July 28th, 2014
Written by Alex Newman
The United Nations is facing tough criticism and allegations of major misconduct after caches of rockets were found hidden at a UN-run school in Gaza before reportedly being handed to terrorists, sparking a global scandal that threatens to further undermine the credibility of the dictator-dominated world body.
Making matters even worse, after being found, the U.S. taxpayer-funded UN “Relief and Works Agency” (UNRWA) handed the deadly rockets over to Hamas, the terrorist group that runs Gaza with an iron fist and hides behind Arab civilians while firing thousands of rockets into Israel. Now the global outfit is complaining that its “schools” were hit by Israeli forces.
The first batch of deadly weapons were uncovered at the UNRWA-run Gaza “school” last week. Another, separate cache of rockets was found at a UN school on Tuesday of this week, too. In a statement, the UN agency claimed they were found “in the course of the regular inspection of its premises.” Instead of handing the rockets over to Israeli authorities, however, the outfit admittedly handed them to Hamas for “disposal,” according to news reports. Critics promptly cried foul, noting that Hamas would almost certainly launch the weapons at Israel. Thousands of rockets have already been fired at civilian targets in Israel amid the latest round of fighting.
Israeli authorities were outraged at the news. “UNRWA schools were established to educate children in Gaza, but instead they are providing a hiding place for rockets meant to kill children in Israel,” fumed Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, saying Israel was “troubled” by the developments. He also called the UNRWA’s decision to hand the rockets to Hamas “unacceptable,” while lambasting efforts of dictatorial UN member regimes to pass anti-Israel resolutions amid the conflict in Gaza....
July 27th, 2014
USA Today/David Jackson
CR KIM NOTES: Yeah, this is where most Americans first became aware of Barack Obama. I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine at the time--after hearing from MY PARENTS (staunch Conservatives) that they were IMPRESSED by Obama. I asked my friend, "Do you think he has a chance?" My friend replied, "Nooo...Obama, Osama...too similar." He was being flippant. But he was closer to the truth than I ever imagined at the time. And I know my parents, if they remember the conversation...are >_<
Hard to believe, but it's been ten years -- ten eventful years -- since millions of Americans met an Illinois state legislator named Barack Obama.
On the night of July 27, 2004, state senator Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, a speech that would help propel him to the presidency four years later.
"I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story," Obama said in Boston that night. "That I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible."
That convention nominated Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who had selected Obama for the keynote speech. Today, Kerry is secretary of state for President Obama.
As Kerry lost the 2004 presidential election to George W. Bush, Obama was winning a U.S. Senate seat in Illinois.
Obama's 2004 speech included items he would echo in his own presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. It is probably best remembered for his rejection of the idea that there are separate "red state" and "blue state" Americas:
"Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
"Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America.
"There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America.
"The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.
"We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states.
"There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.
"We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America."
July 27th, 2014
"The Mississippi River produced a massive radar echo as mayflies emerged from the water and became airborne. The mayflies were detectable on radar
"It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust."
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This past weekend in La Crosse, Wisconsin, saw almost every available space being covered with disgusting black mayflies.
The massive swarm of mayflies, an "emergence" of them, was partially expected by meteorologists. Mayfly nymphs spend a year or two in the Mississippi River, munching on organic decay. When summer arrives, they take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.
Live Catholic, Shop Catholic -- by going here --
Just how many mayflies are there? Enough that they show up on weather radar:
"The Mississippi River produced a massive radar echo as mayflies emerged from the water and became airborne. The mayflies were detectable on radar around 8:45 p.m. -- The radar loop below shows the reflected radar energy (reflectivity) from 8:35 pm to just after midnight. The higher the values indicate greater concentrations of flies."
The recent emergence was so large people were comparing it to the last Biblical-style, the one in 2012.
July 27th, 2014
By Didi Tang
WUXI VILLAGE, China (AP) — The battle started when a government-hired crew tore down the metal cross atop the one-room church in this village surrounded by rice paddies last month.
The next day, a church member used his own welding torch to put it back. He was promptly detained and questioned for 10 hours on the charge of operating a welding business without a license.
A week later, the crew came back to remove the cross. Once again, church members put it back up, now tattered and a little shorter.
The church in the eastern village of Wuxi, about 480 kilometers (300 miles) south of Shanghai, has had its water and electricity cut off. Officials have attempted to install surveillance cameras and inquired about several church members' work and their children's schooling — a veiled threat that jobs and education might be at risk. But the congregation is not giving up.
"I won't let them take down the cross even if it means they would shoot me dead," said Fan Liang'an, 73, whose grandfather helped build the church in 1924.
Across Zhejiang province, which hugs China's rocky southeastern coast, authorities have toppled — or threatened to topple — crosses at more than 130 churches. In a few cases, the government has even razed sanctuaries.
Authorities say the churches in question had violated building codes, even though they generally won't specify which ones. They also deny that they are specifically targeting churches, and point to the demolition of other tens of thousands of other buildings, religious and non-religious, that have apparently broken regulations.
But experts and church leaders in Zhejiang, the only province where the incidents are happening, believe there is a campaign to repress Christianity, which has grown so rapidly as to alarm the atheist Communist government.
A Threat to State
It comes at a time when Beijing has been tightening ideological controls, placing more restrictions on journalists, rights lawyers — many of whom are Christians — and political activists since President Xi Jinping took office in early 2013.
The incidents speak to the power of symbols, and the emotions they evoke.
"The cross is the glory of us Christians," said Cai Tingxu, who left his cosmetics shop in Shanghai to protect his hometown church in rural Zhejiang after hearing authorities warned they would tear down the cross. "Jesus was nailed to the cross for us. My heart ached to learn that the government wants to remove the cross."
Estimates on the numbers of Christians in China vary widely because the government does not count religious affiliation. Official 2010 figures put them at 23 million. These are registered members of the state-sanctioned churches, which are closely monitored by the government.
But China also has vast numbers of underground believers who meet in secret. The Pew Research Center estimated there were 58 million Protestants in China in 2011, along with 9 million Catholics in the year before. Other experts say there could be more than 100 million.
These estimates are up from the widely accepted figure of 1 million Christians in 1950, and may even rival the size of the 85 million-member Communist Party.
Threat to Government?
The church's dramatic growth — and Christians' loyalty to God above all else — has alarmed authorities, said Yang Fenggang, a Purdue University sociologist and leading expert on religious matters in China.
Although Chinese Christians are generally apolitical, their weekly gatherings and mutual support could prove dangerous if the movement adopts political objectives, he said. The church is "resilient in resisting government pressures and persecutions."
A possible reason Zhejiang province has come under scrutiny is that it is home to Wenzhou, a city of 8 million that has so many churches dotting its streets and hillsides that it is called "China's Jerusalem."
More than a tenth of Wenzhou's residents are Protestant Christians — some fourth-generation believers — the highest proportion of any major Chinese city, according to Cao Nanlai, an anthropologist who has studied and written a book about Christianity in Wenzhou. The high percentage is largely due to early missionary efforts and the city's relative isolation, nestled between the sea and mountains. Half the province's 4,000 churches are located here.
The city is known for its entrepreneurial vigor, and has tens of thousands of family-run workshops making shoes, toys, furniture and other products. The believers here appear to have applied that same eagerness to starting new churches, Cao said.
City officials even encouraged churches to build big as a way to draw attention and investment from Chinese Christians abroad, and some churches appeared to compete to build the largest sanctuaries and tallest crosses — including one that stands 63 meters (200 feet) tall.
Cult of Climate Change
But late last year, authorities began asking churches not to light up their crosses at night. The reason given was to help reduce carbon emissions, pastors and church members in the city say. The orders appeared to be coming from the provincial government, but were carried out by city officials.
Then in April, the local government in Yongjia county suddenly demanded that an unapproved portion of a large church be torn down — even though officials had tacitly allowed the church to build five times the approved square footage. Decades of unbridled development and onerous red tape has made it the norm to build before obtaining pages of approval stamps from myriad government agencies.
Despite protests from the congregation and supporters, demolition crews tore down the entire structure, and the hillside where it was located is now covered in tree saplings.
Since then, rooftop crosses at many churches along major roads in and around Wenzhou have been removed, and vaguely-worded notices against unspecified illegal structures have been delivered to churches in outlying areas. Cao, the scholar on Christianity, said the cross removals and demolitions reflected the occasional flexing of political muscle by authorities to show who's in control.