Christians Flee as Radical Islam Spreads in ‘New Middle East’

Attacked by mobs and terrorists, repressed by the growing popularity of fundamentalist Islamic law and cut off from crucial business ties, Christians are fleeing the Middle East in an unprecedented exodus. More than half of Iraqi Christians — an estimated 400,000 people — have left that country over the last decade as power has fallen in the hands of increasingly hostile Shi’a Islamic leaders. In Egypt, home to at least 8 million Copt Christians — a number that exceeds the populations of Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Tunisia — at least 95,000 Christians have emigrated since March 2011. The number could reach 250,000 by the end of this year, reports the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights. At the present rate, the Middle East’s 12 million Christians will likely drop to 6 million by the year 2020.

Push for ‘Personhood’ Amendment New Strategy in Abortion Fight

A constitutional amendment facing voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8, and similar initiatives brewing in half a dozen other states including Florida and Ohio, would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder. With this far-reaching anti-abortion strategy, the proponents of what they call personhood amendments hope to reshape the national debate. “I view it as transformative,” said Brad Prewitt, a lawyer and executive director of the Yes on 26 campaign, which is named for the Mississippi proposition. “Personhood is bigger than just shutting abortion clinics; it’s an opportunity for people to say that we’re made in the image of God.” Many doctors and women’s health advocates say the proposals would cause a dangerous intrusion of criminal law into medical care, jeopardizing women’s rights and even their lives.

Vatican Calls for Global Authority on Economy

The Vatican called Monday for radical reform of the world’s financial systems, including the creation of a global political authority to manage the economy. A proposal by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace calls for a new world economic order based on ethics and the “achievement of a universal common good.” It follows Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 economic encyclical that denounced a profit-at-all-cost mentality as responsible for the global financial meltdown. The proposal suggests the reform process begin with the United Nations as a “point of reference.”

  • Great, now the Vatican has publicly joined forces with the New World Order in calling for the one-world government that Revelation 13 shows will usher in the anti-Christ.

Authorities Losing Patience With Wall Street Protesters

Police guarded newly cleared plazas early Wednesday in Atlanta and Oakland, Calif., after clearing Occupy Wall Street protest camps in both cities. Dozens of demonstrators were arrested in swift crack-downs by riot squads after local authorities lost patience with the rallies. Helicopters hovered and trained spotlights on downtown Atlanta as police in riot gear moved into a small city park just after midnight and arrested more than 50 protesters who had been there in tents for about two weeks. Authorities in cities around the country have started losing patience as protesters prepare to settle in for winter in camps without running water or working toilets. Businesses and residents near New York’s Zuccotti Park, the unofficial headquarters of the movement that began in mid-September, are demanding something be done to discourage the hundreds of protesters from urinating in the street and making noise at all hours.

The former New York office for ACORN, the disbanded community activist group, is playing a key role in the self-proclaimed “leaderless” Occupy Wall Street movement, organizing “guerrilla” protest events and hiring door-to-door canvassers to collect money under the banner of various causes while spending it on protest-related activities, sources tell The former director of New York ACORN, Jon Kest, and his top aides are now busy working at protest events for New York Communities for Change (NYCC). Sources said NYCC has hired about 100 former ACORN-affiliated staff members from other cities – paying some of them $100 a day – to attend and support Occupy Wall Street. Dozens of New York homeless people recruited from shelters are also being paid to support the protests, at the rate of $10 an hour, the sources said.

  • These paid squatters are nothing like the Tea Party whose public protests are respectful of property

Opposition to Obama’s Religious Voter Outreach Efforts

Following a Democratic National Committee announcement last week of new efforts to conduct religious voter outreach in support of President Obama in the 2012 election, Family Research Council Action president Tony Perkins disputed the efforts, responding that Obama would likely find little support among Christian voters, the Christian Newswire reports. A Barna Research survey shows that Obama only has a 6-percent favorability rating among evangelicals, and Perkins said: “Real outreach would be defending life and marriage. It means encouraging the freedom of religion over the freedom of worship. And most importantly, real outreach is not only mastering the language of faith but giving it voice in public policy.”

Immigrants Find Legal Path to U.S. Long, Difficult

Many newcomers to the United States find it difficult to go through the legal process of immigration. Few visa categories, high expenses and processing times that can stretch decades put several obstacles along the legal road to immigration. Immigrants traditionally take two paths to reaching this country: Family ties or employment opportunities. The federal government caps family-based immigration visas at 226,000 a year, and work-based immigration visas at 140,000. By comparison, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates Alabama alone had 120,000 unauthorized immigrants in 2010. Temporary nonimmigrant visas are available but often require applicants to possess particular skills or resources to qualify. Those considered unskilled have a more difficult time.

Take a man from the Philippines with brother who holds U.S. citizenship. If he wants to immigrate but has no advanced degrees or special skills, the man could have his brother file a petition for an F4 visa, capped at 65,000 a year. The family will have to wait for a number to be assigned to the case before the visa application can be processed. That wait is currently 23 years. If the family is from Mexico, the wait time is 15 years; wait times in China and India are now at 11 years.

Northern Lights Make Appearance Further South

The phenomenon known as the Northern Lights, or the aurora borealis, made a rare appearance as far south as Kentucky, Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Arkansas. A solar wind made the colorful sight visible much further south than normal A strong compression in the magnetic field around the earth allowed electrically charged particles from the solar wind to penetrate to within 22,000 miles of the earth.

New Rules Could Help Underwater Homeowners Refinance

Almost 1 million more homeowners over the next two years might be able to refinance their mortgages and save hundreds of dollars a month under the Obama Administration’s latest fix to one of its underused foreclosure prevention programs. The changes announced Monday are intended to benefit homeowners who have continued to make mortgage payments, even as home values have sunk, but lack at least 20% equity to refinance and take advantage of today’s low interest rates. The revisions could also help some owners who are underwater, owing more than their homes are worth. The administration says eligible homeowners could save about $2,500 a year in house payments, providing a small boost to an ailing economy if that money is spent elsewhere.

  • Nice idea, small payback to economy

Government Job Losses Add Strain on Recovery

Conservative Republicans have long clamored for government downsizing. They’re starting to get it – by default. Crippled by plunging tax revenues, state and local governments have shed over half-a-million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. And, after adding jobs early in the downturn, the federal government is now cutting them, as well. States cut 49,000 jobs over the past year and localities 210,000, according to an analysis of Labor Department statistics. There are 30,000 fewer federal workers now than a year ago – including 5,300 Postal Service jobs canceled last month. By contrast, private-sector jobs have increased by 1.6 million over the past 12 months.

Economic News

A consensus of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News estimates the economy grew at a still-modest 2.5% annual pace last quarter, up from their 1.8% projection less than two weeks ago. The brighter picture follows better-than-expected data on retail sales, manufacturing, jobs and business investment. That’s not robust, but it beats the anemic expansion of less than 1% the first half of 2011.

Companies ordered more heavy machinery, computers and other long-lasting manufactured goods in September, a positive sign for the sluggish economy. Outside of the volatile transportation category, orders rose 1.7%. And orders for core capital goods, a measure of business investment plans, rose 2.4%.Durable goods are products expected to last at least three years.

Sales of new homes rose in September after four straight monthly declines, largely because builders cut their prices. sales rose 5.7% last month from August, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 homes. Still, that’s less than half the 700,000 economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market. The median sale price of a new home fell 3.1% to $204,400.

The nation’s richest citizens almost tripled their incomes between 1979 and 2007 as the inequality of the distribution of wealth in the United States expanded. The top 1 percent saw their inflation-adjusted, after-tax earnings grow by 275 percent during that period, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Those at the other end of the spectrum, whose earnings put them in the bottom 20 percent of incomes, saw an 18 percent increase. The average increase for all households was 62 percent.

Directorships, already among the best-paying part-time jobs in Corporate America, are becoming even more lucrative. Fortune 500 directors will receive median pay of nearly $234,000 in 2011. That’s a 10% jump from the 2010 median of $212,500. Apple directors averaged more than $984,000 in 2010, while Occidental Petroleum directors averaged nearly $420,000 – more fuel for the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Tuition and fees at America’s public colleges rose more than 8% this year as a weakened economy and severe cuts in state funding took their toll. Public four-year universities charged residents an average of $8,244, up 8.3% from last year, while public two-year schools charged an average of $2,963, up 8.7%.That increase is more than double the inflation rate of 3.6% between July 2010 and July 2011.

Travel on U.S. roadways through the first eight months of this year is down 1.3% from a year ago — or 26 billion vehicle miles — and has reached the lowest levels since 2003. The Northeast saw the biggest drop in August, falling 2.2% compared with a year ago; the West, in comparison, fell just 1.2%.Higher gas prices likely played a part in the decline. On Aug. 1, a gallon of regular ran $3.68 nationally, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. That’s up $1 from early August 2010.

The German parliament has overwhelmingly backed plans to increase the firepower of the eurozone’s rescue fund. Lawmakers voted 503-89 with four abstentions in favor of leveraging the euro440 billion ($610 billion) bailout fund to make it more effective. That sends Chancellor Angela Merkel to a European Union summit in Brussels Wednesday with a strong mandate to seal a deal.

The bailout of European financial institution Dexia highlights the fragility of banks worldwide, including in the U.S., experts say. Dexia’s trading partners include U.S. institutions Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, the New York Times reports, and have taken steps to limit their exposure to Dexia and to protect themselves from further problems in Europe as a whole.


Daphne Leef, whose inability to find affordable housing in Tel Aviv sparked the ‘tent city’ protest movement which quickly became a nationwide phenomenon this summer, held a press conference in Rabin Square Tuesday morning in which she urged her fellow Israelis to a renewal of protests and a “national strike” to draw attention to the high cost of living in the Jewish State. The strike, scheduled for 1 November, is meant to include “all citizens across the country, pupils, students and workers, on strike for one day, as an act of protest against the difficult social situation in the State of Israel and the government’s outrageous disregard for the protest wave.”


Libyans continued to celebrate their independence in Tripoli on Monday, and in Misrata, they lined up to see the corpse of Moammar Gadhafi which was then buried in a modest Islamic service at a secret desert location. In Sirte, where the dictator and his regime met its end at the hands of rebel forces, some people were not in a joyous mood. Sirte is a ghost town now. Hardly a building does not bear at least a few bullet holes, and many have partially collapsed from the intensive artillery battles that went on for a month. Opposition Leaders also announced that they would soon implement Sharia law which enforces strict Islamic codes of conduct.


Islamists on Monday claimed victory in Tunisia’s first democratic election, sending a message to other states in the region that long-sidelined Islamists are challenging for power after the “Arab Spring.” Official results from Sunday’s vote have not been announced, but the Ennahda party said its workers had tallied the figures from results posted at polling stations around the country. Mindful that some people in Tunisia and elsewhere see Islamists as a threat to modern, liberal values, the party official stressed Ennahda would wield its power in a responsible and inclusive way.

  • Yeah, right. Watch for increased Christian persecution and exclusion, a direct consequence of Sharia law which gives infidels second-class citizenship.


Yemeni women defiantly burned their traditional veils Wednesday in protest of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s brutal crackdown on anti-government demonstrations. Thousands of women gathered in the capital, Sanaa, and collected their veils and scarves in a huge pile and set it ablaze — an act that is highly symbolic in the conservative Islamic nation, where women use their veils to cover their faces. Inspired by Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman’s Nobel Peace Prize this month, more and more Yemeni women have taken to the streets and escalated their campaign for help from the international community.


A bomb hidden inside a fuel truck in a central Afghan province exploded Tuesday as scores of people gathered around the vehicle to collect fuel that was leaking, killing at least five in a blast that shattered a period of relative quiet in the war-ravaged nation. About 45 others were wounded. The explosion occurred in Parwan province, about 25 miles north of the capital, Kabul. The al-Qaida and Taliban-linked Haqqani network, which operates out of Pakistan, have been blamed for many of the recent spectacular attacks in and around Kabul.


Afghanistan would support Pakistan in case of military conflict between Pakistan and the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an interview to a private Pakistani TV channel broadcast on Saturday. Despite months of tension and tough talk between Washington and Islamabad, the two allies appear to be working to ease tension and such a war is unlikely. However, the declaration reveals the ongoing solidarity between Muslim nations which supersedes all other political motives and agendas.


Thailand’s military said more than a dozen coordinated bomb attacks in the country’s insurgency-plagued south Tuesday killed at least three people and injured dozens. Suspected Muslim insurgents put bombs at 16 locations across the southern town of Yala, including a school, shops and hotels. Authorities defused five of the bombs. More than 4,700 people have been killed in Thailand’s southernmost Muslim-dominated provinces since an Islamic insurgency flared in 2004.


Sudan’s president has confirmed plans to adopt an entirely Islamic constitution and strengthen sharia law, raising the threat level for Christians and other non-Muslims in the country. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said last that the Republic of Sudan will become a “Muslim state”. Sudan’s current constitution theoretically grants freedom of religion, recognizing that the state is “multi-religious”, though in practice non-Muslims face severe discrimination and persecution. With the secession of South Sudan, Sharia and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language of north Sudan.


Grenade blasts at a blue-collar bar and a crowded bus stop rattled Nairobi, as the country worried whether al-Qaida-linked militants from Somalia were carrying out their promise to launch reprisal attacks in Kenya’s capital. The Somali group al-Shabab had promised to unleash terror attacks in Nairobi in retaliation for Kenyan troops’ invasion of Somalia in mid-October. Al-Shabab is loosely affiliated with al-Qaida and has carried out several sophisticated suicide attacks, including a bombing that killed more than 100 in Somalia’s capital earlier this month and an attack in Uganda’s capital that killed 76 people in July 2010.


A 2-week-old baby girl and her mother were pulled alive from the rubble of an apartment building on Tuesday in a dramatic rescue, nearly 48 hours after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake toppled some 2,000 buildings in eastern Turkey. Authorities have warned survivors of the quake that killed at least 461 people not to enter damaged buildings and thousands spent a second night outdoors in cars or tents in near-freezing conditions, afraid to return to their homes. Some 1,300 people were injured. At least nine people were pulled from the rubble alive on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A moderate earthquake has shaken the northeastern Japanese prefecture where the much more massive earthquake and tsunami touched off the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl earlier this year. The magnitude-5.2 quake struck Fukushima prefecture overnight Wednesday  Its epicenter was on the coast near the town of Iwaki, 115 miles north of Tokyo. The quake was about 70 miles from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility. Another magnitude-5.3 quake later Wednesday hit 262 miles southwest of Tokyo, off the Japan coast.

Up to 20 million tons of tsunami debris floating from Japan could arrive on Hawaii’s shores by early 2013, before reaching the U.S. West Coast, according to estimates by University of Hawaii scientists. A Russian training ship spotted the junk — including a refrigerator, a television set and other appliances — in an area of the Pacific Ocean where the scientists from the university’s International Pacific Research Center predicted it would be. The biggest proof that the debris is from the Japanese tsunami is a fishing boat that’s been traced to the Fukushima Prefecture, the area hardest hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.


Advancing floodwaters in Thailand breached barriers protecting Bangkok’s second airport Tuesday, halting commercial flights at a complex that also houses the country’s flood relief headquarters and thousands of displaced people. The flooding at Don Muang airport, which is primarily used for domestic flights, is one of the biggest blows yet to government efforts to prevent the sprawling capital from being swamped. Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, the country’s main international gateway, has yet to be affected by flooding and flights there were operating normally. Most of the city has been spared inundation so far.

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