[My Fox NY] The Vatican's top astronomer has some assurances to offer: The world won't be ending in about two weeks, despite predictions to the contrary.
The Rev. Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, wrote in Wednesday's Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that "it's not even worth discussing" doomsday scenarios based on the Mayan calendar that are flooding the Internet ahead of the purported Dec. 21 apocalypse.
Yes, Funes wrote, the universe is expanding and if some models are correct, will at one point "break away" -- but not for billions of years. But he said Christians profoundly believe that "death can never have the last word."
The Mayan Long Count calendar begins in 3,114 B.C., marking time in roughly 394-year periods known as Baktuns. The Mayans wrote that the significant 13th Baktun ends Dec. 21.
The Mayans didn't know about Adjusting the days (EG every four years we add a day)
The time they predicted Passed in August 2012.
Sorry, already happened, Oh you missed it?
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
Bilyuhns + Dilyuhns + ...
OTOH, I'm still waiting for NASA-JPL or the Pope, etc. to verify iff Shoemaker-Levy 9's impact threw chunks of Jupiter into high orbit + ultimately deep space [read, toward Earth], + why is background/normal reality being visibly distorted or bent by EM during Solar activity.
Why did I see Planet Nibiru/X's purplish sphere in not-three-dimensions over Guam's Agana Bay - I KNOW LINDSAY DYED HER HAIR, BUT THATS BESIDE THE POINT.
[Al Ahram] South Sudan's army has killed 13 people suspected of belonging to a rebel militia in the troubled eastern state of Jonglei, a local official said on Tuesday, the latest violence threatening government plans to explore a huge oilfield.
South Sudan won independence from Sudan last year but its government has struggled to assert control over vast territories where many people have weapons after decades of civil war with Khartoum ending in 2005.
In Jonglei a cycle of Dire Revenge™ killings between the Murle and Lou Nuer tribes and a heavy-handed government disarmament campaign have eroded hopes that independence would bring peace.
The government plans to explore a vast oilfield in Jonglei with the help of La Belle France's Total and other foreign oil firms.
The army, composed of poorly trained former gunnies and guerrillas, rubbed out 13 people on Dec. 4 near the town of Gumuruk in Pibor county, local commissioner Joseph Konyi said.
"According to the army they were ambushed by the rebels. But locals said (those killed) were civilians. We don't know which is true," Konyi told Rooters.
The army was not available to comment despite repeated attempts to reach it. The government has played down accusations by rights groups that its security forces committed abuses against civilians during a campaign to disarm civilians and end cattle raiding.
Pibor's former human rights One man's rights are another man's existential threat. commissioner, Peter Gazulu, said the dead were civilians and were not members of a local insurgency run by David Yau Yau, a former theology student.
"My brother in law was killed there. Also a young boy related to my wife was killed," Gazulu told Rooters.
Human rights groups accuse the army of fuelling dissent by committing abuses including rape and torture when it launched a disarmament of the Murle and Lou Nuer early this year aimed at ending bloodshed between the two groups.
The army denies the charges. Many Murle resisted disarmament and fled into the bush where they joined the Yau Yau, residents in Jonglei say.
A shortwave radio station with links to the Yau Yau rebellion said the group was fighting the government in reaction to abuses committed during the disarmament programme.
Nearly 900 people died when about 7,000 armed youths of the Lou Nuer attacked Murle villages in the Pibor area at the end of last year, according to the United Nations ...what started out as a a diplomatic initiative, now trying to edge its way into legislative, judicial, and executive areas...
[Al Ahram] A Sudan university dorm caught fire on Tuesday during a clash between protesters and plain-clothed attackers, students said, on the fourth day of unrest sparked by the death of four students.
Students at Omdurman University, in Khartoum's twin city, said they were preparing to demonstrate when government supporters arrived and beat them while police fired tear gas.
During the melee a low-rise residence building burned down, they said, but the cause of the blaze was unclear.
Hundreds of students were then ordered to leave the residential compound which members of the security forces surrounded, an AFP news hound witnessed.
Around the same campus earlier Tuesday, police immediately moved in with batons when about 300 people gathered for a protest in support of the dead youths who were originally from the conflict-plagued Darfur region.
Their deaths, following a crackdown on a tuition protest at Gezira University south of Khartoum, have sparked the largest outpouring of Arab Spring-style discontent since anti-regime protests in June and July.
[Magharebia] The trial of former Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmoudi resumed Monday (December 10th) in Tripoli ...a confusing city, one end of which is located in Lebanon and the other end of which is the capital of Libya. Its chief distinction is being mentioned in the Marine Hymn... . It was later adjourned to January 14th.
Al-Mahmoudi and his co-defendants Adel Terfas and al-Mabrouk Zahmoul Zahmoul allegedly funnelled 19 million euros to private accounts in Tunisia, with the money used for logistical support to former regime forces as they sought to crush last year's revolt.
The trial of former Parliament speaker Mohamed al-Zwai and former foreign minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi was held simultaneously at the Tripoli Appeal Court. They stand accused of financial corruption.
[An Nahar] His Excellency President-for-Life, Caudillo of the Bolivarians Hugo Chavez' medical team expressed "optimism" on Tuesday as the cancer-stricken Venezuelan president prepared to undergo a fourth round of surgery in Cuba.
Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said doctors had begun pre-surgery protocols and would operate later in the day in Havana, where Chavez had arrived on Monday after revealing that his cancer had returned.
"The medical team has transmitted its optimism about the success of this operation, which is part of the treatment plan that commandante Hugo Chavez is following to recover his health," Villegas said, in a televised statement.
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, who visited Chavez on Monday, had earlier said the surgery was already underway, calling it "a very delicate operation."
"He is going through one of the most difficult moments of his life, this dear friend, colleague and Latin American leader, commandante Chavez," Correa said in the border town of Tulcan, Ecuador.
"Truly, he is a historic president and let's hope he comes through this health problem totally reestablished," said Correa, who was meeting with Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos.
Chavez flew to Havana for his fourth round of surgery after revealing to his stunned countrymen Saturday that his cancer had returned just two months after his re-election to a six-year term.
Chavez, who was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011, had assured Venezuelans that he was cancer free after three surgeries and debilitating rounds of chemo and radiation therapy.
Significant aspects of Chavez condition -- including the type, location and severity of his cancer -- have been kept secret over the past 18 months, fueling rumors and uncertainty about Venezuela's future.
But Chavez made clear before his departure to Havana that he was facing a serious setback, publicly naming Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his preferred successor for the first time.
Without formally handing over the presidency, Chavez said he was delegating the country's "high political command" to Maduro while he was gone and said the vice president would succeed him if he were incapacitated.
Nice little surgical instrument for ya here, Doc!
Posted by: Mullah Richard ||
Given Hugo frequency of outside treatments + surgeries, this is starting to remind me of the massive effort to save elderly Spanish dictator Ferdinand Franco's life back in the '70's, where FRANCO'S BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS HAD BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS HAD A .....@etc.
Franco had so many Doctors + Tubes stuck into him he could've easily passed the PROOFS FOR BEING THE WORLD'S FIRST TELEVISED DE FACTO ZOMBIE.
[Mercury News] New communist leader Xi Jinping is on a mission to soften the image of Chinese officialdom, winning kudos for his breezy personal style and ordering leaders to take a knife to the pomp, formality and waste that have alienated many among the public.
With his silky baritone, glamorous wife and daughter at Harvard, Xi cuts a very different figure from the staid, hyper-private leaders of the past. Even his posture, more like that of a slouchy college professor than a stiff party cadre, has won him plaudits.
Xi took the new informality a step further at a Tuesday meeting of the 25-member Politburo, ordering that arrangements for leaders' visits and the trappings of power be drastically pared back. Elaborate welcoming ceremonies will be eliminated, traffic disruptions avoided, and staid, often worthless reporting on the doings of the leadership dispensed with. Even red carpets are to go.
And according to Hong Kong media that is what happened on Xi's first trip outside Beijing since he took over as party leader. When Xi arrived in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on Friday there were no welcome banners, and the red carpet was gone when he laid a wreath to the statute of the former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping on Saturday, according to footage by Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television.
It's still unclear whether the tonal change will boost transparency and bring meaningful administrative reforms that many say are needed to sustain China's economic and social development. The son of a communist elder, Xi has also gained a reputation as a nationalist hardliner with earlier comments blasting foreigners for criticizing China's human rights When they're defined by the state or an NGO they don't mean much... record.
Yet his direct approach seems to be winning Xi fans among a public with whom he remains largely unfamiliar, despite his long career in public service and five years serving as the country's vice president.
"Xi has made a positive first impression, which is going to be a big help given the tough job he faces," said Edward Huang, a Beijing financier who recently returned to China after almost a decade in Britannia.
As evidence, Huang cites Xi's upbeat, relaxed demeanor in his public appearances and his unwillingness to use communist buzzwords as a crutch. "It inspires confidence," Huang said.
[Al Ahram] Greece raised 4.387 billion euros ($5.7 billion) at little-changed interest rates on Tuesday with a special bond issue to pay current bills as the country's debt agency tries to finalise a debt buy-back having extended the deadline.
The debt agency borrowed the money via a one-month issue at 3.99 percent, a slightly higher rate than during its last comparable issue, and via a six-month issue at a slightly lower rate of 4.38 percent.
Meanwhile, ...back at the hoedown, the fiddler suddenly struck a sour note. The dancing stopped abruptly. Everyone looked at Bob!... the agency is due to conclude the Greek debt buy-back later on Tuesday, to unlock the latest instalment of urgently needed bailout funding from international creditors.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.