Chosen: End Times Newsletter – Issue 96

The Minister’s Corner
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Relying on Your Own Understanding
By Regina

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.”

I cannot tell you the number of times that this verse has resonated within me – Father speaking to my heart – and how useful it has become in my daily walk with Yahweh and Christ. I also cannot tell you how easy it is to rely on your own understanding if you are not very careful and aware and seeking Father’s guidance on every question that comes to mind and at every crossroads you may encounter.

So what does it mean to rely on your own understanding, and why can doing so be so detrimental?

What might have happened to Noah and his family if he’d responded that there was no way the entire earth would flood, simply because he relied on his own limited understanding and chose to believe it would not happen because he could not understand how it could happen?

How might the Israelites been led from slavery to the Egyptians, if Moses had denied what he’d seen and heard at the burning bush, simply because he did not understand how a bush could be consumed by fire and not burn?

And what might have come of Mary if she’d denied the existence of the angel that delivered the message to her that she would bear the son of God, simply because she could not wrap her mind around the existence angels and their parts in Yahweh’s plan?

I bring up these supernatural Biblical experiences because it’s all intertwined with scripture and truth, as you can see from the examples given of Noah, Moses and Mary. Thankfully, none of these people whom Father Yahweh chose to serve Her relied on their own understanding. And because they did not, they successfully carried out the roles that Father asked them to play in bringing Her will into fruition. And not only that, they came to know Father Yahweh in ways that they probably never imagined they would. They experienced the amazing, the miraculous, and what they might have once believed to be impossible made possible.

Supernatural occurrences continue even today, just as they did in Biblical times. And there are many researchers and experts out there who reject the possible because they believe it to be impossible. One type of skeptic in particular follows the “Occam’s Razor” theory which states that: “Of several acceptable explanations for a phenomenon, the simplest is preferable, provided that it takes all circumstances into account.” (Wikipedia)

They discount the truth of the existence of spirits, ghosts and angels and even God Herself simply because they cannot capture them in a jar and study it and because the simplest explanation for them is that if they can’t explain its existence, they discount it and rely on their own understanding instead.

Someone else might have their own ideas and theories and be so wrapped up in them that there is no room for allowing the real truth in. They have done a lot of study on a particular subject and for their own reasons wish to be an authority on that subject – therefore, when a different theory or even truth is presented to them they discount it because it does not match up with what they already know even if what they already know is in fact a falsehood.

So rather than taking another look at the evidence presented to them and opening their minds to different possibilities, they remain stagnant and uninterested and sometimes even quite defensive because they might be proven wrong and prefer instead to rely on their own understanding.

A lot of time has passed since Christ Jesus walked the earth and in this time a lot has been done to muddy the waters of his teachings – of truth. Some of it has been encouraged by spirit realm inhabitants who fight on the opposing side of the spiritual war in misleading mankind, but mankind has also had a hand in encouraging the falsehoods that many believe to be truth when it comes to scriptural teachings and truth.

In today’s day and age, in End Times, we see many who are encouraging others to believe that there probably is no God in major advertising campaigns around the world.

We see those who prefer to believe that there are many roads to God because committing to just one road seems too “narrow minded”.

And we also see those who consider themselves theologians and experts on the scriptures and particularly in these End Times, study the scriptures and prophecy looking for the signs that will tell them when the end will come when in fact what they were taught about the scriptures to begin with was a lie and this lie becomes their foundation.

This is particularly dangerous because the foundation is faulty and because they spend so much time furthering their studies without first seeking Father’s guidance and waiting for an answer. They move forward and they essentially become blinded to truth, while all the while thinking their eyes have been opened.

All of these above examples are ways of relying on your own understanding. It is a blinding of the mind.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if, in fact, our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. Regarding them: the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Relying on your own understanding not only limits you, but it also places limitations on Yahweh who is in fact and in truth, capable of anything and of all things. Placing limitations on yourself and on Yahweh places limitations on your own spiritual growth and on coming to a fuller and more complete understanding of the truth. It keeps you shackled to this world and the lies and misconceptions that reside within it.

Particularly in this day and age and with the Tribulation upon us, this can be particularly detrimental in that it can come at the cost of your very eternal life. To cling to manmade religious ideals such as water baptism and the trinity as requirements for salvation is yet another example of relying on your own understanding.

The following is from the Kingdom Message of Salvation, which is the message our ministry has been charged with delivering to mankind: “If those people have the right heart condition, they will see the Light. If not, they will remain opposed to what is ministered to them. That is their Free Will choice. Even if they claim to be foot-step followers of Christ, they will be deemed not worthy of Salvation unless they exhibit the Holy Spirit from within them. If they believe falsehoods about Christ, cling to their man-made religious belief systems and reject the truth will be marked accordingly by the Cherubic Order of Angels. All people are judged by what is really in their hearts.”

It is alright that we seek knowledge, but we must seek the knowledge, understanding and wisdom that come from Father Yahweh alone so that we are not deceived as She is the source of all these things. The good news is that Father Yahweh is always there to guide us, if only we seek Her guidance first. If at any point we encounter a view that is new or different from what we have come to believe, it is via Her Holy Spirit that we will be able to sift through this information and determine what is truth and what is not.

Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is supreme—so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding.”

We'll See
Submitted by Johanna

Once upon a time, there was a farmer in the central region of China. He didn't have a lot of money and, instead of a tractor, he used an old horse to plow his field.

One afternoon, while working in the field, the horse dropped dead. Everyone in the village said, "Oh, what a horrible thing to happen." The farmer said simply, "We'll see." He was so at peace and so calm, that everyone in the village got together and, admiring his attitude, gave him a new horse as a gift.

Everyone's reaction now was, "What a lucky man." And the farmer said, "We'll see."

A couple days later, the new horse jumped a fence and ran away. Everyone in the village shook their heads and said, "What a poor fellow!"

The farmer smiled and said, "We'll see."

Eventually, the horse found his way home, and everyone again said, "What a fortunate man."

The farmer said, "We'll see."

Later in the year, the farmer's young boy went out riding on the horse and fell and broke his leg. Everyone in the village said, "What a shame for the poor boy."

The farmer said, "We'll see."

Two days later, the army came into the village to draft new recruits. When they saw that the farmer's son had a broken leg, they decided not to recruit him.

Everyone said, "What a fortunate young man."

The farmer smiled again – and said "We'll see."

Moral of the story: There's no use in overreacting to the events and circumstances of our everyday lives. Many times what looks like a setback, may actually be a gift in disguise. And when our hearts are in the right place, all events and circumstances are gifts that we can learn valuable lessons from.

As Fra Giovanni once said:

"Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me… the gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence."

Author Unknown

Inspired Writings

True Love as the Rapture Nears

Revelation 3:21 — The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne.

The victor is actually mentioned seven times individually in the second and third chapters of Revelation. Just as there are seven different churches under Christ, one may see that there is not just one church that one is under, but rather, that they are in unity with. In this, the individual victor of one church must also be a victor in every other church, or lest they still failed to serve in full faithfulness and love. Simply put, one is not a member of one individual church such that they must only be concerned with only one of the warnings or encouragements, but that because the churches are all intertwined and connected like Father's Wisdom and the different aspects of one whole body, but each individual must stay strong on all seven different accounts. Not only stay strong, but also, stay true to all of Christ's instructions. These instructions, hence, are not just from Christ, but also through Christ, coming from One originator of all Wisdom and valuable words. Our Father has given and provided much great help and direction with which we are then capable of offering ourselves as pure of servants as possible, meeting Her standards and guidelines.

This, in itself, simply means that we are not to live in the same way as it was thought in the past with the Laws, but rather, fully by faith, and faithfulness. The attitude of the Laws was such that one sought to fulfill the Laws, but by focusing on trying to do so, may find themselves utterly incapable of fulfilling all of Father's commands and requirements. It is in this, that one might find that everything that Father brings to us only may uplift and strengthen, because in recognizing one's weakness and incapability to fulfill what Father has set forth, we may find humility and integrity towards Father, which can further strengthen Father's Spirit's hold in one's heart, and further prepare one for all that Father has for the future. However, one must immediately step onto the narrow path and recognize that it is not the Laws that must be followed in that attitude, or they will immediately find themselves in the wrong way, because it is by faith, not by works. Not to say works are not important or that would create major errors, but rather that works are not the focus. Just as it shows in Revelation:

Revelation 2:2 — I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars.

Revelation 2:3 — You also possess endurance and have tolerated [many things] because of My name, and have not grown weary.

Revelation 2:4 — But I have this against you: you have abandoned the love [you had] at first.

By abandoning this love, one has abandoned Father. That is simple as that. And as it may show in the other aspects of Revelation, and even all throughout the examples provided in scripture, the abandonment of love, true love for Father and all love that is actually inspired by Her Spirit, that is what is greatly warned against throughout all this war. From start to finish, one of the greatest parts that is trying to be taught is how to love throughout any obstacle that is placed as a trap. Even the war, itself, with its carnage and difficulties, is a lesson to be learned in love, and that love must not be abandoned throughout all of it. As true love endures all things, and bears all things, there is nothing that can, or must be allowed to, be done other than further Father's Holy Spirit under Father's rule on one's heart. People in this physical realm may not see the blood and energy spilled as the war wages on either plane of existence, but it certainly is there. Even throughout this, it must also be remembered how difficult this is for Father, our Mother, in how very bad everything has turned out at this stage in creation:

Genesis 6:6 — the LORD regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

And so, in this time and the time that still has yet to pass to the Rapture, it must be remembered that it is not all that oneself or their neighbor is suffering, because it must grieve Father very much to punish Her children, but all of it must come to a close. As well, in the love that one has for their parent, they should also seek to help carry the burden that Father must carry and do so willingly. No one in a right mind likes what has occurred from evil being introduced to creation, and out of love, one should be that much more willing to shoulder any burdens that will ease another's pains.

Fruitage of the Spirit – Part 13
This week we will start to look at attitudes to be cultivated. 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. http://www.biblegateway.com can be used as a reference tool with the Holman Christian Standard Bible as the recommended version.

You must become serious minded. Lives lie in the balance. Christ never joked or made light of the seriousness of this spiritual conflict. Where the Truth is concerned, you should be dead serious in attitude:
Philippians 4:8
1 Timothy 3:8, 11
Titus 2:2

You must learn to be submissive to Yahweh's Will and those that he has put in charge:
Hebrews 13:17
Colossians 3:18

You must exhibit tend compassion:
Colossians 3:12
Ephesians 4:32
Ephesians 4:25
2 Corinthians 6:4-7

You must develop wholesomeness of speech. The mouth of the righteous one is a source of life:
Titus 2:6-8
Proverbs 10:11
    

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

Cherubic Commander: Why does Father act in certain ways? It is part of the riddle or secret of Father.

riddle1 >noun 1 a question or statement phrased so as to require ingenuity in finding its answer or meaning. 2 a puzzling person or thing. >verb archaic speak in or pose riddles.
-DERIVATIVES riddler >noun.
-ORIGIN Old English, related to read.

Father is the most ingenious Creator you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. 🙂 Not only sweet and loving, but also very creative in Her mind-set.

ingenious >adjective clever, original, and inventive.
-DERIVATIVES ingeniously >adverb ingeniousness >noun.
-ORIGIN Latin ingeniosus, from ingenium 'mind, intellect'; related to engine.

Satan and his demons have learned this about Her the hard way. You have learned it under Her loving care.

Example: Why did Father bother to have the Ark of Salvation built? Why did She have Noah and his family use tar pitch to seal out the waters? Why not just whisk them up into the heavens by Her mighty power? It is because Father expects a measure of willingness to have one work to wards their own salvation in both the following of Her commands in both mind and and the physical sense. It is also because Father is the controller of all that exists. Just as She could have whisked Lot and his family away to safety by Her own mighty power, She used Her angelic messengers to take them by the hand and lead them out of a doomed city slated for Her wrath. The "circumstance" revealed the necessary action, not only of Lot's and Noah's part, but also on those angelic hosts that serve Her. When the angels were under threat of being sexually assaulted by evil men the "circumstance" they found themselves in revealed that harsh action was required.

Deuteronomy 26:8 "Then the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, with terrifying power, and with signs and wonders."

Father brought them out, but they had to exercise two things: 1. They had to have faith in Her ability to deliver them out of the hand of their oppressor. 2. They had to be willing to meet Her half way by gathering up their belongings and either walking or riding out of Egypt to a new land She had promised. In doing so, they were following a PATH laid out for their release from bondage and to become a nation that would render Her sacred service. If any stayed behind, that would reveal a lack of love for Father's generosity and kindness, and would mean a love for what would be left behind. Just as Lot's wife chose to look back on a doomed city, You can never look back. Your future is ahead for each of you. This world and all that remains behind within it, it is doomed to total destruction, for Father is making all things new for Her children.

Each of you have built a new house in the sense that your minds are on the coming Kingdom of Christ Jesus. To get there, none of you can be blood guilty of having withheld the truth (truth represents "railing around your souls.". This is part of what the ministry is about. It relieves you of any blood guilt. No one will fall from the roof of your new houses. 😉

Deuteronomy 22:8 "If you build a new house, make a railing around your roof, so that you don't bring bloodguilt on your house if someone falls from it."

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

A dozen silent UFOs cross Ohio skies
July 23, 2009
Atlanta Examiner

The UFO Traffic Report for Wednesday, July 22, 2009, includes 10 selected sightings over 8 states, according to witness statements filed in the past 48 hours with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) database. Please keep in mind that most UFO reports can be explained as something natural or manmade. If MUFON investigates and reports back on any of these cases, I will update this page. The following reports and their headlines are unedited. You can read my selected cases by type of UFO report at the UFO Traffic Report index page. OH, July 19, 2009 – 12 total "starlike" moving objects very high in sky, some fading/disappearing, some getting much brighter at times. MUFON Case # 18223. Four Ohio witnesses report seeing "12 objects that appear to be moving stars from one horizon to another." The silent objects were seen fading and then illuminating again. And one common report I have been reading the past few months, as these witnesses say – "I've been watching the sky my whole life and I can now see these objects seemingly at will the last few months." It may be that our communications are simply better now – with web access – but there are many similar reports that people are reporting anomalous objects from the same location or region over time now.

Mysterious, Glowing Clouds Appear Across America’s Night Skies
By Alexis Madrigal Email Author
Wired Science
July 16, 2009

Mysterious, glowing clouds previously seen almost exclusively in Earth’s polar regions have appeared in the skies over the United States and Europe over the past several days. Photographers and other sky watchers in Omaha, Paris, Seattle, and other locations have run outside to capture images of what scientists call noctilucent (”night shining”) clouds. Formed by ice literally at the boundary where the earth’s atmosphere meets space 50 miles up, they shine because they are so high that they remain lit by the sun even after our star is below the horizon. The clouds might be beautiful, but they could portend global changes caused by global warming. Noctilucent clouds are a fundamentally new phenomenon in the temperate mid-latitude sky, and it’s not clear why they’ve migrated down from the poles. Or why, over the last 25 years, more of them are appearing in the polar regions, too, and shining more brightly.

UFO sighted over St Helens
StHelens Reporter
Published Date:
20 July 2009
By Andy Moffatt

Townsfolk spotted strange light zipping across the St Helens skyline over the weekend. A number of residents contacted the St Helens Reporter to report seeing weird lights floating across several parts of the borough. There were three separate sightings in Parr, Haydock and Newton-le-Willows on Saturday night alone. One resident in Parr said he saw three objects similar to Chinese lanterns zooming across the night sky at around 10.50pm. "I've never seen anything like it before but I have heard plenty of talk from other folk who reckon they've seen similar things," said the man, who asked not to be named. "Before Saturday I was pretty cynical about things like UFOs but after seeing what I saw then I've got to say I've had a change of heart."

Bright UFO hovers over rooftops in Lakewood, Colorado
July 19, 2009
Atlanta Examiner

The UFO Traffic Report for Monday, July 20, 2009, includes 12 selected sightings over 8 states, according to witness statements filed in the past 72 hours with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) database. Please keep in mind that most UFO reports can be explained as something natural or manmade. If MUFON investigates and reports back on any of these cases, I will update this page. The following reports and their headlines are unedited. You can read my selected cases by type of UFO report at the UFO Traffic Report index page. CO, July 18, 2009 – Bright White Object; Lakewood, CO. MUFON Case # 18176. Two Colorado witnesses "saw a very bright white object traveling north to south" near Lakewood and five minutes east of Bear Creek Park. The object was moving "just over the rooftops of the apartment buildings," at about "about 150 knots." The object stopped momentarily, then "performed a few quick squiggles" before it disappeared.

'Translucent' triangle UFO moves over Port Austin, Michigan
July 19, 2009
Atlanta Examiner

Two Michigan witnesses at Port Austin had two encounters with a "translucent" UFO, then watched as the points of light broke up into groups and began sky maneuvers, according to witness testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) database. The first object was spotted at Port Austin, although the witnesses stated that they could see through it, but that there was "a shape independent of the lights." The witnesses were then driving along Oak Beach Road and were several miles from the beach, when they spotted the same or a similar object. They pulled over and then observed that "the lights all separated into pairs." Each of the possibly three sets of two lights went in different directions. These small, white lights, then began "blinking in rapid, definite patterns" as though they were signaling to each other.

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

'Armageddon' alarm bell rings
The Washington Times
by Arnaud de Borchgrave
July 17, 2009

A senior adviser on South Asia to three U.S. presidents is now warning about "Armageddon in Islamabad." At the request of President Obama, Bruce Riedel, a former CIA expert on the region, also chaired an interagency policy review on Afghanistan and nuclear Pakistan. His latest assessment says, "A jihadist victory in Pakistan, meaning the takeover of the nation by a militant Sunni movement led by the Taliban … would create the greatest threat the United States has yet to face in its war on terror … [and] is now a real possibility in the foreseeable future." It would bolster al Qaeda's capabilities tenfold, Mr. Riedel concludes. It would also give terrorists a nuclear capability.

Big Pharma Bribes Doctors to Hook Your Kids on Drugs
Alternet
by Bruce E. Levine
July 17, 2009

Americans must start to question the legitimacy of the exploitative pharmaceutical-industrial complex and the predatory people atop them. "The wave of evil washes all our institutions alike." –Ralph Waldo Emerson The wave of evil washes not only the financial-industrial complex, the military-industrial complex, the energy-industrial complex, and predatory executives at AIG, Citibank, Halliburton, Blackwater/Xe, Enron, and Exxon. The pharmaceutical-industrial complex has virtually annexed the mental health profession, whose all-star opportunist team is captained by Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Biederman, the high-profile doctor most responsible for the explosion of kids on psychiatric drugs, first for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and then for bipolar disorder.

National debt now worst since Second World War
The Independent
by James Moore
July 22, 2009

Britain's borrowing surged to a record £13.3bn in June, official figures showed yesterday as economists used phrases such as "dire", "alarming" and "parlous" to describe the state of the nation's public finances. The figure is nearly double that for the same month last year while the actual cash shortfall also stood at a record of £19bn, £7.6 billion higher than last year. Total borrowing now stands at a colossal £799bn – 56.6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Debt as a proportion of national income is expected to surge above the level it reached when Jim Callaghan was forced to go cap in hand to the International Monetary Fund in 1976. And as a proportion of GDP, it is shooting up to levels not seen since Britain was paying off the borrowing it incurred to fund the Second World War.

Microwave weapon will rain pain from the sky
NewScientist
by David Hambling
July 23, 2009

THE Pentagon's enthusiasm for non-lethal crowd-control weapons appears to have stepped up a gear with its decision to develop a microwave pain-infliction system that can be fired from an aircraft. The device is an extension of its controversial Active Denial System, which uses microwaves to heat the surface of the skin, creating a painful sensation without burning that strongly motivates the target to flee. The ADS was unveiled in 2001, but it has not been deployed owing to legal issues and safety fears. Nevertheless, the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) in Quantico, Virginia, has now called for it to be upgraded. The US air force, whose radar technology the ADS is based on, is increasing its annual funding of the system from $2 million to $10 million.

Hong Kong Stocks May Slide Further
Quote
July 22, 2009

(RTTNews) – The Hong Kong stock market has finished lower now in back-to-back sessions, giving away more than 250 points or 1.3 percent in the process. The Hang Seng Index remained above the 19,200-point level, although investors are bracing for modest declines when the market opens for business on Thursday. The global forecast for the Asian markets is a study in contrasts as expected strength in the technology sectors is likely to be offset by falling oil stocks reacting to a decline in the price of oil. The day's corporate earnings results are also unlikely to spark momentum. The European and U.S. markets finished in mixed fashion but did not stray too far from the unchanged line in either direction – and the Asian markets are expected to show little movement with perhaps a slight downside bias.

Crop Circle Watch

Martinsell Hill, nr Wootton Rivers, Wiltshire. Reported 19th July

Field Report: This looked amazing from aerial shots so I arrived full of expectation. This is a vast formation, with a wonderful energy to it. While aerial photographs tend to show the geometrical and aesthetic qualities we can sometimes simplify it all and assume that it’s easy to create a circle and then add another, then another etc. However, what isn’t clear from the air is the undulating gradient of the field. This field is quite undulating and not only that, but it has quite a ‘dip’, in it. For it to appear so perfect from above surely some compensation has to be made in terms of its’ measurements when it is created by the ‘circle makers’, whoever or whatever they may be? Perhaps someone in the areas of surveying would be able to add more on this. There have been countless formations in very undulating fields but still they appear perfect from the air. Maybe the ‘circle makers’ under compensated here? Maybe not?

Liddington Castle, nr Badbury, Wiltshire. Reported 19th July

Field Report: As I was able to go into this formation quite early I carried out a very satisfactory field report. It is only just noticeable from the road and it was more luck than judgement that I found it without wasting too much time. I have spent many hours playing ‘hide and seek’ with the circles. This was an enjoyable formation to visit and there were a few features that interested me. To begin with it was much smaller than most of the ones we have seen this year. It lacked the vastness of the one at Wootton Rivers, but size isn’t everything. On entering the formation I noticed that the lay went anti-clockwise. It went in this direction for the first two paths around it. It was crunchy underfoot and not flat. Certainly, nothing like the flatness at Wootton Rivers. Generally the lay seemed neat and there was more than the odd standing stem.

Woodborough Hill, nr Alton Barnes, Wiltshire. Reported 22nd July

Field Report: Not available at this time.

Smeathe's Plantation nr Ogbourne Down Gallop, Wiltshire. Reported 24th July

FieldReport: The formation is laid pretty neat.The crop is very flattened, even in areas unaffected by foot traffic. Crop damage, possibly caused by previous visitors. Stems bent just above ground level, mainly before the first node. In the 'arm', after the one just off tram-line facing the hill,, the flattened circle, within an outlined circle, has a narrow 'basket weave' throughout, whilst the other circles in same position are flowing towards the centre There is an interesting effect with the crop lay, in the ovals at the end of each off-shoot. Again a neat formation enhanced by the unique location.

Signs in Humanity

Alert: Watch out for baby traffickers
JoyOnline
Ebenezer Hanson (Public Agenda/Ghana)
July 20, 2009

Ghanaians have been asked to collectively work towards pre-empting what has now come to be christened 'Baby Harvesting', new phenomenon of human trafficking currently going on in Nigeria. Baby Harvesting is the act of luring teenage girls who are economically challenged to cities in the name of adoption according to Mr. Eric Boakye Peasah, the Counter-trafficking Field Manager of the International Organization for Migration (I0M). Mr. Peasah explained that these unsuspecting girls are usually kept in homes where men are arranged to have sexual intercourse repeatedly with them until they get pregnant. He explained further that the girls are usually provided with antenatal care until they give birth after which the babies are plucked from these unfortunate girls who are then paid off.

4 Arizona Boys Under 14 Allegedly Lured Little Girl With Chewing Gum in Sex Assault
Fox News
July 24, 2009

Phoenix police responding to a report of hysterical screams say they found an 8-year-old girl partially clothed in a shed and four young boys running away. The four boys, aged 9 to 14, allegedly lured the child with chewing gum, then "brutally sexually assaulted her" for 10 to 15 minutes, said Sgt. Andy Hill. Prosecutors filed sexual assault charges against the boys on Thursday, officials said. Hill called it one of the worst cases the department has investigated. The boys are accused of holding the girl down while they took turns molesting her.

Three 'let rats chew toes off baby'
9News
July 22, 2009

Three people have been accused of endangering a child after rats bit a six-week-old girl and chewed off her toes at their cluttered US caravan home. Authorities said the baby's toes on one foot were gone when sheriff's deputies went to the home in the city of Columbus, in the mid-western state of Ohio, on Sunday after receiving an anonymous tip. "It's one of the most horrific things I've ever seen," Pike County prosecutor Rob Junk told the local 10TV News. "I hope we never see anything like this again." The baby is now in a fair condition at hospital.

Fury as art exhibition encourages visitors to deface the Bible
DailyMail
by Graham Grant
July 23, 2009

An art exhibition where people are encouraged to write in a Bible has seen visitors daub abuse and obscenities across its pages. Part of Made in God's Image, the exhibit also includes a video of a woman ripping pages from the Bible and stuffing them into her bra, knickers and mouth. Next to the copy of the Bible at the Gallery of Modern Art (Goma) in Glasgow is a container of pens and a notice, which says: 'If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.' The exhibit, entitled Untitled 2009, was put forward by the Metropolitan Community Church with the aim of reclaiming the Bible as a sacred text. But its pages have been scrawled with comments including 'F*** the Bible' and 'I am Bi, Female & Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this'.

Boy, 16, arrested after Muslim woman's lover is 'forced to drink acid'
DailyMail
by Vanessa Allen
July 24, 2009

A 16-year-old boy is being held in custody after the attempted murder of a man in an alleged 'honour' acid attack. The man, 24, was suspected of having an affair with a married Muslim woman. She has since been warned her life could also be in danger Her alleged lover is fighting for his life after a masked gang stabbed him twice and forced him to swallow sulphuric acid. The assailants also poured acid over his body and are feared to have beaten his face with bricks, leaving him blind in one eye. Two men, aged 19 and 25, have been charged with attempted murder and Scotland Yard have now revealed a 16-year-old has been re-arrested over the attack.

Arks of Safe Haven
www.arksofsafehaven.org
"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. Visit http://www.arksofsafehaven.org and view the many posts from those in need to see if you're able to help with advice, prayers or goods & services.

losteverything09 – Edmund, OK. – Hello my name is james and we are a family of 7 who lost our home last month,and then had to sell our car to get into a 1 bedroom hotel room,then shortly after we lost our other car.we are staying in a town where the city buses stopped running as of july 1,2009 and i lost my job now we are all living on 1 income and are on the brink of being tossed out of the hotel we are staying in with nowhere to go. we have 3 babies here a 21 month old boy a 6 month old girl and a 4 month old girl we have no way to get to grocery stores the doctors for the babies to get their shots, 1 income of 400 every 2 weeks on top of paying 280 a week to stay here we are slowly losing hope. we have no transportation to find work with no way to shop for food the state wont help us in any way. i myself have arthritis through-out my whole body and ache and cramp daily to the point of my joints locking up on me,and having to walk 6 miles 1 way to work daily and then working 8 hrs then walking back home is slowly bringing me down to the point of giving up on all hope in life and i cant do that to these babies and family i have to be the strong one, being the only male living amongst 4 adult women and the babies we have a 21 yr old female staying with us who lost her baby to the state 3 months ago and in order for her to get her baby back she has to be living with us and we have to have a safe home to live in or the state is gonna keep her child. we have to have transportation to get the needed food and items for the babies. i feel so bad that i cant do more but my job doesnt offer extra work hrs. i cant even get the babies to the hospital if something was to happen to one of them being the hospitals are over 30 min away. and during the process of losing our home we lost everything else we owned such as furniture clothes personal items because we was giving 3 days to move out,what do we (I DO?) is there any hope left for me to believe that things will be alright and workout for the better. thank you all for viewing my post and many thanks to those who can provide us with help and prayers! god bless you all and may you having many blessings sent down upon you from heaven

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

Minor Earthquake Shakes NM, Spring Overflows
7/18/09
SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press Writer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) ? A minor 3.0-magnitude earthquake that rattled a mountainous area of central New Mexico may have triggered extraordinary flows from a riverside spring about 100 miles away, the state Game and Fish Department says. The U.S. Geological Survey said the temblor struck Thursday night in the rural San Mateo Mountains northwest of Albuquerque. No damage at the quake's center was reported. But landowners along the Pecos River in northern New Mexico woke up Friday morning to find a spring near the Tererro campground putting out about five times more water than usual. The overflowing spring is washing sediment from an adjacent dirt road into the Pecos River, one of the more popular trout fishing spots in New Mexico. "We're investigating it. We're not sure exactly what happened," Game and Fish spokesman Dan Williams said. "The spring has always flowed but something triggered that spring to start flowing considerably."

24 killed, hundreds homeless in Mongolia floods
7/21/09
CNN

(CNN) — At least 24 people have been killed and hundreds rendered homeless in the worst floods to hit land-locked Mongolia in 40 years, emergency officials said Tuesday. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it was working with local authorities to distribute emergency goods to the flood-ravaged victims. Workers fear that without adequate food and shelter, the situation would worsen when winter arrives in three months, said Francis Markus of the Red Cross.

Hopes Fade After German Mudslide Disaster
7/20/09
Spiegel Online

Two days after a mudslide pulled a house into a former open-cast mine converted into a lake in Germany, rescue officials are losing hope of finding three missing persons alive. Angry inhabitants are still being kept from their homes, and officials are trying to find out what caused the disaster. German authorities using heat-detecting cameras have failed so far to locate three people missing since a massive mudslide early Saturday morning sucked a house into a former open-cast coal mine that had been turned into a lake in the eastern village of Nachterstedt. "No one has been found alive in the water," Ursula Rothe, a county spokeswoman, told reporters Monday.

Swine flu cases double as 100,000 people contract disease in just one week
By Wil Longbottom
23rd July 2009

The number of confirmed new cases of swine flu in England last week soared by almost double to 100,000, the Department of Health said. Doctors say a total of 840 people are classed as 'seriously ill' in hospital – 63 of them in intensive care – from the effects of the disease. The latest figure is a dramatic rise on the previous week, where 55,000 consulted their GPs with suspected swine flu. An official website set up by the Government to deal with people worried they have contracted the virus was launched at 3pm but just minutes later was too busy to cope.

Risk Of Huge Pacific Ocean Tsunami On West Coast Of America Greater Than Previously Thought

ScienceDaily (July 20, 2009) — The potential for a huge Pacific Ocean tsunami on the West Coast of America may be greater than previously thought, according to a new study of geological evidence along the Gulf of Alaska coast. The new research suggests that future tsunamis could reach a scale far beyond that suffered in the tsunami generated by the great 1964 Alaskan earthquake. Official figures put the number of deaths caused by the earthquake at around 130: 114 in Alaska and 16 in Oregon and California. The tsunami killed 35 people directly and caused extensive damage in Alaska, British Columbia, and the US Pacific region*. The 1964 Alaskan earthquake – the second biggest recorded in history with a magnitude of 9.2 – triggered a series of massive waves with run up heights of as much as 12.7 metres in the Alaskan Gulf region and 52 metres in the Shoup Bay submarine slide in Valdez Arm. The study suggests that rupture of an even larger area than the 1964 rupture zone could create an even bigger tsunami. Warning systems are in place on the west coast of North America but the findings suggest a need for a review of evacuation plans in the region.

Natural Disaster Update
Source: http://home.att.net/~thehessians/disasterwatch.html

QUAKES –

7/19/09 –
5.1 SOUTH INDIAN OCEAN
5.3 NEAR COAST OF ECUADOR
5.0 OFF W. COAST OF S. ISLAND, N.Z.

7/20/09 –
5.0 SUMBA REGION, INDONESIA
5.1 SUMBAWA REGION, INDONESIA
5.0 LAKE TANGANYIKA REGION
5.5 MOLUCCA SEA

7/21/09 –
5.1 MID-INDIAN RIDGE
5.2 BOUGAINVILLE REGION, P.N.G.
5.0 SOUTHEAST OF LOYALTY ISLANDS

7/22/09 –
5.1 KAMCHATKA PENINSULA, RUSSIA
5.5 SOUTHERN IRAN

7/23/09 –
5.0 LEYTE, PHILIPPINES

The massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake last week has moved the south of New Zealand closer to Australia. With the countries separated by the 2250-km-wide Tasman Sea, the 30cm closing of the gap in New Zealand's southwest won't make much difference. But the shift illustrated the huge force of the tremor, the biggest in the world so far this year. "Basically, New Zealand just got a little bit bigger is another way to think about it." While the southwest of the South Island moved about 30cm closer to Australia, the east coast of the island moved only 1cm westwards. The biggest quake in New Zealand in 78 years caused only slight damage to buildings and property when it struck the remote southwest Fiordland region of the South Island last Thursday. A small tsunami was generated by the earthquake, with a tide gauge on the West Coast of New Zealand recording a wave of one metre. "For a very large earthquake, although it was very widely felt, there were very few areas that were severely shaken." The quake was UNUSUAL in striking right on the boundary of the Australian and Pacific plates and will be important in researching earthquake hazards.

NEW ZEALAND on alert for even bigger quakes. The Shakey Isles just keep on shaking with the South Island of New Zealand rattled by more than eight sizeable aftershocks since Wednesday night's powerful earthquake which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. Experts say there's a very real possibility that another big one is on the way. The quake off the west coast of New Zealand's South Island is the biggest quake to hit in the world so far this year. The quake was the same magnitude as the one in 1931 which struck the North Island city of Napier and killed more than 200 people. But the recent quake seemed to send most of its energy out into the west – sort of moved the part of the South Island up and shoved it to the west, which is why this time no-one was killed, or even injured. New Zealanders need to get earthquake survival kits organised. 80 per cent of the population understand what the impact is likely to be, but less than half who have taken the steps of getting even the basic survival water and food items together. And the next big one is only a matter of time. "When we look at the alpine fault behaviour through time, we see that it ruptures every 200 to 300 years in a series of big earthquakes, magnitude 8, so even bigger than this 7.6 which recently occurred and the last one that we can see in the geologic record is from 1717, so in some respects the alpine fault is overdue. It is perhaps pregnant if you want to put it that way for a big earthquake."

The same folks who brought us the tsunami invisibility cloak last year have now come up with an earthquake invisibility cloak. They show that a platform made of just the right configuration of elastic rings could make a structure invisible to earthquakes by effectively steering a quake around the structure. It doesn't work well for compression waves, but the researchers claim it could hide buildings from the slower-moving, more destructive shear earthquake waves. [A nearby building could still fall on the cloaked one, with the usual result.]

NEW MEXICO – A minor 3.0-magnitude earthquake that rattled a mountainous area of central New Mexico may have triggered extraordinary flows from a riverside spring about 100 miles away. The temblor struck Thursday night in the rural San Mateo Mountains northwest of Albuquerque. No damage at the quake's center was reported. But landowners along the Pecos River in northern New Mexico woke up Friday morning to find a spring near the Tererro campground putting out about five times more water than usual. The overflowing spring is washing sediment from an adjacent dirt road into the Pecos River, one of the more popular trout fishing spots in New Mexico. "We're investigating it. We're not sure exactly what happened. The spring has always flowed but something triggered that spring to start flowing considerably." Earthquakes in Alaska have been known to affect groundwater as far away as Colorado so "it wouldn't be entirely bizarre" for that magnitude of quake to have a long-distance impact.

VOLCANOES –

Yellowstone National Park  – Apparently the volcano supervolcano that created one of the country’s best national parks isn’t as sleepy as researchers once thought. Although researchers aren’t trying to terrify us, there is some evidence that the volcano has been inching upwards in recent years. It’s doming, it’s growing, and researchers refer to it as a caldera at unrest, which sounds a little unsettling to us. Especially when you consider some of the suspected supervolcano eruptions that have taken place in the planet’s history. About 2.1 million years ago an eruption at Yellowstone left a hole in the ground as large as Rhode Island. For now, researchers seem to agree on one thing: they aren’t sure what will happen and when. An eruption could wipe out much of the human race and next week we could be plunged into a volcanic winter for 100,000 years, or never at all.

PHILIPPINES – Tourists were ordered off an island volcano near the Philippine capital Tuesday after seismologists detected ground shaking that they said could presage a minor eruption. "Significant volcanic and seismic events have been detected over the past months" and the main crater of TAAL "remains off limits to the public because steam explosions may suddenly occur or high concentrations of toxic gases may accumulate." The tiny crater island is surrounded by a lake that formed from a past eruption. Scores of visitors cross the lake by boat every day before making a short day hike to the crater lip. Taal is one of the country's 22 active volcanoes with 33 known eruptions in recorded history.

Two weeks ago seismologists raised the second of a multi-stage volcano alert over MOUNT MAYON on the southern tip of the main island of Luzon following increased seismic activity.

The Department of Public Works and Highways  activated on Monday its disaster management team in Albay province in anticipation of a major eruption of the Mayon volcano. Volcanologists monitoring Mayon said the eruption this year could be bigger than the 2006 eruption.

PHILIPPINES – The restive Mayon volcano had four volcanic earthquakes Sunday. The volcano, which remains under Alert Level 2 status, has recorded a total of 43 volcanic earthquakes from July 6-12. Mt. Mayon’s crater glow also remained at Intensity II and its steaming activity is still at moderate level. Mt. Mayon was placed under Alert Level 2 on July 10 because of the increase in its activities since June 2009. Alert Level 2 means “a state of unrest which could lead to ash explosions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruption.”

ETHIOPIA – Recent volcano eruption in Ethiopia caused surface displacement in the area. The volcano eruption on June 29 occurred in the area located at 65-kms northwest of Semera, capital of Afar regional state. The volcano has created about 4.5-kms opening within a 60-km-long dyke created in the area in 2005. With the expectation of more volcanic events in the region, DABBAHU-MANDA-HARARO IS THE MOST ACTIVE AREA ON THE PLANET RIGHT NOW. A number of volcano incidents have happened in the area since 2005. Most of the volcanic eruptions that occurred in the region remained beneath the surface of the earth; the recent one is the fourth eruption in Ethiopia since 2005. The eruption was a follow-up to the dyke created due to a similar eruption four years ago. Lava has overflowed from the dyke that covers 5-kms long and surface displacement occurred following the eruption. The recent volcano eruption also created small hills elevated from 30 to 40 meters. Bigger eruptions and earth quakes are expected to happen in the next five years. The geologists urged responsible bodies in the region to consider the issue in any of development activities being undertaken in the area.

ICELAND – Magma intrusion might lead to KATLA eruption. Over the past three weeks, tremors have been detected ten kilometers beneath Eyjafjallajökull Glacier. These are similar to palpitations that occurred in 1994 and 1999, which were cases of magma intrusion. In 1999, the palpitations impacted the volcano Katla even if they did not cause an eruption. "Volcanic activity under Eyjafjallajökull Glacier is known to be able to trigger eruption in Katla due to the proximity of the two." Seismic activity can cause Katla to erupt. “That is what happened in 1821 when an eruption in Eyjafjallajökull Glacier lasted two years, eventually leading to an eruption in Katla in 1823.” It could take months to determine what is going on under the Glacier. “The investigation took a long time in 1994 and 1999 but we are probably facing the beginning of a magma intrusion. We measure that by monitoring the uplift of the terrain.”

HEAVY RAINS / FLOODING / LANDSLIDES / UNUSUAL & OUT-OF-SEASON WEATHER –

CHINA – Landslides, floods plague quake-hit southwest China. Four construction workers are dead and more than 50 missing after a landslide took out a dam project in Sichuan province, in the latest of a series of disasters caused by heavy rains in southwest China. Flooding along the steep mountains that witnessed last year's earthquake has brought more misery to survivors. Local governments in Sichuan and Gansu provinces are sending tents and relief for a second time, as rains and floods displaced thousands of people. Electricity was only just restored on Thursday to 80,000 people hit by floods last week in Longmen, southern Gansu province. On Thursday, the heavy rains triggered a landslide at the Changheba hydropower plant in Kangding, temporarily blocking a river. Up to 97 people trapped by the slide have been rescued, but at least 53 are still missing,

CHILE – RARE desert rain affects 20,000 Chileans. Downpours that began on Monday in the province of Iquique – located in Chile’s extreme-north desert region of Tarapacá – have damaged 4,800 homes, closed schools for 48 hours and led to power outages affecting more than 20,000 people. The storms eventually dumped 15-TIMES THE AVERAGE MONTHLY RAINFALL FOR THE MONTH OF JULY and prompted Chile’s national emergency office to mobilize resources for roof repairs and the prevention of landslides. While Chile’s government has thus far viewed this rain event simply as an “UNUSUAL CLIMATIC PHENOMENON,” climate change experts see an overall trend toward extreme weather events and changing rainfall patterns in Latin America, displacing hundreds of thousands of people in recent years.

TSUNAMI / FREAK WAVES / ABNORMAL TIDES / RISING SEA LEVELS –

INDIA – Mumbai braces for HIGHEST TIDE IN 100 YEARS. Nearly 200 people have been evacuated from coastal areas, warnings have been sent out to those in low-lying regions and schools have advised students to stay at home as the financial capital braces for a massive 5.5 metre high tidal wave, billed as the highest in 100 years, to lash it this afternoon. The high tide is expected to hit Mumbai and the surrounding Konkan region at 2.05 p.m. The waters will ebb only after three to four hours. In the past two days, as waves measuring 4.85 and 5.1 metres lashed Mumbai, civic and disaster management authorities evacuated people — mostly shanty dwellers — from vulnerable areas like Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Andheri, Jogeshwari and even parts of neighbouring Thane. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has issued warnings to people in low-lying areas to watch out for the gigantic tide Friday and take adequate precautions. On Thursday, sea water rushed into several buildings in Cuffe Parade, Worli, Dadar, Prabhadevi, Andheri, Juhu, Khar and Malad. Even the official bungalow at Shivaji Park in Dadar was not spared. The huge waves knocked down a compound wall. The tides offered a RARE view of a natural phenomenon after clouds obscured the solar eclipse Wednesday. Thousands of people excitedly saw the tides from a safe distance yesterday. Today, greater numbers are expected. Crowds had assembled even at the Thane Creek and commuters were seen craning their necks to see the swirling waters as the trains crossed the railway bridges at Bhayander Creek. Last week, the MCGM had inserted big and small advertisements in newspapers, warning people of the potential damage that could be wreaked by the high tides and contact details for emergency services. As many as 11 hotlines have been established and 34 rain gauges have been installed from where round-the-clock information is being collected. Control rooms have been set up at all the 24 civic wards.

CALIFORNIA – Heat and high waves headed to southern California. High temperatures and surf were expected to be in full force starting Thursday at Southern California beaches, where people trying to beat the heat might be told to stay out of the water. As the heat wave continues, south facing beaches in L.A. and Orange counties are bracing for large waves, just in time for the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing competition, which ends Sunday in Huntington Beach. But regular folks drawn to the cool Pacific Ocean may be in for a rude awakening: Lifeguards may warn them not to go into the water if the surf gets too high and dangerous. The high surf will be the result of 50-knot winds that developed off Tahiti, producing 45-foot waves there – and that system is traveling north to Southern California. "It's pretty RARE in California to see the best surfers in the world on really large waves." The National Weather Service has issued a warning to boaters in south-facing harbors to anchor down. Beach homeowners are also being told to be wary of increased erosion from large waves and high tides. "It's going to be very dangerous, there's going to be a lot of rip current." As high pressure continues to heat up the Southland, triggering heat warnings in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, thousands are expected to flock to area beaches to cool off. "Typically, it would be a red-flag warning and we would ask swimmers to stay out of the water."

TASMANIA – Wild winds caused havoc around Tasmania Monday, felling trees and power lines and ripping vessels from moorings and smashing them into rocks. Temperatures soared across the state early in the day, hitting a top of 19C — eight degrees above the July average. The Bureau of Meteorology issued a warning about an ABNORMALLY HIGH EVENING TIDE in the South-East, with concern over flooding in very low-lying areas. The UNUSUAL weather was caused by a high-pressure system squeezed between cold fronts. The strongest wind gusts of 137km/h were recorded at Maatsuyker Island and Scotts Peak. While the wind was "pretty significant", no records were broken.

ITALY – The open water competition at the world championships was thrown into disarray Saturday by wild weather off the coast of Italy that wrecked the starting pontoon and timing equipment on the eve of the 5km races. The entire competition was postponed for two days while the event organisers considered how best to proceed, whether by replacing the damaged equipment or moving to a new venue if the bad weather continued. "A whole lot of wind brought the sea up and washed away all their infrastructure." The venue was at Ostia, south-west of Rome.

Higher tides affecting East Coast, especially mid-Atlantic.
– Scientists are closely watching UNUSUALLY HIGH TIDES ALONG THE ENTIRE EAST COAST, especially in mid-Atlantic states including Virginia, where average daily levels are running between 6 inches and 2 feet above predicted norms. One veteran researcher said he suspects the trend could be the beginning of a decade-long phenomenon of high water caused by an El Niño-like effect in the Atlantic. “It’s possible we’re entering a new cycle.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has received many calls in recent weeks from concerned residents, waterfront homeowners and scientists along the East Coast. The practical effects of the trend can be both good and bad – good for people who normally have trouble getting their boats out beyond local sandbars and mud flats; bad if the region were to be hit with a tropical storm or hurricane. Storm surge already is a major threat in hurricanes, especially in low-lying Hampton Roads. But if water is running unusually high from an ocean anomaly, “you face a double-threat of significant flooding.” The extreme tides have occurred before and can last, on and off, for years at a time before suddenly changing back to normal. “There’s no scientific debate that these anomalous cycles happen. It’s what causes them that’s debated.” NOAA noticed the trend taking off in early June, affecting states from Maine to Florida. In Baltimore in mid-June, for example, the agency documented tides 2 feet above predicted levels. The events are continuing, though they have slightly subsided in recent days. “It’s more intense than usual and is happening at a time of year when we don’t usually see such variability. We’re definitely interested and definitely investigating it.” NOAA posted an alert about the trend on July 2 on its Web site, http://www.tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov , and continues to update it. "During the period from June 19 thru June 24 for instance, these water levels were running between 0.6 to 2.0 feet above normal depending upon location. As of July 1, these anomalies continue, but running lower at 0.3 to 1.0 ft. above normal. It is not unusual for smaller regions and estuaries along the U.S. East Coast to experience this type of anomalous event at this time of year, however the fact that the geographic extent of this event that includes the entire East Coast event is anomalous." [An anomaly is any occurrence or object that is strange, unusual, or unique. It can also mean a discrepancy or deviation from an established rule or trend.] In the Atlantic, quirky shifts in atmospheric pressure and winds, known as the North Atlantic Oscillation, contribute to weather variability – and might be at play now. People who live or work away from local creeks and rivers might not notice the change. But “ship captains can tell, and the insurance companies know what is going on.”

The potential for a huge Pacific Ocean tsunami on the West Coast of America may be greater than previously thought, according to a new study of geological evidence along the Gulf of Alaska coast. Future tsunamis could reach a scale far beyond that suffered in the tsunami generated by the great 1964 Alaskan earthquake. Official figures put the number of deaths caused by the earthquake at around 130. 114 were in Alaska and 16 in Oregon and California. The tsunami caused extensive damage in Alaska, British Columbia, and the US Pacific region. The study suggests that rupture of an even larger area than the 1964 rupture zone could create an even bigger tsunami. Samples suggest that previous earthquakes were fifteen per cent bigger in terms of the area affected than the 1964 event. This historical evidence of widespread, simultaneous plate rupturing within the Alaskan region has significant implications for the tsunami potential of the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific region as a whole. Warning systems are in place on the west coast of North America but the findings suggest a need for a review of evacuation plans in the region.

More than one million people in South Asia's Bay of Bengal could be swept to their deaths by a tsunami if a giant earthquake were to hit off the coast of Myanmar, according to a study published Thursday. But the study's author said he does not have enough data to say whether such a cataclysmic event – a quake projected to be from 8.5 magnitude to 9.0 magnitude – is likely to hit parts of Myanmar and Bangladesh in the next few decades or in several hundred years. Smaller quakes in the immediate area are rare. “I don't want to cause a panic. There is no reason anything like this would happen soon.” An earthquake estimated at magnitude 8.5 to 9.0 struck off the western Myanmar coast in April, 1762 – the most recent large quake found in the records. Given the historical accounts and more recent surveys of the area, which determined that a magnitude 8.5 quake could hit the area every 100 years and a 9.0 every 500 years. Other scientists have presented findings at earlier seminars showing that there was a threat of a quake-generated tsunami in the Bay of Bengal but that the worst impact would be in Sri Lanka.

The Meteorology Department categorically denied the rumour that a tsunami will hit Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia on July 22. Many people in the coastal areas had panicked by the rumour which has no scientific basis. There has been a rumour that a solar eclipse would trigger a tsunami affecting several countries including Sri Lanka on July 22. The Disaster Management Centre will hold a tsunami preparedness rehearsal today at 3 p.m. with the participation of 11 coastal villages covering 11 districts in the country. They have been doing such rehearsals before, but this one is a well-organized rehearsal and all early warning systems, maps and routes have been drawn.

TROPICAL STORMS –

A weakening tropical storm Molave whirled into southern China on Sunday, drenching the region with heavy rains after killing at least five people in the Philippines. The storm began to weaken as it hit land in the boomtown of Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong, early Sunday. Molave's wind speeds ranged from 25 mph to 38 mph. The storm flipped over a fishing boat carrying three people Saturday off the city of Wenzhou, south of Shanghai. One fisherman was found clutching a plank but the other two remain missing. About 3,000 fishermen in southern Fujian province evacuated, and soldiers anchored more than 600 fishing boats. Hong Kong Disneyland closed its neighboring lake recreation center because too many trees fell over. Before threatening China, the storm caused severe flooding in the northern and central Philippines, forcing the evacuation of more than 10,000 people in four provinces and metropolitan Manila.

RUSSIA – Pouring rains have come with a powerful cyclone to the Primorsky Territory and have not been stopping for more than a day. The heaviest rains affected the south of Primorye. A RECORD-HIGH PRECIPITATION LEVEL overnight has been registered in Nakhodka (93 mm – monthly norm), in Partizansk – 53 mm, which considerably exceeded the ten days’ norm. About TEN DAY'S PRECIPITATION NORM HAS BEEN OBSERVED IN ONE DAY in Vladivostok – 51 mm. Flooding of lowland districts and streets is observed in the territorial centre. The cyclone will affect the weather in the Primorsky Territory for another day. The weather conditions in the whole RF Far East will change only in several days. Tropospheric anticyclones that will destroy the dominance of the cyclonic whirlwind will be intensifying from the west and east in the coming days. However, this also does not guarantee that the rains will stop – another cyclone may sweep over the Sea of Japan (East Sea) on Sunday.

HEAVY RAINS / FLOODING / LANDSLIDES / UNUSUAL & OUT-OF-SEASON WEATHER –

JAPAN – A series of mudslides sparked by torrential rains killed at least four people and left five others missing in the western Japanese prefecture of Yamaguchi. A nursing home for the elderly in Hofu city was hit by a landslide, prompting the military to send a rescue unit there. About 10 cars were also seen buried in one mudslide.

NORTH KOREA – Torrential rain battered North Korea's capital and other regions over the weekend, amid concerns that flooding may aggravate the country's food shortages. Up to 287 millimetres (11.5 inches) of rain fell in Pyongyang and the provinces of South Phyongan and South Hamgyong between Friday and Saturday. The North, after decades of deforestation, is particularly vulnerable to flooding, which worsens chronic food shortages by washing away crops. North Korea in 2007 reported at least 600 people dead or missing following devastating floods that caused huge damage to all sectors of the economy. A Seoul government report said this month the North was expected to run short of up to 840,000 tons of food this year.

BRITAIN – A lorry veered off a road and was left overhanging a 25ft drop as torrential rain and strong winds swept across the Westcountry causing road accidents and flash floods and felling trees. Emergency services across the region were kept busy Friday as the unseasonal weather battered the region. The Environment Agency put areas bordering the Upper River Tamar around Holsworthy, North Devon, on flood warning, meaning rivers were expected to break their banks. A short time earlier a woman had to be rescued by firefighters after her car got stuck in floodwater. A group of 10 cows who became trapped by a rising tide of deep water were helped to dry land. In Cornwall, fire crews and highways officers had to deal with numerous calls across the county as mud and debris was strewn dangerously across roads with drains were unable to cope with the deluge. Devon and Cornwall Police reported numerous weather related incidents across the two counties Friday. Power lines were brought down when the River Fowey burst its banks.

HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD –

FLORIDA – Tallahassee BROKE ITS RECORD-LOW TEMPERATURE for Tuesday thanks to a RARE summertime weather pattern. The temperature dropped to 60 degrees, breaking the previous low record for the day of 67, set in 1929, 1970 and 1971. A deep trough of low pressure helped push a cold front through the area over the weekend and funnel in cooler air. A dry, clear night helped cool things down more. “When you get really, really dry, the skies get clear, and you’re able to radiate out a lot of heat." The low in Apalachicola dropped to 63, breaking its record of 71, set in 1947.

ALABAMA – A summer cold front that moved into the South SET RECORD LOWS FOR THREE STRAIGHT DAYS in Tuscaloosa and the forecast called for another record low before dawn Tuesday. “July cold fronts are RARE, and they don’t make it down this [far south] very often." The low Monday morning was 59 degrees, breaking the record of 64 degrees posted on the same date in 2004. Nearly EVERY CITY IN CENTRAL ALABAMA HAD A RECORD LOW. Temperatures in Pinson and Anniston reached 55 degrees, breaking records from 1962 and 1947, respectively. Tuscaloosa, however, was one of the few spots in the state to post record lows Saturday and Sunday. The average low for this time of year is 72 degrees. To post record low maximum temperatures in the summer usually requires rain and cloud cover. But this cool air was the result of low pressure in the Northeast that whipped the colder air mass around it and towards the South. It should move east as a ridge of high pressure from the west moves in.

MISSISSIPPI – On Sunday, the state awoke to some of the coolest temperatures for late July that the state has experienced overall in 15 years. A RARE July cold front pushed through the state on Friday night and has ushered in cooler than average temperatures across the state. In a matter of fact, morning low temperatures were as much as 10-15 degrees cooler than what we typically expect this time of year, which has led to record lows. RECORD LOW TEMPERATURES WERE SET ACROSS THE STATE, with the coolest readings in extreme Northeastern Mississippi, where lows dropped into the mid 50s.

Unseasonal cold weather hits Europe – A FREAK summer condition has caused heavy rainfall, storms and wintry weather conditions in Central Europe. Sudden gusts of winds have led to the deaths of mountain climbers in northern Italy. Austria has suffered from severe flooding and snowfalls in the mountains. In the town of Graz, rivers burst over banks, inundating many streets and houses. Thousands of residents have no power supply and the region has been declared a disaster area. A 71-year-old mountain climber died in the Austrian Alps. Many parts of Germany have also been affected, with a landslide sweeping aside a house in Sachsen-Anhalt. On the Adriatic coast, gale force winds have caused considerable damage in Croatia. The coastguard rescued dozens of people on boats who were stranded at sea, while on the island of Krk, a Hungarian tourist died when hit by lightning.

Mother Nature has been wreaking havoc in central Poland, with violent storms damaging buildings, severing power lines and flooding cellars. And all this after extreme weather last summer, including a tornado, that claimed three lives in the country. In central Switzerland, the search is on for two missing children believed to have been swept away in a stream swollen by heavy rainfall. It is thought the 11-year-old girl and six-month- old boy got into difficulties while crossing the waterway on their way home. In Austria, the unseasonal weather has provided picture postcard scenes in Tyrol. Snow there may not be spectacular in winter. But in July? No wonder tourists have been stopping to take photographs.

ILLINOIS – Saturday's high a RECORD LOW. Central Illinois saw a record-breaking temperature on Saturday when the high in Peoria was 71 degrees.

KENTUCKY – Saturday's high was 70 degrees at Louisville International Airport, the RECORD LOWEST HIGH TEMPERATURE for a July 18 since the previous record of 75 degrees set in 1918. RECORDS FOR THE DATE WERE ALSO SET Saturday in Frankfort, Lexington and Bowling Green. Such a cool day in the middle of the summer is a RARE occurrence. "We were almost 20 degrees cooler than normal today. The last time a similar thing took place was in August of 2004."

TENNESEE – weekend temperatures were expected to BREAK RECORD LOWS. The cause of the mild temperatures is from a weather system bringing cooler air from Canada into the area. The pattern is typical during the fall, but is relatively UNUSUAL during the summer. "It only happens about every seven to 10 years. We should be having some of the hottest temperatures of the year occurring right now. We're about 16 degrees below normal. I really can't tie (in a reason for why we are seeing this type of pattern right now)."

MISSOURI – This is July? Well, according to the calendar it is. But the weather this weekend was expected to be more like fall, with cool, dry nights and mild days that could set records for chilly summer weather. The predicted low for Saturday morning was 56, which would break the record of 58 set July 18, 1976. On Sunday morning, the low was again expected to be 56, which would tie the record for the date set in 1984. "It is just a strong, cool Canadian high pressure system." Along with RECORD COOL NIGHTS, the daytime highs — expected to be in the mid 70s, could set marks for being the coolest maximum temperatures recorded on each date as well.

IOWA – Where's the heat? July temps fail to hit 90. The region is reveling in subnormal temps for the second straight summer. This is supposed to be the hottest period of the year, yet the Carroll area has been enjoying UNUSUAL cool. The high temperature recorded at Carroll has been below normal every day this month, and the trend was expected to continue into this week. Only 10 times in the 47 days since June 1 has the mercury risen past the normal mark. And 50 of the 78 days since May 1 have been cooler than normal. It's not a local phenomenon. No city in Iowa has cracked the 90-degree mark for an official high temperature in July. Since Iowa weather recordkeeping began in 1872, the state hasn't made it through a July without breaking 90. The lowest July high temperature on record is 92 set in 1915, which was the coolest year on record. Iowa average temperatures were 3.6 degrees below normal for the first half of July. In early June temperatures were actually more below normal than now, but ten days of heat and humidity made the month finish barely below normal. "We're always hesitant to call records before they're set. But this time we don't have that heatwave on the horizon." July 8 to 29 is historically Carroll's hottest period, with the high averaging 86 and low averaging 63. The cool of 2009 can be attributed to a combination of factors, the dominant reason being a persistent flow of air from the northwest. That's happening again this week, thanks to a large low-pressure system over the Great Lakes. A northwest flow isn't anomalous for July, but this duration is. "If we'd be in a full-fledged El Nino, we'd have an even cooler and wetter summer. But El Nino doesn't really start to show its influence until fall." "We've been in a northwest flow a lot this year. Typically we see that through May then get into a west-southwest flow." "It would be unusual for this late in the season for it to shift gears and go to unusually hot."

MINNESOTA – The "polar vortex", a massive swirl of UNUSUALLY COLD AIR which should be swirling over the Arctic Circle has been displaced 500 miles farther south than usual, forcing the jet stream (and subsequent cool fronts) to detour way south, pushing a family of cool fronts across the northern tier states. In Minnesota it has been gray, with almost October-like temperatures in the 60s (50s in the far north).

MASSACHUSETTS – July temperatures are averaging close to six degrees cooler than normal through the first two weeks of the month. The average high temperature since June 1 has been SETTING A RECORD even for the longest weather records across southern New England. At the same time, the average low temperature is not unusually cool, which was the result of all the cloudiness during June, which kept nighttimes from being very cool. A nearly stationary low-pressure system to the north over eastern Canada continues to circulate continental polar air into the northeast United States. The strong July sunshine has been able to raise high readings to the 70s each day, but few days have hit the 80-degree mark, MOST UNUSUAL for July. This month is even further below normal than June was during the first half of the month. Temperatures reached the 80s and even 90 degrees during a few days in April and May this year. There have been a few years like this in the past, where hot weather occurred during spring but never got started again during the summer, and this may just be one of those UNUSUAL YEARS. The long-range outlooks don't show a change in the cool summer weather pattern, so they just may have one of their coolest Junes and Julys. Several downpours have brought the rainfall total to three to four inches across the South Shore, which runs 1.5 to 2.5 inches wetter than normal to date.

NORTH CAROLINA – Eastern Carolina should be seeing temperatures well into the 90s on a consistent basis, but for the most part they've been running below normal, and it's been wetter than normal. The reason for this "cooler" pattern is an UNUSUALLY STRONG JETSTREAM FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. On a regular basis a trough of low pressure has dipped into the Mid-Atlantic region, not only cooling them down with rain showers, but bringing severe weather on a more regular basis than normal. Case in point, July 17th they had an EF-0 tornado near Washington in Beaufort county, along with numerous hail and wind reports. This type of weather usually ceases after May into early June.

ALABAMA – An UNUSUALLY strong cold front passing through the state Friday set up a weekend forecast that called for conditions more like early fall than midsummer. Highs forecast in the upper 80s are about 5 degrees below normal for this time of the year. But it will be the nights that will see the biggest change. Lows Sunday and Monday mornings were forecast at 63. If that occurs it will tie the record lows for those dates, set in 1923. "This is an UNUSUAL PATTERN we are in. There's a large trough in the northeast part of the country, which has the jet stream in a fall-like pattern. Usually, we don't see these cold fronts make it this far south." The average high this time of year for the Montgomery area is 93, and the average low is 71. Along with the cooler temperatures, humidity levels also will take a big dip.

CANADA – One would have to go back to the 1800s to find summer weather as BIZARRE as this year’s. The dry conditions and cooler temperatures are creating problems for farmers in Chatham-Kent. As of Thursday there were only 5.4 millimetres of precipitation this month — compared to a normal value of 92.8 millimetres. The driest July on record at the Ridgetown observation station occurred in 1887, with 11.2 millimetres of precipitation. This July has been cool with an average of 17.3 C, compared to the normal temperature of 21.5 C. “This would in fact be a record, if the trend continues. Unless we get some dramatic warm-up in the latter half of July, we could be flirting with the coldest July.” The coolest July on record in the area was in 1891, when the average was 18.5 C. The month is traditionally the warmest one of the year. While the rest of Ontario has had cooler weather this summer, Chatham-Kent is unique in how dry it is. “It’s not as pronounced in other parts. They are running somewhat below where they should be, but not necessarily to the degree we’re seeing at the Ridgetown site. The temperature trend does seem to be a general one.”

FOOD / WATER / SUPPLIES-

Climate change pales to food shortage risk – The world is currently undertaking a monumental shift – for the first time since mankind inhabited the earth, more than half the world’s population now live in urban areas. The consequences are dire. As the world’s population migrates into urban centres, producers are turning into consumers. The threat created by this shift to the world’s food security has led to scientists to declare it to be “the scientific challenge of the age”. A dwindling global food supply caused by soaring food prices, the destruction of agricultural land and a decreasing water supply is set to become the catalyst for regional and global instability. The water required to sustain Australia’s urban population boom is increasingly being sourced from water that was once used to grow food.

Coffee exports from ETHIOPIA, Africa's largest producer of the beans, fell 28 percent to the LOWEST LEVEL IN 6 YEARS after a drought cut harvests.

KENYA – Baboons and monkeys are invading people's homes and taking away food from kitchens as rain failure continues. Indeed, residents of Nakuru Town near Lake Nakuru National Park are now living in fear following the constant invasion by baboons into their homes. Women and children can no longer go about their daily chores for fear of being attacked by baboons. The animals are also suffering following a severe shortage of water as most of the water points in the park have dried up. Water in rivers and dams has reduced to worrying levels and the lives of the people are now threatened.

INDIA – With three Indian states declaring drought and a dearth of rainfall in key northern farmlands, output of staple crops such as rice, sugar cane, wheat and oilseeds are poised to fall sharply this year. Area under summer-sown crops – such as rice, pulses and sugar cane – has already fallen below last year's level because of the weak rains. Summer crops are usually sown with the arrival of monsoon rains in June and July, then harvested by October, but sowing has been delayed for many crops due to scanty rains in the northern states. "If rains don't improve in the northwestern regions by next week, the drop in sugar cane output could be more than 10%-15%." Delayed rains in northern and northwestern India won't only affect summer-sown crops; output of wheat, which is sown in the winter months of October-November, will also likely be hit. Late rains could mean that even the harvest of the summer crops will be delayed, leaving less time to prepare the soil for winter crops. Insufficient monsoon rains will also reduce soil moisture and water table levels, which would affect yields.

Drought threat for BANGLADESH as monsoon fails – A delay to Bangladesh's monsoon season is posing a severe risk of drought in the impoverished nation and threatening food supplies.

ARGENTINA – The damage caused by drought to grain growing areas has left Argentina on course for its LOWEST WHEAT EXPORTS FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS.

HONEY, CROPS
– "The last week to 10 days it has been very unseasonably cold. We're normally looking at extracting honey right now and plants are just starting to produce nectar. I would say we're maybe two weeks late starting to extract, so I don't know what's going to happen in August if this weather pattern continues." Bee colonies need heat to develop and flowers need heat to flower and produce nectar. Without that nectar and pollen, the bees won't develop as well and less honey will hit store shelves. The lack of heat is hurting farmers across the country. What's UNUSUAL is that the cool weather isn't just affecting one region, it's having an impact on growing areas from Alberta to the Maritimes. Various growers have been affected by either too much – or too little – rain, but the weather has been consistently cool almost everywhere, and that has delayed crop growth. In Saskatchewan, development for spring cereals, which includes wheat, oats and barley, is 75 per cent behind normal. Oilseeds, which includes canola, are 78 per cent behind normal. Some areas are much as three weeks behind. The strawberries have been tiny and not very sweet and that season's about over. The corn is low and the tomatoes "Everything seems so stunted and late and small. It's there, but my gosh it's pathetic."

EXTREME HEAT / WILDFIRES / DROUGHT / CLIMATE CHANGE-

BRITAIN – Forecasters are predicting that temperatures will steadily rise over the next few weeks with the possibility of reaching 101F (38.5C) in mid-August. 'The roller-coaster summer will have another high. When it does arrive, record temperatures may well be achieved. At present, the second week of August looks likely to break the warmest-day record for England, and possibly Wales.' Britain has suffered a wetter than average July with 56.6mm of rain falling in the first two weeks. The July average is 70mm. The UK's record rainfall fall for July was set in 1998 when 145.3mm poured down.

One of the biggest glaciers in the southern hemisphere has shrivelled by a fifth in 40 years
. The Cook glacier on Kerguelen, an island in France's southern Indian Ocean territories, covered 501sq km in 1963. The glacier lost an average of nearly 1.5m in height each year by 2003, shedding almost 22 per cent of its original volume. In terms of area, the glacier shrank by 1.9sq km per year from 1963 to 1991. Thereafter the loss doubled, to 3.8sq km per year. By 2003, the glacier covered only 403sq km, a retreat of 20 per cent compared with 1963. Cook's early shrinkage could be attributed in part to the residual effect of natural warming that took place after the "Little Ice Age'' that ended in the late 19th century. But the post-1991 warming is linked more to higher temperatures and low precipitation that began to occur in the early 1980s. This is also a period when man-made carbon emissions started to soar and the Southern Ocean that girdles Antarctica showed perceptible warming.

AUSTRALIA – Unseasonal weather bearing a closer resemblance to November than winter has provided Sydney with its WARMEST JULY DAY IN 19 YEARS. Wednesday's peak of 24.7 was the warmest July day in Sydney since 1990, when the temperature in Sydney hit 25.9 degrees. The glorious winter days were attributed to warm winds. "We've had a few days when we've had north-westerly winds blow over the top of us, and that has brought in warmer temperatures from inland areas."

WASHINGTON D.C. – This summer, they've had numerous days with dew points in the 50s or lower. Whenever dew points are in the 50s or lower in the summer, the air is very dry and comfortable compared to dew points which are customarily in the sticky mid-to-upper 60s. Last week, the dew point dropped down to the desert-like 30s on Tuesday. How RARE is that in July in D.C.? July dew points have only dipped into the 30s at Reagan National Airport two other times. Prior to last Tuesday's 39 at DCA (at 4 p.m.), the dew point fell to 39 on July 1, 2007 and also on July 1 in 1988, when it bottomed out at 37 degrees. So the dry air they had last week was indeed rare — something that only happens about once a decade it seems.

MISSISSIPPI – The heat had been the main weather story during the month of June, across the state of Mississippi. It was an overall dry and scorching month, which became for parts of Central and Southern Mississippi ONE OF THE HOTTEST AND DRIEST IN YEARS. The last 2-3 weeks of June were a hot RECORD BREAKING EVENT. During that stretch of UNUSUAL HEAT, they hit THE CENTURY MARK AT NUMEROUS LOCATIONS WITH SOME SITES TYING OR BREAKING THEIR JUNE ALL TIME RECORD MAX. Over 25 new record highs were set across mainly Central and Southern Mississippi . Parts of Southern Mississippi suffered the most from the extreme heat, where high temperatures in some locations reached 100 and above for 8 out of 10 straight days (June 19-28) . Hattiesburg set record high temperatures, 9 out of 10 days. McComb set 11 new record highs, during the month, including an ALL-TIME NEW RECORD HIGH FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH OF JUNE; 103 degrees, on June 28th.

SPACE WEATHER-

A small sunspot is developing. Its magnetic polarity identifies it as a member of old Solar Cycle 23.

Disaster fears as 'monster' eclipse looms – The world's most populous nations will gaze skywards on Wednesday as the LONGEST TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE OF THE 21ST CENTURY lays a carpet of darkness across India and China, from Mumbai to Shanghai. The event is being hyped in the obscure world of eclipse-chasers as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which, due to its trajectory over some of the most densely inhabited areas on Earth, could end up being the most-watched eclipse in history. Total solar eclipses occur when the moon comes between the Earth and the sun, completely obscuring the sun. The excitement this time around is largely due to the UNUSUALLY LONG DURATION of the instant of greatest eclipse, or "totality" – when the sun is wholly covered. At its maximum, this will last six minutes and 39 seconds – a duration that will not be matched until June 13, 2132. The up-to-258km-wide shadow cast along the "path of totality" will first make landfall on the western Indian state of Gujarat shortly before 6:30am (11am AEST). It then races across India, blacking out the holy city of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges, squeezing between the northern and southern tips of Bangladesh and Nepal before engulfing most of Bhutan, traversing the Chinese mainland and slipping back out to sea off Shanghai. Its next landfall is Japan's southern Ryukyu Islands, after which it curves southeast through the Pacific Ocean where the maximum duration of totality will occur. In India and China, tradition views eclipses with a mixture of wonder and foreboding. An astrologer in Mumbai described July 22 as a "very dangerous moment in the universe," with the blocking of the sun's rays akin to a disease or virus. "If the sun, the leader of the stars, is sick, then definitely there's going to be some bigger problems happening in the world." In ancient China, eclipses were often associated with natural disasters or the death of an emperor, and some similar superstitions persist.

Jupiter 'struck by large object' – The planet Jupiter shows evidence of having being hit by a large object, either a comet or asteroid. A dark mark has appeared in its atmosphere towards the southern pole. It was first seen on July 19. Observations reveal a bright upwelling of particles in the upper atmosphere, and a warming of the upper troposphere with possible extra emission from ammonia gas detected at mid-infrared wavelengths. It is 15 years since Jupiter was famously hit by Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 which broke up into several pieces as it plunged on to the gas giant. Scientists had plenty of warning of that impact but this latest event came out of the blue. Researchers say that if the mark really was caused by a comet or asteroid, it should spread out in the coming days in a predictable way with jet streams .

SURPRISE AURORA DISPLAY – forecasters did not predict this display. It began on July 21 when a seemingly minor solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field. The minor hit turned into a not-so-minor display because a crack opened in Earth's magnetic field, allowing solar wind to pour in and fuel the storm. Northern Lights descended as far south as the Dakotas, Montana, Iowa and Wisconsin. The solar wind is still blowing, but the crack has closed, bringing an end to the lights.

HEALTH THREATS –

H1N1 swine flu has killed more than 700 people around the world since the outbreak began four months ago.

Swine Flu is waning, will return in the fall – the outbreak seems to have peaked at the end of June. "So it's giving us time to look toward the fall." Experts expect that as children go back to school, colleges reopen, seasonal flu re-emerges and weather becomes more favorable to influenza, the virus will return, bringing a host of potential complications. Evidence from past pandemics suggests to have a lasting effect on stopping transmission of illness, schools must close for as many as four to six weeks.

Swine flu cases are on the wane across the U.S., but the extent that it has shown up at all in the summer is UNUSUAL. Experts expected the virus would slow down in the summer. Most cases have been mild, though a recent study suggests that the virus may be more virulent than initially thought. While seasonal flu typically infects only the upper respiratory system, the H1N1 virus appears to infect cells in the lungs, which could cause pneumonia. "It certainly is as severe as seasonal flu, which kills 36,000 Americans every year. And it's probably more severe." In the spring, most people who were tested had seasonal flu, not swine flu. Distinguishing between the two strains was important because the seasonal flu strain was resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu while swine flu is not. But now seasonal flu is largely gone.

Advice to pregnant women sows confusion in UK – Messages from two health groups in Britain caused confusion about the dangers posed by the novel H1N1 virus to women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. The Royal College of Midwives said pregnant women should not use public transport, while the National Childbirth Trust suggested that women delay pregnancy until the pandemic ends. Government health officials described the groups' advice as extreme and said their advice to women had not changed.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said to expect 20% to 30% of the population to be affected during the next wave of pandemic H1N1, with the attack rate highest in children and young adults. Though it admits uncertainty, the ECDC says a "reasonable" assumption is a hospitalization rate of 1% to 2%. It also estimates a case-fatality rate of 0.1% to 0.2% and says, "this pandemic can severely stress healthcare systems."

Security guards to protect Tamiflu depots in Britain – Security guards will be used to protect oseltamivir (Tamiflu) supplies when more than 100 distribution centers are set up in the United Kingdom this week. The location of the centers will be kept secret until they are set to open. There is concern about theft and the safety of workers at the centers. Plans call for giving the drug to patients who describe symptoms over the phone.

Two British air carriers, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, announced they would increase restrictions on passengers with suspected H1N1 infections. If a customer looks sick, the airport staff can call in a medical team for advice, the story said. If the medical team is concerned, the customer will be asked to produce a "fit-to-fly" certificate from a doctor or hospital.

Malicious software poses as H1N1 update from CDC – A piece of malicious computer software that's disguised as H1N1 information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is circulating. The file, called Novel H1N1 Flu Situation Update.exe, has an icon that makes it look like a Microsoft Word document. When opened, the file creates several new files that contain "backdoor functionality" and a key logger, or program that records keystrokes.

Canadian inspectors got sick after exposure to infected pigs – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said that two of its employees contracted the novel H1N1 virus during their investigation earlier this spring of an Alberta pig herd that had the virus. The employees reportedly removed their protective masks, contrary to recommended procedures, in the hog barn after their equipment fogged up. They got sick within days of their exposure to the virus in the barn.

A vaccine for the deadly swine flu could be available within weeks, with world-first human trials already underway in Australia which has now recorded more than 40 deaths.

Human trials of a vaccine to protect against the H1N1 swine flu virus have begun in Australia and China. Vaxine and CSL have both started injecting volunteers this week, but it will be at least six weeks before the initial results are known. Worldwide, more than 700 people have died from H1N1. And the overall figure is likely to climb today when the Department of Health gives its weekly update. Adelaide-based Vaxine began trials Monday with 300 subjects, and Melbourne's CSL has 240 people in its trial, which started Wednesday. "There is no guarantee any of these vaccines will work. Swine flu is a very peculiar beast, its a very different virus that we're dealing with. But we are hopeful." Officials have been considering whether to extend the school summer holidays to try to limit the spread of the virus before a vaccine is widely available.

Meanwhile, the Meningitis Research Foundation has warned the focus on swine flu risks masking other serious illnesses. The foundation warned people to be aware that the early symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia were "very similar" to flu. The group also said the levels of flu circulating in the UK meant that immune systems were compromised and could lead to a rise in meningitis cases.

A group of health facilities across the U.S. have been chosen to participate in human trials for swine flu vaccines.
The first shots are to be given to healthy adults, of any age, in early August. If there are no immediate safety concerns, such as allergic reactions, testing would begin soon in children as young as 6 months. The government and vaccine makers are seeking thousands of volunteers to roll up their sleeves for the first swine flu shots — to test whether a vaccine will protect against this novel virus before its expected rebound in the fall. The government will rely heavily on the study results, as well as additional research by vaccine makers, when deciding whether to offer swine flu vaccine to millions of Americans starting in mid-October. That's assuming that enough of the hard-to-make vaccine has been produced by then. All volunteers will receive two swine flu shots, 21 days apart. By early September, blood tests should show how much protection the initial dose triggered and whether a low dose worked or a higher dose was needed. It will take another month to get information on the second shot.

Flu infects 100,000 in past week in England with the under 14s the worst hit. The number of new infections has doubled. While new cases have increased from 55,000 to an estimated 100,000, the number of people in hospital has not risen accordingly. Some 840 patients are in hospital – 63 of which are in critical care – compared to 652 last week. Calls have already started flooding in to National Flu Service and in the first few hours the website was receiving 2,600 hits a second – or 9.3 million an hour. It is the first time the public has been given access to prescription drugs through phone or internet channels. "The government is hoping that people won't abuse the system but there isn't any danger of the UK running out of [anti-viral drug] Tamiflu. We've got enough for half the population and more on the way – more than virtually any country in the world." The flu service is not covering the rest of the UK as Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have all experienced much less demand. They will be able to plug into it if they need to, although experts have said Scotland appears to be over the worst of this phase with 1,200 new cases reported in the past week.
Absenteeism in British workplaces is three times normal for this time of year, a consultant group told the British government this week, leading to fears that businesses will struggle when the H1N1 influenza pandemic peaks. Many companies have instituted hygiene steps, but an expert said most haven't planned for absences, such as making telecommuting plans, boosting customer self-service systems, and identifying key workers.

Swine Flu prevention takes on new urgency – U.S. Officials call for FDA to move on vaccine without data from clinical trials. A federal advisory panel said the FDA should move ahead to approve or license the new H1N1 vaccine without waiting to receive data from clinical trials to test its safety and efficacy. The government and vaccine makers plan to start human studies of the H1N1 vaccine in the U.S. in the coming weeks, but the first-look data from those studies won't be given to the FDA until September. Each year the FDA approves seasonal vaccines based on strain changes without new human studies. The agency does test the vaccines for potency and also monitors vaccine safety on a continuous basis. "I think this is an entirely appropriate way of proceeding and in the public health's best interest considering that schools will be opening in a month." Health officials health officials said Thursday they have purchased enough bulk ingredients to produce 195 million doses of swine flu vaccine, and expect to make up to 100 million doses available in October, even though the vaccine is proving difficult to manufacture. The viruses used to make the active ingredient are producing yields of just 30% of what's typically seen with seasonal vaccines. It will take until March to obtain enough doses for the entire U.S. population of just over 300 million people.

Southern hemisphere sees H3N2 seasonal flu variant
– Laboratory experts in the southern hemisphere are reporting the circulation of a drifted strain of the seasonal H3N2 flu virus, raising the threat of a vaccine mismatch for the northern hemisphere's upcoming flu season. Officials, overwhelmed by handling a deluge of pandemic H1N1 samples, aren't sure how common the variant is. It was first identified in March by researchers in British Columbia.

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

Sect leader gets 2 years for toilet corpse case
By Todd Richmond, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 23, 2009

MAUSTON, Wisconsin – A judge sentenced the leader of a religious sect to 2 years in prison Wednesday for hiding an elderly follower's rotting body on a toilet for weeks. Alan Bushey, 59, of Necedah, kept Magdeline Alvina Middlesworth's corpse on the toilet of another follower, Tammy Lewis, for two months last spring. Middlesworth, 90, moved to Necedah from Washington state in 2005 to join Bushey's sect, the Order of the Divine Will. Prosecutors said Bushey kept the body hidden so he could collect Middlesworth's government retirement checks and annuities. Bushey's attorney, Thomas Steinman, argued that Bushey thought God would bring Middlesworth back to life. "A miracle like that is part of the Christian faith," Steinman said. "He truly believed she would come back from the dead."

Why Jesus was NOT
By Randal Rauser
Christian Post Contributor
Thu, Jul. 23 2009 03:00 PM EDT

In their trials and temptations many Christians have drawn strength from Hebrews 4:15: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin." (TNIV; cf. Heb. 2:18) Unfortunately, the significance of this passage is widely misunderstood, and thus its true force is often lost. The problems are rooted in the erroneous belief that to be tempted means that Jesus could have sinned and that he was somehow enticed by sin (that is, he found it appealing but still resisted it). Both assumptions are deeply mistaken. First let's evaluate the assumption that Jesus could have sinned. This is false for two reasons. First, it is false because Jesus was God and God cannot sin. It really is that simple. "But what about his humanity? Couldn't Jesus sin because he was a man?" Ironically, I argue that the opposite is the case: it is also because Jesus is human that he could not have sinned.

Jurors convict evangelist on 10 sex-abuse counts
AP
July 24, 2009

TEXARKANA, Ark. — Tony Alamo, a one-time street preacher who built a multimillion-dollar ministry and became an outfitter of the stars, was convicted Friday of taking girls as young as 9 across state lines for sex. Alamo stood silently as the verdict was read, a contrast to his occasional mutterings during testimony. His five victims sat looking forward in the gallery. One, a woman he "married" at age 8, wiped away a tear. "I'm just another one of the prophets that went to jail for the Gospel," Alamo called to reporters afterward as he was escorted to a waiting U.S. marshal's vehicle. Shouts of "Bye, bye, Bernie" — Alamo was born Bernie Lazar Hoffman — came from a crowd gathered on the Arkansas side of the courthouse, which straddles the Texas-Arkansas border.

Some christian groups encourage premarital sex claiming the bible says nothing about it at all.
Examiner
July 24, 2:13 AM

Some Christian groups encourage premarital sex claiming that the Bible says nothing about it at all. So is premarital sex OK or for Christians or not? "I hear from so many Christian women who say there biggest mistake was not having more sex before marriage and now find themselves in such a totally unsatisfying relationship physically. Where is one to learn good sex skills when both partners are ignorant? There is far more to sex than just having intercourse. Studies show about 40% of women never have an orgasm from just intercourse and most women enjoy far more. That is why so many women are sexually frustrated when a man doesn't have a clue- how is he supposed to learn, or the women learn of her own sexuality if they go into marriage clueless without much experience?" (Source, Liberated Christian) A month ago I wrote an article about Christians who cheat on their spouses, and even social networks created as a dating service for married Christians to hook up with other married Christians, for the sole purpose of extra marital sexual gratification.

Episcopal Church moves toward blessing gay unions
Reuters
July 18, 2009

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The U.S. Episcopal Church gave its clergy the go-ahead on Friday to bless some same-sex unions, such as civil partnerships in states that legally recognize them, setting the stage for further conflict with the wider Anglican world The resolution, passed on the final day of the church's triennial national convention, also directs church leaders to develop official rites, or liturgies, for the blessing of same-sex unions — a move that could see the church eventually change its definition of marriage. For now, the church's official definition of marriage is a union between a man and a woman. The same-sex rites called for on Friday will be discussed and voted on at the next general church conference in three years. The 2 million-member Episcopal Church earlier this week approved a resolution opening the doors to ordain gay men and women as clergy.

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

North Korea Executes Christian Woman for Distributing Bibles
By Derick Ho
CP Asia Correspondent
Fri, Jul. 24 2009 05:08 PM EDT

North Korea has publicly executed a Christian woman accused of distributing Bibles and "spying" for foreign countries, South Korean activists said Friday. A mother of three, Ri Hyon-ok, 33, was accused of spying for South Korea and the United States and organizing dissidents, The Associated Press reported. She was executed in the northwestern city of Ryongchon bordering China on June 16, according to a report from the Investigative Commission on Crimes against Humanity published Friday. Her husband, children and parents were sent to a political prison the day after her execution, the report states. The report's claims could not be verified.

Convert from Islam Shot Dead in Somalia
Islamic extremist rebel group hunts down underground church leader.
By Simba Tian
Compass Direct News
Tue, Jul. 21 2009 06:56 PM EDT

Muslim extremists early Monday morning killed a Christian convert in Mahadday Weyne, Somalia, 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Mogadishu. Al Shabaab Islamist rebels shot Mohammed Sheikh Abdiraman to death at 7 a.m., eyewitnesses told Compass. They said the Islamic extremists appeared to have been hunting the convert from Islam, and when they found him they did not hesitate to shoot him. The sources told Compass that Abdiraman was the leader of an underground “cell group” of Christians in Somalia. “We are very sad about this incident, and we also are not safe,” one eyewitness said by telephone. “Pray for us.”

Indian Christians Arrested on False Charges
By Rinu Varghese
Christian Today Reporter
Tue, Jul. 21 2009 06:23 PM EDT

NEW DELHI, India – There were reportedly two separate arrests made against Christians in the southern state of Karnataka this week. In the first incident, one pastor and two church elders from the Pentecostal Mission in Mulaykatta, Shimoga district, were arrested on false conversion charges on July 19. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Pastor Chinnadurai, Glory and Baby Kutty were arrested while praying for a family Sunday evening. Before the arrests, a Hindu radical group barged into “Shantamma’s house and started threatening the pastor and the two ladies," GCIC reported. Later, the advocacy group informed the Shimoga Rural Police Station which then ensured the safety of the Christians.

India: Christians forgive Hindu extremist violence
A Christian group seeks to mark August 23 – the anniversary of the crest of a wave of anti-Christian violence – as a day of "peace and harmony." The also wants the Indian gov't to guard Hindu leaders lest "criminals" misuse them for terror.
Speroforum
July 25, 2009

A Christian group in Orissa wants Aug. 23 — the day a Hindu religious leader was killed sparking waves of anti-Christian violence — to be observed as a day of "peace and harmony." "Let us forgive and forget the past and build a strong and integrated civil society which is not ravaged by the evil designs of criminals and trouble mongers," said the ecumenical United Christians Forum of Orissa. The organization made this plea in a press release issued on July 23 in Bhubaneswar, capital of the eastern Indian state.

China Releases Christian Students, Teachers Remain Detained
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
By BosNewsLife Asia Service

BEIJING. CHINA (BosNewsLife)– Tree of the five Christians arrested on July 13 in a Christian youth camp raid in Tengzhou city of Shandong province have been released, an advocacy group said Tuesday, July 21. China Aid Association (CAA) told BosNewsLife in a statement that the believers were released on July 20 after serving seven days of "administrative detention". The three released Christians are students, the two other Christians still detained are teachers, CAA said. The teachers apparently received 10 to 15 days administrative detention and are still serving their sentences in Tengzhou City Detention Center, the group added. The five Christians were among 28 Christians arrested on July 13 when town police and State Security Brigade officers raided a Christian youth camp in Hubin town of Tengzhou city in Shandong province, the advocacy group said.

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