Signs of the Times (9/18/15)

One Christian Martyred Every 5 Minutes

According to Relevant, Christian Freedom International in a recently released video, a Christian is martyred every five minutes for their faith somewhere in the world. The video was released in preparation for the International Day of Prayer on November 8. Relevant reports that more Christians have been martyred for their faith in the 20th and 21st centuries than in the previous 19 centuries combined. More than 200 million Christians face persecution worldwide in 105 countries out of 190 around the world. Open Doors has released a global map, detailing the countries in which Christians face the most persecution. Number one on the list is North Korea, followed by Somalia and Iraq. Nearly all of the 50 countries listed are either in the Middle East or in Africa.

  • When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (Revelation 6:9-11)

Christians Fight against Teaching of Islam in Public Schools

A report from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) says that US students in public schools are being forced to learn how to convert to Islam. “It’s Islamic indoctrination right here in our schools,” ACLJ said. According to Christian Today, Brandee Porterfield, a parent, said her seventh grade daughter is learning about Islam as part of her world history class in Maury County, Tenn. “They did this assignment where they wrote out the Five Pillars of Islam, including having the children learn and write the Shahada, which is the Islamic conversion creed,” she said. Porterfield said she asked school officials if there would be lessons on Judaism and Christianity, but the lessons only included Hinduism and Buddhism. Tennessee isn’t the only state teaching Islam culture. In Wisconsin, students were given an assignment to “pretend you are Muslim.” In Florida, students were asked to recite the Five Pillars of Islam.

  • Our youth indoctrination centers, (aka public schools) have banned Christianity on the basis of the separation of church and state but welcome the teaching of other religions. Can these progressive liberals not see the obvious hypocrisy? Sure they can, because their (and Satan’s) goal is to eliminate Christianity by any means necessary

Defiant Kim Davis Still Won’t Sign Marriage Licenses, but Won’t Stop Others

In returning to work Monday, Kim Davis, the embattled Kentucky county clerk at the center of the dispute over gay marriage, said she will continue to defy the Supreme Court order and will not authorize marriage licenses. Davis, the Rowan County clerk, said she will take no action against deputy clerks who issue licenses, but says the forms will not be under her name or authority. At least one deputy clerk in Rowan County, Brian Mason, has been issuing licenses since U.S. District Judge David Bunning jailed Davis on Sept. 3 for contempt of court. Bunning released Davis from jail Tuesday, six days later, on the condition that she does not interfere with her deputies issuing the licenses. Her attorneys, however, say the licenses issued in her absence — around 10, mostly for same-sex couples — are not valid without Davis’ authorization.

1.5 Million Muslim Immigrants have Relocated to U.S. Since 9/11

The rate of Muslim immigration has been increasing since September 11, 2001 reports Between 2001 and 2013, the United States permanently resettled 1.5 million Muslim immigrants throughout the United States. Unlike illegal immigrants, legal immigrants granted lifetime resettlement privileges will be given automatic work permits, welfare access, and the ability to become voting citizens. In 2013 alone, 117,423 migrants from Muslim-majority countries were permanently resettled within the United States— having been given lawful permanent resident status. Additionally in 2013, the United States voluntarily admitted an extra 122,921 temporary migrants from Muslim countries as foreign students and foreign workers as well as 39,932 refugees from Muslim countries. Experts believe these numbers will only continue to increase with hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees currently seeking asylum.

  • Granted that most Muslims are good, peace-loving people, but they also have the highest proportion of militants than any other people group (are there any Christian militants?). The Boston bombers were migrants.

Migrants Seek Different Routes after Hungary Closes Border

Hungarian riot police officers fired water cannons and tear gas on Wednesday after hundreds of migrants tried to break through a gate at the newly reinforced border between Serbia and Hungary. Military helicopters hovered overhead. Hungary announced that police officers had detained 519 people for illegal entry or damaging a border fence since new rules came into force a day earlier. Hungary’s decision to seal its borders and press criminal charges against migrants continued to reverberate across Europe, sending thousands of people on alternative routes through Croatia and other countries to reach Germany and other points in Western Europe. Croatia’s prime minister promised them safe passage, as long as they were only passing through the country. But on Thursday, they too closed their borders as thousands of refugees sought refuge.

Report Cites Antibiotics in Fast Food Meat Supply

A new report is sounding the alarm about the use of antibiotics in the meat and poultry supply chains of the 25 largest U.S. fast food and “fast casual” restaurants. Most top U.S. restaurant chains have no publicly available policy to limit regular use of antibiotics in their meat and poultry supply chains, according to the “Chain Reaction” report by Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council and four other consumer interest, public health and environmental organizations. Chipotle and Panera Bread fared best, with both receiving A’s. Those restaurants are the only two that report serving a majority of their meat from animals raised without regular use of antibiotics, the report said. Chick-fil-A received a grade of B, and responded to the rating by noting that it was “the first in the quick service restaurant industry to announce a commitment to ‘No Antibiotics Ever’ in its chicken supply back in 2014.

‘”When livestock producers administer antibiotics routinely to their flocks and herds, bacteria can develop resistance, thrive and even spread to our communities, contributing to the larger problem of antibiotic resistance,” the authors wrote in the report, which was released Tuesday. “The worsening epidemic of resistance means that antibiotics may not work when we need them most: when our kids contract a staph infection (MRSA), or our parents get a life-threatening pneumonia.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have repeatedly warned about the not-far-off public health threat of antibiotic resistance. The CDC estimates at least 2 million Americans contract antibiotic-resistant infections every year, and that 23,000 die as a result.

Economic News

Stocks tumbled at the open Friday a day after the Federal Reserve opted not to hike interest rates. Citing global economic weakness and financial market turmoil, the Federal Reserve agreed Thursday to keep its benchmark interest rate near zero despite the rapidly improving U.S. labor market. But the Fed policymakers’ forecast indicates they still expect to bump up the federal funds rate this year for the first time in nearly a decade, with meetings scheduled for October and December. Their projections, however, show they expect to raise it even more gradually over the long-term than they previously signaled.

Inflation remained modest in August as gasoline prices fell sharply, giving the Federal Reserve another reason to delay a hike in interest rates at a key meeting that began Wednesday. The consumer price index dipped 0.1%, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, so-called core prices that the Fed monitors closely picked up a tepid 0.1%. Prices are up a meager 0.2% over the past year. Gasoline prices tumbled 4.1%, while used cars and trucks fell 0.4% and airline fares dropped 3.1% after a 5.6% decline in July. Offsetting those were a 0.2% rise in food prices, and 0.3% increase in both rent and apparel costs.

The number of people without health insurance dropped last year by 8.8 million, to a total of 33 million, but there was no statistically significant change in income for the typical American household, the Obama administration said Wednesday. Median household income in the United States was $53,660 last year, virtually unchanged from 2013. In addition, it said, there was no meaningful change in the official poverty rate — 14.8 percent in 2014. About 46.7 million people were in poverty, the bureau said. This was the fourth consecutive year in which the number of people in poverty was not statistically different from the prior year.

Hewlett Packard said Tuesday afternoon that 25,000 to 30,000 people will leave the enterprise division as part of a planned spinoff. The cuts, meant to cut $2.7 billion in annual costs, represent about 10% of the company’s total workforce of 302,000 employees. HP has cut jobs for three years in a row including a 5.1% cut in fiscal 2012, 4% cut in fiscal 2013 4.8% in fiscal 2014. Even so, HP is still the third biggest tech employer.

General Motors agreed to pay a $900 million fine and accept two criminal charges to resolve a Justice Department investigation into its handling of a deadly ignition-switch blamed for more than 120 deaths. Federal prosecutors said in a court filing Thursday that GM had agreed to accept a wire-fraud charge and a charge for “engaging in a scheme to conceal a deadly safety defect” from regulators.

Middle East

Tensions were simmering in Jerusalem’s Old City and adjacent neighborhoods Wednesday following a third straight day of disturbances on the Temple Mount. “For the third straight day Arabs rioted and attempted to attack police and visitors when visiting hours for non-Muslims began in the morning,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. “Police used non-lethal stun grenades to disperse the rioters, who fled into Al-Aksa Mosque, which police did not enter. Security assessments have been made and extra units have been called in to ensure no more attacks take place in the Old City or on the Temple Mount.” Declarations by Israeli officials that they are protecting freedom of worship for all on the Temple Mount have been ignored by Arab governments which have condemned Israel for “storming a Moslem holy site” and Western governments which have expressed “grave concern” and urged “all sides to refrain from an escalation” of the situation.

A bus travelling through the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras el-Amoud was attacked by stone and gasoline bomb throwing Palestinian youths on Thursday night. The driver of the otherwise empty bus escaped with light injuries but the vehicle was destroyed. Security forces were taking no chances on an escalation of violence in the Capital Friday amidst calls by several Palestinian leaders for a “Day of Rage” to protest Israeli security measures on the Old City’s Temple Mount. Around 800 additional police officers have been mobilized and deployed to the capital and Moslem men under 40 are being barred from ascending the Temple Mount.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement Wednesday regarding the recent round of rioting on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City saying, “Al-Aksa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet. We won’t allow them to do so and we will do whatever we can to defend Jerusalem. There will be no Palestinian state without Jerusalem. We are in Jerusalem and we will stay in it to defend our Islamic and Christian holy sites. We’re not going to leave our country. Each drop of blood that was spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it’s for the sake of Allah. Every shahid (martyr) will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded, by Allah’s will.”

  • Interesting how Abbas plays the Christian card when it suits his purposes. Otherwise, Christianity is also in the Islamic crosshairs for ultimate elimination


A brazen Taliban attack on a Pakistani military base on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar killed 20 people on Friday, including 16 worshippers who were gunned down when the militants stormed a mosque inside the compound during prayers. The attack triggered an hours-long firefight at the base and Pakistani forces said they killed 13 of the attackers. The attack was a major blow for Pakistan’s military, which stepped up operations against the militants following a horrific Taliban attack last December at a Peshawar school that killed 150 people, mostly children. It also underscored the ability of the militants to stage spectacular attacks on targets linked to the country’s military and government.


The government of Iran released five senior members of Al Qaeda earlier this year, including the man who stepped in to serve as the terrorist group’s interim leader immediately after Osama bin Laden’s death, and who is the subject of a $5 million bounty, according to an American official who had been briefed on the matter. Iran’s release of the five men was part of a prisoner swap in March with Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, the group holding an Iranian diplomat, Nour Ahmad Nikbakht. Mr. Nikbakht was kidnapped in the Yemeni capital of Sana in July 2013. The American official, who was granted anonymity to discuss the matter, confirmed the release of Saif al-Adl, a senior member of Al Qaeda’s ruling body, known as the Shura Council, who oversaw the organization immediately after bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs in Pakistan in 2011. Analysts tracking Al Qaeda described the release as alarming, given the seniority of the five men. It comes at a time when much of the organization’s leadership has been lost in back-to-back airstrikes… The release of the men could re-energize the militant group, providing an influx of vetted leaders at a crucial time, terrorism experts say.


Bombs exploded in two churches in Nepal’s easternmost Jhapa district at around 11:30 p.m. on Monday, September 14, only hours after the country’s constituent assembly (CA) overwhelmingly rejected proposals to make Nepal a Hindu state. More bombs were planted in two other church buildings but did not explode inside. No one was injured in the explosions at the churches in Damak-10 and Khajurgachi, but the church buildings were damaged. A bomb taken from a church in Surunga exploded at a police station after police removed it from the church building. Three police officers were seriously hurt in the blast. Over two-thirds of the lawmakers voted to reject appeals from the Hindu nationalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal (or National Democratic Party Nepal) to return the country to its Hindu status.


China appears to building a third airstrip in disputed waters in the South China Sea, according to new satellite images analyzed by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The images, taken September 8, come after China pledged to bring land reclamation in those waters to a halt, and will make for uncomfortable discussions when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Washington next week. The South China Sea is the subject of numerous rival — often messy — territorial claims, with China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam disputing sovereignty of several island chains and nearby waters.


Nearly half of the world’s fish have been lost since 1970. The global marine life population is reaching a dangerously low level according to a new report from The World Wide Fund for Nature and the Zoological Society of London. The study published this week indicates that marine mammals, birds, fish and reptiles declined by 49 percent between 1970 and 2012. The decline included fish that are considered essential to the world food supply such as tuna, mackerel and bonito. Overfishing and climate change are seen as the root of the staggering decline. “Healthy seas are the bedrock of a functioning global economy,” said WWF Chief Advisor on Marine Policy Dr. Louise Heaps in a press release. “By overexploiting fisheries, degrading coastal habitats and not addressing global warming, we are sowing the seeds of ecological and economic catastrophe.”

A new study shows that air pollution is killing 3.3 million people each year and indicates that industrial farms are a major contributor to the problem. Researchers from Germany, Cyrups, Saudi Arabia and Harvard University joined forces for the report that makes some of the most detailed estimates ever recorded on the toll of air pollution. The group also looked to the future, determining that the yearly death rate could as much as double by 2050 if current trends fail to change. The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, used health statistics and computer models. About three quarters of the deaths are from strokes and heart attacks. About 6 percent of all global deaths each year occur prematurely due to exposure to ambient air pollution, more than HIV and malaria combined, the report claims. With nearly 1.4 million deaths a year, China has the most air pollution fatalities, followed by India with 645,000 and Pakistan with 110,000.


A powerful magnitude-8.3 earthquake hit off Chile’s northern coast Wednesday night, causing buildings to sway in Santiago and other cities and sending people running into the streets. Authorities said at least 12 people have died. Tsunami advisories were in effect for Hawaii and Southern California after the powerful magnitude-8.3 earthquake struck the Pacific Ocean waters just off the coast of Chile, generating a dangerous 15-foot tsunami along parts of the Chilean coast. A million people were evacuated following the quake Wednesday night, which sparked several aftershocks. The tsunami fanned out across much of the Pacific Ocean, though the worst of its power is expected to be focused westward toward Tahiti. Nuku Hiva, a French Polynesian island about 1,000 miles north-northwest of Rikitea, measured a 4.5-foot tsunami wave height. The lead tsunami waves reached as far west as the Chatham Islands east of New Zealand’s two main islands Thursday morning U.S. time, where a 1.2 foot wave height was measured at Owenga.


Authorities have deemed it safe for some evacuated residents to return to their neighborhoods Wednesday and survey damage from a trio of northern California wildfires, but what they’ve found has been nothing short of complete destruction. About 23,000 residents of several small towns were given very little time to flee fast-moving wildfires that eventually claimed their homes. The Valley Fire has burned 67,200 acres and destroyed 720 homes with 9,000 structures threatened as of Wednesday and is 30% contained. Five persons have been killed inside burned homes. The Butte Fire has consumed 71,780 acres and burned 166 homes with 6,400 structures still threatened and is 40% contained. The Rough Fire has burned 139,531 acres and is 49% contained.


This week we’ve already seen the deadliest flash flood in Utah history, followed by one of the heaviest September rain events on record in Los Angeles and San Diego. Starting this weekend, the combination of upper-level low pressure several hundred miles southwest of Southern California and upper-level high pressure centered over the Rio Grande Valley of Texas will act like an atmospheric egg-beater, piping deep moisture northward toward the Desert Southwest. Some forecast guidance suggests the moisture content of the atmosphere early in the week ahead may approach record levels for the time of year in some parts of the Southwest.

On Tuesday, searchers found the seventh and final victim of a flash flood that tore through a slot canyon in Utah’s Zion National Park and wiped out an entire party of climbers. More than six-tenths of an inch fell over the park in less than an hour Monday afternoon, with flows in one of the tributaries to the Virgin River spiking from 50 cubic feet per second to more than 2,500 feet per second in one 15-minute period. At the time, the group was still inside Keyhole Canyon, a deep, narrow slot canyon popular for canyoneering, requiring rope rappels and swims through deep water. The group of climbers had been warned of the danger of flash flooding when they received an entry permit at 7:40 a.m.

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