Monday, November 30, 2009

My Way News - Hezbollah to continue arming to fight Israel
My Way News reports: "Hezbollah's leader said Monday that the Lebanese militant group will improve its weapons capabilities to face off any Israeli threat and that armed struggle was the only way to regain Arab lands captured by the Jewish state. [...] Israel's military says that since its 2006 war with the group, Hezbollah has tripled its prewar arsenal to more than 40,000 rockets, some of which can strike virtually anywhere in Israel - a dramatic improvement over the short-range missiles fired in 2006."
A Defiant Iran Vows to Build Nuclear Plants -
The New York Times reports: "Iran angrily refused Sunday to comply with a demand by the United Nations nuclear agency to cease work on a once-secret nuclear fuel enrichment plant, and escalated the confrontation by declaring it would construct 10 more such plants."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Feed the world? Band Aid 25 years on - Africa, World - The Independent
The Independent reports: "It was meant to be the song that changed the world. Only it didn't. Twenty-five years on, famine stalks Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa again. As The Independent on Sunday reported in August, millions of people in the Horn of Africa are facing malnutrition and starvation in the worst food shortages since 1984."

Hunger Warning Unit Sees 1.6 Million Zimbabweans at Risk Through End-2009 | Food and Agriculture | Zimbabwe
VOA News reports: "About 1.6 million people in Zimbabwe risk going hungry and will need food assistance between now and the end of the year, the US based Famine Early Warning Systems Network said in a new food security assessment conducted in September."

Comment: As I depart for my Thanksgiving holiday I wanted to leave you with these two reports that underscore the need that exists in Africa. The first report dispels the notion that famine in Africa was solved in the 1980s with the Band Aid effort and the second report notes fears of a looming famine in Zimbabwe. As Americans gather to give thanks for their bounty we would do well to remember those less fortunate.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Way News - Iran begins war games to protect nuclear sites
My Way News reports: "Iran on Sunday began large-scale air defense war games aimed at protecting its nuclear facilities from attack, state TV reported, as an air force commander boasted the country could deter any military strike by Israel. [...] The United States and its European allies accuse Iran of embarking on a nuclear weapons program. Iran denies the charge and insists the program is only for peaceful purposes."
My Way News - Iran begins war games to protect nuclear sites
My Way News reports: "Iran on Sunday began large-scale air defense war games aimed at protecting its nuclear facilities from attack, state TV reported, as an air force commander boasted the country could deter any military strike by Israel. [...] The United States and its European allies accuse Iran of embarking on a nuclear weapons program. Iran denies the charge and insists the program is only for peaceful purposes."
My Way News - Israeli aircraft strike tunnels, arms factories
My Way News reports: "The Israeli military says its aircraft have attacked two weapons-making factories and a smuggling tunnel in the Gaza Strip. The military says the air strikes Sunday were in retaliation for rocket fire into southern Israel from Gaza a day earlier. Later Saturday, Gaza's Hamas rulers announced that militant factions in the territory had agreed to stop firing rockets. The goal is to prevent Israeli retaliation."

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Way News - Researcher: Faint writing seen on Shroud of Turin
My Way News reports: "A Vatican researcher has rekindled the age-old debate over the Shroud of Turin, saying that faint writing on the linen proves it was the burial cloth of Jesus. [...] The shroud bears the figure of a crucified man, complete with blood seeping from his hands and feet, and believers say Christ's image was recorded on the linen's fibers at the time of his resurrection."

Comment: I believe the shroud to be real, not a forgery, and that it represents a gift from God to an unbelieving world. You want physical proof before you believe? Here it is.
My Way News - Palestinians to set new date for elections
My Way News reports: "The elections were supposed to be a central component of an Egyptian-mediated effort to reconcile Abbas and his rivals in the Islamic militant group Hamas. Months of talks, however, have failed to produce a deal, and Abbas had decided to move ahead with elections anyway, angering Hamas."

Comment: What a farce. We are supposed to ignore the Palestinian civil war and just proceed with the "peace process" as normal with Abbas and his Fatah party/faction/militia.
My Way News - The new EU chiefs: Rompuy-pumpy and Cathy Who?
My Way News reports: "Critics slammed the EU for a lack of ambition in choosing her and Belgium's technocratic premier, Herman van Rompuy, who becomes the first EU president. Ashton's new job combines two existing ones, giving her more powers than current foreign policy chief Javier Solana. 'The EU member states have talked themselves into choosing two very competent, able, and - frankly - rather boring choices for these two new roles,' said Richard Whitman, a Europe expert at London's Chatham House think tank. The 27-nation EU created the new posts of president and foreign minister as part of a reform treaty that takes effect Dec. 1."
My Way News - 6 world powers press Iran on nuclear issue
My Way News reports: "Representatives of six world powers urged Iran on Friday to accept a U.N. plan aimed at delaying its ability to build a nuclear weapon, as the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency warned Tehran not to miss the opportunity to resolve the dispute. [...] On Wednesday, Tehran indicated it would not export its enriched uranium for further processing, effectively rejecting the latest plan brokered by the International Atomic Energy Agency and aimed at delaying Iran's ability to build a nuclear weapon."

My Way News - Iran to launch satellite on its own by late 2011
My Way News reports: "Iran plans to launch a communications satellite by late 2011 with no outside help, a top Iranian official said Friday, after Italy and Russia declined to put it into orbit."
Hacked E-Mails Fuel Climate Change Skeptics -
The New York Times reports that a recent breach by hackers has revealed the back-and-forth discussions between scientists over their climate research:
The e-mails, attributed to prominent American and British climate researchers, include discussions of scientific data and whether it should be released, exchanges about how best to combat the arguments of skeptics, and casual comments — in some cases derisive — about specific people known for their skeptical views. Drafts of scientific papers and a photo collage that portrays climate skeptics on an ice floe were also among the hacked data, some of which dates back 13 years. [...] The documents will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists. But the evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so broad and deep that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument.
I'm not a skeptic of climate change, I agree that it's happening, I'm a skeptic that it can be entirely attributed to human activity. We all tend to forget that the global climate changes wildly over the course of geologic time, from ice ages to tropical zones, climate is all over the map, but it tends to average out over long time periods. We just happen to be living in a small interglacial period in which the climate is starting to warm up. Perhaps this warming would have happened without human activity. Or, more likely, human activity has contributed to the natural warming cycle.

I think that the global weather system is dynamic and adaptive and that the human impact is actually rather small. I think it would be much more prudent to invest in new technological solutions rather than imposed conservation given that it's entirely likely that even if all of our carbon emissions ceased right now the climate would continue to warm. Why? Because there are natural emitters of green house gasses. This report notes that, "livestock generate 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all of the vehicles on Earth." It's the cows, not the cars, that are a problem, but don't expect an environmental activist to tell you that.

At any rate, I follow this topic because it relates to two Bible prophecies: it causes people to be fearful of the future and it provides a rational for world government. Even if global warming was a natural climate trend (or even a hoax) the human experience of global warming still fulfills these two prophecies.
My Way News - Tamiflu-resistant swine flu cluster reported in NC
My Way News reports: "Tamiflu - made by Switzerland's Roche Group - is one of two flu medicines that help against swine flu, and health officials have been closely watching for signs that the virus is mutating, making the drugs ineffective. [...] The BBC reported another cluster of five Tamiflu-resistant cases this week in Wales, in the United Kingdom. [...] CDC officials said they are aware of a new report from Norway of a distinct form of swine flu seen in three patients that seems to have an unusual ability to settle deep into the lungs and therefore could potentially be more dangerous."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Way News - Belgian-British duo wins race for EU's top jobs
My Way News reports: "After years of effort the European Union named its first full-time president and powerful foreign policy chief on Thursday - but handed the jobs to two little-known compromise figures instead of global heavy hitters. [...] Belgian Premier Herman Van Rompuy (vahn rohm-POY) - a soft-spoken technocrat who shuns the public eye [...] will be the EU's new president. EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton of Britain, recognized by few in her home country and never elected to public office, was named foreign policy chief. [...] The EU president and foreign minister posts were created by an EU reform treaty that takes effect Dec. 1. It is vague on what the EU president is supposed to do, other than encourage more European integration."

Comment: I'm not really surprised at this outcome, Blair's candidacy really was doomed from the start, but it will be interesting to watch how these two positions grow over time. I suspect that the foreign minister position (the one that has a say over spending money) will in time, and over successive office-holders, emerge as the more powerful of the two. I also suspect that this will be the last time one or both of these offices is selected by the Euro elite rather than a popular vote.
My Way News - AIDS, malaria eclipse the biggest child-killers
My Way News reports: "Diarrhea doesn't make headlines. Nor does pneumonia. AIDS and malaria tend to get most of the attention. Yet even though cheap tools could prevent and cure both diseases, they kill an estimated 3.5 million kids under 5 each a year globally - more than HIV and malaria combined."
My Way News - 200 Web sites spread al-Qaida's message in English
My Way News reports: "Increasing numbers of English-language Web sites are spreading al-Qaida's message to Muslims in the West. They translate writings and sermons once largely out of reach of English readers and often feature charismatic clerics like Anwar al-Awlaki, who exchanged dozens of e-mails with the Army psychiatrist accused of the Fort Hood shootings."
My Way News - Hassan Nasrallah re-elected as Hezbollah leader
My Way News reports: "The militant Hezbollah group announced Thursday that Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has been re-elected as the Shiite Muslim group's leader for a sixth term. [...] Founded in 1982, Hezbollah gained notoriety in the West when it was linked to the kidnapping of Western hostages and a series of bombings against Western targets."
My Way News - Israeli aircraft hit Gaza after rocket attacks
My Way News reports: "Israeli aircraft struck a weapons-manufacturing facility and two smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, in response to recent rocket attacks on Israel, the military said. [...] According to the military's count, 270 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel since the three-week offensive ended on Jan. 18, compared with more than 3,300 in 2008."

Comment: The Palestinians really want peace, this is why they dig smuggling tunnels and import weapons from Iran, so that when the time comes, they can make a show of laying down their weapons in support of peace.
My Way News - Iran brushes aside UN nuclear deal
My Way News reports: "Iran's foreign minister on Wednesday said his country would not export its enriched uranium for further processing, brushing aside the latest U.N. plan aimed at preventing Tehran from potentially building nuclear weapons."
My Way News - Hamas-linked group offers cash for Israeli capture
My Way News reports: "A Gaza charity headed by the interior minister of the militant Hamas group on Wednesday offered $1.4 million to any Arab citizen of Israel who abducts a soldier. Palestinians have frequently called on Israeli Arabs to abduct Israeli soldiers, but this is the first time that money has been offered."

Comment: I'm so encourage by these little expressions of hope by the Palestinian people, you can just see how much they want peace with Israel.
My Way News - Germany calls for binding climate deal in 2010
My Way News reports: "German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Thursday for all countries to fix binding climate change targets next year at the latest, acknowledging that no such deal is likely at global talks in Copenhagen next month."
My Way News - AP Exclusive: Muslim countries seek blasphemy ban
My Way News reports: "Four years after cartoons of the prophet Muhammad set off violent protests across the Muslim world, Islamic nations are mounting a campaign for an international treaty to protect religious symbols and beliefs from mockery - essentially a ban on blasphemy that would put them on a collision course with free speech laws in the West."

Comment: This would be a very worrisome development. You can't force people to respect a religion, but in practice, the effort to do so will likely result in human rights violations and persecution of both non-believers and followers of less insecure religions.
How Will Religion Evolve? - TierneyLab Blog -
If you want to read something really amusing, read this essay in which people who don't believe in God speculate on the future of religion:
Does religion have a future? Who looks more like an evolutionary dead end: the religious American or the agnostic European? Or will both give way to some sort of compromise — people bound by new institutions that provide the social benefits of religion without belief in a traditional deity?
It's not that I disagree with their social utilitarian perspective - the idea that religions serve a public good - I think that Christianity and indeed other religions that promote positive values like love, forgiveness, charity, and compassion do serve a public good and it's one of the primary reasons that a historically Christian but pluralist country like the U.S. has no problem welcoming and tolerating such religions. We should be very careful though about putting out the welcome mat for religions that are corrosive to the values of civilization, religions that are violent and anti-life, those should not even be in the same category of socially stabilizing religions.

No, it's not that I disagree with their premise at all, I'm very confident in the power of Christianity to grow with the culture, to use all forms of new technology to preach the gospel of salvation and to address the deep seated questions of the soul in the way that only Christianity can, but I can only laugh at their ridiculous conclusion that the end point of the process of religious "evolution" is actually a devolution to the kind of plant and animal worship of our pagan ancestors. Fortunately, God is patient and understands that sometimes children miss the point that we should worship the Creator and not the creation. Perhaps the path toward spiritual maturity will lead John Tierney and Nicholas Wade from worshiping Greenery to worshiping God.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Way News - Dogfight ahead as EU leaders pick new top jobs: "The European Union is about to pick its very first president, a post conjured up after years of tortuous political machination to give the bloc a unified voice on the world stage. [...] There are still no official candidates, and yet more than half a dozen politicians are said to be in the running."

My Way News - The powers of new EU president, foreign minister: "At their summit in Brussels on Thursday, EU leaders aim to agree on who will fill two new top posts created in the 27-nation bloc's new reform treaty which enters into force Dec. 1. Here are the job descriptions."

Comment: This should be interesting. As a said before, I'm not putting too much emphasis on this in terms of the people who are elected, or rather "selected" to serve (the E.U. has yet to address their democracy deficit), but more on the event itself as a milestone and one that could become important in the future.
Space Weather - Great Fireball over the Western USA's mailing list reports: "As forecasters predicted, the Leonid meteor shower peaked during the late hours of Nov. 17th, favoring sky watchers in Asia with an outburst of 100+ meteors per hour. Just as the outburst was dying down, an even bigger event took place over the western USA. Something hit Earth's atmosphere and exploded with an energy equivalent of 0.5 to 1 kiloton of TNT. Witnesses in Colorado, Utah, Idaho and elsewhere say the fireball 'turned night into day' and 'shook the ground' when it exploded just after midnight Mountain Standard Time. Researchers who are analyzing infrasound recordings of the blast say the fireball was not a Leonid. It was probably a small asteroid, now scattered in fragments across the countryside. Efforts are underway to measure the trajectory of the asteroid and guide meteorite recovery efforts."
My Way News - Israel brushes off Obama criticism over Jerusalem: "Israel broke ground on a new housing complex for Jews in east Jerusalem on Wednesday, brushing off President Barack Obama's criticism that construction in the disputed part of the holy city undermines efforts to relaunch Mideast peace talks."

My Way News - Obama criticizes new Israeli move on settlements
My Way News: "President Barack Obama says Israel's latest move to build hundreds of new apartments in a neighborhood claimed by the Palestinians complicates administration efforts to relaunch peace talks and embitters the Palestinians."

Comment: Israel, still building in Israel, what horror! I don't remember hearing Obama complain about how Iranian efforts to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah complicates the peace process, do you? Which is worse, apartments or rockets? So, why do the Israeli apartments get all the press and the Iranian rockets smuggled to the Palestinians are ignored? Is Israel building on Israeli territory really the problem? What world do these politicians live in?
My Way News - Police: Mo. teen dug grave anticipating murder
My Way News reports: "Blessed with a Friday off school, 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante dug two holes in the ground to be used as a grave, authorities said. For the next week, she attended classes, all the while plotting the right time for a murder, they said. [...] Why? 'Ultimately, she stated she wanted to know what it felt like,' Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. David Rice testified Wednesday during a court hearing over the slaying."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Way News - Sarkozy: Ready to mediate between Syria, Israel
My Way News reports: "French President Nicolas Sarkozy was quoted Tuesday as saying his country was ready to facilitate a resumption of talks between Syria and Israel and he warned that extremists could benefit from a continued deadlock in the Middle East peace process. The United States, the European Union and Russia should stand together by regional powers to relaunch the peace process, according to Sarkozy, who began a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday."
My Way News - Palestinians, US, UK criticize Jerusalem plan
My Way News reports: "Israel moved Tuesday to approve a plan to build 900 more housing units in a Jewish neighborhood in the part of Jerusalem claimed by Palestinians, drawing harsh criticism from the United States. [...] Israel insists that east Jerusalem is part of Israel and rejects efforts to restrict building there. Palestinians consider the Jewish neighborhoods there as settlements."
My Way News - Iran warns Saudi Arabia over Yemen offensive
My Way News reports: "Iran's chief of staff has warned Saudi Arabia over its military offensive against Shiite Yemeni rebels, saying it signals the start of 'state terrorism' and endangers the entire region. [...] The Saudi offensive began earlier this month, apparently to deny Iran a foothold on its doorsteps."
My Way News - Pakistan army shows off gains near Afghan border
My Way News reports: "A school the army says churned out suicide bombers now lies in ruins. Soldiers patrol towns once ruled by militants who gave refuge to al-Qaida. Left behind are bundles of terror manuals, extremist propaganda and boxes of ammunition and explosives."
My Way News - Israel PM warns about Iran on navy tour
My Way News reports: "Underscoring Israel's military might, Israel's prime minister warned about the dangers of a nuclear Iran Tuesday after visiting a submarine believed equipped with nuclear-tipped missiles and a ship used to seize weapons Israel says were being sent to Lebanese foes by Iran."

Monday, November 16, 2009

At Checkout, More Ways to Avoid Handling Cash or Plastic -
The New York Times reports: "Instead of leather wallets, consumers could, sooner than they think, carry virtual wallets, with their credit card and bank information stored on remote computers that are accessible everywhere and anytime. They could use them whenever they want to buy something, whether on the Web, on cellphones or at cash registers."

Comment: Here is an interesting report that looks at new ways of making payments, methods that exist now, and methods that may soon exist. It's a good report that takes stock of where we are on the way towards a cashless society.
AFP: US against unilateral Palestinian statehood bid
AFP reports: "The United States voiced opposition Monday to unilateral Palestinian moves to seek recognition for an independent state, saying negotiations with Israel were the best way forward."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Way News - A president of Europe? Continent's unity is tested
My Way News reports: "The European Union has battled long and hard for this moment: the imminent choice of its first president. To get there, the EU strong-armed Irish voters, brushed aside hostile French and Dutch ballots, and pressured the Czech president into agreeing to a single leader to give Europe a strong voice on the world stage. Yet after all that, EU leaders meeting Thursday may end up picking someone from a small country with little international power instead of a charismatic heavyweight to head this continental bloc of 27 nations, half a billion people and huge economic heft."

Comment: I'm hesitant to get too excited by this. It will be an important milestone, to be sure, but I know what everyone in BPland will be thinking...and we should not jump to that conclusion. The first person to hold a new position often defines the role, true, but successors often enlarge the role beyond the scope initially defined.
My Way News - Bill Clinton urges Mideast foes to end conflict
My Way News reports: "Former President Bill Clinton, whose energetic efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal collapsed, urged both sides Saturday to end their decades-old conflict, saying they cannot escape their common future. [...] While president, Clinton had a close personal involvement in Mideast peacemaking. He presided over the signing of the historic first agreement between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993, and seven years later, he brought the two sides closer than ever before to a final deal."

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Way News - CDC: Swine flu has sickened 22 million in 6 months
My Way News reports: "Swine flu has sickened about 22 million Americans since April and killed nearly 4,000, including 540 children, according to startling federal estimates released Thursday."
My Way News - Mideast radicals fill space left by peace impasse
My Way News reports: "Iran's closest allies in the Middle East are seizing on a deadlock in U.S.-backed peace efforts to try to sway a frustrated Arab world to their side. [...] The leaders of Syria and the Shiite militant group Hezbollah endorsed violence against Israel and attacked President Barack Obama's Mideast approach in recent days."
My Way News - 5,000 more European troops expected for Afghan war
My Way News reports: "Europe may send 5,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan, Britain's prime minister said Friday - affirming support for the NATO mission as the Obama administration nears a decision on increasing American troop levels."
World not ending in 2012, says NASA -
MSNBC reports: "Contrary to what you may read on the Internet, the world is not going to end in 2012. A rogue planet named Nibiru is not on a collision course with Earth. And a solar flare won't toast the planet."

2012 fears are down for Maya 'Long Count' calendar -
USA Today reports: "Fears about the year 2012 rest on just one of at least three Maya calendar systems unearthed by scholars, the 'Long Count,' which began on Aug. 13, 3114 B.C."

10 failed doomsday predictions - LiveScience-
MSNBC reports: "Most prophets of doom come from a religious perspective, though the secular crowd has caused its share of scares as well. One thing the doomsday scenarios tend to share in common: They don't come to pass."
My Way News - Splash! NASA moon crash struck lots of water
My Way News reports: "Suddenly, the moon looks exciting again. It has lots of water, scientists said Friday - a thrilling discovery that sent a ripple of hope for a future astronaut outpost in a place that has always seemed barren and inhospitable."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Way News - Israel displays coins from ancient Jewish revolt
My Way News reports: "Israel displayed for the first time Wednesday a collection of rare coins charred and burned from the Roman destruction of the Jewish Temple nearly 2,000 years ago. [...] After laying siege to Jerusalem, the Romans breached the city walls and wiped out the rebellion, demolishing the Jewish Temple, the holiest site in Judaism."
My Way News - Palestinian vote put off, Abbas remains in office
My Way News reports: "The Palestinian Election Commission ruled Thursday that January's scheduled vote should be put off because of opposition from the Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is a rival of Abbas' Fatah faction. [...] Hamas overran Gaza in 2007, expelling Fatah forces loyal to Abbas. Hamas leaders oppose an election organized by Fatah, and without Gaza a complete election cannot be held."

Comment: Half the Palestinians want peace with Israel, the other half don't (and they are getting arms from Iran) but the popular media would have us believe that Israel is the stumbling block to peace, not the peace-loving Palestinians. Weird.
My Way News - Netanyahu, Sarkozy make no settlement breakthrough
My Way News reports: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, at odds over Jewish settlements, made no apparent dent in the dispute as they sought to find ways Wednesday to revive Mideast peace efforts."
My Way News - Vatican looks to heavens for signs of alien life
My Way News reports: "E.T. phone Rome. Four hundred years after it locked up Galileo for challenging the view that the Earth was the center of the universe, the Vatican has called in experts to study the possibility of extraterrestrial alien life and its implication for the Catholic Church."
My Way News - Bomb hits Pakistan's spy agency in northwest
My Way News reports: "A suicide car bomb devastated Pakistan's main spy agency building in the northwest Friday, killing at least 7 people and striking at the heart of the institution overseeing much of the country's anti-terror campaign."
My Way News - North Korea threatens South over naval clash
My Way News reports: "North Korea threatened to punish South Korea following their brief-but-bloody naval firefight, though analysts said Thursday that chances of retaliation appeared slim ahead of planned talks between the U.S. and Pyongyang."
My Way News - Feds move to seize 4 mosques, tower linked to Iran
My Way News reports: "Federal prosecutors took steps Thursday to seize four U.S. mosques and a Fifth Avenue skyscraper owned by a nonprofit Muslim organization long suspected of being secretly controlled by the Iranian government. [...] Confiscating the properties would be a sharp blow against Iran, which has been accused by the U.S. government of bankrolling terrorism and trying to build a nuclear bomb."
My Way News - The end is near as Hollywood does the apocalypse
My Way News reports: "Global warming, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, continuing terrorist threats and the economic meltdown have people in a gloomy, even end-of-days frame of mind. Filmmakers are tapping into worries about humanity's future with apocalyptic sagas such as '2012,''The Road' and 'The Book of Eli,' along with documentaries about environmental or economic doom."
My Way News - Palestinian hopes dim 5 years after Arafat death: "Arafat's dream of an independent state seems as distant as ever with the Palestinian government in deep crisis and the rival Hamas cementing its hold on Gaza. Arafat's successor, President Mahmoud Abbas, appears to have hit a dead end, and the Palestinians are at a loss as to how to find a way out of the morass."

My Way News - Hezbollah leader lashes out at Obama: "Hezbollah's leader on Wednesday accused President Barack Obama of absolute bias in favor of Israel and disregard for the dignity of Arabs and Muslims. Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said Obama has gone even farther in his military support for the Jewish state than his predecessor, George W. Bush - who was reviled in much of the Arab world for his support of Israel and war on Iraq."

My Way News - Israel shows documents it says link Iran to arms: "Israel has said the cargo ship its troops seized off the coast of Cyprus was carrying 500 tons of Iranian-made weapons for Lebanese Hezbollah militants. The ship had dozens of containers with Iranian markings on it."
My Way News - Facebook, Wikipedia execs brief Vatican on Web
My Way News reports: "Vatican officials and Catholic bishops are getting a lesson on the Internet from Facebook, Wikipedia and Google executives as the church struggles to get its message out in the digital age."

Comment: What is the Vatican's message in the digital age? Is it the gospel of salvation?
VOA News - Russia-Iran Relations Balancing on Nuclear Issue
VOA reports: "A Russian contract to sell sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran has yet to be fulfilled, amid behind the scenes bickering between both countries. The United States and other Western nations strongly oppose the sale of advanced Russian missiles to Tehran."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AFP: Famine and conflict risks confront south Sudan: UN
AFP reports: "Southern Sudan faces potential famine and the risk of further ethnic conflict, with over one million people already hit by serious food insecurity, the UN Children's Fund deputy head warned [...] The dry season is just beginning in the south, but people are already hungry with the failure of harvests, and the situation is expected to worsen in coming months as the few reserves of food are used up."
My Way News - US imam wanted in Yemen over al-Qaida suspicions
My Way News reports: "A radical American imam who communicated with the Fort Hood shooting suspect and called him a hero was once arrested in Yemen on suspicion of giving religious approval to militants to conduct kidnappings. Yemeni authorities are now hunting for Anwar al-Awlaki to determine whether he has al-Qaida ties."
My Way News - Israel says major cities are in Hezbollah's range
My Way News reports: "The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has significantly expanded its ability to strike deep into Israel with rockets that can now reach the Jewish state's largest cities, and now possesses tens of thousands of projectiles, Israel's army chief said Tuesday. [...] Israel said the huge weapons haul backs up its long-standing contention that Iran is supplying large quantities of arms to Hezbollah and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs the Gaza Strip to Israel's south."
My Way News - Pope prays to musical accompaniment in new CD
My Way News reports: "Benedict sings a hymn and recites prayers to the Virgin Mary in various languages, including Italian, French and Latin."

Comment: Let's think this through, shall we? In order for a dead person to hear prayers they would have to have characteristics of godhood which are defined as omniscience (all knowing - being able to hear a prayer from a human made at any time and any place) and omnipotent (all powerful - being able to grant prayers and petitions). And while we all no doubt share great respect for Mary, the mother of Jesus, we know that she is not God and does not have divine capabilities. She cannot hear your prayers, much less answer them. It's good to have respect for the saints, they are great role models of spiritual virtues, but that respect, when twisted into worship, becomes idolatry.

The disciples asked Jesus how to pray. It was a simple question. And he answered them. It was a simple answer. He actually didn't say to pray to dead people. Really, he never said that. You can even look it up for yourself (here and here) if you are curious about how Jesus said we should pray...and to whom.
My Way News - Suicide car bomb kills 24 in northwest Pakistan
My Way News reports: "A suicide car bomber attacked a crowded market in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing 24 people and illustrating militants' growing willingness to target civilians in their war against the government."
My Way News - North, South Korea clash at sea before Obama visit
My Way News reports: "The navies of North and South Korea clashed at sea Tuesday for the first time in seven years in what some analysts said was a provocation by the communist nation a week before President Barack Obama's visit to Seoul. [...] The two Koreas are still technically at war and the U.S., which fought as part of U.N. forces on South Korea's side, has never had diplomatic relations with North Korea."
My Way News - Police: Man opens fire at Ore. lab, killing woman
My Way News reports: "A man opened fire with a rifle Tuesday at a drug-testing laboratory in suburban Portland, killing one woman and wounding two other people before fatally shooting himself, police said. No names were immediately released."
Researchers Explore Growing Ocean Garbage Patches -
The New York Times reports: "Light bulbs, bottle caps, toothbrushes, Popsicle sticks and tiny pieces of plastic, each the size of a grain of rice, inhabit the Pacific garbage patch, an area of widely dispersed trash that doubles in size every decade and is now believed to be roughly twice the size of Texas. [...] The researchers say that when a predator — a larger fish or a person — eats the fish that eats the plastic, that predator may be transferring toxins to its own tissues, and in greater concentrations since toxins from multiple food sources can accumulate in the body."

Comment: We are watching the slow death of the oceans and it's bad news for the cycle of life and the millions of people that rely on fishing for food and their livelihood. When God gave us dominion over this planet I don't think He had this in mind. There is an answer on the horizon though, as we look forward to the day when Jesus returns and destroys those who are destroying the Earth.
Scientists want debate on animals with human genes - Science-
MSNBC reports: "The work is expected to take at least a year, but its leaders hope it will help establish guidelines for scientists in Britain and around the world on how far the public is prepared to see them go in mixing human genes into animals to discover ways to fight human diseases."

Comment: Glad to see that scientists want to debate this and that they are aware of the great moral concerns that many would have with pushing the extremes in this kind of research.
October was wettest on record in USA -
USA Today reports: "The USA just slogged through its wettest October on record, the federal government's National Climatic Data Center announced Tuesday. [...] In addition to the damp, October was also extremely cool, measuring the third-coldest since records began in 1895."

Comment: I tend not to worry about minor weather fluctuations but I do pay attention when records are broken.

Monday, November 09, 2009

My Way News - Palestinian negotiator: 'Defining moment' is here
My Way News reports: "The chief Palestinian negotiator on Monday warned Israel that if it does not take peacemaking seriously, it will find itself dealing with the militant Hamas instead of moderates like him."

Comment: Yeah, he sounds moderate, doesn't he. So, basically, he is saying, deal with us or deal with the legitimately elected leaders of the Palestinians, the radical Islamists that the people actually support. Why not let this play out, then even the wobbly Europeans will see the Palestinians for who they really are. Let's hope the Israeli government stands strong and doesn't give in to this good-cop bad-cop con.
My Way News - Iran still wants nuke talks with world powers
My Way News reports: "Iran still wants talks with world powers over fuel supplies to a Tehran nuclear reactor - despite the country's apparent rejection of a U.N. plan to curb Iran's enriched uranium stockpile."
My Way News - Navies of 2 Koreas exchange fire
My Way News reports: "Navy ships of the two Koreas exchanged fire Tuesday along their disputed western sea border, South Korean military officers said."
U.S. top brass: Nuclear Iran is existential threat to Israel - Haaretz - Israel News
Haaretz reports: "The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, said last week in Washington that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel. Mullen said he would prefer that the U.S. work diplomatically to keep the country from acquiring nuclear weapons, but hinted that should such efforts fail, the U.S. air force and navy could be put into action as well."

Friday, November 06, 2009

My Way News - China air force much improved though still lagging
My Way News reports: "China's rapidly modernizing air force is planning a display of its new military might for its 60th anniversary, showcasing a wide-ranging technical upgrade that has boosted its capabilities [...] The force has more than 600,000 members and about 2,000 aircraft - making it the largest in Asia - but still far smaller than the United States Air Force fleet, which has more than 5,500 aircraft and nearly 327,500 active service personnel."
My Way News - Abbas' move reflects deep Palestinian despair
My Way News reports: "Moderate Palestinians are worried that Abbas, in saying he doesn't want another term in office, will only deepen frustrations and boost the militants who claim violence is the only option. [...] The Palestinian narrative stands in sharp contrast to the widely held Israeli one. Israelis feel they have gotten little back for their efforts: They signed the 1993 Oslo peace accords, but the Palestinians persisted with terror attacks; Israel offered a state in 2000 but Palestinians staged a new uprising, and then Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and the Palestinians fired rockets from it."

Comment: There really is no reason in the world to believe that a Palestinian state would be peaceful, that it's citizens would want to live in peace next to Israel. The real failure of leadership here is not from Obama, but from Abbas, who has a peace agenda but has been unable to persuade his people to share that vision. Most Palestinians didn't even vote for him, they voted for Hamas and for war.
My Way News - Israel rejects UN vote approving Gaza report
My Way News reports: "Israel's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that many Western nations opposed the motion or abstained, saying those results 'demonstrate clearly that the resolution does not have the support of the moral majority' of the world body."
My Way News - Student stuns Iran by criticizing supreme leader
My Way News reports: "An unassuming college math student has become an unlikely hero to many in Iran for daring to criticize the country's most powerful man to his face. [...] Vahidnia's comments were so brazen and unprecedented that many Iranians thought it was staged by the government."
My Way News - Pakistani army enters final militant stronghold
My Way News reports: "The Pakistani army has vowed to continue the South Waziristan offensive despite the increase in militant attacks. It says it is now fighting bloody street-to-street battles in each of the three main militant strongholds in the region - Makeen, Sararogha and Ladha. The military says hundreds of insurgents have been killed in the South Waziristan operation - including 24 in just the last day - and hundreds more have been wounded."
My Way News - In Europe, most swine flu shots by invitation only
My Way News reports: "Instead of advertising that vaccine had arrived and waiting for the lines to form, Britain's National Health Service sent letters, inviting all those who qualify to make an appointment and get the shots first. Field said Britain's socialized health care system allows the country to target people who need to be vaccinated quickly: 'It's not like the U.S., where it's the survival of the fittest and the richest.'"
My Way News - Russia criticizes Poland's call for US troops
My Way News reports: "Russia's foreign minister said Thursday he was surprised by Poland's call for more U.S. troops on Polish soil in response to Moscow's assertiveness, a news agency reported [...] that need became clear when Russia and Belarus conducted a military exercise with hundreds of tanks near Poland's border last month."
My Way News - G20 officials to wrestle over economic imbalances
My Way News reports: "Finance ministers from the world's leading rich and developing countries are gathering here Friday to begin the difficult negotiations over how to even out the imbalances weighing on the world economy."
My Way News - Suspect in Orlando office shooting had money woes
My Way News reports: "A man who was so deep in debt that he did not have the money to visit his son 30 minutes away opened fire Friday at the engineering firm that fired him two years ago, killing one person and wounding five, authorities said."

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Fort Hood shooting: Suspected gunman not among fatalities --
The Los Angeles Times reports: "In an act of violence that sent shock waves through the American military establishment and raised questions about base security, a man armed with two handguns allegedly opened fire Thursday afternoon on the grounds of Ft. Hood, the country's largest military base. Twelve people were killed and 31 others injured. The suspect, an Army psychologist, was shot and in custody. The base, home to about 70,000 soldiers and their families, was locked down."
My Way News - Israel: Weapons would let Hezbollah fight a month
My Way News reports: "Israel said Thursday that Hezbollah could have bombarded the Jewish state for a month with the weapons confiscated in the country's largest-ever arms seizure, and called on the world to focus on the Lebanese militants' chief backer, Iran, rather than assailing Israel."
My Way News - Palestinian shock: President says he wants to quit
My Way News reports: "By announcing he doesn't want another term in office, embattled Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pushed the Mideast peace effort into unknown territory Thursday, opening the way to a succession battle that could play into the hands of his rival, the militant Hamas."
My Way News - General Assembly urges Gaza investigations
My Way News reports: "The U.N. General Assembly urged Israel and the Palestinians Thursday to investigate alleged war crimes during last winter's conflict in Gaza and raised the possibility of Security Council action if they don't. The 192-member world body approved an Arab-drafted resolution by a vote of 114-18, with 44 abstentions and 16 countries not voting."

Comment: The U.N.'s General Assembly has always been very anti-Israel and easily manipulated by those who take to a trendy anti-American and anti-Israel stance, so this move is not surprising.
My Way News - WHO: Swine flu virus is top strain worldwide
My Way News reports: "The World Health Organization's flu chief said the swine flu virus has now become the predominant flu strain worldwide. In some countries, swine flu accounts for up to 70 percent of the flu viruses being sampled, said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO's top flu official."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

My Way News - Malaysia rejects call to release 10,000 Bibles
My Way News reports: "An official from the Home Ministry's publications unit said the government rejected pleas by church officials to allow the Bibles, imported from Indonesia, into the country. Christians say the Muslim Malay-dominated government is violating their right to practice their religion freely."
My Way News - Israel: commandos seize Hezbollah-bound arms ship
My Way News reports: "Israeli commandos seized a ship Wednesday that defense officials said was carrying hundreds of tons of weapons from Iran bound for Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas - the largest arms shipment Israel has ever commandeered."
My Way News - Clinton: US wants Israel settlement halt 'forever'
My Way News reports: "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended the U.S. stance toward Israeli settlement building to worried Arab allies on Wednesday, saying Washington does not accept the legitimacy of the West Bank enclaves and wants to see their construction halted 'forever.' Still, she said an Israeli offer to restrain - but not halt - construction represents 'positive movement forward' toward resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations."

My Way News - Palestinians threaten Israel with 1-state solution
My Way News reports: "The Palestinians should give up seeking an independent state and pursue a single country in which they would enjoy equal rights with Israelis, the chief Palestinian negotiator in Mideast peace talks said Wednesday."

Comment: In today's Mideast peace developments, Hillary Clinton tried to pacify the Palestinians and Israel's Arab neighbors after making what they saw as a concession to Israel on the settlements issue. They had believed that under Obama the U.S. would no longer be as pro-Israel as the U.S. had been under Bush. Like Democrats in the U.S., they were dazzled by Obama's speeches and expected his actions to follow his words, but they didn't, and so they are now disillusioned. Clinton is doing her best to use the Clintonian wordplay that her husband was so famous for to say different things to different groups in a vain attempt to make everyone happy. It's clearly not working and no one has been fooled into believing that the former senator from New York is going to be anything other than pro-Israel. The danger for Israel is that she and Obama will now try to over-correct and end up pressuring Israel more than they were inclined to do, so let's watch for this. So far though, I don't see that happening.

And in another development, an influential Palestinian has suggested dropping the drive for a two-state solution and accepting a one-state solution in which Palestinians would be absorbed into Israel. I think that Israel should immediately seize upon this idea as a tactical move and accept it at once and call for a general Palestinian referendum on it. Israel need have no fear that the referendum would pass, it wouldn't, but forcing the Palestinians to vote on it would split the Palestinians even more than they are now and clearly expose the depth of their anti-Israel bias. At the end of the process, the Palestinians would be even more divided, the militant anti-Israel wing more clearly defined as anti-peace, and the other faction similarly weakened would accept the two-state solution on Israel's terms. Just an idea.
My Way News - Russia stresses tolerance on national holiday
My Way News reports: "The Kremlin introduced National Unity Day in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Revolution that brought the Bolsheviks to power. But the new holiday was quickly seized upon by extreme nationalists and white supremacists, as well as by Russian Orthodox Christian fundamentalists and monarchists."
My Way News - Officials: Pakistan army enters Taliban stronghold
My Way News reports: "Pakistani soldiers battled Taliban fighters Wednesday in the streets of a key militant stronghold, officials said, as government forces pressed ahead with their offensive in the tribal region of South Waziristan."
My Way News - Group urges CW stations not to air 'Gossip Girl'
My Way News reports: "On-air promos for a sexual threesome on an upcoming episode of 'Gossip Girl' have spurred the Parents Television Council to ask affiliates of the CW network to pre-empt the show. Airing the teen tryst, which is being teased in an ad as a '3SOME,' is 'reckless and irresponsible,' said PTC president Tim Winter in a statement Wednesday. The threesome involves three main characters in the show but they are not identified in the promos."

Comment: Just another sad example of the mixed messages our society sends to young people through Hollywood. They show people engaging in all kinds of vice, they make it look glamorous, but they never show the consequences. Sex sells, sure, that's old news, and for adults old enough to make their own decisions maybe that's ok, but the makers of teen sex dramas need to be held to account. It's ironic that the daytime soaps that have a largely adult audience have never been as risque as this nighttime soap targeted at a teen audience. The only sad thing here is that all the attention is probably welcome news for the makers of "Gossip Girl" and will serve to increase their ratings, which will in turn lead to more daring and provocative content. Let's just hope that parents out there see it as a teachable moment to impart their values to their children instead of letting Hollywood do it for them.
CNN - Quake injures 700 in southern Iran
CNN reports: "An earthquake struck southern Iran's Hormozgan province early Wednesday, injuring about 700 people, state-run media reported. Frightened residents of the port city of Bandar Abbas poured into the streets after the 4.9-magnitude earthquake struck at 2:56 a.m. (6:26 p.m. ET Tuesday), Iran's Press TV said."

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

USA Today - Internet believers: Pastors open online churches
USA Today reports: "The World Wide Web has become the hottest place to build a church. A growing number of congregations are creating Internet offshoots that go far beyond streaming weekly services. [...] The move online is forcing Christians to re-examine their idea of church. It's a complex discussion involving theology, tradition and cultural expectations of how Christians should worship and relate."

Comment: I think this is a welcome development. The church is not a building, it's the community of believers and believers can gather anywhere and worship together...even online. The gospel should be preached where people are, and if they are online, then preach online. Paul was not afraid to go into the market, into the agora, and preach to the people of Athens, so today's Christians should not be afraid to worship online. Is it for everyone? Probably not, but it may be the perfect worship space for new generations of believers raised on Web 2.0 and social networking. Let's give this generation a chance to friend God.
My Way News - Clinton diverts to Egypt for Mideast peace talks
My Way News reports: "U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a hastily arranged stop in the Egyptian capital Tuesday to consult with a longtime Arab ally amid indications of a shifting U.S. strategy for getting Israel and the Palestinians back to peace negotiations."

Comment: I feel sorry for her. She now has to explain to America's Arab allies why the U.S. isn't turning against Israel, as they assumed would happen under Obama. Can you imagine, she is in hot water because she's not being critical of Israel. To be fair though, Israel has made concessions, the Palestinians and other Arab states have made none, so the U.S. position is reflecting that.
My Way News - Israel: Gaza rockets can reach metro Tel Aviv
My Way News reports: "Hamas militants in Gaza have successfully test-fired an Iranian rocket able to reach Israel's largest urban center, the country's military intelligence chief said Tuesday."
My Way News - European court: No crucifixes in Italian schools\
My Way News reports: "The Vatican on Tuesday denounced a ruling by the European court of human rights that said the display of crucifixes in Italian public schools violates religious and education freedoms [...] Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the crucifix was a fundamental sign of the importance of religious values in Italian history and culture and was a symbol of unity and welcoming for all of humanity - not one of exclusion."

Comment: So, is this what the new EU represents, a secular repudiation of Europe's Christian heritage?
My Way News - Czech president signs EU reform treaty
My Way News reports: "A charter designed to transform the 27 countries and half a billion people of the European Union into a more unified and powerful global player passed its last major hurdle Tuesday and looks set to become law within weeks. [...] Projecting this more decisive EU abroad would be a new fixed-term president - in place of a decades-old system that rotates the presidency among governments every six months - and a new foreign minister."
My Way News - NKorea claims to expand arsenal of atomic bombs
My Way News reports: "North Korea claimed Tuesday that it has successfully weaponized more plutonium for atomic bombs, a day after warning Washington to agree quickly to direct talks or face the prospect of a growing North Korean nuclear arsenal."
My Way News - Pakistan Taliban: 'We are prepared for a long war'
My Way News reports: "A Taliban spokesman denied Tuesday that Pakistan has won a series of battlefield victories in its offensive in tribal South Waziristan, saying the militants are drawing government soldiers into a trap. 'We are prepared for a long war,' Azam Tariq told an Associated Press reporter by telephone."
My Way News - Clinton says nuke offer to Iran won't be changed
My Way News reports: "Iranian officials sent mixed signals on the plan that would have Tehran export 70 percent of its enriched uranium - enough to build a bomb - and have it returned as fuel for its research reactor. The foreign minister said Monday that option still exists; a senior diplomat suggested the opposite."

Comment: Stall and delay, such a predictable strategy, but is the West falling for it?
My Way News - Police: Pair stole up to 1k bags at Ariz. airport
My Way News reports: "Police first arrested King on a misdemeanor theft charge about three weeks ago when an officer saw him park at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, take a piece of luggage from one of the baggage claim carousels and get back into his car. He was released, and police began conducting surveillance on him. Holmes said police followed King to the airport Monday and watched him take a piece of luggage that wasn't his and return to his home with it. They found the hundreds of other bags after searching the house Tuesday. [...] She said airport officials and airlines are working together to assess security at the airport and are talking about checking passengers' bag tags again."

Comment: I don't know why this bothers me as much as it does. It's not a violent crime, no one was physically harmed, but it forces our society to become darker and less free. Rather than being an open place in which you can feel confident that most people are decent and won't steal a thing (unattended luggage) even if it would be easy to do, it reminds us that rules and procedures have to be created (checking passenger bag tags) based on the notion that the few bad apples will spoil it for everyone. It builds a society that assumes wickedness is the norm instead of decency.
Kilimanjaro's famous icy peaks are thawing fast -
USA Today reports: "Climate change could cause the legendary snow and ice atop Mount Kilimanjaro to disappear within the next 25 years, scientists report today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."
My Way News - New vaccine offers hope in Africa's malaria battle
My Way News reports: "A vaccine that appears to be able to prevent the disease in about 50 percent of children, is now undergoing the final stage of testing."

Monday, November 02, 2009

Clinton Denies Easing Pressure on Israel Over Settlements -
The New York Times reports: "The administration’s handling of settlements has become a new source of tension in the Middle East. The Palestinians are refusing to negotiate with Israel in the absence of a complete freeze, while other Arab leaders are seizing on what they view as a retreat by the United States."

Comment: This has been interesting to watch as I keep getting e-mails from people who have bought into the "Obama is turning against Israel" idea when all the while the facts support the idea that Obama is finding a good peace partner in Israel and not in the Palestinians or Israel's Arab neighbors. Don't get me wrong, I'll complain as loudly as anyone if the U.S. did turn against Israel, but I just haven't seen any evidence of that.
My Way News - NKorea threatens to expand nuclear arsenal
My Way News reports: "North Korea issued a veiled threat to increase its nuclear arsenal if U.S. officials do not quickly agree to the one-on-one talks that the communist regime is demanding."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

BBC NEWS - Clinton urges new Mid-East talks
BBC News reports: "US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged the Israelis and Palestinians to restart talks 'as soon as possible'. [...] The Palestinians feel angry and let down by the Obama adminstration, according to our correspondent. They refused a direct appeal from Mrs Clinton to enter substantive talks immediately and the final status negotiations remain a long, long way off.
To defend against Iran missiles, US and Israel conduct joint exercises |
The Christian Science Monitor reports: "The exercises between the US and Israel have been held annually since 2001, but testing Israel's ability to defend itself from a missile attack has seldom seemed this urgent. [...] Known as Juniper Cobra 10, the exercises are virtual war games that won't even require the 8,300-ton USS Higgins to leave the pier. Instead, they simulate attack from a variety of potential missile threats."