Saturday, January 03, 2009
STORMS - ISRAEL STILL WINNING
EU sending two Middle East peace missions
PHILIPPA RUNNER 02.01.2009 @ 09:30 CET
The new Czech EU presidency and France will next week send two overlapping peace missions to the Middle East, amid sensitivities on Prague's capability to lead Europe.Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek told national TV on Thursday (1 January) that an EU delegation will visit Egypt, Israel, Palestine's West Bank and Jordan early next week to try to broker a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war. Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg will lead the team, comprising French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, EU top diplomat Javier Solana and external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. The trip comes at the same time as French President and outgoing EU chairman Nicolas Sarkozy's mission to Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, with the Schwarzenberg and Sarkozy delegations to hold a joint meeting with Palestine President Mahmud Abbas in the West Bank on Monday.Mr Sarkozy on Thursday - the first official day of the Czech EU presidency - also met Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni in Paris to push for an end to hostilities.It is up to the European Union to take over the initiative [on the Middle East], Mr Topolanek said on the Czech TV show. I spoke with [Mr Sarkozy] for a long time and we dealt with the problem [of the overlapping trips] in detail.
The Elysee Palace said the two leaders had agreed perfect co-ordination regarding their efforts on visits to the region during a phone call in which Mr Sarkozy also pledged French support for the Czech EU presidency.The niceties come after the French EU presidency in October annoyed Prague by suggesting Mr Sarkozy should stay on as a quasi-EU president in charge of co-ordinating eurozone member state policy.
EU and French officials in anonymous statements to press have questioned the Czech Republic's capability to lead the EU on big foreign policy issues, citing eurosceptic Czech President Vaclav Klaus as an example of the country's unruly political scene. Mr Klaus in a New Year statement on Thursday took a conciliatory tone on Europe. He urged people to vote in the European Parliament elections and said the Czech EU chairmanship is a chance to influence the EU and build a truly democratic space.
Gaza violence continues
Meanwhile, the Sarkozy-Livni meeting in Paris failed to see Israel move closer to EU calls for a ceasefire.Here [in Europe] there is an impression that Israel does not want a ceasefire. That is not the issue, Ms Livni said on French TV. Our ability to enter into a ceasefire is linked to a halt by Hamas of rocket attacks on our Israeli citizens.Fighting continued early on Friday morning. Four Hamas rockets hit the Israeli town of Ashkelon, wounding two people, while Israeli jets bombed 15 Hamas-linked houses, killing two and wounding 12.Palestine says 425 people have been killed over the past seven days, with over 2,000 wounded. Four people have died on the Israeli side.
Bush: Hamas attacks on Israel an act of terror By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer JAN 03,09
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush on Friday branded the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel an act of terror and outlined his own condition for a cease-fire in Gaza, saying no peace deal would be acceptable without monitoring to halt the flow of smuggled weapons to terrorist groups.Bush chose his weekly taped radio address to speak for the first time about one of the bloodiest Mideast clashes in decades. It began a week ago. Israeli warplanes have rained bombs on Gaza, targeting the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has traumatized southern Israel with intensifying rocket attacks.The United States is leading diplomatic efforts to achieve a meaningful cease-fire that is fully respected, Bush said. Another one-way cease-fire that leads to rocket attacks on Israel is not acceptable. And promises from Hamas will not suffice — there must be monitoring mechanisms in place to help ensure that smuggling of weapons to terrorist groups in Gaza comes to an end.The White House released Bush's radio address a day early. It airs on Saturday morning.
Despite Bush's account of a U.S. leadership role, with time running out on his presidency, the administration seemed increasingly ready Friday to let the crisis in Gaza shift to President-elect Barack Obama. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice briefed Bush on developments in Gaza, and she continued furious telephone diplomacy to arrange a truce. Yet, she said she had no plans to make an emergency visit to the region.More than 400 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed in the latest offensive. The U.N. estimated Friday that a quarter of the Palestinians killed were civilians. In their waning days in power, Bush and Rice have been working the phones with world allies.Bush offered no criticism of Israel, depicting the country's air assaults as a response to the attacks on its people. The White House will not comment on whether it views the Israeli response as proportionate or not to the scope of rockets attacks on Israel.This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas — a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel's destruction, Bush said.The president said Hamas ultimately ended the latest cease-fire on Dec. 19 and soon unleashed a barrage of rockets and mortars that deliberately targeted innocent Israelis — an act of terror that is opposed by the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people, President (Mahmoud) Abbas.Hamas-run Gaza has been largely isolated from the rest of the world since the Islamic militants won parliamentary elections in 2006. Then Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, expelling forces loyal to the moderate Abbas.Bush expressed deep concern about the humanitarian suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza. U.N. officials say Gaza's 1.5 million residents face an alarming situation under constant Israeli bombardment, with hospitals overcrowded and both fuel and food supplies growing scarce.By spending its resources on rocket launchers instead of roads and schools, Hamas has demonstrated that it has no intention of serving the Palestinian people, Bush said. America has helped by providing tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid, and this week we contributed an additional $85 million through the United Nations. We have consistently called on all in the region to ensure that assistance reaches those in need.The White House has cautiously said Israel must be mindful of the toll its military strikes will have on civilians. Here, too, Bush blamed Hamas for hiding within the civilian population. Regrettably, Palestinian civilians have been killed in recent days, he said.International calls for a cease-fire have been growing. Bush promised to stay engaged with U.S. partners in the Middle East and Europe and keep Obama updated. Obama is receiving the same intelligence reports on Gaza that Bush is.Rice has spoken to both Obama and his choice for secretary of state, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, about the situation at least once in the last week. Obama and Clinton have remained mum out of deference to Bush, who still has 18 days in office.There have been growing calls for Rice to intervene with Israel in person amid rising international concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza. Her decision to stay away will likely disappoint those calling for a more robust U.S. role, particularly as French President Nicolas Sarkozy intends visit the region next week.In recent days, U.S. officials had said that a Rice trip to the Middle East, as a first stop on a long-planned visit to China next week, was under consideration. But those officials said Friday that Rice would stay in Washington. They spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement is not expected before the weekend.Associated Press writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.
Israeli assault on Gaza enters 2nd week with no end in sight by Adel Zaanoun
GAZA CITY (AFP) – Israeli warplanes continued to pound Gaza on Saturday as the assault on Hamas entered its second week, with the Islamist group's leader warning of a black destiny if ground troops are sent in.Hamas's Syrian-based chief Khaled Meshaal told Israel that if you commit the stupidity of launching a ground offensive then a black destiny awaits you.You will soon find out that Gaza is the wrath of God, Meshaal said in pre-taped remarks as the death toll rose from bombing and concerns grew about the humanitarian situation in the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory.The United States gave Israel free rein on whether to invade the overcrowded enclave, insisting that the key to a ceasefire is Israel's demand for Hamas to permanently halt rocket fire.So I think any steps they are taking, whether it's from the air or on the ground or anything of that nature, are part and parcel of the same operation, said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe.Those will be decisions made by the Israelis.President George W. Bush, meanwhile, urged all able parties to press Hamas to stop firing on Israel to facilitate a lasting ceasefire.
The United States is leading diplomatic efforts to achieve a meaningful ceasefire that is fully respected, Bush said in his weekly Saturday radio address, the text of which was released late on Friday.I urge all parties to pressure Hamas to turn away from terror, and to support legitimate Palestinian leaders working for peace.Bush said Hamas was responsible for the latest violence and rejected a unilateral ceasefire that would allow Hamas to continue to fire on Israel.This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas -- a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel's destruction, Bush said.Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with senior ministers as tanks and troops stood at the ready on the Gaza border.A missile fired by an Israeli jet slammed into a house in southern Gaza, killing three boys, aged from seven to 10. It was one of more than 58 fresh raids carried out on Friday.A 12-year-old girl died of her wounds after the bombing of a house near Gaza City belonging to a member of Islamic Jihad, and two gunmen from the armed wing of Hamas were killed in Jabaliya after firing rockets, medics said.On Saturday, an army spokesman said air attacks on Hamas infrastructure were continuing into the predawn hours.At the same time, the armed wing of Hamas said it had repelled a patrol of Israeli special forces attempting to cross the border into Gaza.
A spokesman said the army was not familiar with the incident, adding that no soldiers had crossed into Gaza since the beginning of the air campaign on December 27.Since then, at least 435 people have been killed, including 66 children, and 2,150 wounded, according to Gaza medics. The bombardment has demolished dozens of houses and heightened concern over the humanitarian situation in Gaza, where most of the 1.5million residents depend on foreign aid. The protection of civilians, the fabric of life, the future of the peace talks and of the regional peace process has been trapped between the irresponsibility of the Hamas attacks and the excessiveness of the Israeli response, Robert Serry, the UN envoy for the Middle East, told reporters in Jerusalem. M ax Gaylard, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, said there is a critical emergency in the Gaza Strip right now ... By any definition this is a humanitarian crisis and more.Thousands of Hamas faithful attended the funeral of Nizar Rayan -- a firebrand hardliner who was killed with his four wives and 11 children on Thursday. Hamas vowed to avenge the death of the most senior Hamas leader killed by Israel since Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi in 2004 and warned that it could resume suicide attacks against Israel for the first time since January 2005. Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Gaza and the occupied West Bank after Hamas called for a day of wrath. Police fired tear gas at rock-throwing youths in annexed east Jerusalem. With a ground offensive widely expected and no ceasefire in sight, the Israeli army opened a border crossing to allow an estimated 400 people with foreign passports to leave Gaza. Hamas fired more than 30 rockets into Israel, but no casualties were reported. Militants have fired more than 360 rockets into Israel over seven days, killing four people and wounding dozens more. The offensive has sparked angry protests in the Muslim world and elsewhere across the globe and defied diplomatic efforts to broker a truce.
Israel lets Palestinians flee; UN warns of crisis By ARON HELLER and IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writers JAN 2,09
EREZ CROSSING, Israel – Israel allowed several hundred Palestinians with foreign passports to flee Gaza on Friday, even as its warplanes bombed a mosque it said was used to store weapons and destroyed homes of more than a dozen Hamas operatives.The evacuees told of crippling shortages of water, electricity and medicine, echoing a U.N. warning of a deepening humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip in the seven-day-old Israeli campaign. The U.N. estimates at least a quarter of the 400 Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes on Hamas militants were civilians.Jawaher Hajji, a 14-year-old U.S. citizen who was allowed to cross into Israel, said her uncle was one of them — killed while trying to pick up some medicine for her cancer-stricken father. She said her father later died of his illness.They are supposed to destroy just the Hamas, but people in their homes are dying too, Hajji, who has relatives in Virginia, said at the Erez border crossing between Gaza and Israel.
President George W. Bush on Friday branded the Hamas rocket attacks an act of terror, while Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Hamas' leaders of holding the people of Gaza hostage.The Hamas has used Gaza as a launching pad for rockets against Israeli cities, and has contributed deeply to a very bad daily life for the Palestinian people in Gaza and to a humanitarian situation that we have all been trying to address, she said.International calls for a cease-fire have been growing, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected in the region next week.Bush said no peace deal would be acceptable without monitoring to halt the flow of smuggled weapons to terrorist groups.The United States is leading diplomatic efforts to achieve a meaningful cease-fire that is fully respected, Bush said Friday in his weekly radio address, released a day early. Another one-way cease-fire that leads to rocket attacks on Israel is not acceptable. And promises from Hamas will not suffice — there must be monitoring mechanisms in place to help ensure that smuggling of weapons to terrorist groups in Gaza comes to an end.Israel has targeted Hamas leaders in the past but halted the practice during a six-month truce that expired last month. Most of Hamas' leaders went into hiding at the start of the Israeli offensive on Dec. 27.Israeli troops in bases in southern Israel are awaiting orders to invade Gaza.Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, speaking in Syria, warned that any ground assault would lead Israel to a black destiny of dead and wounded.However, he said Hamas was ready to cooperate with any effort leading to an end to the Israeli offensive against Gaza, lifting the seige and opening all crossings.Israel appears to be open to the intense diplomatic efforts by Arab and European leaders, saying it would consider stopping its punishing aerial assaults if international monitors were brought in to track compliance with any truce with Hamas.
Israel began its campaign to try to halt weeks of intensifying Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza. The offensive has dealt a heavy blow to Hamas but has not stopped the rockets, which continue to strike deeper and deeper into Israel. Three Israeli civilians and one soldier have been killed in the rocket attacks.More than 30 rockets were fired into southern Israel on Friday, slightly injuring four. Sirens warning Israelis to take cover when military radar picks up an incoming rocket have helped reduce casualties in recent days.Israeli TV showed video of a table set for the traditional Sabbath meal covered with shrapnel and broken glass.After destroying Hamas' security compounds early in the operation, Israel has turned its attention to the group's leadership. Israeli warplanes on Friday hit about 20 houses believed to belong to Hamas militants and members of other armed groups, Palestinians said.
Israel also bombed a mosque it said was used to store weapons. The mosque was known as a Hamas stronghold and was identified with Nizar Rayan, the Hamas militant leader killed Thursday when Israel dropped a one-ton bomb on his home. Rayan, 49, ranked among Hamas' top five decision-makers. The explosion killed 20 people, including all four of Rayan's wives and 11 of his children. Israel's military said the bombing of Rayan's house triggered secondary explosions from the weapons stockpile there. Fear of Israeli attacks led to sparse turnout at Friday's communal prayers at mosques throughout Gaza. Still, thousands attended a memorial service for Rayan, with throngs praying over the rubble of his home and the nearby destroyed mosque. An imam delivered his sermon over a car loudspeaker as the bodies of Rayan and other family members were covered in green Hamas flags. Explosions from Israeli airstrikes and the sound of warplanes could be heard. Following the prayers, mourners marched with the bodies, with many people reaching out to touch and kiss them. The Palestinian resistance will not forget and will not forgive, said Hamas lawmaker Mushir Masri. The resistance's response will be very painful.Israel also destroyed homes of more than a dozen Hamas operatives. Most appeared to be empty, but one man was killed in a strike in the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Fourteen other Palestinians died Friday — killed in airstrikes or dying of wounds from earlier violence, officials said. Among them were two teenagers as well as three children — two brothers and their cousin — who were playing in southern Gaza, according to Health Ministry official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain. Maxwell Gaylard, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinians Territories, said 2,000 people have been wounded in the past week and a significant number of the dead were women and children. There is a critical emergency right now in the Gaza Strip, he said. The U.N. World Food Program began distributing bread in Gaza to Palestinian families. It said there had been a drastic deterioration in living conditions, with shortages of food, cooking gas and fuel, as well as frequent power cuts. Israel denies there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and has increased its shipments of goods into Gaza. It says it has confined its attacks to militants while trying to prevent civilian casualties. The military has called some houses ahead of time to warn inhabitants of an impending attack. In some cases, aircraft also fired sound bombs to warn away civilians before flattening the homes with their missiles, Palestinians and Israeli defense officials said.
Israeli planes also dropped leaflets east of Gaza giving a confidential phone number and e-mail address for people to report locations of rocket squads. Residents appeared to ignore the leaflets. In all, Israel allowed 270 Palestinians to cross the border from Gaza to flee the fighting. The evacuees all held foreign passports, and were expected to join their families in the U.S., Russia, Turkey, Norway, Belarus, Kazakhstan and elsewhere. Nashwa Hajji, Jawaher's 13-year-old younger sister, said her family left their home following Israeli warnings, but others refused. People said, We don't want to go. We will die where we are, she said. The Hajji family was notified Thursday by the U.S. consulate that it was being evacuated. After crossing Erez, they and others boarded buses taking them to Amman, Jordan. Hajji said she, her mother and five siblings would fly to Virginia from there. The State Department said it had assisted 27 U.S. citizens and members of their immediate families to leave Gaza on Friday and make their way to Jordan and stood ready to help others. Department officials said earlier this week they were aware of roughly 30 Americans in Gaza but that there could be others. Many of the evacuees were foreign-born women married to Palestinians and their children. Spouses who did not hold foreign citizenship were not allowed out. I feel happy and sad, said Caroline Katba, 15, A Russian citizen. Happy, because I am going to Russia, and sad, because my father is left behind.Heller reported from the Erez Crossing, Barzak from Gaza City.
Hamas warns it is ready to confront Gaza invasion Fri Jan 2, 8:27 PM
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) - Hamas's top leader warned Israel its army would be defeated if it invaded the Gaza Strip, while the United States said it envisioned a ceasefire with international monitoring that would ensure the Islamist group could not rearm.
Israeli armored forces remained poised on the Gaza border for a possible ground operation, a week after Israel launched devastating air strikes with the declared aim of ending rocket attacks on its southern towns.Gaza medical officials put the Palestinian casualty toll at least 429 dead and 2,000 wounded.A United Nations agency said more than a quarter of those killed in the Gaza Strip were civilians. A leading Palestinian human rights group put the figure at 40 percent.Four Israelis have been killed by Palestinian rockets since Israel's offensive began, including longer-range weapons that have hit the port of Ashdod and the desert town of Beersheba, forcing schools to shut and residents to scurry for shelter.In Damascus, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal sounded a defiant note in a televised speech.We are ready for the challenge, this battle was imposed on us and we are confident we will achieve victory because we have made our preparations, Meshaal said.A Palestinian official has told Reuters that Egypt had begun exploratory talks with Hamas to stop the fighting.U.S. President George W. Bush, in his first public comments on the hostilities that erupted less than a month before he leaves office, said: Another one-way ceasefire that leads to rocket attacks on Israel is not acceptable.And promises from Hamas will not suffice -- there must be monitoring mechanisms in place to help ensure that smuggling of weapons to terrorist groups in Gaza comes to an end, he said in remarks prepared for his weekly Saturday radio address, which was released Friday.The United States has demanded Hamas, which Israel says has been smuggling weapons through tunnels under Gaza's border with Egypt, take the first step by halting rocket attacks on Israel.In the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, 1.5 million Palestinians are unable to escape the conflict. Residents face bombs, missiles and flickering electricity, and queue for bread along streets littered with broken glass and other debris.Ten Palestinians were killed Friday in more than 30 Israeli air strikes. Seven of them were civilians, including five children, local medics said.One missile killed three Palestinian children aged between eight and 12 as they played on a street near the town of Khan Yunis in the south of the strip. One was decapitated.Islamist fighters fired rockets at Israel's ancient port of Ashkelon, blowing out windows in an apartment building. Another house took a direct hit from a long-range missile later in the day, and cars were set ablaze.
Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been engaged in telephone diplomacy during the past week, talking with leaders in the Middle East and Europe, including Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Earlier Friday the White House said Israel must decide for itself whether to go into the Gaza Strip with ground forces but it cautioned any actions should avoid civilian casualties and ensure the flow of humanitarian goods.Hamas is believed to have 25,000 fighters. Its men have been maintaining a vigil along the Israeli frontier, observing army movements on the other side and broadcasting messages in Hebrew over field radios telling their enemy they are not afraid.In his remarks, Bush expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and said the United States had offered $85 million to relief efforts this week.Meshaal urged Arabs to step up aid and to send medical teams. He said European and Arab countries had contacted Hamas to discuss ending the fighting but he did not name them.Israel has been allowing about 90 truckloads of food and medicine to enter the Gaza Strip daily, saying its enemy was Hamas, not the Palestinian people. Israel tightened its blockade of the territory after Hamas seized the enclave in fighting against Abbas's Fatah group in 2007.We will not rest until we destroy the Zionist entity, said Hamas leader Fathi Hammad at the funeral of Nizar Rayyan, a senior Hamas leader who was killed along with four wives and 11 children in an air strike Thursday.Bracing for protests and retaliatory violence, Israel sealed off the occupied West Bank to deny entry to most Palestinians and beefed up security at checkpoints.(Additional reporting by Adam Entous, Allyn Fisher-Ilan and Ori Lewis in Jerusalem and Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington, Writing by Jeffrey Heller and Douglas Hamilton, Editing by Giles Elgood)
TSX gains 2 percent as oil leads the way Fri Jan 2, 3:06 PM
TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index soared more than 2 percent on Friday afternoon as strength in the energy sector, supported by the rising price of crude, led the way higher.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 201.30 points, or 2.24 percent, at 9,189.00. Nine of the index's 10 main groups were higher, with consumer staples the lone group lower.(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson)
EU calls crisis talks as Russian gas flow dwindles By Dmitry Zhdannikov and Sabina Zawadzki – Fri Jan 2, 5:03 pm ET
MOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) – European countries began to suffer from reduced gas supplies on Friday after Russia cut deliveries to Ukraine in a contract dispute.The Czech Presidency of the European Union said it would call a crisis meeting of envoys in Brussels on Monday and demanded that existing gas supply deals be honored.We feel that the situation has now escalated to a point that substantiates an extraordinary meeting, Czech presidency spokesman Radek Honzak said. Talks would also probably be called soon with Moscow, another spokesman said.Energy relations between the EU and its neighbors should be based on reliability and predictability, the presidency said in a statement.Existing commitments to supply and transit have to be honored under all circumstances.Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing gas in transit. Gas importers in Romania, Hungary and Poland said pressure on their pipelines had dropped.Gas inflows from import fell by 30 to 40 percent ... This is because of Ukraine's dispute with Russia, Romania's state-controlled pipeline operator Transgaz director Ioan Rusu told Reuters by telephone.There were similar reports of less steep supply falls from Budapest and Warsaw.Pressure started to decline at 1500 GMT. Pressure is declining continuously. However, the drop has not yet reached a critical level, Edina Lakatos, a spokeswoman for the Hungarian energy company MOL's natural gas transmission subsidiary, said.Ukraine's state energy firm Naftogaz denied it was illegally siphoning off Russian gas.
Gazprom's accusation suggested Moscow was in no mood for compromise in a re-run of a 2006 argument that led to supply shortages across the EU.The Ukrainian side openly admits it is stealing gas and is not ashamed of this, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said, adding that Gazprom had increased exports to Europe via an alternative route -- Belarus.Poland said deliveries from Ukraine had dropped six percent but were being made up by deliveries through Belarus.The change in deliveries is not being felt by Polish natural gas consumers, said gas operator Gaz System and gas monopoly PGNiG in a joint statement.
NEW DOUBTS ABOUT RUSSIA
The European Union -- which receives a fifth of its gas via pipelines through Ukraine -- had initially said it considered the dispute between Moscow and Kiev to be a bilateral issue.The row could raise new doubts about Moscow's reliability as an energy supplier and fuel suspicions in the West -- already running high since Russia's war with Georgia last August -- that the Kremlin policy us to bully pro-Western neighbors.Russia denies politics are behind the dispute and says it is about prices and debts, but the two ex-Soviet neighbors have clashed over a drive by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko to take his country into the NATO alliance.
Earlier on Friday, energy firms in Germany, Bulgaria and Turkey said their supplies were unaffected. Europe, where temperatures fell below freezing overnight, has enough gas stockpiled to manage without Russian supplies for several days but could face difficulties if any disruption stretched into weeks, analysts said. Talks between Naftogaz and Gazprom have not resumed since they collapsed two days ago. If they do restart, the negotiators will have to bridge huge differences. Alexei Miller, CEO of Gazprom, said on Thursday he wanted Ukraine to pay $418 per 1,000 cubic meters (tcm) of gas, compared with the $179.50 Kiev paid in 2008. Ukraine says the most it can afford to pay is $235. Gazprom charges about $500/tcm to customers in the European Union, though that is likely to fall by up to half this year. Gas prices track oil and crude has plummeted in value. Gas markets in northwest Europe seemed unconcerned about the supply outlook over the next few days, with prices falling in Britain and Belgium on expectations of warmer weather. I guess everyone expects it (the Russia-Ukraine row) to be resolved fairly soon and if it's resolved over the next day or so then it shouldn't cause any problems, there is plenty of storage to cover things as well, one UK gas trader said.
Manufacturing index drops to 28-year low By ELLEN SIMON, AP Business Writer – Fri Jan 2, 4:53 pm ET
NEW YORK – Signs grew that the economy could turn even weaker in 2009, as an index of December manufacturing activity sank to its lowest point in 28 years. Every corner of the sector was down, from bakeries to cigarette-makers to aluminum smelters.The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said Friday its manufacturing index fell to 32.4 in December, a greater-than-expected decline from November's reading of 36.2. Wall Street economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected the reading to fall to 35.5.Components of the index hit historic lows. New orders fell to their lowest level on records going back to 1948. Prices fell as the number of respondents saying they had paid more in December than in November sank to its lowest monthly reading since 1949.A reading below 50 for the overall index indicates contraction. The index, based on a survey of the institute's members, has fallen steadily for the last five months as the economy deteriorated.December's reading is the lowest since June 1980, when the economy was near the end of a six-month recession.If December's rate of manufacturing activity were to persist for 2009, the nation's gross domestic product would show a 2.7 percent contraction, said Norbert Ore, chairman of the group's business survey committee. GDP, the broadest measure of economic activity, decreased at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in the third quarter of 2008, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.An increasingly constrained consumer, deepening woes for the housing sector, and a desire to pare inventories will all continue to weigh heavily on domestic demand, said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., an economics consulting firm in New York. Overall U.S. manufacturing output, which has been shrinking since late 2007 and losing momentum at a more rapid rate recently, is likely to be even weaker in coming quarters.Only three recessions in the history of the index have showed weaker manufacturing readings, said John Ryding, of RDQ Economics. Those recessions were in 1948 to 1949, 1973 to 1975 and 1980.
The U.S. weakness is part of a worldwide slowdown. China's manufacturing sector, which accounts for 43 percent of the economy, contracted for a fifth straight month in December. Singapore said its economy shrank in the fourth quarter, and South Korea said its exports fell 17.4 percent in December. With European manufacturing indexes also dropping, the case for a massive global fiscal stimulus continues to grow, Ryding said.Investors shrugged off the grim report on the new year's first day of trading, eager to start fresh after the losses of 2008. Stocks closed higher, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 258.30 to 9,034.69. Broader indexes were also higher.As the economy sputters through a recession that began in December 2007, no industry is proving resistant. No sector reported overall growth in December. Also, none reported growth in new orders, production, employment or prices, as businesses from tobacco to coal products to foodmakers saw declines.Declining prices, coming after the summer's soaring market for commodities, have sent manufacturers — especially in chemicals and metals — reeling.Century Aluminum last month cut production at a West Virginia plant and said that it might have to cease production at the plant entirely unless it cuts costs and prices stabilize. LyondellBasell Industries, the third-largest independent chemical company in the world, said Wednesday that while several lenders had allowed it to postpone $160 million in loan payments, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing might still be an option.
The summer's commodity bubble was devastating for many food processors. Pilgrim's Pride Corp., the nation's largest chicken producer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Dec. 1.With the overall unemployment rate at 6.7 percent in November, the highest in 15 years, manufacturing continues to be one of the hardest hit sectors. The sector lost 85,000 jobs between October and November, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More losses are expected in coming months as demand continues to be weak.The purchasing managers' employment index showed its lowest reading since 1982 as manufacturers across industries continue to cut jobs.Western Digital Corp., which makes computer hard drives, said in December it plans to cut 2,500 jobs. The drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said in December it would cut 800 jobs by the end of 2008.Automotive supplier Visteon Corp. said Friday it will shift more than 2,000 workers to a four-day week and cut their pay by 20 percent as auto sales continue to founder. General Motors Corp. on Wednesday received the first tranche of $9.4 billion in low-cost loans from the U.S. Treasury, part of a package designed to keep ailing automakers in business.
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.(TR 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).
Sarkozy's Diplomatic Mission to the Middle East By BRUCE CRUMLEY / PARIS – Fri Jan 2, 8:30 pm ET
AP Although France relinquished the rotating presidency of the European Union with the New Year, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is showing no signs of surrendering diplomatic center stage. As Israel's offensive on Gaza continues, Sarkozy announced on Thursday that he will visit both Israel and the Palestinian capital of Ramallah on Jan. 5 in an effort to broker a halt to the violence. So far, there are few indications that Sarkozy's signature take-charge moves will produce a quick result. But Sarkozy will be hoping that his controversial resumption of relations with Syria last year will translate into diplomatic leverage that can deliver Hamas cooperation in a new cease-fire. (Read about TIME Person of the Year runner-up Nicolas Sarkozy.)
There is no humanitarian crisis, and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday after an ElysÉe meeting with Sarkozy, who had reiterated his appeal that fighting stop immediately. We affected most of the infrastructure of terrorism in Gaza Strip, and the question of whether it's enough or not will be according to our assessment on a daily basis. (See pictures of Israel's deadly assault on Gaza.) Israel's deaf ear to Sarkozy's plea has raised the diplomatic stakes involved. Although the French President's trip to Egypt, Syria and Lebanon had been set long ago, stops in Ramallah and Jerusalem have been added to discuss possible paths to peace with various leaders. ElysÉe officials say Sarkozy won't be advancing any plans for resolving longer-term conflicts but rather seeking to use his influence and rare good relations with major players in the area to get the fighting to stop. For now, all other questions are secondary to the issue of restoring peace, said Sarkozy spokesman Franck Louvrier. It's an objective everyone says they want, so the focus will be finding a way to make it attainable.Given the absence of the U.S.'s traditional lead role in the region until President-elect Barack Obama takes office, Sarkozy finds himself with a rare opportunity to wade into a Middle East crisis as the main diplomatic player. The ElysÉe hopes Sarkozy's visit to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas can help reverse Abbas' increasing marginalization and make him an active partner in hammering out a truce. But the main event of Sarkozy's peacemaking foray will more likely be in Damascus, where he will meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday. Sarkozy's recent rapprochement with Syria, the regional player with the most influence over Hamas, means that the French President may have more diplomatic leverage than many of his Western counterparts.
Sarkozy ended Assad's long stint of international isolation by making Syria a founding member of the newly formed Mediterranean Union. Although Sarkozy faced heated criticism in July for embracing Assad - who is denounced by human rights activists and widely accused of orchestrating the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri - the French President has defended the move as realpolitik designed to turn an enemy into an ally. That argument will now be put to the test. Sarkozy is expected to press Assad to help find an end to the Gaza bloodshed - notably by pressuring Hamas to fulfill Israeli demands that it stop firing rockets. Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshal seems willing to accept that condition in exchange for Israel's reopening border crossings that have economically asphyxiated Gaza - an issue that could eventually force a change in Egypt's closure of its frontier. Sarkozy may have a short window for making progress. Nicolas Sarkozy uses his energy and good faith to change the world - and that has had its chance as an alternative to the universally rejected Bush doctrine, wrote editorialist Yves ThrÉard in the French daily Le Figaro on Friday. But Obama taking command will alter that equation, and risks crowding [Sarkozy] out.
Three EU states open up to Bulgarian, Romanian workers
ELITSA VUCHEVA 02.01.2009 @ 09:28 CET
The New Year has brought with it the lifting of restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian workers in Greece, Spain and Denmark, but a number of EU states will be keeping barriers to their labour markets for three more years.Greece on Wednesday (31December) became the latest old EU member to lift restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian workers, following Spain and Denmark which set the example earlier in December.The Greek government has reached this decision after assessing all parameters. With this move, illegal work will diminish. The reasons [to work illegally] will be very much reduced, as workers from Bulgaria and Romania now become just as competitive as the Greek ones, if not more, the secretary general of the Greek labour ministry was quoted as saying by Bulgarian news agency Bgnes.For its part, Spain has issued a declaration saying that the moratorium [on Bulgarian and Romanian workers] has been unfair and fruitless, according to a statement published on the Bulgarian foreign ministry's website.Madrid also believes that the two countries' growing economies would encourage their workers to stay home rather than look for a job abroad.By contrast, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Belgium have announced in the last weeks that they would keep their labour markets closed to Bulgarians and Romanians for a second period of three years, citing the economic downturn as the main reason.Since Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU on 1 January 2007, other EU member states have been able to restrict access to their labour markets for the new workers for a set period of a maximum of seven years, after which all of them must fully open up.
For the first two years of their membership, Bulgarians and Romanians have faced such restrictions in most states, except for Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden.In countries where barriers have remained, workers from the two newcomers need a work permit accompanied by lengthy and heavy administrative procedures - simplified for certain professions in some of member states - to be legally employed.In November, the European Commission encouraged all EU countries to lift remaining barriers, arguing that the new workers had not caused serious disturbances on labour markets, nor had they flooded them, as some had feared.Additionally, it stressed that those workers had contributed to the economic growth by bringing more manpower where it was most needed, and had had little or no negative impact on wages and unemployment levels.
French warship thwarts Somali pirate attack Fri Jan 2, 5:36 am ET
BBC PARIS – A French warship has thwarted an attack by Somali pirates on a cargo ship in the dangerous Gulf of Aden on a day when several cargo ships were attacked, the French president's office said.The warship was patrolling the area Thursday as part of a multinational operation to protect commercial vessels passing through one of the world's most important sea routes.The crew of the French PM L Her dispatch boat intercepted two speedboats carrying eight Somali pirates as they were preparing to board a Panamanian cargo ship, said a statement that President Nicolas Sarkozy's office released late Thursday. The French navy will hand over the men to Somali authorities.The French crew seized weapons and munitions from the speedboats, the statement said.Also on Thursday, Somali pirates seized an Egyptian cargo ship and its 28 crew members, but a Malaysian military helicopter saved an Indian tanker from being hijacked.More than a dozen warships are now patrolling the vast waterway between the shores of Yemen and Somalia. Countries as diverse as Britain, India, Iran, the United States, China, France and Germany have naval forces in the waters.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, pirates attacked 111 times in the Gulf of Aden in 2008, successfully hijacking 42 ships.
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.
Maritime blizzard cuts power to thousands Charlottetown Airport records 49 cm of snow Saturday, January 3, 2009 | 12:26 AM AT CBC News
Snow piles up against a home in New Glasgow, N.S. (Kevin Harvey/CBC) A blizzard that cancelled New Year's Day travel plans and cut power to parts of the Maritimes is expected to move out of the region Friday.About 4,000 customers in Nova Scotia were without electricity Friday afternoon, despite the fact that Nova Scotia Power had said it hoped to restore service to most people by noon. At one point late Thursday, more than 11,000 people were without power.The weather has to be quite adverse before it can stop us, said Glennie Langille, a spokeswoman for the utility.High winds are probably the biggest problem for us in trying to respond. We either have whiteouts or, if we have gusts about 90 km/h, it's unsafe to put the bucket trucks up in the air.The Canso Causeway, which connects Cape Breton to mainland N.S., has reopened to traffic, officials said Friday. Blowing snow and rocks had forced its closure a day earlier.Blizzard warnings remain in effect for the Cape Breton Highlands. Parts of Cape Breton were forecast to receive up to 60 centimetres of snow.It's a great start to 2009. Makes people feel alive, said Halifax resident Gary Merrick. They don't have to worry about their stocks. They're all out shovelling snow today.
Storm moving to Labrador
Ferry service between N.S. and Newfoundland and Labrador was interrupted Thursday with one vessel delayed by high winds.Many flights in and out of Halifax's Stanfield International Airport are operating Friday, but some connections in and out of Prince Edward Island are delayed.A snowy scene at Halifax's Hemock Ravine park. (Submitted by John Sparling) The blizzard essentially shut down the Island Thursday, as officials pulled snowplows off the roads and warned people to stay at home. Wind gusts of more than 100 km/h and near-zero visibility made driving treacherous.Most of the Island's popular meet-and-greet New Year's Day levees were also cancelled.
Scattered power outages were reported throughout P.E.I., which recorded 49 centimetres of snow at the Charlottetown Airport.Parts of southeastern New Brunswick were also hit by the blizzard, with about 14 centimetres of snow dumped on the Moncton area.As you went further inland around Fredericton, they just got a light dusting of snow, said Kathleen Young, an Environment Canada meteorologist. It wasn't too bad.The storm system is headed northeastward to Labrador, bringing strong winds and up to 25 centimetres of snow.With files from the Canadian Press
Floods kill five in central Vietnam JAN 2,09
HANOI (Reuters) – Unseasonable floods brought by rains this week have killed at least five people in central Vietnam while 10 others remained missing, the government and state-run media said Saturday.Waters were now receding in main rivers in the region but three including a woman drowned in Quang Nam province and another 44-year-old man died in floods in the neighboring province of Quang Ngai, the government said in a disaster report.A 22-year-old man died in Binh Dinh province while nine fishermen were among the missing after their boats sank, Saturday's Thanh Nien newspaper quoted provincial disaster reports as saying.Floods and storms often strike central Vietnam between August and November but heavy rains since Monday caused by a cold spell hit the region widely exposed to the sea and raised river waters.The government said more than 5,000 homes were submerged and floods also inundated a combined 74,400 hectares of rice in five provinces. The affected area is not the key growing region for rice and coffee, Vietnam's main agro-products for exports.(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)
Floods, mounting snow ruin buildings in Northwest Fri Jan 2, 9:12 pm ET
PORTLAND, Ore. – A mud slide destroyed a home Friday, briefly trapping its occupants, and flooding, mud and deep snow blocked roads as the latest winter storm pummeled the Northwest.Residents of a home in suburban Lake Oswego called 911 early Friday saying they were trapped after mud flowed into their home, filling the first floor. They escaped out a window and were taken to a hospital, said deputy Fire Marshall Gert Zoutendijk. He said their lives were not in danger.Authorities said 21 nearby homes were evacuated.Outside Portland in Clackamas County, about 30 families were evacuated from a mobile home park because of flooding and about 60 roads were closed. County officials declared a state of emergency.Also in Clackamas County, floods crept into the Estacada library, ruining thousands of books before the water receded. A layer of silt remained.The storm dropped just over 3 inches of rain east of Portland before the sky cleared during the morning, and 3.9 inches fell in Aurora, south of the city.In eastern Washington and northern Idaho, at least two roofs collapsed under the weight of mounting snow Friday.Jeff Roma had been up clearing snow off the roof of his Spokane business, Buck's Tire and Automotive, on Friday morning when the roof started to collapse.I heard it start to go and I had to get off, Roma told The Spokesman-Review.
He was not injured.
In nearby Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, a business owner and his dog narrowly escaped from a jewelry store before the roof caved in.The risk of roof collapse caused a Spokane-area Costco to close Friday and hire a contractor to shovel its roof. In addition, three Wal-Mart stores were closed in the region while snow was cleared from their roofs, The Spokesman-Review reported.About 4 to 5 inches of snow fell in Spokane on Friday, bringing the season's total to 69 inches. More snow was expected over the weekend.
More small quakes rattle Yellowstone National Park Fri Jan 2, 5:34 pm ET
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. – More earthquakes are rattling Yellowstone National Park.The small quakes include three more Friday that measured stronger than magnitude 3.0. The University of Utah Seismic Stations say the strongest was 3.5.
Several hundred quakes centered under the northern end of Yellowstone Lake have now occurred since Dec. 26. No damage has been reported.Earthquake swarms happen fairly often in Yellowstone. But scientists say it's unusual for so many earthquakes to happen over several days.Yellowstone lies mostly in northwestern Wyoming and is the caldera of a volcano that last erupted 70,000 years ago. Scientists have not concluded what is causing the earthquakes.
Friday, January 02, 2009
INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS
MESSIANIC BIBLE PROJECT
JACK VAN IMPE
THESE ARE JUST A FEW SUGGESTIONS.
THE BRUTAL TRUTH ABOUT ISLAM
WHATS FOR ISRAEL 2009
2008 CBN NEWSMAKERS
ECOONOMIC FORECAST FOR 2009
THE BIRTH OF CHRIST
PATS 2009 PREDICTIONS
http://www.cbn.com/700club/index.aspx (HIT FRIDAY SHOW)
HAPPY NEW YEAR CHRISTIANS AND JEWS,SINNERS GET SAVED OR GET READY FOR AN INTERESTING YEAR AND YEARS TO COME.
ISRAEL NAILED ONE OF THE MAIN MURDERERS TODAY.....GO ISRAEL,ENEMIES OF ISRAEL WILL BE ELIMNATED BY GOD IN THE FUTURE. ISRAEL ALL IT WOULD TAKE IS 1 NUKE IN GAZA AND USE COULD HAVE PEACE AND MAYBE EVEN REBUILD THE THIRD TEMPLE.
Israeli strike kills senior Hamas leader Thu Jan 1, 5:32 PM
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) - Israel killed a senior Hamas leader in an air attack on his home on Thursday, striking its first deadly blow against the top ranks of the Islamist group in a Gaza offensive that has claimed more than 400 Palestinian lives.Nizar Rayyan, a cleric widely regarded as one of Hamas's most hardline political leaders, had called for renewed suicide bombings inside Israel. Medical officials, confirming his death, said two of his four wives and seven of his children were killed in the bombing, in Jabalya refugee camp.Hundreds of supporters scrambling over the concrete rubble vowed revenge as the mangled bodies, covered in blood and cement dust, were extracted from the wreckage.The blood of Sheikh Nizar Rayyan and the blood of other martyrs will never be wasted and the enemy will pay a heavy price for the crimes it has committed, Hamas official Ayman Taha said.Black-bearded Rayyan, 49, was a preacher at Jabalya's mosque of martyrs who mentored suicide bombers. With a cartridge belt around his stocky frame, he would sometimes patrol the streets of Gaza with Hamas fighters.Hamas Radio said he had ignored advice to leave his house as other Hamas leaders have done in anticipation of assassination attempts by Israeli forces, who confirmed the air strike.I think that even now, after a few days of operation we have achieved changes, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said after talks in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.We affected most of the infrastructure of terror within the Gaza Strip and the question whether it's enough will be according to an assessment on a daily basis.
Late on Thursday night, Israeli war planes bombed the Jabalya mosque. Israeli security officials said it was a meeting place and command post for Hamas militants and the large number of secondary explosions after the strike indicated that rockets, missiles and other weapons had been stored there.Witnesses in Gaza said it was completely destroyed.Israeli armored forces remained massed on the Gaza frontier in preparation for a possible ground invasion as international calls for an immediate ceasefire mounted.Turkey, starting a rotating membership at the United Nations Security Council, urged Israel to end the offensive and lift its blockade against the coastal strip.A humanitarian agency said it was told Israel would let 400foreigners leave the Gaza Strip on Friday, possibly part of preparations for a land offensive. Most resident foreigners are spouses of Gaza Palestinians and their children.
AID GETTING IN
Livni reiterated Israel's rejection of a French-proposed ceasefire of 48 hours to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.There is no humanitarian crisis in the Strip, and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce, she said. Israel has been supplying comprehensive humanitarian aid to the Strip ... and has even been stepping this up by the day.Seventy trucks carrying humanitarian supplies crossed into the Gaza Strip from Israel on Thursday. But medics say their needs are acute and power blackouts are increasing.The deadliest conflict in the Gaza Strip in four decades has killed at least 412 Palestinians and wounded some 1,850. About a quarter of the dead were civilians, the U.N. estimates.On the sixth day, Israeli planes and ships attacked about 20 Hamas targets, including a government complex.Visiting southern Israeli towns where rockets fired from Gaza have killed four people since Saturday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel was fighting Hamas with an iron fist.Israeli television broadcast film of rubble-strewn street in the port of Ashdod, where a Hamas rocket tore into the eighth floor of a high-rise. Several residents were treated for shock.I very much hope we will succeed in achieving our goals quickly, Olmert said.
In New York, the U.N. Security Council adjourned an emergency session without a vote. Western delegates described an Arab-drafted resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire as unbalanced and said talks would continue to agree a text.The Czech premier announced that EU foreign ministers would conduct a mission to the region, likely to coincide with a visit to Jerusalem on Monday by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.Olmert told his security cabinet on Wednesday that if a diplomatic solution could be found that ensured better security for southern Israel, the government would consider it.Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Israeli attacks must stop before any truce proposals could be considered. Israel must also lift its economic blockade of Gaza and open border crossings.Israeli officials said a truce would require international monitoring to ensure Hamas lives up to its obligations.The Gaza operation, launched after Hamas ended a six-month ceasefire on December 19 and intensified rocket strikes, could affect the outcome of Israel's February 10 national election.(Additional reporting by Adam Entous and Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem, Patrick Worsnip at United Nations and James Mackenzie in Paris; Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Urgent Call to Prayer for Israel JAN 2,08
To my amazement, on the day after Christmas shortly after waking from my dream, I began hearing and seeing news bulletins about the attacks and airstrikes taking place primarily in Gaza.Dear saints, we are told in Psalm 122:6 to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and I ask you as my precious partner to join me in praying earnestly in six specific areas:For God to accomplish His purpose and will, no matter what happens, during this crisis; That the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will protect His people Israel and bring a lasting solution to the very dangerous developments unfolding in that troubled land; For God’s holy angels to defeat the purpose of the enemy in this conflict; That Iran will be restrained in its support of Hezbollah and Hamas, whose ultimate and united intent is to destroy Israel completely; For Hezbollah to be defeated and restrained as they seek to attack Israel from the north; and Especially that the Iranian nuclear threat against Israel, which is the greatest danger against God’s people and the safety of all nations throughout the Middle East, will be eliminated.
We are living in dangerous days, not only for the Middle East, but for the entire world. However, these are also glorious days of opportunity for those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim His name throughout the earth.
God’s Faithful Promise
During these prophetic days, we must hold fast to the promise of the Lord’s coming:
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; the sea and the waves roaring; 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. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:25-28)These are the times spoken of by the prophets. This can be our greatest hour as we proclaim the Gospel boldly, no matter what happens in the world.
During this hour, our Lord Jesus has called you and me to go into all the world to preach His blessed Gospel and tell all nations that He is the Lamb of God, slain for the sins of the world; that He is the One who takes away the sins of the world, and that He is the the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)! The time to tell a lost and dying world about salvation through Jesus Christ is now, for now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).Let’s not wait until it is too late! Isaiah said that the time will come when men will call on the Lord, but He will not answer. But he also wrote: Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near(Isaiah 55:6).That time is now!We cannot delay, nor can we lose this glorious moment of opportunity.
A Message of Hope in This Time of Crisis
Thank you for standing with me during the final hours of 2008, and as we move into 2009—a year that will surely be a time of unprecedented outpouring as we travel to 39 countries proclaiming the love of Jesus Christ who came to earth for the salvation and healing of people throughout our lost, sick, troubled, and dying world.We are in a mighty season of change in so many areas—spiritual, political, and financial. In a major area of transition, people of God are receiving more and more revelation about God’s outpouring on their lives.This a critical time for Israel, the Middle East, and the entire world.As I have mentioned, this is also an exciting time of opportunity as we seek to take a message of hope to those who have no hope.I want you to be a vital part of helping to take the life-changing and miracle-working message of the Gospel to the nations.Will you join me in the coming days to pray for the peace of Jerusalem? And please prayerfully consider planting a generous year-end seed today, even as we move ahead with plans to proclaim the Gospel throughout the Middle East, using broadcasts, crusades, mission outreaches, and every means possible.We know that Jesus Christ is the only Answer for this crisis, and as you pray and plant your financial seed today, you are joining with others around the world in this ministry.You are also moving into a new dimension which can unlock the door to great blessings in your life, for our Lord Jesus declared, Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38).And as you plant your tax-deductible, year-end gift, don’t forget to include your prayer requests, as Dr. Oral Roberts and I will get together very soon for another powerful debt-cancellation time of intercession for you.Sow your seed with mighty expectation for today and the future! Now is the time, for your greatest days are ahead. Your future is so much greater than your past, and your tomorrows can be more prosperous than anything you have known before! For we know it is not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 4:6)…
Preaching the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ,teaching the unchanging Word of God,
and expecting the mighty and miraculous power of the Holy Spirit,Benny Hinn
The CARMEL ALERT Jan 2 2009 A compilation of news reports from the past week for the information of those committed to praying for Israel and the salvation of the Jewish people.
David's Comment: Why Is Israel at War Once Again ?
Because of the content of some of my articles, I have at times been accused of being a war-monger. The truth is that I am a peace-monger. Ever since I began to be aware of the violent nature of man's history on the Earth, I tried to understand why we have this propensity to kill other human beings in acts of crime and in warfare. As I learnt that religion was the cause of many wars, my repulsion of violence led me to despise all religions, including my own Jewish religion. I felt this way until I came to know the LORD in 1987. I tried to understand why one group of people would send the prime of their next generation out to kill the prime of some other group's next generation. I wondered why didn't those responsible for the war, just go out themselves and have a good old fashioned punch-up with each other and leave the young men to play football and romance the young women ?
So please believe me, I am a dedicated peace-monger. I want to see peace on the Earth as much as anyone else does. But now that I understand some of the reasons why we love to make war, I realise there is only ONE person who can establish true peace. One of His descriptive names in Isaiah 9:6 is Sar Shalom - Prince of Peace. Yeshua is the Prince of Peace and there can be no true peace for mankind until He comes back to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. ruling and reigning from the rebuilt Temple of God in the undivided capital city of God's chosen nation, Jerusalem, Israel !
That last sentence should make it very obvious to every thinking person, why Israel has always been at the centre of some war. Our entire history is the account of some one trying his best to wipe Israel and the Jewish people off the face of the Earth. Other events taking place in the world - the crazy weather, increase of earthquakes, the plunge of morality into the abyss, and now the massive financial melt-down taking place, should also make it very obvious we are really living in the final years of this present evil age as the late Derek Prince described it. And there is a connection of all of those things to what is happening to Israel.
God is the author of LOVE & LIFE, while His antithesis , Lucifer or Satan, is the author of HATE & DEATH. Lucifer realises the lateness of the hour and he also knows something that it seems many Christians dont know - that the only place the Prince of Peace can return to is Jerusalem in Jewish hands. YHVH began the restoration process in 1897 with the first Zionist congress in Basel, Switzerland. The next step was Israel's reappearance in 1948, then the re-unification of Jerusalem in 1967. The process was well under way, but understandably there was great opposition right from the beginning of the Jewish return in the early 20th century. And most of the opposition until 1967 came from the Muslim Arabs. From 1967 onwards that changed and the Muslim world in conjunction with the secular news media, has totally brainwashed the rest of the world to believe that the Jewish people are the bad guys.
Once again as Israel is at war with those who are Satanically inspired to kill Jews and destroy Israel, the new media is once again parrotting the false claims of the Muslim propoganda machine. Please be bold to unashameably declare these facts to those close to you who are being deceived to accuse Israel of being the bad guys.
* Israel is not occupying an Arab land - the opposite is true - God promised all of the land from the Nile to the Euphrates to the Jewish seed of Abraham
* Even though Gaza is rightfully apart of Israel, not one single Jew has lived in Gaza since the withdrawal in 2005
* Israel did not start this war - Hamas has fired 10,000 rockets at Israel - more than 3000 since the withdrawal which was supposed to bring peace
* Hamas purposely aims the rockets as civilian targets, while Israel only aims at terrorist targets
* Above a certain level of the possibility that civilians will be harmed, Israel cancels the mission - The IDF even went as far as sending text messages to
every mobile phone located in target area, telling the innocent civilians to flee to safety before they fired on that area
* Even though dozens of rockets are striking Israel, the borders are opened from time to time to allow urgent humanitarian aid and fuel to get to Gaza City
* The real reason behind the world wide hatred of Israel and the Jewish people is the desparation of Satan to prevent God from completing the full restoration
of Israel, because that will bring about the return of the Son of God to set up the Kingdom of God and to despatch Satan and his allies to the pit.
* To oppose Israel is to oppose God Himself as He is the God of Israel
The sad fact is that the peace which so many people are looking to Barack Obama to bring, can only become a reality when Israel is ready to receive Yeshua as Messiah. These false peace seekers are shooting themselves in the foot and actually working against peace by opposing the Jewish people's right to live in the land that God has once again brought them into, as the key part of the preparation for the advent of the Prince of Peace.
Lets pray for this spirit of mass deception to be broken and for many in the West and more importantly in the Muslim world to be set free to see the truth and to worship the Holy One of Israel and His Anointed One - Yeshua the Messiah. I pray that you will receive an impartation of wisdom and boldness as you step up to declare the truth - in Yeshua's name AMEN !
The situation is extremely serious - please ask your pastor to allow your church to pray for Israel this Sunday - there is no legitimate excuse not to !
No matter what 2009 holds for the world, Josie & I pray that your family will be abundantly blessed and prospered - Happy New Year
The Lord bless you as you bless Israel by standing in defense of her right to exist on the land given to the Jewish people by the God of Israel. Lets pray that Israel will turn back to their God. Do not be silent, but share this with your fellow Christians, share it with your pastors, and with anyone you have a chance to speak to. Lets also pray for that breakthrough to the Muslims, and please remember to pray for our son Jordan, and all of his fellow soldiers in the IDF.
Shabbat Shalom .... David & Josie.
EARTH TO EUROPE, RUSSIA: HAMAS MUST BE CRUSHED, NOT CODDLED
By Joel C. Rosenberg
(Washington, D.C., December 31, 2008) -- The Gaza war rages on with no immediate end in sight. Indeed, Israeli sources tell me a ground operation into Gaza is not yet definite, but is likely. Israel has rightfully rejected a French-proposed 48 hour cease-fire, saying the Gaza operation will continue until Israel's goal of shutting down the terrorist rocket threat is accomplished. The leaders of the European Union, Russia, and many governments around the world are putting enormous pressure on Israel to stop defending the Jewish people and stop attacking the terrorist strongholds in Gaza. This is crazy. Why do the Europeans and Russians have such a double-standard when it comes to Israeli national security? More than 6,300 rockets and missiles have been fired at Israel by Hamas since Israeli withdrew its military forces from Gaza in 2005. Some 400 rockets have been fired at Israel just since December 19th. Would the French or Germans agree to a cease-fire if they were being hit by hundreds and thousands of rockets, missiles, and mortars by enemies sworn to annihilate them? Of course not. The Russians invaded Georgia for far, far less.
We didn't initiate the Gaza operation in order to end it while Israeli towns are still under fire, as they were before the operation, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told reporters. Israel has shown restraint for years; she gave the truce a chance; we told ourselves let's try it, but Hamas violated the truce.I don't often say this, but Olmert is right. Hamas must be crushed, not coddled. Yet the world is trying to coddle these Palestinian Radical Islamic jihadists. It's an outrage. The onus is on the Hamas terrorists to lay down their arms and stop firing rockets into Israel. Until that happens, the IDF should continue fighting. It pains me to see the suffering on both sides, but this is entirely Hamas' responsibility. They were urged by Egypt, by Mahmoud Abbas, and by the Israelis not to let the previous cease-fire lapse, but they chose war instead. They have never been hit this hard. Indeed, Gaza has not seen this level of fighting since 1967. Israelis living within rocket range are truly safe and secure. Yet, the Islamic Radicals in Gaza don't appear ready to surrender. To the contrary, Hamas is using longer-range rockets than ever before - some of them made in Iran - putting hundreds of thousands of more Israeli at risk than in previous clashes. Hamas has already fired more than 50 rockets, mortars and missiles at Israel as of 4pm local time (9am eastern). Two hit the Israeli city of Beersheva last night, some 28 miles from Gaza. This is the first time Beersheva has ever been in range of Gaza-fired rockets. Haaretz reports that no one was injured but 40 people were treated for shock. The city is rattled, and theaters, cinemas and other shops and businesses are shutting down. Rockets also continue to hit the town of Sderot, and the Israeli coastal cities Ashkelon and Ashdod. I'm told that most of the children in Sderot have been evacuated from the town. Many are now temporarily relocated to northern Israeli cities and towns, such as Haifa. Iran, in addition to providing Hamas longer-range rockets, is also now apparently recruiting some 10,000 volunteer suicide bombers to attack Israel. To visit Joel's new weblog site and get the latest developments in Israel, Russia and the epicenter -- including links to stories mentioned in this Flash Traffic report -- please click here To visit Joel's website -- www.joelrosenberg.com
GAZA WAR: Prayer Update
The people of the Holy Land are going through great pain and suffering right now. But we should not be discouraged. Rather, we must turn to the Scriptures for the Lord's perspective, embrace His promises, and obey His commands. The Bible is clear: God loves the people of Israel, as well as their neighbors. He has a wonderful plan for their lives, plans for good and not for evil, plans to give them a future and a hope. Jesus offers those who choose to follow Him true peace that cannot be found anywhere else. He promises to protect His people. He promises them an abundant life here, and in the hereafter. He promises to answer their prayers when they pray for His will to be done and pray in His Name. What's more, He commands His followers to love their neighbors and their enemies. He commands them to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, and care for the suffering. Should we not draw near to Him and follow Him wholeheartedly at this critical time? I have loved you with an everlasting love, the Lord says in Jeremiah 31:3. Therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (I John 4:8) For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord in Jeremiah 29:11-13, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I came that they might have life and have it abundantly, said Jesus in John 10:10. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper....The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever. (Psalm 121:4,5,7,8) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you, said Jesus in John 14:27. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.Jesus said, Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also....I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me....Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:1-3,12-14) If you love me, Jesus said in John 14:15, you will obey what I command.
* Please continue praying for real peace -- not just the absence of conflict but the presence of true justice and true security on both sides of the fence.
* Please also continue praying for the scores of children on both sides who are being traumatized by all the rockets and bombs -- pray for the Lord to comfort and care for them in a supernatural way.
* Please pray for the followers of Jesus in Israel and Gaza, that they will have courage and hope from the Lord, that they will hear from the Holy Spirit how best to love their neighbors and their enemies, and that by their words and actions they can communicate the good news of God's great love and plan for Israel and her neighbors.
* Please continue praying for wisdom and discernment for The Joshua Fund leadership team, as well. We are in contact with our allies on the ground in Israel and readying relief supplies to help them care for those in severe need. We are presently trying to connect with our Arab evangelical Christian allies as well to see how we can help them, too.
* Please also pray that we can recruit 100,000 allies who are willing to pray knowledgeably, faithfully and consistently for the people of the epicenter. Already some 80,000 have signed up from around the world. As always, we will do our best to keep you up-to-date on the kinds of projects we are doing, and brief you on how those projects are proceeding. We will also let you know about the kinds of projects we are developing for the future. In no way do we want to pressure anyone to give financially. We fully believe the Lord will provide for the needs of the people we seek to serve. But if you or others wish to help, we welcome your support, and all financial gifts are tax-deductible. If you would like to make a year-end contribution to the on-going work of The Joshua Fund please make your check payable to The Joshua Fund and send to: The Joshua Fund
18950 Base Camp Road Monument, Colorado 80132-8009
FROM WND'S JERUSALEM BUREAU Hamas rockets on Israel's nuclear plant? We can reach deeper and deeper,top terrorist declares January 01, 2009
7:40 pm Eastern By Aaron Klein 2009 WorldNetDaily
Egypt would not be surprised if Hamas has a number of rockets in the Gaza Strip capable of reaching Israel's main nuclear power station, an Egyptian intelligence official told WND. The official's estimates, which could not immediately be confirmed by Israeli defense sources, are instrumental since Hamas routinely smuggles weaponry in tunnels that snake underneath the Gaza-Egypt border. He said he believes Hamas could have rockets that can reach Israel's nuclear plant in Dimona, which is about 40 miles from the Egypt-Gaza border. Hamas is known to possess 122mm Katyusha rockets, which have a range of about 18 miles, and has fired improved 122mm Katyusha's, with ranges up to 30 miles. The Egyptian intelligence official said Hamas may be saving larger, 220mm rockets, with ranges in the vicinity of 44 miles, which would place both Dimona and Tel Aviv within range. Asked to comment yesterday on his group's rocket capabilities, Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas' so-called military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, would only tell WND, We can reach deeper and deeper.Do you really want to understand the conflict in the Middle East? You have to listen to what the terrorists say behind closed doors. Only one man has been listening to them - Aaron Klein, WND's Jerusalem bureau chief and author of Schmoozing With Terrorists. Get it now from the people who published it - WND Books.Earlier this week, Abu Abdullah and a leading member of a top, Hamas-allied terrorist group in Gaza both told WND they have surprises in store for Israel. Sources inside Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees hinted to WND the claimed surprises include the ability to hit Tel Aviv with rockets from Gaza, a claim that may be grounded in some truth.
Telling is a Grad rocket fired on Sunday that landed near Gan Yavne in south Israel, an area that is just a 15 minute highway ride from Tel Aviv. The Israel Defense Forces said the rocket was launched from northern Gaza, the furthest point from which to reach deepest inside Israel. WND, though, obtained specific information indicating that rocket actually was fired from just outside the Egyptian embassy in central Gaza, meaning if the same rocket had been launched from northern Gaza it could technically have reached outside Bat Yam, a satellite town of Tel Aviv. Avital Lebovich, a spokeswoman for the IDF, did not deny Palestinians may be capable of firing at Tel Aviv. Hamas can have variety of capabilities, she told WND when asked whether Gaza rockets can strike Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, Israel's Haaretz newspaper today reported municipal authorities in Rishon Letzion, a town near Tel Aviv, told residents to begin preparing bomb shelters so they can be ready for any possible scenario. Tel Aviv authorities decided to update their emergency response guidelines as a result of the fighting in Gaza, Haaretz reported. Tel Aviv authorities stressed to the Israeli newspaper the move does not mean the city is under the threat of attack.
FROM JOSEPH FARAH'S G2 BULLETIN Middle East fight could draw in Iran,Observers worry about consequences of escalation December 31, 2008 9:12 pm Eastern 2009 WorldNetDaily
The outbreak of violence in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas has observers concerned that it will incite Hezbollah in Lebanon to action against Israel and prompt Iran to react, thereby giving Israel a basis to attack Iran's nuclear sites, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.Indeed, Hezbollah has mobilized its forces to be on alert in the event of Israeli incursions into Lebanon.
In southern Lebanon, Hezbollah has amassed some 40,000 Iranian-supplied missiles for possible use against Israel. Security analysts say Hezbollah may be holding them in reserve to retaliate if Israel were to attack Tehran. Security experts believe, however, that while the Shiite Hezbollah supports the Sunni Hamas in its fight against Israel, Hezbollah won't enter the conflict on the side of Hamas unless Israel attacks Lebanon. I think it's very unlikely that Hezbollah will open a second front on the border, but they are in a difficult position, said Paul Salem of Beirut's Carnegie Middle East Center. Politically, they are under pressure to act. Other Arab states have paid lip service, but the difference with Hezbollah is they take action, he added. But I don't think they will act, because it will come at a huge cost and this is not a battle of their choosing.Keep in touch with the most important breaking news stories about critical developments in the worldwide war on terror with Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence news source edited and published by the founder of WND. Security analysts also point out that for some time Hezbollah has sought to maintain a low profile in the political hope of gaining more seats in parliamentary elections slated for May 2009. The goal is to increase the organization's plurality as an effective political force against the U.S.-backed Sunni majority controlling the parliament. Some security experts, however, have expressed concern that Israel's overall strategy in Gaza may be to lure Iran which supports Hamas and Hezbollah into the conflict. Israel still is stinging from what is perceived as a loss in its 34-day 2006 war with the Hezbollah.
Regional experts also see the Gaza attacks as part of a larger issue of Iran-supported forces in the region against supposed moderate elements such as Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. In recent days, both Hezbollah and Iran have come under criticism from Egypt.
PALESTINIAN MEDIA WATCH
YAHOO NEWS VIDEO
MIDEAST CONFLICT NEWS
ABC NEWS VIDEO
FOX NEWS VIDEO
FOX BUSINESS VIDEO
AP NEWS VIDEO
BBC NEWS VIDEO
REUTERS VIDEO NEWS
AFP NEWS VIDEO
CNBC NEWS VIDEO
HOARDING OF GOLD AND SILVER
DOCTOR DOCTORIAN FROM ANGEL OF GOD
then the angel said, Financial crisis will come to Asia. I will shake the world.
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.
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
WORLD MARKET RESULTS
HALF HOUR DOW RESULTS FRI JAN 02,2008
09:30 AM +4.23
10:00 AM +6.69
10:30 AM +58.23
11:00 AM +126.96
11:30 AM +141.14
12:00 PM +143.53
12:30 PM +169.10
01:00 PM +155.16
01:30 PM +182.56
02:00 PM +187.10
02:30 PM +210.91
03:00 PM +226.12
03:30 PM +250.74
04:00 PM +258.30 9034.69
S&P 500 931.77 +28.52
NASDAQ 1632.21 +55.18
GOLD 877.30 -7.00
OIL 46.29 +1.69
TSE 300 9211.11 +223.41
CDNX 846.69 +49.67
S&P/TSX/60 555.65 +13.83
Dow +33 points at 4 minutes of trading today.
Dow -4 points at low today.
Dow +154 points at high today.
Dow down over 600 points or 4.6% over last January.
NYSE STATS (10:30AM)
-Advances 1936,Declines 895,Unchanged 95,New Highs 6,New Lows 2.
NASDAQ STATS (10:30AM)
-Advances 1344,Declines 971,Unchanged 198.
GLOBAL M&A VOLUME
2008:$2.9 TRILLION,2007:$4.16 TRILLION,2006:$3.6 TRILLION,2005:$2.6 TRILLION,2004:$1.8 TRILLION.
$700 BILLION lost in canadian markets in 2008.
Record plunge spending this christmas season.
OPEC 2 million barrel production cuts begin this month.
GMAC issues 5 MILLION preferred shares to FED Government.
SCANA,FLIR,OWENS ILLINOIS added to the S&P 500.
Dow -4 points at low today.
Dow +169 points at high today.
PAT ROBERTSON'S 2009 PREDICTIONS
-America will become useless as a world leader (not trusted anymore).
-Americas economy will recover pretty swift by 2nd quarter.
-The dollar to go down dramatically causing hyper inflation.
-America will become a Socialist country due to the economic pain of the people.
-More and more power will be givin to Washington.
-Obama will restructure the Economy like the 30's was done.
-Gold to become $1,900.00 an ounce.
-Oil $300.00 a barrel.
-Americas weak leadership will lead to World dictators ruling.
-Russia will be the most dangerous and lead a coalition to control the Mideast Oil.
-Pat thinks ezekiel 38+39 war could be at hand.
-Israel is entering a period of extreme crises,hated by the world,but God's protection will be with them as they get flack for protecting themselves from bombs.
-The Whole of Islam is weakening.
-Bloodshed has turned many against Islam and many muslims will be saved now.
-Great destructions will become common place around the World.
-Misery will be wide spread.
-People will want answers and millions will be saved as a result of happenings.
-The Gospel will be accepted by many as times get worse and worse and destructions get worse and worse.
-God will do incredible miracles this year.
Dow -4 points at low today.
Dow +288 points at high today.
Dow +2.9% today.
Dow on pace for best first trading session of year since 2003.
Dows last close above 9000 points was DEC 08,2008.
S&P 500 +3.1% today.
Nasdaq +3.5% today.
Dow,S&P,Nasdaq have best 3 day rally since NOV 24-26,2008.
Dow,S&P,Nasdaq move higher despite nearly 29 year low for ISM INDEX.
STOCKS RALLY TO 2 MONTH HIGHS.
$12TRILLION OR $13TRILLION INTO BANKS THAT NO ACCOUNT FOR YET.
DOWS LAST CLOSE ABOVE LEVELS
-10,000 points October 3,2008.
-11,000 points September 26,2008.
-12,000 points June 19,2008.
-13,000 points May 19,2008.
-14,000 points October 12,2007.
THIS WEEK FINAL STATS
Dow Industrials +6.3%
Dow Transports +8.6%
S&P 500 +6.9%
Russell 2000 +6.4%
Pope seeks major changes to financial system By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jan 1, 6:49 am ET
VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI challenged world leaders on Thursday to make major changes to the global financial system, saying short-term answers to the financial crisis weren't sufficient.It's not enough, as Jesus said, to put patches on an old suit, Benedict said in his New Year's Day blessing to thousands of people huddled under umbrellas in a rain-soaked St. Peter's Square.Echoing a similar theme in his New Year's Day homily, Benedict said the crisis should be seen as a test-case about the future of globalization.Are we ready to read it in its complexity as a way for the future and not just an emergency to respond to with short-term answers? he asked. Are we ready to make a profound revision in the dominant development model, to correct it in a farsighted and concerted way? He said the health of the planet required such a correction, as well as what he called the cultural and moral crisis in which the world finds itself.
Benedict has spoken out frequently about the financial crisis, and he used the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace, celebrated every Jan. 1, to emphasize his belief that the meltdown showed the need for greater solidarity with the poor.Seen in its profundity, the crisis should be seen as a serious symptom that requires intervention at its root, the pontiff said.During his homily, Benedict also said he was praying for an end to the violence in Gaza and said he hoped the international community would come forward with concrete proposals so the Israelis and Palestinians could live in peace, security and dignity.
Is the Euro the New Dollar? By Leo Cendrowicz / Brussels Thursday, Jan. 01, 2009A handful of euro notes.TIME
Europe's single currency has come of age early. The euro turns ten on Jan. 1, a milestone for one of the most powerful symbols of European identity. It has already endured a rite of passage over the past few months, as the global financial crisis battered European markets yet failed to fluster the euro. And, like any debutante, it has its suitors: a string of countries lining up to dump their national currencies and join the euro zone. It's a remarkable achievement for a currency whose only global rival is the U.S. dollar. The greenback has over two centuries of history behind it. But it wasn't until Jan. 1, 1999 that 11 E.U. countries locked their national currencies together into a fixed exchange rate. Three years later physical coins and notes became available, replacing national cash in a massive changeover operation. (Read TIME's Top 10 business deals of the year.) The euro zone is now 15 members large and has a combined population of around 320 million. However, many more people are directly affected by the euro, from would-be members whose currencies are already pegged to it, to countries like Montenegro and Kosovo whose effective national currency is the euro. France's former African colonies also peg their common currency to Europe's. That means around 500 million people rely on the euro or euro-pegged currencies.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso credits the euro for delivering lower inflation, lower interest rates and greater price stability, and helping create 16 million jobs. More immediately, the euro is shielding member states in this time of economic turmoil, preventing a currency crisis in addition to the credit crunch. The euro is sheltering businesses from the exchange rate volatility which has battered them in previous downturns, Barroso said on Monday. To put it simply, the euro works.Before the euro, a financial crisis in Europe went hand-in-hand with currency woes: a run on weaker currencies, heavy intervention by central banks and finally a collapse of the parity system. I've lived through currency devaluations, and they are fraught with anxieties, says Hans Martens, chief executive of the European Policy Centre. But the way the euro coped with the financial crisis was absolutely great. You have a big island of stability, with small nations protected when the big waves became rough.The euro's tenth anniversary will see the euro zone take on a 16th member, Slovakia. A further eight other central and eastern European countries have set themselves the goal of joining within the next six years, including Poland, whose political establishment dropped its longtime opposition after a recent run on the Polish zloty. The euro has found some other unexpected converts, too, thanks to the financial crisis. The Danes voted against joining the euro zone in 2000, but they are set to hold another referendum in March. Iceland — not even an E.U. member — is pondering unilateral euroization after seeing its krona plunge nearly 80% against the euro between September and October. And the biggest prize of all, Britain, is said to be warming to the euro. Barroso recently claimed that London is closer than ever before to euro zone entry and that the people who matter in Britain think it should join. That may be overstating things a bit, but a report by research group Chatham House warns that as the euro zone grows, the U.K. risks being excluded from deeper intra-E.U. economic consultation and coordination, including in areas of significant national interest, such as financial market regulation. (See pictures of the financial crisis in London.) It doesn't help that the pound is wilting. Two years ago, one euro was worth just ?0.65. Now, humbled by bank crashes, government bailouts and a collapsing housing market that has forced massive interest rate cuts, Europe's currency is within a pence or two of parity with the pound. The debate has changed from a total fantasy in the U.K., says Jean Pisani-Ferry, director of Brussels-based think tank Bruegel. The political obstacles still remain strong, but it has changed the perception of the U.K. as the perfect system.
Pisani-Ferry says the financial crisis has been a defining moment for the euro, but he cautions against too much praise. The euro is still some way from dethroning the dollar as a global currency for example; just 27% of global foreign exchange reserves are held in euros compared to 62% in dollars. And, he says, the euro's first decade has been characterized by budget rows and debates about the European Central Bank's monetary policy, when the focus should be on correcting big macroeconomic divergences, like Spain and Ireland's recent (and ultimately doomed) property bubbles. The euro zone needs more ability to act in times of real crises or to prevent them, Pisani-Ferry says. It is a slow process. But one that has come a long way in ten years.
Zimbabwe economy virtually foreign exchange-based: media Thu Jan 1, 3:14 pm ET
HARARE (AFP) – Zimbabwe's economy is now virtually based on foreign exchange, a state daily said Thursday, with fewer goods and services available in the local dollar which is rapidly losing its worth because of galloping inflation,A survey by The Herald this week revealed a significant drop in demand for the local unit as very few shops and traders were still selling products in Zim dollars, the newspaper reported.The Zimbabwe dollar continues to lose its worth as the country's chronic economic woes show no sign of abating. One US dollar is worth four million Zim dollars at the official exchange rate and three billion Zim dollars on the black market.Most traders and service providers from streetside vegetable vendors to mobile phone service providers are pegging their prices in foreign currency to hedge against losses.Since September last year, Zimbabwe's central bank has licensed at least 1,000 shops to sell goods in foreign currency in a move aimed at helping businesses suffering from a chronic shortage of foreign currency to import spare parts and foreign goods.Others shops and service providers have followed suit although they have not been authorised by the government and despite warnings that those arrested for flouting foreign exchange regulations would be prosecuted.A single journey by minibus within Harare costs one US dollar while hired taxis charge at the rate of one dollar per kilometre (about half a mile).In the latest move, the authorities licensed mobile phone service providers to charge for airtime and other services in foreign currency.The Herald said the prevalent use of foreign exchange is threatening the once flourishing parallel foreign exchange market as traders get fewer people in need of the local currency.Once a regional economic model, Zimbabwe is in the throes of economic crisis with inflation officially at 231 million percent and most families unable to afford a square meal.A power-sharing deal aimed at reviving the moribund economy and ending tensions between the country's main political rivals stalled over the allocation of key cabinet ministries.
Singapore's economy may slide two percent: govt JAN 1,08
SINGAPORE (AFP) – Singapore's economy could contract by as much as two percent this year, the government said Friday after data showed a deepening recession in the trade-dependent economy.The forecast marks a downgrade from the government's previous estimate, made in November, which ranged between a contraction of 1.0 percent and expansion of 2.0 percent in 2009.The global economic crisis has worsened since November, with sharp declines in global demand, trade and investments, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a news release.It also cited a sharp fourth-quarter contraction in the Singapore economy for the weaker forecast.Singapore in October became the first Asian economy to enter recession but since then, major economies around the world -- including the city-state's key export markets the European Union and United States -- have also seen declining economic activity.
Singapore is Southeast Asia's wealthiest economy in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita but its heavy dependence on trade makes it sensitive to economic disturbances in developed economies.On a seasonally adjusted annualised quarter-on-quarter basis, real GDP fell by 12.5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with a decline of 5.4 percent in the third quarter, the trade ministry said. In the second quarter, the economy fell by 5.7 percent.Measured against the fourth quarter last year, the economy contracted by 2.6 percent in real terms, after a 0.3 percent year-on-year fall in the third quarter.GDP is the value of all goods and services produced by an economy.The fourth-quarter figures are advance estimates based largely on October and November figures. More detailed information is to be released next month.In his New Year's Day message to the nation on Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned the economy was likely to worsen this year after growing just 1.5 percent in 2008.The performance was below the last official forecast of 2.5 percent growth, after earlier downgrades in the 2008 growth outlook were made during the year.In 2007 the economy grew by 7.7 percent, the trade ministry said.Our economy will probably contract further. More companies will be forced to downsize. So far we have not seen many job losses, but I expect more retrenchments in the next few months. We must be psychologically prepared, the prime minister said.As a small, open economy, Singapore cannot avoid being hit. We earn our living by trading with and servicing the world. So the fall in worldwide demand has hit our exports, our tourism sector, and our broader economy, he said.We must therefore prepare for a difficult year ahead, and especially the first half of 2009.
TSX down 35% in 2008 Thursday, January 1, 2009 | 1:58 PM ET The Canadian Press
Tthe S&P/TSX composite index in 2008 Canada's stock market endured one of its worst years on record in 2008, losing 35 per cent of its value or about $700 billion, and investors should be prepared to ride out further troubles in the new year as the wounds continue to fester.The energy, mining and financial services stocks that make up most of the TSX composite index saw their values eroded badly as the recession weakened demand for oil and minerals and the Wall Street financial crisis squeezed the banks.Canada's main stock market ended the year on an upswing in the final day of trading for 2008, rising nearly 157 points, but that will be of little comfort to many stock investors.The Toronto Stock Exchange S&P/TSX composite index closed at 8,987.7 on Wednesday; it ended 2007 at 13,833.06.I'm glad to see the last trading day of this lousy year, said Fred Ketchen, manager of equity trading at Scotia Capital.
A peak and deep valley
Overall, it was a year that saw both a record high and the worst declines on record at the TSX.In June, the main stock market had record closing highs just above 15,000, as energy prices soared and overall optimism prevailed.Then the summer ended, and with it went the sky-high oil prices and investor confidence as U.S. investment bank Lehman Bros. failed, and other pillars of Wall Street wobbled and threatened to crash.
Worst days on the TSX
Date Drop Index
Dec. 1, 2008 864.41 8,406.21
Sept. 29, 2008 840.93 11,285.07
Oct. 25, 2000 840.26 9,511.84
Oct. 2, 2008 813.97 10,900.54
Oct. 27, 2008 756.75 8,537.34
Credit suddenly became more sparse than it had been at any time in recent memory, making it more expensive and difficult for banks and other major lenders to finance business projects and consumer buying.What initially seemed like a somewhat isolated problem quickly spread to all of the key sectors, including the auto industry, which was already battling a sales slowdown, and to energy companies embarked on costly development projects that hinged on a high oil price.The impacts were being felt everywhere, even on the consumer staples, which are typically considered relatively safe during recessions.But consumer staples was also that sector that endured one of the softest drops on the TSX, down roughly 12 per cent on the year.Indeed they showed their defensive qualities this year, although because there was no hiding place they went down less than the market as a whole, Gavin Graham, vice-president with BMO Asset Management, said of consumer staples.It's things that everybody needs and will continue to buy like food, beverages and medication.Oil prices, consumer confidence major factors .Economists are split over when the stock markets will start to make a recovery from their recent dismal levels.Graham is optimistic that 2009 will signal better times for Canada.After you've had a year as bad as this one, you've always seen a fairly substantial, double-digit positive return from the markets the following year, he said.However, several major factors are still up in the air, including the short-term direction of oil prices.The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which accounts for about 40 per cent of global supply, has been slashing oil production in an effort to reduce supplies and, it hopes, boost crude prices.
Further production cuts could be discussed if OPEC meets in Kuwait City on Jan. 19, and that could send prices higher which would likely give Canadian energy companies a boost on the market.Also teetering on unstable ground is domestic consumer confidence, which is in danger of toppling the retail sector.The Conference Board of Canada says that consumer confidence in December was at its lowest level since 1981-82, during the worst post-war recession.The weakening results are especially alarming because economists say that Canadians are responding to a deepening recession in the United States, which means that they're cutting spending in preparation for a stormy economic climate that doesn't necessarily exist within the country.Tighter spending could inevitably bring some of the U.S. retail sector's woes to Canada in the coming quarters.
Bank stocks for more adventurous
Graham suggests that cautious investors should consider buying stocks in companies that still pay dividends, such as natural gas pipeline operators TransCanada Corp. and Enbridge Income Fund.If you're feeling a little more adventurous, you could even try some of the banks and life insurance companies like Royal Bank, Scotiabank or TD Bank, he said.The financial sector has been slammed with writedowns related to the credit crisis for more than a year, but some investors have championed the banks nonetheless, saying that traditionally banks will see surefire profit growth over the long term.Most of the banks have also remained steadfast on their dividend payments, with some choosing to raise capital rather than slash dividends.Ketchen said there are still significant opportunities on the market in 2009, as long as investors are patient and don't concentrate on one sector.Our opinion is that as you move through the latter part of 2009, things will look a whole lot more interesting than where they are now, he said.He suggested that investors set up a tax-free savings account, a government plan that allows Canadians aged 18 or older to set up an account where they can invest up to $5,000 each year and allow it to grow tax-free.Investors can use the account to save money through guaranteed investment certificates, bonds, mutual funds and stocks.The Canadian Press, 2009
Street looks to '09 with relief after terrible '08 By TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writer – Wed Dec 31, 8:04 pm ET
NEW YORK – The last trading day of 2008 on Wall Street provided a merciful end to an abysmal year — the worst since the Great Depression, wiping out $6.9 trillion in stock market wealth.Six years of stock gains disappeared as the economy crumbled and markets crashed around the globe, shaking the confidence of professional and individual investors alike.But the year's chaos went far beyond the stock market. Credit markets that drive lending became paralyzed, plunging the country further into recession and touching off an unprecedented rush for the safety of Treasury bills, notes and bonds. Commodities markets, usually ignored by most investors, soared on speculative buying and then collapsed when it became clear that the world economy was in trouble and that record high prices, including oil's peak above $147 a barrel, were unjustified.It was a feeling of flailing, said Jerry Webman, chief economist at Oppenheimer Funds Inc. People couldn't get a grasp because there were not obvious historical precedents.By the year's end, many market analysts were predicting that 2009 would be better, but that recovery would be slow as investors, shaken by the devastation to their portfolios, U.S. companies and the overall economy, remain reluctant to buy.I think this may be much more of a show-me market than we're used to. The market is going to be looking for some stabilization, increases in earnings, a few more positives before it begins to recover, said Webman.
Wall Street's stats for 2008 provide evidence of how stunningly terrible the year was:
• The average price of a share listed on the New York Stock Exchange plunged 45 percent to $41.14 by the end of the year from $75.01 a year earlier.
• The Dow Jones industrial average fell 33.8 percent for the year and 38 percent from its record close of 14,165.53 in October 2007, making it the Dow's worst year since 1931, when the country was in the midst of the Great Depression.
• The Standard & Poor's 500 index, the indicator most watched by market pros, slumped 38.5 percent in 2008 and 42.3 percent from its 2007 high of 1,565.15.
• Investors lost $6.9 trillion as relentless selling reduced the value of stocks across the market. That amount, measured by the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index, represented 38 percent of the total value of U.S. stocks at the start of 2008.
Yet the last week of the year was almost serene.On Wednesday, the Dow rose 108.00, or 1.25 percent, to 8,776.39.Broader stock indicators also rose. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 12.61, or 1.42 percent, to 903.25. The Nasdaq composite index rose 26.33, or 1.70 percent, to 1,577.03 and ended the year down 40.5 percent. It's down 44.8 percent from its recent peak in October; the Nasdaq's record high close of 5,048.62 came in March 2000 just before the end of the dot-com boom.The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 16.68, or 3.46 percent, to 499.45.
The tranquility was a welcome change in a year that was rocky from the start as worries about the financial system were fed by reports that banks had suffered billions of dollars in losses on securities tied to defaulting mortgages. The forced-sale of Bear Stearns Cos. in March unnerved Wall Street, yet it still managed to right itself through the spring.The surging price of oil and other commodities dealt another blow to the market. As a barrel of crude leaped from $112 at the beginning of May to a once-unthinkable $147.27 on July 11. With retail gasoline prices soaring above $4 a gallon, stocks fell amid fears that consumers would have to cut back their spending because of higher energy prices.But the market again stabilized — until the September bankruptcy of one of the most venerable Wall Street investment firms, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., set off a panic on Wall Street and in the credit markets. Banks, fearing that other financial institutions would be unable to repay, stopped lending to each other. The market for short-term corporate debt known as commercial paper was frozen. Interest rates soared. The only thriving part of the credit markets was government debt. Investors desperate for safety poured money into Treasury issues, particularly short-term bills. The yield on the three month bill plunged to zero, and briefly to a negative return, as investors decided no return or a slight loss was better than the losses on Wall Street or in commodities. Wall Street's crash in 2008 didn't come in one day like the famous 22.6 percent plunge of Oct. 26, 1987. In many ways it was more nightmarish than Black Monday because there wasn't a quick end to the selling and record volatility. From Sept. 15 to Nov. 20, when the Dow fell to a close of 7,552.29, the depths it had reached in the bear market of 2002, the blue chips rose or fell by triple digits 41 trading days out of 49.
Relative stability returned to the market during December. But Wall Street's horrific performance has cast a new mold for modern bear markets, often defined as a decline of more than 20 percent, and made expectations for 2009 so low that any reduction in the economic bloodletting would be considered a victory. Everyone is so down in the dumps about everything that I do think it gives you the opportunity to have a positive surprise if maybe the economy does turn quicker, said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Wealth Management. Wall Street is hoping for signs of recovery by the second half of 2009, including evidence the housing market has hit bottom, increased lending by banks and a drop in unemployment accompanied by increased consumer spending. But for the near future economists and market experts predict more bad news. I have yet to see anyone who anticipates that the first half of next year is going to be rosy, said Dean Junkans, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. But even a modest improvement in the economy, which has been in recession since last December, could help stocks extend their recent run.
If you're standing still, walking is a pickup of speed, said Alan Levenson, chief economist at T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. The government has helped calm markets with a $700 billion rescue of the financial sector and by agreeing to provide financing to the major U.S. automakers. The Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark interest rate to near zero to reduce borrowing costs. Cheaper oil prices — it settled at $44.60 a barrel on Wednesday — are expected to help bolster the economy, draining less money away from consumers and businesses. The declining prices of other commodities, which have come down in response to rapidly waning demand for raw materials around the world, should also help. In addition, some analysts believe the market will improve because so many investors have pulled out, leaving little room for more selling. Given the nasty carnage how much further risk is there? said David Darst, chief investment strategist for Morgan Stanley's global wealth management group. Still, the credit markets remain nearly stagnant as banks continue to be anxious about lending. Corporate forecasts in January could help shape investor sentiment, even as expectations are modest. David Kelly, chief market strategist at JPMorgan Funds, said the prospects for the market are exceptionally uncertain.For the market to hold its advance from November he contends the calmer trading of the past month must continue and president-elect Barack Obama's plan to boost the economy with spending on infrastructure must show it is working quickly. The great risk is we are in a wait-and-see economy, Kelly said. What Obama needs to do is turn this into a do-it-now economy, give people a reason to buy.(This version CORRECTS SUBS 13th graf ... to correct day to Wednesday. Can stand as a Wall Street yearender. Moving on general news and financial services.)
Russia's Gazprom cuts all gas supplies to Ukraine Thursday, January 1, 2009 | 9:32 AM ET Comments65Recommend26The Associated Press
Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom cut all natural gas supplies to Ukraine on Thursday morning after talks broke down over payments for past shipments and a new energy price contract for 2009.Gazprom officials said the cuts began as planned at 2 a.m. ET and the Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz confirmed a steady drop in supplies.The festering dispute between the two uneasy neighbours raised fears that a cut-off could lead to repetition of the January 2006 gas crisis, when a similar dispute between Russia and Ukraine briefly interrupted gas shipments to many European countries.Europeans get about a quarter of their gas from Russia, and Ukraine controls the pipelines through which Russia supplies most of its customers in Europe. Natural gas is used for heating and to generate electricity, and the cut-off to Ukraine comes as Europe approaches the depths of winter.While cutting gas to Ukraine, Gazprom said it also increased the amount of gas pumped through pipelines that mainly serve Europe.Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned Ukraine against diverting gas intended for other customers, saying that could have quite serious consequences for the transit country itself by damaging relations with Europe.Ukraine's president and prime minister issued a statement saying they would guarantee the uninterrupted transit of natural gas through Ukrainian territory to Europe.However, the Ukrainian president's energy adviser said it appeared Gazprom had reduced supplies by more than Ukraine's quota of the deliveries, and was not shipping enough to satisfy European customers. Despite this, Ukraine was fulfilling its obligations to deliver gas westward, Bohdan Sokolovsky said Thursday.It was not possible to confirm his observations.
Gas storages built up
Naftogaz director Oleh Dubina has said Ukraine has enough gas in reserve to last it through early April.European countries also have built up their gas storage since the 2006 crisis and would be unlikely to see any disruption for several weeks, said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Uralsib bank.The deadlock over gas supplies reflects the deep political split between Moscow and Kiev.Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has angered the Kremlin through his efforts to build ties to western Europe and his support of Georgia in its August war with Russia.Ukraine's position in the dispute is further complicated by divisions in the country's leadership. Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, bitter political rivals, are at odds over gas policy and relations with Russia, among other issues.Gazprom had warned it would cut gas supplies unless Ukraine paid off all of a $2.1-billion US debt and signed a deal setting prices for 2009 deliveries by midnight. Neither was done.
Naftogaz paid $1.5 billion to the Swiss-based gas trader Rosukrenergo, which it says covers the debt. But Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said late Wednesday that Gazprom had not yet received the money. Gazprom claims Ukraine owes $600 million more in fines for late payment.Rosukrenergo is half-owned by Gazprom. It was not immediately clear why the money had not been transferred to Gazprom.This is an issue of Gazprom's dealings with Rosukrenergo, Naftogaz spokesman Valentyn Zemlyansky said. Naftogaz has fulfilled all its obligations.
No contract for deliveries
The other stumbling block was the failure to sign a contract for 2009 gas deliveries.
Gazprom had first insisted that Ukraine pay $418 per 1,000 cubic metres of gas in 2009, more than double the $179.50 it paid the previous year.On Wednesday, Gazprom offered a contract with gas set at $250, which Ukrainian officials said was still too high.Yushchenko and Tymoshenko offered early Thursday to pay Russia $201 per 1,000 cubic metres of gas if Russia agrees to raise the future price it pays to use Ukraine's pipelines to $2 per 1,000 cubic metres per 100 kilometres.Russia has said the $250 offer is contingent on the current transit fee of $1.70 remaining unchanged.
The Canadian Press, 2009
Belgian king appoints ex-finance chief as PM
ELITSA VUCHEVA 31.12.2008 @ 09:23 CET
Belgium's King Albert on Tuesday (30 December) swore in Flemish Christian Democrat Herman Van Rompuy as the country's new prime minister heading a five-party coalition government.Mr Van Rompuy replaces former premier Yves Leterme, who resigned following a scandal over alleged political meddling in the bailout of Fortis bank.A new justice minister, interior minister and minister for public service and government-owned companies are the only changes envisaged in the new cabinet.It's the same coalition with the same five parties [the Flemish Christian Democrat Party, the Flemish Liberal Party, the Francophone Liberal Party, the Francophone Christian Democrats and the Francophone Socialist Party], the president of the Centre for Political Studies at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Pascal Delwit, told Reuters.
But Van Rompuy is a little bit more subtle than Yves Leterme, he added, stressing that the new prime minister is more sensitive than his predecessor to the linguistic and political divisions between the country's main communities - the French-speaking Walloons in the south and the Dutch-speaking Flemish in the north.Mr Leterme had been criticised for failing to smooth tensions between Flemish and Walloons.I think he knows better the French-speaking people, the French-speaking politicians, and in this way, he is more engaged in compromise. I think perhaps he will do better, Mr Delwit said.Didier Reynders, leader of the Francophone Liberal Party and the country's finance minister, said on national television that nothing is certain in Belgium, but expressed confidence that the new government would remain in place for a while.I think we have a good formula to have a government this year, he said.Mr Van Rompuy - a former budget minister (1993 to 1999), who has the reputation of being a budgetary hard-liner as well as an intellectual - is the third premier Belgium has had since general elections in June 2007.He is to make a speech in Belgian parliament on Wednesday and is expected to be formally endorsed by deputies on Friday.His main task will be to deal with the worsening economic situation in his country, which is expected to have formally entered recession.
World bids adieu to a rocky 2008; worries over '09 By JOELLE DIDERICH, Associated Press Writer – Wed Dec 31, 10:16 pm ET
PARIS – Revelers around the world greeted 2009 with fireworks, bell ringing and a tinge of optimism Thursday — amid hopes they'd seen the last of 2008's disappearing jobs and slumping stocks.I'm looking forward to 2009, said Randolph King of England, whose retirement fund was gutted in the global financial crisis. Because it can't get much worse.After the most volatile financial year in decades, people paused for a deep breath and a sip of ... perhaps something cheaper than champagne.We're not going to celebrate in a big way. We're being careful, said architect Moussa Siham, 24, as shoppers in the affluent area west of Paris were scaling back purchases for the traditional New Year's Eve feast.The new year also brought tragedy, as rescue workers in Thailand said at least 59 New Year's revelers died in a fire that swept through a popular nightclub in Bangkok, with about another 130 injured.In the splendor of St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI called for soberness and solidarity in 2009. During a year's end vespers service Wednesday evening, the pope said these times are marked by uncertainty and worry for the future but urged people not to be afraid and to help each other.Others tried to forget their troubles, for at least one night.Sydney, Australia, was the world's first major city to ring in 2009, showering its shimmering harbor with a kaleidoscope of light that drew cheers from more than a million people.
In Ireland, thousands of Dubliners and tourists gathered outside the capital's oldest medieval cathedral, Christ Church, to hear the traditional New Year's Eve bell-ringing.It is a wondrously beautiful note on which to end what, for many people, has been an awfully out-of-tune 2008, said Gary Maguire, a volunteer pulling the ropes.Some of the U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan gathered in Kabul to cut cake and count down to the new year.In Brazil, six luxury cruise liners floated off Rio's famed Copacabana beach as fireworks erupted over heads of two million revelers.
I hope that tonight we begin the end of war and crisis,said Roberto Felipe, a 22-year-old construction worker, was shirtless with a beer in hand. I hope that 2009, which is bringing your President Obama to the scene, will help us all have a better life.In New York, throngs of revelers with fur hats and sleeping bags had already gathered by early evening in Times Square, despite temperatures that were expected to dip well below freezing.The economy is what it is. It's going to turn around. You just have to be positive, said Sam Tenorio, who brought his family to America's most famous New Year's party. That's what we're doing, otherwise we wouldn't be here. I think that's why most people are here tonight: optimism.But some other U.S. cities canceled public celebrations because of the shaky economy.In Hong Kong, thousands thronged around Victoria Harbor for a midnight fireworks display, but those with investments linked to collapsed investment bank Lehman Brothers — which filed the biggest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history in mid-September — were finding little joy.I don't think there's any reason for me to celebrate after knowing that my investment is worth nothing now, said electrical repairman Chan Hon-ming, who had purchased a $30,000 Lehman-backed investment. In Iceland, where people have been angry over the country's collapsed economy, demonstrators forced an annual New Year's Eve broadcast featuring the prime minister off the air, storming the hotel where it was being filmed. They threw fireworks and water balloons at police, who responded with pepper spray. In India, many were happy to see the end of 2008 after a series of terrorist attacks in several cities, culminating in the three-day siege in Mumbai that killed 164 people. The year 2008 can best be described as a year of crime, terrorist activities, bloodshed and accidents, said Tavishi Srivastava, 51, an office worker in the northern Indian city of Lucknow. I sincerely hope that 2009 will be a year of peace and progress.
In Athens, police said arsonists attacked at least 10 banks and two car dealerships amid the celebrations, but no arrests or injuries were reported. Cities in Greece had riots recently over the fatal shooting of a teenage boy by police. Celebrations were muted in China, where fireworks and feasting are reserved mainly for the Lunar New Year, which in 2009 begins Jan. 26. At midnight in Japan, temples rang their bells 108 times — representing the 108 evils being struck out — as worshippers threw coins as offerings and prayed. In Tokyo, volunteers stirred huge pots of New Year's rice-cake soup and doled out blankets and clothing to the needy. Japan has long boasted a system of lifetime employment at major companies, but that has unraveled this year amid the financial crisis. There's no work, Mitsuo Kobayashi, 61, muttered as he picked up a wool scarf, a coat and pants. Who knows what next year will bring?
Associated Press writers Dheepti Namasivay in Paris, France, Frances D'Emilio and Ariel David in Rome, Italy, Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin, Ireland, Robert Barr in London, England, Patrick McGroarty in Berlin, Germany, Valur Gunnarsson in Reykjavik, Iceland, Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Greece, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Australia, Denis Gray in Bangkok, Thailand, Dikky Sinn in Hong Kong, China, Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Colleen Long in New York, Biswajeet Banerjee in Lucknow, India, and Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo, Japan, contributed to this story.
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.
New year brings in nasty weather for Canadians Thursday, January 1, 2009 | 12:08 PM ET CBC News
A New Year's Day blizzard hit Bayswater, on Nova Scotia's south shore. (Submitted by Daryl Gray) Snow, strong winds and bitterly cold temperatures are giving Canadians a good reason to spend New Year's Day indoors.A fierce blizzard whacked Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island overnight, bringing blowing snow and high wind gusts throughout the day.Snowplows were pulled off the roads in P.E.I. early Thursday morning because of blowing snow and near-zero visibility. Authorities are warning people to stay off the roads.The roads were icy and snow covered, said CBC's Sara Fraser. It was a bit of a horror story getting to [work] and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to leave any time soon.Snow piles up in Charlottetown on New Year's Day. (Tracy Lightfoot/CBC) Most flights in or out of the Charlottetown Airport have been cancelled or delayed, while the Confederation Bridge, which links the Island with New Brunswick, is closed to high-sided vehicles.P.E.I. could get anywhere from 15 to 45 centimetres of snow, while wind gusts could reach as high as 100 km/h.
Cape Breton bears brunt
Forecasters say eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton will get the worst of the blizzard — between 40 and 60 cm by the end of the day.Many departures and arrivals at Halifax Stanfield International Airport were cancelled, while several New Year's Day levees have also been called off, including all military, the mayor's and lieutenant-governor's levees.Hundreds of customers in N.S. are without power, mostly in Cape Breton.We have our crews out to respond to the outages. In some cases, the road conditions may limit the mobility of our crews, but we'll have people working as safely and as quickly as possible to get power back on, said Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Stacey Pineau.The storm system will move toward Newfoundland and Labrador later Thursday.A cyclist rides past the Old Town Clock on Citadel Hill during a blizzard in Halifax on Thursday. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)
Stormy Prairies,An Alberta Clipper brought snow and high winds to southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba overnight and into Thursday.Regina and Dauphin remain under blizzard warnings, but the system is expected to weaken Thursday afternoon as it moves into northern Ontario. Thunder Bay could see about five centimetres of snow.
About 5 centimetres of snow has fallen on Vancouver, but is expected to change to rain later this afternoon. The coast will see strong winds throughout the day.
Most of Canada also reported freezing conditions with the wind chill Thursday, including:
Victoria is the country's hot spot, reporting a wind chill of zero.CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe said Canadians can blame the jet stream, a narrow band of strong winds in the atmosphere that control the movement of high and low-pressure systems.
The jet stream is riding very low and pulling down that Arctic air, said Wagstaffe.
Major Wash. passes closed by snow, avalanche fears JAN 1,08
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Department of Transportation says the state's three main east-west mountain passes have been closed by snow and avalanche danger and are likely to remain so into Friday.Spokesman Lloyd Brown says another storm is expected to dump more snow on the Cascade Mountains overnight, which will keep the danger of avalanches high for mountain highways across Stevens, Snoqualmie (sno-KWAHL'-mee) and White passes.That storm could also bring snow and high winds to large areas of winter-weary eastern Washington from Yakima to Spokane.For now, travelers between eastern and western Washington will have to detour south through Portland, Ore.
Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond says officials will reassess the passes Friday morning.
EU DICTATOR (WORLD LEADER)
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).
12 And the ten horns (NATIONS) which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
2 And I saw, and behold a white horse:(PEACE) and he that sat on him had a bow;(EU DICTATOR) and a crown was given unto him:(PRESIDENT OF THE EU) and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.(MILITARY GENIUS)
1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.(THE EU AND ITS DICTATOR IS GODLESS)
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.(DICTATOR COMES FROM NEW AGE OR OCCULT)
3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death;(MURDERERD) and his deadly wound was healed:(COMES BACK TO LIFE) and all the world wondered after the beast.(THE WORLD THINKS ITS GOD IN THE FLESH, MESSIAH TO ISRAEL)
4 And they worshipped the dragon (SATAN) which gave power unto the beast:(JEWISH EU DICTATOR) and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?(FALSE RESURRECTION,SATAN BRINGS HIM TO LIFE)
5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.(GIVEN WORLD CONTROL FOR 3 1/2YRS)
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God,(HES A GOD HATER) to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.(HES A LIBERAL OR DEMOCRAT,WILL PUT ANYTHING ABOUT GOD DOWN)
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints,(BEHEAD THEM) and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.(WORLD DOMINATION)
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.(WORLD DICTATOR)
9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.(SAVED CHRISTIANS AND JEWS DIE FOR THEIR FAITH AT THIS TIME,NOW WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE BUT DURING THE 7 YEARS OF HELL ON EARTH, PEOPLE WILL BE PUT TO DEATH (BEHEADINGS) FOR THEIR BELIEF IN GOD (JESUS) OR THE BIBLE.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come (ROMANS IN AD 70) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;(ROMANS DESTROYED THE 2ND TEMPLE) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he( EU ROMAN, JEWISH DICTATOR) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:( 7 YEARS) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,( 3 1/2 YRS) and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Czech Republic takes over EU presidency By KAREL JANICEK, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jan 1, 1:49 pm ET
PRAGUE, Czech Republic – The Czech Republic took over the rotating European Union presidency Thursday, with the bloc aiming to see its new governance treaty approved in 2009.At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, authorities illuminated central Prague's giant metronome know as the Time Machine in the Czech colors of red, white and blue and the EU blue flag with yellow stars.President Vaclav Klaus — the most outspoken Czech critic of the treaty — said the EU presidency would give the country a chance to influence the activity of this important organization.It is in our interest to succeed in this role, Klaus said in his New Year's Day speech to the nation.But Klaus is known as the country's most prominent Euro-skeptic, and in the past he has said that a well-functioning, bureaucratic EU is not my goal. He has opposed the so-called Lisbon Treaty because, he says, it is undemocratic and would limit nations' sovereignty.And during Czech presidency of the bloc, Klaus has vowed not to fly the EU flag over Prague Castle because, he said, the country is not an EU province.The last EU presidency under France featured efforts to tackle Europe's economic woes, and the next six months of Czech leadership will also involve dealing with the global financial crisis and overseeing implementation of a new $258 billion European economic stimulus package.The Czechs will also lead an EU diplomatic push for peace in current conflict in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinians. Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg plans to lead an EU delegation to the Middle East this week or next.But the Czech Republic also faces concerns over the Lisbon Treaty, a blueprint for EU reform that supporters say is essential for the bloc to work effectively.The treaty — which must be approved by all 27 EU members to take effect — has been on hold since Irish voters rejected it in June. The Irish said they would hold a new referendum. But the Czech Parliament, divided on the treaty, has postponed its vote — which would be the last in the union.