Saturday, December 25, 2010

Iraqis defy threats to pack massacre church on Christmas

From AFP:
BAGHDAD — Hundreds of Christians packed Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation church for Christmas on Saturday, defying threats of attacks less than two months after militants massacred worshippers and priests there.
Security was extremely tight, with forces armed with pistols and assault rifles guarding the area and a 10-foot high (three-metre) concrete wall topped with gleaming razor wire surrounding the church.
All cars entering the area were searched, and worshippers were patted down twice before being allowed into the church.
The mood was sombre after an October 31 attack claimed by Al-Qaeda affiliate the Islamic State of Iraq in which gunmen stormed the church, leaving two priests, 44 worshippers and seven security personnel dead.... More
Meanwhile attacks in the Philippines and Nigeria:
 A series of Christmas Eve church attacks and explosions left at least 38 people dead in two Nigerian cities, and at least six wounded in the Philippines. More

Christmas attacks kill at least 38 in Nigeria

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see- Merry Christmas to you all

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

- "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" v. 2-3

Merry Christmas to you all

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Eve Ghost Story

My attempt at "flash fiction". Meaning exactly 100 hundred words long. Which is perfect for my (look! a squirrel!) attention span. Inspired  by I Saw Lightning Fall. You can go here for the good stories..

The Cat

He awoke with a start. There in the window, silhouetted by the moon, was the cat. It was watching him.
He felt..something....regret?...guilt? Welling up, a swirling cloud of feelings spread about him, crying out to be named. He struggled against them, for they asked him to change. He would not.

He muttered an obscenity and threw the clock  at the beast, missing by inches. The cat did not move- only continued its wordless interrogation.

The sudden chill in the room seemed to come from within him. He could not move.
The cat leaped to the bed and whispered, "Let's go."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

UK terror plot aimed British landmarks, shopping

It appears the focus on more than one front of the terror war has shifted to smaller targets. The purpose of course is to induce widespread panic.

A large-scale terror attack was aimed at British landmarks and public spaces, security officials said Tuesday as more details emerged and police searched the homes of 12 British suspects being held for questioning.
The men — whose ages range from 17 to 28 — were arrested Monday in the largest counterterrorism raid in nearly two years. At least five were of Bangladeshi origin.

Read more

U.S. buffets and salad bars 'threatened with poison attacks’

There is probably a joke here as well if it weren't so deadly serious. Interesting thing here is that if credible, and it appears to be so, it would seem to signal a change in tactics. From large scale attacks to more local, small scale, "upsetting the apple cart" kind of attacks to disrupt the economy.

Al Qaeda terrorists are plotting to put deadly poison in the salad bars and buffets of hotels and restaurants, according to U.S. intelligence sources.
They would hide either ricin or cyanide in the food at a number of locations during one weekend to cause panic.
Those who ate the poisoned meals would fall ill and die within days. It takes only tiny quantities of either ricin or cyanide to kill.

Read more:

Sewage backup causes United Nations evacuation

Reuters had fun with this one. That's the actual headline above. That in itself is good enough for a number of jokes but I'll let Reuters do it instead:

(Reuters) - A sewage backup caused a big stink at the United Nations on Tuesday, forcing diplomats and their staff to evacuate the Security Council and General Assembly.
Spokesman Farhan Haq said the evacuation was a precautionary measure after a strange smell was noticed in parts of the U.N. secretariat building. He said the odor was due to sewage backup possibly caused by high tides in the nearby East River.
"There were gases released from the sewage but they're not harmful," Haq said. Firefighters and hazardous materials experts had been called to the scene. U.N. management officials were working to deal with the sewage problem, he said. More

Your phones don't keep secrets

Your Apps are Watching You

An examination of 101 popular smartphone "apps"—games and other software applications for iPhone and Android phones—showed that 56 transmitted the phone's unique device ID to other companies without users' awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone's location in some way. Five sent age, gender and other personal details to outsiders.
The findings reveal the intrusive effort by online-tracking companies to gather personal data about people in order to flesh out detailed dossiers on them.... More

“I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party,”

Wow. How weird is that?

Totenberg’s bashfulness came as she explained how the failure of Congress to pass an annual budget has left federal workers in limbo:
Well, these agencies, including the Defense Department, don't know how much money they've got and for what. And I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party at the Department of Justice and people actually were really worried about this.

Read more: hat NewsBusters

Sunday, December 19, 2010

North Korea raises alert for artillery units along its west coast

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council met in emergency session on Sunday to try to cool tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but the five big powers were split on whether to publicly blame North Korea for the crisis.
Pyongyang raised an alert for artillery units along its west coast in what appeared to be its latest move in a growing crisis between the two Koreas, Yonhap news agency said, quoting a South Korean government source. The report was issued ahead of a planned live-fire drill by South Korea.... More here