GOPUSA has the story via Kansas City Star.

While this suspect’s first name, Mohammed, obviously indicates allegiance to Islam, the news story mentions nothing about his connection with Islam or about jihad as a possible motive.

Jawa Report suggests that he might be a copy cat of the DC snipers.

We stay tuned…

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Sharia and Fascism in Knoxville

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Published on Apr 14, 2014 by Bill Warner
There is a wave of fascism in America. Now we have state and Federal governments dictating to us what the truth is, particularly about Islam.

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On YouTube:

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Published on Apr 7, 2014 by Bill Warner
Most people see the hijab as religious or cultural, but the hijab is a symbol of the Sharia and has a very political meaning.

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No, not THAT “Pussy Riot.”

Two grey cats

Caturday means I get to take a break from covering pottymouthed anti-Christian street hooligans. We’re talking about felines here.

I read the paper so you don’t have to

I have a sort of love-hate relationship with these commie-hipster alternative weekly newspapers that are distributed, usually gratis, both online and in dispensers at bus stops or the entrances to local businesses. Most fair-sized cities and towns have one or more. (To be sure, not every alternative weekly fits the counterculture mold; some are just papers that focus on local ads and neighborhood news.)

Of the hipster/counterculture genre, Chicago has the Reader; NYC has the Village Voice; San Francisco has the SF Weekly and the Bay Guardian; Miami has the New Times; Seattle has The Stranger. They exist in the South too: Atlanta has Creative Loafing; Chattanooga has the Pulse; Nashville has the Scene; Augusta has Metro Spirit, and midlands South Carolina has Free Times, which has a local call-in Rant & Rave feature.

They’re a mixed bag. On the one hand, the articles, columns, announcements, reviews, and comics, and the vast majority of the letters to the editor, lean so far to the left that, as one dissenter suggested, the editorial staff must walk in circles when they walk. On the other hand, features like the local police blotter and News of the Weird offer good infotainment, as does Chicago’s Straight Dope: Fighting Ignorance Since 1973 (It’s taking longer than we thought.) Reading between the lines, I can often figure out which way to vote by going with the opposite of whatever the local commie rag endorses. Sometimes there are pieces on local history or landmarks that, although biased, can serve as starting points for doing further research. And once in a very great while, someone actually does good reporting to break the story on a state or local scandal.

Lo and behold – a hidden gem in the alternative virtual litter box…a nonpolitical article!

Free-Times.com: Pussy Riot – Why Do We Love Cats on the Internet?

“Matters of great concern should be treated lightly. Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.” — The Hagakure

Free Times editor Dan Cook doesn’t like cats.

Well, cats on the Internet, anyway.

It was a few months ago, in one of my last editorial meetings as a full-time staffer at Free Times. We were going around, planning upcoming special sections and pitching cover stories. In a lull, I offer the only idea I have.

“Cats,” I blurt.

Silence.

You know, like, funny cat videos and memes and stuff, I continue. There’s that You Can Haz Cheezburger program at Harbison Theatre, which uses the videos from the Internet Cat Video Festival.

News editor Eva Moore laughs; so does staff writer Porter Barron. Cook sighs, and frowns. There’s no way he’s letting me write about cats, he says.

But cats are huge, I offer. They never went away. They’ve outlasted every other Internet animal. Two of the biggest Internet celebrities of last year were cats.

Cook shakes his head, wearily chuckling at my persistence.

You’re not saying no, I add.

Cook, exasperated, sighs, and moves on.

A few weeks ago, I’m at home, sipping coffee and checking my email. I see an email from Cook, who’s pitched me the occasional assignment and … wait, does that say “LOL Cats?”

“Still want to do this?” he writes.

I am incredulous, yet intrigued.

“Yes, it kills me to even ask,” he adds.

OH HAI

As the Internet turned 25 years old last week, Tim Berners-Lee, the knighted Englishman who invented the World Wide Web information management system — you know, the series of tubes — that allows people to access pages hosted on computers across the globe, fielded questions on his invention in an installment of Reddit’s Ask Me Anything series.

One Redditor asked him, “What was one of the things you never thought the Internet would be used for, but has actually become one of the main reasons people use the Internet?”

Porn, most users surmised. But Berners-Lee’s answer: “Kittens.”

Indeed, the Internet, it seems is made of cats. There are small cats, like Lil Bub, a cat born with several genetic mutations that gives her the permanent body shape and appearance of a kitten. She’s shaped like a pug — stubby body, stubbier legs — and her too-big head is marked by big, perky ears, enormous, expressive eyes and a wet and wagging exposed tongue. She is cute as all hell.

There are big cats, like Tubcat, who is fat enough to fit a human-sized bathtub, or Longcat, who is exceptionally long.

There are grumpy cats, like Grumpy Cat, the perma-frowning cat who, along with Lil Bub, is one of the Internet’s biggest feline celebrities.

Then there are LOLcats, the precursor to today’s Internet cat celebrities.

To get a good sense of what lolcats are really all about, the Cheezburger Network’s a good place to start. Its flagship site, Icanhazcheezburger, is kind of like the Library of Alexandria for funny cat pictures. It wasn’t the first repository of cat memes (that’s largely thought to be 4chan), but it’s the largest, and houses the most culturally significant examples.

The process is simple: You direct your browser to the site, you see a lolcat. You click, you see another. Click again, see another.

Enough clicks, and you’ll get to what might be considered the Vitruvian Man of cat pictures: Happy Cat, ostensibly the grandfather of them all, a fat gray shorthair whose bright eyes and wide smile give it an almost-human expression.

Superimposed on the image is a block of text — all-white, large font, Impact typeface. It bears a now culturally widespread phrase, and the site’s namesake: “I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?”

Icanhazcheezburger launched in 2007, and since then has turned into big business: In 2011, the Cheezburger Network logged approximately 37 million unique hits — and brought in more than $30 million in venture funding.

“Lolcats have withstood the test of time because the subject matter of cats is something that everyone can understand and relate to, regardless if they like cats or not,” says Emily Huh, director of business development for the Cheezburger Network. “Everyone knows someone that has a cat or has a cat themselves, so the subject matter is something that is evergreen and not just a trending topic that may be phased out when a show or video game has lots its popularity.”

Lolcats have spawned best-selling books, art shows, an off-Broadway musical, even a Bible translation into the lolcats’ wacky — cats don’t care much proper spelling, syntax or subject-verb agreement — pidgin English. (A sample from Genesis 1:1 — “Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs.”)

The lolcats meme itself has abated, but cats remain as popular as ever on the Internet.

One Lil Bub video is just an hour of the perma-kitten sitting, sometimes sleeping and constantly purring, in front of a fire for an hour. Posted Dec. 18, it’s been watched more than 2 million times.

And Lil Bub is the less popular cat: A Google search for Lil Bub yields about 4.4 million results — more than Bella Knox, the recently outed Duke University porn star. A search for Grumpy Cat? Nearly 52 million hits — more than prospective No. 1 NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney. Grumpy Cat has more than 4 million Facebook likes; Lil Bub, a comparatively meager 654,000.

Grumpy Cat has an agent, and a movie deal. Lil Bub’s Vice magazine-filmed series Lil Bub & Friends, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Both cats have been featured guests at South by Southwest, and on national television.

There’s even a festival dedicated to the cat video: The Internet Cat Video Festival, curated by Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center, a capital-M art museum. It’s taken the largely solitary act of watching a cat video and turned it into a social experience: More than 10,000 people came to the inaugural festival in 2012. So, too, did Lil Bub.

The inaugural festival was won by Henri, a black-and-white longhair who narrates — OK, whose owner narrates — his life as if he were an existentialist French philosopher. Boston, San Francisco, Memphis and Austin all restaged the Walker’s festival. (Columbia restages it, in part, at Harbison Theatre on Friday.)

“There’s something about the cat video that transcends language and transcends culture,” Scott Stulen, the festival’s first coordinator, told PBS’ Mediashift. And it’s more than simple entertainment, because people feel such a strong connection. “There’s definitely something much deeper to it,” he concluded.

So, yeah, cats are at the top of the Internet animal food chain.

What no one knows is why…

Continue reading…

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From Dr. John Meinhold:

This is a very moving Holy Thursday and Holy Friday Orthodox chant by Fairuz (famous singer from Lebanon). A Syrian Orthodox Christian told me this chant is traditionally repeated again and again on Holy Thursday and Friday in Syria.

Please remember our Syrian Orthodox brothers and sisters and also all Christians around the world being persecuted for their faith in your prayers.

Suspended Upon A Cross, Great and Holy Thursday Hymn sung by Fairuz

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Uploaded on May 19, 2008 by AgiosGiorgios
Great and Holy Thursday Hymn sung by Fairuz
al yom 3olika ala khachaba
فيروز

Today is suspended upon the Tree, He who suspended the land upon waters.
Today is suspended upon the Tree, He who suspended the land upon waters.
Today is suspended upon the Tree, He who suspended the land upon waters.

A crown of thorns crowns Him, who is the King of the angels.
He is wrapped in the purple robe of mockery, who wraps the heavens with clouds.
He receives smitings, who freed Adam in the Jordan.
He is tranfixed with nails, Who is the Son of the Virgin.

We venerate Thy passion, O Christ.
We venerate Thy passion, O Christ.
We venerate Thy passion, O Christ.
Show us also Thy glorious resurrection!

اليوم علق على خشبة الذي علق الأرض على المياه
إكليل من شوك وضع على هامة ملك الملائكة
برفيرا كاذباً تسربل
الذي وشح السماء بالغيوم
قبل لطمة الذي أعتق أدم في الأردن
ختن البيعة سمر بالمسامير
و إبن العذراء طعن بحربة
نسجد لألامك أيها المسيح

Fairuz – Holy Friday Lamentations – يا يسوع الحياة – فيروز

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Uploaded on Mar 13, 2009 by AgiosGiorgios
Ya Yaso3 Al 7ayat – Fairuz Byzantine Lamentations

Η ζωή εν τάφω
κατετέθης, Χριστέ,
και αγγέλων στρατιαί εξεπλήττοντο,
συγκατάβασιν δοξάζουσαι την σήν.
يا يسوع الحياة في قبر وضعت
فالجنود السماوية إنذهلت
كلها ومجدت تنازلك
المسيح الحياة حين ذاق الممات
أعتق الناس من الموت ولقد منح الان الحياة للجميع
فاض من جنبك كمن نبع واحد
جدول مضاعف منه نستقي
مثمر لنا الحياة الخالدة
Η ζωή εν τάφω
κατετέθης, Χριστέ,
και αγγέλων στρατιαί εξεπλήττοντο,
συγκατάβασιν δοξάζουσαι την σήν.
نعظمك بإستحقاق يا معطي الحياة
يا من بسط يديه على الصليب
ساحقا قدرة سلطان العدو

نعظمك بإستحقاق يا خالق العالم
فبالامك نلنا كل شفاء
و نجونا كلنا من الفساد

حبة الحنطة المثناة ذات الطبيعتين
زرعت بالعبرات في حضن الارض
وستفرع السرور للجميع

يا مخلصي إن الشمس و القمر أظلما معا
وكعبدين أمينين إلتحفا حلل الليل الدجي الضافية

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Grumpy Elder: Some serious advice for Conservative Bloggers

On Wednesday I noticed a friend’s website,  Independent Sentinel, was down, so I shot her a quick email to let her know.  She replied that it had been down all afternoon due to some kind of server issue with her hosting company.  She was frustrated because her site had gone down for a couple hours just two days before.

Computers can shock and frustrate you

We traded a few more emails, comparing the merits of various hosting companies.  Her site is hosted by a large, well know and reputable company.  Even so, as 4 hours turned into 8 and her site still wasn’t back I started getting concerned. When it went past 24 hours, I was  worried her host might have taken a severe enough hit they might not be able to recover all the lost data. I asked if she was using a third party back-up, or if she had down loaded a recent back up to her personal computer.  The answer was NO.

That wasn’t the answer I was hoping for…

About two months ago, Lady Impact Ohio’s site Conservative_Outlooks went down because her hosting company had been hit with a catastrophic failure. I don’t believe the hosting company ever recovered.  Lady Impact’s told me they no longer answer the phone.

After being down for a couple days, Lady Impact was able to easily move her site to a new host, and get up and running again, ONLY because she had a third party backup. Without it, her website would have been lost somewhere in Internet Never Never Land forever.

If like Lady Impact’s host, Independent Sentinel’s hosting company lost her data base and couldn’t recover it, went out of business, or for some other reason couldn’t restore the site, she was screwed.  Years of work, Ten Thousand or more hours of work and research, as well as thousands of posts would be gone forever.

Fortunately her host did recover,  and her site was restored, but for close to 30 hours, she didn’t know if that would happen or not.  From an email she sent me last night, by this morning she’ll have made sure  that if it ever happens again, she’ll know that even if the hosting company doesn’t recover, she and Independent Sentinel will.

Don’t misunderstand, the backups most hosting companies offer. are great. as are the back-ups you create yourself.  Especially if like me, you sometimes get stupid and manage to disappear your site… I’ve done it twice, don’t ask, let’s just say … we … I got stupid and tried something I shouldn’t have tried…

But server back-ups are worthless if you can’t get to them because the server that houses them crashes.

Third Party Back-ups start at about $5.00 a month for a once a day backup. I know of three reputable outfits. There are others, but these three I know something about:

Blog Vault – $9.00 a month for a once a day backup. This is the company that saved Lady Impact’s website

Sucuri – $5.00 a month for a once a day backup. Sucuri’s also the company to call if your site ever picks up a virus or hackers manage to deposit malicious script…

Vault Press  &5.00  a month for a once a day backup.  Vault Press is owned by Automattic, the same people who own WordPress.com.

Before we go any farther… full disclosure.

All three companies have good reputations.  I’m not going to play favorites, I don’t stand to make  any money from any of them..

Currently Grumpy Opinions uses Vault Press, I may change to Sucuri, simply because I’d like to use some of Sucuri’s other products. Since Blog Vault saved Lady Impact’s site, she absolutely swears by them.

No host wants to lose your site, but sometimes stuff happens.  That stuff can be something the host didn’t anticipate or something they couldn’t control.  It’s rare for something to happen a reputable host can’t fix, but it happens…

Regardless of the size of your site, or how much traffic it gets, you’ve put a lot of time and work into building it…  way too much to risk if something happens to your host.

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Voices for the Voiceless 2

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Published on Feb 20, 2014 by Bill Warner
A new strategy that can help neutralize the apologists for Islam. This video replaces an earlier version.

Brochures here: http://www.voices4voiceless.org/

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On YouTube:

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Published on Apr 17, 2014 by SciShow

Don’t panic! But you should really know about antibiotic-resistant bacteria, aka super bugs. They’re here, and they’re doing very well, thank you. SciShow explains what they are, how they’re getting around our best drugs, and what science (and you) can do to help.
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Sources:

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2011/08/31/bacteria-resisting-antibiotics-for-at-least-30000-bc/
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/superbug
http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/jpids/prpaper.pdf
http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/antibiotic-resistance-faqs.html
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-do-antibiotics-kill-b/
http://health.howstuffworks.com/medicine/medication/question88.htm
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/dm28pe.html
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1945/fleming-bio.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpKZvnJwicA CDC ad
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikZQPB45Zbw – Karl Klose TED talk
http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/campaign-materials/print-materials/Brochure-general-color.pdf
http://www.livescience.com/43301-explainer-what-is-a-virus.html
http://www.microbeworld.org/types-of-microbes/bacteria
http://uhavax.hartford.edu/bugl/histepi.htm
http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-diseases/plague-article/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-fot…
http://www.bioexpress.ac.cn/upload/20110916-nature10388.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC90351/
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/consumer-health/in-depth/antibiotics/art-20045720
http://www.idsociety.org/Index.aspx
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/resistance-to-antibiotics-is-becoming-a-crisis/2012/07/10/gJQAFwFfbW_story.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-fothergill-phd/antibiotic-research_b_4784234.html
http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/04/16/cid.cit152.full
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/swapping-germs/
http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/clinical-updates/digestive-diseases/quick-inexpensive-90-percent-cure-rate - fecal transplant
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110608093745.htm
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120326113626.htm
http://www.healthline.com/health-news/tech-two-new-techniques-to-fight-bacteria-without-antibiotics-101813
http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2013/oct/beyond-antibiotics-%E2%80%9Cppmos%E2%80%9D-offer-new-approach-bacterial-infection -PPMO *
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278648/ – phage*
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-11/bacteria-swap-gene-information-through-global-network
http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2011/hgt-bacteria-1031
http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/cellular-microscopic/question561.htm
http://www.evolution-of-life.com/en/observe/video/fiche/mutations-selection-the-bacteria-resist.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21942/

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Bangkok Post has the story:

Investigations into two suspected foreign terrorists are progressing swiftly as one of the men admitted to a planned attack on Israeli tourists in Khao San Road during Songkran, according to an investigator.

The source announced progress in the probe after Thai media yesterday reported the suspected terrorists have been held for questioning since the beginning of Songkran.

They were arrested on suspicion of links to militant Islamist group, Hezbollah.

Bangkok terror arrests April 2014
Top: Youssef Ayad is described as a Lebanese-Filipino Shia and Hezbollah ESO operative. Daoud Farhat (bottom left) is said to be a French-Lebanese national, while Bilal Bahsoun, whereabouts currently unknown, is also reportedly of Lebanese origin. (Photos from Stop910.com)

The men have been identified as French-Lebanese national Daoud Farhat and Lebanese-Filipino national Youssef Ayad.

The source said Mr Farhat held a French passport and Mr Ayad carried a Philippines passport.

According to their passports, both were born in Lebanon, though authorities have yet to confirm if the travel documents are genuine.

Mr Farhat is visiting Thailand for the first time, while this is Mr Ayad’s 17th visit to the country.

Both arrived several days before the Songkran festival started on April 13.

Assistant national police chief Winai Thongsong said the men were arrested at different locations in Bangkok after Thai police received intelligence from Israel about a planned attack on Israeli tourists during Passover, the Jewish festival which coincided with Songkran.

The source said investigators believe at least nine suspected foreign terrorists connected to Hezbollah are somewhere in Thailand. Authorities are attempting to track them down, he said.

The source also said Mr Ayad had given useful information to police.

He admitted his group entered Thailand to carry out a bomb attack against Israeli tourists and other Israeli groups on Khao San Road during Songkran.

“Now we can seize materials, such as nails and bolts, used in making bombs from their homes in Bangkok.

“We are taking the holder of the Philippines passport to Rayong province to search for more bomb-making material kept there,” the source said.

The location of the stash in Rayong has not been revealed as the suspect did not know the name of the place, but told investigators he could remember where it was.

“If we had been unable to arrest the men during Songkran, a bomb attack would certainly have taken place somewhere on Khao San Road,” he said.

Khao San Road is a popular destination among Israeli tourists.

Pol Lt Gen Winai said the two suspected foreign terrorists will be deported back to the last countries they travelled from immediately after Thai police finish questioning them.

He did not name the countries.

“They are still being questioned thoroughly. We have not yet pressed any charges against them.

“Once we finish questioning them, we will deport them,” Pol Lt Gen Winai said.

Meanwhile, National Security Council chief Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut confirmed Thai authorities are focusing on the capture of another foreign terrorist.

Both Mr Farhat and Mr Ayad are listed on the website Stop910.com, which collects information on suspected terrorist cells operating in Asia, and carries notices of financial rewards for information.

According to immigration police, the third suspect, Bilal Bahsoun, may not have entered Thailand.

Times of Israel has more.

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The depth of the problem

After an Australian vessel, Ocean Shield, again detected deep-sea signals consistent with those from an airplane’s black box, the official leading a multination search expressed hope Wednesday that crews will begin to find wreckage of a missing Malaysian airliner “within a matter of days.”

“I believe we’re searching in the right area,” Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said.

All commercial transport aircraft are fitted with underwater locator beacons to assist in the relocation of black box flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders. These beacons are free-running pingers that transmit signals at an acoustic frequency of 37.5 kilohertz and have an expected battery life of 30 days. The scale of the challenge in locating the black boxes is immense.

Continue reading – view the infographic here.

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On YouTube:

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Published on Sep 20, 2012 by SciShow
Hank tells us about new research into the question of how animals navigate from place to place – while the problem is still unresolved, we do have some hypotheses, and they all involve something called “magnetoreception.”

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References for this episode can be found in the Google document here: http://dft.ba/-1zEH

For information about human navigational abilities and deficiencies, please visit Getting Lost.

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‘Decimated’ Al Qaeda Alive And Meeting In Plain Sight

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Published on Apr 16, 2014 by yazchat
Newly surfaced video shows large group of al Qaeda members gathering for a large outdoor meeting and hardly hiding.
Fox News: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren
http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/on-the-record/index.html
Fox News: GretaWire
http://gretawire.blogs.foxnews.com/
Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/
Fox News Insider: The Official Live Blog of Fox News Channel
http://foxnewsinsider.com/
Fox News Live Wall Chat
http://foxnewsinsider.com/live-wall/
Fox Business
http://foxbusiness.com/
Fox Nation
http://nation.foxnews.com/

With the help of some competent intelligence gathering, US drone operators could have obliterated the entire gathering and eliminated a great danger. But it didn’t happen.

Note to the rest of the world, particularly the BRICS nations: If you want protection from al Qaeda, don’t even think of relying on the US. Develop your own intelligence sources and your own strike capabilities.

{ 1 comment }

On YouTube:

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Published on Feb 8, 2014 by George Whale
Dr Bill Warner talks with Paul Weston and Enza Ferreri about his new project, “Voice for the Voiceless”. Hosted by Tim Burton on Liberty GB radio, 6th February 2014.

Find out more about Liberty GB at www.libertygb.org.uk

In this broadcast, Bill Warner talks about his project to tackle church leaders and politicians who turn a blind eye to Christian persecution abroad.

Brochures here: http://www.voices4voiceless.org/

{ 0 comments }

On YouTube:

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Published on Apr 14, 2014 by SciShow
Ever wonder what it looks like from a birds-eye-view? Hank explains they see more than you think!

Help support us by subscribing to our page on Subbable: https://subbable.com/scishow
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Sources:
http://www.nwf.org/news-and-magazines/national-wildlife/birds/archives/2012/bird-vision.aspx
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/vision/retina.html#c2
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2013/968652/
http://www.nwf.org/news-and-magazines/national-wildlife/birds/archives/2012/bird-vision.aspx
http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/15/5/805.full

{ 0 comments }

SMH has the story:

The asylum seekers in detention in Jayapura: (From left) Mohammad Saiful Islam Tanu and Mohammad Shohidul Islam and, both from Bangladesh; and Ahmad Fahim Naziri and Mahmood, both from Afghanistan.The asylum seekers in detention in Jayapura: (From left) Mohammad Saiful Islam Tanu and Mohammad Shohidul Islam and, both from Bangladesh; and Ahmad Fahim Naziri and Mahmood, both from Afghanistan.

Michael Bachelard, Indonesia correspondent for Fairfax Media

Follow Michael on Twitter Email Michael

Jakarta: People smugglers in Indonesia are mounting their first credible attempt to ship asylum seekers on the hazardous voyage to New Zealand and circumvent the Abbott government’s Operation Sovereign Borders.

Four men – two from Bangladesh and two from Afghanistan – were caught last month by the Indonesian immigration department in Jayapura, West Papua, on their way to get a boat to New Zealand.

Their capture appears to have stalled, for the time being, a plot to send up to 100 people, but sources in West Java say people smugglers in the town of Cisarua are still advertising for places on a New Zealand-bound boat.

The smugglers are showing asylum seekers a grainy picture, obtained by Fairfax Media, of the boat they say they have bought for the venture, which is larger and sturdier looking than the typical fishing vessel and has covered cabins and navigational antennae.

One of the men in custody, Bangladeshi Mohammad Saiful Islam Tanu told Fairfax Media that when he had arrived earlier this year from Malaysia to Cisarua – where many asylum seekers wait as they try to get to Australia – he had been told by others that the Abbott government had “closed the way”.

“The Australian government already is closed [the way] because every boat going to Australia comes back to Indonesia. So many people say it’s impossible. Now we not try to go to Australia,” Mr Saiful said. “What can I do? And [a people smuggler] Mr Jafar told me, ‘You can go to New Zealand from Papua’.”

Mr Saiful said the smugglers had told them that it was easier to be accepted in New Zealand than Australia.

“Everyone is talking New Zealand. There is every facility … Jafar said you go to New Zealand [and after] only one month and you can take citizenship, and after that you can try [to go to] a big country, every other country.

“He said it would take 10 days or one week on a boat.”

Mr Saiful said each of the four had given the smuggler $US500 ($535) and had received plane tickets from Jakarta to Jayapura. They were told that 42 others were already waiting in Papua for the boat to be ready. The boat trip was to cost $US5000 and be paid for later.
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A spokeswoman for the New Zealand embassy in Jakarta said New Zealand had never had a “mass arrival” (defined as 30 or more), but that “we are aware that people smugglers continue to express interest in targeting New Zealand through a variety of avenues, including both air and sea routes”.

“We have real concerns about the safety of people smuggling ventures heading into the southern waters – criminal groups organising such ventures are endangering people’s lives,” the spokeswoman said.

Though New Zealand has been protected from the rash of asylum seekers by its distance, it has passed relatively tough new laws in case of this development. Anyone coming as part of a mass arrival can be detained until their circumstances are assessed. Even for those found eligible, there is no guarantee of permanent residence.
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