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Archive for 01/05/2012

Egypt: The Outlook for Christians is Grim

01/05/2012 Leave a comment

BY JOHN SAINSBURY – “Egypt’s Coptic Christians are carrying a heavy burden this Christmas, which they observe on Jan. 7. What should be a joyous occasion also follows closely on the first anniversary of a church bombing in Alexandria, which killed 23 people and left close to a hundred injured. Bloody confrontations between Copts and Muslims followed, even as Muslim leaders, including the Muslim Brotherhood, denounced the bombing and appealed for calm.

The perpetrators of the bombing have never been identified, compounding Coptic anxieties. The Mubarak government was quick to blame ‘foreign elements,’ specifically a shadowy Palestinian-based organization called the Army of Islam.

But no group has taken responsibility for the attack, and the official investigation was so badly bungled that conspiracy theories quickly acquired currency. Accusing fingers point to the Mubarak regime itself, then on its last legs, as the perpetrator. Its alleged motive was to sow discord between Muslims and Christians and then step in as the only force capable of restoring peace.

In the bewildering climate of rumour and counter-rumour, the one sure thing is that sectarian violence at Christmas has become depressingly routine. On Jan. 7, 2010 (Christmas Day in the Coptic calendar), gunmen murdered eight Christians in Nag Hammadi as they were leaving midnight mass. This year tension is high in the province of Asyut after a Coptic student allegedly posted pictures of the Prophet Mohamed on Facebook, an act of blasphemy in Muslim eyes. An angry mob threatened to lynch the student and, reportedly, some Coptic homes have been burned down.” Read more.

Egyptian Bishop Warns of Another Massacre in Nag Hammadi – “Bishop Kyrillos, the Coptic Orthodox bishop of Nag Hammadi, received last week several threats of attacks to be carried out on churches in Nag Hammadi, either on New Year’s Eve or Christmas Eve on January 6. ‘I do not want another Nag Hammadi Massacre to happen again,’ he said in an interview on the Egyptian independent TV Channel Al Tahrir… The Nag Hammadi diocese will cancel all festivities for New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve, and will end the midnight service early and not after midnight as is the norm.” Read more.

Flashback: Massacre of Christians in Nag Hammadi, Egypt (Video)

Mauritania: Islamist Group Declares War on France for Being ‘Hostile’ to Islam, ‘Jihad Will Be Exported Everywhere’

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AFP – “Bamako – The Mauritanian Hamada Ould Mohamed Kheirou, presumed leader of an armed Islamist group active in west Africa, has again threatened France with war in a video seen Tuesday by an AFP journalist.

‘We again declare war on France, which is hostile to the interests of Islam,’ Kheirou said in Arabic, wearing dark glasses and with his head wrapped in a turban. ‘The jihad [holy war] will be exported everywhere it is necessary and for God, we must be ready for anything.’

The video also showed images of three Westerners – a Spanish man and woman and an Italian woman – who were kidnapped late in October in a camp for Sahrawi refugees near Tindouf in southern Algeria.

That kidnapping was claimed by Kheirou’s Movement for Unity and Justice in West Africa, which then emerged as a breakaway group from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which originated in Algeria and now has bases in northern Mali.

The last part of the video was concerned with the ideology of the group and its ambitions, particularly ‘to impose shari’ah [Islamic law] across the whole of west Africa.’ Young black fighters were shown calling for ‘pure and tough’ Islam.” Read more.

Nigeria: Suspected Islamist Gunmen Storm Church and Kill Six Christians After ‘Leave-In-Three-Days-Or-Die’ Ultimatum

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Here’s an update on this story

Beasts of the Earth (Rev 6:8)

Beasts of the Earth (Rev 6:8)

Agence France-Presse – “KANO, Nigeria – Gunmen stormed a church in northern Nigeria Thursday and killed six people as they were praying, the pastor said, as an ultimatum from Islamists for Christians in the region to leave expired.

‘It was around 7:30 pm (1830 GMT),’ John Jauro told AFP of the attack in the city of Gombe.

‘I was leading the congregation in prayers. Our eyes were closed when some gunmen stormed the church and opened fire on the congregation. Six people were killed in the attack and 10 others were wounded.’

He said there was confusion as worshippers sought to flee at the Deeper Life Christian Ministry Church.

‘The attackers started shooting sporadically. They shot through the window of the church, and many people were killed including my wife,’ Jauro told Reuters. ‘Many of my members who attended the church service were also injured.’

A police spokesman declined to comment until Friday, saying he was on his way to the church with the state police commissioner.

The attack comes after a purported spokesman for Islamist group Boko Haram on Sunday issued a three-day ultimatum for Christians living in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north to leave the region.

There was however no claim of responsibility for the attack.

The ultimatum came after President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday declared a state of emergency in parts of four states hit hard by violence blamed on Boko Haram, particulary Christmas bombings that killed 49 people.

Gombe is outside the areas affected by the state of emergency decree.

On Wednesday night, bomb blasts hit two northeastern cities that are included in the emergency declaration.

No casualties were reported after the bomb attacks in Maiduguri and Damaturu, claimed by the same purported spokesman for Boko Haram who issued the ultimatum to Christians.” Read more.

Earthquakes Prompt Record Insurance Claims in 2011

01/05/2012 Leave a comment

Luke 21:8-11, “He replied: ‘Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first … Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven …”

(Reuters) – “Insurance industry damage claims from natural disasters like the earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand reached a record $105 billion (67.3 billion pounds) in 2011, Munich Re (MUVGn.DE), the world’s biggest reinsurer, said on Wednesday.

The cost to insurers from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March, which caused nearly 16,000 deaths, was estimated at $35 billion to $40 billion, the company said in its annual review of the prior year’s natural disasters.

That equalled the insured cost of all the natural disasters to strike the United States during the year, it said.

An earthquake in New Zealand in February added a further $13 billion to insurers’ claims payout for the year, Munich Re said.

The earthquakes together made up about half of last year’s total insured losses from natural catastrophes, which topped the previous record of $101 billion set in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Munich Re compares losses in original dollars, and not adjusted for inflation.

‘Normally, it is the weather-related natural catastrophes that are the dominant loss drivers,’ Munich Re said.” Read more.

Categories: Earthquakes

Indonesia: Anti-Christian Incidents Nearly Double in 2011, Worst May Be Yet to Come

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Compass Direct News — “Acts of violence and intolerance against Christians in Indonesia almost doubled in 2011, with an Islamist campaign to close down churches symbolizing the plight of the religious minority.

The Indonesian Protestant Church Union, locally known as PGI, counted 54 acts of violence and other violations against Christians in 2011, up from 30 in 2010.

The number of such incidents against religious minorities in general also grew, from 198 in 2010 to 276 in 2011, but the worst is perhaps yet to come if authorities continue to overlook the threat of extremism, said a representative from the Jakarta-based Wahid Institute, a Muslim organization that promotes tolerance.

Rumadi, who goes by a single name, said his Wahid Institute also observed an attempt to institutionalize intolerance in this archipelago of about 238 million people, of whom about 88 percent Muslim. At least 36 regulations to ban religious practices deemed deviant from Islam were drafted or implemented in the country in 2011.

A Jakarta-based civil rights group, the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, noted that both the government and groups in society were responsible for the incidents, with the main violators including religious extremist organizations such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).

Indonesia’s hot-bed of extremism is West Java, the most populous province that includes the nation’s capital city of Jakarta. This province alone witnessed 160 incidents against religious minorities. In the 1950s, West Java was the base of an Islamist group, Darul Islam, whose splinter groups are still active, fighting the ‘secular’ government and religious minorities.” Read more.

Flashback: Massive Increase of Radical Islamism Spreads Throughout Indonesia, Including ‘Top-Quality’ Universities – “The suicide bombing of a church in Central Java on Sept. 25 pointed not only to a new level of attacks on religious minorities in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country but to a political bent that accommodates Islamist extremism. ‘Radicalization of Islamic teachings and understanding is a problem in Indonesia,’ admitted Dr. H. Nasaruddin Umar, director general of Islamic Community Guidance under the Ministry of Religious Affairs. ‘There’s a need to re-explain the concept of jihad.’ Pino Damayanto, aka Ahmad Yosepa Hayat, who blew himself up wounding over 20 members of the Sepenuh Injil Bethel Church (Bethel Full Gospel Church) in Solo on Sept. 25, apparently believed it was his religious duty to kill ‘the enemies of Islam,’ according to his understanding of ‘jihad.’” Read more.

Italy: Etna Volcano ‘Awakens’ Sending Column of Ash and Smoke Over 16,000 Feet High, Air Traffic Disrupted at Catania’s Airport

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“(WAPA) – The Etna volcano has greeted new year with an eruption of Strombolian type this morning that has provoked a 5,000 m smoke column high (at the moment) that constitutes potential danger at the arriving and departing activity of airplanes in Catania’s airport.

The task-force present on the air station has decided the limitation of air traffic until 2:00pm of today, when the unit will gather again.

At the moment in which we write the eruptive activity has finished, but remain problems linked to the volcanic ash cloud, whose move has continuously controlled.

“The limitations will not cause significant changes at the scheduled flights in consideration of the reduced number of aircraft movements planned daily for the interested period”, is read in a press-release issued by the airport’s management society.

The effusive activity of Strombolian kind is characterized from magma (from basaltic to intermediate) sticky in a medium manner, that provoke a permanent activity from emission at regular intervals of lava fountains and pieces that reach hundred of meters of high, and from the launch of lapillus and volcanic bombs.” Source – Avionews.

Categories: Natural Disasters

China: Hong Kong Finds H5N1 Virus in Dead Gulls

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By Wang Qingchu – “Two dead black-headed gulls found in Hong Kong were tested H5N1 positive, Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said.

The dead gulls, a migratory bird commonly seen in the special administrative region, were discovered in Tuen Mun and Lantau Island last Friday and on Monday. There is no poultry farm within 3 kilometers where the carcasses were found, Wen Wei Po reported today.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has alerted chicken farmers to take precautions against the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu.

Further tests are being conducted to confirm the results, the authority said.

Hong Kong raised its bird flu alert level to ‘serious’ on December 21 after the H5N1 virus was found in a dead chicken in a local poultry market. As a result, nearly 20,000 chickens in the market were destroyed and local farms were banned from sending chickens to the market for 21 days.

A man died in hospital last Saturday after being infected with the H5N1 virus in Shenzhen, a city bordering Hong Kong.” Source – People’s Daily Online.

Categories: Pestilence

Ohio Putting Earthquake Preparedness Plans In Place After Nearly a Dozen Earthquakes in 2011 Puzzles Officials

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“PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There were 11 earthquakes in eastern Ohio in 2011.

Most of them were not very powerful and caused little damage, but some people are asking about emergency plans if a major quake hits the area.

The new phenomenon of earthquakes in eastern Ohio is puzzling many people.

Some geologists say that discarded brine used while drilling for natural gas is being injected near fault lines. It acts as a lubricant, inducing the earthquakees.

Emergency management officials in and near Youngstown say they have a general plan that covers any and all emergencies.

‘Specific to that, earthquakes are so broad in category that we don’t have a one-on-one say do this, do this, do this. It falls under that emergency operations plan,’ said Clark Jones, of the Mahoning County EMA.

Jones says officials near Youngstown worked together to create a checklist for earthquake preparedness.

‘It gives a general outline of what to do prior to earthquakes to be prepared for them if you’re in an area that’s prone to earthquakes, which we seem to be all of a sudden,’ he said.

Officials say they have dealt with many different kinds of natural disasters, but never expected an earthquake like the one on New Year’s Eve. Their goal now is to better prepare in the future.” Read more.

Categories: Earthquakes

Iraq: Suspected Sunni Insurgents Targeting Shiites Kill at Least 72 in Baghdad and Karbala

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Yet another reminder of the division that exists within the kingdom of Islam. Under Barack Obama’s “leadership” America was wrong again and history will indeed judge this President’s leadership — in the word’s of John McCain — with “scorn and disdain”, and sooner rather than later.  Today’s attack is just one more step on Iraq’s road to Iran

BAGHDAD (AP) — “A wave of bombings targeting Shiites in Iraq killed 72 people on Thursday, deepening sectarian tensions that exploded just after the last American troops left the country in mid-December.

The coordinated attacks targeting Shiites bore the hallmarks of Sunni insurgents linked to al-Qaida, although there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The bombings began early in the morning when explosions struck two Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, killing at least 27 people. A few hours later, a suicide attack hit Shiite pilgrims heading to the holy Shiite city of Karbala, killing 45, said provincial official Quosay al-Abadi. The explosions took place near Nasiriyah, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad. Hospital officials confirmed the causalities.

The blasts occurred in the run-up to Arbaeen, a Shiite holy day which marks the end of 40 days of mourning that follow the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, a revered Shiite figure. During this time, Shiite pilgrims from across Iraq make their way to Karbala, south of Baghdad.

Baghdad military spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the aim of the attacks is ‘to create turmoil among the Iraqi people.’ He said it was too early to say who was behind the bombings.

The new violence will only exacerbate the country’s political crisis pitting politicians from the Shiite majority who dominate the government against the Sunni minority, which reigned supreme under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.” Read more.

Shia villagers forced out by Sunnis in Indonesia – “Several hundred Shia muslims in Indonesia have been forced to flee their village after Sunni muslims set fire to several buildings. A total of 351 Shia are now being sheltered in a sports stadium after their mosque, religious school and three houses at Nangkernang in eastern Java were burned by Sunni people on Saturday. Those responsible reportedly threatened to kill the Shia villagers because they believe it is a heretical form of islam. Ruby Khalifa, spokeswoman for AMAN, the Asian Muslim Action Network, says this incident is part of a disturbing trend towards greater religious intolerance in Indonesia.” Source – ABC Radio Australia.

Sweden: Wave of Violence and Shootings in Malmo Puzzles Swedish Police

01/05/2012 Leave a comment

Is what is happening now in Malmo, Sweden somehow related to this?  Nothing at this time suggests that it is, but we can’t ignore the fact that where there are large populations of Muslims, there is often a higher rate of rapes and other violent crimes.  No matter what the cause is, it needs to end …

By LOUISE NORDSTROM – “STOCKHOLM (AP) — A new wave of execution-style shootings in Sweden’s third largest city has left police puzzled, raising concerns that Malmo has become a magnet for gang-related killings.

On Thursday dozens of police took to the streets in the southern Swedish city of 250,000 to try calm the public and to collect tips about the attacks, which come only a year after a suspected serial shooter was arrested there.

‘We’ve never experienced anything like this before. It’s exceptional that there have been so many murders in such a short period of time,’ police spokesman Lars-Hakan Lindholm said. ‘People are worried of course and want to talk about it.’

In less than six weeks, five people have been shot dead in execution-style killings, prompting local police to ask for back-up from national investigators and for Malmo Mayor Ilmar Reepalu to call on the country’s justice minister to implement tougher gun laws.

Sweden’s gun control laws are fairly strict. Penalties for possessing illegal arms typically involve fines or up to one year in prison, but serious breaches of the law can result in a four-year sentence.

Lindholm said that due to the fast escalating death-toll police presence has now been bumped up by about 30 extra officers in the city on weekdays and by around 40 on the weekends. Malmo is an eclectic city, where about 40 percent of its residents are first- or second-generation immigrants.

The latest murder occurred on Tuesday, when a man in his late 40’s was shot dead in broad daylight on an open street near his Malmo home.

Two days earlier, a 15-year-old boy was killed in the midst of the Malmo New Year celebrations.

‘They’re almost like executions,’ Lindholm said of the killings, but noted that there are still no suspects in the slayings and police remain baffled to what the motives might be.” Read more.

Flashback: Losing Malmo: Sweden Surrenders Their Third Largest City … to Muslims – “Do you remember the jihadist terror campaign that ravaged Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city? Do you recall the bombings, the suicide-hijackings, and the random assassinations that finally coerced the city to surrender to Islamization? No? Funny, I don’t remember them either. Yet there is no question that Malmo has surrendered. Large enclaves of the city, like similar enclaves throughout Western Europe, have earned the dread label ‘no-go zone.’ They are unsafe for non-Muslims, particularly women who do not conform to Islamist conventions of dress and social interaction. They are especially perilous for police, firefighters, and emergency-medical technicians. Why would a community discourage the so-called first-responders? After all, the top priority of law-enforcement officers is to assist crime victims. In an Islamic enclave, a high percentage of these will be Muslims.” Read more.

Flashback: Muslim Violence in Europe Increases Sharply: Is It Crime or Jihad? – “The alarming increase in Muslim violence against indigenous Europeans the last several months has been virtually ignored by the American media. Is this due to respect for ‘peaceful’ Muslims, fear of the violent ones, or political correctness? I suspect it’s ‘all of the above.’ While the scant reporting that has occurred has mostly labeled the violence as ‘crime’ committed by Muslim ‘youths’ for ‘economic reasons,’ the facts suggest otherwise: When Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran from exile, he urged Muslims to move to Europe to claim it for Islam. They have moved there by the millions with precisely that intent.” Read more.

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