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Friday, April 13, 2012

Overnight Music Video - Frankie Laine Jezebel

Israel's Other Temple.Research Reveals Ancient Struggle over Holy Land Supremacy.

Israel's Other Temple.Research Reveals Ancient Struggle over Holy Land Supremacy.(Spiegel).By Matthias Schulz.The Jews had significant competition in antiquity when it came to worshipping Yahweh. Archeologists have discovered a second great temple not far from Jerusalem that predates its better known cousin. It belonged to the Samaritans, and may have been edited out of the Bible once the rivalry had been decided. Clad in gray coat, Aharon ben Ab-Chisda ben Yaacob, 85, is sitting in the dim light of his house. He strikes up a throaty chant, a litany in ancient Hebrew. He has a full beard and is wearing a red kippah on his head. The man is a high priest -- and his family tree goes back 132 generations. He says: "I am a direct descendent of Aaron, the brother of the prophet Moses" -- who lived perhaps over 3,000 years ago.
Ab-Chisda is the spiritual leader of the Samaritans, a sect that is so strict that its members are not even allowed to turn on the heat on the Sabbath. They never eat shrimp and only marry among themselves. Their women are said to be so impure during menstruation that they are secluded in special rooms for seven days. Outside, on the streets of Kiryat Luza, near Nablus, a cold wind is blowing. The village lies just below the summit of Mount Gerizim. There's a school, two shops and a site for sacrifices. This is home to 367 Samaritans. It's a small community.
Everyone here is required to attend religious services in the synagogue on Saturdays. "Every baby boy has to be circumcised precisely on the eighth day," says the high priest -- not beforehand, and not afterwards. Most important of all: the sect only believes in the written legacy of Moses, the five books of the Pentateuch, also commonly known as the Torah. They reject all other scripture from the Bible.
From a historical perspective, the Samaritans and the Jews have a common lineage. The Old Testament recounts that 10 of the 12 tribes in the region of Samaria founded the state of Israel in the year 926 BC. The two other clans lived farther south, in the mountainous region of Judah, with its capital Jerusalem (see map). In other words, the Samaritans were once in the majority. In ancient times, there were 300,000 of them -- perhaps even over a million. But their strictest law almost led to their downfall. It states: "None of you may settle outside the promised land." 
As a result, while the Jews fled across the globe to escape the cruelty of foreign rulers, their relatives persevered in the land of their forefathers and suffered under Byzantine tyrants and merciless sultans. At the end of World War I, there were only 146 of them. "Today we are doing better," says Ab-Chisda cheerily, as he gazes out the window. Now, together with another group in Holon near Tel Aviv, this religious community consists of 751 individuals.
But this population increase only took place because they broke with age-old traditions and rescinded the ban against mixed marriages. In 2004, five Jewish women from Ukraine and one from Siberia, all of them ready and willing to get married, were accepted into the community. Nevertheless, due to inbreeding, they have a wide range of genetic defects. Trade journals have published studies on the forgotten children of God. They often suffer from muscle weakness and Usher syndrome, also known as deafblindness. 
Stefan Schorch compares the Samaritan Torah with the Jewish version. "Actually there's only one main difference," he says. Among the Jews, Jerusalem is the world's religious epicenter, whereas for the Samaritans it's Mount Gerizim. But which Torah is the original?
Until recently, the generally accepted school of thought was as follows: In the fourth century BC, the Samaritans split off as a radical sect. In the Bible, they appear as outsiders and idol worshipers; they are evil.
The parable of the "good Samaritan" (Luke 10:25-37) offers a rather atypical portrayal of a member of this sect. The historian Titus Flavius Josephus, himself a Jew, mentions that the apostates erected a shrine "in all haste" in the year 330 BC, as a rather dilettantish attempt to emulate the Temple in Jerusalem. Increasingly, though, it looks as though the Bible has handed down a distorted picture of history.
Papyrus scrolls recovered from Qumran on the Dead Sea, as well as a fragment of the Bible that recently surfaced on the market for antiquities, necessitate a "complete reassessment," says Schorch. Yet the most exciting indication of how history actually transpired has now been unearthed by Yitzhak Magen. Working behind security fences, the archaeologist has been digging on the windswept summit of Mount Gerizim. His findings, which have only been partially published, are a virtual sensation: As early as 2,500 years ago, the mountain was already crowned with a huge, dazzling shrine, surrounded by a 96 by 98-meter (315 by 321-foot) enclosure. The wall had six-chamber gates with colossal wooden doors. At the time, the Temple of Jerusalem was, at most, but a simple structure. 
Magen has discovered 400,000 bone remains from sacrificial animals. Inscriptions identify the site as the "House of the Lord." A silver ring is adorned with the tetragrammaton YHWH, which stands for Yahweh. All of this means that a vast, rival place of worship stood only 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Jerusalem. 
It is an astonishing discovery. A religious war was raging among the Israelites, and the nation was divided. The Jews had powerful cousins who were competing with them for religious leadership in the Holy Land. The dispute revolved around a central question: Which location deserved the honor of being the hearth and burnt offering site of God Almighty? Researchers have a long way to go before they uncover all the details of this conflict. It's clear, however, that it was extremely acrimonious. 
Each side reviled the other. There was murder, mayhem and, ultimately, even the Holy Scripture was revised. At first -- so much is clear -- the Samaritans had the upper hand.
Indeed, compared with Jerusalem, Mount Gerizim enjoyed significantly older rights: In the great tale of the history of the chosen people, the mountain plays a key role.
Abraham, the progenitor of the Israelites -- who, according to legend, roamed through the Orient as a shepherd around 1500 BC -- stopped there because God had appeared to him in a wondrous vision. Later, Jacob the patriarch traveled there to build the original shrine. In the fifth book of Moses, the mountain summit finally earns a prominent place in biblical history: After the flight from Egypt, the Israelites wandered through the Sinai desert for 40 years. At last, they reached the Jordan River from the east. Their old and weary leader gazed across the river to the promised land, where "milk and honey flow." Shortly before his death, Moses issued an important command: The people must first travel to Mount Gerizim. He said that six tribes should climb it and proclaim blessings, while the other six tribes should proclaim curses from the top of nearby Mount Ebal. 
It was a kind of ritual taking of possession of the promised land. Finally, the prophet tells the Israelites to build a shrine "made of stones" on Mount Gerizim and coat it with "plaster." Indeed, he said, this is "the place that the Lord has chosen." That, in any case, is what stands in the oldest Bible texts. They are brittle papyrus scrolls that were made over 2,000 years ago in Qumran, and have only recently been examined by experts.
In the Hebrew Bible, which Jerusalem's priests probably spent a good deal of time revising, everything suddenly sounds quite different. There is no longer any mention of a "chosen place." The word "Gerizim" has also been removed from the crucial passage. Instead, the text states that the Yahweh altar was erected on "Ebal." "By naming the mountain of the curses," says Schorch, "they wanted to cast the entire tale in a negative light, and deprive Gerizim of its biblical legitimacy." Schorch dates the intervention to around 150 BC. 
The researcher stops short of calling it fraud, though, preferring to label it an "adaptation of the Bible to their own religious view."
But why was this ruse ultimately successful? Why did the minority win out? Didn't the opponent have the more populous country? A palace already stood in their capital city, Samaria, in the year 1000 BC. Ivory has been found there. At the time, Jerusalem was still little more than a village, with barely 1,500 inhabitants. Researchers have solved this puzzle, and the answer even has a face: It sports a curly beard and wears a bronze helmet. Starting in the year 732 BC, the Assyrians used their chariots to advance to the Mediterranean and subjugate the state of Israel. The inhabitants were either impaled or taken into captivity. This devastated the country. The land of the Lord had been overrun by violent hordes. Many fled to their cousins in Judah. Jerusalem's population soared to 15,000.
Around the year 180 BC, the ceremonial building grew to a size of roughly 200 by 200 meters. The Samaritans added a monumental staircase and rooms for "thousands of pilgrims." There were apparently huge crowds of devout visitors. None of this is mentioned in the Bible.
The dispute finally came to a head. In the year 128 BC, John Hyrcanos, a Jewish prince, ascended Mount Gerizim with an army and burned the proud sanctuary to the ground. Archaeologists have found a "burn layer" along with arrow heads, swords, daggers and lead missiles for slings. The Samaritans never rebuilt their temple. From then on, the victors wrote the (biblical) history books and forced their rivals into oblivion. And yet the "guardians of the law," as they call themselves, still exist today. 
When Mark Twain visited the region in 1867, he encountered the "sad, proud remnant of a once mighty community," which he stared at "just as one would stare at a living mastodon." Today, this astounding religious community is better off. They have a seat in the Palestinian parliament and they maintain contacts with the United Nations. "We want to live in peace with everyone," says the high priest Ab-Chisda. Despite their tragic history, the spiritual leader has not lost his sense of humor. In response to the question as to what the Samaritan paradise looks like, the old man hesitated briefly. Then, he said mischievously: "It must be a wonderful place. Nobody has ever returned to make a complaint."Hmmmm......I enjoyed the history lesson , but i'm wondering who pays for his research and could this be a stealth attempt to discredit the claim of the Jews for Jerusalem.Read and see the full story here.

White house 'releases' President Obama and Vice President Biden's 12 Years of Tax Returns.Obama's returns have NO SSN!

White house 'releases' President Obama and Vice President Biden's 12 Years of Tax Returns.Obama's returns have NO SSN!(BO).Following the long-standing precedent set by past presidential candidates, President Obama and the First Lady, as well as Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, have released over a decade of tax returns to answer any questions Americans may have about their finances.The Returns for VP Biden have the Social Security Number Blackened. For the Obama Tax returns there's no Social security number at all. Another 'fabrication'?Read and see for your self here.

Video - "Another kind of CHANGE" - Iceland Forgives Mortgage Debt for the Population.

This is awesome. It shows when the people DO STAND UP they have more power and win against the corrupt bankers and politicians of a country. Iceland is forgiving and erasing the mortgage debt of the population. They are putting the bankers and politicians on the "Bench of the Accused." Which means I assume they are putting them on trial for corruption. Now the rest of people of the world need to start doing the same thing. We all need to stand up and against all the corruption and fraud of the banks and politicians that are puppets of the banks and corporations.Read the full story here.

Russia Rejects G8 Attempts to 'protect' Homosexuals.

Russia Rejects G8 Attempts to 'protect' Homosexuals.(RN).Russia has disassociated itself from words in a G8 statement that singled out homosexuals as a separate group whose rights need to be protected, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday. “We have repeatedly said that the Russian Federation condemns any forms and manifestations of discrimination on any grounds. We proceed from the assumption that a ban on discrimination in international legal acts on human rights is general and relates to all people without exception,” Ryabkov told journalists. “These norms are more than enough. All states should thoroughly observe them,” he said in Washington that hosted G8 foreign ministerial meetings on April 11-12. “At the same time, international law lacks separate norms regulating protection of persons in line with their sexual orientation or so-called gender identity,” Ryabkov said. “In this connection we cannot agree with attempts to artificially single out this category of people as an independent group claiming that its rights and interests should be specially protected,” he said. Ryabkov also hit out at attempts to impose homosexual views on society. “We believe aggressive promotion of a certain behavior and system of values that may insult the feelings of a considerable part of society under the pretext of protection of so-called sexual minorities’ representatives is inadmissible,” he said. “Therefore we have disassociated ourselves from relevant wordings in the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting Chair's Statement,” Ryabkov said. The words in the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting Chair's Statement that Ryabkov spoke about read: "The Ministers reaffirmed that human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all individuals, male and female, including lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals." "These individuals often face death, violence, harassment and discrimination because of their sexual orientation in many countries around the world," the statement said. Russia's viewpoint is reflected in a separate phrase under a footnote: "The Russian Federation disassociates itself from this language given the absence of any explicit definition or provision relating to such a group or such persons as separate rights holders under international human rights law."Last month St. Petersburg’s Governor Georgy Poltavchenko approved a law penalizing "the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors." The law effectively outlaws any Gay Pride events.The law, which came into force in March, caused a divided reaction among Russians, where anti-gay sentiment remains strong. Russian LGBT groups have requested support in the West against the law that made the "promotion of homosexuality" an administrative offense. The influential Russian Orthodox Church has backed the law.Read the full story here and here.

Largest Kim Jong-il Monument Unveiled in Pyongyang

Largest Kim Jong-il Monument Unveiled in Pyongyang.(RN).The largest North Korean monument of the country’s late leader Kim Jong-il was unveiled in the capital of Pyongyang on Friday. A 25-meter monument that was installed near the statue to the North Korean founding leader Kim Il-sung, is a part of the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of his birth. The ceremony that has drawn about 100,000 people to the main square in Pyongyang turned into mass festivities with a military orchestra, fireworks and thousands of balloons released into the sky. Kim Jong-il who had headed the isolated, nuclear-armed state for 17 years, prohibited his supporters to raise the monument citing the country’s economic difficulties. “There are money shortages in the country, and you want to spend it for luxury,” he used to say.Read the full story here.

After rocket 'debacle', N. Korea may test nuke.

After rocket 'debacle', N. Korea may test nuke.(JPost).North Korea said its much hyped long-range rocket launch failed on Friday, in a very rare and embarrassing public admission of failure by the hermit state and a blow for its new young leader who faces international outrage over the attempt. The isolated North, using the launch to celebrate the 100th birthday of the dead founding president Kim Il-sung and to mark the rise to power of his grandson Kim Jong-un, is now widely expected to press ahead with its third nuclear test to show its military strength. "The possibility of an additional long-range rocket launch or a nuclear test, as well as a military provocation to strengthen internal solidarity is very high," a senior South Korean defense ministry official told a parliamentary hearing. The two Koreas are divided by the world's most militarized border and remain technically at war after an armistice ended the Korean War in 1953. The United States and Japan said the rocket, which they claimed was a disguised missile test and the North said was to put a satellite into orbit, crashed into the sea after traveling a much shorter distance than a previous North Korean launch. Its failure raises questions over the impoverished North's reclusive leadership which has one of the world's largest standing armies but cannot feed its people without outside aid, largely from its only powerful backer, China. "(There is) no question that the failed launch turns speculation toward the ramifications for the leadership in Pyongyang: a fireworks display gone bad on the biggest day of the year," said Scott Snyder of the Council on Foreign Relations. In a highly unusual move, the North, which still claims success with a 2009 satellite that others say failed, admitted in a state television broadcast seen by its 23 million people that the latest satellite had not made it into orbit. The failure is the first major and very public challenge for the third of the Kim dynasty to rule North Korea just months into the leadership of a man believed to be in his late 20s. "It could be indication of subtle change in the North Korean leadership in how they handle these things, something that may be different from the past," said Baek Seung-joo of the Korea Institute of Defense Analyses a think tank affiliated with South Korean Defense Ministry. "I mean it would have been unthinkable for them to admit this kind of failure in the past, something that could be seen as an international humiliation. The decision to have come out with the admission had to come from Kim Jong-un."Read the full story here.


Abdullah, the Bedouin, the MB and the Palestinians.

Abdullah, the Bedouin, the MB and the Palestinians.(IP).By Ted Belman.A year ago Mudar Zahran was interviewed by Yoel Meltzer and FPM published it under the title A Voice of Reason from an Arab Dissident. Since then Zahran has created the New Jordan Party to prepare to mobilize the Palestinian vote after the fall of the king. TB.

Introduction: The following is an interview with Mudar Zahran, a Palestinian Jordanian and former political insider who fled Jordan and currently resides in England. In an open and honest manner, Mudar briefly discusses the current unrest in Jordan, the various players in Jordan and their links to Islamic groups, his vision of a Palestinian state in Jordan as opposed to the two-state solution, his attempts at effecting change and the subsequent threats against him.
Protests in Jordan
Yoel Meltzer: Like most Arab countries, protests are also taking place in Jordan. According to what I’ve read the king is claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is responsible for the protests. Is this true?

Mudar Zahran: Not at all. A story was reported in the Jerusalem Post and it dismissed such a claim. The organizers of the events are mostly tribal Jordanians calling for less power for the king.
YM: So the MB is not involved at all?
MZ: The MB represents just a small fraction of the protesters. Most of those involved are tribal elders or people representing tribal factions and very, very few Palestinians. What the king is doing is exactly what Colonel Gaddafi is doing. Just as Gaddafi is claiming that he is fighting Al-Qaeda when he is actually fighting rebels who hate his oppressive rule, so too Abdullah and his media, and lately his prime minister, are all insisting the protesters are MB members.
YM: But I thought the Bedouin tribes were allies of the king?
MZ: They are. Yet he has fed them and empowered them to the point where they do not want him any more. They want a constitutional monarchy as was referred to in a 1920 convention. In that year King Abdullah’s grandfather met with tribal leaders of what was then Eastern Palestine and agreed with them to mutually rule the country. They want that restored so that they become partners in his rule, or nearly rulers themselves. If not, they shall revolt. They have been saying that openly.
YM: Isn’t Jordan already a constitutional monarchy?
MZ: Jordan claims to be a constitutional monarchy while it is by all means a dictatorship. A constitutional monarchy is where the king reigns but does not run the country, as is the case in the UK, Sweden, Norway and others. In Jordan the king has all the authority with zero accountability.
In reality Jordan is a dictatorship headed by a slick-dressing dictator who speaks perfect English, as opposed to Saddam’s military uniform or Assad’s bad English.
YM: Regarding the current protests in Jordan, are they being attended by large crowds or do most people choose to stay away?
MZ: Most Palestinians, who are the majority, are too afraid to get involved. Even the Washington Institute and the Jerusalem Post have confirmed that most Palestinians are not participating. While in other Arab countries the protesters are facing their own cousins behind the police guns and clubs, in Jordan the Palestinians would be facing the ruthless Bedouins who have been terrorizing them since 1970.
This is mainly an affair between the king and the tribes.
YM: In your opinion, will the changes that the tribes are requesting have a positive effect on the Palestinians?
MZ: Just read their statements. The latest one was signed by 36 of their leaders calling for the expelling of the Palestinians or taking away their passports. Some even called for repossessing the property of Palestinians and several called for “re-establishing Israel as an enemy state.”
YM: Are they more anti-Israel than the king?
MZ: You bet. The king is just a puppet in their hand and that is why he has been taking an anti-Palestinian and an anti-Israeli stance since he came to power.
YM: So which would you prefer, the king continuing as is or the changes that the tribes want?
MZ: The king cannot continue and the tribes will oust him sooner or later. His father remained their king only because he fed them so much and gave them unbelievable privileges even according to American standards. The present king does not have the money to do this and their numbers have exceeded the country’s resources. Economically speaking Jordan, which heavily depends on excessive taxation of its Palestinians, will not have the resources to pay any more of the privileges and benefits the tribesmen get in Jordan. So sooner or later they will oust him, probably sooner more than later. The result will be hostile uncontrollable tribes in Jordan who are playing with the country in an unruly manner just like their ancestors did for thousands of years. In the Bedouin culture stealing someone else’s wealth and land is not a shame, in fact it is a matter of honor…they call it Ghazou and Khawa.
YM: Almost sounds like Afghanistan
MZ: Very much so, only the Bedouins in Jordan are well armed and well trained with fine American weapons. For some unknown reason Jordan spends 40 percent of its budget on military and building an army.
Links between Bedouin Tribes and Islamic Groups.
YM: Are the tribes close to the MB or to other groups outside of Jordan such as Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah?
MZ: The MB’s leadership is mostly tribal. Its senior leaders are Zaki Bani Rushaid, Salim Flahat and Abdul Majid Thubnibat. Each one of them is a Bedouin and not a Palestinian and each one was present at the last protest which ended up violently. Zaki Bani Rushaid, who is the strongest leader within the MB, was a former office manager of Khaled Meshaal (the political leader of Hamas).
The southern part of Jordan is closely and heavily connected to Al-Qaeda. Many tribesmen believe in Salafi methodology and lately they have been parading around the southern city of Maan, a tribal stronghold, waving their own flags and walking around with their fine M-16s. Yet for some reason none of this has made it to the western media.
YM: What is “Salafi methodology”?
MZ: Salafi methodology is the orthodox denomination in Islam. It is the ideology that Osama bin Laden belongs too as did Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist who was the chief Al-Qaeda operator in Iraq until shortly before he was killed. Also connected to Salafi was Hammam al-Balawi, the suicide bomber who killed 7 CIA officers in Afghanistan in the 2009 Khost bombing.
Trying to Establish Peace in the Wrong Geographical Location

YM: As you know, later this year the Palestinians intend on declaring a state. Although personally you believe that Jordan should be this Palestinian state, Abbas is pushing for a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. What do you think about this?
MZ: I believe Jordan is the eastern side of Palestine and that the Jordan River should be a good fence between Israel and Jordan. What Abbas is going to do is comedy evolving into Saturday Night Live sponsored by the UN. What state Mr. Abbas? What state when most Palestinians, including 70 percent of Palestinians in Jerusalem, would rather be under Israeli rule? Mr. Abbas is repaying those Arab states who finance his authority and who do not want to see the Palestinians and the Israelis enjoying peace.
The question is, are the Israelis that weak? In any normal country the Itamar massacre would send shock waves of reality. Have I seen any Israeli politician, even so-called right-wingers like FM Lieberman, speak openly of putting the Palestinians back in their homeland?
YM: Your words are very powerful. The problems in Israel are deep and complex. Putting them aside for a moment, the current problem is that Abbas going to the UN has serious repercussions. Whether it’s approval from the Security Council or from the General Assembly, either way it’s something that carries a lot of weight. From there it might be relatively easy to call for sanctions against Israel if it fails to comply and remove its citizens and army from the new Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria.
MZ: It seems that Mr. Abbas’s adventures will lead the region into a massive war. Although I doubt the US and Israel’s other friends would approve a UN resolution calling for sanctions against Israel, nonetheless there will be more headaches and more trouble for Israel. More importantly, I believe all of this is the result of trying to establish peace in the wrong geographical location. Imagine if the pressure had always been to share historical Palestine where we get two thirds and you get one third – us across the river and you on the other side.
Abbas’ statehood stunt is reckless and will eventually lead the region into a massive war that might even produce WWIII.
Such a move is also harmful to the Palestinians since it can give Israel every legitimate reason to sever ties for good with the Palestinians. Israel is the only country that allows them to accept and take jobs and it is their transportation and trade outlet. Only Abbas will benefit from such a move. He is following in the footsteps of Hamas who only wanted to rule and didn’t care if the Palestinians starved. The same is going to happen with Mr. Abbas.
By the way, his seeking a state is also against the Oslo agreement. Hence it’s about time that Israel gets real and revises its agreement. Israel needs to decide that the Palestinians can establish their own state across the river since any Palestinian statehood between the sea and the river will only lead to more wars and more troubles.
However, keep in mind that all of this is happening because one family, the Hashemites, want to keep controlling Eastern Palestine. This is absurd.
YM: I’m not sure if it’s only because of the Hashemites but that certainly is part of it. Whatever may have been in the past, today most of the world “buys” the Palestinian story and Israel is increasingly being slandered as a “horrible occupier.” Just recently was the 7th annual “Israel Apartheid Week” in colleges throughout the West. Can the trend of the world be changed in order to stop, as you said, “trying to establish peace in the wrong geographical location”?
(Editor’s note: See the Freedom Center’s campaign to counter the lies of “Israel Apartheid Week”.)
Efforts to Change the Entrenched Point of View

MZ: True, it is not only because of the Hashemites yet it certainly is partly due to their presence. Were the Hashemites not ruling the eastern part of Palestine then the Palestinians already would have had a country for sixty years and nobody would have pressured Israel to give away its land. Yet this is not the case and the Hashemites are ruling the place and constantly telling the Palestinians they are merely refugees.Read the full story here.

Russian Warships will continuously Patrol Syrian Coast

Russian Warships will continuously Patrol Syrian Coast.(RN).MOSCOW, April 13 – Russian warships will be continuously deployed for patrol duty off the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean, a high-ranking source in the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday. “A decision has been made to deploy Russian warships near the Syrian shores on a permanent basis,” the source said. The Russian Kashin-class guided-missile destroyer Smetlivy is currently deployed near the Syrian coast. “Another Black Sea Fleet ship will replace the Smetlivy in May,” the source said, adding that several Russian warships were on their way to the Mediterranean. “This may be the Pytlivy frigate or one of the amphibious assault ships,” he said, adding that “deployment of a Black Sea Fleet task force to the region cannot be ruled out.” The United States, France, Great Britain, Germany and some other countries have deployed more warships to the Mediterranean since the outbreak of unrest in Syria in February 2012. More than 9,000 people have been killed in the violence, according to the United Nations. On Thursday, the Syrian government declared a ceasefire with opposition fighters as part of a U.N.-brokered peace plan. The Russian military has repeatedly underscored the need for Russian warships to patrol the Mediterranean on a permanent basis. In Soviet days, up to 50 warships from the Fifth Squadron of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and other Soviet Navy units have been deployed in the Mediterranean on a permanent basis. Over the winter months, a Russian task force, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, has been deployed to the Mediterranean. The ships returned to the Russian Northern Fleet’s home base of Severomorsk in February, after two-month naval exercises. Other Russian ships currently on patrol duty in the Mediterranean are the Kildin surveillance ship, as well as the Iman tanker vessel and a floating workshop deployed near the Syrian port of Tartus.Read the full story here.

German 'efficiency' - Lufthansa cancels airline tickets of 'flytilla' participants.

German 'efficiency' - Lufthansa cancels airline tickets of 'flytilla' participants.(YNet).German airline Lufthansa canceled the tickets of dozens of pro-Palestinian activists scheduled to fly to Tel Aviv on Sunday as part of a mass fly-in dubbed "Welcome to Palestine," the organizers said Friday. "Dozens of passengers who bought a plane ticket to travel to Tel Aviv on Sunday, April 15, were notified Thursday by Lufthansa that their reservation was canceled at the behest of Israel," they said in a statement.The "flytilla" participants, which consists of some1,500 pro-Palestinian activists from several countries, plan to land in Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday, and from there proceed to the Palestinian Authority. Israeli authorities announced they would deny the activists entry into Israel and said they would seek to prevent their boarding by providing airline passenger lists. "Lufthansa, like all airlines, is obliged by the principle of following the laws and guidelines on entry to the territory of countries to which it transports its passengers," said a spokesman for the company."The Israeli authorities have written to several airlines including Lufthansa, and asked them not to fly certain passengers to Israel. Therefore, Lufthansa is obliged to follow this directive," he said. However, in their statement, the fly-in organizers warned that passengers "will arrive, as expected, at airports this weekend," adding that the move constituted a violation of international law. Read the full story here.

The Saudis have spoiled Mecca – but the British Museum doesn’t want you to know.

                           The Royal Mecca Clock Tower looms over the Kaaba (Photo: Reuters)

The Saudis have spoiled Mecca – but the British Museum doesn’t want you to know.(TheTelegraph).BY Will Heaven.Go to the British Museum’s Hajj exhibition if you want a close-up look at Egyptian textiles and medieval Turkish manuscripts.
But if you want to find out the truth about Mecca, and specifically how the Saudis have destroyed and spoiled some of the holiest sites in the Islamic world, you’d be better off staying at home to read this jaw-dropping article in the New Yorker by Basharat Peer.
Here’s what the British Museum didn’t let on in its blockbuster exhibition, which I visited last month.
Looming large over the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba (the black cube-shaped building that is the holiest site in Islam) is the largest and second tallest building in the world, called the Royal Mecca Clock Tower complex.
You can’t miss it (see pic above) – unless, it seems, you’re a British Museum curator. The 2,000-foot hotel certainly didn’t feature in the exhibition.
Peer, a recent pilgrim to Mecca himself, writes with disdain: “When I walked along the western wall of the Kaaba, the Clock Tower felt like a concrete djinn staring down at me, dwarfing the mosque. Filled with resentment, I lowered my head in anticipation on each circumambulation.”
When he enters the Clock Tower complex, he discovers it has the feel of “the duty-free section of the Dubai airport”.
“The ground floor is devoted to retailers: stores that sell alcohol-free perfume, prayer mats, and Hajj memorabilia, British and Italian clothing boutiques; luggage shops filled with Samsonite travel bags and Prada totes…”No wonder some Muslims feel so at home in Harrods.
And the situation in Mecca is worsening: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah plans to redevelop the centre of the holy city into “high-rises and shopping malls”. Mecca's mayor, Osama al-Bar, justifies all this by saying that “a tower is very much like a mountain in its height”. Never before have "mountains" looked so garish and distressingly ugly.Read the full story here.

Canada - Muslim woman's bra photo sparks controversy.

A photo of a Muslim woman wearing full Islamic dress and holding up a bra as she sorts laundry is stirring controversy in Kamloops, B.C., and the Saudi Arabian Embassy is now involved. The photo, taken by Thompson Rivers University fine arts student Sooraya Graham, features one of Graham's friends wearing a niqab, a veil covering the face, and an abaya, a full-body cloak. The picture was a class assignment and was originally displayed with other student photos in mid-March, until some students complained and a staff member tore it down a week later. "I was pretty shocked and I kind of felt my personal space as an artist and a Canadian had been invaded," said Graham.Christopher Seguin, the vice president of advancement at Thompson River University, said the art work was removed by a staff member who was acting on their own, and not in an official capacity.
Once the institution learned of the action, it immediately returned the art and made a commitment to cover any costs for its repair or replacement. "The university is committed to honouring artistic expression and on a campus with many international stakeholders it is important that we balance cultural sensitivity with freedom of speech, and we value the conversations that this piece of art and all our others inspire," said Seguin. Graham was allowed to display it at the university's art gallery, as part of an art show, until April 12th. But the Saudi Education Centre in Kamloops, which is funded by the Saudi Arabian government and provides support to Saudi students and their families, is taking issue with the photo. "The artist didn't approach the artwork let's say in a very professional way that can state and can clarify the information and clarify the idea behind the picture," said centre president Trad Bahabri. Bahabri said he thinks text explaining the photo's meaning is needed. "I'm pretty sure many people misinterpret and many people misunderstand it. I can guarantee that," he said. Graham counters it's up to the viewer to interpret the meaning, but says she had hoped the photo would show the public that women who wear the niqab are the same as everyone else.Read the full story here.

Defying ban by Pope Shenouda III, Coptic Christians visit Jerusalem.

Defying ban by Pope Shenouda III, Coptic Christians visit Jerusalem.(AlArabiya).After the death of their spiritual leader, more than 2,000 Egyptian Copts have poured into the Holy Land for the Easter holidays, defying a ban he imposed on visiting Jerusalem and other Israeli-controlled areas. The influx - after decades when Egyptian pilgrims were a rarity - adds a new element to the already diverse mix of languages and faiths in Jerusalem’s Old City during the holy season. The pilgrims are clearly distinguished by the Egyptian accent of their Arabic and long cotton robes worn by many of the men. “It’s the most beautiful thing in the world to see light of the Messiah. We have dreamed of this for a long time,” said Halim Farag, 60, in the plaza outside the cavernous Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
Farag, his sister and his wife paid $860 each for their five-day trip - money they scraped over a year of saving and borrowing. They will stay for Coptic Easter, which is Sunday, following the Orthodox calendar used by some Eastern churches. For many Copts, visiting the Holy Land, and Jerusalem in particular, is one of the most meaningful acts of faith they can perform. Some liken it to the pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are obligated to make at least once in their lives if they can. But for the past three decades, very few Copts have made the journey because of the ban by Pope Shenouda III. Shenouda imposed the ban to protest Egypt’s 1979 peace agreement with Israel, saying Christians shouldn’t visit Israel until it makes peace with the Palestinians.
Shenouda was also upset over a custody dispute with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church over a rooftop monastery at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. That dispute remains unresolved. Small groups of Copts have always defied the ban. But following Shenouda’s death in late March at the age of 88, there has been a clear spike. The ban remains in place, but the visitors said they believed this was their chance. “There is nothing more beautiful than to visit the holy sites. This is a pilgrimage this shouldn’t tied to politics,” said a 62-year-old pilgrim who would only identify herself by her first name, Samia, because she was worried about punishment from the Church. Another woman said the pilgrimage is “a dream for all of us” but admitted she was concerned over the repercussions, both from the Coptic Church and the Egyptian public, who largely reject any normalization of ties with Israel. “You don’t know what they will do to us when we come back - especially after they see what numbers we came in,” said the woman, wearing a knee-length black skirt and black shirt.
The Copts, mostly middle-aged or senior citizens, have been busy milling around the Holy Sepulcher throughout the week. They have trundled to Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, built on the site where they believe Jesus was born. They have shopped and haggled on the way, charming many Palestinians with their Egyptian accents and humor, made familiar throughout the Arab world through generations of popular Egyptian movies and soap operas. A Palestinian tour guide who works with the Coptic community said most in the wave of pilgrims “are old, and they want to visit at least once in their life.” The Coptic Church has not yet named a successor to Shenouda, and it remains unclear how strictly the next leader will enforce the ban. Pilgrims face being denied the sacrament when they return home to Egypt, said Father Antonious al-Urashalimi, secretary of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. He said the Church would decide on an individual basis whether the impose punishments. Those not considered elderly could be banned from the sacrament for six months to a year.
The punishment is hefty for Coptic believers, who say it is equivalent to being denied union with Christ through eating the bread and drinking the wine symbolizing his body and blood. The flow of Copts to the Holy Land could also bring a backlash back home in Egypt, where Copts make up about 10 percent of the 85 million population. The 33-year-old peace between Israel and Egypt has never been warm. The few Egyptians who do make the journey to Israel are often viewed with suspicion back home. Already, one newspaper article in a pro-government newspaper has reported on the visits to Jerusalem in what the pilgrims felt were dark undertones. Few expect violence against Copts in Egypt to rise because of these visits. But Copts said they feared their visit would be used as propaganda by hardline Islamists or others trying to portray them as disloyal. “They want to show that the Copts aren’t nationalists,” al-Urashalimi said. “We hope God will enlighten those minds, those people who say this is the root of treason, because we are Egyptian nationalists who have sacrificed many things for our homeland.Hmmmm.......Since when do hardline Islamist need excuses?Read the full story here.

Official: "Saudi religious police may hire women". –

Official: "Saudi religious police may hire women".(IMRA).Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – An official within the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice [CPVPV] acknowledged that the organization is having trouble monitoring female-only gatherings, particularly in light of reports that illicit and illegal activities are taking place at such gatherings. The source attributed the CPVPV’s failure to get to the bottom of what is happening at female-only gatherings to the absence of female CPVPV operatives. The CPVPV official, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said that “we have received unconfirmed reports that behaviour contrary to Islamic Sharia law is taking place at closed female-only gatherings. These reports are unconfirmed due to the absence of female CPVPV operatives who can transfer credible information on this issue.”
He added “in addition to this, some people may be providing the CPVPV with inaccurate or false reports.” The CPVPV official stressed that “in this regard, the CPVPV relies on other means [to uncover what is happening at female-only gatherings], including receiving reports from sources close to those taking part in such gatherings, as well as contacting the sites where such gatherings take place.” He also confirmed that the CPVPV is thinking seriously about appointing female operatives who can specialize in dealing with such issues. He stressed “if this is studied carefully, women working for the CPVPV will help to resolve many issues tied to female-only gatherings and the alleged illegal activities that are taking place there.
With regards to the penalties for violations committed by women, the CPVPV official said that “we will take a preventative pro-active approach, before penalties are imposed, and this includes the sites and locations where these gatherings are taking place to be punished…as it would be better to punish the administrations that contravene the law, rather than the women themselves.” He added that such penalties will have positive results, as it will serve to deter others from committing similar violations. He said “nobody will be unjustly punished…but whoever fails to comply with statutory regulations or Islamic Sharia law… deserves to be punished.”
CPVPV President Dr. Abdullatif Al Al-Sheikh had previously announced that a study would be conducted to research the benefits of women taking part in special operations for the CPVPV, adding that this came at the request of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz. Dr. Al Al-Sheikh had previously told the press that “women working for the CPVIV will complete the work of men [working for the CPVPV]” adding that CPVPV female operatives would only deal with issues pertaining to women. The CPVPV official also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the Prince Sultan Chair for Youth Research and Hisbah Issues, which is affiliated to the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, was established more than two years ago to study and research issues relating to the CPVPV and its dealings with the youth, as well as in order to provide solutions to outstanding problems.
He added that the CPVPV is actively involved in this research. The source also revealed that “70 percent of the CPVPV force has received additional training in one of the 13 training courses available, which deal with a number of issues including how to deal with cases of sexual harassment and extortion, as well as all other cases that the CPVPV deals with.” He added “we are often asked to focus on finding forward-thinking people to work for the CPVPV, whilst at this time we are paying even more attention to this aspect, which includes rejecting [CPVPV] applicants with criminal records.” The CPVPV official stressed that once someone is accepted within the CPVPV, they must pass a 3-month training course and then are provided with a one-year provisional contract during which their operations and behaviour are closely monitored.Read the full story here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Overnight Music Video - Gerry and The Pacemakers - You'll Never Walk Alone

 Written by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II for the Broadway play Carousel (opening on April 19, 1945) Introduced during the second act by Aunt Netty (played by Christine Johnson) to comfort and encourage Julie when her husband Billy is killed during a failed robbery. The original cast recording was recorded (July 19, 1945) on Decca after Frank Sinatra's original cut (May 1, 1945) on Columbia.Original version here.

North Korea 'fires long range rocket', launch fails.

North Korea 'fires long range rocket' launch fails.(Yahoo).North Korea has launched a long-range rocket, according to South Korea’s defence ministry. Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters in a nationally televised news conference that the rocket was fired at 7:39 local time (22:39 GMT).A U.S. official has confirmed that a North Korean long-range missile broke apart midair after launch, ABC News reports. U.S. officials say they believe the missile fell apart within the Earth's atmosphere before crashing into the sea. The U.N. Security Council will meet Friday to discuss a response to the North's attempt launch. South Korea's Defense Ministry first reported the launch, which is seen as defying international warnings and widely viewed as a provocation from the rogue nation. Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters in a nationally televised news conference that the rocket was fired at 7:39 a.m. The launch comes after weeks of speculation regarding the possible launch, which North Korea's government says is being done to send a weather satellite into orbit. If true, it would represent the third failed attempt by North Korea to send a satellite into space since 1998. North Korea says it was timing the launch to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the country's former leader, Kim Il Sung, which they are celebrating Sunday However, most observers say the launch is actually tied to the country's missile program. Japan has already given its military clearance to shoot-down the rocket if it crosses into Japanese airspace. CNN, MSNBC and the AP have confirmed the launch. A White House statement is expected to be issued shortly. There was no word from Pyongyang about the launch.Read thefull story here, more here.

Video - “Secret History of the Credit Card”.

Video - Persecution & Murder of Christian Pastors by Islamic Terror Groups(Philippines)

 Via CBN, HT : Shoebat.

You Got to Be Kidding? Alien Terrorist Removal Court unused 16 years after creation.

You Got to Be Kidding? Alien Terrorist Removal Court unused 16 years after creation.(CW).More than 15 years since its creation – and a decade after 9/11 – a special court for deporting suspected foreign terrorists has never been used.
Since 1996, five federal judges have been regularly appointed to sit on the Alien Terrorist Removal Court, a court most people have never heard of.
The court has no budget or staff, though the clerk of the U.S. District Court in Washington will serve that role if needed. But legal observers, attorneys and even the judges appointed to the court wonder if that will ever happen.
"I guess I’m still on the court, though I’m not too nervous about being called to active duty," said U.S. District Court Judge David D. Dowd, one of the court's original sitting jurists. "Our court has suggested that Congress should just abolish the court if it's not going to be used, but no one has taken the bait on that issue."
The terrorist court is just one of a few unused – and potentially unconstitutional – counterterrorism laws that remain on the books. Created by Congress in the aftermath of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks in 1993 and 9/11, these legal vestiges may have run their course, been rendered useless by other laws or were never necessary.Other examples of unused counterterrorism laws include a provision of the USA PATRIOT Act related to the detention of foreign nationals suspected of terrorism and an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The amendment gives the government the power to spy on foreign students, tourists and other temporary visitors to the United States without linking them to a foreign power.
The three laws all could be struck down, possibly making the government wary of their use, said Stephanie Blum, an adjunct law professor at Michigan State University and author of a Lewis & Clark Law Review article that examines the three unused laws. She described the scenario as "use it and lose it."
Blum said the unused laws might need to be re-examined and, in some cases, either broadened to help address potential security gaps or eliminated as unnecessary.
Yet, some judges see no harm in having dormant laws on the books. U.S. Department of Justice officials have argued [PDF] that they are important enforcement tools that need to be at hand if needed.
Others, such as civil liberties advocates and legal scholars, argue that the government has other ways to remove from the country or prosecute foreign nationals with suspected terrorist ties.“If a law sits on the books for 15 years without ever being invoked, it’s a pretty damning case against the government’s assertion that it’s a necessary tool,” said David Cole, a law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. “We shouldn’t have laws on the books that empower the government to put people’s constitutional liberties at risk where there hasn’t been an established need.”While some counterterrorism laws might be controversial, the terrorist court is simply forgotten. Officials with the Homeland Security and Justice departments had little information readily available about the court.
Yet the court, created by a 1996 anti-terrorism law, was one of the Justice Department’s top counterterrorism legislative priorities in the mid-1990s, according to a 9/11 Commission study.
The purpose of the terrorist removal court was to enable the government to deport suspected terrorists while using – and protecting – classified information, which couldn’t be done in other venues.
The deportation cases would be heard by a federal district judge instead of an immigration judge. Unlike immigration court, the terrorist court allows the suspected terrorist to have a court-appointed attorney. Classified information could be shared only with the foreigner's attorney, but not the accused.
Designated by the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, judges sit for five-year terms. They are not paid extra for being on the court and carry regular caseloads in their respective districts, said Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
In a meeting shortly after the court's creation, Justice Department officials told the judges that they expected to file about 30 cases, said Dowd, one of the original jurists.
The judges met to discuss, establish and adopt rules for the court, which are still regularly published. But by a second meeting, officials already had started to back off, Dowd said.
In the four years after the court’s creation, the Justice Department identified 100 potential cases for the court but ultimately rejected them all, the 9/11 Commission study found.In a 2002 report to Congress, the Justice Department wrote that it had “devoted substantial resources to the task of identifying and evaluating cases” to bring before the removal court, but it hadn’t identified one.
The department also said the court was intended to be low volume, as most suspected foreign terrorists can be removed without the use of classified evidence.
In fact, the government rarely seeks an immigrant’s removal from the country on national security grounds, with only about 360 cases in the decade after 9/11, according to an analysis by the Syracuse University-based Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
Janice Kephart, who served on the 9/11 Commission staff, said bureaucratic wrangling within the Justice Department and redundancy in terrorism laws kept the court from getting off the ground.
They were second-guessing each other constantly,” she said. “(The terrorist court is) an empty vessel, but they don’t want the vessel to go away, so they just keep it sitting there."Hmmmm............How many U.S. Taxpayer Dollars have been wasted on this?Read the full story here.

Video - Somewhere in a little Belgium town : "Push to add drama".

The Man Who Would (Could) Be King.

The Man Who Would (Could) Be King.(FP).By Simon HendersonThe senior members of the Saudi royal family are looking increasingly frail, and the buzz in the Gulf is that there will be not just one, but two, changes in the kingdom's leadership during the course of the next year. Although there is no fixed succession plan if that comes to pass, the newly minted defense minister, Prince Salman, looks well-placed to ascend to the throne.The evidence suggests that Saudi Arabia's current ruling clique is on its last legs. This week, the 89 year-old King Abdullah presided over the usual meeting of the council of ministers from the vantage point of his own palace in Riyadh rather than travelling to the council building. Propped in his chair, a cushion supporting his back, he looked as uncomfortable personally as he probably was politically with the state of the Arab world. It grieves him that Syria, a country with which he has family ties, is in such bloody turmoil, and it infuriates him that Washington does not share his view of the danger of Iran. Within a day or so, the Saudi heir to the throne, the 79 year-old Crown Prince Nayef, is due to return home after more than a month away from the kingdom. He initially went to Morocco on "vacation," but within a week traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, for "routine" medical tests, before flying to Algeria. Such an itinerary -- and an absence of photographs of him since leaving Cleveland -- has raised speculation that he is unwell. In recent months, he has added a stick to his wardrobe and regained a steroidal puffiness, renewing speculation that cancer, probably leukemia, has returned after an apparent respite of several years. A leadership role is increasingly being taken by Prince Salman, 76 years old, who was promoted to minister of defense last November after the death of then Crown Prince Sultan.And last week, Salman visited London in a major demonstration of Riyadh's close military supply relationship with Britain, its most significant link after its longtime alliance with the United States. Bypassing the U.S. capital may conveniently have served to emphasize that the White House's apparent obsession with political change in the Middle East is not appreciated in Riyadh. As a former long-serving governor of the kingdom's giant Riyadh province, Salman is a known quantity to visiting international dignitaries. However, his familiarity with the world does not make him particularly worldly. Soon after the terror attacks on New York and Washington of September 2001, he told newly arrived U.S. ambassador Robert Jordan that the 9/11 attacks had been a "Zionist plot." The ambassador had to request that CIA briefers visit the kingdom to convince royals, including then Crown Prince Abdullah and Prince Nayef, otherwise. The advanced age of Saudi Arabia's ruling elite virtually ensures that the kingdom will undergo a series of leadership changes in the coming years, throwing an already troubled region into further turmoil. With Syria burning, Yemen in chaos, and Iran possibly inflamed by sanctions and diplomatic pressures, foreign capitals view Saudi Arabia's immediate future with unsurprising nervousness.Read the full story here.

"There she blows" - The Navy's big new Zumwalt destroyer.

"There she blows" - The Navy's big new Zumwalt destroyer.(Fox).An enormous, expensive and technology-laden warship that some Navy leaders once tried to kill because of its cost is now viewed as an important part of the Obama administration's Asia-Pacific strategy, with advanced capabilities that the Navy's top officer says represent the Navy's future. The stealthy, guided-missile Zumwalt that's taking shape at Bath Iron Works is the biggest destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy. The low-to-the-water warship will feature a wave-piercing hull, composite deckhouse, electric drive propulsion, advanced sonar, missiles, and powerful guns that fire rocket-propelled warheads as far as 100 miles. It's also longer and heavier than existing destroyers -- but will have half the crew because of automated systems. "
With its stealth, incredibly capable sonar system, strike capability and lower manning requirements -- this is our future," concluded Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, who gave the warship his endorsement on a visit last week to Bath Iron Works, where the ships are being built. It wasn't always this way. The General Accounting Office expressed concerns that the Navy was trying to incorporate too much new technology. Some Navy officials pointed out that it's less capable than existing destroyers when it comes to missile defense, and a defense analyst warned that it would be vulnerable while operating close to shore for fire support. Even its "tumblehome" hull was criticized as potentially unstable in certain situations. 
The 600-foot-long ships are so big that the General Dynamics-owned shipyard spent $40 million to construct a 106-foot-tall building to assemble the giant hull segments. And then there's the cost, roughly $3.8 billion apiece, according to the Navy's latest proposed budget. ... The Zumwalt's 155 mm deck guns were built to pound the shore with guided projectiles to pave the way for the Marines to arrive in landing craft, and they're far more cost-effective in certain situations than cruise missiles, said Eric Wertheim, author of the "Naval Institute's Guide to Combat Fleets of the World." The smaller crew also represents a substantial cost savings, he added. Down the road, the ship could one day be equipped with an electromagnetic railgun, a powerful weapon that uses a magnetic field and electric current to fire a projectile at several times the speed of sound.Hmmmm.....Sadly Obama care might swallow the budget for more such ships in the future.Read the full story here.

New Video Boko Haram Leader Threatens To "Devour" President Jonathan In 3 Months.

In a new video posted on Youtube today, the leadership of the Jama’atu Ahl-Sunnati Lil Da’awati Wal Jihad popularly known as Boko Haram today stated that President Goodluck Jonathan cannot end its insurgency in June as publicly stated. Sheik Abubakar Imam Shekau the leader of the group also boasted that Nigerian security agencies cannot take down the sect by June 2012 as earlier promised by the president recently in South Korea. The sect leader who appear agitated throughout the video recording was surrounded by several bodyguards. 
Shekau delivered the message via a Youtube video which lasted for 14 minutes and two seconds. In it Shekau also threatened to consume Jonathan's regime in 3-months.
The video message was titled “Message To Jonathan” In the preamble of the message, Shekau vowed that it must destroy Christians and Christianity in Nigeria particularly those killing Muslims in Nigeria and it will also kill all Muslims aiding the arrest and harassment of its members.
The message as conveyed by its principal Sheik Abubakar Imam Shekau was mainly in Arabic and Hausa language. Shekau said, “You Jonathan cannot stop us like you boasted, instead we will devour you in the three months like you are boasting. If death is your worldly gain, for us, it is eternal victory to die working for Allah. Our joy is to die in Jihad for Allah against infidels like you…" “We are also aware of some Muslims using our name to make money, we will say nothing but let them continue, and they will meet Allah in the last day. “
We are not doing physical human service, but Allah’s work and it is clear your aim is killing us. Let me tell you with Allah we will triumph over you and your men in hundreds. We are not boasting rather keeping quiet and working for Allah. “Allah that finishes Pharaoh and others wicked rulers that you are not even up to them, will finish you and end your government. We are not afraid because we are not doing man work but Allah’s work. And we will see who will carry the day.Hmmm.......The "religion of peace".Source here.

Video - Kuwaiti Cleric and Manager of Al-Resala TV Tareq Sweidan: Jews, Not Dictatorship, Are the Number One Danger Facing Muslims.

Tareq Sweidan : I studied at the Petroleum Department at the University of Oklahoma, and our dean, who was a Christian American, retired. The man they brought to replace him was completely incompetent. I went to the former dean, Dr. Guerrero, and asked him: "What made them choose Dr. Sylvester as the new dean, even though he is unworthy of this?" I was still a student back then. He laughed and said: "You noticed?" I said: "Of course. Anybody with eyes in his head would notice."
He said: "It's because he is a Freemason." This Guerrero began to curse the Jews and the Freemasons, saying that they control everything.
This is just a little story from Oklahoma in the middle of America. Now think what happens in New York or California, the centers of power. [...] When I was still in the US, we decided to try to influence a member of Congress, who seemed to be somewhat sympathetic towards us. He was campaigning in the elections, and we said: "Let us Muslims vote and raise funds for him. We raised 300,000 dollars and went to give it to him, saying: "Take this money, we support you, and you will support us politically." He refused. We asked why, and he said: "The Jews were here yesterday and gave me 300 million."
I have no hope that the West will change its positions. I can change the positions of some Westerners, but at the end of the day, power lies with the politicians, who are influenced by two things and two things only: money and the media, both of which are controlled by the Jews. So we should make the effort, but we must not rely on Western aid or on Western popular sympathy. These are minor things. We rely upon Allah and then upon our armed resistance in obtaining our rights. [...]
I say to the Arabs today: "Please do not negotiate. You are weak and would end up making unnecessary concessions. If you are incapable of regaining the holy city [of Jerusalem], I beg you to leave it occupied. A generation will come that will liberate it for us." We do not want negotiations or compromises while in a state of weakness, because we would end up relinquishing what the strong would not give up. [...]
Interviewer : The principle of compromise states that we should get whatever we can. Its supporters say: Let's accept this, so that Palestine is not lost in its entirety. Some Arab regimes have even begun to lament [their objection to] the Partition Plan. In order not to repeat the same mistake, they say, let's take what is being offered...
Tareq Sweidan : This is a defeatist mentality, adopted by the weak. Let me say something to you, to the viewers, and to the Palestinians: This land is not yours. Palestine, the Holy Land - and especially Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque - does not belong to the Palestinians. It belongs to the entire Islamic nation. You have no right to relinquish or divide it. By Allah, even if all the Palestinians accept a compromise and hand over Jerusalem, we will not agree to that. 
Even if you become weak and surrender, we will not weaken. We will continue to wage resistance until we liberate it. These are our holy places. This is the Islamic mentality as I understand it. [...] I'm from Kuwait, but my first and foremost cause in this world is that of Palestine and Jerusalem. Palestine and Jerusalem come before Kuwait for me, because I'm a Muslim, and I believe in my holy places. A nation that relinquishes its holy places becomes worthless.
Even if all the Palestinians relinquish it, the Islamic nation will not. [...] In a nutshell, my strategy is as follows: We must consolidate the position of the Palestinians within Palestine as much as possible. We must support the armed resistance in Gaza, and if possible, we must spread it to the West Bank, and even to Palestine [within the 1948 borders]. If we can, we should do that. Third, the countries bordering [Israel] must be serious in their resistance to the Zionist entity. Thanks to Allah, there are signs of this. Fourth, this must be a mission for the entire Islamic nation. Everyone should support this cause. The most dangerous thing facing the Muslims is not the dictatorships. The absolutely most dangerous thing is the Jews. They are the most dangerous. They are the greatest enemy. Source: Memri.

Video - Friday Sermon on Jordan TV: Jordanian Army Is Invincible, Will Shatter the Might of Israel.

Following are excerpts from a Friday sermon delivered by Jordanian cleric Ghaleb Rabab'a, which aired on Jordan TV on March 23, 2012 :

Ghaleb Rabab'a : The [Jordanian] army is invincible. Its units are filled with people who pray, with imams, and with people who memorized the Koran. This army will never be defeated, Allah willing. Jerusalem will be regained, Allah willing, by these modest and pure hands, which hold the Koran high and recite it day and night. This is an army that bows before none but Allah.
Today, we must take pride in our country and its army, which descends from the Prophet Muhammad. Indeed, my brothers in faith, things happen, but the arrogance of the Jews will be defeated, Allah willing. […] This army, my brothers in faith, will shatter the might of Israel, Allah willing, just as the might of the Crusaders and the Byzantines was shattered at Hittin, at Yarmouk, Al-Qadisiyya, 'Ain Jalut, Mu'ta, and Al-Karamah. [Israel's might] will be shattered by the will of Allah. […] Allah will not leave for long the first direction of prayer for the Islamic nation in the hands of the slayers of the prophets Source Memri.

Israeli group wants 'flytilla' activists put on trial.

                                                          Pic by Alexander Munch

Israeli group wants 'flytilla' activists put on trial.(HD).An Israeli group today called for the arrest and trial of hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists who are expected to arrive at Ben Gurion airport as part of a solidarity campaign this weekend. Between Saturday evening and Sunday, hundreds of activists, mainly from European countries, are expected to land at Israel's main international airport as part of a campaign called "Welcome to Palestine." The visitors are expected to openly declare their intent to visit the West Bank. But Israel has vowed to prevent them from arriving.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Israel Law Centre, said she had asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein "to put an end" to the campaign, now in its third year. "We are asking him to put them on trial," she told Israeli public radio. "This is criminal activity... (which is) a breach of several laws in Israel including unauthorised assembly and crossing the border when they have been specifically told not to come here." In previous years activists have been held in custody pending deportation but not charged with any offence. "Israel must put an end to this," Darshan-Leitner said, "They don't learn because they don't pay the price." 
Hundreds of Israeli police are to be deployed in and around the airport from Saturday night, and the security establishment has already approached foreign carriers in an attempt to prevent known activists from travelling, press reports said. Representatives of all the airlines which fly to Israel were summoned to a meeting last week with senior police and defence officials, at which they were told that the activists would not be allowed in, Maariv newspaper reported on Wednesday.
"It was made clear to those present that every activist that arrived in Israel would be detained, and the airline would be held responsible for returning him at its own expense," it said. Israel is also planning to hand the airlines a list of activists who are expected to arrive shortly before the planes are scheduled to take off from their points of origin, it said. Most of the flights defined as "problematic" would not arrive at the main Ben Gurion terminal, but would be rerouted to another part of the airport where they would be "isolated so that the police officers can check the passengers prior to disembarkation," the paper said.French organisers of the planned event said on Wednesday they still plan to travel despite Israeli opposition.Read the full story here.

Russian Females Ranked 4th in World Beauty List.Who's number One?

Russian Females Ranked 4th in World Beauty List.Who's number One?(RN).Influential Hong Kong-based online magazine Traveler’s Digest has ranked Russian females fourth in a global beauty rating, which strongly contradicts the popular saying that “Russian women are the most beautiful in the world.” Girls from Sweden grabbed first place in the rating, which the author confirmed is “chauvinistic and sexist.” “Sweden is still firmly in first place on this list. The first time you visit Sweden is an unreal experience as you realize that everything you have ever heard is, in fact, true! The women are tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed goddesses whom are friendly and educated to boot,” the magazine said. The runner-up is Argentina. “Maybe it's the high-fashion or the romantic culture, or maybe it's just because the women are tall, striking beauties, but there's truly something special about them,” Traveler’s Digest explained. Ukraine is in third place. In a similar rating, the magazine called Ukraine’s capital Kiev the city with the most beautiful women in the world, but also called on lovers of “scantily-clad women” to check out Ukraine’s Black Sea coast and especially Odessa. “Mother Russia makes an appearance at number four on this list, but when we're talking about women this beautiful, there's really only a slight difference between number four and number one. For 4,000 miles all the way from Moscow to Siberia the women in Russia are drop-dead gorgeous,” the magazine said. Last in the top-five were the gorgeous women from Bulgaria.Read the full story here.

Task force from Russia’s Northern Fleet to Join Anti-Piracy Mission in May.

Task force from Russia’s Northern Fleet to Join Anti-Piracy Mission in May.(RN).A task force from Russia’s Northern Fleet, led by the Udaloy class destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov, will arrive in the Gulf of Aden in the beginning of May to join an anti-piracy mission off the Somali coast. The destroyer has a military investigator on board to provide legal assistance for the Russian mission in case the task force encounters pirate vessels while escorting commercial ships. “The investigator has been certified in the international maritime law and has all necessary forensic equipment to conduct investigations,” a spokesman for the Main Military Investigative Department told RIA Novosti on Wednesday. On the way to the Gulf of Aden, the Northern Fleet’s task force will make an official visit to the Spanish exclave of Ceuta in North Africa on April 16-18 and the port of Souda on Crete on April 23-26. It will stop at the port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on May 2-5 to replenish water and food supplies before arriving in the Gulf of Aden. The new task force will replace the Russian Pacific Fleet’s task force headed by the Admiral Tributs destroyer, which completed its anti-piracy mission off the Somali coast on Monday and set sail for its home base in Vladivostok.The Admiral Tributs, the Pechenega tanker and a rescue tugboat arrived in the Gulf of Aden on January 12 and escorted five convoys of commercial ships since then.
Task forces from the Russian Navy, usually led by Udaloy class destroyers, operate in the area on a rotating basis.
Russian warships have successfully escorted more than 130 commercial vessels from various countries through pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast since 2008, when Russia joined the international anti-piracy mission in the region.
Russian frigate, the Neustrashimy (Fearless), seized a boat with seven pirates during an operation to thwart an attack on the Ariella merchant ship in the Gulf of Aden in February 2010.(See vid below).The Russian warships have also thwarted pirate attacks on the Ocean Diamond dry cargo ship and the United Emblem tanker in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.Read the full story here.

The Euro crisis - Spain - when in debt grow marijuana.

The Euro crisis - Spain - when in debt: grow marijuana.(Spiegel).In Rasquera, they reckon marijuana is the solution. On Wednesday, the authorities in the eastern Spanish village, population 900, announced that the residents had agreed to an unsual plan that the municipality has come up with to fight the crisis. In the future, Rasquera will lease several fields to a Barcelona association that plans to grow hemp there. The revenue is intended to help the municipality reduce its debts of €1.3 million ($1.7 million). Around 500 kilometers (300 miles) away in Madrid, the national government is also worried about money. This week, Spain found itself in the financial markets' crosshairs again. On Tuesday, the government had to pay significantly higher interest rates of almost 6 percent on its 10-year bonds. Italy's borrowing costs have also risen. The rate that the country pays for one-year bonds more than doubled to 2.84 percent from last month's rate of 1.40 percent at an auction on Wednesday, while yields on three-year bonds hit 3.89 percent at an auction on Thursday, up from 2.76 percent last month. It looks like the euro zone is getting sick again -- this time with a case of Spanish flu.
For a while, it looked like the patient was recovering. The situation in the euro zone had stabilized at the beginning of the year. The head of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, even said that the worst of the crisis had passed. So why is the situation heating up again? There doesn't appear to be a single, unambiguous reason for the concerns about Spain. But a speech by newly elected Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on March 2 played a key role in fuelling renewed uncertainty about Spain's ability to service its debts. The conservative prime minister announced that his country would not comply with the planned deficit target of 4.4 percent of gross domestic product for 2012, but would only cut its budget deficit to 5.8 percent. In itself, that was hardly surprising: The original target was somewhat ambitious, particularly given Spain's 2011 deficit of 8.5 percent.
But by revising the target, Spain broke a promise to its EU partners without consulting them first. It was only later that Madrid and its fellow euro-zone states retroactively agreed on a target of 5.3 percent. Spain has actually chosen "the right way," says Nicolaus Heinen, an analyst at Deutsche Bank. "The country needs to strike a careful balance between growth and austerity efforts." The issue of the deficit target being revised was mainly a communication problem, he argues. "It should have been announced earlier, ideally right after the boost provided by the ECB's loans."For Spain, however, generating new growth is at least as important as reducing the budget deficit. The situation on the labor market remains dire, with unemployment at almost 23 percent. As a result, the country is pinning its hopes on exports. "
Over the years, Spain has achieved relatively good export growth," says IW economist Jürgen Matthes, who recently published a new study on the subject. According to that report, Spain reduced its trade deficit -- the imbalance between imports and exports -- over the past four years from 5.8 percent of GDP to just 0.5 percent. Greece, by comparison, only managed to get its trade deficit down from 11.1 to 5.5 percent in the same period. Spain's export success comes despite the fact that Spanish unit labor costs have, unlike in Germany, been rising strongly for many years. Economists such as Hans-Werner Sinn, head of Germany's influential Ifo Institute for Economic Research, have demanded that wages and prices in the euro zone's crisis-stricken countries be reduced by up to 30 percent as a result.
But Matthes disagrees. "We doubt that such harsh cuts are necessary," he says. After all, he points out, Spanish companies are already managing to notch up significant growth. "They are having greater success than the textbooks say they should."
Meanwhile the German Der Spiegel reports that former German Justice Minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin (SPD) has announced that she will launch a legal challenge at the German Constitutional Court on behalf of the ‘More Democracy’ campaign against both the ‘fiscal treaty’ on eurozone budgetary discipline and the ESM treaty establishing the permanent bailout fund. Däubler-Gmelin argued that the EU plans “cross a red line” by transferring too much power away from national parliaments to the EU level, and that "I'm all for Europe, but not for a Europe that is determined only by the governing elites”.Read the full story here.

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