It is somehow proving that natural efforts from the Liberian government and its international partners to bring the Ebola virus that is wreaking havoc on the Liberians and others in the Mano River sub-region under control are not yielding the needed results. This has led President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to call on Liberians to look to the supernatural for answers.The Liberian President called on the nation to turn its attention to the Almighty God, whom she said is “the ultimate solution” through fast and prayer, to the Ebola epidemic crisis.President Sirleaf has begun to give due reverence and recognition to God as the Ebola plague, which has claimed over 800 lives in the sub-region, continues to grip the nation.According to an Executive Mansion release, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is calling on all Liberians to observe three days of National Fast and Prayer, beginning Wednesday, August 6 through Friday, August 8, 2014. Fasting is to start from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. The three-day fast and prayer is an effort to appeal to God to heal the land.“Acknowledging our devout gratitude to God for our existence as a Free, Sovereign and Independent State, and relying on His Divine Guidance for our survival as a Nation, I call on all Liberians to observe three days of National Fast and Prayer to seek God’s face to have mercy on us and forgive our sins and heal our land, Liberia, as we continue the fight against the deadly Ebola virus,” the Liberian leader urged.She said this call is indicative that God is the ultimate solution to this crisis and source of Liberia’s deliverance as a nation, the release noted.The observance of the National Fast and Prayer is being held under the auspices of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC).The Religious Advisor to the President, Rev. Jervis Witherspoon said to climax the National Fast and Prayer on Friday, August 8th, a team of religious leaders will meet at the old Providence Baptist Church on Broad Street to lead prayers for the nation during the last three hours, beginning at 3:00 p.m. Rev. Witherspoon is also a member of the LCC,He indicated that state broadcaster, the Liberia Broadcasting System, and other radio stations will carry a simulcast so that those who are unable to attend the service in person can tune in and monitor the climax of the National Fast and Prayer Service.Religious leaders will offer prayers for the spiritual, moral and physical restoration of the land, including prayers for the elimination of Ebola and other pestilences from the country; prayer for comfort and strength for hurting families who have lost loved ones; prayer for healing and restoration of quarantined individuals in the land; prayer for the protection of health workers and other volunteers in harm’s way as they fight the deadly Ebola virus; prayer against any form of witchcraft activity used to spread Ebola virus; as well as prayer for God’s intervention in the sub-regional counties (Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia) affected by the Ebola virus.“We are calling on all Liberians to join in this time of true national repentance and prayer against the Ebola virus,” Rev. Witherspoon urged his fellow compatriots, adding, “We believe, in accordance to the scripture, that God will hear our prayer, forgive our sins and heal the land.”President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is wasting no time in taking advantage of this historic promise that has been enjoyed by many including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and the state of Israel that was rescued many times from the numerous enemies that surrounded it.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
by Dr Jerry BergmanUnder the headline The Y chromosome is disappearing – so what will happen to men?, two genetics professors, Dr. Griffin and Dr. Ellis write, “The Y chromosome may be a symbol of masculinity, but it is becoming increasingly clear that it is anything but strong and enduring.” One wonders what evidence they have for making this prediction. Actually, none. Then where do they get this idea?As most adults know, in most mammals two X chromosomes produce a female, and an X and Y produce a male. Thus, it is the presence of the Y chromosome that determines a male. Although the Y chromosome influences over 200 different traits, one area of this chromosome, specifically where the SRY genes are located, triggers the major traits that produce males. If the SRY genes transpose from the Y chromosome to the X chromosome, an XX female will develop into to a male. This condition is very rare, but it does happen occasionally.Without the Y chromosome there would be no males, and thus no reproduction, so why do some scientists conclude it is disappearing? The reason is the X and Y chromosomes are thought to have evolved from a pair of identical autosome chromosomes that diverged from 100s of millions ago. 300 million years ago is another estimate, and a newer estimate puts the number at closer to 166 million years ago. Given such wide guesstimates, it is obvious that no one has any idea when they diverged, assuming they did.Even the divergence theory itself is not based on evidence, but on assumptions that in turn are based on Darwinian assumptions. The theory goes like this: over eons of time, genes that were beneficial for males either evolved by the accumulation of mutations on their Y chromosome, or were acquired through translocation (the movement of genes from other chromosomes to the Y chromosome).X and Y. Credit: Science Photo LibraryThe question of how mammals reproduced before this is answered by looking at all life forms and realizing the most primitive, such as bacteria, reproduce asexually by cloning, and other, more advanced life forms, reproduce sexually. The relatively puny human Y now contains only 78 genes and the human X has a whopping 1,098 known genes. This means human females have over 1,000 more genes than males.Because the Y chromosome is a small fraction of the X, from the primate genome which it is believed to have evolved, it is assumed the human Y chromosome has lost 1,393 of its 1,438 original genes over the course of its existence. Linear extrapolation of this 1,393-gene loss over 300 million years produces a genetic loss rate of 4.6 genes per million years. Extrapolating this forward means, Professors Griffin and Ellis claim, in 4.6 million years the Y chromosome would lose all of its functions.It is the creationists that predict degeneration of the genome from Adam’s perfect mutation free genome to our modern human. Humans suffer from over 5,000 diseases caused by the accumulation of mutations in our gamete genome. Furthermore, the human Y chromosome is exposed to high mutation rates due to the fact that it is passed on exclusively through comparatively unprotected sperm, which undergo multiple cell divisions during gametogenesis. Each cell division increases the risk of mutations, and the more cell divisions, the more mutations that result. Additionally, sperm are stored in a highly oxidative (thus mutation prone) environment compared to the cells inside the body that are protected by several mechanisms. These two conditions put the Y chromosome at a greater mutation risk than the rest of the genome. All this supports the creation view, not the Darwinian view which teaches that evolution improves the species and evolves it to more advanced levels of evolution.Because the current estimate is that a 30 percent difference exists between humans and chimps, it is assumed that the Y chromosome was, and thus is, one of the fastest-evolving parts of the human genome. In the terminal stages of the Y chromosome degeneration, the story goes, other chromosomes will take over its genes and thus its functions. Thus, evolution will take us all the way back to the pre-Y chromosome stage of development that existed 100s of millions, 300 million or 160 million years ago! In the end, the Y chromosome they predict will disappear entirely, and a new sex-determining system will arise like the one that existed 100s of millions, 300 million or 160 million years ago. As is obvious, this is rampant speculation based on the varieties of reproduction existing in some animals.On the other side, comparisons of human and chimpanzee Y chromosomes indicate that the human Y chromosome has not lost any genes since the hypothetical human and chimpanzee divergence, estimated between 6 and 7 million years ago. One 2012 report claimed that only one gene had been lost since humans diverged from the rhesus macaque 25 million years ago.These facts provide direct evidence that the linear extrapolation model is seriously flawed, and the human Y chromosome is either no longer shrinking, or shrinking at a much slower rate than the 4.6 genes per million years estimated by the linear extrapolation model. In short, this topic, as is true of much of Darwin theory, involves massive speculation and illustrates the need to examine the data used to determine some conclusions in evolutionary tales. It also illustrates the problem the public has when it uncritically accepts a claim when scientists make authoritative sounding propositions supposedly based on a select few scientific facts.See also Dr Bergman’s earlier post on this subject, “The problem with males: Y chromosome degeneration” (1 Nov 2017). https://theconversation.com/the-y-chromosome-is-disappearing-so-what-will-happen-to-men-90125. Rice, W. R. 1996. Evolution of the Y sex chromosome in animals. Bioscience. 46, 331–343. Warren WC, Hillier LD, Graves JA, et al. (2008). “Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution”. Nature. 453 (7192): 175–183 Graves, Jenny. 2016. Evolution of vertebrate sex chromosomes and dosage compensation. Nature Reviews Genetics, 17 (1) 33-46. January. Kettlewell, Julianna. 2005. Female chromosome has X factor. Females are genetically more varied than males, an analysis of the X chromosome has revealed. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4355355.stm Graves, J. A. M. (2004). “The degenerate Y chromosome—can conversion save it?”. Reproduction Fertility and Development. 16 (5): 527–534 Graves, Jenny. 2004. “The degenerate Y chromosome—can conversion save it?”. Reproduction Fertility and Development. 16 (5): 527–534. Graves, Jenny. 2006. “Sex chromosome specialization and degeneration in mammals”. Cell. 124 (5): 901–914. Wade, Nicholas. 2010. “Male Chromosome May Evolve Fastest”. New York Times. January 13. Hughes, Jennifer F.; et al. 2005. “Conservation of Y-linked genes during human evolution revealed by comparative sequencing in chimpanzee.” Nature. 437 (7055): 100–103. Callaway, Ewen. 2012. The human Y chromosome is here to stay. The male sex-determining chromosome has lost only one gene in 25 million years. February 22. https://www.nature.com/news/the-human-y-chromosome-is-here-to-stay-1.10082. Hsu, Christine. “Biologists Debunk the ‘Rotting’ Y Chromosome Theory, Men Will Still Exist”. Medical Daily. http://www.medicaldaily.com/biologists-debunk-rotting-y-chromosome-theory-men-will-still-exist-239833 Hughes, Jennifer F.; et al. 2010. Chimpanzee and human Y chromosomes are remarkably divergent in structure and gene content. Nature. 463, 536-539. January, 28.Author Jerry Bergman, PhDDr Jerry Bergman, professor, author and speaker, is a frequent contributor to Creation-Evolution Headlines. He is currently a staff scientist at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). See his Author Profile for his previous articles and more information.(Visited 1,547 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Golden Fresh Farms, a Canadian-based company, broke ground on a $22.5 million, 20-acre greenhouse yesterday in the West Central Ohio Industrial Center, in Wapakoneta near I-75 and U.S. 33. The groundbreaking represents just one phase of the project, which will expand over the next several years.Paul Mastronardi and Louie Chibante, principal owners of Golden Fresh Farms, announced a $100 million investment over the first four phases of the project. If all goes well, they will likely expand to 200 acres of greenhouses, with a $250 million investment over eight phases.They will start off producing three different varieties of tomatoes and expect to plant by Dec. 1. Golden Fresh Farms has already contracted with local groceries in Ohio. They will be producing their tomatoes in the “off peak” season of field tomatoes. They are currently doing business in America, already purchasing fertilizers from U.S. companies.The facility will use wastewater and drip irrigation — there will be no waste. They will also be set up to collect rainwater. Their technology is very cutting edge, and tours will be available whenever anyone wants to tour.The groundbreaking was held May 11 for the new Ohio Golden Fresh Farms facility.The manager for the Ohio facility — their first one in the U.S. — is Paul Mastronardi. He is moving to Wapakoneta. Construction on phase one will begin soon, and they hope to have the greenhouse up and running by December. Phase one will also add 52 new full-time jobs with an annual payroll of $1.9 million.The operation will be fully integrated from seeding through harvest, packaging and shipping. The Ohio facility will better allow Golden Fresh Farms to get a fresh end product to their U.S. customers.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) board member John Motter was elected late last year to lead the national United Soybean Board as its 26th chair. He previously served on the USB executive committee as vice chair and treasurer and has been a board member for eight years. This is the first time since USB was created in 1991 that an Ohioan has been elected chair.He sees an exciting year ahead.“We are in the second year of our strategic plan and we are really hitting our stride now with the things we are trying to accomplish. We have proven we can produce a large crop of soybeans with three record crops in a row. Now we are really focused on increasing the value and the profitability back at the farm gate,” Motter said. “We are looking forward to kicking off a meal enhancement project and setting the stage for that by having conversations with industry. We need to determine what it is the end user wants and work backwards from that to provide the right mix of soybean components to meet the end users needs.”USB has facilitated the development of new products such as Bridgestone tires, RAPTOR tractor belts and John Deere tractors components made with U.S. soybeans. In 2016, a number of products were commercialized based on USB-funded research. These soy-based products span from on-farm usage to household items, like adhesives for kitchen cabinetry, soaps and shampoos.USB also works with nurturing vital trade relationships, including crucial markets such as China and India.“We have things going on all over the world. We have to be aware of the consumer need whether it is international or domestic,” Motter said. “We are certainly watching the new Administration and trade is important for soybeans and every part of agriculture. From our perspective we will watch what is going on.”At Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Motter was recognized at a reception as he kicks off his role as USB chair. Motter farms soybeans and corn in Jenera in Hancock County. In addition to his position with USB, he serves on the OSC Board of Trustees, where he has held the position of chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and secretary. John is also a member of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, previously served on the State Extension Advisory Board, and has been an active leader on the Hancock County Fair Board.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On September 27th students from the Benjamin Logan FFA Chapter competed in District Rural and Urban Soil Judging contest held in Delaware County. The Agricultural Soils CDE is an educational activity designed as a practical method of teaching students to evaluate land and soil and to make decisions when faced with soil related issues that affect agricultural production.Emma Wenger, LeAnn Regula, Peyton Derr, Kyleigh Neeld, and Hallie Anderson represented the Urban Soil team. Nathaniel Devine, Dalton Rockhold, Tanner Anspach, John Lowe, and Matt Black represented the Rural Soil team.
At an undisclosed location in Purnia district of North-East Bihar, 350 km from capital Patna, Kumar Aman Ashish, 21, and Prerna Kumari, 20, are hiding. They are a couple in love, who are on the run. Prerna’s family is hunting them for daring to love, elope and marry; her father has registered a case of kidnapping against the young groom. They change their location every three to four days for “fear of reprisal.”There is a twist to the love tale too. This is not an inter-religious or inter-caste marriage. Neither has Ashish kidnapped Prerna. Both, Ashish and Prerna belong to the forward Rajput caste. And both are adults. The hitch? Prerna’s parents wanted their daughter to marry a boy of their choice.Ashish joins the long list of men against whom a case of abduction has been made out under the IPC.40% casesThe website of the Bihar Police Department, biharpolice.bih.nic.in, claims that more than 40% cases of kidnapping in Bihar last year (until November), were for “marriages” such as those of Ashish and Prerna’s where couples eloped.In Khurhan village under Alamnagar police station of Madhepura district, Ashish and Prerna were neighbours, growing up together and falling in love in their teens. That’s when trouble started for the couple. Prerna’s parents were opposed to the relationship and when Prerna was caught talking to Ashish on her mobile phone, her mother confiscated it. She was also beaten up. When her parents fixed her marriage to a boy of their choice, Prerna and Ashish decided to elope. Leaving home was the only option left for the couple, who fled on January 5 midnight. They drove on a motorbike for six hours to cross the neighbouring Nepal border through Jogbani in Araria district. On the run, they were stopped by patrolling policemen, questioned and let off. They entered Nepal at the break of dawn and checked into a local hotel at Biratnagar, stayed there for four days and reached Patna to solemnise their marriage secretly in a local Arya Samaj temple in Mithapur locality on January 15. They intimated the Chief Minister, State police chief, SPs of respective districts and the local police station officer-in-charge about their marriage with all relevant documents as proof of their age as consenting adults. They also notified their marriage through an advocate in Patna.Meanwhile, Prerna’s father Kundan Kumar Singh lodged an FIR (no: 5/2018) on January 17, against Ashish, his parents, younger brother, and a cousin sister, at the Alamnagar police station, accusing them of abducting his daughter.The Bihar police records show that 222 cases of “kidnapping for marriage and kidnapping for elopement” were registered in Purnia district while, 136 such cases were lodged in neighbouring Madhepura district till November 2017.“When we got to know that they had married we approached the girl’s family to accept their marriage but we were threatened with death,” says Amir Kumar Singh, father of Ashish. Mr. Singh himself had a love-marriage 23-years back.“But we received threatening calls… death sentences and, the police too became hostile,” he adds.At the remote village home of Prerna, her father Kundan Kumar Singh, concedes, “It is all a frivolous charge… what can we do when she is already married. She has brought dishonour to the family by running away.”In hiding, Prerna asks, “Did I do something wrong in marrying the boy I love?” Ashish wonders whether their marriage amounts to a crime. “If it is not, why has the police lodged a case not only against us but three other members of our family?”, he asks.A Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had observed on February 5, 2018, “When two people get into wedlock, no one should interfere. Neither parents, society, panchayat…no one at all.” The court also ruled that two adults are free to marry and “no third party” has a right to harass or cause harm.
John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments The Ginebra victory and Phoenix Petroleum’s 104-100 conquest of GlobalPort in the first game knocked Blackwater out of the playoff race.The Fuel Masters will face TNT KaTropa on Sunday for the remaining quarterfinal berth with the winner clashing with twice-to-beat San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals.Magnolia battles GlobalPort armed with the same advantage, while NLEX and Alaska clash in the other best-of-three quarterfinal series.Facing elimination, the Fuel Masters survived GlobalPort’s furious comeback in the first game. Matthew Wright had 32 points, but the Phoenix nearly blew a 31-point lead before winding up with a 5-6 record like Talk ’N Text and GlobalPort.ADVERTISEMENT Streaking Petron, F2 Logisitcs renew rivalry Ginebra finally made key plays in the third overtime against a suddenly cold-shooting Rain or Shine squad to forge a 100-92 victory and secure the fourth seed in the quarterfinals.Jervy Cruz hit a jumper with 34.1 seconds remaining and LA Tenorio buried cushion free throws as the Gin Kings avoided a difficult knockout duel against Blackwater for the eighth seed in the quarterfinals.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutInstead, the Gin Kings will end up as the fourth seed with a duel against the same Rain or Shine team that pushed them to the limit on the final day of the elimination round.Japeth Aguilar had 20 points in 51 minutes to lead Ginebra, which wound up with a 6-5 record just like NLEX and Rain or Shine. The Gin Kings, however, grabbed the fourth seed when quotient was applied. Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa LATEST STORIES Ginebra vs Rain or Shine. PBA IMAGESDragged into a dogfight, Barangay Ginebra showcased its trademark grit and resilience to come away with a victory that could go a long way in its hopes of going deep in the PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.But if this was a sign of things to come, the road to the top won’t be any easier for the Gin Kings.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Read Next Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC
War paint Adulatory posters may not be true indicators of Saddam Hussein’s popularityShe looked 20 and it was her fourth cigarette in the past 30 minutes; but you could be sure those weren’t the figures the nine men at her table-at least the ones who were still sober given the,War paint Adulatory posters may not be true indicators of Saddam Hussein’s popularityShe looked 20 and it was her fourth cigarette in the past 30 minutes; but you could be sure those weren’t the figures the nine men at her table-at least the ones who were still sober given the Blue Label that was flowing-were interested in. It turned out Huda Rubaiya, wavy hair, beautiful smile and mischievous, almost naughty eyes, was 23.She was at the restaurant in Arasat al Hindia-literally, Plot of India, Baghdad’s most trendy address is named for the Indian lady who once owned the entire area-with, among others, her boyfriend. Delsoz H. Sherwani is deputy managing director of the Galala Group. He’s a successful exporter and contractor and has been seeing Rubaiya for a year. He’s also 45 and grins as he mocks your surprise, “So you think I’m too old for her, eh?”The autumn-spring relationship isn’t unique. In Baghdad, capital of Iraq, younger women tend to prefer older, much older men, says a friend. A decade and more of embargo has throttled the economy. Men of 25, the type Rubaiya, an aspiring fashion model, may have preferred in normal times, are strugglers. No wonder she prefers a man who, like the wine she likes, has aged well.Battle plansClick here to EnlargeMeanwhile, the restaurant begins to crowd. The performer at the electronic keyboard begins to play Yesterday … all my troubles seemed so far away and, shortly afterwards, sings Frank Sinatra’s My Way.The second song could be President Saddam Hussein’s signature tune; the first may well be the anthem for his citizens. Welcome to Baghdad, a city that is at once Paris before the Nazis came in – absolute in its revelry-and Enver Hoxha’s Albania, all absolutist isolationism.advertisementThere’s a parable in the restaurant; there’s one on the streets too. Baghdad’s cars tell Iraq’s story. They zip around on amazingly smooth roads-embargo or no embargo, Saddam’s regime has ensured that the highway from the airport is first class, the streets are well paved and flyovers are impressive. The city traffic also tells you why, in today’s Iraq, there is very little room for middle ground. Life is given to extremes.Most of the cars in Baghdad are old and tired. When they were bought two or three decades ago, these Toyotas and Mazdas and Mercs must have been the spanking best the world’s automobile industry had produced. Today, they would make an ancient Ambassador taxi in Kolkata look plush. Yet for every 10-15 old cars you see, there’s one alluring and shining set of wheels. Usually a power-packed BMW or Hyundai’s upper-end models.In step hostile Kurdish forces may align with America in toppling Saddam in case of a warSo who buys the fancy cars? Those who thrive on Iraq’s e-commerce, where ‘e’ stands for embargo and all the opportunities it throws up. Traditional business is dead, reduced to a trickle by the United Nations sanctions that allow Iraq to barter its oil for specific and strictly monitored purchases.What has filled the vacuum is a contraband industry worth billions that runs extensive trade networks with Syria, Jordan and Turkey. The smugglers, almost all fronting for some important personage in Saddam’s Baath Party or Government, are the only ones who have made money.If Iraqi society lives in the grey zone between unreal and surreal, the polity does no better. Nothing represented its alternative universe more than the referendum on October 15, 2002. The Baath (Renaissance) Party rules through a nine-member Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), of which Saddam is the chairman. Every seven years, beginning 1995, as per a law drafted by Saddam, the RCC nominates its chairman for the presidency. On the morning of October 16, just over 12 hours after voting concluded at 8 p.m. the previous evening, RCC Vice-Chairman Izzat Ibrahim announced the results. Almost 11.5 million-11,445,638 to be precise-of Iraq’s 25 million people had been eligible to vote. All of them had voted and all the votes had gone to Saddam. Ibrahim congratulated the people for having “chosen the wise man of the Arabs” and the “spirit of history”.Saddam used the referendum to mobilise his forces and his people. Television channels had a black-suited choir singing patriotic, pro-Saddam numbers in Arabic to, admittedly, pulsating music.Foot fall Saddam Hussein may not be able to walk over George Bush in a war the way Iraqis do over his image in a Baghdad hotel lobbyKeeping them company on the screen- and on the streets of Baghdad-were portraits and images of Saddam: Saddam in an army beret, Saddam with a hat and gun, Saddam sporting a kaffiyeh, the traditional Arab headgear, Saddam on a horse, Saddam waving a clenched fist, Saddam waving an open hand, Saddam with a scimitar, Saddam in a field marshal’s uniform, Saddam kissing a child, Saddam conferring with a wiz ened old Arab, Saddam being kissed by an old woman.This was not Charlie Chaplin burlesque. It was a mad, mad world, one where people have not seen their leader in person for years but have to simply make do with the visual substitutes and, if western intelligence agencies are to be believed, physical substitutes too.advertisement There are supposed to be at least three Saddam clones, their faces surgically altered so that even senior government colleagues won’t know who they are meeting. The entire process of Saddam’s elec- tion reveals how out of touch the top leadership is with both its people and global currents.Lobbying people and governments in the name of “Third World unity,” “anti-imperialism” and “revolutionary democracy” were once the bread and butter of non-elected heads of state. Today, as concepts, they are as stale as old bread. Somebody forgot to tell Saddam. India’s concernsTERRORISM: Jehadis in Kashmir will get a boost if the US stalls its war against terrorism.OIL PRICES: Crude oil prices may rise if Iraqis target shipping lanes in the Gulf.ECONOMIC: India has lost $30 billion in oil imports, trade, exports after the 1991 sanctions.DIASPORA: 3.1 million emigrants in the Middle East who send $6 billion home may be insecure.Actually, maybe there is a method to the madness. Saddam is desperate to prevent a war that even he realises will be his last. To put pressure on enough Arab and European governments so that they in turn put enough pressure on Uncle Sam, he is playing every card he can lay his hands on-he’s Islamist, Arabist, non-aligned, socialist.Eleven years ago, despite the humiliating defeat in the Gulf War, Saddam survived because his countrymen decided they hated America more than they hated him. They rallied around a leader who had been targeted by the Satan in Wash- ington. Will the same impulses prevail? In the northern town of Mosul, Yosin Ibrahim, a government official, puts forth the more heard argument, “Bush and America have crippled us with the embargo. We want to live with dignity. Dignity is important. Saddam gives us dignity.” Like a decade ago, there are those who take a perverse pride in the fact that the world’s most powerful country feels threatened by, of all the billions in the world, only their leader. Yet collected crowds and aggressive agitprop may not reveal the full tale. In Baghdad’s Antar Square, Hussain Bahet, professor of economics at Baghdad University, watches a post-referendum celebration. Is he happy with the result? He nods. Is he worried about the economy? He nods twice. Is he worried about the war? He nods vigorously.Bahet points to the telecom office building that was bombed by the Americans in 1991, “If we have war, everything will be destroyed.” Then he smiles, “Of course, I’m wor ried about my family. But where do we go ? Maybe after the war there will be an Opposition. For the moment Saddam means stability.”advertisementIt is middle-class folk like Bahet who have borne the brunt of the Saddam-Sam mutual hate club. Some live on pensions of a dollar a month, which, even by Iraq’s subsidised food and housing parameters, is a pittance. Lecturers now seek jobs as domestic help, locals tell you.It is this “silent majority” that America is betting on. In the words of a diplomat: “Till 1991, Saddam was the popular patriarch. Not since. They may not like the Americans but may just stay neutral in case of a conflict.” Should that happen, Saddam will have to pack his bags.For both Saddam and America, the stakes are enormous. For the US, Saddam’s removal is integral to President George W. Bush’s war against terror. The Iraqi leader has been charged with helping Osama bin Laden-an accusation that disappeared when hard evidence was not forthcoming-and, more important, pursuing a chemical and biological weapons programme that could some day threaten America.America looks to a friendly regime in Iraq that will allow it military bases. From here, it will keep watch on the trouble spots of the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. The royal family in Riyadh is seen as an unreliable ally and is in any case unpopular. If Saudi Arabia implodes, the world oil economy will go to pieces.With 265 billion barrels of oil reserves, Saudi Arabia controls a quarter of the planet’s most vital energy resource. Iraq is a distant second at about 11 per cent or 100 billion barrels of proven reserves. Under the US tutelage, it may limit the Saudi hold on the oil market and provide the world’s biggest petroleum consuming country the energy security it seeks.Saddam will do his best to avoid a war. The differential between the American and Iraqi armouries is simply too vast-whatever rebuilding Saddam may have done in the past decade-to allow for an even contest. Should war break out, Saddam will take recourse to battling the invading allies with civilian logistical backing or “a fight from every house” as he terms it. If he has truly lost almost all popular support-as foreign intelligence agencies believe-then even that may prove a non-starter. Officially Iraq expects America to attack after the holy month of Ramzan, which ends on December 4. If a UN resolution delays things, the attack could come in January. The plan is to resort to “coercive inspections”. UN weapons inspectors will arrive in Iraq with mini armies at their command. They will want to check everything, right down to Saddam’s palaces and personal rooms.At some stage they will provoke the man into refusal. That will be the casus belli and America will attack. Saddam’s best bet is to be patient and give the inspectors no cause for complaint. If he staves off the US Central Command troops till March-April, he’s home and dry. The Americans, Baghdad reckons, wouldn’t want to fight in the searing heat of May.The other American calculation is that Saddam may be done in by a palace coup, that somebody in his immediate power circle may decide dumping him is wiser. The course seems logical but identifying the possible rebel is not easy. Saddam shares authority with few outside his family or clan. His chief lieutenants are his sons.Udai Hussein is brash and violent, head of the state-run media and of the National Olympic Committee, giving him control of the young and the restless. Kusai, Udai’s younger brother, has recently emerged as the more favoured son. He controls the Revolutionary Guards militia and the security agencies.Iraq is also a religio-ethnic minefield. It is embattled by the longstanding Kurdish insurgency in the northern areas. In the south, Shia discontent is strong. Saddam is trying to invoke Iraqi nationalism by suggesting the Americans will break up Iraq and create two or three nations-Kurdistan, a Shia homeland and the Sunni-held rump.But analysts say the last thing the West wants is more instability in the region. It would prefer a federalised polity controlled by Baghdad. Some role for the Hashemite family that once ruled Iraq-cousins of the royals of Jordan-is not ruled out. As winter beckons, Iraq is quite simply the world’s speculation capital.In a country where a litre of petrol costs four cents but a similar quantity of packaged water could set you back by a dollar or more, don’t look for straight and rational answers. Like Rubaiya and Sherwani, enjoy it while it lasts-and make sure you know the route to the nearest bomb shelter.
“It feels good. It’s really an honor to play on the court with all the legends and getting a chance to be coached by the legend himself and play for a good cause,” said Helterbrand.“I didn’t really plan on playing that hard but I don’t wanna let them down.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesThe 42-year-old Helterbrand, one-half of Ginebra’s Fast and Furious tandem that ran havoc in the league in the 2000s, shared the best player of the game honors with Vince Hizon.Hizon fired 19 points and looked like his old deadly self from downtown in the third quarter where he caught fire with 16 points to spearhead Ginebra’s breakaway. He also grabbed nine rebounds. Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Roger Yap scored a game-high 27 points for Purefoods, which also had trouble containing Ginebra’s towering frontcourt of Marlou Aguino and EJ Feihl.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Nostalgia hits in PBA Legends charity event Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting LATEST STORIES PBA IMAGESJayjay Helterbrand played as if he could still make a PBA team today to lead Ginebra San Miguel over longtime rival Purefoods, 97-89, to cap off the PBA Legends: Return of the Rivals event Sunday night at Araneta Coliseum.Helterbrand, who retired just two years ago, posted a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists with four steals to boot.ADVERTISEMENT ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations MOST READ View comments