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Vatican Accord With Palestine Comes Into Effect
Jan 3rd, 2016
Daily News
Reuters
Categories: The Nation Of Israel

Pope Francis (R) embraces Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the end of the ceremony for the canonisation of four nuns at Saint Peter's square in the Vatican City, May 17, 2015.    REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis (R) embraces Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the end of the ceremony for the canonisation of four nuns at Saint Peter's square in the Vatican City, May 17, 2015.
Reuters/Tony Gentile
 MILAN An agreement signed last year making the Vatican's de facto recognition of Palestine in 2012 official has come into effect, the Holy See said on Saturday.

The Vatican signed its first treaty with the "State of Palestine" last June when it called for moves to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and backed a two-state solution.

"... the Holy See and the State of Palestine have notified each other that the procedural requirements for (the accord's) entry into force have been fulfilled, the Vatican said in a statement on Saturday.

The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2012 recognizing Palestine as an observer non-member state. This was welcomed at the time by the Vatican, which has the same observer non-member status at the United Nations.

In October 2014, Sweden acknowledged Palestine, a decision that drew condemnation from Israel and led to tense relations between the two.

Israel has previously called the Vatican accord a hasty move that could damage prospects for advancing a peace agreement and impact its future diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

But the Holy See under Pope Francis is eager to have a greater diplomatic role in the Middle East, from where many Christians have fled because of conflicts in Syria, Iraq and other countries.

"The Agreement ... regards essential aspects of the life and activity of the Church in Palestine, while at the same time reaffirming the support for a negotiated and peaceful solution to the conflict in the region," the Vatican said.

Man's Lifespan
Jan 3rd, 2016
Daily News
www.wayoflife.org
Categories: Exhortation

About 3,500 years ago Moses wrote the following: "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away" (Psa. 90:10). According to the World Health Organization and the World Factbook, the worldwide average life expectancy at birth for 2010-2013 is 71 years. 

Let the Headlines Speak
Jan 3rd, 2016
Daily News
From the Internet
Categories: Today's Headlines

Vatican accord with Palestine comes into effect
An agreement signed last year making the Vatican's de facto recognition of Palestine in 2012 official has come into effect, the Holy See said on Saturday. The Vatican signed its first treaty with the "State of Palestine" last June when it called for moves to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and backed a two-state solution.  

As U.S. abortion case looms, both sides seek personal touch
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear its first abortion case in nearly a decade, both sides have been quietly gathering vivid personal accounts from women to supplement the dry legal arguments... The case, which arises from a challenge to new Texas regulations covering clinics and physicians that perform abortions, could have broad political repercussions in a presidential election year.  

Oregon: Armed protest at US wildlife building
Armed protesters have occupied a US government building in Oregon to support father and son ranchers who have been ordered to return to jail. Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven, 46, were convicted of arson in 2012 but a court ruled their original sentences were too short. They said they lit the fires to reduce the growth of invasive species and protect their land from wildfires.  

Deadly IS attack on Iraq ex-US Camp Speicher base
At least 12 members of the Iraqi security forces have been killed in a suicide bomb attack on the former US base of Camp Speicher, outside Tikrit. There were reports of about five bombers at the camp's western gates. So-called Islamic State (IS) said it carried out the attack. Most of the dead were police recruits.  

Death toll in Indian base attack rises to 6 troops, 4 gunmen
Officials say that the number of troops killed in an attack on an Indian air force base has risen to six after four soldiers succumbed to injuries sustained in the hourslong gunbattle near the border with Pakistan. Four suspected militants were also killed in the fighting.  

Iranian Protesters Damage Saudi Embassy in Tehran After Execution
Protesters in Iran, angered by the execution by Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shiite cleric, broke into the Saudi embassy in Tehran early Sunday, setting fires and throwing papers from the roof, Iranian media reported.  

China Lands Test Flight in Disputed Island Chain
China said it had landed a test flight on a newly completed airfield in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, a sign of its growing military capabilities in the region.  

Police hunt for gunman after deadly Tel Aviv pub attack
Israeli security forces pressed a manhunt Saturday for the Arab Israeli suspected of killing two people and wounding seven others at a Tel Aviv pub, with the motive still unknown.  

Drought-stricken California braces for El Niño
Four El Niño-fueled storms are bearing down on California. But the impact of the climate phenomenon is already being felt around the world. The significant snow pack measured in California's Sierra Nevada this week is a welcome sign.  

China to 'Gamify' Obedience to the Government
China has created a tool called "Sesame Credit" to track how closely each citizen follows the party line. "If you post pictures of Tiananmen Square or share a link about the recent stock market collapse, your Sesame Credit goes down," the video explains. "Share a link from the state-sponsored news agency about how good the economy is doing and your score goes up." 

Jailed for Preaching Against Islam?
Jan 3rd, 2016
Daily News
WND
Categories: Contemporary Issues

Pastor McConnell was taken to trial on the charge last month at Belfast Magistrates' Court, and the decision of the court is expected on Tuesday.

"I believe, for the prosecution, this is a hot potato," McConnell said at the time. "They don't know how to handle it."

He said he was "looking forward to testifying if they give me a chance. Either they try me and put me in prison or I am free to preach the gospel."

Hundreds of supporters turned out to stand with the pastor.

His lawyer said before the trial there was a multitude volunteering to speak on behalf of the preacher.

"We have been inundated with scores of potential witnesses who wish to give evidence on behalf of Pastor McConnell," the lawyer said.

Speaking to the News Letter on Friday, Pastor McConnell was optimistic, but said that before he will renounce his beliefs, he would prefer imprisonment: "I am willing to go to jail and I am going to stand for what I believe in. If the verdict goes against me – and they do put me in jail – there will be such an uprising in this country."

McConnell's legal woes for speaking publicly about Islam are not unique. Government fines and punishments levied against Christians practicing their faith is the norm in many Middle Eastern nations. Some recent examples include:

  • Imprisoned Iranian Pastor Farshid Fathi finally released
  • Iran arrests nine Christians on Christmas Day for celebrating Jesus Christ
  • Christians in Baghdad remain hopeful during Christmas amid genocidal threats

But increasingly, speaking out against Islam from a biblical position is coming into conflict with hate-speech legislation in many Western nations. In 2007, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution that "defamation of religion ... leads to violations of human rights" and stated that "... freedom of expression ... should be exercised with responsibility and may therefore be subject to limitations" expressly deploring "the use of the print, audio-visual and electronic media, including the Internet ... to incite ... xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination toward Islam. ..."

In 2007, the Ontario Provincial Human Rights Commission, acting on complaints by the Canadian Islamic Congress, opened an investigation of Maclean's magazine for publishing excerpts of Mark Steyn's book "America Alone." Following massive public protest, the case was finally dropped. But in a letter to Maclean's, Jennifer Lynch, the head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, wrote: "Mr. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be give free reign [sic]. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred."

More recently, the Quebec National Assembly has taken up Bill 59 which would assign new powers to the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) to combat hate speech, allowing for the censoring of speech that promotes "fear of the other." The bill would also allow the QHRC to prosecute websites that disparage or denounce Islam. Currently, Bill 59 remains in the Assemblyfor review and amendment.

The U.S. has seen a large increase in attacks on the right of conscience and association for Christians, especially in the realm of homosexual rights and marriage.

Until recently, the First Amendment right to free speech has blocked attempts by Washington to impose limits on unflattering opinions or descriptions of Islam and of its radical adherents. But this situation may be changing.

In 2013, Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, attended a public meeting in Tullahoma to discuss how combat those who violate Muslim civil rights by posting inflammatory documents targeting Muslims on social media.

"This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion," Killian told the Tullahoma News. "This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are."

More recently, Attorney General Loretta Lynch has threatening legal action against any "anti-Muslim rhetoric" that "edges toward violence."

Last month, 82 Democrat congressional sponsors introduced HR 569. The resolution, which is still in committee, condemns "...violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States" and "... denounces in the strongest terms the increase of hate speech ... targeted against mosques, Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslim."

As WND previously noted, the decision that results from the case, which is based on the pastor’s description of Islam as a “doctrine spawned in hell,” could determine whether Christian pastors will be allowed to preach biblical doctrine in the United Kingdom going forward.

Meanwhile Pastor McConnell, one of Ireland's most popular online evangelists, waits in the church he founded 57 years ago. He remains defiant: "As I have said many times I refuse to be gagged and if necessary will go to prison; but be assured, when I come out I will start again and preach the truth of the gospel! Your prayers are appreciated, but there is Someone very special praying for me and His Name is Jesus. He is my Great High Priest who stands for me and His blood-redeemed people in the presence of God."

China to Gamify Obedience to the Government
Jan 3rd, 2016
Daily News
The Blaze
Categories: Contemporary Issues

With what some are calling a concept straight out of George Orwell's "1984," China has reportedly "gamified" obedience to the government's regime.

According to a Youtube video posted by "Extra Credit," which has amassed well over a half million views in just one week, China has created a tool called "Sesame Credit" to track how closely each citizen follows the party line.

According to the video, the system tracks things such as what citizens post on social media, to what they buy online and how much.

"If you post pictures of Tiananmen Square or share a link about the recent stock market collapse, your Sesame Credit goes down," the video explains. "Share a link from the state-sponsored news agency about how good the economy is doing and your score goes up."

"If you're making purchases the state deems valuable, like work shoes or local agricultural products your score goes up," it adds. "If you import anime from Japan though, down the score goes."

Acting much like an American citizen's credit score, a Chinese citizen's "Sesame Score" will have real-world benefits—or consequences. Rumored benefits included making it easier to obtain paperwork necessary to travel or making it easier for citizens to apply and receive a bank loan. Consequences could include slowing down internet speeds or restricting the jobs those with a low score can have. In addition, if a person's friends have low scores, their score could also trend downward....

While participating in the system is currently optional, it will reportedly become mandatory by 2020....

Editors Note....Could this be a pattern for the mark of the Beast and his program to control the whole world?

As U.S. Abortion Case Looms, Both Sides Seek Personal Touch
Jan 3rd, 2016
Daily News
Reuters
Categories: Contemporary Issues

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear its first abortion case in nearly a decade, both sides have been quietly gathering vivid personal accounts from women to supplement the dry legal arguments, believing the effort could appeal particularly to swing-vote Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The case, which arises from a challenge to new Texas regulations covering clinics and physicians that perform abortions, could have broad political repercussions in a presidential election year. Depending how the nine justices rule, the court could embolden -- or discourage -- other states in imposing regulations affecting women's access to abortion.

A ruling in the dispute over the socially and politically contentious issue of abortion rights is expected by late June.

Some opponents of abortion are seizing on past comments by Kennedy, who has said that some women come to "regret" the procedure and, while affirming a right to abortion, has voted for certain regulations governing the procedure. Seeking to bolster the argument for Texas’s strict requirements, they are signing up women who say they suffered medical complications.

The group of health clinics challenging the state, meanwhile, is trying to counter any perception of abortion as an option used only by the young and inexperienced.

Taking a page from the successful approach of gay-marriage proponents, they have sought lawyers and other professional women who say abortions helped them for economic, medical or other reasons. They hope the vignettes from lawyers will help justices identify with their view.

The diverging experiences will emerge in “friend of the court” briefs – the clinics’ set due on Jan. 4, the Texas state government's set on Feb. 3.

The briefs, known as amicus curiae, are compiled to represent the broader outside interests at stake in a case, and are rarely so devoted to personal narratives.

The disputed Texas law requires clinics that perform abortions to have hospital-grade facilities and clinic doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital.

The clinics challenging the regulations as an unconstitutional burden on women say Texas is using costly, needless requirements to shut down facilities and restrict access to the procedure. Texas counters that it is safeguarding women’s health.

The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), a New York-based non-profit group, is representing the clinics in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole. Texas’s legal strategy is being coordinated in Austin by state Solicitor General Scott Keller, who worked as a law clerk to Kennedy in 2009-2010.


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