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INDEPENDENT

Isis prepares for 'apocalyptic’ battle to defend the village at the heart of its propaganda operation

Turkey-backed Syrian rebels say they are less than 48 hours away from launching an attack on the town of Dabiq, held by Isis since 2014

Bethan McKernan in Beirut

October 4, 2016

Turkish soldiers stand in a Turkish army tank driving back to Turkey from the Syrian-Turkish border town of Jarabulus on September 2, 2016 AFP/Getty Images

At least 15 Turkish and US-backed Syrian rebels have been killed in fighting as the opposition edges closer towards Dabiq, an Isis village in northern Syria of great importance to the terror group’s ideology.“If matters proceed as planned, within 48 hours we will be in Dabiq,” Ahmed Osman, commander of the Sultan Murad Free Syrian Army (FSA) group, told Reuters on Monday.

US special presidential envoy to the coalition against Isis Brett McGurk also said on Twitter that rebels had advanced to “within a few kilometres of [Isis’] weakening stronghold Dabiq.”

Dabiq, first captured by Isis in August 2014, occupies a central place in Isis’ version of Muslim theology. The militants say that a battle there between Islamic and infidel Christian forces will herald the beginning of the apocalypse.

While the villageis not militarily important to the so-called caliphate, Isis’ online propaganda magazine takes its name from the town, and losing control of it would be a significant ideological blow.

Issue 12 of Isis' propaganda magazine, Dabiq

Isis has sent an additional 800 fighters to defend it from advancing FSA rebels in recent months, and heavily mined the surrounding countryside, Osman said. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported it was a combination of mortar fire and landmines that killed the FSA rebels.

Monday’s official death toll among Turkish-backed rebels fighting in northern Syria is the highest since the FSA groups began pushing into Isis territory on August 24th.

Several villages near Dabiq have been recaptured in recent days, and the Turkish military said its warplanes have hit several Isis targets in and around Dabiq on Monday, including a command post and an ammunition depot.

Isis has faced several military defeats in recent months across its territory in Syria and Iraq. It is currently facing an imminent attack on the Iraqi city of Mosul by US-backed Iraqi troops. A successful Dabiq offensive by Turkish-backed rebels raises the prospect of advances on its Syrian capital, Raqqa.

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Catholic Online

ISIS prepares to trigger APOCALYPSE in FINAL BATTLE against U.S. troops

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

9/29/2016 (6 days ago)

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the extremists' perversion of the Koran, Dabiq will be the site of a "major apocalyptic showdown with the armies of the infidel" that will prompt the end of civilization.

As explained by Express, American commandos and Turkish troops stand just three miles from the prophesied city of Dabiq.

ISIS claimed the final battle will occur in a field just outside Dabiq and quote their prophet, Mohammed, saying "the last hour will not come" until an army conquers the Romans at "Dabiq or Al-A'maq."

The group is so obsessed with the apocalypse prophecy, they named their hate-filled magazine after the prophesied city.

One of the founders of ISIS, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, quoted the magazine to say: "The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify - by Allah's permission - until it burns the crusader armies in Dābiq."

Some sources claim the battle has already begun, with reports of Turkish artillery fire hitting Dabiq.

The Islamic State's "news agency," Amaq, claimed a man was killed in the strike last Friday and the terrorist organization vowed to make the Dabiq prophesy come true.

The prophesy claims "[N]ations gathering under 80 flags will confront the Muslim armies" and many believe the alliance of Western countries has fulfilled that requirement.

Apparently, their prophet declared: "The last hour will not come until the Romans arrived in al-A'maq or Dabiq, and an army consisting of the best people on earth in those days will hasten them from Medina."

One-third of Islamist fighters will run when the attack comes and another third will be killed, the but remaining groups will survive the battle and will be triumphant.

Believers hold tight to the prophecy, particularly since reports of ISIS failures and battlefield defeat after defeat have left the group humiliated.

Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, who recently returned from Iraq, said there was "no doubt" that ISIS was "facing defeat."

The terrorists have already lost strategic towns surrounding Dabiq and much of their territory in Iraq and Syria. Their weapons and fighters smuggling ring has been broken and the end for their reign draws near.

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BREAKINGISRAELNEWS

Sounding the Horn of the Messiah From Jerusalem

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz September 26, 2016 , 12:30 pm

And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great horn shall be blown; and they shall come that were lost in the land of Ashur, and they that were dispersed in the land of Mitzrayim; and they shall worship Hashem in the holy mountain at Yerushalayim.” Isaiah 27:13 (The Israel Bible™)

A man blows a shofar. The Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City can be seen in the background. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
)

Though it is impossible to say with absolute certainty when the Messiah will come, in an ancient synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City, a shofar and jug of oil are patiently waiting on a high shelf for his arrival. They are replacements for the originals, supposedly rescued from the Second Temple amidst Roman destruction, which disappeared in the heat of the 1967 battle for Jerusalem. Legends and mysteries surround the simple items.

One of the landmark holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, the Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai Synagogue was built at the beginning of the 17th century. The synagogue is believed to stand on the location of the original study hall of Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai, a major rabbinic and scholarly figure in the Second Temple era, quoted throughout the Talmud.

The synagogue is known for many things, but its most remarkable element could easily go overlooked. On the southern wall, on a glass shelf far too high to be readily accessible, sit a jug of oil and shofar. Tradition has it that when the Messiah arrives, Elijah himself will appear to blow the shofar and anoint him with the oil.

The shofar, or ram’s horn, is usually identified with Rosh Hashana, the upcoming Jewish New Year, when 100 blasts are traditionally blown from the shofar. Usually shofars belong to individuals who practice year-round, not to the synagogues themselves, making the Ben Zakai shofar unusual. They are among the most significant ritual items in Judaism.

The shofar was used regularly in the Temple service, and Jewish tradition holds that the sounds of the shofar will announce the arrival of the Messiah, just as they greeted the ancient kings of Israel.

And Zadok the Kohen took the horn of oil out of the Tent, and anointed Shlomo. And they blew the ram’s horn; and all the people said: ‘Long live king Shlomo.’ I Kings 1:39

The story of the Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai Synagogue shofar is singular. At the end of the 16th century, there were no synagogues in all of Jerusalem, and Ottoman rulers made it illegal to build new ones. After bribing Turkish officials, Jews were able to construct four synagogues in one building with half-hidden entrances. Legend claims there is a secret tunnel connecting the synagogue to the Temple Mount. This tunnel is also waiting for the Messiah, who will use it to travel the last few hundred yards to the Third Temple.

According to the legend, when the Second Temple was destroyed, Rabbi Ben Zakai saved a jug of oil and a shofar that were part of the Temple service, bringing them to his study hall to be used when the Messiah finally arrived. The story holds that the objects were preserved through generations, and that it was this jug and shofar that were installed in the synagogue when it was first built more than 1,500 years later.

For 400 years, the shofar and oil stood ready. But when the Jordanians conquered the Old City in 1948, they went on a rampage, destroying and desecrating Jewish places of worship much as their Roman predecessors had done 2,000 years earlier.

Shimon Gantz, the manager of the synagogue today, told Breaking Israel News that he recently spoke with one of the first IDF soldiers to enter the Old City in 1967 after the Israeli liberation. “He told me that he entered the Old City via the Zion Gate, and immediately sought out the synagogue. His platoon arrived here when the battle was still raging. They were horrified to see the way it had been treated. It was vandalized and full of the worst kind of garbage. But he also said that he was sure he saw the original jug of oil and shofar on the high shelf, untouched.

“Unfortunately, by the time the battle for the city was over and Jews re-entered the synagogue, the shofar and oil were gone,” Gantz told Breaking Israel News.

The shelf stood empty until 1978, when Yitzchak Navon, then-President of Israel, visited the synagogue. Accompanying President Navon was an elderly Jew who had prayed at the synagogue before the Jordanian occupation in 1947. Navon noticed his companion looking up at the empty shelf and asked what he was looking for. The man told Navon about the oil and shofar, obviously pained and disappointed at their absence. Navon promised to replace them. Later that year, a shofar and jug of oil were placed there by the president of Israel, and they remain on the shelf until today.

Anyone can buy or own a shofar, making the Navon shofar special only in its connection to Israel’s modern history. From simple ram’s horns to ornate, silver-plated instruments, the horn of the Messiah is available to all, Ayal Kellman, vice president of judaica store Israel365, told Breaking Israel News. “In the past three years, we have sold hundreds of shofars in the months leading up to Rosh Hashana to Jews and Christians around the world,” he said.

“Many of our customers, especially of Christian faith, are awaiting the end times and are purchasing shofars in order to be able to herald the arrival of the Messiah themselves,” Kellman added.

But that doesn’t mean the Messiah’s own shofar is not still out there, waiting. In fact, a curious anecdote from Dr. Yahav Shmaryahu, the synagogue’s long-time caretaker, adds a new twist to the story. Three years ago, a small group of men approached Dr. Shmaryahu, asking for special permission to pray in the synagogue at midnight. While they were praying, one of the men looked up and at the shelf and shook his head in disappointment, telling Dr. Shmaryahu that the shofar was not the original.

“I knew this was the case, so this didn’t surprise me,” Dr. Shmaryahu told Breaking Israel News, “But then he claimed the original shofar was in his possession, and when the time came, he would return to the synagogue to blow shofar.”

“It could be that he was just telling stories, but the legend of the shofar goes back to the Second Temple,” Dr. Shmaryahu noted. “When the Messiah comes, we will know what is true. For the time being, this shofar is waiting.”

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BREAKINGISRAELNEWS

Sanhedrin Revives 2,000-Year-Old Blessing for Counting of Jubilee Year

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz September 27, 2016 , 11:30 am

And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a Jubilee unto you.” Leviticus 25:10 (The Israel Bible™)

Fireworks seen over the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Amidst the shofar blasts, this Rosh Hashana will include a mitzvah (Biblical commandment) that hasn’t been performed by the Jews in almost 2,000 years: counting the Jubilee. It is a simple mitzvah, reciting just a few lines, but performing this mitzvah is a declaration that the prophesied return of the Jews to Israel has been fulfilled, thereby establishing a basis for the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple.

Unbeknownst to all but a few witnesses, as Rosh Hashana ended eleven months ago, the nascent Sanhedrin concluded months of deliberation by ruling that certain conditions had been met requiring the Nation of Israel to begin counting the Jubilee cycle. Rabbi Avraham Dov Ben Shor recited the blessing and the 49-year cycle began again.

When Rosh Hashana – the Jewish New Year – ends next Tuesday evening, it will be time for Jews to count the second year of the Jubilee cycle. The blessing and the count are as follows:

.ברוך אתה יי אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קידשנו במיצותיו וצונו על ספירת שמיטים ויובלות

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-olam, Asher Kidshanu B’Mitsvotav, V’Tsivanu Al Sfirat Shemittim v’Yovalot.

Blessed art thou, Ruler of the Universe, who sanctifies us in his commandments, and has commanded us to count the sabbaticals and the Jubilees.

.השנה הזאת היא השנה השניה ליובל הראשון והשנה השניה לשמיטה ראשונה ביובל הראשון

Hashana HaZot Hee Hashanna Hasnia La’Yovel Harishon v’Hashanna Hashnia LaShmitta Rishon Bayovel Harishon.

This year is the second year of the first Jubilee, and the second year for the first sabbatical in the first Jubilee.

Specific conditions outlined in Jewish law had to be considered by the Sanhedrin before reinstating this mitzvah. Unlike most Torah commandments being observed today which are incumbent on an individual, the Jubilee is a national mitzvah. Its observance is dependant upon most of Israel being in the land of Israel.

To begin counting the Jubilee last year, the Sanhedrin, as a bet din (rabbinic court), ruled that the Jews have returned to inherit the land as a nation, and not just as individuals. This requires at least 600,000 Jews, equal to the number of Israelites that returned to Israel from Egypt under Joshua.

Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the Sanhedrin, explained to Breaking Israel News, “The Sanhedrin ruled that we are now clearly in the prophesied third inheritance of the land, the first being by Joshua, the second after the Babylonian exile.
“There are 5 mitzvot connected to the Jubilee: counting the Jubilee, letting free slaves, returning land, blowing the shofar, and forgiving debts,” Rabbi Weiss explained. “We have reinstituted one: the counting of the Jubilee.”

Rabbi Weiss added that blowing the shofar, performed on Yom Kippur, has not yet been reinstituted as part of the mitzvah of Jubilee, but if an individual feels so inclined, he can do so without a blessing.

It has been exactly one complete Jubilee cycle since the Six-Day War and the unification of Jerusalem. Had the Jubilee cycle not been interrupted 2,000 years ago by the Diaspora, the first year of the ongoing Jubilee cycle would have been in 1967, the year Jerusalem was unified, and again last year, when the Sanhedrin reinstituted the Jubilee. The next Jubilee will be declared in 2065, 48 years from now.

The jubilee medallion issued by the nascent Sanhedrin. (Courtesy)

To signify the reinstitution of the Jubilee, and also to commemorate the Jubilee of Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin has issued a medallion. One side is engraved with an image of Solomon’s Temple, flanked by two shofars, symbolizing the Jubilee. The other side shows a lit seven-branched menorah, two cherubim, and a Hebrew inscription stating that the third inheritance of the land of Israel by the Jews has officially been declared. The Sanhedrin is selling the medallion and setting aside the proceeds for use in the Third Temple.

“Sale of this medallion will serve as the basis for the mitzvah of the half-shekel, which was collected from every Jewish male,” Rabbi Hillel Weiss explained. “As such, the money will go towards acquiring animals, grain, oil and wine, for sacrificial purposes. It will also be used for building and maintaining the temple.”

The rabbi specified that the medallion does not fulfill the requirements outlined in the Torah for the half-shekel, and should not be considered sacred, but all of the funds will be reserved by the Sanhedrin for Temple use.

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CHRISTIAN TODAY

Mel Gibson's New Christian Film Gets 10 Minute Standing Ovation At World Premiere

Martin Saunders CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR 03 October 2016

He's courted controversy since the release of The Passion of the Christ in 2004, but actor-director Mel Gibson has returned to strong Christian territory with his new movie, and it received a hugely positive reception at its first showing. Hacksaw Ridge, a Second World War film about a soldier whose Christian beliefs drive his pacifism, got its world premiere at 73rd Venice Film festival in September, where Deadline Hollywood reports it received a 10-minute standing ovation. The film is now being tipped as a possible Oscar contender.

Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of Desmond T Doss (Andrew Garfield), the real-life war hero who received the Medal of Honor after saving scores of wounded soldiers during the battle of Okinawa in World War Two. Doss was a devout Seventh-Day Adventist, and believed his faith meant that he couldn't fire a weapon in battle, yet also that he couldn't turn his back on the war when others went off to serve. Despite initially being a figure of disdain among his fellow troops, Doss quickly became a hero after various feats of extraordinary courage.

The role of Christianity in the film is not subtle, as demonstrated by the official trailer (below). The two-minute clip includes multiple references to Doss' faith, including a scene of him in fervent prayer, and another when he is beaten up because of his beliefs. It also seems to show how Doss' beliefs begin to have a profound effect on his fellow troops.

The project to produce a film based on Doss' life had been in 'development hell' for over a decade, while a number of previous attempts to tell the story had failed to get off the starting blocks. Gibson signed up to direct the film in 2014, eight years after his previous effort Apolcalypto. The Australian, who suffered a well-documented battle with alcohol abuse in the interim, has stated in recent years his desire to return to faith-based work, and took on Hackshaw Ridge specifically because if its strong Christian themes. Gibson's next film is a director is likely to be a sequel to The Passion of the Christ, based around the Resurrection.

Hacksaw Ridge co-stars Vince Vaughan, Sam Worthington and Hugo Weaving. The film is released in the US on 4th November, with other territories expected to release around the same date. Now seriously, try watching the trailer without welling up. I've failed three times so far.


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RT

Deal with the devil’: US ‘ready to ally with terror’ to overthrow Assad – Russia Foreign Ministry

Published time: 3 Oct, 2016 21:37

Edited time: 4 Oct, 2016 00:13

Moscow has accused Washington of sabotaging the Syria ceasefire deal, saying that the US will be responsible for any new terror attacks in Syria, as by taking no action against Al-Nusra terrorists it shows it is ready “to make a deal with the devil.”

Washington “has never exerted any real pressure on Jabhat Al-Nusra, done nothing for delineation to succeed and taken no action against its militants,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday, following the US decision to suspend cooperation on Syria.

Besides failing to deliver on its part of the deal, the US were hampering Moscow’s efforts to stop the terrorists, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, calling Washington’s decision a “reflection” of the Obama administration’s inability to meet the key condition for Russia-US cooperation on the Syrian peace process.

The way the situation has been unraveling in Syria in the past few weeks has made Moscow doubt what Washington’s real intentions are, according to the ministry.

We are becoming more convinced that in a pursuit of a much desired regime change in Damascus, Washington is ready to ‘make a deal with the devil’,” the Foreign Ministry said. For the sake of ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad, the US appears to be ready to “forge an alliance with hardened terrorists, dreaming of turning back the course of history.”

While Jabhat Al-Nusra, a designated terrorist organization, has been known as an Al-Qaeda affiliate for many years, Washington “is not in a hurry to separate US-oriented anti-government forces from it,” Moscow points out. On the contrary, even though Al-Nusra has never been a part of any peace deal, Washington “covers it with the shield of opposition groups which formally confirmed their participation in the cessation of hostilities.”

Meanwhile, Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, who on Monday assumed the post of the President of the UN Security Council, expressed his concerns over the halt in Russia-US cooperation in Syria.

At the same time, he insisted that the current setback in Syria will not lead to another “Cold War” between Moscow and Washington.

I think you are dramatizing the nature of our disagreements with the US,” Churkin said, replying to a reporter at a press conference, adding that there’s still a chance to revive the cooperation.

I hope there will not be a new Cold War,” he added.

For now, the main objective in Syria for Russia is to thwart Al-Nusra’s latest offensive in Aleppo, which has seen increasing number of terrorist attacks in the wake of the ceasefire’s collapse.

"In the process of the past few weeks, after the September 9 arrangements were reached, we have seen numerous violations by Nusra and others cooperating with Nusra of the cessation of hostilities regime”, Churkin said, adding that about 1.5 million people are currently stand the risk of being besieged by its militants south of Aleppo.

We must make sure that Nusra’s influence is not going to continue to spread,” he stressed, describing the situation in Aleppo as “extremely dramatic.”

On a broader scale, Russia’s long-term aim in the region is to “throw the terrorists out” of Iraq and Syria, as it is the only way to secure the lives of civilians, living there in constant danger from extremists.

To mitigate the impact of one of the terrorists’ most powerful weapons, propaganda, Russia has submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council designed “to counter terrorist ideology and the ideology of violent extremism,” Churkin said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland is set to visit Moscow this week. However, she is expected to discuss solely Ukraine and implementation of the Minsk agreements, according to the State Department’s press release.

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cnsnews.com

12,587 Syrian Refugees Admitted in FY 2016: 12,486 Muslims, 68 Christians, 24 Yazidis

By Patrick Goodenough | October 3, 2016 | 5:01 AM EDT

(CNSNews.com) – The administration admitted a total of 12,587 Syrian refugees during the just-ended fiscal year, exceeding the target President Obama declared last fall by 2,587 (20.5 percent).

Of the 12,587, the vast majority are Sunni Muslims – 12,363 (98.2 percent) – while another 103 are identified in State Department Refugee Processing Center data simply as Muslims and a further 20 as Shi’a Muslims.

Sixty-eight of the 12,587 Syrian refugees (0.5 percent) are Christians. They comprise 16 Catholics, eight Orthodox, five Protestants, four Jehovah’s Witnesses, one Greek Orthodox, and 34 refugees self-identified simply as Christians.

The remainder of the Syrian refugees resettled in the U.S. in FY 2016 are 24 Yazidis, eight refugees with religion given as “other,” and one with “no religion.”

The final month of the fiscal year followed the pattern of previous ones: 1,847 Syrian refugees were admitted, of whom 1,812 were Sunnis, 13 were other Muslims, 12 were Christians, seven were Yazidis, and three were “other” religion.

Throughout the year, the numbers of Christians and other religious minorities among the Syrians granted refugee status in the U.S. were dwarfed by those of Sunni Muslims.

Although the majority of Syrians are Sunnis, the number of Sunnis among the refugees was still disproportionately high, and the number of Christians disproportionately low, when compared to the overall population makeup.

When the conflict began in 2011, an estimated 10 percent of the Syrian population (1.5-1.7 million) was Christian and 74 percent was Sunni Muslim.

In contrast, Christians accounted for just half of one percent of the refugees resettled in the United States in FY 2016, while Sunnis accounted for 98.2 percent.

All segments of the Syrian population are affected by the devastating civil war, which has witnessed grave atrocities by minorities waged by the Sunni jihadists as well as sectarian-fueled bloodshed involving Sunnis, Shi’a (including Iranian and Hezbollah elements) and adherents of President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite sect.

The United Nations reports that 4,806,702 million Syrians are registered as “persons of concern” in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and North Africa. It does not give a denominational breakdown.

Estimates of the number of Christians who have fled their homeland vary, but the European Parliament this year said at least 700,000 had done so, while a Chaldean Catholic bishop from Aleppo last March put the figure at at least one million.

The U.S. government administration has determined that atrocities carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) against religious minorities in areas under its amount to genocide.

Administration officials say, however, that its refugee program does not and will not prioritize any particular religious group when considering Syrians’ applications.

Obama has not declared a target figure for Syrian refugee admissions for FY 2017, although a recent report to Congress said the administration “aims to admit a significantly higher number” of Syrian refugees in the new fiscal year than the 10,000 target initially set for FY 2016.

Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard said last week that even though the department is working with a stipulated target for FY 2017, “this administration has been very clear that we want to bring more Syrians, so my own guidance to our staff is that we want to bring even more than we brought this year.”

Over the course of the conflict that began when small anti-government protests in early 2011 were met with a harsh crackdown by the Assad regime and later widened into a convoluted civil war, the U.S. has resettled a total of 14,460 Syrian refugees – 87 percent of them during FY 2016.

Of those 14,460, 14,082 (97.3 percent) are Sunnis, 196 (1.3 percent) are Shi’a and other Muslims, and 124 (0.8 percent) are Christians.

The rest are 25 Yazidis, six Zoroastrians, three atheists, two Baha’i, 14 refugees with “other” religion and eight with “no religion.”

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Independent

Iraqi transport minister claims first airport was built 7,000 years ago in Iraq by ancient Sumerians

The Sumerians settled in the historical region of Mesopotamia, now south Iraq, in 5500 to 4000 BC

The Ziggurat of Ur, a Sumerian ruin in south Iraq Getty Images / iStock

An Iraqi minister has claimed that the ancient Sumerians travelled to Pluto in spaceships thousands of years ago.

Kazem Finjan, Iraq’s Transport Minister, told reporters in Dhi Qar, south Iraq, that the world’s first airport was built there in around 5,000 BC.

He said the ancient civilisation of Sumer, one of the oldest known societies, used the airport for space exploration and even discovered Pluto, according to news website The New Arab.

Alongside a video of the news conference posted on Twitter, Hayder al-Khoei, a researcher at the Centre for Academic Shi’a Studies, wrote: “Awkward moment and I don't think anyone was brave enough to contradict him”.

It is believed that the Sumerians settled in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia, now south Iraq, in 5500 to 4000 BC, where they developed agriculture, trade and artisan skills such as weaving, metalwork and pottery.

The New Arab reported that Mr Finjan referred to the work of Russian professor and Sumerian expert Samuel Kramer, who studied the civilisation’s creation myths and wrote about their understanding of the solar system.

Many ancient ruins are found in Dhi Qar, such as the Sumerian cities of Eridu and Ur, home to ancient temple the Ziggurat of Ur, which was excavated in the 1930s and has since been partially restored.

“The first airport that was established on planet earth was in this place,” said Mr Finjan, according to the site Memo: Middle East Monitor.

Memo reported that the minister also claimed that the angels “were all Sumerian” and “Sumerian spaceships used to launch from here towards the other planets.”

It is commonly accepted that the first human in space was Russian Soviet pilot Yuri Gagarin, who made a 108-minute flight into the Earth’s orbit in 1961.

***

The Telegraph

Shia fighters join Assad's troops to prepare for final assault on Aleppo

Raf Sanchez, middle east correspondent

1 OCTOBER 2016 • 9:55PM

Syrian rebels and civilians in the besieged eastern half of Aleppo are bracing for an onslaught ground assault by Syrian regime forces and their Shia fighter allies which could once and for all end the opposition’s resistance in the city.

US officials said they were seeing signs that thousands of troops from across the Shia world - including Syrian regime soldiers, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hizbollah fighters, Iraqi militiamen and Afghan mercenaries - were massing for a final assault on Aleppo.

The warning came as largest hospital on the rebel side of the city was put out of service after being hit by barrel bombs on Saturday amid a dramatically intensified Russian and Syrian regime bombardment of Aleppo.

Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, accused Russia of carrying out illegal “double tap” strikes, in which an area is bombed and then struck again minutes later to kill first responders as they try to rescue the injured.

As US-led diplomatic efforts to broker a truce continued to stall, Moscow warned Washington against intervening militarily against the Assad regime, saying that American strikes against Damascus would have “terrible, tectonic consequences”.

It also emerged that more than 80 per cent of UN aid convoys to besieged areas were blocked or delayed in September, leaving civilians without badly-needed supplies, according to the Guardian.

The assault force gathering outside Aleppo is reported to be made up of 10,000 troops and their goal is to finally recapture the rebel-held east of the city and bring an end its four-years of defiance against Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

“There appears to be forces massing for some kind of assault on Aleppo,” said Mark Toner, a spokesman for the US State Department. When asked how long before the city fell to attackers, he replied: “It could be soon”.

If Aleppo did fall back into the control of the Syrian regime it would be potentially the single biggest turning point in six years of fighting and a major defeat for rebel forces.

The Syrian regime and the Russian air force dramatically escalated airstrikes on east Aleppo in preparation for the attack and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that 338 people were killed in the last week, including 106 children.

Strikes on Saturday hit the M10 hospital where thousands of wounded civilians, including Omran Daqneesh, the little boy with the haunted expression whose photograph was published on newspaper frontages around the world, have been treated.

Doctors and nurses inside M10 have spent months working with few supplies and intermittent water and electricity to save lives even as the medical facility itself has been repeatedly targeted.

Mohammed Abu Rajab, an X-ray technician at the hospital, sent a frantic audio message on Saturday morning as another bomb struck. “Another direct targeting on M10 with cluster bombs!" he shouted. "The hospital is being destroyed now."

The UN has warned Moscow and Damascus many times that the deliberate targeting of hospitals is a war crime.

Wissam Zarqa, an English teacher, said that the increased rate of strikes was being interpreted in Aleppo as a possible harbinger of the ground assault to come.

“Targeting hospitals, bakeries and the infrastructure systematically in the last few days could be an indication there is something new looming on the horizon,” he told the Sunday Telegraph.

Syrian regime forces first encircled east Aleppo earlier this year have fought back-and-forth battles with rebels and jihadist forces without either side able to achieve a decisive breakthrough.

But the regime hopes that breakthrough will come with the assault force now preparing to attack.

Yasser Yousef, a spokesman for the Islamist rebel group Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki in Aleppo, said the rebels were prepared for the attack if and when it comes.

“Our reconnaissance units have spotted Lebanese, Iraqi, Afghani and Iranian militias, mobilized around Aleppo,” he said. “We are aware of their plans and intentions. They said Aleppo will fall four or five years ago and we are still fighting.”

The UN has warned that such an attack would lead to massive civilian casualties and widespread destruction inside Aleppo. “It’s going to be a slow grinding street by street fight over the course of months, if not years, whereby the ancient city will be almost completely destroyed,” said Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria.

The intensified bombing campaign has not been limited to Aleppo.

Airstrikes in the Kafr Batna suburb of Damascus reportedly killed at least seven children on Friday. The Siege Watch monitoring group said it appeared that Russian jets had dropped at least three vacuum bombs on the area.

More than 50 areas across Syria under siege, including east Aleppo, and many are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

Mr Johnson also accused Russia of deliberately targeting aid and rescue workers with “double tap” strikes. “One thing I think is a war crime is the double tap. We have good ground to believe that the Russians have been doing that,” Mr Johnson told the Sun.

As the violence continued on the ground, high-level diplomatic talks between the US and Russia remained stalemated.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, had threatened to cut off discussions with Moscow altogether if the Russian air force continued its attacks on Aleppo but conversations continued on Friday between the American diplomat and Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister.

Leaked audio tapes revealed Mr Kerry’s frustration that his demands for an end to the bombardment of Aleppo were not being backed by a credible American military threat.

Mr Kerry told a group of Syrian activists that he had made the case that the US should be prepared to use force against the Assad regime but "I lost that argument" to other aides of President Barack Obama who argued that US should stay out.

The debate in Washington over intervention has been renewed, however, following the collapse of last month’s brief ceasefire and the continuing attacks on Aleppo.

In response, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry warned that American intervention would lead to “terrible, tectonic consequences not only on the territory of [Syria] but also in the region on the whole”.

***

PNW

Biochip Technologies: From Fringe To Mainstream

September 29, 2016

Biochip technology is becoming big business, but not everyone is embracing the changes. There are concerns about the potential dangers these technologies can offer.

Right now, implants are already being designed that will provide your medical information, act as a key to your home, and store business card information.

These are not wearable devices that you can put on and take off, but actual implantable devices that are placed under the skin. The implants work through RFID technology, which can be read by smartphones and readers that allow people access to buildings through ID cards or badges.

Current estimates indicate that some 50,000 people around the world may already have these implants and be using them for access to their homes and businesses, contact details, and more.

While it is becoming a popular trend in some circles, there are real worries about where the use of these kinds of devices may take society.

The tags only work when the scanner activates them, so there is no worry about dead batteries, and they take only seconds to implant under the skin. That makes it sound almost too easy to get and start using these implants for all sorts of daily things.

Will This Become Mandatory?

One concern for many people is that the "chipping" of human beings may eventually become mandatory. Similar to how pet owners in some areas have seen the optional chipping of pets now become mandatory. In that case, these chips would be needed as identity markers, much the same way people now carry a driver's license or ID card.

The implants could also be used to open doors, pay for things, and store medical and other types of data. But the argument against this is strong, coming from both religious individuals who feel the implants are similar to the "mark of the beast" that is mentioned in the Bible, and scientific individuals who worry about the long-term health effects of the chips on the human body.

Will New Advancements Mean Additional Implants?

As technology moves forward, more options will be available to be implanted in human beings. These implants are the size of a grain of rice, but how many of them is too many, and how much data can they hold? Will they ever fail and need to be removed or replaced?

With so many questions still circulating when it comes to how these implants will be handled, it is entirely possible that advancements in technology will mean that new and better implants will come along.

Since there are a number of good choices for placement of these implants, people could theoretically have an increasingly large number of them for different information and functions.

But What About Informed Consent?

Among the biggest hurdles to the use of these tags is consent. While a healthy, competent adult could certainly choose to have a tag implanted, there may be others who would not be able to say yes or no to the procedure.

That can include very young children, and the elderly who may have Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia.

, those who have mental impairment or mental illness may struggle with understanding what the tag is for, and may not be able to consent to its usefulness and implantation.

Viruses and Hacking of People Instead of Machines

Computers and RFID scanners can get hacked. So can humans, if they have these implants. While storing data on a chip located inside the body may seem like the ultimate way of being safe when it comes to protecting information, that information can still be stolen under the right conditions.

In theory, medical data, access to a home or a secure facility, and anything else that was stored on the implant could be the target of a hacker and could be something that a person would not want accessed by others.

Controlling this kind of attack is very difficult, and data breaches happen every day in the technology sphere. Avoiding that with humans when it's so common with machines may not be realistic now, and may never be realistic, putting many people's data at near-constant risk.

One can only imagine what would happen to a society that relies on such chip implants to function if it were struck with a widescale virus. In 2010, Dr. Mark Gasson from the University of Reading had a chip inserted in his hand which was then infected with a virus.

In trials, Dr Gasson showed that the chip was able to pass on the computer virus to external control systems and if other implanted chips had then connected to the system they too would have been corrupted, he said.

"With the benefits of this type of technology come risks. We may improve ourselves in some way but much like the improvements with other technologies, mobile phones for example, they become vulnerable to risks, such as security problems and computer viruses."

***

CNN

Skull image of Hurricane Matthew spooks the Internet

By Rolando Zenteno, CNN

Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT) October 5, 2016

(CNN)Hurricane Matthew is a monster storm. Now it has a monster image to match.

A sinister image of Hurricane Matthew, resembling a human skull, has lit up the Internet. The creepy satellite photo was posted Tuesday by Weather Channel senior meteorologist Stu Ostro as the hurricane made landfall in Haiti.

The image shows the hurricane through an infrared camera lens. It's been tweaked to show the storm in apocalyptic colors that accentuate the hurricane's eye and make its teeth look like the comic book character Ghost Rider or the Grinch, some Twitter users suggested.

It's creepy, but in a nutshell, CNN meteorologist Judson Jones explains that "basically, scientists use color tables to identify the strongest part of the storm."

Color enhancement is added to infrared satellite imagery to help meteorologists find the strongest portions of the storm.

In the viral Twitter post, gray, black and red were chosen.

Paul Meyer, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Earth Science Office, told CNN that the skull's "teeth" are cold convective clouds.

***

KWN

WARNING: Protect Yourself As China Seizes Control Of The Internet

October 01, 2016

With many investors worried about the economic turmoil that has engulfed the globe, protect yourself as China seizes control of the internet. Also, this will be the greatest bull market in history.

Gold’s Greatest Bull Move And China’s Seizure Of The Internet

Stephen Leeb: “If today seems like just another ordinary Saturday, think again. Someday Oct. 1, 2016 will be recognized as a momentous day in world history, for it marks the official transfer of economic power from the West to the East and in particular to China, the East’s clear hegemon…

“Of course, China already has surpassed the U.S. in terms of many important economic metrics. For example, it tops us when it comes to the measure of GDP known as “purchasing power parity.” And it has overtaken us when it comes to world trade, with its exports roughly 50 percent greater than ours. It even now beats us in the area of supercomputers.

But unless China can establish effective control over two key areas – the global monetary system and the world’s Internet – it can’t take charge of its own destiny in the way it wants to, leaving it still beholden to developments in the West. Today China has taken a giant and decisive step towards control over both those two realms.

Let’s start with the monetary system. Today the yuan officially becomes an SDR currency. Most commentators have painted this as a symbolic event, one that acknowledges China’s economic importance but doesn’t challenge existing monetary relationships. After all, the dollar’s weighting in the SDR is nearly four times the yuan’s.

That, however, is the initial weighting as set by the IMF. All the SDR currencies remain free trading, which means that if the yuan gains against the dollar, its weighting in the SDR will rise. And if China becomes even more important as an economic power, the IMF could reset its weightings as well, compounding the yuan’s gains.

The Yuan’s Ascent Will Be Fueled By Gold & Oil

Two words sum up why the yuan will indeed start to gain ground over the dollar, making China even more ascendant: gold and oil. A few weeks ago I predicted OPEC and Russia would jointly announce a cut in oil production sooner rather than later. It’s already happened. The OPEC-Russia agreement, which most commentators had dismissed as unlikely, actually was inevitable. One reason is that China is now ready, after two years of talking about it, to initiate a plan to establish its own oil benchmark. The weights governing the different types of oil it will include have likely been set already, and we expect trading will start in 2017’s first quarter.

China’s dominance over oil comes from its roles as the largest consumer of Eastern oil and, by a wide margin, the largest refiner. The benchmark will be denominated in yuan and will represent the lion’s share of world oil supply. Good-bye petrodollars, hello petro-yuan. After the dollar was delinked from gold in 1971, it remained the global reserve currency because oil was traded in dollars, under a deal in which the U.S. pledged to protect the Gulf States militarily.

China Is Now Calling The Shots

Today China calls the shots. This can be seen in the aftermath of the Iran nuclear deal, which was anathema to the Saudis and initially threatened to widen the gulf between the Saudis and Iran, longtime rivals. Now the two countries are making deals, unified in agreeing to cut production levels. (Remember that in April, Iran refused even to attend a meeting of OPEC countries. Credit China for the turnaround.)

Now let’s turn to the second reason that will propel the yuan: gold. It will enter the picture either as a sixth component of the SDR, which the IMF might ultimately do with strong Chinese urging. Or China could decide to back the yuan directly, at least in part, with gold. Either way will be tantamount to anointing gold as a currency. Right now, while gold is considered a financial asset, it’s not recognized as a currency by either the Bank of International Settlements or the IMF. Maybe it was just a slip but a Bloomberg primer on gold published this week (the timing may or may not have been a coincidence) began: “Gold is among the most complex of all global metals industries. It is a currency first….” It could have been a Freudian slip or maybe prescience – after all, one of the article’s two authors was Chinese.

Gold Has Skyrocketed…
Since being delinked from the dollar in 1971, gold has soared more than 35-fold against the dollar and about 20-fold against the SDR. Gold’s gains against these fiat currencies roughly matches the 25-fold gains in world GDP (in actual dollars) during those years.

Gold’s Rise Will Be The Greatest Bull Move In History

In coming years, gold’s gains will be much more rapid, for several reasons. One is that gold’s production has peaked. Another is that gold will have become an official currency, whether as part of the SDR or as a backing for the yuan. And third, inflation and nominal growth will be much greater in the West than between 1971 and the present because inflation in the U.S. will soar once the dollar loses its status as the primary global reserve currency. All this combines to set the stage for the second leg of the greatest bull market the world will ever see in any asset.

What, if anything, could upend China’s plans? The most obvious answer would be if the West continues to control global trade. But in today’s world, that means the West would need to control the Internet – and as I said, today also marks not just the milestone of the yuan joining the SDR but another official milestone as well. It’s the day in which the U.S. begins the process of handing control over the Internet from our Department of Commerce to a consortium of international bodies of which China will be paramount. We’ll have more to say on this in future weeks, but for now, we’ll just say that China’s enormous size and newfound dominance in supercomputers ensure its dominance in this new consortium, which is tantamount to control of the Internet.

Protect Yourself As China Seizes Control Of The Internet

If you think I must be smoking something, consider the opinion of one of the world’s most respected technology security experts, Bruce Schneier. He is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, author of many books, and a consultant to the Department of Defense. Schneier has commented that evidence is mounting that the rash of recent cyberattacks, including the hacking of 500 million Yahoo accounts and the year-long gathering of classified data on more than 20 million U.S. government employees, suggests the perpetrators aren’t just interested in gaining valuable information about individuals – they are trying to learn how to take down the entire Internet. Few doubt that the perpetrators are state actors associated with China. To which I can add: learning how to take down the Internet is very close to control of the Internet.

This has all happened under U.S. watch. But now that eyes are shifting East, so is control of the Internet, and much faster than anyone thinks. As China takes control, I once again remind all of you that for the sake of yourselves and loved ones, buy gold. The times are changing, and you want to be in the forefront and not a bag holder.”

***

Gazety.Ru

MOE will conduct training for civil defense with the participation of 40 million people

02.10.2016 | 13:25

Russian Emergency Situations Ministry will hold the All-Russian exercise of civil defense, in which more than 40 million people will be involved, reports RIA "Novosti" .

This was told the director of the Emergency Situations Ministry of Civil Defence Department Sergey Manuilov.

"Training will be held from 4 to 7 October. It will bring together more than 40 million people, more than 200 thousand professionals rescue units, about 50 thousand units. The full force of the Russian Emergencies Ministry are utilized, including military units EMERCOM rescue, emergency rescue units, rescue units of paramilitary units and the State Inspectorate for Small Boats, a division of the State Fire Service of EMERCOM of Russia, aircraft, "- said Manuilov.

According to him, the action will be worked on evacuation, issuance of personal protective equipment, sanitary, deployment obmyvochnyh points.

***

Zero Hedge

"Message Sent?" - Russia, China Release Stunning Panoramic Video Of Naval Drills

by Tyler Durden

Sep 30, 2016 9:40 PM

Helicopters and warships dominated the South China Sea, as Russia and China continued their joint eight-day naval exercises, dubbed Joint Sea 2016.

A total of 18 ships and supply vessels, 21 aircraft and over 250 service personnel took part in the Joint Sea 2016 naval drills on September 12-19 in the South China Sea.

Does this look like Russia and China are sending a message?


***

Zero Hedge

Russia Warns US Military "Aggression" In Syria Would Lead To "Terrible, Tectonic" Consequences

by Tyler Durden

Oct 1, 2016 9:22 PM

As the drums of war beat louder, following last week's ultimatum by John Kerry that the US is contemplating a direct military intervention in Syria, including potentially sending US troops on the ground in the war-torn country for the first time, on Saturday Russia warned the US against carrying out any attacks on Syrian government forces, saying it would have repercussions across the Middle East. The warning comes as government forces captured a hill on the edge of the northern city of Aleppo under the cover of airstrikes.

It has been one year since Russia became officially involved in the Syria conflict. The maps below show zones controlled by different forces before Russian intervention in September 2015 and the situation now.

The most obvious change is the collapse in territory controlled by ISIS, as well as the expansion of territories held by the Syrian regime, which is the biggest concern to the US, whose main directive in the Syrian conflict has been less to crush the Islamic State as to minimize the influence and territory of Assad's regime, replacing it with US-controlled "rebel" forces.

And with Russia - long an ally to Assad as the conflict is fundamentally about Gazprom's loss of influence over Europe should a Qatari natgas pipelines cross under Syria - having become the biggest hurdle to US strategy in Syria, there has been a notable shift in the US strategy, with western media slamming Russia's "barbarous airstrikes", focusing on recent bombing strikes of the rebel-held city of Aleppo, a repeat of US strategy from the summer of 2013 when a doctored "chemical attack" YouTube video was used to justify US presence in the local conflict.

In response, Russian news agencies quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying that "U.S. aggression" against the Syrian army "will lead to terrible, tectonic consequences not only on the territory of this country but also in the region on the whole."

She said regime change in Syria would create a vacuum that would be "quickly filled" by "terrorists of all stripes."

As AP notes, U.S.-Russian tensions over Syria have escalated since the breakdown of a cease-fire last month, with each side blaming the other for its failure. Syrian government forces backed by Russian warplanes have launched a major onslaught on rebel-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo. Syrian troops pushed ahead in their offensive in Aleppo on Saturday capturing the strategic Um al-Shuqeef hill near the Palestinian refugee camp of Handarat that government forces captured from rebels earlier this week, according to state TV. The hill is on the northern edge of the Aleppo, Syria's largest city and former commercial center.

The al Qaeda-linked Ahrar al-Sham militant group said rebels regained control Saturday of several positions they lost in Aleppo in the Bustan al-Basha neighborhood. State media said 13 people were wounded when rebels shelled the central government-held neighborhood of Midan.

Adding to the propaganda, airstrikes on Aleppo struck a hospital in the eastern rebel-held neighborhood of Sakhour putting it out of service, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the same entity that created the infamous doctored 2013 YouTube video.

Opposition activist Ahmad Alkhatib described the hospital, known as M10, as one of the largest in Aleppo. He posted photographs on his Twitter account showing the damage including beds covered with dust, a hole in its roof and debris covering the street outside. A doctor at the hospital told the Aleppo Media Center, an activist collective, that thousands of people were treated in the compound in the past adding that two people were killed in Saturday's airstrikes and several were wounded.

"A real catastrophe will hit medical institutions in Aleppo if the direct shelling continues to target hospitals and clinics," said the doctor whose name was not given. He said the whole hospital is out of service.

In a familiar repeat of the 2013 media narrative, opposition activists have blamed the President Bashar Assad's forces and Russia for airstrikes that hit Civil Defense units and clinics in the city where eastern rebel-held neighborhoods are besieged by government forces and pro-government militiamen.

On Friday, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders demanded that the Syrian government and its allies "halt the indiscriminate bombing that has killed and wounded hundreds of civilians_many of them children," over the past week in Aleppo. "Bombs are raining from Syria-led coalition planes and the whole of east Aleppo has become a giant kill box," said Xisco Villalonga, director of operations for the group. "The Syrian government must stop the indiscriminate bombing, and Russia as an indispensable political and military ally of Syria has the responsibility to exert the pressure to stop this."

It said from Sept. 21 to 26, hospitals still functioning in Aleppo reported receiving more than 822 wounded, including at least 221 children, and more than 278 dead bodies_including 96 children_according to the Directorate of Health in east Aleppo. Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom criticized attacks on civilian targets writing on her Twitter account: "Unacceptable to bomb civilians, children and hospitals in #Aleppo. No humanity. Assad & Russia moving further away from peace."

Surprisingly, few if any in the western media have complained about the thousands of civilians killed by the US-backed Saudi bombing campaign in neighboring Yemen.

* * *

Meanwhile, according to leaked closed-door comments by US Secretary of State John Kerry it was revealed how angry John Kerry is about being unable to topple President Bashar Assad by military means.

The New York Times previously acquired a taped conversation between the US

Secretary of State and two dozen Syrian civilians from education,

rescue, and medical groups working in rebel-held areas, during a meeting

on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. “I've argued for use of force. I stood up. I’m the guy who stood up and announced we’re going to attack Assad because of the weapons, and then you know things evolved into a different process,” the Secretary of State said in the tape.

He told the civilians that “you have nobody more frustrated than we are (the US)” that the Syrian issue is now being solved diplomatically. Kerry also warned the Syrians, who sounded clearly unhappy with Washington’s contribution, that attempts to intervene militarily or provide more support to the rebels by the US may have a reverse effect.

“The problem is that, you know, you get, quote, ‘enforcers’ in there and then everybody ups the ante, right? Russia puts in more, Iran puts in more; Hezbollah is there more and Nusra is more; and Saudi Arabia and Turkey put all their surrogate money in, and you all are destroyed,” the diplomat explained.

+ + +

We expect the Syrian proxy war to continue to escalate until either Assad is removed, which however seems unlikely with Russian, and now Chinese backing, behind the Syrian president, or until the proxy war escalates into a full blown world war once US troops are sent to Syria, a move which would be met by a proportional response by Russia and, perhaps, China

***

PRESSTV

Erdogan wants EU visa-free travel for Turks by end of month

Sat Oct 1, 2016 11:8PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses MPs at the Turkish National Assembly (TBMM) during the opening of the 2nd legislative year of the 26th term on October 1, 2016, Ankara, Turkey. (Photos by AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country has reached the "end of the game" in its EU membership bid.

On Saturday, Erdogan warned Brussels that the time has arrived for the European Union to make its decision over Turkey’s presence in the bloc.

"If the EU is going to make Turkey a full member, we are ready. But they should know that we have come to the end of the game,"he said during a televised speech.

Ties between the EU and Turkey went sour following a failed July 15 coup, after which Ankara launched a heavy-handed crackdown on those it believed were responsible.

"There is no need to beat around the bush or engage in diplomatic acrobatics... It's their (the EU's) choice to continue the path with or without Turkey. They should not hold us responsible," he added.

Erdogan also noted that October would be a significant month in EU-Turkey relations as "it is necessary" that visa-free travel for Turks into the Schengen Area be enforced this month.

In March, Brussels signed a controversial deal with Ankara to stop the flow of refugees in exchange for billions of euros in financial aid to Turkey and the lifting of short-term visa requirements for Turks.

Turkey has been trying to join the EU since the 1960s. Formal talks began in 2005. So far, only 16 chapters of the 35-chapter accession process have been opened for Ankara.

"The fact that our country has been kept waiting at the door for 53 years shows your (the EU's) opinion towards us," noted Erdogan.

***

***

BREITBART

Hungary Referendum: EU Humiliated as 95 Percent Say NO to Migrant Quotas

Getty

by CHRIS TOMLINSON2 Oct 20161244

Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orban has delivered a huge blow to the European Union after 95 per cent of the Hungarian public soundly rejected EU migrant redistribution plans.

The Hungarian referendum on the redistribution of migrants and asylum seekers by the European Union has faced an almost unanimous result among Hungarian voters. An overwhelming majority of those who cast their ballot agree with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban that Hungary should not be forced by the European Union to accept migrants via redistribution.

The victory could set in motion the Orban government’s plans to create laws that may be even more stringent toward asylum seekers who enter the country and possibly those who are residing there today. Spokesman for Orban, Zoltan Kovacs, told press in Brussels last month that he expected the result to affirm the position of the government and be used as a stepping stone to create more laws.

However, the victory could be bittersweet for the Hungarian leader as voter apathy led to a low turnout. Many of the opposition parties have told their followers and supporters to either invalidate their ballots or simply not vote at all. Breitbart London spoke to several Hungarians on the streets of Budapest who were pro-Orban but also expressed concern that the rhetoric surrounding the referendum had gone on for a long time.

The victory in the polls for Orban is a clear approval by a huge portion of the population and will likely further frustrate more migrant-friendly countries like Germany and France. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said that she had little intention of changing her course in regards to migrant policy despite her severe losses in recent elections.

Viktor Orban meanwhile has said that the migrant policies of France and Germany have been “self-destructive” to the European Union. The countries in central and Eastern Europe have a much different view with Poland giving Orban a prestigious man of the year award. The ongoing conflict between the two blocs on migration will likely only be heightened after the referendum result.

***

DW

Greece approves plan to transfer state utilities to new asset fund

State assets, including water and electricity utilities, are to be transferred to a new asset fund created by international creditors. The plans have sparked demonstrations and public sector strikes across the country.

Greece's parliament passed new reforms on Tuesday night to cut pension expenditure and transfer control of public utilities to a new asset fund.

The reforms seek to unlock 2.8 billion euros ($3.14 billion) in financial loans as part of the country's latest bailout program.

The reforms were passed by a narrow 152-141 majority vote in Greece's 300-seat parliament, after 152 parliamentary members of the ruling Syriza-Independent Greeks coalition approved the reform bill. Only one member of the coalition voted against the bill, along with all opposition members.

The reforms will see public assets transferred to a new asset fund created by Greece's creditors. Assets include airports and motorways, as well as water and electricity utilities. The holding company groups together these state entities with the country's privatization agency, the bank stability fund and state real estate. It will be led by an official chosen by Greece's creditors, although Greece's Finance Ministry will retain overall control.

Public backlash

The reforms sparked significant backlash among demonstrators and public sector workers.

Ahead of the vote, protestors outside of the parliament in Athens chanted, "Next you'll sell the Acropolis!"

Greece's public sector union criticized the reforms, saying that the transfer of public assets paved the way for a fire-sale to private investors. "Health, education, electricity and water are not commodities. They belong to the people," the union said in a statement.

Workers at Greece's public water utility companies in Athens and Thessaloniki walked out on Tuesday to protest the reforms. "They are handing over the nation's wealth and sovereignty," George Sinioris, head of the water company workers association said.

"We think this is a crime because it involves basic public services. We will respond with court challenges, strikes, building occupations and other forms of protest."

The government said that the transfer constituted more effective management, rather than plans for a sell-off. "Transferring (the assets) to the fund does not mean the state forfeits its property," Energy Minister Panos Skourletis said during a parliamentary debate. "Secondly it does not mean privatisation, and thirdly, these assets are not collateral for the loans of the country."

"The Greek state remains the sole stakeholder of these assets," he said. "Apart from privatization, there are other ways to gain value and we are concentrating on these other ways."

Bailout terms

Greece signed up to its latest financial aid package, worth up to 86 billion euro, in mid-2015 – the third such lifeline since 2010. The government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has since passed a number of economic reforms sought by the country's creditors, namely to its pension and income tax systems.

In mid-October, representatives from Greece's lenders - the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB), European Stability Mechanism and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – will meet in Athens to conduct a second bailout review. The review is expected to include an unpopular labor reform bill.

Greece hopes that such labor reforms will qualify it to participate the ECB's quantitative easing program by next year.

Tsipras is under pressure after reversing a number of the pledges he made to recession-weary voters during his election campaign in 2015. Government officials have already spoken out against the prospect of further reforms that could bring job losses and further wage cuts.

However, Greece's national debt is expected to peak this year, rising above 180 percent of gross domestic product, a level the IMF deems unsustainable.

dm/jm (Reuters, dpa, AP)

***

SPUTNIK

Colombian Voters Reject Peace Deal With FARC as Referendum Fails by Small Margin

© REUTERS/ John Vizcaino

LATIN AMERICA 02:16 03.10.2016(updated 10:17 03.10.2016)

Voters opposed a landmark peace deal with FARC rebels in a shocking referendum outcome as 50.24% of voters opposed the deal. Colombian voters killed a breakthrough peace agreement signed last week by President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez after nearly four years of negotiations by a razor thin margin in a nationwide referendum. FARC rebels had agreed to lay down their weapons after nearly 52 years of conflict in order to join the political process, but the deal required approval by the voters with many international political analysts believing that a vote in favor of peace was all but certain. The decision by voters came despite a ominous warning by President Santos that there was no "Plan B" for the agreement that between the militant group and the government to end the war that has killed over 260,000 people. Yet, with votes in from more than 99% of polling stations across the country, 50.2% voted in opposition to peace while 49.8% voted for the agreement, a razor-thin difference of less than 63,000 voters out of 13 million ballots.

***

Just Natural Life

RUSSIAN DOCTOR CLAIMS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM CAN RECOVER IN ONLY 15 SECONDS! HERE’S HOW!

By admin • On September 15, 2016

If you are continuously troubled by colds, you have one more reason to try and strengthen your immunity.

Well, there is probably no way as effective as the following.

Professor Sergei Bybnovskiy, a famous Moscow chino-therapy specialist has proposed a new and simple way to strengthen your immunity.

According to him, all you have to do is to pour 10-15 cm of completely cool water, or ice-cool to be more precise, into a bathtub or a large basin, right after you come home from your work.

And whatever you do, don’t add any warm water!

Once you pour your water, remove your socks and enter barefoot into the tub. When you do, keep tip-toeing or dancing for 10-15 seconds!

After you finish, get out of the tub, wipe your feet with a rough terrycloth and put on some woolen socks.

Do this every night and you will significantly improve your immunity.

This method is especially vital for you if you are very sickly person. If you are, tap your feet in icy water every 4 hours.

Source:http://mynaturalwayoflife.co

***

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

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15


http://www.missionarychristian.org