Friday, February 28, 2014

Persecution

My Way News - Syria militants claim Christians agreed to pay tax
My Way News reports: "Militant fighters should not impose an Islamic tax on Christians in Syria, a radical Jordanian preacher facing terrorism charges said Thursday, days after an al-Qaida breakaway group in Syria claimed Christian leaders under its control agreed to pay the tax in return for protection. [...] The authenticity of the two-page document circulating online since Wednesday could not be independently verified [...] It said the Christian leaders opted for paying the tax when they were asked to choose one of three options: convert to Islam, remain Christian and pay the tax or 'refuse and be considered warriors who will be confronted with the sword of the Islamic State.'"

Comment: Please join me in praying for Christians in Syria, they are facing difficult times. 

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Rumors of War - King of the North

My Way News - Obama warns Russia over military moves in Crimea
My Way News reports: "Armed men described as Russian troops took control of key airports in Crimea on Friday and Russian transport planes flew into the strategic region, Ukrainian officials said, an ominous sign of the Kremlin's iron hand in Ukraine. President Barack Obama bluntly warned Moscow 'there will be costs' if it intervenes militarily."

Comment: It appears to this observer that Obama acquiesced to the Russian annexation of Crimea. Sure, he said there would be costs, but Russia is a big country, they can afford to pay the costs. 

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rumors of War - King of the North

My Way News - Report: Armed men take airport in Ukraine's Crimea
My Way News reports: "Dozens of armed men in military uniforms seized an airport in the capital of Ukraine's strategic Crimea region early Friday, a report said. Witnesses told the Interfax news agency that the 50 or so men were wearing the same gear as the ones who seized government buildings in the city, Simferopol, on Thursday and raised the Russian flag. The report said the men with 'Russian Navy ensigns' first surrounded the Simferopol Airport's domestic flights terminal."

Comment: If they seize local TV and radio stations next then we will know that the Russian annexation of Crimea is under way.

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Roaring Seas

My Way News - Science academies explain global warming reality
My Way News reports: "Man-made global warming is worsening and will disrupt both the natural world and human society, warns a joint report of two of the world's leading scientific organizations. [...] Increases in extreme weather, melting glaciers, rising seas and oceans getting more acidic are already happening, the 36-page report said."

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rumors of War - Jerusalem Security

My Way News - Israel takes risk with airstrike on Hezbollah
My Way News reports: "Israel has opened a new front in its attempts to halt weapons smuggling to Hezbollah, striking one of the group's positions inside Lebanon for the first time since the sides fought a war eight years ago. This week's airstrike, meant to prevent the Islamic militant group from obtaining sophisticated missiles, is part of a risky policy that could easily backfire by triggering retaliation. [...] Hezbollah rained some 4,000 rockets and missiles on Israel in 2006, mostly short-range, unguided projectiles. Israel believes the group now possesses 100,000 rockets and missiles. These include weapons with longer ranges, guidance systems and larger warheads, are capable of striking anywhere in Israel. The weapons come from Syria and Iran."

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Rumors of War - King of the North

My Way News - Russia war games over Ukraine prompt US warning
My Way News reports: "Russia ordered 150,000 troops to test their combat readiness Wednesday in a show of force that prompted a blunt warning from the United States that any military intervention in Ukraine would be a 'grave mistake.' [...] The maneuvers will involve some 150,000 troops, 880 tanks, 90 aircraft and 80 navy ships, and are intended to 'check the troops' readiness for action in crisis situations that threaten the nation's military security,' Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies."

Comment: While the risk of direct military confrontation between Russia and the West is slim, a Russian invasion or annexation of Crimea would reveal just how little leverage leverage the West has over an increasingly assertive Russia.  It would, however, place Russia securely in the "rogue" camp along with Iran and North Korea, and that would probably not be a good thing for world peace and stability.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nations in Distress

My Way News - Pro-Russian rally in Crimea decries Kiev 'bandits'
My Way News reports: "Dozens of pro-Russian protesters rallied Tuesday in this Crimean Peninsula city, bitterly denouncing politicians in Kiev who are trying to form a new government, with some even calling for secession from Ukraine. A Russian lawmaker stoked their passions by promising that Moscow will protect them. [...] An armored personnel carrier and two trucks full of Russian troops made a rare appearance on the streets, vividly demonstrating Russian power in this port city where the Kremlin's Black Sea Fleet is based."

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Pestilence

My Way News - Polio-like illnesses called a 'rare phenomenon'
My Way News reports: "More than a dozen children in California have developed an extremely rare, polio-like syndrome within the past year that within days paralyzed one or more of the children's arms or legs, Stanford University researchers say."

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Covenant With Many

My Way News - Kerry 'determined' to get Middle East peace deal
My Way News reports: "Kerry has visited the region more than a dozen times since the most recent round of talks were launched in July. With an April target date for an agreement approaching, Kerry has said he will soon return with bridging proposals for a framework deal. Recently, both sides appear to have hardened their positions while questioning the effectiveness of Kerry's efforts."

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Persecution

NYTimes.com - North Korea Arrests Christian Missionary From Australia:
NYT reports: "North Korea has arrested a Christian missionary from Australia, his family said on Wednesday, taking him into captivity even as it continues to face pressure to release an American missionary it has held for more than a year."

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Nations in Distress

My Way News - Riot police move in against Kiev protest camp
My Way News reports: "The police, armed with stun grenades and water cannons, attacked the camp after at least 13 people - including six officers - died and hundreds were injured in street clashes. The violence was the deadliest in nearly three months of anti-government protests that have paralyzed Ukraine's capital in a struggle over the nation's identity. [...] The protests began in late November after Yanukovych turned away from a long-anticipated deal with the European Union in exchange for a $15 billion bailout from Russia."

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Pestilence

My Way News - Saudi Arabia reports 1 more death from new virus
My Way News reports: "Saudi Arabia says a Saudi man has died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing to 60 the number of deaths in the kingdom at the center of the outbreak. [...] The new virus is related to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which killed some 800 people in a global outbreak in 2003. It belongs to a family of viruses that most often causes the common cold."

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Persecution

My Way News - Egypt: Sinai bombing raises worries on tourism
My Way News reports: "The bus, carrying more than 30 South Korean Christians, their Egyptian guide and an Egyptian driver was waiting to cross into Israel, the next stage in a tour of Biblical sites that took them earlier to Sinai's ancient Saint Catherine's Monastery. The driver and two South Koreans got out of the bus and checked the cargo hold. As they were reboarding, the suicide bomber pushed through the open door into the bus and detonated his explosives, Interior Ministry spokesman Hani Abdel-Latif said."

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Signs in the Heavens

Reuters - Earth marks close encounter with enormous asteroid
Reuters reports: "An asteroid estimated to be the size of three football fields whizzed close to Earth on Monday, roughly a year after one exploded over Russia and injured 1,200 people."

Comment: Does it seem like we are seeing a lot more of these things? 

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Covenant With Many

My Way News - Jordan Islamists protest as king meets Obama
My Way News reports: "Hours before Jordan's king meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in California, his Islamist opposition at home is staging its largest protest in months to reject a peace deal as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [...] Jordan's Brotherhood calls for Israel's annihilation through armed struggle."

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Roaring Waves

My Way News - Princes William, Harry sandbag against UK floods
My Way News reports: "England, which has been lashed by wind and rain since December, had its wettest January since records began in 1766, and the rain has continued this month. Storms this week have brought wind gusts of more than 100 mph (160 kph). Floods have drenched the southwestern coast of England, the low-lying Somerset Levels and the Thames Valley west of London, where hundreds of properties have been swamped after the river burst its banks. Another bout of gale-force winds hit the country Friday, bringing large waves and up to 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) of rain."

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

My Way News - Kerry faces tough sell in China on N. Korea, tension
My Way News reports: "Chinese ships have also stepped up their presence in the South China Sea, particularly in regards to the Philippines, which is seen by Beijing as weak and overly dependent on the U.S. for protection. Diplomats are concerned that Beijing may be planning to declare an air defense zone above those heavily traversed waters, further raising the chances of confrontation with American surveillance planes and other military flights."

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Pestilence

My Way News - US, 26 countries launch effort to fight outbreaks
My Way News reports: "Infectious diseases are a growing concern. Just in the past year, China alerted the world that a new type of bird flu was sickening people; a mysterious and deadly new respiratory virus emerged in the Middle East; and scientists detected the spread of some older diseases to new locales including the first appearance of mosquito-borne chikungunya virus in the Caribbean."

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Earthquakes

My Way News - Strong quake shakes China; no casualties reported
My Way News reports: "A powerful earthquake struck a sparsely populated area of China's far western region of Xinjiang on Wednesday, damaging some houses, though no casualties were reported. The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-6.9 quake was centered 268 kilometers (167 miles) east-southeast of Hotan at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). The China Earthquake Networks Center measured the quake at magnitude 7.3 and said at least 20 smaller aftershocks ensued over the following two hours."

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Roaring Waves

My Way News - Fierce debates as Britain sinks further underwater
My Way News reports: "The River Thames has burst its banks, rail lines have been washed away, villages have been turned into islands and soldiers are out on the front lines filling sandbags. As residents battled to save their homes - and British politicians battled one another - yet another storm hit the U.K on Wednesday, pummeling the west coast with torrential rain and wind gusts up to 106 mph (170 kph). [...] The coast is being eroded by the sea, while areas like the Somerset Levels rely on dredging and pumping just to keep water at bay. And across the country, thousands of houses have been built on flood plains. As sea levels rise with global warming, some say it may become too expensive to save them."

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Roaring Waves

Ars Technica - Business as usual + sea level rise = losses of up to 9% of global GDP
Ars reports: "Things like extreme weather and droughts are the high-profile impacts of climate change—they are easy to see and understand. Sea level rise is much more subtle and slow-moving, but it's inexorable. Even if we stabilize our climate at a new, higher average temperature, the seas will continue to rise for centuries as the added warmth slowly melts ice and causes the water in the oceans to expand in volume."

Comment: Have you seen the massive waves hitting Great Britain lately? Or what about the flooding in London as the Thames rises? I don't think the industrialized world is ready for nature to take aim at coastal cities in the way this study suggests will happen. 

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Roaring Waves

My Way News - River Thames breaches its banks near London
My Way News reports: "The River Thames has burst its banks after reaching its highest level in years, flooding riverside towns upstream of London. [...] England has had its wettest January since 1766. Its southwest coast has been battered repeatedly by storms and a large area of the low-lying Somerset Levels in the southwest has been under water for more than a month."

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Rumors of War - Persia

My Way News - Report: Iran successfully test-fires 2 missiles
My Way News reports: "Iran has successfully test-fired two missiles, including a long-range ballistic weapon, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday. [...] Iran has pursued military self-sufficiency since 1992. It produces tanks, jet fighters, submarines and warships, as well as weapons for these systems. [...] Iran already has surface-to-surface missiles with a range of about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) capable of reaching Israel and U.S. military bases in the region."

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Covenant With Many

My Way News - Jordanians worry about fallout from Mideast peace
My Way News reports:  "Israelis and Palestinians may be hugely skeptical about the U.S.-led peace negotiations their leaders have been roped into, but the Jordanians seem worried that they actually might succeed. The kingdom is already home to the largest Palestinian population outside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Jordanian lawmakers and others fear an accord might lead to a new influx of refugees."

Comment: It's an interesting development and a novel way to gauge how successful the secret talks are, that regional powers are starting to closely examine how well they would fare if the peace talks succeed. 

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Nations in Distress

My Way News - Klitschko warns Ukrainian tempers are heating up
My Way News reports: "Protests that began in late November have drawn substantial crowds to downtown Kiev, sometimes numbering above 100,000 people, and an extensive protest tent camp has been set up on the capital's main square. The protests turned violent in mid-January when demonstrators clashed with police for four days, raining stones and firebombs on riot police and setting their vehicles afire."

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Global Community

My Way News - Facebook barrels ahead on 10th anniversary
My Way News reports: "As Facebook enters its second decade, the company faces a new set of challenges in reaching the next billion users, the billion after that, and the one after that, including the majority of the world without Internet access. It must also keep the existing set interested even as younger, hipper rivals emerge and try to lure them away. There are 1.23 billion Facebook users today, or roughly 17 percent of the world's population. Although that's far from connecting the whole world, Facebook is here to stay. It's reached critical mass."

Comment: The world is becoming more and more connected. People can now watch global news events and react by sending status updates (and Tweets) to their friends and to everyone in real-time. Expect this trend to continue and accelerate as people in developing countries continue to join online services. 

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Monday, February 03, 2014

Persecution

My Way News - Christians flee attacks in Nigeria's northeast:
My Way News reports: "Before the usher could finish warning worshippers of the gunmen approaching, the attackers were storming into the church, locking the main door, exploding homemade bombs and firing into the congregation. The shooting continued as some people scrambled to escape out of windows and through the back door of the sacristy. Some had their throats slit in last Sunday's attack on St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Wada Chakawa village in northeast Nigeria."

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Earthquakes

My Way News - Report: Moderate earthquake hits southern Iran
My Way News reports: "Iranian state TV says a magnitude 5.5 earthquake has jolted a sparsely populated area in the country's south. The report said the quake hit Sunday evening in the district of Goharan, about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of the capital Tehran. It says many buildings were damaged and that rescue workers were on the scene."

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