Israel believes Lavrov has message from Assad

Herb Keinon
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov may carry some kind of message from Syrian President Bashar Assad when he arrives here Thursday for a brief meeting, according to assessments in Jerusalem.
These assessments are based on Russia's keen interest in carving out a mediator's role in the Middle East that will enable it to rival US's diplomatic supremacy here, as well as Syria's interest in finding favor with the Russians.
Lavrov's trip comes as Syria has once again been putting out feelers regarding a possible peace deal with Israel, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly acting as a middle-man in the process. The Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reported over the weekend that Turkey is facilitating contact between Israel and Syria.
The paper said that Syria wanted “serious signs” from Israel that it would withdraw its forces “from all occupied Arab territories” before negotiations could begin.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addressed the murmurings of some movement on the Syrian diplomatic front last week during a press conference with visiting Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek.
“We are interested in peace with Syria,” Olmert said. “The Syrians well know what they must do for this, as we know what we must …

McCain backs Jerusalem as 'Israeli capital'

US Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Tuesday he supports Israel's claim to the holy city of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.
“I support Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” McCain said in Jordan before heading to Israel where he arrived late Tuesday.
Israel annexed Arab east Jerusalem after the 1967 Middle East war and declared it part of its eternal undivided capital, a claim not recognised by the international community.
The fate of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and renewed Israeli settlement activity in the occupied eastern part is hampering peace talks revived only in November.
The Palestinians, who want to make the eastern sector capital of their future promised state, said McCain's statements contradicted the two-state solution to the Middle East conflict laid out by US President George W. Bush.
“They do not represent the position of the US administration which considers all the Palestinian areas occupied by Israel in 1967, including east Jerusalem as occupied territories,” senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.
“They also contradict the two-state vision of president Bush,” he said in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The United States and other foreign …

A Reason to Celebrate

Mohammed, Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha), Confucius, and Jesus Christ: To many, these names are all of equal value; they represent great teachers who spoke words of wisdom and enlightenment. They are the leaders of major religions, and their words and ideas live to this day, each having won the loyalty of millions and even billions of followers.
All four of these men died and were buried. However three still lie in the grave. This coming Sunday, Christians around the world will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the Passover he was slaughtered as our spotless Passover lamb. As in Egypt, his blood was placed over us to protect us and shield us from the judgment of God. Then Christ conquered sin – and death itself – by rising again.
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay (Matthew 28:5,6).
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But …

South Florida

Cuban oil rigs could be built 45 miles off South Florida
By Doreen Hemlock
Imagine oil rigs drilling in deep waters just 45 miles off the coast of South Florida. Refineries process the oil in Cuba and sell it across the Caribbean and beyond. Canadian and Mexican companies supply billions of dollars in equipment and services.
This could happen, as Havana is inviting foreign companies to explore its probable oil and natural gas reserves while Washington's embargo against the communist-led island keeps U.S. companies locked out.
South Florida is watching closely amid debate over drilling near its shores and concerns about U.S. energy policy. Oil companies increasingly seek to tap Cuba's deep-water reserves now that oil prices are soaring and profits are more likely.
“In 34 years following Cuba, I've never seen an issue like this — so strategically important to the United States,” said Kirby Jones, president of Washington-based Alamar Associates, who advises U.S. companies on Cuba and opposes the U.S. embargo.
Cuba is courting oil investors to slash its dependence on foreign fuels. The cash-strapped island can't afford to import all it needs, especially with today's oil prices topping $100 a barrel. The island long relied on the …

Big Brother Keeping Tabs On Students

New technology is helping Guilford County school leaders keep an eye on your kids.
Greensboro, NC — The district installed the first surveillance cameras more than a decade ago, but an upgrade now gives leaders a look from three angles.
“There's really no way to hide from them,” Jeff Harris, transportation director for Guilford County Schools said about the new school bus cameras.
No matter where you sit on one of 82 Guilford County school buses, anything you do will be caught on camera.
“We can leave the camera hard drive on the bus and let it just continuously record the student behavior or any kind of actions on the bus,” said Harris.
The cameras record any action or conversation. “Each camera at each mounted location has a microphone,” he said.
Each bus equipped with a surveillance system has three different cameras, picking up three different angles of activity on the school bus.
That means it's virtually impossible to do anything and not get filmed.
Harris hopes the cameras cut down on problems, stemming from students or drivers. “If there's a problem where a student accuses a driver of something, one of the cameras catches the driver area,” he said. …

Glowing lights around an earthquake's epicentrePaul

Simons: Weather Eye
The earthquake on February 27 did more than shake people up in the middle of the night. Reports have come in that mysterious lights also appeared around the quake’s epicentre near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire.
One witness described how a grapefruit-sized glowing sphere appeared in her bedroom and then went out like a light. “This thing seemed to be coming across the room straight at me. I was very frightened,” she told the Louth Leader. Another person described flashes like car headlights at her window, and others spoke of lightning flashes after the quake. However, there was no lightning activity at the time of the quake.
In fact, there have been many reports of “earthquake lights” throughout history. Residents of Tangshan in China, for example, were awakened one night in July 1976 by bright flashes in the sky. Two days later an earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale killed 240,000 people and destroyed the city. And a Japanese scientist took photographs of balls of light and red streaks in the sky during a swarm of earthquakes in Matsushiro between 1965 and 1967.
One explanation for his phenomenon is that the electrical properties of rocks may change under …