Tuesday, May 26, 2009

North Korea Conducts Test of Nuclear Weapon

-- From Wikinews, Monday, May 25, 2009

North Korea's official news agency is reporting that the country's government has carried out a "successful" test of a nuclear weapon. Yonhap News Agency in South Korea also reports the possible test.

"According to the demand of our scientists and technicians, our republic has successfully conducted another underground nuclear test on May 25 ... as part of measures to strengthen its nuclear power in self-defense," said the Korean Central News Agency as quoted by Yonhap. North Korea claimed the test was 'part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defence'.

Yonhap says an "artificial earthquake" was detected that suggested a test had been conducted, but that the government was working to confirm the report. "The government is still trying to verify whether it in fact was a nuclear test, but it believes there is a possibility," said presidential office spokesperson Lee Dong-kwan.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that at approximately 00:54:44 UTC, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake was detected 70 kilometers (45 miles) North, Northwest of Kimchaek, North Korea. South Korea reports the magnitude at a 4.5. North Korea previously conducted a nuclear test in 2006. That blast was measured at a magnitude 3.6.

South Korean officials have called an emergency meeting to discuss the event. South Korea has also banned its citizens from entering North Korea, except the Kaesong Joint Complex, from Tuesday. Russia is convening an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council on Monday. Japan's government has set up a special task force at the crisis management center in the prime minister's official residence.

The People's Republic of China, the United States, Russia and the European Union have all condemned the test. Russia, the US and the EU claimed the tests are a breach of United Nations' Security Council Resolutions. Iran has refused to condemn it, stating it was an

Monday, May 25, 2009

CommiCzar of the Imperium Issues Executive Order Addressing Non-Traditional Lifestyles

-- Imperium News Service
Executive Order: E.O. #XO/24/05/09
Entitled: "Don't Ask and Don't Tell" Act



It shall be the Law of the Land, from this day forward and until amended, that any Citizen, Subject, or Protectorate who lives his or her life not consistent with traditional personal values
established by society, shall be allowed to continue his or her alternate lifestyle, free from legal intrusion or prosecution; but bears the personal responsibility, and is required to follow, the basic and proven principle commonly refered to as: "DON'T ASK AND DON'T TELL"



To project one's personal alternate lifestyle openly and publicly, within an atmosphere, location, community that follows the more traditional beliefs, especially with regards to one's sexual preference or orientation, runs the risk of possible personal harm; which can result in bodily injury, emotional trauma, political or religious persecution, and financial crisis; which, if ever proven that an individual of an alternate lifestyle was personally responsible for any public display that served as the catalyst for any such personal attack, that individual would then bear his or her fair share of the responsibility, in proper proportion, as his or her actions contributed to the results.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dr. Mark Thompson: Recent Church of Scotland Actions 'Not True Christianity'

Opinion, from Dr. Mark Thompson:

Last night the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (operating as its Supreme Court) voted 326 to 267 to confirm the call of a practicing and openly gay man to be the minister of the congregation of Queen’s Cross in Aberdeen.

The decision comes at a time when the same issue has critically divided the Anglican Communion. A non-celibate gay man is Bishop of New Hampshire in the United States, his appointment confirmed by all but a small minority in The Episcopal Church. His presence at the inauguration of President Obama was nothing less than a presidential imprimatur. The Canadian churches are pushing ahead with the liturgical blessing of same-sex unions. Powerful gay lobbies are operating in many Anglican provinces around the world, including here in Australia. Meanwhile the Archbishop of Canterbury, caught between his published private opinions and the official position of his church, keeps trying to hold everyone together.

Other denominations both in Australia and beyond have also been dealing with various levels of gay activism within their membership.

The statement released by the Fellowship of Confessing Churches states the issue with unusual succinctness: this vote ‘sends a clear signal to the world that our denomination has departed from the teaching of the Christian Scriptures, upon which its very existence depends’. This statement resonates with the stated concerns of orthodox Christians around the world and in various denominations. The written word of God states repeatedly and unambiguously that homosexuality is a contradiction of God’s creational design for human sexual expression; to use the words of the Fellowship’s statement again, ‘the clear Scriptural pattern that recognises the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman as the only proper place for sexual intimacy’.

To acknowledge the Bible’s teaching on this matter as the true expression of God’s mind is not in any way to condone violence against homosexual persons. Such violence is itself a failure to take seriously the teaching of Scripture. Christians completely repudiate any such violence against anyone with whom we might disagree and where violence has been perpetrated in the name of Christ or of his people we need to acknowledge it and genuinely repent of it. What is more, homosexual persons are entitled to certain protections under the law (e.g. the right to live free of a fear of violence, the right to own property, and the right to be paid the same salary for the same work). However, these protections should not extend to insisting that all must agree with their decisions or behaviour. It is not an act of violence to say that something is wrong or morally repugnant.

Nor is this a sign of some psychological weakness, a ‘homophobia’ which is little more than giving way to our own fears and insecurities. This psychologising of dissent or opposition is a common enough tactic in modern debates. In the popular media and in liberal circles, it is used to suggest that there is something seriously deficient in those who disagree with the consensus they are promoting. It can also be a way of avoiding serious engagement with the arguments of your opponents. After all, if their opposition is borne out of pure irrational bigotry then surely it is appropriate just to marginalise and ignore them. However, the Christian opposition to homosexual behaviour over the past two thousand years has not arisen out of fear or ignorance. It arises from God’s clear expression of his mind and purposes for human beings. It is carefully reasoned and grounded firmly in God’s revelation.

The advocates of the right of actively homosexual persons to be recognised as faithful Christians and entrusted with Christian leadership of various kinds have also sometimes argued that their opponents are all captive to naïve and fundamentalist readings of Scripture which cannot be taken seriously in the twenty-first century. They point to other practices condemned in Scripture (almost invariably the Old Testament) which Christians do not take seriously and in fact have not taken seriously for a very long time. The food and clothing laws of Leviticus are often cited in this regard. So too is the insistence in the same Old Testament book that adultery should be punishable by death. Christians once justified slavery on the basis of biblical teaching, so the argument goes, and excluded women from leadership in the Christian congregation.

However, even a basic understanding of biblical theology demonstrates the difference between most of these cases and the issue of homosexual behaviour. The food and clothing laws of the Old Testament relate to the distinct national identity of Israel as God’s chosen people. With the advent of Jesus the situation is quite different. Indeed, it is Jesus himself who declares all foods clean. Adultery, however, is very different, as the repeated denunciations of it in the New Testament testify. It is no less serious an affront to God as it was in the Old Testament, since it still involves the repudiation of God’s intention for a faithful life-long union between a man and woman. Yet the Old Testament demand for judicial execution is replaced by congregational discipline: a call to repent and temporary exclusion with the goal of full restoration. Here is an appropriate analogy with the New Testament perspective on homosexual behaviour.

The appeal to the Christian attitude towards slavery as a precedent is to a certain degree disingenuous. After all, it was evangelical Christianity, motivated by obedience to the Scriptures rather than a desire to set them aside in favour of a contemporary public consensus, which overturned the slave trade in Britain. That abominable trade in human misery had been wrongly equated with the slavery found in Israel under the Old Covenant. Furthermore, the bonds of brotherhood in Christ took precedence over all social station and effectively undermined the practice of slavery as it existed in the first century Mediterranean world (as Paul more than hints to the slave-owner Philemon).

The case of women and Christian leadership is nowhere near as straightforward. It is certainly a matter of demonstrable fact that there is no universal Christian consensus on what kinds of leadership are appropriately exercised by women and what are not. There are many who insist that women are to be considered in every way equal to men and yet that this equality is not at all compromised by recognising men and women as complements of one another rather than duplicates. Yet others prefer an undifferentiated egalitarianism. The New Testament clearly considers gender an important issue when it comes to how we should behave within the Christian congregation. Yet debate continues as to how giftedness and opportunity are related to the very few restrictions on the appropriate ministry of women in the apostolic writings.

The push for what is euphemistically called ‘homosexual inclusion’ is sometimes portrayed as the next chapter in the history of enlightenment and emancipation. The prejudices of the past and the morally bankrupt practices which arose from them have one by one been overturned as knowledge replaced ignorance and freedom overcame oppression. The mistreatment of those who were different in race or gender to those with power was rightly exposed and action was rightly taken to eliminate it. Now, we are told, there is one further kind of discrimination which needs to be overcome: discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Yet such a picture cloaks a raft of differences.

Most important of these is the simple fact that the Christian objection focuses on behaviour rather than the inward struggle with temptation. Each of us is tempted to seek fulfilment, pleasure or meaning apart from God and his good word to us. We could rightly speak about our orientation or attraction to selfishness, pride, greed, anger, promiscuity and so forth, and of our responsibility to seek God’s help to resist that orientation. Those troubled with homosexual temptation need support and care rather than repudiation. And part of that support may well be to help such people avoid circumstances which would provide opportunity to surrender to that temptation.

Nevertheless, the issue in New Hampshire, Canada, Scotland and elsewhere is homosexual activity, indeed the embrace of an actively homosexual lifestyle while claiming to submit to the Lordship of Christ.

The sad but unavoidable truth is that any Christianity which endorses homosexual activity is not authentic Christianity. It cannot appeal to the universal teaching of the Christian churches over the past two thousand years. It can lay no claim to the mandate of Scripture. It cannot legitimately suggest that Jesus overturned the teaching of the Old Testament on this issue. Indeed, when speaking to the Pharisees about divorce he explicitly reiterated God’s creational intention: ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’ (Matt. 19:4–6)

It is important for Christians to be vocal in their opposition to moves such as that just made in Aberdeen. We need to insist that this is an aberration which is inauthentic. The lobbyists will certainly try to use it as evidence that there is no Christian consensus on this issue. This will no doubt be part of the debate in the House of Lords this week as activists try to wind back religious exemptions to the laws which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Yet we continue to say ‘no’ and to argue that homosexual practice is morally repugnant because God has made this clear in the Scriptures. And the good word of the good God who made us all is always worth living by.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vikesland Reports Increase in Border Violations

-- Vikelandic Broadcasting Company

Illegal incursions onto Vikesland have been on the rise the past few months. The individuals taking these illegal actions do so using ATV's or snowmobles. They incur damages to gates and roads without any regard for the land owners or Vikesland itself.

In one case a steel gate was completely removed from its location to allow tresspassing to occur. This very afternoon a group was spotted driving ATV's onto Vikeslandic soil. Myself and the Grand Duke took our own AtV's and searched for them but to no avail.

We sat and pondered ways to up automated security. It was agreed that remote motion sensing cameras was the best route. Any tresspassers caught on camera will be given to Macro authorities and charged.

A separate incident involving a trespasser into the compound of the Vikesland Embassy in Brandon occured last week. Myself the Prince chased off the intruder without any problems. Lighting for the compound will be increased in hopes of further pre-empting intruders.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

His Grace, Robert VII, Attends G-G's Graduation

His Grace, the Duke of Florida attended the graduation ceremonies at Lake City Community College, and treated the Most Hon. Bo Register, Marquess of Mobile, to a celebratory supper afterwards.

The Duke was on hand to witness the Governor-General's graduation, Cum Laude with two degrees, Associate of Science degree in Agribusiness Management and an Associate of Arts degree in the Liberal Arts.

His Grace indicated that the education might be put to good use in restoring the agriculture based businesses that are at the heart of the Dominion's economy.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

UK Home Secretary Announces ID Card Pilot Launch

From Wikinews, Wednesday, May 6, 2009

U.K. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced a voluntary pilot scheme for identity cards. Greater Manchester has been chosen for the pilot and passport holders over 16 will be able to submit applications for the card at post offices and pharmacies.
UK Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith

A number of other high street retailers are negotiating with the government to be permitted to take photographs and fingerprints for the scheme.

Opposition leaders stand against the planned compulsory nationwide scheme, calling for the £5.3 billion programme to be scrapped. The pricetag does not include the costs that agencies and other government departments will incur procuring equipment to verify the cards.

The trial is also supposed to be in effect at London City and Manchester airports. This is opposed by the British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA), claiming it is effectively compulsory; in order to get airside passes pilots will have to produce one of the new national identity cards.
When any old chemist in Wythenshawe or Ancoats is responsible for collecting personal information that is supposed to be private and secure, there is a real chance for that information to be used for fraudulent purposes

—Michael Parker, No2ID

BALPA general secretary, Jim McAuslan, emphasised some of the concerns of the association's members, "Like every other citizen, they ask themselves what will happen to the data they are coerced into providing; whether it will it be safe, whose hands might it fall into, and what might they do with the data?" As do many of the ID card scheme's detractors, he made the Orwellian comparison, "Our members increasingly have a sense that a line is being crossed in the relationship between state and citizen; a sense that Big Brother knows best."

Wikinews contacted No2ID about the proposal, and received feedback from their press spokesman, Michael Parker. He emphasised that this announcement is not a sure sign that the cards will actually be available later this year. Regarding the choice of post offices and chemists to serve on the front line of issuing the cards he said, "...it totally undermines the whole idea of the project as a 'gold standard' 'unbreakable' ID card that would guarantee we are who we say we are. When any old chemist in Wythenshawe or Ancoats (Manchester districts) is responsible for collecting personal information that is supposed to be private and secure, there is a real chance for that information to be used for fraudulent purposes."

No2ID is an independent group set up to campaign against the ID card system, and what they describe as the 'database state'. When Wikinews asked if they trust the UK Government with a database of 60 million individuals' details his response was cutting and blunt, "I would say 'Not as far as I could throw them', but then it would be easy to download 60m peoples' details onto a CD and then throw that quite far..."

Despite the existence of pressure groups such as No2ID, the government asserts that there is broad public support for the introduction of compulsory ID cards.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Runaway EMU Train Collides with Freight Train in India

From Wikinews, Friday, May 1, 2009

At approximately 06:00 a.m. (00:30 GMT) Wednesday, between four and seven people were killed when an Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) passenger train crashed into a stationary freight train at Vyasarpadi Jeeva station, in Chennai, India. Between eleven and twenty persons were injured, and rushed to General Hospital in Chennai.

Officials are unsure of the number of persons aboard the passenger train, which was operated by an unknown person. "It is not clear who operated (it)," said S. Jayanth, acting general manager of Southern Railway. The operator of the EMU train was not in the train when it left 15 minutes to half an hour before the scheduled departure time. It is said some passengers did board the passenger train.

The EMU train ignored all signals, and drove about 7 kilometers (4 mi) at high speed, jumping tracks, before colliding with the goods train.

The driver of the goods train, Arumugam, has been confirmed as one of those who has died. The goods train was traveling between Arakkonam to Chennai. The motorman, guard and assistant jumped from the goods train sustaining fractures.

"We heard a loud noise and saw several compartments in flames. The smell emanating from bodies from the mangled coaches was nauseating," said M.N. Selvi, a nearby resident.

The platforms at the Vyasarpadi Jeeva station were destroyed, and electrical cables were torn down. The EMU train caught fire in the collision destroying two compartments completely. The other compartments were thrown from the tracks. The freight train was loaded with oil tanks, however reports indicate that only the EMU train was set ablaze.

All train services were canceled for a time on one of the busiest rail lines of India. "Train services are disrupted due to the mishap but we hope to restore the services in two to three hours time," an Indian Railways spokesperson.

Railways Minister Lalu Prasad announced that an inquiry will be held.

Car Plows Into Crowd During Dutch Queen's Day Celebrations

Car plows into crowd during Dutch Queen's Day celebrations
From Wikinews, Thursday, April 30, 2009

Five people have died and at least 13 are injured after a car plowed into a crowd in front of Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands during celebrations of Queen's Day. At around 11:50 local time a black Suzuki Swift went through barriers erected to separate the onlooking crowd from traffic, subsequently striking a monument. Members of the Dutch royal family watched the incident take place from the open-topped bus. The incident was witnessed by many onlookers and photographers as well by media covering the pageant.

"He came out of nowhere and dragged ten to fifteen people. There is blood everywhere and people being resuscitated," a photographer following the parade for De Telegraaf said.

At around 12:00, all official activities in Apeldoorn were cancelled. Other Dutch cities have also cancelled or scaled back activities, such as the Radio 538 concert in Amsterdam and all celebrations in Rotterdam. The mayor of Apeldoorn stated that, "A good day has ended as a drama." Offical Flags throughout the Netherlands have been placed at half-mast. The Queen responded in a video speech and expressed her sympathy for the victims.

During a press conference held at 15:45, police reported that the man, who was still conscious but heavily injured after the accident, had told police that it was a deliberate act. It was also reported that the 38-year-old, a Dutch national, had not been in contact with the police until earlier that day when he was stopped at one of the barriers. He has no prior history of psychological problems and there are no indications that any sort of terrorist group was involved.

The Queen's Day celebrations, observing the birthday of the Dutch monarch, take place annually on April 30. Citizens of the country traditionally celebrate by holding late-night markets and decorating the streets of the Netherlands in orange bunting, honoring the House of Orange.