Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Miguel Rios - El himno de la alegría (A Song of Joy in Spanish)

" A Song of Joy" - English Language Version ( Miguel Rios )

Come sing a song of joy for peace shall come, my brother
Sing, sing a song of joy for men shall love each other.

That day will dawn just as sure as hearts that are pure,
Are hearts set free. No man must stand alone
With outstretched hand before Him.

Reach out and take them in yours with love
That endures forevermore. Then sing a song of joy
For love and understanding.

Come sing a song of joy of freedom ,tell the story.
Sing, sing a song of joy for mankind in his glory.
One mighty voice that will bring a sound
That will ring forevermore.
Then sing a song of joy for love and understanding.

Come sing a song of joy of freedom, tell the story.
Sing, sing a song of joy for mankind in his glory.
One mighty voice that will bring a sound
That will ring forevermore.

Israeli military channel on YouTube hosts videos of air strikes and other attacks on Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip

THE Israeli defence chiefs have launched their own channel on YouTube and are posting footage of air strikes and other attacks on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. This is part of their propaganda war against Hamas. The channel may be accessed here .Youtube has removed some of the videos. Minors should not view the footage.
Below is a video titled:

Israeli Air Force Strikes Hamas Government Complex in Gaza 30 Dec. 2008.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 Dakar Rally crosses the Atlantic Ocean to Argentina and Chile and avoids terror threat

The Dakar Rally has been one of the highlights of the January Sports Calendar for almost thirty years. It was the brainchild of Thierry Sabine who got lost on his motorbike in the Libyan desert during the Abidjan-Nice Rally.The Paris to Dakar Rally is open to amateurs and professionals, men and women.The three major competitive groups in the Dakar are the bike class, the car class, which ranges from buggies to small SUVs, and the T4 truck class.

Thierry Sabine's saw his plans come to fruition on 26 December 1978, as 182 vehicles turned up in the Place du Trocadéro (Paris) for a 10,000-kilometre journey to Dakar (Senegal).

Each year the rally travelled through Spain crossed the Mediterranean to North Africa and took in large sections of the Sahara Desert in countries such as Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali and Senegal. From time to time the route changed and it has also taken in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Burkina-Faso.

Unfortunately in 2008 the rally was cancelled because of terrorist threats emanating from organizations operating in Mauritania and Mali- believed to be linked to Al Qaeda.

To combat the terrorist threats the organizers -in a stroke of genius-have decided to move the rally across the Atlantic Ocean to South America. It will take in stages in Argentina and Chile. Africa's loss is South America's gain. Eighty TV channels in 189 countries will relay news of the race. The first stage commences on 03/01/09 in Buenos Aires.

From the Dakar homepage:

An extreme adventure between two oceans
The Dakar 2009 is off to discover a new continent, South America that offers unlimited possibilities to amateurs of wide open spaces. The round trip to Buenos Aires, via Valparaiso is a challenge in which the most enduring competitors will find their way and have the opportunity to distinguish themselves. With close to 6,000 kilometres of specials and difficulties scattered on the whole course, the battle for the title will remain wide open until the finish.

England-Miracle Brain Operation Baby has seven operations

SkyNews reports
A two-week-old baby girl is thought to have become the world's youngest patient to undergo brain tumour surgery...Madison Quartarone was born with the large benign tumour in her head.

She was taken to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital when she was just one week old.

And after seven operations, she was allowed home to spend Christmas with her parents in Bedford...
Doctors said if left untreated, the tumour would have killed Madison within a few weeks.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gaza-Israel and Hamas should negotiate under certain clearly defined conditions

Both sides in the Middle East could learn from the Northern Ireland peace process. There the Provisional IRA through its political wing Sinn Fein has accepted the reality of British rule in Northern Ireland and now also recognises the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland). It has decided to pursue its claims to a united Ireland by peaceful means only. There is no future in this insane violence, which is tearing the heart out of Gaza.

Palestinians resent their expulsion from legitimately held lands with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.This is natural. Israelis now hold lands which are de jure Palestinian.

But the reality is that the state of Israel now exists. Israelis and Palestinians must now deal with the de facto situation. Both sides should now call a ceasefire.

Hamas should accept the right of the state of Israel to exist and agree to pursue its aims by peaceful means only. This does not mean that Palestinians would give up claims to land from which they were ejected by Israelis. It just means that they would accept the de facto situation but would continue to campaign by peaceful means only to recover their lands or else secure adequate monetary compensation. Violence has failed. Israelis will not be driven into the sea. The US -in a doomsday situation-would not allow this to happen.

Israel must show more respect towards Palestinians. The plight of Palestinian civilians in Gaza is horrific. Some of this may be self inflicted but much of it is due to Israeli activities.

Certainly Israel must defend itself from Hamas rockets but the over reaction this week-with so many civilian casualties resulting from Israeli air strikes- just produces more recruits for Hamas.

In short Israel will not be destroyed. Hamas will not be destroyed. There is stalemate. It is time to call a prolonged ceasefire. Time for sanity to prevail.There is a strong suspicion that politicians are using this as part of the upcoming Israeli election campaign.

Hamas should learn from the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland. The Israelis should learn British government blunders in Northern Ireland. As Winston Churchill put it, “Jaw-jaw is better than war-war.”

Israel is losing the battle for public opinion on the world stage.
Where is Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Israeli air strikes against Hamas positions in Gaza-Contrasting Media Coverage from Fox News and Russia Today

The two videos provide a fascinating insight into media coverage of Middle East affairs. The Fox News video places a greater emphasis on Hamas attacks whilst the Russia Today video emphasizes more strongly the civilian casualties and places less emphasis on Hamas attacks.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Arab countries lack power to influence Iran on nuclear issue-Expert

On December 16 the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States, Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany, which make up the 5+1 group, met at the UN with representatives from nine Arab countries -including Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia- to discuss Iran’s nuclear programme.
Unfortunately little was achieved. In essence this was gesture politics. No Arab country will attack Iran at the behest of the US. In addition each has its own internal difficulties-whether ethnic,religious or economic. quotes International affairs expert Ali Khorram as follows:
Khorram insisted that Arab countries cannot influence regional or international developments. For example, he said, although Arabs are aware of the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, they lack power to resolve this problem.

“The complexity of Iran’s nuclear issue is far greater than that of the Gaza Strip” and the Arab countries which have not been able to find a formula to resolve the Gaza crisis, are highly unlikely to influence Iran’s nuclear issue, he explained.

It is difficult to argue with the logic of this argument. It is highly unlikely that the incoming Obama administration will convince Iran to drop its nuclear development programme. This increases the probability of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations.

Nine Executed by hanging in Iran on December 24th 2008

In YNet :
Eight men and one woman were executed by hanging early Wednesday at a prison in the Iranian capital of Tehran, Iranian news agency Fars reported.
According to the report, the nine were convicted murderers, who were sentenced to death in accordance with a clause in Islamic law allowing eye-for-eye retribution....Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iranian law is based on the Sharia (the body of Islamic religious law), and people convicted of murder, rape, adultery, homosexuality, abduction, robbery and drug smuggling are sentenced to death....

Executions cannot be justified on a number of grounds. God gives life. Only He should take it away. All executions are final. The dead cannot be brought back to life in the event of a miscarriage of justice. Quite simply the death penalty is barbaric wherever administered. It is a relic of bygone times. Discontinue it.

Video:Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary explained

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

High Court judge in Zimbabwe orders police to release Jestina Mukoko and 31 other activists

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RTE News reports
A High Court judge in Zimbabwe has ordered police to immediately release 32 activists, including former Zimbabwean newscaster Jestina Mukoko.

A prominent human rights activist, Ms Mukoko appeared in court in Harare on Christmas Eve charged with plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe's government.

She had been missing for three weeks after she was abducted from her home by armed men

Sissel sings O Helga Natt (O Holy Night in Swedish)

Zimbabwe: Human Rights Activist Jestina Mukoko appears in court

Ten people including Jestina Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project have appeared in court today on charges of recruiting people for terrorist training. Earlier this month human rights activist Mukoko had been seized from her home by armed men. Of course these charges are designed to bludgeon critics of human rights abuse into submission. The West must step up its efforts to end the Stalinist campaign perpetrated by the Mugabe regime.
According to VOA:

The reappearance of Mukoko and the other detainees follows the issuance of an ultimatum by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai last week saying that if some 42 abductees were not freed and if kidnappings did not stop, he would as the governing national council of his party to end participation in power-sharing negotiations under an accord signed Sept. 15...

Unfortunately many human rights activists are still unaccounted for.

RTE Video:Homeless Man Lives rough in Wicklow Mountains

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Philip Bromwell reports that 'Homeless Henry' says he feels safer living in his heavilly camouflaged campsite than on the streets of the capital.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Developed World should count its blessings this Christmas:

The following comes from the editorial comment in the Sunday Tribune:
One Christmas message received by the Sunday Tribune last week offers a timely reminder that we have many blessings to count and much to be thankful for.
If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back and a place to sleep tonight, you are actually richer than 75% of the world. If you have money in the bank and in your wallet and spare change in a dish somewhere, you are among the top eight per cent of the world's wealthy.
If you have more health than illness, you are more blessed than one million people who won't survive this week. And if you can hold your head up, smile and be thankful, you are blessed because many can but most do not...

This comment is apposite at a time of great suffering in Third World countries such as Haiti, Zimbabwe and Somalia amongst others. God has showered us with many blessings.

Haiti: A Hundred Dead People in My Truck-Full RTE Programme (47:0)

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The programme features Westport-born Gena Heraty who runs an orphanage near Port au Prince, Dublin-born Dr Louise Ivers who works in two hospitals in the poorest country in the western hemisphere and Fr Rick Frechette who spends every Thursday burying hundreds of people who would otherwise be eaten by pigs. Some of the images from the kidnapping and hurricane scenes are disturbing. Kudos to Jim Fahy and the full RTE team.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sissel sings Angels, From the Realms of Glory with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Sissel, the vocalist from the big movie Titanic, sang with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir in December 2006.

Government Announces Recapitalisation of AIB, Bank of Ireland and Anglo Irish Bank (Cost €5.5 billion)

From the Department of Finance
......In relation to Anglo Irish Bank, the Minister for Finance announces an initial investment of €1.5 billion of core tier 1 capital to assist in restructuring the bank’s capital. The Government will continue to reinforce the position of Anglo Irish Bank and will make further capital available if required so that it remains a sound and viable institution. The investment will be in the form of €1.5 billion of perpetual preference shares with a fixed annual dividend of 10%. The preference shares carry 75% of the voting rights of Anglo Irish Bank. The investment is subject to the approval of the ordinary shareholders at a general meeting which will be convened as soon as possible. On the basis of positive contact with the European Commission, the Minister said he was confident that the Anglo proposal will meet with EU State Aid requirements when formally notified in due course.

Good progress continues to be made in the capital discussions with other institutions. In particular, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, the Government has agreed with Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks plc that they will each issue €2bn of perpetual preference shares to the State with a fixed annual dividend of 8%. These shares will have voting rights in respect of change of control and any changes in the capital structure. They will also confer 25% of the voting rights in respect of appointments of directors and 25% of the directors on the board, currently including any directors to be appointed in connection with the Government’s Guarantee Scheme.

All the institutions may redeem the preference shares within 5 years at the issue price or after 5 years at 125% of the issue price. The preference shares are non-convertible and will be treated as core tier 1 capital by the Financial Regulator and are replaceable only with other core/equity tier 1 capital.
The capital injection for Anglo Irish Bank is likely to take place following an Extraordinary General Meeting in mid-January, and for Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland, by the end of the first quarter of 2009.

The Government has a substantial pool of additional capital available to underwrite and otherwise support the issuance of core tier 1 capital by the relevant institutions.The Government need not be the principal source of this additional capital and encourages each institution to access private sources of capital. Nonetheless, the Government is prepared to underwrite further issuance of core tier 1 capital and both Allied Irish Banks plc and Bank of Ireland have indicated an interest in such an underwriting in an amount of up to €1 billion each.
The measures announced today have been designed having regarded to the recent European Commission Recapitalisation Communication and are subject to State aid approval....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dell plans closure of Limerick plant-Sunday Business Post Report

An article in the Sunday Business Post reports that:
Up to 2,000 job losses are expected at Dell in Limerick in the new year when the computer firm announces its intention to cut back manufacturing in Ireland.....

Unemployment in Limerick has risen from 7,630 in November 2007 to 12,886 in November 2008- an increase of 69%. In addition the decision by Aer Lingus to discontinue the Heathrow service is a further blow to the economy of the Mid West region. It is an open secret that Dell was considering its options. Nevertheless the loss of 2000 jobs at Dell-if realised- would be catastrophic.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sarah Palin Refuses Pay Rise and shows true leadership qualities

A very interesting report has appeared in the Anchorage Daily News concerning Governor Palin's pay. Members of Congress should take note.
A new state commission appointed by Palin recommends boosting the governor's pay from $125,000 to $150,000. The State Officers Compensation Commission says the lieutenant governor, department heads and legislators need more money too.
But if the commission pushes ahead with a pay raise, Palin won't accept the money, said spokesman Bill McAllister.

Palin is as usual showing leadership qualities. This is in marked contrast to Democrat controlled Congress where each member will receive a pay rise of $4,700. The anti Palin media continues to blacken her reputation with unfounded attacks and smears. It is largely silent on her self-sacrifices. As far as liberals are concerned Sarah Palin's biggest crime is that she is pro-life.

Youth Riots - Rosengard,Malmo, Sweden-December 19th

Ewa-Gun Westford, a police spokeswoman, said the clashes on Wednesday and Thursday night were linked to the recent closure of an Islamic cultural centre in Malmo's heavily-immigrant populated neighbourhood of Rosengard.

The owner of the building had decided not to renew the centre's lease, which houses a mosque.

"We've had a very difficult evening. There's extensive damage to public property and there's been stone-throwing and bomb threats against police," Westford said... (Al Jazeera)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Somali fighters threaten to impose Islamic rule on the US,Russia and Japan

Al Jazeera carries a blood curdling threat from Somali Islamic fighters to carry the fight to the US,Russia and Japan and to impose Islamic rule on these countries once they have defeated their enemies in Somalia. This threat from Al-Shabab must be a cause of grave concern not alone to Western intelligence services but also to Russsia which has got 20 million Moslems living within its boundaries. The US has designated al-Shabab as a foreign terrorist organization. It is believed to have close links to al Qaeda. A number of senior officials in this group have trained with al Qaeda.
An armed group battling Ethiopian forces in Somalia has told Al Jazeera it will take its fight beyond the country once it defeats its rivals....In Marka, just 90km from the capital Mogadishu, Ibrahim Almaqdis, one of the fighters, told Al Jazeera: "We wish to tell Bush and our opponents our real intentions.

"We will establish Islamic rule from Alaska and Chile to South Africa, Japan, Russia, the Solomon Islands and all the way to Iceland, be warned, we are coming."Abu Mansoor said that al-Shabab's ranks had been bolstered by foreign fighters and urged others to join, saying that a core principle of the group was that all Muslims are citizens of Somalia."Many have already died fighting our cause and many others are here with us," he said.
"We shall welcome any Muslim from any part of the world who wants to join us. We will allow him to wed our daughters and share our farms.........."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cuba:Prisoner of conscience Dr. García Paneque lacks proper medical treatment

The Benenson Society is running a campaign to highlight the plight of Cuban prisoner of conscience Dr. García Paneque who languishes in prison in Cuba. García is a former surgeon who was arrested March 18, 2003, during the "black spring" roundup of 75 journalists, human rights activists and other dissidents.

Dr. García Paneque is a medical doctor and independent journalist from the eastern province of Las Tunas, Cuba, who was arrested in March 2003 as part of a major crackdown on peaceful dissent in Cuba. He is serving a 24-year sentence for his legitimate, non-violent activities.
Dr Garcia is recognised as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders and Human Watch First
Dr. García Paneque’s health has been perilous for nearly four years. He suffers from chronic diarrhoea and poor intestinal absorption, resulting in chronic malnutrition. His weight has dropped by nearly half since his incarceration—from 190 lbs to an emaciated 110 lbs. He has not received proper medical treatment and has not been allowed to consult with independent medical professionals.
He can be contacted at the following address:

Dr. Jose Luis Garcia Paneque
Prision Provincial Las Mangas (Hombres)
Mayor Rigor

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yellowstone Super Volcano Eruption could destroy mankind

Yellowstone National Park holds one of the world's largest super-volcanoes. Scientific research has shown that the ground is 74cm higher than it was in 1923. The reservoir is filling rapidly with magma.The upward movement of the Yellowstone caldera floor has been 7 centimeters per year for the past three years. This supervolcano has regular eruption cycles of 600,000 years. The last eruption was 640,000 years ago. So the human race is living on borrowed time. The Yellowstone Volcano could erupt with 10,000 times the force of the explosion at Mount St. Helens in 1980.

What are the likely effects of the eruption of the Yellowsone supervolcano ? Bill McGuire, professor of geohazards at the Benfield Greig Hazard
Research Centre at the University College of London told the UK
Daily Express that magma would be flung 50 kilometers into
the atmosphere. Within a thousand kilometers virtually all life
would be killed by falling ash, lava flows and the sheer explosive
force of the eruption. One thousand cubic kilometers of lava would
pour out of the volcano, enough to coat the whole USA with a layer
5 inches.He adds that it would once again bring "the bitter cold of Volcanic Winter to Planet Earth. Mankind may become extinct." (Source:UnMuseum)

Yellowstone supervolcano would blast so much ash and sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere that it would blot out the sun, causing a catastrophic drop in the Earth's temperatures. This would not just be confined to North America . Its effects would be felt in Europe. Crop growing would become impossible. Many would die from starvation as key world breadbaskets such as the Prairies of North America , the Steppes of Russia, East Anglia and the Paris Basin could no longer grow grain crops. Similarly grass growth would cease. World economies would be devastated. The Earths population would be decimated. Scientists and geologists who monitor the volcano see no major threat of a catastrophic eruption in the immediate future. Hopefully they are correct.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Afghanistan: Concern promotes micro-hydro power as a means of electricity provision in the north of the country

Until now, many villages in northern Afghanistan have had no dependable electricity. This is beginning to change – Concern is helping to bring electricity to the area through the use of micro-hydro power.
The project has had a huge impact on people’s lives. Electricity has brought improvements in health, education, agriculture and security.
The following appears on the Concern Blog
On a recent trip to Afghanistan, Concern engineer Daire O'Broin was impressed by the ingenuity of the local people in providing electricity to rural and isolated communities. This article appeared in the March edition of The Engineers Journal, a publication of The Institution of Engineers of Ireland.....plays a pivotal role in making sure that in all 28 countries around the world where Concern is working have a reliable and safe electricity supply.

Ingenious solutions:

He has recently returned from Afghanistan where he has been profoundly moved by the genius of the local people in providing electricity to rural and isolated communities.
Daire explains that in the Afghan capital, where Concern has an office, there is utility or city power, which is supplied through large utility generators. But in the north in the city of Taloqan, where Concern has its hub office for eight sub offices and team houses, there is no "town electricity". Indeed, right across the north of Afghanistan there is no utility electricity. So it is a matter of people generating their own electricity supply.

Unique approach:

He continued: “What I have seen of how people are generating their own electricity has to be unique in the world. Power is generated and supplied from small water powered turbo-generators called MicroHydro generators.
“These consist of a water supply canal, fed into a turbine which are all of the impulse or paddle type, ranging from turbines that look like old water wheels to more compact enclosed paddle types. These machines may be horizontal or vertically mounted with load controlled by diverting water away from the paddles or at the entry.”
Daire noted: “They build the machines themselves. Yes, they are rudimentary but tough. There are dozens of these MicroHydro stations dotted around the north of the country. Many of these schemes are currently fund-aided by US Aid via the National Security Programme (NSP). Concern act as administrators of this fund and have assisted with the design of many of these machines.
“The Afghans are great with irrigation. One of the things that is in abundance in the country is water, mountain water, and they manage to divert this water into the hydro turbines to generate electricity.
“They make the turbines themselves in local workshops and the generators are generally of Chinese origin. Much of the cable used in the distribution system comes from Iran. The output is generally between 20 and 100kws and there is no frequency or voltage control. The power is generally utilised in low power equipment such as lighting, TVs and telephone systems. This MicroHydro power supplies groups from small communities up to entire villages. Power is distributed via pole mounted village distribution networks with little protection installed against accidental occurrences.”
Daire explains: “Because of the voltage loss in low voltage systems such as these, the maximum distance from any of the supply source to its destination is always short. It really has opened my eyes and it is so ingenious. I have never seen the likes of it before."

Turning tanks into turbines:

In one installation he has seen bits and pieces from an old Russian tanks, which were utilised to couple the turbine and generator, including the gearing: “They used a wheel from an old cereal grinding mill coupled via gearboxes and shafts from a tracked tank. The same technology used 2,000 years ago to grind corn is being used today to generate electricity......

Monday, December 15, 2008

Zimbabwe: Fears grow for the safety of abducted Human Rights activists as repression grows

There are fears for the safety of
Jestina Mukoko (left), director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) who was abducted from her home in Harare on December 3 when fifteen armed men in plain clothes broke into her family home. Her son witnessed the abduction.

Two of Mukoko’s colleagues were seized from their offices on December 8. Their whereabouts are also unknown. In the last six weeks, 22 opposition or civil rights activists have been seized and not heard from since.

The ZPP, a human rights organization has been documenting human rights violations by the Mugabe regime and its henchmen.
Human rights have drastically deteriorated in Zimbabwe, Caritas Internationalis reports.
People are being indirectly denied food and clean water, health care, and education. The police and army have shot illegal diamond miners, while more than seventy people have been arrested at trade union protests.
Reportedly, civil society activists have been detained after peaceful protests and human rights advocates have been systematically targeted and detained...

Please take this online action demanding the release of Jestina Mukoko.
A recording of an interview with Jestina Mukoko when she visited Ireland is available via Trocaire. The interview was conducted by George Hook on Newstalk

Ireland:Government announces €10 billion fund to recapitalize financial institutions (Banks and Building Societies)

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Text of Statement by the Government on the Recapitalisation of Credit Institutions

The Government has today decided on an approach to the recapitalisation of credit institutions. The Government’s objective is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the banking sector in Ireland and to underpin its contribution through the availability of credit to individuals and businesses in the real economy. This initiative will help to foster and encourage the flow of funds to the economy, and limit the impact of financial market difficulties on businesses and individuals.

The Government noted that recapitalisation is recognised by the European Commission as one of the key measures that may be used by Member States to preserve stability and proper functioning of financial markets, and that it believes that in current market conditions even fundamentally sound banks may require additional capital to respond to widespread market perception that higher capital ratios are appropriate for the sector internationally.

The Government decision followed the Minister for Finance’s statement of 28 November 2008 which confirmed the State’s willingness to supplement and encourage private investment in the recapitalisation of credit institutions in Ireland with State participation.
In that context, the Government has decided either through the National Pensions Reserve Fund or otherwise and subject to terms and conditions, to support, alongside existing shareholders and private investors, a recapitalisation programme for credit institutions in Ireland of up to €10 billion.

The State’s investment may take the form of preference shares and/or ordinary shares and the State may where appropriate participate on an underwriting basis. In principle existing shareholders will be expected to have the right to subscribe for new capital on the same terms as the Government.
A key principle in the operation of such a fund will be to secure the interests of the taxpayers through an appropriate return on, and appropriate terms for, the investment.

The next step in this process will be for the Minister for Finance to initiate detailed engagement with the credit institutions themselves in respect of specific proposals.
In order to safeguard fully the interests of the taxpayer, State investment will be assessed on a case-by-case basis in an objective and non-discriminatory manner, having regard to the systemic importance of the institution, the importance of maintaining the stability of the financial system in the State, and the most effective and economical use of resources available to the State and each credit institution’s particular requirement for capital. Any State investment will be undertaken in line with best practice in the EU and elsewhere and consistent with EU State aid rules and in particular the recent European Commission communication on recapitalisation.
Recapitalised institutions may be required to comply with such requirements as to transparency and commercial conduct as the Minister sees fit.

The National Pensions Reserve Fund Act, 2000 will be amended, as necessary.
Discussions with the relevant credit institutions are ongoing, and the institutions continue to progress proposals for private investment. Institutions are being asked to submit their proposals by early January.
The Government guarantee Scheme remains in place.
14 December 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Obama plans to cut Nasa's budget could hand space domination to Russia and China and put US security at risk

Members of the Texas congressional delegation say they plan to build alliances with other lawmakers as part of a campaign to head off possible deep budget cuts for NASA, officials said.
The drive comes amid expectations that billions of dollars will be shifted from various federal agencies into new programs to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial system as President-elect Barack Obama seeks to rescue the economy, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday in an online story from its Washington bureau......

It is essential for the new Obama administration to pare government spending where possible and to reduce waste. However it is neither sensible nor reasonable to cut expenditure to a level which, will cripple the space exploration programme. The space agency's budget amounts to just $20.2 billion- 0.6% or less of national spending. Severe cuts will also put astronauts safety at greater risk.

In addition the US risks being relegated to third place behind Russia and China.
China plans to build a lunar base. By 2011 China will have started a programme of exploration focusing on Mars. The Chinese intend in the long term to launch manned space probes to Mars and Saturn.
Russia will resume unmanned lunar missions in 2009. A mission to Venus is planned for 2015. Russia plans to replace the ISS (International Space Station) with an all-Russian station in Earth orbit.This will be an assembly platform for probes to the Moon and Mars.

Unwise cuts by Obama will have grave implications for American security. Dominance in space is a sine qua non for global military superiority. The Chinese and Russians realise as much.

Demis Roussos (Aphrodite's Child) - It's Five O'Clock


It's five o'clock

and I walk through the empty streets

Thoughts fill my head

but then still

no one speaks to me

My mind takes me back

to the years that have passed me by


It is so hard to believe

that it's me

that I see

in the window pane

It it so hard to believe

that all this is the way

that it has to be

It's five o'clock

and I walk through the empty streets

The night is my friend

And in him

I find sympathy

thus so

And so I go back to the years that have past me by


It is so hard to believe

that it's me

that I see

in the window pane

It it so hard to believe

that all this is the way

that it has to be

It's five o'clock

and I walk through the empty streets

The night is my friend

And in him I find sympathy

He gives me day

gives me hope

and a little dream too

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Zimbabwe:Mass Murder of illegal miners by machine gun-wielding soldiers in helicopters shocks the world (Mugabe a new Hitler?)

The following is an excerpt from an article titled Zimbabwe: World must act after helicopter slaughter of miners
THE descent of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe regime into thuggery has accelerated as his hold on power slips in the face of total economic collapse.
But the news of the brutal mass murder of illegal miners by machine gun-wielding soldiers in helicopters has shocked the world.
According to The Guardian newspaper: “Zimbabwean air force helicopter swept over the hundreds of fleeing illegal diamond miners and mowed down dozens with machine-gun fire. “After that the police arrived and unleashed the dogs that tore into the diggers, killing some and mutilating others. “The police fired teargas to drive the miners out of their shallow tunnels and shot them down as they emerged. ”
This is a description of one incident and there have been several similar shootings over the last month.
The exact death toll is not known, but estimates run as high as 140 according to the The Guardian....

Joe Seoka, the Anglican bishop of Pretoria,has said that Robert Mugabe “must be viewed as the 21st century Hitler” because of the deaths and suffering of Zimbabweans under his rule. Mugabe has terrorised political opponents and wrecked the economy.Zimbabwe's official inflation rate stands at 231,000,000%. This hyper inflation is escalating. The Zimbabwean Dollar is practically worthless.It is estimated that more than 80% of the country's population lives on less than $1.5 dollars a day whilst 50% is chronically malnourished. Zimbabwe once the breadbasket of Africa ia now an economic basket case. Cholera has spread from the cities to rural areas whilst an anthrax outbreak has also been reported in Hurungwe 300km north of the capital, Harare. Local government services have in many cases collapsed. Raw sewage frequently seeps out onto streets and there are widespread sanitation problems. And yet the world stands idly by.

Now just take a look at this video Terror on Zimbabwe-South Africa border :

Catholic members of Congress receive $9 million from Pro Abortion Groups and break the Law of God

According to One Nation Under God pro abortion groups including Planned Parenthood, Emily's List, National Organization for Women (NOW) and the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) have made contributions of $9,269,811.00 to the current Catholic members of the 111th Congress .
The 111th Congress will have 24 Catholic Senators and 138 Catholic Representatives. Of the total 162 Catholic members of Congress, 82 Catholic members accept money from pro-abortion rights groups....The top three Catholic members of Congress by the amount of money accepted are highlighted below.

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) leads the pack of dissident Catholics accepting over one million dollars ($1,043,301.00) from abortion rights groups. Since 1992 Senator Murray has pleased pro-abortion rights groups by voting against the National Right to Life position forty-eight (48) times...

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) who assumed office in January 2007, is at a close second having accepted $986,619.00 During her first 12 months in office Senator McCaskill voted against every pro-life bill (a total of seven) siding each time with the position supported by abortion rights groups.

Representative Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) took in $489,081.00 during her congressional race in November 2006. Since taking office she has voted to continue federal funding for Planned Parenthood, expand federal funding for life destroying embryonic stem cell research supported funding to overseas groups involved in performing abortions.....

Click here to view donations from 1989 to Catholic members of Congress and sign the petition in defense of the unborn.
Under Canon (Church) Law Catholics who promote abortion are automatically excommunicated. This applies to all Catholics whether legislators,theologians or commentators.

Friday, December 12, 2008

US More Than Doubles Emergency Cholera Aid to Zimbabwe (Bush African Policy Enlightened)

VOA reports that The Bush administration is more than doubling emergency U.S. aid to Zimbabwe to combat the cholera epidemic. The US blames on the government of President Robert Mugabe for the crisis.
The Bush administration is coupling its announcement of more aid to Zimbabwe with an escalation of its criticism of Mr. Mugabe, who it accuses of transforming Zimbabwe into a failed state.At a State Department news conference, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Henrietta Fore, said the United States is committing another $6.2 million in emergency aid to battle the cholera outbreak, on top of $4.6 million already provided. Fore said the cholera epidemic cannot be separated from the economic crisis in Zimbabwe stemming from years of misrule by Mr. Mugabe and the political stalemate stemming from this year's disputed elections.

"Over the years, Zimbabwe's health system has deteriorated, and infrastructure has collapsed. Poor water and sanitation systems, coupled with increasingly-inaccessible health and other services have caused the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe. This outbreak is a breakdown of Zimbabwe's government services, pure and simple," she said.The aid official said the new aid will focus on water, sanitation and hygiene programs and supplies, and that a team of U.S. disaster relief experts has been sent to Zimbabwe to coordinate the delivery of the assistance and assess further needs.Fore was joined at the press event by U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee, who is in Washington to receive a State Department Human Rights Week award for rights advocacy in Zimbabwe.McGee said the Zimbabwean president and cronies, who have rebuffed international calls for power-sharing with the opposition, are holding Zimbabwe hostage and said the once-prosperous country is rapidly deteriorating into what he termed failed state status...

President Bush has pursued an enlightened policy on Africa as the following report from USATODAY attests:
"The Bush administration has broadened and deepened U.S. policy towards Africa," said Melvin Foote, president and CEO of Constituency for Africa, a coalition of groups that work to improve conditions on the continent.
"I don't know if it got involved for all the right reasons, but once it got involved it realized this was a good thing to do," Foote said of the Bush administration's efforts to stabilize Africa's fledgling democracies and combat its daunting health problems.

AIDS a top priority

Most impressive of these efforts has been Bush's work to stop the spread of AIDS and treat its victims in sub-Saharan Africa, where there were 22 million people infected with HIV at the end of last year.
This year, Bush signed a bill that authorized up to $48 billion to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria — most of it to be spent in sub-Saharan Africa — from 2009 through 2013. Since 2003, the Bush administration has provided funding to increase the number of Africans receiving anti-retroviral drugs from 50,000 to about 1.4 million.......

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Starving Zimbabweans mix cow dung with their food

Zimbabwe's official inflation rate stands at 231,000,000%. In all probability this is an underestimate of the real inflation rate. The Zimbabwean Dollar is practically worthless. It is estimated that more than 80% of the country's population lives on less than $1.5 dollars a day whilst 50% is chronically malnourished. Cholera has spread from the cities to rural areas whilst an anthrax outbreak has also been reported in Hurungwe 300km north of the capital, Harare. Local government services have in many cases collapsed. Raw sewage frequently seeps out onto streets and there are widespread sanitation problems.
Now comes a report from Caritas which states that Zimbabweans are mixing cow dung with their food.

Zimbabwe's economy, agriculture, its education and healthcare systems have virtually collapsed. Caritas staff in rural Zimbabwe are reporting that families are mixing their dwindling food supplies with cow dung to stave off hunger. Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight said, “Our staff say that people in Zimbabwe are dropping dead on the streets from Cholera. They’ve witnessed people mixing cow dung with what’s left of their food to make it go further. This is poverty at its most dehumanising.”

Caritas aid operations are planning to ramp up across the country with hunger likely to increase after poor harvests. A Caritas survey in the areas it works in October found 70 to 90 percent of households going hungry depending on the area and the rest on the brink of starving. At least 5.1 million people are facing starvation out of a population of 13 million people. Nearly 14,000 cases of Cholera have been reported. It’s unknown how people living with HIV and AIDS are surviving without either the necessary medicines or the necessary level of nutrition that is key to the effectiveness of anti-retroviral treatment.......

The international community must maintain the pressure on Zimbabwe for an end to this crisis. We must also prepare ourselves for the implosion of the country and the catastrophe that will mean in terms of human suffering across the region. Zimbabwe’s neighbours must address the xenophobia directed at Zimbabwean refugees in their own countries.....

Mugabe clings to power whilst the international community stands idly by.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

RTE Documentary on Haiti would draw a tear from a stone.

RTE has a long history of accomplishment in the production of documentaries. However it is doubtful if any has left as big an impression as Jim Fahy's Haiti A Hundred Dead People In My Truck . The graphic footage of squalor, hunger, malnutrition, shanty towns and trucks carrying the bodies of up to 100 people would draw a tear from a stone. The stench of death was everywhere. The film also contained a brief historic background to the problems of the country. In addition it described how First World countries still demand their pound of flesh in the form of loan repayments from a country on its knees. The activities of kidnappers were recounted-ears of hostages cut off if they are lucky. Murdered if they are unlucky.
Widespread hurricane damage is a common occurrence. Haiti is the country that has been largely forgotten by the western world. Of course UN troops are stationed there to maintain a semblance of order.

Two Irish women childcare specialist, Gena Heraty from Mayo, and Dubliner Dr Louise Ivers a world expert in infectious disease - have been working for years in Haiti’s slums and in the mountainous areas. Working alongside them as a doctor and hostage negotiator is Fr Rick Frechette, a Passionist Priest, from Connecticut in the United States.
The film footage featuring all three was so moving. Their determination to swim against the tide, their exhausting schedules, their compassion and their dedication to the cause of social justice is an inspiration to all.

Gena Heraty has dedicated her life to improving the lot of orphans. She is determined to live out her life in Haiti. She stressed that all children are equal irrespective of where they live and entitled to an equal chance to progress. Dr Louise Ivers is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School . She works in a gradually expanding clinic through the nonprofit organization Partners In Health. She said "I can’t sleep at night because of the things that I see".

The spectre of Fr Rick Frechette helping to load up the bodies for transport and his prayers over mass graves would send a shudder through the hardest heart. The convoys of lorries carrying corpses through the streets merited scarcely a glance from the citizens. As far as they were concerned this was normal.

Congrats to Jim Fahy and the whole RTE team. This documentary should be disseminated throughout the world. It might soften the hard hearted bankers and politicians. This has the potential to shock viewers into action. The full programme may be viewed here

RTE Documentary: Haiti A Hundred People Dead In My Truck- uncovers a land of Murder,Kidnapping,Hunger and Poverty

Audio requires RealPlayer. This may be downloaded here

This audio contains a preview by Jim Fahey of his documentary Haiti: A Hundred People Dead In My Truck. This goes out on RTE television tonight. It follows the work of an American missionary priest Fr Rick Frechette and two Irish women-Gena Heraty and Dr Louise Ivers who are working to improve the quality of life for the people of Haiti. These are the unsung heroes who fight against overwhelming odds for justice for the poor.

Half of the people of Haiti live on less than a dollar a day in a land of hunger,murder,kidnapping,disease and low life expectancy. Many parents are reduced to a life of scavenging in an effort to eke out an existence. Father Rick’s Summer 2006 in Haiti provides a graphic account of the plight of ordinary Haitians.
The full programme may be viewed here

Monday, December 8, 2008

RT Video:Russian nomads herd reindeer in Yakutia

RT carries a report from one of the most-remote parts of Russia – the far eastern republic of Sakha, also known as Yakutia. Roughly the size of India, it's Russia's biggest republic. Despite the vast territories, Yakutia is one of the least-populated areas of the country. This fascinating video takes a look at the life of the Yakutian indigenous population, who are mainly reindeer herders. Their life style is certainly markedly different from ours in the west.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Food Safety Authority orders the withdrawal and recall of all Irish pork products dating back to 1 September.

Video requires RealPlayer. This may be downloaded here

The Food Safety Authority has ordered the withdrawal and recall of all Irish pork products dating back to 1 September.

It follows the discovery of a contaminant in pig feed by a dioxin known as PCB at levels between 80 and 200 times the safe limits.

PCBs are highly dangerous man-made chemicals that were banned in 1979. They effect the immune and reproductive systems and can, in certain cases, cause cancers......The public have been advised to destroy all pork products purchased since September.

Contaminated feed was used at a total of 47 farms.(RTE)

The Superior Scribbler Award

Rainywalker received the Superior Scribbler Award and passed it on to me johnbarry.
Rainywalker comes up with very original material on a regular basis. John Barry will make every effort in the future to live up to rainywalkers high standards.The rules say johnbarry, "is to present the Superior Scribbler Award to five other bloggers."
So with that being said the awards will be given out to those who in their blogs are far better writers than me, who teach the youth of this world and go beyond the sense's and leave you with a question mark. Those five bloggers are

The rules for recipients of the Superior Scribbler Award are as follows:1.] Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to five most-deserving Bloggy Friends.2.] Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.3.] Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to this post, which explains The Award.4.] Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!5.] Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.To learn more about the Superior Scribbler Award, click here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Washington State Atheists attack Christmas: Bill O'Reilly v. Gov. Gregoire

In Washington State, the Capitol Building is displaying: a Nativity scene, a Christmas tree, and an atheism sign which reads:
"There are no Gods, no devils, no Angels, no Heaven or Hell.There is only our natural world.Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

The sign was placed by the "Freedom from Religion Foundation" on behalf of its State members. Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire refuses to have the sign removed.
This outrageous attack is part of a developing campaign by atheists to eradicate all vestiges of Christianity from American society. The text of this atheism sign displays a hatred and contempt for Christianity which is in sharp contrast to the message of hope and love associated with the Nativity scene.
The sign contains a list of absolute statements none of which can be proven.
In contrast there is sufficient evidence to prove the veracity of the Christian message.
The Culture War is alive and well. The secular liberal fascists-although a tiny minority-have been emboldened by the reticence of many politicians to represent the views of the Christian majority.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ireland:Unemployment up 16,900 in November-What are the prospects for 09?

Irish unemployment has risen by 16,900 in November. This is an increase of 106,684 in 12 months . The latest figures represent the highest monthly rise since January 1975. The seasonally adjusted figures consist of an increase of 13,600 males and an increase of 3,300 females.
The unemployment rate now stands at 7.8% .
It is important to remember that the live register also includes part-time, seasonal and casual workers who are entitled to benefit.
Unfortunately there is no relief in sight. With economies such as the US, Germany and UK in recession the prospects for Irish exporters are not good for 2009. It is likely that new house completions will only reach 20,000 next year. Consumer sentiment and confidence is at low ebb. In the short term it is unlikely that a consumer led recovery can take place.
Further depressants include record levels of credit card debt. The collapse in house and share prices has also dented confidence. A relatively strong Euro has also increased pressure on exporters. In addition the credit squeeze is unlikely to ease sufficiently to save many small businesses.
The potential for a government led reflation of the economy is non-existent. Indeed a serious deflationary spiral could easily set in.The 2009 current deficit is likely to come in at around €8 billion. Further government cut backs are necessary to bring the deficit under control. These may further exacerbate the situation.
On a positive note falling oil prices and lower EU interest rates should help.
Nevertheless it is probable that 2009 will be another annus horribilis for unemployment.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ireland – Tax Revenue shortfall for 2008 to reach €8 billion plus (The 2009 current deficit is likely to come in at around €8 billion)

Figures released show a massive shortfall of close to €7.5 billion in the amount of tax revenue collected by the Government during the first 11 months of the year. Already revenue projections in the October budget are seriously out of line. The October budget forecast a total tax shortfall for 2008 of €6.5 billion. It is now probable that the shortfall for the year could exceed €8 billion. Tax revenue is 16 per cent behind projections made at the start of the year. VAT is €2.1 billion below expectations, capital gains tax is down €1.7 billion and stamp duty is €1 billion below target.

The 2009 Exchequer deficit appears headed for €16.5 billion and the associated General Government Deficit is likely to be 8% instead of the 6.5% projected in the recent Budget. The 2009 current deficit is likely to come in at around €8 billion.
These are horrific figures, which rule out the possibility of a financial injection by the government to reflate the economy. The government has absolutely no leeway. The over expansionary budgets in 2006 and 2007 by the FF/PD government led to an increase in public expenditure of 25% and also fuelled inflation. This was tantamount to pouring petrol on the raging fires of economic growth at a time when it was necessary douse the flames. This spending was supported by revenue from an unsustainable property boom.

The government is now trapped. It lacks the financial wherewithal to boost the economy. Internal revenue sources are shrinking. The property bubble has burst. Unemployment has reached 251,000 and will continue to rise sharply.

The FF/Green government will endeavour to tackle the problem by a combination of further public expenditure cuts and a reduction of public service numbers. It may also target public service pay. In a doomsday situation a 10% pay cut could not be ruled out.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sarah Palin campaigns in Perry Georgia for Sen Saxby Chambliss

Death camps-UN negligence is killing child refugees in Kosovo (New Internationalist)

The following article has been taken fom the New Internationalist . It is highly disquieting.
There is no acceptable lead level for children,’ announced the World Health Organization in response to the recent recall of millions of lead-painted toys made in China by Mattel, America’s largest toy manufacturer. Yet the world’s worst case of lead poisoning of children – still ongoing after nine years in two UN refugee camps in northern Kosovo – has been ignored by both the media and the UN itself.
Three camps were built in November 1999 in Mitrovica to house about 500 Roma refugees whose homes had been looted and then destroyed after the war by extremist Albanians returning from exile. When concerns were raised that the camps were being built on toxic wasteland, the UN promised that they would only be used for 45 days, until new homes could be found. If homes could not be found, the UN said, it would take the Roma abroad to be resettled.
Nine years later the refugees are still living on the toxic wasteland. Since 2004 blood tests have shown that the levels of lead in several of the children in the camps were the highest recorded in medical history. To date 77 Roma have died in the camps. Many of them are small children, who are amongst the most vulnerable to lead poisoning because their immune systems are not yet fully developed. More than 50 Roma women have also suffered miscarriages because of lead poisoning.
Dr Klaus Runow, Germany’s leading expert on heavy metal poisoning, visited the camps in 2006 and took hair samples from 66 children there. He sent the hair samples to a well-known US laboratory in Chicago. Tests on the hair showed that the children were not only suffering from fatal levels of lead poisoning but that they also had dangerously high levels of 36 other toxic elements.
Later that year the UN finally decided to close two of the camps, but then only moved the refugees to another camp – called Osterode – just 50 metres away. Several months earlier the French Army had abandoned this military camp after their doctors had warned all soldiers serving there not to father a child for nine months because of the high lead levels in their blood.
German newspaper Bild arranged for a family of eight to be taken from one of the camps to Germany for treatment. Medical tests there showed all were suffering organ and brain damage from lead poisoning. Doctors revealed that one of the children, seven-year-old Denis, had the liver of a 50-year-old alcoholic and would probably die prematurely.
Although the UN does not deny that an entire generation of Roma children living in these camps could face brain damage and premature death, it still refuses to evacuate the 500 refugees to a lead-free area and to provide them with proper medical treatment. The UN says the only solution is to build homes for these refugees away from the source of poisoning. But most agree this will still take several years.
The CEO of Mattel would probably be charged with offences carrying a life sentence if American children had such high toxicity levels in their blood after playing with one of Mattel’s lead-painted toys. But in UN-administered Kosovo, officials are not even questioned.

Paul Polanksy