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Nov. 20, 2012 at 10:13 PM   |   Comments

Rubio comment stirs creationism pot

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- A comment by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that Earth's age is "a dispute amongst theologians" has touched off new debate about whether the GOP is "anti-science."

Rubio, during an interview with GQ, was asked how old he thinks Earth is.

"I'm not a scientist, man," he said. "I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow."

Rubio said he wasn't qualified to answer the question but "there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all."

"I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says," he said. "Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries."

During an interview Tuesday on CNN, Jeb Bush Jr. -- son of Republican former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- said the question was "strange" and Rubio's response was "kind of a head-scratching type of answer."

He said the Republican Party needs to be "a kind of pro-science and pro-technology party. And I think Marco Rubio is just that."

"The party's been pushed in this area of kind of anti-science and anti-technology and I don't think that's true. We're a young and dynamic party.

"But we also can't forget about our traditional values, things like faith and family," Bush said. "And Senator Rubio certainly represents that."


Anglican church says no to women bishops

LONDON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Church of England elders, by a margin of six votes, decided Tuesday not to allow women to become bishops.

The vote took place after more than 100 impassioned speeches both for and against the measure -- the most controversial decision in the 20 years since the Anglican church voted to allow women priests. The measure enjoyed solid support among lay people and bishops, but fell just short of the two-thirds majority church rules require to make the change.

It prompted one bishop who favored the measure to wonder whether the Church of England had become a "national embarrassment," The Guardian of England reported.

The decision comes as a particularly difficult blow for Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, who had campaigned personally in support of female bishops.

"Of course I hoped and prayed that this particular business would be at another stage before I left, and of course it is a personal sadness, a deep personal sadness, that that is not the case," he said.

The matter cannot be brought to a vote for another three years. The legislation allowed churches opposed to a female bishop to request a separate male bishop to govern their affairs, but conservatives shrugged off the compromise, saying male bishops could still be subjugated to female bishops in the church's hierarchy.

When put to a non-binding vote of members in the Anglican church's 44 diocese, 42 approved of allowing women to reach leadership roles.


Alleged terror plot ringleader was in USAF

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The accused head of an alleged terror plot in California had served in the U.S. Air Force and was honorably discharged in 2001, military records indicate.

Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34 -- one of four suspects arrested Friday on suspicion of plotting "violent jihad" against Americans -- was born in Afghanistan but is now a U.S. citizen. He was arrested in Afghanistan Friday, when three other suspects were arrested in Chicano, Calif.

The four are charged with plotting to kill Americans as enemies of Islam after joining al-Qaida and the Taliban, the FBI said.

Kabir -- who is charged with recruiting the other three suspects -- lived in Pomona, Calif., before going to Germany in December 2011 and then going on to Afghanistan in July, prosecutors said.

U.S. Air Force records show Kabir was in the service from July 20, 2000, until Dec. 17, 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. The records contain no indication of where Kabir was stationed or why he left the Air Force, the newspaper said.

Prosecutors said Kabir recruited Ralph Deleon, 23, of Ontario, Calif., and Miguel Alejandro Santana, 21, of Pomona, in 2010 and introduced them to "radical and violent Islamic doctrine of U.S.-born Yemeni cleric and al-Qaida member Anwar al-Awlaki," a complaint unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Riverside, Calif., stated.

The United States killed Awlaki Sept. 30, 2011, in a Predator drone strike in Yemen.

Santana and Deleon allegedly recruited Arifeen David Gojali, a U.S. citizen, for the alleged plot.

Deleon, Santa and Gojali had been set to travel to Afghanistan Sunday, the Times reported.

Santana and Deleon allegedly told a confidential source working for the FBI they planned to go to Afghanistan to take part in "violent jihad," the complaint said.

The jihad plot included bombing government facilities and public places, killing "officers and employees of the United States" and killing U.S. nationals, the complaint said.

Charges include conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the United States, the complaint said.

Santana, Gojali and Deleon were apprehended Friday by authorities with the U.S. Joint Terrorism Task Force. The men appeared before a magistrate Monday in federal court in Riverside.

If convicted, the men face up to 15 years in federal prison, officials said.


Petraeus favorability down 15 points

PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 20 (UPI) -- David Petraeus' favorability rating is down 15 points since he quit as CIA director but more Americans view him favorably than unfavorably, a Gallup poll found.

The poll -- conducted Nov. 15-18 -- found 40 percent of those surveyed said they viewed the retired four-star Army general favorably and 30 percent viewed him unfavorably.

Petraeus resigned Nov. 9 after admitting he had engaged in an extramarital affair.

In five previous surveys from 2007 to 2011 -- mostly when Petraeus was an active duty general directing U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan -- Gallup found his favorable rating ranged from 47 percent to 61 percent, for an average of 54 percent.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed last week said they supported Petraeus' decision to resign as director of the CIA. Forty-one percent said they thought he should not have resigned.

Fifty-three percent said they had been following news about the Petraeus scandal very closely (22 percent) or somewhat closely (31 percent.)

Among those who said they had followed the story very closely, 61 percent said he should have resigned and 37 said he should have stayed on the job.

The poll was based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,015 adults age 18 and older in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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