Weekly News Archive


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Jordan invokes 1994 peace treaty with Israel for a say in Kerry's Jordan Valley security and Jerusalem plans

While batting back Israel’s complaints over references to anti-Israel boycotts in relation to peacemaking with the Palestinians, US Secretary of State John Kerry has again bumped his head against another piece of Middle East history: The 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty.
In an exchange of messages in the last few days, DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources reveal that King Abdullah II filed a strong protest with Kerry against the failure of the security-political clauses in his framework accord to address issues involving the Hashemite Kingdom’s political future and security. Above all, he castigated the plan for failing to factor in past treaties concluded between Jordan and Israel with US encouragement.
Kerry has responded by ordering a reassessment of the security blueprint drawn by US General John Allen, former NATO commander in Afghanistan, with the assistance of a team of 90 US intelligence and security experts working out of Washington and Israel. The security arrangements he proposes in a future Palestinian state for the Jordan Valley, which also marks Jordan’s Western border, would replace Israeli border units with a system of electronic surveillance devices including drones, satellites and other instruments for securing the Jordanian border.
Israel emphatically objects to withdrawing its troops from this strategic valley on its eastern border or evacuating its settlements there, on the grounds that without its own military manpower on the ground, even the most sophisticated instruments of surveillance would not be proof against terrorist incursions to the West Bank and Israel itself.
This danger has become more acute since the jihadst Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) seized territory in western Iraq, especially in consideration of the offshoots these jihadists maintain in the Hashemite Kingdom.
Therefore, Israel was not alone in vehemently ruling out the Allen plan. It is now joined by Jordan. The latter’s objections focus on four points:
(1) The proposed electronic surveillance system along its Western border would expose the entire Kingdom of Jordan to US surveillance. The same argument would apply to the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ latest proposal for the deployment of NATO forces.
(2) On no account does Amman want to see Palestinian forces of any kind strung along the Jordan River border. This objection was underscored in a series of messages to Washington.
(3) Another issue is the US approach to the Jerusalem question, which ignores Jordan’s status with regard to the Holy Places, especially Temple Mount.
The monarch drew Kerry’s attention to the peace treaty signed in 1994 between his father, the late King Hussein and Israeli Prime Minister, the late Yitzhak Rabin, which formally recognized Jordan’s special status on Temple Mount.
In 2013, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas signed an understanding with Amman acknowledging that special status. Since then, the kingdom has covered the payroll of the Palestinian bodies and Waqf authority responsible for the administration and maintenance of Muslim mosques on a site which is sacred to Jews and Christians as well as being the second most important Muslim shrine after Mecca.
King Abdullah is demanding the enshrinement and incorporation of these two documents in all the proposals the US Secretary puts before Israel and the Palestinians.
(4) He further emphasizes that any solution of the Palestinian refugee problem – however minimal – must not overlook the large Palestinian refugee community living in Jordan – which has grown to an estimated 2 million, out of the kingdom’s total population of 7 million.

Source:    debka.com  MORE

[Note: Also see Abbas Proposes U.S.-Led NATO Force In Palestinian State in today's News Briefs section.]

West to renew pressure on Assad after failed talks

UNITED NATIONS -- Western nations will increase pressure on President Bashar al-Assad over the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria and his chemical weapons after the deadlocked Geneva peace talks.
Diplomats said a UN Security Council resolution on the lack of access to Homs and other besieged cities could be ready this week.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said this week that Security Council action could also be taken over delays in moving Syria's deadliest chemicals out of the country.
The fate of an estimated three million people trapped in areas where there is fighting, or blockaded by government or rebel guns, will be the immediate focus.
While the Geneva talks went ahead, the UN had trucks carrying enough food for more than 2,500 people trapped in the Old City district of Homs.
The Syrian government refused to allow the convoy in, despite pressure from UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi at the talks that ended Friday.
Assad's negotiators only offered to let women and children out, but diplomats said this would have left the men remaining open to a government massacre.
"I am extremely concerned that, while the discussions continue to try and find a political solution to end the crisis, ordinary men, women and children are dying needlessly across the country and others are desperate for want of food, clean water or medical care," said UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos.
Other towns are in worse condition than Homs. No aid has entered East Ghouta near Damascus for more than a year, and UN leader Ban Ki-moon denounced the situation as "shocking" . . . .
Arab nations at the UN have written one draft Security Council resolution on the humanitarian crisis. Council members Australia and Luxembourg have another. And diplomats said work has started on merging the two.
"There is a compelling case for bringing the humanitarian situation back under discussion in the Security Council," said British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
A decision on when to press the resolution is not likely until after Amos chairs a meeting on the Syrian crisis in Rome on Monday.
Much will depend on whether Russia can persuade its Syrian ally to open up Homs, diplomats said.
US warnings over Syria's chemical weapons will turn the screws on Assad, diplomats and analysts said.
Sources close to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) say that less than four per cent of its most dangerous chemicals have been moved.
All the Class A chemicals were meant to be moved by February 5 under a Russia-US deal that halted a US threat to carry out military strikes on Syria last year.
"We now know that the Assad regime is not moving as rapidly as it promised to move the chemical weapons out of Syria," said Kerry.
He highlighted that Security Council Resolution 2118 on the chemical deal "makes it clear that if there are issues of non-compliance, they will be referred to the Security Council for Chapter VII compliance purposes." . . . .
The head of the UN-OPCW mission, Sigrid Kaag, is due to brief the Security Council on the delays Thursday.
"I don't think we are quite at the stage of non-compliance, but it will be important what Sigrid Kaag says about whether she thinks the delays are deliberately political motivated," said one Western official.
Syria has blamed security concerns and bad weather for the delays. Western diplomats say neither excuse can be used now.
There is "undoubtedly" a link between the failed Geneva talks and the new diplomatic offensive, said Andrew Tabler, a Syria specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
"All this is leverage on Assad and it pressures the Russians to do something," he said.

Source:     AFP / channelnewsasia.com  MORE

[Note: Also see the commentary piece After Failed Geneva Talks, US Steps Up Threats Against Syria  in today's More News section.]

Iranian commander: We have targets within America

A top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards boasted Saturday that his forces have plans in place to attack the United States from within, should the U.S. attack the Islamic Republic.
“America, with its strategic ignorance, does not have a full understanding of the power of the Islamic Republic,” Brigadier General Hossein Salami said in a televised interview. “We have recognized America’s military strategy, and have arranged our abilities, and have identified centers in America [for attack] that will create a shock.”
Reports indicate that terrorist Hezbollah forces - allies of Iran - have infiltrated the U.S. and have mapped out targets.
“We will conduct such a blow in which [America] will be destroyed from within,” Salami said.
This is the second warning by a high-ranking officer of the Guards in two weeks. The chief commander of the Guards, Major General Mohammad Jafari, addressing Secretary of State John Kerry, said on January 24 that a direct conflict with America is the “strongest dream of the faithful and revolutionary men around the world.”
Kerry had previously said that if Iran did not live up to the agreement reached in Geneva on its nuclear program, “all options are on the table.”
“Your threats to revolutionary Islam are the best opportunity,” Jafari had said. “Muslim leaders for years have been preparing us for a decisive battle ... Do you know how many thousands of revolutionary Muslims at the heart of the Islamic revolutionary groups around the world are awaiting for you to take this [military] option from the table into action?”
General Salami went further, saying the Revolutionary Guards have taken into consideration America’s military ability and different scenarios under which the U.S. could attack Iran via a limited missile or air strike, or even a ground attack.
“All operational bases of the enemy in the region in whatever capacity and location are within our firepower,” Salami warned. “The American military option does not make a difference for us, and they can use this option, but they will have to accept the responsibility of devastating consequences.”
Salami asked whether America could control the spread of any war with the Islamic Republic: “Can they preserve their vital interest in the region in the face of endless attacks by Iran? Can they keep their naval assets and the Zionist regime [Israel] secure?”
Salami said that with the U.S. economy and debt, America is in no position to engage Iran militarily.
The general then taunted Washington, citing Iran’s political and cultural influence in Iraq. “The current has changed for the Americans so much so that they invest [by invading Iraq] and others [i.e. Iran] benefit.”
Regarding Syria, Salami said the United States does not have the ability to interfere in a country that has been engaged in a civil war for several years.
“The Americans cannot even conduct a military operation there,” Salami said. “[The] conditions and the factors that facilitate the exercise of military power for them have for years been destroyed and today [the Americans] are in an erosion of political, cultural and military power.”
The general said there are thousands of brigades ready to confront America both within the Islamic Republic and outside the country. He then warned Iran’s politicians to remain strong during the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and - based on the might of the country - not give in to U.S. demands . . . .
Iran, which has started to implement the first phase of the Geneva agreement, acknowledged receipt of the first installment of released funds and that over $500 million has been deposited into the country’s bank account in Switzerland.
The Islamic Republic spends billions of dollars supporting the terrorist group Hezbollah, its network of terror cells around the world and the Assad regime in Syria solidifying his grip on the country.

Source:    dailycaller.com  MORE

North Korea envoy warns on U.S.-South Korea military exercise

North Korea is stepping up pressure on the US and South Korea to cancel a major military exercise due to begin next month, with a senior official warning that the drills will push the peninsula “to the brink of war”.
Hyon Hak Bong, Pyongyang’s ambassador to London, told the Financial Times that the military exercises would gravely damage the North’s recent calls for improved ties with the South. He suggested they would also jeopardise the reunions of families divided by the border, to which Pyongyang agreed in principle earlier this month.
“We gave South Korea an opportunity – if they lose this chance they will be strongly mistaken,” Mr Hyon said. “If the exercises go ahead it will make the situation tense and bring the situation to the brink of war.”
Last year’s spring exercises, involving thousands of troops, prompted Pyongyang to issue repeated, strongly worded warnings of imminent conflict, adding to international concern after North Korea’s third nuclear test last February.
Pyongyang has tried to take the initiative in the run-up to this year’s drills, on January 16, publishing a proposal for both sides to suspend “slander” and “hostile military acts”.
South Korea has ruled out abandoning the drills, instead urging Pyongyang to demonstrate its sincerity by agreeing to reunion meetings in mid-February for families divided by the country’s partition in the 1940s.
But Mr Hyon said these meetings “can’t be held under a dangerous situation in which South Korea and the US stage the joint military exercises”.
He disputed the insistence of Seoul and Washington that the drills are for defensive purposes. “Under the framework of joint exercises they are planning a special landing operation to occupy Pyongyang,” he claimed. “The nature of the exercises is for nuclear war in the future.”
North Korea’s push against the drills is the latest test for the “trust-building” agenda that has been a showcase policy for South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye. She took power last February promising a break from the perceived hardline stance of her predecessor Lee Myung-bak, which made him a hate figure in North Korea.
But Mr Hyon said Ms Park’s “policy is worse than previous ones ... She claimed sincerity but South Korea’s position is very provocative and confrontational.”
Daniel Pinkston, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, said North Korea’s ostensible push to ease tensions should be seen as part of a domestic propaganda drive.
“In North Korea, national division is seen as the core reason for all the country’s problems,” he said. “Kim is now marketing himself as a champion of unification – it’s a means of protecting himself from internal criticism.” . . . .
This week James Clapper, US director of national intelligence, said North Korea had expanded a uranium enrichment facility, and restarted a plutonium reactor that had been shut down in 2007 under a previous agreement. Mr Hyon did not dispute the US intelligence assessment.
“You have to understand why we have a nuclear deterrent,” Mr Hyon said. “The US has been threatening DPR Korea for ... years with nuclear weapons.”

Source:    ft.com  MORE



Abbas proposes U.S.-led NATO force in Palestinian state

In a New York Times interview, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas proposed that a US-led NATO force patrol a future Palestinian state indefinitely throughout the territory, at all crossings and in Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers could remain in the West Bank for up to five years and Jewish settlers phased out along a similar timetable. Palestinian will be demilitarized, he said. Israel has summarily rejected any plan to rely for its security on any but its own military. On recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, which for the Netanyahu government is a sine qua non for an accord, Abbas said, “This is out of the question.” [no further contentLINK

Note: see these related stories:

Palestinian Leader Seeks NATO Force In Future State (Interview)  LINK

Abbas Says Israeli Pullout Over 5 Years If NATO Deploys - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas would support a five-year Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank provided a NATO force is deployed to ensure security, the New York Times has reported  LINK

Syrian Foreign Minister: 'No direct U.S.-Syria talks unless Kerry apologizes'

The Syrian FM claims to have rejected a US offer of direct talks without the involvement of the opposition "tools" during the Geneva conference over John Kerry’s refusal to apologize for his biased speech. US officials denied seeking such a meeting. On his way back to Syria, the country’s foreign minister Walid Muallem was asked why hadn’t the Damascus delegation spoken directly with the US without intermediaries from the opposition delegation. “Frankly, the Americans have asked for that in Montruex and I refused unless Kerry apologizes for the speech he made in the conference,” Walid Muallem told Syrian state media on board a plane bound for Damascus. Syria's foreign minister was apparently referring to the opening remarks of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech made in Montreux, Switzerland on January 22, who said that President Bashar Assad lost all legitimacy and cannot be a part of any transitional government. “There is no way, not possible in the imagination, that the man who has led the brutal response to his own people could regain legitimacy to govern,” Kerry said in that speech. Walid Muallem rebuffed him at the time, saying no outside force had the right to “withdraw legitimacy” from the president or government except for the people of the country.  MORE

To U.S. intelligence, Syria is the 'problem from hell'

The U.S. intelligence community has come up with new estimates on the disparate rebel forces in Syria’s civil war that suggest peace is out of reach in the foreseeable future. The numbers: Up to 110,000 anti-government fighters are split between 1,600 groups that include 7,000 foreigners from around 50 countries in the Muslim world, Europe, the United States and Canada. At a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, America’s spy chief, James Clapper, added that those fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad included 26,000 extremists in organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and the Nusra Front, both affiliates of al-Qaeda. Clapper described Syria as a “huge magnet for extremists” and likened the country to Pakistan’s federally administered tribal areas (FATA), which became a haven for al-Qaeda’s leaders after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. According to Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the intelligence committee, the threat from Syria has grown so much over the past year that there was now “a real prospect” the war-torn country could turn into a launching pad for attacks on the United States and other countries. The reason: “Large swathes of Syria are beyond the regime’s control or that of the moderate opposition.”  MORE

Kerry, Iran's Zarif discuss next round of nuclear talks

MUNICH -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday pledged good faith in talks to dispel Western fears over Iran's nuclear programme, after a rare meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Iran will enter the next round of talks later this month "with political will and good faith to reach an agreement," Zarif said. It would be "foolish of us (and) ... a disaster for everyone" if the process did not lead to definitive results, Zarif told a panel at the Munich Security Conference. World powers hold another round of talks with Iran on February 18 after reaching an initial accord in November to curb uranium enrichment and open up nuclear facilities to allay concerns Tehran is seeking to acquire atomic weapons. Kerry and Zarif "discussed the upcoming negotiations with the P5+1 and the EU on a comprehensive agreement that will begin in Vienna", a senior US State Department official said.  MORE

Iran Reveals Plan to 'Confront U.S. Naval Forces' Ahead of War Games

Iran unveiled this week new anti-aircraft missile systems and a plan to “confront U.S. naval forces” ahead of a series of eight new war games that are scheduled to begin in March, according to multiple Iranian press reports. New anti-aircraft missile simulators have been installed at Iran’s Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base, according to a top Iranian military commander, who said the systems would be used to train soldiers in the art of downing enemy aircraft, according to Iranian press reports. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) simultaneously announced this week that it had established a new organization for its “smart combat vessels.” The new war group was created in response to the “need for confronting U.S. naval forces,” according to Iran’s Press TV. These announcements were made just over a month before Iran kicks off its next round of war games, which, for the first time, will include “a drill in the cyber field,” according to the state-run Fars News Agency.  MORE

New Saudi counterterrorism law alarms activists

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -- Saudi Arabia put into effect a sweeping new counterterrorism law Sunday that human rights activists say allows the kingdom to prosecute as a terrorist anyone who demands reform, exposes corruption or otherwise engages in dissent. The law states that any act that "undermines" the state or society, including calls for regime change in Saudi Arabia, can be tried as an act of terrorism. It also grants security services broad powers to raid homes and track phone calls and Internet activity. Human rights activists were alarmed by the law and said it is clearly aimed at keeping the kingdom's ruling al Saud family firmly in control amid the demands for democratic reform that have grown louder since the Arab Spring protests that shook the region in 2011 and toppled longtime autocrats . . . Human Rights Watch researcher Adam Coogle warned: "The new law is draconian in spirit and letter, and there is every reason to fear that the authorities will easily and eagerly use it against peaceful dissidents." . . . Other worrying aspects, activists said, include an article that says police can raid homes and offices on suspicion of anti-government activity without prior approval from a judge or even a superior. Suspects can also be held incommunicado for 90 days, and lawyers are not required to be present during the initial interrogation. Coogle said the law "enshrines some of the unlawful practices that Saudi authorities were already committing," such as detention of suspects for many years without trial. He said it also does not specify the punishment for crimes committed under the new law. [These moves may seem extreme, but the new Saudi laws described here are similar in effect to the way that the USA-PATRIOT act is being implemented in the US. -Ed.]  MORE

Saudi Arabia to jail citizens who fight abroad

RIYADH -- Saudi Arabia will imprison for three to 20 years any citizen who fights in conflicts abroad, according to a royal decree released through state media on Monday. The decree also said Saudis who join or endorse groups it classifies as terrorist organisations, whether inside or outside the country, would face prison sentences of between five and 30 years. It appeared to be another official move to discourage the kingdom's citizens from travelling to Syria to fight alongside rebels battling the government of President Bashar Assad. Saudi Arabia's Islamic religious authorities have previously spoken out against Saudi fighters going to Syria, but the Saudi Interior Ministry estimates that around 1,200 Saudis have gone there nonetheless. Riyadh backs some rebel groups in Syria with money and arms, but is wary of allowing its citizens to go and fight in case they join militant Islamist groups that could then target the kingdom's ruling al Saud family. The ban on joining or endorsing groups it classifies as "terrorist" could potentially also apply to the Muslim Brotherhood or the Lebanese Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah, which has fighters on Assad's side in Syria. [no further contentLINK

Frenemy Alert: Al Qaeda disassociates from the Iraqi ISIS group

In a message posted on jihadi websites Monday, al Qaeda’s General Command said it had no link with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and is not responsible for its action, including clashes with Syrian rebel groups. "Al Qaeda announces that it does not link itself with that group. ... It is not a branch of the al Qaeda group, does not have an organizational relationship with it and (al Qaeda) is not the group responsible for their actions." [no further contentLINK

On Immigration, Jindal Calls for 'High Walls and a Broad Gate'

(CNS News) -- Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) says the nation's immigration system is "completely backwards" - the opposite of what it should be: "What I believe we need is a system of high walls and a broad gate. Right now we've got the opposite, we've got low walls and a narrow gate. And what I mean by that is we make it very difficult for people to come here legally; we make it very easy for people to come here illegally. "As the son of immigrants, I think that, certainly, a lot of people think we should let more people come into our country because it's compassionate for them, and it certainly is. But I think we should also let more people come into our country legally because it's good for us. When people want to come here, work hard, get an education, play by the rules, that's good for America."  MORE

Pentagon debuts driverless vehicles ... continues push into autonomous warfare

New autonomous-vehicle technology tested this month shows US Army’s convoys - plagued by deadly improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan - will soon be able to move through the fiercest combat zones without the risk of losing life. The US Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and weapons contractor Lockheed Martin first demonstrated earlier this month the Autonomous Mobility Applique System (AMAS) at Fort Hood in Texas. The technology gives full autonomy to convoy vehicles that must often traverse dense urban terrain, often posing great risk to military personnel. The driverless system has shown the ability to “navigate hazards and obstacles including pedestrians, oncoming traffic, road intersections, traffic circles and stalled and passing vehicles,” Wired reported. Lockheed Martin integrated sensor technology and control systems with Army and Marine tactical-vehicle capabilities for AMAS, which the powerhouse weapons maker began in 2012 under an initial US$11 million contract. The versatile AMAS “is installed as a kit and can be used on virtually any military vehicle,” according to Lockheed. “The AMAS CAD [Capabilities Advancement Demonstration] hardware and software performed exactly as designed, and dealt successfully with all of the real-world obstacles that a real-world convoy would encounter,” said Lockheed’s AMAS program manager David Simon in a statement. The capabilities of AMAS fall in line with the US military’s drift toward autonomous war-fighting. In addition to the US military’s increasing reliance on unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, the Pentagon has for years now tinkered with robotic warriors made to someday replace real life soldiers on the battlefield of the future ...  MORE

Man gets nearly 14 years in abortion pill case

TAMPA, FLORIDA (AP) -- A Tampa man has been sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for tricking his pregnant ex-girlfriend into taking a pill he believed would cause her to have a miscarriage. A federal judge sentenced John Andrew Welden on Monday. The man pleaded guilty in September to tampering with a consumer product and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. He had faced a possible life sentence if convicted of his original charge, killing an unborn child. [Killing an unborn child is still labeled 'murder' - except when it's done by the mother's 'doctor' and rebranded as 'abortion'. But, in this case, the murder charge was dropped by prosecutors, for the convenience of a plea deal. - Ed.] Prosecutors say Welden forged a signature last year on a prescription for a pill used to induce labor. He relabeled a pill bottle as an antibiotic and told his then-girlfriend to take the pills. She was six or seven weeks pregnant when she miscarried. Welden admitted in a plea agreement that he forged the signature of his father, who is a Tampa-area obstetrician. [no further contentLINK



Note: Views expressed in the commentaries on this website are those of individual authors and not necessarily those of Christian Media Daily or our host - Christian Media Network. Quotes are obviously the opinion of the source. A quote is just a quote and these are offered without comment. Use of a news story or commentary is not an endorsement of the source website.

Commentary: Obama Quietly Uses Executive Orders For Two New Gun Control Laws (Robert Rich)

Just a few weeks ago Obama quietly used executive action - one of his new favorite pastimes - that has got gun owner’s feathers in a ruffle. According to Obama’s newest unconstitutionally enacted law, healthcare professionals are now required to violate HIPPA privacy laws and submit medical data to the government. The illegally obtained data is then used as justification for gun confiscation by the federal government.
Showing exactly the kind of man Obama is, and not having been able to pass these gun control laws through congress, Obama has unconstitutionally used executive actions to pass the laws he wasn’t able to through legal means.
In what some are interpreting to be a much bigger and devious than it seems - a tip of the iceberg type deal - the government is mandating healthcare professionals disregard their oaths and state law. The government has mandated that patient’s medical data be submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
After which the government will sort through and analyze those not fit to own a weapon (i.e. those who were “involuntarily committed to inpatient or outpatient facilities”). Basically the government is starting out slowly and testing the water to see how the public will react to not only gun confiscation but a governmental invasion of legally protected privacy. [no further content]

Source:    mrconservative.com  LINK

Commentary: After Failed Geneva Talks, U.S. Steps Up Threats Against Syria (Bill Van Auken)

In the wake of last week’s failed talks in Geneva, Washington and its allies are escalating pressure on Syria over chemical weapons and professed “humanitarian” concerns.
The shift toward a more aggressive posture toward the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad only underscores the fact that the Western powers remain committed to an agenda of regime change, whether by means of United Nations-brokered talks or outright military aggression.
UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi was compelled to admit last Friday, after the final round of talks, “We haven’t made any progress to speak of.”

The reason for the collapse of the negotiations was clear. The talks began with a ceremonial session in which US Secretary of State [John Kerry] issued an ultimatum that the Syrian regime had to accept the removal from power of President Bashar al-Assad and the installation of a puppet of Washington’s choosing. Throughout the rest of the talks, the Western-backed “rebels” of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) followed Washington’s script, insisting on the ouster of Assad as a pre-condition for any agreements, while the negotiators of the Syrian regime insisted on a common declaration calling for an end to violence and terrorism . . . .
In the final days of the talks, Washington staged a deliberate provocation by revealing that it has resumed arms shipments to the “rebels,” and that the US Congress recently approved secret legislation providing aid and funding for the anti-regime forces through September. This aid supplements the billions of dollars’ worth of arms and funding being funneled into Islamist militias by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, with the CIA’s collaboration.
Much of the maneuvering by the SNC and its Western backers has appeared to be aimed at securing Russia’s support for a “transition” that includes Assad’s removal from power. Both Moscow and Washington are agreed that regime change should maintain the basic institutions - most critically the security forces - intact. Russia, however, fears that the imposition of a US-backed regime in Damascus will undermine its strategic interests throughout the region.

Following the collapse of the Geneva negotiations, Washington has engaged in renewed saber-rattling against Syria, particularly over the chemical weapons disarmament agreement reached last September . . .
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the implementing body of the international chemical weapons treaty, which is supervising Syria’s disarmament, issued a statement Friday acknowledging that the shipment of two consignments of deadly chemicals out of Syria represented “a start” of the process, but added that the need “to pick up the pace is obvious.”
The US delegate to the OPCW, Robert Mikulak, claimed that the disarmament effort had “languished and stalled” resulting in only 4 percent of Syria’s total arsenal of 530 metric tons of poison gas being shipped out.
Damascus has said that it is working on the OPCW timetable, but that it has faced challenges moving the poison gas under threat of attack by the Western-backed Islamists as well as difficult weather conditions. The deal providing for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons set a timetable that was unprecedentedly short, even for countries not in a state of civil war.
The Syrian government also has insisted that the international agency is satisfied with its cooperation, but that Washington is attempting to seize on delays as a pretext for aggression.
“We now know that the Assad regime is not moving as rapidly as it promised to move the chemical weapons out of Syria,” Kerry said on Friday.
He insisted that Security Council Resolution 2118, which instituted the chemical disarmament process, “makes it clear that if there are issues of non-compliance, they will be referred to the Security Council for Chapter 7 compliance purposes.”
Chapter 7 of the UN charter allows for military action to “restore international peace and security.” . . . .

Meanwhile, the US, Britain, other major NATO powers and Washington’s allies among the Arab monarchies are reportedly preparing another UN resolution laying the groundwork for intervention on the grounds of humanitarianism.
The West and its Syrian puppets have indicted the Syrian regime for attempting to starve areas held by the Islamist militias into submission, including parts of the western city of Homs.
The plight of around 800 families besieged in the old city of Homs became an issue in the Geneva talks, with the West and its proxies in the SNC demanding the opening of “humanitarian corridors,” a ploy that was also used to prepare intervention in Libya. Syrian government negotiators countered with an offer to let all women and children out of the area, but this was rejected by the “rebels.”
Ignored in the West’s “humanitarian” concerns is the far larger population - an estimated 45,000 people trapped in the predominantly Shia towns of Zahraa and Nubl outside Aleppo - which is on the brink of starvation after being placed under siege by the Islamist Sunni “rebels” for the past year and a half.
Among the worst starvation has taken place in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of Damascus, which elements of the al Qaeda-linked Islamists seized at the end of 2012 and turned into a free-fire zone. While most of the residents fled, some 18,000 people trapped there have undergone severe hunger, with dozens starving to death. Attempts to deliver humanitarian aid were repeatedly turned back both by the army’s siege and by gunfire from the US-backed armed opposition. The UN was able to deliver two shipments late last month.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos is set to convene a conference on Syria in Rome today, which will likely lay the groundwork for the Western powers to push for a resolution designed to further their campaign for regime change.

Source:     World Socialist website / globalresearch.ca  MORE



[Red Flag - offensive language]
[Book Extract]: How Edward Snowden went from loyal NSA contractor to whistleblower  LINK
He was politically conservative, a gun owner, a geek – and the man behind the biggest intelligence leak in history ... In this exclusive extract from his new book, Luke Harding looks at Edward Snowden's journey from patriot to America's most wanted

Bullying tactics by Kerry and Europeans fuel anti-Israel terror ... stir boycott threats  LINK

 Note: see also Israeli Leaders Slam Kerry - Again - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is once again the target of criticism, direct and indirect, by Israeli leaders after he suggested that Israel could face "delegitimization" and "boycott" campaigns without a peace deal with the Palestinians  LINK

Report: Israel offers $20 Million to Turkey flotilla victims  LINK

France to send big business delegation to Tehran  LINK
Among the Europeans waiting in line for the easing of sanctions are German and Dutch business groups ... Representatives of American companies are also standing by

[analysis]: Reading Iran All Wrong

Iraqi army bombards Falluja in preparation for ground assault

Russia threatens to quit START as U.S. deploys Aegis destroyer to Spain

China says Japan's 'hype' on air defence zone spreads tension

[analysis]: Germany, U.S. Push Aggressive Policies at Munich Security Conference

[analysis]: Obama's Pen vs. the Constitution
For decades, the liberals have tried to take total control of public school curriculum so they can mold the minds of our youngsters into activists for leftwing causes ... Obama’s famous “pen” can now achieve that goal

 Note: see also Commentary: Parents Warned: Big Brother Owns Your Children  LINK

Mere presence of gun prompts no-knock raid
(Texas)  LINK
The state admits the raid was based “solely on the suspicion that there were legally owned firearms in the household”

[analysis]: Google's 'Smart Home' Surveillance Plans ... or, How To Not Be Colonized

Report: English no longer first language for 1,700 UK schools
Most of the children speak one of 14 different languages including Pahari, Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Somali, Polish, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Portuguese, Arabic, Spanish and Pashto

Financial world shaken by 4 bankers' apparent suicides in a week

[analysis]: Only the Wealthy Like the Federal Reserve ... The Fed is Corrupt, it is Owned by the Big Banks

Total ban on GM food production mulled in Russia

Volcanic ash smothers part of Indonesia, kills 15

6.6 magnitude earthquake hits off New Zealand coast

Getting ready for asteroids
The Space Mission Planning and Advisory Group (SMPAG – pronounced ‘same page’) was established by Action Team 14, a technical forum with a mandate from the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) to develop a strategy on how to react to a possible asteroid impact threat ... “SMPAG will also develop and refine a set of reference missions that could be individually or cooperatively flown to intercept an asteroid ... These include precursor missions or test and evaluation missions, which we need to fly to prove technology before a real threat arises”

[analysis]: Earthlings unite to confront the asteroid menace
The first meeting of an international group tasked with figuring out how to react to asteroids that threaten our very existence is set for next week

France's future at risk from 'unnatural families', say conservative protesters
The protesters were united against gay marriage and adoption first ... They lost that battle last April when parliament approved same-sex marriage ... Since then, they have continued their opposition but moved on to "the family", which they believe is threatened by a proposed family law expected in the spring

Abomination Alert: Thousands of pro-abortion protesters gather in Spain
Anger mounts in Madrid at bill that will end woman's right to termination except in cases of rape or medical need

HEALTH HIGHLIGHTS: Join the Sound Body Yahoo group (part of the Christian Media ministry) to receive regular health eblasts  LINK


"In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress."
John Adams


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U.S. grants Iran a seat at the next round of Geneva II conference on Syria - alongside big powers

The second round of the Geneva II conference on the Syrian conflict opens Monday, February 10 – this time with a seat at the table for the Iranian delegation provided by Washington, DEBKAfile reports exclusively. Washington relayed this abrupt turnabout from its ban last week on Iranian representatives to the Tehran delegates quietly attending the secret alternative conference taking place unannounced in Bern.
This event has proceeded in parallel to the public gathering in Montreux with the participation of [the] Assad regime and opposition delegates, as well as senior US, Iranian and Russian officials. It was there that the real business was contracted behind closed doors – not in Montreux, where rigid official positions were presented for public consumption as a decoy [for] the Bern meeting, for which the Swiss government rather than the UN had provided the necessary technical and logistic facilities.
Permission to admit Iran to the Bern parley marked another major Obama administration concession to Tehran. For the first time, Iran delegates took their seats around an international conference table alongside the major powers with a say on political and strategic decisions for a critical Mid East conflict.
This basic shift was evinced, according to our sources, Tuesday, February 4 in Washington and in Moscow.
Appearing before the House Intelligence Committee, Director of Intelligence James Clapper admitted that the agreement to dismantle the Syrian chemical weapons, reached last year in Geneva by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, had “actually strengthened Bashar Assad’s position … by virtue of his agreement to remove the chemical weapons.”
In the space of a week, Washington has gone back on the forceful statement Kerry made at the opening of the Geneva conference on January 16, when he said “as we get into this process, it will become clear there is no political solution whatsoever if Assad is not discussing a transition and if he thinks he is going to be part of that future. It is not going to happen”
The Obama administration is now forced to act on the presumption of a stronger Bashar Assad – as registered by Clapper, meaning that in order to be realistic, there is no option but to accept the Syrian ruler’s strong standing in Damascus and Tehran and the unavoidable conclusion that Iran is vitally instrumental to any resolution of the Syrian conflict.

Source:     debka.com  MORE

Geneva's round two looks headed for substance

BEIRUT -- The Syrian regime and its opponents will head to a second round of talks next week in what diplomats and negotiators say will reflect a greater degree of agreement on major sticking points than has been publicly reflected.
Despite the very public acrimony shown at the last round of the so-called Geneva II talks, which wound up last Friday, and the failure to achieve any breakthrough on even a limited agreement to deliver humanitarian aid to part of the city of Homs, those close to the negotiations have expressed optimism that the second round, scheduled for Monday, may be more substantive.
The last round saw a marked failure in confidence-building measures, such as how to establish humanitarian corridors to send aid to government besieged areas of Old Homs.
The agreement collapsed when the regime delegation suggested that women and children could leave if they registered with the authorities – the opposition slammed the condition as an attempt to target rebels and evidence of the regime’s rejection of compromising on humanitarian issues.
The talks almost collapsed when they tackled more robust political issues, such as the June 2012 Geneva I communique’s stipulation that a Transitional Governing Body oversee new elections.
Both sides stuck to their guns on the issue of Bashar Assad’s presidency; the regime insisted his role was not up for discussion and said new circumstances on the ground meant terrorism was a bigger priority, while the opposition insisted his departure was a condition of talks and accused the regime of changing the terms of the debate.
Diplomats and U.N. officials say international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi has so far been pursuing confidence-building measures in tandem with political agreements, but that the second round will see him focus more closely on the Transitional Governing Body.
“There is more agreement, particularly between the [Russians] and the Americans than what is being said publicly, particularly on Geneva I,” said a senior U.N. official close to the talks.
“They will discuss confidence-building measures on one track, but they will also discuss the Transitional Governing Body on the other,” the official said. “But we will see a change of tactics.”
U.S. and Russian “experts” agreed in meetings Saturday to step up pressure on the rival delegations, according to diplomatic sources quoted by the Russian RIA news agency.
Western governments, according to Western diplomatic and U.N. sources, say they will exert more pressure on the humanitarian front.
“The West and the others have agreed to up the ante on the regime on the humanitarian front and try to embarrass Russia on this issue,” the U.N. official said.
Sensing the ground may have shifted after Russia blocked a U.K-tabled draft resolution condemning the Syrian government’s use of barrel bombs against civilian neighborhoods in Aleppo in the runup to Geneva II., Western diplomats say a new U.N. resolution on humanitarian issues is being discussed in New York to force the Russians to pressure the regime.

Source:     dailystar.com.lb  MORE

Note: see also Syrian Opposition, Government Ready To Move Forward With Geneva 2 Peace Talks  LINK

Obama may be in two minds over Kerry's Israeli-Palestinian peace mission

The give-and-take over an Israeli-Palestinian accord, doggedly kept afloat by US Secretary of State John Kerry, is resolving itself into a complex dynamic depending heavily on personalities and their interrelations.
Kerry needs to overcome reservations in President Barack Obama’s White House team; Israel’s A-team - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon - are not of one mind on the issues; Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s popular base is infamously flimsy . . . .
So where does the US-Israeli-Palestinian peace process go from here?
Breaking new diplomatic ground, Kerry is pressing the Israeli prime minister and Palestinian leader to submit in writing their views and reservations on the US positions he put before them in private, one-on-one conversations. He proposes to embody their comments in a non-binding paper to be the framework for further negotiations.
That paper has two-against-one support in the top Israeli threesome: Netanyahu accepts it as a basis for negotiations, but wants changes with reference to Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and less clarity on the extent of swaps for the settlement blocs remaining on the West Bank in a Palestinian state as well as Jerusalem. These issues should be left vague, in the prime minister’s view.
Lieberman, who morphed in recent months into Washington’s most ardent fan in the Israeli cabinet, urges full acceptance of the Kerry paper.
Ya’alon is the holdout. He advocates its rejection – ruling out in particular the security plan composed by US General John Allen.
Kerry and his team have marked the defense minister . . . as the mainspring of Israeli resistance to his effort.
The critics of the handling of his mission are to be found in Washington as well as Jerusalem. Some circles, as high as the White House level, believe Kerry erred in places and left gaps that may be hard to bridge.
His State Department team is faulted, for instance, for over-reliance on Mahmoud Abbas as the single negotiator for the Palestinians. Instead of building a broad popular foundation, they will be placing any future accord on an extremely narrow and flimsy base.
All three parties, Kerry, Israel and Abbas, are seen as missing a rare opportunity for addressing the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip at their lowest moment in a decade. Instead, Abbas has focused on the Palestinian refugee question. His latest demand is for each individual Palestinian refugee to be given the option of choosing where he wants to live after the conclusion of a peace accord with Israel. That was in fact the only core issue addressed last week.
It would seem that it is up to three individuals to determine the outcome of the sensitive, brittle peace process which John Kerry set in motion nearly a year ago. But that would be an over-simplification. Netanyahu must win the approval of his government and people (he has promised a national referendum for this purpose); Abbas does not speak for the Palestinian majority; and the Secretary of State will have to take the deal back to Washington for President Obama’s approval, which is far from being in his pocket.

Source:     debka.com  MORE

State denies Kerry admitted U.S. Syrian failure ... Israel shoots down U.S.-led NATO force for Palestinian State

US Secretary of State John Kerry is under increasing pressure over the Obama’s administration’s Middle East diplomatic policy. Tuesday, February 4, the State Department spokesperson Jennifer Psaki accused Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham of “mischaracterizing” Kerry’s remarks at a meeting they held Sunday on the Syrian question.
She was referring to their quotes of the Secretary as reporting that the Geneva negotiating process “hasn’t delivered,” that chemical weapons removal is “being slow-rolled;” that the Russians continue to supply arms; and “we are at a point now where we are going to have to change our strategy.”
The Secretary spoke favorably about arming and training the rebels, Graham added.
Psaki denied this quote. “This is a case of members projecting what they want to hear and not stating the accurate facts of what was discussed,” she said.
The State Department spokeswoman used the same tone of haughty reproof when she rejected Israel’s criticism of Kerry’s warning of boycotts if peace talks with the Palestinians fail, when he spoke to the Munich Security Conference Saturday.
“[Mr Kerry] expected opposition and difficult moments in the process, but he also expects all parties to accurately portray his record and statements,” she said.
In the case of Syria, whatever the Secretary may have said to the senators, the horrific facts cannot be brushed away. January 2014 was the bloodiest month of the three-year Syrian civil war amid a strenuous US bid to bring diplomacy to bear for a political solution. Nearly 6,000 people died that month in Syria and the total three-year death toll shot up to at least 136,227, according to figures gathered by the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.
Clearly something is [seriously] amiss at the Washington end: Geneva II was a fiasco; the deal Kerry struck with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last year for the elimination of Syria’s chemical arsenal is bogged down; the six-power nuclear negotiations with Iran, intended additionally to produce a formula for ending the Syrian conflict, has had the opposite effect: Iranian forces remain involved in the escalation of the slaughter and, while razing street after street in Aleppo with barrel bombs, Bashar Assad retains a firm grip on power.
The two US senators were only stating the obvious when they called on the Secretary of State to account for US policy failures in the face of these disasters . . . .
In the latest example of a US misconception, the New York Times Monday, February 3 quoted Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas as proposing that a US-led NATO force patrol a future Palestinian state.
Setting aside the impression that the Abbas suggestion was inspired by Washington, it must be asked how the Obama administration imagines Israel will consent to relegating its security and ongoing struggle against Palestinian terrorism to US, British, German or French troops – especially after Afghanistan and Iraq.
Would these imported foreign contingents fight their way through the alleys of the refugee camps of Bethlehem or Jenin to chase down Hamas and Jihad Islami terrorists and confront them in hand to hand combat? Failing this, would trained Israeli anti-terrorist forces be allowed to storm across the border to do the job? Wouldn’t the US-led NATO force stop them at the border of the new Palestinian state?
This and other irreconcilable differences in the approach to Israel’s security may explain the unconfirmed rumor that Secretary Kerry has decided to postpone the presentation of his proposed framework accord to Israel and the Palestinians, realizing that a change in strategy might be useful in this case too.

Source:     debka.com  MORE



Report: Netanyahu Willing to Concede 90% of Judea, Samaria
Prime Minister reportedly willing to turn most of Judea, Samaria over to PA, expelling roughly 90,000 Jews from the region

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has offered to give the Palestinian Authority full control over 90% of Judea and Samaria, Walla! news reports. The report is based on testimony from sources close to the secret Israel-PA talks. Netanyahu’s reported offer still falls short of the PA’s demand to receive at least 97% of territory in the region. Netanyahu is apparently seeking to minimize the need to expel Israeli citizens from their homes in Judea and Samaria. The region is home to roughly 360,000 Israeli Jews, but most are concentrated in around 2% of the area's actual landmass. His latest offer would mean expelling 20-30% of them – or between 72,000 and 108,000 people. That seems like a fairly tall order, given that the government is still struggling to rehouse the roughly 10,000 Israelis expelled from Gaza and northern Samaria, nearly a decade after the 2005 "Disengagement". Israel would keep the major “settlement bloc” areas with a majority-Israeli population, including the Ariel bloc, Gush Etzion, Maaleh Adumim, and the towns of Beit El and Karnei Shomron along with surrounding communities. Netanyahu’s reported offer also calls for Israeli communities adjacent to the 1949 armistice line, but outside “settlement blocs,” to remain under Israeli control, and for an Israeli presence to continue in the city of Hevron. PA leaders continue to demand at least 97% of territory in Judea and Samaria, full control over eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, the release of all terrorist prisoners, the ability to arm the PA police, and implementation of the so-called “right of return,” which would give millions of descendants of Arabs who left pre-state Israel during the War of Independence the freedom to “return” to Israel. [no further contentLINK

Iranian Foreign Minister Lays Out Condition for Iranian Recognition of Israel

One day after senior Israeli government officials raised eyebrows at an international conference by remaining in the room when Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took the stage to speak, Zarif told a German television interviewer that Tehran could restore diplomatic relations with Israel in the event of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. “Once the Palestinian problem is solved the conditions for an Iranian recognition of Israel will be possible,” Zarif said in the interview Monday.  MORE

Note: see also Commentary: Iran, Israel And The Politics Of Gesture - We are witnessing something which has rarely been seen in recent Iran-Israel tensions: a series of goodwill gestures by both sides  LINK

Head of Iran Nuclear Organization: 'Entire Nuclear Activity of Iran Is Going On' (Interview)

The head of an Iranian nuclear organization, Ali Akbar, says the "entire nuclear activity of Iran is going on," despite the nuclear deal reached with the United States and other Western nations. Akbar made the comments in an interview with PressTV, an Iranian propaganda outfit. Akbar also says they won't dismantle Arak reactor, that the American have achieved nothing, and that they're continuing to build new nuclear sites . . . [Salehi]: If you look at the word ‘dismantle’ and you look at it in the dictionary, dismantle means to take apart and try to put it into pieces, equipment. Well, you can come and see whether our nuclear sites, nuclear equipment and nuclear facilities are dismantled or not. The only thing we have stopped and suspended – and that is voluntarily – is the production of 20 percent enriched uranium and that’s it. Of course, there is another thing that we have undertaken; we have committed ourselves not to install main equipment, which have been defined as to what those main equipments are in the Arak 40 megawatt heavy water reactor. The nuclear facilities are functioning; our enrichment is proceeding, it’s doing its work, it’s producing the 5 percent enriched uranium and those centrifuges that stopped producing the 20 percent will be producing 5 percent enriched uranium. In other words our production of 5 percent [uranium] will increase. The entire nuclear activity of Iran is going on.  MORE

Iranian Ballistic Missile Program Can Continue Under Deal

The U.S.’s top nuclear negotiator admitted on Tuesday that Iran could continue developing ballistic missiles under the recently inked nuclear accord meant to scale back Tehran’s nuclear program. Under pressure from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman conceded that the U.S. failed to “shut down” Iran’s ongoing development of ballistic missiles, which have long range capabilities and are the preferred weapon for delivering a nuclear payload. “It is true that in these first six months we’ve not shut down all of their production of any ballistic missile that could have anything to do with delivery of a nuclear weapon,” Sherman told lawmakers during a hearing on the nuclear deal. “But that is indeed something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.” This comprehensive agreement will not be agreed upon for at least six months, Sherman admitted, giving Tehran a lengthy window in which to perfect its weapons systems. Iran plans to launch three new satellites into space in the coming weeks, according to regional reports. The technology used to conduct such a launch is similar to those used for ballistic missiles, leading experts to label Iran’s space program a cover for its ballistic missile work . . . Senators on the [committee] criticized Sherman, the State Department’s under secretary of state for political affairs, for inking a deal that they said leaves gaping “loopholes” on which Iran can capitalize. “Why did you all not in this agreement in any way address the delivery mechanisms, the militarizing of nuclear arms, why was that left off since they [Iran] breached a threshold everyone acknowledges. They can build a bomb. We know that,” said Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), the committee’s ranking member. “They know that. They have advanced centrifuges. We have a major loophole in the research and development area that everyone acknowledges.” “We are going to allow them over this next year to continue to perfect the other piece of this, which is the [nuclear] delivery mechanism,” Corker added. “Why did we do that?”  MORE

Iran says ready to answer U.N. nuclear agency's questions

ANKARA -- Iran is ready to answer the U.N. atomic agency's questions about its nuclear program, a senior official was quoted as saying ahead of talks on Saturday expected to broach sensitive military-related issues. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) hopes to persuade Iran to finally start addressing long-held suspicions it may have researched how to build atomic bombs. Tehran has rejected the accusations of weaponisation-related work as forged and baseless, while saying it will cooperate with the IAEA to clear up any "ambiguities". Saturday's meeting comes 10 days before Tehran and world powers, building on a landmark interim deal that took effect last month, start talks on a long-term accord on Iran's nuclear aspirations that would avert the threat of a Middle East war. The "aim is to answer the IAEA's questions", Behrouz Kamalvandi was quoted as saying by ISNA, without elaborating.  MORE

Note: see also Iran Says May Modify Arak Reactor To Allay Nuclear Concerns - Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, said he did not believe Western concerns over Arak were genuine, calling them a "fabricated fire" used to put Iran under political pressure ... But he added: "We can do some design change, in other words make some change in the design, in order to produce less plutonium in this reactor, and in this way allay the worries and mitigate the concerns"  LINK

Iran says warships headed close to U.S. borders

TEHRAN, IRAN (AP) -- Iranian warships dispatched to the Atlantic Ocean will travel close to U.S. maritime borders for the first time, a senior Iranian naval commander said Saturday. The commander of Iran's Northern Navy Fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, said the vessels have already entered the Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa, the official IRNA news agency reported. The fleet, consisting of a destroyer and a helicopter-carrying supply ship, began its voyage last month from the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas. The ships, carrying some 30 navy academy cadets for training along with their regular crews, are on a three-month mission. The voyage comes amid an ongoing push by Iran to demonstrate its ability to project power across the Middle East and beyond. IRNA quoted Haddad as saying the fleet is approaching U.S. maritime borders for the first time. The Islamic Republic considers the move as a response to U.S. naval deployments near its own coastlines. The U.S. Navy's 5th fleet is based in Bahrain, just across the Persian Gulf. [no further contentLINK

Damascus confirms it will attend next round of peace talks

DAMASCUS -- Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Muqdad, said on Friday that Damascus will take part in a second round of peace talks in Geneva due to start on February 10. "It has been decided that the delegation of the Syrian republic will take part in the second round of negotiations in Geneva," state news agency SANA quoted Muqdad as saying. "The Syrian delegation wishes to pursue the efforts it deployed during the first round in Geneva, and insists that the discussions focus on all clauses in the Geneva I communique, beginning with the first clause," he said . . . [The Geneva I communique] was adopted by world powers in 2012 but is ambiguous, in that it calls for an interim government but is unclear on Assad's future. "A return to security and stability in Syria means that halting terrorism and violence must be discussed, as envisioned in the Geneva I communique," Muqdad said.  MORE

Jarba says rebels to receive advanced weapons

BEIRUT / WASHINGTON -- Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba said Wednesday that rebels would soon receive advanced weapons because they have been waging a two-front war against regime troops and militant extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). Jarba said that his National Coalition had achieved a “political victory” during last month’s Geneva II peace talks, arguing that leading states were now contemplating changes to their approach to the war. “It is now time for us to receive advanced weapons,” Jarba said, also citing the regime’s “barrel bomb” campaign centered on the city of Aleppo, which continued unabated during the convening of the peace talks in Switzerland. He declined to discuss the details of the future arms shipments, and whether they would include shoulder-fired MANPADS, or anti-aircraft weapons. But he said the advanced weapons on the way would help the armed opposition “get rid of these aircraft” that have been bombarding civilian areas of Aleppo and other cities, killing hundreds in the last six weeks. Jarba made the comments during an interview with Future Television conducted in Cairo, one day after he made made his first visit to Moscow, for talks with senior Russian officials.  MORE

U.S. sharply curtails drone strikes in Pakistan

The Obama administration has cut down on drone strikes on terrorist targets as requested by Pakistan for the pursuit of peace talks with the local Taliban. "That's what they asked for, and we didn't tell them no," one US official said, but strikes will continue against senior al Qaeda targets as they become available and any direct imminent threats to Americans, he said. The new round of Pakistan-Taliban talks, which was due to begin Tuesday, was postponed by the government after two members of a Taliban-named delegation declined to participate. [no further contentLINK

Snowden leak: GCHQ secret unit uses DDoS attack tactics against Anonymous

British intelligence has its own hacker subdivision that uses questionable practices for hunting down enemies of the state, reveals a new leak from Edward Snowden. GCHQ is fighting Anonymous and LulzSec hacktivists with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and malware. A classified document obtained by NBC News reveals that the British secret service is brandishing a cyber-sword in the guise of the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), an intelligence unit not constrained by domestic or international laws. The JTRIG unit is staging DDoS cyber-attacks, implanting malware to disclose identities of hackers in order to prevent their communications. JTRIG is such a secret unit that its very name has never been mentioned anywhere before . . . A DDoS attack is a criminal offence in most countries, the US and UK included. For example, in the UK a person found guilty of a cyber attack would be charged in accordance with the Computer Misuse Act, while in the US such illegal activities are prosecuted with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Besides that, according to cyber experts, a DDOS attack takes down an entire server, with all websites hosted on it, along with other severs operated by the same Internet Server Provider (ISP). This means that while attacking Anonymous chat rooms, JTRIG was actually disabling other web resources that had no connection to Anonymous whatsoever. If the fact of a DDoS attack by a secret service gets some independent proof, it would mean that Britain will become the first state incriminated in staging a cyber-attack, internationally recognized as unlawful. [emphasis addedMORE

Study: Living near fracking sites increases infant birth defects

Although fracking already attracts controversy as an allegedly bio-hazardous industry, a new study takes it up a notch by showing that the practice can badly impact the health of unborn children. Babies still in their mothers’ wombs living within a 10-mile range of fracking wells are in much greater danger of congenital heart defects (CHD) and neural tube defects (NTD). This was surmised in a recent study correlating birth data with geographical locations of gas wells and congenital conditions. The study, called “Birth Outcomes and Maternal Residential Proximity to Natural Gas Development in Rural Colorado” comes from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH) and Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), and explores three variations of birth defects, fetal growth and pre-term birth. Some of the resulting conditions include endocardial cushion defect, pulmonary valve atresia and stenosis. It also turns out that if a pregnant mother lives within a 10-mile radius, the chances of the baby inheriting CHDs go up by 30 percent. The Colorado study elicited data from sampling nearly 125,000 births in the period between 1996 and 2009. “Fracking causes babies to be deformed – the more we learn about fracking, the worse it gets,” Gary Wockner, the director of the Clean Water Action program in Colorado, told environmental business portal Ecowatch.com while commenting on the research. According to Wockner, this is the first serious study in the Colorado area to actually tackle the effects of fracking on people’s health. “If you live near a fracking site and you want to have a healthy baby, you should consider moving,” he said.  MORE

Starving hives: Pesticides cause bees to collect 57% less pollen, study says

Bees exposed to "field-realistic" doses of insecticides gather less than a half the pollen that they normally do, dooming their young to starvation, UK researches have said. While some scientists hailed the findings, pesticide makers remained unimpressed. In a spin-off of their earlier study, a team of British scientists have revealed how the neurotoxic chemicals contained in agricultural neonicotinoids affect the very basic function of the honeybees – the gathering of pollen, or flower nectar. “Pollen is the only source of protein that bees have, and it is vital for rearing their young. Collecting it is fiddly, slow work for the bees and intoxicated bees become much worse at it. Without much pollen, nests will inevitably struggle,” explained University of Sussex professor Dave Goulson, who has led the study . . . It turned out that bees exposed to the neonicotinoid brought back pollen from only 40 percent of their trips asopposed to 63 percent of useful trips which their “healthy” counterparts undertook. Intoxicated bees cut the amount of pollen gathered by nearly a third - overall, the comparative study showed that the hives exposed to the pesticide received 57 percent less pollen. “Even near-infinitesimal doses of these neurotoxins seem to be enough to mess up the ability of bees to gather food. Given the vital importance of bumblebees as pollinators, this is surely a cause for concern,” Hannah Feltham of the University of Stirling, another member of the research team, stated. For bees themselves, the cut appeared to represent a sharp decline in the amount of food that the hive’s population received. Feltham believed the study adds “another piece to the jigsaw” of why the bees have been in sharp decline lately.  MORE

Abortion Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since 1973 ... But No Credit Given to State Restrictions

(CNS News) -- A recent Guttmacher Institute study shows that the abortion rate in the United States has fallen to its lowest level since 1973, but the study's authors insist that new state-level abortion restrictions had little, if anything, to do with it. "With abortion rates falling in almost all states, our study did not find evidence that the national decline in abortions during this period was the result of new state abortion restrictions. We also found no evidence that the decline was linked to a drop in the number of abortion providers during this period," said Rachel Jones, lead author of the study. "Rather, the decline in abortions coincided with a steep national drop in overall pregnancy and birth rates. Contraceptive use improved during this period, as more women and couples were using highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, such as the IUD. Moreover, the recent recession led many women and couples to want to avoid or delay pregnancy and childbearing." But pro-life advocates aren't convinced. “This Guttmacher report bends over backwards in trying to deny that record-setting, pro-life legislation has made tremendous strides in curbing abortions in the United States," said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, executive director of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute. "Further, the authors try to convince the American public that suddenly couples are using contraception better and timing the spacing of their children better, all the while denying the concrete data showing that abstinence education is improving the future for the nation’s teens and common sense legislation is exposing the profit-centered motivation of the abortion industry." Crouse said fewer young women are engaging in too-early sex, fewer are choosing abortion, fewer doctors are willing to do abortions, and more clinics are closing.”  MORE

[Sodomy-based] marriage fight comes to Southern courtroom (Virginia)

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA (AP) -- The gay marriage fight arrived in a Southern courtroom Tuesday, as opponents of a Virginia law banning [sodomy-based] unions told a federal judge it was just like the Jim Crow-era prohibition against interracial marriage. Supporters maintained there was no fundamental right to [sodomy-based] marriage and the ban exists as part of the state's interest in responsible procreation. "We have marriage laws in society because we have children, not because we have adults," said attorney David Nimocks, of the religious group Alliance Defending Freedom. The case is being closely watched because it could give the [sodomy-based] marriage movement its first foothold in the South, and because legal experts think it's on the fast track to the U.S. Supreme Court. Recently elected Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, announced January 23 that he would not defend the ban because he thinks it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Federal judges have cited the 14th Amendment in overturning [sodomy-based] marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. Those rulings are on hold while they are appealed. [emphasis addedMORE

Christian plight in Egypt largely overlooked

Christians continue to be victimized by Moslems in Egypt. They are left wondering if anyone outside Egypt's borders really cares. Last July with the overthrow of President Morsi and the Moslem Brotherhood, Christian churches and Coptic Christians came under heavy attack. More than 40 churches were burned, along with Christian businesses and homes. Ryan Morgan of International Christian Concern tells OneNewsNow the latest trend is kidnapping Christians and holding them for ransom. “In fact, last year our sources tell us as many as 69 Christians were kidnapped,” he notes. “That’s more than one a week and that's only the ones we know of. We think there are probably a lot more cases that families just didn't want to report out of fear of losing their family members.” The nation has developed a new constitution with some improvements for religious minorities, but the question is whether it will be enforced. Local police have largely ignored pleas from Christians for help. Egyptian Christians are hopeful for some kind of response from other world governments, including the United States. “I'm not convinced that our primary objective is concern for religious minorities, so I think we could do a little bit more to speak up about it, to push the current interim government in Cairo to investigate these issues and to more aggressively follow up on these kidnappings,” Morgan says. Meanwhile, Christians in Egypt live in fear with the knowledge that no government, including their own, is really trying to help protect them. [no further contentLINK



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Commentary: A Catastrophic Cooling 5,200 Years Ago Was Preceded by a Few Decades of Warming and Low Sunspot Activity ... Sound Familiar? (Chris Carrington)

The 2004 annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union saw evidence that proved beyond doubt that a devastating and abrupt change in climate happened 5,200 years ago. Now when I say abrupt I really do mean abrupt. A massive and profound global cooling event happened 5,200 years ago, and one of the leading scientists in the field of ice core analysis thinks it’s about to happen again.
Not much was said about this outside of scientific circles, certainly nothing was said by the government. Even the words and research of a world renowned expert count for nothing. As far as the warmist government is concerned, we are all to believe we will die of heatstroke in the next 50 years.
Thompson even mentions the Sun, and it’s role in climate forcing, and once again, just like 5,200 years ago, the Sun is showing the lowest activity for a century. Predictions for solar cycle 25 are that there may not be any sunspots at all.

Source:     thedailysheeple.com  MORE

Note: see also Commentary: Obama Regime's Climate Hub Plan Will Help Destroy Small American Farms And Ranches - Under the guise of helping these people they will soon begin interfering with these operations as part of an effort to put them out of business ... These local farms and ranches represent a pillar of self sufficiency which is something that the federal government greatly despises ... After all, how can the federal government control all of its slaves if they can grow their own food and refuse to eat the real life equivalent of Soylent Green?  LINK

Report: Adult Stem Cell Breakthrough Will Transform Medicine, Doctor Predicts (Barbara Hollingsworth)

(CNS News) -- A scientific breakthrough that enables researchers to create adult stem cells much faster and [more easily] will radically transform the way medicine is practiced, predicts Dr. Marc Darrow, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California/Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine.
“It will be the standard of care,” said Darrow, who teaches regenerative techniques utilizing platelets and adult stem cells to medical residents at UCLA, and who has been using the same techniques to treat patients with joint, tendon, ligament and muscle injuries in his own LA clinic.

Darrow explained that in the past, creating stem cell lines was a very tedious procedure which required “using a pipette to take nuclear material from one cell to put into another.”
But an article published January 29th in the peer-reviewed journal Nature describes a new technique for creating undifferentiated adult stem cells by immersing blood cells in an acid bath for half an hour.
Biologist Haruko Obokata, a stem cell researcher from Japan’s RIKEN Center of Developmental Biology, then injected the acid-stressed, florescently-tagged blood cells into a mouse embryo, where they created entire organs – including a beating heart.
‘It’s amazing. I would have never thought external stress could have this effect,” said study co-author Yoshiki Sasai.
“The generation of these cells is essentially Mother Nature’s way [i.e. God’s way -Ed.] of responding to injury,” added co-author Charles Vacanti, director of the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham Women’s Hospital.
“Our bodies make stem cells all day long and that’s probably what’s keeping us alive, by regenerating tissue. The whole field of medicine is moving into regenerative medicine,” Darrow told CNS News.
And despite the fact that most insurance does not cover stem cell therapy, he predicted: “This will become the new medicine sometime soon.”
“I mean right now, surgery is still the king, but I see terrible results from surgery. I see patients every single day who have surgeries that have failed. In fact, there are [insurance company] diagnoses such as ‘Failed Back Syndrome.’ What does that tell us? It tells us there’s enough of those surgeries that don’t work that I wouldn’t want to have one.”

In contrast, Darrow said, stem cell therapy is “the easiest, simplest and cheapest form of medicine that I know of to regenerate tissue, get rid of pain and return function.” And with the newly discovered procedure, which he warned is still in the research phase, “it’ll be very quick and very easy to repair body parts."
“This is the crest of a wave that’s going to become a tsunami," he predicted. "I’ve been pushing for this stuff for 16 years ... and there’s guys like me out there that teach at universities and the younger docs are going for it. It’s going to be the tsunami of the new form of medicine. There’s no way to stop it.”

Another benefit is that the new technique utilizes only adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells, Darrow added. "That’s the good news,” he told CNS News. “We don’t have to deal with embryos, which has a terrible political and moral controversy surrounding it.”
In addition to ethical problems, "embryonic cells can cause tumors,” according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) . . . .

Darrow noted that the recent breakthrough in producing adult stem cells will provide new insight into how the body repairs itself, calling them “the crème de la crème of healing.”
Although adult stem cell therapy will never replace surgery for some problems, he predicts it will greatly reduce the number of back surgeries and joint replacements now being done. “People who would normally be having surgery who come to me don’t have to have surgery,” he said . . . .
. . . “There’s a lot of work for surgeons to do. It’s just that many of these, what I’ll call elective surgeries, in my mind – and that’s just my opinion – should not be done. We should be using regenerative medicine with platelets and/or stem cells to regenerate the tissue . . . .
. . . [It] won’t be long before using adult stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue becomes standard medical care. “Who wants to do surgery when it’s going to hurt someone? Who wants to get surgery when it can hurt [you]? This is the way. This is the Holy Grail. It's a no-brainer.”

Source:     cnsnews.com  MORE

Note: see also STAP Cells Overturn The Pluripotency Paradigm - A new pair of reports by Haruko Obokata describes a naturally occurring process that the authors have dubbed stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP), which converts differentiated mouse cells shocked by external stress into a remarkably pluripotent state  LINK [pdf format]

Commentary: Defeating Darwin in four easy steps (Bryan Fischer)

. . . . What follows is a straightforward, four-step refutation of the theory of evolution:

(1) First Law of Thermodynamics. This law teaches us that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed . . . By logical extension, then, matter and energy had to come into being by some force outside the universe.
What this means, then, is that science simply has no explanation for the most basic question that could possibly be asked: why is there something rather than nothing?
Creationists and Intelligent Design advocates have an answer to this question; evolutionists do not.
When you see a turtle on a fence post, what's the one thing you know? Somebody put him there. When you see a world hanging in space, what's the one thing you know? Someone hung it there.
It's futile to resort to the big bang theory, as some evolutionists are wont to do. They say they have an explanation for the origin of the universe: it began when a ball of incredibly dense matter exploded and flung the universe into existence. Okay, fine. Now: where did that incredibly dense ball of matter come from? . . . .
If you walk into an office and you see one of those toys with the steel balls swinging left to right, right to left, virtually endlessly, the one thing you will know for an absolute certainty is that some force outside that toy had to start the whole thing by lifting the first ball and releasing it to clack against the others. The process you observe could not possibly have started all by itself.
Creation Science and Intelligent Design theory offers a Prime Mover, evolution does not.

(2) Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law teaches us that in every chemical or heat reaction, there is a loss of energy that never again is available for another heat reaction. This is why things break down if left to themselves, and why scientists tell us that the universe is headed toward a heat death.
This law teaches us, then, that the universe is headed toward increasing randomness and decay.
But what does the theory of evolution teach us? The exact opposite: that the universe is headed toward increasing complexity and order . . . .
Plus, this teaches us that the universe had to have a beginning. If you see a watch winding down, one thing you know with absolute certainty is that somebody wound it up.
Intelligent Design theory offers not only a Watchmaker but a Watch-winder; evolution does not.

(3) Fossils. [If] Darwin's theory is correct, that increasingly complex life forms developed in tiny little incremental and transitional steps, then the fossil record should be littered with an enormous number of transitional fossils.
Darwin himself said, "The number of intermediate and transitional links must have been inconceivably great."
But, sadly for Darwinians, after more than 150 years of digging in dirt all around the world, there are still no transitional fossils at all – not one! The most famous paleontologist in the world, Harvard's Stephen Jay Gould, said, "The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology."
Colin Patterson of the British Museum of Natural History agrees with Gould that "there are no transitional fossils," not even a single one "for which one could make a watertight argument."
In other words, people who study fossils for a living know there are no transitional forms but they don't want you and me to know it, because it might prompt us to stop imbibing the swill of evolution . . . .
What the fossil record teaches us, in contrast to the theory of evolution, is that increasingly complex life forms appear fully formed in the fossil record, just as if they were put there by a Creator . . . .
The biblical record indicates quite clearly that all things, including increasingly complex life forms, came fully formed from the hand of God.
Thus the fossil record is a powerful argument for the existence of a Creator or Intelligent Designer while at the same time being fatal for the theory of evolution.
Creation Science and Intelligent Design theory have an explanation for the fossil record; evolution does not.

(4) Genes. The only mechanism – don't miss this – the only mechanism evolutionists have to explain the development of increasingly complex life forms is genetic mutation. Mutations alter DNA, and these alterations can be passed on to descendants.
The problem: naturally occurring genetic mutations are invariably harmful if not fatal to the organism. Rather than improve an organism's capacity to survive, they invariably weaken it. That's why the phrase we most often use to refer to genetic mutations is "birth defects."
If scientists are some day able to engineer beneficial genetic mutations in the lab, that will simply prove our point: we told you it takes intelligence and design.
Catch . . . [this quote] from University of Bristol scientist Alan Linton: "Throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another. None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another."
And if it's never been observed in the simplest of all organisms, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it's never been observed with more complex forms. Says Linton, "There is no evidence for evolution throughout the whole array of higher multi-cellular organisms."
So honest Darwinians will tell you that evolution – by which we mean the transition of one species into another – has never, not ever, been observed by anyone at any time. In other words, they believe in something that nobody has ever seen. Hmmm ... And they accuse us of a blind leap of faith!

It turns out that creationists are the ones who believe in science. In fact, it's clear that creationists believe in science and evolutionists do not. If they did, they wouldn't be evolutionists, now, would they?

Bottom line: the easiest verse in the Bible to believe is the very first one of all: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

Source:    onenewsnow.com  MORE



CBO Head: Obamacare 'Creates a Disincentive for People to Work'  LINK
Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office: "What the Affordable Care Act does, is to provide subsidies focused on lower- and lower-middle-income people to buy health insurance ... And in order to encourage a sufficient number of people to buy an expensive product like health insurance, the subsidies are fairly large in dollar terms ... Those subsidies are then withdrawn over time - withdrawn from people as their income rises ... And by providing heavily subsidized health insurance to people with very low income, and then withdrawing those subsidies as income rises, the (Affordable Care) Act creates a disincentive for people to work, relative to what would have been the case in the absence of that Act"

Media Blacks Out New Snowden Interview The Government Doesn't Want You to See  LINK

Note: see also Edward Snowden Interview (Video)  LINK or LINK

In Just 6 Months, the NSA Spied on More Than 59,000 Accounts

Department of Justice official admits NSA 'probably' spying on members of Congress

New surveillance technology can track everyone in an area for several hours at a time
As Americans have grown increasingly comfortable [?!] with traditional surveillance cameras, a new, far more powerful generation is being quietly deployed that can track every vehicle and person across an area the size of a small city, for several hours at a time

States look to rein in government surveillance
State lawmakers around the nation are proposing bills to curtail the powers of law enforcement to monitor and track citizens ... Their efforts in at least 14 states are a direct message to the federal government: If you don't take action to strengthen privacy, we will

[analysis]: Judges Poised to Hand U.S. Spies the Keys to the Internet

[Syrian Regime]: 'Terrorism' delaying disarmament  LINK

Muslim Brotherhood Leader Meets Obama in White House
Controversial British MB leader participates in Iraq discussion

Scenes from a militarized America: Iowa family 'terrorized'
(Video)  LINK

[analysis]: Justice Antonin Scalia says World War II-style internment camps could happen again

High cost of Common Core has states rethinking the national education standards

DHS Secretary On Illegal Aliens: 'They're Here, And They're Not Going Away'
“From my Homeland Security perspective, I would rather encourage them to come forward, be accountable, pay whatever taxes and fines they owe”

Sotomayor: Labeling Illegal Immigrants Criminals Is Insulting  LINK

1,154,000 Fewer Americans Working Today Than 6 Years Ago

Teen Unemployment: 20.7% ... More Than Three Times the National Average

[analysis]: Bitcoin: Revolutionary Monetary Game-Changer Or Financial Trojan Horse?

Bay Area Researcher Developing Facial Recognition Glasses To Help Stop Crime

Man gets bionic hand with sense of touch

Brain Implants Hold Promise Restoring Combat Memory Loss

[analysis]: The One Thing You Need To Survive: 'Everything Else Is Just Talking and Wishful Thinking'

Abomination Alert: More Federal Privileges to Extend to Same-Sex Couples

Planned Parenthood Must Pay $2 Million Settlement After Killing Woman in Abortion

Pew Study: Christians Are The World's Most Oppressed Religious Group

HEALTH HIGHLIGHTS: Join the Sound Body Yahoo group (part of the Christian Media ministry) to receive regular health eblasts  LINK


And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so ... And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good ... And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so ... And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:11, 21, 24, 25 (KJV)

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Worldwatch was edited this week by Editor Robert Ellis with help from Claire Mason.