Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Clinton Woos Kosovo Serbs at Orthodox Church; Urges Serbs to Stay in Kosovo for a Better Future

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- speaking at a Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo today (October 31, 2012) -- urged ethnic Serbs who have left the country to return and help shape the life of Europe's youngest nation, according to the Christian Post website.

"The United States is firmly committed to Kosovo's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to seeing the rule of law extends throughout Kosovo," Clinton said. "We oppose any discussion of territory changes or reopening Kosovo's independent status. These matters are not up for discussion," she added.

Kosovo -- which declared itself an independent nation after it seceded from Serbia in 2008 -- is still facing many challenges as it is growing as a country. The U.S. is hoping that Kosovo will become a member of the international military organization NATO and help bring stability to the Balkan region, but the young country faces many hurdles.

Clinton greeted minority Serbians at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Pristina -- the capital of Kosovo -- welcoming them back to the country and urging them to stay and fight for a better future. She also met the second-highest ranking Serbian Orthodox official in Kosovo at the church, as well as a local parish priest, and two ethnic Serb ministers in Kosovo's government.

Serbia still refuses to recognize Kosovo as an independent nation -- and says it never will.

Some 100,000 Norwegians Say Killing Jews Is OK; Believe It's OK Due to Way Israel Treats Palestine

Threats against Oslo's Jewish community now form part of the indictment against Arslan Ubaydullah Maroof Hussain, who was arrested on October 26, after writing statements on his Facebook group that left Norwegian Jews feeling targeted, the Europe News website reports today (October 31, 2012). In his post, the accused wrote comments referring to the incident in 2006, in which shots were fired at an Oslo synagogue.

Research carried out by Oslo's Holocaust Center about the synagogue shooting found that 4 percent of people -- or approximately 100,000 people -- asked about the shooting, thought the actions were justified in terms of how Israel treats Palestine.

It also suggested that 21 percent saw the shooting as the latest attack on Jews in historical context, 18 percent answered that the attack showed the growing hatred of Jews in Norway.

At today's remand hearing, four police cars were present outside Oslo District Court when Ubaydullah Hussain appeared before the judges.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Attacker Kills Pastor of a North Texas Church; Rams Car into Church, Beats Pastor with Guitar

A North Texas pastor was killed yesterday (October 29, 2012) by an attacker who rammed a car into the church wall, chased the pastor, and beat him with an electric guitar from the church, according to the Associated Press website.

Police in Forest Hill -- a suburb of Fort Worth -- did not say why the unidentified suspect attacked the Rev. Danny Kirk, Sr., the founding pastor of Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church.

The suspect -- on whom police used a Taser to subdue -- also died a short time after being taken into custody.

Forest Hill Police Chief Dan Dennis said the suspect drove his car into a church wall -- apparently on purpose -- before noon yesterday. The suspect got out of the car and began to attack the pastor in the parking lot before chasing him into the church, Dennis said. The church secretary hid and called 911, the police chief added.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Editor on Trial for Pub. Wealthy Greeks' Names; Says "I Was Doing My Job in the Public Interest"

A prominent Greek journalist -- who published the names of more than 2,000 wealthy Greeks with Swiss bank accounts -- appeared in an Athens court today (October 29, 2012) to stand trial for violating data privacy laws in a case that has attracted worldwide concern, according to the Reuters website.

Costas Vaxevanis -- editor of the "Hot Doc" weekly magazine -- was arrested yesterday for publishing the "Lagarde List" which French authorities gave to Athens in 2010, so that the account holders could be investigated for possible tax evasion.

The list -- and the accompanying saga of how it was passed from one senior official to the next and misplaced at one point without anyone taking action -- has riveted Greeks who are angry with a political class which many believe is unwilling to crack down on the wealthy elite.

"I was doing my job in the name of the public interest," Vaxevanis told a crowd of supporters outside court. "Journalism is revealing the truth when everyone else is trying to hide it," he added.

His trial will resume on November 1. He faces up to two years in prison, if convicted.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hundreds of Syrians in Mecca Rip Assad Deaths; Blame UN, US for Failing to End Killings in Syria

Hundreds of Syrian pilgrims disregarded Saudi calls for a politics-free hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) by holding a demonstration today (October 28, 2012) against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Mecca -- the birthplace of the Islamic prophet Mohammed -- prompting a quick response from Saudi police, according to the Global Post website.

Protesters blamed the international community for failing to stem the violence in Syria, where the fight between Assad's totalitarian regime and an armed insurrection has taken some 32,000 lives over the past 19 months.

The group was headed toward a bridge in Mina -- a city east of Mecca -- when several police cars showed up.

With their sirens blaring, police ordered the pilgrims to disperse, and they did.

Suicide Bomber Kills 5 in Nigerian Cath. Church; Drives Jeep with Explosives in Church in Kaduna

A suicide bomber today (October 28, 2012) drove a vehicle -- packed with explosives -- into a Catholic church in northern Nigeria, killing at least five people and wounding nearly 100, according to the Guardian website.

The bomber drove a jeep into the packed St. Rita's church in the Malali are of Kaduna -- a volatile ethnically and religiously mixed city -- this morning.

A spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Kaduna said that five people had been confirmed dead, and 98 people were receiving treatment for wounds at two local hospitals.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Islamist sect Boko Haram has claimed similar attacks in the past. It has attacked several churches, as it has intensified its campaign against Christians in the past year.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Indonesia Nabs 11 Planning Raid on US Embassy; Police Seize Their Bomb-Making Devices, a Bomb

Indonesia's anti-terrorist squad has arrested 11 people they suspect are Islamic terrorists who planned to attack the U.S. Embassy, a plaza near Australia's Embassy, and also the offices of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, the Inquisitr website reports today (October 27, 2012).

The country's Detachment 88 squad arrested the group and seized bomb-making equipment and one bomb that was ready to be used by the new militant group, called Harakah Sunni for the Indonesian Society (HASMI).

National Police spokesman Suhardi Alius stated that the arrests on the island of Java were just the latest step in a crackdown against Islamic militants. Authorities have arrested dozens, and seven people have been killed in the crackdown so far.

Alius stated: "The first piece of evidence was found at a housing complex in Maduin (Java) -- a bomb ready to detonate, as well as raw materials for bomb-making and instruction books on how to make bombs."

Terrorist activity tends to be a recurring phenomenon in Indonesia, due primarily to the fact that Indonesia has more Muslims than any other nation in the world.

Justice Dept. Files a Lawsuit Against a Miss. Town; Meridian Hauls Misbehaving School Kids to Prison

A Mississippi town is facing a federal lawsuit for operating schools that handcuff and send children to prison for minor classroom infractions -- such as violating the dress code or talking back to teachers -- the RT (Russia Today) website reports today (October 27, 2012).

Students in the town of Meridian have spent days in prison 80 miles away from their school without a probable cause hearing. They were not read their Miranda rights and at times spent more than 48 hours waiting for a hearing, which violates their constitutional rights.

All of the imprisoned children referred to court were minorities -- mostly African-Americans and children with disabilities -- the lawsuit states.

Federal civil rights lawyers filed the lawsuit two months after the U.S. Justice Department warned local and state officials they had 60 days to end the jailing procedures. The defiant Mississippi town of Meridian has failed to end the jailing.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Afghan Mosque Suicide Bomber Kills 40 or More; Mosque Packed with Muslims on Annual Holiday

A suicide bomber killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens of others today (October 26, 2012), as they gathered for morning prayers in northern Afghanistan, according to the VOA News website.

Bodies were seen lying on the ground after the suicide bomber blew himself up outside the mosque in Maymana, the capital of Faryab province.

The mosque was especially crowded today, as worshipers had gathered to pray at the start of the annual Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday -- a three-day celebration when families typically gather together.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned the attack -- believed to have been under the direction of the Taliban --  saying those behind the bombing were "enemies of Islam and humanity."

Ted Turner:High No.of US Mil. Suicides Is Good; Feels We Are Born to Love, Not Kill, Each Other

Appearing on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" program this week, Ted Turner -- CNN founder and billionaire -- said it is "good" that more U.S. soldiers are now dying by suicide than in combat, the Cybercast News Service website reports today (October 26, 2012).

Regarding the large number of soldier suicides, Morgan asked Turner, "I mean, that's shocking, isn't it?"

Turner answered, "Well, what, no. I think it's good, because it's so clear that we are programmed, and we are born, to love and help each other, not to kill each other, destroy each other. That's an aberration, that's left over from hundreds of years ago. It's time for us to start acting enlightened."

In 2012 so far (January through September), there have been a total 0f 247 suicides among Army active and reserve duty personnel as opposed to the 222 combined military deaths in 2012 in Afghanistan among active and reserve soldiers as of September 28.
P.S.: Ted Turner apologized today (October 26, 2012) for anyone offended by his comment on CNN earlier this week that it is "good" U.S. troops have been committing suicide in record numbers.

Turner said...."I strongly support our U.S. troops and would never intentionally say anything to harm the brave men and women serving our country. I deeply apologize for any misunderstanding caused by this comment."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Brooklyn Sees a Surge in Anti-Semitic Scrawling; Swastika Painted in Elevator Is Latest Scrawling

A swastika was found painted in the elevator of a building in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn on October 23, the Jewish Press website reports today (October 25, 2012).

The anti-Semitic hate symbol appeared on a building on Clymer street near Wythe avenue.

The scrawling is the fourth such incident in the last few months.

Earlier this month -- during the Jewish holidays -- a Brooklyn subway station was marred with graffiti in red capital letters stating "THE WORLD WOULD BE MUCH BETTER OFF IF ALL THE JEWS WERE LAMPSHADES" and "HITLER WAS RIGHT RE THE JEWS."

French Girls Will Get Contraceptive Pill for Free; Over a Million French Teens Are Now on the Pill

French young women aged 15 to 18 will have access to the contraceptive pill free of charge -- beginning in 2013 -- under changes to the public social security reimbursement system, the France 24 website reports today (October 25, 2012).

French Minister for Women's Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said that the teenagers' anonymity would be "guaranteed" under the new rules.

The French government saw a need to protect teenagers hailing from families where sexuality is a taboo subject. The new measures aim to reduce pregnancies in this age group that result from a mixture of ignorance and lack of access to contraception.

"Providing free contraception is just as important for these teenagers as getting good sex education at school," said Vallaud-Belkacem, who added that "more than a million" teenage girls in France are currently on the Pill.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

COMMENTARY: Time for the U.S. to Take Military Action Against Syria's Assad

The Vatican plans to send a high-profile delegation to Syria within the next few days, in order to try to formulate a political solution to ending the war there that has resulted in the loss of more than 32,000 lives during the past year and a half.

As one Vatican cardinal said, "We cannot be mere spectators of a tragedy such as the one that is unfolding in Syria."

While the Vatican must be commended for its effort to end the multitude of killings in Syria, the same cannot be said of the United States.

Rather, the United States must be viewed with shame for its clearly indifferent and unsympathetic attitude, while scores of Syrians are needlessly being killed every day by the dictatorial government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Just why the United States does not take military action against Assad and his Syrian henchmen to end these unrestricted killings is incomprehensible -- and inexcusable.

When there was similar violence and killings in Libya a little over a year ago, the United States -- with the support of NATO -- bombed Libyan troops and government strongholds, thus helping to quickly end the barbaric atrocities of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was killed by revolutionary fighters in October 2011. The same kind of of bombing should be used against Assad to hasten the end of his barbaric regime.

The fact is that as long as the United States delays implementing a military plan to put an end to Assad's inhumane dictatorship, we can be sure that scores of Syrians -- including many innocent children and women -- will continue to be killed every day for many more months, perhaps even years.

And that is a sad -- and indeed unnecessary -- ordeal not only for the people of Syria, but for all of humanity.

Catholic Group Expels Holocaust-Denying Bishop; Says Bp. Richard Williamson Disobeyed Superiors

A rebel Catholic traditionalist group has expelled British-born Bishop Richard Williamson, who deeply embarrassed the Vatican by denying the Holocaust shortly before he was readmitted to the Catholic Church three years ago, the Worldwide Religious News website reports today (October 24, 2012).

The Swiss-based Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) -- whose four bishops were excommunicated from 1988 to 2009 -- said today that it took the step because Williamson, 72, had disobeyed his superiors.

Williamson -- an opponent of recent SSPX efforts to win full reintegration into the Catholic Church -- caused an international uproar with his ultra-hardline views broadcast only days before the Vatican lifted the bans on him and three other bishops.

The SSPX statement said Williamson was expelled for "having distanced himself from the management and the government of the SSPX for several years and refusing to show due respect and obedience to his lawful superiors."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Exact Spot of of Julius Caesar's Murder Is Found; Archaeologists Find Memorial at Curia of Pompey

Archaeologists from Spain's National Science Council have found the exact spot where Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by Brutus and conspirators in Rome, approximately 45 years before the birth of Christ, the Spero Forum website reports today (October 23, 2012).

They have found the structure that Caesar's adoptive son built in honor of the fallen conqueror of Gaul.

Located in what is known as the Curia of Pompey, the concrete structure measures three meters wide and over two meters high, and was erected by order of Augustus (adoptive son and successor of Julius Caesar) to condemn the assassination of his father.

The discovery confirms that the Roman dictator was stabbed right at the bottom of the Curia of Pompey while he was presiding over a meeting of the Senate from a chair. Upon being stabbed by his close and trusted friend, Brutus, Caesar was shocked and asked him, "Et tu, Brute?" ("Even thou, Brutus?").

Brutus' betrayal of Caesar reminds us of Judas' betrayal of Christ, since both Brutus and Judas served the primary role in ensuring that Caesar and Jesus respectively would die. The detestable actions of Brutus and Judas can also be related par excellence to an old adage: "With friends like these, who needs enemies?"

Romney Debate Remark Rages Greek-Americans; "Down the Path toward Greece" May Cost Him Win

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made Americans of Greek descent furious with his "down the path toward Greece" comment during the third and final presidential debate, the Greek Reporter website reports exclusively today (October 23, 2012).

Posting negative statements on social media, Greek Americans showed a great amount of anger toward the Republican candidate after his comment.

While Greece is in fact in trouble and would have defaulted on its debt if the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) had not given it loans, there are many other countries -- including Spain, Portugal, and Italy -- that are also in an economic crisis.

Romney must have underestimated the large number of Greek-American voters, whom he has greatly disappointed. The U.S. State Department estimates that there are around 3,000,000 Americans who are of Greek descent. Moreover, democracy -- the form of government that originated in Greece -- has been cherished by Americans since the United States became a free nation, and the vast majority of Americans are grateful to Greece for being the harbinger of the democratic principles and freedom that Americans still  enjoy today.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Egypt's President Morsi Prays for Death of Jews; "Oh Allah,Destroy the Jews and Their Supporters"

Egypt's Channel 1 broadcast a video of Egyptian Cleric Futouh Abd Al-Nabi Mansour -- Head of Religious Endowment of the Matrouh Governorate -- leading an Islamic prayer service attended by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, during which he asked Allah to kill all the Jews and all their allies around the world, the Jewish Press website reports today (October 22, 2012).

Appearing earnest in prayer, Morsi -- who is a member of Egypt's Islamic radical Muslim Brotherhood political party -- sat cross-legged, eyes closed before a large group of worshipers in the October 19 prayer.

Middle East media watchdog Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated the clip of Mansour's prayer:

"Oh Allah, absolve us of our sins, strengthen us, and grant us victory over the infidels. Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, disperse them, rend them asunder. Oh Allah, demonstrate your might and greatness upon them. Show us your omnipotence, oh Lord."

World's Oldest Auschwitz Survivor Dies at 108; Defied Nazi Goal to Use Poles as a "Slave Race"

The oldest known survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp -- a teacher who gave lessons in defiance of his native Poland's Nazi occupiers -- has died at the age of 108, the Newsvine website reports today (October 22, 2012).

Antoni Dobrowolski died yesterday in the northwestern Polish town of Debno, according to Jaroslaw Mensfelt, a spokesman at the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum.

After invading Poland in 1939 -- sparking World War II -- the Germans banned anything beyond four years of elementary education in a bid to crush Polish culture and the country's intelligentsia. The Germans considered the Poles an inferior race, and the education policy was part of a plan to use Poles as a "slave race."

An underground effort by Poles to continue to teach children immediately emerged, with those caught punished by being sent to concentration camps or prisons. Dobrowolski was among the Poles engaged in the underground effort, and he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz in 1942.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Christian Home Prayer Meeting in Iran Is Raided; Security Forces Arrest 7 Christians for Meeting

Security forces in Shiraz, Iran raided a private home and arrested seven Christians for holding a prayer meeting, the Christian Broadcast Network website reports today (October 21, 2012).

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said Iranian authorities are carrying out a campaign of harassment against Christians of all denominations.

Meanwhile, five Christians detained in a raid eight months ago are now facing trial. Their alleged crimes include "propagation against the Islamic regime" and "defaming Islamic holy figures through Christian evangelizing."

"There appears to be an increasing tendency by the Iranian authorities to characterize legitimate religious activities as crimes against the state," said CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas. He added, "In reality, people are being harassed merely on account of their faith."

French Far-Right Group Storms New Mosque Site; Shows Anger Against Islam's Increasing Influence

Around 60 members of an extreme right-wing group stormed the site of a future mosque in France yesterday (October 20, 2012), to protest against what they see as Islam's increasing influence in the country, according to the France 24 website.

Protesters from a group called Generation Identity occupied the building site in a suburb of the town of Poitiers, western France, at around  6 a.m., and left around 1 p.m. Three members of the group were arrested.

They climbed onto the building's roof and displayed a banner marked with "732 Generation Identity" in reference to the year 732, when Charles Martel ended the advancement of the Muslims into France by defeating  them at the battle of Tours.

The group makes its views clear on its website, which bears the statement: "We do not want more immigration from outside Europe or new mosque construction on French soil." With some four million Muslims living in it, France has more Muslims than any other other country in Europe.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Woman,80, Nabbed for Taking Obama-Hitler Sign; Was Placed in Hebron,Conn. by Lyndon LaRouche

Nancy Lack, 80, is old enough to remember Adolf Hitler-- and his inhumane Nazi rule of Germany during World War II -- so when she saw a sign in a Hebron, Connecticut neighborhood that attempted to liken President Obama to the Nazi dictator, she took action, the Examiner website reports today (October 20, 2012).

Lack saw the sign portraying Obama -- with Hitler's trademark toothbrush mustache -- near a sidewalk display set up along Main Street by supporters of fringe presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche in downtown Hebron.

She slammed on her brakes, jumped out of her car, and headed to the sign and snatched it. The sign showed the offending image with a call for Obama's impeachment "fast and furiously."

Lack put the sign in her car, but another woman saw her, copied her license plate number, and gave it to police. Lack was arrested and charged with larceny and breach of peace. She will appear in court next week, where she could be fined and sentenced to a three-month jail term if convicted.

Pope Transfers Vatican Official Who Backed Nuns; Abp.Joseph Tobin Now at Indianapolis Archdiocese

A high-ranking Catholic official -- who recently tried to resolve hostile relations between the Vatican and American nuns by supporting the nuns -- has been transferred to a Midwestern archdiocese of fewer than 230,000 parishioners, the Christian Broadcast Network website reports today (October 20, 2012).

Newly appointed Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin said he "didn't know" if the move was related to his efforts to reconcile the heads of the Roman Catholic Church with nuns who some theological conservatives complained have become too outspoken and secular.

Tobin said it wasn't easy to leave his post as the number two official in the Vatican office that oversees religious orders worldwide. He added he wasn't looking for a transfer.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith accused the National Conference of Women Religious -- which represents about three-fourths of America's nuns -- of taking positions that undermine Catholic teaching and promote radical feminist themes and anti-Catholic Christian doctrine.

Friday, October 19, 2012

UK Woman, Irish Man Plead Innocent to Taxi Sex; Pair in Dubai Face Three Years in Jail If Convicted

A British woman and an Irish man -- accused of engaging in sexual activities in a Dubai taxi -- pleaded not guilty in court yesterday (October 18, 2012) in the latest case of Westerners falling foul of the wealthy oil-enriched Persian Gulf Arab emirate's decency laws, according to the Telegraph (British) website.

If convicted, the pair -- who are both based in Dubai -- could face three years in jail and then deportation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which walks a delicate line between keeping its Muslim identity and maintaining a successful tourism industry.

Rebecca Blake, 29, from Dorking, Surrey, and Conor McRedmond, 28, both denied charges at Dubai Criminal Court of "breach of honor and consent" and committing "an indecent act in a taxi" when they appeared in court.They pleaded guilty to a third charge related to consumption of alcohol. The judge set the next hearing for November 1.

Islam bans alcohol for Muslims. In the UAE, non-Muslims can drink at certain hotels and beach bars, where all-you-can-drink brunches are available every weekend.

Ireland's 1st Abortion Center Opens in Belfast; Over 200 Pro-Life Advocates Protest Opening

The first abortion center on the island of Ireland opened yesterday (October 18, 2012) in Belfast -- sparking protests by conservatives from both the Catholic and Protestant sides of Northern Ireland -- according to the World Magazine website.

More than 200 pro-life advocates gathered outside the Marie Stopes facility hours ahead of its opening, waving placards reading "Keep Ireland abortion free."

The facility will offer the abortion pill to women who are less than nine weeks pregnant -- but only if doctors determine they are at risk of death or long-term health damage from their pregnancy. That is the law in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where abortion is otherwise illegal.

Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin said he would ensure that the abortion center obeyed the law, and he would order that it be closed if evidence emerged of "serious criminal conduct" there.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Madonna Is Ordered to Appear in a Russian Court; Result of Her Show Promoting Gay Sex of Minors

Pop star Madonna has been ordered to appear in a Russian court to face accusations that she publicly encouraged gay sex between minors -- which is a violation of the law in Russia -- during a show in St. Petersburg, the Austrian Times website reports today (October 18, 2012).

The lawsuit -- brought by a group of Russian activists -- orders the singer to explain her comments during a show at the city in August.

"Show your love and appreciation to the gay community. We want to fight for the right to be free," Madonna told the crowd.

After the show in St. Petersburg, Dmitry Rogozin -- Russia's deputy prime minister -- labeled Madonna "a moralizing slut."

D'Souza Quits His Presidency of King's College; Due to Engaging Fiancee While He Was Married

After a marathon meeting to decide his fate, the board of trustees of The King's College -- a small evangelical school based in Manhattan -- announced today (October 18, 2012) that conservative author Dinesh D'Souza has resigned as president, according to the Daily Beast website.

Former president and current board chairman Andy Mills -- who made the announcement to the faculty and staff -- will return as interim president for a third time.

"God has a mighty future for Dinesh, but there are some things he has to go through first," Mills said after breaking the news to King's students.

D'Souza came under fire on October 16 when World magazine revealed that he was engaged to a 29-year-old woman while he was still married to his wife of 20 years. The magazine also reported that D'Souza and Denise Odie Joseph allegedly shared a hotel room at a Christian conference in September, and D'Souza introduced her as his fiancee.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vatican to Send a Delegation to Syria to End War; "We Cannot Be Mere Spectators of This Tragedy"

The Vatican said today (October 17, 2012) that it will send a high-profile delegation to Syria -- including Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York -- to encourage a political solution to the war there that has resulted in the loss of more than 30,000 lives, according to the New York Times website.

"We cannot be mere spectators of a tragedy such as the one that is unfolding in Syria," the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, told bishops in Rome.

On Pope Benedict XVI's orders, the seven prelates are expected to visit Syria "in the coming days," according to a Vatican statement.

The delegation is a rare diplomatic intervention for the papacy -- especially for a papacy in which several internal scandals have overshadowed foreign policy -- and represents an important role of Cardinal Dolan. Cardinal Dolan -- who has been nicknamed "the American Pope" -- has been the most influential Catholic Church spokesman to reject President Barack Obama's anti-Christian church policies, and is viewed by many theologians as being the first American who will become the Pope in Rome.

COMMENTARY: U.S. Must Not Subject Itself to Four More Years of Obama's Policies

While watching the second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney last night, a question was asked to President Obama. The questioner said, in effect, that he had voted for Obama for president four years ago, but was not sure he would vote for Obama this year,  because  he was disappointed that the president failed to carry out many of the promises he had made to improve the lives of Americans.

We can identify with this question, because we too voted for Obama for president four years ago, but -- due to our disappointment with his performance and his beliefs -- we plan to vote for Romney in the upcoming presidential election.

There are many reasons for our disappointment with President Obama's presidency. We will now briefly describe some of them.

The cost of a gallon of gasoline for a motor vehicle in America has sky-rocketed to about $4.00 a gallon -- nearly double of what it was when Obama became president. This huge increase in the price of fuel is inexcusable.

The cost of food, utilities, clothing, and other necessities has also increased significantly during the past four years.

In foreign affairs, President Obama has shown a weakness by failing to take military action against Syria, where more than 30,000 civilians -- including hundreds of innocent children and women -- have been killed under the tyrannical ruler Assad during the past year and a half. The killings in Syria still continue every day.

President Obama has also shown a weakness -- even a fear -- toward Iran by refusing to agree with Israel in its determination to prevent Iran from completing its nuclear facilities, as he has discouraged Israel from bombing these facilities. This despite the fact that the radical anti-Semitic dictator of Iran has publicly stated that Israel must be completely destroyed.

President Obama has spent more of the American taxpayers' money than all of the other United States presidents combined. Indeed, this is an incredible -- as well as a shameful -- accomplishment. Our children and future generations will be paying for this unnecessary wastefulness for many decades, thus being denied the ability to afford a home, a college education, and other things that Americans have enjoyed for many years.

Under Obama's presidency, more Americans than ever have been receiving food stamps, government welfare checks, and disability checks. In fact, a plethora of Americans believe that President Obama is leading the United States on a path to becoming a socialist nation, and he will achieve that goal if he serves another four years as president.

Finally -- and perhaps most important -- President Obama lacks the moral convictions of a true Christian, since he supports abortions, same-sex marriages, and mandated payments to persons for birth control supplies. We are adamantly opposed to these anti-Christian policies.

Beloved evangelist Billy Graham -- who has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history -- last week said, "I believe America is at a crossroads. I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our religious freedoms."

To Billy Graham's spiritual words of wisdom, we will add just one word: "Amen!"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Priest in Croatia Elopes with Woman, 1M Pounds; Fr.Sime Nimac Got Money from Church Land Sale

A Croatian priest -- bedevilled with "insatiable egotism" -- has gone on the run with more than one million pounds pocketed from an illegal land sale in the company of a married woman, the Telegraph (British) website reports today (October 16, 2012).

Franciscan priest Father Sime Nimac, 34, disappeared after withdrawing the money he had made from selling a piece of church land near Split without authorization from the local diocese.

"The property was sold without the explicit written consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority," the local Catholic Church said in a statement, adding that it had filed a lawsuit to nullify the sale.

Fr. Nimac was known for living the good life, with a love of fast cars, good clothes, and was often seen with a woman.

Girl, 15, Receives 60 Lashes Today in Timbuktu; Whipped in Public for Talking to Men on a Street

A teenage Muslim girl received 60 lashes in Timbuktu today (October 16, 2012), after Islamist extremists convicted her of speaking to men on the street, according to the USA Today website.

The girl -- about 15 years old -- was caught standing alongside men by the Islamists of Ansar Dine who now run Timbuktu.

"The Islamists charged that the girl was warned five times by Islamist police, but she continued to speak to men in the street. After the hearing, the Islamists gave 60 lashes to the girl," said Ousmane Maiga, a Timbuktu resident contacted by phone.

The public whipping took place in front of the new headquarters of the Islamic police in downtown Timbuktu, next to Independence Square.

Monday, October 15, 2012

UK Pastor Donates 10-Pound Notes to Worshipers; Asks Parishioners to Spend Money on Poor Person

The Reverend Paul Peverell's flock contribute to collections during Sunday services, but last Sunday (October 14) he turned the tables by  handing a 10-pound note from the church coffers to each parishioner who attended his Harvest Festival services at Christ Church in Great Ayton, North Yorkshire in England, the Daily Mail (British) website reports today (October 15, 2012).

In return, the recipients were expected to use their windfall imaginatively towards acts of goodwill in the local community.

His idea could be said to have biblical origins. Some likened it to the Parable of the Talents, in which a man shares out his wealth among three servants in a test of how well they can use it in the service of God.

Rev. Peverell instructed his parishioners to spend the money on someone in need. He said this was a way of helping the immediate community. He added, "There's a chance someone won't pass it on, but for the ones that do, it will be worth it."

Shot Pakistani Girl, 14, Now in UK for Care, Safety; Taliban Vows to Kill Her Due to Western Thinking

A 14-year-old Pakistani activist -- shot in the head by the Taliban a week ago -- arrived in Britain today (October 15, 2012) to receive specialized medical care and protection from follow-up attacks threatened by the Taliban, according to the Yahoo News website.

The attack on Malala Yousufzai -- as she was returning home from school in Pakistan's northwest region -- has horrified people across the South Asian country and abroad. It has also sparked hope that the Pakistani government would respond by intensifying its fight and against the Taliban and its allies.

Malala was targeted by the Taliban for promoting girls' education -- which the Taliban adamantly opposes -- and criticizing the militant group's behavior for taking over the scenic Swat Valley where she lived. Two of her classmates were also wounded in the attack and are receiving treatment in Pakistan.

Malala -- who had been receiving treatment at a Pakistani military hospital -- arrived at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in central England this afternoon. Doctors believe Malala "has a chance of making a good recovery," said Dave Rosser, the hospital's medical director.

The Taliban has threatened to target Malala again until she is killed, because it believes that she promotes "Western thinking."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

N. Korea Purges Lenin, Marx Statues from Square; Supplants Communism with Spirit of Self-Reliance

The NKNews (North Korean News) website -- which monitors developments in the secretive nation -- reports exclusively today (October 14, 2012) that the statues of Lenin and Karl Marx were removed from Kim Il-sung Square in the summer, but have never been replaced, indicating a change in the socioeconomic direction that North Korea is taking.

Communist die-hards Lenin and Marx had glared out over the square -- used for military parades and mass rallies in support of the North Korean regime -- for decades, despite the Workers' Party of Korea revising its charter in 1980 to replace their concepts with those of Kim Il-sung.

Communism in North Korea has been replaced by the home-grown philosophy summed up as "juche," meaning "the spirit of self-reliance."

NKNews said there are no indications as to why Marx and Lenin are being air-brushed out of North Korean history at this time, although this phenomenon does tie in with other recent changes that have been noticed in that country.

At Least 22 Killed Today at Mosque in N. Nigeria; Gunmen Fired on Muslims as They Left Mosque

Gunmen opened fire on Muslim worshipers as they were leaving a mosque in northern Nigeria today (October 14, 2012), killing at least 22 people, according to the Reuters website.

The attack occurred in a remote village called Dogo Dawa, in Kaduna state. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Like much of northern Nigeria, Kaduna is plagued by an insurgency led by radical Islamist sect Boko Haram. They usually attack security forces, government officials, or Christians, but have also hit Muslim clerics and mosques in the past -- especially those that do not follow their hardline brand of Islam.

Kaduna lies close to Nigeria's volatile "Middle Belt," where Nigeria's mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south meet, and where tensions over land and ethnicity often erupt into violence. Abdulladhi Muhammad, a Kaduna government official, said the attack was most likely carried out by a local criminal gang.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Al-Qaida Leader Calls for Holy War on US, Israel; Praises Muslim Killings Due to Anti-Islamic Video

The leader of al-Qaida today (October 13, 2012) called for a holy war against the United States and Israel over an anti-Islamic video -- titled "The Innocence of Muslims" -- which triggered mayhem in the Muslim world, according to the Guardian (British) website.

Ayman al-Zawahiri praised the Muslim demonstrators who breached the U.S. embassy in Cairo and the attackers who stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last month in violence linked to the video as "honest and zealous."

The Benghazi attack on September 11 -- in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three others were killed -- is now believed to have been carried out by al-Qaida-linked militants.

The trailer for the film produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula -- a California-based Egyptian-American angry at the treatment of Coptic Orthodox Christians in his native country -- triggered violence across the Muslim world after it was uploaded to YouTube, with at least 17 people killed in violent protests.

Wash. State Fire Captain Fired Due to Rel. Emails; Christian Fellowship Head Sent News on Its Events

A Washington state fire captain has lost his job because he sent emails with religious content from his department account, the Christian Broadcast Network website reports today (October 13, 2012).

Capt. Jon Sprague runs the Spokane County Christian Firefighter Fellowship.

This year, he received two letters of reprimand and a suspension after sending emails with information about the group's upcoming meetings and events.

The Spokane Valley Board of Fire Commissioners this week voted unanimously to fire Capt. Sprague.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Billy Graham Meets and Prays with Mitt Romney; Hopes Voters Vote for Bible-Backing Candidates

Evangelist Billy Graham -- who has met with every American president since Harry Truman in the 1940s -- commended Mitt Romney for his values and moral convictions, after meeting with the GOP presidential candidate at his North Carolina home yesterday, according to the Christian Post website.

"What impresses me even more than Governor Romney's successful career are his values and strong moral convictions," Graham said in a statement.

The beloved evangelist -- who has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history -- prayed with Romney, a Mormon.

"I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads. I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms," Graham stated.

Influential Israeli Rabbi Is Suspected of Bribery; Tried to Bribe a Police Officer for Sensitive Info

Israeli police are investigating a prominent Israeli rabbi on suspicion that he tried to bribe a high-ranking police officer for access to sensitive information, the ABC News website reports today (October 12, 2012).

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said today that Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto and his wife were questioned by police. He added the investigation is in progress.

Pinto -- one of Israel's wealthiest and most influential rabbis -- has a strong following among politicians and celebrities in Israel and the United States.

In August, the FBI arrested an Israeli aide of the rabbi. The FBI has also been investigating claims that other followers of the rabbi made illegal campaign contributions to a New York Republican in his 2009 bid for Congress.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

An Inspiring Spiritual Scenario for Anyone Who Is Afraid to Die

(Editor's Note: The Theology and Society blog rarely deviates from publishing news articles and commentaries relating to current religious and moral situations; however, we feel we should share the following article -- due to its extremely inspiring and poignant message -- that we received in the mail today. The article appears in the fall-winter 2012 newsletter of St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church in Cotuit, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, whose pastor is Fr. Nicholas Manikas.)

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side."

Very quietly, the doctor said, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You, a Christian man does not know what is on the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing... I know my Master Jesus is there and that is enough."

Emory U. Apologizes for Decades of Anti-Semitism; Jewish Dental Students Expelled for "Poor Grades"

Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia has apologized for years of anti-Semitism at its dental school going back decades, the BBC website reports today (October 11, 2012).

Emory invited former Jewish students to meet with University President James Wagner. More than 400 people attended the premiere of a documentary on October 10 about the discrimination. "I'm sorry. We are sorry," Mr. Wagner said at the documentary screening.

From 1948 to 1961, it is estimated that about 65 percent of Jewish students were kicked out of Emory's dental school after being told their grades were not good enough, or made to repeat courses. The rate of failure or repeats was dramatically lower before that period, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The documentary relies on video interviews collected by one of the forced-out students, Dr. Perry Brickman, who went on to graduate with honors from the University of Tennessee's dental school. "We knew individually and collectively what the truth was,"" Dr. Brickman said. "But the truth in a situation like this is never really validated until the perpetrator says sorry."

In one interview, former dental student Ronald Goldstein recalls the dean of the dental school, John Buhler, asking him: "Why do you Jews want to go into dentistry? You don't have it in the hands." Another former student, George Marholin, recalls a professor coming into a room cursing at him and calling him a "damn Jew."

US Embassy Employee in Yemen Is Killed Today; Masked Attackers on Motorcycle Fired at His Car

A Yemeni man was shot and killed by gunmen on his way to work at the U.S. embassy in Sanaa today (October 11, 2012), according to the Reuters website.

The car carrying Qassem Aglan -- who headed an embassy security team -- was shot at by masked attackers on a motorcycle.

"This (assassination) operation has the fingerprints of al Qaeda which carried out similar operations before," a source said.

Assassination attempts have been frequent since Yemen's army cleared Islamist fighters out of many towns earlier this year, while the U.S. has been on high alert for its embassy staff overseas since the ambassador to Libya was killed with three others on September 11 in Benghazi.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

COMMENTARY: School Employees Who Plotted to Remove Low-Performing Students Must Be Sentenced to Prison

A former school superintendent in the El Paso (Texas) Independent School District was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by a federal judge last week, because he participated in a conspiracy to improve the district's test scores by removing low-performance students from classrooms.

Lorenzo Garcia's ploy -- with the help of at least six other school district employees -- prevented hundreds of sophomores from taking the accountability tests. This illegal scheme resulted in a significant boost in federal funds for the school district and its personnel, since federal officials believed the district's test scores improved remarkably.

The FBI is still investigating this scheme, and is expected to make several more arrests in the near future.

One cannot help but wonder, How can a school superintendent -- as well as other school personnel -- be so greedy so as to deprive these children of the education they deserve and to which they are entitled?

Indeed, for school personnel to place their own selfish interests of illegally receiving federal money and "thumbing their noses" at the U.S. government -- while denying these low-performing helpless children an education -- can best be described as heartless individuals who are the scum of the earth.

The other six or more school personnel involved in this conspiracy -- in addition to the superintendent -- also need to be brought to justice quickly. We believe that they too should be sentenced to a prison term for their illegal and selfish activities.

The fact is that a prison sentence is the only punitive action that will effectively deter individuals from committing  this kind of activity in America's schools.

To allow a person to commit such selfish illegal acts in our schools -- without serving a prison sentence --  only assures the fact that similar additional illegal schemes to receive federal money will continue to occur.

Taliban Shoots 14-Yr.-Old Activist Girl in Pakistan; Shot in Head and Neck, Still in Serious Condition

Taliban gunmen in Pakistan yesterday (October 9, 2012) shot and seriously wounded a 14-year-old schoolgirl -- widely admired for speaking out against religious extremists and in favor of women's rights -- according to the France 24 website.

Malala Yousufzai was flown by helicopter to a military hospital in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, medical officials confirmed. Yousufzai remains in serious condition, but doctors succeeded in removing a bullet that had lodged near her spine yesterday, France 24 was told today (October 10).

The young activist was shot in the head and neck when gunmen fired on her school bus in the Swat valley, northwest of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Two other girls were also wounded in the attack.

Yousufzai became famous for speaking out against the Pakistani Taliban -- which is opposed to education for females -- after the Taliban bombed her school for girls in 2009, forcing it to close down.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Italian Librarian Stole Thousands of Rare Books; Stole,Sold Over 4,000 Books Worth Millions of $

Italian prosecutors are investigating the director of a historic library on suspicion of stealing and selling more than 4,000 rare antiquarian books worth millions of dollars from the collection that he was in charge of, the Telegraph (British) website reports today (October 9, 2012).

In what is believed to be the biggest such theft in several decades, Marino Massimo De Caro is accused of stealing a vast haul of rare books from the 17th century Girolamini Library in Naples, including works by Galileo Galilei, the astronomer.

De Caro -- who was director of the library for less than a year -- allegedly tried to cover his tracks by replacing the stolen Galileo volumes with remarkably authentic-looking facsimiles, produced to such a high quality that experts are baffled as to how he made them.

De Caro is in jail while investigators dig deeper into the situation. He is expected to be charged with theft, embezzlement, and criminal association.

US Protestants Lose Majority Rank for First Time; Percentage of US Protestant Adults Is 48 Percent

For the first time in American history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority, a study released today (October 9, 2012) shows, according to the Associated Press website.

The percentage of Protestant adults in the U.S. has reached a low of 48 percent, the first time that Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has reported -- with certainty -- that the number has fallen below 50 percent.

The drop comes at a time when no Protestants are on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Republicans have their first presidential ticket with no Protestant nominees.

One of the major reasons for the Protestant drop is the huge increase in the number of American adults who say they have no religion.The Pew study found that about 20 percent of Americans say they have no religious affiliation -- an increase from 15 percent in the last five years.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Haiti PM Announces Sin Tax to Pay for Education; Will Levy More Taxes on Alcohol, Cigs., Gambling

Haiti's government wants to raise $100 million for a special education fund by putting additional taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, and gambling, the Caribbean nation's prime minister said today (October 8, 2012).

According to the ABC News website, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said the new sin tax would require approval from Parliament. He added the money collected would help build 200 schools, refurbish 2,000 more, and train and boost pay for thousands of teachers from primary schools to universities.

The proceeds would go into a government fund that already has gotten almost $34 million with taxes on international phone calls and money transfers, the latter making up about a quarter of Haiti's Gross Domestic Product.

The efforts seek to boost enrollment. Haiti has about 4.5 million school-age children but only about half were attending school before the 2010 earthquake destroyed or damaged thousands of classrooms.

Canada to End Its Part-Time Chaplains at Prisons; Decision Will End Prison Jobs for 100 Chaplains

The Canadian government has decided to cancel the contracts of all part-time chaplains -- one-fifth of whom are non-Christians -- at federal prisons, the Christian Post website reports today (October 8, 2012).

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews -- who is responsible for Canada's penitentiaries -- said he is not convinced that taxpayer money should be used for part-time chaplains. The nation will eliminate its part-time chaplains at prisons by the end of March 2013.

Canada spends about $6.4 million a year on its prison chaplain program.

Currently, Canada has about 80 full-time prison chaplains -- all except one being Christian. Of the roughly 100 part-time chaplains, about 20 are non-Christians.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ind. Cath. Priest Is Missing in Greece for a Week; Told His Family His Translator Feared Her Family

The family of Indiana Catholic priest Fr. Christiaan Kappes -- who has been missing in Greece for the past seven days -- is very concerned about his disappearance, the Catholic News Agency website reports today (October 7, 2012).

"We are praying for the well-being of Father Kappes and his family and for Father Kappes' safe return to the United States," the Archdiocese of Indianapolis said.

The 37-year-old priest -- a native of Indiana -- had been engaged in doctoral studies in Athens for the past three years on Greek Orthodox Christian theology at the request of the Vatican.

The priest's family members said that Fr. Kappes had informed them that Ioanna Lekakou -- his translator and close friend -- was involved in a major dispute over her family's inheritance. Fr. Kappes warned his family -- a day before his disappearance -- that someone had threatened to kill Lekakou and that he believed he too had become a target.

Fr. Kappes was participating in a pilot program set up between the Vatican and the Greek government to study Greek Orthodox theology in hopes of overcoming the divisions between the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church. The Christian Church split apart into Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox divisions in the year 1054 in what is known historically as the Great Schism.

French Anti-Terror Raids Show 1 Dead, 11 Arrests; Raids Directed at a Network of Muslim Extremists

French police arrested 11 members of a suspected terrorist cell yesterday, after carrying out a series of raids across the country -- resulting in one suspect being shot dead in the city of Strasbourg -- the France 24 website reports today (October 7, 2012).

The operation was part of a nationwide anti-terror operation by France's security forces directed at a suspected network of Muslim extremists believed to be behind an attack on a Jewish grocery store last month.

Police revealed that DNA found on a grenade thrown at the kosher store had led them to the suspected jihadist cell.

The DNA belonged to Jeremy Sidney, who was shot dead by police after he opened fire on officers when they stormed his home in Strasbourg yesterday.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Former El Paso Schools Supt. Jailed for 3 Years; Removed Poorly-Testing Students from Schools

A federal judge sentenced the former superintendent of El Paso Independent School District to three and a half years in prison yesterday for his participation in a conspiracy to improve the district's high-stakes test scores by removing low-performing students from classrooms, the Washington Post website reports today (October 6, 2012).

Lorenzo Garcia's scheme to prevent hundreds of sophomores from taking the accountability tests fooled authorities into believing that academic standards had improved significantly in his West Texas district -- resulting in a boost in federal funds and personal bonuses totaling over $56,000.

In addition to serving time in prison, Garcia was also ordered by the court to pay $180,000 in restitution and was fined $56,500 -- the amount he received as a bonus from the district for its success on test scores.

Court documents indicate that at least six other people helped Garcia organize the testing scheme, and more arrests are expected soon.

Pope's Butler Convicted, Gets 18-Month Sentence; Stole Pope's Private Papers, Leaked Them to Media

Pope Benedict XVI's butler Paolo Gabriele was convicted today (October 6, 2012) of stealing the Pope's private papers and leaking them to the news media, according to the ABC News website.

Gabriele was sentenced to 18 months in an Italian prison -- much less time than the four-year sentence that was expected.

It took the three judges -- who presided over the case at the Vatican court -- about two hours of deliberations to reach the guilty verdict today, on the fourth day of hearings.

Gabriele, 46, worked in the Pope's private apartments as a butler -- serving the Pope his meals -- but also held other office duties. Many theologians believe that Pope Benedict will pardon Gabriele in the near future.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sept. Job Stat. Labeled "Deceptive" and "a Setup;" Many Say Stat. Done to Aid Obama's Re-election

The U.S. Labor Department today (October 5, 2012) released the unemployment rate for the month of September, which shows it plunged from 8.1 to 7.8 percent -- its lowest since President Obama took office in 2009 -- according to the Yahoo News website.

The report has resulted in disbelief -- bordering on suspicion -- from many Republicans and business leaders, some of whom are expressing doubts about the truthfulness of the figures, which come just four weeks before the November 6 presidential election.

Americans for Limited Government -- a conservative group -- said in a statement today, "Anyone who takes this unemployment report seriously is either naive or a paid Obama campaign adviser."

Jack Welch -- former General Electric CEO -- asserted, "These Chicago guys (Obama campaign headquarters are based in Chicago) will do anything -- can't debate so change numbers."

Dan Celia of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries called the drop in the unemployment rate "deceptive" and "a setup," and said it was indicative of why Americans are losing faith in their government.

Turkish PM:Turkey "Not Far" from War with Syria; Warns Syria It's "a Fatal Mistake" to Attack Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said today (October 5, 2012) that Turkey was "not far" from war with Syria following cross-border attacks by both countries this week -- words that imply that a war between Turkey and Syria may occur soon -- according to the Reuters website.

In a belligerent speech to a crowd in Istanbul today, Erdogan warned the Assad government it would be making "a fatal mistake" if it continued to attack Turkey.

Erdogan's speech followed a Syrian mortar barrage on a town in southeast Turkey that killed five Turks on October 2. In response, Turkish artillery bombarded Syrian military targets on October 3 and 4 -- killing several Syrian soldiers -- and the Turkish parliament authorized cross-border military action by Turkey.

"We are not interested in war, but we're not far from it either," the Turkish prime minister said in his speech.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

IIF Claims Austerity Worsens Greek Econ. Crisis; Says Effort to Spur Growth Preceded by Austerity

An influential group of international banks and insurers has attacked political leaders in Europe over their handling of the economic crisis in Greece -- arguing that the single-minded pursuit of austerity has made the situation worse -- the Guardian (British) website reports today (October 4, 2012).

The Institute of International Finance (IIF) -- which last year brokered a deal between Greece and international bond investors to halve Greece's private debts -- said politicians were playing a dangerous game by putting their desire for debt reduction ahead of coordinated efforts to spur growth.

Charles Dallara -- the IIF chairman -- said the world's major economies needed to coordinate their efforts or risk persistent instability and low growth.

He added, "If we want to lay the basis for a durable global economic expansion, then we need to see more concerted action by the world's policymakers."

U. of Texas at Center of Series of Racist Attacks; Minorities Targeted with Bleach-Filled Balloons

Bringing back memories of the racism and protests that prevailed at American colleges and universities  during the 1960s, the University of Texas at Austin this week is at the center of a series of racist attacks after black, Hispanic, and Asian students were attacked with balloons filled with bleach, the Telegraph (British) website reports today (October 4, 2012).

At least four minority students have filed police reports after they were targeted with bleach-filled balloons dropped from windows of high-rise apartments, as they walked near student accommodations in West Campus.

Scores of students went on a protest march this week, citing the fact that the only students targeted were black, Asian, or Hispanic as evidence for their suspicion that the attacks were racially motivated.

Jaysen Runnels -- a student at the university -- said, "It's very frustrating to know that it's 2012 and that stuff like this still happens."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

COMMENTARY: Israel Must Take Harsh Action Against Its Hateful Vandals

This week, Jewish vandals painted sacrilegious anti-Christian slogans on a church next to Jerusalem's Old City in what has been a series of recent attacks on Christian and Muslim sites.

The slogans -- written in Hebrew on the walls of Dormition Abbey -- included an anti-Christian and vulgar slogan defaming Jesus, saying, "Jesus is a son of a bitch."

Just how Jews -- or any religious group -- can be so vicious and defame the Lord so heartlessly is beyond our understanding.

Moreover, because God -- the Father of Jesus -- selected Jews as His "chosen people" and because Jesus lived His life on earth as a Jew for 33 years makes this hatred of Jesus even more difficult to comprehend.

Also, one would not expect a Jew to convey such hatred for Christ, since the United States -- which is a predominantly Christian-Judaic nation -- has been Israel's closest ally and has helped Israel to maintain its freedom on several occasions, dating back to the time when it helped Israel to become an independent nation in 1948.

Israeli President Shimon Peres condemned the vandalism, calling it "a negation on Judaism" that "damages Israel." Israeli Chief Rabbi Schlomo Amar has also condemned the vandalism.

We believe that Israeli law enforcement officials need to work diligently to find and arrest these hateful vandals. Moreover, Israeli courts must be harsh in punishing these thugs by sentencing them to no less than a year in prison.

This kind of punishment is the most effective way to deter these vandals from striking again. Needless to say, Israel does not need the embarrassment and the stigma that result from such hateful attacks.

Indeed, it is imperative that Israel take whatever action is necessary, in order to ensure that such vandalism will not occur in its nation again.

Serbia Bans Gay Pride March Planned for Oct. 6; Pat. Irinej Urged Ban "Parade of Shame"

Serbia's police have banned a gay pride march in Belgrade -- planned for this coming weekend -- citing security concerns, but also complying with a request from Serbia's Christian Orthodox Church, the USA Today website reports on October 3, 2012.

Police said they are banning the march because they fear a repeat of the violence in 2010, when right-wing groups attacked such an event in Belgrade, triggering day-long clashes with the police that left more than 100 people injured. Last year's gay pride march was also banned by authorities.

The current ban was announced after Patriarch Irinej -- the head of Serbia's Christian Orthodox Church -- urged the government to prevent the march planned for October 6.

Patriarch Irinej said in a statement that such a "parade of shame" would cast a "moral shadow" on Serbia -- a very conservative Balkan country whose gay population has faced threats and harassment.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cal. Sets Up National Monument for Cesar Chavez; Was Force Behind Hispanic Farm Workers' Cause

Civil rights leader Cesar Chavez has had his memory celebrated with a Cesar Chavez day in a handful of states, but now Chavez -- the force behind the Hispanic farm workers' movement -- will have a national remembrance in the form of a national monument in California.

According to the Inquisitr website, President Barack Obama will travel to Keene in California's San Joaquin Valley on October 8 to the property known as "Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz" (Our Lady Queen of Peace), where Chavez -- who founded the United Farm Workers -- lived from the early 1970s until his death in 1993.

While there, Obama is scheduled to announce the creation of The Cesar E. Chavez National Monument.

"Cesar Chavez gave a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere," Obama said. He added that La Paz was the center of some of the most significant history, and by designating it a national monument, "Chavez's legacy will be preserved and shared to inspire generations to come."

Vandals Paint Vulgar Slogan on Jerusalem Church; Hebrew Graffiti Includes "Jesus Is a Son of a Bitch"

Jewish vandals painted disgusting anti-Christian slogans on a church next to Jerusalem's Old City during the early morning hours today (October 2, 2012) -- the latest in a series of attacks on Christian and Muslim sites -- according to the Times of Israel website.

The slogans -- discovered on the walls of the Dormition Abbey --  were written in Hebrew and included an anti-Christian and vulgar slogan defaming Jesus: "Jesus is a son of a bitch."

The Dormition Abbey is a Benedictine site located over the spot where Christians believe the Virgin Mary -- the mother of Jesus -- died.

Israeli President Shimon Peres quickly condemned the vandalism. He called such acts "a negation of Judaism" that "damage Israel." He added, "We must not reconcile ourselves to these attacks."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Philly Police Brutality Incident Seen on YouTube; Officer Slugs Woman Who Tossed Water on Him

A Philadelphia police officer has been caught on video punching a woman in the face, after she threw water on him during the city's Puerto Rican Day Parade yesterday, the Raw Story website reports today (October 1, 2012).

Video of the incident dated September 30, 2012 -- and titled "Philadelphia Police Brutality" -- was uploaded by YouTube user Gisela Valentin yesterday.

One officer in a white shirt can be seen running over to the woman and punching her in the face as she is walking away, laying her flat on her back with her mouth bleeding. The woman is immediately handcuffed and taken away.

More than 1,500 participants -- including performers, local celebrities, and youth groups -- gathered in Philadelphia on September 30 to celebrate Puerto Rican and Latino heritage, according to the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.

UK Police Ignored Several Muslim Rapes of Girls; Men Deflowered Girls as Young as 12 for 12 Years

Police in Britain turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse of several white girls by gangs of mostly Pakistani Muslim men for more than a decade, the Europe News website reports today (October 1, 2012).

Research, reports, and case files also revealed that council officials were desperate to cover up any racial or religious link to the abuse of young girls.

The research shows that a string of warnings dating back as far as 2000 were ignored by the authorities. In many cases, police action was only taken against the victims.

According to the previously confidential documents, British police found evidence of thousands of sexual crimes and described "networks of Asian males exploiting young white females." Some of the British girls who were deflowered by the Asian men were as young as 12 years old.