Chosen: End Times Newsletter – Issue 104

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

Do You Truly Believe?
By Regina

The Definition of Believe:

1. to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so: Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully.

–verb (used with object)
2. to have confidence or faith in the truth of (a positive assertion, story, etc.); give credence to.
3. to have confidence in the assertions of (a person).
4. to have a conviction that (a person or thing) is, has been, or will be engaged in a given action or involved in a given situation: The fugitive is believed to be headed for the Mexican border.
5. to suppose or assume; understand (usually fol. by a noun clause): I believe that he has left town.

—Verb phrase
6. believe in,
a. to be persuaded of the truth or existence of: to believe in Zoroastrianism; to believe in ghosts.
b. to have faith in the reliability, honesty, benevolence, etc., of: I can help only if you believe in me.

Yesterday, I was watching “The Mirror Has Two Faces”, a movie starring Barbara Streisand, when I was struck with some inspirational insight from Father Yahweh that I thought appropriate to share in this week’s article.

The discussion in the movie centered on love, and mankind’s pursuit of love, but what struck me was how Love and Belief are actually bound to one another. So in pondering this concept, I began to think about our Creator, Yahweh, who is Love. And also the Love that The Word / Michael the Archangel had for both Yahweh and Mankind that led him to pursue the mission of becoming Christ Jesus our Savior.

And it struck me that not only was there this immense Love, but also Belief because The Word had to not only love Yahweh, but also believe in Her as well as mankind in order to do what he accomplished for mankind. And, Yahweh had this same Love and Belief in The Word as well as Mankind to even consider allowing Her beloved son to take on this mission that would make him our Savior. So the conclusion that I came to with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, was that where there is Love there is also Belief.

One can say that they believe in Christ Jesus and in our Heavenly Father, but this belief I’ve found, is twofold. Not only is it a belief in the actual existence of, but also in their abilities and integrity. To believe in them is also to have faith and trust and loyalty to them and to fully support them in their decisions and ability to do what is righteous for all creation.

It goes much deeper than what is merely on the surface as simply an agreement made that yes, they do exist. It’s a belief that comes from a deeper part of oneself. Deeper than the mind all the way down into the heart that truly loves and believes in our Creator and loving Savior. To say, “I believe in you” and to mean, “I trust you, love you, have faith in you and am loyal and obedient to you and I’m behind you 100%.” To believe in your mind, but also in your heart lays the connection that makes your belief whole and complete.

Exodus 14:31 When Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and believed in Him and His servant Moses.

2 Chronicles 20:20 “Hear me, Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem. Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established, believe in His prophets and you will succeed.”

Matthew 18:6 “But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in me – it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea!”

Matthew 21:22 And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

Mark 5:36 But when Jesus overheard what was said, He told the synagogue leader, "Don't be afraid. Only believe."

The Serenity Prayer
Submitted by Johanna

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

Inspired Writings

Prayer from the Heart

1 Thessalonians 5:17 — Pray constantly.

Often times, a single sentence may come to mind that is based on something that has already been written, or some lesson that has already been learned. In fact, every lesson has already been learned by another, and if there is any Wisdom that is had, it is because Father has already had it, and provided it through Her Son, the Word. In this, it can be understood that even thought is energy, and therefore, anything that comes to mind is energy, and since it is energy, it had to be created or developed in some way by Father.

Proverbs 3:19 — The LORD founded the earth by wisdom and established the heavens by understanding.

Proverbs 8:12 — I, Wisdom, share a home with shrewdness and have knowledge and discretion.

As well, with one piece of Wisdom, there continually lies even more Wisdom beneath. This can be linked to a concept of trying to imagine how big space is by allowing one's imagination to go from this planet, out to the galaxy, then the clusters of galaxies, and then those clusters, and so forth. Or, it can be linked to looking at a small grain of sand, and trying to see the atoms it is made of, and then the quarks and other things that make up the parts of the atom, and then the parts of the quarks, and so forth (which is partially what String Theory tries to perform). Thus, in every proverb and wise saying that one may find in scripture, is actually the potential to grow whole trees, and from that one tree to grow more fruit and then more trees out of the fruit of one tree, that being, if one's heart is fertile enough to grow even a mustard seed.

Matthew 13:31 — He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.

The fertility of one's heart depends on Father, and this also means, because Father is One, that Father is also Wisdom, Justice, the Way, our Savior, and so much, much, more.

1 John 4:8 — The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Isaiah 5:2,4 — 2 He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones,
    and planted it with the finest vines.
    He built a tower in the middle of it
    and even hewed out a winepress there.
    He expected it to yield good grapes,
    but it yielded worthless grapes.

4 What more could I have done for My vineyard
    than I did?
    Why, when I expected a yield of good grapes,
    did it yield worthless grapes?

Now, the single sentence that came to mind and then came to writing on paper was this: Speaking out of the love of one's heart makes prayers meaningful and full-hearted.

There are many great examples of praying out of love in scripture. Here are some examples:

Matthew 26:39 — Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will."

2 Samuel 7:22 — "This is why You are great, Lord GOD . There is no one like You, and there is no God besides You, as all we have heard confirms.

Exodus 32:32 — Now if You would only forgive their sin. But if not, please erase me from the book You have written.

It is interesting what one may find if they piece together and pair up the different scriptures in the prayers found in Father's Word. Father could make a paradise out of a person's heart with the scriptures.

Another item of interest in speaking out of the love of one's heart is that this is not restricted to when one would pray. This, in turn, changes a person's whole persona, and even the “air” about a person. It also changes the reasons for the things they say, and makes good attitudes that one may have applied in the proper way. If the reasons that one speaks or has specific attitudes are not out of love, then those words may be like this:

1 Corinthians 13:1 — If I speak the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

In this way, one's humility may actually not be true humility, and one's maturity may actually be immaturity.

Colossians 2:23 — Although these have a reputation of wisdom by promoting ascetic practices, humility, and severe treatment of the body, they are not of any value against fleshly indulgence.

And so, a prayer from the heart is not just one that even may be guided by Father's own love, but it is a meaningful prayer that comes via one's whole being. As times continue to draw closer and closer to being simply difficult for everyone to even survive, more and more prayers will continue to be offered to Father, and out of those prayers, one must maintain the hope and faith in Father, and especially love, that all will come through, all as Father would have. In this, praying as Christ exemplifies.

Deuteronomy 30:11 — This command that I give you today is certainly not too difficult or beyond your reach.

Jeremiah 18:12 — But they will say: It's hopeless. We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart."

Matthew 22:37-40 — He said to him, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments."

1 Corinthians 13:13 — Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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

Cherubic Commander: All of your thoughts on the subject were correct. Truth in any matter is proportioned in particle and has space within its boundary for additional "physical substance or material in general, as distinct from mind and spirit; (in physics) that which occupies space and possesses mass," for added substance or material that broadens the in-depth overall substance of the truth that is spoken. Deep understanding of what is in quotes is simply this: Christ Jesus is TRUTH, and in the physical sense he occupies space and possesses mass as the SYMBOL of TRUTH. Christ Jesus is the roots of truth that bears many branches that particle truth into an entire TREE which grows into and forms the entire truth of our Creator Yahweh's mental makeup. The Maker of the TREE which She gave roots to grow and branch out to bear good wholesome fruit is a reflection of Her own mentality.

"mentality >noun (pl. mentalities) 1 a characteristic way of thinking. 2 the capacity for intelligent thought."

Yahweh's way of thinking is that of TRUTH. Anything less misses the mark. But in all truthful things there exists the proportioned particles with space in between for fill in of the complete truth.

Psalm 25:5 "Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; I wait for You all day long."

""Guide me in Your truth" Why? It is the only real truth, because the real truth springs forth from our Creator Yahweh. Since Michael was created by Yahweh and later became Christ Jesus to fulfill the added truth that brings salvation, he is the exact image of our Creator because Yahweh taught Her Only begotten Son Her way which is rooted within Her truthful existence.

When a minister teaches the "Truth," it is multifaceted.

"multifaceted >adjective having many facets or aspects."

"facet >noun 1 one side of something many-sided, especially of a cut gem. 2 an aspect: different facets of the truth.
-DERIVATIVES faceted >adjective."

"aspect >noun 1 a particular part or feature of a matter. 2 appearance or quality. 3 the side of a building facing a particular direction.
-DERIVATIVES aspectual >adjective."

"one side of something many-sided" Or giving only a portion of the TRUTH for later fill in and complete understanding.

"a particular part or feature of a matter" Giving only a part so that those listening might delve for the complete truth of the matter.

John 18:38 "What is truth?" said Pilate." Jesus did not reply. He left space within its boundary for later fill in. The particles of truth were being amassed within his assignment to bring salvation to mankind. The overall truth, which he at that time was in the progress of fulfilling for the doing of Father's will was still being worked out.

John 18:37 "You are a king then?" Pilate asked.

"You say that I'm a king," Jesus replied. "I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice."

Jesus came into the world to testify to the truth. The truth he testified to was the truth of our Creator Yahweh. However, this was only part of the truth for his coming, because his mission was also to lay down his life willingly, and in doing so, he broke up the works of the Devil. Would Pilate have understood the complete truth if Jesus had spent countless time explaining Father's overall plan? No, because Jesus would have had to start from his own beginning as Michael the Archangel, and from there he would have been bogged down in more inquisition by Pilate. "inquisition >noun 1 a period of prolonged and intensive questioning or investigation. 2 the verdict of a coroner's jury. -DERIVATIVES inquisitional >adjective." And Pilate would never have accepted the truth of the matter. Little did Pilate know that he was in the midst of forming the truth as a whole. What occurred during that period of time is now a part of the whole truth that is being worked out in Father's War Plan to make creation wholesome in Father's eyes.

John 18:37 "My kingdom is not of this world," said Jesus. "If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn't be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here."

If Christ Jesus kingdom does not originate here on earth, then how could the Kingdom be in the Pharisees midst? By trusting in Father's power to protect him and grant him success so long as he remained faithful, Jesus entered his public ministry announcing to Father's covenant people (the Jews) that the appointed time had been fulfilled, which resulted in the next step to the approach of the Kingdom of God. For those that might be salvageable, the kingdom with its promise of peace and security for eternity was still in the making, but was not yet a reality. First, other steps in Father's War Plan must be fulfilled. At that time Satan and his demons had not yet been expelled from heaven. That event marked the Kingdom coming to full power. However, for the Pharisees, Jesus was letting them know that he was Father's royal representative, the one anointed by Yahweh for the promised Kingship over Her kingdom subjects, and that by his vested authority from Yahweh he represented the Kingdom of God and would judge who would enter that kingdom and who would not. In that regard, the Pharisees and literally everyone on this planet, including all that had not been executed at a judgment by Yahweh, who have been born from the beginning of Adam and Eve's time down to the day and hour of Armageddon, stand facing the King and gatekeeper of Father's kingdom. So, based on that truth, the kingdom's King could assert that his representation on earth symbolized the Kingdom of God in their midst. But even so, much more of Father's War Plan had to be worked out towards the fulfillment of the Kingdom coming to reign, and that is why Jesus told the Jews that the Kingdom of God had drawn near. If this were not the case, there would have been a battle by Christ Jesus servants to halt his arrest. In Christ's own words: "My kingdom is not of this world," said Jesus. "If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn't be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here."

Psalm 57:3 "He reaches down from heaven and saves me, challenging the one who tramples me. Selah God sends His faithful love and truth."

Father saved Christ Jesus from the pit of death. In doing so, She challenged Satan who has trampled on Her creation. Christ is faithful and full of love for Father and Her creation. Father loved Her creation even though the human element had sinned, loved them enough to provide a sacrifice to bring all that would take heart in Her Word and be saved from eternal destruction to be returned to Her fold of faithful servants.

Psalm 61:7 "May he sit enthroned before God forever; appoint faithful love and truth to guard him." Christ Jesus enthroned before the presence of Father forever, and he is guarded by his strict discipline to Her truth "the Way" and love for Father and Her creation.

Jeshaiah: Could you verify whether or not the information from the following site is accurate?

http://meta-religion.com/World_Religions…._war_scroll.htm

The translation feels accurate, but I didn't really pay too much attention to the "Introduction" that the site's owner appended to it.

Cherubic Commander: The War Scroll speaks in human terms because the Israelites typified not only those (spiritual Israelites) to be in the Millennium and after wards but also represented the holy angelic army by comparison to the army of Israelites. What is in the physical fleshly realm is also in the spirit realm.

"Indeed, God's crucible (17:9) was seen as a necessary component of man's existence so long as evil continued to exist in the World. Ultimately, God's purpose was to exalt the Sons of Light and to judge the Children of Darkness. " The introduction is filled with inaccurate reasoning. We all know that the Perfect Sacrifice was to pay the debt owed to Father for mankind having sinned. Only the human offspring are eligible for forgiveness. The Son's of Light have no need to be exalted, and the Son's of Darkness which started out perfect as Father's children and later became Satan's children were already judged to eternal destruction by Father and not by holy angels that do not judge. We only follow orders given by Father through Her representative Michael the Archangel or by Father Herself.

When the Word's books were compiled, Father made certain that only certain books were given priority to be within the Word's cover. Due to missing the mark on some interpretations of other parts of Her inspired scrolls, Father caused the omission of them being included. "The Lost Books of the Bible" give truth and deception because there were parts added that were not of divine origin. But, the War Scroll is representative of the War Plan, and that was what Father was seeking to enlighten Her children about. 🙂

Anything that conflicts with the Scriptures contained within the accepted Word should be dismissed as either mistranslations or outright deception.

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

California witness spots 'almost transparent' UFO in shape of recent crop circle
September 16, 2009
Examiner.com

The UFO Traffic Report for Wednesday, September 16, 2009, includes 7 selected sightings over 6 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. CA, September 14, 2009 – looked like the swallow crop circle flying across the sky. MUFON Case # 19339. A California witness at San Jose watched a "slightly blue" almost transparent "swallow" moving across the sky. The witness says it was "very distinct in shape, and i immediately recognized it as a recent crop circle."

Witnesses in three states spot triangle-shaped UFOs in night sky
September 18, 2009
Examiner.com

Witnesses in West Virginia, Texas, and Florida, reported triangle-shaped UFOs in the skies between September 13 and 17, according to testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) database. On September 13, a West Virginia witness looked out a bedroom window and saw a "dark triangle" that was hovering. The object had round lights at each corner that were either white or red. Then on September 15, a Texas witness was star gazing from the trunk of a car when a "huge black triangle" moved from behind a cloud and came directly overhead. The silent object was completely black "except for the dim light that it produced from the center front middle of the under belly." The object eventually was lost in the distance behind clouds.

UFO sightings in Suriname prompt creation of hotline
Jadyn Cassidy
All News Web
September 14, 2009

A rash of recent UFO sightings that have caused concern amongst residents of Suriname, South America, has prompted the creation of that nation's first 24-hour UFO hot-line in Paramaribo, the country's capital city. The hot-line will take down details of all sightings of UFOs and then investigate if need be. One recent UFO sighting that gave impetus to the establishment of this hot-line occurred around two months ago and was reported by the 'Netherlands World Radio Service': 'A most remarkable observation was the one which transpired on July 19. That evening three UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) flew over Paramaribo and many people saw them. Sham Binda sat with some visitng tourists in his car when a child he was with pointed to the lights. "The boy saw the lights move and claimed that they were UFOs. I thought he was joking. Only when I turned my gaze to the sky I saw a strange yellow light and when I looked further, I saw three, "said Binda.' 'The beams were quite large and flew in formation, according Binda. UFO reports are so frequent that recently a UFO hot-line was established in Paramaribo.'

UFO invasion of Siberian tourist spot
Michael Cohen m.cohen@allnewsweb.com
All News Web
September 16, 2009

Several holidaymakers photographed at least three UFOs above Bear Island on the Lena River in Yakutia. The appearance of the UFO fleet in the vicinity of the village Zhatay coincided with the sensational observations in Shandong, China, where two UFOs were even filmed on video by a TV camera crew on 20 August. My brother celebrated his wedding anniversary on the island, Igor Vylegzhanin told the Russian Media outlet 'Life'. 'A number of people fishing and sunbathing saw the UFOs. All took photographs. There was no audible rumble or roar the weather was sunny and calm. One strange thing happened: mobile communication suddenly began to play up. My friend's mobile phone turned itself off, and then spontaneously switched back on!'

West Virginia couple photographs UFO 'making little circles in the sky'
September 14, 2009
Examiner.com

The UFO Traffic Report for Monday, September 14, 2009, includes 13 selected sightings over 10 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. WV, September 13, 2009 – A white starish object in the sky near Snowshoe WV. MUFON Case # 19304. A West Virginia couple noticed a bright object that seemed "to be making little circles in the sky." They set up a camera on a tripod and were able to snap one image – where now the object appeared to be moving in a "zig-zap" pattern. The contrast and brightness was adjusted in the witness image at the top of this page.

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

Spermicide, Cleaners, and Cosmetics along with Thimerosal and Squalene Found in Experimental H1N1 Vaccine
VacTRUTH
by Jeffry John Aufderheide
September 15, 2009

See for yourself the study presented at the end of article. Please spread the word and make this go viral… no pun intended. Kindly reference and link to VacTRUTH! Trials for the experimental H1N1 Swine flu vaccine commence Tuesday, September 15th in Thornton, Colorado. Novartis, a bio-pharmaceutical company that manufactures the vaccine, is recommending that children participating in the trial receive two doses of an experimental vaccine which contain ingredients found in spermicides, cleaners, and cosmetics along with thimerosal and squalene (MF59). Everyone should have a sense of concern as the only safety checks for these children are a few blood draws and follow-up phone calls. No neurological testing. No kidding.

30 civilians killed in NATO strike
Big News Network
September 14, 2009

The Afghan government has announced 30 Afghan civilians were killed and nine wounded in a NATO air strike earlier this month in the northern province of Kunduz. It is believed the incident occurred when a German commander ordered the strike on Taliban militants. 69 Taliban also were killed. The commander of the NATO mission, US General Stanley McChrystal, has appointed a board to conduct an investigation into the strike, which is believed to have started when Taliban members stole two fuel trucks. Meanwhile, Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said he wants to bring German forces home.

Diary: Guatemala food crisis
BBC
September 17, 2009

Guatemala has been hit by severe food shortages, with some 54,000 families living in the east of the country facing a critical situation. President Alvaro Colom last week declared a "state of public calamity" to try to mobilise funding to tackle severe food shortages in the country. Lida Escobar is a field monitor for the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) in Guatemala. She has been sending her experiences on the situation there to BBCMundo.com. 'NO FOOD AT HOME' Yimi Manfredo Roman Cruz is 16 months old. He comes from Santa Maria Shalapan in Jalapa. He was admitted to the Jalapa hospital for acute malnutrition and bronchial pneumonia. He couldn't even keep his head straight. His mother Delia is 26 years old. She has another child and is now a widow. She has to abandon him at the hospital to go back home. She collects firewood and then sells it to buy food for her children

Switzerland's explosive war effort threatens environmental disaster
The Independent
by Tony Paterson
September 13, 2009

Down at the bottom of Switzerland's deepest lake is one of the country's murkiest secrets. For here is disturbing evidence of Switzerland's little-known Second World War defence effort. It poses a potentially devastating threat to the Alpine nation, 70 years after the conflict. The placid waters of Lake Thun spread out for 11 miles beneath Faulensee village. Some 700 feet beneath the surface more than 9,000 tons of Swiss army munitions lie dumped on its watery floor. The ordnance includes artillery shells, hand grenades, and explosives that were meant to defend Switzerland against a Nazi invasion that never happened. After the war, the army began a 20-year process of getting rid of its vast munitions stockpile by dumping most of it into four Alpine lakes, all of which are used to supply drinking water to the surrounding population. Lake Thun, in the central Swiss canton of Bern, took the brunt of the disposal programme, which ended in 1964.

PM is 'failing to stand up for society's poorest'
The Independent
by Michael Savage
September 14, 2009

Union bosses have attacked Gordon Brown for failing to stand up for the poorest in society and have demanded a change of direction by Labour before the next election. The party leadership had hoped the unions would back away from causing problems for the Government before the next general election, which must be held by June next year, with the Prime Minister meeting a group of union bosses last Friday to hear their concerns. But speaking ahead of the TUC conference, they criticised the Labour leader and urged him to dump unpopular policies. Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison – which has already said it would withdraw funding from Labour parliamentary candidates it sees as failing to stand up for its members – said Labour had "not got its act together" in helping Britain's poorest. He added that it was failing to curb the large bonuses already returning to the City. "[Labour] has got to get back on the side of working people," he said. "We cannot allow the excesses of the bonus culture to continue while ordinary working people become the victims of this recession."

Signs in Humanity

Carnage in Pakistan market attack
BBC
September 18, 2009

At least 33 people have been killed and dozens injured in a suicide car bomb attack at a village market in north-west Pakistan, police say. The explosion is said to have taken place at a busy intersection close to the garrison town of Kohat. Most of the dead are said to be members of the Shia Muslim minority. The area has a history of sectarian tension. A little-known militant group calling itself Lahskar-e-Jhangvi al-Almi says it carried out the attack. It says the attack was in revenge for the death of a prominent religious leader, Maulana M Amin, who was killed in Hangu in June. Correspondents say the group is likely to be linked to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni extremist group which has links to the Taliban.

Penn. man gulps 33 burritos, wins eating championship
USA Today
September 20, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Professional eater "Humble Bob" Shoudt ate 33 burritos in 10 minutes, winning the 2009 World Burrito eating championship on Friday before an excited crowd at the New Mexico State Fair. Shoudt, of Royersford, Pa., finished just ahead of runner-up Hall "Hoover" Hunt of Jacksonville, Fla., who put down 30 burritos in the International Federation of Competitive Eating-sponsored contest. Shoudt, who won $1,500, said he didn't eat for two days to prepare for the competition. Competitors ate 4-ounce burritos, filled with beef, beans and green chile — each weighing about a quarter of a pound. The 15 competitors paced during a brief delay as organizers made room to fit everyone on a stage. Plates stacked with four burritos were placed at each chair along with several plastic water bottles. Once the timer's stopwatch was set, Spanish music started playing on a loudspeaker and the eaters chowed down. They frantically shoved burritos into their mouths, cheeks puffed like chipmunks, as a crowd of about 250 people roared with laughter and cheers.

Child bride, 12, dies in Yemen after struggling to give birth for THREE days
Daily Mail
September 15, 2009

A 12-year-old Yemeni child bride died after struggling to give birth for three days, a local human rights organisation said. Fawziya Abdullah Youssef died of severe bleeding on Friday while giving birth to a stillborn in the al-Zahra district hospital of Hodeida province, 140 miles west of the capital Sanaa. Child marriages are widespread in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country which has a population of 23million, where tribal customs dominate society. More than a quarter of the country's females marry before age 15, according to a recent report by the Social Affairs Ministry. Youssef was only 11 when her father married her to a 24-year-old man who works as a farmer in Saudi Arabia, said Ahmed al-Quraishi, chairman of Siyaj human rights organization.

The ego epidemic: How more and more of us women have an inflated sense of our own fabulousness
Daily Mail
by Lucy Taylor
September 14, 2009

Us women are more egocentric and narcissistic than we ever used to be, according to extensive research by two leading psychologists. More of us have huge expectations of ourselves, our lives and everyone in them. We think the universe resolves around us, with a deluded sense of our own fabulousness, and believe we are cleverer, more talented and more attractive than we actually are. We have trouble accepting criticism and extending empathy because we are so preoccupied with ourselves. Am I making you angry by telling you this? It figures. Narcissistic or egotistical women do have an overwhelming sense of entitlement and arrogance. Of course, I joke, but researchers say there is growing evidence of an epidemic of ego-itis everywhere. Once a traditionally male syndrome, narcissism generally begins at home and in schools, where children are praised excessively, often spoiled rotten and given the relentless message that they are 'special'.

Parents 'dumped body in concrete'
BBC
September 13, 2009

The parents of a French eight-year-old girl whose body was found encased in concrete have been held on suspicion of manslaughter, official sources say. The girl, Marina Sabatier, was discovered at her father's workplace in Le Mans, south-west of Paris. On Wednesday the parents told police the girl had been kidnapped. Prosecutors say they believe Marina died after being beaten last month, and that the body was kept in a freezer before being covered in concrete. Prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation against both parents on suspicion of manslaughter, violence against a minor, and wasting police time. On Wednesday the father told officers that Marina had been taken from his car, which he had parked to buy food at a McDonalds' restaurant near Le Mans. Prosecutors say that after the body was found on Friday, the couple confessed to police that they had maltreated Marina – who had Down's Syndrome – but insisted that she had died of natural causes.

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.

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

Food shortages in Guatemala threaten hundreds of thousands, warns UN agency

10 September 2009 – Urgent funding is needed to help combat an acute hunger crisis that is ravaging much of Guatemala, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned. The agency cautioned that money only exists to provide food aid to some tens of thousands of families in Guatemala until the end of September, including the provision of a fortified food to 100,000 children under the age of three and 50,000 pregnant-lactating women. More than 90 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition were admitted to the national hospital of Jalapa in August – three times higher than the same month last year – and out of the 117 children rushed to the hospital between January and July, 17 have died, WFP noted in a situation report issued last week. In its immediate response to the food crisis in Guatemala’s so-called “dry corridor,” WFP has committed 20 tons of High Energy Biscuits (HEB) and 200 tons of other food supplies, including corn soy blended food, black beans and corn to complement Government rations assisting 75,000 families living in the most affected areas. WFP will also expand a food-for-work scheme to support another 93,000 families affected by damage to the upcoming harvest and who will need assistance for around six months.

Powerful quake rattles Venezuela
13 September 2009
BBC News

A strong earthquake has struck off the coast of Venezuela, knocking out power in the capital and sending people rushing into the streets. The 6.4-magnitude quake's epicentre was 65 miles (110km) west of Caracas, at a depth of 6.2 miles (10km). Buildings were damaged and at least seven people were injured in the north-western Falcon state, the worst hit. The closest town to the epicentre was the oil port of Puerto Cabello, on the country's northern coast. No damage has been reported to any of the country's oil installations. Tremors were also felt in nearby Carabobo and Aragua states. Reuters reported that power was out in one area of the capital and media reports suggested that other regions were also without electricity.

Israel mourns the dying Dead Sea
BBC News
12 September 2009

The Middle East is famously a place of paradoxes, and perhaps the oddest paradox of all is this: the Dead Sea is dying. Edward Stourton, who has been to Israel to investigate, has found the Dead Sea is now shrinking at a terrifying speed with the sea level dropping by more than three feet a year. There can be few sights sadder than a seaside restaurant that has been abandoned by the sea. Dropping south on Route 90, the Israeli highway that stretches the length of the Jordan River, we turned left at the service station selling Dead Sea mud for skin-toning and salt crystals for your bath. A few hundred metres on is a wrecked concrete building baking in the sun, one of those melancholy Middle East ruins that look as if they became redundant almost as soon as they were built. Except this one is different. Walk into what is left of the lobby and you notice the remains of a once stylish bar. Look ahead and you see two crescent arms enclosing a dining terrace, adorned with an outsized crusader map of the River Jordan. It is of course recognisable, despite the large hole in the concrete just up from Jericho.

U.S. campers developed drug-resistant flu: report
Sep 10, 2009
Reuters.com
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two girls given antiviral drugs in an effort to protect children at a summer camp from the new pandemic swine flu developed resistant virus, U.S. health officials reported on Thursday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the study supports its new recommendations that flu drugs not be given to prevent infection among people who are otherwise healthy. Both girls recovered without becoming seriously ill, but the incident shows that it is easy for the new pandemic H1N1 virus to develop resistance to flu drugs, officials said. "We are concerned about the appropriate use of antivirals," the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat said in an interview. Two antiviral drugs work well against H1N1 swine flu — Roche AG and Gilead Science Inc's Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir, and GlaxoSmithKline and Biota's Relenza, known generically as zanamivir. There are two older flu drugs, amantadine and rimantadine, but seasonal influenza developed resistance against them and they are no longer recommended for use alone against influenza.

18 Pakistanis Die in Stampede for Flour
By ASHRAF KHAN
Associated Press

KARACHI, Pakistan (Sept. 14) — At least 18 women and girls died when a crowd waiting for handouts of flour swelled and panicked in an impoverished city in southern Pakistan, officials said. The stampede in Karachi came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a traditional time for charitable acts including giving away food. At times, however, the giveaways have turned rowdy and dangerous. Monday's stampede occurred in a small building with narrow passages. As more women entered to get the flour, some panicked and guards used strong-arm tactics to clear the building, officials and witnesses said. Karachi police chief Wasim Ahmad said at least 18 women and girls died in the ensuing rush. Mohammad Amin Khan of Karachi Civil Hospital said some of the women had suffocated and that there were at least 20 bodies. "Hundreds of women were pushing to enter into the small hall, and guards started beating us to get the place cleared," said 30-year-old Kulsoom, who gave only one name and ended up among the many wounded. "I fell down and was being crushed. My heart was missing beats, and I thought I was dying."

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

QUAKES –

9/11/09 –
5.3 VOLCANO ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION
5.7 KURIL ISLANDS
Aftershocks continue in ALBANIA and GEORGIA (SAK'ART'VELO)

9/12/09 –
6.4 OFFSHORE CARABOBO, VENEZUELA
5.1 OFF COAST OF AISEN, CHILE
Aftershocks continue in ALBANIA and GEORGIA (SAK'ART'VELO)

9/13/09 –
5.1 VANUATU
Aftershocks continue in ALBANIA and GEORGIA (SAK'ART'VELO)

9/14/09 –
None 5.0 or higher.
Aftershocks continue in ALBANIA and GEORGIA (SAK'ART'VELO) .

9/15/09 –
5.0 SOUTH INDIAN OCEAN
Aftershocks continue in ALBANIA and GEORGIA (SAK'ART'VELO) .

9/16/09 –
5.3 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.3 FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS

9/17/09 –
5.3 HALMAHERA, INDONESIA
6.1 EASTER ISLAND REGION
5.2 NORTHERN QINGHAI, CHINA

9/18/09 –
5.9 SOUTH OF BALI, INDONESIA
5.8 HALMAHERA, INDONESIA
5.0 KEP. MENTAWAI REGION, INDONESIA
5.6 REVILLA GIGEDO ISLANDS REGION
5.9 MINDORO, PHILIPPINES
5.4 MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
5.1 NORTHERN QINGHAI, CHINA
5.0 NORTHERN QINGHAI, CHINA
5.1 NORTHERN QINGHAI, CHINA

9/19/09 –
5.0 NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.5 SICHUAN-GANSU BORDER REG, CHINA
5.1 HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN

VENEZUELA – A strong earthquake has struck off the coast of Venezuela, knocking out power in the capital and sending people rushing into the streets. The 6.4-magnitude quake's epicentre was 65 miles (110km) west of Caracas, at a depth of 6.2 miles (10km). Buildings were damaged and at least seven people were injured in the north-western Falcon state, the worst hit. The closest town to the epicentre was the oil port of Puerto Cabello, on the country's northern coast. Tremors were also felt in nearby Carabobo and Aragua states. Reuters reported that power was out in one area of the capital and media reports suggested that other regions were also without electricity.

INDIA – Panic gripped many coastal villages as people experienced a ‘tremor-like’ situation on Friday afternoon. People rushed out of their houses in fear. The ‘tremors’ were triggered by drilling works carried out as part of oil exploration activities in the area. A Kolkata-based firm is engaged in oil and gas exploration in the stretch between Nagapattinam and Thiruthuraipoondi. The company had commenced drilling activities at 15 points. Explosives had been placed at a depth of about 120 feet inside the drills and remote-controlled detonators had also been placed there. On Friday, the explosives at Sellur were detonated. About 5 kg of explosive material had been kept in that pit. When it detonated, it immediately triggered ‘tremors’ at New Nambiar Nagarand other hamlets. An 11-year-old girl at New Nambiar Nagar fainted due to the impact. As people started talking about ‘earthquakes’, tsunami fears also gripped the area. However, the sound of the explosion was heard by a few and many rushed to the drilling spot. When they came to know about the detonation, they asked how the company could carry out the work without a warning. They demanded that the work be stopped immediately. The officials obliged. Enquiries at the spot revealed that explosive materials were still in place at drilling pits at 14 other locations.

GERMANY, CALIFORNIA, SWITZERLAND – Government officials in Landau in der Pfalz are reviewing the safety of a geothermal energy project that scientists say set off a 2.7 earthquake in mid-August, shaking buildings and frightening many residents of this small city. The geothermal plant, built by Geox, a German energy company, extracts heat by drilling deep into the earth. Advocates of the method say that it could greatly reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels by providing a vast supply of renewable energy. Geox officials initially denied any responsibility for the temblor and continue to dispute the government’s data linking the project to the quake. But some experts in the field say they worry that projects like the one in Germany, if the managers deny responsibility for inducing earthquakes or play down the effects on people’s lives, could damage the reputation of geothermal energy, even in highly environmentally conscious areas of the world like California or Western Europe. In recent months, two similar projects have stirred concerns about their safety and their propensity to cause earthquakes. In the United States, the Energy Department is scrutinizing a project in Northern California run by AltaRock Energy to determine if it is safe. (The project was shut down by the company last month because of crippling technical problems.) Another project, in Basel, Switzerland, was shut down after it generated earthquakes in 2006 and 2007 and is awaiting the decision of a panel of experts about whether it can resume. Like other earthquakes that have been attributed to geothermal plants, the Landau temblor was sudden and brief and was accompanied by a sound that in some cases has been likened to a sonic boom. There were no injuries and there was no known structural damage to buildings in the city.

ITALY – A moderate earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale shook the central Italian region of Tuscany on Monday, prompting scared residents to rush into the streets. The earthquake struck at 22:04 pm and its epicenter was around 30 kilometres northeast of Florence. No damage was immediately reported, but several residents ran out of their homes while others hunkered down in their cars in the cities of Borgo San Lorenzo, Scarperia and Barberino. A devastating earthquake hit Italy's central region of Abruzzo in April, killing 300 people.

ALBANIA – A series of small quakes rattled the northeast region of Dibra late on Saturday (September 12th), causing another wave of panic among residents in the wake of a stronger quake that measured 5.4 on the Richter scale. Another tremor measured 4.3. No injuries or damage were reported. Experts say these aftershocks are normal following last week's strong one that damaged about 1,000 homes.

INDONESIA – More than 21 lakes, dams and other irrigation systems in West Java were damaged by the 7.3-magnitude earthquake that ripped through the area earlier this month. "All four lakes suffered from leakages and cracks in their embankments and wall constructions." The four lakes referred to are Situ Cisanti and Situ Sipatahunan, both in Bandung regency, Situ Darma in Kuningan and Situ Gede in Mangkubumi, Tasikmalaya regency. Apart from the lakes, the Sept. 2 quake also damaged a number of dams and other irrigation systems in two regencies in Cianjur and Tasikmalaya, which were the areas worst hit by the disaster. These include a 800-meter long dam in Cianjur that irrigates more than 4 hectares of farmland in the regency. A 700-meter long dam in Cigalontang district, Tasikmalaya, which irrigates 60 hectares of farmland, was also damaged. "Rice paddies there have already suffered from a lack of water. We don't know yet if those crops will fail or not." Tens of thousands of people were displaced and dozens of others killed when the quake hit West Java. The epicenter was located 30 kilometers beneath the seabed off Tasikmalaya regency. Strong tremors were felt across Java, from Banyuwangi to Banten and as far as Bali.

PHILIPPINES – Two earthquakes rocked Mindanao Friday night (5.6) and Saturday morning (5.3), less than 24 hours after a temblor shook Metro Manila and Southern Luzon (6.1). At least 25 homes were damage by the quake. The town hall of Barangay (village) New Panay and Sangguniang Barangay session hall were also destroyed. A civilian was slightly wounded when flying debris hit him. There were also slightly damaged houses and structures in the towns of Norallah and Surallah in South Cotabato and Bagumbayan and Isulan in Sultan Kudarat.

INDONESIA – A 6.4 earthquake struck offshore from Indonesia's island of Bali on Saturday, causing some injuries. Officials said no tsunami warning had been issued, but the quake at around dawn was felt strongly on the resort island. At least seven people were injured, some hit by falling debris from buildings and others after jumping from high floors. The roof of a shopping mall in the island's capital of Denpasar also collapsed.

VOLCANOES –

HAWAII – we may be seeing a new cycle of activity at Kilauea. The increase in magma supply observed since late 2003, the Father’s Day intrusion, and new eruptive vents on the east rift zone in 2007 are distinctive markers of the transition, leading to the opening of the new vent at the summit. Although features of each cycle may be similar, the exact accommodation the volcano makes to the changing conditions varies. Of the current activity,“We’ve never seen sustained simultaneous eruptions at the summit and on the east rift zone [in the recorded past].” Just how the volcano is achieving equilibrium during these past two years of sustained summit and east rift zone eruptions is still a subject of debate. [History has shown that Kilauea's lava can spout anywhere, anytime in the most dangerous zones.]

RUSSIA – Scientists say the eruption of a volcano on the sparsely populated Kamchatka Peninsula has probably sent plumes of ash thousands of meters (feet) high and could affect aircrafts in the area. The Sheveluch volcano erupted with "strong explosions" on Thursday and increased activity persisted. The volcano was obscured by clouds but ash plumes likely rose as high as 15,000 meters (50,000 feet). Late Friday the volcano had calmed down somewhat. Kamchatka juts into the Pacific and is studded with active volcanoes. Sheveluch has experienced several "paroxysmal explosive eruptions" in the past decade.

RUSSIA – Six volcanoes are currently erupting in Russia's remote Kamchatka region. That much activity was last recorded 55 years ago. Despite the obvious dangers, there is mixed reaction among local people. "Some people are saying that this ash brings natural mineral fertilizers. When we first came here the snow was grey and everything was melting in spring time, fertilizing the soil. Just take a look around and you will see that the plants are flourishing at the bottom of the volcano." Another villager sees the health hazards. "This volcano was dangerous, we were breathing in the volcanic ash and it was harmful to our health but now the wind is blowing in the other direction." According to the Deputy Director of Science at the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka Institute, the number of eruptions is increasing all over the world. "We have seen two, three, up to five volcanoes erupting simultaneously, but we have six volcanoes erupting this year and it is not just happening here, this is a global trend."

HAWAII – An explosion at the summit of Kilauea volcano sent incandescent tephra spattering all over the Halema`uma`u vent cavity at 3:13 am Thursday morning. The burst propelled fresh glassy spatter up to 2 cm long all above the vent rim, even several tens of yards above the Halema`uma`u Overlook. The event coincided with a hybrid earthquake, followed by 20-40 minutes of sustained tremor. A similar hybrid earthquake was recorded at 9:26 am on Wednesday. The HVO says these amounts of tephra and of spatter have not been seen since the most recent vent collapse on June 30. Meanwhile, the glow from lava within Halema`uma`u has returned and is visible in the overnight hours.

TROPICAL STORMS –

Koppu, the 16th storm of the western Pacific cyclone season, left three people dead and three injured in the Philippines as it passed across the northern tip of Luzon on Sept. 12 as a tropical depression. Hong Kong raised its strong wind warning as Tropical Storm Koppu headed for the coast of southern China with winds of 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour. Koppu is forecast to make landfall on the Chinese coast near the city of Yangjiang at about 8 a.m. Hong Kong time tomorrow.

Typhoon Choi-Wan, the 15th storm of the season, strengthened from a tropical storm over the Pacific to the south of Japan. Choi-Wan’s eye was about 258 kilometers east-northeast of Saipan at 9 a.m. Tokyo time. The typhoon has maximum sustained winds of 139 kph and was moving northwest at 9 kph. The storm is expected to strengthen and its maximum winds are forecast to increase to 167 kph by 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Tropical Storm Marty formed off Mexico's Pacific coast on Wednesday and could brush the Baja California peninsula this week. Marty has strengthened slightly in the Pacific off Mexico's western coast. Marty had winds near 45 mph (75 kph) and was almost stationary on Wednesday. The 13th storm of the Pacific season, the center of the system is located about 325 miles (525 kilometers) south-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula.

Reports of Hurricane Fred's death were greatly exaggerated. – A week ago, Hurricane Fred was a Category 3 bully, muscling its way across the Atlantic Ocean but a threat to only fish. Its winds peaked on Sept. 9 at 120 mph. Three days later, the National Hurricane Center declared Fred dead, its once impressive winds whittled away by shear and dry air. Former Hurricane Fred became a disorganized mass of thunderstorms. But the declaration of death may have been a tad premature. Though the hurricane center gives Fred a less than 30 percent chance of reforming into a tropical storm by Friday, forecasters are watching what 's left of the storm as it heads roughly west at about 15 mph. Computer models that forecast intensity, however, are fairly unified in reviving the remains of Fred back into hurricane before the weekend. Fred is about 700 miles from the Leeward Islands.

The hurricane center is also watching a tropical wave about 400 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands. Forecasters give it a low chance of developing into a storm or tropical depression by Friday.

At least 28 people were taken to hospital as Typhoon Koppu roared past Hong Kong late Monday and early Tuesday. Most of the injured were hit by flying objects as the typhoon, packing winds of more than 120 kilometres per hour, blasted the city of 7 million people. Schools and offices were closed and ferry services suspended as high winds and heavy rain continued to pummel the city Tuesday morning, as the typhoon made landfall in neighbouring southern China. There were flight delays Tuesday as Hong Kong's severe tropical storm warning remained in force. Across the territory, trees and scaffolding were toppled by the storm, and there were reports of heavy localized flooding. The typhoon came within 140 kilometres of the city around 4 am but did not score a direct hit.

PHILIPPINES – In August, only one cyclone passed through Philippine territory, breaking the usual three-cyclone occurrence. Rainfall in August was “UNUSUALY below normal," especially in the western part of the country, due to the below-average frequency of tropical cyclones. Since early May, weaker-than-average low-level equatorial easterly winds have persisted across most of the equatorial Pacific. Since June, sea temperature has been rising, slowly developing into a weak El Niño condition. These oceanic and atmospheric anomalies are consistent with developing El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific. Such a condition may have negative effects on water supply, agriculture and even on daily weather conditions. “Persistence of these present conditions in the tropical Pacific will continue to affect rainfall patterns in the country for the coming season."

Tropical cyclone Choi-Wan, currently raging in the Pacific Ocean, is a Category 5 storm, or "super typhoon," with wind speeds reaching 200 mph, 320 km/hr. The storm has passed the Northern Marianas Islands and is moving at about sixteen km/hr (10 mph) toward the west-northwest. Its most recent position was about 470 kilometers (290 miles) north of Saipan, the largest of the Northern Marianas. "Choi-Wan is expected to maintain its strength for another day before beginning to weaken and to track more to the north and then to the northeast, eventually passing about 485 kilometers (300 miles) to the south and east of Japan. The storm developed rapidly from a tropical depression on Saturday, September 12th, to a tropical storm on Sunday – to a Category 5 Super Typhoon, just two days later. Choi-Wan developed somewhat farther to the east than has been typical this season, but that more eastern origin is consistent with the developing El Niño conditions in the Pacific basin." Choi-Wan is the 14th named storm of the northwest Pacific tropical cyclone season and is the strongest tropical cyclone to have developed this year in any basin. "Choi-Wan…shows an impressive system with deep convective banding that wraps into a center with a well-defined eye. Its radius of typhoon-force winds (119 km/hr (74 mph) extends outward for 120 kilometers (75 miles) and its winds are generating waves with heights of 12 meters (40 feet). Choi-Wan's full structure, as seen by satellite, spreads across more than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) of ocean."

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

BRAZIL – Authorities in Brazil have called a state of emergency in the southern state of Santa Catarina following the powerful storm that swept through earlier in the week. Heavy rains in southern Brazil over the last few days have killed two people and forced some 19,000 people to abandon their homes. The powerful cyclone had winds up to 120 kmph (75 mph). It made landfall in the tourist town of Santa Catarina on Tuesday evening and moved westwards, to the Argentine border. The Brazilian border town of Guaraciaba, with a population of 10,000, was the worst hit by the storm, which damaged 70 percent of its buildings, as well as power lines and communications. In Santa Catarina, 1,200 people have been isolated in different villages. The storm continued through Sunday, dropping as much as 150 mm of rain in southern Santa Catarina.

INDIA – Normal life disrupted with heavy rains. From drought in June and July, to moderate rains in August, and now RECORD-BREAKING DOWNPOUR in September, the monsoon has showed all its colours in UP this season. As the low pressure area moved over west UP from south-west Madhya Pradesh on Friday, it triggered widespread heavy rains all over the state.The Met department forecasted no change in the conditions until Sunday. The record breaking spell can be gauged from the fact that the state capital which was declared drought-hit because of deficient rains, received so much rainfall in the first ten days of September that it brought down the rain deficit to 13% below normal from below 50% in July. Against the normal of 708.4 mm, the Lucknow district has so far received 618.8 mm. If only the city areas are taken into consideration, the rainfall has gone 2% above normal because of heavy rains in the past two days. nine persons died in UP due to the heavy rains.

INDONESIA – At least 38 people have been killed in flash floods in a remote region of Indonesia's North Sumatra province.

AUSTRALIA – An UNUSUALLY long spell of winter rain in Perth's catchment areas has lifted the city's dams to their highest level in almost a decade.

TENNESSE – Daylong rain in September is RARE in Tennessee and a National Weather Service forecaster calls a week of it "VERY UNUSUAL." September and October are usually the dryer months of the year. A flood watch was posted for northern Middle Tennessee and a flash flood watch covered all of West Tennessee on Thursday. In the 48 hours ending at 7 a.m. Thursday, Cookeville received about 8.5 inches of rain. Lebanon got 8.15 inches. The usual rainfall for the entire month of September in Nashville is a couple of inches. Sustained late summer rain is usually caused by remnants of a hurricane, but this weathermaker is a low stalled west of Tennessee, pumping up Gulf moisture.

FIJI ISLANDS
– People living in the low-lying areas were advised to take all precautionary measures as a trough affecting the group is expected to bring in more rain over the group particularly on Viti Levu. The Naqali Bridge in Naitasiri was reported to be underwater Friday morning. “Overall we still expecting flooding of low line areas and …even the rivers came up pretty high… to expect that kind of situation in the dry season month of September I would say is RARE – so we have a VERY PECULIAR WEATHER PATTERN, we got the signal about this heavy rain a few days back.”

SPAIN – The Balearic Islands were at high risk (orange alert) of "heavy rains" from midnight Thursday, according to the head of the State Meteorological Office for the archipelago. The islands had already been on yellow alert from 2am. In all, twelve Comunidades are on alert because of the intense downpours affecting the country as a whole, but the east side in particular. Extremely heavy rain was expected in the north of Valencia province and in Castellón province, where up to 50 litres of rain per square metre was expected to fall, with up to 40 litres an hour expected in Barcelona and Tarragona.

COLD –

Pause in Arctic's melting trend – This summer's melt of Arctic sea ice has not been as profound as in the last two years, scientists said as the ice began its annual Autumn recovery. At its smallest extent this summer, on 12 September, the ice covered 5.10 million sq km (1.97 million sq miles). This was larger than the minima seen in the last two years, and leaves 2007's record low of 4.1 million sq km (1.6 million sq miles) intact. Arctic temperatures have been cooler this year than last year, and winds have helped to disperse the sea ice across the region. But scientists note the long-term trend is still downwards. At the 2009 minimum, the ice covers 24% less ocean than for the 1979-2000 average. Also, as noted last year, a much greater proportion of the cover consists of young, thin ice formed in a single winter that is much more prone to re-melting than the older, thicker ice that dominated in years gone by.

EXTREME HEAT / WILDFIRES / DROUGHT / CLIMATE CHANGE-

AUSTRALIA – Bushfires along the NSW coast are threatening properties, but it's too dangerous for firefighters to tackle on the ground during RECORD SPRING TEMPERATURES. Four bushfires that started today are burning out of control and another that has destroyed 3,000 hectares on the NSW south coast has jumped containment lines. The RFS has declared a total fire ban across Sydney, the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains and the Central West including the towns of Dubbo and Parkes. The ban comes after the Bureau of Meteorology advised initial forecasts of hot, dry and windy conditions were expected to worsen and cause an extreme fire danger across many parts of the state. In the NSW far southeast, a fire in the Eurobodalla area, west of Central Tilba, has been burning since late August and broke containment lines on Sunday and is approaching a property. "We're seeing very erratic fire conditions."

MEXICO is enduring its WORST DROUGHT IN SIX DECADES. Crops are drying up in the fields and water is being rationed in the capital. The drought has caused shortages of staples like corn and beans.

WASHINGTON – The Seattle region's mid-September heat wave SHATTERED A HIGH TEMPERATURE RECORD Friday (9/11), and continued very warm conditions nearly reached the record high on Saturday.

CALIFORNIA – Beachgoers in Orange and San Diego counties have been treated to SOME OF THE WARMEST OCEAN WATER IN YEARS with water temperatures in the 70's.

TEXAS's WORST DROUGHT IN DECADES is stymieing its Gulf Coast's recovery from Hurricane Ike. Ike submerged the marshes in seawater, and the drought has deprived the land of the cleansing rains needed to purge salty residue left from the tidal surge. [The withering drought has severely diminished the quantity and quality of wetland habitat available to the early-migrating blue-winged teal. Central and South Texans have to look no further than their front lawns to see the damage the drought is doing to all types of vegetation.]

ILLINOIS – If global warming continues unchecked, Chicago would see a repeat of the killer 1995 heat wave EVERY summer by the middle of the century.

WISCONSIN will experience more heatwaves, flooding and reduced agricultural output due to climate change. In 1988, the entire country lost $40 billion from just one heat wave, mostly due to crop losses. That heat wave reduced corn and soybean yields in Wisconsin.

Quakes, volcanic eruptions, giant landslides and tsunamis may become more frequent as global warming changes the earth's crust itself, scientists warned on Wednesday. Climate-linked geological changes could also trigger "methane burps" – the release of a potent greenhouse gas, currently stored in solid form under melting permafrost and the seabed, in quantities greater than all the carbon dioxide in our air today. "When the ice is lost, the earth's crust bounces back up again and that triggers earthquakes, which trigger submarine landslides, which cause tsunamis. "Several high-latitude regions, such as Chile, New Zealand and Canadian Newfoundland are particularly at risk." Small changes in the mass of the earth's surface seems to affect volcanic activity in general, and not just in places where ice receded after a cold spell. Weather patterns also seem to affect volcanic activity – not just the other way round.

Last chance to change our behaviour – There is growing awareness of the damage we are doing to the planet and the natural resources on which we depend, yet we still carry on along the same track regardless, refusing to make much-needed changes to our behaviour. "Climate change has helped put the global environmental crisis on the map; but it is time to stop considering it as a single issue." More than half of the world's fisheries are fully exploited, putting 27 million jobs and $100bn of income at risk. One sixth of the world's population relies on fish as their main or sole source of animal protein. Yet despite considerable effort by many groups, unsustainable fishing continues on a global scale. The Amazon rainforest pumps 20 billion tonnes of water into the atmosphere each day, which drives global weather patterns and rainfall essential for people's survival. Yet we continue to lose tropical forest cover and with that the services it provides, not least the mitigation of droughts around the world. The Earth's natural systems provide many essential goods and services that ensure our survival and enhance our lifestyles and well-being – such as food, medicines, building materials, climate regulation, flood defence and leisure opportunities. The ecosystems that provide these services are rapidly decaying to the point of collapse. Governments tend to be driven by nationalistic, short-term agendas – increasingly so, as natural resources become ever scarcer and they rush to "capture" as much "natural capital" as they can. The need for systemic change and global solutions that transcend national boundaries has never been greater.

WASHINGTON – Because of the El Nino weather pattern, the ocean off Washington is between 1 and 2 degrees above normal. Large Humboldt squid have shown up in the Strait of Juan de Fuca where commercial fishermen say they are stealing their catches. Now, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife is giving the fishermen some revenge by allowing them to sell squid they accidentally catch as they troll for salmon. "This has never been done before. We had to dig out the regulations. We didn't know if a provision existed." Until recently the squid, which can grow to 6 feet long and weigh more than 100 pounds, were found in the Pacific from the southern tip of South America to the California coast. Researchers suspect warmer ocean temperatures are allowing the voracious squid to range as far north as British Columbia and parts of Alaska. Although Humboldt squid showed up off the Washington coast briefly in the 1930s, they disappeared until 2004, when large numbers were reported seasonally there and in Alaska and British Columbia waters. This year, fishermen are reporting the largest numbers yet. The squid will leave likely the area later this month once the water temperature starts to drop. No one knows how long the squid will keep coming back. They were rare even off most of the Southern California coast until roughly 10 years ago, and have been wreaking havoc on ecosystems all along the West Coast. If the squid keep returning each summer, the state would be concerned about their effect on the fishing industry.

NEW ZEALAND – Summer temperatures rocketed across the South Island Monday as a nor'wester kicked into gear, with Alexandra reaching a staggering 29 degrees at lunchtime. The temperatures are out of season. "Spring has only just started and to many scientists it is still technically considered winter for another week or so but temperatures today, right across New Zealand, are painting a completely different picture. Today's daily highs may have some record breakers in it." Christchurch experienced a "freakish" jump in temperature Monday as the norwester turned up the heat. Temperatures jumped from 9 degree C to 21 degree C in just 20 minutes. While it is relatively common for southerlies to cut temperatures that much and that quickly, it is UNUSUAL to see it go the other way. Dunedin Airport also had one of its HOTTEST NIGHTS ON RECORD for September, as the temperature remained in the low 20s until 5am. Eastern and central areas of the mainland could eye record highs for September as very warm air is being blown across the Tasman Sea.

CANADA – HEAT RECORDS BROKEN in eight Saskatchewan communities. It was abnormally hot Thursday; definitely not like a normal September. Rosetown was the hot spot in Canada with a temperature of 36.5 degrees. That beats its old record of 30 set back in 1981. Saskatoon is among a number of other communities to set new records. The official high was 32.2 degrees. The old record was 31.1 set back in 1976. Kindersley for instance, hit 32 degrees Thursday, smashing the old record of 30 from 1994. Environment Canada admits this is all pretty strange, "We do get some warm weather … usually in the first part of September. But when we get wide-spread 30 degree temperatures, that is UNUSUAL for this time of year."

Heat wave SMASHED WEATHER RECORDS in ten Alberta cities. Edmonton saw a record-breaking high of 32.2 C Wednesday afternoon, nearly reaching Kandahar province's high of 35 C. The scorching heat broke Edmonton's previous high of 29.9 C, set in 1981. Normal highs at this time of year are at about 17 C. It looked more like the middle of summer as locals strolled along city streets wearing shorts and T-shirts. 10 other communities across Alberta had record-breaking highs. The hottest city in Alberta was Medicine Hat with a high of 34.2 C. The city's previous record was set in 1892 with a high of 31.7 C. The heat is coming from a very strong upper ridge sitting over Montana, which is drawing warm, dry air from the U.S. into the province.

CANADA – Unseasonably warm temperatures made for another day of RECORD BREAKING HEAT across Saskatchewan on Saturday.

Scientists have recorded the WORLD'S WARMEST AUGUST OCEAN SURFACE TEMPERATURE EVER, a heat wave is heading for Queensland, Australia and an El Nino-borne drought looms. The weather bureau expects temperatures in far western Queensland to reach 40C early next week and hit 34C in Brisbane on Wednesday, driven by north to northwest winds. The US National Climatic Data Centre has found ocean temperatures were the warmest on record averaged for any June to August period in either the Northern Hemisphere summer or Southern Hemisphere winter – 1.03F above the 20th century average of 61.4F. The preliminary analysis is based on records dating to 1880. Large parts of the world's land mass had warmer-than-average temperatures in August. The warmest were Australia, Europe, parts of the Middle East, northwestern Africa and southern South America. Australia and New Zealand had their WARMEST AUGUST SINCE RECORDS BEGAN. The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for August was the second warmest on record, behind 1998. UNUSUAL drought-bearing El Nino conditions persisted, with tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures warmer than average. "These conditions are forecast to persist until at least year's end by most leading climate models."

MYSTERY BOOMS –

CANADA & WASHINGTON – September 2009, with reports as far back as April 2009 – Residents on Vancouver Island are puzzled by a recurrent loud rumbling noise that some liken to the sound of a jet, and others to an earthquake. It can last for up to 30 seconds. “It’s like a jet taking off.” A resident said the sound started about three weeks ago and is so loud she can hear it over traffic. She said the noise varies, but lasts for five to seven seconds before diminishing. “It’s ominous.” A seismologist at the Pacific Geosciences Centre said he has received reports from residents across southern Vancouver Island. One woman recorded the times the rumble was heard, but those times do not coincide with any seismic activity. An earthquake would have to be fairly large to be heard. Other suspects — blasting in Saanich, commercial aircraft on new flight paths and military detonations on Bentinck Island near William Head — were also ruled out, as was seismic testing being conducted by a research vessel 250 kilometres southwest of Vancouver Island. Some mused that the noise is coming from the American side, but in Washington state, residents are wondering what the Canucks are up to that's causing the racket. A reporter at the Peninsula News in Port Angeles said they've been reporting on the phenomenon for weeks, with some instances noted as early as April of this year. The noise is possibly from the naval air station on Whidbey Island. The U.S. is phasing out its EA6B Prowler fighter aircraft, and is training personnel with Boeing EA-18G Growler fighters. The aircraft is conducting touch-and-go exercises where the plane practices quick touchdowns, then accelerates for a fast takeoff to simulate the effect of aborting a landing on an aircraft carrier. [This only explains noise during the summer however.]

SPACE WEATHER-

A big sunspot appears to be growing on the far side of the sun. Yesterday, the National Solar Observatory's GONG network detected helioseismic echoes from the sunspot's gathering magnetic field. Today, NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft is beaming back images of an active region peeking over the sun's far-eastern limb – exactly where GONG data predicted it would be. "I believe this is a large active region belonging to new Solar Cycle 24. The sun's rotation should turn it toward Earth for direct viewing on Sept. 20th." Until then, the sunspot number remains pegged at zero. Why? Because farside sunspots do not count. Back in the 19th century when the sunspot number was invented, astronomers had no way of monitoring events on the farside of the sun, so no provision was made for adding farside spots to the total. NASA has two spacecraft (STEREO-A and -B) maneuvering for a 360 degree view of the entire sun, and by the year 2011 no sunspot will escape their detection. [site note: Due to earth's position, the spring and autumn (September 21) equinoxes are the most dangerous times for a solar plasma strike that could take down the power grid. It will be especially so in 2012.]

HEALTH THREATS –

Novel flu activity is declining in the Southern Hemisphere and in parts of Central America and the Caribbean but increasing in tropical areas of Asia and the Americas and in some parts of the United States and Eastern Europe. Oseltamivir-resistant strains have been identified in 21 patients. At least 3,205 deaths have been reported.

U.S. – H1N1 flu widespread in 11 states.

A new Associated Press-Gallup poll shows seniors are the group most interested in getting the pandemic H1N1 vaccine, plus more people in the 18- to 29-year-old age-group are now saying they'll get the shot. Younger people are bearing the greatest pandemic flu burden, so they are at the front of the line to receive the vaccine. During a normal flu season, seniors are at the front of the line for vaccine because they are among the hardest hit groups.

Pandemic H1N1 flu can infect cells deeper in the lungs than seasonal flu can. Influenza viruses infect cells by attaching to molecules on the outside of the cell, called receptors. Seasonal flu viruses attach to receptors found on cells in the nose, throat, and upper airway tract, but a study shows that pandemic H1N1 flu can also attach to a receptor found on cells deep inside the lungs, which can cause a more severe infection.

Inhaled H1N1 vaccine may ship within days – An official from MedImmune, which is making an inhaled vaccine against pandemic H1N1 influenza, said the company would begin shipping orders to the US government by the end of September. MedImmune said there are no "red flags" in the safety data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration and 5 million doses will likely be delivered by the end of the month, about 2 weeks ahead of other pandemic vaccine makers. [site note – Is it prudent to inhale a vaccine for a flu that can infect cells deep in the lungs??]

Receiving recent seasonal flu vaccines produced little or no immune response to this year's novel H1N1 in any age-group. However, 34% of adults older than 60 had cross-reactive antibodies to novel H1N1. Also, vaccination with the 1976 swine flu vaccine substantially boosted cross-reactive antibodies to novel H1N1 in adults. (pdf file)

Some swine flu patients are still infected with H1N1 virus that they can transmit to other people eight to 10 days after their symptoms strike, researchers say.

Members of the Group of Seven (G-7) leading economies plus Mexico at a Sep 11 meeting to discuss pandemic flu measures in Brussels agreed to prioritize pregnant women, healthcare workers, and people with underlying conditions for H1N1 vaccination. The seven nations – Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, and the US – also agreed to share data, coordinate vaccine actions, and help poorer nations fight the virus.

Surgical masks don't protect healthcare workers, but N95 respirators do, according to a 5-week trial at 24 Chinese hospitals.

The same genetic mutation that makes the pandemic H1N1
virus resistant to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) also reduces its ability to spread to others.

The unexpectedly robust response to just one dose of pandemic
H1N1 vaccine in research subjects might suggest that the vaccine boosts preexisting immunity to a similar strain that has circulated since 1977. Experts say other factors could also play a role, such as a slight priming effect from seasonal flu vaccination or a priming effect on the cell-mediated immune system from previous seasonal flu infections.

H1N1 said to kill at same rate as seasonal flu – The H1N1 flu death rate is lower than previously estimated and comparable to what is seen in a moderate flu season. The estimated case-fatality rate is between .007% and .045%. That would qualify as a category 1 pandemic (the lowest level) on the US government's pandemic severity index.

Experts say hand washing science shaky for flu
– Some infectious disease experts are questioning the science behind hand washing as a measure to curb the spread of the pandemic H1N1 virus. Though hand washing can prevent the spread of cold and other respiratory viruses, there is no evidence that it helps stop influenza. Flu transmits through airborne routes and hand washing could provide a false sense of security.

Pandemic may devastate poor nations – The H1N1 pandemic is causing "manageable disruptions" in affluent countries but will likely have a "devastating impact" on developing countries that have few health resources. The World Health Organization director-general predicted the pandemic will be a "watershed event" that will test the world on fairness issues. The European Commission urged members to share vaccine with developing nations.

The Obama administration has announced that the nation will donate 10% of its pandemic vaccine supply as supplies become available to help stop the global spread of the virus. That follows reports that most people may need only one dose of the vaccine, which will greatly boost the nation's stockpile. Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have also joined the donation program, which will go through the World Health Organization.

'Flu body bags' – Canada's health minister has ordered an investigation after body bags were sent to aboriginal reserves as part of supplies to deal with swine flu. The body bags were delivered this week to First Nation communities in Manitoba province which were hard hit by a disproportionate number of severe cases of swine flu a few months ago. Community leaders said they were "horrified" when they saw the bags. Health officials have apologised for any alarm caused and say the bags were just sent as routine restocking. "I was very disturbed and actually frightened that they're actually shipping that number of body bags to the communities," Manitoba's Grand Chief said. "I thought they were preparing for what the experts were predicting." Ties were already strained between aboriginal communities and the government, after Health Canada delayed sending hand gel to some reserves amid concerns it would be abused by alcoholics. Health Canada has recorded 76 deaths across the country attributed to the H1N1 virus.

Once public health officials start their mass swine flu vaccination campaigns in October, they'll be bracing for a deluge of complaints about adverse events–most of which won't have anything to do with the vaccine. "We are going to be overwhelmed with potential events," said Mike Osterholm, a public health expert at the University of Minnesota. "Anything that happens to anybody in the period of seven to 14 days after vaccination will be reported." Sorting the myriad of reports in an attempt to unveil any actual link will be a challenge.

Health-care leaders are urging an informed, measured response to what one expert describes as government-fueled hysteria surrounding the H1N1 flu. “At this point, we are dealing with a mild flu with a lot of media attention." As scientists examined this current outbreak, they found a much less lethal situation than first feared. “It was not necessarily the virus that was causing the deaths in Mexico. But it was the health system and community poverty.” The latest reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Health Department show elevated numbers for those with flu-like symptoms and positive blood tests. But that is probably due to the heightened awareness. The same reports show a much lower-than-average death rate for the flu, which kills more than 30,000 people every year in the United States. Most of the deaths and more serious complications such as pneumonia occur in the very old, very young and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma or compromised immune systems. "The hysteria is fulfilling itself. People are finding more flu, but the actual number of people dying from the flu is way down.” But it is too early to say how bad the flu season will be this year. Many say the vaccine development was rushed and question its safety. A survey of Hong Kong health workers found even during the height of global swine flu panic in May, less than half were willing to get vaccinated. The survey surprised some experts because Hong Kong was hit hard during the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. "I have questions in my own mind about the risk versus the reward,” a U.S. chief medical officer said. For some, the vaccine campaign harkens back to the 1976 swine flu, H1N1, outbreak that never really materialized. That year, one death was attributed to H1N1, but up to 25 deaths were linked to the vaccine. The CDC has eased recommendations for school closings in place of advice to separate sick students and step up hand-washing and sanitation measures. School will be closed only if the community situation becomes severe. Closing school is generally ineffective. “There never has been a successful quarantine program for the flu.”

Billions of dollars are being made in one of the biggest bonanzas ever seen on the vaccine front. Government officials in the U.S. and around the world have been scrambling to lay their hands on as much new swine flu vaccine as they can, as fast as they can. But signs are beginning to appear that suggest the supply may quickly beat the demand. The new survey in Hong Kong shows that more than half of all healthcare workers – the prime target of every plan regarding early inoculation – will turn it down. Only 48 percent of these first responders, including doctors and nurses, said they would allow themselves to be vaccinated. And fear of serious side effects is the primary cause of rejection. This isn't the only study to find a deep-seated reluctance to be first in line for any new vaccine. A new survey in Canada found that parents and healthcare workers are often frightened by a new vaccine. "Across the board, most people said they would need to know a lot more information about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, and a lot more about how risky the disease is before they would consider using it."

Tens of thousands of Londoners will be hit by a second wave of swine flu within three weeks
, it was claimed Friday. Experts warned that the pandemic is likely to be "at its peak" in the capital between the beginning of October and the end of November. Last week the Chief Medical Officer predicted that the next phase of the virus could kill 19,000. Over the next two months, Londoners will be tracked on http://www.flusurvey.org.uk to try to contain the virus and obtain more accurate figures. "About 15 per cent of the population will be ill."

Health ministers around the globe were sent a warning on Thursday in a report on the costs of averting a humanitarian disaster in the next few months.The swine flu pandemic could kill millions and cause anarchy in the world's poorest nations unless £900m can be raised from rich countries to pay for vaccines and antiviral medicines, says a UN report leaked to the Observer. The disclosure will provoke concerns that health officials will not be able to stem the growth of the worldwide H1N1 pandemic in developing countries. If the virus takes hold in the poorest nations, millions could die and the economies of fragile countries could be destroyed. It comes as officials inside the World Health Organisation, the UN's public health body, said they feared they would not be able to raise half that amount because of the global downturn. The 47-page report provides a detailed breakdown of the basic needs of 75 vulnerable countries with the weakest capacity to withstand an escalation of the virus. Six countries from Latin America, including Cuba and Bolivia, 21 countries from Asia and the Pacific such as North Korea and Bangladesh, and 40 countries from Africa such as Congo and Eritrea are included in the survey.

RECALLS & ALERTS:

-Muranaka Farm, Inc. of Moorpark, CA is recalling 1005 cases of 60 count bunched Parsley
, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

-Ippolito International, LP of Salinas, California is recalling 1,715 cartons of bunched spinach
, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

-As a result of routine testing, the USDA has found a positive result for salmonella on iceless green onions shipped by Steinbeck Country Produce of Salinas, CA.

-Premier Organics of Berkeley, CA is recalling 840 Cases of Artisana Raw Tahini of Lot 90811, in 16oz glass jars because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

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

Religion plays central role in development, says Tony Blair
Catholic News Agency
Sept 15, 2009

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told L’Osservatore Romano this week that religion, and concretely the Catholic Church, as “a crucial role in the development” of nations and is always oriented towards achieving the common good. The son of a militant atheist and a Protestant mother, Blair recounted his path to conversion and said it began long ago when he met his wife. “The faith has always been an important part of our life as a family,” he said. After referring to the differences in political life between Great Britain and the United States—where it is almost obligatory to refer to God in politics—Blair said he “shares completely everything that the Holy Father writes” in his recent encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate,” saying the letter should be “read and re-read.” “I believe religion has a central and unique role within society and for its development. Think for example of the way in which we use technology. But it is true that a conflict exists, because many people want to remove religion from the public sphere,” Blair continued.

Famed Fla. Megachurch to Vote on Fate of New Minister
By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Sep. 15 2009 11:59 PM EDT

Elders at the famed megachurch founded by the late D. James Kennedy have scheduled a congregational meeting for this Sunday to determine the fate of their new senior pastor, the Rev. Tullian Tchividjian. At the end of the meeting, members of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in good standing will vote on whether or not to dissolve the relationship with Tchividjian, who had been installed this past Easter as the Ft. Lauderdale church’s second senior minister in five decades. Though 91 percent of the congregation had voted in March to support the call for Tchividjian to serve as their new senior minister, six dissenters distributed a letter and petition to church members late July calling upon them to “reverse course before it is too late.” “We have seen a complete lack of respect towards the congregation and for long standing traditions that have been part of Coral Ridge’s rich heritage for decades,” stated the letter signed by Kennedy’s daughter, Jennifer Cassidy, and five others. “We were told many things that all sounded good at the time, but in fact those soothing words have largely proven empty and it keeps getting worse,” the dissenters added.

Atheist Groups Increase on School Campuses
By Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Sep. 19 2009 03:44 PM EDT

Atheist and religious skeptic student groups are on the rise across the country's high school and college campuses. The Secular Student Alliance added its 160th affiliate campus group last week and reports that demand for their group starting packets are high. "It’s been a challenge to keep up with the demand for services, especially group-starting packets and follow-up," said Lyz Liddell, senior campus organizer, in a statement earlier this month. "That’s a nice problem to have." The number of SSA campus affiliate groups has increased from 100 in 2008 to 160 this year. In 2007, the alliance counted only 80. Kirk Wilcox, president of the Non-Religious, Atheist, Free Thinker and Agnostic Alliance, told Central Michigan University's student newspaper Central Michigan Life that he's not surprised. "Over the years, it’s become more acceptable – people should be proud of who they are," he said. "If you want to be a Christian and go to church, that’s fine, but there should be institutions for people who aren’t religious."

Lawsuit alleges bishop who abused minors allowed priest-abuser to continue ministry
Catholic Culture
September 18, 2009

A 38-year-old Massachusetts man who claims he was abused by a priest of the Diocese of Springfield as he entered adolescence has filed suit against Bishop Thomas Dupré, Bishop Joseph Maguire, and a third diocesan official. The man alleges that Dupré, while chancellor of the diocese, was partly responsible for allowing Father Alfred Graves to continue in ministry after the diocese was made aware of other instances of abuse. Graves was laicized in 2006. Bishop Maguire, now 90, led the Church in Springfield from 1976 to 1991, while Bishop Dupré served as ordinary from 1995 to 2004, when he resigned in disgrace following his indictment for abusing minors in the 1970s.

The Catholic church sold my child
The Guardian, Saturday 19 September 2009

Unmarried mother Philomena Lee was forced to give up her son to Irish nuns, who sold him on to rich Americans. For decades she tried to find him. A chance meeting with Martin Sixsmith eventually uncovered the truth. It began with a chance encounter at a New Year's party in 2004. I was trying to leave, but a woman said she had a message for me. She knew I had been a journalist and she had a friend who wanted my help to solve a family mystery. I agreed to a meeting, and found myself embarking on a five-year quest for a man I had never met. The woman's friend was called Jane, a financial administrator from St Albans. She was in her late 30s and had been through an emotional experience. Just before Christmas, her mother, Philomena, tipsy on festive sherry, had revealed a secret she had kept for 50 years – she had a son she had never mentioned to anyone. Jane said her lost brother would be in his early 50s and probably living in America. The reason for the secrecy was that he had been born outside of marriage in Ireland at a time when such things were considered shameful. A little later I met Philomena herself. She told me she had given birth in a country convent at Roscrea in County Tipperary on 5 July 1952. She was 18 when she met a young man who bought her a toffee apple on a warm autumn evening at the county fair. "I had just left convent school," she said with an air of wistful regret. "I went in there when my mother died, when I was six and a half, and I left at 18 not knowing a thing about the facts of life. I didn't know where babies came from … "

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

PakistanRights Groups Seek Answers on Christian’s Death
New York Times
Sept 16, 2009

LAHORE, Pakistan — A Christian man detained on blasphemy charges was found dead in his jail cell on Tuesday in eastern Pakistan. Human rights groups here said he appeared to have been killed, perhaps in collusion with the authorities. The death of the Christian, Robert Fanish, 20, is part of a rising trend of violence against minorities in Pakistan, a panel of Pakistani human rights groups said in a news conference on Wednesday. It follows the burning deaths of six Christians in July, and mob attacks against Christian houses and a church in March and June. “This is a pattern,” said Asma Jahangir, the chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a prominent watchdog group that is independent of the government. Local police officials say Mr. Fanish committed suicide, a claim his family and human rights groups dismissed. Christians are a tiny minority in Pakistan. They are barred from running for president.

Convert Languishing in Jail in Ethiopia for Handing Out Bibles
Leader in Christian-Muslim relations accused of ‘malicious’ distribution.
By Compass Direct News
Simba Tian
Wed, Sep. 16 2009

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Compass Direct News) – A convert from Islam who has led a push for Muslim-Christian understanding in Ethiopia has been in jail for nearly four months since his arrest for “malicious” distribution of Bibles. Christian sources in Ethiopia said that, contrary to Ethiopian law, 39-year-old Bashir Musa Ahmed has not been formally charged since his arrest on May 23 in Jijiga, capital of Somali Region Zone Five, a predominantly Muslim area in eastern Ethiopia. Zonal police arrested him after he was accused of providing Muslims with Somali-language Bibles bearing covers that resemble the Quran, the sources said. An Ethiopian national, Ahmed is known as a bold preacher of Christianity and is credited with opening discussion of the two faiths between Christian and Muslim leaders. He is well-known in the area as a scholar of Islam, but his case has gone largely unreported in Ethiopia. A source who requested anonymity said authorities likely are secretly planning to transfer Ahmed from his Jijiga cell to Ghagahbur jail, in part to prevent other Christians from visiting him and in part because he has not been charged.

Chinese Megachurch Demolished; Congregants Badly Beaten
By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Sep. 17 2009 06:00 PM EDT

A megachurch in eastern China was recently demolished by reportedly 400 people in police suits, a human rights group reported Tuesday. Before dawn last Sunday, the mob raided the “Good News Cloth Shoes Factory,” which also serves as the site for the Fushan Church. Men tore at the building’s foundation with shovels as bulldozers worked to level other buildings on the site, according to ChinaAid Association. Meanwhile, dozens of church members sleeping at the construction site of the new church building were suddenly attacked with bricks and other objects. Several members were severely injured and were sent to the emergency room, and some members were unconscious. Over 100 people were injured by the attack, according to the church’s Web site. However, authorities told the local emergency room not to treat or give blood transfusions for the injured church members. Two of the injured congregants had to be transferred with oxygen masks to another hospital. The power, water and telephone lines to the Christian-run factory were also all cut off. Guards also closely monitored the supply lines running to the factory. "We are totally shocked to hear of this bloody crackdown against innocent Christian believers by the Fushan county officials," said Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid. "We urge the Chinese government to hold those abusive officials accountable and take concrete actions to guarantee the Fushan citizens' religious freedom."

Report: Sharp Rise in Religious Liberty Violations in Cuba
By K.J. Pascual
CP Latin America Correspondent
Fri, Sep. 18 2009 10:29 AM EDT

Pressure on religious leaders in Cuba has increased significantly over the past year, according to a new report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). Comprehensive evidence within the document details a sharp rise in religious liberty violations in the country, especially against the independent churches, noted the human rights watchdog. Independent church leaders from the fast growing Apostolic Movement have been particularly targeted for harassment, detentions and court summons by the government, according to the report. Last week Pastor Mario Alvarez, the Havana-based leader of a church affiliated with Apostolic Movement, was informed by government officials that he would be evicted from his home. Two other leaders from the Apostolic Movement are currently in prison. Alexi Perez, who oversees a group of around 100 church members at the Apostolic Evangelical Church in San Jose de las Lajas, has now been in prison for almost two months, while Pastor Omar Gude Perez was sentenced to six years in prison in July. According to CSW, this follows the detention of at least 60 pastors and leaders linked to the Apostolic Movement in May and June. CSW, a human rights organization which specializes in religious freedom around the world, has strongly condemned the treatment of independent church leaders.

'Appalling' Roadside Camp for Pakistani Christians Raises Concern
By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Aug. 21 2009 04:50 PM EDT

A U.K. group that aids the persecuted church expressed deep concern about the “appalling” living conditions of Christians in a squalid refugee camp in downtown Islamabad. According to a recent CNN Behind the Scene story, some 2,000 Christians are living in tents under 110 degree heat with their only source of water – used for drinking and washing – running over a trash site. Journalist Cal Perry reports that two people have died during the three months the camp has housed the Christians, and “children lay in the sun, totally exposed to the sun, suffering slowly.” The ministry Barnabas Fund, which referenced the CNN story, said it is working through local partners in Pakistan to help these desperate believers by distributing practical aid such as food and clean water to the families. It says that for $56.94 a whole family can be fed for a month. And for $12.15, five containers of five gallons of water can be bought. “Here is a real opportunity to save lives. Our brothers and sisters in Islamabad are in dire need of material assistance to prevent disease ravaging their already stricken camp,” said Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, international director of Barnabas Fund.

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