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Mar 23

God Shiva Towers Over His Worshippers at 230 Feet and 20 Storeys High

Murudeshwar is a coastal town in India. It is also one of the names of the Hixxxndu god Shiva, and the association of the town with this deity is evident in the temple dedicated to him and the colossal seated statue of Shiva, which is the second tallest statue of this god in the world.

Located in Uttara Kannada, a district in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka, Murudeshwar (also spelled as Murdeshwar) is considered a holy place, and the reason for this may be found in the Indian epic, the Ramayana. According to this ancient epic poem, Ravana, the Rakshasa king of Lanka, is said to have been a great devotee of Shiva.

A Play for Immortality and More Power

In order to gain immortality and to increase his own power, Ravana began to perform penance to Shiva. Ravana was granted a boon, though he was tricked into asking for Parvati, instead of the Atma Linga (Soul of Shiva).

Realizing his mistake, Ravana began to perform penance again. This time, he received the Atma Linga from Shiva, on the condition that it should not be placed on the ground. To save the world, Narada (the sage who tricked Ravana the first time) intervened once more.

An illusion was created, which turned midday into evening. Seeing that the sun was about to set, Ravana wanted to offer Sandhya prayers. Yet, he was unable to do so, as he could not put the Atma Linga down. Suddenly, a young Brahmachari appeared before the king, and offered to hold the Atma Linga for him whilst he offered his prayers. Ravana agreed to this, and handed the Atma Linga over to the young man, who was actually Ganesha in disguise. Instead of holding the Atma Linga, however, Ganesha placed it on the ground.

Enraged by what had just happened, Ravana proceeded to destroy the Atma Linga. The king smashed the object into pieces and threw it away. One of these pieces is said to have fallen in Murudeshwar, thus turning it into a sacred site. On the spot where the fragment of the Atma Linga is believed to have fallen, a shrine to Shiva was erected.

Murudeshwar Temple. (Vedamurthy J/CC BY SA 3.0)

Murudeshwar Temple Complex

As for the present temple complex, this was constructed in more recent times. Located on a peninsula, the temple is surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Arabian Sea.

Within this modern temple complex is the ancient shrine that was built to house the relic believed to be the fragment of the Atma Linga. Apart from this sacred object, the temple complex is also notable for its gopura, a typical architectural feature of South Indian temples.

An HDR image of the 22-storied Raja Gopura at Murudeshwar temple. Two life-size elephants in concrete stand guard at the steps leading to it. (CC BY SA 3.0)

These monumental gatehouse towers, which are normally sumptuously decorated with sculptures of Hindu deities and mythological figures, can be found at the entrance of such temples. The gopura is known as the Raja Gopura, and soars to a dizzying height of over 70 meters (229.66 ft.) Inaugurated in 2008, this gopura has 22 floors, and is fitted with lifts (the only gopura to have such a facility) to carry devotees up and down this monumental structure.

A Colossal Shiva

Another famous landmark in Murudeshwar is its colossal statue of Shiva. This statue, which is about 40 meters (131.23 ft.) in height, is located on the top of Kanduka Giri, a small hill close to the temple complex. This statue, which depicts Shiva in a seated posture, is often said to be the second largest statue of this deity in the world.

Like the temple complex, this statue is also a modern creation, and was commissioned by a businessman and philanthropist by the name of R. N. Shetty. The statue is placed in such a position that it would receive direct sunlight.

Lord Shiva statue at Murudeshwara. (Vivek Shrivastava/CC BY SA 3.0)

Top Image: HDR of the giant statue of Lord Shiva at Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India. Source: varun suresh

10 March, 2018 – 22:10 ashley cowie

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Mar 23

Expert: Erdogan Regime Considers Christians, Jews ‘Enemies of the State’

by Edwin Mora12 Mar 2018788

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian government has deemed members of religious minorities, such as Christians and Jews, “enemies of the state,” an analyst tells Breitbart News, echoing the U.S. State Department.

“The religious minorities in Turkey, like the Christians, Jews, and a few others, suffer from unequal treatment. … The religious minorities are believed to be enemies of the state,” Dr. Y. Alp Aslandogan, the executive director of the Alliance for Shared Values, a non-profit group that promotes bringing people from different backgrounds together, told Breitbart News. “So the association with them becomes a crime. So those religious minorities, those citizens themselves, are pushed into enemy status.”

“That’s what all religious minorities suffer from — the Armenians, the Christian Orthodox, and the Jews, among others — they suffer from this kind of stigma,” he added.

In the latest U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report, the American government acknowledged that discrimination against Christians and other religious minorities intensified in Turkey following the failed coup attempt of July 2016.

State reports that following the rebellion seeking to depose Erdogan, the president of Muslim-majority Turkey:

Some foreign citizens, including several individuals with ties to Christian groups, faced detention, residency-permission problems, or denial of entry to the country under the state of emergency powers following the attempted coup. The government continued to prosecute individuals for ‘openly disrespecting the religious belief of a group.

Several foreign Christian missionaries were subjected to deportation, and cancellation of valid residency permits without notice. The government provided limited explanation or justification for such actions. The government denied any anti-Christian motivation underlying these actions.

Breitbart News also spoke with Emre Celik, the president of the Rumi Forum, an organization dedicated to intercultural and interfaith dialogue, about the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Turkey under the Erdogan administration.

“Erdogan’s bigotry against Christians goes against the very fabric of Islam’s respect towards the ‘People of the book’ – a Quranic term for Jews and Christians – and does not comply with the very fundamental principle of democracy that people of different faith backgrounds need to be treated justly and with respect,” Celik told Breitbart News.

“It’s unfortunate that prejudicial and polarizing language is being used for political gain and has become commonplace in Erdogan’s Turkey – against Christians and numerous other minorities,” he continued.

Consistent with Celik’s remarks, Dr. Aslandogan told Breitbart News that Erdogan and his allies use association with religious minorities as a form of attack against their political opponents.

“There has been hate speech and defamation against religious minorities from the ruling party. When they want to attack their enemies, they openly associate them with religious minorities,” explained Aslandogan. “They accuse religious minorities as trying to undermine progress.”

“Erdogan, for instance, attacks his enemies by referring to them as the pawn of Israel or the pawn of the Jews or the pawn of the Catholics,” he also said.

Echoing the State Department, the executive director for the Alliance for Shared Values also noted that the lack of legal standing for religious minorities in Turkey prevents them from owning territory, rendering them a landless group.

“They don’t have a legal standing, so they cannot officially function as a legal entity. They can only exist as community foundations, so that creates difficulties for them because they cannot exist as legal entities. Therefore, they cannot own property either,” he told Breitbart News.

“During the formation of the Turkish Republic, many of the lands of the religious minorities were confiscated, and although Erdogan took some steps to restore those lands to the religious minorities, he later made a U-turn,” he added.

Breitbart News spoke to Aslandogan and Celik after they participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Newseum in Washington, DC, on March 5.

In remarks prepared for the event, Aslandogan pointed out that President Erdogan is seeking to become the “caliph” of the Muslim world.

Currently, “non-Muslim minorities” in Turkey “suffer various forms of discrimination,” he stressed during the March 5 discussion.

Open Doors, which tracks the mistreatment of Christians across the world, records that out of 50 countries, Turkey is the 37th-worst nation for persecution against followers of Jesus Christ. It notes:

Religious nationalism has grown to new heights. President Erdogan has strengthened his position, trying to transform Turkey from a secular state into a Sunni Muslim one. Leaving Islam for Christianity is considered a betrayal of the Turkish identity, Islam, and the family.

Christians have no access to state jobs and experience discrimination in private employment, especially where employers have ties to the government.

According to Open Doors, 187,000 Christians are in Turkey.

The State Department, which places the estimated number of Christians at nearly 300,000, notes that the Christians belong to a plethora of denominations, including Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox Christians, Russian Orthodox Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, various Protestant denominations, Chaldean Christians, and Greek Orthodox Christians, among others.

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Mar 21

Turkey Newspaper Yeni Safak Calls For A Global ‘Army Of Islam’ To Come Against Israel And Take Jerusalem

The report suggested the formation of a “Jerusalem Task Group” to take steps to form an army of Islam that would besiege Israel. “In a possible military operation, the first step is expected to involve 250,000 soldiers, and the establishment of joint land, air and naval bases for use in the short term,” explained the report. It would include the mobilization of 500 tanks and armored vehicles, 100 war planes, 500 attack helicopters and 50 warships and submarines. Interactive maps provided information on specific bases and operations against Israel.

by Geoffrey Grider March 19, 2018

When Turkey’s semi-official newspaper Yeni Safak called for urgent action in forming a 57-nation “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack Israel, a suggestion undoubtedly approved with at least a wink and nod by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it would signal the possible intent to create the largest military force on the planet – one nearly as large as the total population of the Jewish state.

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” Zechariah 12:2,3 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The astute student of Bible prophecy knows something that almost none of the world’s leaders who constantly try to bring peace to the Middle East are aware of. There can be no peace, and there will be no peace in the Middle East without deciding the fate of Jerusalem. Why all the fuss over Jerusalem? Because that is where the King of Kings will return to when He rules and reigns for one thousand years on the Throne of David. The entire Battle of Armageddon will be fought over who has the right to Jerusalem, and the global army of Islam will be the muscle behind the Antichrist for the time of Jacob’s trouble. 

The report came just ahead of the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and was published under the headline, “What if an Army of Islam was formed against Israel?” It was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

But it wasn’t a rhetorical question. It was actually a suggestion to combine the military forces of all Islamic countries to overwhelm the Israeli army in manpower, budget and equipment – even boasting with statistics.

On December 12, 2017, ahead of the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, the Turkish daily Yeni Şafak, which is close to Erdoğan and his ruling AKP party, published an article titled “A Call for Urgent Action,” which also appeared on the paper’s website under the title “What If an Army of Islam Was Formed against Israel?” The article called on the 57 member states of the OIC to form a joint “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack the state of Israel.

It notes that such a joint army will greatly exceed the Israeli army in manpower, equipment and budget, and presents statistics to prove this. It also advocates establishing joint bases for the army’s ground, air and naval forces that will arrive from all over the Muslim world to besiege Israel, while noting that Pakistan, as the only nuclear country, has “a special status” among the OIC countries. An interactive map provides information on military forces stationed in various locations and the role they can play in the potential joint Muslim attack on Israel.

Much of the information in the article was provided by Turkey’s SADAT International Defense and Consulting Company, which provides consultancy on defense and warfare, both conventional and unconventional, and on military organization, training and gear. The company promotes pan-Islamic military cooperation. According to its mission statement, it seeks “to establish defense collaboration and defense industry cooperation among Islamic countries, to help the Islamic world take its rightful place among the superpowers by providing … strategic consultancy and training services to the militaries and homeland security forces of Islamic countries.”

The SADAT company was founded by Erdoğan’s senior adviser on military affairs, retired General Adnan Tanrıverdi, and is chaired by his son, Melih Tanrıverdi. Adnan Tanrıverdi served in the Turkish army’s artillery corps and is an expert on asymmetric warfare. He was dismissed from the Turkish military in 1996 for his Islamist leanings.

In the report, Israel is described as “the outpost of the new Crusade and a dagger in the heart of Islam,” and “the eyes, ears and fist of the Christian World.”

“If the OIC member states unite and form a joint military force, it will be the largest army in the world,” the newspaper report said. “These countries’ total population is 1,674,526,931. The number of soldiers in active service in these countries is at least 5,206,100. Their [overall] military defense budget, of $174.7 billion, is also worthy of emphasis.”

It continues by contrasting the size of this potential Islamic force with Israel’s military capabilities.

“As for Israel, it is significantly inferior,” the report said. “The population of this country, which attempted to occupy Jerusalem while surrounded by Muslim states, is 8,049,314. Note that the population of Istanbul alone exceeds 14 million. The number of soldiers in active service in the [Israeli] occupation forces is 160,000, and [Israel’s] defense budget is approximately $15.6 billion.

The report suggested the formation of a “Jerusalem Task Group” to take steps to form an Islamic army that would besiege Israel.

“In a possible military operation, the first step is expected to involve 250,000 soldiers, and the establishment of joint land, air and naval bases for use in the short term,” explained the report. It would include the mobilization of 500 tanks and armored vehicles, 100 war planes, 500 attack helicopters and 50 warships and submarines.
Interactive maps provided information on specific bases and operations against Israel.

“Turkey will serve as an important headquarters during the operation, due to its land, air and naval infrastructures,” the report continued. “The Turkish army, which carried out ‘Operation Euphrates Shield’ [in Syria in 2017] with great success, is now ranked the world’s seventh strongest army, and the second largest army among the NATO powers. Turkey has approximately 4,000 tanks and 1,000 war planes and other aircraft. Its navy made significant progress during the last years, with 194 vessels at its disposal.”

The report also noted Pakistan, with its nuclear arsenal, “has important status among the 57 Muslim countries.”

In a statement, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein described President Donald Trump’s Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a blow to Muslims, and added: “The Malaysian armed forces are ready to fulfill their duty regarding Jerusalem.”

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Mar 21

Earthquakes and the End Times :: By Britt Gillette

Published on: March 18, 2018 by RRadmin7 Category:Britt Gillette, General Articles

When Jesus was asked what would signal His return and the end of the age, He said to look for a number of signs. One of those signs was the appearance of earthquakes (Matthew 24:7). But what does that mean? After all, earthquakes have been a part of human life since Adam and Eve. They aren’t rare. The Bible says they appeared in the days of Amos (Amos 1:1) and King Saul (1 Samuel 14:15). They appeared in the days of Paul and Silas (Acts 16:26). And non-biblical history tells us earthquakes shook ancient China, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, and other nations. In 1906, a devastating earthquake hit San Francisco. It toppled almost every building in the city and killed over 3,000 people. In short, earthquakes have been a part of life since the beginning of human civilization.

So if we’ve always had earthquakes, how can they possibly be a sign of the Second Coming? That’s a great question. Fortunately, Jesus gave us the answer. Earthquakes in general are NOT a sign of His return. But according to Jesus, earthquakes occurring in a certain pattern are

Signs Like Labor Pains

Jesus cited a number of signs to look for. Among them are the appearance of earthquakes, famines, wars, and false messiahs. Jesus knew these signs had always been present. So He wasn’t saying their appearance alone will signal His return. Instead, He said to look for them in a distinct pattern. He said they would arrive like “birth pains.” But what does this mean? What could these general signs possibly have in common with birth pains?

Only this – birth pains, or labor contractions, are sharp pains. They increase in both frequency and intensity right before birth. In other words, the signs Jesus mentioned will appear with greater frequency and intensity right before His return.

Looking for the Pattern

This means earthquakes (or even what seems to be a numerical increase in the number of earthquakes) are NOT a sign of the Second Coming. Instead, Jesus said to look for an increase in the frequency of large earthquakes. Such an increase will fit the pattern Jesus described – a pattern of more frequent intense events rising toward a climax.

So how do we measure an increase in the frequency and intensity of earthquakes? We don’t have accurate data going back to the beginning of time. We don’t even have accurate data going back to the time of Jesus. After all, advanced instruments for detecting and measuring earthquakes are relatively new. The Richter Scale didn’t even exist until 1935, and most seismographs at the time failed to detect any earthquakes under a magnitude of about 3.0. But today?

Today’s devices routinely measure earthquakes with negative magnitudes. Because of this, looking only at the frequency of earthquakes is meaningless. Obviously, with better instruments, we can detect smaller earthquakes. But that doesn’t mean more earthquakes are occurring. It just means for the first time we’re able to measure them.

But let’s take a different point of view. What if we look only at modern data from the last one hundred years? And what if we look only at earthquakes registering a magnitude of 8.0 or greater? This will give us a much more accurate picture. Why? Because most instrumentation from that time period could detect an earthquake of such enormity. This eliminates all the small quakes detected in more recent times. And even though the sample size is still small (only about 120 years), it should give us enough data to spot a recent trend. If these are the times Jesus told us to look for, we should expect to see an increase in the frequency (number) and intensity (magnitude) of earthquakes.

Is this what we see today? Yes. It is.

The Increasing Frequency of High Intensity Earthquakes

According to the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) composite catalog, recent years have seen a marked increase in the number of earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.0 or greater:

1900’s – 3 earthquakes
1910’s – 0 earthquakes
1920’s – 1 earthquake
1930’s – 1 earthquake
1940’s – 1 earthquake
1950’s – 1 earthquake
1960’s – 3 earthquakes
1970’s – 2 earthquakes
1980’s – 3 earthquakes
1990’s – 7 earthquakes
2000’s – 13 earthquakes
2010’s – 8 earthquakes so far

The 20th Century witnessed 22 earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.0 or greater, but already the 21st Century has seen 21 such earthquakes. If that pace continues, we’ll see 116 earthquakes of 8.0 magnitude or greater by the end of this century!

In 2014, I cited this same data in my book Signs of the Second Coming. While writing the book, my original draft showed six earthquakes for this decade. I had to revise the book before publication because of another 8.0 earthquake in April 2014. After the book was published, another earthquake struck in September 2015. And during that same time, we’ve had three other earthquakes later revised to 7.9.

Is it possible this is just a coincidence? Sure. We’ve only had the tools to measure earthquakes for a small portion of human history. It’s possible we’re looking at a small sample size and drawing an incorrect conclusion. Perhaps these earthquake patterns have appeared before. Some might argue we’ve only recently had the instrumentation to measure all 8.0 magnitude earthquakes – that such technology didn’t exist in the early 20th Century. I find that hard to believe. But even if that’s true, we’ve nevertheless seen a notable increase since that time.

Jesus Is Coming

Absent any other signs, the rise in earthquakes would be nothing more than a footnote of history. But earthquakes aren’t the only signs. They aren’t the only events increasing in frequency and intensity. The other signs Jesus said to look for are also increasing in frequency and intensity – the appearance of famines, wars, and false messiahs. And even those aren’t the only signs.

Travel and knowledge have increased significantly (Daniel 12:4)… Israel is a nation again (Jeremiah 23:7-8)… The Jewish people control Jerusalem (Luke 21:24-28)… The Gog of Magog alliance is forming (Ezekiel 38-39)… The Gospel is being preached to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14)… Sin is everywhere, and the love of many has grown cold (Matthew 24:12)… These are all signs Jesus and the prophets said to look for. And our generation is the first ever to witness these signs. Still think this is mere coincidence? I don’t either.

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Mar 21

Trump prepares for visit by Saudi prince who has rocked the kingdom

Saudis demanding same rights given the Iranians to produce nuclear power power and enrich uranium

By Jerome Cartillier Today, 3:55 am 3

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump will host Saudi Arabia’s crown prince in Washington Tuesday, giving the president a receptive audience to denounce rival Iran and a chance to take stock of significant changes the prince is engineering in the kingdom.

Ten months after the last face-to-face meeting between Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in Riyadh, the 71-year-old president and the 32-year-old strongman prince are expected to deepen an already warm and congenial relationship.

But they are also expected to take up major developments for Saudi Arabia, both internally and externally: the end of a ban on Saudi women driving, the unprecedented detention of dozens of people that was billed as a high-level anti-corruption purge, Saudi involvement in the war in Yemen, and the crisis with the Gulf state of Qatar.

“It’s jaw-dropping how many policy changes the Saudis have pursued at home and in the region since that last meeting,” said Lori Plotkin Boghardt, a former CIA analyst now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Many of these changes have touched US security interests.”

One example is the summit that the administration had hoped to host this year with the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which could be difficult to arrange given the continuing crisis with Qatar.

In June, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) began an air and sea boycott against Qatar, which they accuse of financing terrorism and being overly friendly with Iran.

Prince Mohammed, known by his initials MBS, was named crown prince that month by his father, King Salman.

Early on, the prince announced an ambitious “Vision 2030” initiative to build an economy less dependent on oil, while luring more foreign investment.

Toward that end, Riyadh wants to greatly accelerate the pace of its civilian nuclear energy program. The goal: to build 16 reactors over the next 20 years, at a cost of some 80 billion euros ($98 billion), according to officials and analysts.

As the Saudis pursue the technology needed to undertake the ambitious project, they are expected to play potential rivals against one another, reminding their American counterparts that China, Russia and France are also capable of filling their needs.

“It would be virtually impossible for the Saudi government to accept terms that are less than what Obama gave the Iranians — the possibility of future enrichment,” a source close to the Saudi government told AFP, referring to the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that was completed when Barack Obama was still president.

In an interview with CBS broadcast on Sunday evening, the prince defended at length his anti-corruption purge which saw many of the kingdom’s princes detained for several weeks inside Riyadh’s luxurious Ritz-Carlton hotel.

“What we did in Saudi Arabia was extremely necessary” and legal, he said. One goal of the operation, which was marked by physical abuse according to a New York Times investigation, was to recover an amount exceeding $100 billion.

“But the real objective was not this amount or any other amount,” he said. “The idea is not to get money, but to punish the corrupt and send a clear signal that whoever engages in corrupt deals will face the law.”

 Bloody war in Yemen

The United States and Saudi Arabia are historic allies. Ever since Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud on a US naval ship in the Suez Canal in 1945, every American president has carefully nurtured relations with the Saudi royal family.

But the unstinting support Trump offered when he chose Riyadh as the destination of his first overseas trip as president brought the relationship to a new level.

While Barack Obama said in 2015 that it was important “not to perpetuate any long-term confrontation with Iran, or to even marginalize Iran,” Trump, who has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the nuclear deal reached that year with Tehran, has chosen a very different path.

“Everywhere we go in the Middle East it’s Iran, Iran, Iran,” he said a few days ago. “Every problem is Iran.”

Even before setting foot on American soil, Prince Mohammed struck a scathing tone toward Iran in an interview with CBS, comparing the territorial ambitions of that country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to those of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany.

And he warned that if Iran were to develop a nuclear bomb, Saudi Arabia would do the same “as soon as possible.”

But critics are cautioning the White House not to blindly embrace every stance taken by the Saudi prince, particularly as concerns its role in the bloody civil war in Yemen.

Fighting between the Huthi movement, supported by Iran, and Yemeni government forces, backed by the Saudis and the UAE, has claimed nearly 10,000 lives and left the country on the verge of a disastrous famine.

In an opinion column early this month in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman, writing in the form of an open letter to Trump, urged the president not to give in to Prince Mohammed’s “bad impulses” as he seeks to modernize Saudi Arabia’s “economy and religious/social structure.”

He then adds: “If you think you can just applaud his anti-Iran stance and religious reforms and all will work out fine, you’re wrong.”

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Mar 19

New U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo must respect Turkey, Ankara says

Reuters Staff

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Turkey hopes to build good relations with new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo but he must respect the country, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday, amid deep tensions over Syria policy and other issues.

FILE PHOTO: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

Turkish media has seized on a tweet purportedly made by Pompeo after a failed coup in July 2016 – and before he became CIA director – which referred to Turkey as a “totalitarian Islamist dictatorship”. The tweet was later removed.

Relations between the NATO allies had started to improve recently after a visit to Turkey by Rex Tillerson, whom U.S. President Donald Trump sacked on Tuesday as secretary of state.

Pompeo, seen as a Trump loyalist, had previously headed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia, March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

“We would like to work with the new secretary of state with the same understanding, with bilateral respect and understanding,” Cavusoglu told a news conference in Moscow, where he was on an official visit.

“This is the choice of the United States (on who serves as secretary of state). We do not want to comment on it but whoever it will be, they need to first learn how to behave, approach and respect us.”

Cavusoglu said talks planned between the United States and Turkey for March 19 could be delayed owing to Tillerson’s departure.

In a column on Wednesday, Murat Yetkin of the Hurriyet Daily News wrote that Pompeo had “prejudgments” regarding Turkey, citing the deleted tweet, and he added that it was not easy to erase people’s memories.

Turkey has been angered by Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in the fight against Islamic State. Turkey sees the YPG as a terrorist group and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

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Mar 19

With Red Sea mega-city, Saudis eye economic unity with Egypt, Jordan

“If they are really going to develop this in desert areas of all three countries, you’d expect Israeli technology perhaps to have a role to play.”

By Ben Lynfield

March 13, 2018 09:16

Building Red Sea mega-city, Saudis eye economic integration with Egypt, Jordan, March 13, 2018

To observers, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud’s flagship idea may seem overly ambitious – to build a mega-city known as Neom along the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea that extends across the borders to Jordan and Egypt.

Indeed, its proponents are describing the planned 26,500 square kilometer city in almost messianic terms. “Neom is positioned to become an aspirational society that heralds the future of human civilization by offering its inhabitants an idyllic lifestyle set against a backdrop of a community founded on modern architecture, lush green spaces, quality of life, safety and technology in the service of humanity paired with excellent economic opportunities,” says Neom’s website.

That may be overstating Neom’s significance, but the project, which is yet to get underway, promises to be extremely important – not only for Saudi Arabia but for the region as a whole. For Riyadh, it is a central component of plans by bin Salman to ween the kingdom off of its dependence on oil exports and diversify the economy by emphasizing, for example, knowledge-based industries. Egypt and Jordan are reacting with enthusiasm to the plan, hoping it can give a boost to their depressed economies.

While bin Salman was in Egypt last week, the two countries set up a ten-billion-dollar joint fund to help develop the Egyptian side of Neom. Egypt has reportedly earmarked more than a thousand square kilometers in southern Sinai for the project. As part of economic integration the two countries are planning to build King Salman Bridge, linking them across the Gulf of Aqaba.

Mohab Mamish, chief of the Suez Canal Development Authority, is touting the north-east Egyptian city of Ismailia as the gateway for the Neom project, Emirati daily newspaper The National reported last week.

MEANWHILE, Jordanian officials are in the midst of discussions with their Saudi counterparts to identify projects to be implemented in Aqaba as part of Neom, The Jordan Times reported on Saturday.

In a related development, Reuters reported on Saturday that Saudi Arabia will work with Egypt and Jordan to attract European cruise companies to operate in the Red Sea during winter season. The report said that Riyadh is negotiating with seven such companies and plans to build yacht marinas.

In the view of Yoram Meital, an Egypt specialist at Ben Gurion University, Neom “is seen by [President Abdul-Fatah] al-Sisi as a new space for more cooperation, for creating more Egyptian employment.”

“The idea of building a bridge, and around the bridge a modern commercial industrial zone, is seen by Egypt as a potential major boost,” he said.

For the Saudis – and for the Arab world – the economic integration would be a new departure. “The scale is unprecedented; and if it happens in the way that’s being discussed it would create a more integrated relationship among Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia than in the past, and that’s new,” said Brandon Friedman, a Middle East specialist at the Dayan Center in Tel Aviv University.

But, Friedman added, leveraging its economic wealth to cement its influence has been a long standing component of Saudi policy. In the past it took the form of aid or loans; now bin Salman “is trying to directly link the economies of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.”

“The Saudis see increased economic health for Egypt and Jordan as being in their own security interest,” Friedman said. “The more vulnerable Egypt and Jordan are, the more difficult it potentially [becomes] for the Saudis to stabilize the region. They are trying to create more dynamic economies in Jordan and Egypt as a means to creating a stronger, more stable moderate Sunni bloc in the region.”

Neom’s progress should be followed closely by Israel, especially since some of the sectors planned for the mega-project coincide with areas of Israeli expertise: energy and water, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, and technological and digital sciences.

“Depending on how the project evolves and how Saudi relations with Israel evolve, given Israel’s relations with Egypt and Jordan, there is potentially a role for Israeli economic integration,” said Friedman. “If the Israeli-Saudi relationship revolves around its current trajectory, it would be natural to assume that at some stage there would be Israeli integration.

“If they are really going to develop this in desert areas of all three countries, you’d expect Israeli technology perhaps to have a role to play,” Friedman said.

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Mar 14

57 Muslim nations urged to besiege Israel

Erdogan’s Islamic newspaper demands ‘army’ be launched against U.S. ally in Mideast

Published: 17 hours ago

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

A Turkish newspaper close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling party is urging 57 Islamic nations to build a joint army specifically to attack Israel, notes a new report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The Middle East Media Research Institute reports the article appeared on the paper’s website under the title “What If an Army of Islam Was Formed against Israel?”

It was published shortly ahead of a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which has 57 members, MEMRI reported.

The article notes, MEMRI said, “that such a joint army will greatly exceed the Israeli army in manpower, equipment and budget, and presents statistics to prove this.”

“It also advocates establishing joint bases for the army’s ground, air and naval forces that will arrive from all over the Muslim world to besiege Israel, while noting that Pakistan, as the only nuclear country, has ‘a special status’ among the OIC countries,” the report said.

MEMRI explained that many of the major points in the newspaper article were “taken from the website of the Turkish SADAT International Defense and Consulting Company, which provides consultancy on defense and warfare, both conventional and unconventional, and on military organization, training and gear.”

“The company has an agenda of promoting pan-Islamic military cooperation. According to its mission statement, it seeks ‘to establish defense collaboration and defense industry cooperation among Islamic countries, to help the Islamic world take its rightful place among the superpowers by providing … strategic consultancy and training services to the militaries and homeland security forces of Islamic countries.’”

The article states: “It becomes evident that the member states’ [joint] military might greatly exceeds that of Israel. Moreover, in a possible military operation, this superiority [can] be realized on the ground by [setting up] joint military bases for ground, air and naval forces.”

It says that if the OIC member states “unite and form a joint military force, it will be the largest army in the world.”

“These countries’ total population is 1,674,526,931. The number of soldiers in active service in these countries is at least 5,206,100.”

The newspaper calls Israel “significantly inferior” and says that “this country, which attempted to occupy Jerusalem while surrounded by Muslim states” has a population of only about 8 million, while Istanbul alone exceeds 14 million.

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Mar 14

Science confirms Genesis Flood account, again

Oceans of water found deep within mantle of planet

Published: 14 hours ago

WASHINGTON – For the first time, scientists have corroborated with direct evidence that the Earth has oceans of water deep within mantle by actually recovering some trapped inside diamonds.

While at least three recent studies have found evidence to support the theory, what few scientists are noting is that the discovery of actual droplets of the water hundreds of miles deep below the Earth’s surface corroborates what the Bible said in the Genesis Flood account, note Christians who have been following the latest research.

The latest study by University of Nevada Las Vegas geo-scientist Oliver Tschauner and his colleagues who found traces of water trapped within diamonds pushed up to the surface by intense pressure.

The discovery is being hailed by other scientists as groundbreaking and surprising.

The study, “Ice-VII inclusions in Diamonds: Evidence for Aqueous Fluid in Earth’s Deep Mantle,” was published Thursday in the journal Science.

While in the jewelry business, diamond with any impurities hold less value, for Tschauner and other scientists, this flaw may hold the key to understanding the inner workings of our planet.

Tschauner studied diamonds found in China, the Republic of South Africa and Botswana that surged up from inside Earth.

“This shows that this is a global phenomenon,” the professor said.

Scientists theorize the diamonds used in the study were born in the mantle under temperatures reaching more than 1,000-degrees Fahrenheit. The mantle – which makes up more than 80 percent of the Earth’s volume – is made of silicate minerals containing iron, aluminum, and calcium among others. Until relatively recently, scientists were skeptical that water could be found there.

“These discoveries are important in understanding that water-rich regions in the Earth’s interior can play a role in the global water budget and the movement of heat-generating radioactive elements,” Tschauner said.

This discovery can help scientists create new, more accurate models of what’s going on inside the Earth, specifically how and where heat is generated under the Earth’s crust. In other words: “It’s another piece of the puzzle in understanding how our planet works,” Tschauner said.

Interestingly, Tschauner and his colleagues weren’t looking for water. Like most scientists and climatologists today, they were looking for carbon dioxide – thought to be the culprit behind the theory of global climate change. They didn’t find any.

“We’re still looking for it, actually,” said Tschauner.

The presence of water in diamonds suggests there is water-rich fluid in the transition zone between the upper and lower mantle, and even into the top of the lower mantle.

“This is really the first time that we see water at such depths,” says Oded Navon, a mantle petrologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who was not involved in the new study.

Other recent studies, beginning in 2014, based on wobbles in the Earth’s rotation and other phenomena, have postulated the amount of water inside the mantle could be as large or larger than all the water found in the oceans on the surface of the planet. Studies have indicated the fluid may influence all sorts of geological processes, including the grinding of tectonic plates, the formation of volcanoes and the movement of Earth’s elements.

Last June, for instance, researchers examining the rumbling of seismic waves and performing lab experiments that mimicked the crushing pressures and extreme temperatures of Earth’s mantle, made the argument that a huge amount of water resides within the planet. Those findings, conducted by Yale University geophysicist Jennifer Girard, who was not involved with this study, appeared in the June 13 issue of Science.

In January 2017, another study, conducted by Zdenek Futera of the University College Dublin in Ireland and published in Earth and Planetary Letters postulated the mantle was filled with fresh water exceeding the amount of saline fluid found in all the Earth’s oceans. That study suggested the novel idea that the Earth was actually manufacturing water.

There was another similar study in 2014 led by Graham Pearson, a geochemist at the University of Alberta in Canada. He now believes there is more water inside the planet than on the surface.

These theories, now backed up by the first physical evidence, hold some world-shaking ramifications:

  • That far from Earth having a limited amount of fresh water for its teeming population, there may be an unlimited amount deep in the mantle;
  • That scientists can divert some attention from the urgent race to discover of water on other planets;
  • That scientists might want to reconsider their skepticism of the biblical Great Flood account in Genesis 7:11, which said the waters broke through the surface of the Earth when “all the fountains of the great deep [were] broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Most scientists discount the notion that the Earth was ever flooded, despite the fact that 71 percent of the surface is covered by water today.
  • That the Earth’s water came from extraterrestrial sources – namely comets and asteroids, a common theory until this burst of new evidence of abundant water inside the planet.

“It is ironic that secularist scientists are still seeking to explain where the Earth’s water came from,” Andrew Snelling, Ph.D geologist from Australia and director of research for Answers in Genesis, told WND. “For many years now, they have endeavored to fill in the difficult-to-explain pieces of their ‘story’ about how our home Earth ‘just happened’ to become so habitable for life over the course of its supposed billions-of-years history. Secularists believe the Earth condensed from clumpy matter flung out of the solar nebula 4.56 or so billion years ago. It was thus originally a hot, molten blob that cooled. They used to suggest that most of the water came from inside this cooling Earth, but not enough to fill the oceans we have on the Earth’s surface today. A once popular theory was that comets (which are essentially large, dirty snowballs) collided with the Earth and deposited their water on its surface.”

But that explanation could not possibly explain oceans of water deep beneath the surface of the planet. With the new evidence for just that, a new explanation was needed.

“Of course, these same secularists and Bible skeptics say, as predicted in 2 Peter 3:3-6, that there never was a global flood on the Earth, even though it is still 70 percent covered in water, which averages more than two miles deep,” writes Snelling. “But ironically, they also say that, due to the many evidences of massive water erosion on Mars, there was a watery flood ‘of Biblical proportions’ on that planet in the past, even though that planet’s surface is dry today!”

Snelling, too, sees the recent studies as evidence of the biblical Flood account.

“The Bible’s description of that outbursting event is merely confirmed by the latest findings of the secular scientists,” he writes. “So, the waters that came from inside the Earth, combined with the waters in the original, created oceans to produce the Genesis Flood.”

Pastor Mark Biltz, the man who discovered the “Blood Moons” phenomenon and the author of the new book “God’s Day Timer,” called the earlier reports of the massive water supplies within the Earth “fantastic news.”

“Over and over again science is finally catching up to the Bible,” Biltz said. “The Bible says in the Book of Daniel that in the last days knowledge will be increased. Well, it seems the scientific community is waking up more and more to the truths of the Bible.”

He added: “The Bible is much like the ocean itself in that its depths are unsearchable and vastly unknown to man. In time, God has been revealing its hidden treasures for science to find. Long before, when scientists thought the world was flat or a cube held up elephants or turtles, the Bible declared in Job 26 that the Earth was just suspended in space and in Isaiah 40 that it was a sphere.”

Joseph Farah, founder of WND and author of “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” wrote about science’s evolving theories about water inside the Earth in that book and is revising and expanding his own observations for a future updated and expanded edition.

“Since massive amounts of water from inside the Earth were used by God to destroy the planet, and future biblical prophecies suggest ‘living waters’ from inside the Earth will restore the planet to its Garden of Eden-like beginning, what we are seeing in these new discoveries makes perfect sense,” he says. “In fact, I believe the ‘living waters’ we read about in the Bible are already present deep beneath the surface of the planet.”

Both Old Testament and New speak about something called “living waters.”

In Zechariah 14:8, a prophetic book it says: “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.” Farah says there is more detail on the flow of these living waters provided in Ezekiel 47 as waters rush out from under the threshold of the Temple in Jerusalem toward the east. This will not be trickle of water like we see today in the Jordan River. It will be river that cannot be passed over. It will run eastward and go down into the Judean desert and into the Dead Sea. “And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh” (Ezekiel 47:9).

“While we know these ‘living waters’ are of God and could be produced entirely supernaturally, we also know that God uses what He has created in the natural world for His own purposes. Could it be these waters are just waiting to break forth on His timing?” Farah posits.

A Christian thought leader who has long used the “living waters” metaphor is author, filmmaker and apologist Ray Comfort. Comfort, founder of the Living Waters ministry, welcomed the news of water within the Earth as further support for his Christian position.

“It’s beneath the intellectual dignity of most people nowadays to believe in the biblical account of anything,” he told WND. “This is because God, in His great wisdom, chose foolish things to confound the wise. The Bible is filled with stories that are an insult to anyone who is proud of heart, and God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. The door of salvation is deliberately set low.”

He adds: “However, there is a massive amount of evidence to prove a worldwide flood. The main one being that 70 percent of the Earth is covered in water. That’s the kind of ultimate ‘duh.’ Or, for want of a better analogy, they can’t (or won’t) see the forest for the trees.”

“In Ezekiel 47:8-12 it talks about how the waters shall bring healing to the whole area,” he says. “Very soon the future will be upon us and mankind will stand in awe as the Creator of the Universe reveals Himself as the Grand Scientist!”

Another Christian minister who said he was not surprised by how science is catching up to the Bible is Bill Cloud of Shoreshim Ministries, the author of “Esau Rising.”

“Obviously, as a believer, discoveries such as these don’t surprise me,” he told WND. “Not only does it confirm my faith in the Bible is well placed but it also reveals that God uses those who tend to doubt His existence to prove that He does exist! I believe this is connected to a principle found in Proverbs 25:2: ‘It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; it is the honor of kings to search out the matter.’ In other words, sometimes God plays ‘hide and seek’ and those who investigating His creation are ‘it.’ If they keep searching, they are going to be continually stunned by what they find.”

He added: “In this case, that vast supplies of water are concealed beneath the earth’s mantle should come as no surprise to those who believe what the Bible has to say. Water covered the entire earth before God caused dry land to appear – that water had to go somewhere. The great flood was not brought about solely by rain falling from heaven but also because the ‘fountains of the great deep were broken up.’ When those waters abated, it is likely they returned to where they originated – deep within the Earth.

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Mar 14

Saudi Crown Prince Meets Senior Israeli Officials in Egypt: Report

By JNS March 11, 2018 , 7:00 am

“May Hashem grant strength to His people; may Hashem bestow on His people wellbeing.” Psalms 29:11 (The Israel Bible™)

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman. (Kremlin)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman met with senior Israeli officials during his visit to Egypt this week, the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Wednesday.

The report said the meeting focused on the normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and included the Kingdom’s commitment to the “deal of the century,” the Middle East peace plan being devised by the Trump administration.

Within that framework, Israel would take part in the unprecedented real estate venture being sponsored by the Saudis in the Gulf of Aqaba.

Crown Prince Mohammed first announced plans for the 26,500-square-kilometer (10,230-square-mile) zone at an international investment conference in Riyadh last October.

Officials say public and private investment in the area is expected to reach $500 billion. The mega-city would be built on Saudi territory on the eastern shore of the Red Sea near the border with Jordan, and connect to Egypt across the gulf via a bridge running through the island of Tiran.

Known as Neom—from the Greek prefix neo (“new”) and first letter of the Arabic word mostaqbal (“future”)—the mega-city is being billed as “the world’s most ambitious project,” intended to become a transnational city and economic zone.

The crown prince’s stated objective for the project is to wean Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter, off oil revenues.

According to the report, the prince is also applying immense pressure behind the scenes on Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to be part of the American deal.

If an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is struck, the Saudis will reportedly be the beneficiaries of considerable U.S. investments, among other things in the Neom project. In exchange, they will act as the American’s spearhead for implementing the peace agreement.

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