Obama is not Muslim – He is Indian!

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Many humors have been circulating about the Taboo associated with Barack Hussein Obama’s middle name, but I can now confirm that he is in fact of Indian origin. Please see this video it is self explanatory;

Please ignore misleading photos like this one;

or this one;

enough of these false allegations, he needs to embrace his true origin!

Debunking the false Obama Moslem smear from Hillary Clinton. When it it become a crime to be a Mooslimb?

Reusable plastic bottles leach BPA at room temperature

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Reusable plastic bottles leach BPA at room temperature

February 15, 2008, EWG

This may be worse than we thought

A lot of people have those reusable polycarbonate water bottles; you can’t go to a college campus these days without seeing students carrying these multi-hued bottles around as they make their way through classes.

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Well, a couple weeks back researchers at the University of Cincinnati released a startling new study showing that many of these bottles leach bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor, into water that is being stored within the container.

These researchers found that these plastic bottles leach BPA into room-temperature water. That’s bad enough, but if boiling water is put into these bottles, the rate of BPA leaching goes up by quite a bit.

All the evidence out there tells us that this stuff is not good for you; EWG tested canned foods recently, which are lined with the same BPA plastic as these water bottles are made from. As it turns out, foods from metal cans contain significantly more of the chemical than water from bottles.

We applaud the use of reusable water bottles to cut down on the environmental impact of bottled water, but with this new research, metal water bottles are looking better and better. Some have a plastic lining, but Klean Kanteen makes metal water bottles that are BPA free.

Parents who are concerned about baby’s plastic bottles should know that although this study didn’t look at baby bottles, it studied the same type of plastic. At this point, there’s enough research out there to justify the added expense of buying BPA-free or glass bottles. But an even more critical step would be to substitute powdered formula for liquid formula if your baby isn’t drinking breast milk. Babies don’t need to be getting extra endocrine disruptors in any form.

Visa planning largest IPO in U.S. history

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Visa planning largest IPO in U.S. history

By Eric Dash, Tuesday, February 26, 2008, IHT

Undaunted by recent turbulence in the financial markets, Visa, the biggest credit-card network in the United States, said Monday that it would forge ahead with what would be the largest initial public stock offering in the nation’s history.

Visa plans to sell as much as $17.1 billion of stock in late March, following in the footsteps of its smaller rival MasterCard, which went public in May 2006.

Visa and MasterCard are prospering as Americans increasingly flex plastic, rather than use cash, to pay for just about everything. The companies have not been hurt by the credit crunch, because they do not actually make credit-card loans. They merely processes transactions for banks that do.

If all goes as planned, Visa’s offering would generate a windfall for thousands of its so-called member banks, which own the company. The largest gains would go many of the nation’s biggest banks, which have been stung by losses stemming from mortgage-linked investments.

“Visa will be able to tell its story, even in an uncertain market, because its story is a good one,” said David Robertson, publisher of The Nilson Report, a payment industry newsletter. “If investors think MasterCard is a good story, Visa looks like the same thing on a bigger scale.”

Visa plans to sell 406 million Class A shares for $37 to $42 a share, with just over half going to the public and the rest to Visa’s member banks.

The first $3 billion will be placed into a special account to cover outstanding antitrust and unfair-pricing claims brought by merchants. Visa will use some of the new money to streamline its operations, expand in fast-growing emerging markets and invest in new technology like systems that enable people to make card payments using cellular phones. But the bulk of the capital will end up in the bank’s coffers, from repurchasing stock from them.

Visa’s member banks can use the extra cash.

If Visa’s shares are valued at a midpoint price of $39.50, JPMorgan Chase, the company’s largest shareholder, would receive an estimated $1.1 billion for its stake. Bank of America would get about $545 million; National City would get about $380 million; and Citigroup, U.S. Bancorp, and Wells Fargo can each expect around $240 million or more.

“The credit crunch is pretty cyclical; the prospects for Visa are very strong long-term,” said Marc Abbey, the managing partner of First Annapolis, a consulting firm that works with many banks and payments companies. “I am sure it is convenient for them to have extraordinary gains at the same time they have extraordinary losses.”

Since going public nearly two years ago, MasterCard have soared 408 percent, closing at $198.45 on Monday. It now has a market value of $26 billion.

MasterCard’s successful IPO prompted Visa to move forward with owns plans to go public. Since October 2006, Visa has reorganized its sprawling management structure, bringing together all of its global operations with the exception of those in Europe. It has also hired Joseph Saunders, the former head of Providian Financial Corporation, as its chairman and chief executive, giving him a pay package worth $11.1 million in cash for 2007. Upon completion of the IPO, he is expected to receive an additional $11.5 million in stock and options, according to Equilar, a compensation research firm.

Visa transactions accounted for roughly 66 percent of all credit and debit card purchases in the United States in 2006, compared to about 26 percent for MasterCard, according to The Nilson Report data.

Growth in card transactions, the foundation of the companies’ businesses , has historically held up well, even when the economy and consumer spending slows.

“If you look back at the last recession, card transactions did not drop ? they took a dip in growth, but they didn’t fall below prior year,” Robertson said.

“There is no reason to think that growth in the United States is going to sink Visa’s boat,” he said. “Whatever lackluster growth in the U.S. should certainly be matched and exceeded by what occurs outside the U.S.”

The prospectus for the sale lays out a convoluted capital structure, with four classes of shares, including three which go to the banks. But the deal, which is underwritten by JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, also raises potential conflicts for the banks underwriting the shares.

Both institutions have strong ties to the financial services industry. But JPMorgan is Visa’s largest shareholder and largest customer. It is a member of the bank syndicate that agreed to lend $3 billion to the company. And it could reap more than 1.1 billion in proceeds from the IPO

Goldman, meanwhile, will serve as the “qualified independent underwriter” in setting the price of the offering, according to public filings. Its independence is not deemed in question even though Suzanne Nora Johnson, a Visa director, used to be a vice chairman of Goldman Sachs.

International Herald Tribune Copyright © 2008 The International Herald Tribune | http://www.iht.com

UNICEF Awards 2007 Photos of the Year

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UNICEF Awards 2007 Photos of the Year

The United Nation’s Children’s Fund recognized a handful of photographers with honors in their annual Photo of the Year contest. From Afghanistan to the Phillipines, their work exposes horrid conditions facing some of the world’s children.

The image is startling — a 40-year-old groom sitting beside his 11-year-old future bride. Photographer Stephanie Sinclair, who took the photo last year in Afghanistan, asked the pre-teenage bride what she felt on the day of her engagement.

“Nothing,” said the girl, according to Sinclair. “I do not know this man. What am I supposed to feel?”

The sobering image and the story behind it brought Sinclair top honors in the annual Photo of the Year contest sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).Awards were distributed to first through third place winners as well as eight honorable mentions. International judges considered 1,230 entries from 142 photographers in 31 countries.

Sinclair, an American photographer, produced her winning photograph as part of a series of pictures she took about child marriages between 2005 and 2007 in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Nepal. UNICEF estimates that about 50 percent of Afghani women are married before they turn 18.

Second place honors went to GMB Akash, of Bangladesh, whose winning photo shows a 12 year-old boy toiling in a Bangladeshi brickyard. UNICEF studies conclude that 4.7 million children between five and 14 years of age are involved in child labor in that country.

The third-place photograph was taken by German photographer Hartmut Schwarzbach. His picture depicts a nine-year-old girl jumping in glee on her birthday in the midst of a smoldering garbage dump outside of Manila.

Honorable Mentions
In 2007 honorable mentions were given to the following photographers:

  • Jonathan Torgovnik, Israel, Newsweek Magazin
  • Hatem Moussa, Palestine, Associated Press (AP)
  • Wolfram Hahn, Germany, Student FH Potsdam
  • Renée C. Byer, USA, The Sacramento Bee
  • Nir Elias, Israel, Reuters
  • Finbarr O`Reilly, UK & Canada, Reuters
  • Musa Sadulayew, Chechenya, Associated Press (AP)
  • Steven Achiam, Denmark, Student, Danish School of Journalism

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1st Place

This sobering image, showing a 40-year-old groom sitting beside his 11-year-old future bride in Afghanistan, brought Stephanie Sinclair top honors in the annual Photo of the Year contest sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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2nd Place

Second-place honors went to GMB Akash, of Bangladesh, whose winning photo shows a 12-year-old boy toiling in a Bangladeshi brickyard. UNICEF studies conclude that 4.7 million children between five and 14 years of age are involved in child labor in that country.

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3rd Place

The third-place photograph was taken by German photographer Hartmut Schwarzbach. His picture depicts a nine-year-old girl jumping in glee on her birthday in the midst of a smoldering garbage dump outside of Manila.

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“A Mother’s Journey”: The American photographer Renee C. Byer took this picture as part of a series about a single mother with five children and a son suffering from terminal cancer. He died in 2006.

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Finbarr O’Reilly recieved an honorable mention for his photo “A House of Hope,” an image of Lopez Vidal, right, and Aron Masahuka, both afflicted with polio, languishing in an ill-equipped hospital in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Wolfram Hahn made a series of photos titled “A Disenchanted Playroom” to accompany a study about the television-viewing habits of German children.

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Hatem Moussa won an honorable mention for “Life in Gaza”: Palestinian children were rushed from a car into a hospital after their homes were hit by Israeli shelling in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya in April, 2006. An eight-year-old child was killed in the attack and 13 other children were injured.

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Joseline Ingabire, 37, an HIV-positive Rwandan woman, is pictured with her daughter Leah Batamuliza, 11. This photo by Jonathon Torgovnik accompanied a story in Newsweek magazine about women who were raped during the Rwandan civil war and their children today.

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Musa Sadulayew made this photo as a part of a series called “Chechnya’s Forgotten Children.”

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Boys hang from a bar for five minutes as part of a physical training exercise at the Gymnastics Hall of the Shanghai University of Sports. The photo was part of Nir Elias’s series “Pain Threshold — Sports Education in China.”

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“Sumo Boys in Japan”: Steven Achiam took a series of pictures depicting life in the Hiragaya sumo club, where boys train until they have beaten a strong opponent 10 times.

Lunar Eclipse Google Video February 2008

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Solar and Lunar Eclipses

The eclipse of the sun or the moon is amongst the signs of the power and majesty of Allah, which are revealed occasionally within his creation. When such events occur, the bondsmen should bow down, in all humbleness, before the Absolute, the All-powerful One and beseech Him for mercy and forgiveness.

002.018.151 – Eclipses Narrated Abu Masud:

The Prophet said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death of someone from the people but they are two signs amongst the signs of Allah. When you see them stand up and pray.”

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Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
The Prophet said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or life (i.e. birth) of someone but they are two signs amongst the signs of Allah. When you see them offer the prayer.”

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Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba:
“The sun eclipsed in the life-time of Allah’s Apostle on the day when (his son) Ibrahim died. So the people said that the sun had eclipsed because of the death of Ibrahim. Allah’s Apostle said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or life (i.e. birth) of some-one. When you see the eclipse pray and invoke Allah.”

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Narrated ‘Aisha :
In the life-time of Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) the sun eclipsed, so he led the people in prayer, and stood up and performed a long Qiyam, then bowed for a long while. He stood up again and performed a long Qiyam but this time the period of standing was shorter than the first. He bowed again for a long time but shorter than the first one, then he prostrated and prolonged the prostration. He did the same in the second Raka as he did in the first and then finished the prayer; by then the sun (eclipse) had cleared. He delivered the Khutba (sermon) and after praising and glorifying Allah he said, “The sun and the moon are two signs against the signs of Allah; they do not eclipse on the death or life of anyone. So when you see the eclipse, remember Allah and say Takbir, pray and give Sadaqa.” The Prophet then said, “O followers of Muhammad! By Allah! There is none who has more ghaira (self-respect) than Allah as He has forbidden that His slaves, male or female commit adultery (illegal sexual intercourse). O followers of Muhammad! By Allah! If you knew that which I know you would laugh little and weep much.

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Narrated ‘Aisha:
(the wife of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) In the lifetime of the Prophet the sun eclipsed and he went to the Mosque and the people aligned behind him. He said the Takbir (starting the prayer) and prolonged the recitation (from the Quran) and then said Takbir and performed a prolonged bowing; then he (lifted his head and) said, “Sami allahu liman hamidah” (Allah heard him who sent his praises to Him). He then did not prostrate but stood up and recited a prolonged recitation which was shorter than the first recitation. He again said Takbir and then bowed a prolonged bowing but shorter than the first one and then said, “Sami ‘a-l-lahu Lyman hamidah Rabbana walak-lhamd, (Allah heard him who sent his praises to Him. O our Sustainer! All the praises are for You)” and then prostrated and did the same in the second Raka; thus he completed four bowing and four prostrations. The sun (eclipse) had cleared before he finished the prayer. (After the prayer) he stood up, glorified and praised Allah as He deserved and then said, “The sun and the moon are two of the signs of Allah. They do not eclipse because of the death or the life (i.e. birth) of someone. When you see them make haste for the prayer.” Narrated Az-Zuhri: I said to ‘Ursa, “When the sun eclipsed at Medina your brother (‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubair) offered only a two-Rakat prayer like that of the morning (Fajr) prayer.” ‘Ursa replied, “Yes, for he missed the Prophet’s tradition (concerning this matter).”

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Narrated Aisha:(the wife of the Prophet)
On the day when the sun Khasafat (eclipsed) Allah’s Apostle prayed; he stood up and said Takbir and recited a prolonged recitation, then he performed a prolonged bowing, then he raised his head and said, “Sami’a-l-lahu Lyman Hamidah,” and then remained standing and recited a prolonged recitation which was shorter than the first. Then he performed a prolonged bowing which was shorter than the first. Then he prostrated and prolonged the prostration and he did the same in the second Raka as in the first and then finished the prayer with Taslim. By that time the sun (eclipse) had cleared He addressed the people and said, “The sun and the moon are two of the signs of Allah; they do not eclipse (Yakhsifan) because of the death or the life (i.e. birth) of someone. So when you see them make haste for the prayer.”

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Narrated Abu Bakra:
Allah’s Apostle said: “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah and they do not eclipse because of the death of someone but Allah frightens His devotees with them.”

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Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abbas:
The sun eclipsed in the life-time of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) . Allah’s Apostle offered the eclipse prayer and stood for a long period equal to the period in which one could recite Surat-al-Baqara. Then he bowed for a long time and then stood up for a long period which was shorter than that of the first standing, then bowed again for a long time but for a shorter period than the first; then he prostrated twice and then stood up for a long period which was shorter than that of the first standing; then he bowed for a long time which was shorter than the previous one, and then he raised his head and stood up for a long period which was shorter than the first standing, then he bowed for a long time which was shorter than the first bowing, and then prostrated (twice) and finished the prayer. By then, the sun (eclipse) had cleared. The Prophet then said, “The sun and the moon are two of the signs of Allah. They eclipse neither because of the death of somebody nor because of his life (i.e. birth). So when you see them, remember Allah.” The people say, “O Allah’s Apostle! We saw you taking something from your place and then we saw you retreating.” The Prophet replied, “I saw Paradise and stretched my hands towards a bunch (of its fruits) and had I taken it, you would have eaten from it as long as the world remains. I also saw the Hell-fire and I had never seen such a horrible sight. I saw that most of the inhabitants were women.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why is it so?” The Prophet replied, “Because of their ungratefulness.” It was asked whether they are ungrateful to Allah. The Prophet said, “They are ungrateful to their companions of life (husbands) and ungrateful to good deeds. If you are benevolent to one of them throughout the life and if she sees anything (undesirable) in you, she will say, ‘I have never had any good from you.’ “

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Narrated Abu Masud:
Allah’s Apostle said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of someone’s death or life but they are two signs amongst the signs of Allah, so pray whenever you see them.”

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Narrated ‘Aisha:
In the lifetime of the Prophet the sun eclipsed and the Prophet (p.b.u.h) stood up to offer the prayer with the people and recited a long recitation, then he performed a prolonged bowing, and then lifted his head and recited a prolonged recitation which was shorter than the first. Then he performed a prolonged bowing which was shorter than the first and then lifted his head and performed two prostrations. He then stood up for the second Raka and offered it like the first. Then he stood up and said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of someone’s life or death but they are two signs amongst the signs of Allah which He shows to His worshipers. So whenever you see them, make haste for the prayer.”

/global/images/arrowg.gif (163 bytes)002.018.168 – EclipsesNarrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba :

On the day of Ibrahim’s death, the sun eclipsed and the people said that the eclipse was due to the death of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet). Allah’s Apostle said, “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah. They do not eclipse because of someone’s death or life. So when you see them, invoke Allah and pray till the eclipse is clear.”

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Narrated Abu Bakra:
In the life-time of the Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) the sun eclipsed and he went out dragging his clothes till he reached the Mosque. The people gathered around him and he led them and offered two Rakat. When the sun (eclipse) cleared, he said, “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah; they do not eclipse because of the death of someone, and so when an eclipse occurs, pray and invoke Allah till the eclipse is over.” It happened that a son of the Prophet called Ibrahim died on that day and the people were talking about that (saying that the eclipse was caused by his death).

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Zimbabwe inflation breaks 100,000%

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Zimbabwe inflation breaks 100,000%

The official rate of annual inflation in Zimbabwe has rocketed past the 100,000% barrier – by far the highest in the world.

The government statistics office said inflation rose to 100,580% in January, up from 66,212% in December.

The new official figure was still well below the rate calculated by independent analysts who estimate the real rate is closer to 150,000%.

Zimbabwe inflation breaks 100,000%

They give as examples supermarket receipts showing the price of chicken rose more than 236,000% to 15 million Zimbabwe dollars, or about 50p a pound between January 2007 and January 2008. Slightly lower increases in prices of sugar, tea and other basics brought down the overall average inflation to around 150,000%.

Zimbabwe, a former regional breadbasket, is facing acute shortages of food, hard currency, gasoline and most basic goods in an economic meltdown blamed on disruptions in the agriculture-based economy after the often-violent seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms began in 2000 accompanied by political violence and turmoil.

Economic hardship is a key issue in national elections scheduled for March 29 in which President Robert Mugabe, who is 84 on Friday, is facing the biggest challenge to his hold on power since he led the nation to independence in 1980.

President Robert Mugabe

Inflation, food shortages and the crumbling of power, water, sanitation, roads, phones and communications and other utilities have fuelled deep divisions in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

In early October, the state central statistical office gave official inflation at just below 8,000%. It then suspended its monthly updates on inflation because there was not enough in the shortage-stricken shops to calculate a regular basket of goods.

November’s already dizzying rate of 24,470% was announced in January and earlier this month the official rate for December was given as 66,212%, a dramatic escalation in the space of a month.

The National Incomes and Prices Commission, the government’s price control body, this month allowed sharp increases in the prices of the corn meal staple, sugar, bread and other basics in a bid to restore viable operations by producers and return the goods to empty shelves. But the new prices were still roughly half the price demanded on the black market and were unlikely to guarantee regular supplies to food stores.

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