Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Hiatus
As this Thanksgiving week begins I will be taking a break from this blog and will be using the Twitter service instead. So, please join me in keeping up with events here:

http://twitter.com/portents

Please add this to your bookmarks and if you are on Twitter, please feel free to follow me and send me a direct message (DM) to let me know. I think it would be great to build a larger Bible prophecy community on Twitter. And remember, you don't have to sign up for Twitter to visit the page, it's a public feed.

I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving and a great start to the holiday season.

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My Way News - Egypt Cabinet offers to resign but protests go on
My Way News reports: "Egypt's civilian Cabinet offered to resign Monday after three days of violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Tahrir Square, but the action failed to satisfy protesters deeply frustrated with the new military rulers."

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Friday, November 18, 2011

My Way News - 16 killed as Syria OKs observers in principle
My Way News reports: "The acceptance came after surprisingly heavy pressure from the Arab League, which brokered the peace plan and this week suspended Syria from the 22-member organization for failing to abide by it. On Wednesday, the league gave Damascus three days to accept an observer mission or face economic sanctions [...] French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe called on the U.N. Security Council to strengthen sanctions against Assad's regime. However, Russia, which holds veto power in the council, urged caution in moving against Damascus."

CBS News - Russia: Syria crisis looks like "civil war"
CBS News reports: "Syria's allies in Russia called for urgent talks Thursday between Damascus and the opposition, saying an attack by Syrian renegade troops on a government building looks like the start of a civil war [...] 'This is all looking very much like a civil war,' Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow, referring to a pre-dawn attack on Wednesday by the Free Syrian Army, a group of army defectors determined to bring down the regime."

Haaretz.Com - Report: Russia warships to enter Syria waters in bid to stem foreign intervention
Haaretz reports: "Russian warships are due to arrive at Syrian territorial waters, a Syrian news agency said on Thursday, indicating that the move represented a clear message to the West that Moscow would resist any foreign intervention in the country's civil unrest. Also on Friday, a Syrian official said Damascus has agreed 'in principle' to allow an Arab League observer mission into the country."

Comment: So Syria, one of the most heavily armed countries in the Middle East, is lurching into civil war, the West wants sanctions and Russia is standing firmly by their long-time ally and sending reinforcements to prevent "foreign" intervention. Yes, folks, those two allies are so close that Russia fails to see the irony in that. I wonder what gestures Iran will take to show solidarity with Damascus? Stay tuned.

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My Way News - Egypt's Islamists confront military, vie for votes
My Way News reports: "Tens of thousands of Islamists and young activists massed Friday in Tahrir Square, confronting Egypt's ruling military council with the largest crowd in months to protest the generals' attempt to give themselves special powers over a future elected government."

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My Way News - Aerial view of tsunami zone: cleaner but barren
My Way News reports: "Yet seen from a helicopter Friday carrying Associated Press journalists, there are few signs of rebuilding eight months after the March 11 disaster, triggered by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake off the tsunami-prone coast. What remains - the brown, barren, emptiness where bustling towns once stood - is a sobering reminder of how much work still lies ahead."

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Way News - Attackers hit Egyptian Christian marchers, 10 hurt
My Way News reports: "Attackers threw rocks and broken glass at a march by Coptic Christians in Cairo Thursday, injuring 10, in the latest outbreak of sectarian violence less than two weeks before the start of parliamentary elections [...] Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population, have long complained of state discrimination."

Comment: Please join me in praying for the church in Egypt.

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My Way News - Syria's president still has bulwark against foes
My Way News reports: "As his Arab neighbors abandon him and his allies in Moscow warn of impending civil war, Syrian President Bashar Assad still has a strong bulwark to prevent his meeting the same fate as the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia or Libya anytime soon. His key advantages are the support of Russia and China, fear among many Syrians about a future without Assad, and the near-certainty that foreign militaries will stay away [...] Syria's tie to Iran is among the most important relationships in the Middle East, providing Tehran with a presence on Israel's border and a critical conduit to Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza."

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My Way News - Israelis mapping Mount of Olives necropolis
My Way News reports: "Jews began burying their dead on the hill that later became known as the Mount of Olives about three millennia ago. It was a convenient site a short walk from the city walls. Over the centuries, burial here became linked to a prophecy in the Book of Zecharia according to which the Messiah would approach Jerusalem from the mount, splitting it in two. Those interred on the hill, this belief posited, would be the first to be resurrected."

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My Way News - Queen marks anniversary of King James Bible
My Way News reports: "Queen Elizabeth II attended a ceremony at London's Westminster Abbey Wednesday to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, often considered the most influential book ever printed in the English language."

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My Way News - Occupy protesters march nationwide; 300 arrested
My Way News reports: "Occupy Wall Street protesters clogged streets and tied up traffic around the U.S. on Thursday to mark two months since the movement's birth and signal they aren't ready to quit, despite the breakup of many of their encampments by police. Hundreds of people were arrested, most of them in New York."

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My Way News - Europe fears contagion in debt market turmoil
My Way News reports: "Fear, that contagious emotion, spread from country to country in Europe on Thursday as panicky investors worried the euro currency union could be heading toward an ugly breakup."

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My Way News - Insurgents fire rockets but miss Afghan loya jirga
My Way News reports: "Karzai asked the elders to back negotiations for a new security pact, assuring them that he would demand an end to unpopular night raids in which troops swoop down from helicopters and search Afghan homes. He said U.S. troops should be allowed to stay, but that the night raids should end and that the Afghan government, not Americans, should be put in charge of detainees."

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My Way News - Military-dominated Myanmar to chair ASEAN in 2014
My Way News reports: "The chairmanship is supposed to rotate annually among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, also known as ASEAN. But Myanmar, which has more than 2,000 political prisoners, was forced to skip its turn in 2006 because of intense criticism of its rights record. It has since held its first elections in 20 years, released Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, and eased some restrictions on the media."

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Way News - Syria faces army defectors, worldwide isolation
My Way News reports: "Syria's president faced a growing challenge to his iron rule from home and abroad Wednesday, with renegade troops launching their most daring attack yet on the military and world leaders looking at possibilities for a regime without Bashar Assad."

My Way News - Arab League confirms Syria's suspension from group
My Way News reports: "The Arab League confirmed the suspension of Syria from the organization on Wednesday and gave its government three days to halt the violence and accept an observer mission or face economic sanctions."

Comment: The real issue here is the danger of miscalculation. Might the Syrian leader precipitate a wider regional conflict in order to crush his opposition while striking out at Israel?

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Way News - Gaza militants fire rockets after Israeli threat
My Way News reports: "A Palestinian rocket exploded near a kindergarten in southern Israel on Tuesday, police said, just hours after Israel's military chief warned the army would have to carry out a broad offensive in Gaza to stop the rocket salvos [...] Over 1 million Israelis live within range of the Gaza rocket fire. The attacks have severely disrupted life in southern Israel."

Comment: This is how Palestinians demonstrate their desire for peace. I don't know, it just doesn't seem to send the right message. Maybe they need a new PR firm? Or maybe they could just stop the rocket attacks?

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My Way News - Syrian soldiers killed as crisis accelerates
My Way News reports: "Army defectors ambushed dozens of Syrian troops and regime forces gunned down civilians during one of the bloodiest days of the 8-month-old uprising, which appeared Tuesday to be spiraling out of President Bashar Assad's control."

Comment: It's official, this has moved from mass demonstrations to full-fledged civil war.

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My Way News - India and Pakistan agree to normalize trade ties
My Way News reports: "India and Pakistan agreed Tuesday to normalize two-way trade, signifying a gradual thaw in relations between the two bitter rivals. At the end of two days of bilateral trade talks, Pakistan agreed to give its neighbor by early next year a small list of items that India cannot trade in with Pakistan. Both sides hope to do away with the list altogether by the end of 2012, freeing up all trade between the two countries, Indian Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters."

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Monday, November 14, 2011

My Way News - Iran rejects Bahrain's claim of terror cell links
My Way News reports: "Bahrain's public prosecutor on Sunday alleged the cell planned attacks against high profile sites, such as the Saudi Embassy in the Bahraini capital Manama and a Gulf causeway linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia."

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My Way News - Philippines rejects new Chinese territorial claim
My Way News reports: "China has claimed new territory less than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from a Philippine province, boosting tensions over potentially resource-rich areas of the South China Sea, but the Philippines has dismissed the claim, an official said Monday."

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My Way News - Quake off east Indonesia panics many; no tsunami
My Way News reports: "A strong earthquake hit waters off eastern Indonesia on Monday, sending people on nearby islands fleeing from their homes in panic. Fearing a tsunami that never came, villagers living along coastlines ran to high ground. The 6.3-magnitude quake was centered 12 miles (20 kilometers) beneath the Molucca Sea, the U.S. Geological Survey said."

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My Way News - Pakistan and China stage war games
My Way News reports: "Pakistan and China are staging joint military exercises, showcasing their relationship as Islamabad's ties with Washington suffer. The war games that began Monday follow remarks by Pakistani officials suggesting that China could step into the economic, military and diplomatic void if Pakistan's relationship with the United States collapsed."

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Way News - End of an era: Italy's Berlusconi resigns
My Way News reports: "A chorus of Handel's 'Alleluia' rang out Saturday as Silvio Berlusconi resigned as Italian premier, ending a tumultuous 17-year political era and setting in motion a transition aimed at bringing the country back from the brink of economic crisis."

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My Way News - Accidental blast at Iranian arms depot kills 17
My Way News reports: "An accidental explosion at a Revolutionary Guard ammunition depot west of Tehran killed at least 17 soldiers on Saturday, Iranian officials said. The explosion occurred while military personnel were transporting munitions at a base, said Guard spokesman Gen. Ramazan Sharif. The site is located outside Bidganeh village, 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of the capital."

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My Way News - Arab League votes to suspend Syria over killings
My Way News reports: "In a surprisingly sharp move, the Arab League voted Saturday to suspend Syria over the country's bloody crackdown on an eight-month uprising and stepped up calls on the army to stop killing civilians."

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My Way News - Obama seeks Russia, China help on Iran
My Way News reports: "Underscoring the search for some good economic news ahead heading toward a re-election vote, Obama announced the broad outlines of an agreement to create a transpacific trade zone encompassing the United States and eight other nations. He said details must still be worked out, but said the goal was to complete the deal by next year [...] The eight countries joining the U.S. in the zone would be Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. A central topic for Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was Japan's interest in joining the trade bloc."

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Friday, November 11, 2011

My Way News - Syria takes bloody new turn; 250 killed in 11 days
My Way News reports: "November is shaping up to be the bloodiest month yet in Syria's 8-month-old uprising. More than 250 Syrian civilians have been killed in the past 11 days as the regime besieges the renegade city of Homs and the conflict takes a dangerous turn, stoking fears of civil war. The U.N. estimates some 3,500 people have been killed in the crackdown since mid-March, when the uprising began. The latest figures would push that number closer to 4,000."

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Reuters - Italy at breaking point; fears grow of euro zone split
Reuters reports: "EU sources told Reuters German and French officials had discussed plans for a radical overhaul of the European Union that would involve establishing a more integrated and potentially smaller euro zone. The discussions among policymakers in Paris, Berlin and Brussels raise the possibility of one or more countries leaving the zone, while the core pushes to deeper economic integration."

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My Way News - Islamist Tunisian party promises an open society
My Way News reports: The new Tunisia will welcome people of all faiths and carry on the tradition of moderation for which it has always been known, the leader of the Islamist party that won the country's first free elections promised Thursday [...] While Ennahdha has said it wants Islamic law to be the source of the country's legislation, it has vowed to protect personal freedoms and tolerance. 'Tunisia is a society of moderation, it's the Tunisian nature," Jebali said. "There will be no marginalization nor exclusion of Muslims, of Jews, of Christians or of atheists.'"

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Way News - Iran seeks Moscow and Beijing to buffer pressures
My Way News reports: "Iran's leaders are now counting on the country's two most powerful friends to remain by their side after the release of a U.N. report suggesting that Tehran could be on the brink of having the capability to develop an atomic weapon."

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My Way News - EU warns of possible recession in eurozone
My Way News reports: "The European Union warned Thursday that the 17-country eurozone could slip into 'a deep and prolonged recession' next year as the debt crisis shows alarming signs of spinning out of control."

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My Way News - Industry says Africa fastest growing mobile market
My Way News reports: "Africa is the world's fastest growing mobile phone market and soon poised to have 735 million people using their phones for everything from transferring money to tracking animals for wildlife studies, an industry group said Wednesday."

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My Way News - Palestinians resigned to defeat in UN bid
My Way News reports: "The Palestinians are resigned to defeat in their quest for full membership at the United Nations, officials said Tuesday, and have started work on their backup plan - seeking an upgraded observer status that would give them access to key international organizations."

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

NYTimes.com - Palestinians’ U.N. Bid Faces Near-Certain Defeat
The New York Times reports: "The outcome, which had been anticipated, was laid out in typically detached diplomatic language. 'The committee was unable to make a unanimous recommendation to the Security Council,' the report concluded. There was little likelihood from the beginning that the attempt would be successful, because the United States had vowed to veto it."

Comment: As I said previously, this may appear to be a victory for Israel, but in reality it only increases the pressure to give away more land in an negotiated settlement, a settlement that may now be imposed by the U.S. and the rest of the Quartet countries that provided diplomatic cover (except France, of course) for Israel in exchange for a quick deal.

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My Way News - China says still studying Iran nuke program report
My Way News reports: "The report is the IAEA's most unequivocal yet in suggesting Iran is using the cover of a peaceful nuclear program to produce atomic weaponry. Russia and China are powerful friends of Iran and are veto-holding permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. They have gone along with four previous rounds of sanctions aimed at persuading Tehran to cooperate with U.N. nuclear inspectors, but both have opposed further measures."

My Way News - Iran vows no retreat from nuclear path
My Way News reports: "President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Wednesday that Iran won't retreat 'one iota' from its nuclear program, denying claims that it seeks atomic weapons. Key ally Russia gave the Islamic Republic a major boost, rejecting tighter sanctions despite a U.N. watchdog report detailing suspected arms-related advances."

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My Way News - Snow, hurricane-force winds batter Alaska coast
My Way News reports: "One of the strongest storms to hit western Alaska in nearly 40 years battered coastal communities Wednesday with snow and hurricane-force winds, knocking out power, ripping up roofs and forcing some residents to board up their windows and seek higher ground."

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USATODAY.com - At least 3 killed in Turkey earthquake
USA Today reports: "An earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Wednesday night, killing at least three people and leaving dozens trapped in the rubble of toppled buildings damaged in a previous temblor, which had killed 600 people. About two-dozen buildings collapsed in the provincial capital of Van following a 5.7-magnitude quake, though most of them were empty or had been declared unfit because they were weakened by the earlier quake, according to media reports."

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

AlertNet - McCain wants Bill Clinton for Mideast peace role
Reuters reports: "Republican Senator John McCain has some advice for President Barack Obama to help energize stalled Middle East peacemaking: Put former President Bill Clinton in charge."

Yahoo! News - U.N. panel draft signals Palestinian U.N. bid doomed
Yahoo! News reports: "A key U.N. Security Council committee could not reach consensus on whether Palestine should be accepted as a U.N. member, a draft report said in the latest sign the Palestinian U.N. bid is doomed."

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Yahoo! News - Iran worked on nuclear bomb design: IAEA
Yahoo! News reports: "Iran has worked on developing a nuclear weapon design and other research and testing relevant for such arms, the U.N. atomic agency said in its most detailed report to date pointing to military dimensions to Tehran's nuclear program."

Yahoo! News - Israel could mount pinpoint raids on Iran: analysts
Yahoo! News reports: "Should the Israelis attack Iran, they would probably focus strikes on select nuclear facilities while trying to avoid killing civilians en masse or crippling the oil sector."

My Way News - Iranian influence seeping into Iraq
My Way News reports: Iran's presence is already visible in Iraq, from the droves of pilgrims at Shiite holy sites to the brands of yoghurt and jams on grocery shelves. But now Iraqis are bracing for a potential escalation of Persian influence as the U.S. military leaves at the end of the year [...] American officials, however, have long feared what they describe as Iranian meddling in Iraq - and its potential to sow unrest across the Mideast."

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My Way News - UN says 3,500 dead so far in Syria uprising
My Way News reports: "The death toll in the Syrian uprising has soared to at least 3,500 people, the United Nations said Tuesday, a sobering measure of the scope of a military crackdown that has bloodied city after city but failed to crush the 8-month-old revolt against President Bashar Assad's regime."

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Monday, November 07, 2011

My Way News - Israel's warnings on Iran get quiet nods in Gulf
My Way News reports: "Among the many alliances of convenience in the Middle East, one is so unusual that the partners can barely hint about it publicly: Israel and the Gulf Arab states linked by shared fears over Iran's nuclear program [...] The next moves are expected after the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency releases an intelligence report Tuesday to its 35 board members."

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My Way News - Moderate quake sparks panic in Philippine city
My Way News reports: "A moderate earthquake injured one person, knocked out power and prompted the evacuation of dozens of patients from a hospital Monday in a southern Philippine city, officials said. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology measured the quake at magnitude 5.2, while the U.S. Geological Survey said it was 5.0."

My Way News - Moderate earthquake shakes northern Afghanistan
My Way News reports: "An earthquake of 5.5 magnitude has rattled the Hindu Kush region of northern Afghanistan, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries."

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My Way News - Large asteroid zipping close to Earth on Tuesday
My Way News reports: "An asteroid bigger than an aircraft carrier will dart between the Earth and moon on Tuesday - the closest encounter by such a huge rock in 35 years. But scientists say not to worry. It won't hit."

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Fox News - Iranian Authorities Pressuring Jailed Christian Pastor To Convert To Islam, Sources Say:
Fox News reports: "Government officials in Iran are trying to convince a jailed pastor to return to Islam as he waits for the nation’s supreme leader to decide whether he should be executed for converting to Christianity, sources close to the case told FoxNews.com."

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Christian Post - Earthquake Today: Chile and Oklahoma Hit by Strong Quakes
Christian Post reports: "A 5.8-magnitude earthquake has hit northern Chile early Saturday morning. The quake was felt for miles around, however early reports from emergency and mine officials indicated that any damage to property or copper mines in the area was minimal [...] In other reports a magnitude 4.7 earthquake also hit Oklahoma at 2:12 a.m. local time and was located six miles north of Prague, Okla. or 47 miles east of Oklahoma City, the U.S. Geological Survey said."

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My Way News - Developing countries want G20 to refocus on world
My Way News reports: "This week's G-20 summit was dominated by Europe's debt crisis, but developing countries want the grouping of major economies to refocus on a bigger global agenda that includes creating jobs, improving farming and fighting climate change."

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Yahoo! News - Eat the Old: Could Mass Cannibalism Solve a Future Food Shortage?
Yahoo! News reports: "There has yet to be a Malthusian crisis – named after English scholar Thomas Malthus' 1798 idea that humankind would outstrip its food production – even as the world's population has quadrupled since 1900. Yet rapidly ramping up food production, while preserving the environment, will be a major challenge, especially with the added x-factor of climate change."

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My Way News - Cyber weaknesses should deter US from waging war
My Way News reports: America's critical computer networks are so vulnerable to attack that it should deter U.S. leaders from going to war with other nations, a former top U.S. cybersecurity official said Monday [...] Clarke said if he was advising the president he would warn against attacking other countries because so many of them - including China, North Korea, Iran and Russia - could retaliate by launching devastating cyberattacks that could destroy power grids, banking networks or transportation systems."

Yahoo! News - Large Scale Hacks: U.S. satellites infiltrated for 12 minutes
Yahoo! News reports: "It's one thing for hackers to target a video game network or newspaper website, but setting sights on United States government satellites is an entirely different situation. A new report released by Congress shows that's exactly what has been happening, as two separate orbiters have seen a total of 4 attacks since 2007. Some breaches managed to interfere with the NASA's hardware for up to 12 minutes."

My Way News - Israeli websites back up after "malfunction"
My Way News reports: "An Israeli official says the government has fixed the problem that caused several official websites to go down [...] Israel has denied speculation that it was victim of a cyber attack by pro-Palestinian hackers. There were no verified claims of sabotage against the websites."

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My Way News - At least 69 dead in north Nigeria sect attacks
My Way News reports: "A radical Muslim sect known locally as Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks [...] The group also promised to continue its bloody sectarian fight against Nigeria's weak central government, with residents nervously moving through empty streets, waiting for the next attack [...] Boko Haram wants to implement strict Shariah law across Nigeria, an oil-rich nation of more than 160 million which has a predominantly Christian south and a Muslim north."

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