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Oregon Catholic priest put on leave amid hidden camera probe


Pedophile Catholic priests, still? Why would anyone be surprised? Don’t think for one minute that because the beloved Pope Francis is in the Vatican pedophile priests have disappeared; they’re still there, and in large numbers.

My guess is there was some “questionable activity” going on in the bathroom of St. Francis’ Catholic Church. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Reuters

Reuters

PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) – An Oregon Catholic priest has been placed on leave by the Archdiocese of Portland as police investigate who placed a hidden camera, carefully disguised as an electrical outlet, in a church bathroom, the archdiocese said on Thursday.

The camera was discovered in late April near a toilet in the men’s bathroom of the St. Francis Catholic Church in Sherwood by a church member who took it immediately to Father Ysrael Bien, a police statement said.

But Bien didn’t report the camera to police until May 20 when he reported it stolen, Sherwood police spokesman Ty Hanlon said. Police are investigating how the camera wound up in the bathroom.

Bien has not been charged with a crime or named as a suspect. But the Archdiocese of Portland placed him on administrative leave last week in response to his failure to immediately report the hidden camera to police.

“It is deeply troubling that well-established Church protocols for the protection of parishioners were not followed,” Archbishop Alexander Sample said in a statement. “Finding a hidden camera in a church restroom should have been the cause for prompt and decisive action.”

Pat McCormick, spokesman for the Archdiocese, referred questions to the Sherwood Police Department. Bien could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Archdiocese assisted the parish in hiring investigators that conducted a sweep of the St. Francis school and parish and found no additional hidden cameras, according to the statement. Though the camera is missing, police said when it was found it did not contain a memory card.

“At the time of discovery it was not recording people,” Hanlon said.

Though police have conducted several interviews and searches related to the disappearance of the camera, they have not been able to identify a suspect, he added.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Christian Plumb)

After Cuba: The Only 3 Countries That Have No Relations With the U.S.


Interesting article on world politics… TGO

Refer to story below. Source: The Atlantic

The Atlantic

After Cuba: The Only 3 Countries That Have No Relations With the U.S.

On Wednesday, the United States and Cuba announced that they would reopen embassies in each other’s capitals, thus restoring diplomatic relations for the first time since 1961. The agreement doesn’t mean that Washington-Havana ties will go back to where they were before Fidel Castro’s revolution: Congress still maintains an economic embargo on the island, a policy that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. But the re-establishment of embassies, scheduled to occur on July 20, is nonetheless a major breakthrough in the long-acrimonious relationship between the two countries.

According to The New York Times, the overture to Cuba leaves just three countries with which the United States has no diplomatic relations. Two of these are easy enough to guess: Iran and North Korea. Washington severed ties with Tehran in 1980, months after Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy there and took 52 Americans hostage. U.S. ties with North Korea, meanwhile, have been fraught throughout the latter country’s existence, and have only grown worse since Kim Jong Un assumed control of the country in 2011.

Bhutan is a country with which the U.S. has no real dispute or grievance—or really much history of any kind.

But the third country is one with which the United States has no real dispute or grievance—or really much history of any kind. It’s the South Asian kingdom of Bhutan.

Bhutan is a landlocked nation around the size of Switzerland that’s situated in the Himalayan mountains between India and China. Since joining the United Nations in 1971, the country has maintained a Swiss-like aversion to foreign entanglements of any kind. The kingdom has no relations with any of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and only two states—Bangladesh and neighboring India—have embassies in Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu. Bhutan is so isolated that until 2007, it didn’t even conduct its own foreign policy—India took care of it for them.

In spite of its retreat from the rest of the world, Bhutan is not free of contentious relations. The kingdom has a long-running border dispute with China, which claims roughly 10 percent of Bhutanese territory as its own, and the Chinese government is eager to include Thimphu in its sphere of influence. So far, however, Bhutan has kept its distance: The country recently declined to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a Beijing-led rival to the World Bank. Bhutan’s resistance to China has led some analysts to speculate that the United States should seize the opportunity to formalize relations with the kingdom, a newly consolidated democracy.

But Bhutan’s leaders just don’t see any reason to get closer to the United States. In 2011, Jigmi Yoser Thinley, Bhutan’s then-Prime Minister, told the Bhutanese News Agency that “there was a time when diplomatic relations signified one’s position vis-à-vis conflicting powers, choosing sides. It’s no longer the case.”

The United States also appears to be satisfied with the status quo. In January, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Tshering Tobgay, Bhutan’s prime minister, at a regional summit in Ahmedabad, India, the first-ever meeting between America’s top diplomat and a Bhutanese leader. The talks were apparently warm and productive, but “establishing diplomatic relationship was not a subject of the conversation,” said Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal.

This article was originally published at http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/07/cuba-us-embassy-bhutan-relations/397523/?UTM_SOURCE=yahoo

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Study: Polar bears could feel global warming’s sting by 2025


The Republicans keep telling us that global warming is a myth, a fabrication by liberals. Scientists tell us that global warming is real and has serious environmental implications. Me personally, I believe the scientists. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2007, file photo, a polar bear mother and her two cubs are seen in Wapusk National Park on the shore of Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba. About a third of the world's polar bears could face imminent threat from greenhouse gas emissions in as soon as a decade, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey released Tuesday, June 30, 2015. The effects of diminished sea ice will lead to population declines throughout the century, and scientists didn't see a rebound in population numbers from the modeling that went up to the year 2100, according to the report. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — About a third of the world’s polar bears could be in imminent danger from greenhouse gas emissions in as soon as a decade, a U.S. government report shows.

The U.S. Geological Survey, the Interior Department’s research arm, said updated scientific models don’t bode well for polar bear populations across the world, especially in Alaska, the only state in the nation with the white bears.

The report released this week is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recovery plan for the polar bear. It is expected to be published Thursday in the Federal Register.

Greenhouse gases are blamed for the climate warming that’s reducing the polar bear’s summer sea ice habitat.

The effects of diminished sea ice will lead to population declines throughout the century. Scientists saw no rebound in population numbers in the projections that stretched to the year 2100.

The scientific models attempted to predict the effects on polar bear populations under two scenarios: one in which greenhouse gas emissions stabilized, and the other in which they continued unabated.

Under either scenario, the bears in the Alaska, Russia and Norway group — with an estimated population of about 8,500 — would start to be affected in either 2025 or 2030, said lead author Todd Atwood, an Alaska-based USGS research wildlife biologist.

He said the main reason is this part of the Arctic has suffered some of the most dramatic declines in summer sea ice.

Polar bears feed primarily on seals and use sea ice for feeding, mating and giving birth. When the sea ice retreats in the summer, polar bears are forced to land. A study earlier this year found the land-based food would not help a polar bear adapt to the loss of sea ice. The Office of Naval Research said the past eight years have had the eight lowest amounts of summer sea ice on record.

The USGS didn’t predict specific number declines and instead projected whether a population would see a decreased or a greatly decreased population.

“That’s not to say that we’ll lose polar bears completely out of the area, but we think that they’ll be at a greatly decreased distribution than what they currently are,” Atwood said.

Polar bears in Canada and Greenland also could see dramatic population drops by 2050. Bears in the high Canadian Arctic fared the best in the two scientific models. They saw a “greatly decreased” population only under the worst-case scenario.

“Polar bears are in big trouble,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “There are other steps we can take to slow the decline of polar bears, but in the long run, the only way to save polar bears in the Arctic is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Center for Biological Diversity originally petitioned for polar bears to be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In 2008, the species became the first to be listed because of global warming.

___

This story has been corrected to show the name of the organization that petitioned for polar bears to be listed as threatened is the Center for Biological Diversity.

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What does the Islamic State consider ‘sorcery’?


The more I learn about Islam, the more I realize just how f*cked up it is. According to this article, which I don’t doubt is accurate, performing magic tricks is forbidden in Islam. According to that “magical” book known as the Koran. And for this, people are beheaded! Wow!!! TGO

Refer to story below. Source: The Christian Science Monitor

IS has decapitated two civilian women due to allegations of sorcery.

Christian Science Monitor

The self-declared Islamic State (IS) has beheaded two women and their husbands in eastern Syria, after accusing all four of sorcery, according to the BBC.

Activists say this is the first time the jihadist group has decapitated female civilians. However, IS has frequently killed women by stoning or firing squad, often on charges of adultery.

IS beheaded a male street performer in a public square in Syria in early January. The magician was known for entertaining locals with innocuous magic tricks like making coins and cell phones disappear, reported Haaretz.

Sorcery is forbidden by Islam because it is said to reflect a disbelief in Allah (God) and reliance on satanic rituals, according to Al-Islam.org. The prohibition includes fortunetellers and magicians – although there is debate as to what constitutes a magician.

Mamdouh Marzouki, who makes female stagehands disappear and helicopters appear out of thin air during his shows in Saudi Arabia, says he often gets accused of witchcraft.

“Black magic is a sin in the Qur’an,” he explains. “It is considered evil and the work of the devil, and therefore it is forbidden. But to this day there is a great confusion between black magic and the work I do.” He said that he often reassures his audience that he is doing harmless illusions, even going so far as to break the Magicians’ Code to convince his fans that he is not practicing dark arts.

A Pew report that surveyed 38,000 Muslims in 39 countries found belief in supernatural forces is widespread among believers and the use of sorcery is almost universally regarded as falling outside of Islamic tradition.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have also beheaded men and women on charges of sorcery, reports the BBC. According to the Jerusalem Post, even Harry Potter books are forbidden in the country.

Adam Silverstein, amateur magician and professor of Abrahamic religions at Tel Aviv’s Bar-Ilan University, told Vice that the root of the problem is linguistic confusion.

“The Arabic word for ‘magic’ is sihr—pronounced with a guttural H—and in the Qur’an it means ‘magic’ in the sense of ‘black magic,’ but in modern Arabic the same word is used for ‘entertaining magic,’ ” Silverstein explains. “That can lead to unfortunate confusions that can, very occasionally, have serious consequences for magicians in the Muslim world.”

But it hasn’t always.

“The frequent persecution of magicians is indeed a recent phenomenon,” said Ahmed Ferky Ibrahim, professor of Islamic law at McGill University. Capital punishment for magic is rooted in Islamic history, he says, but it was rarely enforced.

“When you read 16th- through 19th-century Ottoman court records, for instance, you realize there was no inquisition of magicians, no witch hunts, as was the case in Christian Europe.”

IS’s extreme interpretation of Islamic law has also seen gay men thrown off buildings and women stoned for adultery, notes the BBC. Last week, IS militants in Syria hanged two youths from a beam by their wrists after accusing them of not fasting during Ramadan.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that IS has executed more than 3,000 people in Syria in the year since it declared its Islamic “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq. Nearly 1,800 of them were civilians, including 74 children.

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A nearby black hole just erupted for the first time in 26 years and scientists are ecstatic


The universe is such an intriguing place. One has to wonder if we, the human race, will ever know how it all came to be; whether there is one universe or multiple universes, what are all of the natural forces that lie within it, and all of the countless other questions that with our very limited knowledge of it we can presently ask. Yet more importantly of all, well, maybe second most importantly, lies the question – are we alone in the universe? Is there intelligent life somewhere out there, and if so, will humans ever come in contact with it? I believe that it’s a given that in fact there is intelligent life in the universe. The universe is just way too vast, vast beyond comprehension, to think that we are the only “intelligent life” (and I use the term loosely) out there. Only time will tell. Hopefully, we’ll find out before we exterminate ourselves… TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Business Insider

Business Insider

black hole

Lurking 8,000 light years from Earth is a black hole 12 times more massive than our sun. It’s been peacefully sleeping for 26 years.

But on June 15, it woke up.

Now, scientists around the world are using highly sophisticated instruments to learn as much as they can about this mysterious beast of nature before the black hole returns to its slumber, which will be soon.

Black holes are very dense, massive objects in space that have an immensely powerful gravitational field that traps anything and everything that comes too close, including light. But on occasion they’ll spit out material as well as suck it in.

On June 15, one of NASA’s satellites picked up a torrent of x-rays all coming from a single source: the black hole.

“Relative to the lifetime of space observatories, these black hole eruptions are quite rare,” said Neil Gehrels, the principal investigator for Swift, the NASA satellite that first identified the eruption in a NASA press release. “So when we see one of them flare up, we try to throw everything we have at it, monitoring across the spectrum, from radio waves to gamma rays.”

A deadly companion

This black hole is just one half of a two-body system called V404 Cygni. Its partner is a star slightly smaller than our sun, and it’s been nourishing the black hole for at least 77 years. The x-rays that astronomers observed on June 15 were the heated guts from the companion star that had spiraled into the mouth of the black hole.

As the gas gets pulled in, it orbits around the black hole, forming a disc. The closer the gas gets to the black hole, the stronger gravitational force it feels and so the faster it moves, heating up to searing-hot temperatures. When the gas reaches temperatures of more than 1.7 million degrees Fahrenheit, it emits a jet of high-energy particles, which satellites like NASA’s Swift instrument then detect — albeit 8,000 years later because of the time it takes light to travel from the V404 Cygni to Earth.

But there isn’t always a steady stream of gas falling into the black hole, which is why it takes such long naps in between feedings.

That disc has two regions: and inner, hot region, and an outer cool region. You need a lot of gas to provide enough pressure and push to cross this barrier, which takes time to generate. Once the black hole has consumed all of the gas in the inner region, which it does in a few days, it has to wait for more.

A once-in-a-professional-lifetime opportunity

Astronomers first took interest in this black hole more than 77 years ago, when they initially detected a strong burst of light from it in 1938. It came again in 1956, and then again in 1989.

While the eruption of 1989 was studied with a handful of instruments, the outburst wasn’t studied in half the detail compared to this year’s event.

Outbursts like this usually only last for a few weeks to months, so astronomers have culminated a total of nine instruments in space and on the ground to study the black hole in all wavelengths, from very low energy like radio waves to the most energetic like gamma rays, before time runs out.

Some of the instruments they’re using include the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the European Space Agency’s INTEGRAL satellite, Japan’s MAXI, and the 10.4-meter Gran Telescope Canarias operated by Spain in the Canary Islands.

“It is definitely a ‘once in a professional lifetime’ opportunity,” said Erik Kuulkers, the INTEGRAL project scientist in the NASA press release.

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Sam Harris : About Saudi Arabia & Noam Chomsky


Sam Harris has too much common sense for the average man and woman. This is why so many people are skeptical of his views, especially his views on religion. TGO

Video: YouTube

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IS beheads two Syrian women ‘for the first time’


Can these people be any more ruthless? Do they have no sense of humanity or compassion for the suffering of others? This is Islam at its ugliest, a faith that is ugly by nature. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

AFP

An image made available by the jihadist Twitter account Al-Baraka news on June 11, 2014 allegedly shows militants of the Islamic State group hanging the Islamic Jihad flag on a pole at the top of an ancient military fort between Iraq and Syria

Beirut (AFP) – The Islamic State group has beheaded two women in Syria on accusations of “sorcery,” the first such executions of female civilians in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday.

“The Islamic State group executed two women by beheading them in Deir Ezzor province, and this is the first time the Observatory has documented women being killed by the group in this manner,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The Britain-based monitor said the executions took place on Monday and Sunday and involved two couples.

In both cases, the women were executed with their husbands, with each pair accused of “witchcraft and sorcery”.

The Observatory said IS has previously decapitated the corpses of Kurdish female fighters during battles, and the jihadist group is reported to have stoned civilian women to death on allegations of adultery.

But the Observatory said this was the first time it had documented the group beheading civilian women, noting that the executions were done publicly.

The Islamic State group has become infamous for gruesome executions and other brutality.

According to the Observatory, IS has executed more than 3,000 people in Syria in the year since it declared its Islamic “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq.

Nearly 1,800 of them were civilians, including 74 children.

The Observatory also said Tuesday that IS has punished at least eight people in recent days for allegedly failing to fast during the Muslim month of Ramadan by hanging them from makeshift crosses.

The eight were all strung up alive on crucifixes with placards attached to them accusing them of breaking the Ramadan fast “with no religious justification.”

Among the eight were two minors, the Observatory said, adding that while it had documented eight cases, there might be others that have not been reported.

Observatory chief Abdel Rahman said the eight were hung from the crucifixes for a day and taken down afterwards still alive.

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Pat Condell: Can I say this?


As always, Pat Condell is right on with his view of Islam, as any objective individual should be. We need millions more like him in this world, especially as leaders of the western world. TGO

Video: YouTube

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Horror on the sand in Tunisian hotel massacre


Muslims are terrorizing people all over the world. They will stop at nothing to destroy the lives of those who don’t believe in their extremist ideology, otherwise known as Islam. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Reuters

Reuters

Tunisia

SOUSSE, Tunisia (Reuters) – Casually dressed in dark shorts, a necklace and T-shirt, he would have looked like any other young Tunisian among the German, British and Irish sunbathers soaking up the Mediterranean heat on one of Tunisia’s long, yellow beaches.

In just five minutes, armed with the black Kalashnikov he had hidden in his beach umbrella, Saif Rezgui unleashed horror across the Imperial Marhaba resort, leaving 39 victims dead among the deck chairs and pool loungers.

It was the worst attack of its kind in Tunisia’s modern history. Islamic State claimed responsibility though authorities say Rezgui, a 24-year-old student, was not on any terrorism watch list or a known militant.

Witnesses say the gunman, dressed like a tourist, drew little attention. He opened fire suddenly, making his way from the beach to the pool and hotel, selecting foreigners, pursuing his victims even as they fled indoors.

Rezgui was apparently well aware of the hotel’s layout, a security source said. He had time to reload his rifle at least twice before he was finally confronted and shot dead by police outside the hotel.

Panicked tourists fled from the beach, running among the umbrellas, some falling among the white plastic sun loungers, their bodies later to be covered with towels and sheets. Blood was smeared over the steps leading into the hotel.

“It was horror what we saw, he was killing in an incredible way. It was clear he knew the hotel, he was everywhere,” said Neil, an English tourist leaving Sousse with his wife. “He took seven minutes killing. They was no sign he was an extremist, he just looked like a normal young man.”

A popular tourism destination, Tunisia has emerged from political upheaval after its 2011 uprising against autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Praised for its transition to democracy, the country is also struggling with rising Islamist militancy.

Tunisian authorities were already on the alert, months after two gunmen killed 21 foreign tourists at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, gunning down Japanese, French and Spanish visitors as they arrived by bus.

Like the Bardo attackers, the young Tunisian gunman appears to have fallen prey to extremist recruiters, radicalized and drawn away from his life as a student in a very short time, security sources said.

Since the 2011 uprising, Tunisia has seen radical imams and ultraconservative groups extend their influence, taking over mosques and setting up religious schools in the early turmoil of the country’s transition.

More than 3,000 Tunisians are fighting for Islamic State and other groups in Iraq, Syria and neighboring Libya. Some have warned they will return to carry out attacks in their homeland, one of the most secular nations in the Arab world.

By official accounts, Rezgui was a dedicated student from a stable family who enjoyed partying and practiced break-dancing. In a pattern similar to other Tunisia jihadists, he appeared to have come into contact with extremist preachers about six months ago, a senior security source said.

The two Bardo gunmen were also radicalized in their local mosques by hardliners. They were sent to Libya for training and showed no outward signs of their new extremist beliefs.

“He was a good student and always attending class,” Prime Minister Habib Essid said. “Our investigations show he didn’t reveal any signs of extremism, or ties to terrorists. He wasn’t even on a watch list.”

‘GET OUT OF THE WAY’

It was not the first time Sousse had been targeted. In October 2013, a young Tunisian militant blew himself up on a Sousse beach, killing only himself, after he was refused entry into a hotel. A fellow attacker was caught before he could detonate his bomb among tourists at a popular monument not far away.

The Bardo killings in March had been the worst massacre since the 2002 attack on a synagogue on the tourist island of Djerba, where an al Qaeda suicide bomber killed 21 people.

The Imperial Marhaba is an all-inclusive resort on the long stretch of beach that makes up the Sousse waterfront. A giant pool sits among palm trees set back from the beach.

Packed with European holiday-makers, the resort would have been a desired target for Islamist groups who have attacked North African tourist sites before, seeing them as legitimate targets because of their open Western lifestyles and tolerance of alcohol.

Islamic State praised the gunman’s operation against a “bordello”.

“I was on the beach when he started shooting. We got everyone back toward the hotel, but he followed us. He targeted the foreigners but not the Tunisians,” said Wadia, a waiter.

“When he saw a Tunisian he shouted out ‘Get out of the way’ and shot at foreigners.”

(Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Digby Lidstone)

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French police grill attack suspect after grisly beheading


Muslims. In my dictionary, this is a bad word, as is Islam, Allah and Muhammad/Mohammed (however one chooses to spell it). The reason is obvious, these people are barbarians. And for those of you who consider yourselves ‘peaceful’ Muslims, realize that your ideology, your faith, is badly broken and will remain so because your so-called “holy” book, the Koran/Quran (however one chooses to spell it) is despicable.

You ‘peaceful’ Muslims are a contradiction in terms. It’s like being a “peaceful” member of the Mafia, because you don’t happen to be a hit-man. That doesn’t change the fact that you would still the member of a criminal organization. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

AFP

Special forces of France's Research and Intervention Brigades (BRI) escort an unidentified woman and a child as they leave the building housing the apartment of a man suspected of carrying out an attack in Saint-Priest near Lyon on June 26, 2015

Paris (AFP) – French police were grilling a suspected Islamist Saturday about an attack in which the man displayed his boss’s severed head, in what appeared to be the second jihadist attack in France this year.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who cut short an official trip to South America to rush home, warned France faced more attacks and that Friday’s assault on a gas factory near the second city of Lyon would increase tensions in the country, putting citizens’ resilience “to the test”.

No jihadist group has claimed Friday’s attack, which came on the same day as a massacre at a Tunisian beach resort in which 38 people were gunned down and a suicide bombing in Kuwait that killed 26.

The other two attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State group.

Suspect Yassin Salhi, a 35-year-old married father-of-three, was arrested after causing an explosion by driving a delivery van into a warehouse containing bottles of dangerous gas and chemicals at the US-owned Air Products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Lyon.

The prosecutor in the case said firefighters overpowered Salhi as he was trying to open acetone bottles in what is believed to have been an attempt to cause a larger explosion.

The firefighters then discovered the decapitated body of his 54-year-old boss Herve Cornara — who ran a delivery firm — near the car, along with a knife.

“The head was surrounded by two Islamic flags bearing the Shahada, the profession of (the Muslim) faith,” said prosecutor Francois Molins.

– ‘Unable to speak’ –

Authorities hope an autopsy, expected to be carried out later Saturday, will offer more clues. A source close to the case said it would seek to determine if the victim was first killed before being decapitated.

Meanwhile, in the town of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, shocked residents held a minute’s silence, followed by a pulsating rendition of France’s national anthem.

One man, Philippe Ouastani, said he turned out in solidarity with the victim. “It’s unheard of to decapitate someone in the 21st century. What weapons do we have to combat that? Being here, together.”

“These acts have got nothing to do with religion. The Prophet never said to kill innocent people,” raged the woman, who requested to remain anonymous.

She tried to find words to explain the killing to her four-year-son.

“There are naughty people who have done bad things. The police will put them in prison to punish them for their silly, silly actions,” she told him.

– ‘Better armed’ –

The gory attack in France came nearly six months after a three-day Islamist killing spree in Paris left 17 people dead, most of them gunned down in the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Friday Salhi had been investigated for links to radical Salafists in Lyon, but was not identified as having participated in terrorist activities and did not have a criminal record.

Speaking after a ministerial meeting on Saturday with President Francois Hollande, Cazeneuve vowed the government would “continue to work relentlessly” against terrorism.

France is on high alert over hundreds of citizens who have gone to wage jihad in Iraq and Syria, as well as those involved in recruitment or radicalisation online.

Similarly, Europe has for months been bracing for so-called “lone wolf” attacks by supporters of Islamic State, which has urged its followers to strike wherever they can.

Cazeneuve outlined measures taken by the government in recent months to face “a threat which has never been as high” such as the creation of hundreds of new jobs for police, gendarmes and intelligence agents.

Some 230 million euros ($256 million) will also go to modernising surveillance methods to keep track of jihadists online.

Earlier this week, France passed a controversial new spying law granting sweeping powers to snoop on citizens.

Cazeneuve said the law allowed security services to be “better armed” to fight the jihadist threat

Valls warned Friday’s attack would fuel tensions in France — home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim population — that “will be exploited”.

“This macabre act of decapitation, staged with flags, is new in France” and aimed at “making an impact,” Valls said.

“It’s difficult for a society to live for years under the threat of attack,” he told AFP on a flight back from Colombia.

“The question is not… if there will be another attack, but when.”

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I believe she’s Russian; I love Russians… TGO

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Ex-Scientologist Carmen Llywelyn Pens Revealing Essay About the Church and Ex Jason Lee


People who are dumb enough to join a cult such as Scientology shouldn’t whine about it later. What did they expect? Anyone with half a brain can plainly see that Scientology is at best a shady organization and at worst a criminal one. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Yahoo

Jason Lee and Carmen Llywelyn (WireImage)

Another one of Scientology’s ex-famous members is speaking out against the church.

Carmen Llywelyn, who had roles in Never Been Kissed and The Mod Squad and was once married to actor Jason Lee, recently penned an essay for Gawker titled, “Why I Left Scientology.” In it, she makes harsh accusations against the church and her ex-husband.

Llywelyn, 41, was a Scientologist for eight years. “I’ve spent the last 13 years keeping Scientology out of my life,” she begins. “It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve realized that the religion is built on a foundation of violence. I’m proud to add my voice to the many who, despite fear of retribution and humiliation, have come forward to tell of our experiences.”

Lee is the one who introduced Carmen to the church. They got married in 1995 after one year of dating. At the time, the My Name is Earl actor had been a Scientologist for five years.

“When I think back, I believe a part of me knew if I didn’t accept Scientology the marriage would be over before it even started,” she writes. “But in truth, regardless of how different I feel about Jason and Scientology today, I was very much in love with the guy and wanted our marriage to work. I did what I thought was right. But I made the mistake of immersing myself completely in his world. I did what so many other people who join Scientology do: I lost all sense of individual identity in the name of the cult.”

After an unusual tour of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre in L.A. — including a stop by founder L. Ron Hubbard’s office, which was set up perfectly for when he comes back in another lifetime — Carmen joined Scientology. “As we kept going, it occurred to me how unreal and expensive Scientology was going to be,” she shares, estimating that her involvement with the church cost her around $50,000 over the eight years she was a member. “To me, Scientology seemed more of a surreal lifestyle for the privileged than a kind of belief system.”

According to Llywelyn, the church is also not an easy place to make friends. “You’d never think that speaking your mind could get you in that much trouble, but if you knew what the average Scientologist’s perspective was on friendships you’d understand,” she says. “It becomes a lonely world… In Scientology, your friend can become your worst enemy overnight.”

Carmen said her Scientologist pals, like Jenna Elfman and Gay Ribisi, became her “faux friends.”

When Carmen ran into Elfman shortly after she left the church, “[Jenna] didn’t ask me how I was. She didn’t wish me well or ask me about my life… I was just supposed to listen to her while she lectured me in that tone-40 type of voice and told me I needed to get back on ‘the bridge’… It was a very cold encounter.”

Carmen is happy she left Scientology (Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

Carmen was labeled a “suppressive person” after she read the book A Piece of Blue Sky that opposed the church’s beliefs.

“Most people know the only view you’ll see of any Scientologist once they disconnect from you will be their backs,” she notes. “Before I was disconnected with him, I still got along with Jason as long as I agreed with his and the church’s demands. But when I revealed over the telephone to my talent manager, Gay Ribisi, that I’d read an anti-Scientology book, it started the chain of events that led to me being disconnected with everyone I had known.”

After that, Carmen says she lost Jason, all of her friends, and Gay, who allegedly got United Talent Agency to drop her. She claims Jason disconnected with her in a one paragraph letter, ending “in the same meaningless way and insinuated the same serious things.”

“Scientologists have no boundaries and their cruelties exclude no one,” she says. “There are no choices in Scientology. There never were. It is all a ruse. In truth, after I left Scientology, I had to learn how to think for myself again, to speak for myself again. It’s very different from the language Scientology promotes in its advertisements: ‘think for yourself.'”

Today, Llywelyn lives and works in Atlanta. She has been in a long-term relationship since 2003 and has twins who are about to turn 11.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to travel and film a documentary on all different ways people incorporate their beliefs into their lives all over the world,” she concludes. “And I one day hope to help and be of service to other survivors who have suffered through the experiences of predatory cults.”

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Terror probe after French factory attack leaves 1 beheaded


When are western-world governments going to wise-up and prevent these barbaric Muslims from entering their countries, while simultaneously tracking down and exporting anyone remotely considered to have terrorist affiliations? TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — France opened a terrorism investigation after an attack at a gas factory Friday left one person decapitated and multiple people wounded, officials said. One official said banners with Arabic writing were found near the body.

Two French officials said the attack began mid-morning when two men crashed a car into the entrance of a gas factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier in southeastern France, hitting gas canisters and touching off an explosion.

One of the attackers was arrested, they said. It was unclear what happened to the other attacker.

The decapitated body and banners with Arabic inscriptions were found near the factory entrance, one of the officials said.

Both officials spoke condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the news media.

In a statement, France’s anti-terror prosecutor said an investigation was opened into the attack, which he said was carried out by “a terrorist group.”

France went on high alert after an attack in January that left 20 people dead in the Paris region, including the Islamic extremist attackers.

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It’s no hallucination, that creature is just really weird


There have been some really weird creatures on this planet, and most of them have lived in the world’s oceans. Then again, maybe we are the weirdest creatures on earth. One thing is for sure, we are certainly the most destructive of all. Ironic, considering that we are also the most intelligent. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Reuters

Reuters

An artist's colour reconstruction of Hallucigenia sparsa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It was a creature so strange that experts literally could not make heads nor tails of it.

But scientists said on Wednesday a new analysis of fossils of Hallucigenia, so named for its fantastical appearance, has given them for the first time a complete understanding of this little sea oddball that lived about 508 million years ago.

Hallucigenia is one of the species emblematic of the Cambrian Period, a pivotal juncture in the history of life on Earth when most major groups of animals first appeared and many unusual body designs came and went.

“It is nice to finally know rather fundamental things such as how many legs it has, and to know its head from its tail,” University of Cambridge paleontologist Martin Smith said.

Hallucigenia, whose fossils have been unearthed in the Burgess Shale site in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, belongs to a primitive group of velvet worms, animals that still exist today.

Hallucigenia, 0.4 to 2.2 inches long (10-55 mm), possessed seven pairs of nail-like spines protruding from its back, with an equal number of pairs of long, flimsy legs underneath tipped with claws. There were three pairs of skinny tentacles toward the head, perhaps used to process food or as antennae.

Hallucigenia has long baffled scientists. In the 1970s, it was thought its back spikes were legs, its legs were tentacles along its back and its head was its tail.

“The head was once thought to be represented by a large balloon-like orb at one end of the animal. We can now show that this orb was not part of the animal at all, but a blob of decay fluids that oozed out of the anus during decay and burial,” Smith said.

The actual head, the scientists have now learned after using sophisticated imaging techniques on the fossils, is at the end of a long and slender neck resembling a hose-like tube. Near the end of the head were two bean-shaped eyes.

“Below the eyes, like an almighty grin, sits a ring of teeth,” Smith said.

There was a small mouth cavity in front of these teeth to suck food into the throat. Once there, the food was gripped by tiny needle-like teeth lining the throat to speed it to the stomach.

“It would have been quiet a sight,” said Royal Ontario Museum paleontologist Jean-Bernard Caron.

The research appears in the journal Nature.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

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