Friday, August 6, 2010

Terrorists Attacks World Wide In Decline Since 2008

Click to read full story from The Christian Science Monitor

By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer / August 5, 2010


The frequency and deadliness of international terrorist attacks continue to drop, but Al Qaeda and Islamist extremism remain an adaptable and convert-recruiting foe – as witnessed by the growing number of cases of home-grown Muslim radicals.

Those are among the findings of “Country Reports on Terrorism,” the State Department’s annual report on international terrorist activity.

Among the highlights: The world witnessed 10,999 terrorist attacks in 2009, down from a high of 14,443 in 2006 (think “height of the Iraq war”) and the lowest number in five years. Also last year, the State Department listed 14,971 fatalities from terrorist attacks – down from nearly 23,000 in 2006.

Yet whereas the report claims that Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are losing their allure in the Muslim world, especially over a reaction to attacks that kill Muslims, a related finding is that more Western-reared individuals are hearing the siren of radical Islam. The report cites several high-profile cases in 2009 of Americans either heeding extremist recruitment messages or undertaking Al Qaeda-inspired terrorist acts on their own. It notes that the trend has continued into 2010.

Improved counter terrorist coordination by governments and public intolerance for terror groups have led to falling acts of terrorism in places like Iraq, Algeria, and the Philippines, according to the report, which is mandated by Congress. At the same time, however, it notes that attacks have risen in Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially as the Pakistani government has undertaken extremist-routing offensives into Taliban and Al Qaeda strongholds.

In 2009, 60 percent of all terror attacks occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan – with the latter two countries surpassing Iraq for the first time since the reports began compiling the information in 2004.

In reviewing the report’s findings with reporters Thursday, State Department counterterrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin sought to highlight a silver lining in the shift of terrorist activity to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He cited a considerable increase in “Al Qaeda and affiliated” militants killed in Pakistani government operations and called it the result of a formerly reluctant ally in the battle with terrorism becoming “a front-line counterterrorism partner.”

On the down side, Mr. Benjamin noted the rise of a “constellation” of organizations that are either affiliated with or simply inspired by Al Qaeda. The two standout cases are those of Al Shabab in Somalia and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen.

The report’s focus on nonstate actors like Al Qaeda follows the pattern of recent years in which such organizations have surpassed states as sponsors and instigators of terrorism, Benjamin said.

The report continues to list Iran as the “most active” state sponsor of terrorism – even though State Department officials were hard pressed to list specific acts of terrorism in 2009 that could be attributed to Iran.

Iran continues to “facilitate” the activities of extremist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, Benjamin said. He also cited “a list of incidents in Iraq that can be traced back to Iranian support.”

Chairwoman Of President Obama's Council Of Economic Advisers To Resign

Christina Romer, chairwoman of Pres. Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, has decided to resign, according to a source familiar with her plans.

Romer, an economics professor at the University of California (Berkeley) before taking the key admin post, did not respond to repeated calls to her office.

"She has been frustrated," a source with insight into the WH economics team said. "She doesn't feel that she has a direct line to the president. She would be giving different advice than Larry Summers [director of the National Economic Council], who does have a direct line to the president."

"She is ostensibly the chief economic adviser, but she doesn't seem to be playing that role," the source said. The WH has been pounded for its faulty forecast that unemployment would not top 8% after its economic stimulus proposal passed.

Instead, the jobless rate is 9.5%, after exceeding 10% last year. It was "a horribly inaccurate forecast," said Bert Ely, a banking consultant. "You have to wonder why Summers isn't the one that should be taking the fall. But Larry is a pretty good bureaucratic infighter."


JMC Ministries Response

It seems more and more of Obama's "Czars" are resigning for some unknown reason. The question is who is going to be replacing all these people? What is really going on in the White House? These are questions I think will come to a head with in just a few months when as we head into the 2010 Presidential Elections.

But what is clear is that those who have been either voted in or appointed into power in Washington D.C have NOT done their jobs. American's need to vote and let our voices be heard or else this destructive path our country is on will only get worse.

Is 2010 The Year Of Extreme Weather?

Click to read original Story from

While Pakistan has been hit by catastrophic flooding, Russia has endured a lethal heatwave.

Some 1,200 people have been killed in the deluges sweeping Pakistan, but in Moscow more than 30 are reported to have died in wildfires as temperatures have soared to a new record for the region of 38C (100F).

It marks out 2010 as the year of extreme weather - and experts predict the pronounced conditions will continue across the globe.

Floods: In Pakistan, onlookers perched on a damaged bridge watch a flood survivor climb a rope to cross a river in the Swat Valley

Floods: In Pakistan, onlookers perched on a damaged bridge watch a flood survivor climb a rope to cross a river in the Swat Valley

Scorched earth: The shell of a motorcycle, which was torched in wildfires, sits in the Verkhnyaya Vereya village, about 300 km from Moscow

Scorched earth: The shell of a motorcycle, which was torched in wildfires, sits in the Verkhnyaya Vereya village, about 300 km from Moscow

Last month alone the UK was hit by a hosepipe ban, saw tarmac melting on roads and the population was issued health warnings about the dangers of too much sun.

Yet despite the heatwave, it was also the wettest July ever recorded.

According to provisional statistics from the Met Office, the country was 46 per cent wetter than average and some areas faced devastating floods.

An Envisat satellite image gives an aerial view of the wildfires raging east of Moscow

Wildfires: An Envisat satellite image gives an aerial view of the wildfires raging east of Moscow

Britain was not alone. The mercury climbed to its highest point in decades in other parts of Europe, the U.S. and Japan as record temperatures were recorded.

In Russia the army was drafted in to battle the wildfires which threatening dozens of towns and villages.

Thick smoke and ash slowed firefighting efforts and thousands of people were being evacuated.

A state of emergency was declared after swathes of the country were engulfed in flames and thousands were left homeless.

The city has been veiled in acrid smoke causing landmarks to disappear from view and meteorologists expect the scorching temperatures will continue to rise.

More than 2,000 people are said to have died in the region since the beginning of July as they tried to cool down in lakes and rivers.

Burning: Smoke threatens to block out the sun over the village of Marathokampo, Eastern Greece, where extreme heat has also caused wildfires

Burning: Smoke threatens to block out the sun over the village of Marathokampo, Eastern Greece, where extreme heat has also caused wildfires

Meanwhile in Pakistan dozens of villages have been completely submerged by the deadly flooding.

And in Greece dramatic blazes on the island of Samos have wreaked havoc.

Hundreds of tourists were evacuated as the fires spread and helicopters along with more than 150 firefighters were brought in to tackle the flames.

The fire, which broke out in a ravine on Monday, is the second to strike the island in a week.

But Met Office climate change scientist Peter Stott insisted the extreme weather patterns were not unexpected and in keeping with climate change theories.

'What we have observed generally is a tendency for more heavy rain fall, a tendency towards a greater risk of flooding and also a greater risk of drought as well.

'These are consistent with what we know about climate change,' he said.

7 yr old Receives Apology After Health Inspectors Shut Down Her Lemonade Stand

Click to read original Story from Oregon

No need to jack up the price of a glass of lemonade. Turns out kids won't have to shell out $120 for a health permit to run their lemonade stands after all.

Multnomah County's top elected official apologized Thursday for health inspectors who forced a 7-year-old girl to shut down her stand last week because she didn't have a food-safety permit.

Chairman Jeff Cogen also said he has directed county health department workers to use "professional discretion" in doing their jobs.

Inspectors told Julie Murphy and her mother, Maria Fife, to stop selling lemonade at the monthly Last Thursday arts festival in Northeast Portland last week. State law technically requires that even lemonade stands have temporary restaurant licenses, which cost $120 for one day.

Cogen said the inspectors were "following the rule book," but should consider that food-safety laws are aimed at adults engaged in a professional food business, not kids running lemonade stands.

"A lemonade stand is a classic, iconic American kid thing to do," he said. "I don't want to be in the business of shutting that down."

Cogen talked with Fife for five to 10 minutes to apologize.

Fife said she appreciated his apology after the furor and her daughter was happy because "she's starting to see it had some effect."

Fife also said a radio station has offered to sponsor a lemonade stand for Julie.

The mother and her daughter had gone to Last Thursday because it seemed like a fun place for Julie to open her first lemonade stand, said Fife, who lives in Oregon City.

But after 20 minutes of selling lemonade made from their gallon jugs of bottled water and Kool-Aid packets, a health inspector asked for their license. They didn't have one, and the inspector warned them to stop or face up to a $500 fine.

Initially, vendors at other booths encouraged them to stay, but the inspector returned with another woman. The crowd surrounded the two inspectors, who felt threatened, Cogen said. Fife and her daughter, who left the street fair crying, packed up and the two inspectors left.

Several people who read about the stand in The Oregonian offered to pay the girl's fee so she can sell lemonade. In addition, one of the Last Thursday vendors is planning a "lemonade revolt" at the festival this month.

Cogen and health department officials said they aren't sure what their response will be if people set up unlicensed lemonade stands, as the protest calls for. Cogen emphasized that his employees' safety is also a top concern for him.

The problem illustrates an ongoing dilemma for the health department -- and other local agencies -- in regulating aspects of Last Thursday, Cogen said.

Unlike other events including the upcoming Bite of Oregon or the Cinco de Mayo festival, the free-form Last Thursday fair along Northeast Alberta Street doesn't have a single organizer who takes charge of signing up vendors. People set up booths on a first-come, first-served basis. They don't have to register for space in advance.

The county health department still needs to monitor the food operations at Last Thursday for public health reasons, said Wendy Lear, director of business services for the county health department. Instead of dealing with a single organizer -- who typically has a list of participating vendors and could provide the basic sanitation and hand-washing facilities -- health inspectors have to check with each vendor.

The festival has grown in scope and in cost to taxpayers. In February, the city said it spends about $10,000 a month in the summer for police, security, barricades and traffic control for Last Thursday. Residents have complained of festival-goers urinating and vomiting in front of their houses and other drunken and rowdy behavior.

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz said she and Mayor Sam Adams will present a plan for Last Thursday in the next two weeks. She declined to discuss details, though she noted that vendors at Last Thursday don't pay vendor fees, which she said is "different from any other street fair" in Portland.

She added she believes the health inspectors were right to shut down the lemonade stand.

"When you've got 15,000 people, it's no longer a neighborhood event, it's a regional event," she said. "The county has the responsibility to fairly enforce the rules on permits and food handlers' permits."
JMC Ministries Response
Written By: Miranda Caverley

In America Children can't even set up lemonade stands without being threatened to be fined hundreds of dollars and told to shut down their little stand unless they spend 120 dollars on a food vending license!

Where are our freedoms? Because it is clear that they are no long in the U.S. any longer. It was nice that the little girl received an apology but the fact that City's Commissioner Amanda Fritz is siding with the health inspectors is only proving that those in Office running some of America's cities are out for themselves and do not care about the people living in their cities and towns.

So my guess is that if Ms. City commissioner should see any children having a lemonade stand in her town/city she will be the first to call to have it shut down.

Just a hypothetical Scenario
What if this little girl had to pay the 120 dollars for the vending license to have her lemonade stand. Then her parents may have been fined because of child labor laws. You will then have a 7 yr old child working in a business making money and in the U.S that is against the law. It is a lose, lose situation for this little girl who just wanted to have a lemonade stand like children for years have done during the summer to make a little extra change.

It is frightening what America has become when children can't even have lemonade stands without being bullied and harassed by public officials who are taking advantage of the power they have been given by those who vote for them and put them into office.