Chosen: End Times Newsletter – Issue 67

The Minister’s Corner
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Strength and Courage in the Evil Day
By Regina

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God,  so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” Ephesians 6:11-13

The Definition of the word Courage
–noun
1.    the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
2.    Obsolete. the heart as the source of emotion.
—Idiom
3.    have the courage of one's convictions, to act in accordance with one's beliefs, esp. in spite of criticism.

Does it take strength and courage in this day and age to be a true follower of Christ?

Most of us have read or heard the stories recorded in the Scriptures of the strength and courage of those who served God and followed our savior Christ Jesus. Men and women like Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Ruth, David, Mary, Joseph, and all of the apostles just to name a few.

There was an article released recently, in which a man named the son of the man who founded the Hamas militant group shared his personal story which involved a stint in an Israeli prison, renouncing of his Muslim faith, departure from his family and conversion to Christianity. He is quoted as saying that when he read the words of Christ which said, “Love your enemies”, it was like his medicine for the suffering he’d been enduring for so long, while Islam in comparison is like a drug. This man now lives in the United States, but he also has a death warrant on his head for his defection.

This is an exhibition of strength and courage in this day and age of a Christian; but he is only one man. There are thousands and perhaps millions of people all over the world who face persecution for their Christian beliefs in places like China, India, Indonesia and many others.

Do not be blinded to the fact that this hatred towards Christians is only in far off places. It exists here in the United States as well. I have personally read news article after news article that give accounts of hatred and persecution towards Christians, including a man in Colorado just this week who was shot and killed after responding to his assailant that he was a Catholic. This hatred towards Christians is here, on our own soil, and it is growing and will continue to grow.

In addition to this hatred, there also exists the influences around us that condone un-Christian-like behavior and morals. Everything from the way we treat and speak to one another, the entertainment that we view on television, in movies, the internet and listen to on the radio, what is accepted in regards to relationships and sex, to politics and in those things and people that we (society in general) idolize.

There also exists the spiritual war that rages around all of us in which the forces of darkness which consist of fallen angels and converts working on the side of Dawn Lucifer are permitted to test mankind via thought injections intended to ensnare mankind and bind them forever to the eternal chains of darkness and cause the ultimate loss of their eternal lives. These demons and converts have nothing to lose, so their goal is to bring all they can with them into the pit of destruction with them.

And let us not exist the struggle of the spirit versus the flesh that also rages within each of us, and how as innately sinful people, must exhibit self-control on a daily basis in following The Way of Christ Jesus and our heavenly Father’s will.

I hope that I have managed to paint a true and realistic picture of all that we, as footstep followers of Christ are up against and why it takes strength and courage to be Christ’s followers and that as the definition of the word courage explains, that we must all “act in accordance with one's beliefs, esp. in spite of criticism.”

And in this evil day, where is this strength and courage to be found?  Because we all exist within God, it can be found in God and inside our very own hearts as it is where Father and Christ reside.

“Be strong and courageous; don't be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

Obedience. Faith. Loyalty. Love. Strength. Courage. Endurance. They all go hand in hand. And they all reside within us already. We only have to seek them out in order to find them. We are provided with all we need and Father will not leave us or forsake us. So in this evil day, we move forward as soldiers and defenders of truth, wearing the armor of God and knowing that where we go, God goes with us for Her word is truth and She is the source of our strength and our courage.

“Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!”

Resolution Resolve
By Deborah

1 Peter 4:1-3

Following Christ
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same resolve —because the One who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin — 2 in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God's will. 3 For there has already been enough time spent in doing the will of the pagans: carrying on in unrestrained behavior, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry.

January is the traditional time for reevaluating our lives and making resolutions. What are yours this year? Reduce debt? Exercise more? Eat healthier? Make quality time for loved ones a priority? Learn something new?

What about resolving “to live your remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.”? What does that look like in your life?

Each day is made up of moments of choices and decisions. Some decisions come automatically, while others take more time to consider. What might happen if we lived our lives more conscious of Father’s will? Would we have “less fun”? Would we become “boring”? Or would our lives take on a meaning and significance far greater in some ways and at the same time far less important in others….?

Consider these two things. If you were to become a footstep follower of Christ, your service to Yahweh and her Son would actually contribute to Father’s plan and quite possibly Her strategy in the Spiritual War. On the other hand, in being a footstep follower of Christ and a servant of Yahweh, you must put Their will above yours even to the point of death. Greater meaning balanced with less importance.

The hourglass is nearly empty. The time of final judgment continues to draw nearer. No one knows the exact day or hour, but we can be confident that it WILL come. We must live each day of our lives as though it is our last, because there is no do over or reset button. Whether you choose to live according to God’s will or your own fleshly desires is your free will choice. You will not be denied the right to free will. But with free will comes accountability.

May your heart be guided by Father’s righteous love.
Amen.

Inspired Writings

The Illusion of Independence

The idea of the lone warrior is a common theme that may be seen on television and in movies. There are many examples, but they all seem to have similar qualities. An attitude of some sort of courage, a form of being the most skilled, able to handle any situation by themselves. And in the movies and television, these “heroes” end up saving the day and move on with their lives, leaving an immense impact on others. It's a fairy tale, and from all that I know, fairies are fictional. Yet, at the same time, these same attitudes reflected in the heroes of those movies are seemingly reflected in the general American society.

In high school, I would remember hearing about other teenagers wanting to move out of their house when they are old enough and strike out on their own, with all the joys of freedom and leaving behind whatever it was they wanted to run away from. In college, there would be students that would live at the dorms even though they may live only a short and manageable distance away. And still today, I hear about individuals that move out of their home with their parents and go off far away. What it really seems to be is that there is this idea or perception that there is some sort of grandeur associated with independence and “living the life.” Yet, from a brief observation, this sort of perception and chasing of such a dream has only led to further strife and hardship that was not necessary to begin.

The illusion is simply the idea that a human being can be independent, without need or want of something that creates a dependence. However, given a brief moment of pondering, it is easily seen that such independence and the associated “joys” of the condition simply cannot come together. People need nourishment, care, forms of expression, growth, and continual love. These all come from Father, and come down from Her. We wouldn't know anything if it didn't start from Her. At the same time, there is an immense amount of freedom and joy associated with being under Father and dependent on Her. One freedom is the freedom from sin, through Christ, which is much more of a fulfilling relief that may not be explainable in words given over ten millenniums.

In this way, it can be seen that the illusion of independence is brought forth as an idea that gives a person desirable conditions and attitudes; which is terribly misdirected. Why is this? Simply thought, it is an illusion, a lie, that was conjured up to ensnare an unsuspecting person. And the origin of this lie is simply the evil one, and their mission can be observed all over the Internet and television (namely the channels, but the machine may be a good example, all of its own). Many forms of entertainment seem to be simply taken like candy from strangers, without first pondering exactly what it is they are putting directly in their mouths. Because of this, there is so much pain and suffering, even when there does not seem to be any. Further, there are terrible consequences that are continually associated with such illusions, such as instilling an attitude and “ideal way of life” without perceiving it.

If and when the illusion is put aside for Father's light and truth; being a slave to righteousness and justice, one will be able to further see the danger that they were in, as well as all those around them. Not only in all the pains that were self-inflicted, but also in the pains that are absolutely unnecessary. It takes not being of the world, and a willingness to put on the new man, forgetting all the lies that the world taught from the beginning. Even the subtle things are as dangerous and deadly as the physical attackers that are just as twisted and hurt. It would be wise to be wary of the things that come in this world, in all its impressions and surface looks. Keeping a watchful eye at all times, not only for the flaming arrows and snares, but also for our Master, awaiting His inspiration to take action, all at the right moment; in the right time.

The Way
Part 2

This week we begin to look at Wrong Attitudes to be Avoided. We will be sharing what has been given to us, but in groups of 3. Before our Ministry holds Bible Study each week, we pray to Father Yahweh for guidance and help in understanding Her Word. We pray the wisdom imparted will find its way to your heart where it may be written up on it. Amen

http://www.biblegateway.com can be used as a reference tool with the Holman Christian Standard Bible as the recommended version.

Wrong attitudes to be avoided

Avoid anxiety:

Matthew 6:25-34

Mark 4:19

1 Peter 5:7

Avoid belligerence:

1 Timothy 3:2, 3

Avoid contentiousness:

Philippians 2:3

James 3:14-16

 

Nourishment From The Throne
“For the LORD gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

Many Christians today cling to the following verse, which they believe gives them the right to Judge others so long as it’s done “Righteously”: John 7:24 “Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment."

Interestingly enough, they fail to recognize that this passage relates directly back to the following: Luke 6:37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Bottom line, none of us can judge a book by it’s cover. The contents of the book are what tell you what's really inside and the Father and his Holy Angels are the only one’s who are capable of telling what’s on the inside. We cannot judge people by their outer appearance because we don't know their true heart condition. All are sinners and fall short of God's glory. So, none of us are fit to judge one another. Romans 3:9, 10, 23. Remember what Jesus said; if one has no sin, cast the first stone. No one could because they were all sinners. We are ALL born under secondary sin. He was revealing no one on earth has the right to judge.

Who does righteous judgment rest with?

Jeremiah 11:20 But, LORD of Hosts, who judges righteously, who tests heart and mind, let me see Your vengeance on them, for I have presented my case to you.

Psalm 96:13 before the LORD, for He is coming – for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His faithfulness.

1 Peter 1:17 And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in reverence during this time of temporary residence.

Christians should not be critical of one another, nor judging one another.

Matthew 7:1-2 Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Romans 14:4 Who are you to criticize another’s household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And stand he will! For the Lord is able to make him stand.

Romans 14:10-13 But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. The Law of Love – Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another, but instead decide not to put a stumbling block in your brother’s way.

James 4:11-12 Don’t criticize one another, brothers. He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

If you're a Minister such as us, in a position of oversight of others, we're to judge them righteously in their conduct. It is a surface judgment ONLY based on the person’s conduct and not a judgment of their heart.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 For what is it to me to judge outsiders? Do you not judge those who are inside? But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves.

1 Corinthians 6:2-3 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels—not to speak of things pertaining to this life?

Deuteronomy 16:18-19 Appoint judges and officials for your tribes in all your towns the LORD your God is giving you. They are to judge the people with righteous judgment. Do not deny justice or show partiality [to anyone]. Do not accept a bribe, for it blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.

Dreams & Visions
“And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. 18 I will even pour out My Spirit on My male and female slaves in those days, and they will prophesy.” Acts 2:17-18

It starts off with me walking in the dark, the wind is blowing hard, and it is hot, sandy like stuff is all in the air, and it seems like fire is everywhere. I can hear popping like sounds all around, like things blowing up or/and crackling in fire. I can see a great big crack in the ground, like the earth has opened up, and lava is moving through it. Strangely enough I note that I do not hear people, no human sounds at all. I see a dog, it is scorched and hurt, but no people. I keep walking all throughout the night in this dream but see nothing but scenes like this.
-    Komodo, ATS Forum Member

I had one that was really similar to this one LONG time ago within days of me becoming a Christian 28 years ago. I believe this dream came in 2 parts. I can still remember it to this very day. Here it is…

Walking out of my mom's house, which had a fairly small porch.. 2 steps and you're at the 3 steps to the street. As I stood on the porch, and looked around a bit, it looked like a the entire town got scorched, like a fire ball came through but nothing was burning but, all the houses on the block looked burnt.

The street had some cracks in it, as if something from below had came up out of it or a massive amount of pressure. What was interesting is, I could see the a deep reddish orange within the cracks, but 'kinda' looked like lava but didn't look like it was flowing, just there.

Upon my first thought was "WHOA" and then remember just looking to my left down the street which looked the same. As I looked to my right, the moon was almost 'bloodred' and HUGE !!!!! I mean like it was going to smash into the earth!

After a few seconds, I saw an old man about 60ish running up the street, as he got closer, I recognized it was my building trades teacher from 4 years before. I was completely freaked out and crying. He grabbed my shirt and asked "what are we gonna do!!"

With everything around me I still didn't have any fear. Looking at my teacher, I began to preach to him which was interesting since he was a minister and used to 'preach' to me all the time since I gave him such a hard time. I told him.." Do you see that thin red line!!" vehemently as I pointed to a pencil thin reddish orange line running the full length of the street …straight down the middle of the street. "yes" he replied. That line represents the bloodline of the Lord Jesus Christ to which you must cross"

With that, he began to weep and fell into my arms and gripped me tightly as if he knew exactly what I meant and didn't want to let go.

I woke up with a scripture running through my head.. Act 2:17 ~In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.
-    Space Cadet, ATS Forum Member

Signs From Above
“He rescues and delivers, He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth, for He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:27

Hobby group claims 35 UFO sightings in 2008
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
January 2, 2009

Throughout 2008 there were 35 alleged UFO (unidentified flying object) sightings in Indonesia, 15 of which were across Greater Jakarta, a UFO community reported during their 11th annual gathering in South Jakarta on the weekend.

Solihull dad has a close encounter of the UFO kind
Jan 1 2009 by Paul Bradley, Birmingham Mail

AN amateur pilot had an alien encounter when he spotted three pairs of UFOs flying over his Midlands home on Christmas Eve.

Couples astonished by UFO sightings over Deeside
Published Date: 31 December 2008
By Laura Jones

TWO couples from Deeside were left amazed after they spotted an unidentified object in the sky on Boxing Day.

UFO sighting spooks Carlisle couple
By Phil Coleman
Last updated 11:01, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A Carlisle couple claim to have had a close encounter after they saw strange lights in the sky over Houghton.

NEW UFO SIGHTING
By Fiona Simpson
Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald
Tuesday, 30th December, 2008

AN eagle-eyed reader has sighted another UFO flying high in the sky above the Saltcoats coastline.

 

Signs Down Below
"But know this: difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of religion but denying its power."  2 Timothy 3:1-5

World faces slowdown in 2009
Reuters
December 30, 2008
By Claudia Parsons

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Another day, another batch of warning signs indicating the world will enter 2009 in the throes of a sharp economic slowdown, with governments scrambling to find ways to boost lending and spur growth.

US, Japanese Researchers Mix Samples of 1918 Flu Pandemic to Recreate Deadly Code
CLG
Compiled by Lori Price
December 30, 2008

Three genes can turn normal flu into a killer, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers find 30 Dec 2008 Three key genes can turn a regular flu virus into a super killer like the strain that devastated the world 90 years ago and one that could come again, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers found in a study involving ferrets. 

Chrysler gets $4bn emergency loan
BBC
January 3, 2009

The huge American carmaker Chrysler has received a $4bn (£2.75bn) emergency loan from the US government in a deal to help it stave off collapse.

Israeli forces split Gaza in two
BBC
January 5, 2008

Fighting is raging into the night in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli ground forces and heavy armour have effectively cut the territory in two.

Males of All Species are Becoming More Female
Mercola
January 2, 2009

Various studies are indicating that unregulated chemicals released into the environment are causing male animals and humans to take on feminine characteristics.

 

Signs in Humanity

Israeli troops dance as they await the order for a Gaza war
December 30, 2008
McClatchy DC

ALONG THE ISRAEL-GAZA STRIP BORDER — In a muddy field overlooking the smoke-blackened Gaza Strip skyline on Tuesday, young soldiers from an Israeli tank unit linked arms with euphoric civilians and joined them in the hora, a circular dance, in anticipation of a possible ground invasion of the Palestinian territory.

Almost one in 10 Floridians are on food stamps

By JOSE PAGLIERY
The Miami Herald
Monday, December 29, 2008

MIAMI — Unemployed and strapped for cash, Floridians are asking for state assistance to feed their families in record numbers.

Meat tagged to thwart shoplifters

By Nigel Morris, Deputy Political Editor
Friday, 2 January 2009

Supermarkets have been forced to tag cuts of meat because shoplifters have turned to stealing food during the credit crunch. Retailers warn that the recession has changed the pattern of crime in high street stores, with thieves switching from luxury items to basic foodstuffs.

The curse of Nigerian oil

BBC
Jan. 4, 2009

Attacks on oil industry facilities and kidnappings for ransom are frequent in the creeks of the Niger Delta, which is home to Africa's biggest oil and gas industry.

Father Allegedly Kills Son, 2, Over $4K in Child Support Debt
Associated Press
January 04, 2009

NEW ORLEANS — Danny Platt said he was under a lot of pressure. He apparently owed his estranged wife $4,000 in back child support.

 

Arks of Safe Haven
http://www.arksofsafehaven.org
"Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and to not ignore your own flesh [and blood]?" Isaiah 58:7

The mission of Arks of Safe Haven is to connect via an extensive network and online message board forum, those individuals and families who have been affected by recent economic downfalls and are in need with those individuals who are ready, willing and capable of providing assistance to those in need with employment, shelter, work, food, clothing and other necessities.

Coupled with our primary mission of delivering the Kingdom Message of Salvation, the assistance of Arks of Safe Haven is available to all who are in need. Our purposeful intention is to follow in the footsteps of Christ as our example, by providing hope to the hopeless and answering the prayers of those who have been forced to live outside of society.

How You Can Help?

In order to provide for those whose outcry of prayers have reached our heavenly Father's ears, Arks of Safe Haven is seeking out those who are able to provide shelter, whether it be an extra bedroom, empty rental property or a work for room and board agreement. Additionally, we also act as a liaison in connecting those with tangible items to donate to those in need like Food, Water, Clothing, & Other Personal Items. We pray that your heart is motivated to make a contribution, no matter how small.

Cases This Week:

faitster, PA. – Hi, I am a 31y/o single father raising my 11/yo Daughter on my own. I just recently had back surgery, and am unable to work. The utilities in our house are in the past tenants name and will be shut off any day now. I cant get the gas in my name as I still owe them $800 from my previous residence. I'm NOT asking for someone to pay it for me. I just need some kind of help. If you could make any suggestions, please do. I can be reached at faitster@yahoo.com Thank You and God Bless.

mymcnll, PA. – Hi, my name is Amy and I am a 26 year old single mother of 2. My children are 2 and 4. My boyfriend and father of my children left us 2 months ago. I do have a full time job and doing the best I can do. He has paid no support and I am waiting to go to court, I was left with a mortgage, car payment, daycare, health insurance and all the bills that come with those things. I have no family here they live 300 miles away and its hard to ask for help as my mother is just recovering from a battle with cancer. I am looking for any kind of food items to help us out a bit. This way i can use my extra money to help pay the bills. If anyone out there could lend a helping hand it would be greatly appreciated. God Bless!

 

Signs in Natural Disasters
“You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” Matthew 24:6-7

Counting the cost of freak storm
Dispatch Online
2008/12/30

VILLAGERS are counting the cost of the violent storm that flattened houses, killed livestock and destroyed belongings as it tore through King William’s Town and surrounding areas on Sunday.

Thousands displaced by floods in Philippines: officials
Jan 3, 2009

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines (AFP) – About 5,000 families in the southern Philippines have been displaced by flash floods and large waves spawned by heavy rains, officials said Saturday.

SW China quakes injures 21, affects 110,000 others
Xinhua News Agency
28 Dec 2008

KUNMING, Dec 28, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) – A total of 21 people were injured and nearly 110,000 others affected by Friday's earthquakes in southwest China's Yunnan Province, according to the latest information of the provincial civil affairs department.

2008 Iowa tornadoes deadliest since 1968

Associated Press
Jan 3, 2009

DES MOINES (AP) — Last year in Iowa, tornadoes claimed the lives of a dozen people and injured at least 130.

Do Yellowstone Earthquakes Foretell Yellowstone Volcano Eruption?
December 30, 2008 by Brad Sylvester
Associated Content

Recent Yellowstone Earthquakes Are Centered Under the Ancient Yellowstone Supervolcano's Caldera

 

Natural Disaster Update
Source: http://home.att.net/~thehessians/disasterwatch.html

QUAKES

12/30/08 –
5.0 SOUTHWEST OF SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.9 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.0 SOUTH OF SUMBAWA, INDONESIA
5.0 SOLOMON ISLANDS
5.2 SOLOMON ISLANDS
5.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.4 MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
5.0 TAIWAN REGION

12/29/08 –
5.0 CARLSBERG RIDGE
5.1 SICHUAN-GANSU BORDER REG, CHINA
5.8 HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN

12/28/08 –
5.0 AEGEAN SEA
5.2 KURIL ISLANDS
5.6 KURIL ISLANDS
5.6 KURIL ISLANDS
5.1 SOUTHEAST OF LOYALTY ISLANDS

12/27/08 –
5.1 VANUATU
5.1 UNIMAK ISLAND REGION, ALASKA

12/26/08 –
None 5.0 or over.

12/25/08 –
6.0 OFF COAST OF PAKISTAN
5.6 MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
6.2 MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
5.1 HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION
5.2 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.9 VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA REGION
5.1 SIKKIM, INDIA
5.5 FIJI REGION

12/24/08 –

5.1 HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION
5.2 GUAM REGION
5.0 TIMOR SEA
6.3 TONGA REGION

WYOMING
– The swarm of small earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park is THE MOST INTENSE MEASURED THERE IN YEARS, leaving scientists puzzled. The region is known for such swarms – 1,000 to 2,000 quakes occur annually in the park. Yellowstone's 10,000 geysers and hot springs, including the Old Faithful Geyser, may be the result of this geologic activity. But the latest shaking is notable for the number of tiny temblors and their intensity, according to a statement Monday from the University of Utah, where scientists monitor seismic activity in Yellowstone. Researchers have long predicted that the Yellowstone supervolcano will eventually erupt again, with devastating consequences for much of the United States. Half the country could be covered in ash up to 3 feet (1 meter) deep, one study predicts. But those same researchers say nothing suggests such an eruption is imminent. Last year researchers reported on unusual slow movement below the surface that is tied to a newfound gradual sinking of the nearby Teton Range. And in 2006, scientists discovered that in the previous decade, the volcano had risen nearly 5 inches. "Could it develop into a bigger fault or something related to hydrothermal activity? We don't know."

BULGARIA An earthquake measuring a magnitude of 5 on the Richter Scale was felt in much of southern Bulgaria at 0:59 on Monday. The epicenter of the moderately strong earthquake was about 300 km southeast of Bulgaria's capital Sofia, in the sea on the Greece-Turkey border. More than 40 lighter aftershocks have been registered after that. The increased seismic activity in the recent months has led a number of experts to argue that Bulgaria might be threatened by a strong earthquake in the near future. The strongest earthquake ever in continental Europe measuring 7.9 on the Richter Magnitude Scale occurred in 1904 in southwest Bulgaria. Northeast, north-central, and parts of southern Bulgaria as well as the capital Sofia are located in high-risk seismic zones.

CANADA Sea creatures off the coast of Vancouver Island were knocked out of bed Christmas morning by a magnitude 5.9 earthquake. Natural Resources Canada reported the quake at 12:11 a.m. about 160 kilometres southwest of Port Alice on the Nootka fault zone. The Nootka fault zone is a strike slip fault, meaning there are two tectonic plates moving laterally, in opposite directions, against one another. Such faults produce no ocean-floor displacement, meaning there was no possibility of a tsunami. The quake was too far offshore to be felt on land. Quakes of such a magnitude happen at that location every one to two years and are rarely felt.

CHINA – Nine people were injured on Friday when a magnitude 4.9 earthquake hit southern China, causing 30,000 inhabitants to be evacuated. There were two tremors early Friday morning in an area of Hunan province near the border with Myanmar. The city of Ruili and surrounding villages were the hardest hit, with 100,000 people affected. More than 30,000 residents have been evacuated from homes that suffered damage in the earthquake. The two quakes, with magnitudes of 4.3 and 4.9, struck in the early hours of Friday in different parts of Yunnan. Meanwhile, a quake of magnitude 4.0 hit in neighbouring Guizhou province on Friday, with no casualties reported.

ITALY – An earthquake of 5.1 magnitude struck northern Italy on the 23rd near the city of Parma, but no damage or injuries were reported.The earthquake was UNUSUALLY STRONG for northern Italy and was felt from the financial capital Milan to Florence to Trieste. Startled Italians jammed telephone lines after the tremor, and train services were briefly interrupted on some lines.

SCOTLAND – Three small earthquakes were recorded within the space of about two hours in a Highlands glen popular with walkers and climbers. The quakes in Glen Shiel were reported on 19 December. Recorded at magnitudes increasing from 1.1, to 1.7 then 1.8, the first was picked up at about 2000 GMT. It was UNUSUAL to have three in a short time, but they would not have been felt by people. The survey records about 200 earthquakes a year in the UK. In October, an early morning earthquake shook homes and set off dogs on fits of "mad barking and growling" in the Highlands. A seismic event of a magnitude of 3.4 was detected.

VOLCANOES

Do Yellowstone Earthquakes Foretell Yellowstone Volcano Eruption? – Recent Yellowstone Earthquakes Are Centered Under the Ancient Yellowstone Supervolcano's Caldera. It is not unusual for there to be small earthquakes in the Yellowstone Park area, however the recent spate of Yellowstone earthquakes are DIFFERENT. These Yellowstone earthquakes are not powerful, but there are a lot of them occurring in a very short period of time. Yellowstone National Park is the home of the Old Faithful Geyser which derives its heat from a shallow, five to ten mile deep pool of magma that lies below Yellowstone. The Yellowstone caldera is, in fact, the remnants of a very large volcanic event that occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago. The area is still very geologically active and, according to the University of Utah's earthquake center, is the site of 1000-2000 small earthquakes every year, but they say, this week's activity is much higher than average. With all the shaking going on in Yellowstone Park, we can't help but think of the possible effects if the supervolcano under the park were to erupt again. The volcano is said to erupt every 600,000 years. The last time the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted was approximately 640,000 years ago. It was about 8000 times more destructive than the Mount St. Helens eruption. It has the potential to be even more powerful than that. If these Yellowstone earthquakes are a precursor to another eruption, the damage would almost certainly be more catastrophic than we can imagine. Aside from the destruction force of the explosion, the tremendous amounts of ash that would be released into the atmosphere would certainly have a dramatic, if temporary, effect on the Earth's climate. While it would not stop global warming in the longer term, we might expect the ash to block enough sunlight globally to cause a year or two of the coldest weather on record. At present, it is not clear if these recent Yellowstone earthquakes are the result of existing, but undiscovered fault lines in the area, or if they are related to increased geothermal activity of the Yellowstone volcano. While the possibility of a major eruption at Yellowstone remains extremely unlikely, even without a major eruption, places like Old Faithful could be disrupted by a minor shift in the geothermal conditions at Yellowstone.

RUSSIA – Eruption of Koryak Volcano Might be Dangerous, Russian Scientist Warns. Authorities of Kamchatka Territory and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky City must get ready for a big swell of eruption of the Koryak Volcano located at the 30 km distance from the city and its airport, which is the major air gateway of Kamchatka. “As compared to the eruption of 1956, the only one in the history of modern observations, the current eruption started in a more impetuous and powerful way." Accordingly, this is indicative of the possibility of a considerable intensification of the volcano activity. “Ash emissions and trails already now are quite dangerous for aviation, the hazard growing with the intensification of the eruption." The Koryak Volcano has been in the state of explosive eruption (i.e. eruption with ash emissions) of average force since Christmas Day on Thursday. In modern history only one eruption, starting in 1956 was observed. Back then a crack broke in the north-west slope of the volcano, with gases and ashes ejected. The eruption was weak and lasted till March 1957.

INDONESIA – Mount Semeru of Lumajang regency in East Java is still considered on alert status despite increasing activity including spewed ashes, eruptions and tremors in the past 15 days. On Monday alone, the mountain erupted and produced hot smoke five times. There have been 189 explosions and one tremor so far. Falling ash continues to disrupt residents living across 15 districts out of the 21 in the regency. Chair of the regency's health and social services agency said on Monday that his office was preparing masks for residents to protect themselves from inhaling the ash. Heavy rain and cloud have accompanied the eruptions since Monday morning.

RUSSIA – Fears of explosive volcano eruption closes Kamchatka Airport – Predictions that the Koryak Volcano located about 13nm north-north-east of Petropavlosvk-Kamchatsky Airport on the Kamchatka peninsula might burst into an explosive eruption, have closed the Petropavlosvk-Kamchatsky Airport. The Volcano has increased its eruptions in the recent days. Now collapses at the north-western slope of the volcano at a height of about 3100 meters triggered fears the volcano might burst into an explosive eruption. The volcano's last significant eruption was estimated about 3500 year ago, the last minor eruption was in 1957.

HAWAII – The Kilauea volcano on the big island of Hawaii took a three-day break this week from its 26-year eruption. Scientists said that lava stopped flowing at what is known as the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout on Monday and started up again on Christmas Eve. Interruptions have become more common, although they are usually shorter than three days, and scientists have not determined what causes them. Kilauea continued to emit sulfur gas through two vents and some tephra through one of the vents. The pauses in lava flow are sometimes — but not always — associated with inflation-deflation events when the summit of the volcano reduces in size and then reinflates. "We've looked but we don't understand the relationship." Kilauea, one of five shield volcanos on the island of Hawaii, began its current eruption in January 1983. The location of the lava flow shifted a year ago to the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout. The eruption has added almost 600 acres to the largest of the Hawaiian islands while burying 191 structures and a nine-mile section of highway.

INDONESIA Oil wells erupt mud in Gresik – Three oil wells in Sekarkurung, Gresik, East Java, spewed a three-meter geyser of toxic gas and mud Friday morning. The eruption occurred when well operators were about to replace the drill bit at one well with a new one. The regulator said attempts have already been made to curb the eruption and that they expected to solve the problem soon after nightfall. Should the eruption persist, it could result in the same kind of disaster that is still affecting Sidoarjo, East Java, where a lake of hot mud has formed from the continuously erupting toxic mud since May 29, 2006. "Should they fail to solve the problem, the legislative council will force the companies to halt all drilling operations in the area."

MONTESERRAT – Disaster preparedness officials in Montserrat raised the hazard level of the Soufriere Hills Volcano on the 22nd following steadily increasing activity over the previous 10 days. Although not mandating any evacuation at this time, the Director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory recommended that the hazard level be increased from three to four, due to the threat to areas north and west of the dome, and urged increased preparedness for those living in Zone B of the island. Level three signifies mild activity that threatens the west of the island; significant change of measured activity and high measured activity, while level four relates to lava extrusion that threatens the north or west and a large unstable dome to the north or west. "Since Saturday December 20, rock falls and pyroclastic flows started to go down Tyres Ghaut, a few reaching the very lower part of the ghaut, in less than three minutes. There is a lack of warning signs before such rock-falls/pyroclastic flows. Lava extrusion is now occurring at/or very near – the top of the old dome, on the north-northwestern side, increasing the potential for material entering Tyres Ghaut." The activity is extremely unlikely to decrease over the coming few weeks. "Even if the level of activity remains the same, the hazard level is likely to increase due to potential accumulation of new lava high-up in the dome."

Montserrat volcano hurls lava, rocks, ash
– On Wednesday the volcano spewed ash 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) into the air. No ash fall was reported over inhabited areas. Rockfalls have increased by 80 percent compared to last week. The volcano had remained quiet for six months until it exploded earlier this month.

CHILE – The government said on Friday the area surrounding the Chaiten Volcano, which erupted in May for the first time in thousands of years, was still not safe and that a decision regarding the future of the town of Chaiten would be made in coming days. The Volcano, only six miles (10 km) from the town, started spewing ash, gas and molten rock on May 2, forcing the evacuation of about 7,000 residents. A cloud of debris that soared as high as 20 miles (32 km) into the air was kept aloft by the pressure of constant eruptions for weeks, and even covered towns in neighboring Argentina with volcanic ash. "We received the latest report from the Universidad Catolica … and the only thing I can tell you is that the volcano is exactly as dangerous as it was before." The government has not dismissed the possibility of relocating the small town and making the whole area a no-go zone for years to come, but many locals have said they want to return to their homes in Chaiten.

TSUNAMI / FREAK WAVES / ABNORMAL TIDES / RISING SEA LEVELS

AUSTRALIA A rogue wave brought one ship's pursuit of the prestigious Vendée Globe sailing race to a crashing end south of Australia on Sunday. The skipper was forced to withdraw from the field when the wave flipped his vessel, The Spirit of Canada, upside down, breaking the mast . "The sea is the sea and you can't predict when … big waves will hit you." He's now trying to get The Spirit of Canada safely to port in the country for repairs. There has been a storm raging in the area for more than five days. "The storm seemed to be subsiding when a huge wave knocked the boat on its side, putting the mast in the water, not an easy thing to do on these 60-by-20 boats. "

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Fresh warnings of high seas in Morobe. The Morobe Provincial Disaster Office has issued fresh warnings of high tides along coastal villages in the province. The tides are expected in the new year and people are warned to move to higher grounds. Meanwhile the Provincial Disaster Office has shipped the first batch of supplies to people affected by the recent high seas. The areas to be affected are from all the coastal areas in the districts of Tewai Siassi, Finschhafen, Lae and Huon Gulf. Communities along these areas would expect to see high seas from king tides in the month of January from the 7th to the 14th next year. The tides would rise as high as 1.5m to 2.5m and would also be experienced in other maritime provinces in the country. More than 240 homes on the coastline of Wasu and Siassi Local Level Governments have been washed away by the high seas early this month. Wasu, which is on the mainland suffered major damages mainly in the Sio area. On Siassi Island, more than 30 houses were destroyed at Tolokiwa Island and Tul village. There are complaints that not enough supplies and food are reaching some people.

PHILIPPINES – Fourteen houses were ravaged by huge waves in Barangay Zone 6, Pulupandan in Negros Occidental Friday evening. Homes made of bamboo and nipa were totally damaged after big waves hit amid a heavy downpour. Four were totally destroyed. This is not the first time that this happened in the area. Several typhoons have hit the area and put lives in danger but they have no plans of relocating to a safer a place. "This is so far the worst. But we cannot leave the place because our livelihood comes from the sea." Authorities are still trying to determine the cost of damage.

INDONESIA
– Four houses in Mataram destroyed by high waves – High waves destroyed at least four fishermen's homes at Bintaro Jaya, Ampenan, Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, on Saturday night. The seawater also destroyed several fishing boats, flooded a number of villages in the area and submerged about three hectares of rice paddies along the beach. "In the beginning, we felt a tremor, maybe it was from the waves, and suddenly our village was flooded with seawater." According to local residents, floods from high waves have hit the area twice this year. The first incident occurred on Feb. 20, when 7-meter-high waves hit coastal villages in Bintaro Jaya and nearby areas.

SOUTH AFRICA – Video was taken of strange waves moving up the Goukou river in Stilbaai on December 24. "Every seven minutes a small wave of water flows up the river against the outgoing tide and against the wind. The last time we saw this was when the quake and tsunami hit on the 26th of December a few years ago. This video was taken 5km up the river, from the Goukou river mouth, so that gives you an idea of the force behind the waves."

MARSHALL ISLANDS
– The low-lying Marshall Islands declared a state of emergency as hundreds of people were displaced by powerful waves triggered by storm surges and high tides. Flood waters swamped the main urban centers of Majuro and Ebeye that are less than a meter above sea level. Concern is rising about hygiene after the floods hit cemeteries, “contributing to the already alarming sanitary conditions with the widespread debris caused by the high wave action.”

BRITAIN – earlier this month, a daredevil surfer cheated death after becoming trapped – between a stone pier and a FREAK 30ft wave. Terrified, he almost drowned when the monster wave emerged from nowhere and charged towards him at speeds of more than 40mph. He struggled desperately to paddle to safety, but was caught in powerful currents that prevented his escape. Clinging helplessly to his board, the student was tossed into the air "like a rag doll" when the wave – with an estimated mass of seven tons – broke over him. He was flung into the surf and spent "ages" underwater before finally managing to overcome the currents and paddle back to shore. Miraculously, he survived the terrifying incident at Newlyn, near Penzance in West Cornwall, unscathed.

TROPICAL STORMS

BALI The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency has warned all tourists visiting Bali to stay alert because cyclone Billy may be bearing waves up to 3-and-a-half meters high to the southern coastline. The office was expecting Billy to continue affecting beaches across the island chain during the next two days, despite its weakening intensity. "All visitors must be on the alert for tidal waves which may occur suddenly, particularly along Bali's southern beaches." The storm had originated in Australia's Carpentaria Bay. Bali Police have warned all travel agencies and resorts to pay careful attention to their guests following the disappearance of five high schoolers in the high waves and severe undertow off Laloan Beach in Tabanan, Bali, on Sunday. Police are still searching for the five.

AUSTRALIA – Northern Australia may face a super cyclone swarm with winds up to 290km/h. Experts have warned that is a possibility as the climate shifts into a 30-year cycle of intense weather. Under the cyclone swarm scenario, up to three category 5 cyclones could form and hit the coast at the same time, each packing destructive winds of 290km/h. Scientists and cyclone experts, tracing super-cyclone activity off the Northern Australian coast over several centuries, say such a catastrophic event is not unprecedented. The Australian region tropical cyclone season runs from November 1 to April 30. The destructive force of just one category 5 storm is akin to the "energy of a nuclear explosion". The World Meteorological Organisation confirmed 2008 was a record year for extreme weather events. The WMO predicted Australia would have abnormal weather over the coming summer. The 30-year cycle hinges on the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. "It is the oscillation in sea surface temperatures lasting for about 20 to 30 years. Records going back over several centuries show a very clear 20 to 30-year oscillation, which produces big cyclones, huge floods and massive storms. It is getting towards the time when the IPO goes into the negative or cool state, meaning we will see an increasing number of land-falling cyclones."

HEAVY RAINS / FLOODING / LANDSLIDES / UNUSUAL & OUT-OF-SEASON WEATHER

SOUTH AFRICA – Villagers are counting the cost of the violent storm that flattened houses, killed livestock and destroyed belongings as it tore through King William’s Town and surrounding areas on Sunday. In villages like Xhukwana in Debenek, about 70 houses were destroyed by the storm. Villagers lost livestock, electrical appliances, and furniture, and some have started to rebuild their damaged homes. The storm also affected electricity supplies, leaving the whole area of King William’s Town and the surrounding townships without power for two days.

BOLIVIA – Flood Waters Destroy Santa Cruz Bolivia – The Pirai River in Santa Cruz began to swell due to the weather. It destroyed several roads, homes, and automobiles. Police say one person has been reported missing from the floods.The year has seen several heat waves and droughts prior to the rainy season beginning in December. Officials say that may be the cause for the wicked weather.Last year sixty-one people died from floods in Bolivia which caused over four-hundred-million dollars in damage.

ILLINOIS – Summerlike storms pounded the Midwest on Saturday with hail, high winds and even funnel clouds, helping to thaw the ice after days of a deep freeze and threatening floods. Residents braced for an aftermath forecast expected to include overflowing rivers and flooded basements. Flooding was also being fueled by unseasonably high temperatures that climbed into the 60s in Illinois. A powerful storm system swept across a wide swath of south and central Illinois during the afternoon, packing wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph. The storms also produced hail, and the Weather Service office in St. Louis received reports of funnel clouds. The storms damaged buildings and brought down tree limbs and power lines. Meteorologists said the melting snow, heavy rains and frozen ground could combine to flood areas where high water is RARE. "The potential exists for serious and potentially life threatening flooding to develop with some areas that typically do not flood, possibly even becoming inundated with water." 2008 has been THE WETTEST YEAR ON RECORD for the city of Chicago, with just under 50 inches of precipitation.

MICHIGAN – With RECORD TEMPERATURES reaching into the 60s Saturday, fear of flooding loomed large in metro Detroit.

HAWAII – Hilo Airport reported RECORD HIGH RAINFALL for Dec. 26, with 5.25 inches recorded by 5 pm – and rain still falling. The old record was 3.74 inches.

UK wildlife is struggling to cope as erratic and unseasonal weather
has taken its toll for a second consecutive year. Birds, mammals and particularly insects have all suffered from a cold, late spring, a wet summer with little sunshine and a long, dry autumn. Species under threat include puffins, marsh fritillary butterflies and lesser horseshoe bats. Another wet summer in 2009 could be a disaster for insects.

HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD

MICHIGAN – Saginaw is teetering on a winter weather record — most snow ever in December — despite a freak warm spell.

IOWA – This month has SET A RECORD FOR THE AMOUNT OF SNOWFALL IN DECEMBER in Decorah. After 2.5 inches fell Friday and another 1.5 inches Saturday, the total for the month, as of Monday morning, was 32.2 inches. And there was more snow in the forecast for Tuesday. The previous record was 32 inches in December 2000. Could this winter possibly be worse than last year? During the winter of 2007/08, 53 inches of snow fell with 17 inches falling in December, 12 inches in January, 20 inches in February, three inches in March and one inch in April.

U.S.  – Avalanche Experts Say Current Rash Of Slides Is 'Atypical' – Storms surged through the West dropping more than five feet of snow as Christmas arrived and left. Resorts resounded with bomb explosions as ski patrols scurried to reduce the threat of avalanches in the mounting snowfall. Despite efforts, fatalities from inbounds avalanches at western ski resorts climbed this week – outpacing in December season-long statistics from previous winters. "The odds of an avalanche in a ski area are minute." But the deaths brought U.S. avalanche fatalities to nine already this winter – a third occurring INSIDE resort boundaries. "This is definitely an ATYPICAL YEAR." There were seven fatalities due to avalanches inside resort boundaries since 2004-05, including the three this month. "Prior to that season, we had almost nil inbounds." There were only two since the early 1970s. In all recent fatality cases, the ski patrol had already thrown their bombs to reduce the hazard, and other skiers had dropped into the zones. "These incidents clearly show that snow is a very complex medium." "The misperception is that everything inbounds is safe." The rise of inbounds avalanche fatalities worries the experts. "The ski areas, Forest Service, and the National Ski Areas Association will be working closely to sort all of this out and learn from the incidents."

OREGON – The National Weather Service says the winter wallop that dealt the Portland area nearly 19 inches of snow in the last two weeks has by one measurement made December THE SNOWIEST MONTH SINCE JANUARY 1950.

WASHINGTON
– Spokane SETS RECORD SNOW MARK, tops 45 inches. Christmas Eve snowfall carved a place in the weather record books as December 2008 became THE SNOWIEST DECEMBER ON RECORD with nearly a week to go.

WISCONSIN – Madison SET A NEW RECORD FOR SNOWIEST DECEMBER at noon on Wednesday.

MINNESOTA – The western tip of Lake Superior has frozen over in December for THE FIRST TIME IN RECENT MEMORY. Seeing any ice this early has been RARE in recent years. In the rare years recently when Lake Superior has partially frozen, it’s usually in February or early March, after months of cold weather. There’s also thickening ice in the channel between Bayfield and Madeline Island, and the Madeline Island Ferry Line is about to close for the season — the first time it’s closed in December since 1985. Not only is December ice RARE on Superior, but thick ice has become the exception during any winter month. In several recent winters, the ferry line never did shut down, forced to operate all winter because ice never formed or was too thin for people to drive across. December’s average temperature at the Duluth office of the National Weather Service has been an UNUSUALLY COLD 9.3 degrees below normal, with a dozen nights below zero and one as cold as -22 below. Increased ice can help keep water from evaporating, leading to more water in the lake next spring. It’s believed the lack of ice cover in recent years has been a big factor in declining lake levels.

EXTREME HEAT / WILDFIRES / DROUGHT / CLIMATE CHANGE

'Huge year for natural disasters' – Losses from natural disasters rose by 50% in 2008, underlining need for action on climate change, re-insurers Munich Re say. The past year has been ONE OF THE MOST DEVASTATING EVER IN TERMS OF NATURAL DISASTERS. Although there were fewer "loss-producing events" in 2008 than in the previous year, the impact of natural disasters was higher than in 2007 in both human and economic terms. The company suggested climate change was boosting the destructive power of disasters like hurricanes and flooding. It has called for stricter curbs on emissions to prevent further uncontrollable weather scenarios. More than 220,000 people died in events like cyclones, earthquakes and flooding, the most since 2004, the year of the Asian tsunami. Meanwhile, overall global losses totalled about $200bn, with uninsured losses totalling $45bn, about 50% more than in 2007. This makes 2008 the third most expensive year on record, after 1995, when the Kobe earthquake struck Japan, and 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina in the US. The pattern continues a long-term trend already observed. "Climate change has already started and is very probably contributing to increasingly frequent weather extremes and ensuing natural catastrophes." Asia was the continent worst hit by natural disasters in 2008. Cyclone Nargis in Burma killed an estimated 130,000 people and devastated much of the low-lying Irrawaddy Delta region, while the earthquake which struck China's Sichuan province in May left an estimated 70,000 dead and millions homeless. Although Nargis and the Sichuan quake brought the biggest cost in terms of human lives, the economic losses were mostly uninsured. The most expensive single event in 2008 was Hurricane Ike, which brought $30bn in losses. In addition, roughly 1,700 tornadoes across the US caused several billion dollars of damage, as did periods of low pressure weather activity in Europe. "When temperatures increase there is more evaporation and the atmosphere has a greater capacity to absorb water vapour, with the result that its energy content is higher. The weather machine runs into top gear, bringing more intense severe weather events with corresponding effects in terms of losses."
 
Disasters warning for Asia-Pacific – the Asia-Pacific region faces an era of "mega-disasters" affecting hundreds of thousands of people as urbanisation, climate change and food shortages amplify the impact of natural catastrophes such as earthquakes and cyclones in coming years, scientific research has shown. So-called mega-cities in the Himalayan belt, China, Indonesia and the Philippines are prime candidates for earthquakes that could cause more than a million deaths. Hundreds of thousands could be seriously affected by volcanoes erupting on average once a decade in Indonesia and once every few decades in the Philippines. Tsunamis, floods and cyclones affecting tens of millions of people are likely in low-lying "mega-deltas" like Bangladesh which are experiencing population explosions and are vulnerable to climate change. And many Pacific island nations have a high potential for catastrophes that could affect large proportions of their populations and overwhelm local government response and recovery efforts. The severity of humanitarian crises in the region is increasing due to the interaction of climate change, urbanisation, poor land use planning and tension about access to resources. There are likely to be several disasters killing more than 10,000 people each decade and there is the potential for catastrophes affecting more than 1 million people. "Whilst the incidence of natural hazards themselves – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the like – hasn't really changed, the sheer number of people living in the Asia-Pacific region means any earthquake has the potential to affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions…As populations grow, people are beginning to settle on areas they wouldn't have historically – steep slopes that might be vulnerable to landslides or coastal areas near large river mouths which are likely to flood every couple of years."

Prepare for longer emergencies due to climate change – The rise of freak weather storms as a result of global warming means that people should add extra water and supplies to their emergency stockpile. Traditionally, homeowners have been warned to keep 72 hours worth of food and water in case they are disconnected from the power grid because of a severe storm or flood. Even if most people were able to sustain themselves for 72 hours that would have given emergency responders the ability to deal with the most urgent cases. But times are changing as the climate changes. Now people should be prepared now to be without power for as long as a week. "We should be thinking about how to be more self-sufficient because we do have a changing climate and we're going to have to adapt." Families should be stocked with food, water, batteries, radio, first-aid supplies and any special items such as medication and baby formula.

American Shores Face Threat of Rising Sea Level
– Report Projects 4-Foot Rise in Global Sea Level by End of Century. What sounds like the climatic end of days could be coming a lot sooner than previously anticipated. A recent report released by the U.S. Geological Survey paints abrupt climactic shifts, including a more rapid climate change with global sea level increases of up to four feet by the year 2100 and arid climatic shifts in the North American Southwest by mid-century. Previous estimates anticipated a global sea level rise of 1.5 feet by the end of the century. Arctic ice melt will have devastating effects beyond the polar region and well into the American heartland. A 3-foot rise in sea level by 2100 will deluge more than 22,000 miles along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, in regions of Louisiana, Texas, Florida and North Carolina. In Florida, the coastal towns along the Gulf of Mexico face the reality of rising sea levels, one that could come sooner than anticipated.

WEST VIRGINIA – Beckley SET A RECORD for Dec. 27 at 3:08 pm Saturday when the temperature hit 64. Charleston BROKE A RECORD at 2:17 pm Saturday when the temperature hit 73, breaking the previous record of 71 degrees set in 1959. That's almost 30 degrees above the average high temperature of 44 degrees.

KANSAS – Wichita BROKE A RECORD in the temperature books Friday when the high of 69 easily broke the record of 64 set in 1976.

CANADA – After enduring two major snowstorms and temperatures in the -18C range a week ago, the mercury swung almost 30 degrees in the other direction to 10C Saturday to BEAT THE ALL-TIME RECORD of 9.4C set back in 1949 in Toronto. It's UNPRECEDENTED FOR THIS TIME OF THE YEAR, and it will come with a price: rain. A system from the U.S. has brought with it both warm air and moisture, leading to one of the soggiest December weekends in recent memory. A special advisory remains in place for northern Lake Huron through the Bruce Peninsula and Muskoka to the Algonquin area. Those locales could receive up to 70 mm and remain under a RARE December rainfall warning, with flooding a real possibility.

FOOD / WATER / SUPPLIES

A sustainable global food system in the 21st Century needs to be built on a series of "new fundamentals", according to a leading food expert. The current system, designed in the 1940s, is showing "structural failures", such as "astronomic" environmental costs. The new approach needs to address key fundamentals like biodiversity, energy, water and urbanisation. "The level of growth in food production per capita is dropping off, even dropping, and we have got huge problems ahead with an explosion in human population." "We have an entirely oil-based food economy, and yet oil is running out." In order to feed a projected nine billion people by 2050, policymakers and scientists face a fundamental challenge: how can food systems work with the planet and biodiversity, rather than raiding and pillaging it? Global food production will need to double just to meet demand. "We have the knowledge and the technology to do this, as things stand, but the perfect storm of climate change, environmental degradation and water and oil scarcity, threatens our ability to succeed." "We are going to have to get biodiversity into gardens and fields, and then eat it. "

HEALTH THREATS

Commonly-used food additives may fuel the growth of lung cancers, a Korean study on animals has suggested. Processed foods including meat, cheese, and drink contain inorganic phosphates. Researchers fed mice with lung cancer a diet with similar percentages of phosphates to those in human food, and found tumour growth accelerated. Phosphates are an essential nutrient for living organisms, and adding phosphates to food can improve its texture and ability to retain water. But the study suggested that high levels of inorganic phosphates may be interfering with the body's cell signalling systems. Phosphate levels in modern diets had risen even in recent years, perhaps reaching 1000mg a day in some cases.

VIETNAM – Bird flu has resurfaced in poultry in northern Vietnam after months without any cases, killing ducks and chickens at two farms.

Signs in False Shepherds & False Religion
"For among them are those who worm their way into households and capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a variety of passions, always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men who are corrupt in mind, worthless in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress, for their lack of understanding will be clear to all, as theirs was also." 2 Timothy 3:6-9

Jesus branded "terrorist" by Muslim website
ANI
Dec 30, 2008

London, December 30 : A Muslim website has branded Jesus "a terrorist" who would have been arrested and jailed in Britain if he were presently alive.

Teacher Fired for Marrying Divorced Man to Sue Catholic School

Fox News
Dec 31, 2008

A San Antonio teacher plans to sue her former employer, a Catholic high school, saying she was fired for marrying a man who had been divorced, a proceeding not recognized by the Catholic Church, the San Antonio Express-News reported Tuesday.

Judge rejects faith claim in NY monkey meat case
Newsday
Jan 3, 2009

A Liberian woman accused of smuggling endangered monkey meat from Africa to New York has failed to persuade a judge that she shouldn't be prosecuted because she needed the butchered carcasses for religious reasons.

Malaysia Bans Catholic Paper for Use of 'Allah'
Christian Post
Jan 2, 2009

The Malaysian government has put a stop to a Catholic newspaper over the use of the word “Allah” in its Malay-language edition, the paper’s editor reported Thursday.

GuestCheck Launches New 'Mystery Worshipper' Service for Churches
Christian Post
Dec 19, 2008

Guest Check, Inc., is the latest customer satisfaction firm to venture into a growing and controversial industry that capitalizes on the use of “mystery worshippers” in the United States.

Inside the Pope's observatory

The BBC has been allowed into the Pope's observatory at his home outside Rome. The Catholic priests who run the centre have strong views on everything from life on other planets, to whether the Star of Bethlehem actually existed. Duncan Kennedy reports.

Faith under Fire
“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Matthew 5:11-12
“You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endured to the end will be delivered.”
Matthew 10:22

Atheist Group Files Lawsuit Against Prayer at Presidential Inauguration
Fox News
Dec 30, 2008

The head of an atheist group that has filed a lawsuit against prayer at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration says the government is picking a winner between "believers" and "those who don't believe" and subjecting atheists and agnostics to someone else's religious beliefs.

Ski manager shot after professing Christianity
World Net Daily
Dec 31, 2008

NEDERLAND, Colo. – A gunman who broke into a staff meeting at a Colorado ski resort ranting about religion asked the manager what he believed and shot him twice when the victim responded he was Catholic, according to reports published today about the tragedy.

Thirteen Christians Held Captive in Bangladesh
Christianfreedom
Dec 30, 2008

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI (Christian Freedom International) — Thirteen men who recently converted to Christianity have been taken captive by Buddhist clerics in a southeastern mountain region of Bangladesh.

Egyptian Police Refuse to Give Child to Christian Mother
Crosswalk
Dec 25, 2008

ISTANBUL (Compass Direct News) – Egyptian authorities have refused to hand over a 3-year-old girl to her Christian mother even after a court granted her custody in a legal battle with her Muslim ex-husband.

India: Extremists Halt Church Construction
Crosswalk
Jan 2, 2009

UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA (ANS) — Religious extremists from a popular radical Hindu activist group have brought a church construction project to a halt. They have set up a tent outside the unfinished building to conduct rituals to their gods.

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