Monday, February 27, 2012
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Russia 5.4 ; Saint Helena 5.4; Tonga 5.2 !More info here.
- ‘Hope and Change’ Only for America’s Enemies, Islamic Extremists.(BigPeace).By Dr. Marc Weisman.With the presidential election looming, I thought it wise to revisit president Obama’s 2008 campaign theme. He ran on the adage, “hope and change.” Let’s look into hope and change, Obama style.Islamism is so pervasive, so zany, so entrenched all over the world that I could throw a dart at the globe any random day and find a story to discuss involving extremism, violence, or oppression from its adherents. And it’s getting worse. Why is it getting worse, you ask? No doubt there are many reasons, but the one that sticks in my craw is that American weakness is largely responsible. Weakness will always invite aggression, and this president’s profound lack of leadership—weakness—has inspired our enemies the way fuel enrages wildfire. I guess we should have taken president Obama at his word and believed his conviction for “hope and change.” But hope for whom? What type of change?Allow me to share a few examples for whom hope (and change) springs eternal due to the feckless actions of the Obama administration.So, hope and change are indeed upon us, just as president Obama promised. Unfortunately, the beneficiaries of this hope and change are our enemies. We Americans and our allies are the victims.Read the full story here.
- Latest: US, EU Urging Iran Not To Execute Pastor Nadarkhani.(V).Jailed Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was believed to be still alive Saturday, February 25, after the European Union and the United States urged Iran not to carry out an execution order and demanded his immediate release.EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said through her spokesperson that she is “extremely worried about reports that the execution of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in Rasht, Gilan province, may be imminent.”Nadarkhani’s ‘Church of Iran’, a large network of house churches, told online news agency BosNewsLife early Tuesday, February 21, that the Gilan Court had again ordered the execution for “apostasy”, or ”abandoning Isam”.“The High Representative has in several instances expressed her serious concerns over the increase in executions in Iran and called on Iran to free the Iranian Pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani and other Iranians sentenced to death for offenses which according to international standards should not result in capital punishment,” Ashton’s spokesperson said.“The execution of Pastor Nadarkhani on apostasy charges would be another illustration of the deteriorating situation of religious minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran…She strongly calls on Iran not to execute Pastor Nadarkhani. He should be released immediately,” the statement added.In Washington, the White House called the execution order “another shocking breach of Iran’s international obligations, its own constitution, and stated religious values.”It said that “The United States stands in solidarity with Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and all those who seek to practice their religion without fear of persecution-a fundamental and universal human right. ”Mark Toner, spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State, released a similar statement this week saying that “We stand with religious and political leaders from around the world in condemning Youcef Nadarkhani’s conviction and call for his immediate release.”Eighty-nine members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter condemning Iran for their treatment of Nadarkhani and one congressman, Representative Joe Pitts, a Republican from Pennsylvania, issued a House resolution that if passed would stand as a condemnation from the entire House of Representatives.The last Iranian Christian convert from Islam executed by the Iranian government was Assemblies of God Pastor Hossein Soodmand in 1990.However several other Christians, including at least six Protestant pastors, are known to have been assassinated by unknown killers in recent years.Yet, citing from the Bible, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani wrote in previous letters to his fellow believers not to fear persecution in the strict Islamic nation, saying Jesus Christ gives him strength. “As we’ve heard He has said: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”Some Muslims have condemned the reported execution order. “These types of cases, especially around apostasy, are too frequent occurrences in the Muslim world and as a Muslim, I am appalled,” said Harris Zafar, national spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.“To do this in the name of Islam, I know that this isn’t Islam. It is a violation of human rights and it is a violation of Islam,” the US-based Cable News Network (CNN) quoted him as saying in a reaction. Zafar, whose organization is considered more liberal than other Islamic communities, cited de Koran to make his point. “Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve,” reads the Koran 18:29.The apparent execution order came after local Christians said last month that Nadarkhani rejected an offer to be released from prison if he publicly acknowledges Islam’s prophet Mohammed as “a messenger sent by God.”His appeal against that ruling was seen as being rejected in 2011.The Supreme Court said “he can be executed” but added it would first ask a “re-examination” by the same court that already sentenced him to death.The Gilan Court eventually asked Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini for an opinion in what critics saw as an attempt to make someone else responsible for his execution. It is not clear what role, if any, Khameini played in the reported decision to hang him for apostasy.Read the full story here.
- Egyptian court adjourns NGOs trial.(VOC).The chief judge in Egypt’s trial of dozens of pro-democracy activists, including Americans, on charges of receiving illegal funding adjourned the case to April 26 after the trial began on Sunday.Most of the 43 accused did not attend the first hearing in the packed Cairo suburb courtroom. One defendant told AFP during a court recess that the 14 defendants who did show up were all Egyptian.A prosecutor in the court in a Cairo suburb read out the charges against the defendants, saying their alleged acceptance of the illicit funds had “detracted from the sovereignty of the Egyptian state.”They are also accused of operating their groups illegally.An AFP correspondent said the 14 defendants who did appear denied they had committed crimes when asked by the judge.Each one answered the judge in Arabic, and one defendant told AFP during a recess that the defendants in the court’s black metal cage were all Egyptian.After the brief hearing, the judge adjourned the trial to April 26, allowing the defendants who had appeared in court released until then. The first hearings in Egyptian trials usually allow the defendants to register their pleas and lawyers to make their demands.Judicial sources said that along with 19 Americans, the remaining defendants were Norwegian, German, Serbian, Egyptian, Palestinian and Jordanian.The politically charged case has set off a crisis in relations between Cairo and Washington and threatened $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid.The 43 foreign and Egyptian non-profit workers – including the son of the U.S. transportation secretary – are accused of receiving illegal funds from abroad and carrying out political activities unrelated to their civil society work.A senior U.S. official said Washington and Cairo were holding what he described as “intense discussions” to resolve the crisis within days.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in the Moroccan capital after visits to Algeria and Tunisia, has met Egypt’s foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr twice in the last three days, the official said on condition of anonymity.Rights campaigners say the case is retaliation by Egypt’s ruling generals against pro-democracy groups that have been among the army’s harshest critics since it took power when Hosni Mubarak was overthrown a year ago.“The whole basis of this case is unfair,” an Egyptian activist working for one of the organizations told Reuters.It was unclear whether all of the accused – who are banned from leaving Egypt pending trial – would appear in court.A number of them were already abroad when the ban was placed, and some of those who remained in Egypt have taken refuge in the U.S. embassy in Cairo.The U.S. pro-democracy groups whose staff have been charged deny they have done anything illegal. They say the crackdown is an attempt by Egypt’s military rulers to derail democracy.Egypt says the case is a judicial matter and all groups must heed Egyptian law.Negad al-Borai, a lawyer representing the accused in Cairo, said the charges referred only to a short period in the groups’ activities and could therefore be argued against.“The charges made involve only the period from March 2011 to December 2011,” he told Reuters. “These groups have applied for permits before that period.”Read the full story here.
- Afghanistan Meltdown: Grenades Thrown at U.S. Base, Diplomatic Visits Cancelled, NATO to Prosecute Alleged Quran Burners.(BigPeace).By Sun Tzu.From the Government Media and Information Center of Afghanistan: NATO officials promised to meet Afghan nation’s demand of bringing to justice, through an open trial, those responsible for the incident and it was agreed that the perpetrators of the crime be brought to justice as soon as possible.Read the full story here.
- US State Department participating in conference to 'defend Jerusalem' in Qatar.(IsraelMatzav).There's a conference going on in Doha, Qatar on Sunday and Monday - its logo is at the top of this post. It's officially called the 'International Conference for Jerusalem,' but it is also known as the International Conference for the 'Defense of Jerusalem,' and what Jerusalem is being 'defended' against is 'Judaization.' Speaking at the International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem in Doha, Qatar, Abbas was quoted by the Palestinian Ma'an news agency as saying, "The Israeli occupation authorities are using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem."The Palestinian Authority president accused Israel of "surrounding Jerusalem with an Apartheid wall and a band of settlements in order to isolate the city from its surroundings in the West Bank."Abbas slammed Israeli authorities for setting up barriers preventing Palestinians from entering Jerusalem without "almost impossible to obtain" permits.Among those present at the conference are five 'Israeli Arab' members of the Knesset: Ahmad Tibi, Taleb a-Sanaa, Haneen Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka and Ibrahim Sarsur. There's also a representative of the US State Department there: Kenneth Raymond Insley, Jr. And a representative of American Friends of 'Peace Now': Lara Friedman.One has to wonder what the State Department - and even 'Peace Now' - are doing at a conference against the 'Judaization' of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, I know already.Read the full story here.
Turkey: Erdogan's reforms: less schooling, more Koran.(AM).Ankara - The goals of an education reform bill introduced by the Islamic party of Turkey's Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been characterised by opposition parties as aiming to halve the length of compulsory schooling to promote more Koranic schools and veil wearing. The opposition secular press, trades unionists and other commentators, have for a month now, but especially over the past two days, been aiming their criticisms at the Islamic tendencies of the reforms of alleged faults in the country's education system. Today the countries confederation of industry, the TUSIAD, has joined in the chorus of protest. The bill would in effect abolish the present laws obliging children to attend school for eight years, halving them to the period of primary education alone.
Although this radical move is softened by the offer of distance learning, critics are calling it an incentive to quit school, especially in the less developed eastern areas of the country, and in cultural milieu where the ban on wearing the veil inside school premises meets strongest resistance.
The ban comes from the secular, Western stamp given to Turkey's constitution in the 1930s by the country's founder Kemal Ataturk. A reduction in the number of years of compulsory education would also promote the so-called ''Imam Hatip Lisesi'', the religious Islamic schools, like the one in which Mr Erdogan was educated.
Following its third electoral victory in succession, with nearly 50% of votes cast, Erdogan's single-party pro-Islamic government has already abolished the minimum age requirement for attendance at such schools and this reform would encourage children to give up attending their secular secondary schools in favour of religious institutions which now would take over some of the functions of the grammar schools.
Some areas of the secular press, such as the daily Milliyet, as well as pro-Islamic organs such as Yeni Safak and the official mouthpieces of Erdogan's AKP party, stress how the reform aims at correcting what was in effect a penalisation inflicted on Koranic schools following the ''post modern'' military coup of 1997, which overthrew Islamic premier Necmettin Erbakan, a role-model for Erdogan. Eight years of compulsory schooling was introduced then with the aim of undermining the Koranic institutions. The reform debate opens, indeed, as the 15th anniversary of that coup approaches (February 28), the highly secular daily Cumhuriyet wryly observes.
Without returning to accusations of a 'hidden agenda to re-Islamise Turkey, Cumhuriyet links the reforms to the a proposal recently expressed by the premier ''to raise a pious generation,'' a ''religious youth''. The criticisms of TUSIAD, which is calling for the bill to be withdrawn, are based on a more technical consideration of the step backwards in the level of education of the upcoming generations. The move is seen as being linked to the increasing pressure on young girls in country areas to give up their schooling and the dangers deriving from a reduction of the age for starting an apprenticeship to eleven.
Hmmmm......In a recently announced European Union report on education, Turkey ranked near the bottom of all 33 countries included in the study due to a high percentage of dropouts, a low rate of success and a lack of qualified teachers.In the 18-24 age group with at most a lower secondary education and no further education or training, 44.3 percent of Turkish students drop out, while the average is 14.4 percent in the EU, which aims to lower this figure down to 10 percent by 2020.
In Turkey, 14.7 percent of students go on to obtain a tertiary education, which is much lower than the EU average of 40 percent.
More than 60 percent of primary and secondary school students are educated by unqualified teachers.
In 2009, only 2.3 percent of adults participated in some form of lifelong learning. In 2009, 42.1 percent of all students are low achievers in Turkey in 2009, while the EU average was 22.2 percent.Turkey was in the third place from the bottom, scoring better than Romania and Bulgaria, where almost half of students are low performers in mathematics.Hmmmm........You want a docile and easy to influence population?This is the way to go.Read the full story here and here.
“Since when does ‘Trust me, I’m from the government’ suspend the laws of the land?”.(Heritage).
In yet another slight to rule of law, the Obama Administration has asked a federal court to put a press conference pronouncement above official regulation.
Last week, the Department of Justice filed a legal response to one of numerous lawsuits currently challenging the constitutionality of the Obamacare anti-conscience mandate. The Administration submitted its response to the legal complaint of Belmont Abbey College, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, to the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia.
In what the Becket Fund is calling a “remarkable” stance, the Obama Administration argues that the court should dismiss Belmont Abbey’s lawsuit because the President promised in a February 10 press conference to change the anti-conscience mandate at some undetermined future date.
The Administration’s legal response largely ignores the fact that the final version of the rule, filed by the Administration just hours after the press conference, was not changed; rather, it enshrined the original offensive mandate in law.
The Obama Administration is not petitioning the court to consider the merits of the final regulation as published. Rather, the Justice Department is asking the court to make a legal determination based on promises made at a press conference.“Apparently, the administration has decided that the mandate, as written and finalized, is constitutionally indefensible,” said Hannah Smith, senior counsel at the Becket Fund. “Its only hope is to ask the court to look the other way based on an empty promise to possibly change the rules in the future.“Since when does ‘Trust me, I’m from the government’ suspend the laws of the land?” Smith continued.
The lack of concern for whether the Obamacare anti-conscience mandate meets constitutional muster appears to have permeated the process from the beginning.In a Senate hearing last week, Senator Orrin Hatch (R–UT) asked Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius if she had consulted with the Department of Justice prior to issuing the religious-liberty violating mandate. She responded, “I did not. No Sir.”
Obamacare’s overreach, including the anti-conscience mandate, is an unprecedented violation of liberty. The Administration’s request that a court pay no attention to the final mandate behind its curtain of spin is only the latest example.Read the full story here.
Nine killed as suicide car bomber hits Afghan airport over Quran burning row.(AA).A suicide car bomber has struck at the gates of Jalalabad airport in eastern Afghanistan, officials said, killing nine people in an attack insurgents said was revenge for U.S. troops burning copies of Quran.
The early Monday explosion comes after six days of deadly protests in Afghanistan over the disposal of Quran copies and other Islamic texts in a burn pit last week at a U.S. military base north of the capital, according to The Associated Press.
American officials have called the incident a mistake and issued a series of apologies. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged calm, saying that Afghans should not let the insurgents capitalize on their indignation to spark violence.Monday’s attack appeared to be a sign that the Taliban are seizing the opportunity to do just that.
An Afghan soldier and two local guards were among the dead, provincial police chief Abdullah Azem Stanikzai told AFP. The bomber drove up to the gates of the airport -- which serves both civilian and international military aircraft -- shortly after dawn and detonated his explosives in a “very strong” blast, said Nangarhar provincial police spokesman Hazrad Mohammed.An AP photographer saw at least four destroyed cars at the gates of the airport.“This attack is revenge against those soldiers who burned our Quran,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in an email.Read and see (Video)the full story here.
Egyptian senior Muslim Brotherhood Politician: Egypt to Tolerate No More Foreign Interference.(Fars).Tehran - A senior member of the Egyptian Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun (Muslim Brotherhood) party said that the era of Egypt's blind obedience to the US and West's policies has ended, and stressed that the country will no more tolerate foreign interference in its internal affairs."The US should know that after January 25 (2011) revolution, Egypt has become completely different from the previous Egypt," Zakaria al-Jenaini told FNA in Cairo on Monday. "The West and the international community should understand the fact that Egypt is no more what it was and will no more tolerate foreign meddling in its internal affairs," he noted, and called on Washington to start interaction and cooperation with Egypt's democratically elected parliament and government and give up the attempts it is making to destabilize the country. Earlier, a spokesman for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood party lambasted Washington for interfering in Egypt's internal affairs, including the use of its financial resources against Islamist parties. "The US embassy in Cairo supports certain Egyptian parties under the name of supporting democracy and all these aids are aimed at hitting a blow to Ikhwan al-Muslimun," Mahmoud Qazalan told FNA late in December.
He reminded the United States' financial support for certain Egyptian groups is a direct interference in his country's internal affairs, and further urged all Egyptian parties to rely on their own power and members, warning that foreigners' financial aids are provided to meet their own political interests.Hmmmm...........Don't worry Obama will still give the 125 M1A1 Abrams tanks to the Muslim Brotherhood.Rewarding America's enemies, bashing allies the "Obama Doctrine".
General Dynamics Awarded $395 Million for Egyptian Abrams Tank-Related Work.The U.S. TACOM Lifecycle Management Command has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), a $395 million contract for work under the Egyptian tank co-production program. The contract funds the production of 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits for the eleventh increment of the Egyptian co-production program.Since 1992, General Dynamics has provided components for kits used in the co-production program. The parts are shipped to a production facility near Cairo, Egypt, where the tanks are manufactured for the Egyptian Land Forces. This latest increment will increase the number of Egyptian co-production-built tanks to 1,130.Work on the components will be performed in Anniston, Ala.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Sterling Heights, Mich.; Lima, Ohio; and Scranton, Penn., by existing General Dynamics employees. Deliveries will begin in July 2013 and continue to January 2016.Source.
"Return to Sender" - 17 tons of silver, gold coins from 1804 shipwreck are returned to Spain.(Yahoo).MADRID - Two military planes carrying 17 tons of silver and gold coins scooped up from a sunken Spanish warship landed in Madrid on Saturday, ending a more than 200-year odyssey that took the treasure from an ocean floor to Florida courtrooms.
The planes landed with the 594,000 coins and other artifacts retrieved after a five-year legal wrangle with a Florida-based salvage company, which had taken the haul to the U.S. in May 2007.
Deep sea explorers found the treasure in a shipwreck, believed to be Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, off Portugal's Atlantic coast. British warships had sunk it during a 1804 gunbattle as it approached Spain as part of a fleet that had travelled from South America. The Mercedes was believed to have had 200 people aboard when it exploded and sank.
A detail of 30 officers from Spain's paramilitary Civil Guard force protected the coins once they landed. Civil Guard spokesman Miguel Tobias said everyone had breathed a sigh of relief at having the treasure back safely on Spanish soil.
The trove was transported to Spain despite a last-ditch claim to the treasure by Peru, the South American country from which the coins first set off more than two centuries ago."The coins were made from raw material obtained from mines that are currently on Peruvian soil and were struck at the Lima mint," according to a Peruvian foreign ministry statement from Friday.
In 1804, Peru was the local seat of the Spanish crown in South America and documents held in Spain's archives show that Mercedes was commissioned by King Charles IV to transport and protect a shipment of coins and bullion at the request of a noble family in Lima.
Peru said in the statement it would maintain its claim despite losing an appeal Friday and the rejection by U.S. courts of previous claims by descendants of the Peruvian merchants who had owned the shipment.
Odyssey Marine Exploration made international headlines when it discovered the wreck, estimating the trove to be worth as much as $500 million to collectors, making the haul one of the richest ever.The Spanish government challenged Odyssey's ownership in U.S. District Court soon after the coins were flown back to Tampa, relying on documents from its naval archive which listed Mercedes as a naval warship.
International treaties generally hold that warships sunk in battle are protected from treasure seekers and the Spanish government successfully argued that it had never relinquished ownership of the ship or its contents.A federal district court first ruled in 2009 that U.S. courts didn't have jurisdiction, and ordered the treasure returned.Odyssey then lost every round in federal courts trying to hold on to the treasure, as the Spanish government painted them as modern-day pirates plundering the nation's cultural heritage.Hmmmm.......Arrr!These Scurvy dogs took our Doubloons.Read the full story here.
Assassination Plots Against Vladimir Putin Foiled As Chechen HitMen Arrested'.(RN).Ukrainian and Russian security services have gathered information about a plot to assassinate Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is poised to be elected president on Sunday, the state-run Channel One reported on Monday.
The group of criminals involved were already on the international wanted list and were detained in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa in early January, after they survived an explosion in a rented apartment.
They had reportedly tried to produce a home-made explosive device. The two men were arrested, while a third man, who was also in the apartment, died during the explosion, the TV channel said.
According to the TV channel, after weeks of interrogation, the gang members confessed they were planning to assassinate Putin in Moscow, soon after the March 4 presidential elections.
One of the surviving militants, Ilya Pyanzin, said that the Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov, who is believed to be behind the deadliest terrorist attacks in Russia, hired him and the late Ruslan Madayev to kill Putin.
Pyanzin and Madayev came from the United Arab Emirates via Turkey to Ukraine. In Odessa, they were met by a local fixer, Adam Osmayev, who was supposed to brief the militants about the plan and send them to Moscow.
The TV report, featuring Osmayev 's interrogation, says that the militant, who had been on the international wanted list since 2007, is cooperating with investigators, as he hopes not to be extradited to Russia.“The final task was to go to Moscow and carry out an assassination attempt on the premier Putin,” Osmayev said during questioning, adding that the late Madayev was ready to become a suicide bomber.
According to the assassination plan that was found in the militants’ laptop, they had to learn the structure of Putin’s security team and how his bodyguards worked, the TV report says.
“The deadline was set up for the period after the presidential elections,” Osmayev said.
Osmayev confessed that he scrutinized the routes of government corteges and that the preparation for the attack was in its final stage.The TV report also said that the militants were going to use mines hidden along Moscow’s Kutuzovsky Avenue, which Putin passes every day on his way to the government building in downtown city.An unknown security official told the TV channel that the mines were powerful enough to “tear apart a truck.”
Ukrainian Security Services confirmed the information released about the assassination plot.Hmmm.......A year ago i warned about the cancelling of visa duty between Turkey and Russia that Terrorists would use this , Russia be warned for the 2014 Sochi Winter games.Read the full story here, more here.
Previous Assassination Plots Against Vladimir Putin .(RN).
Russian and Ukrainian special services have arrested a group of suspects over a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia's state television said Monday.
The suspects were acting on the orders of Chechen warlord Doku Umarov, Channel One said. They were allegedly plotting to kill Putin in Moscow immediately after presidential polls on March 4, which the 59-year-old is widely expected to win. The group, the subject of an international arrest warrant, was arrested in Ukraine's Black Sea port city of Odessa.
Putin has previously been targeted by assassins.
In February 2000, Russian media quoted security sources as saying Chechen militants were plotting to kill Putin, then acting president, during his upcoming trip to St. Petersburg for the funeral of his mentor Anatoly Sobchak . The Federal Security Service (FSB) neither confirmed nor denied the information.Read the full story here.
Britain's battle plan for war with Iran.(TheSun).BRITAIN is drawing up plans to send hundreds of troops and an extra nuclear subto the Gulf as tension mounts with Iran.Defence chiefs are convinced the UK will be swiftly sucked into any new conflict with Tehran's fanatical regime.
They say it is a matter of WHEN not IF war breaks out - with 18 to 24 months the likely timescale.
A senior Whitehall official said: "MoD planners went into overdrive at the start of the year. Conflict is seen as inevitable as long as the regime pursue their nuclear ambitions. Read the full story here.
They say it is a matter of WHEN not IF war breaks out - with 18 to 24 months the likely timescale.
A senior Whitehall official said: "MoD planners went into overdrive at the start of the year. Conflict is seen as inevitable as long as the regime pursue their nuclear ambitions. Read the full story here.
Gospel of Barnabas Text that reveals Jesus’ prediction of Mohammed a fake?Turkey says it has acquired a 1,500-year-old Bible in which Jesus Christ is believed to have foretold the advent of Prophet Mohammed, according to press reports.Pope Benedict XVI has reportedly requested to see the book, which has been hidden in Turkey for the last 12 years before it was revealed this week.
The book in question, appraised at a value of $28 million, is said to contain Jesus’ prediction of the Prophet Mohammad’s coming; but the book was suppressed by the Christian Church for years due its similarities to the Islamic view of Jesus. This, according Turkish culture and tourism minister Ertugrul Gunay.“In line with Islamic belief, the Gospel treats Jesus as a human being and not a God. It rejects the ideas of the Holy Trinity and the Crucifixion and reveals that Jesus predicted the coming of the Prophet Mohammed,” Gunay told the UK’s Daily Mail.“In one version of the gospel, he is said to have told a priest: ‘How shall the Messiah be called? Mohammed is his blessed name’. And in another, Jesus denied being the Messiah, claiming that he or she would be Ishmaelite, the term used for an Arab,” he added.
According to the report, carried by Gulf newspapers and the Saudi Al-Arabiyya news network, Muslims believe the text, which many say is the Gospel of Barnabas, is an addition to the original gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. St. Barnabas is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Church, an early Christian later named an apostle.Gunay said the Vatican has officially requested to see the book, which Turkey had discovered during a police anti-smuggling operation in 2000.Read the full story here.
According to Timothymichaellaw:
If Turkey can prove it is from 500 AD it obviously scores a huge point since Mohammed doesn’t come until the end of that century, and thus the book would clearly be a prophecy about his coming. Lots at stake then, and no surprise the Turkish authorities are not so readily handing it over to the Vatican and are instead keeping it under military control.What could be really funny is that at the bottom it appears to read something like 1500 AD. It is admittedly tough to read, but it would quite a mistake to claim it is 1500 years old when it was produced in 1500. This date would also conform to what most scholarship believes anyway, that this gospel was produced around this time.
Another colleague just wrote:
Another modern fake, I’m afraid – hence the gold ink, and the uncured skins. (Forgers are obsessed with using skins instead of vellum or paper.) For once the forger seems to know some Syriac, but not very well. Not sure about the last date – looks like 1500 of ‘our Lord’, which is itself very dubious!
Anyway, this is interesting but read it with discernment:
Aydoğan Vatandaş, a Today’s Zaman journalist and author who has written two books on the Gospel of Barnabas, said there is no clue that the Bible mentioned in the Turkish press dates back to 1,500 years ago, but he said it is sure that the Gospel of Barnabas had been written in the Aramaic language and Syriac alphabet.Read the full story here.
Hedge Fund AIJ May Have Lost/Stolen/ 'CHANGED' All Customer Pension Fund Money.(BLN).(BLB).The suspension of AIJ Investment Advisors Co.’s operations amid concerns hedge funds it manages had lost pension money may undermine plans by Japan’s retirement funds to boost returns to meet demand in an aging society.The Financial Services Agency ordered AIJ on Feb. 24 to suspend business operations for one month. The company had collected about 210 billion yen ($2.6 billion) from about 120 corporate pension funds.
However, AIJ officials told investigators with the SESC that the company was now only managing an investment portfolio worth about 20 billion yen, meaning that about 90 percent of the assets deposited by the corporate pension funds are wiped out.
The Financial Services Agency on Feb. 24 ordered the Tokyo- based firm with 183.2 billion yen ($2.3 billion) of client money to stop business for a month as the regulator investigates “possible losses” at AIJ’s hedge funds. The FSA also will undertake a nationwide probe of 263 asset managers.
“If the funds actually suffered losses, this could potentially have a massive impact on pension plans that actually invested with them,” said Taro Ogai, who oversees consulting for pension fund investments at Towers Watson in Tokyo. “Pensions already face difficulties. At a time when they are trying to boost returns and cut risks, investing in hedge funds may become difficult for them.”
The inquiry is a setback for Japan’s pension industry that has been looking to diversify away from bonds and equities into alternatives investments, including hedge funds, to maintain steady returns and fund retiree benefits in a country with the world’s fastest-growing aging society and two decades of slumping markets...
Regulators have been investigating AIJ, which invests in futures and options of equities and bonds, since the end of January, and discovered that the company has been unable to explain to investors the current state of the way their money is being managed, according to the FSA...
AIJ’s funds have been traced from Japan to the Cayman Islands, followed by a trust bank in Bermuda and ultimately to “a major European Bank” in Hong Kong, the Asahi newspaper said Feb. 25, citing an investigation by Japan’s Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission. AIJ kept money-flow records up to the unidentified bank in Hong Kong and no further records have been found, the newspaper said...
AIJ may have lost most of the 200 billion yen it manages for companies’ pension plans, the Nikkei newspaper reported Feb. 24, citing unidentified securities investigators...Japan’s financial regulator is also planning to investigate trust banks that handle pension money as well as corporate pensions, the Nikkei newspaper reported over the weekend. The regulator penalized at least 35 financial institutions last year including Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG for breaching securities rules, according to its website...AIJ, led by Kazuhiko Asakawa, was established in April 1989, and had 120 clients including pension plans with 183.2 billion yen in assets as of the end of 2010, according to a statement from the FSA. It has 12 employees. Phone calls to AIJ’s main office were answered by an automatic recording which didn’t allow messages to be recorded. Asakawa was a former employee at Nomura Holdings Inc., according to a person familiar with his employment. Keiko Sugai, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman at Nomura, declined to comment...
AIJ’s fund was ranked top among pension funds in 2008, said Fujio Nakatsuka, a spokesman at Rating and Investment Information Inc. in Tokyo. He said the rankings were based on responses from pensions and not what R and I had recommended to investors...Read the full story here.
U.S. Fighting On the Same Side as Three Terrorist Groups In Syria.(WB).
Al Qaeda is supporting the Syrian opposition.
So is the Muslim Brotherhood.
This is curious, given that the U.S. is supporting the Syrian opposition (and see this), considering military options for ousting the Syrian government, American allies Britain and Qatar allegedly already have foreign troops inside Syria, and the U.S. has been planning regime change in Syria for over 50 years.
I thought Al Qaeda, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood were America’s mortal enemies. Why are we backing terrorists?If Hezbollah joins the opposition, it will be a clean sweep.Hmmm..........Perhaps THIS and THIS story might shed a bit more light on the 'New Alliance'?Read the full story here.
Israel Concerned Hizbullah Has Advanced Anti-Tank Weapon.(VC).By Elad Benari.INN –
According to the website, Israel is trying to verify reports that the terror organization has obtained a certain quantity of the Russian RPG-30 rocket. The report added that the Russians have designed the newest models of this rocket to overcome “special” armored vehicles such as the IDF’s Merkava tank
The RPG-30 anti-tank rocket, Israel Defense noted, is a revolutionary innovation. Just before the rocket is launched, a decoy missile is launched which causes the tank’s active defense system to act. Only then is the real rocket launched. Experts have estimated that the RPG-30 can penetrate through steel at a thickness of 65 cm.
Israel Defense also reported that the Rafael weapons development authority has developed a similar system, the “Trench Coat”, which takes the RPG-30’s defense system a step further. The “Trench Coat”, the report noted, consists of a 360-degree radar that detects all threats and launches 17 pieces of metal, one of which should strike the incoming missile.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently warned that sophisticated weapons could be transferred from Syria to Lebanon and to Hizbullah should Bashar al-Assad fall.“You have to be alert to the possibility, so that during the fall of the regime there will not be the transfer of sophisticated Syrian weapons to Hizbullah and Lebanon,” Barak said, adding, “We are tracking this issue constantly and carefully.”
The United States has also said that it is closely monitoring the activities of the Iran-linked terror group, particularly in the wake of the recent terror attacks against Israeli targets in India, Georgia and Thailand.Last week, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to hurt senior Israeli officials as revenge for the death of the group’s senior member, Imad Mughniyeh.Read the full story here.
Toronto-area Train derailment sent Passenger flying, kills 3 engineers, three passengers were airlifted to hospital
Toronto-area Train derailment sent Passenger flying, kills 3 engineers.(Yahoo).BURLINGTON, Ont. - Terrified passengers were sent flying through the air along with their luggage when a Toronto-bound train derailed Sunday, killing three engineers and injuring 32 passengers — three of them seriously.A slight "bump" followed by utter chaos was how one passenger described the harrowing crash of train No. 92.
The time between the train leaving the tracks and it slamming to the ground was only about 10 seconds, but it felt like "forever," said Deanna Villella of Welland, Ont."The train just flipped on its side and it just kept going. I didn't know what was happening," Villella said."Everybody's stuff was flying by and people were flying by. Everything was crashing and people were screaming."
The six-car train, which had originated in Niagara Falls, Ont., derailed at 3:30 p.m. in Burlington — about 100 metres from where a freight train derailed some four years ago.
Area residents described a chaotic scene of emergency vehicles, sirens blaring and helicopters buzzing overhead one of Canada's busiest rail corridors.
The three dead Via engineers — one a trainee — were riding in the cab of the locomotive. When asked if the trainee was the one driving, emergency officials said they didn't have that information.
A fourth Via worker was also injured.The train's manifest listed 75 passengers. Although only 50 had been located as of Sunday night, Halton Police Chief Gary Crowell said it wasn't clear that the manifest was accurate. A sweep of the area did not turn up any injured passengers.
"Quite often people will self-evacuate," he said. "They'll determine that they don't need to stay at the site or require minimal treatment and will walk away."
The bodies of the three engineers were removed from the wreckage around 8 p.m. Their names weren't immediately released pending notification of family.Via's chief operating officer called the derailment "tragic."The train came off the tracks at Plains Road and King Road near Aldershot station. It was not immediately known how fast the train was travelling, and conditions were clear and dry at the time.
When Matt Kernaghan heard about the crash, he immediately guessed where it had happened, saying he's seen the aftermath of two previous derailments there."A lot of trains come through here, so yeah, maybe it's just the frequency of trains that causes the derailments," he said.Read the full story here.
Updated - Via said three passengers were airlifted to hospital with serious injuries and 42 other passengers and one crew member were also taken to local hospitals.Read and see (Foto's) the full story here.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Bashar's 'Iron Fist'.........Severely corroded?(MEF).By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi and Oskar Svadkovsky.The American Spectator.
The iron fist against "terrorist gangs" as promised by Bashar Assad got off to a fairly impressive start two weeks ago. Homs -- the Benghazi of the Syrian rebels -- has been subjected to massive and sustained shelling for days, causing hundreds of fatalities among the defenders. With the fist heading for its third week, however, the spectacular artillery barrages seem to have delivered little.
This is not the first time during the uprising that the Syrian army has stormed urban areas. In July and August, the army recaptured Hama, Deir ez Zor, and Latakia after these had been taken over by crowds of protesters reinforced by army defectors.
However, while it took the Syrian army approximately five days to regain control of Hama and two days to take Deir ez Zor, Latakia turned into a drawn out battle that lasted several days. Homs was shelled, but an all out assault failed to follow.This time Homs is clearly the primary objective. But once again the shelling failed to be backed by meaningful advances of ground forces. Whatever the reason the Syrian army is always struggling in Homs, by now, the death tolls in Homs have dropped to the low dozens as many locals have apparently fled the city. Large chunks of Homs have become ghost towns populated primarily by insurgents and a particularly hardened version of local residents. The "shock and awe" effect of the first days is fading away as the remaining population is getting used to the daily bombardment. "We are safe. They can't hit here," said a local guide to a BBC reporter as shells and mortars were falling all around.
Elsewhere, according to Reuters, many opposition centers have been transformed into a bunch of mini-Homs and half-Homs. All of them seem to be subjected to the same kind of artillery siege and blockade, but Zabadani was apparently the only prominent opposition stronghold to fall into the regime's hands until now. An attack on Rastan was repelled. A CNN reporter, who traveled to Northern Syria, found much of its countryside under the control of the opposition; and while the fighters are waiting for Bashar's tanks to appear in force every moment, these are yet to come. In fact, the situation may be no better in other parts of Syria, but many areas are harder to reach for reporters (the Idlib province in the north is adjacent to Turkey).
There is an obvious danger for the regime in projecting weakness for so long. Many Sunni soldiers are deterred from switching sides only by the perception that the regime is strong enough to defeat the rebels. Failure to take over Homs anytime soon is likely to trigger an avalanche of defections. Homs is a must now. It's become the bare minimum for the survival of the regime.
This is not to say that the opposite is true, as throughout this uprising the rebels have demonstrated a high ability to recover and re-infiltrate lost areas. Some besieged towns were repeatedly reported to have already been brought under the regime's control in the past. For example, this is the second time the army is storming Rastan.
Large chunks of Syria, including the cradle of the revolution in Deraa, are part of a massive tribal belt stretching from the Persian Gulf across several countries in the region, with Bedouin tribes reportedly at the forefront of the armed resistance in many areas. The tribal dimension of the uprising makes for a curious historical analogy. Bashar's situation is beginning to resemble the military campaign waged by the Emperor Tiberius' adopted son Germanicus in 15-6 CE, who unsuccessfully tried to subdue under Roman rule the German tribes that lived beyond the Rhine. Even when Germanicus was able to defeat the Germans in an engagement, the tribes were able to re-group so quickly that in the end he could only achieve short-lived, skirmish victories: true conquest was simply impossible.
The prevailing expert opinion at the beginning of the current campaign against the rebels used to be that the rate of defections was rather low and the bulk of the armed forces remained intact. For example, in his recent article on Syria, Israeli analyst Jonathan Spyer estimated that the regime can still marshal 300,000 troops, as opposed to at most 20,000 guerrillas in the Free Syrian Army. Yet, after two weeks of an iron fist that appears unable to decisively hammer the opposition anywhere, one question is begging to be asked: Where exactly is Bashar hiding his 300,000 strong army? The Syrian army may have more troops than it appears from its muddling in Homs, given that it apparently pursues offensives on several fronts at once. Yet, the army is clearly severely short on ground-troops. For it is no longer capable of being present in all areas of revolt nor mustering enough forces anywhere to smash the opposition with a decisive local Blitzkrieg.
Two weeks ago Mustafa Ahmad Al-Sheikh, a high level defector, who has fled to Turkey, claimed that the Syrian army was so depleted by defections that he expected it to collapse by the end of this month. This assessment was dismissed by many as rebel propaganda, but now Al-Sheikh is starting to look closer to reality than his critics. In fact, not so long ago the same Al-Sheikh estimated that he needed a whole year to topple the regime with guerrilla tactics and at that time he was not treated as a rebel propagandist.
With each passing day that the Syrian army remains bogged down in Homs and elsewhere, the graver the consequences for the regime. Two weeks of intense bombardment televised on Al-Jazeera and other Arabic channels have already triggered a tsunami of outrage across the Arab world. Weapons and foreign fighters are reported to be streaming into Syria from neighboring Arab countries and Turkey.
More ominously for the regime, it has finally witnessed jihad declared against it by radical Islamists, including al Qaeda. The religious and sectarian dimensions of the conflict are clearly escalating. A good example of the latest trend is a video, purportedly from Homs, that shows Free Syrian Army soldiers with members of al-Qa'ida.
February 17, 2012. Some rebel groups in Homs fly their and al Qaeda's flags together.
In the background, alongside the banners of the Free Syrian Army, there are the familiar black flags of al Qaeda's Iraqi branch, with the black background and white Arabic script, featuring the Shahadah on top and a circular logo bearing the words "Allah, Rasul Mohammed." The black background indicates the Islamist militants' mindset: they are fighting in Dar al-Harb against an infidel regime. This point is corroborated by the fact that they identify the Free Syrian Army with the "mumineen" ("believers").
In the Missile East, failure to trumpet one's strength can have severe consequences. You cannot promise to come down with an iron fist and then fail to deliver. By now even roosters in Homs are no longer impressed with Bashar's artillery. If there is still some of this iron fist we haven't seen until today, Assad Junior had better show it now. Otherwise, the chickens may soon come Homs to roost for his regime.
February 17, 2012. The chickens in Homs are no longer impressed.
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a student at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and an adjunct fellow at the Middle East Forum. Oskar Svadkovsky is a computer networking professional based in Tel Aviv, and the owner of the Happy Arab News Service blog. He graduated in Indian and Chinese Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Source MEForum.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation New Zealand 5.6 ; Russia 6.8 ; Tonga 5.5 - 5.7 !More info here.
- Fed Writes Sweeping Rules From Behind Closed Doors.(CG). Via: Wall Street Journal:The Federal Reserve has operated almost entirely behind closed doors as it rewrites the rule book governing the U.S. financial system, a stark contrast with its push for transparency in its interest-rate policies and emergency-lending programs.While many Americans may not realize it, the Fed has taken on a much larger regulatory role than at any time in history. Since the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul became law in July 2010, the Fed has held 47 separate votes on financial regulations, and scores more are coming. In the process it is reshaping the U.S. financial industry by directing banks on how much capital they must hold, what kind of trading they can engage in and what kind of fees they can charge retailers on debit-card transactions.Read the full story here.
- UK - Fireman Sam creator detained at airport for veil comment at security gate.(Telegraph).As David Jones arrived at the security gates at Gatwick airport, he was looking forward to getting through swiftly so he could enjoy lunch with his daughters before their flight.Placing his belongings, including a scarf, into a tray to pass through the X-ray scanner he spotted a Muslim woman in hijab pass through the area without showing her face.In a light-hearted aside to a security official who had been assisting him, he said: “If I was wearing this scarf over my face, I wonder what would happen.”The quip proved to be a mistake. After passing through the gates, he was confronted by staff and accused of racism.As his daughters, who had passed through security, waited in the departure lounge wondering where he was, he was subjected to a one hour stand-off as officials tried to force him to apologise.Mr Jones, 67, who is the creator of the popular children’s character Fireman Sam, said: “Something like George Orwell’s 1984 now seems to have arrived in Gatwick airport."I feel that my rights as an individual have been violated. What I underwent amounts to intimidation and detention. I was humiliated and degraded in full public view."I am a 67-year-old pensioner and have lived my life within the law. I do not have even one point on my driving licence.”He said that when he made his initial remark the security guard had appeared to agree with him, saying: “I know what you mean, but we have our rules, and you aren’t allowed to say that.”As he went through the metal detecting arch, his artificial hip set off the alarm, prompting a full search from a guard. It was after this, and as he prepared to rejoin his two grown-up daughters, that he was confronted by another guard who said he was being detained because he had made an offensive remark.Mr Jones, a former member of the Household Cavalry and retired fireman, added: “I felt that I made a logical observation. That while everyone was being subjected to an invasive search it was illogical that someone should be let through with their face covered. I am not opposed to having this level of security but it must be equal for all.”Eventually, Mr Jones said, the BA manager suggested that he should agree that what he had said “could” be considered offensive by a Muslim guard.With his flight departure time now fast approaching Mr Jones agreed to the compromise. Escorted by the police officer, he was taken through security where he was again subjected to a full search after his hip replacement set off the metal detector alarms.Mr Jones said he intended to complain formally to the Gatwick airport authorities and British Airways about the incident last Sunday.Department for Transport rules do not prevent people covering their faces at UK airports for religious reasons.However, all passengers must show their faces to UK Borders officials when they pass through passport control. Muslim women who wear hijabs can request that their identity is checked by a female immigration officer and they can also ask that they be taken to a private room before they remove their head wear.A spokesman for Gatwick airport said: “The security team are examining the incident to ensure that the issue was managed in the right way."They are talking to the people involved to understand what the issue was and how it came to have the police involved.”Read the full story here.
- Is Israel losing Temple Mount war?(YNet).Ynetnews special: Why is Israeli government covering up Muslim effort to erase any trace of Jewish history on Temple Mount? Archeology expert: Excavations barbaric, a crime. An investigative report by Yedioth Ahronoth revealed the ongoing failure of various Israeli authorities in safeguarding the rare archeological treasures found on Temple Mount. Information elicited by the newspaper showed that the Waqf is consistently erasing any trace of Jewish history at the site. Mideastern affairs expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar says these acts are undertaken in the framework of an Arab practice known as "erasing the signs," aimed at eliminating the remnants of any civilization that preceded Islam. Members of the State Comptroller's Office launched an investigation into the affair four years ago and drafted a report about it. However, the Knesset's State Control Committee decided to impose a gag order on the report for "security reasons." However, Israeli intelligence officials told Yedioth Ahronoth there is no reason to prevent the report's publication. A senior Shin Bet Security Service official said following the Committee's session on the matter: "I'm ashamed. This is akin to cheapening national security to the lowest point possible." Former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan has also questioned the gag order. "There is no connection whatsoever between the failure to publish the report and national security. As far as I know, both Mossad and Shin Bet said there is no reason not to publish the report…apparently there are other considerations here, pertaining to political motives." Conversations and interviews held with dozens of officials involved in drafting the State Comptroller's secret report indicate that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is among the senior officials interested in shelving the document. Attorney Yisrael Caspi, who represents a group fighting the destruction on Temple Mount, says the PM is unequivocally responsible for the ongoing failure. Read the full story here.
- Euro zone decision on size of bailout fund seen delayed.(AA).Euro zone leaders may not be able to meet international demands to ramp up their own funds for bailing out the bloc's debtors when they meet next week because Germany is showing no sign of dropping its opposition to the plan, euro zone officials said.A bigger European fund is a condition for major non-European economies before they lend more money to the International Monetary Fund to provide an even bigger wall of cash to fight the crisis that has already claimed three euro debtor countries and now threatens the much bigger economies of Italy and Spain.“I would not bet on a positive outcome by the end of the March 1-2 summit,” one euro zone official said. “German opposition to a deal is still very strong.”Euro zone leaders are set to review the 500 billion euro ($675 billion) limit on the joint lending capacity of their temporary and permanent bailout funds, known by their acronyms EFSF and ESM, at the March 1-2 summit.If they decide to merge the funds, they would create a firewall of 750 billion euros which would help convince markets that they were committed to bringing the crisis under control.The European Central Bank supports such an increase as do policymakers around the world who are considering more than doubling the IMF’s resources by $600 billion.“Everybody says there is a pre-condition that Europe makes more efforts first,” South Korea’s central bank governor Kim Choong-soo said before a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers of Group of 20 leading economies in Mexico City.But Germany, the euro zone’s biggest economy, insists Europe’s current bailout arrangements are more than sufficient and that increasing them would send a signal to markets that the euro zone it expects more trouble ahead.German officials say countries would lose the impetus to carry out badly needed belt-tightening reforms.“It makes no sense, and is rather harmful,” said one German official.Others in Berlin argue the extra obligations under the combined bailout funds could increase the risk of further credit rating downgrades for some euro zone countries. And the sense of urgency is dissipating because Italy and Spain are paying less to borrow on markets.Officials from other countries warn that argument is premature.“The current improvement in markets is very fragile, so we need to be careful not become complacent,” a second euro zone official said.“Most euro zone countries are ready to move now, but I am afraid that Germany will need more time to agree to the increase, mainly to be able to better manage the Bundestag,” the official said.The country’s parliament is due to vote on Monday on the agreement to provide Greece with a new financial lifeline, agreed earlier this month despite much opposition from German taxpayers.A draft set of conclusions prepared ahead of next week’s summit showed that euro zone leaders will call for an international deal to increase IMF resources in April, implying a deal within the euro zone on its bailout funds in March. Yet this was unlikely to come as soon as next week, officials said.“What we can expect, at most, is a reference in the conclusions suggesting Germany is not closing the door,” one senior euro zone official said.The United States has said it will not participate in any IMF funding boost. Canada is reluctant too, unless the euro zone makes a bigger effort. That leaves China and Japan as the two biggest candidates for increasing IMF resources through bilateral loans.One G20 official said there were hopes that China, the world’s second-biggest economy, could contribute some $100 billion to the IMF and Japan another $50 billion.Both countries said last Sunday that the euro zone must move first. Three euro zone officials said a decision on the size of the euro zone bailout funds could be taken after next week’s summit, but still during March.Read the full story here.
- Qatar ready for Jerusalem conference.(BM).DUBAI: Qatar officials said on Saturday that they are fully prepared to host the Jerusalem International Conference, which is to kick off on Sunday in Doha.“We are fully ready to host the conference and show our Arab solidarity,” one government official told Bikyamasr.com. “It will be an exciting event for all the region.”The three-day conference aims to show solidarity with the Jerusalem in the face of “Israeli threats.”It has been scheduled to take place since being approved during the 22nd Arab League Summit in Sirt, Libya in March 2010.Ironically, the meetings will come only days after Israeli police attacked Muslims ?at the al-Aqsa mosque on Friday.The conference will address several issues related to the holy city of Jerusalem including the legal status of the city as understood in international law, as well as a historic review.According to organizers, the participants will also tackle Israel’s plans to “forge” the history of the holy city in addition to what they termed as ongoing violations of human rights committed against the Palestinian population, historic sites, cemeteries and Islamic heritage.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to deliver a speech during the conference where he will discuss Israeli practices and the challenges faced by Palestinian residents of Jerusalem on a daily basis.The Moroccan foreign minister will also deliver a speech on behalf of its king, Muhammad VI, who heads the Arab League’s Jerusalem Committee. League secretary Nabil al-Arabi will also address the conference.Among the speakers is the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Akmal Addin Ihsan Oglo and secretary-general of the Cooperation Council of the Arab Gulf States Abdul-Latif Zayani.Hmmmm.....Rumor has it that Sheikh Yusuf Abdallah al-Qaradawi is distributing free candy.Read the full story here.
- Crisis between Egypt, U.S. Deepens over American Funding to Civil Society Organizations – Part II: The Islamists Join the Government/SCAF Campaign against the U.S.(Memri).By: L. Lavi.Recent months have witnessed an intense campaign by Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), after it accused the U.S. of providing illegal funding to civil society organizations in Egypt. The SCAF has attempted to use the crisis as leverage to win domestic support, attempting to counterbalance its loss of legitimacy among the Egyptian public, which has increasingly called for handing over the rule to civilian hands, especially as Egypt marked the first anniversary of the January 25 revolution.In addition to its legal measures against American civil society activists in Egypt, the country's authorities are waging an anti-American media campaign, manifest in articles in the Egyptian press inciting against the U.S. and lauding what is being depicted as the SCAF's revolutionary stance against American attempts to interfere with Egypt's domestic affairs. In February 2012, in response to calls by Egyptian youth organizations to wage a campaign of civil disobedience on February 11 – the anniversary of Mubarak's ouster – the SCAF has ratcheted up its anti-American campaign, leveling the following accusations against the U.S.: The U.S. administration funded civil society organizations in order to advance political goals, as part of a Zionist-American plan to divide Egypt. The Egyptian authorities announced that in raids on the headquarters of American civil society organizations in Cairo, maps were seized which revealed a plan to divide Egypt into several mini-states. The Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram claimed that this was proof that the U.S. administration had, as early as three decades ago, hatched a plan to divide Egypt into four smaller states and to dismantle the countries of the Middle East in general.The American University in Cairo is working in the service of U.S. goals and inciting Egyptian youth to undermine the stability of Egypt. An announcement was posted on Facebook in the SCAF's name accusing the university's teaching faculty of choosing a select group of 40 students to work toward eroding Egypt from within, by inciting against the SCAF and calling for civil disobedience and general strikes.As part of the campaign, the Egyptian authorities also attempted to calm the Egyptian public's fears over losing U.S. aid, by claiming that Egypt did not need it. Numerous articles in the Egyptian press claimed that this aid served U.S. interests at the expense of those of Egypt and the Egyptian citizen, and that the country could do without U.S. aid and without loans from the IMF, which might withhold them due to U.S. pressure.The Egyptian authorities even played the Iranian card in an attempt to pressure the U.S., announcing that they had not ruled out the option of accepting Iran's proposal to grant Egypt economic aid to replace the U.S. aid. Egypt further indicated the possibility of rapprochement with Iran when, in February 2012, it allowed a number of Syria-bound Iranian warships to pass through the Suez Canal. The Egyptian daily Al-Misriyoun claimed that the warming relations between Egypt and Iran were due to the Saudis' withholding of aid to Egypt, under pressure from the U.S.In February 2012, the anti-U.S. campaign was joined by Egypt's Islamists. Though they had previously made it a point to avoid any direct dispute with the U.S., as Egypt's conflict with the latter intensified they could no longer remain on the fence. Senior officials in the Muslim Brotherhood's (MB) Freedom and Justice party, for example, warned that any cuts in U.S. aid would be met with a review of Egypt's peace agreement with Israel, as U.S. aid was a condition of the agreement. Dr. Rashad Bayoumi, deputy to MB General Guide Muhammad Badi', claimed that U.S. Ambassador to Cairo Anne Patterson was striving to incite fitna (civil strife) in Egypt, just as she had committed crimes in Pakistan. He added that Egypt had no need for U.S. aid, which he described as tainted and as an impediment to a free Egypt.Read the full story here.
- Official found dead, head covered with plastic bag after measuring radiation in Tokyo park.(AP).By Madison Ruppert.According to a Japanese news outlet, Iza, on July 1st, 2011 63-year-old Mr. Takashi Kabayama was found dead with a plastic bag over his head in his home office. Kabayama was a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly for the Liberal Democratic Party and had been measuring radiation in an assortment of locations throughout Tokyo. He would then upload his findings to his blog for the world to read, and on the day before he died (June 30, 2011) he measured 0.25 microSv/h in Mizumoto Park in the Katsushika ward located in Tokyo.Fukushima Diary reported on February 22, 2012 via Gendai that ludicrously high levels of cesium contamination were discovered, also in Mizumoto Park. These levels were so high that they “turned out to be the same level of [the] ‘off-limits zone’ in Chernobyl.”It is strange that this hasn’t been brought to the public’s attention sooner, because the fact that he was found at 3 AM July 1, 2011, meaning just a short while after he posted his update, is quite unusual.Why would someone be taking radiation readings and updating their website the day that they were planning to kill themselves?According to Fukushima Diary, none of his blog posts suggested that he might be suicidal and “he sounded motivated to measure around Tokyo,” something which hardly seems befitting of someone on the verge of taking their own life.This is not the only anti-nuclear official who has died recently. In fact, it was reported on January 3, 2012 that 64-year-old Uemura Yasuhiro, town councilor of Kowaura Minamiise Machi Mie was found dead in his car with a shotgun wound to the chest.Yasuhiro was reportedly taking his shotgun to his farm to keep away crows. Police thought it was suicide or a gun accident, even though the shotgun was reportedly placed outside of the car.He was an outspoken opponent of the construction of the Ashihama nuclear plant of Chubu Electric Power, and after the Fukushima incident he began traveling around Japan lecturing about the dangers of nuclear power. If only one official who came out against the horrors of Fukushima had perished in mysterious circumstances I would be more ready to discount the possibility of foul play.However, when multiple bodies start piling up, all of which are connected to bringing the dangers of nuclear power into the sphere of public debate, I have to start wondering.I don’t know how it is in Japan, but here in the United States we have what I call a “dual justice system” which treats certain sectors of society completely different than others.On one side there is the ludicrously wealthy along with police, most politicians, most so-called officials, etc. and on the other side is the rest of us.This allows for police to literally get away with murdering innocent tourists and brutally assault elderly people (with dementia no less) for no apparent reason only to get a written reprimand among other horrors.Hopefully Japan is a little different and proper investigations into these mysterious incidents can be launched.Hmmmm........once upon a time after a nuclear disaster?So Called nuclear "HotSpots' are known to exsist in Cities in Belarus.Read the full story here.