David Riley, head of global sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings, said the situation in Europe had become ‘systemic’.
‘The eurozone crisis keeps on getting worse,’ he said on Jeff Randall Live.
‘It’s now become a systemic crisis – not just in terms of spreading the contagion to Italy, which is deeply worrying – but it’s now become a systemic banking crisis.’
His comments follow Fitch’s downgrade of both Spanish and Italian government debt on Friday.
But Mr Riley stressed there was ‘broad recognition’ of what needs to be done to help the region.
He said the solution includes dealing with Greece’s debt, putting more money into banks and supporting weaker countries like Spain and Italy, which he described as ‘solvent but potentially illiquid’.
But when pressed by Randall on whether Germany would bankroll these measures, he admitted this was a problem.” Read more.
Slovakia votes down eurozone bailout expansion plans – “Slovakia’s parliament has voted against measures to bolster the powers of the eurozone bailout fund, seen as vital in combating the bloc’s debt crisis. The governing coalition had linked the vote to a confidence motion and as a result has effectively been toppled. Slovakia is the last of the eurozone’s 17 members to vote on expanding the European Financial Stability Facility.” Read more.
Saudi Arabia: Colombian Soccer Player Arrested by ‘Moral Police’ After Walking Through Mall Wearing a Sleeveless Shirt Revealing Tattoo of Jesus
1 Corinthians 1:18, “… the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
“A soccer player from Colombia reportedly was detained in Saudi Arabia for walking through a mall wearing a sleeveless shirt that revealed his religious tattoos, including one of Jesus.
Juan Pablo Pino, 24, a member of Saudi Arabia’s Al Nasr soccer club, was taken into custody in Riyadh on Friday by Saudi moral police after mall customers complained about the tattoos. Pino was visiting the mall with his pregnant wife, the Catholic News Agency reports.
Nayimi Sheik Mohammed, a Saudi cleric, told Colombia Reports that the country respects Shariah law and that tattoos must be covered at all times.
Pino later apologized for his actions and was released from custody after a team delegate discussed the matter with police.
Last year, Romanian soccer player Mirel Radoi of the Al Hilal team drew criticism when he kissed the tattoo of a cross he has on his arm after scoring a goal, the Catholic News Agency reports.” Read more.
Flashback: Saudi Arabia May Ban Letter ‘X’ Because of Similarity to a Christian Cross – “A group of Islamic clergy in Saudi Arabia has condemned the letter ‘X’ because of its similarity to a hated banned symbol – the cross. The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which has the ultimate say in all legal, civil and governance matters in the kingdom, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against the ‘X.’ It came in response to a Ministry of Trade query about whether a Saudi businessman could be granted trademark protection for a new service with the English name ‘Explorer.'” Read more.
The outbreak is ‘one of the worst ever’ in the region, according to the UN children’s fund (UNICEF). Chad, Cameroon and parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo are hardest hit, and nearly a dozen additional nations are also affected.
However, the epidemic is being contained in coastal countries along the Atlantic Ocean, including Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana, UNICEF said.
Aid group Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) has stepped up a campaign in several of the countries affected to encourage prevention measures, including proper hand-washing.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection which causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting, leading to dehydration.” Read more.
The Forgotten Christians of the East – What Do Western Churches Think They Are Achieving by Turning a Blind Eye to Christian Persecution in the Muslim World?
By CAROLINE B. GLICK – “On Sunday night, Egyptian Copts staged what was supposed to be a peaceful vigil at Egypt’s state television headquarters in Cairo. The 1,000 Christians represented the ancient Christian community of some 8 million whose presence in Egypt predates the establishment of Islam by several centuries. They gathered in Cairo to protest the recent burning of two churches by Islamic mobs and the rapid escalation of state-supported violent attacks on Christians by Muslim groups since the overthrow of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February.
According to Coptic sources, the protesters Sunday night were beset by Islamic attackers who were rapidly backed up by military forces. Between 19 and 40 Copts were killed by soldiers and Muslim attackers. They were run over by military vehicles, beaten, shot and dragged through the streets of Cairo.
State television Sunday night reported only that three soldiers had been killed. According to al-Ahram Online, the military attacked the studios of al-Hurra television on Sunday night to block its broadcast of information on the military assault on the Copts.
Apparently the attempt to control information about what happened worked. Monday’s news reports about the violence gave little indication of the identity of the dead or wounded. They certainly left untold the story of what actually happened in Cairo on Sunday night.
In a not unrelated event, Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai caused a storm two weeks ago. During an official visit to Paris, Rai warned French President Nicolas Sarkozy that the fall of the Assad regime in Syria could be a disaster for Christians in Syria and throughout the region. Today the Western-backed Syrian opposition is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Rai cautioned that the overthrow of President Bashar Assad could lead to civil war and the establishment of an Islamic regime.
In Iraq, the Iranian and Syrian-sponsored insurgency that followed the US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime in 2003 fomented a bloody jihad against Iraq’s Christian population. This month marks the anniversary of last year’s massacre of 58 Christian worshippers in a Catholic church in Baghdad. A decade ago there were 800,000 Christians in Iraq. Today there are 150,000.
Under the Shah of Iran, Iran’s Christians were more or less free to practice their religion.
Today, they are subject to the whims of Islamic overlords who know no law other than Islamic supremacism.” Read more.
Not a Single Christian Church Left in Afghanistan – “There is not a single, public Christian church left in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department. This reflects the state of religious freedom in that country ten years after the United States first invaded it and overthrew its Islamist Taliban regime. In the intervening decade, U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion to support Afghanistan’s new government and more than 1,700 U.S. military personnel have died serving in that country. The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the State Department’s latest International Religious Freedom Report. The report, which was released last month and covers the period of July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, also states that ‘there were no Christian schools in the country.’” Read more.
“Israeli officials have reportedly warned Syrian dictator Bashar Assad that if he uses the downfall of his regime as an excuse to launch missiles at Tel Aviv, Israel will respond with a massive assault against Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.
Unnamed Israeli government sources told News First Class that the threat was relayed to Assad via European intelligence agencies.
The Israeli counter-threat came just days after Iran’s Fars news agency quoted Assad telling Turkey’s foreign minister that he would launch hundreds of ballistic missiles at Tel Aviv if the West interferes in his violent crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in Syria.
‘If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than six hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv,’ Assad reportedly said.
Israel’s threat included Lebanon and Gaza because Assad is said to have boasted that his own missile barrage on Tel Aviv would be complemented by Hizballah and Hamas attacks on Israel.
Were that scenario to play out, Assad is also reportedly confident that Iran would launch an attack on US warships in the Persian Gulf.” Read more.
Top Syrian Cleric Warns West: If You Attack Syria We Will ‘Prepare Suicide Bombers Who Are Already In Your Countries’
Voice of America – “Syria’s top Sunni Muslim cleric has warned Western countries against military intervention, threatening to retaliate with suicide bombings in the United States and Europe if his country comes under attack.
Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun gave a speech and told the U.S. and Europe that ‘we will prepare suicide bombers who are already in your countries if you bomb Syria or Lebanon.’
The state-appointed cleric and loyalist of Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad spoke to a delegation of Lebanese women who came to offer their condolences for his son’s death earlier this month at the hands of unknown gunmen.
Hassoun’s comments follow another warning by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, who threatened ‘tough measures’ against any country that recognizes the newly formed opposition Syrian National Council. Moallem called the group ‘illegitimate.'” Read more.
State media reported that the high court sent the case back to lower court because of concerns about the initial investigation.
Youcef Nadarkhani, a 32-year-old pastor, was arrested in October 2009 and later sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.
His attorney, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, and religious rights organizations say Nadarkhani is facing possible execution for apostasy and for refusing to renounce his religion, contradicting reports by Iran state media that have indicated Nadarkhani was found guilty of rape, extortion and security-related crimes.
The case reportedly had been referred to Iran’s supreme leader, a move some say shows the Islamic republic is feeling pressure in the face of growing international support.
Dadkhah told AFP on Monday that an Iranian court has decided to seek the opinion of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — the Islamic republic’s spiritual leader and highest authority.
Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, a Washington-based organization that is monitoring Nadarkhani’s case, told FoxNews.com that the move was unusual and is part of the ‘secretive process’ within the Iranian judicial system.” Read more.
US: Authorities Tie Iran to Planned Bombing of Israeli and Saudi Arabian Embassies in Washington, Assassination of Saudi Ambassador to US
Don’t worry, President Obama will get tough and blame Bush …
“Authorities foiled an alleged plot that was directed by factions of the Iranian government to bomb the Israeli and Saudi Arabian embassies in Washington and a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday at a press conference.
The criminal complaint, which unsealed in federal court in New York City Tuesday, identified the two alleged plotters as Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri, both with ties to Iran, Reuters reported. Arbabsiar has been jailed in New York since September and Shakuri remains at large.
The complaint alleges that Iran helped conceive, sponsor and direct the plot. Holder called the alleged plot was a “flagrant violation of US and international law” and the U.S. will hold Iran accountable.
According to the complaint, last Spring, Arbabsiar met with an informant from the DEA agent in Mexico posing as a member of a powerful cartel. Eventually Arbabsiar allegedly offered money to the informant to assassinate the ambassador for $1.5 million. Arbabsiar allegedly wired $100,000 into a U.S. bank account. Arbabsiar allegedly confessed to his participation in the alleged plot.
Shakuri, a member of Iran’s Qods Force, a special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, allegedly approved the money transfer.
FBI Director Robert Mueller says many lives could have been lost in the plot to kill the ambassador with bombs in the U.S.” Read more.
Now many fear that the power vacuum left after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak is giving Muslim extremists free rein to torch churches and attack Coptic homes in the worst violence against the community in decades.
An assault Sunday night on Christians protesting over a church attack set off riots that drew in Muslims, Christians and the police. Among the 26 people left killed in the melee, most were Copts. For Coptic scholar Wassem el-Sissi, it was evidence that the Christian community in Egypt is vulnerable as never before.
‘In the absence of law, you can understand how demolishing a church goes unpunished,’ he said. ‘I have not heard of anyone who got arrested or prosecuted.’
Once a majority in Egypt, Copts now make up about 10 percent of the country’s 85 million people. They are the largest Christian community in the Middle East. Their history dates back 19 centuries and the language used in their liturgy can be traced to the speech of Egypt’s pharaohs. Proud of their history and faith, many Copts are identifiable by tattoos of crosses or Jesus Christ on their right wrists, and Coptic women do not wear the veil as the vast majority of Muslim women in Egypt do.
Under Mubarak, the problems of Copts festered even if they faced less violence than they do now. Their demands for a law to regulate construction of churches went unanswered and attacks on churches went unpunished…
But shortly after Mubarak’s ouster, a series of assaults on Christians brought home a stark reality: The fading of authoritarian rule empowered Islamist fundamentalists, known here as Salafis, who have special resentment for Christians.” Read more.
This reflects the state of religious freedom in that country ten years after the United States first invaded it and overthrew its Islamist Taliban regime.
In the intervening decade, U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion to support Afghanistan’s new government and more than 1,700 U.S. military personnel have died serving in that country.
The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the State Department’s latest International Religious Freedom Report. The report, which was released last month and covers the period of July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, also states that ‘there were no Christian schools in the country.’
‘There is no longer a public Christian church; the courts have not upheld the church’s claim to its 99-year lease, and the landowner destroyed the building in March ,’ reads the State Department report on religious freedom. ‘[Private] chapels and churches for the international community of various faiths are located on several military bases, PRTs [Provincial Reconstruction Teams], and at the Italian embassy. Some citizens who converted to Christianity as refugees have returned.’
In recent times, freedom of religion has declined in Afghanistan, according to the State Department.
‘The government’s level of respect for religious freedom in law and in practice declined during the reporting period, particularly for Christian groups and individuals,’ reads the State Department report.
‘Negative societal opinions and suspicion of Christian activities led to targeting of Christian groups and individuals, including Muslim converts to Christianity,’ said the report. ‘The lack of government responsiveness and protection for these groups and individuals contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom.’
Most Christians in the country refuse to ‘state their beliefs or gather openly to worship,’ said the State Department.” Read more.