••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

KABUL, Afghanistan - Violence in Afghanistan has surged nearly 30 percent this year and suicide bombings are inflicting a high toll on civilians, a new United Nations report says.

The report said Afghanistan is averaging 550 violent incidents a month, up from an average of 425 last year. It said three-fourths of suicide bombings are targeting international and Afghan security forces, but suicide bombers also killed 143 civilians through August.

TEHRAN, Iran - They own car factories and construction firms, operate newspaper groups and oil fields and increasingly, serve in parliament or become provincial governors. To supporters, the Revolutionary Guards are the cream of Iran's talent.

To the United States, they are simply terrorists.

Either way, the group formed to safeguard Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution has pushed well beyond its military roots: Current and former members now hold a growing role across the country's government and economy, sometimes openly and other times in shadow.

SEOUL, Oct. 3 -- For an isolated leader whose cash-strapped country could this week receive a large injection of money from a high-ranking visitor, North Korea's Kim Jong Il did not appear especially convivial on Tuesday at the opening of the North-South summit he is hosting in Pyongyang.

A huge and apparently state-orchestrated crowd of North Koreans cheered and waved pink paper flowers as Kim shook hands with South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun, who had traveled north by car from Seoul for the summit. Roh's advisers have said that the prosperous South is ready to make substantial economic and infrastructure investments in the North's decaying Stalinist economy.

But the reclusive Kim, dressed in the gray military-style jumpsuit he wears to meet the world's television cameras, managed only a tight smile when he shook hands with Roh on a red carpet in front of a performing arts hall.

For the remainder of the 12-minute encounter between the two leaders -- their only known get-together on day one of a three-day summit -- Kim looked dour and seemed to avoid eye contact with Roh.

Kim's cool greeting -- watched live by millions of people in South Korea -- set television commentators chattering late into the evening here in Seoul.

Kim and Roh opened formal talks Wednesday morning in Pyongyang, and Kim was more convivial and smiling for cameras. Kim thanked Roh for his gift of traditional Korean fabrics and said, "I hope you are satisfied with your stay."

In Seoul, meanwhile, a spokesman for the South Korean government denied that Roh's reception in Pyongyang had been cool.

"We believe it was the appropriate reception attitude," the spokesman said. He added that Kim had "expressed his most sincere courtesy and politeness" toward Roh.

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