News and Information for the End Times
April 13, 2010
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LIVING ON BORROWED TIME
A morally and spiritually bankrupt society …A worldwide economic meltdown…A planet racked with increasingly intense manmade and natural disasters…Are we the Final Generation?
Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:42-44
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Iran announced that it will join the "world nuclear club" within a month and will be capable of deterring possible attacks on the country, the Iranian Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.
"No country would even think about attacking Iran after Iran's membership in the club," said Behzad Soltani, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, according to the report.
Soltani added that the construction of a 360 megawatt nuclear power plant and a 40 megawatt research reactor in Iran's central city of Arak are 70 percent finished.
He also said that the developments will help treat 850,000 cancer patients.
"We do not intend to use the peaceful nuclear energy merely for generating electricity and energy, rather our next step would be expanding use of this technology for purposes other than energy and fuel production so that foodstuff, proteins and vegetables are preserved for a longer time and with a higher quality through radiation," Soltani said, according to Fars.
He added that the technology will also increase economic growth and prosperity in Iran.
"This means Iran's mighty nuclear independence intermingled with economic growth, expansion of technology and political power in the international arena," Behzadi said.
Iran earlier on Tuesday expressed doubts that China will back the U.S. and European drive for renewed United Nations Security Council sanctions against it.
U.S. officials said Monday China was ready to work with the U.S. on possible sanctions.
Chinese spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama that China and the United States share the same overall goal on the Iranian nuclear issue.
But Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters on Tuesday athat Tehran does not view the statement as Chinese approval for the U.S. stance.
"Our interpretation [of the statement] is different," Mehmanparast said, but would not elaborate.
Mehmanparast added that both China and Russia would attend a two-day international nuclear disarmament conference starting on April 17 in Tehran.
At least 15 foreign ministers would attend the meeting, he said.
Although the conference is supposed to deal with nuclear disarmament, observers say that the meeting is another effort by Iran to seek international acknowledgement for its nuclear policies and expose renewed sanctions as irrelevant.
Iran has persistently dismissed international concerns that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons.
Tehran: If Iran is attacked, nuclear devices will go off in American cities – www.debka.com
This warning, along with an announcement that Iran would join the world's nuclear club within a month, raised the pitch of Iranian anti-US rhetoric to a new high Tuesday, April 13, as 47 world leaders gathered in Washington for President Barack Obama's Nuclear Security Summit. The statement published by Kayhan said: "If the US strikes Iran with nuclear weapons, there are elements which will respond with nuclear blasts in the centers of America's main cities." For the first time, debkafile's military sources report, Tehran indicated the possibility of passing nuclear devices to terrorists capable of striking inside the United States.
Without specifying whether those elements would be Iranian or others, Tehran aimed at the heart of the Nuclear Security Summit by threatening US cities with nuclear terror.
debkafile's Iranians sources report that Tehran is playing brinkmanship to demonstrate that the Washington summit, from which Iran and North Korea were excluded, failed before it began, because terrorist elements capable of striking inside the US had already acquired nuclear devices for that purpose.
Although Iran has yet to attain operational nuclear arms, our military sources believe it does possess the makings of primitive nuclear devices or "dirty bombs."
In an interview ahead of the summit, President Obama warned: "If there was ever a detonation in New York City, or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications... would be devastating."
In another shot at the summit, Behzad Soltani, deputy director of Iran's Atomic Commission, announced Tuesday: "Iran will join the world nuclear club within a month in a bid to deter possible attacks on the country." He added: "No country would even think about attacking Iran once it is in the club."
The Iranian official's boast was run by the Fars news agency, published by Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Behzadi further pointed to the construction of 360 MW nuclear power plant and a 40 MW research reactor in Iran's central city of Arak, claiming the projects were 70 percent complete.
This plant is generally believed to have been built to enable Iran to produce weapons-grade plutonium as an alternative weapons fuel to highly-enriched uranium and material for radioactive weapons.
Sunday, April 11, debkafile reported that Iran is making much better progress than Western and Israeli intelligence estimates have held toward completing the Arak heavy water reactor.
Along with the strides made in its nuclear manufacturing capacity, Tehran's anti-US rhetoric has grown more strident in the past week. Thursday, April 8, Iran's Armed Forces Chief of Staff Maj.Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi said if the United States made any military moves on the Islamic Republic "none of the American troops in the region would go back home alive."
debkafile's military sources report the presence of app. 220,000 US soldiers in the countries around Iran, including Gulf bases and waters, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Iranian general was reacting to US defense secretary Robert Gates' warning that Washington's policy decision to limit the use of nuclear arms if attacked did not apply to Iran and North Korea.
WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama and Jordan's King Abdullah II called on Monday for proximity peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians to take place "as soon as possible" despite the current deadlock.
The White House said in a statement that the two leaders discussed the impasse in US efforts to launch indirect peace talks when they met on the sidelines of a 47-nation nuclear security summit here.
"Both agreed that Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks should begin as soon as possible, and transition quickly to direct negotiations," the statement said.
"They also agreed that both sides should refrain from actions that undermine trust during these talks."
The statement, which also said the two leaders discussed Iraq, the Iranian nuclear confrontation and Afghanistan, did not however spell out how Obama and the king thought the current deadlock could be resolved.
Israel and the White House have been locked in a rare public confrontation over getting proximity talks started.
Netanyahu decided not to attend the nuclear summit, after returning home last month to media derision after a testy White House meeting with Obama failed to make obvious progress.
Netanyahu reportedly feared that Muslim nations here would make an issue of Israel's assumed nuclear status, but his decision revived debate about his tense relations with the Obama administration.
Israel has deflected blame over the stalled peace effort, after the Palestinians refused to join indirect talks without a Jewish settlement freeze and following a flare-up of violence in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
But Washington is angry at several new settlement projects in East Jerusalem, seen by Palestinians as the capital of their future state.
Monday's meeting between Obama and the King came a week after unnamed US officials floated the idea of launching a new unilateral US peace plan in an effort to unblock the impasse in the Middle East, in several newspaper accounts.
But, on the record, officials are saying no decision has yet been made on a strategic shift of the US position, as a row rumbles on with Israel over settlements in Jerusalem.
Wall Street Journal reports Jerusalem officials say Israel will reject attempts by Obama to set timeline, benchmarks for peace talks with Palestinians
Government sources said Israel would reject any move by the administration of US President Barack Obama to set a timetable and benchmarks for peace talks with the Palestinians, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
It further reported that international sources, including Jordan's King Abdullah, said the US must pressure both parties by setting a timetable for the peace process.
King Abdullah met with President Obama in Washington on Monday. A White House statement issued after the meeting said the two discussed a number of issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the dispute between the West and Iran.
The statement said that the two urged both Israel and the Palestinians to refrain from actions that may diminish trust between the two parties.
Over the weekend, US National Security Advisor James Jones said the administration was mulling over way to renew the peace talks, but that no decision had been made.
He commented on recent reports in US media, according to which Obama was "seriously considering" declaring this autumn an American peace plan for the Middle East to be based on the outlines presented by former President Bill Clinton at Camp David a decade ago.
Jones confirmed that Obama had recently met with former administration officials to discuss formulating a new strategy for the Middle East. He said there are ongoing talks, but that no surprises are being planned.
Syria is shipping Scud missiles to Hezbollah - By Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel – www.haaretz.com
Two reports from recent days in a Kuwaiti daily shed new light on the recent tension between Israel and Syria and Lebanon. According to the newspaper Al-Rai Al-Aam, Syria has recently shipped ballistic missiles of the Scud type to Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.
The newspaper further reported that the United States administration has postponed "until further notice" the appointment of a new ambassador to Damascus. The U.S. has not posted an ambassador in Syria since 2005, and the appointment of Ambassador Robert Ford was supposed to get Senate approval on Monday, but did not.
According to the Kuwaiti newspaper, the decision to postpone the appointment was made following the transfer of truckloads of scud missiles from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon, in a shipment sanctioned by the Syrian government. The report is based on quotes from American sources who spoke with Al-Rai Al-Aam's Washington reporter.
The report added that Syria trained Hezbollah fighters in the use of Scud missiles and advanced anti-aircraft missiles last summer, on its soil. The exact type of Scud missile was not specified.
Scud B missiles have a range of up to 300 kilometers, which means they can reach most of Israel. Scud C and D missiles can reach as far south as Eilat.
The report says that Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, passed the Syrian leadership a message from the U.S. administration when he visited Damascus earlier this month. Kerry asked for explanations about the relationship between Syria and Hezbollah, and voiced reservations over Syrian support for the Shi'ite organization.
The American source told the reporter the kind of weapons transported to Hezbollah could start a new war with Israel.
Tensions between Syria, Israel and Lebanon came to the fore most recently in late January, when Israel and Syria traded verbal blows and American and Israeli officials voiced concerns about Hezbollah rearming with the help of Syria and Iran. At the peak of the tension, the Israel Defense Forces held a prescheduled military drill.
However, Israel clarified to the Assad regime that it had no intention of attacking Syria, and even went as far as excluding reserves mobilization from the drill, so as not to alarm the Syrians even further. The steps appear to have had some effect, as tensions eased the following month and comments from all parties became more restrained.
Nevertheless, one of the central issues in the northern arena remains Hezbollah's plans to avenge the 2008 assassination of its senior operative Imad Mughniyeh, which it blames on Israel.
The organization is also building up its stock of advanced Syrian and Iranian weaponry; Israel has voiced particular concern that the organization might acquire anti-aircraft weaponry that would make it difficult for the Israeli Air Force to fly over Lebanon.
Moreover, Hezbollah's arsenal is estimated to contain tens of thousands of rockets capable of reaching nearly any target in Israel. There was a dramatic improvement in the rockets' range, precision and strength despite UN Resolution 1701, which stabilized the northern front but has failed to prevent weapon smuggling.
Israel is closely following the weapon smuggling, and continues to issue warnings. However, Netanyahu's government will find it hard to justify to the international community and even to the public at home a military move to keep the enemies from rearming, which could trigger a Third Lebanon War.
Terrorists: Israeli nuke plant within rocket range – Aaron Klein – www.wnd.com
Technical advance would mark dangerous escalation of jihadi capabilities
JERUSALEM – Terrorists in the Gaza Strip claimed to WND they test-fired a rocket two weeks ago capable of traveling 31 miles, putting Israel's nuclear plant within reach.
If their claim is correct, it would mark a major and dangerous escalation of Palestinian rocketing capabilities.
Members of the Islamic Jihad group told WND they launched a rocket two weeks ago from the northern Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the Israeli town of Ashdod. The jihadists said they fired the rocket into the sea intentionally to test its range.
The Islamic Jihad members claimed the rocket traveled 50 kilometers, or 31 miles. Israel's Dimona nuclear plant is about 50 kilometers from Gaza.
A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces would only confirm to WND that a rocket landed in the sea two weeks ago but would not comment on the distance the rocket traveled.
Last January, an Egyptian intelligence official told WND he would not be surprised if Hamas has a number of rockets in the Gaza Strip capable of reaching Israel's main nuclear power station.
The official's estimates, which could not immediately be confirmed by Israeli defense sources, are significant since Hamas routinely smuggles weaponry in tunnels that snake underneath the Gaza-Egypt border. He said he believes Hamas could have rockets that can reach Israel's nuclear plant in Dimona.
Hamas is known to possess 122 mm Katyusha rockets, which have a range of about 18 miles, and has fired improved 122 mm Katyusha's, with ranges of up to 30 miles. The Egyptian intelligence official said Hamas may be saving larger, 220 mm rockets, with ranges in the vicinity of 44 miles, which would place both Dimona and Tel Aviv within range.
Israeli officials say Hamas is thought to have also acquired dozens of Iranian-made Fajr-3 missiles with an even longer range.
Barak: IDF has its eyes on all threats, near and far - By Amos Harel – www.haaretz.com
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday that Israel was closely following the Hezbollah militant group's rearmament, responding to reports that Syria has recently shipped ballistic missiles of the Scud type to the Lebanon-based guerillas.
"The rearmament [in Lebanon] looks to be in callous violation of the Security Council resolution," Barak said, referring to the agreement which brought an end to a month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.
"We have been saying our piece for some time now? We have no plans to attack Lebanon, and we recommend and hope that everyone will preserve the quiet," Barak added. "But the entry of systems like this that disturb the balance endangers stability and quiet."
Earlier Tuesday, Barak told Israel Air Force soldiers at a base in the north that the Israel Defense Forces was preparing to face threats from both near and far.
"We have the pilots, the ground crews and the best planes in the world," Barak declared. "Our air force is the supporting pillar of our operational capabilities against threats from both near and far."
"The IDF is trained and ready, with its eyes open in every direction," Barak told the soldiers. "With this strength and deterrence, Israel must try to find every opportunity to reach peace with its neighbors."
Jerusalem authorities plan to give the green light to build a new synagogue and school in east Jerusalem on land seized from Palestinians, Israeli army radio reported on Tuesday.
The land was seized from its Palestinian owners shortly before planning for the buildings started in the 1990s, the radio said.
The construction project in the Gilo neighbourhood, a Jewish settlement, still needs final approval from the city's planning commission, whose head Kobi Khalon said this would be a formality.
But Khalon, who is also deputy mayor, added: "We must act with prudence and responsibility as Jerusalem is an explosive city."
The status of Jerusalem and Jewish settlements are major stumbling blocks in Middle East peace efforts.
Israel has considered the Holy City its "eternal and indivisible" capital since it seized Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community.
The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as part of the occupied West Bank and want it to be the capital of their promised state.
The announcement of a plan for 1,600 new settler homes in east Jerusalem during a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden last month triggered a major row with Washington, which has pushed for a freeze of settlement activity.
Israel's seven-strong security cabinet met on Monday to discuss Washington's demands for specific confidence-building measures to promote a restart of Middle East peace talks.
The demands were made last month during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington that appeared to deepen the row with the administration of President Barack Obama.
Under Netanyahu's orders, Jerusalem's planning commission -- whose approval is needed for any construction project in the city -- has not met since the ill-timed announcement during Biden's visit, said city council member Meir Margalit.
Its first meeting for more than a month will be on Thursday, when it is expected to approve the Gilo project, said the leftwinger.
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Egypt called Monday for world powers to press both Iran and Israel on nuclear weapons, saying that the Middle East should be a zone free of the ultra-destructive arms.
Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, who is representing Egypt at a major summit in Washington on nuclear security, voiced hope that diplomacy rather than sanctions would dissuade Iran from nuclear weapons.
But he said the so-called P5 -- the five permanent members on the Security Council -- should press Israel on its refusal to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
"Let's also try to convince the P5 to bring Israel onboard. You see, you have possibly today two emerging threats" in the Middle East, Gheit told the "PBS Newshour" on US public television.
"We are eager that we do not have a nuclear Iran, as well as we do not want to see a nuclear Israel. We want a zone that is free of nuclear weapons -- and it can be done," he said.
Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons but maintains a policy of strategic ambiguity, refusing to confirm or deny its arsenal.
Iran is part of the NPT but Western powers believe it is in violation of the treaty and is pursuing nuclear weapons. The clerical regime insists it is only seeking the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the last minute pulled out of the Washington summit, reportedly out of concern that Arab states and Turkey would shift the focus to Israel and away from its arch-enemy Iran.
Gheit dismissed Netanyahu's concerns, saying that the summit was meant to address nuclear security and not specifically the NPT.
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World oil demand to hit record high this year: IEA - By Christopher Johnson – www.reuters.com
LONDON (Reuters) - Global oil demand will hit a record high this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday, revising up consumption estimates as the world economy recovers from recession.
The Paris-based adviser to industrialized economies raised its forecast for world oil demand growth this year to 1.67 million barrels per day (bpd), up 100,000 bpd.
The agency said in its monthly Oil Market Report that world oil demand would reach an average of 86.60 million bpd this year, up from 84.93 million in 2009.
The previous record high for world oil demand was 86.5 million bpd in 2007 before the onset of the global financial crisis and economic slowdown.
"There are signs of oil demand picking up in North America and the Pacific, Asia and the Middle East although consumption in Europe still looks weak," David Fyfe, head of the IEA's Oil Industry and Markets Division, told Reuters.
But the extra demand will largely be met by production from outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The IEA raised its forecast for non-OPEC output in 2010 by 220,000 bpd to around 52.0 million bpd due to higher output by OECD countries. Overall, non-OPEC supply is expected to rise by around 500,000 bpd this year.
As a result, the IEA estimated demand this year for OPEC crude and stocks would fall by 200,000 bpd to 29.1 million bpd.
OPEC COMPLIANCE FALLS
Oil prices were largely steady after the IEA report, with benchmark U.S. crude oil futures for May trading around $83.63 per barrel, down 71 cents, by 6:06 a.m. ET.
The IEA noted that oil prices, which hit an 18-month high above $87 last week, had risen above the range of $60 to $80 per barrel that OPEC and many industrialized countries see as ideal for producers and consumers.
It said oil prices could stifle world economic growth if they were allowed to rise too far.
"Ultimately, things might turn messy for producers if $80-$100 per barrel is merely seen as the new $60-$80, stunting economic recovery while prompting resurgent non-oil and non-OPEC supply investment," the IEA report said.
Total OPEC production declined in March, the IEA said, but this was largely due to a fall in production by Iraq, which is not bound by OPEC output targets.
It said production by the 11 OPEC countries bound by OPEC output targets rose by 30,000 bpd, taking their compliance as a group with promised output cuts to around 55 percent at the end of March, down from its previous estimate of 56 percent at the end of February.
Oil stocks in industrialized countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rose to around 60 days of forward demand at the end of February from about 59.5 days at the end of January, the IEA said.
The IEA said refineries around the world would process nearly 1 million bpd more oil in the second quarter than in the same period last year with China and Asian countries raising output most. This is up 300,000 bpd over the last estimate.
"The return of economic growth and hence oil demand growth is fuelling the increase," the report said.
China's refinery output will jump by 900,000 bpd from a year ago, helping to offset a fall of 440,000 bpd in OECD countries.
A top US energy industry expert believes Israel is going to soon experience an "oil and gas rush" by major Western energy development companies.
Speaking to the Israeli financial newspaper Globes, Fred Zeidman said the recent discovery of a massive natural gas field off Israel's Mediterranean coast had drawn the attention of every major Western energy company.
Israeli companies Delek and Isramco have already tapped the natural gas field, together with British energy giant Noble Energy. Zeidman noted that quite often, "as soon as Noble goes to a place, many other companies follow in its wake."
That could mean an enormous economic boom for Israel and its transformation overnight into a major international energy exporter.
The natural gas field in the Levant Basin (the western Mediterranean) is estimated to hold 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, making it the largest natural gas resource ever found. The area is also believed to contain at least 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
Arrests of Hutaree renew interest in end of times; spur controversy – Niraj Warikoo - www.freep.com
Carlos Hall of Westland believes that Jesus will one day return -- an idea shared by four out of five Christians, according to the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Hall's belief in the end of times has a long history in Christianity, as well as in Judaism and Islam.
The three religions believe that humanity and time are headed toward an end.
Some Christians believe that Jesus will usher in a reign of peace after a tribulation period. At least one in five maintain the end will happen in their lifetime. Some denominations recite the creeds during services that specifically allude to the return of Jesus, saying, in part, "He shall come to judge the living and the dead."
Some Jews -- in particular those who are Orthodox -- believe that a messiah, who is a righteous descendant of King David, will come in the future to bring a time of peace.
And some Muslims believe that a descendant of the prophet Muhammad will appear to bring peace.
The arrests this month of nine members of Hutaree -- a militia in Michigan whose members called themselves Christian warriors -- have brought renewed attention to end-times theology.
To the Hutaree, the world was in the seven-year period of tribulations that comes before Christ's return, said the head of the church they attended. They believed "the govern