80% of Americans believe in Angels. Though they can't seem to decide what an Angel actually is. Guiding spirit or floaty billowy glowing white chick with wings?
More than 80% of Brits, meanwhile, believe that religion causes societal tensions and does more harm than good. More than two-thirds of Brits now regard themselves as either agnostic, atheist, or just not very religious at all.
ARE these really the most Pivotal Moments Of 2006?
ROY BROWN has spent sixteen years in jail for a murder he didn't commit. The good news is that the real killer has now been found by the use of DNA evidence. The most amazing news is that it was Roy Brown himself who solved the murder. Roy Brown knew he didn't commit murder, so he set out to prove it as a fact. Mission accomplished. Expect movie rights to this story to be sold by tomorrow.
WHY is US President Bush so interested in, and spending so much money on, the restoration of World War II-era Japanese concentration camps, built to hold tens of thousands of people?
"SERENITY NOW!" George Constanza's father hated Christmas, so he created his own pre-Christmas holiday called 'Festivus'. There was no tree involved, just a bare steel pole instead. You can now buy 'Festivus' poles, and the popularity of the fictional holiday created by the writers of Seinfeld, is starting to grow in the real world. Gather the family together and air your grievances, then wrestle the host to the floor.
THE MegaDrought hitting Australia right now has resulted in millions of sheep "with no commercial value." Farmers can't give the scrawny, pathetic creatures away.
In a sign of coming food shortages, Australian farms will only produce 30% of the wheat they produced last year. The water is running out and the farms aren't producing the grain and meat volumes of only twelve months ago. The Treasurer believes if Australia isn't monsooned with unprecedented rainfalls next year, "the situation is going to get dramatically worse."
TANKS and troop carriers from Ethiopia are rumoured to be crossing the border into Somalia, to go to battle against the Islamists who seized control of the Somalian capital Mogadishu, and forced out the US/UK backed warlords who had been killing and terrorising the locals.
The Islamists are proving to be more popular in Somalia than the warlords, which means a massive strategic threat exists for the US in Somalia today.
There are great, and very valid, fears right now across Africa, and in Washington DC, that the Ethiopia Vs Somalian Islamists confrontations could quickly thunderstorm into an all out war across the Horn Of Africa.
Particularly now that the Somali Islamic Courts are said to have put out a worldwide call for jihadists to come and join the battle against the Ethiopians.
WHAT sort of sick, demented freaks scale a fence so they can strangle and stab to death a bunch of penguins?
WHEN I was about ten years old, there was nothing cooler than Atari video game system. Cutting edge stuff. Missile Command and Defender. I told a school teacher that when I grew up, I wanted to be a professional video game player. She laughed so hard she had to leave the room.
Times have indeed changed.
Victor De Leon is an eight year old, he plays online under the moniker 'Lil Poison', he's got sponsorship deals, he wins thousands of dollars at gaming tournaments, he gives online tutorials for $25 an hour and he's about to release his own line of...casual clothing.
E-Sports, Cyber-Athletics, call it what you want, but professional international gaming is huge business. Some tournaments have cash prize packages worth $200,000, other adult gamers can pick up half a million a year in sponsorship deals. And yes, apparently they have their own groupies.
SO much for all "let's liberate Iraq and give freedom to their women." At least 30 women a month are being executed by Sunni serial killers for 'crimes against honour.'
And still more women are being executed, in public, by Shiites, for many of the same reasons that Sunnis cite.
At least these two tribes can agree on something : women who dishonour themselves or their husbands must be garroted with wire and hung from soccer goalposts. Sickening.
For many women in Iraq, the invasion and occupation has turned back the clocks of civilisation by centuries.
And there's this appalling story. Female university students are being abducted by militiamen, raped, murdered and then their corpses are dumped in the street. Bizarrely, this news barely reaches the inner pages of Iraq's US-backed daily newspapers.
A truly sickening story here where a couple of the 100,000 private security and security forces' contractors in Iraq claim their supervisor was a blood-lusting mental case, who shot civilians for fun : "I'm going to kill somebody today..."
Iraq. Paradise For Serial Killers.
THE American Middle Class as the New Socialist Revolutionaries, kinda. Fascinating story here that discusses how skilled professional workers in the United States are at greater risk of long-term unemployment and more likely to fall the farthest and hardest when the US economy takes a spirally kind of downward turn in 2007-2008.
Seems there are some very angry, very indebted and activist-ready ex-Republicans brewing up a new political party class. Or it may just be a load of old wank from the waffle-bubble back pages of the New York Times Magazine.
HE was supposed to be Indonesia and Australia's Osama Bin Laden. A hardline Muslim cleric who may, or may not, have been involved in brutal terrorist attacks, and regularly spouted about the need for worldwide Sharia Law, Jewish conspiracies and the corruption of Australian society by tits and booze and Americans
The Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir is regarded by most Australians as being directly responsible for the Bali bombings in 2002 that killed and injured more than 200 Australians. He's just been cleared of all charges relating to the terror attacks. The Indonesia courts have declared he is an innocent man.
Bashir used all the media coverage of his trials and appeals to regularly goad the Australian prime minister, John Howard.
"If John Howard wants to be safe and avoid going to Hell, I suggest he covert to Islam," was one of Bashir's most famous taunts.
Bashir gave an interview in September where he announced the following : "You can kill Muslims, but Islam cannot be killed. You will be destroyed if you fight Islam..."
The whole Bashir fiasco ending in him being cleared of all charges is expected to lead to more tensions between Australia and Indonesia. Australia has had a rough year in its local region. There's been trouble and violence in Indonesia, Java, West Papua, Fiji, the Solomons Islands, Papua New Guinea...
FAILED US President candidate John Kerry knows a lot about 'flip-flopping'.
So much, in fact, that he is now advising President Bush on when and how to flip the flop.
President Bush is sitting on the most spectacular presidential flop in Iraq right now, and Kerry wants Bush to know it's not to late to flip it into something better :
"Conversation is not capitulation. Until recently, it was widely accepted that good foreign policy demands a willingness to seize opportunities and change policy as the facts change. That's neither flip-flopping nor rudderless diplomacy -- it's strength."
INTRODUCING the Muslim Prophet they called Jesus Christ.