Archive for January, 2012

Saudi Arabia: Christians Detained After Religious Police Raid Prayer Meeting Face Deportation … for ‘Illicit Mingling’

01/31/2012 Leave a comment

Sura 9:123, “O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you …”

‘Illicit mingling.’ As if being Christian had nothing to do with it …

“Some 35 Ethiopian Christians face deportation from Saudi Arabia for ‘illicit mingling’, the global rights body Human Rights Watch (HRW) says.

Police arrested the group – including 29 women – after raiding a prayer meeting in the second city of Jeddah.

The women were subjected to strip searches and the men beaten and called ‘unbelievers’, according to HRW.

In 2006, the Saudi government promised to stop interfering with private worship by non-Muslims.

The group was arrested in a private home as they gathered to pray during the run-up to Christmas, celebrated by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians on 7 January.

HRW spoke to a man and two women by telephone from the prisons where they are being held.

They say they have been charged with mixing with unmarried persons of the opposite sex – even though HRW says Saudi Arabia has no law defining ‘illicit mingling’.

Mixing of the sexes is not allowed in public – but normally permitted in private unless for ‘the purpose of corruption’, according to the religious police.” Read more.

Flashback: ‘Unprecedented’: Saudi Security Forces Raid Christian Prayer Meeting in Jeddah and Arrest 42 Christians, Many Beaten and Threatened with Death – “International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Saudi security forces arrested 42 Ethiopian Christians at a prayer gathering in Jeddah on Thursday … at the home of an Ethiopian Christian in the Al-Safa district of Jeddah. Those attending the service were reportedly beaten and threatened before being arrested. ‘Security officials broke [into] the house and captured… beat and threatened them for death… They divided the men and the women and they are torturing them [in prison],’ an Ethiopian and Eritrean Christian immigrant community living in Europe wrote in a desperate appeal for help to the ambassadors of European embassies in Riyadh on Friday.” Read more.

Flashback: Saudis Export Anti-Christian and Anti-Jewish Textbooks that Continue to Fuel Intolerance and Violence Around the Globe – “Textbooks used in Saudi Arabia’s schools contain virulent forms of anti-Christian and anti-Jewish bigotry that continue to fuel intolerance and violence around the globe, says a new report. The problem is far greater than the five million students in Saudi Arabia who use these texts every day, said Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. ‘Because of the Saudis’ great oil wealth, it is able to disseminate its textbooks far and wide,’ she wrote in the report, Ten Years On. ‘[These textbooks] are posted on the Saudi Education Ministry’s website and are shipped and distributed free by a vast Saudi-sponsored Sunni infrastructure to many Muslim schools, mosques and libraries throughout the world. ‘This is not just hate mongering, it’s promoting violence,’ she said in an interview. It is exporting terrorism through textbooks.” Read more.

UN Urged by Arab and Western Leaders to Take Action on Syria as Assad Threatens War if UN Tells Him to Step Down

01/31/2012 Leave a comment

“The Arab League chief and the prime minister of Qatar urged the United Nations Security Council Tuesday to quickly take action on the crisis in Syria, as the regime’s troops continue to crack down on the 11-month uprising.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani spoke at the UN in New York asking the 15-nation council to support the Arab League’s plan that calls on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

The resolution, seen by The Associated Press, calls for ‘an end to all human rights violations and attacks against those exercising their rights to freedom of expression,’ and insists there will be no use of foreign forces in the country.

The foreign ministers of Britain, France, and the U.S. planned to stand together at key talks Tuesday and put pressure on Syria’s long-standing allies, such as Russia and China, which have veto power and are stonewalling the council from taking action.

Members of the Syrian opposition have travelled to New York and plan to confront Moscow during talks.

George Netto, spokesman for the opposition Syrian National Council, says his council is ready to negotiate, but ‘the first condition is for President Assad to step down.'” Read more.

UK: Foreign Secretary urges UN support for Arab League on Syria – “Foreign Secretary William Hague will today argue for the urgent adoption of a resolution on Syria in support of Arab League plans to end the crisis when he speaks at the UN Security Council today. Speaking ahead of the UN meeting in New York the Foreign Secretary said: ‘This is a very important resolution. It is a very sensible resolution because it endorses the plan of the Arab League. So this is not the Western nations trying to say what should happen in Syria, this is the plan from the Arab world.'” Read more.

US: Clinton urges Security Council to act on Syria – “US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that the UN Security Council ‘must act’ on Syria to end President Bashar al-Assad’s ‘violent and brutal attacks’ against demonstrators. Amid Russian opposition to a tough resolution on Syria, Clinton said that she would travel to the United Nations on Tuesday to ‘send a clear message of support to the Syrian people: we stand with you.’ ‘The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the escalation of the Syrian regime’s violent and brutal attacks on its own people,’ Clinton said in a statement.” Read more.

Gulf Sources: Assad may start regional war if UN tells him to step down – “In confidential conversations with his advisers, Syrian President Bashar Assad is reported by Persian Gulf sources Tuesday, Jan. 31 to have threatened to start up armed hostilities in the region if the UN Security Council Tuesday night endorses the Arab League proposal for him to step down and hand power to his deputy… Other Middle East sources reported that the Lebanese Hizballah has also shown signs of military preparations in the last few hours. And the Russian flotilla berthed at the Syrian port of Tartus, led by the Admiral Kutznetsov aircraft carrier, also appears to be on the alert for ructions in the wake of the Security Council Syria session.” Read more.

US Intelligence Report: Perceiving Threat From the West, Iran is Prepared to Launch Terrorist Attacks Inside the United States

01/31/2012 Leave a comment

By Greg Miller – “U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Iran is prepared to launch terrorist attacks inside the United States in response to perceived threats from America and its allies, the U.S. spy chief said Tuesday.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said in prepared testimony that an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington that was uncovered last year reflects an aggressive new willingness within the upper ranks of the Islamist republic to authorize attacks against the United States.

That plot ‘shows that some Iranian officials — probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime,’ Clapper said in the testimony, which was submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee in advance of a threat assessment hearing Tuesday. ‘We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas.’

The assessment signals a potentially dire new direction in the adversarial relationship between the United States and Iran, at a time when there are indications that a covert campaign is already underway to thwart Iran’s alleged ambition to develop a nuclear weapon.

Clapper’s warning about Iran was delivered as part of the U.S. intelligence community’s annual overview of the nation’s most serious national security concerns. As the hearing got underway, Clapper signaled that the United States is seeking to avoid a violent confrontation with Iran, instead pushing for more and more sanctions while also monitoring the possibility of a preemptive strike by Israel.” Read more.

Flashback: Confirmed: Hezbollah Terror Operatives, ‘Sleeper Cells’ Poised in the U.S – “Operatives of the Lebanese Islamic terrorist organization Hezbollah, the same group presently firing missiles into Israel and labeled as one of the most dangerous Islamic terrorist group in the world, are believed ‘to be planning to activate sleeper cells located in New York and other larger cities inside the U.S.’ to stage attacks Americans… Law-enforcement and intelligence officials stated that ‘about a dozen hard-core supporters of Hezbollah have been identified in recent weeks as operating in the New York City area (alone).’ The above appeared in an article published in The New York Post on May 22, 2006. Not surprisingly, that very same information was verified through several sources within law enforcement agencies and agents contacted by the Northeast Intelligence Network this weekend… Their international operational budget is estimated to be $200-$500 million annually, including $100 million in contributions provided directly by Iran.Read more.

Flashback: 35 Islamic Terror Training Camps Now Operating … Inside the United States – “A radical jihadist group responsible for nearly 50 attacks on American soil is operating 35 terrorist training camps across the nation, but the U.S. government refuses to include the organization on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorists. Jamaat ul-Fuqra, known in the U.S. as ‘Muslims of America,’ has purchased or leased hundreds of acres of property – from New York to California – in which the leader, Sheikh Mubarak Gilani, boasts of conducting ‘the most advanced training courses in Islamic military warfare.’ In a recruitment video captured from Gilani’s ‘Soldiers of Allah,’ he states in English: ‘We are fighting to destroy the enemy. We are dealing with evil at its roots and its roots are America.’” Read more.

Flashback (Video): Middle Eastern Terrorists Plan US Attack ‘Worse Than The World Trade Center’ From Latin American Countries – Read more.

Egypt: Rise of Islam Plotted at Secret Muslim Brotherhood Meeting

01/31/2012 1 comment

By Aaron Klein – “JERUSALEM – The Muslim Brotherhood last week held a secret meeting in Egypt to coordinate the Islamic group’s rise to power in countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, WND has learned.

Egyptian security officials told WND the meeting included Brotherhood members from Gaza, Syria, Jordan, Sudan and Egypt. The group discussed methods of gaining more influence in the respective countries.

The security officials said that Muslim Brotherhood members at the meeting identified militant Salafist organizations as a threat to the Brotherhood’s plan of taking power via elections.

The meeting followed the Brotherhood’s sweeping victory in Egypt’s parliamentary elections, taking 47 percent of the seats in the new assembly.

The confab took place as the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad faces an insurgency that is reportedly being coordinated in part by Muslim Brotherhood-allied groups.” Read more.

Source: Hamas’ Meshaal Sets Sights on Brotherhood Post – “Hamas’ out-going politburo chairman is leaving the Palestinian terrorist group to take a ‘high position in the Muslim Brotherhood movement,’ a ‘well-informed source in Hamas’ told the Nazareth-based Arabic-language Al-Sinnara last week. The move would see Khaled Meshaal—the longtime Damascus-based leader of Hamas—transition to a new, more international role, as head of the ‘Supreme Council of the [Brotherhood] movement.’ The Council is said to be ‘responsible for political issues,’ according to the report. It remains to be seen whether the article is referring to the group’s Guidance Bureau, which largely deals with the movement’s political affairs, or with another body altogether. If true, the news would help explain why Meshaal has been so adamant about not seeking re-election.” Read more.

Hezbollah official: Brotherhood would cancel Camp David Agreement – “Tehran — Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood will eventually cancel the Camp David Agreement, despite the group’s announcement that it respects international agreements Egypt has signed, said Amin al-Sayed Ibrahim, head of Hezbollah’s political council. Speaking to the ‘International Conference on Islamic Awakening and the Youths,’ Ibrahim said that the Egyptian military, so as not to lose its clout, would never allow the Brotherhood to write the constitution or even form a constituent assembly to write the constitution. Over 1,200 young people from Iran as well as 73 other countries are participating in the two-day conference, Iran’s Fars news agency reported on Monday.” Read more.

California: Moss Landing Residents ‘Alarmed by the Sheer Number’ of Bird Deaths on Local Beach, ‘Something in the Water’ Killed Them

01/31/2012 Leave a comment

By Rachel Ramirez – “Moss Landing, Calif. -Sea shells and crabs are usually found along the shore, but in Moss Landing people say a different animal is stinking up the beach.

‘Last week, [There was] clear beach, clear skies, beautiful weather. Now what do I see? There are carcasses on the beach. Why?’ said Michael Kasclica, who lives in Watsonville and walks frequently at Moss Landing Harbor beach.

At the edge of Sandholdt Road in Moss Landing is a graveyard for a variety of rotting birds.

‘It’s despicable and it is definitely unusual,’ said Kasclica.

People walking along the beach said they found a half dozen birds on both sides of the beach and are alarmed by the sheer number and variety of dead birds.

Both the California Department of Fish and Game and the SPCA Wildlife Center came to check out the dead birds. The departments don’t know what killed them and called the scene out of the ordinary.

‘The concern is the amount of birds and the location where they’re at. It’s hard for them to wash a shore this high up,’ said Warden Sarah Weimer of the California Department of Fish and Game.

‘There are a lot of them. A necropsy will show if there are any gun wounds or any human infliction of injury. But otherwise, it looks like something else is going on,’ said Jessica Shipman, the interim SPCA Wildlife Center supervisor.

SPCA interim Wildlife supervisor said it seems something in the water killed the birds.

‘The fish eat the toxic algae and the birds eat the contaminated fish. Their bodies can’t handle that,’ said Shipman.

Most of the dozen birds were taken to biologists at the Department of Fish and Game in Monterey to be tested. The Department of Fish and Game said test results will show the cause of death. Experts do not suspect any human foul play.” Source – Central Coast NEWS.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths

New Bible Yanks ‘Father,’ Jesus as ‘Son of God’

01/30/2012 Leave a comment

1 John 4:15, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

John 15:5-6, “I am the vine, you [are] the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw [them] into the fire, and they are burned.”

Altering God-inspired Scripture and its intended meaning in an effort to be more “appealing” to Islamic sensitivities carries with it the serious risk of leading many into an apostate form of “Christianity.” As the article below demonstrates, such efforts have done precisely that. Although I understand what these publishers are attempting to do, this is not the right way to do it. In a day and age where spiritual darkness increasingly engulfs the Muslim world, it is not the Biblical text that needs to be altered, but rather the Islamic misconceptions of some of the most basic tenets upon which Christianity is built. His Word is a lamp unto our feet. It is a light unto our path. And the original words chosen by the Spirit should be left as the Spirit intended. Anything else may simply cause them to stumble …

By Joel Richardson – “In the world of questionable and sometimes downright silly Bible translations, one would think that it couldn’t get any worse.

After all, we’ve seen the ‘In da beginnin’ Big Daddy created da heaven an’ da earth’ Ebonics Bible, as well as the ‘Apostle’s Log’ Star Trek English paraphrase Bible. In a more serious effort, the New Oxford Annotated Bible was created in part by pro-‘gay’ and feminist scholars in order to set forth a more ‘gay’ revisionist interpretation of Scripture.

But now there is a major controversy developing as the latest altered Bibles are being created by organizations that most would think of as being more conservative and reasonable. At the forefront of the controversy are the Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Summer Institute of Linguistics and Frontiers, all of which are producing Bible translations that remove or modify terms which they have deemed offensive to Muslims.

That’s right: Muslim-friendly Bibles.

Included in the controversial development is the removal of any references to God as ‘Father,’ to Jesus as the ‘Son’ or ‘the Son of God.’ One example of such a change can be seen in an Arabic version of the Gospel of Matthew produced and promoted by Frontiers and SIL. It changes Matthew 28:19 from this:

‘baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit’

to this:

‘cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit.’

A large number of such Muslim-sensitive translations already are published and well-circulated in several Muslim-majority nations such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia.

According to Joshua Lingel of i2 Ministries, ‘Even more dramatic a change is the Arabic and Bangla (Bangladesh) translations. In Arabic, Bible translations err by translating ‘Father’ as ‘Lord.’ ‘Guardian.’ ‘Most High’ and ‘God.” In Bangla, ‘Son of God’ is mistranslated ‘Messiah of God’ consistent with the Quran’s Isa al-Masih (Jesus the Messiah), which references the merely human Jesus.’

In response to these translations, many within the evangelical missions movement as well as many former Muslim converts and indigenous Christians from countries where these translations are being used, are Read more…

Does Psalm 83 Describe the Next Mideast War?

01/30/2012 33 comments

I have also believed for some time that any answer to the prayer of Psalm 83 could only be observed at the conclusion of Israel’s final battle, brought to a decisive and irrefutable end through Divine intervention at the Second Coming of Messiah. It is good to see some prominent pre-trib adherents reconsidering Psalm 83 and any prerequisites needed to satisfy its fulfillment, as pointed out by Richardson below. Now they just need to re-examine the details surrounding Gog-Magog

By Joel Richardson – “Throughout the Christian church, an idea that has gained much traction in recent years holds that the next major Middle Eastern war is described in Psalm 83. According to this view, a contingent of Arab nations that immediately surround Israel will soon make an attempt to invade her, only to be utterly defeated by the Israeli Defense Forces. Many even believe that as a result of this great victory over her neighbors, Israel will literally come to occupy the nations of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This growing view also holds that after this period of victory and peace, another massive war, this time described in Ezekiel 38 and 39, will follow. If one peruses several of the larger online Bible prophecy discussion forums, it will quickly become apparent just how widespread this view truly is among prophecy students.

But few of these students of prophecy are aware of the many problems with this view. For the past few years, I’ve been highlighting several of these problems, but recently, both Dr. Thomas Ice, the executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Center, and Pastor Mark Hitchcock, another very well-accomplished prophecy teacher and author, have also articulated several of the problems with the popular interpretation of Psalm 83.

The first problem is that most scholars reject the idea that Psalm 83 is even an actual prophecy, but is simply, ‘a national prayer of lament.’ Such a Psalm would not be considered a prophecy in the sense of that which was uttered by the biblical prophets.

Second, even if one does consider Psalm 83 to be a prophecy in the proper sense, the primary reason many have come to accept this two-war scenario is because of the differences between the nations listed in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39. While Psalm 83 lists what are often referred to as the ‘inner circle’ of nations that immediately border Israel, Ezekiel 38 and 39 lists a series of nations that form a larger ‘outer ring’ around Israel including Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Libya and, many argue, Russia. But a closer examination of both texts reveals that it is far more likely that these two passages speak of the same war.

If one examines the list of nations in Psalm 83, few analysts include the nation of Turkey. Yet Asaph, the writer of this Psalm, mentions that ‘Assyria’ (v.8) will join this coalition. When this Psalm was written during the reign of King David, the Kingdom of Assyria included portions of modern-day Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Analysts of Psalm 83 have included both Iraq and Syria in their coming invasion scenario, but never Turkey. Yet the reality is that the Assyrian Kingdom during the time the Psalm was written included quite a bit more of modern Turkey than Syria. This is significant, of course, because Read more…

The Fruits of an Arab Spring: Persecution of Christians Rising in Islamic Countries

01/30/2012 Leave a comment

Daniel 7:25, “And he shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”

Revelation 13:15, “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”

By Tzippe Barrow – “JERUSALEM, Israel — With Islamists poised to take over governments overthrown during the ‘Arab spring,’ Christians and other minorities may soon be subject to Sharia (Islamic) law.

Some say assurance by Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis, and Ennahda, that non-Muslims would not be mistreated under Sharia is, at best, questionable.

In Egypt, attacks on Coptic Christians have increased exponentially since the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime last year.

Egyptian Christians have been beaten, shot and stabbed to death, and their homes and churches have been fire bombed by angry Muslims.

On Monday, Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament held its first session. The Muslim Brotherhood now holds 47 percent of the seats, and the Salafist al-Nour party 25 percent.

Syrian Christians have also come under increasing persecution.

‘The Christian community in Syria has been hit by a series of kidnappings and brutal murders; 100 Christians have now been killed since the anti-government unrest began,’ the Jerusalem Post quoted the Pakistan Christian Post.

According to the report, two Christians were gunned down recently at a bakery. In a separate incident, three attackers killed a Christian as he drove with two young children in the car.

In Libya, Muslims staged a demonstration Friday, demanding that legislation in the post-Gadhafi government would be based on the principles of Sharia, not secular, law.

‘We as a Muslim nation have taken Islamic Sharia as the source of legislation,’ National Transitional Council chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil said in October, according to Reuters.

Jalil added that ‘any law that contradicts the principles of Islam is legally nullified.’

Many experts wonder if Sharia law can support ‘genuine’ democracy. Last July the American Thinker re-posted the ‘Top ten reasons why Sharia is bad for all societies,’ originally published in August 2005.

According to that report, under Sharia, an apostate — anyone who leaves Islam for any reason — can be put to death if they refuse to repent. Criticizing the prophet Mohammed, the Koran or Sharia law is also punishable by death.” Read more.

The Religion of Misogyny – Police Say Afghan Man Who Wanted a Son Killed His Wife for Giving Birth to Girl

01/30/2012 1 comment

“KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan woman has been strangled to death, apparently by her husband, who was upset that she gave birth to a second daughter rather than the son he had hoped for, police said Monday.

It was the latest in a series of grisly examples of subjugation of women that have made headlines in Afghanistan in the past few months — including a 15-year-old tortured and forced into prostitution by in-laws and a female rape victim who was imprisoned for adultery.

The episodes have raised the question of what will happen to the push for women’s rights in Afghanistan as the international presence here shrinks along with the military drawdown. NATO forces are scheduled to pull out by the end of 2014.

In the 10 years since the ouster of the Taliban, great strides have been made for women in Afghanistan, with many attending school, working in offices and even sometimes marching in protests. But abuse and repression of women are still common, particularly in rural areas where women are still unlikely to set foot outside of the house without a burqa robe that covers them from head to toe.

The man in the latest case, Sher Mohammad, fled the Khanabad district in Kunduz province last week, about the time a neighbor found his 22-year-old wife dead in their house, said District Police Chief Sufi Habibullah. Medical examiners whom police brought to check the body said she had been strangled, Habibullah said.

The woman, named Estorai, had warned family members that her husband had repeatedly reproached her for giving birth to a daughter rather than a son and had threatened to kill her if it happened again, said Provincial women’s affairs chief Nadira Ghya, who traveled to Khanabad to deal with the case. Estorai gave birth to her second daughter between two and three months ago, Ghya said. Officials did not have a family name for either Sher Mohammad or Estorai.” Read more.

Categories: Radical Islam

The ‘Religion of Pieces’: Minnesota Man Allegedly Tries to Join Jihad in Somalia, Threatens to ‘Chop’ His Sister and Mother ‘In Pieces’

01/30/2012 Leave a comment

By Emily Gurnon – “A St. Paul man who began to get violent after he decided to join jihad and travel to Somalia, according to his family, was charged with making terroristic threats.

The family of Sharmarke Duale, 20, told police he had done well in high school and college until he began attending a mosque on University Avenue, according to a criminal complaint.

The name of the mosque was not mentioned.

‘Since that time, he has been very disrespectful toward the women in the house and has threatened his father to try to get his father to assist Duale in getting a passport,’ according to the complaint filed Thursday in Ramsey County District Court.

The complaint gives this account of events:

Police were called Tuesday afternoon to the family’s home in the 700 block of Burr Street in St. Paul about an assault in progress.

They were told that a son had stabbed his mother and was trying to get back into the house by breaking a window with a shovel.

Officers arrived to find Duale on the porch wielding a shovel. The mother was inside; police saw defensive stab wounds on her hands.

According to the complaint, the family said Duale was raising money for jihad and told his father, ‘Take me out of this country, or I will show you what will happen; things will not be good for you.’

Duale’s father, Mohamed Duale, vehemently denied telling police that his son was raising money for jihad.

‘We never said these words,’ he told a reporter Friday. ‘This is wrong what they put here; this is not from my family.’

According to the complaint, Sharmarke Duale tried to stab his father but cut his mother when she jumped in to intervene. He also punched his sister.

Duale’s parents said they are afraid of him and want him to get help. He has threatened to ‘chop (his sister and mother) in pieces’ and ‘kill the girls.'” Read more.

Antibiotics Prove Powerless as Super-Germs Spread, Microbiologists Warn Bacteria Could Spark a Pandemic

01/30/2012 Leave a comment

“The pathogens thrive in warm, moist environments. They feel comfortable in people’s armpits, in the genital area and in the nasal mucous membranes. Their hunting grounds are in the locker rooms of schools and universities, as well as in the communal showers of prisons and health clubs.

The bacteria are transmitted via the skin, through towels, clothing or direct body contact. All it takes is a small abrasion to provide them with access to a victim’s bloodstream. Festering pustules develop at the infection site, at which point the pathogens are also capable of corroding the lungs. If doctors wait too long, patients can die very quickly.

This is precisely what happened to Ashton Bonds, a 17-year-old student at Staunton River High School in Bedford County, in the US state of Virginia. Ashton spent a week fighting for his life — and lost. This is probably what also happened to Omar Rivera, a 12-year-old in New York, who doctors sent home because they thought he was exhibiting allergy symptoms. He died that same night.

The same thing almost happened at a high school in the town of Belen, New Mexico. Less than two weeks ago, a cheerleader at the school was hospitalized after complaining about an abscess. Twelve other female students had been afflicted with suspicious rashes. All the students tested positive for a bacterium that the US media has dubbed the “superbug.”

The school administration in Belen believes that the bacterium was spread on mats in the school’s fitness and wrestling rooms. The facility was thoroughly disinfected 40 times, and yet the fear remains.

Fears of a Pandemic

Microbiologists refer to this bacterium as community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or ca-MRSA. The terrifying thing about it is its resistance to almost all common antibiotics, which complicates treatment. And, in contrast to the highly drug-resistant hospital-acquired MRSA (ha-MRSA) strains, which primarily affect the elderly and people in hospitals and nursing homes, ca-MRSA affects healthy young people. The bacterium has become a serious health threat in the United States. Doctors have already discovered it in Germany, although no deaths have been attributed to it yet in the country.

The two bacteria, ha-MRSA and ca-MRSA, are only two strains from an entire arsenal of pathogens that are now resistant to almost all available antibiotics. Less than a century after the discovery of penicillin, one of the most powerful miracle weapons ever produced by modern medicine threatens to become ineffective.

The British medical journal The Lancet warns that the drug-resistant bacteria could spark a ‘pandemic.’ And, in Germany, the dangerous pathogens are no longer only feared ‘hospital bugs’ found in intensive care units (ICUs). Instead, they have become ubiquitous.” Read more.

Categories: Pestilence

‘Perfect Storm’: In Case You Still Don’t Get It, Here’s Why A Greek Default Should Put ‘Fear In Your Heart’

01/30/2012 Leave a comment

“NEW YORK (AP) — Remember Greece?

It’s been two years since a financial crisis erupted in the birthplace of drama, and the final act is still unfinished. A second week of talks in Athens ended Friday with no deal between the country, the European Union and private holders of Greek bonds.

Remarkably, even after the crisis became such an international worry last year that the leaders of France and Germany were actually referred to as “Merkozy,” the European debt bomb could still explode, with Greece as the fuse.

Economists and investors see a Greek default as the biggest test of the world financial system since the crisis that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers investment house in 2008.

It is also the biggest threat to what has been a successful start to the year in the U.S. stock market. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index has gained 4.7 percent, roughly half its average for a full year, in just four weeks.

‘If talks break down next week and it looks like they can’t reach a deal, it raises all sorts of risks,’ says Jeffrey Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. ‘The stock market could probably lose half its gains for the year.’…

A breakdown in talks could trigger steep losses in stock markets in Europe and the U.S. Just as in 2008, banks could stop lending to each other, and the credit freeze could cause a market panic.

More importantly overseas, it could cause borrowing rates for Portugal and Italy to jump, pushing those much larger countries closer to defaults of their own.

That’s only the beginning…” Read more.

Eurozone crisis: angry Greeks condemn EU plot to control its finances – “Greece has reacted furiously to a German proposal that an EU budget commissioner with oversight of its economy be installed in Athens after mounting speculation that international lenders will have to stump up yet more money for the country. The escalating row threatened to eclipse Monday’s summit after Greece’s finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, issued a tart response to the suggestion, saying his compatriots were themselves capable of fulfilling the ‘historical obligation’ to take the country out of crisis. The proposal, in a leaked document, argued for the creation of a commissioner with veto powers over the Greek budget, saying Athens’ inability to meet fiscal targets had made the post a precondition of further rescue funds from its ‘troika’ of creditors: the EU, IMF and ECB.” Read more.

Pundits fear ‘perfect storm’ despite official optimism – “Despite attempts by political and business leaders to suggest the eurozone has turned a corner, the prevailing view of pundits is things can only get worse and a “perfect storm” is brewing… Some of the players most closely involved with the crisis since the 2008 financial meltdown insisted there was now light at end the tunnel with European Central Bank president Mario Draghi hailing ‘outstanding progress’… But, in an end of forum debate, experts predicted the break-up of the eurozone, economic malaise in the United States and a rise of militancy — and then there are the consequences of a conflict over Iran’s nuclear programme.” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters
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