The pope met with the head of an international Islamic organization on Friday, a meeting that was characterized as the first-ever for the group. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), sat down with Pope Francis at the Vatican in an effort to create dialogue between the Muslim and Roman Catholic worlds. A news release from OIC outlined that the presence of Muslims has increased in “historically Christian countries.” “In this context, the discussions expressed the need for greater efforts to foster respect for religious pluralism and cultural diversity, and to counter the spread of bigotry and prejudices,” the group explained. “It was stressed that interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world, and as such it is a duty for adherents of all faith traditions.” OIC also advised that Ihsanoglu discussed with the Pope “his vision regarding the need for a ‘historic reconciliation’ between Islam and Christianity based on the common Abrahamic roots and in order to support multiculturalism and harmonious societies.” According to Rome Reports, the two exchanged gifts following the talks, with Ihsanoglu donating a 14th century publication–presumably Islamic–to the Vatican library and Pope Francis gave Ihsanoglu and his entourage his papal medallion.
The pope then asked the men for their prayers. This is not the first time, however, that the pope has engaged in dialogue with members of the Islamic religion. As previously reported, in August of this year, Pope Francis had issued a written greeting to Muslims in recognition of the close of the Islamic holiday Ramadan. “Turning to mutual respect in inter-religious relations, especially between Christians and Muslims, we are called to respect the religion of the other, its teachings, its symbols, its values,” he wrote. “Particular respect is due to religious leaders and to places of worship. How painful are attacks on one or other of these!”More
The other suspect, John Bardy, is still on the run. The theft could have been a devastating blow to the Salvation Army’s plans to provide food, clothing and support for the many needy people in the area. However, when the story hit the local press, the community of Glendale responded in a big way. Within hours of the local television coverage, a group of construction workers donated their time and materials to repair the doors that were kicked in by the crooks. Glendale’s Mayor Jerry Weiers immediately rallied local support for donations and offered his services to “ring the bell” this coming Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at a Salvation Army kettle set up outside of a popular area outlet mall. “I am so proud of our city. I hear we have already raised between three and four thousand dollars for the wonderful couple that runs the Korean church and Salvation Army chapter here in Glendale. And that’s before I start ringing my big bell tomorrow,” Weiers said in an interview with TheBlaze on Friday afternoon. More
Of the four other priests removed from ministry, the Rev. Stephen B. Perzan of St. Helena Parish in Philadelphia and the Rev. Peter J. Talocci of St. Patrick’s in Malvern, Pa. faced sexual-abuse allegations that the review board said it could not substantiate, the Inquirer reported; church officials said they were removed from ministry for violations of “the standards of ministerial behavior.” The remaining two — the Rev. Mark E. Fernandes of St. Agnes Parish in Sellersville, Pa. and the Rev. Joseph M. Glatts of SS. Simon and Jude in West Chester, Pa. — faced no accusations of sexual misconduct but were removed from ministry after it was determined they also violated church standards, the Inquirer said. More
An international force would be acceptable to the PA, but Israel opposes such a solution. Abbas has openly declared that a future Palestinian state will have no Jewish presence, military or civilian. Israel has always insisted that a continued military presence on the frontier would be vital for its security for some 10-15 years after Palestinian statehood. Before Kerry’s latest trip to the region, he had said “we are closer than we have been in years” to reaching a deal. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki had said the United States was “focused on a final deal” rather than an interim agreement. On Sunday, Kerry expressed optimism that this was “a different moment” for the conflict that could allow “a different set of choices” than in past, failed efforts. ”I think that the dynamics of the Middle East offer a different moment, the possibilities of peace with the Arab League, the realities of what might and might not stare people in the face if you don’t get an agreement,” he said, according to AFP. ”And hopefully, the leaders will seize this moment and at least move the ball forward somewhat,” added Kerry. He cautioned, however, that the Israeli-Arab conflict has “confounded presidents and secretaries state for 30 or 40 years.” ”If this conflict was easy … this would have been done years ago,” he said.
The PLO, the political body led by Abbas, remains adamantly opposed to anything less than the effective destruction of the State of Israel as its price for a “peace” agreement. At recent celebrations commemorating the 26th anniversary of the start of the second Intifada, the PLO issued a statement in which it said that it would not compromise on any of its basic requirements to make a deal with Israel: A full Israeli withdrawal from all lands liberated in 1967, establishment of Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, and a full return to their original homes the families that fled Israel when it was established in 1948. On Friday, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett clarified that Israel will not accept the American security proposals which essentially mean that Israel will have to rely on others to ensure its security. ”Recently we’ve been hearing a new tune: an international guarantee will ‘safeguard Israel’s security’,” Bennett stated. “We are told that they found the answer to all of our security problems. We can evacuate Samaria, Judea and the Jordan Valley (they won’t dare speak about the Golan Heights). We can place cameras, lasers, helicopters, and especially – rely on international forces and the security guarantee of our friends.” Bennett noted that similar security arrangements in Lebanon, Iran and Syria have actually worked against their aims. ”This has happened dozens of times around the world. Guarantees are words, they are not actions,” he concluded. “We will continue to defend ourselves, by ourselves. It has worked not badly at all for the last 65 years.” Arutz Sheva
“There will be no three-way summit under American auspices in the near future,” Mheissen said, adding that “any meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu is tied to the advance in negotiations between the teams headed by Dr. Saeb Erekat from the Palestinian side and [Justice Minister] Tzipi Livni from the Israeli.” Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to engage in negotiations for a nine-month period, scheduled to end in May. Despite some indications of a possible extension of the timetable, Kerry said on Friday that a deal could still be reached by spring. The most recent crisis between the negotiating sides revolved around an Israeli demand for a 10-year IDF presence in the Jordan Valley following an agreement, a demand reportedly endorsed by the Americans but adamantly rejected by the Palestinians. Palestinian sources told the paper that Abbas was uninterested in providing Netanyahu with a photo opportunity intended to “show Israel’s willingness to meet Palestinians on all levels to achieve peace, while thwarting it on the ground.” The Times of Israel
‘Basically these worms lived to the human equivalent of 400 to 500 years.’ While it could take years of research to extend humans’ lives dramatically, the study raises the prospect of anti-ageing treatments informed by genetic interactions, according to Dr Kapahi. ‘In the early years, cancer researchers focused on mutations in single genes, but then it became apparent that different mutations in a class of genes were driving the disease process,’ he said. While it could take years of research to extend humans’ lives, the study raises the prospect of anti-ageing treatments informed by genetic interactions ‘The same thing is likely happening in ageing,’ he added. C. elegans, the first animal to have its whole genome (or genetic code) mapped, has been widely used in studies of ageing and lifespan. The new research, reported in the journal Cell Reports, involved blocking key molecules that affect the action of insulin and a nutrient signalling pathway called Target of Rapamycin (TOR). Single mutations in the TOR pathway were known to extend the lifespan of C. elegans by 30 per cent, while insulin-signalling mutations could double the amount of time they lived. More
Why Is Saudi Arabia Buying 15,000 U.S. Anti-Tank Missiles for a War It Will Never Fight? Hint: Syria.
A military engagement with Iran, the most immediate potential threat faced by Riyadh, would be largely a naval and air engagement over the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia has fought a series of deadly skirmishes with insurgents in northern Yemen over the years, but those groups have no more than a handful of military vehicles. And Iraq, which posed a real threat during Saddam Hussein’s day, is far too consumed by its internal demons and the fallout from the war in Syria to ponder such foreign adventurism. But one Saudi ally could desperately use anti-tank weapons — the Syrian rebels. In the past, Riyadh has been happy to oblige: It previously purchased anti-tank weapons from Croatia and funneled them to anti-Assad fighters, and it is now training and arming Syrian rebels in Jordan. Charles Lister, a London-based terrorism and insurgency analyst, said that rebels have also received as many as 100 Chinese HJ-8 anti-tank missiles from across the border with Jordan — and indeed, many videos show Syrian rebels using this weapon against Bashar al-Assad’s tanks. More
Todd Starnes of Fox News wrote that Lieutenant Keavy Rake, a spokesman for Shaw Air Force Base, told him that “the Pentagon warned that items that are almost exclusively religious in nature, like a Nativity scene, ‘could appear to endorse religion’ if they are displayed alone and away from chapel grounds.’ Rake said the Pentagon recommended the Baby Jesus either be displayed on chapel grounds or as ‘part of a larger secular or multicultural display on base.’ Ultimately, base command made the decision to pull the plug.” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council responded to the cowardly move by the Air Force, saying that it is “truly a sad state of affairs when a demilitarized zone has to be created on an Air Force base for Baby Jesus. The events in the Air Force alone show that this is much more than a war on Christmas. This is a war on the freedom of religious expression.” Not all Air Force personnel have been cowed by atheist attacks, however. Starnes posted a YouTube video showing the U.S. Air Force Band performing a “flash mob” at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on December 3. “What a blessing to know that in spite of the Obama Administration’s attacks on religious liberty in the Armed Forces, there are still men and women willing to declare, ‘Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!’” wrote Starnes.
Meanwhile, CBS News reported December 11 that two young girls in Vancouver, Washington “who were trying to spread holiday cheer were kicked off of a grocery store’s property for singing Christmas carols.” The two girls, Ayla Bascom and Kaitlyn Manseau, showed up at a local WinCo grocery store near their home to sing Christmas carols outside the store. “The girls made a sign stating they didn’t want any money and no one went into the store to file a complaint either,” reported CBS. “Instead, people stopped outside to listen to them sing….” However, the article continued, “the girls hadn’t even been singing for an hour when they were told they had to leave the property by a WinCo employee.” Ultimately, a corporate attorney for the store chain realized that targeting little girls trying to spread holiday cheer wasn’t helping the store chain’s image, and told the girls they could go back and keep singing. More
Oklahoma City lawyer David Slane put it rightly when he told Reuters the legislature essentially opened a Pandora’s box. As it turns out, if the state refuses to allow Satanists, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists—and God knows who else—to erect monuments on the property, they are violating the Equal Protection Clause. I’d say it’s ironic how Satan is using legalism to push his antichrist agenda in Oklahoma’s government, but it’s more strategic than ironic. Oklahoma’s governing officials argue that they live in a largely Christian state with values and ideals that differ from Satanists. And that’s just why the antichrist spirits are circling. You won’t find antichrist spirits where Christ isn’t being preached, as the goal of the antichrist spirit is to replace Jesus, not merely have a statue next to His. The antichrist spirit is rapidly rising in this hour, and you can expect to see more manifestations in the months and years ahead. The apostle John warned of this in his first epistle, noting, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). And again, “Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 John 4:3). And again, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 1:7). Before the Antichrist, Satan, comes on the scene, we will see more and more antichrist spirits rising to push Jesus out of the mainstream. Like John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus’ first coming, these demonic forerunners have been voices crying in the wilderness for years, preparing the way for Satan himself with deceiving agendas that target the confused, hurt and lost. Indeed, the antichrist agenda will become bolder, and it will grow darker in the days again. But like I said last week, despite the doom and gloom, Jesus is still Lord. Our job is to let our light shine, speak the truth of the gospel in love, and keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, so that we can rescue people from the kingdom of darkness and escape the prophesied great falling away among the saints. Charisma
I’ve never seen him this weak in all my life, so I know he’d appreciate your prayers.” DeMoss says he knows everybody is concerned about Graham, “but we’re not getting any different reports from the medical staff.” He adds he is checking in in every day, “and there has not been a change for better or worse in the last number of weeks. He’s weak, he’s at home and his vital signs are good – his pulse, his heartbeat, his blood pressure. He’s not in any immediate danger.” Franklin Graham’s son, evangelist Will Graham, also spoke about his grandfather’s health during a speaking engagement at a California church. ”I saw my grandfather last week and he is not doing well,” Assist News Service quoted him as saying. “He’s not suffering or anything. It’s just that old age has caught up to him and is sucking the life out of him.” More
Rescue efforts were hampered by fuel shortages and rolling power cuts that have become more severe in recent months, since Egypt tightened a border blockade of the territory, ruled by the Islamic militant Hamas since 2007. Israel has also restricted access to Gaza since the Hamas takeover, though it sent diesel fuel for heating and four water pumps during the weekend storm. Once the storm is over, “the world community needs to bring effective pressure to end the blockade of Gaza,” said Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the main U.N aid agency in the territory. Gaza residents “must be freed from these man-made constraints to deal with the impact of a natural calamity such as this,” he added. More
Camden, New Jersey: One Of Hundreds Of U.S. Cities That Are Turning Into Rotting, Decaying Hellholes
All over America, formerly prosperous communities are being transformed into crime-infested wastelands of poverty and despair. Of course the most famous example of this is Detroit. At one time, Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city that the world had ever seen and it had the highest per capita income in the entire country. But now it has become a rotting, decaying hellhole that the rest of the planet laughs at. And of course Detroit is far from alone. There are hundreds of other U.S. cities that are suffering a similar fate. In this article, the focus is going to be on Camden, New Jersey, but the truth is that there are lots of other “Detroits” and “Camdens” all over the nation. Jobs and businesses are leaving our cities at a staggering rate, and what is being left behind is poverty, crime and extreme desperation.More
Our best chance for finding Martians was not to sit behind a small telescope in Flagstaff, Arizona as Lowell did, but to send drilling apparatus to Mars that could suck muck from far beneath the surface and examine it microscopically. That’s a tough task, of course. It hasn’t been done — or even planned in detail. Mars still remains the astrobiology community’s number one choice for “nearest rock with life,” but there are many researchers who argue that the moons of Jupiter are better bets. In particular, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are all thought to hide vast oceans of liquid water beneath their icy, outer skins. Europa is the most promising case, and has the thinnest skin. The best known approach to examining this moon’s watery habitat envisions a robotic probe that would melt a hole through 10 miles of granite-hard ice, and lower some sensors to look around. Again, not yet on the drawing boards. More
The article explains this process is called “phase transition” and this new weight will essentially “squeeze” everything into a small, extremely hot, heavy, tiny ball. What could cause this event to happen would be down to a subatomic particle, Higgs boson, which could have an ultra-dense state and could “bubble” up suddenly in a certain place of the universe at a certain time. ”The bubble would then expand at the speed of light, entering all space … all elementary particles inside the bubble will reach a mass much heavier than if they were outside the bubble, and they would be pulled together to form supermassive centres.” As if this doesn’t sound scary enough, the researchers say this could already be happening somewhere in the universe, right now. “Maybe the collapse has already started somewhere in the universe and right now is eating its way into the rest of the universe … or maybe it will start far away from here in a billion years.” But before you run out to start your bucket list, there’s a chance this might not actually happen at all. Again, it comes down to more calculations. In order for the phase change the universe must consist of certain elementary particles. ”If the universe contains undiscovered particles, the whole basis for the prediction would prove false.” news.com.au
The current round of U.S.-brokered talks is attempting to hash out the details of a plan for the valley. The Jordan Valley cuts through the heart of Israel. It runs from the Tiberias River in the north to the Dead Sea in the center to the city of Aqaba at the south of the country, stretching through the biblical Arabah desert. The U.S. proposal calls for international forces to maintain security control along with unarmed Palestinian police forces, a senior Palestinian Authority negotiator told WND in October. Israel will retain security posts in some strategic areas of the Jordan Valley, according to the U.S. plan. Previous talks incorporated an element of Jordanian authority in the Jordan Valley, but the Kingdom of Jordan is wary of participating in a future Palestinian state, the negotiator said. The Palestinian negotiator pointed to the insurgency in Syria and changes of leadership in Egypt as reasons for Jordanian reluctance to assume any security control over Palestinian areas. WND
“We … want to make it clear to Russia and Vladimir Putin that interference in the affairs of Ukraine is not acceptable to the United States,” he added. McCain and Murphy told reporters after the rally that sanctions were possible and “that there will be consequences to our relationship if there is any more violence on the streets of Kiev.” But the rally was shadowed by suggestions that their goal of closer ties with Europe may be imperiled. A much smaller demonstration of government supporters, about 15,000, was taking place about less than a mile away from Kiev’s Independence Square. In the face of the protests, which present a serious challenge to Yanukovych’s leadership, Ukrainian officials this week renewed talks with the EU agreement and promised that they would sign the deal once some issues are worked out. However, the EU’s top official on expansion issues, Stefan Fuele, cast doubt on the prospect Sunday, saying on his Twitter account that work is “on hold” and that the words and actions of Yanukovych and his government are “further and further apart.” Yanukovych backed off the agreement on the grounds that the EU was not providing adequate compensation to his economically struggling nation for potential trades losses with Russia. Russia, which for centuries controlled or exerted heavy influence on Ukraine, wants the country to join a customs union, analogous to the EU, which also includes Belarus and Kazakhstan. More
The male driver of the vehicle was transported with minor injuries. There were many accidents on snowy roads around the region, including a 20-car pileup on the Queen Elizabeth Highway in Mississauga just west of Toronto on Saturday. The weather may have also been a factor in a head-on collision that killed two people near Barrie, north of Toronto, according to the OPP. The provincial police tweeted that, as of 1: 20 p.m. ET on Sunday, they have responded to 255 collisions in Toronto and nearby communities since 7 a.m. 1761 calls for service were received since Saturday morning. To the east, Winter storm warnings are in effect with snowfall amounts of between 30 and 40 centimetres forecast for southern New Brunswick, and slightly lesser amounts for parts of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. More
Growth in jobs, retail sales, services and overall output in the world’s biggest economy – combined with last week’s breakthrough budget deal in Washington – has convinced some economists that the Fed will announce a reduction to its $85-billion a month in purchases on Wednesday. While that could amount to a vote of confidence in the halting recovery from the Great Recession, the risk is that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s message sets off a market selloff that undermines growth worldwide. The question is whether more U.S. fiscal stability and some good signs out of Europe and Asia will convince key Fed policymakers that the U.S. economy can handle less monetary support, and that investors won’t overreact. ”Tapering now would tell us that the Federal Reserve believes the U.S. expansion is durable and that the global economy, at a minimum, is less fragile,” said David Kelly, chief global market strategist at JPMorgan Funds. More
They’re not alone. One viewer emailed KING 5 saying, “They drafted my account this morning for a second time.” Another woman on Facebook with a similar problem commented, “We are all in the same boat.” “We’ve got to figure out how to get money to pay the bills for the next week or two until we have another check come through,” said Josh Bruner. “It’s just crazy.” Washington Healthplanfinder emailed the Bruners a few days ago telling them to log in to view their invoice, something they couldn’t do because the website has been down. The Bruners haven’t been able to get through on the helpline either. They finally contacted Healthplanfinder administrators by posting a message on their Facebook page. Washington Healthplanfinder tells KING 5 their staff is looking into the problem. Until it’s resolved, the couple is putting their best face forward. “We haven’t bought anyone’s Christmas gifts yet,” said Shannon Bruner. “We’re just kind of waiting.” “We wrote a check to our nanny last week, it isn’t going to work,” said Josh Bruner. “So she can’t get paid.” KGW.com
The retired astronaut and Navy captain told “Fox News Sunday” the defeat of the so-called, bipartisan Manchin-Toomey Senate gun bill was “not a good day” but that his group plans to spend $25 million in the next election cycle. Though the focus of America’s gun debate appears to be shifting from weapons bans to keeping firearms away from criminals and the mentally ill, gun-rights advocates seem steadfast in their efforts to limit background checks and repeal laws that prevent people from defending themselves against attackers. “There’s no victory until we get guns in school and elsewhere to protect ourselves,” Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, told Fox News. “The legislation that is on the books is lethal … and we simply have to get rid of them.” Kelly said that anti-gun groups were able to spend about as much as pro-gun groups in the recent Virginia gubernatorial race in which Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli — a sign that the balance of power is shifting after his side got outspent in the Capitol Hill gun debates. Carlee Soto, whose sister was killed in the Dec. 14, 2012, attack at Sandy Hook elementary, in Newtown, Conn., also acknowledged the effort to tighten gun laws has been difficult, but she remains optimistic. “Some days I don’t want to speak in front of the camera … but my sister can’t do that,” she told Fox News. “I believe we will have sensible gun laws in the future.” Fox News
Gunfire stemming from across the border with Lebanon was opened near Rosh Hanikra on Sunday night. An initial IDF assessment, based on data from lookout positions on the border, found fire was opened by a soldier form the Lebanese Armed Forces, who apparently was acting alone. Six to seven shots were fired at a vehicle, which was located on a road adjacent to the electronic border fence with Lebanon. ”We are sending messages to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon regarding the severity of this incident. There is no indication that an infiltration into our territory occurred,” an army source said. “The IDF is prepared in the North,” he warned. The shooting occurred at around 9 p.m., and immediately afterwards, Lebanese soldiers were seen gathering on their side of the border. The IDF has launched an investigation into the cross-border shooting. Jerusalem Post
Intrigued by this phenomenon, the students endeavored to study the effects of cellphone radiation on humans. Unfortunately, their school prevented them from pursuing this experiment due to a lack of resources, so the students decided to test the effects of Wi-Fi radiation (comparable in strength to cellphone radiation) on a plant instead. The girls placed six trays of Lepidium sativum seeds (a garden cress grown commercially throughout Europe) in a room without radiation, and an equal amount in a room next to two Wi-Fi routers. Over a 12-day period, they observed, measured, weighed and photographed the results. Even before the 12th day arrived, however, the end results were obvious: The cress seeds placed near the routers either hadn’t grown or were completely dead, while the seeds placed in the radiation-free room had blossomed into healthy plants. More
200 km-high Water geysers seen on Jupiter’s moon Europa
Comet Ison Slowing Down & Spreading Out! ISON Meteor Shower 12/25/13 to 1/14/14!