Weather

A massive tornado that tore through the southwest Missouri city of Joplin on Sunday and killed at least 89 people, but authorities warned that the death toll could climb Monday as search and rescuers continued their work at sunrise. The twister cut a path nearly six miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town. Sirens gave residents about a 20-minute warning before the tornado touched down on the city’s west side. Much of the city’s south side was leveled, with churches, schools, businesses and homes reduced to ruins. Parts of the city are unrecognizable. Cars are stacked and strewn everywhere. Houses are piles of wreckage.

At least one person has died after a storm fueled three tornado touchdowns in the Minneapolis metropolitan area Sunday afternoon. A severe storm system rolled through the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area Sunday afternoon, toppling trees, ripping roofs from buildings and causing power outages. No injuries have been reported so far.

Flooding in Montana caused the cancellation of several high school graduations and fishermen were trapped by washed out roads on Saturday, while swelling rivers led to voluntary evacuations in a community near Billings. Much of the eastern two-thirds of the state is dealing with flood warnings or actual flooding as a slow-moving storm has dumped rain across the region for several days.

The Mississippi River crested Friday more than 14 feet above flood stage in Vicksburg on Thursday, slightly lower than expected. But officials warned that the flood was by no means over. The river was expected to stay at its crest for several days before beginning a long, slow retreat. It could remain above flood stage until mid-June. At least eight deaths in Arkansas have been attributed to flooding. The New Orleans area now warily awaits the dangerously large Mississippi River that has drowned towns from Missouri to Mississippi and is marching their way.

Barges broke free from a towboat and the swift Mississippi River current carried them into a bridge as America’s busiest inland waterway became even more challenging to traverse. The Coast Guard shut down a 5-mile stretch of the river until they could make sure the area was safe. The Coast Guard said there was no damage to the levees, but the scene was clear evidence of how challenging the bloated river has become to navigate. Officials say they plan to spend at least a week re-marking the river so cargo ships and barges can safely navigate the waterway.

Two landslides that hit a Malaysian orphanage killed 15 boys and one adult but nine people survived, police said Sunday after a nearly 15-hour rescue mission ended. The 25 people buried by the landslides were among 49 who were attending a motivational camp at the orphanage. Though it wasn’t raining when the landslides occurred Saturday afternoon, wet weather over the past few days was the cause.

Volcanoes

Iceland’s most active volcano has started erupting, scientists said Saturday — just over a year after another eruption on the North Atlantic island shut down European air traffic for days. The eruption was accompanied by a series of small earthquakes. The plume of smoke has reached jet flying altitude, so a no-fly zone has been designated for 120 nautical miles in all directions from the eruption. The volcano flung ash, smoke and steam miles into the air Sunday, dropping a thick layer of gray soot in an eruption far more forceful  than the one that grounded planes across Europe last year.

Earthquakes

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake partly collapsed some buildings and one mosque in western Turkey, , killing at least three people and injuring nearly 100 people. The quake that struck at 11:15 p.m. on Thursday, sent terrified residents running from their homes before midnight. Two people, including one who jumped out of a window in panic, were killed and another 79 people, including some who suffered injuries after jumping from balconies and windows and those who suffered from heart attacks or panic-related shock, were taken to hospitals

Wildfires

The Horseshoe2 fire in Arizona has now burned over 40,000 acres (about 62 square miles) with no containment thus far. Residences continue to be threatened and evacuations are in effect. Northeast of Bisbee near Portal, the wildfire was started by illegal aliens in the area of Burro Springs near the headwaters of Horseshoe Canyon  Border Patrol agents tracked four aliens to the very start of the fire. Horseshoe Fire #1 was started near the same spot almost exactly a year ago, also ignited by illegal aliens. In the last 3 years alone no less than 11 fires have been started by illegal aliens in the Chiracahua Mountains and the adjacent Peloncillo Mountains . Over 120,000 acres have burned. The cost to the American taxpayers to fight these fires is nearing $70 million.

Meanwhile, the Miller fire in New Mexico has now consumed over 81,000 acres (about 125 square miles), also with no reported containment. Four structures have been destroyed.

Middle East Betrayal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that U.S. President Barack Obama’s vision of a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 could leave the Jewish state “indefensible”. “The viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of Israel’s existence,” the Israeli leader said in a statement before flying to Washington for scheduled talks with Obama on Friday. Obama’s blunt language about the need to find an end to Israel’s occupation of Arab land gives Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a major boost in the on-again, off-again negotiations which fell apart last fall. Senior Palestinian officials say that negotiations with Israel have become pointless after Netanyahu rejected Obama’s call to base Mideast border talks on the pre-1967 war lines. Netanyahu’s stance strengthened the Palestinian resolve to bypass such talks, largely deadlocked since 2008, and seek recognition of a state at the U.N. instead.

ICEJ, a Jerusalem-based Messianic Jewish ministry dedicated to solidarity with Israel, says President Barack Obama has effectively destroyed the special relationship between Israel and the United States. Mike Evans, founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team, notes, “A war of biblical proportions is being fought between a Liberal Left president and his state department and the leaders of the nation of Israel. Never has Israel experienced as much pressure and attack by the U.S. government as it has now. Ancient prophecy and modern-day conspiracy are on a collision course.”

  • Obama continues to pull the rug out from under Israel, leaving it more and more isolated on the world stage. But those who curse Israel will ultimately be cursed by God, according to Scripture (Genesis 12:3)

Obama’s Offer of $2 Billion to Egypt Meets Resistance

President Obama’s call for $2 billion in loan assistance to Egypt has left many political figures scratching their heads as they try to figure out why a debt-ridden U.S. would commit that much money to a country whose new government may not end up friendly to America. The president said he wants the U.S. to forgive roughly $1 billion in debt owed by Egypt and to provide another $1 billion in loan guarantees to free up money for job-creation efforts there. But with the U.S. grappling with more than $14 trillion in debt and lawmakers fighting over the terms for increasing the nation’s own ability to borrow money, the president’s call to help Egypt faces stiff resistance in Congress. “Considering our own national debt, we cannot afford to forgive up to $1 billion of Egypt’s debt,” said Rep. Elena Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

  • Obama continues to try and curry favor with Muslim nations, but this will only come back to bite him in the end

Top Lawmakers Agree to Patriot Act Extension

Top congressional leaders agreed Thursday to a four-year extension of the anti-terrorist Patriot Act, the controversial law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks that governs the search for terrorists on American soil. The deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner calls for a vote before May 27, when parts of the current act expire. The idea is to pass the extension with as little debate as possible to avoid a protracted and familiar argument over the expanded power the law gives to the government. Support for the extension was unclear. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wanted tighter restrictions on the government’s power and may seek to amend it. In the House, members of the freshman class elected on promises of making government smaller were also skeptical. The provisions at issue allow the government to use roving wiretaps on multiple electronic devices and across multiple carriers and get court-approved access to business records relevant to terrorist investigations. The third, a “lone wolf” provision that was part of a 2004 law, permits secret intelligence surveillance of non-U.S. individuals without having to show a connection between the target and a specific terrorist group.

Minnesota Legislators Pass Gay Marriage Bill

The Minnesota House has signed off on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, meaning voters will decide the issue in 2012. After nearly six hours of emotional debate, the House voted 70-62 to approve the plan late Saturday. State law already prohibits gay marriage, but supporters of the proposed amendment say it’s necessary to prevent judges or future lawmakers from making it legal in Minnesota. The amendment would define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

A  recent Gallup poll shows 53 percent of Americans support making gay marriage legal, Reuters reports. The poll shows a significant change in mood on the issue from a year ago, when a majority opposed same-sex matrimony. The latest Gallup findings, Reuters reports, are in line with two earlier national polls this spring that show support for legally recognized gay marriage has gained a newfound majority among Americans.

  • God’s Kingdom is not a democracy. Majority opinion doesn’t change His laws. This is but another indicator of end-time lawlessness that will only increase as the Beast’s one-world government takes shape.

Feds Might Seize Private Retirement Savings

How long before Uncle Sam hits private pensions to balance the public budget? It’s quickly becoming a reasonable question to ask. As Congress squares off over a debt ceiling vote, Treasury is scrambling to find cash in the couch cushions. One of the ways it will scare up extra money is by putting off saving for the retirements of federal workers — in effect, short-term “borrowing” from public pension funds. By suspending investments into the civil service retirement and disability fund, as well as putting off reinvestments into another big retirement bucket known as the G-Fund, Treasury could “claw back” up to $202 billion, estimates Reuters. That sounds like a lot, but it’s just 10 percent of the $2 trillion the agency says it needs to stay afloat until after Election Day 2012, and it will have to be put back.

  • The debt load is becoming more dire every day. Creative financing will become the new watchword, fending off massive defaults through smoke and mirrors. But that will only delay the inevitable.

Economic News

Nearly two years after the economic recovery officially began, job creation continues to stagger at the slowest post-recession rate since the Great Depression. The nation has 5% fewer jobs today — a loss of 7 million — than it did when the recession began in December 2007. That is by far the worst performance of job generation following any of the dozen recessions since the 1930s. In the past, the economy recovered lost jobs in about 13 months on average after a recession. If this were a typical recovery, nearly 10 million more people would be working today than when the recession officially ended in June 2009.

Fewer people purchased previously occupied homes in April. Activity among first-time homebuyers increased and foreclosure sales declined, but those factors weren’t enough to signal a recovery in the weak housing market. The sales report came out as fixed mortgage rates continued to fall. Sales of previously occupied homes fell 0.8% in April while purchases made by first-time homebuyers rose 3%.Annual sales hit a record high of nearly 7.1 million homes in 2005. Since then, sales have fallen in four of the past five years before hitting a 13-year low last year.

President Ronald Reagan once famously said that a stack of $1,000 bills equivalent to the U.S. government’s debt would be about 67 miles high. That was 1981. Since then, the national debt has climbed to $14.3 trillion. In $1,000 bills, it would now be more than 900 miles tall. In $1 bills, the pile would reach to the moon and back – twice.

Amazon.com announced Friday that it’s now selling more electronic books through its Kindle e-readers than it is selling printed books. In addition, music CDs are getting hard to find as consumers download more and more of their music over the Internet. CD sales fell 19% in 2010 to $3.5 billion, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, and are down 8.8% this year. Meanwhile, sales for downloaded complete albums are up 16.8%, and downloaded tracks are up 9.6%.

Japan’s troubles are Detroit’s blessing when it comes to sales of new cars. America’s homegrown automaking giants are poised to pick up sales from Japanese brands facing growing shortages of popular new models after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Best of all for General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler Group, the shortages come as they have some of their freshest new model lineups for fuel-efficient cars and crossovers in years.

Japan

After two months tackling the beached ships, crushed cars and mountains of twisted debris left by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government has acknowledged that people have grown impatient with the protracted problems in dealing with the Fukushima plant and delays in revealing the full extent of damage. Only recently did TEPCO announce that three of the reactors had suffered a meltdown soon after the earthquake. The latest attempt to cool the No. 1 reactor was abandoned after radioactive leaks followed efforts to fill the containment chamber with water. Japan’s embattled government and the Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant, both promised to keep a deadline of January 2012 for achieving “cold shutdown” of the reactors.

Pakistan

Islamist militants attacked a naval base in the Pakistani city of Karachi late Sunday, rocking the base with fiery explosions in a daring raid by anti-government forces. Many ambulances were being held back because of the fighting inside the base that was still going on more than 2 1 / 2hours after the attack began. On Friday, a Taliban suicide bomber rammed his motorbike into an armored vehicle taking American officials to the U.S consulate in northwest Pakistan. Two Americans suffered minor injuries, but one Pakistani passer-by was killed and at least 10 others were wounded.

Afghanistan

Gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed a government building in eastern Afghanistan early Sunday and engaged in a shootout with Afghan security forces who surrounded the compound, officials said. At least three police officers were killed in ongoing fighting. On Saturday, a Taliban suicide bomber targeting NATO medical trainers infiltrated Kabul’s main military hospital and blew himself up in a tent full of Afghan medical students eating lunch, killing six and wounding 23. The blast, which thundered across the capital, came as the Taliban have stepped up attacks as part of a spring offensive against NATO, Afghan government installations and officials.

Iraq

A wave of early morning explosions in and around the Iraqi capital killed 16 people Sunday and for the third time this month, Iraqi security forces were the main target. Twin bombs that lured policemen out of their fortified headquarters in a northern Iraqi city killed 27 people Friday, most of them police officers. Scores were wounded in the double blasts in Kirkuk, and a third explosion 45 minutes later on a road to a city hospital brought the number of injured to at least 70.

British operations in Iraq are officially ending, more than eight years after the country joined the U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. Most British troops left the country in 2009, but a small naval force remained to train Iraqi sailors. That Royal Navy mission ended Sunday.

Iran

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry claimed Saturday that it has arrested at least 30 people allegedly linked to a CIA-run spy network in accusations that also could spill over into the country’s deepening political power struggles. The Intelligence Ministry is at the heart of a messy political showdown and could be seeking to boost its credentials as a front-line defender of the country. Last month, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad forced out the intelligence minister as part of government infighting, but the minister was immediately reinstated by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei’s loyalists warned Ahmadinejad he was on dangerous ground by challenging the ruling system.

Libya

NATO warplanes bombed command centers near Tripoli and in Libya’s southwest Saturday as part of a continuing effort to cut communications links between Moammar Gadhafi and his units on the battlefields. The alliance said its aircraft has flown more than 7,500 sorties since it took command of the aerial offensive, including nearly 3,000 strike missions. NATO jets pounded Libyan ports Thursday night, destroying eight of Moammar Gadhafi’s warships. NATO targeted the ships in Tripoli, Al-Khums and Sirte after it was apparent that Gadhafi’s forces were increasingly using naval vessels to launch attacks on civilians. As the fighting intensified last week, the rebel leadership in the east of the country said Thursday it was getting graphic reports of hospitals overwhelmed with casualties.

Syria

Syrian security forces opened fire on a funeral procession for slain anti-government protesters Saturday, pushing the number of people reported killed in a two-month uprising to more than 900. At least 21 people are dead after Syrian forces fired live rounds into crowds of protesters as thousands took to the streets for pro-democracy demonstrations Friday. Syria accused the United States of meddling Friday after President Barack Obama said that the Syrian president should lead his country to democracy or “get out of the way.” Syria’s official news agency said Obama’s speech amounted to “incitement.”

Christians in Syria fear the government’s violent crackdown on anti-government protesters, but they also fear a change from President Bashar Assad’s secular rule. Greg Mussleman with Voice of the Martyrs Canada says Christians in Syria know they won’t be getting a Christian president, “but at least there is some measure of religious freedom. If this government, as we know it, comes down now, it’s unknown, and it’ll likely be something worse than what they have now.” According to Mission News Network, Mussleman says Sunni Muslims form the majority in Syria. “With the more militant, radical elements of Islam, [they] will try to enforce Sharia law, and that will cause problems for Christians–similar to what happened in other parts of the Middle East.”

Yemen

A heavy gun battle erupted in Yemen’s capital Monday after embattle president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s own tribe — the country’s most powerful — defected to the opposition, the Associated Press reports. Yemen’s president said Saturday he will sign a proposal by Gulf Arab mediators for him to step down, but he condemned the deal as a “coup” and warned al-Qaida will take control of the country. Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has clung to power despite more than three months of daily protests and defections by military commanders and other allies, has pledged before to sign the deal only to back down at the last minute.

The American, British and European Union ambassadors to Yemen were trapped Sunday in an embassy surrounded by gunmen angry about efforts by Arab mediators to ease President Ali Abdullah Saleh out of power. U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein said the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates are also being prevented from leaving the UAE embassy.

Spain

Tens of thousands of people are defying a pre-election ban on demonstrations and protesting unemployment in squares around Spain in defiance of an order to quit at midnight. People are angry over Spain’s high unemployment rate and what they see as the national political parties’ ineptitude in dealing with a deep economic crisis. Protesters built a camp in Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square Sunday, a week ahead of nationwide elections. Many protesters have said they were influenced by recent pro-democracy uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.

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