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Soros: Europe on the Verge of Collapse
Jan 21st, 2016
Daily News
NewsMax
Categories: Contemporary Issues

Billionaire financier George Soros reportedly has warned that the European Union is on the "verge of collapse" over the migrant crisis and is in "danger of kicking the ball further up the hill" in its management of the issue which has seen more than a million migrants and refugees arrive in the region in 2015.

In an interview Soros added that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel is key to solving the crisis.

"There is plenty to be nervous about," the financier said.

"As she (Merkel) correctly predicted, the EU is on the verge of collapse. The Greek crisis taught the European authorities the art of muddling through one crisis after another. This practice is popularly known as kicking the can down the road, although it would be more accurate to describe it as kicking a ball uphill so that it keeps rolling back down," he said.

"Merkel correctly foresaw the potential of the migration crisis to destroy the European Union. What was a prediction has become the reality. The European Union badly needs fixing. This is a fact but it is not irreversible. And the people who can stop Merkel's dire prediction from coming true are actually the German people,” he said.

"Now it's time for Germans to decide: Do they want to accept the responsibilities and the liabilities involved in being the dominant power in Europe?"
Soros is among the best-known, most successful hedge fund managers of all time.

Soros has retired from the day-to-day operations of what is now his family-office hedge fund to focus on his foundation and philanthropy.

But he said he uses the same sort of mindset he learned from investing and applies it to his philanthropy and political work: He looks at the dark side of things to find solutions.

Billionaire financier George Soros reportedly has warned that the European Union is on the "verge of collapse" over the migrant crisis and is in "danger of kicking the ball further up the hill" in its management of the issue which has seen more than a million migrants and refugees arrive in the region in 2015.

In an interview with the New York Review of Books, Soros added that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel is key to solving the crisis.

"There is plenty to be nervous about," the financier said.

"As she (Merkel) correctly predicted, the EU is on the verge of collapse. The Greek crisis taught the European authorities the art of muddling through one crisis after another. This practice is popularly known as kicking the can down the road, although it would be more accurate to describe it as kicking a ball uphill so that it keeps rolling back down," he said.

"Merkel correctly foresaw the potential of the migration crisis to destroy the European Union. What was a prediction has become the reality. The European Union badly needs fixing. This is a fact but it is not irreversible. And the people who can stop Merkel's dire prediction from coming true are actually the German people,” he said.

"Now it's time for Germans to decide: Do they want to accept the responsibilities and the liabilities involved in being the dominant power in Europe?"
Soros is among the best-known, most successful hedge fund managers of all time.

Soros has retired from the day-to-day operations of what is now his family-office hedge fund to focus on his foundation and philanthropy.

But he said he uses the same sort of mindset he learned from investing and applies it to his philanthropy and political work: He looks at the dark side of things to find solutions.

Senior PA Official: Palestinian State in West Bank Just a Phase
Jan 21st, 2016
Daily News
INN
Categories: The Nation Of Israel

Fatah Central Committee member Tawfik Tirawi would accept a state in '1967 borders' - but with end goal of destroying Israel completely.

A senior member of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas's inner circle has insisted that any "two-state solution" with Israel would merely be a "phase" in the ultimate dismantlement of the State of Israel.

Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi made the comments in a recent interview with Ma'an TV - the same interview in which he made widely-publicized comments defending Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as "not corrupt" and calling him "daring."

Tirawi began by expressing satisfaction with the ongoing "intifada" - referring to the wave of terrorist attacks against Israelis - which he said had succeeded in "uniting the Palestinian people" in "all of geographical Palestine," which he identified as including not only Judea-Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza, but the rest of Israel as well.

When his interviewer suggested there could still be a Palestinian state limited to the "pre-1967 lines," Tirawi said he agreed, but only as a first step.

"A Palestinian state in the 1967 borders (sic), with Jerusalem as its capital, is just a phase, as far as I'm concerned," he said, in comments translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

The interview provided an interesting insight into the subtle strategic and political differences between Fatah and other Palestinian factions such as Hamas.

Whereas for Hamas any Palestinian state - even as an interim stage - limited to Judea, Samaria and Gaza would be illegitimate until all of the rest of Israel were incorporated into it, Tirawi says he would still accept such a state - if only as a basis for continuing the war against Israel.

"Don't think that there can be a solution to the Palestinian issue by establishing a state, the borders of which are limited to the West Bank and Gaza," he said.

He also opined that the Jews of Israel could stay - but as a minority in an overwhelmingly Arab "Palestine." While differing from Hamas's open rhetoric of annihilating, expelling, or throwing into the sea all Jewish Israelis, the political end-goal of dismantling the State of Israel and ending Jewish political independence would be the same.

Tirawi's view of a "two-state solution" is in line with those of other senior Fatah officials, many of whom openly talk in Arabic of destroying Israel "in stages".

Mapped: How the Migration Crisis is a Strain on European Democracies
Jan 21st, 2016
Daily News
Raziye Akkoc
Categories: Contemporary Issues

The migration crisis which swept Europe in the summer of 2015 put a strain on Europe's democracies and will further weaken relations between member states as populist parties gain traction, according to a new report on the state of the world's democracies.

The impact of the crisis will "last decades" and see EU nations make greater decisions on a national level - using their opt-outs more - said the Economist's Intelligence Unit (EIU) in their Democracy Index 2015 report.

According to its ranking, one European country, France, ceased to be classed as a full democracy, which was "the result of a deterioration in social cohesion" and pointed to the rise of the Front National (FN) as "just one example of an increased appetite among voters in western Europe for populist, anti-immigrant and eurosceptic parties".

According to Joan Hoey, editor of the report, anxiety and insecurity caused by terrorism and economic threats throughout the world is particularly pronounced in Europe.

Ms Hoey pointed to worries over Russia, migration, falling prices, the global economy and Islamist terrorism. "The Cold War is over but the world is perceived to be a more dangerous place," she told the Telegraph.

The authors observed that the refugee influx from Middle East and north Africa also raised "troubling questions" about how democracy was exercised and national sovereignty.

"In Europe, the striking thing is that the majority of countries are full democracies [yet] Europe is a region [whose democracy] has stagnated or regressed the most," Ms Hoey added.

In the aftermath of the crisis last summer, Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, forced through his plans for 160,000 migrants to be spread across member states despite opposition from eastern European countries. Despite this, only a few hundred have been moved from one country to another.

Such policies are encouraging populist parties and politicians, said the report.

As well as the refugee problems, the global economic and financial crash of 2008 led to a decline in trust of public institutions in western Europe while the eurozone crisis had a negative effect on democracy scores in 2011 for countries such as Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland. 

"In 2011 seven countries in western Europe suffered a decline in their democracy scores, largely due to the erosion of sovereignty and democratic accountability associated with the effects of and responses to the eurozone crisis."

The eurozone crisis was also cited by the authors as an example of "forces pushing the EU in the direction of a looser and less uniform set of relations between its member states".

The authors attacked Europe's poor economic performance, weak political leadership and the growing gap between traditional political parties and the electorate, pointing to the insecurity exploited by figures such as FN's Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. 

Let the Headlines Speak
Jan 21st, 2016
Daily News
From the Internet
Categories: Today's Headlines

Trump pledges to move US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
Republican presidential front-runner seems to make about-face from prior remarks on committing to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital.  

Arab Media Reports Israeli Proposed Autonomy Plan to Quiet Jerusalem Violence
Under the proposed agreement, the PLO police force would secure the neighborhoods without the need for prior coordination with Israel, thus granting the area a form of autonomy within the capital.  

France says airstrikes against Islamic State will accelerate
French President Francois Hollande says airstrikes against Islamic State extremists will accelerate in coming months. In a speech Thursday to the country's diplomatic corps, Hollande said that this year must be one "of transition in Syria."  

Senior PA official: Palestinian state in West Bank just a phase
A senior member of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas's inner circle has insisted that any "two-state solution" with Israel would merely be a "phase" in the ultimate dismantlement of the State of Israel.  

Bahrain: Gulf States building ballistic defense system against Iranian threat
An officer in Bahrain’s Air Force said that the Gulf States are joining forces in order to construct a ballistic defense system and that they hope to announce successful results in the near future.  

Caltech Researchers Find Evidence of a Real Ninth Planet
Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun.  

Magnitude-6.4 Earthquake Rattles Northwest China, Homes Damaged But No Casualties Reported
China's official Xinhua News Agency said that the epicenter of the quake was in an unpopulated area, about 20 miles from Menyuan county in Qinghai province. The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 5.9 and said it struck at a depth of 6 miles on the western edge of the Plateau of Tibet, the AP reported. The tremor was also reportedly felt in the provincial capital of Xining.  

IDF deploys artillery battery on Gaza border
In an unusual move, the IDF has deployed an artillery battery on the Gaza border after a recent incident of roadside bombs planted near the border fence, targeting IDF patrols. The artillery forces were stationed next to the Gaza Division posts along the border.  

Mapped: How the migration crisis is a strain on Europe's democracies
The migration crisis which swept Europe in the summer of 2015 put a strain on Europe's democracies and will further weaken relations between member states as populist parties gain traction... The impact of the crisis will "last decades" and see EU nations make greater decisions on a national level - using their opt-outs more - said the Economist's Intelligence Unit (EIU) in their Democracy Index 2015 report.  

Internet providers want to know more about you than Google does, privacy groups say
...Internet providers can see that you’re listening to Spotify while watching Netflix and Googling for reality TV shows...And that gives Internet providers a major potential advantage. "An ISP has access to your full pipe and can see everything you do" online if you aren’t taking extra steps to shield your activities, said Chris Hoofnagle, a law professor at the University of California Berkeley.  

Global Stocks Sink on Fresh Growth Fears
Global stocks plunged, driven by heightened concerns about growth and fading confidence in the willingness or ability of central banks to boost their economies. The concern is the outlook for inflation...Another sharp fall in oil prices and weak consumer-price data in the U.S. on Wednesday gave traders fresh reasons to doubt what already were dismal expectations for the year.  

Iraq's oldest Christian monastery destroyed by Islamic State
Satellite images confirm that the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been destroyed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS). St Elijah's stood on a hill near the northern city of Mosul for 1,400 years. But analysts said the images, obtained by the Associated Press, suggested it had been demolished in late 2014, soon after IS seized the city.  

Egyptian police killed in Sinai checkpoint attack
Five policemen have been killed in an attack on a checkpoint in the north of Egypt's restive Sinai peninsula, the interior ministry says. Three conscripts were also also wounded when gunmen opened fire at the checkpoint in the town of El-Arish. Security forces were searching for the attackers, who managed to flee.  

Brazil Zika outbreak: More babies born with birth defects
New figures from Brazil show a further rise in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads to mothers infected with the Zika virus. There have been 3,893 cases of microcephaly since October, when the authorities first noticed a surge, up from 3,500 in last week's report. Zika is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue and chikungunya.  

ISIS sets sites on overthrowing governments of Morocco and Tunisia
In the wake of growing civil unrest in Tunisia and Morocco, ISIS has launched a new media campaign directed at Muslims in the Islamic Maghreb, which focuses mainly on the 'apostate' governments of Tunisia and Morocco. The campaign, launched on Thursday...call on Muslims to join ISIS...in order to oust the apostate democratic governments of Tunisia and Morocco and replace them with an Islamic regime based on Sharia law.  

Switzerland made secret deal with PLO to avoid terror attacks on Swiss soil
Following the hijacking of two Swissair flights in 1970, the then Swiss foreign minister met in Geneva with senior officials of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) headed by Yasser Arafat...to negotiate diplomatic ties and form a pact to avoid further terror attacks on Swiss soil. While full details of the agreement are protected by a 50-year statute of limitations, according to the report.  

Lawmaker: Obama Admin Fueling ‘Campaign to Destroy Israel’
A leading member of the congressional Israel caucus says the Obama administration is fueling hatred against the Jewish state following comments by a top U.S. diplomat accusing Israel of not upholding democratic rule of law, according to a letter sent Wednesday to the State Department and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.  

Supreme Court Justice Judge Judy?
A report that claims that there is a crisis in civic education in the United States says that nearly 10% of all college graduates think that TV's 'Judy Judy' is on the Supreme Court.  

One Gallon of Milk Is Now Worth About Two Gallons of Oil: Chart
Crude oil is at a 12-year low and that means it’s even cheaper than milk. The price of one gallon of West Texas Intermediate crude is equivalent to about half a gallon of Class III milk, the benchmark traded on the Chicago futures market. That’s the lowest ratio since 2004.  

Migrants Fleeing Cuba 'Increasingly Violent'
The U.S. Coast Guard says it's documenting increasing instances of violence and noncompliance at sea among Cuban migrants. U.S. immigration policies haven't changed with the restoration of diplomatic relations between Havana and Washington. But the chief of response for the Coast Guard's 7th District says an ongoing surge in Cubans fleeing their homeland by sea is fueled by rumors they soon will lose the benefits of the so-called "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy allowing Cubans reaching U.S. land to stay and pursue citizenship.  

Justice Ginsburg Leads Supreme Court Majority To Deliver Blow To Big Business
In a 6-to-3 opinion in Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez, a case testing the limits on federal courts considering class-action disputes, the justices ruled that businesses can't just "moot" a case by simply offering to settle it with the person who first brought it -- let alone if the person rejected the offer.  

Israeli officials approve West Bank land expropriation
Israel's Ministry of Defense said Wednesday that officials have approved the expropriation of some 370 acres (150 hectares) of land in the West Bank near the city of Jericho, in a move that drew sharp condemnation from the Obama Administration.  

Europe on the verge of collapse: Soros
Billionaire financier George Soros reportedly has warned that the European Union is on the "verge of collapse" over the migrant crisis and is in "danger of kicking the ball further up the hill" in its management of the issue which has seen more than a million migrants and refugees arrive in the region in 2015.  

Lawmaker: Obama Admin Fueling Campaign to Destroy Israel
Jan 21st, 2016
Daily News
Washington Free Beacon
Categories: The Nation Of Israel

A leading member of the congressional Israel caucus says the Obama administration is fueling hatred against the Jewish state following comments by a top U.S. diplomat accusing Israel of not upholding democratic rule of law, according to a letter sent Wednesday to the State Department and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, lashed out at the administration, chastising it for seeking to inflame a diplomatic fight with Israel as the Jewish state grapples with a new wave of Palestinian terror attacks that has killed and wounded many civilians.

Dan Shapiro, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, elicited a sharp rebuke from Israeli leaders Tuesday when he accused the Jewish state of failing to properly investigate crimes committed against Palestinians.

“Too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities, too much vigilantism goes unchecked, and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians,” Shapiro said, referring to this as “unacceptable.”

Shapiro’s comments came the same day that Dafna Meir, an Israeli mother of six who was stabbed to death last week in her home by a Palestinian terrorist, was buried.

Israeli leaders accused Shapiro of promulgating lies used by Israel’s critics to delegitimize the Jewish state.

Shapiro’s comments prompted Roskam to write Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday to demand that he distance the Obama administration from Shapiro’s remarks.

“Shapiro troublingly questions Israel’s ‘long-term intentions’ and openly cast doubt upon the seriousness of its desire to reach peace with the Palestinians,” Roskam wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Free Beacon. “These remarks do not reflect reality, yet they serve to empower those who wish to delegitimize and marginalize the Jewish state.”

“In fact,” Roskam added, “the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement consistently seizes on this exact type of rhetoric to advance its insidious campaign to destroy Israel.”

As Israeli security forces work to combat the continuing wave of Palestinian terrorism, Shapiro’s comment are likely to add fuel to the anti-Israel fire, Roskam said.

“Now, more than ever, the United States must unequivocally stand with Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East,” Roskam wrote. “Repeated public displays of disunity only serve to weaken our relationship, inhibit peace efforts, and incite further hatred. Ambassador Shapiro’s troubling remarks are counterproductive and wrong. I encourage you to reject these misguided comments and reaffirm out unbreakable support for Israel.”

Palestinian leaders, who have celebrated and encouraged the recent terror attacks, will likely seize upon Shapiro’s remarks.

“As Ambassador Shapiro was wrongly castigating Israel on the world stage, Palestinian leaders were unabashedly praising the Dafna’s killers and further inciting Palestinians to continue the ‘Intifada of Knives,’” he wrote. “Perpetuating falsities and placing undue and disproportionate blame on Israel for the stalled peace process is a harmful distraction from ongoing Palestinian terrorist attacks, which ultimately, make peace harder to achieve.”

“At their most basic level, the ambassadors’ comments are inaccurate,” Roskam said, referring to multiple efforts by Israel in the past decades to foster peace.

Collapsing Markets - will Global Elites Push for New Financial Order?
Jan 21st, 2016
Daily News
Michael Snyder
Categories: World Government

Did you know that the top 1% has more wealth than the rest of the planet combined? And just 62 ultra-wealthy members of the elite have as much money as the poorest 3.5 billion people on the entire planet. 
These brand new numbers come from a shocking report that was just put out by Oxfam, and they show that income inequality continues to grow at a very rapid pace all over the world. As you will see below, the total wealth of the poorest half of the global population has plunged by 41 percent since 2010 while the wealth of the elite has continued to surge upward. 
The debt-based financial system that now has the entire planet in its grip funnels wealth to the very top, and the global elite are more than happy to hoard as much of it as they possibly can.
In our world, money is power, and the elite are continually becoming more powerful. The following comes from the Independent, and I think that these numbers truly speak for themselves&
Wealth inequality has grown to the stage where 62 of the worlds richest people own as much as the poorest half of humanity combined, according to a new report.
The research, conducted by the charity Oxfam, found that the wealth of the poorest half of the worlds population  3.6 billion people  has fallen by 41 percent, or a trillion US dollars, since 2010.
While this group has become poorer, the wealth of the richest 62 people on the planet has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76 trillion.
Back in 2010, 388 members of the elite had as much wealth as the poorest half of humanity. But since then that number has been steadily falling and now it is down to just 62. At this pace, Oxfam is projecting that in just a few years a single person will have as much money as the poorest half of the global population combined.
As I mentioned above, a big reason for this trend is the financialization of the global economy. All over the world, governments, businesses and individuals have been trained to binge on debt, and all of this debt is systematically impoverishing us. Whenever we borrow money, we always have to pay back more than we borrow, and this funnels wealth to the very top of the pyramid.
Since the last financial crisis, the total amount of debt in the world has absolutely exploded. At this point it is sitting at more than 200 trillion dollars, and all of that debt enriches the ruling class. The more money they get, the more they are able to impose their will on the rest of us, and that is not a good thing.
You may think that you can change your destiny at the ballot box, but history has shown that this is a rather fruitless exercise. The candidate with the most money almost always wins, and so the elite just buy and sell politicians like trading cards. And most politicians are members of the elite anyway. In the end, it is very rare to see a true "outsider" have any sort of sustained success in the political arena.
Unfortunately for the elite, the massive global financial bubble they have created is beginning to burst, and this could have very serious consequences for them. As USA Today is reporting, many of the elite are in a rather glum mood as they gather in Davos, Switzerland for their yearly confab&
Among the elite 2,500 executives and world leaders slouching toward Davos by train, Mercedes limo and helicopter this year, there is a single, depressing refrain  at least its not 2008.
Theres nothing to focus the mind of the collective corporate aristocracy like a markets crisis, and January 2016 hasnt failed to deliver. While European markets were stable Monday after last weeks brutal sell-off, oil continued to fall as Iran prepares to dump 500,000, sanction-free barrels a day on world markets.
I talked about the nightmarish oil crash that we are witnessing in my latest article on The Economic Collapse Blog. This oil crash has pushed markets all over the world into bear market territory, and panic is spreading like wildfire. The following list from Wolf Richter shows just some of the major stock markets that have now fallen more than 20 percent from the peak&
France: -20.6 percent
Germany: -23.3 percent
Sweden: -24.0 percent
Singapore: -27.0 percent
Canada: -27.5 percent
Spain: -28.5 percent
Hong Kong: -32.7 percent
Brazil: -37.5 percent
China (Shanghai Composite): -43.7 percent
Italy: -45.1 percent
Saudi Arabia: -50.4 percent
If the damage stopped here, it would still be a major crisis. But at this point there are many analysts that are forecasting that this new crisis will ultimately turn out to be far worse than what we experienced in 2008. One of those analysts is Albert Edwards of Societe Generale&
Albert Edwards, an analyst from french bank Societe Generale, predicts global deflation is going to wipe out 75 percent of the value from the S&P 500.
Edwards warning comes on the heels of last weeks drastic and ongoing devaluation of the Chinese currency, tanking oil prices, and major stock selloffs throughout the worlds markets.
In his stark investment note to clients Friday, Edwards blamed the present market turbulence on the Federal Reserve and its British and European central bank counterparts for introducing Quantitative Easing (QE) schemes to their markets, which first began the inflation in prices globally.
If Albert Edwards is right and we do see a 75 percent decline of the S&P 500, the global economy will plunge into a full-blown depression. Big financial institutions will implode left and right, and we will experience a "credit crunch" far greater than what we witnessed in 2008 and 2009. The banks that survive wont want to lend to one another or to anyone else, and economic activity will grind to a standstill.
What that will mean for ordinary people is this  millions of jobs will be lost and millions of families will no longer be able to pay their bills. Poverty and homelessness will absolutely explode, and economic despair will be everywhere.
The elite will suffer too, but it is during times of great crisis that the elite make their boldest moves. They love to create order out of chaos, and they love to offer us "solutions" for problems that they originally had a hand in creating.
As bad as things are right now, the truth is that they are about to get a lot worse. And the eventual "solutions" that we will be offered will inevitably result in even more power and more money ending up in their hands.
The game is rigged and the elite are running the show.
But when the wheels of the bus come off this time, will the elite be able to retain control?
Only time will tell...

Church Growth Lessons from China (excerpts)
Jan 21st, 2016
Commentary
Jack Mnor
Categories: Spiritual Growth

Much has been written about the decline of Christian influence in the West, but recent trends in Chinas church growth have highlighted the ancient secret to effective growth that has stood the test of time.
While we talk about the "war on Christianity" and how it is becoming increasingly more difficult to take a stand for Christ, it is important to keep things in perspective. It is one thing to lose a job for taking a stand against homosexuality, but lets be honest, this is still a far cry from being murdered simply for being a Christian.
Yet that is precisely what is happening to many of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. A simple search of the Internet will provide far too many examples of modern day martyrs for Jesus to list, and while we are beginning to experience some small forms of persecution, they pale in comparison to what many believers have to endure.
Yet ironically, they are experiencing another trend contrary to what we are  seeing in America. Unlike America and Europe, where church attendance is declining, in countries such as China, where becoming a Christian is literally a matter of life and death, the church is flourishing.
Consider this, when Communist rule was first established in China the country had only a million or so Christians. Now, this was before the reign of Mao Tse Tung whose reign of mass murder and terror far surpassed that of Hitler and Stalin. Mao killed an estimated 65 million Chinese as a result of his attempts to create a utopian socialist China.
Prior to Mao, missionaries such as Hudson Taylor and John Birch had given their lives to sharing the gospel with the Chinese people, yet in spite of the countrys massive population there were only one million Christians in the country.
However, after 65 years of organized and systematic persecution of Christians, including long prison sentences, destroying churches and killing Gods people, in 2010, Pew Research put the number of Christians in China at 67 million.  Some analysts believe if current trends continue we will see 160 million believers by 2025.
What is the key to this massive growth while church attendance in the West continues to decline? The answer is found in the age-old, tried and true growth method that works every time: persecution.
Tertullian, a second century church father said, "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." While his words are not inspired scripture, history has borne out the truth of his claims. 
If we look around the world at areas such as Nigeria where the Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram is murdering Christians for not converting to Islam, the church is experiencing amazing growth. I have edited several books by pastors from Nigeria and their love and devotion for Jesus Christ is amazing and puts many of us to shame. 
The same is true in other Muslim countries, and it was true during the days of the Soviet Union as can be found in Alexander Solzhenitsyns book "Gulag Archipelago." 
Sadly, for years I have heard accounts of Christians around the world praying for American believers to suffer persecution so they can know the joy that comes from serving God in the midst of suffering. 
I hope it doesn't take persecution to turn this nation around - instead that we would choose to serve Him with our whole hearts.
May it start with you.

2016 - Year of the Clone
Jan 21st, 2016
Commentary
Tom Alago
Categories: Contemporary Issues

For anyone wondering what strange or foreboding things 2016 might bring, heres one clue. We've had car production plants for many years, churning out thousands of standard cars in factory production lines.  This year, we might well see thousands of 'standard cows' being churned out in factory production lines. Hows that for a change?
We arent talking toy cows here either, or even the storyline in some twisted 'stranger than fiction' movie script. As reported by Abby Haglage in the dailybeast.com, we really are likely to see the rise of mass-produced animal clones, thanks to an "enterprising and madcap" scientist in China named Xiao-Chun Xu.
Xu is a Chinese-born doctor who founded a massive stem-cell database with the help of seven research institutes in 2009.  Three years later, he founded Boyalife Group, a $2 billion venture with four locations and 22 subsidiariesthe newest is Boyalife Genomics. Xu is also an adjunct professor of molecular medicine at Peking University, where hes heralded as an expert in everything from arthritis to oncology.
His company called Boyalife Genomics will open a massive factory in the coastal Chinese city of Tianjin, where it plans to clone 100,000 cattle per yeara way to address the Middle Kingdoms rising appetite for beef. Eventually, the company aims to clone 1 million cattle a year, as well as other animals like champion racehorses and drug-sniffing dogs.
The mass cloning process would obviously not be as smooth, fast or straightforward as is typical with the production of manufactured goods. Haglage explains that reproductive cloning in animalsthe same type that could, in theory, be used on humanscomes with immense risk. The percentage of cloning efforts that succeed is generally between 1 and 4 percent. In the few clones that survive, birth defects abound - ranging from brain deficiencies to drastically shortened life spans.
Since Dolly the sheep was cloned two decades back, the possibilities of expanding and diversifying the cloning process has been out there, but no-one could have anticipated the mass-production of cloned animal on the same scale as consumer goods by 2016. Cloned humans - or as Boyalifes founder Xiao-Chun Xu calls them, "Frankensteins"are not yet on the menu.
  
Other bizarre 'sci-fi cloning craze' examples that have been in the works for animals include the following:
- Members of a Florida nonprofit try to clone a 2000-year-old tree;
- A South Korean company clones two puppies in an attempt to reincarnate a British couples beloved dead dog;
- The reported cloning of 700 puppies since the opening of the largest of these companies, Sooam Biotech in 2004. The South Korean firm actually paired with Xu to create Boyalife Genomics.
As eerie as it may all sound, its still all legal in China and the United States. Europe has been more squeamish though and has so far resisted tagging along. In August, the European Union edged closer to outlawing the practice altogether, with the EU Parliament voting in favor of a sweeping cloning ban that would include farm animals.
Could the transition progress to the mass cloning of humans? Haglage observes that laws surrounding the cloning of humans remain murky.  In the U.S., there is no federal law explicitly banning human clones - which is not to say that the practice is wholly legal. 
At least 15 states have passed legislation regarding human cloning - eight of which prohibit it entirely. The UN General Assembly banned the practice in 2005 and the science world as a whole rejects it as unethical and unsafe.
No wonder that Xu is steering clear of that area and staying 'clone-correct' by current legal and social standards. A recent nbcnews.com article quotes Xu: "No, we don't do human cloning, we won't make Frankensteins... the technology we have is very advanced ... [but if uncontrolled] technology can also do damage ... Every technology has to have a boundary."
A British couple is certainly glad that the boundaries with regards to cloning animals are less strict. A recent article by Brian Mastroianni published in cbsnews.com narrates the story of Laura Jacques and Richard Remde of Yorkshire, England. 
The couple made headlines when they paid nearly $100,000 to have two puppies cloned at the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in South Korea using DNA from their deceased boxer dog, Dylan that had been sent to the firm two weeks after his death in June. 
This was noteworthy for being the longest period of time after an animal's death when DNA was successfully recovered for cloning; the previous record had been five days.
"I'm trying to get my head round the fact that this puppy has 100% of the same DNA as Dylan," Jacques told The Guardian newspaper. "I had Dylan since he was a puppy ... I mothered him so much, he was my baby, my child, my entire world."
This kind of heartwarming story that stirs the hopes and dreams of pet lovers worldwide is an example of why Xu and company are likely to be in business for a long time. However, not everyone is impressed with the processes required or even the concept. It turns out that the issues may well outweigh the benefits when animal rights are taken into account.
According to Diane Taylor in a recent report for the guardian.com, the RSPCA has expressed concern about dog cloning. 
A spokesperson said: "There are serious ethical and welfare concerns relating to the application of cloning technology to animals. Cloning animals requires procedures that cause pain and distress, with extremely high failure and mortality rates. There is also a body of evidence that cloned animals frequently suffer physical ailments such as tumors, pneumonia and abnormal growth patterns."

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