Thursday, October 30, 2014

Temple Mount - Security of Jerusalem

My Way News - Israel closes Jerusalem holy site after shooting
My Way News reports: "Israel closed all access to Jerusalem's most sensitive religious site on Thursday, a rare move that ratcheted up already heightened tensions following the attempted assassination of a prominent Jewish religious activist and the killing of his suspected Palestinian assailant by police. The Palestinians accused Israel of a 'declaration of war,' deepening a crisis fueled by failed peace efforts, continued Israeli settlement construction and months of simmering violence in the holy city. While Israel said it would reopen the site on Friday, the increasingly religious nature of the unrest risked igniting further violence."

Comment: Does it seem like the Temple Mount has been in the news a lot lately? I can't help but think that this flashpoint is an important barometer of the end times and any activity there is worth keeping an eye on.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Security of Jerusalem

My Way News - Israeli leader lashes back at harsh US criticism
My Way News reports: "Israel's prime minister said Wednesday that recent verbal attacks against him from the United States were merely because he was "defending Israel" and vowed to carry on with his policies despite the vitriolic rhetoric. Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks to parliament followed a report in The Atlantic this week in which unidentified U.S. officials lambasted the Israeli premier for his settlement policies and for undermining American peace efforts. The officials derided Netanyahu as cowardly and recalcitrant, among other insults."

Comment: Stand strong Bibi, the vast majority of Americans are with you. We recognize the right of Israel to exist and to defend itself. We recognize the right of Israel to inhabit the land gained in wars that it won (we all love a winner!) and we recognize the right of those who win territory in wars to consider such territory fully their own and to do with it as they wish. For us, there is no "occupied" or disputed land. So keep defending, keep building, and keep strong!

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Pestilence

My Way News - AP IMPACT: If Ebola batters US, we are not ready
My Way News reports: "The U.S. health care apparatus is so unprepared and short on resources to deal with the deadly Ebola virus that even small clusters of cases could overwhelm parts of the system, according to an Associated Press review of readiness at hospitals and other components of the emergency medical network. [...] And Ebola is not the only possible danger that causes concern; experts say other deadly infectious diseases — ranging from airborne viruses such as SARS, to an unforeseen new strain of the flu, to more exotic plagues like Lassa fever — could crash the health care system."

Comment: So, basically, a real outbreak of an easily communicable disease (which Ebola - sensational news headlines aside - is not) would quickly overwhelm the U.S. health care system. This is a crisis, but not about Ebola, it's about preparedness.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Security of Jerusalem

My Way News - Premier: Israel will build in all of Jerusalem
My Way News reports: "Israel's prime minister pledged Monday to keep building in east Jerusalem, despite stiff international criticism and recent rising tensions between Jews and Arabs in the city. [...]  Speaking to parliament, Netanyahu defended the stance saying there was a wide consensus in Israel to continue building throughout the city, just as every Israeli government has done since Israel captured east Jerusalem in 1967."

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Pestilence

My Way News - American official: US in Ebola fight for long haul
My Way News reports: "The United States will help fight Ebola over 'the long haul,' the American ambassador to the United Nations said on a trip to the West African countries hit by the outbreak. [...] Many people hide in their homes rather than seek medical care because of fears that an Ebola diagnosis is an automatic death sentence and the social stigma attached to the disease, further fueling its spread. So far, more than 10,000 people are believed to have been infected."

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Pestilence

My Way News - NY, NJ order Ebola quarantine for doctors, others
My Way News reports: "Alarmed by the case of an Ebola-infected New York doctor, the governors of New Jersey and New York on Friday ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine of all medical workers and other arriving airline passengers who have had contact with victims of the deadly disease in West Africa."

My Way News - WHO: Millions of Ebola vaccine doses ready in 2015
My Way News reports: "The World Health Organization says millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines will start being tested in March. Still, the agency warned it's not clear whether any of these will work against the deadly virus that has already killed at least 4,877 people this year in West Africa."

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Jerusalem Security

My Way News - AP Interview: Jerusalem mayor vows to calm city
My Way News reports: "Jerusalem's mayor on Thursday called for a crackdown against a wave of Palestinian unrest, as police beefed up security after a Palestinian motorist with a history of anti-Israel violence slammed his car into a crowded light rail train station and killed a baby girl. The crash Wednesday night escalated already heightened tensions in east Jerusalem, the section of the holy city captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians as their capital."

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Signs in the Sun

My Way News - Solar flare knocks out some radio temporarily
My Way News reports: "Federal forecasters say a brief but strong solar flare Wednesday morning temporarily blacked out a few radio communication systems before weakening. Space Weather Prediction Center forecaster Christopher Balch said it affected radio that uses part of the upper atmosphere. That includes some radar and plane systems, but not all, and amateur radio."

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Pestilence

My Way News - EU leaders seek more Ebola funding at summit
My Way News reports: "Britain pledged an additional 100 million euro ($126 million) to fight Ebola and Prime Minister David Cameron called on the other European Union leaders at a summit to step up their efforts to contain the deadly virus too. [...] To coordinate all the efforts of the 28 EU nations, the EU leaders appointed the incoming EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides as its Ebola czar. [...] In Geneva, the World Health Organization said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has killed more than 4,800 people, remains an international health emergency."

My Way News - NY doctor back from Guinea has Ebola, 1st in city
My Way News reports: "An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus, becoming the first case in the city and the fourth in the nation."

My Way News - CDC details new Ebola response and prep teams
My Way News reports: "The government's new federal Ebola response squads were getting their first test Thursday, dispatched to New York to help care for the city's first case, a doctor who had treated a patient with the disease in west Africa. The squads — likened to public health SWAT teams — were set up to rush to any U.S. city where a new Ebola case might be identified."

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Persecution

Reuters - Pakistani Christian loses appeal against death sentence for blasphemy
Reuters reports: "A Pakistani court upheld the death penalty on Thursday against a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, her lawyer said, in a case that drew global headlines after two prominent politicians who tried to help her were assassinated. [...] Rights groups say the blasphemy law is increasingly exploited by religious extremists as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle personal scores. The law does not define blasphemy and evidence might not be reproduced in court for fear of committing a fresh offence. There are no penalties for false accusations."

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Persecution

My Way News - North Korea frees US man; 2 more still detained
My Way News reports: "North Korea's reclusive government abruptly freed an American man Tuesday, nearly six months after he was arrested on charges of leaving a Bible in a nightclub, but Pyongyang refused to hand over two other U.S. citizens who are still being held. [...] Christian evangelism is considered a crime in North Korea."

Comment: Imagine that, he was arrested and jailed for leaving a Bible in a nightclub.  

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Pestilence

My Way News - CDC releases revised Ebola gear guidelines
My Way News reports: "Federal health officials on Monday issued new guidelines to promote head-to-toe protection for health workers treating Ebola patients. Officials have been scrambling to come up with new advice for protective gear since two Dallas nurses became infected while caring for the first person diagnosed with the virus in the United States."

My Way News - Nigeria declared Ebola-free; 'spectacular success'
My Way News reports: "In the end, Nigeria — the most populous country in Africa, with 160 million people — had just 20 cases, including eight deaths, a lower death rate than the 70 percent seen elsewhere across the stricken region. Officials are crediting strong tracking and isolation of people exposed to the virus, and aggressive rehydration of infected patients to counter the effects of vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms."

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Temple Mount

My Way News - Abbas suggests ban on Jews at Jerusalem holy site
My Way News reports: "Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suggested on Friday that Jews should be banned from a Jerusalem holy site revered by both Jews and Muslims. Abbas made the comments following recent clashes between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli forces over what Palestinians see as Jewish encroachment on the site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. [...] The site is the holiest in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam."

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Pestilence

My Way News - WHO faulted for Ebola failures as Obama taps czar
My Way News reports: "The World Health Organization bungled efforts to halt the spread of Ebola in West Africa, an internal report revealed Friday, as President Barack Obama named a trusted political adviser to take control of America's frenzied response to the epidemic. The stepped-up scrutiny of the international response came as U.S. officials rushed to cut off potential routes of infection from three cases in Texas, reaching a cruise ship in the Caribbean and multiple domestic airline flights."

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pestilence

My Way News - Ebola: Rising call for ban on travel from W Africa
My Way News reports: "Warning that Americans are losing faith in their government's ability to stop Ebola, Republican lawmakers on Thursday pressed for a ban on travel to the U.S. from the West African outbreak zone. The White House said other measures are more effective. The administration spent the day trying anew to tamp down fear as the pool of Americans being monitored for symptoms expanded from Texas to Ohio. President Barack Obama said he might appoint a single official to lead the nation's efforts against the deadly disease."

Comment: Another day another development in this strange story. The media won't tell you that more people die every every year from the flu than will ever die of Ebola, but that isn't nearly as sensational. I guess the 24-hour news cycle never met a fake crisis they didn't like. 

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pestilence

My Way News - Second Texas nurse tests positive for Ebola
My Way News reports:  "The Ebola crisis in the U.S. took another alarming turn Wednesday with word that a second Dallas nurse caught the disease from a patient and flew across the Midwest aboard an airliner the day before she fell ill, even though government guidelines should have kept her off the plane."

My Way News - African leaders: Ebola could lead to food crisis
My Way News reports: "Financial aid and global coordination are needed to prevent the Ebola health care crisis from becoming a food emergency, agriculture ministers from West African nations at the center of the Ebola outbreak said Wednesday. In Sierra Leone, where thousands are infected and more than 900 have died, 40 percent of the farmers have abandoned their fields, said Joseph Sam Sesay, minister of agriculture, forestry and food security."

My Way News - Obama: Ebola monitoring must be 'more aggressive':
My Way News reports: "President Barack Obama vowed Wednesday that his administration would respond in a "much more aggressive way" to cases of Ebola in the United States and warned that in an age of frequent travel the disease could spread globally if the world doesn't respond to the 'raging epidemic in West Africa.'"

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mark of the Beast

My Way News - South Korea identity thefts forces ID overhaul
My Way News reports: "After an avalanche of data breaches, South Korea's national identity card system has been raided so thoroughly by thieves that the government says it might have to issue new ID numbers to every citizen over 17 [...] ID numbers and personal details of an estimated 80 percent of South Korea's 50 million people have been stolen from banks and other targets since 2004, according to experts. Those numbers stay with South Koreans for life and, instead of being picked randomly, are based on their age, sex and other details. They are used to confirm identity, get a job or government services and even to buy cigarettes."

Comment: Not the Mark, but a good example of how mandatory identification systems can be imposed by governments...and how they can go awry.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Quake Update

My Way News - 4 Northern California faults primed for big quakes
My Way News reports: "Three fault segments running beneath Northern California and its roughly 15 million people are overdue for a major earthquake, including one section that lies near the dams and canals that supply much of the state's water, according to a geological study published Monday. The three fault segments and one other in the region are loaded with enough tension to produce quakes of magnitude 6.8 or greater, according to a geological study published Monday."

Comment: Well, they can't say they haven't been warned.

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Pestilence

My Way News - CDC urges all US hospitals to 'think Ebola'
My Way News reports: "The government is telling the nation's hospitals to 'think Ebola.' Every hospital must know how to diagnose Ebola in people who have been in West Africa and be ready to isolate a suspected case, Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday."

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Rumors of War - Persia

My Way News - Saudi top diplomat criticizes Iran over conflicts
My Way News reports: "Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Monday lashed out at regional rival Iran, accusing the Shiite powerhouse of having forces inside Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and insisting that Iran is "part of the problem" in trying to defuse the myriad Mideast crises."

My Way News - Iran's Rouhani: Nuke deal possible before deadline
My Way News reports: "Iran's president said on Monday that Tehran and world powers may still be able to reach a final deal on the country's controversial nuclear program before the Nov. 24 deadline. The remarks by moderate President Hassan Rouhani came as Iran and the six nation group — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany — are to begin another round of talks in Vienna on Tuesday, in the countdown to the November deadline for a final, comprehensive deal."

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Pestilence

My Way News - WHO: Ebola death toll rises to more than 4,000
My Way News reports: "Liberian lawmakers on Friday rejected a proposal to grant President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf the power to further restrict movement and public gatherings and to confiscate property in the fight against Ebola. One legislator said such a law would have turned Liberia into a police state. The proposal's defeat came as the World Health Organization once again raised the death toll attributed to the Ebola outbreak. The Geneva-based U.N. agency said that 4,033 confirmed, probable or suspected Ebola deaths have now been recorded."

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Future Fear

My Way News - US stocks close out worst week since May 2012
My Way News reports: "Germany, which has been the economic powerhouse for Europe, reported on Thursday its biggest monthly drop in exports in five years. In addition, the International Monetary Fund downgraded its outlook for global economic growth. Meanwhile, some traders are interpreting the decline in oil prices as further indication that growth is slowing. 'You put those three factors together and it has investors nervous at the health of the world economy,' said Jeff Kravetz, regional investment director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management."

My Way News - Top finance officials grapple with weak growth
My Way News reports: "Finance ministers from the world's largest economies said Friday they are determined to prevent a slide into another global recession, but a top U.S. official expressed frustration that a number of major economies were not doing enough to bolster growth."

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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Pestilence

PBS NewsHour - These six diseases should worry you more than Ebola
PBS NewsHour reports: "Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian citizen visiting the U.S., died this morning. He was the first and so far only patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. It’s important not to trivialize his death, but it’s also important to put it in perspective. In Africa, the virus has claimed the lives of at least 6,871 people and sickened more than 8,100 others, according to the World Health Organization. But that one case has captured the news [...] Meanwhile, in our country, the enterovirus 68 has infected at least 628 people since August, most of them small children. [...] As anxiety about Ebola mounts, we asked the experts which U.S. diseases we should be worried about, or at least more worried about than Ebola. Here are six, in no particular order."

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Pestilence

My Way News - U.S. Ebola patient dies; airport screening expanded
My Way News reports: "The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. died Wednesday despite intense but delayed treatment, and the government announced it was expanding airport examinations to guard against the spread of the deadly disease. The checks will include taking the temperatures of hundreds of travelers arriving from West Africa at five major American airports."

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Temple Mount

My Way News - Israeli police, Palestinians clash in Jerusalem
My Way News: "Palestinian demonstrators clashed with Israeli police at a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem on Wednesday, leaving three officers lightly injured, a police spokeswoman said. The clashes erupted after several dozen masked Palestinians began throwing rocks, firecrackers and other pyrotechnical devices at police when the site — known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary — opened for prayers on Wednesday morning, said spokeswoman Luba Samri."

Comment: It's hard to understand the lack of respect Palestinians have for the Temple Mount until you realize that it's not really a holy site for them, they only value it because the Jews do. I mean if you have one group that says it's their "third" holiest site and another group that says it's their most holy site, it's not hard to see which group should have precedence.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Signs in the Moon

CNN - Blood moon returns; tetrad sequence of four continues
CNN reports: "Blood moon, Act II, opens soon in the heavens near you. And it will be bigger than Act I. If you live in the western half of the United States, you'll have a front-row seat on a lunar eclipse that will turn the moon a burnt reddish orange for about an hour Wednesday, creating the second blood moon in relatively short succession. [...] It will be the second in a sequence of four -- called a tetrad -- that are occurring in roughly six-month intervals. The next one will appear on April 4, 2015, and the last one on September 28, 2015."

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Signs in the Moon

October 2014 Blood Moon: Total Lunar Eclipse Coverage
Space.com reports: "A total lunar eclipse is set to rise above people across a large swath of the world Wednesday (Oct. 8). Weather permitting, people in North America, Australia, western South America and parts of East Asia will be able to see the total lunar eclipse. Sometimes, when the moon dips into Earth's shadow during an eclipse, the natural satellite takes on a coppery-red color, leading some people to dub it a "blood moon." The eclipse should reach totality just before sunrise at about 6:25 a.m. EDT (1025 GMT) on the east coast of the United States."

Comment: Really nice video presentation here for those unfamiliar with the blood moon eclipse.

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Friday, October 03, 2014

War

My Way News - Video: Islamic State group beheads British hostage
My Way News reports: "An Internet video released Friday purports to show an Islamic State group fighter beheading British hostage Alan Henning, the fourth such killing carried out by the extremist group now targeted in U.S.-led airstrikes. The video mirrored other beheading videos shot by the Islamic State group, which now holds territory along the border of Syria and Iraq, and ended with a militant threatening a man they identified as an American named Peter Kassig."

My Way News - Heavy fighting hits Syrian border town
My Way News reports: "Islamic State militants heavily shelled a Kurdish town on Syria's border with Turkey on Friday as jihadi fighters prepared an all-out offensive for the strategic site, whose capture would provide a direct link between areas under their control in Aleppo and their stronghold in Raqqa to the east. The fighting came as Turkey's prime minister pledged his country would do what it could to prevent the fall of Kobani, although he did not spell out what assistance Turkey would provide."

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Pestilence

My Way News - Crew disinfects home where Ebola patient stayed
My Way News reports: "A hazardous-materials crew on Friday decontaminated the Texas apartment where an Ebola patient was staying when he got sick, while public-health officials cut by half the number of people being monitored for any symptoms of the deadly disease. Hours later, the family that was living in the apartment was moved to a private residence in a gated community that was offered by a volunteer."

My Way News - Things to know about respiratory bug plaguing kids
My Way News reports: "A wave of severe respiratory illnesses has swept the country in the last two months, propelled by what was long considered an uncommon germ. The enterovirus 68 has caused serious breathing problems in many children, and now is being eyed as possible factor in at least four deaths, and muscle weakness and paralysis in children in Colorado and perhaps other states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released a report on the Colorado cluster. The investigation continues and many questions remain unresolved."

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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Pestilence

My Way News - Family that hosted Ebola patient confined to home
My Way News reports: "Four members of a family the U.S. Ebola patient was staying with were confined to their Texas home under armed guard Thursday as the circle of people possibly exposed to the virus widened, while Liberian authorities said they would prosecute the man for allegedly lying on an airport questionnaire. The unusual confinement order was imposed after the family failed to comply with a request not to leave their apartment, according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins."

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War

My Way News - Turkey approves military operations in Iraq, Syria
My Way News reports: "Turkey's parliament gave the government new powers Thursday to launch military incursions into Syria and Iraq, and to allow foreign forces to use its territory for possible operations against the Islamic State group. The move opens the way for Turkey, a NATO member with a large and modern military, to play a more robust role in the U.S-led coalition against the Sunni militants. [...] The United States has been bombing the Islamic State group across Syria since last week and in neighboring Iraq since early August. [...] Turkey had been reluctant to join its NATO allies in a coalition against the militants, citing worries about the safety of Turkish hostages held by the group, but reversed its decision after the hostages were released last month."

My Way News - British PM: 2 more warplanes in fight against IS
My Way News reports: "Britain's prime minister says that two more warplanes will be deployed at a British air base on Cyprus to join others flying missions against Islamic State group targets in Iraq. Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement during a brief visit at RAF Akrotiri late Thursday. The deployment will bring the number of Tornado aircraft now deployed at the base to eight."

My Way News - US: Marine 'presumed lost' in the Persian Gulf
My Way News reports: "A U.S. Marine who ejected from an airplane over the Persian Gulf is "presumed lost at sea," the U.S. Navy said Thursday, marking the first reported casualty from the ongoing operation against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria."

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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Pestilence

My Way News - Respiratory virus seen in 4 deaths; role unclear
My Way News reports: "Four people who were infected with a virus causing severe respiratory illness across the country have died, but what role the virus played in the deaths is unclear, health officials said Wednesday. A 10-year-old Rhode Island girl died last week after suffering both a bacterial infection and infection from enterovirus 68, Rhode Island health officials said. The virus is behind a spike in harsh respiratory illnesses in children since early August."

Comment: The Ebola virus is getting all the headlines, but this is the one to be worried about. Ebola is difficult to spread and doctors know what causes it and how to treat it. Not so with this virus.

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