"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why Chechens Hate Russians, A Stalin Legacy

Isa Khashiyev with the Koran and daggers
his family hid during their 13 years in exile
Seventy years ago, in February 1944, nearly half a million Chechen and Ingush people were herded into cattle trucks and forced into exile in remote parts of the Soviet Union. It's estimated that more than a third of them died before they were allowed back 13 years later.

"At dawn, five soldiers entered each house and took all the men away - anyone over the age of 14. I was 10 years old. Then they said they would deport all of us," says Isa Khashiyev.

"We had 10 people in our family - mum and dad, grandmother and seven children. I was the eldest, and my youngest sister was three months old.

"The soldier who was assigned to deport us was very kind. He loaded our truck with five sacks of grain and helped us pack our bedding and other belongings. It was thanks to him that we survived," he says. The truck took them to the nearest railway station in Ingushetia where they were put in a cattle wagon with 10 other families.
Sanu Mamoyeva spent eight years in a
Gulag for listening to anti-Stalin folk
music - she made this case to bring
her possessions home to Chechnya.
Khashiyev's family was sent on a 15-day journey to Kazakhstan. "We had no water and no food. The weak were suffering from hunger, and those who were stronger would get off the train and buy some food. Some people died on the way - no-one in our carriage, but in the next carriage I saw them taking out two corpses."

It was cold and dark when they arrived in Kokchetav, in the plains of northern Kazakhstan. "We went off on a sledge, I fell off at one point, but they stopped the sledge and my mum ran back to find me," says Khashiyev.

"Our baby sister died that night. My dad was looking for a place to bury her - he found a suitable place, dug the grave and buried her… she must have frozen to death."

The exiles were housed by local families, not all were happy with the situation. "The landlady didn't want to let us in - she had heard that we were cannibals or something," he says. "Eventually she agreed to take us in, but she wouldn't speak to us."

Khashiyev is one of nearly 100,000 Ingush who were deported - nearly 400,000 Chechens were exiled at the same time. Both had a long history of resistance to outside authority. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin (who was completely paranoid, partly thanks to the NKVD which exploited that paranoia for their own benefit) suspected them of collaborating with German forces as they pushed south into the Caucasus in 1942 and 1943.
Khumid Gabayev's father died in exile -
he brought his remains home to Chechnya for burial

Other nationalities deported en masse included the Balkars and Karachai, also from the North Caucasus, the Kalmyks, whose territory borders the Caspian Sea, the Crimean Tatars and, from the South Caucasus, the Meskhetian Turks.

Exiles who survived the difficult journey east had to abide by strict regulations curbing their movement. They had to report to the authorities regularly and if they broke the rules they risked lengthy prison sentences in labour camps where conditions were even worse.
On their return to Chechnya,
deportees had to fight
 to reclaim their land and
restore ancestral towers
The NKVD or secret police were the eyes and ears of the government and kept a close eye on the deportees. But some NKVD officers - like Alaudin Shadiyev, who had fought against the Nazis, but was deported along with all his compatriots - found this very tough.
Mukhtar Yevloyev who was deported
 as a young boy tends sheep
like his father before him

Alaudin Shadiyev fought against the Nazis and was later assigned to the NKVD secret police. "I was very upset. I used to cry every night. And I did my best to help my people, and also to help the secret police," he says.

Shadiyev's job was to check up on the exiles but he was horrified by the conditions he found at one deserted orphanage.

wearing his medals
"I was asking, 'Where are all the children?' And someone waved in the direction of the forest… and under the trees I saw lots of babies lying on straw. Then a teenage girl came up to me, and more girls joined her, they were all about 12 years old, or younger.

"The eldest pointed to the babies lying around, some on rags, some on the straw, and they were stretching their arms towards me… they were asking for help."

The girls had to forage in the fields and orchards or beg for food. "All these children were dying in silence. It was too hard for me to witness this. Even today I can hardly speak about this," says Shadiyev.

The deportations were a taboo subject under Stalin - the Soviet leader died in 1953 and the exiles were not allowed to return home until 1957. Khashiyev is now 80 and lives back in his native village where he is one of the elders. Shadiyev is 94 and lives near Nazran, the capital of Ingushetia.
Chekhkiyeva on her ancestral land
Tovsari Chekhkiyeva, now 101, had to fight to reclaim 
her family's land in Ingushetia when she returned home

Monday, February 24, 2014

It Was a Remarkable Weekend for Some 'Big Names' Around the World

Vladimir Putin's dreams came true as he successfully pulled of the Sochi Olympics without any major incidents. Russia even won the medal count. Now the Czar has to turn his attention to a less pleasant matter - the Ukraine. His dream of drawing it more closely into the Russian Federation evaporated over the weekend.

Victor Yanukovich, the President of the Ukraine went from being a wealthy and powerful president into a mass-murderer criminal in 24 hours. The Ukraine parliament ended 3 months of violent turmoil in the country by dramatically voting President Yanukovich out of office. Yanukovich and his family disappeared from Kiev that night.

Ukraine's acting government issued an arrest warrant Monday for President Viktor Yanukovych, accusing him of mass crimes against the protesters who stood up for months against his rule. It might have been avoided but for the snipers killing dozens of people in the last few days of the revolution.

This is a dangerous time for Ukraine. Yanokovich vowed he would remain in power. The only way that can happen is if Russia backs him up and literally invades the Ukraine. Does Putin have the nerve to raise the ire of the international community? Taking military control of Ukraine must be very tempting to the ambitious Czar who would like nothing better than to rebuild the old Soviet dominance of eastern Europe.
Yulia Tymoshenko

Yulia Tymoshenko, the beautiful icon of Ukrainian resistance has been set free from prison as one of the first acts by the interim government. She had been in prison since 2011, has been on many hunger strikes, and has suffered from a herniated disc in her back.

While attractive and a powerful speaker for Ukraine's association with the EU, Tymoshenko may not be any less corrupt than Yanukovich. She is one of the richest women in the country.

Joaquin (Shorty) Guzman, the most powerful drug-lord in North America, was finally arrested this weekend by Mexican marines. The head of the Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman escaped prison in 2001 and has been evading capture ever since.
'Shorty' Guzman

Guzman is revered in his home state and immortalized in songs written about his exploits. His capture, however, is not expected to make a dent in the flow of drugs through his cartel, but may, in fact, result in an increase in violence as neighboring cartels may try to move in on Sinaloa territory.

Alice Hertz-Sommer
Alice Hertz-Sommer died this weekend. She was the oldest living survivor of the holocaust at 110. "We all came to believe that she would just never die," said Frederic Bohbot, Montreal-based producer of the documentary The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. The documentary is up for an Academy Award this year.

Hertz-Sommer survived the holocaust because she was an accomplished pianist.
The original Von Trapp family Singers
Maria is in the middle
Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member of the original Trapp Family Singers whose escape from Nazi-occupied Austria was the basis for The Sound of Music, has died. She was 99. Maria was born in the Austrian Alps where her family had fled from the First World War. She served as a missionary in Papua, New Guinea, and helped run the family ski lodge in Vermont.

CNN's prime-time talk show Piers Morgan Live is coming to an end, the news channel said Sunday.

Piers Morgan
Morgan, who succeeded Larry King in the 9 p.m. ET time slot three years ago, was drawing lacklustre ratings. In contrast, King had a 25-year run on CNN.

The airdate for Morgan's last show has yet to be determined, CNN said in a statement. Morgan said that Americans were tired of a Brit weighing in on their cultural affairs.

A senior Pakistani Taliban commander has been shot dead in a militant stronghold near the Afghan border, security sources and relatives say.

Asmatullah Shaheen was ambushed as he drove through a village near Miranshah in North Waziristan, reports said. Three aides in the vehicle also died.

It is unclear who killed them. There has been no word from the militants.

Shaheen was briefly the TTP (Pakistani Taliban) interim leader after its chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed last year.

Since then, there have been a series of attacks in which unidentified gunmen have targeted militants in the tribal areas, puzzling observers about who could be behind them.

Jason Collins
Veteran basketball player Jason Collins has become the first openly gay athlete to play in a competitive game for a major US professional sports league.

Earlier on Sunday, he signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

Collins entered the court at the start of the second quarter in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The 35-year-old centre, who has played for five other NBA teams, was given a warm reception by the crowd.

He only revealed he was gay in a Sports Illustrated magazine interview last April. At the time he was not signed to a team.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What's Behind the Extraordinary Number of Recent Deaths in High Finance?

Ryan Henry Crane became the 5th banker fatality in just the last few weeks alone. Crane was an Executive Director in JPM’s Global Program Trading desk based in New York and had been with the firm for 14 years. He died on Feb. 3 at his Stamford, Connecticut, home.

The cause of death will be determined when a toxicology report is completed in about six weeks, said a spokeswoman for the state’s chief medical examiner.

Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old senior manager at JP Morgan’s European headquarters, jumped 500ft from the top of the bank’s headquarters in central London on January 27. Magee was a vice president in the corporate and investment bank technology department.

'It was bonus week at JP Morgan last week so I hope it wasn't to do with that', a co-worker said. A source close to Mr Magee said he was in 'good standing with his bosses and colleagues. He was well liked.'

JP Morgan's headquarters
in Canary Wharf, London
'No arrests have been made and the incident is being treated as non-suspicious at this early stage', a Met spokesman said.

Russell Investments
Seattle's Chase Center
A few days later, Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Russell Investments, fell down a 50 foot embankment in what police described as a suicide. Dueker was reported missing on January 29 by friends, who said he had been “having problems at work.”

On January 26, former Deutsche Bank executive William Broeksmit was found dead at his South Kensington home after police responded to reports of a man found hanging at a house. According to reports, Broeksmit had “close ties to co-chief executive Anshu Jain.”

Mr Broeksmit worked in investment banking - specifically risk and securities - and lived on exclusive Evelyn Gardens in South Kensington, which has an average property value of £1.9million.
Deutsche Bank, London

Mr. Broeksmit, an American, retired from Deutsche Bank last February. He had been slated to become the bank's chief risk officer, but his appointment was vetoed by the German banking regulator, which regarded him as lacking adequate experience, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Co-CEO J├╝rgen Fitschen, described Mr. Broeksmit as "an instrumental founder of the investment bank" who was "considered by many of his peers to be among the finest minds in the fields of risk and capital management."

Richard Talley, 57, founder of American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado, was also found dead last week after apparently shooting himself with a nail gun. A family member found the 57-year-old dead in his garage, the Denver Post reported.

Richard Talley's Home
A CEO has committed suicide by shooting himself multiple times with a nail gun, a coroner reported on Friday. Talley, was found Tuesday with up to eight wounds to the torso and head.

Of course, there is something very odd about the method of death. It certainly could not have been a planned suicide, nobody's that stupid, are they? Most suicides don't get a second shot let alone eight. But it is possible, I guess, that in a fit of despair he tried to shoot himself in the chest several times, not landing a fatal wound, before finally shooting himself in the head.

On the other hand, murder by nail-gun is not very bright either.

The Department Of Regulatory Agencies confirmed that an investigation was focused on Talley and the company to the Post but gave no additional information.

Swiss Re AG, London
“We can only hope this disturbing chain of deaths within the financial industry – one of which involved a nail-gun induced suicide – is purely accidental,” writes Zero Hedge, a financial blog. Are you kidding? You can’t possibly shoot yourself 8 times with a nail gun accidentally.

Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, also died last month, although the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown.

Swiss Re AG  is The Swiss Reinsurance Company of Zurich. It is the world’s second-largest reinsurer, and 150 years old. A reinsurer insures insurance companies.

The Swiss Reinsurance Company was the lead insurer of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks.

Swiss Re AG Headquarters, Zurich
The death last summer of a Bank of America Corp. intern in London whom colleagues said had recently been working exhaustive hours in the office. An inquest last November found that the 21-year-old intern died of an epileptic seizure that might or might not have been caused by the long hours.

Last August, Pierre Wauthier, the finance chief at Zurich Insurance Group committed suicide. He left a note blaming the company's chairman, Josef Ackermann, for creating an unbearable work environment. Mr. Ackermann resigned days later, acknowledging in a statement that Mr. Wauthier's family thought he "should take my share of responsibility, as unfounded as any allegations might be." He has declined further comment.

In November, Zurich Insurance said a probe found that Mr. Wauthier wasn't subjected to undue pressure from the insurer's leadership.

The effect of stress has reached senior levels. Last year, Barclays' head of compliance, Hector Sants, resigned from the bank due to what the bank described as exhaustion and stress.

Sir Hector Sants, is being lined up by the Archbishop of Canterbury to lead a new financial taskforce.

(The Most Rev Justin Welby has approached Sir Hector, who also led the Financial Services Authority throughout the financial crisis, to drive payday lenders such as Wonga out of business and create a new way of thinking about finance.)

In response to the resignation of Sants, international firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Credit Suisse Group, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America and Merrill Lynch are introducing new measures to alleviate stress, particularly for up-and-coming employees. In Canada, the Bank of Montreal is following suite.

It's a remarkable string of deaths in high finance. It's certainly possible that they were stress induced, however, it's difficult to accept that they were all stress related. It will be interesting to see what the various investigations into their recent work turn up, hopefully, nothing too frightening.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Is the Stock Market About to Crash? Will History Repeat Itself?

(Washington, D.C.) -- I hope there is nothing to this. But I thought I ought to share it with you anyway.

"There are eerie parallels between the stock market’s recent behavior and how it behaved right before the 1929 crash," says a columnist writing for the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch. "That at least is the conclusion reached by a frightening chart that has been making the rounds on Wall Street.

The chart superimposes the market’s recent performance on top of a plot of its gyrations in 1928 and 1929. The picture isn’t pretty. And it’s not as easy as you might think to wriggle out from underneath the bearish significance of this chart."

"I should know, because I quoted a number of this chart’s skeptics in a column I wrote in early December," notes Wall Street analyst Mark Hulburt. "Yet the market over the last two months has continued to more or less closely follow the 1928-29 pattern outlined in that two-months-ago chart. If this correlation continues, the market faces a particularly rough period later this month and in early March. (See chart, courtesy of Tom McClellan of the McClellan Market Report; he in turn gives credit to Tom DeMark, a noted technical analyst who is the founder and CEO of DeMark Analytics.)"

"One of the biggest objections I heard two months ago was that the chart is a shameless exercise  in after-the-fact retrofitting of the recent data to some past price pattern," Hulburt notes. "But that objection has lost much of its force. The chart was first publicized in late November of last year, and the correlation since then certainly appears to be just as close as it was before.

To be sure, as McClellan acknowledged: 'Every pattern analog I have ever studied breaks correlation eventually, and often at the point when I am most counting on it to continue working. So there is no guarantee that the market has to continue following through with every step of the 1929 pattern. But between now and May 2014, there is plenty of reason for caution.' Tom Demark added in interview that he first drew parallels with the 1928-1929 period well before last November. 'Originally, I drew it for entertainment purposes only,' he said—but no longer: 'Now it’s evolved into something more serious.'"....

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Canada's Answer to Bill Nye Gets Skewered by Newspaper

Article written by ROB BREAKENRIDGE, and published in the NATIONAL POST

Regardless of what you think of him, Canada needs David Suzuki. Or rather, we need the concept of David Suzuki.

We need great scientific minds who can serve as ambassadors and popularizers of science. We need those with the scientific literacy and communications skills to make science accessible and understandable for the masses.

That’s how David Suzuki has always been billed. His official bio at the David Suzuki Foundation describes him as someone who can “explain the complexities of the natural sciences in a compelling, easily understood way.” And clearly many Canadians still view him that way. An Angus Reid poll last October found that David Suzuki was at the top of the list when it came to the most admired Canadians.

Unfortunately, though, the reality of David Suzuki now seems completely at odds with the perception of David Suzuki. On a number of issues, he is not informing Canadians, but misinforming them. Rather than scientists getting their messages out through David Suzuki, they’re having to undo the damage his words are causing.

I witnessed a gross exaggeration of his more than 15 years ago, so this is neither news nor surprising to me, but it will be shocking to many Canadians.

We have before us now a perfect illustration of this, in the form of a reckless and irresponsible comment from three months ago that Suzuki only recently owned up to. It goes back to an Oct. 30 event at the University of Alberta. Although the focus was public water policy, Suzuki broached the topic of the tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant at Fukushima, Japan.

Suzuki declared, “I have seen a paper saying that if, in fact, the fourth plant goes in an earthquake … it’s ‘bye-bye Japan’ and everybody on the West Coast of North America should evacuate. If that isn’t terrifying, then I don’t know what is.”

Well, it certainly sounds terrifying, much like the sort of alarmist conspiracy theories found in the dark recesses of the Internet. But it isn't true, and the report Suzuki claimed to be citing makes no such claims. The lead author of the paper in question, France-based nuclear energy analyst Mycle Schneider, told The Province that he’s “really, really shocked about the way it’s being discussed in Canada. It’s just totally insane.” Moreover, he notes that he has “never seen any credible source for a scenario [requiring] evacuation of the West Coast of North America.”

This is the sort of anti-science fear-mongering that someone like David Suzuki should be rebutting and debunking, not perpetuating. Suzuki finally addressed the matter last month in an email to The Province. He expressed his “regret” for the “off-the-cuff response” and also expressed surprise that his comments were being recorded.

So a respected scientist is warning of Japan’s destruction and the possible abandonment of the entire North American western coast … and he sees it as a glib throwaway line that no one ought to have picked up on? Granted, he’s not a nuclear physicist, but that shouldn’t matter. He’s the guy who makes science understandable to the masses, remember? Shouldn’t he try to get it at least somewhat right?

This isn’t the first such incident. Last September, Suzuki took part in a question and answer session on Australian television. After being peppered with questions by climate skeptics, Suzuki pointed out that “I am not speaking on behalf of scientists. I’m just trying to translate their information so the public can understand and make up its mind … I’m just the messenger.”

That’s exactly what we should want him to be. Yet, when the discussion shifted to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Suzuki was quick to abandon this role. After it was repeatedly pointed out to him that his anti-GMO rhetoric was at odds with an overwhelming scientific consensus involving every major scientific organization in the world and based on literally hundreds of studies, Suzuki was left flummoxed.

So again, rather than Suzuki being the messenger for the scientific community on an important issue, the scientific community has to work to counter Suzuki’s message. The public is left confused, rather than informed.

If David Suzuki wants to be the sort of activist who’s willing to exaggerate, ignore, cherry-pick, or distort science to advance an agenda, then that’s a choice he can make. Unfortunately, what we’re left with is someone who loses credibility when it comes to conveying actual science and someone who can find an attentive audience when it comes to nonsense.

It’s time to find a new David Suzuki. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cancer 'Tidal Wave' on Horizon, Warns WHO, Much of It Preventable

This very important report is from BBC

The globe is facing a "tidal wave" of cancer, and restrictions on alcohol and sugar need to be considered, say World Health Organization scientists.

It predicts the number of cancer cases will reach 24 million a year by 2035, but half could be prevented.

The WHO said there was now a "real need" to focus on cancer prevention by tackling smoking, obesity and drinking.

The World Cancer Research Fund said there was an "alarming" level of naivety about diet's role in cancer.

Fourteen million people a year are diagnosed with cancer, but that is predicted to increase to 19 million by 2025, 22 million by 2030 and 24 million by 2035.

The developing world will bear the brunt of the extra cases.

Chris Wild, the director of the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer, told the BBC: "The global cancer burden is increasing and quite markedly, due predominately to the ageing of the populations and population growth.

"If we look at the cost of treatment of cancers, it is spiralling out of control, even for the high-income countries. Prevention is absolutely critical and it's been somewhat neglected."

The WHO's World Cancer Report 2014 said the major sources of preventable cancer included:
Dr Chris Wild

Obesity and inactivity
Radiation, both from the sun and medical scans
Air pollution and other environmental factors
Delayed parenthood, having fewer children and not breastfeeding

For most countries, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. However, cervical cancer dominates in large parts of Africa.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a major cause. It is thought wider use of the HPV and other vaccines could prevent hundreds of thousands of cancers.

One of the report's editors, Dr Bernard Stewart from the University of New South Wales in Australia, said prevention had a "crucial role in combating the tidal wave of cancer which we see coming across the world".

Dr Stewart said human behaviour was behind many cancers such as the sunbathe "until you're cooked evenly on both sides" approach in his native Australia.

He said it was not the role of the International Agency for Research on Cancer to dictate what should be done.

But he added: "In relation to alcohol, for example, we're all aware of the acute effects, whether it's car accidents or assaults, but there's a burden of disease that's not talked about because it's simply not recognised, specifically involving cancer.

"The extent to which we modify the availability of alcohol, the labelling of alcohol, the promotion of alcohol and the price of alcohol - those things should be on the agenda."

He said there was a similar argument to be had with sugar fueling obesity, which in turn affected cancer risk. Not only that but sugar feeds cancer like throwing gasoline on a flame.

Meanwhile, a survey of 2,046 people in the UK by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) suggested 49% do not know that diet increases the risk of developing cancer.

A third of people said cancer was mainly due to family history, but the charity said no more than 10% of cancers were down to inherited genes.

Amanda McLean, general manager for the WCRF, said: "It's very alarming to see that such a large number of people don't know that there's a lot they can do to significantly reduce their risk of getting cancer.

"In the UK, about a third of the most common cancers could be prevented through being a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and being regularly physically active.

"These results show that many people still seem to mistakenly accept their chances of getting cancer as a throw of the dice, but by making lifestyle changes today, we can help prevent cancer tomorrow."

It advises a diet packed with vegetables, fruit, and wholegrains; cutting down on alcohol and red meat; and junking processed meat completely.

Dr Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control, said: "The most shocking thing about this report's prediction that 14 million cancer cases a year will rise to 22 million globally in the next 20 years is that up to half of all cases could be prevented.

"People can cut their risk of cancer by making healthy lifestyle choices, but it's important to remember that the government and society are also responsible for creating an environment that supports healthy lifestyles.

"It's clear that if we don't act now to curb the number of people getting cancer, we will be at the heart of a global crisis in cancer care within the next two decades."