READ 2 timothy 3 and Matthew 24, then READ world news – realise we live in the last days, Repent and turn to Jesus!

LastChance

2 Timothy 3

3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited,lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

Matthew 24

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times

24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be faminesand earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

The Day and Hour Unknown

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

FREEDOM WATCH: DHS to roll out disease outbreak surveillance grid to spy on health of Americans

Naturally, the government is passing it off as a necessity – something that it must do in order to keep the nation safe. But what it really amounts to is just another massive surveillance scheme.In continuing former Secretary Janet Napolitano’s Gestapo-like police state, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Affairs wants to keep tabs on reported outbreaks of infectious diseases worldwide. To do so, the DHS agency “plans to contract with a small business to provide a ‘real-time data feed,’ drawn from at least 25,000 online sources, on a 24/7 basis, with its content updated at least hourly,” according to Government Security News (GSN).This new data feed (our government loves its “data feeds,” doesn’t it?) will be delivered in RSS format and will provide the Feds a means of sharing said information throughout the government, as well as outside of it, when it is doing so “for U.S. government purposes,” says a small business set-aside solicitation that was issued by DHS Sept. 3.”Through management of the Department’s operational biodefense programs, including the National Biosurveillance Integration Center (NBIC), [the office of health affairs] conducts biosurveillance activities to enable early warning and situational awareness of acute biological events and support better decisions through rapid identification, characterization, localization, and tracking,” the solicitation says. Read More.

POPULATION CONTROL? Nearly all conventional chicken meat is intentionally contaminated with arsenic

Following the release of a groundbreaking U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report back in 2011 indicting roxarsone, the infamous Pfizer-produced arsenical drug, as a high-level contaminant in conventional chicken meat, the drug’s manufacturer voluntarily agreed to pull it off the market, leading many health-conscious individuals to breathe a collective sigh of relief. But a new study recently published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) reveals that inorganic arsenic is still prevalent in virtually all conventional chicken meat, as an arsenical drug similar in composition to roxarsone is still being widely used and fed to conventional chickens. Entitled “Arsenical Association: Inorganic Arsenic May Accumulate in the Meat of Treated Chickens,” the new study explains how inorganic arsenic (iAs), a known human carcinogen, accumulates in the muscle tissue of chickens treated with arsenical drugs like roxarsone, the official brand name of which is 3-Nitro. The previous assumption was that these organic arsenic compounds pass through chickens unchanged and thus do not pose a considerable threat to human health. But the FDA study revealed quite the opposite when it found that roxarsone is capable of transforming into iAs upon ingestion, where it then accumulates in the edible parts of chickens. Full Story
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RED LINE? Iran says date could be set for nuclear talks at UN meeting

A date for the next talks between Iran and six global powers seeking to ensure Tehran does not develop nuclear arms could be set during meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this month, President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday. Rouhani, speaking during a security summit in Kyrgyzstan, said the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program can only be guaranteed if its interests and rights are respected, an apparent reference to Tehran’s desire to continue enriching uranium. Jerusalem Post

Security forces on high alert as Israelis mark Yom Kippur

Expecting many thousands of Jewish worshipers to gather at the Western Wall in Jerusalem at the start of Yom Kippur Friday evening, police have preemptively undertaken numerous security measures to safeguard them for the duration of the fast, which ends on Saturday evening. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Thursday that the hundreds of officers, to be stationed in and around the Kotel and the Old City, had been instructed on all security needs and expectations days before. “Israeli police have completed security measures ahead of Yom Kippur, which will be implemented from Thursday evening until the end of Yom Kippur,” said Rosenfeld. “Tens of thousands of visitors in the area are expected, and police will ensure they can pray peacefully.” Rosenfeld said Border Police, undercover teams and various other elite units will blanket the area to respond immediately to any incidents, with particular precaution being taken at the Western Wall and synagogues in the area. Security crossings into Israel from the West Bank were temporarily closed Friday and will open again following Yom Kippur in accordance with security assessments adopted by the IDF.
Train and bus services throughout the country ended Friday afternoon and were set to resume Saturday evening after Yom Kippur ends.  Full Story

DAYS OF NOAH: Massachusetts man plotted to kill and eat children

Portway, pleaded guilty in May to distribution and possession of child pornography and solicitation to commit a crime of violence, according to court documents. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 17.
A Boston-area man, who was planning to kidnap children, lock them in a basement dungeon, rape and eat them, should be imprisoned for at least 27 years, federal authorities said in court documents filed this week. Geoffrey Portway pleaded guilty in May to distribution and possession of child pornography and solicitation to commit a crime of violence, according to court documents. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 17. ”Portway has pled guilty to some of the most vile and heinous crimes known to our society,” federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing recommendation. But a lawyer for the 40-year-old defendant told CNN his client “lived in a fantasy world” and there was no evidence he harmed any child.  Portway went by the moniker “Fat Longpig” during his online chats, according to court documents. It was these chats that put Portway on the radar screen of police. When his home in Worcester was searched last year, authorities found tens of thousands of computer images and videos of child pornography and 4,500 exchanges of child pornography between Portway and the people he chatted with online. The images included children being cooked and prepared to be eaten, court documents said. Those photographs are sealed. Full Story

Fukushima ‘not under control’ – TEPCO official refutes PM’s assurances

Members of a Fukushima prefecture panel, which monitors the safe decommissioning of the nuclear plant, inspect a contaminated water tank (C, in the back) which leaked radioactive water at the H4 area of the contaminated water storage tanks, at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima in this September 13, 2013, photo released by Kyodo.  (Reuters/Kyodo)
A senior TEPCO official contradicted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by saying the radioactive water leakage at the crippled Fukushima plant is not under control. The official, Kazuhiko Yamashita, was asked his opinion of comments by Abe regarding the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Buenos Aries last Saturday.n“I think the current situation is that it is not under control,” Yamashita said at a hearing in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, on Friday before further apologizing for the leaks. In reaction to Yamashita’s comments, Democratic Party of Japan Secretary-General Akihiro Ohata told reporters the prime minister should fully explain what led him to his pronouncement last week. Following Yamashita’s comments, however, TEPCO released a statement clarifying Abe’s position. “It is our understanding that the Prime Minister intended his statement ‘the situation is under control’ to mean that the impact of radioactive materials is limited to the area within the port of the power station, and that the densities of radioactive materials on the surrounding waters are far below the referential densities and have not been on continuous upward trends. According to this understanding, we share the same views.” Full Story

WAR DRUMS: Russia to expand Mediterranean fleet to 10 warships – Navy chief

The Moskva missile cruiser (RIA Novosti/Vitaliy Ankov)
The Russian Navy intends to build its presence in the Mediterranean Sea – particularly in the area close to Syrian shores – to up to 10 battleships, announced Admiral of the Fleet Viktor Chirkov. “The task is crystal clear: to avoid a slightest threat to the security of the state. This is a general practice of all fleets around the world, to be there when a tension level increases. They are all going to act on operational command plan of the offshore maritime zone,” Chirkov told journalists on Friday. “Russia will be building up its Mediterranean fleet until it is deemed sufficient to perform the task set.”  Russia began military build-up in the Mediterranean in 2012, and starting from December last year the Navy established a constant presence in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.  On May 1, 2013 all Russian battleships operating in the area were assigned to a single task force under special offshore maritime zone operation command. Currently there are seven warships deployed in the area: landing craft carriers ‘Aleksandr Shabalin’, ‘Admiral Nevelskoy’, ‘Peresvet’, ‘Novocherkassk’ and ‘Minsk’ from Russia’s Black and Baltic Sea Fleets, as well as the escort vessel ‘Neustrashimy’, and large anti-submarine ship ‘Admiral Panteleyev’. Full Story

BREAKING NEWS: . Syria launches offensive near Israeli border

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, while engaged in active cooperation with President Barack Obama over Syria, was not averse to going over his head to push his agenda with “the American people” in an article he published in The New York Times Thursday, Sept. 12. He continues to protest against all the evidence that the calamitous chemical attack of Aug. 21, east of Damascus, was perpetrated by Syrian rebels, not the Syrian army. This is clearly an attempt to turn the American people and its lawmakers once and for all against US military intervention in Syria in any shape or form. If Putin succeeds in getting his message across, it would be the second time in a decade that Moscow has worked its will on the American people. The first time, the Russians aimed at discrediting the Bush administration by convincing the world ahead of America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, although he was on record as having gassed 5,000 of his Kurdish citizens to death in 1988. In his article, Putin went on to say sanctimoniously: “It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as one relying solely on brute force.” The famously peace-loving Russian leader was lambasting an American president known for his extreme shyness of military action. Putin must be utterly confident that Obama is too far along their joint diplomatic path with Iran on Syria to back out now. He is evidently counting on a military attack being finally off the table and the Assad regime guaranteed safe. Full Story

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Comet Lovejoy will add to “comet lineup” in winter skies

Move over Comet ISON. You’ve got company.  Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy, discoverer of three previous comets, including the famous, long-tailed sungrazer C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), just added a 4th to his tally. This new comet will add to a lineup of comets that should grace early November skies in the northern hemisphere: Comets ISON, Encke and now the new Lovejoy. The discovery of C/2013 R1 Lovejoy was announced on Sept. 9 after two nights of photographic observations by Lovejoy with an 8-inch (20 cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector. When nabbed, the comet was a faint midge of about 14.5 magnitude crossing the border between Orion and Monoceros. Subsequent observations by other amateur astronomers peg it a bit brighter at 14.0 with a small, condensed coma. Mid to late November is also the time when Comet ISON, the current focus of much professional and amateur observation, will be at its brightest in the morning sky at around magnitude 2-3. Get ready for some busy nights at the telescope! C/2013 R1 will whip by the sun on Christmas Day at a distance of 81 million miles (130.3 million km) and then return back to the deeps from whence it came. The charts here give you a general idea of its location and path over the next couple months. As the comet crosses into small-scope territory in early November, I’ll provide maps for you to find it. And as Stuart Atkinson noted on his website, Cumbrian Sky a great lineup should be in the northern hemisphere skies on November 9, 2013. From the left, Comet Encke will be magnitude 6, ISON should be at about magnitude 6 or 7; then Mars, followed by the new Comet Lovejoy, which will be still very faint at around magnitude 9, topped off by a bright Jupiter. The comets will not likely be of naked eye visibility, but this should be a great chance for astrophotographer to capture this lineup! Extinction Protocol

Federal consumer ‘protection’ bureau to monitor 80% of all credit card transactions…

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials are seeking to monitor four out of every five U.S. consumer credit card transactions this year — up to 42 billion transactions – through a controversial data-mining program, according to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner. A CFPB strategic planning document for fiscal years 2013-17 describes the “markets monitoring” program through which officials aim to monitor 80 percent of all credit card transactions in 2013. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 1.16 billion consumer credit cards were in use in 2012 for an estimated 52.6 billion transactions. If CFPB officials reach their stated “performance goal,” they would collect data on 42 billion transactions made with 933 million credit cards used by American consumers. In addition, CFPB officials hope to monitor up to 95 percent of all mortgage transactions, according to the planning document.  “This is one step closer to a Big Brother form of government where they know everything about us,” said Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis. At a Wednesday hearing before the House Financial Services Committee chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, CFPB Director Richard Cordray defended the data-mining practice and said his agency is monitoring credit card usage at 110 banks, including Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, Discover and American Express. In a related development, Rep. Spencer Bachus, Hensarling’s predecessor on the House Financial Services Committee, told the Examiner he believes CFPB violated at least two federal laws by using the impartial U.S. Trustee Program to gather bankruptcy data as part of the data-mining campaign. The Examiner reported Monday that bankruptcy experts are concerned that CFPB is undermining the trustee program’s independence and impartiality. The trustee program is the federal government’s main administrative agency for handling bankruptcy cases. Full Story

They Denied That We Were In A Depression In 1933 And They Are Doing It Again In 2013

Great Depression Headlines
The more things change, the more things stay the same.  The Great Depression actually started in 1929, but as you will see below, as late as 1933 the Associated Press was still pumping out lots of news stories with optimistic economic headlines and many Americans still did not believe that we were actually in a depression.  And of course we are experiencing a very similar thing today.  The United States is in the worst financial shape that it has ever been in, our economic infrastructure is being systematically gutted, and poverty isabsolutely exploding.  Since the stock market crash of 2008, the Federal Reserve has been wildly printing money and the federal government has been running trillion dollar deficits in a desperate attempt to stabilize things, but in the process they have made our long-term economic problems far worse.  It would be hard to overstate how dire our situation is, and yet the mainstream media continues to assure us that everything is just fine and that happy days are here again. More

Witness to a Syrian Execution: “I Saw a Scene of Utter Cruelty”

WARNING: VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED: All wars are vicious, but the civil war in Syria seems every day to set new standards for brutality. As the fighting rages in its third year, increasing numbers of atrocities are committed by soldiers and fighters from forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar Assad, as well as armed rebels and Islamic militants from the numerous, loosely aligned groups opposing Assad. The violence is frequently sectarian in nature, with fighters claiming they act in defense of their faith, be it Sunni, Alawite, Shiite or any of the other sects that contribute to Syria’s religious landscape. The perpetrators of atrocities themselves often use digital cameras or smartphones to photograph or film their acts of torture and murder, uploading the images to the Internet. These images and videos are used for propaganda, and their authenticity is often impossible to verify. It is very rare that a group of fighters from either side gives a professional photojournalist from a country outside Syria full and unfettered access to chronicle an atrocity as it unfolds. The images above are products of that access. Full Story

Rise of the robot bees

Bees have long been renowned among the scientific world as some of the most efficient flying machines on Earth. Now, in what may seem a little science-fiction like, University of Queensland researchers have studied their flight patterns in virtual reality in a bid to develop insect-sized robots. ”We are thinking this can be applied to robotics for very small flying robots,” PhD student Gavin Taylor said. ”If we had small flying robots, potentially they could act as pollinators, because bees are in global decline but they could also be used for other things, such as in search and rescue flights.”  As part of the world-first Queensland Brain Institute study, Mr Taylor and other researchers tethered the bees in front of computer monitors and simulated flight conditions, to study how they adapt naturally to a range of differing conditions. They found they use a combination of what they feel and see to streamline their bodies and gain maximum “fuel efficiency” by positioning themselves for swift flight. “Honey bees often have to travel very long distances with only a small amount of nectar, so they have to be as fuel-efficient as possible,” he said. Full Story

Muslim poem is read for 9/11, the Pledge of Allegiance is not at Concord Carlisle High School

The principal of Concord Carlisle High School is apologizing to parents about the school’s opening ceremony on Wednesday – the 12th anniversary of 9/11 – in which a Muslim poem was recited over the intercom but the Pledge of Allegiance was not. Principal Peter Badalament said in a statement to parents that the poem was meant to promote “cross-cultural understanding,” and that the Pledge of Allegiance was not read because of a mixup with the student reader. The combination of the two has “outraged a small number of members of our community,” Badalament said in an email to the Globe, noting that the school has received a handful of calls and about 10 emails from unhappy parents. ”Yesterday was the first Wednesday of the school year; we were unaware that our student Pledge reader had an internship commitment on this day,” Badalament said in the statement.. “This was our responsibility to know. We humbly apologize that this oversight and communication gap occurred.” Badalament said officials were only thinking of the well-being of their students when they chose to read the poem, Mohja Kahf’s “My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears.” The poem recounts a granddaughter’s account of watching her grandmother adhere to the religious Muslim custom of washing her feet five times a day, though it puts the pair in an awkward situation at an American department store. Kahf writes in a section of the poem:
Respectable Sears matrons shake their heads and frown
as they notice what my grandmother is doing,
an affront to American porcelain,
a contamination of American Standards
by something foreign and unhygienic
requiring civic action and possible use of disinfectant spray
They fluster about and flutter their hands and I can see
a clash of civilizations brewing in the Sears bathroom
Badalament said the district will “integrate the feedback that has been offered into our future work with students.”Boston.com

Volcano prompts declaration of emergency in Peru

The Ubinas volcano in Moquegua, some 1000 km south of Lima, on April 20, 2006.
Peru declared a state of emergency Thursday in nine districts threatened by the Ubinas volcano, which has erupted seven times since September 1, spewing harmful gas and ash. Authorities are distributing masks and have given themselves a 60-day period to relocate villagers from areas where ash is damaging crops and polluting water sources. The explosions have sent a plume of smoke rising to 2,500 meters (2,734 yards) above the crater, according to volcanologists at the Geophysical Institute of Peru. The first explosion on the night of September 1 was strong and followed by a series of lesser blasts, seismologist Victor Aguilar of the Geophysical Institute of the University of San Agustin de Arequipa told AFP. The volcano, in the Moquegua department 1,250 kilometers (776 miles) south of Lima, is the most active in the country. Peru’s Geological, Mining and Metallurgical Institute said the eruption could have been caused by snow accumulating in the crater and preventing normal emissions. Since 1550, 25 eruptions have been recorded at Ubinas. There are 40 volcanoes in Moquegua and the neighboring regions of Arequipa and Tacna, most of them dormant. France 24

Apple fingerprint scanner will make ‘biometrics’ a household name

An Apple employee, right, instructs a journalist on the use of the fingerprint scanner technology built into the company's iPhone 5S during a media event held in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. Apple will offer two distinct versions of its latest iPhones and fingerprint scanner for better security. (Ng Han Guan/AP)
By adding a fingerprint scanner to its newest mobile phone, Apple Inc. is offering a tantalizing glimpse of a future where your favourite gadget might become a biometric pass to the workplace, mobile commerce or real-world shopping and events. Although Apple’s executives said at Tuesday’s launch that its Touch ID technology embedded into the iPhone 5S’ home button would only provide fingerprint access to the phone and its own online stores, analysts said Apple’s embrace of such technology, called biometrics, would be key to wider adoption.  “It really propels biometrics into the mainstream,” said specialist Alan Goode, the U.K. -based managing director of research consultancy Goode Intelligence. Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of design, hinted of its future in a video presentation at the launch. “Touch ID defines the next step of how you use your iPhone,” he said, “making something as important as security so effortless and so simple.” Passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs) have long been the mainstay of access to devices, bank accounts and online services, despite their poor record. Many passwords can easily be guessed, while others can be hacked by brute-force attacks – essentially a computer program running through all possible permutations. Full Story

Church of Scotland warns “We might have to stop traditional weddings if same-sex law leads to court cases”

DAYS OF LOT: The Church of Scotland is looking at whether it can continue to offer marriages if same-sex legislation leads to expensive court challenges. MSPs were told there are deep concerns in the Kirk about the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill currently going through Holyrood. The Rev Alan Hamilton, convener of the Kirk’s legal questions committee, said the Bill could be an “invitation” to take religious bodies through the court system. ”We are voluntary bodies. We rely upon the donations of our members, and the thought of years of exhausting legal challenge, which is also incredibly expensive, is really very concerning,” he told Holyrood’s Equal Opportunities Committee.
“That is why the General Assembly of 2013 in May of this year instructed my committee, together with other councils and committees of the Church of Scotland, to consider whether in fact – and I’m saying this colloquially, this is not the terms of the deliverance of the General Assembly – whether it’s worth the Church of Scotland continuing to offer marriages in Scotland. ”It gives us considerable problems internally; we’re deeply concerned about the threat externally.” The Church of Scotland called for freedom of religious belief and practice to be respected when the Scottish Government published its proposal in June. Religious bodies who wish to perform same-sex marriages will have to opt in, the Government said when it lodged the Bill in June. It said protection will also be in place for individual celebrants who consider such ceremonies to be contrary to their faith. Mr Hamilton appeared before the committee with representatives of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, the Free Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and lobby group Scotland for Marriage, who all have concerns about the Bill. Full Story

Syrian rebel chief claims Assad gave Hezbollah nerve gas

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah (left), speaks with Syrian President Bashar Assad (center), and Iranian ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right), in Damascus, Syria, on February 25, 2010. (photo credit: AP/SANA)
Syrian rebel leader claims that the Assad regime has transferred chemical weapons to the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah amid talks to ensure the transfer of Syria’s WMDs to international authorities for destruction. According to a report in Saudi Arabia’s al-Watan newspaper, Syrian National Coalition member Kamal al-Labwani said the rebels obtained documents and testimony from a defector from one of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons research centers that indicate Syrian President Bashar Assad transferred roughly one metric ton of VX nerve gas to its ally, Hezbollah.  Al-Labwani told al-Watan that he forwarded documentary proof of his claim to the US Embassy in Jordan and British intelligence in Doha. The al-Watan report could not be independently confirmed. Israel has repeatedly vowed to prevent Hezbollah’s acquisition of sophisticated weaponry, including chemical weapons. In January, Israeli fighter jets carried out an airstrike near a chemical weapons facility outside Damascus. US officials said the Israelis struck the military research center and a convoy next to it, which was carrying anti-aircraft weapons destined for the Islamic militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon. Full Story

Israel prepares for solemn, silent Day of Atonement

Thousands of Jewish people gather for prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City the night before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. (photo credit: Dror Garti/Flash90)
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israelis prepared for the holiest day of the Jewish calendar on Friday when the entire country grinds almost to a halt for Yom Kippur, Judaism’s day of atonement. Jews traditionally spend the solemn day fasting and asking God for forgiveness at intense prayer services in synagogues. It caps a 10-day period of soul-searching that began with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year holiday.  In Israel, the country virtually shuts down for Yom Kippur. Businesses, restaurants and offices close, and TV and radio stations go silent. Airports close and buses and trains stop running. Highways and roads become eerily quiet, devoid of vehicles. Yom Kippur is unique in Israel because it touches almost the entire country. A high portion of the secular population observes the fast — and even those who don’t fast tend to refrain from eating in public, and quietly watch movies or rest at home.
Many secular, mostly younger, Israelis ride bicycles and skateboards through the empty roads in some areas. The Israeli military closed crossings with the West Bank for the holiday, which starts on Friday evening, citing “security assessments.” Israel has imposed West Bank closures during most Jewish holidays in recent years due to concerns that Palestinian militants could take advantage of the occasion to carry out attacks inside Israel. This year, the holiday marks 40 years to the 1973 Arab-Israel War, which Israelis call the Yom Kippur War because of the surprise attack launched by the Egyptian and Syrian armies against Israel that year. The war is etched deep in Israel’s collective psyche due to the heavy losses sustained in the fighting and because of the country’s lack of preparedness. For Israelis, it is one of the most traumatic events in their history. Personal accounts of Israelis who participated in that war or who were scarred by its occurrence filled newspapers and talk shows ahead of this year’s holiday. Full Story

Al-Qaeda chief calls for attacks on U.S in 9/11 speech to followers

 Ayman al-Zawahiri speaking during an interview
In an audio message released yesterday, Zawahiri laid out a plan of attack, saying he wanted a “few of the brothers” to commit small-scale strikes to trigger big spending by Washington on security, while awaiting the opportunity for a major onsalught later. ”We should bleed America economically by provoking it to continue in its massive expenditure on its security, for the weak point of America is its economy, which has already begun to stagger due to the military and security expenditure,” he said. Keeping America in such a state of tension and anticipation only required a few disparate attacks “here and there”. He said: “As we defeated it in the gang warfare in Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan, so we should follow it with …war on its own land. These disparate strikes can be done by one brother or a few of the brothers.” At the same time, Muslims should seize any opportunity to land “a large strike” on the United States, even if this took years of patience, he said in the audio speech, which was broadcast on an Internet forum used by jihadist groups and lasted 72 minutes.  The Sept 11, 2011 attacks, in which hijacked airliners were flown into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon in Washington and a Pennsylvania field, triggered a global fight against al Qaeda extremists and their affiliates. Almost 3,000 people were killed in the attacks. In his audio speech, Zawahri said Muslims should refuse to buy goods from America and its allies, as such spending only helped to fund US military action in Muslim lands. He added that Muslims should abandon the US dollar and replace it with the currency of nations that did not attack Muslims. Zawahri spoke approvingly of one of the worst attacks on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001, the bombing of the Boston Marathon in April, which U.S. authorities say was carried out by two ethnic Chechen Muslim brothers. The attack killed three people and injured 264. Zawahri sought to paint the bombing as part of al Qaeda’s violent transnational campaign of jihad or holy war against U.S. interests, even if it was relatively small-scale. Full Story

U.S. consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, attacked, 3 dead

Watch this video
Kabul, Afghanistan – A huge explosion rocked the area near the U.S. consulate in Afghanistan’s Herat province early Friday during a heavy gunfight between militants and security forces, officials said. The attack occurred just before 6 a.m. local time when attackers sped towards the front gate of the consulate, said Marie Harf, a deputy State Department spokeswoman. The attackers fired assault rifles starting a gun battle with Afghan security forces. During the battle, a truck exploded, Harf said, causing major damage to the front gate of the consulate. American consulate personnel took shelter in safe havens while U.S. security forces responded to the attack, Harf said. There were no U.S. casualties. Seven attackers traveling in two vehicles took part in the assault and all of them were killed, said Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, deputy Afghan Interior Minister. Three people, two local police officers and a local security guard, were killed, police and hospital officials said. Twenty others were injured. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in an e-mail to CNN. U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunningham in a statement condemned the attack and lamented the Afghan citizens who lost their lives. ”Many Afghan civilians were killed in the attack, along with others who work for the Consulate as contractors. We are deeply saddened by this senseless loss of life,” he said. CNN

‘Unprecedented rainfall’ pummels Colorado- heaviest in 63 years, thousands evacuated

September 13, 2013 – BOULDER, CO – Flooding that killed at least three people in Colorado, toppling buildings and stranding drivers, worsened overnight as record rains pounded the state, forcing thousands more residents to flee to higher ground, officials said. The unusual late-summer downpours drenched Colorado’s biggest urban centers, stretching 130 miles along the eastern slopes of the Rockies from Fort Collins near the Wyoming border south through Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs. In Boulder, the rainfall record for September set in 1940 was shattered, officials said, unleashing surging floodwaters in Boulder Canyon above the city that triggered the evacuation of some 4,000 residents late on Thursday. “There’s so much water coming out of the canyon, it has to go somewhere, and unfortunately it’s coming into the city,” said Ashlee Herring, spokeswoman for the Boulder office of Emergency Management. Boulder Creek, which runs through the heart of the city, became a raging torrent that burst its banks and flooded adjacent parking lots and streets as warning sirens wailed. Other towns nestled along the Front Range of the Rockies north of Denver were also hard hit. In Longmont about 14 miles northeast of Boulder, the St. Vrain River jumped its banks, cascading across main thoroughfares and making travel across the city impossible overnight. “Our city is completely divided,” by the floodwaters, assistant city manager Shawn Lewis told Reuters. Lewis said 7,000 households were under mandatory evacuation orders. The city opened two emergency shelters for displaced residents.
President Barack Obama approved a federal disaster assistance request, which will release funds to help with emergency protection, Governor John Hickenlooper’s office said late on Thursday. National Guard troops were dispatched with emergency supplies to the remote town of Lyons, north of Boulder, which was virtually cut off from surrounding areas when floodwaters washed out U.S. Route 36, county officials said. A dozen major roads in northeastern Colorado remained shut with significant damage from flooding, mudslides, rock falls and other debris, the Colorado Department of Transportation said late on Thursday. Heavy summer rains are not unusual for Colorado, but the intensity and duration of the downpour that began on Monday night was unprecedented. The National Weather Service said at least 12.3 inches of rain have fallen on Boulder since September 1, smashing a 63-year-old record of 5.5 inches for the month. A flood watch was extended until 6 a.m. on Friday for the entire Front Range, the NWS said, and the rainfall is not expected to ease until later in the day. One body was found in a collapsed building near Jamestown, an evacuated enclave north of Boulder. A couple were swept away in floodwaters after stopping their car northwest of the city. The man’s body was recovered but the woman was missing and feared dead, said Commander Heidi Prentup of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. The body of a third confirmed fatality, a man, was found by police on flood-watch patrols in Colorado Springs, about 100 miles to the south, officials said. Nearly 150 people were killed near Boulder in 1976 by a flash flood along the Big Thompson Canyon. –Chicago Tribune

PAUL BEGLEY

DAHBOO77

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