Dawn to the Asteroids Tomorrow

dawn_vesta_ceres_sized.jpgThe postponed Nasa Mission to the asteroids will take off tomorrow from Cape Canaveral. The mission’s been delayed by higher priorities (the Mars Lander Mission,) and by the weather, but on the morrow the 8 year mission travels to the asteroid belt.

From Breitbart:

Scientists have been waiting for Dawn to rise since July, when the mission was put off because of the more pressing need to launch NASA’s latest Mars lander, the Phoenix. Once Phoenix rocketed away in August, that cleared the way for Dawn.

“For the people in the Bahamas, on the 27th will be one day where they can say that Dawn will rise in the west,” said a smiling Keyur Patel, project manager from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Dawn will travel to the two biggest bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter—rocky Vesta and icy Ceres from the planet- forming period of the solar system.

More at Spaceflight Now

Burmese Junta Fires on Monks

In Burma (Myanmar) the miltary has begun firing at the Monks who are demonstrating for democracy in massive numbers. More at Captain’s Quarters.

Update from From AP:

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar security forces opened fire on Buddhist monks and other pro- democracy demonstrators Wednesday for the first time in a month of anti-government protests, killing at least one man and wounding others in chaotic confrontations across Yangon. Dramatic images of the protests, many transmitted from the secretive Southeast Asian nation by dissidents using cell phones and the Internet, riveted world attention on the escalating faceoff between the military regime and its opponents.

Clouds of tear gas and smoke from fires hung over streets, and defiant protesters and even bystanders pelted police with bottles and rocks in some places. Onlookers helped monks escape arrest by bundling them into taxis and other vehicles and shouting “Go, go, go, run!”

The government said one man was killed when police opened fire during the ninth consecutive day of demonstrations, but dissidents outside Myanmar reported receiving news of up to eight deaths.

Some reports said the dead included monks, who are widely revered in Myanmar, and the emergence of such martyr figures could stoke public anger against the regime and escalate the violence

Previous articles here, including Aung San Suu Kyi series.

US Forces Prevent Kidnapping of Pilgrims

Two great success stories from Iraq here – video below the fold Continue reading “US Forces Prevent Kidnapping of Pilgrims”

Al Qaeda Al Askariyah

Al Qaeda Al Askariyah was first seen in documents in 1988 – at that time it could have been just a reference to an intelligence group or base, possibly the ISI of Pakistan. Al Ashkariya is a term that’s been used in the names of the Syrian and Libyan intelligence agencies for instance. In 1996 AQ declared war on the United States and Israel, but both countries seem to be doing fine.

11 years of Jihad later, what is the next move for Al Qaeda?

The failure of all their plans in Iraq and Afghanistan forced them to return to their start — the bases in the Pashtun tribal lands between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They’ve declared war on Pakistan, and will attempt to raise the countryside and overthrow the government to try to establish Extreme Taliban-style sharia government. That’s not likely, as Pakistanis will not put up with it in their urban areas. While AQ can cause a great deal of mayhem by the attempt, the fact that they are killing mostly Muslims lately will catch up to them in Pakistan.

Continue reading “Al Qaeda Al Askariyah”

The One Verse

star-neighbors.jpg“Uni” is a prefix meaning “One”; while “verse” derives from Old French root word meaning “to turn”.  Years ago I assumed a different meaning. The “one verse” to me was the “One Truth.” There weren’t religious connotations to it, I just thought that the root of veritas was the  same root as verse, but alas it’s not.  So my youthful assumption that it meant “One Truth” was dispelled the day I looked it up in my OED a few years back.

Instead if you read through the roots of associated words and their derivatives, you get the sense that it could mean one fate, one turn, one line, or — one verse. 

At times I still muse about one truth and prefer my original interpretation to this day. Though untrue it’s a useful and beautiful delusion to be pondered now and then; and once pondered then shelved once more in the depths of memory with other fantasies.

100,000 Demonstrate in Burma

100,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Yangon yesterday in protest over the several years that SLORC, the military junta in Burma, has had to create the promised democratic reforms and in protest over the poor state of the managed economy, . These demonstrations have run seven days and started off small. The last three days they have grown ten-fold per day, with 1,000 monks marching Friday, 10,000 on Saturday, and Sunday 100,000 people demonstrated.

This speaks to how communist planned economies work — Hugo Chavez might want to take note before his rule crumbles under the reality that Capitalism is a primal force of human nature –it cannot be overcome by state dictate.

Pakistan on Watch for Female Suicide Bombers

zawahiri-dajjal.jpgThe country of Pakistan has issued warning to goverment officials to watch out for suicide bombers from Jamia Hafsa, Jamia Fareedia, and Lal Masjid. They warn to watch out for burqa-clad women, with new intelligence indicating that the students have been ordered to perform suicide attacks.

From The Daily Times:

Law enforcement agencies have forwarded intelligence reports to the senior government officials regarding suicide attacks expected to be carried out by women bombers across the country, highly reliable Interior Ministry sources told Daily Times on Sunday.

“There are chances that that male and female former students of Jamia Hafsa, Jamia Fareedia and Lal Masjid that managed to escape from ‘Operation Silence’ could carry out suicide attacks across the country,” the intelligence agencies’ reports said, according to sources. The report also suspected involvement of students from these madrassas in the suicide bombing on July 17 in Islamabad.

Intelligence agencies had forwarded detailed reports to the Interior Ministry as well, the sources said, following which authorities had issued special instructions in this regard.

pakistan30307_wideweb__470×3110.jpgPolice told to keep an eye on burqa-clad women: In the report, sources said, authorities suggested that police seniors across the country immediately issue instructions to keep a close eye on suspicious women wearing shuttlecock burqas and/or youngsters roaming near important installations, especially foreign ones, as well as important personalities, law enforcement personnel and important public and business places.

The students, especially those who led the Red Mosque insurrection, are tied to Ayman Al Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden, who have declared war against the State of Pakistan. Letters from Zawahiri to Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who led the madrassa, were found inside the mosque. Some of the terrorists inside the mosque were aligned to Al Qaeda, and the mosque has been mentioned in at least two tapes from As Sahab, Al Qaeda’s media branch. This indicates at minimum alignment with the foreigners warring on Pakistan, if not outright alliance.

The Egyptian and Saudi interlopers state this is a war against the west, but it’s never been that. They will adopt any cause to gain recruits — mostly children, to use in their personal quests for power within the Islamic world. In the last tapes they even speak out against global warming, and they have made the word “mujahadeen” into a sick joke by killing more of the Ummah than the US and Nato combined. This is why the villages in Iraq have risen against them. They are evil, and have evil intent for the 160 million muslims in Pakistan.

10,000 Monk March

Aung San Suu Kyi.jpgIn the largest anti-junta demonstration in Burma (Myanmar) since the ones in 1988 which drove the country to open elections, 10,000 Buddhist monks marched in Yangon for Democracy. 10,000 others joined them as they marched for the sixth straight day.

Aung San Suu Kyi was said to have greeted them from her porch the day prior as some were allowed to see her. Aung San is under house arrest, the legitimate head of the country who was overthrown after winning popular elections 1990. Since then the country has been ruled by SLORC, and the dictator Than Shwe, while the democratic government lives in exile. Story at ABC,

More info on Burma/Myanmar here, Previous articles on San Suu Kyi here.

The 10,000 monks marched from Yangon’s famous Shwedagon Pagoda to the nearby Sule Pagoda before passing the U.S. Embassy, witnesses said. Monks shouted support for detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, while the crowd of 10,000 protected them by forming a human chain along the route.

It was the sixth straight day monks have marched in Yangon, and came a day after they were allowed to walk past Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Suu Kyi’s compound in a symbolic gesture of support. Their activities have given new life to a protest movement that began a month ago after the government raised fuel prices.

burmese-monk-march.jpgA monk gave a speech Sunday calling for Suu Kyi’s release and national reconciliation before the monks set off from the Shwedagon Pagoda, the witness said.

The protest was the largest in the latest series to erupt in Yangon.

Earlier Sunday, the government had deployed about 20 pro-junta thugs and 20 riot police on the road leading to Suu Kyi’s compound, witnesses said. A fire truck was parked nearby.

While authorities had not intervened in Sunday’s march, plainclothes police trailed behind the marchers and some with shotguns were posted at street corners along the route.


moonleaves.jpgTaken through oak leaves on a dark night with a Cannon XTI. ISO 1600, click on the thumbnail for the large picture.

Taliban Maim 60 Muslims per Month With Mines From Iran

It’s going to be a rare day when you see Al Jazeera reporting here, but this one is factual, bias free, and plain good reporting on a terrible truth. The Taliban and Al Qaeda have made Afghanistan the most heavily mined country in the world with mines supplied mostly from Iran. 60 Muslims per month on average are maimed, mutilated, or murdered by Taliban land-mines, and roughly half are children.

In the past I’ve told the story of how the Taliban kidnaps teams of De-miners, takes their tools, and kills the specially trained dogs used to find the mines. Here’s a video on the efforts to aid the victims. Continue reading “Taliban Maim 60 Muslims per Month With Mines From Iran”