February 2007

Apparently the UN, and some lawyers and insurance agents, will decide who will be in charge if an asteroid hits the Earth:

A draft UN treaty to determine what would have to be done if a giant asteroid was on a collision course with Earth is to be drawn up this year.

The document would set out global policies including who should be in charge of plans to deflect any object.

It is the brainchild of the Association of Space Explorers, a professional body for astronauts and cosmonauts.

At the moment, Nasa is monitoring 127 near-Earth objects (NEO) that have a possibility of hitting the Earth.

The association has asked a group of scientists, lawyers, diplomats and insurance experts to draw up the recommendations.

See full article here.


Russia could consider helping Saudi Arabia with its possible atomic energy programme, President Vladimir Putin told local businessmen, Reuters reported. Saudi Arabia and other GCC member states said in December they had ordered a study on a possible joint civil atomic programme. Russia has previously helped Iran set up a nuclear power plant.

Via AMEInfo.

Saudi Arabia has significantly reduced the powers of its absolute monarchy by quietly removing the king’s authority to choose his own successor.

This landmark constitutional reform, enacted by royal order last October but only disclosed this week, fundamentally changes the way the desert kingdom – which controls 25 per cent of the world’s oil – is governed.

Until now, the king alone has selected his successor, known as the crown prince, from among the sons and grandsons of King Abdul-Aziz, the founding leader of Saudi Arabia, better known as Ibn Saud.

In future, a committee consisting of senior members of the royal family, called the Bay’ah Council, will vote for the crown prince from three candidates named by the king.

The council is empowered to reject the king’s choice and can even impose a crown prince against the monarch’s will. It can also declare the king or crown prince incapable of ruling.

“What makes this change important is that, in addition to taking the final decision about who rules out of the king’s hands and institutionalising it, it brings stability to the succession process,” said Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former Saudi ambassador to London and Washington.

… Under the new system, Prince Turki himself, who was Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief before his ambassadorial appointments, is a credible candidate for crown prince.

Full article here.

While he was intelligence chief in the 1980s, Prince Turki reportedly met with Osama bin Laden several times, lending personal support to bin Laden’s war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. To be fair, however, we were supporting bin Laden back then, too. Prince Turki subsequently denounced bin Laden.

World’s Last Chance, a group that takes reading the Bible to all-new-extremes, claims to be “exposing one of the last unfulfilled prophecies of the Bible.” Specifically, World’s Last Chance believes that they have found clues within scripture that suggest Pope John Paul II is coming back … and will be the next pope after Benedict XVI.

That’s right, as crazy it sounds, they believe that Pope John Paul II is going to magically appear here on earth and make our lives hell. With folks like this, it’s no wonder that Christians get a bum rap.

“How will the next pope be John Paul II?” says Dahlia Doss of World’s Last Chance, “According to the book of Revelation in the Bible, chapter 17, it will appear to the entire world that John Paul II has returned from heaven, but in reality, this phenomenon, as prophesied, will be a demon impersonating the deceased John Paul II.”

See full article here.