Coconuts with black magic spells are allegedly being used to sway voters’ political party allegiance and incite confrontations between Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters and police on Fuvahmulah, ahead of Saturday’s Presidential Election.
A ‘kurumba’ (young coconut) suspected to have a ‘fanditha’ (black magic) curse, with Arabic writing and suspicious symbols burned into the husk, was found in the garden of a home located in Fuvahmulah’s Dhiguvaadu ward yesterday (September 4), a source from Dhiguvaadu ward told Minivan News today.
The woman who found the suspicious coconut in the early hours of the morning intended to inform the police, however the homeowners – “hard core” Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) supporters – told her not to do anything until an expert investigated the coconut first, said the source.
“Neighbors supporting President Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihad Party (GIP) live in the area, so they heard about the fanditha coconut and wanted to create problems, so they contacted the police,” the source continued.
“MDP and PPM have been running strong campaigns and have many supporters in the area, however GIP only has about 15 members,” the source noted.
“Since GIP has very few supporters, they are trying to redirect attention away from the other political parties to gain votes,” alleged the source. “GIP has told PPM that MDP planted the fanditha coconut, however they are telling MDP that PPM is responsible.”
“Neighbors a few houses away were awake around 3:00am that night and did not notice any suspicious activity,” said the source.
The source believes that GIP, PPM and Jumhoree Party (JP) supporters are trying incite unrest among MDP activists on Fuvahmulah – especially GIP by involving the police in the fanditha coconut incident.
MDP supporters on Fuvahmulah remain very upset about the violent police crackdown that happened after the controversial transition of power in February 2012, according to the source.
“When MDP activists see local police they are not good with them, they do not keep calm, there is always a huge scene, shouting, etc.,” the source explained.
“[However,] these days MDP [Island] Councilors are trying to the max to keep supporters calm,” the source continued.
“And the situation is very calm right now. It [the fanditha coconut incident] was nothing huge, just a very simple thing,” the source said. “There won’t be any impact on voting.”
Fuvahmulah police did not want to get involved in the black magic incident, instead they preferred to allow the family to take action independently, a police source told Minivan News today.
“If we get involved, it will turn into a big thing,” said the police source, in reference to inciting unrest among MDP supporters.
However, local media reported that police took possession of the black magic coconut.
The Maldives Police Service was not responding to calls at time of press.
Black magic sabotage
A black magic practitioner from Fuvahmulah allegedly cast spells on five yellow young coconuts – kurumba can also be green or orange – and gave them to another man to deliver to a specific key location, a Fuvahmulah island council source told Minivan News today.
The island council source alleged a person named *Easa cast a spell on five coconuts and gave them to *Moosa to deliver. However, Moosa left the coconuts on his bed covered with a sheet before going to work.
“Moosa’s wife was not told about the cursed coconuts, so she was shocked to find coconuts on their bed and called the police immediately,” said the island council source. “The police went over to the house and took the coconuts.”
“She thought MDP had cast the black magic spells because the coconuts were yellow,’’ the island council source explained. “Once Moosa found out what his wife had done, he told her it was very bad that she had reported it to police.’’
Moosa and his wife then went to get the cursed coconuts back from the police, but police refused to return them, according to the island council source.
The island council source noted that Easa made a typographical error when cursing the coconuts. The coconut curse says to “get rid of [PPM presidential candidate Abdulla] Yameen”, but was supposed to read “get benefits from Yameen”.
Furthermore, during the 2008 presidential election Easa also started practicing black magic a month before the election day, noted the island council source.
“Every day after dawn prayer he went to the beach and did black magic stuff. He also went near the polling station and threw cursed objects at people,’’ said the island council source. “[But] Easa’s spells did not work the last time.”
“This hasn’t been taken too seriously by the islanders, but the MDP supporters are very concerned,’’ the island council source said.
No arrests have been made in connection with the case, the source added.
Earlier this week, police summoned a white magic practitioner to evaluate a young coconut believed to have been cursed by a black magic spell, after it was found near the Guraidhoo Island presidential election polling station in Kaafu Atoll.
This is the second cursed coconut incident reported in as many days, related to the presidential election. To better understand this “very common practice”, Minivan News spoke with Spiritual Healers of the Maldives President and Exorcist, Ajnaadh Ali.
“During elections black magic is used to gain votes and make people ill,” explained Ali.
Ali suspects a spell was read over the Fuvahmulah fanditha coconut instead of inscribed, because the coconut reads “May Allah protect us from Abdulla Yameen”.
The black magic spell cast to influence voting “is a spell of separation. It’s the same idea as a love spell. It can either bring people together or split them apart,” Ali noted. “The black magic will attack them mentally, by demanding the individual think a certain way even if they would normally know something is bad. It makes them blind in the mind.”
“While any object can be used, because coconuts represent a life structure (like eggs) they use those objects to make the spell powerful, with the advice of the devil,” noted Ali.
“There is a long history of the practice in the Maldives, but it is still very common nowadays on every island,” he continued. “There is a lack of knowledge regarding the religion. Some people who do black magic think it’s right because the Quran is used.”
“In Dhivehi, fanditha means magic – black or white – but the way it is practiced is what makes it good or bad. Black magic is when people worship or invoke jins or devils to cause harm to others,” Ali explained.
“Black magic is practiced by misusing the Quran, chanting or writing verses and the names of devils or jins (spirits) to summon their help. It cannot be done unless someone has some disbelief of Allah,” he continued. “It it also disrespectful of the Quran.”
The best protection against black magic is reading Quranic verses, particularly the last two chapters of the Quran, said Ali. ‘Ruqyah’ is a form of white magic, specifically an Islamic exorcism where Quranic verses are read and prayers recited to heal.”
“Ruqyah will neutralise black magic to rid of the evil eye or any other spiritual matter, like jin possessions or mental illness,” he explained.
It can also be conducted for the benefit of worshipping Allah, he added.
“Any Muslim can practice ruqyah by themselves, however its more effective if they have knowledge of jins and the Quran. Also, they must be following the religion,” he noted.
The five pillars of Islam are prayer, fasting, alms for the poor, pilgrimage to Mecca, and declaring belief in one God, Allah.
A 1979 law requires persons wishing to practice fanditha to “write and seek approval from the Ministry of Health.” -
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Elk deaths baffle New Mexico game officials
In 2004, something was slowly killing hundreds of elk in Wyoming. Wildlife biologists and veterinarians ruled out viruses, bacteria, heavy metal poisoning, brucellosis and wasting disease before finally determining that the culprit was a native lichen the elk had ingested because there was nothing else to eat.
Now, New Mexico game officials are in a similar quandary. They are trying to figure out what killed more than 100 elk within 24 hours last week on a private ranch north of Las Vegas, N.M.
The elk weren’t shot or struck by lightning. Tests have ruled out poisonous plants, seeds and anthrax, a bacteria that can hide dormant for years in soil.
The cause of the die-off could still be a virus or something in the ranch’s water tanks.
Ultimately, this is a mystery that might never be solved. “It is possible we won’t have a definitive answer,” said Kerry Mower, wildlife disease specialist with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
The elk death mystery has some hunters worried.
Max Trujillo, a Las Vegas hunter, said he has had calls from other hunters concerned about whether or not it is safe to eat elk they bag in the area. Game officials are urging hunters to report any elk or other game that look or act abnormal.
“It is kind of scary. If in fact it is something coming from a fly or insect and it is airborne, it can be carried for miles,” Trujillo said.
“It’s a bummer, a sad thing,” Trujillo said. “More than three-quarters of the elk were cows and calves. Over 10 years, that translates to 1,000 elk that would have come from that herd.”
He said it’s the biggest elk die-off in the state that he’s heard of. And Game and Fish officials said no other game die-offs have been reported in the state.
The dead elk were reported Aug. 27 by a hunter that found them scattered across less than a one-square-mile area of the 75,000-acre Buena Vista Ranch. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish officials ruled out poachers. Tissue samples from the elk and water samples from the ranch were collected and sent to veterinary diagnostic labs in New Mexico, Texas and Georgia.
Mower said pathologists quickly ruled out anthrax. That was good news for Mower, since he would have already been exposed to any potential anthrax bacteria spores. “Anthrax is such a serious risk to human, livestock and wildlife health,” Mower said.
Mower said it is still possible a virus, such as the one that causes epizootic hemorrhagic disease, might have killed the elk. But he said some aspects of the deaths don’t match the disease. Usually, an infectious disease will sicken a number of animals, kill some and leave a few standing. The affected animals will be strung out over a wide swath of land and won’t all get sick at once.
“This really is quite an event to have so many animals die so abruptly,” Mower said.
He took water samples from eight tanks around the ranch to test for heavy metals, such as arsenic and selenium, and for nitrates. He said a heavy metal concentration can be natural but usually is a side effect of a pesticide application. “We don’t know of anything in that area that’s a natural concentration of heavy metals,” he said.
Investigators also found no evidence of large-scale pesticide use on any nearby hay fields.
Mower said they haven’t found evidence or had reports of any other dead or sick elk or cattle in the area or on neighboring ranches, and he thinks this incident is isolated.
The dead elk were in Game Management Unit 46, where the bow hunting season started Sunday, and muzzle load hunts begin in mid-September.
Weather played into the Wyoming elk deaths, and some believe it’s possible that weather also played a role in the New Mexico elk deaths.
The elk began dying in Wyoming in the spring, following one of the hottest, driest summers on record, according to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle at the time. Game officials said the lack of normal grass drove more elk into an area where they didn’t normally browse. By April, more than 400 elk deaths were linked to the lichen.
In 2012, a combination of drought, heat and stress killed several elk in Missouri.
New Mexico is in at least its third year of severe drought, and the northeastern portion of the state was hard hit. Recent rain stimulated a spurt of fast-growing, rich grass, some of the best in the state, Mower said. “It could be the runoff water washed something into the dirt [water] tank or quick-growing plants have taken something [toxic] up,” Mower said.
He said it could be a couple of weeks before all the tests on the elk tissue and water samples are complete. - Santa Fe New Mexican
Air Force Developed Bombs Capable of Destroying Syria’s Chemical Weapons
The U.S. Air Force has spent years developing so-called “Agent Defeat Weapons” designed to target and destroy stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons without dispersing or releasing them to surrounding areas, service officials said.
“The U.S. Air Force has Agent Defeat Weapons designed to limit collateral damage and effects,” Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy told Military.com. “The munitions are PAW (Passive Attack Weapon) and Crash Pad.”
Both of these weapons would be carried by aircraft such as the F-15 or F-22 fighter jets and B-2 or B-1 bombers. It’s likely the Air Force would deploy the weapons from a B-2 or F-22 to take advantage of their radar-evading stealth technology considering the advanced air defense systems in Syria.
Could these weapons be used if a strike on Syria is ordered? Air Force officials would not comment upon whether the Agent Defeat Weapons were part of the discussion or strategic calculus regarding Syria.
An official with the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, did not offer any specifics regarding planning details or ongoing considerations – but did tell Military.com that planning sessions, meetings and considerations were currently underway.
“The Joint Staff continues to meet and plan in order to provide the best possible military advice and options to the President. It would be inappropriate to speculate on what decision the President might make and what military options might be used in support of that decision. The U.S. military remains postured to provide a range of military capabilities as directed by the President,” said Cmdr. Scott McIlnay, spokesman with Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon.
The CrashPad, or BLU-119/B weapon is a high-heat explosive bomb designed to incinerate chemical agents before they can be harmful, according to defense officials and DoD documents.
The weapon is a 420-pound, high-heat incendiary weapon with what’s called a “blast-fragmentation” warhead. The Crash Pad is built from an existing standard MK 84 bomb body. The “PAD” in CrashPad stands for “Prompt Agent Defeat,” referring to the weapon’s ability to destroy chemical and biological agents without causing contamination, official documents describe.
The Passive Attack Weapon, or PAW, involves firing a host of steel and tungsten penetrator rods to create a “kinetic energy” battlefield effect without using an explosive. The weapon, first used to knock out antennas in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, is among the weapons used to advance what strategists call “effects based warfare.”
The idea with effects-based warfare is to achieve a strategically valuable battlefield “effect” without necessarily having to damage or attack large portions of the infrastructure of the attacked country or area. The PAW penetrator rods, which range from several inches to more than one-foot, can disable an enemy fuel tank, antenna or helicopter without necessarily damaging people.
One analyst said if the PAW were to be fired from a high enough altitude and was able to travel with enough terminal velocity – it could destroy chemical weapons stockpiles without releasing contaminants.
“When you hit something at high velocity, what you get is a flash of incredible heat in a confined area extremely fast. That can vaporize everything in small area,” said Daniel Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a Virginia-based think tank.
Goure likened the effect to the impact of so-called “Sabo” Kinetic Energy 120mm tank rounds fired by the U.S. Army’s M1Abrams tank.
“A Sabo round is essentially the same thing, a combination of spalling and heat effects. The round melts its way into the tank,” he said.
Being able to generate enough heat sufficient to incinerate or neutralize the harmful agents is an essential ingredient to the success of Agent Defeat Weapons, according to military officials and scientists.
“Most agent defeat options—including nuclear weapons and high-explosives—neutralize chemical or biological agents by raising the target’s temperature. Thus, to assess any weapon’s effectiveness, we must first determine the threshold temperature for rapid agent neutralization,” Brookings Institution Scientist Michael A. Levi said in written testimony to the National Academy of Sciences, 2004. - DefenseTech
Haunted houses give Japan chills in hot summer
A shiver down the spine is one way of keeping cool during summer in Japan -- traditionally viewed as a time when the spirit world makes its presence felt.
August sees millions of Japanese return to their home towns for the Obon season, in which relatives gather to temporarily welcome back the spirits of their dead forebears.
Despite its association with the deceased, Obon is a cheerful period that frequently involves fireworks and dancing in "yukata", a light summer kimono.
But it's also a time for ghost stories, with dozens of temporary haunted houses opening up across the country to mark the season.
"Goosebumps can be very refreshing," said Sayaka Makabe, a schoolgirl who came to witness "The Cursed Tooth" at Tokyo Dome, which tells the story of a woman driven to madness after sacrificing her once pearly white teeth for her child and has been condemned to pull them out one-by-one.
To allow her to rest in peace, visitors must pluck a black tooth from her mouth and take it to the exit. As her screams echo around the building, a loudspeaker relays the public's fearful cries to those queuing up to get in.
Three small children cling to their father, Ryuta Sato, in terror as they stand in front of an old woman with a knife stuck in her throat, surrounded by pools of fake blood.
"I used to visit these kinds of things when I was a kid," said 42-year-old Sato, who admitted he was more scared than he was letting on.
"The dead come back to the human world in August. This is a period in which all kinds of terrifying things are supposed to happen," said Hirofumi Gomi, the creator of "The Cursed Tooth", who is credited with setting up dozens of other haunted houses around the country.
The tradition goes back to the Edo period (1603-1868), when people packed Kabuki theatres in August to see ghost stories.
Obon religious ceremonies are based on the popular belief that ancestral spirits spend a few days on Earth in the month of August.
Families craft small "horses" from cucumbers and toothpicks, symbolising a form of transport for spirits to come from the netherworld.
As the festival ends, small boats with lanterns are set adrift, taking souls back to heaven.
"I have always practised this tradition because I think my parents really come back, I sometimes feel their presence with me," said Yumiko Tominaga, visiting a cemetery in Hitachiota, north of Tokyo, with her husband to sweep the graves of his ancestors.
"When I die, if I go back to Earth, I will certainly be happy if my children greet me the same way." - MenaFN
Supernatural and Mysterious Japan: Spirits, Hauntings and Paranormal Phenomena
Japanese Ghost Stories: Spirits, Hauntings, and Paranormal Phenomena (Tuttle Classics)
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