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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More than 300 people missing after South Korea ferry sinks

by tap taru  |  in World News at  12:56 PM
SEOUL, South Korea 
- A massive rescue operation was under way Wednesday as a ferry carrying more than 470 people, many of them high school students, began sinking off South Korea's southwest coast, the government and South Korean media said.

There were media reports that one body had been recovered but that could not be immediately confirmed.

Dozens of rescue boats and helicopters were scrambling to save the passengers. South Korean President Park Geun-hye ordered that all available navy, coast guard and other vessels assist in the rescue effort.

The ferry, carrying 476 people including 325 high school students, had set off from the western port of Incheon on Tuesday and was due to arrive at the southern resort island of Jeju later on Wednesday, Yonhap news aaency said.

The vessel was about 12 miles off the island off of the island of Byungpong when it sent out a distress call, saying the boat was listing to one side.

Photographs showed the ship heavily tilted onto its side, partially submerged, as helicopters flew overhead and rescue vessels and a small boat covered with an orange tarp floated nearby.

Park Hye-rang, a local coast guard officer, said by phone that 147 passengers had been rescued so far, but gave no further details. 
South Korean media said some passengers who had life jackets had been told to jump into the sea to await rescue.

The students are from a high school in Ansan city near Seoul and they were on their way to the Jeju island for a four-day trip, according to a relief team set up by Gyeonggi Province, which governs the city. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blood Moon:Total Lunar Eclipse 2014: Watch Live; NASA and Sloohbroadcast

by tap taru  |  in Moon at  3:29 PM

Tonight, the 2014 "Blood Moon," also known as a total lunar eclipse will occur just after midnight, and now observers can watch the live stream online.

Sadly, cloudy skies with rain showers is expected Monday evening into Tuesday, so the live stream is especially useful if you still want to catch the Blood Moon.

You can watch a YouTube Blood Moon live stream thanks to Slooh below:The Blood Moon phenomenon occurs when the moon is shaded by the Earth, giving its eerie hue. For this to happen at just the right angle, a complete lunar eclipse only happens once or twice a year, according to WCPO.

In addition, NASA will be hosting an online event for the Blood Moon as well, and they will provide a live stream.
Be sure to check out the 2014 Blood Moon live stream tonight!

Mysterious Black Circle UFO Sighted in the Sky Over Leamington Spa,UK

by tap taru  |  in Uk at  10:18 AM
Schoolgirl Georgina Heap caught the mysterious image on her mobile phone camera.
Weather experts are baffled by the appearance of a black ring in the sky above Leamington Spa on Friday evening.
Schoolgirl Georgina Heap was playing tennis with her mother Jo Heap when she saw the mysterious black ring in the sky near Warwick Castle.
The ring remained in the sky for around three minutes before disappearing completely.
Miss Heap, who is studying for her GCSEs, described the circle as "the weirdest thing I have ever seen."
"I looked up at it and thought 'what the hell?', it was amazing," she said. "It was just floating there like a cloud and then it disappeared. It wasn't birds either. There were about ten of us who stopped what we were doing and watched."
The 16-year-old photographed the circle on her iPhone but so far, experts have been un able to offer explanation for the unusual sighting.
While the circle resembles a giant smoke ring, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue service said that there had been no reports of a fire in the locality at the time of the sighting.
The Met Office said that the ring did not appear to be weather-related.

Nick Pope, an expert on UFOs and a previous government adviser on unexplained phenomena, said he believed the circle to be 'organic'.
"It's a truly bizarre image. It looks like a smoke ring, but I can't see where it could have come from. Other alternatives would include some sort of unusual meteorological phenomenon," he explained.
"One other possibility is that the shape is made up of millions of bees or other insects, but I've never heard of insects behaving in this way before, so if this is the explanation, it's a real-life X-File."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ukraine crisis: Casualties in Sloviansk gun battles

by tap taru  |  in Russia at  7:04 PM

13 April 2014
 Last updated at 09:37

There was heavy gunfire as armed men took the police station in Kramatorsk

Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian armed men have traded gunfire in a battle for control of the eastern town of Sloviansk, the interior minister says.

At least one Ukrainian officer was killed and both sides suffered casualties, Arsen Avakov said.

Pro-Russian forces took over the town on Saturday, prompting Kiev to launch an "anti-terror operation".

Kiev and Western powers accuse Moscow of inciting the trouble. The Kremlin denies the charge.

Sloviansk was one of three towns in the Donetsk region to be hit by pro-Russian gunmen on Saturday.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had warned earlier that any use of force in eastern Ukraine could scupper crisis talks due later this week.

Protesters burned tyres and bolstered their defences before the government operation began

He said the Kiev government was "demonstrating its inability to take responsibility for the fate of the country".

But the US said there had been a "concerted campaign" by forces with Russian support to undermine the authorities in Kiev.

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned of "additional consequences" if Russia failed to make efforts to "de-escalate" and pull its troops back from Ukraine's border.

Four-party talks involving Ukraine, Russia, the US and the EU are due to start in Geneva on Thursday.

'Shooting to kill'

On Saturday, armed men took over police stations and official buildings in Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Druzhkovka.

Reports emerged from Sloviansk and Kramatorsk of armed men dressed in camouflage arriving in buses and storming the police stations.

In the regional capital, Donetsk, several public buildings have been occupied

Pro-Russian demonstrators also continued their occupation of the main administrative building in the regional capital Donetsk, which they have held for one week.

A protest leader told the BBC that the activists in Sloviansk took action to support the Donetsk sit-in.

BBC reporters in Sloviansk said the gunmen were well-organised and quickly established control throughout the town.

Checkpoints had been set up on the main roads into the town.

Mr Avakov labelled the actions a "display of aggression by Russia".

Announcing the operation to clear the activists, he warned people to stay in their homes in Sloviansk.

"The separatists are shooting to kill without warning against the approaching special forces," he said,

Local governor Sergei Taruta said "all legitimate means" would be used to combat "acts of terror" and restore order across Donetsk region.

Eastern Ukraine has a large Russian-speaking population and has seen a series of protests since the ousting of Ukraine's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

Four Blood Moon:The Ukraine-Russia Crisis Could be Leading Us Into WW3

by tap taru  |  in Moon at  5:19 PM

As Russia continues to send troops to Crimea, the whole world seems to be holding it's breath, watching and waiting on what to do next. It seems like the US and other nations have given continual warnings to Russia with no avail. So what are we to expect in the days, weeks and months ahead?

The outlook on the world doesn't look good. First of all, the trouble in the Ukraine started when the people began protesting over having a Russian as their leader. This is clearly telling that many people in the Ukraine do not want Russia's involvement in the affairs of their country. And although areas like Crimea are made up of people with Russian Heritage, the people began protesting in the streets rioting and starting fires, some for and some against Russia, resulting in a civil war. At that point, the Russian leader of the Ukraine, called on Putin to end the violence beginning to erupt, as he was losing control. The protest was threatening to oust the current leader of the Ukraine and to remove Russia's influence over the region.

The reason the world has stood by and watched Russia take over Crimea is because of the words spoken by Putin himself. He claims that Russia has the right to protect it's citizens if there is violence. And he says that the people have decided that they want the Ukraine to once again become a part of Russia. And to drive this point home, Russia chose to let the people vote to decide if they want Russia to become a part of the Ukraine. But what if they vote against Russia?

However the vote turns out, John Kerry and the international community will not recognize this vote as they say it is against international laws. But the US and other nations are hoping that if the people do vote against Russia being there, then Russia will have to leave, possibly with force which can be done once the people make their voice known. There is that small chance that Russia would honor the voting process if it would not go in their favor, but there is an even bigger chance that Russia will make the vote go in their favor, using unfair voting practices. Russia does not have a history of just backing down and walking away. So on Monday after the votes are counted, sanctions will go into effect for Russia.

The situation is escalating however, as another area north of Crimea in the Ukraine known as Donetsk, is now reportedly breaking out in violent protests. Following what Russia had said that they have the right to protect their citizens if violent protests should break out, it looks as though this area will be next for Russian intervention.

But this is not OK for the rest of the world. Russia has been warned to not go any further and to pull back their troops. If the sanctions don't work, then military intervention from foreign nations may be needed to stop Russia. This could turn into a very intense war as Russia's allies are all set and ready to come to Russia's aid at any moment.

Russia's allies are made up of the many Muslim nations in the middle east including Iran. Iran has already made additional threats since this whole situation started with the Ukraine, but their target Is Israel. They want to get back at the Western world, and the only way they can do that is to attack the ally of the US and Great Britain.

In fact, just in the past week, an Iranian ship bound for Gaza was intercepted by the Israeli military. It was carrying over 50 rockets that were to be aimed at Israel. Even though this arsenal was stopped, rockets continue to be fired at Israel from Gaza supplied by Iran.

Russia says if sanctions are put on them, they will give payback to the West. The European nations are in fear of retaliation, as Russia supplies the natural gas going to Europe. Russia is also one of the largest exporters of oil. So cutting off or diminishing any one of these supplies will cause a world wide shortage, putting many financial markets around the world into a free fall. Russia can also cause other nations who are allies to Russia to stop exporting their oil to cause further shortages.

Russia and China have been teaming up as well. China reportedly has agreed to help Russia with the Ukraine crisis. There has even been reports that Russia and China are talking about dropping the US dollar for another form of currency for trade. China and Russia are the two countries that hold most of our dollars. So If they both decide to stop using the US dollar at the same time, that alone could cause the US financial market to go into a collapse. This crisis in the Ukraine has the potential to turn into a full blown regional war if not a world war, as Russia is reluctant to back down and nations are already taking sides. As a result, we could soon see economic collapses around the world. The Ukraine crisis itself has been causing US market instability within the past week and oil prices are continuing to rise. The Dow closing at a negative 42 points on Friday. Gas prices at the pump reaching $3.73 per gallon.

The Bible says that during the tribulation hour, there will be famine, economic collapse, war and death. This happens when the four horses ride in the book of Revelation. All of these things could very well happen with this crisis in the Ukraine. That's how close it all it.

And if you need more proof of what is to come, there are signs in the sky. The four blood moons that are coming that will only appear on the feast days of Passover and Feast of Tabernacles in 2014 and 2015. This event of 4 blood moons in a row on certain feast days is so rare, that it has only happened four times since the birth of Jesus. Each time in the event of these moons, there was a war involving Israel. So many Biblical scholars believe that this occurrence will not be any different.

The first blood moon is to appear this Passover on April 15th, 2014. And it appears to be right on time with the trouble that is starting in the Ukraine. The only thing that will save the world from another world war, it seems is an agreement, a peace agreement to be made with all nations.

We know the end is near and that Jesus is coming. Ask Him into your heart and get ready for Jesus today. You don't want to be left behind to see all the violence, bloodshed and death for those who are left behind. So get your heart right with Jesus now while there is still time, before it is too late!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Powerful 7.1 m earthquake hits near Papua New Guinea

by tap taru  |  in Earthquake at  6:05 PM

SYDNEY, Australia – A powerful earthquake struck off the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea on Friday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-7.3 earthquake was located 61 kilometres (38 miles) southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville Island. It struck at a depth of 50 kilometres (31 miles).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a destructive widespread tsunami. But the agency said quakes of this size can sometimes generate waves that can be destructive to coasts within a few hundred kilometres (miles) of the epicenter.

A staffer at the Geophysical Observatory in the capital, Port Moresby, said no reports of damage or unusual wave activity along the coastline were received. The area closest to the epicenter is very sparsely populated.

Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea. The country lies on the “Ring of Fire” – an arc of earthquake and volcanic activity that stretches around the Pacific Rim.

Prof.Karen King: ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ is not Fake

by tap taru  |  in History at  4:13 PM

New scientific tests have turned up no evidence of modern forgery in a text written on ancient Egyptian papyrus that refers to Jesus as being married, according to a long-awaited article to be published Thursday in the Harvard Theological Review.

The findings support the argument of Harvard professor Karen L. King that the controversial text, the first-known explicit reference to a married Jesus, is almost certainly an authentic document.

The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” was introduced to the world by King at a conference in Rome 18 months ago. The announcement made headlines around the world, and many of King’s academic peers, as well as the Vatican newspaper, swiftly dismissed it as a fake.

King maintains the document was probably part of a debate among early Christians about the role of women, family, and celibacy in spiritual life.

The results of a carbon dating test found that the papyrus probably dates to eighth-century Egypt, about 400 years later than King originally thought, but still in ancient times.

Other tests found the ink’s chemical composition consistent with carbon-based inks used by ancient Egyptians. And microscopic imaging revealed none of the suspicious ink pooling that critics thought they saw in lower-resolution photographs of the fragment. Such pooling could have offered evidence that the ink was applied in modern times.

“I’m basically hoping that we can move past the issue of forgery to questions about the significance of this fragment for the history of Christianity, for thinking about questions like, ‘Why does Jesus being married, or not, even matter? Why is it that people had such an incredible reaction to this?’ ” King said in an interview.

King has never argued that the fragment is evidence that Jesus was actually married. It would have been composed much later than the gospels of the New Testament, which are regarded as the earliest and most reliable sources on the historical Jesus and which are silent on that question.

Still, the latest tests do not prove definitively that the text was written in ancient times. Specialists said, hypothetically, that a highly skilled modern forger could have obtained the right kind of ink and meticulously applied it to a blank piece of ancient papyrus.

Determining the age of the ink using conventional testing methods would destroy the tiny document, roughly the size of a business card. Groundbreaking work by Columbia University researchers may soon uncover a way to date the ink without harming the fragment, which would offer a more definitive verdict about its authenticity.

Meanwhile, the controversy over the fragment seems likely to continue.

Critics have dismissed the fragment as a ham-handed pastiche of bits of the Gospel of Thomas, a noncanonical gospel, mashed together by someone with an elementary grasp of Coptic. One scholar found that the fragment seemed to contain a typo found in an online edition of the Gospel of Thomas, a discovery that some academics said offered powerful evidence of a forgery.

Leo Depuydt, an Egyptologist at Brown University who offers a rebuttal to King’s thesis in the new edition of the Harvard Theological Review, said none of the test results alter his view that the document is a fraud, a modern-day cut-and-paste job with several glaring grammatical blunders that a native speaker of Coptic would never commit.

He believes the forger may have “wanted to put his or her own spin on modern theological issues,” such as the role of women and celibacy in Christianity.

“Nothing is going to change my mind,” he said in an interview this week. “As a forgery, it is bad to the point of being farcical or fobbish. . . . I don’t buy the argument that this is sophisticated. I think it could be done in an afternoon by an undergraduate student.”


Bill Greene/Globe Staff

Harvard professor Karen L. King introduced her finding in Rome 18 months ago. Her paper is being published Thursday.

Harvard Divinity School granted the Globe, The New York Times, and Harvard Magazine advance access to the forthcoming Harvard Theological Review articles. The three news organizations were allowed to contact researchers involved with the articles, on the condition that they hold publication until Thursday morning, when the Theological Review will be published online, and that they contact no outside sources for comment beforehand.

King began examining the fragment in 2011 at the request of its owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. Its provenance remains mysterious; the owner told King he bought it and five other papyri in 1999 from a collector who said he acquired them in the 1960s in East Germany. An undated, unsigned photocopied note in German accompanying the fragment said that a professor Fecht had examined the papyrus and thought it could be the only text in which Jesus speaks of having a wife.

The fragment appears to be cut from the middle of a larger document; it contains just eight partial lines, written in a crude hand, one of which says, “And Jesus said to them, ‘My wife,’ ” The next says, “She will be able to be my disciple.”

The first line, according to King’s translation, says in part: “My mother gave me life.”

King believes the document may have been copied from a much earlier Greek text, perhaps composed in the second century, and sees it as an important addition to the study of the development of Christianity as it spread through the Mediterranean world.

King said in the interview this week that her thinking about the meaning of the document has evolved somewhat. She originally hypothesized it concerned debates about discipleship, and whether becoming a Christian meant giving up one’s family to join a spiritual family. But in researching what early Christians said about whether Jesus was married or not, she recognized the importance of early Christian controversies about the spiritual advantages of celibacy. If Jesus were celibate, were Christians who were married or sexually active less fully human, or lesser in the eyes of God?

“Now when I come back and read the fragment, it seems the major issue being talked about was that Jesus was affirming that wives and mothers can be his disciples,” King said.

In her Theological Review article, the publication of which was delayed by some 15 months amid a storm of criticism and pending the results of scientific tests, King answers some of the major issues raised by critics.

Depuydt makes the case that there is only an infinitesimal possibility that the similarities between the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife are coincidental.

But King replies that the parallels are not nearly as close as Depuydt and others contend, and that some overlap is not surprising because they address similar topics and because many ancient Christian texts relied upon and responded to one another.

Depuydt says the grammatical blunders he sees in the text could not have been made by a Coptic speaker. One line, he said, appears to read, “An evil man does not he brings.”

“You can’t make sense of it as a fluent Coptic text,” he said. “Then you find out it’s all coming from Gospel of Thomas. Well, case closed.”

But King argues that the grammatical issues Depuydt raises are either errors of his own analysis or that similar grammatical constructions, including the same mistake as the apparent typo in the online Gospel of Thomas, exist in other Coptic texts whose authenticity is undisputed.

In sum, King said, it does not make sense that a forger with poor Coptic and scribal skills could also manage to acquire the right kind of papyrus and ink, and leave no ink out of place at the microscopic level. “In my judgment, such a combination of bumbling and sophistication seems extremely unlikely,” she wrote in her article.

The Theological Review was supposed to have published King’s findings in January 2013. King said it took longer than expected to complete the testing, particularly because she had no budget.

The original carbon-dating test of the papyrus, conducted by the University of Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, gave a date of 400 to 200 years before the birth of Jesus. Researchers concluded that the result may be unreliable because the sample size was too small.

A second carbon-dating test was conducted by Noreen Tuross of Harvard and produced a mean date of 741 A.D.

The ink testing was done by a team of Columbia University researchers using a technique called micro-Raman spectroscopy to investigate the ink’s chemical composition. The researchers have also studied the ink in many of the ancient papyri in Columbia’s vast collection.

“This looks qualitatively virtually like every other papyrus manuscript we’ve looked at,” said James Yardley, a professor of electrical engineering who helped lead the team.

Roger Bagnall, director of New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and one of the world’s top papyrologists, assisted King with her initial analysis of the fragment.

“I haven’t seen any argument that I find at all compelling that would indicate that it’s not genuine, it’s not ancient,” he said.

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