Saturday, August 11, 2007
ISRAELIS GO TO ISRAEL NOW UNCERTAINTY
DEBKAfile Exclusive: New Al Qaeda threat of radioactive truck attacks naming New York, Los Angeles, Miami August 10, 2007, 1:11 AM (GMT+02:00)
The threat was picked up by DEBKAfile’s monitors from a rush of electronic chatter on al Qaeda sites Thursday, Aug. 8. The al Qaeda communications accuse the Americans of the grave error of failing to take seriously the videotape released by the American al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gaddahn last week. They will soon realize their mistake when American cities are hit by quality operations, said one message. Another said the attacks would be carried out by means of trucks loaded with radio-active material against America’s biggest city and financial nerve center. A third message mentioned New York, Los Angeles and Miami as targets. It drew the answer: The attack, with Allah’s help, will cause an economic meltdown, many dead, and a financial crisis on a scale that compels the United States to pull its military forces out of many parts of the world, including Iraq, for lack of any other way of cutting down costs.There is also a message which speaks obliquely of the approaching attacks easing the heavy pressure America exerts on countries like Japan, Cuba and Venezuela.
DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources and monitors say there is no way of gauging for sure how serious these threats are, how real, or whether they are part of a war of nerves to give the Gaddahn tape extra mileage. But it is important to note that the exchange of messages took place over al Qaeda’s internal Internet sites and that they contained the threat of radioactive terror and specific American cities for the first time after a long silence on these subjects. In addition, a growing number of clips has been disseminated of late over al Qaeda sites instructing the faithful how to design remote-controlled gliders, pack them with explosives and launch them against predetermined targets.
NYPD responds to unsubstantiated threat AUG 11,07
NEW YORK - Authorities were taking extra counterterrorism precautions Friday in response to what they said was an unsubstantiated radiological threat to the city.
Officials said they had not changed the city's terror alert status in response to online chatter mentioning a truck packed with radioactive material. But police deployed extra radiological sensors on street, water and air patrols, and were stopping vehicles at checkpoints in lower Manhattan and around the city.Deputy Police Commissioner Paul J. Browne called the measures strictly precautionary. He said an Israeli Web site reported that online posts were made following a video released Sunday featuring an American member of al-Qaida threatening foreign diplomats and embassies across the Islamic world.We are closely monitoring the situation, said Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke. There continues to be no credible information telling us that there's a threat to the homeland at this time.The FBI also said there was no credible threat.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the police measures were nothing out of the ordinary.
These actions are like those that the NYPD takes every day — precautions against potential but unconfirmed threats that may never materialize, he said in a statement.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun and the moon and the constellations, and on the earth pressure of nations in perplexity (Mass confusion, at the roaring of the sea and the shaking,
26 at the chilling of men from fear and apprehensiveness of that which is coming on the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens shall be shakin.
Hurricane Flossie now a Category 3 storm By JAYMES SONG, Associated Press Writer AUG 11,07
HONOLULU - Hurricane Flossie strengthened to a Category 3 storm early Saturday as it headed toward waters south of Hawaii, but forecasters did not expect it to hit the state with much more than rough surf. At 5 a.m. EDT on Saturday, Flossie had strengthened from a Category 1 storm to a Category 3, with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph, and was about 1,150 miles from Hawaii.The storm was expected to weaken as it passed over cooler waters. It was traveling west at about 12 mph.The Big Island's southeastern shores could see waves of 8 to 12 feet, forecasters said, with the surf rising during the day Monday and peaking Tuesday. The island's South Point is the southernmost area of the United States.Flossie formed as a tropical storm Wednesday about halfway between Mexico's southern Pacific coast and Hawaii. Its winds surpassed 74 mph, making it a hurricane, on Friday.
The last time a hurricane hit Hawaii was in 1992, when Iniki ravaged Kauai, killing six people and causing $2.5 billion in damage.Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. In May, forecasters predicted that Hawaii and the rest of the central Pacific face a slightly below-average hurricane season, with just two or three tropical cyclones expected because of lower sea surface temperatures.The islands get an average of 4.5 tropical cyclones a year and one hurricane about every 15 years. Last year, the central Pacific had five tropical cyclones after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted two to three.On July 21, a tropical depression moved past the Big Island, bringing a few inches of rain to the parched island but no major problems. Cosme, the year's first Pacific tropical cyclone, reached hurricane status for a day before it weakened.
South Asia monsoon toll passes 2,000 By MATTHEW ROSENBERG, Associated Press Writer Fri Aug 10, 5:03 PM ET
NEW DELHI - The death toll from this year's calamitous South Asian monsoons had surpassed 2,000 by Friday after a wild storm hit Pakistan's largest city. India asked doctors to cancel vacations and rushed food and medicine to flooded regions where disease has stricken thousands. Adding to the misery, the monsoon rains that flood wide stretches of South Asia each year have forced creatures large and small onto whatever dry land can be found, resulting in scores of fatal snake bites.Relief workers said there was an acute shortage of clean drinking water and medical supplies in parts of northern India, where storms have been heavier than usual this year.
With flooding from two weeks of rains finally receding in northern India, monsoon storms moved west. Heavy winds and rains lashed the Pakistani city of Karachi, destroyed homes and flooding streets. At least 22 bodies were pulled from collapsed homes, said Anwar Kazi, a spokesman for the private relief service Edhi Foundation. Residents waded through waist-deep water in parts of the city of 15 million people.
Vital to farmers whose crops feed hundreds of millions of people, the monsoon season runs from June to September as the rains work their way across the subcontinent. At least 2,090 people have died so far this year, double the number killed last year. Nearly 600 have died in the past two weeks alone.More than 1,550 have died in India; 226 have been killed neighboring Bangladesh; 92 in Nepal, and at least 222 in Pakistan, officials said.The storms have stranded 19 million people in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Nearly 243,000 people were still living in relief camps in India, the Home Ministry said.
The rainfall has been unevenly distributed across India this year due to unusual monsoon patterns, according to the country's Meteorological Department. While parts of central India received less rain, the north faced stronger storms for longer than usual.The reprieve in the monsoon rains created ponds of stagnant water in India's Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states, and aid workers struggled to stave off a disease epidemic.Paramedics visiting affected villages don't have adequate supplies of medicines, Ramakant Rai, chief of state's Voluntary Health Association, said of Uttar Pradesh. He said clean drinking water was running low.Families lined up for aid finally reaching their villages. In one Uttar Pradesh village, a family rowed a makeshift tube raft to a relief center.Doctors have treated at least 1,500 people in Uttar Pradesh for diarrhea in the past 10 days, said L.B. Prasad, director-general of the state's health services. Rai's group said the scope of the suffering was greater, with more than 22,000 people coming down with waterborne disease.
In neighboring Bihar state, the government canceled vacations for doctors in flood-ravaged districts, said state Health Minister Chandramohan Rai.The rains have driven poisonous snakes onto dry land in closer proximity to populations, and hundreds in India have been bitten this season. In neighboring Bangladesh, the government said at least 35 of the 226 people killed in the monsoon have died of snake bites. It has been the country's second-highest cause of death after drowning.Snakes are not the only dangerous creatures that compete with people for dry land. In India's northeastern Assam state, flooding forced rhinos from their habitat at the Kaziranga National Park last week. Their panicked charges killed one person and injured two others.Everything, everyone, is restricted to tiny, tiny islands with very little space, said Romulus Whitaker, a snake expert. Everyone is crammed in together and the chances of running into snakes, stepping on them, grabbing them and sleeping on them is much, much more.That's how Paltu Ram, a farmer in his 20s, died.
Stranded with a few hundred villagers on a sliver of land encircled by flood waters in the Bara Banki district of northern India, about 370 miles east of New Delhi, he decided to climb a tree to see if he could spot a rescue boat. On his way up, he reached for what looked like a brown rope. It wasn't — and when he grabbed it, the snake recoiled and struck, sinking its fangs into his arm. Paltu jumped into water saying he was bitten by snake. Before he could be taken to a doctor he died, said his father, Rameshwar, who couldn't say what kind of snake got his son. Associated Press reporters Biswajeet Banerjee in Lucknow, India, and Julhas Alam in Dhaka, Bangladesh, contributed to this story.
At least 13 dead in Pakistan rains Fri Aug 10, 4:24 PM ET
KARACHI (AFP) - Flooding caused by torrential rains has killed at least 13 people in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi, officials said Friday. Severe weather has forced the provincial government to declare a state of emergency in Karachi's hospitals, with holidays cancelled for doctors and paramedics, they said.Most of the city was inundated by knee-deep rainwater, causing traffic chaos.Authorities have closed schools and colleges due to transportation difficulties and hazards like falling power lines.Four of the dead were reportedly electrocuted by power lines wrecked by the rainstorms in several areas of the city.Officials said Karachi had received 142mm (more than 5.5 inches) of rain in the previous 24 hours, with more expected.
Rivers above alert levels as rain subsides over central Europe Fri Aug 10, 4:20 PM ET
BERLIN (AFP) - Some rivers and lakes remained above alert levels Friday after two days of torrential rain and flooding in Switzerland and Germany which killed one and caused one serious injury. A man drowned in flooding in Germany after becoming trapped in his cellar, while the Rhine was closed to shipping after becoming dangerously swollen by torrential rain, police said.The Rhine had become so high in southwest Germany that it would be impossible to navigate until Saturday at the earliest, a spokesman for the police in the city of Karlsruhe, Reinhold Seene, told AFP.He added that, while the river, one of Europe's longest and most important at 1,320 kilometres (820 miles), was expected to peak at 8.3 metres (27 feet), it was not the flood of the century.
The man who died, a 61-year-old resident of the western town of Arnsberg, apparently got caught in his cellar by the rising water and drowned because he was unable to open the door.Other police services said a mudslide closed a main road for several hours, and a camping ground was evacuated.Meanwhile, in neighbouring Switzerland, to the south of the Rhine, weather services said that the low pressure system over the Alps which caused the massive rainfalls was slowly weakening and moving towards the Adriatic Sea.Rain which battered Switzerland on Wednesday and Thursday caused at least 65 million Swiss francs in damages (39.5 million euros), according to estimates Friday.A partial survey of damages by the Swiss intercantonal reinsurance union estimated damages to buildings at between 50 and 60 million Swiss francs.Crop damage was estimated to be at least five million Swiss francs.Meanwhile a hydraulic power station at Ruchlig, northern Switzerland, had been flooded and disconnected from the network, reported the power station administrator NOK.
More than 20 centimetres (eight inches) of water seeped into the machine room of the power station which has an annual capacity of 55 million kilowatts per hour. It was unclear how long it would remain disconnected or how much financial damage had occured.Several hydraulic power stations along the Aar river also reduced their capacities due to strong river currents and tree trunks travelling along them. Meanwhile, the Swiss rail company announced the resumption of traffic on sections of lines that had been cut by flooding and landslides.
Christian Zionist Leader Denounces Evangelicals' Pro-Palestinian Letter
By Ethan Cole - Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Aug. 07 2007 12:46 PM ET
A Christian Zionist leader has denounced the recent letter by some of America’s leading evangelicals voicing support for a Palestinian state, criticizing the signers for their appalling ignorance.Dr. Jim Hutchens, president of the Jerusalem Connection and the Washington-area director for Christian United for Israel, acknowledged the deep chasm growing among evangelicals regarding Israel.He contends, however, that the modern state of Israel is part of the fulfillment of God’s covenant of a homeland for the Jewish people.Evangelicals supporting a Palestinian state have an appalling ignorance of both secular and biblical history, said Hutchens, according to OneNewsNow. The Zionist leader noted that there has never been a sovereign state of Palestine.
In July, 34 prominent evangelical leaders signed a letter voicing support for President Bush’s Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, emphasizing their support for a two-state solution.The leaders also said they wanted to repair the serious misconception that all American evangelicals are against the two-state solution and the creation of a new Palestinian state.Historical honesty compels us to recognize that both Israelis and Palestinians have legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine, states the letter dated July 27 and published in the New York Times.Signers included Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary; David Neff, editor of Christianity Today; Richard Stearns, president of World Vision; Tony Campolo, president/founder of Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education; Stephen Hayner, former president InterVarsity Christian Fellowship; and Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church in Longwood, Fla., and member of the executive committee of the National Association of Evangelicals.Hutchens, however, disagrees and points to the Replacement Theory as the theological explanation for evangelical support of a Palestinian state.
I would suggest that the basic theological underpinning of this is super-cessionism, he said, according to OneNewsNow, and that is to say that the church is the new Israel, that Christians have replaced Jews as the covenant people of God … [and that] the covenants that God made with Israel and the Jews are now null and void because they have not accepted Jesus as the Messiah.Yet Hutchens believes that the covenant between God and Israel still holds. He proposes as solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem that Israel annex the West Bank and Gaza and for the Israeli military to uproot terrorists in the region.The debate on Israel and Christian support for the biblical land has stirred tension among evangelicals – arguably the world’s most vocal supporters of the state; evangelicals make up 1/3 of American tourists that visit Israel, second only to American Jews.
Among the critics are those against the blind support that some Christians give to Israel despite the fact that the Knesset – Israel’s legislative body – bans evangelism in the country and has proposed punishment including imprisonment and heavy fines for guilty parties.Megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, one of the signers supporting a Palestinian state, noted:There is a part of the evangelical family which is what I call Christian Zionists, who are just so staunchly pro-Israel that Israel and their side can do no wrong, and it’s almost anti-biblical to criticize Israel for anything, he said, according to the New York Times. But there are many more evangelicals who are really open and seek justice for both parties.Award-winning talk show host Janet Parshall is an example of a long-time pro-Israel Christian leader who has recently come to criticize the state.I thought, wait a minute: we can’t just blindly support Israel, said Parshall after she heard that the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus does not associate with groups that share the Gospel.
We have to able to tell them, as a friend, [that] you can’t do that. You can’t silence us.Vocal pro-Israel supporters include Dr. Jack Hayford, president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; Paula White, co-pastor of the 22,000-member Without Walls International Church in Florida; Pastor John Hagee, founder of Christian United for Israel and senior pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in Texas; Pastor Steve Munsey of the 12,000-member Family Christian Center; and Stephen Strang, founder and president of Charisma Magazine.
The US Earthquake Prophecy
July 28, 2007 Harrisburg, PA BY KIM CLEMENT
"In this Nation, yes, there shall be three earthquakes says the Lord. Not earthquakes of judgment but a sign in the earth. The wind has brought the rain. Signs from above. Fires have come on top of the land. Signs on top of the land. Fire consuming religion, consuming witchcraft, consuming control and the synagogues of Satan shall be invaded by the forces of righteousness, says the Lord of hosts. No more reasoning. No more debating. Go and show. Don't go and tell, go and show. For now you have embarked upon a period of manifestation, says the Lord. Now there must be a sign underneath the earth. And surely your earth shall shake saying to you three times and showing you three arenas. The heavens where the wind came and the rain came to America. On the earth the fires that came in the middle of this nation and shall continue in the west. And then underneath the earth - the shaking. And God says, you know why? Because the demonic powers that have held tight are now being released and being taken care of and being completely annihilated, says the Spirit of the Lord. They will never be above you, they will always be beneath you says the Spirit of the God.
Israel's Def Min: Palestinian Peace Talks A Fantasy-Report
Friday, Aug 10, 2007
JERUSALEM (AP)--The Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Friday as calling recent peace moves with the Palestinians fantasies and saying Israel would not withdraw from the West Bank for another five years at least. The comments were attributed to Barak in private conversations. If accurate, they are surprising because Barak heads the dovish Labor Party and tried to reach a dramatic peace deal with the Palestinians seven years ago, when he served as prime minister.
Barak's office would not comment on the Yediot report.
Israelis have healthy intuition. They can't be fed more fantasies about an upcoming agreement with the Palestinians, Barak is quoted as saying. Israel won't be able to pull out of the West Bank before it develops a technological response to rockets fired by Palestinian militants and more advanced missiles from Iran - a process that will take between three and five years, Barak said, according to the report. Palestinian militants regularly launch rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip. But if fired from the West Bank, the rockets could threaten the country's population centers and paralyze its only airport outside of Tel Aviv. The Israeli army will not leave the West Bank at least in the next five years, Barak is quoted as saying.
Mideast peace moves have been jump-started in the past two months, as Israel and the international community scramble to shore up moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the aftermath of the takeover of Gaza by his rivals from the Islamic group Hamas in mid-June. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been holding regular meetings with Abbas and has ordered the release of Palestinian prisoners and the transfer of frozen Palestinian tax funds in an attempt to bolster him. Barak is dismissive of Olmert's recent efforts, according to the Yediot report, referring to them as packaging, and asserting that Abbas is incapable of taking control of the West Bank and providing security there. As a result, according to Yediot, Barak does not intend to comply with Palestinian requests to remove checkpoints in the West Bank, saying this would endanger Israeli civilians. (END) Dow Jones Newswires
ISRAELIS FROM AROUND THE WORLD BUT ESPECIALLY IN NEW YORK,ITS TIME TO GO HOME BEFORE THE MARKET COLLAPSES AND USE LOOSE ALL YOUR MONEY. WITH ALL THE UNCERTAINTY AROUND THE WORLD GO TO YOUR GOD GIVEN LAND AND REBUILD THE 3RD TEMPLE SO GOD WILL BE IN YOUR PRESENCE AND PROTECT USE FROM ALL USE WILL BE GOING THROUGH.
1 Come now ye rich, lament, howling for your wretchedness which is coming on you!
2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become food for moths.
3 Your gold and silver corrode and their venom will be for a testamony against you, and the venom will be eating your flesh as fire. You horde in the last days.
DR DOCTORIAN IN HIS REVELATION FROM ANGELS REVEALED THE COLLAPSE IN THE WORLD ECONOMY WILL BE FROM ASIA, LOOKOUT THIS THREAT COULD COME TO PASS.
China threatens nuclear option of dollar sales
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Last Updated: 8:39pm BST 10/08/2007
The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.
Blog - Dollar to collapse?
Fistful of dollars - China's trade surplus reached $26.9bn in June
Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.
Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies.
Described as China's nuclear option in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.It would also cause a spike in US bond yields, hammering the US housing market and perhaps tipping the economy into recession. It is estimated that China holds over $900bn in a mix of US bonds.
Xia Bin, finance chief at the Development Research Centre (which has cabinet rank), kicked off what now appears to be government policy with a comment last week that Beijing's foreign reserves should be used as a bargaining chip in talks with the US.
Of course, China doesn't want any undesirable phenomenon in the global financial order, he added.He Fan, an official at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, went even further today, letting it be known that Beijing had the power to set off a dollar collapse if it choose to do so.China has accumulated a large sum of US dollars. Such a big sum, of which a considerable portion is in US treasury bonds, contributes a great deal to maintaining the position of the dollar as a reserve currency. Russia, Switzerland, and several other countries have reduced the their dollar holdings.
China is unlikely to follow suit as long as the yuan's exchange rate is stable against the dollar. The Chinese central bank will be forced to sell dollars once the yuan appreciated dramatically, which might lead to a mass depreciation of the dollar, he told China Daily.The threats play into the presidential electoral campaign of Hillary Clinton, who has called for restrictive legislation to prevent America being held hostage to economic decicions being made in Beijing, Shanghai, or Tokyo.She said foreign control over 44pc of the US national debt had left America acutely vulnerable.Simon Derrick, a currency strategist at the Bank of New York Mellon, said the comments were a message to the US Senate as Capitol Hill prepares legislation for the Autumn session.The words are alarming and unambiguous. This carries a clear political threat and could have very serious consequences at a time when the credit markets are already afraid of contagion from the subprime troubles, he said.
A bill drafted by a group of US senators, and backed by the Senate Finance Committee, calls for trade tariffs against Chinese goods as retaliation for alleged currency manipulation.The yuan has appreciated 9pc against the dollar over the last two years under a crawling peg but it has failed to halt the rise of China's trade surplus, which reached $26.9bn in June.Henry Paulson, the US Tresury Secretary, said any such sanctions would undermine American authority and could trigger a global cycle of protectionist legislation.Mr Paulson is a China expert from his days as head of Goldman Sachs. He has opted for a softer form of diplomacy, but appeared to win few concession from Beijing on a unscheduled trip to China last week aimed at calming the waters.
Brussels frees Italy from gold fever By Paul Bompard in Rome
Thu Aug 9, 2:00 PM ET
The European Commission on Thursday cut short a furious debate in Italy on the use of the Bank of Italy's gold reserves to lower the country's debt, saying it was up to the European Central Bank to decide independently on the foreign reserves of eurozone member states. A suggestion by Romano Prodi, the prime minister, that the government might use the reserves sparked a political row on Wednesday with Paolo Bonaiuti, a spokesman for Silvio Berlusconi, the opposition leader.Mr Bonaiuti declared that Mr Prodi was eager to divest Italy of its wealth to try to balance his budget. Maurizio Gasparri, a leader of the opposition National Alliance party, was critical.Yesterday, the spokesperson for Joaquín Almunia, the European monetary affairs commissioner, said: It is . . . up to the ECB to decide about the foreign reserves [including gold reserves] of the euro area member states, in full independence.
In the Tuscan seaside resort where he is on holiday, Mr Prodi said: It is positive that a debate exists over using the Bank of Italy's gold reserves. Some countries have done so, others have not. On July 30 Italy's parliament passed a resolution that suggested the government explore, at international level, the possibility of selling gold reserves to cut the national debt. The resolution was not proposed by the government, but Mr Prodi's words were seized upon by the opposition as a declaration of intent.Silvio Sircana, Mr Prodi's spokesman, said: I don't understand all the excitement. All he said was that discussion was positive. This in no way expresses the prime minister's position or that of the government.Early this month Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, the economics minister, said there should be no taboo regarding the central bank's gold. But this does not mean he wants to sell it, and, in any case, it represents a tiny value compared to the national debt, hardly enough to make any difference, said an economics ministry spokesman.
Italy's accumulated national debt is about EU1,609bn ($2,223bn, £1,090bn), or 107 per cent of GNP.Even if the Bank of Italy were to sell all its 2,500 tonnes of gold, which it cannot do under existing European Union regulations, it would collect about EU36bn, only 2.2 per cent of the national debt. If it sold all of the 500 tonnes per year - the amount permitted by the 15 EU signatories of the 2004 Agreement of Gold - it would cover 0.44 per cent of the debt. But this year only 206 tonnes are so far unreserved, less than 0.2 per cent of the debt.The Bank of Italy has kept silent. Unofficial comments from within indicate it is aware of parliament's sovereignty but also feels secure behind barriers of independence and autonomy.
ECB releases €95 billion to fend off credit crunch
10.08.2007 - 09:22 CET | By Honor Mahony
The European Central Bank (ECB) has poured around €95 billion into the eurozone banking system to calm market jitters following a credit crunch in the US market over high-risk mortgages.For Thursday only, the the ECB opened its funds to banks in the 13-nation eurozone at a rate of 4 percent.According to a report in Forbes news agency, some 49 banks took up the offer to various amounts, running in total to €94.8 billion - it is the biggest loan in the bank's history.The ECB notes that there are tensions in the euro money market notwithstanding the normal supply of aggregate euro liquidity, it said in a statement.This is the first time the ECB has felt compelled to intervene in the markets since the days following the terrorist attacks in the US in September 2001.
The move was prompted after investors panicked about the potential losses from the US subprime sector after BNP Paribas, a major French bank, froze payments on three funds invested in the sector.Ian Richards, European equity strategist at ABN Amro, told UK daily the Independent that the ECB's payout was a reflection of the fact that the sub-prime issues will not be constrained to the US financial sector. As the financial sector across Europe shows its hand over the next weeks and months we will see where the exposure exists.The ECB is acting as the lender of last resort. The scale of intervention we have seen today is quite large, he continued.There has been speculation that the ECB may have acted because it has knowledge of problems that have still to come to light.
Earlier this month, the Financial Times reported Jochen Sanio, head of Germany's financial regulator, as having warned about the worst banking crisis facing Germany since 1931 - this followed a German government rescue of domestic lender IKB, involved in subprime investments.Sub-prime mortgages are those loans made to borrowers who would not usually qualify for the normal market interest rates, often due to a poor credit history. They are riskier both for the borrower and lender because of this combination of higher interest rates and weak credit history. The US Federal Reserve also stepped in with emergency funds on Thursday. The crisis in the US started to escalate recently because of the collapse of many mortgage lenders in the subprime sector.The moves on both sides of the Atlantic are a bid to try and stop a cash flow crunch in the sector from spreading to other parts of the economy.
Banks Add More Funds To Stabilize Markets
Wall Street Steadies After 3 Fed Infusions
By Tomoeh Murakami Tse and Nancy Trejos
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 11, 2007; Page A01
NEW YORK, Aug. 10 -- Central banks around the world pumped money into the financial system Friday, helping to settle a jittery stock market on Wall Street that at least for one day held steady despite intensifying concerns over tighter credit and its potential impact on the U.S. economy. In a sign that the turmoil in the credit market was far from over, shares of major lenders and companies that are targets of buyout deals suffered.Stocks tumbled around the world, with major indexes in Europe and Asia falling more than 2 percent after major declines in the United States on Thursday. The European Central Bank lent $84 billion Friday to financial institutions, a day after providing $130 billion. Japan's central bank added $8.5 billion, and the Reserve Bank of Australia provided $4.2 billion.A trader at the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks finished mixed after the Fed provided $38 billion, its biggest one-day infusion since September 2001. (By Ario Tama -- Getty Images)
How and Why the Fed Pumps Money Into the Financial System
Banks are required to maintain certain cash reserve levels overnight, and frequently have to borrow from other banks to keep their reserves. The Federal Reserve's federal funds rate is the interest rate charged on overnight loans between banks. The current rate is 5.25%.The Federal Reserve injected $38 billion into the system in three increments Friday, its biggest one-day infusion since September 2001. The Fed sought to reassure investors by releasing a statement before financial markets opened, saying it would provide as much extra money as needed to hold its benchmark overnight interest rate at about 5.25 percent.The demand for money overnight had pushed the rate up to more than 6 percent. The central bank is providing liquidity to facilitate the orderly functioning of financial markets, said a statement released by the Fed Board in Washington.
A sell-off occurred early in the trading session, with the Dow Jones industrial average down by 200 points. By the closing bell, with selling reined in by the Fed, stocks ended the session mostly unchanged.The Dow Jones industrial average of 30 blue-chip stocks finished the day down 31.14, or 0.2 percent, at 13,239.54. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 11.60, or 0.5 percent, to 2544.89. Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, a broad market measure, rose 0.55, or 0.04 percent, to 1453.64.The central banks around the world have stepped up to the plate, said Stanley A. Nabi, vice chairman of Silvercrest Asset Management. They're sending a signal: Hey, we're not going to let you get into trouble.Many stocks finished the day down, although energy and some consumer companies fared better. Shares in financial companies, which were pummeled Thursday, were mostly unchanged. Shares of small companies, which generally take a hit as credit is tightened and the economy slows, were higher. Some investment strategists took these as signs that the next week might be better.
We kind of started the day with the idea that, Gosh, the first of the [European Central Bank] injections didn't work, said James W. Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management. The fact that the Fed came in might have been looked at as a positive by some . . . because they were criticized somewhat as being stuck in the mud, dogmatic, and not open to the idea of being responsive. And certainly, they showed that they would be [responsive] today.Nonetheless, fear and uncertainty dominated, as speculation of massive liquidations by hedge funds continued to spread across trading desks and as investment firms that had little to do with the home-mortgage market reported record withdrawals by investors.The speculation was adding to the wild swings in trading more so than in the past because of the proliferation of hedge funds, whose holdings are typically not public and whose strategy often involves the hefty use of leverage, or borrowed money. That amplifies returns, but also losses.Wall Street is paying attention to news from quant funds, the trading of which is based on computer-based models with limited human intervention. The fear is that such strategies can break down in a volatile market, leading to massive losses that could send ripples through the entire financial system.
Banks Add More Funds To Stabilize Markets
We're just having some incredibly strong volatility both ways, as much as I've ever seen, said Bart Barnett, head of equity trading at Morgan Keegan & Co. Every time I see a market spike like we're seeing right now, I just start looking for headlines. People are watching the news wires like hawks.On Friday, Deutsche Bank said the value of one of its investment funds had fallen by 30 percent since the end of July. The German bank said assets of its DWS ABS Fund fell even though it had no exposure to the risky American subprime mortgage market, the epicenter of the credit problems.
The uncertainties surrounding the U.S. mortgage crisis has constricted liquidity in this market, the company said in a statement. Deutsche Bank said it was leaving the fund open at the request of investors who might want to sell, even at a discount.
Shares of Countrywide Financial and Washington Mutual fell Friday after the release of regulatory filings late Thursday in which the mortgage lenders declared that it had become more difficult to find new money for home loans. Washington Mutual, of Seattle, said that since late July, liquidity for non-conforming loans -- those not backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, or made to borrowers with spotty credit -- diminished significantly.Many big lenders package home loans into bonds and sell them to investors in what is known as the secondary market. The rising rate of foreclosures and delinquencies among subprime borrowers, who generally have blemished credit histories, coupled with a drop in home prices, has made investors leery of buying those bonds.As the market for such bonds -- which are divided and packaged with other types of debt -- screeched to a halt, the pricing on the hard-to-value securities has become even more opaque.
Countrywide, of Calabasas, Calif., the country's biggest mortgage lender, said it had adequate cash to cope with the credit crunch -- about $190.3 billion in short-term liquidity -- but warned that the secondary market and funding liquidity situation is rapidly evolving and the potential impact on the company is unknown. Liquidity is essential to the company's business, Washington Mutual said in a statement. The Company's liquidity may be affected by an inability to access the capital markets or by unforeseen demands on cash.Also hurt Friday were companies that are buyout targets, the viability of which is increasingly being questioned as the cost of borrowing used in such takeovers rises. Among those companies is TXU, which is being sought in a $45 billion deal by the buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and TPG.Shares of TXU, which agreed to sell itself for $69.25 a share, fell to $63.65 in heavy trading Friday. SLM Corp, better known as Sallie Mae, fell 95 cents, to $48.20 a share, significantly less than $60 a share price being paid by private-equity firm J.C. Flowers. And First Data closed at $31.05, down 4 cents, still below the $34 a share offered by KKR. The decline in these stocks show that the markets do not believe the buyouts will go through as advertised, analysts said. The trouble in the credit markets is raising the cost of financing these deals, and some of the deals may be renegotiated.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has sent inspectors in recent weeks to look inside some of the nation's largest broker-dealers to make sure they are properly valuing subprime mortgage assets for risk purposes.Most of these brokers engage in daily mark-to-market valuations of these instruments to ensure they have enough capital on hand. The valuations are supposed to correspond to what the assets would fetch in the open market, but some of the securities trade so rarely that it can be difficult to put a price tag on them.In the days ahead, the challenge for regulators and central bankers will be balancing the need to keep markets running smoothly and letting them self-correct. Fed officials gave no sign they were moving toward lowering interest rates, having worried for several years that investors were underestimating the risk of certain assets. They now welcome investors' willingness to reprice assets to better reflect their risk.Hugh Moore, partner at Guerite Advisors and former chief financial officer of a subprime mortgage company, said: There's relatively little they can do because they don't really control the securitization market, which packages mortgages into securities that are then sold off in pieces to investors around the world, including large hedge funds, pension funds and insurance funds. It's not like the savings and loans crisis.Trejos reported from Washington. Staff writers Nell Henderson, Carrie Johnson and David Cho in Washington contributed to this report.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Tornado strikes New York borough of Brooklyn
By Andy Newman Published: August 9, 2007
NEW YORK: It took experts a while to confirm what many in southwestern Brooklyn knew had descended on their neighborhoods as a new workday dawned. It was a tornado - the first to hit the New York borough since modern record-keeping began - and it turned whole sections of Brooklyn upside down.Roofs were torn off houses. More than 30 families were forced from their homes. Tall trees as thick as men were yanked out by the roots.
No one was seriously injured, but cars were turned sideways, awnings and aluminum siding shredded, and countless windows and windshields shattered, in a destructive rain of bricks and branches and water Wednesday.Lanie Mastellone was drinking her coffee about 7 a.m. in her apartment on the top floor of her two-story house when she sensed that her windows were going to blow in. She went toward the front of the house, and as she passed from one room to another the ceilings collapsed.
I passed my living room, I passed my dining room, I go to the bedroom, Mastellone said. They were going one at a time. It was coming from the back forward.Mastellone, a widow who lives alone, was more puzzled than terrified. It was almostunemotional, she said. I was still thinking, Maybe my roof is leaking? I think denial is a wonderful thing sometimes.Still, she knew she had to get out. I grabbed my wedding ring and my cellphone, she said. She opened her apartment door, stepped out into the hallway and looked up. That's when I realized I had no roof, she said.She was not the only one. Two houses away, the roof looked as if it had exploded. Most of it was lying in the street.
[Meanwhile, three inches, or 7.5 centimeters, of rain in three hours brought the New York transit system to its knees, The Associated Press reported. Subway tracks were swamped, buses jammed and commuter trains held up for hours because of flooding Wednesday. Much of the mess had been mopped up by early Thursday, but the region faced the possibility of more storms within a day.]The U.S. National Weather Service declared the storm in Brooklyn a Category 2 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with winds up to 135 miles per hour, or 215 kilometers per hour. It was the first tornado recorded in Brooklyn since record-keeping began in 1950, said Jeffrey Warner, a meteorologist at Pennsylvania State University.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
TROUBLE ISRAELS THROWN OFF LAND
07.08.2007 - 09:13 CET | By Renata Goldirova
France, Germany and the UK have joined forces to fight against plans to reform the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which would give a bigger say to emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil at the expense of European states.Proposed reforms of the fund an organization of 185 countries created after the second world war to foster global monetary cooperation are due to be agreed next month, before the current managing director Rodrigo Rato steps down in October. But senior IMF officials told the Financial Times that countries are locked in a dispute which pits Europe against the US and fast-growing economies.
What we hear from European colleagues [is] that they have the right of birth to run this institution indefinitely. This is very disappointing, an executive director said. The EU trio have rejected formulas which would award a country with votes based on the size of their economy – an equation that would strongly boost to the powers of Beijing for example. EU economies are seeking reforms that would not reduce their leading position on the board. The UK, France and, to a lesser extent, Germany, have dug in their heels, a senior IMF official is cited as saying by the FT, adding that Japan also fears being eclipsed by its Asian rivals.On the other hand, the US – reportedly annoyed with the Europeans' intransigence has pushed for more votes to the four most under-represented IMF members – Mexico, Turkey, South Korea and China. Washington is seen as a staunch ally of the first three, and wants to see Beijing change its currency policy. A voting reform needs 85 percent of support in order to fly, but some point out that [Mr] Rato doesn't have the votes to push the policy through before he steps down.
Appointing a successor
All eyes are now focused on whether France succeeds in appointing its former socialist finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn for the top IMF job. He has already received Germany's approval but could meet resistance from Italy, which had hoped to see an Italian in the post for the first time, according to some media reports. An unwritten rule says that the IMF's managing director must be European while the president of its sister organisation – the World Bank – must be from the US.Developing countries have also for years protested in vain against this practice as they would like to see a more open competition in the organisation.
Published: 06 August 2007
It used to be said that the Labour Party was shaped less by Karl Marx than Methodism. No longer, if the annual survey of MPs' summer reading is a bellwether. This guide into the beliefs of our senators shows they don't have many - beliefs in God, that is. How else to explain the top position among Labour MPs of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion? Of course, the choice of this volume may simply reflect a kind of subliminal revolt against the ghost of Tony Blair who - even if he did not pray with George Bush - certainly advertised his godliness. It might therefore be seen, paradoxically, almost as a form of exorcism, a way of saying Blair begone!
No doubt our former leader, bridging chasms in the Middle East, couldn't care less. But should it not make the Archbishop of Canterbury tremble a little for the future of a church that was established by act of parliament? Some might find it rather exciting if disestablishmentarianism - one of the longest-sounding political causes in history - was to make a comeback. But it may not come to that, depending on the next election. Godly thoughts, after all, are far from dead on the other side of the benches.If the Tories' favourite book was also Dawkins, the game would surely be up for the Church of England as far as established status was concerned. But while Labour MPs are imbibing atheism in their summer hideouts, their opposite numbers will be doing the opposite; their favourite summer reading - apparently - is William Hague's biography of William Wilberforce. Is either side telling the truth about what they intend to read this summer? God knows.
Swine fever outbreak hits Romania AUG 6,07
The latest swine fever outbreak will not help Romanian meat exports
The Romanian authorities have ordered the slaughter of 20,000 pigs after an outbreak of swine fever at a farm in the west of the country. All farms in Timis county belonging to Smithfield Foods one the largest US meat processors will be inspected for signs of infection, officials say. Road checks have been set up in the area to prevent the movement of meat. Swine fever is a recurrent problem in Romania, which has been banned from exporting pork to other EU countries. Timis official Ovidiu Draganescu said that all 25 farms belonging to Smithfield Foods will be tested for swine fever.
The virus has already been found in the Cenei farm, where the slaughter of pigs has already been ordered. Swine fever is a highly infectious disease. Infected pigs must be slaughtered and the carcases buried or incinerated Smithfield - which claims to be the biggest pork producer in the world - bought the Timis farms in 2004. Animal health and food safety standards have been main concerns as Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union on 1 January 2007. The EU told both countries they would have to eradicate swine fever before they could sell pork in the rest of the EU without restrictions.
Brussels praises prompt response
By Tobias Buck in Brussels August 5 2007 18:14
The British government’s quick response to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at a farm in Surrey drew praise on Sunday from the European Commission, which is poised to adopt its own emergency measures to stop the highly contagious virus from spreading to other EU countries.We are certainly very satisfied with the prompt action taken by the British government and with the steps they are taking, a Commission spokesman said. The Commission said it would adopt its own measures today, including a ban on the movement of animals in the UK, and on all shipments of animals, meat and dairy products from the high-risk areas. The precise region hit by the export ban has yet to be determined, but it is expected to centre on the 10km exclusion zone around the affected farm south-west of London.
The EU measures will largely confirm the actions already announced by the British government. These were based on a 2003 European law inspired by the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak that devastated much of Britain’s rural economy and spread to France, Ireland and the Netherlands.EU officials hope the measures taken by the government over the past three days will avoid a replay of the 2001 outbreak. The biggest question for UK farmers now is how long it will take the Commission to lift the current restrictions. According to the 2003 legislation, the emergency measures in the 3km protection zone must be kept in place for at least 15 days after the last infected animals are killed and the farms disinfected. The 10km surveillance zone must be retained for at least 30 days.The Financial Times Limited 2007
Palestinians struggle with Gaza's three-state solution
By Harvey Morris in Gaza City August 6 2007 03:00
A gaggle of officious but otherwise friendly Hamas militiamen in smart camouflage-blue fatigues has replaced the solitary Fatah recruit who used to snooze at the first Palestinian checkpoint inside the Gaza Strip.With them and thousands of their fellow Executive Force personnel deployed throughout the Strip, a measure of calm has returned after the violence that marked the Islamists' power struggle with the secular Fatah party.But Gaza's 1.4m people have little else to celebrate from the first 50 days of Hamas rule in a territory that is more isolated than ever, both politically and economically.Some can still raise a smile, however, when they note that the Palestinians have leapfrogged the two-state solution to their conflict by securing a three-state solution - Israel, Hamastan in Gaza and Fatahstan in the West Bank.
With unemployment at 40 per cent and rising, the biggest question facing most people is where the next meal will come from. The answer is increasingly that it will come in the form of a foreign food handout.Hamas has said it will pay the salaries of 10,000 people in the largely unproductive public sector who were dropped from the payroll by the Fatah-supported government in the West Bank. But that scarcely compensates for the loss of three times as many wage packets in the dwindling private sector.The paramount concern among what remains of the secular middle class is how far Hamas will go towards instituting Islamic rule. They swap alarmist tales of male sea-bathers threatened with arrest unless they don long shorts and T-shirts, although a glance at the heat-hazed Mediterranean shore indicates beachwear is no more conservative than in Fatah's day. .
Hamas, victorious in battle but stumped for an answer as to what to do with its new power, has so far opted for a soft approach to further Islamisation in an already conservative society.As for the economic decline, Hamas officials blame Gaza's plight on the trinity of Israel, the US and Europe, to which they have now added their new enemy, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president in the West Bank.
We are not responsible for the embargo or the siege, says Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman. Israel and the US and Europe are responsible. What surprises us is that Abu Mazen [Abbas] is now involved in that.Mr Barhoum, a neatly bearded medical graduate in white shirt and black tie, is one of the respectable faces of Hamas, a movement branded terrorists by much of the international community and latterly murderers by Mr Abbas.We are a Palestinian movement, not al-Qaeda. We don't want to be isolated from the US and Europe. Moderate Islam in Turkey gives a good picture of the Islamic model, says Mr Barhoum, referring to Turkey's ruling AKP.
Gazans with little affection for Hamas are not persuaded by such blandishments. The people of Gaza are effectively hostages, says Imad Abu Dayya, head of a local training institute, and are threatened with a loss of their human rights.Hamas are grassroots people. They can survivefor a long time on cucumbers and tomatoes. But they have to decide whether they're moderates or revolutionaries and they need to state their vision clearly to the public.Mr Abu Dayya and others are even more scathing about Mr Abbas and his refusal to negotiate with the Islamist regime that now dominates their lives. Abbas should sit down with Hamas rather than buy a US agenda that's been around for 50 years, says Mr Abu Dayya of US efforts to restart a peace process that would exclude Hamas. President Bush needs to dismantle terror, not fight it, and that involves not attacking the dignity of the poor.Mahmoud al-Jarami, a secularist and former member of the Marxist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who is co-operating with the Hamas regime as a senior foreign ministry official, believes the rival Gaza and West Bank governments have their strengths and weaknesses but that ultimately the government appointed by Mr Abbas in Ramallah is illegitimate. Abu Mazen is not an emperor who can decide for himself.
Like Mr Abu Dayya, he fears the Palestinian president is being dragged into an imposed deal with Israel that will be rejected by the Palestinian people. We were promised a state by 1999, then by 2005. Now Mr Bush is trying to sell us a new illusion.The Financial Times Limited 2007
August 6, 2007
Essential Errors BY ARLENE KUSHNER
This morning here in Israel YNet ran a piece on the upcoming meeting between Olmert and Abbas. It provided almost a template of errors in thinking with regard to what's going on. (Not YNet errors, but errors of those involved.) Primary is this: Israel and the US have both been working to strengthen Abbas so he can realize his authority over the Palestinian territories and combat terror. The objective is to prompt Abbas to reach a settlement with Israel.Prompt Abbas to reach a settlement? That is a mistake of major proportions. Whenever I read something like this I am reminded of the exceedingly pertinent advice of Prof. Moshe Sharon, who says negotiations with the Arabs should be conceived of as a bazaar -- a marketplace. If Israel and the US want Abbas to do certain things more than Abbas wants to, then the cost of getting him to do these things is high. Too high. This is the point everyone seems to miss.
Abbas and his government and those he governs (and I use that term loosely) have to really want a peaceful state with a civic society established next to Israel. They have to want it enough to be willing to make sacrifices to get it. This is simply and incontrovertibly not the case.
An Israeli official was quoted thus, we've...just handed over a vast sum of money, released prisoners, provided military aid and authorized outside military aid. We conceived a very handsome package and it bore results, stabilizing Abbas.Huh? Abbas is stable? The explanation is that in spite of pressure on him to do so, Abbas has not fallen in again with Hamas. He understands that going back to Hamas' embrace is a death-blow to the political process.I would not be so certain of any of this. What matters to Abbas more? Having a state in Judea and Samaria, or having interaction with fellow Arabs in Gaza? Yes, Abbas is making all of the right noises regarding his absolute refusal to talk to Hamas, but this is for Western ears. And the West -- eager to hear this and refusing to remain mindful of the Palestinian propensity for a forked tongue -- buys it.
Just days ago I discovered on an Arab website a report that says Fatah and Hamas have already met secretly and forged certain agreements. I have not been able to confirm this -- at least not yet, but it would not surprise me if this turned out to be so. And even if it turns out to be true that there's been no contact in recent weeks between Fatah and Hamas, I remind you of the report yesterday from Israel military intelligence that says there will be fighting between Fatah and Hamas in Judea and Samaria soon. Prime Minister Fayyad has told Israeli officials that the PA is not ready to assume control of Palestinian cities. The security services in the PA have not gotten their act together.No matter how you look at it, Abbas is not stable.
And so what was the result of the meeting today between Olmert and Abbas in Jericho? Olmert began with a statement about the goal of the meeting being to create two states for two people as soon as possible. One has to wonder what Olmert's intent was here. Possible is not going to be any time soon. Abbas made his anticipated requests regarding removal of checkpoints, more humanitarian aid, and amnesty for additional terrorists, and Olmert agreed to consider them. Questions regarding Palestinian institutions and issues of Israeli security were apparently discussed as well. What was not discussed were the core issues of borders, Jerusalem, settlements and refugees, as much as Abbas was eager to put these on the table.There were great photo ops. And the two agreed to talk again, to work towards normalizing ties, and to ultimately discuss fundamental issues.Over in Gaza, former PA prime minister Haniyeh said that the meeting in Jericho was a public relations gimmick that would yield nothing. It looks a bit like that from where I sit, as well.
A large army and police contingent is preparing today to evict two Jewish families from a marketplace in Hevron, where they took up residence recently. The likelihood of violence is great.It is important to set the record straight with regard to this painful -- and shameful -- situation, as so much disinformation is being circulated:
This market stands on Jewish land. It was purchased, in front of Arab witnesses, in 1807 by Rabbi Haim Bajaoi, at a time when there was a thriving Jewish Quarter in the ancient city; the five dunams he purchased were adjacent to the Quarter and dedicated to the use of the Jewish community. Jews disappeared from Hevron in 1929, after a horrendous Arab massacre (instigated, it should be noted by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Muhammad al-Husseini, who was Arafat's mentor). Those Jews who survived were moved out by the British, who then controlled the area under the Mandate for Palestine: It was easier to remove them than protect them.
In 1948, the Jordanians occupied this area; an Arab market was established on the land that Bajaoi had purchased. When Israel secured control of Hevron in 1967, the Arabs were permitted to continue to operate the market -- even though they were on privately owned Jewish land. This was so even after Jews moved back into the city, into the old Jewish area, known as the Avraham Aveinu neighborhood. Twelve years ago, for security reasons, the IDF evicted the Arabs who maintained the stalls in the market. The market stood empty.By 1998, as part of the Oslo Accords, Israel had pulled out of 80% of Hevron, but the 20% that remained in Israeli hands included the Avraham Aveinu neighborhood and the adjacent market place.The Hevron Jewish community petitioned the Israeli government several times to be permitted to rent the remaining structures left in the market place but their request was consistently denied.
In March of 2001, a one-year old child, Shalhevet Pass, was shot point-blank in the head by an Arab sniper who had positioned himself in the area of the empty market. The Hevron Jewish community then decided that a Jewish presence there was necessary. They invested many thousands of dollars in converting the old market stalls into small apartments. Nine Hevron families moved in, and a religious study hall was established. This area was named Mitzpe (outlook) Shalhevet, in memory of the child.Once the Jewish residents moved in, Arabs went to court claiming the buildings. The attorney general responded that the Arabs had no further claim, but that the Jewish trespassers would be evicted; the court accepted this and made no additional ruling. Eviction orders were issued by the attorney general's office.
Before eviction could take place, the Jewish community appealed. Then the court ruled that the land was privately owned by Jews (the family of Rabbi Bajaoi had produced papers and indicated their desire that the Hevron Jewish community use the land). However, they also ruled that the market stalls, which had been put up by Jordan, were captured property that legally fell under the jurisdiction of the Israeli government. The court recommended that the structures be leased by the government to the residents of Mitzpe Shalhevet. Attorney General Mazuz refused, determined to punish those who had used this property without permission. He pushed for eviction.Eighteen months ago, when that eviction was about to take place, there was a gathering of protestors and violence seemed imminent. Crisis was averted when IDF officials on the scene -- headed by General Yair Golan -- negotiated a compromise with the residents, saying that if they moved out peacefully, legal Jewish occupancy of the market would be expedited and Jews from Hevron would soon be permitted to move in. Based on this agreement, the residents moved out voluntarily. Subsequently, Attorney General Mazuz voided the agreement, saying that the IDF had no right to negotiate it. Mitzpe Shalhevet stood empty.
This brings us to the current crisis. Recently two families grew tired of the waiting, and the failed promises, and moved back into Mitzpe Shalhevet. And once more the government is out to remove them. We've been fooled too many times, the families are saying, This time we're not going peacefully. The community is mindful of the fact that the court had provided a way out with its recommendation, and the government refused to take it, preferring confrontation.Defense Minister Barak is making the decision in this regard now. Responding to pressure from the left (and mindful, undoubtedly, of elections coming up before too very long) he has decided to take action against these two families. What makes this even more shameful is that the representatives of seven factions within the Knesset had appealed to Barak to not go this route. Last month they wrote a letter to him:
We are marking 78 years since the 1929 riots, you are faced with a fateful decision concerning one of the sites which represents, more than anything else, the murder and the thievery [committed upon] the Hebron Jewish community of those days: the site of the 'shuk' [market place] in Hebron, where presently several families are living…We are dealing with Jewish-owned land, which was stolen as a result of the terrible slaughter. It is incumbent on the government to act to return the stolen property as would be expected in relationship to stolen Jewish property anywhere in the world. We the undersigned, chairmen of various parties in the Knesset, turn to you with this request to refrain from expelling these Jewish families living in the shuk'and to study alternative ways to resolve Jewish quarters at this site, legally…
The residents of Hebron prevented violence and conflict...when they voluntarily moved out of these homes, based upon promises that they would be allowed to return, honoring and respecting promises of representatives of the state, IDF officers. This type of approach is to be encouraged and rewarded, not discouraged…
For all the above reasons, we request, that you order that the issue of Jewish residency in the shuk be studied seriously, and that in any case, you prevent, for the time being, any eviction of Jewish residents from the site.Barak's decision, then, is shameful. I titled this posting Essential Errors, and without a shadow of a doubt, what Barak is doing qualifies in this respect.see my website www.ArlenefromIsrael.info
The European Ideal
From war's s wreckage came the visions of a unified Europe
By Jay Tolson 8/5/07
Today, 50 years after its birth, the European Union is a 27-member association of nations that functions as something more than a single market and something less than a full-blown political confederation. Defying the predictions of naysaying Euro-skeptics, it boasts a combined $15.7 trillion gross domestic product and is governed by an array of institutions—executive, legislative, judicial, and monetary—to which member nations surrender at least part of their sovereignty. Given its hybrid and evolving character, it is perhaps fitting that the EU originated in a document that was little more than a sheaf of blank pages when it was signed on March 25, 1957.
VISIONARY. Jean Monnet, the architect of the European Union(Corbis Bettmann) Yet the Treaty of Rome was no stab in the dark. Representatives of the six signatory nations—France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg—had painstakingly crafted the foundations of what was initially called the European Economic Community. But according to a recent BBC documentary, the signers were so anxious to get the treaty signed that they couldn't wait for Italian printers to produce it.
Obstacle. The cause of that anxiety was a single person: Gen. Charles de Gaulle. Backers of the proposed community feared that the imperious wartime leader of Free France would soon be returned to the French presidency. And once back in power, they knew, de Gaulle would almost certainly quash the project that he believed jeopardized France's leading role in post-World War II Europe.
Urgent and somewhat improvised, the conditions of the treaty's signing would almost perfectly epitomize the precarious nature of the union's subsequent development. A concatenation of political accidents leading to a convergence of interests, as University of Virginia historian Stephen Schuker described it, the treaty allowed the vision of a relatively unknown Frenchman, Jean Monnet, to prevail over that of his more illustrious fellow countryman.
Born in Cognac, the heir of a modest-size brandy firm, Monnet never attended university but quickly demonstrated a genius for making deals and cultivating international networks both in business and in various appointive offices. Serving as an official representative to England during World War I and later as deputy secretary-general of the short-lived League of Nations, Monnet arrived at a fervent belief in international cooperation and institutions.
During the Second World War, while orchestrating U.S. aid to Free France, Monnet had his first discussion with de Gaulle about the future shape of Europe. The latter, dreading American influence almost as much as Soviet aggression, favored a federation of nations with France at the helm. Monnet, once a believer in such a federation himself, proposed a more modest economic collective with nations enjoying equality under an international body controlling basic industries.
As a first step, Monnet settled for an arrangement that gave France limited control over the coal industry in Germany's Saar district. Soon, though, he turned to designing a more substantial plan for French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman. Integrating the French and German coal and steel industries under a common High Authority, the Schuman Plan invited other European countries to join in. In all, six nations emerged as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1952—the very six that would eventually sign the Treaty of Rome. As first president of the High Authority, Monnet could now test his proposition that economic cooperation could drive other forms of association.
Ironically, it was repeated disappointments on those other fronts that spurred movement toward the EEC. Foremost was the failure of the European Defense Community, a proposed supranational force that would absorb small-size German units into its ranks. But France balked, unwilling to go along with any kind of German rearmament. That opened the way to a U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which brought West German forces into a larger alliance resisting the Soviet threat.
Even the ECSC proved disappointing. High Authority technocrats imposed inefficiencies on industries that were being buffeted by international developments, including the Korean War. And the increasing availability of oil made coal a less crucial source of energy.
Single market. But if the disappointments were great, the ECSC was a crucial first step toward bringing part of Germany into a community of democratic European nations. After the failure of the European Defense Community, says Charles Kupchan, a professor of international relations at Georgetown University, European elites felt they should focus on where they could advance—on a single market.
And then, as Schuker points out, there were those happy accidents: a Socialist coalition government briefly in power in Paris and eager for some good news after France's Suez Crisis debacle; a German chancellor yearning for stronger ties with the West; an unusual willingness on the part of the other ECSC nations to grant France its special demands, including extensive subsidies for its agricultural products; an equal willingness on the part of France and Germany to include inducements to the smaller nations.
No wonder, then, that supporters of the treaty felt such urgency to close a deal that could so easily have gone up in smoke. And, indeed, when de Gaulle returned to power in 1958, he initially stood in the way of EEC progress, vetoing England's first bid to join the market. But even de Gaulle would come around and push to dismantle all internal tariffs ahead of the scheduled date.
As it evolved, expanded, and changed names (eventually to European Union), this unique institution showed its power as an economic engine. Trade within the community grew more than sixfold even before Britain entered the club in 1973. While the original institutions underwent transformations, the Commission (established as the executive body in the original 1957 treaty) would consistently be the generator of ideas and efforts to advance integration, most dramatically through the creation of a single currency and a European passport.
But in one important sense, the EU has fallen short. Were they alive today, says Kupchan, the original designers of the EU would probably have been disappointed. They had federalist expectations and would have expected, by 2007, something closer to a United States of Europe.
HERE WE GO TROUBLE TO COME NOW, AMERICA WILL HAVE SOME BIG DISASTER IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE AND WHOEVER ELSE IS INVOLVED IN THESE ISRAELIS BEING DRIVEN OFF THEIR LAND.
Israel Forcibly Removes Hebron Settlers
Jewish Settlers Clash With Israeli Police; Olmert Denies Land Swap Plan
HEBRON, West Bank, Aug. 7, 2007
Israeli police officers carry a Jewish settler as he is forcibly removed from a house in the West Bank town of Hebron, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2007. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Soldiers of the Jewish people are coming to do what the worst enemies used to do to Jewish people, but they are doing it to their own brothers and sisters.Avinoam Horowitz, Evicted Jewish settler
(CBS/AP) Israeli police, using sledge hammers, chain saws and power clippers, stormed a building in the West Bank town of Hebron early Tuesday and dragged out hundreds of settlers who had holed up there illegally, hoping to expand the Jewish presence in the volatile biblical city. Settlers spit and hurled stones, water, oil and concrete powder as police, backed by army troops, broke through fortified doors and carried out the squatters one by one. Three settlers sealed themselves inside a concrete bunker built for the standoff. This is a crime against justice and against Jewish history, said Noam Arnon, a spokesman for the Hebron settlers. I am sure we will return. Hebron has a long history and we will return.
Danny Poleg, a police spokesman, said four soldiers, 14 police officers and 12 settlers were injured during the evacuation. One settler and six police were hospitalized. Eleven settlers were briefly detained and two arrested. Hebron, a frequent flashpoint of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, is home to about 500 Jewish settlers living in heavily guarded enclaves among some 170,000 Palestinians. Clashes are frequent. Israel controls the center of the city, including a hotly disputed holy site holy to both Jews and Muslims — the traditional burial site of the biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and three of their wives. Its large military presence often hinders the movement of Palestinians.
The Palestinians control the rest of Hebron.
Meanwhile, a widely-read Israeli newspaper reported Tuesday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is considering a new peace plan that calls for a land swap with the Palestinians, reports CBS News correspondent Robert Berger. The report comes a day after Olmert met for private talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Jericho, in the West Bank. The visit made Olmert the first Israeli leader to meet officials in a Palestinian town in seven years. According to the report in Haaretz, Israel would offer the Palestinians the equivalent of 100 percent of the territories captured in 1967. Israel would annex 5 percent of the West Bank for major settlement blocs, but equivalent territory elsewhere would be transferred to a Palestinian state. Haaretz said Olmert has not rejected the proposal's main concepts, but the prime minister's office issued a statement expressing amazement at this erroneous article. Such a plan has not been considered, nor is it being raised for discussion in any forum, the statement said.
In other developments:
Twelve Orthodox Jewish soldiers have been court-martialed by the Israeli army after they refused to take part in the evacuation of settlers from Hebron, reports Berger. The soldiers said the Torah forbids evacuating Jews from the biblical Land of Israel. The mutiny underscores a dilemma facing religious Israeli soldiers — whether to take orders from their commanders, or their rabbis. Security officials are warning Israeli citizens traveling in Egypt, Jordan and other Muslim countries to leave immediately due to a concrete and severe threat of terror attacks. Israel's National Security Council says Israelis anywhere in the world should also be alert to the danger of being kidnapped by operatives from Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group. The announcement on the council's Web site is a renewal of a travel advisory issued twice a year.
An Israeli driver was shot and seriously wounded Tuesday in central Israel while traveling on a highway adjacent to the separation barrier with the West Bank, police said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the shots came from the Palestinian territories and struck the Israeli driver in the chest as he was making his way on Route 6, a cross-country toll highway. The man was evacuated to hospital in serious condition. Police set up roadblocks and were searching the area. You're Hamas people, one Israeli settler screamed repeatedly at police while being dragged from her illegal home in Hebron. The reference was to the radical Islamic group that controls the Gaza Strip and is sworn to Israel's destruction. After forcing one of the building's doors, police encountered 30 youths singing songs who cursed the soldiers as they entered. Many sat atop a 4-foot-high concrete bunker in which three settlers had barricaded themselves. It took police three hours to bore through the neighboring wall to remove them.
Avinoam Horowitz, a local resident and high school teacher, called the eviction a tragedy.Soldiers of the Jewish people are coming to do what the worst enemies used to do to Jewish people, but they are doing it to their own brothers and sisters, he said. The two-story building evacuated Tuesday stands in the city center's marketplace, which the army shut down in 1994, after Jewish militant Baruch Goldstein opened fire at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and killed 29 Palestinians. The settlers initially moved into the structure — a vacant store — more than six years ago, variously evacuating and re-entering it as the case made its way through the Israeli court system. Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the settlers' presence there was illegal, but they ignored orders to evacuate. Hundreds of supporters moved into the building in recent days, reinforcing the doors and windows with metal and concrete in preparation for the raid.
Settlers claim the property was owned by Jewish families for decades until Jordanian authorities seized it after the 1948 Israeli war of independence. Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in 1967. Elsewhere in the city, settlers have whipped up tensions by moving into a four-story building that is a gateway to the nearby Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba. The settlers say they want to create a land link between the two communities. The operation Tuesday followed the highly publicized refusal of several Orthodox Israeli infantry soldiers to take part in the evacuation. The army sentenced a dozen soldiers, including two commanders, to brief jail terms for refusing orders. Neither side expected Tuesday's eviction to be the last word. We have lots of patience, said Horowitz, the teacher. We'll do it again until we get back our property.CBS Interactive Inc.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
RUSSIA CLAIMS ARTIC
Millions affected in South Asia by what U.N. calls worst floods in memory
Officials say more than 1,000 killed or injured.India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal all hit by rising waters
NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Monsoon rains in South Asia have driven millions from their homes and caused what the United Nations says is the worst flooding in living memory.A villager transports his mother to safety on a raft through floodwaters on Thursday near the Kaziranga National park in India. More than 1,000 people have been killed or injured by rising waters, but aid agencies say the figure is expected to rise sharply.U.N. children's body UNICEF said it had lost track of how many people had been affected by the floods across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
So far about 20 million people are known to have fled their homes or trapped in villages at risk from landslides, snakebites and disease.Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes, their possessions, livestock and fields and will have to begin their lives from scratch when flood waters recede, UNICEF said.The devastation comes on the heels of severe flooding in southern Pakistan, caused when Cyclone Yemyin struck the country's provinces of Balochistan and Sindh in late June.India appears to have been hardest hit by the latest inundations with floodwaters striking the densely-populated and poor states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
According to government estimates, the cumulative number of human casualties stands at 1,103 in 138 affected districts and more than 112,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed though these figures are set to rise as the situation unfolds, UNICEF said. It was not clear whether the casualty figure includes injured as well as dead.
Authorities in Bihar say at least 30 people have died amid the rains and flooding.
Nearly 180 relief camps have been set up in different parts of the state. Army helicopters will be pressed into service to distribute food packets from Saturday in some parts of the state, says Manoj Srivastava, the state's Disaster Committee chairman.Bihar state governor, R. S. Gavai, has appealed for political parties to work together to aid flood victims.
Up to 500,000 people are believed to have been affected by floods in India's northeastern Assam, the state's Water Resources Minister, Bharat Chandra Narah, told the CNN.Nineteen people have been confirmed dead. Relief materials are being distributed in certain areas in the state. Nearly 500 relief camps have been set up, Narah said.
All but two of the state's 27 districts have been affected and vast areas of land, including many farms, are under water, Narah said. Assam's Brahmaputra river was flowing above the danger mark in some areas.Rains have also affected major cities of Mumbai and the Indian capital of New Delhi.In Nepal, 84 people have been killed by flooding and landslides, and more than 9,700 families have been displaced with 270,000 people in 32 districts affected in the last two weeks, UNICEF said,Dharmaraju Kakani, a senior official for UK charity Oxfam, said at least 28 out of 75 districts in the country have been affected.At least 96 people have died so far in flooding in Nepal and nearly two hundred thousand others have been affected, Kakani told the CNN. Landslides are also affecting relief operations in some areas.
In low-lying Bangladesh, the government says relief efforts are going on to help millions affected by floods.The government along with the NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are undertaking relief operations and trying to help people, a senior Foreign Ministry official, Nazmul Kawnain told the CNN.UNICEF said there are fears that the eastern side of the capital of Dhaka could be inundated in the next few days as waters make their way towards the lowlands.Access for rescuers will be difficult because rising waters continue to inundate flooded terrain, UNICEF said.
Russians plant flag to claim Arctic seabed AUG 3,07
Russian TV shows the mini submarine being lowered into the Arctic Ocean to plant a teflon flag more than three kilometres below the North Pole.August 3, 2007 - 4:03PM
Russian explorers dived deep below the North Pole today and planted their national flag on the seabed to stake a symbolic claim to the energy riches of the Arctic.
A mechanical arm dropped a specially made, rust-proof titanium flag painted with the Russian tricolour on the Arctic seabed at a depth of 4261 metres (13,980 ft).It was so lovely down there, Itar-Tass news agency quoted expedition leader Artur Chilingarov as saying as he emerged from one of two submersibles that made the dive.
If a hundred or a thousand years from now someone goes down to where we were, they will see the Russian flag, said Chilingarov, 67, a top pro-Kremlin member of parliament.
Russia wants to extend right up to the North Pole the territory it controls in the Arctic, believed to hold vast reserves of untapped oil and natural gas, which is expected to become more accessible as climate change melts the ice.President Vladimir Putin congratulated the expedition by telephone on the outstanding scientific project, local agencies reported.Boris Gryzlov, who heads the State Duma lower chamber of parliament and the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, hailed the expedition as a new stage of developing Russia's polar riches.This is fully in line with Russia's strategic interests, local media quoted him as saying. I am proud our country remains the leader in conquering the Arctic.Earlier on Thursday Canada mocked Russia's ambitions and said the expedition was nothing more than a show.
This isn't the 15th century. You can't go around the world and just plant flags and say We're claiming this territory', Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay told CTV television.Under international law, the five states with territory inside the Arctic Circle -- Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States and Denmark via its control of Greenland -- have a 320 km economic zone around the north of their coastline.Russia is claiming a larger slice extending as far as the pole because, Moscow says, the Arctic seabed and Siberia are linked by one continental shelf.Then Russia can give foundation to its claim to more than a million square kilometres of the oceanic shelf, said a newsreader for Russia's state news channel Vesti-24, which made the expedition its top news story.
Could raise tension
Russian media have said the move could raise tension with the United States in a battle for Arctic gas, while Washington made clear it did not consider the flag-planting to be a legitimate claim to territory.I'm not sure of whether they've put a metal flag, a rubber flag or a bed sheet on the ocean floor. Either way, it doesn't have any legal standing or effect on this claim," State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters.A Tass reporter on board the mission support ship said crew members cheered as Chilingarov climbed out of the submersible and was handed a pair of slippers.This may sound grandiloquent but for me this is like placing a flag on the moon, this is really a massive scientific achievement, Sergei Balyasnikov, spokesman for Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Institute, told Reuters.Russia says the mission is intended to show that the Lomonosov ridge, a 1,800 km underwater mountain range that extends under the Arctic to near the pole, is a geological extension of Russian territory. It denied it was a land grab.The aim of this expedition is not to stake Russia's claim but to show that our shelf reaches to the North Pole, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Manila, where he is attending a regional security conference.
The Mir-1 submersible reached the seabed at 1208 Moscow time (0808 GMT) and returned to the surface exactly six hours later.A second Russian submersible, manned by Swedish businessman Frederik Paulsen and Australian adventurer Mike McDowell, reached the seabed 27 minutes later. It reached a depth of 4,302 metres.Soviet and U.S. nuclear submarines have often travelled under the polar icecap, but until Thursday none had reached the seabed under the pole.I'm not sure of whether they've put a metal flag, a rubber flag or a bed sheet on the ocean floor. Either way, it doesn't have any legal standing or effect on this claim," State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters.A Tass reporter on board the mission support ship said crew members cheered as Chilingarov climbed out of the submersible and was handed a pair of slippers.This may sound grandiloquent but for me this is like placing a flag on the moon, this is really a massive scientific achievement, Sergei Balyasnikov, spokesman for Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Institute, told Reuters.
Russia says the mission is intended to show that the Lomonosov ridge, a 1,800 km underwater mountain range that extends under the Arctic to near the pole, is a geological extension of Russian territory. It denied it was a land grab.The aim of this expedition is not to stake Russia's claim but to show that our shelf reaches to the North Pole, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Manila, where he is attending a regional security conference.The Mir-1 submersible reached the seabed at 1208 Moscow time (0808 GMT) and returned to the surface exactly six hours later.
A second Russian submersible, manned by Swedish businessman Frederik Paulsen and Australian adventurer Mike McDowell, reached the seabed 27 minutes later. It reached a depth of 4,302 metres.Soviet and U.S. nuclear submarines have often travelled under the polar icecap, but until Thursday none had reached the seabed under the pole.REUTERS
David's Comment: Is It Time For Israel to Make Another Pre-Emptive Strike?
As I have previously reported, this is the 40th year since the world changing Six Day War. Yes - world changing. In his highly rated book Six Days of War, author Michael Oren stated that although the war lasted on 6 tense days back in 1967, in reality it has been going on ever since, and that the majority of terror events in the Middle East and around the world, are a consequence of the outcome of the Six Day War. This war began with a pre-emptive strike on the Egyptian Air Force by the Israeli Air Force. Catching the Egyptians off guard, the Israeli pilots destroyed most of the Egyptian aircraft, thus inflicting an embarrassing defeat on Egypt and the Arab world. Of course this pre-emptive action by Israel started the war, with Jordan and Syria quickly entering the conflict as they came to the aid of Egypt.
Obviously God was in the Israeli decision and He went on to supernaturally enable the tiny nation of Israel to defeat the 3 large Arab armies and airforces. The primary reason that then Israeli prime minister Levi Eshkol ordered the Israeli Air Force into action, was that Egyptian radio stations had been broadcasting speeches by President Nassar calling for Israel's destruction. Israeli reconnaissance aircraft spotted greatly increased military activity in Egypt, Syria and Jordan, and the defense leadership of those 3 enemy nations were meeting together to discuss the Israel problem.
Forty years on exactly the an almost identical scenario is taking place. Iran's Armadinejhad is calling for Israel's destruction. Hizb'Allah in the north and Hams in the south, are armed to an unprecedented level. Syria is also involved in inceased military activity on the Golan border and the leadership of Hizb'Allah, Syria and Iran are meeting together ( Hamas & Al Qaida are probably also involved ) to strategise and make their plans for a war with Israel. At this time Israel has a peace treaty with Egypt, but history is full of accounts of broken treaties. This Israel / Egypt peace can be at best called a cool peace, and to make it worse the USA has been arming Egypt for years.
Almost daily the news media carries reports of the preparations and incitement by Syria and Iran. As I see from the lessons of history, there is only one option for the Israeli government and defense forces to ensure the well being of the Jewish state - that is to follow the example of Levi Eshkol and Moshe Dayan, and to launch a pre-emptive strike. That may not sound like a very godly statement to make, but it is Biblical. Many times in the Bible, God instructed the armies of Israel to strike the enemy before the enemy struck them.
If Israel's enemies dream of the next war in which they will be victorious, I say let them have it now. Only thing is they will not be victorious, as Israel has an invinceable secret weapon - the God of Israel. The longer Israel waits, the more people will suffer, on both sides. If Iran reaches a nuclear capability and attacks Israel, then Israel will have to retaliate in kind. Multitudes would be killed and injured on both sides. If Syria attacks Israel using their combat ready chemical and biological weapons, then Israel will have to nuke Damascus to put an immediate stop to the war. Again multitudes on both sides would die or suffer terribly.
The only way to stop this future holocaust is too destroy their capability of making war against Israel, NOW ! I may sound like a war-monger, but I am not. I hate the very thought of war, anywhere, but we must be realistic. Israel's enemies mean business - they mean what they say. They always have. Their hatred is fueled by their adherence to Islam, the religion of hate and violence. One of YHVH's spiritual laws of the universe is he who loves by the sword will die by the sword. Israel's neighbors have chosen to live by the sword, so by the sword they will suffer the fate that is set before them.
And its not just Israel that needs to act pre-emptively now. Every western nation is under threat by Islam. Mohammed's instruction to bring the whole world under submission to Allah is still very much alive. Those who refuse are not considered worthy enough to live. Israel and any other country that has the guts to take on the Islamic threat needs to do it NOW.The only other possibility is that we all pray as never before for the lies of Islam to be revealed to the Muslim world, and that millions of Muslims will come to faith in Yeshua the Messiah of the sons of Jacob, Messiah of the the sons of Ishmael and Messiah of the nations.
The Lord bless you as you bless Israel by standing in defense of her right to exist on the land given to the Jewish people by the God of Israel . Lets pray that Israel will turn back to their God. Do not be silent, but share this with your fellow Christians, share it with your pastors, and with anyone you have a chance to speak to. Lets also pray for that breakthrough to the Muslims, and please remember to pray for our son Jordan, and all of his fellow soldiers in the IDF.
Shabbat Shalom .. . David & Josie
This Week with Rabbi Eckstein
August 2, 2007
Dear Friend of The Fellowship,
Since the birth of the modern state of Israel in 1948, the country has been blessed with a historic return of two-and-a-half million Jews from around the globe. This incredible ingathering, the realization of the prophet Jeremiah’s vision that Your children shall return to their own land, has offered physical and spiritual freedom to Jews suffering from poverty and persecution.
One of the most amazing stories of prophetic return involves the Jews of Ethiopia. These exiled children of Israel, descendents of one of Israel’s lost tribes, the tribe of Dan, longed for generations to return to their biblical homeland. Yet, during the last century the possibility of their ever making this trip seemed remote. In the 1970s, brutal civil wars and the rise to power of a Communist dictatorship led to oppressive conditions in Ethiopia. Jews were forbidden to practice their religion, and those trying to escape to neighboring countries were captured and imprisoned by the government.
Thankfully, the oppressive regime finally fell. Since then, with the help of The Fellowship’s On Wings of Eagles program, thousands of these desperate Ethiopian Jews have made aliyah (immigrated to Israel), in fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that promises the return of Jewish exiles from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:12). Once in Israel, Wings provides them with klitah (resettlement) assistance that helps them get established in their new homes.
But, though thousands have returned, thousands more wait in squalid refugee camps for their opportunity to return to Israel. Some have waited for years, and seen their closest relatives make aliyah. But they must remain, because there is simply not enough money for them to make the trip.This period of waiting can be life-threatening. Disease is rampant in Ethiopia, and conditions in the camps can be unsanitary and unsafe. Often, children and the elderly get sick and die. It’s especially heartbreaking to think how easily some of their diseases could be treated in Israel, which boasts some of the best medical care in the world.The time to act to bring these people home is now. Lives are in danger, and the political situation in this part of the world is extremely volatile. There is no time to waste.
Today I want to offer you the chance to view online our new television program that calls attention to the plight of these desperate people. It is one thing to read someone’s story, and another to look him in the eye. As you view this video, I think you will see reflected in the eyes of these Ethiopian Jews the same thing I did when I visited them a desperate longing to return to Israel, and a hope that someone will hear their cries for help.Thank you for your support of our work, and your compassion toward these people who have suffered so greatly. May God bless you even as you have blessed his children, Israel.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
President INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS
What is the basis for Kosher dietary laws? RABBI ECKSTEIN AUG 3,07
Frequently I’m asked why some observant Jews keep kosher -- that is, observe kosher dietary laws. In fact, there is a biblical basis for many of these dietary laws. The term kosher, meaning fit or proper, is used by the Bible on three occasions. Surprisingly, none of the biblical references are to food. Today, however, the word kosher describes foods that are tahor, or ritually pure, which are permissible for Jews to eat according to Jewish law.
Jewish dietary laws are derived a mainly from passages in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. First, all produce from the ground, i.e. fruits and vegetables, are permitted and may be eaten with either dairy or meat products. Regarding fish, only those varieties with fins and scales, such as tuna, salmon, bass, trout, sole, etc., may be eaten. All seafood and shellfish such as lobster, oyster, and shrimp are prohibited by Leviticus 11:9-13. The Bible does not categorize birds by their features as it does for fish and animals. Instead it lists specific birds that may not be eaten. Fowl that are permitted include chicken, turkey, duck, geese (though not wild geese) and doves. Although the Bible does not state this directly, most birds that may not be eaten are wild birds of prey, such as the eagle, stork, owl and vulture.
Finally, the Bible gives instructions on mammals. According to Deuteronomy 14, animals that walk on four legs, chew their cud, and have split hooves are permitted, such as cattle, sheep, goats and deer. Those that do not have these three characteristics, such as horses, donkeys, camels, and pigs, are prohibited.
Although the kosher dietary rules are derived from Scripture, many other types of laws come from rabbinic interpretation of Scripture. For example, even kosher animals, such as cows and chickens, must be slaughtered and prepared according to Jewish law or they are regarded as impure and may not be eaten. We separate meat and dairy foods (and even meat and dairy dishes), to comply with the rabbinic interpretation of the biblical command, Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk (Exodus 23:19). Many additional Kosher laws, too numerous to mention here, have been added over the centuries.
Because of such rules, observant Jews buy their meat only from kosher butcher shops that are under special rabbinic supervision, not from regular stores. Today, many food companies stamp a product with a special symbol or the letter K (for Kosher) to certify it is kosher. This assures observant Jews that the product and its preparation are under rabbinic supervision. Companies may also stamp a product with the letter P for parveh. This letter indicates the item contains no milk or milk by-products and therefore can be eaten after or together with meat.
At first, it may seem strange that many Jews continue to follow these dietary rules. But the kosher dietary laws are linked with the obligation upon Israel to be a holy people. Scripture declares, Therefore be holy, because I am holy. These are the regulations … You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten” (Leviticus 11:45-47) The Bible, in other words, links the observance of the dietary rules with Israel's duty to be holy. The kosher laws set Jews apart from all others and help shape them into a distinctive, holy people, providing them with a way of sanctifying the routine, mundane act of preparing food and eating.
EU border agency under pressure to restart patrol mission
03.08.2007 - 09:29 CET | By Helena Spongenberg
The EU border control agency, Frontex, has come under pressure to continue the bloc's southern border control mission aimed at limiting illegal immigration into the 27-member union.French centre-right MEP Joseph Daul appealed to EU justice and home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini to push for a restart, as soon as possible, of the so-called Nautilus II patrols off the Maltese coast.The month-long Nautilus II, the second patrol mission held in the waters between Sicily, Malta and Libya under coordination of the EU's border control agency Frontex, paused last week due to lack of resources, according to the European Commission.
In a letter to Mr Frattini on 1 August, Mr Daul said: I am sure that your intervention will have a decisive impact on the resumption of the Frontex mission in the Mediterranean area.It appears that the mission has been effective in reducing the number of arrivals to Malta, when one compares the number to the arrivals in the same period last month - 50% less, said Mr Daul.But if reductions in numbers were indeed due to the effectiveness of the mission, then it is clear that it does not make any sense at all to stop them in peak season, during the crucial summer months of August and September, he stated.Last week, Maltese justice and home affairs minister Tonio Borg also called upon Frontex to relaunch its sea-border patrol mission.
We of course hope that the Nautilus operation can resume as soon as possible, Mr Frattini's spokesman, Friso Roscam Abbing, told journalists in Brussels on Thursday (2 August).We have seen that the first phase of this operation has worked quite well…discouraging dangerous illegal clandestine immigration. So it is clear that it is an important element of our comprehensive immigration policy, he said.Mr Abbing added that despite the very good start of the mission more needed to be done and he hoped EU member states which in February committed to support the mission with medical staff, ships, helicopters and other useful equipment for the sea-border controls, would fully live up to that commitment.We will do everything we can so that as of next year, the EU will have permanent missions in the high risk areas such as the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, he added.Each year, around half a million illegal immigrants arrive in the EU.
Deer gets back to roots
By Phyllis Noah/The Ironton Tribune
August 3, 2007 10:43 AM CDT
IRONTON — A prayer shawl from Israel hangs on the back wall of the Church of the King chapel in Ironton — perhaps as a reminder of the Bible’s Jewish roots.Learning to speak the Hebrew language may be an anomaly to some, but to Butch Deer Jr., pastor at Church of the King, it helps him to have a better understanding of the Bible. A long thin piece of fringe on each side of the shawl, the tzitiz, represents the 613 laws that are found in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.We’re not trying to be Jewish, we just want to learn the richness of our heritage, Deer said. Studying the Jewish roots will do that. It will enhance and enrich your relationship with God.So, traveling more than 6,000 miles to learn the Hebrew language was not only a learning experience, but also an opportunity to see the sites where Jesus walked.
Our Bible was written in Hebrew, he said. A lot of times in the translation, we miss a word. For instance, in English, a word generally has one definition, but in Hebrew, it may have multiple definitions and used in different ways.On June 16, Deer went to a six-week class in the Hebrew language staying at kibbutz Tzuba in Israel.
It’s equivalent of a year-long college course crammed into six weeks, Deer said.
Although his classes were until noon, he had four hours of homework every day. In between, he visited all the sites he could by going into Jerusalem three times a week.The kibbutz was established in 1948 after their war of independence, he said. All the money goes into a pot. Everybody has a job. They have vineyards, orchards — it’s really neat to see how it operates.
About 150 people lived in the kibbutz Tzuba, he said. His classmates were not only from the United States, but also from other countries in Europe and Australia.There are lots of things we miss by not studying Jewish roots, Deer said.The site he enjoyed the most when he was in Israel was at the Hulda Gate, he said.It’s where the majority of people would have entered the temple Mount Ararat during Jesus time, Deer said. It was on these Hulda steps where Jesus would have stood during the dedication where the priests would pour out water and say, This is living water. It’s on these Hulda steps where Jesus would have stood and said, I am the living water.Standing at the eastern gate or the Golden Gate in Jerusalem in the middle of an Arab cemetery, he could see the Mount of Olives, he said.
The Golden Gate is on the eastern wall of Jerusalem and below the Temple Mount. It faces the western slope of the Mount of Olives across the Kidron Valley. In the valley below is the road to Jericho and Bethany, the Garden of Gethsemane and several famous first-century tombs.Of course, according to the prophecies of Zachariah, when He returns, he’ll step down on the Mount of Olives, Deer said. Those were places that were really special. My best experience was just riding the bus like the Jewish people do, and the Arabic people do, go into the city of Jerusalem, go to Ben Yehuda Street, eat a swarma.
Millionaire urges unity in EU referendum fight
By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter, Sunday Telegraph
12:51am BST 05/08/2007
Join the Telegraph campaign for an EU referendum
A multi-millionaire businessman has issued a rallying call for members of all parties to unite in a campaign to force Gordon Brown to hold a referendum over the new European Union treaty.Paul Sykes said that the British people had just 12 weeks to stop Britain becoming part of a new country called the European Union.Mr Sykes, a self-made man, philanthropist and eurosceptic, said: Time is not on our side. If we fail to come together, we will have failed those who look to us for a lead in restoring democracy, we will have failed our fellow countrymen and women, and we will have failed our country.
He believes that Mr Brown, like Tony Blair, has reneged on a Labour Party election pledge from 2005 to hold a referendum on the EU treaty. Mr Sykes is a founder member and substantial financial backer of Speakout, a non-party-political group which campaigns for repatriation of powers and a referendum on the EU treaty.Sources close to Mr Sykes say he has spent more than £5 million in the past decade supporting various anti-EU causes.Mr Sykes said: Back in the Nineties most of the various anti-EU groups united to form a common front against a common enemy - the single currency. The campaign was deliberately non-party-political, it used some of the biggest names in showbusiness to get the message across to the public and it forced the issue to the top of the media agenda.It is time, once more, to form a common front for the various lobby groups, think-tanks and campaigning organisations that give diversity and strength to the eurosceptic movement to combine their energies into a single campaign.
Mr Sykes wants all eurosceptic groups, including Open Europe, an independent think tank, to join with politicians from all parties and captains of industry. We need to put our petty divisions to one side and to put the great theological debates on hold. What unites us is much, much more than that which divides us, he said.Gisela Stuart, the Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, issued a fierce attack last week in The Sunday Telegraph on her party's rubbish handling of the issue. Up to 40 Labour MPs are pushing for a referendum.Mr Sykes, 63, criticised the new Prime Minister. The hope had been that Gordon Brown would be a very different kind of leader to his predecessor, that he would listen to the people and honour his party's election manifesto pledge which stated quite clearly that any new 'EU constitution' would be put to the voters in the form of a referendum. But Gordon has not listened.The Labour leadership claims that concessions in the new treaty mean that a referendum is no longer necessary.
Olmert and Abbas to discuss Palestinian state By Adam Entous
Sat Aug 4, 4:23 PM ET
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expects to discuss key issues for creating a Palestinian state with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at a meeting in the West Bank on Monday, Abbas's top aides said on Saturday. The United States is pressing the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to find common ground on some of these issues within four months, in time for a Middle East conference proposed by U.S. President George W. Bush, officials said.U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said earlier this week that Olmert had agreed to begin talks with Abbas on fundamental issues.But U.S. officials would not say whether this meant that the two leaders would discuss the most contentious final-status questions of borders, the future of Jerusalem and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.Abbas aide Nabil Amr confirmed that Olmert and Abbas will meet in the West Bank city of Jericho on Monday. It will be their first bilateral meeting in the occupied West Bank.
Amr said the meeting would allow Abbas and Olmert to discuss political issues central to the conflict, including so-called final status issues for the creation of a Palestinian state.Abbas adviser Yasser Abed Rabbo said the meeting would address final status issues to create momentum before the international conference.Olmert's office declined to comment on the agenda for the talks with Abbas, whose Fatah faction was routed in June in fighting in the Gaza Strip by Hamas Islamists who seized the territory.But Israeli officials said Olmert was prepared to discuss fundamental issues with Abbas and restated a goal of reaching an agreement on principles in advance of the international conference expected by the end of the year.These principles, the Israeli officials said, would broadly call for Israel to withdraw from about 90 percent of Palestinian territory but would not identify specific Jewish settlements in the West Bank that would be uprooted.
Olmert and Abbas would also discuss explosive issues like the fate of Palestinian refugees, with the goal of reaching common ground on such things as compensation, the officials said.Israel, citing demographic and security concerns, rejects an influx of Palestinians to homes now in the Jewish state.The Israeli officials said they believed it would be easier to sell an agreement that is broad brush to the Israeli and Palestinian public than one that included specific details.Olmert, the officials said, was reluctant to commit to any specific timetables for the negotiations and implementation.
It is unclear whether Olmert, whose popularity plummeted after last year's inconclusive war in Lebanon, can make major concessions. It is also uncertain how Abbas can deliver on any deal with Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip.A Western official in the region said Washington wanted talks between Olmert and Abbas to become deeper and more energetic over the next period leading up to the international meeting in the fall.Saudi Arabia, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, signaled earlier this week it intended to attend the conference if substantive issues were addressed. (Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta and Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah)