"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, May 31, 2016

Miss Turkey 2006 Guilty of Insulting Sultan Erdogan

Ex-Miss Turkey in hot water for ‘insulting Erdogan’ amid crackdown on free speech
Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac © Katarina Stoltz
Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac © Katarina Stoltz / Reuters

Miss Turkey 2006 has been found guilty for sharing a poem deemed insulting to the Turkish head of state in the latest of some 2,000 defamation cases President Erdogan filed in two years under a law that bans insulting the president.

The Istanbul court gave 27-year-old Merve Buyuksarac a suspended sentence of 14 months for “publicly insulting” the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on condition that she does not reoffend within the next five years.

The case was based on a satirical verse she reposted on her Instagram account in 2014.

The so-called ‘Master's Poem, ’ an adaptation of the Turkish national anthem, allegedly criticizes Erdogan, who served as prime minister for more than a decade prior to becoming president and has often been called “Buyuk Usta” [the Big Master]. The poem did not mention Erdogan by name, but made reference to a corruption scandal that allegedly involved his family.

During the hearings, the President’s lawyer, Hatice Ozay, stressed that Buyuksarac's Instagram post had gone beyond “the limits of criticism” and was in fact “an attack” on Erdogan’s personal rights.

Buyuksarac was briefly arrested at the time the post was made, but then freed as she denied insulting Erdogan. The case however resurfaced, with Tuesday’s court’s decision based on a previously rarely-used Turkish law that forbids insulting the head of state.

The law has been used increasingly often lately to silence those critical of Erdogan’s policies. Since becoming president in 2014, he has filed up to 2,000 cases under this law in trials targeting journalists, foreign and domestic, academics, politicians, comedians, and now – models.

This spring has in fact been rich with cases of Ankara’s witch-hunt on those critical of the current government.

Also on Tuesday, Cengiz Candar, a former columnist for Radikal and Hurriyet newspapers who’s been in the profession for over 40 years, appeared in Istanbul court accused of insulting Erdogan in a series of articles he wrote in the summer of 2015, criticizing Turkey's renewed conflict against Kurdish rebels. The veteran journalist and an adviser to the late Turkish head of state Turgut Ozal faces up to four years in prison if found guilty.

“These court cases must come to an end,” he told reporters outside the courthouse. “These trials must immediately end with acquittals so that the presidency of the Turkish Republic can preserve its respectability.”

In April, Erdogan sparked a row when he submitted a personal complaint for libel against German comedian Jan Böhmermann for a crude poem with rough sexual references about the Turkish president the comedian read on air. He is now prosecuted by German authorities.

In March, the Turkish government shut down and reformed opposition newspaper Zaman, previously a strong critic of the President. Overnight the newspaper turned into a government mouthpiece.

Four Turkish academics faced trial after having been charged with spreading “terrorist propaganda.” Their alleged crime was to denounce the renewed conflict with Turkey’s Kurds, being part of a group of more than 1,000 scholars who signed a declaration in January that was critical of the Turkish government’s military intervention into the predominantly Kurdish southeast of the country.

Foreign journalists have also been targeted and arrested. The latest incidents involved German TV journalist Volker Schwenck and Dutch journalist Ebru Umar. Schwenck was going to the Turkish-Syrian border to report on refugees, but instead was denied entry into Turkey and spent six hours in detention at Istanbul airport. Umar was briefly detained in Turkey over Twitter posts critical of the Turkish President.

Turkey also shut down Russian news agency Sputnik’s website in the country and blacklisted its Istanbul bureau chief, refusing him entry to the country and seizing his residence permit and press credentials.

"Erdogan’s administration doesn’t seem to tolerate any criticism at all. Any journalist, would they criticize Erdogan, risk being imprisoned and legally harassed. In short, journalism is in coma in Turkey,”  Dr. Y. Alp Aslandogan, President of the Alliance for Shared Values and a Board Member of the Gulen Institute told RT, adding that the overall situation with respect to fundamental freedoms in Turkey will only get worse unless the Turkish people interfere.

“The fate of the country is up to the people of Turkey. Unless there is an outcry from Turkish people I don’t know how this situation can be resolved. I’m just hoping that Turkish people will awaken to what’s going on.”

Monday, May 30, 2016

Chad's Ex-Ruler Sentenced to Life in Prison

Former Chad ruler Hissene Habre was sentenced to life in prison in Dakkar, Senegal, on Monday. Photo from Senegal television

By Allen Cone

DAKAR, Senegal, May 30 (UPI) -- Chad's former leader, who was accused of being responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people during his rule from 1982 to 1990, was sentenced Monday to life in prison.

Hissene Habre had fled to Senegal after being toppled in a coup in 1990 in the central African nation.

"Hissene Habre, this court finds you guilty of crimes against humanity, rape, forced slavery, and kidnapping," as well as war crimes, said Gberdao Gustave Kam, Burkinabe president of the Extraordinary African Chamber court in Senegal. "The court condemns you to life in prison."

In 2013, a court in Chad sentenced him to death in absentia for crimes against humanity.

Kam gave Habre 15 days to appeal the latest sentence.

Habre shouted "Down with France-afrique!" referring to the term used for France's continuing influence on its former colonies as he raised raised his arms into the air after the verdict.

Habre was physically dragged into the courtroom when the trial started last July.

Victims and families of those killed cheered and embraced each other after the verdict.

"The feeling is one of complete satisfaction," said Clement Abeifouta, president of a Habre survivors association.

An African Union-backed court hadn't previously tried a former ruler for human rights abuses.

After living in exile in Senegal for 22 years, Habre was detained in Dakar in July 2013.

Habre frequently disrupted proceedings, refusing to recognize its legitimacy.

He denied the mass killings.

Survivors gave gruesome details of torture by Habre's secret police. Victims suffered electric shocks, near-asphyxia, cigarette burns and gas squirted into their eyes. Some had their heads placed between sticks joined by rope, which was then twisted.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Iranian Crackdown on Un-Islamic Behaviour Will Backfire

30+ Iranian students lashed 99 times because of coed party
By Allen Cone

Iranian hard-line university students shout "death to America " as they gather in front of the Greek Embassy in Tehran, Iran on April 8, 2014. Students demonstrated over the recent human rights resolution passed by the European Parliament. Recently, some students were punished for hosting a coed graduatiuon party. FIle photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

TEHRAN, May 28 (UPI) -- More than 30 Iranian college students were arrested and given 99 lashes after they attended a co-ed graduation party, Iran's judiciary announced.

Prosecutor Esmail Sadeghi Niaraki said the women were described as "half naked," meaning they were not wearing Islamic coverings, scarves and long coats, and "dancing and jubilating."

Jubilating will get you every time! 'Half naked' actually means 'visible'; Islam likes to keep its women invisible, because its men seem to be completely devoid of self-control.

The prosecutor said authorities don't tolerate "law-breakers who use excuses such as freedom and having fun in birthday parties and graduation ceremonies," the Mizan News Agency reported.

The authorities received a report that a party attended was being held in a villa on the outskirts of Qazvin, about 90 miles northwest of the capital.

"We hope this will be a lesson for those who break Islamic norms in private places," Niaraki said.

The report by Iran's Mizan News Agency didn't say when the party occurred or give the students' names, ages or schools.

Lashings had been punishment since the Islamic revolution of 1979, but lately it's been more of a threat.

Iranian people are not generally intensely Islamic. They are probably more secular at heart, and I can't imagine such heavy-handedness by the theocratic state is going to win them many friends in this year's graduating class of students. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the spark that eventually lights a revolution of the revolution.

One day earlier, the state news media reported raids on parties in Kerman and at a "singles home" in Semnan, both provincial capitals.

Iran's judiciary earlier arrested eight people involved in online modeling without heads coverings and questioned a former model on state television.

God forbid, we wouldn't want men to find out that women have hair on their heads.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Muslim Mob Parades Elderly Christian Woman Through Streets of Cairo - Naked

Armed Muslim mob in Egypt attacks elderly Christian woman, parades her naked through streets of Cairo 

a Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 file photo
Coptic Christians walk outside St. Markos Church in Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt. A Muslim mob ransacked and torched seven Christian homes in a province south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, after rumors spread that a Christian man had an affair with a Muslim woman, according to a statement by the local Orthodox Coptic church. (ROGER ANIS/AP) 


CAIRO — An armed Muslim mob stripped an elderly Christian woman and paraded her naked on the streets in an attack last week in which seven Christian homes were also looted and torched in a province south of the Egyptian capital.

According to the local Orthodox Coptic church and security officials, the assault in the Minya province village of Karma on Friday began after rumors spread that the elderly woman’s son had an affair with a Muslim woman — a taboo in conservative Egypt.

Police have arrested six men suspected of taking part in the violence and are looking for 12 more, the security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called for the culprits to be held accountable and gave the military a month to restore property damaged during the violence, at no cost to the owners.

In a statement issued Thursday by his office, el-Sissi said Egypt appreciates the role of “glorious Egyptian women” and that “the rights and the protection of their dignity are a humanitarian and patriotic commitment before being a legal and constitutional one.”

Anba Makarios, Minya’s top Christian cleric, told a talk show host on the private Dream TV network that the 70-year-old woman was dragged out of her home by the mob who beat her and insulted her before they stripped her off her clothes and forced her to walk through the streets as they chanted Allahu Akbar, or “God is great.”

Yeah, because that's how you glorify God, right?

The woman reported the incident to the police five days later, said Makarios, adding that she had initially found it too difficult to “swallow the humiliation” she suffered and go to the police.

Attiyah Ayad, a 58-year-old farmer from a nearby village who witnessed the attack, described how the mob chanted “we must drive the infidels out” as they looted and burned the Christian homes, one of which belonged to his relatives. He said they were armed with firearms, knifes and sticks.

The religion of peace in action again. Can't you just feel the calm?

“They emptied magazine after magazine, firing in the air to terrorize us,” said Ayad, who suffered a head injury from being hit by a rifle butt and his son Ayad, 30, sustained a deep knife wound in his left shoulder.

The incident, intensely publicized since Wednesday night, has unleashed a flurry of condemnations on social media networks where users blamed the influence of ultraconservative Salafi Muslims for the attacks and derided authorities for not reacting quickly.

The hashtag “Egypt stripped naked” on Twitter gained traction shortly after it was introduced.

Extramarital affairs or sex between unmarried couples are taboo among Muslims and Christians in Egypt. They often attract violent reactions in rural areas, where questions of honor can lead to deadly family feuds that endure for years or result in ostracizing the perpetrators.

Christian men cannot marry Muslim women in Egypt unless they convert to Islam first, but Muslim men can marry Christian women. An affair between a Christian man and a Muslim woman takes such sectarian sensitivities to a much higher and dangerous level and often lead to violence if found out.

According to a statement Wednesday by Makarios, police arrived at the scene of Friday’s violence two hours after the attack began. The family of the Christian man had notified the police of threats against them by Muslim villagers the day before the attack, he added.

“No one did anything and the police took no pre-emptive or security measures in anticipation of the attacks,” the cleric said, speaking in another TV interview, also Wednesday night.

Is there any chance the police were Muslim? 

“We are not living in a jungle or a tribal society,” he told Ahmed Moussa, a prominent, pro-government talk show host on the private Sada el-Balad television.

Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of more than 90 million people, have long complained of discrimination in the mostly Muslim nation.

El-Sissi, in office since 2014, has sought to address some of their grievances, changing election laws to allow more Christians into the national legislature and easing restrictions on building new churches and renovating old ones. But many Christians say they are still treated unfairly and are often the victims when in disputes with Muslims.

Discrimination against Christians is somewhat subtle in big cities like Cairo or Alexandria on the Mediterranean, but becomes much more pronounced in provinces where they are a sizable minority like Minya, where they make up about 35 percent of the population, the largest in any of Egypt’s 27 provinces. Minya, like Assiut province farther south, is a traditional stronghold of militant Muslims.

Makarios, in unusually candid comments, said he predicted the crisis in the Minya village will most likely be handled through a government-sponsored meeting of the two sides in which the Christians will be forced to accept “humiliating” conditions for reconciliation.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The EU Has Joined the Dark Side and Embraced AntiSemitism

Has the EU always been antisemitic? 
Or have they turned antisemitic because of the increasing population of Muslims in Europe? Either way, they are
extremely disappointing in their political cowardice.

Sweden WHO 2016
Swedish delegate joins UK, France, Germany and other EU states today in singling out Israel at the 2016 WHO world assembly

GENEVA, May 25 — The UK, France, Germany and other EU states voted today for a UN resolution, co-sponsored by the Arab group of states and the Palestinian delegation, that singled out Israel at the annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the only violator of “mental, physical and environmental health,” and commissioned a WHO delegation to investigate and report on “the health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory” and in “the occupied Syrian Golan,” and to place it on the agenda again at next year’s meeting.

By contrast, the UN assembly did not address Syrian hospitals being bombed by Syrian and Russian warplanes, or millions of Yemenis denied access to food and water by the Saudi-led bombings and blockade, nor did it pass a resolution on any other country in the world. Out of 24 items on the meeting’s agenda, only one, Item No. 19 against Israel, focused on a specific country.

“The UN reached new heights of absurdity today,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, “by enacting a resolution which accuses Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan, even as in reality Israeli hospitals continue their life-saving treatment for Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks.”

“Shame on Britain, France and Germany for encouraging this hijacking of the annual world health assembly, and diverting precious time, money, and resources from global health priorities, in order to wage a political prosecution of Israel, especially when, in reality, anyone who has ever walked into an Israeli hospital or clinic knows that they are providing world-class health care to thousands of Palestinian Arabs, as well as to Syrians fleeing Assad,” Neuer added.

“At the same time,” said Neuer, “UN Watch commends the principled stand taken by the U.S., Canada, Australia, Paraguay, Guatemala, Micronesia and Papua New Guinea in joining Israel to oppose perpetuating a politicized agenda item.” The U.S. and Canada both took the floor today to strongly object to the anti-Israel exercise.

The vote was 107 to 8 for the resolution, with 8 abstentions and 58 absent.  The resolution calls for reports on a series of alleged Israeli violations, including on “the impact of prolonged occupation and human rights violations on mental, physical and environmental health” in “the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The text also adopted three reports mandated by last year’s Arab-sponsored resolution: a “field assessment” on “health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory”, a similar report by the WHO director-general, and a related report by the WHO secretariat.

WHO hall 2016
UN’s 2016 World Health Assembly voting on anti-Israel resolution

Palestinian and Syrian Submissions

By backing the measure, EU states joined in the political targeting of Israel—in the form of a special debate, three lopsided reports, the resolution, and the publication of country submissions, including an inflammatory 59-page Palestinian submission which complains of a “racist separation barrier” while blaming increased Palestinian traffic accidents on the fear of “being pursued by settlers”; and a Syrian submission laced with anti-Semitic conspiracy tropes, yet circulated as an official UN document on the conference agenda, which alleges that “the Israeli occupation authorities” continue “to experiment on Syrian and Arab prisoners with medicines and drugs and to inject them with pathogenic viruses.”

They forgot the drinking of their children's blood! How could they forget that?

Unable to deny Israel’s medical treatment of thousands of wounded Syrians, the regime accuses Israel of a plot: healing “armed terrorists from Jabhah al-Nusrah” so that they can “resume their subversive terrorist activities directed against the country’s peaceful citizens and its infrastructure.”

That's hilarious!

Iran and Syria Take the Floor

Several countries took the floor ahead of the vote. Iran said Gaza was under “an inhuman blockade.” Syria said “the occupying Israeli forces continue their immoral practice, which punish our people in the Golan.”

Egypt accused Israel of “disregard for basic human rights.” Pakistan spoke of Israel’s “devastation of the health system in the occupied territories” and of a “wave of terror against the Palestinian civilian population.”

Venezuela’s Maduro regime said there was a need to “bring in medicines, but this is being inhibited by the occupying power, Israel.”

UNRWA, which received more than $400 million from the U.S. last year, said the root causes of Palestinian medical problems include “interference with basic human rights as a result of numerous policies of the Israeli authorities.”

The whole was met with delight in the overflow room for media and NGO representatives, who snickered and scoffed when the Israeli delegate took the floor to denounce the politicized resolution.

EU Joined the Jackals

Had the EU wanted, they could have set the record straight, and taken a stand against such base demonization of the Jewish state. Disgracefully, however, Britain, France, Germany and all other EU states joined the jackals by voting for today’s resolution.

The EU states could have introduced their own resolution about how Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of its own people, destroying the health rights of the Syrian people.

Yet the EU was silent. Instead, it justified its vote by claiming in its speech that today’s resolution was “technical.” This is the old Brussels-Ramallah wink-and-nod game: the PLO submits a more inflammatory text at the beginning, knowing it will be revised later to allow the Europeans to pretend they achieved a “balanced” text. Israel is then expected to celebrate that it has been lynched with a lighter rope.

Last month, France and Spain voted for an Arab-sponsored UNESCO resolution that contained the wild conspiracy accusation that Israel was “planting fake Jewish graves” in Jerusalem.

With today’s vote, which robs the world health assembly of limited time and resources in order to portray Israel as the world’s only violator of health rights—when in fact Israel is the beacon of the entire region on promoting and respecting the health rights of all people—the entire EU now descends into irrationalism.

By scapegoating the Jewish state for all the world’s health problems, just as medieval Europe once accused the Jews of poisoning the wells, the EU aids and abets the UN and its World Health Organization to betray the cause of humanity and the very principles upon which they were founded.

Somewhere in this world are people plotting to rebuild Auschwitz, and they are not necessarily Muslim.

UNICEF Lobbies Canadian Parliament to Allow Euthanasia for Children


 Featured Image

OTTAWA — UNICEF Canada is pushing for assisted suicide and euthanasia for children — or “mature minors” — arguing that this conforms with the Charter, Canadian legal precedent and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

That would include euthanasia or assisted suicide for mature minors who suffer from a non-terminal illness or disability, according to UNICEF Canada’s policy director Marvin Bernstein.

UNICEF, or United Nations Children’s Fund (originally, Emergency Fund) is a UN organization that is, according to its website, “on a mission to reach every child and ensure their well-being, no matter where they are in this world.”

“There’s no limit to the lengths UNICEF will go, the risks we’ll take or the depth of our commitment to save children’s lives,” it reads. “We are committed to take action, save, rehabilitate and watch over children, with a special attention to the most vulnerable and excluded groups.”

OK, and where in there is a mandate to lobby for child euthanasia? Or do the terms 'well-being' and 'save children's lives', mean something completely different in the UN?

Bernstein reiterated UNICEF Canada’s pro-euthanasia position during the Senate legal committee’s hearings into the Liberal government’s controversial euthanasia law, Bill C-14.

The legislation amends the Criminal Code in light of the Supreme Court’s February 2015 Carter ruling, which ruled the current ban on assisted suicide and euthanasia violates the Charter, and comes into effect June 6.

Carter ruled “competent adults” had a Charter right to seek assisted suicide or euthanasia, and Bill C-14 limited eligibility to be killed in this way to persons aged 18 and over.

The bill’s eligibility criteria also include that the individual have a grievous and irremediable disease or disability that causes unendurable suffering, is in an advanced state of irreversible decline, and his or her natural death is reasonably foreseeable.

“UNICEF believes that this right should be extended to mature minors who are competent to make end-of-life decisions for themselves,” Bernstein told the committee May 12, “but with additional potential safeguards as a measure of last resort.”

The Supreme Court had given “competent, mature minors” “the rights to make health and survival-related decisions” in its 2009 AC v Manitoba  ruling, which found that it was “arbitrary” to assume anyone under age 16 was not competent to make medical decisions, he said.

UNICEF also supported the recommendation by the joint parliamentary committee that mature minors be eligible for assisted suicide or euthanasia in the second of a two-stage legislative roll-out, “which would come into force no later than three years after the first stage is enforced,” noted Bernstein.

“In fact, this is very close to the recommendation advanced to that committee by UNICEF Canada,” he told the Senate committee.

The three-year period “would allow sufficient time for informed research and broad-based consultation to occur and the appropriate safeguards and due care considerations to be identified.”

But UNICEF Canada further proposed that in the three-year interim, children be allowed to petition a Superior Court to be allowed assistance to kill themselves, or to killed by lethal injection.

That recommendation was “so we don't have an unfair prejudicial situation continuing for three years with no remedy that can be accessed by mature minors,” Bernstein said.

United Nations General Assembly mandated UNICEF “to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help them meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential,” Conservative Manitoba Senator Don Plett told Bernstein.

“Do you not see a major problem with the consideration of allowing vulnerable children to request assisted death?” Plett asked.  “Have these children, in your opinion, reached their full potential?”

There “may be children who are experiencing irremediable conditions, intolerable and enduring suffering,” replied Bernstein, “and they should have the right when they reach a point of sufficient maturity to make some determinations for themselves.”

If “a competent adult has the right to access medical assistance in dying, based upon a certain set of circumstances and conditions, that should not be denied, not to all children, but to mature minors,” he added.

UNICEF Canada supports euthanasia and assisted suicide in cases where the children are not suffering from terminal illness, Bernstein told the committee, adding: “I think it should be the same criteria…applied to adults and children.”

As for assisted suicide or euthanasia for children who suffer from mental illness, not permitted under Bill C-14 in its current form, “UNICEF is not suggesting psychological suffering, in and by itself, be the litmus test in terms of terminating life and making those decisions for young people,” he said.

Extending euthanasia and assisted suicide for mature minors was among three contentious recommendations in the joint parliamentary committee’s February 2016 report.

It also recommended the use of advance directives for people diagnosed with degenerative diseases such as dementia, and euthanasia or assisted suicide solely for mental illness.

Bill C-14 rejected all three, but Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould promised that the Liberals would study the issues before the bill’s mandated five-year review.

That wasn’t soon enough for the Liberal-dominated House of Commons justice committee, which added clause 9.1, requiring Parliament start independent reviews of the three issues no later than six months after the bill passes.

MPs are expected to vote on C-14 on May 31, after which it goes to the Senate, which has signalled it will overhaul the bill.

The Senate is dominated by Conservatives. They may not be able to kill the bill, but can certainly alter it significantly.

The Senate committee’s pre-study report of May 17 endorsed the use advance directives, but recommended dropping further consideration of euthanasia solely for mental illness, and for mature minors.

War on Fat: Chile Bans McDonald's 'Happy Meals' and Kinder Eggs

Is there any chance this attitude could catch-on in North America?
Are there snowballs in Hell?

Chile is the most obese nation in South America, with nearly 10 percent of children under 5 overweight.
Chile is the most obese nation in South America, with nearly 10 percent of children under 5 overweight. | Photo: Reuters

“The 'meal' as it is today is not 'happy,' from the point of view of critical nutritionists,” said Chile's Health Ministry.

Chile's government is banning the famous Kinder Surprise Egg and the McDonald's Happy Meal, among other food products, as part of an effort to combat obesity, it was announced Wednesday.

The move is meant to set an example for the world, said Senator Guido Girardi, a medical doctor who introduced the authorizing legislation in Congress in order to launch “a crusade against deceiving propaganda mainly directed toward children.”

Kinder Surprise Eggs and Happy Meals have a “commercial hook” for kids and contain “high levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat,” Tito Pozarro of the Chilean Health Ministry told ADN radio.

“The 'meal' as it is today is not 'happy,' from the point of view of critical nutritionists,” he added. "If McDonald’s wishes to promote a healthier product, then it could be allowed to do so."

President Michelle Bachelet, a pediatrician herself, has vowed to tackle the issue of obesity in Chile. The country ranks first in South America in terms of obesity, according to a 2015 report by the World Health Organization, with over 32 percent of women and 23 percent of men affected.

In terms of childhood obesity, Chile has the second worst record in the region, with almost 10 percent of children under 5 considered overweight, according to a government estimate, and 30 percent of children under 7, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Obesity is a condition where a person has accumulated so much body fat that it might have a negative effect on their health. If a person's bodyweight is at least 20% higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What Islam is Teaching in Canada

Canada Home to Islamic Radicals

by Tarek Fatah
The Toronto Sun

In November 2014, while testifying before the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, I raised the issue of Islamic clerics using mosque sermons to attack the foundational principles of Western civilization and liberal secular democracy.

Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell was outraged by my testimony that at most Canadian mosques, the Friday congregation includes a ritual prayer asking, "Allah to give victory to Muslims over the 'Kufaar' (non-Muslims)." In a heated exchange with me, the senator suggested I wasn't telling the truth, implying I was motivated by Islamophobia. Sadly, Sen. Mitchell is not alone in such views.

But neither is there any let-up in the attacks on Canadian values emanating from many mosque pulpits and Islamic conferences hosted by radical Islamist groups.

For example, in a sermon on Friday, May 6, delivered at a mosque in Edmonton, an imam invoked the memory of Prophet Muhammad to whip up hatred against Israel. He declared peace accords with Israel are "useless garbage" and vowed that Jerusalem will be conquered "through blood."

Attacks on Canadian values frequently emanate from mosques and conferences hosted by radical Islamist groups.

In February, the same cleric predicted Islam would soon conquer Rome, "the heart of the Christian state."

The Edmonton mosque diatribe was not isolated.

On May 13, just north of Toronto, an Islamic society hosted a celebration of Iranian mass murderer, Ayatollah Khomeini. The poster promoting the event described Khomeini as a, "Liberator and Reformer of the Masses."

On Saturday, the Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir, banned in some countries, hosted a conference to discuss the re-establishment of a global Islamic caliphate.

Re-establishment? Seems to be a little historical revisionism.

Pakistan-Canadian writer Tahir Gora went to cover the event, but was barred from entering the hall. "They said this was a closed door, in-camera meeting for our supporters," Gora told me after he was asked to leave.

A speaker addresses the Hizb-ut-Tahrir conference in Mississauga, Ontario, on May 21.

Fortunately, one Palestinian-Canadian woman was able to enter the event.

She shared with me some of the proceedings from inside the gathering. "I walked into the banquet hall with approximately 100 attendees who were gender segregated. I sat next to a woman who said she had been in Canada for 40 years. When I asked her if she felt any disconnect between enjoying 40 years of democracy, yet supporting the Hizb-ut-Tahrir who wanted to end it, she explained that democracy has done nothing good to people, so she and other believers follow Allah's rule."

"The first speaker reminded Muslims that they are obligated to implement Allah's orders that fulfil the Islamic State. It is "not permissible for us to choose' he said, citing the Quran. However, he said it was necessary to win the public's hearts and minds; and to partner with people of power, citing examples from the life of the Prophet."

"At the end, a three-minute video was presented to demonstrate the collective oil and natural gas production capabilities of the Muslim world, the human capital needed to mine and process these resources ... the military power required to protect them and the types of weapons needed to make such a military effective."

While this was unfolding we received news that the Trudeau government, as part of its infrastructure development program, had authorised a $200,000 grant to a southern Ontario mosque with links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Which begs the question: Who's minding the store?

Tarek Fatah, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and columnist at the Toronto Sun, is a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Oil Giants Between a Rock and a Hard Place With Climate Change

Climate change takes center stage at
Exxon, Chevron annual meetings

The logo of Down Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company Exxon Mobil is seen in Encinitas, California April 4, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Blake
The logo of Down Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company Exxon Mobil is seen in Encinitas, California April 4, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Blake

Not often do I do a piece defending big oil; actually, I've never done a piece defending big oil and have often criticized them for relentless gouging. But the position oil companies are in regarding climate change and the almost obsessive-compulsive mania that has swept the world so recently, is simply absurd. More below...

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) will face their toughest-ever push by shareholders concerned about a warming world at annual meetings on Wednesday, as the Paris accord to tackle climate change ratchets up investor pressure on two of the world's largest oil companies.

The tension is most acute at Exxon, which has denied accusations from environmentalists that it purposely misled the public about climate change risks. The New York attorney general is investigating Exxon and it has complained of being unfairly targeted by special interest groups.

The raft of proposals up for vote at the two companies more than doubled to 11 this year, the latest sign that environmental concerns once considered peripheral by many investors have become mainstream. Even the most traditional shareholder groups are now urging companies to detail how they will plan for the future after 195 governments agreed in December to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) through combined national pledges to cut carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

It's hard to believe that 195 heads of state could be mesmerized by the very bad science of anthropomorphic global warming, but they have. Since it has been proven that historically global CO2 levels follow global temperature swings by about 800 years, the very premise of anthropomorphic global warming is absurd.

The many computer models that have predicted rapid temperature rises in the 21st century have all failed - it's bad science and it doesn't work! So how is it possible to affect a limit of 2 degrees C when we don't even understand the science? We don't know how much of a reduction in greenhouse gasses it would take to effect that limit, or if it is even possible to effect that limit with a 90% decrease in global emissions? 

But, somehow, 195 heads of state have decided that it is worth spending trillions of dollars of your money to find out. It is at the very least premature, but more likely utterly foolish!

"Companies like Exxon and Chevron, they're clinging to bygone assumptions," said Anne Simpson of CalPERS, which holds Exxon shares worth about $1 billion and has supported some of the measures. "This is their Kodak moment. If they want to still be in business in 30 years, they have to understand the changes that are taking place."

Though "Kodak moment" was originally an advertising slogan for film and cameras, it can now refer to Eastman Kodak's plunge into bankruptcy in 2012 after it failed to capitalize on the digital camera revolution. Simpson said Exxon and Chevron should ramp up investments in clean energy to avoid being caught by sudden technology shifts.

While BP Plc (BP.L), Statoil ASA (STL.OL) and other European oil companies have begun releasing myriad data points on how their businesses will respond to climate change, Chevron and Exxon have lagged them, critics say.

Success of any one of the climate-related votes at Wednesday's meetings is not certain.

Exxon shareholders have never approved a climate change-related proposal, and last year they rejected by 79 percent a request that a climate expert be appointed to the company's board.

Another measure, which would have the companies increase payouts to shareholders and stop investing in oil and gas deposits, appears doomed to fail.

Still, environmentalists and some investors, sensing the tide turning in their favor, hope to notch at least some victories.

Already, proxy advisory firm ISS has recommended shareholders of both companies support the resolutions, a key voice of support.

Exxon lost a public battle with New York State's comptroller earlier this year when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ruled it must let shareholders vote on a proposal that would require it to detail how its business will be hurt as governments crack down on carbon emissions.

"We believe it's incumbent upon us as owners to find out what they're doing (on climate research) and how that will affect their long-term business plan," said Pete Grannis of New York State's comptroller's office. "It's almost impossible to imagine they haven't been doing some of this already."

The so-called proxy access measure, which says minority shareholders with a 3 percent stake should be able to nominate directors to the company's board, could pass this year after winning support from mutual fund behemoth Vanguard.

More than a dozen oil companies have passed proxy access, though Exxon's board has opposed it. Insiders at oil companies worry proxy access could lead to climate activists opposed to oil drilling being voted on to company boards.

Though both Exxon and Chevron say their climate disclosures are plenty robust, shareholders are demanding more at annual meetings, partly because the SEC has declined their requests to tighten its 2010 rule requiring all U.S. companies to address potential climate change impacts.

"For the most part the SEC has not been too responsive, so investors have had to turn to other methods," said Jim Coburn of Ceres, a sustainability group that has advocated at the SEC for tougher climate standards as far back as 2007 with CalPERS, the New York attorney general's office and numerous state treasurers.

So shareholders are demanding that Exxon Mobil and Chevron reveal a plan for what they are going to do in doing their part of saving the world from a threat about which they can do nothing anyway. And please note - while they expect the oil companies to invest billions if not hundreds of billions of dollars in this campaign of futility, they will still demand ever-increasing dividends. This is not good news for those of us who need our cars to get to work.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Is Muslim Extremism Being Taught in the USA?


On May 14, the Islamic Center of England is hosting an event with an extremist preacher named Abdul Nasir Jangda. The event is cosponsored by the Qalam Institute and the prominent Muslim charity, Islamic Relief.


Abdul Nasir Jangda is an apologist for sex slavery. According to detailed notes published by one of Jangda’s students during one of his seminars, Jangda has defended the use of slavery within Islam, reportedly stating that: “Slavery in Islam … is vastly different and superior morally and spiritually to the atrocious, obscene, and vile Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.” Jangda adds that Muslim men may have sexual relations with their slaves provided she is unmarried and a follower of an Abrahamic religion.

Furthermore, Jangda reportedly:

expressed support for the killing of apostates and adulterers;
claimed that a wife cannot refuse her husband sex: “The thing to understand is that the husband has his set of divinely given rights one of which is the right to have his physical desires satisfied”;
and called for people who drink alcohol to be beaten: “One of the largest causes of death in the United States is drunk driving. Such policies would help curb them immensely and avoid harm to the people at large.”

Jangda is also an instructor at the Al Maghrib Institute. His colleagues at Al Maghrib include Abu Eesa Niamatullah, who has said of Jews, “They find it so easy and natural to do what they do….Look at them today, look at the way they massacre. They blow up babies like as if it’s a computer game. They have no humanity, no morality, no ethics.”

Nice to know that he thinks ISIS to be much more moral than the Jews. At least we know where he stands.

The founder of Al Maghrib, Muhammad Al Shareef, has written a paper titled, ‘Why the Jews Were Cursed,’ in which he claims that Jews control the media and murder prophets, and advises Muslims not to “take Jews as our close allies.”

One of the sponsoring organisations of the event, Islamic Relief, is a prominent Muslim Brotherhood charity with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The previous week - a different charity - another sex slave advocate


On May 6th, the Islamic charity Helping Hands is hosting an event in Marlborough, Massachusetts, fundraising for “children with disabilities.” Once again, however, a virtuous cause is sullied by the choice of speakers.


The preacher headlining the event is Mufti Hussain Kamani of the Qalam Institute. Kamani has called upon God to “reward the martyrs of ‪Palestine.” And in a pamphlet titled, ‘The Prophetic Code,’ published by the Qalam Institute, Kamani cites Quranic verse and commentary, in which he tells Muslims: “do not resemble the Jews.” Parents are also advised to “beat” their children “if they do not [pray].”

In a talk titled ‘Sex, Masturbation and Islam,’ Kamani explains that a Muslim man must only fulfil his sexual desires “with his spouse…[or] with a female slave that belongs to him.”

Those who commit adultery or have sex outside of marriage, Kamani also states, must be “stoned to death.”

During another talk on ‘Rights Of A Wife In Islam,’ Kamani explains “how to deal with the women folk” and how Muslim husbands can “train their wives.” Beating women, Kamani advises, should only be a “last measure.”

One of the other speakers, Dr. Farhan Abdul Azeez, is also of concern. Azeez has published Facebook posts in support of Babar Ahmad, a Taliban fundraiser who ran a website advocating for jihad against the “infidels” and listing detailed instructions on sending funds to named Taliban officials in Pakistan. The U.S. government also claimed that Ahmad was linked to a Chechen terror leader “who participated in, among other things, the planning of the Moscow theater attack in October 2002,” in which 120 civilians were killed.

Azeez has also disseminated sermons warning of the violent, fiery consequences of committing adultery; and opinion pieces that condemn the “hypocrisy of the West” for “ignoring the context” of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Helping Hands may not itself be all that innocent. In 2013, counter-terrorism analysts noted that the charity was financially linked to “the Al-Khidmat Foundation, a Pakistani charity which gave a 6 million rupee check to Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in 2006.”

So the question is, are these extremists who are being given a platform to spew their hate-speech, or are they ordinary Muslims who believe what most Muslims believe? Either answer is rather disturbing. 

Trudeau Votes Against Conscience Rights as He Pushes Euthanasia Bill

Featured Image

OTTAWA, (LifeSiteNews) – The Liberals and New Democrats combined to defeat a Conservative-supported motion protecting the conscience rights of doctors and other health professionals who refuse to participate in euthanasia and assisted suicide. Hope now centres on the Senate for amendments to the government’s proposed law for protection for medical professions and patients.

On Tuesday the House of Commons divided almost entirely on party lines to defeat a motion from Tory MP Arnold Viersen defending conscience rights by a 214 to 96 vote margin. Every Conservative who voted supported the motion and every Bloc Quebecois and Liberal MP who voted, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, opposed it. Five NDP members supported it as did Green MP and leader Elizabeth May.

The motion was a way to put the government on the record either supporting or opposing conscience rights for doctors and nurses who refuse to perform or abet patients who want to die. The government had avoided the issue with its proposed assisted dying bill, C-14, which said nothing about conscience rights on the grounds that the regulation of health professionals is a provincial matter.

Without calling for any amendment to Bill C-14, Viersen’s motion declared that “It is in the public interest to protect the freedom of conscience of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional who objects to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of medical assistance in dying.”

MP Viersen explained, “The Liberals continue to emphasize that nothing in Bill C-14 can compel a healthcare provider to provide medical assistance in dying, but any province or employer could still compel healthcare professionals against their conscience rights.”

Bill C-14 is an amendment to the Criminal Code, setting out the conditions that must be met by health professionals putting patients to death or assisting them to commit suicide, without committing a crime. It was necessitated by the Supreme Court’s decision in the Carter case throwing out the blanket Criminal Code provision against either forms of homicide, with enforcement of the decision delayed first till February and now till June.

While C-14 was initially silent on conscience rights, in committee an amendment was added declaring that nothing in the bill could be used to compel health professionals to act against their consciences. The House has yet to vote on this and other amendments.

Larry Worthen, head of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, told LifeSiteNews that the amendment “was a move in the right direction,” but not nearly enough to protect doctors and other health professionals from discrimination or discipline.

“We really are hoping that what we want will be added in the Senate,” said Worthen. The Senate’s Justice Committee has just issued its report on the issue and on Bill C-14 indicating it wants stronger protections not only for doctors, but for patients. But the bill must first pass in the Commons before going to the Senate.

The Senate report calls for amendment declaring that “No medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or other healthcare institution care provider, or any such institution, shall be deprived of any benefit, or be subject to any obligation or sanction, under any law of the Parliament of Canada.”

While it recommended making it easier for a person to request assisted dying in advance of an anticipated cognitively disabling condition, it also called for greater safeguards against minors or the mentally ill getting such aid, and measures to prevent those who might benefit financially having a hand in requesting the assistance.

Worthen was joined by Dr. Catherine Ferrier, of Quebec’s Living with Dignity group, in warning that provincial governments, institutions and professional regulators such as colleges of physicians and surgeons could all violate health workers’ freedom of conscience by requiring them to help patients die or refer patients to other doctors who would help them.

“A palliative care centre could make it a condition of employment,” said Worthen. “The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons made it a requirement last year that doctors must provide ‘effective referrals.’”

Ferrier said the Quebec government already requires doctors to pass on requests for assisted suicide to a committee that will find them a doctor. “The way it worked in the past,” she told LifeSiteNews, “was that a patient who just discovers he has terminal cancer might say, ‘I want to die now.’ And we would respond, ‘It’s against the law for us to do that. Let’s talk about what else we can do to help you.’ Then the palliative care providers deal with the patient’s pain, he talks with his family, he starts dealing with all the important issues of his life, and he realizes he is glad he is still alive.”

But now in Quebec, said Dr. Ferrier, “When we say, ‘We can help you with the pain,’ the patient says, ‘I don’t want any help. I just want to die right now.’” Dr. Ferrier said she knew of several doctors considering leaving Canada or retiring rather than participate in the death of their patients.

CMDSC’s Worthen called on all those supporting conscience rights to use the organization’s website, www.canadiansforconscience.ca, to register their views with members of the Senate. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Oregon School Board Has Decided Brainwashing is Better Than Science

A woman wearing a face mask to protect herself from pollutants walks past office buildings shrouded with pollution haze in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. Beijing issued its first-ever red alert for smog on Monday, urging schools to close and invoking restrictions on factories and traffic that will keep half of the city's vehicles off the roads. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A woman wearing a face mask to protect herself from pollutants walks past office buildings shrouded with pollution haze in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. Beijing issued its first-ever red alert for smog on Monday, urging schools to close and invoking restrictions on factories and traffic that will keep half of the city's vehicles off the roads. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

By Jessica Chasmar - The Washington Times 

The Portland Public Schools board unanimously approved a resolution this week that bans textbooks and other teaching materials that deny climate change exists or cast doubt on whether humans are to blame.

The resolution, introduced by school board member Mike Rosen, also directs the superintendent and staff to develop a plan for offering “curriculum and educational opportunities that address climate change and climate justice” in all Portland public schools, the Portland Tribune reported.

What is 'climate justice'? This is a scary term. Does it mean that the IPCC (read UN) will punish those countries who don't meet certain targets for reductions in pollution? If by signing the Paris protocol we have given the UN authority to punish us, then we have signed away our autonomy and are no longer a sovereign country.

“It is unacceptable that we have textbooks in our schools that spread doubt about the human causes and urgency of the crisis,” Lincoln High School student Gaby Lemieux said during board testimony Tuesday. “Climate education is not a niche or a specialization, it is the minimum requirement for my generation to be successful in our changing world.”

Bill Bigelow, editor of the ReThinking online magazine and co-author of a textbook on environmental education, worked with several environmental groups to present the resolution, the Tribune reported.

“A lot of the text materials are kind of thick with the language of doubt, and obviously the science says otherwise,” Mr. Bigelow said. “We don’t want kids in Portland learning material courtesy of the fossil fuel industry.”

He took particular issue with teaching materials that used iffy language when discussing climate change, like “might,” “may” and “could.”

Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

The IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has made numerous predictions since 1991 and none of them have worked out. That means there is something wrong with the 'science' of climate change. But the Oregon school board thinks the science is so strong that it is infallible. Yet they feel the need to protect that science from any kind of logical debate. That's brain-washing, pure and simple. 

To make matters worse, they don't think a student should have the right to question that science. If science can't stand up to rigorous cross-examination, then it's not worth beans. How long will it be before the absurd Oregon school board expels students for asking questions?

Russia's Views on American Exceptionalism

‘Obama’s US exceptionalism statements rival Hitler quotes’ – top Russian judge

Russian Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin © Vladimir Fedorenko
Russian Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin © Vladimir Fedorenko / Sputnik

The chairman of the Russian Constitutional Court has said that Barack Obama’s statements about American exceptionalism were very similar to propaganda used by Nazi Germany and equally dangerous to world peace.

“The idea of specialness, exceptionality and unique rights of the American state and American people has been used in US internal political rhetoric for quite a while, but in the recent years it is being actively and persistently offered in US foreign policy documents and public speeches on international politics delivered by US officials,” Judge Valery Zorkin said at the St Petersburg international legal forum on Thursday.

“Any unbiased and educated person would see that this statement by Obama is an almost exact copy of leading politicians and propaganda specialists of the Third Reich, including Adolph Hitler… In essence, Obama is using the exact same thing that Nazi bosses said about the German exceptionalism when they started the world war,” he added.

The judge also said that in his view the exceptionalism concept had direct influence on the modern US concepts of military planning and these concepts see the main objective of all activities as reaching such degree of military might that the United States remains out of reach of other nations, on land, sea, in air and in space.

According to Zorkin, the same applies to the US doctrines on development of mass media and electronic communications – the US authorities see their goal as establishing absolute global domination of their country in the global information space. This idea also constantly appears in Obama’s public speeches.

“Obama says that Americans and the USA are an exceptional people and an exceptional state and thus they can pretend for much more than any other people or state. In other words, he follows the plot of James Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ dystopia and, while formally not rejecting the principle of equality of sovereign states and peoples, fixed by the UN Charter, he still declares that Americans and America are ‘more equal’ than any other country and the rest of the planet’s population,” RIA Novosti quoted the judge as saying.

Zorkin also told his colleague at the forum that he considered such approach to be a blatant violation of international legal norms.

Russian politicians and officials have repeatedly addressed the topic of American exceptionalism when talking on bilateral relations with the US and of international politics in general. In particular, in mid-2015 President Vladimir Putin said in his speech before the UN General Assembly that attempts to influence internal politics of sovereign nations should not be tolerated regardless of where they are taking place and who are making such attempts.

Except, of course, Russian intervention in Crimea.

“It seems that some nations are not learning from others’ mistakes, but keep repeating them. The export of so-called ‘democratic’ revolutions continues.” Putin said.

“I cannot help asking those who have caused this situation, ‘Do you realize now what you have done?’” he said. “But I am afraid the question will hang in the air, because policies based on self-confidence and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.

I have no major difficulty with American exceptionalism and the current administration. My concern is when someone who actually believes in it so much that he/she makes major decisions based on it. I'm also concerned that the idea is a matter of pride and, as the Bible tells us, 'pride goes before a fall'!

ISIS Knows Only One Thing - How To Destroy

Kidnapped Christians, targeted churches: RT Arabic travels to ISIS-leveled Assyrian town (EXCLUSIVE)
 I love this picture; despite all the destruction the Cross is still visible © RT Arabic / RT

An RT Arabic crew traveled to a northeast Syrian town that was completely devastated by Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL) during fighting last summer, and talked to local Assyrians who endured the terrorist occupation and kidnappings.

Northeast Syria is home to most of the country’s Assyrian community, which is a Christian minority, making up around 5 percent of the Syrian population.

The town of Al-Khabur witnessed last summer’s battle between IS and the army-backed Kurdish militia.

When Islamic State rampaged through the area last year, hundreds of Assyrians were abducted. There were around 300 people kidnapped seized over the last year.

© RT Arabic
© RT Arabic

“We were kidnapped and kept hostage for six months. Then they took up to Raqqa, where we stayed for another two months. Only then were we liberated in small groups of 10 to 15 people,” a former IS hostage, Abras Durmu, told RT.

IS fighters also demolished many Christian churches as they attacked.

“The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary used to be the biggest one. Terrorists also demolished residential buildings and looted personal belongings from the residents,” local resident Sarkon Saleib said.

Since last summer, nothing has been done to repair the damage, with RT’s footage showing a town brought to rubble.

ISIS destroys 2,000-year-old legendary
‘Gate of God’ in Iraq

© lachicaphoto
© lachicaphoto / Flickr

The IS has destroyed a 2,000-year-old gate near the Iraqi city of Mosul. The structure is known as the Gate of God, and used to guard the ancient Biblical, Assyrian city Nineveh.

The destruction of the ancient structure, also called the Mashqi Gate, has been confirmed by the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, and the Antiquities Department in Baghdad hasn’t denied the demolition, The Independent reported.

The terrorists demolished the 2,000-year-old gate using military equipment, activists in Mosul told Kurdish media outlet ARA News.

Media activist Zuheir Mousilly added that ISIS have destroyed many of Iraqi historic sites and monuments, including the Assyrian city of Nimrud, the Winged Bulls, and the Mosul National Museum.

As for the gate, other reports suggested that the IS were dismantling it and selling separate blocks.

The historic Mishqi gate, which was discovered in 1968, is believed to be one of the ancient gates in eastern Nineveh province.

“ISIS views tombs they destroy as sacrilegious and a return to paganism,” Syrian antiquities chief Abdul Maamoun Abdulkarim told ARA News.

The city of Nineveh was mentioned in the Bible, dates to the 7th century BC, and was once the largest city in the world.

© Wikipedia
© Wikipedia

The destruction of the gate is just the latest in the series of acts of vandalism conducted by IS.

At the end of March, Syrian forces, with the aid of Russian military, seized control of the ancient town of historic Palmyra.

What they discovered when they entered the city were monuments destroyed or harmed, thousands of bombs and booby traps, ready to level the whole city.

Also, all over Palmyra, there were mass graves with dozens of tortured women and children, some only 500 meters from the ruins of ancient monuments.

Last year, ISIS extremists bombed the historic Yezidi ancient minaret of the Shingal district in northern Iraq, and a year ago, they blew up the church of Virgin Mary in the Assyrian village of Tel Nasri in northeastern Syria.

Friday, May 20, 2016

16 Globally Renowned Scientists Say Man-Made Climate Change is BS

This article was published by The Astute Bloggers on Friday, July 18, 2014. Since I apparently missed it then, I include it here now. I know the list has grown considerably in the past two years. 

Here are the names and credits for the deniers:

Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris; 
J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting; 
Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University; 
Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society; Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences; 
William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton; 
Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.; 
William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; 
Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT; 
James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University; 
Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences; 
Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne; 
Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator; 
Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; 
Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service; 
Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva;
AND: Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever.

HERE'S AN EXCERPT: (An excerpt of what, I don't know)

In September, (2013, I assume) Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, a supporter of President Obama in the last election, publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that begins: "I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: 'The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.' In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?" 

In spite of a multidecade international campaign to enforce the message that increasing amounts of the "pollutant" carbon dioxide will destroy civilization, large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever. And the number of scientific "heretics" is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts.

I should note that July 2014 was before the beginning of this past year's record El Nino event.

Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 "Climategate" email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.

The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2.

The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's life cycle. Plants do so much better with more CO2 that greenhouse operators often increase the CO2 concentrations by factors of three or four to get better growth. This is no surprise since plants and animals evolved when CO2 concentrations were about 10 times larger than they are today. Better plant varieties, chemical fertilizers and agricultural management contributed to the great increase in agricultural yields of the past century, but part of the increase almost certainly came from additional CO2 in the atmosphere.

Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse. They have good reason to worry. In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years.

The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.

This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before—for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.

Why is there so much passion about global warming, and why has the issue become so vexing that the American Physical Society, from which Dr. Giaever resigned a few months ago, refused the seemingly reasonable request by many of its members to remove the word "incontrovertible" from its description of a scientific issue? There are several reasons, but a good place to start is the old question "cui bono?" Or the modern update, "Follow the money."

Things Are Beginning to Change in North Korea

Activist: Ordinary North Koreans have little respect
for 'that kid' Kim Jong Un

Ordinary North Koreans are calling him a kid
as they become more aware of the outside world

By Elizabeth Shim UPI

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was nominated chairman of the Korean Workers’ Party, but more North Koreans do not hold him in high regard, an activist says. File Photo by Rodong Sinmun

SEOUL, May 20 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un has yet to earn the grudging respect of ordinary North Koreans.

Most North Koreans who do not curry favor with the regime do not refer to him as the "general" or the "supreme leader," according to defector and activist Jeong Kwang-il.

In the past, North Korean leaders were addressed with honorifics, Jeong said, according to South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo.

"But nowadays when I speak to North Koreans on the phone, they just call him 'Jong Un,' the way one would refer to a friend," Jeong said.

The North Koreans Jeong referred to are most likely sources of information located in the country.

That trend could be frustrating the young Kim, who recently was declared "Chairman" during North Korea's Seventh Party Congress.

The new role was announced in order to consolidate his rule over the country and for Kim to follow in the footsteps of his biological grandfather Kim Il Sung.

But the lack of reforms and improvement to people's lives could be having a greater effect on perceptions of Kim in the country.

Jeong also said during a conference held Thursday in London that defector activism, including the delivery of South Korean videos, such as films of resettled defectors in the South, are making an impact on North Korean understanding of the outside world.

Jeong and his organization No Chain has delivered a total of 500-600 compact discs or flash drives since 2012. Memory cards that can be placed inside mobile phones have also been sent across the border.

North Koreans caught viewing banned material are being let go, that is, if they can bribe officers, which allows the media to circulate across the country.

Disillusioned with the regime after viewing the media, some North Koreans have started to call the leader "that guy Jong Un" or sometimes "that kid," according to Jeong.

There's evidence North Koreans are no longer afraid to breach rules of conduct, the activist said.

Let us hope and pray that this is a beginning to the opening up of North Korea. If Kim Jong Un continues to loosen his grip on the people, only good can come from it. The fear is that he could react very poorly when he becomes fully aware of it. We have seen what he is capable of doing in executing members of his own family, so there is much danger yet.

Wild West Show Comes to the Philippines

Philippine mayor-elect offers bounties for
wounded, dead criminals

By Amy R. Connolly

Tomas Osmena, mayor-elect of Cebu City, the Philippines, is offering cash rewards to police and local residents for killing or maiming criminals. Photo by Mike Gonzalez/Wikimedia

CEBU CITY, Philippines, May 20 (UPI) -- The mayor-elect of Cebu City, Philippines, announced he is offering cash rewards to police and local residents for killing or maiming criminals in an effort to curb crime.

Tomas Osmena has rewarded an off-duty police officer who shot and injured two robbery suspects. Officer Julius Sadaya Regis was awarded $107 for injuring the suspects. Had he killed the suspects, his cash awards would have gone up.

"To get the P50,000 ($1,071), the criminal should be dead," Osmeña said. "What is important is that the robbers will be scared. I am just giving them a warning."

Osmena, who was elected to office two weeks ago, took his idea from President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who promised to kill criminals to bring peace to the country.

Osmena said criminal killings must be done legally and with a licensed gun. He said the rewards would not be taken from city coffers. When asked who would supply the funds, he said, "It's none of your business." He said he is not concerned about vigilantism.

"I will not compromise the safety of our people," he said. "I will defend them. I don't care who gets in the way."

Rodrigo Duterte Benigno Aquino III 04.pngPresident elect Duterte was Mayor of the city of Davao. Popular with the locals due to his successful zero tolerance policies against criminals, he earned the nickname "The Punisher". Vigilante groups tied to Duterte are thought to be responsible for the execution of drug traffickers, criminals, gang members and other lawless elements. 

Over a period of 20 years, he turned Davao City from the "murder capital of The Philippines" to what tourism organisations now describe as "the most peaceful city in southeast Asia," and what numbeo.com ranks as the world's fourth safest place. Nonetheless, Duterte has drawn criticism from various sources, particularly the press and the Philippine National Police, which contest the effectiveness of his policies.

I wonder how they can contest the effectiveness of his policies with results like that? They can complain about the methods he employs, but not the effectiveness of it. We can certainly hope and pray that he is able to clean up the child prostitution, child pornography, and sex tourism that are rampant in the Philippines. If he can do that, I have no problem with the example he has set for other mayors like Osmena, and God bless him.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Long and Perilous Journey of a North Korean Defector, Part 2

Escape from the north

A North Korean defector makes a second break for freedom.

By Susan Cheong

This is part 2 of the story of Soo-jung Ra's escape from North Korea. Read part 1 to find out what brought her to this point.

The second escape

It was a crisp, cool autumn day in late October 2005 — the leaves had changed their hues to yellow and crimson, and it was the season for harvest.

Soo-jung Ra*, by now 16, had spent the day out on the corn fields of Myongchon county in North Korea with her relatives, gathering and storing food for the winter and early spring.

As evening broke, a cousin who lived by the sea came to visit with an unfamiliar middle-aged man. He was introduced to the family as a wealthy long-distance relative who had come to share his fortunes.

But away from the prying eyes of Soo-jung's relatives, the man pulled her aside.

"He asked me quietly, 'Hey, you're Soo-jung right?' and then he said 'I know your parents. I'm here to get you out of North Korea.'"

The man claimed to be a broker who had deliberately fabricated his background and status so that he could make contact with Soo-jung without raising the suspicions of those around her.

However, with secret informants and government spies pervasive in North Korean society, Soo-jung remained skeptical.

She knew she was being monitored by the secret police. She was also aware a minor slip of the tongue on the whereabouts of her parents could land her in prison again.

Not only that, her relatives would be subject to alienation and severe discrimination, as their family records would be tainted for political disloyalty.

It was only when the broker detailed unique stories from her childhood, that she knew she could trust him.

"He knew all these personal characteristics about me and stories that happened to me when I was younger — stories that I knew only my parents would know … that's when I knew he wasn't some spy or a bad person."

Ten days later, Soo-jung slipped out of her house and traced her steps back to the north-eastern border town of Hoeryong under the guidance of two brokers.

There she was joined by a former patrol officer who knew the area well.

Like her first crossing, Soo-jung was surreptitiously led to a remote part of the Tumen River, except this time it was in the early evening. At the water's edge, they unexpectedly came across another group of escapees.

"We bumped into the former patrol officer's friend. He was also a former guard and was there leading another three defectors. It was strange and kind of funny as well."

The irony of the situation slightly helped calm Soo-jung's nerves. But as she took her first tentative steps into the icy cold water, she became overwhelmed by the possible grave consequences if she was to be caught again.

"All I could think about was: what would happen if I was to be arrested again? If I went to prison again, I would surely not be able to survive. I think that's what made it more terrifying — knowing what would happen if I got caught," she recalls.

"But I had no hope left in North Korea. I didn't go to school, I didn't live with my [direct] family, I simply had no future — so I had to leave."

Back in China

Soo-jung was back at her great-uncle's house in the city of Longjing in north-east China's Yanbian Prefecture.

It was November 2005 and it had been a week since Soo-jung crossed the Tumen River.

At her relative's house, she spent her days in hiding helping to care for his partially paralysed mother.

During this time, her parents in South Korea began concocting a plan.

With no legal passport or identification card, Soo-jung's status as an 'illegal economic migrant' in China meant she faced the perpetual threat of being arrested and deported to North Korea.

Her parents, unwilling to put their daughter through another perilous ordeal without them, came up with an idea that they believed would be marginally safer and faster than the precarious journey across the Gobi Desert.

She was to impersonate her older sister, Soo-yun*, and use her sister's South Korean passport to get past the Chinese guards outside the South Korean consulate in Beijing.

Inside, she would claim asylum as she was entitled to legal protection under South Korean law.

For the next month-and-a-half, Soo-jung's great uncle and auntie focused on nourishing her emaciated body while her parents in South Korea made preparations for their two daughters' mission.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, Soo-yun straightened her long hair to keep up with the latest trend. She drew a dark spot above her right lip to mirror Soo-jung's trademark mole.

And then, dressed in a chic South Korean outfit and sporting a shiny pair of gold glasses, Soo-yun took a photo for her new South Korean passport.

In mid-December 2005, on the night before the mission, Soo-jung spent some rare quality time with her parents and sister shopping and touring the Chinese capital.

At the city's popular night markets, Soo-jung became overwhelmed by the bustling crowd and the copious amount of food displayed along the strip of stalls.

"I was so drawn to the place. The lights were sparkling and the food, everything was sold in stacks! They had chicken hanging off hooks, chicken feet, they had everything," she says.

"It was fascinating and I remember I was so so happy, like I was totally excited."

For that one day, Soo-jung and her family managed to set aside their worries, apprehensions and fears. The family was determined to make it a night to remember, as they knew they were about to embark on an extremely risky operation.

The next morning, Soo-jung got dressed into a cream polo skivvy, a shiny chestnut-coloured vest, a pleated grey skirt, and slipped into her new sleek pair of black boots.

With her hair straightened and ears pierced, she now looked, in the eyes of her family, truly South Korean, and most importantly like her sister Soo-yun.

"My dad made sure I looked identical to my sister's passport photo. We both had the same hairstyle, wore glasses and had the same mole, so I think we did look pretty similar," she says.

"They also put in a lot of effort to make sure I didn't look North Korean. My dad hand-picked my outfit in South Korea and he made sure I looked like a fashionable South Korean teenager."

Soo-jung with her sister in China
Soo-jung with her sister in China

Her mother then exchanged the money they amassed in South Korea into US dollars, and divided their life savings between the family members. It was to be used in an emergency.

After a kimchi-inclusive breakfast to calm the soul, the family moved methodically as planned. Soo-jung and her parents started heading for the South Korean consulate in a taxi while her sister Soo-yun retreated back to the hotel.

Inside the taxi, Soo-jung put on the same gold glasses her sister wore in the passport photo. She then plugged in her earphones and turned on her sister's MP3 player.

"I was so nervous - so much that I turned up the music to full blast. It was like ringing out of my ears.

I was listening to [the South Korean artist] 'Page' because her songs are very romantic and sentimental. I needed something to help calm my nerves."

Alighting just a few metres away from the building, Soo-jung and her mother parted from her father.

He positioned himself behind another building nearby while Soo-jung and her mother began walking towards the consulate.

Two Chinese policemen stood guard at the tall steel gates. They were checking everyone's passports.

Soo-jung and her mother stood calmly in line. When it came to their turn, the guard looked through her mother's passport and then her sister's.

"He looked up at me and stared intently for a while," she says.

"He then turned around and walked away with our passports — without saying anything."

With her heart pounding in her ears, Soo-jung looked around her surroundings, averting the gaze of the second officer. She hummed to the music trying her best to stay calm.

She knew one mistake could lead to her whole family being arrested and detained under charges of fraud. With no legal protection, only Soo-jung would be repatriated to North Korea, where she would most certainly face harsh punishment at one of the notorious prison camps.

"My mother said she felt her heart crush. We had no idea why he had taken our passports. Could they have suspected something? We didn't know."

A few minutes later, she heard a faint yell.

She turned and saw her mother standing a few steps ahead of her.

"She was motioning me to hurry up. That's when I saw our passports in her hands. The officer had let us in."

As Soo-jung walked past the Chinese guards and stepped over the South Korean consulate building doorstep, she knew she had passed the test.

She was now under the protection of the South Korean authorities.

To South Korea and Australia

It was a cold, snowy day in late December 2006, a year after Soo-jung had sought refuge at the South Korean consulate in Beijing. She was inside a South Korean government van with a group of eight North Korean defectors.

She was on her way to the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in South Korea where a lengthy interrogation and screening process was awaiting her.

As she looked outside her window, 17-year-old Soo-jung caught the first glimpse of the country that she had once been taught was an "impoverished" nation.

"The skyscrapers, the cars on the road, the crowd … I remember feeling quite overwhelmed at first. It felt surreal. I was happy but I was so exhausted," she says.

"I think the anxiety and stress built up over the years since my first escape had become too much for me. I felt dazed and numb … but I knew I had finally made it."

Soo-jung was elated to have finally reached her destination under the protection of the South Korean authorities.

Her journey to freedom had taken one year and seven months.

She was no longer malnourished, stunted and weak. She had grown almost 10 centimetres, put on weight and her body had finally begun to mature as a woman.

Soo-jung's time at the consulate in Beijing had been long but one of physical recovery, as she had eaten consistently, for the first time in many years — three full meals a day.

Soo-jung Ra after defection
Soo-jung Ra after defection

Her second chance at life in South Korea marked the beginning of her adventure to self-discovery.

She began studying again, completing her high school education before gaining entrance at a prestigious university in Seoul.

With dreams of helping others in need, she chose to study police administration. The contrasting perception of a police officer between the North and South made it particularly appealing for Soo-jung.

"In North Korea, the role of a police officer is to spy on the civilians and they are people you should fear. On the other hand, in South Korea, their role is more generally to protect the public and catch criminals," she says.

"They are serving the public. That's what I wanted to do."

Despite the opportunities and being able to speak the same language, Soo-jung at times struggled to assimilate into the ultra-modern South Korean society.

Like most North Korean defectors, the 'Promised Land of South Korea' was not what she had envisioned as defectors were often shunned and discriminated against.

Divided by war, the two nations had progressed in polar opposite directions, making it difficult for most defectors to connect with their Southern counterpart.

"There's a lot of stigma of being a North Korean defector. We're generally looked down upon as second-class citizens," she says.

"I felt embarrassed to have come from a poor country ... and I tended to hang out with friends who were from the North. We are all Korean, but we grew up knowing completely different things.

"On top of that, I grew up in poverty and I spent years struggling with starvation. That made things even more difficult for us to relate."

To blend in, Soo-jung quickly picked up the South Korean accent. However, like many others, she was embarrassed of her background, and continued to hide her identity.

Her search for meaning and acceptance, as well as her desire to explore the world, led to her decision to move to a foreign country in 2012.

Soo-jung Ra at Bondi beach

Soo-jung Ra at the 12 Apostles

Soo-jung Ra in Sydney

Now 26, Soo-jung describes her experience in Australia as one of spiritual healing.

Whilst working part-time at a restaurant, she spent her early years travelling and exploring the country.

"I loved watching people go about their life. I'd see people lounging on the grass relaxing and reading a book, and not caring about what was going on around them, and I'd think 'Yeah I want to do that too.' So I did."

"I laid on the grass at Hyde Park and I remember thinking 'Wow, I'm doing what they're doing.' It wasn't much but for me it was quite exciting and it gave me a lot of joy to be able to enjoy such simple things in life."

As she made sense of the world around her, her time alone helped relieve the pressures to hide and conform.

"I'd see people from all different backgrounds - Indians, Vietnamese, Chinese, Europeans ... and I realised I am just one of them."

"I was born in North Korea but I am a South Korean citizen, and now I am living in Australia. I'm like everybody else and coming to that realisation meant a lot to me. I no longer feel as ashamed."

Her growing acceptance of her past brought more confidence in her identity as a North Korean, fostering a desire to one day return to her motherland.

Today, she is studying early childhood education. Her past experiences as an orphan refined her dream and passion to help others, and ultimately to become a teacher.

"I truly believe the North and South will reunite in my lifetime. We are one nation. And when that day comes, I want to be there," she says.

"There will be without a doubt so many orphans in North Korea and I want to set up an orphanage to care for these children. I lived in one. I know what it's like to feel alone."

And until that day comes, Soo-jung hopes to travel the world, working for schools and NGOs to teach children in other developing countries. She no longer sees her past as an obstacle but a building block to a brighter future.

"When I think of my future, I'm filled with hope. I'm so glad that I have been able to overcome obstacles that have come my way despite the fact that I was born in North Korea."

"I have come so far and I'm proud of that. I'm so happy to have found [this] dream and most importantly to have the opportunity to live it out.

"And I can't wait for the day that the North and South reunites so that the people of North Korea can learn and experience the world freely like I am today."

North Korean defector Soo-jung Ra in Australia
Soo-yung in Australia