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Be Alert!

Moriel Ministries Be Alert! has added this Blog as a resource for further information, links and research to help keep you above the global deception blinding the world and most of the church in these last days. Jesus our Messiah is indeed coming soon and this should only be cause for joy unless you have not surrendered to Him. Today is the day for salvation! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, - Psalms 95:7

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Exclusive: German patrol off Lebanon coast

Alert Focus: A Cup of Trembling Daniel 7:6 "After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. Exclusive: Documented patrol off Lebanon coast YEDIOTH AHRONOTH (YnetNews) - By Gil Yaron - December 22, 2006 -- (VIDEO) German special naval force stationed off Lebanese coast to help stop arms smuggling. Forces explain their mandate limited, forces can 'assist', must not impinge on Lebanese sovereignty Gil Yaron VIDEO - This is what a United Nations patrol off the coast of Lebanon looks like: A Ynet correspondent took part in the German Navy's patrol, as part of the UN forces operating in Lebanon in a bid to enforce the ceasefire with Israel . For Germany, this is a historic occasion. For the first time since World War II German soldiers are commanding an international UN force. The German Navy, which for the most part has only had experience in naval maneuvers, finds itself in one of the hottest war zones in the world – off the Lebanese coast. The naval component of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) currently includes about 1,500 troops serving on 19 battleships from seven countries. The dark grey color of the German destroyers, which are designed to sail the Atlantic Ocean, is prominent against the background of the light turquoise of the Mediterranean. "This is a desired effect. We want to be seen," explains the German forces' spokesman Frigate Commander Bardischewski. "We are here to deter, to foil and to assist, not to fight." The role of UNIFIL's naval force, as defined in Security Council Resolution 1701, is simple: In clause 14 of the resolution, the Lebanese government is called upon "to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel". UNIFIL was authorized to assist the government of Lebanon at its request. Admiral Andreas Krause, commander of the naval force, explained, "We are here to ensure that weapons are not transferred by sea.".... “In the past, our ships’ sophisticated radars have even located dead cows and television sets thrown into the sea. We see everything,”.... According to the formulated procedure, UNIFIL ships are merely “hailing” all ships headed to Lebanon, checking off a list of 14 questions. “Those who are suspicious are passed on to the Lebanese,” explains Lieutenant Colonel Oliver P, commander of the war room on board the force’s flagship.... However, this did not mean that Hizbullah is lying idle. The main supply routes have never led through Lebanese ports, but through the 375 kilometers of the winding and uncontrolled border with Syria.... Stationing the ships is thus mainly a political statement, clearly stating that Europe acknowledges the importance of stability in the region for the sake of its own safety. “We are protecting Europe’s shores from here,” explains Captain Mike Jäger, commander of a fast patrol ship off the coast of Lebanon.... The main fear is of an ‘asymmetric threat’, military vernacular for terror attacks. Part of their base of operations in Limasol, Cyprus, has become a full-fledged military basis, complete with armed German soldiers patrolling behind empty containers, with permission to open fire should anyone try to break in. The most likely scenario is a suicide commando attacking a warship with a bomb mounted on a speedboat, copying the infamous attack on the USS Cole in 2000, which injured 17 crew members were killed and injured 39. To prevent terror attacks, alert is constantly kept on its highest level. Target practices are carried out daily, anti-missile defense systems are scanning the horizon around the clock, the armed machine guns on deck can be manned within 30 seconds. However, the truly dangerous missions are left to the Lebanese Navy, the only one allowed to detain and inspect incoming sea crafts in its territorial waters.... Trade ships arriving directly from Iran pass UNIFIL ships unhindered if their papers are in order. Under these conditions, it is difficult to ensure that weapons do not make their way to Nasrallah after all. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3343004,00.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bush: U.S. Needs to Increase Army Size

Alert Focus: The Iron and the clay Daniel 7:4 "The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. ASSOCIATED PRESS - December 20, 2006 -- WASHINGTON -— President Bush says the U.S. needs to increase the size of Army and Marines, and says strategy and tactics in Iraq will change to meet the situation on the ground. Bush also said Wednesday that insurgents in Iraq thwarted U.S. efforts at "establishing security and stability throughout the country" in 2006. At a year-end news conference, Bush said the United States will "ask more of our Iraqi partners" in 2007, and he pledged to work with the new Democratic Congress, as well. Bush sidestepped one question whether he would order a so-called surge of troops in Iraq as a first-step toward gaining control of the violent and chaotic situation there. "Nice try," he told a reporter who asked about his plans. The Baker-Hamilton Commission recommended a quick buildup of troops as part of an overall plan to arrest what it called a "grave and deteriorating" situation in Iraq. Bush also said the United States supports the creation of a unity government in Iraq. ... http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2740418&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312 FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml . If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Foreign minister says Turkey remains committed to EU membership bid

Alert Focus: The Iron and the clay Revelation 13:1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. ANKARA, Turkey: Turkey's foreign minister insisted Friday that Turkey would not abandon its struggle for European Union membership, despite an EU decision to partially freeze entry talks. EU leaders earlier this month decided to halt negotiations in eight out of 35 policy areas because of Turkey's refusal to open ports and airports to EU member Cyprus, whose government Ankara does not recognize. "For the EU, to act in a way that is against the core and the spirit of ties (with Turkey) by hiding behind various excuses such as the Cyprus issue, is unacceptable," Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said in an address to a leading Turkish business group. "But we are not going to sulk ... and say: 'we're not with you anymore,' " Gul said. "We are not a point the where we would endanger Turkey's future. ... There is no question of us abandoning the struggle." Gul said Turkey's economy was stronger than many other newly joined EU members and pledged his government's continued commitment to a reform process aimed at improving human rights, as well as the country's legal, economic and social systems to meet EU standards. "We are committed to our aim for full EU membership," Gul told businessmen. "The reform process will continue as before." The minister said the EU was in a temporary state of "confusion" over its future. "Such periods have come and gone in the history of Europe. This too will pass," Gul said. Turkey insists it will only open ports and airports once the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot state ends. Cyprus has been divided between a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish-occupied north since 1974, when Turkey invaded after an abortive Athens-backed coup by supporters of union with Greece. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/12/22/europe/EU_GEN_Turkey_EU.php FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Japan reaffirms Middle East commitment to King Abdullah

Alert Focus: Antichrist 1 John 2:22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. REUTERS - December 22, 2006 -- TOKYO -- Japan yesterday reaffirmed to Jordan’s visiting King Abdullah II its commitment to efforts promoting peace in the Middle East, the foreign ministry said. Foreign Minister Taro Aso told the king — in Tokyo to discuss the chaos in the Palestinian territories and Iraq — that Japan would keep supporting initiatives such as the “peace and prosperity corridor”, a statement said. Under the “corridor” proposed by then prime minister Junichiro Koizumi on a visit to the Middle East in July, Japan would help develop the West Bank and build an agro-industrial park there in cooperation with Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. “Foreign Minister Aso said Japan will stay proactively involved in building stability in the Middle Eastern region,” a Japanese foreign ministry statement said. It said Abdullah applauded Japan’s “neutral” stance in the Middle East and expressed gratitude for its support to Jordan. Japan, the world’s second-largest economy, has been seeking a more active role in the Middle East. It is a top donor to the Palestinians and Iraq, and took the unprecedented step of sending troops to Iraq. Later in the day, Abdullah met with executives of the Japan Business Federation, the nation’s biggest business lobby, and called for an expansion of Japanese investment in his country. http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection=Gulf%2C+Middle+East+%26+Africa&month=December2006&file=World_News2006122275637.xml FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Rick Warren, Syria, & The Sorko Rams

Alert Focus: False Teachers / The Falling Away / Deception by James Jacob Prasch Given his propensity to twist the Word of God out of context and his urging of Christians to avoid ‘End Times Prophecy’ by an unbelievable butchering of a biblical text, we are not surprised by Rick Warren’s latest adventures in singing the praises of Terrorist Hizbollah’s Syrian sponsors, and doing so the very week that Lebanese Christian leader Pierre Jemayliel was assassinated by Syrian backed interests. Neither are we surprised by Rick Warren teaming up with John Ortberg in his “peace plan’. Ortberg wants Christians to demand that Israel forfeit more of its biblical covenant land to Islam. Finally, given their track record , we are not surprised by the shameful actions of Ari & Shira Sorko Ram and their MAOZ organization in translating Rick Warren’s books into Hebrew for distribution in Israel at the same time Warren is on his march against Israel & biblical prophecy and is now lauding Jew hating Syria whose sponsoring of Islamic terror murders Jews. This is precisely what we have come to expect from MAOZ. It was federally indicted money preacher Morris Cerullo’s book distributed in Israel without the consent of the local Israeli congregations (condemned by a host of Israeli messianic pastors) that provoked Israel’s anti evangelism law making it more legally difficult to present Yeshua to Jewish souls in Israel. The book had the address of the Sorko Ram’s MAOZ ministry on the cover. Now these same MAOZ people are collaborating with a pro Syria Rick Warren in what many if not most people could only interpret as a further betrayal of Israel by them. http://www.moriel.org/articles/discernment/church_issues/rick_warren_syria_sorko_rams.htm

What is a Hashemite

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Hashemites or the Bani Hashim are the direct descendents of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), through his daughter Fatima and (her husband) his cousin Ali (the fourth, and last, "Rightly-Guided" Caliph of Islam). "Hashim" was the name of the great-grandfather of both the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Caliph Ali. The Hashemite family ruled, in various forms, over the Hejaz (the Western part of Arabia which includes the Holy cities of Mecca and Medina) from the time of the Caliph Ali in the Seventh Century CE until 1925 CE- The Official Site of HRH Prince Hamzah bin al Hussein

The name of this Arab dynasty should not be confused with "Hashem", one of the names for God Hashemite is the Anglicised version of the Arabic: هاشمي (transliteration: Hashemi) and traditionally refers to those belonging to the Banu Hashim, or "clan of Hashem", a clan within the larger Quraish tribe. It also refers to an Arab dynasty whose original strength stemmed from the network of tribal alliances and blood loyalties in the Hejaz region of Arabia, along the Red Sea.

The Hashemites trace their ancestry from Hashim ibn Abd al-Manaf (died c.510 CE), the great-grandfather of Muhammad. The early history of the Hashemites saw them in a continuous struggle against the Umayyads for control over who would be the caliph or successor to Muhammad. The Umayyads were of the same tribe as the Hashemites, but a different clan. This rivalry eventually would lead to the split between the Sunni and Shia. After the overthrow of the Umayyads, the Abbasids would present themselves as representatives of the Hashemites, as they claimed descent from Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, an uncle of Muhammad. From the 10th century onwards, the Sharif (religious leader) of Mecca and its Emir was by traditional agreement a Hashemite. Before World War I, Hussein bin Ali of the Hashemite Dhawu-'Awn clan ruled the Hejaz on behalf of the Ottoman sultan. For some time it had been the practice of the Sublime Porte to appoint the Emir of Mecca from among a select group of candidates. In 1908, Hussein bin Ali was appointed Emir of Mecca. He found himself increasingly at odds with the Young Turks in control at Istanbul, while he strove to secure his family's position as hereditary Emirs. During and after World War I Between 1917 and 1924, after the collapse of Ottoman power, Hussein bin Ali ruled an independent Hejaz, of which he proclaimed himself king, with the tacit support of the British Foreign Office. His supporters are sometimes referred to as "Sharifians" or the "Sharifian party". His chief rival in the Arabian peninsula was the king of the highlanders on the highland of Najd named Ibn Saud, who annexed the Hejaz in 1925 and set his own son, Faysal bin Abdelaziz Al Saud, as governor. The region was later incorporated into Saudi Arabia. Hussein bin Ali had five sons: Ali, who briefly succeeded to the throne of Hejaz before its loss to the Saud family; Abdullah, who later became the king of Transjordan, and whose descendants have ruled that kingdom, now known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, ever since; Faisal, who became King of Iraq; Prince Zeid, who became a claimant to the throne of Iraq when his brother's grandson was overthrown in a coup in 1958; and Hassan, who died at a young age. Sharif Ali Bin al-Hussein (Arabic: الشريف علي بن الحسين) was born in 1956, in Baghdad, Iraq is a member of the Hashemite House. He is currently a Pretender to the Iraqi throne and the leader of the Iraqi Constitutional Monarchy political party to restore the monarchy to Iraq and himself a King. The Hashemites have a strong tribal relationship with a tribe from Somalia, called the Isaaq. The Sultans of Sulu also style themselves Hashemite. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashemite The Official Site of HRH Prince Hamzah bin al Hussein

'Is There Now a Muslim Caliphate?'

Alert Focus: Antichrist

1 John 2:22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

Editorial Note: This article originally appeared in the October 31, 2006 edition of Moriel's Be Alert! email newsletter. THE AMERICAN DAILY - By Pete Fisher - October 29, 2006 -- [FULL ARTICLE] Searching around the net I came across this site, http://chn-net.com/ and found some interesting information. Sal Smario has written several books on this subject and his site is filled with the details of which this article is based on. It has certainly piqued my interest in the times we live in. Over 25 years of watching the Middle East, I find this quite intriguing. Many times over the years I have heard from all fronts that Islam is scattered due to not having a shepherd. The Catholics have their Pope, and other denominations have their leadership to explain their practiced dogmas. Since Mohammed died, Islam has been dealing with a scattered sense of right and wrong, specifically in the conflict between Sunni and Shiite factions. There have been other factions in Islam that have fought against Muslims, and even the void today between the terrorist element and Muslims who do not practice Islam this way exists globally. What I have seen in the recent years is the battle to define mainstream Islam and to try and eliminate the Jihadist mentality in order to put forth a more moderate view of Islam, and to accomplish the peace process in the Middle East that has been hindered by extremists bent on the eradication of Israel. For years I have been wondering who on this Earth could handle a task that large, as well as gain the trust of Israel and the West. Who could make a claim to be able to accomplish this, but also begin this with the consent of the entire globe? Enter King Abdullah II of Jordan, son of Hussein, 43rd direct descendent of Mohammed in a long line of Hashemites. The Hashemite Kingdom, once controlled the Middle East as well as having had the task of maintaining all Muslim scared places and shrines, Mecca, Medina, and of course the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Chased out by Wahabbi extremists in Saudi Arabia, and double crossed by the Sykes-Picot agreement, the Hashemite Kingdom once great was reduced to the nation of Jordan as it sits today. A tiny area insignificant in size, much like Israel, but significant in it’s purpose. I do believe Abdullah II has aspired to greatness in a few areas here. He was most instrumental in drafting the peace treaty between the Arabs and Jews that was agreed upon in Rome and once again in Egypt a couple of months ago. He has taken away the Temple Mount authority from the Palestinians, and was given sole authority to that same place. He has pulled together an Arab Muslim alliance of 10 nations that have been trying to push his peace plan into action, while Libya, Iraq, and Syria were the Arab elements that disagreed with him. Two of those three nations are now powerless so to speak, and Syria is about to change drastically with Assad heading out the door here very soon. He has been called The Great peacemaker by the Jews, he ahs been praised by the E.U., U.N., and the Unites States. He has visited about every single nation on Earth pushing his agenda, and seems to find wide acceptance in his plans for peace. Now he has outlawed terrorism in Islam. Flying the Hashemite flag over countries in his coalition, as well as his plans to build a 400 some foot tower on the Temple Mount emblazoned with Hashemite symbols. He has shown that he will not tolerate terror, he has basically redefined Islam to the West, and he has gained the trust of the world. By flying the Hashemite flag, he has already basically claimed to be ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom, i.e.- Islam. Restoration of the once glorious Kingdom to bring back the honor of Islam as it was in it's heyday. Being a direct descendant of Mohammed, he is untouchable by Muslims who would want him dead. Being a King, and living in the area that used to be part of the old Hashemite Kingdom, he ahs basically begun to take on what I see as the Grand Caliph, and as he publicly stands to redefine Islam, as well as rebuilding the parapet of Saladin, and a parapet on the Temple Mount with Hashemite symbols, it seems obvious to me. This King has set himself up as the leader of Islam, the great unifying force behind Islam, a mediator of peace between Israel and her neighbors, and the wealth and worldwide acceptance to back him up. This one man with such a giant purpose, flying under the radar so softly, seemingly goes unnoticed by the world media and populace. He offers the globe a peace plan, he unites Islam, he has gained the trust of the Jews and has a 10 nation coalition with 3 uprooted dissenting nations in his neighborhood. He offers the world peace and safety. And we hear about Jon Benet ramsey and Tom Cruises' latest marriage. The scary part of this is in the biblical book of Daniel when speaking of the Anti i-Christ, it shows a man who would come from the Seleucid portion of the old Roman Empire. Jordan is there. He will lead 10 nations; he will uproot 3 of those who dissent. He will offer Israel a truce, as well as allow them to build their temple across from the Dome in Jerusalem. Last weeks news actually, but it did happen. And eventually as he instills his Kingdom on Earth, the Bible tells us that anyone refusing to follow will literally lose their heads. Hmmm, where have we seen this before? And those who know Islam understand it will deceive with a false sense of peace and security in order to eventually gain enough footholds to take over. This guy is walking the same line Mohammed walked in Mecca. He will deceive many with peace, says Daniel, not terror or power. Muslim Caliphate and Maker of Peace, or Anti-Chris, is there really a difference? A leader of Islam would in time most certainly attempt to globalize Islam, even under the false peace. A Caliph who is descended of Mohammed himself has this right as well to decree it. In my opinion, nothing would make a better Anti-Christ than one who serves a religion that denies His purpose and Jihads for the death of His followers as commanded in the Koran. Just wouldn't be right for any other religion to pull this off, would it? Though I leave this entire idea to the independent reader, to date I have not seen anyone in my life who has taken on the role Daniel said would be taken on, and actually accomplish about 99.9% of it all before my eyes. And with such subtlety at that. I am now waiting for Syria to fall into line with Abdullahs’ definition of moderation and peace to make it 100%. Then, the rest will remain to be seen. Scary, isn’t it? ---------- Pete Fisher is a concerned citizen in the Chicago area who has written several articles on the economy, educational system, politics, and religion. He has been feature on several sites such as RenewAmerica.us, Chronwatch.comBlessedcause.com, Michnews.com, mensnewsdaily.com, The Rant.us, and has been circulated on various other sites worldwide. He is a 6 year veteran of the Armed Forces. http://americandaily.com/article/16240

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Regan: Jewish 'Cabal' in Book Industry

Alert Focus: Anti-Semitism / Persecution Here is just another example of the growing hatred of Jews, the only ethnic group of people the world underhandedly condones prejudice. BE/\LERT! Genesis 12:3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." ASSOCIATED PRESS - By Hillel Italie - December 19, 2006 -- In an explosive telephone argument that led to her firing, publisher Judith Regan allegedly complained of a "Jewish cabal" against her in the book industry and stated that Jews "should know about ganging up, finding common enemies and telling the big lie." A spokesman for Regan's former employer, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., told The Associated Press on Monday that the remarks were made during a conversation between Regan and HarperCollins attorney Mark Jackson, who took notes. At the time, the two were discussing the future of a controversial new novel about baseball star Mickey Mantle. The spokesman, Andrew Butcher, released the comments in response to a threatened libel suit from Regan's legal representative, Hollywood attorney Bert Fields, who had called earlier reports of inappropriate remarks "completely untrue" and added that the publisher "didn't have an anti-Semitic bone in her body." Since 1994, Regan had headed the ReganBooks imprint at News Corp.'s HarperCollins. She was fired Friday. The allegations first emerged earlier Monday when The New York Times, citing two unnamed News Corp. officials, referred to unspecified anti-Semitic comments. ... http://abcnews.go.com/Business/LegalCenter/story?id=2737320 FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Blasphemy Challenge

Alert Focus: Man in his pomp will not endure
Psalms 14:1a
The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."
Psalms 10:8
He [the wicked] sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the hiding places he kills the innocent; His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate.
Proverbs 10:23
Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool, and so is wisdom to a man of understanding.
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Psalms 49:12
But man in his pomp will not endure; He is like the beasts that perish.
CROSSWALK - By Regis Nicoll, Freelance Writer, Speaker, Worldview Teacher, Men's Ministry Leader - December 21, 2006 -- Would you trade your soul for a DVD? Well, over one hundred young people (and counting) have.
A group calling itself the "Rational Response Squad" is inviting people (mainly teens) to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and thereby commit the "unpardonable sin." If you are among the first 1001 people to declare "I deny the Holy Spirit" and post your denial on YouTube, you, too, will receive the free DVD, "The God Who Wasn't There."
Now on one hand, whatever naughtiness these folks think they're committing in their cheeky videos, they're not blaspheming the Holy Spirit. To do that requires an admission of supernaturalism--a definite no-no to free-thinking rationalists like the RRS. You see, according to Scripture, the "unpardonable sin" is to experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and attribute it to another supernatural agent: Satan.
On the other hand, this is a very clever ploy by the RRS. They realize that once someone has jumped off this "cliff" they can't change their mind as they plunge down the abyss. If you're convinced that regardless of later convictions you are beyond forgiveness, your only choice is the full court press of godless rationalism.
Disturbingly, the RRS reports that the Blasphemy Challenge is targeting 25 websites geared to teens including Xanga, Friendster, Boy Scout Trail, Tiger Beat, Teen Magazine, YM, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. Their aim: to de-program kids who have been indoctrinated from birth to believe in God, in general, and Christianity in particular.
In the words of RRS, "If we talked about religion the same way we talk about science, history or other fields involving truth claims, dogma would wither in the light."
They may be on to something. If religion and, say, evolutionary science were held to the same standards of testability and falsifiablity, dogma would wither--especially that lacking the explanatory power for the diversity and complexity of life, not to mention existence itself, and the great metaphysical questions of meaning and purpose.
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Virtual Mind Games Revive Controversial Experiment

Alert Focus: The Mystery of Lawlessness 2 Thessalonians 2:7a For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;... LIVE SCIENCE.com - By Charles Q. Choi - December 20, 2006 -- Infamous experiments almost 50 years ago discovered that ordinary people—under orders from an authority figure—would deliver apparently lethal electrical shocks to complete strangers. The disturbing findings both shed light on the limits of human behavior and the mind but also ignited an ethical controversy that has made it impossible nowadays to further explore this area directly. Now scientists are conducting these experiments against computer-generated virtual people, where no real people appear to get hurt. The hope is to better understand why people commit horrific acts against their fellows, such as torture or genocide, while potentially overcoming the ethical concerns against the original experiments. These new findings build off the pioneering work of psychologist Stanley Milgram at Yale University who began his controversial experiments in 1961, months after the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann began. Eichmann, responsible for the mass deportations of Jews, gypsies and others purged during the Nazi reign furthered his notoriety by insisting he was only "following orders” when confronted with his crimes. ... [See link for full article] http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/061220_cyberexperiment.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Germany: Government declares war on homeschooling families

Alert Focus: Persecution / Antichrist Mark 13:9 "But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. Matthew 24:9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. Daniel 7:6 "After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. Daniel 7:21-22 "I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. Family's 'religious convictions'must meet state requirements WORLDNETDAILY - By Bob Unruh - December 21, 2006 -- The German government, in a throwback to its National Socialist Workers Party heritage, has declared war on homeschool families, promising to bring those with banned "religious convictions" into alignment with the state regulations. The word comes through the Netz-Bildung Freiheit (Net-Education Freedom) organization in Germany, a coalition of efforts lobbying on behalf of the constitutional right of German parents to have their children's education "conform" to their own religious and philosophical convictions. The report's English translation on the Homeschoolblogger.com website includes a very clear declaration, with a followup threat. A government education official says the government is working to avoid future conflicts over homeschooling with one particular family by looking "for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement." The issue has U.S. experts on homeschooling very worried. Michael Farris, cofounder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, has called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect the right of parents to educate their children at home, in light of what is developing in Europe, and the growing influence of international court conclusions in the U.S. His concern is that if the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child were ratified by the Senate or adopted by the federal courts as enforceable international law, American homeschooling could be banned. He notes that the parents' rights to control their children's education never were written into the U.S. Constitution because the Founding Fathers recognized that it was the Bible that gave parents a God-given right to educate their children at home or in a private or government school. "While the decision noted that some nations in the European Union allow for homeschooling, and while Germany allows for private institutional education, the court made it clear that such allowances are a matter of legislative grace and not founded in principles of protected human rights. … The European court declared that the aim of their Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms includes 'safeguarding pluralism in education which is essential for the preservation of the 'democratic society.' … In view of the power of the modern State, it is above all through State teaching that this aim must be realized. …'" he wrote. The German declaration and threat came from "K. Horstmann" who was identified as a "Ministerial Director" and was in a note responding to the German education network's letters requesting that consideration be given to one homeschool family whose children had been picked up by police and escorted to the public school. In that case, as WND reported, children from the Romeike family were forcibly escorted to school in their home town in the state of Baden-Wuerttemburg. There, the former education minister, Annette Schavan, "had expressly declared that it was not necessary to carry out such acts of force against homeschooling families because '…the children are generally not lacking in any other respects,'" the blog site noted.... In fact, a formal press statement from the government in 2002 said, "We do not use such forcible methods in Baden-Wuerttemberg. It is not in the long-term interests of either the children or the police." But that, obviously, has changed. The government responded to the lobbying group's request for consideration with a terse statement: "The Minister of Education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling and is not prepared to approve a corresponding pilot project," the letter said. "You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers on the basis of paragraph 86 of the education law as a measure of the execution of authority. It is known to the ministry of education that primary school students can be particularly burdened by the related contradiction between the norms of the parent-house and that of the public school through such forced escorts." The government letter continued with a solution: "In order to avoid this in future, the education authority is in conversation with the affected family in order to look for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement," the government said. The government official wasn't finished with just issuing the declaration of war on homeschoolers, either. "Let me make something clear: the cause of this forced escort was set in place by the parents through their illegal conduct," the letter said. "The European Court of Human Rights, specifically in complaint number 35504/02, has conclusively decided that through compulsory school attendance in Baden-Wuerttemburg, the affected are not inhibited in their rights from Article 2 of the Supplementary protocol affecting EMRK (right to an education) – alone as well as in conjunction with Article 14 EMRK (anti-discrimination) through the refusal of the educational authorities to make way for the possibility of homeschooling," the letter said. Further, it warned of actions that could become necessary in the future. "The education administration in future will also not recognize so-called homeschooling and act in proportionate measure considering the individual case and circumstances." The blog site interpreter, Dana Hanley, has a degree in education and liberal arts with a major in Germanic languages and literatures, and lived in Germany for several years. "It is interesting," she noted, "that in a state whose constitution is dominated by religious language and quotes the necessity of building Christian character, as well as guaranteeing the natural right of parents to have a say in the education of their children AND religious freedom, that the state would specifically mention that they are working to 'bring the religious convictions of the family in line' with the goals of the state." The family whose situation prompted the original letter on their behalf, and the governmental response, lives in Bissingen, and had been home educating their children this year, a practice legal in most of the European Union. On that October morning, they were confronted by police officials, who, "in an incredibly inconsiderate manner, forced their crying children into a police car and drove them to the school," an earlier report said. The family had the support of teachers in a distance learning academy, from which they obtained curriculum. "We condemn the degrading act carried out by the police as a blatant breach of the personal rights of individual family members and call for the Mayor of Bissingen, as well as the Office for Education of the District Authorities of Esslingen, to end these sanctions," the lobbying group said at that time. Such mandatory public school attendance, and the accompanying procedures to physically escort children to schools, were legalized under the Nazis in 1938. Hitler was concerned at that time about having children grow up with perspectives that were not approved by the state. The American blog noted that several other homeschooling parents recently have been fined or imprisoned for brief jail terms in Germany for teaching their children at home. The blog reported that one mother spending a few days in jail for providing homeschooling for her child "ended up leading a Bible study for women who have begged her to come back." It reported another family was fined $2,250 and members were being attacked emotionally so that the father had a nervous breakdown that landed him in a hospital. The family put their two children in a public school "but it was so awful, they pulled them out again … and put them in a public Catholic school." It also contained reports that Waldemar Block, the father of nine, was arrested at his work this fall and jailed for 13 days, while Olga Block, his sister-in-law, was jailed for 10 days for not paying fines after she sent her children to a Christian school in Heidelberg. The HSLDA, the largest homeschooling group in the U.S. with more than 80,000 families, also has been working to raise attention in the international community to the plight of German homeschoolers, including several families in the Baden-Wurttemberg region. The group suggested contacting the German embassy, at: Wolfgang Ischinger Ambassador German Embassy 4645 Reservoir Road NW Washington, DC, 20007-1998 (202) 298-4000 or it can be e-mailed from its its website. The HSLDA said its campaign to address persecution of homeschoolers, who mostly are Christians, in Germany was triggered after a mother was arrested and jailed on criminal homeschooling counts. In that case, according to a report in the Brussels Journal, Katharina Plett was arrested and ordered to jail while her husband fled to Austria with the family's 12 children. The European Human Rights Court ruling the government official cited came down earlier this year, and affirmed the German nation's ban on homeschooling. The Strasburg-based court addressed the issue on appeal from a Christian family whose members alleged their human rights to educate their own children according to their own religious beliefs are being violated by the ban. The specific case addressed in the opinion involved Fritz and Marianna Konrad, who filed the complaint in 2003 and argued that Germany's compulsory school attendance endangered their children's religious upbringing and promotes teaching inconsistent with the family's Christian faith. The court said the Konrads belong to a "Christian community which is strongly attached to the Bible" and rejected public schooling because of the explicit sexual indoctrination programs that the courses there include. The German court already had ruled that the parental "wish" to have their children grow up in a home without such influences "could not take priority over compulsory school attendance." The decision also said the parents do not have an "exclusive" right to lead their children's education. The family had appealed under the European Convention on Human Rights statement that: "No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions." But the court's ruling said, instead, that schools represent society, and "it was in the children's interest to become part of that society. "The parents' right to education did not go as far as to deprive their children of that experience," the ruling said. WND also reported recently that a German judicial official believes pesky religious rights in Germany need to be limited. Brigitte Zypries, who serves as the German federal minister of justice, told ASSIST News Service that the nation "should not place any behavior under the protection of this important basic right." The 53-year-old said court rulings have produced "a kind of freedom for all sorts of behavior" and those need to be specifically defined. She also challenged churches' involvement in religious instruction in schools, saying they cannot simply be allowed to claim a monopoly on teaching values. Subjects like ethics, law – and of course politics – also could be used to teach values, she noted. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53457 FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

'Nativity' movie's poor showing 'major setback'

Alert Focus: The Falling Away
Isaiah 30:1-3 "Woe to the rebellious children," declares the LORD, "Who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin; who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! "Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be your shame and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation.
Isaiah 24:16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs, "Glory to the Righteous One," But I say, "Woe to me! Woe to me! Alas for me! The treacherous deal treacherously, And the treacherous deal very treacherously."
Seen as bad news for people of faith who want more faith-based, family fare
WORLDNETDAILY - December 21, 2006 -- The poor showing of "The Nativity Story" this Christmas season is bad news for people of faith who hope Hollywood will make more feature films their families can enjoy, according to Christian movie reviewer Ted Baehr.
"It's a very serious setback," said Baehr, founder and publisher of Movieguide and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission.
The poor showing is all the more significant, Baehr told WND, because, unlike blockbusters "The Passion of the Christ" and "The Chronicles of Narnia," "Nativity was produced by a major studio, New Line Cinema.
Baehr explained Hollywood takes about a dozen years to make a movie, so making changes in a good direction is like "turning the Titanic around."
"If one or two movies do well, the ship will continue on a positive course, otherwise it will turn back to whatever makes money," he said.
Right now, Baehr noted, the easy money is made on "extremely bigoted, anti-Christian movies" such as "Borat" and "Jackass 2."
Baehr said the performance of "Nativity" is especially disappointing because it's an exceptionally good film that adheres closely to the Bible.
"It's very entertaining, very authentic and has captured all ranges of the church, from James Dobson to Charles Colson to the Vatican," he said. "It should be doing great business."...
Getting the word out
Baehr believes a major problem for "Nativity" was that marketers didn't get the word out early to their vital partner, the churches.
Mel Gibson, he pointed out, was promoting "Passion" in churches nine months before its release. With "Narnia," study guides were distributed to nearly every church – an effort that requires marketers to be "one year ahead of the game." "Passion," released in 2004, had a worldwide box office of $604 million.
In the end, the estimated 149 million Americans who regularly attend church services need to show up in order for movies such as "The Nativity Story" to be successful, Baehr said. ... [See link for full article]
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Alert Focus: The Mystery of Lawlessness / The Iron and the Clay / Mystery Babylon / Antichrist Psalms 2:1-7 Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!" He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain." "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, `You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 2 Thessalonians 2:7a For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;... Revelation 17:3-6 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly. Daniel 7:7-8 "After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. INTER PRESS SERVICE NEWS AGENCY - December 19, 2006 -- UNITED NATIONS -- Key political figures from the West and the Muslim world, as well as the outgoing U.N. chief Kofi Annan, urged the international community Monday to seriously examine ways to promote greater dialogue among civilisations and cultures. "It is not enough to publish an insightful report, and applaud great ideas, unless then we do something about them," Annan said at the General Assembly's informal discussion on a U.N.-sponsored report to advance an "Alliance of Civilisations". The report, which was launched in Turkey last month, stresses that the growing divide between the predominantly Christian West and Muslim societies is not religious or cultural, but essentially political in nature. Prepared by a high-level group of 20 leaders in the fields of politics, academia, civil society, international finance and media from all regions of the world, the report points to the need for greater global efforts to foster tolerance and dispel stereotypes that have exacerbated tensions among various societies. "In this period of rising tensions, none of us should simply call from the sidelines for peaceful coexistence, and then go on with our life as usual," Annan said. "We should make an active effort to learn from each other to understand the source of our differences." Like Annan, the sponsors of the report, the Turkish and Spanish prime ministers, also made renewed calls for further discussions and actions on the project for the Alliance of Civilisations. "The time has come to start acting and take the responsibility," said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "Our actions in the implementation phase will be the concrete evidence of our will on this subject." Rejecting the notion of a "clash of civilisations", Erdogan said that "increasing disparities and injustices, as well as exaggerated fears and suspicions, feed into mutual hatred, prejudice and intolerance prevailing all over the world." He said no ideal for peace can be realised in full without first achieving it in peoples' hearts, adding that the real confrontation is between "volunteers of love and soldiers of hatred". Quoting Rumi, the great 13th century Muslim philosopher-poet, he said, "The core of all pure faith is love. Peace must first take root in the hearts of human beings." Describing the report as "a tool of hope", Spanish Prime Minister Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said in order to disprove the concept of the clash of civilisations, the world needs to seek common ground for mutual understanding. "We are here today for the formal christening of the project. Today we are fulfilling a new phase, with the objective of strengthening alliances, adding up to efforts that can translate into concrete actions to contribute to peace, and to enhance a dialogue amongst civilisations," Zapatero added. The report acknowledges that the rift between Muslim and Western societies has been worsened by military interventions in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the lack of progress in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. "We may wish to think of the Arab-Israeli conflict as just one regional conflict amongst many," Annan noted at the report's release last month. "It is not. No other conflict carries such a powerful symbolic and emotional charge among people far removed from the battlefield." The report puts forward a range of concrete proposals in the areas of education, media, youth and migration, including film and television programmes co-produced across religious and cultural boundaries and showing diversity as a normal feature of society.. Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Kristi Lintonen, the Finnish envoy, said the European nations welcomed the report as "an important contribution to the common platform of unity at national, regional and local levels." Lintonen said the international community must develop "a public momentum that rejects extremism", with commitments and a "very active policy" to increase mutual understanding. He indicated that some constructive contributions to the Alliance of Civilisations might also come from ongoing work in the European Union, which is already using the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and European Neighborhood Policy to increase channels for dialogue. The regional bloc has designated 2008 as the European Year of Dialogue. Further examples of useful initiatives include the Helsinki Process on Management of Globalisation led by Finland and Tanzania since 2003, and the Danish Coexistence of Civilisations initiative. To Lintonen, these initiatives reflect "the high priority we place on integrating people of all faiths into societies, while preserving essential universal values like tolerance, diversity and peaceful dialogue." As part of the U.N. efforts to do more, General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain said she intends convene an informal interactive debate of the General Assembly next summer. The expert group has proposed that the secretary-general appoint a high representative to assist in defusing crises that arise at the intersection of religion and politics and to oversee the implementation of the report's recommendations. "We expect that the high-level representative will be a person of renowned capacity, with the ability to start to work in what will be a very passionate job, very quickly," she said. (END/2006) http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=35898 FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Oil producers shun dollar

Alert Focus: Mammon / The Third Seal James 5:3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Revelation 18:17a for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!'... FINANCIAL TIMES of LONDON - By Haig Simonian in Zurich and Javier Blas and Carola Hoyos in London - December 10 2006 -- Oil producing countries have reduced their exposure to the dollar to the lowest level in two years and shifted oil income into euros, yen and sterling, according to new data from the Bank for International Settlements. The revelation in the latest BIS quarterly review, published on Monday, confirms market speculation about a move out of dollars and could put new pressure on the ailing US currency. Market liquidity is traditionally low in December, and many traders have locked in profits, potentially reinforcing volatility. Russia and the members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the oil cartel, cut their dollar holdings from 67 per cent in the first quarter to 65 per cent in the second. Meanwhile, they increased their holdings of euros from 20 to 22 per cent, the BIS said. The speed of the shift may help to explain the weakness of the dollar, which recently fell to a 20-month low against the euro and a 14-year low against sterling. The BIS, the central bank for the developed world’s central banks, is customarily cautious in its language. However, it noted: “While the data are not comprehensive, they do appear to indicate a modest shift over the quarter in the US dollar share of reporting banks’ liabilities to oil exporting countries.” The review shows that Qatar and Iran, whose foreign exchange policy has sparked widespread market speculation, cut their dollar holdings by $2.4bn and $4bn respectively. Such shifts may be modest compared with the total assets held, but they provide a crucial indication on future thinking. Currency switches are likely to be progressive, subtle and discreet, as untoward attention could hit the dollar, lowering the value of depositors’ remaining dollar-denominated assets. The last time oil-exporting countries cut their exposure to the dollar – in late 2003 – it pushed the euro to an all-time high against the dollar. Eighteen months ago, the exposure to the dollar of oil producing countries was above 70 per cent. BIS data is the best guide financial markets have to the currency investment trends of oil producers, which otherwise do not?provide figures.?The?rise?in oil prices since 2002 means oil producing countries have amassed a current account surplus of about $500bn, according to the IMF. This is 2½ times the current account surplus of China. Overall, Opec’s dollar deposits fell by $5.3bn, while euro and yen-denominated deposits rose $2.8bn and $3.8bn, respectively. Placements of dollars by Russians rose by $5bn, but most of their $16bn additional deposits were denominated in euros. The dollar has suffered weakness because of concerns about global imbalances and the future course of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy. ---------- Additional reporting by Peter Garnham in London http://www.ft.com/cms/s/277471c2-8889-11db-b485-0000779e2340.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml . If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Trusted minister who fleeced his flock

Alert Focus: The Falling Away 2 Timothy 3:1-7 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH - By Nick Britten - September 9, 2006 - A church minister who befriended elderly parishioners before forging documents to inherit their property and possessions was given 240 hours community service yesterday. Tony Craggs appeared the caring and enthusiastic minister the village of Charlesworth had been crying out for.But behind the scenes he plotted to steal hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of property by ingratiating himself with his parishioners, waiting until they were close to death and signing their properties over to himself. He was caught when one of them, Margaret Shaw, made an unexpected recovery after suffering a stroke and a brain haemorrhage. When she returned home from hospital, where Craggs, 43, had given her the last rites, she found he had forged her will, leaving her house to him. Another spinster, Lillian Radcliffe, refused to allow Craggs near her home after she suspected what he was up to but, after she died, he appeared with documents giving himself power of attorney and possession of her house. Last night Miss Shaw said she was appalled that Craggs had not been sent to jail. "I wanted him to serve a prison sentence. I can't believe he's been let off," she said. "After what he's put me through, it isn't fair. "Craggs, who is divorced with three grown-up sons, arrived at Charlesworth Congregational Church, Derbys, six years ago. It was his first ministerial job and he appeared to be the "perfect appointment". He spent a huge amount of time with his community and was instrumental in setting up a shop for young people to meet in the village.But soon questions were being asked. He told people variously that he was a solicitor, a boxer, had been a pop star and had served in Bosnia with the Army. Questions were also raised about his sexuality and a close friendship he enjoyed with a minister in Stoke-on-Trent. When police raided his home in the village they found a document on his computer called "conman". It read: "A good conman takes a bit of the truth and a lot of lies and binds them together to pull the wool over the eyes of the ignorant. "They also found pages of Craggs' attempts to copy both women's signatures. He targeted Miss Radcliffe and Miss Shaw because they were both elderly and in poor health. …http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/09/09/ncraggs09.xml FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

BBN to develop an AI system capable of learning complex human processes

Alert Focus: Mark of the Beast / Image of the Beast / Artifical Omniscience Revelation 13:15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. NETWORK WORLD - By Alpha Doggs - July 7, 2006 -- BBN Technologies, an advanced technologies firm has won a $5.5 million grant to create an artificial intelligence system capable learning plans or processes after being shown a single example.The grant, awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will fund the first phase of the four-year Integrated Learning Program. According to BBN: "The goal of the project is to combine specialized domain knowledge with common sense knowledge to create a reasoning system that learns as well as a person and can be applied to a variety of complex tasks."The first phase of the research will focus on military medical logistics planning to simulate the requirements associated with planning the evacuation of wounded military personnel and civilians from Fallujah to hospitals in Germany and Kuwait. The results could lead to other automated systems capable of learning other tasks of similar complexity, says BBN. http://www.networkworld.com/community/?q=node/6333 FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.