Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mexico Here We Come+The Scope Of Things Today




Well we are off to Puerto Vallarta , Mexico today!
This is another trip that moves us forward toward the objective of being able to spend 7 mths in Mexico and 5 months back in the Canada (only the warmest months) like Snow Birds!
The pictures are of the Embarcadero Resort, where we will be staying for the next week.
Adious Amigos. And you think that Mexico Is Dangerous? Read this from the Toronto Star Today:

Be careful, Canada's a dangerous place

Australia, U.K., U.S. cite `risks' of visiting Canada that include avalanche, murder and bad drivers

A country of petty thieves, rabid animals, rapists with a gun problem and dangerous drivers who are under threat from terrorists, tornadoes, earthquakes, avalanches, forest fires and freak storms and with only spotty police enforcement to protect them.

That's the true north strong and free.

Travel reports for Canada issued by the foreign offices of Australia, the United States and Britain depict it as a dangerous destination from sea to sea.

"We advise you to exercise caution and monitor developments that might affect your safety in Canada because of the risk of terrorist attack," the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's travel report for Canada begins.

Heavy snowfall, ice storms, freak avalanches and high windchill factors are also listed by the Australian government as cause for concern.

"The province of British Columbia in western Canada is in an active earthquake zone. Bush and forest fires can occur any time in Canada. Alberta and British Columbia are also subject to avalanches."

Australia's diplomatic counterparts in Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office cite similar concerns about the threat of terrorism but also allude to threats from Canada's wilderness.

"Rabies is a (sic) present in most of Canada and can be spread by small animals such as racoons and bats," states the travel report.

As if that weren't enough to dissuade tourists, the U.S. State Department warns of grand theft auto in Montreal, a lack of gun control in Toronto and a deadly stretch of highway we call the 401.

"Violent crimes such as murder, armed robbery and rape can occur throughout the country," it says. "While Canadian gun control laws are much more strict than those of the U.S., such laws have not prevented gun-related violence in certain areas of Toronto.

"Auto theft in Montreal and Vancouver, including theft of motor homes and recreational vehicles, may occur in patrolled and overtly secure parking lots and decks.

"(Highway 401) has been the scene of recurrent, deadly traffic accidents due to sudden, severe and unpredictable weather changes, high rates of speed, and heavy truck traffic. There have been numerous incidents involving road racing and dangerous truck driving, which have caused injuries to Americans. Drivers tend to be aggressive, often exceeding speed limits and passing on both sides, and police enforcement is spotty."

Despite such warnings, Americans and Britons are the most frequent travellers to Canada; Australians are the eighth most frequent.



Horoscopes for Saturday, January 26
January 26, 2008

Thought for the Day: Pluto, the planet of transformation, has left Sagittarius, where it's been since 1995, and moved into Capricorn. Sagittarius rules religious beliefs. As a consequence, the last 12 years has seen a rise in religious fanaticism and extremism.

If today is your birthday: You're another year older and, of course, have an interesting tale or two to tell. Although you're bound to add a few more this year, you can also expect a great improvement right where you need it most. Happy birthday to Wayne Gretzky, 47.

Aries (March 21 — April 20)

Some people don't mind going around in circles all their lives. That is their prerogative. But you need to travel down a road that is actually going somewhere. Mars is going to propel you forward with great speed.

Taurus (April 21 — May 20)

So near, yet so far. The moment of nearly-but-not-quite, some people argue, is far more exciting than the moment of satisfaction. You are now at the most thrilling stage.

Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

The bad always tends to fascinate us more than the good. Yet we should look more at the good things in life. When that's inspiring us, our lives are much better.

Cancer (June 22 — July 22)

The tough stuff won't go away immediately, but it will become less impossible. There will be plenty to celebrate before long.

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

It's true that you're not being heard, but shouting won't help. Pursue your agenda with diplomacy, even if it means being silent at times.

Virgo (Aug. 23 — Sept. 22)

The future cannot be clearly seen. Glimpses are all we get. What's coming up for you is neither good nor bad. It's what you choose to see it as.

Libra (Sept. 23 — Oct. 23)

A closed mind can never make progress. No matter how much pressure or persuasion you encounter, remain willing to see things from all sides.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

Go where the flow seems to be trying to take you. Adapt a little, bend a bit, trust a lot. And be ready to leave the past behind and to embrace the future with faith.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23 — Dec. 21)

It seems you are dealing with a relentlessly stressful scenario that is showing no sign of resolving itself. The stars know you will succeed if you try that little bit more.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 — Jan. 20)

If you feel reserved, you might express optimism and enthusiasm about your forthcoming outlook. But why not just let 'er rip and say, "Whoopee!"

Aquarius (Jan. 21 — Feb. 19)

Obstacles to happiness are creating much tension. Try and relax a little. Key events in your life are moving with an extremely positive momentum of their own.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

Sheer determination is fuelling you but, alas, even immortals have to rest. The fatigue will evaporate as you allow some essential time to do what you've been avoiding. Sleep!

Phil Booth

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pat Robertson Predicts 2008 US Recession = Violence

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

The sky is always teaching us lessons. Some argue that one lifetime is not enough to learn them all, so we have to live several lifetimes before we graduate to a better plane. In one key situation, you've just learned all that needs to be known.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

No matter how you try to cover yourself for every eventuality, you are likely to overlook something as Mercury and Neptune join together for longer than usual. This is an inspirational time, but it's crucial to do your planning with extra care.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

Troubles come and go as quickly as new movies in this rapidly changing world. The drama you face will not last. Your problem has run its course and is nearing an end. The universe is preparing a time of greater comfort.



Pat Robertson Predicts Worldwide Violence, U.S. Recession in 2008 Wednesday, January 02, 2008



Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson predicted Wednesday that 2008 will be a year of violence worldwide and a recession in the United States, followed by a major stock-market crash by 2010.

Sharing what he believes God has told him about the year ahead is an annual tradition for Robertson.

On Wednesday's "700 Club" broadcast, the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network predicted that evangelism will increase and more people will seek God as the chaos develops. Robertson said, "We will see the presence of angels and we will see an intensification of miracles around the world."

Last year, Robertson predicted that a terrorist act, possibly involving a nuclear weapon, would result in mass killing in the United States. Noting that it hadn't come to pass, Robertson said, "All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God in his mercy spared us."



See this false profits failed prediction here:



http://myjava.netfirms.com/robertson_prediction%202007.htm





Or Roll The Dice With Sylvia Browne's 2008 Predictions







Monday, January 21, 2008

Country Folk Technology Dictionary

The Scope Of Things Today

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

You're wondering how you could ever have overlooked something in your life that is so relevant and significant. Until now, it wasn't really necessary to keep it in mind. A whole new world has just opened for you.

Although you may be hesitant today, don't turn away an offer because it doesn't seem good enough. Even the best opportunities won't shock and awe you with their potential, yet they will probably be very promising. Make no mistake; you will have to work harder than you think to make it happen. But the results will be well worth it.


Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

Although, our problems seem to be thrust on us by an unfair destiny, they are all, actually, made to measure as a result of our attitudes. We choose the cloth, cut and colour of our garments. So, if you don't like what you have —change the material.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

Honesty is the best policy, though it is one thing to tell the truth and quite another to spill the beans. There are some things that it is best for others not to know. Keep certain pieces of information under your hat, for now at least
Drive underway to rescue endangered amphibians
January 21, 2008

REUTERS NEWS AGENCY

LONDON–A giant Chinese salamander that predates Tyrannosaurus rex and the world's smallest frog are among a group of extremely rare amphibians identified by scientists today as being in need of urgent help to survive.

The Olm, a blind salamander that can survive for 10 years without food, and a purple frog that spends most of its life underground are also among the 10 most endangered amphibians drawn up by the Zoological Society of London.

"These species are the `canaries in the coal mine' – they are highly sensitive to factors such as climate change and pollution, which lead to extinction, and are a stark warning of things to come," said EDGE head Jonathan Baillie.

EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) is a project set up a year ago to identify and protect some of nature's most weird and wonderful creatures.

"The EDGE amphibians are amongst the most remarkable and unusual species on the planet and yet an alarming 85 per cent of the top 100 are receiving little or no conservation attention," said the project's amphibians chief Helen Meredith.

While last year's launch focused on at-risk mammals, this year the focus shifted to amphibians.

"These animals may not be cute and cuddly, but hopefully their weird looks and bizarre behaviours will inspire people to support their conservation," Meredith added.

Not only are the target species unique, the project itself is breaking new ground by using the Internet at www.zsl.org/edge to highlight threatened creatures. Global warming and human depredation of habitat are cited as root causes of problems facing the amphibians.

The Chinese giant salamander, a distant relative of the newt, can grow up to 1.8 metres in length while the tiny Gardiner's Seychelles frog when full grown is only the size of a thumbtack.

Also on this year's list is the limbless Sagalla caecilian, South African ghost frogs, lungless Mexican salamanders, the Malagasy rainbow frog, Chile's Darwin frog and the Betic midwife toad whose male carries fertilized eggs on its hind legs.

"Tragically, amphibians tend to be the overlooked members of the animal kingdom, even though one in every three amphibian species is currently threatened with extinction, a far higher proportion than that of bird or mammal species," said Baillie.



Sunday, January 20, 2008

The truth about MSG


MICHEL EULER/AP FILE PHOTO
MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is the heavyweight champion of flavour enhancers the world over.
It was discovered in seaweed. A century later, monosodium glutamate – MSG –is the heavyweight champion of food additives. It's also a villain. What else do you sprinkle on steak that's the subject of conspiracy theories?
January 20, 2008

Staff Reporter

An innocent question, asked recently at a very popular, very established Chinatown eatery that shall remain nameless: "Do you use MSG?"

The answer? "We always put a little bit," the cheery waiter replies. "If you want more, we can put more."

Say what? To some ears, the helpful-seeming offer would sound much like choosing to endure a more severe beating if the first wasn't painful enough. Indeed, to say that MSG, or monosodium glutamate, far and away the heavyweight champion of flavour "enhancers" the world over, has a checkered history is something of an understatement.

This year, it enjoys the dubious distinction of its centenary as an officialized food additive. Since its intitial isolation in 1908 by a Japanese chemist, Kikunae Ikeda, it's become a food industry staple, and along the way, hailed as both a revolutionary innovation and a despised symbol of callous quasi-food profiteering.

Either way, it's been a prevalent ingredient in the North American diet for 60 years (the brand of MSG called Accent was introduced here in 1947), embraced in the post-war "better living through chemistry" era as a cheap, easy way to boost flavour in any number of packaged or canned foods.

And for almost as long, it's been maligned, fairly or unfairly, as a chemicalized toxin blamed, according to Health Canada, for migraines, hypertension, nausea and chest pain. More extreme – and often unproven – accusations have linked MSG to obesity, diabetes and liver inflammation. The Times of India – and, curiously, nowhere else – reported just this month that the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute, an institution without a website, apparently, had concluded in a report that MSG causes cancer.

Careful, though. In the haze of MSG hysteria, dark conspiracies and gruesome consequences are the norm (in the same report, the newspaper claimed that MSG had been declared unsafe by the World Health Organization in 2004, but the report could not be located; meanwhile, a 2005 WHO report says MSG has "no adverse effects.")

Such is the potent mythos of the great villain of all food additives. One thing that's indisputable: MSG's continued – and in some cases, growing – presence in all our diets. Despite the organic food craze blossoming in some circles, MSG is doing quite nicely, thank you. According to the Food Ingredient News, a specialized (to say the least) trade publication, MSG consumption globally was increasing by 2.5 per cent per year.

Granted, more than 80 per cent of the consumption is in Asia, and growth, specifically in China. There, MSG, in its raw form, a powdered, white crystalline substance, is left on restaurant tables like salt or pepper for customers to administer to their liking. And it's more pervasive in the North American diet than ever before. MSG may be additive-non-grata here, but keep your eyes peeled: Hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast extract and dozens of others – all contain MSG.

It was in 1968 when the New Hampshire Journal of Medicine coined the somewhat politically incorrect term "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" for the apparent prevalence of MSG in Asian foods and the apparent symptoms its consumption could cause. You would have expected MSG to wither away. The furor prompted Chinese restaurants all over North America to display an exculpatory sign in their window: "NO MSG." The other day in Chinatown was a different story entirely. "Everyone uses some MSG," the waiter explains, just as cheery. "Every restaurant. Chinese, everyone else. If they say they're not," he pauses, "it's bull---t."

So, is the apparent and ongoing alarm well-founded? With the swirl of contending thought, it's difficult to tell. One thing's certain: MSG, the sodium salt of the protein glutamate, is, naturally, high in sodium. Not as high as salt (as the MSG side of the tracks points out). But it takes no conspiracist to tell you that a high-sodium diet increases the risks of all sorts of heart problems and hyper-tension, however it's consumed. People on a low sodium diet should "Read food labels. Buy products low in sodium, MSG . . ." urges, for instance, McKinley Health Centre at the University of Illinois.

For Keith Mitchell at Calico Foods, the sodium content in MSG and its ilk looked like an opportunity. "It's had a lot of bad press over the years, and people don't want it on their labels," he says.

That's why the company he works for is selling a low-sodium, amino acid-based flavour enhancer as an alternative. The problem: Sticker shock. "When you go to lower sodium, the flavour perception drops dramatically," he says. "It's one of the hardest things to replace – especially when it's practically free."

Indeed, salt – "one of the cheapest things going," Mitchell says – is a tough competitor to fight with pricey, innovative, low-sodium alternatives. "The business is not by any stretch of the imagination where I'd like to see it," he says. "For a company to reformulate everything and take salt out of its products takes time, and money. The industry is well aware of the issue. The question is, is the public willing to pay for it?"

Especially when, for all the consumer can see, MSG is perfectly safe. Nearly every regulatory agency, including the FDA in the U.S., has few issues with MSG. In 2005, the World Health Organization acknowledged that "neurotoxic effects have been seen in animal studies, but only at very high doses," often administered by injection; it concluded that "there is a substantial body of work investigating MSG at lower doses with no indication of any adverse effects."

Health Canada allows that "some individuals who consume MSG may exhibit an allergic-type reaction or hypersensitivity," but "(t)he safety of MSG has been studied worldwide.

"The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations / World Health Organization expert Committee on Food Additives (1987) and Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (1995) conducted thorough evaluations and concluded that use of MSG does not constitute a health hazard to consumers. Health Canada scientists concur with these views. In addition," it goes on, "contrary to some allegations found on certain websites, there is no scientific evidence linking obesity in humans with the consumption of foods containing this flavour enhancer."

That's what they want you to think, says Jack Samuels. Depending on whom you believe, Samuels and his wife, Adrienne, are either tireless champions of food safety, or obsessive conspiracy theorists with too much time on their hands (their self-directed anti-MSG lobby, "Truth in Labeling," has been described as both across the painfully vast swath of MSG opinion found in cyberspace).

Since 1971, when, Samuels says, he starting collapsing in certain restaurants after a meal – he concluded he was hypersensitive to MSG – the pair have campaigned endlessly against the additive. Samuels allows that he's a "very, very rare" type, to have these kinds of extreme reactions. "Most people would go through life and not have any kind of problem at all," he says. But, he says, speaking as someone "who can die" from eating MSG, he's pretty devoted to the cause.

Whether you choose to believe Truth in Labeling campaign information or not, Samuels makes a salient point. MSG is, at its base, a naturally occurring substance in all sorts of foods – tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, and, way back in 1908, kombu.

That was the seaweed Ikeda correctly suspected to be the source of a mysterious "fifth taste" in his soup, complementary but different from the basics – hot, sour, salty, sweet.

Distilling it to its base elements, he called the results umami – or "deliciousness" in Japanese. More than 35 years of research have told the Samuels that naturally occurring MSG – that is, the stuff Ikeda found – produces no reaction even in MSG-sensitive people.

When it's processed, as it most typically is, using fermentation or other chemical reactions, it frees the glutamatic acid from its protein compound, provoking some of the reactions its detractors claim.

For Frederick Oh, director of the Richmond Hill Culinary Arts Centre, therein lies the problem. "Over the years, the demand exceeded the supply and they started to make it chemically," he says. "That's where the problems started."

Whether they're as dire as the worst detractors suggest is nearly impossible to divine. Free glutamic acid – processed and unlinked from its base protein – is, like any chemically-created compound, hard for the body to absorb.

But for Oh, MSG's constant presence is more a symptom of a convenience-driven society that has neither the time nor the inclination to create authentic flavour.

"Making real stock – boiling down bones, doing it the right way – takes time, and it takes labour. Why bother if you can buy an enhancer for 10 bucks and you're done?" he says.

Oh says the issue is more than one of convenience. "We've developed a taste for it," he says. "Fat, salt, sugar – these are all the things we like to eat. MSG mimics those flavours. Nobody wants to eat plain-Jane food. If you open a restaurant advertising blandness, how long do you think you'll last?"

Ever-mindful of the MSG stigma the glutamate industry – a powerful lobby worth billions – has found a way to repackage itself, drawn from Ikeda's original soup test of a century ago.

Umami, they call it – a flavour increasingly finding its way into culinary lexicons and onto the pages of such magazines and newspapers as Gourmet and The Wall Street Journal, which said in an article in December that "(umami) was changing the way everyone from top chefs to Frito-Lay executives thinks about food."

So everything old is new again. "Give it a sexy name, re-package it and re-market it and you're on your way," Oh says. He sees us caught in a familiar catch-22.

"Everyone talks about the environment, but look at all the SUVs that are being produced," he says. "The whole world is in a predicament right now. We've become accustomed to living a certain way, at a certain cost. Will anyone have the guts to put on the brakes?"

A Green Idea:57 per cent of the population Syndey Aus Turn Off Lights

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

You have put great energy into an opportunity but nothing seems to have come of it. Despite your concerns and misgivings, it may still take root.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

You have talents you are not using, yet you are in a situation where those talents are required. You have so far refrained from offering your services. It's time to make a more forceful case.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

The way to make progress is to work with what little you know for sure. You'll find, ultimately, that it's all you need to know.




Descent into darkness enlightening for Sydney
SUN HERALD FILE PHOTOS
LIGHTS ON: The skyline, left, of Sydney, Australia, seen in its typical nighttime glow. LIGHTS OUT: The dimmed skyline during Earth Hour, March 31.
Sydney Earth Day 2007


Some facts about Australia's effort

Idea hatched by World Wildlife Fund and the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.More than 57 per cent of the population say they took part by switching off their lights (53 per cent), turning off computers (25 per cent), turning off appliances (25 per cent) or turning off TV (17 per cent).

Nearly 2,000 businesses and government departments took part.

Restaurants offered candlelit dinners.

The landmark Coca-Cola sign at King's Cross was switched off for the first time since it was illuminated in 1974.

Lights on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House were turned off.

Ninety McDonald's golden arches were dimmed.

Street lights, safety lights and lights for public security were left on.

Energy usage dropped by 10.2 per cent across the business district, more than double what was forecast.

- Star staff

Inaugural event saw citizens douse their lights, fade to green and embrace a bold new idea
January 20, 2008

Staff Reporter

On March 31, 2007 at exactly 7:30 p.m., Sydney Harbour was cast into darkness.

First the lights of the Harbour Bridge were turned off, followed by those of the famous Opera House, then the office buildings and restaurants along the city's coastline. Nearly a hundred McDonald's restaurants dimmed their golden arches in a sign of environmental solidarity. One by one, businesses, government departments and individuals pulled the plug for Earth Hour – a project aimed at bringing the issue of energy conservation and climate change to the fore.

The idea behind Sydney's hour of darkness began as a joint effort between the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. Their goal was two-fold: to launch a year-long campaign to reduce Sydney's greenhouse gas emissions by 5 per cent, and to find a way to bring the fight against climate change into every home.

"It had to be simple," Andy Ridley, WWF co-ordinator of the global Earth Hour movement, said in a telephone interview from Sydney. "We wanted to break out of the classic environmental audience and take it to the mainstream."

They first approached the city with the idea, and then moved on to commercial businesses occupying the equivalent of 30 per cent of Australia's office space.

Eventually, the whole city caught green fever, and ideas for participating in the hour of darkness began pouring in.

That spirit – and idea – has spread. This year, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, 17 cities in seven countries will take part in the first global Earth Hour. Toronto was the first city outside Australia to join in. "We wanted this to be a street party instead of a street protest," Ridley says of last year's inaugural event.

So, Sydneysiders dusted off their flashlights, stocked up on candles and got in the mood. Couples held wedding receptions in candlelight; restaurateurs fed hungry customers under the moonlight. Thousands of families sat by the harbour watching the lights go out, and, thanks to the reduced light pollution, the stars as they began to reappear. Stadiums dimmed their lights and sports fans watching games at home were reminded to turn off theirs. Politicians, musicians and Hollywood actors helped with extensive media coverage counting down the weeks, days and seconds to the event.

In the minutes before darkness was to fall, Ridley held his breath.

"I couldn't help be nervous," he recalls. "At 7:29 p.m, you just don't know if it's going to work, if it's something people will think is important enough to do."

It was. More than 2 million residents pulled the plug and the city went dark. Energy usage dropped by 10.2 per cent across the business district, more than double what organizers were aiming for, representing a reduction of 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of taking 48,613 cars off the road for an hour.

"It was amazing," Ridley says. "These are the kinds of events that show how much spirit a city has, and I was impressed by Sydney's."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bin Laden's son an `ambassador for peace'

Bin Laden's son an `ambassador for peace'


NASSER NASSER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Omar Osama bin Laden, the 26-year-old son of the Al Qaeda leader, says he wants to be an "ambassador for peace" between Islam and the West.
January 18, 2008

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CAIRO, Egypt–Omar Osama bin Laden bears a striking resemblance to his notorious father – except for the dreadlocks that dangle halfway down his back. Then there's the black leather biker jacket.

The 26-year-old does not renounce his father, Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but in an interview he said there is a better way to defend Islam than militancy: Omar wants to be an "ambassador for peace" between Muslims and the West.

Omar – one of bin Laden's 19 children – raised a tabloid storm last year when he married a 52-year-old British woman, Jane Felix-Browne, who took the name Zaina Alsabah. Now the couple say they want to be advocates, planning a 5,000-kilometre horse race across North Africa to draw attention to the cause of peace.

"It's about changing the ideas of the Western mind. A lot of people think Arabs – especially the bin Ladens, especially the sons of Osama – are all terrorists. This is not the truth," Omar said last week at a café in a Cairo shopping mall.

Of course, many may have a hard time getting their mind around the idea of "bin Laden: peacenik."

"Omar thinks he can be a negotiator," said Alsabah, who is trying to bring her husband to Britain. "He's one of the only people who can do this in the world."

Omar lived with the Al Qaeda leader in Sudan, then moved with him to Afghanistan in 1996.

There, Omar says he trained at an Al Qaeda camp but in 2000 he decided there must be another way and he left his father, returning to his homeland of Saudi Arabia.

"I don't want to be in that situation to just fight," he said.

"I like to find another way and this other way may be like we do now, talking," he said in English.

He suggested his father, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington, did not oppose his leaving. Alsabah interjected that Omar was courageous in breaking away, but neither elaborated.

Although there is no way to confirm the details he describes of his childhood and upbringing, the strong family resemblance and Omar's knowledge of Osama's family life have convinced many of his lineage.

"Omar bin Laden is the son of Osama bin Laden and his first wife, Najwa," a U.S. intelligence official said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Omar and his wife insist they have not been bothered by Egyptian officials, who said yesterday that the terror leader's son did not pose a threat.

Omar said he hasn't seen or been in contact with his father since leaving Afghanistan.

"He doesn't have email," Omar said. "He doesn't take a telephone ... if he had something like this, they will find him through satellites."

Omar doesn't criticize his father and says Osama bin Laden, who is believed to be hiding in the Pakistan-Afghan border region, is just trying to defend the Islamic world.

"My father thinks he will be good for defending the Arab people and stop anyone from hurting the Arab or Muslim people any place in the world," he said, noting the West didn't have a problem with his father when he was fighting the Russians in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Omar and his wife are now planning a horse race for peace across North Africa, which they hope to start in March.

They envision it as an equine version of the Paris-Dakar car rally. That rally was cancelled this year due to fears over terrorist threats made by Al Qaeda-affiliated groups.

Omar, however, said he isn't worried.

"I heard the rally was stopped because of Al Qaeda," he said.

"I don't think they are going to stop me."

Bobby Fischer, 64: Former chess champion dead at 64

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

The sudden arrival of fresh information will prove that a recent unwelcome surprise is actually the start of great things. What initially upset you will ultimately bring happiness. Don't let the pressure get you.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

When you say too much, you effectively invite feedback. People feel entitled to reply, to argue or to reinterpret your messages. In order to gain maximum control over a certain situation, Pluto advises you to create an air of mystery.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

Live with the reality of your current situation. If you don't like it, do your best to persuade yourself that you actually do. The object of this exercise is to get you into a good mood.


Bobby Fischer, 64: Former chess champion
JOHN LENT/ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO
Chess star Bobby Fischer, pictured in New York in 1962, has died at 64 in Reykjavik, Iceland.
January 18, 2008

The Associated Press

REYKJAVIK, Iceland – Bobby Fischer, the reclusive American chess master who became a Cold War icon when he dethroned the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky as world champion in 1972, has died. He was 64.

Fischer died Thursday in a Reykjavik hospital, his spokesman, Gardar Sverrisson, said. There was no immediate word on the cause of death.

Born in Chicago and raised in Brooklyn, Robert James Fischer was a U.S. chess champion at 14 and a grand master at 15. He beat Spassky in a series of games in Reykjavik to claim America's first world chess championship in more than a century.

The event was given tremendous symbolic importance, pitting the intensely individualistic young American against a product of the grim and soulless Soviet Union.

It also was marked by Fischer's odd behavior – possibly calculated psychological warfare against Spassky – that ranged from arriving two days late to complaining about the lighting, TV cameras, the spectators, even the shine on the table.

Spassky said in a brief phone call from France, where he lives, that he was "very sorry" to hear of Fischer's death.

Fischer's reputation as a genius of chess soon was eclipsed by his idiosyncrasies.

Fischer was world champion until 1975, when he forfeited the title and withdrew from competition because conditions he demanded proved unacceptable to the International Chess Federation.

After that, he lived in secret outside the United States. He emerged in 1992 to confront Spassky again, in a highly publicized match in Yugoslavia. Fischer beat Spassky 10-5 to win $3.35 million.

The U.S. government said Fischer's playing the match violated U.N. sanctions against Yugoslavia, imposed for Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic's role in fomenting war in the Balkans.

Former Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov said Fischer's ascent of the chess world in the 1960s was "a revolutionary breakthrough" for the game.

"The tragedy is that he left this world too early, and his extravagant life and scandalous statements did not contribute to the popularity of chess," Kasparov told The Associated Press.

Over the years, Fischer gave occasional interviews with a radio station in the Philippines, often digressing into anti-Semitic rants and accusing American officials of hounding him.

He praised the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, saying America should be "wiped out," and described Jews as "thieving, lying bastards." His mother was Jewish.

He also announced he had abandoned chess in 1996 and launched a new version in Argentina, "Fischerandom," a computerized shuffler that randomly distributes chess pieces on the back row of the board at the start of each game.

Fischer claimed it would bring the fun back into the game and rid it of cheats.

He renounced his American citizenship and moved in 2005 to Iceland, accepting an offer of citizenship from the country still grateful for its role as the site of his most famous match.

Fischer had been detained for nine months detention in Japan for trying to leave the country using an invalid U.S. passport. Japan agreed to release him after he accepted Iceland's offer of citizenship.

Fischer told reporters that year that he was finished with a chess world he regarded as corrupt, and sparred with U.S. journalists who asked about his anti-American tirades.

"The United States is evil. There's this axis of evil. What about the allies of evil – the United States, England, Japan, Australia? These are the evildoers," Fischer said.


Chess genius Bobby Fischer dies in Iceland
Kristin Arna Bragadottir
Reuters

Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer (R) moves a piece during a September 1992 match against his archrival, the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky, in the Yugoslav resort of Sveti Stefan. Fischer has died of a serious but unspecified illness, Iceland national radio reported on Friday. REUTERS/Ivan Milutinovic/Files
CREDIT:
Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer (R) moves a piece during a September 1992 match against his archrival, the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky, in the Yugoslav resort of Sveti Stefan. Fischer has died of a serious but unspecified illness, Iceland national radio reported on Friday. REUTERS/Ivan Milutinovic/Files

REYKJAVIK (Reuters) - Bobby Fischer, America's first and only world chess champion who was once dubbed the "Mozart of Chess," has died in Iceland at the age of 64.

A spokesman for Fischer, who could have faced prison in America for violating sanctions against former Yugoslavia by playing a chess match there, confirmed that he had died. The cause of death was not immediately made public.

Fischer, a former child prodigy who once said he liked to watch his opponents squirm and who had become an Icelandic citizen, became world champion by beating the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky under the glare of Cold War publicity in Reykjavik in 1972.

The brilliant but eccentric American abandoned his title without moving a pawn by failing to meet a deadline to defend his crown in Manila in 1975. World chess authorities reluctantly awarded it to challenger Anatoly Karpov of the Soviet Union, who was to hold it for the next decade.

Fischer withdrew into himself, not playing in public and living on little more than the magic of his name, although millions of enthusiasts regarded him as the king of chess.

He made headlines and fell foul of U.S. authorities when he came out of seclusion to play his old rival Spassky in Yugoslavia in 1992, at a time when the country was the target of sanctions during Belgrade's war with breakaway republics.

He vanished after the match, for which he won $3 million, and resurfaced only after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. In an interview with a Philippine radio station, Fischer praised the strikes and said he wanted to see America "wiped out."

Fischer, who also stirred controversy with anti-Semitic remarks, was granted Icelandic citizenship in March 2005 after eight months in detention in Japan fighting a U.S. deportation order.

"THE MOZART OF CHESS"

Fischer always had a high opinion of himself. Asked who was the greatest player in the world, he once replied:

"It's nice to be modest, but it would be stupid if I did not tell the truth. It is Fischer."

It was not an idle claim. Arguably the greatest natural chess genius the world has seen, he was called "the Mozart of chess" when he began winning at the age of six.

His success soon gained Fischer a reputation for being cocky. He told interviewers his favorite moment was when opponents began to feel they would lose. "I like to see 'em squirm," he said.

He was U.S. junior champion at 13 and U.S. Open champion at 14, retaining the title whenever he chose to defend it.

He was the youngest international grandmaster ever at 15, gaining the rating at his first international tournament in Yugoslavia. He once defeated 21 grandmasters in succession -- no U.S. player had beaten more than seven in a row.

As Fischer's fame grew, his temperament became more unpredictable. He walked out of tournaments because of what he considered to be bad lighting or bad air conditioning. He refused to play matches on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

In the mid-1960s, he opted out of two world championship qualifying series because he thought the tournament system favored the Russians. In 1967, when officials would not meet his demands for better conditions, Fischer angrily withdrew from international competition "for a period of introspection."

He took his massive collection of chess books and moved to California, where he later said he had "plotted my revenge if I ever came back."

When the rules were changed in 1972 to include an eight-player eliminator to find the challenger to world champion Spassky, Fischer had the chance to prove he was as good as he always said he was.

He raced to victory in the candidates' series, prompting Spassky to say the American would find a world championship series a different and more difficult proposition. He was wrong.

If anyone suffered from the pressure when the match was held in Reykjavik, Iceland, it was Spassky.

He became a national hero -- Americans who had never played chess and knew little about the game followed the Fischer saga.

In the 1990s, he was said to be living under assumed names in cheap hotels in Pasadena on the outskirts of Los Angeles, surviving mainly on occasional royalties from his books. In London, one newspaper described him as "dressed like a derelict, waddling and fat and with a straggly beard."

Former friends painted a picture of a solitary man spending much of his day in rooms littered with chess books, oranges and jars of vitamins, playing chess by himself and reading magazines on chess to keep in touch.

One commentator said there was one constant through his life's exceptional peaks and troughs -- his "running battle with the rest of the human race."

(Editing by Peter Millership)

© Reuters 2008


Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Smallest House In Toronto For Sale $179k

DEFINITION OF OLD
First you tell your friends that you are having an affair.
Then your friend asks you, 'Are you having it catered???'
THAT, my friend, is the definition of OLD!!!!!!










The Runway You Gotta See To Believe


New airport runway on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

The airport's runway has a length of 2781 meters, (9000 ft) of which 1000 (3000) are supported by 180 pillars, each pillar 50 meters in length (about 17 floors). The runway is designed to accommodate 747s. Note the cars parked below the runway.






Madeira Airport (IATA: FNC, ICAO: LPMA), also known as Funchal Airport and Santa Catarina Airport, is an international airport located near Funchal, Madeira. The airport controls national and international air traffic of the island of Madeira.

The airport was once infamous for its short runway which, surrounded by high mountains and the ocean, made it a tricky landing for even the most experienced of pilots. The original runway was only 1,400 metres in length, but was extended by 400 metres after the TAP Air Portugal Flight 425 incident of 1977 and subsequently rebuilt in 2003, almost doubling the size of the runway, building it out over the ocean.

For the enlargement of the new runway the Funchal Airport has won the Outstanding Structures Award, given by International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE). The is considered to be the "Oscar" for engineering structures in Portugal.[1]

The project for the new airport was made by portuguese Segadães Tavares.

The Scope Of Things Today

Horoscopes for Thursday, January 17
January 17, 2008

Thought for the Day: Mercury, bringer of inspiring thoughts, is journeying through the halfway point of Aquarius. If you are an Aquarian or you have planets in air or fire signs, you will find yourself on the receiving end of good news and pleasing developments.
If today is your birthday: A new force is gestating within you. A process has begun that will change your potential beyond what you ever thought possible. It all hinges on a new attitude, a new perspective and a new vision that will soon begin to inspire you. Happy birthday to Jim Carrey, 46.


Aries (March 21 — April 20)

In The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to everything was the number 42. That may be fiction but, even so, simple solutions do usually prove to be the norm. And one of those is coming your way.


Taurus (April 21 — May 20)

More responsibilities are the last thing you need. You are already carrying more than enough and your rewards are not commensurate with your efforts. Make others understand this and start asking for more assistance.


Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

Your emotional and psychological journey has been long and arduous. You're showing yourself willing to adapt and, as a reward, you'll soon be able to make some important gains without too much effort.


Cancer (June 22 — July 22)

Someone else's buck has come to rest on your lap, despite the fact this ought not to be your responsibility. Someone is taking advantage of your kindness. So, make a tough decision today. A life that's free of tension is worth the effort to attain.


Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

Ask yourself a few blunt questions. You need details and true confessions. You need to know why you now want what you do. Once you know that, you'll know everything else you need to know.


Virgo (Aug. 23 — Sept. 22)

The best performers make difficult tasks seem easy. Given the difficulty of your current task, you are coping magnificently. With a little more practice, you'll learn how to do all this with a graceful, confident air.


Libra (Sept. 23 — Oct. 23)

It is possible to go a long way with a ball and chain, but you won't have to prove it. The stars will furnish you with chain cutters. A solution to an old, nagging problem is near.


Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

Your time will come, sooner than you think. It should come within the next 36 hours – maybe sooner. Cheer up. Don't let the January gloom get you. You'll like what you encounter today.


Sagittarius (Nov. 23 — Dec. 21)

Much nonsense is being spoken or acted out around you. Don't get into it. Don't analyze its content or take offence. It could easily get out of control judging by who's involved.


Capricorn (Dec. 22 — Jan. 20)

It isn't like you to be indecisive, but when you are, there's always a good reason. So we assume your nagging doubt is valid. That doesn't necessarily mean you are wrong about something, but rather an essential process of reflection.


Aquarius (Jan. 21 — Feb. 19)

A sense of oppression is beginning to lift and you no longer feel quite so weighed down. You can shed even more of your burden if you make a few timely choices. Stop carrying the can. You don't owe anything to anyone.


Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

You must proceed slowly and carefully for you are in the process of making an irrevocable move. Keep it all simple and uncomplicated. As long as it is measured, sincere and not too extreme, it can only have an excellent outcome.


Read Phil Booth at boothstars.com or at thestar.com/horoscope.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

‘I'll come with new weapons; you come with more oil,'

Bush urges Saudis to boost oil output

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday urged Saudi Arabia to increase oil production to ease sky-high petroleum prices, but, at the same time, continued his war of words with Iran, a dispute that has contributed to higher crude costs.

Analysts said Mr. Bush was putting the Saudis in an uncomfortable position by publicly urging them to open up the taps at a time when many members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries worry that slowing world growth could reduce demand for their crude and drive prices lower.

“Saudi Arabia will find it very, very difficult to accept or follow George Bush's suggestions,” Fadel Gheit, an analyst with Oppenheimer & Co., said Tuesday. “It's a desperate move; he's throwing a ‘Hail Mary pass.' But I don't think he's going to get anywhere with it.”

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, said his country is carefully monitoring oil markets but believes they remain well supplied with crude.

Mr. Gheit said the dramatic increase in world oil prices in the past year has less to do with supply and demand fundamentals, and is more driven by political risks in the Middle East and Nigeria, by the sharp decline in the U.S. dollar, and by speculation.

A key concern has been the dispute between the United States and Iran over the latter's nuclear program. Following an incident in the Persian Gulf last week in which Iranian patrol boats approached U.S. warships, yesterday Mr. Bush warned the oil-producing state that it would face “serious consequences” if any U.S. ship is attacked.

In Riyadh, Mr. Bush said U.S. consumers are feeling the pain of record crude prices, which briefly topped $100 (U.S.) a barrel this month.

“When consumers have less purchasing power, it could cause the economy to slow down,” the President told reporters travelling with him. “I hope OPEC nations put more supply on the market.”

OPEC meets on Feb. 1 to discuss their output, and Saudi Arabia –the U.S.'s closest ally in the group – is the only member to have significant spare capacity.

The organization has said its members worry that the global slowdown will undermine demand for their oil, and drive down prices.

James Williams, an energy analyst with WTRG Economics, said Mr. Bush's plea to the Saudis comes as the kingdom has spent billions of dollars to increase its productive capacity. Saudi Arabia announced in 2005 that it intended to boost its capacity to 12 million barrels a day, up from about nine million.

Mr. Williams said the Saudis are expected to soon bring into production 500,000 barrels a day of high-quality, light crude oil, which could displace some of its current volumes of heavier oil. So, while its overall volumes would remain the same, the additional supplies of light oil would put pressure on the benchmark crude prices, which track the higher-quality crude oil.

The economist suggested there may be a quid pro quo at work between Mr. Bush and his Saudi allies. The president announced a $20-billion weapon sale to the Arab nation during his visit.

“The deal would be: ‘I'll come with new weapons; you come with more oil,'“ Mr. Williams said.

© The Globe and Mail

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

Ensure a particular development takes place in a certain way. Someone is in a quandary, but their confusion will turn to clarity with your help. Measure your words with care, then move with confidence.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

It's as if you are acquiring a new skill or mastering a new art. It may not seem like much, but many people cannot make such a transition successfully. You are gaining experience and getting smart. And you're moving ahead for the right reasons.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

You will go to great lengths to ensure what should happen does, even if it means inconvenience or discomfort. But you must recognize an opportunity when it presents itself. And if you don't, the stars will give you a reminder.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mitt Romney at his worst could kill his wildest dream


How Mitt Romney at his worst could kill his wildest dream


GRAND BLANC, MICH — At his first event on the eve of the day that could decide Mitt Romney's fate, the Republican presidential candidate implored 2,600 students at this local high school - "absolutely no use of laser pointers will be tolerated," they were warned - to get married before having kids.

"It's the greatest happiness you could ever imagine," he assured them, and then paused and waited, and waited, until, giggling, they reluctantly applauded.

It was Mitt Romney at his worst, the man who hasn't made it past 1975, who has souped-up Elvis as his campaign music, who dismisses his opponents' claims as "baloney," who talks about life choices by evoking the lessons of a television show, Let's Make a Deal, that first aired when many of these kids' parents had not yet been born.

There is another Mitt Romney, the confident, assured, thoughtful candidate who spoke to business leaders later that day in Detroit, who vowed to reverse the decline of this, the most troubled state in the union, the state where he was born and raised, the state where the name Romney has political roots as deep as oak.

"What Michigan is feeling will be felt by the entire nation unless we win the economic battle here," he told the mostly middle-aged, mostly male members of the Detroit Economic Club.

"But I can tell you this: If I am president, I will not rest until Michigan is back."

Today, either the Republican - and some Democratic and independent - voters of Michigan will believe their native son and give him his first win in a presidential primary, or they will hand the state to another, most likely John McCain, shattering Mitt Romney's dream of becoming president.

Michigan is hurting. As the American automotive industry staggers under the twin burdens of foreign competition and domestic regulation, the state that tied its fate to making the American car is years into what has been dubbed a one-state recession.

The unemployment rate, at 7.4 per cent, is the highest in the nation, about 2½ points above the national average. Family incomes, after adjusting for inflation, have been stagnant throughout the decade and are expected to stay that way indefinitely. More U-Hauls leave the state than enter it.

The young of Grand Blanc, about 100 kilometres northwest of Detroit, have already made up their minds. A quick survey of students at the high school after Mr. Romney's talk revealed that most had decided to leave Michigan after graduation.

"I'm probably not going to stay in the state," Brittany Crayton, 18, announced. "I'm going somewhere where there are more jobs."

The fear is that, as Michigan goes, so goes the nation, that the outsourcing of jobs to Third World countries, the cheap goods they sell into the United States, combined with the cascading crisis in the mortgage markets, could push the country into a recession and even long-term economic decline.

The economy is working its way up the list of voter concerns, prompting both Democratic and Republican candidates to rush out economic platforms. In Mr. Romney's case, that platform focuses on eliminating the tax on earnings from interest, dividends and capital gains on incomes under $200,000, while targeting federal assistance to basic research in new fuels and automotive technology.

But it won't be platform planks that determine the outcome of today's primary. Michigan voters will base their support on the intangible qualities of leadership and trust. And like their cousins in Iowa and New Hampshire, when it comes to the former governor of Massachusetts, they have their doubts.

Mitt Romney is hurting. After spending many millions of his own dollars on advertising and organizing in Iowa and New Hampshire, the 60-year-old politician and executive was stripped of both victories by insurgents: former back-of-the-packer Mike Huckabee in Iowa, then the once-left-for-dead John McCain in New Hampshire.

Mr. Romney simply must win one of the early states, and Michigan offers the best chance. It should be easy. Here, the name Romney has all the recognition it lacks in much of the rest of the country. His father was president of the late American Motors, governor of the state and a candidate for president. Romney Jr. has a solid local organization, deep pockets and an intimate grasp of the state's political dynamics. No one should be able to touch him.

But there are problems. The first is self-inflicted. Mr. Romney's conspicuous wholesomeness - he has five sons, a devoted wife, no known vices (he doesn't even drink coffee) - comes together as a package that for many voters appears concocted. Instead of focusing on his formidable record as a self-made multi-multimillionaire, saviour of the troubled 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and governor of Massachusetts, people seem to latch onto his policy vacillations, his born-again conservatism and the nastiness of his campaign's attacks on Mr. McCain and Mr. Huckabee. (That nastiness is increasingly being returned in full measure.)

Another problem is beyond his control. State Democrats and Republicans co-operated to move the Michigan primary to Jan. 15, well in advance of the Feb. 5 limit for most primaries set by the national party committees. In revenge, the parties stripped the state of some or all of its delegates. Unless that decision is reversed - and reversed as well in Florida, which committed the same offence - this primary will have largely symbolic significance.

The Democratic candidates agreed to boycott the state (though Hillary Clinton allowed her name to remain on the ballot); the Republican candidates chose to fight it out anyway. In Michigan's case, that means that independent and Democratic voters can, if they choose, vote in the Republican primary. That was the cohort that handed the state to John McCain in 2000. (It was for naught; George W. Bush would ultimately take the nomination.) In 2008, they could do it again.

The polls are all over the place: Some show Mr. McCain ahead; others favour Mr. Romney. All we can do is wait for the returns.

If Mr. Romney fails to win Michigan, he can probably forget about taking any significant early state. (He did sweep the Wyoming caucuses, but nobody noticed or cared.) Mr. McCain and Mr. Huckabee are duking it out in South Carolina, along with Fred Thompson. (Mr. Huckabee, by the way, is in a strong third place in Michigan, but surely not, surely not ... .) Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is expending his last dollars (his senior staff are no longer being paid) in a do-or-die effort to win Florida.

If Mr. Romney wins today, he heads to South Carolina, hoping to use the Michigan bounce to place a respectable third there in Saturday's vote. If he loses, his advisers say he may well switch to a national campaign, in preparation for Feb. 5, when more than 20 states vote. He still has more money and better organization than his opponents. Maybe it will finally pay off for him there.

But the odds will be long. Why should Mr. Romney hope to prevail in a nationwide contest after he has failed to prevail in a Midwestern state, a New England state and a Great Lakes state?

Maybe it's the Ward Cleaver sweaters he often wears. Maybe it's his Mormon faith. Maybe it's his artful shuffles on the trinity of God, gays and guns. Maybe it's his off-kilter jokes. (He loves to tell the story about asking his wife Ann whether, in her wildest dreams, she ever thought he'd be running for president. "Mitt," he says she replied, "You weren't in my wildest dreams." Who was?) Regardless, the voters of Michigan have the future of one of their most famous sons in their hands.

If they give him their state, he'll be right back in the thick of it. If they don't, that may spell the end of Mitt Romney's wildest dream.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Top Iranian officials heaped scorn on President Bush's visit

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

You have issued a statement, pronounced a position and declared a decision. Yet it is beginning to look as if you may have been wrong. That's not a problem, as long as you're not afraid to swallow a little pride and backtrack.



Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

In being forced to deal with something or someone difficult, you are effectively smoothing something out. And like the pounding of the sea on a jagged coastline, your drama will result in a situation with no more sharp edges.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

You are not yet entirely free of a source of annoyance and exasperation. But you are, with each moment, moving away from this and all that it represents. All you need, to get further away still, is time, not effort. So relax and get your mind off it all.



art.mottaki.gi.afp.jpg

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki reportedly

(CNN) -- Top Iranian officials heaped scorn on President Bush's visit to the Middle East, with one of them saying the American leader was attempting to stir up "Iranophobia," a state-run Iranian news agency reported Monday.

Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency noted the comments of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Ala'eddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

President Bush, in a speech Sunday in Abu Dhabi, labeled Iran as the "world's leading sponsor of terror" and asked allies to join the United States in confronting Iran "before it's too late."

But Mottaki -- who made his remarks to Al-Jazeera news network Sunday -- said the United States "was the main cause of extremism in the region as it has been supporting terrorist and extremist groups during the past six years." Video Watch excerpt from Bush's speech »

He said Bush was trying to foment tensions in the Persian Gulf over the Strait of Hormuz incident on January 6. The U.S. military described a confrontation between U.S. ships and Iranian boats, but Mottaki called the American version of the story fabricated, the Islamic Republic News Agency said.

The report paraphrased Mottaki as saying that "fanning the fuel of Iranophobia was the objective of Bush's visit to the region."

Don't Miss

Bush's Mideast tour includes visits to Israel, the West Bank, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. See map of Bush's itinerary »

He arrived Monday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for talks with King Abdullah. Video Watch Bush in Saudi Arabia »

Also Monday, the Bush administration said it notified Congress of plans to sell $20 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia. The deal includes the proposed sale of 900 "joint direct attack munitions" worth close to $120 million, said U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

The arms package is part of a U.S. strategy to beef up security of its Persian Gulf allies to counter threats posed by Iran's rising influence in the region.

In the IRNA report, Boroujerdi said that referring to Iran as a threat won't affect Teheran's ties with its neighbors.

Mottaki touted growing bilateral cooperation between Iran and its neighbors and said that U.S. officials can't "understand the historical, religious and cultural commonalties between Iran and other regional countries," said the IRNA report.

The report paraphrased Boroujerdi as saying Bush's talk about Iran "is the saber-rattling of a defeated man."

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"Bush would achieve no results from his visit to the region given Iran's current cooperation with the regional states as well as Tehran's firm decision to safeguard regional security with the help of the regional countries," the lawmaker said.

Boroujerdi indicated that Bush embarked on the trip to shore up support for his unpopular policies and that his visit to the West Bank and the Persian Gulf "was just a political propaganda campaign as he knew his policies in the region were futile.


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