Friday, February 05, 2016

Earthquakes

Reuters - Quake fells Taiwan apartment building, at least five dead
Reuters reports: "A powerful earthquake toppled a 17-story apartment building in southern Taiwan on Saturday, killing at least five people, including a 10-day-old girl, and triggering frantic efforts to rescue about 35 people feared trapped inside. [...]
Taiwan lies in the seismically active 'Pacific Ring of Fire'. Television quoted Tainan residents as saying the quake felt worse than the 1999 tremor, centered in central Taiwan.
Taiwan's defence ministry said 810 soldiers had been mobilized for rescue efforts."

Labels:

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Persecution

AP - Egyptian Christian students stand trial for insulting Islam
AP reports: "Three Coptic Christian students face charges of insulting Islam and will stand trial this week after appearing in a video mocking Muslim prayers, one of a series of court cases that reflect lingering religious intolerance and Muslim-Christian tensions in Egypt. [...] Christians make up approximately 10 percent of Egypt's population. They have long complained of discrimination by the Muslim majority."

Comment: Please join me in praying for the safety of these students and their families. 

Labels:

Wickedness Increases

AP - Prosecutor: Girl texted with college man before stabbing
AP reports: "Two Virginia Tech students carefully planned the kidnapping and killing of a 13-year-old girl, arranging a pre-dawn rendezvous online after buying cleaning supplies and a shovel at separate Wal-Mart stores, a prosecutor alleged Thursday."

Comment: I don't often link to local crime news and prefer to focus on global news but I'm making an exception in this case. This appears to be one of those crimes categorized as "thrill killings" in which criminals kill someone just to see what the experience is like. It's a crime without any real motive except for depraved indifference to the value of human life.  These are truly evil people.

Labels:

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Pestilence

Reuters - Florida governor declares health emergency in four counties over Zika
Reuters reports: "Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a public health emergency in four counties with travel-related cases of the Zika virus on Wednesday, and ordered state officials to increase mosquito control efforts in some of the most populous parts of the state."

Labels:

Rumors of War

Reuters - North Korea's mobile missile launcher seen moving: Japan's NHK
Reuters reports: "North Korea's mobile missile launcher, carrying a ballistic missile, has been seen moving near the east coast and activity has also been seen at a long-range rocket launch pad on the west coast, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said on Thursday. International pressure has grown on North Korea to call off a planned rocket launch, seen by some governments as another missile test, since Pyongyang told U.N. agencies this week it would launch what it called an 'earth observation satellite'. Japan has put its military on alert to shoot down any rocket that threatens its territory."

Labels:

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Pestilence

AP - Sexually-transmitted Zika case confirmed in Texas
AP reports: "Health officials on Tuesday reported that a person in Texas has become infected with the Zika virus through sex in the first case of the illness being transmitted within the United States amid the current outbreak in Latin America. [...] The CDC says it will issue guidance in the coming days on prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus, focusing on the male sexual partners of women who are or may be pregnant."

Labels:

Rumors of War

AP - South Korea warns North Korea not to launch satellite
The AP reports: "South Korea warned on Wednesday of 'searing' consequences if North Korea doesn't abandon plans to launch a long-range rocket that critics call a banned test of ballistic missile technology. [...] North Korea on Tuesday informed international organizations of its plans to launch an Earth observation satellite on a rocket between Feb. 8 and 25, and if North Korea's past patterns are any clue, angry warnings by its neighbors and Washington probably won't dissuade a coming launch."

Comment: Time to unpack the harsh words of condemnation and ready them for use.

Labels:

Monday, February 01, 2016

Pestilence

AP - WHO declares global emergency over Zika virus spread
The AP reports: "The World Health Organization declared a global emergency over the explosive spread of the Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects in the Americas, calling it an 'extraordinary event' that poses a public health threat to other parts of the world. The U.N. agency took the rare step despite a lack of definitive evidence proving the mosquito-borne virus is causing a surge in babies born with brain defects and abnormally small heads in Brazil and following a 2013-14 outbreak in French Polynesia."

Comment: Will WHO do a better job with Zika than they did with Ebola? Stay tuned!

Labels:

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Covenant With Many

NYT - France Plans Mideast Peace Effort, and Recognition of Palestine if It Fails
The New York Times reports: "France said Friday that it would organize an international conference aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that France would recognize Palestine as an independent state if that effort failed. [...] 'France will engage in the coming weeks in the preparation of an international conference bringing together the parties and their main partners — American, European, Arab — notably to preserve and make happen the two-state solution,' Mr. Fabius said. Should that effort fail, he said, 'We need to face our responsibilities by recognizing the Palestinian state.'"

Comment: I can't help wonder which Palestine the French would like to recognize? The Palestine represented by Fatah in the West Bank or the more radical (and armed by Iran) Palestine of Hamas in Gaza? Perhaps France sees no distinction between the two competing Palestinian factions? If so, they really have no business in meddling in things they don't understand.

Labels:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Rumors of War - Persia - Peace and Security of Jerusalem

AP - Hamas says it continues to build tunnels to attack Israel
AP reports: "A senior leader of Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, says its gunmen continue to build attack tunnels into Israel.  [...]  Hamas has built a sophisticated network of tunnels that it has used to penetrate Israel to carry out attacks on civilians and soldiers. Israel destroyed dozens of the tunnels during the 2014 Gaza war."

Comment: It goes unstated, so perhaps we should state it, that Iran funds and arms Hamas to advance a proxy war against Israel even as the West hails the "new" Iran. 

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pestilence

AP - UN health chief: Zika virus is 'spreading explosively'
The AP reports: "The Zika virus is 'spreading explosively' in the Americas, which could see up to 4 million cases over the next year, international health officials said Thursday, announcing a special meeting next week to decide if they should declare an international health emergency. The warning from the World Health Organization came amid a call to arms by officials on both sides of the Atlantic over the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to a spike in a rare birth defect in Brazil. Brazil's president — noting there is no medical defense against the infection — called for a crusade against the mosquitoes spreading it."

Comment: It's very worrisome that the virus is spread by mosquitoes, which seem abundant despite efforts to eradicate them. 

Labels:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rumors of War - Persia

AP - Iran warns US warship to leave naval drill area
The AP reports: "Iran's navy warned a U.S. warship to leave an area where Iran has been conducting a naval drill near the narrow Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Wednesday. The U.S. Navy denied that its operations in the region were affected. [...] It is the first Iranian naval exercise since 10 U.S. sailors were briefly captured by Iran earlier this month after drifting into Iranian territorial waters."

Comment: Critics of the Iran nuclear deal say it has emboldened Iran. I wonder if we can say this incident is proof of that?

Labels: ,

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

AP - US, China spar over North Korea, South China Sea
AP reports: "China claims sovereignty of much of the territory in the South China Sea. It rejects claims from countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam and has bristled at U.S. warnings that its activities threaten the freedom of navigation in some of the world's busiest commercial shipping lanes. Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also have overlapping claims in the strategically vital sea, through which around $5 trillion in world trade passes each year. The U.S. says it takes no position on the claims but says developments in the South China Sea are a national security interest. It has urged that the disputes be settled peacefully and that a binding code of conduct be established for the area. Tensions have been especially high since Beijing transformed seven disputed reefs into islands, where it is now constructing runways and facilities that rival claimants say can be used militarily."

Labels: ,