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The Magi

The Three Magi are one of the most recognized symbols of the festive season, emulated in nativity plays all over the world and whose imagery adorns the front of millions of Christmas cards.

However, the three wise men who presented the newborn baby Jesus with gold, frankincense and myrrh could have been larger in numbers if a new interpretation of an ancient document is correct.

An eighth-century script has been translated into English for the first time and throws an incredible new light on the Christmas story.

The translation of the mysterious “Revelation of the Magi” describes how the three wise men actually numbered over a dozen and came from a faraway land, possibly China.

The Magi was the term, used from at least the fourth century BC, for ancient stargazers who were able to read and manipulate the fate foretold in the skies.

The script also reveals how it was Jesus himself who was the famous star followed by the Magi.

Brent Landau, a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma, spent two years translating the eighth-century text from its original Syriac.

The document has been held in the Vatican for 250 years and the story is thought to have been first told in the late second, or early third, century.

This takes it back to possibly just 100 years after Matthew wrote his Gospel – the only one to include the story of the Magi.

Matthew never mentions how many the Magi numbered; they are described as three wise men simply because there were three gifts.

There could have been several scores of them, according to the new translation.

The translation of the mysterious “Revelation of the Magi” describes how the three wise men actually numbered over a dozen and came from a faraway land, possibly China

The translation of the mysterious “Revelation of the Magi” describes how the three wise men actually numbered over a dozen and came from a faraway land, possibly China

The authors of the document claim it was penned by the Magi. However experts do not believe this to be the case and say it could have been written by their descendents, as it carries detailed accounts of their prayers and rituals.

Professor Brent Landau thinks the sect that wrote it identified with the mystics.

The story tells how the Magi were descended from Adam’s third and righteous son, Seth.

It says they came from a semi-mythical place called Shir, which is on the eastern edge of the world – where modern-day China is.

Prof. Brent Landau said: “The story says that Seth passed down a prophecy that at some point a star would appear that would signal the birth of God in human form.

“The Magi waited thousands of years, passing down the prophecy and then the star appeared where the Magi were.

“It transformed into a small luminous human being who was Christ himself in a pre-existent, celestial form.

“It is saying that Jesus Christ and the Star of Bethlehem are the same thing and Jesus Christ can transform himself into anything.

“The star guides them to Bethlehem and into a cave where it transforms into a human infant who tells them to go back and be preachers of the Gospel.

“Later the Apostle Thomas turns up and baptizes the Magi and tells them to go into the world.

“The story does say that the Magi brought gifts to Jesus, but interestingly the text never tells us if they are the familiar gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

Prof. Brent Landau said it is unknown who wrote the text but added: “Somebody was really fascinated by the wise men to have created this big, long story and tell it from their perspective.

“The Revelation of the Magi is part of the Christian Apocrypha and was written in the Syriac language that was spoken by Christians from Syria through Iran and Iraq.

“There might have been a community who were using the Magi or its persona to get its religious perspective across.

“There are many details of strange rituals, praying and silence. There is a description of a sacred mountain and purification at a sacred spring.

“The detail is so great I wondered if it was the community’s actual practices that were being described.

“There is much in the Revelation of the Magi which is not self evident why it is there.

“Nobody knows where Matthew got the story from so along with Matthew’s Gospel this is as close as you can get to the Magi.”

In terms of the text itself, very little is known about its origins.

It is unclear who wrote it or when, though academics think it is an 8th century manuscript written from a story from the second or third century.

After, it is unsure where the text was for a millennium until a collector stumbled across it in a Turkish monastery in the eighteenth century.

The collector then transferred the document, written on Vellum, a type of parchment made from animal skin, to the Vatican Library.

It was then lost, archived away in Syriac until a Harvard student, Brent Landau, spent almost a decade translating the text.

The fire sale of HP TouchPads for $99 stimulated a purchasing madness. Experts point out tablets in the $200 to $300 range might be in shops for the approaching Christmas season.


Tech giant Hewlett-Packard Co. could not market its TouchPad tablets right up until it decreased the cost to $99, cutting a lot of money from the initial price. They then flew off the racks.

The incredibly popular promotion, in the wake of HP stating it was giving up the tablet business, might have many people convinced that $99 is definitely the tipping point, when tablets will change from being the desired gadget of the several to an item which practically every person possesses like a mobile phone or notebook.

HP TouchPad Review
HP TouchPad Review


For the time being, experts point out, $99 isn’t a reasonable price for a tablet pc that isn’t some sort of plaything.


The TouchPad was an anomaly in the market. They are exiting the market and they’re losing a lot of money by selling the tablets that cheap.” said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research at IHS iSuppli.

The HP TouchPad is made up of lot more than $300 component pieces, as outlined by a tear-down evaluation by iSuppli, excluding or labor costs. That’s like the $326 value of components in the runaway top seller amongst tablets, Apple Inc.’s iPad 2. The co-founder of teardown expert iFixit Kevin Wiens stated:

“From a manufacturing standpoint, there is no way you can make a quality tablet for $100 right now . It’s basically impossible. The cheaper tablets out there are very, very poorly made.”

An iPad – that have 85% from global tablet income this past year, based on ABI Research – today begins at $499, and professionals claim it’ll most likely stay at or close to this cost for the near future.


The HP Touchpad, pre-fire sale, was initially priced at $399 for the basic model.


However because tablets carry on to extend their appeal beyond tech fanatics to regular customers, there’s increasing motivation to provide a great gadget at a cheaper cost.

The cost at this point stands as the top consideration for 65% of individuals buying a tablet, based on a newly released study from Forrester Research. However buyers might possibly not have a realistic view of just how much the products cost in shops.

These people taking part in the survey anticipated to spend around $257 for a tablet, maybe due to the fact that’s about the cost a few e-readers cost.

But reality may well satisfy anticipations for tablet rates just before the year is finished.

Tony Berkman, chief executive of ITG Investment Research, mentioned the need is so very strong that brandnames apart from Apple may reveal a small selection of tablets within the $200 to $300 range for the approaching holidays. One electronic products firm, Lenovo, explained recently that it’ll release a $199 tablet at the end of September.

Within a year, we’ll start seeing quite a few decent tablets in that price range for sale,” Berkman forecasted.

Amazon, that is rumored to be rolling out a tablet of its own this autumn, is the greatest competitor for providing a great item inexpensively, experts claim.

“Amazon could sell a tablet at cost, or even at a loss, because they think they can make money through selling digital content,” Berkman said. “Or other companies can sell at a loss because they want to grab a piece of the market.”

Amazon has refused to reply to the gossips.

“The cheaper tablets probably would not have all the bells and whistles of the current top models”, Berkman stated.

However iSuppli estimates that by 2015, tablets generally will certainly drop to an ordinary cost below $300.

“I wouldn’t totally rule out someone offering a good tablet for $100 in a few years,” Alexander said. “The market is changing fast.”

HP TouchPad On Sale
HP TouchPad On Sale

Michelle Lapid, 22, of Hawthorne wasn’t ready to delay. Once the $99 TouchPad was released and rapidly turned out to be a hard-to-find product, the current California State Northridge graduate student went on what she called a “crazy bargain-hunting fever” hunt for one, going through three tanks of gasoline in four days.

This ultimately paid back. A close friend who works at a local Best Buy informed her that a delivery of TouchPads could be arriving at a store. “I had to get in line at 4 a.m.,” she said, “but it was worth it. I’m so happy.”

Other people may still have a chance. HP reported earlier this week that it would definitely launch an additional batch of TouchPads, yet the company wouldn’t say just how many would be arriving.

And HP wouldn’t suggest if the new TouchPads could be offered at the magic $99 value.


On Augus 27 is the 82th birthday anniversary of Ira Levin, mystery and suspense writer, dramatist and songwriter, awarded with The Grand Masters Award by the Mystery Writers of America in 2003.


Ira Levin‘s work generated a worldwide interest and inspired lots of famous movies. Rosemary’s Baby (the best known novel), A Kiss Before Dying (Edgar Allan Poe Award), The Boys from Brazil, The Stepford Wives, Sliver, Deathtrap (the best known play), This Perfect Day (Prometheus Hall of Fame Award) are among his writings.


Ira Levin became early attracted by mystery and writing.


When he was twelve Ira Levin was fascinated by the magicians of Tannen’s Magic Shop in Times Square and he learned about concealing reality behind illusion. He liked detective stories and had a collection of mystery books. Anagrams played major roles in Rosemarys’s Baby and Son of Rosemary. Ira Levin continued the tradition of  using the transposition of letters (Lon Chaney Jr. in Son of Dracula) and basics of cryptology (Poe in The Gold Bug).

Ira Levin said he had considered being a writer from the time he was fourteen or fifteen years old. “Before that I wanted to be a magazine illustrator – I probably would have painted Gothic scenes.”

He was accused thinking ahead to the movie script while writing. He denied saying he is a playwright at heart.



Ira Levin's "Stepford Wives" entered the common vocabulary

Ira Levin's "Stepford Wives" entered the common vocabulary


Ira Levin‘s first novel, A Kiss Before Dying (1953) won the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America as the year’s best first mystery.


The Underground Gourmet published in 1954 was adapted for TV and appeared on G.E. Theater, hosted by Ronald Reagan.

Rosemary’s Baby (horror, 1967) was a best-seller (over 5 million paperback copies in the U.S.) and it was translated into lots of languages. It became a horror classic and a milestone. It was followed by books and movies about Satan (The Omen, The Exorcist and others). Ira Levin felt somehow responsible for the rise in Christian Fundamentalism, but “I didn’t send back any of the royalty checks,” he said.

Ira Levin read Future Shock (Alvin Toffler, 1970) and was fascinated by its references to domestic robots. The animated figures in the Hall of Presidents at Disneyland also enchanted him. In this way The Stepford Wives (satirical thriller, 1972) emerged. It tells about men’s desires. The way they found to fulfilled them was considered insulting by Women’s Lib Movement. The word Stepford entered the common vocabulary, with meanings from someone who allow his/her role in society to be dictated to someone resembling an automaton, someone conformist, submissive, or unemotional, mechanical.

This Perfect Day (heroic science fiction, 1970) was often compared with Brave New World (Aldous Huxley), and 1984 (George Orwell). Generally, Ira Levin just tells the story without making any judgements regarding the basic state of the human race, but in this novel he talks about absolute control over the human emotions and desires.

Ira Levin saw an article on cloning that included a picture of Adolf Hitler and that was the beginning of The Boys From Brazil (thriller, 1976).

Three of his mystery novels begin with similar facts: Rosemary Woodhouse is sure she would enjoy living at the Bramford (Rosemary’s Baby), Joanna Eberhart thinks she has found the perfect home (The Stepford Wives), Kay Norris is delighted to move into 1300 Madison Ave (Sliver, 1991).

The basic premise of Ira Levin’s Deathtrap (1978) is: How far will someone go to have a hit play? and it was a hit play, it ran for 1,792 consecutive performances.

“Ira Levin makes the fact that we’re going to die okay. That’s one of the things that horror novels in general do.” said Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk.

Ira Levin died from a heart attack on November 12, 2007.


UK riots will rocket the insurance cost.


England riots, the fourth night. Nottingham police station firebombed, Manchester and Salford disturbances.


Mark Duggan’ death latest forensic report.


England latest news. London riots spread accross England: Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and Nottingham!


[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]As a result of Monday evening London riots, which shortly spread to the other cities, Metropolitan Police took drastic actions.

Groups of people began attacking officers, wrecking cars with wooden poles and metal bars, and looting shops, this was the London image yesterday in the evening. Violence then spread separately in other parts of the city.

Monday’s violence started in Hackney, Northern London, around 4:20 p.m., local time, after a man was stopped and searched by police, who found nothing.

As a result of the yesterday events, Metropolitan London Police took rapidly drastic actions.

About 16,000 police officers will be placed on London's streets in order to prevent a fourth night of disturbances

About 16,000 police officers will be placed on London's streets in order to prevent a fourth night of disturbances


[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]About 16,000 police officers will be placed on London’s streets in order to prevent a fourth night of disturbances.

The Metropolitan Police has cancelled leave and drafted in support from 30 forces.

In most of the areas, stores and businesses closed earlier in a bid to avoid the kind of violence and looting that spread yesterday through London.

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PM David Cameron promised to restore the order, recalling British Parliament on next Thursday in response to the “sickening scenes”, which prompted disturbances into the other cities.

Tuesday afternoon, David Cameron met officers in the Metropolitan Police’s Gold command in Lambeth before speaking to emergency service personnel in Croydon.

The PM condemned the “sickening scenes of people looting, vandalizing, thieving, robbing”.

David Cameron sent a message to the rioters:


“You will feel the full force of the law. And if you are old enough to commit these crimes, you are old enough to face the punishment.”


The Parliament recalling will allow Members of the Parliament to “stand together in condemnation of these crimes and to stand together in determination to rebuild these communities”, PM said.

[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]The Prime Minister has shortened his vacation in Tuscany (Toscana, Italy) to discuss the unrest, which first flared on Saturday after a peaceful march in Tottenham over the deadly shooting of Mark Duggan by police.

PM David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, outside a cafe near Siena Italy where they have been in vacation during the last weekend London riots

PM David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, outside a caffe near Siena, Italy, where they have been in vacation during the last weekend London riots

According to BBC, the Metropolitan force has released what it says will be the “first of many” CCTV images (closed circuit television network) of rioting suspects. In the meantime, 32 persons have appeared in court charged with offences such as burglary and criminal damage during the previous riots.

Among those people were a graphic designer, college students, a youth worker, a university graduate and a man signed up to join the army. Some gave non-London addresses. 18 people were remanded in custody.

Until now, 563 people have been arrested and 105 charged in connection with violence in London.

Stephen Kavanagh, Deputy Assistant Commissioner said the use of plastic bullets, which never before used to deal with riots in England, would be “considered carefully” in case of future disturbances.

He also added: “That does not mean we are scared of using any tactic.”

Officers believe some rioters used BlackBerry Messenger to organize violence.

In this matter, two 18-year-olds were arrested in Folkestone, Kent, and a 16-year-old was being questioned in Glasgow on suspicion of inciting violence through internet social networking sites.

According to the BBC News, the developments related to Monday’s disturbances included:


Violence and looting reported across London, including in Hackney, Croydon, Clapham Junction, Peckham, Lewisham, Stratford and Ealing


3 people being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder after a police officer was injured by a car in Wembley, north-west London, while trying to stop suspected looters


Buildings set alight in several areas, including Croydon where part of the Tramlink service was suspended


In Birmingham, 138 people were arrested after scores of youths smashed windows and looted shops in the shopping area


West Midlands Police said a police station in Holyhead Road in Handsworth, Birmingham, was set alight


Up to 200 youths with masks roamed through Toxteth in Liverpool, while Bristol police said they dealt with outbreaks of disorder involving about 150 people


A Nottinghamshire police station was attacked in the St Ann’s area and 200 tyres were set alight in the street


Police dealt with “small pockets of disorder” in the Chapeltown area of Leeds


The Association of British Insurers said the damages will most probably cost insurers “tens of millions of pounds“.


Highbury Corner Magistrates Court has dealt with a large number of cases arising from the riots in north London.


Those who appeared this afternoon were all male and generally in their 20s, although there were some youths.

Charges were most commonly burglary and criminal damage. There were a large number of guilty pleas entered.

The magistrates said that their powers of punishment were insufficient in the light of the fact that the offences were committed during a riot, which amounted to a “substantial aggravating feature”.

A significant number of those charged were said in court to be of previously good character and had simply been drawn in to the offending.

In one defendant’s case, a lawyer described his client as offending in “a moment of madness”.

However, the force has drafted in special constables and community support officers to ensure five times the usual number of officers for a Tuesday will be on duty. Similar staffing levels will be maintained over three days.

Meanwhile, Scotland Yard said a 26-year-old man found shot in a car in Croydon, amid rioting in the south London town, had died in hospital.


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Tuesday evening has brought the news of a disturbance in Salford, Greater Manchester, where 70 to 80 young people are in a standoff with police, and West Bromwich where youths smashed stores windows.