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Member since: Sat Dec 6, 2008, 12:53 PM
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Then and now dog pics


With alleged airstrike, Israel punctuates opposition to Syria ceasefire pact


In addition to whatever tactical value was gained from destroying such a facility, the early Thursday morning bombing run also presented a message to Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, as well as to the United States and Russia, that Israel would continue to act in the war-torn country if necessary — ceasefire between the regime and rebels be damned.

The target was a Scientific Studies and Research Center (CERS) facility, which reportedly produces and stores both chemical weapons and precision missiles, located outside the city of Masyaf, in Syria’s northwestern Hama region, nearly 300 kilometers away from Israel’s northernmost air base.

It targeted a Syrian military-scientific center for the development and manufacture of, among other things, precision missiles which will have a significant role in the next round of conflict,” wrote Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israel’s Military Intelligence, on Twitter.

Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser, also noted that the rockets fired by Hezbollah at a Haifa train station during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, which killed eight people, were manufactured at the Masyaf facility.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he told Russian President Vladimir Putin explicitly that Israel would act in Syria, during their meeting last month in the Russian city of Sochi.


Yadlin noted that Russia and the US, which are helping negotiate and maintain a ceasefire in Syria, have been “ignoring the red lines that Israel has established.”

For instance, last week, the Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported that the US agreed to let Iran-backed militias take positions within 10 kilometers of Israel’s border with the Syrian Golan Heights, a troubling notion for the Jewish state as it would open up yet another potential front for terrorist groups in a future conflict.

According to Yadlin, the overnight airstrike also served to show that the presence of Russian troops — and their advanced air defense systems — “do not prevent actions, which are attributed to Israel, in Syria.”


Yet Thursday’s strike also represented a change in tack for Israel, Amidror said during a phone briefing with reporters organized by the Israel Project.

Yadlin wrote that the attack was “not routine.” Indeed, it was the first airstrike apparently conducted by the IAF since the Russian-American brokered ceasefire went into effect earlier this summer.

Israel has cast doubts over the agreement, which it says allows Iran to entrench itself near the Golan border in southern Syria.

According to Amidror, the strike on the CERS base was the first time Israel targeted not a Hezbollah weapons convoy nor a Hezbollah warehouse on a Syrian base, but an Assad regime production facility.

The former national security adviser connected the airstrike to Nasrallah’s visit to Damascus last week. He said that during the terrorist leader’s visit to Syria, he likely secured a deal in which Assad would either “transfer the facility to Hezbollah or at least supply weapons to Hezbollah.”



Israel hits Syrian site said to be linked to chemical weapons

BEIRUT/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel attacked a military site in Syria’s Hama province early on Thursday, the Syrian army said, and a war monitoring group said the target could be linked to chemical weapons production.

The air strike killed two soldiers and caused damage near the town of Masyaf, an army statement said. It warned of the “dangerous repercussions of this aggressive action to the security and stability of the region”.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war, said the attack was on a facility of the Scientific Studies and Research Centre, an agency which the United States describes as Syria’s chemical weapons manufacturer.

It came the morning after U.N. investigators said the Syrian government was responsible for a sarin poison gas attack in April.


100 Common Myths & Misconceptions: The world's most widespread falsehoods - debunked


Woman Discovers Her Pet Chameleon Will Hold Anything She Hands Her

We think of dogs and cats as being the only pets that can make us laugh, but as artist Emma Ward shows us, that’s not true. In a brief series of amusing images, she photographed her pet chameleon Olive holding tiny toy objects. Tweeting that the reptile will “grab anything you give them,” Ward armed the green creature with miniature swords and battle axes. This is all as Olive looks on, clearly unimpressed with the great power that they now wield.

Since tweeting the three pictures of Olive, the reptile has gone viral with over 169,000 retweets. Although Ward didn’t anticipate such a fervent response, the series is a perfect combination of her and Olive’s interests. Ward is a fantasy-style illustrator who enjoys creating imaginative characters and worlds—and collecting things from them. Olive, on the other hand, simply appreciates smalls things. “Knowing she likes to grasp anything that goes in her hands, I thought Lego swords and Evangelion weapons would be an interesting idea,” Ward explained to Chron.com.

Since Olive’s explosive debut, Ward has continued the trend and put her leopard gecko Stimpy in a variety of fabulous hats. Maybe it could be friends with this similarly fashionable toad.


What Makes John Bonham Such a Good Drummer?

Researcher Finds New Evidence of Western Forest Decline

CORTEZ, Colorado – In Colorado’s San Juan National Forest, between 7,000 and 10,000 feet, quaking aspen grow in glorious, shimmering groves. In mid-2004, Forest Service rangers noticed the aspen groves sickening. Trees crowns browned in patchy clusters. Their lime-green, spear-shaped leaves dropped. Aerial surveys observed a rapidly widening area of forest illness and death in the years that followed.

In 2008, William Anderegg drove from California to his parents’ home in Cortez, Colorado, a farming and ranging town south of the National Forest. He also noticed the dying aspens. It was late summer and he’d just graduated from college at Stanford. The compact crowns should have been alight with thick swaying foliage. But on many trees, the branches were bare.

“It was pretty eye-opening to see the forest change so much in my lifetime,” he recalled recently.

William resolved to track down what had killed the trees, where he’d often hunted with his dad. Their hunting ground turned out to offer the first indication of what was becoming possibly the largest loss of aspen ever.

Now a biology professor at the University of Utah, Williams’ research on that tree epidemic has helped shed light on threats to forests across the West, from Mexico to northern Canada. And it suggests that the planet might warm faster than climate scientists have forecast.


Pilot Flies 750 Miles to Save a Dog That Was Given 24 Hours to Live

While dogs might be man’s best friend, this man is now definitely the best friend of Lisa the pup.

Lisa, also known as Adrienne, is a 2-year-old dog who was rescued by the Granville County Animal Shelter in Oxford, North Carolina when she was found on the streets with a severe bladder prolapse. Because the surgery for the prolapse was too serious, Lisa was sentenced to euthanization.

That is, until Animals R Family – an animal wellness center and charity in Englishtown, New Jersey, heard about her plight.

The charity volunteered the $1,500 necessary for the surgery, but they had no idea how they were going to get Lisa from North Carolina to the animal hospital before the deadline.


Usain Bolts illustrious career ends in tears after injury downs him in final race

It was a heartbreaking ending to an outstanding track and field career for Usain Bolt on Saturday at the IAAF World Championships in London.

Running the final leg of the men’s 4×100 relay for Jamaica, Bolt failed to finish after an injury led him to pull up just after teammate Yohan Blake handed him the baton.

Bolt collapsed on the track, as the British, American and Japanese teams soared ahead to secure their first, second and third podium spots, respectively. This is the first time since 2008 that a team other than Jamaica won the event at a major meet.


Jews once fought and died for voting rights. Here's why some are still at it.

NEW YORK (JTA) — Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner are about the closest American Jews have to secular saints. The two Jewish civil rights workers traveled south for the Freedom Summer campaign of 1964, joining the African-American activist James Chaney in canvassing black churches. All three were kidnapped and murdered by a lynch mob.

Forty-three years ago next Friday, Aug. 4, their bullet-riddled bodies were found buried in a dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi, 44 days after their disappearance.

The hagiographies of the two Jewish men, both in their 20s, sometimes overlook the specific purpose of their trip to the Jim Crow South: registering African-Americans in Mississippi to vote. Freedom Summer was meant to directly confront efforts, legal and otherwise, to prevent blacks from voting: poll taxes and literacy tests, fear and intimidation, and as Goodman, Schwerner and Cheney found out, beatings and lynchings.

As the Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE, described the mission, “the inability to vote was only one of many problems blacks encountered in the racist society around them, but the civil-rights officials who decided to zero in on voter registration understood its crucial significance as well the white supremacists did. An African American voting bloc would be able to effect social and political change.”

It was the unfinished business of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney that animated 24 faith groups, 17 of them Jewish, to write a letter to Congress urging lawmakers not to fund the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity — the Orwellian name for President Donald Trump’s effort to hunt down those 3 million illegal ballots that he claims illicitly cost him the popular vote. That’s Trump’s agenda, anyway. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and other commission members say they merely want to gauge the extent of the problem and propose remedies.

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