Friday, April 28, 2017

Persecution

Pope Francis arrives in Egypt to show support for Coptic Christians - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Pope Francis arrived in Egypt on Friday for a two-day trip aimed at healing a Muslim-Christian divide and showing support for Egypt's Coptic Christian minority. The visit comes three weeks after two Coptic churches were struck by bombs on Palm Sunday. At least 45 people were killed."

Comment: It's nice to see the pope shining a light on the persecution of Christians in Egypt, I hope the Coptic Christian community is strengthened and encouraged by his visit.

Labels:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

War

Two U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan in combat against Islamic State - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The U.S. Department of Defense said Thursday two U.S. servicemembers were killed during combat against the Islamic State in Afghanistan's Nangahar Province. [...] The United States is part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission coalition in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces in efforts to support Afghanistan's government from threats such as the Taliban and the Islamic State."

Comment: I really don't believe in endless war. Either send enough troops to win or bring them home. 

Labels:

Doomed Damascus

Syria accuses Israel of bombing military outpost near Damascus airport - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A Syrian regime official said Israel targeted a military position southwest of the Damascus International Airport on Thursday, causing damage. [...] Israel said the explosion was 'consistent' with its policy to prevent Iran smuggling weapons to Hezbollah but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the bombing. Iran, Russia and Hezbollah support Assad's regime."

Labels:

Persecution

The pope is coming to the Middle East. But Christians are heading for the exits - LA Times The LA Times reports: "Pope Francis arrives in Cairo on Friday — the first visit by a pontiff to the Middle East’s most populous country in 17 years — at a time when Christians across the region find themselves under threat by political repression and violent attacks. In Egypt, Coptic Christians have been chased from their homes, their churches and a monastery attacked. In Iraq, Assyrians have been displaced from villages, whole neighborhoods and business districts gutted by Islamic State. In the West Bank, Iran and Lebanon, Christians have grown accustomed to celebrating under guard."

Labels:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rumors of War

U.S. military moves THAAD system to South Korea site overnight - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The U.S. military moved equipment for a missile defense system to its designated site in central South Korea, but the overnight transfer of THAAD to Seongju County was met with opposition from local residents and religious groups. [...] One THAAD unit typically includes six launchers, and the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, subordinate to the U.S. Eighth Army, would operate the system."

China demands South Korea remove THAAD defense system - UPI.com
UPI reports: "China demanded Seoul remove the U.S. missile defense system THAAD on Wednesday, after the U.S. military moved missiles and road-mobile launchers to a designated site in central South Korea overnight.

Administration talks tough on North Korea, but senators hear nothing new - UPI.com
 UPI reports: "While U.S. senators said they heard nothing new Wednesday in a 'sobering briefing' on North Korea, a senior official in President Donald Trump's administration said military preparations are underway. [...] Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said there no talk about a preemptive strike on North Korea during the hour-long update in a rare visit to the White House by the entire Senate. [...] Members of both parties said they were reassured about the administration's handling of an increasingly tense standoff with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un."

Comment: It looks like Trump is lining up support at home while providing incentive for China to support efforts to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue. I'm encouraged that Trump is keeping Congress in the loop, but I'm worried that they are not doing enough to prepare the American public for the real possibility of a renewed Korean War.

Labels:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Wickedness Increases

Thai father hangs baby daughter on Facebook Live, then kills himself - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A 21-year-old man from Thailand streamed a video on Facebook Live of himself hanging his 11-month-old daughter. He later killed himself, police said Tuesday. The Guardian reported two clips were accessible to users on his Facebook page for about 24 hours before being taken down Tuesday. The first video was viewed 112,000 times by midafternoon Tuesday and the second one had 258,000 views."

Comment: It's happened again. I suppose Facebook will have to come up with some kind of murder filter. What a world. 

Labels:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

Nuclear-powered USS Michigan to arrive in South Korea - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A nuclear-powered U.S. submarine is to arrive at the South Korean port city of Busan on Tuesday, the same day North Korea is expected to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army. The USS Michigan, the second Ohio-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarine in the U.S. Navy, is to make a visit to South Korea to send a strong message of warning to Pyongyang  [..] The U.S. supercarrier Carl Vinson is also expected to arrive near the peninsula this week, a move that is being met with threats from North Korea."

MSN - Trump gets on the phone to Asia as another North Korea flash point looms
The Washington Post reports: "The White House announced Monday that it would host an unusual private briefing on North Korea for the entire Senate on Wednesday, and President Trump spoke with his counterparts in China and Japan ahead of another key anniversary and potential flash point in the North. [...] White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that all senators would be briefed on North Korea on Wednesday by several senior administration officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis."

Reuters - Trump calls for new U.N. sanctions against North Korea
Reuters reports: "U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday the U.N. Security Council must be prepared to impose new sanctions on North Korea as concerns mount that it may test a sixth nuclear bomb as early as Tuesday. 'The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable,' Trump told a meeting with the 15 U.N. Security Council ambassadors, including China and Russia, at the White House. 'The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs.' 'This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not. North Korea is a big world problem and it's a problem that we have to finally solve,' he said. 'People put blindfolds on for decades and now it's time to solve the problem.'"

Comment: I remain shocked the the U.S. mainstream news media is not paying more attention to these developments. As the U.S. continues to move military assets to support South Korea the Trump Administration has begun a very public campaign to signal resolve to the North and to would-be allies like China. Today Trump hosted representatives from the U.N. Security Council at the White House and again asserted that the time had come to deal with the North Korean nuclear crisis. On Wednesday, Trump will host the members of the U.S. Senate for a private briefing on North Korea at the White House...the entire Senate. I don't think Trump could possibly make it any clearer, he is willing to use military force against North Korea if they don't stand down their nuclear program. These are dangerous days my friends, for those of us paying attention, it's really amazing.

Labels: ,

Kings of the East

China launches naval fleet to tour 20 nations - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The Chinese navy has launched a fleet to tour more than 20 countries in the next six months, China News Service reported.[...] For the next 180 days, the group will travel to more than 20 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania. The naval ships are expected to conduct exercises that include escorting other ships, training and patrolling. [...] the deployment of the fleet is aligned with Chinese President Xi Jinping's 'Belt and Road' initiative: an international trade and infrastructure project that will connect China's coastal regions to Africa, Asia and the Middle East through a maritime route."

Labels:

Pestilence

Ghana, Kenya, Malawi chosen to test first malaria vaccine - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The World Health Organization, or WHO, has chosen Ghana, Kenya and Malawi to be the first three countries to test the world's first malaria vaccine. Malaria is one of the world's most stubborn health challenges, infecting more than 200 million people every year and kills roughly half a million people, mostly in Africa."

Labels:

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Wars & Rumors of War

At least 140 soldiers killed in Taliban attack on Afghan army base - UPI.com
UPI reports: "At least 140 soldiers were killed and about 60 more were wounded during an attack on the Afghan National Army's 209th Shaheen Corps Headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif on Friday afternoon. Witnesses said a group of heavily armed suicide bombers opened fire on soldiers, most of whom were unarmed, as they left a mosque after Friday prayer. The attackers also infiltrated a dining hall where more soldiers were killed and wounded."

Comment: Meanwhile, Afghan war still going on, Taliban still a force to be reckoned with, not yet defeated. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Rumors of War - King of the North

Four Russian fighter planes spotted off Alaskan coast in four days - UPI.com
UPI reports: "For the fourth time in as many days, the U.S. military said it detected Russian military planes flying off the coast of Alaska, though they remained far away from penetrating U.S. air space. The flights posed no danger to the United States, officials said, and did not prompt a U.S. military response. Earlier in the week, U.S. fighter jets were scrambled when Russian planes came 40 nautical miles from the coast of an Alaskan island."

Comment: Do you think it would cause an international incident if the U.S. Air Force just sort of, you know, shot them down? 

Labels: ,

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wars & Rumors of War

Paris shooting kills police officer; Islamic State claims credit - UPI.com
UPI reports: "French authorities said a police officer was shot dead Thursday on one of the best-known streets in downtown Paris -- an attack that also left the gunman dead and has investigators working to determine if it was terror-related. The gunfire began Thursday night on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees and the area was evacuated, authorities said. Two other police officers were wounded in the shooting. There were no immediate reports of civilian casualties. Witnesses said the gunman used an AK-47-type rifle in the attack. [...] The Islamic State terror group claimed credit for the shooting."

Comment: Please join me in praying for France and all the security forces trying to stop Islamic State attacks. 

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

War & Rumors of War

Mike Pence: U.S. would defeat North Korea attacks against Japan - UPI.com
UPI reports: "U.S. Vice President Mike Pence vowed to strike back in the event of a North Korea attack against Japan. Speaking on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan at the naval base in Yokosuka, Pence said Wednesday any military provocation would be met with an 'effective American response,' The Japan Times reported. 'We will defeat any attack, and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response,' Pence said. The vice president also said North Korea is the most dangerous threat in the Asia-Pacific region and that the era of strategic patience was over, Kyodo news agency reported."

Comment: I hope the bluster works, the alternative is a truly terrible conflict. 

Labels: , ,