Fr Stephen Smuts

Archive for June 6th, 2011

New Water in Jerusalem

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The largest underground water source has been discovered in Jerusalem:

An underground water source discovered recently near the Jerusalem International Convention Center is, experts say, the largest subsurface water resource ever discovered in Israel.

The source was discovered 75 meters underground while workers were laying groundwork for the high-speed Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway.

The cave appears to have developed after water seeped in from the surface and dissolved the underlying limestone

“The cave is the largest and most impressive underground water channel ever discovered in Israel,” Prof. Amos Frumkin of the Hebrew University told Channel 2 News.

Frumkin said the water channel can be preserved without compromising infrastructure projects for the railway route.

Really good new this…

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 6, 2011 at 22:11

Posted in Bible Archaeology

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Today is the 67th anniversary of D-Day:

Remembering with this rare colour video.


See also Pope Benedict on D-Day.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 6, 2011 at 19:52

Posted in Church

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Assyrian Language: What Is It?

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Assyrian is a dialect of Akkadian, an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia.

The Telegraph has the short piece:

It was in use for 2,500 years but has not been spoken for more than 2,000 years.

The Assyrian dialect of Akkadian was spoken in the Northern areas of Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq. The Babylonian dialect was spoken in central and southern Mesopotamia, Mariotic in the central Euphrates, and Tell Beydar in northern Syria.

There have been different phases in Assyrian’s development. Old Assyrian was spoken between1950–1530 BC, Middle Assyrian between 1530–1000 BC, and Neo-Assyrian between the years 1000–600 BC.

Assyrian served as the lingua franca during much of the Old and Middle times, and was extremely popular.

During the first millennium BC, Akkadian progressively lost its status. Neo-Assyrian received an upswing in popularity in the 8th century BC when the Assyrian kingdom became a major power.

But after the end of the Mesopotamian kingdoms, which fell due to the Persian conquest of the area, Akkadian disappeared as a popular language, however, the language was still used in its written form.

The latest identified Akkadian text comes from the 1st century AD.

Also related to the above is: Scholars complete dictionary of lost language after 90 years. That’s here.

The project to create the Assyrian dictionary, based on words recorded on clay or stone tablets unearthed from ruins in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, began at the University of Chicago in 1921.

The language had not been spoken for more than 2,000 years.

Over several generations scholars from Vienna, Paris, Copenhagen, Jerusalem, Berlin, Helsinki, Baghdad and London travelled to Chicago to work on the endeavour.

The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary is now officially complete. It contains 21 volumes of Akkadian, a Semitic language, with several dialects, including Assyrian, that was in use for 2,500 years Gil Stein, director of the university’s Oriental Institute, said: “The Assyrian Dictionary gives us the key into the world’s first urban civilisation.

“Virtually everything that we take for granted has its origins in Mesopotamia, whether it’s the origins of cities, of state societies, the invention of the wheel, the way we measure time, and most important the invention of writing.

“If we ever want to understand our roots we have to understand this first great civilisation.” Robert Biggs, professor emeritus at the university, devoted nearly a half-century to the dictionary, uncovering tablets on digs in the Iraq desert.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 6, 2011 at 17:45

Forensic Evidence: European E.coli Superbug Bioengineered to Produce Human Fatalities

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(NaturalNews) Even as the veggie blame game is now under way across the EU, where a super resistant strain of e.coli is sickening patients and filling hospitals in Germany, virtually no one is talking about how e.coli could have magically become resistant to eight different classes of antibiotic drugs and then suddenly appeared in the food supply.This particular e.coli variation is a member of the O104 strain, and O104 strains are almost never (normally) resistant to antibiotics. In order for them to acquire this resistance, they must be repeatedly exposed to antibioticsin order to provide the “mutation pressure” that nudges them toward complete drug immunity.So if you’re curious about the origins of such a strain, you can essentially reverse engineer the genetic code of the e.coli and determine fairly accurately which antibiotics it was exposed to during its development. This step has now been done (see below), and when you look at the genetic decoding of this O104 strain now threatening food consumers across the EU, a fascinating picture emerges of how it must have come into existence.

The genetic code reveals the history

When scientists at Germany’s Robert Koch Institute decoded the genetic makeup of the O104 strain, they found it to be resistant to all the following classes and combinations of antibiotics:• penicillins
• tetracycline
• nalidixic acid
• trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazol
• cephalosporins
• amoxicillin / clavulanic acid
• piperacillin-sulbactam
• piperacillin-tazobactamIn addition, this O104 strain posses an ability to produce special enzymes that give it what might be called “bacteria superpowers” known technically as ESBLs:

“Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases (ESBLs) are enzymes that can be produced by bacteria making them resistant to cephalosporins e.g. cefuroxime, cefotaxime and ceftazidime – which are the most widely used antibiotics in many hospitals,” explains the Health Protection Agency in the UK (…).

On top of that, this O104 strain possesses two genes — TEM-1 and CTX-M-15 — that “have been making doctors shudder since the 1990s,” reports The Guardian (…). And why do they make doctors shudder? Because they’re so deadly that many people infected with such bacteria experience critical organ failure and simply die.

Bioengineering a deadly superbug

So how, exactly, does a bacterial strain come into existence that’s resistant to over a dozen antibiotics in eight different drug classes and features two deadly gene mutations plus ESBL enzyme capabilities?There’s really only one way this happens (and only one way)…

Find out more here.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories but the above was scary just contemplating…  


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 6, 2011 at 16:20

Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ Album Banned

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Lady Gaga’s religious firestorm may have blown over in the United States, but the government of Lebanon found it so enflaming that they’ve banned the popstar’s new album from the country’s stores.

Multiple reports say that the Lebanese government impounded shipments of “Born This Way,” the already-platinum album due to its alleged insults to Christianity and its all around “bad taste.”

The Lebanese government has made clear their distaste in Gaga, having already banned her single “Judas” from the airwaves. That song caused a brief ruckus in the United States, too, as conservative religious leaders, including those from the Catholic League, initially protested the song’s lyrics and pending video.

“This is a stunt… Lady Gaga tries to continue to shock Catholics and Christians in general: she dresses as a nun… she swallows the rosary. She has now morphed into a caricature of herself,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement before the video came out.

He then sang a somewhat different tune, waving off the video as a mess and incoherent.

According to Metro UK, the song “Born This Way” was banned from radio play by the government of Malaysia, too. In response to that banning, Gaga, responded, “What I would say is for all the young people in Malaysia that want those words to be played on the radio, it is your job and it is your duty as young people to have your voices heard.”

“Born This Way” went platinum in its first week out, selling 1.1 million copies in the United States alone…

In a prescient comment, in a recent feature in the British newspaper The Guardian, Gaga decried religion’s impact on government.

“The influence of institutionalised religion on government is vast. So religion then begins to affect social values and that in turn affects self-esteem, bullying in school, teen suicides, all those things,” she told the paper…

The above was reported on in the Huffington Post here.

I for one wish it was banned in more places. It really is a load of garbage… And most of what Gaga spews is offensive filth anyway.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 6, 2011 at 15:47

Every 5 Minutes a Christian Is Martyred!

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That’s according to a leading sociologist:

A sociologist representing a European security organization says that the number of Christians killed each year for their faith is so high that it calculates to one martyr’s life being taken every five minutes.

Massimo Introvigne of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reported this data at a conference on Christian-Jewish-Muslim interfaith dialogue, which concluded today in Hungary. The conference was sponsored by the Hungarian presidency of the Council of the European Union, and included a variety of high-level representatives from the three monotheistic religions, as well as political and social leaders.

Introvigne reported that Christians killed every year for their faith number 105,000, and that number includes only those put to death simply because they are Christians. It does not count the victims of civil or international wars.

“If these numbers are not cried out to the world, if this slaughter is not stopped, if it is not acknowledged that the persecution of Christians is the first worldwide emergency in the matter of violence and religious discrimination, the dialogue between religions will only produce beautiful conferences but no concrete results,” he stated…

Read on here.

Apathetic Christians: Wake up and take note! It costs to be a Christian!

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 6, 2011 at 12:35

Second Jewish Temple Just Waiting to be Unearthed

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Undoubtedly, the Second (and First) Temple period are under the surface of the Temple Mount:

One of the most prominent Israeli archaeologists declared today that remains from the First and Second Jewish Temple period – including the Second Temple itself – lie underneath the Temple Mount surface, just waiting to be excavated.

Dr. Eilat Mazar of Hebrew University accused the site’s Islamic custodians of destroying Jewish artifacts while attempting to turn the Temple Mount into a “giant mosque.”

“I think we will find all the remains starting from the First Temple period and remains of the Temple itself,” said Mazar, a third-generation archeologist. “I mean, no one took it out, it’s there.”

Mazar said she is “absolutely sure” remains from the First and Second Temple periods, including “the Second Temple itself,” as well as later remains from the Byzentine and early Islamic periods, are just under the surface of the Temple Mount.

Continued Mazar: “I am absolutely sure, in light of my very rich experience excavating Jerusalem for 30 years now, all these remains are waiting to be revealed. And if it can’t be done nowadays because of all kinds of sensitivities, at least we should take care that it won’t be ruined for future excavations when time comes.”

Mazar was speaking in an interview with “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio. 

The above and more, as well as the audio of the interview is here.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 6, 2011 at 12:22


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