The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”
(Proverbs 16:4)
Everything For Its Purpose

***

gotquestions.org
If God knew that Satan would rebel, why did He create him?

Question: "If God knew that Satan would rebel, why did He create him?"

Answer: This is a two-part question. The first part is “Did God know Satan would rebel?” We know from Scripture that God is omniscient, which literally means “all-knowing.” Job 37:16; Psalm 139:2–4, 147:5; Proverbs 5:21; Isaiah 46:9-10; and 1 John 3:19–20 leave no doubt that God’s knowledge is infinite and that He knows everything that has happened in the past, is happening now, and will happen in the future.

Looking at some of the superlatives in these verses—“perfect in knowledge”; “his understanding has no limit”; “he knows everything”—it is clear that God’s knowledge is not merely greater than our own, but it is infinitely greater. He knows all things in totality. If God’s knowledge is not perfect, then there is a deficiency in His nature. Any deficiency in God’s nature means He cannot be God, for God’s very essence requires the perfection of all His attributes. Therefore, the answer to the first question is “yes, God knew that Satan would rebel.”

Moving on to the second part of the question, “Why did God create Satan knowing ahead of time he was going to rebel?” This question is a little trickier because we are asking a “why” question to which the Bible does not usually provide comprehensive answers. Despite that, we should be able to come to a limited understanding. We have already seen that God is omniscient. So, if God knew that Satan would rebel and fall from heaven, yet He created him anyway, it must mean that the fall of Satan was part of God’s sovereign plan from the beginning. No other answer makes sense given what we’ve seen thus far.

First, we should understand that knowing Satan would rebel is not the same thing as making Satan rebel. The angel Lucifer had a free will and made his own choices. God did not create Lucifer as the devil; He created him good (Genesis 1:31).

In trying to understand why God created Satan, knowing he would rebel, we should also consider the following facts:

1) Lucifer had a good and perfect purpose before his fall. Lucifer’s rebellion does not change God’s original intent from something good to something bad.

2) God’s sovereignty extends to Satan, even in his fallen condition. God is able to use Satan’s evil actions to ultimately bring about God’s holy plan (see 1 Timothy 1:20 and 1 Corinthians 5:5).

3) God’s plan of salvation was ordained from eternity past (Revelation 13:8); salvation requires something to be saved from, and so God allowed Satan’s rebellion and the spread of sin.

4) The suffering that Satan brought into the world actually became the means by which Jesus, in His humanity, was made the complete and perfect Savior of mankind: “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered” (Hebrews 2:10).

5) From the very beginning, God’s plan in Christ included the destruction of Satan’s work (see 1 John 3:8).

Ultimately, we cannot know for sure why God created Satan, knowing he would rebel. It’s tempting to assume that things would be “better” if Satan had never been created or to declare that God should have done differently. But such assumptions and declarations are unwise. In fact, to claim we know better than God how to run the universe is to fall into the devil’s own sin of promoting himself above the Most High (Isaiah 14:13–14).

***

BREAKINGISRAELNEWS

Are ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ and ‘Y-Chromosomal Adam’ Science’s Confirmation of Creation?
By Yehezkel Laing

November10, 2017

The man named his wife Chava, because she was the mother of all the living.” Genesis 3:20 (The Israel Bible™)

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, by Tintoretto, 1550. (Wikimedia Commons)

Following the recent trend of congruence between science and Bible in different fields, fresh genetic research suggests that all females are descended from a single female and all males from a single male – corresponding with the Biblical account of Adam and Eve.

For many years the multiregional hypothesis, suggesting multiple origins for humanity, was predominant in genetic research. But new studies suggest that all of humanity has a common origin.

“The Torah has always claimed one common ancestor to all humanity as well as creation ex-nilo,” Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman told Breaking Israel News in response to the finding. “Recent discoveries in these fields seem to confirm these truths.”

The theory was first developed in 1987, when leading science journal Nature published a study investigating humanity’s origins. The study researched mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from mother to both daughter and son. Because mitochondrial DNA is only passed on by the mother and never the father, it reveals maternal lineage.

Knowing this, the researchers were able to determine that every human being alive today can trace their ancestry back to a single woman now referred to as “Mitochondrial Eve.” The original research placed Eve somewhere in East Africa between 140,000 and 200,000 years ago. More recent research suggests she may have lived less than 100,000 years ago.

The study was quickly attacked by other researchers, but subsequent studies confirmed the original findings and the theory is now generally accepted in the scientific community.

Professor Karl Skorecki, an expert on DNA and the discoverer of the “Cohen Gene”, which identifies members of the Jewish priestly caste through genetic testing, explained to Breaking Israel News how the findings harmonize with the Biblical account.

“Analysis of mitochondrial DNA of all contemporary humans sampled today indicates that all of the different variations in the sequence of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) trace back, or converge to an original sequence in a given woman,” he explained.

“That woman, Mitochondrial Eve, transmitted her mtDNA sequence to her offspring, and over generations slight variations in sequence occurred and accumulated, leading to the diversity of existent sequences in men and women populating the earth today.”

Professor Skorecki said that while the findings confirm a single mother to all humanity, they do not suggest she was the only woman of her time. But this, he pointed out, is harmonious with the Bible, which identifies other human populations at the time of Eve.

Ancestral Adam was found in 1995, when a separate study on male ancestry examined the Y-chromosome, passed directly from father to son. Science published the results of a study in which a segment of the Y-chromosome from 38 men from different ethnic groups were analyzed for variation.

Their conclusion was that every man alive today actually descended from a single man whom scientists now refer to as “Y-Chromosomal Adam.”

“The last fifty years of science, especially in the fields of cosmology and quantum physics, have brought Torah and science together as never before,” Rabbi Trugman noted. “Perhaps now the same will occur within anthropology and Torah.”

“Although the Torah is not a science, history, anthropology, philosophy, or cosmology book in the common sense, it is actually all of these and much more,” he added.

The first studies concluded that “Eve” lived much later than “Adam” – some 140,000 years later. But recent studies indicate that Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosomal Adam may indeed have lived around the same time.

End-times expert Rabbi Pinchas Winston took the comparison even further than confirming the Biblical account, explaining how he sees the confluence between the scientific view of Eve and the Biblical account as a signal of redemption.

“During the exile there was great Hester Panim – a hiding of God’s face. As a result the Bible became relegated to the back of man’s consciousness,” he said. “At the same time, science at first seemed to diverge from religion.

“But since the Torah is the basic fabric of reality it cannot be hidden forever. As the redemption moves forward and the Jews return home, the Bible is coming back to the forefront of man’s consciousness. Along with this we see a growing harmony between science and the Bible. We have even gotten the point where science is now borrowing concepts from the Bible – such as with Mitochondrial Eve.”

***

WND

MYSTERY OF DEAD SEA SCROLLS CRACKED?

New research suggests identity of those who preserved them discovered

November 23, 2017

Qumran. ( Mark Karis, copyright 2017 WorldNetDaily.com)

It may be the biggest mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, possibly the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century – namely, who was it that preserved them for 2,000 years.

New studies are returning to an old theory – that those who stored the scrolls in caves in Qumran, a desert community near the Dead Sea, were Essenes, an all-male celibate Jewish sect in the Second Temple period.

In the past, the Essene community was assumed to be responsible for the artifacts. But then doubts arose because female skeletons were found in the site’s cemetery.

The new evidence supporting the Essene conclusion came when 33 new human remains were found and almost all were male. In addition, while some of the skeletal fragments couldn’t be identified as to gender, of the 53 previously found skeletons six that had been identified as women were actually men.

Researcher Yossi Nagar, an anthropologist for the Israel Antiquities Authority, reported recently that the most probable explanation for the lopsided demographics is that Qumran was a community of Essenes: a Jewish sect that lived a monastic life in the desert, adopting strict dietary laws and a commitment to celibacy.

The Essenes were contemporaries with other Jewish sects such as the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Observant Jews today may be perplexed at this aspect of the archaeological find. Celibacy is rejected as a sin in Judaism, and Jewish law considers procreation to be the first mitzvah (Bible commandment).

Titus Flavius Josephus, a first-century Roman-Jewish historian, described the ascetic life of the Essenes as deeply communal and anti-materialistic.

“Since [they are] despisers of wealth — their communal stock is astonishing — one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possession… the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all.”

Josephus also noted that a separate order of Essenes differed on the matter of celibacy.

“Though agreeing with the others about regimen and customs and legal matters, it has separated in its opinion about marriage,” he wrote. “For they hold that those who do not marry cut off the greatest part of life, the succession, and more: if all were to think the same way, the line would very quickly die out.”

The Dead Sea Scrolls, manuscripts that included parts of the Bible, including a complete Book of Isaiah, were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in 11 caves in the region surrounding Qumran.

Russian Patriarch Warns 'The Signs Of The Book Of Revelation Are Apparent' And 'We're Moving Towards The Abyss' As Mysterious Booms Spread Across Planet

- Experts Warn After 2017's Year Of Calamities, 2018 May Be Worse

By Stefan Stanford - All News Pipeline - Live Free Or Die
November 21, 2017
In this new story over at WND we learn that mysterious booms being heard not only across America but around the world are increasing in intensity, shaking buildings and rattling nerves, with earthquakes being ruled out as the cause of most of these with no official explanation yet forthcoming.
Leaving experts baffled and conspiracy theorists talking about alien invasions and top secret military experiments, we find it interesting that this latest round of mysterious booms and blasts comes at the same time that scientists are warning there could be a big increase in numbers of devastating earthquakes around the world in 2018 as our planet Earth's rotation slows according to this new story from The Guardian which the Drudge Report linked to on Sunday.
Claiming that 2018 is setting up to be a huge year for quakes coming after 2017 has been a huge year for insurance claims after numerous disastrous calamities, the story over at India.com claims the predicted upsurge in quakes for 2018 will have nothing to do with the 'fictional Nibiru' or 'Planet X' now that NASA has finally debunked that theory.

While we know nothing of NASA debunking the heavenly body that the world's leading astronomers and astrophysicists have warned is likely responsible for the tilt of the sun and other planets of the solar system (and which they've appropriately nicknamed 'the perturber') despite the fact that it hasn't yet been physically found, the hunt goes on for this mysterious planet. More than 30 years after the Washington Post and the NY Times last reported upon it all the way back in 1983, NASA has 'debunked' nothing, especially when in this October of 2017 story we learn that NASA has come right out and stated that 'Planet 9' is very real though yet 'unfound'.
From the east coast to the west, from Idaho to Alabama to Texas to Maryland to South Carolina to Florida and many states in between, the loud and mysterious booms that experts still can't explain are expanding and as we see in the next graphic below from VolcanoDiscovery.com, much of the 'Ring of Fire' is ablaze with volcanoes either going through major eruptions or still going through minor volcanic activity everywhere we look.
Is there something going on beyond 'normal Earth changes' which our planet has gone through for many millennia? As we reported on ANP back on March 28th of 2017, all the way back on December 30th, 1983, a Washington Post story reported that a 'mysterious heavenly body' had been found in the direction of the Constellation Orion. A December 30th, 2016 story from NASA claims: "at aphelion, Planet Nine would be in the general location of the Orion and Taurus constellations." Just a coincidence?

According to this recent story over at Strange Sounds, some of the other possible explanations for the return of the mysterious booms are 'frost quakes', military exercises, a large fireworks display, the testing of avalanche equipment and of course, UFO's. When no better explanations are given, we turn our eyes to the skies for answers.
While according to a Russian Orthodox Patriarch, what we're now witnessing all across the world is evidence that we are approaching 'end times' as shared in this story over at RT that the Drudge Report linked to on Monday, claiming that we're witnessing events straight from the Book of Revelation, we find the explanation that the rotation of our planet is slowing down quite interesting. First, from the RT story and more on that in our conclusion below.
In a public speech in the main Moscow cathedral, Patriarch Kirill said the signs from the Book of Revelation are now apparent. He also called on politicians and ordinary citizens to unite and stop the movement towards the abyss.
“All people who love the Motherland must be together because we are entering a critical period in the course of human civilization. This can already be seen with the naked eye. You have to be blind not to notice the approaching awe-inspiring moments in history that the apostle and evangelist John was talking about in the Book of Revelation,” the patriarch was quoted as saying by Interfax.

According to this new story over at Quartz, scientists will be testing out a new theory in 2018 and if they are correct, our planet Earth could be suffering from a lot of big earthquakes next year and in fact, most of us are completely unprepared for what might be coming.
Sharing with us their theory that while the rotation of the Earth is slowing down but the average human is unable to detect the slowing, we have to ask if the slowing is due to the still officially unfound 'planet 9'? We hear more about this 'slowing down' of our planet Earth's rotation in the final video below. To close, from the Quartz story.:
Every so often, the Earth’s rotation slows by a few milliseconds per day. This is inconsequential to the average human, and causes only mild annoyance to the people whose job it is to measure Earth’s rotation with great precision.
That may be about to change, if the hypothesis set out by two geologists proves true. In a study published in Geophysical Research Letters earlier this year, Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana predict that, because of Earth’s slowing rotation, the world will see a significant spike in large earthquakes in 2018.
To make this prediction, Bilham and Bendick studied every earthquake since 1900 that recorded more than 7.0 on the moment magnitude scale. They found that approximately every 32 years, there is an uptick in these large quakes. The only factor that strongly correlates is a slight slowing of the Earth’s rotation in a five-year period before the uptick.
“The inference is clear,” Bilham told the Guardian. “Next year we should see a significant increase in numbers of severe earthquakes.” Instead of an average of about 15-20 large earthquakes, we might see 25 or 30 in 2018. Bilham can’t tell with any certainty where these might take place. Many large earthquakes occur in places where they don’t affect human life, but in the wrong spot they can wreak havoc.

WND

BOOM! MYSTERY BLASTS RATTLING THE GLOBE

From Alabama to Idaho to Michigan to Russia to Denmark

November 20, 2017

Was it a supersonic aircraft?

A meteor?

A ground explosion?

The end of the world as we know it?

Those are the questions experts and non-experts around the world are asking themselves in recent weeks as curiously loud mystery BOOMS have not only been hear around the world, but felt – shaking buildings and rattling nerves from Alabama to Michigan, Idaho to California, Russia to Denmark.

The Alabama boom last Tuesday at 1:39 CST was heard and felt through 11 counties, but an earthquake event has been ruled out.

A sound graph from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Lakeview Retreat near Centreville, Alabama, shows a loud boom heard over Alabama at about 1:39 p.m. CST on Nov. 14, 2017.

The day after Alabamans were shaken by that incident, something similar occurred in Idaho. No explanation has been forthcoming from law enforcement officials there.

Then, last Saturday, much the same thing was reported in Michigan, according to various local newscast. Still no explanation.

WXYZ in Detroit said the reports came in from the towns of Wyandotte, Ecorse, Lincoln Park and many others. Wyandotte Police said the loud boom did not originate in their city. Ecorse Police also said their officers heard and felt it inside their police station, but they were not able to pinpoint the source of the sound, saying it did not happen in Ecorse.

Southern New Jersey had baffled residents on Oct. 25 who called 9-1-1 centers. It was also heard and felt in the Philadelphia area. An earthquake was ruled out. There was speculation about a sonic boom from military aircraft flying out of the Naval Air Station near the Patuxent River in eastern Maryland. But a public affairs officer from the base said there were no aircraft flying in the area that morning. There is also speculation about an inversion, which happens when a layer of warmer air sits over a layer of cooler air, magnifying the sound of an aircraft miles away.

The same day – a world away – residents in Sydney, Australia’s inner west and outer southern suburbs were awakened to extremely loud explosion sounds, leaving some fearing for their lives.

According to news reports, savage bomb-like booms echoed across the city and as far as 30 miles to the south. Powerful cracking sounds shook homes and buildings and were joined by bursts of blinding white light, likened to the flash of a speed camera. The sounds have been attributed to a lightning storm. But some aren’t buying it … because there was no lightning seen.

Similar reports in the last week were reported in Russia, Denmark, Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

On Nov. 8, there were reports in Tennessee.

On Nov. 4, in Bend, Oregon.

On Nov. 3, in Minnesota.

On Nov. 2, in San Diego.

So, what’s going on?

Conspiracy theorists are jumping in with chatter about an alien invasion.

Others are talking about secret military experiments.

Numerous websites are cropping up to chronicle the events and exchange information.

But no one is coming up with official explanations for most of the events.

The experts are as baffled as the residents experiencing the disconcerting sounds and earthquake-like shocks that accompany them.

WND

RABBI SEES MESSIAH BEHIND MYSTERY BOOMS

'Loud noise will cause everyone to stop what they are doing'

November 22, 2017

A sound graph from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Lakeview Retreat near Centreville, Alabama, shows a loud boom heard over Alabama at about 1:39 p.m. CST on Nov. 14, 2017.

A rash of inexplicable ground-shaking BOOM sounds being heard around the world in recent days has prompted some Israeli rabbis to suggest they are the anticipated signs of the imminent coming of the Jewish Messiah.

The mysterious sounds and their shocks that have rattled both nerves and the ground were first chronicled by WND Sunday and have since received global attention. They have been accompanied by dramatic sightings of fireballs that have NASA scientists scratching their heads.

While local news reports have recorded the BOOMS in Michigan, Florida, Idaho, California, Tennessee, Oregon, Minnesota, San Diego, Russia and Denmark, among other cities and countries, one heard and felt in Alabama last Tuesday has been investigated by the U.S. Geological Survey and other authorities and experts. It was heard and felt in 11 counties, but an earthquake has been ruled out.

A followup report in the London Daily Mail identified a total of 64 such incidents this year.

There are lots of theories – from sonic booms to military exercises – but no definitive explanations.

But one Israel rabbi thinks he may have the answer.

Loud and disturbing sounds are described in Jewish sources as being associated with the coming of Messiah ever since Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer, often called the Baal Shem Tov, was an 18th century Jewish mystical rabbi who founded the Hasidic sect. Stories of him describe an incident on Yom Kippur in which his spirit went up to heaven and saw the Messiah “surrounded by a loud noise,” according to a report in Israel Breaking News.

This was later explained, the report said, by his great-grandson, Rabbi Nachman, who wrote that the unprecedented noise accompanying the arrival of the Messiah served a practical purpose. Nachman noted that in the Talmud (oral law) it is stated that the Messiah will come by way of “distraction.”

“The arrival of the Messiah will be sudden and surprising, accompanied by a loud noise that will cause everyone to stop what they are doing … so they may run to greet Him,” the rabbi said.

Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, said the loud sounds and accompanying fireball events conform to the end-of-days prophecy in Zechariah.

“The Zohar (the basis of Jewish esoteric learning) describes warring stars as accompanying the Messiah,” he said. “A large pillar of flame will also appear, as was seen by the Children of Israel in the desert.”

He added that the prophet Joel (in Joel 3:3) prophesied astronomical phenomena as signaling the imminent arrival of the Messiah.

tvweb

Anti-Christ Drama Messiah Is Coming to Netflix in 2019

B. ALAN ORANGE

The Messiah is coming in 2019. Anyone who has followed the ongoing drama surrounding Maitreya, whom many believe to be the true anti-Christ, will surely be interested in the new drama just announced at Netflix. It's a story no network would touch, due to its controversial nature. And perhaps it will work better as a streaming series, as this is the type of story that will suck you in and won't let go if done right. It's a serious look at religion and its followers done in a very serious way. And it's going to be intense and gripping, to say the least.

Netflix, the world's leading Internet entertainment service, will bring Messiah, an epic suspenseful drama exploring the lines among religion, faith and politics, to its members around the globe in 2019. Here is the official synopsis.

"Messiah will chronicle the modern world's reaction to a man who first appears in the Middle East creating a groundswell of followers around him claiming he is the Messiah. Is he sent from God or is he a dangerous fraud bent on dismantling the world's geopolitical order? In ten hour-long episodes, the story unfolds from multiple points of view, including a young CIA agent, an Israeli Shin Bet officer, a Latino preacher and his Texan daughter, a Palestinian refugee and the media, among others."

The series was created by Michael Petroni (The Chronicles of Narnia: the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Book Thief) and brought to Netflix by Petroni and Emmy award winning producer Mark Burnett, MGM's President, Television Group & Digital (The Voice, Shark Tank, Survivor and The Bible Series).

Messiah, a Netflix production, will be executive produced by Petroni, who also wrote the first episode. Also executive producing are Burnett and Roma Downey (The Bible Series, Son of God, Ben Hur), Andrew Deane (Industry Entertainment) and James McTeigue (Sense8, V for Vendetta), who will also serve as a director. said Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content for Netflix.

"Messiah promises to be a fascinating series for viewers of every faith, and a thrilling drama filled with multi-layered characters set on a global stage."

Said Petroni,

"Messiah will have every viewer asking the question 'is he or isn't he?' How you answer that question may reveal more about you than it does about the show. Messiah challenges us to examine what we believe and why."

Said Downey and Burnett.

"Messiah is a series that will have the audience asking big questions. What if someone showed up in 2018 amid strange occurrences and was thought to be the Messiah? What would society do? How would the media cover him? Would millions simply quit work? Could governments collapse? It's a series that could change everything."

Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service with 109 million members in over 190 countries enjoying more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

***

abcNEWS

'Touched by an Angel' star Della Reese dead at 86

By JOI-MARIE MCKENZIE

Nov 20, 2017, 1:20 PM E

Della Reese, best known recently for her role as Tess on the hit TV series "Touched by an Angel," died Sunday, her family confirmed for ABC News. She was 86.

Details of her death were revealed in a statement from Reese's family and her longtime friend and co-star Roma Downey.

"On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love," the statement began.

"She was an incredible Wife, Mother, Grandmother, friend, and Pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer," the statement obtained by ABC News continued. "Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people."

Downey, who portrayed Monica, Reese's onscreen helper on "Touched by an Angel," also shared in a statement what Reese meant to her.

Della Reese, John Dye and Roma Downey in Touched by an Angel in 1994.

"She was a mother to me, and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on 'Touched by an Angel.' I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest in peace, sweet angel. We love you," she said.

Born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931, in Detroit, Reese found her voice singing gospel in her local church. At the age of 13, she was selected to sing with famed gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. Reese's career took off in 1957 thanks to her hit song "And That Reminds Me."

Two years later, her hit "Don't You Know?" went on to become her signature song, selling more than a million copies and reaching no. 2 on the charts. Reese earned a Grammy Awardnomination in 1960 for her album "Della," and she later had two more nominations and a slew of other hits.

Reese's career, which spanned six decades, would be most fruitful when she transitioned into acting in 1969. Her first attempt at television was her talk show, "Della," which ran for 197 episodes before being canceled.

After starring in hit films such as "Harlem Nights" and guest-starring on several hit TV shows— including "Sanford and Son," "The Love Boat," "Night Court" and "Designing Women" — Reese's most notable TV performance came with her role as Tess on "Touched by an Angel," which ran from 1994 to 2003.


"It was a marvelous set. It was a marvelous place to work," she said later of the hit CBS drama.

Reese credited the show's success to its inspirational plot lines.

"People need something to help them with their lives. In the show, we didn't tell you what to do. We said, 'Did you ever think about it like this?' So if you were distraught ... we would make a suggestion," she told the Archive of American Television in 2008. "It gave people at home ... a chance to know that they too can change your minds and change your lives."

Reese leaves behind her husband, Franklin Lett, and her children, James, Franklin and Dominique Reese.

***

EXPRESS

'Stop saying Christmas' Priest warns Christians to abandon the word

CHRISTIANS should stop using the word Christmas because it has been hijacked by “Santa and reindeer”, an Irish Catholic priest has urged.

By BEN WEICH

November 19, 2017

Father Desmond O’Donnell said Christians of all denominations should realise that Christmas and Easter no longer has any sacred meaning.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: “We’ve lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon the word completely. We need to let it go, it’s already been hijacked and we just need to recognise and accept that.

“I am simply asking that space be preserved for believers for whom Christmas has nothing to do with Santa and reindeer.

“My religious experience of true Christmas, like so many others, is very deep and real – like the air I breathe. But non-believers deserve and need their celebration too, it’s an essential human dynamic and we all need that in the toughness of life.

“I’m just trying to rescue the reality of Christmas for believers by giving up ‘Christmas’ and replacing it with another word.

“I’m all for Christians choosing to celebrate Christmas by going out for meals and enjoying a glass of wine, but the commercialisation of anything is never good.”

Father O’Donnell, a registered psychologist and author, as well as a priest, added he did not intend his statement to be a criticism of non-Christians.

He said that unless Catholicism addressed the reality of what Christmas has come to mean “secularisation and modern life will continue to launder the church”.

The clergyman, whose latest book To Love And To Be Loved was published in September, admitted that he wasn't hopeful about the sacred institution being willing to change, but warned that its refusal to do so will have consequences.

Father O’Donnell’s words come in the wake of the furore over Greggs replacing the baby Jesus with a sausage roll in a nativity scene for an advertisement.

The chief executive of pressure group the Freedom Association, Simon Richards, claimed the advert was “sick” and that the retailer would “never dare” insult other religions.

The UK Evangelical Alliance also condemned the high street bakery, saying it was a gimmick that seemed to be about “manufacturing a scandal to sell baked goods”.

The decision by Greggs to replace the baby Jesus with a sausage roll caused a storm

The publicity image depicted the Three Wise Men around the crib, with the infant Christ replaced by Greggs’ signature product.

A Greggs spokesperson said: “We're really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention.“

The Rev Mark Edwards of St Matthew’s Church in Dinnington and St Cuthbert’s Church in Brunswick said Greggs had been “disrespectful”.

He said: “It goes beyond just commercialism, it’s showing a total disregard and disrespect towards one of the greatest stories ever told, and I think people of all faiths will be offended by this.”

The advert created a debate on the Greggs Facebook page but only a minority of comments complained about the scene.

***

BREAKINGISRAELNEWS

Paganism Returning, Warns Rabbi After Egyptian, Hindu Gods Appear on Washington Mall

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz

November 14, 2017

They sacrificed to demons, no-gods, Hashems they had never known, New ones, who came but lately, Who stirred not your fathers’ fears.” Deuteronomy 32:17 (The Israel Bible™)

A paper-mache sculpture of “Lord Shiva Natarja”, a Hindu god, featured during the Catharsis on the Mall festival. (Facebook)

A three-day weekend event on the Mall in Washington DC featured a massive seven-headed dragon as an exaggerated symbol of Satan in what one prominent rabbi sees as part of the reappearing battle against paganism, an ancient sin that is creeping back into the world.

The third annual Catharsis on the Mall, titled a Vigil for Healing, was held as a politically motivated incarnation of the desert Burning Man Festival from which it evolved. Catharsis, held from November 10-12, featured an array of art, music, lectures, interactive exhibits, meditation, healing and workshops. But unlike the Burning Man, held in an isolated desert location, the Washington gathering was politically oriented.

“We sought a local experience that integrated the best of our … values with the immediate desire for political and cultural change that brings people to DC,” the organizers stated on their website.

The event featured a 70-foot long seven headed red metal dragon on wheels. The dragon, named for the ancient Egyptian god Abraxas, was clearly intended to reference Satan as described in the Christian Book of Revelations. The dragon, like many elements of the event, was previously used at Burning Man, a yearly festival held in the Nevada desert that attracts tens of thousands from around the world.

The Abraxas dragon with the Washington Monument visible in the background. (Facebook)
Other pagan elements of the event included a 30-foot tall “non-denominational” wooden temple that was built and then burned to the ground. At the focal point, directly facing the Washington Monument, was a paper-mache sculpture of “Lord Shiva Natarja”, a Hindu god described as “the cosmic ecstatic dancer”.

Though these could all be regarded as cultural or artistic elements, the religious connotations were intentional.

“There’s a deeply spiritual side to what we’re trying to do,” said Adam Eidinger, a local activist and organizer of the Catharsis events. “Having sacred fire on the mall is a very religious thing.”

Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, stated that the event, with all of its intentions and accoutrements, was a lightly disguised pagan feast. He warned that this was part of a war against paganism being waged just as it was in the days of Elijah on Carmel.

“Avodah Zarah is rising, make no mistake,”Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “Even secular Americans are turning to idols without really thinking about it. They can even say it is not serious or intentional, but it certainly is.

“Religious people cannot just sit back and think they are safe. We must fight this rise of paganism in every corner of our lives.”

Rabbi Berger emphasized that this was a warning sign, but also a reason to take heart.

“In kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), there is a concept that as the darkness increases, so does the light,” Rabbi Berger said. “As the level of holiness increases in preparation for the Moshaich (Messiah), so does the level of tumah (impurity). As more people turn to Hashem, more people are drawn to avodah zarah.”

The event shared many elements associated with the Burning Man Festival held for one week every year in late August. The Nevada festival attracted around 70,000 people this year, self-dubbed ‘Burners’, from around the world. The festival has a strongly spiritual basis with many alternative forms of worship being represented in micro-temples and altars.

The week-long festival culminates in the eponymous ceremony in which a large wooden effigy of a man is burned. This ceremony, referred to among Druids as the ‘wicker man’, is almost universal amongst pagan cults and evolved as a replacement for human sacrifice.

Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, a member of the nascent Sanhedrin, said that both events were clearly cases of avoda zara (paganism) forbidden to Jews.

“Even if the intention is secular and not for worshipping foreign gods, it is forbidden to take part in such acts,” Rabbi Schwartz told Breaking Israel News. “It imitates idol worship, and that is enough. At the basis of idol worship is man’s desire to replace god, to be free of the constraints of morality imposed on him by God. It is a desire to be God.”

Controversy surrounded Catharsis on the Mall even in the planning stages. Organizers were issued a permit to erect a 45-foot tall, 16,000 pound, steel sculpture of a naked woman titled “R-evolution” in front of the Washington Monument, deliberately facing the White House. The organizers initially intended for the massive piece to stand for four months but the permit was later revoked by the National Parks Service on the grounds that the crane required to erect the statue might damage the grass and concrete in the Mall.

***

WND

OVERT DEMONIC ACTIVITY COMING, WARNS 'SPIRITUAL WARFARE' EXPERT

'Stand against the powers of darkness rather than ridicule or run from them'

November 19, 2017

The Roman Catholic Church is publishing prayers to combat the “powers of darkness” as interest continues to grow in the rite of exorcism.

Demons and supernatural forces have become a staple of popular culture, and churches are scrambling to keep up as the imagery of evil continues to flood pop culture.

An expert on combating the demonic, Pastor Karl Payne, former chaplain of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, told WND the “message about a Christian’s battle with the world, the flesh and the devil is just as real and relevant today as it was when God originally addressed the subject through the men He inspired to pen the Scripture.”

Payne is the author of “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization, and Deliverance,” which now is available as an audiobook,

“The reality of demonic warfare in particular has more to do with the delegated authority God has given every true Christian over all of the powers of the enemy than cultural particulars, ethnicity, gender, education or theological training,” he said. “The reality of this enemy, this battle and the delegated authority God has given to Christians over Satan and his minions has not changed.”

Payne said the battle “will continue until the Lord Jesus Christ vanquishes all of His enemies.”

“I believe according to 1 Timothy 4 that the closer we get to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, the more intense this battle is going to become,” he said. “If this is the case, it means that unless Christians want to live like victims rather than victors, they had better do their homework and be willing and able to stand against the powers of darkness rather than ridicule or run from them.”

Payne has been a critic of how pop culture increasingly treats the demonic as something glamorous or appropriate for children.

“The growing fascination North Americans and Europeans seem to have with horror movies, spiritism, supernaturalism, the occult and Satanism is softening up the senses and consciences of the people watching and involving themselves in this nonsense,” he said. “It’s helping prepare them to function as predators or prey when Satan begins his ultimate reign over planet earth through his coming Antichrist and false prophet.

“When two fighters get into the ring, with one thinking the fight is a staged game and the other understanding it is for life or death, the fighter who takes the fight more seriously is generally the fighter who is going to win the fight. Too many Christians seem to think demonic warfare is a game to turn on or off at their convenience, and they are getting their behinds kicked in battles they should be winning rather than losing.

“With the media and public square vilifying the Judeo-Christian faith, and conservative Christianity in particular, people are going to put their faith in something or someone. But unfortunately, it just will not be the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan is alive and well, and he is prowling around like a hungry lion, looking for those he can devour. Christians need to wake up.”

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The Roman Catholic Church is the organization most strongly associated with exorcism, an image strengthened by its central presence in movies such as “The Exorcist.” But Payne says it is a common misperception to believe special titles or denominational credentials are required to fight what the church calls the “powers of darkness.”

“I am glad for anyone who knows what they are talking about to stand up against demonic warfare rather than run from it, regardless of their titles or labels,” he said of Catholic exorcism efforts. “I still care more about what is actually in a bottle than the label that is on the bottle.

‘However, as long as demons legitimately hold ‘ground,’ Ephesians 4:27, against a person, they will not leave that person until the sin that opened the door for their involvement has been personally confessed and forgiven by God, and the ‘ground’ they hold against that person has been canceled by God. Demons do not fear pastors, priests, people or their denominational titles. They fear the Lord Jesus Christ and those who understand their delegated authority over the powers of darkness.”

Instead of focusing on dogmatic rituals or sensationalism, Payne hopes his book and its new audiobook edition will force American Christians to wake up to the existence of the demonic real and rejoice in the knowledge believers have the power.

“Too much of the church today represents two sides of the same coin,” he said. “On one side of the coin are people who like to talk about demonic warfare, but do not know how to stand against it in an effective manner. On the other side of the coin are people who ridicule or run from demonic warfare. They seem to think that in redefining demonic warfare they can eliminate the reality of the battle. This is naïve. Again, fighters who prepare for battle generally fare better than those who think it is all a game. Sloganeering is not helpful or effective in confronting demonic spirits who are tormenting Christians. Talking about a battle or playing video games simulating fighting in battles does not win actual battles.”

Payne said he wrote the book “as a transferable guide to help Christians learn how to biblically recognize and respond to demonic warfare.”

“We should win more battles than we lose, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ with the confidence of a victor empowered by Him rather than playing the role of a passive, helpless victim. We are victors, not victims because of the accomplished work and delegated authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. If my book helps in equipping the saints to fight rather than run, then I will rejoice.”

***

Washington Post

This church has a warning for visitors: ‘We Are Heavily Armed’

By Marwa Eltagouri

November 21, 2017

Two days after a gunman killed 26 people at a small Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., a pastor at a Tampa Bay, Fla., church took to Instagram.

Senior Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne of the River at Tampa Bay Church posted a photo of the signs on his church doors: “WE ARE HEAVILY ARMED–ANY ATTEMPT WILL BE DEALT WITH DEADLY FORCE–YES WE ARE A CHURCH AND WE WILL PROTECT OUR PEOPLE.”

The signs on the 21-year-old nondenominational church are about a year old, but caught national attention on social media after Howard-Browne’s post was covered by news outlets in the weeks after the Sutherland Springs shooting.

The post has received both praise and criticism.

“Very sad that it is necessary to carry and be alert for killers while worshiping. It is our right and our duty to protect self and others–even in church,” Instagram user dorothea6111 commented.

“Awesome! Had the same idea for my church,” another Instagram user, gerswhin75, commented. “For those that are shocked by this–God will protect His people, but He expects us to do our part. That’s why we use seat belts, or wear helmets … just like others. We do our part, let God do His.”

Some state and federal officials have called for greater security measures in places of worship in the weeks after the shooting in Sutherland Springs, where an armed civilian returned fire on the gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley. There have been more than a dozen fatal shootings since 2012 at U.S. houses of worship, according to the Associated Press. Faith leaders say churches are particularly vulnerable.

Many of the 1,200 to 1,300 members of the River at Tampa Bay Church are armed and prepared to use their weapons if necessary, Associate Pastor Allen Hawes told the Tampa Bay Times. Hawes, who has been with the church for 15 years, has a concealed weapons license himself, he told the newspaper. The church also holds concealed weapons permit classes, he said.

“It is a deterrent,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “Look at what is going on. In the past two months, look at what happened in Texas. Look at what happened in Las Vegas. Because we are a church that is on television, we are very involved in the community. We want people to know that this is a safe zone.”

Hawes said the church follows local crime closely, including the unsolved homicides of four people in a Tampa neighborhood.

“I think just collectively, we pay very close attention,” Hawes told the Tampa Bay Times. “Look at Seminole Heights. Someone is murdering people. This stuff is happening all the time. Do you wait for another shooting to take precautions?”

Other pastors, like Southern Baptist pastor Jack Graham, say it is important for all churches–large and small–to have a security procedure in the event of a shooting.

“We are living in dangerous days,” Graham, an evangelical adviser to President Trump, said on Twitter. His Plano, Tex. megachurch, he said earlier this month, is preparing to host church leaders for a security training.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton ® told Fox News shortly after the shooting that authorities cannot keep guns away from those intent on breaking the law. Concealed weapons laws, however, can let armed citizens stop a gunman before first responders arrive on a scene.

“We’ve had shootings at churches for forever,” the attorney general, who has advocated concealed-carry laws in the past, told Fox News. “It’s going to happen again, so we need people in churches–either professional security or at least arming some of the parishioners, or the congregation, so they can respond when something like this happens again.”

But Manny Garcia, the deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, criticized Paxton’s comments.

“Something is woefully wrong when elected officials wring their hands and suggest we can only stay safe by bringing arsenals to church,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “Texans deserve more from their chief law enforcement official than inaction and willful ignorance. The answer to horrific gun violence is not more of the same. Lord knows we have already had plenty of that.”

At the River at Tampa Bay Church, parishioner Julian Sutton told ABC Action News that he supports Howard-Browne and other leaders’ security measures.

“People are in a place that they should feel safe,” Sutton said. “To know that we have people that carry, in the event that something were to take place, that something like that could be stopped.”

YAHOO!

100 full moons: Blazing fireball lights up Arctic sky

Jan M. Olsen

November 18, 2017

Associated Press

It produced a blast wave that felt like an explosion about 6:40 p.m. and could also be seen in northern Norway and in Russia's Kola peninsula, he told The Associated Press on Saturday.

It might have weighed about 100 kilograms (220 pounds), according to Nikolai Kruglikov of Yekaterinburg's Urals Federal University.

"We believe it didn't disintegrate but reached a remote corner of Finland," Kohout said, adding that any search plans for the meteorite must face the fact that "right now we don't have much daylight" — four hours, to be precise.

The Norwegian meteorite network said the fireball "had the glow of 100 full moons" and likely was going northeast, perhaps "to the Norwegian peninsula of Varanger," north of where the borders of Russia, Finland and Norway meet.

Kohout said scientists looked forward to any space debris they can get their hands on.

"We are happy to recover (it) since this is a unique opportunity to get otherwise inaccessible space material," said Kohout. "This is why it's worth it to search for them."

Viktor Troshenkov of the Russian Academy of Sciences told the Tass news agency that the fireball could be part of a prolific meteor shower known as the Leonids, which peaks at this time of year. He said he felt Thursday's fireball likely wasn't the sole meteorite but others maybe were not seen due to thick clouds elsewhere.

Troshenkov told Tass that meteor showers can be even stronger. The Leonids reach their maximum once every 33 years — and the last time that happened was in 1998, he said. Amateur astronomers in the Arctic then saw about 1,000 meteors, 40 meteorites and one fireball in just one night.

In 2013, a meteorite streaked across the Russian sky and exploded over the Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb, its sonic blasts shattering countless windows and injuring about 1,100 people. Many were cut by flying glass as they flocked to windows, curious about what had produced such a blinding flash of light.

The 2013 Chelyabinsk meteorite was estimated to be about 10 tons when it entered the Earth's atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph). It shattered into pieces about 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) above the ground but some meteorite chunks were found in a Russian lake.

A meteoroid is smaller than a kilometer (0.62 mile), and often so small that when it enters the Earth's atmosphere it vaporizes and never reaches the ground. A meteor is a flash of light caused by a meteoroid that fails to get through the Earth's atmosphere. If part of it does survive, that's called a meteorite.

Asteroids are generally larger chunks of rock that come from the asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

MailOnline

PETER HITCHENS: The transgender zealots are destroying truth itself

By PETER HITCHENS FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

PUBLISHED: 00:05, 19 November 2017 | UPDATED: 07:52, 19 November 2017

Most of these politically correct fads are just designed to wind us up and provoke us. For example, I now regret having wasted so much time trying to argue rationally about same-sex marriage. All the sexual revolutionaries wanted was an excuse to call me a bigot. They could then ignore everything I said, or tell lies about me, or both.

It was a tiny issue. In 2014, for example, in England and Wales, there were 247,372 heterosexual weddings, and 4,850 same-sex marriages. Already there are several hundred same-sex divorces each year.

Once the novelty has worn off, I suspect the numbers of same-sex unions will decrease, just as heterosexual ones are doing. The point – that the old ways are dead and gone – will have been made, and the campaigners will move on to something else.

I once thought the same about the transgender issue. But the idea that people are whatever sex they think they are is a terrifying weapon in the hands of modern Thought Police. Whatever you say, you cannot possibly be right about this.

Express any opinion (apart from total submission), and within minutes you will be besieged by condemnation. It will be cleverly based on the idea that you are somehow being cruel to some troubled person, even though you aren't doing this at all.

But that is just a pretext. In reality, a whole moral and social system is being destroyed, and traditional ideas of male and female are the next target, now that husbands and marriage have been done away with. For once you begin down the road of sexual revolution, there's no end. There will always be someone more militant than you.

Since the French Revolutionaries set up the guillotine, the same thing has been true. Revolutions are all based on the false idea that humans and their nature can be changed.

And once changed, they will fit neatly into the Utopia that is planned for them. Utopia, as we find every so often in Russia, China and Cambodia, can only be approached across a sea of blood, and you never actually arrive.

The opposite view (now very unfashionable) is that we are all made in the image of God and cannot be changed into something else. This sounds odd to most modern ears. But in fact it is the foundation for the absolute respect for human life and liberty which underpins civilisation. Once it's gone, you can make excuses for anything in the name of some invented 'right'. Mass abortion is the obvious example.

And that is why The Mail on Sunday's exclusive story, that a teacher has been disciplined for failing to respect the transgender gospel, is so important. His slip was small, and momentary. One of his pupils, who would once have been called a girl, has decided to be male. He called this person a girl. So he must suffer.

In the vanished world of absolute truth, the student's sex would not be a matter of opinion. People might (and I would favour this) treat the person's view of their sex with sympathy and try to go along with it. Who would want to hurt somebody on a matter of such delicacy?

But in the new revolutionary world, truth is what the revolution says it is. This works in many ways.

A Left-wing newspaper recently claimed I had said something I had not said, and do not think. Shown irrefutable evidence that I had not used the words alleged, it continued to claim that I had used them, because that is what it thought I had said.

This leads down a very dark staircase. Reality must increasingly be forced to fit the beliefs of the new elite. Teachers must be punished for speaking the truth, so schools are no longer places where truth is respected or dissent allowed – which means they are dead to all intents and purposes.

And perhaps most grievous of all, teenagers are placed on a medical conveyor belt which leads to powerful body-changing drugs and possibly to surgical alteration.

It is not just crabbed reactionaries such as me who fret about this. In an eloquent article in The Times, the far-from-conservative commentator Janice Turner recently warned: 'But in a decade, when our adult children turn to ask, 'Why did you let me do this? Why didn't you stop me?' we may wonder if this was progress or child abuse.'

The answer to the question 'Why didn't you stop me?' will be even sadder.

We are failing to stop this because we are afraid of the intolerant revolutionary mob, which would lock up dissenters if it could, but for the moment contents itself with Twitter storms and witch-hunts.

I can't laugh this off. It is not just a wind-up. It is a threat to free thought and, after many months of staying silent about it, I feel I have to say so.

That faint rumble you can hear is the mob assembling for another heresy hunt.

AP Exclusive: US scientists try 1st gene editing in the body

MARILYNN MARCHIONE

Nov. 15, 2017

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Scientists for the first time have tried editing a gene inside the body in a bold attempt to permanently change a person’s DNA to cure a disease.

The experiment was done Monday in California on 44-year-old Brian Madeux. Through an IV, he received billions of copies of a corrective gene and a genetic tool to cut his DNA in a precise spot.

“It’s kind of humbling” to be the first to test this, said Madeux, who has a metabolic disease called Hunter syndrome. “I’m willing to take that risk. Hopefully it will help me and other people.”

Signs of whether it’s working may come in a month; tests will show for sure in three months.

If it’s successful, it could give a major boost to the fledgling field of gene therapy . Scientists have edited people’s genes before, altering cells in the lab that are then returned to patients. There also are gene therapies that don’t involve editing DNA.

But these methods can only be used for a few types of diseases. Some give results that may not last. Some others supply a new gene like a spare part, but can’t control where it inserts in the DNA, possibly causing a new problem like cancer.

This time, the gene tinkering is happening in a precise way inside the body. It’s like sending a mini surgeon along to place the new gene in exactly the right location.

“We cut your DNA, open it up, insert a gene, stitch it back up. Invisible mending,” said Dr. Sandy Macrae, president of Sangamo Therapeutics, the California company testing this for two metabolic diseases and hemophilia. “It becomes part of your DNA and is there for the rest of your life.”

That also means there’s no going back, no way to erase any mistakes the editing might cause.

“You’re really toying with Mother Nature” and the risks can’t be fully known, but the studies should move forward because these are incurable diseases, said one independent expert, Dr. Eric Topol of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in San Diego.

Protections are in place to help ensure safety, and animal tests were very encouraging, said Dr. Howard Kaufman, a Boston scientist on the National Institutes of Health panel that approved the studies.

He said gene editing’s promise is too great to ignore. “So far there’s been no evidence that this is going to be dangerous,” he said. “Now is not the time to get scared.”

WOE FROM HEAD TO TOE

Fewer than 10,000 people worldwide have these metabolic diseases, partly because many die very young. Those with Madeux’s condition, Hunter syndrome , lack a gene that makes an enzyme that breaks down certain carbohydrates. These build up in cells and cause havoc throughout the body.

Patients may have frequent colds and ear infections, distorted facial features, hearing loss, heart problems, breathing trouble, skin and eye problems, bone and joint flaws, bowel issues and brain and thinking problems.

“Many are in wheelchairs ... dependent on their parents until they die,” said Dr. Chester Whitley, a University of Minnesota genetics expert who plans to enroll patients in the studies.

Weekly IV doses of the missing enzyme can ease some symptoms, but cost $100,000 to $400,000 a year and don’t prevent brain damage.

Madeux, who now lives near Phoenix, is engaged to a nurse, Marcie Humphrey. He met her 15 years ago in a study that tested this enzyme therapy at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, where the gene editing experiment took place.

He has had 26 operations for hernias, bunions, bones pinching his spinal column, and ear, eye and gall bladder problems.

“It seems like I had a surgery every other year of my life” and many procedures in between, he said. Last year he nearly died from a bronchitis and pneumonia attack. The disease had warped his airway, and “I was drowning in my secretions, I couldn’t cough it out.”

Madeux has a chef’s degree and was part owner of two restaurants in Utah, cooking for U.S. ski teams and celebrities, but now can’t work in a kitchen or ride horses as he used to.

Gene editing won’t fix damage he’s already suffered, but he hopes it will stop the need for weekly enzyme treatments.

Initial studies will involve up to 30 adults to test safety, but the ultimate goal is to treat children very young, before much damage occurs.

HOW IT WORKS

A gene-editing tool called CRISPR has gotten a lot of recent attention, but this study used a different one called zinc finger nucleases. They’re like molecular scissors that seek and cut a specific piece of DNA.

The therapy has three parts: The new gene and two zinc finger proteins. DNA instructions for each part are placed in a virus that’s been altered to not cause infection but to ferry them into cells. Billions of copies of these are given through a vein.

They travel to the liver, where cells use the instructions to make the zinc fingers and prepare the corrective gene. The fingers cut the DNA, allowing the new gene to slip in. The new gene then directs the cell to make the enzyme the patient lacked.

Only 1 percent of liver cells would have to be corrected to successfully treat the disease, said Madeux’s physician and study leader, Dr. Paul Harmatz at the Oakland hospital.

“How bulletproof is the technology? We’re just learning,” but safety tests have been very good, said Dr. Carl June, a University of Pennsylvania scientist who has done other gene therapy work but was not involved in this study.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG

Safety issues plagued some earlier gene therapies. One worry is that the virus might provoke an immune system attack. In 1999, 18-year-old Jesse Gelsinger died in a gene therapy study from that problem, but the new studies use a different virus that’s proved much safer in other experiments.

Another worry is that inserting a new gene might have unforeseen effects on other genes. That happened years ago, when researchers used gene therapy to cure some cases of the immune system disorder called “bubble boy” disease. Several patients later developed leukemia because the new gene inserted into a place in the native DNA where it unintentionally activated a cancer gene.

MailOnline (Excerpted from a longer article.)

Notorious killer cult leader Charles Manson dies aged 83 of natural causes, one week after being rushed to hospital

  • Charles Manson has died at the age of 83 a week after being taken to hospital

  • Debra Tate, the sister of one of his victims, received a call from the prison

  • The notorious cult leader's health had been steadily declining for months

  • In January, he was rushed to hospital for intestinal bleeding and a sigmoid lesion

  • The 83-year-old had been behind bars for more than four decades, since 1969

  • He ordered 'family' members of his cult to go on a murderous two-day rampage

By JENNY STANTON and JESSICA FINN and CHEYENNE ROUNDTREE FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

PUBLISHED: 05:29, 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:51, 20 November 2017

Notorious killer Charles Manson has died aged 83 of natural causes.

The psychopathic cult leader, who had been behind bars for 48 years, died at 8.13pm on Sunday at a hospital in Kern County, California.

He was taken there from Corcoran State Prison with an undisclosed illness last week.

The news of his death was confirmed by Debra Tate, the sister of his most famous victim, actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant with film director Roman Polanski's baby when she was stabbed to death by his followers.

'This could be the end of an era or just the beginning,' she declared, adding: 'I said a prayer for his soul.

***

EXPRESS

We were lied to! Secret document FCO 30/1048 kept truth about EU from British for 30 years

A SECRET document, which remained locked away for 30 years, advised the British Government to COVER-UP the realities of EU membership so that by the time the public realised what was happening it would be too late.

By LARA DEAUVILLE

November 23, 2017

The document, known as FCO30/1048, was locked away under Official Secrets Act rules

Almost all of the shocking predictions – from the loss of British sovereignty, to monetary union and the over-arching powers of European courts – have come true.

But damningly for Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath, and all those who kept quiet about the findings in the early 70s, the document, known as FCO30/1048, was locked away under Official Secrets Act rules for almost five decades.

The classified paper, dated April 1971, suggested the Government should keep the British public in the dark about what EEC membership means predicting that it would take 30 years for voters to realise what was happening by which time it would be too late to leave.

That last detail was the only thing the disgraceful paper – prepared for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) – got wrong.

The unknown author – a senior civil servant – correctly predicted the then European Economic Community (the EEC effectively became the EU in 1993) was headed for economic, monetary and fiscal union, with a common foreign and defence policy, which would constitute the greatest surrender of Britain’s national sovereignty since 1066.

He went on to say “Community law” would take precedence over our own courts and that ever more power would pass away from Parliament to the bureaucratic system centred in Brussels.

The author even accurately asserts that the increased role of Brussels in the lives of the British people would lead to a “popular feeling of alienation from Government”.

But shockingly politicians were advised “not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular measures… to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community”.

They were told to preserve the impression that the British Government was still calling the shots rather than an unelected body of foreign politicians – and that the ruse would last “for this century at least” – by which time Britain would be so completely chained to Brussels it would be impossible to leave.

Document FCO30/1048, which has now been declassified under the 30-year rule, still shocks and angers Brexiteers.

Annabelle Sanderson, a Brexit expert and former advisor to Nigel Farage said: “Despite all the claims from politicians of many parties that the EU was not about becoming a central state this 1971 document shows that is exactly what the plan was.

“Arch Remoaners from Labour, Lib Dems and the Tories need to check this out and ask themselves why they are MPs if they don’t actually want Westminster to be in charge of this country.

“We voted for Brexit what needs to happen is a proper clean break from Brussels so we can once again become a sovereign nation with money being spent in this country on services we need and have Parliament and courts making and ruling on the laws.”

The writer and journalist Christopher Booker, one of the founders of the satirical magazine Private Eye, said: “Here was a civil servant advising that our politicians should connive in concealing what Heath was letting us in for, not least in hiding the extent to which Britain would no longer be a democratic country but one essentially governed by unelected and unaccountable officials.

“One way to create an illusion that this system was still democratic, this anonymous mandarin suggested, would be to give people the chance to vote for new representatives at European, regional and local levels.

“A few years later, we saw the creation of an elected European Parliament – as we see today a craze for introducing elected mayors, as meaningless local figureheads.”

The pro-Europe Sir Edward Heath was leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975.

He died in 2005.

In 2015 he was named as part of Wiltshire Police’s Operation Conifer investigation into historical child sex abuse.

Detectives said if alive – he would have been 101 – he would have been interviewed under caution over seven claims, including the alleged rape of an 11-year-old, but that no inference of guilt should be drawn from this.

Operation Conifer was closed earlier this year after officers found "no corroborating evidence" of any sexual abuse by Sir Edward and no evidence of a conspiracy.

***

Zero Hedge

By Tyler Durden

November 19, 2017

Submitted by Elijah Magnier, Middle East based chief international war correspondent for Al Rai Media

Hezbollah has raised its military readiness on the whole Lebanese territory in the last few days and put its forces on high alert in the light of the threats it has received from a number of countries, and especially from Israel and Saudi Arabia.Hezbollah forces have been mobilized in the event of any hostile activity on the borders or in the country, notwithstanding the ongoing conviction of its leadership that Israel will not wage a direct war in the near or distant future.

According to well informed sources, Hezbollah fears the possible assassination of a well-known Lebanese figure, Sunni or Christian, similar to the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. The aim would be to re-mix the cards on the Lebanese scene, accuse Hezbollah and to embarrass President Michel Aoun.

Image source: Reuters via The Jerusalem Post.

Aoun has raised the challenge against Riyadh during the recent events related to the televised resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and he has accused Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri as a hostage (for more than two weeks), defining the Prime Minister’s submission to this act as “unconstitutional and illegitimate.”

Moreover, Hezbollah, in coordination with Iran, has issued orders not to transfer weapons sent to it from Iran via Syria to Lebanon for the following clearly defined reasons:

  • There is no longer a reason to store weapons in Lebanon because the Lebanese-Syrian front has become united.

  • Hezbollah needs to maintain accurate and long-range missiles in Syria (not Lebanon), confirming what Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and Syrian President Bashar Assad have said, that “Syria is one front against Israel in the next war.”

  • Hezbollah’s weapons stores in Lebanon are full, and its warehouses are overflowing. Hezbollah therefore could maintain a long war if Israel did decide to attack Lebanon, and has the capability of launching hundreds of rockets and missiles daily.

It is clear that President Bashar al-Assad has emerged stronger from the war that has been going on for more than six years. His thinking is now orientated towards the Israeli threat, to tune in with Hezbollah and to assure Saudi Arabia and Israel that Hezbollah will not be left alone in any future battle because the front from Naqoura (in southern Lebanon) to the Golan is now united. Assad is determined and able to respond to any Israeli violation following the total defeat of the “Islamic State” in all the Syrian cities.

Thus, Assad has lived with and survived the war and has learned to accept losses: during the hard days of the war, the number of soldiers killed reached hundreds in some battles. The Syrian leadership is in a better position to accept the consequences of any future war with Israel as long as the goals are reached despite the sacrifices required.

But Assad will not be alone facing any future attack on Hezbollah. There are thousands of fighters in Syria from neighboring countries, available at the request of the Syrian government. These shall certainly not be neutral in the next war with Israel if it should happen.

Damascus will be careful not to provoke the United States directly in the next war with Israel, but it will give a free hand to the Syrian resistance if the US decides to occupy north-east Syria.

The presence of Russian troops in the Levant may not allow all belligerents to be dragged into a large war with multiple frontiers and certainly not a third world war. Israel is so far giving signs that its forces are aware of the future danger and won’t be dragged into a war in the region despite Saudi Arabia’s financial offers and support. The Saudis were responsible for kidnapping the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (who was "released" this weekend), aiming to present Lebanon as more vulnerable, inviting Israel, in vain, to attack what the Kingdom defines as the “arms of Iran” in the Middle East.

Russia has no agreement with Israel on anything related to the presence of the Iranian forces and its loyalists in Syria and particularly on the borders with Israel. The Kremlin is not negotiating and disposing of Syrian soil because these matters concern the Syrian government, which intends to recover the occupied Golan after the end of the ISIS threat and al-Qaeda, the Takfiri extremists, in Syria.

Saudi Arabia's renewed power ploy in the Middle East is likely to more than meet its match because it seriously underestimates Hezbollah as an effective military arm of Iran

***

RT

With 50,000 Yemeni children dead in 2017, UK-US-Saudi war enters horrific new stage


Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and 'austerity'. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.

© Khaled Abdullah / Reuters

Two-and-a-half years of a lethal blockade and bombardment have produced almost nothing regarding territorial gains in the West’s Saudi-executed war against the Yemeni nation. The tightening of the blockade is an obscene, desperate attempt to put off its inevitable defeat.

The war against Yemen, sponsored by the West and executed by their ever-loyal Saudi fall guys, is going badly. Very badly.

When the Saudis began their bombardment of the Arab world’s poorest country, named ‘Decisive Storm,' in March 2015, they promised a ‘limited’ mission. In reality, it has proved to be seemingly limitless and completely indecisive. A Harvard study estimates the Saudis are spending $200 million per day on this war, driving their military budget up to $63,7 billion, the fourth highest in the world. But they remain nowhere near achieving their stated goal of defeating the Houthi-led resistance and recapturing the capital, Sanaa. Indeed, Hadi, the ‘President’ the Saudis are supposedly supporting, is still holed up in Riyadh, apparently unable to set foot in his own country, such shows the depth of popular animosity toward him.

Meanwhile, the ‘coalition’ which Saudi Arabia purports to lead is falling apart. Qatar, the world’s richest country in terms of per capita income, who was supposed to bankroll a large chunk of the war - pulled out long ago; while the Pakistani parliament, whose allotted role was to provide the ground troops, unanimously vetoed the proposal last year. Meanwhile, in the south, the Emiratis are backing forces hostile to the very president the war purports to be defending.

Indeed, Hadi’s own troops are now complaining that the Saudis and Emiratis are actually bombing them. Yes, the ‘legitimate government’ of President Hadi, the one the whole operation is supposedly being fought in support of, is now itself being targeted by the aggressors, with Hadi accusing the Emirati crown prince of acting like an occupier. Tawakkol Karman, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist, even suggested that “the Saudi-led air strikes have killed more fighters of the national army than Houthis.”

Furthermore, the war has massively expanded Al-Qaeda’s base in the country and provided a new one for ISIS. While this is not an immediate problem for Saudi Arabia in itself - after all, the more sectarian forces come to the fore, the less likely Yemen will be able to unite and pose a threat to Al Saud - but is nevertheless a real potential danger for the future, should those forces decide to turn their experience and weaponry on the kingdom itself. The Saudis seem to be, belatedly, recognizing this, recently branding as ‘Al-Qaeda terrorists’ one of the biggest Salafi groups in the country, the Abu Abbas brigade - after years of arming its men.

Indeed, the war is going so badly that even the Saudis themselves are now privately saying they want out. Leaked emailslast August revealed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - who as defense minister was responsible for initiating the war in March 2015 - is keen to end the war. Yet still, the war continues. London-based Yemeni Safa al-Shami told me that “the Saudis are in trouble; they don’t want [the war] to continue anymore. But they are being told ‘you have to finish the mission to the end.'” By this analysis, far from ‘turning a blind eye’ to a ‘Saudi war,' the West is positively demanding that a reluctant Saudi Arabia continues its futile and murderous campaign.

And this campaign, already characterized by a brutally callous attitude to the Yemeni population, has just reached a new level of terror. Humiliated by the firing of a Houthi missile into Riyadh on November 4th - demonstrating that, despite years of pummeling, the Houthis are now stronger than ever, the Saudis announced their blockade would henceforth become total, with entry of all goods to the country - via land, sea or air – completely stopped.

Medecins sans Frontieres verified the following week that all of its humanitarian flights into the country had been blocked. The Saudis then announced that some of the minor ports would be reopened, but only those in government-held areas. The country’s biggest port, Hodeidah, a vital hub for imports, remains closed. And this week, the Saudis bombed the capital’s airport again, preventing aid delivery.

Even in its previous, partial, form, the blockade’s results have been truly sickening. Hodeida's capacity has been massively crippled since its four cranes were destroyed by coalition airstrikes in 2015, and the ‘coalition’ has prevented replacements being installed ever since. In addition, ships have been delayed, often for months, or turned back all together for no explicable reason other than to punish the population of the Houthi-controlled areas. This siege against a country dependent on imports for over 80 percent of its food, fuel, and medicine is nothing less than genocidal.

Save the Children reported that 130 Yemeni children are now dying every day from extreme hunger or disease, with 50,000 dead this year alone. Meanwhile, the cholera epidemic, triggered by a combination of the war’s crippling of water sanitation systems and the Hadi government’s decision to block payments to all waste, sewage and health workers in Houthi-controlled areas – became the biggest in recorded history last month, with almost 900,000 infected by the disease. The previous biggest epidemic, still underway in Haiti, took seven years to reach 800,000 cases. Yemen surpassed that number in just six months.

Yet, with two-thirds of the population - over 18 million people - now dependent on humanitarian aid for their survival, even these shocking figures are set to escalate very quickly. Seven million people are at immediate risk of famine. If this new total ban on humanitarian aid to the country’s biggest air and seaports is maintained, they will die. These are the depths to which the West is prepared to push Saudi Arabia in its futile drive to permanently destroy the ‘Yemeni threat.'

The UN’s humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, has been very clear. "I have told the [UN Security] Council that unless those measures are lifted... there will be a famine in Yemen. It will not be like the famine that we saw in South Sudan earlier in the year, where tens of thousands of people were affected. It will not be like the famine which cost 250,000 people their lives in Somalia in 2011. It will be the largest famine the world has seen in many decades, with millions of victims.” And this famine will have been consciously and deliberately executed by those responsible for this war - the Saudis, with the British and Americans behind them.

Britain and the USA are driving the Saudis to unleash the world’s biggest famine for years against a totally captive population. Yet, as far as Western media is concerned, this is all totally un-newsworthy. The willful starvation of 130 children per day for the whole of this year is a footnote, at best, to this week’s rumors about Brexit or Trump’s latest absurd vulgarity. When I met Safa Al-Shami, she asked me, “Where is the media in all of this? How many pictures have we seen from Syria, from Iraq; where is Yemen in all of that? The media should start talking about this!”

But she was also clear that this lack of coverage is no excuse for a lack of action, at least not in Britain. “Look at how the British people marched and demonstrated because Tony Blair declared war against Iraq. The British people need to realize that this war in Yemen is part of the same dirty game. They have to do something. I blame the British people because they are educated and they know. The Americans are ignorant.”

The horrors inflicted on Yemen by the British have deep historical precedents - it was 50 years ago this month that British forces finally withdrew from Aden, the Yemeni port they had colonized in 1839. Indeed, the country is embedded enough in the national consciousness to be the subject of a new BBC drama, whitewashing and glorifying the British colonization of Yemen just as they whitewash the British role there today.

And yet the British still like to think of Boris Johnson as some kind of affable buffoon. The truth is, he and the entire UK cabinet are complicit with child murderers. They, along with all those parliamentarians who voted to continue this vicious war, must be stopped, held to account and brought to justice.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

***

RT

Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe president in letter to parliament - speaker

21 November 2017

© The Herald / Global Look Press

The rule of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is over after he tendered his resignation in a letter to parliament, according to the house speaker.

The 93 year old has been in power since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980.

Mugabe’s future had been the subject of intense speculation in recent days, after the Central Committee of the ruling ZANU-PF Party gave him an ultimatum to step down.

The firing of then vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa earlier this month prompted a military takeover, which culminated in Mugabe’s resignation. It’s not clear, however, who is in charge in the wake of his departure, Reuters reports.

On Sunday, Mugabe made known his intention to preside over the ZANU-PF congress next month. However, on Monday, the party announced plans to impeach him. In a statement cited by Reuters, the party said Mugabe had already been informed of his removal.

Videos shared on social media in Zimbabwe show locals appearing to celebrate news of Mugabe’s departure.

***

Zero Hedge

Erdogan Rejects NATO Apology: "There Can Be No Alliance Like That"

Tyler Durden

November 18, 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is refusing to let NATO off the hook for an inadvertent yet insulting gesture that prompted him to remove 40 Turkish troops from a joint military exercise in Norway.

Russia Today reports that Erdogan has rebuffed a NATO apology for what he called “impudence” after his name was included on an “enemies chart” shared with military officials participating in the exercises. Erdogan’s name was reportedly included alongside a photo of Turkish founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Following the scandal, both NATO and Norway offered their apologies for the incident, saying that the message did not reflect their views. But Erdogan, who has grown increasingly critical of NATO in recent years following clashes with German Leader Angela Merkel, is apparently using the incident as an excuse to widen the rift between Turkey and Brussels.

In late June, Germany was forced to move its troops from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base to Jordan, as Ankara had barred German lawmakers from visiting the site, where some 270 troops participating in the US-led campaign against Islamic State were stationed. In one of the recent schisms in the bilateral relations, Germany put on hold “all big requests” for arms exports from Turkey, leading Turkey to accuse Germany of weakening the former’s fight against terrorism.

“There can be no alliance like that," Erdogan said on Friday, adding that even the removal of those names would not change the decision. On Saturday, despite the officials’ apologies and affirmations, the insulted leader refused to be placated, saying he wouldn’t let NATO off the hook that easily.

"Yesterday, you have witnessed the impudence at NATO exercises in Norway. There are some mistakes that cannot be committed by fools but only by vile people,” Erdogan said in a televised speech. He added that the incident shows “a reflection of a distorted point of view that we have observed in NATO for a while."

"This matter cannot be covered over with a simple apology," Erdogan added.

Of course, despite a brief escalation in tensions over last year over purported violations of Turkey’s airspace, the NATO member has been deepening its ties with Russia, recently completing a purchase of S-400 anti-aircraft systems, which has unnerved Washington and other NATO powers. One top NATO general, Petr Pavel, told reporters last month that Turkey would likely be punished by the alliance for not buying American. Turkey reportedly chose the Russian systems because they were cheaper.

Tensions eased a little in October, when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Ankara’s decision to purchase the S-400 did not harm the alliance’s interests. While the final details of the deal are being settled, a top US Air Force official warned that it could affect Ankara's planned purchase of 100 F-35 jets.

The decision caused an angry reaction from Ankara, which said the decision weakens its fight against terrorism and jeopardizes European security.

And let’s not forget, perhaps Turkey’s biggest gripe with a fellow NATO member is the US’s refusal to extradite Turkish cleric Fehtullah Gulen, who has been living in Pennsylvania for years after being effectively exiled from Turkey following a falling out with Erdogan.

Given all of the back-and-forth sniping between the US and Turkey in recent months, we doubt Erdogan will let this insult go.

***

Zero Hedge

"Worst Case Scenario" Looms As Merkel's "Jamaica Coalition" Collapses

By Tyler Durden

November 20, 2017

We warned on Friday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced a 'night of the long knives' in her efforts to bring together the co-called 'Jamaica' coalition of four parties and after a desperate weekend of talks, Bloomberg reports Merkel's efforts at forming a coalition have failed meaning a second election looms and sending the euro sliding.

As Bloomberg reports, talks on forming German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s next government collapsed, throwing the future of Europe’s longest-serving leader into doubt and potentially pointing the world’s fourth-biggest economy toward new elections.

After a 12-hour negotiating session that ended shortly before midnight Sunday, the Free Democratic Party walked out of the exploratory talks, saying the differences with the Green party were too great to bridge.

Merkel has sought for four weeks to enlist the two smaller parties for her fourth-term coalition.

“It’s better not to govern than to govern badly,” FDP head Christian Lindner told reporters in Berlin.

No further coalition talks were scheduled, he said. There was no immediate comment from Merkel.

EURUSD is down aroound 80 pips on the news...

As MINT Partners' Bill Blain noted previously, Germans are not used to multiple elections – and a second vote early next year would be massive negative for Merkel herself – she may even have to stand down if coalition looks like falling. That could be massive shock.

As a result, the prospects for more volatile European peripheral markets, particularly Greece and Italy, are likely to be exacerbated, and we might well see some of the currency and European stock market froth blow away in coming days as the scale of the “German Problem” becomes clearer.

My worst case Germany scenario is a second election early next year, political uncertainty as Mutti Merkel finds herself squeezed out, and a scramble to build a new coalition government in her aftermath.

The best case scenario isn’t much better: that Merkel manages to forge a new coalition, but it will be a long drawn out affair and the resulting administration will be vulnerable, weak and fraxious.

These sound like German problems, but they mean the “leader of Europe” is likely to be entirely inward focused in coming months/years.. at a time when the European union will be facing a host of new issues regarding closer union, banking union and reform of the ESM, bailout and QE policies. There will also be new potential crisis points – Italian elections next year, Greece bailout, renewed immigration crisis or a blow-up with Trump. And these are just the known unknowns.

This has profound implications for the so-called French/German axis as it slides towards Paris. We are not going to see a new German government “waste time” on issues like closer EU union, European Banking Union, or critical finance issues like reforming ESM or new approaches on QE and Bailout funds. Forget Wiedemann for ECB president, it’s more likely to another Frenchman (Trichet II) – I’m sure its already underway. In short.. Germany negotiations could get very fraxious while Europe is dragged down in its wake. I doubt the markets have discounted it yet.

***

RT

Soros accuses Hungary of ‘anti-Muslim sentiment & anti-Semitic tropes in campaign against him'

20 November 2017

George Soros, Chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC © Ralph Orlowski / Reuters

Billionaire investor George Soros has spoken out against the Hungarian government, which issued a survey revealing the “Soros plan” and has repeatedly accused him of weakening EU states by fuelling the migrant crisis.

In October, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called on Hungarians to participate in the government’s National Consultation survey on the “Soros plan.” The letter asked citizens for their views on whether or not Hungary should become an immigrant country, presenting seven points of the “plan” to consider.

The document accuses the Hungarian-born investor of attempting to resettle a million migrants in the EU, dismantling the borders, making EU citizens (Hungarians in particular) pay for refugees, forcing European languages and cultures into the background, and political attacks on states which stand against Soros’ ideas.

In response to these claims, Soros issued a statement on Monday, calling them “distortions and outright lies,” arguing against each point. Among other things, Soros argued that the “circumstances had changed” after he called for a million migrants to be accepted in 2015, later advising the EU to make a “commitment to admit even a mere 300,000 refugees annually.”

Soros also accused the Hungarian government of targeting him in a massive “media campaign,” “stoking anti-Muslim sentiment, and employing anti-Semitic tropes reminiscent of the 1930s.”

Orban and other Hungarian officials have repeatedly lashed out at the investment heavyweight’s activities. In October, Hungarian lawmaker Andras Aradszki claimed that “Soros and his comrades want to destroy the independence and values of nation states,” and said that the survey was necessary to “make our opinions known about Satan’s Soros Plan.” Earlier, the Hungarian leader accused Soros of influencing Brussels and referred to the survey as an opportunity to defend the country’s national interests.

In July, Orban urged the EU to “regain independence” from Soros, accusing him of using the EU to create a “new, mixed, Muslimized Europe.”

Nigel Farage, the former leader of UKIP and the leader of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group, echoed Orban’s accusations against Soros, calling the tycoon’s influence in Brussels “truly extraordinary.” Speaking at the European Parliament last week, he called for a special committee to be created to investigate the matter of receiving funds from the Soros-funded Open Society. Farage said there are 266 “friends” of the Open Society mentioned in a book published by the organization who serve in the European Parliament.

TRUNEWS

Bank of America: Flash Crash in 2018, War to Follow

November 21, 2017

In its analysis for the first half of 2018, Bank of America is warning investors of a “flash crash” the likes of 1987, 1994, 1998. And it warns that the central bank policies that have created the current conditions can’t be reversed, leading to an inevitable war to follow the crash.

In 1987, known as “Black Monday,” global stock markets lost huge portions of their valuations, ranging from 60 percent in New Zealand to 23 percent in the U.S. In 1994, the Great Bond Massacre saw global bond markets collapse, starting in the U.S. and Japan, resulting in treasury rates skyrocketing through the first nine months of the year.

In 1998, the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its greatest single-day point loss of 512 points. The collapse was brought on by major financial crises involving the “emerging markets” in Russia, Thailand, and Poland.

The bearish outlook is based on large part because the investment script has been flipped from beginning to end of 2017. Going into the new year, the markets will be “positioning now long, not short; profit expectations high, not low; policy close to max stimulus; peak positioning, peak profits, peak policy stimulus means peak asset returns in 2018.”

The report strongly suggests the “tech bubble” is about to burst, if not in 2018, then early in 2019. It also hints at the very strong possibility of civil war, possibly boiling over into a global war, as a result of the very policies that have gotten us where we’re at.

The analysis strongly recommends buying gold now.

WND

FANTASY NO LONGER! INVISIBILITY CODE CRACKED

Scientists achieve breakthrough in manipulating light to hide an object

ALICIA POWE

November 19, 2017

WASHINGTON – Top scientists in Israel are on the verge of a revolutionary breakthrough, creating a cloak that can render a person invisible.

In their real-world quest for invisibility, scientists at Ben-Gurion University have developed a device that scatters light away from an object so it cannot be detected, making the object invisible to the eye.

Physicists developed the method for concealing objects based on the study of “metamaterials,” which focuses on exploiting and controlling light by examining how it interacts with objects.

Those arrays of minuscule components bend, scatter, transmit or otherwise shape electromagnetic radiation in ways that no natural material can, according to Nature.com.

Bending electromagnetic radiation, such as light, around an object, gives the appearance that the object isn’t there at all, but still can be located by infrared sensors or radar.

Invisibility technology relies on an “operational cloaking chip” deflecting and scattering light away from the chip’s surface, so it is not detected, explained Dr. Alina Karabchevsky, the lead scientist behind the study which is in Nature Scientific Reports.

“These results open the door to new integrated photonic devices, harnessing electromagnetic fields of light at nanoscale for a variety of applications from on-chip optical devices to all-optical processing,” said Karabchevsky in the report. “We showed that it is possible to bend the light around an object located on the cloak on an optical chip. The light does not interact with the object, thus resulting in the object’s invisibility.”

The invisibility method is still only in its earliest stages, on the nano level, manipulating light only around a tiny chip.

Once researchers to overcome the significant challenge of developing a prototype, the technology could be implemented in the military, alongside technologies such as radar-absorbing dark paint on stealth aircraft, local optical camouflage, surface cooling to prevent infrared detection, and electromagnetic wave scattering.

“We proposed the new composite plasmonic waveguide scheme with dielectic nano-spacer based on the transformation optics principles to manipulate with light and distort the evanescent fields in a controllable manner to conceal an object,” the report reads. “The plasmonic metasurface is placed on the composite plasmonic waveguide with the nano-spacer. High dielectric nano-spacer made of Si has contributed to the light confinement in vicinity with the metasurface boundary and facilitated the coupling to the hybrid plasmonic modes. The light manipulation is realized due to the engineered effective permittivity which in turn avoids the scattering effect.”

The race for invisibility technology globally underway.

Researchers from the University of Rochester in New York have released a video in 2016 demonstrating how you can now move an object cloaked by a device they created and it still remains hidden to the human eye.

The U.S. Department of Energy used metamaterials in 2015 to create an invisibility “skin cloak” that conforms to the size of an object and conceals it from detection.

Researchers were only able to cloak miniscule objects, but estimated they would be able to conceal large objects and develop more practical use of the technology in 10 years.

***

Ancient pages

Locations Of 11 Lost Ancient Cities Revealed On 4,000-Year-Old Artifacts

November 15, 2017

AncientPages.com – It’s a great discovery that is of major interest for those who are passionate about ancient history and archaeology. Scientists report 4,000-year-old Assyrian clay tablets reveal locations of 11 lost ancient cities!

More than 23,000 cuneiform texts, inscribed in clay by ancient Assyrian merchants have been unearthed in the ancient city of Kanesh in modern Turkey.

A clay tablet with cuneiform inscription from Anatolia circa 1875-1840 B.C. Researchers have extracted numbers from thousands of these tablets to create a database of trade in ancient Assyria. (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

The 4,000-year-old texts are mostly “business letters, shipment documents, accounting records, seals and contracts. However, a new study conducted by Harvard University’s senior lecturer on Assyriology, Gojko Barjamovic, and an international team of economists now shows that these intriguing ancient clay tablets also reveal locations of ancient metropolises that have been long lost to the sands of time.

Some of these mysterious ancient places have been located while others are still unknown.

For example, we known the location of Kanesh while the ancient city Durhumit is, at present, lost to history.

Barjamovic and his team discovered the tablets record separate cargo shipments, such as for example Durhumit to Kanesh, Kanesh to Wahshushana, and Durhumit to Wahshushana.

Studying thousands of clay tablets is a tremendous effort that should be admired. Barjamovic translated and parsed 12,000 clay tablets. Finally, he was able to extract information on merchants’ trade itineraries. This resulted in a record of hundreds of trade interactions among a total of 26 ancient cities: 15 whose locations were known and 11 that remain lost.

An alabaster bas-relief depicting the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III – Image credit: British Museum

In ancient times geographic distance played a vital role in how and where goods were transported. Moving goods from Point A to Point B was a lot more difficult at a time when roads were rough, goods had to be transported on the backs of donkeys and robbers lurked everywhere.

Cities located closer together traded more, while those farther apart traded less.

Scientists call the system a “structural gravity model” and it gives a solid idea where the ancient lost cities might be located. Now, archaeologists and historians have something reliable to work with and hopefully some of these enigmatic ancient places can be found in the near future.

It’s a truly remarkable archaeological discovery that has potential to change how the Assyrian Empire is understood as well as help scientists to get a much more comprehensive picture of our ancient past.

***

Ancient Origins

3,000-Year-Old Castle Built by Mysterious Civilization Found at The Bottom of a Lake in Turkey

19 NOVEMBER, 2017 – 22:58 APRILHOLLOWAY

Marine archaeologists made a superb find at the bottom of Turkey’s largest lake – a very well-preserved castle dating back 3,000 years. It was likely built by the mysterious Urartian civilization which inhabited the surrounds of Lake Van during the Iron Age.

Although locals have long reported legends of ancient ruins under the water, divers had investigated the lake for almost a decade before finding the fortifications. Hurriyet Daily News reports that the research team discovered numerous other features of interest during this time period, including stalagmites that were at least 10 meters (33 feet) long, known as ‘underwater fairy chimneys’, pearl mullets, and a sunken Russian ship, but the ancient ruins had proved elusive until now.

Underwater Castle

The recent finding of the underwater fortifications was made by a team of researchers, including Tahsin Ceylan, an underwater photographer and videographer, diver Cumali Birol, and Mustafa Akkuş, an academic from Van Yüzüncü Yıl University.

The castle, which had been built during the Iron Age, when water levels were much lower, remains in good condition thanks to the alkaline waters of Lake Van.

“Today, we are here to announce the discovery of a castle that has remained underwater in Lake Van,” videographer Tahsin Ceylan told Hurriyet Daily News. “I believe that in addition to this castle, microbialites will make contributions to the region’s economy and tourism. It is a miracle to find this castle underwater. Archaeologists will come here to examine the castle’s history and provide information on it.”

Ceylan explained that the walls of the fortification cover an area of about one square kilometre (0.4 square miles). About 3 to 4 meters (10 to 13 feet) of the wall are visible above the lake bed, but it is not clear how deep the walls go, so detailed excavations need to be carried out on the newly-discovered castle to learn more.

Mysterious Civilization

Archaeologists believe the castle was built by the Urartians, a mysterious civilization that existed in what is now Eastern Turkey, Iran and the modern Armenian Republic, from around the 13 th century BC. Very little is known about the kingdom of Urartu and the origins of its people, but they spoke a language related to Hurrian, are well-known for their advanced metallurgy, and used an adapted form of the Assyrian cuneiform script.

Ceylan told Hurriyet Daily News that they named Lake Van the ‘upper sea’ and believed it had many mysterious secrets. The fortification shows evidence of stones cut in a style used by the Urartians.

After a period of expansion, the Kingdom or Urartu came under attack starting around the 8 thcentury BC. It was finally destroyed towards the end of the 6 th century BC. Many Armenians today claim that they are descendants of the Urartians.

Top image: 3,000-year-old remains of a castle at the bottom of Lake Van in Turkey. Credit: Anadolu

Washington Post

Napping on the job may turn out to be a very good idea for a sleep-deprived nation

By Eric Pianin

November 19, 2017

President Trump prides himself on getting by with just four or five hours of sleep at night, which leaves him plenty of time early in the morning to scan cable TV news and tweet before going to work. During last year’s rough-and-tumble campaign, he scoffed at-”low-energy” rivals Republican Jeb Bush and Democrat Hillary Clinton for carving out nap time.

“No naps for Trump! I don’t nap,” the 71-year-old Trump bellowed during one campaign stop. “We don’t have time.”

Yet history is replete with powerful leaders and warriors such as Napoleon, Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy who routinely napped in the afternoon, regardless of the crises swirling around them. “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without the refreshment of blessed oblivion, which even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces,” Churchill once wrote.

And increasingly, science is siding with the nappers, with researchers finding that short sleeps not only are beneficial to drowsy individuals and the elderly but also are essential to public health, public safety and economic productivity.

“Now, I don’t know Donald Trump nor have I done sleep studies on him,” said Philip M. Alapat, an assistant professor specializing in pulmonary disease and sleep disorders at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “But the number of people that can truly function optimally with four or five hours of sleep on a nightly basis are vanishingly few.”

An international team of neurologists recently published a study showing how sleep deprivation can disrupt brain cells’ ability to interact and communicate. A night of lost sleep can result in temporary mental lapses that impair memory and distort visual perceptions, according to the study published in early November in the journal Nature Medicine.

Itzhak Fried, the senior author of the study and a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Tel Aviv University, said in a statement that his team discovered that “starving the body of sleep also robs neurons of the ability to function properly.”

In a recent study, University of Pennsylvania researchers found that a moderate nap in the afternoon coincided with improvements in people’s thinking and memory prowess and may have helped the brain perform as if it were five years younger. The study, published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, focused on 3,000 older people in China and examined whether those more inclined to take brief naps performed better on mental ability tests.

Afternoon napping is prevalent among older adults in China and is considered part of a healthy lifestyle. Scientists found that people who took a nap after lunch did better on the mental agility tests than those who did not sleep in the middle of the day. Overall, 60 percent of people in the study slept after lunch, for an average nap of 63 minutes.

The latest research dovetails with longtime warnings about the dangers of insufficient sleep, which the National Institutes of Health says can lead to “physical and mental health problems, injuries, loss of productivity, and even a greater risk of death.”

Over the years, sleeplessness has quietly grown into a pervasive problem. One-third of American adults regularly get too little sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly half of all American adults complain that poor or insufficient sleep affects their daily activities at least once a week, according to the National Sleep Foundation. What’s more, an estimated 50 million to 70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders, according to a health survey for the CDC.

Without at least seven or eight hours of sleep at night, Americans face a tough slog getting through the day and leave themselves more vulnerable to illness. Scientists have linked sleep deficiency to many chronic health problems, including heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity and depression.

While the relationship between sleep deprivation and adverse health consequences is not fully understood, according to Alapat, a lot of it has to do with denying the body the rest it needs for healing and to refresh the neurons in the brain, as well as to fight off poisonous substances. “There are toxins that essentially accumulate in the brain that need to be cleared out with sleep” to avoid long-term threats to the immune system and cardiovascular functions, Alapat says.

The sleep-deprived also perform worse at learning, memory, and creative and analytic reasoning–a special problem for powerful chief executives and decision-makers. And nearly 40 percent of adults have reported falling asleep without meaning to at least once a month, according to NIH. That’s a recipe for car crashes, aviation and ship accidents, industrial mishaps and even medical malpractice by exhausted hospital interns.

In general, Alapat recommends that naps last no longer than 30 minutes. When a person falls asleep, the brain goes through several stages of sleep, ultimately leading to the deepest stage, known as rapid eye movement sleep, or REM. Once a person reaches that dreamy state, it becomes much more difficult to wake up clearheaded, refreshed and fully functioning.

Of course, it’s easy for Alapat and other scientists to recommend a short nap in the afternoon for the sleep-deprived. For most American workers, finding a time and place to squeeze in a nap in the middle of the day is highly challenging at best. That’s especially true in a highly competitive work environment where nappers are frequently stigmatized as lazy or laggards.

However, those attitudes are beginning to change as some employers begin to see the value of having a well-rested and refreshed workforce. A September 2011 study in the Journal of Sleep concluded that employee insomnia was costing U.S. companies a startling $63 billion a year in lost productivity.

The desperate need for brief R-and-R in the middle of the day has given rise to a workday sleep industry, in which office workers downtown or travelers at airports can buy some quiet time for “power naps.” Recharj, a meditation and napping salon that opened a year ago in Washington, has had more than 7,000 visitors. About half of them have availed themselves of a 25-minute power nap in cocoons complete with head pillows, eye shades, blankets and optional earplugs.

“We’re seeing between 20 to 30 people each day, with peak time for power naps around lunchtime,” says Daniel Turissini, the company’s founder. “Power nappers are wrapped 360 degrees in an opaque sound-dampening drapery, lights are drawn down, and binaural beats are played to lull the brain into a transitional state of consciousness. After 25 minutes, a gentle alarm goes off and they are up and out, ready to conquer the rest of the day.”

Meanwhile, some of the nation’s most innovative companies–including Google, Ben & Jerry’s, Uber, PwC and HuffPost–have installed napping spaces for their workers.

Alapat cautions that while naps may provide a short-term boost in alertness and performance, they can’t regularly make up for lost sleep.

“What we have found is that people who are perpetually sleep-deprived–who consistently report less than seven hours of sleep–tend to have adverse health consequences,” he said. “And so if you are having to use naps on a daily basis to make up for what appears to be chronic sleep deprivation, you are probably looking at a situation where you’re adversely affecting your health overall.”

Until next week...keep on believing.
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For if thou rest, thou shalt be undismayed; and if thou sleep, thou shalt slumber sweetly.”
(Proverbs 3:24)


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