Israel Attacked Second Day

Gaza militants launched barrages of rockets deep into Israel early Friday and Israeli aircraft struck targets in the Palestinian territory in the aftermath of the deadliest attack against Israelis in three years. Gunmen who appear to have originated in Gaza and crossed into southern Israel through the Egyptian desert ambushed civilian vehicles traveling on a remote road, killing eight people. Six were civilians, and two were members of Israeli security forces responding to the incursion. The sudden spike in violence threatened to upset the already frayed ties between Israel and Egypt and escalate the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Upcoming U.N. Palestinian Vote & Durban III Conference Target Israel

The Palestinian Authority has officially notified Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that they will seek UN recognition as an independent state on September 20. The Jerusalem Prayer Team reports, “Along with the upcoming UN vote on Palestinian statehood, September will also see the so-called Durban III Conference on Racism. This marks the 10th anniversary of the 2001 meeting held in Durban, South Africa. This ugly UN event was used by Muslims and anti-Semites from around the world to brand Israel as a racist nation rather than addressing actual racism. Three days later, terrorists struck America in the devastating 9/11 attacks. The first Durban conference set the stage for an effort that continues to this day to isolate and delegitimize Israel in the eyes of the world. Because of the bigoted hatred for the Jewish people at the first conference, Israel boycotted the second conference held in Geneva in 2009.

The timing of these two events—the UN vote and the Durban III Conference—is no coincidence. There is a coordinated attack against Israel taking place in both the natural and the spiritual realms. We MUST stand now for the Jewish people against the evil plot to steal their land, divide their capital city, and weaken them so that they can be destroyed. Understand this clearly—every nation and individual that supports this plan to curse Israel and steal from her the land God promised the Jews as an eternal possession will suffer His chastisement and judgment. Every nation and individual that opposes this plan and stands with Israel as a blessing to her will enjoy His blessing.”

Planned Parenthood to End Abortions at 7 Arizona Sites

Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest abortion provider, announced a sweeping cutback of abortion services in Arizona on Thursday, saying it will no longer offer the procedure in communities outside metro Phoenix and Tucson. The organization had been offering abortions at 10 of its 13 Arizona locations. Starting Friday, that will drop to three. Planned Parenthood eliminated the services after an Arizona appellate court last week upheld a 2009 state law that placed new restrictions on abortions in the state, including authorizing only physicians to perform surgical abortions. Previously, nurse practitioners and midwives could perform the procedure. A shortage of doctors in the state trained or willing to perform abortions has forced Planned Parenthood to reduce the number of locations where it can offer the service.

  • A wonderful victory for life

Feds to Review Deportation Cases to Cull Serious Crimes

The Obama administration announced today that it would review more than 300,000 pending deportations to focus on high-priority cases, such as illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes. Immigrant-rights groups hailed the decision as a major breakthrough that will protect illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Opponents said the new policy ignores immigration law and will allow people in the country illegally to stay so long as they do not commit serious crimes. DHS and the Department of Justice has created a working group to evaluate all pending deportation cases –- estimated to be more than 300,000 –- and would also screen all new cases. Under the guidelines, auditors would consider a person’s age when they arrived in the country, their criminal record, their education and whether they served in the military when determining whether to move forward with their deportation case.

Some legislators, led by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, have unsuccessfully tried to get Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would have granted legal status to some children of illegal immigrants who had completed high school in the U.S. and planned on attending college or joining the military. Those efforts have repeatedly failed, but they view Thursday’s decision as the next-best option. Republicans accuse the administration of giving illegal immigrants “backdoor amnesty” by fiat.

Iraqi Chaldean-Mexican Crime Ring Busted in San Diego

Federal and California authorities said today they have smashed a San Diego-area crime ring in which Iraqi refugees and one of Mexico’s biggest cartels teamed up to traffic drugs, assault weapons and explosives through a Chaldean syndicate in Detroit. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local police arrested 60 Iraqis late Wednesday at a Chaldean social club in El Cajon, a working-class city east of San Diego. Many of the suspects fled their homeland amid threats from al-Qaeda and other extremists, and some are suspected of being affiliated with the Chaldean Organized Crime Syndicate, an Iraqi gang based in Detroit, home to the nation’s largest Chaldean community. The Iraqis collaborated with the Sinaloa drug cartel.

‘Flash Mobs’ Pose Challenge to Police Tactics

Armed with cellphones and connected through Facebook, bands of young people have been rushing into stores to steal goods or assaulting bystanders in a spate of recent “flash mob” incidents across the USA. This week, surveillance cameras caught several dozen youths swarming into convenience stores in Germantown, Md., and Washington, D.C., and stealing armfuls of snacks and drinks as the store clerk looked on helplessly. How best to combat the technology-connected crimes — and how far police agencies should reach into private online and mobile phone access — are at the core of a growing debate among police officials, city leaders and civil rights activists. Everyone agrees: It’s uncharted territory for law enforcement. A recent survey of 106 retailers nationwide by the National Retailer Federation showed that 80% had experienced multiple-offender crimes in the past six months and one in 10 had been hit by a criminal flash mob.

  • Speaking of the end-times, Jesus said, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

SEC Accused of Squelching Wall Street Investigations

A former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer has told Congress the Wall Street regulator has routinely destroyed records of initial investigations over the past 20 years, obliterating evidence of possible financial crimes by some of the same firms and individuals involved in the 2008 meltdown, Rolling Stone reports. One top agency official estimated that 18,000 investigations were involved, including two aborted inquiries into the activities of Bernard Madoff, who in 2009 pleaded guilty to a $20 billion Ponzi scheme that sent him to prison for 150 years.Rolling Stone writes, “By whitewashing the files of some of the nation’s worst financial criminals, the SEC has kept an entire generation of federal investigators in the dark about past inquiries into insider trading, fraud and market manipulation against companies like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and AIG.”

Government Investigating Standard and Poor’s

The Justice Department is investigating whether the Standard & Poor’s credit ratings agency improperly rated dozens of mortgage securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The investigation began before Standard & Poor’s cut the United States’ AAA credit rating this month, but it’s likely to add to the political firestorm created by the downgrade, the newspaper said. Some government officials have since questioned the agency’s secretive process, its credibility and the competence of its analysts, claiming to have found an error in its debt calculations. The Justice Department is investigating instances in which the company’s analysts wanted to award lower ratings on mortgage bonds but may have been overruled by S&P business executives.

Obama in Fundraising Frenzy

President Obama has headlined 127 fundraising events for himself and others, significantly outpacing the fundraising activity of the previous five presidents during their first terms, new research obtained by USA TODAY shows. By comparison, President George W. Bush had held 88 fundraisers and President Clinton, 76, at this point in their first terms. n 2008, Obama collected a record $745 million and became the first major party nominee to reject money from the public-financing program since it began in 1976. So far, he has raised $46.3 million in the first three months of his official re-election campaign, more than the entire GOP field.

Economic News

A batch of disappointing economic reports and worries that the European debt crisis may be spreading deepened recession fears on Thursday. Reports on jobless claims, home sales and manufacturing in the Mid-Atlantic all fell short of economists’ estimates, while inflation was higher than forecast, raising the ugly specter of stagflation — or slow growth and rising prices.

The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits jumped 9,000 to 408,000 last week. Meanwhile, existing-home sales slipped 3.5% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.7 million.

In Europe, stocks plunged on fears that a debt crisis in countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy could spread as lending dries up and banks struggle to get access to capital.

Oil prices fell near $79 a barrel in Asia, extending a major sell-off fueled by investor fears that slowing global growth will undermine demand for crude.

Libya

Steadily advancing Libyan rebels have captured an oil refinery within 30 miles of the capital Tripoli, according to reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and the BBC. “We have full control over the Zawiya oil refinery, and we have liberated the whole city except two main streets,” Col. Ali Ahrash told the AP. It is the closest rebel forces have gotten to the capital since the civil war broke out in February. An international body said on Friday it would mount an operation, probably by sea, to evacuate thousands of foreigners trapped in Tripoli by rebel advances that have put Moammar Gadhafi’s capital under siege.

Syria

Syrian rights activists said security forces killed at least 16 people on Friday during the first mass protest since President Bashar al-Assad said military operations against demonstrators had ended. Thousands of Syrians took to the streets across the country on Friday calling for the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad, keeping up the pressure on him in the five-month-old uprising one day after an alliance of nations led by the United States publicly called on him for the first time to step down.

Pakistan

A bomb exploded in a mosque in a Pakistani tribal region as hundreds were gathered for prayers Friday, killing at least 40 people and wounding 85 others in the first major attack in the country during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The bomb went off in Ghundi, a village in the Khyber tribal region, a part of Pakistan’s tribal belt. Khyber has long been a base for Islamist militants, and the Pakistani army has waged multiple operations aimed at pacifying the region but with limited success. Khyber also is a key region for the U.S. and NATO, because a large portion of non-lethal supplies heading to U.S. forces in Afghanistan passes through it.

Afghanistan

Suicide attackers stormed a British compound in the Afghan capital on Friday, killing at least 10 people in a five-hour gunfight on the anniversary of the country’s independence from Britain. At least three insurgents fought from a secure bunker inside the compound with rifles and rocket propelled grenades. A spokesman for the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the British Council in the western part of Kabul. The dead included eight Afghan policemen, a security guard whose nationality was not immediately known and an Afghan municipal worker. Britain’s Foreign Office said all insurgents involved in the attack were killed.

Turkey/Iraq

Turkey’s air force attacked 28 suspected Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq, the military said Friday, in a second day of cross-border strikes in retaliation for stepped up attacks by the guerrillas. Nearly 100 rounds of artillery also were fired as the warplanes bombed sites on Thursday in the largely mountainous areas just across the border with Iraq as well as on Mount Qandil on the Iraqi-Iranian border. In Wednesday’s attacks, the air force targeted 60 sites in northern Iraq, which rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, use as a springboard for hit-and-run attacks in Turkey. In Iraq, PKK spokesman Ahmed Danis said nine Turkish warplanes bombed areas around the Iraqi provinces of Sulaimaniyah, Irbil and Dahuk near Turkey’s border, and that the targets were “former rebel bases.” He said, “Our fighters left these bases a while ago and now they are in constant mobility. Therefore there were no casualties.”

Earthquakes

A magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck off Japan’s northeastern coast Friday, triggering a tsunami advisory that was later lifted. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in the temblor, which rattled the area devastated earlier this year by a massive quake and tsunami. The quake was centered about 185 miles northeast of Tokyo and at a depth of 12 miles, slightly south of where the magnitude-9.0 temblor struck March 11, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.

Weather

A giant wall of dust rolled through the Phoenix area on Thursday for the third time since early July — turning the sky brown, creating dangerous driving conditions and delaying some airline flights. Some incoming and departing flights at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport were delayed about 40 minutes because of the storm. A powerful thunderstorm packing winds of up to 60 mph hit Pinal County and pushed the dust storm toward Arizona’s most populous county. There were several reports of downed poles. Salt River Project officials said that at the peak of the storm 3,500 of its customers were without electricity, mostly in the Queen Creek area southeast of Phoenix.

The death toll from a fierce thunderstorm that mangled tents and downed trees and scaffolding at an open-air music festival in Belgium has risen to five, officials said Friday. About 40 were injured, 11 of them seriously. Organizers canceled the annual Pukkelpop festival near Hasselt, 50 miles east of Brussels. Buses and trains were pressed into service to transfer the 60,000 festival goers home. The brief but violent thunderstorm on Thursday evening tore down concert tents, several trees and main stage scaffolding. Panicked concertgoers ran through fields of mud looking for shelter.

Increasing temperatures are pushing plant and animal species to move uphill and northward at much faster rates than scientists realized. A study published in today’s edition of the journal Science finds that, overall, species are moving to higher elevations at 36 feet per decade and higher latitudes at 10.5 miles per decade. The rate is two or three times faster than when it was last measured, in 2003. For the most part, it’s not that animals are walking, hopping or winging their way north, Thomas says. Rather, individuals at a species’ southernmost range are breeding less successfully while individuals in that same species’ northernmost range are breeding more successfully. The result is that the entire species moves north.

 

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