News for April 17, 2007
Gunman kills 32 in Virginia Tech rampage (April
17, 2007) - A gunman massacred 32 people at Virginia Tech in the
deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history Monday, cutting down his
victims in two attacks two hours apart before the university could grasp
what was happening and warn students. The bloodbath ended with the gunman
committing suicide, bringing the death toll to 33 and stamping the campus
in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains with unspeakable tragedy, perhaps
forever. Investigators gave no motive for the attack. The gunman's name
was not immediately released, and it was not known whether he was a student. "Today
the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental
proportions," Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said. "The
university is shocked and indeed horrified." But he was also faced
with difficult questions about the university's handling of the emergency
and whether it did enough to warn students and protect them after the first
burst of gunfire. Some students bitterly complained they got no warning
from the university until an e-mail that arrived more than two hours after
the first shots rang out. Wielding two handguns and carrying multiple clips
of ammunition, the killer opened fire about 7:15 a.m. on the fourth floor
of West Ambler Johnston, a high-rise coed dormitory, then stormed Norris
Hall, a classroom building a half-mile away on the other side of the 2,600-acre
campus. Some of the doors at Norris Hall were found chained from the inside,
apparently by the gunman. Two people died in a dorm room, and 31 others
were killed in Norris Hall, including the gunman, who put a bullet in his
head. At least 15 people were hurt, some seriously. Students jumped from
windows in panic. more...
Ismail Ax? (April 17, 2007) - The Virginia Tech shooter had a history of odd behavior, and his professors had gone so far as to recommend him for counseling, the Chicago Tribune reports this morning. Seung-hui Cho left behind a note that blamed the "debauchery" of "rich kids" for his shooting spree, and had the words "Ismail Ax" written on his forearm when he died:
The suspected gunman in the Virginia Tech shooting rampage, Cho Seung-Hui, was a troubled 23-year-old senior from South Korea who investigators believe left an invective-filled note in his dorm room, sources say.
No one is sure as of yet what the phrase "Ismail Ax" means. It appears to be a reference to Abraham/Ibrahim, in which Ismail and Abraham take an axe to the idols of a temple as part of his conversion to monotheism. Is this a cryptic reference to Islamist or Christian radicalism? It certainly suggests one of the two. Hot Air has a more compelling theory -- a reference to James Fennimore Cooper's "The Prairie", which makes sense, given that Cho majored in English. more...
I include this story more to point out the transition we are going into that is going to start turning the population against Christians. We are lumped in by some with radical Islam. Don't think that what people read doesn't affect them. I know this isn't what everyone is doing either, but words forming ideas remain around and can influence people. Apparently some haven't read nor understood true Christianity in the Holy Bible because the idea of a true Biblical Christian acting like this is preposterous. However, this is where it's heading world-wide with the Alliance of Civilizations. Islam was behind that one too along with the Fourth Kingdom. Together, I think this is the iron mixed with clay. The truth is, in this Western world of "do what thou wilt," a set of rules laid down by a Creator are not accepted or desired if it imposes on their desires. These aren't crazy rules though. Actually read what the 10 Commandments say and tell me that is not good. Unless you have a beef with God or don't believe in Him. The latter was probably the influence of evolution focusing young minds on the material world being all that exists. God's moral laws are laid down for spiritual reasons. Their seen professed in the material in the 10 commandments. All the Laws of the prophets express just two rules, love God and love your neighbor as yourself, enacted in the golden rule. However...
2 Timothy 3:1-5
I wouldn't be surprised to see an Islamic connection because I know anti-Semitism is satanic and it takes the influence of one like Satan and a cold world to bring about this kind of murder and careless hatred. I also find it ironic that Liviu Librescu, the heroic teacher and Jewish holocaust survivor spared his whole class on the 48th anniversary of holocaust Remembrance Day by giving his life for theirs. The Bible says in John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Aleister Crowley sold the 180 degree opposite "do what thou wilt" attitude, you may be disturbed and horrified to see how that is such a great influence through the power of music. No, not just Marilyn Manson music either. Watch the 4-part series free on-line right now. An interesting quote from Doug Perry's book Rain Down Now Lord!, "Our battle is NOT against flesh and blood – or the mind – it's against spiritual rulers. Spiritual rulers that try to steal, kill and destroy. You can starve the Spirit by overfeeding the Body and Soul." This world lives feeding the material, but the spiritual is largely left thirsty. The Rock has already been struck and the water is flowing to those seeking, let us share our water with the thirsty. Let us understand the spiritual nature of the world and how that is soon going to change and share that understanding, building each other up in faith and love. Life as you know it is about to change and the best part has just begun for those that love God! Let us share this hope with others who can join the journey of discovering God's plan for your life. It's not an exclusive club either, God wants us to give our love away. Let us express God's goodness and speak the Truth of God from His Word. We are the messengers and fishermen, the light in a dark place. And we fight not against flesh and blood though they fight against us. We are surrounded and in-filled with One mightier than them and way beyond death. We understand there is still a spiritual death for them that do not obey God. Sound harsh to have to obey God? It will sure be presented that way, but have you read the 10 Commandments yet? Is it that hard to love? Are we that focused on the material that our only pleasure comes from those things contrary to the ways of God? God is love and if we love God, we will obey Him. By walking His path, we know Him.
If you've chosen a path different than this, then you will end up in the place that's different than the place God is at. The choice has always been ours and so has the responsibility for that choice.
Fair Tax - The FairTax Plan is a nonpartisan national grassroots campaign to replace the federal income tax system with a progressive national retail sales tax. It provides a "prebate" to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar federal revenue replacement and, through companion legislation, repeal of the 16th Amendment.
Ahmadinejad to announce new N-breakthroughs (April
17, 2007) - Iran will announce unspecified new “nuclear achievements”
if the United Nations takes fresh steps against it over its disputed atomic
programme, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday. “If they (the United
Nations) pass another resolution against Iran, our nation will reveal new
nuclear achievements,” Ahmadinejad told a rally in the central province
of Fars, the official Irna news agency reported. Defying a UN demand to
halt uranium enrichment, Iran said last week it was capable of industrial-scale
enrichment, a process the West fears Tehran will use for bomb-making. The
announcement prompted the United States to say it was likely the UN Security
Council would impose further penalties against Tehran. In Iran’s first public
reaction to the US warning, Ahmadinejad had earlier accused world powers
of using international organisations like the UN for their own ends and
said Iran would not give up its right to N-technology.
Syria threatens violence over Arab plan (April
17, 2007) - Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal threatened on
Monday evening to return the Golan Heights to Syrian hands "by way
of resistance if Israel [rejects] the Arab peace initiative." Bilal
did not elaborate, but some analysts raised the possibility of either a
full scale conventional war or a terror campaign in the Golan as one of
the means to undertake a mukawama ("resistance" in Arabic).
After saying that "Syria wishes to revive the peace process with Israel
with the help of US and Russian mediators," Bilal immediately added
a threat, saying that "if Israel [rejects] the Arab peace initiative,
the only way to get the Golan Heights back would be the way of resistance."
Bilal, speaking at a press conference in Damascus, was referring to the
Arab peace initiative of 2002.
The Javier Solana Story by Constance Cumbey
- as of April 17, 2007, this 7-part series focuses in on Javier Solana and
just what he has been up to and how that is lining up with Bible prophecy.
'Question Mark' Killer Quietly Seethed With Rage
(April 17, 2007) - Cho Seung-Hui, the gunman
who apparently killed 32 people and himself Monday morning at Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., seems to have been a
shy, quiet type seething with rage at unspecified tormentors. Virginia Tech
police on Tuesday morning identified Cho, 23, as the man whose body had
been found in Norris Hall, site of the worst shooting spree in American
history, lying next to two semi-automatic pistols. He apparently had
scrawled the words "ISMAIL AX" on the inside of one arm, according
to the Chicago Tribune, which may be a reference to the Islamic account
of the Biblical sacrifice of Abraham. A rambling note left in Cho's
dorm room reportedly railed for several pages against "rich kids"
and "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans" on campus,
and at one point states, "You caused me to do this." An English
professor said Cho's creative-writing work was so disturbing that he had
been referred to on-campus counseling services. In one class, he refused
to speak and signed his name using a question mark. Fellow pupils called
him "The Question Mark Kid." There were also reports that Cho,
a senior majoring in English from Centreville, Va., had been taking medication
for depression, and had also recently set fire to a dorm room and stalked
women. Identification was delayed nearly 24 hours after the end of the rampage
because Cho was carrying no ID, had no police record and had severely damaged
his own face when he killed himself. A positive match was finally made with
fingerprints on immigration records. "He was a loner, and we're having
difficulty finding information about him," Virginia Tech spokesman
Larry Hincker said Tuesday morning. Cho was born in South Korea on Jan.
18, 1984 and entered the United States in 1992 as a child of 8. He was a
permanent resident alien, a "green card" holder entitled to most
of the legal rights held by U.S. citizens.
Related story? US drug company knew that 'Prozac could lead to violence'
Rosengård, an area with a very high immigrant population, is yet again on the frontpage as the riots from Saturday continue. On Sunday, several storage facilities were set ablaze. But the most disturbing thing was that a 17-year-old boy was brutally assaulted by a group of 6 "youths" (as the newspaper described them). They beat him so severely that he is now treated in intesive care in Lund Hospital. The assault took place at 20:30, when two boys were on their way home from soccer practice. The gang concentrated on the 17-year-old; his friend got away to alert the police. When the police arrived at the scene, they found the boy lying on the ground with wounds to his head. According to the friend who got away, the attackers were unknown to them -- which indicates that this was a random, unprovoked act of violence. The boy, in critical condition, is sedated and is on life support with a respirator. The police have made no arrests and the motive is unknown.
Fjordman, the great Norwegian essayist, kindly sends in this background material:
Malmö is Sweden's third largest city and by far the worst city in
Scandinavia when it comes to Muslim aggression. Here are some of my older
posts about Malmö. Keep in mind when you read this that Swedes pay the highest
tax rates of any (supposedly) free nation. I read recently that an Arab
girl interviewed in Malmö said that she liked it so much there, it felt
almost like an Arab city:
Two local Liberal Party politicians in Malmö have proposed a ban on the
use of languages other than Swedish in school classrooms. "This is
a local proposal. In Malmö we have a very unique situation: we are close
to the point where a majority of pupils have a foreign background, which
is to say that either they or their parents come from a country outside
Sweden." Widman explains that some schools in Malmö have as few as
5 percent ethnic Swedes in their classrooms.
See Daniel 2:40-45
EU: Hezbollah may be ready to become political movement
(April 16, 2007) - Hezbollah would be ready
to transform its armed resistance into a political movement, if all occupied
Lebanese territories were freed, a Spanish representative to the European
parliament said on Sunday. "One of the positive elements of our meetings
with Hezbollah was that they declare that they would like to become a political
movement ... when the occupation of Lebanese land ends," David Hammerstein
told reporters at the end of a three-day visit by an EU delegation to Lebanon. "When
asked when the occupation ends, they said clearly the 'Shebaa Farms',"
Hammerstein added. "We all clearly support such an idea of placing
Shebaa under the temporary jurisdiction of the United Nations and urge Syria
and Israel to cooperate with this idea which will end the tension on the
borders between Lebanon and Israel." Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad
Siniora has requested United States and European Union help in pressuring
Israel to withdraw from Shebaa, but so far no action has been taken. This
inactivity is putting pressure on the government, as UN Security Council
Resolution 1559 calls for the disarmament of all armed Lebanese groups,
including Hezbollah. The disputed Shebaa territory is a 25-square-kilometer
region the mountainous region between Lebanon, Syria and Israel. While Lebanon
lays claim to the territory, the UN supports Israel's contention that it
withdrew fully from Lebanon in 2000, and that the territory is part of the
Russia Warns Israel Against Syria War (April
16, 2007) - Russian National Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov,
during a visit to Israel, has warned Israel to be wary of conflict with
Syria. Ivanov said last week that the tense cease-fire between Tel-Aviv
and Damascus might escalate into war if the two parties mutually miscalculate
their strength; the Haaretz daily reported. Ivanov, responding to Israeli
National Security Council Head Ilan Mizrahi's claim that Russia was supplying
Syria with modern weapons and missiles, said Russia was supplying both Iran
and Syria with defensive weapon systems only. He went on to tell the Israeli
officials that the Syrian President Bashar Assad was genuinely interested
in negotiating a peace agreement with Israel. "As I told you in November,
you will find a partner in Assad," he said, adding that Russia supported
the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. As for the Iranian
nuclear program, Ivanov said diplomatic talks to resolve the crisis revolving
the Iranian nuclear effort have not been exhausted, and that there was "still
much to be done in that respect." Ivanov also relayed Russia's apprehensions
regarding a possible joint American-Israeli military strike against Iran.
It's becoming easier to see why Russia will join Iran and Turkey in attacking Israel. There are already Chechen Muslim troops and Turkish troops acting as "peacekeepers" on the Northern border of Israel. The alliances are becoming clear and present.
Olmert says ready for talks based on Saudi plan
(April 16, 2007) - Israel said on Monday it
was ready to start talks based on a Saudi Arabian land-for-peace initiative
but made clear it wanted Riyadh and other Arab League members with no formal
ties to the Jewish state to take part. "I'm ready to sit with them
on the basis of the Saudi plan. And I'm ready to listen very carefully to
their proposal on the basis of this plan and to see how we can work together
to ultimately find common ground," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told
the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview. The comments came
ahead of a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday of an Arab League committee expected
to set up several working groups to promote the 2002 peace initiative, including
one that would hold contacts with Israel. Under U.S. pressure, Olmert signalled
this week that Israel would be prepared to take part in talks with the working
group, which was expected to include countries like Egypt and Jordan that
already have formal relations with Israel. Saudi Arabia was not expected
to join directly. Diplomats have sent mixed messages about whether this
working group could be charged with negotiating with Israel over the
details of the initiative, which offers normal relations to the
Jewish state in return for land occupied since 1967. Egypt's
foreign minister said at the weekend the working groups were not "mandated
to negotiate", but other diplomats in the region said initial contacts
could lead to direct negotiations. Olmert signalled his support for the
talks when he told his cabinet on Sunday that he was "willing to hold
a dialogue with any grouping of Arab states about their ideas". But
Israeli officials made clear that they want the Arab League to include a
wider range of countries, including those like Saudi Arabia that do not
have formal ties with Israel, in any future talks. Olmert said Saudi Arabia
could play a central role. Even though the kingdom does not have formal
relations with the Jewish state, Olmert strongly hinted that unofficial
contacts have already taken place. The Saudis have rejected Olmert's call
for a regional conference that would include them and other Arab states.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, speaking in Paris, said the broader Arab
world will not agree to normalise relations with Israel before a peace deal
is reached. "We can come to a solution through negotiations,"
Mubarak said. "But it's not possible to normalise and then start talks."
The land-for-peace initiative, relaunched at an Arab League summit in Riyadh,
offers Israel normal ties with all Arab states in return for a full withdrawal
from the lands it seized in the 1967 Middle East war, creation of a Palestinian
state and a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.
Here is an excerpt from a booklet titled Big Lies: Demolishing the Myths of the Propaganda War Against Israel by David Meir-Levi. It goes over history and the lies about the "right of return" of the "Palestinians."
Moderate quake jolts Japan's southern island
(April 16, 2007) - A moderate earthquake with a preliminary magnitude
of 5.2 shook a small island south of Tokyo, but there was no danger of a
tsunami, the Meteorological Agency said Monday. The quake struck at 9:59
a.m. (0059 GMT) and was centered near Chichijima, about 960 kilometers (600
miles) south of Tokyo, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) underground, according
to the agency. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damages, said
Kenichi Mochida of the local town office. On Sunday, a magnitude 5.4 quake
jolted Mie, in central Japan, injuring several people and damaging houses
and a 400-year-old castle. Mie is about 320 kilometers (200 miles) southwest
of Tokyo. In March, a magnitude 6.9 quake in northwestern Japan killed one
and injured more than 200 people. Japan sits atop four tectonic plates and
is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.
Syria threatens to take Golan Heights by force
(April 16, 2007) - "Syria wishes to revive
the peace process with Israel with the help of US and Russian mediators,"
the Syrian Information Minister was quoted as saying by Israel Radio, Monday.
The minister immediately added a threat that "If Israel rejects the
Arab peace initiatives, the only way to get the Golan Heights back would
be the way of resistance." The minister was speaking at a press conference
in Damascus. Last week, a Syrian-born American businessman, Abe Suleiman,
promised the Foreign Affairs and Defense committee of the Knesset that "peace
with Syria could be achieved within six months." Syria said Suleiman
was speaking on his own behalf and was in no way affiliated with the Syrian
As I've been saying, I believe that the destruction of Damascus prophesied in Isaiah 17 may be the "hooks in the jaws" that brings Iran, Turkey, and Russia against Israel in the Gog/Magog invasion. This kind of "our way or the highway" diplomacy may just be what pushes Israel to attack the den of terrorism, Damascus. Keep watching!
Pelosi Accused of Violating U.S. Law on Syria Trip
(April 15, 2007) - Calls are being sounded
in the United States for charges to be filed against U.S. House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi over her trip to Syria last week - in which she is said to
have violated the Logan Act, which prohibits members of Congress from meeting
with representatives of enemy states without permission from the Executive
Branch. If Pelosi were to be charged and convicted under the Logan Act,
which is a felony, she could be imprisoned for up to 10 years. Pelosi has
been roundly criticized by Republicans, including U.S. President George
W. Bush, for meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad last week in Damascus.
Bush told reporters in Washington that Pelosi's trip could undermine U.S.
foreign policy. He also reiterated charges that Syria was facilitating the
movement of foreign fighters into Iraq and failing to rein in Hamas and
Hizbullah. Pelosi said that the trip was not intended to give aid and comfort
to Assad or to terrorists. "We came in friendship, hope, and determined
that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," she said, commenting
on the criticism.
Don’t stare at Muslims says advice to schools
(April 15, 2007) - PUPILS and teachers have been told by an official
body not to stare at Muslims for fear of causing offence. A document intended
to educate against religious intolerance and sectarianism urges teachers
to “make pupils aware of the various forms of Islamophobia, ie stares, verbal
abuse, physical abuse”. But Learning Teaching Scotland (LTS), which issued
the advice to schools north of the border, has been criticised by politicians
and Muslim leaders for going “over the top”. The document states: “Some
Muslims may choose to wear clothing or display their faith in a way that
makes them visible. For example, women may be wearing a headscarf, and men
might be wearing a skullcap. Staring or looking is a form of discrimination
as it makes the other person feel uncomfortable, or as though they are not
normal.” Osama Saeed, a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain,
accused officials of going too far. “There are far more serious elements
of Islamophobia. People look at all sorts of things — that can just be a
glance. A glance and a stare are two different things — glances happen naturally
when all sorts of things catch your eye whereas a stare is probably gawking
at something. “Personally I have not encountered much of a problem with
people staring. I don’t know how you legislate for that.” Murdo Fraser,
deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: “In a multicultural society
like ours there are people with all different forms of dress and I don’t
think it’s unreasonable to expect children in particular to look at those
who are differently dressed from them. To describe this as a form of discrimination
seems to go completely over the top.” Meanwhile, a survey of London’s Muslims
shows that more of them identify with Britain than do the majority population.
The Gallup poll, which is part of the biggest global survey of Muslims,
shows 57% of Muslims identified with Britain as their home, compared with
48% of the rest of the population. more...
Attacks Against Jews Double In 2006 Report Reveals
(April 15, 2007) - The number of anti-Semitic
acts around the world, especially in Europe, registered a large increase
during 2006. According to a report, 590 acts of vandalism and violence were
committed during 2006 against Jewish people, property and institutes such
as synagogues and cemeteries. The number of physical attacks against Jews,
including children and adolescents, doubled compared to 2005. This information
was published Sunday morning in a report compiled by the Stephen Roth Institute
for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism in Tel Aviv University
together with the World Jewish Congress. The report was released for the
Holocaust Memorial Day, on Monday. The report stated that the attacks were
mostly random, making it very difficult to find the perpetrators and bring
them to justice. In reality, many of the attacks were committed by Muslim
immigrants and far-right groups. A total of 324 violent incidents was registered
in Europe, higher than in other regions of the world. The highest number
of anti-Semitic acts commited in the UK in the last 20 years was registered.
The statistics in France and Belgium also show an increase in anti-Semitism.
Germany remained steady but high, holding the record for desecrating cemeteries
and Holocaust-memorial monuments. Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head not
only in Europe. Australia, Canada (especially in the French speaking regions)
and South Africa have registered alarming increases in anti-Semitic incitends.
In the US, however, anti-Semitic acts dropped by 12 percent, although some
of the cases reported were severe, like premeditated murder. A concentration
of incidents was recorded during the Second Lebanon War and immediately
after it. The writers of the report explained: "There is no doubt that
the war and the hostile mood surrounding it brought violence by Muslim extremists
and far-right groups against Jews to escalate worldwide." more...
EU official: 'New momentum' in the Mideast peace
(April 14, 2007) - There is "new momentum"
in the Middle East peace process, a high-ranking European Union official
said after meeting the UN secretary-general. EU External Relations Commissioner
Benita Ferrero-Waldner pointed to the recent Arab League peace initiative,
the formation of a Palestinian national unity government including Hamas
and Fatah, and regular meetings between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian
Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. "I think the recent developments
... have brought indeed a new momentum to this peace process," she
said Friday. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Ferrero-Waldner discussed
these developments and the next meeting of the Quartet, the international
group comprising the UN, the US, the EU and Russia that produced the stalled
roadmap to Israeli-Palestinian peace culminating with statehood for the
Turkish daily: Pelosi to be welcomed in Iran
(April 14, 2007) - A Turkish daily said Saturday that Iran would
welcome the Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy
Pelosi if she wanted to visit Tehran. "We are ready to meet Mrs. Pelosi,"
the Saturday edition of daily Radical quoted deputy head of Iran's Majlis
National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mohammad-Nabi Roudaki as
saying. Radical said exchange of meetings at the parliamentary level would
help the two sides arrange dialogue on current problems, lead to closer
ties among people of Iran, the US and Europe and clarify Iran's peaceful
Strong Earthquake Rocks Mexico (April 13, 2007)
- An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 rocked Mexico early
Friday, striking 60 miles north of Acapulco on the country's Pacific coast,
the U.S. Geological Survey said. The quake - which hit about 1 a.m. local
time - was strongly felt by residents in Acapulco - where tourists in hotels
rushed out of their rooms and huddled together, fearing aftershocks. The
quake was also felt in parts of Mexico City, where power was knocked out.
There has been no word on injuries or damage. In Mexico City, the quake
sent people out into the streets. It lasted less than a minute but was strongly
felt by residents. Police patrolled streets while families waited out on
the streets in their pajamas, fearing aftershocks.
Crops Worldwide Threatened by New Wheat Fungus
(April 13, 2007) - Warning that a virulent
new wheat-killing fungus called wheat stem rust could destroy harvests across
the globe, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today
said that it has partnered with other organizations to fight the spread
of the dangerous strain. Warning that a virulent new wheat-killing fungus
called wheat stem rust could destroy harvests across the globe, the United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
today said that it has partnered with other organizations to fight the spread
of the dangerous strain. Also known as wheat black rust, the fungus, which
first emerged in Uganda in 1999, has spread from East Africa to Yemen on
the Arabian Peninsula. Approximately 80 per cent of all varieties of wheat
in Asia and Africa are vulnerable to this new strain which spreads rapidly
and is transmitted by the wind across continents and over long distances.
“Global wheat yields could be at risk if the stem rust spreads to major
wheat producing countries,” cautioned FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf
said. Destruction of wheat crops, causing billions dollars worth of losses,
“could lead to increased wheat prices and local or regional food shortages,”
he said. This could have dire implications for developing countries, he
added, since they rely heavily on wheat and do not have access to wheat
varieties resistant to the fungus. FAO has joined forces with the Global
Rust Initiative – an international group lead by the International Center
for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas and the International Maize and
Wheat Improvement Center – which receives most of its funding from Canada,
the United States and India. The partnership will assist efforts to develop
wheat varieties resistant to the fungus, bolstering plant protection and
developing contingency plans in the event of crop infection.
Don't underestimate Syria's military (April 12,
2007) - While the Knesset heard about potential scenarios for reaching
peace with Damascus on Thursday, senior defense officials warned of an unprecedented
military buildup in Syria and said that prevailing in a war with Israel's
northeastern neighbor would not be as simple as some might have been led
to believe. Following the Second Lebanon War, IDF Military Intelligence
noticed a change within the Syrian military. Syria feels empowered by Hizbullah's
surprising success last summer and Damascus now believes it can use Hizbullah-like
tactics in a future confrontation with Israel and possibly even defeat the
once-thought-to-be invincible IDF. "For years we thought that the IDF
had a clear upper hand over Syria's military," a top official told
The Jerusalem Post. "After the war in Lebanon we now know that
this assumption was not accurate." Syria has emphasized missile development
in recent months. According to Western sources, Syria has the ability to
independently manufacture Scud missiles, and it has 300 of them deployed
just north of the demilitarized zone in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights.
A division of some 10,000 troops is responsible for operating the missiles,
which include an small number of Scud D's with a range of 700 kilometers
and said to be capable of carrying nonconventional warheads. Syria has close
to 30 launchers for its Scud missiles, according to foreign sources. Syria
keeps the projectiles in bunkers at several locations; most are in a valley
near Hama, where it has built a missile electronic and assembly facility.
Syria has a massive military divided into 12 divisions and totaling close
to 400,000 soldiers at full mobilization. One of the divisions is made up
of 10,000 elite commandos, a formidable force that would serve as Syria's
first line in an offensive against the IDF. Since the Second Lebanon War,
Syria has established new commando units and is said to have increased urban
and guerrilla warfare training. "Syria saw the difficulty the IDF had
during the fighting inside the southern Lebanese villages and now the military
there wants to draw us - in the event of a war - into battles in built-up
areas where they think they will have the upper hand," explained a
source in the IDF Northern Command. more...
It's easy to see why Israel may eventually attack Syria and Damascus specifically. Keep watching!
'Pagan morality' on way to becoming law (April
11, 2007) - A legislative plan to "eliminate attitudes"
opposing homosexuality is moving forward in Oregon, even though opponents
threatens churches and establishes pagan morality as a benchmark for their
operations. Senate Bill 2, already endorsed by the state Senate and
favored by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat, now heads to the floor of the
state House following a 5-1 committee endorsement. It is expected to be
voted on within the next week. In the House Rules Committee, an amendment
was offered that would have provided an exemption for Christian churches
and Christian groups in the proposal to grant broad new powers to the homosexual
community by designating them as members of a protected minority class.
However, the amendment was rejected in favor of a plan to continue to allow
homosexuals to demand Christian churches hire them when there are job openings
– among other issues. "This is still an intrusion of the state into
religious liberty, and makes [Christian organizations] subject to state
control," David Crowe, of
Restore America, told WND. "It favors the homosexual community
and puts the church in a defensive posture, having to defend itself and
its beliefs, policies, doctrines and employment," he said. The Oregon
Family Council had proposed an amendment derived from similar legislative
plans in other states where homosexual community members have been granted
special rights, but it was rejected. "This is very objectionable. It
reveals that this is an agenda. They couldn't care less about what the people
of Oregon think," said Crowe. His organization's
petition to encourage legislators to oppose the plan already has 6,000 signatures
and is growing at the rate of about 1,000 per day. "We're going to
tell the world what is being dictated (to Christians and Christian churches)
in Oregon," Crowe said. He said the attitude on the part of lawmakers
was typified by a comment from state Rep. Peter Buckley, from Ashland, who
didn't want to provide "more exemptions," likening the situation
to "past racist employment motives." It used to be signs that
said "No Irish need apply," he suggested. "Only now it's
like, 'No gays or lesbians need apply for jobs.'" Buckley insists the
church must employ homosexuals, said Crowe. "He has no regard, no understanding
whatsoever of the religious community at all, and certainly no respect for
the U.S. Constitution," Crowe explained. "He says he's going to
summarily override anything in the Constitution. He believes we ought to
be forced to hire homosexuals. They come to the door, we ought to hire them."
He said the homosexual-rights promoters are becoming self-righteous in their
attitudes, saying, "We're against any kind of discrimination and certainly
this kind as well." Churches, meanwhile, are being portrayed as impeding "what
is really good." The entire issue, however, is built on false pretenses,
Crowe said, because the need for such legislation can only be substantiated
if there is a significant problem with discrimination against homosexuals.
Queen Nancy The Worst (April 11, 2007)
- Representative Tom Lantos, who accompanied House of Representatives Speaker
Nancy Pelosi to meet Syrian President Bashar Al Assad against strong White
House objections, said he thought Pelosi might also be willing to make a
trip to Tehran. “Speaking just for myself, I would be ready to get on a
plane tomorrow morning,” Lantos said at a press conference in San Francisco
Tuesday, the Chronicle reported on its website. “Because however objectionable,
unfair and inaccurate many of (Ahmadinejad’s) statements are, it is important
that we have a dialogue with him,” Lantos said. “Speaking for myself, I’m
ready to go — and knowing the speaker, I think that she might be.” Nancy
Pelosi defended her recent visits to Israel and Syria, during which she
conveyed messages from both governments that each government later denied.
After visiting Ehud Olmert in Israel, Madame Speaker went to Syria in defiance
of numerous White House requests to pay a visit to Bashar Assad. The White
House has been attempting to isolate Syria to pressure Damascus into distancing
itself from sponsoring terrorist groups like Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic
Jihad. (All three organizations are listed by name in the Damascus telephone
book) Instead, Pelosi went to Syria, where she delivered a message from
Ehud Olmert to the effect that Israel was ready to negotiate. Afterward,
she gave a press conference in which she announced that Bashar Assad was
also prepared to negotiate with Israel. Bingo! In one trip, Nancy Pelosi
had resolved the Arab-Israeli conflict that has confounded successive US
administrations since 1948. Quite an accomplishment, Madame Speaker! Unfortunately
for the Pelosi Peace Plan, when Ehud Olmert heard her announcement, he denied
giving her any such message. Assad held a press conference to deny she was
carrying any message from him. In response, Pelosi dismissed both leaders
as liars, (a proven tactic in liberal politics, but considered extremely
bad form in diplomatic circles). Addressing the denial from Olmert, Pelosi
snapped, "There was absolutely no confusion." "The message
that we carried from Prime Minister Olmert was the exact message that he
gave us," she told NPR's "All Things Considered." See? Olmert
must be lying. more...
Spirituality Influences Health, Most U.S. Doctors Say (April 11, 2007) - The majority of American doctors think that religion and spirituality play an important role in influencing patients' health, a new review found. And the more religious a doctor was, the more likely he or she was to have a positive view of the impact of religion and spirituality on health, according to the study by researchers at the University of Chicago. "This study helps explain the phenomenon that, despite many studies that examine the relationship between religion and health, there is an entrenched debate and disagreement about whether there is any such relationship," said lead author Dr. Farr A. Curlin, an assistant professor of medicine. "A big reason why this debate won't go away is because the debate is not just about the data, it's about the frames of mind people bring to the data," Curlin said. The majority of U.S. doctors -- 56 percent -- believes that religion and spirituality influence patient's health, Curlin said. "The influence mostly helps patients cope with illness and gives them a positive state of mind," he added. A minority of doctors -- 7 percent -- believes that religion and spirituality can have a negative influence, Curlin said. "Sometimes, these beliefs can lead patients to refuse or not go along with medically recommended therapies," he said. Curlin noted that "most doctors don't believe that religion has an influence on hard medical outcomes -- like heart attacks, infections, etcetera. The influence is more on helping get through and cope with an illness." In the study, published in the April 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, Curlin and his colleagues sent a survey to 1,820 doctors, and 1,144 -- 63 percent -- of them responded. Included in the survey were questions about the doctors' religious beliefs and attitudes about the positive and negative influence of religion and spirituality. The researchers found that two-thirds of the doctors believed that illness often or always increases patients' awareness of religion and spirituality. In addition, 56 percent thought religion and spirituality had a significant influence on health. Also, 54 percent believed that, sometimes, a supernatural being intervenes in care. Most doctors -- 85 percent -- thought that religion and spirituality was generally a positive influence, but only 6 percent thought that religion and spirituality changed medical outcomes, Curlin's team found.
2007 a prophetic year? (April 11, 2007)
- In Genesis, God flooded the earth for 40 days and 40 nights, and 40 days
after the mountaintops became visible, Noah opened the ark's window and
sent out a bird. Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebecca, and his
son Esau was 40 years old when he married Judith. The judge Eli presided
over the people of Israel for 40 years. Their first king, Saul, reigned
for 40 years; their second king, David, reigned for 40 years; and their
third king, Solomon, reigned for 40 years. The number 40 is used a lot in
the Bible, and it is sometimes – but not always – connected with punishment.
Israel was made to wait 40 years in the desert to enter the Promised Land
and was given a 40-year judgment under the Philistines for its misdeeds.
Egypt had a 40-year sentence to serve under Babylon's Nebuchadnezzar. When
Moses was given the Ten Commandments, he stayed on the mountain with God
for 40 days. He died after living 40 years as a prince, 40 years as an exile,
and 40 years as a prophet leading his people to the Promised Land. When
they first arrived, he sent 40-year-old Joshua to spy out the land. That
mission took – you guessed it – 40 days. According to the New Testament,
Jesus began his ministry with a 40-day fast in the wilderness and ended
it with a 40-day reunion with his followers. Fast-forward to June 1967.
In the Six-Day War, Israel retook East Jerusalem, propelling the Temple
Mount back into Jewish hands for the first time in 19 centuries. Then, in
what may have been the first de facto land-for-peace tradeoff in Israeli
history, defense minister and acclaimed war hero Moshe Dayan turned custody
of the Mount right back over to the defeated Jordanian enemy. "It was
evident that if we did not prevent Jews from praying in what was now a mosque
compound," he later wrote, "matters would get out of hand and
lead to a religious clash." However, Dayan had attached
conditions to the transfer: 1) a ban on rabble-rousing sermons against
the Jews, and 2) freedom of access without limitation or payment. These
conditions were never enforced by the Israeli government. Some observers
blame the transfer on Dayan's secular worldview. "In his biography,
Dayan clearly stated that the last thing he wanted was the Beit Hamikdash
(Temple building) rebuilt,"
one commentator wrote. "So Dayan 'gave' the Temple Mount back to
the Arabs because he wanted to make sure that there wouldn't be a third
Temple. There was nothing that Prime Minister Eshkol could do about it.
After all, Dayan had just become one of the biggest heroes in Israeli history.
One of our biggest heroes may go down in history as one of our biggest screw-ups."
Dayan's heroism notwithstanding, Scripture speaks loudly against the giving
away of Israel's land to her enemies. Although official title to the Mount
was not surrendered, guardianship of it and access to it were, and quite
voluntarily so. This year, 2007, commemorates the 40-year anniversary of
the giveaway of the Temple Mount. Now as before, Israel's enemies surround
the city and beat their plowshares into swords. The ancient plateau still
stands where old Abraham went to offer Isaac, where King David dreamed of
the Temple his son Solomon would build, where12-year-old Jesus amazed the
doctors of the law with his understanding. But now it is populated with
monuments to a god the ancient Hebrews never knew, and the 40-year cycle
has come around again. Will the merciful God of Israel grant His people
a pass on what some might consider one leader's lapse in judgment? Has the
biblical 40-year phenomenon drawn to a close at this late date? Or will
2007 be another prophetic year?
U.S. Christians Ignorant of Europe's Spiritual State, Says Mission Group Spokesman (April 8, 2007) - American Christians mistakenly believe that Europe has the same perception of the Church and Christian faith as in the United States, said a Europe mission group spokesman. “It is questionable whether Europeans ever had a fundamental grasp of the grace of Jesus Christ,” said Bill Bennett, director of communications for Greater Europe Mission, to The Christian Post in a recent interview. Bennett explained that the church to Europeans is seen as an economic and political power representing the religion of the rich world. Europeans have a more formal, ritualistic view of Christianity partially because in its history, a person’s landlord decided whether he would be Catholic or Protestant rather than any personal conviction. “In America we assume that they have the same church that we have but our church experience is vastly different than that of Europe,” emphasized Bennett. “They didn’t come to believe in Christ and then start coming to church like we do.” He added, “We in the United States project our Christianity to Europe which is not accurate because their history is different than ours.” As many know, Christianity is declining in Europe to the extent that it has been described as the “least evangelized spot on earth” when looking at all of Europe’s population. Less than four percent of the total population in Europe is evangelical and in most European countries the percentage falls to less than one percent. In Europe, it is not unusual for a person to describe themself as a Catholic-Atheist, or someone born and raised in a Catholic family but who does not personally believe in God. Typically, the person would be baptized, married, and have their funeral held in a church, but would not be able to explain the meaning of Easter. Bennett’s description is reflected in a recent Easter survey conducted in England - a country typically seen as a Christian nation. The survey found that one out of every six people in England aged 16-24 did not know the meaning of Good Friday and about 10 percent of participants did not know that Easter Sunday commemorated the resurrection of Jesus. European governments have been partially blamed for the decline of Christianity, being accused of restricting religious activities and hindering the expansion of faith groups. For example, in the democratic country of France, a church requesting permit to expand its church building or buy property may never receive permission, according to Bennett.
Buoyant Teheran warns of further kidnappings
(April 8, 2007) - Hardliners in the Iranian regime have warned that
the seizure of British naval personnel demonstrates that they can make trouble
for the West whenever they want to and do so with impunity. The bullish
reaction from Teheran will reinforce the fears of western diplomats and
military officials that more kidnap attempts may be planned. The British
handling of the crisis has been regarded with some concern in Washington,
and a Pentagon defence official told The Sunday Telegraph: "The fear
now is that this could be the first of many. If the Brits don't change their
rules of engagement, the Iranians could take more hostages almost at will. "Iran
has come out of this looking reasonable. If I were the Iranians, I would
keep playing the same game. They have very successfully muddied the waters
and bought themselves some more time. And in parts of the Middle East they
will be seen as the good guys. They could do it time and again if they wanted
to." Americans also expressed dismay that the British had suspended
boarding operations in the Gulf while its tactics are reassessed. "Iran
has got what it wants. They have secured free passage for smuggling weapons
into Iraq without a fight," one US defence department official said.
It is also clear that the Iranian government believes that the outcome has
strengthened its position over such contentious issues as its nuclear programme.
Hardliners within the regime have been lining up to crow about Britain's
humiliation, and indicated that the operation was planned. Conservative
parliamentarian Amir Hassankhani, a former member of the country's Revolutionary
Guard and supporter of the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told the country's
semi-official Fars news agency: "The arrest and release of the British
sailors proved that if Iran's issues and demands are overlooked at the international
level, the Islamic republic can create different challenges for the other
side." However, a British Government official familiar with the negotiations
said that while the abductions had provided Ahmadinejad with a platform
from which to humiliate the West, such behaviour would have undermined Iran's
ambitions for its nuclear programme. Countries which might otherwise have
supported Iran would now be questioning whether a regime that took hostages
could be trusted with sensitive nuclear technology. "Ahmadinejad may
have got some short-term PR bounce out of this, but the more cerebral members
of the regime may be quite alarmed that they have squandered their perceived
right to be treated as a country that should be trusted with a nuclear enrichment
programme," he said. "In the long term, they may have lost out."
Quake lifts Solomons island out of the sea (April
7, 2007) - The seismic jolt that unleashed the deadly Solomons tsunami
this week lifted an entire island metres out of the sea, destroying some
of the world's most pristine coral reefs. In an instant, the grinding of
the Earth's tectonic plates in the 8.0 magnitude earthquake Monday forced
the island of Ranongga up three metres (10 foot). Submerged reefs that once
attracted scuba divers from around the globe lie exposed and dying after
the quake raised the mountainous landmass, which is 32-kilometres (20-miles)
long and 8-kilometres (5-miles) wide. Corals that used to form an underwater
wonderland of iridescent blues, greens and reds now bleach under the sun,
transforming into a barren moonscape surrounding the island. The stench
of rotting fish and other marine life stranded on the reefs when the seas
receded is overwhelming and the once vibrant coral is dry and crunches underfoot.
Dazed villagers stand on the shoreline, still coming to terms with the cataclysmic
shift that changed the geography of their island forever, pushing the shoreline
out to sea by up to 70 metres. Aid agencies have yet to reach Ranongga after
the quake and tsunami that killed at least 34 people in the Pacific archipelago
but an AFP reporter and photographer on a chartered boat witnessed the destruction
first hand. At Pienuna, on Ranongga's east coast, locals said much of their
harbour had disappeared, leaving only a narrow inlet lined by jagged exposed
coral reefs either side. Villager Harison Gago said there were huge earthquake
fissures which had almost split the island in half, gesturing with his hands
that some of the cracks were 50 centimetres (20 inches) wide. Further north
at Niu Barae, fisherman Hendrik Kegala had just finished exploring the new
underwater landscape of the island with a snorkel when contacted by the
AFP team. He said a huge submerged chasm had opened up, running at least
500 metres (550 yards) parallel to the coast. On the beach at Niu Barae,
the earthquake has revealed a sunken vessel that locals believe is a Japanese
patrol boat, a remnant of the fierce fighting between Allied forces and
the Japanese in WWII. more...
“Be not overcome
of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
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