Putin lashes out at West's "new arms race"

By Michael Stott
MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Friday a new global arms race was starting and Russia was “forced to retaliate” with new, high-tech weapons.
In a tough speech outlining his vision for Russia to 2020, Putin accused the West of ignoring Moscow's concerns on security by expanding the NATO military alliance to its borders and deploying a missile defense system in Central Europe.
“It is already clear that a new arms race is unfolding in the world. It's not our fault, we didn't start it,” Putin told government, business and military leaders at the Kremlin, three months before his presidency is due to end.
“In effect, we are forced to retaliate…Russia has and always will have a response to these new challenges,” he added.
Apparently referring to plans for new nuclear-capable missiles, Putin said “over the next few years Russia will start production of new types of weapons which…are in no way inferior to what other states have and in some cases are superior”.
Putin also said there was a “fierce fight” for natural resources around the globe and many conflicts and foreign policy actions “smell of oil and gas”. Moscow needed to be on …

Woman arrested in Saudia Arabia for drinking coffee at Starbucks with a man

A 37-year-old American businesswoman and married mother of three is seeking justice after she was thrown in jail by Saudi Arabia's religious police for sitting with a male colleague at a Starbucks coffee shop in Riyadh, according to a report in The Times of London on Thursday.
Yara, who does not want her last name published for fear of retribution, was bruised and crying when she was freed from a day in prison after she was strip-searched, threatened and forced to sign false confessions by the Kingdom's “Mutaween” police, The Times reported.
“Some men came up to us with very long beards and white dresses. They asked 'Why are you here together?'. I explained about the power being out in our office. They got very angry and told me what I was doing was a great sin,” recalled Yara, who wears an abaya and headscarf, like most Saudi women.
The men were from Saudi Arabia's Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, a police force of several thousand men charged with enforcing dress codes, sex segregation and the observance of prayers.
Yara says she was interrogated, strip-searched and forced to sign and fingerprint a series of confessions pleading …

Swedish state to train imams

The Swedish government is to set up an inquiry to look into the possibility of using state funds to provide training programmes for imams
Sweden funds fight against honour crimes
Women priests overtake men (28 Jan 08)
Book about Jesus saves Swedish writer – twice 
Muslim religious representatives should be able to benefit from Swedish tax kronor in the same way as Christian priests and ministers, according to Minster for Higher Education and Research Lars Leijonborg.
The former Liberal Party leader also believes that the move will help stem the development of radical Islam in Sweden.
“It has been suggested that radical Muslims from Saudi Arabia are offering to provide imams for free, and a lack of money means that moderate Muslims who want to set up a mosque don't have any alternatives,” Leijonborg told Svenska Dagbladet.
Concrete proposals regarding the structure and composition of a training course for imams would only be put forward following close consultation with Muslims in Sweden, he said. The minister added that the government had already begun discussions with the newly formed Ibn Rushd study foundation.
“My opinion is that we should help Muslims by providing a Swedish training course for imams, or at …

Turning 1st Amendment upside down

You might think one of the qualifications for being appointed president of a prestigious institution of higher learning would be a basic understanding of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
After all, the First Amendment, like the rest of the nation's founding charter, is written in plain English – straightforward, modern language that should be comprehensible to a grade-school student.
Nevertheless, the president of the historic College of William & Mary in Virginia has shown you can believe the First Amendment prohibits the free exercise of religion and protects obscenity and indecency and be welcomed into the hallowed fraternity of college administration.
In fact, such upside-down thinking may be a requirement for such a distinguished post.
That's what I deduce from the latest pronouncements of morality from Gene Nichol, the current bearer of that title at the Williamsburg university. Tell me if I'm off base.
Nichol came to national news prominence in 2006 when he supported a decision by his administrators to remove a cross from William & Mary's famous Wren Chapel.
It seems some anonymous person was offended by this show of religious faith in the public square.
After students and alumni put together a petition of more …

robiotic yoghurts to cut infection in UK hospitals

By Alex McNally
 Probiotic yoghurts are being used at hospitals in the UK to cut the risk of patients developing superbug infections.
The news comes just weeks after a Dutch trial using the friendly bacteria on pancreatitis sufferers led to the death of 24 people.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust are trialing the pots on wards at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, which have had higher cases of Clostridium difficile infection.
The Trust said there has been science to support the use of probiotics, and said the yoghurt helps balance the bacteria in the stomach which could help make patients less susceptible to infection. 
A spokesperson told NutraIngredients.com:  “My understanding is that there has been no scientific evidence to suggest it could do any harm.”
Medical director Matthew Fletcher said: “We are providing Actimel probiotic yoghurt to patients on the wards where we have previously had more cases of C.diff.
“There is some evidence to suggest that using these probiotics may reduce a patient's risk of C.diff and we will be evaluating the difference this has made to the number of cases.”
The trial is expected to last …

Schoolgirl to aliens:'We're not going to turn America..a bilingual country to accommodate you'

Melting pot: 'We're not going to turn America
into a bilingual country to accommodate you' 
Schoolgirl to aliens: Learn our language
'We're not going to turn America into a bilingual country to accommodate you'
A Texas schoolgirl has a message for aliens coming into the United States: Learn our language.
The message comes from Ashleigh Allison, who has insisted on studying France and its language even though her Grapevine-Colleyville school district curriculum requires her to take Spanish, according to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
And her mother agrees. “We're not going to turn American into a bilingual country to accommodate you,” she said. “She (Ashleigh) wants to be the one voice that forces them to learn English.”
K.C. McAlpin, a spokesman for ProEnglish, a Virginia-based group that is trying to preserve English as the common language of the United States, said there's no opposition to teaching foreign languages.
(Story continues below)
“But it would be naïve to think that the country does not face the growing threat of bilingualism because of the massive influx of mostly Spanish-speaking immigrants. They're coming in faster than the country can absorb them,” McAlpin said.
In Texas, schools are required to …