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.

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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. 

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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."

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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."

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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."

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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."

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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? 

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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. 

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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. 

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Wars & Rumors of War

U.S. considers shooting North Korea test missiles out of the sky - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The U.S. military is considering a bolder response to ballistic missile tests by North Korea's socialist government -- blasting them completely out of the sky, according to sources. [...] Experts warn that by its very nature, shooting down one of North Korea's test missiles would bring a substantial risk of escalation -- and perhaps push the scope of consequences outside the Pentagon's control and impact U.S. allies in the region, particularly Japan and South Korea."

Comment: It's a very dangerous situation. It seems that no matter what happens, we are on the path of escalation, as it's extremely unlikely that North Korea will suddenly change course. Diplomacy has been tried. Sanctions have been tried. Back-channel communications and third-party interventions have been tried. All the usual tools in the kit have been tried and found wanting, only the hammer of military force remains.

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Persecution

One killed in ISIS attack near St. Catherine's Monastery in Egypt - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A policeman was killed and four others injured Tuesday when gunmen attacked security forces near St. Catherine's Monastery in Egypt, the Health Ministry said. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack and bombings at two Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday that killed 45 people. [...] Egypt's Christian minority comprises about 10% of the predominantly Muslim country of 92 million people."

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

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Wickedness Increases - Love Grows Cold

FBI, U.S. Marshals now involved in hunt for suspect in Facebook killing - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A Cleveland man accused of posting a video online that depicted him killing an elderly man on a city street over the weekend -- without any apparent reason -- is now the subject of a nationwide manhunt, authorities said Monday. Ohio police are stepping up efforts to capture the suspect, Steve W. Stephens, who they said fled the area immediately after the shooting and may have also killed others. [...] Stephens posted a video recording of the homicide to his Facebook page."

Comment: How wicked and cold-hearted would someone have to be to kill a stranger and then post a video of the act to brag about it on Facebook? This is the second such incident that I can recall in the last few months. It speaks to the rise of people without shame, without remorse, or any shred of human decency.

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Mark

Japan convenience stores to cut out workers, scan entire baskets - UPI.com
UPI reports: "By 2025 the country's major retailers, including Seven-Eleven Japan and other chain operators, will allow customers to use self-checkout computer kiosks to scan an entire basket of items without requiring individual scans, The Nikkei reported Tuesday, local time. [...] Chips, or radio frequency identification tags, that can compute all items simultaneously are to be used at Seven-Eleven, FamilyMart and Ministop stores, where they will be in active use in major cities by 2018, according to the report."

Comment: I think the cost of upgrading hardware would be prohibitive in a large country like the U.S., still, it's an interesting development, it shows how advanced RFID tech has become. 

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Gospel

AP PHOTOS: Christians celebrate Easter around the world
The AP reports: "Christians around the world celebrated Easter on Sunday, as Pope Francis and others expressed concern over embattled communities in the cradle of the faith following church bombings in Egypt and attacks on civilians in Syria's civil war. [...] Thousands of worshippers flocked to Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected. [...] In Egypt, Coptic Christians marked a somber Easter a week after twin bombings by the Islamic State group killed dozens of worshippers at churches in two separate cities."

Comment:  Happy Resurrection Sunday! I hope you are all having a wonderful day of celebration and hopefully some quiet time to reflect on what the resurrection means in your life. The news we track here and the tides of history they reflect are but ripples from that singular moment in time when the Living God intervened in human history, took on human flesh, lived among us and then sacrificed himself to save us. The gift of God is eternal life and that life is in his son, Jesus. Receive that gift and be reborn into a larger life, a life without limits.


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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Wars & Rumors of War

North Korea launches failed missile test - UPI.com
UPI reports: "North Korea made a failed attempt to launch a missile Saturday, the latest in a string of provocations surrounding its nuclear weapons program. U.S. and South Korean military officials confirmed an attempted launch on the nation's eastern coast Saturday morning. The device exploded almost immediately after takeoff."

Comment: Given how things have been going, this failed test is a good outcome. It was unlikely that young Un would blink and not stage any kind of launch during the anniversary celebration, so a launch that is both failure and decidedly not an underground bomb test allows him to save face in front of his people while stopping short of a provocation that would require an immediate response from Trump.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Wars & Rumors of War

North Korea warns of ‘full scale war’ if U.S. attacks - UPI.com
UPI reports: "North Korea will not stand by and watch the United States launch a preemptive strike, a Pyongyang foreign ministry official said Friday. [...] The South Korean government is on high alert and stated Friday North Korea could possibly test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile or conduct its sixth nuclear test [...] Analysts speculate Pyongyang could engage in a provocation soon, possibly in time for the celebration of founder Kim Il Sung's birth anniversary on Saturday. [...] NBC News reported late Thursday the United States may launch a preemptive strike against North Korea in response to a nuclear weapons test, but others are challenging the report."

Comment: This could be a very dangerous weekend, let's agree to pray for peace. 

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Wars & Rumors of War

U.S. drops largest non-nuclear bomb on rural Afghan Islamic State compound - UPI.com UPI reports: "The U.S. Air Force dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb for the first time in combat on Thursday, targeting an underground Islamic State complex in a desolate portion of eastern Afghanistan, military officials said. The 21,000-pound bomb is known as the Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb, or MOAB. In military circles, the acronym is known better as the 'Mother of All Bombs.'

North Korea activity at nuclear site in progress, report says - UPI.com
UPI reports: "North Korea may be preparing for its next nuclear test at its site in Punggye-ri.[...] The activity could mean North Korea plans to conduct its sixth nuclear test in the near future. Such action, however, could mean more pressure from the United States and China, and even the possibility of a military response at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has stated 'all options' are on the table in response to North Korea provocations."

Comment: Well, not to nitpick, but they misspelled ordnance.  It's a common mistake. Anyway, I'm combining these two reports because I suspect they may be linked. If there happened to be someone setting global strategy for U.S. foreign and security policy, we might conclude that the use of the MOAB bomb in Afghanistan days before the anniversary in North Korea (which historically provides the occasion for missile tests) was intended to send a clear message to young Un that another nuclear missile test will not be tolerated.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

China tells military to be ready to ‘move’ to North Korea border - UPI.com
UPI reports: "China has ordered its military to be on nationwide alert, in addition to areas near the North Korea border, as tensions escalate on the peninsula. [...] According to the NGO, China's armored and mechanized infantry brigades in the provinces of Shandong, Zhejiang and Yunnan received the state mandate. About 25,000 troops of the Chinese military's 47th group army of the Ninth Armored Brigade have been instructed to be ready to move long distances, close to the North Korea border, the Hong Kong-based organization said."

Trump proposes North Korea plan, Xi calls for calm during call - UPI.com
UPI reports: "U.S. President Donald Trump is negotiating with China to resolve North Korea's nuclear threats in exchange for a U.S. trade deal. [...] Xi called for calm regarding the situation on the Korean peninsula and urged any moves that would aggravate tensions not be taken, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday."

Comment: I know that Syria dominated the headlines today as the U.S. Secretary of State met with the leader of Russia, but the real story is North Korea. Our focus should be on this flashpoint that could involve the U.S. into a war and potentially into conflict with not one but two nuclear armed countries. It's worth noting that the Korean War never officially ended. There was an armistice agreement and that ceasefire has been in force for decades but the conflict was never concluded with a peace treaty. Technically the Korean War is still on. Whether it goes hot or not is an open question, and one that may be answered soon.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Covenant With Many

Survey: Arabs consider Israel biggest threat to Mideast peace - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A vast majority of people in 12 Arab-majority countries regard Israel as the biggest threat to achieving Middle East peace -- on par with the Islamic State as a source of perceived regional instability, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. [...] Of those surveyed by the Arab Center, 86 percent 'disapprove of their countries' recognition of Israel,' with about half saying recognition of Israel was tied to 'the establishment of a Palestinian state.'"

Comment: The enmity can't be unlearned if it's embedded into the education systems and into new generations that are taught to hate Israel.  A tiny little country about the size of New Jersey isn't going to take over the entire region, but that doesn't keep Israel's neighbors from wanting to totally destroy it.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

Chinese state media express ‘concern’ over USS Carl Vinson - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Chinese state media criticized the return of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to Korean waters, calling the move an 'act that could heighten tensions on the Korean peninsula.' [...] China's Global Times stated Monday that while North Korea is not likely to become the 'next Syria,' the state tabloid warned Pyongyang against further provocations, including a sixth nuclear test, which could only invite more U.S. military action."

Comment: This could get interesting. 

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Sunday, April 09, 2017

Persecution

Palm Sunday church bombings in Egypt kill 43, wound dozens - AP
The AP reports: "Bombs exploded at two Coptic churches in different cities in northern Egypt as worshippers were celebrating Palm Sunday, killing at least 43 people and wounding about 100 in an assault claimed by the Islamic State group. The blasts came at the start of Holy Week leading up to Easter, and just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit the Arab world's most populous country, which has been beset by extremist violence against its minority Christians. [...] IS claimed the attacks via its Aamaq news agency, after having recently warned that it would step up violence against Egypt's Christians. [...] Egypt's Copts are one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East. They have long complained of discrimination and that the government does not do enough to protect them."

Comment: Please join me in praying for the church in Egypt, that they will be comforted in their grief and that they will remain steadfast in their faith so as to demonstrate grace and forgiveness that shows the love of Christ to their grieving country. Let us also pray for their safety and for their fearless defense of the Gospel in a country where our Lord lived as an infant.

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Saturday, April 08, 2017

Earthquakes

Multiple earthquakes strike Philippines province - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A series of earthquakes struck the Philippines province of Batangas on Saturday, causing damages and leaving some areas without power. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recorded the first tremor northwest of the city of Mabini at 3:07 p.m., followed by a second stronger quake at 3:09 p.m. with a 6.0 magnitude. No serious injuries were reported immediately. A third quake with a magnitude of 4.1 occurred almost two hours later at 4:43 p.m."

Comment: It sounds like the energy dissipated with the series of quakes rather than having one large quake. Still, 6.0 magnitude is a big quake, lucky there were no fatalities. 

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Gospel Preached to All Nations

'Jesus' film spreads the word in more than 1,500 languages, 230 countries | The Salt Lake Tribune:
The Salt Lake Tribune reports: "The Jesus Film Project has topped the 1,500-language milestone for translation of the gospel story, this time making the movie available in the eastern African Daasanach tongue. [...] The Jesus Film Project estimates the film has been viewed by hundreds of millions in more than 230 countries. It's goal — tapping social media, phone and tablet apps, DVD sales, as well as traditional screening options — is to reach 5 billion viewers by 2025."

Comment: How is it that I haven't seen this movie? Actually, I've never heard of it. It was screened in the 1970s, so perhaps it was before my time but it's available now in multiple formats. I'm looking forward to seeing it. Congrats to the filmmakers on reaching that translation milestone.

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Famine - Pestilence

Cholera spreads in famine-threatened Somalia | Reuters
Reuters reports: "Deadly cholera is spreading through drought-ravaged Somalia as clean water sources dry up, a top aid official said, deepening a humanitarian crisis in a country that is on the verge of famine. The Horn of Africa nation has recorded more than 18,000 cases of cholera so far this year, up from around 15,000 in all of 2016 [...] Somalia is suffering from a severe drought that means more than half of its 12 million citizens are expected to need aid by July. Families have been forced to drink slimy, infected water after the rains failed and wells and rivers dried up."

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Thursday, April 06, 2017

Rumors of War & Doomed Damascus

U.S. launches airstrike on Syria in 'vital national security interest' - UPI.com
UPI reports: "President Donald Trump on Thursday night said he ordered 59 cruise missiles to attack the airfield where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime launched a deadly chemical attack on civilians two days earlier. [...] The United States launched the Tomahawk missiles -- around 60,000 pounds of explosives -- within 60 seconds, targeting one airfield, CBS' David Martin reported. CNN's Barbara Starr reported the runway, aircraft and fuel points were targeted. [...] The missile strikes were the first direct assault on Assad since the civil war began six years ago."

Comment: I suspect this will be one of those precision strikes that are made to make a point, full of symbolism, but lacking any real impact. It's possible, given the volatile nature of the region, that this attack could lead to retaliation of some kind and then expand into a wider war. I noticed that Russia was given advance notice of the attack. This was smart. If Russian personnel or installations were not harmed, then the potential of this expanding into a wider conflict would seem to be minimal. Time will tell.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Pestilence

Scientists identify Zika's path to infecting the fetus - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Throughout South America, the Zika virus has so far caused thousands of cases of devastating birth defects, most often microcephaly -- babies born with a smaller-than-normal head and underdeveloped brains. So far, only a few such cases have occurred in the United States, but infections are a concern as the summer mosquito season nears."

Comment: The really interesting bit in this news report is how they are worried that the upcoming summer season will mean a resurgence of Zika infections.  I'm not sure people really have this on their radar yet.

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Persecution

Russia's high court considers banning Jehovah's Witnesses - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Russia's Supreme Court on Wednesday considered a request by the government to ban Jehovah's Witnesses and declare the Christian group an extremist organization. On March 16, the Russian government filed suit to outlaw the organization, which is already considered an extremist group in St. Petersburg where it is headquartered. The group has 175,000 members in Russia and 395 branches across the country. Worldwide there are more than 7 million members."

Comment: I'm not very familiar with the Jehovah's Witnesses. I wonder what they could have done to make the Russians think they are extremists? It's not like they are beheading people, right?

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Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Mark of the Beast

Swedish company Epicenter implants microchips in employees - UPI.com
UPI reports: "About 150 employees the Swedish technology firm Epicenter agreed to have a microchip inserted in their hands, the company said. The RFID, or radio frequency identification chip, is about the size of a grain of rice and will allow workers at the company to open doors automatically and use electronic devices more efficiently. The chip is implanted in an employee's hand."

Comment: The Mark of the Beast prophecy found in Rev 13:16-18 is one of the most specific prophecies in the Bible and also one of the most enigmatic.  I'm not dogmatic on the subject and enjoy speculating on what it could be, alternating between a high-tech solution like an implanted chip to something as basic as a tattoo. Lately it seems like the high-tech answer is gaining ground, with remarkable innovations coming in the fields of mobile commerce, identity verification and biometrics. I don't claim to have the answer, but I am dedicated to watching the trends. In this latest news, some Swedish workers are having chips implanted into their hands. It sounds like this is a small-scale experiment with a technology that has wider commercial applications. It will be interesting to see how it goes. If your company offered this service, would you get chipped? 

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Monday, April 03, 2017

Persecution

Christians in China hospitalized after resisting state surveillance - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Christian churchgoers in China were recently wounded after fighting with officials enforcing new regulations: the installation of surveillance cameras inside churches. The ordinance to place closed-circuit television cameras in Protestant and Roman Catholic churches was issued in late 2016 by authorities in Zhejiang Province, South China Morning Post reported Monday. The law comes two years after Chinese authorities ordered churches in the coastal province to remove conspicuous neon crosses from buildings, a movement that began in 2014, according to the report."

Comment: Please join me in praying for the persecuted church in China. 

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