Saturday, December 24, 2011

Handel - Messiah - Hallelujah Chorus



                         Merry  Christmas!


Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
(For the lord God omnipotent reigneth)
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
(Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah)
Hallelujah

The kingdom of this world;
is become
the kingdom of our Lord,
and of His Christ
and of His Christ

And He shall reign for ever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords

And he shall reign
And he shall reign
And he shall reign
He shall reign
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever
and lord of lords hallelujah hallelujah
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords
And he shall reign forever and ever

Forever and ever and ever and ever
(King of kings and lord of lords)

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah

British Islamist Anjem Choudary : "Jesus will Return One Day and He will Break the Cross and He will Pray Behind the Muslims".


British Islamist Anjem Choudary Releases 2011 Christmas Message: Christmas is Evil; 'Jesus will Return One Day and He Will Break the Cross and He Will pray Behind the Muslims and He Will Declare…He Believes in the Finality of the Messenger Muhammad'.(Memri).

"Jesus will Return One Day and He will Break the Cross and He will Pray Behind the Muslims"

" … Hello to all of the non-Muslims. Christmas is a period when many events and many views are heard. In particular at this time of the year people think about Jesus – 'Issa (peace be upon him). Jesus was not a Christian, and, in fact, if Jesus was alive today he would be following the Muslims and Islam. Indeed, 'Issa (peace be upon him), said that the messenger Muhammad (SAW) would come after him, and he gave him one of the names which Allah has mentioned in the Koran – Ahmad. And indeed 'Issa was a Muslim. There are many people who want to attribute things which are not correct to 'Issa (peace by upon him). For example, that he believed in confession – confessing to a person to be forgiven for your sins. That he believed in Original Sin – that you are born sinful. That, in fact, they say that he allowed to eat and drink whatever you wish; and, in fact, he said: 'Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and give unto God what is God's,' whereas we know about the life of Jesus – 'Issa (peace be upon him) – that he rose against the Roman emperor in his time. He forbade cheating in the market. He forbade the promiscuity, and he forbade the Jewish judicial system in his own era.
"And, in fact, he said that you worship, and you obey, and you follow none but Allah. And that is the true message of Jesus as found in the Koran and in the statements of the Messenger Muhammad (SAW). And in this spirit as well, the Muslims – those who had the attribute of commanding good and forbidding evil – should realize that Christmas has many evils associated with it. Every true Christian, as well, knows that this has nothing to do with Christianity. This pagan festival where there is promiscuity, the abuse of alcohol, domestic violence, and all kinds of crimes. Break up of families, which are associated with it, is something which the Muslims must put on their agenda to forbid, and to invite people away from this debauchery into Islam – the pure way of life. And, indeed, Jesus will return one day and he will break the cross and he will pray behind the Muslims and he will declare with them that indeed, he believes in the finality of the Messenger Muhammad (SAW) and in al-Islam."
"Christian Leaders Nowadays are Targeting the Muslims and Imprisoning Them"

"So, we want to pass a message to you very clearly at this time of the year – that when you reflect upon the life of Jesus, and Moses, and Abraham, and all of the prophets of God – remember that there is only one way of life that can truly give you Paradise and happiness in this life, and that is al-Islam. Islam means submission. The way that Jesus prayed to his lord Allah (TW), and the way he forbade evil in his own time, and the way he believed in tawheed – the oneness of God – and not to worship children, or parents, or other partners along with Him. And the way he tried to bring people away from the evil of manmade law into the beauty and justice of divine law. The perfection is found in Islam. The final favor from God to mankind in the Koran and in the life of the Messenger Muhammad (SAW). And, indeed, we can find that even the Christians in the time of the Messenger Muhammad (SAW) are not like the Christians nowadays. When Ja'far Ibn Abi Taleb (may Allah be pleased with him) went to the Najashi, the Negus [king] of his own time, we find that the life of the Muslims, their wealth, indeed, their dignity was protected and they were given sanctity. Whereas we find that the Muslims nowadays, when they live with the so-called Christians and the Christian leaders - like Cameron, and Obama, and previously under Blair and Bush - that their life, their honor, their wealth is polluted and violated.

So we find that this Christmas, Sheikh Abu Qatada is in prison for no crime having been committed. Even Sheikh Abu Hamza is in prison, even after the trumped-up charges and the sentence, which has been served, he languishes behind bars for what reason apart from the whims and the desires of the so-called Christian leaders. And we will find that these same Christian leaders, under Stop-and-Search and other draconian laws, demonize and vilify the Muslims. And we can find, in fact, that far from the Negus of the past, we find that the Christian leaders nowadays are targeting the Muslims and imprisoning them.

And I have little, little doubt that, indeed, if Jesus was alive today he would probably spend his time in prison, in Belmarsh Prison, because of the views that he carries. Because, certainly, he would not be with the Israelis, but rather with the Muslims – the Palestinians – against the occupation. And he would not be with the Americans and British in Iraq and Afghanistan, but rather with the Muslims, struggling and striving to liberate their land and to implement the divine law. And he would not be with the Russians, demonizing and oppressing the Chechens, but, rather, he would be with the Muslims in the mountains trying to rid themselves of the shackles of manmade law. And he would not be with the Chinese oppressing the Uyghur Muslims, but, rather, he would be with them fighting against the tyranny. And wherever we look, whether it is a Christian or a Pagan, or indeed if he is a Communist or a Socialist, we can find that the oppression of manmade law is everywhere. So now, more than ever, we are needy for Islam. We are needy to go out..."Hmmmm.........“Violence does not build up the kingdom of God, the kingdom of humanity. On the contrary, it is a favorite instrument of the Antichrist, however idealistic its religious motivation may be,” Pope Benedict XVI. Source : Memri. Video here.

MFS - The Other News


                    Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Kyrgistan 5.2 !More info here.

  • Turkish warships shell narrow water between Israeli and Cypriot gas fields.(Debka).Cypriot President Demetris Christofias has warned Turkey to stop its warships shelling the strip of water dividing the Cypriot and Israeli gas exploration zones in the eastern Mediterranean.debkafile's military forces report that Wednesday, Dec. 21, Turkish warships began turning their guns on the strip dividing Israel's Leviathan gas field from Block 12 of Cyprus's Exclusive Economic Zone-EEZ, where a large gas field was recently discovered.Neither Israel nor Cyprus reported the Turkish attacks which are staged in international waters, but both reinforced their naval units around the gas fields. It was the Cypriot president who broke the silence Friday, Dec. 23 with a warning: "If Turkey does not change its gunboat diplomacy and stop playing the part of regional police officer, there will be consequences which, for sure, will not be good - either for the whole region or the Turkish people and first and foremost for Turkish Cypriots," he said.On Dec. 22, Israel canceled the $90 million sale to the Turkish Air Force of Elbit's hi-tech LOROP-Long Range Oblique Photography military surveillance system.Israeli defense sources said the transaction was cancelled lest SAR radar or LOROP technology find their way into the hands of Israel's enemies, such as Iran.According to our military sources, Israel timed the deal's cancellation as a warning to Ankara to back off from its campaign of harassment in and around Israel's gas fields. Jerusalem, Athens and Nicosia are economic and security partners in the exploration and development of eastern Mediterranean gas resources. The same firm, Noble Energy Inc of Houston, Texas, is working both Cypriot and Israeli fields. Shares in the US company are held in Cyprus by the Cypriot national energy company and in Israel by Delek Drilling LP and Avner Oil Exploration LLP.The recent discovery that the gas fields are much bigger than first believed has raised the stakes around them. The three governments involved are looking forward to becoming major gas suppliers to Europe and so reducing the continent's dependence on Russian and Turkish gas pipelines.Noble Energy's latest estimate published Monday, Dec. 19, added 6.3 percent to the Leviathan well's untapped potential, raising it from the previous estimate of 16 to 20 trillion cubic feet.Nicosia too will shortly issue an upwardly revised estimate of its gas field. According to debkafile's energy industry sources, the new figure is cautiously estimated as 10 trillion cubic feet.Both expect Ankara to escalate its nuisance offensive after the new Nicosia bulletin. As a precaution, Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis was dispatched to Washington Tuesday, Dec. 19, to talk the situation over with administration officials and obtain US support for the continuing gas enterprise and the Cypriot stance against Turkish threats.According to our Washington sources, the advice from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was to go full steam ahead with gas drilling and ignore Turkish harassment. After their meeting, Kozakou-Marcoullis said the prospects for gas development have already dramatically increased her country's strategic importance.In a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, she called Turkey "the neighborhood bully," adding that a Turkey "whose foreign minister once promoted a policy of 'zero problems' with its neighbors is now pursuing a policy of 'only problems.' "Read the full story here.


  • Tens of thousands mass in fresh Russia vote protest.(RaiNovosti).Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Moscow Saturday to press demands for new parliamentary elections and wholesale liberalizing reform in Russia, turning the temperature up on Vladimir Putin and his plans to return to the Kremlin.Police put the number of protesters within the space authorized for the rally at 29,000 but a far larger crowd was massed behind a long line of metal detectors set up on the street as would-be participants were screened through them one by one. Rally organizers and RIA Novosti correspondents on the scene estimated the turnout number at several times higher than the police figure.As the demonstration swelled, the Kremlin moved to respond in real time, with a spokeswoman for President Dmitry Medvedev announcing that reforms to ease restrictions on political parties could be enacted quickly.The atmosphere on Moscow’s Sakharov Avenue, named for the Nobel Peace Prize-winning late Soviet physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was calm but determined as citizens with a wide range of political views turned out to express their opposition to December 4 legislative elections in particular and to Russia’s political status-quo in general.“Our votes were stolen!” Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption whistleblower and activist, who has become a driving force in the Russian protest movement, shouted to the crowd from a massive stage installed at one end of the avenue.“We came here to get them back! Give them back right now!” Navalny said to cheers from the crowd.Boris Nemtsov, a long-time Putin critic and former deputy prime minister, also addressed the demonstrators, appealing to them to go to the polls in presidential elections scheduled for next March 4 “but not to cast one single vote for Putin.”“Let’s keep Putin out of the Kremlin!” he said, after which the crowd began chanting: “Russia Without Putin! Russia Without Putin!”Read and see the full story here.


  • Updated - Video: Moscow Protests Continue Amid Freezing Temperatures.(RaiNovosti).During the second round of mass protests, demonstrators and opposition leaders called for new parliamentary elections and the resignation of top officials.Read and see the full story here.


  • U.S. Report: Border Fence Threatens Illegal aliens , potential Democrat voters Bear Population.(JW).The department of homeland security (DHS) will soon get unsolicited advice from a group of U.S. government scientists that claim fencing along the Mexican border threatens the potential Dem voter black bear population. The esteemed researchers recently published a study warning that the border wall erected to protect the country from illegal immigration and drug smuggling is an obstacle that blocks bears in migration. This may threaten the illegal aliens black bear population in parts of Arizona, they say. The findings were published recently in a science research journal so it didn’t get much publicity until a mainstream newspaper picked it up this week.The newspaper article goes into considerable detail about how the probe was conducted, mainly by using pieces of barbed wire to capture genetic samples of “foraging” bears. This helped scientists track various bear populations in Arizona. The population density of the border bears was substantially lower than the bears living farther north, which had a wider habitat that was less vulnerable to development, the researchers found.The bear study is simply the latest of many to make a case against the southern border fence in the name of preserving wildlife. A number of others have made similar arguments, some even claiming that the barrier will lead to the extinction of certain species of wildlife. One example is a University of Texas study that found more than 300 species of amphibian, reptile, and mammals are threatened by the border barrier.Another accuses the U.S. government of ignoring scientific research and historical evidence of the border fence’s negative effects to wildlife and conservation lands. A fence is slated to traverse important ecological areas, including the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge and the Sabal Palm Audubon Center and Sanctuary, according to this particular university paper.Other studies, less publicized by the mainstream media, have exposed how the constant traffic of illegal immigration (where there is no fence) has destroyed hundreds of acres of national forests and their habitat. Illegal immigrants have devastated national parks by leaving mountains of trash and human waste, with recurring fires and by despoiling natural springs and vandalizing historic sites. The migrants have also created damaging illegal trails and roads that destroy sensitive and federally protected vegetation.The bear researchers will conveniently omit this sort of information when they meet with DHS officials and other state and federal agencies to “generate innovative solutions” that take bears into consideration when border security is discussed. They want the well-being of all Democrats large carnivores to be considered when crafting border security policies.Read the full story here.


  • 'Emperor' Obama Issues Signing Statement Overriding Ban on White House Czars In Spending Bill.(TheHill).— President Obama said Friday he will not be bound by at least 20 policy riders in the 2012 omnibus funding the government, including provisions pertaining to Guantanamo Bay and gun control.After he signed the omnibus into law Friday, the White House released a concurrent signing statement saying Obama will object to portions of the legislation on constitutional grounds.Signing statements are highly controversial, and their legality is disputed.“I have advised the Congress that I will not construe these provisions as preventing me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibility to recommend to the Congress’s consideration such measures as I shall judge necessary and expedient,” Obama said in a statement as he signed the bill into law.The signing statement says that on the issue of accused terrorist detainees, Obama will interpret and apply provisions that bar the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, “in a manner that avoids constitutional conflicts.”Obama also objected to Defense provisions in the bill that limit the president’s ability to put troops under foreign command and require 30 days advance notice to Congress for any use of the military which would involve more than $100,000 in construction costs.The president also objected to a section aimed at blocking health, climate, auto policy and urban affairs “czars” from being employed by the White House and a provision that bars health officials from advocating for gun control. The signing statement also objects to a portion of the omnibus that limits funding for the Copyright Office.Hmmm......I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes~ Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.Read the full Story here.


  • Bank Of America Dumps $75 Trillion In Derivatives On U.S. Taxpayers With Federal Approval.(BLN).Bloomberg reports that Bank of America (BAC) has shifted about $22 trillion worth of derivative obligations from Merrill Lynch and the BAC holding company to the FDIC insured retail deposit division. Along with this information came the revelation that the FDIC insured unit was already stuffed with $53 trillion worth of these potentially toxic obligations, making a total of $75 trillion.Derivatives are highly volatile financial instruments that are occasionally used to hedge risk, but mostly used for speculation. They are bets upon the value of stocks, bonds, mortgages, other loans, currencies, commodities, volatility of financial indexes, and even weather changes. Many big banks, including Bank of America, issue derivatives because, if they are not triggered, they are highly profitable to the issuer, and result in big bonus payments to the executives who administer them. If they are triggered, of course, the obligations fall upon the corporate entity, not the executives involved. Ultimately, by allowing existing gambling bets to remain in insured retail banks, and endorsing the shift of additional bets into the insured retail division, the obligation falls upon the U.S. taxpayers and dollar-denominated savers.Even if we net out the notional value of the derivatives involved, down to the net potential obligation, the amount is so large that the United States could not hope to pay it off without a major dollar devaluation, if a major contingency actually occurred and a large part of the derivatives were triggered. But, if such an event ever occurs, Bank of America's derivatives counter-parties will, as usual, be made whole, while the American people suffer. This all has the blessing of the Federal Reserve, which approved the transfer of derivatives from Merrill Lynch to the insured retail unit of BAC before it was done.Read the full story here.


  • Iran Launching "Massive" Ten Day War Game Tomorrow In Close Proximity To CVN-74 John Stennis.(ZeroHedge).As the rest of the world enjoys Festivus or whatever celebration one indulges in, Iran is launching a "massive" 10 day war games naval exercise right in the belly of the beast. From Xinhua: "Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari on Thursday announced the upcoming launch of ten-day massive naval exercises in the international waters, the local satellite Press TV reported. Sayyari said at a press conference on Thursday that the naval maneuvers dubbed Velayat 90 will start on Saturday and will cover an area of 2,000 (1,250-mile) km stretching from the east of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden, the report said. This is the first time that Iran's Navy carries out naval drills in such a vast area, he was quoted as saying. He said that the exercises will manifest Iran's military prowess and defense capabilities in the international waters, convey a message of peace and friendship to regional countries and test the newest military equipment among other objectives, said the report. He added that the newest missile systems and torpedoes will be employed in the maneuvers, adding that the most recent tactics used in subsurface battles will also be demonstrated. Iranian destroyers, missile-launching vessels, logistic vessels, drones and coastal missiles will also be tested, said the Iranian commander, according to the report." And while conventional wisdom is that the market is focused on what the upcoming closure of the Straits of Hormuz means for tanker routs and oil prices, there is another more disturbing possibility: with all those Iranian canoes, and soapboxes floating around, one wonders if one is bound to have a close encounter with USS CVN-74 John Stennis, which as the updated naval map from Stratfor shows, will be smack in the middle of the action.Read the full story here.


  • Seafood 10,000 Times Over Safe Limit for Carcinogenic Contamination, FDA Says to Eat it Anyway.(BLN).By Mike Barrett.Activist Post. Despite seafood showing extremely high levels of contamination, the FDA still deems the food safe for consumption.The FDA not only falsely softened the risk of seafood consumption due to carcinogenic contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the seafood supply, but also ignored individual FDA staff members who called for higher levels of contamination protection.The oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 was one of the largest offshore oil spills in history. One recent study conducted by researchers at the Natural Resources Defense Council found that FDA Gulf seafood “safe levels” actually allowed 100 to 10,000 times more carcinogenic PAHs in seafood than what is safe. This move by the FDA is not only only irresponsible for environmental and human safety, but puts those who are more vulnerable at a higher risk, such as pregnant women and children.
    FDA Says Yo Don’t Need to Remove Your Overly-Contaminated Seafood.Researchers who conducted the study, which was published in the top peer-reviewed environmental health journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found the information from snatched internal emails and unreleased assessments from the FDA under the Freedom of Information Act. The FDA argues that the reason they downplayed the risk is biased on the side of safety.The director of the FDA has been reported stating “overly conservative estimates would lead you [to] remove a great deal of food from our refrigerators and pantries than is needed”.Seeing as consuming highly contaminated seafood is completely opposite of safe, this kind of response of course suggests that the FDA’s decision had little to do with safety, and was likely driven by political factors.This wouldn’t be the first time that the FDA falsified or presented manipulated data. The agency also ignored the fact that mercury, an element that is highly toxic in all forms, was found in a large number of brand-name processed foods. But instead of addressing this major public health concern, the FDA decided to focus their time on crushing beneficial supplements through ridiculous NDI regulations that threaten the entire infrastructure of the nutraceuticals industry.In addition, the Food and Drug Administration has known for years that asthma drugs actually kill more patients than asthma itself, but they simply ignored this information. Similarly, data indicates that through the combination of rays from the sun and ingredients found in sunscreen, the skin can be damaged so much that lesions and tumors can be the end result. But of course the US Food and Drug Administration has allegedly been aware of this critical information for the past ten years, but has done absolutely nothing to warn people about it.Hmmmm......Bon Appetit?Read the full story here.

  • ‘France should drop out of Minsk group if genocide bill is ratified’.(TodaysZaman).The Turkish president has suggested France should withdraw from the Minsk Group in case a bill approved on Thursday by the French Assembly aiming to penalize denial of “Armenian genocide” becomes law, as he said he regarded that president's refusal to return his calls as a sign of his “prejudice against Turkey.”Speaking to reporters on Friday, a day after the approval of the highly controversial bill in the French assembly despite strong Turkish opposition, President Abdullah Gül said France should withdraw from the Minsk Group if the bill is approved by the Senate and becomes law since that would mean that France has lost its impartial position in the settling of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia. France currently co-chairs the Minsk Group, an international initiative that has been active since the 1990s with not many significant results so far. Gül also criticized President Nicolas Sarkozy for “being prejudiced against Turkey.” Recalling that he has not responded to Gül's phone calls for days, Gül complained that “heads of state talk to each other even during war time.” He said Sarkozy's stance reveals his prejudices against Turkey. Meanwhile, Turkey's top officials continued to slam France following the French National Assembly's approval of the denial bill, as Ankara urged Turkish diplomats overseas to speak to Armenians around the world and tell them of the foreign “instigation” that tore Turks and Armenians apart.Following his initial announcement of Turkey's measures against the French on Thursday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asserted that the French decision was “a clear sign of the hostility” against Muslims in France and Europe on Friday.“The vote in France, where there are nearly 5 million Muslims, clearly showed that the extent of racism, discrimination and anti-Muslims sentiments has reached dangerous levels,” Erdoğan said at a conference on “Change in Muslim Societies and Role of Women” in İstanbul.Accusing Sarkozy of “trying to win [April’s presidential] elections over hostility towards Turks and Muslims,” Erdoğan was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying, while he noted that Thursday’s vote was all the more meaningful in that the bill was approved with only 55 lawmakers in attendance.The prime minister also read excerpts from a 1526 letter sent by Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent to French King Francis I in response to the French king’s request for help after being captured by Spanish King Charles V during the Battle of Pavia. The Ottoman sultan said in the letter he would help the French king, but the letter is written in a tone that looks down upon the French King, as Sultan Süleyman describes himself with multiple adjectives, hinting that Francis I is only “a king.” Erdoğan said he had earlier presented a copy of Süleyman’s letter to Sarkozy. “I think he did not read it,” he said.Hmmm....Erdogan "Muslims don't commit genocide"......Meaning only who does?Read the full story here.

  • "The war on Christianity" - Christmas trees 'make non-Christians feel excluded'.(Telegraph)Christmas trees should be removed from public places to avoid making non-Christians feel “excluded”, scientists have suggested.Researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada, found non-Christians feel less self-assured and have fewer positive feelings if a Christmas tree was in the room.The scientists conducted the study using 77 Christians and 57 non-believers, including Buddhists and Sikhs.The participants did not know the survey was about Christmas, and were asked to fill in questions about themselves both when a 12-inch Christmas tree was in the room and when it was not."Non-celebrators" reported fewer positive feelings and less self-assurance in the Christmas room. Christians were mostly cheered by the tree.Christians, however, did report feeling more guilt when a tree was in the room, which, claim the researchers, suggests the holidays can be stressful. Michael Schmitt, a social psychologist behind the research, decided to carry out the study after controversy over whether Christmas should be celebrated in public in case it offends non-Christians.He said: "Simply having this 12-inch Christmas tree in the room with them made them feel less included in the university as a whole, which to me is a pretty powerful effect from one 12-inch Christmas tree in one psychology lab."I don't think it's really going to undermine anyone's experience of Christmas to tone it down."We're not suggesting 'no Christmas' or 'no Christmas displays at all,' but in contexts where we really do value respecting and including diversity in terms of religion, the safest option is not to have these kinds of displays."I understand why it might feel threatening to people. "But I think if people do care about making a whole range of different kinds of people feel included and respected, then we can make some small changes that would go a long way toward creating a more multicultural or inclusive society."The researchers published their results in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.Read the full BS story here.


  • Egypt - Islamists win 65 percent of votes in Egypt’s second round of parliamentary election.(AlArabiya).Egypt’s main Islamist parties won 65 percent of votes for party lists in the second round of a historic election for a new parliament after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, the electoral committee said Saturday.The election commission chief, Abdel-Moez Ibrahim, has announced the results from the second round, in which nine provinces with nearly seven million voters cast their ballots. The Freedom and Justice Party won 36.5 percent of the vote for party lists, with 4,058,498 out of 11,173,818 votes, according to figures provided by the electoral committee for the second round which was held on December 14.The al-Nour Party, the political arm of the ultraconservative Salafi movement, won 28.78 percent, with 3,216,430 votes.The results mirror those from the first round of voting, held in late November, when the two blocs together won nearly 70 percent.Meanwhile, the Islamists’ liberal rivals fared badly again in the second round, with al-Wafd − the country’s oldest party − winning 9.6 percent of the party list vote and the Egyptian Bloc, the main liberal coalition, just seven percent.The third round of the election will start on January 3, followed by another three-round poll for the senate.The FJP has said it would have the right to form the next government, but the ruling military and the prime minister it appointed have said parliament could not appoint ministers.The military, which has faced down days of deadly protests in November and this month, says it will transfer power to civilians after a presidential election is held by the end of June next year.Read the full story here.


  • Cold war heats up between Hezbollah and Washington.(AlArabiya).A war of words is heating up between Hezbollah and Washington, with allegations and counter-allegations flying between the two foes as the crisis in Syria takes its toll on the Shiite militant group. The cold war between Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah and the United States ─ which blacklists the Lebanese group as a terrorist organization ─ runs back decades.But with political upheaval in the Arab world at a peak, tensions between the two are skyrocketing.“This year was not the first time Hezbollah has exposed intelligence networks, whether working for the United States or others, and the United States criminal case against Hezbollah goes back months,” said Paul Salem, head of the Beirut-based Carnegie Middle East Center. But there’s no doubt that, given what’s happening in Syria along with the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq ... we.re in a phase of high tension in which everyone’s raising the pressure on their opponent.”The feud began to deepen earlier this year, when Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah accused the Central Intelligence Agency of planting spies within his party’s ranks.Nasrallah’s announcement in June, which the party hailed as a “victory” over the United States, marked the first acknowledgment of infiltration by the movement founded in 1982.The United States filed a criminal lawsuit against a string of Lebanese financial institutions with alleged ties to Hezbollah on the grounds they were complicit in a massive scheme to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars.U.S. federal authorities say the companies were part of a scheme to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from narcotics dealing and other criminal activities in order to fund Hezbollah’s activities.But Hezbollah has staunchly denied the charges, with the group’s second in command, Sheikh Naim Qassem, accusing Washington this week of waging a smear campaign against a Shiite Muslim group which, he said, would never follow a path “prohibited by religion.” Hezbollah upped the stakes by accusing the “terrorist” United States of being behind twin bombings in the Syrian capital on Friday which left 44 dead and 166 wounded, according to officials.“These bombings which resulted in the death and injury of dozens of people, mainly women and children, are the specialty of the United States, the mother of terrorism,” read a statement released by the movement Friday.It said the timing of the bombings, which ripped through two security service offices in the Syrian capital, clearly signaled they were a “cowardly, bloody act of revenge” over the U.S. “defeat” in Iraq.Analysts say the crisis in Syria, which provides Lebanon with its only open border, has dealt a blow to Hezbollah which must now face the possibility of a future without a key regional ally.And as power structures shift in the Middle East, experts say Western pressure on the Lebanese militant movement will continue to mount as the group risks losing the support provided by the regime of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “The latest U.S. accusations against Hezbollah are ... part of a wider campaign against the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah axis,” said Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, author of the forthcoming “The Iran Connection: Understanding the Alliance with Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.”“We’re only going to see more of these accusations,” Saad-Ghoryaeb told AFP.“The United States is aware that ... Hezbollah has already lost some support in the region because of Syria, so now's the time to tarnish its reputation, to move from labeling the group as terrorist to actually criminalizing it.”Read the full story here.


  • Midnight Masses canceled in Iraq because of growing security concerns.(CN).London -- Chaldean Catholic officials have canceled traditional Christmas Eve midnight Masses because of security risks.Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk in northern Iraq told the agency Aid to the Church in Need that Christians will spend Christmas in "great fear" because of the risk of new attacks.All services and Masses have been scheduled for daylight hours, he said in an interview with Rome-based AsiaNews."Midnight Christmas Mass has been canceled in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk as a consequence of the never-ending assassinations of Christians," he said, citing the Oct. 31, 2010, attack on the Syrian Catholic cathedral that left 57 people dead in the Iraqi capital.Archbishop Sako also expressed concern over the growing conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims vying for political power. He said the conflict has led to growing instability, especially in the days since the pullout of U.S. military troops in mid-December.The archbishop's concerns follow a series of incidents in the northern province of Kurdistan, which had been considered safe haven for Christians.In Erbil, Kurdistan's capital, Christian Sermat Patros, 29 was kidnapped Dec. 12. Between Dec. 2 and Dec. 5, at least 30 Christian-owned businesses were torched in Zakho near the Turkish border. A Christian couple also was found shot dead in their car Dec. 13 in Mosul.Hmmmmm......Obama: If We Work Hard, Afghanistan Could Be a 'Success'...Like Iraq!Read the full story here.

  • Russia successfully test fires Bulava missiles.(RaiNovosti).Russia successfully test launched two Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles on Friday, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Igor Konashenkov said.The missiles were launched from the Borey-class Yury Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarine in the White Sea and hit designated targets at the Kura test range on Kamchatka, some 6,000 kilometers to the east.This was the troubled Bulava’s 18th test launch. Only 11 launches have been officially declared successful.But some analysts suggest that in reality the number of failures is considerably larger. Russian military expert Pavel Felgengauer said that of the Bulava's first 12 test launches, only one was entirely successful.Despite several previous failures, officially blamed on manufacturing faults, the Russian military has insisted that there is no alternative to the Bulava.The Bulava (SS-NX-30) SLBM carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The three-stage ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey-class nuclear submarines.Read the full story here.


  • Looming Saudi Energy Crisis?(CrossroadArabia).By John Burgess.Chatham House, the UK’s top think-tank, has a new report saying that Saudi domestic demand for energy (primarily in the form of electricity) threatens Saudi Arabia’s place in the world oil market. The report (59-page PDF) says that demand is outstripping the Kingdom’s ability to produce enough oil and natural gas AND to continue its programs of social welfare at the same time. The report says that there are some steps the Saudis can take, such as introducing conservation measures, that could postpone a crisis, but that the crisis will hit.Below is an abstract of the article…
Burning Oil to Keep Cool: The Hidden Energy Crisis in Saudi Arabia
Glada Lahn and Paul Stevens, December 2011
    » Domestic energy demand growth in Saudi Arabia is cause for international concern. If it continues at the current rate, it could jeopardize the country’s ability to stabilize world oil markets. » Given Saudi Arabia’s level of dependence on oil revenues, excessive consumption will cause economic and social pressures long before oil exports end – within a decade if nothing changes. » Current policies are not enough. Planned additions of renewable power supply would help maintain the fiscal balance for an additional two to three years; given the lead times nuclear power would have little or no impact. » Huge economic, social and environmental gains from energy conservation are possible in Saudi Arabia but the long period of low prices and the bureaucratic structure of the state present several challenges to implementing effective pricing policy and regulatory measures. » Fear of confronting these challenges has deterred meaningful government action in the past. However, some immediate, targeted investments could produce effective results even in the absence of price reforms. » Raising prices is politically difficult but international experience can help in preparing society through a range of efficiency, educational and infrastructure adaptation measures to smooth the transition. This must be done within a package of measures that increase private-sector employment for Saudi nationals.
I think the authors overestimate the time it would require Saudi Arabia to construct and put on line nuclear reactors. The Kingdom does not have a massive regime of regulation, of environmental impact statements and the like, or of worry about finding funding and insurance for a nuclear power plant. In fact, I think the Saudis could, starting from scratch, construct a reactor and have it producing electricity within three years… if it chose to do so. Saudi Arabia also doesn’t have to undertake extensive R&D efforts: it can buy a nuclear power plant almost off-the-shelf. Further, I think GCC efforts to establish a regional power grid will buy time, if not an outright solution, until nuclear power generation becomes standard. Saudi solar power investments will help, but they will not replace other power sources until solar technology becomes much more efficient.Read the full story here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Overnight Music Video - Bing Crosby - White Christmas

Ahmed the Dead Terrorist - Christmas Special

                                                                     Part I


                                                                    Part II



                                                                      Part III

MFS - The Other News


                    Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation New Zealand 6.0 - 5.8 - 5.6 - 5.5 - 5.3 ; Philipines 5.4 - 5.3 ; Pakistan 5.1 !More info here.


  • Cuban and Chinese Bloggers Speak on Havel’s Greatness, Kim’s Tyranny.(Heritage).The reaction of bloggers in two remaining communist dictatorships to the recent deaths of pro-freedom crusader Vaclav Havel and his polar opposite, North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Il, tells you all you need to know about why communists can’t hold elections. In the restricted cyberspace afforded to Chinese and Cubans Havel is being hailed as a hero while Kim is derided for the evil he represented.In a roundup on Chinese cyber reactions to the two deaths, the BBC observed that contrary to China’s official stance, comments by Chinese microbloggers have been generally pro-Havel, the former dissident and writer who went on to become the leader of a free Czechoslovakia, and anti-Kim Jong-il, the paunchy dictator who inherited power from his father, another despot named Kim Jong-Il.“When Havel died yesterday, we were very sad. But after Kim Jong-il died, we are celebrating. It’s not because we don’t value life or don’t think life is equal, but that we know better the true value of life. Some people bring nothing but shame to life!” the BBC quoted well-known blogger Yang Hengjun as writing on the blog Sina Weibo.Liu Chun, vice-president of Chinese internet giant Sohu, wrote, “between the two people who have just passed away, Havel and Kim Jong-il, I cannot possibly like Kim no matter how hard I try, and I cannot dislike Havel no matter how hard I try.”A third blogger, Zhu Youke, culture editor of the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekend newspaper, was quoted by the Beeb as saying: “Compared with Havel’s death, the death of Kim Jong-il was nothing but a senseless epilogue of a farcical performance.”In Cuba, which has accorded the Orwellian Kim three days of official mourning and which is, like China, another communist dictatorship that remained silent on Havel’s passing, bloggers have also drawn similar contrasts.The poor Cubans have only a fraction of the cyber freedom than even the Chinese have, but the country’s most famous blogger, Yoani Sanchez, wrote: The government of Raul Castro has still not made the most minor public mention of the death of the Czech democrat but has decreed three days of official mourning for the death of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il. Of the latter, the official media of his country says he wrote more than 1,500 books in his life, but none of these is read by any of us today. However, the author of The Feast and The Temptation (Havel) is everyday better known and admired by us. Like missionaries of a peculiar relition, many today distribute and propagate his writings throughout the island.Many other Cuban bloggers echoed these sentiments.These reactions from Cuban and Chinese dissidents are a far cry from the opinion of Kim voiced by Wendy Sherman, the Obama Administration’s undersecretary of state for political affairs, who called Kim “witty and humorous” and “a quick problem-solver.” Kim, of course, ran a country which Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal referred to this week as “a vast modern-day Auschwitz.”Mr. Obama, unlike this peers in France, Britain and Germany, has decided to skip Havel’s funeral.Hmmmm.......You know a Communist by his speeches?Read the full story here.

  • Obama Looking To Renew Nuke Scientist Exchange With China That Led To One of Worst Cases of Nuclear Weapons Espionage In U.S. History.(WT).Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel B. Poneman is working on a major Obama administration initiative that would renew scientist exchanges between U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories and Chinese nuclear facilities.The idea is aimed at promoting openness and transparency by China’s military about its secret, large-scale buildup of nuclear weapons, according to U.S. officials.Critics say the plan is similar to an exchange program in the 1990s that sent U.S. nuclear scientists to China and produced one of the worst cases of nuclear espionage. Secrets about every deployed warhead in the U.S. arsenal were compromised, including the W-88 small nuclear warhead deployed on submarine-launched missiles.“We’ve seen this movie before, and it has a bad ending,” one official said.Officials familiar with the plan told Inside the Ring that the initiative was discussed during a recent policy committee meeting of senior national security officials at the White House. The initiative is part of the administration’s arms-control-centered security policies. According to the officials, the administration hopes to coax the reluctant Chinese communist leadership and its military into engaging the United States in strategic nuclear talks, something China so far has refused.Hmmmm......I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes~ Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.Read the full story here.


  • RIA Novosti to cover Dec. 24 protest rally in Moscow in 7 languages – Special Media Advisory - Coverage plan for Moscow demonstration.(RN).RIA Novosti’s International News Service will cover Saturday’s protest rally in Moscow in English, Chinese, German, French, Spanish, Arabic and Persian languages. The coverage of the rally over alleged fraud at the December 4 legislative elections will include video reports in these languages from the site of the rally.English-language coverage on Saturday will include breaking news, a general news story updated periodically throughout the day, an analysis (shortly after the demonstration concludes), and many details from the venue.RIA Novosti’s Russian-language RIA.ru website will start online reporting from the site at 1:00 pm local time (09:00 GMT), one hour before the scheduled rally. The rally was authorized by the Moscow City Hall.Up to 50,000 people have signed up in social networks as of Friday to participate in the rally, the second of this kind in a month.The first such protest rally was held in central Moscow on December 10 and gathered 25,000 people, according to the Moscow police. Organizers of the rally claimed that at least 40,000 people showed up.Read the full story here.



  • Iraq Plunges into Chaos as Obama Administration Celebrates End of U.S. Military Presence.(Heritage).The Obama Administration’s risky decision to seek the quickest possible exit from Iraq has contributed to a mushrooming political crisis there that is rapidly unraveling the hard-won gains of U.S. troops and threatens to plunge the country into a civil war that will greatly benefit Iran.Shortly after the December 15 end-of-mission ceremony for U.S. troops, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki purged many senior Sunni Arab political leaders from his fractious governing coalition. Maliki’s government, dominated by Shiite political parties of various stripes, also announced that it will prosecute Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, a leader of the predominantly Sunni Arab Iraqiyah party, on terrorism charges. Hashemi, who denounced the allegations as propaganda cover for a political coup, has fled to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.Iraq’s fragile unity is now dissolving in growing political tensions between the leaders of the Shiite majority and Sunni minority and between the Shiite-dominated central government and the non-Arab Kurdish minority. But the Obama Administration, blindsided by simmering tensions that it had downplayed in its rush for the exit, appears to be on auto-pilot.The Administration gave a higher priority to domestic political considerations than to Iraq’s long-term security needs when it neglected to negotiate an extension of the U.S. troop presence past the end-of-year deadline set by the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement. Although the Bush Administration had envisioned a follow-on agreement to extend the military presence, and the Obama Administration had initially planned for a smaller residual force of military trainers and advisers, in the end politics trumped security in the White House’s deliberations.President Obama, who won office campaigning as an opponent of the Iraq war, treated Iraq as an inconvenient commitment that should be ended as soon as possible, not a war to be won. He made it clear that his Administration was eager to “turn the page” and leave Iraq as soon as possible.The Heritage Foundation warned repeatedly about the damaging consequences of an abrupt U.S. pullout from Iraq. We have stressed the need for strong American leadership to consolidate a stable peace in Iraq.But the Administration chose to disregard these and other warnings and pressed ahead to terminate the U.S. military presence. This removed a safety net below the Iraqi coalition government that now is disintegrating as rival leaders fall back on their own ethnic or sectarian camps to provide for their security. Iran, which has backed radical Shiite parties and fanned suspicions of the Sunni political leaders, is likely to emerge as the big winner.Hmmmm........A 'Community organiser' as commander in Chief, expect much, much worse in Afghanistan.Read the full story here.

  • "Paging Dr.Dolittle" - Once Bitten, Twice Shy: Jerusalem City Can't Help Arabs With Dog Plague.(INN).Arabs in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat complained Thursday that they were experiencing a plague of wild dogs roaming the area, but a spokesperson for the municipality said that catching the dogs was complicated – because of the threat to the physical security of dog catchers who would normally be sent in to catch the animals. At least 150 wild dogs, many running in feral packs, have for months been roaming the streets of the Ras Hamis neighborhood, at the edge of Shuafat, itself a village within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. The city has a full staff of dog catchers, but because of security concerns, a municipal spokesperson told reporters, they could only be sent in to do their jobs with an IDF or police crew to protect them, because of the strong likelihood that they will be pelted with stones or beaten with metal pipes – or worse – as has occurred on numerous occasions in the past.As a result, residents of the neighborhood say they have taken to arming themselves with bricks and pipes to fight off the dog menace. The dogs, say the residents, are particularly vicious, and have chased and attacked many people, especially the elderly and children, who have a hard time outrunning them.Attorney Nasrian Alian from the Israel Civil Rights Association said that the problem was present in all Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem. “In 2010 over 1,000 dogs were caught in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The city's Veterinary Service does not provide sufficient services for the neighborhood and does not even operate in some of them – and they fail to do the job properly in areas where they do operate,” she told reporters.In response, the municipality said that the IDF no longer permits municipal workers to enter some Arab neighborhoods without a security detail to protect them. Shuafat is one of those neighborhoods, the city said.Attacks on Israeli workers in Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods are not uncommon, and numerous workers have been badly injured when Arabs converged on them as they tried to undertake maintenance work in Arab areas.Hmmmm......Another bunch of 'Mossad trained Dogs' at work?Read the full story here.


  • No Jail Time for Antisemitic Muslim Blogger.(Vinienco).A London blogger who wrote that Jews must be attacked wherever you see them on the Scotsman newspaper's website has escaped jail, after pleading guilty to posting the comments.Mohammed Sandia from Wembley said Jews were a genetically mutated inbred tribe. Jews are not fit to breathe our air and should be attacked wherever we see them. Throw rocks at their ugly, hooked-nosed women and mentally ill children, and light up the real ovens.He changed his plea to guilty after initially denying the charges in November 2010. Sheriff Gordon Liddell expressed regret he could not impose a longer custodial sentence, suggesting a short sentence would only have the effect of turning you, in your own eyes, and in the eyes of your supporters, into a martyr. I choose not to do that.Sheriff Liddell opted to defer sentencing for 12 months. Last week, Sandia appeared again in court, and was admonished leaving him with a criminal record but no substantive penalty.The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities director Ephraim Borowski welcomed the sentence as an outspoken condemnation of Sandia's outrageous and abhorrent postings on the Scotsman website, and a clear signal that the law will not tolerate the abuse of freedom of speech to spread hatred.Mr Borowski's deputy director, Leah Granat, said:The police and prosecutors have been fantastic this case breaks new ground in establishing that the distributed nature of the internet does not offer protection from prosecution. The Scotsman is in Edinburgh, complaints were made in Glasgow, and Sandia was posting in London.This required cross-border co-operation to track down the computer [of the poster] and who it was used by. The Scotsmans digital editor, Stephen Emerson, said that Sandia's posts had been removed five minutes after being posted.We make every effort to ensure offensive comments are removed promptly from the site, and co-operated fully with police throughout this investigation.Read the full story here.

  • BREAKING: UNESCO stops funding children's Palestinian teen magazine following SWC protest.(SWC).A day after a protest from the Simon Wiesenthal Center to UNESCO's Director-General over a Palestinian youth magazine which published materials exalting Hitler, UNESCO has agreed that it "will not provide any further support to the publication in question."Zayzafouna, a magazine which supposedly promotes democracy and tolerance, published an article by a ten-year-old Palestinian girl who said that in her dreams, Hitler told her, “Yes. I killed them [the Jews] so you would all know that they are a nation who spreads destruction all over the world.” The article was brought to the public's attention by Palestinian Media Watch.A letter from the office of UNESCO's Director-General read:
"UNESCO’s attention has been drawn to the February 2011 issue of the Palestinian children’s magazine Zayzafouna. This magazine is published by an NGO of the same name under the patronage of the Palestinian National Commission for UNESCO, which is the national body set up by the Palestinian Authority to facilitate its work with the Organization. The February issue features a story written by a 10-year-old girl in which Hitler is quoted by her as stating that he “killed [the Jews] so you would all know that they are a nation who wreak havoc on Earth”. While UNESCO upholds freedom of expression as an integral part of its mandate, the inclusion in this publication of a statement that may be interpreted as an apology of the holocaust is contrary to UNESCO’s constitutional mandate and values. It is totally unacceptable. UNESCO supported the publication of three issues of the Zayzafouna Magazine six months after the February 2011 issue. The support was provided for these issues following agreement with the editorial board that they would focus on building greater appreciation amongst Palestinians for their heritage and culture. They were to open the way for positive dialogue aimed at overcoming the consequences of the Middle East conflict, and to fight against stereotypes that may be conducive to violence. It was UNESCO’s intention to foster a positive view ofPalestinian heritage based on the values of tolerance and UNESCO’s mandate of building peace in the minds of men and women. This vision guides all of UNESCO’s activities, and we urge all partners to work in this direction. UNESCO is shocked and dismayed by the content of the February issue, and has requested more detailed information and clarification from the editors of the magazine and to Palestinian Authority. UNESCO strongly deplores and condemns the reproduction of such inflammatory statements in a magazine associated with UNESCO’s name and mission and will not provide any further support to the publication in question.The Organization, which is deeply committed to the development and promotion of education about the Holocaust, disassociates itself from any statement that is counter to its founding principles and goals of building tolerance in the full respect for human rights and human dignity."Read the full story here.


  • Israel cancels defense deal with Turkey.(TodaysZaman).Israel has canceled a $141 million defense deal with Turkey, a reflection of the steep deterioration in relations between the former allies.Israeli officials said Thursday they are concerned that Turkey could deliver the state-of-the-art airborne intelligence units to third parties hostile to Israel. They said the deal was signed in 2008. Officials in Israel's Defense Ministry and Elbit Systems, the manufacturer of the system, confirmed the deal was called off. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the matter. There was no immediate comment from Ankara.Read the full story here, more here.


  • Syria blames al-Qaeda for twin suicide attacks in Damascus; at least 40 dead.(AlArabiya).Suicide bombers blew up vehicles at two security service bases in the Syrian capital on Friday, state television reported while pointing the finger of blame at al-Qaeda.At least 40 people were killed and 100 others wounded in the twin bomb attacks, Reuters reported, adding that most of those killed were civilians.“Two attacks carried out by suicide bombers in vehicles packed with explosives targeted bases of state security and another branch of the security services,” the television said, after AFP correspondents heard two large explosions.“Initial inquiries hold al-Qaeda responsible,” it added.State television said that “several soldiers and a large number of civilians were killed in the two attacks carried out by suicide bombers in vehicles packed with explosives against bases of state security and another branch of the security services.A delegation of Arab League officials visited the sites of two explosions in Damascus on Friday to inspect damage, Syrian state television said.A member of the Arab League team, contacted by telephone by Reuters, did not give details of the group’s movements but did say members were holding meetings.Witnesses said the bombers struck in the Kfar Suseh neighborhood of the city. A car tried to ram its way into a state security compound, while another car exploded in front of a security service building in the same area.Syria’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has said Lebanon warned Damascus two days ago that al-Qaeda had infiltrated into Syria from its territory.“The Lebanese authorities warned us two days ago that al-Qaeda group infiltrated to Syria from (north Lebanon’s town of) Ersal,” spokesman Jihad Makdesi told Reuters in an email.“And today’s suicide bombers caused the death of around 40 and more than 150 injuries, all are civilians and military personnel. Freedom seekers should know that this is not the way to achieve democracy.”The blasts came as an advance team was in Damascus to prepare the logistics for an Arab League observer mission to oversee a plan to end nine months of unrest that has killed more than 5,000 people, according to the United Nations.Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has said he expects the observers to vindicate his government's contention that the unrest is the work of “armed terrorists,” not overwhelmingly peaceful protesters as maintained by Western governments and human rights watchdogs.A Britain-based rights group also reported Friday’s blasts.“Two blasts just rocked the Syrian capital Damascus, followed by the sound of heavy shooting in the vicinity of the general intelligence headquarters,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement received by AFP in Nicosia.The bombings in Damascus were the first of their kind since the 1980s when then president Hafez al-Assad, father of incumbent Bashar al-Assad, fought an armed uprising by the since banned Muslim Brotherhood.Meanwhile, the Syrian Revolution Council said 14 people were killed as security forces continue with its crackdown against protesters and dissents in the country.Read the full story here.

  • Syria fires new Russian Yakhont missiles in exercise as ‘warning to Turkey and NATO’.(Stratrisk).NICOSIA — The regime of President Bashar Assad has displayed its new Russian-origin weapons during a military exercise.Western diplomats said Assad’s military fired new missiles and otherweapons acquired from Moscow in late 2011 during an exercise that took placeon Dec. 20. They said the new weapons included the P-800 Yakhont cruisemissile, which arrived in November.“This was a warning to Turkey and NATO to keep out of Syria,” a diplomat said.This marked the second major military exercise by Syria in less than a month. But the diplomats said the latest exercise was much larger than the first interservice maneuvers.“The demonstration was aimed at testing the combat capability and readiness of the air force and air defense to confront any possible aggression that might target Syria’s land and air space,” the official Syrian news agency, Sana, said.Sana said the exercise demonstrated a high level of interoperability in missile and other attacks. Sana, which did not identify the weapons, said the military’s special forces also conducted paratroop operations.Yakhont has been part of the Bastion coastal defense system supplied byMoscow. Diplomats said Syria received at least two Bastion systems, or more than 60 supersonic land-attack missiles.Syria has also received the Iskander-E long-range surface-to-surfacerocket from Russia. It was not clear whether Syria fired the Iskander duringthe latest exercise.“Marine and coastal missiles participated in the maneuver underconditions similar to a real battle, hitting the assumed hostile targetswith accuracy that reflected the high level of combat training the marinepersonnel had and their efficiency in using modern maritime weapons,” Sana said.Read the full story here.

  • FIFA signalling compromise on hijab ban.(HurriyetDaily).FIFA has endorsed a proposal to lift a controversial ban on the hijab in a move that offers a resolution to demands of female football players who wear the religious headscarf.At its executive committee meeting in Tokyo, the world football body submitted the proposal brought forth by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Vice President and Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein to the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which governs the rules of association football. IFAB is expected to discuss the proposal that calls for the sanctioning of a safe, Velcro-opening headscarf for players and officials at its next scheduled meeting March 3.FIFA’s endorsement follows an earlier approval of the AFC proposal in a workshop convened in October in Amman by al-Hussein.The dispute over the hijab led to the disqualification of the Iranian women’s national team in June after they all appeared wearing hijab for a 2012 London Olympics qualifier against Jordan. Three Jordanian players wearing hijab were also barred.The Iranian team’s insistence on wearing hijab contradicted an agreement reached last year in Singapore between FIFA and the Iranian Football Federation (IFF), under which the Iranians agreed to wear a cap that covered hair but not the neck.The measures were taken on the grounds that FIFA bans all religious and political symbols on the pitch on the basis of IFAB’s Law 4, which only lists jerseys, shorts, socks, shin-guards and footwear as the sanctioned basic equipment for a player. Applying Law 4 is complicated because interpretation of the IFAB rule is left to referees, which has led to differing interpretations on the pitch. “This issue impacts millions of women worldwide and it is crucial to address, in the best possible way, the issue that ensures the safety of the players, respects culture and promotes football for all women without discrimination. This is a crucial step forward. Our goal at the end of the day is to ensure that all women are able to play football at all levels without any barriers,” al-Hussein said.A decision by the Amman workshop to view the hijab as a cultural rather than a religious symbol helped pave the way for the AFC and FIFA endorsement.“The hijab issue has taken center stage in football circles in recent years due to the increasing popularity of women’s football worldwide. It is a cultural issue that not only affects the game, but also impacts society and sports in general. It is not limited to Asia, but extends to other continents as well,” the executives and players said in a statement issued at the end of their meeting.By defining the hijab as a cultural symbol, the group, meeting under the auspices of the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), an NGO founded by al-Hussein to advance grassroots, youth and women’s football, laid the groundwork for a compromise that acknowledges observant Muslim women’s cultural requirements and meets FIFA’s health and safety standards.IFAB’s adopting the FIFA endorsement would indeed solve the problem for Muslim women who want to play association football in a way that allows them to adhere to their interpretation of Islam, but it does not fully end Iran’s problem with FIFA. In Iran, the hijab is compulsory for female Iranian players and the country imposes wearing the hijab on foreign female teams playing in the Islamic republic. Iranian football officials have acknowledged that this was likely to remain an issue even if IFAB adopts the resolution. Iran is the only country that has made the hijab compulsory for its female players and for visiting female foreign teams.FIFA’s endorsement is based on the group’s suggestion the world football body should weigh lower safety risks against the greater health benefit of women playing football and that allowing the hijab or an equivalent would persuade more women to become players and empower them across cultures.Prominent football executives, female players and coaches, including the head of FIFA’s medical committee Michel D’Hooghe, AFC Vice President Moya Dodd, members of FIFA’s women’s committee and football body representatives from Jordan, Bahrain, Iran and England all attended the workshop earlier in October.England, alongside FIFA, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, form IFAB.Hmmm.....Make up your minds 'Cultural' or 'Religious'?Read the full story here.



  • Only in West Java! Christians Wait Patiently for 'Permission' to Celebrate Christmas.(RRA).The Jakarta Post this week had a headline touting West Java as the ‘most intolerant’ province of Indonesia. Given its competitors for that scurvy title, like Banten, where the three Ahmadis were martyred by a mob of Islamist savages, and Aceh, infamous for its shariah floggings, that’s quite something.But tonight, it’s a hard act to follow, for a small Protestant congregation is waiting patiently and peacefully to see if the local Chief of Police will give them permission to celebrate the Birth of Jesus. Yes, of course, I’m talking about the Yasmin Church in Bogor, persecuted for years by evil Islamists, who have to ask the cops there if they’ll be ‘allowed’ to observe Christmas in their own building, sealed by a bigot mayor, and un-opened by those same cops who repeatedly refuse to enforce the Supreme Court ruling in the Protestant’ favour.As we type this, the decision on freedom of religion sits on the desk of the Head of West Java Police, Irjen Pol Putut Eko Bayuseno.I know, I’m accused of being repetitious on this, of banging on and on, and you’re darned right I do, and will, because this case is the most blatant affront to both common decency and Indonesia’s own laws that it’s possible to construct.Liputan6.com reported a few hours ago that their parent body, the Union of Christian Churches of Indonesia, has expressed its support for their beleaguered brethren..“We hope our Yasmin people won’t face obstruction in celebrating Christmas, and that GKI Yasmin, after two years, can celebrate Christmas with well-being and security,” said Secretary of PGI’s Gomar Gultom. He spoke to Liputan on the sidelines of a press conference on Freedom of Religion for Christians Worshipping in Indonesia, in the Office of PGI, Jakarta, Wednesday (21/12).Therefore, Gultom asserted, PGI is also asking the government to take firm charge in the decision. “Because the Supreme Court’s decision is final. In our conversation with the President on Friday last, the President made ​​clear that the Supreme Court decision is final and should not be overlooked,” he said.“And certainly the President can guarantee religious freedom in Indonesia because it is the duty of a president who has been authorised by the constitution to guarantee religious freedom, as mandated in the constitution,” he said. Okay, it’s over to Chief Putut Eko Bayuseno. What is he waiting for? Let them pray and sing carols on their church!Hmmmm.....Obama :"Indonesia is an example of religious tolerance."....yeah seems pretty obvious?Read the full story here.



  • Flashpoint Falklands: Britain dusts off war plans amid calls to send a nuclear submarine after Argentina joins forces with Brazil and Uruguay to blockade islands.(Dailymail).Military chiefs are dusting off their plans for the defence of the Falklands after South American countries banned ships from the islands docking in their ports.Sources fear Prince William’s six-month deployment to the South Atlantic as an air-sea rescue pilot next year could provoke more sabre-rattling.Yesterday Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner claimed Britain was ready to use its military to steal natural resources ‘anywhere, anyhow’.She said: ‘They’re currently taking our oil reserves and fish stocks from the Falklands but when they need more natural resources they will come and use force to steal them wherever and however they can.Mercosur, the South American trading block which also includes Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay have agreed to ban boats sailing under the Falklands flag from docking at their ports – even though Paraguay does not even have a coastline.British diplomats in South America yesterday demanded urgent meetings with their host countries to assess 'what they think their action means'.Intelligence chiefs have told Mr Hammond and the National Security Council that there is currently 'no credible military threat' to the islands from the Argentine Navy or Air Force.But a senior official said: 'If there is a threat preparations would be made very quickly.'We are confident that the Argentinians could not land even a fishing boat on the islands.'But it's important to show we are serious about our obligations.'Read the full story here.

  • Muslim body issues fatwa on Veena Malik.(IT).BHOPAL: The All India Muslim Tyohar (Festivals) Committee on Wednesday issued a `fatwa' against Pakistani actor Veena Malik and ex-communicated her for ``objectionable'' photographs on websites and degrading the sacred institution of ``Nikah'' by signing a contract to choose a groom at a TV reality show.After item girl Rakhi Sawant, former BJP leader Pramod Mahajan's son Rahul and TV serial actor Ratan Rajput, it will now be Veena Malik's turn to have her Swayamvar catch eyeballs on the idiot box next year. Veena has signed a contract with a television channel as the main protagonist for the fourth season of the reality show. Sources said complaints over this were accumulating with the Majlis-e-Shura - the 70-member supreme body of the All India Muslim Teohar Committee, in Bhopal.``We were getting complaints from concerned community members who said that the activities of this Pakistani female actor was sending a wrong message to our teenagers, especially girls' said Ausaf Shahmiri Khurram, chairman of the Majlis-e-Shura. ``The complaints said that there were offensive photographs of this woman all over the internet and that she was going to have a `swayamvar' on television. Islam has a certain procedure for a `nikaah'. We do not have `swayamvar'.'' He maintained.A two day meeting that started on Tuesday discussed the issue and the entire Majlis-e-Shura including ulemas, clerics and heads of the community unanimously ex-communicated Veena Malik on Wednesday and issued a `fatwa' ordering a social boycott of the Pakistani actor. ``She has been ex-communicated and no member of the community will entertain her from now onwards,'' Khurram explained.``The extreme step has been taken because the woman has openly revolted against the tenets of Islam and Prophet Mohammad. You are a Muslim only if you follow the rules of the religion. She has made a laughing stock of the community. The social boycott became necessary to stop our community girls from following her example,'' Khurram added.Read the full story here.

  • Saudi books: Death to Jews.(DocsTalk).Report: Saudi textbooks teach annihilation of Jews - State-funded books in Saudi Arabia continue to teach kids that ‘hour (of judgment) won’t come until Muslims fight Jews and kill them,’ Fox News reports. Despite promises to clean up violent and xenophobic content from textbooks, recent editions in Saudi Arabia continue teach school children barbaric practices, Fox News reported.The news network, which was able to obtain translated copies of the recently-printed books from the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, DC, said that the books teaches ninth graders that the annihilation of Jews is imperative The hour (of judgment) will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,” one part reads. “There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”The reviewed editions were printed for the 2010-2011 academic year. Another book teaches 10th graders how to cut off the hands and feet of a thief.“This is where terrorism starts, in the education system.” Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, said, noting that the books were financed by the Saudi government.In addition to coaching kids to kill Jews and amputate body parts, the text books depict women as weak and irresponsible. Moreover, al-Ahmed said the textbooks call for homosexuals to be put to death “because they pose a danger at society, as the Saudi school books teach.”Suicide bomber education?Al-Ahmed, as Saudi national, predicted that the extremist education within the kingdom could have devastation implications on the world at large.“If you teach six million children in these important years of their lives, if you install that in their brain, no wonder we have so many Saudi suicide bombers.”Read the full story here.