Chosen: End Times Newsletter – Issue 69

The Minister’s Corner

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32


The Vine and the Branches
By Regina

John 15:1-8 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 Every branch in me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.

5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples."

Many people have speculated as to who or what, God is. In truth, God is our Father Yahweh, our Creator, our Mother and Father, and the energy source of all life on earth and in the heavens. She is symbolized as a great tree and we are the branches that extend from Her out in all directions. You can see Her signature in the branches of every tree that extend out in a Y, which represents the first initial of Her name, Yahweh. Without Her, none of us and none of anything in both the visible fleshly realm and invisible spiritual realm, all of which are in fact also energy, would exist.

This is evident in John 15:1-8, in which Christ Jesus is explaining that like a branch that has been cut off from a tree cannot exist, neither can we exist without Father. And, if it weren’t for Christ’s sacrifice for us we also would not exist, as we would not have had our ransom paid which affords us the opportunity of eternal life – which is why we must remain in him via our faith and in being his footstep followers. One cannot obtain eternal life without an acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior, so without Christ and the sacrifice he made, we would have lost the opportunity of existence and without Father Yahweh we would not exist at all.

Seem deep? It’s really quite simple. Father is like an outlet that provides energy for appliances to run off of. Without the outlet, the appliance is rendered useless. In the same way, should a person “pull the plug” and become disconnected from Father, whether it be by choice or because they’ve unknowingly been snared by Dawn Lucifer, because Father is symbolized as a tree and we the branches of that tree, that branch is then rendered as being useless and must be pruned. If there were too many branches on a tree that are dead, that tree would soon die as well. Because Father is righteous, those unrighteous which are like a cancer within Her body, cannot continue to live within Her. Those branches and limbs that do not bear fruit must be pruned so that the tree itself may live.

This and much more is the purpose behind the Spiritual War, End Times, the Tribulation, Rapture and Armageddon. Certain things must take place before creation can co-exist in complete harmony within Father and these things are scary to think about. Some prefer to believe that it will not happen in their lifetime and many others have been led to believe that it will not happen at all, but that is not truth. The world as we know it will end, and it will end in our lifetime, but earth itself will not pass away and it will usher in a time in which peace and harmony will reign under our loving Lord and Savior Christ Jesus during the Millennium. This is the reason behind the pruning and chafing – so that eternity can exist without the influence of evil.

So whether you believe, do not believe or are unsure as to whether God exists, the human soul exists or life after death exists, it applies to us all but the choice is for each of us to make; to either remain on the vine, or off the vine. Those of us who do believe and have faith, must also make every effort to be fruitful in our daily lives, so that we may bring glory to Father and be pleasing in Her sight. We do this by being footstep followers of Her son Christ Jesus as branches of the vine, who walked the narrow path before us and led by example a righteous and sinless life.

As the powers of darkness fight for control by injecting lies and falsehoods into the world that are meant to mislead, one thing is for certain, and that is that we cannot go it alone. We need Father Yahweh in order to continue to exist, but She does not need us. It is out of sheer love for mankind and Her creation that She allows each of us to make the choice via our own free will. And it was out of sheer love for mankind, his Father and his Father’s creation that Christ Jesus came to earth to show us the Way and teach us the truth. And while I cannot convince anyone to believe, I pray that some do, so that Father, our vineyard keeper, will gain another child that was previously lost from the vine.


A Christian Walk
Submitted by Johanna

Broken To Fall
Beaten To Live
Destroyed For Pleasure
Dying To Give
Kept By A Promise
Lead By A Light
To Strong To Surrender
To Weak To Fight
Inside There's Promise
Outside There's Pain
Alone There's Voices
Seeking To Gain
There's Still Something Missing
I Never Could Find
A Fathers Love
Whose Was There The Hole Time.

Author Unknown

Don’t be Deceived
By Deborah

Galatians 6:7-8 7 “Don't be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, 8 because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.”

We will all soon see this scripture brought to fruition on this planet.  Michael and his angels will mete out justice in the name of Yahweh of Hosts.  Although new leadership is in the Oval Office, it is our Savior and future King, Christ Jesus, we must remain loyal to.  This sinful world will be destroyed and made new and those who are heirs will inherit the Kingdom of God. 


Inspired Writings



Denial may be something that comes to mind as a state of being, an action, or something that just simply is. The word certainly has a definition, but each person's own perspective of it may be transformed by their own view points and way of life. The following comes from

The Definition of Denial —
1. an assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc., is false: Despite his denials, we knew he had taken the purse. The politician issued a denial of his opponent's charges.
2. refusal to believe a doctrine, theory, or the like.
3. disbelief in the existence or reality of a thing.
4. the refusal to satisfy a claim, request, desire, etc., or the refusal of a person making it.
5. refusal to recognize or acknowledge; a disowning or disavowal: the traitor's denial of his country; Peter's denial of Christ.
6. Law. refusal to acknowledge the validity of a claim, suit, or the like; a plea that denies allegations of fact in an adversary's plea: Although she sued for libel, he entered a general denial.
7. sacrifice of one's own wants or needs; self-denial.
8. Psychology. an unconscious defense mechanism used to reduce anxiety by denying thoughts, feelings, or facts that are consciously intolerable.

Although it may not be considered, denial is an item that does come up throughout scripture. It may not be spoken of directly, but it is an item or mechanism that appears quite often. In the beginning with the first sin, Satan had basically denied Father's commands to him, and even further, denied that Father had spoken the truth concerning how Eve would die if she ate from the tree. Later on, one can read how individuals were denied access to the tree of life. Another example of the impact denial has could be seen with the account of David and Goliath. At first, when Goliath would challenge the Israelites, the Israelites would flee in fear, denying Father's power over the flesh. Then, David, hearing the Philistine's boasting, stood with Father's Spirit guiding his heart, and conquered over the large man with a stone cast from a sling. Christ even denied Himself and allowed Himself to be sacrificed to save all those that truly love Him and Father. As it can be seen, denial is an item that repeats itself in different ways, having different consequences, and being used to fulfill numerous moments.

Nowadays, perhaps the concept of denial is namely in psychology or given a negative connotation because it basically means “no.” Given the examples in scripture, however, denial seems to be more of a mechanism that sets attitudes. The results of the attitudes are usually what seems to define the initial mechanism, but like all mechanisms, if denial is not used correctly, it can always be for a worse outcome. Love can be a bad thing, especially when it is evil that is loved. At the same time, if Christ had not denied Himself, well…I am not sure where we (human beings currently living on this side) would be right now. Denying oneself, as well, seems to take a ton of humility, a quantity that only Father could pass on. In addition, denial can be a good tool to discipline one's children so that the children may also learn to have self control. So, denial, to itself, may not be a negative item, but rather, its effects can be. This brings to mind a wonderment of how it came to be that denial seems to have a negative connotation. It also makes me wonder how many other words are like this; what aspects of language has been tainted in the wrong way, pulling it away from what it actually is.

If different words have a bad or good connotation because of their concept or idea, then perhaps it could be due to one's own perspectives and experiences. If that is such the case, and these different feelings are reflected amongst a general population, then a whole population can be influenced in the wrong way, and since it is in their normal conversation and word usage, individuals may not even realize what it is they are feeling and saying. One item that could be a big example of this is the AK-47. I would hear about it on TV, and how it seems to be widely popularized as a weapon of choice because of its destructive power. Yet, from personal experience, I know that a well-placed attack is much more devastating than a huge stream of random attacks. This is easily proven in the account of David and Goliath. Yet, because it seems to be a popularized item, it has a certain image attached to it, which may or may not be the full story. Now, another question that comes up is how these images come to be; where it all originates from.

Images and perspectives, by the way, are quite devastating, because they influence a whole people's actions. In the UK, there were Starbucks shops that were vandalized because there was an Internet rumor that Starbucks had been donating cash to the Israeli government, which Starbucks denied.

To determine if an image or concept is of true and accurate form, one could use Father's provided common sense and light and see what fruits it provides. If the image results in devastation, perhaps it is not a good thing, much like the image of the beast, which is about to come very, very soon. On the other hand, if the image is a good one with good fruits, like a correct and accurate view of Father and Her Son Christ Jesus, then that is the Truth. To be able to use Father's gifts, perhaps one thing a person must do is first separate themselves from the world. In order to really analyze and see things, it might be best to get out of it, first. For instance, it is not too easy to make analysis of a pool of water if you are swimming in it, as oneself has an impact on the pool.

And so, by separating oneself from the world, they are putting to use the concept of denial, basically pushing the world away, and giving Father a chance to shed Her light on the pool one might have been swimming in. In this sense, even the very words one speaks can be reflected upon, providing further opportunity to go even deeper in Father's knowledge.

The Way – Part 4

This week we continue looking at Wrong Attitudes to be Avoided. We will be sharing what has been given to us, but in groups of 3. Before our Ministry holds Bible Study each week, we pray to Father Yahweh for guidance and help in understanding Her Word. We pray the wisdom imparted will find its way to your heart where it may be written up on it. Amen. can be used as a reference tool with the Holman Christian Standard Bible as the recommended version.

Avoid envy and covetousness:
Galatians 5:26
Titus 3:4
Luke 12:15
Colossians 3:5

Avoid fear of sinful mankind:
Matthew 10:28
Proverbs 29:25
Psalms 118:6

Avoid greediness:
Ephesians 5:3
Ephesians 5:5
1 Corinthians 5:11


Nourishment From The Throne

“For the LORD gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6


Cherubic Commander: Michael brought a message that this ministry is no different than that of long ago. The modern day Moses and Aaron are symbolically leading Father's sheep across the dry sea bed of the Red Sea and are guiding them to the Promised Land by doing Father's will without question.

Job 37:4 "Then there comes a roaring sound; God thunders with His majestic voice. He does not restrain the lightning when His [rumbling] voice is heard."

Psalm 93:4 "Greater than the roar of many waters— the mighty breakers of the sea— the LORD on high is majestic."

Father can be heard roaring from Her Majestic Throne all the way to the barrier of holy angels encasing evil. Literally so. A sign that the thin veil is starting to diminish and that Father is becoming more active Herself.


Dreams & Visions

“And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. I will even pour out My Spirit on My male and female slaves in those days, and they will prophesy.” Acts 2:17-18


I'm 34 and I have had that 'feeling' for about the past 15 years now. I used to have re-occurring dreams where something unusual was seen in the sky. Something that everyone could see and that ALL knew what it meant when they saw it. It was the beginning of massive changes on the earth and our way of life. Military Jets would fly overhead in a futile attempt at war against whatever was coming. Strange lights in the sky and highly unusual clouds and weather would occur. I would wake up terrified. These dreams varied in detail but the same basic pattern always. These dreams made me feel like in the distant future something like this would happen – but that was long ago. Now I still have the dreams but I don't have the fear anymore. The dreams desensitized me to the experience. Though I have the dreams less frequent and they do not scare me anymore I feel that the time they refer to is coming closer – so much closer than when they began 15 years ago. And so yes – sometimes I do feel like I am waiting for it to happen. However, and I must stress this point, I do not alter my life plans or sit and do nothing and wait. I get on with it and hope that they are just dreams and feelings …
-    2 Cents


Signs From Above

“He rescues and delivers, He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth, for He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:27


More UFO's spotted over Rossendale
Lancashire Telegraph
Jan 14, 2008

MORE people have come forward to say they have also spotted UFO’s flying across the Rossendale Valley. On Tuesday, the Lancashire Telegraph reported how “total sceptic” Peter Green claimed to have seen bright objects flying in a diamond formation as he walked his dog in Haslingden. Now Colin Trippier, of Rawtenstall, says he was also left astounded when he and his wife spotted orange globes hovering in the sky above Rossendale. Mr Trippier said: “My wife and I were coming home in the car when she saw the objects in the sky.

Call for Obama to open UFO files
Sea Coast Online
Jan 18, 2009

CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH? Last November, Paradigm Research Group of Bethesda, Md., launched "The Million Fax on Washington" campaign, urging Americans to fax, e-mail or send letters to the Washington Transition Headquarters of President-elect Barack Obama, calling on him to end the Truth Embargo regarding extraterrestrial/UFO presence and to release any information to the American people that would not jeopardize national security. According to the research group, 126 million Americans age 18 and older believe UFOs are real and 180 million believe the government is hiding the truth.

China: Dazzling UFO seen and filmed by eight firefighters
All News Web
Jan 19, 2009

A remarkable UFO was seen and filmed in China by an entire squadron of fire-fighters in Liu Pan Shui City in the province of Guizhou through a camera with a 700X zoom capability. One of the fire-fighters, Wang Jia Wei, noticed an odd looking, brightly flashing star moving in a south easterly direction and went inside the fire-fighters barracks to get a camera. Luckily for Wang he was able to find a Panasonic camera used by his comrades to record damage caused by fires that allowed him to zoom in on the mysterious object seven hundred times. At that point Wang could see that the object was in fact two rotating spinning top shaped crafts or halves of a whole craft joined at a their bases. They were flashing a multitude of colours: Purple, red, blue, orange, white and gold.

Another UFO sighting – in Australia!
Jan 17, 2009

THE Herald's article about UFO sightings on New Year's Day has reached a global audience. Australian Yvonne Vincent contacted the Herald newsroom this week to tell us about her own UFO experience on January 1. She wrote: "I read your article as I typed in UFO 1st Jan 2009 after I saw a UFO on this night. I have not even contacted my local news. It was great to read your article it is fantastic! "I am a 30-year-old young woman. I live in Donvale, Victoria, Australia. My male friend, 37, and I went to McDonald's to get drive thru McCafe latte around 9.40pm our time. "On my short drive home I saw a fireball sphere in the sky. In Donvale, which is about 14km from Melbourne. I thought it was a meteor rock on fire. I drove left into Shirvington Place a street off Doncaster Road and watched it for a good two and a half minutes.

Case Number: 14982
Submitted Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2009

Description: It was around 7:00 pm, I was leaning on the hood of my truck the sun had gone down about 35 minutes earlier and I was enjoying a smoke. I was facing north and looking at what I thought was Orians Belt but was amazed as to the size and brightness of the stars. I realized that Orians Belt would have been much smaller and to the southwest at the time. I saw three very bright lights at first I thought they were stars but they did not blink. They were brighter and larger then the brightest star that was visible (ARCTURUS)which was slightly more to the west of what I was seeing. I also saw a jetliner traveling from west to east and about 300 miles an hour at about 3500 ft altitude. The lights I saw where higher and farther away then the jet. the jet had flashing red and blue lights with one white strobe. When the jet reached the general location of the star on the bottom, the bottom star began to move to the west and at the same time the star on the top and the one in the center of the formation began to move in a synchronous motion the star on top moving to the west and the one in the center moving east while maintaining the same distance apart. When the two upper most stars stopped they formed a perfect triangle with the star on the bottom. After they all stopped moving the star on the bottom of the triangle began moving up towards the center of the other two stars also while moving up the lower star began to fade as if it were going behind something. About two seconds after the center star vanished the others made a slight flicker and then vanished into the night. About that night, there were other stars out that night but none as bright and "no stars were visible inside the triangle". About me: I am 47 college grad currently in the computer field and have 26 years prior military service ranging from Cav Scout to Power Generation and I have served in combat. I know these lights were not flares, they were not helicopters or military aircraft. Fort Bliss and Bigs Airfield are about two mile to my west. Whight Sands testing range is 62 miles to the north by northwest and Holoman AFB is roughly 75 to the north. Has anyone else reported this or seen this. I have gathered my video camera with night vision and am going to try and catch it on tape as this was not the first time I have seen strange light around here. I have diagramed in ms paint 4 files showing what I saw and also will upload a topographical map of the location of what I saw.


Signs Down Below

"But know this: difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of religion but denying its power."  2 Timothy 3:1-5


Obama's New Ride: Heavily-Armored 2009 Cadillac Limo
Fox News
January 06, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama's new ride has arrived — and it's a beast. As first reported by last November — and Tuesday by The Detroit News — a new model of a presidential limousine made by General Motors Corp. has been delivered to the Secret Service and will make its debut on Inauguration Day. The vehicle, referred to by the Secret Service as "the beast," will reportedly feature heavy armor that is at least 5 inches thick and comes complete with run-flat tires, bulletproof glass and a completely sealed interior to ward off a chemical attack, among many other high-tech security features. One news agency, noting its 8-inch-thick doors, said the limo can withstand a "direct hit from an asteroid." But GM spokeswoman Joanne K. Krell laughed off the comments.

No need for condoms – GE corn can do the job

Green Peace
January 12, 2009

India — New research from Austria shows that a commercial strain of Monsanto-made GE corn causes mice to have fewer and weaker babies. What is this doing to human fertility? Regulators around the world said Monsanto’s GE corn was as safe as non-GE strains. It has been approved in many countries and regions including the US, the EU, Argentina, Japan, Philippines and South Africa. China approved the GE corn for animal feed back in 2005. Until this research, under the Austrian Ministries for Agriculture and Health, none of the regulators had seriously questioned the safety of Monsanto's GE corn.

'More than 1,000 killed in Gaza'
January 14, 2009

Palestinian deaths in the Gaza Strip have passed 1,000, medical sources in Gaza say, as Egypt continues efforts to broker a ceasefire. Nearly a third of the dead are reported to be children and nearly 5,000 people have been injured. After talks in Cairo, Hamas officials said they were happy with the broad outlines of an Egyptian initiative but that details remained to be worked out. Israeli negotiators are to visit Cairo to discuss Egypt's proposal. The Ministry of Health in Gaza said 1,013 people have died in the conflict which started 19 days ago. More than 300 of the dead are said to be children, 76 are women and more than 4,500 people have been injured, of whom 1,600 are children and 678 are women.

The Economy Is in a Depression

Global Politician
by Prof. Peter Morici
January 11, 2009

The Labor Department reported on Jan. 9 that the economy lost 524,000 payroll jobs in December, and average employment was 1.3 million lower in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter. I believe the economy is already in the jaws of a depression. Companies have shed 2.6 million jobs since December 2007 as the full weight of the banking crisis, trade deficit with China and burdens imposed by high-priced imported oil are bearing down on manufacturing, construction and the broader economy with unrelenting pressure. Unemployment increased to 7.2% in December. However, factoring in discouraged workers, unemployment is closer to 9.4%. Add workers in part time positions that cannot find full time employment and the hidden unemployment rate is 14.5%.

The recession crime wave
The Independent
By Mark Hughes
January 17, 2009

Robbery and burglary are on the rise across the country, almost doubling in some areas, according to figures that provide the first evidence that the economic downturn is fuelling crime. Figures obtained by The Independent from police forces across England and Wales show that cases of burglary or robbery rose in 31 of the 43 forces in the final four months of the year in comparison with the same period in 2007. In those 31 areas an extra 5,572 crimes of burglary and robbery were committed in the final months of 2008, compared with the previous year.


Signs in Humanity


"Top Ten" Humanitarian Crises Reveal Growing Insecurity, Neglected Health Needs Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Releases 11th Annual List December 22, 2008

New York, NY, December 22, 2008 — Massive forced civilian displacements, violence, and unmet medical needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, and Pakistan, along with neglected medical emergencies in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, are some of the worst humanitarian and medical emergencies in the world, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported today in its annual list of the "Top Ten" humanitarian crises.

God doesn't exist? Proof demanded!
January 10, 2009

A complaint has been filed with the government over a series of advertisements posted on buses that suggest God doesn't exist, demanding proof of the statement in order to comply with federal truth-in-advertising laws. Officials with the Christian Voice in the United Kingdom have brought the issue of the truthfulness of the "no-God" ads to the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority, which regulates ad statements across the nation.

Thailand's deadly treatment of migrants
Jan. 17, 2009

A shocking story is unfolding in Thailand. Migrants and refugees who turn up on its shores have testified that they are being sent back to sea in boats without engines, their hands tied, left to their fate. Hundreds are thought to have suffered this treatment – among them many Rohingya people of western Burma – and many have died. The BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok has been investigating what has been happening.

Dad accused of selling girl into marriage for cash, beer
Jan. 13, 2009

GREENFIELD, Calif. — Greenfield Police Chief Joe Grebmeier said on Monday that his officers keep hearing rumors of arranged marriages between girls and older men. Some of the rumored marriages involved girls as young as 10 years old being matched with men from their teens to their 60s, he said. Until one case broke last weekend, Grebmeier said, it has been difficult for police to look into the stories. People didn’t want to talk about the subject.

Starbucks smashed and looted as anti-Israel protests turn to violence
By Alastair Jamieson
17 Jan 2009
The Telegraph

Riot police surrounded up to 240 demonstrators in central London, many wearing scarves covering their faces, who broke away from a rally in Trafalgar Square at about 5pm. Up to 200 were tracked by a police helicopter as they ransacked the coffee shops in Piccadilly and Shaftesbury Avenue while 40 more were contained in Hyde Park, thought to be on their way to the Israeli embassy in Kensington.


Arks of Safe Haven

"Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and to not ignore your own flesh [and blood]?" Isaiah 58:7


The mission of Arks of Safe Haven is to connect via an extensive network and online message board forum, those individuals and families who have been affected by recent economic downfalls and are in need with those individuals who are ready, willing and capable of providing assistance to those in need with employment, shelter, work, food, clothing and other necessities.

Coupled with our primary mission of delivering the Kingdom Message of Salvation, the assistance of Arks of Safe Haven is available to all who are in need. Our purposeful intention is to follow in the footsteps of Christ as our example, by providing hope to the hopeless and answering the prayers of those who have been forced to live outside of society.

How You Can Help?

In order to provide for those whose outcry of prayers have reached our heavenly Father's ears, Arks of Safe Haven is seeking out those who are able to provide shelter, whether it be an extra bedroom, empty rental property or a work for room and board agreement. Additionally, we also act as a liaison in connecting those with tangible items to donate to those in need like Food, Water, Clothing, & Other Personal Items. We pray that your heart is motivated to make a contribution, no matter how small.

Below are current cases that we are working on for people who are in need. If you're able to help these families in ANY WAY please visit the Arks of Safe Haven forum and let them know!

Case #26 – Royal – Wheaton, IL.
: Hi, I’m a single mom and have been disabled for so long, but with surgery last May and surgery again in 2 weeks I should be able to walk and be able to do things I haven’t done in a long time. Within a reasonable time. For now my need is food and household items. I am not able to get to a food pantry so i need help with getting the food to me. I also just need to use my local food pantry’s to replace the food i can no longer buy myself. I have a large dog and if they have dog food i would like to get it too. I am located in Wheaton near the College of Dupage. Thank you all Margaret


Signs in Natural Disasters

“You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” Matthew 24:6-7


The recession crime wave
The Independent
By Mark Hughes
January 17, 2009

Robbery and burglary are on the rise across the country, almost doubling in some areas, according to figures that provide the first evidence that the economic downturn is fuelling crime. Figures obtained by The Independent from police forces across England and Wales show that cases of burglary or robbery rose in 31 of the 43 forces in the final four months of the year in comparison with the same period in 2007. In those 31 areas an extra 5,572 crimes of burglary and robbery were committed in the final months of 2008, compared with the previous year.

Far north Queensland swamped by Cyclone Charlotte, king tide
Article from: The Courier-Mail
Peter Michael, Rosemary Odgers and Peter Morley
January 12, 2009

HIGHWAYS are cut and entire towns are isolated as the "double whammy" of ex-tropical-cyclone Charlotte and king tides wreak havoc on far north Queensland. Thousands of people are on standby to be evacuated as residents and business owners, swamped by waist-deep floodwaters, brace for a possible second deluge today in the face of torrential rain and a 3m king tide.

Deep freeze sweeps Canada
Canwest News Service
January 14, 2009

A deep freeze is sweeping across Canada, with bone-chilling temperatures from Saskatchewan through to the East Coast. Winnipeg's Portage and Main intersection can again lay claim to being the coldest corner in North America, as Environment Canada's weather office measured temperatures of -36 C with a wind chills hitting a frigid -50 C. Regina recorded temperatures of -33 C Wednesday morning, -43 with the wind chill, and Saskatoon was looking at -32 C but would feel more like -40 with the wind. The current chill comes on the heels of the coldest December since 1983 in Saskatchewan and the coldest in Manitoba since 2000.

An Eerie Silence After The Quake
14 January 2009, San José, Costa Rica

Driving to the Poás volcano from Heredia seems normal until you get within kilometres of Vara Blanca, when you start to see the real effects of Thursday's quake and are overcome by the eerie silence coming from communities like Los Cartagos which has been completed abandoned. Up the Alajuela route to the Poás is a different story. Most of the shelters housing refugees are set up there in communities like Fraijanes and Poasito. Parks and empty lots have been converted into campgrounds, people pitching tents and calling it home. For now.

Philippine floods, slides kill 20, displace 300,000

MANILA, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Floods and landslides caused by almost a week of unseasonal heavy rains have killed 20 people and displaced 300,000 in the eastern and southern Philippines, officials said on Thursday. Wide areas on the southern island of Mindanao and in the eastern part of the archipelago from the Bicol region to Samar and Leyte islands were inundated, said Glenn Rabonza, head of the government's disaster agency. "We're experiencing an unusual heavy downpour brought by the tail-end of the cold front," Rabonza told reporters, adding many areas have been submerged under 4-6 feet (1.2-2 metres) of floodwaters. Rabonza said about 20 people had drowned in swollen rivers or been buried in landslides while 63,000 families or slightly more than 300,000 people had to leave their homes because of the freak weather conditions.


Natural Disaster Update




1/10/09 –
None 5.0 or over.

1/11/09 –

1/12/09 –

1/13/09 –

1/14/09 –

1/15/09 –

1/16/09 –

1/17/09 –

WYOMING – Geologists of Jackson Hole issue press release on Alpine quake – An earthquake was felt at 9:15 pm on Thursday, January 15th in Jackson, Alpine, Etna and Thayne, Wyoming, and Idaho Falls, Idaho. It was a magnitude 4.0 event located just north of Alpine Junction at a depth of 3 miles. This earthquake occurred at the south end of the extended Teton Fault zone along the eastern base of the Teton Mountain Range. Geologists call this area the “Seismic Gap” because of the lack of recorded earthquakes — a linear area along the large Teton Fault, which is UNUSUALLY SEISMICALLY QUIET. The recent swarm of hundreds of earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park lie near the northern end of this “seismic gap”. This seemingly quiet seismic zone centered along the Teton Fault has been the site of magnitude 7 plus earthquakes in pre-historic times. The Faults have created the Grand Teton Mountains and shaped western Wyoming. Another magnitude 7 plus earthquake will fill this gap sometime within the next several hundred years. Some earthquakes are preceded by a perceptible increase in seismicity at one or both ends of the “seismic gap”. There is currently no reliable way to know in advance which small earthquakes are foreshocks to large earthquakes. There is no scientific basis to predict that a large earthquake is imminent. There is no reason to be overly concerned at this time. Just be prudent.

RUSSIA – New tremors have hit east of the Kuril Islands in the Pacific Ocean, which are disputed between Russia and Japan, hours after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake. The 4.9-magnitude tremor hit roughly in the same location as the earlier quake, 315 kilometres (195 miles) east of the Russian town of Severokurilsk and 1,830 kilometres (1,130 miles) northeast of Tokyo. Russia's Geophysics Service did not report any tsunami threats or damage from the new tremor, although a tsunami warning had been issued for the earlier quake.

COSTA RICA – Eight days later the tremors won't let up. Rescue efforts have been hampered by tremors in the earthquake area of last Thursday, January 8. The fear heightened by the fact that the tremors are from other faults in the area and not the one that caused the 6.2 quake on the 8th. The tremors are instilling panic in the residents of the area and those seeking refuge in shelters. Yesterday (Thursday) more than 10 aftershocks were felt within hours between 2pm and 4:22pm, mainly in the areas of Sararipiqui. All the tremors registered between 2.7 and 4.1 on the Richter Scale and were felt in many areas of the Central Valley. In addition to the shakes and rumbles, four communities are at high risk of mud slides: Puerto Viejo, Chilamate, Bajos de Chilamate and the La Virgen de Sarapiquí. The accumulation of sediment in the high areas of the Sarapiquí river could cause a mudslide similar to the accumulation caused by the January 8 quake.

COSTA RICA – Toll from Thursday's 6.1 quake jumps to 34 dead, 64 missing.

A new series of what are described as a "modest swarm of earthquakes" began Friday in Yellowstone National Park, about 10 miles northeast of the north end of Yellowstone Lake, where a swarm of approximately 900 quakes had occurred between Dec. 26 and Thursday. The current swarm is located on the northeast corner of the Yellowstone Caldera. The new swarm, so far, is considerably smaller than the first series. The migration of the quakes continues in a north-northeast direction. The largest of the new swarm of quakes was a magnitude 3.3 recorded at 11:17 a.m. Friday. The observatory is checking for any changes to the thermal areas located near the epicenters. Of the earlier swarm, 500 have been reviewed by seismologists; 111 of those earthquakes had a magnitude of greater than 2.0, and 18 earthquakes were greater than 3.0. The swarm of tremors is the largest series of back-to-back quakes to hit the area in years. The last prior major earthquake swarm was in 1985 and lasted three months.

Bogus Yellowstone evacuation notice may draw federal charges – A self-dubbed expert told people they were supposed to evacuate their homes during the recent swarm of earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park. He now may face criminal charges for his suspect predictions of doom. After hundreds of small quakes shook the Park in late December, Christopher Sanders, a 35-year old natural-gas developer from Texas, created a Web page and video advising everyone within a 200-mile radius of Yellowstone to evacuate. On Jan. 1, he posted an alert on a personal Web site warning in red letters that a super-volcanic eruption could be imminent. At the top of his page, he placed a United States Geological Survey logo under the heading, "YELLOWSTONE WARNING!" That drew the ire of the USGS – the federal agency that actually has the authority to issue a volcano warning and that saw no imminent threat from the earthquakes. The agency's legal department is considering filing legal charges of impersonating a federal official and using the USGS logo without permission. Sanders' Web page was taken offline late Thursday night, but his video calling for evacuation remained viewable on The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory closely monitored the swarm. It recorded some 900 minor quakes near Fishing Bridge between Dec. 26 and Jan. 8. According to an observatory release, the combined energy level of all 900 tremors would equal a single 4.5 magnitude quake. The USGS pegs the odds of Yellowstone massively erupting any time soon at about .00014 percent.

TAJIKISTAN – Tajik officials are trying to find the source of a rumor that led tens of thousands of Tajiks in four major cities to spend the night on the streets in freezing temperatures because of reports of an imminent earthquake. The rumor that a very strong and destructive earthquake would happen overnight on January 10-11 spread in the cities of Khujand, Kulob, Kurghonteppa, and the capital, Dushanbe. People panicked and tens of thousands spent the night sleeping outside in tents and makeshift shelters.

COSTA RICA – Since Thursday, the main event (6.1 quake) has been followed by over 1,200 minor aftershocks. "The tectonic framework of Costa Rica is complex as a result of four plates and microplates interacting: the Cocos, Caribbean, Nazca and the Panama block. The subduction of the Cocos plate creates a continuous range of volcanoes as well as crustal faults running from the northwest to southeast through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. The historical seismicity indicates that those active crustal faults can generate large earthquakes, which characterize a significant hazard to the cities located on this zone. Costa Rica is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which forms a belt of seismic activity along the edge of the Pacific Ocean." Extensive road damage has destroyed bridges and cut off main highway access to Poas Volcano. The areas around Sarapiqui, Santa Barbara and Poas were the hardest hit with damage reported to some houses and hotels. Costa Rica has one of the strictest building codes in Central America.

COSTA RICA – An eerie silence after the quake – Driving to the Poás volcano from Heredia seems normal until you get within kilometres of Vara Blanca, when you start to see the real effects of Thursday's quake and are overcome by the eerie silence coming from communities like Los Cartagos which has been completed abandoned. Up the Alajuela route to the Poás is a different story. Most of the shelters housing refugees are set up there in communities like Fraijanes and Poasito. Parks and empty lots have been converted into campgrounds, people pitching tents and calling it home for now. Earth moving equipment are cleaning up the roads, trucks carrying dirt from one place to another and chainsaws buzzing as they cut down trees before they fall onto the road and houses below are everywhere. Hillsides fallen into the valley below, roads cracked, some houses completely demolished by the force of the earthquake, while others next door not a nail moved. In Poasito, only six kilometres from the Poás volcano and short distance from Vara Blanca, some 500 people are taking shelter and fearing to go back to their homes, for those who have homes to go back to, as the aftershocks continue. In total there are 21 shelters in the area housing 2,000 people. (many photos)

UNITED KINGDOM – Residents reported a load bang and a rumbling noise followed by tremors as an earthquake measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale struck the islands. The incident happened at 5.30am on Thursday and the police and coastguard received several calls from worried householders. The islanders described their windows shaking as if a truck was being driven past them at speed, windows going "in and out", a "growing rumble like a very large train approaching" and a "loud explosion". The LOCATION OF THE EARTHQUAKE WAS QUITE UNUSUAL as the area was not known for its seismic activity. The UK is hit by around 200 minor tremors every year, but only ten per cent are noticed by the general public. An earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale occurs on average every ten years, and a magnitude 4 earthquake occur every two to three years. The largest tremor in recent times measured 5.2 and struck Market Rasen, Lincs, in February last year. It was the most powerful quake in the UK for almost 25 years and caused widespread structural damage and several injuries.


PHILIPPINES – Many houses in Cebu province have either been washed out or covered in sand as big waves spurned by storm surges affected many coastal towns. 26 houses in Ginatilan town in Cebu province were destroyed by big waves last Tuesday, January 6. In Samboan town, 26 houses were also destroyed from the storm surge. In Dumanjug town, ten houses were totally damaged. The residents said that their homes were destroyed Wednesday, January 7. Some houses were uprooted while others were buried in the sand. The houses were located more than 20 meters from the shoreline but last week during a high tide, the waves would reach the homes carrying sand with it. Every night since the incident they get flooded with seawater. The towns of Malabuyoc and Alegria were also affected but only electrical posts were uprooted and coastal roads were destroyed. Meanwhile, because of the storm surge many pumpboats and fastcrafts travelling from Santander to Negros Oriental were not allowed to sail. Many of the employees are not earning. Delays in travel are expected after one of the five Maayo Shipping barge was hit by a big wave when it was about to dock at the port in Santander last Wednesday. The fishermen in Samboan and Dumanjug are the most affected however. Most of the small boats were carried to dry lands. Fishermen have not been out to fish for more than a week already because of the big waves. In order to have something to eat, they wait for low tide and pick seashells instead.

CALIFORNIA – Huge swells predicted to batter Marin coast – Beach-goers are being warned to stay alert if they plan to visit Marin's ocean front in the coming days as large waves are predicted.

VIETNAM – High waves destroyed at least 27 seaside houses in a southern Vietnamese resort at the weekend and were threatening more than 100 more. There were no immediate reports of any casualties from Phan Thiet town, about 200km east of the southern business hub of Ho Chi Minh City. The buildings were destroyed when high waves pounded the shoreline, causing tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage. In Ho Chi Minh City, meanwhile, high waves today broke part of a sea dyke, flooding more than 200 households.

INDONESIA – Hundreds feared drowned in the cyclone-whipped seas off the island of Sulawesi today after a passenger ferry was capsized by FREAK storm waves. Search teams said the prospects were becoming bleaker with every passing hour as treacherous winds and torrential rains continued to blight efforts. The overnight ferry, bound for the island of Borneo, was carrying around 260 passengers and crew as it ran into atrocious tropical weather at 4am local time. Sulawesi is currently in the grip of its annual rainy season, which has been especially destructive this year and already claimed several lives on land and sea. As the ship struggled to ride-out the storm waves, survivors who later made it to the safety of a nearby vessel have described a massive, four-metre high wall of water smashing into the ship and turning it over. More than half of the passengers are understood to have pitched themselves into the sea in the terrifying few moments before the boat sank, but authorities said it was not clear how many were trapped in the ship as it went down. 18 people have been rescued alive, but fears are rising that scores of others will be found dead. High seas are hampering intensified rescue efforts by navy and air force. The area has been buffeted by storms, heavy rains and high winds for several days, causing flash flooding in some areas.

PHILIPPINES – Almost a hundred houses were destroyed or damaged by huge waves which hit a coastal barangay in La Union province Saturday evening. 77 houses were reported totally destroyed while ten houses were damaged after huge waves pounded Barangay Alaska in Aringay town in La Union. Almost 500 residents were reported to have lost their homes. There was no reported casualty in the incident. Residents said the huge waves have already reached 100 meters inland from the coastline. They said the high tide may have caused the huge waves.

AUSTRALIA – The BIGGEST KING TIDE IN 15 YEARS Monday forced cars to drive through sections of Ballina's Tamar Street flooded with seawater. The east coast of Australia experienced the biggest king tide it is likely to experience for the rest of the year. That meant high tides were 50cm higher than normal. All beaches at Ballina were closed because of the dangerous surf conditions created by the big tide. There was some erosion of dunes from waves surging up beaches. "People walking along the beaches have to be wary, as well as rock fishermen, because there will be larger than normal waves. There is a huge amount of water coming into shore that needs to return to the sea. So there will be flash rips forming which can potentially wash swimmers out to sea." A climate researcher said the tides could be a regular occurrence by 2060 if sea levels continued to rise. "This king tide is not caused by climate change, but it can help us picture what our coastlines might look like in the future." A resident of Ballina said he did not think rising sea levels would take as long as 50 years. "I think in 15 years we will be in a lot of trouble."

INDONESIA – The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency has warned that EXTREME WEATHER PATTERNS in the next few days could trigger high waves and heavy downpours in the province and the country's eastern region. The patterns were related to the impacts of the La Nina phenomenon from the north and Typhoon Charlotte running at high speed, forming a curve from Papua New Guinea through Indonesia's eastern region to the western part of Australia. "THIS IS A NEW PHENOMENON because the La Nina phenomenon is emerging at the same time as a tropical typhoon, raising waves up to 5 meters high and long and heavy downpours in the coming three days." Local administrations and residents in the province were advised to remain alert for possible disasters such as floods and landslides caused by the worsening weather. Java would likely receive a sustained heavy downpour and all ships should be on the lookout for high waves, which could reach heights of 6 meters in the Java Sea, mainly in the waters between Semarang and Karimun Jawa in Central Java and between Gresik and Bawean in East Java. Floods could inundate the main streets in Surabaya.

Large surf has been spreading out over the entire Pacific Ocean – A trough of low pressure initially developed in the Western Pacific, between the Philippines and Japan late last week. This area of low pressure pulled up an exceptional amount of tropical moisture from the area around the Philippines, which really helped it intensify while it grew in size this past weekend. The Quikscat satellite recorded 40-50 knots of wind over a large fetch, aimed well at both Hawaii and California during that time. Long-period swell from this component of the storm will slam Hawaii Wednesday afternoon and into today, with a smaller version of that surf reaching the West Coast Friday and Saturday. Of course, the storm isn't done yet either; it's now evolving into a huge complex low pressure system. (Think of a complex low as a single 'parent' storm anchored in a center position, with a succession of secondary storms rotating around this parent low in a conveyor belt like fashion.) Which still has another couple days of life left. A second push of swell from this component of the storm will reach the Hawaiian Islands late this work week, with those waves then arriving along the West Coast a couple days thereafter. Unfortunately for Hawaii, these same storms that are setting up the swell will also brush just to the north of the Islands for the middle to second half of the week as the swell arrives, setting up breezy Kona flow. California will enjoy much better conditions throughout the swell event as it will be under the influence of high pressure, with favorable wind and warm, sunny weather.

The Pacific isn't the only ocean in the Northern Hemisphere blowing up with storm activity and swell right now. The North Atlantic is really cranking, and it looks like a bigger, Mega-low/swell could develop in the next few days for Europe.


PHIPIPPINES – The death toll in what meteorologists had described as an UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENON is rising as rains and floods continue to wreak havoc in Mindanao and parts of Visayas and Bicol. As of Friday, the casualty figure stood at 21 based on official accounts. A cold front on the eastern seaboard triggered the rains, some experts earlier said they were puzzled by the phenomenon. Rising waters and landslides have disrupted the lives of more than 191,000 people, some 21,000 of whom sought refuge out of their homes. In northern Mindanao alone, more than 100,000 people have been displaced and food is running scarce. Thousands of residents lost homes in Sulu when waves as tall as houses swept coastal villages. “It was the first time we experienced this kind of storm surge.” Waves destroyed houses in four coastal villages in Cebu. The weather disturbance is likely to last until the end of February.

UNITED KINGDOM – A woman has been killed and a surfer caught in near-hurricane conditions as gusts of up to 100mph battered Britain. Exposed parts of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales saw the worst of the weather which deteriorated into the evening on Saturday. Winds of up to 106mph cut electricity supplies to around 100,000 homes across Ireland, north and south, as fallen trees and debris damaged power lines and blocked roads. In Capel Curig, North Wales, winds hit 93mph, while on the tops of the Scottish mountains, gusts of up to 133mph were recorded. 'There's a very strong jet stream across the Atlantic at the moment. When you have a strong jet stream you tend to get more depressions like this.' The storms will be followed by heavy rain and snow in Scotland today and a risk of snowfall in parts of England and Wales on Monday and Tuesday. The high winds could see blizzards in northern regions and 'moderate' snowfall on hills. The blustery wet weather contrasts with the frosty, dry start to the year. Temperatures in the first two weeks of January fell to below minus 12 in some parts as an area of high pressure sat off the coast. Now low pressure areas are bringing in westerly, wet air from the Atlantic.

PHILIPPINES – Rescuers in the Philippines have recovered eight more bodies from widespread floods and landslides caused by heavy rains, raising the death toll to 17.

A landslide buried a number of houses in a village near Bislig city on Mindanao island on Thursday, five days into a near-continuous downpour.

FIJI, which has been devastated by floods following torrential rains over the last week, has made an international appeal for aid, especially drinking water .

BRAZIL – RECORD LIGHTNING TOLL – 75 people were killed by lightning strikes in Brazil in 2008. It was an increase on 2007, when 47 deaths were reported. There are on average more than 50 million lightning strikes in Brazil each year. The number of lightning strikes was also higher in 2008, passing 60 million, principally in the north and north-east of the country. The reasons for the rise in the figures are uncertain, but the space agency says the weather phenomenon known as La Nina could have changed wind patterns in a way that favours the formation of storms. The level of lightning strikes in Brazil is predicted to remain high in 2009 – and there have already been four deaths reported in the state of Bahia.

WASHINGTON – Flooding — SOME OF THE WORST ON RECORD in Washington state — was touched off by a combination of heavy rain of 6 inches or more and a warm spell in the mid-40s that rapidly melted the snow in the Cascade Mountains. More than 30,000 people were urged to evacuate their homes in low-lying areas from the Canadian border all the way to the Oregon line, as rivers spilled over their banks and flooded neighborhoods. Residents of some low-lying areas are only beginning to tackle the cleanup of their sodden homes. The risk of landslides will continue as the ground continues to be saturated. "Because of some UNUSUALLY HIGH TIDES, you could see some flooding in the mouths of rivers."

MALAYSIA – About 5000 residents from nine villages in Jalan Singai, Bau were cut off due to landslides and floods.

PHILIPPINES – the New Year started with big floods. There was no surprise when the media reported that more than 6,000 people were stranded in Northern Samar. Passengers who were trying to catch the ferry boat from Sorsogon to the town of Allen, Northern Samar, were prevented by floods and huge waves. Several towns in Capiz suffered a repeat of the big floods which hit Panay last year. On Friday, in Catanduanes, 9,000 families were displaced by a deluge of wind and rain. What is surprising is the news that 5,000 families were displaced in Cagayan de Oro due to landslides and overflowing of the Kagay-an River. Surprise of surprises, several towns in Negros Oriental, including Dumaguete City, were hit by flash floods! These two areas are not flood-prone. Dumaguete is hardly visited by storms. This is largely due to the presence of the towering peaks of Mount Talinis (Cuernos de Negros), which shield the city and the town of Valencia from the fury of strong winds. Some barangays of Valencia were flooded. Its two large rivers occasionally overflow their banks, but this is the first time that some houses were swept away. It used to be that floods were largely associated with storms. Now, even without storms, floods are unleashed by continuous rains. Provinces which are typhoon-free are now visited by floods. These disturbing phenomena can only mean one thing: Climate change is now upon us. We are confronted not only with an economic crisis. The warnings of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, Leonardo di Caprio’s The Eleventh Hour and GMA Channel 7’s Signos are now materializing. More than 20 storms usually visit the country in a year. This time, however, it is different. Storms are earlier than their usual schedule. Floods are happening simultaneously in different provinces. It is obvious that the usual national-government response of distributing rice and canned goods will not be enough. It is also clear that the national system of disaster preparedness has to be strengthened.

CANADA – In British Columbia, Chilliwack and Abbotsford were the "bull's-eye" for a wave of heavy rain through much of the week – a total 150 to 200 millimetres over 36 hours. "That's an EXTRAORDINARY amount of rain. I work with extreme weather situations and that much rain in that part of the valley is VERY UNUSUAL. " The rain came down on over a metre of snow on the ground – an amount UNSEEN IN DECADES. "Virtually all of that snow melted, which added another 30 to 40 or 50 millimetres of snowbelt water. The combination of those two things I have not actually seen before. To have that much snow down to ocean level, and then have that snowpack immediately followed by one of these pineapple express fronts …," referring to a storm system that draws its moisture from the western Pacific, as far as Hawaii. There have been a dozen mudslides in the region and roads have been washed away. No one has been injured, but 45 homes have been evacuated in Chilliwack, and an additional 20 in the surrounding area.

MOZAMBIQUE – Torrential rains have killed 25 people in central Mozambique in the last two weeks and flooding could devastate the region by March. Thousands of homes have been destroyed and authorities are setting up emergency shelters. Roads, bridges and electricity pylons in four provinces have been damaged. The Zambezi River in central Mozambique, which stretches 500 km (300 miles) through four provinces, is now above flood alert levels, swelled by rains in neighboring Malawi and Zambia. In early 2007, floods in central Mozambique killed 45 people and left 285,000 homeless, while cyclone Favio displaced another 140,000 people. It was the worst flooding to hit the former Portuguese colony since floods in 2000-2001 killed 700 people and drove half a million from their homes.

PHILIPPINES – Weeklong rains have triggered flash floods, landslides and sea surge across the Philippines, leaving at least nine people dead and another nine missing. Six family members were killed in a landslide over the weekend in Northern Samar province, while a small boat with seven on board was reported missing in rough seas. A powerful sea surge of nearly 4 to 7 metres washed away about 150 coastal houses in La Union province north of Manila on Sunday but there were no casualties.

FIJI – The two major highways in the Northern division, Savusavu-Seaqaqa and Nabouwalu-Labasa have been closed because of massive landslides. Eight landslides occurred along the Sagani Road which is on the Savusavu-Seaqaqa highway. Latest reports also reveal that another landslide occurred in Nawaca village in Bua. The roads will be closed indefinitely. Residents early this morning say that water from the Labasa river reached the nearby Grand Eastern Hotel at around 3am, although it was low tide. Last night close to 430 people were taking shelter at 22 evacuation centres.

Heavy rain sparked fresh flash floods Tuesday in Fiji, where thousands of people huddled in emergency shelters. Fijian authorities have issued a severe flood warning for the whole island group, following days of heavy rain in the Pacific nation.


U.S. – The Northeast and Midwest US are expected to experience some of their coldest weather in years, as Arctic air makes its way south from Canada. Schools were closed Friday in Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Illinois and upstate New York because of the cold. The cold weather is also thought to have contributed to the death of five people and dozens of traffic accidents. The BBC's Weather Centre forecast a high of -17C (1.4F) in Chicago, Illinois, on Friday, with locals expecting wind chills of -25F to 45F (-31C to -42C). In Detroit, Michigan, the wind chill was at -35F (-37C). Frosty weather has also hit Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

NETHERLANDS – For THE FIRST TIME IN 12 YEARS, the Netherlands’ canals froze this month, bringing the Dutch a heady mix of pandemonium and euphoria. In the 19th century, when Hans Brinker, the hero of the novel in which he tries to win a pair of silver skates, coasted along Holland’s ice, the canals froze almost every year. But water pollution and climate change have made this so rare that today a boy of 15, Brinker’s age, may never have seen a frozen canal, or at least remember one. Until, that is, this year. By this week, the rain and clouds of the usual Dutch winter were back. The cold snap that brought the ice earlier in the month was caused by cold air that came rolling in from the east, across Germany and into the Netherlands. Oddly, though, the cold swept across only the southern Netherlands and not the north.

SPAIN – The Axarquia region was covered by a blanket of snow some days ago and the Sierra Tejeda-Almijara region was completely snowed in. This is THE FIRST TIME IN 50 YEARS THAT IT HAS SNOWED IN THE AREA.

Weather implicated in mystery pelican deaths –
More than 400 endangered California brown pelicans have been found dead or dying since late December, with disoriented and starving birds turning up on highways, in backyards and even in the Arizona desert. Now, after an investigation with all manner of sinister theories — from bird flu to poisoning by lingering fire retardant used to fight the region’s wildfires — California fish and game officials say they are closing in on a more usual suspect: Mother Nature. Many of the birds flooding West Coast animal hospitals and rescue centers were caught in a snowstorm and brutal cold snap on the Oregon-Washington border in mid-December, setting off an arduous and often life-threatening commute to warmer climes. “Pelicans were observed in the middle of that storm and then seen moving south." About a week later, ill birds started showing up on the California coast and inland. The tip-off for scientists was frostbite. “It was severe in a lot of cases. There were legs, toes and pouches frozen off.” Flocks might have been caught off guard on East Sand Island in the Columbia River, where observers reported thousands of birds still roosting in early December. There might have been as many as 5,000 pelicans on the island when the storm hit, packing 60 mile-an-hour winds and temperatures below freezing. “These birds were probably not subject to any thing like this in a hundred years."

ALASKA – An avalanche which knocked down a transmission tower forced Juneau into a city-wide blackout for nearly two hours. About 15,000 homes and businesses lost power Monday. This is the second avalanche within a year to temporarily knockout power at the state's capital. An avalanche last April took out transmission lines in the same area, forcing the city to rely on diesel power for weeks. Rain with warmer temperatures are melting 51 inches of snow that have fallen this month, causing street drains to overflow.

THAILAND – A severe cold snap in Thailand has prompted authorities to declare an emergency zone across more than half of the country normally renowned for its tropical weather. Local media have reported up to five deaths as a result of exposure to UNUSUALLY COLD conditions. The temperature in Bangkok fell to 15C yesterday – cold for the capital, but still far off its record low of 11C recorded in 1974. "Because the high pressure from China keeps coming, the cold weather will stay in Bangkok at least until this weekend." Today, most parts of north and northeast saw temperatures below 14C coupled with strong winds, with a mountain in northern Chiang Mai provinces recording a temperature of 4C.

A whole generation of frogs has been wiped out and rare plant species decimated after sub-zero temperatures gripped a Cornish wilderness. The Lizard peninsula is home to some of Britain's rarest flora and fauna, many of which have adapted to flourish in the unique conditions. But as mild winter weather last week gave way to THE SEVEREST FROSTS IN DECADES, the ground was turned rock solid and shallow water froze – killing off plants and animals. "Any frost is a RARE occurrence and many of the rare and unusual flora and fauna unique to The Lizard only occur here because frosts are so unusual. Species like the frogs have adapted their lifecycles to make the most of the mild winters, breeding in October rather than the more usual spring. The wet summer and autumn looked like it was going to be a bumper year for the frogs, until the severe frost arrived and froze the tadpoles into blocks of ice." Data from the Met Office recorded a temperature of –7.8 on the night of January 6, THE COLDEST THERE FOR 20 YEARS. Scientists fear for the delicate balance of nature in places like The Lizard as climate change made weather patterns more erratic. The frost has also made life difficult for one of The Lizard's most celebrated, but elusive, wild residents – the Cornish chough. The iconic birds usually feed by poking their beaks into the ground and rummaging for invertebrates. But the frozen ground has made it impossible for the bird to feed. It is also feared that the frost penetrated deep into the soil, potentially affecting some winter annuals.

As cities from Chicago to London deal with an UNUSUALLY bitter winter, weather records show that 2008 was one of the cooler years in the last decade. And the early months of 2009 are shaping up as "numbing" in the United States, according to the Farmer's Almanac, that nearly 200-year-old source of traditional weather lore. The chilly weather has fueled arguments that man-made global warming is bunk. But most meteorologists say climate change shows little sign of slowing, and they blame our shivering misery this season on two key factors: normal variation in weather, which happens on a much shorter scale than climate shift, and short memories, or a gradual shift in what we think of as "normal" winter weather. Britain this year has had its coldest start to winter in 30 years, with temperatures 5 degrees below average, but "this would have felt like a warm year as recently as the 1980s, and an exceptionally warm year in Victorian times." Britain's recent deep freeze – its COLDEST SPELL SINCE 1996 – is due to stalled weather patterns that have funneled in frigid air from Siberia and from continental Europe, which is also shivering after years of unusually mild winters. Stalled or UNUSUAL WEATHER PATTERNS also have contributed to remarkable snow and cold in Chicago and across much of the United States this winter. So far, this winter has been the 22nd coldest in 139 years of record-keeping in Chicago, and the fourth-snowiest in 124 years of records. On Thursday, Chicago could see its first subzero high temperature in nearly 13 years. The intensity of the cold and snow over the past two winters is raising some questions about how well scientists understand the interaction of an array of weather-changing forces, from sunspots to volcanic activity. One reason the last two winters have been chillier than normal, climate scientists say, is a cyclical change in Pacific Ocean currents known as La Nina. In La Nina years, cold ocean currents rise to the surface near the equator, often causing cooler winters in northern regions like the United States. An opposite warming effect occurs in El Nino years. Meteorologists say La Nina phase in the Pacific is now ending, and some predict that by 2010 the world should again be seeing some of the warmest years on record. But other meteorologists see evidence of an UNUSUAL SECOND LA NINA on the rise in the Pacific, which could extend the current stretch of colder-than-average winters. "It's a very complex puzzle, this whole climate thing." Whether this is a simply a temporary break from a long-term rise in planetary temperatures or a new, not-well-understood winter trend isn't entirely clear.

Leading climate models have seemingly reached a consensus that late-in-the-season La Nina conditions have developed over the equatorial Pacific. The La Nina is likely to continue into the northern hemisphere spring. The Tokyo-based Frontier Research Centre for Global Change has gone a step further and forecast that this ‘cooling event’ (compared to the warming El Nino) over the Pacific might extend into early 2010. The La Nina may have been in the making as early as October 2008, say some researchers. This might have had a say on winter climes which have been late to arrive over northwest India and lacking in marked rainfall events in what resembles a play-out of conditions during the comparable period last year. Anomalous atmospheric convection in La Nina winters causes high pressure to develop over the Mediterranean region – the source region for western disturbances (WDs) which determine the strength of the northwest Indian winter. The polar, northerly component of WDs (as against warm, moist southwesterlies) got magnified in the bargain, setting colder than normal winter over northwest India. A waxing and waning cold wave has accounted for more than 70 deaths until now in northwest India, but without any major rainfall event. Despite the UNUSUALLY late start to the La Nina, expected impacts during January-March 2009 include above-average precipitation over Indonesia and below-average precipitation over the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. As for India, there is near-model consensus of slightly above normal rainfall for the southern parts during December-January-February 2009. La Nina is conventionally known to impact the monsoons over the sub-continent but without direct cause-effect relationship.

U.S. – Shocking cold wave drops temps to 40 below zero. Temperatures crashed to Arctic levels Tuesday as a severe cold wave rolled across the upper Midwest on the heels of yet another snowstorm, closing schools and making most people think twice before going outside. Thermometers read single digits early in the day as far south as Kansas and Missouri, where some areas warmed only into the teens by midday. The ice and snow that glazed pavement was blamed for numerous traffic accidents from Minnesota to Indiana, where police said a truck overturned and spilled 43,000 pounds of cheese, closing a busy highway ramp during the night in the Gary area. The bitter cold snap was responsible for at least one death Tuesday. The weather service warned that exposed flesh can freeze in 10 minutes when the wind chill is 40 degrees below zero or colder. In Minnesota, at about 8 a.m., temperatures were minus 40 in International Falls and minus 35 in Roseau. Farther south, Minneapolis hit 18 below zero with a wind chill of 32 below and black ice was blamed for numerous accidents. In neighboring North Dakota, Grand Forks dropped to a RECORD LOW of 37 below zero Tuesday morning, lopping six degrees off the old record set in 1979. The leading edge of the cold air was expected to strike the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and South late last night and today. And meteorologists warned that a second wave could drop temperatures into the single digits Thursday and Friday in the mid-Atlantic region. The storm that blew through the upper Midwest on Monday dropped 6 inches of snow on Minot, N.D., on top of about a foot that fell late last week, and Bismarck collected 4 inches. Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks all BROKE SNOW RECORDS FOR DECEMBER, each with more than 30 inches. They were outdone by Madison, Wis., which accumulated A RECORD 40 inches for the month

WYOMING – Yellowstone National Park on Avalanche Alert – After a month of frequent and unexplained earthquakes, Yellowstone National Park is experiencing dangerous avalanche conditions like much of the American West. “In the last two weeks we’ve had AVALANCHE ACTIVITY IN AREAS WHERE IT WAS NOT EXPECTED." 48 avalanches have taken place on the park’s Sylvan Pass since Dec. 19.

Change is a common feature of Yellowstone Park. On Oct. 27, a study indicated that “climatic warming already has disrupted one of the best-protected ecosystems on our planet." For six decades, scientists have monitored the park, and found that frogs, toads and salamanders in the park’s wetlands are on the decline. Scientists have known for some time that ecological changes are also underway in the Lamar Valley, popular for an array of wildlife. “The early stages of a new ecosystem” are underway there. A drought has dried out once marshy areas, and a plant that found its way to North America from the Mediterranean, the Canada thistle, has moved in. With the thistle, gophers have entered the area to feed on the plant’s roots. Grizzly bears are feeding more on gophers and the caches of food they leave behind.

PHILIPPINES – UNUSUAL WEATHER has brought heavy rains in Visayas and Mindanao and sent the temperature dipping to an all-time low this year of 9.4 Celsius in Baguio City. The coldest morning experienced in Baguio was on Jan. 18, 1961 when the temperature plunged to 6.3 degrees Celsius. “The heavy rains we are experiencing now are evidence that we are having a wet season that is wetter than usual. It is ABNORMAL but not highly unusual. It happens." For the rest of Luzon, a surge of the northeast monsoon – icy wind blowing in from the northern hemisphere experienced from October to March – was triggering rainshowers and cold temperatures.

BRITAIN – An UNUSUAL rotating ice circle, normally found in the cooler rivers of Scandinavia or North America, has formed in the UK waterways. The cause of the RARE phenomenon is unclear, with very little scientific evidence available to explain the formation of the discs. Scientists believe the extreme cold weather combined with an UNUSUAL current is the more likely reason. The 10ft disc was seen by a rambler on the River Otter in Devon, who estimated that it was spinning through 360 degrees every four minutes. The Meteorological Office said that they could not explain why the ice circle appeared last week. "We have not seen anything like this before and we’ve no idea why they seem to be more common in Scandinavia.” Mystery has surrounded the discs since they were first described as long ago as the nineteenth century. The disc was spotted on January 7 as temperatures in southern England reached as low as minus 10C. The freeze caused UNUSUAL behaviour amongst British wildlife, which is ill prepared for such conditions. Photographs of the phenomenon emerged from Russia recently, and it appears that the discs are quite common in Norway as well as Sweden, where they have been recorded on the River Ljusnan measuring up to 200m wide, as well as on the River Pite and on Lake Hotagssjon. (photo)


ALASKA – Chinook brings RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES to Interior Alaska. Mother Nature can’t seem to make up her mind. The temperature at Fairbanks International Airport hit a record high of 44 degrees just before midnight on Wednesday, January 14, continuing what has been a dramatic warm-up following one of the worst cold snaps in decades. On Sunday, Janaury 11, the final day of a cold spell that kept residents in Alaska’s second-largest city shivering for 16 days straight, the low temperature at the airport was negative 44. That’s a difference of 88 degrees in just three days. “Incredible. Is there any other place in the country that can do that? It’s just a spectacular chinook." The temperature at Eielson Air Force Base hit 50 degrees just after midnight Wednesday, setting a new ALL-TIME RECORD HIGH FOR JANUARY. In Nenana, the temperature climbed to 54 degrees Thursday morning, another ALL-TIME HIGH. The 44-degree reading at the airport late Wednesday BROKE THE RECORD of 43 degrees set in 1981. “There’s July days when it’s not that warm." The blast of warm air is the result of strong south winds pushing across the Alaska Range.

NORTH DAKOTA – big swing in the weather. Bismarck's temperature plunged to 44 degrees below zero Thursday morning. By Friday afternoon, the thermometer was to swing more than 70 degrees higher as warmer Pacific air replaced Arctic air. South Dakota was expecting a similar dramatic swing in temperature. The difference from Thursday's morning low in Pollock of 47 below to Friday's high in Rapid City was expected to be more than 90 degrees. Bismarck's 44 below zero temperature shortly after 7:30 a.m. Thursday was a record for the date and one degree short of the city's all-time record low. The harsh winter has also brought record snow totals to many areas of the state.

AUSTRALIA – Perth has sweltered through the second-hottest-start-to-the-year-ever record with a two-week heatwave keeping temperatures in the high 30's.

A survey of 80 international climate scientists reveals 54% consider recent climate developments so dire that attempts at geo-engineered mitigation, or "Plan B", are unavoidable. About 35% disagreed with the need for a "Plan B", arguing that it would distract from the main objective of cutting CO2 emissions, with the remaining 11 per cent saying that they did not know whether a geo-engineering strategy is needed or not. Attempts at geo-engineering, aimed at artificially reducing solar radiation, include artificially increased albedo (reflection) of the stratosphere, probably over the Arctic circle where ice melt and albedo loss are fastest. This could be achieved by injection of sulphur dioxide aerosols, possibly shot from guns or mixed in jet fuel of planes over-flying polar regions. The effects would be similar to volcanic events, such as the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption which resulted in cooling of the Earth surface by about 0.5 degrees C for a couple of years. Other means of increasing the Earth albedo include dissemination of aluminum particles in or above the stratosphere, or installation of large solar reflectors in space. Other proposed methods include ocean fertilization with iron filings, enhancing algal and phytoplankton growth and photosynthetic CO2 capture, cloud seeding by atomized sea water sodium pipe systems ("trees") sequestering CO2 to sodium carbonate, and vertical ocean-wide pipe systems to help pump cold CO2-absorbing water to the surface. All these methods risk yet unforeseeable complications and side effects, including "collateral damage". That an interest grows in atmospheric geo-engineering underpins the bankruptcy of international attempts at emission cuts. The astronomical costs of proposed geo-engineering methods make mockery of the economy-based arguments raised by business and governments against deep reduction in carbon emissions (while trillions are used for military purposes and the rescue of bankrupt financial institutions). The time for "business as usual" is nearly over.

AUSTRALIA – Rainfall trends generally over the five or six years illustrate the shift in seasons that has seen a much drier winter, a later start to summer and a cool Christmas-New Year period. The local weather pattern could almost be said to be resolved now into six two-month seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, second Spring/Autumn, second Winter. Much of Victoria and the adjacent areas of South Australia and New South Wales have now experienced below-average rainfall for most of the past twelve years. Most regions of the continent experienced a warmer year than usual, apart from Queensland, north-east New South Wales and the Kimberleys. Particularly high temperatures were recorded across inland Western Australia and the Northern Territory in January 2008, as well as in western Victoria and southern South Australia in March, with a record-breaking heat wave during the first half of that month.

Obama urged to spend billions on weather research – Weather scientists on Tuesday urged Barack Obama to spend $9 billion on satellites and research to prepare for hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires and examine links between destructive weather and climate change. Last year, Hurricanes Ike and Gustav roared over Louisiana and parts of Texas, killing dozens of people, destroying homes and disrupting oil and gas production. The United States needs a new generation of weather observation satellites to replace aging systems and provide better forecasting and climate analysis, the scientists said. "We do not have sufficient (weather observing) satellites already manufactured to continue beyond the middle of the next decade. If we lose that satellite capability, we set back forecasting by 30 years." Climate scientists also are seeking to boost the computer power for climate research and prediction, and funding for research into the relationship between weather and climate change.

CALIFORNIA – The mercury reading topped out at 87 degrees in Santa Maria on Tuesday -  SHATTERING THE PREVIOUS RECORD for Jan. 13 and SETTING A NEW MARK FOR ANY DAY IN JANUARY. The previous daily record for Jan. 13. was 78 degrees, set in 1948, and the record for January was 86, recorded on Jan. 19, 1976. In Lompoc, the temperature reached a high of 81 degrees – 15 degrees above normal. More days of low 80s to high 70s are forecast through the weekend on the Central Coast, as unseasonably warm weather has brought TEMPERATURES THAT ARE MORE COMMON IN JULY THAN IN JANUARY. The winter heat wave is being caused by a strong, high pressure system over the Nevada area, which is circulating warm, dry air toward Southern California and the Central Coast.

The heat is on in Southern California. Temperatures Tuesday reached well into the 80s with the Santa Ana winds blowing in hot, dry air. The fire station in the town of Santa Ana reported a high of 89 Tuesday, tying their record high set in 1928. But more impressive was their low overnight, which only dropped to 73 degrees. That's 7 degrees warmer than Phoenix's average 'high' temperature for the day. The 73 degree reading was their WARMEST LOW TEMPERATURE READING EVER BETWEEN DECEMBER AND MARCH. That's thanks to that warm east wind acting like a blow dryer to the area.

As this warm ridge of high pressure builds
in heat from the south, some of the places in the Yukon, which had been dozens of degrees below zero, are now wildly swinging to the other side of the pendulum. In the small town of Old Crow in the Yukon Territories, the low temperature on Tuesday was -58 degrees F. The expected high today is 32 degrees above zero — a warming of 90 degrees in just over 48 hours. How's that for THE COLDEST HEAT WAVE EVER? Many other towns in the northern Yukon and Northwest Territories are also going similar swings (although not 90 degree swings, but in the 60-80 degree F range). In fact, the high in Inuvik, which is way up near the shores of the Arctic Ocean, is +37 F on Thursday — not too far from Tacoma's expected high that day.

AUSTRALIA – Thousands of birds die in outback heatwave – A huge flock of birds has dropped dead in temperatures topping 45C after swamping an outback roadhouse in the southern Gascoyne. Budgerigars, crimson chat, zebra finches and cockatiels descended on the Overlander Roadhouse, 200km south of Carnarvon, on Monday last week. Thousands of birds have since died after invading sheds, basements and even a hotel bedroom. The number of dead birds was well over 1000 and it was probably due to the extreme heat. It probably happened when what were mostly young birds were “caught out” by the heatwave. The woman who owns the Overlander Roadhouse said the scenes were reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds. So many birds arrived that they broke the branches of one of her trees. “I’ve never seen anything like it – birds were dropping out of the sky, dead. They were just coming out of nowhere." Officials put out water bins for the birds, but many seemed too exhausted to be revived. “We tried to give them water but they were drowning under the sprinklers.” Kangaroos, emus and goats also died in the heat.


Farmers could help curb rising global temperatures by selecting crop varieties that reflect solar energy back into space, researchers say. Scientists calculate that switching crops in North America and Europe could reduce global temperatures by about 0.1C. Temperatures have risen by about 0.7C since the dawn of the industrial age. "There's lots of talk about whether we can build sunscreens in space or pump aerosols into the atmosphere. But these schemes require trillions of dollars of investment in infrastructure and it seems unlikely we'll get round to it. Whereas farming already has a global infrastructure and it's done each year, so it should be relatively simple to utilise it to provide a climate benefit." Other experts say the idea is feasible but could not cool the world enough to combat rising greenhouse gas levels. It would be natural to think that a plant that absorbs a greater proportion of the incoming solar energy would produce a higher yield. But that does not appear to be borne out in practice. A downside to the idea is that it only works with crops grown in Europe and North America. In the Asian growing season, most of the reflection is done by clouds, so changing the ground's albedo would have little impact. This and most engineering "fixes" do not address a separate problem posed by the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – the acidity change in the oceans, which is likely to impact marine organisms such as coral and molluscs.

A meteoroid of unknown size hit Earth's atmosphere over Sweden yesterday (Jan. 17 at 1909 UT) and exploded, turning the sky "lightning blue and green." Security camera footage suggests the fireball was about as bright as a full Moon; it was visible from Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and possibly as far away as Spain.



Peanut Corporation of America, a peanut processing company and maker of peanut butter for bulk distribution to institutions, food service industries, and private label food companies, announced a voluntary recall of peanut butter produced in its Blakely, Georgia processing facility because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. [Which may have caused the deaths of 5 people.]

Laboratory analyses have confirmed
a genetic match between the strains of Salmonella bacteria found in a container of King Nut brand creamy peanut butter and the strains of bacteria associated with 30 illnesses in Minnesota and nearly 400 illnesses around the country.

Peanut Corporation of America
has now expanded their earlier recall to include peanut paste and peanut butter, prompting Kellogg to immediately announce a recall of certain cookie and cracker products.

Perry's Ice Cream announced a voluntary recall of select ice cream products containing peanut butter because the products have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Hy-Vee Inc. is voluntarily recalling the following products made in its bakery departments because they contain peanut butter that has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella: Peanut Butter Cookies, Monster Cookies, Peanut Butter Reese's Pieces Cookies, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Lunchbox Reese's Pieces Cookies, Lunchbox Peanut Butter Cookies, People Chow Party Mix and Assorted Truffle Fudge.


Signs in False Shepherds & False Religion

"For among them are those who worm their way into households and capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a variety of passions, always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men who are corrupt in mind, worthless in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress, for their lack of understanding will be clear to all, as theirs was also." 2 Timothy 3:6-9


Vatican may join EU anti-terrorism body
Associated Press

The Vatican is considering whether to join the European Union's anti-terrorism body, Eurojust, in a bid to increase security, an official said Saturday. Vatican City's chief prosecutor, Nicola Picardi, said the increased threat of international terrorism required new forms of cooperation among countries. In October, the Vatican successfully joined Interpol, and the Vatican's Gendarmeria has been attending meetings of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe since 2006, he said.

'All religions of the world are good'
14 Jan 2009
India Times

VARANASI: The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, performed religious rituals at Mula Gandha Kuty Vihara, Sarnath, on Tuesday. He also offered prayer at Dhammek Stupa for global peace. The Dalai Lama is here on a 10-day visit to Sarnath for delivering Buddhist teachings at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS). He also performed puja at the Kalchakra mandap before delivering the teachings at the CIHTS. While addressing the devotees, he said that Tibet had been a madhya desh (central place) of Buddhism. But, there is no Bhikshuni Sangh (monastery of women monks) in Tibet while Taiwan has the monastery of women monks, said the Dalai Lama. He added that the Tathagata had four parshad (corporators) Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasak and Upasika. It would be a good thing if Bhikshuni Sangh is established in Tibet, he said. He also addressed the devotees from America and Australia at the library of the CIHTS. While addressing them, he said that along with the religion he gave equal importance to science because both of them were benefited by each other. All religions of the world are good, therefore, one should also acquire good things from other religions, he said.

Japanese flock to shrines to pray to god of commerce
By Julian Ryall in Tokyo
15 Jan 2009

With the country's economy gravely wounded by the global downturn, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are experiencing a boom in visitor numbers, with business executives the most eager for spiritual solace. Beside the altar at Tokyo's Kanda Myojin shrine, dedicated to success in business, a Shinto priest handed out boughs of cleyera – known in Japan as the "prosperous tree". Another priest intoned a prayer before blessing 20 senior executives of Marubeni Corp., a food-to-chemicals conglomerate that like every other Japanese business is feeling the pain of the dire economic conditions.

ABC News focuses cameras on LDS Church
By Joel Campbell
Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009
Mormon Times

In a 30-second piece on ABC World News Tonight Harris focused briefly on temples, baptism for the dead, families and Proposition 8. The eight minute and 30 second "Faith Matters" piece on Nightline (video here) and (a longer text version here) begins with this: "Ever since the first Mormon temple was built more than 150 years ago, they have been the subject of speculation and suspicion. The temples are imposing structures where private and sacred rituals are performed, and where outsiders are almost never welcomed." Harris asks Elder Ballard why the media was invited to Salt Lake City and an open house for the new Draper Temple: "We want to be understood, not misunderstood," Elder Ballard, "and people are defining us in the wrong way. They're defining us without having the facts."

More trouble for fiery 'Antichrist' preacher
The Miami Herald

The Christmas season was not kind to the self-proclaimed Antichrist. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, who gained international notoriety by declaring himself first to be Jesus Christ, then the Antichrist, roundly lost his divorce court bid to protect his church from financial claims by his most recent ex-wife. Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Roberto Pineiro essentially ruled that de Jesus' Growing in Grace church was his personal business, rather than a religious nonprofit organization, and awarded Josefina de Jesus Torres the more than $2.2 million she sought in the divorce — the amount her lawyer deemed was half the assets of her ex-husband and his church.


Faith under Fire

“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Matthew 5:11-12


“You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endured to the end will be delivered.” Matthew 10:22


Top10 Persecutions of 2008 from Compass Direct News
January 10, 2009
Compass Direct News

1 – Hindu Extremists Terrorize Christians in India
2 – Muslims Attack in Jos, Nigeria
3 – More Suffer in Eritrean Prisons
4 – Somali Christians Killed
5 – Mass Arrests in Laos
6 – Iran Threatens Mandatory Deat
7 – Olympics Spotlight China's Human Rights Abusesh for ‘Apostates'
8 – Pakistan Kidnapping Turns into Custody Battle
9 – Unprecedented Bid to Officially Convert in Egypt Fails
10 – Algeria Enforces Law Choking Religious Freedom

Egypt – Egyptian Authorities Starve Christian Woman’s Children
Written by Melane Bower
Friday, 09 January 2009

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI (Christian Freedom International) — Egyptian authorities have deliberately starved two young children belonging to Martha Samuel, a Christian woman, because she refused to return to the Islamic faith. Samuel, whose name had been placed on a list of people who are barred from leaving Egypt, was arrested last month with her husband and children at a Cairo airport as they tried to flee the country for Russia. According to local reports, Samuel claimed that she was fleeing relentless persecution and death threats by police and extended family members, which she and her husband had been enduring ever since she converted to Christianity five years ago. Samuel was charged with forging official documents and changing her name after converting from Islam to Christianity.

Presenter sacked for 'supporting the Bible's teachings' on radio
By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter
11 Jan 2009

The Rev Mahboob Masih, a Church minister, claims he was unfairly dismissed and that the action taken against him was a case of religious discrimination. He had been host of a regular Saturday morning show on Awaz FM, a community radio show in Glasgow, for six years before the row with the station's management blew up. After a lively religious debate, the radio station management took exception to the content of the discussion. The Rev Masih was accused of not being balanced enough on air. However, Awaz FM refuses to detail anything specific he said that might have offended its listeners.

Battle over 10 Commandments rages on
January 12, 2009
By Alyssa Farah

A battle over the display of historical documents, including the Ten Commandments, is raging in Kentucky even though the U.S. Supreme Court has said they do not necessarily have a religious purpose and can be constitutional. Experts with Liberty Counsel now have filed arguments with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the decalogue in a lawsuit by the ACLU that resulted in a ban on Foundations of American Law and Government displays in McCreary and Pulaski counties. The ACLU first filed suit in 1999 over the display that now includes the Ten Commandments, the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, the National Motto, the Preamble to the Kentucky Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Plea to stop family's deportation
BBC News
Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Friends of a family facing deportation to Pakistan have started a campaign to try to keep them in Wales. Cecilia Maqsood and her family moved to Pembrokeshire legally three years ago after she had a job as a care home nurse in Saundersfoot. She claims she was persecuted in Pakistan because of her Christian beliefs but now faces a return after her work permit extension was refused.

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