Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

I'm off for my holiday break and wanted to wish you all a happy and joyous Christmas. I know that the news we link to here is often grim but I'm sure that most of you who visit this site are Christians who understand that beyond the headlines we know that God is sovereign and always in control. We know that this effort to be watchful has a purpose and a focus, and that focus is on Jesus Christ.

We watch the signs of His return, but this season is all about the First Coming, not the Second Coming, so as we turn to our families and friends to celebrate the holidays we offer thanks and praise to God and above all, celebrate Jesus as the reason for the season.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing
lyrics by Charles Wesley

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
CNN - Middle East and China forge ties over oil
CNN reports: "When King Abdullah took over the throne in Saudi Arabia, his first foreign visit in January 2006 was to Beijing after an invitation of President Hu Jintao. Six years later, the countries' two state-run energy giants, China's Sinopec and Saudi Aramco, inked a huge oil agreement guaranteeing the Asian nation an additional 400,000 barrels a day from a Red Sea refinery in the Saudi city of Yanbu. This is on top of the estimated one million barrels of oil a day it now orders from the Kingdom."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Telegraph - Mayan apocalypse: panic spreads as December 21 nears
The Telegraph reports: "Ahead of December 21, which marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year "Long Count" Mayan calendar, panic buying of candles and essentials has been reported in China and Russia, along with an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America. In France believers were preparing to converge on a mountain where they believe aliens will rescue them."

NASA Science - Why the World Didn't End Yesterday
NASA reports: "NASA is so sure the world won't come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, they have already released this news item for the day after. Dec. 22, 2012: If you're reading this story, it means one thing: The World Didn't End Yesterday. According to media reports of an ancient Maya prophecy, the world was supposed to be destroyed on Dec. 21, 2012. Apparently not. 'The whole thing was a misconception from the very beginning,' says Dr. John Carlson, director of the Center for Archaeoastronomy. 'The Maya calendar did not end on Dec. 21, 2012, and there were no Maya prophecies foretelling the end of the world on that date.' The truth, says Carlson, is more interesting than fiction."

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Way News - Gunman kills 26 at Conn. school, commits suicide
My Way News reports: "A man killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside an elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in fear to the sound of gunshots reverberating through the building and screams echoing over the intercom."

My Way News - 22 kids, 1 adult hurt in China school knife attack
My Way News reports: "A knife-wielding man injured 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China as students were arriving for classes Friday, police said, the latest in a series of periodic rampage attacks at Chinese schools and kindergartens. "
My Way News - Russia backtracks on statement about Assad's fall
My Way News reports: "Russia's attempt to backpedal after a top diplomat said Syrian President Bashar Assad is losing control of his country reflects the dilemma Moscow faces as opposition fighters gain ground [...] Facing further questions Friday about Bogdanov's statement, Lukashevich insisted there had been no shift in the Russian position on Syria [...] Russia maintains a naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus, the only such outpost outside the ex-Soviet Union serving Russian navy ships in the Mediterranean and hosting an unspecified number of military personnel. Russia also has an unspecified number of military advisers teaching Syrians how to use Russian weapons, which make up the bulk of Syria's arsenals."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Way News - Russia positions itself for fall of Syrian regime
My Way News reports: "Syria's most powerful ally and protector, Russia, began positioning itself Thursday for the fall of President Bashar Assad, saying for the first time that rebels might overthrow him and preparing to evacuate thousands of Russian citizens from the country [...] Russia's ties to Syria date back to Assad's father, Hafez, who ruled from 1971 until his death in June 2000. In the last four decades, Russia has sold Syria billions of dollars' worth of weapons. A change in power in Damascus could not only cost Russia lucrative trade deals, but also reduce Russia's political and strategic interests in the Arab world."
My Way News - Chilean town shaken by reminders of deadly quake
My Way News reports: "More than 170 tremors were felt in Navidad in just five weeks [...] So far, the recent tremors have not caused damage or injuries, but they're a frequent reminder of the 8.8-magnitude quake and tsunami in 2010 that devastated much of Chile's coast, including Navidad. That quake killed 551 people, destroyed 220,000 homes and washed away docks and seaside resorts, costing Chile $30 billion, or 18 percent of its annual gross domestic product."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Way News - Egypt court gives Christian 3 years for blasphemy
My Way News reports: "A Cairo court on Wednesday convicted a Coptic Christian blogger who shared an anti-Islam film on social networking sites and sentenced him to three years in prison for blasphemy and contempt of religion."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

CNN - North Korea carries out controversial rocket launch
CNN reports: "North Korea surprised and angered the international community Wednesday by launching a long-range rocket just days after suggesting it would be delayed. The secretive North Korean regime said the rocket had successfully blasted off from a space center on its west coast and claimed the satellite it was carrying had entered its intended orbit. The launch followed a botched attempt in April."
My Way News - Experts: Russia likely to stay course on Assad
My Way News reports: "Russia's refusal to join the West in calling for Assad's ouster is rooted both in a sober geopolitical calculus and deep suspicions about Western intentions - as well, perhaps, as a desire to save face after supporting the Syrian leader for so long. Moscow sees little profit in dumping its last ally in the Middle East, and President Vladimir Putin has described calls for a regime change in Syria as a dangerous example of Western meddling in a sovereign country's affairs."
My Way News - Israel's Netanyahu: World has double standards
My Way News reports: "Israel's prime minister on Monday accused the international community of "deafening silence" in response to recent vows by the head of the Hamas militant group to fight on until the Jewish state is destroyed, and appeared unmoved by the gathering storm of global condemnation of his government's plans to continue settling the West Bank."
My Way News - UK gov't told to rethink data surveillance plan:
My Way News reports: "British lawmakers on Tuesday demanded the government water down plans to keep track of phone calls, email and Internet activity - a bill critics dub a 'snooper's charter.' The Communications Data Bill would force telecoms service providers to retain for a year records of all phone and email traffic and website visits, though not the content of calls and messages."
My Way News - 3 dead, including gunman, in Oregon mall shooting
My Way News reports: "A gunman opened fire in a suburban Portland shopping mall Tuesday, killing two people and wounding another as people were doing their Christmas shopping, authorities said."

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Way News - Egypt's military takes over security ahead of vote
My Way News reports: "Egypt's military assumed responsibility Monday for protecting state institutions and maintaining security ahead of a Dec. 15 constitutional referendum, as the country braced for another round of mass demonstrations by the supporters of the country's Islamist president and the liberal opposition over the disputed charter."

My Way News - Egypt's president behaves like his predecessors
My Way News reports: "In the past three weeks alone, Morsi has given himself near-absolute powers; placed himself above any oversight; allowed or looked the other way when his supporters set upon peaceful protesters outside his palace or besieged the nation's highest court to stop judges from issuing an unfavorable ruling; and, ominously, indicated he was spying on his foes. "
My Way News - EU receives Nobel Peace Prize
My Way News reports: "The European Union has received this year's Nobel Peace Prize in the Norwegian capital for promoting peace and human rights in Europe for six decades following the devastation of World War II."

Friday, December 07, 2012

My Way News - Chemical weapons risk: Syrian missiles and shells
My Way News reports: "Growing fear that civil war in Syria could unleash the world's first use of chemical weapons in nearly three decades is based on two grim scenarios - neither considered likely but both carrying risks of civilian massacre and a major escalation of violence."

Thursday, December 06, 2012

My Way News - Syrian capital a maze of checkpoints, blast walls
My Way News reports: "Rebels have set their sights on the city of 1.7 million, and fighting on the outskirts is raising fears that Damascus soon could be facing the most brutal battle of the Syrian civil war."

My Way News - NATO moves toward deployment on Syria border
My Way News reports: "As fears grow in the West that Syrian President Bashar Assad will unleash chemical weapons as an act of desperation, NATO moved forward Thursday with its plan to place Patriot missiles and troops along Syria's border with Turkey to protect against potential attacks. "
My Way News - Quake shakes east Iran; 5 dead, several injured
My Way News reports: "A moderate earthquake shook eastern Iran Wednesday, killing five people and injuring several others, Iranian TV reported. State TV said the 5.5-magnitude quake hit South Khorasan province in eastern Iran near the border with Afghanistan at 20:38 local time (17:08 GMT) Wednesday."
My Way News - US: Situation 'dangerous' ahead of NKorea launch
My Way News reports: "The commander of American troops in Japan said Thursday that the situation ahead of North Korea's planned launch of a long-range rocket this month is 'very dangerous.' [...] He said the United States sees the launch as a violation of U.N. restrictions in place to keep North Korea from developing its long-range missile capabilities."
My Way News - Toll from typhoon rises to 420 dead, 400 missing
My Way News reports: "Authorities say the death toll from a strong typhoon that hit the Philippines has risen to about 420 people and nearly 400 are missing. Most of the confirmed dead from Typhoon Bopha lived in a steep valley in the country's south where flooding was so widespread that places people thought were safe, including two emergency shelters, became among the deadliest."

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

My Way News - Islamists battle opponents as Egypt crisis grows
My Way News reports: "Egypt descended into political turmoil on Wednesday over the constitution drafted by Islamist allies of President Mohammed Morsi, and at least 211 people were wounded as supporters and opponents battled each other with firebombs, rocks and sticks outside the presidential palace."

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

My Way News - NATO backs Patriot anti-missile system for Turkey
My Way News reports: "NATO announced Tuesday that it will deploy Patriot anti-missile systems near Turkey's southern border, shoring up defenses against the threat of cross-border attacks from Syria and bringing the United States and its allies closer to Syria's civil war."
My Way News - 100,000 protest at Egypt's presidential palace
My Way News reports: "More than 100,000 Egyptians protested outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday, fueling tensions over Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi's seizure of nearly unrestricted powers and the adoption by his allies of a controversial draft constitution."

Monday, December 03, 2012

My Way News - US weighing military options if Syria uses WMD:
My Way News reports: "The White House and its allies are weighing military options to secure Syria's chemical and biological weapons, after U.S. intelligence reports show the Syrian regime may be readying those weapons and may be desperate enough to use them, U.S. officials said Monday."