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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pope: Christians Replace Jews as ‘Most Persecuted Minority'

Jews, known for centuries as the most persecuted minority, have been replaced in this role by Christians, according to Pope Benedict XVI, who hinted that he was referring to the Islamic tidal wave that is sweeping the world.

Carefully avoiding singling out Muslims for the mistreatment of Christians, however, the pope recently appealed to European nations as well as the Muslim world to protect what he called the most persecuted religion in the world.

Recent attacks on Christians in Egypt, Nigeria and Iran have claimed dozens of casualties. The pope stated, "This succession of attacks is yet another sign of the urgent need for the governments of the region to adopt, in spite of difficulties and dangers, effective measures for the protection of religious minorities."

Iran has a different explanation for attacks on Christians. Ghazanfar Rokn-Abadi, its ambassador to Lebanon, said his country is a model for religious freedom and that “250,000 Christians are living in Iran peacefully and safely.” He blamed the Jews for any physical attacks.

Responding to the report on the pope’s statements, U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley declined to directly answer a reporter’s question, “Who do you think is doing this?”
“I’d be very wary at this point about making any sweeping statements about whether what’s happened in Iraq has a bearing on what’s happening in other countries such as Egypt or Nigeria,” Crowley said. “These are all being investigated.”

The International Christian Concern was more direct. ICC president Jeff King stated, "Anti-Christian hatred arising from Islam has flowed into 2011, as seen in the horrific attacks in Egypt, Pakistan and Iraq already this year," he said.
The ICC also noted that mainstream media rarely report the phenomenon of persecuted Christians despite its having becoming more common.

The most widespread persecution of Christians has been in the Middle East, where Israel is the only country that grants freedom to Muslims and Christians, as well as Jews, to freely practice their religion. Prior to the Six-Day War in 1967, when Jerusalem was reunited and Judea and Samaria were restored to Israel, Jordan's rulers closed all Jewish and Christian sites, except for high-profile official visits.

Christianity had been the dominant influence in Bethlehem until the first and second Arab intifadas, when Muslim rulers and clerics increasingly harassed Christians, forcing most of them to flee. The Palestinian Authority has blamed Israel for the Christian exodus, but research has documented the harrassment by Muslims.
In Egypt, the government did not take kindly to the pope’s call for "effective measures" to protect Christian minorities in the Middle East. Cairo recalled its ambassador to the Vatican, saying that "Egypt will not allow any non-Egyptian party to intervene in our internal affairs under any pretext.”

US Prepared to Strike N. Korea If ICBM Threats Increase

The United States is reported to be bracing to strike North Korea if its long-range missile capabilities begin to pose too big a threat.
Appearing on the US public broadcaster PBS, General Walter Sharp, the commander of US forces in South Korea said while deterrence is the first and utmost priority against Pyeongyang's provocations, Washington will also be "prepared to respond" if deterrence fails to refrain the North.

Such remarks follow the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' forecast earlier in the week that North Korea will likely develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the US within the next five years.

The general went further to say that Washington and its allies could consider demolishing Pyeongyang's missile sites if circumstances forced them to do so.

The Kim Jong-il regime has already test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles, the last in April 2009, which traveled more than 3-thousand kilometers to land in the Pacific Ocean.
General Sharp, meanwhile, spoke negatively about the North's recent proposals for talks with Seoul, adding there is no evidence of the regime's sincerity towards the denuclearization process.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said North Korea will be among the key issues to be discussed between President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao when the Chinese leader visits Washington next week.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.

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U.S. passed 53 million abortion mark in 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--At some point in 2010 -- 37 years removed from the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision -- a doctor in the United States performed the nation's 53 millionth legal abortion, a sobering stat that ethicists say should drive the public to speak up for the unborn. 

The statistic is based on data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice organization whose studies are acknowledged by most major pro-life organizations. 

The nation's abortion rate reached a peak of 1.6 million in 1990 and has steadily fallen in most years ever since, although Guttmacher's latest data, from 2008, showed the abortion rate had risen slightly to 1,212,000 million from 1,206,000 in 2005, the most recent data point. Because Guttmacher no longer releases abortion data every year, the 53 million figure is based on assumptions that the abortion rate remained relatively unchanged in 2009 and 2010.

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Peter Schiff U.S. economy, inflation, China, euro, gold

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