Monday, August 31, 2009

My Way News - EU: Fresh Mideast talks could be announced soon

My Way News reports: "A top European Union official said Monday that renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks could be announced in late September. The EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he expected a plan to reopen negotiations to emerge with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23."

Comment: Late September could be an important time for the Mideast peace talks, stay tuned.
My Way News - Digging up the Saudi past: some would rather not
My Way News reports: "In the eyes of conservatives, the land where Islam was founded and the Prophet Muhammad was born must remain purely Muslim. Saudi Arabia bans public displays of crosses and churches, and whenever non-Islamic artifacts are excavated, the news must be kept low-key lest hard-liners destroy the finds."

Comment: Their hostility to Christianity is even expressed in the sciences. This report notes that pre-Islamic churches have been discovered, but this is kept quite and archeologists are warned not to publicize their findings.
My Way News - As Internet turns 40, barriers threaten its growth
My Way News reports: "While the Internet is more widely available and faster than ever, artificial barriers threaten to constrict its growth."
My Way News - Europe marks anniversary of WWII beginning
My Way News reports: "At dawn on Sept. 1, 1939, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein shelled a tiny Polish military outpost on the Westerplatte peninsula, [...] It was the beginning of more than five years of war that would engulf the world and see more than 50 million people slaughtered as the German war machine rolled over Europe."

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Way News - UN: Questions about military aspects on Iran nukes

My Way News reports: "Iran is stonewalling the U.N. nuclear watchdog on 'possible military dimensions' to its suspect nuclear program, officials said Friday, urging the regime to clarify the mysterious role of a foreign explosives expert and shed light on other issues."

My Way News - UAE reports ship seizure with NKorea arms for Iran
My Way News reports: "The United Arab Emirates has seized a cargo ship earlier this month bound for Iran with a cache of banned arms from North Korea [...] Diplomats identified the vessel as a Bahamas-flagged cargo vessel, the ANL Australia, carrying rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons."

Comment: Evidence continues to mount that Iran's intentions are not peaceful. We know this, of course, but there are many people in the world who are intent on denying that fact.
My Way News - Egypt: Israeli freeze must include east Jerusalem
My Way News reports: "Egypt's foreign minister says east Jerusalem must be included in a freeze of Israeli settlement activity before Middle East peace talks can restart. [...] The Obama administration has hinted it may be backing down on its insistence that Israel halt all settlement activity as a condition for restarting peace talks with the Palestinians."
My Way News - Suicide bombing in Chechnya kills 2, wounds 6
My Way News reports: "Chechnya was hit Friday by the third suicide bombing in the past week, part of a rising wave of violence in Russia's predominantly Muslim southern republics that appears to have alarmed the Kremlin."
My Way News - China holds National Day rehearsal parade
My Way News reports: "The events are a way for the leadership to show off to the world and its people the country's might and prosperity. [...] Beijing has said it plans to show off much of its latest-generation weaponry and reports say the military aspect of the parade will feature entirely homegrown weaponry, highlighting China's rising capabilities in designing and manufacturing military hardware."
My Way News - August deadliest month for US in Afghanistan
My Way News reports: "A record 62,000 U.S. troops are now in the country, with 4,000 more due before year's end. That compares with about 130,000 in Iraq, most due to leave next year. Since the fresh troops began arriving in Afghanistan last spring, U.S. deaths have climbed steadily [...] as American forces have taken the fight to the Taliban in areas of the country which have long been under insurgent control."
My Way News - Apple seals deal to bring iPhones coming to China
My Way News reports: "Apple Inc. will get to sell the iPhone in the world's biggest cell phone market [...] China's mobile market trails the United States, Japan and some others in financial size but it has 650 million mobile phone accounts and is seen as a major prize for foreign firms."
My Way News - WHO says swine flu down in Southern Hemisphere
My Way News reports: "The World Health Organization said Friday that swine flu infections are declining in the Southern Hemisphere as its seasonal flu period comes to an end and the pandemic shifts back north. [...] there are no indications that the swine flu virus has so far mutated to a more virulent or deadly form."
Yahoo! News - Israel's Netanyahu given Holocaust plans in Berlin
Reuters reports: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on a visit to Germany on Thursday that one lesson Israel drew from the Holocaust was that threats to its existence could not go unchallenged and must be 'nipped in the bud'.
German journalists handed the Israeli leader, in Berlin for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, a portfolio of 29 plans from the Auschwitz death camp discovered last year."

Comment: It will be interesting to see what, if any, response comes from Holocaust deniers such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I expect that the silence will be deafening.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Way News - SKorea seeks to curb missionary travel to Mideast
My Way News reports: "South Korea is considering restricting Christian missionaries' travel to the Middle East, where their evangelical work makes them vulnerable to terrorist attack. [...] The Foreign Ministry said dozens of missionaries have been expelled for Christian proselytizing in recent weeks from nations where it is banned, including Iran, Jordan and Yemen."
My Way News - Japan opposition leader aims for rise to top job
My Way News reports: "One of his biggest departures from the LDP's positions is Japan's relationship with the United States, its biggest trading partner and military ally. He wants Japan to be more independent from Washington and closer to Asia."
My Way News - In southern Afghan city, fears of Taliban takeover
My Way News reports: "Southern Afghanistan's largest city, Kandahar, is slipping back under Taliban control as overstretched U.S. troops focus on clearing insurgents from the countryside - a potentially alarming setback for President Barack Obama's war strategy."
My Way News - Researchers: Pacific trash possibly killing fish
My Way News reports: "Researchers say a Texas-sized garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean is possibly killing marine life and birds that are ingesting the trash. Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography on Thursday announced findings from an August expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, about 1,000 miles west of California." - Device Lets The Tongue See
LiveScience reports: "The Wicab BrainPort is a device that takes information gathered by a small digital camera in a pair of glasses and sends it to a "lollipop" electrode array that sits on your tongue. The device was designed to help people who are blind or who have extremely low vision."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Way News - Israeli, Palestinian leaders likely to meet soon
My Way News reports: "The Israeli and Palestinian leaders are likely to hold their first meeting in the coming weeks, both sides indicated Wednesday, in what would be an important step toward a formal resumption of peace talks and a signal achievement for President Barack Obama. [...] Israel and the U.S. have been hinting that they are close to an agreement that would allow the resumption of peace talks."

Mitchell, Netanyahu report 'good progress' in Mideast talks -
The Christian Science Monitor reports: "... Mitchell, who has made five trips to the region and other visits to European and other capitals since his appointment in January, has made clear that securing a freeze on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories will be key to restarting the stalled peace talks. As part of a triangular effort to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the table, Mitchell has also pressed Arab states to commit to measures normalizing relations with Israel and to more vigorous financial support of Palestinians. [...] A deal would mean that Obama could announce a resumption of negotiations during the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York the week of Sept. 21..."

Comment: Another day brings more signs that solid progress in the Mideast peace process is being made behind the scenes. This could all be an illusion, of course, as solid progress means little in the context of the Middle East, where past agreements still remain unfulfilled.
My Way News - Analysis: Iraq's premier must work to keep job
My Way News: "Whether al-Maliki can recover in time and secure his job after the January vote is a question that has ramifications that go beyond Iraqi politics. [...] The U.S. military plans to withdraw all its forces by the end of 2011, leaving behind a vacuum many fear the Iranians would be eager to fill."
My Way News - Pakistani Taliban seen as regrouping
My Way News reports: "An agreement by two top leaders of the Pakistani Taliban to share power following the slaying of their chief is a sign the al-Qaida-allied movement is regrouping, but questions remain whether the network is as united as it seeks to appear. [...] U.S. and Pakistani officials have portrayed the movement as being in disarray following the death of Mehsud."
My Way News - CDC leery of estimates about swine flu's toll
My Way News reports: "While the swine flu seems quite easy to catch, it so far hasn't been more deadly than the flu strains seen every fall and winter - many people have only mild illness. And close genetic tracking of the new virus as it circled the globe over the last five months so far has shown no sign that it's mutating to become more virulent."

Comment: Some are pushing pandemic hysteria, but if you pay attention you will see that the experts are not, they are saying don't panic, there has been no mutation, H1N1 is just like the regular flu. I think we have to remain vigilant as well as skeptical about trusting those with a vested (and financial) interest in promoting hysteria.
My Way News - Analysis: Afghan vote shows Taliban still potent
My Way News reports: "Obama's answer to the mounting skepticism is to say that, in a way, the war has just begun. The final push to wipe out America's Taliban and al-Qaida enemies is not eight years old but really got started when he took office and ordered 17,000 more troops into Afghanistan."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Way News - Diplomats: Iran's enrichment program stagnates

My Way News reports: "The existence of a secret Iranian enrichment program built on black market technology was revealed seven years ago and since then the country has continued to expand it with only a few interruptions as it works toward its stated goal of a 50,000-centrifuge enrichment plan. [...] The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security recently estimated that, even taking the 5,000-centrifuge figure as a basis, Iran could accumulate enough material to produce weapons-grade uranium for two warheads by February 2010."

Israel weighs Iranian threat -
CNN reports: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not missed an opportunity to name Iran as the number one threat, and like his predecessors he has said Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran."

Comment: So, six months from now, according to the ISIS estimate, Iran may be in a position to launch two nuclear warheads. Six months. The clock is ticking.
Tony Blair: Keeping faith in peace in the Middle East -
CNN reports: "Rather than join the board of a company and embark on the after-dinner speech circuit after leaving office in June 2007, Blair was appointed official envoy to the Middle East, representing the U.N., U.S., EU and Russia. It's an enormously challenging role, but one he feels even more engaged with thanks to his own faith (Blair converted to Catholicism when he left British politics). 'I enjoy being there, I find it exciting and enthralling,' Blair told CNN. 'If you're someone from the Abraham faiths, then to be in the Holy Land; to be in and around the places that you read about and grew up with in the Bible, is very inspiring."
My Way News - Israeli airstrike on Gaza smuggling tunnel kills 3
My Way News reports: "The Israeli military said the air force struck in retaliation for a mortar attack from Gaza Monday into southern Israel that lightly wounded an Israeli soldier. The Israeli government has pledged a military response to every attack."

Comment: And now the media will blame Israel, how dare they keep defending themselves.
My Way News - Pakistani Taliban admit leader Mehsud killed
My Way News reports: "Two Pakistani Taliban commanders have acknowledged that top leader Baitullah Mehsud is dead, saying he died 18 days after a U.S. missile strike and disputing reports that the al-Qaida linked movement he left behind is falling apart. [...] Baitullah Mehsud's death is a victory for the U.S. and Pakistan."
My Way News - Most red ink ever: $9 trillion over next decade
My Way reports: "In a chilling forecast, the White House is predicting a 10-year federal deficit of $9 trillion - more than the sum of all previous deficits since America's founding. And it says by the next decade's end the national debt will equal three-quarters of the entire U.S. economy."

Comment: At some point, it just reaches a level of extreme absurdity to think that rational people can believe such spending can continue indefinitely without a crash.
Vacillating on Vaccinations
My Way News - Sebelius: Vaccinations main swine flu defense
My Way News reports: "Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday that a massive school closing wouldn't stop the spread of the swine flu virus, saying vaccinations must be the defense against a menace that one report said could infect up to half of the population."

My Way News - Half of health workers reject swine flu shot
My Way News reports: "Researchers at the University of Hong Kong surveyed doctors and nurses in public hospitals this year from January to May, asking them if they would get a pandemic vaccine based either on bird flu or swine flu. About 35 percent of health workers were willing to get a bird flu vaccine, versus 48 percent for swine flu. Experts were surprised so few of Hong Kong's health workers were willing to be vaccinated, since the city was hit hard during the 2003 outbreak of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome."

Comment: Vaccinations will be the first line of defense against the spine flu pandemic, so why do health workers have reservations about getting their shots? An informed public should know that almost every medicine ever created has some side effects and in some subset of the population those side effect may be very serious. This is simply because no two people are alike and everyone metabolizes medicine differently. Most medicines are safe for most people, but unfortunately in our litigious society, we force the medical community and government bureaucracy into the untenable situation of denying or obfuscating the truth that medicine of almost any variety can be harmful to a small percentage of people. That is no reason for the majority to refuse vaccination. It is a good reason to be informed and take an active interest in your health and to know your family medical history.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Obama Plan: Temple Mount Under Arab-Muslim Sovereignty - Israel National News

Arutz Sheva reports: "The Middle East peace plan that United States President Barack Obama will unveil soon involves the creation of a Palestinian Authority state by 2011 and the transfer of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem [presumably including the Temple Mount – ed.] to Arab-Muslim sovereignty, Saudi newspaper Al-Ukaz has learned."

Israel won't accept limitations on its sovereignty in J'lem - Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post reports: "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrived in London on Monday for two days of meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and US Mideast mediator George Mitchell, making clear that he will not allow anyone to question Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem."

Comment: The INN report says that President Obama will announce the new U.S. peace plan at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in September. INN is a right wing Israeli news source (quoting a Saudi source!) and some of their reporting has been more sensational than credible, so I would take the first report with a grain of salt, but their timeline for the peace process currently underway makes sense. The second report indicates how improbable it is that any Israeli PM will agree the the specifics outlined in the INN report.
Man urges U.S. to heed electronic terror threat -
MSNBC reports: "Experts warn an EMP attack with even a crude nuclear device has the potential to disable or burn out everything from cell phones and personal computers to vehicle ignitions, power grids and air traffic control systems within 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers), all while having no direct effect on people."

Comment: I have been critical of such fears on this blog in the past (see my previous post here) and there is nothing new in this report to change my views. Still, I can't deny that this topic is gaining currency and it seems to be a real fear among people who have studied the issue more than I have. I can only hope that public awareness of the threat will force the authorities to take steps to harden civilian infrastructure from EMP damage.
My Way News - Israel's Netanyahu brings balancing act to Europe
My Way News reports: "Benjamin Netanyahu's talks in Europe this week will force the Israeli leader to balance the demands of his right-leaning ruling coalition against an international front opposed to Israeli settlements. [...] Ignoring the wishes of the broader international community will demand a diplomatic cost Israel can ill afford to pay, and both Israel and the U.S. signaled Monday that they have made progress on a compromise on settlements."
My Way News - 3 Palestinians, Israeli wounded in Gaza clash
My Way News reports: "Israeli military said soldiers opened fire on a group of suspicious Palestinians across the border in northern Gaza. Palestinian Health Ministry official Moaiya Hassanain said two wounded men were brought to hospitals, and the military said another was taken to Israel for treatment. Later, Palestinians fired two mortar shells from Gaza, Israeli rescue services and the military said, slightly wounding a soldier."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Israel, Palestinians trade blame for peace deadlock -
The Washington Post reports: "Israel and the Palestinians on Friday traded blame for failure to resume stalled peace talks after President Barack Obama renewed his call on both sides to resume negotiations as soon as possible. [...] Obama made a fresh bid on Thursday to break the deadlock on Middle East peace, calling on Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states to act simultaneously to help kick-start negotiations."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Way News - WHO predicts 'explosion' of swine flu cases
My Way News reports: "WHO has declared the swine flu strain a pandemic, and it has killed almost 1,800 people worldwide through last week. International attention has focused on how the pandemic is progressing in southern hemisphere countries such as Australia, which are experiencing winter and their flu season."

Comment: The thing to remember is that at this point it is like another version of the common seasonal flu, and the pandemic status is based on the spread of the disease not how lethal it is. Unless it mutates into a much more lethal variant, it won't be the "killer flu" that the media first made it out to be.
My Way News - Israel furious over Swedish newspaper article
My Way News reports: "Israel and the Swedish Embassy responded furiously Wednesday to a Swedish newspaper article that suggested Israeli troops killed Palestinians and harvested their organs."
My Way News - Al-Qaida emerges as main suspect in Iraq bombings
My Way News reports: "Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, blamed al-Qaida in Iraq for a series of bombings in northern Iraq but said attacks in Baghdad have been harder to define as the military has detected political motives behind some recent violence."

Comment: In other words, they don't really know, but it's probably better to blame al-Qaida rather than the Baathists.
My Way News - Diplomats: Iran improves access to nuke activities
My Way News reports: "Western countries have repeatedly called on Iran to stop construction of the reactor, fearing it could be used as a second track toward building a warhead. When finished, say experts, Arak could produce enough plutonium for a nuclear weapon each year."
My Way News - US Jews protest Catholic document on salvation
My Way News reports: "The statement fueling the tension was issued by the bishops in June to clarify a 2002 document called 'Covenant and Mission.' The bishops said the earlier document mistakenly played down the importance of sharing the Gospel and was therefore misleading. 'While the Catholic Church does not proselytize the Jewish people, neither does she fail to witness to them her faith in Christ, nor to welcome them to share in that same faith whenever appropriate,' said Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman of a bishops' committee on doctrine."
My Way News - In hot water: World sets ocean temperature record
My Way News reports: "July was the hottest the world's oceans have been in almost 130 years of record-keeping. The average water temperature worldwide was 62.6 degrees, according to the National Climatic Data Center, the branch of the U.S. government that keeps world weather records. That was 1.1 degree higher than the 20th century average, and beat the previous high set in 1998 by a couple hundredths of a degree."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Way News - Iran's supreme leader reinforces Syria alliance
My Way News reports: "Iran's supreme leader called his country's alliance with Syria a symbol of resistance in the Middle East on Wednesday, seeking to reinforce a key relationship as Tehran fends off continued criticism over its response to post-election unrest."

Comment: Damascus joins the Iranian axis of "resistance" to Israel. For a time it looked as if Syria may have been moderating a bit, distancing from Iran and coming closer to good relations with Israel with a possible resolution of the Golan question on the horizon. It's not to be.
My Way News - Wave of blasts in Iraqi capital kills at least 95
My Way News reports: "Nearly simultaneous truck bombs struck Iraq's Foreign and Finance ministries Wednesday as a wave of explosions killed at least 95 people, bringing the weaknesses of Iraqi security forces into sharp focus less than two months after U.S. forces withdrew from urban areas."
My Way News - Peres: Russia to reconsider missile sale to Iran
My Way News reports: "Russia has signed a contract to supply the powerful S-300 missiles to Iran, but has dragged its feet on delivering them. [...] Israel wants Russia, which has close ties with Iran, to increase pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program. Iran, whose president has expressed hatred of Israel, maintains its nuclear program is only designed to provide more electricity. Israel, the U.S. and other nations fear that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons."
My Way News - China's secretive military launches Web site
My Way News reports: "China has long been tightlipped about its military strength and capacity, drawing criticism from other countries wary of the Asian giant's growing power and skyrocketing military spending. Beijing says it is modernizing is military, but for purely defensive purposes."
Twitter site offers followers line to God -
Reuters reports: "An Israeli university student has opened a Twitter site, The Kotel Team, where prayers can be sent for placement in the crevices of Jerusalem's Western Wall, a Jewish holy site that faithful believe provides a direct line to the Almighty."
Iranian Arms Seized in Iraq, Officials Say -
The New York Times reports: "Iraqi and American troops seized a rocket launcher loaded with about a dozen Iranian-made rockets aimed at an American base in the southern city of Basra, Iraqi officials said Tuesday."

Comment: There really isn't any getting around the fact that Iran is supporting and supplying insurgents in Iraq, we have the physical evidence.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Moves & Counter-moves in the Epicenter

My Way News - Israel quietly halts settlement building permits: "Israel has quietly moved to halt new housing projects in the West Bank, while outwardly rebuffing U.S. pressure to stop construction in its settlements, Israeli government officials, peace activists and settlers said Tuesday. It isn't the full settlement freeze the Obama administration has been demanding, but it indicates that Israel is seeking a compromise in what has become a rare public disagreement with the U.S., its most important ally."

My Way News - Huckabee says 2 states in Holy Land 'unrealistic': "Former U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Tuesday there should be no Palestinian state in the West Bank and endorsed Israeli settlements there, sharply disagreeing with Washington and much of the world. [...] Speaking to a small group of foreign reporters in Jerusalem, Huckabee said the international community should consider establishing a Palestinian state some place else."

AFP: Medvedev, Peres meet on Mideast tensions
AFP reports: "Russian President Dmitry Medvedev held talks Tuesday with Israeli President Shimon Peres on efforts to check Iran's nuclear program, stalled Mideast peace talks and other issues, the Kremlin said."

Comment: In today's developments, Israel is making some concessions on the issue of settlements with a view towards appeasing President Obama. Meanwhile, a visiting U.S. dignitary is suggesting a fundamental rethink of the peace process, questioning whether a Palestinian state should ever be created on Israeli territory. And finally, Israel continues to change the subject to Iran, this time with Russia, who is sponsoring Iranian "peaceful" nuclear power efforts and may end up hosting the next international conference on Mideast peace.
My Way News - Attacks rock Kabul ahead of vote; media restricted: "Insurgents struck the Afghan capital two days before national elections, firing rockets or mortars at the presidential palace and unleashing a suicide car bomber on a NATO convoy. Alarmed, the government asked news media not to report violence the day of the vote."
My Way News - Al-Qaida branch claims Mauritania suicide bombing: "Al-Qaida's North African branch claimed responsibility Tuesday for a suicide bombing outside the French Embassy in Mauritania's capital. Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa released a message saying it was behind the Aug. 8 attack."
My Way News - UN says Kenya in desperate need of food aid: "More than 1 million Kenyans affected by a prolonged drought are not getting the food aid they desperately need, the U.N.'s World Food Program said Tuesday. The agency already is providing emergency food aid to some 2.5 million people in this East African nation, but another 1.3 million still need help, said Gabrielle Menezes, a spokeswoman for WFP."f
New Scientist - RFID tags get an intelligence upgrade
New Scientist reports: "Today's RFID tags can only broadcast fixed data back to a reader device, whether that's details of your passport or of an endangered bird. Researchers are now working to add brains to the tags in the form of microcomputers, opening the way for much smarter applications."

Comment: My usual caveat applies, this is not the mark, we are just watching the tech trends. I think the future of mark tech lies in nanotech-RFID tattoos, but this report notes some interesting advances along more conventional lines.

Monday, August 17, 2009

School brass facing prison time for luncheon prayer -
CNN reports: "Two Florida school administrators face contempt charges and possible prison time for saying a prayer at a school luncheon. Frank Lay, principal of Pace High School, and Athletic Director Robert Freeman are accused of violating a consent decree banning employees of Santa Rosa County schools from endorsing religion."

Comment: Say a prayer, go to directly to jail? I wonder how their actions could possibly be construed as an attempt to create a state religion? Creating a state religion, of course, would be against the U.S. Constitution, but offering a prayer? If so, would the Constitutional Convention have been opened with a prayer? It seems incredible that American citizens could be sent to jail for praying over a meal, but in a society which rejects God in the public square, I guess that is possible. I hope that a court, perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court, will decisively state that freedom OF religion does not imply freedom FROM religion, and that government mandated freedom FROM religion is necessarily damaging to freedom OF religion.
My Way News - Republican Huckabee supports Israeli settlements: "The U.S. has taken too harsh a stance against Israel on the issue of settlements, hindering peace negotiations, former Arkansas governor and presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said during a visit to Israel on Monday. [...] The U.S. administration is pressing Israel to stop building settlements on lands the Palestinians claim for a future state, including east Jerusalem, which was captured and annexed by Israel in 1967."

Comment: It seems an odd idea that a visiting U.S. political figure could provide political cover for Israeli politicians seeking to hold on to Israeli territory, but that would be the ideal outcome of the Huckabee visit.
BBC NEWS - Canada in Arctic show of strength
BBC News reports: "Operation Nanook will see the Canadian Armed Forces involved in sea, land and airforce operations in the country's eastern Arctic territory.[...] In a symbolic gesture that won attention around the world in 2007, Russian explorers planted their country's flag on the seabed below the North Pole."

Comment: How odd to think that nations are competing for no-longer-frozen territory at the top of the world.
My Way News - Kenyan believed to be world's oldest pupil dies: "A Kenyan man who was believed to be the world's oldest pupil has died at the age of 89, five years after he entered primary school so that he could learn to read the Bible, his family said Monday."

Comment: Nice story, worthy goal, and a happy ending.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Way News - Magnitude-6.8 quake strikes off Japan: "A magnitude-6.8 earthquake hit between Japan's southernmost islands and the coast of Taiwan on Monday, briefly prompting a tsunami warning, the Japanese Meteorological Agency said."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Way News - Insurgents target NATO HQ in Kabul as vote looms: "A suicide car bomber struck near the front gate of NATO headquarters in Kabul on Saturday, killing seven people and wounding nearly 100 in a brazen daylight attack less than a week before Afghanistan's landmark presidential election."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jerusalem Surrounded
Things are heating up in the epicenter:

My Way News - Hezbollah chief: We'll hit Tel Aviv if Beirut hit: "Speaking on the anniversary of the end of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said the Shiite militants are now capable of striking any Israeli city."

My Way News - Hamas fight with Islamic radicals kills 13 in Gaza: "Jund Ansar Allah and a number of other small, shadowy radical groups seek to enforce an even stricter version of Islamic law in Gaza and have criticized Hamas for not doing so. They are also upset that the Hamas regime has honored a cease-fire with Israel for the past seven months."
My Way News - US Marines to help train Georgian troops: "A group of U.S. Marines will arrive in Georgia to help train its troops for a mission alongside coalition forces in Afghanistan, the U.S. Embassy said Friday. The move is likely to vex neighboring Russia, which has strongly spoken out against U.S. military assistance to Georgia."
My Way News - In India swine flu panic spreads faster than virus: "Twenty one people have died from the flu here, the government said Friday, and 1,390 have been confirmed infected in this nation of 1.2 billion people. But fear of the flu has outpaced the virus itself."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Way News - Arabs ask for EU support on Israel nuke resolution: "Muslim nations consider Israel the region's main nuclear threat. The United States and its allies see Iran's defiance of the U.N. Security Council in its development of technology that could be used to make the bomb as the greatest menace to Middle East peace."

Comment: Why should we support the Israeli exception to nuclear non-proliferation treaties? Because Israel has never threatened to destroy another country (like Iran has) and has a demonstrated track record for responsible nuclear status going back decades. The issue isn't what Israel will do with nuclear weapons, it's what crazy clerics and mad jihadis will do with them. The nuclear double-standard is easy to understand: good-guys can have nukes, bad guys can't. That said, I'm worried about where this is going, that nuclear security is getting wrapped up with Mideast peace talks, and threatening to turn into a regional security arrangement that trades Israeli nukes for Arab recognition and peace. It seems unlikely, but this seems to be the age of the unlikely.
My Way News - West seeks signs of Iran global path after unrest: "Few expect Iran to significantly retool its foreign policies in the aftermath of the disputed June 12 elections. But experts say the country will be closely watched for telltale signs of shifts, including whether Ahmadinejad adopts less confrontational tones in international affairs and Iran tries to buy time on Washington's seize-the-moment offer to open talks."

Comment: This report notes that even if Iran becomes less confrontational, it may only be a stalling tactic designed to allow them to concentrate on their domestic troubles (and get about the business of repressing their people).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

World Net Daily - Muslim leader wants Temple rebuilt
WND reports: "In a historically unprecedented development, a famous Turkish Muslim leader and a prominent group of Israeli rabbis have joined together on one of their declared goals, to rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem."

Comment: This could be a very important development and I'm looking for confirmation from other sources. The report says that there is an alliance of Muslim and Jewish leaders trying to rebuild the temple as an international expression of peace, a temple for all people and all nations. This fits in well with the "international Jerusalem" meme that is developing as part of the latest Mideast peace effort. What is the "international Jerusalem" meme? It's the idea that Jerusalem is too important to belong only to Israel or be shared only with the Palestinians, it should belong to all people and all faiths, and therefore will come under international control as part of the final peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. It's seems unbelievable, but that is the direction in which things are heading.

My Way News - Russia pledges economic, military aid to Abkhazia: "Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited the separatist Georgian region of Abkhazia on Wednesday, promising to provide nearly $500 million in military aid and shrugging off Georgian protests. [...] Russia will spend 15 billion to 16 billion rubles ($465 million to $495 million) next year for Abkhazian military bases and border-control projects."

Comment: This is noteworthy as an important expansion of Russian military power and raises yet again the prospect of another war between Georgia and Russia.
My Way News - Iran calls for ban on striking nuke facilities: "Iran, whose nuclear facilities are under threat of possible Israeli military strikes, proposed Wednesday that a 150-nation conference convening in the fall ban such attacks."
My Way News - Marines launch new Afghan assault against Taliban: "U.S. Marines battled Taliban fighters Wednesday for control of a strategic southern town in a new operation to cut militant supply lines and allow Afghan residents to vote in next week's presidential election."

Comment: I can't imagine them having a smooth presidential election in the middle of a war, but I wish them well.
Magnitude 6.5 quake hits off east coast of Japan -
The Miami Herald reports: "A magnitude-6.5 earthquake hit off Japan's eastern coast early Thursday, the country's Meteorological Agency said. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties."
My Way News - Report: NASA can't keep up with killer asteroids: "The space rocks astronomers are keeping a closest eye on are a 430-foot diameter object that has a 1-in-3,000 chance of hitting Earth in 2048 and a much-talked about asteroid, Apophis, which is twice that size and has a one-in-43,000 chance of hitting in 2036, 2037 or 2069."

Comment: According to this report, NASA has been required by Congress to track near-Earth objects but they have not given NASA the money to do it. Let's hope that any sufficiently large enough object heading our way will be very obvious to the sky watchers.
Changing How I Identify Sources
As you know, I have a habit of identifying the source of news reports, I think this is very important to do. As I explain in the About page, I encourage our readers to visit the primary sources to read and study them for themselves. It is a founding premise of this site that prophetic events are happening and are being reported in mainstream news media and so I'm very careful to cite the news sources and link back to them.

One of my primary news sources, the Associated Press, has decided to try to turn back the clock to a pre-internet era and actively try to discourage people from linking to their news reports. I think their effort is doomed to fail and runs counter to the culture of the internet. Still, I'll respect their wishes and from now on and whenever possible, I will use alternative sources for posts. When I do use AP reports from my favorite news index service (MyWay News), I'll use my BlogThis tool to link to MyWay News, but will now stop editing the pre-formated text to note the original news source, as I had been doing. This will result in a link that looks like the one in the post above, and you may consider MyWay News the source, and they are (presumably) covered by their licensing agreement with the AP.

As AP slowly destroys itself, we can look forward to more news from Reuters, UPI, AFP, BBC News, CNN, the New York Times, and all the other wonderful providers out there that actually want people using their services, linking to their reports, and discussing the news on blogs, websites, and around the water cooler.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Way News - New Fatah leadership boosts Mideast peace efforts
AP reports: "Official results have not yet been released, but the vote appeared to present a new Fatah leadership that removed some of the old-time exiled revolutionaries who urged armed struggle in favor of pragmatic, younger grass-roots activists who grew up in the West Bank and Gaza and support negotiating a peace treaty with Israel."

: We will have to wait until the official results are in, then we can judge the new leadership on their actions, not their words.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Way News - Earthquakes shake Tokyo area, Indian Ocean

AP reports: "A powerful earthquake hit Tokyo and nearby areas shortly after dawn Tuesday, halting trains and forcing two nuclear reactors to shut down for safety checks. More than 30 people suffered minor injuries. The U.S. Geological Survey said another, unrelated quake with a 7.6 magnitude hit the Indian Ocean about 160 miles (257 kilometers) north of Port Blair in India's Andaman Islands."
My Way News - Israel says Lebanon accountable for Hezbollah
AP reports: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that his country would hold the Lebanese government responsible for any attacks on Israeli targets by the country's Hezbollah militia."
My Way News - Israeli warplanes bomb tunnel along Gaza border
AP reports: "Israeli warplanes bombed a smuggling tunnel along the Gaza-Egypt border early Monday in response to Palestinian rocket and mortar fire, in a brief flare-up of violence at a time of relative quiet in the volatile Palestinian territory."
My Way News - Iraq suffers bloodiest day since US pullback
AP reports: "A double truck bombing Monday in Mosul and blasts in Baghdad brought the Iraqi death toll to more than 100 in four days, the worst spasm of violence the country has suffered since U.S. forces left the cities."
My Way News - Russian bill expands reasons for deploying troops
AP reports: "President Dmitry Medvedev has submitted a bill expanding legal reasons to deploy Russian troops abroad, the Kremlin said Monday. The bill released by the Kremlin would allow the president to send troops outside Russia to fend off attacks on the Russian military, deter aggression against another state, protect Russian citizens or combat pirates."
My Way News - Mom behind child death that shocked UK unmasked
AP reports: "Britons got their first look Tuesday at the mother behind a horrific child death that shocked the country. The face of 28-year-old Tracey Connelly, who stood by as her infant son Peter was tortured for months on end, stared out from the front pages of Britain's newspapers under headlines which read: 'Unmasked' and 'Out of the Darkness.'"

: Warning, the above report is shocking, don't read it unless you are prepared to read about the actions of these vile people lacking any shred of basic human decency. I know that some people have objections to the idea of government having the power to remove children from their parents. This is the other side of that argument.
My Way News - Rockets hit NW Pakistani city; militants attack
AP reports: "Authorities say a barrage of rockets has killed two civilians in Pakistan's northwestern Peshawar city and militants launched an attack on a paramilitary base nearby."
My Way News - Police: 400 unaccounted for in Taiwan mudslide
AP reports: "A mudslide touched off by a deadly typhoon buried a remote mountain village in Taiwan, leaving at least 400 people unaccounted for, while a massive landslide in China toppled seven apartment buildings, an official said Tuesday."

Friday, August 07, 2009

My Way News - Pakistani Taliban head's death a blow to militants
AP reports: "Pakistan's Taliban chief was killed by a CIA missile strike, a militant commander confirmed Friday - a severe blow to extremists threatening the stability of this nuclear-armed nation and a possible boost to U.S.-Pakistani cooperation in fighting insurgents who wreak havoc along the Afghan border."
My Way News - Attacks on lone blogger reverberate across Web
AP reports: "Just who was behind these attacks is not yet clear, but the dispute was probably related to the ongoing political conflict between Russia and Georgia. Gomi said the attacking computers were located around the world and the source of the attacks was not known."
My Way News - Barenboim concert for 'Arab capital' Jerusalem
AP reports: "Maestro Daniel Barenboim brought his troupe of young Arab and Israeli classical musicians to Geneva on Friday for a concert dedicated to the late Palestinian-American academic Edward Said and the contentious choice of Jerusalem as this year's 'Arab Cultural Capital.' [...] 'West Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem will inevitably be the Palestinian capital,' he said. 'The city is neither Israeli nor Palestinian. It is universal.'"

Comment: More evidence that the "international Jerusalem" meme is gaining currency. I hope the Israeli cultural elite pushes back hard against this misguided conductor.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

My Way News - Diplomat: Public clashes with US damaging Israel
AP reports: "The diplomat wrote an internal memo that was leaked to Israel's Channel 10 TV. It said that Israel's public clashes with Washington over the U.S. demand for a settlement construction freeze was causing 'strategic damage to Israel.'"

My Way News - Republicans 'troubled' by US policy on Israel
AP reports: "The Obama administration's policy on Israel is misguided, puts too much emphasis on the issue of settlements and ignores the bigger threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, a U.S. delegation of Republican congressmen visiting Israel said Thursday."

Comment: These two reports are interesting because they demonstrate the role that domestic politics in Israel and the U.S. is playing in shaping the debate over the peace process.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

U.S. eyes Russian submarines off East Coast -
CNN reports: "Two Russian attack submarines have been cruising in the Atlantic off the East Coast of the United States, a senior defense official said Wednesday. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said their presence is not causing alarms to go off."
My Way News - Ahmadinejad sworn in as Iran president amid crisis
AP reports: "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in to a second presidential term Wednesday with a call for the divided nation to 'join hands,' but it was greeted by protests in the streets and snubs inside Iran's parliament."
My Way News - Georgia, Russia step back from fears of a new war
AP reports: "Despite rising tensions and slashing rhetoric as the first anniversary of the Russian war approaches, top officials in Tbilisi and Moscow downplay the likelihood of renewed fighting - but for deeply different reasons."
My Way News - Pakistani Christians express anger over killings
AP reports: "Hundreds of Muslims attacked a Christian neighborhood in Gojra city on Saturday after reports that a Quran had been desecrated. Eight Christians were killed. [...] The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said its fact-finding team has determined that the rioting had been planned and was not spontaneous. It said hard-line clerics made incendiary speeches."
My Way News - Novartis starts testing swine flu vaccine
AP reports: "The vaccine is being tested in a yearlong trial of 6,000 people of all ages in Britain, Germany and the United States, Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff told The Associated Press, adding that the vaccine will likely be on the market before the trial finishes."

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Report details future Palestinian state -
UPI reports"Palestinians and Israelis will be able to enter Jerusalem's Old City without carrying passports. A multinational force stationed in the Old City will be on hand to enforce law and order, and will have the power to make arrests, the paper said. A separate multinational force will be deployed on the Temple Mount."

Jerusalem Standoff Threatens Middle East Peace Plans - TIME
Times Magazine reports: "Israel seized control of the eastern portion of the Holy City during the war of 1967, but its claim to sovereignty over the occupied portion of Jerusalem has never been internationally recognized. Under the Oslo peace process launched in 1993, Jerusalem was defined as one of the 'final status' issues to be negotiated in a peace agreement, but finding a solution for sharing the city has been one of the thorniest matters."

Comment: Please join me in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and encouraging your government, wherever you live, to do the same.

I wanted to highlight these two reports together. The first one is important because it clearly describes the general outlines of the emerging peace plan and notes how the plan will deal with the Temple Mount. The second report notes that Jerusalem remains the most important stumbling block and that the U.S. will have to force Israel into making extreme concessions and will face great opposition in doing so. The conclusion I draw from these two reports is that 'final status' issues are being negotiated right now by the Obama Administration and the Israelis and Palestinians. Actually, not so much that Palestinians, as they remain in a "take it or leave it" corner of their own making. Their only leverage is to let Hamas complete their takeover of Palestinian society and renounce the peace process, something Fatah will never do, so they will accede to whatever plan the U.S. and Israel can agree on. Any of the previous peace plans would still give them a "victory" for their "people" to celebrate. The only real question, at the end of this process is, how quickly will the government of Israel sell out Jerusalem and what will they get in return?
My Way News - Russian troops on high readiness in South Ossetia
AP reports: "Russian troops in the breakaway province of South Ossetia have been put on increased combat readiness amid rising tensions on the de facto border with Georgia, according to officials."
My Way News - Taliban rockets hit Kabul, warn more coming
AP reports: "Taliban militants unleashed a wave of rockets at Kabul's international airport and government buildings Tuesday in an attempt to shatter the sense of security in the Afghan capital less than three weeks before presidential elections."
My Way News - Strong quake jolts southern Japan
AP reports: "A magnitude-6.5 earthquake hit off Japan's southern coast Wednesday, the country's Meteorological Agency said. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties."
My Way News - Silent gunman's Pa. health club shooting kills 5
AP reports: "A gunman strolled into an exercise class at a health club in suburban Pittsburgh on Tuesday night and started spraying bullets, leaving five people dead, including himself, and injuring at least 10 others, police and a hospital said."
Reuters - Israel's Barak says U.S. to present peace plan soon
Reuters reports: "Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday the United States would present a Middle East peace plan within weeks and Israel should accept it."

Monday, August 03, 2009

My Way News - Strong quake hits Mexico's Gulf of California

AP reports: "A powerful earthquake Monday shook fishing villages along Mexico's Gulf of California and prompted alarm as far away as Phoenix, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage."
My Way News - Pakistani Christians: Police did not stop carnage
AP reports: "Authorities urged calm and promised that local police would be investigated for their inability to stop the violence, which spiraled even after an initial probe debunked the rumor that a Quran had been defiled. [...] Christians - Protestants and Catholics among them - make up less than 5 percent of Muslim-majority Pakistan's 175 million people, according to the CIA World Factbook. They generally live in peace with their Muslim neighbors."

My Way News - A look at Pakistan's Christian community

Comment: Let's pray for the church in Pakistan, that they will practice forgiveness and not seek revenge.
My Way News - Iran president confirmed without symbolic kiss
AP reports: "Ahmadinejad limps toward his next four-year term as a hugely polarizing figure: backed by the Islamic system but scorned by millions of opponents who claim the vote was rigged. Khamenei, meanwhile, has been rattled for the first time by protesters questioning the near limitless power of the theocracy he controls."
BBC NEWS - UK's national ID card unveiled
BBC News reports: "Ministers say the card, which follows the launch of the foreign national ID card, will provide an easy way of safely proving identity. They say this system, backed up by a national identity register, will help combat identity fraud, crime and terrorism. The card is very similar in look to a UK driving licence but holds more data, including two fingerprints and a photograph encoded on a chip."


Comment: My standard disclaimer for Mark posts: don't panic, this is not the mark. If you live in Manchester, have no fear of getting your new ID card. We are just keeping up with trends in identification technology and mandatory government ID schemes.
My Way News - Plague kills 3rd man in sealed-off Chinese town
AP reports: "Medical staff raced to disinfect a sealed-off town in northwestern China on Tuesday after a third person died within four days in a pneumonic plague outbreak in the farming community of 10,000, local authorities said. [...] The lung infection is highly contagious can kill a human in 24 hours if left untreated."
My Way News - New HIV strain discovered in woman from Cameroon
AP reports: "It differs from the three known strains of human immunodeficiency virus and appears to be closely related to a form of simian virus recently discovered in wild gorillas, researchers report in Monday's edition of the journal Nature Medicine."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

6 killed in Pakistan as Muslims burn Christian homes -
CNN reports: "Six people were killed in Pakistan on Saturday when Muslim demonstrators set fire to houses in a Christian enclave and fighting broke out, local police said. [...] Pakistan is predominantly Muslim but has a small Christian community."