Chosen: End Times Newsletter – Issue 71
The Minister’s Corner
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Rejoicing in Afflictions
Romans 5:2-4 “Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.”
The Definition of Affliction
1. A state of pain, distress, or grief; misery: They sympathized with us in our affliction.
2. A cause of mental or bodily pain, as sickness, loss, calamity, or persecution
Syn: Calamity; sorrow; distress; grief; pain; adversity; misery; wretchedness; misfortune; trouble; hardship.
Usage: Affliction and sorrow are terms of wide and general application; grief and distress have reference to particular cases. Affliction is the stronger term. The suffering lies deeper in the soul, and usually arises from some powerful cause, such as the loss of what is most dear — friends, health, etc. We do not speak of mere sickness or pain as "an affliction," though one who suffers from either is said to be afflicted; but deprivations of every kind, such as deafness, blindness, loss of limbs, etc., are called afflictions, showing that term applies particularly to prolonged sources of suffering. Sorrow and grief are much alike in meaning, but grief is the stronger term of the two, usually denoting poignant mental suffering for some definite cause, as, grief for the death of a dear friend; sorrow is more reflective, and is tinged with regret, as, the misconduct of a child is looked upon with sorrow. Grief is often violent and demonstrative; sorrow deep and brooding. Distress implies extreme suffering, either bodily or mental. In its higher stages, it denotes pain of a restless, agitating kind, and almost always supposes some struggle of mind or body. Affliction is allayed, grief subsides, sorrow is soothed, and distress is mitigated.
Psalm 6:6 “I am weary from my groaning; with my tears I dampen my pillow and drench my bed every night.”
How many times have you felt this way? Been suffering from pain, distress, grief or misery and asked God, “God, why is this happening to me? It’s not fair! What have I done to deserve this? When will it end?”
It took me quite a while to more fully understand why Father would want us to rejoice in our afflictions, and how we were expected to do so. When I read Romans 5:2-4 which is quoted at the start of this article, I understood completely that afflictions produce endurance and endurance produces proven character. I could see how each affliction endured was like a hurdle we must jump and how there were lessons along the way that make us stronger and wiser. But rejoice? How could I possibly be GLAD that I’m experiencing pain, distress, grief or misery? I could endure…but how much character did I need? And how long would it take to obtain proven character?
And then late one night as I prayed for strength during a time of mental stress and suffering, I heard within my mind, “rejoice in your afflictions, for they bring you closer to Me.”.
And I’d have to say that’s when it hit me. Who do I turn to when I’m suffering and affliction? Father. She’s the one who provides comfort and who speaks to and guides my heart in any given situation. And while afflictions do definitely produce endurance and proven character, they also bring us closer to Her when She is the one we turn to when we’re experiencing these afflictions – She hears our prayers and sees our tears. And they also bring us further along the narrow path in making it home to Her for Eternity, which is yet another way of coming closer to Her.
2 Kings 20:5 "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, 'This is what the LORD God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I will heal you. On the third day [from now] you will go up to the LORD's temple.”
So now I understand why we should rejoice in our afflictions, knowing that Father is there to comfort, guide, counsel and support us each and every step of the way. Rejoice and continue looking to Her and thanking Her for each day that goes by regardless of if it's a day with or without afflictions. Rejoice in knowing She’s the One who is always faithfully there for us and She is the One who sooths our sorrows, allays our afflictions and mitigates our distress and rejoice in knowing that through it all we grow ever closer to Her.
And finally, rejoice in knowing that it will not be forever… for the LORD has also spoken the following words:
Isaiah 25:8 “He will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from every face and remove His people's disgrace from the whole earth, for the LORD has spoken.”
Footsteps In The Sand
Submitted by Johanna
This is one of my favorite poems and I know when I am down sometimes I have a hard time remember that Father is always with me even during the rough periods of my life. So I always stop and think of this poem when I am feeling down. I just really wanted to share this so everyone would remember that He is always with us.
One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along
the beach with the Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed
two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonging to him and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the
very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life there is
only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when I needed you most
you would leave me."
The Lord replied "My precious, precious child,
I love you and would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints in the sand,
it was then that I carried you."
Money, Love and Time
*The word money is found 123 times in the HSCB.
*The word love is found 695 times in the HCSB.
*The word time is found 840 times in the HSCB.
Ah, yes. Money. In general, we as a people spend more than we earn. We feel that we work hard, so we deserve luxury items. New cars. Bigger houses. Electronic entertainment devices in every room. Upgraded cell phones. Upgraded computers. Furs. Jewelry. Handbags. Botox. Bling. Vacations. Boats. Planes. China and crystal stemware.
Then there are the smaller things. Cable TV. High speed internet. Mani-Pedi’s. Professional hair color treatments. Video rentals. Starbucks. Eating out. Books from Borders. Yankee Candles. Designer perfume. Magazines. A $100 trip to Walmart. Fitness club memberships. QVC.
We may not have had the cash at that moment, so we put it on “the card”. Then after a while you need another “card” because your first one is maxed out. Then another. Then a loan. Then a second mortgage. Then a bankruptcy lawyer or perhaps even a divorce lawyer.
1 Timothy 6:10 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
The average American holds about $8,000 in credit card debt. According to Experian, a credit reporting agency, the average balance on credit cards, auto loans, and other fixed payment debts totaled $16,600 in 2008. That doesn’t include a mortgage if you have one…… or two.
Luke 12:15 15 He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”
What does this say about the developed world as a whole? That we like to “shop”? A little retail therapy didn’t hurt anyone? We are selfish, self serving, lovers of worldly things. How much does one need to spend in order to be happy? According to Dawn Lucifer, everything you have and then some.
Hebrews 13:5 Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.
What exactly are we trying to buy? What is missing from our hearts that we are trying to replace with “things”?
1 John 2:15, 16 15 Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. Because everything that belongs to the world-
16 the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle- is not from the Father, but is from the world.
Love. Our hearts are missing love. The kind of love that looks around and appreciates what Father has given us. The kind of love that prioritizes our time so that we spend it with those we love, savoring it rather than hurrying through to spend time doing other things.
Jeremiah 35:15 Time and time again I have sent you all My servants the prophets, proclaiming: Turn, each one from his evil way of life, and correct your actions. Stop following other gods to serve them. Live in the land that I gave you and your ancestors. But you would not pay attention or obey Me.
That is what we should be spending. Time. Not money. Time helping others. Time reading The Word. Time praying to Yahweh. Time cooking real food. Time being mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, neighbors, friends, servants. And soon, as the world completely falls apart, it will wonder if it is too late. If, like our piling debt, having not addressed and fully accepted the Truth we will be destroyed by our inability to face reality. If we have finally……. run out of time.
Jeremiah 30:24 The LORD's burning anger will not turn back until He has completely fulfilled the purposes of His heart. In time to come you will understand it.
We have spent our lives accumulating things we cannot afford. And now we will loose all those things and more. Father is stripping away all things evil. In return, She is setting in motion the full implementation of Her Way. And it is GOOD.
There may come a time when you must stand naked, cold, hurting, and scared and you will be asked if you will remain faithful to your Savior and King or will you instead reach out to man to save you. Your flesh and blood or your eternal life. But stop. Think. Remember.
Mark 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it.
Romans 10:13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Replace the deficit accumulated in your heart with abundant love from the One who loved you first.
1 Corinthians 13
Love: The Superior Way
1 If I speak the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love,
I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have [the gift of] prophecy,
and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body to be burned,
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy;
is not boastful; is not conceited;
5 does not act improperly; is not selfish;
is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs;
6 finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.
But as for prophecies, they will come to an end;
as for languages, they will cease;
as for knowledge, it will come to an end.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when the perfect comes, the partial will come to an end.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put aside childish things.
12 For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face.
Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.
13 Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
Remaining Cleansed in Heart
Matthew 6:24 — "No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.
An interesting item to note is that in other translations, the word “money” in this passage is also “mammon” or “Money” (capitalized). Kind of gives a different perspective of what money is, especially with all the symbols and figures that are stamped and engraved onto them. Even the dollar bill has language on it that may not be understood without further research, of which the meanings could be dangerous in concept.
It is easy to say that it is difficult to remain faithful when it seems like the world may be trying to lure you away. When one is in an environment that tries to influence behavior that is not a part of one's heart, the surroundings can have a numbing effect. Yet, there are still many individuals who provide strong examples of resistance to the outside world trying to take control of their heart. It shows that one's heart can and is influenced by what is around it, but what gets to the bottom of their heart is their free will choice.
There are quite a few examples of all the different things that can happen in one's life that are written in scripture and may be read about with caution from historians. However, none of it seems to be a new pattern. As there is nothing new under the Sun, neither is anything that hasn't already happened happening now. An unfortunate example of this is how the prophets were persecuted for telling the Truth, which still goes on today with Father's spiritual Israelites. At the same time, there are those whose hearts completely come out, and show where their treasure truly is.
2 Timothy 4:9-10 — Make every effort to come to me soon, for Demas has deserted me, because he loved this present world, and has gone to Thessalonica.
Romans 11:3 — Lord, they have killed Your prophets, torn down Your altars; and I am the only one left, and they are trying to take my life!
One of the keys that can be seen is in Romans 11:3, where Paul cites Elijah in going to Father for safety. Regardless of whether the darkness tries to stop the light or not, and how it tries to do so, no darkness can reach or even touch Father, because Father is completely Light, and the darkness is the absence of Light. Thus, residing in Father for safety and going to Father for strength simply makes sense. If Father's seed and Holy Spirit are firmly planted in one's heart, it shows, and the actions that come out of Father's inspiration will come to full fruition.
At the same time, one's surroundings may still not be very conducive to positivity. Something that had not come to mind before, though, is that there are a couple different ways that one may react in such conditions while holding onto Father's Way as much as possible. One is numbing, while the other is, well, continually feeling the pain. Either way is a difficult situation. Through it, though, it must be considered why this pain is felt, and how best to strive forward, regardless of what this world tries to do. Especially remembering that the flesh is weak, but Father is the greatest caregiver and stronghold.
As it is, cleansing comes from Father, and this cleansing is a continual process until all of the influence that willful sin has had is gone. It wouldn't make any sense to allow one to be dirtied again, and it wouldn't help Father as She cleans, along with it being difficult to come closer to Father while having grime. Could one present themselves to Father, Who is clean, while dirtied? It could be as bad as presenting any uncleanness to Father.
Malachi 1:8-9 — "When you present a blind [animal] for sacrifice, is it not wrong? And when you present a lame or sick [animal], is it not wrong? Bring it to your governor! Would he be pleased with you or show you favor?" asks the LORD of Hosts. "And now ask for God's favor. Will He be gracious to us? [Since] this has come from your hands, will He show any of you favor?" asks the LORD of Hosts.
Clean things cannot come from an impure source. Impurities must not be presented to Father, and truthfully, Father is all around, and we are made up of Her energies, whether they be low or high vibrating, visible or invisible, for now.
Father certainly shines a light on all things, and it can be seen in detail if we should look closely. Each of those things can show their full nature under Her Light, whether they be positive or negative. The actions one chooses out of the shining of Her Light exposes the master of that individual, and Father knows the ones who do Her will, also helping them to further continue in Her will towards cleaner and clearer heights.
The Way – Part 6
This week we continue looking 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.
1 Corinthians 13:4
Avoid the love of money, and avoid the love for material things:
1 Timothy 6:10
1 John 2:15, 16
Nourishment From The Throne
“For the LORD gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6
Judging – Part 3
Isaiah 61:2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn.
Revelation 18:21 Then a mighty angel picked up a stone like a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying: In this way, Babylon the great city will be thrown down violently and never be found again.
Revelation 19:1 After this I heard something like the loud voice of a vast multitude in heaven, saying: Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God.
Jeremiah 25:31 The tumult reaches to the ends of the earth because the LORD brings a case against the nations. He enters into judgment with all flesh. As for the wicked, He hands them over to the sword – [This is] the LORD’s declaration.
Joel 3:2, 11-14 I will gather all the nations and take them to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. I will enter into judgment with them there because of My people, My inheritance Israel. The nations have scattered the Israelites in foreign countries and divided up My land. Come quickly, all you surrounding nations; gather yourselves. Bring down Your warriors there, LORD. Let the nations be roused and come to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit down to judge all the surrounding nations. Swing my sickle because the harvest is ripe. Come and trample [the grapes] because the winepress is full; the wine vats overflow because the wickedness of the nations is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the Day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
Revelation 19:11, 13, 15 Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. He wore a robe stained with blood, and His name is called the Word of God. From His mouth came a sharp sword, so that with it He might strike the nations. He will shepherd them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty.
Jude 6:14-15 and He has kept, with eternal chains in darkness for the judgment of the great day, angels who did not keep their own position but deserted their proper dwelling.
Revelation 20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for 1,000 years.
Depicted by past executions of Divine Judgment.
Luke 17:26-30 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man: people went on eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day Noah boarded the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same as it was in the days of Lot: people went on eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. But on the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
2 Peter 2:5-6 and if He didn't spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when He brought a flood on the world of the ungodly; and if He reduced the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes and condemned them to ruin, making them an example to those who were going to be ungodly;
Jude 7 In the same way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them committed sexual immorality and practiced perversions, just as they did, and serve as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
Matthew 12:36 I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak.
Christ Jesus appointed by Yahweh as Judge.
John 5:22 The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son,
Acts 17:31 because He has set a day on which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead."
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
Expert: RAF Pilots Ordered to Shoot Down UFOs
Jan 27, 2009
RAF pilots have tried to BLAST UFOs out of the sky under a top secret Government directive, it was claimed last night. Nick Pope — who worked on the Ministry of Defence’s UFO desk for three years — revealed the rules of engagement for the first time. He claimed RAF pilots had fired at UFOs on several occasions — but failed to bring them down. He added: “We know of cases where the order has been given to shoot down — with little effect to the UFO.”
UFO in German jets alert
Jan 30, 2009
FIGHTER pilots were put on red alert in a UFO drama over Germany, it emerged yesterday. Air traffic controllers tracked a mystery object speeding across the entire country. Investigators have checked and excluded conventional aircraft, weather balloons and freak atmospheric conditions. Axel Raab of Germany’s air traffic safety office, the DFS, said: “We have ruled out all the conventional possibilities — it is a mystery.” There were dozens of reports of the object as it flew across southern Germany on January 19. It vanished above an area used by US troops on training exercises. Mr Raab said: “It confused radar operators because it kept flicking on and off the screen. Then it simply vanished.”
More Mysterious Multi-Colored Aerial Light Patterns Over
Reno, Nevada, and Now Over Empire, Ohio
Jan 29, 2009
January 29, 2009 Empire, Ohio – Between Christmas 2008 and the first week of January 2009, Penny saw the sparkling object projecting colorful patterns in the sky south of her Reno, Nevada, home again and she is going to try more photographing. During those same days and nights a long way to the east in Empire, Ohio, at the Sammis Coal Power Plant on the Ohio River, is the security guard I call Sarah. I interviewed her about the triangle craft and glowing pod that she saw there on October 23, 2008. Since then, Sarah has seen many more and different strange, aerial objects in the sky. Some are disc-like craft that project colors and make patterns like those photographed by Penny Rubsam in Reno.
Richard recalls UFO moment
Jan 29, 2009
THE photographer who captured last week's amazing UFO shot has spoken to the Mail. Richard Phillips caught the object on camera while taking photographs of a freight train as it passed through Great Bowden. Initially reluctant to send the picture to the Mail, he was eventually persuaded to do so by a friend on the understanding that he remained anonymous. However, after we published the picture on our front page last week, Mr Phillips agreed to speak to us about the shot. The 38-year-old, who works as a senior architectural technologist, said: “I’d taken a few pictures of the train as it approached me and got a few more as it went past. It was only when I downloaded the pictures afterwards that I noticed it [the UFO]. I didn’t do anything with it at first. But a few weeks later I saw the stories in the Mail with people saying they’d seen something.
Case Number: 15228
Log Number: US-01312009-0009
Submitted Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2009 13:34:34 GMT
Description: I looked out my 3rd story window and saw a commercial airline on its usual path,when i noticed a star-like object tailing it not far behind the airliner.It swayed from side to side,then went under the airliner,and then back behind it again,untill they were both out of my sight.The amount of time i watched was under 5 minutes aprox.I did not know what it was or could have been,thus why i'm reporting it.I will say that these unusual lights or whatever they are,are often in the skies above.I think most people don't look up at the sky,along with our eyes/senses are not as strong as maybe they once were.It amazes me how oblivious people can be.This is my second time reporting a ufo,although i have neglected to report any others.I recently found out about this site,and i will encourage others who have seen ufos to report.
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
Chemicals 'may reduce fertility'
January 29, 2009
Chemicals commonly found in food packaging, upholstery and carpets may be damaging women's fertility, say US scientists. A study published in the journal Human Reproduction measured levels of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in the blood of 1,240 women. Those with higher levels were more likely to take longer to become pregnant. UK experts said more research was needed to confirm a link. PFCs are useful in industry because they are resistant to heat, and have the ability to repel water and oil. However, high concentrations have been linked to organ damage in animals, and the chemicals have the ability to persist for long periods in the body.
GDP sees biggest drop in 27 years
By Lucia Mutikani
January 30, 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy shrank at its fastest pace in nearly 27 years in the fourth quarter, government data showed on Friday, sinking deeper into a recession that the White House said demands urgent action. In a report that showed a broad-based contraction across nearly all sectors, the Commerce Department said gross domestic product shrank at a 3.8 percent annual rate, the biggest contraction since the first three months of 1982. President Barack Obama, who is pushing Congress to approve a package of spending and tax cut measures that could cost close to $900 billion, said the report highlighted the need for quick government action. "It's a continuing disaster for America's working families," Obama said of the latest data. "The recession is deepening and the urgency of our economic crisis growing."
Genetically Modified Pigs to be Bred for Organ Transplant Harvesting
by David Gutierrez
January 26, 2009
(NaturalNews) A British lord and fertility researcher has announced plans to breed genetically engineered pigs, for the purpose of harvesting their organs for transplant into humans. "Pigs' organs are the right size for human transplantation, and they work similarly to human organs," said Lord Winston, head of the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology at Hammersmith Hospital in London. Health professionals have attempted to transplant organs from animals into humans before, but research in the field dropped off in the late 1990s when early transplant attempts were rejected and attacked by recipients' bodies as foreign tissue. Concerns over the possibility that transplants could facilitate the spread of diseases from animals to humans also contributed to a drop in the field's popularity.
Iceland to be fast-tracked into European Union to stop economic meltdown
By Mail Foreign Service
January 30, 2009
Iceland is to be fast-tracked into the European Union in an attempt to stop the country going into complete financial meltdown, it emerged last night. The small Arctic nation is expected to apply for membership within months and become the 29th member state of the EU within just two years. Olli Rehn, the European commissioner in charge of enlargement, said: 'The EU prefers two countries joining at the same time rather than individually. If Iceland applies shortly and the negotiations are rapid, Croatia and Iceland could join the EU in parallel. 'On Iceland, I hope I will be busier. It is one of the oldest democracies in the world and its strategic and economic positions would be an asset to the EU,' he told the Guardian.
Israel threatens response to rocket attacks
February 1, 2009
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatened "harsh and disproportionate" retaliation after Gaza militants fired at least 10 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel on Sunday, wounding three and raising the specter of a new round of violence days ahead of Israel's general election. The three candidates for premier sought out microphones and cameras, leveling threats against the Hamas rulers of Gaza, an indication that the Palestinian issue is once again driving Israel's election campaign with voting set for a week from Tuesday. A late afternoon mortar barrage on the village of Nahal Oz, next to the Gaza border fence, wounded three — two soldiers and a civilian, the military and rescue services said. Earlier, a rocket landed near a kindergarten in a community near Gaza, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Warning sirens sent residents scrambling for shelter. Since an unwritten truce ended Israel's offensive in Gaza two weeks ago, a trickle of rocket and mortar fire has been increasing. Israeli retaliation, including brief ground incursions and bombing runs aimed at rocket launchers and smuggling tunnels, is also intensifying. The violence threatened to spiral quickly into another full-scale battle.
Signs in Humanity
Man Kills His Wife and 5 Children
By REBECCA CATHCART and RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
Published: January 27, 2009
The New York Times
LOS ANGELES — A man shot and killed his wife and five young children — including two sets of twins — before taking his own life Tuesday, possibly out of despair from losing a job, the authorities said. Officers responding to 911 calls placed by the man, and by a television station that he had sent a fax to around 8:30 a.m. local time, found seven bodies in a house in Wilmington, a working-class neighborhood near the Port of Los Angeles. A police spokesman said the bodies were an 8-year-old girl; two sets of twins (5-year-old girls, and 2-year-old boys); and a woman and a man believed to be their parents. The man had telephoned and sent a fax to KABC-TV that indicated “he was despondent over a job situation and he saw no reasonable way out,” said Lt. John Romero, a police spokesman.
93-year-old froze to death, owed big utility bill
The Associated Press
January 26, 2009
BAY CITY, Mich.
A 93-year-old man froze to death inside his home just days after the municipal power company restricted his use of electricity because of unpaid bills, officials said. Marvin E. Schur died "a slow, painful death," said Kanu Virani, Oakland County's deputy chief medical examiner, who performed the autopsy. Neighbors discovered Schur's body on Jan. 17. They said the indoor temperature was below 32 degrees at the time, The Bay City Times reported Monday. "Hypothermia shuts the whole system down, slowly," Virani said. "It's not easy to die from hypothermia without first realizing your fingers and toes feel like they're burning."
Getting Theirs Cuts Both Ways on Wall Street
By ERIC DASH and LOUISE STORY
January 30, 2009
There was none of the old swagger at Citigroup headquarters on Friday. The bonus checks had landed — and some of the bankers were grumbling. Many of those walking to work on Wall Street in Manhattan are walking away with less bonus pay because of outside pressure. After a year of yawning losses at the company, employees lamented that times were getting lean. The giant bank, the recipient of two multibillion-dollar rescues from Washington, had paid out only about $4 billion in bonuses.
Governments across Europe tremble as angry people take to the streets
31 January 2009
France paralysed by a wave of strike action, the boulevards of Paris resembling a debris-strewn battle?eld. The Hungarian currency sinks to its lowest level ever against the euro, as the unemployment ?gure rises. Greek farmers block the road into Bulgaria in protest at low prices for their produce. New ?gures from the biggest bank in the Baltic show that the three post-Soviet states there face the biggest recessions in Europe. It's a snapshot of a single day – yesterday – in a Europe sinking into the bleakest of times. But while the outlook may be dark in the big wealthy democracies of western Europe, it is in the young, poor, vulnerable states of central and eastern Europe that the trauma of crash, slump and meltdown looks graver.
School Children Complain Of “Obama Worship” During Lessons
Jan 28th, 2009
Several disturbing stories have come to our attention over the past weeks and days that further highlight how sections of the American population have elevated Barack Obama to a dangerously inflated “messianic” status normally only associated with Royalty or totalitarian leaders. What makes the following accounts so much more insidious, however, is that they all involve children. Perhaps the most insidious is to be found on the Tree of Liberty forum where a concerned parent from Las Vegas reveals that his 1st grader son has complained of having to pledge allegiance every day at school to a huge projected image of the new president.
Arks of Safe Haven
"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.
Newly homeless plead: 'We're not throwaway people'
By EVELYN NIEVES
Jan 29, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO – In the first major census of people living on the streets since the recession, thousands of volunteers across the country are fanning out in the thick of night this week to count the most desperate members of their communities.
On the streets and in shelters, volunteers conducting the count in the wintry dead of night have found an untold numbers of hard-luck stories from those homeless for the first time, working poor victimized by the foreclosure and unemployment crises.
"I call it the double trouble," said Philip F. Mangano, executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. "You would have to be naive to believe that the loss of over 850,000 homes and over two million jobs wouldn't have an impact."
In Camden, N.J., a city that every economic boom bypasses and every bust seems to embrace, the number of people living in an encampment near downtown has grown over the last year, according to the regulars.
"They seem to keep coming," said Neil Floyd, a 53-year-old former truck driver who is unable to find work and has lived under a tarp for a year.
In Wichita, Kan., Sandra Cox, 47, who receives $517 a month in disability payments, ended up in a homeless shelter in December. Her son, the breadwinner, had lost his job at a tuxedo warehouse that went out of business and could only find temporary part-time work.
In Portland, Ore., inside a crowded homeless shelter, an 81-year-old grandmother, Ilene Reeve, was spending the night feeling lucky to have a bed. Her only other choice was to sleep in the lobby of a post office. She says she can't find a job, nor can she survive on the $754 a month she receives in Social Security.
Although it will be months before officials compile their final tally of those sleeping in alleys and tunnels, under bridges and overpasses and in cars and tents, they expect the totals to substantially higher than the last count two years ago.
In this economy, most cities are reporting a huge increase in the need for shelter. They include working poor renters who end up getting evicted when their landlords default.
But some advocates for homeless people say the biannual, federally mandated counts taking place on a single night or at some point this week will omit the majority of homeless people, including the recession's recent victims.
The count, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development requires for any community seeking federal funds for homeless programs, includes those on the street as well as people in homeless shelters, transitional housing, and in hospitals, mental wards and jails.
The census, which HUD has required since 2005, does not count those doubled up with friends or relatives, staying in hotels or garages or in any other makeshift, inadequate housing.
The last census, in 2007, found 671,888 people nationwide were homeless. Of those, 123,798 were classified as "chronically homeless, which HUD defines as someone homeless for a year or more, or with four instances of homelessness within three years. The Department of Education, which lists people doubled up as homeless, counted 688,000 homeless children in public schools for the 2006-2007 school year.
Many advocates say the majority of families experiencing homelessness in this economy are not on the streets or in shelters, but doubled up or in some other marginal situation.
"We hope the Obama administration will stop these ridiculous point-in-time head counts," said Paul Boden, executive director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, a San Francisco-based advocacy group for the homeless that includes five Western cities — San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and Oakland.
Since so many people who need decent housing will not be counted, Boden said, the spot count is inadequate. "Homelessness is way, way up," he said, but the census, when released in over a year, will not reflect the true numbers.
Brian Sullivan, a spokesman for HUD, said that while the homeless count is not entirely scientific, most communities find it useful. "It gives a basis for communities to evaluate their needs and the effectiveness of their programs," he said.
Steve West, a 47-year-old painter from Milwaukee, sleeps in a rescue mission at night and spends his days on the streets bundled up in layers of clothes. He says he became homeless three months ago when he lost his job and his wife kicked him out of the house.
"It's hard to find work," said West. "With the economy, no one's doing any painting."
In Mobile, Ala., people who came from elsewhere looking for a better life have ended up in a shelter, unable to find work. Shawn Mazur, 27, is one of those. He had lost his heating and air conditioning job in Kansas City, Mo., recently and moved to Mobile to find work. He found none.
Patricia Cook, of St. Cloud, Minn., became stranded in Mobile in December when her car broke down. She had been staying under a bridge, embarrassed by her situation. But, she said, she was glad homeless people were being counted.
"We're not throwaway people," she said.
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
Deadly Ice, Snow Storm Leaves Thousands Without Power
Jan 27, 2009
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Schools closed and thousands of homes and businesses had no electricity Tuesday as a storm spread a coating of ice and snow on roads and power lines from the southern Plains to the mid-Atlantic states. There are conflicting reports on the number of deaths blamed on the weather. The Associated Press said that at least seven died as a result of the storms, while others put the number at eight. Highway department crews were out in force spreading salt and sand on the accumulating ice, and police reported hundreds of accidents. Ice had built up as much as an inch thick around Mountain Home, Ark., and the utility Entergy Arkansas said about 5,800 customers were blacked out as the weight of ice brought down power lines. Missouri's AmerenUE reported about 6,000 customers without service.
15 die as storms wreak havoc in France and Spain
Four children killed when sports centre collapses in Barcelona, and a million people left without power
Jan 25, 2009
Fifteen people, including four children, died as violent storms swept across Spain and France, wrecking buildings, and knocking out power for more than a million people. The children were killed when the roof of a sports centre collapsed during high winds in Sant Boi de Llobregat, near Barcelona, yesterday morning. "It was horrific," said Jose Antonio Godina, a parent at the sports centre. "We heard a loud noise and we thought a tree had fallen on a roof. But when we got here, the roof of the annex had literally flown off and the walls had fallen in on them." Up to 30 children were inside the building when it collapsed, local authorities said. Catalonian emergency services said four children had died and nine people had been injured.
Liberia worms swarm 'emergency'
Jan 27, 2009
Liberia's president has declared a state of emergency in response to a plague of crop-destroying army worms. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said all possible resources would be used to fight the insects, which have spread to next-door Guinea and are nearing Sierra Leone. Some 400,000 residents in 80 villages had been affected, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said. The "worms" – which are actually caterpillars – are among the world's most destructive agricultural pests. Guinea has started spraying, and Sierra Leone has announced it will mobilise chemicals and personnel to its border.
Alaskans Brace for Redoubt Volcano Eruption
Jan 30, 2009
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Hardware stores and auto parts shops scored a post-holiday run of business this week as Anchorage-area residents stocked up on protective eyewear and masks ahead of a possible eruption of Mount Redoubt. Monitoring earthquakes underneath the 10,200-foot Redoubt Volcano about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, scientists from the Alaska Volcano Observatory warned that an eruption was imminent, sending experienced Alaskans shopping for protection against a dusty shower of volcanic ash that could descend on south-central Alaska. "Every time this happens we do get a run on dust masks and goggles," said Phil Robinson, manager of an Alaska Industrial Hardware store in Anchorage. "That's the two main things for eye and respiratory protection."
Global warming 'irreversible' for next 1000 years: study
Jan 28, 2009
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Climate change is "largely irreversible" for the next 1,000 years even if carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could be abruptly halted, according to a new study led by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The study's authors said there was "no going back" after the report showed that changes in surface temperature, rainfall and sea level are "largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after CO2 emissions are completely stopped." NOAA senior scientist Susan Solomon said the study, published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, showed that current human choices on carbon dioxide emissions are set to "irreversibly change the planet."
Natural Disaster Update
5.6 KEPULAUAN BATU, INDONESIA
5.5 SOUTHWESTERN SAKHA, RUSSIA
5.8 FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
5.7 FIJI REGION
5.0 EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN
5.4 SOUTH OF SUMBAWA, INDONESIA
5.4 KOMANDORSKIYE OSTROVA REGION
5.8 FIJI REGION
5.4 ANDAMAN ISLANDS, INDIA REGION
5.7 KEPULAUAN ALOR, INDONESIA
5.1 NEAR N COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.7 KEPULAUAN BATU, INDONESIA
5.5 SAMOA ISLANDS REGION
5.0 TIMOR REGION
5.0 TIMOR REGION
5.4 LEYTE, PHILIPPINES
5.2 ACRE, BRAZIL
5.2 ANDAMAN ISLANDS, INDIA REGION
5.7 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.4 TARAPACA, CHILE
5.4 TARAPACA, CHILE
5.2 ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE
5.3 GUERRERO, MEXICO
CALIFORNIA – A report found that as many as 50% of California's hospitals could suffer serious damage or collapse during an earthquake. Many buildings have not completed upgrades that a 1994 law requires be made by 2013.
A major earthquake along the San Andreas Fault could knock out water service to many Southern California homes, including homes in the High Desert, for up to six months, according to a new study. As a rule, people should store one gallon of water per person for at least three days. "When dealing with an earthquake of this magnitude, three days would be the absolute minimum. I would say if you can store more, then store more." The lack of water will also hamper firefighting efforts. Other concerns raised by the simulation is how quickly electricity will be restored. Some estimate it could take anywhere from 10 days to a few weeks. "One of the biggest challenges is the ability to get down through highways and do inspections."
CHINA – Thousands of people have been made homeless by an earthquake on Sunday in remote Qapqal, in China's far western region of Xinjiang near the Kazakh border. The earthquake, which measured 5.0 on the Richter scale, hit an area inhabited by the Xibe people, a community originally from Manchuria. It destroyed nearly 200 homes and damaged nearly 3,000 buildings on Sunday morning. No casualties have been reported so far. More than 4,500 people have been moved to schools, government buildings and tents, in two counties about 700 km to the west of the regional capital, Urumqi.
CHINA – Scientists Build Case that Zipingpu Dam Triggered China’s Devastating May 12 Earthquake. The Zipingpu dam reservoir is just a few kilometers from the epicenter and might have induced the earthquake. Representatives from the Chinese Academy of Science, meanwhile, are denying that the Zipingpu dam had anything but good effects on the region.
ALASKA – Redoubt volcano alert raised to orange, indicating that an eruption may be imminent. New seismic activity at Mount Redoubt, 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, has increased significantly and may be the prelude to an eruption, "perhaps within hours to days," the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported Sunday. Redoubt last erupted during a five-month period from December 1989 through April 1990. "Around 1 o'clock (Sunday) morning the seismic activity really started to pick up." The shaking quieted about five hours later, but it still remains well above normal "background" tremor levels.
ITALY – One of the most active volcanoes in the world, the Etna, on Monday was throwing out ashes and lava that descended the western face towards the Bove Valley. The eruption, initiated last May, is visible from a long distance. The phenomenon does not represents any danger for the population, however the volcano is permanently watched due to its constant internal movements.
ALASKA – Scientists Fear Volcano Could Bury Anchorage in Ash – The Redoubt Volcano sits about 50 miles west of Kenai and 100 miles southwest of Anchorage. It last erupted during a five-month stretch beginning December, 1989. Recent activity began around 1 a.m. Sunday, then it eased about five hours later. An observatory crew flew over Redoubt, and it ruled there had been no eruption. "There was steaming through pre-existing holes, but there were no new holes. … and there was no ash on the snow cover." But during the flyover, crew members smelled sulfur, so observatory staff will be monitoring activity and satellite images that identify temperature changes round the clock. Observers will also look to weather radar scanners near the Kenai airport for help. Those scanners send data in six-minute intervals. These scanners will be able to detect an ash plume should one appear. Sunday's volcanic activity came on the heels of a magnitude 5.7 earthquake at the mouth of Cook Inlet. However, that does not necessarily mean the earthquake stirred the volcanic activity. With the two events being more than 100 miles apart, it's even more unlikely.
ALASKA – Mount Redoubt volcano in Alaska expected to erupt 'within days' – "Mount Redoubt is still rumbling and simmering, prompting geologists to repeat their warning that an eruption may be imminent." It would not be a pleasant period in Anchorage if Redoubt were to blow its top, if its previous eruption is any indication. For five months beginning in December 1989, smoke and ash from the 10,197-foot peak disrupted international air traffic and deposited volcanic dust throughout the Anchorage region. That eruption also delivered mud flows from Redoubt into the Drift River drainage. The American Red Cross of Alaska has advised families throughout Alaska to develop disaster plans and put together disaster supply kits. (map & dramatic photo of 1990 eruption) Since last fall, the Alaska Volcano Observatory has detected increasing volcanic unrest at Redoubt Volcano. Starting on Friday, January 23, the level of seismic activity increased markedly, and on Sunday AVO raised the Aviation Color Code to ORANGE and the Volcano Alert Level to WATCH. Since Sunday, seismicity has waxed and waned but has remained well above background levels. The seismic unrest observed over the past few days is UNUSUAL for Redoubt and has not been seen since just prior to the 1989-90 eruption. Overflights on January 26 and 27 documented continued production of water vapor and volcanic gas plumes from the summit crater; increased melting has produced small flows of debris at the north base of the volcano. On the basis of all available monitoring data AVO regards that an eruption similar to or smaller than the one that occurred in 1989-90 is the most probable outcome.
Redoubt volcano webcam
ALASKA – Geologists monitoring Mount Redoubt for signs of a possible eruption noticed that a hole in the glacier clinging to the north side of the volcano had doubled in size overnight – and now spans the length of two football fields. By Saturday, they had confirmed the area was a fumarole, an opening in the earth that emits gases and steam, that was increasing in size at an alarming rate. They also saw water streaming down the glacier, indicating heat from magma is reaching higher elevations of the mountain. "The glacier is sort of falling apart in the upper part." The signs of heat add to concerns that an eruption is near, which could send an ash cloud about 100 miles northeast toward Anchorage, the state's largest city, or onto communities on the Kenai Peninsula, which is even closer to the mountain on the west side of Cook Inlet. It would be the first eruption since 1990. Alaska's volcanoes typically start with an explosion that can shoot ash 50,000 feet high and into the jet stream, and there are warning signs because magma causes small earthquakes as it moves. The observatory has been recording quakes up to magnitude 2.1 but not at the frequency that preceded the last two eruptions in 1989 and 1990. "We're looking for an increase of seismicity to match the precursor activity. We haven't seen that yet."
TROPICAL STORMS –
Clean-up effort is under way in the West Australian town of Onslow after tropical cyclone Dominic brought down trees, damaged power lines and blew a section of roof off the town's library.
AUSTRALIA – ex-cyclone Dominic left a band of rain and thunderstorm activity which was expected to sit over the eastern Gascoyne, Goldfields and western Eucla regions until Saturday. The cyclone, which crossed the coast in WA's Pilbara yesterday, combined with a mid-level disturbance which will bring heavy rainfall. The rainfall would be a double-edged sword for the pastoral and mining region, where rain is badly needed by station owners but could disrupt mining.
Winter storm Klaus, whose fierce winds ripped across parts of France and Spain over the weekend, could be in the billions of euros, according to preliminary estimates. Klaus, a strong extra-tropical cyclone, made landfall in southwestern France Saturday. The storm traveled through southern France, causing widespread destruction, including damage to buildings, power outages, flooding and travel disruption. The winter storm, which brought winds of more than 150 kilometers per hour and reportedly killed more than 20 people, also caused widespread damage in northern Spain. The French meteorological office had issued a red alert for five departments in southwest France on Saturday as winds of 160 kilometers per hour and higher were recorded in the region. A gust of 184 kph was recorded in the eastern Pyrenees near Perpignan. Meteo France described the winds as SOME OF THE STRONGEST RECORDED SINCE RECORDS BEGAN. Gusts of up to 194 kilometers per hour were recorded over Spain; the storm’s highest wind speeds correspond to those in a Category 3 hurricane. The storm was the most intense and damaging extra-tropical cyclone to hit the region since winter storm Marin in December 1999. The lumber industry was particularly hard hit by the storm, and about 60% to 70% of pine trees in parts of the southwestern France were felled.
AUSTRALIA – Residents in Queensland's north have been warned to prepare for torrential rain and high tides as another cyclone moves towards the region. Tropical Cyclone Ellie developed in the Coral Sea this morning and was about 165km east of Cairns at 6am . The category one cyclone is expected to cross the coast near Lucinda early Monday morning. It would generate 100kmh winds, while large waves would lash the coast between Cairns and Townsville. The associated trough would also bring more rain to the west of the state. In the last 24 hours, Innisfail received 50mm of rain and Cairns 54mm. More rain is expected for coastal areas in far north Queensland in the coming days.
TSUNAMI / FREAK WAVES / ABNORMAL TIDES / RISING SEA LEVELS –
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Warnings of further severe sea swells causing tidal surges, similar to those experienced in December 2008, have been issued in Papua New Guinea. The warnings were targeted at the Momase and New Guinea Islands regions. Indications were that additional tidal surges could be experienced in the areas submerged in December, which destroyed crops and infrastructure. The waters south of New Britain Island and around Guam have risen by more than 20cm. Earlier reports stated that late December through January were the months for spring or “king” tides in PNG. “These tides would be in excess of 2.5m along the southern coast from the border of Indonesia and PNG to Milne Bay and the north coast and New Guinea Islands including Bougainville." On 31 December 2008, 38,000 people were still affected by flooding as a result of early December sea swells; 2,000 houses were destroyed or damaged in Manus, East Sepik, New Ireland and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville; and safe drinking water and adequate storage tanks and containers, as well as food and sanitation assistance, were still priority concerns for the affected population.
SPAIN – Giant 50-foot waves battered cruise ship – Passengers on the British cruise ship Balmoral went through a harrowing ordeal this week as the vessel sailed across the notoriously rough Bay of Biscay during a storm. The ship hit 50-foot waves and 60 mph winds during a force nine gale. Multiple pictures at the Daily Mail site show the vessel rolling into the waves at an alarmingly steep angle.
INDONESIA – The West Sumatra Natural Disaster Coordinating Unit has warned fishermen and marine travel operators that the Feb. 9 lunar eclipse could produce waves up to 5 meters high. The gravitational effect of the eclipse combined with strong winds out of the Indian Ocean blowing toward Sumatra is likely to cause beach erosion and flooding. "We have issued warnings to all regencies and cities in West Sumatra to expect heavy waves, floods, landslides and erosion, so authorities can prepare for the extreme weather conditions, which will peak in February."
HEAVY RAINS / FLOODING / LANDSLIDES / UNUSUAL & OUT-OF-SEASON WEATHER –
NIGERIA – Landslide Renders 200 Homeless – Not less than 200 people have been rendered homeless in Agwagwune, Biase Local Government Area in Cross River State by a landslide that hit the community. The only remedy was to relocate the entire community to a safer ground. Concerted efforts were being made by the state government for the provision of 16 units of houses for some of the victims. The magnitude of the disaster and speed of the devastation may, in a very short while, destroy more houses. The landslide will stop when it gets to firmer ground; at the moment nothing substantial could be done to stop the devastation. Last year, the State Government had called on the Federal Government for an urgent intervention in the imminent Biase landslide which required a total relocation of the affected community in order to save their lives. With over 600 erosion sites across the state, two major drains need to be established as the first step to tackling the problem. Landslides of great magnitudes had devastated the Calabar – Uyo highway, Akai Effiwat, Kilometre 28 and the Murtala Mohammed Highway in Calabar among others.
SPAIN – Heavy rains sparked flooding Tuesday in northern Spain, while another death increased the number of fatalities claimed by storms to 16. Rainwater flooded basements and garages in several places in the Cantabria and Basque regions, disrupting traffic. Two rivers overflowed their banks in Cantabria, while several schools and other public buildings were evacuated in the Basque city of Bilbao for fear that the river Nervion would do the same. In north-eastern Catalonia, about 3,500 households remained without electricity.
HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD –
Deadly avalanches throughout Europe killed at least 20 people during the weekend.
U.S. – Sleet, ice cause havoc from Texas to Kentucky — Freezing rain and sleet moved through Texas to Kentucky on Tuesday, icing bridges and roads as the storm system headed east toward the Washington area. The winter storm, which has cut power to tens of thousands of homes and glazed roads, has been blamed for at least five traffic deaths. The National Weather Service issued ice storm warnings from Dallas, Texas, to just north of Memphis, Tennessee.
PENNSYLVANIA – January temperatures have been well below normal. Friday was the first time it topped 50 this month in Philadelphia, something that usually happens six times in January, and the one-day thaw is over. So far, the heavy doses of ice-melting salt that have left ghostly gray coatings on the region's vehicles have been more impressive than the mysteriously meager snowfall. So far, a meager 1.1 inches of snow has been measured for the month at the airport, bringing the seasonal total to 2.4. That's about a third of normal. If that trend continued, this would be one of the least snowy two-year periods in 134 years of recordkeeping. Last winter, only 6.3 inches fell at the airport. In the last two months, some form of frozen precipitation, besides snow, has been reported at Philadelphia International Airport on 17 different days. Already, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Philadelphia district has used more than 32,000 tons of salt, more than it has spread in several entire winters. Oddly, in a narrow corridor west of Philadelphia, snowfall has been about normal, thanks to Monday the 19th's strange storm that left 3 to 5 inches in some of the Pennsylvania suburbs. The classic winter coastal storms that develop off the Carolina coast and generate the region's important snows have been scarce since 2001. "I can't remember something really powerful forming off the Carolina coast." It has been a stormy period in the Atlantic, but the storms have intensified too far north to lash Philadelphia with snow. It is unclear why this has been happening, but in the case of last winter, meteorologists cited a La Niña, an unusual cooling of the tropical Pacific. During a La Niña, an area of higher pressure, or heavier air, tends to form off the Southeast coast, suppressing storms. Some remnants of that pattern evidently have persisted this winter. Perhaps the snow-deprivation is a "payback" for the 30-inch snow of January 1996 and the 20 inches in February 2003.
EUROPE has experienced some intense weather this winter, with cold maintaining a strong grip on the entire continent and severe storms continually battering western Europe with heavy snow and winds. A series of FREAK WEATHER EVENTS involving wind and snow have left over a dozen dead from Scotland to Spain over the weekend. Near Barcelona, four children were killed when a roof collapsed due to hurricane-force winds. A weather station in northern Spain recorded wind gusts up to 110 MPH, the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane. In Biscarrosse, France, a wind gust of 99 MPH was recorded. Such winds are EXTREMELY RARE outside tropical cyclones and tornadoes and especially so in continental Europe. This is just the latest string in a series of extreme weather events across Europe over the past few months.
EXTREME HEAT / WILDFIRES / DROUGHT / CLIMATE CHANGE –
Global warming is 'irreversible' – A team of environmental researchers in the US has warned many effects of climate change are irreversible. The scientists concluded global temperatures could remain high for 1,000 years, even if carbon emissions can somehow be halted. The team warned that if carbon levels in the atmosphere continued to rise, there would be less rainfall in already dry areas of southern Europe, North America, parts of Africa and Australia. The scientists say the oceans are currently slowing down global warming by absorbing heat, but they will eventually release that heat back into the air. "People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 year – that's not true."
AUSTRALIA – Melbourne is preparing for its LONGEST HEAT WAVE IN A CENTURY, which may push energy demand to records. The Victorian state capital may have four days of temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) from today. That would be the longest stretch since 1908. A high pressure system over the Tasman sea is pushing northerly winds over southeastern Australia, causing extreme heat in Victoria and South Australia. “The high pressure system is hardly predicted to move for several days and that’s definitely flowing through into a very prolonged period of extreme heat. It’s certainly UNUSUAL.” Train tracks in Melbourne buckled because of the heat, causing cancellations and delays. “The heat wave also posed a serious fire risk for the state. This week’s heat wave is longer and hotter than nearly all Victorians have experienced in a lifetime.”
TEXAS – Specialized forecasts issued for severe wildfire conditions – The drought and wildfire dangers have become so serious meteorologists have developed a special detailed fire weather forecast for emergency personnel.
AUSTRALIA – South-east heatwave HOTTEST IN 70 YEARS – Australia's south-east is still enduring a massive heatwave, with Adelaide reaching 45.5 degrees Celsius early Wednesday afternoon. Some country towns are even hotter, with 46.2C recorded at Ceduna on the Eyre Peninsula. This is the closest Adelaide has come to its hottest ever day. "The only two times that it's been hotter were both back in 1939, 46.1C on the 12th of January and 45.9C on the 10th of January." The bureau is forecasting a total of six days of 40 degree-plus heat, which would equal the city's hottest ever heatwave set in January 1908.
AUSTRALIA – Houses destroyed in wildfire, RECORDS BROKEN in heatwave. Up to five homes were destroyed by bushfires at Boolarra North, east of Melbourne, as the state experienced a third consecutive day of extreme temperatures. Melbourne again endured a top temperature above 43 degrees, marking the FIRST TIME SINCE RECORDS BEGAN in 1855 that the city notched up three consecutive days so hot. The mercury reached 45.1 degrees in Melbourne. Tasmania recorded its HOTTEST-EVER TEMPERATURE, 42.2 degrees at Scamander in the state's northeast Birds and possums were becoming heat-stressed. "Sadly these animals are not coping in this ONE-IN-A-100-YEAR HOT SPELL."
CALIFORNIA – State officials reported a smaller Sierra Nevada snow pack than normal on Thursday and said California may be at the beginning of its WORST DROUGHT IN MODERN HISTORY. Part of the trouble is that this January has been among the driest on record. As of Thursday, San Jose had received just 4.06 inches of rain this winter.
NEVADA – The US Agriculture Department has declared almost all of Nevada a natural disaster area because of losses caused by drought over the past year.
AUSTRALIA – Wildfires destroyed more than 20 homes while hundreds of thousands of others lost power as a record-breaking heat wave that began claiming lives maintained its oppressive grip on southern Australia on Saturday. About six people died from heat stress in Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, over three days before the temperature mellowed to 31 degrees Celsius (88 Fahrenheit) on Saturday. Melbourne on Friday recorded its third consecutive day of temperatures above 109 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) for the FIRST TIME SINCE RECORD-KEEPING BEGAN IN 1855. South Australia state authorities said Saturday that the heat had probably caused some of the recent 22 sudden deaths there. In Victoria, at least 23 houses were destroyed Friday night and Saturday by wildfires that burned 16,000 acres (6,300 hectares) of forest and farm land. Adelaide is expected to match its longest heat wave in a century on Monday, with six consecutive days exceeding 104 F (40 C). The heat there buckled train and tram lines. "These events are UNPRECEDENTED. In some respects, they are not unlike a natural disaster, impacting on a community like a flood or tornado."
ARGENTINA – farmers face ruin as drought kills cattle, crops. The WORST DROUGHT IN HALF A CENTURY has turned Argentina's once-fertile soil to dust and pushed the country into a state of emergency.
FOOD / WATER / SUPPLIES –
LIBERIA's president has declared a state of emergency in response to a plague of crop-destroying army worms. All possible resources will be used to fight the insects, which have spread to next-door Guinea and are nearing Sierra Leone. Some 400,000 residents in 80 villages have been affected. The "worms" – which are actually caterpillars – are among the world's most destructive agricultural pests. Guinea has started spraying, and Sierra Leone has announced it will mobilise chemicals and personnel to its border. Liberia has already appealed for international help to carry out aerial spraying against tens of millions of the invading insects. It is the West African country's WORST INFESTATION OF ARMY WORM IN THREE DECADES. Creeks and rivers – which some villages rely on for drinking water – have been polluted by the massive amount of faeces from the swarm. "It's quite an alarming situation for us, in a country where food-security is a big challenge. The areas affected have all been consumed by the army worms." The invasion began in Bong County before spreading into neighbouring Lofa and Gbarpolu counties and threatening villages over the border in Guinea. With each female laying between 500 and 1,000 eggs, the caterpillars (of the genus Spodoptera) can devour an entire crop in a matter of days once they reach maturity. They grow up to 5cm (2in) in length.
ARGENTINA has declared an agricultural emergency as it confronts one of the worst droughts in decades. The decree will defer tax payments for thousands of farmers for a year. Several regions of Argentina, including the provinces of Buenos Aires, Cordoba, La Pampa and Entre Rios, have been hit by THE WORST DROUGHT SINCE AT LEAST 1971. Since March last year, rainfall has been significantly below normal. Among the effects, some 800,000 head of cattle have been lost, while in Entre Rios some 90% of the wheat crop has been ruined. The worst affected area is the Pampas region, where winds have been whipping up the dry soil and coating huge swathes of barren land. Farmers' leaders indicated the measures did not go far enough. "The only thing this announcement achieves is to postpone the payment of taxes, and that is of no use to the farmer who has lost his entire crop."
Studies find mercury in much US corn syrup – Many common foods made using commercial high fructose corn syrup contain mercury as well, researchers reported on Tuesday, while another study suggested the corn syrup itself is contaminated.
Natural disasters may necessitate leaving an area, U.S. officials say. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta advise that in case of any natural disaster, local authorities will give information on whether and how to take shelter or, if necessary, how to evacuate. "The best way to protect yourself and your family, is to follow the advice of local officials. Follow authorities' instructions if they tell you to leave the area." The CDC experts recommend every household have an evacuation plan. Make sure a vehicle has a full tank of gas as well as some flares, booster cables, maps, tools and a fire extinguisher. If no vehicle is available, make arrangements with friends or family for transportation, or follow authorities' instructions on where to obtain transportation.
Prepare an emergency supply kit to take along that includes:
— Flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries and sleeping bags.
— Emergency food and water, including a manual can opener.
— Essential medicines for at least one week and first aid kit.
— Protective gear such as sturdy shoes, respiratory protection and goggles for the eyes.
HEALTH THREATS –
A peanut plant in Georgia identified as the source of an outbreak of salmonella shipped out products that managers knew might be tainted, U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said on Tuesday. More than 500 people in 43 states and Canada have been sickened in the outbreak, which also may be linked with eight deaths. "The team identified approximately 12 instances in 2007 and 2008 where the firm identified some type of salmonella … and released the products." Records at the plant showed that after the company tested the peanut products and found salmonella, it sent at least some to an outside lab that showed no contamination. The products were then illegally shipped for sale. "There (were) no steps taken (by) the firm as far as cleaning or to minimize cross-contamination." "We expect the lots of recalled products to continue to expand."
RECALLS & ALERTS –
Cropwell Bishop Creamery Limited of England is recalling in the United States limited amounts of Blue Stilton and Shropshire Blue Cheese as a precautionary measure because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Piles of recalls due to the peanut problem, including whole peanuts now, not just paste and butter –
Orchard Valley Harvest initiated a nationwide voluntary recall of certain conventional and organic peanuts roasted and packed for Safeway because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella.
Hy-Vee Inc. is voluntarily recalling its freshly made party mix and peanut brittle because the products contain whole peanuts that have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella.
Meijer initiated a voluntary recall of two types of its Meijer Brand dry-roasted peanuts.
Harry and David, of Medford, Oregon, is voluntarily recalling two Olympia Delight Trail Mix products.
The Kroger Co. is recalling a nut topping sold in its family of retail stores because the product was associated with peanut butter supplied by Peanut Corporation of America and may be contaminated with Salmonella.
The list goes on and on and on and on….
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
Over 5 million gather near Dhaka for Muslim prayer meet
January 30th, 2009 – 5:38 pm ICT by IANS
Dhaka, Jan 30 (IANS) Over five million people, including Indians, converged near here to attend the annual three-day Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest Muslim congregation after Haj that begins Friday.Organisers said people from the US, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Philippines, Maldives and Saudi Arabia have reached the venue on the bank of the river Turag at Tongi, 20 km from here.
Spectacular festival held at Kashmir’’s Spituk Buddhist Monastery
ANI, January 25, 2009
Leh, Ladakh (India) — The ”Spituk Gustor”, an annual two-day monastic festival, took place at the Spituk Monastery on January 18 and 19 in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. This festival is usually held during the 11th month of Tibetan calendar and marks the victory of virtue over evil. A hallmark of the festival is the mask dance performed by monks who sport various masks representing the guardians, protectors and the gods and goddesses. “This fair is held every year in January.
Rabbi says Vatican should examine its conscience
Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin of Efrat and the founder of a center of Jewish-Christian studies denounced the pope's "admitting a Holocaust denier into the hierarchy of the Catholic Church" and "should concern Jews worldwide."
By Spero News
Sunday January 25, 2009
Upon learning of Pope Benedict XVI's lifting of the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of Pope St. Piux X, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin said "the Pope has muddied the waters of truth and compromised his own religion, specifically the Gospel of John 8:32, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Bishop Williamson has mentioned on national television that there were no gas chambers and the highest estimates of Jews killed during the Holocaust were up to 300,000. The Chief Rabbi of Efrat and recent founder of the first orthodox Jewish center to religiously dialogue with Christians (Ohr Torah Stone: Center for Jewish Christian Understanding & Cooperation – CJCUC) added in a statement that "this was more than a near fatal blow to the advancement of Jewish-Catholic relations; it's staining the essence of sacrament within the church."
Man Accused Of Killing Daughter For Family Honor
by Jamie Tarabay
NPR Morning Edition, January 26, 2009
Police in Atlanta have been investigating the death of a 25-year-old Pakistani woman, who was allegedly murdered by her father in the name of family honor. She wanted out of an arranged marriage, but her father thought a divorce would bring shame to the family. Honor killings are old rites of murder within families, committed because of some perceived dishonor or shame. The United Nations estimates around 5,000 deaths occur each year — mostly of women, mostly in South Asia and the Middle East.
Ex-pastor jailed for sex with 10-year-old 'wife'
Prosecutor: Canadian has 'no remorse' over acts with girl 38 years his junior
Tues., Jan. 27, 2009
MONTREAL – A Canadian man who described himself as a pastor was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl he claims was his wife. Daniel Cormier, 57, was convicted in October after members of the now-defunct Church of Downtown Montreal became suspicious of his relationship with the girl. Cormier, who led the church, has maintained he did nothing wrong when he married the girl, then 10 years old, in 1999 during a ceremony at his church. "I would say that there's no remorse," prosecutor Anne-Andree Charette said outside the courtroom. "He just tried to find justifications."
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
Judge tells Christian: 'I would kill you'
Reportedly threatens woman who chooses to worship Jesus
Posted: January 27, 2009
A woman arrested at the Cairo airport because her identity card described her as a Christian has been threatened for her faith by the judge in her case, according to a new report. As WND reported, authorities in Egypt deprived the woman's two children, ages 2 and 4, of food to try to coerce her to abandon Christianity and return to Islam. According to the Assyrian International News Agency, a woman identified as Martha Samuel Makkar was arrested Dec. 13 as she, her husband, Fadl Thabet, and two sons were trying to leave Cairo for Russia. Makkar, formerly known as Zainab Said Abdel-Aziz, was accused of carrying forged government documents, because she identified herself as a Christian. Islamic law forbids Muslims from abandoning the faith. Now, according to Compass Direct News, she has been granted bail, and released to rejoin her husband and sons at home pending her forgery trial.
Kingdom of the forgotten
Christians face forced ejection from refugee camps, death
Posted: January 23, 2009
By Eun Jeong
NEW YORK CITY (Assist News Service) – The headlines blare genocide, persistent and systematically planned. The government stands on the sidelines, watching the unfolding horror while doing little to nothing. More than 70,000 are forced into horrific refugee camps and then ejected from them with no place to go. Returning home for this particular people may mean instant death or living the rest of their lives in constant fear and vigilance with the threat of forced religious conversion hanging over their heads. Questions abound: Where is this happening? How long has this been going on? Families turned out of refugee centers with nowhere to go? Why is the government wordlessly condoning the terror afflicting its own people? Why isn’t this story in the mainstream media? Shouldn’t the mention of genocide call for world wide media attention? The people featured in these articles are Christians from the state of Orissa in India. Christian news organizations, such as Voice of the Martyrs, Mission Network News, and Compass Direct have been following the events as far back as July 2007. The New York Times, on the other hand, had only two articles in September and October of 2008. The Los Angeles Times mentioned the violence in Orissa in one paragraph of an article about the Mumbai attacks on Thanksgiving. But VOM, MNN, and CD have 10 to over a dozen different articles each on the violence in Orissa. The blatant discrepancy in reporting raises questions beyond the news outlets' coverage of religious violence. What does it mean to represent and report well when it comes to something as personal as religion? What other stories concerning the abuse and mistreatment of Christians around the world has the mainstream media neglected to report? Who are the Christians being attacked and abused around the world, and who is covering their stories? "Over 200 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest, and even death for their faith in Jesus Christ, with another 200 to 400 million facing discrimination and alienation," according to Open Doors, a faith-based mission supporting persecuted Christian believers.
Sri Lanka: loss of religious freedom feared
A draft law would restrict people in changing their religion. Christians are mobilizing against it.
Friday, January 30, 2009
By Melani Manel Perera
A draft anti-conversion bill has been before Sri Lanka’s parliament since 6 January and could become law before the end of next month. National media have tended to give the matter scant coverage but many in the population wonder about its risks and merit. The bill is purportedly designed to stop people from being forced to convert from one religion to another under duress or when enticed by money or economic advantages. The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a party founded in 2004 and led by Buddhist monks, is one of the bill’s main backers. But opposition leader Joseph Michael Perera has called for two debates on the proposal because it affects all religions, various organisations and political parties, and could harm relations among the island nation’s various confessions. Buddhists are 68 per cent of the population of Sri Lanka; Hindus are about 11 per cent; Muslims 9 per cent; Christians about 6.8 per cent.
Muslims seek to close oldest Christian monastery
Muslim leaders have sued the Syriac Orthodox monastery for alleged proselytism
Monday, January 26, 2009
By Asia News See all articles by this author
Demonstrations are being held in many European countries to save the monastery of Mor Gabriel, a spiritual center for the Syriac Orthodox community in Turkey. Founded in 397, it is the oldest functioning Christian monastery in the world. It is located on the plateau of Tur Abdin, "The Mountain of the Servants of God," on the Turkish border with Iraq. The see of the metropolitan archbishop of Tur Abdin, Mor Timotheus Samuel Aktas, with its three monks, 14 nuns, and 35 young people who live and study there, it is a religious and cultural point of reference for all Syriac Orthodox Christians, who still preserve ancient Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Every year it welcomes more than ten thousand tourists and pilgrims, many of them Syriacs of the diaspora in Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden.
BURMA: AUTHORITIES CLAMP DOWN ON CHRISTIANS
Churches ordered to cease services, stop meeting in ‘unauthorized’ venues.
DUBLIN, January 21 (Compass Direct News) – Burmese authorities last week increased restrictions on Christian activity in the capital city of Rangoon and surrounding areas, including the closure of several churches, Compass sources confirmed yesterday. Orders issued on Jan. 5 had already forced many Christians meeting in residential homes or apartments to cease gathering for worship. Officials last week ordered several major Rangoon churches, including Wather Hope Church, Emmanuel Church and the Assemblies of God Church, to cease holding services and continued enforcing the Jan. 5 ban on meetings held in unauthorized facilities. In the late 1990s authorities stopped issuing permits for land purchase or the construction of new churches, leading many Burmese Christians to conduct services in rented apartments or office buildings, according to the Burmese news agency Mizzima. The Kyauktada Township Peace and Development Council on Jan. 5 invited pastors from more than 100 Rangoon churches to a meeting where they were told to sign documents pledging to cease operation of their churches. About 50 pastors attended, according to Mizzima.