Iran testing advanced centrifuges at Natanz plant

Iran is testing an advanced centrifuge at its Natanz nuclear complex, diplomats said on Wednesday, a move that could lead to Tehran enriching uranium much faster and gaining ability to build atom bombs.
Tehran's quest to produce usable amounts of nuclear fuel has been hampered by its use so far of a 1970s vintage of centrifuge, the “P-1″, prone to breakdown. A senior diplomat familiar with the International Atomic Energy Agency's file on Iran confirmed it recently began testing centrifuges based on a “P-2″ design, used more recently in the West and able to enrich uranium 2-3 times as fast as the P-1
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Russian FM suggests missile defense attempt to encircle Russia

Russia's foreign minister labeled US plans to build a global missile defense shield an example of “imperial thinking,” and suggested in comments published Thursday that Washington was using the system to try to encircle Russia.
Sergey Lavrov said in an interview published in leading Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza that elements of the missile defense system “exist or will be built in Alaska, California, northeast Asia.”
“If we look at a map, it's clear that all of it is concentrating around our borders,” he was quoted as saying. “Most likely in the near future we are going to hear about hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of interceptors in various regions of the planet, including Europe.”
Washington wants to place 10 missile defense interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the neighboring Czech Republic as part of a global system that it says is necessary to protect against future attacks from Iran.
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Archbishop: Adoption of Sharia Law in U.K. Is 'Unavoidable'

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for the U.K. to adopt Sharia law for
Rowan Williams suggested today that it “seems unavoidable” that elements of
Islamic law be accepted into the British legal system.
The head of the Church of England believes that officially sanctioning Sharia
will improve community relations and aid integration. He conceded that his view
would be controversial but said similar concessions to other religions were
already allowed in the U.K.
“Nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of
inhumanity that has sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in
some Islamic states: the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women,” he told
the BBC World at One program.
“But there are ways of looking at marital disputes, for example, which provide 
an alternative to the divorce courts as we understand them.”
Williams pointed out that some Orthodox Jewish courts already operated in the
U.K., and that anti-abortion views of Catholics and other Christians were
“accommodated within the law.”
Sharia is a code of Islamic law implemented in Muslim countries across the world
including Libya and Sudan, but most modern Islamic nations operate a dual legal
system with …

"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
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, …