Philadelphia Front Page News PRESS -National Magazine

Philadelphia Front Page News PRESS -National Magazine
LETTERS/COLUMNS: Send letters to the editor for publishing to frontpagenews1@yahoo.com. Please include day/evening phone and home and email address. APEARANCE REQUESTS: All writers are available to speak on radio, television, and in print. They are also available to speak or appear at your next event. Contact Van Stone frontpagenews1@yahoo.com or (267) 293-9201 to submit a request for any writer. Do not contact the writer directly! All appearance requests go through the Managing Editor’s office. COPYRIGHT: The use of any submissions appearing on this site for monetary gain is strictly prohibited.

Power WVSR 1360

FPN NEWS “TAKE TIME FOR WINNERS IN ANY COMMUNITY!”

Philadelphia Front Page News www.fpnnews.us Your Top Stories Of The Day (267) 293-9201

Philadelphia Front Page News www.fpnnews.us Your Top Stories Of The Day (267) 293-9201
Newspaper Billboard: Above- 1 original lady who is a Van Stone Fashion and Beauty Collection Model. Philadelphia, County/Delaware County USA - Out On The Town Swim Gear. In the image is Nina Milano! She is Van Stone's Selected Princess Model out and about traveling the town scene showing women how to dress for the fun and fantastic occasion- whatever it is. Follow the beautiful women of Color as she share with you the Van Stone look- From Bold Colors and Prints to Cool Jewels! Apparel, Accessories & Jewelry Trends. Also, look for her on the Power WVSR 1360.us Radio Station Webpage. Show Your Care By Listening To The Internet Radio Station. It's Philly Internet Radio.

Click on logo to listen to Power WVSR 1360 Internet Radio Station And Visit The Webpage.

"PROMOTE YOURSELF. DO IT YOURSELF".

VAN STONE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC & USA:

Van Stone Dominican Republic & USA: Fashion and Beauty Collection

Van Stone Dominican Republic & USA: Fashion and Beauty Collection
If you are interested in wear and style by Van Stone or wish to promote your own brand or logo click on the Van Stone Logo to go the VSP member page. We can make a simple logo of your name for you. Thanks.

POWER WVSR: POPULAR HITS PLAYED BY DJ VAN STONE


Enjoy The Interactive Radio Station

Enjoy The Interactive Radio Station
Become a guest at the Power WVSR 1360.US Internet Radio Station. Click on the image to go to the radio station sign up membership page.

FPN News -Woman, Man, Teen/Kid Of The Year: Send Us Your Best Of The Year Shots

Share your women, man, teen/kid photos and help FPN promote the best of people to radio, entertainment, car shows, school, parents, and the general public. The magazine cover images are just below for news readers and music listeners to view.

FPN will be promoting the benefits of being a winner to radio, entertainment, car shows, school, parents, and the general public through this year’s theme, "Take Time for Winners in Any Community."

We would like to feature pictures of real, awesome women, men, teens/kids from across the country and beyond and need your help –and your donation for the photo.

Please consider sending your high-resolution, quality photos of your best person to FPN. Click on any of the magazine cover images to go to the VSP form submit page. Please complete the form and include the name of the individual for your image. Someone will return your submission to your email requesting that you complete the submission by emailing your picture and donation amount. Thank you for supporting the best of the year shots.

Potencia WVSR 1360.us.

Potencia WVSR 1360.us.
Haga clic en el logo para escuchar Poder WVSR 1360 la estación de radio por Internet y visitar la página web.

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images-Nina Milano -Beautiful World Imágenes- Nina Milano Van Stones

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images-Nina Milano -Beautiful World Imágenes- Nina Milano Van Stones
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images - South Asia, Latinamerica, and USA Fashion and Beauty Images.

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images - South Asia, Latinamerica, and USA Fashion and Beauty Images.
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia. Click on the image to complete the membership form.

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images -Hermosas World Images Van Stones

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images -Hermosas World Images Van Stones
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

Van Stones' Beautiful World Child Images-JONAE- Van Stones Hermosas Imágenes Mundial de Niños

Van Stones' Beautiful World Child Images-JONAE- Van Stones Hermosas Imágenes Mundial de Niños
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

WE'RE #1

WE'RE #1

Van Stones' Beautiful Tween Images-Hermosas Imágenes Tween Van Stones

Van Stones' Beautiful Tween Images-Hermosas Imágenes Tween Van Stones
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

WE'RE NO 1

WE'RE NO 1

Van Stones' Beautiful Youth Images -Van Stones imágenes hermosas de la Juventud

Van Stones' Beautiful Youth Images -Van Stones imágenes hermosas de la Juventud
Family Modeling -Modelado de la familia

Van Stones' Beautiful Child Images -Van Stones Niño hermoso Imágenes

Van Stones' Beautiful Child Images -Van Stones Niño hermoso Imágenes
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia
CHILD OF THE YEAR

WE'RE #1

WE'RE #1

Van Stones’ Beautiful Woman Images -Van Stones Imágenes hermosas de la mujer

Van Stones’ Beautiful Woman Images -Van Stones Imágenes hermosas de la mujer
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE WITH VAN STONE: (ESL) ENGLISH SECOND LANGUANGE TRAINING.

Click on the subscribe to FPN Magazine image above. Look for it at the left hand column of the page to fill out a request form.

New: LiveTV Weather Channel from Berks County, Pa

New: LiveTV Weather Channel from Berks County, Pa
WFMZ Weather TV Live

Like us On Facebook

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Lawsuit Filed In Sandusky-Penn State Child Sex Abuse Case

First Lawsuit Filed In Sandusky-Penn State Child Sex Abuse Case



PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a young boy more than 100 times after meeting him through the charity he founded, then threatened the boy’s family to keep him quiet about the encounters, according to a lawsuit filed today.

The lawsuit claims that Sandusky abused the boy at the coach’s State College home, at Penn State facilities, and on at least one bowl game trip.

The victim, identified only as “John Doe A,” claims the abuse began when he was 10 years old, back in 1992, while he was part of the Second Mile program that Sandusky ran through Penn State. He claims the abuse continued until 1996, when he was 14.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/


Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office Targeted In Wire Fraud Scheme, 4 Arrested

Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office Targeted In Wire Fraud Scheme, 4 Arrested



PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Four Philadelphia men were arrested and charged with wire fraud in connection with a scheme that targeted the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office.

One of those charged is Richard Bell – who worked in the accounting department of the Sheriff’s office.

Assistant U-S Attorney Sarah Grieb says 36-year-old Bell wrote more than $400,000 in checks to a Robert Rogers – who’s also facing charges.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Arrest Made In Hammonton, NJ Double Murder

Arrest Made In Hammonton, NJ Double Murder


HAMMONTON, N.J. (CBS) – Authorities in Atlantic County believe they have arrested the man responsible for a vicious double murder that took place in a Hammonton, N.J. home earlier this month.

The bodies of 64-year-old Diana Patterson and her 29-year-old son Ryan were found dead in the early morning hours of November 3rd, after Ryan managed to call 911 and report the attack that had just taken place.

It was an attack that left Ryan with more than 20-stab wounds.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Arizona man who murdered 9 sentenced to death

Arizona man who murdered 9 sentenced to death

AP Photo
Mark Goudeau, center, appears for his sentencing at Maricopa County Superior Court, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, in Phoenix. Jurors sentenced Goudeau to death about a month after they found him guilty of the nine murders and 58 other charges, including kidnapping and rape. They sentenced him to death on each of the nine murder counts.

PHOENIX (AP) -- An Arizona jury on Wednesday sentenced a man to death for killing nine people during a spree that terrorized the Phoenix area, rejecting the man's pleas for mercy and denials of guilt and agreeing with prosecutors that the killings were especially cruel.

Jurors reached the verdict about a month after they found 47-year-old Mark Goudeau (goo-DOH') guilty of the nine murders and 58 other charges, including kidnapping and rape. They sentenced him to death on each of the nine murder counts.

"He's a demon from hell," said Maria Nunez, whose 37-year-old daughter Sofia Nunez was killed by Goudeau on April 10, 2006. Sofia Nunez's 8-year-old son is the one who found her body, partially naked in a bathtub with a gunshot to the head.

"It's a relief that it's over," Maria Nunez said, but added that it didn't bring her much comfort. "It's not going to bring Sofia back."

Goudeau was accused of attacking his victims as they went about daily activities, such as leaving work or washing their car. He left most of them with their pants unzipped and partially pulled down.

Police named the series of killings and other crimes after Baseline Road in south Phoenix where many of the earliest attacks happened. Goudeau lived only minutes away from many of the attack sites.

Goudeau didn't want to be in the courtroom when verdicts were read, but Judge Warren Granville forced him to stay. He sat quietly and didn't flinch throughout the proceeding.

His attorney, Randall Craig, declined to comment after the sentencing, citing an appeal he plans to file.

Goudeau had been serving a 438-year sentence in a 2005 sexual assault case tied to the Baseline Killer attacks, but only recently became eligible for the death penalty after his murder convictions.

"I believe in an eye for an eye," sobbed Teresa Washington, the sister of another of Goudeau's victims, 39-year-old Tina Washington. "He's not going to die the way my sister died."

Prosecutors had argued that Goudeau was a "ravenous wolf" driven by a hunger to rape women and kill those who didn't cooperate with his demands, and that the murders were especially cruel because the victims suffered unimaginable terror and anguish in the moments leading up to their deaths.

"He enjoyed the power and dominion he exercised over these victims," prosecutor Patricia Stevens told jurors. "He enjoyed the threats of force, the threats of death."

Stevens said that each of the eight female victims was forced to agonize over whether they would be raped or killed in the moments before they were shot, and that two of them were forced to watch Goudeau kill another person before he turned the gun on them, prolonging and intensifying their own terror.

The sole male victim was killed before prosecutors say Goudeau attacked his female co-worker.

Two weeks ago, Goudeau forced his lawyers to stop calling on witnesses in support of a life sentence after a psychologist implied that Goudeau struggled with impotence and insecurity. He opted instead to address jurors himself against his lawyers' wishes, telling them to follow their hearts when they decide whether to sentence him to death or life in prison.

"I am no monster," he told them. "I could look in each and every one of your eyes today and tell you Mark Goudeau is no wolf in sheep's clothing ... I do pray that one day you guys learn the truth about this case."

After Wednesday's verdict, jurors sat down with reporters and explained the emotional toll the case had on them, how seriously they took their responsibility and how much they felt that the victims and their family members deserved justice. They also said that hearing from Goudeau himself was the first time they ever saw him express emotion during the nearly six-month trial.

"He had emotion, he had a hard time saying what he was saying," said one juror who didn't want her name used. "I don't know if it was an act but in my heart I didn't think it was an act ... It just made me think that he actually had feelings, which I didn't think he had."

Another juror said Goudeau's remarks were almost surreal.

"Having him get up and speak to us knowing that in a matter of days we would be deciding death or life for him, that was huge for me," said the juror, who also didn't want her name used. "It was uncomfortable having him talk and just knowing that I would be faced with that decision soon."

Asked if she could say one thing to Goudeau, the juror said it would be: "How could you?"

Stevens pointed out to jurors that Goudeau offered no apologies to any of the victims in the case or their families.

"He and he alone decided how each of these nine would leave this world, what their last few minutes on this Earth would be like," she said. "He put them through unspeakable terror, and he ended each and every one of these lives by putting a gun to their head and executing them, and now he asks you for mercy. He asks you for mercy that he never himself showed."

Defense attorneys argued that factors stemming from Goudeau's childhood set him up to become the man he is today and that he should be spared from the death penalty.

Mark Cunningham, a clinical and forensic psychologist, testified that Goudeau's parents abused alcohol, his mother died when he was 10, and his father was in and out of his life, forcing Goudeau's older siblings to assume most of his parenting. He also said that Goudeau likely suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, had a family history of drug and alcohol abuse, and suffered from a lack of stability in his home life.

Defense attorney Rod Carter told jurors that sentencing Goudeau to life in prison would be no slap on the wrist.

"That's where he'll be the rest of his life," Carter said. "A death sentence is as permanent as you can get."

Jurors also heard emotional statements from the family of each murder victim during the trial, causing many of the jurors to weep openly in court.

"I kept thinking they made a mistake. Not my baby," sobbed Rebecca Thompson, whose daughter was the first murder victim.

Nineteen-year-old Georgia Thompson's body was found in a Tempe parking lot on Sept. 9, 2005, a bullet to her head, an arm across her eyes and keys still in her hand. Like most of the other victims, her pants had been unzipped. As her mother spoke in court, prosecutors showed photos of the beautiful freckle-faced girl with thick brown hair and sparkling blue eyes.

Thompson had only been living in Tempe for a couple months after leaving her hometown of Post Falls, Idaho, to become a lawyer in Arizona.

"I didn't want her out of my sight and now I have to wait an eternity to see her again," Rebecca Thompson said in court.

In 2007, Goudeau was sentenced to 438 years in prison for a 2005 rape of a woman while he held a gun to her pregnant sister's belly.

He also had been imprisoned for 13 years after being convicted of beating a woman's head against a barbell.

Goudeau was the last of three suspects to go on trial for a rash of killings and attacks that terrorized the Phoenix area for more than a year.

Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman were arrested in the so-called Serial Shooter case in August 2006. Hausner was convicted in March 2009 of killing six people and attacking 19 others in dozens of random nighttime shootings and was given six death sentences. Dieteman testified against Hausner and was sentenced to life in prison.

The two serial killer cases had Phoenix-area residents on edge at the height of both sprees in the summer of 2006. Women felt particularly vulnerable because the Baseline Killer targeted women, while the Serial Shooter case made most everyone nervous because the attacks happened at random and targeted pedestrians and bicyclists at night.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

King James Bible

King James Bible

Photo: Pages from the King James Bible

The Bible of King James

First printed 400 years ago, it molded the English language, buttressed the “powers that be”—one of its famous phrases—and yet enshrined a gospel of individual freedom. No other book has given more to the English-speaking world.

Rome Wager stands in front of the rodeo chutes on a small ranch just outside the Navajo Reservation in Waterflow, New Mexico. He is surrounded by a group of young cowboys here for midweek practice. With a big silver buckle at his waist and a long mustache that rolls down on each side of his mouth like the curving ends of a pair of banisters, Wager holds up a Bible in his left hand. The young men take their hats off to balance them on their knees. "My stories always begin a little different," Brother Rome says to them as they crouch in the dust of the yard, "but the Lord always provides the punctuation."

Wager, a Baptist preacher now, is a former bull-riding and saddle-bronc pro, "with more bone breaks in my body than you've got bones in yours." He's part Dutch, part Seneca on his father's side, Lakota on his mother's, married to a full-blood Jicarilla Apache.

He tells them about his wild career. He was raised on a ranch in South Dakota; he fought and was beaten up, shot, and stabbed. He wrestled and boxed, he won prizes and started drinking. "I was a saphead drunk."

But this cowboy life was empty. He was looking for meaning, and one day in the drunk tank in a jail in Montana, he found himself reading the pages of the Bible. "I looked at that book in jail, and I saw then that He'd established me a house in heaven … He came into my heart."

The heads around the preacher go down, and the words he whispers, which the rodeo riders listen to in such earnestness, are not from the American West: They are from England, translated 400 years ago by a team of black-gowned clergymen who would have been as much at home in this world of swells and saddles, pearl-button shirts and big-fringed chaps as one of these cowboys on a Milanese catwalk. "Second Corinthians 5. 'Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.'"

Here is the miracle of the King James Bible in action. Words from a doubly alien culture, not an original text but a translation of ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, made centuries ago and thousands of miles away, arrive in a dusty corner of the New World and sound as they were meant to—majestic but intimate, the voice of the universe somehow heard in the innermost part of the ear.

You don't have to be a Christian to hear the power of those words—simple in vocabulary, cosmic in scale, stately in their rhythms, deeply emotional in their impact. Most of us might think we have forgotten its words, but the King James Bible has sewn itself into the fabric of the language. If a child is ever the apple of her parents' eye or an idea seems as old as the hills, if we are at death's door or at our wits' end, if we have gone through a baptism of fire or are about to bite the dust, if it seems at times that the blind are leading the blind or we are casting pearls before swine, if you are either buttering someone up or casting the first stone, the King James Bible, whether we know it or not, is speaking through us. The haves and have-nots, heads on plates, thieves in the night, scum of the earth, best until last, sackcloth and ashes, streets paved in gold, and the skin of one's teeth: All of them have been transmitted to us by the translators who did their magnificent work 400 years ago.

The extraordinary global career of this book, of which more copies have been made than of any other book in the language, began in March 1603. After a long reign as Queen of England, Elizabeth I finally died. This was the moment her cousin and heir, the Scottish King James VI, had been waiting for. Scotland was one of the poorest kingdoms in Europe, with a weak and feeble crown. England by comparison was civilized, fertile, and rich. When James heard that he was at last going to inherit the throne of England, it was said that he was like "a poor man … now arrived at the Land of Promise."

In the course of the 16th century, England had undergone something of a yo-yo Reformation, veering from one reign to the next between Protestant and anti-Protestant regimes, never quite settling into either camp. The result was that England had two competing versions of the Holy Scriptures. The Geneva Bible, published in 1560 by a small team of Scots and English Calvinists in Geneva, drew on the pioneering translation by William Tyndale, martyred for his heresy in 1536. It was loved by Puritans but was anti-royal in its many marginal notes, repeatedly suggesting that whenever a king dared to rule, he was behaving like a tyrant. King James loved the Geneva for its scholarship but hated its anti-royal tone. Set against it, the Elizabethan church had produced the Bishops' Bible, rather quickly translated by a dozen or so bishops in 1568, with a large image of the Queen herself on the title page. There was no doubt that this Bible was pro-royal. The problem was that no one used it. Geneva's grounded form of language ("Cast thy bread upon the waters") was abandoned by the bishops in favor of obscure pomposity: They translated that phrase as "Lay thy bread upon wette faces." Surviving copies of the Geneva Bible are often greasy with use. Pages of the Bishops' Bible are usually as pristine as on the day they were printed.

This was the divided inheritance King James wanted to mend, and a new Bible would do it. Ground rules were established by 1604: no contentious notes in the margins; no language inaccessible to common people; a true and accurate text, driven by an unforgivingly exacting level of scholarship. To bring this about, the King gathered an enormous translation committee: some 54 scholars, divided into all shades of opinion, from Puritan to the highest of High Churchmen. Six subcommittees were then each asked to translate a different section of the Bible.

Although the translators were chosen for their expertise in the ancient languages (none more brilliant than Lancelot Andrewes, dean of Westminster), many of them had already enjoyed a rich and varied experience of life. One, John Layfield, had gone to fight the Spanish in Puerto Rico, an adventure that left him captivated by the untrammeled beauty of the Caribbean; another, George Abbot, was the author of a best-selling guide to the world; one, Hadrian à Saravia, was half Flemish, half Spanish; several had traveled throughout Europe; others were Arab scholars; and two, William Bedwell and Henry Savile, a courtier-scholar known as "a magazine of learning," were expert mathematicians. There was an alcoholic called Richard "Dutch" Thomson, a brilliant Latinist with the reputation of being "a debosh'd drunken English-Dutchman." Among the distinguished churchmen was a sad cuckold, John Overall, dean of St. Paul's, whose friends claimed that he spent so much of his life speaking Latin that he had almost forgotten how to speak English. Overall made the mistake of marrying a famously alluring girl, who deserted him for a presumably non-Latin-speaking courtier, Sir John Selby. The street poets of London were soon dancing on the great man's misfortune:

The dean of St. Paul's did search for his wife
And where d'ye think he found her?
Even upon Sir John Selby's bed,
As flat as any flounder.

This was a world in which there was no gap between politics and religion. A translation of the Bible that could be true to the original Scriptures, be accessible to the people, and embody the kingliness of God would be the most effective political tool anyone in 17th-century England could imagine. "We desire that the Scripture may speake like it selfe," the translators wrote in the preface to the 1611 Bible, "that it may bee understood even of the very vulgar." The qualities that allow a Brother Rome Wager to connect with his cowboy listeners—a sense of truth, a penetrating intimacy, and an overarching greatness—were exactly what King James's translators had in mind.

They went about their work in a precise and orderly way. Each member of the six subcommittees, on his own, translated an entire section of the Bible. He then brought that translation to a meeting of his subcommittee, where the different versions produced by each translator were compared and one was settled on. That version was then submitted to a general revising committee for the whole Bible, which met in Stationers' Hall in London. Here the revising scholars had the suggested versions read aloud—no text visible—while holding on their laps copies of previous translations in English and other languages. The ear and the mind were the only editorial tools. They wanted the Bible to sound right. If it didn't at first hearing, a spirited editorial discussion—extraordinarily, mostly in Latin and partly in Greek—followed. A revising committee presented a final version to two bishops, then to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and then, notionally at least, to the King.

The King James Bible was a book created by the world in which it was made. This sense of connection is no more strikingly felt than in a set of rooms right in the heart of London. Inside Westminster Abbey, England's great royal church, the gray-suited, bespectacled Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, dean of Westminster, can be found in the quiet paneled and carpeted offices of the deanery. Here his 17th-century predecessor as dean, Lancelot Andrewes, presided over the subcommittee that translated the first five books of the Old Testament. Here, in these very rooms, the opening sentence "In the beginning God created the heaven, and the earth" was heard for the first time.

John Hall is the man who conducted the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton in the abbey earlier this year, and as we talk, thousands of people are queuing on the pavements outside, wanting to get into the abbey and retrace the route the new duchess took on her big day. It is the other end of the world from Rome Wager's sermon to the cowboys in the New Mexico dust, but for Hall there is something about the King James Bible that effortlessly bridges the gap between them. He read the King James Version as a boy, and after a break of many years he took it up again recently. "There are moments," he says, "which move me almost to tears. I love the story, after Jesus has been crucified and has risen, and he appears to the disciples as they are walking on the road to Emmaus. They don't know who he is, but they talk together, and at the end they say to him, 'Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.' That is a phrase—so simple, so direct, and so powerful—which has meant an enormous amount to me over the years. The language is full of mystery and grace, but it is also a version of loving authority, and that is the great message of this book."

The new translation of the Bible was no huge success when it was first published. The English preferred to stick with the Geneva Bibles they knew and loved. Besides, edition after edition was littered with errors. The famous Wicked Bible of 1631 printed Deuteronomy 5:24—meant to celebrate God's "greatnesse"—as "And ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory, and his great asse." The same edition also left out a crucial word in Exodus 20:14, which as a result read, "Thou shalt commit adultery." The printers were heavily fined.

But by the mid-1600s the King James had effectively replaced all its predecessors and had come to be the Bible of the English-speaking world. As English traders and colonists spread across the Atlantic and to Africa and the Indian subcontinent, the King James Bible went with them. It became embedded in the substance of empire, used as wrapping paper for cigars, medicine, sweetmeats, and rifle cartridges and eventually marketed as "the book your Emperor reads." Medicine sent to English children during the Indian Mutiny in 1857 was folded up in paper printed with the words of Isaiah 51 verse 12: "I, even I, am he that comforteth you." Bible societies in Britain and America distributed King James Bibles across the world, the London-based British and Foreign Bible Society alone shipping more than a hundred million copies in the 80 years after it was founded in 1804.

The King James Bible became an emblem of continuity. U.S. Presidents from Washington to Obama have used it to swear their oath of office (Obama using Lincoln's copy, others, Washington's). Its language penetrated deep into English-speaking consciousness so that the Gettysburg Address, Moby Dick, and the sermons and speeches of Martin Luther King are all descendants of the language of the English translators.

But there was a dark side to this Bible's all-conquering story. Throughout its history it has been used and manipulated, good and bad alike selecting passages for their different ends. Much of its text is about freedom, grace, and redemption, but those parts are matched by an equally fierce insistence on vengeance and control. As the Bible of empire, it was also the Bible of slavery, and as such it continues to occupy an intricately ambivalent place in the postcolonial world.

Amid the rubble and broken cars of Trench Town and Tivoli Gardens in West Kingston, Jamaica, every property is shielded from the street and its neighbors by high walls of corrugated iron nailed to rough boards. This is one of the murder capitals of the world, dominated by drug lords intimately connected to politicians and the police. It is a province of raw dominance, inescapable poverty, and fear. Its social structure, with very few privileged rich and very many virtually disenfranchised poor, is not entirely unlike that of early 17th-century England.

This is one of the heartlands of reggae—the Rastafarian way of life that gave birth to it—and of the King James Bible. As the Jamaican DJ and reggae poet Mutabaruka says, "The first thing that a Rasta was exposed to in this colonial country was this King James Version." Rastafarians are not Christians. Since the 1930s they have believed that the then emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, is God himself. His name was Ras Tafari before 1930, when he was called "King of Kings, Lion of Judah, Elect of God." Those echo the titles the Bible gives to the Messiah. The island had long been soaked in Baptist Bible culture. In the mid-20th century, as Jamaicans were looking for a new redemptive Gospel, this suddenly made sense. Ras Tafari was the savior himself, the living God, and Ethiopia was the Promised Land. For Rastafarians, intensely conscious of the history of black enslavement, Jamaica was Babylon, their equivalent of the city where the people of Israel had been taken as slaves. Liberty and redemption were not, as the Christians always said, in the next life but in this one. "The experience of slavery helps you," Mutabaruka says, "because there is this human need for salvation, for redemption. The Rastas don't believe in the sky god. Their redemption lies within the human character. When the Europeans came and say, 'Jesus in the sky,' the Rasta man reject that totally." (Jesus in the sky being Rasta shorthand for the whole story of the Resurrection.) "The man say, 'When you see I, you see God.' There is no God in the sky. Man is God, Africa is the Promised Land."

Michael "Miguel" Lorne is a Rastafarian lawyer who for 30 years has been working for "the poor and the needy" in the toughest parts of Kingston. The walls of his office are filled with images of Africa and the Ethiopian emperor. But the windows are barred, the door onto the street triple locked and reinforced with steel. "The Bible was used extensively to subjugate slaves," Lorne says. It seemed to legitimate the white enslaving of the black. "Your legacy is in heaven," he says, not smiling. "You must accept this as your lot."

The Bible has been an instrument of oppression—or "downpression," as they say in Jamaica, because what is there "up" about oppression?—but it has also been the source of much of what the Rastafarian movement believes. "The man Christ," Lorne says, "that level of humility, that level of conquering without a sword, that level of staying among the poor, always advocating on behalf of the prisoners, the downpressed, setting the captive free, living for these people. What is the use of living if you are not helping your brother? It is a book that gives you hope."

Lorne exudes a wonderful, tough-minded goodness. "We hope for a world where color does not play the dominant role it plays now," he says. "We want the lion and the lamb to lie down together. That is one of the beauties of Rastafari. We who have suffered and been brutalized and beaten, we have been agitating for compensation and reparation for years, but we don't think we will stick you up with a gun to get it."

Pious Rastafarians read the King James Bible every day. Lorne has read it "from cover to cover." Evon Youngsam, who is a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, a Rastafarian "mansion" in Kingston, its headquarters opposite Bob Marley's old house in the city, learned to read with the King James Bible at her grandmother's knee. She taught her own children to read with it, and they, now living in England, are in turn teaching their children to read with it. "There is something inside of it which reaches me," she says, smiling, the Bible in her hand, its pages marked with blue airmail letters from her children on the other side of the ocean.

The adherents of another, strict Rastafarian mansion, Bobo Shanti, in their remote and otherworldly compound high in the foothills of the Blue Mountains outside Kingston, rhythmically chant the psalms every day. The atmosphere in Bobo Camp is gentle and welcoming, almost monastic, but there are other Rastafarians whose style is the polar opposite of that, taking their cue from some of the more intolerant attitudes to be found in the Bible. Several Jamaican reggae and dance hall stars have been banned from performing in Canada and parts of Europe for their violently antigay lyrics. The justification is there in the Bible ("If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: They shall surely be put to death," Leviticus 20:13), but this is a troubling part of the King James inheritance: a ferocious and singular moral vision that has become unacceptable in most of the liberal, modern world.

Not only at its roots in the heart of Westminster but also in some of the most obscure corners of the English-speaking world, this book remains complicatedly and paradoxically alive. Not that it any longer holds universal sway. From the late 19th century onward, revisions and new translations began to appear with increasing regularity. Scores of new versions of the Bible or of substantial parts of it have been published in the past 50 years. But the 1611 version remains potent in places where a sense of continuity with the past seems important.

With the cool summer rain of the Hebrides in northwest Scotland spattering the glass of his windows, John Macaulay, elder of his church in Leverburgh on Harris and a boatbuilder at home in Flodabay, muses on the double inheritance of authority and liberty that the King James Bible has given him and people like him. He was brought up in the strict way of Scottish Presbyterianism. "Everything for the Sabbath was prepared on the Saturday," he says, sitting now by the same hearth he sat by 60 years ago. "You had to bring extra water into the house—you didn't have piped water in those days. Buckets of water from the loch across the road. Peats were taken in from the peat stack so that you had all the peats that you needed for the fire. Potatoes were peeled, meals prepared. My father always shaved on the Saturday evening, and I did too when I got older. The Bible said you must not work on the Sabbath, and so we did not."

No one was allowed to drive on a Sunday. "The only person with a car going to church was the minister, and he would drive, but he would never pick anyone up on the road. You had old men tottering along—howling gale, driving snow—but no, even if he stopped and was to offer anyone a lift, they would not step into a car on a Sunday."

In this Gaelic-speaking family, the Bible was the frame of life. Every evening of the week they knelt for prayers in front of the fire and the reading of a psalm. On Sunday the only book they could read was the Bible.

Before he was four years old, Macaulay was taught by his mother to read English from the Bible. "It is literally true that the English I learned was the English of the King James Bible. But we didn't use English at all in the house. Unless we had visitors who had no Gaelic, which was rare. I could read English from the book, but I could not have a conversation in it. I did not really know what it meant."

In some ways his immersion in a sacred book has sustained him through life. "You were taught very early on that there was someone there looking after you, someone you could rely on, someone you could talk to. You knew his words. They were in your mind." But there was another side to it. The authority of the church with this book in its hand also became a source of fear. "It is not just awe and reverence; it is fear. People are fearful of being seen to be doing something wrong. There are lots of people that go through life without ever expressing themselves or their feelings, and it is sad to see that."

The reverence for the minister, the man in the pulpit explicating the supremacy of the Bible, remains potent. "The church is a refuge from the realities of life," Macaulay says, "but there is also something else, which is a wee bit more sinister. Domination is a factor. The power of some of these preachers to really control their congregation. That has always been there."

The King James Bible has always cut both ways. It had its beginnings in royal authority, and it has been used to terrify the weak. It has also brought an undeniable current of beauty, kindness, and goodness into the lives of rich and poor alike. Its origins were ambivalent—for Puritan and bishop, the great and the needy, for clarity and magnificence, to bring the word of God to the people but also to buttress the powers that be—and that ambivalence is its true legacy.

World's Largest Marine Reserve Announced

World's Largest Marine Reserve Announced

Shipwreck picture: fish and sea life in the Yongala shipwreck in the Coral Sea, for a gallery on Australia's proposed Coral Sea Marine Preserve

Marine Life

Fish swarm a shipwreck in Australian waters of the Coral Sea, which is set to become the site of the world's largest marine reserve, the Australian government announced Friday. (Related: "Top Ten Watery Wonders.")

East of the Great Barrier Reef (pictures), the proposed Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve would cover about 385,000 square miles (just under a million square kilometers)—bigger than France and Germany combined.

The park would encompass remote coral reefs, ancient sponge gardens, deep-sea canyons, and submerged volcanoes in the Coral Sea-among the last places where ocean giants like sharks, tuna, and billfishes can be seen in large numbers.

"The Coral Sea harbors high biodiversity and relatively healthy ecosystems," said National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala by email. "This makes the Coral Sea a unique large ecosystem with an irreplaceable value globally."

3 Boys Charged In West Philadelphia Elementary School Assault

3 Boys Charged In West Philadelphia Elementary School Assault


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Three boys are facing charges stemming from a reported sex assault at a West Philadelphia elementary school.

In this case, the victim and the suspects are all fourth graders. The suspects are 10 and 11 years old. The alleged victim is an eight-year-old boy who is a grade ahead of others his age.

Capt. John Darby, with the Philadelphia Police Department’s special victims unit, says the boy was allegedly attacked in a bathroom at Bryant Elementary School in West Philadelphia.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Former Philadelphia Schools Chief Arlene Ackerman Files Unemployment Claim

Former Philadelphia Schools Chief Arlene Ackerman Files Unemployment Claim

(Dr. Arlene Ackerman, when she ran the Philadelphia school district.  File photo by Mike DeNardo)

(Dr. Arlene Ackerman, when she ran the Philadelphia school district.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Former Philadelphia schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who was given a nearly $1-million buyout earlier this year, has applied for unemployment.

School District spokesman Fernando Gallard today confirmed that Ackerman wants to collect state unemployment benefits.

“The former superintendent did apply for unemployment,” Gallard told KYW Newsradio today.

This comes after taxpayers funded a $905,000 buyout when she was shown the door in August.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Senator Casey Plans On Introducing Bill In Aftermath Of ‘Basement Of Horrors’

Senator Casey Plans On Introducing Bill In Aftermath Of ‘Basement Of Horrors’

file photo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The “Basement of Horrors” case, which unfolded in Philadelphia in October, has prompted U.S. Senator Bob Casey to introduce a bill to prevent any similar cases in the future. The senator says loopholes in the Social Security system allowed the tragedy to occur.

Linda Weston was arrested after police found handicapped adults and undernourished children in at least two locations in Philadelphia. She also had 50 Social Security cards for those victims even though she had previously been charged with murder.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Another Day Of Post-Eviction Occupy Philly

Another Day Of Post-Eviction Occupy Philly

(Credit: Oren Liebermann, CBS 3)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The post-eviction Occupy Philly protesters were still out on Dilworth Plaza Tuesday morning. The ranks have thinned, but dozens of tents remain with only a light police presence.

Morale also seemed to be high, possibly emboldened by the city’s lack of follow-up, so far, to its eviction order.

“Nothing has really changed. We still have our meetings. We still have our actions, beliefs, commitments. We’re still fighting the good fight,” said Justin Murphy, one of the protesters.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Facebook makes privacy pledge in FTC settlement

Facebook makes privacy pledge in FTC settlement

AP Photo
FILE - This Oct. 11, 2010 file photo, shows the logo of the online network Facebook, recorded in Munich with a magnifying glass of a computer screen of a laptop. Facebook said Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, it is settling with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it deceived consumers. The FTC had charged that the social network told people they could keep the information they share private and then allowed for it to be made public. The charges go back to 2009.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Government regulators are sharing some alarming information about Facebook: They believe the online social network has often misled its more than 800 million users about the sanctity of their personal information.

The unflattering portrait of Facebook's privacy practices emerged Tuesday in a Federal Trade Commission complaint alleging that Facebook exposed details about users' lives without getting legally required consent. In some cases, the FTC charged, Facebook allowed potentially sensitive details to be passed along to advertisers and software developers prowling for customers.

To avoid further legal wrangling, Facebook agreed to submit to government audits of its privacy practices every other year for the next two decades. The company committed to getting explicit approval from its users - a process known as "opting in" - before changing their privacy controls.

The FTC's truce with Facebook, along with settlements this year with Google and Twitter, is helping to establish more ground rules for online privacy expectations even as Internet companies regularly vacuum up insights about their audiences in an effort to sell more advertising.

Although Facebook didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing in the legal papers it signed with the FTC, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was more contrite in a blog post Tuesday.

"I'm the first to admit that we've made a bunch of mistakes," Zuckerberg wrote. "In particular, I think that a small number of high-profile mistakes ... have often overshadowed much of the good work we've done."

Facebook has overcome its missteps in the past to emerge as the world's largest social network and one of the Internet's most influential companies since Zuckerberg created the website in his Harvard University dorm room in 2004.

No website has been as successful as Facebook at getting people to voluntarily share intimate details about themselves. Zuckerberg has emerged as the Internet's chief evangelist for sharing, partly because he believes it can help make the world a better place by making it easier for people to stay connected with the things and people that they care about.

Facebook also is trying to make money by mining the personal information that it collects to help customize ads and aim the messages at people most likely to buy the products and services being promoted.

That strategy has been working well as Facebook prepares to sell its stock in an initial public offering that's expected next year.

The company's revenue this year is expected to approach $4.3 billion, according to research firm eMarketer, up from $777 million in 2009. The rapid growth is expected to make Facebook the biggest Internet IPO in history, topping Google's stock market debut in 2004.

The FTC's 19-page complaint casts a glaring spotlight on how Facebook has approached its users' rights to privacy at a time that it is facing tougher competition from Internet search leader Google Inc., which has attracted more than 40 million users to a social service called Plus just five months after its debut.

Google tried to lure people away from Facebook with a system that made it easier to guard their personal information. Facebook has responded by introducing more granular privacy settings.

The FTC cracked down on Google eight months ago for alleged privacy abuses that occurred last year when the company attempted to plant a social network called Buzz within its widely used Gmail service. Like Facebook, Google agreed to improve its privacy practices and submit to external audits for the next 20 years.

Twitter, the online short-messaging service, also struck a settlement with the FTC in June to resolve charges that it didn't do enough to protect users' accounts from computer hackers.

Much of the FTC's complaint against Facebook centers on a series of changes that the company made to its privacy controls in late 2009. The revisions automatically shared information and pictures about Facebook users, even if they previously programmed their privacy settings to shield the content. Among other things, people's profile pictures, lists of online friends and political views were suddenly available for the world to see, the FTC alleged.

The complaint also charges that Facebook shared its users' personal information with third-party advertisers from September 2008 through May 2010 despite several public assurances from company officials that it wasn't passing the data along for marketing purposes.

Facebook believes that happened only in limited instances, generally when users clicked on ads that appeared on their personal profile pages. Most of Facebook's users click on ads when they are on their "Wall" - a section that highlights their friends' posts - or while visiting someone else's profile page.

The FTC also alleged that Facebook displayed personal photos even after users deleted them from their accounts.

Facebook's agreement with the FTC requires the company to obey privacy laws or face fines of $16,000 per day for each violation.

"Facebook's innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "The FTC action will ensure it will not."

The FTC's commissioners unanimously approved the agreement with Facebook. The FTC is accepting public comments through Dec. 30 before deciding whether to finalize the settlement.

Facebook's stepped-up commitment to privacy wasn't enough to satisfy Jeff Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy, one of the privacy watchdog groups that prodded the FTC investigation. In a statement, Chester called on Zuckerberg and Facebook's board of directors to resign so that the company could hire more trustworthy replacements.

"They misled consumers and should pay a price beyond a 20-year agreement to conduct their business practices in a more above-board fashion," Chester said.

Facebook sought to downplay the gravity of the FTC's allegations, maintaining that it had already addressed most of the privacy complaints. Zuckerberg said the website has added more than 20 new privacy features in the past 18 months.

To underscore its commitment, Facebook has created two new executive positions - Michael Richter as chief privacy officer of products and Erin Egan as chief privacy officer of policy.

"This means we're making a clear and formal long-term commitment to do the things we've always tried to do and planned to keep doing - giving you tools to control who can see your information and then making sure only those people you intend can see it," Zuckerberg wrote in his blog post.

Cain tells aides he is reassessing his campaign

Cain tells aides he is reassessing his campaign

AP Photo
Ginger White poses for a photo near Dunwoody, Ga. on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. In an explosive allegation, White said Monday she and Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain had a 13-year extramarital affair that lasted nearly until the former businessman announced his candidacy for the White House several months ago.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Herman Cain told aides Tuesday he is assessing whether the latest allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior against him "create too much of a cloud" for his Republican presidential candidacy to go forward.

Acknowledging the "firestorm" arising from an accusation of infidelity, Cain only committed to keeping his campaign schedule for the next several days, in a conference call with his senior staff.

"If a decision is made, different than to plow ahead, you all will be the first to know," he said, according to a transcript of the call made by the National Review, which listened to the conversation.

It was the first time doubts about Cain's continued candidacy had surfaced from the candidate himself. As recently as Tuesday morning, a campaign spokesman had stated unequivocally that Cain would not quit.

Cain denied anew that he had an extramarital affair with a Georgia woman who went public a day earlier with allegations they had been intimate for 13 years.

"It was just a friendship relationship," he said on the call, according to the transcript. "That being said, obviously, this is a cause for reassessment."

He went on: "With this latest one, we have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud, in some people's minds, as to whether or not they would be able to support us going forth."

Saying the episode had taken an emotional toll on him and his family, Cain told the aides that people will have to decide whether they believe him or the accuser. "That's why we're going to give it time, to see what type of response we get from our supporters."

Cain has denied the affair as well as several other accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior that have dogged his candidacy over the past month. He had been publicly resolute about pressing ahead even as his standing in public opinion polls and his fundraising started to slide.

But in the conference call, he pledged only to keep his imminent schedule, including a foreign policy speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan later Tuesday that he promised to deliver with "vim, vigor and enthusiasm."

He scrapped at least one planned event, withdrawing from a party in New York on Sunday to meet with some of the city's top journalists including NBC's Matt Lauer and ABC's Barbara Walters. Cindy Adams, the New York Post columnist hosting the dinner, told the AP she had received a call Tuesday from Cain adviser John Coale saying Cain had decided not to attend. Coale declined to comment.

Still, Cain was what one participant described as calm and deliberate as he addressed his staff on the conference call.

The participant, Florida state Rep. Scott Plakon, one of four chairmen for Cain's Florida campaign, said he wanted to see more evidence from the accuser.

"If it is true that he didn't do this, I think he should fight and kick and scratch and win," Plakon said.

But if Cain did have the affair, Plakon said, it would be unacceptable to Republican voters.

"That would be very problematic," he said. "There's the affair itself and then there's the truthful factor. He's been so outspoken in these denials."

After the conference call, Cain attorney Linn Wood told AP: "Any report that Mr. Cain has decided to withdraw his candidacy is inaccurate."

"I think they are assessing the situation, just as I would expect the campaign to do or any prudent business person to do," said Wood. He added that he would hate to see what he described as false accusations drive Cain out of the race for the presidency.

On Monday, Ginger White said in an interview with Fox 5 Atlanta that her affair with Cain ended not long before the former businessman from Georgia announced his candidacy for the White House.

"It was fun," said White, 46, as she described Cain buying her plane tickets for a rendezvous in Palm Springs, Calif. "It was something that took me away from my sort of humdrum life at the time. And it was exciting."

Cain went on television to flatly deny White's claims even before the report aired.

"I didn't do anything wrong," he said then. On Tuesday, he told his staff "I deny those charges, unequivocally," and went on to say he had only helped White financially "because she was out of work and destitute, desperate."

Seemingly out of step with Cain's denials, his lawyer issued a statement Monday that included no such denial of the affair and suggested that the media - and the public - had no business snooping into the details of consensual conduct between adults.

Cain's response was faster and more deliberate than he had managed when it was reported that three women alleged he had sexually harassed or groped them when he was the president of the National Restaurant Association in the mid- to late 1990s. The trade group paid settlements to two women who had worked there.

As some conservative Republicans sought an alternative to Mitt Romney, Cain surged in the polls while pushing his 9-9-9 tax plan and providing tough criticism of President Barack Obama during televised debates.

But as the harassment allegations surfaced, Cain stumbled in explaining his views about U.S. policy toward Libya and other foreign policy issues, creating an opening for rival Newt Gingrich to assert himself as a more reliable, seasoned politician to challenge Romney and even Obama. Cain fell in the polls and Gingrich began to rise.

In her TV interview, White said she decided to come forward after seeing Cain attack his other accusers in an appearance on television.

"It bothered me that they were being demonized, sort of, and being treated as if they were automatically lying, and the burden of proof was on them," she said. "I felt bad for them."

She said she first met Cain in the late 1990s in Louisville, Ky., when he was president of the National Restaurant Association. They had drinks and he invited her to his hotel room, she recalled.

She quoted Cain as telling her, "You're beautiful to me and I would love for us to continue this friendship," then produced his personal calendar and invited her to meet him in Palm Springs.

White has been accused of lying before. A former business partner, Kimberly Vay, filed a libel suit as part of a larger business dispute with White. Court records show a state judge ruled in favor of Vay because White failed to respond to the suit. Vay's attorney, Kurt Martin, said a jury must still decide whether to award damages.

White's attorney, Edward Buckley, acknowledged the libel suit. He said White thought the libel claim had been settled as part of a larger settlement.

Jackson doctor called suicidal after verdict

Jackson doctor called suicidal after verdict

AP Photo
Dr. Conrad Murray turns to the courtroom audience after he was sentenced to four years in county jail for his involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of pop star Michael Jackson on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 in Superior Court in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The doctor convicted in the overdose death of Michael Jackson was sentenced to the maximum four years behind bars Tuesday by a judge who denounced him as a reckless physician whose actions were a "disgrace to the medical profession."

Dr. Conrad Murray sat stoically with his hands crossed as Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor repeatedly chastised him for what he called a "horrific violation of trust" while caring for Jackson.

However, Pastor conceded his sentence was constrained by a recent change in California law that requires Murray to serve his sentence in county jail rather than state prison.

Sheriff's officials later said Murray will serve a little less than two years behind bars while housed in a one-man cell and kept away from other prisoners.

"This is going to be a real test of our criminal justice system to see if it's meaningful at all," District Attorney Steve Cooley said.

Cooley said he was considering asking the judge to modify the sentence to classify the crime as a serious felony warranting incarceration in state prison.

The judge was relentless in his bashing of the 58-year-old Murray, saying he lied repeatedly and had not shown remorse for his actions in the treatment of Jackson. Pastor also said Murray's heavy use of the powerful anesthetic propofol to help Jackson battle insomnia violated his sworn obligation.

"It should be made very clear that experimental medicine is not going to be tolerated, and Mr. Jackson was an experiment," Pastor said. "Dr. Murray was intrigued by the prospect and he engaged in this money for medicine madness that is simply not going to be tolerated by me."

Pastor also said Murray has "absolutely no sense of fault, and is and remains dangerous" to the community.

The judge said.one of the most disturbing aspects of Murray's case was a slurred recording of Jackson recovered from the doctor's cell phone.

"That tape recording was Dr. Murray's insurance policy," Pastor said. "It was designed to record his patient surreptitiously at that patient's most vulnerable point."

Defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan contended that nothing said during the hearing would have changed the judge's mind about the sentence.

Michael Jackson's family told Pastor in a statement read earlier that they were not seeking revenge but wanted Murray to receive a stiff sentence that served as a warning to opportunistic doctors.

It included elements from Jackson's parents, siblings and his three children.

"As his brothers and sisters, we will never be able to hold, laugh or perform again with our brother Michael," the statement said. "And as his children, we will grow up without a father, our best friend, our playmate and our dad."

The family told The Associated Press after the sentencing that they were pleased with the results.

"We're going to be a family. We're going to move forward. We're going to tour, play the music and miss him," brother Jermaine Jackson said.

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a six-week trial that presented the most detailed account yet of Jackson's final hours but left many questions about Murray's treatment of the superstar with propofol.

The jury heard the recording of Jackson during the trial but defense attorneys never explained in court why Murray recorded the impaired singer six weeks before his death.

"We have to be phenomenal," he was heard saying about his "This Is It" comeback concerts in London. "When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, `I've never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go. I've never seen nothing like this. Go. It's amazing. He's the greatest entertainer in the world.'"

Before sentencing, lead defense attorney Ed Chernoff attacked Jackson, as he and his team frequently did during the doctor's trial. "Michael Jackson was a drug seeker," he said.

Murray did not directly address the court. After sentencing, he mouthed the words "I love you" to his mother and girlfriend in the courtroom.

Murray's mother, Milta Rush, sat alone on a bench in the courthouse hallway after the sentencing.

"My son is not what they charged him to be," she said quietly. "He was a gentle child from the time he was small. "

A probation report released after sentencing said Murray was listed as suicidal and mentally disturbed in jail records before his sentencing.

However, Murray's spokesman Mark Fierro said a defense attorney visited the cardiologist in jail last week and found him upbeat.

"That time is behind him," Fierro said. "He's a resilient man."

Murray was not interviewed by probation officers.

Jackson's death in June 2009 stunned the world, as did the ensuing investigation that led to Murray being charged in February 2010.

Murray told detectives he had been giving the singer nightly doses of propofol to help him sleep as he prepared for the series of comeback concerts.

Propofol is supposed to be used in hospital settings and has never been approved for sleep treatments, yet Murray acknowledged giving it to Jackson then leaving the room on the day the singer died.

Murray declined to testify during his trial but did opt to participate in a documentary in which he said he didn't consider himself guilty of any crime and blamed Jackson for entrapping him into administering the propofol doses. His attorneys contended throughout the case that Jackson must have given himself the fatal dose when Murray left the singer's bedside.

In their sentencing memorandum, prosecutors cited Murray's statements to advocate for the maximum term. They also want him to pay restitution to the singer's three children - Prince, Paris and Blanket.

The amount Murray has to pay will be determined at a hearing in January.

"Anything over a couple of dollars, he's not going to be able to pay anyway," Flanagan said.

Murray was deeply in debt when he agreed to serve as Jackson's personal physician for $150,000 a month, and the singer died before Murray received any money.

Prosecutors said the relationship of Jackson and Murray was corrupted by greed. Murray left his practices to serve as Jackson's doctor and look out for his well-being, but instead acted as an employee catering to the singer's desire to receive propofol to put him to sleep, prosecutors said.

Murray's attorneys relied largely on 34 letters from relatives, friends and former patients to portray Murray in a softer light and win a lighter sentence. The letters and defense filings described Murray's compassion as a doctor, including accepting lower payments from his mostly poor patients.

"There is no question that the death of his patient, Mr. Jackson, was unintentional and an enormous tragedy for everyone affected," defense attorneys wrote in their sentencing memo.

American Airlines files for bankruptcy protection

American Airlines files for bankruptcy protection

DALLAS (AP) -- An analyst for Fitch Ratings says that American Airlines will have to focus on terminating its underfunded pension plans and getting wage concessions from workers now that it has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Leaders of employee unions at American say they'll fight to look out for the workers' interests.

Fitch analyst Bill Warlick says that American may need to consider a merger with US Airways.

American's parent company, AMR Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday. The company says it was forced to file because of high labor and fuel costs and the weak economy.

Pakistan steps up anti-US rhetoric after attack

Pakistan steps up anti-US rhetoric after attack

AP Photo
Pakistani protesters shout slogans at a rally to condemn NATO strikes on Pakistani soldiers, in Karachi, Pakistan on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011. Pakistan said Tuesday it will boycott an upcoming meeting in Germany on the future of Afghanistan to protest the deadly attack by U.S.-led forces on its troops, widening the fallout from an incident that has sent ties between Washington and Islamabad into a tailspin.

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Pakistan withdrew from an international conference on stabilizing Afghanistan to protest the deadly attack by American forces on its troops, widening a fresh rupture in ties with a nominal ally that is endangering the U.S. plan for gradually ending the war.

In an unusually hostile comment, a top Pakistani army general said Tuesday that the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers were the result of a "deliberate act of aggression." He said the military has not decided whether to take part in an American investigation into the weekend encounter along the mountainous Afghan border.

The hard line was aimed partly at pacifying the country's anti-American public, most of whom detest their leaders' close association with Washington. The uncompromising stance of the army was also likely designed to press for more concessions from Washington.

Regardless of motive, Pakistan's retaliatory moves and tough rhetoric lower the chances of greater cooperation in the Afghan war and will make it harder to repair ties with the U.S. once emotions cool.

Those ties have been beset by crises for the most of the year, most notably after the U.S. raid on May 2 that killed Osama bin Laden and wounded Pakistani pride. Each time, U.S. officials have worked to get the relationship back on track, knowing that Pakistan's influence over Afghan Taliban leaders could be key to achieving a negotiated settlement that would allow American combat troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Pakistan needs American aid and diplomatic support but has shown no willingness to listen to American requests to fight insurgents who use the border as a staging area to carry out attacks inside Afghanistan. Indeed, the army is widely believed to support those militants, hoping they can help ensure that any future regime in Kabul shares Pakistan's hostility to India.

Differing versions of Saturday's incident have emerged, but all agree that 24 Pakistan soldiers were killed in attacks on two bases by NATO aircraft. NATO has described the incident as "tragic and unintended," and U.S. officials have expressed their sympathies with the families of the dead.

Hours after the attack, Pakistan closed its two crossings on the western border to trucks delivering fuel, vehicles and food to NATO troops in Afghanistan. A NATO official said military operations could run at the current pace for "several months" because the alliance has stockpiles of supplies and alternative routes into the country.

Islamabad also ordered the U.S. to vacate within 15 days an air base in southwest Pakistan that housed CIA drones which attack militants along the Afghan border. U.S. officials have said this will not greatly impact the drone program because most of the aircraft are flown from bases in Afghanistan.

The decision to skip the Afghan conference Monday in Bonn, Germany, was made during a Pakistani Cabinet meeting.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hoped the government would reconsider.

"They should still understand that the Afghanistan conference is a very important one. It's a very good opportunity to bring forward the political process," she said.

Pentagon press secretary George Little also urged Pakistan to come.

"We believe it's critical that countries in the region and who have interests in Afghanistan attend, and we certainly hope that Pakistan will attend the conference," Little said in Washington.

More than 90 countries are expected to attend the conference, intended to map out a sustainable future for Afghanistan once international troops withdraw. It was once hoped that the conference would help toward reconciliation with the Taliban, but the assassination in September of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani severely undermined efforts to reach out to the insurgency.

Few had high expectations the conference would result in significant progress. But the absence of Pakistan, the most important country in the peace process, will make even minor achievements more difficult.

Soon after the Pakistani Cabinet meeting ended, two army generals briefed several dozen Pakistani newspaper editors, talk-show hosts and defense analysts on the fallout from the attack.

Maj. Gen. Ashfaq Nadeem, director general of military operations, called the incident a "deliberate act of aggression" and said it was "next to impossible that NATO" did not know it was attacking Pakistani forces, according to people who attended the briefing, which was closed to non-Pakistani media.

In the most detailed account yet of the Pakistani version, he said two or three helicopters attacked the first post, called "Volcano," without warning. Nadeem did not mention whether those soldiers had opened fire on the advancing choppers. Seeing the attack, troops at the nearby "Boulder" post opened fire with anti-aircraft guns. That base was then attacked, he said.

At the Pentagon, Little declined to respond directly to Nadeem's remarks, saying: "No one at this point has the complete narrative on what happened and I think it's important that we wait for the investigation to occur."

U.S. officials said a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol was attacked by the Taliban on the Afghan side of the border in Kunar province. They say while pursuing the Taliban in the poorly marked border area, the patrol seems to have mistaken one of the Pakistani troop outposts for a militant encampment and called in a NATO gunship and attack helicopters to open fire, starting the engagement.

Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command, announced Monday he has appointed Brig. Gen. Stephen Clark, an Air Force special operations officer, to lead an investigation and include input from the NATO-led forces as well as the Afghan and Pakistani governments.

But Nadeem said the army may not cooperate with the investigation, saying it had little faith that any U.S. probe will get to the bottom of what happened. He said other joint inquiries into at least two other similar, if less deadly, incidents over the last three years had "come to nothing."

Although Pakistan is angry over the deaths of its soldiers, it also appears to realize this is a moment to reset ties with the United States in its favor, analysts said. The incident has given space to right-wing, Islamist voices that have long called for the army and the government to sever ties with America and cut off the supply lines.

"The timing of this incident allows Pakistan to ratchet up pressure on the U.S., although it's not clear what the Pakistanis actually want," said Tim Hoyt, counterterrorism chair at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

Anthony Cordesman, an analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said this crisis likely "will get papered over" with some sort of U.S. or NATO apology and a "bribe in the form of better aid flows."

"In the process, however, the U.S. will face even less prospect that Pakistan will really crack down on insurgent groups in the border area, or stop seeing Afghanistan as an area where it competes with India and which is useful for strategic depth in some future war with India," Cordesman said.

Last year, Pakistan closed one of the border crossings for 10 days after a U.S. chopper killed two Pakistani soldiers on the border in a friendly fire incident. Militants then attacked dozens of the stranded supply trucks that were lined up by the side of the road. After 10 days, the U.S. apologized and Pakistan reopened the border.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Cry for the Tiger

A Cry for the Tiger

Tigers

Photo: Tiger, forest of northern Sumatra, Indonesia

A Cry for the Tiger

We have the means to save the mightiest cat on Earth. But do we have the will?

Ranthambore National Park, India

Dawn, and mist holds the forest. Only a short stretch of red dirt track can be seen. Suddenly—emerging from the red-gold haze of dust and misted light—a tigress ambles into view. First she stops to rub her right-side whiskers against a roadside tree. Then she crosses the road and rubs her left-side whiskers. Then she turns to regard us with a look of infinite and bored indifference.

And then, as if relenting, she reaches up the tree to claw the bark, turning her profile to us, and with it the full impact of her tigerness—the improbable, the gorgeous, the iconographic and visibly powerful flanks.

The tiger. Panthera tigris, largest of all the big cats, to which even biological terminology defers with awed expressions like "apex predator," "charismatic megafauna," "umbrella species." One of the most formidable carnivores on the planet, and yet, amber-coated and patterned with black flames, one of the most beautiful of creatures.

Consider the tiger, how he is formed. With claws up to four inches long and retractable, like a domestic cat's, and carnassial teeth that shatter bone. While able to achieve bursts above 35 miles an hour, the tiger is built for strength, not sustained speed. Short, powerful legs propel his trademark lethal lunge and fabled leaps. Recently, a tiger was captured on video jumping—flying—from flat ground to 13 feet in the air to attack a ranger riding an elephant. The eye of the tiger is backlit by a membrane that reflects light through the retina, the secret of his famous night vision and glowing night eyes. The roar of the tiger—Aaaaauuuunnnn!—can carry more than a mile.

For weeks I had been traveling through some of the best tiger habitat in Asia, from remote forests to tropical woodlands and, on a previous trip, to mangrove swamps—but never before had I seen a tiger. Partly this was because of the animal's legendarily secretive nature. The tiger is powerful enough to kill and drag prey five times its weight, yet it can move through high grass, forest, and even water in unnerving silence. The common refrain of those who have witnessed—or survived—an attack is that the tiger "came from nowhere."

But the other reason for the dearth of sightings is that the ideal tiger landscapes have very few tigers. The tiger has been a threatened species for most of my lifetime, and its rareness has come to be regarded matter-of-factly, as an intrinsic, defining attribute, like its dramatic coloring. The complacent view that the tiger will continue to be "rare" or "threatened" into the foreseeable future is no longer tenable. In the early 21st century, tigers in the wild face the black abyss of annihilation. "This is about making decisions as if we're in an emergency room," says Tom Kaplan, co-founder of Panthera, an organization dedicated to big cats. "This is it."

The tiger's enemies are well-known: Loss of habitat exacerbated by exploding human populations, poverty—which induces poaching of prey animals—and looming over all, the dark threat of the brutal Chinese black market for tiger parts. Less acknowledged are botched conservation strategies that for decades have failed the tiger. The tiger population, dispersed among Asia's 13 tiger countries, is estimated at fewer than 4,000 animals, though many conservationists believe there are hundreds less than that. To put this number in perspective: Global alarm for the species was first sounded in 1969, and early in the '80s it was estimated that some 8,000 tigers remained in the wild. So decades of vociferously expressed concern for tigers—not to mention millions of dollars donated by well-meaning individuals—has achieved the demise of perhaps half of the already imperiled population.

My determination to see a wild tiger in my lifetime brought me to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, one of 40 in India. My first tiger was spotted within ten minutes, and in a four-day excursion I gloried in nine sightings, including a repeat appearance of that first tiger, a three-year-old female. In high grass she stalked with such patient, focused, deliberateness—each paw raised in slow motion and placed so very gently down—that it was possible to see her stealth.

It didn't matter that in most cases my experience was shared with a queue of other vehicles. Seeing tigers in the wild is now mostly a tourist experience—the Bengal tiger is not only India's national animal but also one of the country's largest draws. Elsewhere, my tiger-seeking travels had been made on rough roads, by river, forest trails, and even elephant, but in Ranthambore I departed at dawn in a jeep that awaited me outside the Oberoi lodge. In the jeep were a ranger, a guide, and most necessary in a place where tiger viewing is a blood sport, an expert driver, who barged ruthlessly to the head of the queue, ensuring me of that first, mystical tiger sighting.

India is home to some 50 percent of the world's wild tigers. The 2010 census reported a maximum estimate of 1,909 in the country—up 20 percent from the previous estimate. While welcome news, most authorities regard the new figure as reflecting better census methods rather than growth of the tiger population: Tiger counts, in India or elsewhere, are still at best only estimates.

A modest 41 of these carefully enumerated tigers were living in Ranthambore. Conducting me through the park one morning, conservator Raghuvir Singh Shekhawat pointed out the variety of wildlife that flourishes where the tiger is protected—langur monkeys, spotted deer, wild boars, collared Scops-owls, kingfishers, and parakeets. And he offered a ground-level glimpse of tiger conservation, stopping his jeep beside a canvas tent in a clearing. "Would you like to see the hard life the field officers lead?" he asked, lifting a tent flap to reveal three slender cots. "Here is their kitchen," he said, gesturing to a pile of canned food and bowls. "In 30 years of service, at least five years is under the tent." The rangers put in up to ten miles a day on early morning foot patrol, taking plaster casts of any pugmarks they encounter and making notes of evidence of prey animals.

Ranthambore's history reflects in miniature the history of the tiger in India. Formerly the private hunting estate of the maharajas of Jaipur, its original 109-square-mile core reserve is ringed by a containing wall, within which undulating forest skirts romantic maharaja-era ruins. One evening I met with Fateh Singh Rathore, the assistant field director of Ranthambore after it became one of India's first Project Tiger reserves in 1973. Tiger hunting was legal in India until the early 1970s, and as a young man, in the days when Ranthambore had been a hunting estate, he had worked as a game warden. "To shoot a tiger, maybe a hundred rupees," he recalled—a couple of dollars.

Always fragile, tiger populations have fluctuated in recent years. Between 2002 and 2004, poaching of some 20 tigers in Ranthambore essentially halved its population. This was better than the fate of the nearby 300-square-mile Sariska Tiger Reserve, found to have no tigers at all: Every single one of its tigers had been killed by professional gangs—and in a reserve just 70 miles from India's capital, New Delhi.

Ranthambore is a hub for a contentious new conservation strategy—the relocation of "surplus" tigers to places like Sariska. Only days before, at a wildlife conference in New Delhi, I had heard heated criticism and questions from India's many outspoken watchdog organizations challenging the strategy: What constitutes a surplus tiger? Had the issues in Sariska and elsewhere been solved before importing new tigers? What research had been conducted regarding potential trauma to both the transported tiger and the home population from which it was taken? And what effect might such trauma have on breeding?

So far, relocation has met with uneven success. Three tigers transported to Sariska were found to be siblings—undesirable for breeding. More eloquent than any of the valid scientific concerns was a story unfolding in the national media: The determined trek toward his home 250 miles away by a lone male removed from Pench Tiger Reserve to restock Panna National Park.

The trek of this solitary tiger highlights another crisis. Many reserves exist as islands of fragile habitat in a vast sea of humanity, yet tigers can range over a hundred miles, seeking prey, mates, and territory. An unwelcome revelation of the new census is that nearly a third of India's tigers live outside tiger reserves, a situation that is dangerous for both human and animal. Prey and tigers can only disperse if there are recognized corridors of land between protected areas to allow unmolested passage. No less critical, such passages serve as genetic corridors, essential to the long-term survival of the species.

It is a heady experience to see an idealistic map of Asia's tiger landscapes linked by arteries of these not-yet-existent corridors. A spiderweb of green tendrils weaves tantalizingly among core populations to form a network that encompasses breathtaking extremes of habitat—Himalayan foothills, jungle, swamp, deciduous forest, grasslands—that pay tribute to the tiger's adaptability. Close scrutiny breaks the spell. The places that have actual tigers—here-and-now, flesh-and-blood tigers—as opposed to hypothetical tigers, are represented by a scattering of mustard-colored blobs. The master plan represents a visionary undertaking, but is it feasible? Over the next decade, infrastructure projects—the kind of development that often destroys habitat—are projected to average some $750 billion a year in Asia.

"I've never met a head of state who says, 'Look, we're a poor country, if it comes between tigers and people, you just have to write off tigers,'" said Alan Rabinowitz, a renowned authority on tigers and the CEO of Panthera. "The governments don't want to lose their most majestic animal. They consider it part of what makes their country what it is, part of the cultural heritage. They won't sacrifice a lot to save it, but if they can see a way to save it, they will usually do it."

Seeing a way has proved difficult amid the plethora of tiger strategies, programs, and initiatives jostling for attention—and funding. The U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Save the Tiger Fund (which has now partnered with Panthera), Global Tiger Patrol, Saving Wild Tigers, All for Tigers!, WWF, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Panthera, International Year of the Tiger Foundation, the National Geographic Society's Big Cats Initiative—the list is impressive. "Five to six million dollars is spent a year for tigers, from all philanthropic organizations," said Mahendra Shrestha, former director of the Save the Tiger Fund, which gave grants totaling more than $17 million between 1995 and 2009. "In many instances the NGOs and tiger-range governments just fight each other."

Long-term conservation must focus on all aspects of a tiger landscape: core breeding populations, inviolate sanctuaries, wildlife corridors, and the surrounding human communities. In an ideal world, all would be funded; as it is, different agencies adopt different strategies for different components. With time running out, tough priorities must be set. "Since the 1990s, there has been what I would sum up as mission drift," said Ullas Karanth of the WCS, who is one of the world's most respected tiger biologists. The drift toward tiger conservation activities like eco-development and social programs, which possibly have greater fund-raising appeal than antipoaching patrols, siphons funds and energy from the single most vital task: safeguarding core breeding populations of tigers. "If these are lost," Karanth said, "you will have tiger landscapes with no tigers."

Decades of experience and failures have yielded a conservation strategy that, according to Rabinowitz, "allows any site or landscape to increase its tigers if followed correctly." Central to this protocol are relentless, systematic, boots-on-the-ground patrolling and monitoring of both tiger and prey in those sites assessed as harboring realistically defensible core tiger populations. Under the protocol, a population of a mere half dozen breeding females can rebound. Such, at least, is the hope for the largest single protected tiger reserve on Earth, a remote valley in northern Myanmar.

Hukawng Valley, Myanmar

My first encounter with the Hukawng Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is not heartening. Arriving at the sprawling settlement of Tanaing in northern Myanmar, I scan with bewilderment the large and cheerful market; the bus stops, generators, and telephone posts; the bustling stalls and restaurants—all lodged within the sanctuary borders.

Conspicuous bites have been taken from the generous buffer zone that embraces the 2,500-square-mile original wildlife sanctuary. Land for a 200,000-acre cassava plantation has been razed and burned so quickly that the diminishment of the forest could be charted not over weeks but days. The gold-mining settlement of Shingbwiyang in the west, where the land has been stripped raw and mountain rivers turned to mud, is home to some 50,000 migrants, and permanent concrete structures and power lines have sprung up among the rudimentary huts of thatch and wood. The rebel Kachin Independence Army controls the reserve's eastern edge.

Yet the sheer size of the 6,708-square-mile tiger reserve can accommodate even these intrusions. Cupped between three mountain ranges, the Hukawng Valley is defined by dense, dark, seemingly boundless jungle. As recently as the 1970s Hukawng villagers encountered tigers in the course of ordinary rural life, hearing their roars at night. Rarely did a tiger harm a human, their victims typically being livestock or cattle. Still, the fearsome potential of the world's largest cat inspired sufficient respect to enshrine the tiger in local mythologies. Among the Naga tribespeople in northwestern Hukawng, stories of tiger shamans still abound. Tigers were Rum Hoi Khan—the King of the Forest, with whom man had a thitsar, a natural bond or treaty. "Naga used to call male tigers Grandfather, and female tigers Grandma," an elderly Naga man told me. "They believe they are their ancestors."

Such beliefs are fading with the tigers, recalled now only by the elderly. Myanmar youth know the tiger more from educational conservation stories than from life. The Myanmar Forest Department, for instance, sponsors a mobile education team that tours villages performing a skit about a tiger killed by a wicked poacher. The grief of the tiger "widow" reportedly moves all the women in the audience to tears. There is perhaps no more eloquent testimony to the tiger's imperiled status than this adjustment of its mythology from Rum Hoi Khan to weeping widow.

Two days after arriving in Tanaing, I joined the Myanmar Forest Department's Flying Tiger and guard teams as they headed up the Ta­wang River to the Forward Guard Post. The sun had burned off the morning mist, and the river flowed glacial blue under the hard blue sky. Close to shore, banana groves cast green shade on the water. Flocks of mergansers skimmed ahead and waited, while an occasional white-bellied heron sailed by. Hukawng Valley has elephants and clouded leopards, gaur (an ox), and sambar (an Asian deer)—favorite tiger prey; and it has a still unsatisfactorily assessed scattering of tigers.

Upriver, at the Forward Guard Post, a rattan-and-wood house on stilts in a clearing by the water, the head ranger, Zaw Win Khaing, gave an overview of the teams' survey work for the current season. The tiger team spent a third of each month on patrol, looking for tracks or scat of tigers, along with evidence of prey animals such as sambar, gaur, and wild pig. Rangers looked for evidence of human activities. In the previous month they had disbanded a hunter's camp and dispersed or apprehended 34 people involved in land clearing and cultivation, mostly for opium poppies.

Saw Htoo Tha Po, who bore the attractive title of tiger coordinator and is a seasoned veteran of this tough field, described the patrols. "Sometimes if it is sunny, you can see the sky," he said, conjuring what it was like to operate under triple-canopy forest for up to six weeks. The worst days are when it rains, and the trees spill water from their saucerlike leaves, and dripping mists chill the bone. Then the leeches get bigger and "make more blood." The local strain of malaria is particularly vicious and has killed team members. In all, 74 forest department personnel and wildlife police officers, in rotation, are responsible for patrolling a 700-square-mile strategic area of dense forest.

The head ranger, Zaw Win Khaing, once saw a tiger, in 2002. He had sat down to measure bear tracks in a muddy wallow when he saw something move to his right. As he stood up, the tiger's face appeared from the grass. "It was about as close as that chili plant," the ranger said, pointing to a vegetable plot some 15 feet away. "I do not know how long I looked at the tiger, because I was trembling." Eventually, the tiger turned back toward the forest.

By authoritative estimate, there may be 25 tigers in the Hukawng Valley—the authority in this case being an old Lisu tribesman not long retired from tiger poaching, who from time to time agreeably shares information with the tiger teams. Official, scientific evidence of the tigers' existence is harder to come by. In 2006-07 the only trace was several paw prints of a single tiger, and in the 2007-08 season, DNA tests of collected scat indicated the presence of three tigers.

This season a clean line of pugmarks by the river was cause for both celebration and a SWAT-team-worthy follow-up: News of the discovery was radioed in at 8 a.m., and by 6 p.m. the tiger team had arrived from Tanaing. Measurements and plaster casts of the tracks were made over a five-day period, and three camera traps were placed in the area, which had so far yielded only a picture of a pied hornbill. About the same time, fresh tracks were discovered nine miles upriver, which proved to belong to the same tiger. This, then, was payoff for another hard field season—a line of tiger paw prints in the pale yellow sand.

Later I spoke with Alan Rabinowitz, whose decade-long work with the Myanmar Forest Department lay behind the creation of the Hukawng Sanctuary. Was the expenditure of so much effort justified for so few tigers? As part of his answer, he pointed to a map that showed Hukawng's key position in the northern web of tiger landscapes. "Hukawng's potential is so huge," he countered. And he had witnessed habitats that had been turned around. "Huai Kha Khaeng was in terrible shape when I was there in the 1990s, and now it's one of Asia's best tiger reserves."

Huai Kha Khaeng, Thailand

"I first worked here in 1986, when every night there were gunshot noises, every day dead animals," Alan Rabinowitz told the group of 40 rangers, the team leaders who represented the park's 170 ranger personnel, gathered at the headquarters of the 1,073-square-mile Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in western Thailand. The ravaged landscape Rabinowitz described was one his audience could no longer recognize—Huai Kha Khaeng as it had been a mere two and a half decades ago. "What you have done here," Rabinowitz said, "is you have turned Huai Kha Khaeng from a site whose future was in grave doubt into one of the world's best tiger sites."

Two decades ago, perhaps 20 tigers roamed Huai Kha Khaeng. There are now an estimated 60 in the sanctuary alone and roughly 100 in the rest of the Western Forest Complex, which has six times the area. The improved health of the forest and the rise in prey (50 animals, or 6,600 pounds of living prey a year for each tiger, is a general rule) suggest that the tiger population could continue to accelerate upward.

The feasibility of bringing tigers back from the razor's edge of survival relies not only on human actions in the immediate future but also on the tiger's own remarkably resilient nature. Tigers are not finicky about diet or habitat or, like the panda, dependent on a particular ecosystem. Tiger tracks have been found in Bhutan above 13,000 feet, an altitude overlapping the domain of the snow leopard, while tigers in the saltwater mangrove swamps of the Bangladeshi and Indian Sundarbans are powerful swimmers and have learned to supplement their diets with marine life. And tigers reproduce well if given a chance. An average female can rear some six to eight cubs over her 10- to 12-year lifespan—which helped a population like that at Huai Kha Khaeng triple in 20 years.

Dedicated, by-the-book monitoring at Huai Kha Khaeng gave tigers a fighting chance, and the animals responded. At the ranger meeting I watched each of the 20 patrol leaders step up and make a ten-minute report of his team's work. Multimedia presentations showed maps of the patrol area, specific paths followed, man-days spent in each, and locations of trouble spots. No less revealing were images that showed interest beyond the call of duty—photographs rangers had taken of flowers in the forest loam, footage of a lone ant dragging the body of a lizard spread-eagled like a fallen warrior. Rare footage of a mother Asian tapir leading her cub across a river drew murmurs of appreciation from the audience. Burning interest and personal investment, professional pride, motivation, high morale—all were manifest in this room. In so many tiger landscapes, rangers make do with threadbare clothes and third-generation equipment, but the rangers of Huai Kha Khaeng were dressed in smart camouflage uniforms that flagged their status as members of a respected profession.

"Thailand's biggest asset is a national guarantee of salaries, the commitment of the national government," one conservationist told me. The operating budget for Huai Kha Khaeng's 2008-09 season amounted to $670,000, two-thirds paid by the Thai government, and the remaining third coming from WCS, the U.S. government, and various international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). This covered office management, species monitoring, training, wildlife-trade monitoring, camera traps, and most important, 30,600 man-days of patrols.

Following the meeting I joined Anak Pattanavibool, director of WCS's Thailand Program; Rabinowitz; and a tracker named Kwanchai Waitanyakan for a walk in the forest. Far below the canopy, we threaded through towering bamboo. Twice we stopped to listen to the low, husky call of an elephant. After a few miles, we broke out onto the clear-flowing Huai Tab Salao stream. On the opposite bank we found a long line of tiger tracks, four inches wide, striding confidently amid the bird scratches and lily-pad prints left by elephants.

"Lean all your weight on your hands," Rabinowitz instructed. Then he measured the depth of the impression my hand made in the sand. "One and a half centimeters," he announced—just over half an inch. The tiger's pugmark was an inch and a half deep. This, Pattanavibool estimated, was a male weighing more than 400 pounds.

In tiger landscapes outside India, most rangers have seen poachers but not tigers, and the hard days and nights they sweat in malarial forest or under canvas are for something they may never see. Even in Huai Kha Khaeng, tigers are less likely to be seen by foot patrols than captured by the roughly 180 camera traps that hold selected areas of the forest under eerie surveillance. Displayed at the sanctuary's wildlife research station were images of tigers caught in all their secret ways—eyes glaring blue and luminescent in the dark, tigers lounging majestically on a bed of leaves under shafts of sunlight, a full-whiskered stare into the lens, or just the tip of a tail.

The goal in Huai Kha Khaeng is to increase the population by 50 percent, to 90 tigers, and eventually to 720 in the entire Western Forest Complex. This prompts more heady speculation: If the tiger population of one well-managed park could be increased threefold in 20 years …

"There is 1.1 million square kilometers of tiger habitat remaining," said Eric Dinerstein, chief scientist and vice president of conservation science of the WWF. "Assuming two tigers for every 100 square kilometers, that's a potential 22,000 tigers."

For now the unnegotiable task is to save the few tigers that actually exist. And the story of the tiger's fate is relentlessly swift-moving. The Year of the Tiger, the celebration of which, in 2010, was the number one objective of a lauded tiger workshop in Kathmandu, has come and gone with no discernible benefit to the world's wild tigers. In November 2010 the 13 tiger countries attending the St. Petersburg Global Tiger Summit in Russia pledged to "strive to double the number of wild tigers across their range by 2022." In March 2010 a mother and two cubs were poisoned in Huai Kha Khaeng, the first poaching casualties in four years. The deaths prompted the Thai government to offer a $3,000 bounty for capture of the poachers. In the same month two young tigers were poisoned in Ranthambore, apparently by villagers who had lost goats to tiger attacks, while two new cubs were later born. And in Hukawng a new male tiger was caught by camera trap, a lone reminder of what this great wilderness could hold.

Most authorities agree that the fight to save the tiger can be won—but that it must be waged with unremitting professional focus that adheres to a proven strategy. It will require the human species to display not merely resolve but out­right zealotry.

"I want it in my will," Fateh Singh Rathore had told me in Ranthambore, his eyes burning bright behind his spectacles. "When I die, you spread my ashes on these grounds so the tiger can walk upon my ashes."

Blog Archive

Internet Weekly Newspaper, the “Front Page News” on-line blogs and more!

No newspaper carrier is involved

Ask about donation to our community newspaper online


Subscriptions:
Philadelphia, PA
Delaware County, PA
Wilmington, DE
New Jersey
News, and more about:

Youth, Education, Political analyst, Schools, Anti-violence, Social Justice, Grass roots

Health N Wellness,

Democracy, Ecological Protection, Seniors, Historic Preservation & Restoration, (Black, Latinos, Asian, Pakistani, Italian, and other) Religious Studies,(Judaism, Christian Ministry, Islamic Study), Arts, Books, Super Heroes & Trading Cards, College, and Pro Sports, Non-profits and Real-estate.

Visit FPN Advertisers

Support The Philadelphia Front Page News

Daily Publishing/Readership Online 190,000

Inquire About FPN

ADS/Gifts

Creative Services

Marketing/Entertainment News

Action Groups

Volunteers


BY PHONE:

267-293-9201


In Delaware

County, PA & Philadelphia County, PA

Van Stone

267-293-9201

Frontpagenews1@yahoo.com


In Philadelphia County, PA

James Sullivan

215-416-0862

In Haverford Township, PA

Joel Perlish

610-789 -7673


By EMAIL:

frontpagenews1@yahoo.com

phillygeek74@yahoo.com

joelperlish@aol.com

sullivancoach@yahoo.com

vspfoundation@yahoo.com

wvsr1360@yahoo.com


FPN Contact Address

Phila. Front Page News

P.O. Box 395

E. Lansdowne, PA 19050


VSP/FPN

Editorial Board

Van Stone,

Volunteer Editor

James Sullivan, Volunteer Editor and Publisher

Joel Perlish, Volunteer Proofing

Diane White,

Volunteer Editor

BY FAX:

To Van Stone Editor

215-474-5155

FRONT PAGE NEWS

PRINT DEADLINES:

Daily

7PM Monday to Friday

(Space and Published)

4PM Saturday to

Sunday

(Space and Published)

All materials published at least 2 days or less after submission

We accept All donation transactions

money order; company check

(no personal check) Please donate at the Donate Button

We accept Credit Card/Debit Card

with symbol Mastercard, Visa,

American Express and Discover.


About Us

  • FPN can reach out to Representatives from your side of: The Village, The Township, or The City

  • FPN Features:

    Sports
    Radio Control Race Models (Cars & Monster Trucks)
    Skateboarding

    Classified
    Radio Broadcasts
    Cars


    Community

    Family Entertainment
    Neighborhood News
    Scholastic News
    Regional News
    National News
    Citywide News
    Legal News
    Alternative Green Energy Education News
    Superhero & Comic Strip News
  • Teen Stars
  • Humanitarian/Ministers/Political
  • Community Services
  • Women & Men & Kids

  • You acknowledge and agree that you may not copy, distribute, sell, resell or exploit for any commercial purposes, any portion of the Newspaper or Services.
    Unless otherwise expressly provided in our Newspaper, you may not copy, display or use any trademark without prior written permission of the trademark owner.

    FPN/VSP® is in no way responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be listed on our Website and/or linked to our Website via hyperlink. VSP/FPN® makes no judgment or warranty with respect to the accuracy, timeliness or suitability of the content of any site to which the Website may refer and/or link, and FPN/VSP® takes no responsibility therefor. By providing access to other websites, FPN/VSP® is not endorsing the goods or services provided by any such websites or their sponsoring organizations, nor does such reference or link mean that any third party websites or their owners are endorsing FPN/VSP® or any of the Services. Such references and links are for informational purposes only and as a convenience to you.

    FPN/VSP® reserves the right at any time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Website and/or Services (or any part thereof) with or without notice to you. You agree that neither FPN/VSP® nor its affiliates shall be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Website and/or Services.

    You agree to indemnify and hold harmless FPN/VSP®, its subsidiaries, and affiliates, and their respective officers, directors, employees, shareholders, legal representatives, agents, successors and assigns, from and against any and all claims, actions, demands, causes of action and other proceedings arising from or concerning your use of the Services (collectively, "Claims") and to reimburse them on demand for any losses, costs, judgments, fees, fines and other expenses they incur (including attorneys' fees and litigation costs) as a result of any Claims.

    The Website is © 2009 by VSP®, or its designers. All rights reserved. Your rights with respect to use of the Website and Services are governed by the Terms and all applicable laws, including but not limited to intellectual property laws.

    Any contact information for troops overseas and/or soldiers at home provided to you by FPN/VSP® is specifically and solely for your individual use in connection with the services provide by Van Stone Productions Foundation VSP.

    FPN/VSP® soldiers contact information for any other purpose whatsoever, including, but not limited to, copying and/or storing by any means (manually, electronically, mechanically, or otherwise) not expressly authorized by FPN/VSP is strictly prohibited. Additionally, use of FPN/VSP® contact information for any solicitation or recruiting purpose, or any other private, commercial, political, or religious mailing, or any other form of communication not expressly authorized by FPN/VSP® is strictly prohibited.