Saturday, November 18, 2006

Three more...


Britain's Queen Elizabeth's Imperial State Crown is carried to the robing room for the opening of Parliament in London November 15, 2006. The Queen will present Prime Minister Tony Blair's final legislative slate to Parliament in an elaborate ceremony. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrive for the State Opening of Parliament in London November 15, 2006. Queen Elizabeth presented Prime Minister Blair's final legislative slate to Parliament in an elaborate ceremony on Wednesday. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, center left, and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, center right, leave the Palace of Westminster in London after the Queen delivered her speech at the State Opening of Parliament, Wednesday Nov. 15, 2006. Ambitious plans to tackle the threats of terrorism and climate change were expected to dominate Prime Minister Tony Blair's final legislative program, which was being presented to Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II Wednesday in an opulent annual ceremony. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)

Photos: Opening of Parliament


Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters collect lanterns as they prepare for the 'Ceremonial Search' in the Prince's Chamber in the House of Lords. Counter-terrorism and security are at the heart of Tony Blair's last legislative programme as Britain's Prime Minister, as Queen Elizabeth II opened parliament amid a show of pomp and pageantry. Photo:Odd Andersen/AFP

Yeoman Warders, or Beefeaters prepare for the 'Ceremonial Search' in the Prince's Chamber as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II prepares to address the State Opening of Parliament at the Houses of Parliament, in London, Wednesday Nov. 15, 2006. Ambitious plans to tackle the threats of terrorism and climate change were expected to dominate Prime Minister Tony Blair's final legislative program, which was being presented to Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II Wednesday in an opulent annual ceremony. (AP Photo/Odd Anderson, Pool)

Queen Elizabeth II leaves Buckingham Palace in the 'Australia State Coach' as she heads towards Parliament for the 'State Opening of Parliament,' in London. Counter-terrorism and security are at the heart of Tony Blair's last legislative programme as Prime Minister, as the Queen opened parliament amid a show of pomp and pageantry.(AFP/Carl De Souza)

Members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, escort the coach unseen, carrying Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as she leaves Buckingham Palace in central London, for the official State Opening of Parliament, Wednesday Nov. 15, 2006. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The honour guard for Britain's Queen Elizabeth march through the Royal Gallery during the State Opening of Parliament in London November 15, 2006. Queen Elizabeth presented Prime Minister Blair's final legislative slate to Parliament in an elaborate ceremony on Wednesday. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN)

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh arrive for the State Opening of Parliament in London, November 15, 2006. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Queen Elizabeth II (R) awaits the arrival of politicians before reading her speech during the State Opening of Parliament in London. The State Opening of Parliament is a glittering annual ceremony when all the pomp, pageantry and majesty of Britain's ancient royal and parliamentary traditions come together in full splendour.(AFP/Adrian Dennis)

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sits in The House of Lords awaiting the Queen's speech during the State Opening of Parliament in London, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006. Bold new laws to tackle the threats of climate change and terrorism were proposed Wednesday as Queen Elizabeth II read Prime Minister Tony Blair's final legislative program aloud in an opulent annual ceremony. (AP Photo/Adrian Dennis, Pool)

Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Prince Philip wait to address politicians at the 'State Opening Of Parliament' in London. Counter-terrorism and security are at the heart of Tony Blair's last legislative programme as Prime Minister, the Queen opened parliament amid a show of pomp and pageantry.(AFP/Pool/Adrian Dennis)

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip attend the State Opening of Parliament in London. Counter-terrorism and security are at the heart of Tony Blair's last legislative programme as Prime Minister, as the opened parliament amid a show of pomp and pageantry. Photo:Arthur Edwards/AFP


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II reads her speech during the ceremonial State Opening of Parliament last year. Policing, immigration, anti-terrorism and climate change are reportedly to be the main themes of the Queen's Speech this year, at the annual opening of parliament in which she reads a list of proposed legislation by her government(AFP/Pool/File/Kieran Doherty)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth (2nd R) talks to Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer (2nd L) and Leader of the House of Commons Jack Straw (3rd L) at the Norman Porch following the State Opening of Parliament in London November 15, 2006. Queen Elizabeth presented Prime Minister Blair's final legislative slate to Parliament in an elaborate ceremony on Wednesday. REUTERS/John Stillwell/WPA Pool (BRITAIN)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth leaves the State Opening of Parliament in London November 15, 2006. Queen Elizabeth presented Prime Minister Tony Blair's final legislative slate to Parliament in an elaborate ceremony on Wednesday. REUTERS/Matt Dunham/WPA Pool (BRITAIN)

Escorted by members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II rides in her Irish State Coach as she returns to Buckingham Palace in central London, following the official State Opening of Parliament, Wednesday Nov. 15, 2006. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Caravaggio: The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew

The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew, c.1602-6 by Italian master Caravaggio is seen in this picture release by the Royal Collection in London, Friday, Nov. 10, 2006. The painting owned by Queen Elizabeth II which languished for years in a dusty storeroom has been identified as the work of Italian master Caravaggio and will go on display at Buckingham Palace, royal art officials said Friday. Desmond Shawe-Taylor, surveyor of the queen's pictures, said that the work had been identified by experts as 'The Calling Of Saints Peter and Andrew,' one of about 50 surviving works by the Renaissance master. 'It's a huge addition to the collection,' he said. (AP Photo/Royal Collection/ho)

Dave Grossman

His website. His book On Combat can be found in the books section, along with The Two-Space War (Pete Takeshi might be interested in the latter).

(Hrm, Loren Christensen was a co-author of On Combat.)

WARTAC

Someone over at GlockTalk is a WARTAC enthusiast and recommended that I should check it out.

He also recommended some of the usual people, in particular:
Sammy Franco (CFA)
Richard Dimitri (Senshido)

and some I had not heard of before:
Geoff Thompson
Moni Aizik (Commando Krav Maga)
Jim Wagner (Reality-based personal protection)
Loren Christensen (books and videos at Paladin?; author profile)
Mike Lee Kanerek (F.I.G.H.T)
Richard Ryan (Dynamic Combat)
Tommy Dilallo (V-FSFC)
and Rich Nance/David Hallford (WARTAC)

News piece on Dragon Skin

Via SFTT:

Reporter Adam Sexton of NBC affiliate KCEE24 in Fresno, California does a special report on Dragon Skin armor.
Part 1
Part 2

No multi-faith coronation for Prince Charles

Apparently he's still in the line of succession. :P

Via NOR.

Charles' hopes of multi-faith coronation dashed by Church
15.11.06

Prince Charles' hopes of a multi-faith coronation suffered a blow when the Church of England asserted the historic importance of a solely Christian service when he becomes King.

In a rebuke to the Prince's hopes of inviting Muslims, Hindus and others to take an equal role in Westminster Abbey, the Church declared that Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams will design the coronation service.

The highly unusual statement was the Church's first official pronouncement on how the coronation will be handled and it comes amid intensifying controversy over the role of non-Christian faiths and non-Anglican Christian denominations.

Charles has long made clear his yearning for a ceremony in which Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh beliefs take a place alongside the doctrines of the Church of England.

Dr Williams, however, has insisted that the Prince must restrain his interest in other faiths and stay within the 'constitutional framework' that makes him Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

The intervention from the Church made plain that Charles will be on his own if he tries to introduce other faiths into the religious coronation service at the Abbey.

The Church's leading lay official, General Synod Secretary General William Fittall said yesterday: 'The coronation service is conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose duty this has normally been since 1066.

"He, consequently, takes the lead in preparing the order of service for the approval of the sovereign."

Mr Fittall, a former senior civil servant at the Home Office who has led the CofE bureaucracy for four years, delivered his statement in reply to a request from a Synod member to 'clarify who decides the form of the next coronation service".

The statement follows remarks by two leading Anglican prelates in the past few days on the importance of the Christian monarchy.

Earlier this week, Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu told the Daily Mail that "the Church of England reminds the nation that in this country the Queen is Defender of the Faith, head of the Commonwealth and head of state."

He said of the relationship between Church and monarch: "You change it at your peril".

Dr Sentamu's comments came in the wake of an interview given at the beginning of the month by Bishop of Rochester Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, who said that "the coronation service is singularly Christian in its form" and added that the Prince's duty is to defend 'the historic faith of our Church".

Dr Sentamu, who is number two in the CofE hierarchy, and Dr Nazir-Ali are the two leading foreign-born bishops in the Church. It may not be coincidental that the Archbishop of York, from Uganda, and the Bishop of Rochester, from Pakistan, come from parts of the world where Christianity is under heavy pressure from Islam.

The official confirmation of Dr William's lead role in the service yesterday added weight to the growing view that the Prince will be compelled to accept a traditional and solely Anglican coronation.

Other faiths will get a look in only at a subsequent and symbolically less important event to be arranged later.

An article in the Spectator magazine last month said Charles wants a second ceremony at Westminster Hall, inside the Palace of Westminster, which would admit Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh beliefs alongside those of non-Anglican Christians. This would be held at a later date.

The Prince, who will take the title Defender of the Faith when he becomes King, said 12 years ago that he wished to be seen rather as a Defender of Faith.

His push for a shift to a multi-faith monarchy alarmed many churchmen and politicians who saw it undermining both longstanding constitutional practice and the monarch's position as Supreme Governor of the Church.

Charles is said to be determined to have a 'focused and telecentric' coronation that reflects a new era and a new kind of reign.

But Dr Williams delivered a warning against undermining the Christian monarchy when he went to Lambeth Palace nearly four years ago.

The Archbishop said early in 2003: "I am glad the Prince of Wales takes faith communities as seriously as he does but the actual title, there is a historical, constitutional framework for it which you don't just change by fiat."

Constitutional historian Professor Anthony Glees welcomed the Church's assertion of its role.

"I am pleased that the Church is drawing attention to the importance of Christianity in the coronation, which of course we all hope will be a long time coming," he said.

"We should remember Winston Churchill's "finest hour" speech in 1940, in which he said the Battle of Britain was about to begin and that on it depended "the survival of Christian civilisation".

"The reminder that this is a Christian country will be welcomed by many who fought to preserve it and those who remember them. They will be glad that the Archbishop of Canterbury has taken the point."

Some Christian groups remain unhappy that the Prince is thought to be considering a multi-faith event to follow the coronation.

Colin Hart of the Christian Institute think tank said: "There are huge obstacles to a multi-faith coronation service and the constitution would unravel if Charles tried to do something different.

"But I find it bizarre that he intends to take a Christian coronation oath and then stage a second ceremony at which he will declare loyalty to other faiths. That appears to be breaking his oath."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Release date for Letters from Iwo Jima moved earlier

Eastwood Sending Letters Early
Iwo Jima flick moved up.
by IGN Staff

November 16, 2006 - The release date for Warner Bros.' forthcoming Clint Eastwood film, Letters From Iwo Jima, has been moved up. The Flags of Our Fathers companion piece had been set for a February 9th bow, but will now open on December 20th... that's just in time for Oscar consideration.

Variety reports that the movie will first release in Los Angeles, New York, and potentially San Francisco.

Eastwood personally approached Warners about making the change after he consulted with producer Steven Spielberg, the trade says.

Letters, formerly titled Red Sun, Black Sand, is the story of the battle of Iwo Jima told from a Japanese perspective. Eastwood directed the WWII drama from a script by Iris Yamashita.

The film, which is told like a memoir of one of the Japanese soldiers, follows a group of men who watch helplessly as their comrades are killed. It stars Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Ryo Kase, Shidou Nakamura and Tsuyoshi Ihara.

Come Oscar time, voters could choose their favorite of Eastwood's two Iwo Jima films and vote for that one. It's unclear how it all might play out as two companion films have never been in serious contention during the same year.


Trailer for Turistas; might be your kind of movie, Sarge.

Plus, Thing redo planned.

Withdrawals from the Modernity Conference

including Steve Long and Michael Foley... I suppose I can write a longer paper now since there will be just two of us, with Dr. Long absent.

Too bad the niece won't be at the conference haha. I'd skip out on my own session to watch her.

Father Cantalamessa on the End of the World

Father Cantalamessa on the End of the World

Pontifical Household Preacher on Sunday's Gospel

ROME, NOV. 17, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the readings from this Sunday's liturgy.

* * *

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (b)
Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; Mark 13:24-32

The Gospel of the second to last Sunday of the liturgical year is the classic text on the end of the world. There has always been someone who has taken it upon themselves to wave this page of the Gospel in the face of their contemporaries and provoke psychosis and fear. My advice is to be calm and to not let yourself be in the least bit troubled by these visions of catastrophe.

Just read the last line of the same Gospel passage: "But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." If neither the angels nor the Son (insofar as he is man and not insofar as he is God) know the day or hour of the end, is it possible that a member of some sect or some religious fanatic would know and be authorized to announce it? In the Gospel Jesus assures us of the fact of his return and the gathering his chosen ones from the "four winds"; the when and the how of his return (on the clouds between the darkening of the sun and the falling of the stars) is part of the figurative language of the literary genre of these discourses.

Another observation might help explain certain pages of the Gospel. When we talk about the end of the world on the basis of the understanding of time that we have today, we immediately think of the absolute end of the world, after which there can be nothing but eternity. But the Bible goes about its reasoning with relative and historical categories more than with absolute and metaphysical ones. Thus, when the Bible speaks of the end of the world, it intends quite often the concrete world, that which in fact exists for and is known by a certain group of people, their world. It is, in sum, the end of a world that is being treated not the end of the world, even if the two perspectives at times intertwine.

Jesus says: "This generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place." Is he mistaken? No, it was the world that was known to his hearers that passed away, the Jewish world. It tragically passed away with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. When, in 410, the Vandals sacked Rome, many great figures of the time thought that it was the end of the world. They were not all that wrong; one world did end, the one created by Rome with its empire. In this sense, those who, with the destruction of the twin towers on September 11, 2001, thought of the end of the world, were not mistaken ...

None of this diminishes the seriousness of the Christian charge but only deepens it. It would be the greatest foolishness to console oneself by saying that no one knows when the end of the world will be and forgetting that, for any of us, it could be this very night. For this reason Jesus concludes today's Gospel with the recommendation that we "be vigilant because no one knows when the exact moment will be."

We must, I think, completely change the attitude with which we listen to these Gospels that speak of the end of the world and the return of Christ. We must no longer regard as a punishment and a veiled threat that which the Scriptures call "the blessed hope" of Christians, that is, the return of our Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). The mistaken idea we have of God must be corrected. The recurrent talk about the end of the world which is often engaged in by those with a distorted religious sentiment, has a devastating effect on many people. It reinforces the idea of a God who is always angry, ready to vent his wrath on the world. But this is not the God of the Bible which a psalm describes as "merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, who will not always accuse or keep his anger forever ... because he knows that we are made of dust" (Psalm 103:8-14).


We may not be reaching the "absolute" end of the world, but we are reaching a crisis point. Let's have some more focus on that.

Debbie Maken's blog

Her blog. Her book.

Camerin Courtney's response

How Churches Have Failed Singles
Mixed messages and counterproductive 'singles ministries' have forced many Christians to endure protracted singlehood.
By Debbie Maken

Getting to Marriage: What You Can Do by Candice Z. Watters
Rethinking the Gift of Singleness by Debbie Maken

Photos: QE2 at the Casino Royale Premiere


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives for the world premiere of the new James Bond film 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives for the world premiere of the new James Bond film 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, left, speaks with British actress and cast member Judi Dench before the world premiere of the latest James Bond movie 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square in London, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006. (AP Photo/Stephen Hird, Pool)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth meets actress Eva Green (R) during the world premiere of the latest James Bond movie 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square in London November 14, 2006. REUTERS/Stephen Hird (BRITAIN)


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, left, meets actor Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, during the world premiere of the latest James Bond movie 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square in London, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006. (AP Photo/Michael Dunlea, Pool)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, left, meets actor Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, during the world premiere of the latest James Bond movie 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square in London, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006. (AP Photo/Stephen Hird, Pool)

For Sarge: Your Bond girls:

Actress Caterina Murino poses for photographers as she arrives for the world premiere of the latest James Bond movie 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square in London November 14, 2006. REUTERS/Stephen Hird

Actress Caterina Murino poses for photographers as she arrives for the world premiere of the latest James Bond movie 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square in London November 14, 2006. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico (BRITAIN)

Actress Caterina Murino poses for photographers as she arrives for the world premiere of the latest James Bond movie 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square in London November 14, 2006. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN)


Actress Caterina Murino arrives for the Swiss premiere of the latest James Bond movie 'Casino Royale' at the Abaton cinema in Zurich November 16, 2006. REUTERS/Siggi Bucher (SWITZERLAND)

French actress Eva Green arrives for the world premiere of the new James Bond film 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006. Green is Vesper Lynd in the new James Bond. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)


French actress and cast member Eva Green arrives for the world premiere of the new James Bond film 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Actress Eva Green poses at the premiere of the latest James Bond movie 'Casino Royale' in Paris, November 17, 2006. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (FRANCE)



Actress Eva Green meets the fans as she arrives for the world premiere of the new James Bond film 'Casino Royale' at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Crescent Security Group

website

4 American contractors and an Austrian were kidnapped in a convoy hijacking near the Kuwait border. News on a firefight that took place near the kidnap site.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

XM-8 vids



UCLA police taser student

news and some discussion here

I take the time to look not at the use of the taser, as you can see my comments in the thread and if there is an official inquiry into the incident the actions of the police offers will be evaluted by someone with the competent authority. (If the use of force policy for the UCLA PD is anything like the one for Portland, I don't see any reason why any disciplinary action would be taken.)

Rather, I want to look at the reactions of the youth, who have inherited the anti-authority streak of the 60s generation to no great benefit, but to their actual detriment. Responsible citizenship is not simply protesting against the use of force or the exercise of authority or casting a vote at a ballot box, it involves the use of reason to come to understand the law (broadly construed so as to include use of force policies), rather than assuming that one's opinion is correct and that one should be instantly made both legislator and judge.

If you watch the video you can hear the students telling the police not to use the taser again and asking for badge numbers--you see how they automatically assume they know what they're saying, instead of realizing they are interfering with a police action/arrest.

If anything, they should have called for a supervising officer, or placed a complaint with the police department, instead of confronting the officers at the scene.

With this sort of "know-it-all" attitude exhibited by the young towards the police, is there any wonder why they have a distrust of police officers? This coupled with a disdain for the use of force when it is justified to be necessary--is our society not becoming soft when it sees pain as being the greatest evil? No one is protesting about the student's (the one tasered) lack of obedience to a legitimate authority.

F W Engdahl

I was prompted by the season finale of Spooks to do a search for the fictional report requested by the British gov't on policy recommendations in light of climate change, "Aftermath." I came across F. William Engdahl here. (Reaction to the episode at Power Switch Forums.)

He is the author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. His website, Geopolitics-Geoeconomics.

This looks particular interesting:
World Finance and Monetary Designs after WW I

Some articles elsewhere:
USA out-flanked in Eurasia Energy Politics?
Why Iran's oil bourse can't break the buck

Back to Spooks coverage:
Creator of TV drama Spooks reveals the secrets of her success
Miranda Raison cv (she plays Jo Portman on Spooks)

America and the Dollar Illusion

By Gabor Steingart

Global oil production – “Rate of Conversion” is the key.

Global oil production – “Rate of Conversion” is the key.
by Keith Skipper

Another response to CERA, by Jan Lundberg

Casino Royale interviews

at Movies.IGN

Walther pistols

Since Casino Royale is coming out this week...

The original Walther PPK, which will evidently make an appearance in the film.


P99 QA (not sure if it was the QA or the standard which was used by Pierce Brosnan in a couple of the Bond films)

Walther America
(Carl) Walther

Briohny, Part 2








search results
http://www.sendspace.com/file/79p90c

China officially admits executed prisoners are the basis of organ trafficking

16 November, 2006
CHINA
China officially admits executed prisoners are the basis of organ trafficking
Health authorities acknowledge the problem for the first time. They also recognise the existence of an organ black market but deny public officials are involved, blaming instead surgeons, who in turn, refute such allegations.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China’s government has admitted that an illegal traffic in human organs for transplant actually exists, but blamed it on the work of rogue surgeons. For this reason, it has called on the members of the profession to adhere to a “code of conduct”.

Addressing a conference of surgeons in Guangzhou yesterday, Deputy Health Minister Huang Jiefu acknowledged that most organs harvested come from executed prisoners. He insisted that informed consent must inform organ harvesting, that donation be voluntary and done with the consent of donors or their families.

“The harvesting, distribution and use of organs must be closely tracked under responsible supervision by related administrations,” Mr Huang said.

“Under-the-table business must be banned,” Mr Huang said cognizant that too often organs come from non consenting parties and are sold for high fees to foreigners.

He added that the authorities would set up an information network that would register and keep track of all human organ donations. For some time now relatives of executed prisoners have accused the authorities of harvesting organs from dead prisoners without their consent or respect for rules with the complicity of prison officials.

China executes anywhere between two and ten thousands prisoners, the highest number in the world. And families have complained that the bodies of their executed relatives are not handed over.

Human right groups have said some mainland hospitals have traded organs to patients in other countries, and foreign patients disguised as tourists have come to the mainland for transplants using organs from prisoners or other donors who had not given their informed consent.

In response to the charges the Health Ministry issued an Interim Regulations on Human Organ Transplant Clinic Application Administration in March. These allow only top hospitals with qualified doctors, equipment and technical facilities to provide organ transplant surgery and ban organ trading and unwilling donation.

Although the regulations took effect in July, they have not had any effective influence, this according to organ transplant professionals. Still, this is the first time the authorities officially acknowledge the existence of a black market in transplant organs from executed prisoners.

Surgeons responded immediately to a request by the Health Minister to abide by the ethical regulation of human organ transplants. This means that the responsibility falls on their shoulders.

The code of conduct insists on the obligation for everyone in the medical profession to respect the law and the ethical principles of medicine and thus not participate in the harvesting and trading in organs without the written consent of the donor.

About 600 surgeons gathered in Guangzhou agreed not to be involved in any organ trading or provide transplant services to foreign patients visiting as tourists, and that they would abide by the law and respect ethical rules. (PB)

Group says faith eroding science

Group says faith eroding science

WASHINGTON – Concerned that the voice of science and secularism is growing ever fainter in the White House, on Capitol Hill and in culture, a group of prominent scientists and advocates of church-state separation on Tuesday announced formation of a Washington think tank designed to promote “rationalism” as the basis of public policy.

The brainchild of Paul Kurtz, founder of the Center for Inquiry-Transnational, the small public policy office will lobby and sometimes litigate on behalf of science-based decision making and against religion in government affairs.

The announcement was accompanied by release of a “Declaration in Defense of Science and Secularism,” which bemoans what signers say is a growing lack of understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry and the value of a rational approach to life.

“This disdain for science is aggravated by the excessive influence of religious doctrine on our public policies,” the declaration says. “We cannot hope to convince those in other countries of the dangers of religious fundamentalism when religious fundamentalists influence our policies at home.”

While the speakers at the National Press Club unveiling were highly critical of Bush administration policies regarding stem-cell research, global warming, abstinence-only sex education and the teaching of “intelligent design,” they said that their group was non-partisan and that many Democrats were hostile to keeping religion out of public policy.


The intellectual arrogance. Someone like Robert George should write a reply, but does it really matter? Unfortunately there are plenty of people willing to fund think-tanks such as this.

Center for Inquiry Transnational

Photos: HK premieres



Chinese actress Gong Li (C), Chinese director Zhang Yimou (R) and actor Chow Yun-Fat from Hong Kong pose at a screening of their new film 'Curse of the Golden Flower', written and directed by Zhang Yimou, during the Closing Night at the AFI Fest 2006 in Hollywood, California November 12, 2006. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)

Chinese actress Gong Li (R) and Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-Fat pose at a screening of their new film 'Curse of the Golden Flower', written and directed by Chinese director Zhang Yimou, during the Closing Night at the AFI Fest 2006 in Hollywood, California November 12, 2006. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)



Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing, right, and Hong Kong actor Louis Koo pose for photographers during a press conference to promote their new film 'City With No Mercy' in Hong Kong Monday, Nov. 13, 2006. The film is director by Hong Kong director Wilson Yip. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

From left, Hong Kong actor Louis Koo, Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing, Xu Qing, Hong Kong actor Collin Chow, and Donnie Yuen pose for photographers during a press conference of their new film ' City With No Mercy' in Hong Kong Monday, Nov. 13, 2006. The film is directed by Hong Kong director Wilson Yip. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

(L-R) Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, Hong Kong actor Kent Cheng, actor Xu Qing, Collin Chou, Louis Koo and Donnie Yen pose during a news conference to promote their movie 'City With No Mercy' in Hong Kong November 13, 2006. REUTERS/Paul Yeung



Chinese actress Fan Bingbing poses during a news conference to promote her movie 'City With No Mercy' in Hong Kong November 13, 2006. REUTERS/Paul Yeung

Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing smiles during a press conference of her new film 'City With No Mercy' in Hong Kong Monday, Nov. 13, 2006. The film is directed by Hong Kong director Wilson Yip. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Chinese actress Xu Qing smiles during a press conference of her new film 'City With No Mercy' in Hong Kong Monday, Nov. 13, 2006. The film is directed by Hong Kong director Wilson Yip. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Chinese actress Xu Qing (L) and actor Collin Chou pose during a news conference to promote their movie 'City With No Mercy' in Hong Kong November 13, 2006. REUTERS/Paul Yeung