Archive for 10/18/2011

Muslim Brotherhood Gaining Foothold in U.S. Gov’t?

10/18/2011 Leave a comment

By Erick Stakelbeck – “WASHINGTON — They were the first modern terrorists and the forerunner of al Qaeda. But these days, the Muslim Brotherhood is becoming mainstream not only in Egypt, but in Washington, D.C.

While the final chapter of the so-called Arab Spring has yet to be written, it appears that radical Islamic forces could emerge as the big winners. None more so than the Muslim Brotherhood.

In Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria and Jordan, the Brotherhood has used unrest to increase its influence.

The group is also making inroads closer to home, according to one expert.

‘Their goal is primarily deception, manipulation and intelligence gathering,’ former FBI Special Agent John Guandolo said.

Guandolo said Brotherhood operatives have infiltrated the halls of power in Washington, D.C.

‘What we’re seeing not just inside the White House, but inside the government entities, the national security entities, the State Department — is a strong push by the Muslim Brotherhood to get their people not just into operational positions, but policy positions — deeper, long term, bureaucratic positions,’ he told CBN News.

Chief among their operatives is the Islamic Society of North America or ISNA, according to Guandolo.

In 2007, ISNA was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in American history.

Likewise, the FBI has uncovered internal Muslim Brotherhood documents naming ISNA as ‘one of our organizations and the organizations of our friends.'” Read more.

Three Muslim Brotherhood members employed by the White House, influencing policies of President Obama – “Rashad Hussain is Obama’s special envoy to the 52-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference. His background is entrenched in the Muslim Brotherhood… Dalia Mogahed is a speech writer and chief advisor on Islamic affairs for Barack Obama. Numerous sites provide information that show Ms. Mogahed is pro-Sharia and deeply entrenched with the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot, Muslim American Society… Azizah al-Hibri was appointed by the president to the Commission on International Religious Freedom. She is an intellectual professor and lawyer who defends Islamic law. She once served on the advisory board for Mohammed Alamoudi of the American Muslim Council, defending Alamoudi even after he made public statements supporting terrorism.” Read more.

Flashback: U.S. to Resume Formal Muslim Brotherhood Contacts – “The United States has decided to resume formal contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday, in a step that reflects the Islamist group’s growing political weight but that is almost certain to upset Israel and its U.S. backers.‘The political landscape in Egypt has changed, and is changing,’ said the senior official …” Read more.

Antibiotics: Killing Off Beneficial Bacteria … for Good?

10/18/2011 Leave a comment

By Maryn McKenna – “It’s an accepted concept by now that taking antibiotics in order to quell an infection disrupts the personal microbiome, the population of microorganisms that we all carry around in our guts, and which vastly outnumbers the cells that make up our bodies. That recognition supports our understanding of Clostridium difficile disease — killing the beneficial bacteria allows C. diff room to surge and produce an overload of toxins — as well as the intense interest in establishing a research program that could demonstrate experimentally whether the vast industry producing probiotic products is doing what it purports to do.

But implicit in that concept is the expectation that, after a while — after a course of antibiotics ends — the gut flora repopulate and their natural balance returns.

What if that expectation were wrong?

In a provocative editorial published this week in Nature, Martin Blaser of New York University’s Langone Medical Center argues that antibiotics’ impact on gut bacteria is permanent — and so serious in its long-term consequences that medicine should consider whether to restrict antibiotic prescribing to pregnant women and young children.

Early evidence from my lab and others hints that, sometimes, our friendly flora never fully recover. These long-term changes to the beneficial bacteria within people’s bodies may even increase our susceptibility to infections and disease. Overuse of antibiotics could be fuelling the dramatic increase in conditions such as obesity, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and asthma, which have more than doubled in many populations.

Among the findings he cites in support: The population-level observation that the incidence of infection with H. pylori, the bacterial cause of gastric ulcers, has declined over decades just as the incidence of esophageal cancer has risen. In addition, he offers his own research group’s observation that children who don’t acquire H. pylori are at greater risk of developing allergy and asthma, and their findings that eradicating H. pylori affects the production of the two hormones, ghrelin and leptin, that play a role in weight gain.” Read more.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy: The Destruction of the Euro May Mean the Destruction of Europe

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By Hugh Carnegy, Peter Spiegel and David Oakley – “France warned on Tuesday that European unity would be at risk if eurozone leaders failed to take bold action to tackle its sovereign debt crisis at a crucial summit this weekend.

In sharp contrast to signals from Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, playing down the chances of a breakthrough, President Nicolas Sarkozy said that ‘an unprecedented financial crisis will lead us to take important, very important decisions in the coming days’.

Raising the sense of urgency, the French president added: ‘Allowing the destruction of the euro is to take the risk of the destruction of Europe. Those who destroy Europe and the euro will bear responsiblity for resurgence of conflict and division on our continent.’

As Moody’s, the US rating agency, warned that France could see its credit outlook cut as a result of the growing sovereign debt emergency, Mr Sarkozy alluded to his country’s vulnerability were the eurozone to fall apart. ‘France on its own cannot cope.’

Prime minister François Fillon echoed the need for a rapid breakthrough on Sunday: ‘If we don’t succeed, Europe will be at great risk.'” Read more.

EU bank failures will crash Wall Street – “So listen closely to his ‘7 Major Advance Warnings,’ which are ‘the most important in the 40-year history of my company.’ Many will dismiss them, distracted by today’s campaign noise. Others will dismiss them as ‘over there,’ problems for Europeans. Weiss warns: EU banks problems are ‘bound to have a life-changing impact on nearly all investors in the U.S. and around the globe.’ So listen and discount what Wall Street is selling you. Protect your portfolio. Here are edited highlights: 1. Greece will default very soon … ” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters

Nigeria: Killing of Christians by Islamic Extremists Continues with Murder of Nigerian Evangelist

10/18/2011 Leave a comment

“MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, October 17 (CDN) — Violence-weary Christians in Borno state have been further upset to learn of the murder of a Nigerian evangelist by Boko Haram less than three months after the Islamic extremist group killed a Maiduguri pastor.

Already shell-shocked from attacks by Boko Haram, which was originally based in Borno state, Christians again took cover after the Aug. 27 shooting of Mark Ojunta, a 36-year-old evangelist from southern Nigeria who was ministering amid the Kotoko people of Nigeria’s northeastern state with Calvary Ministries (CAPRO). He was killed in Maiduguri.

CAPRO International Director Amos Aderonmu said Ojunta died ‘as a martyr on his field among the Kotokos.’ CAPRO had learned that all its staff members working among the Shuwa Arab, Kotoko and Kanuri peoples were on a Boko Haram list of people to be killed and had evacuated them, Aderonmu said.

Ojunta had returned to teach a class after the evacuation of his family.

‘Brother Mark took his family out on Friday (Aug. 26), but he went back to the field because he had a class with some believers on Saturday,’ Aderonmu reported. ‘It was in the night that the sect came to where they were staying and knocked at the door, and he tried to escape but could not get away.’

In his statement, Aderonmu said that four days before his death, Ojunta had received an invitation to leave work among the Kotoko people to take a position at CAPRO’s International office in London.

‘On Wednesday of that week, brother Kola Kehinde, our national coordinator in the U.K., spoke with him about the possibility of him coming to join the U.K. team,’ Aderonmu reported. ‘His response was that he wanted to invest more years into the work among the Kotokos and hand it over to believers before he can consider leaving. What a passion and commitment! Four days later, he was translated into the presence of his Master.'” Read more.

South Carolina: Mysterious Bird Deaths Baffle Hotel Workers

10/18/2011 Leave a comment

By Sean Maginnis – “MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) The apparent death of 30-40 birds has workers at one Myrtle Beach hotel wondering what’s to blame.

Ocean Forest Resort Hotel Security Guard Brandon Nelson said between 30 and 40 birds of various breeds fell from the sky around 2 Sunday morning while he was patrolling the building.

‘The birds were just landing with a plop, some of them chirped and squirmed for a few minutes before they died. I’ve never seen anything like it,’ Nelson said.

Nelson’s mother, Sarah Allen, stopped at the hotel to visit her son during his shift when she says one of the birds hit her in the shoulder as it fell from the sky.

‘I stepped out of my car and asked what was going on and no sooner had I asked when a bird hit my shoulder,’ Allen said.

Ocean Forest Maintenance Worker Jimmie Livingston said birds die almost yearly around the Hotel, though not in such large numbers.

‘Oh no, this isn’t the first time. And I think it’s going to keep happening too,’ Livingston said.

Livingston said he thinks the birds may be colliding with hotel late at night when the poor visibility makes the building difficult to see, especially in the moonlight.

‘They just confuse it for open air and they run into it,’ Livingston said.

Myrtle Beach Police confirmed they did respond and investigate the incident, but did not have any further details at the time.” Source.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths

Georgia: Environmental Protection Division Investigates Brier Creek Fish Kill

10/18/2011 Leave a comment

“A fish kill in Brier Creek was under investigation Monday by Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division.

‘The complaint came in Saturday evening,’ said EPD spokesman Kevin Chambers. ‘Brier Creek in the Keysville area in Burke County is the most heavily impacted.’

Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division is assisting in the investigation and trying to come up with a number of dead fish — and a possible cause, he said.

‘We are early in the investigation, so we have people walking the creek, taking water samples, etc.,’ Chambers said.

Authorities have ruled out an Oct. 9 truck accident in which some liquid nitrogen was spilled near Sandy Run Creek, which flows into Brier Creek.

‘We know about the truck wreck, but it is not related,’ Chambers said. ‘The spilled materials never reached the waterway and it’s too far away from the fish kill area.’

EPD recently completed an investigation into a May fish kill in which 38,634 fish died along the Ogeechee River.” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths

‘We Are Just Looking At The Beginning Of An Epidemic’: Drug-Resistant Staph Infections in Europe Could Mark Start of World’s Next Pandemic

10/18/2011 Leave a comment

By Robin Lloyd – “FLAGSTAFF, Arizona—A relatively new type of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus could represent the world’s next bacterial epidemic, an environmental health expert said here today at a conference for science writers.

The superbug, called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain 398, or MRSA ST398, was first identified in an infant in the Netherlands in 1994 and traced back to her family’s pigs. Now, researchers are starting to see more serious infections and some of the cases reveal no direct link to livestock, said Lance B. Price, director of the Center for Microbiomics and Human Health at The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), in Flagstaff.

‘The rate of human [ST398] infections is going up in Denmark and the Netherlands,’ Price said. ‘We are just looking at the beginning of an epidemic.’ Price made his comments during a presentation at the 49th annual New Horizons in Science meeting, organized by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

The mechanism for transmission in these newer ST398 cases currently is unknown. Researchers are considering various explanations including human-to-human exposure, contaminated meat or changes in the organism that make it spread more easily, Price said. Already, ST398 was recently found in about half of the pigs and farmers tested in Iowa.” Read more.

The Genesis of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus – “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has captured national headlines. In the fall of 2007, the CDC (Center for Disease Control in Atlanta) reported that deaths due to MRSA were greater than those caused by AIDS. MRSA is rapidly becoming one of the most prevalent and menacing diseases of our time and increases the risk of time spent in a hospital. MRSA are bacteria that represent “new” strains of antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus (Figure 1). Although the media discusses MRSA as a single new strain, in reality MRSA represents more than 1100 distinct strains of S. aureus (Wim and Neeling 2005). S. aureus causes many diseases, including skin boils, infection of leg ulcers, and pressure sores. Occasionally, it can cause more serious disorders such as blood poisoning (septicemia), pneumonia, or bone, joint, or heart valve infection. What makes MRSA bacteria deadly is their resistance to penicillin and its derivatives.” Read more.

Categories: Pestilence

British Columbia: Deadly European Virus Never Detected Before on West Coast Found in B.C. Salmon

10/18/2011 Leave a comment

“A highly infectious virus found in wild salmon on B.C.’s central coast could have a devastating impact on the province’s wild salmon and herring, according to some experts.

Simon Fraser University Prof. Rick Routledge discovered the disease known as infectious salmon anemia, or ISA, in two of 48 sockeye smolts collected. The fish were caught 100 kilometres from the nearest fish farm, and had never been out to sea.

The infection was diagnosed by Dr. Fred Kibenge, an employee at the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I., who notified the CFIA.

Routledge, who’s doing a long-term study on the collapse of Rivers Inlet sockeye, says the exotic disease could have a devastating impact on wild salmon in B.C.

He says the possible impact of the virus can’t be taken lightly and there must be an immediate response to assess the extent of the outbreak.

‘First thing that I think we should do is start looking for the source,’ said Routledge.

Infectious salmon anemia, or ISA has never been found in salmon off B.C.’s coast — not in the Atlantic species that are raised in ocean pens, and never in B.C.’s indigenous wild salmon.” Read more.

Categories: Pestilence

US Forces Massing on Afghanistan-Pakistan Border, Drone Missile Offensive Against Haqqani Network Imminent

10/18/2011 Leave a comment

By Dean Nelson and Javed Siddiq – “US forces are massing on the Pakistan border in eastern Afghanistan amid reports of an imminent drone missile offensive against fighters from the feared Haqqani Network, a Taliban faction which operates from safe havens in Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency, Pakistan Army sources have confirmed.

The scale of the American build-up, including helicopter gunships, heavy artillery and hundreds of American and Afghan troops, caused panic in north Waziristan where tribal militias who feared they could be targeted gathered in the capital Miranshah to coordinate their response.

Local officials in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) warned that Pakistan’s armed forces would repel any incursion across the border by American forces, but military sources in Islamabad and Afghan officials suggested the build-up was part of a coordinated operation.

Relations between Washington and Islamabad have deteriorated dramatically in recent months as American officials increased pressure on Pakistan to launch an offensive against the Haqqani Network, which mounts attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan from bases in North Waziristan.” Read more.

IMF Chief: Global Economic Outlook Has Worsened, S&P Downgrades 24 Italian Banks & Firms, Moody’s Warns France

10/18/2011 Leave a comment

“Paris: Head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, said on Saturday that the global economic outlook ‘is more likely to have worsened than improved in the last three weeks’ and that emerging markets feared ‘contagion from advanced economies.’

‘If anything, the situation is more likely to have worsened than to have improved over the last three weeks and if markets have straightened up a bit in the last few days, certainly the overall economic situation has not improved. We heard loud and clear that the emerging markets in particular were very concerned about the risk of contagion from advanced economies to emerging markets and to low income countries,’ Lagarde said.” Read more.

S&P downgrades 24 Italian banks, financial firms – Reuters – “Standard & Poor’s on Tuesday downgraded 24 Italian banks and financial institutions, citing renewed ‘market tensions’ and lower economic growth prospects. The action was taken after a review of the implications of a tougher-than-previously-anticipated macroeconomic and financial environment for the Italian banks, the credit rating agency said. ‘In our opinion, renewed market tensions in the euro zone’s periphery, particularly in Italy, and dimming growth prospects have led to further deterioration in the operating environment for Italian banks,’ it said in a statement.” Source.

Moody’s warns France on its triple-A rating – “Ratings agency Moody’s warned France that it may place a negative outlook on its cherished top ‘Aaa’ credit rating in the coming months as the government’s financial strength ‘has weakened.’ The annual credit report is a shot across the bows for the second largest economy in the eurozone and came as Germany dampened expectations that an upcoming EU summit will finally provide a solution to the eurozone debt crisis.” Read more.

Berlin experts fear euro break-up from bail-out escalation – “Berlin’s DIW institute, one of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s five official advisers, said attempts to boost the €440bn (£384bn) EFSF bail-out fund – possibly to €2 trillion – with guarantees to shore up southern Europe would be ‘poisonous’ for France’s credit worthiness. Dr Ansgar Belke, the group’s research chief, said the leverage proposal emerging as part of the EU’s ‘Grand Plan’ to restore confidence is self-defeating. ‘It counteracts efforts made so far to stabilise the eurozone debt crisis, which are premised on the AAA rating of a sufficiently large number of strong economies. In extremis, it would probably cause the break-up of the eurozone’, he told newspaper Handelsblatt.” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters
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