Archive for May, 2015

From Russia with Love…. or the love of money!

      With the development of the internet one has seen many things migrate to the cyber world. Not least romance and a plethora of dating sites around the world.  In this area of romance many are  aware of the hurt and difficulties in such an emotional area.  Whenever a business goes online there is the danger that those of evil intent will be there too.  Not least to make money out of people who are fleeced and then are so ashamed and upset at being nieve to report the loss of money.   In recent times with web cams galore a new twist in this area of robbery, for that is what it is they are common thieves and deserve no other title than cowardly too.

In the new twist they found that people were being tricked onto cameras and doing some things they would rather not like people they know to see are blackmailed into paying hundreds of pounds usually but some have been robbed of up to 100,000.



With a shortage of  suitable men in various places women turn to these agencies some quite legitimate to find their significant other.  However, it is Russia I want to write about here.   There are a number of sites online offering various services.  SOme are travel firms who make introductions in Russia and indeed some make the clients pay for a trip there to meet thier to be Bride.  In some cases it is successful.  However, there are other scams which steal email lists and get thier staff to write many people and if they get a reply engage them in communication with the aim of later requesting money.   Usually for what appear plausible reasons.  but there is a pattern firstly if someone you dont know emails you be ware the safe no. 1 rule is delete it!  If you reply look for a pattern in the initial stage they will seek to find out much about you and sound interested they may even give detail of themselves or who they are supposed to be as this is taking place online then they will give you photographs.   However again be careful although these may seem above board they are probably stolen from  Photographic businesses as this is an organised Crime making millions annually.

In recent year the BBC did an investigation of dating sites in uk and uncovered a business which was full of smoke and mirrors.  Indeed many people whose photos appeared on some sites were more than surprised as they themselves had not signed up.  In the race to have a large choice for customers men and womens identities were mis used and in some cases the whole business was false and a fraud to get money out of the nieve customer who was vulnerable.

Indeed back to Russia there are several sites, but it is the direct mail out of the blue which is possibly the least easy to spot. Oftentimes the opening gambit is either complimentary towards the person receiving the email or suggests some aquaintance suggested the contact may be useful to both parties.   Several letters down the line money comes into the frame.  Either a plea of being hard up and a vital medical emergency in the close family circle demands some money they do not have they hate asking of course but beware and act as you may in real life on the street if a complete stranger requested the amount they ask for would you part with oyour hard earned money.

so the next time you are tempted by a a Russian Temptress remember the Golden rules.

1, do not under any circumstance send money.  If you do you will never hear again.

2. Check the website address or the email address and check the massive Scammers lists and the Survive Scammers lists too.  If the person you supposedly are communicating with is there just do not reply ever again.



There are two victims in this kind of crime.  The person who actually gets sucked in and sends money usually through Moneygram or WEstern Union, and of course the people whose photographs are sent around the globe.   They may not even know they are being used as bait. They too can help break up this crime by calling local police in their area.

So next time a Russian beauty suggests you are the one, beware of the money request, however plausible, it may not be from Russia with Love but rather The love of your hard earned money.

while we are on the subject can anyone on the planet tell me whom this may be.???





The Kirk at work as ministry council and cross reach reports heard.

The General Assembly has a wide range of councils and one of the Councils at the sharp end of the work is the Ministries Council.  This is responsible for a range of issues facing the ministry today and has a challenge to find more people to take up the ministry.  They have launched this year at heart and Soul a decade of ministry where they plan to really encourage more younger people to consider the Ministry as a vocation and career.

general Assembly Hall

general Assembly Hall

The current Church is facing shortages of ministers and many Churches take much longer to find a replacement when thier Minister retires or else moves to work in another parish.   The work of the caring arm of the Kirk is known as Cross Reach.  It has a large number of homes for the elderly and indeed for those who suffer from dimentia and alzheimers.  the costs of this work increase each year as does the need for places and although the work is done hand in hand with local authorities it is still closely related to the Kirk and indeed much funding comes from the Kirk or Kirk people.

come back tomorrow for full report.



In the past the Kirk’s Church and Nation committee was a powerful voice for Scotland in the wake of the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and modernisations within the Kirk’s structure the Church and Society Council took on the mantle of the voice of the Church to both the Scottish Parliament and the Westminster Parliament.

St. John's Church, Dunoon, Argyll after a storm felled trees in the church grounds.

St. John’s Church, Dunoon, Argyll after a storm felled trees in the church grounds.

The fourth day of procedings of the General Assembly saw this committee tackle a range of issues under the headings of Social Justice, Climate justice,criminal justice and international justice not to mention Education and Health issues.   This major report to the assembly was introduced by the convener ,  Sally Foster-Fulton.  In her opening speech she outlined key values which were at the core of their deliberations and deliverances.  They included: Equality, Fairness, Justice, Respect and honesty as well as Compassion and tolerance.   It was these that they tried to engender during last years referendum debate.  The presented the report after what has been a seismic shift in Scottish politics with SNP gaining all but three of the seats in Scotland at the general Election.  They are on the same page regarding Tridents renewal as the Kirk has long said such weapons are immoral and have no place in a civilised society.  The veiws on austerity too match SNP and will no doubt collide with the Cameron Goovernment’s continued austerity plans.   Indeed on the financial front the Kirk along with other denominations have begun a Credit Union which will give the poorest access to reasonable cost loans and indeed they encouraged members of the Kirk to join the Credit Union too.  This move is seen as protecting the poorest from exorbitant rates of interest when they cannot get loans from thier bank.

oil industry in Aberdeen the Oil and energy Capital of Scotland

oil industry in Aberdeen the Oil and energy Capital of Scotland

The Climate too was looked at and the need to be goood stewards of the planet so we can hand it on in a good way to those who follow us our children and grand children.  The energy issue and fairly priced energy became another issue for the Council over the year with energy poverty striking more and more of the poorest in society.


After a busy morning the Council returned to the Assembly Hall to complete thier busy report to the Commissioners covering international issues and new deliverences were added to the report not least two calls for the recognition of the state of PALESTINE.  It also underlined that the Kirk did not like the violence happening in Israel Palestine.
Rev. Paraic Reamonn, minster at St. Andrew’s Church, Jerusalem underlined the import of the Kirk recognising the State of Palestine and urging the UK government and the European Union to also recognise the state of Palestine as it may well put pressure to find a solution to this issue which has gone on for decades.  The violence against Gaza was also mentioned by commissioners who wished this move to take place.

The remainder of the days business included a report from the Iona Community as well as the panel for review and reform along with the Legal Questions committee and the council of Assembly who have been  considering the Ministry and the implimentation of the Tenure commission.   With such large shortages of Ministers and some vacancies lasting over a decade the Kirk has had to adapt to find solutions short term fora much longer term problem in rural and island areas.  The Kirk has always sought to bring the ordinances of religion to all of Scotland, yet due to falling rolls and lack of ministers in training, which are far short of the number required to replace those retiring in the next 15 years, this becomes more and more difficult.




The Kirk’s annual General Assembly atop the Mound spent the first day dealing with a contraversial issue of  the Gay clergy.  In order to adjust the Act last Assembly came up with a form of words with the help of the Theological Forum and thier Legal experts which had the blessing of the 2014 General Assembly and was transmitted down under the age old Barrier Act to Presbyteries throughout Scotland.  Having got an overall majority, albeit narrow, it returned for final debate of the Commissioners at this General Assembly.   With a large number of abstentions the move won the day with 302 votes to 182 against. with the total number able to vote being nearer 800 there was far from a large majority in favour and on such a difficult issue it will not solve the fragmentation of the Kirk.

It was also worth noting that what was voted means nothing changes yet everything changes.  The default position stays on the status quo, however the wiggle room comes by delegating to the congregations the freedom to select a Gay minister even if they are in a legal partnership or gay marriage, since the new Scottish governments legislation in favour of this move.   There are many who feel this is a back door too far.  It seems that people on the evangelical side of the aisle like things black and white while the liberals see fifty shades of gray!




For some partner churches around Scotland and Ireland this is a step too far.  Indeed it may be that more congregations in the west and highlands may well choose to leave over this difficult issue.  However, it is worth noting that the status quo position stands and that such relationships are not acceptable, yet to leave room to avoid being sued under the human rights act a legal channel thourgh the local congregation are allowed to select someone of this persuasion.  The whole issue came to light due to the selection of Rev. Scott Rennie, once in a straight marriage with a son, to Queens Cross Church, Aberdeen his position was challenged and the case came to a General Assembly, but due to technicalities the vacancy procedure being in the dock not his sexual persausion, it was the winner so he stayed in place.   However, this triggered much controversy and a number of members and indeed large congregations left in objection to the move.  Over a number of Assemblies a way forward has been sought with joint councils of the Kirk reaching the decision which came to the 2014 General Assembly commissioners who narrowly voted for the solution suggested which was as some said a “fudge”

After a nearly three hour debate with both sides speaking strongly for or against and many biblical  quotations the time to take an electronic vote came around 3.15pm.  The decision  arrived in 30 seconds! at least that was the time for people to make up thier mind once voting machine was switched on.

Later the commissioners also discussed some other issues before taking abreak before the evening session.

Rt. Rev. J. Chalmers. Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. 2014

Rt. Rev. J. Chalmers. Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. 2014


The retiring Moderator, Very Rev. John  Chalmers , gave his report on his leaving address a report on  his year in office.   He urged a year of peace and it was the year of the peace doves which came to him from all over the world.   He also took gifts of Glass doves made from the fragments of glass in Gaza gathered by the children there and turned into beautiful doves by a craftsman there .  He has gifted these doves to all who he met on his visits from the Pope in the Vatican City to ministers in charges such as Rev. Sarah Nicol, Midstocket Parish Church, Aberdeen, which was his last Presbytery visit of his moderatorial year.   He highlighted how he has seen the Kirk at its best throughout the world and in Scotland and far from being pesimistic he sees the kirk move to the future with a vision.  They aim to get 100,000 new members and attract more young people to the  ministry with a decade of ministry project which was launched on Sunday AFternoon at the now annual HEART AND SOUL event in Princes Street Gardens., Edinburgh.

This event attracts church of scotland congregations from everywhere in Scotland and a number events throughout the afternoon.  a large number of stalls from coconut shys to ice cream and a cafe to  world mission, and other denominations tents advertising thier varied work.  Thousands came to the afternoon which was treated kindly by the weather despite a bad forecast and it ended with a service in the bandstand area.

Afterwords  the congregation spilled out onto Princes street noticeable to the local shoppers coming out of the closing shops.  The new Moderator, Rt. Rev. Angus Morrison, attended the service too while the Lord High Commissioner, Lord Hope was another visitor to HEART AND SOUL!

An Assembly atop the Mound!

    It is once again the seven days in May that matter to Scotland and indeed to the World.  The Kirk as the Church of Scotland is called affectionately meets annually in its highest court the General Assembly in Edinburgh.  The ministers and elders of the Kirk meet to deal with the challenges facing the National Church for the year and for the future.  The opening ceremony is a visual illustration of Church and State relationships and in the case of the Kirk Jesus’ Church precedes State.   The Moderator of the General Asembly, RT. Rev.Dr. Angus Morrison, who will serve the kirk in this post for the next year was welcomed by the outgoing Moderator, Very Rev. John Chalmers.   The challenges facing the church are always varied and this year there are particular problems facing the Kirk..  The lack of Ministers among the priorities as well as dwindling rolls throughout Scotland. 

general Assembly Hall

general Assembly Hall

The Queen and State then enters the Assembly Hall  in the form of the Lord High Commissioner this year Lord Hope. is invited to give an address to the Kirk.  With nearly 1000 delegates who are called Commissioners will spend the next seven days in debate and dialogue with all sides of theological views from evengelical to more liberal as they seek to be as the retiring moderator put it to be Jesus Church! A church that cannot be defeated by the powers of darkness.


The Lord High Commissioner addressed the General Assembly urged the kirk forward in the new millenium.


If you want to see live follow this link.


more later!

off Gibraltar. Church of Scotland's presence here goes back to the 18th century.

off Gibraltar.
Church of Scotland’s presence here goes back to the 18th century.


The first day of the General Assembly took up the key issue on whether or not a congregation can make a choice of a gay minister.   The past few years has been dogged by the issue of Gay clergy and whether or  not  to vote an overture which leaves room for a wider ministry in the Kirk.  There were several speakers from both sides of the argu.e


    The much heralded General  Election is over and the result you could say is Status Quo minus Liberal Democrats!   However, that would be to ignore the seismic shift of over 1 million voters plus who moved over to the SNP.  This gave the map of Scotland a yellow band from north to south with only a sliver of orange(lib Dem in Shetland and orkney long a liberal place politicially) and sliver of blue in the far south west the only surviving TORY (Conservative) in Scotland.   The Labour stronghold for over a century disappeared you might say overnight.  However that too is siplistic given the recent Referendum on Independence.  The betrayal of the Scottish Labour having to work on the Better together team under Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown was a move too far and the close result indicated a shift might happen in the forthcoming election.  The runes were cast you could say.  In the lands south of the border another shift of nearly six million voters was almost imperceptible as the result was only 1 MP for the UKIP.  However, this may well be an indicator of how a referendum  on getting out of europe may go in 2017.

The narrow majority of the Conservative party shows that they only really have one third  of the total voters on thier side and they would be silly indeed to ignore that and will do so at thier peril.   If for instance an anti europe movement south of the border wins the day and a pro europe Scotland does not want to leave then bazinga!  another Scottish referndum could be triggered!  Referenda are not once in a lifetime events when a whole electorates future is dependent on some issue which is unresolvable in parliament with a large majority to carry the day then Referenda are the way forward.

Devolution in 79 failed, however a couple of decades later it was a reality and a Scottish Parliament was Born!  In regards to Europe there have been other referenda and again the way forward decided.

The issues facing the UK however are not simple local but Global and as the dust from the results were settling and the other side of the map in Russia a celebration of the end o f the World War II took place.  It was worth noting that Chancellor Angele Merkle attended the ceremony in Russia which is much to her credit given the current situation globally as the USA seek to create a second cold war!  Interfereing in Ukraine to destabilise the peace there in the first place and allowing and backing of all things a NAZI GOVERNMENT  whose prime minister even visited the German parliament and insulted them by berating them for allowing the defeat of Hitler.

o6yD3cN9mKfVw7psmmdwGC9uK8MjMUztPutin And Merkle gave a press conference and below is the speech by Vladimir Putin , President of Russia.  Thr british media predictably only concentrated on the negative so please read it all you may be surprised.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Madam Federal Chancellor, ladies and gentlemen,

Today, Ms Merkel and I laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and honoured the memory of the victims of the Great Patriotic War, which was such a tremendous tragedy for the entire world and for our nations. We stand in agreement in our assessment of these events and on the historical lessons to be learned.

Today’s joint ceremony reminds us of the difficult road that Russia and Germany traversed in the name of reconciliation. We went from bitter, hardened feelings to mutual understanding and cooperation. I am grateful to the Federal Chancellor for her sincere words of regret over the crimes that Nazi Germany committed against our citizens.

The Federal Chancellor and I held substantive talks and discussed a broad range of bilateral and international matters. It is no secret that Russian-German relations are not going through the best of times due to our differing positions on the events in Ukraine.

Our bilateral trade decreased by 6.5 percent in 2014 – the first drop in the last five years. The drop exceeded 35 percent in the first two months of this year. This situation is not in the interests of either Russia or Germany. In this respect, I must say that the business community in Germany itself would like to see the lifting of these artificial barriers to developing our mutually advantageous trade and economic ties.

Businesspeople are pragmatic by nature. They are therefore not leaving the Russian market and are assessing the current opportunities for doing successful business here. More than 6,000 German companies have a presence in the Russian market, and total accumulated German investment in the Russian economy comes to more than $21 billion. I remind you that around 100 German companies took part in just the single project of preparing the infrastructure for the Sochi Olympic Games. They had contracts worth a total of 1.5 billion euros and they performed the work and received the money as agreed.

There are other areas where the cooling in our bilateral relations has affected our business ties. But there are also areas that continue to develop. Interregional cooperation is one such area. For example, 23 Russian regions have solid ongoing contacts with 14 regions in Germany. A large conference of twin cities is scheduled to take place in Karlsruhe at the end of June, and around 100 pairs of twin cities are expected to attend.

We are developing our cooperation potential in the cultural and humanitarian sphere. We are now summing up the results of the reciprocal years of the Russian and German languages and literature, which took place in 2014–2015. Around 200 events were organised as part of this programme, many of them focused on our two countries’ youth. This prompted the idea of organising a year of youth exchanges in 2016. I think this is an important initiative with a focus on the future.

recent meeting to celebrate 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Russia

recent meeting to celebrate 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Russia



I want to remind you that our countries have succeeded in pursuing constructive cooperation in much tougher conditions and more difficult times than the situation today, times when it seemed that insurmountable ideological barriers divided us. There were plenty of positive examples of cooperation back then. I will not go through them now, I think that you are all familiar with them.

Naturally, our discussion of the international agenda focused primarily on the situation in Ukraine. Ms Merkel and I are in regular contact on this issue, including through our joint discussions with the Presidents of France and Ukraine in the Normandy format talks, which has shown itself to be quite an effective instrument for international facilitation of a peaceful settlement for the conflict in the Donbass region.

Yes, it is true that we differ considerably in our assessment of the events that led to the anti-constitutional coup in the Ukrainian capital in February 2014. But at the same time, I am sure that you will all agree, and the participants in the peace talks say this constantly, that there is no alternative to a peaceful diplomatic solution. To achieve this, we must fully and strictly abide by the Minsk agreements reached on February 12 this year. I remind you that peace settlement measures form a package that ties together all of the key aspects for a settlement: political, military, socioeconomic and humanitarian.

I think that we have every reason to say that the Minsk process is making progress, not without difficulties along the way, but it is moving forward. You know that after February 12, in spite of all the problems in southeastern Ukraine, the situation has been quieter there, even if there are still the problems that we know about. I firmly believe that the only way to guarantee a reliable and lasting settlement is to organise direct dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk.

I think this is one of the key conditions for a settlement in general. I also think it essential to lift the economic embargo, restore financial and banking ties, and carry out constitutional reform with the southeastern regions’ involvement. The Minsk Agreements of February 12 cover all of these areas, and as I said, they must be implemented.

We are happy that after the Normandy format consultations on April 30, when we had another telephone conversation, the four sub-groups set up to address specific areas of the settlement process began their work in Minsk on May 6. We will do everything possible to make their work effective, though success here depends above all on the people who have power, above all the authorities in Kiev.

We will exert all possible influence on the authorities in Donetsk and Lugansk in order to ensure that this process goes at the hoped-for speed and quality. Ms Merkel and I agreed to work more closely on the crisis in Ukraine, including through the Normandy format.

We also discussed our bilateral relations and spoke about the need to continue our talks on Ukraine’s association agreement with the European Union with respect to its impact on our economic interests. I want to inform you that a Russian delegation headed by the Economic Development Minister will go to Brussels on May 17–19.

Thank you for your attention.”

In the current world stage politics of War and hate are sadly on the ascendency throughout the Middle East in places like Iraq, Syria, and the larger problem of ISIL as well as the Yemen fighting is rife.    NATOs illegal destruction of Libya under the Gadaffi regime has pushed a modern country to the brink of the middle ages with massive infrastructure  destruction cusing up to 10 hour power cuts and Gaddafi AIDS!” little surprises this journalist.

The Iraq war begun by riding roughshod over democratic issues in both USA and UK by w’s sidekick Blair (both war criminals if there is any justice left in this world) and the destruction of Afghanistan to restart the drug trade after 9/11 (many more now in USA, believe was an inside job!)   The paper trail is there but hidden but that is why people of integrity like Snowden are such a danger to them!  Also Julian Assange.  Strangely enough when these people are in power they fail to eliminate the paper trail.  So they spy on us to flag up if we might be getting too close for comfort.  With an American Election and a Scottish Election next year The world faces a decision which radically changes the future as I titled this article  a Brave (peaceful) new world or A New World Order (constant war).  That is the stark choice.  Only Vladimir Putin seems to counter the latter and for that is pictured as the enemy.  We need to take heed of democracy and indeed ensure we have the ability to hold the politicians to account and under the curren media laws that is not going to happen .  Milliband suffered as he suggested reigning in Murdoch and his cronies by changes in ownership legislation. to curtail the magolamaniacs who own far too much of the media and thus control the perception of what is going on.

As in my last item I told you to VOTE now I urge you to be vociferous if you feel they do not keep thier word.   It only takes a couple of dozen votes in parliament on a vote of no confidence to force another general Election .    That should be a reality check for every PM!

Growing the economy is the key. War hides the economic issues under the cloak of patriotism as in second world war rationing!  They are trying to do the same as the downturn in economy may well be more cataclysmic than they are telling us!  A world war with again someone picked to be the enemy hides THIER MISTAKES, GREED AND DOWNRIGHT CORRUPTION.   We become the cannon fodor to use an age old expression. You can bet your last buck the big guys will be safe in thier luxury underground bunkers they have been building – look up google-  over past decade.

The next big story will be Europe and a pro euro stance in the media bar none!  So speak up but do you homework first nothing you see after all is what it seems . What you  see is not what you get!



world view

We are going to look at the world as we come to a dangerous period in the global history

as we move into the time of two elections which will decide the dirction of the global politics.  With elections around the world not least in the USA where it seems to be going to be a deja vu election with Bush v Clinton!

However just who is really pulling the strings we will have a seven part series starting next month which will include the UK election result.

come back in June for the major series exclusive with material you possibly do not get elsewhere and will not get in the mainstream media who seem to be avoiding being a watchdog.


a devastated street in Libya after NATO bombing how did that protect innocent civilians?

a devastated street in Libya after NATO bombing how did that protect innocent civilians?