"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"
Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
‘Game-changer for autism’: 100-year-old drug reverses symptoms, study finds
The drug Suramin could be used to alleviate the symptoms of autism © Veri Sanovri / Global Look Press
A drug discovered more than 100 years ago may hold the key to combating autism symptoms, according to a study.
Researcher Dr Robert Naviaux of the San Diego School of Medicine gave suramin, a drug first developed in 1916, to 10 autistic boys between the ages of five and 14, and noted transformative results.
"After the single dose, it was almost like a roadblock had been released," he said. “If the future studies show that there’s continued health benefits, this could be a game-changer for families with autism.”
The study, which has been published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, saw five of the participants receive suramin, while the remainder were given placebos. Included in the group were four non-verbal children – two six year olds and two 14 year olds.
“The six year old and the 14 year old who received suramin said the first sentences of their lives about one week after the single suramin infusion,” Naviaux told the UC San Diego Health website. “This did not happen in any of the children given the placebo.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1 in 68 children are affected by autism – which is more than four times more common among boys. The causes of autism, however, are not yet fully understood.
Research has shown that cells harden their membranes in response to attacks from viruses or pollutants. The reaction, known as ‘cellular danger response’ (CDR), is a common defense mechanism that allows cells to wait for danger to pass. Autism is thought to develop during early childhood when cells can become ‘stuck’ in this mode.
Dr Naviaux believes that suramin can ‘un-stick’ the cells by inhibiting the signal they release when they sense danger, which can help normalize the response.
One parent, whose son had not spoken a full sentence in more than a decade, said: “Within an hour after the infusion, he started to make more eye contact with the doctor and nurses in the room. There was a new calmness at times, but also more emotion at other times.”
“He started to show an interest in playing hide-and-seek with his 16-year-old brother. He started practicing making new sounds around the house. He started seeking out his dad more.”
Suramin was originally developed as a cure for sleeping sickness, a parasitic disease spread by the tsetse fly in sub-Saharan Africa.
First tested on mice in 2013, this is the first time suramin has been administered to children.
For Naviaux, the challenge now is to widen his research to a bigger sample testing size. “This work is new and this type of clinical trial is expensive,” he said. “We did not have enough funding to do a larger study. And even with the funding we were able to raise, we had to go $500,000 in debt to complete the trial.”
Time for a change
The problem here is obvious. 100 year old drugs cannot be patented and therefore can be made very inexpensively. The profits for big pharma will not likely ever exceed the extraordinary costs of trials. This is the the huge elephant in the small room of health care.
The way the system works is that there are no advances in medication that don't cost exorbitant amounts of money. Cheap and easy solutions to many diseases go by the boards because no-one is willing to fund the trials needed for their acceptance.
Governments, all of which are fighting rapidly increasing costs of drugs and health care, have to make some hard decisions. They either have to find new and cheaper and quicker ways to do clinical trials, or they have to fund those trials for medications that will reduce costs for both drugs and healthcare if those trials are successful.
Governments can benefit from funding such trials as this by lowering the costs of drugs which will make them more affordable for patients meaning more patients who need the drugs will get the drugs and consequently be in better health and require less in terms of medical care and, in many cases, social care. Improvement in quality of life can be immeasurable.
It seems like a no-brainer to me. But I think the trick would be to create a resource pool funded by most countries in the world, perhaps through the WHO. It would not be onerous if many countries contributed and it would be far more beneficial than some international programs currently running.
Of course, big pharma would be mad as hell, but I'm OK with that!
My other blog is often about child-rape! This story is not so far removed from child-rape. It's about a predator financial institution taking flagrant and disgusting advantage of a country in trouble. It's remarkably like England's Pakistani men grooming, raping and sexually trafficking young British girls for their own pleasure. It happened thousands of times in many cities in England with many of the victims being orphans or runaways - children who were most vulnerable.
Venezuela is most vulnerable right now with its economy nose-diving and its hapless leader unable to do anything about it. So for a few pennies on the dollar he sells Venezuela's future to a leering, drooling monster only too happy to contribute to the complete collapse of an entire country for its own lust for money.
President Maduro needs money to pay for the army and police that he needs to control the population that is getting hungrier and more impatient by the day. It is a desperate country and Goldman Sachs has taken full advantage of that desperation.
By Andrew V. Pestano
Julio Borges (top, 2nd L), president of Venezuela's National Assembly, has condemned Goldman Sachs' purchase of $2.8 billion in bonds from the state-run Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., or PDVSA, oil company for a discounted $865 million. Photo courtesy of National Assembly
UPI -- Members of the Venezuelan opposition have criticized Goldman Sachs' discounted purchase for $2.8 billion of government petroleum bonds.
Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly on Tuesday is debating Goldman Sachs' purchase of $2.8 billion of the bonds at a 69 percent discount. The unicameral legislature plans to issue a resolution condemning the sale.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Goldman Sachs' purchase from the Central Bank on Venezuela on Sunday. The company paid 31 cents on the dollar for bonds issued by Venezuelan state-run Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., or PDVSA, oil company, the outlet reported.
Goldman Sachs paid $865 million to purchase $2.8 billion in bonds that mature in 2022. Some Venezuelan opposition politicians have accused Goldman Sachs of supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's regime.
Angel Alvarado, a Venezuelan lawmaker representing the Miranda state, said Goldman Sachs is "supporting dictatorship and repression."
Venezuelan opposition politician Jose Guerra said Maduro's "government has made a predatory business for the country: gave $2.8 billion in bonds for just $865 million in cash."
Goldman Sachs confirmed the purchase on Tuesday.
"We are invested in PDVSA bonds because, like many in the asset management industry, we believe the situation in the country must improve over time," Goldman Sachs said in a statement.
National Assembly President Julio Borges said he was "outraged" by the U.S. company's purchase.
"It is apparent Goldman Sachs decided to make a quick buck off the suffering of the Venezuelan people," Borges wrote the company in a letter.
Monday, May 29, 2017
Powerful pot strains put developing brains of young people at risk, CMAJ editorial saysCBC News
A pot smoker has a joint at the annual 4/20 day, which promotes the use of marijuana, in Vancouver. Cannabis shouldn't be used by young people, a medical journal editorial says. (David Horemans/CBC)
Marijuana legalization will harm the health of youth unless major changes to the proposed law are made to protect their developing brains, a medical journal editorial says.
Dr. Diane Kelsall, interim editor in chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, says Bill C-45 fails to safeguard vulnerable youth.
"There are a number of things in the legislation that are truly worrisome," Kelsall said in an interview. "If the intent is truly a public health approach and to protect our youth this legislation is not doing it."
Canadian young people ranked first for cannabis use in North America and Europe, with one-third saying they tried it at least once by age 15, the Canadian Pediatric Society says.
Before the federal election, physicians said the right legislation to legalize pot might curb teen toking by restricting access.
The editorial takes issue with several aspects of the bill, which:
Sets the minimum age to buy recreational marijuana at 18. Kelsall calls that too young given evidence suggesting that the human brain doesn't mature until about age 25.
Allows people to grow pot at home, which Kelsall said increases the likelihood of diversion to young people.
Lacks national standards for retail distribution.
Lacks limits on potency of strains despite increased risk of harmful effects with higher-strength cannabis.
"From my perspective, from my colleagues' perspective, this legislation is being pushed through," Kelsall said. "We're just very worried that we're conducting a national experiment and unfortunately the guinea pigs are kids."
Marijuana as a psychosis trigger
At the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, psychiatrist Romina Mizrah uses PET scanners to study how cannabis use changes brain function in young people with an average age of 20.
"There are physical and functional changes in the developing brains of regular users that are associated with damage".
Dr. Diane Kelsall
In young people who regularly use cannabis, preliminary evidence points to a reduction in an enzyme that regulates the endocannabinoid system that buffers key chemistry within the brain, said Mizrahi.
"There is some understanding at this point from epidemiological studies that certainly marijuana is a trigger," said Mizrahi, director of the Focus on Youth Psychosis Prevention program. "Marijuana use predates the psychosis. Whether it causes the psychosis, that's a different question and that we don't know."
Studies using MRI scanners also show physical and functional changes in the developing brains of regular users that are associated with damage, Kelsall said.
In fact, I believe that it stops all maturing processes in developing brains leaving adult people trying to function in society with the brain and maturity of a teenager. It doesn't work!
More potent pot
Mike Stroh, 35, of Toronto says he's part of a generation who grew up smoking current strains of marijuana, which have been genetically selected to produce a powerful high, with THC levels of about 20 per cent. That's up from around seven per cent in the 1960s and '70s.
From age 13, Stroh got high almost daily until age 30.
"I was into sports," Stroh recalled. "I wanted to do stuff at school, but I wouldn't make it to the practice, I wouldn't make it to the tryouts, because I was either up all night selling drugs, trying to get them, fall asleep in a drug-induced coma, and then wake up in a mess."
Mike Stroh started smoking pot almost daily from age 13 until he was 30. He says it's an 'illusion' that pot is a relatively harmless drug. (CBC)
Stroh also lived with depression and anxiety and said he was never able to like himself. "That's the torment that brought me to my knees."
He felt robbed of being himself and the opportunity for emotional maturity, cognitive development and professional opportunities.
"Because marijuana doesn't bring you to your knees as quickly as other drugs may … there's this illusion that because you can be high and do things, it's not bad, so to speak."
Stroh is now a mental health advocate who draws on his personal and family experiences to educate.
"We need to teach kids how to take care of themselves so when they do feel anxious and do feel depressed, scared or … frustrated with life, because yes, that's a part of being a teenager, then they learn that there's so many things they can do to help themselves as opposed to use drugs."
Sunday, May 28, 2017
White couple jailed for total of 28 years for storming black child’s eighth birthday party while screaming the N-word and waving confederate flags
Jose Ismael Torres and Kayla Rae Norton yelled racial slurs & threatened to kill partygoers – including the kidsBY YASMIN JEFFERY, The Sun
A YOUNG white couple wept openly as they were handed lengthy prison terms for crashing a black child’s birthday party with confederate flags, racial slurs and armed threats.
Jose Ismael Torres, 26, was slapped with a 13-year sentence, while his partner Kayla Rae Norton, 25, will spend six years behind bars for the hate crime.
Kayla Rae Norton, 25, and her partner Jose Ismael Torres, 26, crashed a child’s birthday party to issue armed threats, wave confederate flags and yell racial slurs racists.
The young white couple wept openly at court as they were sentenced for hate crime at
eight-year-old’s birthday party
Torres, left, was handed a 20-year sentence with 13 years behind bars, while Norton, right,
was given 15 with six to serve in jail
The pair antagonized a family celebrating their son’s eighth birthday party by driving with a caravan of trucks waving confederate flags in Douglasville, Georgia, in 2015.
The couple, who were members of a group called “Respect the Flag”, shouted at adults and children at the party that they would “kill y’all n*****s” while brandishing the flags.
After interrupting the party, they went on to terrorise a nearby Wal-Mart and off licence.
Upon their release from jail, the pair have been barred from Douglas County.
Jose Ismael Torres only cried when members of his family described him as a devoted father in court
Kayla Rae Norton took the stand to apologise for her actions in 2015
Speaking to the court, Judge William McClain said: "Their actions were motivated by racial hatred.”
Torres and Norton were the last of 15 people charged in the confrontation, which took place in July 2015.
The couple were found guilty of yelling racial slurs and threatening to kill partygoers – including the kids.
Prosecutors said Torres even pointed a shotgun at the party.
Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said in a statement: "This is behaviour that even supporters of the confederate battle flag can agree is criminal and shouldn't be allowed.”
You sure about that?
Norton was sentenced on one count of violating Georgia’s street gang act, and one count of making threats of a terrorist nature.
Speaking through her tears, Norton told the court: “I do accept responsibility for what I’ve done.”
Addressing her victims, she added: “What happened to you is absolutely awful."
Might have been more convincing if she had said something like, "What I did to you..." Saying, 'what happened to you' is not taking personal responsibility. It makes it sound like an accident, or something someone else did.
How is the confederate flag a symbol of racism?
While the confederate flag may have started out as a symbol of succession, it was also the brand to display white power. It was first sewn for an army that fought to preserve the legally sanctioned slavery of African Americans in the US.
Many activists, politicians and citizens want to get rid of it, citing it as a symbol of racism and hate. According to a poll conducted in 2015, around half of all Americans view the flag as a quintessentially racist symbol.
That percentage has probably increased because of these people's idiocy.
“From mother to mother, I cannot imagine having to explain what that word means."
“The worst decision I’ve ever made in my life was to not walk away when I had the chance.”
Norton and Torres have three children together.
Torres only burst into tears when three of his family members described him as a devoted father, hard worker and volunteer in court.
Forgiveness ... partygoer Hyesha Bryant told the court she has forgiven the couple for hate crime
He was sentenced on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of making threats of a terrorist nature, and one of violating the street gang act.
Speaking to the court, partygoer Hyesha Bryant told the couple she forgave them for the hate crime.
Survivors of Egypt Christian bus attack recount their horror
Pope calls victims of ISIS attack 'martyrs'The Associated Press
Relatives of killed Coptic Christians grieved as they gathered during the funeral at Abu Garnous Cathedral in the north Minya town of Maghagha on Friday.
(Mohamed el-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images)
Survivors of a deadly attack by Islamic militants on a bus taking Egyptian Christians to a remote desert monastery are painting a picture of untold horror, with children hiding under their seats to escape gunfire.
Videos of interviews with the survivors surfaced on social media networks on Sunday, two days after 29 were killed in the attack on a desert road south of the capital. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on Friday. It was the fourth attack against Christians in Egypt since December to be claimed by the IS. The string of attacks have killed more than 100 and injured scores.
One survivor, a small boy who seemed to be about six, said his mother pushed him under her seat and covered him with a bag. A young woman speaking from her hospital bed said the assailants ordered the women to surrender their jewelry and money before they opened fire, killing the men first and then some of the women.
They chose death
The woman said the gunmen were masked and wore military uniforms.
Bishop Makarios, the top Coptic Orthodox cleric in Minya, the province where the attack took place, said the assailants told Christian men they ordered off the bus they would spare their lives if they converted to Islam.
"They chose death," said Makarios, who has been an outspoken critic of the government's handling of anti-Christian violence in Minya, where Christians account for more than 35 per cent of the population, the highest anywhere in Egypt.
'Holding on to our faith'
"We take pride to die while holding on to our faith," he said in a television interview aired late Saturday.
Makarios confirmed that the assailants stole the women's jewelry and his contention that the men were ordered off the bus before being killed was also confirmed by a video clip purportedly in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. This video showed at least four or five bodies of adult men lying on the desert sand next to the bus; women and other men screamed and cried as they stood or squatted next to the bodies.
Pope Francis recites a prayer from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Sunday. (Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press)
Egypt responded to the attack with a wave of airstrikes against suspected militant bases where the military said the perpetrators trained. A manhunt for the assailants in the vast deserts to the west of the site of the attack has so far yielded no arrests.
In the Vatican, Pope Francis, for the second day in a row, expressed his solidarity with Egypt's Coptic Christians following Friday's attack. He led thousands of people in prayer Sunday for the victims, who Francis said were killed in "another act of ferocious violence" after having refused to renounce their Christian faith.
Speaking from his studio window over St. Peter's Square, he said: "May the Lord welcome these courageous witnesses, these martyrs, in his peace and convert the hearts of the violent ones."
I suspect there is nothing there to convert!
Saturday, May 27, 2017
World-renowned Polish-American political thinker and ideologist of US global hegemony, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has passed away aged 89, but his words will long echo in global politics.
Brzezinski was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter. His words open a window through which we can interpret geopolitical games being played on the continent.
Caution: these sayings were collected and selected by RT,
so there may be some political bias involved.
Afghanistan was a disaster for Russia. But one has to wonder how often the practice of drawing another country into war with a third country is exercised. I suspect it happen far more often than we would like to believe. I'm sure Americans were delighted that the Russian were involved in an expensive war they could not possibly win, but what it did to Afghanistan resulted in the Taliban and Sharia Law which was a disaster for all women and children in the country.
Gee, can't think of anybody like that!
For many of us, it made it clear that communism was a great hoax, that it creates a phenomenal level of paranoia, and that it makes obvious that a world without God is a very sick and sad place.
Yet there are many, many liberals who would completely disagree. They are those who will find their daughters or granddaughters wearing niqabs and living under Sharia Law and wonder how it happened.
Is NATO the tool for accomplishing this?
There’s a reason why Isis targets gigs:
music is the enemy of fundamentalism
Karen YossmanLuke de Pulford
There’s one headline you didn’t read in the aftermath of the Manchester attack:
Isis celebrates ‘crusaders’ attack and vows further violence against Christians
Sounds silly, I know. But look at what Isis actually said in their statement after the bombing:
I have not seen the word ‘Christian’ mentioned in a single report since this statement was published. Not surprising in itself, as mainstream hacks can be relied upon to avoid the ‘C’ word wherever possible. In this context, though, it’s a serious oversight.
For Isis, the West is a Christian construct. In their astonishingly retro outlook, we’re all under the religious authority of Rome – and that makes us all followers of the Cross. By illogical extension, that also makes us ‘crusaders’. Yep – jihadi thinking isn’t known for its nuance. How else could they conflate ‘Cross Worshippers’ with the little girls at an Ariana Grande gig? No distinction between religion and culture here.
Failure to grasp this simple point is at the root of the hours of banality-laden head-scratching punditry that followed Manchester. Salman Abedi wasn’t a loner, grown bored of his Xbox. He wanted to be a foot soldier in a religious war. Christianity on one side, ‘true’ Islam on the other. The principles of Christian civilisation on one side, the principles of Salafism on the other.
Just have a look at the snappily titled 2016 flick ‘Isil Fantastic Dream, End of World by Conquering Crusaders in Rome’. For these idiots, a ‘Cross Worshipper’ and a Westerner are the same thing. A Christian is a crusading ambassador of the West, and any Westerner is a Christian.
Most commentators choose to ignore this, and not irrationally. They argue there’s no sense in lending credibility to Isis’s culture war fantasies. Young girls attending pop concerts cannot seriously be deemed ‘crusaders’. Using this language only dignifies the pseudo-history propping up their imaginary caliphate. ‘Our response must always be to ask what terrorists want and then do exactly the opposite,’ said Brendan Cox this week, in an eloquent interview. You can see the logic. But airbrushing out Isis’s anti-Christian motives only impoverishes our understanding of the problem. How else are we to interpret their two latest atrocities – one in Mindanao, Philippines where nine Christians were tied together and shot; and another only yesterday morning in Egypt, where a bus load of Coptic Christians were murdered?
"9 Christians tied together and shot!" I haven't even heard of this!
The truth is that Christianophobia is core to understanding Islamism. These people hate Christianity. They hate everything about Western culture, which they believe derives from the principles of Christianity. They hate the ‘golden rule’, hate the notion of inalienable equality, hate the elevation of worldly things implied by the Christian incarnation. This is a hatred that flourishes regardless of geography, nationhood or, yes, Mr Corbyn, foreign policy. We do nobody any favours by ignoring it.
Luke de Pulford is Director of the Arise Foundation and serves on the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission
This frightening number does not include those hundreds or thousands who horribly, sexually abuse young, white girls, nor does it include those who force their own little girls to suffer from genital mutilation or child marriages. If you think this is not terrorism, then you are obviously not a little girl growing up in Britain.
© Stefan Wermuth / Reuters
Around 23,000 jihadist extremists currently living in the UK have been identified by intelligence services as potential terrorists, the Times reports, citing government officials. About 3,000 of those are under investigation as possible threats.
OK, let me get this straight - 20,000 jihadist extremists are NOT considered as possible threats?
“The huge scale” of the terrorist threat in Britain has been revealed in the wake of the Manchester bombing, the Times reported on Saturday, saying the number was disclosed by unnamed Whitehall sources.
The MI5 can only investigate about 3,000 individuals at one time, the newspaper said, explaining that the list of “live” suspects is constantly updated. When those who are believed to pose a greater risk are added to the list, the investigations and active monitoring of others are closed, and they are then moved to a “former subjects of interest” group. This pool of potential attackers, categorized as posing a “residual risk,” has grown to include 20,000 people since 2001, the report said.
So it isn't that they aren't a possible threat, it's just that MI5 doesn't have the capability of monitoring more than 3000 at a time. The remaining 20,000 are reduced as risk factors because of MI5 limitations, not because they are any less a threat.
The man behind the recent terrorist attack in Manchester, suicide bomber Salman Abedi, who murdered 22 people and injured over a hundred at a pop concert, had been among the 20,000 who are considered “former subjects of interest,” the Times reported.
Albedi was, apparently, reported by his friends, but this didn't seem to raise him back up to the level of being a current threat. Perhaps there was no room on the list!!!?!
Let's be clear! Everyone of those 23,000 potential terrorists is Muslim, as are virtually all of those mentioned at the top of this post. It's good to know that Albedi's friends reported him as a threat, but it seems obvious that there are serious weaknesses in immigration screenings and in the ability of the law to deport serious threats to Britain. These need to be rectified quickly.
Another attacker, Khalid Masood, who rammed a vehicle into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge and then stabbed a police officer to death in March, was also in the pool. Both men were no longer under MI5 surveillance.
“For many of these people, the jihadist ideology never leaves them, it is very deeply ingrained,” the director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute, Raffaello Pantucci, told the Times, adding that the number disclosed was “disturbing but not surprising.”
The database of potential attackers “reveals the scale of the challenge from terrorism in the 21st century,” UK Security Minister Ben Wallace said, adding that the magnitude of the threat requires investment “in intelligence-led policing.”
“To have 23,000 potential killers in our midst is horrifying. We should double the size of MI5, as we did in World War Two, and expand the number of intelligence-led police by thousands,” the head of security and intelligence studies at the University of Buckingham, Anthony Glees, told the newspaper.
Five hundred active operations are currently managed by the UK security services, Reuters reported, citing “source with knowledge of the matter.” These investigations involve 3,000 people judged as posing a threat.
A large-scale investigation unfolded in the UK this week, following the attack on the Manchester Arena concert hall. Eleven suspects are now in custody, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said on Saturday, while announcing that the security threat level has been lowered from ‘critical’ to ‘severe.’
“The public should be clear about what this means. A threat level of severe means an attack is highly likely. The country should remain vigilant,” she said.
Although a “large part of the network” believed to be connected to the Manchester attacker has been rounded up, according to the UK’s most senior counterterrorism police officer, Mark Rowley, other possible cell members might be on the loose.
Armed officers will remain deployed on the streets throughout Britain until Monday, with security stepped up at around 1,300 events over the bank holiday weekend.
Friday, May 26, 2017
On Jerusalem Day, the Czech Republic Parliament approved the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; Members of parliament call on the government to adopt the same position and stop payments to UNESCO.Itamar Eichner World News
The Czech Parliament approved on Wednesday the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Jerusalem Day celebrating the 50th anniversary of the city's unification under Israeli sovereignty. In addition, the Czech Republic decided to condemn the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) following its recent anti-Israel resolutions.
112 of the 156 MPs in Prague supported the resolution. Members of Parliament called on their government to adopt the resolution and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, alongside opening direct and unconditional negotiations with the Palestinians.
The parliament also condemned the recent UNESCO decisions that do not recognize the rights of Jews to Jerusalem, and call on the government to stop payments to UNESCO, in light of the incitement against Israel and the politicization of the organization.
Following the Czech Parliament's vote, a special event was held in Prague on the occasion of Jerusalem Day at St. Vitus Cathedral. The event, attended by Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman, was attended by hundreds of Jews and Christians.
The decision was made following a move promoted by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, the largest Christian-Zionist organization in the world, through its Czech Republic Branch Manager, Vladimir Kalos. In the past few months, he has led the attempts to persuade members of parliament to approve the law.
Update: May 26, 12:50 PM PST -
Egypt bombs militant camps in Libya
Egypt's fighter jets have struck militant camps in the aftermath of the deadly attack on Christians, country's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has said.
Egypt’s President vowed to continue striking any bases, used to train militants, who carry out terrorist attacks in the country, regardles of the camps' location, Reuters cited him as saying. He also reiterated call that the countries financing, training and arming terrorists should not get away unpunished.
By Andrew V. Pestano
Egypt's Coptic Christians have been targeted in a deadly attack as at least 23 died in a shooting carried out by unidentified gunmen on Friday. Attacks against Coptic Christians led Egypt's president to declare a three-month state of emergency in April. File Photo by Karem Ahmed/UPI | License Photo
UPI -- Gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in the Minya province Friday, killing at least 23 people and injuring 25 others, an Egyptian security official said.
The bus was heading toward the Monastery of St. Samuel on a road near El Edwa city in Minya, about 140 miles south of Cairo. Faisal Dewidar, the director of security for Minya, told Egypt Independent that unknown militants shot the bus, adding that all injured were immediately transferred to the nearest hospital.
The Copts United media outlet said the militants were hiding in a hill overlooking the road until the bus approached and they launched the assault.
Islamic State, or just Islam?
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but the Islamic State has previously launched attacks targeting Egypt's Coptic Christians.
On Sunday, Egyptian Attorney General Nabil Sadik said he referred 48 suspected Islamic State militants to a military court over the bombing of Coptic churches.
The Islamic State took responsibility for bombing the St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Cairo's al-Abbasiya neighborhood in December and also took credit in April for targeting the Saint Mark's Church in Alexandria and the Mar Girgis church in Tanta.
More than 70 people died in the attacks targeting the Coptic churches. Following the attacks in April, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency.
Egypt is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a Christian. Islamic State supporters are certainly responsible for most of the carnage, but not all, like the mob who torched 7 Christian homes and paraded an elderly Christian woman through the streets naked. This happened to occur not far from where the bus was attacked today.
Many Muslim in predominantly Muslim countries are extremely sensitive and highly volatile. They are extremely protective of their god and prophet, because they are incapable of protecting themselves.
A partial list of Christian martyrs from 2016 from around the world numbers 1318. All of them were killed by Muslims. Some were radicalized Muslims, some were ordinary Muslims.
One more thing - you will not see this story on MSM. Mainstream media is hostile to Christians and sympathetic to Muslims. How many Muslims were murdered by Christians last year. Six Muslims were murdered in Quebec last winter but the perpetrator did not claim to be Christian, nor did he have any apparent affiliation with any Christians. I'm sure if there were any Muslims killed by Christians, it would have been front page news for days. And MSM wonders why people are losing confidence in them.
El Edwa, Minya, Egypt
Thursday, May 25, 2017
© Erik de Castro / Reuters
At least seven soldiers and police officers were killed in the Philippines city of Marawi where government forces carried out an operation to rescue dozens of hostages held by Islamic State-linked terrorists, according to the army.
Five soldiers and two policemen have been killed in sporadic clashes with militants since Tuesday, Col. Edgard Arevalo of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Affairs Office announced late Wednesday.
The army managed to kill at least 13 gunmen of the IS-affiliated Maute group who had overrun the local clinic, taking hostages, and occupying Marawi’s City Hall.
Government forces managed to rescue 78 civilians from the Amai Pakpak Medical Center where the terrorists tried to use them as human shields as the army moved in, Western Mindanao Command chief, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., said according to the PhilStar daily.
The troops also secured 42 teachers who had taken refuge and got trapped at Dansalan College after the city was engulfed in violence.
Obviously, the priest and others from the Catholic church who were taken hostage yesterday were not among those rescued.
Authorities provided no details of civilian injuries and casualties, but said at least 31 soldiers were wounded in the attempt to rescue the hostages and escort civilians to safety.
On Tuesday night, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island of Mindanao under martial law for 60 days after battles between government troops and the Maute in Marawi escalated. Duterte was forced to cut short his trip to Russia to return home to tackle the terrorist insurgency.
“Anyone now holding a gun, confronting the government with violence, my orders are spare no one, let us solve the problems of Mindanao once and for all," Duterte said Wednesday.
“If I think you should die, you will die. If you fight us, you will die. If there's an open defiance, you will die, and if it means many people dying, so be it. That's how it is,” he added.
Duterte also warned that he will not hesitate to declare martial law throughout the entire country if terrorism spills beyond Mindanao.
“Government may consider the covered areas of martial law, in the event that members of Maute group and other ISIS-affiliated terrorists seek sanctuary or expand their terrorist activities in the Visayas and Mindanao,” Duterte said.
“I will not allow the country to go to the dogs. As I said, the military has the primary role now of keeping the law and order situation and in all parts of the Republic of the Philippines,” the president said.
The Philippines leader also promised to resign if extremists prove him incapable of maintaining peace in his country.
“As president, if I cannot confront them, I will resign,” Duterte said. “If I am incompetent and incapable of keeping order in this country, let me step down and give the job to somebody else.”
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Is America beginning to wake up to the truth about mainstream media?
© Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
Nearly two-thirds of US voters believe that the mainstream media is producing fake news, according to a new poll. Many also believe that fake news is purposely published to push an agenda. Fox News appears to be hurt the most by viewers’ mistrust.
Across the political spectrum, 65 percent of voters believe there is a lot of fake news in the mainstream media, including 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats, according to the latest Harvard-Harris poll provided exclusively to The Hill. In total, 84 percent of voters said it is hard to know what news to believe online.
Those numbers have increased since the end of March, when six in 10 Americans believed the mainstream media report fake news regularly or occasionally, with 54 percent thinking that online news websites report fake stories on purpose in order to push an agenda, according to a Monmouth University poll. A whopping 80 percent of respondents believed that online outlets report fake news regularly or occasionally.
The March poll also found that Republicans (79 percent) were most likely to say that major news outlets transmit fake news stories, compared to 66 percent of Independents and 43 percent of Democrats. Of those, Republicans were also more likely to say that major news sources reported fake news deliberately, rather than by mistake or due to poor fact checking.
I have to agree with the Republicans here; they do report fake news intentionally, except that often they don't actually know that it is fake. They may believe they are reporting the truth because they are reporting through eyes that see things from a biased perspective.
When Fox News was initiated, it was under the premise that the unbiased truth would finally be reported. Unfortunately, we find too often that Fox is every bit as biased as the liberal news media. As we are becoming aware of that, it gets more and more difficult to discern the truth as both Fox and the liberal media think they are telling the truth and their truths conflict.
There cannot be 2 truths on a particular story. There can only be one truth and it is becoming increasingly obvious that we cannot find that on any of the mainstream media outlets, they all have agendas.
In April, Gallup found that 62 percent of Americans said that the news media favor one political party over another, with 64 percent saying media favor the Democrats over the GOP. Less than a quarter (22 percent) said that the media was biased towards the Republicans. Among GOP respondents, 77 percent said the media was biased towards one party, compared to 59 percent in 2003. Less than half (44 percent) of Democrats said that the media showed political favoritism, the same as in 2003.
“Much of the media is now just another part of the partisan divide in the country with Republicans not trusting the ‘mainstream’ media and Democrats seeing them as reflecting their beliefs,” said Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn. “Every major institution from the presidency to the courts is now seen as operating in a partisan fashion in one direction or the other.”
Between 2012 and 2015, trust in the media remained historically low, with 40 percent of Americans saying they had “a great deal” or “a fair deal” of trust and confidence in the mass media, according to an annual Gallup survey. That dropped to 32 percent in 2016, however. The decrease in trust was dramatic among Republicans, with only 14 percent expressing trust, down from 32 percent the previous year.
The Harvard-Harris poll comes as one mainstream outlet, Fox News, has had to retract a major story it had been following. On Tuesday, the cable network and the Washington, DC-based affiliate it owns were forced to walk back their reporting on the July 2016 murder of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer who Fox claimed had been in contact with WikiLeaks director and investigative journalist Gavin MacFadyen. Rich’s parents condemned the speculation around their son’s death in an opinion piece in the Washington Post on Tuesday.
“The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed,” Fox News said in a statement.
The Rich retraction is the latest in a series of scandals rocking Fox News, including sexual harassment and racial bias lawsuits filed by current and former employees, which led to the firing of host Bill O’Reilly and the resignation of co-president Bill Shine. Before O’Reilly’s ouster, advertisers fled from his program, “The O’Reilly Factor.” More than 60 companies pulled ads from his show, leaving him with a mere seven sponsors by April 8.
Now it appears that viewers are fleeing from O’Reilly’s old employer. Last week, Fox News placed third among cable news networks in primetime ratings among 25-54 year-old viewers, the most coveted advertising demographic, Adweek reported.
MSNBC came in first with 611,000 viewers in the demographic and 2.44 million viewers overall. CNN came in second with 589,000 viewers and 1.65 million viewers overall, while Fox had 497,000 viewers in the coveted demo and 2.4 million viewers overall.
It was the first time in 17 years that Fox came in third for a full week. The last time was the week of June 9, 2000, when the network was still in its infancy.
Despite the setback, though, Fox News still ranked as the top basic cable network in Total Day audience for the 20th consecutive week, according to Adweek. It also finished second in total primetime viewers across cable, behind TNT, which was airing the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference finals.
MSNBC, which placed first during primetime among 25-54 year-olds last week, actually ranked behind Fox News if Saturday and Sunday ‒ when the liberal-leaning network aired reruns ‒ were taken into account. All three cable news channels ‒ CNN, Fox News and MSNBC ‒ were among basic cable’s top 5 networks for the entire week.
Duterte declares state of emergency as ISIS militants BEHEAD police chief
and take Catholic priest hostage alongside worshippers in the Philippines,
hours after martial law is brought in
A Filipino Archbishop today warned the group threatened
to kill the abducteesBy Jay Akbar For Mailonline
Islamist gunmen who took a Catholic priest and churchgoers hostage in the Philippines have beheaded the city's local police chief, President Rodrigo Duterte has said.
Members of the ISIS-inspired Maute Islamist group stormed the Cathedral of Our Lady Help, in Marawi city on Mindanao island, and abducted church staff including Father Chito Suganob and worshipers.
'They have threatened to kill the hostages if the government forces unleashed against them are not recalled,' Filipino Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a statement.
President Duterte, who declared martial law in parts of Mindanao after militants clashed with soldiers in Marawi yesterday, says he may extend it to other parts of the country if extremists seek sanctuary elsewhere.
Duterte (pictured) declared martial law across the southern region of Mindanao last night after Islamist militants rampaged through the city of Marawi
'We are in state of emergency,' he told reporters in Manila after a state visit to Moscow, adding he would deal with militants 'harshly'.
'At the time of his capture, Father Chito was in the performance of his ministry as a priest,' Archbishop Villegas said.
'He was not a combatant. He was not bearing arms. He was a threat to none. His capture and that of his companions violates every norm of civilised conflict.'
But Marawi Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra has refused to confirm reports the terror group took hostages and insisted that the local government has the situation under control.
In a telephone interview with national broadcaster ANC, Gandamra said he was working with the military to bring peace and order to the city.
Police and military spokesmen were not immediately available to comment on Villegas's report of the hostage taking.
Filipino Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the extremists have threatened to kill the hostages if the government forces unleashed against them are not recalled
Archbishop Villegas went on to say the extremists took an undisclosed number of hostages to a secret location and the abductees have not been heard from since
The fighting in Marawi erupted yesterday when security forces raided a house they believed Isnilon Hapilon, leader of the infamous Abu Sayyaf kidnap gang
WHAT HAPPENS UNDER MARTIAL LAW?
Martial law allows the president to 'call out the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion', according to the constitution.
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said security forces would be able to arrest suspected militants and hold them for three days without charge.
During the nine years of martial law under former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, police and troops tortured, abducted and killed thousands of people who were critical of the dictatorship, according to rights groups and historians.
Duterte said his version of martial law would be 'harsh' and similar to that under Marcos.
The fighting in Marawi erupted yesterday when security forces raided a house they believed Isnilon Hapilon, leader of the infamous Abu Sayyaf kidnap gang and Philippine head of ISIS, was hiding.
The United States regards Hapilon as one of the world's most dangerous terrorists, offering a bounty of $5 million for his capture.
More than 100 gunmen responded to the raid by burning buildings and conducting other diversionary tactics, according to Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Security analysts say Hapilon has been trying to unite Filipino militant groups that have professed allegiance to IS.
These include the Maute group, named after two brothers who lead it and which is based near Marawi.
Duterte had repeatedly said the growing influence of Islamic State was one of the nation's top security concerns, and martial law was necessary to stop it.
However Islamist militancy is not new to the southern Philippines, where a decades-long Muslim separatist insurgency claimed more than 120,000 lives.
Muslim rebels orchestrated a siege in the southern city of Zamboanga in 2013 that left more than 200 people dead.
Soldiers at checkpoints as martial law declared in Mindanao
ISIS KILLS FIVE IN FIRST SUICIDE ATTACK IN SOMALIA
ISIS has claimed responsibility for its first ever suicide attack in the troubled African nation of Somalia.
Police said five people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a checkpoint in the north-eastern port city of Bosaso, in Puntland, today.
Witnesses told of how the blast occurred near a hotel often used as a meeting place for local officials.
'I think the bomber was trying to target the hotel but he was stopped at the checkpoint close to the hotel and he decided to detonate his explosives,' said witness Awke Mohamed.
Puntland, which set up its own government in 1998, often comes under attack from Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab militants.
It is also home to a breakaway group of fighters who have declared allegiance to ISIS - but failed to gather much support.
Martial law allows the president to 'call out the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion', according to the Filipino constitution.
But the government of then-president Benigno Aquino did not declare martial law.
Aquino also said he had considered imposing martial law just before standing down last year in Sulu, island strongholds of the Abu Sayyaf in the far south of Mindanao.
But Aquino said he decided against it partly because military rule could spark resentment among local people.