Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.”
(Isaiah 40:1)

Comfort Ye My People

Dear Friends,

Greetings! We want to say a very heart felt thank you to all of you who responded to our fund raising campaign. The videos that Simon Peterson and I will begin filming next week in Jerusalem we pray will be a blessing to many.

God has opened some big doors in helping us to get three of the worlds top authorities and scholars on the subject of the coming Temple to commit to appear in our documentary. These are men who are internationally acclaimed for their work and painstaking study in identifying the correct location of Solomon and Herod's temples.

One of these interviews will be taking place on location in Jerusalem and two interviews will be conducted via Skype while in Jerusalem. There also remains possibly three additional interviews but we must wait until we arrive in Jerusalem to finalize these possibilities.

So, why is the correct location of the original temples so important?

There are a number of reasons for this importance.

If the 'western wall' where the prayers are offered today was once part of the second temple or even the retaining wall this would make Jesus at best a false prophet and a liar at worst when He said “not one stone shall be left upon another”. Matthew 24:2-3, Mark 13:1-2, Luke 21:5-6

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to [him] for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

If Jesus was wrong about this prophecy he could also have been wrong when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

Also, if it can be proved that the original temples were approximately eight hundred feet to the south of the Dome of the Rock, this would alleviate the tension between the Moslems and the Jews and possibly curtail World War lll. The Temple Mount is the most contested piece of real estate on earth.

And lastly if it can be proved that the original temples were located over the Gihon Spring it would allow the Jewish people to construct their temple and thus pave the way for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, which would in turn hasten the return of Jesus' second coming and the beginning of His thousand year reign on earth.

We are still accepting donations for this project if you are feeling led to give as there could be unforeseen expenses.

You can donate by Paypal via the website or the physical address given here.

Norman Cochran
2617c West Holcombe Blvd. #491
Houston Texas, 77025


We hope to maintain production of this web site over the next few weeks, but there could be some disruption depending on our situation in Israel.

We would very much also appreciate your support with intercessary prayer.

God bless and keep you,

Robert for People of the Keys


Moving Outside Your Comfort Zone

A compilation

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way.—Philippians 3:13–151

Once you start stepping out of your comfort zone, the leap becomes easier and less intimidating over time; you’ll grow accustomed to what researchers call “productive discomfort.” Armed with a newfound acquaintanceship with the unfamiliar and uncomfortable, you’ll find yourself more willing, more eager, more at peace with the idea of pushing farther and climbing higher.

Our lives are filled with the situations that beckon us outside our bubbles. Whether it’s deciding to cut out sodas and sugar to lose the extra weight, go to the gym consistently, leave the job we hate, start a job we love, or even to join a Bible study with, dare I say, strangers, we regularly come within inches of crossing the threshold of our comfort zones—but we hesitate. We turn back because we’re afraid, because we lack the faith to move our feet forward.

One day Jesus was teaching along the Sea of Galilee when He decided to hop into a nearby fishing boat and make the rocking vessel His pulpit. Perhaps He noticed that the boat in which He sat was fishless, because after His seaside sermon, He told Simon the fisherman to move into deeper water and cast his nets there. Having had no luck all day, Simon responded reluctantly, but respectfully:

Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”2

What do you suppose happened next to the fishless fisherman? The next verse tells us:

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.”3

Not only did the nets start to break, but another boat had to come to their aid, and then both boats began to sink—and perhaps stink—with fish!

This snippet of Scripture speaks directly to those times in our lives when we find ourselves frustrated and forlorn, yet simultaneously unwilling to move past our comfort zones toward deeper, more promising waters. We feel like fishermen sitting idly in an empty boat. Like Simon, James, and John, we’ve done all we can with the talents, time, and tools we have. We’ve awoken before the break of day, set our sails, cast our nets, watched the moonrise and the stars appear, and returned home without having “caught anything.”

What do we do? To be completely honest with you, when I don’t catch the fish, so to speak, that I desire after an all-out effort and hours at sea, my first impulse is to return to the harbor and trade in my fishing nets for a new line of work altogether. The last thing I want to do is go into even deeper water and try again. I love my comfort zone too much! But that is exactly what Jesus asked Simon and the other fishermen to do. Despite his better judgment, Simon trusted and obeyed this captivating “Master” and was richly rewarded with a hardly containable catch of fish.

The Lord wants to do the impossible in our lives. But to do so, He asks us to trust Him completely and to obey His word without conditions or complaints.—Diana Anderson-Tyler

Taking risks

There will be times when the Lord does something new or gives you what may be for you a radical new idea. Your natural reaction might be to click into “safe mode”—to shy away from the idea or to be hesitant to seize the opportunity, because it’s new and untried and seems risky. But maybe it will be a case where the Lord wants you to seize the day. Because if you wait too long, or if you make others wait too long while you try to play it “safe,” or you generate a whole slew of red-tape-type hoops that you have to jump through, or that others have to jump through, you might miss the opportunity or the open door the Lord is presenting.

If you don’t flow with the way the Lord is guiding, sometimes you risk missing a golden opportunity that has the potential to catapult you forward in a significant way. This highlights the importance of being willing to take risks when that’s what’s called for. In other words, not just generally being willing to take risks—because some people have that quality in abundance—but actually taking them when needed. This is called taking a calculated risk; that is, a risk that you take after having considered the various pros and cons, and having committed the project to the Lord. For example, you might be taking a calculated risk by deciding to walk through a new open door of opportunity, or to embark on a project that requires long-term collaboration, or to move to a new country, or to take on a new career path or to try a new method in your outreach.

When it comes to taking risks, you’ve got to do your homework. You’d be wise to take time (even if you only have a small window of opportunity) to pray, to objectively discuss the pros and cons, to counsel with others, to hear from the Lord. If the Lord gives you the green light, then you can have the faith to take the plunge—with wisdom, desperation, prayer, and common sense—and trust the Lord for the outcome.

We want to preserve the good things in our lives and what the Lord has instructed us to build, but we have to be careful of holding on to and preserving the old for the sake of preservation alone. If this is our mindset, then we can wind up solidifying and dying. We can end up restricting the Spirit’s ability to move in us to do new and innovative things. We have to be willing to step outside our comfort zones to try and do new things, to change and to grow; we have to keep trading our old wine skins for new ones.

It’s difficult when we have to “roll the hard six”—that means to make a decision or to do something that’s potentially high risk and high reward. But when the Lord shows us to do that, then we just have to trust the Lord for the outcome. It will have come to that. But that’s our primary guarantee of everything in life, isn’t it?—The “God factor.” That if we trust God and follow what He shows us, everything is going to be okay.

We need to be ready to seize the opportunities the Lord brings our way, because when the Lord’s Spirit is moving and flowing freely, open doors are plenteous. We can’t let the doors the Lord opens for us close or the buses of golden opportunity pass us by. As David taught us, it’s not as though the Lord will never give a second chance, but as much as possible, we want His first best; we want to capitalize on the opportunities the Lord gives us right away.

We need to be wise, prayerful, and consider the various factors and options, but we also need to be prepared to seize the day and support others as they do the same. We can’t wait for everything to be so perfect and risk-free that we move too slowly and end up missing the Lord’s open doors of opportunity.—Peter Amsterdam4

Next time you hesitate to ask for more, ask yourself: What is the worst thing that could happen if I make this request? I believe we are scared of the “no,” both personally and professionally. Consequently, we stay in our “comfort zone” rather than moving past our fears in faith. Think about it: How many times have you stayed somewhere when you knew God was calling you in a different direction, simply because you were scared of the unknown, of your critics, or of disappointing someone?

If your mentality is that you do not deserve more, you will never get more. You don’t get what you deserve; you get what you ask for. So don’t be afraid to ask.—Morgan Canclini

The spiritual journey requires a departure from our comfort zone to step out into a world of unknown realities. … This story line is reflected in all the Old Testament sagas. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joseph, and Joshua all had to step out in faith and leave their old world to follow God’s promise. Even Jesus had to step out of the comforts of heaven to walk among us, arguably the most powerful mythic story of all time—a true myth.—Dwight Longenecker

Even Paul had a comfort zone. When you and I step out of our comfort zones to share the message of … salvation, we experience some anxiety. Even Paul shared this emotional connection with us. On one level, this statement by the über-apostle may shock us. We expect to hear Paul thunder away at the sinners and eloquently encourage the believers. This well-educated man of Jewish culture, transformed by Christ, who always presented the gospel with power, readily admits he often spoke “in weakness, in fear, and with much trembling.”5 Perhaps he understood the statement from Zechariah 4:6, “‘Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.”—Ed Stetzer

1 ESV.

2 Luke 5:5 NIV.

3 Luke 5:6 NIV.

4 Originally published December 2008, adapted.

5 1 Corinthians 2:3.




'Barring a miracle, the family will likely crumble'

Published: May 3, 2015


Dr. James Dobson, who founded the highly influential groups Focus on the Family and Family Research Council and now runs Family Talk Radio, is warning that if the U.S. Supreme Court redefines marriage as analysts predict, the ruling will presage the “fall of Western civilization.”

“I do not recall a time when the institutions of marriage and the family have faced such peril, or when the forces arrayed against them were more formidable or determined,” he writes in a letter distributed to his hundreds of thousands of supporters.

“Barring a miracle, the family that has existed since antiquity will likely crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself. This is a time for concerted prayer, divine wisdom and greater courage than we have ever been called upon to exercise,” he writes.

The author of staples to families around the world such as “Bringing Up Girls,” “Bringing Up Boys” and “When God Doesn’t Make Sense,” frequently has tangled with the Obama administration.

At one point he described President Obama as the “abortion president” and warned America is heading toward “depravity.”

He also, amid his lawsuit against the administration over Obamacare’s abortion requirements, told the president he would refuse to obey any law that required him to participate in the killing of an unborn child.

“I believe in the rule of law, and it has been my practice since I was in college to respect and honor those in authority over us. It is my desire to do so now. However, this assault on the sanctity of human life takes me where I cannot go,” he wrote in an open letter to the president.

“I WILL NOT pay the surcharge for abortion services. The amount of the surcharge is irrelevant,” he said. “To pay one cent for the killing of babies is egregious to me, and I will do all I can to correct a government that lies to me about its intentions and then tries to coerce my acquiescence with extortion. It would be a violation of my most deeply held convictions to disobey what I consider to be the principles in Scripture. The Creator will not hold us guiltless if we turn a deaf ear to the cries of His innocent babies. So come and get me if you must, Mr. President. I will not bow before your wicked regulation.”

WND also reported that when Dobson spoke to the National Day of Prayer in Washington, hundreds stood and cheered his condemnation of the abortion-funding plan, now defeated multiple times in U.S. courts.

Hurtling’ toward Gomorrah

His newest comments were written for distribution to constituents of the organization he founded after leaving Focus on the Family in 2003, Family Talk, which features the daily radio show “Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson.”

“We … are not simply ‘slouching toward Gomorrah,’ as Judge Robert Bork warned in his best-selling book; we are hurtling toward it,” he writes. “The old earthen dam that has held and protected the reservoir of Judeo-Christian values since the days of our Founding Fathers has given way.”

If the Supreme Court redefines marriage, he says, “an avalanche of court cases will be filed on related issues that can’t even be imagined today.”

Religious liberty “will be assaulted from every side.”

“You can be certain that conservative churches will be dragged into court by the hundreds,” Dobson writes. “Their leaders will be required to hire people who don’t share the beliefs of their denominations and constituents. Pastors may have to officiate at same-sex marriages, and they could be prohibited from preaching certain passage of Scripture. … Prison is also a possibility.”

He says Christian businesses and ministries, as already has happened to florists and bakers, will be forced to serve at same-sex ceremonies, and Christian colleges “may be unable to teach scriptural views of marriage.”

WND has compiled a “Big List of Christian Coercion” with dozens of cases in which Christians have been fined, threatened or penalized for recognizing the biblical definition of marriage.

Many organizations and companies endorsing traditional and biblical marriages will simply be shut down.

Forcing doctrinal change

“Consider an editorial published in the New York Times a few weeks ago,” Dobson writes. “It was written by liberal columnist, Frank Bruni, who insisted that Christians must be ‘made’ to change their church doctrines on sexual morality. He actually wrote, ‘Church leaders must be made to take homosexuality off their sin list.’”

A petition has been created in support of ordinances that allow Christian business owners to live by their faith.

A foreshadowing can be seen in Obama’s recent demand for laws that prevent parents from seeking professional therapy if their children are dealing with a sexual identity crisis. Already law in a couple of states, Obama’s plan would require counselors to accept homosexuality in all such cases.

“What business does this man have telling parents how to help their confused and disoriented kids even after they have been abused and exploited sexually? This is outrageous!” Dobson says.

Also, anyone with a state license soon could be coerced into adopting the state definition of morality.

Textbooks would be rewritten, and public schools soon would teach children “gay and lesbian concepts.”

All of which, he writes, defies the facts of marriage.

“The institution of the family is one of the Creator’s most marvelous and enduring gifts to humankind. It was revealed to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and then described succinctly in Genesis 2:24, where we read, ‘For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.’ With those 20 words, God announced the ordination of male-female marriage, long before He established the two other great human institutions, the church and the government,” he writes.

Every civilization has held to that understanding of marriage until now.

“God help us if we throw the divine plan for humankind on the ash heap of history,” he said. “Down one path are millions of strong and vibrant families with their children growing up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Down the other path is a nation drifting away from its spiritual roots in a culture that will teach a dangerous ideology to today’s younger generation and those yet to come.

“Prayer is our only hope, but it is a powerful one. Even at this late hour, the Lord could still respond to the petitions of millions of godly people. Shirley and I are among those who are praying for a miracle. Will you join us?”

George Washington’s warning

WND reported just days ago when Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, author of the New York Times bestseller “The Harbinger” and the inspiration behind the “Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” movie, smacked down the Supreme Court’s assumption that it even has the authority to redefine marriage.

“The justices of the Supreme Court took up their seats [in a hearing] on whether they should strike down the biblical and historic definition of marriage,” he said. “That the event should even take place is a sign this is America of [George] Washington’s warning … a nation at war against its own foundation.”

Washington warned that the smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation “that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself hath ordained,” he said.

Cahn noted the Supreme Court opens sessions with the words, “God save the United States and this honorable court.”

“If this court should overrule the word of God and strike down the eternal rules of order and right that heaven itself ordained, how then will God save it?” he asked. “Justices, can you judge the ways of God? There is another court and there another judge, where all men and all judges will give account.

“If a nation’s high court should pass judgment on the Almighty, should you then be surprised God will pass judgment on the court and that nation? We are doing that which Israel did on the altars of Baal,” he said.

See Jonathan’s Cahn’s message at Washington: Man of Prayer event at the Capitol.

In preparation for the court’s eventual ruling, thousands of Christians, including hundreds of leaders from organizations representing millions, have said civil disobedience is an option should the court’s opinion kill marriage.

The Marriage Pledge says: “We will view any decision by the Supreme Court [overturning traditional marriage] or any court the same way history views the Dred Scott and Buck v. Bell decisions. Our highest respect for the rule of law requires that we not respect an unjust law that directly conflicts with higher law.”

The petition was assembled by Keith Fournier, a Catholic deacon who is editor of Catholic Online, and Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel.

“A decision purporting to redefine marriage flies in the face of the Constitution and is contrary to the natural created order. As people of faith we pledge obedience to our Creator when the state directly conflicts with higher law.

“We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross this line.”

In Dred Scott, the Supreme Court said blacks are less than human, and in Buck, it ordered the government sterilization of innocent people.

The board of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Counsel, which represents 40,118 evangelical Hispanic churches in America and about 500,000 in Latin America and Spain, on Tuesday voted to sign the Marriage Pledge, warning that a decision mandating same-sex marriage simply would not be accepted. issued a statement: “Remember, no matter how the court decides this summer, the truth about marriage will never change.”

Pledge co-author Mat Staver wrote at “I argued that a bad court decision might require civil disobedience. I still pray that won’t be necessary. I pray the Supreme Court will allow states to recognize natural marriage. That would be a great victory for truth, but it would not end the fight. Neither the Supreme Court nor any state has the authority to redefine the natural created order of marriage. Marriage is no more a state’s rights issue than is slavery or the law of gravity.

“This is the red line we will not cross,” Staver wrote. “While no one wants this conflict, we have no choice but to resist an unjust law, particularly one that will force us to participate in acts that directly conflict with the Natural and Revealed Law.”

WND also reported longtime conservative leader Pat Buchanan urged Christians to fight the “LGBT fanatics” who are demanding they betray their faith, even if it means civil disobedience.

Of the 31 times voters have decided the issue of the definition of marriage, 31 times they have adopted the biblical definition. Among the three dozen states that recognize same-sex marriage today, not even a handful have adopted it voluntarily. In the majority of cases, it was a federal judge’s decision.




Millions click to view 'Follow Baal and go to hell!' speech

Published: May 7, 2015

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s passionate warning to the United States Supreme Court at the 2015 “Washington: A Man of Prayer” service has gone viral, garnering over 2.3 million views just on one website hosting the video.

And the media organization garnering the most views resides in an unlikely place – the African nation of Nigeria.

The Nigerian website NigeriaCamera posted Cahn’s address from last Wednesday, “God’s Warning to America,” on its Facebook page, where it has been attracting viewers at a staggering rate.

“Just heard that the ‘Follow Baal and go to hell!’ speech from the Capitol has gone viral … In less than a week, over 3 million, and much from around the world,” Cahn said.

During the speech, the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Harbinger” and the inspiration behind the “Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” movie prophesied God would deliver judgment on both the Supreme Court and the nation if it dared to meddle with the definition of marriage.

Drawing a parallel with Israel’s worship of the pagan god Baal, Cahn intoned, “We are exchanging our light for darkness.”

The speech was livestreamed on WND, and Cahn’s video message was posted as a video shortly after.

See Jonathan’s Cahn’s message at Washington: Man of Prayer event at the Capitol.

Cahn’s was a message people around the world evidently are anxious to hear, as the video continues to draw attention.

As of this writing, it had been seen 2,318,702 times and was drawing an additional 10,000 views about every 10 minutes. It had also been “liked” by 21,849 people and had been shared by a staggering 110,478 people on their Facebook profile.

Cahn’s own ministry, the Beth Israel Worship Center, has also linked to the video on its own Youtube page, where it has drawn an additional 41,000 views.

The founder of the “Washington: A Man of Prayer Event” says the spread of Cahn’s message was predictable.

In an exclusive interview with WND, Rev. Dan Cummins explained, “It does not surprise me that Cahn’s message from America’s Capitol in Statuary Hall last Wednesday night, April 29, has gone viral. The event, ‘Washington: A Man of Prayer 2015′ and Cahn’s message to the nation which was based upon President’s George Washington’s first inaugural address are inseparably linked.

“Cahn’s message and last Wednesday’s Capitol event have been in the making for over four years. Cahn is America’s prophet and he spoke from America’s Capitol['s] most sacred room – Statuary Hall, the original chamber for the House of Representatives.”

Cummins told WND the success of the event was nothing short of an example of Providence at work. And he believes the success of Cahn’s address is partly due because of its connection to the deep-seated Christian roots of the both the United States and to the specific building where Cahn made his powerful warning.

“Statuary Hall is one of the most sacred rooms in the U.S. Capitol reserved only for the most official of events. You cannot rent Statuary Hall. You must get permission from the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. It is not for private citizens to use. Only a miracle could allow private citizens to hold our event in Statuary Hall.

“From 1800-1869 weekly Christian worship services were held every Sunday in the old House Chamber attended by most every president from Jefferson to Garfield. The American Christian church has deep spiritual roots and historic ties to Statuary Hall. So the place as well as the message speaks volumes, I believe, for the timing and place of the message.”

Cahn is also the author of “The Mystery of the Shemitah,” which decodes the multiyear cycles mandated by the Torah necessary to fully understanding prophecy and scripture. Cummins says the success of Cahn’s speech and its worldwide spread is just another example of the Shemitah cycle in action.

“April 30, 2015, is right in the middle of the Shemitah cycle that we are in and the subject of his latest book. Last week’s event was not coincidental. There can be no doubts – God has spoken to America!”

More than that, Cummins credits Cahn’s work with the inspiration to create the event in the first place.

“Four years ago, before ‘The Harbinger’ was published, I saw Rabbi Cahn on television. I knew his prophetic words were the most important prophetic warning I had heard in my 40 plus years of ministry.

“After much prayer asking God what my response should be, I felt the Holy Spirit impressed upon me these words, ‘If the place of a nation’s dedication was the place of its judgment, the place of its judgment could become the place of its rededication.’ I immediately knew what this meant as far as what I needed to do.

“I called my U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a good friend who had also seen Cahn on television. After sharing what I felt the Spirit had spoken, I said to Louie, ‘I believe we need to gather as many elected members of Congress at St. Paul’s Chapel in NYC on April 30, and rededicate America to God.’ I believe God honors elected governmental authority. We needed to gather America’s top legislators and ask God’s forgiveness and restoration.”

And just as Rabbi Cahn has called on Christians to return to the roots of their religion, so has the “Washington: A Man of Prayer” event symbolized a return to America’s Christian beginnings.

Cummins observed, “April 30, 1789, at St. Paul’s Chapel was the date and place of America’s dedication. We were not able to secure St. Paul’s Chapel, so our time of dedicatory prayers ended up in Washington, D.C., and in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. That was four years ago.

“Last week over 20 members of the US Congress gathered in the nation’s Capital to ask God’s forgiveness, direction and restored blessings. We can only now pray that America will turn from her wicked ways allowing God to heal our land.”

WND reported the night of the speech how Cahn smacked down the Supreme Court’s assumption that it has the authority to redefine marriage.

His warning followed by only about 24 hours the hearing in the august courtroom where the justices heard arguments on whether or not the U.S. government would mandate recognition of homosexual “marriage” across the country.

“The justices of the Supreme Court took up their seats [in a hearing] on whether they should strike down the biblical and historic definition of marriage,” he said. “That the event should even take place is a sign this is America of [George] Washington’s warning … a nation at war against its own foundation.”

Washington warned the smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation “that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself hath ordained.”

Cahn noted the Supreme Court opens sessions with the words, “God save the United States and this honorable court.”

“If this court should overrule the word of God and strike down the eternal rules of order and right that heaven itself ordained, how then will God save it?” he asked. “Justices, can you judge the ways of God? There is another court and there another judge, where all men and all judges will give account.

“If a nation’s high court should pass judgment on the Almighty, should you then be surprised God will pass judgment on the court and that nation? We are doing that which Israel did on the altars of Baal,” he said.

He also confronted President Obama, whose pro-abortion and pro-homosexual agenda has been unparalleled in American history, questioning what happens when a leader places his left hand on the Bible to assume to highest office in the land but with his right hand “enacts laws that violate the laws of God.”

“Mr. President, when you address the House, look up above the senators and the representatives, above the Supreme Court justices, you’ll see a face, the only full visage in that wall. It is the face of Moses. … It would say this, ‘No man can overrule the laws of God. No judgment of man can stand against the judgment of God’.”

America, he warned, is faced with a critical decision, “Choose you this day whom you will serve … if the Lord be God, then follow Him. If Baal, then follow him and go to hell.”

Believers, he said, will “not bow down our knees to Baal,” the politically correct or anything other than God.

“Jesus the Messiah,” he said, “is the only answer, the only chance that America has that it might once again shine with the presence of the living God … and not go to hell.”


Natural News

Vatican’s chief exorcist warns that practicing yoga is ‘satanic’

May 6, 2015 12:12 pm EDT

By Jonathan Benson | Natural News

The successor to Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s former chief exorcist for 25 years, has come out in condemnation of fantasy novels and yoga, declaring both to cause demonic possession. Speaking to The Independent (UK), Father Cesare Truqui explained how the Roman Catholic Church has seen a steady uptick in reports of demonic possession all around the world, and that popular culture pastimes like reading Harry Potter novels and engaging in Vinyasa are largely to blame.

The popularity of many modern television shows, movies and novels that glorify “demonic” creatures such as vampires and magical wizards has apparently led both young and old alike to engage in certain activities that the Vatican says summon satanic spirits, claims Professor Giuseppe Ferrari. Ferrari recently attended a meeting in Rome where Catholic authorities and delegates discussed how to deal with this alleged demonic possession crisis.

Demonic characters in shows like True Blood and The Vampire Diaries are often portrayed as beautiful human beings with desirable characteristics and superpowers, which may lure the unsuspecting into dabbling in the occult. Father Cesare says he’s seen many an individual speaking in tongues and exhibiting unearthly strength, two attributes that his religion says indicate the possibility of evil spirits inhabiting a person’s body.

“There are those who try to turn people into vampires and make them drink other people’s blood, or encourage them to have special sexual relations to obtain special powers,” stated Professor Ferrari at the meeting. “These groups are attracted by the so-called beautiful young vampires that we’ve seen so much of in recent years.”


At its roots, yoga is said to have originated from the ancient worship of Hindu gods, with the various poses representing unique forms of paying homage to these entities. From this, other religions such as Catholicism and Christianity have concluded that the practice is out of sync with their own, and that it may result in demonic spirits entering a person’s body.

Others contend that yoga practice is really more focused on advanced stretching moves and physical exercise, and that it can bring about healing and improved well-being such as improved core strength, better circulation and reduced stress. The intent of the person doing yoga, rather than yoga itself, in other words, is what defines the extent of how the practice influences a person’s being and soul.

But Father Truqui sees yoga as being satanic, claiming that “it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter.” And in order to deal with the consequences of this, his religion has had to bring on an additional six exorcists, bringing the total number to 12, just to deal with what he says is a 100% rise in the number of requests for exorcisms over the past 15 years.

“The ministry of performing exorcism is little known among priests,” stated Father Truqui to The Independent. “It’s like training to be a journalist without knowing how to do an interview.”

At the same time, Father Amorth admits that the Roman Catholic Church’s notoriety for all kinds of perverted sex scandals is also indicative of demonic activity — he stated that it represents proof that “the devil is at work inside the Vatican.”

“There’s homosexual marriage, homosexual adoption, IVF [in vitro fertilization] and a host of other things,” added Monsignor Luigi Negri, the archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio, about what he says is evidence of the existential evil in society. “There’s the clamorous appearance of the negation of man as defined by the Bible.”




Caldrons of hell” created at Fukushima, says energy company official; Disaster is recurring each day at plant — Japan Nuclear Expert: We have a crisis “of a severity that can’t be imagined anywhere else”; People have been abandoned and “thrown away”

Asahi Shimbun, May 1, 2015 (emphasis added): Yauemon Sato, the ninth-generation chief of a sake brewery operating here since 1790 [and president of electric power company Aizu Denryoku] likens the crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to “caldrons of hell.” In a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Sato said the nuclear disaster “continues to recur every day”… Excerpts from the interview follow: Question: What drives you to be so active, including in the use of renewable energy? — Sato: You know the caldron of hell? You will be sent to hell and will be boiled in that caldron if you do evil. And there are four such caldrons in

Fukushima… And the disaster has yet to end. It continues to recur every day. More than 300 tons of water, contaminated with intense levels of radioactive substances, are being generated every day…

Hiroaki Koide, professor at Kyoto Univ. Research Reactor Institute (retired), Apr 24, 2015:

  • 11:30 – The Prime Minister [said Fukushima] had been brought to a close. My reaction on hearing his words was, ‘Stop kidding.’ Reality is, though 4 years have passed, the accident has not yet been brought to a close at all.

  • 15:15 – What is the situation within the core? How much has melted? Where is the fuel exactly? We do not know… This is an accident of a severity that cannot be imagined anywhere else… As you can see, we are facing a very, very difficult situation. The only choice that we have open to us is to somehow keep the situation from getting worse.

  • 30:30 – We are in a very terrible situation, I would even call it a crisis.

  • 55:30 – The Japanese government has issued a declaration that this is an emergency situation. As a result, normal laws do not have to be followed. What they are saying is that, in these very high radiation exposure level areas, they have basically abandoned people to live there. They’ve actually thrown them away to live there… The Cs-137 that’s fallen onto Japanese land in the Tohoku and Kanto regions, so much so that this area should all be put under the radiation control area designation [the Kanto region includes Tokyo and is home to over 40 million people].

  • 1:01:00 – I really do want to impress upon you that the accident effects are continuing.

  • 1:02:00 – Bahrain’s Ambassador to Japan: If you were the Prime Minister of Japan, what are you going to do with this very complicated situation?… Koide: When you have an emergency legally declared, regular laws are put on hold. What that means is people can be thrown away into areas where normally people should not be… The first thing I would do as Prime Minister is evacuate all the children that are in the contaminated areas.

US university testing animals in Pacific for Fukushima radiation — Photos show bodies riddled with tumors, eyes bleeding, covered in lesions — Some are missing testicles, eyeballs — Skin disintegrating, peeling off, turning yellow — Mammals affected by diseases never seen in species



Everest shrinking: World’s highest mountain is a bit smaller after Nepal quake

Published time: May 03, 2015 09:51

The deadly quake in Nepal not only devastated the country killing thousands but also changed its landscape. Mount Everest shrank a little bit after the disaster, satellite data shows.

According to Europe's Sentinel-1A radar satellite, which passed over the affected area on Wednesday, a day after the 7.8-magnitude quake, Earth’s highest mountain is now 2.8 centimeters smaller than it used to be, reports LiveScience.

The lowering is explained by a relief of strain in the Earth’s crust, it said citing UNAVCO, a nonprofit geoscience research consortium.

At the same time a region about 120 kilometers long and 50 kilometers wide near Nepal’s capital Kathmandu lifted about 1 meter, which partially explains the extensive damage the city suffered. The uplift peaked just 17 kilometers from the city.

The satellite data is still raw and will be analyzed by teams of scientists over the next few weeks. Roger Bilham, a professor in geological sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, told the Huffington Post that the shrinking of Mount Everest is probably just about one or two millimeters.

The April 25 quake struck 83 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu at a depth of 15 kilometers. As of Sunday, rescue authorities say there is no hope of recovering anyone alive from under the rubble. The death toll has passed the 7,000 mark.



This Man Built A Gold Pyramid Home in Illinois and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next

Jim Onan was a man who always admired Egyptian culture and stumbled upon a university study one day suggesting that Pyramids at Giza generated energy. Jim came from humble beginnings, He had 5 children with his his wife Linda and he was a hardworking man who built his own concrete business from the ground up. In the 70’s Pyramid’s became more popular because of the mysteries coming forth. His curiosity led him to build small pyramids around his home and people realized that when they put their hands above this small pyramid they felt a weird sensation, a vortex of energy coming from the top of the Pyramid.

He kept building small pyramids and then decided to build a little bigger one, a 13 foot pyramid in his backyard to experiment on a larger scale. One of the Onan sons was a botanist and the university he attended suggest that they grow inside the Pyramid. What they found was astonishing, they found that plants grew three times as fast in the pyramid than outside it.

One day, Jim was talking with his wife Linda about what kind of home they should build and Linda jokingly said “Why don’t you build it out of a pyramid” and that gave him quite the idea, he was going to build his families home as a pyramid structure, and he did. He built the Pyramid home for his family and it was an exact replica model of the Pyramid’s of Giza at 1/9th the size.

As the building came into completion and the pyramid form took shape something astonishing happen. The middle of the home started bubbling up with water and the spring water started entering the first floor (the bottom) of the pyramid. Astonished and confused, they scrapped the plans to have an indoor pool on the first floor of the pyramid and instead had to bring in experts to reroute the water to funnel it out of the pyramid home and into the surrounding area.

Some say that the shape of the pyramid itself helped to bring this spring to life and fill the surrounding area with spring water. This is really the only conclusion that I see considering there was no water there before and once the pyramid took shape this is when the water started bubbling up. Quite incredible huh? A pyramid structure helped to bring spring water to the surface.

Additionally Jim Onan was very passionate about Egyptian architecture and culture and decided he wanted to coat the pyramid in gold. He coated the pyramid in 24-karat gold surrounding the whole pyramid costing an incredible $1 Million US dollars. This is now the largest golden plated structure in North America. Naturally, this structure got a lot of attention from the local community and the press and it got a lot of exposure. Tourists started flocking by the thousands and they created a tourism business out of it.

Celebrities showed interest as well. Michael Jackson wanted to shoot a music video within this pyramid and Muhammad Ali offered to buy this golden pyramid because he wanted to turn this into a training facility. It’s an incredible story that really documents the power (and further potential power left undiscovered) of pyramids. In the last article I wrote about the Bosnian Pyramid of the sun and how the recorded negative ions under this pyramid were measured higher than any other place on the planet. One man named Ralph who was working on this Pyramid in Illinois drank the spring water everyday while working on the pyramid and he came back from his doctor reporting that his blood pressure was lower. Jim thought Ralph was crazy and told anyone that they could take the spring water to drink themselves and people did, and many claimed to feel better or to have certain ailments cured. This could all be the placebo effect (mind over matter) or there could be some validity as we now know that water is living and to charge water and for it to be alive has more health value. Spring water is already the best water you can get and for it to be positively charged (if it was in some way) then there could be potential there.

So, what can pyramids potentially do for mankind?

1. Increase Food/Plant Growth by up to 300% (maybe more?)

2. Bring Water and Life to an Area (spring water erupted from the earth after this structure was built)

3. Stone built pyramids (10’s of thousands of years old) have higher levels of negative ions which are great for health.

4. charge water to have more life force and healing power.



The World’s Most Wasteful Megacity

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May 5, 2015 // 11:45 AM EST

I live, fairly happily, in the world’s most wasteful megacity. It is a densely populated, steadily aging, consumerist utopia where we buy, and throw away, a staggering amount of stuff. Where some faucet, toilet, or pipe, is constantly leaking in our apartments. Where an armada of commerce-beckoning lights are always on. Where a fleet of gas-guzzling cars still clog the roadways. I, along with my twenty million or so neighbors, help New York City use more energy, suck down more water, and spew out more solid waste than any other mega-metropolitan area.

That’s a considerable achievement, considering that there are at least 26 other megacities around the world, which, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, account for 9 percent of the planet’s electricity use, drain 10 percent of its gasoline, and create 13 percent of its trash. There were 27 megacities, worldwide, as of 2010. In 2020, if UN forecasts hold, there will be closer to 40. (In 1970, there were 8.) According to the study, New York is more wasteful, per capita, than all of them.

"The New York metropolis has 12 million fewer people than Tokyo, yet it uses more energy in total: the equivalent of one oil supertanker every 1.5 days,” study author Chris Kennedy, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Toronto, said. “When I saw that, I thought it was just incredible.” That's mostly because New York uses more gasoline and heating and industrial fuels than Tokyo.

And just look at how much more waste New York creates, per capita, than any other leading megacity:

Image: Kennedy, PNAS

New York pumps out over 33 million tons of waste a year. The next closest offender is Mexico City (the label is missing from the graph above), which generates a comparatively quaint 12 million tons of trash, followed by Tokyo, which, again, has a full dozen million more potentially garbage-generating citizens. The average New Yorker uses two dozen times more energy than someone in Kolkata, and creates 15 times as much solid waste. I'll say it again: New York is one dirty megacity.

The term "megacity" is typically used to describe a metropolitan area that’s home to more than 10 million people—by that count, New York makes the cut. It was, by some counts, the first megacity, surpassing a population of 10 million back in 1950. Now, there are roughly 20 million residents, speaking over 800 languages, in the 6,000 square miles that comprise the city’s greater metropolitan statistical area. And we are making a mess.

As such, that longstanding stereotype of New York that has somehow managed to persist even despite its thorough buffering into a millennial-friendly commercial playground—the New York that’s dirty, trash-strewn, neon-lit, congested, and constantly breathing out steam, heat, and exhaust from every industrial orifice—is actually kind of useful to keep in mind. It's probably closer to exhibiting the true ecological essence of the city than its newfangled image as a hub for artisanal food fairs and sleek luxury condos.

And now is a good time to start thinking about the impact of living in the giant cities we love—this being the Age of the Megacity, after all. Migration to urban areas has already been well-documented; over the last decade, populations have been flocking to cities. As of last year, 54 percent of the world's population lived in them. By the end of the decade, three of every five humans on Earth will live in not just cities, but megacities—which, hopefully, will eventually be running a bit more sustainably than New York is now.



I secretly lived in my office for 500 days

Unable to pay rent in L.A., I slept behind my desk. But what began as a quick financial fix soon became a lifestyle


THURSDAY, APR 30, 2015 06:00 PM CDT

I was asleep when I heard the door rattle against the frame. My eyes flashed open and I sprung upright in my under-desk sleep space. Was it all over? Had someone come to work early? I peered over my desk, afraid of what I might see. The morning sun burned through the chicken-scratch graffiti of the office’s front door, spilling across the labyrinth of desks spread out before me. There wasn’t a soul in sight. I breathed a sigh of relief. Probably just paranoia. Or maybe not — a breeze blew the front door against its frame, the pygmy-like rattle of a loose door jamb. It was the same sound I heard moments before and would hear countless times in the future but never quite get used to.

A little paranoia goes a long way when you live in a 10-square-feet workstation. I stood up, stretching my limbs toward the sky like a thawing, cryo-preserved humanoid, neck kinked and back stiff. I bent down to deflate my air mattress. The clock read 6:45 a.m. Under normal circumstances I’d still be asleep, but these circumstances were far from normal.

Earlier that week, I had moved into my office. Secretly. I rented out my Venice Beach apartment for the month, packed a few duffels with my clothes and prized belongings, and started taking up residence behind my desk, carefully using each square inch of out-of-sight real estate to store my stuff. Not everyone aspires to have their co-workers catching them at their desk in their tighty-whities—at 6 in the morning. Believing the absolute best-case-scenario reaction to my being there would be supreme awkwardness, I kept the whole thing to myself. Every morning I’d neatly pack away my personal belongings, turning the lights back on and lowering the air conditioning to its too-chilly-for-me 72 degrees—the way they always left it overnight. I’d leave for a morning workout and shower, simultaneously keeping clean and in shape while ensuring I wasn’t always the first to arrive. Occasionally I’d even make myself late to work, blaming the awful L.A. traffic. Just to fit in.

If living in the office seems like too much effort, it was a cakewalk compared to making monthly rent payments.

It had been two years since moving to Los Angeles and, like many Angelinos, I was broke. I stretched the definition of affordability by taking a studio apartment within 20 minutes of work, cramming my belongings into 250 square feet of glorified tenement housing while my savings vanished like a roach in the daylight. I put my dreams of traveling and writing on hold so I could stabilize my living situation. I figured I could suffer for a bit in the meantime.

By the summer of 2012, those dreams gave way to a nightmare. I’d been working two jobs — 60 hours a week to keep an apartment I rarely had time to enjoy. Then, disaster struck. Company raises and bonuses were frozen. My identity was stolen. I got a hefty hospital bill for a surgery earlier that year. With existing student loans, a car payment and my rent set for its maximum-allowable annual increase under the California law, I started to wonder: What happened to my American Dream?

I had little left to sacrifice. Without money, I had two choices: Give up my dreams of working creatively or surrender my time working even more. Either way, the outlook was gloomy. Until I remembered my ace in the hole.

A few months earlier, I stopped by the office on a late-weeknight assignment. Everything around the place was closed. The land of business plazas was a veritable ghost town, a blank spot on the map, stripped naked from the daytime bustle. Around that time, the news was filled with stories about an influx of U.S. congressmen taking up residences in their D.C. offices. They were converting perfectly livable, neglected space into their own white-collar Walden for the working man. I wondered if I could do the same. But before it became necessary, it seemed impossible.

Yawning myself awake in an empty office, that impossibility disappeared. So what if there was sacrifice? Waking up with a pumping adrenal gland wasn’t ideal, but it was better than lying in bed knowing your hours were auctioned off to a status quo you never wanted in the first place.

I was never one to value money over time. Growing up in a small town near the Gulf of Mexico, life was more about community than profit. My parents stressed achievement, but championed leisure. My sister and I were pushed to make straight A’s, earning annual road trip vacations to diverse locales—beautiful Fort Walton Beach, Florida, historic Williamsburg, Virginia, or rustic Bangor, Maine. Our dollar seemed to stretch further than other families’. When my sister became a lawyer, I drifted slowly into the arts. I pushed aside my sexy-school graduate degree to pursue acting and writing, taking a 40-hour-a-week job to pay the bills.

I’m not your average homeless person. To many, I look like the typical middle-class young professional — clean-cut, well-spoken, well-dressed, hygienic. But what is the average homeless person nowadays, anyway? The once-wide chasm between “homeless” and “middle-class” has shrunk to little more than a fault line, over which many find themselves standing in a precarious straddle, a little bad news away from losing it all.

Living at the office remains a unique solution to overpriced housing woes. But there are alternatives. Many working folks, balancing skyrocketing cost-of-living with grounded wages, are employing their own varying degrees of minimalism. From starving artists living in their vehicles to the middle class moving into tiny homes, from dumpster-dwelling college professors to Volkswagen “vanimal” Major League Baseball players, how Americans are defining “home” is changing at all levels of the socioeconomic scale.

The traditional definition of home isn’t always friendly to the neo-minimalist middle class. The Oxford Dictionary defines the term in a variety of ways, with its fourth listing providing perhaps the most progressive description:

A place where something flourishes, is most
typically found, or from which it originates.

For folks like me, this essence of home is fundamental to our existence. Instead of “homeless,” I prefer to use the term “home-free.” It champions choice without undermining the challenges faced by those without it.

Indeed, what started as a temporary financial solution turned into a lifestyle. I grew to prefer it. Impending debt morphed into growing savings. Sleepwalking through two jobs to squeak by gave way to a wealth of free time. My spending habits ground to a halt, my savings ballooned. I gave up my apartment entirely, shed a great deal of my belongings, and committed to a life of salaried simplicity.

My routine became more essential, flustering less and less about meeting the lowest levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I took off to the Caribbean for two summer weeks to film a movie. I celebrated New Year’s with a lovely lady in South America. I started reading again. Started writing. Living this way forced me to engage my passions. I socialized more often, spent more time outside. My day-to-day—once orbiting around keeping an apartment—now held gravity to my passions. I was happier. People began to take notice.

One morning, close to my anniversary of office living, I woke up to a message from my boss about my annual performance review later that day. We sat down across from one another and she looked me straight in the eye.

“I’ve noticed a big difference in your performance this calendar year,” she said.

I asked if that was a good thing, curious what she was getting at.

“Good? It’s been great,” she said. “I don’t have a single criticism. You seem happier lately, too.”

“Well, I think I know what I can attribute that to,” I said, smiling.

Living in the office had many unexpected perks. But it was far from a permanent solution. When the company started to show signs of budgetary collapse, I began to plan for my future. What did I want life to look like post-office? An old friend, Robert, was moving into town that January, offering to be my roommate. Robert was a filmmaker, a great contact in the industry and a trusting person. We started looking for apartments.

But something seemed off. Having spent over a year rent-free, I realized I valued how I spent my expenses differently. Dropping over a grand every month on a single budget item felt like it ought to result in overwhelming returns. Instead, the housing options were bland. Each had a laundry list of glaring flaws—aging units with no parking, thin walls with no outdoor space, poor walkability and a long commute. What’s more was the sense of entitlement on behalf of many landowners, like I was doing them a favor by handing over 40 percent of my income for a glorified doghouse. The transaction felt oddly imbalanced, a product of seriously misplaced supply and demand.

When Robert and I talked next, I told him to continue the search without me.

I lived in the office for 500 days. Ultimately, the company went under. I was part of the first round of layoffs. I lost my job and my home all in one, but I saved over $20,000 in living costs and 216 hours of commuting.

Before my last day, I was asked to interview with a competing company. I was admittedly underqualified for the job—an executive-level position with endless work weeks and million-dollar fundraising goals. Interviewing for it felt like dating the supermodel just because she said yes. I nearly declined, but a nagging voice in the back of my head convinced me otherwise.

At the end of the interview, I knew the job wasn’t for me. But there was something my curiosity couldn’t shake.

“Do you have any questions for me?” asked the interviewer.

“Actually, yeah,” I replied, smiling. “Tell me about your office.”

I didn’t take the job.

I sleep better nowadays. Recently I found myself waking up before sunrise, but this time it happened slowly, taking care not to hit my head on the low, carpeted ceiling above me. I looked out the passenger-side window. The moon reflected off the water as the sounds of the swells tickling up against the rocky shore echoed past my Pacific Coast Highway roadside parking space.

No paranoia, few concerns.

I was in the back of my truck, atop a twin-size memory foam mattress edged between a mini bookshelf and multi-functional cabinet/shelving. This is my new place of residence, a custom-built tiny home on four wheels, great for overnighting at a series of vista points and national forests along the way to Oregon.

I finished building it before I left the office. Everything I needed—a plywood base of shelving housing a tiny fridge, a portable butane stove, a sturdy water jug, a paper towel rack—I was fortunate enough to purchase while money was good. Mostly I stay local, picking up odd jobs while writing, pursuing the career I’d always wanted but never had the time to try. It’s a different routine from the office. It’s Henry David Thoreau meets Henry Ford.

It’s not for everybody, either. But I’m happy. On the average week, I pack 20 hours of work into a few days — one part-time gig working security in Hollywood and another working with mostly disadvantaged youth — leaving the rest of my time to write. It lacks the material benefits from my full-time days, but the benefits outweigh the negatives. Now I take my home with me wherever I go.

What more could I want?

Terry K. is the nom de plume of a man who, in his not-so-secret life, is a budding writer, documentarian, traveler, and odd-jobber.



Iraq minorities rise against US plot to divide Iraq

Thu May 7, 2015 5:13AM

Iraq's Turkmen and Christians slam a controversial US Congress bill that seeks to directly arm Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis in fighting ISIL Takfiris.

Iraq's Turkmens and Christians have slammed a controversial US Congress bill that seeks to directly arm Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis in fighting ISIL Takfiris, Press TV reports.

The Iraqi Turkmens and Christians have stressed that such a move would be the first step toward dividing Iraq, which could jeopardize Iraq’s future.

“If this country is divided, we as a minority, our fate is unknown,” Aydin Saleem, a Turkmen Iraqi lawmaker, told Press TV.

The northern and western parts of Iraq have been in chaos since ISIL started its campaign of terror in early June 2014. The terrorists are in control of the second-largest city of Mosul and have swept through parts of the country.

“Turkmens in Iraq mostly live in Kirkuk, Tal Afar and Mosul, all regions in north Iraq currently threatened by ISIL. We as Turkmens support an accord which allows all of Iraq’s religious and ethnic components to take part in a political process,” the MP added.

Yaacoub Korkees, an Iraqi Assyrian parliamentarian, also opposed the US bill, stressing that a united Iraq is the demand of all Iraqis.

All Iraqi minorities “in general are against the division of Iraq. We want Iraq to remain united as it has been throughout history,” the Assyrian lawmaker said.

“However, if they want to divide this country into Sunni, Kurdish and Shiite states, then we will call for a fourth state, that is a Christian state,” he demanded.

The draft of the US annual defense bill, which was released on April 27 by the House Armed Services Committee, urges the US government to recognize separate Kurdish and Sunni states and provide them with at least 25 percent of the USD-715-million aid money allegedly planned to be given to the Iraqi government to help it fight the ISIL terrorist group.

The draft bill also says the figure could even amount to 60 percent of the money, about USD 429 million.

The bill mandates that “the Kurdish Peshmerga, the Sunni tribal security forces with a national security mission, and the Iraqi Sunni National Guard be deemed a country,” adding that doing so “would allow these security forces to directly receive assistance from the United States.”

Iraqi politicians and clerics are opposed to the idea, saying that only the Iraqi people can decide about the future of their country.

In a phone conversation with US Vice President Joe Biden, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi denounced the bill, saying he is opposed to such a plan which is aimed at weakening the unity of Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi

“This scenario is not new, it goes back to 2007 and 2008 when [then Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee] Joe Biden said that Iraq must be divided into three states; Kurdish, Shia and Sunni. Now other countries are trying to impose this project and control this situation in Iraq,” Najem Qassab, an Iraqi political analyst, told Press TV on Saturday.

Influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has warned against the bill , saying that if the bill is passed, Iraq will no longer be a safe place for the US, and its interests will become the target of attacks by the Iraqis who will never accept the “division of their country.”

"We are obliged to lift the freeze on our military wing … and begin hitting US interests in Iraq and outside it,” said Sadr, who once led the powerful Mahdi Army and still enjoys huge influence among the Shia population.

Iraq’s army has been joined by Kurdish forces, Shia volunteers and Sunni tribesmen in operations to drive the ISIL terrorists out of the areas the Takfiri militants have seized.


Daily Telegraph

Reading to children at bedtime: ABC questions value of time-honoured practice


MAY 05, 2015 12:00AM

THE ABC has questioned whether parents should read to their children before bedtime, claiming it could give your kids an “unfair advantage” over less fortunate children.

“Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?” asks a story on the ABC’s website.

“Should parents snuggling up for one last story before lights out be even a little concerned about the advantage they might be conferring?”

The story was followed by a broadcast on the ABC’s Radio National that also tackled the apparently divisive issue of bedtime reading.

“Evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t — the difference in their life chances — is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,” British academic Adam Swift told ABC presenter Joe Gelonesi.

Gelonesi responded online: “This devilish twist of evidence surely leads to a further conclusion that perhaps — in the interests of levelling the playing field — bedtime stories should also be restricted.”

Contacted by The Daily Telegraph, Gelonesi said the bedtime stories angle was highlighted by the ABC “as a way of getting attention”.

Asked if it might be just as easy to level the playing field by encouraging other parents to read bedtime stories, Gelonesi said: “We didn’t discuss that.”

Swift said parents should be mindful of the advantage provided by bedtime reading.

“I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,” he said.

Professor Frank Oberklaid, from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute said he was bewildered by the idea.

“It’s one of the more bizarre things I’ve heard,” he said. “We should be bringing all kids up to the next level.”



Magical Effects Music Has On The Mind

1. Improve verbal IQ and reduce seizures

Practising the piano won’t just improve your musical abilities, it can also improve your visual and verbal skills.

A study of 8 to 11-year-olds found that, those who had extra-curricular music classes, developed higher verbal IQ, and visual abilities, in comparison to those with no musical training (Forgeard et al., 2008). This shows the benefits of learning an instrument are not purely musical, but extend into cognition and visual perception.

The effects of music on cognition extend even to neurological wiring. According to research, calming sounds – especially the piano masterpieces of Mozart – can significantly reduce seizure-causing signals in as short as five minutes. The song’s effect on the cerebral cortex is so profound, that it has made 23 of 29 significant seizure activity decreases possible. The dramatic results are published in the 1998 experiment entitled “Mozart Effect on Epileptiform Activity.”

2. Feeling the chills

Have you ever felt chills down your spine while listening to music? According to a study by Nusbaum and Silvia (2010), over 90% of us have.

How much you feel, though, depends on your personality. People who are high in one of the five personality dimensions called ‘openness to experience’, are likely to feel the most chills while listening to music. In the study, people high in openness to experience were more likely to play a musical instrument, and more likely to rate music as important to them.

3. Active listening amps up happiness

If you’re not feeling the chills, perhaps you should try a little harder.

A recent study contradicts the old advice that activelytrying to feel happier is useless. In research by Ferguson and Sheldon (2013), participants who listened to upbeat classical compositions by Aaron Copland, while actively trying to feel happier, felt their moods lift more than those who passively listened to the music.

This suggests that engaging with music, rather than allowing it to wash over us, gives the experience extra emotional power.

4. Singing together brings us together

Since music is often a social activity, making it together can help bring us together.

A study of almost one thousand Finnish pupils who took part in extended music classes, found they reported higher satisfaction at school in almost every area, even those not related to the music classes themselves (Eerola & Eerola, 2013)

Explaining the results, the lead researcher Päivi-Sisko Eerola, said:

“Singing in a choir and ensemble performance are popular activities at extended music classes. Other studies have established that people find it very satisfying to synchronize with one another. That increases affiliation within the group and may even make people like each other more than before.”

5. Music treats heart disease

…or at least it can help with the stress and anxiety associated with having treatment for coronary heart disease.

A review of 23 studies covering almost 1,500 patients found that listening to music reduced heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety in heart disease patients.

6. Why sad music lifts you up

‘Mood management’ is the number one reason people love music.

And, all music fans know that music can have a cathartic effect. But, it’s still odd that, for some people, sad music can, under the right circumstances, improve their mood. Why? According to a study by Kawakami et al. (2013), sad music is enjoyable because it creates an interesting mix of emotions; some negative, some positive.

Crucially, we perceive the negative emotions in the music, but don’t feel them strongly.

7. Seeing happy faces

Music may make you feel different, but as little as 15 seconds of music can change the way you judge the emotions on other people’s faces as well.

A study by Logeswaran et al. (2009) found that a quick blast of happy music made participants perceive other’s faces as happier. The same was true for a snatch of sad music. The biggest effect was seen when people looked at faces with a neutral expression.

In other words: people projected the mood of the music they were listening to onto other people’s faces.

8. The colour of music

Music naturally makes people think of certain colours. Across different cultures, people pair particular types of music with particular colours.

In a study by Palmer et al. (2013), people from both Mexico and the US showed remarkable similarities in connecting duller, darker colours with sadder pieces of music and lighter, more vivid colours with happier music. A follow-up study showed that these music-to-colour associations were seen because of the emotional content of the music.

9. Could music bring back your vision?

In 60% of people who have a stroke, the visual areas of the brain are affected.

This leads to ‘visual neglect’: the patient loses awareness of objects on the opposite side to where the brain has been damaged. But, studies have found, when patients listen to their favourite music, some of their visual attention is restored (Tsai et al., 2013). So, music can be an important tool in rehabilitation for stroke patients.

10. Babies are born to dance!

Infants as young as five-months-old respond rhythmically to music and seem to find it more interesting than speech.

In a study by Zentner and Eerola (2010), the babies spontaneously danced to all different types of music, and those that were most in time also smiled the most. Maybe music really is in our genes!



Until next week...keep on believing.
Almondtree Productions

As a signet of an emerald set in a work of gold, so is the melody of musick with pleasant wine.”
(Sirach 32:6 Apocrapha)