Indonesian Volcano Forces Evacuation
(March 23, 2007) - Indonesia's rumbling Mount Batutara volcano has
triggered the evacuation of about 15,000 people, an official said Friday.
The villagers have left their homes on Lembata island, which lies in the
Flores sea close to the restive volcano, local official Andreas Duli Manuk
told AFP. Groundwater in the two affected villages of Buyasuri and Omesuri
had suddenly turned salty, and there were rougher seas around the smoking
volcano's home on the nearby deserted island of Komba, he said. Experts
have raised Mount Batutara's alert level to the second of four possible
levels, but say an eruption is not imminent. Fishermen and others who occasionally
land on Komba have been warned to stay at least two kilometres (more than
a mile) away. Indonesia sits on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire,"
where continental plates meet, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activity.
Feminism Destroying America (March 23, 2007)
- When one searches to find the causes for America's rapid deterioration,
there is no shortage of suspects. However, my thirty-plus years experience
as a pastor, counselor, and researcher has convinced me that there is no
greater threat to America's future survival than the overall negative effect
that modern-day feminism has had, and is having, upon our homes and churches.
In just over three decades, the feminist movement has completely uprooted
and rewritten the norm for American family life. No longer are women seen
as nurturers and helpmeets. The push for "equality" has done much
more than move America's women from the kitchen to the boardroom; it has
moved them from under the arm and next to the side of their husbands to,
in many cases, a place of independence from, and lordship over, them. Wives
and mothers today seem to take pride in their ability to "control"
their husbands. At the same time, however, they seem to be oblivious to
the fact that they have absolutely no control over their children. But neither
will they allow their husbands (or anyone else) to discipline their children.
As a result, today's kids are growing up mostly undisciplined, unrestrained,
and uncontrollable. Ask any teacher, Sunday School teacher, coach, or youth
worker, and they will tell you the same thing: today's children are out
of control! Many people have far more control over their pets than they
do their own children. Sadder still is the fact that the only answer anyone
seems inclined to proffer is to put these kids on behavior modification
drugs, which, as almost anyone knows, only exacerbates the problem. The
problem with most children is not an inability to sit still and learn; it
is the inability of parents to make their children sit still and learn.
When it comes to making children mind, many parents today seem to be absolutely
and totally helpless. I have never seen anything like it. Please don't misunderstand
me. I am not one who believes that all of our marital and family problems
are due to women working outside the home. I don't believe that at all.
However, I do believe that any couple that places their personal careers
or ambitions above their primary responsibility to raise respectable, honest,
obedient children is not only failing their children; they are failing our
Managing Global Insecurity (March 21, 2007)
- Keynote address by Javier Solana: Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
Dean Acheson's memoirs were called Present at the Creation. The story he
tells is how in the postwar period, under US leadership, a system was built
that put the world on a new path of international co-operation. His generation
was determined to learn the lessons of the 1930s; to avoid economic protectionism
and a paralysed League of Nations. They were committed to do better. But
they were not naïve. After all, this was also the start of the Cold War.
So they knew about power. But they decided to make it subject to constraints.
The title of Acheson's memoirs is fitting. The leaders at that time were
not always aware of it. But they created what became known as "the
multilateral system". Co-operation would not be just ad-hoc, but based
on strong institutions. For decades that system served us well. This morning
I am delighted that I am, so to say, also present at the creation of something,
namely this new initiative on Global Governance. I want to commend Strobe
[Talbott] and Carlos [Pascual] for getting this project off the ground,
together with the Center for International Co-operation at NYU and the Center
for International Security and Co-operation at Stanford. The aim of this
project is ambitious and urgent: to launch a new reform effort for the global
security system, in 2009. As Carlos [Pascual] says, we
have to analyse the capacity of the existing system to address the new threats
we face; assess why previous reform attempts have not always worked; and
then decide how we can build the momentum for a successful reform effort
by 2009. I am delighted to play a modest role myself. Global governance
is an awful term but a vital concept. We need it because of a simple
reality: interdependence. We live in a world where people, goods, ideas,
money, threats and opportunities move at a global level and at increasing
speed. What happens half-way round the world, in Afghanistan, Gaza or DR
Congo affects our own security and prosperity. Globalisation has offered
millions a chance to live better lives. But it has also unleashed forces
that governments can neither stop not control. You all know the list: terrorism,
non-proliferation, climate change, pandemics, failing states. None can be
solved by a single government acting alone. So the question is: how do we
organise this globalised world? And especially how do we tackle the dark
side of globalisation? On the whole, our capacity to analyse problems is
good. But even when we agree on what has to happen - take Israel-Palestine
- we still don't manage to translate that consensus into results on the
ground. It is worth analysing why this is so. Let us return for a moment
to Acheson. The post-war system was very successful. We had a network of
strong institutions and regimes: the UN, IMF, GATT, NATO. Yes, the Cold
War set limits on the capacity of the system. But it also prevented the
Cold War from degenerating into open conflict. Through deterrence and détente,
the Helsinki agreement, and arms control treaties, we eventually brought
about a peaceful end to the Cold War. This led in 1989/90 to the outbreak
of euphoria. It was the period of "the end of history"; the triumph
of markets and democracy. A new world order to be managed by a rejuvenated
United Nations. It was great to live through that phase. But people were
far too optimistic. For the global system is in serious trouble. It is simply
not capable of solving the big challenges of today. In the 19th century,
the problems that industrialisation brought about were solved through a
series of state interventions: from safety standards to sewage systems to
a ban on child labour. We have to ask ourselves: what structures, beyond
the state, do we have to solve the big problems of our times? We are dealing
with complex security challenges that defy traditional ways of operating.
We have to see the connections between different threats. In many ways,
Darfur is the first time we are aware that a war is caused by climate change
- and it will not be the last. We need more integrated strategies to address
these problems. In the old system, everyone was doing their own thing in
their own corner. We now know that we must bring together the world of soldiers,
diplomats, judges and development experts. More fundamentally the old system
cannot cope because power is shifting away. Within political systems: to
the media, markets and above all to individuals. These days, there is less
obedience. Who wants to be a follower if you are constantly told you can
be what you want to be? It is striking that in Britain, the slogan for the
recruitment for the army has changed from "Your country needs You"
to "Be all you can be". Power is also shifting between political
systems: from the West to new powers. China, India, Brazil, South Africa.
And yes from the US, we have seen a tendency to make its engagement in the
multilateral system more selective. More narrowly focused on short-term
priorities. And less willing to seek deeper trade-offs with other countries.
What to do? The first requirement is that the US plays an active and constructive
role inside the system. I have a sense that the tide may be turning. And
I hope that this project will strengthen those who argue that working through
ultilateral organisations is the best way to get lasting results. More broadly,
we need to make space at the top table. Take the G-8. At present it does
not really work effectively. It needs to change its membership. Why not
make it a G-10 in which the ten major countries are represented based on
a composite index of international weight (GDP, aid, soldiers and civilians
deployed on peace support missions)? This would not only bring China and
India in but also keep some current members on their toes... Equally
we should make space for the new heavyweights at the UN Security Council.
In turn, the new powers should keep in mind that with greater global influence
come greater responsibilities too. To strengthen regional co-operation,
could we have (semi)permanent seats at the UNSC for the Great Powers but
also for regional organisations? I am convinced that we need stronger regional
organisations: the African Union, ASEAN, Latin American structures. I also
wonder whether the Middle East region will remain the big exception: over-armed,
under-institutionalised and rife with tensions. Then we will need to develop
new bargains. On the environment and climate change. Or on forms of dialogues
between cultures. Sometimes we need to be more serious about upholding our
side of the old bargain. Take non-proliferation. If we want to be credible,
we have to take the disarmament side of the bargain more seriously. In addition,
the multilateral system cannot only address our immediate concerns. When
we talk about non-proliferation we mostly mean WMD (weapons of mass destruction).
But for many African or Asian leaders the most urgent proliferation problem
is that of small arms and light weapons. Above all, we need to re-learn
that the biggest shift in history came when we extended the rule of law.
First within states and now, gradually, also among them. We should step
up what we are already doing. Regionally - most strikingly in Europe. But
also globally on some aspects of international life. See the WTO dispute
settlement system, or the International Criminal Court. In short: we need
to share power (with new players); re-think power (beyond the state paradigm)
and tame power (extend the rule of law internationally). Let me end with
some words on legitimacy. One big problem is that we all know that we live
in a globalised world. But our politics remain local or national. This is
a problem for those, like me, who are convinced that the world needs more
global-level, multilateral co-operation. For I am also a democrat in believing
that power has to be accountable. So the question becomes: how do you make
global governance more effective while making it also democratically accountable?
A key benefit of acting multilaterally is legitimacy which in turns enhances
effectiveness. As I said, this means bringing in new centres of power. But
legitimacy also means bringing our publics along. If decisions are increasingly
taken at the international level, people have to see these as legitimate.
So we have two imperatives: to create greater effectiveness in global governance
but also to uphold democratic legitimacy. To do so is difficult. It requires
new ideas and a sense of compromise. But I really see no real alternative.
Let me leave you with a quote from Jean Jacques Rousseau, from The Social
Contract, now that we are talking about a global social contract. "The
strongest is never strong enough to be always the master, unless he transforms
strength into right and obedience into duty."
Former Arizona Governor Admits Seeing UFO (March
18, 2007) - Ten years after the Arizona UFO incident known as the
“Phoenix Lights,” former Arizona Republican Governor Fife Symington, III,
now says that he himself was a witness to one of the “craft of unknown origin,”
even though he originally did not say so publicly. In an exclusive interview
by Leslie Kean, an investigative reporter with the Washington-based Prescott
Daily Courier, Symington Coalition for Freedom of Information, released
today in the now admits that he saw an enormous, inexplicable craft that
evening. On March 13, 1997, during Symington’s second term as Governor,
thousands saw gigantic triangular and V-shaped unidentified objects, gliding
slowly and silently across the sky. Witnesses throughout the state estimated
that the eerie, lighted vehicles were bigger than many football fields,
up to a mile long. They reported that these were clearly solid, technological
flying machines that blocked out the stars - not merely lights. The objects
were seen earlier than the row of lights near Phoenix, videotaped and shown
repeatedly on television, which were most likely flares. Symington was well
known for ridiculing the incident at a spoof press conference, so his statement
marks a dramatic turnaround. According to his comments to Kean, he wants
to make amends to his constituents and set the record straight. The former
Governor, a cousin of the late Missouri Senator Stuart Symington, states
that the incident remains unsolved, and should be officially investigated.
The U.S. Government has never acknowledged that something was in the sky
that night, despite official documentation of a very similar flying craft
of unknown origin investigated in the 1990’s by the governments of England
Read about the new feature-length documentary, Out of the Blue.
Their New America Is Not America (February 27,
2007) - We the people have no representation. No one stands for the
liberty of the people – no one – and no presidential contender will save
our rights, our land, our liberty, or Constitution. Therefore, let us begin
on the most negative of notes. We the people are now told whom to believe,
what to believe, how to live, what to worship, how to work, and to follow
all the new codes for behaviors, opinions, and actions. We the people are,
in fact, animals with no rights whatsoever. However, we, like teenagers,
are not inclined to dictatorship in spite of the fact that we are addicted
to people to tell us what to do. It’s easier than thinking, after all. I
had the pleasure of meeting a 17-year-old boy in a bakery who told me he
wanted to be an electrician. He said he didn’t want to go to college, and
I told him I thought he was very smart. I told him that should he attend
a university, he would come out a changed person who would, no doubt, betray
his nation and freedom. I realized I had challenged his view of reality
with my opinions, and so we discussed high school. I asked him if he had
“multicultural” acceptance studies. He stated he hadn't had such studies
since the Third Grade. I asked him if he had homosexuality acceptance class,
and he told me he had also received such on-going instruction since the
Sixth Grade. I asked him if he had studied the American Constitution and
Declaration of Independence, and he stated, “I had it once in Ninth Grade.”
I asked him if he could name one of his Constitutional rights, and he responded,
“Maybe the right to vote?” I asked him if he could name one of the Amendments,
and he stated, and I quote, “I don’t think I had that in school.” He was
a good boy, and a smart boy. He told me about the day he had to give a speech
about Rap music, and that he earned an A grade for his speech. He told me
about his basketball and soccer injuries and about his girlfriend. I wished
him luck as an electrician, and upon leaving, I asked him if he was free
as an American citizen. He said, “I’m not really sure…” And once again,
I was struck by the power of those who tell us what to do and how to think,
even to the point of being unsure if we should think for ourselves or even
how to think for ourselves. I write to you today while watching C-SPAN and
listening to many, many highly educated people. On and on they talk at the
cameras – telling viewers what they are doing on our behalf, what we need,
and how we are supposed to think and feel. On and on, they dictate the rhymes
and reasons for their New America and the purposes for our new morality
codes. The New American leaders are Communitarians. They don’t believe in
life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. They don’t believe in freedom
or individual efforts or individual accomplishments. They don’t believe
in private property for the masses. They don’t believe in mobility for the
masses, choice for the masses, or wealth for the masses. Rather, they believe
in corporate wealth and dictatorship in unison and threaded together in
“community” partnership bureaucracies. They believe in great wealth for
the very few and great servitude in and for poor and struggling “communities”
of like kinds. They believe in obedience, highly limited reproductive rights,
and in voluntary services of many makes and measures. They believe in regulations,
licensing, chipping, ID cards, spying technologies in homes, workplaces,
and automobiles, and they believe in military control upon the homeland.
In essence, they believe in terrorism as a rule of thumb and a moral-political
Alliance of Civilizations by 2009 (July 17, 2006) - Excerpt: This draft proposal is aimed at promoting the vision of the Alliance of Civilizations by encouraging the declaration by the United Nations of a “Decade of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace”. The UN could convene an “Interreligious Forum for World Peace”, with a specific mandate and term, to facilitate the organization of a Decade.
A. Propitious times for a Decade of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace: While the world is aware of the importance of a religious dimension in several recent local conflicts and international tensions, it also contemplates with hope the development of a number of religious and interfaith initiatives committed to peace building. There is also a growing recognition within the UN of the role of interreligious dialogue and cooperation for peace, clearly expressed in recent resolutions of its General Assembly, which promote “interreligious dialogue” as well as “religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation”. The High Level Group for the Alliance of Civilizations, established by the Secretary General, is expected “to strengthen mutual understanding, respect and shared values among different peoples, cultures and civilizations”. The Decade proposed here could make a strategic interreligious contribution to that objective, and could provide a global neutral umbrella for achieving that goal through increased partnership at global, regional, national and local levels.
B. Main features of the proposed Decade and proposed implementing Interreligious Forum: Although the preparation of a final proposal for the Decade is still in process, the following features are suggested:
1. Time frame: 2009- 2019, starting and ending on 21 September, the International Day of Peace. That launching date would give 12 months to prepare and promote a final proposal and to win political support from member states, in order to present the corresponding project of resolution to the General Assembly in its 62nd session (September 2007), with another 24 months for formal preparatory activities. The Decade would then overlap by only one year with the ongoing Decade for a Culture of Peace, and could learn from that experience.
2. The leading social actors: Even though member states and UN agencies and bodies could be expected to play a significant role in the implementation of the Decade, a participatory approach could be adopted to give the main responsibility to pertinent civil society organizations gathered in an “Interreligious Forum for World Peace”, which could be convened by the UN.
3. An “Interreligious Forum for World Peace” could have the following characteristics:
a) Membership: The Forum’s members would be civil society organizations (including NGOs) of a spiritual or religious nature, operating at a global level or at an international scale, and subscribing to the principles which inspire the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular respect for freedom of religion or belief and for cultural and religious diversity.
b) Main functions: The Forum should see as its main responsibility the making of a contribution to a plan of action for the proposed Decade, as well as promoting and monitoring through its member organizations its implementation at all levels.
“Be not overcome
of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
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