NIGERIA, the country that gave the world the infamous 419 scam designed to empty the bank accounts of innocent victims, has warned its citizens to be wary of fraudsters when they travel to Britain.I guess the advisory didn't include any warnings about English widows who are trying to get $140,000,000 out of the country and are looking for a trusted stranger to help them. I hope no Nigerians fall for that one! Beware cheats of London says the con-trick capital.
In a deadly serious travel advisory — greeted with scorn by Western visitors to a country where 12 Britons have been kidnapped this year — the Information Ministry said that Nigerian visitors to Britain had suffered an increase in robberies and other crimes.
Jiri Smelik has been principal at a regular primary school here for 13 years. The names on his enrollment roster are indicative of the changes in the neighborhood. In his early days, 8% of his students were Roma; today, 70% are.
"I don't want to sound racist," he said, sitting in his office at the end of a day, brooms and rakes scraping the sidewalk outside. "But I don't believe people are always equal. I'm sorry to say it, but the Roma in general are less intelligent."
He let his statement linger; he didn't retract it.
"Muslim opinions about the West and its people have worsened over the past year and by overwhelming margins, Muslims blame Westerners for the strained relationship between the two sides."
The survey found that large percentages of the population of nearly every Muslim country saw Westerners as violent, immoral and greedy but that solid majorities of Indonesians, Jordanians and Nigerian Muslims had favorable views of Christians.
Muslims living in Western Europe were more likely to see Westerners as being generous and honest, but more than half those surveyed in four European countries saw them as selfish.
"We see them coming here occupying our countries, taking the oil. Muslim countries are rich in natural resources, enjoy the best weather. That is why Western governments want to control us and take over our wealth," Abeer Ali Muhammad, a 38-year-old fitness trainer in Egypt, was quoted as saying.
The survey found Western attitudes toward Muslims were more diverse. Some 83 percent of Spaniards and 78 percent of Germans associated Muslims with fanaticism, but only half of French respondents and 43 percent of Americans shared that view.
According to various polls, an estimated 40% of Americans believe that a sequence of events presaging the end times is already underway. Among the believers are pastors of some of the largest evangelical churches in America, who converged at Faith Central Bible Church in Inglewood in February to finalize plans to start 5 million new churches worldwide in 10 years.Let's say this is not nonsense and the apocalypse will happen as described in the Bible. If this is God's plan, does he really need our help to speed it up?
"Jesus Christ commissioned his disciples to go to the ends of the Earth and tell everyone how they could achieve eternal life," said James Davis, president of the Global Pastors Network's "Billion Souls Initiative," one of an estimated 2,000 initiatives worldwide designed to boost the Christian population.
"As we advance around the world," Davis said, "we'll be shortening the time needed to fulfill that Great Commission. Then, the Bible says, the end will come."
He is about to embark on a challenging journey; running for reelection in Virginia this year, then - assuming he doesn't founder on unseen shoals - for the Republican nomination in 2008. This will be the personal test Allen has always been, consciously or not, building toward. In Giants Stadium terms, now he's in the pre-game, when the stadium speakers play upbeat rock music and the players chat and stretch; soon enough he will be in the real game, when the roar of the crowd is so intense that down on the field it almost feels like it could knock you over, and players either succeed - or fail.