Friday, July 20, 2007
QUIT FORCING - PUSHING ISRAEL U.S.A
EU sides with UK in diplomatic clash with Russia
19.07.2007 - 09:32 CET | By Lucia Kubosova
Despite warnings from Moscow against EU involvement in its diplomatic clash with the UK, the bloc's Portuguese presidency has voiced disappointment over Russia's stance on the probe into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.The former KGB agent died of exposure to radioactive polonium-210 in London last year. British prosecutors want the chief suspect Andrei Lugovoi, whom Mr Litvinenko met shortly before he fell ill, to face trial in the UK but Russia is refusing to hand him over.Referring to the murder as a grave and reckless crime, the EU stressed that urgent and constructive cooperation by the Russian Federation is crucial, in a statement issued on Wednesday (18 July).The presidency declaration is being viewed as an important signal of support for the UK, in a row that Moscow has tried to keep exclusively between itself and London.
It also comes despite Portugal earlier indicating that it does not want to increase tensions with Russia during its term at the EU helm, running until the end of the year. Earlier this week, Alexander Grushko, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, was reported in British media as saying: We hope that common sense will prevail and its members will not yield to more attempts to turn relations between Russia and the EU into an instrument for one-sided political goals that have nothing to do with the real interests of co-operation.But Portugal insisted the matter raises important questions of common interest to EU Member States and called for its satisfactory solution. The issue is expected to be raised next Monday (23 July) when EU foreign ministers gather in Brussels.
The diplomatic row has so far resulted in Britain expelling four Russian embassy staff in reaction to Moscow's reluctance to extradite Mr Lugovoi.Russia argues that it is against the country's constitution to hand over its citizens for trials in other countries. The UK counters that an international accord signed by Moscow, paves the way for the hand-over.The case is sensitive due to a statement by Mr Litvinenko, unveiled a day after his death, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of involvement in his poisoning. The Kremlin strongly rejects any involvement in the murder.
New Ethiopian Synagogue in Jerusalem & Other Local Jewish News
by Hillel Fendel(JULY 20,07 INN)
A first-ever Ethiopian synagogue has been dedicated in Jerusalem, a missionary center was closed down in Kiryat Yam, and a synagogue dispute in Haifa will be mediated by MKs - three news items of local Jewish interest culled from HaTzofeh newspaper.
Missionary Center X-ed
In Kiryat Yam, the Yad L'Achim anti-missionary organization has succeeded, after a long struggle, in closing down a Jehova's Witnesses missionary center. Yad L'Achim had marked the Kiryat Yam office building as one of four main Jehova's Witnesses centers in the country, learning that the cult held twice-weekly lectures there for dozens of people. Pressure by Yad L'Achim and other tenants in the building finally became unbearable, and the missionary center closed down.
First Ethiopian Synagogue
Earlier this month, in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of N'vei Yaakov, the capitals' first Ethiopian synagogue was dedicated, in the presence of Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky. The New Jerusalem Foundation and members of the Ohel Nechama synagogue helped pay for the synagogue.
The synagogue, which will serve more than 170 families of Ethiopian extraction in N'vei Yaakov, is located in a previously unused section of the Bernadette public-religious school. The dedication ceremony included an emotional afternoon prayer service, replete with the customs of the Ethiopian liturgy.
The new synagogue will improve the image of the Ethiopian immigrants, it was said at the ceremony, and will alleviate the sense of frustration, neglect and estrangement, replacing it with feelings of pride and unity of a vital community integrating with the city and its many groups.
MKs Gafni and Beilin
In Haifa, a squabble over a synagogue between two Jewish groups has led to a Knesset committee debate and mediation by two Knesset Members: Yossi Beilin of the far-left and very secular Meretz party, and Moshe Gafni of the hareidi United Torah Judaism party.
Beilin came from the side of the neighborhood residents, who claimed that Breslover Hassidim had taken over a neighborhood synagogue and turned it into a yeshiva. Gafni and the Breslovers, on the other hand, said they were asked to help bolster synagogue attendance following the death of the local rabbi and a resulting drop in general attendance.
MKs Beilin and Gafni met on Tuesday, and plan to visit the site within the coming days.
MIDDLE EAST QUARTET SUPPORTS US PRESIDENT’S CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL MEETING
New York, Jul 19 2007 7:00PM
The diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East – comprising the United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation and the United States – today supported US President Bush’s call for an international meeting in the fall. The Quartet’s backing came in a
communiqué released following a meeting in Lisbon that was attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, High Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado, and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner.They were joined by Quartet Representative Tony Blair.
The Quartet welcomed President Bush’s July 16 statement renewing US commitment to a negotiated two-State solution, and supported President Bush’s call for an international meeting in the fall, stated the communiqué. The Quartet agreed that such a meeting should provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations in order to move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian State. The Quartet welcomed Mr. Blair’s agreement to be its Representative and discussed with him “the urgent work that lies ahead, according to the communiqué.
Noting the centrality of reform, economic development, and institutional capacity building to the establishment of a stable and prosperous Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza that will unite all Palestinians, and live in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours, the Quartet urged the parties and all states in the region to work closely with Mr. Blair, and encouraged robust international support for his efforts. The Quartet expressed support for the Palestinian Authority Government headed by Salam Fayyad, which is committed to the political platform of
President Abbas. It also encouraged direct and rapid financial assistance and other aid to the Palestinian Authority government to help reform, preserve, and strengthen vital Palestinian institutions and infrastructure, and to support the rule of law.
The Quartet welcomed the resumption of bilateral talks between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas, and expressed support for steps taken by the Israeli Government, including the resumption of tax and customs revenue transfers and the decision to release Palestinian prisoners. The communiqué also encouraged continued bilateral dialogue and further cooperation and urged both parties to work without delay to fulfil their previous commitments and to build confidence. Recognizing the continuing importance of the Arab Peace Initiative, the Quartet looked forward to the planned visit to Israel by representatives of the Arab League to discuss the Initiative. The Quartet emphasized the need to find ways to sustain Palestinian
economic activity and the importance of creating circumstances that would allow for full implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access,particularly in view of the impact of crossings on the Palestinian economy and daily life, the communiqué said, encouraging parties to address their obligations under the Roadmap – an outline plan envisaging a two-State solution – including an end to settlement expansion and the removal of unauthorized outposts, and an end to violence and terror.
The Quartet expressed its deep concern over the humanitarian conditions in Gaza and agreed on the importance of continued emergency and humanitarian assistance. The communiqué also reaffirmed the Quartet’s its commitment to bring about an end to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and to work to lay the foundation for the establishment of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security, as a step towards a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East, consistent with the Roadmap and UN Security Council
resolutions.The next meeting of the Quartet will take place in September, the
communiqué says, noting that members will continue to consult regularly on
developments in the meantime.
Blair takes up role as peace envoy - THE HERALD
CATHERINE MacLEOD, Political Editor July 20 2007
Tony Blair was anointed as Middle East envoy in Lisbon yesterday only hours after the polls opened to elect his successor in the Sedgefield constituency.The former prime minister met representatives of the Mideast Quartet - the US, United Nations, the European Union and Russia - aware that the scale of the task facing him cannot be overestimated.The first visit he will make in his new role will be to meet Shimon Peres, the Israeli President, on Tuesday but no details of the talks have been released. He will also visit Ramallah next week before returning for at least a week per month from September. He is expected to stay in Government House, once the home of the old British Mandate, and now a base for the UN.While Mr Blair will try hard to avoid a confrontation with Israel, he is expected to risk their wrath by talking to Hamas at some point. Israel has already said it would not talk to international figures engaging with Hamas but there are several figures in Europe, including David Miliband, the UK's Foreign Secretary, who believe the present policy needs to be revisited. Mr Miliband, amongst others, is thought to wonder if it is at all sensible to maintain a policy that to date has obviously failed.
The talks in Portugal, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, will bring together UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Mr Solana said the primary task for the Quartet was to help build up Palestinian institutions.Speaking to the BBC, he said: What is very important is to have the Palestinians better organised, the structure of the Palestinian Authority today, a state tomorrow.Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Human Rights Centre in Gaza, said the focus should be on basic requirements before talking about institution building.There are what we call basic needs: the right to food; the right to life; the right to freedom of movement; the right to communicate with the other side of our nation,he said.
A priority for Mr Blair will be trying to improve movement and access which is diplomatic speak for dismantling some of the checkpoints and roadblocks which the World Bank has blamed for the collapse in the West Bank's economy.In another development yesterday Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Egypt's Foreign Minister, said that a Mideast peace conference called for by US President George W Bush will likely be held in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
Mr Gheit said that ahead of the conference, Ms Rice will discuss its agenda with Arab foreign ministers on July 31 in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el Sheik.Contacts that took place between the Egyptians and Americans indicate that this (Mideast peace) conference will be held in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly but not necessarily in New York.Egypt's vision is that the meeting should handle a wide number of issues, including launching the peace process in active negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian parties, he added.
THE USA WILL BE MOURNING BIGTIME IF THEY INSIST ON FORCING ISRAEL INTO THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL AND JERUSALEM LIKE THE USA IS DOING NOW.
This Week with Rabbi Eckstein
July 19, 2007
Dear Friend of The Fellowship,
The Jewish fast of Tisha B’Av, which falls on the ninth day of the month of Av on the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown on Monday, July 23. On this day throughout history, many catastrophes have befallen the Jewish people, with the worst of these the destruction in the years 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E., respectively, of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem – the holiest places in all Judaism – and the exile of the Jewish people from Israel.
Tisha B’Av is a day of solemnity and mourning, the culmination of a period of mourning known as The Three Weeks that began on the 19 th of the Jewish month of Tammuz (which this year fell on July 2). It is a day when Jews are to deny themselves ordinary pleasures and indulgences, especially eating and drinking. In fact, the events remembered on this day are so grave that Tisha B’Av is one of only two full fast days on the Jewish calendar (Yom Kippur is the other). Thus, Jews abstain from food and drink – even water – from sunset until darkness the following day.
Other customs on this day are geared toward promoting the avoidance of enjoyment. There is to be no washing, bathing or wearing cosmetics. We are to avoid wearing leather shoes, and are told to sit on low chairs to minimize our comfort. Even Torah study, which is considered to be a joyful activity, is restricted to passages describing the laws of mourning, the destruction of the Temple, and other tragic events.
There are those who say that the best thing to do would be to forget the suffering and move on. But, in fact, Jews are exhorted by the Bible itself not to forget. If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you (Psalm 137:5-6). And so we continue to commemorate past tragedies, not wallow in our grief, but to strengthen our memory of history, in order to ensure that such things may never happen again. And, perhaps, our remembering will help us realize that our survival of these many trials is indeed a miracle, a gift from God.
On this solemn day, Jews will remember those who have died defending the Jewish people and the Jewish State, and those whose lives were cruelly taken away through terrorism. We will remember that Israel is never completely free of the threat of war and destruction, as the world saw last year during the Second Lebanon War. We will remember and pray for the return of the three Israeli soldiers captured last year and still held by terrorists.
And yet, all the while, we will resist succumbing to despair, because we remember that the Bible tells us The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid … The Lord is with me; He is my helper (Psalm 118: 5-6). We will continue to do our work to support Israel and strengthen her people, and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
As we approach Tisha B’Av, I hope you will join me in a show of solidarity with Israel and her people by recommitting yourself to pray for Israel’s peace and security. My deepest thanks for your faithful support – may God bless you, even as you have blessed His people, Israel.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
President INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS.
Mideast expert says Israel a strategic asset, not a liability
Jim Brown - OneNewsNow.com - July 19, 2007
Who's fault is it? Israel's or the U.S.? Neither, according to a leading Middle East expert. Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute, a Mideast think tank, is bound and determined to expose the root cause for the Islamic terrorist threat facing both nations.In an effort to achieve his objective, Satloff asks some important questions: Is the problem with our values, or with theirs? With our culture, or with theirs? With our way of life that we need to change, amend, accommodate, appease -- or with theirs? Satloff believes that to be successful in the war against terror, the U.S. must first defeat the mindset that it brought this war upon itself through the American way of life and through its alliance with Israel. This mindset, which Satloff calls a lie [and] a canard, is being fueled by a forthcoming book by professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, and by the latest anti-Israel book written by former President Jimmy Carter.
Speaking at the Christians United for Israel summit in Washington, DC, Satloff argued that too many people in the halls of power in Washington secretly take seriously the arguments put forth by Carter, Walt, and Mearshimer. It is a mindset, he says, that has infected too many of the foreign policy elite in Washington who view Israel as a liability. Be armed, be warned, be prepared to make the argument in the other way -- that Israel a powerful strategic asset to the United States, he told his audience. The real enemy, he said, are the Muslims who want to impose Sharia law through the gun and the ballot box.In his address, Satloff remarked that the U.S. and Israel actually share common moral values and common strategic interests as well as adversaries. He argued that the U.S. and Israel need to partner with what he calls anti-Islamist Middle East allies in the war on terror.American Family News Network.
World Bank's Zoellick backs WTO proposals to spur trade talks
WASHINGTON (AFP) - World Bank president Robert Zoellick backed Friday fresh proposals to drive the deadlocked round of World Trade Organization negotiations to a conclusion this year. A major final push will be needed to close the gaps but, with the right spirit, there is now a deal on the table to be seized, said Zoellick, a former chief US trade negotiator.Negotiators at the WTO issued Tuesday proposals on agricultural and industrial trade to revive the Doha Development Round, dedicated to reducing global trade barriers and encouraging development.
Under the proposals, the US would cut farm subsidies to below 16.2 billion dollars a year, compared with a current ceiling of 19 billion dollars, and 27 developing nations would reduce industrial import tariffs to less than 23 percent.The proposals came one month after the failure of a meeting between representatives of the United States, the European Union, Brazil and India to unblock the Doha Round, which was launched in the Qatari capital in 2001.Representatives of the WTO's 150 members are due to meet in negotiating groups next week in Geneva, Switzerland, to give their initial reactions to the proposals.
I CAN NOT BELIEVE AMERICA IS FORCING ISRAEL TO GIVE THE ARABS PRISONERS THAT TRYED TO KILL ISRAELIS. AND STILL I CAN NOT BELIEVE OLMERT AND THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT IS ALLOWING ISRAEL TO LET THESE ATTEMPTED MURDERS TO BE FREED TO KILL ISRAELIS AGAIN. THE WORLD IS RIPE FOR THE EU DICTATOR TO COME ON THE SCENE ANYTIME NOW AS THE WORLD IS GONE TO ASH AND GOD WILL NOT ALLOW THE US AND WORLD TO DESTROY ISRAEL LIKE THE WORLD IS DOING FOR VERY LONG. THE TRIBULATION 7 YEAR PERIOD IS AT THE DOOR WORLD GET READY.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.
13 Then God said to Noah, The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.
I BELIEVE HABAKKUK IS SPEAKING OF MUSLIMS IN THESE VERSES. BECAUSE IN 1:9 IN HEBREW THE WORD HAMAS IS RIGHT IN THEIR BIBLE TO THE WORD VIOLENCE. AND IN HEBREW IN GENESIS 6:11 THE WORD FOR VIOLENCE IS YOU GUESSED IT HAMAS.
2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.
4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not their's.
7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
8 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.
9 They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.
10 And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.
11 Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.
12 Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.
13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?
14 And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
15 They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.
16 Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.
17 Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?
1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
Israel frees more than 250 Palestinian prisoners by Nasser Abu Bakr
Fri Jul 20, 10:28 AM ET
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) - Israel on Friday freed more than 250 Palestinian prisoners, who flashed victory signs to a West Bank heroes' welcome, in a move promoted to bolster moderate president Mahmud Abbas. In the biggest such release in two years, Israeli prison officials drove the 255 prisoners to the Beitunya checkpoint where they were handed over to the Palestinian Authority and bused to the West Bank capital Ramallah.I thank God that we are honoured by the return of heroes of freedom to their home and the bosom of their homeland, Abbas told the thousands who thronged the courtyard of his leadership compound to welcome the prisoners.We must continue to work for the return of all Palestinian prisoners, he added, of the nearly 11,000 Palestinians who remain in Israeli custody, in one of the thorniest issues separating the two sides.
I only have three words to say: freedom, freedom, freedom. There is nothing more beautiful than freedom, said Abdelrahim Malluh, deputy leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the most prominent to be freed.Including six women and 11 minors, Friday's release comes three weeks after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised, at a Middle East summit in Egypt, to release 250 prisoners as part of efforts to bolster Abbas against Hamas.It was Israel's biggest single release of Palestinian prisoners since 2005, when 900 were freed in two batches following an earlier Middle East summit.Sporting fresh haircuts and grinning from ear to ear, the prisoners craned their necks to lean out of buses waving flags and keffiyehs, flashing victory signs and kissing loved ones, en route to the festivities in Ramallah.After being welcomed individually as heroes by Abbas, they went in homage to the grave of the late historic leader Yasser Arafat and took part in a special, collective Friday Muslim prayers under a tent.
The prisoner who served the longest sentence is Muhannad Jaradat, detained in 1989 and sentenced to 20 years. His sentence was due to end in 2009.Today I'm reborn. Unfortunately my father, who I dreamt of seeing again, died while I was in prison, the 40-year-old told AFP.Now my priority is to enroll at university to continue my studies and continue efforts to release the other prisoners, he said.Israel agreed to the releases as part of a series of goodwill gestures designed to bolster Abbas in his struggle for power with the Islamist Hamas, following the group's bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip last month.The prisoners largely belong to Abbas's pragmatic Fatah party that has been locked in a power struggle, and at times deadly combat, with Hamas and since losing a general election to the Islamist movement in 2006.While welcoming the release, the Palestinians have said that freeing 250 prisoners out of the more than 11,000 held in Israeli jails, the majority of them on security charges, was not enough.
None of those bused to freedom on Friday have blood on their hands, meaning involvement in attacks that have killed Israelis, and all had to sign a commitment not to be involved in terror prior to their release.Wearing traditional dress, Halima Jomhur, 60, was waiting for her son Imad who served four years of a six-and-a-half year sentence in Israel.He was arrested 10 days before his wedding. His fiancee is still waiting for him and the first thing we're going to do is marry them, she said. This is a huge joy but it will only be complete when all our prisoners are released, she said, from the village of Beit Annan in the Ramallah area.
Israel has recently pledged to remove from wanted lists nearly 190 militants who promised not to carry out attacks, and released some Palestinian customs duties it has withheld for more than a year after Hamas came to power. But Ismail Haniya, prime minister of the Hamas-led government that Abbas sacked last month, expressed scepticism about Israel's real intentions. We are happy when Palestinian prisoners are released but we warn against using them as political bribery because Israel's so-called good intentions are a trap intended to undermine Palestinian unity, he told worshippers in Gaza. Since Hamas routed forces loyal to Abbas in Gaza on June 15 in ferocious street battles, the Palestinians have been split into two entities, with the moderate president controlling the West Bank and Hamas ruling over Gaza.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
NY STEAM PIPE EXPLOSION
IN NY (LONGISLAND) THERE WAS A RARE TORNADO, ONLY ABOUT THE 6TH IN 50 YEARS. AND ALSO IN NY (MANHATTAN) A STEAMY EXPLOSION THAT SOUNDED LIKE AN EARTH QUAKE AND LOOKED LIKE A VOLCANO BILLOWING SMOKE AND VAPOR INTO THE AIR. I THOUGHT WHEN I SEEN IT ON TV THIS IS THE ATTACK I'M EXPECTING TO HAPPEN SOMETIME IN THE NEAR FUTURE, BUT IT WAS NOT, THANK GOD FOR THAT.
Jul 18, 2007 4:34 pm US/Eastern
Tornado Leaves Thousands Without Power On L.I.
CBS) ISLIP, N.Y. The National Weather Service confirmed that an F-1 tornado touched down in the Islip area of Long Island Wednesday morning. At the F-1 level, a tornado carries hurricane-force winds that can reach 110 mph. It can peel off roofs, push mobile homes off their foundations or blow vehicles off the road.LIPA reports major power outages on Long Island. At its peak, some 51,000 customers were without power. Currently, 12,900 still have no electricity.CBS 2's Lonnie Quinn says the severe weather is not over with yet. The tornado was caused by a low pressure system around Canada, near the Great Lakes, and will continue to push showers and storms throughout the Tri-State area until Friday, with some being severe.
Quinn said another tornado cannot be ruled out, but is less likely to happen in Manhattan, as opposed to the outer boroughs and suburbs. Tornadoes are caused by rotation in atmosphere from service winds flowing in opposite directions - where they meet and begin to spin. The chances of tornado touching down in Manhattan is low because of concentration of high buildings which disrupt rotation. It isn't impossible, but it would be out of ordinary, Quinn said.National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Ciemnecki said the service received a number of reports of damage in the area after it issued a tornado warning between 9:19 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday. The NWS sent crew to examine the pattern of debris, and they determined that a tornado actually struck the area.
The weather service got its reports of trees down and other damage from members of the public and from emergency management staff, he said. Implemented in place of the Fujita scale introduced in 1971, the enhanced Fujita scale began operational use on Feb. 1, 2007. The scale has the same basic design as the original Fujita scale, six categories from zero to five representing increasing degrees of damage. It was revised to reflect better examinations of tornado damage surveys, so as to align wind speeds more closely with associated storm damage.On this new scale, Wednesday's tornado would be classified EF-1, according to CBS 2 meteorologist Jason Cali. Suffolk County says there have been reports of what it's calling tornado-like damage in Islip Township at Iris Lane and the north service road of Sunrise Highway.
Suffolk firefighters are dealing with four house fires that were likely caused by lightning.The United States averages about 1,200 tornadoes a year, but they are uncommon in the New York area. A tornado struck about 20 miles north of New York City last July, causing heavy damage to a Westchester County store.CBS Broadcasting Inc.
Foreign ministers set to call for EU troops in Chad
19.07.2007 - 09:22 CET | By Helena Spongenberg
The European Union is set to take the first step towards sending soldiers to Chad to help the UN protect tens of thousands of refugees from Sudan's Darfur region.EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday (23 July) are expected to endorse a plan for a possible 12-month peace-keeping mission with 1,500 to 3,000 troops to protect refugee camps bordering Sudan's western Darfur region, EU diplomats say according to press reports.Political approval for the move could come as early as September, leading to a possible European Security and Defence Policy mission to support the UN presence in eastern Chad and eventually handing over to a UN-AU – African Union - peacekeeping force.
The idea has been pushed by Paris and has gained support from other EU capitals. We have the possibility to be very useful in Darfur, I hope, and in any case, to cooperate on this operation in Chad for its civilian populations, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said on Wednesday (18 July), according to AP.EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and French president Nicolas Sarkozy last week discussed the possibility of deploying an interim EU force as soon as possible near the refugee camps in Chad, while awaiting the deployment of a UN police force.The EU move would come a few days after UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno on Tuesday (17 July) urged the 27-nation bloc to send troops and helicopters swiftly to improve security for refugees and aid workers as part of efforts to contain violence spilling over the border from Sudan.
In Darfur, at least 200,000 people are estimated to have died and more than 2 million have fled their homes since fighting flared in 2003 when African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudan government, in a conflict started over water resources.
MUCH ABOUT HISTORY
Iraq to renovate biblical prophet's tomb Purported burial site for Nahum to be restored - July 19, 2007 - WorldNetDaily.com
The national Antiquities Department in Iraq has announced plans for the renovation and restoration of an ancient synagogue in al-Qoush, a short drive north of Mosul and the location of the purported tomb of the biblical prophet Nahum.
The purported tomb of Nahum
The Antiquities Department has added the tomb of the Prophet Nahum, peace be on him, to its 2008 preservation plan, Abbas al-Hussaini, the department's chief, told the Iraqi newspaper Azzaman. Archaeologists have said the work on the synagogue and the tomb is urgent, with some scientists fearing the structure already may have been irreparably damaged. However, the agency has delayed the work because it lacked the expertise and resources to refurbish and reconstruct the historic structures, officials said. Hussaini confirmed his administrative team is seeking foreign help for the work. Nahum, one of the Bible's minor prophets, is venerated by all faiths and sects in Iraq, including Muslim Shiites and Sunnis, according to the government agency. The tomb is not important to Iraqis only. It is of an international character and can turn into a tourist attraction, Hussaini told the newspaper.
Azzaman speculated that the beginning of work is bound to attract considerable media interest and perhaps reveal more information about the prophet of whom the Bible says very little beyond the fact that a reference to the town of al-Qoush from which he hailed.Among the questions expected to be addressed is the age of the tomb, as well as the age of the synagogue itself, which is believed to be more than 400 years old. Al-Qoush is a major Christian center in northern Iraq, but it held a large Jewish population before the Jewish return to the new nation of Israel in 1948.
According to the recommendations of an organization called Tomb of Nahum, it is advisable that the repairs to the site be undertaken hand-in-hand with an archaeological team, which may also provide the opportunity to examine the interior of the tomb (presently sealed) itself.The organization noted that a structural survey already completed by an American civil engineer suggested the renovation likely will cost around $400,000. The cost … does include renovation of all the buildings and the perimeter wall, the organization said. Officials also said such work cannot be launched without permission of the Kurdish Regional Government's Ministry of Religious Affairs, which also has authority to allow examination of the tomb's interior.
[Officials with] the Ministry of Religious Affairs have previously stated their position that they will not countenance restoration of the synagogue without the written permission of the Jewish Council. Whether by this statement they mean the Chief Rabbi in Iraq or a body in Israel is unclear. As Iraq does not recognize the state of Israel, the permission of the Baghdad rabbi or the national board of Jewish deputies of the UK or the U.S. will probably be sufficient, the group said. The renovation of al-Qoush synagogue is a matter of great urgency if what is believed to be the tomb of a biblical prophet is not to be irreparably damaged or destroyed,the group said. Officials note al-Qoush is one of three places that claim to house the tomb of Nahum, who prophesied in 655 B.C. the downfall of Nineveh, which happened in 612 B.C. His writings are the 27th book of the Old Testament and the Talmud.
Historically, it is believed the Assyrian king Shelmanassar II brought thousands of Hebrews to northern Iraq about 727 B.C., and some settled in al-Qoush, where a population of pagans already existed. Christianity arrived later. Part of the synagogue's roof has collapsed In recent history, the Jews in al-Qoush, like the rest of Iraq, were subjected to increasingly oppressive laws starting about in 1930. In 1948, the last of the Jews left, with the rabbi handing the keys of the synagogue to a neighbor. Some parts of the Jewish quarter are estimated at more than 2,000 years old, and in the center of the synagogue is a simple plaster tomb topped by a green silk coverlet, the purported tomb of Nahum himself. Part of the roof of the synagogue has collapse, and other portions are described as in a sorry state of repair.The region also includes a monastery, Raban Hormus, which dates to the 3rd century. It sits on the slope of the mountain overlooking al-Qoush. In a statement on the weblog Gateway Pundit, Haider Ajina, an Iraqi-American, noted the plan shows us what a budding democracy and rule of law can do, even under tough conditions.
This also shows that Muslims who no longer fear their militant leaders and are free of their leader's venomous rhetoric can and will do. This sparks tremendous hope,he said.
Asbestos in Dust After Eruption, Air OK Jul 19 08:39 AM US/Eastern
By ADAM GOLDMAN - Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK - A massive geyser of steam and debris that erupted through a midtown Manhattan street left asbestos in the dust that settled, but city officials Thursday said tests indicated the air was safe of the carcinogen. Tests were continuing, but the city's Office of Emergency Management said in a statement that long-term health problems were unlikely.Mayor Michael Bloomberg had said the possibility of asbestos contamination was the main health concern after an 83-year-old steam pipe ruptured less than a block from Grand Central Terminal, spewing a skyscraper-sized blast of steam, dirt and debris into the air. Some of the city's older pipes that pump steam beneath the city to heat and cool thousands of buildings are wrapped in asbestos, which can cause fatal lung disease, though the disease is typically linked to prolonged exposure. Crews worked overnight to assess and repair the damage and determine what happened.
One woman died of an apparent heart attack when the pipe erupted, and about 30 other people were injured, at least four seriously. Officials quickly ruled out terrorism, but for some witnesses, the explosion, dust, debris and chaos were frighteningly reminiscent of the scene on Sept. 11, 2001. We were scared to death. It sounded like a bomb hit or a bomb went off, just like 9/11. People were hysterical, crying, running down the street, said Karyn Easton, a customer at a salon a few blocks from the site of the blast. It was really surreal.Thursday morning, stretches of several major thoroughfares in the area remained closed. Most subway service was restored, though the trains continued to bypass Grand Central. Eight air samples in the area around the explosion found no sign of asbestos, but six of 10 samples of debris and dust came back positive, the emergency-management agency said Thursday. Residents in the area were to keep windows closed, and anyone exposed to the falling debris was instructed to wash carefully and isolate the clothing they were wearing in plastic bags.
City engineers warned that up to six feet surrounding the giant hole might be in danger of further collapse, and officials said workers would not be allowed into office buildings in a zone that covered several blocks. The Buildings Department determined late Wednesday that nearby buildings were structurally sound but some had suffered water damage and broken windows.
The cause of the rupture remained under investigation.
Officials said the pipe might have exploded under pressure caused by an infiltration of cold rainwater, or might have been damaged by a water main break. Con Edison head Kevin Burke said the site had been inspected hours before the blast as part of a routine response to heavy rain that flooded parts of the city. He said crews had found nothing as they searched for steam rising from manhole covers or cracks in the street—indications that pipes could be in jeopardy. The steam systems are normally inspected every six weeks. It was rush hour Wednesday evening when the geyser erupted, generating a tremendous roar as 200-degree vapor sprayed as high as the top of the nearby Chrysler Building. Steam and dirt boiled from the ground for hours.
Many people were struck by falling chunks of asphalt or rock that had been blasted out of the ground. Mud covered some bystanders. A woman who was bleeding heavily was helped by police while a man lay on a stretcher in the street. When the steam dispersed almost two hours later, a large crater was visible in the street and a red truck lay at the bottom of the hole. Two city buses and a small school bus sat abandoned and covered with grit in the middle of Lexington Avenue. The steam pipes have ruptured before. In 1989, a steam pipe explosion near Gramercy Park killed three people and spewed loads of asbestos into the air—a fact that Con Ed later admitted it concealed for days while residents were exposed. That explosion was caused by a condition known as water hammer, in which water condenses in a closed section of pipe. The sudden mix of hot steam and cool water can cause pressure to skyrocket, bursting the pipe.
Authorities Thursday couldn't immediately account for how the most seriously wounded victims of the latest eruption were hurt. Police said the woman who died, identified as Lois Baumerich, 57, of Hawthorne, N.J., suffered cardiac arrest. She and 15 other people were taken to Bellevue Hospital, where two seriously injured patients were being treated in a trauma unit, hospital spokesman Stephen Bohlen said. Two other people were in critical condition at New York Weill-Cornell Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Emily Berlanstein. Among the injured were several firefighters and police Officer Robert Mirfield, who helped evacuate 75 people trapped in a nearby office building by cutting open a gate, authorities said. Associated Press Writers Eric Vora, Richard Pyle, Tom Hays, Marcus Franklin, David B. Caruso and Verena Dobnik and AP National Writer Deborah Hastings contributed to this report.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
ATTACK ON USA COMING SOON MAYBE
www.chinaview.cn 2007-07-18 03:13:17
BERLIN, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Germany welcomes the new U.S. Middle East initiative which called for an international meeting to seek ways to create a Palestinian state, a German government spokesman said Tuesday. Germany supported the goal of laying the foundation for a successful Palestinian state with which peace talks could be conducted, said spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm. A Palestinian state with effective governance, functioning economy as well as law and justice, is vital to the two-state solution in the Middle East, he said. According to the spokesman, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by telephone on Tuesday afternoon with Palestine's prime minister-designate Salam Fayyad and offered her support for Palestine's further efforts for the peace process.
Fayyad told Merkel that he is trying to establish a better system of authority, particularly in the security sector, said the spokesman. On Monday, U.S. President George W. Bush announced his new Middle East initiative. According to the plan, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will chair a conference in the autumn that would include the Israelis, Palestinians and their Arab neighbors committed to the two-state solution. Bush also announced 190 million dollars in direct aid to the Palestinian government led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Fayyad. The U.S. plan emerged in an effort to bolster Abbas's more moderate Fatah government in its power struggle against the Hamas militant group which still refuses to recognize Israel. Editor: Luan Shanglin
BOTH PAT ROBERTSON AND BENNY HINN HEARD FROM GOD THAT THE US WILL BE ATTACKED SOMETIME AFTER JULY OF THIS YEAR. PAT IN PRAYER AND BENNY HAS THE FEELING GOD IS TELLING HIM OF A MAJOR ATTACK ON USA SOIL.
Al-Qaida plots new attacks on U.S. soil By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer Tue Jul 17, 6:59 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Al-Qaida is using its growing strength in Pakistan and Iraq to plot attacks on U.S. soil, heightening the terror threat facing the United States over the next few years, intelligence agencies concluded in a report unveiled Tuesday.
At the same time, the intelligence analysts worry that international cooperation against terrorism will be hard to sustain as memories of Sept. 11 fade and nations' views diverge on what the real threat is.In the National Intelligence Estimate prepared for President Bush and other top policymakers, analysts laid out a range of dangers — from al-Qaida to Lebanese Hezbollah to non-Muslim radical groups — that pose a persistent and evolving threat to the country over the next three years.
The findings focused most heavily on Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, which was judged to remain the most serious threat to the United States. The group's affiliate in Iraq, which has not yet posed a direct threat to U.S. soil, could do just that, the report concluded. Al-Qaida in Iraq threatened to attack the United States in a Web statement last September.National Intelligence Council Chairman Thomas Fingar warned that the group's operatives in Iraq are getting portable, firsthand experience in covert communications, smuggling, improvised explosive devices, understanding U.S. military tactics and more.The Iraqi affiliate also helps al-Qaida more broadly as it tries to energize Sunni Muslim extremists around the globe, raise resources and recruit and indoctrinate operatives — including for homeland attacks, according to a declassified summary of the report's main findings.
In addition, analysts stressed the importance of al-Qaida's increasingly comfortable hideout in Pakistan that has resulted from a hands-off accord between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and tribal leaders along the Afghan border. That 10-month-old deal, which has unraveled in recent days, gave al-Qaida new opportunities to set up compounds for terror training, improve its international communications with associates and bolster its operations.
The assessment shows how the threat has changed.
Just two years ago, the intelligence agencies considered al-Qaida's various franchises decentralized offshoots, with bin Laden mostly providing ideological direction.Fingar said his experts believe bin Laden and his top deputy are hiding in Pakistan. There is no question that the ungoverned character of the space is a major factor in the Taliban's and al-Qaida's and other extremist groups' ability to hide — hide in plain sight, he said.National Intelligence Estimates are the most authoritative written judgments of the 16 spy agencies across the breadth of the U.S. government. These documents reflect the consensus long-term thinking of top intelligence analysts.Tuesday's publicly disclosed judgments are part of a more expansive, still-classified document, approved by the heads of all 16 intelligence agencies on June 21.
Analysts — who concluded the U.S. now faces a heightened threat environment painted an increasingly familiar picture of al-Qaida: A group focused on high-profile attacks against political, economic and infrastructure targets, while striving to cause mass casualties and dramatic destruction.FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said the bureau does not know of any al-Qaida cells in the United States, although his agents continue investigating such questions. The estimate said international counterterrorism efforts since 2001 have hampered al-Qaida's ability to attack the United States again, while also convincing terror groups that U.S. soil is a tougher target.Charles Allen, the Department of Homeland Security's top intelligence official, said the department isn't changing the nation's threat level, which remains at yellow, or elevated the middle of a five-point scale. Airlines remain one step higher, at orange.
Even as authorities warn of dangers in the U.S., analysts concluded the threat is more severe in Europe. The problem could touch the United States directly, Fingar noted, because of the ease of travel between Europe and here.The White House sought to downplay the report's worries about the future of international counterterrorism cooperation. Bush's homeland security adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend, said the administration isn't concerned about being abandoned by allies. Cooperation is actually as strong as it's ever been, she said.The Bush administration also brushed off critics who say the administration released the intelligence estimate now to help its case as the Senate debates whether to withdraw troops from Iraq. White House press secretary Tony Snow said critics are engaged in a little selective hearing ... to shape the story in their own political ways.Meanwhile, Democrats said the report was proof that U.S. anti-terrorism efforts are being drained by the Iraq war.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., called on the U.S. to responsibly redeploy its troops from Iraq and turn security over to the Iraqis. "In hindsight, we should have concentrated our efforts on al-Qaida in Afghanistan from the beginning, he said. Significant debate in recent weeks has focused on the genesis of the al-Qaida threat in Iraq and the nature of its links to al-Qaida's leaders. With the intelligence report's release, Bush sought to draw the threat in Iraq closer to bin Laden. These people have sworn allegiance to the very same man who ordered the attack on September the 11th, 2001, he said. At a briefing and in a later interview, Ted Gistaro, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, said al-Qaida in Iraq did not have any active cells when the U.S. invaded in March 2003. He said the watershed moment was when its now-deceased leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, declared his allegiance to bin Laden in an October 2004 Internet message. Beyond al-Qaida, the report also laid out three other potential terror threats to the country: Lebanese Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim extremist group, may be more likely to consider attacking here, especially if it believes the United States is directly threatening the group or its main sponsor, Iran. The number of homegrown extremists in the U.S. and its Western allies is growing, fueled by Internet web sites and anti-American rhetoric. So-called single issue terrorist groups probably will attack here on a smaller scale. They include white supremacists, anarchists and animal rights groups, such as Animal Liberation Front. On the Net:
The estimate's key judgments: http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20070717_release.pdf
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
PERPLEXED PEACE PROCESS
Stymied ARLENE KUSHNER
It is I who am stymied. Flummoxed. Not to mention grieved, and furious.It is 1:00 AM here in Israel as I write, and yet I feel compulsed to send out this message, which I can only hope and pray will make the rounds extensively. Why stymied and flummoxed? Because there is the sense that the world is truly insane, and that it's hard to know how to handle this or respond to it. Or to know what the end will be.
Olmert met today with Abbas in the prime minister's Jerusalem residence. At that time Olmert made many gestures and concessions.
Start with the 250 prisoners who are about to be released. Most, but not all, of them are from Fatah -- some are from other factions, not including Hamas. They all have at least one more year to serve on their terms, they all will have signed that very significant and binding pledge to renounce terrorism, and none of them have blood on their hands. But let's look a bit closer at this last criterion. Many of them ATTEMPTED terror attacks that were unsuccessful. They may have thrown a bomb that failed to go off or shot a gun that misfired. They may even have been caught with a suicide belt. They wanted to kill Jews, they tried to kill Jews, they just didn't manage to do it. Yet. Their mindset, their goals are not different from those of terrorists who have succeeded. And our prime minister agrees to send them out there, to try again. Does anyone -- anyone! -- take seriously their pledge to renounce terrorism? Does Olmert do anything but make a laughing stock of himself with this? Does Olmert, with his talk about risks that we can afford to take, give a damn about the innocents to be targeted?
And then there are the roughly 180 Al Aksa Brigades people we're pardoning. I wrote about them yesterday -- about their connections to Iran, and the fact that they already are in or are being incorporated into the PA security services. And I ask if Olmert has lost his mind entirely. The logic being advanced is that since we won't any longer have to monitor these guys -- who will also be signing those valuable commitments to renounce terrorism -- we will have more time to go after Hamas. And, while I have scrupulously refrained from utilizing obscenities in my postings, it seems that nothing short of an obscenity can truly express how I feel about this. I ask myself, again, does anyone -- anyone! -- really take seriously their stated intentions to start being nice guys? We're talking about people who DO have Jewish blood on their hands, people who take money and instructions from Iran.
Because I understand the mentality and the process...Because I know that we've been had a dozen times this way before...I knew intuitively and with certainty that the conversion of the Al Aksa terrorists was not real. The Palestinians are masters at appearing to be what the world wants them to be, while not changing their ultimate goal (Israel's destruction) one iota.But tonight I also read Caroline Glick's latest column, entitled The joke's on us. Glick wrote:
It's all a joke. It's just a joke.
That's how the Palestinian terror commanders in Judea and Samaria explained the show they made of handing in their weapons to Fatah commander Mahmoud Abbas's official militias over the weekend. This is all a big joke, they told reporters while posing for pictures. Abbas asked us to sign a declaration saying we won't attack Israel and so we are.And why not? The Palestinian Authority Chairman agreed to pay them thousands of dollars in exchange for the photo opportunities. There is also the non-financial incentive. In exchange for their propaganda photos and their signatures on declarations not to engage in terror anymore, Israel has pledged to take these murderers off of its wanted list. So just for participating in a satire, these men get to walk without fear for the first time in years. Now, if this doesn't make you sick to your stomach, it's made of cast iron.
And I'm not finished yet. I knew this was also on the table, but Glick says it's pretty much finalized:
In anticipation of the formalization of the agreement at the Olmert-Abbas meeting Monday, the IDF ended its nightly raids in Judea and Samaria for the first time in five years. Those raids, in which thousands of terrorists were apprehended in their sleep and their networks disrupted, were the main reason that Israelis in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Netanya and Hadera have been able to sleep in a modicum of safety for the past three years. It is these raids, rather than Abbas's vaunted efforts to strengthen the so-called peace camp in Palestinian society or the security fence that have prevented suicide bombers from entering Israeli cities with any frequency.
Saturday the IDF's General Staff ordered Central Command to receive prior General Staff approval for any such raids in the future. By taking the ability to fight terrorists away from the commanders in the field, the General Staff essentially made fighting terrorists off limits for IDF forces in Judea and Samaria. That is, without officially announcing it, Israel has agreed to Abbas's demand that it extend its 'unilateral cease-fire' in Gaza (which existed until Hamas rose to power last month), to Judea and Samaria.It's Jewish lives we're talking about, once again. And so I am enraged.
But there's something else going on here: Glick makes the point that Hamas was able to take Gaza because of that IDF self-imposed unilateral ceasefire; Hamas had more latitude to act unimpeded and to build its strength. Just days ago I quoted a top IDF official who said that Hamas's intention in Judea and Samaria is the same as in Gaza, but that they would not succeed. You have to come and see us operate each night, to understand this, said the IDF official. But now, if the IDF won't be operating each night? Abbas has been seeking the right to have his people maintain security. But Abbas and his security forces will not make the grade. Could it be (or am I merely looking for a silver lining here?) that the pullback on IDF operations will hasten Abbas's downfall?
Caroline Glick's piece can be found at: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1184585439056&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
Still, I am not done. With all of this President Bush gave a major speech tonight. In it he said that the US would be giving unprecedented amounts of money and political support to the PA. This, you see, is supposed to strengthen Abbas and motivate his people to become moderate. A mistake of colossal dimensions, and I will have much to say about this in coming days. Here I simply register my shock at this statement. What has Abbas done to justify such support? He lost Gaza because he didn't give the order to his men to shoot, and because they ran away. It was not for lack of arms or training that he lost. Yet Bush imagines that funds to strengthen Abbas's security forces will make the difference.
Bush also called for a conference on peace in the fall, that would include Israel, the Palestinians, and neighboring states, and be moderated by Condoleezza Rice. Shriek! This would be lean on Israel time. They're after Judea and Samaria for a Palestinian state.My only consolation: The times are so volatile, who knows what will happen by the fall.see my website www.ArlenefromIsrael.info
U.S. launches Middle East peace moves By Caren Bohan
Mon Jul 16, 3:39 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush called on Monday for a Middle East peace conference bringing together Israel, the Palestinians and some Arab neighbors and led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Aiming to break years of stalemate and under pressure from Arab allies to pursue the issue, Bush set the conference for later this year and announced $190 million in aid to the Palestinians' Fatah-led government.Bush said the conference meant to pave the way to a Palestinian state alongside Israel would take place in the autumn but he specified no date, location or which neighbors would attend.
In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel would start freeing 250 Palestinian prisoners by week's end. Prisoner releases have bolstered confidence in the past.Bush said Palestinians faced a moment of choice between the Islamist militant group Hamas and Abbas' more moderate vision, and reaffirmed his vision of a Palestinian state at peace with Israel.This is a moment of clarity for all Palestinians. Now comes a moment of choice, Bush said in a White House speech. The alternatives before the Palestinian people are stark.Bush said the participants in the talks would help review progress on building Palestinian institutions.
They will provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations so that we can move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian state, he said.With only 18 months left in office, Bush has said he will send Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the region soon and they will press anew for help on Iraq which U.S. troops invaded in 2003.Olmert and Abbas met for two hours at Olmert's Jerusalem residence. They discussed how they can see arriving at a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Olmert's spokeswoman Miri Eisin said, although sources in Olmert's office said they did not discuss such divisive issues as the fate of Jerusalem, borders and Palestinian refugees.The Palestinians want to go a lot faster. The average Israeli would like to go a lot slower. We have to find something that is acceptable to both sides, Eisin said.Palestinian Information Minister Riyad al-Malki said the government, appointed by Abbas last month to replace a Hamas-led cabinet, did not put much weight on these meetings.We are not sure about Israel's seriousness, he said.
Israel has described its decisions to free 250 low-security Palestinian prisoners, mostly from Abbas' secular Fatah faction, and to suspend kill-or-capture missions against 180 Fatah gunmen, as goodwill gestures in support of the new government.
Israel has already reopened the financial taps to Western-backed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's government while tightening the economic and security cordon around the Gaza Strip, which Hamas seized by force on June 14.
Bush's $190 million is for the fiscal year that ends on September 30. Western countries rallied behind Abbas with promises of renewed aid after the Gaza seizure. Their hope is to isolate Hamas, branded a terrorist group by Washington, and spur peace moves between Palestinian moderates and Israel. Some political analysts said the strategy could backfire as Abbas will be viewed more as a collaborator with Israel and the United States. While Abbas and Olmert welcomed Bush's call for revised peace talks and an international conference, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri accused Bush of outlining a plot to launch a crusade against the Palestinian people.We call upon all Arab countries to stand firm against these threats, he said in Gaza. U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt have long wanted Bush to get more involved in Middle East peacemaking.
Eisin said Olmert would present the final list of prisoners to be released to an Israeli ministerial committee on Tuesday. She said Israel would begin releasing prisoners as early as Friday after at least a 48-hour legal review. Abbas aide Saeb Erekat said Olmert refused Abbas' request to change the criteria by which Israel decides whom to release. Erekat said the Palestinian president urged Olmert to release jailed Palestinian political leaders including Marwan Barghouthi, an uprising leader who is seen as a possible successor to Abbas.(Additional reporting by Dan Williams, Ari Rabinovitch and Adam Entous in Jerusalem; Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah; Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza)
Tuesday July 17, 11:54 PM
Israel rebuffs call for talks on issues
Israel ruled out negotiations at this stage over the boundaries of a future Palestinian state, rebuffing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and casting doubt on a renewed US push to address the issue.Israel's response came one day after US President George W Bush said serious negotiations toward the creation of a Palestinian state can begin soon. Bush said these negotiations should lead to a deal on Palestinian borders, suggesting other final-status issues like Jerusalem and refugees wait for later.Abbas aide Saeb Erekat said the Palestinian president, who dismissed a Hamas-led cabinet after the Islamist group's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last month, was prepared to start negotiations immediately on all final-status issues. Abbas delivered that message in person to Olmert when they met in Jerusalem on Monday, officials said.
Israel has openly stated that we're willing to talk about issues of political horizon and about how to achieve the vision of two states for two peoples, said Miri Eisin, spokeswoman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.But we have been very clear that we are not willing to discuss at this stage the three core issues of borders, refugees and Jerusalem, Eisin added.Western diplomats and analysts said Bush appeared to be outlining a new strategy of staged negotiations under which borders would be delineated before the parties try to settle the other core questions.Bush said the negotiations he envisaged starting soon must lead to a territorial settlement, with mutually agreed borders reflecting previous lines and current realities, and mutually agreed adjustments.
Doing so, Bush said, would help show Palestinians a clear way forward to establishing a state, and could ultimately lead to agreement on the fate of refugees and Jerusalem and a permanent end to the conflict.On the face of it, President Bush is now saying, in effect, that parties should focus on what is solvable, namely territory, while deferring the issues considered most difficult: Jerusalem and refugees, said David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He called this a departure from the past when all issues were bundled together.Several Israeli newspaper columnists cast Bush's new peace push as too little, too late. He leaves office in a year and a half.
Peace in the Middle East is like the horizon: The closer you get to it, the farther away it becomes, wrote Nahum Barnea, a pundit with Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth daily.
A senior Israeli official said Israel discounted the seriousness of Bush's push for negotiations on borders because he did not set any timetable.The senior Israeli official said Israel was counting on Bush insisting that Palestinians rein in militants before advancing to talks about borders. But another official acknowledged: The sequencing/phasing is left vague and open to interpretation.Bush urged Israel to uproot small Jewish outposts built without government approval in the West Bank but stopped short of demanding established settlements be removed. Instead, he called for an end to settlement expansion.Israel said it welcomed US plans to hold a peace conference that would include neighbouring Arab states. Eisin said Saudi Arabia and other countries that do not have formal ties to Israel should take part.
MIDDLE EAST: BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES US PRESIDENT’S PROPOSAL FOR INTERNATIONAL MEETING New York, Jul 17 2007 3:00PM
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed United States President George W. Bush’s proposal for an international meeting on the Middle East this autumn.The Secretary-General welcomes the statement made by US President George W. Bush on the Middle East peace process, a spokesperson for Mr. Ban, who is scheduled to meet the President today in Washington, DC, said in a statement.
He is encouraged by the President’s renewed commitment to a two-State solution, entailing the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side with a secure Israel. The Secretary-General also welcomed the President’s proposal for an international meeting this autumn. “He looks forward to discussing these ideas with his partners in the Quartet in Lisbon on 19 July, spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York. The diplomatic Quartet is comprised of the UN, US, European Union and the Russian Federation. 2007-07-17 00:00:00.000
July 16, 2007
Commentary: Merkel embraces a new European order
Germany's Angela Merkel heads the new European triangle of power with Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown(Michel Euler/AP)
Sarkozy and Merkel: with Gordon Brown, forming competing but friendly new coalitions at the head of Europe - Roger Boyes in Berlin
The first hint of change in the new triangle of power at the heart of Europe came when Nicolas Sarkozy hugged Angela Merkel. Not the gallant and slightly patronising hand-kiss of President Jacques Chirac, but an egalitarian Gallic embrace. As for Gordon Brown, the best that can be expected for now is a firm handshake.
Studying body language may seem out of date in a European Union that is run, after all, by 27 separate bodies, each with their own shrugs and twitches. But the modern Franco-German-British relationship depends on at least mimicking personal friendship between the respective leaders; too many of the continent's vital issues have to be settled with a quick phone call or over a hurried dinner.
And the management of Europe is changing: to secure consensus in the swollen Union, different heavyweight leaders may have to be enlisted to lean on dissidents. President Sarkozy was swift to understand this and made himself useful to Chancellor Merkel, both at the G8 summit in Heligendamm - where he helped to build the consensus around climate change - and at the last EU summit of the German presidency, when he applied subtle pressure on the Poles.
This stole some of the Chancellor’s thunder but signalled the coming shift in the way that Europe is going to be run: each EU presidency is going to have to be helped out by an informal directorate of the diplomatically gifted. Mrs Merkel signed up not only Sarko but also Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg to save the last EU summit.
Boardroom shakeup to ease EADS tension
Is this the future of the Franco-German partnership - not an ideological axis committed to deeper European integration but a kind of crisis-busting A-team? And, if so, will Britain be part of this new pragmatic order? So far, the leaders know almost nothing of each other.
According to the German press, Peer Steinbrueck, the German Finance Minister, has submitted a short character analysis of Gordon Brown to Chancellor Merkel. Very sharp-witted, concluded the briefing, and no lover of empty phrases. Not much to go on there. It will take more than a dinner at the Chancellery to fill in the gaps, though there is common ground on at least one thing: a committment to an open European economy.
More, of course, is known about Sarko, who is starting to irritate the Germans. He seems to specialise in attention-grabbing faits accomplis: when he positioned Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund recently he talked to Mr Juncker and to President Bush - but not to Chancellor Merkel.That is not how the Franco-German friendship used to work.
The French leader’s protectionist genes, his passion for French industrial champions and his drive to give eurozone governments some oversight of the European Central Bank’s monetary policy:all that suggests a truly happy marriage should be made in Heaven, not on the Rhine.
Given the differences between the world view of the three new leaders, the betting is that they will form shifting, competing but superficially friendly coalitions rather than lead the European Union into a brave new dawn.
Monday, July 16, 2007
BUSH INSISTS PALESTINIAN STATE
BY STAN L BOWMAN JR
GEORGE W INSISTS ON GIVING THE SO CALLED MODERATE WASHINGTON ARABS AS WELL AS HAMAS MURDERERS A STATE OF THEIR OWN SIDE BY SIDE WITH ISRAEL WITH EAST JERUSALEM AS THEIR CAPITAL.
THIS IS COMPLETE NONSENCE AS WASHINGTON IS DECIEVED INTO BELIEVING THE LIE THAT BY GIVING THE ARABS A STATE OF THEIR OWN THAT PEACE WILL OCCUR. LITTLE DOES GEORGE KNOW THAT WORLD WAR 3 OCCURS BECAUSE JERUSALEM AND ISRAEL IS DIVIDED, WHEN WILL WASHINGTON GET THIS THROUGH THEIR THICK SKULLS.
WASHINGTON WANTS TO GIVE THE ARABS 190 MILLION PLUS IN AID TO HELP BUILD INSTITUTIONS IN THE WEST BANK (THE MODERATE SO CALLED WASHINGTON ARABS) AS WELL AS IN GAZA ( HAMAS MURDERERS). WASHINGTON INSISTS ON A TWO STATE SOLUTION. I INSIST ITS ISRAELS GOD GIVIN LAND AND ONLY ISRAELS.
WASHINGTON INSISTS ISRAEL GIVE THE 67 BORDERS AS WELL AS EAST JERUSALEM AS THE ARABS CAPITAL. WELL IF THESE PEOPLE READ THE BIBLE THEY WOULD KNOW ITS ISRAELS LAND AND GOD WILL TAKE REVENGE ON ALL WHO FORCE ISRAEL INTO THE DECEPTION OF LAND FOR PEACE. BUT SINCE THE BIBLE SAYS IT HAS TO BE A LAND FOR PEACE 7 YEAR TREATY, IT HAS TO COME TO PASS, SO THE DECEPTION HAS TO BE FULFILLED FOR THE PROPHECIES TO OCCUR.
WASHINGTON ALSO WANTS A CONFERENCE IN THE FALL TO GET THE PRO PALESTINIAN STATE COUNTRIES TOGETHER TO FIGURE OUT THE TIMELINE AND TO KEEP THE ROAD MAP ON TRACK.
Peres vows to pursue peace as Israel's president By Ari Rabinovitch
Sun Jul 15, 3:50 PM ET
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Nobel peace laureate Shimon Peres was sworn in as Israel's president on Sunday and pledged to seize the opportunity to encourage long-delayed efforts to achieve a diplomatic resolution to conflict in the Middle East. A former prime minister and Israel's eldest statesman, Peres, 83 was elected by parliament a month ago to the highly prestigious post. Though the job is largely ceremonial, past presidents have had substantial influence in Israeli politics.When the opportunity for peace is created, it must not be missed, Peres said in his inaugural speech to parliament, after taking the oath of office, in a ceremony interrupted briefly by the wails of his infant great-grandson, at which he smiled.
It is a president's duty to encourage peace processes at home, with our neighbors and the entire region, Peres added in his remarks to a house packed with Israeli well-wishers and dignitaries.Peres won a Nobel prize along with the late Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for a 1993 interim peace deal, Israel's first with the Palestinians, that led to the establishment of limited Palestinian self-rule in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.As head of state, Peres will have the critical job of granting pardons or commuting sentences for prisoners in Israeli jails, including dozens of Palestinian inmates Israel has pledged to release in a boost to President Mahmoud Abbas.
Peres replaces Moshe Katzav, who resigned from the presidency last month after admitting in a plea bargain for a dropped rape charge to committing sex crimes against a woman employee and sexually harassing another.Born in Poland, Peres immigrated before Israel achieved statehood and rose through the ranks of the leftist Labour party as an ally of the country's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.As deputy defense minister in the late 1950s Peres secured a secret deal with France to launch an Israeli nuclear program that the Jewish state has reportedly used to produce atomic weapons, though Israel does not comment on this.
Peres served as prime minister from 1984 to 1986 then again in 1995 after Rabin's assassination, though he never won an Israeli election for the position decisively.
He left Labour in 2005 to help found the centrist Kadima party alongside Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister who has been in a coma since suffering a stroke the following year.Peres, Israel's ninth head of state, had to step down as Olmert's deputy in order to become president, and resign as parliament's longest-serving member of 48 years.While the presidency does not entail any direct involvement in policymaking, Israeli presidents traditionally speak out on key issues, often influencing political decisions. The president also meets world leaders.(Additional reporting by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem)
Olmert and Abbas to Meet in Jerusalem at PMO
by Hana Levi Julian (JULY 16,07 INN)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Monday afternoon in Jerusalem and present Abbas with a list of 250 PA prisoners to be released, and another 178 wanted fugitives to receive amnesty.The mass pardoning of terrorists is part of a major good will gesture to help increase Abbas’s stature among the PA population.Abbas is under enormous pressure from Arab nations and the international community, explained an Olmert aid. He has recently taken a series of positive actions: he is using determined rhetoric against terror; he has issued a presidential decree that bans carrying firearms; and he has insisted that armed militias must not be allowed to control the streets.
The concessions will be accompanied by a warning, however, not to include Hamas in any role in the Palestinian Authority government. PMO staffers also told reporters that Olmert will demand that Abbas bring the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria under tight control. Meanwhile, we are willing to make these gestures to prove that Israel means what it says,” added the source.Abbas is also expected to arrive with demands, including for permission for a Jordanian army brigade to deploy in PA-controlled Judea and Samaria in order to help Abbas bring the areas under control.He is also expected to request more weapons and other materiel from Egypt and full security coordination with Israel , which would prevent any more unilateral moves by Jerusalem .According to Maariv, PA security forces have already received a large shipment of weapons from Jordan. The transfer of arms reportedly took place via the Allenby crossing on Sunday. Israeli officials agreed to allow the weapons delivery despite objections from senior security officials.
PA sources did not respond to reports of the weapons transfer. Israeli sources admitted that official policy regarding weapons transfers to the PA has changed and said the transfer had been approved several weeks ago.lmert’s office flip-flopped over whether the government would include arch-terrorist and Fatah Tanzim leader Zekarya Zubeidi on its amnesty list, but eventually was forced to admit this week that he was indeed going to be included. The 178 fugitives will all be made to sign a promise to abandon their terrorist activities and lay down their weapons, as will the 250 convicted PA terrorists to be freed from their sentences as part of the package. Olmert’s office emphasized that none of the 250 prisoners to be released will have blood on his hands, meaning those who have taken part in an attack that has murdered Israeli citizens.Other concessions to be included in the good will package are the transfer of tax monies collected by Israel on behalf of the PA that were withheld after Hamas was elected to the PA leadership, and the removal of security checkpoints in Judea and Samaria.
Peres: We Must Rid Ourselves of the Territories
by Hillel Fendel (JULY 16,07 INN)
Shimon Peres, on the eve of becoming President of Israel, tells AP that he won't insult the minority, but that he has not changed his opinions.Shimon Peres took the oath of office, administered by Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, in a ceremony accompanied by musical interludes of Biblical verses. The singers were unaccompanied by musical instruments, except drums, apparently in respect for the current Three Weeks mourning period for the Holy Temples. In the AP interview, which took place just hours before Peres was sworn in in the Knesset as Israel's 9th President, Peres expressed his surprised joy at being elected President. I don't think there was any person who was so much attacked and criticized in these last 60 years like myself, Peres said. But the fact [is] that after 60 years of criticism, of terrible remarks, they decided to elect me as the president. I didn't expect it.
Peres also said he would continue his crusade of surrending parts of the Land of Israel in exchange for promises of peace from Israel's enemies. He noted that this would require Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria. We have to get rid of the territories, he said. I won't make any secrets of my mind. I shall respect the minority. I shall not insult them. I changed my position [to President]. I didn't change my beliefs and concepts.
Eldad on the Attack
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) responded with anger at Peres' remarks. I wanted to accept Peres as the President of the entire country, Eldad said, but he decided to begin with divisiveness and discord. To say so derisively that Israel must get rid of area and, consequently, a quarter of a million people who live there... This is not the way to start.Peres is famous for having a way with words and unique comparisons. As Jerusalem Post editor David Horowitz wrote on Friday about a recent Peres speech, Peres was full of clever aphorisms that sometimes seemed rather less wise when they sunk in.For instance, on April 10, 1999, Peres said on New York television, We have to replace the fire of hatred with the water of existence.In May 1997, Peres told the Jerusalem Report, In Argentina, the home of the tango, you know that in order to dance well, you have to close your eyes and let the romance begin... Peace is a romantic process.
Quake triggers fire at Japanese nuclear plant
Black smoke rising from a facility of Tokyo Electric Power's nuclear plant at Kashiwazaki.July 16, 2007 - 7:15PM
A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Japan today, killing five people and injuring hundreds as it toppled houses, triggered mudslides and sparked a fire at a nuclear plant.In the hardest-hit areas northwest of Tokyo, homes were reduced to rubble and a bridge was nearly cracked in two by the force of the mid-morning quake, which also sent small tsunami waves rolling into the Japanese coast.The government set up a crisis management centre while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe broke off from election campaigning to race to the scene of the worst damage in Niigata and Nagano prefectures.Rescue workers were hunting for anyone buried alive in the wreckage after nearly 300 buildings were flattened by the quake, which shook skyscrapers in Tokyo more than 200km from the epicentre.
When the earthquake hit, I was out on my boat and I felt this swing, said Susumu Ishiguro, the owner of a fishing shop in the worst-hit city of Kashiwazaki on the Sea of Japan (East Sea).I came back to the port and I found my house was a complete mess. I think all the old houses got crushed, he said.The four women and one man confirmed dead were all in their 70s or 80s, police said. At least 441 people were hurt and more than 300 were evacuated to shelters, officials said.The quake triggered 50cm tsunami waves and was followed by several aftershocks, including a strong 5.6-magnitude tremor in the afternoon.Raising fears among residents, smoke billowed for hours from a blaze at a nuclear power plant in Kashiwazaki before being put out. Plant officials said the reactors shut down automatically and that there was no radiation danger.Abe, dressed in a relief worker's uniform, headed to the scene by military helicopter, cutting short a campaign stop ahead of July 29 elections.
We need to take every step to save lives. It's supposed to rain tomorrow in the area so we have to take every step to save lives, secure lifelines and reassure people, said Abe, who is struggling in opinion polls.Kashiwazaki city police officer Masao Honma said: It was too strong to stand. Some people got under tables, others immediately went outside.City employee Shoji Iida said residents put iron sheets down on the roads to help traffic go through.The roads were all fractured and deformed with bumps all over the place, he said.
The quake also triggered mudslides in the city, where soil was already loose after a major typhoon at the weekend, which left four people dead or missing and flooded hundreds of homes across Japan.Today was a bank holiday in Japan, so financial markets and many offices were closed.Service on Japan's famed bullet trains was temporarily suspended as a precaution after the earthquake, which severed power to some 21,000 households.Japan lies at the junction of four tectonic plates and is hit by about 20 per cent of the world's most powerful earthquakes.Niigata was the scene of a major earthquake in October 2004, measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale. Sixty-seven people were killed, including those who suffered stress and fatigue afterwards.
The 2004 Niigata earthquake was Japan's deadliest since January 1995, when a 7.3-magnitude tremor destroyed much of the western metropolis of Kobe, killing more than 6,400 people.agencies
Moshe Feiglin Sums Up Olmert Releasing Terrorists in One Sentence
July 15, 2007...
Moshe Feiglin, who is running for the head of the Likud party against Benjamin Netanyahu, can describe Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's action of releasing terrorists in one sentence. Only one who undervalues Jewish lives can come up with such an agreement to give freedom to murderers with so much blood on their hands.
It has happened countless times that criminals who are freed repeat their heinous crimes. Who will bear the responsibility if G-D forbid Jews in Israel and innocent people throughout the world will lose their lives to one of these freed terrorists?
Moshe Feiglin has the moral compass that is presently absent from Israeli politics. The right decisions based on Jewish values will actually save lives in Israel and worldwide.
Moshe Feiglin, Manhigut Yehudit's candidate for Prime Minister of Israel will be in the United States between July 15th and July 19th.Members of the press are invited to contact us to arrange an interview. There will also be a press briefing in New York on Wednesday July 18th. Members of the press who would like to attend may contact us:
Tova Abadi - Media Liaison - 917-301-0997 (cell)
The Manhigut Yehudit website is www.jewishisrael.org
Active RFID's Growing Role in Overall Market
Tuesday July 10th, 2007
Research firm IDTechEx of Cambridge has released an update to its annual report on the current and future state of the active RFID industry, with projections out to 2017. Listed below are key findings from Active RFID and Sensor Networks 2007-2017:
As a percentage of the entire RFID industry, active RFID will grow over the next ten years. Specifically, it is expected to more than double from 12.7 percent of the market in 2007 to 26.3 percent in 2017.
IDTechEx pegs the active RFID market value in 2017 at $7.07 billion.
There are a number of factors driving the growth of the active RFID market, many similar to what is seen on the passive RFID side. Among them are an increase in track-and-trace generally (both assets and people), decreasing cost of the technology, standardization, integration with other wireless technologies, contactless payment adoption, and the ambitious Ubiquitous Sensor Networks (USN) projects seen in Asia.
IDTechEx estimates that 614 million active RFID tags were sold as of the beginning of this year. At 593 million, car clickers accounted for the vast majority. In a distant second place were military applications, which have used 6.3 million.
Active RFID is a systems business, according to IDTechEx. That is, providers make money less on the tags and more on deploying holistic solutions. Contrast that to some of the passive RFID supply chain and retail deployments, in which the anticipated high-volume consumption of tags will contribute significant, recurring cost.
While there has been much coverage of the adoption of RTLS solutions by the healthcare industry and hospitals in particular, there have not been many estimates of the actual number of deployments occurring. IDTechEx provides a figure: 50 hospitals per year are installing RTLS systems for asset, patient, and staff tracking.
Active RFID and RTLS has attracted more than its fair share of interest from investors: 37 percent of the 27 recent IDTechEx-tracked fundings went to companies that are in some way involved with active RFID. Notable, too, is that one of the biggest acquisitions to date in the RFID industry was Lockheed's $400 million purchase of Savi, a company that focuses heavily on active RFID technology (see Lockheed Martin to Buy Active RFID Leader Savi).
Sarkozy brings in EU troops to celebrate Bastille day
16.07.2007 - 09:26 CET | By Lucia Kubosova
French president Nicolas Sarkozy has reiterated calls for a common European defence policy, with troops from all EU member states present for a march in Paris to celebrate the 14 July Bastille Day.For his first Bastille Day appearance as French President, Mr Sarkozy sat in the back of a military vehicle, leading a parade of European military forces down the Champs Elysees. It was the first time that troops from other EU states – including 30 soldiers from Germany's Bundeswehr - were invited for the traditional parade, along with flag-bearers from all the bloc's countries. This showed that Europe had to look at France through different eyes, explained Mr Sarkozy.
It's Europe's party, he said, adding It was a parade of armies but it is peace that we want to celebrate, according to press reports.The French politicians and public were joined by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, as well as Portuguese prime minister Jose Socrates, whose country currently holds the rotating EU Presidency. Mr Sarkozy introduced other changes to the various traditions connected with the celebration. The new leader ditched the usual July 14 televised interview and also refused to issue the mass pardons usually granted for the holiday.
However, speaking to European defence ministers and French military officers on the eve of the celebrations, the French president reiterated his call for a common European defence policy. The basis for a European defence exists. We must make it grow, he said, adding I want Europe to be capable of ensuring its security autonomously.The national holiday marks the storming of Bastille prison in Paris on 14 July 1789 by frustrated crowds which precipitated in the French revolution.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
TYPHOON MAN-YI IN JAPAN
Typhoon Man-yi lashes southern Japan
Sat Jul 14, 7:47 AM
TOKYO (Reuters) - A strong typhoon lashed southern Japan with high winds and heavy rain on Saturday, killing a boy, injuring dozens and forcing thousands of people to evacuate homes.Man-yi struck the southernmost main island of Kyushu after storming through the islands of Okinawa on Friday, moving northeast at 35 km per hour (22 mph), the Meteorological Agency said.With winds blowing at up to 216 km per hour (134 mph), forecasters expected the typhoon to move along the coast of the southeastern island of Shikoku and the country's central region later in the day.
The typhoon was expected to brush by Tokyo late on Sunday, bringing heavy rain and winds, before veering off into the Pacific Ocean on Monday.
A 11-year-old boy died after he was swept along by a fast-moving river while trying to pick up a ball, a police official in southern Kagoshima prefecture said.Public broadcaster NHK earlier said 56 people, including the boy, had been injured. Television footage showed heavy rain pounding on empty streets and workers mopping floors of train stations.NHK said several houses and a post office collapsed under a landslide in Kagoshima, while strong winds and landslides damaged dozens of homes in other areas.Local officials advised over 15,000 households to evacuate as they warned of more flooding and landslides. Around 12,000 people fled to evacuation centers on their own.We're worried. We don't want to stay home, one elderly evacuee told NHK television.Train services in Kyushu were halted, highways closed and more than 590 flights cancelled, Kyodo news agency said, disrupting travel for many during a three-day holiday weekend.Around 29,700 homes in Kyushu suffered power blackouts, an official at Kyushu Electric Power said.The storm was classified as a category 1 typhoon by British-based Web site Tropical Storm Risk (www.tropicalstormrisk.com), down from category 4 on Friday.
Russia suspends application of arms control treaty Sat Jul 14, 5:50 AM ET
MOSCOW (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree suspending Russia's application of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) arms control treaty, the Kremlin said Saturday. Russia has threatened several times to pull out of the treaty because of the US military encroachment into territory once part of the former Soviet Union, including Washington's plans to develop a missile defense shield in Europe.Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree 'on the suspension of the application by the Russian Federation of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe and the international accords linked with it, the presidential press office said in a statement.It said the suspension would take effect from the day of the signing.
But the move does not mean that we have closed the door on dialogue, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.The suspension is motivated by some points of the initial 1990 accord concerning the security of the Russian Federation, it said.
The CFE treaty, which came into force in 1992, is one of the key post-Cold War security accords in Europe.It limits deployments of tanks and troops in countries belonging to NATO and the former Warsaw Pact in eastern Europe and lays down measures aimed at confidence-building, transparency and cooperation between member states.Putin had threatened three months ago to pull Russia out of the CFE until all of NATO's current members ratified it.
It would be appropriate to announce a moratorium on Russian adherence to this treaty until it has been ratified by all NATO countries without exception, he had said in a state of the nation speech in April.The CFE was signed in Paris in 1990 by the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the former Warsaw Pact.But it was adapted in Istanbul in 1999 following the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in order to limit deployments on a country-by-country basis.NATO states have refused to ratify the new pact on the grounds that Moscow has failed to honor commitments made in Istanbul to withdraw Russian forces from the ex-Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova.Putin's insistence that all countries ratify the CFE appeared particularly aimed at the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which were once part of the Soviet Union and are not part of the treaty.The three are all now members of NATO.
China, Russia seek multi-polar world JULY 13,07
Associated Press Friday, July 13, 2007 (Moscow)
Russia and China on Friday stressed their common desire for a multi-polar world one not dominated by the United States - and vowed to keep improving economic ties that President Vladimir Putin said are already improving fast.Putin met with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, a former ambassador to the United States who suggested the trip to Moscow less than three months after his appointment, underscoring Russia's importance for Beijing.In the past few years, thanks to great contributions by our leaders and our governments, great positive changes have occurred in bilateral relations, taking our strategic partnership further, Yang told Putin in talks at the Russian leader's residence outside Moscow.Relations have reached an especially high level, Putin said, adding the volume of bilateral trade was increasing by up to 43 per cent annually.
Still, trade between Russia and China remains far outstripped by China's commercial ties to the United States, Japan and South Korea, and Moscow and Beijing have been pushing to add more economic substance amid burgeoning political ties.Communist rivals through much of the Soviet era, Russia and China have found common ground in their opposition to what they perceive to be US dominance of world affairs.They have used their clout as veto-wielding permanent UN Security Council members to counter US moves, for example, forcing proposed sanctions against Iran to be watered down.
Following his meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, Yang said close relations between Russia and China help foster the creation of a multi-polar world and the democratization of international relations, which he said both countries believe are the most important trends in history.
Efforts to create a new, more fair world order were at the forefront of cooperation between Russian and China in international affairs, Lavrov said.Lavrov said they agreed to work faster toward agreement on water resources shared by the two countries, and he stressed the need to update migration regulations.With Russia's population declining, residents of its sparsely populated eastern regions are concerned about the expanding presence of Chinese migrants.A 2005 chemical spill in northern China sent poisoned water flowing into the Amur River - which divides the two countries - and into Russian territory, straining bilateral relations.The two countries are slated to participate in major military exercises in central Russia next month, along with other members of loose political and military groups called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Friday, July 13, 2007 by Staff Writer
Muslims rip up Temple Mount, archeologists protest
The Muslim overlords of Jerusalem's Temple Mount began hacking a deep trench into the holy hill earlier this week as a prelude to more extensive infrastructure work on the mosques that currently occupy the compound. The Islamic Trust (Waqf) gained the approval of the Israeli police to proceed with the work, but leading archeologists note that digging with heavy machinery at such a sensitive historical site also requires, by law, the approval of archeological authorities. The use of tractors and other heavy machinery in construction at the Temple Mount requires real, professional and careful archaeological supervision involving meticulous documentation, stated the Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, an apolitical group that includes Israelis archeologists and intellectuals from across the political spectrum.
Committee member Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University accused the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of giving a green light to the work without going through the proper channels out of fear of the Muslims. As a result, said Mazar, even more of the history of Israel's temples to the Almighty will be destroyed, further erasing the historical and biblical connection of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. Mazar and the committee previously protested extensive construction work done by the Muslims under the Temple Mount, which resulted in a huge amount of dirt and debris being deposited unceremoniously in the Kidron Valley below. The mounds of debris were later found to contain shattered pieces of Jewish temple history. By contrast, the Muslim world erupted in outrage and violence earlier this year when Israel tried to repair a walking bridge leading to one of the Temple Mount's gates.
WELL THE BIBLE CLEARLY SAYS THE EU WILL HAVE ITS OWN ARMY, SARKOZY IS MAKING IT COME TO PASS.
France stages pan-European Bastille Day bash
Associated Press - Published July 15, 2007
PARIS -- Troops from all 27 European Union nations marched in France's Bastille Day parade for the first time Saturday, part of a revamped celebration enacted by new President Nicolas Sarkozy.It's a party. It's Europe's party, Sarkozy said of the holiday. It was a parade of armies, but it is peace that we want to celebrate.
Sarkozy, who has pushed for a united European military, stood in the back of a military vehicle to lead the procession. It circled the Arc de Triomphe before continuing down the Champs-Elysees escorted by mounted regiments of the Republic Guards.
He got out of the vehicle briefly to talk with spectators, an unplanned move that took guards by surprise.On the eve of the Bastille celebrations, Sarkozy reiterated his push for Europe-wide defense.The basis for a European defense exists. We must make it grow, he said in a speech to European defense ministers and French officers. I want Europe to be capable of ensuring its security autonomously.Chicago Tribune
Sons of Aaron - The Priestly Tribe - Convene in Jerusalem
by Hana Levi Julian (JULY 15,07 INN)
A four-day International Conference of Descendants of the biblical figure Aaron, the Priestly Tribe (Kohanim) and the whole Tribe of Levi to which the Kohanim are a part, begins on Sunday, July 15.Bring forth Aharon’s sons….Then anoint them, just as you anointed their father, so that they will be Kohanim (priests) to Me. It will be done so that their anointing will make them an eternal [hereditary] priesthood for all generations. Moses proceeded to do exactly as G-d had commanded him.(Exodus 40:14, 15) Throughout Jewish history and to this day, Jews are careful to note which families belong to the tribe of Levi and the priestly family of Aaron. At the special gathering this week in Jerusalem, they will learn more about their roots and discuss the latest research proving their genetic ties.
The International Conference of Kohanim and the Tribe of Levi falls on the first day of the Hebrew month of Av and the beginning of the nine-day period leading up to Tisha B’Av, the second-most solemn fast day in the Jewish calendar.It is also the date on which Aharon the High Priest, brother of Moses left this world to enter the World to Come.Recent scientific research and DNA testing has allegedly proven a genetic connection between the descendants of the Tribe of Levi, the biblical priests and their assistants who began with the sons of Aharon.Project director Professor Karl Skorecki, one of the main researchers in the seminal Kohen Genetic Signature study, is scheduled to present the findings Monday, July 16 at 11:30 a.m. in HaKotel Hall auditorium, near the Western Wall Plaza .
This is not only the first family reunion of the Jewish priestly dynasty in nearly 2,000 years, said conference organizer Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman in a statement sent to the media. The research and information we will share will play an important role in appreciating and maintaining our unique and precious heritage. Rabbi Kleiman is the director of The Center for Kohanim in Jerusalem and the author of DNA & Tradition.
Molecular geneticists have recently discovered the Kohen Modal Haplotype, a Y-chromosome DNA lineage signature shared by a majority of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic Kohanim.This indicates direct patrilineal descent of present-day Kohanim from an ancient ancestor, genetically dated to have lived approximately 3,000 years ago, corresponding to the time of the Exodus from Egypt.Kohanim and other members of the tribe, the Levi’im (Levites), are being invited to participate in what has been billed as the first family reunion held since the days of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Four days of seminars, touring, presentations of the latest research and lectures by leading rabbis and scientists on such topics as genetic genealogy, biblical history and contemporary issues in the Jewish legal arena will be offered in English as well as Hebrew.
This Week with Rabbi Eckstein - July 12, 2007
Dear Friend of The Fellowship,
One year ago, on July 12, 2006, the Second Lebanon War began when Hezbollah terrorists attacked Israel Defense Forces patrolling the Lebanon border. Eight Israeli soldiers were killed, and two were kidnapped and continue to be held to this day.
This act of aggression plunged Israel into war. By the time a United Nations-brokered ceasefire was in place a month later, Hezbollah had fired nearly four thousand rockets at Israel, causing great suffering and widespread devastation in the northern part of the country. One hundred and fifty-nine Israelis were killed. Over four thousand were injured, and hundreds of thousands displaced. More than one million Israelis were forced to live in bomb shelters that had been unused for years and were terribly run-down. Conditions in many were nearly unbearable.
Thankfully, Fellowship supporters responded quickly and generously to our calls for emergency assistance. Contributions to our Israel Emergency Fund allowed us to send help within 24 hours of the first Hezbollah attack, to continue helping throughout the war and assist in rebuilding efforts afterward. Thousands signed our petition of support for the Israeli people, and joined us in prayer for Israel’s peace and security. Despite the terrible pain of that time, this incredible display of love for Israel and her people was a great blessing.
Today, there is again the possibility of war. Gaza is now a radical Islamic state, ruled by Hamas. Iran continues to provide arms to radical Palestinian and Islamist groups and persists in its aggressive and hostile rhetoric against Israel. Syria is positioning its military for a possible strike. In Lebanon, the United Nations’ peacekeeping force has proved utterly ineffective in preventing Hezbollah from rearming. Clearly, there is now much more than just a remote chance of war erupting it is a real possibility.
As I reflected on the devastation of last year’s war during a recent trip to northern Israel, I was reminded of the importance of being prepared. During the past year, the Israel Defense Forces has been working hard to prepare itself to defend Israel in the event of war. And through our campaign to renovate and equip Israel’s bomb shelters to supply them with essentials such as food, water and sanitation, and to ensure that they are in good repair friends of The Fellowship have been helping to ensure that Israel’s people will have safe, comfortable places to take refuge if Israel is attacked.
While physical preparation is essential, spiritual preparation is also important. War unleashes chaos, destruction and suffering. It is precisely at this time that we need to recommit ourselves to pray daily for Israel and her people, and to remind ourselves that we can always trust in God. The Bible says, God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea (Psalm 46:1-2). Thus we are assured that, even in times of greatest crisis, when the world seems to be falling apart around us, God is present, and hears His people’s cries for help.
Keeping this in mind, I ask you today to do two things. First, contribute as best you can to our campaign to repair and equip Israel’s bomb shelters. Given the current circumstances in the Middle East, this is an urgent need. We must ensure that Israel is never again faced with the situation she had to deal with last year, when thousands of Israelis were crowded for weeks into shelters that lacked even basic infrastructure and supplies. Second, continue praying daily for the peace of Jerusalem, for Israel’s protection and for the safe return of Israel’s soldiers who have now spent a year in the hands of terrorists. These soliders Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, as well as Gilad Shalit, who was captured by Hamas several weeks before last year’s war began have endured much, and greatly need as much prayer support as we can give them.
On behalf of everyone at The Fellowship, and the people of Israel, I want to thank you for your support. May you be blessed, even as you have blessed the Jewish people.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
President INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS.