An Iranian official confirmed Monday that a uranium enrichment plant in central Iran is underground as a protection against air strikes, but insisted that is not a sign the program aims to produce nuclear weapons.
U.S. officials have said building nuclear facilities underground is inconsistent with Iran’s contention its atomic program is intended only for the generation of electricity. The Iranians deny Washington’s accusation that they are trying to build nuclear weapons.
Ali Akbar Salehi, a nuclear affairs adviser to the foreign minister, said U.S. and Israeli threats forced Iran to take precautions to protect its technology, including the string of centrifuges used to enrich uranium — a process that can produce fuel for nuclear reactors that generate electricity but also make material suitable for atomic warheads.
“To protect the safety of equipment against possible danger of aerial attack, a major part of the plant has been constructed underground, especially where thousands of centrifuges need to be located," Salehi told the Associated Press.
It was the first public confirmation by Iran that the Natanz facility is underground.
In two interviews in the Arabic press and in an article in the London Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat, the renowned Egyptian feminist and author Dr. Nawal Al-Sa'dawi gave her views on women's issues such as supporting female suicide bombers; allowing women such as herself to lead Arab countries; as well anti-American and anti-Israel views including calling on all Egyptians to participate in a political, and military struggle against the U.S. and Israel.Note her intentions:
Question: "How did your idea of running for the office of president of Egypt arise?"From MEMRI
Al-Sa'dawi: "… We need intellectuals now who will suggest solutions to our suffering, and who will succeed in arousing the 70 million Egyptians. From this the idea arose that the educated elite must regard the fight against despair positively and must encourage the people to fight the U.S. and Israel. If there is no military struggle, at least there should be a political struggle. I believe in a political and military struggle."
Army S/Sgt. Daniel Metzdorf figured his career as an infantryman was over when he lost his right leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq in January 2004. But back at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, Metzdorf saw other amputees ambling by on high-tech prosthetic legs and had a crazy idea: he wanted to go back into battle with the 82nd Airborne. It was a long and painful struggle. The 28-year-old had 19 operations and faced hours of grueling rehab, first learning to walk again, and then to run and swim. Confident that he was ready, Metzdorf applied for reinstatement. But instead of a new post, the Army had another offer: a medical discharge. To a fighter like Metzdorf, quitting didn't seem like an option. "I told them, 'I'm not going to get out'," he says. He applied—and was rejected—twice more before he won over one important ally, his unit commander, who weighed in on his behalf. Finally, the Army relented, assigning Metzdorf to a desk job at Fort Bragg, N.C. He's still angling to get back to combat duty in Iraq. "I'm still an asset," Metzdorf says. "I just want to give back as much as I got."
In previous wars, many severely wounded soldiers died on the battlefield. Amputees who made it home were automatically retired. Now advances in medicine mean more amputees are surviving, and today's high-tech replacement limbs let them lead active lives—something soldiers like Metzdorf aim to do in uniform. George W. Bush buoyed their hopes when he visited Walter Reed in late 2003. "Today, if wounded service members want to remain in uniform and can do the job," Bush said, "the military tries to help them stay."
The same grit that drew many of these vets to the military in the first place helps push them back into combat. Army Pfc. George Perez, 21, who lost a leg to a roadside bomb in Fallujah, wanted to stay in the service as soon as he found out he could walk again. "Ultimately, I want to do what makes me happy. It's also love of country, but I've got goals. I'm hard to keep down," he says. In May, he'll head to Afghanistan. S/Sgt. David Chatham, 34, won a Silver Star for rescuing troops after a rocket-launched grenade attack outside Fallujah in 2003. He applied his own tourniquet to a nearly severed left ankle. As soon as he was conscious, "I knew I wanted to stay in," he says. "I've been in the Army for more than half of my life. It's my family."
It's not just the grunts who are eager to fight again. This month Army Capt. David Rozelle, 33, who lost part of his right leg to an antitank mine in 2003, will return as commander of the Third Armored Cavalry's regimental headquarters. Hours after surgery, Rozelle's commander stopped by his bedside to promise him another command once he'd healed. "I thought to myself, You can do this, I can go back and serve my country," says Rozelle, who has written about his experience in a new book, "Back in Action."
Some wounded soldiers are willing to do almost anything to get back into uniform. After Senior Airman Anthony Pizzifred, 20, lost his leg just above the ankle in Afghanistan last March, surgeons told him that the best prosthetic leg—one that would allow him to walk, run and wade in the ocean—was designed for those with more severe amputations. Pizzifred wanted maximum mobility as fast as possible. So he told his doctors to take off as much as they needed. They wheeled him back into the operating room and cut off his leg almost to the knee.
For many amputees, returning to combat duty may be an impossible dream. Some have multiple amputations. And those who've lost arms find it very difficult to learn to fire a weapon again. Special Forces Sgt. Andrew McCaffrey, 32, who lost his right arm below the elbow to a grenade in Afghanistan, now hopes to redeploy with the elite Green Berets. He has spent more than a year training and last week was performing field exercises with his unit at Fort Bragg. But base officials said his status was still uncertain. Many amputees can't return to the exact jobs they left. Army S/Sgt. Josh Olson, 25, lost his leg clear up to the hipbone while on foot patrol in Iraq in 2003. Army recruiters asked him to retrain and teach marksmanship instead. Last week Olson was thrilled to learn he'd been declared fit for combat.
The trustees of the South Orange County Community College District have ended their schools' summer study-abroad program in Spain, saying the country is dangerous and citing its withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
The district, comprising Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College, voted 5-2 last week to cancel the 14-year-old program.
"Spain has abandoned our fighting men and women, withdrawing their support," said trustee Tom Fuentes, who spearheaded the move to cancel the trips. "I see no reason to send students of our colleges to Spain at this moment in history."
The Jerusalem District Court has ruled that the Greek Orthodox Church elections for Patriarch, in which Yasser Arafat's crony Irineos was chosen, were illegal and must be held again.Here's some background on this. I wonder what the reaction will be in the Greek media.
Arutz-7's Shimon Cohen, who has been following the story closely, reports that the Church finds itself in a quandary as a result of the ruling.
The Court accepted an appeal by Church member Yusuf Naman of Kafr Samia, who claimed and brought evidence that the pre-election process was illegal. "The process by which Irineos was 'elected' [the quotation marks are in the original – ed.] was illegal," the judge wrote, adding that Irineos "won" [quotation marks in the original] in an illegal manner. The judge therefore ruled that Irineos' substitute, Bishop Corolineus, must hold new elections for the position of Patriarch.
The ruling also stipulated that Irineos and the Church must pay court costs of 2,000 shekels.
It is assumed that Irineos' counsel, Atty. Gilad Sher, will appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court.
While Sino-Japanese trade has reached unprecedented levels in recent years, the economic progress could be unraveled by political and military confrontation and by energy competition. China continues to have tense relations with Japan as a result of a number of issues. These issues include, but are not limited to, Chinese opposition to a Japanese permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, former Taiwanese President Lee Teng Hui's visit to Japan at the end of 2004, and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to the Yasukuni Shrine that honors war-dead including 14 Class A war criminals.
There has also been discussion in Japan about cutting its overseas development assistance to China in the presence of China's improving standard of living, high growth levels and confrontational relations with Japan. These tensions are likely to be further enflamed by both states' quest for energy security. Both states are net oil importers with Japan importing as much as 80 percent of its oil needs.
In an attempt to access energy resources closer to home and diversifying beyond the Middle East, Japan and China have been actively lobbying Moscow for an oil pipeline. Beijing is pushing for a 2400 km route from Angarsk in Siberia to Daqing in China's northeast Heilongjiang province while Tokyo favors a 4000 km pipeline from Taishet to the Pacific port of Nakhodka. The Japanese-backed proposal was announced the winner at the end of 2004. However, with the sometimes tense relations between Japan and Russia, as seen most recently over Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi's sail around the disputed Northern Territories/ Southern Kurils on September 2, and Japan and Russia not having signed a formal peace treaty ending the hostilities of World War II, the construction of the pipeline may still experience several delays. Furthermore, China is not yet out of the picture as there are still discussions to build a branch from the Japanese pipeline to China by 2020.
Closer to home, a territorial dispute between China and Japan in the East China Sea, which both sides claim as their Exclusive Economic Zone (E.E.Z.), is being further fueled by reports of vast supplies of oil and gas in the region. The disputed territory includes the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands and the Chunxiao gas field northeast of Taiwan, which according to a 1999 Japanese survey holds 200 billion cubic meters of gas. Japan regards the median line as its border while China claims jurisdiction over the entire continental shelf. In 2003, China began drilling in the area after the Japanese rejected a Chinese proposal to develop the field jointly. Although the Chunxiao gas field is on the Chinese side of the median line, Japan claims that China may be siphoning energy resources on the Japanese side.
The competition recently took the form of a military confrontation following the incursion of a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine into Japanese waters off the Okinawa islands on November 10, 2004. The intrusion was followed by a two-day chase across the East China Sea. While China offered a swift apology for the incursion, this was soon followed by the intrusion of a Chinese research vessel into Japanese waters near the island of Okinotori. The vessel is believed to have been surveying the seabed for oil and gas drilling purposes. This was the 34th maritime research exercise by Chinese vessels within Japan's E.E.Z. in 2004, up from eight in 2003, with China not giving prior notification in 21 of the 34 cases.
Adding to these tensions is Japan's shift from its post-war pacifist and defensive posture towards a more active military role in the region, as seen with the current deployment of its Self Defense Forces to Iraq. Furthermore, Japan has for the first time identified China as a potential security threat in its National Defense Program Outline released in December 2004. Three issues have been identified that could spark a conflict between China and Japan: natural resources in the disputed East China Sea, the disputed status of the Senkaku or Diaoyu islands and Japanese support for the U.S. in a conflict with China over Taiwan. Mistrust and animosities rooted in Japanese atrocities during WWII combined with a confrontation over tangible issues such as territory and energy resources and a more active role by both states on the world stage creates a recipe for a volatile situation.
In May 1981, when Michael Williams was 16, a jury here rejected his claim of innocence, deliberating for less than an hour before convicting him of the savage beating and sexual assault of his math tutor.
Arrested, tried and convicted in just three months, Williams was sentenced to hard labor for life with no possibility for parole and dispatched to the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, one of the nation's most notorious and deadly prisons.
At times the institution lived up to its reputation. In one incident, Williams said, he was stabbed 16 times.
Now, nearly 24 years after his arrest, independent DNA tests by three laboratories, including the Louisiana state crime lab, show what Williams has long contended: He is not the man who committed the crime.
DNA tests on genetic evidence found on the victim's nightgown and sheets produced a male profile different from Williams' profile. Williams will be the 159th person to be exonerated by DNA, according to the Innocence Project, a non-profit group that investigates suspected wrongful convictions.
"The test results show what Michael has said from the day he was arrested--that he is innocent," said Vanessa Potkin, an attorney at the project.
Walter May, the district attorney in Jonesboro, said in an interview: "All the test results in this case have been consistent. All indicate that the genetic material does not come from Michael Williams.
"We are in the process of reaching a mutually agreeable method for securing his release from incarceration . . . on March 11," he said.
In January, Williams, his wrists and ankles shackled, was brought from Angola to the courthouse in Jonesboro so Jackson Parish sheriff's deputies could swab his mouth to obtain DNA for the state crime lab's tests.
Afterward, Williams said: "I'm glad it's finally coming to this point. All these years, I knew I wasn't the one. I believe there is a power greater than me and that has been helping me all these years, keeping me together."
He described how, in 1995, he watched the murder trial of O.J. Simpson with fascination and curiosity. What, he wondered, was this DNA that the lawyers--and in particular, a defense attorney named Barry Scheck--were talking about?
Three years later Williams began writing to Scheck in New York at the Innocence Project, which has helped exonerate dozens of inmates, and asked for help.
In one letter, according to Potkin, Williams wrote, "I've been here almost all my life for a crime I did not commit nor know anything about and from the look of it, I'll die here."
Among those who have followed the case with particular interest is Douglas Stokes, the lawyer who was appointed to defend Williams at his trial and who always has believed in his innocence. Stokes now works for the district attorney's office in Jonesboro, prosecuting felony cases.
"I have switched sides," Stokes said recently in his office. "But this is where the rubber meets the road. As a prosecutor, you have to be just as concerned that an innocent person might be wrongly convicted."
Last year, when the Innocence Project contacted the prosecutor's office about the case, Stokes said, "The inquiry was routed to me, and I said, `This is your lucky day. I was the one who defended the case.'"
A fortunate find
A search of the courthouse turned up the victim's clothes, which hadn't been thrown away, even though the last appeal in the case was decided years earlier.
"It was extraordinarily unusual for the evidence to be still around," Stokes said. "I was surprised to find it. As a person of faith, I think the Lord had his hand in this."
May, the district attorney, praised Ann Walsworth, the court clerk.
"Because of her work . . . evidence was maintained that one must believe that in many rural jurisdictions would not have been," he said. "No person would ever have anticipated 24 years ago that this evidence would have any great future value. It certainly has been of great benefit to justice."
At the time of the crime, Williams was living with his grandmother in Chatham, a sleepy town with a population then of about 700. In the fall of 1980 he was expelled from school and began attending night classes.
The victim, a resident of Chatham and a recent graduate of nearby Grambling State University, began tutoring him in math, but that lasted only a few weeks because they had an altercation, according to testimony at the trial. The victim's family had known Williams since he was a baby, the woman's father said in an interview.
The altercation was an argument that escalated into a physical incident in which the victim struck Williams with a laundry basket and a soda bottle.
Later that day, Williams was arrested at the victim's house after he threw rocks at the house and broke a window, according to trial testimony.
Williams was sent to jail and released Feb. 5, 1981. While in jail, he wrote letters to the victim saying he was in love with her, and he also telephoned her, according to testimony.
On Feb. 20, 1981, Williams had an argument with the victim in a store, then left. That night he was seen with a friend at a church revival, and he later testified that he came back to his grandmother's home about 11 p.m. and went to bed.
The victim said she was awakened about 3:30 a.m. when she was struck in the head. For the next 20 minutes, she testified at the trial, her attacker beat her with a board and raped her three times. She said Williams was her assailant.
The victim called a female cousin, who came to the house shortly after 4 a.m. and found the bedroom spattered with blood. Muddy footprints were discovered outside the house under an open window.
The cousin called the victim's father, who came to the house and arranged for his daughter to be taken to a hospital, where she was found to have 11 broken bones in her hands and arms. Her father then went to the home of a justice of the peace and obtained a warrant for Williams' arrest.
He took the warrant to the home of a Jackson Parish sheriff's deputy in Chatham, and Williams was arrested at his grandmother's home about 9:45 a.m.
Three months later he went on trial. Jurors rejected his testimony that he was innocent, as well as evidence showing that the footprints didn't match his shoes. No physical evidence linked him to the attack.
Stokes made an impassioned plea to the jurors that the victim could have made a mistake and urged them to consider the lack of evidence.
Williams, for example, was arrested about six hours after the attack, yet he had no marks on his body indicating a struggle, no blood spots on him and he still had the clothes he was seen wearing the night before. No bloody clothes ever were found, Stokes noted.
In the end, Stokes said, there was no escaping the testimony of the victim who said she saw Williams' face and recognized his voice.
While mistaken identification has been noted as a major cause of wrongful convictions--playing a role in about 120 of the more than 150 convictions overturned by post-conviction DNA testing--this case is unusual because Williams was not a stranger to the victim.
Scheck said that it is possible that the victim was so traumatized by the attack that she made a mistake in identifying Williams as her attacker.
The victim, who now lives in another state, insisted at her home in January that she had not erred.
"There was no mistake," she said. Informed of the DNA test results, she said, "That can't be true."
Authorities plan to submit the genetic profile obtained from the evidence to the FBI (news - web sites)'s national DNA database of nearly 2 million convicted felons in the country to determine if there is a match.
Ignored for years
At the time of the crime, Williams was living with his grandmother because his mother had died. His father died while he was in prison in Angola. He has several brothers and sisters, none of whom have visited him for more than 15 years.
"It used to bother me. I was angry at first, but life goes on," Williams said at the courthouse in Jonesboro. "I learned to accept things as they come."
One of his brothers, Roger Williams, 50, still lives in Chatham.
"I am surprised," he said of the DNA results. "But I always thought he really didn't do it."
He says he never visited his brother in prison, but he did send money occasionally.
"I haven't seen him since he was a kid," he said. "I never thought he would get out. I'll be glad to see him."
While in prison, Michael Williams said he taught himself to sew.
"I sew gloves, sweat pants, sweat shirts," he said. "I watch television. I read the newspaper, the classified ads. I would like to get a job."
In his first letter to the Innocence Project, Williams wrote, "I am not asking for no hand outs, just a hand."
"I never gave up hope," he said. "That's the worst thing you can do--give up hope. Then, everything is gone."
Williams will live for three months in Baton Rouge as part of a program designed to help inmates return to life outside prison, and he plans to attend a symposium on eyewitness identification at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge on Friday, the day of his release.
Louisiana has no law allowing for compensation of wrongly convicted defendants. When Williams is released, prison officials will give him a check for $10.
"This is one of the most difficult cases we have had at the Innocence Project," Potkin said, referring to the potential difficulties Williams will face in adjusting to life outside prison.
"He was so young," she said. "He was thrown in prison when he was 16, subjected to 24 years of physical and mental abuse, cut off from the outside world, robbed of his adolescence . . . and was told he would die in prison. It is amazing that he endured. It is the triumph of the human spirit that he made it."
Yahoo! News - Jailed 24 years, freed by DNA
Liberty University announces Dr. Ergun Caner as the new Dean of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Caner fills the post vacated by Dr. Danny Lovett who leaves to assume the presidency of Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga.Featured Story - Liberty University
Caner, the first former Muslim to become the dean of an evangelical seminary in the United States, has spent two years at Liberty University teaching Theology and Church History in the School of Religion. A very popular professor, Caner energizes his listeners through both his humor and direct preaching.
“We will develop the seminary into the leading evangelical institution for training Christians for a new generation. It is no longer sufficient to simply train graduate students in theory and abstract; we must challenge them to reach a world with 140 major religions, many of whom inhabit our shores. Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary will set the standard for global apologetics on a world stage," Caner said.
Dr. Jerry Falwell recently said, “He [Caner] is today one of the most electrifying speakers and defenders of the faith that I have ever heard. I am proud to call him a friend and so thankful that God has sent him to Liberty to lead what I believe will be a revolution in seminary education on this campus. Dr. Caner has also become a voice for evangelical Christianity in the national media, debating Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Bah’ai leaders on more than 50 college and university campuses."
Dr. Daniel Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary said, “Dr. Ergun Caner is a fine scholar and an outstanding communicator of Christian truth. He will bring energy and passion as Dean of this fine seminary. I commend Dr. Falwell on such an excellent choice."
After accepting Jesus Christ into his life and surrendering to the Gospel ministry, Caner continued his education receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies and Languages in 1989 from Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky. He then received his Master of Arts in History from the Criswell College in Dallas, Texas in 1992. In 1994, he received his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and in 1995, he completed his Master of Theology at Southeastern. In 2000, Caner received his Doctor of Theology from the University of South Africa in residence in Johannesburg.
Prior to coming to Liberty University, Caner taught Theology and Church History for two years at Criswell College. Caner and his wife of 11 years, Jill, are the parents of two sons, Braxton and Drake.
“Dr. Ergun Caner will bring a breathe of heaven to the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an on-fire Christian, a wonderful preacher, a personal soul winner and a committed scholar. I believe under his leadership the Seminary will see its greatest day."
Dr. Jerry Vines
Senior Pastor- First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida
Former President- Southern Baptist Convention
“Dr. Ergun Caner is a fine scholar and an outstanding communicator of Christian truth. He will bring energy and passion as Dean of this fine seminary. I commend Dr. Falwell on such an excellent choice."
Dr. Daniel L. Akin
President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina
“Without question Ergun Caner is one of the up and coming evangelical leaders of the next generation. As a Liberty University Board member I am thrilled beyond words that this outstanding scholar, teacher and preacher has been named the new dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Only God knows the incredible heights that LBTS will reach under Dr. Caner’s inspiring leadership."
Dr. James Merritt
Cross Point Church, Atlanta, Georgia
Former President- Southern Baptist Convention
“Everything about Ergun Caner is remarkable because the grace of God is remarkable. This young theologian will add a dimension and a depth to Liberty that will further establish it as the world's premier Evangelical University."
Dr. D. Mac Brunson
Senior Pastor First Baptist Church Dallas
Chancellor - Criswell College
“Ergun Caner is a fabulous choice for serving as President of Liberty University Theological Seminary. He represents scholarship being on fire for God. His pulpit to the nation over the past three years serves as a nationwide recruiting spiritual attraction for the seminary due to his enthusiastic, scholarly, humorous, evangelistic approach as he communicates God's Word in a cutting edge manner."
Dr. Ronnie Floyd
Senior Pastor- First Baptist Church Springdale, ARK