"Euros Accepted" signs pop up in New York City

In the latest example that the U.S. dollar just ain't what it used to be, some shops in New York City have begun accepting euros and other foreign currency as payment for merchandise.
“We had decided that money is money and we'll take it and just do the exchange whenever we can with our bank,” Robert Chu, owner of East Village Wines, told Reuters television.
The increasingly weak U.S. dollar, once considered the king among currencies, has brought waves of European tourists to New York with money to burn and looking to take advantage of hugely favorable exchange rates.
“We didn't realize we would take so much in and there were that many people traveling or having euros to bring in. But some days, you'd be surprised at how many euros you get,” Chu said.”Now we have to get familiar with other currencies and the (British) pound and the Canadian dollars we take,” he said.
While shops in many U.S. towns on the Canadian border have long accepted Canadian currency and some stores on the Texas-Mexico border take pesos, the acceptance of foreign money in Manhattan was unheard of until recently.
Not far from Chu's downtown wine emporium, Billy Leroy …

3 companies indicted for poisoned pet food

Contaminated gluten just latest in list of 'filthy' products from China
Just six months after an epidemic of pet illnesses and deaths across
the United States was blamed on contaminated Chinese proteins in pet
food, the federal government has announced indictments against three
companies, including two from China.
Named in the indictments released by the U.S. attorney's office in
Kansas City, Mo., were Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development
Co., Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products, Arts and Crafts
I/E Co. and ChemNutra Inc. of Las Vegas, according to a report from the
Associated Press.
The tainted pet food was blamed for the deaths of dozens, perhaps
hundreds, of house pets last year and an inflation in the fear American
consumers felt toward products from China amidst a long series of
reports about contaminated products ranging from sardines to
toothbrushes.
The companies were named in two separate but related indictments, the
report said.
One alleged Xuzhou Anying Biologic, headquartered in China's Jiangsu
Province, and Suzhou Textiles, of the city with the same name,
introduced contaminated or adulterated food into interstate commerce as
well as introducing “misbranded” food, for a total of 26 counts. 
The report said ChemNutra, owned by Chinese national …

Shabbat Shalom-Turn On the Lights

by Rabbi Boruch Leff
Why do we signify Shabbat's entry by lighting up the lights? It is one of the most beautiful sights and experiences within the gamut of Jewish life. The lady of the house walks toward the candelabra with great anticipation, knowing that she is about to touch something otherworldly. She strikes the match, lights the candles, closes her eyes, and makes the blessing. As she finishes the blessing and begins to recite a special prayer, an overwhelming feeling of spirituality permeates her inner core. Shabbat has arrived into her open and welcoming arms.
Why do we signify Shabbat's entry by lighting up the lights?
Imagine yourself going into the kitchen in the darkness of the night looking for a midnight snack The lights are off and you cannot see anything in the room. It's so dark, you can't even find the light switch. You can't see or access that snack you desire, even though it's sitting right there. The food is ready to be eaten, but as far as you are concerned it doesn't exist, because you are steeped in darkness.
What happens when you find the switch and turn on the lights? A brand new room, …

Israel, EU sign understandings on way to global aviation deal

By Zohar Blumenkrantz
In another step towards opening Israel's skies to competition, Israel and the European Commission on Wednesday signed a preliminary memorandum of understandings towards signing a unified global aviation agreement btween Israel and the states of Europe.
The agreement is expected to fully remove the aviation limitations currently in place between Israel and European Union states. The memorandum has no immediate affect on passengers flying to and from Israel, but if it indeed leads to a global aviation agreement, flight prices are expected to decrease.
“The agreement will upgrade Israel's status in dealing with European states,” Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said. “In practice, this is an Israeli agreement to conduct changes in its aviation agreements with the EU, which would allow leading European companies to fly to Israel, in accordance with bilateral arrangements between the states.” 
Mofaz, who spoke Tuesday at the international tourism conference in Tel Aviv's Exhibition Grounds, added that the new agreement would bring about a 30 percent reduction in ticket prices for travel between Israel and Europe.
According to Mofaz, the memorandum signed significantly tempers the existing bilateral aviation agreements and would allow multinational airlines and subsidiaries to fly to Israel, increasing competition and …

The Hitler question

It would be impossible to write a book of this sort without addressing the three subjects that inevitably come up when atheists are contending with Christians. Just as atheists anticipate the need to answer for Stalin and Mao, Christians are expected to answer for the Inquisition and the Crusades. And both sides recognize the need to deal with the Hitler question. Like Einstein, the Führer made enough ambiguous statements to leave the matter up for discussion; unlike Einstein, no one is eager to claim Hitler and his National Socialists as members of their intellectual camp. The Unholy Trinity have no choice but to concern themselves with the matter, of course, and they do so largely in the manner that one has come to expect from them. Harris wastes eight pages attempting to tar the Catholic church and Pope Pius XII with guilt by insufficient opposition, then on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, declares that Auschwitz was a logical and inevitable consequence of the Christian faith. Hitchens also complains about the Catholic church and relates a few irrelevant anecdotes about Italian Fascists and Irish Blue Shirts, but then shows genuine insight when he notes that the Hitler regime shows us …

Syria acquiring Russian rockets at 'furious' pace

Security official: 'It's like a return to the Cold War'
By Aaron Klein
© 2008 WorldNetDaily
JERUSALEM – Syria, aided by Russia and Iran, in recent months has been furiously acquiring rockets and missiles, including projectiles capable of hitting the entire state of Israel, according to Jordanian and Israeli security officials speaking to WND.
A Jordanian security official said one of the main reasons Damascus did not retaliate after Israel carried out its Sept. 6 airstrike inside Syria allegedly targeting a nascent nuclear facility was because Syria's rocket infrastructure was not yet complete.
The official said after the Israeli airstrike, Syria picked up the pace of acquiring rockets and missiles, largely from Russia with Iranian backing, with the goal of completing its missile and rocket arsenal by the end of the year. The Jordanian official said Syria is aiming to possess enough projectiles to fire over 100 rockets into Israel per hour for a sustained period of time.
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“The Syrians have three main goals,” explained the Jordanian official. “To maximize their antitank, antiaircraft and ballistic missile and rocket capabilities.”
According to Israeli and Jordanian officials, Syria recently quietly struck a deal with Russia that allows Moscow …