Friday, September 09, 2016
SNOWDEN-PRIVACY SHIELD WON'T STOP US MASS SURVEILLANCE.
BRUSSELS, Today, 09:25-The US government allegedly continues to engage in mass surveillance on EU citizens despite assurances under a new data-sharing pact with the EU.Edward Snowden, a former US national security agency intelligence contractor, told an audience in Brussels on Wednesday (7 September) that US government claims surveillance has been narrowed under the new EU-US Privacy Shield data sharing agreement is false."It's categorically untrue," he said via video-link from Russia, where he has been granted asylum, at an event organised by German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht."Governments don't like to hold themselves out as direct liars, saying something that is attributable and falsifiable," said Snowden.The whistleblower, whose documents in 2013 revealed a US-led global digital dragnet, said that the Americans are instead twisting language in an effort to convince EU policy and lawmakers of falsehoods."They are denying they do mass surveillance, they are saying what we do do is bulk collection, which is in their world something entirely different, but in reality, in our world, it is mass surveillance," said Snowden.Privacy Shield replaced the 15-year old Safe Harbour pact, which was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice last October over broader concerns linked to US mass surveillance programmes disclosed by Snowden.Shield, for its part, is supposed to ensure the privacy rights of EU citizens whenever their data is used and then transferred to the US by companies like Google and Microsoft.Penned between the European Commission and the US Department of Commerce, the transatlantic trade of EU data is said to have been worth over €200 billion annually under the old Safe Harbour scheme.Snowden is not alone in casting doubts on the latest agreement. Top EU data protection authorities are also wary.The EU's main regulatory body on privacy, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, earlier this year said US commitments not to carry mass surveillance under the pact were not good enough."The possibility that is left in the Shield and its annexes for bulk collection, which if massive and indiscriminate, is not acceptable," working party chair Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin told reporters in April.The EU commission, for its part, says they have since received better assurances from the US following Falque-Pierrotin's April criticisms prior to Shield's operational launch at the start of August.Those assurances centre around signed letters from top US authorities and includes a US-based ombudsperson to help steer compliance.Some 200 US firms have since signed up to the self-certifying agreement, but many remain concerned the agreement may meet the same fate as Safe Harbour.A survey of some 600 privacy professionals in the US and EU found that only 34 percent of companies intend to use the Privacy Shield framework.Conducted by the International Association of Privacy Professionals and the consulting firm EY, the findings, published in late August, revealed that the vast majority will instead rely on other methods to transfer the data.But those other transfer methods, known as standard contractual clauses, are also on shaky legal grounds and likely to be challenged by the European Court of Justice."Companies could be left without a viable legal channel for transferring data across the Atlantic, even as hundreds of billions of dollars in trade hang in the balance," said the report.
EU-Canada passenger data deal infringes privacy: EU adviser-[Reuters]-By Julia Fioretti-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - An agreement between the European Union and Canada to share airline passenger data that the two sides say is vital to fighting terrorism must be redrafted before it can be signed, an adviser to the top EU court said on Thursday.Parts of the deal, agreed in 2014, go against the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi said, and in most such cases, judges follow advisers' views.Mengozzi's opinion will therefore come as a blow to governments around the world, which have stepped up their arguments for data retention and sharing after a spate of militant attacks this year.EU lawmaker Timothy Kirkhope, who successfully steered so-called Passenger Name Record (PNR) legislation through the European Parliament in April, called the opinion "irresponsible", given the level of security threat.Canada welcomed the "detailed opinion" but said it would not comment until the final ruling, expected in a few months."We remain committed to continue working closely with the European Union until the ratification of a Canada-EU PNR Agreement that complies with EU fundamental rights and EU law," a government representative said.Mengozzi said the proposed agreement allowed authorities to use the passenger name records data beyond what is strictly necessary for the prevention and detection of terrorist offences and serious transnational crime.It also leaves too much leeway for Canadian authorities to transfer the data to a non-EU country's authorities, he said.Passenger name records include names, travel dates, itineraries, ticket and contact details, travel agents and other information.However, he said the agreement would be compatible with EU fundamental rights subject to certain conditions. These include sensitive data not being collected, that the offences for which data can be retained be listed exhaustively and that the number of targeted persons be limited to those who can reasonably be suspected of participating in a terrorist offense.The opinion might also bode badly for a separate commercial data transfer deal with the United States, Privacy Shield, which replaces a framework disallowed a year ago by the European Court of Justice over concerns about mass U.S. surveillance. It is widely expected to be challenged by privacy advocates.Civil rights groups and liberal politicians welcomed the opinion as a reaffirmation of the importance of privacy even when responding to security threats."For years now we have questioned the necessity and proportionality of a massive transfer of European passenger data and the legal basis for this," Dutch Member of the European Parliament, Sophie In’t Veld, said.(Editing by Louise Ireland)
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast (EU,REVIVED ROME) shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth,(7TH WORLD EMPIRE) which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.(TRADING BLOCKS-10 WORLD REGIONS/TRADE BLOCS)
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings(10 NATIONS-10 WORLD DIVISION WORLD GOVERNMENT) that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.(EITHER THE EUROPEAN UNION DICTATOR BOOTS 3 COUNTRIES FROM THE EU OR THE DICTATOR TAKES OVER THE WORLD ECONOMY BY CONTROLLING 3 WORLD TRADE BLOCS)
Germany's Merkel says more EU centralization 'not the answer'-[Reuters]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday rejected further centralization within the EU after Britain's vote to leave, saying the bloc instead needed to delegate more tasks to subsidiary organizations."Centralization is definitely not the answer," Merkel told a local political event before a Sept. 16 summit in Bratislava between the 27 European Union states that will remain after Britain departs."Germany is a country that has had good experiences with the sharing out of tasks," added Merkel, who has been a strong defender of EU institutions since becoming chancellor in 2005.Donald Tusk, who chairs the EU talks, last week said the meeting would focus on the future of the EU, not Britain.Topics likely to be high on the agenda include immigration, terrorism and how to address EU citizens' concerns that globalization threatens their economic well-being.Britons voted to leave the bloc in June, hitting the pound and forcing a change of prime minister. London has yet to submit to Brussels the formal notification that will kick-start the departure process.(Reporting by Andreas Rinke, writing by Andrea Shalal; editing by John Stonestreet)
MEPs call for EU ratification of Paris agreement-By EUOBSERVER-sept 8,16
Today, 17:59-Members of the European Parliament's environment committee (Envi) urged the assembly and EU governments to quickly ratify the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change. Otherwise it may enter into force without the EU as a signatory, said Envi chair Giovanni La Via, a centre-right Italian deputy. The deal will enter into force when 55 countries that produce at least 55 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions ratify it.
Federalist Verhofstadt to join top table in Brexit talks By Andrew Rettman and Aleksandra Eriksson-sept 8,16-euobserver
BRUSSELS, Today, 19:00-The European Parliament has picked Belgian federalist Guy Verhofstadt to speak for it in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.The decision, announced by EP political chiefs on Wednesday (8 Thursday), prompted a slight dip in the value of the British pound amid speculation that he will take a hard line.The 63-year old former Belgian prime minister, who advocates the creation of a US-type federal state in Europe, will join Michel Barnier, a French former EU commissionner, who is to represent the European Commission, and who has a history of antagonism with the City of London.Didier Seeuws, a younger Belgian official, will represent the EU Council.An EU source told EUobserver that the two main EP groups, the centre-right EPP and the centre-left S&D, endorsed Verhofstadt, a liberal, because of how he had handled pre-referendum UK talks.“He had a good rapport with [former British PM] Cameron during the negotiations on special status. They disagreed on several issues, but they had the same, plain-speaking style”, the source said.The UK, prior to holding the referendum in June, had negotiated “special” derogations from EU law.The EU source added that the liberal Alde group was in line for a top job because the EPP and S&D had dominated other high EU posts.For his part, Philippe Lamberts, a German green MEP, said Verhofstadt was a good choice because he was a former PM who knew how the EU Council operated and because he was a “convinced European, even if I disagree with him on other issues".The Brexit talks are expected to start early next year and to revolve around access to the UK for EU workers and access to the single market for British firms.The EU exit negotiations, the first in history, are uncharted waters.They will be dominated by member states, but the EP says it has power of co-decision on the new international treaty that is to govern issues such as EU-UK trade.It also says it has to give “consent,” a majority vote, on a separate treaty enacting the UK’s EU exit, as well as on a third text - a new version of the EU treaty with all the references to the UK redacted.“The European Parliament will need to approve a possible agreement on the conditions for the UK’s departure from the EU”, Verhostadt’s group said on Thursday.It said he would “help prepare the EP position in the [Brexit] negotiations, in close consultation” with other political chiefs and relevant committees, such as the constitutional affairs committee.The EU source said no one knows yet what the Brexit talks will look like.The contact said initial negotiations are likely to take place in the EU Council building between the 28 sherpas (senior aides) from the member states, and a delegation from the EU Council’s legal services.“The legal services will tell us what’s possible and what’s not possible on technical issues,” the source said.He said the big questions will be decided at a “higher political level”, with the EU triumvirate - Barnier-Verhofstadt-Seeuws - involved.
European Central Bank: Governments must do more for economy-[Associated Press]-DAVID McHUGH-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank left its stimulus measures on hold Thursday and warned governments in the 19 country euro currency union that they need to do more to help the economy grow and push up inflation to healthier levels.The bank kept its key interest rates unchanged and decided against extending the duration of its existing bond-buying stimulus program.Bank President Mario Draghi seemed relatively confident about the economy and less inclined to hint at more stimulus than some analysts had expected.Instead, he used his news conference to urge governments to do their part.He said that implementation of "structural reforms" — that is, steps to make economies more business and growth-friendly — "needs to be substantially stepped up to reduce structural unemployment and boost potential output growth."He added that eurozone governments that have the capacity to spend more on investments in infrastructure should do so. He said in particular that Germany, the eurozone's biggest economy, "has fiscal space" to act.Draghi's urgings have so far largely been ignored by governments, led by Germany, that have tended to focus instead on reducing deficits. They have also been slow to heed calls to cut bureaucracy and special protections for favored professions and trades.In his effort to underline governments' responsibilities, Draghi read from this week's joint statement issued by the Group of 20 most advanced nations in which they said they were ready to use "all policy tools - monetary, fiscal and structural" to improve growth."What the ECB can do is to flag what is needed for monetary policy to be even more effective," Draghi said. He added that the G-20 statement represented governments, not central bankers, calling it "quite a powerful statement of commitment."Several analysts said that despite Draghi's more confident tone, the ECB would eventually have to take more stimulus action at its October or December meetings."Price pressures remain extremely weak and if growth continues at slow quarterly rates of 0.3 percent or less, as the business surveys now suggest, the ECB will struggle to meet its medium-term inflation goal," Jennifer McKeown, senior European economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a research note.One reason to wait may be the need for time to plan an expansion of the kinds of financial assets the ECB can buy as part of its bond-buying stimulus program. There are concerns that the program may run out of high-quality government and corporate bonds to buy.The central bank faces stubbornly low annual inflation of only 0.2 percent despite pumping 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) in newly printed money into the banking system through bond purchases since March, 2015. The purchases, made at a rate of 80 billion euros a month, are set to continue at least through March, 2017 or until inflation convincingly picks up.The bank left that earliest end date unchanged. Some analysts thought the bank might commit to a longer program.The central bank's 25-member governing council also left its benchmark rate at zero and its rate on deposits from commercial banks at minus 0.4 percent.The ECB's decision to hold off more stimulus saw European stocks dip, while the euro rose, gaining 0.2 percent on the day to $1.1265.Draghi seemed relatively confident about the eurozone's modest recovery, saying the bank's outlook was for growth "at a moderate but steady pace." He also said the bank's low rates were being more effectively transmitted through the banks and credit markets, meaning more effective stimulus.The ECB staff's economic estimates showed inflation is expected to increase only gradually. They trimmed their inflation projection for next year to 1.2 percent from 1.3 percent, but left its outlook for 2018 unchanged at 1.6 percent. That indicates it sees itself getting gradually closer to its goal of just under 2 percent over the longer term.While the eurozone is enjoying moderate growth, inflation continues to lag well below target, despite a raft of stimulus measures, and unemployment is high at 10.1 percent and falling only slowly.Added uncertainty about future growth has come from the British vote June 23 to leave the European Union and its tariff-free trade zone. Britain would have to renegotiate its trade conditions with the EU over several years, and no one can say now how things will turn out. So far, economic data do not suggest a major impact.
EU extends Russia blacklist by six months By Andrew Rettman-sept 8,16-euobserver
BRUSSELS, Today, 11:25-EU ambassadors on Wednesday (7 September) decided to extend the life of a blacklist that designates top Russian officials on grounds of “actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity”.The list, which expires on 15 September, is to stay in place until 15 March next year, with EU capitals to ratify the decision by written procedure in the next few days.“It is expected that no change will be made to the list of persons and entities under restrictive measures”, an EU Council official said.The list imposes a travel ban and asset freeze on 146 Russians and Ukrainians and an asset freeze on 37 entities.Named individuals include Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s oligarch friends, top Kremlin aides, senior politicians, and Russian security chiefs.The EU official said it was extended without any debate by all 28 ambassadors.The move comes ahead of talks on future Russia relations by EU leaders at a summit in October.The EU has also imposed biting economic sanctions on Russian banks, energy firms, and arms makers. These are due to expire in January unless renewed.One EU diplomat said the UK’s decision to leave the EU has weakened the internal bloc of Russia hawks that is set to push for a renewal.“The UK already has one foot out of the door. That leaves Poland, the Baltic states, Sweden and, to an extent, Denmark, without a major ally on Russia”, the contact said.“The other Visegrad countries [the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia] are pursuing better relations with Russia, while in Germany, the SPD is trying to differentiate itself from Merkel in the run-up to elections, and that is likely to mean a more pro-Russian line”, he added.The Russia-friendly, centre-left SPD party is a member of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition.Merkel has taken a firm line that Russia must fully comply with the Minsk ceasefire accord in Ukraine before the EU reciprocates, but French and Italian leaders have criticised the EU sanctions regime.The accord says that "foreign" troops must leave Ukraine and Russia must hand back control off the border to Kiev.The EU diplomat said October’s talks could see EU leaders “decouple” sanctions from Minsk compliance, opening the door to sanctions relief down the line.Fighting in east Ukraine has intensified over the summer, with international monitors, the OSCE reporting 62 explosions in the Donetsk region on Wednesday and 42 in the Luhansk region.Russia denies that its soldiers are active in Ukraine.But a new investigation by Bellingcat, a British NGO, which counted the number of medals awarded to Russian soldiers during the past two years of the Ukraine conflict, indicated that “more than 10,000” Russian servicemen took part in combat operations in east Ukraine.
Groups write to Trudeau asking him to shut down NEB process pending reforms-[The Canadian Press]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
MONTREAL — The current federal review process of energy projects needs to be shut down and overhauled immediately, say more than 50 environmental and activist groups in a letter sent to the prime minister.No pipeline projects should go forward until Justin Trudeau reforms the National Energy Board (NEB), says the letter, which was also addressed to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.That means the current review of the Energy East pipeline proposal for Eastern Canada and the NEB's decision to accept the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline in Alberta and British Columbia need to be annulled, they argue."If the government wants to restore public confidence in the (review) process and they want a fair, objective and evidence-driven analysis they need to overhaul this thing," Patrick DeRochie of Environmental Defence, one of the letter's signatories, said in an interview.The activists say the NEB board members are in a conflict of interest and that First Nations communities are not being properly consulted.Moreover, they argue the review process doesn't properly explain to citizens how Canada can build pipelines and expand Alberta oilsands production while also respecting the country's greenhouse emission targets.The groups that signed the letter include Greenpeace and the Sierra Club Canada Foundation.Trudeau campaigned in 2015 on the premise that Canadians had lost confidence in the NEB process after what he claimed were years of Conservative government meddling that made pipeline approvals foregone conclusions.The Liberals put in place interim measures at the NEB — such as increased consultations with aboriginal groups — to give more legitimacy to the Energy East and Trans Mountain reviews while the government reforms the federal body."It's inconsistent to say the process is flawed, create interim measures, and then review these pipelines without going through the entire modernization process as they had promised," DeRochie said.The NEB review of TransCanada's Energy East pipeline is on hold after protesters forced the cancellation of public consultations in Montreal at the end of August.Protesters demanded that two of the three board members overseeing the proposal resign after it was revealed they had met with former Quebec premier Jean Charest when he was a paid lobbyist for TransCanada (TSX:TRP).Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline was approved by the NEB in May and the federal government still has to make a decision on whether to proceed with it.DeRochie acknowledged that several First Nations groups accepted the Kinder Morgan proposal but pointed out that many opposed it.While he stopped short of declaring that First Nations communities should have a veto on all energy projects going through their territory, Patrick Bonin of Greenpeace Canada was unequivocal."We have to respect the right of refusal on the part of (First Nations) communities," he said. "If projects go against their interests and opinions we cannot impose them. They have suffered enough from the impacts in Alberta and British Columbia."Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun,(HEATING UP-SOLAR ECLIPSES) and in the moon,(MAN ON MOON-LUNAR ECLIPSES) and in the stars;(ASTEROIDS ETC) and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear,(TORNADOES,HURRICANES,STORMS) and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:(DESTRUCTION) for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.(FROM QUAKES,NUKES ETC)
U.S. weather forecaster says La Nina no longer likely in fall, winter-[Reuters]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. government weather forecaster said Thursday La Nina conditions were no longer likely to develop during the Northern Hemisphere fall and winter 2016/17, saying neutral conditions were more likely.The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, said in a monthly forecast there was a 55 to 60 percent chance of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral conditions, meaning La Nina was no longer favored to occur.Last month, CPC said La Nina conditions were slightly favored to occur, with a 55 to 60 percent chance of developing during the fall and winter of 2016/17.La Nina, which tends to occur unpredictably every two to seven years, is characterized by unusually cold temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.The CPC's predictions follow a damaging El Nino weather period. While typically less harsh than El Nino, severe La Nina occurrences have been linked to floods and droughts that can roil commodity markets.The reduced chances of La Nina will be welcomed by producers of corn and soybeans in Brazil and Argentina, where La Nina conditions can cause dry weather that hurts harvests, said Donald Keeney, senior agricultural meteorologist with Maryland-based MDA Information Systems."It would certainly benefit South America... they would see wetter conditions there," Keeney said, adding that rubber producers in Indonesia could also benefit.But the return of neutral conditions could harm cotton growers in India, the world's largest producer of the fiber. La Nina tends to boost monsoon rains, and fading La Nina forecasts have led to lower precipitation expectations.Keeney said the adjusted forecast could mean better chances of winter precipitation in drought-stricken California, but that it was too early to say for sure.The CPC first warned that La Nina could develop in February, and maintained that such conditions were likely in each monthly forecast since then.In June, the agency said there was a 75 percent chance La Nina would develop, though it lowered that outlook in subsequent months.It said Thursday the average of its models favored "borderline neutral-La Nina Conditions," but added that its more recent models more strongly favored ENSO-neutral conditions.(Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
Hermine lingers off U.S. East Coast, high winds and rain expected-[Reuters]-September 6, 2016-YAHOONEWS
(Reuters) - Hermine, a storm that raked Florida with hurricane-force winds last week, lingered on Tuesday off the U.S. East Coast where it was expected to produce heavy gusts and rain over the next two days.Forecasters warned swimmers and boaters to stay out of treacherous waters and rough surf. New York City said all public beaches would be closed through Tuesday because of "life-threatening" rip currents.At 2 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Hermine's center was about 110 miles (175 km) southeast of the eastern tip of Long Island and expected to move northwest at about 9 mph (15 kph).Hermine was forecast to bring up to 2 inches (5 cm) of rain to Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts through Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.A tropical storm warning remained in effect from the eastern end of New York's Long Island and to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island off Massachusetts.On Cape Cod and its islands, high surf and wind put a crimp in the Labor Day plans of many people looking to celebrate summer's end, but some beaches farther south reopened.Hermine was classified as a Category 1 hurricane when it slammed into Florida's Gulf Coast on Friday. It became a post-tropical storm by week's end after its winds dropped below 74 miles per hour (119 kph) and it lost its tropical characteristics.The storm, which crossed northern Florida and then moved up the Georgia and the Carolina coasts, was packing sustained surface winds of up to 65 mph (100 kph) with higher gusts, the National Weather Service said."Just because it's a post-tropical cyclone doesn't mean the impact of tropical force winds, winds in general and storm surge go away," said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.The storm has claimed at least three lives, in Florida and in North and South Carolina. The third reported death was that of a man struck by a car on a South Carolina highway on Friday as he tried to move a fallen tree, a Colleton County fire department spokesman said.Hermine became the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida in 11 years, packing winds of 80 mph (130 kph), and knocking out power to 300,000 homes and businesses.(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee)
FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS
7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
Firefighters battle wildfires in Portugal-[Reuters]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
LISBON (Reuters) - Firefighters battled blazes across Portugal on Thursday, calling in air reinforcements to help tackle the spreading flames.Eleven wildfires raged across the country, according to the civil protection service, with nine aircraft and over 400 firefighters struggling to put out the largest in Monchique in the southern Algarve region.Another major fire was blazing in the northern part of the country in Guarda, with four aircraft combating the flames.So far this year, wildfires in the Iberian country have destroyed a wooded area the size of over 130,000 soccer fields, about twice the annual average in 2008-15.(Reporting By Reuters Television and Andrei Khalip)
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I(GOD) will spue (VOMIT) thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Avowed atheist minister should be defrocked, United Church panel urges-[The Canadian Press]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
TORONTO — An unabashedly atheist minister who does not believe in the Bible should be defrocked for her beliefs, a United Church committee has recommended in a split decision that seems likely to stir further dissent in the church.In its unprecedented report, the reviewing panel said Gretta Vosper would not be ordained were she applying today given her extreme beliefs."She is not suitable to continue in ordained ministry because she does not believe in God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit," the report by the Toronto Conference interview committee states."Ms. Vosper does not recognize the primacy of scripture, she will not conduct the sacraments, and she is no longer in essential agreement with the statement of doctrine of the United Church of Canada."Vosper, 58, who has been fighting to keep her job as minister of her West Hill congregation in east-end Toronto, had no immediate comment.In June, she appeared before the committee to defend her views, arguing she was on the receiving end of a church inquisition. She argued against a "singular definition" of God and pleaded for church ministers and members to be allowed to explore and define their own ideas.The committee, however, felt Vosper had gone far too far."Although the United Church of Canada is a big tent, welcoming a diversity of theological beliefs, Ms. Vosper is so far from centre of what holds us together as a United Church that we have concluded that she is not suitable to continue as an ordained minister," the report states."The committee is not recommending any form of remediation because Ms. Vosper has been so clear and unequivocal about her beliefs."The conference's sub-executive will receive the panel report next week and Vosper and her supporters will be able to speak to its findings. The executive will then decide whether to ask the church's governing body for a formal disciplinary hearing that would ultimately decide on whether to fire her.In an interview Thursday, Rev. David Allen, the executive secretary of the Toronto Conference, acknowledged the divergent views on Vosper and whether she should be booted from the pulpit. Whatever the final determination, he said, there will be "fallout.""There will be a lot of people who are going to be disappointed and angry if that (defrocking) were to happen," Allen said."At the same time, over the months we've heard from probably an equal number of people who would be dissatisfied if she were allowed to stay."Not everyone on the interview committee, comprising 23 lay and ordained members of the church, wanted to see Vosper gone. In a dissenting view, the minority concluded that Vosper was "suitable" as a minister and should continue in her role. The church has evolved since its founding and has to continue to do so to meet the spiritual needs of Canadians, they argued."Many of Ms. Vosper's theological positions, while not in the mainstream, are not unique amongst the ministers and lay persons of the United Church," the dissenters said. "The United Church has a history of welcoming theological diversity and to find Ms. Vosper unsuitable could stifle exploration and stunt that diversity."Vosper, who was ordained in 1993, joined her West Hill congregation in 1997 and has been upfront about her beliefs for years.Things came to a head after she wrote an open letter to the church's spiritual leader following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in January 2015 in which she pointed out that belief in God can motivate bad things.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press.
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 (GOD) 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: and many people with thee.(AFRICAN MUSLIMS,SUDAN,TUNESIA ETC)
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.
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 ATOMIC 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.
Russian jet intercepts US aircraft with 'unsafe' maneuvers-[Christian Science Monitor]-Weston Williams-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
A Russian plane made an "unsafe intercept" of a US Navy spy plane flying over the Black Sea Wednesday, say US officials.The intercept this week is the latest in a series of encounters that evoke cold war posturing between Russia and the United States in the aftermath of World War II.The American plane, a Boeing P-8A Poseidon, was reportedly intercepted four times by a Russian SU-27 Flanker as it flew through international airspace. The US pilot reported one of those intercepts as particularly unsafe.US and Russian ships and planes regularly interact amicably and professionally when patrolling across international waters and skies. But this week the Russian plane got within a dangerous 10 feet of the US plane for a duration of 19 minutes, reported the Associated Press. At that range, a minor error from either pilot could have destroyed both aircraft."We have concerns when there is an unsafe maneuver like this," Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told the AP. "These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions, and could result in a miscalculation or accident."Russian authorities say the US aircraft provoked interception when the spy plane approached its borders with its transponders off, according to Reuters. Transponder signals identify a plane's location and country of origin, and assist in preventing collisions."After the Russian fighters got close to the spy planes for visual confirmation and to determine their wing numbers, the American aircraft changed course sharply and flew away," Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a release, according to the BBC. "The Russia pilots acted in strict accordance with international rules for flights."US officials, however, insist that the US plane's transponder was active the whole time, and that the Russian pilot responded to the US aircraft in a "dangerous and unprofessional" manner.This is not the first encounter like this between US and Russian forces. The Christian Science Monitor reported an incident in April when Russian planes repeatedly buzzed a US Navy destroyer in what the commander of the US vessel called "a simulated attack." During that incident, Russian officials also insisted that the jets were not doing anything wrong, claiming the maneuvers were "conducted in strict compliance to the international rules of airspace management over neutral waters."This latest incident occurs as tensions between the two countries remain high.In July, NATO leaders agreed to deploy military forces to Poland and various Baltic states and increase patrols to reassure former Soviet bloc allies, according to Reuters, and the US and Russia are already at odds in Ukraine and Syria.The interception over the Black Sea comes as Russia carries out military exercises in the area.
Iran sticks to nuclear deal limits agreed with world powers: U.N.Reuters]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran has stayed within the limits of a nuclear deal it agreed with six world powers last year on its stockpiles of uranium and heavy water, two chemicals that could be used in an atomic weapons program, the U.N. nuclear agency said on Thursday.In exchange for sanctions relief, Iran in 2015 committed to keeping its stockpile of uranium enriched to up to 3.67 percent purity below 300 kg (662 pounds) and its stock of heavy water, a non-radioactive product, at less than 130 metric tonnes."Throughout the reporting period, Iran had no more than 130 metric tonnes of heavy water... Iran's total (low) enriched uranium stockpile did not exceed 300 kg," the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a quarterly report on Iran.The IAEA is in charge of policing the nuclear deal.(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Louise Ireland)
UN nuclear report on Iran hints at potential problem-[Associated Press]-GEORGE JAHN-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
VIENNA (AP) — The U.N. agency monitoring the Iran-six power nuclear pact is reporting no clear violations of the agreement meant to crimp the ability of Tehran to make atomic arms.But in one area of potential concern, Thursday's report said Iran had begun manufacturing rotor tubes for centrifuges, machines used to enrich uranium.Iran is allowed to make such parts but there are limitations.For the 5,060 centrifuges now producing limited amounts of fuel-grade enriched uranium, Tehran must use spare parts stripped from old machines. Parts for more advanced centrifuges would fall under even tighter regulations.The confidential report obtained by The Associated Press said "related technical discussions" on the issue are ongoing.Depending on its enrichment level, uranium has a variety of uses ranging from reactor fuel to fissile warhead cores.
Lavrov, Kerry discuss possible U.S.-Russia cooperation in Syria-[Reuters]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday discussed possible cooperation between the two nations to defeat terrorist groups active in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.The phone conversation followed discussions on Syria between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama in China earlier this week, the ministry said.Lavrov and Kerry also discussed potential cooperation to facilitate deliveries of humanitarian aid and achieve a political resolution to the Syria crisis.It was still unclear if Lavrov and Kerry would meet in Geneva on Sept. 8-9, as originally planned.The Kremlin said earlier on Thursday Russia and the United States have not yet finalised work on a mutually acceptable agreement to resolve the crisis in Syria, and a compromise was needed on a small number of issues.(Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov)
Fight for Iraqi city of Mosul may begin 'soon': U.S. military official-[Reuters]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The coalition fighting Islamic State will have to begin the fight for Mosul soon to meet Iraq's aim of freeing the city by the end of the year, a U.S. military official said on Thursday, but he declined to say if the offensive would begin in a month.The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, who took over last month as commander of U.S. operations against Islamic State, predicted in an interview that the battle for Mosul would begin before early October."Ultimately, if the desire is to try to get it done around the end of the year, we're going to have to start soon," Air Force Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, told a Pentagon briefing. But he declined to confirm an October timeline.(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
Merkel allies say Germany must favour Christian migrants-[AFP]-Frank Zeller-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
Berlin (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Bavarian allies sparked anger Thursday by calling for tougher immigration rules that would favour migrants from Europe's "Christian-occidental cultural sphere".The Christian Social Union (CSU) in a party paper also demanded a ban on Muslim facial veils, an end to dual citizenship, iron-clad rules that newcomers socially integrate and learn German, as well as an upper limit of 200,000 asylum seekers a year.The party -- which has fervently attacked Merkel's liberal stance on refugees that welcomed a million asylum seekers into the EU's top economy last year -- plans to present the paper, seen by AFP and widely reported on in Germany, at a two-day party meeting starting Friday.The move comes days after the right-wing populist and anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) beat Merkel's party in a state vote, and about a year before Germany expects to hold national elections.Merkel, whose long-stellar approval ratings have taken a dive amid the refugee crisis, on Wednesday warned all political parties against a race to the bottom where they adopt the rhetoric of the anti-Islam AfD.But her coalition allies from the CSU, based in the deeply conservative and mainly Catholic southern Bavaria region, did not pull their punches in the five-page paper."Germany must stay Germany," declared the paper. "We are against our welcoming country being changed through migration and waves of refugees."- 'Find another country' -A mass influx like the one seen a year ago, when thousands of refugees entered Germany through Bavaria every day, "must under no circumstances be repeated," it argued.From now, demanded the CSU, Germany must set an upper limit of accepting 200,000 refugees a year and otherwise give preference to migrants "from our Christian-occidental cultural sphere".It added that "a state must decide by itself whom it accepts -- it's not the migrants who decide".It also wants to ban the full-face burqa covering, calling it "a uniform of Islamism, a huge barrier to integration and a symbol of the repression of women that is unacceptable in our culture"."Those who don't want to live without the burqa and niqab should find another country," it said.The party also reiterated its long-standing opposition to admitting Turkey into the EU, or granting its citizens eased visa conditions to the bloc as part of a deal to halt the refugee flows to Europe.The paper echoes some of the key demands of the AfD and even the far-right street movement Pegida, short for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident.Criticism rained down quickly, with opposition Greens party leader Simone Peter charging that the CSU was seeking to become "the Bavarian sister party of the AfD".Lawmaker Jan Korte of far-left party Die Linke charged that the paper was "irresponsible, backward-looking and brimming with hypocrisy".The idea of selecting migrants by cultural background was "racist", he added, charging that the CSU was ignoring the German constitution and international human rights conventions.- 'Physical, verbal attacks' -Amid the mass influx to Germany, crimes against foreigners -- including assaults, online hate speech and arson attacks at refugee shelters -- have risen sharply.The number of "physical and verbal attacks" against Muslims had increased "in an unprecedented way", said the head of the advocacy group Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek.Attacks against mosques and their congregations had multiplied, as had racial slurs spread on social media, he told the Welt daily.Mazyek defended Merkel against claims her liberal migrant policy was to blame for the rise of the AfD, which is now represented on the opposition benches in nine of Germany's 16 state assemblies."Those who blame the chancellor's refugee policies alone for the AfD's poll success ignore the deep rooted racist resentments in our society," he said.
Syrians on haj pray for peace; Damascus says Riyadh plays politics-[Reuters]-By Dahlia Nehme-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
MECCA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Syrians from territory held by opposing sides in the civil war prayed together for peace as they flew to Mecca for the haj, even as President Bashar al-Assad's government accused Saudi Arabia of politicizing the annual Muslim pilgrimage.Riyadh has no diplomatic ties with Damascus and requires Syrians seeking to make the haj to obtain visas in third countries through a committee controlled by the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), an anti-Assad opposition body."Saudi Arabia now does not deal with the legitimate government (in Syria) but rather with individuals who are not recognized, and thus the responsibility for protecting these people falls on the Saudi government," Sheikh Ahmed al-Jazaily, an advisor at Syria's Islamic Affairs ministry, told Reuters by telephone.Tamam al-Khatib, an SNC official, said Saudi Arabia gave the group 9,000 visas for Syrian pilgrims residing in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey.For Syria, which had 23 million people before the war, that is far less than its usual quota of 1,000 visas per million Muslims, Jazaily said. All able-bodied Muslims who have the means are expected to make the pilgrimage once in their lifetimes.Whichever side they came from, Syrians on board a flight from Beirut to Mecca made no mention of their differences and said the pilgrimage transcended politics.Safaa, 40, said she had traveled from government-controlled Damascus with her parents, her sister, her brother and his wife, despite the difficulty of arranging the trip."All our friends and relatives in Damascus asked us to make special prayers for them while in the Grand Mosque," said Safaa, wearing the seamless white cloth all pilgrims must use during haj. "God willing, we will pray for them and all of Syria."Mariam, 60, made the journey from Talfita, an opposition-held village north of the Syrian capital."We left the war and suffering and came to haj. By God ... I long to see the Prophet," she said, as her cousin Khadra gazed at white clouds and the yellow desert below. "May God give Syria a remission."None of the Syrian pilgrims who spoke to Reuters on the flight would give their surnames, to protect relatives back home. Nor would any say which side they support in the five year conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and made 11 million Syrians homeless.Open discussion of politics is traditionally barred during the haj. However, Reuters met only members of Syria's Sunni Muslim majority on the flight; there appeared to be no members of Assad's minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, many of whose adherents see Saudi Arabia as a sectarian enemy.Jazaily, the Syrian government advisor, said Damascus would not block Syrians from taking part in the haj, but would not be able to offer them protection."From our side, we are not stopping anybody from going to haj," he said. "But if a pilgrim goes on his own, are his rights protected? If they faced a problem, where will they turn?"(Editing by Sami Aboudi, William Maclean and Peter Graff)
"What is Aleppo?" asks U.S. Libertarian Party candidate-[By Doina Chiacu]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson framed an embarrassing lapse on foreign affairs as simple human error on Thursday after he responded to a question about a flashpoint in the Syrian civil war by asking, "What is Aleppo?"The gaffe came during an MSNBC interview about the continuing battle for Syria's biggest city, Aleppo, which has been divided for years into government and rebel sectors and has been in the news daily in recent weeks."What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo," Johnson was asked."About Aleppo. And what is Aleppo?" he responded."You're kidding?" the MSNBC interviewer said."No," Johnson said."Aleppo is in Syria. ... It's the epicenter of the refugee crisis," the interviewer said."OK, got it. Got it," Johnson said.The embarrassing exchange followed a forum on Wednesday night in which Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican rival Donald Trump sought to showcase their national security and defense credentials.Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, has been trying to turn the two major candidates' low approval ratings to his advantage in the race to win the Nov. 8 election.However, he has just 8.6 support in the current average of opinion polls by website RealClearPolitics in a matchup with Clinton, Trump, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.While the Libertarian Party has long rejected U.S. military intervention abroad, the candidate's failure to recognize one of the most troubled spots in the Middle East drew ridicule and prompted speculation that his campaign was essentially over.Clinton, asked at a news conference about Johnson's remarks, laughed and quipped, "You can look on the map and find Aleppo."In a statement after the MSNBC interview, Johnson said the mistake showed he was human and explained that, when asked about Aleppo, he was thinking of an acronym and not the Syrian war."Can I name every city in Syria? No. Should I have identified Aleppo? Yes. Do I understand its significance? Yes," he said.In the 2012 presidential election, Johnson set a record for most votes won by a Libertarian candidate - about 1 percent of the popular vote - and was aiming to attract disaffected Republicans and Democrats to sustain steady growth in the party.The Libertarian agenda promotes civil liberties and a small-government agenda. Johnson has pledged to cut spending, stick to conservative fiscal policies and legalize marijuana.Appearing on ABC's talk show "The View" later, Johnson reacted mildly to suggestions the gaffe would kill his campaign. "I guess people will have to make that judgment," he said.(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)
Kurdish role a sticking point as U.S., Turkey discuss Raqqa operation-[Reuters]-By Phil Stewart-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
LONDON (Reuters) - Turkey supports a planned operation to drive Islamic State out of its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa but U.S.-backed Kurdish militia fighters should not be at the core of it, Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik said on Thursday.Turkey launched its first major military incursion into Syria just over two weeks ago. Washington has said it supports the effort to push back Islamic State, but the two NATO allies remain at odds over the role Kurdish fighters should play.The United States sees the Syrian Kurdish YPG as a useful ally in the fight against the jihadists. But Turkey views them as a hostile force, an extension of Kurdish militants who have waged a three-decade insurgency on its own soil.Speaking to Reuters after a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter in London, Isik said YPG fighters should not be at the heart of any bid to seize Raqqa."What Turkey focuses and insists on is that instead of solely the YPG forces, the operations must be conducted, as the core of the operatives, by the local people of the region, instead of the YPG," he said in an interview."Turkey will not allow YPG forces to extend their territory and gain power by using the Daesh operations as an excuse," he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.Turkey and the United States are already at odds over control of another town, Manbij, some 30 km (20 miles) south of the Turkish border, which was captured last month from Islamic State by a U.S.-backed coalition that includes the YPG.Turkey has insisted that the Kurdish fighters pull back east of the Euphrates river following the operation, and warned that they will be legitimate targets for Turkish forces and the Syrian rebels Turkey backs if they fail to do so.-CONTROLLING BORDER WITH TURKEY-Carter told reporters that YPG fighters had already pulled out of Manbij and pledged to stay east of the Euphrates, but Isik said they had yet to fully do so.Turkey fears that by advancing westwards from the Euphrates the Kurds would control unbroken tracts of borderland."We are expecting this pledge to be fulfilled. However the information we are receiving from our intelligence units and local sources indicate that YPG forces have not retreated to the east of the river. They are still present in the area," he said.Turkey would seek no other objective around Manbij other than the retreat of the YPG forces, Isik said.Turkey's incursion into Syria came after it had called in vain for several years for world powers to help create a "safe zone" along the Syrian border, with the aim of clearing out Islamic State and Kurdish fighters and of stemming a wave of migration that has caused tension with Europe.Western allies have so far balked at the idea, saying it would require a significant ground force and planes to patrol a "no-fly zone", a major commitment in such a crowded and messy battlefield.Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a joint news conference with his Saudi counterpart on Thursday that Turkish forces would nonetheless continue "north to south".In London, Carter assured the Turkish defense minister of continued U.S. support for Turkey's efforts to clear Islamic State from its borders. The two men also discussed the importance of local forces being at the center of any Raqqa operation, the Pentagon said in a statement.(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Writing by Nick Tattersall; editing by Ralph Boulton)
Two 'radicalised' women sought over gas cylinders in Paris car-[AFP]-Sophie Deviller-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
Paris (AFP) - French police were searching Thursday for two "radicalised" women linked to a car containing six gas cylinders found near the Notre Dame cathedral in central Paris.Four people -- two brothers and their girlfriends -- are currently in custody over the discovery, a source close to the probe also said.A 34-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman, the first couple arrested, have been held since Tuesday and are known to the security services for links to radical Islamists.The man's brother and his girlfriend, both aged 26, were arrested late Wednesday, the source said.The two women being sought are the daughters of the owner of the grey Peugeot 607 that was found abandoned on Sunday near Notre Dame, which draws millions of visitors every year.They have both been described as "radicalised".France is on high alert following a string of jihadist attacks, including last November's coordinated bloodshed in which Islamic State extremists killed 130 people.Speaking on Thursday, President Francois Hollande referred to attack plots that have been foiled "in recent days", without elaborating.A bar employee working near Notre Dame raised the alert after noticing a gas cylinder on the back seat of the car, police said.The car had no number plates and its hazard lights were flashing.Although the cylinder on the back seat was empty, five full cylinders were discovered in the boot of the car.Three bottles of diesel fuel were also discovered in the vehicle, but police found no detonators.- 'Strange method' -"If it was an attack plot, the method was very strange," a police source said Thursday.Photographs of the car after it was discovered showed its boot open and the gas cylinders placed on the ground in a quiet side street opposite the cathedral.Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Wednesday the intentions of those arrested were as yet unknown.Hollande's comments followed a deadly summer in France in which 86 people were killed when a truck ploughed into a Bastille Day crowd in the southern resort of Nice.IS said the truck was driven by one of its followers.Less than two weeks later, two young jihadists murdered a priest near the northern city of Rouen.In May, the head of France's DGSI domestic intelligence service, Patrick Calvar, warned of a "new form of attack" in which explosive devices would be left near sites that attract large crowds.French security services are particularly worried about the danger posed by extremists returning from Syria after fighting with IS forces.Around 700 French nationals are still in Syria, France's top prosecutor said last week.
Arab ministers condemn Khamenei attack on Saudi-[AFP]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
Cairo (AFP) - Arab foreign ministers weighed in Thursday on a bitter dispute between Tehran and Riyadh over the hajj pilgrimage, after Iran's supreme leader questioned Saudi Arabia's management of Islam's holiest site."The council of Arab foreign ministers condemns the bellicose, inciting statements by the supreme leader, (Ali) Khamenei," the ministers said in a statement after a meeting in Cairo where the Arab League is based."The language used in (Khamenei's) statements is inappropriate for the highest authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran," they said.Iranians have been blocked from attending the pilgrimage to Mecca that starts on Saturday, after talks on logistics to avoid a repeat of last year's deadly stampede in the holy city foundered.The stampede killed 2,300 pilgrims, including hundreds of Iranians.Khamenei on Monday denounced the "incompetence" of the Saudi royal family as he met with families of victims of last year's stampede."This incident proves once again that this cursed, evil family does not deserve to be in charge and manage the holy sites," located in western Saudi Arabia, Khamenei said.Saudi Arabia's most senior cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, has also waded in, telling the Makkah daily on Tuesday: "We must understand these are not Muslims, they are children of Magi and their hostility towards Muslims is an old one."The reference to the Zoroastrian religion that prevailed in Iran before Islam is used by fundamentalist Sunnis as an insult against Iranians.Relations between Shiite Iran and ultraconservative Sunni Saudi Arabia were already tense before the regional rivals started trading caustic remarks ahead of the annual pilgrimage.
Muslims crowd Mecca ahead of hajj-[AFP]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
Mecca (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) - Close to 1.5 million Muslims from around the world had descended Thursday on Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj pilgrimage, undeterred by last year's stampede disaster but with Iranians absent.As temperatures exceeded 40C (105F), pilgrims crowded into Mecca's sprawling, air-conditioned Grand Mosque complex to walk around the Kaaba -- the black cube that Muslims across the globe face while they pray.In one of the first rites of hajj, which formally starts on Saturday, white-clad pilgrims take their turn circling the Kaaba in a procession that continues 24 hours a day.Pilgrims who cannot walk are pushed around the mosque in wheelchairs by workers.Regularly-spaced taps provide thirsty pilgrims with spring water, and visitors can eat under large fast food signs at a commercial centre inside the complex, where they are also able to shop.But as soon as loudspeakers sound the call to prayer, the shops are shuttered and the faithful line up to worship.Outside at all the Grand Mosque's entrances, Saudi police control the movement of pilgrims between green plastic barriers.Step out of line, and a policeman calls through a megaphone to order them back into place.At prayer time, access to the Kaaba is suspended and the walk around it is stopped to avoid overcrowding.It is one of several safety measures authorities say they have implemented after, according to data from foreign officials, close to 2,300 pilgrims died during the hajj stoning ritual last year.The stampede and security had been on the mind of a pilgrim from Ivory Coast, who gave her name only as Mrs Coulibaly, 49."But since arriving at the airport we have been taken charge of and well supervised. So I feel at ease and totally dedicated to my prayers," she said.For the first time in almost three decades Iranians will not join the pilgrimage after talks between Tehran and Riyadh on logistics and security fell apart in May.Iran sent 60,000 pilgrims last year, and claimed the largest number of stampede fatalities, at 464.Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran are regional rivals who have had no diplomatic relations since early this year.They are at odds over a number of regional issues including Syria and Yemen.Verbal sparring between the two Islamic powers has intensified ahead of this year's pilgrimage.
FALSE POPE FROM THE VATICAN
15 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot.
16 Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.
17 And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.(COULD THIS BE 70 YEARS AFTER ISRAEL BECAME A NATION IN 1948)(IF SO THIS SATANIC ONE WORLD WHORE CHURCH WILL MINGLE TOGETHER BY 2018)(AND NOW ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY AND ALL RELIGIONS ARE MINGLING AS ONE PEACE-LOVE-JOY-GET ALONG RELIGION LEAD BY THE VATICAN RIGHT NOW 4 YEARS FROM THE 70 YEAR TIME WHEN ISRAEL BECAME A NATION).AND IN CONTROL OF JERUSALEM.
11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth;(FALSE VATICAN POPE) and he had two horns like a lamb,(JESUS IS THE LAMB OF GOD) and he spake as a dragon.(HES SATANICALLY INSPIRED,HES A CHRISTIAN DEFECTOR FROM THE FAITH)
12 And he (FALSE RELIGIOUS LEADER) exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him,(WORLD DICTATOR) and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.(THE WORLD DICTATOR CREATES A FALSE RESURRECTION AND IS CROWNED LEADER OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER).
13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication,(VATICAN IN POLITICS) and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4 And the woman (FALSE CHURCH) was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour,(VATICAN COLOURS)(ANOTHER REASON WE KNOW THE FALSE POPE COMES FROM THE VATICAN) and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.(THE VATICAN IS BUILT ON 7 HILLS OR MOUNTAINS)
10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen,(1-ASSYRIA,2-EGYPT,3-BABYLON,4-MEDO-PERSIA,5-GREECE) and one is,(IN POWER IN JOHNS AND JESUS DAY-6-ROME) and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.(7TH-REVIVED ROMAN EMPIRE OR THE EUROPEAN UNION TODAY AND THE SHORT SPACE IS-THE EUROPEAN UNION WILL HAVE WORLD CONTROL FOR THE LAST 3 1/2 YEARS.BUT WILL HAVE ITS MIGHTY WORLD POWER FOR THE FULL 7 YEARS OF THE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD.AND THE WORLD DICTATOR WILL BE THE BEAST FROM THE EU.AND THE VATICAN POPE WILL BE THE WHORE THAT RIDES THE EUROPEAN UNION TO POWER.AND THE 2 EUROPEAN UNION POWER FREAKS WILL CONTROL AND DECIEVE THE WHOLE EARTH INTO THEIR DESTRUCTION.IF YOU ARE NOT SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS.YOU WILL BE DECIEVED BY THESE TWO.THE WORLD POLITICIAN-THE EUROPEAN UNION DICTATOR.AND THE FALSE PROPHET THAT DEFECTS CHRISTIANITY-THE FALSE VATICAN POPE.
15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.(VATICAN-CATHOLICS ALL AROUND THE WORLD OVER 1 BILLION)
16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast,(WORLD DICTATOR) these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.(BOMB OR NUKE THE VATICAN)
17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city,(VATICAN) which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Former pope Benedict thanks God for retirement-[AFP]-September 8, 2016-YAHOONEWS
Berlin (AFP) - Retired pope Benedict XVI says he has no regrets about his 2013 decision to retire and thanks God for enabling him to recover his "freedom" from the responsibilities associated with leading the world's 1.2 billion Catholics."I thank God that this responsibility, which I could no longer bear, no longer weighs upon me and that I can in all humility move forward with Him, that I can live with friends and friends can visit me more," Benedict, 89, says in an extract from "Final Conversations", a series of interviews with German journalist Peter Seewald.In the work to appear Friday the former pontiff says that "of course it wasn't easy" to take the decision to become the first pope to retire in seven centuries.But the erstwhile Joseph Ratzinger insisted that "it was the right moment" to step down.He explained that the decision stemmed from a March 2012 visit to Mexico and Cuba during which he realised he no longer had the strength to oversee World Youth Day celebrations in Rio the following year.After he stepped down it was successor Pope Francis who led celebrations for three million faithful on Copacabana Beach.Seewald told German news weekly Die Zeit, in an article which appeared Thursday, that Ratzinger "fell in love... in a very serious way" as a student.But his collection of interviews do not contain any revelations on the scandal of paedophile priests, although Ratzinger indicates that he would "deal with things straight away" if he did get wind of an issue that required action.Benedict admitted he had initial reservations on the choice of Pope Francis, Argentine Jorge Bergoglio, to succeed him."I was uncertain to begin with. But then I saw how he speaks with God, with men -- and I was very happy."He also told Seewald that he felt he himself had "perhaps not been enough among men" during his stewardship and found Francis' direct style of engagement "very good."Even so, "I do of course ask myself how long he will keep it up... because that requires a lot of energy."
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