Thursday, February 28, 2013

 

POPE RATZINGERS LAST MESSAGE TO THE WORLD

KING JESUS IS COMING FOR US ANY TIME NOW. THE RAPTURE. BE PREPARED TO GO.

Winds of change at Vatican pave way for new pope

By

 1  17  3

People gather at St. Peter’s square during Pope Benedict XVI’s last Angelus before stepping down on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, at St Peter’s Square in Vatican city. The Vatican said Monday that a secret report on a leaks scandal in 2012 had revealed human “imperfections” in the running of the Church and would be shown exclusively to the future pope, not to voting cardinals. AFP PHOTO/TIZIANA FABI
VATICAN CITY – Cardinals electing the new pope will be looking for a charismatic but tenacious man capable of re-uniting a fractious Church, stamping down on scandals and re-igniting faith among the young.
“First of all, we need a pope who knows how to speak to the world — beyond the Catholic world,” said Andrea Tornielli, Vatican expert for La Stampa daily’s Vatican Insider insert.
“He needs to be open and understanding, not too inward-looking,” he said.
Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation on Thursday throws open a race for the Vatican’s top job which will see as many as 115 elector cardinals from around the world meet in a secret conclave to pick his successor.
It will not be an easy decision, said John Allen from the National Catholic Reporter in Rome.
“There are conservatives versus moderates, there is third world versus first world… and insiders versus outsiders,” he said.
Good communication skills are a key requisite for many Vatican watchers: favourites are Timothy Dolan, the 63-year old Archbishop of New York who is renowned for his humour and dynamism, and Brazil’s Odilo Scherer, 63, who is praised for his open mind and is a keen Tweeter.
After the academic language of Benedict’s sermons, many are also looking for a warmer pope — which could be Vienna’s Christoph Schoenborn, 68, admired for his pastoral touch and compared by some to the much-loved John Paul II.
The next pope “has to be able to speak the language of God in the language of men,” said French cardinal Paul Poupard.
Young faithful in particular have repeatedly said that the 85-year old pope’s decision to step down because of his age is a sign the Church now needs a more youthful and flexible leader.
At 55, Luis Antonio Tagle from the Philippines is the Church’s second youngest cardinal: he is tipped for his dynamism and charisma, and is hugely popular in Asia. Brazil’s Joao Braz de Aviz, a 65-year old known for his attempts to reach out to breakaway liberals, is also well-liked.
“We need a pope who can govern. Certain problems were not tackled,” said Marco Politi, a Vatican expert who wrote a biography of the pope and said there was “a climate of conformism which lasted eight years” under Benedict’s reign.
The German pope’s reign was overshadowed by a vast sex abuse scandal which reared its head time and again despite Benedict’s efforts, and many will be looking for a new pope capable of slamming down on paedophile priests.
Their man may be Sean O’Malley from Boston — where the scandal first exploded a decade ago — who has worked hard to crack down on abusers and sold the archdiocese’s palatial headquarters to raise money for victim settlements.
He is also described as a humble, low-key personality who prizes simplicity — qualities sought by many looking to reconnect with the roots of the Church.
Others will hope the new pope will tackle internal divisions, bickering and jostling for power within the unruly Curia — the central government of the Catholic Church.
“This complex institution needs to be simplified,” said Tornielli, who added that Benedict’s failure to reform it “is one of the limits of his papacy.”
Argentina’s Leonardo Sandri, a 69-year old born in Buenos Aires to Italian parents, is considered a possible contender to bridge divides, while supporters of Canada’s Marc Ouellet, 67, say he would crack down on the wilful Curia.
Many observers are hoping for a more progressive pope who could tackle sensitive topics such as homosexuality, the use of condoms and clerical marriage, but cardinals willing to open up on all fronts are few and far between.
Ghana’s Peter Turkson, 64, is noted for easing the rules on contraception, advocating condom use among married couples if one partner is infected.
But his recent comments in an interview suggesting homosexuality may be part of the reason for the sex abuse scandals damaged his chances says some observers: so too did his decision to show a synod a video sensationalising Muslim immigration to Europe.
Those hoping the future pontiff will carry on Benedict’s efforts to improve interreligious relations and increase dialogue with the secular world by reaching out to atheists may be backing one of two Italian contenders for pope.
Angelo Scola, the 72-year old Archbishop of Milan is a keen promoter of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, while Vatican culture minister Gianfranco Ravasi, 70, has set up a series of exchanges with non-believers.
“We cannot read the cardinals’ minds,” Politi said, but of all the possible candidates he expected “a centrist” to win — another tick in the box for Scola.
- See more at: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/366435/winds-of-change-at-vatican-pave-way-for-new-pope#sthash.HU3di7KC.dpuf

Winds of change at Vatican pave way for new pope

By

 1  17  3

People gather at St. Peter’s square during Pope Benedict XVI’s last Angelus before stepping down on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, at St Peter’s Square in Vatican city. The Vatican said Monday that a secret report on a leaks scandal in 2012 had revealed human “imperfections” in the running of the Church and would be shown exclusively to the future pope, not to voting cardinals. AFP PHOTO/TIZIANA FABI
VATICAN CITY – Cardinals electing the new pope will be looking for a charismatic but tenacious man capable of re-uniting a fractious Church, stamping down on scandals and re-igniting faith among the young.
“First of all, we need a pope who knows how to speak to the world — beyond the Catholic world,” said Andrea Tornielli, Vatican expert for La Stampa daily’s Vatican Insider insert.
“He needs to be open and understanding, not too inward-looking,” he said.
Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation on Thursday throws open a race for the Vatican’s top job which will see as many as 115 elector cardinals from around the world meet in a secret conclave to pick his successor.
It will not be an easy decision, said John Allen from the National Catholic Reporter in Rome.
“There are conservatives versus moderates, there is third world versus first world… and insiders versus outsiders,” he said.
Good communication skills are a key requisite for many Vatican watchers: favourites are Timothy Dolan, the 63-year old Archbishop of New York who is renowned for his humour and dynamism, and Brazil’s Odilo Scherer, 63, who is praised for his open mind and is a keen Tweeter.
After the academic language of Benedict’s sermons, many are also looking for a warmer pope — which could be Vienna’s Christoph Schoenborn, 68, admired for his pastoral touch and compared by some to the much-loved John Paul II.
The next pope “has to be able to speak the language of God in the language of men,” said French cardinal Paul Poupard.
Young faithful in particular have repeatedly said that the 85-year old pope’s decision to step down because of his age is a sign the Church now needs a more youthful and flexible leader.
At 55, Luis Antonio Tagle from the Philippines is the Church’s second youngest cardinal: he is tipped for his dynamism and charisma, and is hugely popular in Asia. Brazil’s Joao Braz de Aviz, a 65-year old known for his attempts to reach out to breakaway liberals, is also well-liked.
“We need a pope who can govern. Certain problems were not tackled,” said Marco Politi, a Vatican expert who wrote a biography of the pope and said there was “a climate of conformism which lasted eight years” under Benedict’s reign.
The German pope’s reign was overshadowed by a vast sex abuse scandal which reared its head time and again despite Benedict’s efforts, and many will be looking for a new pope capable of slamming down on paedophile priests.
Their man may be Sean O’Malley from Boston — where the scandal first exploded a decade ago — who has worked hard to crack down on abusers and sold the archdiocese’s palatial headquarters to raise money for victim settlements.
He is also described as a humble, low-key personality who prizes simplicity — qualities sought by many looking to reconnect with the roots of the Church.
Others will hope the new pope will tackle internal divisions, bickering and jostling for power within the unruly Curia — the central government of the Catholic Church.
“This complex institution needs to be simplified,” said Tornielli, who added that Benedict’s failure to reform it “is one of the limits of his papacy.”
Argentina’s Leonardo Sandri, a 69-year old born in Buenos Aires to Italian parents, is considered a possible contender to bridge divides, while supporters of Canada’s Marc Ouellet, 67, say he would crack down on the wilful Curia.
Many observers are hoping for a more progressive pope who could tackle sensitive topics such as homosexuality, the use of condoms and clerical marriage, but cardinals willing to open up on all fronts are few and far between.
Ghana’s Peter Turkson, 64, is noted for easing the rules on contraception, advocating condom use among married couples if one partner is infected.
But his recent comments in an interview suggesting homosexuality may be part of the reason for the sex abuse scandals damaged his chances says some observers: so too did his decision to show a synod a video sensationalising Muslim immigration to Europe.
Those hoping the future pontiff will carry on Benedict’s efforts to improve interreligious relations and increase dialogue with the secular world by reaching out to atheists may be backing one of two Italian contenders for pope.
Angelo Scola, the 72-year old Archbishop of Milan is a keen promoter of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, while Vatican culture minister Gianfranco Ravasi, 70, has set up a series of exchanges with non-believers.
“We cannot read the cardinals’ minds,” Politi said, but of all the possible candidates he expected “a centrist” to win — another tick in the box for Scola.
- See more at: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/366435/winds-of-change-at-vatican-pave-way-for-new-pope#sthash.HU3di7KC.dpuf

Winds of change at Vatican pave way for new pope

By

 1  17  3

People gather at St. Peter’s square during Pope Benedict XVI’s last Angelus before stepping down on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, at St Peter’s Square in Vatican city. The Vatican said Monday that a secret report on a leaks scandal in 2012 had revealed human “imperfections” in the running of the Church and would be shown exclusively to the future pope, not to voting cardinals. AFP PHOTO/TIZIANA FABI
VATICAN CITY – Cardinals electing the new pope will be looking for a charismatic but tenacious man capable of re-uniting a fractious Church, stamping down on scandals and re-igniting faith among the young.
“First of all, we need a pope who knows how to speak to the world — beyond the Catholic world,” said Andrea Tornielli, Vatican expert for La Stampa daily’s Vatican Insider insert.
“He needs to be open and understanding, not too inward-looking,” he said.
Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation on Thursday throws open a race for the Vatican’s top job which will see as many as 115 elector cardinals from around the world meet in a secret conclave to pick his successor.
It will not be an easy decision, said John Allen from the National Catholic Reporter in Rome.
“There are conservatives versus moderates, there is third world versus first world… and insiders versus outsiders,” he said.
Good communication skills are a key requisite for many Vatican watchers: favourites are Timothy Dolan, the 63-year old Archbishop of New York who is renowned for his humour and dynamism, and Brazil’s Odilo Scherer, 63, who is praised for his open mind and is a keen Tweeter.
After the academic language of Benedict’s sermons, many are also looking for a warmer pope — which could be Vienna’s Christoph Schoenborn, 68, admired for his pastoral touch and compared by some to the much-loved John Paul II.
The next pope “has to be able to speak the language of God in the language of men,” said French cardinal Paul Poupard.
Young faithful in particular have repeatedly said that the 85-year old pope’s decision to step down because of his age is a sign the Church now needs a more youthful and flexible leader.
At 55, Luis Antonio Tagle from the Philippines is the Church’s second youngest cardinal: he is tipped for his dynamism and charisma, and is hugely popular in Asia. Brazil’s Joao Braz de Aviz, a 65-year old known for his attempts to reach out to breakaway liberals, is also well-liked.
“We need a pope who can govern. Certain problems were not tackled,” said Marco Politi, a Vatican expert who wrote a biography of the pope and said there was “a climate of conformism which lasted eight years” under Benedict’s reign.
The German pope’s reign was overshadowed by a vast sex abuse scandal which reared its head time and again despite Benedict’s efforts, and many will be looking for a new pope capable of slamming down on paedophile priests.
Their man may be Sean O’Malley from Boston — where the scandal first exploded a decade ago — who has worked hard to crack down on abusers and sold the archdiocese’s palatial headquarters to raise money for victim settlements.
He is also described as a humble, low-key personality who prizes simplicity — qualities sought by many looking to reconnect with the roots of the Church.
Others will hope the new pope will tackle internal divisions, bickering and jostling for power within the unruly Curia — the central government of the Catholic Church.
“This complex institution needs to be simplified,” said Tornielli, who added that Benedict’s failure to reform it “is one of the limits of his papacy.”
Argentina’s Leonardo Sandri, a 69-year old born in Buenos Aires to Italian parents, is considered a possible contender to bridge divides, while supporters of Canada’s Marc Ouellet, 67, say he would crack down on the wilful Curia.
Many observers are hoping for a more progressive pope who could tackle sensitive topics such as homosexuality, the use of condoms and clerical marriage, but cardinals willing to open up on all fronts are few and far between.
Ghana’s Peter Turkson, 64, is noted for easing the rules on contraception, advocating condom use among married couples if one partner is infected.
But his recent comments in an interview suggesting homosexuality may be part of the reason for the sex abuse scandals damaged his chances says some observers: so too did his decision to show a synod a video sensationalising Muslim immigration to Europe.
Those hoping the future pontiff will carry on Benedict’s efforts to improve interreligious relations and increase dialogue with the secular world by reaching out to atheists may be backing one of two Italian contenders for pope.
Angelo Scola, the 72-year old Archbishop of Milan is a keen promoter of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, while Vatican culture minister Gianfranco Ravasi, 70, has set up a series of exchanges with non-believers.
“We cannot read the cardinals’ minds,” Politi said, but of all the possible candidates he expected “a centrist” to win — another tick in the box for Scola.
- See more at: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/366435/winds-of-change-at-vatican-pave-way-for-new-pope#sthash.HU3di7KC.dpuf

Winds of change at Vatican pave way for new pope

By

 1  17  3

People gather at St. Peter’s square during Pope Benedict XVI’s last Angelus before stepping down on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, at St Peter’s Square in Vatican city. The Vatican said Monday that a secret report on a leaks scandal in 2012 had revealed human “imperfections” in the running of the Church and would be shown exclusively to the future pope, not to voting cardinals. AFP PHOTO/TIZIANA FABI
VATICAN CITY – Cardinals electing the new pope will be looking for a charismatic but tenacious man capable of re-uniting a fractious Church, stamping down on scandals and re-igniting faith among the young.
“First of all, we need a pope who knows how to speak to the world — beyond the Catholic world,” said Andrea Tornielli, Vatican expert for La Stampa daily’s Vatican Insider insert.
“He needs to be open and understanding, not too inward-looking,” he said.
Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation on Thursday throws open a race for the Vatican’s top job which will see as many as 115 elector cardinals from around the world meet in a secret conclave to pick his successor.
It will not be an easy decision, said John Allen from the National Catholic Reporter in Rome.
“There are conservatives versus moderates, there is third world versus first world… and insiders versus outsiders,” he said.
Good communication skills are a key requisite for many Vatican watchers: favourites are Timothy Dolan, the 63-year old Archbishop of New York who is renowned for his humour and dynamism, and Brazil’s Odilo Scherer, 63, who is praised for his open mind and is a keen Tweeter.
After the academic language of Benedict’s sermons, many are also looking for a warmer pope — which could be Vienna’s Christoph Schoenborn, 68, admired for his pastoral touch and compared by some to the much-loved John Paul II.
The next pope “has to be able to speak the language of God in the language of men,” said French cardinal Paul Poupard.
Young faithful in particular have repeatedly said that the 85-year old pope’s decision to step down because of his age is a sign the Church now needs a more youthful and flexible leader.
At 55, Luis Antonio Tagle from the Philippines is the Church’s second youngest cardinal: he is tipped for his dynamism and charisma, and is hugely popular in Asia. Brazil’s Joao Braz de Aviz, a 65-year old known for his attempts to reach out to breakaway liberals, is also well-liked.
“We need a pope who can govern. Certain problems were not tackled,” said Marco Politi, a Vatican expert who wrote a biography of the pope and said there was “a climate of conformism which lasted eight years” under Benedict’s reign.
The German pope’s reign was overshadowed by a vast sex abuse scandal which reared its head time and again despite Benedict’s efforts, and many will be looking for a new pope capable of slamming down on paedophile priests.
Their man may be Sean O’Malley from Boston — where the scandal first exploded a decade ago — who has worked hard to crack down on abusers and sold the archdiocese’s palatial headquarters to raise money for victim settlements.
He is also described as a humble, low-key personality who prizes simplicity — qualities sought by many looking to reconnect with the roots of the Church.
Others will hope the new pope will tackle internal divisions, bickering and jostling for power within the unruly Curia — the central government of the Catholic Church.
“This complex institution needs to be simplified,” said Tornielli, who added that Benedict’s failure to reform it “is one of the limits of his papacy.”
Argentina’s Leonardo Sandri, a 69-year old born in Buenos Aires to Italian parents, is considered a possible contender to bridge divides, while supporters of Canada’s Marc Ouellet, 67, say he would crack down on the wilful Curia.
Many observers are hoping for a more progressive pope who could tackle sensitive topics such as homosexuality, the use of condoms and clerical marriage, but cardinals willing to open up on all fronts are few and far between.
Ghana’s Peter Turkson, 64, is noted for easing the rules on contraception, advocating condom use among married couples if one partner is infected.
But his recent comments in an interview suggesting homosexuality may be part of the reason for the sex abuse scandals damaged his chances says some observers: so too did his decision to show a synod a video sensationalising Muslim immigration to Europe.
Those hoping the future pontiff will carry on Benedict’s efforts to improve interreligious relations and increase dialogue with the secular world by reaching out to atheists may be backing one of two Italian contenders for pope.
Angelo Scola, the 72-year old Archbishop of Milan is a keen promoter of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, while Vatican culture minister Gianfranco Ravasi, 70, has set up a series of exchanges with non-believers.
“We cannot read the cardinals’ minds,” Politi said, but of all the possible candidates he expected “a centrist” to win — another tick in the box for Scola.
- See more at: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/366435/winds-of-change-at-vatican-pave-way-for-new-pope#sthash.HU3di7KC.dpuf
WINDS OF CHANGE AS CARDINALS GET READY TO VOTE FOR NEW POPE
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/366435/winds-of-change-at-vatican-pave-way-for-new-pope
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/index.htm

POPE BRACKET-VOTE FOR NEW POPE ONLINE
http://www.popebracket.com/

AT 11AM EST-5PM VATICAN TIME FEB 28,2013-POPE BENEDICT CAME OUT OF THE VATICAN AND VATICAN BISHOPS AND CARDINALS KISSED THE POPES RING AS A RESPECT TO THE POPES HARD WORK AND REMEMBERENCE OF HIS REIGN.THE POPE THEN LEFT THE VATICAN BY CAR WITH HIS STATE FLAGS ON IT FOR A BRIEF 5 MINUTE RIDE TO THE HELICOPTER PAD.AT 11:09AM-5:09PM VATICAN TIME THE POPE BOARDED THE HELICOPTER ON HIS WAY TO THE PAPAL RETREAT SOUTH OF ROME.THE HELICOPTER RIDE FOR THE 24KM RIDE TO THE RETREAT WAS ABOUT 15 MINUTES.THE POPE LANDED AT 11:25AM EST AT THE RETREAT.THE BELLS RANG TO SAY THE POPE HAS ARRIVED AT THE RETREAT.NO CITIZENS GREETED THE POPE AT THE RETREAT.AGAIN CARDINALS AND BISHOPS KISSED THE POPES RING IN RESPECT TO HIS REIGN AS POPE.AT 11:29AM THE POPE ENTERED HIS VEHICLE FROM THE HELICOPTER PAD AND WAS ON HIS WAY TO HIS NEW HOME AT THE RETREAT.THE 7 HILLS OF ROME ARE SO BEAUTIFUL AS WE SEEN THE POPES JOURNEY TO HIS NEW HOUSE.THE BEAUTIFUL TREES ALL PRUNED ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ROADS THE POPE DROVE ON HIS WAY TO HIS CASTA CON DOLFO HIS NEW HOME RETREAT.AT 11:33AM THE POPE ARRIVED AT HIS NEW HOME AND HE WENT INTO THE BUILDING WERE HE WILL BE LIVING.GOD BLESS YOU POPE BENEDICT 16TH.THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WERE AT THE VATICAN WATCHING THE POPES JOURNEY ON A LARGE SCREEN.AT 11:39AM EST-5:39PM VATICAN TIME THE POPE MADE A BRIEF SPEECH TO PEOPLE OUTSIDE HIS HOUSE IN A SQUARE WERE HE LIVES.HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WERE CHEERING HIM ON FOR HIS LAST BLESSING REMARKS. THE REMARKS LASTED FOR 3 MINUTES TILL 11:42AN-5:42PM VATICAN TIME.AND THEN FROM 11:43AM-5:43PM VATICAN TIME TILL 7:45PM VATICAN TIME-1:45PM EST TIME THE POPE WILL REST AND HAVE A MEAL.WE LOVE YOU POPE BENEDICT 16TH-JOSEPH RATZINGER.PEACE TO YOU AND PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM.

THE POPE WILL NOT HAVE TO RETURN TO THE VATICAN AT 2PM EST-8PM VATICAN TIME FOR THE OFFICIAL RESIGNATION AND DESTRUCTION OF HIS RING SAYING THAT THE POPES REIGN HAS OFFICIALLY ENDED.THE OFFICIAL POPE GUARDS WILL LEAVE THE VATICAN.THE CARDINALS TITLES WILL BE FOLDED UNTIL THE NEW POPE IS ELECTED.AND POPE BENEDICT 16TH WILL BE FREE TO RESUME NORMAL PERSON ACTIVITIES.A RELEIF TO THE POPE AS HE WANTED TO RESIGN A LONG TIME AGO ALREADY.GOD BLESS YOU POPE JOSEPH RATZINGER THE 16TH.MAY YOU HAVE PEACE AND LOVE IN OUR GOD AND SAVIOR KING JESUS THE GOD OF ISRAEL AND THE WHOLE WORLD.THANKS POPE RATZINGER FOR STANDING UP FOR JESUS AND NOT LETTING THE VATICAN BE POLUTED BY THE LUKEWARM WORLD WHO HATES CHRISTIANITY JESUS AND ISRAEL.


THE OFFICIAL POPE 16TH LAST DAY HAPPENINGS.

LAST DAY HAPPENINGS AT THE VATICAN-POPES LIFE BEFORE RETIREMENT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55ixAZy6bl0&list=UUxshhzR907v2w6DjICyAgLQ&index=2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_pIgRQxis8&list=UUxshhzR907v2w6DjICyAgLQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cZnCG762Z4&list=UUxshhzR907v2w6DjICyAgLQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgqVGMESO-U&list=UUxshhzR907v2w6DjICyAgLQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqjt5ZMRjgc&list=UUxshhzR907v2w6DjICyAgLQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0JXW1VhhOw&list=UUxshhzR907v2w6DjICyAgLQ

LAST DAY AS POPE

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI is making history today, becoming the first pontiff to retire in nearly 600 years.Only a handful of popes have ever done so.The last was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism, a dispute among competing papal claimants. The most famous resignation was Pope Celestine V in 1294; Dante placed him in hell for it.Benedict is saying farewell this morning to his closest advisers in Clementine Hall at the Apostolic Palace. Then shortly before 5 p.m., he will leave the palace for the last time as pope and fly by helicopter to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.Exactly at 8 p.m. — when his resignation takes effect — the doors at Castel Gandolfo will close and the papacy that began on April 19, 2005, will come to an end.___Nicole Winfield —http://twitter.com/nwinfield
___"Pope Live" follows the events of the final day of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy as seen by journalists from The Associated Press around the world. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest. Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available.

Swiss Guards in central role in papal retirement

VATICAN CITY (AP) — In their plumed helmets and striped uniforms, the Swiss Guards are one of the most beloved traditions of the Vatican — and on Thursday take a central role in the pope's historic resignation. The bodyguards will stand at attention as the pope arrives by helicopter at his summer retreat in his last hours as pontiff. When they walk off duty, it will be one of the few visible signs that Benedict XVI is no longer pope. A look at the Swiss guards and their colorful history.
___
ORIGINS:
The corps, which some historians consider the oldest standing army in the world, was founded in 1506 by Pope Giulio II. Tradition has it that he was so impressed by the bravery of Swiss mercenaries that he asked them to defend the Vatican. Ever since, for more than 500 years, Switzerland has been supplying soldiers to the Vatican. The Swiss Guards swear an oath to give up their lives to protect the pope — and in centuries past, they have. In 1527, 147 of them died protecting Pope Clement VII as he fled to safety when the troops of Emperor Charles V sacked Rome.
___
THE GUARDS AND BENEDICT:
The Swiss Guards will be center stage when Benedict, following a carefully choreographed plan, becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign. Benedict meets Thursday morning with cardinals, then flies by helicopter to the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, the doors of the palazzo close and the Swiss Guards walk off duty, their job protecting the leader of the Catholic Church over — at least until the election of a new pope. Benedict's protection will immediately become the responsibility of Vatican police.
___
RECRUITMENT:
Recruits must be Catholic males between 19 and 30 who have completed their mandatory Swiss military service; they sign up for a minimum of two years. The force at the moment numbers 110 men. Recruits join the ranks in an elaborate swearing-in ceremony in the Vatican's apostolic palace. Each new guard grasps the corps' flag, raising three fingers in a symbol of the Holy Trinity and swears to uphold the Swiss Guard oath to protect the pope and his successors. The ceremony is held each May 6 to commemorate the Sack of Rome.
___
DUTIES:
The force provides ceremonial duty, assists at Vatican functions — and has a real function of actually protecting the pope. The guards, armed with halberds, are ubiquitous around the Vatican and are among the favorite targets of photo-snapping tourists. They have not been called to military duty in recent centuries. But several Swiss Guards in plainclothes are aboard the pope's plane during his worldwide travels to provide security. After the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, the Vatican beefed up bodyguard training for the guards — including instruction in unarmed combat and small arms.
___
COLORFUL COSTUME
The current Renaissance-style uniform of blue, red, orange and yellow stripes was designed in the early 1900s by Commandant Jules Repond, who drew inspiration for the colors from Raphael's frescoes. Headgear for ordinary duties is a black beret, while the crimson-plumed helmets are reserved for special occasions like official visits, swearing-in ceremonies — and, of course, papal retirement.
___
SCANDAL:
The legend of the corps was stained in 1998 by the slayings in a Vatican City apartment of the guard commander and his wife. The Vatican blamed the killings on a disgruntled guardsman who, the Vatican says, then shot himself dead. They were the first killings in the Vatican in 150 years.  

Pope Benedict pledges obedience to successor

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, addressing cardinals on his final day in office, called on Thursday for the Roman Catholic Church to unite behind his successor and pledged his own "unconditional" obedience to the next pontiff."I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next few days...as you elect the new pope to whom I today declare my unconditional reverence and obedience," he said.
"In these past eight years we have lived with faith beautiful moments of radiant light in the path of the Church as well as moments when some clouds darkened the sky," he told cardinals gathered to bid him farewell, including most of those who will enter a conclave to choose his successor."We tried to serve Christ and his Church," he said.Benedict's papacy was dogged by sex abuse scandals, leaks of his private papers and reports of infighting among his closest aides, crises that are thought to have contributed to his decision to be the first pontiff in six centuries to resign.The pope spoke to the cardinals about nine hours before he officially steps down, leaving the papacy vacant until the new head of the Roman Catholic Church is chosen by the cardinals, a decision expected by the middle of March.(Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by Barry Moody)

Vatican goes into slo-mo until a new pope is picked

The Catholic Church has complex rules for what can -- and mostly what cannot -- be done when there's no pope.

Thursday night in Rome, when the Catholic Church of more than 1 billion souls is abruptly without a pope, who's minding the store? Vatican operations essentially go as still as the characters in Sleeping Beauty — frozen in time as of 8 p.m. there (2 p.m. E.T) until the new pope is installed, likely before Easter.Friday, the call goes out to the world's 208 cardinals — those who have not already arrived in Rome — to head for the Holy See. As early as Monday, they may begin meeting in advisory groups. Their first task: set the date for the conclave when the new pope will be chosen.In the interim, the church's canon law spells out what must and what may not be done while the papacy is vacant. Since a pope hasn't resigned in 600 years, that means following the rules for after a pope has died, says John Thavis, author of Vatican Diaries, a book about 30 years reporting on the Holy See.All the arrangements are set by the camerlengo (chamberlain of the Church) chosen by the pope. Benedict chose Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of State,for that role but there's little for him to do with no funeral to arrange.All the cardinals and archbishops in the curia, the bureaucracy of the Church, lose their jobs on Feb. 28. It's a bit like all the U.S. president's cabinet resigning after a presidential election so the new head of state can name his team. But in the Holy See, many cardinals expect they'll be asked to stay on in the next papacy, Thavis said. In the curia, which dates back to the Middle Ages, "continuity is an extremely high value."Meanwhile, Vatican offices will be run by secretaries who handle ordinary, minor duties. All serious or controversial matters await the next pontiff. But decisions that are made are provisional, waiting the new pope's confirmation, says Rev. Thomas Reese, author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics & Organization of the Catholic Church, and an analyst for The National Catholic Reporter.Only three major officials keep their posts in the period between Benedict's resignation and a successor elected: The vicar of the diocese of Rome who cares for the city's pastoral needs; the major penitentiary who deals with the Holy See's confessional needs so there is always access to forgiveness; and the camerlengo, Bertone, who will deal with property and financial decisions for the Vatican for the time being.During the period between popes, Bertone will report to the College of Cardinals. But the electors — the cardinals under the age of 80 — are limited in what they can do until they choose a new pope.As of Thursday, there were 117 cardinals eligible to vote but only 115 are expected in Rome. An Indonesian cardinal is too ill to travel and Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, embroiled in allegations of misconduct with men in the 1980s, said Monday he will not come to vote.Between now and the secret conclave, Rome is slowly filling with cardinals shmoozing with each other about what the church needs most in a new vicar of Christ and who is the ultimate papabile — Italian for someone with the qualities of a pope.
Whomever wins should react with both surprise and humility: Public campaigning for the post has been strictly forbidden since the Fifth Century. Italian cardinals and those who serve in the curia have "home field advantage," Reese says. They can host private dinners in their apartments, out of the public eye.On the eve of the conclave, the electors will move into a special Vatican residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, with 105 two-room suites and 26 single rooms built in 1996.They can't move in now because room assignments will be made by drawing lots, Vatican spokesman Frederico Lombardi says. And besides, the rooms aren't ready. They're being aired out, cleaned and swept for communications bugs — a routine procedure, he said.
Once inside the Sistine Chapel, there will be no outside communications. In the age of Twitter, the world will still have to wait for white smoke and the sounding of the biggest bell at St. Peter's Basilica, to find out who is the new pope.His Holiness Benedict XVI Roman Pontiff Emeritus will rest at Castel Gandolfo, the papal retreat, when someone new assumes the title of His Holiness the Pope and 10 more — Bishop of Rome; Vicar of Jesus Christ; successor of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, and Servant of the Servants of God.





For now, the busiest people in Rome may be the tailors at Gammarelli ecclesiastical tailoring shop. They're stitching up the vestments for the new pope in small, medium and large sizes so that whoever is chosen will fit right in.

Pope Set for Vatican Airlift as Cardinals Size Up Dossier

Pope Benedict XVI will become the first pontiff in 600 years to abdicate when he’s airlifted out of the Vatican today, as cardinals set to elect his successor assess the impact of a secret dossier on church intrigue.
The pope, 85, will cease being leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics at 8 p.m. Rome time after being flown by helicopter to the papal summer residence south of the Italian capital in Castel Gandolfo. Swiss guards who’ve protected him since his election in 2004 will abandon their station at the doors of the 17th-century villa, leaving the task to Vatican gendarmes.
The gardens of the Pontifical residence of Castel Gandolfo, 10 miles south of Rome. It's the summer residence of Popes and will host Pope Benedict XVI during the next conclave. Photographer: Franco Origlia/Getty Images
“After that hour, there will be no pope,” said Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, in an e-mailed comment to subscribers. “The see of Peter will be vacant.”Benedict’s abdication, the first since Pope Gregory XII in 1415, comes as the Roman Catholic church grapples with a wave of controversy including clerical sex abuse and the leaking of papal documents. It also ends the career of Joseph Ratzinger, who rose to become Catholicism’s doctrinal watchdog and then Roman pontiff after growing up in Nazi Germany.The pope will today greet cardinals who’ve come to Rome to mark his historic retirement and elect his successor. He’ll be seen off just before 5 p.m. by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s second-in-command, before boarding the helicopter for a 15-minute flight to Castel Gandolfo, according to spokesman Federico Lombardi. At the summer palace, he’ll briefly salute pilgrims from a window in his last public act as pope.

Preparing Conclave

Prior to the conclave to elect a new pontiff, cardinals will hold preliminary talks to discuss its timing and other issues, probably starting on March 4, according to Lombardi. The talks will involve about 100 cardinals who exceed the voting-age limit of 80 as well as the 115 who are set to join the secret gathering in the Sistine Chapel later next month.Benedict’s papacy, which began after he spent a quarter- century as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal office, was marked by upheaval. At the outset of his almost eight-year reign, the church was accused of doing too little to punish pedophile priests and covering up evidence of abuse from the U.S. and Ireland to his native Germany.A theologian by training, the former professor initially lagged in his response. After a period of silence, he oversaw the publishing of the first Vatican guidelines for dealing with clerics accused of abusing children. He also began to speak out publicly against what he called the “cloud of filth” that had soiled the church.

‘Evil, Corruption’

Still, the 85-year-old struggled to tame intrigue during his final year in power. His butler stole his personal papers and handed them to an Italian reporter, who published a book portraying Benedict as being undermined by Bertone in a swirl of palace intrigue.Gabriele indicated he’d leaked the documents to protect the pope and expose “evil and corruption” inside the Vatican. Benedict pardoned him last month after he’d been sentenced to 18 months in a Vatican jail for theft.The pontiff ordered a probe into “Vatileaks,” as the case is called. This week, he met with the three cardinals who spearheaded the investigation: Julian Herranz, Jozef Tomko and Salvatore De Giorgi. They handed their 300-page dossier on the case to the pope in December.While the pope said he lacked the strength to lead the church when he announced his intention to resign on Feb. 11, Italian magazine Panorama and La Repubblica newspaper reported last week that he had decided to step down after receiving the secret file. It detailed a Vatican network of sex and graft that made some prelates vulnerable to blackmail, the press reports said, citing unidentified people close to the investigation.

Vatican Rebuke

In a rare public rebuke, the Vatican lashed out at the media last weekend, accusing journalists of “widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories” that amounted to an attempt “to exert pressure” on the cardinals who will gather for the conclave.Still, after the pope met with the dossier’s authors on Feb. 25, the Vatican said in a statement their probe was able to identify “those who work with uprightness and generosity in the Holy See.” While the document will remain secret before being handed to the future pope, its authors may discuss it with other cardinals during pre-conclave talks, Lombardi said.“The people responsible for it, including the three cardinals who were members of the investigation team, will know to what extent they may and must give useful information to those who ask for it in order to evaluate the situation and choose a new pope,” the spokesman told reporters at a Vatican briefing on Feb. 25.

Christ’s Life

A bookish scholar, Benedict spent years penning by hand his philosophical take on life of Jesus Christ in a three-volume book. He opposed “moral relativism,” the idea that truth is malleable and can be adjusted to lifestyles, and considered it his mission to resist changes sweeping modern society.Speculation that the pope has struggled to tame intrigue has been fueled by his own words. He used a Feb. 13 sermon to speak out about the church’s “sometimes disfigured face” and a Feb. 23 message to the Curia to lament the “evil, suffering and corruption” that has defaced the centuries-old institution.He’ll return to a Vatican convent in two months to live out his days in prayer with the title “pope emeritus,” according to Lombardi. “He’s going to imitate Christ” and teach “the whole church, and the world as well, by his decision to resign and devote himself to prayer,” Moynihan said in an e-mailed comment on Feb. 24.Yesterday, in his last address in front of 150,000 people in St. Peter’s Square, Benedict reminisced, saying he had seen moments of “joy and light” during his papacy as well as times when “it seemed like the Lord was sleeping.” The faithful must be joyous in living a life that’s “coherent” with their beliefs, the pope said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jeffrey Donovan in Prague at jdonovan26@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

Pope Benedict's last day: what happens now?

Pope Benedict XVI's historic departure on Thursday sets in motion a timetable of centuries-old traditions after he steps down in a resignation that is unprecedented in modern Catholic history. Here is what to expect in the coming weeks.

Pope Benedict waves from the altar as he arrives on St Peter's square for his last weekly audience
Pope Benedict waves from the altar as he arrives on St Peter's square for his last weekly audience Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
"Sede Vacante"
The Catholic Church enters a period known as "Sede Vacante" (Vacant See) starting at 1900 GMT on Thursday during which a senior cardinal takes over interim powers until a new pope is elected.
The cardinal, referred to as the "camerlengo" ("chamberlain"), in this case will be Italy's Tarcisio Bertone - a powerful prelate whose handling of Church affairs in recent years has been hugely divisive within the Vatican hierarchy.The camerlengo has traditionally had the role of officially certifying the death of a pope - he once did so by tapping the pontiff's forehead three times with a special silver hammer and calling out his birth name.He is also charged with destroying the "Fisherman's Ring" - a gold signet ring specially cast for each new pope - originally to prevent forgery during the Sede Vacante. Today its destruction in the presence of the cardinals at their first gathering of the Sede Vacante simply symbolises the end of a papacy.
General congregations
Starting on Monday, cardinals from around the world will hold a series of meetings known as "general congregations".The roundtables are ostensibly aimed at identifying the priorities for the Roman Catholic Church of the future but they are also a good way of vetting "papabili" - possible candidates for next pope.
Cardinals over 80 cannot vote in the conclave but are allowed to take part in these meetings, which also include meditations.The cardinals will decide on a date for the conclave, which Benedict has decreed may begin earlier than the traditional timetable of 15 to 20 days after the start of the Sede Vacante, given that no mourning period is needed.
The conclave
Cardinals will meet in a secret conclave to choose the next pope from among their peers under a system adopted in the 13th century. Conclave literally means "with a key", reflecting the cardinals' seclusion without permission to leave until a new pope is found.All conclaves have been held in the Sistine Chapel - a Renaissance jewel adorned with Michelangelo's frescoes on its ceiling and walls - since the late 19th century.
The cardinals are sworn to absolute secrecy, under pain of ex-communication, during the voting. Two ballots are held in the morning, and two in the afternoon, until one candidate wins two-thirds of the votes.
At the end of each session, the ballots are burned in a stove by the chapel, releasing smoke above the Apostolic Palace. The smoke is black after each unsuccessful ballot, white once the vote succeeds. The bells of St Peter's will peal to accompany the white smoke.The new pope will be led into a tiny sacristy by the Sistine Chapel known as the "sala delle lacrime" or room of tears where he can ponder the immense duty before him.The dean of the College of Cardinals, currently Cardinal Angelo Sodano, will ask the newly chosen pontiff if he accepts his election, and if the answer is yes, he immediately becomes the bishop of Rome and pope. He also chooses the name he wishes to use, a centuries-old tradition.The new pope is helped into his vestments (three sets are prepared of different sizes), and one by one the cardinals pay homage to him.Shortly afterwards he appears on the loggia of St Peter's Basilica. The senior cardinal deacon, currently Jean-Louis Tauran, will then pronounce the famous phrase in Latin: "Habemus Papam!" (We have a pope!).Source: AFP 

02/27/2013 VATICAN INSIDER

Benedict XVI: “I do not abandon the cross”

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Benedict XVI's last General Audience
Benedict XVI's last General Audience

Benedict XVI’s last General Audience. The reasons for the Pope’s resignation and faith in the Catholic Church

Alessandro Speciale vatican city “I do not abandon the cross”: In his last public appearance as Pope at today’s General Audience, in a St. Peter’s Square full to the brim with cardinals and simple faithful, Pope Benedict XVI made one last attempt to explain the innermost reasons for his unprecedented resignation. Addressing his 150,000-strong audience, the Pope said he was aware of the “gravity” and “novelty” of his decision but that he had taken this step “with a deep peace of mind” and “great trust” in the Church.This is the first time Benedict XVI spoke so extensively about the reasons that led him to become the first Pope to resign in 600 years. His catechesis was an indirect response to the doubts expressed by many within the Church in recent weeks.Twice the Pope cast his audience’s mind back to the day of his election – 19 April 2005 – reiterating that the commitment he took on that day was “forever”. “He who assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and totally to everyone, to the whole Church. His life is, so to speak, totally deprived of the private sphere,” what with all the “pastoral visits”, “public encounters”, “Audiences” and “travelling” he must undertake.Ratzinger explained to Catholics from al lover the world that his resignation in no way means “he is abandon[ing]  the cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord.” Although Benedict XVI will no longer be governing the Church, “in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St. Peter’s bounds,” he said. This message sheds more light on the reason for his decision to adopt the title “Emeritus Pope” when he resigns and to continue to dress in the papal colour white. He announced this decision yesterday.His decision to resign was an easy one, the Pope admitted, but “loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, trying choices, having ever before oneself the good of the Church and not one’s own. “

Benedict XVI also looked back at his eight years as Pope, a time which has seen “moments joy and light, but also difficult moments.” Ratzinger evoked the image of the Church as St. Peter’s boat, one he had already used to condemn the failings of the Church ahead of the Conclave which elected him Pope. “The Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze days in which the catch has been abundant; [then] there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us and the Lord seemed to sleep,” Benedict XVI said. In response to the numerous conspiracy theories and behind-the-scenes events of recent weeks, the Pope said “I have not ever felt myself alone in bearing either the joys or the weight of the Petrine ministry.”But even now that he is faced with so many personal and collective difficulties, the Pope wished to place an emphasis on faith in his last public speech: “Today my heart is filled with gratitude to God, for never did He leave me or the Church without His consolation, His light, His love.” “I see the Church is alive,” the Pope added in an off-the-cuff comment at the beginning of his speech, as he looked across St. Peter’s Square at the thousands of people who had broken into applause. Finally, Benedict XVI expressed his gratitude to all: firstly to the cardinals, starting with the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone who “has stood faithfully by his side throughout [his] papacy,” the various members of the Church, accredited diplomats and all those who work in the communications sector as he recognised that relations with the media have not always been easy during his pontificate.

POPE BENEDICT XVI’s LAST GENERAL AUDIENCE - 27/02/2
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Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood.Distinguished Authorities!Dear brothers and sisters!
Thank you for coming in such large numbers to the last General Audience of my pontificate.Like the Apostle Paul in the biblical text that we have heard, I feel in my heart the paramount duty to thank God, who guides the Church and makes her grow: who sows His Word and thus nourishes the faith in His people. At this moment my spirit reaches out to embrace the whole Church throughout the world, and I thank God for the “news”that in these years of Petrine ministry I have been able to receive regarding the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity that circulates in the body of the Church – charity that makes the Church to live in love – and of the hope that opens for us the way towards the fullness of life, and directs u
s towards the heavenly homeland.I feel I [ought to] carry everyone in prayer, in a present that is God’s, where I recall every meeting, every voyage, every pastoral visit. I gather everyone and every thing in prayerful recollection, in order to entrust them to the Lord: in order that we might have full knowledge of His will, with every wisdom and spiritual understanding, and in order that we might comport ourselves in a manner that is worthy of Him, of His, bearing fruit in every good work (c
f. Col 1:9-10).At this time, I have within myself a great trust [in God], because I know – all of us know – that the Gospel’s word of truth is the strength of the Church: it is her life. The Gospel purifies and renews: it bears fruit wherever the community of believers hears and welcomes the grace of God in truth and lives in charity. This is my faith, this
is my joy.When, almost eight years ago, on April 19th, [2005], I agreed to take on the Petrine ministry, I held steadfast in thiscertainty, which has always accompanied me. In that moment, as I have already stated several times, the words that
resounded in my heart were: “Lord, what do you ask of me? It a great weight that You place on my shoulders, but, if You ask me, at your word I will throw out the nets,sure that you will guide me” – and the Lord really has guided me.He has been close to me: daily could I feel His presence. [These years] have been a stretch of the Church’s pilgrim way,which has seen moments joy and light, but also difficult moments. I have felt like St. Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee: the Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze, days in which the catch has been abundant; [then] there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us, as in the whole history of the Church it has ever been - and the Lord seemed to sleep. Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His - and He shall not let her sink. It is He, who steers her: to besure, he does so also through men of His choosing,for He desired that it be so. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. It is for this reason, that today my heart is filled with gratitude to God, for never did He leave me or the Church without His consolation, His light, His love
.
We are in the Year of Faith, which I desired in order to strengthen our own faith in God in a context that seems to push faith more and more toward the margins of life. I would like to invite everyone to renew firm trust in the Lord. I would like that we all, entrust ourselves as children to the arms of God, and rest assured that those arms support us and us to walk every day, even in times of struggle. I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave His Son for us and showed us His boundless love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer to be recited daily in the morning says, “I adore you, my God, I love you with all my heart. I thank You for having created me, for having made me a Christian.” Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith: it is the most precious good, that no one can take from us! Let us thank God for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but He also expects that we love Him!
At this time, however, it is not only God, whom I desire to thank. A Pope is not alone in guiding St.Peter’s barque,even if it is his first responsibility – and I have not ever felt myself alone in bearing either the joys or the weight of the Petrine ministry. The Lord has placed next to me many people, who, with generosity and love for God and the Church,have helped me and been close to me. First of all you, dear Brother Cardinals: your wisdom, your counsels, your friendship, were all precious to me. My collaborators, starting with my Secretary of State, who accompanied me faithfully over the years, the Secretariat of State and the whole Roman Curia, as well as all those who, in various areas,give their service to the Holy See: the many faces which never emerge, but remain in the background, in silence, in their daily commitment, with a spirit of faith and humility. They have been for me a sure and reliable support. A special thought [goes] to the Church of Rome, my diocese! I can not forget the Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, the consecrated persons and the entire People of God: in pastoral visits, in public encounters, at Audiences,in traveling, I have always received great care and
deep affection; I also loved each and every one, without exception,with that pastoral charity which is the heart of every shepherd, especially the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Every day I carried each of you in m
y prayers, with the father's heart.I wish my greetings and my thanks to reach everyone: the heart of a Pope expands to [embrace] the whole world. I would like to express my gratitude to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, which makes present the great family of nations. Here I also think of all those who work for good communication, whom I thank for their important service.At this point I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all the many people throughout the whole world, who, in recent weeks have sent me moving tokens of concern, friendship and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone: now I experience this [truth] again in a way so great as to touch my very heart. The Pope belongs to everyone, and so m
any people feel very close to him. It’s true that I receive letters from the world's greatest figures - from the Heads
of  State, religious leaders, representatives of the world of culture and so on. I also receive many letters from ordinary
people who write to me simply from their heart and let me feel their affection, which is born of our being together in Chr
ist Jesus, in the Church. These people do not write me as one might write, for example, to a prince or a great figure on
e does not know.They write as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, with the sense of very affectionate family tie
s. Here, one can touch what the Church is – not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian purpo
ses, but a living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ, who unites us all. To experienc
e the Church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of His truth and His love, is a source
of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline.In recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased, and I asked God with insistence in prayer to enlighten me with His light to make me take the right decision – not for my sake, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step in full awareness of its severity and also its novelty, but with a deep peace of mind. Loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, trying choices, having ever before oneself the good of the Church and not one’s own.Here allow me to return once again to April 19, 2005. The gravity of the decision was precisely in the fact that from that moment on I was committed always and forever by the Lord. Always – he, who assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and totally to everyone, to the whole Church. His life is, so to speak, totally deprived of the private sphere. I have felt, and I feel even in this very moment, that one receives one’s life precisely when he offers it as a gift. I said before that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and are fond of him, that the Pope has truly brothers and sisters, sons and daughters all over the world,and that he feels safe in the embrace of their communion, because he no longer belongs to himself, but he belongs to all and all are truly his own.The “always” is also a “forever” - there is no returning to private life. My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry, does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and soon. I do not abandon the cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord. I no longer wield
the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St
. Peter’s bounds. St.Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, shall be a great example in this for me. He showed us the way to
a life which,active or passive, belongs wholly to the work of God.I thank each and every one of you for the respect and understanding with which you have welcomed this important decision. I continue to accompany the Church on her
way through prayer and reflection, with the dedication to the Lord and to His Bride, which I have hitherto tried to li
ve daily and that I would live forever. I ask you to remember me before God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals, who a
re called to so important a task, and for the new Successor of Peter,that the Lord might accompany him with the light an
d the power of His Spirit.Let us invoke the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, that she might accompany each of us and the whole ecclesial community: to her we entrust ourselves, with deep trust.Dear friends! God guides His Church, maintains her always, and especially in difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the way of the Church and the world. In our heart, in the heart of each of you, let there be always the joyous certainty that the Lord is near, that He does not abandon us, that He is near to us and that He surrounds us with His love. Thank you.

 

PUTIN TELLS RUSSIA TO GET READY FOR FOREIGN THREATS

KING JESUS IS COMING FOR US ANY TIME NOW. THE RAPTURE. BE PREPARED TO GO.

LAND FOR PEACE (THE FUTURE 7 YEARS OF HELL ON EARTH)

JOEL 3:2
2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people(ISRAEL) and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.(UPROOTED ISRAELIS AND DIVIDED JERUSALEM)(THIS BRINGS ON WW3 BECAUSE JERUSALEM IS DIVIDED,WARNING TO ARABS-MUSLIMS AND THE WORLD).

THE WEEK OF DANIEL 9:27 WE KNOW ITS 7 YRS

Heres the scripture 1 week = 7 yrs Genesis 29:27-29
27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.

DANIEL 11:21-23
21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.

DANIEL 9:26-27
26 And after threescore and two weeks(62X7=434 YEARS+7X7=49 YEARS=TOTAL OF 69 WEEKS OR 483 YRS) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;(ROMAN LEADERS DESTROYED THE 2ND TEMPLE) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.(THERE HAS TO BE 70 WEEKS OR 490 YRS TO FUFILL THE VISION AND PROPHECY OF DAN 9:24).(THE NEXT VERSE IS THAT 7 YR WEEK OR (70TH FINAL WEEK).
27 And he ( THE ROMAN,EU PRESIDENT) shall confirm the covenant (PEACE TREATY) with many for one week:(1X7=7 YEARS) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,(3 1/2 yrs in TEMPLE SACRIFICES STOPPED) and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

JEREMIAH 6:14
14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

JEREMIAH 8:11
11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:3
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

ISAIAH 33:8
8  The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant,(7 YR TREATY) he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.(THE WORLD LEADER-WAR MONGER CALLS HIMSELF GOD)

ISAIAH 28:14-19 (THIS IS THE 7 YR TREATY COVENANT OF DANIEL 9:27)
14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.
19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.

EU diplomats urge financial sanctions on Israeli settlers

27.02.13 @ 15:16 By Andrew Rettman
BRUSSELS - Senior EU diplomats have called for financial sanctions and travel bans on Israeli settlers in a last-ditch effort to save the Middle East peace process.An internal report by EU countries' consuls general in Jerusalem and Ramallah - seen by EUobserver - says member states should "prevent … financial transactions, including foreign direct investment from within the EU, in support of settlement activities, infrastructure and services."It adds that individual EU states should "explore the possibility of denying entry to known settler radicals."It also calls for EU guidelines on retail labels for settler-made products, such as wine or cosmetics, in order to "guarantee [European] consumers' right to an informed choice."EU institutions are already drafting a common code on product labels.But EU foreign ministers have in recent years ignored similar proposals for sanctions.An EU official told this website that Brussels-based diplomats discussed the Jerusalem report on 19 February, but "debate about the follow-up is [still] continuing."Meanwhile, the 15-page text paints a scary picture of prospects for peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict.It says: "If the current Israeli policy regarding the city [Jerusalem] continues, particularly settlement activity, the prospect of Jerusalem as a future capital of two states, Israel and Palestine, becomes practically unworkable."
It adds: "Settlement construction remains the single biggest threat to the two-state solution. It is systematic, deliberate and provocative."It notes that 200,000 Jewish settlers have come to live in East Jerusalem since Israel annexed it "illegally" in 1967 and that Israeli tenders for new settler homes more than doubled in 2012 compared to 2011.It warns that some new structures - such as those in the "E1" area - are designed to "form an Israeli buffer" around the city and to make it "difficult if not impossible to ensure [the] territorial contiguity" of Palestine.At the same time, demolitions of Palestinian-owned buildings went up by 54 percent last year, with 85,000 Palestinians now considered to be "at risk of forced displacement."The EU consuls general noted that Israeli administrative barriers for Palestinian schools and businesses "undermine the right to education" of 90,000 children and aggravate poverty.They said 78 percent of Palestinians live below the poverty line today, compared to 64 percent in 2006.They also complained about Israel's "ideological" programme.They said it gives free rein for settler groups to dig up archaeological sites in such a way as to create a "partisan historical narrative of Jerusalem, placing emphasis on biblical and Jewish connotations of the area, while neglecting Christian/Muslim ties."They noted that Israeli police stops Palestinian textbooks getting to Palestinian schools in favour of "a version of the curriculum edited by the Israeli authorities."
Reacting to the leaked paper, the Israeli embassy to the EU said European countries should pay more attention to rocket fire from Gaza instead of settlements."I would like to know if there is also an EU report about the security situation for residents in southern Israel," its spokesman, Yoel Mester, told this website on Wednesday (27 February).He added: "We're not running away from the need to discuss the issue [of settlements], but unfortunately the other side is running away from direct talks where we could discuss this as well."For her part, Palestine's ambassador to the EU, Leila Shahid, called his remarks "rubbish."She said Palestine is ready to restart talks when Israel honours its commitments in the Roadmap - a 2003 agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) which says Israel will freeze settlements if the PA stops violent resistance."They have not only not frozen settlements, they have intensified them. I don't see how we can be running away from anything, when all we ask is for Israel to stick to its obligations," she told EUobserver.

Revealed: Arabs Behind 'Israeli Attack'

Samaria residents slammed leftist groups after it turned out that Arabs were responsible for a 'price tag' attack blamed on Jews.
By David Lev First Publish: 2/28/2013, 3:08 PM-Israelnationalnews

Car damaged by arson (illustrative)
Car damaged by arson (illustrative)-Israel news photo: Flash 90
Members of the Samaria Residents Council slammed leftist groups Thursday after police said that what had been thought to be a “price tag” action by Jewish residents of Esh Kodesh in the Binyamin region turned out to be a dispute between Arabs. It was the Arabs who set fire to six vehicles in the village of Korsa near Shechem last week, deliberately blaming the Jews for their activities.Among the groups with egg on their face in the wake of the police findings is the “Rabbis for Human Rights” organization, which in the wake of the claims by Arabs that they had been attacked by Jews, issued a harsh statement condemning Esh Kodesh residents for their “hateful” activities.Police said that the “evidence” supplied by Arabs that Jews had undertaken the attack – an Israeli identity card left at the scene – was fabricated. The ID card belonged to a soldier who, on the night of the attack, was stationed far from the Arab village. He had apparently lost the ID card, with Arabs finding it and holding onto it, apparently for an event just like the one that occurred in the village last week.In a statement, the Council said that “today it is clear that this incident was, beyond the shadow of a doubt, choreographed by the Arabs, with the support and assistance of leftist groups who continue to support terror, increasing tensions between Jews and Arabs by encouraging these blood libels against Jewish residents of Samaria.”According to Council head Benny Katzover, “hundreds of Arab rioters last week attempted to invade Esh Kodesh, after leftist groups said that they carried out a 'price tag' attack and burned the cars.” Several residents were injured in an ensuing fight.The Council also expressed shock that it took police a week to announce the truth about the incident. “It would be a good idea for police to deal with issues like this immediately, due to the high levels of incitement and potential for violence caused by the claims and actions of fifth column leftist groups.”

Lt. Gen. Obering: Iron Dome’s Lessons Learned

Former head of U.S. Missile Defense Agency analyzes the elements that turned Iron Dome into a success story.
By Mark Langfan First Publish: 2/28/2013, 3:29 PM-Israelnationalnews

Lt. Gen. Obering
Lt. Gen. Obering-U.S. Air Force website
In a wide-ranging power-point analysis briefing given to the National Security Roundtable this week, US Lt. Gen. Henry “Trey” Obering (Ret.), who led the US Missile Defense Agency during the mission-critical years of Iron Dome from 2004 to 2009, boiled down the “Lessons Learned” of Iron Dome experience to 5 keys. 
He set the stage for his Lessons Learned analysis by asking the audience “What would America have done if 25% of its population or 50,000,000 Americans where under Grad rocket assault by a bunch of Islamist Terrorists?”  (The full PowerPoint or just the “Lessons Learned” slide are available for viewing).  Gen. Trey Obering’s five keys for success were:
1.  Mission Vision
He said President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) wasn’t a sci-fi fantasy, but an out-of-the-box vision of where the future of defense should be. Israeli defense officials, like Yitzhak Rabin, shared President Reagan’s vision from early on.  This tradition continued with Israeli defense planners like Brig. Gen. Daniel Gold and missile defense developers like Arieh Herzog.  This vision and collaboration  resulted in the critically important missile defense programs both nations have today.  (For a riveting account of Iron Dome’s early hurdles see the Wall Street Journal article Israel's Iron Dome Defense Battled to Get Off Ground).
 2.  Perseverance through Technical Difficulty
Gen. Obering explained that with any new technology there will be test failures. Today’s effective US sea-based and land-based interceptors suffered early failures, then strings of successes. Likewise, the Arrow program failed in its early flights, then succeeded in a series of intercepts. Israel funded the Iron Dome program through the earliest stages despite US military planners' doubts and set-backs.
3.  Courage of Leadership
Iron Dome and Arrow both faced withering attacks from naysayers like the MIT Professor Theodore Postol who testified that the “Patriot’s intercept rate could be much lower than ten percent and maybe even zero,” and the Jaffe Center’s missile defense program critic Reuven Pedatzur who, as recently as 2010, with supreme confidence stated “The Iron Dome is all a scam,” see Jerusalem Post article 'Iron Dome doesn’t answer threats'
But heroes, like Israeli Brig. Gen Daniel Gold, stayed the course, stuck to their knitting, and got the job done.
Obering quipped, “For every MIT professor who said ‘It couldn’t be done,’ I had 10 MIT young geniuses who were making the scientifically impossible, possible.”
4.  Program Management
Gen. Obering emphasized that for a technologically game-changing defense program to be successful, the managers had to have “freedom of maneuver” in the allocation of resources to meet the fast moving day-to-day challenges. He explained that unlike usual defense programs, he had relief from the classic acquisition regulations and directives. Likewise, Gen. Gold established programmatic freedom to act in the Israeli program. The streamlined program oversight was the key to success.
5.  Policy Considerations
Gen. Obering stated that the Iron Dome, and defensive systems like it, are game-changers that have to be pursued with supreme effort. He explained that the naysayers just looked at the “cost” in the cost/benefit analysis. He clarified that as a “policy consideration” defense rockets “cost” is not just measured in money, and that it is critically important to factor in the benefit of not having civilian assets destroyed – or of having to reinvade the territory with the consequent loss of Israeli soldiers lives – and of enabling the defenders time and space to react appropriately.  Also, there is the missile defense deterrence factor in that the enemy has to effect a dramatically greater offensive attack profile before it attacks in the first place. Therefore, the risk/reward ratio for the enemy attacker is so changed that it is dramatically less likely to attack in the first place.
During the Q & A, Gen. Obering wowed the crowd with a live action video of an actual US missile defense early “kill” against an errant satellite.
Given the profound military and policy analysis of Gen. Obering and his critical hands-on assistance to Iron Dome project at its most sensitive and problematic stages, it was clear that Gen. Obering is not only an American true hero, but an Israeli hero as well.



Eli Yishai concedes likely opposition role for Shas

Leader of ultra-Orthodox party says Lapid and Bennett, who appear poised to join Netanyahu, are driven by desire to ‘harm’ Torah

February 28, 2013, 8:42 am 8

Eli Yishai, the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas, on Thursday morning acknowledged that his party would in all probability be left out of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s emergent coalition. The likely outgoing interior minister also launched a blistering attack on Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, saying the alliance between the respective leaders of the Yesh Atid and Jewish Home parties was forged solely with an eye toward “harming the world of Torah.”The Shas leader’s harsh comments came hours after sources close to coalition negotiations said that Netanyahu, realizing that he could not pry Jewish Home away from its pact with Yesh Atid, had resigned himself to the need to build a coalition that would exclude Shas and United Torah JudaismNetanyahu has been hampered in the coalition talks by the joint insistence of Bennett and Lapid that they will only enter the government if Netanyahu commits to legislation that will see almost all young ultra-Orthodox males required to perform military or national service — anathema to the prime minister’s familiar ultra-Orthodox coalition partners.“I don’t know what tomorrow will bring,” Yishai said in a statement. “Reports say that Lapid and Bennett are succeeding in their attempt to rule out a joint coalition with Shas.” The “immaturity” of those rookie politicians, he charged, had prompted them to “ignore the will of the electorate and attempt to force their views on others.”Yishai’s comments appeared to reflect acceptance of Shas’s new role as an opposition party.“Sitting in the coalition and holding onto jobs is not a goal!” he said. “It is a means with which to serve the public… Anyone whose goal is to serve the public will do so in any position in which one finds oneself” — even in the opposition.Netanyahu’s negotiating teams have been meeting daily with Jewish Home leaders, and on Thursday were set to meet with Yesh Atid representatives, amid reports late Wednesday that the prime minister had concluded that he could not build a coalition without these two parties. As for the ultra-Orthodox, Netanyahu “will give up on them for now,” Channel 2 reported, but would invite them to join the government at a later stage — possibly after the legislation on a universal draft is approved.Yishai said that the insistence on conscripting the ultra-Orthodox reflected the fact that Bennett and Lapid “don’t understand that change must be effected with respect… not by exclusion, polarization and blacklisting.” Yesh Atid and Jewish Home would turn Israeli society “from a society in disagreement into a divided society,” he lamented, calling it “odd” that they were seeking to “impose” rather than cooperate on “momentous changes” for the ultra-Orthodox community.“Shas will make an effort to be a part of the next coalition,” he said, “but it won’t ‘sell out’ on its values, beliefs and principles in order to partner with people whose sole common goal is to harm the world of Torah.”Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday expressed hope that the ultra-Orthodox parties would ultimately join the coalition, and said Bennett and Lapid were driven by “ego” and would be “punished by their voters” for their failure to compromise on the universal draft bill.Netanyahu, whose Likud-Beytenu won 31 seats in the January 22 elections, was given 28 days by President Shimon Peres on February 2 to form a coalition, but has signed up only Tzipi Livni’s six-seat Hatnua party to date. On Saturday, if he needs it, he will be granted a 14-day extension by Peres, which will take him to March 16. If he can claim to muster a majority by then, he could legally put off the swearing-in of his government until March 24, Channel 2 noted on Wednesday, leaving him more than three weeks to get the coalition deals done. However, so late a deadline would conflict with President Barack Obama’s visit, set to start on March 20. US officials have said Obama’s visit would be timed for after a new Israeli government was in place.The inclusion of Yesh Atid (19 seats) and Jewish Home (12 seats) would give Netanyahu a healthy majority in the 120-member Knesset, though even a Likud-Beytenu, Hatnua, Yesh Atid, Jewish Home coalition faces difficulties. Bennett’s hardline-Orthodox Jewish Home, backed by Yesh Atid, opposes Netanyahu’s deal with Livni, which gives her a prominent role in efforts to negotiate a peace accord with the Palestinians. Still, Jewish Home officials were reported Wednesday to have assured Netanyahu that their alliance with Yesh Atid “is over” the moment both parties sign coalition deals.Netanyahu has been wary of conceding to the Jewish Home-Yesh Atid demands, in part because he recognizes that both Bennett and Lapid have ambitions to become prime minister.Should Netanyahu fail to form a coalition in the time allotted — a scenario deemed unlikely, but not impossible — the president could ask another politician to form a government or Israel could head to new elections.

DOCTOR DOCTORIAN FROM ANGEL OF GOD
then the angel said, Financial crisis will come to Asia. I will shake the world.

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

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

EZEKIEL 7:19
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.

REVELATION 13:16-18
16 And he(THE FALSE POPE WHO DEFECTED FROM THE CHRISTIAN FAITH) causeth all,(IN THE WORLD ) both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:(MICROCHIP IMPLANT)
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark,(MICROCHIP IMPLANT) or the name of the beast,(WORLD DICTATORS NAME INGRAVED ON YOUR SKIN OR TATTOOED ON YOU OR IN THE MICROCHIP IMPLANT) or the number of his name.(THE NUMBERS OF HIS NAME INGRAVED IN THE MICROCHIP IMLPLANT)-(ALL THESE WILL TELL THE WORLD DICTATOR THAT YOUR WITH HIM AND AGAINST KING JESUS-GOD)
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast:(WORLD LEADER) for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.(6-6-6) A NUMBER SYSTEM (6006006)OR(60020202006)(SOME KIND OF NUMBER IMPLANTED IN THE MICROCHIP THAT TELLS THE WORLD DICTATOR AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER THAT YOU GIVE YOUR TOTAL ALLIGIENCE TO HIM AND NOT JESUS)(ITS AN ETERNAL DECISION YOU MAKE)(YOU CHOOSE YOUR OWN DESTINY)(YOU TAKE THE DICTATORS NAME OR NUMBER UNDER YOUR SKIN,YOUR DOOMED TO THE LAKE OF FIRE AND TORMENTS FOREVER,NEVER ENDING MEANT ONLY FOR SATAN AND HIS ANGELS,NOT HUMAN BEINGS).OR YOU REFUSE THE MICROCHIP IMPLANT AND GO ON THE SIDE OF KING JESUS AND RULE FOREVER WITH HIM ON EARTH.YOU CHOOSE,ITS YOUR DECISION.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYUgVL9PdxM&list=UU4SH8rh0OjYV3zwqnIfqNbA&index=1&feature=plcp
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PX-vW4VccY&feature=player_embedded#!
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/markets/indexes/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfPX59y4KxE&feature=related

HALF HOUR DOW RESULTS THU FEBRUARY 28,2013

09:30 AM +2.43
10:00 AM +13.70
10:30 AM +0.63
11:00 AM +12.20
11:30 AM +14.48
12:00 PM +16.67
12:30 PM +5.71
01:00 PM +20.16
01:30 PM +48.97
02:00 PM +57.64
02:30 PM +67.52
03:00 PM +43.34
03:30 PM +31.31
04:00 PM -20.88 14,054.49

S&P 500 1514.68 -1.31

NASDAQ 3160.19 -2.07

GOLD 1,577.10 -18.10

OIL 91.92 -0.84

TSE 300 12,821.83 +89.44

CDNX 1133.36 +2.24

S&P/TSX/60 738.55 +5.01

MORNING,NEWS,STATS

YEAR TO DATE PERFORMANCE
Dow +20 points at 4 minutes of trading today.
Dow +1 points at low today.
Dow +20 points at high today so far.
GOLD opens at $1,590.00.OIL opens at $92.26 today.

AFTERNOON,NEWS,STATS
Dow -20 points at low today so far.
Dow +72 points at high today so far.

WRAPUP,NEWS,STATS
Dow -20 points at low today.
Dow +72 points at high today.

GOLD ALLTIME HIGH $1,902.60 (NOT AT CLOSE)

NATURAL GAS-THU 

EU: financial tax should be used for development aid and climate

27.02.13 @ 18:46 By Nikolaj Nielsen
BRUSSELS - The European Commission said revenue from a proposed financial transaction tax (FTT) should be set aside to fight poverty and climate change, as an investment against global instability.
“I would very much want member countries really to take it seriously,” European commissioner for development Andris Piebalgs told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (27 February).The FTT is backed by 11 member states and would put 0.1 percent levy on bonds and shares and 0.01 percent on derivative products. Estimated generated annual revenues could range between €30 billion to €35 billion a year.
France has already set aside existing national FTT revenue for development and Germany’s development minister Dirk Niebel has also spoken in favour of the idea.Piebalgs said the FTT money could be used to make up for individual member state development funding shortfalls.Germany and Italy are the two member states that have fallen the most behind in their commitments to set aside 0.7 percent of their GNI for development aid by 2015, though both have delivered some modest increases since 2011, notes anti-poverty campaign One.France and Spain are also behind while Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have already exceeded the target.The GNI pledges were made in 2005 and included an interim target of 0.56 percent by 2010. Current figures indicate the EU is at 0.43 percent, behind the 2010 target, or an €18 billion shortfall.“It [FTT] is a new source of financement and that should definitely be used not to close the gap but to close our unfilled promises,” said the commissioner.The gap refers to the wider source of financing for development to eradicate poverty, which goes well beyond the remit of official development assistance.
Unfilled promises include pulling some 1.3 billion people worldwide out of abject poverty. Around 670 million young people around the world are out of work, have no education, and little prospect of improving their livelihoods.Coupled with the overall decline of fertile land, clean water and air, the whole, says Piebalgs, breeds instability on global proportions.Pierre Lapaque, Regional Representative of UNODC for West and Central Africa, told this website from Dakar on Tuesday that narco-trafficking and demand for drugs in the EU is one area that has helped breed insecurity throughout the region.Colombian drug cartels use the countries as transit routes into the EU, leaving behind a trail of criminal networks enmeshed with a corrupt political class. In the wake are new a generation of local addicts.“West Africa is increasingly an area for drug consumption, mainly crack cocaine. We are far from just smoking pot here,” said Lapaque.Meanwhile, member states have cut the EU development budget for the up coming seven-year multi-annual financial framework (MFF).The European Commission proposal for long term EU spending covering the period 2014-2020 included €51 billion for development aid to the world’s poorest as well as humanitarian aid.
“From the EU budget, we channel about 18 percent of the development budget for the whole of the EU,” said Piebalgs.If the European Parliament backs the budget cuts, member states will have to increase their own development budgets, noted the commissioner.

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

EZEKIEL 39:1-8,11-18
1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog,(LEADER OF RUSSIA) and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech (MOSCOW) and Tubal: (TUBOLSK)
2 And I will turn thee back,(RUSSIA-ARAB MUSLIM ISRAEL HATERS) and leave but the sixth part of thee,(5/6TH OR 300 MILLION DEAD RUSSIAN/ARAB/MUSLIMS I BELIEVE) and will cause thee to come up from the north parts,(RUSSIA) and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:
3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.
4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands,( ARABS) and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.
5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
6 And I will send a fire on Magog,(NUCLEAR BOMB) and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.
11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog (RUSSIA/ARAB/MUSLIMS) a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers (EAST OF THE DEAD SEA IN JORDAN VALLEY) on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog (RUSSIAN) and all his multitude:(ARAB/MUSLIM HORDE) and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.(BURIEL SITE OF THE 300 MILLION,RUSSIAN/ARAB/MUSLIMS)
12 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.(OF ISRAEL)
13 Yea, all the people of the land (OF ISRAEL) shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I (GOD-JESUS) shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD.
14 And they shall sever out men of continual employment,(NUCLEAR BOMB EXPERTS) passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.
15 And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it,(WON'T TOUCH IT) till the buriers have buried it (PROPERLY) in the valley of Hamongog.(RUSSIA/ARAB/MUSLIMS NEW BURIEL SITE)
16 And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land.(OF THE ISRAEL-GOD HATERS)
17 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl,(500 MILLION MIGRATING BIRDS THREW ISRAEL EVERY SPRING,FALL) and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.(OF THE RUSSIAN/ARAB/MUSLIM ARMIES)
18 Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
19 And ye (MIGRATING BIRDS IN ISRAEL) shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.(RUSSIAN/ARAB/MUSLIM ISRAEL HATERS)
20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.
21 And I (GOD-JESUS) will set my glory among the heathen,(WORLD NATIONS) and all the heathen (WORLD NATIONS) shall see my judgment that I have executed,(AGAINST ISRAELS ENEMIES) and my (GODS) hand that I have laid upon them.(ISRAELS HATER ENEMIES)

POLICAL BABYLON OF BIBLE AMERICA NUKED BY RUSSIA

ISAIAH 34:10
10  It (AMERICA-POLITICAL BABYLON) shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.

JEREMIAH 51:29-32 (CYBER ATTACK 1ST)
29  And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon,(AMERICA-NEW YORK) to make the land of Babylon (AMERICA) a desolation without an inhabitant.
30  The mighty men of Babylon (AMERICA) have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken.
31  One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon (NEW YORK) that his city is taken at one end,
32  And that the passages are stopped,(THE WAR COMPUTERS HACKED OR EMP'D) and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.(DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO)

COMPLETE SILENCE AFTER AN EMP GOES OFF
REVELATION 8:1
1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

JEREMIAH 50:3,24
3 For out of the north (RUSSIA) there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.
24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon,(AMERICA) and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the LORD. (RUSSIA A SNEAK CYBER,EMP ATTACK,THEN NUKE ATTACK ON AMERICA)

REVELATION 18:3-6,19-21
3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,(U.S.A) and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her,(U.S.A) and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her,(AMERICA) my people,(CHRISTIANS,JEWS) that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
6 Reward her even as she rewarded you,(WITH FALSE FLAG TERRORISM) and double unto her double according to her works:(DOUBLE-EMP 1ST,THEN RUSSIA NUKE ATTACKS U.S.A) in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.(PROBABLY A RUSSIAN CYBER ATTACK WILL SET THE WHOLE SITUATION UP AS RUSSIA HACKS THE USA ARMY COMPUTERS.THEN THE EMP,THEN THE NUKE ATTACK)
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.
20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

Russia's Putin tells army to shape up for foreign threat

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Vladimir Putin ordered military leaders on Wednesday to make urgent improvements to the armed forces during his new presidential term, saying Russia must thwart attempts by the West to tip the strategic balance of power.Putin's remarks, to rows of uniformed officers and defense officials, reflected increasing hawkishness since he returned to the Kremlin for a six-year term last May, and a growing readiness to cite foreign threats and use anti-Western rhetoric to rally support."Attempts are being made to tip the strategic balance," said Putin, who as president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, told his audience at the General Staff academy on Moscow's outskirts. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, sat in the front row."Geopolitical dynamics call for a quick and considered response ... Russia's armed forces must move on to a new level of capabilities in the next three to five years," said Putin, who has not ruled out seeking another term in 2018.The former KGB spy said moves that threatened Russia's geopolitical position included the eastward expansion of Russia's former Cold War foe NATO and U.S. deployment of an anti-missile shield in Europe.He said drills must be sharpened up and held with less advance warning, to keep soldiers on their toes."Combat training must not be laid-back, so that soldiers know about emergency exercises six months in advance, but must be as similar as possible to the real conditions of modern combat and warfare," he said.Following a decade of military spending cuts after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Putin has been the driving force behind plans to spend 23 trillion roubles ($750 billion) through 2020 to upgrade Russia's ageing armaments.
SOVIET-ERA INFRASTRUCTURE
Russia's military, with roughly 1 million servicemen, is still largely reliant on Soviet-era infrastructure and weaponry. It continues to rely on conscription, despite Kremlin pledges to turn it fully professional.
Rights activists say brutal bullying has been rampant since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the military has long been plagued by corruption. The top military prosecutor said in 2011 that a fifth of the budget was stolen or embezzled.Former defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov set out ambitious military reforms in 2008, after Russia fought a brief war with Georgia that highlighted the failings of the armed forces.But Serdyukov was sacked in November, and is now a witness in a criminal case in which a former subordinate is accused of fraud and embezzlement in deals involving Defence Ministry property.Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, the ally Putin named to replace Serdyukov, said on Wednesday he would make an inventory of army property to try to reduce corruption, widely seen as the main obstacle to modernization.Shoigu also said Russia needs warships in the Mediterranean at all times "to protect its national interests".Russia has a modest naval maintenance facility in the Syrian port of Tartous that is its only military base outside the ex-Soviet Union, but it does not have a constant presence in the Mediterranean.Putin has repeatedly evoked foreign threats since returning to the presidency as he tries to lift his ratings following the biggest protests since he first rose to power in 2000.He has accused the United States of backing the protests against him, and Russia has introduced a law since his return to the Kremlin that forces campaign and lobby groups that are funded from abroad to register as "foreign agents".Putin has also increasingly underlined traditional Russian values and taken a tough line against the protesters in an attempt to rally support among the conservatives who have long been his power base.Relations with the United States have deteriorated over Washington's missile defense plans and American concerns about political freedom in Russia, as well as trade disputes.
($1 = 30.6405 Russian roubles)(Additional reporting by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Michael Roddy)

ISAIAH 17:1,12-14
1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
12  Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations,(USELESS U.N) that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
13  The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.
14  And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not.(ASSAD) This is the portion of them that spoil us,(ISRAEL) and the lot of them that rob us.

JEREMEIAH 49:23-27
23  Concerning Damascus.(SYRIA) Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea;(WAR SHIPS WITH NUKES COMING ON SYRIA) it cannot be quiet.
24  Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail.
25  How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!
26  Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts.
27  And I will kindle a fire (NUKES OR BOMBS) in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad.(ASSADS PALACES POSSIBLY IN DAMASCUS)

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

JEREMIAH 47:1-7
1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines,(PALESTINIAN/ARABS) before that Pharaoh smote Gaza.
2  Thus saith the LORD; Behold, waters rise up out of the north,(NORTHERN TSUNAMI POSSIBLY) and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl.
3  At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his strong horses,(ISRAELS ARMY) at the rushing of his chariots, and at the rumbling of his wheels, the fathers shall not look back to their children for feebleness of hands;(ISRAEL POSSIBLY NUKES GAZA)
4  Because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philistines,(PALESTINIAN FAKE ARABS) and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remaineth: for the LORD will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor.
5  Baldness is come upon Gaza;(NUKED POSSIBLY) Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself?
6  O thou sword of the LORD, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still.
7  How can it be quiet, seeing the LORD hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea shore? (MEDITTERANEAN SEA) there hath he appointed it.


IF THE US WANTS TO HELP SYRIANS.GET THAT USELESS UN IN SYRIA WITH TANKS AND BOMBS AND GET RID OF ASSAD.THEN YOU WILL STOP THE 70,000+ KILLINGS AND THE 1 MILLION FLEEING FROM ASSADS MURDER SPREE.

US, Europe move to expand role in Syrian conflict

ROME (AP) — The United States and some European allies are edging closer to direct involvement in Syria's civil war with plans to deliver meals, medical kits and other forms of nonlethal assistance to the rebels battling President Bashar Assad.The U.S., Britain, France and Italy aren't planning to supply the Free Syrian Army with weapons or ammunition. But moves are afoot to significantly boost the size and scope of their aid to the political and military opposition. Such decisions could be announced as early as Thursday at an international conference on Syria in Rome.Britain and France are keen to give the rebels the means to protect themselves from attacks by Assad's forces, including Scud missiles fired in recent days against the city of Aleppo, U.S. and European officials say.Assistance could mean combat armor, vehicles and other equipment not deemed to be offensive, the officials said. It could include training in battlefield medical care and the protection of human rights, they said.For now, the Obama administration is advancing more modestly. It is nearing a decision whether to give ready-made meals and medical supplies to the opposition fighters, who have not received direct U.S. assistance.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was expected to announce the new contributions at the Rome conference, in addition to tens of millions of dollars intended for rule of law and governance programs.The shifts in strategy are part of a step-by-step process that could lead to direct military aid to carefully screened members of the Free Syrian Army if the nearly 2-year conflict continues. Some 70,000 people have died in the fighting.The European Union last week renewed an arms embargo against Syria for three months. But foreign ministers made clear that the decision could be reviewed while they look at ways to increase pressure on Assad to leave.Washington has provided $385 million in humanitarian aid to Syria's war-weary population and $54 million in communications equipment, medical supplies and other nonlethal assistance to Syria's political opposition. The U.S. also has screen rebel groups for Turkey and American allies in the Arab world that have armed rebel fighters.No U.S. dollars or provisions have gone directly to rebels. That decision reflects concerns about forces that have allied themselves with more radical Islamic elements since Assad's initial crackdown on peaceful protesters in March 2011.Kerry said Wednesday in Paris that both the U.S. and Europe want a negotiated solution to the crisis and would speak to the leaders of the Syrian National Coalition about that. He also said the world must be prepared to do more to support the rebels and he accused Assad's government of engaging in "criminal behavior.""We want their advice on how we can accelerate the prospects of a political solution because that is what we believe is the best path to peace, the best way to protect the interests of the Syrian people, the best way to end the killing and the violence," he said at a news conference with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius."That may require us to change President Assad's current calculation," Kerry said. "He needs to know that he can't shoot his way out of this. And so we need to convince him of that, and I think the opposition needs more help in order to be able to do that."Fabius offered a similar assessment.
"The situation is unbearable and we need to find the means to a transition and for Assad's departure," he said. "We agree all of us on the fact that Mr. Bashar Assad has to quit."Britain's Foreign Office also said it would increase its support for Syria's opposition.The possibility of a sudden change in U.S. strategy comes as President Barack Obama begins a second term and Kerry succeeds Hillary Rodham Clinton as the top U.S. diplomat.Freed from the constraints of a re-election campaign, administration officials say there is greater leeway now for new approaches than last year, when Obama rebuffed a plan by Clinton, then-CIA Director David Petraeus and then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to arm the Syrian rebels.The administration remains cautious, officials say, and is resisting European pressure to expand military aid to include the kind of items that Britain and France are considering.Few Americans want to see their country dragged into another war of complicated loyalties and sectarian rivalries in the Muslim world, a little more than a year after leaving Iraq and with 66,000 U.S. combat troops still in Afghanistan.Administration officials say they don't have enough assurances that rebel units under the sway of Islamic fundamentalists won't turn their weapons on Israel or other U.S. allies and fragile states in the region.Lebanon is torn by some of the same internal sectarian divisions as Syria and Jordan is struggling with its political reform path.Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, warned on Wednesday that a victory by Syrian rebels would lead to more fighting in Iraq and a new haven for al-Qaida.Greater instability in any of Syria's neighbors would pose a whole new set of problems.Still, officials said the U.S. was considering a gradually upgraded involvement in Syria to bolster moderate forces within the rebel ranks and help the fledgling political opposition win greater backing among Syrians, especially minority groups that have remained largely loyal to Assad and his government.
Debate within the administration on how best to accomplish these goals has increased in recent months as diplomatic efforts have failed to end the war. The Syrian opposition insists that only weapons, intelligence support and other forms of military aid truly can tip the balance.U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, urged the administration to consider lethal aid."We should want the best organized, the best equipped and most dominant groups in the opposition to be groups that are friendlier to our national interests," Rubio, a Florida Republican, said Wednesday at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The position is similar to one Kerry held as a senator, and one he reminded reporters of this week when he proposed the creation of opposition safe zones and suggested providing rebels with U.S. weaponry.
But in his first month as secretary of state and on his first official trip overseas, the 2004 presidential candidate has been vaguer."We have a lot of ideas on the table, and some of them, I am confident, will come to maturity by time we meet in Rome," Kerry said this week. "Others may take a little more of a gestation period, but they're no less part of the mix and part of the discussion."What I can tell you is we are determined that the Syrian opposition is not going to be dangling in the wind wondering where the support is or if it's coming, and we are determined to change the calculation on the ground for President Assad."
__Klapper reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Kenneth Thomas in Washington, Sylvia Hui in London, and Silvie Corbet in Paris contributed to this report. 

Syrian clashes reach 12th century Aleppo mosque

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels clashed Thursday with government forces around a historic 12th century mosque inside the walled old city of Aleppo, activists said.The rebels won new support from the Obama administration. The U.S. pledged an additional $60 million in assistance and — in a significant policy shift — will for the first time provide nonlethal aid like food and medical supplies.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the new support and the decision to back the rebel fighters on the sidelines of an international conference on Syria in Rome, where European nations were also expected to signal their intention to provide fresh assistance to the opposition, possibly including defensive military hardware.The rebels have made a number of strategic gains in northern Syria in recent weeks, including the capture of a hydroelectric Dam and some military bases. They have also launched attacks deep in the heart of Damascus, President Bashar Assad's seat of power.But at the same time, the opposition has grown more critical of the international community, accusing it of not providing adequate support.In Aleppo, a key battleground in the civil war, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were clashes around the 12th century Umayyad Mosque in the walled old city with rebels controlling part of it and government troops holding another part.The Observatory, which relies on reports from activists on the ground, also said rebels continue to battle troops for control of a police academy west of Aleppo.Rebels launched an offensive on Aleppo, Syria's largest urban center and its commercial capital, in July 2012.In months of street fighting, opposition fighters have slowly expanded the turf under their control. The fighting has left much of the city in ruins, and caused damage to its rich archaeological and cultural heritage.The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Aleppo, sits near a medieval covered market in the Old City, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mosque was heavily damaged in October 2012 just weeks after a fire gutted the old city's famed market. Clashes at the historic site have raged for days.Fighting also intensified in the outskirts of Aleppo around a police academy that has recently emerged as a new front in the battle for the city.The police complex includes educational facilities for recruits and several army outposts to protect it. Anti-regime activists say the government has turned the facility into a military base, using it to shell opposition areas in Aleppo's countryside as well as rebel-held neighborhoods inside the city.In the central city of Homs, state media reported a car bombing with some casualties and extensive material damage.State-run SANA news agency said the car bomb was detonated by terrorists, a term the regime uses for rebels. It did not say how many people were killed in the blast.An official in the Homs governor's office told The Associated Press that the city was hit by two explosions, killing four people and injuring at least six. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.He said some of the injured are in critical condition.In Rome, Kerry is meeting Syrian opposition leaders and their Western backers in a bid to bolster Assad's political opponents and speed up his ouster.The U.S. and its European allies have been reluctant to arm the opposition fighters on the ground for fear the weapons could end up in the hands of Islamic militants, battling Assad's troops among the rebels.So far, the U.S. has largely limited its assistance to the Syrian opposition to funding for communications and other logistical equipment.___Associated Press writer Albert Aji contributed to this report from Damascus, Syria.

Diplomats urge EU to block Jerusalem settlements

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Nearly two dozen European diplomats have urged the EU to intensify efforts to block Israeli settlement in and near Jerusalem, saying such construction on occupied lands is the "single biggest threat" to a Mideast peace deal, according to an internal report Wednesday.The diplomats also said the EU must ensure that aid to Israel and preferential trade agreements don't inadvertently benefit settlements, according to the report obtained by The Associated Press.They recommended that the EU "prevent, discourage and raise awareness" of direct investments by European companies in settlements, but did not elaborate.While the recommendations are non-binding, the report, endorsed by 22 heads of mission posted in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, reflects Israel's growing international isolation over the settlement issue.President Barack Obama confronted Israel over settlements early in his first term, but then backed off, and it's not clear if he will make another serious attempt to pressure Israel in his second term.
Israel built dozens of settlements after capturing the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in 1967. More than half a million Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, complicating efforts to partition the land under a future peace deal. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005."Settlement construction remains the single biggest threat to the two-state solution," the report said, portraying the policy as "systematic, deliberate and provocative."Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said he had not seen the EU report, only what was published in the media. "The mission of a diplomat is to build bridges, not to foster confrontations," he said. "The EU consuls have therefore failed miserably in their mission."The issue of settlements must be addressed in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Palmor said.The Palestinians have said they will not resume negotiations unless Israel freezes settlement construction on lands they claim for their state, including the Gaza Strip, where Israel no longer has settlements.Palestinians have negotiated in the past while settlement expansion continued, but said they are no longer willing to engage in open-ended negotiations they suspect largely serve Israel as a diplomatic cover for tightening its grip on occupied lands through settlements.The EU report singled out Israeli policies in east Jerusalem, particularly several major settlement projects being planned there.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often come out against dividing Jerusalem. Israel annexed the eastern sector, sought by the Palestinians as a capital, weeks after capturing it in the 1967 Mideast war, a move not recognized internationally. Beyond its greatly expanded borders of Jerusalem, Israel has not annexed West Bank territory.The EU report said Israel approved an unprecedented number of settlement plans in and near east Jerusalem in response to the Palestinians' successful bid in November to win U.N. recognition for a state of Palestine in the occupied lands.If the current pace of settlement building on Jerusalem's southeastern flank continues, "an effective buffer between east Jerusalem and Bethlehem (in the West Bank) may be in place by the end of 2013, thus making the realization of a viable two-state solution inordinately more difficult, if not impossible," it said.
The consuls recommended that the EU intensify efforts to "counter settlement activity" in and near east Jerusalem and make sure EU aid programs don't inadvertently benefit settlements. They also proposed developing voluntary guidelines for EU tour operators to prevent support for settlement businesses in east Jerusalem.It remains unclear what impact the report will have. The recommendations have not been endorsed by the EU, and the European bloc in any case plays only a supportive role in U.S.-led international efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian deal.___Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh contributed.

Jordan sees new surge in Syrians fleeing civil war

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A Jordanian official says there is a new surge in Syrians fleeing across the border to Jordan as fighting intensifies in southern Syria.A government spokesman for Syrian refugee affairs told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Jordan now hosts 418,529 Syrian refugees.Anmar Hmoud says 2,490 Syrians crossed into Jordan overnight, with the numbers averaging about 3,000 per night in recent days.
By the end of March, Jordan could have as many as half a million Syrian refugees.Some of those coming through unofficial border crossings find shelter in Jordan's Zaatari camp, now home to more than 105,700 refugees. Many more live among Jordanian families.The camp has seen sporadic violent protests over its harsh desert conditions.The U.N. says there are nearly 925,000 Syrians displaced throughout the region.

Rights group: Tamil suspects raped by government

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — An international human rights group alleges Sri Lankan security forces continue to use torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence against suspected members of the Tamil Tiger rebels and their supporters, nearly four years after the end of the country's civil war. The military denied the allegations.In a report released Tuesday, New York-based Human Rights Watch said that although the decades-long war ended in May 2009, politically motivated sexual violence against suspects in custody continues to this day. It called for an international investigation into the practice."Sri Lankan security forces have committed untold numbers of rapes of Tamil men and women in custody," said Brad Adams, the group's Asia director."These are not just wartime atrocities but continue to the present, putting every Tamil man and woman arrested for suspected LTTE involvement at serious risk," Adams said, using the acronym for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the formal name of the rebels.The violent 26-year war saw ethnic minority Tamil rebels fighting for their own homeland against troops from the Sinhalese majority government. More than 100,000 people were killed on both sides before the government crushed the rebels with a bloody push into rebel-controlled northern areas. A U.N. report has said tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the final five months of fighting alone.The rebels themselves have been accused of widespread atrocities, including holding civilians as human shields, using child soldiers and killing people who tried to leave areas under their control.The report comes as the United Nations Human Rights Council is set to discuss Sri Lanka's alleged wartime abuses at its annual meeting in Geneva this week. The United States has said it will introduce a resolution at the meeting urging a full accounting of what happened at the end of the war.Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya rejected Human Rights Watch's allegations, saying they lack credibility. He called them "fabricated allegations" and "good creative writing."The 41-page report, titled "'We Will Teach You a Lesson': Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces," provides detailed accounts of 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse that occurred from 2006-2012 in both official and secret detention centers throughout Sri Lanka.Human Rights Watch said most of the victims spoke to them outside of Sri Lanka, and it corroborated their accounts with medical and legal reports. Because Human Rights Watch was not able to openly conduct research in Sri Lanka or interview people still in custody, it said the cases in its report likely represent only a tiny fraction of custodial rape in political cases.
It said many of the cases followed a pattern of an individual being abducted from home by unidentified men, taken to a detention center, and abusively interrogated about alleged activities of the rebels. It said men and women reported being raped on multiple days, often by several people, with the army, police, and pro-government paramilitary groups frequently participating.The victims also described being beaten, hung by their arms, partially asphyxiated, and burned with cigarettes. None of those who spoke to Human Rights Watch had access to legal counsel, family members or doctors while they were detained, the group said.
Wanigasooriya, the military spokesman, said there had been no cases of rape or sexual harassments as described in the report."If there are proper complaints with the relevant authorities, the army is ready to investigate them," he said.He said security forces rescued 300,000 civilians during the war and have resettled them, while another 12,000 ex-rebel combatants have been rehabilitated."None of these persons have come with a complaint of this nature. This is another lie the Human Rights Watch has released," he said.
Last week, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay faulted Sri Lanka for failing to properly investigate reports of atrocities during the war, and said government opponents continue to be killed and abducted."The government's response to allegations of sexual violence by its security forces have been dismissive, deeming them as 'fake' or 'pro-LTTE propaganda,'" Adams said in a statement Tuesday. "It's not clear who in the government knew about these horrific crimes. But the government's failure to take action against these ongoing abuses is further evidence of the need for an international investigation."

DRUG PUSHERS AND ADDICTS

1 PET 5:8
8 Be sober,(NOT DRUGED UP OR ALCOHOLICED) be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

REVELATION 18:23
23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries (DRUGS) were all nations deceived.

REVELATION 9:21
21 Neither repented they of their murders,(KILLING) nor of their sorceries (DRUGS AND DRUG PUSHERS), nor of their fornication,(SEX OUTSIDE MARRIAGE OR PROSTITUTION FOR MONEY) nor of their thefts.(STEALING)

Support for legalizing pot in California hits new high: survey

(Reuters) - A record but still narrow majority of California voters, or 54 percent, favor legalizing marijuana for personal, recreational use with restrictions like those placed on alcohol, a poll showed on Wednesday.
California was the first of 19 states and the District of Columbia to legalize pot for medical use, doing so in 1996, although voters rejected efforts to legalize the drug for recreational use in 2010.But support for legalizing pot, which the federal government considers an illegal narcotic, appears to be growing in the U.S. West, where Colorado and Washington state last year became the first states to legalize its recreational use.
Roughly 54 percent of California voters surveyed by the non-partisan Field Poll supported legalizing pot, with support highest among residents of the San Francisco Bay Area. Another 43 percent opposed legalization.The support was the highest since the Field Poll first asked about pot legalization in 1969, when 13 percent of California voters were in favor. In 2010, the last time Field Poll asked voters about the issue, 50 percent favored legalization.Of the 834 registered voters polled, roughly 72 percent supported existing laws governing the California medical marijuana industry, one of the nation's largest. Some 67 percent opposed federal efforts to crack down on businesses operating therein.Additionally, 58 percent of voters polled said they would favor allowing dispensaries in their town or city, with stronger support in more liberal enclaves of the state, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, the data show.The aging "baby boomer" generation with more laid-back attitudes about pot use was driving the increase in support for more relaxed marijuana rules, said Mark DiCamillo, the director of The Field Poll."They are basically replacing an older generation that was more opposed to legalizing marijuana," he said.Majorities of voters age 65 or older, Latinos age 40 or older, and Republicans oppose legalizing marijuana, the data show.The poll, conducted from February 5-17, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Tim Dobbyn)

Corporations urge Supreme Court to embrace gay marriage

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 200 businesses on Wednesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a federal law that restricts the definition of marriage to heterosexual unions, in one of corporate America's most prominent efforts to support same-sex marriage.The companies signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief in Windsor v. United States, a high-profile case challenging the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). They ranged from technology giants Microsoft Corp and Google Inc to Wall Street financiers such as Citigroup Inc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc to vineyards and yogurt makers in California.
Thomson Reuters Corp, which owns the Reuters news agency, also supported the submission.The companies want the Supreme Court to void a key provision in the federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. They largely stayed away from constitutional arguments attacking the law and instead focused on the business nuisance the law created.DOMA forces employers to treat employees with same-sex spouses differently from those with opposite-sex partners, the companies said, depriving gay employees of certain healthcare and retirement benefits that may be on offer. The law also creates headaches for human resources officials, they said."HR departments would tell you it is a disaster trying to deal with DOMA when you are a large employer, because you have these employees who are legally married, but now you've got to put them in a different box for W-2s, for ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act), for retirement benefits, and it's really vexing," said Sabin Willett in an interview. Willett wrote the brief for his law firm, Bingham McCutchen, which handled the matter pro bono.
Separately, lawyers representing another group of employers, including some of the same companies, said they planned to file a brief on Thursday in a related case that questions a California law, known as Proposition 8, banning gay marriage.The two cases are to be argued before the Supreme Court on March 26 and 27. A decision is expected by the end of June.While corporate America has long offered domestic partnership benefits and made efforts to attract gay employees, the filing seemed to represent a new step in an effort to promote the issue."It is old news that big business is friendly to lesbian and gay unions," said Yale law professor William Eskridge, who has argued on behalf of gay rights. "But there has never been a business brief quite like this one with so many signatories on such a landmark issue," he said.A group of prominent Republicans, including former advisers to President George W. Bush, are also expected to file a brief challenging the California law, adding heft to backers of gay rights.The arguments appeared directed at Justice Anthony Kennedy, as a moderate and potential swing vote, to show the kind of wide support that exists, Eskridge said.
'HURTING BUSINESS'
The brief grew out of a previous effort to represent business interests in another case challenging the DOMA law, according to Willett.That case brought together some 70 companies that felt courts may not have understood the full business impact of the law."When people talk about DOMA, they usually, and rightly so, focus on its impact upon human beings ... but people may not realize, and courts may not realize, this thing is hurting business, too," Willett said.In the brief filed on Wednesday, the companies argued that DOMA "requires that employers treat one employee differently from another, when each is married, and each marriage is equally lawful."DOMA does not create any uniformity nationwide, they said, because 12 states either authorize same-sex marriage or recognize marriages that have been performed in other states.
That creates a burden for employers, particularly those who do business nationally, they added.The law also forces companies to discriminate, sometimes in contravention of their own internal policies and local laws, when dealing with healthcare plans and other benefits, the companies said.In briefs already filed in support of restricting marriage to heterosexual unions, business interests have not been represented. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has not taken a stand on the issue.(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by Howard Goller, Cynthia Osterman and Prudence Crowther)

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