Monthly Archives: September 2013

UN Security Council agrees to rid Syria of chemical weapons, endorses peace process

Thanks;UN NEWS CENTER

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Members ot the Security Council vote on the resolution. UN Photo/Mark Garten

27 September 2013 – In the wake of an August chemical attack in Syria which a United Nations team later confirmed had killed hundreds of civilians, the Security Council on Friday called for the elimination of the country’s chemical weapons, while endorsing a diplomatic plan for Syrian-led negotiations toward peace.

Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2118 (2013), the Council called for the speedy implementation of procedures drawn up by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) “for the expeditious destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme and stringent verification thereof.”

In the text, the Council underscored “that no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer chemical weapons.”

Defiance of the resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, would bring about measures under the UN Charter’s binding Chapter VII, which can include sanctions or stronger coercive action, the Council said.

The 15-member body added that it would work with the OPCW in deploying a chemical weapons “monitoring and destruction team” – expecting the full cooperation of the Syrian Government – and it appealed to UN Member States for support, including personnel, expertise, funding and equipment.

It also authorized Member States to acquire, control, transport, transfer and destroy chemical weapons identified by the Director-General of the OPCW, in a way consistent with the Chemical Weapons Convention and the interest of non-proliferation.

“Today’s historic resolution is the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council following the adoption. “For many months, I have said that the confirmed use of chemical weapons in Syria would require a firm, united response.

“Tonight, the international community has delivered,” he stated.

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UN Security Council meets to unanimously adopt resolution on safeguarding and destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

27 September 2013 – In the wake of an August chemical attack in Syria which a United Nations team later confirmed had killed hundreds of civilians, the Security Council on Friday called for the elimination of the country’s chemical weapons, while endorsing a diplomatic plan for Syrian-led negotiations toward peace.

Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2118 (2013), the Council called for the speedy implementation of procedures drawn up by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) “for the expeditious destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme and stringent verification thereof.”

In the text, the Council underscored “that no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer chemical weapons.”

Defiance of the resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, would bring about measures under the UN Charter’s binding Chapter VII, which can include sanctions or stronger coercive action, the Council said.

The 15-member body added that it would work with the OPCW in deploying a chemical weapons “monitoring and destruction team” – expecting the full cooperation of the Syrian Government – and it appealed to UN Member States for support, including personnel, expertise, funding and equipment.

It also authorized Member States to acquire, control, transport, transfer and destroy chemical weapons identified by the Director-General of the OPCW, in a way consistent with the Chemical Weapons Convention and the interest of non-proliferation.

“Today’s historic resolution is the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council following the adoption. “For many months, I have said that the confirmed use of chemical weapons in Syria would require a firm, united response.

“Tonight, the international community has delivered,” he stated.

‹›
UN Security Council meets to unanimously adopt resolution on safeguarding and destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

“As we mark this important step, we must never forget that the catalogue of horrors in Syria continues with bombs and tanks, grenades and guns,” Mr. Ban added. “A red light for one form of weapons does not mean a green light for others. This is not a license to kill with conventional weapons. All the violence must end. All the guns must fall silent.”

Earlier today, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said that the UN team led by Swedish scientist ?ke Sellström has been able to resume its fact-finding activities related to all pending credible allegations of chemical weapons use, following its return to Syria this week.

Those allegations include, he said, the 19 March incident at Khan al-Asal, reported first by Syria and subsequently by other Member States. As previously agreed with Syria, the other allegations to be investigated include the 13 April incident at Sheikh Maqsud, reported by the United States, and the 29 April incident at Saraqueb, reported by France and the United Kingdom.

In addition, he said, the mission has continued to follow-up with the Government of Syria and to evaluate information it has provided on three additional allegations, including the incidents at Bahhariyeh on 22 August, at Jobar on 24 August, and at Sahnaya on 25 August.

The team, assisted by experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the OPCW, visited the country last month and found “clear and convincing evidence” that Sarin gas was used in an incident that occurred on 21 August in the Ghouta area on the outskirts of Damascus in which hundreds of people were reportedly killed.

Under the General Assembly-approved guidelines, the spokesperson recalled, the mission is obliged to evaluate all available information related to all allegations reported by Member States, for the purpose of preparing its final report.

Also in today’s resolution, the Council endorsed a plan for a Syrian-led process, with participation of all parties, to end the conflict, which has claimed over 100,000 lives since it began in March 2011 and has led to over 2 million people fleeing the country, with some 4 million internally displaced.

It also called for convening, as soon as possible, an international peace conference that is fully representative of the Syrian people.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Ban said the aim is to hold the conference in mid-November. “The United Nations is ready to host Geneva II. It is time for the parties to focus on how to build the peaceful, democratic future Syria needs. All those with influence on the parties must use that influence now. It is crucial to keep up the momentum.

“Today can and must be a stepping stone to peace.”

5 Quotes to Love and Live By

Julie Green Art & Photography

“It is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”

Irish Proverb

“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”

Plato

“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”

Ray Bradbury

“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.”

Author Unknown

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BofA Merrill Lynch cuts 2014 gold forecast by 17% to $1,294

Thanks;The outlook for gold GCZ3 1.01% in 2014 is looking positively dicey if you go by the views of several investment banks lately.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Friday became the latest investment bank to drop its 2014 forecast for gold, cutting its view by 17.2% to $1,294 an ounce.

“Gold prices have stabilized and they could remain supported as the U.S. reaches the debt ceiling. However, we believe the focus of investors remains firmly on a gradual normalization of U.S. monetary policy. Hence, our base case anticipates sustained headwinds to gold prices,” says Daniel Lian and other analysts in a note.
“Given the unfolding rebound of global economic growth, we believe the more cyclical precious metals, including silver, are likely to outperform gold.”
Lian says Merrill remains a longer-term gold bull, even if it’s short-term skittish. But for 2015, Merrill’s gold forecast dropped 17.8% to $1,356. This year, Merrill sees gold ending at $1,419, a 4% drop from its earlier forecast.

Pope attacks global economy for worshipping ‘god of money’

Thanks;Philip Pullella, Reuters

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CAGLIARI, Sardinia — Pope Francis made one of his strongest attacks on the global economic system on Sunday, saying it could no longer be based on a “god called money” and urged the unemployed to fight for work.
Francis, at the start of a day-long trip to the Sardinian capital, Cagliari, put aside his prepared text at a meeting with unemployed workers, including miners in hard hats who told him of their situation, and improvised for nearly 20 minutes.
“I find suffering here … It weakens you and robs you of hope,” he said. “Excuse me if I use strong words, but where there is no work there is no dignity.”
He discarded his prepared speech after listening to Francesco Mattana, a 45-year-old married father of three who lost his job with an alternative energy company four years ago.
Mattana, his voice trembling, told the pope that unemployment “oppresses you and wears you out to the depths of your soul.”

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AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
People wave white and yellow Vatican flags as they wait for Pope Francis to arrive at the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Bonaria, to celebrate a mass on the occasion of his one day visit to the island of Sardinia, in Cagliari, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.

Reuters/Giampiero Sposito
Pope Francis looks on as he leads a mass outside the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria in Cagliari September 22, 2013.

By Philip Pullella, Reuters
CAGLIARI, Sardinia — Pope Francis made one of his strongest attacks on the global economic system on Sunday, saying it could no longer be based on a “god called money” and urged the unemployed to fight for work.
Francis, at the start of a day-long trip to the Sardinian capital, Cagliari, put aside his prepared text at a meeting with unemployed workers, including miners in hard hats who told him of their situation, and improvised for nearly 20 minutes.
“I find suffering here … It weakens you and robs you of hope,” he said. “Excuse me if I use strong words, but where there is no work there is no dignity.”
He discarded his prepared speech after listening to Francesco Mattana, a 45-year-old married father of three who lost his job with an alternative energy company four years ago.
Mattana, his voice trembling, told the pope that unemployment “oppresses you and wears you out to the depths of your soul.”

AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
People wave white and yellow Vatican flags as they wait for Pope Francis to arrive at the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Bonaria, to celebrate a mass on the occasion of his one day visit to the island of Sardinia, in Cagliari, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.

The crowd of about 20,000 people in a square near the city port chanted what Francis called a prayer for “work, work, work.” They cheered each time he spoke of the rights of workers and the personal devastation caused by joblessness.
The pope, who later celebrated Mass for some 300,000 people outside the city’s cathedral, told them: “We don’t want this globalised economic system which does us so much harm. Men and women have to be at the centre (of an economic system) as God wants, not money.”
“The world has become an idolator of this god called money,” he said.
Sardinia’s coast is famous for its idyllic beaches, exclusive resorts and seaside palatial residences of some of the world’s richest people, including former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and a host of Hollywood actors.
But much of the island, particularly its large cities and the vast agricultural and industrial interior, has been blighted by the economic crisis, with factories closed and mines operating at low capacity.
YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT, CLOSING MINES
Cagliari has a youth unemployment rate of about 51 percent. The Sulcis area in the southwest of the island is threatened with more unemployment from the looming closures of the Carbosulcis coal mine and an aluminum smelter.
The pope made clear that his assessment was not limited to the local situation.
“It is not a problem of Italy and Europe … It is the consequence of a world choice, of an economic system that brings about this tragedy, an economic system that has at its centre an idol which is called money,” he said to the cheers of the crowd.
While Francis’s predecessor Benedict also called for changes to economic systems, he was more likely to use dense intellectual language.
Francis, who as bishop of Buenos Aires sided with unemployed workers in their conflict with government austerity plans, ended his improvised speech with a prayer asking God to “give us work and teach us to fight for work”.
Francis said he did not want the crowd to see him as a smiling “cordial manager of the Church who comes here and says to you ‘have courage'”.
He added: “I don’t want this. I want this courage to come from inside me and push me to do everything I can as a pastor and a man.”
Francis brought tears to the eyes of some in the crowd when he told his own family’s story of emigration from Italy to Argentina and how they lost everything in the Great Depression.
“I was not born yet, but as a child I remember hearing talk of this suffering,” he said.
Francis said globalization had brought with it a culture where the weakest in society suffered the most and often, those on the fringes “fall away”, including the elderly, who he said were victims of a “hidden euthanasia” caused by neglect of those no longer considered productive.
“To defend this economic culture, a throwaway culture has been installed. We throw away grandparents, and we throw away young people. We have to say no to his throwaway culture. We want a just system that helps everyone,” he said.

The college savings plan that beat the hedge funds This 529 plan generated 5.5% returns throughout the financial crisis

Thanks; AnnaMaria Andriotis

A college investment plan designed to help parents cope with rising tuition costs ended up yielding such outsize returns that officials had to shut it down.

Prepaid tuition plans are a type of 529 plan that allow parents to purchase tuition at a lower price than what it will actually cost to attend college when their kids enroll. It is up to the plan, rather than the parents, to figure out how to invest the funds it receives so that it will be able to pay out the dollar amount promised to investors. In most cases, experts say, parents make withdrawals when their children enter college and deplete their account by the time they graduate.

But in Colorado’s prepaid plan, which was administered by CollegeInvest, many parents decided the returns they were earning were too good to drop, so they held off on making withdrawals and stayed in the plan long after their children finished school. By August, around half of the roughly 1,500 households that had this prepaid plan had children who were four to nine years past their college enrollment date and may have already finished college, says Angela Baier, the CEO of CollegeInvest, which is shutting the plan for good in November.
Prepaid tuition plans are a type of 529 plan that allow parents to purchase tuition at a lower price than what it will actually cost to attend college when their kids enroll. It is up to the plan, rather than the parents, to figure out how to invest the funds it receives so that it will be able to pay out the dollar amount promised to investors. In most cases, experts say, parents make withdrawals when their children enter college and deplete their account by the time they graduate.

But in Colorado’s prepaid plan, which was administered by CollegeInvest, many parents decided the returns they were earning were too good to drop, so they held off on making withdrawals and stayed in the plan long after their children finished school. By August, around half of the roughly 1,500 households that had this prepaid plan had children who were four to nine years past their college enrollment date and may have already finished college, says Angela Baier, the CEO of CollegeInvest, which is shutting the plan for good in November.

The college savings plan that beat the hedge funds This 529 plan generated 5.5% returns throughout the financial crisis

Thanks; AnnaMaria Andriotis

A college investment plan designed to help parents cope with rising tuition costs ended up yielding such outsize returns that officials had to shut it down.

Prepaid tuition plans are a type of 529 plan that allow parents to purchase tuition at a lower price than what it will actually cost to attend college when their kids enroll. It is up to the plan, rather than the parents, to figure out how to invest the funds it receives so that it will be able to pay out the dollar amount promised to investors. In most cases, experts say, parents make withdrawals when their children enter college and deplete their account by the time they graduate.

But in Colorado’s prepaid plan, which was administered by CollegeInvest, many parents decided the returns they were earning were too good to drop, so they held off on making withdrawals and stayed in the plan long after their children finished school. By August, around half of the roughly 1,500 households that had this prepaid plan had children who were four to nine years past their college enrollment date and may have already finished college, says Angela Baier, the CEO of CollegeInvest, which is shutting the plan for good in November.
Prepaid tuition plans are a type of 529 plan that allow parents to purchase tuition at a lower price than what it will actually cost to attend college when their kids enroll. It is up to the plan, rather than the parents, to figure out how to invest the funds it receives so that it will be able to pay out the dollar amount promised to investors. In most cases, experts say, parents make withdrawals when their children enter college and deplete their account by the time they graduate.

But in Colorado’s prepaid plan, which was administered by CollegeInvest, many parents decided the returns they were earning were too good to drop, so they held off on making withdrawals and stayed in the plan long after their children finished school. By August, around half of the roughly 1,500 households that had this prepaid plan had children who were four to nine years past their college enrollment date and may have already finished college, says Angela Baier, the CEO of CollegeInvest, which is shutting the plan for good in November.

Abortion Clinics Serve the Same Purpose as Auschwitz

Thank;Charlie Daniels September 22, 2013

In just a few decades, abortion has become the biggest, busiest football on the American political scene, punted back and forth between the proponents and the right to life proponents in an all out, bruising, multimillion dollar game of who’s right and who’s wrong.

On one side, the loud and vehement defenders of abortion argue that a woman has the right to choose what she does with her body, up to and including having a living fetus forcefully removed from her womb and destroyed.

They say that a fetus is only a blob of flesh and is therefore not a baby or a human being and it’s perfectly moral and ethical to remove it and dispose of it like so much garbage.

The other side says that where there is conception, there is life, and that destroying a fetus at any stage of development is tantamount to murder, and that a fetus should be protected by a law precluding abortion, except when the mother’s life is in danger.

Other proponents go so far as advocating the destruction of a fetus at any time before it exits the womb, a grisly undertaking, involving penetrating the baby’s head, and sometimes even removing the brain, destroying a fully formed baby that only lacks passing through the birth canal to take it’s first breath and obtain a birth certificate.

There are still others who would make it legal to kill a perfectly healthy, fully-formed baby that has actually been removed from the womb, which in the eyes of any person with an ounce of humanity knows is nothing more than cold blooded murder.

It is my belief that all human life is sacred, whether a weathered old senior citizen like myself, or a freshly conceived fetus in a young mother’s body. I believe, as the Bible says, that the God – who created all life – knew us in our mother’s womb, knitted the pieces together and lovingly scheduled the days of our lives before we ever saw the light of day.

To deny that a fetus is a potential human being with a heart, soul and body is denying the word of God. There are all kinds of scriptures that tell us that God knew us in our mother’s womb.

Abraham, the father of the Jewish race, was childless and he and his wife Sarah were approaching 100 years of age when God caused Sarah to become pregnant, in answer to a promise He had made to Abraham many years before.

Before Samson was born, God decreed that he should never eat any unclean food or cut his hair and that he would have incredible strength.

God has designated prophets in the womb, men who were to be set aside to serve Him.

John the Baptist’s father was told that a son would be born to him and that he was to be given the name of John and Jesus’ earthly father Joseph was told that Mary, his betrothed was carrying a child conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Yes God knows us in every stage of our lives from conception to death and only He has the right to decide when His creations leave this life.

In essence many modern day, legally-sanctioned abortion clinics serve the same purpose as Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachhau and Hitler’s other slaughterhouses, which exterminated an unwanted segment of the population.

God gave us the right to make decisions, to think for ourselves, up to and including doing things that are against His will and in these modern times as the world becomes a more secular place we drift farther and farther from God and His will and the arguments for abortion at any time, for any reason begin to sound more reasonable and more practical and soon euthanasia will start to make sense to those whose consciences have tuned out the still small voice of righteous reasoning.

There are a lot of people who will tell you it’s immoral to end the life of a murderous monster, guilty of the most heinous crimes who society has sentenced to death who see absolutely nothing wrong with killing a totally innocent unborn baby.

But, as to who is right and who is wrong, I am content to have that decision rendered by a higher court, where the decisions are eternal and there is no appeal.

LinkedIn sued for “hacking” users’ email accounts, then pestering frien

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

Thanks;JESSICA GUYNN& LinkedIn September 20, 2013,
11:17 p.m.

20130923-212838.jpgDAVID PAUL MORRIS/BLOOMBERG
Jeff Weiner, chief executive officer of LinkedIn, speaks at the
TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Sept.
9.
SAN FRANCISCO — It’s no secret that
some people really don’t like the aggressive way that LinkedIn
convinces you to turn over your email address book to send those
pesky invitations to friends to sign up for the service. Now four
users are suing the professional networking service over it. In a
lawsuit filed in federal court this week, they allege LinkedIn is
“hacking” into their email accounts without their consent and
harvesting the email addresses of everyone they have ever swapped
messages with. “The hacking of the users’ email accounts and
downloading of all email addresses associated with that user’s
account is done without clearly notifying the user or obtaining his
or her consent,” says the complaint filed in…

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