News for July 31, 2008

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The Bride More Books & Things - As the bride anxiously awaited the arrival of her fiance, she read and re-read the tattered love letters he had sent her. There were enough to make a book. She had gotten to know him very well through pen and paper during these past few months and could hardly wait for his return. She could think of none other than her beloved and the day they would be wed. Soon he would carry her off to the safety of his Kingdom, far from the danger of the great dragon that stalked villagers who strayed, seeking whom he may devour.

As she lit her lamp in the twilight, a rider on a dark horse rode up and handed her a letter. Another one? At this hour? The rider trotted away to deliver his sack of letters to every house in the village. Her anticipation quickly faded as she broke the unfamiliar seal and saw the strange handwriting. Her heart raced as she read how the author claimed to know her beloved, but was saying things about him that she knew were not true. She gasped at the realization that everything she knew was being cleverly reworded . . . the agreed price of her dowry, how she had been found by her fiance and rescued from the wicked fate at the slave market. But now their story was being twisted on this paper she held in her trembling hands, as even the promise of his return and the planning of their wedding banquet were now being challenged and denied!

Hot tears rolled down flushed cheeks as the bride closed the door behind her, sank to the hard marble floor and wept. Not for herself, because she knew her groom. But she wept for all those who would surely believe this well crafted new tale that was being spread with the echo of each hoof beat. She wondered if there would be any guests prepared to come to the wedding supper now. There had already been rumors that she, a poor adopted peasant girl, was not worthy to be betrothed to the King, and that the people must begin building and preparing their own kingdom before He would even think of returning. To make things much worse, no one had sighted the sly dragon for some time now, but she had seen tracks beside the village fence every morning.

How many were already believing the false murmurings of peace? Would her groom find anyone left ready to accompany them into the new Kingdom where they would dwell in safety forever? She needed go quickly and warn the people! They must hear the truth before it was too late! Her groom was due to arrive any day now, her white linen dress was ready to go, her lamps were filled with oil...but perhaps there was still time left...

Day light was fading. Suddenly she felt very tired. Sighing heavily, she held the letter above the flame of the oil lamp. As she watched the fire consume the lies, she was startled by a knock on her door...

Potential for Strong Earthquake in Pacific Northwest Fox 12 News - A series of shallow earthquakes have been startling residents from Oregon to Idaho and even as far way as Alaska. In the Gem State, the strongest shaking was felt just east of Pocatello. The tremors, all of which are a 4.0 magnitude or less, have been occurring along the Blanco Fracture Zone off the Oregon Coast. Emergency managers say the quakes are no cause for alarm but shouldn't be handled with absolute complacency either. "Future activity cannot be predicted, however people living anywhere in the Pacific Northwest could potentially experience a magnitude 5 or 6 earthquake. Planning is not a prediction, but planning for the worst and hoping for the best is good advice in the disaster preparedness profession," said Susan Reinertson, FEMA's regional administrator. Emergency managers say all Americans should have a 72 hour disaster preparedness kit with food, water, prescription medication and first aid supplies in their homes.

Israeli prime minister to resign in September Associated Press (July 30, 2008) - Facing burgeoning corruption allegations and plummeting popularity, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday he will resign in September, throwing Israel into political turmoil and raising doubts about prospects for peace with the Palestinians and Syria. Olmert said he would not run in his party's primary election Sept. 17 and would step down afterward to allow his successor to form a government. But because of Israel's political system, he could serve until well into next year. His decision will end a long public career that has been clouded by allegations of corruption that have battered him in recent months. Olmert's popularity dropped below 20 percent at one point after his bloody but inconclusive war in Lebanon in 2006. Political analysts had been predicting his resignation for weeks as details of the latest allegations against him dominated the news. The most damaging inquiry focuses on Morris Talansky, a 76-year-old American Jewish businessman who testified that he handed envelopes stuffed with tens of thousands of dollars to Olmert before he became prime minister, in part financing a luxurious lifestyle of expensive hotels and fat cigars. Olmert's brief address from his official Jerusalem residence included harsh criticism of the police investigations. He said he was choosing the public good over personal justice. Although he has consistently denied wrongdoing, he had pledged to resign if indicted. "I was forced to defend myself against relentless attacks from self-appointed 'fighters for justice' who sought to depose me from my position, when the ends sanctified all the means," Olmert said, appearing angry and reading from a text. He did not answer questions from reporters gathered in his courtyard. more...
| Israel |

IMF Contemplates System Failure. Could it be the 1.2 Quadrillion in Derivatives? McAlvany Weekly Commentary (July 30, 2008)
| America | Economic Crisis |

Turkey's Ruling Party Escapes Ban BBC News (July 30, 2008) - Turkey's Constitutional Court has decided not to ban the ruling AK Party, accused of undermining the country's secular system. But the judges did cut half the AKP's treasury funding for this year. The AKP, which won a huge poll victory last year, denies it wants to create an Islamist state by stealth. It called the case an attack on democracy. The powerful military sees itself as the guardian of the modern secular state founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Court president Hasim Kilic said the financial sanctions imposed on the AKP were a "serious warning". At least seven of the 11 court judges would need to vote in favour for the party to be banned. But six judges wanted a ban and five did not want to do so. "I hope the party in question will evaluate this outcome very well and get the message it should get," Mr Kilic said. After the ruling, Turkey's Labour Minister Faruk Celik was quoted as saying it was a "victory for Turkish democracy". The court case followed a series of confrontations between the AKP, which has Islamist roots, and the secular elite. Turkish secularists have staged huge anti-AKP rallies. The party's attempt to allow Islamic headscarves to be worn at universities was highly controversial. Last month the constitutional court said the move to lift the existing headscarf ban violated the secular constitution. Since the 1960s, more than 20 parties - mostly pro-Islamist or pro-Kurdish - have been shut down by the courts for allegedly posing a threat to Turkey's secularist principles. However, this is the first time that a closure case has been brought against a governing party with a huge parliamentary majority. EU officials expressed some relief at the court's ruling on Wednesday. "It is positive. Turkey is living a tense situation and we very much hope that the decision by the court will contribute to restore political stability," said Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, quoted by Reuters.
| Islam |

Huge Chunk Snaps Off Storied Arctic Ice Shelf Globe And Mail (July 29, 2008) - A four-square-kilometre chunk has broken off Ward Hunt Ice Shelf - the largest remaining ice shelf in the Arctic - threatening the future of the giant frozen mass that northern explorers have used for years as the starting point for their treks. Scientists say the break, the largest on record since 2005, is the latest indication that climate change is forcing the drastic reshaping of the Arctic coastline, where 9,000 square kilometres of ice have been whittled down to less than 1,000 over the past century, and are only showing signs of decreasing further. "Once you unleash this process by cracking the ice shelf in multiple spots, of course we're going to see this continuing," said Derek Mueller, a leading expert on the North who discovered the ice shelf's first major crack in 2002. Dr. Mueller was part of a team monitoring ice along the northern coast of Ellesmere Island last April that discovered deep new cracks - 18 kilometres long and 40 metres wide - on the edge of Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, a 350-square-kilometre mass of ice that joins tiny Ward Hunt Island to the bigger Ellesmere. The cracks indicated a split was likely coming. more...
| Earth Changes |

U.S. companies vulnerable to foreign buyers Reuters (July 29, 2008) - With a record volume of international takeovers of U.S. companies, it almost appears America itself is up for sale. The weak dollar and slumping stock prices of U.S. companies has created a window of opportunity for international buyers to snatch up American icons such as beer brewer Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc and the landmark Chrysler Building in New York. "The dollar has depreciated so much that America is on the sale rack," said Sung Won Sohn, a professor of economics at California State University. "America has such an appetite for foreign goods -- Chinese imports and oil -- that U.S. dollars have gone overseas. Now, many Americans aren't happy that foreign companies are buying pieces of America with the money we gave them in the first place," Sohn said. In the second quarter, acquisitions of U.S. companies by international buyers totaled $124.3 billion, marking the highest total for any second quarter on record and jumping 23 percent over the year-earlier quarter, according to research firm Dealogic. International takeovers represented 22 percent of all U.S. merger activity in the first half of the year, up from 17 percent in the first half of 2007, according to research firm Dealogic. InBev NV's deal to acquire Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion gave Belgium the distinction of being the most active foreign buyer of U.S. assets in the first half of this year, followed by Spain and Canada, Dealogic said. The Anheuser-Busch deal ranked as the second-biggest cross-border acquisition of a U.S. company in history, following Vodafone Group Plc's $60.3 billion acquisition of AirTouch Communications in 1999, according to Thomson Reuters. Other U.S. assets recently falling into international hands include Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc, which agreed to be acquired by Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, the world's largest generic drug company, for $7.46 billion; and eye care company Alcon Inc which is being bought by Switzerland's Novartis AG for about $27.7 billion. Earlier this month, Swiss drugmaker Roche AG made a bid to acquire the shares of its U.S. partner Genentech Inc it does not already own for $43.7 billion. Even the Pennsylvania Turnpike awarded long-term leasing rights to a Spanish-led investor group for $12.8 billion. Although some investment bankers and analyst pin the spike in cross-border activity to the weak dollar, others contend that strategy and the desire to expand globally were the motivators behind many of these recent corporate deals. "Strategic buyers don't wake up in the morning and say: 'This currency is cheap. I'm going to go do a deal.' They do a deal because it's strategic and makes sense," said Herald Ritch, president and co-chief executive officer of investment bank Sagent Advisers. "There's no question that, on the margin, currency levels tend to influence decisions, but strategic deals get done because they fit a company's strategy," Ritch said. European companies have been the most active buyers of U.S. assets, with 314 deals so far this year, compared with 117 deals by Asian acquirers, and 33 by African and Middle Eastern buyers, according to Thomson Reuters. "Europe and the U.S. dominate deal activity globally, so it makes sense that deals between those areas would predominate," Ritch said. Although some investment bankers view the second quarter's record pace of U.S. takeovers as an anomaly, Sohn said the 13-percent depreciation of the dollar against major currencies over the past 18 months should fuel more acquisitions. "There are trillions of dollars overseas that have to be put to work. This is just the tip of the iceberg," Sohn said.
| EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | NewWorldOrder | America | Economic Crisis |

How does Europe become the international power and authority Bible prophecy says it will be? Slowly and surely, bit by bit. Sung Won Sohn makes the statement that "America has such an appetite for foreign goods -- Chinese imports and oil -- that U.S. dollars have gone overseas." Have you noticed that you can't buy anything that isn't made in China today? I certainly haven't had any great desire to see manufacturing go overseas as it has, but policy has pushed it there because it's cheaper and this world, especially the business world, runs on money. America doesn't have many options when it comes to its desire for Chinese imports because business and government have created it this way. Is there an over-arching plan behind it? Given what Bible prophecy says and where we're headed, it's hard for me to deny the dots are connected. There's so much more out there relegated to "conspiracy theory" as well which all points toward the same conclusions. America is being sold out and this will help prop Europe up as the center it is prophesied to be. America is ceding power to Europe and being drained of its manufacturing ability and strength. Business and law are moving internationally, globally and what is a possible end to this? A nation in debt who will be forgiven that debt along with the rest of the world if they just take a mark and worship the man of sin who claims to be God. The technology and methodology is already present and easily implementable while the conditions that would call for its implementation are fast approaching in line with other signs of the times. Bible prophecy isn't fairy tales, it's foreknowledge dictated by God for the benefit of those who trust God's Word and to make us aware and awake as the time draws near. Keep watching!

California 'dodges bullet' as 5.4 earthquake rocks region (July 29, 2008) - A 5.4 magnitude earthquake shook Southern California on Tuesday, spooking millions from Los Angeles to San Diego in a juddering reminder of the region's vulnerability to seismic shocks. No major injuries or damage were reported following the quake, which struck at 11:42 am (1842 GMT) near the town of Chino Hills, 33 miles (50 kilometers) east of Los Angeles at a depth of 7.6 miles (12 kilometers), the US Geological Survey said. The tremor was felt across Los Angeles, with the office block housing AFP's bureau on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood swaying and shuddering after the quake. Offices and restaurants could be seen evacuating workers and customers. The quake, which was followed by 27 minor aftershocks, rippled across California and Nevada, rattling city officials in San Diego, tourists in Disneyland and residents as far east as Las Vegas, officials said. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said the region had been lucky to avoid a major disaster.

"Thank God that there have not been any reports of serious injuries or damage to properties," Schwarzenegger said. "This reminds us once again that in California we have to be prepared for anything and everything." Henry Renteria, the director of California's Office of Emergency Services, said he expected to receive reports of minor damage as the day progressed. "But luckily, I think we dodged a bullet here, and have not seen any major issues with this event," Renteria told reporters. USGS official Kate Hutton said the earthquake was unlikely to have caused major damage to buildings. "Things will have fallen off shelves, but I'd be surprised to see some structural damage," Hutton told reporters. Hutton said the chance of the quake being a foreshock to a bigger temblor were five percent. "Most of that risk is in the first day," she said. "Actually, most of the risk is in the first two hours, but by the time you get 24 hours after the earthquake it's down to about one percent." Los Angeles' acting mayor Wendy Greuel said five people suffered minor injuries, including two people who were trampled as they evacuated a building. more...
| America | Earth Changes |

U.S. Intel: Iran Plans Nuclear Strike on U.S. Newsmax (July 29, 2008) - Iran has carried out missile tests for what could be a plan for a nuclear strike on the United States, the head of a national security panel has warned. In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee and in remarks to a private conference on missile defense over the weekend hosted by the Claremont Institute, Dr. William Graham warned that the U.S. intelligence community “doesn’t have a story” to explain the recent Iranian tests. One group of tests that troubled Graham, the former White House science adviser under President Ronald Reagan, were successful efforts to launch a Scud missile from a platform in the Caspian Sea. “They’ve got [test] ranges in Iran which are more than long enough to handle Scud launches and even Shahab-3 launches,” Dr. Graham said. “Why would they be launching from the surface of the Caspian Sea? They obviously have not explained that to us.” Another troubling group of tests involved Shahab-3 launches where the Iranians "detonated the warhead near apogee, not over the target area where the thing would eventually land, but at altitude,” Graham said. “Why would they do that?” Graham chairs the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, a blue-ribbon panel established by Congress in 2001. The commission examined the Iranian tests “and without too much effort connected the dots,” even though the U.S. intelligence community previously had failed to do so, Graham said. “The only plausible explanation we can find is that the Iranians are figuring out how to launch a missile from a ship and get it up to altitude and then detonate it,” he said. “And that’s exactly what you would do if you had a nuclear weapon on a Scud or a Shahab-3 or other missile, and you wanted to explode it over the United States.” The commission warned in a report issued in April that the United States was at risk of a sneak nuclear attack by a rogue nation or a terrorist group designed to take out our nation’s critical infrastructure. "If even a crude nuclear weapon were detonated anywhere between 40 kilometers to 400 kilometers above the earth, in a split-second it would generate an electro-magnetic pulse [EMP] that would cripple military and civilian communications, power, transportation, water, food, and other infrastructure," the report warned. While not causing immediate civilian casualties, the near-term impact on U.S. society would dwarf the damage of a direct nuclear strike on a U.S. city. “The first indication [of such an attack] would be that the power would go out, and some, but not all, the telecommunications would go out. We would not physically feel anything in our bodies,” Graham said. As electric power, water and gas delivery systems failed, there would be “truly massive traffic jams,” Graham added, since modern automobiles and signaling systems all depend on sophisticated electronics that would be disabled by the EMP wave. “So you would be walking. You wouldn’t be driving at that point,” Graham said. “And it wouldn’t do any good to call the maintenance or repair people because they wouldn’t be able to get there, even if you could get through to them.” The food distribution system also would grind to a halt as cold-storage warehouses stockpiling perishables went offline. Even warehouses equipped with backup diesel generators would fail, because “we wouldn’t be able to pump the fuel into the trucks and get the trucks to the warehouses,” Graham said. The United States “would quickly revert to an early 19th century type of country.” except that we would have 10 times as many people with ten times fewer resources, he said. more...
| Iran | America |

While there's nothing Biblically that I'm aware of regarding this kind of scenario, I also can't find concrete evidence of America either. Is this kind of thing possible? Yes. Will it happen? I don't know, but it wouldn't hurt for this scenario or others to prepare a little while we can.

Home prices drop by record 15.8 pct. in May Associated Press (July 29, 2008) - Home prices tumbled by the steepest rate ever in May, according to a closely watched housing index released Tuesday, as the housing slump deepened nationwide. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index dropped by 15.8 percent in May compared with a year ago, a record decline since its inception in 2000. The 10-city index plunged 16.9 percent, its biggest decline in its 21-year history. No city in the Case-Shiller 20-city index saw price gains in May, the second straight month that's happened. The monthly indices have not recorded an overall home price increase in any month since August 2006. Home values have fallen 18.4 percent since the 20-city index's peak in July 2006. Nine metropolitan cities — Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Wash., Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C. — posted record declines in May. And the value of housing in Detroit is now lower than it was in 2000. But a possible bright spot in an otherwise dismal report, seven metros — Tampa, Fla., Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York, Dallas and Atlanta — showed smaller annual declines. Las Vegas recorded the worst drop, with prices plunging 28.4 percent in the month. Miami came in a close second, with prices down 28.3 percent. Charlotte, N.C., posted the smallest drop at 0.2 percent. Until April, the North Carolina city had been the last metro still showing price gains.
| America | Economic Crisis |

Hamas Uses Truce to Stock Missiles, Explosives, and Weapons Bridges For Peace (July 28, 2008) - Four tons of explosives, 50 anti aircraft missiles, and large amounts of weapons as well as ingredients required to manufacture rockets have been smuggled into the Gaza Strip by Hamas since the recent tahdiya or so called truce with Israel went into effect, Yuval Diskin head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) told the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. Hamas, he said, is also in control of the vast network of tunnels in Gaza used to smuggle the goods into the narrow strip of land, and the truckloads of cement Israel permitted to be transferred to Gaza, [which] have been used to build bunkers, he said. Diskin also expressed concern that the recent swap between Hizbullah and Israel may have a reverse effect, and encourage terror organizations to increase their efforts to abduct Israeli soldiers or civilians. Commenting on the situation in Gaza, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared the situation must be monitored in order to ensure that five years down the line, Israel will not find itself in the position of asking how the situation got out of hand. Defense Minister Ehud Barak noted that the truce has also provided Israel time to prepare for any eventuality, a situation it should take advantage of. Barak admitted that Hamas was doing far more than expected to prevent truce violations, and supported Israel’s lack of response to Hamas violations. Barak warned however that Israel’s lack of response does not mean that it will be prevented from taking action when the time arises. Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni however shared a different opinion and declared that Israel should respond every time Hamas violates the truce. “Israel's response needs to give the message that we won't accept fire, regardless of which organization it comes from," Livni declared. Diskin also expressed concern that the recent swap between Hizbullah and Israel may have a reverse effect, and encourage terror organizations to increase their efforts to abduct Israeli soldiers or civilians. During the same meeting, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke of the shaky Gaza cease-fire, telling the cabinet that "Israel needs to respond to truce violations, fire against fire." "Israel's response needs to give the message that we won't accept fire, regardless of which organization it comes from," she said. Livni also declared that the border crossings used to transfer goods into Gaza should remain closed until a deal concerning the release of Gilad Shalit is sealed.
| Israel | Islam |

Uzi Dayan joins Likud, says Netanyahu incorrupted YNet News (July 28, 2008) - Uzi Dayan announced Monday that he was joining the Likud party and planning to run for a seat in the Knesset. He praised Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu's war on corruption, saying that he found the Likud to be a suitable partner in fighting this disease. Netanyahu said that the former general was an enterprising and talented person. "Dayan has revealed his original outlook and Zionist commitment. He brings these two characteristics to the Likud and the State. Uzi is also a brother in arms." Following his release from the army, Dayan formed the political party and social movement Tafnit (turnaround). Dayan announced at the time that the party would place in the top of its platform the struggle against the "public corruption", but it failed to gain any Knesset seats in the 2006 general elections. Dayan said during the press conference, "Six years ago I took the public road, a long and uneasy road. I dealt with many issues voluntarily. The Tafnit party has decided to join the Likud, and the main thing is an agenda, and the agenda is a Zionist and Democratic Jewish state, restoring security, a strong and growing economy and education, and a clean and worthy governmental system." He added that he had realized it would be impossible to act as part of a small and independent party, and that in order to make a change he must join the Likud, because the party headed by Netanyahu has the power to do it. "Benjamin Netanyahu ran the country and the Finance Ministry with amazing incorruptibility," Dayan said. As for the war on corruption, the retired general noted that "Tafnit waved the flag of the war on corruption. We are all victims of corruption, and Netanyahu too has led a move inside the Likud to clean the ranks, indicating his intentions. I feel that the Likud people are fighting with me shoulder-to-shoulder." more...
| Israel |

Iran's Ahmadinejad in Turkey In Next Month Iran Mania (July 26, 2008) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to pay an official visit to Turkey at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, PressTV reported. The visit would take place late in August and diplomatic sources in Ankara have declared that a date for the visit will be set soon, Turkish Daily reported on Friday. During the meeting agreements would be signed to further strengthen economic ties between the two neighboring countries. In May, Ahmadinejad in a meeting with Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen said the two countries have the potential to turn into major economic powers in the world. The Turkish state minister said that the trade volume between the two countries could reach USD 20b by the end of 2011.
| Iran | Islam | Gog/Magog |

Study reveals signs of toxicity of GE maize approved for human consumption Current (July 26, 2008) - "Laboratory rats, fed with a genetically engineered (GE) maize produced by Monsanto, have shown signs of toxicity in kidney and liver, according to a new study.(1) This is the first time that a GE product which has been cleared for use as food for humans and animals has shown signs of toxic effects on internal organs. The study, published today in the journal “Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology”, analysed results of safety tests submitted by Monsanto to the European Commission when the company was seeking authorisation to market its GE Maize variety MON863 in the EU. (2) The data shows that MON863 has significant health risks associated with it; nonetheless, the European Commission granted licences to market the maize for consumption by both humans and animals. (3) The incriminating evidence was obtained by Greenpeace following a court case (4), and passed on for evaluation by a team of experts headed by Professor Gilles Eric Séralini, a governmental expert in genetic engineering technology from the University of Caen. (5) In a joint press conference with Greenpeace at Berlin, Professor Séralini said, “Monsanto’s analyses do not stand up to rigorous scrutiny – to begin with, their statistical protocols are highly questionable. Worse, the company failed to run a sufficient analysis of the differences in animal weight. Crucial data from urine tests were concealed in the company’s own publications.” Greenpeace is demanding the complete and immediate withdrawal of Monsanto’s MON 863 maize from the global market and is calling upon governments to undertake an urgent reassessment of all other authorised GE products and a strict review of current testing methods. “This is the final nail in the coffin for the credibility of the current authorisation system for GE products. Once it’s known that a system designed to protect human and animal health has approved a high-risk product despite clear evidence of its dangers, we need to start ‘strip-searching’ all GE products on the market, and immediately abort this flawed approval procedure,” said Christophe Then, Genetic Engineer campaigner, Greenpeace International. more...
| Health Watch |

Report: Convoy shipping arms to Hizbullah destroyed in Tehran blast YNet News (July 25, 2008) - London-based Daily Telegraph reports of mysterious blast in military convoy leaving Revolutionary Guards Base last weekend. At least 15 people killed in explosion, but Iranian authorities seeking to silence incident. Was sabotage responsible for disrupting a shipment of arms from Iran to Hizbullah ? The London-based Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Friday of a mysterious explosion which devastated an Iranian supply convoy intended to reach Hizbullah. According to the report, the strong blast took place in one of Tehran's suburbs as a military convoy left a Revolutionary Guards' ammunition storehouse. At least 15 people were killed in the explosion. Western sources reported that the blast took place on July 19 and that the convoy was carrying military equipment for the Lebanese terror organization. It was also reported that senior Revolutionary Guards officials banned the Iranian media from reporting the explosion, even though it was heard throughout the capital. The Guards launched an investigation into the incident. An official source told the newspaper that the strong explosion was heard across Tehran, adding that the Revolutionary Guards were trying to silence the incident despite the fact that many people were killed. Additional explosions and mysterious incidents which have taken place in Iran recently are being investigated by the Revolutionary Guards. In one of the incidents, a blast rocked a mosque in the city of Shiraz, where weapons were being displayed, killing 11 people. Iranian Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei said following the incident that the main suspect in the affair was arrested. "The terrorist group had ties with the US and Britain. These countries were informed of the arrest by the Foreign Ministry," he said, "but the countries did nothing to prevent these terror groups' activity." more...
| Iran |

One dead as three quakes hit China's disaster area (July 24, 2008) - One person was killed and at least 17 injured on Thursday as three powerful earthquakes hit the area of China's southwest that was devastated by a massive tremor in May, local authorities said. The three quakes rattled a rural, mountainous area of Sichuan province, the US Geological Survey said, where the May 12 quake struck leaving more than 87,000 people dead or missing. One person was killed in Thursday's quakes and at least 17 people were injured, including six seriously, the Sichuan Provincial Earthquake Bureau said in a statement on its website. The local earthquake bureau said that 360 homes had collapsed and several roads had been damaged or destroyed in the quakes, which hit within a few kilometres of each other where Sichuan borders Gansu province. The area was severely damaged in the May quake but that appeared to help reduce casualties on Thursday, as most people were living in tents after losing their homes in the earlier disaster, according to reports in the Chinese press. A reporter for China's official Xinhua news agency based in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, said the third tremor was felt there and lasted for around 20 seconds. However there were no reports of damage in Chengdu. The first quake struck at 3:54 am (1954 GMT Wednesday) with a magnitude of 5.8 and at a depth of 10 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said. The second quake hit at 1:30 pm, with a magnitude of 4.8 and a depth of 10 kilometres, according to the USGS. The third quake hit at 3:09 pm with a magnitude of 5.5 and also a depth of 10 kilometres. The 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan on May 12 killed 69,197 people and left 18,209 others missing, according to the government. The quake sparked international help from rescue teams and an enormous domestic relief effort. Following the May 12 earthquake more than 12,600 aftershocks have rattled the region with at least 25 measuring greater than 5.0 on the Richter scale, and five between 6.0 and 6.9, the China Earthquake Administration has said.
| Earth Changes |

Israel to build new settlement in West Bank Associated Press (July 24, 2008) - A key committee has approved construction of the first new Jewish settlement in the West Bank in a decade, an Israeli official said Thursday. The news infuriated Palestinians, who said the decision could cripple peace efforts. The only hurdle that remains is Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who plans to approve the Maskiot settlement within weeks, the official said. Barak had signaled to the national planning committee that it should authorize the plan, the official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the Defense Ministry did not officially announce the settlement would be built in the Jordan Valley Rift, an arid north-south strip that forms Israel's eastern flank with Jordan. Asked why Israel was moving ahead with the politically charged plan, the official said that it has been in the pipeline for years. Israel originally announced in 2006 that it would build Maskiot, then froze the plan after international outcry. But earlier this year, nine Israeli families settled in mobile homes at the site, which Palestinians claim as part of a future state. A number of Israeli politicians however, have said Israel needs to retain control of the Jordan Valley as a buffer between a future Palestinian state and Jordan. The issue remains to be resolved in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Settlers say around two dozen more families are waiting to join them. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of undermining U.S.-backed peace talks. "This is destroying the process of a two-state solution," Erekat said. "I hope the Americans will make the Israelis revoke the decision. I think they can make the Israelis do this." The U.S. Embassy had no comment. But on her last visit to the region in June, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said settlement building "has the potential to harm the negotiations."
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | America |

Jim Deeds: End of the World? No, Not Really. Just Time to Adjust Your Thinking McAlvany Weekly Commentary (July 23, 2008)
| America | Economic Crisis |

Strong Quake Jolts Northern Japan Newsmax (July 23, 2008) - Japan's weather agency says a strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 struck off the northern Japanese coast. The Meteorological Agency says there was no danger of a tsunami, or seismic waves, from the 12:26 a.m. (11:26 a.m. EDT) quake, which occurred about 75 miles below the ocean's surface off the coast of Iwate. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries.
| Earth Changes |

Food crisis looms in East Africa BBC News (July 22, 2008) - More than 14 million people in the Horn of Africa need food aid because of drought and rocketing food and fuel prices, the United Nations has warned. The UN World Food Programme says it urgently needs $400m (£200m) to prevent starvation in the east African region. Ethiopia is worst hit, with 10 million people - some 12% of the population - in need of extra food supplies. Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti are also affected, along with northern parts of Kenya and Uganda. Economic events outside Africa - which are driving up food and fuel prices - are exacerbating the crisis caused by a lack of water in the region. The UN - backed by the main international aid non-governmental organisations - has warned of dire consequences for millions of people living in what a BBC correspondent says is a vulnerable region. Ethiopia has nearly exhausted its food reserves, the government having used stocks already in the hope that food prices would fall, making it cheaper to replenish its stores. Instead, costs have risen further. More expensive fuel means the costs of transporting and distributing food have soared, and the WPF says the local price of grain is nearly three times higher than it was a year ago. In Somalia, 2.6m people were in need of food aid at the start of this year. Mark Bowden, the UN's humanitarian co-ordinator for the region, projects that that figure will have risen sharply by the end of 2008. "We're now estimating that by the end of the year 3.5m people will need assistance... which is a frightening figure to have to deal with," he said. "People are reducing their food intake... we only have months before we go into a major crisis." The WFP fears that if rains due in September and October fail, the situation will get even worse. It says the current food shortages are worse than two years ago, when 11m people needed food aid.
| 3rd Seal |

Solana: EULEX operational by autumn New Kosova Report (July 21, 2008) - European Union’s mission in Kosovo EULEX will be fully operational within fall, said EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana after the statement by Ban Ki-Moon that allows EULEX’s operation according to Resolution 1244. Solana said that in Kosovo currently there are 400 members of EULEX and “until this mission is completely established, UNMIK will have all the responsibilities.” He added that EU’s aim is to have the mission completely operational by autumn. Solana made these statements immediately after the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, announced that he had made recommendations for the start of reconfiguration of the UNMIK mission in Kosovo. Ki-Moon will present a more detailed quarterly report on Kosovo to the UN Security Council on 25 July.
| EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | Solana |

What is EULEX?

"The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) is the largest civilian mission ever launched under the European Security and Defence Policy. The central aim is to assist and support the Kosovo authorities in the rule of law area, specifically in the police, judiciary and customs. The mission is not in Kosovo to govern or rule. It is a technical mission which will mentor, monitor and advise whilst retaining a number of limited executive powers. The ESDP mission will assist the Kosovo authorities, judicial authorities and law enforcement agencies in their progress towards sustainability and accountability. It will further develop and strengthen an independent and multi-ethnic justice system and a multi-ethnic police and customs service, ensuring that these institutions are free from political interference and adhering to internationally recognised standards and European best practices. The mission, in full co-operation with the European Commission Assistance Programmes, will implement its mandate through mentoring, monitoring and advising, while retaining certain executive responsibilities."

IDF MI chief: Hamas, Hizbullah May be Planning Imminent Attack The Jerusalem Post (July 20, 2008) - Head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin warned on Sunday of a possible terror attack by Hamas or Hizbullah in the near future along the Gaza Strip and Lebanon borders, respectively. Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Yadlin said Hizbullah still had many outstanding issues with Israel which could be used to justify such an attack, such as the Shaba Farms, the village of Ghajar, IAF flights over Lebanon and Imad Mughniyeh's assassination in February - for which the group has blamed Israel. Of Gaza, Yadlin said some organizations which have not signed on to the cease-fire are planning a major attack. However, Yadlin said Hamas was succeeding in enforcing the cease-fire on the Palestinian side but assessed that the fact that border crossings were not open "according to Hamas's expectations, constitutes a potential for eroding the cease-fire." While weapons smuggling continued, Egyptian activity in Sinai "diminishes the amount of arms smuggling, but quality weaponry still finds its way into the Gaza Strip." Yadlin also said that Israel's enemies were continuing to arm themselves. But he added those enemies were worried of the possibility of a "hot summer" and did not intend to initiate a war with Israel during US President George W. Bush's remaining time in office, or before they had armed themselves sufficiently.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |

Iran, Turkey discuss ways to further cooperation, nuclear issue Mathaba (July 19, 2008) - The Iranian minister who visited Turkey at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan left Ankara on Friday evening. During the meeting, Mottaki and Erdogan stressed the need for broadening Tehran-Ankara economic ties by carrying out more projects in energy field including construction of power plants. Mottaki also briefed Erdogan on latest developments on Iran's peaceful nuclear program hoping that the upcoming talks between nuclear Iran and the Group 5+1 would lead to positive outcome. Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili arrived in Geneva, Austria, on July 18 to take part in the talks due to be held on Saturday. In a major shift from a long-standing policy, the US State Department announced on Wednesday that Under Secretary of State William Burns, the third-highest US diplomat, would join the 5+1 talks with Iran. The Turkish prime minister told Mottaki that Ankara was happy that the trend of talks between Iran and the West was progressing. Erdogan stressed that peaceful negotiations was the only solution to Iran's nuclear standoff with the West. Mottaki also held two rounds of talks with his Turkish counterpart and also met Turkish President Abdullah Gul. His visit to Turkey was part of a regional tour which had earlier took him to Oman and Syria.
| Iran | Islam | Gog/Magog |

Iraqi Sunni bloc rejoins government Associated Press (July 19, 2008) - Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political bloc returned to the government fold Saturday after calling off a nearly one-year boycott of the Shiite-dominated leadership — another critical stride toward healing sectarian rifts. The return of the National Accordance Front does more than politically reunite some of Iraq's main centers of power. It was seen as a significant advance toward reconciliation and efforts to cement security cooperation between Shiite-led forces and armed Sunni groups that rose up against al-Qaida in Iraq. The United States has pressured Iraq's government to work toward settling the sectarian feuds, which brought daily bloodshed until recent months. The hope is that more parties staked in the future of Iraq could mean a quicker exit for U.S. and other foreign forces. Iraq's sharply improved security situation is already bringing plans for a pared-down British force. more...
| Islam |

Strong Earthquake Rocks Solomon Islands The Australian (July 19, 2008) - A STRONG earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands today but there were no immediate reports of damage and a tsunami alert was not issued. The magnitude 6.7 undersea quake struck at 8.27pm local time (7.27pm AEST), 287km east of Kira Kira on San Cristobal island. It is 527km east of the capital Honiara, the US Geological Survey said. It occurred at a depth of 38km, the organisation said. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii did not issue an alert for the region. An 8.0-magnitude earthquake in the western Solomons in April last year triggered a tsunami that killed more than 50 people and displaced thousands.
| Earth Changes |

Quake Off East Coast of Japan Shakes Tokyo Buildings (July 19, 2008) - A magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck off Japan's eastern coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site. There were no reports of injuries or damage, public broadcaster NHK said. The quake struck at 11:39 a.m. Japan time, 125 kilometers (75 miles) east-northeast of Iwaki, a city 180 kilometers north of Tokyo, at a depth of 27 kilometers, the USGS said. Japan's weather agency issued a tsunami alert for coastal areas, warning of waves of up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) from the quake, which shook buildings in central Tokyo. The agency removed the warning at 1:20 p.m. local time. Coastal areas of Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures were hit by waves of up to 20 centimeters about one hour after the earthquake hit, NHK reported. Japan, which experiences about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes annually, lies in a zone where the Eurasian, Pacific, Philippine and North American tectonic plates meet and occasionally shift, causing quakes. Twelve people died and 10 remain missing after a 6.8- magnitude earthquake in the north of Japan last month, according to the government's Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
| Earth Changes |

Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the CFSP, signs agreement on security of information with the European Space Agency Council of the European Union (July 18, 2008) - Javier SOLANA, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), signed an agreement today, on behalf of the European Union, with the European Space Agency (ESA) on arrangements for exchanging classified information. The agreement, signed with the Director General of ESA, Mr Jean-Jacques Dordain, marks a further milestone in EU/ESA relations and will facilitate the work of those involved in advancing European policies and industries in the space sector.


The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe's gateway to space. early all of the 17 members of this international organisation are also members of the EU. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe. ESA's programmes are designed to find out more about the earth, its immediate space environment, our solar system and the universe, to develop satellite-based technologies and services and in so doing to promote European industries. Although ESA is an independent organisation it maintains close ties with the EU. For example, the joint EU/ESA European Space Policy sets out a basic vision and strategy for the space sector and tackles issues such as security and defence, access to space and exploration. On the back of this policy ESA is able to provide the tools needed for Europe's activities in space. Cooperation between the ESA and the EU is formalised in particular through the ESA/European Commission Framework Agreement, which establishes a common basis and appropriate practical arrangements for efficient and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two. Recent tangible joint initiatives that have come about as a result of cooperation with ESA include the European global navigation satellite system, or 'Galileo', and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security services, known as the 'GMES'. Under these joint EU/ESA initiatives there is a pressing need for the EU to be able to exchange classified information with ESA. While to a limited extent this was already possible under an administrative arrangement dating from 2003, last year it was decided that the EU ought to have a fully-fledged agreement with ESA on the security and exchange of classified information.
| EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | Solana |

Hizbullah moves into 'every town' The Jerusalem Post (July 17, 2008) - Hizbullah is bolstering its presence in south Lebanon villages with non-Shi'ite majorities by buying land and using it to build military positions and store missiles and launchers, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The decision to build infrastructure in non-Shi'ite villages - where Hizbullah has less support - is part of the group's post-war strategy under which it has mostly abandoned the "nature reserves," forested areas in southern Lebanon where it kept most of its Katyusha rocket launchers before the Second Lebanon War. Behind the change is the mandate given to UNIFIL by the United Nations after the war in 2006. According to the mandate, the peacekeeping force can patrol freely throughout southern Lebanon but cannot enter villages or cities without being accompanied by soldiers from the Lebanese Armed Forces, which regularly tips off Hizbullah ahead of the raids. News of the change in Hizbullah strategy came as Israel is trying to persuade the UN to strengthen UNIFIL's mandate to give it the right to patrol the villages freely. "Hizbullah is moving into every town that it can," a senior defense official told the Post. "This is in order to evade UNIFIL detection." On Thursday, Lebanese complained they were receiving recorded phone messages from Israel promising "harsh retaliation" for any future Hizbullah attack. The automated messages also warn against allowing Hizbullah to form "a state within a state" in the country. The phone messages end with the words: "The State of Israel." There was no immediate confirmation from Israel, though similar reports surfaced of Israeli phone campaigns during the 2006 war trying to persuade Lebanese not to support Hizbullah. Lebanon's official National News Agency said residents in the country's south and east, as well as in Beirut reporting receiving the calls. It said Telecommunications Minister Jibran Bassil contacted the United Nations to complain, calling it a "flagrant aggression against Lebanese sovereignty." Also Thursday, defense officials warned that with the prisoner swap completed, Hizbullah would no longer need to restrain itself and might decide to avenge the assassination of the group's operations chief, Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus last February. As a result, the IDF has slightly increased its level of alert along the border, based on the assessment that even if a retaliatory attack took place abroad the violence would spread to the Israeli-Lebanese border.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

EU Lisbon treaty officially ratified by UK The Independent (July 17, 2008) - Britain has officially ratified the controversial Lisbon Treaty, it was announced today. The Government confirmed that the final stages of passing the agreement have been completed. But the future of the deal is still in doubt as EU leaders consider how to respond to Ireland's surprise referendum "no" vote last month. Under the UK's ratification process, both houses of Parliament must pass the treaty. The Queen then gives Royal Assent, and signs goatskin "instruments of ratification" along with the Foreign Secretary. These are then sealed, bound in blue leather, and deposited with the Italian ministry of foreign affairs in Rome. A spokesman for the Foreign Office said all these stages had now been completed. "The documents were lodged in Rome yesterday," he said. Foreign Secretary David Miliband is due to deliver a statement to Parliament on the matter later. The process had been stalled while a High Court challenge was considered over the Government's refusal to hold a referendum on the treaty, but that was dismissed last month. Under EU rules, all 27 member states must ratify the Treaty before it comes into effect.
| EU/UN / 4th Kingdom |

Waiting For Islam's Messiah CBN News (July 17, 2008) - Iran's president believes Allah has chosen him to prepare the world for the coming of an Islamic 'savior' called the Mahdi. But before the Mahdi's return, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes there must be global chaos - even if he has to create it himself. Whether it's his belief that Israel should be wiped off the map, denials of the Holocaust, obsession with going nuclear, or support for radical Islamic terrorist groups, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a man on a divine mission. To understand him, and that mission, you have travel to the small dusty village of Jamkaran tucked in a corner of Iran's holy city of Qom. On a recent Tuesday afternoon, CBN News made that journey heading south out of Iran's capital, Tehran. Some 95 miles, and a couple of wrong turns later, we arrived at the Jamkaran mosque on the outskirts of Qom. Behind the Jamkaran mosque there is a well. According to many Shiite Muslims, out of this well will emerge one day their version of an Islamic 'savior.' They call him the Mahdi or the 12th Imam. Ron Cantrell has written a book about the Mahdi. He explained, "The Mahdi is a personage that is expected to come on the scene, by Islam, as a messiah figure. He is slotted to come in the end of time, according to their writings, very much like how we think of the return of Jesus." Shiite Muslims believe the Mahdi, a descendent of the Prophet Mohammed, vanished in the middle of the 9th century. Cantrell told us, "The 12th Imam disappeared, around the age of 9, with a promise that he would return and he would bring Islam to its total fruition as the world's last standing religion." Enter Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Since becoming the president of Iran in August 2005, Ahmadinejad has emerged as the Mahdi's most influential follower. Cantrell said, "[Ahmadinejad] has stated that his mandate is to pave the way for the coming of this Islamic 'messiah'." In almost all his speeches, Ahmadinejad begs Allah to hasten the return of the Mahdi. At a recent military parade attended by CBN News in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said, "Oh, Allah, please facilitate Imam Mahdi's early return and make us one of his supporters." He said something similar last September just before ending a speech at the United Nations in New York. Ahmadinejad said, "Oh mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository [a reference to the Mahdi], the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace." more...
| Iran | Islam |

I have a theory from my study of Bible prophecy that the 12th Mahdi will reappear, but is the false prophet of Revelation 13. The false prophet is the beast that comes from the earth (a well?) and has two horns like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. Could these horns represent the sects of Shia and Sunni Islam? It seems to me that if the Mahdi were to reappear following the destruction of the Magog invasion, that he could unite Islam under himself and correctly interpret the Islamic prophecies and with signs and wonders, point all worship to the man of sin who will be given power by the dragon to rule the earth. Regardless of whether they accept the man of sin or not, those who refuse are beheaded. With their Mahdi leading the way, would they turn against him? This theory isn't definitive, I'm still watching, but Biblical prophecy will be fulfilled regardless of what other faiths prophecy. That is my belief and time will tell. Keep watching!

Dinars for Dollars: Arabs Buying Out Collapsing Western Banks Israel National News (July 16, 2008) - First it was Citibank. Now it's Barclay's and New York City's Chrysler Building skyscraper. Muslim Arabs are buying out collapsing Western banks and businesses and gaining growing international power, but some Arab investors are worried their investments may go down the drain with the American economy. The current financial crisis in the United States has spread to other countries because of a massive debt that was not backed by enough real and liquid collateral. Banks and businesses gasping for financial breath are up for sale at basement prices, but no one is certain if the basement is the bottom. "The possibility remains that more Arab white knights will be sought to rescue ailing financial institutions," wrote Dr. Mohammed Ramady, a former banker and Visiting Associate Professor at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in the Financial Adviser magazine. He said he fears that Arab investors will end up chasing their investments with more money to keep them from going under. The Abu Dhabi Investment Council of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates kingdom of Abu Dhabi last November announced it was bailing out the mammoth Citibank financial institution, formerly headed by Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fischer, with $7.5 billion. Next in line was Britain's Barclay's Bank, which raised $9 billion from investors in the oil-rich kingdom of Qatar and in Asian countries. The Abu Dhabi Investment Council last month forked out approximately $800 million for a 75 percent stake in New York City's 1,046-foot-tall Chrysler Building, which was the world's tallest building for a year until the Empire State Building surpassed it in the 1930's. The purchase of American banks by foreigners has been blocked in the past by security and political considerations, but the barriers have come down, wrote Dr. Ramady. "How long this lasts is only a matter of guesswork, as once again, the specter of foreign takeovers of 'national' symbols will be hard to accept," he added. In a more serious vein, The Australian editor-at-large Paul Kelly wrote earlier this month that the foreign investments, headed by Arabs, signal a major change in international power. "The energy, financial and political woes that grip the U.S. signal a decisive shift in world power, mocking the liberal delusion that Barack Obama or John McCain can return American prestige and power to its pre-Bush year 2000 nirvana," he wrote. "There is no such nirvana. There is instead a new reality: the greatest transfer of income in human history [and] the rise of a new breed of wealthy autocracies that cripple U.S. hopes of dominating the global system and demands on the U.S. to make fresh compromises in a world where power is rapidly being diversified." more...
| Islam | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | America | Economic Crisis |

We only get one strike The Jerusalem Post (July 16, 2008) - An Israeli attack on Iran seems inevitable. If it succeeds, it will return to Israel its deterrent power and send a clear message to the saber-rattling jihadists that they were too early in beginning the countdown for the disappearance of the Jewish state. If it fails, or fails to achieve the majority of its objectives, it could amount to an act of national suicide. Fanatical Muslims on every side will be encouraged by the failure and outcome of an Iranian retaliation which would cause heavy damage to the whole center of our country. Iran would unquestionably be joined by its proxies on our borders, Hizbullah and Syria on the north and Hamas on the south, the PLO jihad brigades under various names, and the Arabs of Israel. The latter have already shown their ability to block major traffic arteries and demonstrated that their loyalties rest with their Arab brethren, not with the Jewish state. The repeated declarations of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the aim of Iran is to wipe Israel off the world map should not be taken as the empty, fiery words of a fanatical Muslim dictator, but as a plan of action. True, Iran does not need a pretext, but an Israeli attack on any nuclear installation in Iran, or just an invasion of Iranian air space could be used as an excellent reason for mounting an all-out missile attack. Since the late ninth century, the Shi'ites have been expecting the emergence of the hidden imam-mahdi, armed with divine power and followed by thousands of martyrdom-seeking warriors. He is expected to conquer the world and establish Shi'ism as its supreme religion and system of rule. His appearance would involve terrible war and unusual bloodshed. Ahmadinejad, as mayor of Teheran, built a spectacular boulevard through which the mahdi would enter into the capital. There is no question that Ahmadinejad believes he has been chosen to be the herald of the mahdi. Shi'ite Islam differs from Sunni Islam regarding the identity of the mahdi. The Sunni mahdi is essentially an anonymous figure; the Shi'ite mahdi is a divinely inspired person with a real identity. However both Shi'ites and Sunnis share one particular detail about "the coming of the hour" and the dawning of messianic times: The Jews must all suffer a violent death, to the last one. Both Shi'ites and Sunnis quote the famous hadith attributed to the Prophet Muhammad: The last hour will not come unless the Muslims fight against the Jews, and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and the stone or the tree would say: "Muslim! Servant of Allah! Here is a Jew behind me; come and kill him!" Not one Friday passes without this hadith being quoted in sermons from one side of the Islamic world to the other. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

If it weren't for my study of Bible prophecy, I would probably expect Israel to attack Iran. I could very well be wrong and nothing I say should be taken without personal study and prayer, but I'm continually brought back to Isaiah 17 and the destruction of Damascus apparently by the "children of Israel." This opinion piece brings home the possible reality of this a little more. I think Israel realizes the seriousness of their current situation and if they are going to make a show of force, it will be big. After the loss in Lebanon during the summer 2006 engagement, Israel can't afford to appear insincere about her existence. If the elections in Israel change leadership to someone like Netanyahu, we could see a government more willing to make their intentions to remain more clear. Could it lead to the destruction of Damascus? I can't say, but I'm watching and will keep sharing what I see with you so you can decide for yourself and share with those who have ears to hear.

Americans may be losing faith in free markets Los Angeles Times (July 16, 2008) - For a generation, most people accepted the idea that the core of what makes America tick was an economy governed by free markets. And whatever combination of goods, services and jobs the market cooked up was presumed to be fine for the nation and for its citizens -- certainly better than government meddling. No longer. Spurred by the continued housing crisis, turmoil in financial markets, spiking oil prices, disappearing jobs and shrinking retirement savings, the nation and its political leaders have begun to sour on the notion that the current market system is the key to a fair, stable and efficient society. "We're at a hinge point," said William A. Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington who helped craft President Clinton's market-friendly agenda during the 1990s. "The strong presumption in favor of markets, which has dominated public policy since the late 1970s, has been thrown very much into question." Now, to a degree not seen in years, politicians and outside experts are looking with favor at more, not less, government involvement in the economy. Of course, Americans always grouse during troubled times. And as market advocates are quick to point out, the current run of bad economic breaks has yet to result in the throwing over of free-market principles in favor of some drastically different approach -- such as a government-directed economy. "There may be a backlash against markets at the moment," acknowledged Kevin A. Hassett, economic studies director at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington and an advisor to presumed Republican presidential nominee John McCain. "But the backlash doesn't seem to be informed by any alternative view of how the world works." more...
| NewWorldOrder | America | Economic Crisis |