Tuesday, September 30, 2008



Rosh Hashanah SEPT 30,08 DAY 2 6PM ISRAEL, 11AM EST

In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. -Leviticus 16:24
Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, head of the year or first of the year. Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game. There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making resolutions. Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year. More on this concept at Days of Awe. The name Rosh Hashanah is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday. The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.

The shofar is a ram's horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue. A total of 100 notes are sounded each day. There are four different types of shofar notes: tekiah, a 3 second sustained note; shevarim, three 1-second notes rising in tone, teruah, a series of short, staccato notes extending over a period of about 3 seconds; and tekiah gedolah (literally, big tekiah), the final blast in a set, which lasts (I think) 10 seconds minimum. Click the shofar above to hear an approximation of the sound of Tekiah Shevarim-Teruah Tekiah. The Bible gives no specific reason for this practice. One that has been suggested is that the shofar's sound is a call to repentance. The shofar is not blown if the holiday falls on Shabbat. No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah. Much of the day is spent in synagogue, where the regular daily liturgy is somewhat expanded. In fact, there is a special prayerbook called the machzor used for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because of the extensive liturgical changes for these holidays.

Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year. This was the second Jewish religious practice I was ever exposed to (the first one: lighting Chanukkah candles), and I highly recommend it. It's yummy. We also dip bread in honey (instead of the usual practice of sprinkling salt on it) at this time of year for the same reason. Another popular practice of the holiday is Tashlikh (casting off). We walk to flowing water, such as a creek or river, on the afternoon of the first day and empty our pockets into the river, symbolically casting off our sins. Small pieces of bread are commonly put in the pocket to cast off. This practice is not discussed in the Bible, but is a long-standing custom. Tashlikh is normally observed on the afternoon of the first day, before afternoon services. When the first day occurs on Shabbat, many synagogues observe Tashlikh on Sunday afternoon, to avoid carrying (the bread) on Shabbat. Religious services for the holiday focus on the concept of G-d's sovereignty. The common greeting at this time is L'shanah tovah (for a good year). This is a shortening of L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem (or to women, L'shanah tovah tikatevi v'taihatemi), which means May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year. More on that concept at Days of Awe. You may notice that the Bible speaks of Rosh Hashanah as occurring on the first day of the seventh month. The first month of the Jewish calendar is Nissan, occurring in March and April. Why, then, does the Jewish new year occur in Tishri, the seventh month?

Judaism has several different new years, a concept which may seem strange at first, but think of it this way: the American new year starts in January, but the new school year starts in September, and many businesses have fiscal years that start at various times of the year. In Judaism, Nissan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of kings and months on the calendar, Elul 1 (in August) is the new year for the tithing of animals, Shevat 15 (in February) is the new year for trees (determining when first fruits can be eaten, etc.), and Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashanah) is the new year for years (when we increase the year number. Sabbatical and Jubilee years begin at this time). See Extra Day of Jewish Holidays for an explanation of why this holiday is celebrated for two days instead of the one specified in the Bible.

List of Dates
Rosh Hashanah will occur on the following days of the Gregorian calendar:

Jewish Year 5768: sunset September 12, 2007 - nightfall September 14, 2007
Jewish Year 5769: sunset September 29, 2008 - nightfall October 1, 2008
Jewish Year 5770: sunset September 18, 2009 - nightfall September 20, 2009
Jewish Year 5771: sunset September 8, 2010 - nightfall September 10, 2010
Jewish Year 5772: sunset September 28, 2011 - nightfall September 30, 2011


LUKE 21:25-26
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

Laura moving toward cold waters of north Atlantic Tue Sep 30, 12:33 PM ET

MIAMI - The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Laura is moving toward the cold waters of the north Atlantic and expected to gradually weaken over the next few days. The 12th named storm of the season was centered about 435 miles south-southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland, at 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday and moving north near 13mph.Laura's maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph. The hurricane center says a gradual weakening is forecast and Laura may lose its tropical characteristics by Thursday.Forecasters said Laura's designation changed from a subtropical storm to a tropical storm during the morning. The change reflects different ways that a storm draws its energy from the atmosphere or the ocean and how widely spread-out it is.

(This version CORRECTS that Laura is 12th named storm of season. Next advisory at 5 p.m. EDT.)

Tropical storm kills 3 in central Vietnam Tue Sep 30, 8:47 AM ET

HANOI, Vietnam - Tropical Storm Mekkhala slammed into central Vietnam on Tuesday, killing three people and leaving 10 others missing, disaster officials said. A 9-year-old girl and her 7-year-old brother were swept away while crossing a stream in Quang Binh province, said disaster official Nguyen Ngoc Dien. Three other people were missing elsewhere in the province, he said.In neighboring Ha Tinh province, a man died when he was blown off the roof of his home while trying to reinforce it during the storm. Two teenagers in the province were missing after being swept away while crossing a stream, said disaster official Le Dinh Son.In Quang Tri province, five people were reported missing.The storm arrived as people in northern Vietnam were still cleaning up following Typhoon Hagupit, which killed 41 people last week and caused damage estimated at US$65 million.Mekkhala, packing winds of 55 miles per hour (88 kilometers per hour), blew tin roofs off houses in Quang Binh province, Dien said, adding that power blackouts were reported in the provincial capital Dong Hoi.Tran Minh Ky, vice governor of Ha Tinh province, said 10,000 people in coastal villages had earlier been evacuated. However, some began returning to their homes Tuesday afternoon as the storm moved into Laos and rains stopped, said Son.Rescue workers in northern Son La province are still struggling to reach isolated villages devastated by floods triggered by Typhoon Hagupit.Vietnam is prone to floods and storms that kill hundreds of people each year.Hagupit killed 17 people and left six missing in the Guangxi region of southern China last week, the official Xinhua News Agency reported in a story posted Tuesday. Nearly 700,000 people there were evacuated after heavy rains and flooding destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of homes.


then the angel said, Financial crisis will come to Asia. I will shake the world.

JAMES 5:1-3
1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

REVELATION 18:10,17,19
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

19 They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.

16 And he(FALSE POPE) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:(CHIP IMPLANT)
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.(6-6-6) A NUMBER SYSTEM



09:30 AM +126.48
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04:00 PM +485.21 10850.66

S&P 500 1164.74 +58.35

NAS 2082.33 +98.60

GOLD 875.0 -19.20

OIL 101.50 +5.50

Europe scrambles to save banking system LEIGH PHILLIPS
Today SEPT 30,08 @ 09:27 CET

European authorities in Brussels, Frankfurt and at EU member state level are scrambling to save the continent's financial system after bank stocks plunged when US lawmakers rejected a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street on Monday (29 September).

Banks are petrified of lending to one another for more than one day, requiring central banks to flood their coffers with the money they need to stay in business.
After yesterday's part-nationalisation of Belgo-Dutch banking giant Fortis and the nationalisation of the UK's Bradford & Bingley, Belgium-based Dexia, the biggest provider of lending to local governments in the world, could be the next financial institution to be rescued by taxpayers.In an email from Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, the country's federal government reached an agreement with Belgium's regional assemblies to jointly support the bank, Bloomberg News reported.Even French President Nicolas Sarkozy has joined the rescue operation, despite the bank being headquartered in Belgium, issuing directions that the state investment body Caisse Des Depots offer Dexia funds.Elsewhere, the German government backed by a series of private banks bailed out collapsing mortgage lender Hypo Real Estate reportedly to the tune of €35 billion, according to the German Ministry of Finance.The list of nationalisations is rapidly growing, with Iceland - not an EU member state - also nationalising the country's third largest bank, Glitner. The government has taken out a 75 percent stake in the firm in return for €600 million.The Icelandic bailout is a larger per capita rescue operation than even the failed US $700 billion plan, representing some €2,000 for every Icelander. Following the move, the Icelandic Krona dropped to its lowest level ever against the euro.Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, has rushed to the forefront in the crisis, announcing authorities will offer domestic banks a fresh $50 billion atop the $120 billion already supplied.

In perhaps the most frightening development, banks have deposited some €28 billion with the European Central Bank, afraid of leaving it stashed anywhere else, according to reports in the UK's Daily Telegraph, quoting Hans Redeker, currency chief at France's BNP Paribas.The ECB is no longer able to inject liquidity because the money is just coming back to them again, the British paper quotes the banker as saying.

Bank stocks plunge

Meanwhile, European bank stocks dropped through the floor on Monday, with Germany's Aareal and Commerzbank particularly badly knocked down, taking a 42 percent and 22 percent hit to share prices. Ireland's Anglo-Irish Bank was down 46 percent and Allied Irish down 16 percent. Italy's Unicredit, Sweden's Swedbank and France's Natixis all took a bruising as well, while a host of smaller banks in Denmark are set to collapse, according to the Financial Times. Spanish operations too are struggling.On Monday, the European Banking Federation tried to reassure citizens that the financial sector was on a sound footing despite the crisis, and that depositors' savings were not at risk.The global economy is facing an unprecedented crisis which is generating a certain degree of anguish due to the financial failure of some major banks, the EBF said in a press statement.The European banking system will weather the storm, the statement read, adding: In EU countries retail deposits are insured.

EU timetable

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet bank and insurance company directors on Tuesday to assess the financial sector's situation in his country, his office announced. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also said that a structural European response was currently being prepared for the summit of European leaders in two weeks' time. Additionally, on Wednesday, EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy is to unveil a tripartite reform of European banks' capital requirements.

Stocks surge higher; credit worries persist By JOE BEL BRUNO and TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writers SEPT 30,08

NEW YORK - Wall Street has ended sharply higher as investors bet that lawmakers will salvage a $700 billion rescue plan for the financial sector. The Dow Jones industrials surged nearly 500 points to the 10,860 level. The rally offset Monday's 778-point rout, one of the biggest selloffs in years. The recovery wasn't unexpected as carnage on Wall Street often attracts bargain hunters.However, the seized-up credit markets where businesses turn to raise money showed no sign of relief. A key rate that banks charge to lend to one another shot higher, a tightening of the availability of credit that could cascade through the economy.

Stocks jump after steep sell-off; key rate rises By TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writer SEPT 30,08

NEW YORK - Wall Street snapped back Tuesday after its biggest sell-off in years amid growing expectations that lawmakers will salvage a $700 billion rescue plan for the financial sector. But the seized-up credit markets where businesses turn to raise money showed no sign of relief. In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 253.04, or 2.44 percent, to 10,618.49 after falling nearly 7 percent on Monday to its lowest close in nearly three years. It was the largest point drop and 17th largest percentage drop in the blue chip index. The percentage decline was far less severe than the 20-plus-percent drops seen in the stock market crash of October 1987 and before the Great Depression.Broader stock indicators also bounced higher Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 34.25, or 3.10 percent, to 1,140.67, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 60.27, or 3.04 percent, to 2,044.00.The S&P fell 8.79 percent Monday, while the Nasdaq lost 9.14 percent.The rise in stocks wasn't unexpected as carnage on Wall Street often attracts bargain hunters, though questions remain about how investors will proceed. Without a bailout plan in place to absorb soured mortgage debt and other bad loans from banks' balance sheets, investors are wondering what might restore confidence in lending.Major stock indexes were almost a sideshow during the session, with the credit markets as the main event. A key rate that banks charge to lend to one another shot higher, a tightening of the availability of credit that could cascade through the economy.

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, still stunned from Monday's 778-point plunge in the Dow Jones industrial average, warned that the government needs to approve a plan that will sweep away the fears that hobbled the credit markets. While U.S. political leaders have vowed to revisit the issue, the House isn't slated to meet again until Thursday.If it doesn't pass, then look out below, said Jason Weisberg, an NYSE trader for Seaport Securities. It could get ugly.Though the blue-chip index rose more than 250 points at midday, the main worry for traders is that a lack of a plan will make it nearly impossible for some companies to fund basic operations like making payroll. Participants in the credit market buy and sell debt that companies use to finance operations.The benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, that banks charge to lend to one another rose sharply Tuesday, making it more expensive and difficult for consumers and businesses to borrow money. In addition, credit card debt and more than half of adjustable-rate mortgages are tied to LIBOR, so an increase isn't welcome for many consumers.LIBOR for 3-month dollar loans rose to 4.05 percent from 3.88 percent on Monday. LIBOR for 3-month euro loans, meanwhile, rose to 5.27 percent, from 5.22 percent Monday.Critics of the bailout package believe that it was too costly and wouldn't have done enough to jump-start lending. To maintain pressure ahead of Thursday's likely vote, President Bush said in a statement from the White House early Tuesday that the damage to the economy will be painful and lasting unless Congress passes the bailout measure.On Wall Street, many traders likely will proceed cautiously while they gauge prospects for resurrecting the bailout effort, which was backed by leaders of both parties.

I'm not getting the sense that investors are going to be jumping in with both feet until there is some kind of resolution on the plan, said James Maguire, an NYSE floor trader with Christopher J. Forbes. If there's a no vote, we're going to seen a lower overall drift in stocks. It will be a slow bleed.Traders also will likely focus on how the bloodshed will look on paper. Tuesday marks the final session of the third quarter — and what is typically the worst month for the stock market — so some portfolio managers might try to do what they can to dress up their performance. Others might simply wish to dump holdings in an unpopular corners of the market like the financial sector.The yield on the 3-month Treasury bill rose Tuesday to 0.67 percent from 0.14 percent late Monday. The yield fell Monday as investors clamored for the safety of government debt. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.74 percent from 3.58 percent late Monday. The dollar rose against other major currencies and gold prices advanced.While investors focused on what might come from Washington this week, Wall Street was cheered by several economic readings.A private research group reported that consumer confidence rose unexpectedly in September. The Conference Board said Tuesday its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 59.8 from a revised 58.5 in August; Wall Street had expected a reading of 55.5, according to Thomson/IFR. The reading, which doesn't reflect attitudes following Monday's steep stock market sell-off, remains near a 16-year low. The Chicago Purchasing Managers' index, which measures business conditions across Illinois, Michigan and Indiana, came in at 56.7 compared with 57.9 in August —a second straight month of a strong reading. Light, sweet crude rose $2.40 to $98.77 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil fell more than $10 a barrel Monday as investors worried that a weaker economy would curtail demand. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by about 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to a light 485.3 million shares. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 8.50, or 1.29 percent, to 666.22. Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 4.12 percent. But Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.76. In afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.73 percent, Germany's DAX index added 0.41 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 1.99 percent. On the Net: New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.com Nasdaq Stock Market: http://www.nasdaq.com

Lawmakers scramble to revise bailout bill By CHARLES BABINGTON and JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writers SEPT 30,08

WASHINGTON - Congressional leaders labored Tuesday to find out how many changes are needed to sell the defeated $700 billion financial system rescue to rank-and-file members. John McCain and Barack Obama offered long-distance encouragement from the campaign trail, announcing separately their backing for a plan that some House Republicans had pushed earlier: raising the federal deposit insurance limit from $100,000 to $250,000. The aim would be to reassure nervous Americans and to shore up the economy.For his part, President Bush sought to avoid being marginalized, making another statement in the White House. Congress must act, he demanded in front of the cameras.I recognize this is a difficult vote for members of Congress, he said. And I understand that. But the reality is we are in an urgent situation and the consequences will grow worse each day if we do not act.Republican House aides said the FDIC proposal might be attractive to some conservatives who want to help small business owners and avert runs on banks by customers fearful of losing their savings. The leadership needs to find sufficient changes to attract about a dozen more votes, the number needed to avoid the kind of stunning defeat that supporters of a bailout suffered Monday.Obama's embrace of the idea might attract some Democratic votes.Democratic aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were three basic options under consideration. They included a simple revote of the bill that failed, in the hope it would command a majority following the stock market plunge; changing the measure to bring aboard more Democrats; or revising it to gain more support from lawmakers in both parties.The last option appeared the likeliest, although no decisions had been made by midday. Nor was it clear what specific changes legislative leaders had in mind.Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said it was time for all lawmakers to act like grown-ups, if you will, and get this done for all of the people.Bush warned that failing to pass such a plan would bring severe consequences to the U.S. economy. McCain and Obama echoed his sentiments. Both the Republican and Democratic nominees spoke with Bush on Tuesday, and both have let colleagues know they embrace the higher FDIC insurance idea.

Another possible change to the bill would modify mark to market accounting rules. Such rules require banks and other financial institutions to adjust the value of their assets to reflect current market prices, even if they plan to hold the assets for years.Some House Republicans say current rules forced banks to report huge paper losses on mortgage-backed securities, which might have been avoided.The House on Monday balked at approving the Bush administration's $700 billion proposal, its 228-205 vote, sparking the largest sell-off on Wall Street since the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.Bush noted that the maximum $700 billion in the proposed bailout was huge, but was dwarfed by the $1 trillion in lost wealth that resulted from Monday's stock-market plunge.Because the government would be purchasing troubled assets and selling them once the market recovers, he said, it is likely that many of the assets would go up in value over time. Ultimately, we expect that much - if not all - of the tax dollars we invest will be paid back.The rescue package and the nation's faltering economy was also Topic A on the presidential campaign trail.The first thing I would do is say, Let's not call it a bailout. Let's call it a rescue, McCain told CNN. The Arizona Republican said that Americans are frightened right now and it is the job of political leaders to give them both an immediate solution and a longer-term approach to the problem.McCain announced a brief suspension of his campaign last week to return to Washington and become involved in negotiations on the bailout but would not say whether he was contemplating that again. I will do whatever is necessary to help, he said.

Top congressional and White House officials were stunned when the House rejected the massive rescue plan, and a host of lawmakers said Tuesday they thought Congress should persevere in its attempt to find a political consensus. Obama issued a statement Tuesday saying lawmakers should not start from scratch as they weigh their next move. The Illinois senator said that significantly increasing federal deposit insurance would help small businesses and make the U.S. banking system more secure as well as restore public confidence in the nation's financial system. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that McCain and Obama each called and spoke to the president on the crisis. Both calls were very constructive, and the president appreciated hearing from them, he said. Fratto said both senators offered ideas and agreed the crisis was a critical one that needed to be addressed. We appreciate hearing them and will continue to work with congressional leaders on ideas that will help the economy, Fratto said. In his comments from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Bush pointed to Monday's drop in the Dow Jones industrials. The dramatic drop in the stock market that we saw yesterday will have a direct impact on retirement accounts, pension funds and personal savings of millions of our citizens, he said. And if our nation continues on this course, the economic damage will be painful and lasting.Bush said this was a critical moment for the U.S. economy. And we need legislation that decisively addresses the troubled assets now clogging the financial system, helps lenders resume the flow of credit to consumers and businesses, and allows the American economy to get moving again.Earlier, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said doing nothing is not an option as lawmakers scrambled to structure a new bailout proposal that would attract reluctant lawmakers and still soothe the unnerved financial markets. With the House not scheduled to meet again until Thursday, congressional leaders and administration officials promptly sought to assess what types of changes could win over enough votes to guarantee success. Obama said Tuesday that lawmakers should not start from scratch as they weigh their next move. The bill's failure came despite furious personal lobbying by Bush and support from House leaders of both parties. But the legislation was highly unpopular with the public, ideological groups on the left and the right organized against it, and Bush no longer wielded the influence to leverage tough votes. Even pressure in favor of the bill from some of the biggest special interests in Washington, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Realtors, could not sway enough votes. The legislation the administration promoted would have allowed the government to buy bad mortgages and other deficient assets held by troubled financial institutions. If successful, advocates of the plan believed it would have helped lift a major weight off the already sputtering national economy. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson emerged after the vote and warned of a credit crunch that would affect American businesses and said families would find it harder to get student loans and car loans. We need to work as quickly as possible, he said gravely. We need to get something done.Associated Press writers David Espo, Tom Raum, Ben Feller, Andrew Taylor and Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed to this report.

In IRS Protest, Pastors Back Candidates,Conservative Legal Group Fighting To Abolish Restrictions On Church Involvement In Politics WEST BEND, Wis., Sept. 28, 2008

(AP) Pastor Luke Emrich prepared his sermon this week knowing his remarks could invite an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. But that was the whole point, so Emrich forged ahead with his message: Thou shalt vote according to the Scriptures. I'm telling you straight up, I would choose life, Emrich told about 100 worshippers Sunday at New Life Church, a nondenominational evangelical congregation about 40 miles from Milwaukee. I would cast a vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin, he said. But friends, it's your choice to make, it's not my choice. I won't be in the voting booth with you.All told, 33 pastors in 22 states were to make pointed recommendations about political candidates Sunday, an effort orchestrated by the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund. The conservative legal group plans to send copies of the pastors' sermons to the IRS with hope of setting off a legal fight and abolishing restrictions on church involvement in politics. Critics call it unnecessary, divisive and unlikely to succeed. Congress amended the tax code in 1954 to state that certain nonprofit groups, including secular charities and places of worship, can lose their tax-exempt status for intervening in a campaign involving candidates. Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, said hundreds of churches volunteered to take part in Pulpit Freedom Sunday. Thirty-three were chosen, in part for strategic criteria related to litigation Stanley wouldn't discuss. Pastor Jody Hice of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Bethlehem, Ga., said in an interview Sunday that his sermon compared Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain on abortion and gay marriage and concluded that McCain holds more to a biblical world view.

He said he urged the Southern Baptist congregation to vote for McCain. The basic thrust was this was not a matter of endorsing, it's a First Amendment issue, Hice said. To say the church can't deal with moral and societal issues if it enters into the political arena is just wrong, it's unconstitutional.At the independent Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla., pastor Paul Blair said he told his congregation, As a Christian and as an American citizen, I will be voting for John McCain.It's absolutely vital to proclaim the truth and not be afraid to proclaim the truth from our pulpits, Blair said in an interview. Because the pastors were speaking in their official capacity as clergy, the sermons are clear violations of IRS rules, said Robert Tuttle, a professor of law and religion at George Washington University. But even if the IRS rises to the bait and a legal fight ensues, Tuttle said there's virtually no chance courts will strike down the prohibition. The government is allowed, as long as it has a reasonable basis for doing it, to treat political and nonpolitical speech differently, and that's essentially what it's done here, Tuttle said. Not all the sermons came off as planned. Bishop Robert Smith Sr. of Word of Outreach Center in Little Rock said he had to postpone until next week because of a missed flight. Smith, a delegate to this month's Republican National Convention, declined to say whom he would endorse. Promotional materials for the initiative said each pastor would prepare the sermon with legal assistance of the ADF to ensure maximum effectiveness in challenging the IRS.Stanley said the pastors alone wrote the sermons, with the framework that they be a biblical evaluation of the candidates for office with a specific recommendation. That could be a flat-out endorsement or opposition to one or both candidates, he said. The legal group declined to release a list of participants in advance, citing concerns about potential disruptions at services. A list and excerpts from sermons will be made public early this week, with the delay necessary for lawyers to review the material, the group said. Under the IRS code, places of worship can distribute voter guides, run nonpartisan voter registration drives and hold forums on issues, among other things. However, they cannot endorse a candidate, and their political activity cannot be biased for or against a candidate, directly or indirectly - a sometimes murky line. The IRS said in a statement it is aware of Sunday's initiative and will monitor the situation and take action as appropriate.

The agency has stepped up oversight of political activity in churches in recent years after receiving a flurry of complaints from the 2004 campaign. The IRS reported issuing written advisories against 42 churches for improper politically activity in 2004. The ban on churches intervening in candidate campaigns survived a court challenge when a U.S. appellate court upheld the revocation of tax-exempt status of a New York church that took out a newspaper ad urging Christians to vote against Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential election. Opposition to Sunday's sermon initiative was widespread. A United Church of Christ minister in Ohio rallied other religious leaders to file a complaint with the IRS. Roman Catholic Archbishop John Favalora of Miami wrote that the archdiocese abides by IRS rules in part because we can do a lot for our communities with the money we save by being tax-exempt.Three former IRS officials also asked the agency to investigate the initiative, questioning the ethics of lawyers asking ministers to break the law.

Two-thirds of adults oppose political endorsements from churches and other places of worship and 52 percent want them out of politics altogether, according to a survey last month from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. It is good public policy that in exchange for the valuable privilege of a tax exemption, you cannot turn your church or charity into a political action committee, said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Church and State, which intends to report the participating churches to the IRS, along with any other churches acting independently.

Israel army buys self-destruct cluster bombs: radio SEPT 30,08

JERUSALEM (AFP) - The Israeli army is equipping itself with self-destruct cluster bombs in order to lower the number of civilian victims of this type of weapon, used in the 2006 war in Lebanon, military radio said. The army has reduced its purchases of US made cluster bombs, instead buying Israel-made M-85 cluster bombs, which contain a mechanism to destroy themselves if they fail to explode immediately on impact, according to the report.Cluster munitions spread bomblets over a wide area from a single container.The United Nations estimates that a million cluster bombs were dropped on Lebanon by Israel between July 12 and August 14 in 2006 in the conflict with Hezbollah.About 40 percent of these did not explode on impact and are spread among villages and orchards in the south of Lebanon.According to a UN report in June, at least 38 people have been killed and 217 wounded by bomblets exploding since the end of the fighting.The Israeli government's Winograd Commission of enquiry into the mistakes of the Lebanon war recommended the army use fewer cluster bombs in future to reduce civilian injuries.In May, delegates from 111 countries agreed a landmark treaty in in Dublin to ban the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions by its signatories.However, the agreement lacked the backing of major producers and stockpilers including Israel, China, India, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.

Olmert's Lame-Duck Epiphany About Palestinian Peace By SCOTT MACLEOD
Tue Sep 30, 11:45 AM ET

He is a former leader in the rightist Likud Party who for decades staunchly believed that the West Bank and Gaza Strip belonged to the Jewish people and that the territories, along with the Golan Heights, should remain part of Greater Israel forever. Along with former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert gradually came to understand that this was a fantasy. They broke away from Likud and created the centrist Kadima ("Onward") Party three years ago. Now, as Olmert hands over to Tzipi Livni and leaves office amid a corruption scandal, he's made a series of stunning departure statements that form a swan song of historical importance. Peace advocates, Israeli dreamers, Arab skeptics and U.S. mediators in a future McCain or Obama administration should read his words carefully and take note.The political lame duck's views expressed in interviews and public comments reveals the sweeping reversals that have taken place among some of Israel's ultra-nationalists. Olmert says Israel should withdraw from almost all of the West Bank and Golan Heights. A former mayor of the undivided capital of the Jewish state, he now advocates dividing Jerusalem with the Palestinians. He wants to keep some of the Jewish settlements that adjoin Israel's pre-1967 border, but accepts giving the future Palestinian state Israeli territory in a land swap with a close to 1-to-1-ratio.The notion of a Greater Israel no longer exists, Olmert says, and anyone who still believes in it is deluding themselves.True, these are not radical views. Former Labour PM Ehud Barak put something like this on the table at Camp David negotiations with the Palestinians eight years ago. What Olmert is saying today broadly conforms to the thinking of Israeli Labour politicians, mainstream Palestinian and Arab leaders, U.S. officials as well as the international community. What is important is the source, content and context of Olmert's statements.

Olmert is no Arab-loving pacifist. As prime minister, he ravaged half of Lebanon in 2006 in a military offensive after Hizballah killed and kidnapped Israeli soldiers. He has unmercifully turned the screws on Hamas-controlled Gaza. Olmert's comments reflect a profound shift toward realism among Israeli rightists, akin to what Palestinian and Arab nationalists started going through three decades ago when Israel was in the prime of its strategic strength. The shift is evident not only in Olmert's prescription for a peace settlement, but in his severe critique of a righteous Israeli mindset that has turned out to be self-destructive.Forty years after the Six Day War ended, we keep finding excuses not to act, Olmert says. We refuse to face reality... The strategic threats we face have nothing to do with where we draw our borders... For a large portion of these years, I was unwilling to look at the reality in all its depth. Saying Israel would not attack Iran unilaterally to stop Tehran's nuclear program, Olmert scoffs, Part of our megalomania and our loss of proportions is the things that are said here about Iran. We are a country that has lost a sense of proportion about itself.Olmert is by no means agreeing to a surrender. Yet, after Israel's failure to impose its will on Arab opponents by force over four decades, he's crying uncle. We invested our mental resources and thoughts in how to build Judea and Samaria, yet history made clear to us that the State of Israel has other realistic and viable options, he says. The State of Israel's future won't be found in intermixing with the Palestinians, but rather, is to be found in unpopulated regions that are desperate for our entrepreneurship and innovation.Palestinian demands, Olmert is acknowledging, won't go away. Recall, the Likud Party where Olmert made his career always refused any dealings with the PLO or to recognize its demands for Palestinian independence. Indeed, Sharon invaded Lebanon in 1982 with a grand vision of re-drawing the Middle East map with no place for a Palestinian state. The expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank proceeded rapidly in the ensuing decades. With his about-face, Olmert effectively acknowledges that the Palestinian uprisings of 1987 and 2000 succeeded in forcing Israel to address Palestinian rights. Everybody including Camp David host Bill Clinton loved to blame Arafat for the collapse of the peace process. When Sharon succeeded Barak as Prime Minister in 2001, he began implementing a unilateral vision of a settlement by ending Israel's occupation of Gaza. Yet, for the last year, at the tragically belated coaxing of the Bush admininstration, Olmert, who replaced the ailing Sharon in 2006, has been quietly engaged in a revival of negotiations with Arafat's successor. Like Olmert's willingness to enter those talks, his swan song amounts to an admission that Israel itself never went quite far enough toward accommodating Palestinian basic requirements for peace.

The realism behind Olmert's charge of heart is of tremendous import, summed up by one sentence: The international community is starting to view Israel as a future binational state. In other words, forget about Ahmadinejad's threats to wipe Israel off the map. Echoing views he initially expressed in 2003, Olmert reasons that without an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, the Jewish state faces the self-inflicted mortal danger of being destroyed by demographics, overwhelmed by Muslim and Christian Arabs demanding political representation. Olmert fears that the international community could ultimately favor a one-state solution, thus spelling the death of the two-state partition that has been at the core of an acceptable Israeli-Palestinian solution for decades. Time is not on Israel's side, Olmert says. I used to believe that everything from the Jordan River bank to the Mediterranean Sea was ours... But eventually, after great internal conflict, I've realized we have to share this land with the people who dwell here - that is, if we don't want to be a binational state.In the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Aluf Benn disparages the Israeli Prime Minister's epiphany, saying Olmert is an excellent commentator, but he lacks the firmness to execute his ideas. Sadly, that seems to be the case. Yet, Olmert, on the eighth anniversary of the second Palestinian intifadeh, has done history a valuable service by puncturing some myths about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If future negotiators, as well as American mediators, abandon their fantasies as Olmert has done, a peace that truly benefits all the parties is much likelier to come.

West Bank settler violence challenges Israel By Mohammed Assadi
Tue Sep 30, 9:19 AM ET

ASIRA AL-KIBLIYA, West Bank (Reuters) - Armed with guns, slingshots, knives and stun grenades, Jewish settlers pelted the house of Palestinian Nahla Makhlouf with stones, uprooted young trees and painted the Star of David on her walls. In Makhlouf's West Bank village of Asira al-Kibilya, Palestinians brace for possible attack by their Jewish settler neighbors from nearby Titzhar almost every weekend. But the latest attack exceeded their expectations.They sprayed some sort of tear gas through the window. It smelled strong and made our eyes run and made it hard to breath, especially for my baby, said the 33-year-old mother of four.Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reacted strongly to the September 13 attack, saying he would not tolerate pogroms by Jewish extremists who are determined on religious grounds to stop Israel swapping occupied land for peace.Last week, an outspoken Israeli critic of the settlements was wounded by a pipe bomb outside his Jerusalem home, in what Olmert said was evidence of an evil wind of extremism, of hatred, of violence threatening Israeli democracy.Settlers and the Israeli army said the Asira assault was triggered by the wounding of a nine-year-old settler boy by a Palestinian whom he had disturbed in the act of setting fire to a house in the Yitzhar settlement while the family was away.But settler vigilante violence is growing, according to a recent U.N. report, which recorded 222 incidents in the first half of 2008, versus 291 in all of 2007.


Some half a million Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, including Arab East Jerusalem. Their presence, viewed by major powers as illegal under international law, is partly shielded by a 790 km (490 mile) barrier Israel has been building since 2002.In a newspaper interview on Monday, Olmert broke new ground by urging Israel's withdrawal from almost all the territories captured in the 1967 Middle East war in return for peace.But Olmert says Israel plans to keep major settlements in the West Bank in any peace deal, and would have to compensate the Palestinians for land lost.The Palestinians say they cannot have a viable country of their own if it is chopped into pieces by Israeli settlement islands and the snaking walls and fences of the new barrier.U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called the settlements an obstacle to peace which must go.Some settlers justified the attack on Asira, saying the army failed to protect them against a violent infiltration.If the Israeli army had done what it should, maybe this wouldn't have happened. They should either have prevented that infiltration or carried out a raid after, Renana Cohen said.Dani Dayan of Israel's mainstream settlers' organization says the Arabs do not want peace. A Palestinian state would be a launching pad from which they would conduct ethnic cleansing against the Israelis, he argues. Many Israelis feel the same.Most settlers oppose vigilante violence. But most agree that withdrawal would be a sure recipe for war, as Dayan puts is, because there will no peace-loving Palestinians taking over.A younger, more aggressive breed of religious ideologues vows a violent response to any eviction threat, warning a heavy price would be exacted for any bid to close settlements down.


Residents of Asira say the settlers need no provocation or pretext. Attacks on Asira date back three years, Makhlouf said. Palestinians complain of unremitting harassment, such as the burning of their olive trees and stoning attacks on farmers in the fields, as a prelude to land-creep and confiscation. The garden and rooftop of Makhlouf's neighbor, Ahmed Dawood, were littered by stones rained onto his house in the settler rampage. The water tank was holed by four bullet. Dawood's son and a laborer in his field were shot and wounded. The army, he said, made no effort to stop the attack. I complained to the soldiers and they shouted back Get inside and started shooting, he said. We have nothing to protect ourselves with. We just take precautions such as putting metal grids on the windows. But the solution is to have them uprooted from here.Asira's predicament is well known to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, who gave Makhlouf a small video camera in 2007 to document violence. The lens was knocked off focus by a rock in the latest attack but still provided an audio record. Yoav Gross of B'Tselem said the settlers can be heard giving the army a one-minute ultimatum to act against the Palestinians or they would do the job themselves. They started counting one, two, three..., he said. They were giving orders to the soldiers, not the other way around.One Israeli human rights lawyer, Michael Sfard, says most soldiers do not realize they have not only the right but also the duty, as the occupying power, to defend Palestinians. Settler attacks may rise in the upcoming olive harvest, when Arab farmers work the groves close to settlement perimeters. One Palestinian woman in Asira was stocking up on corrosive cleaning fluids to throw at the attackers next time they visit. They have the army to protect them even while they are attacking us, said the woman, who was afraid to give her name. But we have no one to defend us.(Editing by Douglas Hamilton and Samia Nakhoul)




Israelis welcome Jewish New Year By SHAWNA OHM, Associated Press Writer
Mon Sep 29, 2:18 PM ET

JERUSALEM - Israelis ushered in the Jewish New Year on Monday with festive family dinners — and a warning from their outgoing prime minister that they'll have to return virtually all the land captured in 1967 to win peace with the Palestinians and Syrians. Ehud Olmert, who is giving up his office amid a corruption investigation, also exchanged holiday greetings with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. The Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashana, coincides this year with Eid el-Fitr, one of the holiest days on the Muslim calendar.The two leaders have been meeting regularly in recent months trying to work out a peace accord that would end their long conflict and give the Palestinians their own state. But the talks have not produced tangible results, and many Israelis and Palestinians are skeptical about prospects.For many Israelis, the year that ended Monday was also disappointing in other ways. Top leaders, including Olmert, and a one-time president, Moshe Katsav, have been forced out by scandal.From the public, Israeli standpoint, the year that ends this evening should perhaps be erased from collective memory, columnist Eitan Haber wrote in the newspaper Yediot Ahronot.We are divided, skeptical, disbelieving, facing the greatest leadership crisis there has ever been here, added another Yediot columnist, Yair Lapid.Rosh Hashana, which began at sundown, ushers in 10 days of soul-searching capped by Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. But the New Year holiday itself is a time for festive meals, which traditionally include an apple dipped in honey to symbolize a sweet new year.

Israel closed off the West Bank until late Wednesday, barring Palestinians from entering Israel. It is a measure common during Jewish holidays, to deter possible attacks by Palestinian militants.The Gaza Strip, the other Palestinian territory, has been virtually sealed off since June 2007, when the Islamic militant group Hamas seized control by force. The vast majority of the territory's 1.4 million Palestinians have been trapped there since then.In his farewell interview as prime minister, Olmert said Israel will have to give up nearly all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem if it wants peace with the Palestinians, who plan their state for those areas and Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.Olmert also said Israel would have to leave the Golan Heights, a militarily strategic high ground that looks down on northern Israel, to obtain peace with Syria.The comments were the clearest sign to date of Olmert's willingness to meet the demands of Israel's longtime enemies in peace talks. But their significance was uncertain, since his days in office are numbered and negotiations will soon become the responsibility of a new Israeli leader.Palestinians, meanwhile, prepared for Eid el-Fitr, the three-day holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Eid el-Fitr will start here Tuesday.In Gaza, outdoor markets were selling nearly all the supplies needed for the holiday, but prices were up sharply, compared to the period before the start of the blockade. Gazans get many of their supplies through smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border.A tunnel operator, who would identify himself only as Abu Nidal, said he had been working double time in the run-up to the holiday.

Before we used to enter 1, 2 tons a day of goods in general, he said. These days, from 5 to 6 tons. He added that the smuggled goods range from clothes and chocolate to balloons.Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics released its annual population figures to mark the New Year. It said 7.34 million people live in Israel, including 5.54 million Jews, or 75 percent of the population. There are 1.48 million Arabs, about 20 percent, and 315,000 members of other groups.The annual population growth rate held steady at 1.8 percent. The Arab population grew at a faster rate than the Jewish population, 2.6 percent compared to 1.6 percent.


LUKE 21:25-26
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

Laura, 11th named storm, churns in open Atlantic SEPT 29,08

MIAMI - The National Hurricane Center says Subtropical Storm Laura is keeping its strength as it churns through the north central Atlantic, far from land. The 11th named storm of the season was centered about 630 miles south of Cape Race, Newfoundland, at 5 p.m. EDT Monday. It's moving north-northwest about 9 mph.Laura's maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph. Some strengthening is forecast in the next day before it moves over colder water.Subtropical storms draw energy both from the atmosphere and the ocean surface and are more spread out than tropical storms. Tropical storms draw strength primarily from the water.Laura was beginning to take on more characteristics of a tropical storm late Monday and could change categories

7,500 Mexicans evacuate; flooding shuts oil wells str-jw/mdw
Mon Sep 29, 2:40 PM ET

MEXICO CITY - Mexican officials have evacuated 7,500 people and are keeping oil wells shut in Veracruz due to severe flooding from heavy rains along Mexico's Gulf coast. The state's top civil protection official, Ranulfo Marquez, says large sections of the towns of Minatitlan and Hidalgotitlan are under 10 feet (3 meters) of water.With rain-swollen rivers jumping their banks, residents have been wading through chest-high waters and floating down roads on canoes.Marquez said Monday that water levels are starting to drop, and Petroleos Mexicanos spokeswoman Georgina Saavedra says five Pemex wells remain closed.The wells shut down Sept. 22 produce at least 1,500 barrels of crude per day. Their closure is not expected to affect prices.

N.B. sends help to restore power in N.S. knocked out by Kyle
Monday, September 29, 2008 | 3:26 PM AT CBC News

Shelburne Mayor P.G. Comeau on Monday heads past the remains of a collapsed structure that was under construction. High winds damaged trees and buildings on Nova Scotia's South Shore. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)About 9,000 people were still without power in Nova Scotia Monday afternoon after southwestern Nova Scotia took a direct from Kyle, a marginal Category 1 hurricane, Sunday night.Nova Scotia Power crews, reporting difficulty restoring power in the province because of high winds and fallen trees, are getting help from their neighbours in New Brunswick.New Brunswick Power has sent three crews to Nova Scotia to help reconnect power to homes and businesses, spokeswoman Heather MacLean said.We have reciprocal agreements with all our neighbouring utilities that if we're in a position to send assistance, we do, and they would do the same for us if they were in a position to do so, as well, she said.MacLean said New Brunswick Power crews would stay in Nova Scotia as long as they are needed.Tropical storm Kyle didn’t pack as much of a punch when it blew into New Brunswick early Monday. It had earlier been predicted it would make a direct hit on Saint John, but instead took an easterly turn and struck near Yarmouth, N.S.New Brunswick Power had reported that 107 of its customers were without power Monday morning, 90 in Shediac, 13 in Moncton and four in Fredericton.There were no reports of power outages in the Saint John area.Kyle was downgraded after it blew over the cold waters of the Bay of Fundy.Environment Canada was warning the storm would bring rain and gusty winds to the Acadian Peninsula on Monday morning. It brought light showers and fairly strong winds to Prince Edward Island.

Police car hit
A Canadian Coast Guard vessel reported the highest gust of wind was 154 kilometres an hour off the coast of Shelburne. There were sustained winds of 120 km/h in Nova Scotia, but there were no reports of injuries or casualties.High winds caused a building under construction in Shelburne to collapse.The winds were a fraction of that when the storm passed over New Brunswick, gusting between 80 and 110 km/h.A branch of a falling tree hit a police car in Saint John, but the officer driving was not injured.Saint John police Sgt. Joe Roper said the large tree glanced off the back end of the patrol car as it fell.He was driving down the city road. Suddenly, he heard a loud noise —felt like something hit his car. He turned his car around, and there was a tree lying on the road. So a branch just caught the tail end of his car when it came down. He was pretty lucky; it just missed him, Roper said.City staff later used a front-end loader to push the tree off the street.The Saint John Airport cancelled some flights Sunday night and early Monday.One cruise ship decided to steer clear of Saint John and docked in Bar Harbour, Me., instead. The Queen Elizabeth 2 will come to Saint John on Wednesday, instead of Tuesday as planned.CBC meteorologist Peter Coade said New Brunswick was lucky to escape the worst of the storm.We were very fortunate in New Brunswick, but we did have some heavy rainfall amounts. We were expecting that the heavier rain would be on the west or left side of the storm track, he said.For example, in Grand Manan, they received just over 107 millimetres from the storm. Fredericton received 66 mm, and the Moncton area got only 24 mm.

Fishermen, homeowners were on alert
Fishermen along the Fundy coast spent the early morning hours of Sunday aboard their boats, and many had attached extra lines and bumpers to their vessels.But there have been no reports of major damage.Staff with New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization had advised people to prepare for the worst. Many people tied down their lawn furniture and stocked up on batteries and bottled water.Andy Morton, deputy director of EMO, said it wasn’t a waste of time.Given the size of Kyle and given the potential it had for coming ashore in New Brunswick, we had to take this very seriously. Just the sheer size of the storm meant that all parts of the province were going to feel some impact from Kyle, he said.Now that has been pretty much the case. Fortunately, we didn’t see the extensive rainfall that we thought we might.

Maine spared rare hit by hurricane, Kyle in Canada By DAVID SHARP, Associated Press Writer Mon Sep 29, 10:30 AM ET

MACHIAS, Maine - It threatened to be the first hurricane in 17 years to make landfall in Maine. Instead, Kyle delivered little more than a glancing blow equivalent to that of a classic nor'easter. Heavy rain pounded the nation's northeastern tip Sunday night as residents accustomed to winter blizzards hunkered down while the weakening storm moved through the Gulf of Maine and into the Canadian Maritimes.Maine emergency responders braced for wind gusts as high as 60 mph and waves up to 20 feet, but the Category 1 hurricane took a turn to the east, weakening to a tropical storm as it made landfall in Nova Scotia and pressed northeastward toward New Brunswick.On Monday, Kyle weakened to a post-tropical storm but 70 mph winds and heavy rains continued to buffet Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, leaving thousands without electricity. The storm moved north of Nova Scotia's Prince Edward Island.In Maine, where residents are accustomed to nor'easters, the storm didn't impress.This was a run-of-the-mill storm. It had the potential to be a real problem and it all sort of went away. That shift to the east did wonders for Maine, said Michael Hinerman, director of the Washington County Emergency Management Agency.

A hurricane watch had been posted for Maine before it became clear that the state would be spared. A tropical storm warning was lifted late that night.In Canada, the storm arrived on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Juan, a Category 2 storm that killed two people and caused an estimated $100 million in damage. Canadian officials said Kyle's impact would not be as severe.In Maine, as much as 7 inches of rain fell in three days along some coastal areas. Flood watches were lifted Sunday in southern Maine and New Hampshire as the rain let up, but remained in effect in eastern Maine.Down East residents are accustomed to rough weather, but it most often comes in the winter when nor'easters howl along the coast. Maine hasn't had anything like a hurricane since Bob was downgraded as it moved into the state in 1991 after causing problems in southern New England.Jesse Davis of Marshfield described the storm as being similar to a nor'easter except we don't have to deal with the snow. He rode out the storm with his family at home after gassing up his vehicles and generator, taking in his deck furniture and filling up water jugs — just in case.Taking no chances, many lobstermen moved their boats to sheltered coves, said Dwight Carver, a lobsterman on Beals Island. Some also moved lobster traps from shallow water.I'm sure we'll have a lot of snarls, a lot of mess, to take care of when it's done, Carver said. It'll take us a few days to straighten things out.In Lubec, the easternmost town in the U.S., town workers pulled up docks and fishermen moved boats across the harbor into Campobello Island, New Brunswick, which has coves and wharves that offer shelter.Nova Scotia Power was reporting 12,000 outages in communities along the south shore, while New Brunswick Power said about 680 customers lost power in the Sussex area.

The preparations in Canada come exactly five years after hurricane Juan tore through the region as a powerful category 2 force storm, causing millions in damages to homes, boats and parks that lost thousands of trees. Juan killed two people and caused an estimated $100 million in damages.Its going to be pretty bad around here, Donnie Ross said as he hurried across the bow of his fishing vessel in Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia. We have a lot of boats that are worth a lot of money and if any of them let go it will smash the rest of them up.Emergency officials in New Brunswick were concerned that people living inland were not taking the storm warnings seriously enough. The deadliest storm to hit the Northeast was in 1938 when a hurricane killed 700 people and destroyed 63,000 homes on New York's Long Island and throughout New England. Other hurricanes that have hit Maine were Carol and Edna in 1954, Donna in 1960 and Gloria in 1985. Associated Press writers Clarke Canfield and Jerry Harkavy in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report. On the Net:
National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ Canadian Hurricane Centre: http://tinyurl.com/22882j


5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.(A DAYS WAGES FOR A LOAF OF BREAD)

Gas shortage plagues the Southeast By KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press Writer
SEPT 29,08

ATLANTA - Motorists are rising before dawn so they can be at the filling station when the delivery truck arrives. Some are skipping work or telecommuting. Others are taking the extreme step — for Atlanta — of switching to public transportation.

Across a section of the South, a hurricane-induced gasoline shortage that was expected to last only a few days is dragging into its third week, and experts say it could persist into mid-October. The Atlanta area has been hit particularly hard, along with Nashville and western North Carolina.Those lucky enough to find gas are paying more than drivers elsewhere around the country.I've used up gas just looking for gas, said Larry Jenkins, a construction worker who pulled his red pickup truck into a Citgo station in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday. The sign said $3.99 a gallon, but the pumps were closed. Many filling stations in the area have not had gas for days.Right now, I'll pay anything for gas, Jenkins said. I don't care if it's $5 or $6 a gallon. I need it.The shortage started with the one-two punch of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which shut down refineries along the Gulf Coast. Now, more than two weeks after Ike, many refineries are still making fuel at reduced levels.While other parts of the country get gasoline from a variety of domestic and overseas sources, the Southeast relies heavily on two pipelines that carry fuel from the Gulf of Mexico. Because the gasoline moves at just 3 to 5 mph, it can take up to 10 days to reach Atlanta.A tendency among panicky drivers in the hardest-hit areas to top off their tanks every time they pass an open station has only made matters worse.Fuel is coming back into the system, but as soon as it comes in, it's being sucked back out by consumers who are afraid the shortage is going to continue, said Ben Brockwell of the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J.

In the meantime, government agencies have postponed public hearings, community colleges have canceled classes, and some companies have provided vans for carpooling or encouraged employees to work from home.Hours-long lines, No gas signs and plastic bags covering fuel-pump nozzles are familiar sights around Atlanta, where drivers have become intimately familiar with fuel delivery schedules, rising before daybreak when they know gas is coming to a certain station.I was just in Atlanta yesterday. There is no gasoline in Atlanta, in Charlotte, in Chattanooga. It's like a Third World country, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday on ABC.Police officers and a security guard were on hand to manage the flow of cars at a downtown Atlanta gas station around midday Monday.Kathy Burdett, 49, of Forest Park, said the shortage ruined her weekend plans to visit Stone Mountain with out-of-town guests.

I didn't go anywhere all weekend and we kept close to home, said Burdett, who had to hunt for the gasoline her friends needed to make it home to Tennessee.The average price for regular gas Monday was $3.94 per gallon in Georgia, 30 cents higher than the national average, according to the AAA. Motorists were paying an average of $3.89 a gallon Monday in North Carolina and $3.80 in South Carolina.Authorities in North Carolina and Tennessee said they were investigating reports of price-gouging, while Georgia's consumer affairs office has subpoenaed sales records from 130 gas stations because of similar complaints.Even in Atlanta, a city notorious for long commutes and traffic, some drivers were turning to public transportation. Although the MARTA bus and subway system did not have ridership numbers for September, a spokeswoman said parking lots at stations were busier than usual. As she waited in a gas line at an Atlanta station, 27-year-old Kasheeda Washington said she planned to start taking the bus because driving from her home in suburban Marietta to two jobs in Atlanta and to classes at the downtown campus of Georgia State University had become too expensive. I would have never thought this day would come when I would have to wait for gas, she said. Associated Press writers John Porretto in Houston, Juanita Cousins in Atlanta, Katrina A. Goggins in Columbia, S.C., Randall Dickerson in Nashville, Tenn., and Mitch Weiss in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.


7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse:(CHLORES GREEN) and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword,(WEAPONS) and with hunger,(FAMINE) and with death,(INCURABLE DISEASES) and with the beasts of the earth.(ANIMAL TO HUMAN DISEASE).

West Nile season appears to be mildest in 7 years By MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer Fri Sep 26, 8:35 PM ET

ATLANTA - The West Nile virus season is on track to be the mildest in seven years, with less than a third the number of serious cases as last year's total, U.S. health officials said. As of Tuesday, there were 368 severe cases, with 18 deaths, according to preliminary reports. Mississippi and California were hardest hit, together accounting for nearly half the cases.Most West Nile infections are reported in August and September, so health officials believe the worst of the season is probably over.It's not clear why this season has been so mild, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's the fewest cases since 2001, when the mosquito-borne virus was still emerging in the United States and was only reported in 10 states.Mosquitoes often pick up the virus from birds they bite and then spread it to people. Perhaps the weather in some areas of the country was not as favorable for mosquito-breeding as in years past, some experts said.West Nile virus was first reported in the United States in 1999 in New York, then gradually spread across the country.About one in five infected people get sick. One in 150 will develop severe symptoms including neck stiffness, disorientation, coma and paralysis.For all of 2007, more than 1,200 cases of severe West Nile illness were reported, and 124 deaths. The peaks occurred in 2002 and 2003, when severe illnesses numbered nearly 3,000 and deaths surpassed 260.On the Net:CDC West Nile information: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro,(WORLD TRAVEL,IMMIGRATION) and knowledge shall be increased.(COMPUTERS,CHIP IMPLANTS ETC)

666 road sign thefts bedeviling roadways By WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press Writer Mon Sep 29, 4:43 PM ET

BARNEGAT, N.J. - Is the Garden State Parkway the highway to hell? Or is the New Jersey Turnpike the road to damnation? Someone keeps stealing the metal signs at mile marker 66.6 along the heavily traveled toll roads, and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority is having a devil of a time keeping up with the thefts.It's been happening all over the country, particularly on roads with names like Route 666. Officials aren't sure if the thefts are being committed by religious zealots upset about the number's association in the Bible with the devil, by Satanic scavenger hunters, or by college students who think a 666 sign would look cool in their dorm room.

Joe Orlando, a spokesman for the Authority, said officials have no idea who is taking the signs.Maybe it's just some kids with a Devil-may-care attitude, Orlando said.The latest theft involved someone swiping the 66.6 mile marker sign on the Parkway's northbound lanes. It's in a sparsely populated section of the Pinelands far from any entrances or exits. In short, you'd have to know the sign was there and go looking for it.But look for it — and take it — they do. Within the past two years, 66.6 mile marker signs have been stolen at least four or five times from the Turnpike and Parkway, he said.Given the symbolism of the number and the fact that it is obviously done in the middle of night, and in the middle of nowhere, I can safely say that I'm not eager to meet the rocket scientists doing it, Orlando added.In the Biblical Book of Revelations, verse 13:18 reads, Let him who hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred sixty six.The Parkway sign, when it's not stolen, is located in Barnegat; the Turnpike sign in East Windsor.It costs as much as $50 to replace the signs, which doesn't sound like much, until you keep repeating it over, and over again.A few years ago, highway officials in Morris County couldn't keep signs for Route 666 on the poles; as quickly as crews put them up, someone would take them down and steal them, often within a day or two.

Solution: They changed the name of the road to Route 665. A similar tactic might be in store for the Parkway and Turnpike mile markers, with replacement signs reading 66.61, which kind of wrecks the Satanic buzz.In 2003, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado renamed the 194-mile-long Route 666 as Route 491 after a rash of sign thefts. Some wound up on eBay.Pennsylvania has a Route 666, but a state transportation spokesman said few signs, if any, have been stolen.In the meantime, New Jersey transportation officials keep replacing the mile marker signs. The Parkway thefts are happening in the same general area in which a mysterious decorator made nationwide headlines last winter by covertly festooning a huge pine tree along the side of the road with Christmas decorations.You almost want to put a camera out there, just to see who has this much free time, Orlando said.

DANIEL 7:23-24
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast(THE EU,REVIVED ROME) shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth,(7TH WORLD EMPIRE) which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.(TRADE BLOCKS)
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise:(10 NATIONS) and another shall rise after them;(#11 SPAIN) and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.(BE HEAD OF 3 KINGS OR NATIONS).

East Europeans on track for US visa-free regime
RENATA GOLDIROVA 29.09.2008 @ 18:27 CET

The Slovak government adopted on Monday (29 September) two key documents that should put Bratislava firmly on track to visa-free regime with the United States. Travel barriers are expected to fall this year. No later than from the beginning of next year, we will be able to travel without visa ... I think this I can say with a great degree of probability, Slovak foreign minister Jan Kubis said after the extraordinary government meeting entirely devoted to the issue. By adopting the documents, Slovakia and the US are making the commitment to boost co-operation in the fight against terrorism and serious crime by, among other things, sharing information on terrorists and terrorist suspects, including DNA and fingerprint data. It is mainly about very swift and flexible exchange of all information linked to terrorist screening, Slovak home affairs minister Robert Kalinak said, describing the two agreements as key conditions to visa-free travel to the US. The Slovak parliament is expected to endorse the new security scheme in October. Bratislava is currently awaiting a final US evaluation of the visa refusal-rate - something that Washington wants to see down to below ten percent. We have signals that we should be under the threshold, Mr Kubis said, adding that if it proved correct, Slovakia would officially meet all requirements. Some suggest that this could be announced during the Slovak president's visit to the White House in early October.

Apart from Slovakia, other EU member states Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and the Czech Republic are also expected to achieve visa-free access to the US, diplomats say. Earlier this year, the group of seven countries signed a so-called memorandum of understanding - a document outlining new US travel security demands. They, amongst other requirements, would have passengers obtain electronic authorisation to travel before they leave for the US.Currently, 15 EU states enjoy easy travel across the Atlantic - so-called Old Europe (except Greece) and Slovenia.



then the angel said, Financial crisis will come to Asia. I will shake the world.

JAMES 5:1-3
1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

REVELATION 18:10,17,19
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

19 They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.

16 And he(FALSE POPE) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:(CHIP IMPLANT)
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.(6-6-6) A NUMBER SYSTEM

Dow dives 777 points after financial rescue fails By TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writer SEPT 29,08

NEW YORK - The failure of the bailout package in Congress literally dropped jaws on Wall Street and triggered a historic selloff — including a terrifying decline of nearly 500 points in mere minutes as the vote took place, the closest thing to panic the stock market has seen in years. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 777 points Monday, its biggest single-day fall ever, easily beating the 684 points it lost on the first day of trading after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.As uncertainty gripped investors, the credit markets, which provide the day-to-day lending that powers business in the United States, froze up even further.At the New York Stock Exchange, traders watched with faces tense and mouths agape as TV screens showed the House vote rejecting the Bush administration's $700 billion plan to buy up bad debt and shore up the financial industry.Activity on the trading floor became frenetic as the sell orders blew in. The selling was so intense that just 162 stocks on the Big Board rose, while 3,073 dropped.The Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index recorded a paper loss of $1 trillion across the market for the day, a first.The Dow industrials, which were down 210 points at 1:30 p.m. EDT, nose-dived as traders on Wall Street and investors across the country saw no votes piling up on live TV feeds of the House vote.By 1:42 p.m., the decline was 292 points. Then the bottom fell out. Within five minutes, the index was down about 700 points as it became clear the bill was doomed.How could this have happened? Is there such a disconnect on Capitol Hill? This becomes a problem because Wall Street is very uncomfortable with uncertainty, said Gordon Charlop, managing director with Rosenblatt Securities.

The bailout not going through sends a signal that Congress isn't willing to do their part, he added.While investors didn't believe that the plan was a cure-all and it could take months for its effects to be felt, most market watchers believed it was at least a start toward setting the economy right and unlocking credit.Clearly something needs to be done, and the market dropping 400 points in 10 minutes is telling you that, said Chris Johnson, president of Johnson Research Group. This isn't a market for the timid.Before trading even began came word that Wachovia Corp., one of the biggest banks to struggle from rising mortgage losses, was being rescued in a buyout by Citigroup Inc.That followed the recent forced sale of Merrill Lynch & Co. and the failure of three other huge banking companies — Bear Stearns Cos., Washington Mutual Inc. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., all of them felled by bad mortgage investments.And it raised the question: Which banks are next, and how many? The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. lists more than 110 banks in trouble in the second quarter, and the number has probably grown since.Wall Street is contending with all of it against the backdrop of a credit market — where bonds and loans are bought and sold — that is barely functioning because of fears that anyone lending money will never be paid back.More evidence could be found Monday in the Treasury's three-month bill, where investors were stashing money, willing to accept the tiniest of returns simply to be sure that their principal would survive. The yield on the three-month bill was 0.15 percent, down from 0.87 percent and approaching zero, a level reached last week when fear was also running high.Analysts said the government needs to find a way to help restore confidence in the markets.

It's probably fair to say that we are not going to see any significant stability in the credit markets or the stock market until we see some sort of rescue package passed, said Fred Dickson, director of retail research for D.A. Davidson & Co. The bailout bill failed 228-205 in the House, and Democratic leaders said the House would reconvene Thursday in hopes of a quick vote on a revised bill. We need to put something back together that works, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said. We need it as soon as possible.The Dow fell 777.68 points, just shy of 7 percent, to 10,365.45, its lowest close in nearly three years. The decline also surpasses the record for the biggest decline during a trading day — 721.56 at one point on Sept. 17, 2001, when the market reopened after 9/11. In percentage terms, it was only the 17th-biggest decline for the Dow, far less severe than the 20-plus-percent drops seen on Black Monday in 1987 and before the Great Depression. Broader stock indicators also plummeted. The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 106.85, or nearly 9 percent, to 1,106.42. It was the S&P's largest-ever point drop and its biggest percentage loss since the week after the October 1987 crash. The Nasdaq composite index fell 199.61, more than 9 percent, to 1,983.73, its third-worst percentage decline. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 47.07, or 6.7 percent, to 657.72. A huge drop in oil prices was another sign of the economic chaos that investors fear. Light, sweet crude fell $10.52 to settle at $96.36 on the New York Mercantile Exchange as investors feared energy demand would continue to slide amid further economic weakness. And gold, where investors flock when they need a relatively secure investment, rose $23.20 to $911.70 on the Nymex. Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald, said investors are worried about the spread of troubles beyond banks in the U.S. to Europe and other markets.

Things are dying and breaking apart, he said. The federal Office of Thrift Supervision, one of the government's banking regulators, indicated that the market was overreacting to the House vote and that its fears about the financial system are misplaced. There is an irrational financial panic taking place today, and we support and applaud the continuing efforts of Secretary Paulson and congressional leadership to restore liquidity and public confidence, John Reich, Director of the federal Office of Thrift Supervision, said in a statement. The plan would have placed caps on pay packages of top executives that accepted help from the government, and included assurances the government would ultimately be reimbursed by the companies for any losses. The Treasury would have been permitted to spend $250 billion to buy banks' risky assets, giving them a much-needed cash infusion. There also would be another $100 billion for use at the president's discretion and a final $350 billion if Congress signs off. But Wall Street found further reason for worry overseas. Three European governments agreed to a $16.4 billion bailout for Fortis NV, Belgium's largest retail bank, and the British government said it was nationalizing mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley, which has a $91 billion mortgage and loan portfolio. It was the latest sign that the credit crisis has spread beyond the U.S.

Business Writers Joe Bel Bruno in New York and Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington contributed to this report. On the Net: New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.com
Nasdaq Stock Market: http://www.nasdaq.com

Oil plunges $10 as US bailout plan voted down By STEVENSON JACOBS, AP Business Writer SEPT 29,08

NEW YORK - Oil prices tumbled more than $10 a barrel Monday, dropping back below $100 as a U.S. financial bailout failed to win legislative approval, raising fears of a prolonged economic downturn that could drastically erode global energy demand. Light, sweet crude for November delivery sank $10.52, or 9.8 percent, to settle at $96.36 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier dropping as low as $95.04.

The dramatic sell-off capped a week of frenzied volatility in oil markets.

A week earlier, prices shot up over $16 to $120.92 a barrel in the biggest one-day dollar gain ever. But as disagreements over the government's $700 billion bailout plan intensified over the last several days, oil market traders began moving out of their positions at a rapid clip; Monday's decline was the second largest ever in dollar terms and the biggest percentage-wise since 2001. Crude has now fallen almost $25, or 20 percent, in the last seven days.Monday's nosedive came as House lawmakers defeated the emergency measure, which would have absorbed billions of dollars in banks' bad mortgage-related debt and other risky assets in a bid to steady the teetering economy. Democratic and Republican lawmakers pledged to try and work out another deal, but oil markets traders viewed the defeat as another bearish weight on oil.This is an acknowledgment that the global slowdown is here and energy demand is not going to be what it was, said Phil Flynn, energy analyst at Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago.Oil market traders were skeptical before the plan was voted down. Many doubted it would go far enough to unfreeze credit markets and restore calm to the financial system. If the economy worsens, analysts say businesses could be forced to lay off workers, leading Americans to cut back on driving and other energy use in the world's largest consumer.Energy consumption overseas is also expected to drop, even in fast-growing developing countries such as India and China, where booming demand for cars and other goods helped drive the oil bubble earlier this year.With demand falling at the pace it is, nothing can support crude at levels above $100, said James Cordier, president of Tampa, Fla.-based trading firms Liberty Trading Group and OptionSellers.com. There's no underlying demand from any pocket.Other commodities also traded sharply lower Monday as investors bet that a widening economic malaise will swallow demand for building materials, grains and other goods.

Highlighting weak U.S. appetite for energy, pump prices kept falling Monday. A gallon of regular slipped about a penny overnight to a new national average of $3.643, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express. Prices peaked at $4.114 on July 17.Gasoline could get cheaper as U.S. Gulf Coast energy output ramps up following the passage of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav. About 57 percent of crude oil production and 53 percent of natural gas output remained shut-in Monday after shutdowns prompted by the storms, according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, meaning more supply has yet to come on line.But analysts say the rough economic conditions will make $3.50 gasoline feel like $4 for many consumers.

In a falling economy like this, that's going to seem very expensive and is not going ot jolt the consumer to spend more or drive more, Cordier said.The rescue plan would have given the administration broad power to use hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to purchase devalued mortgage-related assets held by cash-starved financial firms.Congress insisted on a stronger hand in controlling the money than the White House had wanted. The government would have taken over huge amounts of devalued assets from beleaguered financial companies in hopes of unlocking frozen credit.

House lawmakers planned to reconvene on Thursday instead of adjourning for the year as planned, but it was unclear if they would hold another vote on the bailout.Oil prices were also pushed down by a stronger dollar. Investors often buy crude futures as a hedge against a weakening dollar and inflation, and sell when the dollar strengthens. The 15-nation euro fell Monday to $1.4414 from $1.4614 on Friday. In other Nymex trading, heating oil futures fell 22.89 cents to settle at $2.7885 a gallon, while gasoline futures dropped 26.81 to settle at $2.397 a gallon. Natural gas futures lost 40.7 cents to settle at $7.221 per 1,000 cubic feet. In London, November Brent crude fell $9.56 to settle at $93.98 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. Associated Press writers Pablo Gorondi in Budapest, Hungary and Alex Kennedy in Singapore contributed to this report.

Commission has no reason to question Fortis deal
ELITSA VUCHEVA 29.09.2008 @ 17:52 CET

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Despite Benelux governments announcing a partial nationalisation of Fortis Bank on Sunday, the ongoing financial crisis continued to collect scalps through Europe on Monday (29 September), with the UK and Germany intervening to save financial institutions. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank has announced it would lend eurozone banks €120 billion in a special term refinancing operation.The decision by the Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourger governments to purchase half the Belgo-Dutch banking giant for €11.2 billion represents the biggest bailout of a European bank since the beginning of the crisis.The European Commission said on Monday it had been consulted during the negotiations and had so far no reason to believe the deal was in breach of EU competition rules.Up until now the national authorities in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have been listening to what the commission has been saying, so we have no reason to think that what they are going to notify the commission of is not going to be acceptable to the commission in terms of state aid rules, Jonathan Todd, a spokesperson for the institution told a press briefing in Brussels.

He said the transaction itself was in compliance with the rules, as the purchase did not exceed the going market rate. He also expressed confidence that any accompanying measures that may be taken alongside the purchase, of which the commission will be notified will be compatible with the rules on competition, in particular the rules on state aid.

Contagion spreads to UK, Germany

Meanwhile, the British government nationalised mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley on Monday, taking over some €62 billion (£50 billion) of the bank's mortgages.We will work night and day to make sure that Britain can come through fairly this downturn, Prime Minister Gordon Brown told reporters.In Germany too, the government is to provide a guarantee to save Hypo Real Estate Holding – the country's second biggest commercial property lender, from insolvency. The grim financial news did not let up throughout the day, with Belgo-French bank Dexia's shares plunging to a record low of €6.75, after Le Figaro newspaper reported on Monday it planned to raise capital.

Both France and Belgium said they would help Dexia, if needed, according to reports from Agence France Presse, although the bank itself claims it is in no immediate danger of collapse.French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday (29 September) announced he will meet banks' and insurance companies' directors tomorrow to assess the financial sector's situation in his country, his office announced.He has also stated that as EU president-in-office he would propose initiatives for a European response to the crisis during a EU leaders meeting in Brussels on 15 October.

ECB pours €120 billion

Separately, the European Central Bank announced on Monday it would lend eurozone banks €120 billion via a special term tender aimed at soothing liquidity tensions.The governing council of the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to conduct a special term refinancing operation. The aim of this operation is to improve the overall liquidity position of the euro area banking system, the bank said in a statement.[The special term refinancing operation] will be settled on Tuesday, 30 September 2008 and will mature on Friday, 7 November 2008, but it will be renewed at least until beyond the end of the year, the institution added.


EZEKIEL 38:1-12
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog,(RULER) the land of Magog,(RUSSIA) the chief prince of Meshech(MOSCOW)and Tubal,(TOBOLSK) and prophesy against him,
3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech(MOSCOW) and Tubal:
4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws,(GOD FORCES THE RUSSIA-MUSLIMS TO MARCH) and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
5 Persia,(IRAN,IRAQ) Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
6 Gomer,(GERMANY) and all his bands; the house of Togarmah (TURKEY)of the north quarters, and all his bands:(SUDAN,AFRICA) and many people with thee.
7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.(RUSSIA-EGYPT AND MUSLIMS)
10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:
11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,
12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.

1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

PSALMS 83:3-7
3 They (ARABS,MUSLIMS) have taken crafty counsel against thy people,(ISRAEL) and consulted against thy hidden ones.
4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:(TREATIES)
6 The tabernacles of Edom,and the Ishmaelites;(ARABS) of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
7 Gebal, and Ammon,(JORDAN) and Amalek;(SYRIA) the Philistines (PALESTINIANS) with the inhabitants of Tyre;(LEBANON)

EZEKIEL 39:1-8
1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog,(LEADER OF RUSSIA) and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech (MOSCOW) and Tubal: (TUBOLSK)
2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts,(RUSSIA) and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:
3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.
4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands,( ARABS) and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.
5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
6 And I will send a fire on Magog,(NUCLEAR BOMB) and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.

JOEL 2:3,20,30-31
3 A fire(NUCLEAR BOMB) devoureth before them;(RUSSIA-ARABS) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
20 But I will remove far off from you the northern army,(RUSSIA,MUSLIMS) and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.(SIBERIAN DESERT)
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(NUCLEAR BOMB)
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

300 EU monitors in place to watch Russian pullback By MATT SIEGEL, Associated Press Writer Mon Sep 29, 12:16 PM ET

TBILISI, Georgia - Almost 300 monitors from 22 EU nations were in place Monday to oversee Russia's promised troop withdrawal from the large swaths of Georgia it has occupied since a war in August. But the troop withdrawal, which begins Wednesday, will not end tensions between Russia and Georgia or entirely mollify the West. Russia plans to keep some 8,000 troops in two separatist Georgian regions — South Ossetia and Abkhazia — whose independence Moscow has recognized despite international denunciation.Georgia and its Western allies say that troop presence violates the cease-fire brokered for the EU by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which demands both sides pull troops back to positions held before the war broke out Aug. 7.Russia had peacekeepers in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia before the war but not in such numbers.The EU observers, whose mandate lasts until at least 2009, will be based in four semi-permanent locations, including the central city of Gori and the Black Sea port of Poti, key targets of Russian forces.The unarmed observers will report on the Russian troop withdrawal — but it is unclear what steps, if any, they would take in the event of further violence.Russia promises to withdraw thousands of its troops within 10 days of the Oct. 1 beginning of the EU monitoring mission.As Russian troops move out and the EU monitors move in, Georgian police and civilian administrators are supposed to follow, reclaiming Georgian villages damaged in the war or by looting and marauding afterward. But Russia it says it will prevent the monitors from going into Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where many Georgian villages were also destroyed.

Georgia has harshly denounced the barring of monitors as well as the Russian troop presence in the separatist regions.Russia claims, however, the EU agreement allows it to station troops inside the separatist regions since it says they are now independent nations and no longer part of Georgia.

Bush warns Moscow against 'bullying' neighbors by Olivier Knox
Mon Sep 29, 4:48 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush met Monday with the leaders of Lithuania and Ukraine to discuss the fallout from Russia's war in Georgia and warned Moscow against bullying its democratic neighbors. In separate White House talks, Bush sought to reassure the former Soviet republics of US support in the face of a newly assertive Kremlin, which some analysts warn may be sizing up other neighbors after the August conflict.Bush, meeting with Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, said they had talked about Georgia-Russia, and the need for democracies to be able to stand on their own feet without fear of bullying.Bush also pledged help for Lithuania, as the former Soviet republic and NATO member looks to diversify its sources of energy, and restated the US obligation under the NATO charter to come to the aid of an alliance member under attack.It's important for the people of Lithuania to know that when the United States makes a commitment through, for example, Article 5 of the treaty, we mean it, the US president assured his guest.

With Lithuania seeking greater energy independence, Bush pledged the United States will try to help you as best as we can.And the US president expressed hope that, by mid-October, Lithuanians would be able to travel to the United States without first seeking a visa.Adamkus thanked Bush for his support for Lithuania joining NATO, which it did in 2004, saying that would not have happened without US leadership and the entire security question in the region would be in doubt.The Lithuanian leader also appealed for a lasting US presence in Europe, implying such a presence might be necessary to dissuade a newly assertive Moscow from any designs on former Soviet republics.I hope that United States will be visible ... just to show our neighbors that we're definitely not alone, and we are building the democracy together, said Adamkus.In talks with Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko, Bush evoked US support for Kiev's accession to NATO over vehement objections from Russia, which has also denounced Washington's backing of alliance membership for Georgia.We discussed the NATO and membership application process. We discussed energy independence. We discussed ways that we can work together to bring stability and peace to parts of the world, said Bush.Yushchenko sought to reassure his host about political turmoil in Ukraine, where the ruling post-Western alliance has collapsed and some officials warn that any snap elections could result in a victory for pro-Moscow forces.The situation, in my opinion, is far away from being tragic, and not dramatic. Ukraine has enough democratic resource and tools to give sufficient response to any crisis that may occur in the Ukrainian parliament, he said.We raised the issue of energy cooperation, which is a very urgent issue for us, said the Ukrainian leader.

Moscow has seen relations with former Soviet republics and the West deteriorate sharply since its early August war with Georgia, after years of tensions over access to energy supplies controlled by Russia.Russia has regularly been accused of using its control of a hefty slice of Europe's market for political ends, allegedly turning off the taps to punish governments in Moscow's communist-era stomping ground that are too critical of the Kremlin.Lithuania, which broke free from the crumbling Soviet bloc in 1991 and joined the EU and NATO in 2004, has been sparring with Russia since August 2006, when the Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft cut supplies to the country's only refinery. And supplies to Europe were briefly disrupted in January 2006 as a consequence of a gas price dispute between Russia and Ukraine.


GENESIS 6:11-13
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.(WORLD TERRORISM,MURDERS)
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence (TERRORISM) through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

US Navy watches seized ship with Sudan-bound tanks By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, Associated Press Writer SEPT 29,08

NAIROBI, Kenya - U.S. helicopters on Monday buzzed a hijacked Ukrainian cargo ship carrying 33 Soviet-designed tanks and other weapons that officials fear could end up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia if the pirates are allowed to escape. Thursday's seizure of the MV Faina off Somalia, a failed state seen as a key battleground in the war on terrorism, could bring dangerous effects across the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.Piracy has become a lucrative criminal racket in impoverished Somalia, bringing in millions of dollars in ransom.The pirates aboard the blue-and-white Ukrainian-operated freighter are demanding $20 million to release the ship, its 21 crew members, one of whom has died of an apparent heart attack, and its cargo of T-72 tanks, rifles and ammunition.

The ship, now anchored off Somalia's coast near the central town of Hobyo, apparently was destined for Sudan when armed pirates overtook it, likely from a speedboat, and climbed up the side of the ship.We maintain a vigilant watch over the ship and we will remain on station while negotiations between the pirates and the shipping company are going on, Lt. Nathan Christensen, a deputy spokesman for the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, told The Associated Press.Although the pirates have not been allowed to take anything off the Faina, they have been allowed to resupply, one U.S. official said when asked if those aboard needed anything such as food. The official declined to comment on whether the negotiations between the pirates and the shipping company are being monitored.U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers have been deployed within 10 miles of the hijacked vessel and helicopters were circling overhead because of great concern over the possibility of the cargo falling into the wrong hands, Christensen said. At one point on Sunday, the captain of the Faina said a warship was about two miles away.Our goal is to ensure the safety of the crew, to not allow off-loading of dangerous cargo and to make certain Faina can return to legitimate shipping, said Rear Adm. Kendall Card, commander of the task force monitoring the ship.Although analysts say the pirates will likely be unable to unload the tanks, the other military hardware or a huge ransom could exacerbate the two-decade-old civil war in a country where nearly every building is pockmarked with bullet holes and all major civil institutions have crumbled.The U.S. fears the armaments may end up with al-Qaida-linked Islamic insurgents who have been fighting the shaky, U.N.-backed Somali transitional government since late 2006, when they were driven out after six months in power. More than 9,000 people have been killed in the Iraq-style insurgency, most of them civilians.Mark Bellamy, senior fellow in the Africa program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the pirates are more interested in the money than disposing of the cargo.There's theoretically a possibility these weapons can fall into the wrong hands, but what is al-Qaida going to do with tanks in Somalia? he said.

Christensen said the arms shipment was destined for Sudan — not Kenya, which had been claiming to be the arms' destination. We are aware that the actual cargo was intended for Sudan, not Kenya, he said.The 5th Fleet said the ship was headed for the Kenyan port of Mombasa, but that additional reports state the cargo was intended for Sudan.U.N. officials said there is no blanket arms embargo on Sudan's government, but any movement of military equipment and supplies into the Darfur region would violate a U.N. arms embargo if it were not first requested by the government and approved by the Security Council's Sudan sanctions committee.The United States has expressed opposition to all arms transfers to Sudan, which it considers a state sponsor of terrorism. U.S. officials also have warned that the transfer of lethal military equipment to state sponsors of terrorism could lead to sanctions under U.S. law.A Western diplomat in Nairobi, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media, said the shipment was destined for autonomous southern Sudan — not Darfur — and did not violate the embargo. Bellamy said it was not illegal to send weapons to the north or south Sudanese governments. There are lots of ways that weapons can get into Sudan, and this happens to be one boatload, Bellamy said. The bigger thing is this continuing problem of piracy. It's been escalating for three years and they're becoming more brazen and emboldened. They're being paid and they then turn around and step up activities.Jervasio Okot, spokesman for southern Sudan's mission to Kenya, said officials there were surprised to hear reports that the tanks and arms were destined for their region. Our government has no contract for the importation of arms with the Russian or Ukrainian governments, Okot said. U.S. intelligence reports said the cargo's ultimate destination was Sudan and that Kenya was only a transit point, said a Western official in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing classified material. Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Valentyn Mandriyevsky said the ministry was not participating in the arms trade and didn't know where the cargo was bound. A spokesman for Ukraine's arms trader, Ukrspetexport, would not comment. The 5th Fleet said the Faina is owned and operated by Kaalbye Shipping Ukraine. A woman who answered phone at the Odessa-based shipping company and declined to identify herself said the company was not involved with the Faina. Ukrainian and Russian media have said the Faina is operated by Tomex Team, a company based in Odessa. Its representatives have repeatedly declined to comment.

A Russian-based registry indicates the ship, sailing under a Belize flag, is also owned by Tomex Team. It lists the owner as Waterlux AG, with a Panama address but the Odessa phone number of Tomex Team, which it indicates is a subsidiary. Russia dispatched a warship to the area, and it will take about a week to get there. The Neustrashnimy, or Intrepid, was in the Atlantic near the English Channel on Monday and will have to go through the Strait of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal to get to the Somali coast, said Capt. Igor Dygalo, a spokesman for the Russian navy. At the United Nations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the world body should organize a kind of cooperation between the naval forces of the countries that want to make their practical contribution to put an end to piracy in the area of the African Horn.Christensen said the U.S. Navy maintains standard bridge-to-bridge communication with Faina's crew via radio, but stressed that they are not taking part in or facilitating any negotiations. The 21-member crew was from Ukraine, Russia and Latvia. A Latvian Foreign Ministry spokesman said one man from Latvia was a non-citizen, a term authorities typically refer to ethnic Russians who have not obtained Latvian citizenship. There have been 24 reported attacks in Somalia this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center. In June, the U.N. Security Council voted to allow international warships to enter Somali waters to combat the problem, but its 1,880-mile coastline — the longest in Africa — remains virtually unpoliced. Nick Brown, the editor of Jane's International Defense Review, said it was unlikely the pirates would be able to use the tanks without specialized training and mechanics. Mogadishu's arms markets are teeming with heavy weapons — including rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47s and mortars. Associated Press writers Mohamed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu, Somalia, Barbara Surk in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Edith M. Lederer and John Heilprin at the U.N., Pauline Jelinek in Washington, Steve Gutterman in Moscow, Yana Sedova in Kiev, Ukraine, and Katharine Houreld and Tom Maliti in Nairobi contributed to this report.
Web site for USS Howard: http://www.howard.navy.mil/default.aspx


GENESIS 6:11-13
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

2 PETER 2:5
5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

2 PETER 3:7
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men

16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you( sudden) terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.

GENESIS 16:11-12
11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

ISAIAH 33:1,18-19 Woe to thee that spoilest,(destroys) and thou wast not spoiled;(destroyed) and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil,(destroy) thou shalt be spoiled;(destroyed) and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.
18 Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers?
19 Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand.

JOHN 16:2
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.


4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro,(WORLD TRAVEL,IMMIGRATION) and knowledge shall be increased.(COMPUTERS MICROCHIPS ETC)


Terrorists believe now is time to strike America,Hear Brigitte Gabriel's hourlong interview with Barbara Simpson on KSFO September 25, 2008 8:00 pm Easter 2008 WorldNetDaily

The war on terror theme has receded during the 2008 election battle as the Wall Street economic crisis is raising alarms across the nation, but author Brigitte Gabriel, an expert on terrorism, is warning that for Americans not to pay attention to the threat – and act now – the future will include a price tag no one wants to pay.Some [terrorists] are talking that this is the time to strike, while America is down, she said during an hourlong interview with KSFO's Barbara Simpson that addresses Gabriel's new book, They Must Be Stopped.She warned that war with radical Islam is inevitable and, Things have not gotten any better since Sept. 11, 2001.

Look across the globe, Gabriel said. We see the rise of Islamofascism faster than [any time] in the past 30 years. … We are seeing capitulation to Muslim demands. The Western public is at the tipping point. We're heading in the wrong direction. We must wake up very soon and start resisting.She cited the recent approval in Great Britain for Islamic law to be used to settle some legal issues.Who would have thought? she asked.Her New York Times best-selling book suggests survival may depend on throwing out those politically correct notions about Islam and taking action.

She explains how:

Fundamentalist Islam is a religion rooted in 7th century teachings that are fundamentally opposed to democracy and equality.Radical Islamists are utterly contemptuous of all infidels (non-Muslims) and regard them as enemies worthy of death.Madrassas in America are increasing in number, and they are just one part of a growing radical Islamic army on U.S. soil.Radical Islam exploits the U.S. legal system and America's protection of religion to spread its hatred for western values.

America must organize a unified voice that says enough to political correctness, and demands that government officials and elected representatives do whatever is necessary to protect us. Here, also, is your chance to listen to the full interview, where Gabriel can do more than give a soundbite and a bumper sticker slogan:
Gabriel's book, according to American Jihad author Steve Emerson, is riveting, compelling and spellbinding. This is a must read for the entire American public.A compelling and captivating personal story with a powerful lesson about threats to freedom in our time, said R. James Woolsey, director of Central Intelligence from 1993-1995.There is a threat. We must do something about it. We must stop them, Gabriel said.Earlier, in an interview with WND columnist Larry Elder that was documented in two parts, Because they hate, and Because they hate, part 2, Gabriel said al-Qaida already is inside the U.S., as is Hezbollah.We estimate thousands have already been smuggled into America. ... Hamas is here. ... They have cells in over 40 states. ... We also need to reform our immigration and visa programs. We need to monitor who is coming into our country and why. ... We need to increase human intelligence. … I want everyone who fits the terrorist profile to be profiled. We have men between the ages of 16 and 40 who have committed terrorist acts around the world in the name of Islam. They are not little old ladies from Ohio with blue hair. They are not children going to Disney World on their Easter vacation, she said.Elder asked: What happens if a Democrat wins the 2008 election? We are doomed. Our enemies want the Democrats to win. This last election, jihadist websites were playing victory songs and declaring the Democrats are our allies in the war against America, she said.

FROM JOSEPH FARAH'S G2 BULLETIN New al-Qaida threat: Thermobaric bombs
Packs power like a nuke, but easier to build, blow up September 29, 2008
5:40 pm Eastern 2008 WorldNetDaily

Massive destruction from Islamabad terrorist attack

Investigators now believe the bombing on Sep. 21 that killed dozens and left massive damage at the Islamabad Marriott, including a gaping hole in the ground in front of the building, was a crude form of a device that intensifies and enhances an explosive – a thermobaric bomb, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.The bomb was delivered in a truck that contained what investigators believe was aluminum powder in addition to grenades and artillery shells. The aluminum power is believed to have been responsible for the acceleration and expansion of the impact of the bomb.While barriers around the hotel kept the truck bomb at some distance from the structure, the devastation indicated that there had to be something capable of raising the devastation level considerably.The blast was thought to be targeting Americans, since the hotel is a central location for U.S. personnel including intelligence agents to meet outside the U.S. embassy. The hotel also is a temporary residence for U.S. personnel staying in the country.Some five dozen people, including U.S. government employees, were killed by the truck bomb which was said to include more than a ton of explosives.If this analysis of the presence of aluminum powder is confirmed, it means that terrorists with the capability can make such bombs without detection, since all ingredients are off-the-shelf.

Al-Qaida and related terrorist groups such as the Tehrik-e-Taliban of Pakistan are thought to have made the attack on the Islamabad Marriott hotel. If that is accurate, then by extension al-Qaida has developed an ability to fashion thermobaric bombs of huge potential.Thermobaric bombs … may be emerging as a weapon of choice for terrorists, declared Tom Burky, an explosives export at the Ohio-based Bastille defense research institute.Burky pointed out that thermobaric bombs are meant to take out big buildings and cave complexes where metal fragmentations from traditional bombs don't work well. He added that thermobaric blasts can push around corners and down corridors or deep inside caves.When an explosion occurs in a bomb using aluminum powder as in the Islamabad Marriott hotel blast, metal powder creates a fireball as it contacts the air.

EU extends nuclear co-operation with India
VALENTINA POP 29.09.2008 @ 18:17 CET

The European Union has extended its civil nuclear co-operation with India in a move championed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is expected to sign a bilateral deal with the Indian prime minister on Tuesday (30 September).The move, which comes despite India not being a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, echoes a similar agreement signed between the Asian country and the United States.The development was announced following a EU-India summit in Marseille on Monday (29 September). Additionally, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hailed a joint action plan on climate change sealed with India, adding that civil nuclear co-operation would be extended with the Asian country on nuclear fusion.Mr Barroso said that India is to be part of the ITER group of nations, an international project aimed at developing a viable fusion power reactor in France, at a site near Marseille where the summit took place.Mr Barroso also stresed that the EU would like to see reinforced co-operation between EURATOM and India on nuclear safety and research. I think the time has come to sit down and reflect and pick up on existing civil nuclear co-operation work – specifically on scientific co-operation.

For his part, following the summit, President Sarkozy said that France supports the development of India's civil nuclear technology sector as part of its efforts to fight the effects of climate change.I can't see how we can tell India to participate in fighting climate change without civil nuclear energy when we know it is the cleanest form of energy – it makes no sense, Mr Sarkozy said.He added that on Tuesday he will host Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a bilateral summit, and in all likelihood we shall discuss this matter and take decisions.Mr Singh also expressed confidence that he would sign a bilateral agreement with Mr Sarkozy on Tuesday, with the Indian domestic civil nuclear market representing an estimated €20 billion for French investors.According to Amit Mitra, general secretary of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, India needs 60,000 megawatts of extra capacity for nuclear energy. This requires an investment of €97 billion over the next 15 years.I expect France to carry 25 per cent of these investments, he added.In August, the Indian atomic energy agency pre-selected the US-based Westinghouse Electric Company, the US-Japanese operation General Electric-Hitachi, France's Areva and the Russia's Rosatom for possible commercial contracts, once the political agreements are signed.

Competition with US and Russia

India seeks co-operation with all countries of the world in matters relating to the promotion of civil nuclear technology in our country, Prime Minister Singh told journalists after the EU-India summit in Marseille, highlighting a bilateral political agreement permitting the sale of civilian nuclear material already sealed with the Bush administration, which is currently being considered by the country's Congress.The deal requires congressional approval because US law prohibits nuclear sales to countries who have not signed the nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The deal was signed after the Nuclear Suppliers Group - international overseers of nuclear commerce - agreed to it even though India is not a signatory to any of the key global non-proliferation pacts. Energy-hungry India, which has 17 nuclear power plants, was blacklisted for 35 years by the global atomic commerce community as punishment for its nuclear-weapons tests.Russia is also seen as a competitor for the EU on the Indian civil nuclear market.Russia has always supported our desire to develop nuclear technology. Following the lifting of the sanctions, we count on broadening our co-operation with this country, especially in the field of building nuclear plants and scientific exchange, Anil Kakodkar, the head of the Indian Atomic Agency told RIA Novosti on Monday.

Iran, NKorea under fire over nuclear activity at IAEA meet by Simon Morgan
Mon Sep 29, 1:49 PM ET

VIENNA (AFP) - Iran and North Korea both came under fire over their contested nuclear activities on the first day of the UN atomic watchdog's general conference here Monday. During the opening debate of the week-long meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the European Union, Britain, and Japan all lambasted Tehran and Pyongyang.The international community cannot accept the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, French minister and government spokesman, Luc Chatel, told the IAEA's 145 member countries, speaking on behalf of the EU.And the Japanese government's special envoy, Matsuda Iwao, warned that "the nuclear development undertaken by the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) is a threat to peace and security of not only Japan, but also of East Asia and the entire international community.IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei had already expressed similar concerns with regard to both countries during his opening address.I urge Iran to implement all the transparency measures ... required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme at the earliest possible date, ElBaradei said.This will be good for Iran, good for the Middle East region and good for the whole world.

And of North Korea, ElBaradei said: I still hope that conditions can be created for the DPRK to return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the earliest possible date.The IAEA has been investigating Tehran's nuclear activities for the past six years, but has so far been unable to determine whether they are purely peaceful as Tehran claims.In the case of North Korea, Pyongyang announced last week it was preparing to restart a nuclear reprocessing plant used to make weapons-grade material, asking the IAEA to remove seals and surveillance equipment and barring agency inspectors from the site.British Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said: We look to the North Korean authorities to take the earliest opportunities to resume cooperation with the agency and to implement its commitment to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear programme.Under a six-country pact announced in February 2007, North Korea agreed to disable and dismantle key nuclear facilities and allow inspectors to return in return for one million tonnes of fuel aid and its removal from a US list of countries supporting terrorism.But North Korea announced last month it had halted the process in protest at Washington's refusal to drop it from the blacklist as had been promised.Allegations that Syria was similarly engaged in illicit nuclear work also came up for discussion.French minister Chatel said the EU was concerned that Syria had not yet responded to IAEA requests to visit suspect nuclear sites and he urged Damascus to provide all the access requested and reply to all the agency's questions.The United States has alleged Syria was building a covert nuclear facility at a remote desert site called Al-Kibar until it was destroyed by Israeli bombs in September 2007.Damascus allowed a three-member team from the IAEA to visit Al-Kibar in June, but has since refused any follow-up visit.Iran and Syria are in the spotlight at this year's general conference because they are seen as possible candidates for a seat on the IAEA's 35-member board following the expiry of Pakistan's one-year term. The seat is to be allocated to another country within the so-called Middle East and South Asia (MESA) group. But with both Iran and Syria currently in the dock over their purported clandestine nuclear work, the nomination of either by MESA would almost certainly run into resistance and could even go to a vote -- unprecedented at the general conference which traditionally decides by consensus.

Tehran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, was the last speaker to take the podium on Monday and he accused the United States of using the IAEA for its own political ends. He insisted that UN sanctions would have no effect on (Iran's) determination to pursue peaceful nuclear activities, including enrichment.IAEA chief ElBaradei warned that the agency's work was being impeded by poor funding. Years of zero (real) growth budgets have left us with a failing infrastructure, he said. This is not just about money. We do not work in a political vacuum. Political commitment to the goals of the agency needs to be renewed at the highest level, ElBaradei said. It would be a tragedy of epic proportions if we fail to act (for lack of resources) until after a nuclear conflagration, accident or terrorist attack that could have been prevented.


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