Paying for goods with notes and coins could be consigned to
history within five years, according to the chief executive of
Visa Europe. Peter Ayliffe said that, by 2012, using credit and
debit cards should be cheaper and more convenient than cash. Some
retailers could soon start surcharging customers if they choose
to buy products with cash, because of the greater cost of
processing these payments, he warned. Visa Europe briefed the
British Retail Consortium last month on new "contactless" cards
that can be waved in front of a scanner to make small payments.
However, the consortium dismissed this vision and claimed that
card processing fees, which regulators are investigating, are
still too high. One member of the consortium said that the
estimated "interchange" fee charged to retailers amounts to some
4p for each transaction. Nick Mourant, treasurer at Tesco, said,
"There is a duopoly between Mastercard and Visa in the UK. Their
setting of fees is anti-competitive."

Tim Webb
11 March 2007


Beryl Dsouza was late and in no mood for delays when she
stopped at a Target store after work two weeks ago for milk,
bread and bacon. So Dsouza was taken aback when the cashier, who
had on the traditional headscarf, or hijab, worn by many Muslim
women, refused to swipe the bacon through the checkout scanner.
"She made me scan the bacon. Then she opened the bag and made me
put it in the bag," said Dsouza, 53, of Minneapolis. "It made me
wonder why this person took a job as a cashier."

In the latest example of religious beliefs creating tension in
the workplace, some Muslims in the Twin Cities are adhering to a
strict interpretation of the Koran that prohibits the handling of
pork products. Instead of swiping the items themselves, they are
asking non-Muslim employees or shoppers to do it for them. The
Twin Cities area has become a hotbed for such conflicts because
of its burgeoning population of Somali immigrants, many of whom
are orthodox Muslims. Last year, Somali cabdrivers at the
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport attracted national
attention when some refused to carry passengers toting alcohol.
Some people see the Muslims’ actions as evidence of an
unwillingness to adapt to the American workplace, and to the
society as a whole.

Chris Serres, Matt McKinney,
Minneapolis Star-Tribune,
14 March, 2007


Gay rights groups in the US have complained after the
country’s top military commander said he believed
homosexual acts were "immoral". Marine General Peter Pace,
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he backed the
Pentagon’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy
regarding homosexuality. The policy bans homosexual acts between
members of the military. A gay rights group called the comments
"a slap in the face to gay men and women serving with honour and
bravery". Joe Solomonese, president of Human Rights Campaign,
said, "What is immoral is to weaken our national security because
of personal prejudices. Under the "don’t ask, don’t
tell" policy, introduced in 1994 to relax a complete ban on gays,
commanders are not allowed to enquire about the sexual
orientation of their personnel. Soldiers, sailors and air force
staff are not supposed to reveal their homosexuality, and are
banned from engaging in homosexual acts. Critics say the policy
is discriminatory, and also counterproductive, as it may
undermine recruitment, as the US military is struggling to
maintain sufficient forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. A 2005
government audit said 10,000 troops, including more than 50
specialists in Arabic, have been discharged because of the

Reuters, Mar. 13, 2007,
by Andrew Gray,
Washington, D.C.


The war in Iraq continues on, but top U.S. military commanders
have now admitted that we are facing a "Vietnam-style collapse."
U.S. Commander David Petraeus has stated that top advisors warned
that the war must be won in six months, or we will face a hasty
retreat due to low morale, lack of troops, and loss of political
will. The Iraq War has cost every man, woman, and child in
America 1,333 dollars so far. This is about $400 billion. As to
why the U.S. Government shipped twelve billion dollars in cash to
Iraq within thirteen months there are no answers as yet. The cash
was shipped from the Federal Reserve Bank in New York to Baghdad.
These were shipments of 363 tons of shrink-wrapped cash,
consisting of 281 million individual bills – stacked on 484
wood pallets and flown in C-130 cargo planes to Baghdad where
they promptly disappeared and are unaccounted for!

Feb. 13, 2007,
New York, NY.


New Orleans is a city that remains a disaster area after
eighteen months of trying to rebuild. It is a city that cursed
itself with its own wickedness, sexual filth, and witchcrafts!
Before Hurricane Katrina hit that city, the population of New
Orleans was 444,000. Currently, the population is 191,000.
President Bush initiated the Road Home Program, offering up to
$150,000 dollars per homeowner to rebuild. Out of the 107,000
people who applied for that aid, only 630 received any aid at
all. The wicked city of New Orleans is a ghost of a city, and
God’s handprint of judgment remains upon it!

Cox News Service,
Feb. 26, 2007,
Bob Dart,
Washington, D.C.