We will have a mirror site at http://nunezreport.wordpress.com in case we are censored, Please save the link

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Design of Animals - Chuck Missler


Jordan on the brink: Muslim Brothers mobilize for King Abdullah’s overthrow

Next in line......

Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood has given King Abdullah II notice that he has until October to bow to their demand to transform the Hashemite Kingdom into a constitutional monarchy or face Arab Spring street pressure for his abdication.
DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report that Israeli and Saudi intelligence watchers are becoming increasingly concerned about the approaching climax of the conflict in Amman between Islamists and the throne .

For Israel, an upheaval in Jordan bodes the tightening of the Islamist noose around its borders – Egypt and Libya to the south and Syria to the north, with unpredictable consequences with regard to Jordan’s Palestinian population.
Saudi Arabia, already threatened by Iranian aggression, fears the oil kingdom may be next in line if its northern neighbor is crushed under the marching feet of the “Arab Spring.”

The oil kingdom’s royal rulers are reported to have belatedly woken up to the peril and are in a panic. They realize that their preoccupation with helping Syrian rebels overthrow Bashar Assad misdirected their attention from the enemies lurking at their own door. Thousands of articles in the Arab press in the past year have predicted that after the Muslim Brotherhood seizes power in Damascus, Amman would be next in its sights followed by Riyadh.
The latest DEBKA-Net-Weekly of Sept. 21 analyzed the plight closing in on the Jordanian monarch and outlined three of his options:

1. He could bow to the main Muslim Brotherhood’s demand by submitting to the kingdom’s transition to a constitutional monarchy and the transfer of executive power to an MB-led government by means of the electoral reforms for which the Brothers have been pushing for years. In Jordan as in Egypt, the Brothers hope for a two-third majority in a free election.

2. He could stand up to the Brotherhood’s demands and order his security, intelligence and military forces to crack down on the opposition. This course carries the risk of plunging Jordan into the carnage of civil war among the diverse segments of the population. The biggest dangers come from the Bedouin tribes, whose traditional allegiance to the Hashemite throne has weakened in recent years, and the Palestinians who form 60 percent of the population.

3. He could seek to negotiate a compromise through various brokers. Our sources report that several attempts at mediation have been ventured of late, but got nowhere because the Muslim Brotherhood sent its most radical leaders to the table and they left very little margin for compromise.
According to sources at the royal court, Abdullah will very soon meet with MB leaders for a personal appeal for calm after years of heated debate. Most observers believe that he has left it too late and by now the Muslim Brotherhood has got the bit between its teeth.

Indeed, according to an internal memorandum leaked to the Al-Hayat newspaper, the MB has already set a date for mass demonstrations against the King to start on Oct. 10 and ordered its members to go to work at once to mobilize at least 50,000 demonstrators for daily protests against the king and the royal family until he bows to their will.

The memorandum states: “Every member must be dedicated to communicate with his relatives, close friends, acquaintances, fellow employees and various Islamic groups and patriots…” It calls for the formation of “hotbeds to… focus on the participation of groups affiliated with universities, schools and women’s organizations.” Protesters are also advised on tactics for overcoming a security crackdown.
Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood has therefore moved forward from opposition propaganda, debating and political pressure to activism against the throne.
Both Jordanian camps are anxiously watching to see which way the wind blows in the White House.

President Barack Obama has a balancing act to resolve: On the one hand, the Jordanian king has long been a staunch American ally and friend, its mainstay in many regional crises. On the other, Obama regards the Muslim Brotherhood as the linchpin of his external policy of outreach to the Muslim world.


Breaking Down The Fiscal Cliff In 12 Charts

Investors remain convinced, it would seem, that the fiscal cliff will not happen because our great-and-good politicians in Washington know full-well that the economic repercussions will be too great. Even though Ben's foot is to the floor, he has stated that monetary policy will be unable to offset the negative economic impact of the tax hikes and spending cuts. The prospect of agreement among a deeply polarized politik and just as Goldman expects, we worry that the S&P 500 will fall sharply following the election once investors finally recognize the serious possibility that the 'fiscal-cliff-problem' will not be solved in a smooth manner. In order to clarify that thinking, Bloomberg Brief has provided 12 charts on the timelines, impact, uncertainty, and possibilities surrounding this most obvious of risk events.

The so-called ‘fiscal cliff,’ the confluence of $607 billion in expiring tax and expenditure policies set to take effect at the end of 2012, poses a significant risk to the U.S. economic outlook.

Unless lawmakers reach a compromise to extend some or all of the temporary tax cuts and postpone mandatory spending cuts, the hit to the economy would translate into about 4 percent of gross domestic product.

There will probably be little movement to address the economic consequences of the fiscal cliff until after the November U.S. presidential election. This will leave policy makers the one-month lame duck session of the 112th Congress between Nov. 13 and the currently scheduled day of adjournment on Dec. 14 to reach a decision before the scheduled tax increases and mandatory spending cuts will take effect Jan. 1.

Given political polarization, these issues may well not be addressed until the start of the 113th Congress on Jan. 3, 2013.

Growth And Austerity: This is not the first experience that the federal government has had with periods of austerity. During the Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Clinton administrations, periods of bi-partisan fiscal restraint were seen. Solid growth in the Reagan and Clinton eras contrast with slower growth and an eventual slide into recession during Bush the elder administrations. The major difference between those eras and our current period is historically slow growth occurring at the same time as high political polarization. These conditions are not conducive to a grand bargain to put the nation’s fiscal path on a more sustainable footing and avoid a likely recession in 2013.

The burden of adjustment caused by the significant fiscal restraint that would take place next year would be spread around the public and private sector. The end of emergency unemployment benefits alone accounts for $40 billion in reduced government spending. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that each dollar of unemployment insurance generates $1.55 in additional economic activity.

Defense Spending: automatic sequestration may result in about $55 billion in defense and non-defense accounts from the Pentagon that account for roughly half of the $110 billion resulting from the Budget Control Act of 2011. Based on current statutes, only a new law that terminates automatic defense cuts can prevent sequestration. One result of major cuts in defense spending would likely be the loss of tens of thousands of defense contractor-related jobs. Many of these jobs are held by middle and upper middle class income earners critical to supporting current levels of household spending.

Taxes & Spending

The policies that put the fiscal path on a sustainable footing will likely involve a mixture of spending cuts and tax increases over the next decade or two. In any debate, the most contentious portion of it will revolve around how the burden of adjustment is distributed throughout the economy while supporting growth and reducing unemployment.

Marginal Rates Pre- and Post-Cliff: The sunset of the Bush tax cuts and the expiration of the Obama tax holiday, as well as a variety of tax hikes and spending cuts, will boost marginal tax rates across the board, collapsing the six tax brackets into five. Using a conservative multiplier, the end of the $220 billion Bush tax cuts would result in a reduction in consumer spending of roughly $200 billion or 1.3 percent of GDP. The end of the Obama tax holiday would produce a $95 billion hit to household spending, subtracting 0.6 percent from GDP.

Increased taxes on corporations may not be a good way to encourage growth. While taxes on individuals have come down substantially over the past 30 years, that is not the case when it comes to U.S. statutory corporate tax rates. The 2012 combined government corporate tax rate in the U.S. is 39 percent, trailed by Japan at 38 percent, France at 34.4 percent and Germany at 30.2 percent.

Federal Government Revenues and Outlays: Debt-to-GDP levels will need to be stabilized at near 100 percent, whether through a decline in outlays, by finding ways to increase revenues without slowing growth, or some combination of the two. Based on the most recent CBO study, tax receipts are projected to increase 41 percent between 2011 and 2017, while a 21 percent rise in spending is forecast.

Discretionary Spending: Without a consensus among lawmakers on how to reform entitlement spending or enact comprehensive tax reform, discretionary spending will bear roughly half the burden of the automatic sequestration set to take place due to the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Politics And Policy

The fiscal cliff is set to occur within 60 days of what is shaping up to be a rancorous national election. Given the depth of the ‘Great Recession’ and measures taken to prevent it from becoming a depression, the importance of politics and policy has increased in relevance for investors.

Competing Visions: Fundamental policy disagreements among politicians regarding the size and scope of government is the primary cause behind the unusual confluence of so many tax and spending items coming to a head at one time. Using the CBO’s baseline forecast as a benchmark, federal spending as a percentage of GDP is likely to increase from 24.1 percent in 2011 to 24.4 in 2022.

Investors Troubled by Policy Uncertainty: Investors and some economists have pointed to a lack of clarity regarding the future path of taxes to support current levels of public expenditures, and the impact of stepped-up regulatory activity on overall business conditions. An index of policy uncertainty and its impact on output, investment and employment developed at Stanford University and the University of Chicago indicates a clear lack of direction in addressing persistent deficits. The level of debt likely foreshadows slower growth and subdued employment conditions ahead.

33 Senate Seats in Play: Based on an estimate by Roll Call magazine, of the 33 seats up for grabs, seven are at risk during the upcoming election, six held by Democrats and one held by Republicans. Presently, the Senate is comprised of 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans and two Independents.

28 House Seats in Play: Roll Call indicates that there are 28 House races that currently rate as a toss-up. There are two open seats and one new seat in Arizona’s 9th district due to the shift in population that has seen Congressional seats migrate from the northeast to the south and west. Presently the House is comprised of 192 Democrats, 240 Republicans and three vacancies.

"If the fiscal cliff isn’t addressed, as I’ve said, I don’t think our tools are strong enough to offset the effects of a major fiscal shock, so we’d have to think about what to do in that contingency.”

— Ben S. Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman

Zero Hedge

Iran's arsenal poses threat to U.S. military

Threats from Iran that it will attack the forces of the U.S. or any country that tries to take out its nuclear program are not mere boasts, experts say, but any such strike could be met with devastating counterattacks.

Iran's high-flying ballistic missiles could overwhelm U.S. missile defenses in the Persian Gulf, where much of the world's oil passes. Its fast-attack boats could swarm a battleship and sink it. And its fleet of hard-to-find submarines carry torpedoes faster than any torpedo in the U.S. fleet.

But Iran cannot sustain an attack against the U.S., said Christopher Harmer, a former U.S. Navy commander who participated in war planning for U.S. forces the Persian Gulf.

"The Iranian navy could hit us one time at sea or on shore. If they did that, we would eliminate all of their navy and probably most of their land-based missile capability," Harmer said.

Iran has been expanding its defense and offensive capabilities with the help of China, Russia and other nations amid demands from the United Nations and Western nations that it prove its nuclear program is not for making a bomb in violation of its international agreements. Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes.

Israel has said Iran will have bomb-making capability in as early as six months, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked President Obama to set a "red line" for Iran's nuclear progress that could trigger a military attack.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. would set no deadlines for Iran to comply with the U.N. inspections, and two weeks ago the White House declined to grant Netanyahu's request for a meeting on the matter.

The Obama administration said financial sanctions against Iran will persuade the Islamic nation to prove its nuclear program is peaceful by opening up to U.N. inspectors. But two years of sanctions have not done so. Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said this month the sanctions targeting the Iranian oil and banking sectors will never interrupt the country's nuclear program.

"We are going ahead, and God willing we will succeed," he said on Iranian state TV.

To protect against a strike on its nuclear facilities, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps is moving forward with an air-defense installation in the Abadeh area that would be the largest in that part of the country.

"If (the enemy) ever has the intent of attacking this soil, we will make the Persian Gulf their grave," said Abadeh's governor, Mohammad Javad Askari.

A sophisticated arsenal, however, has not been Iran's chief weapon. The U.S. State Department says Iran has significant influence over terrorist networks, which analysts say could easily target American civilians in the Middle East and Europe, and its civilian ships could launch poison-gas rockets onto the U.S. homeland.

State says Iranian terror proxies such as Hezbollah have killed hundreds of American citizens, including the 1983 attack that killed 241 U.S. servicemembers at a barracks in Beirut, and the FBI said it uncovered an Iranian plot in October to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S. in Washington.

Iranian leaders and their allies have made "a lot of statements" that they would attack U.S. targets if Israel hit Iran's nuclear program, said Richard Wachtel of the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-based independent translation service.

The latest was Sunday, when Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh of the Revolutionary Guard Corps told Iran's Al-Alam TV that U.S. targets would be fair game in an Israeli attack because it wouldn't happen without U.S. approval. U.S. facilities in Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan would be targeted, he said.

U.S. military planners worry most about a few basic weapons that Iran has obtained from other countries, like Russia, China and North Korea, and then improved.

* Missiles -- Land-based cruise missiles could target U.S. warships and the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet headquarters across the Persian Gulf in Bahrain. U.S. ships and bases have anti-missile defenses, but they could be overwhelmed if Iran shoots enough missiles at the same target at once, Harmer said.

* Super-fast Hoot torpedoes -- Based on a Russian design, these rocket-propelled torpedoes can be shot from a submarine and travel 200 mph, faster than any torpedo in the U.S. arsenal.

While a ship has a reasonable chance of evading a traditional torpedo, "there's no chance of a ship evading a rocket-propelled torpedo," Harmer said.

* Mini-submarines -- At least 20 mini-submarines that are hard to track and easy to hide if they sit still on the seafloor can target passing U.S. ships and possibly sink them. The U.S. Navy uses satellites and other means to monitor and destroy them, if necessary, but the subs are small and can remain hidden for weeks at a time.

* Fast-attack patrol boats -- Iran has hundreds of fast boats armed with missiles and loaded with explosives to swarm the Strait of Hormuz while an aircraft carrier group is passing through.

To counter the threats, the Pentagon has bolstered the U.S. defenses in the Persian Gulf as a pre-emptive measure to counter an attempt by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz. U.S.attack helicopters and aircraft routinely patrol the waters around aircraft carriers. U.S. Navy ships are armed with a range of guns that would penetrate the thin-hulled fast boats and sink them, Harmer said.

Harmer agrees that a swarm of small boats may overwhelm and sink a U.S. battleship, but, "They could do that one time, and then the U.S. Navy would essentially destroy the Iranian navy," in as little as four days, he said.

John Pike, director of the defense think tank Globalsecurity.org., said Iran also has chemical weapons that it could launch from civilian ships at U.S.' East Coast. While U.S. policy since 2010 is not to respond to chemical weapons attacks with nuclear weapons, Iran and North Korea are exempt from that policy, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Michael O'Hanlon, a scholar at the Brookings Institution who serves on the CIA's external advisory board, said Iran's terror capabilities are widespread and could be employed quickly if desired.

"They're capable of doing that in a couple dozen countries across the Middle East," and could kill dozens to hundreds of vulnerable American travelers, embassy workers and business people, O'Hanlon said.

The U.S. could respond with airstrikes on Iranian military installations, he said. But, "there's no way to know where this would end or who would get hurt worse," O'Hanlon said.

USA Today

Hal Lindsey Report

The Hal Lindsey Report'
Unless you've been vacationing on a desert island or only get your news from the mainstream media, you know that terrorists attacked the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11. In their vicious attack, they killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, the US envoy to Libya. They also killed three other Americans who served the US mission to Libya. 

Earlier that day, rioters attacked the US embassy in Cairo, Egypt. They breached the walls, tore down the American flag, and ripped it apart. They trashed the place and hoisted the flag of al-Qaeda. They screamed their hatred for the United States and Israel. Common among the chants was, "Obama, Obama, we are all Osamas." 

They held high pictures of Osama bin-Laden; they waved the al-Qaeda flag; and they did it all on the eleventh anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. 

Both US missions had been informed up to two days prior to the attacks that events were being planned. Yet neither appeared to take precautionary steps. (Unless you count a "preemptory apology" issued by the embassy in Cairo prior to the demonstrations!) 

Instead, it appears the administration was caught totally flat-footed. In fact, until Thursday of this week, all administration spokespersons have insisted that all of the attacks and protests (which have now occurred in more than twenty countries) have been "spontaneous" responses to the posting of a 14-minute promotional video for an unbelievably cheesy and amateurish movie that "denigrates" Islam and its founder, Mohammed. 

Never mind that the "movie trailer" has been available on the internet for several months (some reports claim it's been available for most of a year); that the movie itself has only been seen by about a dozen people; that the embassies were warned by members of the host governments and others in the intelligence community that the attacks were being planned; that the initial crowds in Cairo were shouting al-Qaeda slogans and holding pictures and flags; that al-Qaeda's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri had called for revenge after the US killed al-Qaeda's number two man in a drone strike in June; that it was the eleventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks; that members of Sheikh Abdel Rahman's ("The Blind Sheikh" responsible for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center) family were helping lead the demonstrations; and the list goes on. 

While it is true that many of the demonstrations across the Middle East since then have focused on the movie trailer, it is almost universally acknowledged by everyone outside of the administration (especially foreign governments and intelligence sources), that the movie was, at best, a pretext for the first attacks on American embassies and properties. Attacks have also been focused on assets of nations like Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland. 

Of course, since it's only a few weeks before the general election, it's understandable that the American government doesn't want to acknowledge the complete failure and collapse of its foreign policy, especially its misguided dealings with the Muslim nations of the world. 

But it's not only the current administration that's to blame. I have often said that President Bush's push to "democratize" the Muslim world was well-intentioned but naive. I believe that it is almost totally impossible for democracy to take root in a truly Islamic society. Everything in Islam's structure and teaching opposes the fundamental principles of a democratic society. So not only are those fledgling "democratic" nations doomed to failure, their hopeful citizens become nothing more than pawns or tools in the greater Islamic goal of establishing a worldwide caliphate. 

I think that's what the last few days across northern Africa have been all about: the total rejection of Western ideals and principles and a declaration of the Muslims' hatred for all things western and Judeo-Christian. 

From a prophetic perspective, I think it's interesting that when you look at a map depicting all the hot spots we've been hearing about the past couple of weeks, it's a pretty accurate picture of the nations that will eventually comprise the "Kings of the South" that the prophet Daniel described. 

But the Obama and Bush administrations aren't alone when it comes to naive US efforts that will ultimately bring grief to America. I believe President Clinton's championing of The Oslo Accords, which were signed in 1993, have put America on the fast-track to the curses that God pronounced on those who harm the descendants of Abraham. The insistence on the suicidal land-for-peace roadmap to a "two-state solution" has accomplished nothing more than put Israel's survival at risk and, I fear, ours, too. 

Jerusalem and the land of Israel is not the Arabs' nor the Jews', it is God's land and He will give it to whom He pleases. And it pleased Him to promise it by sacred covenant to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He also promised that those who tried to take the land, and those who helped them, would suffer His displeasure. 

President Harry Truman recognized the new nation of Israel just 11 minutes after its birth. And from 1948 into the 1990's, America experienced prosperity and power unparalleled in history. But the last two decades have seen America become entangled in wars across the globe; mired in debt from which there will be no escape; and exhausted from culture wars that threaten her very essence. Is this decline connected to our attempt to "lift the burdensome stone" that Zechariah warned about? I believe so. 

Maybe the experience of our neighbor to the north can shed some light on the question. Last week, Canada chose to stand with Israel. It closed its embassy in Tehran and kicked Iran's diplomats out of Canada. Canadian leaders cited Iran's intransigence on its nuclear weapons program and the threat it poses to Israel, as well as the danger foreign diplomats face in Iran. (Remember America's experience there?) 

But this isn't the first time Canada has stood with Israel. In fact, critics say that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's support for the nation of Israel cost Canada a seat on the UN Security Council two years ago. 

So is it coincidence that even though the United States is Canada's biggest trading partner, our economic woes seem to be having little impact on our neighbor? In fact, while our unemployment rate is reaching historic highs (up to 20% if we're realistic), Canada's are reaching historic lows. While each taxpayer in America owes more than $140,000 toward our national debt, Canada's taxpayer only shoulders a burden of $17,000. While the United States' economy is collapsing, Canada's is booming. 

One nation is standing with Israel. One is distancing itself. Care to guess which is which?

Goldman: Fed's QE3 could hit $2 trillion

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Federal Reserve's QE3 bond buying program announced earlier this month could last until the middle of 2015 and eventually reach $2 trillion, according to an estimate from economists at Goldman Sachs.

The Goldman economists also wrote in a report that they believe the Fed will not raise the federal funds rate until 2016. This rate, which is used as a benchmark for a wide variety of consumer and business loans, has been near 0% since December 2008. The Fed said in its last statement that it expected rates would remain low until mid-2015.

The Fed announced earlier this month that it would buy $40 billion a month in mortgages for the foreseeable future, a plan that has been dubbed QE3 since it is the central bank's third round of quantitative easing. The Fed hopes that by pumping money into the economy lowering mortgage rates, QE3 could lead to more consumer spending and more hiring by businesses.

Goldman's $2 trillion estimate also includes the buying of long-term Treasuries planned by the Fed under an extension of what is popularly known "Operation Twist." In that program, the Fed is selling short-term Treasuries to fund those purchases.

The Goldman economists also said they think the Fed wants to see the nation's unemployment rate in the 7% to 7.5% range before it ends its bond purchases, and in the 6.5% to 7% range before it starts raising interest rates again. Unemployment stood at 8.1% in August, down from 8.3% in July. But much of the most recent decline was due to job seekers, particularly young adults, dropping out of the labor force as opposed to a pick-up in hiring.

CNN Money

Video of riot police clashing with protesters in Madrid

UN chief demands international action to stop war in Syria

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded international action to stop the war in Syria, telling a sombre gathering of world leaders Tuesday that the 18-month conflict had become "a regional calamity with global ramifications."

In his state of the world speech at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting, Ban said he was sounding the alarm about widespread insecurity and injustice, inequality and intolerance in many countries.

Putting the spotlight on Syria, the U.N. chief said "the international community should not look the other way as violence spirals out of control."

Ban said the Syrian conflict is a serious and growing threat to international peace and security that requires attention from the deeply divided U.N. Security Council.

Russia and China have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions aimed at pressuring Syrian President Bashar Assad to end the violence and enter negotiations on a political transition, leaving the U.N.'s most powerful body paralyzed in what some diplomats say is the worst crisis since the U.S.-Soviet standoff during the Cold War.

The secretary-general also expressed profound concern at continuing violence in Afghanistan and Congo, increasing unrest across west Africa's Sahel region where al-Qaida has made inroads, and the "dangerous impasse" between Israelis and Palestinians that may close the door on the two-state solution.

The "shrill war talk" by Israel in recent weeks, in response to its belief that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, "has been alarming," Ban said, and Tehran's rhetoric threatening Israel's existence is unacceptable.

"Any such attacks would be devastating," he said, reminding the 193 U.N. member states of the need for peaceful solutions and respect for international law.

"Leaders have a responsibility to use their voices to lower tensions instead of raising the temperature and volatility of the moment," he said.

Alluding to the recently circulated amateur video made in the U.S. which attacks Islam and denigrates the Prophet Muhammad, Ban said that "in recent days we have seen hate speech and violent responses that perpetuate a cycle of blind violence."

He lamented that in the world today "too often, divisions are exploited for short-term political gain" and "too many people are ready to take small flames of difference and turn them into a bonfire."

The secretary-general said it's time for responsible political and community leaders and ordinary citizens to speak out.

"The moderate majority should not be a silent majority," Ban said. "It must empower itself, and say to bigots and extremists alike: 'you do not speak for us.'"

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/chief+demands+international+action+stop+Syria+which+regional/7295556/story.html#ixzz27UYRYjEU

China's first aircraft carrier enters service

Aircraft carriers compared

China's first aircraft carrier has entered into service, the defence ministry says.

The 300m (990ft) Liaoning - named after the province where it was refitted - is a refurbished Soviet ship purchased from Ukraine.

For now the carrier has no operational aircraft and will be used for training.

But China says the vessel, which has undergone extensive sea trials, will increase its capacity to defend state interests.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao said the ship would have "a mighty and deep significance". It would be "a cause for patriotic passion", he said at a ceremony attended by top Chinese leaders at Dalian Port.

The delivery of the aircraft carrier comes at a time when Japan and other countries in the region have expressed concern at China's growing naval strength.

China and Japan are embroiled in a row over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Several South-east Asian nations are also at odds with China over overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea.

It also comes weeks ahead of a party congress expected to see the transition of power to a new generation of Chinese leaders.'Defend interests'

The Liaoning was formally handed over to the navy at a ceremony in Dalian, state-run Xinhua news agency said.

"Having the aircraft carrier enter the ranks will be of important significance in raising the overall fighting capacity of our nation's navy to a modern level," the defence ministry said in a statement.

The vessel will "increase [China's] capacity to defend, develop its capacity to co-operate on the high seas in dealing with non-traditional security threats and will be effective in defending the interests of state sovereignty, security and development", it added.

The BBC's Damian Grammaticas took a look at the new carrier in June

The official commissioning of the country's first aircraft carrier signals China's status as a rising power, says the BBC's Damian Grammaticas in Beijing.

The country's Communist leaders are spending billions modernising their armed forces so they can project military power far beyond China's borders.

But China does not yet have a fleet of aircraft or pilots ready for carrier operations. So the Liaoning will be used to test and train them, a task that will probably take several years, our correspondent adds.

The Liaoning, formerly known as the Varyag, was constructed in the 1980s for the Soviet navy but was never completed.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Varyag sat in Ukraine's dockyards.

A Chinese company with links to China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) bought the ship just as Soviet warships were being cut for scrap.

It said it wanted to turn the Varyag into a floating casino in Macau and in 2001 the ship was towed to China.

The Chinese military confirmed in June 2011 that it was being refitted to serve as the nation's first aircraft carrier.

Analysts say it will take years to outfit the carrier with aircraft and make it fully operational. But Chinese officials say that the Liaoning advances the country's military modernisation.

"The development of aircraft carriers is an important part of China's national defence modernisation, in particular its naval forces, and this aircraft carrier is an essential stepping stone toward its own more advanced aircraft carriers in the future," China's Rear Admiral Yang Yi wrote in the state-run China Daily newspaper.

The carrier will be mostly used "for scientific research and training missions" so China could build "a more advanced aircraft carrier platform in the future", he added.


Japan clashes with Taiwan flotilla

Ahmandinejad: Israel is a fake Regime that will be 'Eliminated'

33 dead as 1.5 million are displaced by Massive Flooding across India

Muslims want permanent prayer rooms in high schools

They can have a prayer room and christians cannot read the bible at any site of the school!!!

OTTAWA - While Ottawa high schools profess to offer prayer rooms for Muslim students, an Islamic leader says they don’t have a permanent space and are often relegated to small classrooms, if they can get space at all.

Washim Ahmed is the Islamic director of Carleton University’s Muslim Students’ Association and he leads a prayer service at more than half a dozen public high schools in Ottawa on Fridays.

But he said none of the schools have permanent prayer rooms, and they’re often shuffled between classrooms or the gym, depending on what’s available.

Sometimes, he said there simply isn’t a room they can use.

“That’s highly problematic because (students) don’t have any security knowing whether they’re getting the rooms or not,” Ahmed said. “If there’s a room available, they’ll get it, otherwise they don’t.”

A school in London, Ont., opened their first permanent prayer room earlier this week.

But the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board said they always offer a multi-faith prayer room when students ask for one.

There’s a demand for rooms at around 60% to 70% of their schools.

“They are only accessible during non-instruction time and are supervised by staff,” said Walter Piovesan, the board’s associate director of education.

He added none of the schools have permanent prayer rooms.

“While there may be no dedicated room, there is a duty to accommodate under the Ontario Charter of Human Rights,” he said.

But Ahmed argued the system is often disorganized, and Muslim students have to make arrangements each week to reserve a room.

“It’s happened in a couple of schools where I went to lead the prayer and I couldn’t find a prayer spot,” he said. “It’s not organized, it’s just random.”

The Catholic board said they offer quiet prayer space for any group upon request.

Muslims are obligated to say five prayers per day at very specific times, culminating in the most important prayer, the Jumu’ah, on Friday shortly after noon.

Carleton student Maged Arab, 23, said without a permanent prayer room, Muslims have to either find a quiet place at school or else cram in all five of their daily prayers into their evenings.

“Thankfully, if there’s no prayer room, you’re excused and you can catch up on all the prayers when you get home from school,” he said.

But Abdulaziz Dahir, 27, went to Sir Robert Borden High School and was thankful to be able to take part in the Friday prayer in one of the school’s English classes.

“Looking back now, we would have wanted more time to pray at school but back then we were just happy to have a room at all,” he said.

He added he understands it’s tough to find space for a permanent prayer room.

Ahmed wants to see more co-operation between religious groups and school boards to help fund permanent multi-faith prayer rooms in Ottawa schools.

Public high schools offering Friday prayer:

Hillcrest High School: 30 to 40 students

Richmond Hill High School: 15 to 20 students

Bell high School: 100 to 150 students

John McCrae High School: 30 to 40 students

Toronto Sun