The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”—Hebrews 10:37

The rule and reign of the Antichrist is going to look like the final triumph of man without God. God will look like He’s been defeated, and the church will look like it’s been destroyed. But what the Antichrist and his forces are not counting on is the supernatural, omnipotent power of God! God is going to get His greatest victory out of the seeming greatest of all defeats.

Just at the hour when the fiendish Antichrist thinks he has everything under control, at last he’s worshipped by the whole world and he “sitteth in the temple of God, as God, showing himself that he is God,”2 suddenly like a bolt from the blue, Jesus comes and snatches all of His children out of this world—all believers who refused the Mark of the Beast in either their forehead or their hand and refused to worship him, but preferred to love and live and even die for Jesus.

Just after that darkest hour in world history will be the brightest dawn. Jesus is going to come back and rescue His own, His church, His people, everyone who loves Him and knows Him, who believe He is the Son of God, the Messiah. He’s going to say, “Stop the world! I want them to get off!” And “they that are alive and remain are going to be caught up together with Him in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”3

Jesus’ Second Coming is the major prophetic endtime event for Christians, as it will signify the end of this world as we now know it, as well as our place in it in these present physical bodies. Following His coming will be our complete translation and rapture as we’re caught up together with Him in the air and taken off into heavenly places. His coming is the pivotal point, the end of this present life and work on earth, when “time shall be no more” for us, and we will enter the great eternal now.4

The times and seasons of the Second Coming

God has a set time and schedule for the return of His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to rescue His people. He’s going to come right on the button, just like these space launches which have a preset countdown. Only there aren’t going to be any problems to delay His countdown. Jesus is going to fulfill His Word. You can rest assured that He is not going to change plans and come contrary to all the things that He Himself taught and the prophets and the apostles wrote. He is not going to misfire, but His return is going to fulfill the specific, detailed prophecies of His Word regarding endtime events which must come to pass before He returns.

The final countdown to Christ’s Second Coming will start after the Antichrist has been revealed as the great world leader who “confirms the covenant with many for seven years” regarding Jerusalem and Jewish temple worship.5 It’ll be exactly 1,260 days until he breaks it and abolishes it and begins the Great Tribulation period by setting himself and his image up in the holy place to be worshipped, and commanding that everybody receive his mark in their forehead or hand.

Jesus Himself said, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”6 When that image of the Antichrist is set up in the temple at Jerusalem in the midst of that seven-year covenant period, then will begin the Great Tribulation period for which His Word gives us the exact three-and-a-half-year length over and over again in so many different ways that you cannot possibly misunderstand it.—Three and a half years,7 42 months,8 and 1,260 days.9

Jesus warned us not to expect His return any sooner than has been predicted. He tells us, “When I come, you’ll know it.” The sky will light up like permanent lightning from one end to the other, and there will be such a sign in the heavens that you couldn’t possibly mistake the fact that Jesus is coming.

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.”10 He says there’s going to be light shining from the east to the west like lightning. The whole sky is going to light up and stay lit when Jesus comes, while we’re gathered to meet Him in the air, and the whole world is going to watch it.

For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”11 He’s speaking in cryptic, very puzzling language, saying, “Wherever the body is, there will be gathered those that feed on Christ.”—A rather unsavory comparison that we, like vultures, feed upon the body of Christ. But He said, “Except you eat of My flesh and drink of My blood, you’re not going to have any part in Me.”12 So here He’s speaking of our gathering together or rapture to Him. Wherever His followers are, they’re going to be drawn like a magnet, like the eagles to the carcass, like vultures to the body, who have to eat and feed upon Christ to live spiritually. Wherever the carcass is, there will all of us little eagles be gathered together.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all of the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”13

What could be more cataclysmic, dramatic, terrific, and more obvious than the coming of the Lord as described here by Jesus himself? The whole sky will be lit up like lightning, the saved of all ages will be literally “gathered together” in the air, the sun and the moon will be darkened and meteors will be falling, and Jesus Himself will appear in the atmospheric heavens, causing the unsaved to mourn and weep as they see His coming in the clouds “with power and great glory.”“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”14

It will be like sudden destruction, suddenly, without warning. Because their false prophets have been telling them, “Everything’s peaceful now, and you don’t have to worry about anything. We have our world government, we have our Antichrist, we have our Messiah, we have our superman to run the world now, and everything’s going to be okay. Peace and safety.” And then sudden destruction hits them! Jesus returns, rescues His Bride, and God begins pouring out His final wrath and judgments on the Antichrist’s world empire.

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day (of Christ’s Second Coming) should overtake you as a thief.”15 Christians who know His Word and have “discerned the signs of the times”16 are not going to be surprised. You may not know the precise day or hour, but you’ll certainly know when approximately three and a half years from the placing of the abomination of desolation has passed, and will be looking for and anxiously awaiting Jesus’ return.

Ye are all the children of light and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”17

Jesus’ magnificent Second Coming won’t catch His children by surprise, like a thief in the night, as it will the rest of the world. “They shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”18 Our rapture, our resurrection, is part of our triumph, our God-given victory, our great exodus from this world.

In Revelation it says, “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him.”19 What greater witness could there be than the resurrection and the rapture? That’s the final witness, when they actually see Jesus and see us rise from the dead and from the earth to meet Him in the air.

Nobody’s going to be left behind that loves Jesus. Nobody’s going to be left behind that has received Jesus as his Savior. No one is going to be left behind who is saved. Not a single, genuine, Bible-believing, Christ-trusting, Jesus-loving Christian is going to be left behind, not one. For “we shall all be changed,”20 and we will all be raised. He’ll send His angels out to gather His children from everywhere, from all around the whole earth, and He won’t leave one behind. He won’t forget one, not one. Isn’t that wonderful?

By David Brandt Berg

Originally published May 1983. Adapted and republished October 2014.

1 Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible verses are from the King James Version.

2 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

3 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

4 Revelation 10:6–7.

5 Daniel 9:27.

6 Matthew 24:15,21.

7 Daniel 7:25; 9:27; 12:7; Revelation 12:14.

8 Revelation 11:2; 13:5.

9 Revelation 11:3; 12:6.

10 Matthew 24:27.

11 Matthew 24:28.

12 John 6:53–58.

13 Matthew 24:29–31.

14 1 Thessalonians 5:1–3.

15 1 Thessalonians 5:4.

16 Matthew 16:3.

17 1 Thessalonians 5:5–8.

18 Matthew 24:30.

19 Revelation 1:7.

20 1 Corinthians 15:51

***

INQUISITER

Franklin Graham: Ebola Virus May Be Part Of Bible End Times Prophecy Predicting End Of The World

Posted: September 10, 2014

Franklin Graham: Ebola Virus May Be Part Of Bible End Times Prophecy Predicting End Of The World

Christian evangelical leader Franklin Graham says the Ebola virus may be part of Bible end times prophecy and that Christians should be watching for signs of times indicating the end of the world.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, Graham also claims Christian persecution in America is on the rise, with the newest generation being overtly hostile toward Christians. Leaders of the religious groups also note that their numbers are declining, but, surprisingly, they are happy with the trend since they believe this shows that only “authentic Christians” are left standing.

The persecution of Christians around the globe has Franklin noting the “killing of Christians by Muslims from Indonesia to Bangladesh to Pakistan,” China “tearing down church buildings,” “Christians tortured, beheaded, and crucified in Iraq, with villages burned and churches destroyed, and much the same in Syria.” Even in the United States, he recently wrote that “there is great opposition to the church of Jesus Christ. We see this throughout the media, the entertainment industry, government, and politics.” All of this is just signs of the times, according to Graham.

“Jesus warned His disciples in Matthew 24 when they asked Him about the signs of the end of the age,” he writes. “He said there would be wars and rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, and pestilence. He told them, ‘Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.'”

According to Graham, it’s possible that the Ebola virus outbreak may be another sign of end times coming soon.

“We have seen firsthand the pestilence of Ebola,” Graham writes. “A medical doctor serving with Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia was infected with this deadly virus, but through the prayers of many righteous, God spared his life. I don’t know if we have hours, days, months, or years — but as Christians, God calls us to take the truth of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”

To a certain extent, the number of deaths by the Ebola virus could almost be said to be Biblical in scope. Thousands have already perished, and a mysterious illness called Ev-D68 is causing children all over the United States to fall ill.

Do you think the Ebola virus outbreak could be considered part of the Bible’s end times prophecy?

***

sky News

Sixty Days To Beat Ebola, United Nations Warns

If the deadly outbreak cannot be reined in by Christmas then the UN says there is no plan in place and it could be overwhelmed.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

The UN says the ebola outbreak must be controlled within 60 days or else the world faces an "unprecedented" situation for which there is no plan.

The United Nations made the stark warning as it warned that the disease "is running faster than us and it is winning the race".

Nearly 9,000 cases of ebola have been reported so far in West Africa, including 4,447 deaths.

"The WHO advises within 60 days we must ensure 70% of infected people are in a care facility and 70% of burials are done without causing further infection," said Anthony Banbury, the UN's deputy ebola coordinator.

"We need to do that within 60 days from 1 October. If we reach these targets then we can turn this epidemic around."

But Mr Banbury told the UN Security Council the 70% target was becoming harder to meet as new infections stack up.

He urged: "We either stop ebola now or we face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we do not have a plan."

The UN's Unmeer emergency mission is following a four-pronged plan to fight ebola.

Identify and trace contacts; manage cases; ensure safe burials and provide people with information to protect themselves.

"If we fail at any of these, we fail entirely," warned Mr Banbury.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier said there could be 10,000 new cases of ebola per week within two months.

WHO assistant director general Bruce Aylward told a news conference the total was expected to top 9,000 by the end of this week.

He said the death rate from the current outbreak had risen to 70% from about 50%.

When asked how the situation could develop in the next two months, he warned: "We anticipate the number of cases occurring per week by that time to be somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 per week.

"It could be higher, it could be lower, but somewhere in that ball park."

Some 95% of the cases are occurring in the same limited number of districts of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea which were affected a month ago, he said.

Dr Aylward said it was "too early to say" whether this meant that the epidemic was slowing down.

The plateau in reported infections may simply be due to limitations in the ability of authorities in the region to check and record cases, he said.

Dr Aylward said there were "positive" signs of a slow down in the rate of new cases in northern Liberia and Guinea, probably due to behaviour changes among the local population.

But he warned: "This is ebola, this is a horrible, unforgiving disease - you've got to get to zero.

"With a bit of change in the behaviour of populations, with some burials happening safely, with a little bit more case management and a couple of new centres opening, you are going to slow this down very quickly."

***

BELIEFBLOG

Vatican proposes 'stunning' shift on gays, lesbians

October 13th, 2014

By Delia Gallagher, CNN

ROME (CNN) – Using strikingly open language, a new Vatican report says the church should welcome and appreciate gays, and offers a solution for divorced and remarried Catholics who want to receive Communion.

At a press conference on Monday to present the report, Cardinal Louis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines said the most-discussed topics at a meeting of Catholic clergy here has been the impact of poverty, war and immigration on families.

But the newly proposed language on gays and civil marriages represents a “pastoral earthquake,” said one veteran Vatican journalist.

“Regarding homosexuals, it went so far as to pose the question whether the church could accept and value their sexual orientation without compromising Catholic doctrine,” said John Thavis, a former Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service.

The Rev. James Martin, an author and Jesuit priest, called the report's language on gays and lesbians "revolutionary."

“This is a stunning change in the way that the Catholic Church speaks about gay people.”

The Catholic Catechism calls homosexual acts “intrinsically disordered” and calls on gays and lesbians to live in chastity.

But Pope Francis, while hewing to Catholic teaching, has signaled a gentler tone, famously saying in 2013 "Who am I to judge?" gays and lesbians.

The synod report released Monday is a summary of a week of closed-door discussions of nearly 200 bishops, cardinals and priests, together with Pope Francis, on the topic of the family.

The discussions continue this week and a final report will be issued at the end of the week.

The goal of this meeting, officially called the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, is to present working proposals for a larger meeting to be held next October 2015.

Here’s a summary of where the church may be heading on hot-button issues.

Gays and lesbians

The report firmly re-states the Catholic Church’s position that marriage is between a man and a woman and therefore, “unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between a man and a woman.”

However it notes that, there are examples of good gay relationships “in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of partners.”

The report states:

“Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?”

The report adds that the church should pay "special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.”

Finally, the report laments any outside pressure from “international bodies” that make “regulations inspired by gender ideology” a prerequisite of financial aid.

Communion

On the hotly debated question of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, the synod’s report offers a solution of the “penitential path” or a period of reflection and penance which would allow the partners in a second marriage to receive communion.

This solution, it says, must not be a “general possibility” but one which could be applied in certain cases. It would be up to the local bishop to make the decision.

The document states that this was only one possible solution and that the problem requires further study.

Annulments

“The speeding up of the procedure” of granting annulments was requested by many, according to the report. Various ways to make annulments “more accessible and flexible” were suggested by the Synod.

Contraception

The synod discussions re-iterated the church’s “appropriate teaching regarding natural methods” of birth control.

Citing economic factors which sometimes contribute to the decision not to have children, the synod nonetheless states that “being open to life is an intrinsic requirement of married love.”

Cohabitation and civil marriage

The synod discussions emphasized the “positive reality” of civil weddings and cohabitation which, while not the ideal of Christian marriage, nonetheless contain “constructive elements.”

Many couples who choose to live together, according to the synod, do so for economic reasons.

“Simple cohabitation is often a choice inspired by a general attitude, which is opposed to institutions and definitive undertakings, but also while waiting for a secure existence (a steady job and income).”

“In other countries common-law marriages are very numerous…because getting married is a luxury, so that material poverty encourages people to live in common-law marriages.”

In these cases, the synod says, “The church is called on to be the house of the Fathers, with doors always wide open…where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.”

***

CNN

Under conservative assault, Vatican backtracks on gay comments

By Delia Gallagher and Daniel Burke, CNN

updated 3:13 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014

Rome (CNN) -- Under furious assault from conservative Catholics, the Vatican backtracked Tuesday on its surprisingly positive assessment of gays and same-sex relationships.

In a report Monday, the Vatican had said that gays and lesbians have "gifts to offer" the Christian community and acknowledged that same-sex couples can give "precious support" to one other.

The statement, an interim report from a closely watched meeting of Catholic clergy here, was widely praised by liberals. It is believed to be the first time the Vatican has said anything positive about gay relationships.

One longtime Vatican journalist called the statement a "pastoral earthquake."

But many conservatives complained that the statement watered down church teaching and did not accurately reflect their discussions here, where nearly 200 Catholic leaders are meeting to debate pastoral approaches to modern family life.

One South African cardinal called Monday's statement, which also included positive language about unmarried couples who cohabitate, "irredeemable."

"The message has gone out that this is what the synod is saying, this is what the Catholic Church is saying," said Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, referring to the special meeting of Catholic clergy gathered here through Saturday.

"It's not what we're saying at all."

In response to such reactions, the Vatican backtracked a bit Tuesday. In a statement, it said the report on gays and lesbians was a "working document," not the final word from Rome.

The Vatican also said that it wanted to welcome gays and lesbians in the church, but not create "the impression of a positive evaluation" of same-sex relationships, or, for that matter, of unmarried couples who live together.

But gay rights groups say that's precisely the impression the Vatican gave Monday when it said:

"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?"

Such statements seem to be in line with the more merciful approach the church has taken toward gays and lesbians under Pope Francis. In 2013, Francis famously said, "Who am I to judge" gay people?

On Monday morning, just before the Vatican released its positive report on gays, Francis preached that laws that do not lead people to Jesus are "dead," and that Christ did "strange things" such as hanging out with sinners and tax collectors.

The goal of the meeting here, officially called the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, is to present proposals for a larger meeting to be held in October 2015.

Which means there's a long road ahead before any doctrinal or pastoral changes happen in the church.

In the meantime, conservative and liberal bishops have been fiercely jousting in the court of public opinion.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American and head of the Vatican's supreme court, said the report "lacks a solid foundation in the sacred Scriptures." Other conservatives called it a "betrayal."

Liberal Catholics and gay activists, on the other hand, heralded Monday's statement and said that some conservative pushback was probably inevitable, given how hostile some corners of the church are to change.

"I actually don't think this is as much of a backtrack as we usually see!" said Marianne Duddy-Burke, head of the gay rights group Dignity USA.

"I think that response to this report was swift and intense, and I'm sure many bishops want to be sure people aren't reading more into it than is there," she continued. "However, it is undeniable that there has never been any Vatican document that made positive, respectful statements about same-sex relationships, so that is an undeniable breakthrough."

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, echoed that sentiment.

"Regardless of the fact that this is a working document, it is still significant in that it reveals a strong current of affirmative attitudes at high levels in the church towards lesbians and gay people," he said.

***

ynetnews.com

Powder keg on Temple Mount

The Jerusalem site holy to Islam and Judaism is a cacophonous location, where Muslim trust officials are vigilant for signs of secret Jewish prayer, and police try desperately to keep the peace.‬‬

Assaf Kamar

Published: 10.15.14, 00:44 / Israel News

The overlapping of Jewish and Muslim holidays this year, and the increased tensions felt between the two faiths have highlighted the already volatile atmosphere in the Temple Mount complex. As a site holy to billions of people around the globe the compound is one of the thorniest sticking points in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

To an outsider, a visit to the Temple Mount complex and the Al-Aqsa Mosque seem to reveal a delicate dance between two faiths and security forces, but a closer examination reveals a powder keg ready to explode and set the entire region ablaze. With Jews attempting to enter the complex, Muslim religious officials and worshipers fighting against their presence and scores of Christian tourists, it resembles a surreal action movie in the making.

'Our guide abandoned us to the storm; I thought I was going to die,' says Israeli trekker in Nepal

Israeli trekker says the guide couldn't see the path markers they needed to find their way, left group of 20 international hikers alone in sub-zero temperatures.

'Our guide abandoned us to the storm; I thought I was going to die,' says Israeli trekker in Nepal

Israeli trekker says the guide couldn't see the path markers they needed to find their way, left group of 20 international hikers alone in sub-zero temperatures.

Temple mount

Visit to the Temple Mount

The site in Jerusalem's walled Old City has seen repeated disturbances over the years over what Palestinians say are fears of an Israeli threat to the site, which Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. Israel denies any such threat - Jews also revere the site as the location of its two long-destroyed temples.

The compound, which includes the 7th-century, golden-hued Dome of the Rock, overlooks Jerusalem's Western Wall, revered by Jews as the last remnant of Second Temple. Both the first and the second temple are said to be located under the compound constructed by Herod.

During the Six-Day War of 1967, Israeli paratroopers managed to take the Temple Mound and at first, followers of all faiths were welcome. However, in wake of international pressure, religious control of the area was passed to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf – an Islamic trust administration – and Jews were no longer granted permission pray.

Riot police at Temple Mount during clashes

Many a time the compound has turned into a battlefield pitting Israel security forces against Palestinian stone throwers, but a number of attacks have also targeted Muslim worshipers visting the Temple Mount: In 1969 a Messianic Australian tourist attempted to set the mosque ablaze; I the early 1980s, the Jewish Underground – a group of radical, extremist Jews – plotted to destroy the Dome of the Rock; in 1982, an Israeli soldier broke into the area and shot and killed a Waqf guard, wounding two officers in the process.

Rules for Jews

While Muslim worshipers are allowed to enter the complex throughout the entire day, Jews are allowed entry as visitors (not worshipers) between 7:30 am and 11 am, only through the Mughrabi Bridge and under heavy police protection.

Palestinians have grown aggrieved by the increasing number of visits to the site by Orthodox Jews, a program that is actively supported by Moshe Feiglin, an outspoken and far-right member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party.

Those that visit are escorted by the police. If any of them pray, or have any Jewish or Israeli marking or paraphernalia on them – like an Israeli flag or prayer book - they are supposed to be expelled from the area.

The police, for their part, are stuck between a rock and a hard place: Besides Jewish provocations, Muslim worshipers are also prone to provocation, in particular young men and elderly women who have been known to insult the police officers and pelt Jewish visitors with objects. On occasion, things have become so heated that police have been forced to bar Jews altogether, fearing riots by the Muslim worshipers.

Entry for Israeli journalists and film crews is almost impossible. I had to join an organized tour group of French tourists, sneaking in with them.

As I entered to film, I passed a group of Jewish youths wearing skullcaps standing near the entrance to the complex. They had failed to pass the security check, and were thus barred from entering the area.

The shaky wooden bridge constructed to keep the Jewish and foreign visitors apart from the Muslim worshipers leads us to the gilded Dome of the Rock. At the heart of that ancient structure is the Foundation Stone. This rock, according to tradition, was witness to the biblical story of the Binding in which Abraham fulfilled God's command and came close to sacrificing his son Isaac or Ishmael, depending who you ask.

Dozens of Waqf inspectors are scattered around the compound, armed with two-way radios, questioning the tourists about their religious identity and their secret intentions. Any sign of the Jewish faith, attempts to pray or books in Hebrew immediately galvanize the study groups of Muslims men and women who simultaneously learn the Koran (separately of course) and maintain a state of alert for such an eventuality.

The noise in the complex is deafening. The cries of "Allahu Akbar" only intensify when a group of Jews with knitted skullcaps and beards are escorted out by police after one of the Waqf inspectors suspects that they have come here to pray.

The rapid removal of Jews suspected of praying is designed to prevent a fast escalation and the deployment of "Muslim squads" waiting patiently in the villages and neighborhoods around East Jerusalem. The speed of response and the determination of the police on the Temple Mount prevent physical violence between Muslims and Jews, so that the only option left for the warring camps is to engage in a shouting match.

The sounds of Jews singing and praying a few meters below, at the Western Wall and adjoining tunnels, permeate the Dome of the Rock plaza. The choirs of bearded men and veiled women in black compete for dominance with shouts and screams in Arabic of "Jews out! This place belongs to Muslims!"

Opposite, Chinese tourists are taking photographing of the golden dome and in particular of veiled women begging aggressively. For one brief moment, the shouting stops and organized tour group receives an explanation, which is the exact opposite of what they were told at the Western Wall tunnel.

Suddenly the screaming starts again. This time a group of women in black hijabs rushes amid cries of "Allahu Akbar" to expel a group of frightened-looking Israelis in secular dress, who are accompanied by a licensed guide who had dared to open a guide book in Hebrew.

***

RT

Hamas leader calls on Muslims to ‘defend’ Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque

Published time: October 17, 2014 04:03

A Palestinian from Gaza prays in front of the Dome of the Rock (Reuters / Ammar Awad)

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal has urged Muslims to “defend” the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem after Israeli forces restricted the entrance for Palestinians. He accused Israel of trying to seize the site, which is considered holy for both Muslims and Jews.

We call on all our people inside the country to hurry up to al-Aqsa to defend it,” Meshaal said in a statement from Doha, Qatar.

We call on the nation to be angry and to send a message of painful anger to the world that the Palestinian people, the Arab and Muslim nation, will not be silent at the Israeli crime,” Meshaal added.

When asked if such a call might trigger another conflict soon after the deadly 2014 Gaza war, the Hamas leader said: “Nobody wants a war, but it’s our right to resist and preserve our rights. We are under occupation...We have been resisting for one hundred years and will continue.”

Al-Aqsa is worth us becoming martyrs for, and anyone who can carry a weapon in the region should go and defend it, as this is the true meaning of jihad,” Meshaal added, prompting alarm from both media and the region’s politicians.”

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal speaks during an interview with Reuters in Doha October 16, 2014. (Reuters / Fadi Al-Assaad)

Earlier, Israeli forces decided to only allow Palestinians over the age of 50 to enter the site, which is considered the third holiest shrine in Islam. The Palestinian population feared Israel was going to restrict access to the mosque for all Muslims. That caused the latest in a series of clashes with Israeli police at the site.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied all the assumptions, saying the extremists are to blame for the violence.

I am committed and Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo exactly as it has been for many decades,” he said on Monday. “What we’re seeing are Palestinian extremists who are instigating violence through incitement. The incitement is spread by false and baseless rumors that we are threatening the Muslim holy places. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Netanyahu said Israel would continue to scrupulously maintain the protection of holy sites and the right of all religions to worship in their holy places.

According to Meshaal, however, Israel is trying to use the regional turmoil to take over the mosque.

Palestinians shout slogans while Orthodox Jews look at the scene from a bus passing by, during a rally near the entrance of al-Aqsa mosque compound to protest after authorities restricted access to the esplanade on October 15, 2014 outside Jerusalem's Old City. (AFP Photo / Ahmad Gharabli)

The former site of a Biblical temple, Al-Aqsa is considered a holy site for Jews. After the 1967 Six-Day War, the complex was immediately handed over to Muslim authorities. Non-Muslim visits to the Al-Aqsa complex are allowed and regulated by Israeli police, but Jews are not allowed to pray at the site for fear it could cause disturbances and protests from Muslims. Jews have to come as tourists and pray at the Western Wall. During the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, celebrated over October 8-15 this year, Jews historically make pilgrimages to the compound, which they call Temple Mount.

Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti Muhammad Hussein has insisted that the compound is “a holy site for Muslims only.”

Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch threatened Tuesday to close the compound entirely if members of the two faiths could not pray there peacefully.

We want [the compound] to stay open for Muslims and Jews, but if Jews can’t go there, neither can Muslims,” the minister was quoted as saying by military radio.

The latest outbreak of tensions over the holy site started in 2000, after Israeli politician Ariel Sharon’s visit to Al-Aqsa triggered a Palestinian uprising that lasted five years – the so-called Second Intifada.

***

MailOnline

UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon says destruction in Gaza is 'beyond description' as he explores Hamas tunnels on official visit to disputed territory

  • Ban said destruction of Gaza is 'much more serious' than in 2009 conflict

  • Said Hamas tunnels were 'shocking' and condemned missile strikes on Israel

  • Spoke as work to rebuild Gaza began after construction materials allowed in

By CHRIS PLEASANCE FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 14:50 EST, 14 October 2014 | UPDATED: 04:27 EST, 15 October 2014

The head of the UN has described the destruction of Gaza as 'beyond description' as he visited the city today following the war between Israel and Palestine this summer.

Ban Ki-Moon was shown entire neighbourhoods of Gaza which were flattened during bombing by Israel, just as efforts at rebuilding the city got underway.

Ban was also shown Hamas tunnels used to attack Israeli soldiers, calling them 'shocking', and adding that Israeli citizens should not have to live under the threat of missile strikes.

The conflict this summer killed an estimated 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and another 72 Israelis after tensions in the volatile Middle Eastern region spilled over.

Ban said the destruction he saw in Gaza was 'much more serious' than what he witnessed in the Palestinian territory in 2009 in the aftermath of a previous Israel-Hamas war.

The UN leader said he came to the territory with 'a heavy heart' and told Israeli and Palestinian officials that 'there is no hope for the long-term stability of Gaza without addressing the underlying causes of the conflict.'

Two months after the war ended in a stalemate, border restrictions remain largely in place, but today marked the arrival of the first construction materials allowed through Israel's blockade.

Israel has agreed to a UN-monitored system to allow the entry of construction materials, and over the weekend the international community pledged $2.7 billion in reconstruction aid.

Israel, which controls the main cargo crossing into Gaza, called Tuesday's effort a 'pilot' initiative, still wary that building materials could be used by Hamas to rebuild its military infrastructure.

The UN is monitoring the use of construction materials that pass through the Israeli border crossing, to ensure the materials are not diverted for Hamas military purposes.

Raed Fattouh, the Palestinian Authority coordinator for goods imports to Gaza, said 75 trucks of cement, aggregates and metal supplies were entering Gaza - double the daily average in 2013.

In another move aimed at reconciliation, the Israeli army said it will allow Gaza farmers to sell produce to the West Bank for the first time since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007.

The export ban was one of the most painful restrictions crippling Gaza's economy, because the West Bank used to be the tiny coastal territory's main export market.

In a sign of growing international support for the Palestinians, Ban met with ministers of the new Palestinian unity government in Gaza.

Though Israel has denounced the Palestinian government because it is backed by Hamas, Western governments have signaled a willingness to work with it.

Later, Ban also visited southern Israeli communities that have been battered by years of Gaza rocket fire and consoled the family of a 4-year-old boy killed during the war.

The military also gave him a tour of the one of the underground tunnels that Hamas built to attack Israeli civilians - the discovery of which prompted Israel's ground invasion in Gaza.

Ban's visit came amid fresh waves of criticism of Israeli policies as Britain's parliament voted Monday to recognise an independent Palestinian state.

While the Prime Minister abstained , and half of MPs did not vote, the symbolic gesture was designed to send a message to Israel about its approach in Gaza.

The vote should have no tangible effect on British foreign policy. But Britain's ambassador to Israel warned it symbolizes a trend that should worry the Jewish state.

***

the guardian

Shlomo Sand: ‘I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew’

His past was Jewish, but today he sees Israel as one of the most racist societies in the western world. Historian Shlomo Sand explains why he doesn’t want to be Jewish anymore

Shlomo Sand

Friday 10 October 2014 09.42 EDT

When I am far from Israel, I see my street corner in Tel Aviv and look forward to the moment I can return to it’ … Shlomo Sand. Photograph: Gali Tibbon/Graphic

During the first half of the 20th century, my father abandoned Talmudic school, permanently stopped going to synagogue, and regularly expressed his aversion to rabbis. At this point in my own life, in the early 21st century, I feel in turn a moral obligation to break definitively with tribal Judeocentrism. I am today fully conscious of having never been a genuinely secular Jew, understanding that such an imaginary characteristic lacks any specific basis or cultural perspective, and that its existence is based on a hollow and ethnocentric view of the world. Earlier I mistakenly believed that the Yiddish culture of the family I grew up in was the embodiment of Jewish culture. A little later, inspired by Bernard Lazare, Mordechai Anielewicz, Marcel Rayman and Marek Edelman – who all fought antisemitism, nazism and Stalinism without adopting an ethnocentric view – I identified as part of an oppressed and rejected minority. In the company, so to speak, of the socialist leader Léon Blum, the poet Julian Tuwim and many others, I stubbornly remained a Jew who had accepted this identity on account of persecutions and murderers, crimes and their victims.

Now, having painfully become aware that I have undergone an adherence to Israel, been assimilated by law into a fictitious ethnos of persecutors and their supporters, and have appeared in the world as one of the exclusive club of the elect and their acolytes, I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew.

Although the state of Israel is not disposed to transform my official nationality from “Jew” to “Israeli”, I dare to hope that kindly philosemites, committed Zionists and exalted anti-Zionists, all of them so often nourished on essentialist conceptions, will respect my desire and cease to catalogue me as a Jew. As a matter of fact, what they think matters little to me, and still less what the remaining antisemitic idiots think. In the light of the historic tragedies of the 20th century, I am determined no longer to be a small minority in an exclusive club that others have neither the possibility nor the qualifications to join.

By my refusal to be a Jew, I represent a species in the course of disappearing. I know that by insisting that only my historical past was Jewish, while my everyday present (for better or worse) is Israeli, and finally that my future and that of my children (at least the future I wish for) must be guided by universal, open and generous principles, I run counter to the dominant fashion, which is oriented towards ethnocentrism.

As a historian of the modern age, I put forward the hypothesis that the cultural distance between my great-grandson and me will be as great or greater than that separating me from my own great-grandfather. All the better! I have the misfortune of living now among too many people who believe their descendants will resemble them in all respects, because for them peoples are eternal – a fortiori a race-people such as the Jews.

I am aware of living in one of the most racist societies in the western world. Racism is present to some degree everywhere, but in Israel it exists deep within the spirit of the laws. It is taught in schools and colleges, spread in the media, and above all and most dreadful, in Israel the racists do not know what they are doing and, because of this, feel in no way obliged to apologise. This absence of a need for self-justification has made Israel a particularly prized reference point for many movements of the far right throughout the world, movements whose past history of antisemitism is only too well known.

To live in such a society has become increasingly intolerable to me, but I must also admit that it is no less difficult to make my home elsewhere. I am myself a part of the cultural, linguistic and even conceptual production of the Zionist enterprise, and I cannot undo this. By my everyday life and my basic culture I am an Israeli. I am not especially proud of this, just as I have no reason to take pride in being a man with brown eyes and of average height. I am often even ashamed of Israel, particularly when I witness evidence of its cruel military colonisation, with its weak and defenceless victims who are not part of the “chosen people”.

Earlier in my life I had a fleeting utopian dream that a Palestinian Israeli should feel as much at home in Tel Aviv as a Jewish American does in New York. I struggled and sought for the civil life of a Muslim Israeli in Jerusalem to be similar to that of the Jewish French person whose home is in Paris. I wanted Israeli children of Christian African immigrants to be treated as the British children of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent are in London. I hoped with all my heart that all Israeli children would be educated together in the same schools. Today I know that my dream is outrageously demanding, that my demands are exaggerated and impertinent, that the very fact of formulating them is viewed by Zionists and their supporters as an attack on the Jewish character of the state of Israel, and thus as antisemitism.

However, strange as it may seem, and in contrast to the locked-in character of secular Jewish identity, treating Israeli identity as politico-cultural rather than “ethnic” does appear to offer the potential for achieving an open and inclusive identity. According to the law, in fact, it is possible to be an Israeli citizen without being a secular “ethnic” Jew, to participate in its “supra-culture” while preserving one’s “infra-culture”, to speak the hegemonic language and cultivate in parallel another language, to maintain varied ways of life and fuse different ones together. To consolidate this republican political potential, it would be necessary, of course, to have long abandoned tribal hermeticism, to learn to respect the Other and welcome him or her as an equal, and to change the constitutional laws of Israel to make them compatible with democratic principles.

Most important, if it has been momentarily forgotten: before we put forward ideas on changing Israel’s identity policy, we must first free ourselves from the accursed and interminable occupation that is leading us on the road to hell. In fact, our relation to those who are second-class citizens of Israel is inextricably bound up with our relation to those who live in immense distress at the bottom of the chain of the Zionist rescue operation. That oppressed population, which has lived under the occupation for close to 50 years, deprived of political and civil rights, on land that the “state of the Jews” considers its own, remains abandoned and ignored by international politics. I recognise today that my dream of an end to the occupation and the creation of a confederation between two republics, Israeli and Palestinian, was a chimera that underestimated the balance of forces between the two parties.

Increasingly it appears to be already too late; all seems already lost, and any serious approach to a political solution is deadlocked. Israel has grown used to this, and is unable to rid itself of its colonial domination over another people. The world outside, unfortunately, does not do what is needed either. Its remorse and bad conscience prevent it from convincing Israel to withdraw to the 1948 frontiers. Nor is Israel ready to annex the occupied territories officially, as it would then have to grant equal citizenship to the occupied population and, by that fact alone, transform itself into a binational state. It’s rather like the mythological serpent that swallowed too big a victim, but prefers to choke rather than to abandon it.

Does this mean I, too, must abandon hope? I inhabit a deep contradiction. I feel like an exile in the face of the growing Jewish ethnicisation that surrounds me, while at the same time the language in which I speak, write and dream is overwhelmingly Hebrew. When I find myself abroad, I feel nostalgia for this language, the vehicle of my emotions and thoughts. When I am far from Israel, I see my street corner in Tel Aviv and look forward to the moment I can return to it. I do not go to synagogues to dissipate this nostalgia, because they pray there in a language that is not mine, and the people I meet there have absolutely no interest in understanding what being Israeli means for me.

In London it is the universities and their students of both sexes, not the Talmudic schools (where there are no female students), that remind me of the campus where I work. In New York it is the Manhattan cafes, not the Brooklyn enclaves, that invite and attract me, like those of Tel Aviv. And when I visit the teeming Paris bookstores, what comes to my mind is the Hebrew book week organised each year in Israel, not the sacred literature of my ancestors.

My deep attachment to the place serves only to fuel the pessimism I feel towards it. And so I often plunge into despondency about the present and fear for the future. I am tired, and feel that the last leaves of reason are falling from our tree of political action, leaving us barren in the face of the caprices of the sleepwalking sorcerers of the tribe. But I cannot allow myself to be completely fatalistic. I dare to believe that if humanity succeeded in emerging from the 20th century without a nuclear war, everything is possible, even in the Middle East. We should remember the words of Theodor Herzl, the dreamer responsible for the fact that I am an Israeli: “If you will it, it is no legend.”

As a scion of the persecuted who emerged from the European hell of the 1940s without having abandoned the hope of a better life, I did not receive permission from the frightened archangel of history to abdicate and despair. Which is why, in order to hasten a different tomorrow, and whatever my detractors say, I shall continue to write.

***

WND

SHEMITAH'S FIRST 2 WEEKS BRING OMINOUS SIGNS

Stock market tumbles, Ebola comes to U.S., ISIS on move in Iraq

Published: October 13, 2014

LEO HOHMANN

Messianic Rabbi and author Jonathan Cahn

Blood moons, plummeting stock markets and a growing Ebola pandemic dominated the headlines this past week.

If that’s not enough cause for concern, there’s an army of Islamic terrorists bearing down on the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

None of this should come as a surprise to those who have read “The Mystery of the Shemitah” by Jonathan Cahn, a messianic rabbi and Bible teacher from New Jersey who also authored the best-selling Christian book “The Harbinger” in 2012.

Without a doubt, the Shemitah year, which kicked off on Sept. 25, has begun with a blast of bad news.

Cahn predicted in “The Harbinger” that America would come under judgment in the wake of the 9/11 attacks because, rather than being humbled and repentant, the nation doubled down on abortions, pornography and the removal of prayer and all things Christian from the public square.

In the “Shemitah,” he reveals that judgment comes to a backslidden nation in accordance with a seven-year cycle that correlates with the Hebrew calendar. In Leviticus 25, God commanded the Israelites to observe a Sabbath year once every seven years in which they would let their land lie fallow, while in Deuteronomy 15 He instructed them to cancel debts in line with this same seven-year timetable.

Cahn explains that the seven-year cycles can manifest as blessings as long as a nation follows the will of God. But for those that started out under God only to later stray, the Shemitah can bring a series of ever harsher judgments, usually striking in the financial realm and spilling over into the political and military arenas.

“In The Mystery of the Shemitah – I show how the Shemitah has caused financial and economic collapse throughout modern times,” Cahn told WND. “And the phenomenon has been intensifying – with the last two Shemitahs manifesting the phenomenon with uncanny precision.”

The two previous Shemitah years occurred in 2000-2001 and 2007-2008.

Before the ultimate judgment comes, God often sends a series of warnings or “shakings” meant to get the attention of believers and nonbelievers alike.

The Shemitah year was also called the year of “release” in biblical times because the land was allowed to rest and the financial accounts were wiped clean once every seven years.

Only two weeks into the new Shemitah year of 2014-2015, the U.S. stock market has already shed hundreds of points.

Theresa Yarosh, founder and president of Macro Wealth Management LLC in Paramus, New Jersey, said she has reviewed the accuracy of the patterns laid out in Cahn’s book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah.”

“It is accurate based on underlying market patterns and economics,” Yarosh said. “I traced the pattern all the way back to 1916. Jonathan had the question as to why some of the (seven-year) cycles are more powerful than others and that’s because you have to apply the debt cycle and some (Shemitahs) have more debt to be worked out than others.”

She said the financial meltdowns of 2001 and 2008, as bad as they were, did not fully correct the debt bubbles that had built up.

“Now we’re in another one. Where his book is strong is in the (Shemitah’s) need for a full release of the debts. The last two recessions did not correct that,” Yarosh said.

Similarities to 1930s Depression

Yarosh sees a debt cycle peak being built up similar to that of 1933. The initial market crash occurred in 1929 and then came the deleveraging of the 1930s with a secondary downturn in the market in 1938.

That’s when the financial reckoning was completed.

“The period we’re in now is almost like the Roaring Twenties with a build up of enormous margin debt,” Yarosh said. “My advice would be to balance out things that have guarantees with things that don’t. It’s like the story of the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race with a focus on risk management.”

Because of the conservative economic model Yarosh works with, she is not concerned with where the market is headed.

“I have clients that have a lot of cash, who are very liquid,” she said. “So, I would say, have sufficient liquidity, at least three to six months of living expenses in cash, and about 50 percent of your gross income should be liquid. That’s a high amount of liquidity. Most investors don’t have that.”

Billionaires investors like Warren Buffet, Marc Faber, Donald Trump, Peter Schiff and others have all made statements recently that they see a major market correction coming and that it could be worse than 2008. Faber warns of “massive wealth destruction” coming to America in which he predicts “well-to-do people will lose up to 50 percent of their wealth.”

Yarosh sees another troubling sign that smaller investors might want to pay attention to: The ultra wealthy are hording cash.

According to the new Billionaire Census from Wealth-X and UBS, the world’s billionaires are holding an average of $600 million in cash — greater than the gross domestic product of Dominica. That marks a jump of $60 million from a year ago and translates into billionaires’ holding an average of 19 percent of their net worth in cash. This increased liquidity signals that many billionaires are keeping their money on the sidelines and waiting for the optimal moment to make further investments.

“These are people who know what’s going on, who see things on a very big level, and it’s not good,” Yarosh said.

Yarosh said she has studied economics and economic patterns for more than 20 years but Cahn’s research has shed light on a lot of questions.

“There has always been something to the ‘autumn phenomenon,’” she said, referring to the long-held suspicion among investors that crashes tend to happen in September and October. “And people for years have wondered why that is. I think Jonathan has tied it to the Hebrew calendar and the Bible.”

And that message is getting out to more and more readers.

According to Publisher’s Weekly’s ranking all paperbacks fiction and nonfiction, “The Mystery of the Shemitah” is ranked fifth in the world in sales.

The New York Times recently began a new best seller list for religious titles, which had Oprah Winfrey’s latest book ranked as number one, followed by Cahn’s “Shemitah” book.

Signs of things to come for U.S. economy?

Cahn told WND that the loss of more than 260 points in the Dow Jones Industrials on the very first day of the Shemitah year could be the “first fruits” of more market mayhem over the next 12 months.The market lost another 449 points over a two-day period, Oct. 9-10, coinciding with the opening of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.

But the shakings brought on by the Shemitah are not limited to the financial realm.

On the first day of the Shemitah year, Sept. 25, the first case of Ebola was diagnosed on U.S. soil, when Thomas Eric Duncan checked into a hospital in Dallas, Texas. Duncan died on Oct. 8, the day that a blood moon appeared in the sky, the second of a rare series of four lunar eclipses that will occur on Jewish High Holy Days between autumn of 2014 and autumn of 2015.

Cahn has pointed that, according to his research, the worst of the worst usually happens at the end of the Shemitah year, not at the beginning. In fact, the last day of the year, Elul 29 on the Hebrew calendar, which will occur on Sept. 13, 2015, is the most dreaded day.

The pattern revealed in “The Mystery of the Shemitah” is that the beginning of the Shemitah’s impact is often subtle, but leads to a dramatic climax.

“The beginning may mark a change in direction, even a foreshadow of what will come to a crescendo at the Shemitah’s end,” he said.

In the Shemitah of 2000-20001, the beginning marked a sudden downturn of production. Its culmination came in the second week of September, 2001, the week that saw the calamity of 9/11 and the greatest stock market collapse in history to that date.

In the Shemitah of 2007-2008, it’s beginning saw a stock market that had been rising for years, suddenly reverse course and begin to descend. The culmination came in September 2008 with the global financial implosion, the collapse of Wall Street on Elul 29 on the Hebrew calendar, marking the greatest one day crash in stock market history, followed by the Great Recession.

“In the book I’ve marked out the Shemitah’s beginning – and many were watching to see if anything significant would take place,” Cahn told WND. “What happened with this Shemitah was even more dramatic than in the past. Within two days of the Shemitah’s start, the stock market began to descend. On the Shemitah’s very first day, Wall Street plunged over 260 points. It was the event that marked the beginning.

“The Mystery of the Shemitah would say this: What we have witnessed on Wall Street would appear to be either the beginning of a phenomenon that will reach its crescendo in the Shemitah’s latter part or end, or an early phenomenon and foreshadow of what will come at the end.”

***

FOX NEWS

City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons

By Todd StarnesPublished October 14, 2014FoxNews.com

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.”

ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”

“Political and social commentary is not a crime,” Holcomb said. “It is protected by the First Amendment.”

The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa. The city council approved the law in June.

The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.

However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities.

After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit the city’s attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors.

The pastors were not part of the lawsuit. However, they were part of a coalition of some 400 Houston-area churches that opposed the ordinance. The churches represent a number of faith groups – from Southern Baptist to non-denominational.

“City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,” said ADF attorney Erik Stanley. “This is designed to intimidate pastors.”

Mayor Parker will not explain why she wants to inspect the sermons. I contacted City Hall for a comment and received a terse reply from the mayor’s director of communications.

“We don’t comment on litigation,” said Janice Evans.

However, ADF attorney Stanley suspects the mayor wants to publicly shame the ministers. He said he anticipates they will hold up their sermons for public scrutiny. In other words – the city is rummaging for evidence to “out” the pastors as anti-gay bigots.

Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity.

The mega-church pastor was also ordered to hand over “all communications with members of your congregation” regarding the non-discrimination law.

“This is an attempt to chill pastors from speaking to the cultural issues of the day,” Riggle told me. “The mayor would like to silence our voice. She’s a bully.”

Rev. Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, also received a subpoena. He said he will not be intimidated by the mayor.

“We’re not afraid of this bully,” he said. “We’re not intimidated at all.”

He accused the city of violating the law with the subpoenas and vowed to stand firm in the faith.

“We are not going to yield our First Amendment rights,” Welch told me. ‘This is absolutely a complete abuse of authority.”

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, said pastors around the nation should rally around the Houston ministers.

“The state is breaching the wall of separation between church and state,” Perkins told me. ‘Pastors need to step forward and challenge this across the country. I’d like to see literally thousands of pastors after they read this story begin to challenge government authorities – to dare them to come into their churches and demand their sermons.”

Perkins called the actions by Houston’s mayor “obscene” and said they “should not be tolerated.”

“This is a shot across the bow of the church,” he said.

This is the moment I wrote about in my book, “God Less America.” I predicted that the government would one day try to silence American pastors. I warned that under the guise of “tolerance and diversity” elected officials would attempt to deconstruct religious liberty.

Sadly, that day arrived sooner than even I expected.

Tony Perkins is absolutely right. Now is the time for pastors and people of faith to take a stand. We must rise up and reject this despicable strong-arm attack on religious liberty. We cannot allow ministers to be intimidated by government thugs.

The pastors I spoke to tell me they will not comply with the subpoena – putting them at risk for a “fine or confinement, or both.”

Heaven forbid that should happen. But if it does, Christians across America should be willing to descend en masse upon Houston and join these brave men of God behind bars.

Pastor Welch compared the culture war skirmish to the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, fought in present-day Harris County, Texas. It was a decisive battle of the Texas Revolution.

“This is the San Jacinto moment for traditional family,” Welch told me. “This is the place where we stop the LGBT assault on the freedom to practice our faith.”

We can no longer remain silent. We must stand together - because one day – the government might come for your pastor.

***

Mail Online

You're too early for Halloween! Stunning images of a jack-o-lantern on the surface of the 'pumpkin sun' revealed by Nasa

Active regions on the sun combine to give it a spooky appearance

Image blends together two separate wavelengths usually seen in gold and yellow

By MARK PRIGG FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 17:47 EST, 10 October 2014 | UPDATED: 18:25 EST, 10 October 2014

It may be the spookiest the sun has ever looked.

Nasa has revealed these amazing images showing the 'pumpkin sun' just in time for Halloween.

The images were taken on October 8th, and blends together two separate wavelengths usually seen in gold and yellow to create the stunning effect.

This image is a blend of 171 and 193 angstrom light as captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The two separate wavelengths usually seen in gold and yellow are combined to create the stunning effect.

'The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy — markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona,' Nasa said.They show storms and flares on the surface.

***

Zero Hedge

Putin Warns Of "Nuclear Power Consequences" If Attempts To Blackmail Russia Don't Stop

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/15/2014 22:53

Vladimir Putin slams President Obama for adopting a "hostile" approach in naming Russia as a threat to the world in his recent UN speech. From an interview with Serbia's Politika newspaper, Bloomberg reports,

It’s futile for the U.S. and its allies to “blackmail” Russia over the Ukraine crisis, President Vladimir Putin said in a newspaper interview today.

Russia’s partners should remember the risks involved in disputes between nuclear powers, Putin said. He accused Barack Obama of adopting a “hostile” approach in naming Russia as a threat to the world in the U.S. president’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24.

“We hope that our partners will realize the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability,” Putin told Serbia’s Politika newspaper on the eve of his visit to the Balkan nation today.

Putin said that Obama had identified Russian aggression in Europe as one of the three “major threats facing humanity,” alongside the Ebola virus and Islamic State.

“Together with the sanctions against entire sectors of our economy, this approach can be called nothing but hostile,” Putin said.

Attempts to pressure Russia with “unilateral and illegitimate restrictive measures” will impede efforts to settle the crisis, he said.

“How can we talk about de-escalation in Ukraine while the decisions on new sanctions are introduced almost simultaneously with the agreements on the peace process?” he said. “If the main goal is to isolate our country, it’s an absurd and illusory goal.”

***

Global Research

Pardon Us For Our Country’s Existence in the Middle of Your Military Bases” – Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s Speech at the UN

By Carla Stea

Global Research, October 14, 2014

In a courageous and brilliant speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2014, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pierced the veil of obfuscation that characterizes too many speeches at the United Nations, and delivered a scathing denunciation of Western imperialism, imperialism that can only be accurately described as global theft. Lavrov, on behalf of the Russian Federation implicitly warned that US/NATO is risking global war in embarking on its campaign to seize and dominate huge territories, while inexorably and ruthlessly determined to conquer and subjugate Russia, having learned nothing from the historic reality that Napolean’s effort to dominate Russia led to the collapse of Napoleonic France, and Hitler’s attempt to subjugate Russia led to the obliteration of his Third Reich.

Perhaps this third attempt to conquer and subjugate Russia may lead not only to war encompassing huge territories of the globe, but, dialectically, may be the catalyst leading to the ultimate decline of capitalism, an economic system which thrives almost entirely on imperialism, and is undergoing a possibly terminal crisis, as described by the French economist, Thomas Piketty in his best-selling work “Capital in the 21 Century.” In desperation, dysfunctional Western capitalism is lashing out recklessly and irrationally, unwilling and unable to preclude the disastrous consequences of its myopic policies. And one possible consequence of current US/NATO policies is thermonuclear war.

Lavrov stated: “The U.S.-led Western alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, rule of law and human rights within individual countries, acts from directly opposite positions in the international arena, rejecting the democratic principle of sovereign equality of states enshrined in the UN Charter and trying to decide for everyone what is good or evil.”

“Washington has openly declared its right to unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own interests. Military interference has become a norm – even despite the dismal outcome of all power operations that the U.S. has carried out over the recent years.”

“The sustainability of the international system has been severely shaken by NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, intervention in Iraq, attack against Libya and the failure of operation in Afghanistan. Only due to intensive diplomatic efforts the aggression against Syria was prevented in 2013. There is an involuntary impression that the goal of various ‘color revolutions’ and other projects to change unsuitable regimes is to provoke chaos and instability.”

“Today Ukraine has fallen victim to such an arrogant policy. The situation there has revealed the remaining deep-rooted systemic flaws of the existing architecture in the Euro-Atlantic area. The West has embarked upon the course towards ‘vertical structuring of humanity’ tailored to its own hardly inoffensive standards. After they declared victory in the Cold War and the ‘end of history,’ the U.S. and EU have opted for expanding the geopolitical area under their control without taking into account the balance of legitimate interests of all peoples of Europe […] NATO enlargement to the East continued in spite of the promises to the contrary given earlier. The instant switch of NATO to hostile rhetoric and to the drawdown of its cooperation with Russia even to the detriment of the West’s own interests, and additional build up of military infrastructure at the Russian borders – made obvious the inability of the alliance to change the genetic code it embedded during the Cold War era.”

“The U.S. and EU supported the coup d’etat in Ukraine and reverted to outright justification of any acts by the self-proclaimed Kiev authorities that opted for suppression by force of the part of the Ukranian people that had rejected the attempts to impose the anti-constitutional way of life to the entire country and wanted to defend its rights to the native language, culture and history. It is precisely the aggressive assault on these rights that compelled the population of Crimea to take the destiny in its own hands and make a choice in favor of self-determination. This was an absolutely free choice no matter what was invented by those who are responsible in the first place for the internal conflict in Ukraine.”

“The attempts to distort the truth and to hide the facts behind blanket accusations have been undertaken at all stages of the Ukranian crisis. Nothing has been done to track down and prosecute those responsible for February bloody events at Maidan and massive loss of human lives in Odessa, Mariupol and other regions of Ukraine. The scale of appalling humanitarian disaster provoked by the acts of the Ukrainian army in the South-Eastern Ukraine has been deliberately understated. Recently, new horrible facts have been brought to light when mass graves were discovered in the suburbs of Donetsk. Despite UNSG Resolution 2166 a thorough and independent investigation of the circumstances of the loss of Malaysian airliner over the territory of Ukraine has been protracted. The culprits of all these crimes must be identified and brought to justice. Otherwise the national reconciliation in Ukraine can hardly be expected.”

In total contempt for truth and international law, Kiev’s escalation of the Ukranian crisis is being relentlessly prepared, in an ultimate act of deceit, as Ukranian President Poroshenko assumes military regalia, threatening Russia’s survival, and, indeed the survival of his own bankrupt country, and is now speaking of all-out war with Russia.

Last month Washington pledged and delivered 53 million dollars of US taxpayer’s money to provide military aid to the Kiev regime, which is using the ceasefire arranged by Russian President Putin and the OSCE as an opportunity to acquire more sophisticated and deadly weapons and prepare for another barbarous onslaught against civilians in east and southeastern Ukraine, where the massacre of almost 4,000 citizens of East Ukraine and the desperate plight of more than one million refugees followed the “secret” visit to Kiev, (under a false name) of CIA Director John Brennan last April.

But perhaps the most brazen announcement of US/NATO intent to inflict further carnage upon the citizens of East Ukraine , whose rejection of the Nazi infested and Western controlled regime in Kiev has resulted in Kiev’s campaign of extermination of its dissident Ukrainian citizens, is the return to Kiev this month of the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, Victoria Nuland. Ms. Nuland was made world famous (or world infamous) by her February declaration “Fuck the EU” while, on behalf of her neocon sponsors in Washington, she engineered the destabilization and overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovich, plunging Ukraine into the civil war that holds the potential of engulfing the world in a conflagration which will be known as World War III.

In her October 7, 2014 speech to the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev, Ms. Nuland boasted: “Ukraine this year has received $290 million in U.S. financial support plus a billion dollar loan guarantee. And now you have what so many of you stood on the Maidan for, you have an association agreement with Europe and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.” That “Association Agreement” holds Ukraine virtual hostage to NATO and the IMF, whose imposition of “austerity measures” will further degrade the living standards of the already impoverished Ukranians. Ms. Nuland brings a Trojan Horse into Ukraine, unctuously flattering gullible Ukranian students, who will ultimately provide cannon fodder for the war which US/NATO is inciting.

Further on in his September 27 address to the UN General Assembly, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov states:

“Let me recall a history of not so far ago. As a condition for establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1933 the U.S. government demanded of Moscow the guarantees of non-interference into domestic affairs of the U.S. and obligations not to take any actions with a view to changing political or social order in America. At that time Washington feared a revolutionary virus and the above guarantees were put on record on the basis of reciprocity. Perhaps, it makes sense to return to this topic and reproduce that demand of the U.S. government on a universal scale. Shouldn’t the General Assembly adopt a declaration on the inadmissibility of interference into domestic affairs of sovereign states and non-recognition of coup d’etat as a method of the change of power? The time has come to totally exclude from the international interaction the attempts of illegitimate pressure of some states on others. The meaningless and counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions is obvious if we took an example of the U.S. blockade of Cuba.”

“The policy of ultimatums and philosophy of supremacy and domination do not meet the requirements of the 21 century and run counter to the objective process of development of a polycentric and democratic world order.”

***

The Citizen Scientist

Doctor Doom, Eric Pianka, Receives Standing Ovation from Texas Academy of Science

Jonathan Witt

April 3, 2006 3:15 PM

The following is excerpted from "Meeting Doctor Doom" by Forrest Mims, Chairman of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science:

... I watched in amazement as a few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to a speech that enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola. The speech was given by Dr. Eric R. Pianka, the University of Texas evolutionary ecologist and lizard expert who the Academy named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.

Something curious occurred a minute before Pianka began speaking. An official of the Academy approached a video camera operator at the front of the auditorium and engaged him in animated conversation. The camera operator did not look pleased as he pointed the lens of the big camera to the ceiling and slowly walked away.

This curious incident came to mind a few minutes later when Professor Pianka began his speech by explaining that the general public is not yet ready to hear what he was about to tell us.

Because of many years of experience as a writer and editor, Pianka's strange introduction and the TV camera incident raised a red flag in my mind. Suddenly I forgot that I was a member of the Texas Academy of Science and chairman of its Environmental Science Section. Instead, I grabbed a notepad so I could take on the role of science reporter.

One of Pianka's earliest points was a condemnation of anthropocentrism, or the idea that humankind occupies a privileged position in the Universe. He told a story about how a neighbor asked him what good the lizards are that he studies. He answered, "What good are you?"

Pianka hammered his point home by exclaiming, "We're no better than bacteria!"

Pianka then began laying out his concerns about how human overpopulation is ruining the Earth. He presented a doomsday scenario in which he claimed that the sharp increase in human population since the beginning of the industrial age is devastating the planet. He warned that quick steps must be taken to restore the planet before it's too late.

Saving the Earth with Ebola

Professor Pianka said the Earth as we know it will not survive without drastic measures. Then, and without presenting any data to justify this number, he asserted that the only feasible solution to saving the Earth is to reduce the population to 10 percent of the present number.

He then showed solutions for reducing the world's population in the form of a slide depicting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. War and famine would not do, he explained. Instead, disease offered the most efficient and fastest way to kill the billions that must soon die if the population crisis is to be solved.

Pianka then displayed a slide showing rows of human skulls, one of which had red lights flashing from its eye sockets.

AIDS is not an efficient killer, he explained, because it is too slow. His favorite candidate for eliminating 90 percent of the world's population is airborne Ebola ( Ebola Reston ), because it is both highly lethal and it kills in days, instead of years. However, Professor Pianka did not mention that Ebola victims die a slow and torturous death as the virus initiates a cascade of biological calamities inside the victim that eventually liquefy the internal organs.

After praising the Ebola virus for its efficiency at killing, Pianka paused, leaned over the lectern, looked at us and carefully said, "We've got airborne 90 percent mortality in humans. Killing humans. Think about that."

With his slide of human skulls towering on the screen behind him, Professor Pianka was deadly serious. The audience that had been applauding some of his statements now sat silent.

After a dramatic pause, Pianka returned to politics and environmentalism. But he revisited his call for mass death when he reflected on the oil situation.

"And the fossil fuels are running out," he said, "so I think we may have to cut back to two billion, which would be about one-third as many people." So the oil crisis alone may require eliminating two-third's of the world's population.

How soon must the mass dying begin if Earth is to be saved? Apparently fairly soon, for Pianka suggested he might be around when the killer disease goes to work. He was born in 1939, and his lengthy obituary appears on his web site.

When Pianka finished his remarks, the audience applauded. It wasn't merely a smattering of polite clapping that audiences diplomatically reserve for poor or boring speakers. It was a loud, vigorous and enthusiastic applause.

Questions for Dr. Doom

Then came the question and answer session, in which Professor Pianka stated that other diseases are also efficient killers.

The audience laughed when he said, "You know, the bird flu's good, too." They laughed again when he proposed, with a discernable note of glee in his voice that, "We need to sterilize everybody on the Earth."

After noting that the audience did not represent the general population, a questioner asked, "What kind of reception have you received as you have presented these ideas to other audiences that are not representative of us?"

Pianka replied, "I speak to the converted!"

Pianka responded to more questions by condemning politicians in general and Al Gore by name, because they do not address the population problem and "...because they deceive the public in every way they can to stay in power."

He spoke glowingly of the police state in China that enforces their one-child policy. He said, "Smarter people have fewer kids." ...

With this, the questioning was over. Immediately almost every scientist, professor and college student present stood to their feet and vigorously applauded the man who had enthusiastically endorsed the elimination of 90 percent of the human population. Some even cheered. Dozens then mobbed the professor at the lectern to extend greetings and ask questions. It was necessary to wait a while before I could get close enough to take some photographs (Fig. 1).

I was assigned to judge a paper in a grad student competition after the speech. On the way, three professors dismissed Pianka as a crank. While waiting to enter the competition room, a group of a dozen Lamar University students expressed outrage over the Pianka speech.

Yet five hours later, the distinguished leaders of the Texas Academy of Science presented Pianka with a plaque in recognition of his being named 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist. When the banquet hall filled with more than 400 people responded with enthusiastic applause, I walked out in protest.

Corresponding with Dr. Doom

Recently I exchanged a number of e-mails with Pianka. I pointed out to him that one might infer his death wish was really aimed at Africans, for Ebola is found only in Central Africa. He replied that Ebola does not discriminate, kills everyone and could spread to Europe and the the Americas by a single infected airplane passenger.

In his last e-mail, Pianka wrote that I completely fail to understand his arguments. So I did a check and found verification of my interpretation of his remarks on his own web site. In a student evaluation of a 2004 course he taught, one of Professor Pianka's students wrote, "Though I agree that convervation [sic] biology is of utmost importance to the world, I do not think that preaching that 90% of the human population should die of ebola [sic] is the most effective means of encouraging conservation awareness." (Go here and scroll down to just before the Fall 2005 evaluation section near the end.)

Yet the majority of his student reviews were favorable, with one even saying, " I worship Dr. Pianka."

The 45-minute lecture before the Texas Academy of Science converted a university biology senior into a Pianka disciple, who then published a blog that seriously supports Pianka's mass death wish.

Dangerous Times

Let me now remove my reporter's hat for a moment and tell you what I think. We live in dangerous times. The national security of many countries is at risk. Science has become tainted by highly publicized cases of misconduct and fraud.

Must now we worry that a Pianka-worshipping former student might someday become a professional biologist or physician with access to the most deadly strains of viruses and bacteria? I believe that airborne Ebola is unlikely to threaten the world outside of Central Africa. But scientists have regenerated the 1918 Spanish flu virus that killed 50 million people. There is concern that small pox might someday return. And what other terrible plagues are waiting out there in the natural world to cross the species barrier and to which scientists will one day have access?

Meanwhile, I still can't get out of my mind the pleasant spring day in Texas when a few hundred scientists of the Texas Academy of Science gave a standing ovation for a speaker who they heard advocate for the slow and torturous death of over five billion human beings. …

***

SHIFTPLAN

MATT DRUDGE TWEETS DIRE WARNING: “SELF-QUARANTINE”

Maybe Matt Drudge has gotten word of something that we’re not yet aware of just yet

by MAC SLAVO | SHTFPLAN.COM | OCTOBER 17, 2014

The world’s leading news aggregator always stays on top of the most important stories in the world. With over a billion monthly visitors to his web site atDrudgeReport.com, it’s why thousands of media organizations follow his every post. Though seemingly a private person, there is no doubt that Matt Drudge has the inside scoop on many goings on in Washington and around the country. With contacts in high places, it stands to reason that the man behind the largest news source on the planet might get a heads up about key developments every so often.

Yesterday, after having completely wiped his social media Twitter account clean recently, Matt Drudge posted his first message in months.

It’s a simple message and very much to the point, but for those following the news of failing Ebola containment protocols it’s terrifying.

“self-quarantine”

Maybe Matt Drudge has gotten word of something that we’re not yet aware of just yet.

Or, perhaps, like any concerned citizen watching the Centers for Disease control botch the handling of Ebola, he sees the writing on the wall. The virus, as has been the case in Africa, will continue to spread.

Given what we know of the last 48 hours, the virus made it’s way from Dallas to Ohio and back when the second person to contract Ebola in America, Amber Vinson,boarded a commercial passenger plane while symptomatic. She was approved to fly after contacting the CDC and telling them she had a low-grade fever and had been a nurse treating Patient Zero Thomas Duncan.

There’s no telling how many people Vinson or Nina Pham (Patient #2) came into contact with while they were infected or where those people are now.

Given these latest developments, Matt Drudge may be right on target with his recommendation to self-quarantine.

But is it time to do that now?

Tess Pennington, author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, addresses this in her latest guide: When Should I Go Into a Full Pandemic Lockdown Mode And Self Quarantine?

Before you dismiss this as just another over-sensationalized attempt at fear mongering, understand this: Ebola has a 70% mortality rate and there is no cure.

Let’s be absolutely clear – this is not a common cold or flu. If you get Ebola, odds are you will die.

Pennington outlines several events and warning signs that should trigger your personal lockdown plan. She also goes on to provide details on what you’ll need to survive an extended quarantine in your own home.

For people who have never considered the possibility of a pandemic or large-scale emergency, it sounds simple enough. Lock the doors. No one goes in, no one goes out.

But unless you’ve planned for a pandemic in advance you can expect to run out of essential supplies like food pretty quickly. Moreover, have you considered what you’ll do if utility workers stop showing up for work and the power or water treatment plants stop functioning? What about sanitation – where will you put all that waste, especially if the sewage system goes down along with other utilities?

For those with country retreats or survival “bug outs” and the means to go off-grid, the solution is easy. For those living in cities, working full-time jobs, and kids at school it becomes a daunting task.

Nonetheless, Drudge is right. What happens if this virus continues to spiral out of control and the medical system can no longer handle it? Despite our purportedly advanced health care infrastructure, what if we go the way of West Africa? What if the CDC can’t stop it?

Then, self quarantine becomes the only viable means of prevention.

You absolutely cannot depend on the government to protect you this time. If Ebola spreads, your ability to prevent infection and survive will come down to one factor: YOU.

Are you ready for this possibility?

***

PRESS TV

Catalonia cancels independence vote

Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:55PM GMT

Catalonia’s regional government has decided to call off a November referendum on independence from Spain.

Following a meeting between pro-independence parties and the regional government, officials said on Monday that they have decided that the referendum, planned for November 9, cannot be carried out.

"The (regional) government has determined that the consultation can't take place," Joan Herrera of the provincial political party, Initiative for Catalonia, told reporters.

Reports say the cancellation is due to a lack of legal guarantees.

An alternative proposal is to be announced by Catalonia's nationalist government on Tuesday.

On September 29, Spain’s constitutional court suspended Catalonia’s referendum on independence after a request from Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

On September 30, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Barcelona, vowing to disobey Spain’s blocking of Catalonia’s independence referendum.

The Catalan government said on October 3 that it would push ahead with its scheduled plan to hold the referendum, despite the court order to suspend the vote.

If the vote were to be held, a ‘Yes’ for independence referendum would not automatically have led to the secession of the region. The vote would only give the Catalan president the mandate to negotiate independence with the Spanish administration.

The wealthy northeastern region of Spain has a population of 7.6 million people, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the country’s economy, and has been seeking independence for years.

Polls indicate that a huge majority of Catalans demand an independence referendum, encouraged by a similar referendum in Scotland last month. The Scottish referendum, however, did not end in favor of pro-independence voters.

***

Mail Online

Crabzilla! Photo appears to show giant CRAB measuring at least 50ft across lurking in the waters off Whitstable

  • Picture appears to show a giant crab in the harbour at Whitstable, Kent

  • Shadowy figure seen in shallow water dwarfs nearby fishing boats

  • Some insist that it is evidence of Britain's biggest crab

  • But others argue that it is nothing more than a playful hoax

By STEPHANIE LINNING FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 15:27 EST, 12 October 2014 | UPDATED: 07:55 EST, 13 October 2014

The seaside town might be famed for its oysters, but this incredible image could soon have visitors flocking to Whistable in the hope of catching Britain's biggest crab.

The photograph, which has been shared online, appears to show a crustacean that is at least 50ft-wide lurking in shallow water.

While some insist it is proof of 'Crabzilla', others argue that the shadowy figure is nothing more than an unusually-shaped sandbank - or is simply a playful hoax.

Crabzilla: The photograph, above, which has been shared online, appears to show a crustacean that is at least 50ft wide lurking in the shallow water. It dwarfs the fishing boasts resting on the nearby pier

The image shows the outline of a crab in the mouth of the Kent harbour - dwarfing the fishing boats resting on the nearby pier.

It is shaped like an edible crab, a species that is commonly found in British water and grows to an average of five inches.

The photograph was posted on a website called Weird Whitstable - an online collection of strange and unusual sightings in the town.

Its curator, Quinton Winter, said that at first he thought the image - sent to him by a follower - showed an unusual sand formation, but that he is now convinced it is a monster of the deep.

Speaking to the Daily Express, he claimed that he saw the giant creature close to the shore when he took his son crabbing last summer.

He said: 'At first all I could see was some faint movement, then as it rose from the water I thought, "that’s a funny looking bit of driftwood".

Hoax? It is shaped like an edible crab, a species that is commonly found in British water but normally grows to no more than 10 inches. Some claim that the incredible image is simply a playful hoax

'It had glazed blank eyes on stalks, swivelling wildly and it clearly was a massive crab with crushing claws.

'Before this incident I thought the aerial photo showed an odd-shaped sand bank. Now I know better.'The largest known species of crab is the Japanese spider crab, which can measure more than 12ft

***

Natural News

Research says gratitude can reverse aging, stress and ill health

Friday, October 17, 2014 by: Carolanne Wright

(NaturalNews) With all the doom and gloom in the world, it seems as though everywhere we turn, there's one crisis or another. And although it's crucial to be well-informed and prepared in these modern times, "consuming" a consistent diet of bad news takes a toll on health, happiness and even our rate of aging. In spite of this, we can apply straightforward action that counteracts the negative effects that we experience. The best part is that it takes only a few minutes a day to radically change our physical and mental well-being, while at the same time slowing -- and possibly reversing -- the aging process. The secret? Living a life of gratitude.

Confirmed by science: A grateful heart is good for you

As unlikely as it may sound, when we slow down and take the time to appreciate all the good in our lives -- rather than what we are dissatisfied with -- a radical change in our physiology occurs. The simple act of gratitude has been scientifically shown to balance our heart rhythms and nervous system, leading to favorable changes in immunity and hormonal equilibrium, as well as increased production of the anti-aging compound DHEA.

Further benefits include a significant reduction in stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Considering that the damaging effects of stress contribute to a spectrum of diseases -- including, but not limited to cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental illness and a variety of autoimmune disorders -- it's in our best interest to get a handle on this health-destroying syndrome.

The good news is that we can easily tame stress in just a few minutes per day by using simple techniques. A study sponsored by the Institute of HeartMath and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in California discovered that a new emotional self-management program significantly reduced the stress hormone cortisol while increasing DHEA, resulting in a remarkable reduction of tension and anxiety.

Forty-five healthy participants were involved in the study. Salivary DHEA/DHEAS and cortisol levels were measured and the autonomic nervous system was assessed using a heart rate variability evaluation. A psychological questionnaire was also given. Individuals were evaluated before and four weeks after being trained in the emotional self-management program, which included practices that encourage appreciation and gratitude.

In the study abstract:

"The experimental group experienced significant increases in the positive affect scales of Caring and Vigor and significant decreases in the negative affect scales of Guilt, Hostility, Burnout, Anxiety and Stress Effects, while no significant changes were seen in the comparison group. There was a mean 23 percent reduction in cortisol and a 100 percent increase in DHEA/DHEAS in the experimental group."

The full report can be found here [PDF].

Two key techniques were used for the experiment -- the "Cut-Thru" and "Heart Lock-In." To learn the specifics of both practices, see The HeartMath Solution.

How to tame stress, encourage happiness and foster health in minutes a day

If you would like to use a few easy methods that encourage balanced heart rhythms, stress reduction and positivity, this page is a good place to start. Additionally, The Appreciative Heart: The Psychophysiology of Positive Emotions and Optimal Functioning is available as a free e-product download.

Lastly, Sara Childre, president of the Institute of HeartMath, aptly observes:

"Gratitude is a simple and effective practice and the benefits are real and attainable. Many of us know this in our hearts, but now it's proven by modern science. Gratitude creates a healthier, happier and more fulfilling state of being for anyone who takes a few moments to feel and reflect on it."

Sources:

http://www.heartmathbenelux.com [PDF]

http://www.care2.com

http://www.monroeinstitute.org

***

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

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
(Philippians 4:8)


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