The M+G+R Foundation

Current News Commentary


August 2013

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PURPOSE

The purpose of this News Commentary Section is to assist the faithful in recognizing the signs and lies of These End Times. Somehow, many self appointed Shepherds of These Times are trying to convince the faithful that the Apocalypse will be, using street slang, "a piece of cake" for them and "hell" for all others. They are led to believe that if they "do this" and "do that" they do not have a thing to worry about (of course, so long as that between the "do this" and the "do that" they send in a donation).

Others lead the faithful to believe that "All Is Well" and will continue to be, of course, as long as those donations keep coming in...

Wrong! For either case scenario to be true, the Old and New Testament has to be invalid. Logically, if the Holy Scriptures are invalid there is no use for "Shepherds", is there? So what is their function besides collecting money?

Spending it, of course!

Now, let us focus on the real world and the news about its crumbling structures, philosophies and half-baked theories. With the assistance of the Holy Spirit of God, Who cannot be falsified, the disoriented faithful will be able to understand what is truly taking place and why.

Whenever we make a post on this forum, the date will appear at the bottom of the Divine Encouragement page.


August 30th, 2013

NOTE: An Advisory

The News Commentary page will no longer be accessible as it has been until now.

We will start mailing it as we have with other limited circulation pages. If you wish to receive the News Commentary via e-mail proceed as follows:

(a) If you are in any of our mailing lists, all you need to do is:  Request that your address be added to the new News Commentary List

(b) If you are not in any of our lists and wish to receive by mail the News Commentary posts, all you need to do is: Let us have your (i) full name; (ii) e-mail address; and (iii) city and country of residence.

The August 29th (below) will be the last public post.


August 29th, 2013 [Memorial of the Martyrdom of John the Baptist]

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

NY Times site inaccessible, 2nd disruption in August. (1)

Readers who tried to click on the New York Times' website got nothing but error messages Tuesday afternoon during the site's second major disruption this month, and people also had trouble accessing Twitter. A hacker group calling itself the "Syrian Electronic Army" claimed responsibility.

Within minutes of the attack, the New York Times quickly set up alternative websites, posting stories about chemical attacks in Syria. "Not Easy to Hide a Chemical Attack, Experts Say," was the headline of one.

The cyberattacks come at a time when the Obama administration is trying to bolster its case for possible military action against Syria, where the administration says President Bashar Assad's government is responsible for a deadly chemical attack on civilians. Assad denies the claim.

"Media is going down..." warned the Syrian Electronic Army in a Twitter message before the websites stopped working, adding that it also had taken over Twitter and the Huffington Post U.K.

Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said the disruption was caused by a "malicious external attack" that affected its website and email, while Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser said viewing of images and photos were sporadically affected. Huffington Post U.K. did not respond to requests for comment.


miguel de Portugal comments: Make it three times in August. They were hacked on the 28th again!

If you try to reach the New York Times when it has been hacked, this is their alternative (and working) home page at http://170.149.168.130/

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(1) News Report

 

News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

New Yor City Police Department designates mosques as terrorism organizations. (1)

The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen "terrorism enterprise investigations" into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.

Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise.

The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials.

The strategy has allowed the NYPD to send undercover officers into mosques and attempt to plant informants on the boards of mosques and at least one prominent Arab-American group in Brooklyn, whose executive director has worked with city officials, including Bill de Blasio, a front-runner for mayor.

miguel de Portugal comments: This could have been done in a more open and constructive way - even including the mosque's leader. Any self respecting and God loving religious leader wants to keep his house of prayer clean of fanatics, thus we feel that the situation, conceptually, is not a bad idea; it was just applied 100% wrong.

Let us not forget that Don John Bosco hid nothing from the anticlerical government the Italy of his time, yet, instead of losing anything as the result of being under "their microscope" he actually gained much: (a) Their respect; and (b) Their cooperation in his projects for the youth and the marginalized.

There are two key reasons why man never learns from history. One - History is manipulated in such ways that most of it does not represent reality; Two - Since there is no money and/or physical pleasure in learning, humans just do not bother with it.
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(1)  News Report


News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

Fukushima crisis new blow to fishermen's hopes. (1)

Fumio Suzuki, a third-generation fisherman, sets out into the Pacific Ocean every seven weeks. Not to catch fish that he can sell but to catch fish that can be tested for radiation.

Fishermen like 47-year-old Suzuki now wonder whether they ever will be able to resume fishing, a mainstay for many small rural communities like Yotsukura, 45 kilometers (30 miles) south of the Fukushima plant. His son has already moved on, looking for work in construction.

"The operators (of the plant) are reacting too late every time in whatever they do," said Suzuki, who works with his 79-year-old father Choji after inheriting the family business from him.

"We say, 'Don't spill contaminated water,' and they spilled contaminated water. They are always a step behind so that is why we can't trust them," Suzuki said, as his trawler, the Ebisu Maru, traveled before dawn to a point about 45 kilometers (30 miles) offshore from the Fukushima plant to bring back a test catch.

For now they will have to survive on compensation from the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant's operator. Suzuki has little faith in the future of his business. "People in the fishing business have no choice but to give up," he said. "Many have mostly given up already."


miguel de Portugal comments: As we were saying about huamns leaning from history....

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(1)  News Report




August 28th, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Malicious Software Poses as Video From a Facebook Friend. (1)

A piece of malicious software masquerading as a Facebook video is hijacking users' Facebook accounts and Web browsers, according to independent Italian security researchers who have been investigating the situation.

The malware appears as a link in an e-mail or Facebook message telling people that they have been tagged in a Facebook post. When users go to Facebook and click the link, they are sent to a separate Web site and prompted to download a browser extension or plug-in to watch a video, said one of the researchers, Carlo De Micheli, in a telephone interview on Monday.

Once that plug-in is downloaded, the attackers can access everything stored in the browser, including accounts with saved passwords. Many people commonly save e-mail, Facebook and Twitter login data in their browsers, so the attackers can masquerade as the victim and tap those accounts.

Mr. De Micheli said the malicious software has been spreading at a rate of about 40,000 attacks an hour and has so far affected more than 800,000 people using Google's popular Chrome browser. It is replicating itself primarily by hijacking victims' Facebook accounts and reaching out to their friends on the social network. A user hit by the malicious software cannot easily remove it, since it blocks access to the browser settings that allow it to be removed and also blocks access to many sites that offer virus removal software.

miguel de Portugal comments: Once again we remind our readers: The Internet is not a safe place. Watch your every step before your identity and bank balances are stolen.

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(1)  New York Times Reports
 


News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Zurich drive-in "sex boxes" open for business. (1) (2)

Zurich's drive-in sex boxes opened for business on Monday. The aim of the publicly funded experiment is to make prostitution safer.

The facilities are located in an industrial area of the city and are open all night.

A series of wooden sheds have been constructed in Zurich, Switzerland as part of an initiative to regulate prostitution.

They look like garages or shelters but are being called by the locals 'drive-in sex boxes'.

The idea is that men wanting to pay for sex can drive into one of the sheds having picked up a prostitute from an approved area.

There are no surveillance cameras, however the sex workers have a panic button and access to an on-site social worker.

miguel de Portugal comments: What next? A seal from "Good Housekeeping" and a European wide seal of standardization from the European Union? How about a complimentary drive through automatic wash before and after?  After all, that will insure that the whole operation meet the CDC health standards!

Another warning for the allegedly Christian world:

And thou Capharnaum, shalt thou be exalted up to heaven? thou shalt go down even unto hell. For if in Sodom had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in thee, perhaps it had remained unto this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. [Matthew 11:23-24]

Since...   

But he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more. [Luke 12:48]
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(1) Euronews Reports
(2) Euronews Reports



News Report from the FEMA's Get Ready Campaign

Last year, over 21,000 members of our National Preparedness Community coordinated 1,573 preparedness events engaging 1.5 million Americans in preparedness activities during National Preparedness Month.

In order to build on last year's success, we are inviting you to join the National Preparedness Community, download the Tool Kit, and coordinate a National Preparedness Month activity. Click here to join the National Preparedness Community and get started now!

The community is open and free to anyone who wishes to join. Members have access to resources including step-by-step emergency preparedness guides, public service announcements, informational materials, and regionally based preparedness discussions. In addition, members connect and collaborate with their peers as well as emergency personnel in the communities of practice.

With National Preparedness month coming up in September, this is an exciting time to be a part of this vibrant community. Join the community of 29,800 plus members - Join the National Preparedness Community now!



August 27th, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

How Bad Could Syria Get? What Israelis Are Flocking to Snatch Up Could Be a Clue. (1)

As U.S. and Western top generals meet in the Middle East Monday to deliberate their next move, Israelis are flocking to distribution centers to pick up gas masks, fearing Syrian retaliation should the regime of President Bashar Assad be attacked.

Israel's Postal Authority, which is responsible for handing out civilian gas masks, reported a three-fold increase in home delivery orders of chemical weapons kits which include gas masks and a nerve gas antidote.

According to Israeli Home Front Command figures, only 60% of Israelis have collected their protective kits in the distribution campaign which has continued for several years, though in the north of the country, a larger percentage possesses the kits, 69 percent in Haifa and 72 percent in Nahariya.

Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi over the weekend warned the Middle East would turn into "a ball of fire that would burn not only Syria but the whole Middle East" if the U.S. were to launch a military strike.

"The most dangerous regimes in the world must not be allowed to possess the most dangerous weapons in the world," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, apparently drawing a parallel with Iran, which Israel believes is working to develop nuclear weapons.

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(1) News Report


News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Washington warns Assad over 'undeniable' chemical attack. (1)
 
The United States put Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on notice on Monday that it believes he was responsible for using chemical weapons against civilians last week in what Secretary of State John Kerry called a "moral obscenity."

"President (Barack) Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people," Kerry said in the most forceful U.S. reaction yet to the August 21 attack.

miguel de Portugal comments:
It is obvious that all that is being done by the U.S: and allies is find the most legitimate way (to circumvent Russia and China) to wipe out al-Assad and his regime.

The only problem is that they are giving al-Assad and the Iran regime time to prepare to retaliate. If there was a time for an immediate action - and ask questions later - it is now. As a matter of fact, we are almost 24 hours too late.

O.K. boys of my Guardian Angels squad - pass that on to the WH.
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(1) Reuters Reports



August 26th, 2013

More News and Hints on Identity Protection

miguel de Portugal comments: Remember, we are not promoting the organization that makes the following available but it is so timely and important that we feel that we must share the information with our readers.


TOP STORIES FOR August


  Army Vet Falls Victim to Identity Theft After VA Hospital Data Breach



Roberta thought she had taken all of the necessary precautions to protect herself from identity theft. She regularly monitored her credit report, maintained good records, and shredded all her mail and sensitive information.



  Fraudsters Exploit Affordable Care Act in Identity Theft Scam



Enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act doesn't start until October 1, but scammers may try to convince you otherwise.


  Risk Assessment Quiz



How safe are you? And, would you know what to do?


  Disputing Errors With a Business After an ID Theft



"The squeaky wheel gets the grease," the old adage goes—and after experiencing identity theft, the same rule applies. If your identity has been stolen, it's important to stay vocal and persistent when disputing these fraudulent charges with businesses, your bank and credit card companies.


  FTC to Improve Children's Online Privacy



To bolster children's online privacy and give parents more control of their children's personal information, the Federal Trade Commission has approved final amendments to its children's online privacy rule, which has gone into effect this summer.




August 24th, 2013 [Bartholomew - Apostle and Mary, Health of the Sick]

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Ratzinger gives reason for resigning: "God told me to" (1)
 
During the course of a private meeting Benedict XVI said that a mystical experience led him to resign

"God told me to." This was Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's reason for stepping down from the pontificate. An anonymous individual who visited Ratzinger about a week ago gave a statement recounting what was said during the private meeting, Catholic news agency Zenit reports.

miguel de Portugal comments: (sarcasm on) We are happy to see that Ratzinger now knows where God is (sarcasm off) since he did not have that information when he visited the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. (2)

Do notice how stories, which have no foundation, become myths to later become reasons for canonization. An anonymous visitor claims that Ratzinger told him/her that.

This sounds like when God "spoke" to Escrivá and instructed him to establish the Opus Dei cult.

Why not? Most of the masses are only too willing to believe this kind of dribble but not the Word of God.
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(1) News Report
(2) "Where was God?"




News Report No. 2
[our highlights]

The history of Bradley Manning's - 'My Problem' e-mail. (1)

In April of 2010, while serving in Iraq, Bradley Manning sent an e-mail to a superior, Master Sgt. Paul Adkins, with the subject line, "My Problem."

The e-mail discussed gender identification issues, and Manning attached a photo of himself in a blonde wig and lipstick. It appears the photo was taken three months earlier, when Manning was on leave from the military, staying in suburban Maryland.

The gender issue is" not going away, its haunting me more and more as I get older," Manning said in the e-mail. "Now, the consequences of it are dire, at a time when its causing me great pain in itself .?.?. .I don't know what to do anymore, and the only ‘help' that seems to be available is severe punishment and/or getting rid of me. All I do know is that the fear of getting caught has caused me to go to great lengths to consciously hide the problem."

... Manning's gender issues have long been known to friends and family, as well as some in the military, including Adkins.

Adkins did not forward the e-mail to his superiors until after Manning had been arrested in May 2010. A formal diagnosis of gender identification disorder would have resulted in a separation from the Army for Manning.

About the same time, Manning was seeing a psychologist at the base in Iraq, Capt. Michael Worsley. Manning started counseling with Worsley in December 2009 but did not reveal the issue until after being brought in for a mandatory counseling session — after striking another soldier — in May 2010.

Adkins also testified that Manning's position "as an analyst was important to the mission. And my intent was to make sure, if I could possibly do it, that he could maintain his functionality as an intelligence analyst."

miguel de Portugal comments: Master Sgt. Paul Adkins guilt is far greater than Manning was and is. It is Adkins who should be behind bars for 25 years and Manning released. It is sheer insanity to have had Manning, or anyone else with those kind of issues, in any position other than serving in the cafeteria or running unimportant errands in the base. Yes, I know that too - first through the Grace of God, and then through experience for being a counselor to many (and have the credentials to prove it!) individuals in similar situations.

This brings memories of Snowden. Do we have any qualified supervisors in the sensitive areas of National Security? I am practically speechless before such monumental stupidity and idiocy (not insults, just appropriate adjectives).

Lord Have Mercy! (although we certainly do not deserve it!)

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(1)  News Report



News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

UN says Syrian child refugees tops 1 million mark. (1)

The number of registered child refugees fleeing Syria's violence has topped the 1 million mark in another grim milestone of the deepening conflict, two U.N. agencies said Friday.

Roughly half of all the nearly 2 million registered refugees from Syria are children, and some 740,000 of those are under the age of 11, according to the U.N. refugee and children's agencies.

"This one millionth child refugee is not just another number," said Anthony Lake, the head of UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency. "This is a real child ripped from home, maybe even from a family, facing horrors we can only begin to comprehend."

"It is heartbreaking to see all these young people, children and women and refugees, who do not have any means, any hope for their country," he said. "They do not know when they will be able to return to their country."

miguel de Portugal comments: Allow us to explain why God must act as He will and eradicate most of the world population.

(a) The adults in charge have proven, without a doubt, to be incompetent in managing Creation - in all its aspects.
(b) The children of the world - raised by these incompetent adults - will grow up to be even more incompetent than the prior generation - smart phones or no smart phones...
(c) When God eradicate most of the world population, He will be allowing the adults to suffer the results of their unqualified incompetence and protect the children form sining as they become worse than the adults who raised them.

Remember, for example, how God ended the World War I carnage? The Spanish Flu - a virus no one still knows where it came from nor went to. Do you know how many people died as the result of the Spanish Flu? Between 20 and 50 million. Too many? No!, that was just about right to force the "illuminated" world leaders to end the war!

The key, and message, here, however, is that no human is to take the eradication of the world population in his own hands - that will be handled exclusively by God as an act of Mercy. (2)

May He be Praised and Glorified forever!
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(1)  News Report
(2) More Mercy in Action




August 23rd, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

'Boyfriend Tracker' App raises stir in Brazil. (1)

Brazilians were outraged when they learned their country was a top target of the U.S. National Security Agency's overseas spying operation, with data from billions of calls and emails swept up in Washington's top secret surveillance program.

Yet when it comes to the cloak and dagger effort of catching philandering lovers, all high-tech weapons appear to be fair game - at least to the tens of thousands of Brazilians who downloaded "Boyfriend Tracker" to their smartphones before the stealthy software was removed from the Google Play app store last week,...

The app, called "Rastreador de Namorados" (Portuguese for Boyfriend Tracker), promises to act like a "private detective in your partner's pocket."

Functions include sending the person doing the tracking updates on their partner's location and forwarding duplicates of text message traffic from the targeted phone. There is even a command that allows a user to force the target phone to silently call their own, like a pocket dial, so they can listen in on what the person is saying.

Similar apps are marketed for smartphone users in other countries, including Europe and the U.S.,...

However, similar apps popular on Google Play market themselves to parents as a means of monitoring how teenage children use the phone and where they are at any given moment.

To install Boyfriend Tracker, suspicious partners have to get their hands on their loved one's smartphones and upload the app. A free version leaves the app's icon visible on the target's phone, while a version that costs $2 a month masks the icon.


miguel de Portugal comments: Once again we repeat: With this type of situations going on, the last thing that we have to worry about is whether the NSA is monitoring us or not.

The way things are shaping up, when we evaluate a smart phone and its user, the only smart one is the phone. If we have offended anyone with that statement, it was not our intention; our intention is to wake up those who go around the world marveled at the technological "advances" without realizing the price that they are paying or it.

About two weeks ago we were looking at the plainest mobile phone available - the type that not even illiterate senior citizens have problems using. It was so plain that it was impressive.... yet it was equipped with automatic monitoring via satellite. The user did not have a choice - even if when he/she bought the phone he/she was made aware of that feature.
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(1) News Report

 
News Report No. 2
[our highlights]

Scores Killed in Syria, With Signs of Chemical War

Amateur videos posted online showed images of rooms full of lifeless bodies after Syrian forces pounded areas east of the capital. The government denied the use of chemicals.

The Lede: Video Shows Victims of Suspected Chemical Attack
Video: Aftermath of Attack in Syria | Photographs


miguel de Portugal comments:
It would take a human in a state of comma not to realize that: (a) These people were killed with chemical weapons; and that (b) No matter how intent the rebels may be on winning the battle, they would not participate in such hellish mass murder of innocent people. Only people of the caliber of Al Assad would.

Yet, the "defenders of the world" - the US and its allies, accompanied by the UN chorus of social parasites - refuse to act.

If humanity could only have a ten second preview of what God is going to allow upon it - razing most of it from this planet - they may just view things a bit differently. Unfortunately and precisely because of humanity's stiff neck and refusal to learn - not even that opportunity will be given... because it would be wasted like all others that God, in His Infinite Goodness and Mercy, has given in the last 200 years.

 


August 22nd, 2013
[The Queenship of Mary]

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Syrian activists accuse Assad forces of nerve gas attack. (1)

Syrian activists say as many as 650 people have killed in nerve gas attacks launched by government forces. The toxic assaults took place at rebel held positions on the outskirts of Damascus.

The reports, which could not be independently verified, have been strenuously denied by the regime in the capital. As the latest accusations surface a UN team is in Damascus to probe previous allegations of chemical weapon use.

The Arab League, Britain and France have called on the inspectors to be granted immediate access to the alleged attack sites.

miguel de Portugal comments: The number of deaths, the amount of children involved and the condition of some of the survivors - which we saw in Euronews video reports - support the Syrian activists claims.

Being that this was President Obama's famous "Red Line" not to cross we would not be surprised that the deaths are attributed to food poisoning. With our world "leaders" just about anything is possible, except, of course, Justice with the ensuing Peace.

I would like to be a witness as the world leaders are paraded before the Throne of Judgment. I would never wish hell upon anyone - trust me - but a Purgatorial sentence until the End of Time may certainly be adequate for many of them.

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(1) Euronews Reports


News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Humans consume more than planet can produce on 'Earth Overshoot Day'. (1)

There are only so many natural resources the earth can supply and today we’ve gone over our annual limit.

Earth Overshoot Day is the point in the year when humans have used as much nature, such as land, trees and fish, as the planet’s ecosystems can regenerate.

For the rest of the year the earth will be overdrawn, meaning we will be depleting the oceans and land and building up waste such as carbon dioxide.

According to figures sourced by the Global Footprint Network, an independent think tank based in the United States, Switzerland, and Belgium, the first time that human consumption outstripped the planet’s capability to produce was December 29 1970. Since then the date has been creeping forward each year.

The UK consumes and produces waste at a rate three and a half times greater than it can sustain.

Qatar is one of the worst offenders: the typical resident requires the resources of six and a half times what the earth can produce.

If everybody were to live like United States residents, it would take four times the earth's resources to support the global population.

China's total ecological footprint is smaller, per capita, than in Europe or North America but its footprint is the heaviest in the world in raw size, because of its huge population.


miguel de Portugal comments: Well, I will not lose any sleep over this considering the point where we are at in the End of These Times. We are sharing it just as a curiosity and further proof that man is incapable of even managing the planet as God intended him to.

Man, without God, has proven to be the greatest failure of Creation. Of course, that is a redundancy because man without God is an unfinished creature.
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(1)  EuroNews Reports




August 21st, 2013

News About Google

It seems that Google is in the news on a daily basis and usually it has to do with run-ins with governments or defenders of privacy. They always claim that they are totally transparent regarding what they do with the information that they gather as well as how they gather it. They also claim that it is easy to find the information and read it.

Finally we decided to follow through and read all seven pages (that is without accessing any of the links in it!) of their transparent actions. It was hard to not fall off the chair. Yes, tranparent they are indeed; the problem is the information that they harvest and how. We will just reproduce below a few quotes and will provide you with the link to access the original document. Keep in mind, that one does not have to have a Google account for them to practically acquire you DNA!

Information Google collects

[our underscoring]

We collect information to provide better services to all of our users – from figuring out basic stuff like which language you speak, to more complex things like which ads you’ll find most useful or the people who matter most to you online.

We collect information in two ways:


There are six more pages of details Here

What we still cannot understand is the uproar about NSA activities. They wish they had what Google has on all of us.

Now someone will say: Well, if Google has it, then it is available to the NSA upon request.

To which we say: Ha! Ha! Google turns over whatever they wish - no more and no less. Only they know the intricacy of their files.

 


News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Guardian chief: UK had newspaper disks destroyed. (1) (2)

British agents oversaw the destruction of an unspecified number of the Guardian newspaper's hard drives after the paper began publishing revelations from Edward Snowden's leaks, the paper's editor said Monday.

Alan Rusbridger made the claim in an opinion piece published on the Guardian's website, saying that a pair of staffers from British eavesdropping agency GCHQ monitored the process in what he called "one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history."

He said the hard drives were torn apart in the basement of the Guardian's north London office with "two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction ... just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents."

Rusbridger said Monday that the spies were growing so powerful "it may not be long before it will be impossible for journalists to have confidential sources."


miguel de Portugal comments: Well, Mr. Rusbridger, this is an open and shut case of national security and we thank God that the British Intelligence had enough brains and guts to act in this manner.

In Soviet Russia or Hitler's Germany they would have literally fed you to the wild beasts after having destroyed the data so... count your blessings! Imperfect as it indeed is, we live in a Democracy and you can still voice your opinions.

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(1)  News Report
(2)  News Report



August 20th, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

A Flawed Background-Check System. (1)

The Federal Trade Commission has rightly intensified scrutiny of the companies that provide the criminal background checks used by most firms and corporations to screen job applicants. In too many cases, the reports are out of date and incomplete, causing job seekers who may have been arrested but never charged - or who have had their cases expunged or even dismissed - to be unfairly locked out of the job market.

The new oversight is important, given that these companies sometimes ignore a federal law that requires them to make sure that the reports are accurate. But more oversight is not enough. Congress must also focus on the flawed practices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the nation's most important provider of criminal background data. Its data, too, has unfairly damaged the prospects of people seeking work.

The use of F.B.I. criminal background checks to screen government employees was introduced during the cold war. But over the last several decades - and particularly since 9/11 - Congress and the executive branch have steadily expanded the number of nonfederal jobs covered by F.B.I. checks, which are now required for school, day care and health care workers, as well as for truck drivers, laborers, landscapers and even cooks who have access to government buildings and other sensitive areas.

According to a report by the National Employment Law Project, a research and advocacy group, the F.B.I. performed nearly 17 million work-related background checks last year, about six times the number a decade ago.

Fixing this broken system will require Congressional action. A bill introduced by Representative Robert Scott, Democrat of Virginia, would require the F.B.I. to use the stricter procedures for gun-sale background checks for employment background checks. Legislation introduced by Representative Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota, would require the bureau to improve the accuracy of background checks for people seeking work with the federal government.

At the very least, the F.B.I. should be held to the same standards as private background-check companies, which are required to follow procedures for weeding out inaccurate information.

miguel de Portugal comments: Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, appearances may be deceiving....

The backlog is so great that is some cases that I know first hand, the individual has had access to the position pending the background check - or simply bypassing it - in the interest of expediency.

There is no way worthwhile/reliable background checks can be run for seventeen million individuals per year. They have to come up with a "Plan B".

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(1)  New York Times Reports


News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Second Act for the Temple of the Stars. (1)

It was known as the Temple of the Stars: a soaring sanctuary capped by a 100-foot-wide Byzantine dome, built by Hollywood moguls on the eve of the Depression and splashed with the kind of pizazz one might expect at a movie palace rather than a synagogue.

But over the last 80 years, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple has become a monument to neglect, its handsome murals cracked, the gold-painted dome blackened by soot, the sanctuary dark and grim. A foot-long chunk of plaster crashed to the ground one night.

The congregation, too, has faded; while still vibrant and active, it has grown older, showing no signs of growth. This once proud symbol of religious life in Los Angeles seemed on the brink of becoming a victim of the steady ethnic churn of the city, as its neighborhood grew increasingly Korean and Hispanic and Jews moved to the west side.

But faced with the threat of extinction that has forced synagogues in other parts of the country to close or merge, Wilshire has responded with force: a $150 million program to restore the synagogue to its former grandeur and, in fact, make it even grander - extending the campus to fill a whole block and building a school and a social services center for the community. In the process, the synagogue is looking to reclaim its prominence in the civic order here.

It is by any measure a costly gamble - Jewish leaders said the $150 million is among the highest amounts ever spent on a synagogue renovation. And the renovation is in some ways jarring, coming at a moment when cuts in education and social services have rocked this state and taking place in a community that has at times been criticized for being short on philanthropy.

miguel de Portugal comments: It is not only the California Jews responsible for this type of  insanity, let us not forget the new Cathedral of Los Angeles (2) costing $250 million and the worthless and offensive new Fatima Basilica which cost $100 million, not to mention Schuller's Crystal Cathedral (3) that cost $18 million in 1980 which translates to $51 million in 2013 dollars and which was bought in 2012 by the Orange Catholic Diocese for $57.5 million.

When we view the hunger and misery of the children of God in the light of the above sampling of obscenities we cannot help but remember the phrase attributed to Marie Antoinette (before literally losing her head, of course) when she was told that the peasants did not even have bread to eat: "Let them eat cake", it is claimed that she said.
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(1)  New York Times Reports
(2) Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
(3) Crystal Cathedral



August 19th, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Virus targets the social network in new fraud twist. (1)

In the world of cyber fraud, a fake fan on Instagram can be worth five times more than a stolen credit card number.

As social media has become increasingly influential in shaping reputations, hackers have used their computer skills to create and sell false endorsements - such as "likes" and "followers" - that purport to come from users of Facebook, its photo-sharing app Instagram, Twitter, Google's YouTube, LinkedIn and other popular websites.

In the latest twist, a computer virus widely used to steal credit card data, known as Zeus, has been modified to create bogus Instagram "likes" that can be used to generate buzz for a company or individual, according to cyber experts at RSA, the security division of EMC Corp.

These fake "likes" are sold in batches of 1,000 on Internet hacker forums, where cyber criminals also flog credit card numbers and other information stolen from PCs. According to RSA, 1,000 Instagram "followers" can be bought for $15 and 1,000 Instagram "likes" go for $30, whereas 1,000 credit card numbers cost as little as $6.

It may seem odd that fake social media accounts would be worth more than real credit card numbers, but online marketing experts say some people are willing to spend heavily to make a splash on the Internet, seeking buzz for its own sake or for a business purpose, such as making a new product seem popular.

"People perceive importance on what is trending," said Victor Pan, a senior data analyst with WordStream, which advises companies on online marketing. "It is the bandwagon effect."

miguel de Portugal comments: Three key items to note:

(a) Cyber fraud knows no limits and continues to morph itself as needed as the new technologies emerge. Since, as the new technologies emerge, the masses use their brains less and less, it becomes easier to trick them, which brings us to item....
(b) "People perceive importance on what is trending," since, on their own, they are no longer capable of discerning what is important or not; and
(c) How does one buy anything in Internet Hacker Forums? With one's credit cards? Considering items (a) and (b) above, that is probably how it works.

Amazing, simply amazing!

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(1) News Report

 

News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Trash Into Gas, Efficiently? An Army Test May Tell. (1)

There is an indisputable elegance to the idea of transforming garbage into fuel, of turning icky, smelly detritus into something valuable.

But big drawbacks have prevented the wholesale adoption of trash-to-gas technology in the United States: incineration is polluting, and the capital costs of new plants are enormous.

Gasification systems can expend a tremendous amount of energy to produce a tiny amount of electricity. Up to this point, it hasn’t seemed worth the trouble.

Mike Hart thinks that he has solved those problems. In a former Air Force hangar outside Sacramento, his company, Sierra Energy, has spent the last several years testing a waste-to-energy system called the FastOx Pathfinder. The centerpiece, a waste gasifier that’s about the size of a shower stall, is essentially a modified blast furnace. A chemical reaction inside the gasifier heats any kind of trash - whether banana peels, used syringes, old iPods, even raw sewage - to extreme temperatures without combustion. The output includes hydrogen and synthetic natural gas that can be burned to generate electricity or made into ethanol or diesel fuel.

The FastOx is now being prepared for delivery to Sierra Energy’s first customer: the United States Army.

miguel de Portugal comments: The truth - which Mr. Hart probably does not even know is....

I witnessed that process, already in an operating pilot plant size, in a warehouse near Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas, on September 1991. It had been developed by a Pakistani Engineer who was petrified of being physically harmed by the major energy companies of the world. I was taken there by an Engineering Consortium I had done some work for to confirm his claims by witnessing an actual run of the system. His claims were true.

At that time - actually, a month later -  is when I disconnected from the world and never looked back again, so I had no idea what happened to that scared Pakistani genius and his process. A variation of it has now surfaced 22 years later.
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(1)  New York Times Reports



News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

British police announced Saturday they are again investigating Princess Diana's death. (1)

British media and the Associated Press reported that Scotland Yard is examining the "relevance and credibility" of newly received information relating to the deaths of Diana and her companion, Dodi Fayed, who also was killed, along with their driver, in a car crash in a Paris traffic tunnel on Aug. 31, 1997.

In a statement Scotland Yard said that the assessment will be carried out by officers from its specialist crime and operations unit.

The Telegraph reported that the new information alleges that Diana was "murdered" by a member of the British military, and that the allegation came to the Yard from the Royal Military Police, who in turn got it from the in-laws of a former soldier.

miguel de Portugal comments: As we have said before - just as with the assassination of MLK, JFK, RK, The Oklahoma Federal Building bombing, and the 9-11 events - even if someone shows up with actual video and audio tapes of the conspiracy that preceded each event, Diana's murder included, nothing - absolutely nothing - will come of it. There is already so much concrete and irrefutable evidence that each of those events had nothing to do with the official story that, in our well informed book, they do not even rate as conspiracy theories; they are facts.

Just like the ones (2) that finally have been proven.

Yawn... pass the salt please.....

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(1)  News Report
(2) Proven Conspiracies - Part I - Proven Conspiracies - Part II - Proven Conspiracies - Part III  - Proven Conspiracies - Part IV




August 17th, 2013

Commenting on the continuing NSA news reports (0)
[our highlights]

On July 2nd, in this same forum (1), we discussed the negative effect the Snowden's affair had on the U.S. image on a worldwide scale. Our closing remarks were:

It seem that "Let's knock down the US while we can" is fashionable in Europe as of late. Yesterday (July 1st), Amazon UK released a DVD set with "The Untold Stories of the United States" (2) by Oliver Stone.

Move over Snowden, Stone is trying to complete in Europe what you started in Hong Kong.

miguel de Portugal was moved to acquire the set and, as time allowed it, viewed over nine hours of programming. Although Oliver Stone rang a loud bell in miguel's memory - it was just a bell without specific information. After just three hours of viewing it was time to find out who this Oliver Stone was. Wikipedia was the next stop. Following are a few quotes from Wikipedia's report on Mr. Stone. [our highlights]

William Oliver Stone (born September 15, 1946) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer and veteran. Stone came to public prominence between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s for writing and directing a series of films about the Vietnam War, in which he had participated as an infantry soldier. Many of Stone's films focus on contemporary and controversial American political and cultural issues....

Stone was born in New York City, the son of Jacqueline (née Goddet) and Louis Stone, a stockbroker. He grew up in Manhattan and Stamford, Connecticut. His father was a non-practicing Jew, and his French-born mother was a non-practicing Roman Catholic. Stone was raised in the Episcopal Church, and now practices Buddhism.

In April 1967, Stone enlisted in the United States Army, requesting combat duty in Vietnam. He served from September 1967 through November 1968 with the 25th Infantry Division, then with the First Cavalry Division, earning a Bronze Star with Combat V for heroism in ground combat; he was wounded twice and received a Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster. He also received the Air Medal for participating in more than 25 helicopter combat assaults and the Army Commendation Medal.

In 2012, The Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald (4) highly recommended the series and book, describing it as "riveting", "provocative" and "worthwhile".

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev wrote approvingly of the book:

"Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick provide a critical overview of US foreign policy during the past few decades. There is much here to reflect upon. Such a perspective is indispensable at a time when decisions are being taken that will shape America's role in the global world of the twenty-first century. At stake is whether the United States will choose to be the policeman of a "Pax Americana", which is a recipe for disaster, or partner with other nations on the way to a safer, more just and sustainable future."

and finally

In November 2012, Hudson Institute adjunct fellow historian Ronald Radosh (who was averse to the project since its announcement, and encouraged a write-in campaign to cancel the series lambasted it as "mendacious" Cold War revisionism and "mindless recycling of Stalin's propaganda," noting similarities to Communist author and NKVD agent Carl Marzani's Soviet-published treatise We Can Be Friends. Writes Radosh:

Over and over, Stone uses the same quotations, the same arrangements of material, and the same arguments as Marzani. This is not to accuse Stone of plagiarism, only to point out that the case he now offers as new was argued in exactly the same terms by an American Communist and Soviet agent in 1952.

Also in November, journalist Michael C. Moynihan criticized the book for "moral equivalence between the policies of the psychotically brutal Soviet Union and the frequently flawed policy of the United States" and called the title "misleading" in that nothing within the book was "untold" previously.

We do not know where Messrs. Radosh and Moynihan loyalties lie - and it does not matter to us - however, we could not have used more accurate words to describe Mr. Stone's attack on the United States. Oh, yes!, he claims that he used professional fact checkers to make sure the material used was accurate but, although some material was wrong - and that we know with brutal certainty - the one that was right was presented in the most damaging way possible.

We ask Mr. Stone:

Do you think that any of those world leaders whom you so defended and exalted would have allowed you to publish in, and about, their countries a documentary only one tenth as critical as the one you have made about the U.S.?

We tell Mr Stone:

Mr. Stone, you are very spiritually confused and psychologically traumatized individual and you have no right to infect others with your dysfunction. Maybe you should consider a religious pilgrimage in honor of whatever deity you now adore or venerate in thanksgiving that J. Edgar Hoover is no longer the head of the FBI and  that Joseph McCarthy (5) is no longer a Senator and that you live in the U.S. and not in Stalin's Soviet Russia, Hitler's Germany or "Divinely" Imperial Japan. This may give you some time to think and find the true, and only, God - the only One Who can heal your wounded soul.

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(0) The latest reports One and Two
(1) July News Commentaries
(2)
The Untold History of the United States
(3)  About Oliver Stone according to Wikipedia
(4) This is the same Glenn Greenwald that now hold the information stolen, yes "stolen", by Snowden.
(5)
Senator Joseph McCarthy


News Report No. 2
[our highlights]

Islamists Debate Their Next Move in Tense Cairo. (1)

Gathering Thursday morning around a mosque used as a morgue for hundreds killed the day before, many Islamists waited confidently for a surge of sympathetic support from the broader public. But it failed to materialize.

With their leaders jailed or silent, Islamists reeled in shock at the worst mass killing in Egypt's modern history. By Thursday night, health officials had counted 638 dead and nearly 4,000 injured, but the final toll was expected to rise further.

A tense quiet settled over Cairo as the city braced for new protests by supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, after the Friday Prayer. The new government authorized the police to use lethal force if they felt endangered.

Many of those waiting outside the makeshift morgue talked of civil war. Some blamed members of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority for supporting the military takeover. A few argued openly for a turn to violence.

"The solution might be an assassination list," said Ahmed, 27, who like others refused to use his full name for fear of reprisals from the new authorities. "Shoot anyone in uniform. It doesn't matter if the good is taken with the bad, because that is what happened to us last night."

Mohamed Rasmy, a 30-year-old engineer, interrupted. "That is not the solution," he said, insisting that Islamist leaders would re-emerge with a plan "to come together in protest."

miguel de Portugal comments: Isn't it amazing? It seems that the religious type - whether Muslims or Christians - do not include serious (as opposed to "routine") prayers as the integral part of any solution to any problem that they may have. Just a quick visit to a Mosque on Friday, or a let's-get-it-over-with Mass on Sunday or talking to the Wall of Lamentations will just not do it!

Will the most monothheists (Jews, Christians and Muslims) ever learn? Of course, they will. That God to Whom they pray - as part of an established routine - will teach them in an unforgettable manner.

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(1)  New York Times Reports




August 16th, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Japan shrine visits anger China on World War II anniversary. (1)

Japan has commemorated the end of World War II at a ceremony attended by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. But tributes paid at a controversial shrine for the war dead have reopened old wounds with China.

Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe has become ensnared in the row as he trod a fine line between trying to avoid offending the Chinese and his own conservative supporters.

"We will never forget that today's peace and prosperity is built upon the sacrifices of your precious lives," Abe said, addressing Japan’s war dead during his brief address to the ceremony.

Breaking with tradition, the prime minister expressed no regret towards Asia for the wartime suffering inflicted by Japan.

But what really infuriated China was the visit of two Japanese cabinet ministers to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours 14 convicted war criminals among the dead.

Beijing formally complained and summoned Tokyo's ambassador. Japan has repeatedly apologised for its wartime actions but the shrine remains a focus of nationalist pride and has long angered China and South Korea.


miguel de Portugal comments: It is amazing that the Japanese keep dragging into the limelight the memories of the criminal war that they started. They can apologize all they want but those are just words - action is what matters.

For a better understanding of such transgression - imagine the German government, with its Chancellor and President in the lead, honoring the dead of Hitler's army.

Incidentally, this does not mean that we should not pray for the dead - all the dead. We must pray for them and let God pass the appropriate judgment, but to honor the actions of  a criminal regime is another story.

There is a world of difference between "honoring" and "praying for", and pray we must!
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(1)  News Report



News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Baby monitor hacked, spies on Texas child. (1)

Marc and Lauren Gilbert were terrified when they heard a strange voice calling out to their 2-year-old daughter Allyson, through a baby monitor in her room. The Texas family learned the hard way that almost anything connected to the Internet can get hacked.

According to ABC News, Gilbert was washing dishes on the night of Aug. 10., when he heard noises coming from his daughter's room. He and his wife went in to investigate the situation, when they witnessed something more disturbing than they thought possible.

A voice coming through a baby monitor, that was hooked up to the home's wireless Internet system, appeared to be operating on its own. CNN reports that the hacker used the device to curse and say sexually explicit things to the sleeping girl -- calling her by name and telling her to wake up.

Gilbert says the hacker was able to take control of the camera and see his daughter's name on the wall. In a panic, he pulled the plug on the device.

miguel de Portugal comments: Just another reminder that the only safe bet is to be as unconnected as it is possible under one's particular circumstances.

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(1)  CBS News Reports



News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

The recent carnage in Egypt. (1)

miguel de Portugal comments: The West is severely criticizing the behavior of the military government of Egypt - which, of course, was inhuman.

Our question is, however, how would the U.S., France, Germany, Turkey, etc. have acted were they faced with a major segment of their population which would settle down in the middle of its major cities in defiance of the government, blocking most normal activities in the cities in question?

Then, if their behavior would have been more humane - and effective in deactivating the crisis: Why didn't they advise the Egyptian government to do the same?

Yes, they tried to mediate with both sides and the mediation failed. That is not what we are asking. We are asking: How would they have acted after efforts to clear out the protesters had failed?

It is very, very easy to pass judgment as long as "the melee takes place in the neighbor's yard."

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(1)  Euronews Reports



August 15th, 2013 [Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary]

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Another nuclear stumble by Air Force raises doubts. (1)

Another embarrassing stumble by the U.S. nuclear missile force, this time a safety and security inspection failure, is raising questions about the Air Force's management of arguably the military's most sensitive mission.

The head of nuclear air forces, Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski, revealed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., had failed what the military calls a "surety" inspection - a formal check on the unit's adherence to rules ensuring the safety, security and control of its nuclear weapons.

The 341st is one of three units that operate the Air Force's 450 Minuteman-3 intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs.

Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said a team of "relatively low-ranking" airmen failed one exercise as part of a broader inspection, which began last week and ended Tuesday. He said that for security reasons he could not be specific about the team or the exercise, although he said the team did not include missile launch crew members.

"This unit fumbled on this exercise," Kowalski said by telephone from his headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., adding that this did not call into question the safety or control of nuclear weapons at Malmstrom.

"The team did not demonstrate the right procedures," he said, and as a result was rated a failure.

"This is a difficult inspection," he said, so occasional failures do not point to a systemic failure to adhere to safety and security regulations.


miguel de Portugal comments: What sets the US apart from the rest of the world is the public admission such failures and moving on to immediately correct the source.

It will be another cold day in hell when a European nation would publicly admit to such a failure. I tip my proverbial hat to Lt. Gen. Kowalski for his candor.

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(1) News Report

 


News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

After disaster, the deadliest part of Japan's nuclear clean-up. (1)

The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is preparing to remove 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel from a damaged reactor building, a dangerous operation that has never been attempted before on this scale.

Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is already in a losing battle to stop radioactive water overflowing from another part of the facility, and experts question whether it will be able to pull off the removal of all the assemblies successfully.

"They are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods," said Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies.


miguel de Portugal comments: We would like to hear a believer in God suggesting something other than prayer that would succeed in sparing Japan from a very "hot" future.

14,000 times of the radiation released in Hiroshima should stop the world on its tracks.... then think.... and finally pray. Unfortunately, none of it will happen until it is too late.

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(1)  News Report




August 14th, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

WikiLeaks soldier Bradley Manning proposed for Nobel Peace Prize. (1)

US soldier Bradley Manning who was convicted of espionage earlier this month has been proposed as a candidate for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

The co-founder of RootsAction, the group behind the move, handed in a 5,000 page petition carrying over 100,000 signatures to the Nobel Peace Committee in Oslo on Monday.

"There is so much of a close connection between human rights, democracy and peace. And - as the saying goes - people want peace so badly that governments are going to have to get out of the way and let them have it," said Norman Solomon from RootsAction.

Solomon argues that by leaking classified US government files touching on military policy, Manning shortened America's involvement in Iraq.

The Nobel Committee said the petition would be duly considered but 'it's not a popularity contest'. The recipient of the award will be announced in October.

miguel de Portugal comments: In a world where the self appointed standard bearer of morality and family values contiues to look the other way as innocent children are sexually abused and exploited, nothing surprises us any more.

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(1) Euronews Reports

 

News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Argentine police smash a global paedophile ring. (1)

Police in Argentina have arrested 30 suspected paedophiles resulting in the break up of a global child pornography ring which spread across Latin America to Europe.

Video cameras, 15,000 compact discs and computers were all seized from a distribution centre. The images were were distributed across the world via the internet.

The children involved ranged from two to 12-years-old.

and, seven months earlier....

Arrests in Argentina after international paedophilia probe. (2)

Dozens of people have been arrested in Argentina after 61 raids in 11 provinces targeting a paedophile ring.

The operation by Argentine police and Interpol was carried out after illegal images from London-based websites were traced back to IP addresses in Argentina.

miguel de Portugal comments: What for?

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(1) Euronews Reports
(2) Euronews Reports


News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

CIA, FBI, and NSA taking steps to limit intelligence leaks. (1)  

Three of the nation's top intelligence officials say their agencies are taking steps to limit access to classified data following recent intelligence leaks by the likes of PFC Bradley Manning and NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

CIA Director John Brennan, NSA Director Keith Alexander and FBI Director Robert Mueller made a rare joint appearance at a cyber security conference at Fordham University in New York Thursday.

Alexander, whose agency is under fire for its surveillance programs, said the NSA is working to reduce "by 90 percent" the number of system administrators - instead using technology so fewer individuals come into contact with sensitive information.

But Brennan said technology "can only do so much" to limit leaks, and that training is also a key.

The three also defended the controversial surveillance programs, which Alexander said have been "grossly mischaracterized by the press."

"No one has knowingly or willfully disobeyed the law," Alexander said, echoing President Obama's comment on NBC's Tonight Show this week that "there is no domestic spying program."

But Alexander said modern technology makes surveillance necessary.

miguel de Portugal comments: Do not let them know but.... the horse left the barn already so closing the door now will do very little for our National Security. The damage is done.

Nonetheless, from the above news report it is obvious that they are still disoriented regarding the core problem. Training is the key? Please!

As Clinton would say: "It's the hiring and supervising techniques, stupid!"
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(1)  CNBC Reports



August 13th, 2013 [Mary, Refuge of Sinners]

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Disruptions: As New Targets for Hackers, Your Car and Your House. (1)

Imagine driving on the freeway at 60 miles per hour and your car suddenly screeches to a halt, causing a pileup that injures dozens of people. Now imagine you had absolutely nothing to do with the accident because your car was taken over by hackers.

Charlie Miller, a security researcher at Twitter, and Chris Valasek, director of security intelligence at IOActive, a security research company, recently demonstrated car hacks at the DefCon computer security conferences in Las Vegas. The researchers completely disabled a driver's ability to control a vehicle. No brakes. Distorted steering. All with a click of a button. While the demos were with hybrid cars, researchers warn that dozens of modern vehicles could be susceptible.

Hackers and security researchers are moving away from simply trying to break into - or protect - people's e-mail accounts, stealing credit cards and other dirty digital deeds. Now they're exploring vulnerabilities to break through the high-tech security of homes, cause car accidents or in some extreme cases, kill people who use implanted medical devices.

"Once any single computer in a car is compromised, safety of the vehicle goes out the window," Mr. Miller said in an e-mail interview. Modern cars typically have 10 to 40 little computers in them.

"Right now, there aren't a lot of ways for hackers to remotely attack cars: Blue tooth, wireless tire sensors, telematics units," he added. "But as cars get Internet connections, things will get easier for the attacker."

Barnaby Jack, who was perhaps best known for a hack that made an A.T.M. spit out cash, was supposed to demonstrate at Black Hat Security Conference how implantable medical devices, including a pacemaker, can be hacked to kill someone. But Mr. Jack, who was in his 30s, died shortly before he was to make his presentation, of causes that have yet to be determined. He was often referred to as an “ethical hacker” and hoped to show the pacemaker exploit as a warning to device makers.


miguel de Portugal comments: Welcome to the Age of No Return! There is no going back until humanity hits bottom.

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(1) New York Times Reports


News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Religious family survives being lost at sea. (1)

A northern Arizona family has survived being lost at sea for weeks after an ill-fated attempt to leave the U.S. over what they consider government interference in religion.

Weeks into their journey, the Gastonguays hit a series of storms that damaged their small boat, leaving them adrift for weeks, unable to make progress. They were eventually picked up by a Venezuelan fishing vessel, transferred to a Japanese cargo ship and taken to Chile.

The 26-year-old mother said they wanted to go to Kiribati because "we didn't want to go anywhere big." She said they understood the island to be "one of the least developed countries in the world."

Hannah Gastonguay said her family was fed up with government control in the U.S. As Christians they don't believe in "abortion, homosexuality, in the state-controlled church," she said. U.S. "churches aren't their own," Gastonguay said, suggesting that government regulation interfered with religious independence.

Among other differences, she said they had a problem with being "forced to pay these taxes that pay for abortions we don't agree with." The Gastonguays weren't members of any church, and Hannah Gastonguay said their faith came from reading the Bible and through prayer.

"We're all happy. We have good peace of mind now," he said. Hannah Gastonguay said the family will now "go back to Arizona" and "come up with a new plan."

miguel de Portugal comments: This provides perfect examples of:

(a) Even if one acts foolishly (without breaking Divine or Civil Law), but with very good intentions and great faith, God will protect them.
(b) Why it is necessary to have someone to (1) give you God's "telephone number"; (2) help you dial it; and (3) should there be a bad connection with  much "interference", help you stay on track by helping him/her in identifying the "interference" - which in this case was not knowing what God wanted them to do, which obviously was not to run away.
(c) If they truly knew the power of prayer they would have focused their spiritual energy in drawing together others of like mind and, without fanaticism, storm Heaven with prayers to change what they deemed wrong.
(d) Their lack of realization where "we are at" in Time also shows the poor "telephone connection".

We are sure that there are many more, but these are the ones that we all must remember as we navigate through the End of these Times.

Many will think of them as "nutty", which they are not. They just lacked the all important Spiritual Direction all need to avoid being ensnared.
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(1)  News Report



August 12th, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Retailers keeping tabs on consumers' return habits. (1)

It's not just the government that might be keeping tabs on you. Many retailers are tracking you, too - or at least your merchandise returns.

The companies say it's all in the name of security and fighting fraud. They want to be able to identify chronic returners or gangs of thieves trying to make off with high-end products that are returned later for store credit.

Consumer advocates are raising transparency issues about the practice of having companies collect information on consumers and create "return profiles" of customers at big-name stores such as Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Victoria's Secret, Home Depot and Nike.

The practice led to a privacy lawsuit against Best Buy that eventually was tossed out. Each year, consumers return about $264 billion worth of merchandise, or almost 9 percent of total sales, according to industry estimates.

Many buyers aren't aware that some returns, with and without receipts, are being monitored at stores that outsource that information to a third-party company, which creates a "return profile" that catalogs and analyzes the customer's returns at the store.

In a 2011 lawsuit in Florida against Best Buy, Steven Siegler complained after the magnetic strip on his driver's license was swiped for a return. He wanted the manager to delete the information. His suit said Best Buy refused. He alleged that Best Buy violated privacy law when it swiped the license. But a federal appeals court agreed with a lower court ruling that the Driver's Privacy Protection Act didn't apply in the case.

miguel de Portugal comments: And the problem is? That is a most logical and wise business move considering that fraud has become a way of life for far too many individuals.  Again - only those who have something to hide should be concerned.   As a matter of fact - there are some electronic items which, when being returned, the buyer should insist that there is a record that they have returned it.

We will give just one example: Years ago I bought a navigating device for the car (GPS) I was driving then. I installed it. Within 48 hours, my "Guardian Angels" had, shall we say, "programmed" it - I presume to better keep track of where I went. If I had returned that GPS to the store - which I could have done for  up to 14 days after the purchase - without a record that it was returned, the next buyer would have been monitored by my "Guardian Angels" until they realized the mistake. But that is minor compared to....

Imagine that the buyer of my returned GPS committed a crime or went on a vandalism spree, the authorities would have had my vehicle, thus me, present at every location of the criminal acts. Now, to prove that it was not I would have been quite difficult, unless the store had hard copy proof that I had returned the equipment on a particular date.

The same would apply to cell phones, computers, etc., etc. etc.

What next? A shoplifter refusing to have his/her bags checked after being seen stealing merchandise. Or suing the store because the security camera pictures made him/her look heavier and unappealing.

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(1) News Report


News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Hubble Solves Gamma Ray Burst Mystery. (1)

Gamma ray bursts, or GRBs, are some of the most intense displays of energy in the Universe. The origin of the mysterious short-duration gamma-ray bursts have eluded astronomers for decades, but a recent observation of a “kilonova” by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope has finally nailed down the culprit.

GRBs were first discovered by accident by satellites used in the 1960s to enforce nuclear test ban treaties. When bright flashes of gamma rays were determined to be coming from space and not from Earth, we had a new scientific phenomenon to explore, instead of nuclear war. GRBs were later separated into two broad categories: short and long bursts. We now know that long-duration GRBs signal the death of very massive stars in a “hypernova” but their few-second long short duration cousins have remained mysterious.

Astronomers got a chance to test this model when GRB130603B detonated on June 3. ... Since the burst itself lasted less than a second, this is a crucial tool for catching up with the phenomena and alerting astronomers back on Earth to start searching for the afterglow. The immediate observations following the burst showed no evidence of a supernova.

This is the first time that observational evidence of the neutron star merger has been seen, just as predicted. The kilonova also faded away when observed weeks later.

These neutron star mergers are thought to be a source of gravity waves, or ripples in the fabric of space-time that occur when two compact objects collide.


miguel de Portugal comments: One thing is for sure, with such a minute time window (less than one second) - humanity will never know what hit it unless they read it on our pages before its does, nor have time to make the necessary amends before crossing the veil.

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(1)  Discovery News


News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

NASA Mulls Waking Space Telescope for Asteroid Hunt. (1)

NASA may wake the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope from a two-year hibernation to resume its NEOWISE asteroid hunting mission for another three years, the head of the agency’s Near-Earth Object Observation Program said here Monday, July 29.

WISE launched in December 2009 and scanned for faraway comets, asteroids and galaxies for about 10 months before it depleted its hydrogen coolant in October 2010, rendering two of its four infrared detectors unusable. Rather than shut the telescope down right away, NASA approved the NEOWISE extended mission, which kept the observatory operating for another four months looking for asteroids in our solar system.

Now, NASA's Planetary Science Division is hoping for a much longer extension, which might be affordable even if Congress does not double the Near-Earth Object Observation Program’s $20 million budget in 2014, as the Obama administration requested in April.


miguel de Portugal comments:
On the surface, it makes no sense whatsoever but we are sure that they have their reasons or fears.

As the contributor commented: Hmmmm!

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(1)  News Report



August 10th, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

47-story skyscraper in Spain would be more user-friendly if it had an elevator. (1)

Let's get right to the point. If you're building a 47-story building, you’re going to need an elevator. Unfortunately, that was a point overlooked by the architectural brain trust who designed the Intempo skyscraper in Benidorm, Spain.

The condo building was initially meant to be 20-stories. When developers decided to move skyward, they reportedly neglected to reconfigure their plans to accommodate the necessary elevators beyond the 20th floor. The Intempo was intended to symbolize hope and prosperity, showing that Benidorm was recovering from financial issues.

What happens with the building remains to be seen...

miguel de Portugal comments: Any westerner who has lived in Spain, immersed in its culture, would not be the least bit surprised at such "Oops!" nor at the finger pointing that will ensue the discovery of such, shall we call it, oversight. As unbelievable as it appears - that's just the way it is!

Such comment does not reflect the general population; it reflects on the "management" - civil and political - which usually is chosen based on "who do you know" or "what family you belong to" and not on "how good/talented you are". Because of this "tradition",  the brain drain from Spain is very significant and very detrimental to the country.

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(1) MSN Reports
 

News Report No. 2
[our highlights]

Britain's fraud agency admits to loss of data and audio tapes. (1)

The Serious Fraud Office in Britain said it lost data and audio tapes linked to a bribery investigation involving British Aerospace Electronic (BAE) Systems. The SFO said no national security material was involved.

BAE is Britain’s biggest defence contractor. A deal with Saudi Arabia was under investigation but it was dropped after an intervention by then Prime Minister Tony Blair.


miguel de Portugal comments: That is how Western nations resolve "conflict of interests" or.... What is done when the "movers and shakers" are caught with the hands in the cookie jar!

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(1)  Euronews Reports



News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

The meteor shower of Perseids coming on August 11 and 12. (1)

On August 11 and 12, the annual Perseid meteor shower will peak, filling the sky with streaks of light, commonly known as shooting stars. Such visually stunning showers are actually but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to meteoroids slamming into Earth’s atmosphere: Some 10 to 40 tons of material of invisible meteoric dust enters the atmosphere from interplanetary space every day.

The big showers like the Perseids, and later the Leonids in November, are caused when Earth and its atmosphere travel through a region of the sky filled with leftover debris lost by a particular comet. In the case of the Perseids, the small fragments were ripped off the tail of comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 130 years.

miguel de Portugal comments: Maybe we get lucky and a one mile wide Perseid meteor slipped by and God finally gets His show on the road..... with a bang!

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(1)  Euronews Reports



August 9th, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

"Father" doesn't always know best. "Father" in this case are the FDA and the Center for Disease Control. (1)

The story goes as follows....I walked out of my apartment in Secunderabad, India, leaving the door wide open, the lights on and my laptop humming. I don't remember doing this. I know I did it because the building's night watchman saw me leave. I woke up the next day in a train station four miles away, with no idea who I was or why I was in India. A policeman found me, and I ended up strapped down, hallucinating in a mental hospital for three days.

The cause of this incident was drugs. And these drugs had been recommended to me by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I had been prescribed mefloquine hydrochloride, brand name Lariam, to protect myself from malaria while I was in India on a Fulbright fellowship.

Since Lariam was approved in 1989, it has been clear that a small number of people who take it develop psychiatric symptoms like amnesia, hallucinations, aggression and paranoia, or neurological problems like the loss of balance, dizziness or ringing in the ears.

F. Hoffmann LaRoche, the pharmaceutical company that marketed the drug, said only about 1 in 10,000 people were estimated to experience the worst side effects. But in 2001, a randomized double-blind study done in the Netherlands was published, showing that 67 percent of people who took the drug experienced one or more adverse effects, and 6 percent had side effects so severe they required medical attention.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration finally acknowledged the severity of the neurological and psychiatric side effects and required that mefloquine’s label carry a “black box” warning of them. But this is too little, too late.

There are countless horror stories about the drug’s effects. One example: in 1999, an Ohio man, back from a safari in Zimbabwe, went down to the basement for a gallon of milk and instead put a shotgun to his head and pulled the trigger. Another: in Somalia in 1993, a Canadian soldier beat a Somali prisoner to death and then attempted suicide. “Psycho Tuesday” was the name his regiment had given to the day of the week they took their Lariam.


miguel de Portugal comments:
Maybe what is needed is disease control without the Center and the FDA being controlled by the drug manufacturers.

From the above - obviously confirmed data - there is no excuse, whatsoever, for Lariam ever being approved. Reasons for its approval?  Plenty, we are sure, but none of them ethical.

For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel, shall save it. [Mark 8:35]

It is this type of corrupt behavior that spawns actions like those of Manning and Snowden. It does not justify their actions; it just explains its roots.

In my years in the petrochemical industry - most of them with the fourth petrochemical of the world - I cannot think of a single act by my superiors which would have inspired anyone to become a whistle blower. Surely, mistakes were made... but they were real mistakes, which happens in real life, but not immoral and illegal actions which, when discovered, were labeled as mistakes.

This, brethren, is how far humanity has fallen since the eighties.

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(1) New York Times Reports

 
News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Anti-smoking battle moves outdoors; bans increase. (1)

First it was at bars, restaurants and office buildings. Now the front lines of the "No Smoking" battle have moved outdoors.

City parks, public beaches, college campuses and other outdoor venues across the country are putting up signs telling smokers they can't light up. Outdoor smoking bans have nearly doubled in the last five years, with the tally now at nearly 2,600 and more are in the works.

...there's been little study of the potential dangers of whiffing secondhand smoke while in the open air. But that hasn't stopped outdoor bans from taking off in the last five years. The rules can apply to playgrounds, zoos, beaches and ball fields, as well as outdoor dining patios, bus stops and building doorways.

But is it (second hand smoke) really dangerous outdoors?

Federal health officials say yes. Studies have clearly established that even a brief exposure indoors to cigarette smoke can cause blood to become sticky and more prone to clotting. How long that lasts after just one dose isn't clear, officials say. The best-known studies so far have measured only up to about a day afterward.

miguel de Portugal comments: That's right... feed them Larian but don't let them smoke outdoors.

(sarcasm on) Maybe the tobacco companies should match the drug companies in their "contributions" to the well being of the regulators. (sarcasm off).

_________________
(1)  News Report


News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

Creating a New Flu Strain, Just To Prove They Can. (1)

In an outrageous display of chutzpah, a group of flu researchers led by Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands announced today, in a letter to the journal Nature, that they were planning to engineer the new H7N9 avian flu strain to give it new, possibly much more deadly capabilities.

Fouchier is the same scientist who, two years ago, adapted the highly pathogenic H5N1 flu strain so that it could be passed from human to human, which it cannot do in its natural form.  The resulting outcry delayed publication of his paper, but it eventually did appear.

Now they want to do the same thing, and much more, with the new H7N9 influenza virus, which has killed 43 people in China to date, and which epidemiologists are tracking with great concern.

What about the risk? As reported in the Daily Mail, Fouchier and his colleague Yoshihiro Kawaoka themselves said

 "H7N9's pandemic risk would rise ‘exponentially’ if it gained the ability to spread more easily among people."

miguel de Portugal comments: What amazing and tragic is that these imbeciles will be allowed, by those who are supposed to be safeguarding our well being, to do so.

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(1)  News Report



August 8th, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

The Machine Zone: This Is Where You Go When You Just Can't Stop Looking at Pictures on Facebook. (1)

What an anthropologist's examination of Vegas slot machines reveals about the hours we spend on social networks "People love Facebook. They really love it," Biz Stone wrote earlier this month. "My mother-in-law looks hypnotized when she decides to put in some Facebook time."

She is not the only one. ComScore estimates Facebook eats up 11 percent of all the time spent online in the United States. Its users have been known to spend an average of 400 minutes a month on the site.

Are these experiences, as Stone would have it, love? The tech world generally measures how much you like a service by how much time you spend on it. So a lot of time equals love. My own intuition is that this is not love. It's something much more technologically specific that MIT anthropologist Natasha Schüll calls "the machine zone."

miguel de Portugal comments: satan continues to be having a proverbial Field Day and few notice it.... they are too busy falling for it.

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(1) The Atlantic Reports
 
 
News Report No. 2
[our highlights]

As the saying goes... "Don't look now but...." gold has lost $ 500 per ounce ( 28 % of its value) within the last ten months.
 
Gold is traditionally a haven for security in troubled financial times; therefore, in troubled financial times the price of gold would traditionally go up. We are living in troubled financial times on a worldwide scale, yet the "Gold Price response" is reversed.

Reason? There are stronger and hidden forces which have overpowered  the "text-book" Gold-to-Financial-State-of-the-World response.

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(1)  Source


News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

Drawing the Line on Altering Human Minds. (1)

...a number of researchers and scientists were coming closer to technology usually reserved for science fiction: hacking our brains to remove unwanted and sad memories.

Although the idea of deleting a memory might sound appealing to some - who doesn't want to forget that first heartbreak? - it might have disastrous consequences for our brains. It's one thing to digitally enhance our memories with gadgets like iPhones and Google Glass, it's something entirely different to delete or change past memories using technology.

"The human brain is intricate and a lot of damage can occur," warned Jolan from Brooklyn in a comment on the column.

"If science wants to play with people's thinking, then they ought to first decide about moral and ethical values of who they work for and the consequences of their actions," wrote Mr. Magoo 5 from North Carolina.

Given today's surveillance society, where the National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and countless foreign governments monitor communications, connecting our brains and thoughts to the Internet might be asking for even more government trouble.

"What a mess that would be. Can you imagine N.S.A. hoovering up your thoughts from the Internet?" wrote Maurie Beck, from Encino, Calif. "You would need encryption software, but that might not be any different from software used today."

"A hacker's dream?" wrote another commentator. These types of hacks could start to resemble the government surveillance under "Big Brother" in George Orwell's famous book "1984."


miguel de Portugal comments: We have not even scratched the surface of the functioning of the brain and some humans are stupid enough to consider altering its memory banks and circuits. Amazing, simply amazing!

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(1)  New York Times Reports



August 7th, 2013 [End of Ramadan (A time of rejoicing for Muslims. Houses are decorated and they exchange gifts among relatives.)]

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Radioactive water emergency at Fukushima 'beyond Tepco's control'. (1)

Japan's devastated nuclear plant at Fukushima is facing a new emergency due to radioactive water underground that is threatening to rise to the surface.

The operator Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) is struggling to contain water that is seeping into the Pacific Ocean. It has released a video of a probe from one of the reactors. The country's Nuclear Regulatory Authority says a barrier has already been breached and the leak could accelerate rapidly.

"The situation is already beyond Tepco's control. Otherwise they'd already have taken proper measures. They are doing everything they can but but there are no perfect solutions," said Masashi Goto, a retired nuclear engineer who worked on several Tepco plants.

The operator says it is taking steps to prevent the leak, but the regulator argues the measures are only temporary.

Japan shut down all but two of its 50 nuclear reactors following the tsunami in March 2011, but is reportedly considering restarting some.


miguel de Portugal comments: This is just another reminder that most of those "on the know" are way over their heads when the unexpected happens.

Also it is to remind all that the word from Japan about the disaster has been for quite some time: All is under control.

The third reminder is that unless we do not place our full trust in God, we do not have a proverbial prayer.

Man continues to be reminded by God that, when all is said and done, man cannot even get out of a paper bag, even with instructions!
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(1) Euronews Reports

 

News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

U.S. tells citizens in Yemen to leave immediately. (1)

The United States told its citizens in Yemen to leave immediately and airlifted out some U.S. government personnel, following warnings of potential attacks that have pushed Washington to shut diplomatic missions across the Middle East.

miguel de Portugal comments: Considering that today is the end of Ramadan, which is a time of rejoicing for Muslims, we would not be surprised if some irrational (that is, beyond fanatic) Muslims are planning as massive attacks on U.S. interest as the means of "rejoicing" at the end of Ramadan.

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(1)  News Reports



News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

Global airline computer outage triggers delays, cancellations. (1)

Dozens of flights were canceled or delayed worldwide early Tuesday after a major computer software outage forced several airlines to manually check-in and board passengers - with some staff using pen and paper.

Carriers using the Texas-based Sabre reservations system - including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Virgin and Etihad - lost connection for about four hours, starting at about 9:30 p.m. ET Monday. The system was restored at about 2.30 a.m. ET Tuesday, but not before dozens of flights were delayed because airport-based airline staff had to process passengers manually.

At least three airlines - Alaska, Virgin Australia and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad - were forced to issue boarding passes using pen and paper.

miguel de Portugal comments: This computer "outage" sounds more like a "hacking job". Not long ago there was another one which had the same description: "software outage" or "computer failure".

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(1)  News Report



August 6th, 2013 [Transfiguration of Our Lord and Anniversary of the Nuclear Devastation in Hiroshima, Japan]

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Stem cell burgers - Scientists to serve lab-made burger from cow cells. (1)

For hamburgers that cost more than $300,000 to produce, you might expect fries and a shake too. But this is no ordinary burger being served to two volunteer taste-testers in London on Monday. This meat was grown in a laboratory from stem cells of cattle.

Mark Post, whose team at Maastricht University in the Netherlands developed the burger after five years of research, hopes that making meat in labs could eventually help solve the food crisis and fight climate change. But Post says success doesn't hinge on science. "For the burger to succeed it has to look, feel and taste like the real thing," he said.

The meat was made from cow muscle cells from two organic cows. The resulting patties will be seasoned with salt, egg powder, breadcrumbs, red beet juice and saffron.

Post and colleagues took muscle cells from a cow and put them into a nutrient solution to help them develop into muscle tissue. The muscle cells grew into small strands of meat, and it takes nearly 20,000 strands to make one 140-gram (5-ounce) burger.


miguel de Portugal comments: Revolting and completely unnecessary - even if there were not a massive Divine intervention in the near future and the world would continue to go on "as is".

No matter which way it is approached - Human's drive to be God-like is so ingrained in his fallen nature that he is blind to it.... and we are truly fed up with it!
_________________
(1) News Report


News Report No. 2
[our highlights]

U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans. (1)

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

"I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

"It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations."

miguel de Portugal comments: Haven't these people reviewed Tim Weiner's well documented book about the FBI?

None of what Reuters reports is new with the exception of the massive amount of data which is now available due to the technoligical "advances". The methodology is exactly the same as developed and practiced by the legendary FBI's Master - Mr. Hoover.

This is the same book that Edward Snowden did not read.

There is nothing new under the Sun.... just more fools to believe that there is!

Lord have Mercy!  This is getting boring! The "bad" are not even good at being bad and the "ignorant" are so ignorant that they cannot realize it!

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(1)  Reuters Reports


News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

Republicans want NBC, CNN to pull Clinton programs. (1)

The Republican National Committee wants NBC and CNN to cancel upcoming programs on Hillary Rodham Clinton and is threatening to blackball the networks from future Republican presidential debates if they fail to comply.

RNC chairman Reince Priebus...  vows not to partner with the networks on GOP debates if they don't pull the programs.

CNN Films is planning a feature-length film on the former first lady and secretary of state for next year. NBC has announced a miniseries "Hillary" starring Diane Lane. It's expected to be released before the 2016 presidential election.


miguel de Portugal comments: This is exactly how the Opus Dei operates in Spain according to what business individuals, who have been victims of such blackmail, have told me. The wording is almost a direct translation from Spanish. Now we know, without a doubt, who is really in charge in the Republican Party.

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(1)  News Report



August 5th, 2013 [Feast of Our Lady of Snows and Dedication of St. Mary Major Basilica - Rome]

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

USPS takes photos of all mail. (1)

The Postal Service takes pictures of every piece of mail processed in the United States - 160 billion last year - and keeps them on hand for up to a month.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the photos of the exterior of mail pieces are used primarily for the sorting process, but they are available for law enforcement, if requested.

The photos have been used "a couple of times" by to trace letters in criminal cases, Donahoe told the AP on Thursday, most recently involving ricin-laced letters sent to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"We don't snoop on customers," said Donahoe, adding that there's no big database of the images because they are kept on nearly 200 machines at processing facilities across the country. Each machine retains only the images of the mail it processes.

"We've used (the Mail Isolation and Tracking program) to sort the mail for years," Donahoe said, "and when law enforcement asked us, 'Hey, is there any way you can figure out where this came from?' we were able to use that imaging."

miguel de Portugal comments: It seems like a good and practical nidea to me.

_________________
(1) News Report


News Report No. 2
[our highlights]

A Cheap Spying Tool With a High Creepy Factor. (1)

Brendan O'Connor is a security researcher. How easy would it be, he recently wondered, to monitor the movement of everyone on the street – not by a government intelligence agency, but by a private citizen with a few hundred dollars to spare?

Mr. O'Connor, 27, bought some plastic boxes and stuffed them with a $25, credit-card size Raspberry Pi Model A computer and a few over-the-counter sensors, including Wi-Fi adapters. He connected each of those boxes to a command and control system, and he built a data visualization system to monitor what the sensors picked up: all the wireless traffic emitted by every nearby wireless device, including smartphones.

Each box cost $57. He produced 10 of them, and then he turned them on – to spy on himself. He could pick up the Web sites he browsed when he connected to a public Wi-Fi – say at a cafe – and he scooped up the unique identifier connected to his phone and iPad. Gobs of information traveled over the Internet in the clear, meaning they were entirely unencrypted and simple to scoop up.

Even when he didn't connect to a Wi-Fi network, his sensors could track his location through Wi-Fi "pings." His iPhone pinged the iMessage server to check for new messages. When he logged on to an unsecured Wi-Fi, it revealed what operating system he was using on what kind of device, and whether he was using Dropbox or went on a dating site or browsed for shoes on an e-commerce site. One site might leak his e-mail address, another his photo.

"Actually it's not hard," he concluded. "It's terrifyingly easy."

miguel de Portugal comments: As we do not tire of saying.... being monitored by an official governmental agency should be the least of everyone's concern.

The problem is the "average" citizen who may have interest in you, your life and/or your property. How long will it be before someone starts manufacturing the gadget Mr. O'Connor developed and sell it to anyone via the Internet?

Forewarned IS Forearmed.
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(1)  New York Times Reports



News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

Polish priest's dismissal exposes rift over dialogue with Jews. (1)

When the outspoken Polish priest Wojciech Lemanski returned with his parishioners to his church near Warsaw after holding a prayer vigil at the Treblinka Nazi death camp in early July, a dismissal notice awaited him.

The Warsaw diocese of the Roman Catholic Church sacked Lemanski as parish priest in the small village of Jasienica for what it said was his insubordination

"God knocked on my door and said he wanted something more from me. I can't imagine being a priest without a special sensitivity for the Jews, their tragedies and a need for dialogue," the priest said in an interview.

Lemanski is among a few Catholic priests who commemorate the massacre each year with Jewish leaders and holds prayer vigils at the Treblinka camp, one of the infamous Nazi death factories where Jews, along with Poles and others, were gassed.

He also recovered gravestones from abandoned and destroyed Jewish cemeteries, incorporating two of them into the main alter of his church. That move stoked charges from some conservative Catholics that he was turning it into a synagogue.

In a statement explaining its decision to send Lemanski on early retirement, the Warsaw Diocese did not refer to the gravestones, but said he had failed to get church permission on issues related to the parish.

Jewish community leaders have avoided being pulled into the affair, but some have expressed support for Lemanski's efforts.

"I can say one thing: looking at the way parishioners treat the priest, I think that if the Jewish community had had a rabbi like Lemanski, the community would have been very pleased," said Piotr Kadlcik, head of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland.

Despite being sidelined by his superiors, Lemanski said he would remain active after lodging an appeal with the Vatican.


miguel de Portugal comments: Based on what anyone who has eyes has already seen.... had he been caught molesting boys at his parish he would have been promoted. And this is not being sarcastic!
_________________
(1) News Report



August 3rd, 2013 [First Saturday of the Month]

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Edward Snowden got asylum in Russia, lawyer says. (1)

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden left transit zone of a Moscow airport and entered Russia after authorities granted him temporary asylum, his lawyer said Thursday. The U.S. has demanded that Russia send Snowden home to face prosecution for espionage, but President Vladimir Putin dismissed the request.

Putin had said that Snowden could receive asylum in Russia on condition he stops leaking U.S. secrets. Kucherena has said Snowden accepted the condition.

The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday published a new report on U.S. intelligence-gathering based on information from Snowden, but Kucherena said the material was provided before Snowden promised to stop leaking.

miguel de Portugal comments: What happened to our "Super Allies", the British? After all, The Guardian is published in Great Britain, not in Jupiter or Pluto.

(sarcasm on) Oh, silly me! They are too busy with the Royal Baby to bother with anything else..... (sarcasm off)
_________________
(1) News Report

 
News Report No. 2
[our highlights]

NY man questioned for computer search history. (1)

A former employee of a New York computer company was questioned after his workplace computer search history revealed inquiries for "pressure cooker bombs" and "backpacks," but no criminality was determined, the Suffolk County Police Department said in a statement Thursday.

Authorities have said the bombs used at the Boston Marathon in April,... involved pressure cookers placed in backpacks.

The man was questioned after detectives from the department's intelligence unit received a tip from a Long Island-based computer company claiming the recently released employee's computer had suspicious searches, the police said. After interviewing company representatives, they questioned the man at his home where they determined there was no criminality.

The police issued their statement after receiving numerous media inquiries in response to a blog post written Thursday by a woman writing under the name Michele Catalano.

Catalano,... speculated in her post that her husband had been interviewed Wednesday by "six agents from the joint terrorism task force" because of the family's search history on Google.

She wrote that her husband had researched buying backpacks and she had researched pressure cookers. She writes, also, that her "curious news junkie of a twenty-year-old son" may have read a news story about how instructions to make pressure cooker bombs are available online.

miguel de Portugal comments: I certainly hope that the FBI keeps that family under a very watchful eye - unless, of course, all of them, father, mother and son, used the same computer, which was at the father's former employers office, to conduct their searches.....

_________________
(1)  News Report


News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

Japan's Aso refuses to resign over Nazi comment. (1)

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso refused Friday to resign or apologize over remarks suggesting Japan should follow the Nazi example of how to change the country's constitution stealthily and without public debate.

Following protests by neighboring countries and human rights activists, he "retracted" the comments on Thursday but refused to go further.

"I have no intention to step down" as Cabinet minister of lawmaker, Aso, who is also the deputy prime minister, told reporters. The government also said it is not seeking Aso's resignation, which some opposition members have demanded.

Aso, who is known for intemperate remarks, drew outrage for saying Japan should learn from how the Nazi party stealthily changed Germany's pre-World War II constitution before anyone realized it. He also suggested that Japanese politicians should make visit Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine quietly to avoid controversy. Such visits currently take place amid wide publicity and are a sore point for Southeast Asian nations, who suffered under Japanese occupation during World War II.


miguel de Portugal comments: It is not a matter of Mr. Aso resigning. It is a matter that the head of the Japanese government - plus the Imperial House - did not demand his resignation.

Of course, it really does not matter any more for the reasons that we have stated on this same forum before, but... it is interesting to note that "zebras do not lose their stripes nor leopards their spots" in just two or three generations.
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(1)  News Report



August 2nd, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Texas students fake GPS signals and take control of an $80 million yacht. (1)

The scientists who conducted the experiment - done with permission of the yacht's owners - say their ability to broadcast counterfeit GPS signals that triggered no alarms within the ship's navigation system highlights a serious flaw in transportation networks on land and sea. Some 90 percent of the world's freight moves by sea.

Moreover other semi-autonomous vehicles, such as aircraft, are likely similarly vulnerable.

The problem is not intractable. As this technical paper published in 2011 shows, there are some possible fixes. Nevertheless, it doesn't take too much imagination to figure out how, when most people carry a GPS enabled device in his or her pocket, that spoofing could pose a problem if not accounted for.

miguel de Portugal comments: The "security and safety" of it all! - just another falsified myth.

The more we depend on high tech, the more vulnerable we become.

Every day that goes by we must depend more and more in God and not in hi tech. Hi tech is practical, but not worthy of our blind trust. Only God is.

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(1) News Report

 
News Report No. 2
[our highlights]

Court Upholds Cellphone Tracking Without a Warrant. (1)

In a significant victory for law enforcement, a federal appeals court said on Tuesday that government authorities could extract historical location data directly from telecommunications carriers without a search warrant.

The closely watched case, in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, is the first ruling that squarely addresses the constitutionality of warrantless searches of historical location data stored by cellphone service providers. Ruling 2 to 1, the court said a warrantless search was "not per se unconstitutional" because location data was "clearly a business record" and therefore not protected by the Fourth Amendment.

miguel de Portugal comments: Translation: Every step of anyone carrying a cell phone can be tracked, historically and in real time. Considering that today's man "will be caught dead without a Smart Phone", even his every "pit stop" will be recorded - time and location

Again, if one has nothing to hide: No problem! Otherwise.... start praying!.
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(1)  News Report


News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

Religious order files reveal decades of LA abuse. (1)

In therapy sessions, the priest confessed the shocking details he'd kept hidden for years: He had molested more than 100 boys, including his 5-year-old brother. He had sex with male prostitutes, and frequented gay strip clubs.

The admissions of the Rev. Ruben Martinez are included among nearly 2,000 pages of secret files unsealed Wednesday that were kept on priests, brothers and nuns who belonged to religious orders but were accused of child molestation while working within the Los Angeles archdiocese.

The documents cover five different religious orders that employed 10 priests or religious brothers and two nuns who were all accused in civil lawsuits of molesting children. Among them, the accused had 21 alleged victims between the 1950s and the 1980s.

That the files don't reflect some of the alleged abuse doesn't mean it didn't happen, said Ray Boucher, lead attorney for some abuse victims. "Much of this went unreported. You're talking about kids that were terrorized and frightened in so many different ways, with no place and no one to turn to."

The file shows that Martinez was sent to the Missouri retreat home for troubled priests in 2005. In a psychiatric assessment dated that same year, Martinez said he hadn't had sexual contact with a child in 23 years and had learned to control his impulses. The same report notes that at age 13, Martinez sexually molested his little brother and went on to molest "about 100 male minors" - a detail also included in several others therapy evaluations in the file.

"It has not been easy to face what I did, to admit it and to talk about it with others," Martinez wrote to the order's provincial in 2006. "I have had to deal with depression, self-hatred, the inability and unwillingness to forgive myself, and the desire and tendency to isolate."

miguel de Portugal comments: Again we can see, in Martinez' case, a very mentally/spiritually sick man, and in all of his superiors much criminal action. Why was that man not removed from active ministry immediately? Better yet, how was his tremendous dysfunction not spotted during his pre ordination years?

Of course, those are rhetorical questions since we know, and very well!, the answers.

(sarcasm on) We presume that Bergoglio will now organize a Dirty Dancing "flash mob" as therapy for hierarchy responsible for the cover ups. (sarcasm off) . In any case, I pray that such was a sarcastic remark and not a prophecy.

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(1)  News Report


August 1st, 2013

News Report No. 1
[our highlights]

Francis in another "endearing to the mobs" photo and video op.

There is a 1.5 minute video (1) showing Francis getting off the plane after arriving from Rio, and then going to St. Mary Major to pray.

He enters the cathedral carrying a beach ball and a green sports jersey, and places these two items at the center of the altar.

The beach ball tries to roll off the altar, till Francis secures it in place with the rolled-up sports jersey.

Then he retreats a bit to pray before the altar.


  The Virgin Mary comments: Enough!

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(1) Video


News Report No. 2

[our highlights]

Governmentt Knows Best? White House creates 'nudge squad' to shape behavior. (1)

The federal government is hiring what it calls a "Behavioral Insights Team" that will look for ways to subtly influence people's behavior, according to a document describing the program obtained by FoxNews.com. Critics warn there could be unintended consequences to such policies, while supporters say the team could make government and society more efficient.

While the program is still in its early stages, the document shows the White House is already working on such projects with almost a dozen federal departments and agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.

"Behavioral sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people to achieve their goals," reads the government document describing the program, which goes on to call for applicants to apply for positions on the team.

The document was emailed by Maya Shankar, a White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences, to a university professor with the request that it be distributed to people interested in joining the team.

The idea is that the team would "experiment" with various techniques, with the goal of tweaking behavior so people do everything from saving more for retirement to saving more in energy costs. The document praises subtle policies to change behavior that have already been implemented in England, which already has a "Behavioral Insights Team."

miguel de Portugal comments: What's the big surprise and uproar about this?

Sellers of any kind merchandise have been doing this for decades through commercials, and no one has said a proverbial peep.

Parents influence their children behavior as they raise them.

As long as the "influencing" is done with a constructive objective - create better and more responsible citizens, for example - the idea has merit and they should have had it in place decades ago. Unfortunately, instead they resorted to amateur brainwashing techniques - such as the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" and the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq - which made them look ridiculous before the international community, or the half baked make believe theater like the Cuban Missile "Crisis".

Of course, it really does not matter any more. We were just commenting on it as if the world had the Go Ahead from God to keep on going as it is.... a Go Ahead that was  rescinded some time ago. Thanks be to God!

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(1)  Fox News Reports


News Report No. 3
[our highlights]

The Catholic Church is exerting a growing influence in Cuba. (1)

A representative of the Cuban Catholic Church explained at an event Monday that presently the Catholic Church is exerting a growing influence in the country.

"There is an open dialogue, there is not a road map, there is an open dialogue where everything can be included," said Márquez.  "They talked about the situation in Cuba and the relationship with the regime, how to improve the relations between the Church and the government."

"Over the last two decades, the Catholic Church has come to occupy a unique space within Cuban society and has developed a growing dialogue with the Cuban state," reads a description of the event on Brookings' website.  "Actively interested in the ongoing economic reform process, the Archdiocese of Havana promotes debate regarding the role of the state and citizens in the economy and facilitates graduate training in business studies."

Ted Piccone, senior fellow and deputy director of public policy for Brookings, moderated the event.

"For all of you here, if you haven't been following, you will learn quickly how interesting and exciting things are in Cuba these days and the Catholic Church has something to do with that," said Piccone.

"For the last several years, the Catholic Church has played a dynamic role at the leadership level as well as at the local level in breaking new ground, in having conversations, in promoting discussions and dialogue about the future of Cuba."

In an interview with CP, Quigley of the USCCB explained that the Catholic Church's freedom to operate has improved over time.

"The Revolution demanded that faith from the individual. It is not the case right now. They are not interfering. Even in the tough moments of the '60s, our situation was not like the other Soviet, socialist countries in Europe."

According to Open Doors USA, about 57 percent of Cuba is Christian. A common complaint among Christians in the Caribbean nation is that of constant government surveillance and infiltration.


miguel de Portugal comments: Since the Opus Dei lost ground in Cuba, now, with a Jesuit "Pope", they may regain it again.

Oh, yes, we forgot to mention..... Castro was educated by the Jesuits.

Regarding "A common complaint among Christians in the Caribbean nation is that of constant government surveillance and infiltration." Why should they worry about surveillance and infiltration if they are doing what Jesus taught us?

Jesus and His followers, who were under the watchful eye of the evil Roman Empire, had no problems with them, and neither was John Bosco's effort interfered with in the anticlerical Italy of the 19th century. Even the crucifixion was masterminded by the Temple Masters (the "Vatican" of the time), not by the Romans.

If they are worried about being watched and infiltrated, they are obviously not doing what Jesus intended that we do.

Therefore, "Christians in the Caribbean", take your complaints elsewhere!

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(1)  News Report



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