Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Indonesia:Padang Earthquake (September 30, 2009) Explained

Padang Earthquake (September 30, 2009) and Banda Aceh quake (December 26, 2004) Explained

Indonesia lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Consequently it is an area great crustal instability. Today's earthquake of magnitude 7.6 struck at sea at 10:16 UTC at a depth of 87 kilometres (54 miles), 53 kilometres northwest of Padang city in West Sumatra province, the United States Geological Survey reported. This was followed by another quake of magnitude 5.5 at 10:38 UTC.
The great Indo-Australian Plate (Indian Plate) underlies the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal and is drifting north-east at an average of 6 cm/year (2 inches per year). The Indo-Australian Plate (Indian Plate) subducts the Burma Plate (Eurasian Plate) at the Sunda Trench. Padang city lies close to this subduction zone. A megathrust fault is the boundary between a subducting and an overriding plate. A megathrust earthquake is produced by a sudden slip along this fault.

The town of Padang has been devastated. At the time of writing 75 people are reported dead with thousands of people trapped under collapsed buildings.

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra (off Banda Aceh). The 9.15 magnitude quake, had its epicentre roughly 600km northwest of Padang.
c 1,600 km (994 mi) of faultline slipped (or ruptured) about 15 m (50 ft) along the subduction zone where the India Plate slides (or subducts) under the overriding Burma Plate (Eurasian Plate). The earthquake triggered a series of devastating tsunami along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing nearly 230,000 people in eleven countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (100 feet) high. Coastal locations in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand suffered most.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sarah Palins Hong Kong Speech -Excerpts

These are excerpts from Sarah Palin's Hong Kong speech via Facebook

So far, I’ve given you the view from Main Street, USA. But now I’d like to share with you how a Common Sense Conservative sees the world at large.

Later this year, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – an event that changed not just Europe but the entire world. In a matter of months, millions of people in formerly captive nations were freed to pursue their individual and national ambitions.

The competition that defined the post World War II era was suddenly over. What was once called “the free world” had so much to celebrate – the peaceful end to a great power rivalry and the liberation of so many from tyranny’s grip.

Some, you could say, took the celebration too far. Many spoke of a “peace dividend,” of the need to focus on domestic issues and spend less time, attention and money on endeavors overseas. Many saw a peaceful future, where globalization would break down borders and lead to greater global prosperity. Some argued that state sovereignty would fade – like that was a good thing? – that new non-governmental actors and old international institutions would become dominant in the new world order.

As we all know, that did not happen. Unfortunately, there was no shortage of warning signs that the end of the Cold War did not mean the end of history or the end of conflict. In Europe, the breakup of Yugoslavia resulted in brutal wars in the Balkans. In the Middle East, a war was waged to reverse Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. North Korea’s nuclear program nearly led to military conflict. In Africa, U.S. embassies were bombed by a group called al Qaeda.

Two weeks ago, America commemorated the 8th anniversary of the savagery of September 11, 2001. The vicious terrorist attacks of that day made clear that what happened in lands far distant from American shores directly affect our security. We came to learn, if we did not know before, that there were violent fanatics who sought not just to kill innocents, but to end our way of life. Their attacks have not been limited to the United States.

They attacked targets in Europe, North Africa and throughout the Middle East. Here in Asia, they killed more than 200 in a single attack in Bali. They bombed the Marriott Hotel and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. Last year in Mumbai, more than 170 were killed in coordinated attacks in the heart of India’s financial capital. In this struggle with radical Islamic extremists, no part of the world is safe from those who bomb, maim and kill in the service of their twisted vision.

This war – and that is what it is, a war – is not, as some have said, a clash of civilizations. We are not at war with Islam. This is a war within Islam, where a small minority of violent killers seeks to impose their view on the vast majority of Muslims who want the same things all of us want: economic opportunity, education, and the chance to build a better life for themselves and their families. The reality is that al Qaeda and its affiliates have killed scores of innocent Muslim men, women and children.

The reality is that Muslims from Algeria, Indonesia, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries are fighting al Qaeda and their allies today. But this will be a long war, and it will require far more than just military power to prevail. Just as we did in the Cold War, we will need to use all the tools at our disposal – hard and soft power. Economic development, public diplomacy, educational exchanges, and foreign assistance will be just as important as the instruments of military power.

During the election campaign in the U.S. last year, you might have noticed we had some differences over Iraq. John McCain and I believed in the strength of the surge strategy – because of its success, Iraq is no longer the central front in the war on terrorism. Afghanistan is. Afghanistan is where the 9/11 attacks were planned and if we are not successful in Afghanistan, al Qaeda will once again find safe haven there. As a candidate and in office, President Obama called Afghanistan the “necessary war” and pledged to provide the resources needed to prevail. However, prominent voices in the Democratic Party are opposing the additional U.S. ground forces that are clearly needed.

Speaker of the House Pelosi, Defense Subcommittee Chairman Murtha, the Senate Armed Services Committee Chair, and many others, recently expressed doubts about sending additional forces! President Obama will face a decision soon when the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan requests additional forces to implement his new counterinsurgency strategy.

We can win in Afghanistan by helping the Afghans build a stable representative state able to defend itself. And we must do what it takes to prevail. The stakes are very high. Last year, in the midst of the U.S. debate over what do to in Iraq, an important voice was heard – from Asia’s Wise Man, former Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who wrote in the Washington Post about the cost of retreat in Iraq. In that article, he prophetically addressed the stakes in Afghanistan. He wrote:

“The Taliban is again gathering strength, and a Taliban victory in Afghanistan or Pakistan would reverberate throughout the Muslim world. It would influence the grand debate among Muslims on the future of Islam. A severely retrograde form of Islam would be seen to have defeated modernity twice: first the Soviet Union, then the United States. There would be profound consequences, especially in the campaign against terrorism.”

That statesman’s words remain every bit as true today. And Minister Lee knows, and I agree, that our success in Afghanistan will have consequences all over the world, including Asia. Our allies and our adversaries are watching to see if we have the staying power to protect our interests in Afghanistan. That is why I recently joined a group of Americans in urging President Obama to devote the resources necessary in Afghanistan and pledged to support him if he made the right decision.

That is why, even during this time of financial distress we need to maintain a strong defense. All government spending should undergo serious scrutiny. No programs or agencies should be automatically immune from cuts.

We need to go back to fiscal discipline and unfortunately that has not been the view of the current Administration. They’re spending everywhere and with disregard for deficits and debts and our future economic competitiveness. Though we are engaged in two wars and face a diverse array of threats, it is the defense budget that has seen significant program cuts and has actually been reduced from current levels!

First, the Defense Department received only ½ of 1 % of the nearly trillion dollar Stimulus Package funding – even though many military projects fit the definition of “shovel-ready.” In this Administration’s first defense budget request for 2010, important programs were reduced or cancelled. As the threat of ballistic missiles from countries like North Korea and Iran grow, missile defense was slashed.

Despite the need to move men and material by air into theaters like Afghanistan, the Obama Administration sought to end production of our C-17s, the work horse of our ability to project long range power. Despite the Air Force saying it would increase future risk, the Obama Administration successfully sought to end F-22 production – at a time when both Russia and China are acquiring large numbers of next generation fighter aircraft. It strikes me as odd that Defense Secretary Gates is the only member of the Cabinet to be tasked with tightening his belt.

Now in the region I want to emphasize today: The reason I speak about defense is because our strong defense posture in Asia has helped keep the region safe and allowed it to prosper. Our Asian allies get nervous if they think we are weakening our security commitments. I worry about defense cuts not because I expect war but because I so badly want peace. And the region has enjoyed peace for so long because of our security commitment to our longstanding allies and partners.

Asia has been one of the world’s great success stories. It is a region where America needs to assist with right mix of hard and soft power. While I have so much hope for a bright future in Asia, in a region this dynamic, we must always be prepared for other contingencies. We must work at this – work with our allies to ensure the region’s continued peace and prosperity.

I know that you all -- like all of Asia and indeed the whole world – has a keen interest in the emergence of “China as a great power.” Over the past few decades China’s economic growth has been remarkable. So has the economic growth and political liberalization of all of our key allies in Asia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Asia’s economic growth and political development, together with our forward military presence in the region and strong alliances, have allowed the region to prosper in peace for a long time. We hope that Asia will continue to be an engine of world economic growth, will continue to democratize and will remain at peace.

Our future is now deeply linked to Asia’s success. Our children’s future. We must continue to strengthen our key alliance with Japan, a country going through its own democratic change. Together the U.S. and Japan built the security umbrella under which so many Asians prospered. While there is so much attention to China these days, we cannot forget the importance of Japan in helping to make this the “Pacific Century.”

The recent elections in Japan demonstrated that voters wanted reform and an end to debt and stagnation. We have a substantial stake in Japan’s success -- our alliance with must continue to be the linchpin of regional security.

With its open political system and vibrant democracy, South Korea wants to play a larger role on the international stage as well. Of course it wants us to work together toward a future where the peninsula is irreversibly denuclearized, and unified. But it also wants to play a global role. We need to work together with Japan, South Korea and our steadfast ally to the south, Australia, to make sure Asia remains peaceful and prosperous.

Australia rightly reminds us to keep our eye on Southeast Asia, where Indonesia has proved that Islam and democracy can co-exist. Indonesia has fought extremism inside its own border and is consolidating a multi-ethnic democracy that is home to hundreds of millions of Muslims. Those who say Islam and democracy are incompatible insult our friends in Indonesia.

Our great democratic friend India is also “looking East”, seeking a greater role in East Asia as well. Together with our allies we must help integrate India into Asia. If we do so we will have yet another strong democracy driving Asia’s economy and working on shared problems such as proliferation and extremism. And we must continue working with the region’s most dynamic economy, China. We all hope that China’s stated policy of a “Peaceful Rise” will be its future course.

You know better than most the enormous change that has taken place in China over the last thirty years. Hundreds of millions of Chinese have been pulled out of poverty as China has undertaken economic reforms that have resulted in unprecedented growth. Even today, China’s economy is projected to grow by some 8%. It is helping to edge the world out of recession.

China has amassed huge financial reserves. Chinese diplomats are engaged on every continent and, through its vote on the United Nations Security Council, China has become critical in gaining UN support on multilateral issues from Darfur to Iran to North Korea.

Just four years ago, then-Deputy Secretary of State Bob Zoellick urged China to become a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system. He observed the many benefits to China of a “benign international environment.”

The peaceful regional environment that China has enjoyed was created through the hard work of Americans, Japanese, South Koreans and Australians. Secretary Zoellick urged China to step up and play its role too. We are working with China to de-nuclearize North Korea. But to be a responsible member of the international community China should exert greater pressure on North Korea to denuclearize and undergo the fundamental reforms it needs. Zoellick urged China to play a greater role in stabilizing the international energy market by ceasing its support of dangerous regimes.

China could play a role in stabilizing its ally Pakistan, and working for peace in Afghanistan. There are many areas where the U.S. and China can work together. And, we would welcome a China that wanted to assume a more responsible and active role in international politics.

But Secretary Zoellick also noted that many of China’s actions create risk and uncertainty. These uncertainties led nations to “hedge” their relations with China because, in Zoellick’s words: “Many countries HOPE China will pursue a ‘Peaceful Rise’ but NONE will bet their future on it.”

See: this is the heart of the issue with China: we engage with the hope Beijing becomes a responsible stakeholder, but we must takes steps in the event it does not. See? We all hope to see a China that is stable, peaceful, prosperous and free. But we must also work with our allies in the region and the world in the event China goes in a direction that causes regional instability.

Asia is at its best when it is not dominated by a single power. In seeking Asia’s continued peace and prosperity, we should seek, as we did in Europe, an Asia “whole and free” – free from domination by any one power, prospering in open and free markets, and settling political differences at ballot boxes and negotiating tables.

We can, must and should work with a “rising China” to address issues of mutual concern. But we also need to work with our allies in addressing the uncertainties created by China’s rise. We simply CANNOT turn a blind eye to Chinese policies and actions that can undermine international peace and security.

China has some 1000 missiles aimed at Taiwan and no serious observer believes Taiwan poses a military threat to Beijing. Those same Chinese forces make our friends in Japan and Australia nervous. China provides support for some of the world’s most questionable regimes from Sudan to Burma to Zimbabwe. China’s military buildup raises concerns from Delhi to Tokyo because it has taken place in the absence of any discernable external threat.

China, along with Russia, has repeatedly undermined efforts to impose tougher sanctions on Iran for its defiance of the international community in pursuing its nuclear program. The Chinese food and product safety record has raised alarms from East Asia and Europe to the United States. And, domestic incidents of unrest -- from the protests of Uighurs and Tibetans, to Chinese workers throughout the country rightfully make us nervous.

It is very much in our interest and the interest of regional stability that China work out its own contradictions – between a dynamic and entrepreneurial private sector on the one hand and a one party state unwilling or unable to adjust to its own society’s growing needs and desires and demands, including a human being’s innate desire for freedom.

I do not cite these issues out of any hostility toward China. Quite the contrary, I and all Americans of good faith hope for the Chinese people’s success. We welcome the rise that can be so good for all mankind. We simply urge China to rise responsibly. I simply believe we cannot ignore areas of disagreement as we seek to move forward on areas of agreement. Believe me, China does not hesitate to tell us when it thinks we are in the wrong.

I mentioned China’s internal contradictions. They should concern us all. We hear many Chinese voices throughout that great country calling out for more freedom, and for greater justice. Twenty years ago, many believed that as China liberalized its economy, greater political freedom would naturally follow. Unfortunately that has not come to pass.

Ummm, in fact, it seems China has taken great pains to learn what it sees as “the lesson” of the fall on the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union: any easing of political constraints can inevitably spin out of control. But, in many ways, it is the essence of China’s political system that leads to concerns about its rise.

Think about it. How many books and articles have been written about the dangers of India’s rise? Almost as large as China – and soon to be more populous – virtually no one worries about the security implications of India becoming a great power – just as a century ago the then-preeminent power, Great Britain, worried little about the rise of America to great power status. My point is that the more politically open and just China is, the more Chinese citizens of every ethnicity will settle disputes in courts rather than on the streets. The more open it is, the less we will be concerned about its military build-up and intentions. The more transparent China is, the more likely it is they we will find a true and lasting friendship based on shared values as well as interests.

I am not talking about some U.S.-led “democracy crusade.” We cannot impose our values on other counties. Nor should we seek to. But the ideas of freedom, liberty and respect for human rights are not U.S. ideas, they are much more than that. They are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many other international covenants and treaties. They apply to citizens in Shanghai as much as they do to citizens in Johannesburg or Jakarta. And demands for liberty in China are Chinese, not American, demands. Just last year, many brave Chinese signed Charter 08, a Chinese document modeled on the great Czech statesman Vlacav Havel’s Charter 77. Charter 08 would not be unfamiliar to our Founding Fathers and was endorsed by Havel himself. No, we need not convince the Chinese people that they have inalienable rights. They are calling for those rights themselves. But we do have to worry about a China where the government suppresses the liberties its people hold dear.

Nothing of what I am saying should be seen as meaning conflict with China is inevitable. Quite the contrary. As I said, we welcome China’s responsible rise. America and China stood together against fascism during World War II, before ravages took over in China – we were ready to stand together with China to shape international politics after World War II. Much has been accomplished since President Nixon’s fateful visit. And again, we stand ready to work with what we hope will be a more open and responsible China on the challenges facing the 21st century.

All of you here know how deeply integrated the economies of the United States’ and China’s are. We rely on each other, sometimes unfortunately in unhealthy ways. America spends too much that we don’t have, and then we go to China as a lender of first resort. Our fiscal policy, lately, seems to be “tax, spend, borrow, tax some more, repeat” and then complain about how much debt China holds. America needs to gets its own fiscal house in order. That’s a Common Sense Conservative perspective. We can hardly complain that China holds so much of our debt when it’s over spending that created the debt.

But here’s the reality. If in fact the United States does the “right” thing – if we spend less and save more – then China will also have to rebalance its economy. We need to export more to China – and we’d like China to consume more of our goods – just as we need to save and invest more. This vital process – so crucial to both countries – is impeded by problems of market access.

We must talk about these issues with more candor. If China adopts policies that keep our highest value products out of their markets, by manipulating technical standards or licensing requirements, our economic relationship suffers.

Our economic interdependence drives our relationship with China. I see a future of more trade with China and more American high-tech goods in China. But in order for that to happen, we need China to improve its rule of law and protect our intellectual property. We need to avoid protectionism and China’s flirtation with state-assisted “national champions.” On our part, we should be more open to Chinese investment where our national security interests are not threatened. In the end, though, our economic relationship will truly thrive when Chinese citizens and foreign corporations can hold the Chinese government accountable when their actions are unjust.

I see a bright future for America in Asia. One based on the alliances that have gotten us this far, one based on free and open markets, one that integrates democratic India into East Asia’s political life and one in which China decides to be a responsible member of the international community and gives its people the liberty – the freedom – they so desperately want.

Sadly, however, our largest free trade agreement ever in Asia, with South Korea, sits frozen in the Congress. In contrast, China is behaving wisely in negotiating free trade agreements throughout Asia. We want an Asia open to our goods and services. But if we do not get our free trade act together, we will be shut out by agreements Asians our making among themselves.

All of you here follow global financial markets and economic policy closely, I know that it will come as no surprise to you that United States leadership on global trade and investment is being sorely tested at this moment.

We are struggling with a monumental debate on whether fiscal discipline, or massive government spending, will drive a sustained recovery. We are struggling to repair the excesses that grew in our own economy and served as a trigger to a catastrophic collapse in the global financial system. And we are attempting to do so under the weight of a global imbalance of debt and trade deficits that are not only unbearable for the world’s mightiest economy, but also unacceptable in that they foster tensions between global economic partners like the United States and China.

I am proud to be an American. As someone who has had the tremendous opportunity to travel throughout the United States and listen to the concerns of Americans in towns and cities across the country, I can tell you that there is a sense of despair and even crisis afoot in America that has the potential to shape our global investment and trade policies for years, and even decades to come. Never has the leadership of our government ever been more critical to keeping my country, and the world, on a path to openness, growth and opportunity in global trade and investment.

It would of course be a mistake to put the entire burden of restoring the global economy on the backs of America’s leaders. There is plenty of work for all of us to do in this matter. Governments around the world must resist the siren call of trade protection to bring short term relief during a time of crisis.

Those who use currency policy or subsidies to promote their nation’s exports should remain acutely aware that if there ever were a time in which such policies could be viewed as “tolerable,” that time has now passed. All participants who seek to find benefit in the global trading system must also take the responsibility of playing by the rules.

The private sector has responsibilities as well. For instance, it should not be the responsibility of government to dictate the salaries of bankers or the ownership of companies. And yet, due of the excesses committed by some, this is exactly where we find ourselves now because government now owns substantial portions of the private economy – even, unbelievably, in the United States.

These are challenging times for everyone, but we in the United States must humbly recognize that if we are to lead and to set the direction for the rest of the world, it must be by our example and not merely our words. And we must tread lightly when imposing new burdens on the imports of other countries.

Well, CLSA: My country is definitely at a crossroad. Polling in the U.S. shows a majority of Americans no longer believe that their children will have a better future than they have had...that is a 1st.

When members of America’s greatest generation – the World War II generation – lose their homes and their life savings because their retirement funds were wiped after the financial collapse, people feel a great anger. There is suddenly a growing sentiment to just “throw the bums out” of Washington, D.C. – and by bums they mean the Republicans and the Democrats. Americans are suffering from pay cuts and job losses, and they want to know why their elected leaders are not tightening their belts. It’s not lost on people that Congress voted to exempt themselves from the health care plan they are thrusting on the rest of the nation. There is a growing sense of frustration on Main Street. But even in the midst of crisis and despair, we see signs of hope.

In fact, it’s a sea change in America, I believe. Recently, there have been protests by ordinary Americans who marched on Washington to demand their government stop spending away their future. Large numbers of ordinary, middle-class Democrats, Republicans, and Independents from all over the country marching on Washington?! You know something’s up!

These are the same people who flocked to the town halls this summer to face their elected officials who were home on hiatus from that distant capital and were now confronted with the people they represent. Big town hall meetings – video clips circulating coverage – people watching, feeling not so alone anymore.

The town halls and the Tea Party movement are both part of a growing grassroots consciousness among ordinary Americans who’ve decided that if they want real change, they must take the lead and not wait to be led. Real change – and, you know, you don’t need a title to do it.

The “Tea Party Movement” is aptly named to remind people of the American Revolution – of colonial patriots who shook off the yoke of a distant government and declared their freedom from indifferent – elitist – rulers who limited their progress and showed them no respect. Today, Main Street Americans see Washington in similar terms.

When my country again achieves financial stability and economic growth – when we roar back to life as we shall do – it will be thanks in large part to the hard work and common sense of these ordinary Americans who are demanding that government spend less and tax less and allow the private sector to grow and prosper.

We’re not interested in government fixes; we’re interested in freedom! Freedom! Our vision is forward looking. People may be frustrated now, but we’re very hopeful too.

And, after all, why shouldn’t we be? We’re Americans. We’re always hopeful.

Thank you for letting me share some of that hope, and a view from Main Street with you. God Bless You.

Video: Student Demonstration at Tehran University-September 28, 2009

Thousands of Tehran University students staged a protest against Kamran Daneshjoo, the regime’s Science Minister, during Monday’s opening ceremonies. The protest started 10:00 am .....Students expressed their anger by chanting: “Free student activists,” “Death to the dictator,” “Student dies but not humiliated,” “Coup-d'etat government, resign, resign,” “Sepah [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and Ministry of Information are sources of scandals.”........ Revolutionary Road

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Video:Ojos de cielo sung by Caterina Socci

This song starts after 21 seconds and is performed by Catherine Socci who is the daughter of Antonio Socci a prominent Italian supporter of Medjugorje and author on the apparitions. Catherine is seriously ill and in a coma. She is a student of architecture and is due to graduate having completed a thesis during the summer. Please pray for her recovery.

Hymn: I Will Never Forget You My People sung by Maureen Hegarty

One of the hymns from Maureen Hegarty's CD "A Quiet Heart" which she recorded for The Derry Trust Fund" to help pay for the sick and disabled to go to Lourdes. The lovely guitar accompaniment is by Eddie O'Donnell. This hymn was composed by Carey Landry

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ireland:Red C Poll:Yes To Lisbon Treaty appears certain -September 26, 2009

The latest Red C opinion poll on the Lisbon Treaty Referendum shows increasing support for the Treaty with just six days to go to polling day. More than 1,000 voters around the country were surveyed by telephone on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
55% of adults surveyed said they would vote Yes, up one point since the last poll two weeks ago.
27% said they would vote no, up two points whilst 18% are undecided.
When the undecideds are excluded, the Yes side leads by 67% to 33%.

In marked contrast to the previous referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, the yes campaign has been highly organized. It is visible on the ground and not just on media organs. The FF, FG and Labour campaigns have tapped into the necessity for Ireland to remain at the centre of Euro decision making. They have emphasized the dangers of marginalisation should the country reject the Treaty for a second time. This resonates with many voters who are reeling from the effects of unemployment and tax increases. Several of the major unions and also business organizations have come out forcibly in favour of the Treaty. The Irish Times, Independent Group and the Irish Examiner have pursued a strong pro Lisbon line. In addition the IFA and ICMSA strongly support the Treaty. In short the yes campaign has the manpower, organization and media support whilst many in a scared electorate believe that Europe can help dig Ireland out of its financial morass.

On the other hand the anti Lisbon groups such as Coir, the Socialist Party and Sinn Fein lack the financial muscle, organization and manpower to dent the yes campaign. Declan Ganley of Libertas entered the campaign too late to seriously influence the outcome. Whilst Ganley undoubtedly bested Michael O'Leary of Ryanair in the Prime Time debate last Thursday night, the no side has failed to put forward a workable alternative to Lisbon.
A scared electorate will vote for the Lisbon Treaty on the basis that Ireland NEEDS Europe

Video:Many Kenyans living on one meal a day because of rocketing food prices

This short film features people in Kenya who have seen the price of staples such as maize, beans and oil soar in the last two years. Many families are now getting by on only one meal a day. In the film, one woman says that she often misses her meals altogether so she can feed her children. Concern is responding to this crisis. In the Kerio Valley, it has successfully piloted a programme that uses mobile phone technology to give cash to the most vulnerable families so they can buy food. In Marsabit and Kalacha Concern is working with partner agency Community Initiatives Facilitation and Assistance (Cifa) to help people manage the effects of drought. Visit Concern

Friday, September 18, 2009

Video:Medjugorje Visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti at St. Stephen's Cathedral Vienna September 15, 2009

Click on Picture to Open Video

Medjugorje visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti at the Marian apparition at Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral on 15 September 2009

On Tuesday evening last thousands of people from all over Austria attended a prayer vigil for peace at St. Stephen's Cathedral Vienna (Wiener Stephansdom) - With Medjugorje visionary Marija. Cardinal Schönborn was also in attendance. Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti was special guest of honour. Maria Pavlovic-Lunetti told how her life has been gradually changed by the daily apparitions.

"None of us would have ever dreamed of such a thing. We asked ourselves: Why we were chosen for this grace? We're not the best. Our Lady (Virgin Mary in Croatian, COR) invited us to conversion. With each passing day, our prayer was deeper and stronger. We began to make sacrifices for the intentions of the Virgin Mary. Our Lady began to convert our hearts and asked us to set up prayer groups. They inspired us to do more and to begin in our hearts with it. "Maria Pavlovic-Lunetti further stated that Medjugorje was an invitation from the Mother of God," [for people to] return to God. I am convinced that the earth has no future without God. "She was therefore" grateful that I can visit your diocese to hand over your heart to the Madonna. Each of you will be transformed and become a source of light and bring peace in this world without peace. "
English Translation from

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ireland: NAMA To Purchase Loans from the banks with bonds secured by the Irish taxpayers

NAMA is a semi state body set up by the government to purchase commercial and development property loans from the banks. NAMA will purchase the loans using government bonds. In short the Irish taxpayer secures the bonds.
The Irish government, under the aegis NAMA, will pay interest on these bonds to the Irish banks at initial rate of 1.5 % interest.

NAMA will pay somewhat more to the banks for the loans than their current market value, by endeavouring to estimate what the property underlying the loans will worth in five to seven years’ time, by which time it is anticipated that a recovery may have set in. The current “market value” (the actual value) is €47 billion. But the State is going to pay €54 billion - some €7 billion on top of the current market value and 70 per cent of the book value. The problem with this is that the property market may fall further. It is also possible that the property market may not recover for a prolonged period of time. If this transpires the banks will have been overpaid for the loans and the taxpayer will be left with assets, which are worth much less than it paid for them.

The ECB will lend to the Irish banks. The government-backed bonds will secure this lending. In short the Irish taxpayer provides the collateral. The taxpayer is liable for the principle and interest on these bonds.

The ECB will NOT lend to NAMA. To do so would contravene Article 101. Sean Fleming TD-on Six One News and Willie O’Dea Minister for Defence on Morning Ireland have claimed that the ECB is funding NAMA. Their assertions are factually incorrect.
The Irish taxpayer is taking the lions share of the risk. This has the potential to go seriously wrong. Quite frankly the state will pay too much for the assets. Already Bank of Ireland and AIB shares have risen sharply today with Mr Lenihan's announcement. Good news for the banks. But what about the poor taxpayer?

According to Richard Bruton:
“The Minister is asking us to give a commitment of €54 billion, €30,000 for every household in the State,” “The taxpayer is being asked not just to buy impaired loans from the banks. We are being asked to pay billions more than the market value for them. Remarkably this extraordinary act is being done without any forensic analysis of the costs and benefits, of the risks and threats.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Text of Our Ladys Special Morning Prayer

Dear Jesus,
through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
create a new heart in this day,
a heart committed to holiness,
a heart preserved in faith and peace,
I ask this in your Most Holy Name,
Lord Jesus. Amen
Mary Refuge of Holy Love Pray for us

This special morning prayer was requested by Our Lady in the following words:

"Dear children, I wish each day for you to renew your hearts in holiness through faith and peace. Such a heart will be steeped in love for his brethren and will bring many souls to Me by example. Therefore, my dear children, upon arising each morning, it is My desire you recite this prayer. It will bring many souls to realize their vocation in holiness...a vocation for each soul no matter his station in life."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Video: Mirjana Medjugorje Apparition 2 September 2009

Our Lady's message to Mirjana - September 2, 2009

"Dear children; Today, with a motherly heart, I call you to learn to forgive, completely and unconditionally. You suffer injustice, betrayals and persecutions, but by that you are closer to and dearer to God. My children, pray for the gift of love. Only love forgives all, as my Son forgives – follow Him. I am among you and am praying that when you come before your Father you can say: 'Here I am Father, I followed your Son, I had love and forgave with the heart, because I believed in your judgment and trusted in you.' Thank you."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ireland: Red C Poll (12/9/09) -Lisbon Treaty referendum likely to be passed

This Red C poll was conducted on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. More than 1000 voters were surveyed. The results of the poll were as follows:
  • Yes-52%
  • No-25%
  • Undecided-23%

When the don't knows are excluded, the Yes side leads by 67% to 33% - a two to one margin.
Among those most likely to vote on 2 October, the Yes side is even further ahead, by 73% to 27%, when the undecideds are excluded.

Anecdotal evidence appears to tally with the poll findings. There is at this stage undoubtedly a swing towards the Yes position notwithstanding the fact that there is a high proportion of don't knows.
There are several reason for this:
  • The precarious state of the economy has convinced many voters that Ireland needs Europe more than Europe needs Ireland. Since the Irish economy collapsed there is a perception that Europe has been hugely supportive.

  • Captains of industry are on this occasion pushing strongly for a Yes vote. Intel Ireland has launched a communications campaign in support of the Lisbon Treaty.

  • There is a fear that a second rejection of the Treaty would marginalize Ireland.

  • The IFA on this occasion has come out strongly in favour of the Lisbon Treaty. This is in contrast to its posture prior to the first Lisbon Treaty referendum when it only adopted a pro treaty stance in the last days of the campaign.

  • Both FG and Labour have come out enthusiastically in favour of the Treaty and advised supporters to withold a kick in the backside for the government parties until the next general election.

  • Guarantees offered by Europe appear to have mollified some voters.

  • The NO campaign has so far been weak and fragmented. Small organizations such as Coir have been highly active. However the Sinn Fein campaign has been ineffectual. The absence of Declan Ganley up to today deprived the No side of a powerful intellectual force.

  • Media support has been overwhelmingly pro Lisbon.
There are a number of imponderables. There is widespread disquiet in rural communities at the level of EU bureaucracy. Farming and fishing communities are on their knees. This may yet result in a huge protest vote which would benefit the NO campaign. In addition there is widespread alienation in working class communities throughout the country. The No campaign may yet tap into this. The decision of Declan Ganley of Libertas to rejoin the No campaign will certainly boost its prospects somewhat. However he may have left it too late.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Anglo Irish Bank Director Alan Dukes supports NAMA- surprise surprise

Dukes fails to answer the hard questions on NAMA

Alan Dukes was appointed as director of Anglo Irish Bank by the government and is certainly not an independent commentator on the NAMA proposals. He has long had a reputation as an independent thinker. This reputation is undeserved. He has never come up with creative economic policies. He always has a tendency to talk down to people. Unfortunately on NAMA he is devoid of creativity. He comes across as an elitist who lectures others. The fact that he was a former leader of FG is immaterial. He no longer represents party policy on the issue. In short he has moved away from FG. He should now do the decent thing and join FF- a party whose policy he appears to support. In addition he has always been close to Garret Fitzgerald who has also come out in favour of the NAMA approach.

In the Irish Times article Fitzgerald stated that "I have hitherto avoided any comment on the relative merits of NAMA vis-à-vis other possible approaches because I have not felt competent to comment on the finer points of what is a highly technical issue". Fitzgerald has already come off second best in his battle with the 46 economists who have grave misgivings about NAMA. Professor Karl Whelan exposed the flaws in the Fitzgerald thinking in a debate with him on Newstalk radio. In reality Garret Fitzgerald lacks sufficient understanding of the flaws inherent in NAMA. He has failed to satisfactorily address the ten questions posed by Professor Brian Lucey.

Neither for that matter has Alan Dukes. Today Richard Crowley interviewed Dukes on RTE Radios This Week programme.
Not once did Dukes express any concern for the taxpayers. As far as Dukes is concerned the taxpayers can bail out the banks and to hell with the consequences. He failed to convincingly articulate reasons why we should accept NAMA. He failed to answer with conviction on the purchase price of assets. He fudged his answer. He rubbished the FG proposals without spelling out convincing reasons for so doing. Dukes and Fitzgerald have failed to push for RADICAL changes in the NAMA proposals-which are likely to go through. They are doing a disservice to the country. This is not about political point scoring. It is about securing the best deal for the taxpayer and the country.

Just to pose ONE of Professor Lucey’s ten questions
· Why does no independent analyst support the governments view on NAMA? This includes the Swedish finance minister who ran their bad bank system, who said to the Irish Times that he “favours the more severe mark-to-market write-down of assets rather than a ‘through the cycle’ valuation.”, and that “it (NAMA) does not sound like the right solution to buy assets from private banks.” It also includes the IMF who said " Insolvent institutions (with insufficient cash flows) should be closed, merged, or temporarily placed in public ownership until private sector solutions can be developed ... there have been numerous instances (for example, Japan, Sweden and the United States)
Don’t expect answers from Garret Fitzgerald and Alan Dukes. Too much respect has been shown to both of them. Both have been found wanting on NAMA.

Ireland: Posters of Yes and No campaigns-Lisbon Treaty Referendum

Video: Hitler plan to assassinate Pope Pius XII and the King of Italy

The Vatican newspaper LOsservatore Romano has reported that Hitler had intentions to assassinate Pius XII as a revenge against the Italians who arrested his ally Benito Mussolini.

According to the reconstruction of the events, the plot was being planned at the Reichs General Headquarters in Berlin at the end of July 1943.

The Vatican newspaper says Hitler wanted to teach Italy a lesson by deporting or killing the King of Italy and the pope.

But the head of the German intelligence service at the time, admiral Wilhelm Canaris, decided to boycott the operation.

He told an Italian general who spread the word in Rome that the Nazis wanted to kill the pope. After that, the plan was abandoned.

Three years later, admiral Canaris was executed for participating in Operation Walkyria, the failed plot to assassinate Hitler. (Rome Reports)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sarah Palin: Putting up with a cad like Levi Johnston just might make her Mother of the Year

Colleen O'Connor, political columnist for the San Diego News Network, has suggested that Sarah Palin should be nominated for Mother of the Year - not for taking care of a special needs child - not for having a son in Iraq - not for caring for a her teenage daughter and her baby - BUT for putting up with Levi Johnston! More and more Johnston has over played his cards and has become a bore. His mean spirited attacks have shattered his credibility.

Here is an excerpt from her article which is compulsive reading:

Thus, enter Levi Johnston, the stand-up kind of guy that every parent dreads.
For a few dollars (or lots more), Johnston will tell sordid little remembrances about Palin and her family. True or not, who is to say?
What is absolutely true, is that Johnston’s lack of discretion (let alone chivalry) has given even liberal media columnists reason to pause, and reassess, their dislike of Sarah Palin.
As New York Times columnist, Gail Collins, writes, “For the first time in my life, I feel sympathy for Sarah Palin.”
After reading the Vanity Fair piece, Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post calls Levi, “an opportunistic creep.”
These columnists are not referring to his desire to pose for Playgirl magazine, or his desire to “go out and do a movie, maybe even be a celebrity.”
Their revulsion for Johnston’s behavior stems from his non stop whines about the Palin’s domestic life. A life he would not have been privy to had his potential in-laws not welcomed him into their home. Read the full article at The San Diego News Network:

The Anchorage Daily News carries an article titled:Levi Johnston takes on Sarah Palin in magazine story

ACCUSATIONS: Levi's claims about ex-governor don't jibe with past quotes. This article further erodes Johnstons credibility. Read the full article here

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ireland:Recording of Garret Fitzgerald and Karl Whelan Newstalk Debate

Former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald and Professor Karl Whelan of UCD discuss Dr Fitzgerald’s criticism of a letter signed by 46 Economists in The Irish Times about NAMA.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009