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HisDaughter
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« Reply #120 on: January 06, 2009, 10:50:46 AM »

This has been an interesting discussion and most interesting was to find out more about Sister Barbara!  Thanks for sharing!
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« Reply #121 on: January 06, 2009, 12:15:06 PM »

Hi Pastor Roger and grammyluv!

Thank you for your good wishes and prayers!

We're old and tired but when you have a young teenager it keeps you focused on what's important. He's such a good kid - we are really blessed! He's seen alot in his short life so far, but we know God is using him - he has alot of wisdom for a kid his age, and really knows God's Word! He also forces us to try to stay young when we'd rather 'vegge out' and worry about our aches and pains.  Grin There's no time for that kind of stuff!

As I said, you're all in our prayers and our little family is indebted to you all for your tremendous research and information that you so selflessly share with us all!!







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« Reply #122 on: January 09, 2009, 11:33:11 AM »

Biometric Palm Reader Sees Through Your Skin
01.08.09
by Dan Costa

Fingerprint readers watch out. What used to be state of the art security could soon be replaced by contact-free biometric authorization systems that can read the unique pattern of veins beneath your skin. This week at the CES 2009, Fujitsu is demonstrating just such a technology, dubbed PalmSecure as well as an integrated solution for companies dubbed LOGONDIRECTOR Enterprise Edition that will allow companies to manage security across their companies.

Palm vein scanning is far more secure and accurate than finger print," according to Dan Miller, business development manager for the new products group. "Finger print can be spoofed but vein technology is located in the palm of your hand and cannot be spoofed."

The PalmSecure reader uses near infrared light to capture your vein pattern, which is unique to each individual. This is then compared to a database of know patterns. The company claims its false acceptance is just 0.00008 percent.

Presumably, this biometric sensor could protect against the age-old sci-fi trope of using a detached finger to trick a biometric sensor. "You need to have blood flowing in order to get scanned." Miller says. "This virtually eliminates fraud."

Miller says the technology is already being deployed in multiple industries, including Healthcare, Physical Access, and Maintenance. For example, the company that administers the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Pearson VUE is using the technology to identify test takers to prevent so-called "proxy" cheating. Hospitals such as ValleyCare Health System in Pleasanton, CA, BayCare Health System in Tampa, FL. and Carolinas HealthCare System, Charlotte, NC are currently using PalmSecure solutions to identify patients and prevent insurance fraud.

ATMs are another growing field. Customers not only present the Debit card and PIN, but scan the palm as a third factor," according to Miller. "If anyone gets your card and PIN, they still need your palm." And, just to be clear, blood would need to be moving through it.

I can't post the link because this is the sellers website.
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« Reply #123 on: January 09, 2009, 12:10:35 PM »

Powerful Solar Storm Could Shut Down U.S. for Months

Friday , January 09, 2009
By Robert Roy Britt

A new study from the National Academy of Sciences outlines grim possibilities on Earth for a worst-case scenario solar storm.

Damage to power grids and other communications systems could be catastrophic, the scientists conclude, with effects leading to a potential loss of governmental control of the situation.

The prediction is based in part on a major solar storm in 1859 that caused telegraph wires to short out in the United States and Europe, igniting widespread fires.

It was perhaps the worst in the past 200 years, according to the new study, and with the advent of modern power grids and satellites, much more is at risk.

"A contemporary repetition of the [1859] event would cause significantly more extensive (and possibly catastrophic) social and economic disruptions," the researchers conclude.

'Command and control might be lost'

When the sun is in the active phase of its 11-year cycle, it can unleash powerful magnetic storms that disable satellites, threaten astronaut safety, and even disrupt communication systems on Earth.

The worst storms can knock out power grids by inducing currents that melt transformers.

Modern power grids are so interconnected that a big space storm — the type expected to occur about once a century — could cause a cascade of failures that would sweep across the United States, cutting power to 130 million people or more in this country alone, the new report concludes.

Such widespread power outages, though expected to be a rare possibility, would affect other vital systems.

"Impacts would be felt on interdependent infrastructures with, for example, potable water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in 12-24 hours; immediate or eventual loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, transportation, fuel resupply and so on," the report states.

Outages could take months to fix, the researchers say. Banks might close, and trade with other countries might halt.

"Emergency services would be strained, and command and control might be lost," write the researchers, led by Daniel Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

"Whether it is terrestrial catastrophes or extreme space weather incidents, the results can be devastating to modern societies that depend in a myriad of ways on advanced technological systems," Baker said in a statement released with the report.

Stormy past

Solar storms have had significant effects in modern time:

— In 1989, the sun unleashed a tempest that knocked out power to all of Quebec, Canada.

— A remarkable 2003 rampage included 10 major solar flares over a two-week period, knocking out two Earth-orbiting satellites and crippling an instrument aboard a Mars orbiter.

"Obviously, the sun is Earth's life blood," said Richard Fisher, director of the Heliophysics division at NASA. "To mitigate possible public safety issues, it is vital that we better understand extreme space weather events caused by the sun's activity."

"Space weather can produce solar storm electromagnetic fields that induce extreme currents in wires, disrupting power lines, causing wide-spread blackouts and affecting communication cables that support the Internet," the report states. "Severe space weather also produces solar energetic particles and the dislocation of the Earth's radiation belts, which can damage satellites used for commercial communications, global positioning and weather forecasting."

Rush to prepare

The race is on for better forecasting abilities, as the next peak in solar activity is expected to come around 2012.

While the sun is in a lull now, activity can flare up at any moment, and severe space weather — how severe, nobody knows — will ramp up a year or two before the peak.

Some scientists expect the next peak to bring more severe events than other recent peaks.

"A catastrophic failure of commercial and government infrastructure in space and on the ground can be mitigated through raising public awareness, improving vulnerable infrastructure and developing advanced forecasting capabilities," the report states. "Without preventive actions or plans, the trend of increased dependency on modern space-weather sensitive assets could make society more vulnerable in the future."

The report was commissioned and funded by NASA. Experts from around the world in industry, government and academia participated. It was released this week.

Powerful Solar Storm Could Shut Down U.S. for Months
~~~~~~~~

Me thinks they forgot it may also increase the temperature of the earth.
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« Reply #124 on: January 09, 2009, 12:13:13 PM »

Mystery Roar Detected From Faraway Space

Friday , January 09, 2009
By Andrea Thompson

LONG BEACH, Calif. —
Space is typically thought of as a very quiet place. But one team of astronomers has found a strange cosmic noise that booms six times louder than expected.

The roar is from the distant cosmos. Nobody knows what causes it.

Of course, sound waves can't travel in a vacuum (which is what most of space is), or at least they can't very efficiently. But radio waves can.

Radio waves are not sound waves, but they are still electromagnetic waves, situated on the low-frequency end of the light spectrum.

Many objects in the universe, including stars and quasars, emit radio waves. Even our home galaxy, the Milky Way, emits a static hiss (first detected in 1931 by physicist Karl Jansky). Other galaxies also send out a background radio hiss.

But the newly detected signal, described here today at the 213th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, is far louder than astronomers expected.

There is "something new and interesting going on in the universe," said Alan Kogut of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

A team led by Kogut detected the signal with a balloon-borne instrument named ARCADE (Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics, and Diffuse Emission).

In July 2006, the instrument was launched from NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, and reached an altitude of about 120,000 feet (36,500 meters), where the atmosphere thins into the vacuum of space.

ARCADE's mission was to search the sky for faint signs of heat from the first generation of stars, but instead they heard a roar from the distant reaches of the universe.

"The universe really threw us a curve," Kogut said. "Instead of the faint signal we hoped to find, here was this booming noise six times louder than anyone had predicted."

Detailed analysis of the signal ruled out primordial stars or any known radio sources, including gas in the outermost halo of our own galaxy.

Other radio galaxies also can't account for the noise — there just aren't enough of them.

"You'd have to pack them into the universe like sardines," said study team member Dale Fixsen of the University of Maryland. "There wouldn't be any space left between one galaxy and the next."

The signal is measured to be six times brighter than the combined emission of all known radio sources in the universe.

For now, the origin of the signal remains a mystery.

"We really don't know what it is,"said team member Michael Seiffert of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

And not only has it presented astronomers with a new puzzle, it is obscuring the sought-for signal from the earliest stars.

But the cosmic static may itself provide important clues to the development of galaxies when the universe was much younger, less than half its present age.

Because the radio waves come from far away, traveling at the speed of light, they therefore represent an earlier time in the universe.

"This is what makes science so exciting," Seiffert said. "You start out on a path to measure something — in this case, the heat from the very first stars — but run into something else entirely, some unexplained."

Mystery Roar Detected From Faraway Space
~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm going to let someone else say, what I'm thinking.
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« Reply #125 on: January 10, 2009, 07:42:51 AM »

I'll just say that men only THINK they have partial explanations for what happens in the heavens - GOD'S CREATION. Solar storms are something that many scientists think they understand, but I really don't think so. Average people should simply know that solar storms on the SUN so far away can have dramatic effects on planet earth. Even relatively mild solar storms can cause havoc with many kinds of emergency communication systems - including police, fire, and ambulance. Some types of electronics and communications suffer less effects than others, but solar storms on the SUN have all kinds of horrendous effects. First, it should be obvious that increased or decreased solar activity OBVIOUSLY has an effect on temperatures on the earth. One doesn't need to be a scientist to understand that changes in the activity of the sun could cause man to freeze or fry. Second, even average people are beginning to understand how little our scientists understand about what happens in the heavens. The bottom line is we don't have a clue. We understand a few minor, basic things that would be appropriate for beginners. Why is this? --  Mankind doesn't have much more than a basic understanding of ANYTHING - much less about what happens in the heavens.

Brothers and Sisters, the main point I wanted to make is that mankind doesn't have a clue about the power locked up in GOD'S CREATION. Bluntly, I would first say that anyone claiming that mankind causes global warming is a DIMWIT! Just small changes in solar activity have dramatic effects, and we already know that there are trends in various kinds of solar activity.  Is there something NATURAL in place that limits the magnitude of solar activity changes? I don't think so - NOT NATURAL - SUPERNATURAL - GOD! - THE CREATOR! As Christians, that word "NATURAL" should cause raised eyebrows. Anything that is so-called "NATURAL" is made by our SUPERNATURAL CREATOR - ALMIGHTY GOD! GOD determines what is NATURAL, or maybe "NORMAL" might be another good descriptor. GOD defined NATURAL AND NORMAL, and GOD CAN OBVIOUSLY CHANGE IT HOWEVER AND WHENEVER HE WISHES! If mankind tries to define natural and normal, we simply look at what has already been put in place by GOD, and we try to find explanations when things change. Let's get real - how often is mankind right? Isn't it really like a shot in the dark? The things that mankind gets right are usually VERY BASIC. I'll go out on a limb and say if you hit your toe with a hammer, it will probably HURT!


Many things are going to happen in the Tribulation Period that mankind won't be able to explain. Things will reach the absolute worst chaos, horror, and death before JESUS CHRIST will come and make the ONLY REAL PEACE this world has ever known. Three-fourths of the world population will be dead by this time, and all who are left will KNOW that GOD IS REAL and always has been. GOD has all of the answers that man will never get. Here's a little THINKING question for everyone - including Christians:  how would one treat and act toward GOD if there was 100% ABSOLUTE - CONCRETE KNOWLEDGE HE IS REAL AND STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU? Brothers and Sisters, GOD is 100% REAL - AND HE LIVES IN OUR HEARTS!

Love In Christ,
Tom

Isaiah 2:1-5 NASB
The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war. Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Isaiah 9:2-7 NASB
The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; They will be glad in Your presence As with the gladness of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian. For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire. For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
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« Reply #126 on: January 10, 2009, 08:34:38 AM »

 Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
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Rev 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
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« Reply #127 on: January 10, 2009, 09:11:26 AM »

 Grin   Grin

GOOD MORNING BROTHER DAVID!

I think we should give each one of those scientists a hammer, ask them to hit their toe, and ask them if it hurt. If so, we might think about letting them play with fire next.   Grin
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« Reply #128 on: February 03, 2009, 01:10:23 AM »

Obama has begun discreet talks with Iran, Syria

Sunday, February 1 02:54 am

US President Barack Obama has already used experts within the last few months to hold high-level but discreet talks with both Iran and Syria, organizers of the meetings told AFP.

Officially, Obama's overtures toward both Tehran and Damascus have remained limited.

In an interview broadcast Monday, Obama said the United States would offer arch-foe Iran an extended hand of diplomacy if the Islamic Republic's leaders "unclenched their fist."

Meanwhile, his secretary of state Hillary Clinton warned that the Israeli-Syrian track of the Middle East peace negotiations took a back seat to the Israeli-Palestinian track, especially because of the recent war in Gaza.

However, even before winning the November 4 election, Obama unofficially used what experts call "track two" discussions to approach America's two foes in the region.

Nuclear non-proliferation experts had several "very, very high-level" contacts in the last few months with Iranian leaders, said Jeffrey Boutwell, executive director for the US branch of the Pugwash group, an international organization of scientists which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.

Former defense secretary William Perry, who served in Obama's election campaign, participated in some of these meetings focused on "a wide range of issues that separate Iran from the West: not only their nuclear program but the Middle East peace process, Persian Gulf issues," Boutwell told AFP.

The Pugwash official declined to name the other participants, except to say they had considerable clout.

"We had very, very senior figures from both the Iranian policy establishment and from the US; people who have very close, good access to the top leaders in both countries," Boutwell said.

"The Cable," the blog of the specialist magazine Foreign Policy, said Iran's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (AIEA), Ali Asghar Soltanieh, was "among the Iranian officials who attended the Pugwash dialogues."

Meanwhile, a group of experts under the auspices of the think tank, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), announced Thursday that they met for more than two hours in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The experts included Ellen Laipson, a former White House adviser under president Bill Clinton and a member of the Obama transition team.

Assad struck positive notes, the participants in the meeting said during a press conference at the Washington headquarters of USIP, a bipartisan think tank financed by Congress.

"His phrasing was 70 percent of our interests are potentially shared and 30 percent are not. And he said: let's work on the 70 percent," said Bruce Jentleson, who was the disarmament advisor to former vice president Al Gore.

The Syrian president himself revealed on Monday that "dialogue started some weeks ago in a serious manner through personalities who are close to the administration and who were dispatched by the administration."

The United States accuses Syria of supporting "terrorist" groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, of destabilizing Lebanon and of allowing armed men to transit its territory to fight US-led forces in Iraq.

Washington and Tehran, which have had no diplomatic ties for nearly 30 years, differ sharply over Iran's nuclear program. Washington charges the program is a covert military one, but Tehran says it is for nuclear energy.

Obama has begun discreet talks with Iran, Syria
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« Reply #129 on: February 07, 2009, 01:46:28 PM »

Mexican Drug Cartels Armed to the Hilt, Threatening National Security

Wednesday, February 04, 2009
By Matt Sanchez

In November, along the border with Texas, Mexican authorities arrested drug cartel leader Jaime "el Hummer" Gonzalez Duran — one of the founders of "Los Zetas," a paramilitary organization of former Mexican soldiers who decided there was more money to be made in selling drugs than in serving in the Mexican military.

As El Hummer was being transported to the airport in an armed vehicle, his fellow cartel members launched a brazen attack against the federales.

They were armed to the teeth. Their arsenal ranged from semi-automatic rifles to rocket-propelled grenades. When the smoke finally cleared and the government had prevailed, Mexican federal agents captured 540 assault rifles, more than 500,000 rounds of ammunition, 150 grenades, 14 cartridges of dynamite, 98 fragmentation grenades, 67 bulletproof vests, seven Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifles and a Light Anti Tank (LAW) rocket.

This is modern Mexico, where the leaders of the powerful drug cartels are armed to the teeth with sophisticated weapons, many of which are smuggled over the border from the United States. It is with this array of superior weapons that drug cartels are threatening the very stability of their own country. And it's why America's outgoing CIA Director, Michael Hayden, says violence in Mexico will pose the second greatest threat to U.S. security next year, right after Al Qaeda.

"Americans are understandably focused on the flow of drugs and migrants into the U.S. from Mexico," says Andreas Peter, author of "Border Games: Policing the U.S.-Mexico Divide."

"But too often glossed over in the border security debate is the flow of weapons across the border into Mexico," he told Foxnews.com in a statement via the Internet.

The cartels are obtaining arms from America by using "straw man" buyers, who legally purchase weapons at gun shops and gun shows in the U.S. The weapons cross into Mexico, where border security is much weaker heading south of the border than it is going north.

Authorities don't know how many firearms are sneaked across the border, but the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) says more than 7,700 guns sold in America were traced to Mexico last year, up from 3,300 the year before and about 2,100 in 2006. Mexican authorities say 90 percent of smuggled weapons come from the United States.

In Northern Mexico, high-powered American weapons have enabled drug cartels to control whole territories. There is the Colt AR-15, the civilian version of the military M-16. And there is the "cuernos de chivo" — Spanish for goat horns . . . the 30-shot curved banana clip of the AK-47.

The AK-47, long the symbol of guerrilla revolution, is not the most accurate or technical assault rifle, but it gets the job done. It is the workhorse of drug cartels, and ammunition can come from a variety of world sources, including the United States.

And then there are the sniper rifles.

"The .50-caliber was interesting because we haven't seen that type of arm used in Mexico yet," said Scott Stewart, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer and an analyst for Stratfor, a geopolitical security firm. The .50-caliber long-range sniper rifle is incredibly accurate and dangerous; a trained operator could kill a human being with a round from well over a mile away.

For criminal cartels like Los Zetas, greater firepower means greater influence in not only the drug trade; it has enabled them to infiltrate and threaten the entire power structure of Mexico. In December, the Mexican attorney general announced the arrest of Maj. Arturo Gonzalez Rodriguez for allegedly assisting Mexican drug trafficking organizations — allegedly for $100,000 a month.

The connection between the drug cartels and the Mexican army has given cartel leaders access to military grade weapons like the high powered Five-Seven semi-automatic pistols.

A favorite with the cartels, the Five-Seven has the advantage of being light: under 2 pounds, with a 20-round clip filled with bullets the cartels call "matapolicias' — "cop killers."

"The 5.7 x 28, armor piercing (AP) rounds are not available for sale to the general public and are probably coming from the Mexican military," said Stewart who has analyzed U.S.-Mexican border security issues for half a decade.

The drug-related murder rate in Mexico doubled in 2008 from just one year before, and as the violence escalates, the power of the drug cartels has destabilized Mexican authority to the point of threatening national security.

Last week Gen. Ángeles Dahuajare announced that more than 17,000 soldiers had deserted in 2008.

"The Mexican Army is becoming a revolving door for the enforcement arm of the drug cartels; they simply pay better," Stewart said.

"If they don't get the weapons from the U.S., they'll get it from somewhere else: Brazil, Guatemala, Argentina or even former satellite state 'gray markets,'" he said.

Despite the efforts of his comrades in crime, El Hummer wound up in jail — and Mexican authorities paraded him before the media to reassure the public that they are still in control.

But that was largely for show. As long as weapons flow into Mexico, the drug cartels will be able to develop an arsenal. "Control" will be unstable, at best.

Mexican Drug Cartels Armed to the Hilt, Threatening National Security
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« Reply #130 on: February 07, 2009, 01:49:00 PM »

Madagascar soldiers shoot protesters, some dead

Saturday, February 07, 2009

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar —  Soldiers opened fire on anti-government protesters Saturday near the presidential palace in Madagascar's capital, and radio stations reported some 30 people were killed.

An AP reporter witnessed the shootings in Antananarivo and saw protesters falling, but it was unclear whether they were wounded or dead.

The deaths were reported by both state-run and independent radio. There was no official confirmation, and officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

The protest was one in a series called by opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, whose challenge to the country's president sparked deadly violence last month. Unrest has been a hallmark of politics in Madagascar, an Indian Ocean island off Africa's southeast coast.

"(The army should) defend the people and stop these soldiers who are firing on people," Rajoelina declared Saturday on independent radio Viva.

The protest started at a central square where Rajoelina regularly addresses supporters. Thousands of demonstrators then headed toward the presidential palace.

Rajoelina, the former mayor of Antananarivo, had declared that presidential palace belonged to the city, but left the square before the march set off. He was ousted as mayor on Tuesday by an official appointed by the police minister.

As mayor, Rajoelina had used rallies and broadcast stations he owns to urge President Marc Ravalomanana to resign and offered himself as an alternative. Rajoelina accuses the president of misspending public money and threatening the nation's young democracy.

The president temporarily shut down the mayor's TV station in late January, sparking mass protests that turned into riots and looting sprees that left dozens of people dead.

The stakes in Madagascar, known for its eco-tourism and vanilla production, have risen since oil was discovered three years ago but most of its people still live in poverty.

Madagascar soldiers shoot protesters, some dead
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« Reply #131 on: February 07, 2009, 02:01:56 PM »

With armor, microchips, Mexicans gird for `days of terror'
Mexicans who can afford it go to great lengths to protect themselves from criminals.

Friday, 02.06.09
By NINOSKA MARCANO M.

MEXICO CITY -- Inside of 10 seconds, the microchip -- no bigger than a grain of rice -- can be injected under the skin.

From that moment on, workers in a high-tech monitoring room in Queretaro, Mexico track the recipient's movements.

No names are on the screens, just numbers. And for that service, the recipient pays roughly $5,000 a year to feel safe while living in a country wracked by violence.

Mexico's widespread drug-related crimes and soaring kidnapping rate have severely eroded citizens' trust in the government's capacity to deal with the country's growing violence.

The country is currently classified by international groups as the riskiest Latin American country for kidnappings. Things have gotten so bad that some are asking Mexican lawmakers to consider reinstating the death penalty.

In an effort to keep safe, many citizens who can afford it have invested an estimated $18 billion in private security measures, including the microchip, according to a 2008 report from the Center for Economic Studies.

Inserting the chip under the skin shows how far many middle-class Mexicans are willing to go to ensure their safety, said Francisco González, a sales manager for Xega, the only high-tech security company in the country that sells satellite-tracking microchips for humans.

Xega's VIP satellite tracking microchip is just one security method. There are others. Consider:

• Some are taking out loans to buy or lease armored vehicles.

• Some are investing in bodyguards-for-hire to go to the ATM, or run weekend errands.

• Watchdog groups such as Mexico United Against Crime have grown substantially.

''Mexico has changed,'' said María Elena Morera de Galindo, president of the watchdog group. ``The lifestyle of Mexicans has changed.''

She joined in 2001, after her husband was kidnapped and his captors mutilated four fingers.

Some 3,000 people use the chip device nationwide, and the number is rapidly growing.

''[The device] has become very popular,'' said González. ``Our number of clients is increasing.''

The VIP device operates like a GPS receiver in a car. The client presses a button on a watch, a cellular phone or key chain with a matching chip, which activates an alarm warning elite forces working with Xega when a client feels threatened. González, the sales manager, uses the satellite tracking device himself.

The kidnapping trend is so prevalent in Mexico that people know kidnappers believe they can collect between $15,000 and $22,400 within a week.

In one of the worst cases reported in Mexico City, a 5-year-old boy from a poor family also from Iztapalapa was kidnapped from a flea market. The boy's kidnappers requested the equivalent of about $22,400 in ransom, but killed the child by injecting acid into his heart before any money could be exchanged. They feared getting caught.

''We are not living in fear, these are days of terror,'' said González. ``People today feel more at risk, and they want to protect their families, their children.''.

STAB-PROOF JACKETS

Miguel Caballero, the Colombian producer of ''designer bulletproof fashion,'' has such high-profile clients as King Abdullah of Jordan, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and actor Stephen Segal, among others.

In 2007, his company, which operates in 16 countries, including Mexico, made $9 million.

In the first seven months of 2008, he matched that figure.

With armor, microchips, Mexicans gird for `days of terror'
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« Reply #132 on: February 07, 2009, 02:16:33 PM »

Saudi Arabia says only mosques allowed
Fri Feb 6, 12:54 pm ET

GENEVA – A Saudi Arabian official says mosques can be the only places of worship in his country, rejecting pressure to change heavy restrictions on religious besides Islam.

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites, implements a strict version of Islamic law.

It told a United Nations meeting that the kingdom allows other religions in private.

But the vice president of the Saudi human rights commission said Friday that establishing houses of worship for non-Islamic religions was too sensitive an issue.

Zaid Al-Hussain tells the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva that there could be no debate. Other countries have urged Saudi Arabia to abolish laws that breach basic human rights such as freedom from discrimination on the basis of religion or belief.

Saudi Arabia says only mosques allowed
~~~~~~~~~~

And yet, they say other nations need to allow islam. One day, they are going to find out islam is a false religion. Every knee will bow to the Lord, Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #133 on: June 16, 2009, 11:25:19 AM »

North Korea would use nuclear weapons in a 'merciless offensive'

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

North Korea today said it would use nuclear weapons in a "merciless offensive" if provoked — its latest bellicose rhetoric apparently aimed at deterring any international punishment for its recent atomic test blast.

The tensions emanating from Pyongyang are beginning to hit nascent business ties with the South: a Seoul-based fur manufacturer became the first South Korean company to announce Monday it was pulling out of an industrial complex in the North's border town of Kaesong.

The complex, which opened in 2004, is a key symbol of rapprochement between the two Koreas but the goodwill is evaporating quickly in the wake of North Korea's nuclear test on May 25 and subsequent missile tests.

Pyongyang raised tensions a notch by reviving its rhetoric in a commentary in the state-run Minju Joson newspaper today.

"Our nuclear deterrent will be a strong defensive means...as well as a merciless offensive means to deal a just retaliatory strike to those who touch the country's dignity and sovereignty even a bit," said the commentary, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

It appeared to be the first time that North Korea referred to its nuclear arsenal as "offensive" in nature. Pyongyang has long claimed that its nuclear weapons program is a deterrent and only for self-defense against what it calls US attempts to invade it.

The tough talk came as South Korea and the US lead an effort at the UN Security Council to have the North punished for its nuclear test with tough sanctions.

Seoul's Yonhap news agency reported today that South Korea had doubled the number of naval ships around the disputed sea border with the North amid concern the communist neighbor could provoke an armed clash there — the scene of skirmishes in 1999 and 2002.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff declined to confirm the report, but said the North has not shown any unusual military moves.

Relations between the two Koreas have significantly worsened since a pro-US, conservative government took office in Seoul last year, advocating a tougher policy on the North. Since then, reconciliation talks have been cut off and all key joint projects except the factory park in Kaesong have been suspended.

Some 40,000 North Koreans are employed at the zone, making everything from electronics and watches to shoes and utensils, providing a major source of revenue for the cash-strapped North. The park combines South Korean technology and management expertise with cheap North Korean labor.

A total of 106 South Korean companies operate in the park. That number will go down by the end of the month when Skinnet, the fur-maker, completes its pullout.

A Skinnet company official said the decision was primarily over "security concerns" for its employees, and also because of a decline in orders from clients concerned over possible disruptions to operations amid the soaring tensions.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with reporters.

The industrial park's fate has been in doubt since last month when North Korea threatened to scrap all contracts on running the joint complex and said it would write new rules of its own and the South must accept them or pull out of the zone.

The companies have also been concerned by the detention of a South Korean man working at the complex by North Korean authorities since late March for allegedly denouncing the regime's political system.

The two sides are to hold talks on the fate of the park Thursday.

Intensifying its confrontation with the US, North Korea handed down 12-year prison terms to two detained American journalists on Monday.

North Korea would use nuclear weapons in a 'merciless offensive'
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« Reply #134 on: June 16, 2009, 11:27:56 AM »

Defying sanctions, NKorea vows to make more nukes
By KWANG-TAE KIM, Associated Press Writer Kwang-tae Kim
Sat Jun 13

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea responded to new U.N. sanctions with more defiance, promising Saturday to step up its nuclear bomb-making program by enriching uranium and threatening war on any country that dares to stop its ships on the high seas.

The North's threats were the first public acknowledgment that the reclusive communist nation has been running a secret uranium enrichment program. Suspicions of the program touched off the latest nuclear crisis in 2002.

The country also vowed never to give up its nuclear ambitions as a way to protect its sovereignty amid signs of preparations for naming its ailing leader Kim Jong Il's youngest son, Jong Un, as his successor.

Despite repeated assurances from Washington, North Korea has harbored deep-rooted suspicions that the U.S. could invade to topple its regime.

"It has become an absolutely impossible option for (North Korea) to even think about giving up its nuclear weapons," the North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea also warned that any attempted blockade by the U.S. and its allies would be regarded as "an act of war and met with a decisive military response."

The new threats came in response to tough new sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council over the North's second nuclear test on May 25.

The sanctions are aimed at depriving North Korea of the financing used to build its rogue nuclear program. The resolution also authorized searches of North Korean ships suspected of transporting illicit ballistic missile and nuclear materials.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the new U.N. penalties provide the necessary tools to help check North Korea's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons.

"This was a tremendous statement on behalf of the world community that North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the capacity to deliver those weapons through missiles is not going to be accepted by the neighbors as well as the greater international community," Clinton said Saturday at a news conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

"I think these sanctions ... give the world community the tools we need to take appropriate action."

In a move that could further escalate the nuclear standoff with the U.S., North Korea also said it has reprocessed more than a third of its spent nuclear fuel rods and vowed to weaponize its new plutonium, a key ingredient of atomic bombs along with enriched uranium.

North Korea is believed to have about 110 pounds (50 kilograms) of plutonium, enough for a half dozen bombs, said Yoon Deok-min, a professor at South Korea's state-run Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security.

Reprocessing 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods stored at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex could yield an additional 18 to 22 pounds (8-10 kilograms) of plutonium — enough to make at least one more atomic bomb, he said.

The North's announcement represents a huge setback for an aid-for-disarmament deal aimed at ending its nuclear ambitions, and presents a new diplomatic headache for President Barack Obama as he prepares for talks with his South Korean counterpart on Tuesday on the North's missile and nuclear issues.

Analyst Kim Yong-hyun of Seoul's Dongguk University said North Korea was sending a stern message to Washington ahead of the meeting.

He said North Korea is engaging in a game of "chicken" with the U.S. that he predicted would eventually end in bilateral talks.

South Korea expressed serious concern and regret over the North's statement.

"The provocative steps can never be tolerated," the South's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, urging the North to return to stalled disarmament talks.

In a February 2007 deal, North Korea agreed to begin disabling Yongbyon in return for the equivalent of 1 million tons of fuel oil and other concessions from the U.S., South Korea, Russia, China and Japan.

But disablement came to a halt as North Korea wrangled with Washington over how to verify its past atomic activities. The latest round of talks, in December, failed to make any progress.

North Korea has said it will test a long-range missile and is suspected of preparing for a third nuclear test, but there is no evidence that either is imminent.

Meanwhile, South Korea's top admiral expressed a firm intention to fight back against any North Korean provocations along their disputed western sea border, saying another deadly naval skirmish could occur in the area, where there were deadly naval clashes in 1999 and 2002.

As a precaution, South Korea has dispatched hundreds more marines to two islands near the maritime border.

"Be ready to chop off the wrist of the enemy if it touches even the tip of our hand," navy Chief of Staff Jung Ok-keun said in the text of a speech to be read at a Monday ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the 1999 naval battle.

Defying sanctions, NKorea vows to make more nukes
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