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The Wayfarers trilogy by author Jim Yackel

Friday, July 31, 2009

Obamacare called 'euthanasia bill'

The proposed Obamacare national health insurance plan would dictate medications, treatments and mental health services, choose for you the coverages you are allowed to have and operate with real-time access to individuals' bank accounts, according to a new analysis of the hundreds of pages of plans.

And it's worse, a critic said, than China's mandatory one-child policy.

"In the same way that the bill pushes elderly or the sick toward euthanasia, it is a pill that would cause economic suicide," said Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. "It's a euthanasia bill for America."

Members of Congress have admitted that they have not read the more-than-1,000-page plan, and Staver's organization is one of the first to go through it and offer an analysis of what it would accomplish.

In the Liberty Counsel analysis, he notes that under Section 163, the government would be allowed to have real-time access to individuals' finances, including direct access to bank accounts for electronic funds transfers.

Under Section 1308, the analysis finds, the government will dictate marriage and family therapy as well as mental health services, including the definitions of those treatments.

Will the elites control life itself? 'The Emerging Brave New World' documents the battle against the sanctity of life ethic

Under Section 1401, a Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research would be set up, creating a bureaucracy through which federal employees could determine whether any treatment is "comparatively effective" for any individual based on the cost, likely success and probably the years left in life.

more here :

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Leave Jerusalem Alone

Feature Article by Jack Kelley

250 Israeli Rabbis Sign Letter to Obama: “Hands off Jerusalem”

In a reference to the upcoming “nine days” which culminate in Tisha B’Av, the rabbis tell US Pres. Obama that “during these days, in which the Jewish people mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and mark the disgraceful memory of its destroyers, we are certain that you, Mr. Barack Obama, do not want to enter that disreputable list of those who raise their hand to strike Jerusalem and those who live in it.”

The rabbinical letter ends with a clear request: “If you, Mr. Obama, wish to leave any chance at all for peace and quiet in the Middle East, take your hands off the Holy City of Jerusalem right now!”

Two hundred and fifty rabbis have signed the appeal, and efforts are being made to collect the signatures of every rabbi in Israel before the letter is sent to Washington. (Source: A7News)

Tisha B’Av is a particularly sad day for Jews. Both the first and Second Temples were destroyed on that day, and down through history a number of other religious and national catastrophes have occurred on the 9th of Av as well. The nine days mentioned above refer to the first nine days of Av, a time of national mourning for these events that culminates on the 9th, Tisha B’Av. This year Tisha B’Av falls on July 30 so the nine days of mourning began on July 22.

The chain of events that resulted in this letter began in 1948 when Jordan attacked the newly created state of Israel and captured the Eastern part of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount. All of the city had been given to Israel by the UN. 19 years later Israel got it back in the 6 Day War and annexed it, reuniting the city. Since then several hundred thousand Jews have made Eastern Jerusalem and its suburbs their home. But the international community has never accepted the legality of the annexation. It calls the neighborhoods they live in “settlements” and the so-called Road Map agreement forbids additional settlement construction until Jerusalem’s final status has been negotiated. Will it remain undivided as Israel’s capitol, or will it be divided again with the Eastern part becoming the capitol of a future Palestinian state?

Continues here

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 29 Headlines

U.S.-Israel connection of growing importance

A conservative activist and former presidential candidate says despite continued worldwide hostility towards Israel, a recent conference in Washington helped solidify the growing alliance between Christians and Jews who understand the importance of the relationship between the Jewish nation and the United States.

Gov't-run healthcare - can you say 'Fannie Med'?

A healthcare reform expert says the compromise healthcare reform legislation being drafted in the Senate Finance Committee may look like a softer approach to reforming the healthcare industry, but it will still federalize the regulation of health insurance and eventually lead to a government takeover.  

Global warming is the new religion of First World urban elites

Ian Plimer has outraged the ayatollahs of purist environmentalism, the Torquemadas of the doctrine of global warming, and he seems to relish the damnation they heap on him. Plimer is a geologist, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University. Plimer presents the proposition that anthropogenic global warming is little more than a con trick on the public perpetrated by fundamentalist environmentalists and callously adopted by politicians and government officials who love nothing more than an issue that causes public anxiety.  

'Russia and Iran to hold joint naval exercise in Caspian Sea'

For the first time, Russia and Iran will hold a joint naval maneuver in the Caspian Sea, The Iranian Mehr News Agency reported Wednesday. According to the report, the maneuver will include 30 Russian and Iranian ships, as well as helicopters.  


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

India submarine 'threatens peace'

India's launch of a nuclear-powered submarine is a threat to regional peace and security, Pakistan has said.

"Pakistan will take appropriate steps to safeguard its security without entering an arms race," foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit said.

The submarine, unveiled at a ceremony on Sunday, will be able to launch missiles at targets 700km away.

At Sunday's launch, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India had no aggressive designs on anyone.

India has become only the sixth country in the world to build its own nuclear-powered submarine - until now only the US, Russia, France, Britain and China had the capability to do so. 

Article Link

Monday, July 27, 2009

When News Is To Disturbing To Report

We live in a society where we are numbed by the images we see on the news. School shootings, crimes against children and the elderly are all very common occurances. Nothing really shocks us anymore.  I have to say for the first time today I was really shocked by what I read on one of my Twitter breaking news updates.

The story was about the lady in Texas who stabbed her 3.5 week old baby. I will not post the details or a link to the story. It is too disturbing. For a while today Twiter did have the horrific details posted for everyone to read. It didn't take long for them to change their update and post a graphic warning before a link to the story. 

News to disturbing to report. Is this going to be the norm now?

Record lows, global cooling across U.S.

People all across the U.S. are asking a similar question: "What happened to summer?"


A check on Twitter will find a recurring tweet theme from people in New England. For example, "It's so depressing that it's the middle of July, cloudy, and barely 70 [degrees]." Another reads, "Had to wear my winter coat; it was 48 degrees this July!"
Marc Morano with says all across America, record low temperatures have been broken throughout the summer. He blames that on a recent trend of global cooling that has been in place for more than seven years.
"The reason Climate Depot is covering this is because every heat wave, every extreme storm, everything the media tries to promote when it's the other way -- every hurricane, every drought, flood...they always blame everything on global warming," he notes. "So, all we are merely doing is pointing out some of the dramatic record low temperatures -- dramatic to the point where some meteorologists have dubbed 2009 the year without a summer."

Article link

Sunday, July 26, 2009

North Korea Warns of 'Unimaginably Deadly Blows' to U.S.

North Korea's defense chief vowed Sunday to deal "unimaginably deadly blows" to the United States and South Korea if they attack the communist nation amid a tense standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. Defense Minister Kim Yong Chun issued the warning during a national meeting held on the eve of the anniversary of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, the official Korean Central News Agency said. 

"We will mercilessly and resolutely counter the enemy's sanctions with retaliation, its all-out war with all-out war," Kim told the meeting. "We will deal unimaginably deadly blows at the U.S. imperialists and the South Korean puppets if they ignite a war, obsessed with a foolish ambition."

Full Article

Saturday, July 25, 2009

North Korea 'executes Christians'

Human rights groups in South Korea say North Korea has stepped up executions of Christians, some of them in public.

The communist country, the world's most closed society, views religion as a major threat.

Only the founder of the country, Kim Il-sung, and his son, Kim Jong-il, may be worshipped, in mass public displays of fervour.

Despite the persecutions, it is thought up to 30,000 North Koreans may practise Christianity secretly in their homes.

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A report by a number of South Korean groups highlights one particular case of a woman allegedly executed in public last month, in a northern town close to the Chinese border.

The US government says just owning a Bible in North Korea may be a cause for torture and disappearance.

Article Link

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Clinton: NKorea running out of options on nukes

Faced with a fresh refusal by North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday the communist regime has "no friends left" to shield it from punishing U.N. penalties.

"North Korea's continued pursuit of its nuclear ambitions is sure to elevate tensions on the Korean peninsula and could provoke an arms race in the region," Clinton told a news conference after conferring with officials from 26 other countries and organizations. She cited near unanimity on fully enforcing the latest U.N. sanctions against North Korea for its repeated nuclear and missile tests.

Clinton said the U.S. will continue to insist that North Korea return to the bargaining table and verifiably dismantle its nuclear program. At the same time, she held out the prospect of restoring U.S. diplomatic ties to North Korea and other incentives — actions the Obama administration would be willing to consider only if the North Koreans take irreversible steps to denuclearize.

Continues here

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Asia watches long solar eclipse

People in Asia have seen the longest total solar eclipse this century, with large areas of India and China plunged into darkness.

Amateur stargazers and scientists travelled far to see the eclipse, which lasted six minutes and 39 seconds at its maximum point.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why the "Epicenter" Could Shake the World Sooner Than You Think

By Jan Markell

There is a lot of speculation these days about Israel's recent missile class warships sailing through the Suez Canal. This was just shortly after an Israeli submarine was spotted, capable of launching a nuclear missile strike in preparation for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

All of this was confirmed by Israeli officials, and it was a clear signal that Israel is able to put its strike force within range of Iran on short notice.

Additionally, Israel has strengthened ties with Arab nations that also fear a nuclear-armed Iran. In particular, relations with Egypt have grown increasingly strong this year over the "shared mutual distrust of Iran." Israeli naval vessels would likely pass through the Suez Canal for an Iranian strike.

These exercises are a message to Iran that Israel is serious about defending herself. It is believed that Israel's missile-equipped submarines, and its fleet of advanced aircraft, could be used to strike at in excess of a dozen nuclear-related targets more than 800 miles from Israel.

Is this just saber rattling with little substance? No. Israel knows it must strike Iran's nuclear plants before Iran is capable of seriously launching nukes at Israel's main cities in retaliation. If Israel strikes now, Iran is not yet capable of retaliating with her own nukes. Yes, she would retaliate in other ways, but they wouldn't decimate Israel. The region could be spared devastation if Israel acted in the next few weeks to a few months. If Israel waits a year or more, Iran will have the nuclear capability to send the region -- and world oil supply -- into utter chaos.

The Jews ignored the warnings of the 1930s to get out of Europe. They could not comprehend that a mad man had come on the scene who was serious about exterminating all of European Jewry. The Pharaohs and Hamans of Bible times weren't enough of a signal that such evil abounds then and now. The "new Hitler," Achmadinejad, is far more dangerous than the old Hitler. He did not have technology and nucleaer weapons.

In 1973 during the Yom Kippur War, Israel was caught by surprise. Israel kept delaying the deployment of troops. Not until the morning of Yom Kippur (October 6), about six hours before the Arab offensive, were Israeli officials convinced that war was imminent, and a mobilization of the reserves ordered. By then it was almost too late. But Israeli action, even though delayed, was so stunning that the Soviet Union threatened direct military intervention. Again, the world could have been plunged into a global disaster all because Israel waited too long.

Israel's victory in this war cost 2,400 lives and an estimated $5 billion of which more than $1 billion was airlifted by the U.S. during a time in the war when Israel's outcome looked bleak. There actually could have been a military escalation between superpowers in 1973, all because Israel did not heed the proper warnings before October 1973.

She will not make these mistakes again! It's kill or be killed now.

Any kind of military strike in the Middle East will affect you directly. You need to take these issues seriously and be in prayer. The Middle East is called the "epicenter" for a reason. It is the center of the earth geographically, politically, and religiously.

It does not help to have America's president tell Jewish leaders, as he did last week, that they must engage in self-reflection. Obama says there is a narrow window of opportunity for advancing the peace process and that he plans to speak openly and honestly with Israel just as he did with the Arab nations in Cairo. But in Cairo, he primarily praised Islam, his own Islamic heritage, and bad-mouthed America. Obama ignored the rejectionism of the Arab world against Israel and the ongoing wars and waves of Arab terror directed against the Jewish state since the day of its creation. He also compared the Palestinians to the U.S. civil rights movement.

His "engagement" and benign relationship with corrupt and despotic Arab regimes contrasts starkly with the tough talk conveyed to Israel at a time in history when once again, without God's intervention, Israel is facing extinction if she doesn't act and act quickly. She knows America is no longer her trusted friend. And no, God would not allow her extinction.

It's time Obama tell the Arab/Muslim world -- and not Israel -- to engage in self-reflection! It's time he tell them that the world's economy, already in a free fall, could spin out of control if there is a war in the Middle East sparked by Iran's thirst for nuclear weapons as soon as possible! It's time he tell them to dismantle all suicide bombers whose target is innocent Israelis (and other victims such as those in Jakarta last week). It's time Obama leave Israel alone, quit telling her to dismantle settlements, and quit trying to divide Jerusalem.

Obama's policy can be summarized as "Israelis should give and Palestinians should take." It amounts to appeasing the Arabs, humiliating Israel and, in the process, undermining the security of the Jewish state, the entire Middle East, and the rest of the world. Right when Israel needs every friend she can get (although the Bible says just the opposite will be the case), when Iranian nukes are being designed to fly down smokestacks in Tel Aviv and Haifa, America's president is lecturing and scolding Israel and telling her to "engage in self-reflection"? I suggest President Obama exercise some of his own self-reflection! (Also see Ezekiel 38:22, 23 for more of God's miraculous intervention when no nations come to Israel's defense.)

American Jews who voted overwhelmingly to elect Obama should not remain silent. They are entitled to press him to adhere to his commitment and treat the Jewish state in an even-handed manner. Together with other friends of Israel, they should discourage Obama from offering Israel as a sacrificial lamb on the altar of Arab appeasement. In urging Obama not to abandon Israel, they would also be promoting the U.S. national interest. History cannot point to a single instance in which appeasement of jihadists or tyrants has ever borne fruit.

Yet appeasement seems to be Obama's middle name. John Lennon would be happy were he still alive. The world's superpower, America, just loves to give peace a chance in all the wrong places.

Keep your eyes on the epicenter. It could literally explode in the coming weeks or months. Israel must act quickly no matter what the cost.

Monday, July 20, 2009

60 million people need swine flu vaccine, Brussels warns

Sixty million Europeans will need priority vaccination against swine flu, EU health commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has said, warning that "there won't be vaccinations for everyone."

Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa after her visit to a health centre by the Portuguese town of Estoril, the Cypriot commissioner pointed out that the number of people across the EU most at risk from the new type of flu, A (H1N1), had been estimated at 60 million by Brussels' experts, according to AFP.

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Health ministers from the 27 member states are due to meet in October to decide on the practical details of the vaccination programme against swine flu which has infected almost 95,000 people in 136 countries since April, according to official figures by World Health Organisation published on 6 July.

Although the new virus has most lead to less severe health problems than ordinary flu, the WHO has reported 429 deaths from the disease.

Continues here

Sunday, July 19, 2009

An Interesting Quiz

How would you respond in these situations?

1. A preacher and his wife are very, very poor. They already have 14 kids. Now she finds out she’s pregnant with the 15th. They’re living in tremendous poverty. Considering their poverty and the excessive world population, would you consider recommending she get an abortion?

2. The father is sick with sniffles, the mother has TB. Of their four children, the first is blind, the second has died, the third is deaf, the fourth has TB. She finds she’s pregnant again. Given this extreme situation, would you consider recommending abortion?

3. A white man raped a 13-year-old black girl and she’s now pregnant. If you were her parents, would you consider recommending abortion?

4. A teenage girl is pregnant. She’s not married. Her fiancé is not the father of the baby, and he’s upset. Would you recommend abortion?

In the first case, you would have killed John Wesley, one of the great evangelists in the 19th century. In the second case, you would have killed Beethoven. In the third case, you would have killed Ethel Waters, the great black gospel singer. If you said yes to the fourth case, you would have declared the murder of Jesus Christ!

God is the author of life, and He has givenevery single individual supreme value. Each life—whether inside or outside the womb—should therefore be valued by us. God knows the plans He has for each individual and has written in His book all the days ordained for us before one of them came to be. When we presume to know better than God who should be given life, we are putting ourselves in the place of God and are guilty of idolatry.

The Evidence Bible

July 19 2009 Headlines

Man charged after 6 slain in Tenn., Ala.
Six people believed to be from one family were slain in a two-state spree and authorities charged a man who was sitting on the porch when authorities arrived at one home in the killings. Five people were found dead in two neighboring rural homes near Fayetteville in southern Tennessee Saturday, and a sixth body was discovered at a business about 30 miles away in Huntsville, Ala., authorities said.

Giant Mystery Blob Moves Through Alaskan Waters
It's big, it's black, it's gooey and it may be alive. Giant blobs of thick, oily biological material are floating in the Arctic Ocean's Chukchi Sea north of the Bering Strait, reports the Anchorage Daily News. "It's certainly biological," Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Terry Hasenauer told the newspaper. "It's definitely not an oil product of any kind. It has no characteristics of an oil, or a hazardous substance, for that matter."

Islamic Supremacist Group Holds First U.S. Conference
A group committed to establishing an international Islamic empire and reportedly linked to Al Qaeda is stepping up its Western recruitment efforts by holding its first official conference in the U.S. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a global Sunni network with reported ties to confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Al Qaeda in Iraq's onetime leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It has operated discreetly in the U.S. for decades. Now, it is coming out of the shadows and openly hosting a July 19 conference entitled, "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam," at a posh Hilton hotel in a suburb of Chicago.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Episcopal Church moves toward blessing gay unions

The U.S. Episcopal Church gave its clergy the go-ahead on Friday to bless some same-sex unions, such as civil partnerships in states that legally recognize them, setting the stage for further conflict with the wider Anglican world.

The resolution, passed on the final day of the church's triennial national convention, also directs church leaders to develop official rites, or liturgies, for the blessing of same-sex unions -- a move that could see the church eventually change its definition of marriage.

For now, the church's official definition of marriage is a union between a man and a woman. The same-sex rites called for on Friday will be discussed and voted on at the next general church conference in three years.

The 2 million-member Episcopal Church earlier this week approved a resolution opening the doors to ordain gay men and women as clergy.

Both resolutions are sure to further strain U.S. Episcopal Church relations with its conservative parishes and the global Anglican Communion, whose 80 million members belong to congregations that are offshoots of the Church of England.

Continues here

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 17 2009 Headlines

Calif tax officials: Legal pot would rake in $1.4B

California tax officials say a state proposal to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol would generate nearly $1.4 billion in revenue.

A State Board of Equalization report released Wednesday estimates marijuana retail sales would bring $990 million from a $50-per-ounce fee and $392 million in sales taxes.

The bill introduced by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano in February would allow adults to legally possess, grow and sell marijuana.

Story here

Israeli warships rehearse for Iran attack in Red Sea

Israeli and Egyptian officials said two ships had sailed through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea. Media reports in Israel said the two Saar-class missile ships had been sent as a "message" to the Tehran government, which has repeatedly issued threats against Israel and is developing nuclear technology believed by the West to be intended for atomic weapons programme.

Story link

Netanyahu tight-lipped about imminent Iran attack

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office refused to respond to a report today purporting to quote an Israeli defense official stating the recent deployment of warships across the Red Sea should be seen as serious preparation for an attack on Iran.

Story link

Chips In Official IDs Raise Privacy Fears

Embedding identity documents passports, drivers licenses, and the like with RFID chips is a no-brainer to government officials. Increasingly, they are promoting it as a 21st century application of technology that will help speed border crossings, safeguard credentials against counterfeiters, and keep terrorists from sneaking into the country. But Paget's February experiment demonstrated something privacy advocates had feared for years: That RFID, coupled with other technologies, could make people trackable without their knowledge or consent.

Story Link

Thursday, July 16, 2009

El Niño blamed as hungry sea lions head for California’s beaches

Drivers on Interstate 880 in the San Francisco Bay area were startled to find a baby sea lion waddling on the motorway just before the morning rush hour — but the year-old pup is only one of hundreds rescued along the Californian coast this summer.

In the first six months of this year, 313 sea lions were reported stranded along the northern California coastline, from Mendocino to San Luis Obispo, compared with 485 for the whole of last year.

The Marine Mammal Centre in Sausalito, which covers 600 miles (965km) of coastline around San Francisco, is rescuing as many as 20 sea lions a day.

Scientists fear that the sea lions, like the 500 cormorants found starving or dead in April and May, may be an early warning sign of the El Niño phenomenon, the periodic warming of water in the tropical Pacific Ocean that can affect weather patterns around the world. One theory is that the warming water may be forcing the anchovies and sardines on which the sea lions feed to follow colder currents farther out to sea.

Continues here

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

G8 summit could be the last as rising nations want their voices heard

World leaders wrapped up the G8 summit in L’Aquila last night, saying that it could be the last meeting of its kind.

President Obama joined Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister who hosted the meeting, in suggesting that the G8 was too small to cope with the problems facing the world and that other emerging countries needed to be included.

“To think we can somehow deal with some of these global challenges in the absence of major powers like China, India and Brazil seems to be wrong-headed,” Mr Obama told reporters shortly before leaving for Ghana on his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa as US President.

The demise of the G8 — made up of rich northern hemisphere countries — illustrates its limitations in dealing with global issues such as climate change and the economic crisis. In any case the G8 countries were joined by the leaders of China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Egypt, spontaneously forming the G14.

Continues Here

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Medvedev Shows Off Sample Coin of New ‘World Currency’ at G-8

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev illustrated his call for a supranational currency to replace the dollar by pulling from his pocket a sample coin of a “united future world currency.”

“Here it is,” Medvedev told reporters today in L’Aquila, Italy, after a summit of the Group of Eight nations. “You can see it and touch it.”

The coin, which bears the words “unity in diversity,” was minted in Belgium and presented to the heads of G-8 delegations, Medvedev said.

The question of a supranational currency “concerns everyone now, even the mints,” Medvedev said. The test coin “means they’re getting ready. I think it’s a good sign that we understand how interdependent we are.”

Medvedev has repeatedly called for creating a mix of regional reserve currencies as part of the drive to address the global financial crisis, while questioning the U.S. dollar’s future as a global reserve currency. Russia’s proposals for the G-20 meeting in London in April included the creation of a supranational currency.

Article link

Pictures of the coin can be seen here

Monday, July 13, 2009

North Korea's Kim has pancreatic cancer

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has life-threatening pancreatic cancer, a news report said Monday, days after fresh images of him looking gaunt spurred speculation that his health was worsening following a reported stroke last year.

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The 67-year-old Kim was diagnosed with the cancer around the time he was felled by the stroke last summer, Seoul's YTN television reported, citing unidentified intelligence officials in South Korea and China.

The report cited the officials saying the disease is "threatening" Kim's life.

Pancreatic cancer is usually only discovered in its final stage, and considering Kim's age, he is expected to live no more than five years, the report said.

The American Cancer Society lists rather less optimistic data; it says about 20 percent of people live at least one year after they discover they have pancreatic cancer but that fewer than 5 percent survive as long as five years.

Continues here

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Potato famine disease striking home gardens in U.S.

Late blight, which caused the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s and 1850s, is killing potato and tomato plants in home gardens from Maine to Ohio and threatening commercial and organic farms, U.S. plant scientists said on Friday.

"Late blight has never occurred this early and this widespread in the United States," said Meg McGrath, a plant pathologist at Cornell University's extension center in Riverhead, New York.

She said the fungal disease, spread by spores carried in the air, has made its way into the garden centers of large retail chains in the Northeastern United States.

"Wal-mart, Home Depot, Sears, Kmart and Lowe's are some of the stores the plants have been seen in," McGrath said in a telephone interview.

The disease, known officially as Phytophthora infestans, causes large mold-ringed olive-green or brown spots on plant leaves, blackened stems, and can quickly wipe out weeks of tender care in a home garden.

Continues here

Saturday, July 11, 2009

California 'due for big earthquake' after tremors near San Adreas fault signal increased stress

Since the 6.5-magnitude San Simeon quake in 2003 and the 6.0-magnitude Parkfield quake in 2004 - both located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles - tremors have become more frequent and underground stress has increased at the end of a "locked segment" of the San Andreas fault.

A "locked segment" is as a portion of a fault that has not moved in years and is at high risk of a major earthquake.

The increase in tremors could mean that stress is accumulating faster than in the past along that segment of the fault, which ruptured in the magnitude 7.8 Fort Tejon earthquake of 1857, Robert Nadeau, a seismologist at the University of California at Berkeley, and his colleagues wrote in their report, published in the journal Science.

The region of southern California experiences a quake every 85 to 142 years, they said - making a quake theoretically 10 years overdue.

There have been some quakes nearby in the meantime, but the tremors keep occurring, Mr Nadeau said. 

Continues here

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ebola found in pigs for first time raising fears it could mutate and threaten humans

Reston ebolavirus (Rebov) has only been seen in monkeys and humans previously and, unlike other types of Ebola, it is not known to cause illness in people.

Researchers say it is theoretically possible for the virus to mutate in pigs into a form that might sicken people.

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The Philippines had tested 141 people, the researchers said, and six of them who either worked on pig farms or with swine products were found with antibodies to the Ebola-Reston virus, which means they might have been infected by pigs at some time.

However, they showed no signs of illness.

Rebov belongs to the family of filoviruses which target primates. These viruses cause viral haemorrhagic fevers, which result in bleeding and coagulation, and can lead to death.

In their study, the scientists examined blood and tissue samples taken from pigs suffering unusually severe respiratory infections in different parts of the Philippines and found they contained widely varying strains of the virus.

This suggests that the virus may have circulated widely in pigs even before it was first discovered in monkeys exported to the United States from the Philippines in 1989, the scientists said. 

Continues Here

400,000 to be relocated after quake in south China

More than 400,000 people need to be relocated after an earthquake rocked southwestern China, destroying thousands of homes, state media said Friday.

Thursday's magnitude-6.0 temblor, centered in Yunnan province's Yao'an county, killed one person and injured 325 others, 24 seriously, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Nine aftershocks have followed the quake, with the latest registering a 5.2-magnitude Friday evening, Xinhua said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The quake collapsed 18,000 homes and damaged 75,000 more, Xinhua said.

The report said China's civil affairs ministry has ordered the immediate delivery of 5,000 tents and other relief materials. The provincial civil affairs department has already allocated 4,000 tents, 3,000 quilts and other relief materials to Yao'an.

Continues Here

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Former IMF Adviser: As Bad As Great Depression

 Contrary to what many economists think, the economic crisis is the worst since the Great Depression, and the downturn has been even more severe in many other parts of the world than in the United States, said Barry Eichengreen, a former senior policy adviser at the International Monetary Fund.

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The crisis has highlighted the growing importance of major emerging-market economies, such as Brazil and China, Eichengreen told Bloomberg Markets.

What’s more, the resilience and stockpiles of currency reserves of these economies will make them a “force to be reckoned with” in any debate over global finance, he said.

“This is the first time we’ve had a major global economic slowdown from which they have not suffered disproportionately,” Eichengreen said. “They have skated through as a group more successfully than the advanced countries because their fiscal policies have been stronger. And their regulation of markets has been tighter.” 

Eichengreen cited one exception to this: Eastern Europe.

“They have lived beyond their means and now they’re paying the price,” he said.

The determining factor of how much influence an emerging nation will have in shaping global finance is whether it depends on other countries to finance its current account deficit, Eichengreen said. 

Continues here

Episcopal Bishop calls individual salvation 'heresy,' 'idolatry'

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says it's "heresy" to believe that an individual can be saved through a sinner's prayer of repentance.

In her opening address to the church's General Conference in California, Jefferts Schori called that "the great Western heresy: that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God."
The presiding bishop said that view is "caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus."

According to Schori, it is heresy to believe that an individual's prayer can achieve a saving relationship with God. "That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy."

My thoughts:

I think the majority of born again Christians would agree that the 'sinner's prayer' is not a bunch of magic words to say that get you into a right relationship with God, but heresy?? That is a pretty stong word.  How sad the Bishops words are! We can be in a right relationship with God through his son Jesus. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Federal agency Web sites knocked out by massive, resilient cyber attack

A widespread and unusually resilient computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of several government agencies, including some that are responsible for fighting cyber crime.

The Treasury Department, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department Web sites were all down at varying points over the holiday weekend and into this week, according to officials inside and outside the government. Some of the sites were still experiencing problems Tuesday evening. Cyber attacks on South Korea government and private sites also may be linked, officials there said.

U.S. officials refused to publicly discuss details of the cyber attack. But Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Homeland Security Department, said the agency's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued a notice to federal departments and other partner organizations about the problems and "advised them of steps to take to help mitigate against such attacks."

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Obama's moral clarity deficit

Relativism is as relativism does -- and Barack Obama does it well. His less than tepid response to evidence of a rigged election in Iran a few weeks ago and the subsequent brutalization of the Iranian people by an Islamofascist regime says more about our President's worldview than it does his foreign policy.


Amid Tehran's bloody election protests, the Internet was awash with images of Iranian citizens – many beaten, even murdered – desperately reaching out to Uncle Sam for cover. "Obama, please help us, they are killing our young children," implored one protester's sign.
Obama's response? He launched the most vapidly uninspired course of inaction since the days of one-term Jimmy: "It's not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling," he lectured.
Critics pounced, calling the president's hyper-measured reaction "timid" and "passive." So he stepped it up a notch. This time he expressed "deep concerns about the elections," promising to "monitor the situation." Nonetheless he urged calm saying that he was "waiting to see how it plays out." (Just what Granny needs while she's being mugged: A would-be champion to "monitor the situation" and "see how it plays out.")
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pope proposes new financial order guided by ethics

Pope Benedict XVI called Tuesday for a new world financial order guided by ethics, dignity and the search for the common good in the third encyclical of his pontificate.

In "Charity in Truth," Benedict denounced the profit-at-all-cost mentality of the globalized economy and lamented that greed had brought about the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

"Profit is useful if it serves as a means toward an end," he wrote. "Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty."

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The document, in the works for two years and repeatedly delayed to incorporate the fallout from the crisis, was released one day before leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations meet to coordinate efforts to deal with the global meltdown.

The release was clearly designed to give world leaders a strong moral imperative to correct errors of the past, "which wreaked such havoc on the real economy," and make a more socially just and responsible world financial order.

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Armed mobs spread ethnic strife in China's west

The government imposed a curfew Tuesday night in this regional capital of western China after mobs of Han Chinese with meat cleavers and clubs roamed the streets looking for Muslim Uighurs who had earlier beaten up people in the country's worst ethnic violence in decades.

Rioting in the Xinjiang region broke out Sunday and killed at least 156 people. Tuesday's new violence came despite swarms of paramilitary and riot police enforcing a dragnet that state media said led to the arrest of more than 1,400 people in the often tense region.

Members of the Uighur ethnic group attacked people near Urumqi's railway station, and women in headscarves protested the arrests of husbands and sons in another part of the city. For much of the afternoon, a mob of 1,000 mostly young Han Chinese holding cleavers and clubs and chanting "Defend the country" tore through streets trying to get to a Uighur neighborhood until they were repulsed by police firing tear gas.

Panic and anger bubbled up amid the suspicion in Urumqi (pronounced uh-ROOM-chee). In some neighborhoods, Han Chinese — China's majority ethnic group — armed themselves with pieces of lumber and shovels to defend themselves. People bought up bottled water out of fear, as one resident said, that "the Uighurs might poison the water."

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Saudis give nod to Israeli raid on Iran

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The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Earlier this year Meir Dagan, Mossad’s director since 2002, held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.

The Israeli press has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, held meetings with Saudi colleagues. The reports were denied by Saudi officials.

“The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a diplomatic source said last week. 

Although the countries have no formal diplomatic relations, an Israeli defence source confirmed that Mossad maintained “working relations” with the Saudis.

John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations who recently visited the Gulf, said it was “entirely logical” for the Israelis to use Saudi airspace. 

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ex-NFL QB Steve McNair, woman found slain in Tenn.

Police were working Sunday to unravel the relationship between slain former NFL quarterback Steve McNair and his friend, a 20-year-old woman who was found shot to death alongside him in his downtown condominium.

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McNair, who led the famous Tennessee Titans' drive that came a yard short of forcing overtime in the 2000 Super Bowl, was found dead on a sofa in the living room Saturday with multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the head. His friend, Sahel Kazemi, was very close to him on the floor, killed by a single gunshot. A pistol was discovered near her, but police said it took a while to find the firearm.

Authorities didn't immediately say who was to blame for the killings, but they weren't looking for any suspects.

McNair, 36, and Kazemi were together just two days earlier, when she was pulled over driving a 2007 Escalade registered to her and McNair. She was arrested on a DUI charges, and he was allowed to leave in a taxi.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pyongyang test-fires 7 missiles

North Korea reportedly test-fired seven Scud-type missiles off its eastern coast on Saturday morning, according to a report from South Korean official news agency Yonhap.

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The report quoted a South Korean government official as saying that the ground-to-ground missiles were "estimated to have a range of 400-500km." The official evaluated that the missiles were more dangerous than previous missiles fired as they cover a longer range.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that two missiles were fired between 8 a.m. (2300 GMT) and 8:30 a.m. (2330 GMT), and a third was fired later in the morning, though he did not comment on range or type.

Israel Radio reported an additional three missiles were launched later Saturday, and another, the seventh overall, was fired on Saturday afternoon.

US and South Korean intelligence estimated that the launches were deliberately timed to coincide with Fourth of July celebrations in the United States.

"Our military is fully ready to counter any North Korean threats and provocations based on strong South Korea-US combined defense posture," the statement said.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Will Your ID Soon Be a Microchip Under Your Skin? |

Written by Drew Halley

Yet another sci-fi milestone is upon us: microchips implanted under your skin and used to identify you.

The VeriChip is the first radio-frequency identification (RFID) microchip that’s been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in humans. The chip is the size of a long grain of rice, and can be implanted pretty much anywhere in the body (most commonly along the tricep). Depending on how it’s used, the chip could do anything from telling doctors your medical background to buying you a round at the club.

Outside of human bodies, RFID is already used for a wide range of purposes. If you pay highway tolls electronically, that little box in your car has an RFID tag in it. Lots of folks implant their pets with RFID chips in case they get lost, as animal shelters increasingly scan pets for them. Wal-Mart tracks their shipments with RFID, which has apparently revolutionized supply chain management. Hell, there’s even one in your passport.

But why put one inside your body? As interesting as it might be to have your ID show up on an x-ray, most people would rather suffer a line at the DMV than a rice-injection. Sure, it might make for good conversation at a party. But is that worth the needle? What would it take to get one under your skin?

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

California in 'fiscal emergency'

The governor of California has declared a fiscal emergency in the US state to address a budget deficit of some $24.3bn. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also ordered many state offices to close for three days each month until June 2010, with staff unpaid for those days.

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California has been one of the US states hardest hit by the recession.

The moves comes after state legislators missed a 1 July deadline to approve a budget for the coming financial year.

State Controller John Chiang has said the failure to meet the deadline means the state deficit will increase by up to $6.5bn by September. 

But Mr Schwarzenegger said that despite the crisis, he was proud of California, saying 30 more states were also yet to agree a budget.

For many states, 30 June heralded the end of the fiscal year, but several were facing crucial decisions to balance the books as the deadline neared.

Many of the states are legally required to have a balanced budget, which can mean cutting services and firing workers. 

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Obama hopes to persuade all Americans to accept homosexuality

President Barack Obama says that while he's dedicated to expanding homosexual rights, many Americans still cling to what he calls "worn arguments and old attitudes." 

At a White House celebration of Gay Pride Month, Obama said he hopes to persuade all Americans to accept homosexuality. ""There are good and decent people in this country who don't yet fully embrace their gay brothers and sisters -- not yet," said the president. "That's why I've spoken about these issues -- not just in front of you -- but in front of unlikely audiences, in front of African-American church members." 

Obama acknowledged that many Americans still disapprove of homosexuality. "There are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes," he stated.

He added that Congress should repeal what Obama referred to as "the so-called Defense of Marriage Act" -- and that his administration is working to pass a hate crimes bill and to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuals in the military.

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