Military Use of Unmanned Aircraft Soars

By LOLITA C. BALDOR
WASHINGTON (AP) – The military's reliance on unmanned aircraft that can watch, hunt and sometimes kill insurgents has soared to more than 500,000 hours in the air, largely in Iraq, The Associated Press has learned. And new Defense Department figures obtained by The AP show that the Air Force more than doubled its monthly use of drones between January and October, forcing it to take pilots out of the air and shift them to remote flying duty to meet part of the demand.
The dramatic increase in the development and use of drones across the armed services reflects what will be an even more aggressive effort over the next 25 years, according to the new report.
The jump in Iraq coincided with the build up of U.S. forces this summer as the military swelled its ranks to quell the violence in Baghdad. But Pentagon officials said that even as troops begin to slowly come home this year, the use of Predators, Global Hawks, Shadows and Ravens will not likely slow.
“I think right now the demand for the capability that the unmanned system provides is only increasing,” said Army Col. Bob Quackenbush, deputy director for Army …

The 'Science' Behind Healing with Koranic Holy Water:

 A Dubai TV Special
Following are excerpts from a TV program dealing with healing by means of Koranic water. The program aired on Dubai TV on December 13, 2007:
“It Has Been Scientifically Proven that Water is Affected by What is Recited Over It”
Akran Al-Hashemi, Iraqi journalist: “I survived an assassination attempt in Iraq. I was hit by bullets – more than 70 bullets. I used oils, lotions, and all sorts of medicine, but unfortunately, nothing helped. I happened to meet Hajja [Samiya], and she said: 'I can heal you. I will recite Koranic verses over olive oil for you – the Al-Fatiha chapter, the Al-Kursi verse, and the Al-Ma'wiztein.' From the very first night, I felt a difference, and after one week I started walking normally.”
[...]
Interviewer: “Hajja Samiya, it was you who recited Koranic verses over the oil, which he rubbed on his leg, and Allah has used you as a means for his healing.”
Hajja Samiya: “Allah be praised, he was healed the very next day. To be honest, I myself was surprised. I'm not the one who needs to be thanked – I feel that God has given me a gift. I still don't …

The Factors that Divide the Pope from the Muslims

The Factors that Divide the Pope from the Muslims
The contrast is not only one of faith. It also concerns the achievements of the Enlightenment : from religious freedom to equality between men and women. The Catholic Church has made these its own, but Islam has not. Will they be able to discuss this, when Benedict XVI and the Muslims of the letter of the 138 meet together ?
by Sandro Magister
ROMA, January 2, 2008 – For the Vatican, the new year brings a meeting that cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the pontifical council for interreligious dialogue, has pre-announced as « historic, » in an interview with « L’Osservatore Romano » on December 30.
The meeting is scheduled for the spring. And it will take place between Benedict XVI and a delegation of the 138 Muslim authors of the open letter « A Common Word between Us and You » addressed to the pope and to other Christian leaders last October.
In addition to the pope, the Muslim representatives will also meet with other Vatican authorities, and will hold working sessions at institutes like the PISAI, the Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.
What cleared the way for …

Standing Before God

by Diane Faber Veitzer
Having just turned 43, never married, no kids, I was having a tough
time getting up the enthusiasm to pray for these same things once again

Two years ago, I approached the High Holidays with a certain sense of
“here we go again.” Having just turned 43, never married, no kids, I
was having a tough time getting up the enthusiasm to pray for these
same things. How many times can you ask for the same thing, and get the
same answer?
In shul Rosh Hashanah morning, I saw that two of the young women in our
community were standing up throughout the repetition of the Musaf
service. These two girls, Sara and Tova, were the daughters of close
friends my age. Both about 18 or 19, they were each just back from a
post-high-school year studying in Jerusalem, and now, according to our
community's custom, “ready to get married.” I knew that these girls
would be praying fervently to find their basherts (soul mates) quickly
and easily.
I had some understanding of why they stood through Musaf. It is an
especially long prayer service, and one is not required to stand
throughout, but it is …

The Poster That Awaits US President Bush in Jerusalem

by Baruch Gordon(IsraelNN.com) In the upcoming days, billboards all
over Jerusalem will be plastered with a new poster on the eve of U.S.
President Bush’s visit to Israel. Pictured in the poster is a gigantic
Bible, towering over the walls of the Old City.
The caption says: “Bush, read your Bible. God gave Israel to the Jews.”

Tzvi Fishman, of the Am K’Lavee organization, and an Arutz 7 blogger,
says “The poster is designed to refocus Israel’s opposition to further
withdrawals back to our Divine claim to the Land of Israel, as
documented again and again in the Bible.”
Am K’Lavee organizes the annual mass parade to the Kotel on Jerusalem
Day, which is attended by tens of thousands. It is joining a broad
spectrum of grassroots organizations that are planning protests during
Bush’s three-day visit to Jerusalem.%ad%
“The Biblical claim of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel was
recognized by the British in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which
called for the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine,” Fishman
states. “The British believed in the Bible and what was written in it,
and that was what guided Lord Balfour in winning the support of the
British …

Bush changes itinerary of Israel trip to fit in visit to Capernaum

By Yossi Verter and Eli Ashkenazi, Haaretz Correspondents
United States President George W. Bush has changed the itinerary of his
trip to Israel in order to fit in a visit to Capernaum, the Christian
holy site.
The U.S. president has specifically requested that his January 9 trip
to Israel include a stop at the place in which, according to the New
Testament, Jesus chose his 12 apostles.
Bush is likely to arrive there in his presidential helicopter under
heavy protection. White House security personnel have already visited
the Galilee site and have planned the security arrangements in
coordination with the Israel Police.
Church officials in Capernaum are preparing for the visit, which might
also include a stop at the nearby Church of the Beatitudes. Seven years
ago, Pope John Paul II visited the church and gave a sermon there.
Officials at the Prime Minister's Office are preparing for Bush's visit
to Israel, and have established a special task force dedicated only to
his vist. The task force will be headed by Amnon Ben-Ami, deputy
director of the PMO.
At least 8,000 police officers will provide security for the visit.
An official reception will be held at Ben-Gurion International Airport,
with …