Monday, September 1, 2014

Ukraine Gives Up Key Airport to Russian Forces; Warns of Ks of Deaths in Worst War Since WW II

Ukrainian forces ceded a strategic eastern airport to pro-Russian insurgents today (September 1, 2014), as the government of Kiev accused Moscow of launching a "great war" that could claim tens of thousands of lives, the AFP (Agence-France Presse) website reports.

Ukraine's Defense Minister Valeriy Geletey vowed today to "immediately mount defenses against Russia, which is trying not only to secure positions held by terrorists before but to advance on other territories of Ukraine."

"A great war arrived at our doorstep, the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War II," he wrote on Facebook, warning of "tens of thousands of deaths."

Kiev said its forces south of the rebel hub of Lugansk were forced to retreat from the local airfield and a nearby village after withstanding Russian artillery fire and battling a Russian tank battalion. Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said, "There is direct, overt aggression against Ukraine from the neighboring state."

Girls Nabbed for Plan to Bomb French Synagogue; Muslim Teens Plotted Suicide Blast of Lyon Bldg.

French authorities have arrested and indicted two Muslim girls -- ages 15 and 17 -- for plotting a suicide bombing in the Great Synagogue of Lyon, the Jewish Press website reports today (September 1, 2014).

The girls contacted each other through social media and are among 60 people under investigation in France for association with radical Islamists -- especially the Islamic State (IS) -- where thousands of Europeans have joined the terrorist group.

The suicide plot in Lyon is part of the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe, where four people were killed earlier this year in an attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels. At least nine French synagogues have come under attack since Israel retaliated against Hamas rocket fire last month.

"Jews in France or Belgium are being killed because they are Jews," Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions told Newsweek. "Jihadism has become the new Nazism. This makes people consider leaving France."

Saturday, August 30, 2014

3M Syrian Refugees Register in Foreign Nations; Another 6.5M Displaced in Syria Due to Civil War

Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of today (August 30, 2014) -- an exodus that began with Syria's civil war in March 2011 and shows no sign of abating -- the United Nations said, according to the News Daily website.

The record figure is one million refugees more than a year ago, while a further 6.5 million are displaced within Syria, meaning that "almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives," it said.

"The Syrian crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them," Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement.

The vast majority remain in neighboring countries, with the highest concentrations in Lebanon (1.14 million), Turkey (815,000), and Jordan (608,000), the UNHCR said. Some 215,000 refugees are in Iraq with the rest in Egypt and other nations.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Body of US Yeshiva Student Found in Jerusalem; Police to Determine If He Fell or Was Murdered

Police in Israel said today (August 29, 2014) that a body found yesterday is that of missing American yeshiva student Aaron Sofer, according to the Euro News website.

A formal identification will take place following the discovery near a forest in Jerusalem.

The 23-year-old from Lakewood, New Jersey disappeared a week ago after going hiking with a friend. The two became separated and Sofer never emerged from the forest.

"What we have confirmed is that the body that was found was of the missing student. Obviously, there's an investigation taking place at this moment in time to see what the background of the incident was. If the student fell and went missing or if it's a murder case," said Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.

Putin to West: Don't Mess with a Nuclear Russia; Claims Taking Over Crimea Saved It from Rioting

President Vladimir Putin said today (August 29, 2014) Russia's armed forces -- backed by its nuclear arsenal -- were ready to meet any aggression, declaring at a pro-Kremlin youth camp that foreign states should understand: "It's best not to mess with us," the Reuters website reports.

Putin told the assembly on the banks of a lake near Moscow that the Russian takeover of Crimea was essential to save a largely Russian-speaking population from Ukrainian government violence.

Ukraine and Western governments accuse Russia of sending troops and armor into Ukraine to back the separatists in a conflict that has already killed over 2,000 people. Russia denies the charge.

"Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts," he said at the camp on the banks of Lake Seliger. "We don't want that and don't plan on it. But naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia."

Boko Haram Says Part of Nigeria an Islamic State; Controls Three Towns,Continues to Gain Territory

Boko Haram militants claim that they are turning Nigeria into an Islamic caliphate. The Muslim extremist organization is in control of three Nigerian towns, and continues to gain power and influence in the region, the Christian Headlines website reports today (August 29, 2014).

In video, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is seen announcing, "Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate... By the grace of Allah we will not leave the town. We have come to stay."

The militants conquered Gwoza on August 6, destroying homes and killing many residents. Some survivors fled to surrounding mountains, as well as bordering nation Cameroon.

Officials fear that Boko Haram is working with Islamic State terrorists, who have taken control of large regions of Syria and Iraq, and have given Christians in their seized land one of three choices: Convert to Islam, pay a non-Islam tax, or be killed.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Orth. Jews Forced to Leave Guatemalan Village; Threatened with Lynching If They Didn't Leave

A community of 230 Orthodox Jews from several countries today (August 28, 2014)  began leaving the Guatemalan Indian village where they have lived for six years after claims and counterclaims of discrimination and threats, the AFP (Agence-France Presse) website reports.

The exit from San Juan La Laguna -- located on the banks of Lake Atitlan and 125 miles from the capital Guatemala City -- follows a meeting yesterday in which Jewish and indigenous representatives failed to reach an agreement.

"We are a people of peace and in order to avoid an incident we've already begun to leave the village," Misael Santos, a representative from the Jewish community, told AFP.

They had received threats, Santos said. "We have a right to be there, but they threatened us with lynching if we don't leave the village," he added.