From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female”.
(Mark 10:6)

Beginning Of Creation

***

CHRISTIAN NEWS

Science Supports Genesis’: Geneticist Says Evidence Confirms Biblical Adam and Eve

July 27, 2015 | Filed under: Science,Top Stories | By: Garrett Haley

A respected molecular geneticist explores the historicity of Adam and Eve in a newly-released documentary, explaining that modern findings in the field of genetics confirm the Bible’s teachings that all humans descended from an original couple created by God.

Dr. Georgia Purdom earned a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Ohio State University and has published papers in a number of scientific journals, including the Journal of Neuroscience and the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. Formerly a biology professor, Purdom is now a researcher and speaker for the Christian apologetics ministry Answers in Genesis (AiG).

Since joining AiG, Purdom has written numerous articles and been featured in several DVDs and presentations. Her latest work, titled “The Genetics of Adam & Eve,” examines the Genesis account of mankind’s origins from the perspective of genetics.

“One of the biggest debates in Christianity today concerns the first two people: were Adam and Eve real or are they the product of myths?” Purdom wrote in an article for AiG. “Those who claim we have evolved over millions of years believe that Adam and Eve, as the Bible teaches about them, have no place in human history. They argue that the science of genetics proves we cannot be descended from only two people. Many Christians have accepted this position and propose that their historical existence is irrelevant to Christianity and the gospel.”

In an interview with Christian News Network, Purdom proposed that the historical existence of Adam and Eve is imperative for a proper understanding of the gospel.

“A historical Adam and Eve and original sin are the foundation of the gospel,” she said. “The bad news, sin and death, begins in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve sinned.”

Appreciating that Adam and Eve were real people helps people realize the need for a savior, Purdom explained.

“We need the good news, grace and life, which is found in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” she said. “Jesus is the solution to the problem of evil that began in Genesis 3. Paul made this connection very clear in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15.”

Purdom then detailed some recent genetic findings that support the Bible’s creation account.

“One of the most compelling genetic evidences for an original human couple created by God is mitochondrial DNA research done by creation geneticist, Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson,” she advised. “He clearly shows that the common human female ancestor of us all (biblical Eve) lived within the biblical timeframe of several thousand years ago.”

These findings, along with other evidence presented in “The Genetics of Adam & Eve,” directly contradict the claims of evolutionists, said Purdom.

“This female ancestor could not have lived 100,000 or more years ago as the evolutionists claim,” she continued. “In addition, genetics clearly shows that human and chimps do not share a common ancestor. There are many, many differences in their DNA that completely undermine the possibility of shared ancestry only a few million years ago.”

Purdom told Christian News Network that Christians should equip themselves with this scientific information, so that they can defend the reliability of the Bible, starting in Genesis.“Christians should be aware of the scientific proof for creation because Genesis is the most hotly debated book among evangelical Christians,” she asserted. “We need to show people that science supports and confirms the history presented in Genesis.”

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ARUTZ SHEVA

Activists Call to Rebuild Third Temple on Tisha B'Av

Temple Faithful Movement plans march to demand government 'remove enemies from Temple Mount and rebuild third Temple.'

By Ari Yashar

First Publish: 7/23/2015, 9:15 PM

Model of Third Temple (illustration)

On Tisha B'Av this Sunday, a fast day mourning the destruction of the First and Second Temple, Jewish activists plan to protest against the discrimination against Jews on the Temple Mount and the impunity given to Arab terror-supporters on the holy site, in a call to build the Third Temple.

The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement (also known as the Temple Faithful Movement) plans to march to the Temple Mount at 11 a.m. on Sunday, the Movement's head Gershon Salomon told Arutz Sheva on Thursday.

Salomon said the march is meant to mourn the "destruction of the Holy Third Temple by Israel's enemies" - in other words the prevention of the construction of the Third Temple, which is said to prelude the final redemption, due to the presence of hostile Muslim sources on the holy site.

Likewise the protest is meant to mourn how Hamas and Islamic State (ISIS) are allowed to go around "carrying their flags" on the Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

During the event, Salomon intends to call on the Israeli government "to remove the enemies from the Holy Temple Mount, to return the Holy Temple Mount to Israel and to immediately rebuild the Holy Third Temple."

The Jordanian Waqf retains de facto control of the Mount even since its liberation in the 1967 Six Day War, and it has forbidden Jews from praying at the site despite Israeli law ensuring freedom of worship.

Arabs at the Temple Mount have repeatedly desecrated the holy site by among other things playing soccer games; in one warped case last December, police arrested a Jew who requested a soccer game be stopped at the site - despite the fact that in September 2013 promises were made to enforce the law passed by the High Court years ago banning the soccer games on the holy site.

Likewise Arabs have tried to erase the Jewish nature of the site, where the First and Second Temples stood, by destroying ancient Jewish artifacts and building illegally.

***

ARUTZ SHEVA

Watch: Architectural Plans for Third Temple Have Begun

While most Jews mourn and pray, one organization has been busily preparing plans to rebuild.

Tisha b'Av: The Third Holy Temple Plans Have Begun


Today, on the Fast of Av, Jews throughout the world mourn the destruction of the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem and pray for the rebuilding of the Third Temple.

But one organization has been doing a lot more than just praying.

The Temple Institute has released a modern three-dimensional architectural rendition of the future Third Holy Temple, utilizing the latest building material and techniques.

The vivid, three-minute video walks viewers through the main sanctuary, showcasing decades of research and tens of innovative Halakhic (Jewish law) solutions to various perplexing issues that were resolved to create fully functional, ready-to-use plans.

While staying true to the Halakhic requirements and dimensions, the project also adds some clear modern twists.

As the visual tour sweeps through the sanctuary, one can see the menorah, incense altar and showbread table, all of which have already been prepared by the Institute, among 70 other sacred vessels.

The presentation was specially released to coincide with the Ninth of Av, the Jewish national day of mourning which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

The video comes one year after the Temple Institute appealed to its supporters to take part in an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign that raised over $100,000 for the architectural plans. The video was first released to supporters of a current campaign to raise the first kosher Red Heifer in Israel in over 2,000 years. Over the past five years, the organization has released its most ambitious campaigns and poignant videos to reframe the mourning period into one of active preparation for the Third Holy Temple.

Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of The Temple Institute noted that one of his organization's key aims is to educate Jews about the centrality of the Temple to Judaism, after nearly 2,000 years without it

"One third of all Torah commandments pertain to the building of and service in the Holy Temple," Rabbi Richman noted. "Today, we not only mourn the destruction of the two Holy Temples, but also our inability to fulfill one third of the Torah."

"Over the last three decades, the Temple Institute has done everything in our power to research and prepare for the Third Temple. As world Jewry sits on the ground mourning the first two Temples, we have taken a huge leap towards the rebuilding, by releasing a 3D architectural rendition of the Third Temple.

The Temple Institute is the center of research and preparation for the Holy Temple. In addition to educational activity focused on the centrality of the Temple Mount and Holy Temple, the Institute have also recreated over 70 sacred vessels for use in the Third Holy Temple, which can be seen at their Visitors Center in the Old City of Jerusalem.

***

WND

NOW ARCHANGEL BATTLES DEVIL IN DETROIT

'We gather together to stand, as 1 unit, against this demonic spirit'

Published: July 26, 2015

LEO HOHMANN

The winged and goat-head Baphomet was unveiled in Detroit Saturday night.

After weeks of speculation and protests by Christian leaders in Detroit, the unthinkable took place.

Just after 11 p.m. on July 25, a satanic organization unveiled a 9-foot statue of the goat-headed Baphomet, a pagan symbol of Lucifer. The 1-ton statue features two young children looking up adoringly at the devil.

Leaders of the Satanic Temple have been saying for weeks they planned to unveil the statue somewhere in Detroit and leave it there temporarily before moving it to Arkansas, where they plan to set it beside the Ten Commandments at the State Capitol. This is the same statue they attempted to erect months ago in the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Nine Detroit preachers have done battle with the Satanic Temple, protesting the statue being brought to their city and pleading with the city not to allow it.

“They got kicked out of Boston, Oklahoma didn’t want them, they tried to put (it) up in Florida, that was shut down,” said David Bullock of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in Detroit at a recent news conference. “Now they come to Detroit. Why do they come to Detroit?”

“We gather together to stand, as one unit, against this demonic spirit,” said Pastor Don Shelby of Burning Bush International Ministries.

Area Catholics held a special mass aimed at countering the spirit of the Satanists.

About 250 parishioners and supporters gathered Saturday morning at St. Joseph Catholic Church to pray for Detroit.

The Satanic Temple eventually got its way, as city leaders allowed them put up their statue.

The chosen site was the Lauhoff Corporation building in the Rivertown Warehouse District.

ChurchMilitant.com found the location, and several of its staff infiltrated the building, “where a loud party was in full swing,” the Catholic group said on its website.

“An earlier downpour had come through the roof and flooded the dance floor, and approximately 100 people milled around the dark, smoke-filled room. As the rain ceased, more people trickled in, and towards midnight the number went up to about 400. On one side of the room stood an inverted red cross, and on the other the nine-foot-tall statue of Baphomet, covered in a white sheet.”

But Church Militant brought their own version of a heavenly statue, only instead of a fallen angel, theirs was a sculpture of the Archangel Michael.

Church Militant had a 6-foot bronze statue of the archangel, which they hauled in a flatbed truck and prayed the prayer of St. Michael while encircling the site three times.


The 6-foot tall bronze statue of Archangel Michael was brought in to counter the influence of Satan.

Church Militant described the scene of the unveiling on its website:

“At 11 p.m., two men in leather S&M attire grabbed each side of the sheet and yanked it off, to loud applause and shouting. The men then stood directly in front of the monument and began kissing lewdly while the crowd cheered, and afterwards a steady stream of VIP ticket holders — who had paid $75 for the chance to approach the statue — took turns sitting on Baphomet’s lap while engaging in sexual groping, mostly homosexual in nature.”

Church Militant also crashed the indoor “unveiling party” and photographed the satanic supporters – and while some interviewed by a local TV station said they don’t actually worship Satan others did describe themselves as anti-Christian. Visible in one of the photographs is an illuminated, upside-down cross.

The ‘unveiling party’ held by the Satanic Temple in Detroit Saturday, July 25.

Satanic party-goers paid $25 for a ticket, and $75 to get photographed on Baphomet’s lap.

“We brought our six-foot bronze statue of St. Michael, who normally rests in our Abp. Fulton J. Sheen studio, as a counter-witness to the blasphemous goat-headed statue of Baphomet, meant to represent Satan,” the Catholic group said on its website. “According to Scripture, St. Michael is the angel who did battle against Lucifer and cast him out of Heaven into the Abyss.”

The Satanic Temple chose Detroit last year as home to its national chapter house.

“Detroit is our first and primary chapter,” spokesman Doug Mesner told the Detroit Metro Times. “We feel at home in Detroit.”

The Metro Times had previously referred to the Satanic Temple as “atheist” but was quickly corrected.

“The Satanic Temple has taken issue with our description of the organization as an “atheist activist group.” We apologize for the misrepresentation,” the newspaper said on its website.

The group’s request to place the satanic monument next to the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol was rejected. Mesner told Detroit Metro Times that the group is gearing up for a lawsuit against Oklahoma.

***

***

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DEFENDS PLANNED PARENTHOOD: ‘NOT A LOT OF EVIDENCE,’ STING VIDEOS OBTAINED ‘FRAUDULENTLY’

White House says it has no intention of launching investigation into fetal organ harvesting allegations

by INFOWARS.COM | JULY 30, 2015



White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended Planned Parenthood at a press conference Thursday, saying videos showing representatives explicitly discussing the alleged sale of aborted fetal tissue are “not a lot of evidence” of illegalities, and that Planned Parenthood “lives up to the highest ethical standards.”

Speaking to Fox News’ Doug McKelway, Earnest said the Obama administration has no intention of pursuing an investigation into the allegations, despite numerous calls from members of Congress to defund the abortion provider, and independent investigations launched by various state governors.

“Has the White House had any communication with Planned Parenthood about standardizing procedures for fetal tissue research? Has the White House had any concerns about illegalities in this realm? Have you had any sort of investigation, or are you considering one?” McKelway asks.

“Not that I’m aware of,” Earnest says. “I think Planned Parenthood has been quite specific about the policies and procedures that they have in place, and I know they have described those policies and procedures as living up to the highest ethical standards.”

***

***

THE FEDERALIST

The Big Gay Marriage Lie

Gay marriage, we've been told, will not affect you. What a crock.

By Daniel Payne

JULY 24, 2015

It has become devastatingly clear that virtually the entirety of the gay-marriage activist effort was built on a lie. That lie, repeated ad nauseam, was this: gay marriage will affect nobody outside of the gays who wish to partake in it. This will become abundantly false as the Supreme Court-instituted gay marriage regime takes effect.

We did not actually need to nationalize gay marriage to realize this. We have had examples for years from the states that already legalized the practice. Combined with the growing public hostility towards supporters of traditional marriage, it is impossible at this point to deny that gay marriage is a growing and serious threat to the liberty of those who disagree with it.

Gay Marriage Doesn’t Hurt Anyone

Exhibit A comes to us from Gresham, Oregon, a state in which gay marriage has been legal since 2014. In Gresham, a couple of bakers declined to make a wedding cake for a lesbian wedding. Because the lesbians in question endured “emotional and mental suffering” after their cake request was turned down, the state’s labor commissioner demanded that the bakers—a husband-and-wife team—pay the plaintiffs $135,000.

In addition to this astronomical charge, the excitable commissioner ordered that the couple was not allowed to publicly proclaim their desire to not bake cakes for gay weddings. That is to say, the state slapped the Christian bakers with an enormous fine, then forbid them from advocating the point of view for which they were being fined.

Gay marriage, we’ve been told, will not affect you.

Exhibit B is found near Albany, New York, a state in which gay marriage has been recognized since 2011. At the Liberty Ridge Farm, another husband-and-wife team was fined $13,000 for refusing to host a gay wedding on their property (at which they host other public and private events). In 2012, a lesbian couple requested to use the property for their wedding. Believing in traditional marriage, the couple declined. Unluckily for the owners of the property, the phone call was being recorded. A judge subsequently determined the farmers guilty of “sexual orientation discrimination,” hence the fine. The farmers were also ordered to attend “staff re-education training classes.” The defendants have appealed the decision.

Just legalize it, we were told for years. It’s not going to affect you!

No More Churches For You

Exhibit C comes from the laughably-misemployed religion writer for The New York Times, Mark Oppenheimer: “Now’s the time,” he announced after the ruling, “to end tax exemptions for religious institutions.” Oppenheimer, you see, believes that a tax exemption is functionally identical to a “subsidy,” and because religious institutions and other non-profits can be “quite partisan,” they don’t deserve to receive “subsidies” that require the rest of us to “faithfully cut checks to them.”

Newspapers are using freedom to silence differing opinions on a critical, complex issue of serious public interest.

As a result of the Supreme Court declaring that homosexuals have the right to marry, in other words, we’re now facing an energized progressive intelligentsia that wishes to effectively shutter many if not most of America’s churches.

They told us over and over again: Gay marriage has nothing to do with you! You don’t have to worry about it!

Exhibit D—perhaps the most foreboding—is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in which the editor of PennLive/The Patriot-News announced the paper “will no longer accept, nor will it print, op-eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage.” Under the First Amendment, the paper is free to refuse to print any letters it wants, of course. It is unfortunately utilizing that precious freedom to silence differing opinions on a critical, complex issue of serious public interest.

It is wholly plausible that many newspapers will follow suit, believing that opposition to or even skepticism about gay marriage is equivalent to, as the above newspaper’s editor put it, “racist, sexist, or anti-Semitic” opinions. Overnight, the sincerely-held opinions of a great many good, well-intentioned Americans became verboten. Reasonable dissent will not be tolerated.

Cheer Gay Marriage Or Face an Angry Mob

Over and over and over, the refrain went: Gay marriage is not a threat to you! Legalize it and nothing will change!

A ruling in favor of ‘love’ has instead resulted in open and unapologetic hate.

We have known for some time that this refrain was a lie—that it was a willful lie, and that these assurances were nothing more than a smokescreen of dishonesty and political chicanery. It is obviously not enough for gay marriage to be merely legal; progressives take it as a matter of personal offense that anybody, anywhere might not get behind homosexual matrimony as enthusiastically as the Left has done.

The Supreme Court’s decision will only galvanize this tendency. Thus comes the deluge, now on a national scale: the fines, the gag orders, the unfavorable tax treatment, the refusal to entertain the opposition’s opinion in polite society. The Supreme Court has unleashed a strange, almost comical beast upon the American body politic: a ruling in favor of “love” has instead resulted in open and unapologetic hate, and a public campaign made in the name of “tolerance” has instead resulted in a ruthless regime of intolerance.

Endlessly, it was repeated: if gay marriage is legalized, it will have nothing to do with you. Well, here we are. Gay marriage is legal. And it is clear that it will have everything to do with every one of us. We were lied to, and we will have to deal with the consequences, one silenced baker and bankrupt church at a time.

***

Zero Hedge

Greek Economy Faces Total Collapse As Doctors Flee, Retail Sales Plunge 70%

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/28/2015 12:56 -0400

Back in May we outlined the cost to the Greek economy of each day without a deal between Athens and creditors.

At the time, a report from the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Enterprises showed that 60 businesses closed and 613 jobs were lost for each business day that the crisis persisted without a resolution.

Since then, things have deteriorated further and indeed, with the imposition of capital controls, businesses found that supplier credit was difficult to come by, leading to the very real possibility that Greece would soon face a shortage of imported goods, something many Greeks clearly anticipated in the wake of the referendum call as evidenced by the lines at gas stations and empty shelves at grocery stores.

As a reminder, here’s what WSJ said earlier this month:

Wholesalers can’t pay for supplies. Importers’ foreign counterparts won’t trade.

Greece’s cash crunch hit small merchants first. They are less able to get credit from their suppliers, especially those dealing in perishable products that are continually imported. Christos Georgiopoulos owns a gourmet supermarket in Plaka, a picturesque Athens neighborhood frequented by tourists. He sells Champagne and Russian crab legs.

Nobody is buying. "I haven’t had a single customer in two days," he said Wednesday. He is shutting down his shop and says he doesn’t know when he will reopen. He gave some crab legs to his workers and is taking some home. "I haven’t paid my staff and don’t know if and when I will," he added.

And then there was this rather disconcerting commentary from AFP:

Greece's dive into financial uncertainty is forcing struggling businesses to take unusual steps to survive, including hoarding euros in cash.

Businesses which import their raw materials have been the hardest hit, says Vassilis Korkidis, head of the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE).

As unease spreads, getting ones hands on cash has become a sort of national sport, with businesses from restaurants to car mechanics telling customers paying by card is no longer an option.

The inevitable result of the above is that banks’ already stratospheric NPLs are set to rise further meaning that with each passing day, the banking sector’s recapitalization needs grow as the economy sinks further into depression.

Perhaps now that the "Quadriga" (the new moniker for Athens’ creditors which was ostensibly adopted to reflect the fact that there are now four institutions involved rather than three but which incidentally conjures images of the triumphant statue atop the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin) has touched down in Athens, creditors’ "technical teams" will get a good hard look at what happens when you force deep fiscal retrenchment on a country whose economy is collapsing and then rub salt in the wound by cutting off liquidity and enforcing capital controls.

Here’s some color on just how dire the economic situation has become, via Kathimerini:

Turnover in retail commerce is posting an annual drop that in some cases amounts to 70 percent even though the market is in a sales period. Capital controls have prevented Greek consumers from shopping, while even foreign tourists appear reserved due to the increased uncertainty on developments in Greece.

An extraordinary meeting of the board of the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) on Monday heard data from representatives of local associations that pointed to an annual drop of between 40 and 70 percent since the capital controls were imposed.

In Athens, the decline came to 40 percent, while in markets outside the city center it was even greater. Thessaloniki and Piraeus reported a 60 percent fall and Trikala, in central Greece, a 60-70 percent shrinking. Even tourism hotspots such as Rhodes had a 50 percent decline in turnover.

And a bit more from Greek Reporter:

The Athens Medical Association (ISA) warned about major shortages in medical staff over the next years, since an increasing number of Greek doctors, especially those working in highly specialized fields, and nurses are looking for jobs abroad and leaving the country.

According to the association’s figures, more than 7,500 doctors have migrated to other countries since 2010. It was reported that in the first six months of 2015, ISA issued 790 certificates of competence, an official document required for medical sector employees who wish to work abroad. However, the report also noted that up until 2009, on average, 550 doctor were taking jobs abroad each year.

"One of the biggest losses in the crisis has been that of great minds," ISA chief Giorgos Patoulis stated to Greek newspaper Kathimerini. "In a short time, the national healthcare system will have an aged personnel and will be unable to staff services."

Furthermore, the data showed that a total of 8,000 unemployed Greeks have been forced to look for job opportunities abroad. The Greek Nurses Union announced that it issued 349 certificates just last year, 357 in 2012 and 74 certificates in 2010.

And don't expect this situation to improve any time soon because despite the passage of two sets of prior bailout measures, still more austerity will need to be pushed through the Greek parliament if Athens hopes to activate bailout funds by August 20, in time to make a €3.2 billion payment to the ECB. Here's Reuters:

"More reforms are expected from the Greek authorities to allow for a swift disbursement under the ESM. This is also what is being discussed right now," [and EU Commission spokesperson] said.

The banks have reopened after the ECB increased emergency funding but capital controls remain in place. Doubts persist about whether a severely weakened Greek economy can support another programme after a six-year slump that has cut output by a quarter and sent unemployment over 25 percent.

Among politically sensitive measures held back from the initial package were curbs on early retirement and changes in the taxation of farmers to close loopholes that are highly costly for the Greek state. A source close to the talks said these reforms were expected to be enacted by mid-August.

However, touching pensions is sensitive with Tsipras's left-wing Syriza party, which has already suffered a substantial revolt over the Brussels agreement, and the main opposition New Democracy party opposes ending tax breaks for farmers.

In other words, Tsipras is about to go back to parliament and attempt to pass a third set of prior actions that will further imperil Greeks' ability to spend, and he must do so quickly because if creditors aren't satisfied with the progress by August 18, then paying the ECB won't be possible and then it's either tap the remainder of the funds in the EFSM (which would require still more discussions with the UK and other decidedly unwilling non-euro states) or risk losing ELA which would trigger the complete collapse of not only the economy but the banking sector and then, in short order, the government.

And through it all, Tsipras is attempting to beat back a Syriza rebellion (which will only be exacerbated by the upcoming vote on the third set of measures) while convincing the opposition that he's not secretly backing the very same Syriza rebels in their attempts to forcibly take the country back to the drachma.

The only real question at this point is whether Greece can possibly navigate the next several months without descending into outright chaos, politically, economically, and socially.

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RT

Vulture funds demand brutal austerity measures from bankrupt Puerto Rico

Published time: 29 Jul, 2015 08:27

A group of hedge funds that hold a large proportion of Puerto Rico’s debt have demanded that its government fires teachers, collects more taxes and reforms labor laws, as the US territory contemplates default.

The demand was stated in a report written by three economists with strong links to the International Monetary Fund and was commissioned by the Ad Hoc Group of Puerto Rico, which comprises 34 hedge funds. The financial organizations specialize in buying “distressed debt” – finances owed by borrowers who have no capacity to pay – for pennies on the dollar, and then attempting to extract at least some of the money. Known by the derogatory monicker “vulture funds,” many of the 34 funds were involved in prominent bankruptcies during the 2008 financial crisis, and previous national defaults.

Together they are owed $5.2 billion in bonds issued by the Caribbean island, which belongs to the US, but is not considered a part of it. Last month, Alejandro Garcia Padilla said the island’s $72 billion overall debt was “unpayable.”

But the authors of the report say Puerto Rico “can avoid a costly default” and “generate a growing surplus” through revenue increases that can bring in $3 billion a year by 2020, and expense cuts that can lop off $2 billion from the budget by the same date.

The authors accused the island, where an estimated 56 percent of children live in poverty, of spending too much on education, while the government has already closed down almost 100 schools so far this year.

Among the suggested measures are “reducing the number of teachers to fit the size of the student population” and cutting “subsidy to University of Puerto Rico” as well as “excess Medicaid benefits.”

Puerto Rico spends about 80 percent of the US average on education, despite having a median household income at one-third of that in the mainland. Meanwhile, it suffers from some of the lowest graduation rates, and performance scores of all the US states and territories.

“The real expense per student has increased enormously without increasing the quality of education. It’s for the government to decide how much to cut spending by, but you don’t want to waste government resources. There has to be efficiencies. It is more important to establish a position for growth,” Jose Fajgenbaum, one of the authors of the report, told The Guardian.

The authors also advocate an increase in one of the lowest income tax rates in the world – 4 percent – and bigger property taxes.

Local officials, who are pushing for a bailout from Washington, or renegotiated terms with creditors, dismissed the report.

“The simple fact remains that extreme austerity is not a viable solution for an economy already on its knees,” Víctor Suárez, chief of staff to the governor, said in a statement.

Luis Gallardo, majority municipal legislator for Aguas Buenas, a rural city on the island, told the Guardian it was a “typically IMF recipe” that ignores the problems of the local population.

The island suffers from a brain drain – with the seventh-fastest speed of population decline of any territory in the world last year, and one of the highest violent crime rates in the region.

A decision on the financial future of Puerto Rico is expected to be announced in the coming days.

***

TOP ECONOMIC FORECASTER WARNS: HAVE CASH ON HAND TO SURVIVE FOR THREE MONTHS: “NO INSTITUTION IS SAFE”

How do you prepare for the uncertainty of what’s to come?

Image Credits: Todd Kravos via Flickr.

by MAC SLAVO | JULY 25, 2015

Economic forecaster Martin Armstrong, who is known for having accurately predicted major events like the Savings & Loan crash, the collapse of Japanese financial markets and the destruction of the Russian economy almost to the day, says that a major turning point is coming to the global paradigm this October. While stopping short of calling for an all out crash, Armstrong’s cyclical turning point of 2015.75suggests that very big changes are set to take place.

But how do you prepare for the uncertainty of what’s to come?

Armstrong says you’d better have some cash on hand for short-term disruptions, just in case your financial institution shuts down like they did in Greece:

No institution is safe for all can be closed by decree, including credit unions. This is true of safe deposit boxes as well. They may not confiscate it, but they can deny access. PLAN B should be an amount of cash that is enough to live on for at least one month if not three months insofar as basic essentials, not mortgages, etc. Effectively this is food money and gas for the car. Gold coins will not help in this case, nor will silver coins, for we are not talking about trying to preserve wealth; this is the emergency stash for living purposes in case you need CASH, which is recognized by everyone. Try explaining a silver quarter to a teenage clerk who has no authority to accept a quarter for more than a quarter. Precious metals will be more of an underground economy of barter; it will not be useful at the local supermarket.

Also, keep in mind that cash could come in handy in a computer failure, whereas you cannot access a bank, exchange, etc. just to survive for there could be a scenario where not even plastic credit cards or debt cards would offer any help.

Source: Armstrong Economics

If America goes the way of Greece and the government enacts capital controls you can fully expect hours-long lines at ATM machines and banks just to get your daily allotment of $50 – $100. That, of course, is not enough for the majority of Americans to cover their most basic expenses including mortgage payments, food, and other necessary expenditures.

In such a scenario, having a one to three month reserve of cash will come in handy.

And though Armstrong says that gold and silver will likely not be accepted at your local super market, he has also previously noted that gold itself is an asset of last resort to preserve wealth in a situation where the public has lost confidence in their governing bodies. Thus, while you may not be able to hand a pre-1965 junk silver quarter to your grocery clerk in the immediate aftermath of a financial emergency, barter markets will likely emerge just like they did in Greece following the initial collapse of that country and at that point trading directly with gold, silver or other physical assets like liquor, cigarettes and food may become commonplace.

It should be clear that something is very wrong in financial markets. There is a wide body of evidence confirming this assessment, but most recently we learned that China has dumped over half a trillion in dollar-denominated assets and many of the same scenarios we saw in 2008 are playing out all over again.

While forecasters like Armstrong understand that the system under which we currently operate is set to fail, what’s difficult to predict is exactly how such a collapse may play out.

Thus, preparing for a wide range of potential scenarios is in order and that means positioning yourself to survive a short-term disruption to the regular flow of commerce, as well as longer-term scenarios that affect the credit markets and the systems that depend on them.

Should the system buckle we can expect widespread rioting, panic and confusion, something for which the government has been actively training personnel to handle on a mass scale.

Significant changes are coming. Be ready for them.

***

Daily Mail

Islamic State secretly planning to provoke 'end of the world' by attacking India to try and entice USA into all-out war, document reveals

  • Urdu document passed to U.S. media by Pakistani with links to the Taliban

  • Preparations underway to attack India as a way of enticing U.S. into battle

  • Urges Taliban factions to join with ISIS in bid to form a worldwide caliphate

  • Worldwide caliphate will 'behead every person that rebels against Allah'

  • U.S. intelligence officials say they believe the document is authentic

By ELAINE O'FLYNN FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 04:02 EST, 29 July 2015 | UPDATED: 08:35 EST, 29 July 2015

A recruitment document understood to be written by ISIS militants has revealed the terrorist group's plans for all-out war to bring about 'the end of the world'.

The Urdu document, passed to the American Media Institute by a Pakistani citizen connected to the Taliban, reveals the scale of the ambition of ISIS, including targeting India to provoke the U.S. to intervene.

It details how they are urging the units of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban into one army with ISIS, and asking al-Qaeda to join ISIS to forge a caliphate.

Recruiting: A document found in Pakistan and understood to be written by ISIS militants has revealed the terrorists group's plans to entice the U.S. into battle by targeting diplomats and launching attacks on India

'Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last person that rebels against Allah,' the document, seen by USA Today, reads.

Preparations for an attack on India are underway, it adds, which ISIS leaders hope will end with a war with the U.S.

'Even if the U.S. tries to attack with all its allies, which undoubtedly it will, the ummah [world's global community] will be united, resulting in the final battle', it adds.

The pamphlet outlines a plan to target U.S. soldiers as they pull out from Afghanistan, kill American diplomats and attack Pakistani officials.

U.S. intelligence officials have reviewed the document and say they believe it is authentic, based on the language used and a series of 'unique' markings.

MailOnline in India revealed security forces in the country have stopped more than 25 Indian citizens from joining ISIS, after they were radicalized by the terror group.

Security officials closely monitored their lives but have decided not to arrest or charge the would-be jihadis with any offence, as part of a new strategy to try and de-radicalize them.

In June India's defense minister Rao Inderjit Singh said ISIS' bulging bank balance means it could potentially buy a nuclear weapon from Pakistan.His comments to a security conference in Singapore added weight to ISIS' own claims last month that it is 'infinitely' closer to acquiring nuclear weapons, which it would then attempt to smuggle into North America and detonate.

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THE INDEPENDENT

Yemen conflict has pushed six million people to the brink of starvation, Oxfam warns

The UK is helping to arm Saudi planes attacking rebel targets in the country

ALISTAIR DAWBER

Tuesday 28 July 2015

The UK is helping to arm Saudi planes attacking rebel targets in the country

The four-month-old war in Yemen has pushed more than six million people to the brink of starvation, according to a report.

The full extent of the humanitarian crisis in the country, where the UK is helping to arm Saudi planes attacking rebel targets, emerged as a five-day ceasefire to allow aid workers access to some of the worst affected areas was broken within minutes by shelling from both sides.

The shocking new figures on food shortages come from Oxfam, which says that since the Saudi-led coalition began its aerial onslaught in March, an extra 25,000 people each day are going without food and other basic provisions, with 13 million – more than half Yemen’s population – now facing shortages. The fighting has led to a humanitarian disaster that threatens to produce the highest ever recorded number of people living in hunger, according to the charity.

The conflict between a Sunni force backed by a Saudi-led coalition on one side and the Shia Houthi rebels on the other began with a Saudi bombing campaign on 25 March. The Saudis, and their allies from the Gulf, are fighting to prop up the collapsing administration of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

A Houthi militant walks in front of a government compound, destroyed by recent Saudi-led air strikes, in Yemen's northwestern city of Amran (Reuters)

Mr Hadi was forced from the capital, Sanaa, in January by Houthis fighters, who have the backing of Iran. The Houthis’ aim is to reinstate the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was overthrown during the Yemeni chapter of the Arab uprising in 2012.

Earlier this month, the British defence minister, Earl Howe, confirmed that the UK was providing arms to Saudi Arabia that are being used in Yemen. “We are not participating directly in Saudi-led military operations in Yemen, but we are providing technical support, precision-guided weapons and exchanging information with the Saudi Arabian armed forces through pre-existing arrangements,” he said in a Parliamentary written answer.

“We have a small number of liaison personnel in Saudi and coalition air and maritime headquarters. This includes personnel in the maritime coalition co-ordination centre in the region supporting the delivery of humanitarian aid into Yemen.”

It is believed that the weapons are 500lb Paveway IV bombs which, according to the Defence News website, were originally earmarked for the RAF before being switched to the Saudis for use against targets in Yemen. The switch was made to ensure that the Saudi Air Force had the necessary stocks to continue its sorties.

“No UK military personnel are directly involved in Saudi operations in Yemen,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence yesterday. The Department for International Development pointed out that the UK has provided £55m in aid to Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition is not making significant headway and the longer the conflict – and a Saudi blockade of Yemen – continues, the more people are at risk from food shortages. “As the warring parties continue to ignore calls for a ceasefire, the average family is left wondering when their next meal will be, if they survive the bombs. They are now running out of food,” said Philippe Clerc, Oxfam’s country director in Yemen. The fighting has already cost more than 3,700 lives, according to UN figures, almost 1,700 of whom are civilians.

But for those that survive, the situation is quickly becoming intolerable, with supplies not only of food, but also of water, medicine and shelter fast running out.

“We were waiting impatiently for Ramadan all year. It is the best month of the year when my brothers and other traders provide us with… enough food for six months. But this year, everyone has been affected by the conflict – there is no distinction between the poor and the rich,” said Um Osama, a widow living with her six children in Al Turba, in Taiz, a city about 70 miles from Aden in the west of the country.

Displaced Yemeni children gather at a shelter inside a school turned temporary evacuation center in Sana'a, Yemen, 26 July 2015 (EPA)

“Now we do not have any shelter after our house was destroyed by an aircraft, we do not have enough food to eat even for one night, and my only child who was taking care of the whole family, [my son] Osama, has been killed.”

Despite a deadline of midnight on Sunday for the start of a five-day cessation to enable aid agencies to bring in desperately needed supplies. Fierce fighting continued across the country, however.

In a statement, the Houthis said that they had fired missiles at Saudi military posts on border posts in the Saudi Jazan region, while Saudi media reported that the attack had been “responded to”. In nearby Sabr, a key supply route, there were reports of fierce exchanges between the two sides. Witnesses told the Associated Press that corpses of fighters were lying in the streets.

Mohammad Said Saad Al-Anessi, an electrical engineer from Al-Khamis in the Amran Governorate, said the war had forced his family into homelessness. “We didn’t flee because we wanted to. We were forced to flee… we are exhausted… We are now homeless,” he said.

Even before the civil war, Yemen was the poorest country in the Middle East and had the world’s second highest malnutrition rate. Now, in the Saada region in the north of Yemen, Oxfam warns that 80 per cent of the population – at least 670,000 people – are going hungry, with 50 per cent of them at critical levels.

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THE HILL

House passes bill blocking states from requiring GMO labels on food

By Lydia Wheeler and Cristina Marcos

July 23, 2015, 02:07 pm

Getty Images

The House on Thursday passed hotly contested legislation that would keep states from issuing mandatory labeling laws for foods that contain genetically modified organisms, often called GMOs.

The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, which passed 275-150, would instead create a federal standard for the voluntary labeling of foods with GMO ingredients.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who authored the bill, called mandatory labeling laws — which have already passed in Vermont, Connecticut and Maine — unnecessarily costly given that GMOs have been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Precisely zero pieces of credible evidence have been presented that foods produced with biotechnology pose any risk to our health and safety,” Pompeo said. “We should not raise prices on consumers based on the wishes of a handful of activists.”

Opponents have pushed back against the legislation, saying it will keep consumers from knowing what’s in their food and stop FDA from crafting a national GMO-labeling solution.

Consumer groups, backed by Democrats including Reps. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) and Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), are instead calling the bill the Denying Americans the Right to Know Act.

“American families deserve to know what they are eating and feeding to their children,” DeLauro told reporters Wednesday. “The FDA already requires clear labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives and food processes. GMOs should be no different.”

Proponents of the legislation, however, claim a patchwork of labeling laws at the state level would drive up food costs.

Citing a study from a Cornell University professor, the Grocery Manufacturers Association said state-level GMO labeling mandates would increase grocery prices for a family of four by as much as $500 per year and cost food and beverage manufacturers millions of dollars to change food labels and supply chain systems.

But Democrats maintain that labeling would ensure transparency.

“What’s the problem with letting consumers know what they are buying?” asked Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Democrats in the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, meanwhile, threw their support behind the legislation just before the bill went to the floor for a vote Thursday.

“A patchwork of confusing state specific laws related to GMO labeling risks further confusion in the marketplace and rising food costs,” the Blue Dog Coalition said in a statement. “However, we also understand that consumers have the right to know if food is GMO-free and this bill provides a uniform standard for those products through a USDA administered program.”

The House rejected two Democratic amendments to enhance GMO-labeling requirements. One offered by DeLauro, which failed 163-262, would have banned the use of the term “natural” on food that contains a genetically engineered plant. Another proposal from DeFazio that would have forced any U.S. company that labels a product as containing GMOs in a foreign country to label the equivalent product the same way in the U.S. went down by a vote of 123-303.

A third amendment offered by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) that would have given Native American tribes the authority to prohibit or restrict the cultivation of GMO crops on tribal lands failed 196-227.

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EXPRESS

Britain gets EU exit boost: Shock poll reveals scale of voter anger with Brussels

THE crusade for Britain to quit the EU has received a massive boost after a shock poll revealed the full scale of voters' frustration with Brussels.

By MACER HALL, EXCLUSIVE

PUBLISHED: 00:01, Wed, Jul 29, 2015 | UPDATED: 19:48, Wed, Jul 29, 2015

Two-thirds of people believe the multi-billion annual cost of EU membership is too high and does not represent value for money, the survey found.

Regaining control over UK borders to end mass migration from other EU nations was widely seen as the top priority for voters.

And an overwhelming majority wanted a far bigger reduction in meddling from Brussels than David Cameron is seeking in his diplomatic push for a new EU deal for Britain, the figures showed.

Eurosceptics seized on the findings as clear evidence that the campaign for a British exit is winnable when the forthcoming in-or-out referendum on the country's EU membership is held.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: "The ‘No to EU’ side can win this referendum as long as we make the right arguments on the issues people really care about such as border controls, which is exactly what we in Ukip intend to do."

The survey of 5,000 voters by polling firm Survation, commissioned by the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe, is the biggest detailed study of public opinion on Europe for years.

It asked a series of questions about attitudes to the EU and what should be the Prime Minister's top priorities in his drive to renegotiate the country's EU membership deal.

Immigration was seen as the most important issue in his diplomatic push, according to the poll.

Thirty-two per cent of voters stated that "ending the free movement of people" across EU borders should be the top item on his agenda in his diplomatic push.

A further 18 per cent wanted the restoration of sovereignty from Brussels to the Westminster parliament as the top priority.

And 15 per cent wanted the cost of EU membership, currently around £11billion a year, slashed so the cash could be spent within the UK.

Mr Farage pointed out that the top three priorities for EU reform were not even on Mr Cameron's shopping list.

He said: "It is clear that Cameron's so-called renegotiation is a farce, given he has no intention of fighting for the changes the British people want.

"Open-door immigration, even to those currently undecided about whether to remain in the EU or not, is the number one concern. David Cameron has no intention of addressing this.

"It is vital therefore that EU open borders are part of this referendum debate.

It is clear that Cameron's so-called renegotiation is a farce, given he has no intention of fighting for the changes the British people want

"The fact that inside the EU we have no say over the quantity nor quality control of those who come to our country is of huge significance to the British people and we must highlight that we can only control the numbers coming in by voting No and leaving the EU.

"It is also clear that the British people want a Parliament which is free to make it's own laws without interference from the EU and to stop money flowing from the UK to Brussels.

"None of these issues are even open for discussion and so we in Ukip will be campaigning hard to expose David Cameron's commitment to keep the UK locked inside the EU. Ukip will be leading the charge to secure a No vote."

The poll comes ahead of a new drive by Ukip to fire up the campaign for a British exit from the EU ahead of Mr Cameron's planned EU referendum.

The historic vote on the country's European future is due to be held by the end of 2017 but some Whitehall insiders believe it could come as early as June next year.

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister revealed that he is planning a fresh round of talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders in his attempt to negotiate a new EU membership deal.

Ukip leader Mr Farage is planning to speak at dozens of public meetings around the country over the coming months to try to start winning the case for quitting the EU.

And in a major speech on Thursday he will say that time must not be wasted in the battle to win over voters.

According the Survation poll, the Yes to EU camp is currently ahead. It found that when voters who say they are likely to vote in the EU referendum were asked about their preference, 44.1 per cent supported staying in the EU while 35.7 per cent wanted to leave.

But senior Ukip figures believe the other poll findings confirm that feeling will shift drastically when the arguments are examined and the details of Mr Cameron's planned new EU membership deal are revealed.

According to the poll, only 37 per cent of those quizzed would vote to join the EU if the country was outside the bloc today.

Forty-two per cent of voters admitted to having no idea how much EU membership cost taxpayers while 66 per cent said the cost was too high and not value for money no matter what the actual cost was.

Forty-one per cent thought any savings if Britain does quit the EU should be spent on the NHS.

Nearly two thirds of voters (64 per cent) believed that the Westminster Parliament should be able to overrule EU law.

A Tory insider said: "The choice in the EU referendum should not be continued membership of the EU on the basis of the status quo but instead the British people should have the choice of a reformed relationship with the EU.

"Even though everyone said that it couldn’t be done, the British renegotiation’s been given the green light – kicking off a process to work through the substance and to find solutions.

"This will take us another step closer to addressing the concerns that people have about the EU.

"This will give the British people the choice of membership of a reformed European Union in an in/out referendum by the end of 2017.

"It will be for voters to decide whether to stay or leave."

The Daily Express has been at the forefront of the crusade for Britain to quit the EU for more than five years. Hundreds of thousands of readers backed a petition calling for a British exit from the union that was delivered to Downing Street.

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INDEPENDENT VOICES

The pull of the city is emptying rural England - and making it look ever more like a desert

Small towns and villages are being left to the old and unambitious, as the pace of urbanisation grows

DJ TAYLOR

Saturday 25 July 2015

One of the most intriguing films to hit the nation’s cinema screens this year is Guy Myhill’s directorial debut, The Goob. Its distinctiveness lies not so much in the elemental subject matter – this includes first love and a gauche school leaver’s uneasy dealings with his mother’s lairy new boyfriend – as its setting, 60 miles out of London in a Fenland hamlet where the chief source of employment is fruit-picking, and the principal recreation stock-car racing on a beaten-up track watched by an audience of slack-jawed teenage girls. Unusually for a piece of contemporary British cinema, The Goob is entirely non-metropolitan, established in a tightly knit and sequestered rural landscape with its own codes, protocols and ideas of moral justice, where London, or indeed any other decent-sized city, might just as well not exist.

Looking for a statistic or two calculated to reinforce the film’s sheer strangeness, and the sense it conveys of a community pretty much detached from the pulse of modern life, I found it in the report issued last week by the think tank Centre for Cities on the increasing pace of urbanisation and the spectacular growth that has taken place over the past decade in major English population hubs. Naturally, most of this expansion is down to the under-thirties – students and the young unemployed leaving home in search of jobs: according to census data accumulated in the first 10 years of the century, the number of people in Manchester aged between 20 and 29 has increased by 198 per cent. The comparable figure for Liverpool is 160 per cent and for Sheffield 110.

Centre for Cities is careful to file a number of caveats. As their chief executive, Alexandra Jones, points out, the rate of expansion in London, where rents are higher and shared houses already packed to the eaves, is substantially lower. There is also a warning to policymakers not to take this resurgence for granted, in that it can only be supported in the long-term by corresponding developments in infrastructure and housing. On the other hand, the demographic message is painfully clear. You are, let us say, a 22-year-old with a university degree and a yearning for an adventurous social life sitting down to plot your future. Where do you go? On this reading, Clapham, Lewisham or Pimlico – or, to move a little further north, Burnage, Walton or Brightside – will always have the edge over an easy-going county town with a view out over the wolds.

From the angle of sedate middle-age, all this seems faintly counter-intuitive. Having lived 18 years of my life in London, I said goodbye to it at the age of 40 with a profound sense of relief. The 17-stop Tube journey into work in the mornings, Concorde rattling the windows as it passed over Putney at 5.45 each evening, the nightly wail of the sirens from the Wandsworth ambulance station, the annual developer’s assault on the few remaining patches of green space, the weekly catalogue of depravity in the local paper ... each seemed to offer a compelling reason not to want to bring up one’s children in SW15, and to retreat to a place where conversations could be had in silence rather than to the accompaniment of traffic noise.

Not, of course, that urbanisation is anything new in our national life: the same endorsements of the “vibrancy” of city living were being made at around the time of the Industrial Revolution, as were the complaints about noise, inconvenience and the disadvantages of cramming half-a-dozen people into a space half the size of a tennis court. At the same time, what might be called the alterations to our national psychology brought about by this ever-accelerating flight from the land have scarcely been examined by policymakers. One of the greatest changes brought about by the mechanisation of agriculture and the disappearance from the countryside of agricultural labourers, for example, was narrowly political. The fellows who cut the hay, to use George Ewart Evans’ phrase, well drilled by their union, were traditionally anti-Conservative, with the result that, in the 1950 general election, the six Norfolk seats returned no fewer than four Labour members.

Another has to do with language, and the decline of dialect and local patois. A third has to do with sound and movement. The great chronicler of rural life Ronald Blythe (born 1922) once remarked that the difference between the Suffolk of his childhood and the Essex of his old age was an absence of people – no more labourers bicycling to work, no more children out scaring the birds – and the sheer inertia of a landscape in which the combine harvesters are in action for perhaps two weeks a year, after which everything reverts to eerie silence. The villages are full of escaping retirees, the doctors’ surgeries are hard at work boning up on advances in gerontology, and the number of live births recorded in so (comparatively) bustling a small Norfolk town as Holt (population 2,000) was, at one point in the late 2000s, reduced to a single infant.

None of this is good for Holt, for its nurseries or for the fields beyond it, in which the metro-professionals scheme to build their designer holiday homes, but it is even less good for a national culture that, for centuries, has supported itself on the distinction between rural and urban life. The Caroline poets, after all, were emphasising the gap between “court” (corrupt, immoral, soul-sapping, etc) and “country” (modest, discreet, fount of human virtue) as long ago as the 1630s. The picaresque 18th-century fiction of Henry Fielding and Tobias Smollett positively crawls with naive newcomers to the big city being gulled out of their possessions by con men, while the pre-Great War era, a time at which some of the wider implications of urbanisation were becoming uncomfortably clear, was full of retreats to a simpler, unhurried pastoralism – see, for example, Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (1908), where virtue resides on river banks rather than in the dirt of the urban sprawl.

These distinctions turn even sharper in the world of English pop music, which, since the late 1960s, has accommodated a dreamy, bucolic vein exemplified in the work of everyone from the early Pink Floyd (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn) to Genesis (Selling England by the Pound), Nick Drake and XTC. Even Paul Weller, who as a teenager was so besotted by the idea of London that he travelled up from Woking with a tape recorder to capture some of its sounds, soon stopped minting lines about his heart being “in the city where it belongs” in favour of paeans to “the place I love” (a “million miles away”, naturally) and elegiac memories of the Surrey Hills where, back in childhood, the singer “took my time”.

The real importance of the Centre for Cities report, consequently, lies in what it doesn’t say, and the spectral vision it conjures up of tribes in movement, those thousands of young people for whom Manchester is a better bet than Cheshire, and Sheffield a more salubrious resort than the South Riding. What we really need now is a complementary think tank called the Centre for the Countryside, capable of pointing out not only the drawbacks of a great swathe of the UK in which no one lives save the over-sixties, but the dangers, in cultural terms, of a region that is simply mythologised, endless invoked and reimagined by people who have no notion of what it actually consists. Great supporter of the Campaign to Protect Rural England that I am, there seems little point in preserving a desert. And, if we can believe the message of The Goob, most of our remaining rural population – indigenous, that is – are as desperate to get out as I was to bid farewell to East Putney.

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Until next week...keep on believing.
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