Pope Francis Washes Feet Of Muslims At Disabled Home/ Drone attack kills 25 in YEMEN/ Giant Killer Hornets / Earthquakes / Dead Fish and more signs of JESUS’ soon return


Christian Legal Group Appeals Ruling Barring NYC Churches from Meeting in Public Schools

 A nationally-recognized Christian legal organization has filed an appeal of a ruling that barred churches in New York City from meeting in public schools on Sundays.  As previously reported, the case of Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York has been circling through the court system for the past 17 years. It began in 1995, when Bronx Household of Faith submitted an application to rent a public school building for its worship services, but was denied by the Board of Education. The matter then went to court, which turned into an emotional roller coaster, resulting in both temporary victories and losses to both sides. The Board of Education argued that allowing churches to use school facilities and to advertise their services amounted to a violation of the Establishment Clause in the United States Constitution. The Bronx Household of Faith, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), pointed to the fact that religious student groups already use school rooms after hours for Bible reading and prayer. The case went all the way up to the United Supreme Court, which declined to hear the matter. In 2012, however, U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Presha issued a permanent injunction, allowing the Bronx Household of Faith to continue to hold services in local public school buildings indefinitely.
She stated that denial of the use of the building equated to an infringement of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. But the ruling was again appealed, and earlier this month, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the Board of Education’s regulation barring churches from meeting in schools while allowing secular activities doesn’t violate the Constitution “We conclude that the prohibition was consistent with its constitutional duties,” the panel wrote, referencing the separation of church and state. “The Free Exercise Clause … has never been understood to require government to finance a subject’s exercise of religion.” But this week, ADF appealed the decision to the full court of appeals, which automatically places the ruling on hold until the court decides whether or not to accept the request. More

Minister Claims He Received ‘Strong Nudge from Jesus’ to Announce Support for Homosexuality

1 Timothy 4:1-2
 – 4 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A Vineyard minister in Michigan is claiming that he received a ‘strong nudge from Jesus’ a few years ago to announce his changing views on homosexuality—a topic that he is now discussing in a new book about embracing homosexuals in the Church. “It’s about welcoming previously excluded groups,” Ken Wilson Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor recently told the Detroit Free Press. “That’s what it means to be evangelical—to make the good news accessible to those who haven’t had access to it. That’s my task. That’s what a church is supposed to do.” Wilson, 62, states that he had opposed homosexuality for much of his life, including when he launched the church in the 1970′s. However, with the turn of the century, his views began to change as he discussed the matter with members whose family members were homosexual. Wilson claims that in 2011, God told him to write a letter to his congregation to explain that he was rethinking his position on homosexuality. “I got a strong nudge from Jesus,” he asserted. Last month, Wilson released A Letter to my Congregation:

An Evangelical Pastor’s Path to Embracing People who are Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Into the Company of Jesus
. He told the Detroit Free Pressthat while he ”take[s] the Bible very seriously,” he does not believe that it prohibits sexual relations between those of the same gender. “There’s no real indication monogamous, gay partnerships were the aim of the Biblical texts, but there were some very clearly examples of exploitative same-sex sexuality, like temple prostitution or slave sex, masters requiring slaves to perform sexual services as part of their ownership of them,” he stated. “The Sodom and Gomorrah story is about gang rape. It’s not about anything like loving monogamous relationships. To apply that to the issue of homosexuality is a gross misuse of Scripture.” More

Future belongs to Russia, China and Iran, not to the West.

An American political commentator says any attempt to encircle the Russian Federation by the US is destined to fail and that future belongs to Russia, China and Iran, not to the West. James H. Fetzer, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Sunday. He was commenting on a recent New York Times report which says that US President Barack Obama and his national security team are looking beyond the crisis in Ukraine to adopt an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment against Russia. “The latest report of Obama adopting the strategy to encircle Russia is simply one more manifestation of the incompetence of American foreign policy in this day and age,” Fetzer said. “We have the approach towards Iran in based upon the false assumption that Iran is keen to develop nuclear weapons, which our own intelligence agencies refuted in 2007 and reaffirmed it in 2011.
We have an approach towards Syria that’s predicated on the assumption that the Assad government launched the sarin gas attacks when in fact there’s overwhelming evidence that it was in fact done by the rebels and not by Assad,” he added. “And that we have an attitude and an approach towards Ukraine that involves encircling Russia, but in fact the unrest in Ukraine was the result of Western powers putting five billion dollars into the country some by George Soros,” Fetzer noted. “And now we have a new article from Strategic Culture that the West is about to perpetrate false flag attacks in Ukraine in order to justify the intervention by the Pentagon,” he said. “In my opinion any attempt to encircle Russia is destined to failure. The future appears to be one in which Russia, China and Iran together emerge as a mighty power in the world, and where the US efforts to staunch the flow of history are misconceived…and will not make a significant difference to the way events are going to play out,” Fetzer emphasized. Press TV

Is the U.S Provoking Russia into a Nuclear War?

The deployment of US-led NATO forces around Russia are provocations that can “quickly escalate” to an all-out nuclear conflict, an analyst tells Press TV. “Russia and the United States and NATO are nuclear powers. If a war starts even on a conventional or a skirmish level, this can quickly escalate to nuclear war and then all humanity is at stake,” William Jones, from the Executive Intelligence Review news magazine, said in an interview. He added that the nuclear war will not be beneficial to anybody “but there are a lot of people, who will push it anyhow thinking that somehow they can win that war.” Jones warned of the “ominous” consequences of the US-led NATO’s plans to beef up its military forces closer to Russia, saying it would provoke the Russians to react. The analyst warned that NATO looks to be “drawing the borders of the old Cold War pretty steadily and [is] pushing them further east.” He cast doubt on NATO’s declared intention to bring stability back to crisis-stricken Ukraine, saying the Russian government fears that the alliance may have other intentions, including to bring Ukraine into its own orbit. “And I think that is a trip wire. That is a trip wire to war if measures are taken which could effectively pull Ukraine out of all relations, all effective relationships with Russia, then I think that becomes close to a casus belli,” Jones said.
The commentator’s remarks came after reports said that Washington plans to deploy troops to Poland and Estonia to conduct drills with its allies. The US is to send 150 troops to participate in nearly two weeks of military exercises. The planned exercises by the US are part of a broader NATO plan to expand its presence in East Europe. Over the past two months, the US has beefed up its presence in East Europe as Ukraine grapples with spiraling crisis. Tensions between the Western powers and Moscow heightened after Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16, in which nearly 97 percent of voters in Crimea said yes to reunion with Russia. Russia said on Saturday that NATO’s further enlargement will change European security structure, posing a serious threat to Moscow. Relations between Russia and NATO have been at their worst since Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Press TV

Deadly gun attack in eastern Ukraine shakes fragile Easter truce

At least three people were killed in a gunfight in the early hours of Sunday near a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian separatists, shaking an already fragile international accord that was designed to avert a wider conflict. The incident triggered a war of words between Moscow and Ukraine’s western-backed government with each questioning the other’s compliance with the agreement, brokered last week in Geneva, to end a crisis that has made Russia’s ties with the West more fraught than at any time since the Cold War. The separatists said armed men from Ukraine’s Right Sector nationalist group had attacked them. The Right Sector denied any role, saying Russian special forces were behind the clash. Failure of the Geneva agreement could bring more bloodshed in eastern Ukraine, but may also prompt the United States to impose tougher sanctions on the Kremlin – with far-reaching consequences for many economies and importers of Russian energy. The deal signed in Geneva last week by the European Union, Russia, Ukraine and the United States agreed that illegal armed groups would go home in a process to be overseen by Europe’s OSCE security watchdog.
So far, the pro-Russian militants have shown little sign of budging from public buildings in the east, though there was some hope of progress after Kiev said it would not move against the separatists over Easter, and international mediators headed to eastern Ukraine to try to persuade them to disarm. But the shootings near Slaviansk – already a flashpoint for tensions between Ukraine’s rival camps – are likely to make that task even harder, hardening the view of the many Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine that they cannot trust Kiev. ”The Easter truce has been violated,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. “This provocation … testifies to the lack of will on the part of the Kiev authorities to rein in and disarm nationalists and extremists.” The town’s self-appointed pro-Russia mayor placed a curfew on the town and appealed directly to Russia’s Vladimir Putin to consider sending in peacekeeping troops – an outcome Ukraine tried to avoid by holding back its poorly resourced forces.  Ukraine’s SBU security service accused Moscow agents of faking a “cynical provocation” at Slaviansk and the foreign ministry hit back, reproaching Russia for rushing to judgment and failing to meet its part of the deal struck in Geneva: ”The Russian side must be reminded about their obligations under the Geneva agreement to bring all necessary influence to bear on separatists to clear illegally held buildings, unblock roads, lay down arms and prevent any bloodshed,” it said. Right Sector spokesman Artem Skoropadsky said it was a “blasphemous provocation fromRussia: blasphemous because it took place on a holy night for Christians, on Easter night. This was clearly carried out by Russian special forces.” More

Scientists Discover First Case Of Genital Reversal: Female Penis, Male Vagina.

File photo of a microscope slide showing cells being transplanted. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Newsmakers)
Displaying the first examples of animals with reversed genitals, researchers have discovered cave insects in which the females have penis-like genitals and the males have vagina-like organs. Scientists discovered the little-known cave insects from extremely dry caves in Brazil. Of the four species studied in the Neotrogla genus, the females possessed penislike genitals labeled gynosomes, and the males had vagina-like phallosomes – the first ever cases of extreme reversal of sex roles. “Neotrogla species constitute the first cases in nature in which genitalia are reversed,” study co-author Rodrigo Ferreira, a cave biologist at the Federal University of Lavras in Brazil, told Live Science. The penis-like organs present in the females are relatively large in comparison to the insects, about one-seventh the length of the insect as a whole. The insects were found to engage in intercourse between 40 and 70 hours, with the females inserting their gynosomes into the male organs. Published in the Massachusetts-based journal, Current Biology, the scientists findings show a “completely novel structure in evolution,” study author Kazunori Yoshizawa told Live Science. “Evolution of such novelties is exceptionally rare, maybe comparable with the origin of insect wings.” There is no biological structure known anywhere else among females in the animal kingdom analogous to the insects’ gynosome, Yoshizawa told Live Science. Due to excessive amounts of nutritious semen that the males produce, the resource-poor caves cause the females to copulate at much higher rates, and with greater intensity.
“It is very likely that female Neotrogla can coercively grasp and copulate with a reluctant male,” Yoshizawa told Live Science. “In animals, coercive mating is generally an exclusive feature of males.” The scientists are continuing to explore how males respond to coercive mating from the females, and the researchers note that dozens of new species are turning up in the Brazilian caves. “This indicates the huge potential that Brazil possesses regarding cave fauna,” Ferreira said. “Brazil might have more than 150,000 caves.” But study author Ferreira said that many of these caves and rare insects have become seriously endangered. “The Brazilian laws regarding cave protection have changed in recent years and now the caves, which used to be protected, are under risk,” Ferreira said. “Many new species, some of which could bring huge advances for science — biology, evolution or even some of biotechnological interest — are threatened. Many species are under the risk of extinction even before being discovered.” CBS Connecticut 

What Makes Jesus’ Blood The Most Powerful Force In All The Universe?

There are many Christians today who longingly reflect on certain periods in history and the amazing Old Testament heroes, and conclude: Wow, those people enjoyed some incredible experiences in God’s Presence. I wish I could know Him like… and you fill in the names. Moses. David. Daniel. Isaiah. Ezekiel. Abraham. Without a doubt, these individuals experienced the Presence of God in extraordinary, miraculous ways. But should we consider these Old Testament encounters the benchmark for what is available to us today? Some believers do. In fact, some of us think that what these “special” Bible times people enjoyed is off limits to “ordinary” Christians like us in the twenty-first century. Not true. More

DEVELOPING: France has ‘information’ Syrian regime still using chemical weapons

French President Francois Hollande said Sunday that his country had “information” that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has continued using chemical weapons, although Paris lacked proof, AFP reported. ”We have a few elements of information but I do not have the proof,” AFP quoted Hollande as telling the Europe 1 radio station.  Asked about recent reportsthat the Damascus regime was still using chemical weapons in the embattled country, Hollande said: “What I do know is what we have seen from this regime is the horrific methods it is capable of using and the rejection of any political transition”. Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Europe 1 that so far unverified “indications” were present of recent chemical attacks in Syria. According to the report, Fabius said the current signs pointed toward chemical attacks in northwestern Syria near the border with Lebanon that were “very deadly,” but “much less significant than those in Damascus a few months ago”. On April 12, the Syrian regime and opposition forces accused each other of carrying out a chemical attack on the village of Kafr Zeita, located in the embattled country’s western-central province of Hama. Opposition activists reported that dozens of residents suffered from symptoms of suffocation after air units loyal to Assad targeted the town with explosive barrels allegedly containing toxic material. Meanwhile, Syrian state television reported that the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front rebel group was responsible for an attack using chlorine gas, killing two people and wounding more than 100 others. On March 31, an Israeli security source confirmed that the Assad regime had used a non-lethal chemical weapon on March 27 on the outskirts of Damascus. The source said he could confirm claims made by Syrian rebels and doctors last month that a substance had been used on rebel fighters in Harasta, an outlying region of the Syrian capital, adding that the chemical “neutralizes [threats] but does not kill.”
A second alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime occurred in the same area within days of the first attack, according to Syrian opposition sources, though the Israeli security source said he could not confirm the report. In one instance, according to the New York-based website Syria Deeply, which interviewed doctors on the ground, 25 fighters were wounded. Despite the assertion by the Israeli source that the chemical was nonlethal, some reports suggested that four people had died in the March 27 attack. Syria Deeply cited the Syrian American Medical Society, a group of Syrian-American doctors and surgeons who travel to Syria, as condemning what it described as a “poisonous gas attack” in Harasta. Syria has destroyed the majority of its chemical weapon production centers and is in the midst of transporting existing arms from storage sites to ships in Latakia to remove the substances and destroy them, according to Israeli security assessments. The disarmament efforts, which have been stepped up in recent weeks, are being managed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Prior to the disarmament program, Syria had amassed the world’s largest stockpile of VX nerve agents, Sarin and mustard gas. In August 2013, a chemical attack on a rebel-held area north of Damascus left 1,400 civilians dead. The massacre led to a Russian- brokered disarmament agreement that saw Assad agree to give up the unconventional arms in exchange for avoiding a US military strike.Jerusalem Post

Ukraine synagogue firebombed

Riot police clash with anti-government protesters outside Ukraine's parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
The main synagogue in the Ukrainian city of Nikolayev reportedly was firebombed.  The synagogue was empty of worshippers when it was firebombed early Saturday morning, according to the Chabad-affiliated Shturem.org website. Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the door and window, the report said, citing Yisroel Gotlieb, son of the city’s chief rabbi, Sholom Gotlieb.A passer-by put out the fires with a fire extinguisher, according to the report. The attack was recorded by the synagogue’s closed circuit television security camera and uploaded to YouTube. Nikolayev, a Black Sea port city of approximately 500,000, is located in southeastern Ukraine about 70 miles from Odessa. The Giymat Rosa Synagogue in Zaporizhia, located 250 miles southeast of Kiev, in eastern Ukraine, was firebombed in late February. Last week in eastern Ukraine, fliers calling on Jews to register with pro-Russian separatists and pay special taxes were distributed in Donetsk.Times Of Israel


Hate Crime Legislation Law coming “Full Steam” Ahead!

What could be more boring to Americans than the latest news about a lawsuit brought by a group of political activists in Uganda? Especially since the case is currently in the mind-numbingly boring stage of endless interrogatories and depositions?  But this is no ordinary case. The defendant, Pastor Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries, says Americans need to be paying very close attention, because the outcome could well set a new precedent – that an international agenda based on anti-biblical standards could trump the U.S. Constitution’s freedom of speech and religion. While the case’s current back-and-forth questions and answers will last another year, during which time an appellate court could intervene, Lively told WND the dispute is over whether a pastor can publicly criticize behavior that the Bible also criticizes. U.S. District Judge Michael Posner has allowed to proceed a case brought against Lively by an African group called Sexual Minorities Uganda, or SMUG. SMUG demands Lively be punished for criticizing homosexuality, calling his speech a “crime against humanity” in violation of “international law.” The plaintiffs allege the Alien Tort Statute in the United States allows them to make the charge in a U.S. court. But Lively’s attorney, Horatio Mihet of Liberty Counsel, says his client’s preaching is protected by the Constitution. “We believe SMUG’s claims are firmly foreclosed, not only by the First Amendment right to free speech, but also by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Kiobel, which eliminated Alien Tort Statute claims for events that allegedly occurred in foreign nations,” he said. Yet, Posner took nearly 80 pages to say that he thought SMUG’s allegations were substantive and needed to be adjudicated.
Appearing to side with the gay-rights plaintiffs, the judge writes that while SMUG is made up of groups “that advocate for the fair and equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people,” Lively is an “American citizen residing in Springfield, Mass., who, according to the complaint, holds himself out to be an expert on what he terms the ‘gay movement.’” Posner goes on to cite “many authorities” who “implicitly support the principle that widespread, systematic persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity constitutes a crime against humanity.” Arguing that concluding Lively’s statements are protected under the First Amendment was “premature,” the judge further wrote: “Indeed, defendant, according to the amended complaint, is alleged to have maintained what amounts to a kind of ‘Homophobia Central” in Springfield. He has allegedly supported and actively participated in worldwide initiatives, with a substantial focus on Uganda, aimed at repressing free expression by LGBTI groups, destroying the organizations that support them, intimidating LGBTI individuals, and even criminalizing the very status of being lesbian or gay.” Lively sought to have the complaint dismissed when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, that the Alien Tort Statute doesn’t apply to foreign territory and that the law cannot be used to challenge foreign conduct in courts in the United States. Mihet sums up the heart of the case against Lively as being the belief that First Amendment free speech protections should play second fiddle to an international consensus that criticism of homosexuality is criminal. More


Japan expands army footprint for first time in 40 years, risks angering China

Japan began its first military expansion at the western end of its island chain in more than 40 years on Saturday, breaking ground on a radar station on a tropical island off Taiwan. The move risks angering China, locked in a dispute with Japan over nearby islands which they both claim. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, who attended a ceremony on Yonaguni island to mark the start of construction, suggested the military presence could be enlarged to other islands in the seas southwest of Japan’s main islands. ”This is the first deployment since the U.S. returned Okinawa (1972) and calls for us to be more on guard are growing,” Onodera told reporters. “I want to build an operation able to properly defend islands that are part of Japan’s territory.” The military radar station on Yonaguni, part of a longstanding plan to improve defense and surveillance, gives Japan a lookout just 150 km (93 miles) from the Japanese-held islands claimed by China. Building the base could extend Japanese monitoring to the Chinese mainland and track Chinese ships and aircraft circling the disputed crags, called the Senkaku by Japan and the Diaoyu by China.  The 30 sq km (11 sq mile) Yonanguni is home to 1,500 people and known for strong rice liquor, cattle, sugar cane and scuba diving.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to put troops there shows Japan’s concerns about the vulnerability of its thousands of islands and the perceived threat from China. The new base “should give Japan the ability to expand surveillance to near the Chinese mainland,” said Heigo Sato, a professor at Takushoku University and a former researcher at the Defense Ministry’s National Institute for Defense Studies. ”It will allow early warning of missiles and supplement the monitoring of Chinese military movements.” Japan does not specify an exact enemy when discussing its defense strategy but it makes no secret it perceives China generally as a threat as it becomes an Asian power that could one day rival Japan’s ally in the region, the United States. Japan, in its National Defense Programme Guidelines issued in December, expressed “great concern” over China’s military buildup and “attempts to change the status quo by coercion” in the sea and air. More


If expanding the guest list to include Michelle Obama at graduation for high school students in the Kansas capital city means fewer seats for friends and family, some students and their parents would prefer the first lady not attend. A furor over what the Topeka school district considers an honor has erupted after plans were announced for Obama to address a combined graduation ceremony for five area high schools next month an 8,000-seat arena. For some, it was the prospect of a tight limit on the number of seats allotted to each graduate.  For others, it was the notion that Obama’s speech, tied to the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education outlawing segregation in schools, would overshadow the student’s big day.  ’I’m a single mother who has raised him for 18 years by myself,’ said Tina Hernandez, parent of Topeka High School senior Dauby Knight. ‘I’ve told him education is the only way out. This is one of the biggest days of their lives. They’ve taken the glory and shine from the children and put on Mrs. Obama. She doesn’t know our kids.’ Hernandez was among the parents and students who spoke Thursday at a school board meeting and urged district officials to reconsider their decision to invite Obama. Ron Harbaugh, spokesman for the Topeka school district, said Friday discussions were under way to work out the logistics and planning for the event, including how many tickets each family would be allotted. ’We will have a clearer picture of what’s going on,’ Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh said officials asked the president or first lady to speak at graduation as a tie-in with the anniversary of the Brown decision, which outlawed school segregation. The district plans to place a priority on seating students and their families, and could broadcast the event to an overflow room at a hotel adjacent to the graduation arena for those unable to find a seat inside. That’s not good enough for Taylor Gifford, 18, who started an online petition on Thursday evening to urge the district to reconsider its plans. She and the more than 1,200 people who had signed it expressed concern that Obama’s visit would limit the seating options for family and friends. ’I really would like it to have a peaceful solution, but there is so much misinformation going on,’Gifford said. Gifford said her initial reaction to the news was excitement, saying she was ‘freaking out’ about the prospect of the first lady speaking at graduation. When rumors of limited tickets surfaced, Gifford felt like the focus was being shifted from the students to Obama. More

The pamphlets and posters, distributed in the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk, demanded that the Jewish population register, pay a new tax or leave. They are a terrifying echo of the anti-Jewish atrocities carried out by Ukrainians under Nazi occupation during the Second World War. The leaflets, apparently signed by pro-Russian group the People’s Republic of Donetsk, have enraged the world. US Secretary of State John Kerry said last week: “After all of the miles travelled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it is grotesque.” Sam Pivnik, 86, was only 14 when his family were rounded up in Bedzin, western Poland, and sent to the death camp at Auschwitz. After his parents, brothers and a sister were chosen “with the flick of a glove” for extermination by “Angel of Death” Dr Josef Mengele, the teenager, tattooed with a prisoner number, was left to survive alone. Mr Pivnik, who now lives in Golders Green, north London, said he was not surprised by the literature’s anti-Semitism.  “Jews have no place in Ukraine, because nothing has changed,” he said last night, “and as long as Jews remain there, nothing will change. They had no business staying in that country after the atrocities of 1939-1945. “There is no point in staying there waiting for trouble, in the hope that the world Jewry can save them. Even Germany is doing everything it can to tackle anti-Semitism and is better than Ukraine. Jews in the Ukraine should leave.” During the war, the Nazis exterminated more than 900,000 Jewish people in Ukraine. Anti-Semitism resurfaced after the nation’s independence in 1991, with attacks on Jewish mayors by Right-wing extremists.
The chaos in Ukraine during recent months has seen groups both pro- and anti- Russia levelling accusations of fascism. During the fortnight before the Donetsk leaflets were distributed, anti-Jewish slogans and swastikas were daubed on houses and a Jewish cemetery in Odessa. Last night it emerged that Jewish families in eastern Ukraine had become so concerned they were seeking advice about repatriation to Israel. Alexander Ivanchenko, who runs Sohnut, an organisation helping people to move to Israel, said: “It is hard to talk about numbers now but there are more people who come for advice.” As the climate of fear grows, however, the authenticity of the pamphlets is being called into question. Denis Pushilin, leader of the breakaway pro-Russian People’s Republic, vehemently denied his organisation was behind the leaflets. “Look at this document, I have never called myself the people’s governor, my job is different,” he told the Sunday Express. “The stamp is bigger than it should be because it was Photoshopped from some real document.” Mr Pushilin, who claims to run the industrial region of Donetsk, added: “I am personally strongly against any declarations of this sort made against Jewish or any other people. This is a dirty trick by our foes. It is a forgery.” His militant supporters, who were yesterday still defying last week’s Geneva agreement to lay down arms and surrender control of government buildings, showed how Room 514 in the regional HQ, supposedly where Jewish people should register, was empty. They called on Ukraine’s police and secret services to find the real culprits, claiming the authors “tried to provoke a conflict”, and pin blame on the separatists. Dr Efraim Zuroff, of the respected Simon Wiesenthal Centre, agreed, suggesting the Donetsk flyers were “an attempt to paint the pro-Russian forces as anti-Semitic”.More

China is outstripping cocoa bean production and forcing prices to Soar

The price of chocolate could soar over the next few years as surging demand puts further pressure on the global cocoa crisis – and experts predict the demand could become unsustainable by 2020.  Experts are warning that a growing taste for chocolate in Asia – particularly in China – means cocoa farmers will need more help to provide a greater amount to export or manufacturers will be forced to use less cocoa in their products. It is predicted chocolate prices will soar to keep up with the rising demand – otherwise consumers will increasingly be offered products filled with substitutes, such as nuts and fruits, to ‘pack out’ chocolate bars.  The news comes as millions of people across Britain are set to indulge in Easter eggs and chocolate treats this weekend. It is estimated that the growing demand for cocoa will be unsustainable by 2020, unless more is done to help cocoa growing communities.  Most cocoa farms are situated along the west coast of Africa – where many farmers are said to be living off less than $2 a day.  In December, the International Cocoa Organisation said there could be a 150,000 tonne deficit of the amount of cocoa beans produced in 2014. The organisation said global cocoa supplies were heading towards the longest production shortfall in more than five decades.  The rising demand for cocoa has already seen prices soar – and its feared prices could continue to rise. The chocolate market in Asia is already worth more than $12billion and demand is continuing to increase. In March, cocoa prices reached a two and a half year high at £1,896 per tonne in London and US$3,031 per tonne in New York.
However, unless more is done to help cocoa production, the crisis will continue until it becomes unsustainable. Mondelez International – a multinational confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate – said it had pledged to invest more than $400 million to help ease the crisis. Over the next ten years, it is set to pump millions into Ghana, Ivory Coast, Indonesia, India and the Dominican Republic to help improve the productivity and life of cocoa farmers.  Chris McGrath, head of the Cocoa Life programme at Mondelez, told The Times: ‘We realised that there was a long-term supply shortage.  ‘Farmers are ageing and I don’t see the next generation behind them. We have to help transform the chain.’ The International Cocoa Organisation also said plans were in place to help cultivation in Indonesia.  With investment in cocoa processing industries growing at a fast rate in the country, the Government is considering cancelling tax on cocoa bean imports as production levels have fallen short in fuelling the country’s domestic grinding requirements. MailOnline

WARS N RUMORS OF WAR: Analyst warns US and Russia “Gearing up for War” over Ukraine

A political analyst has warned of rising tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine, saying the two countries seem to be gearing up for a war, Press TV reports. 
In an interview on Saturday, William Jones said Washington and Moscow are preparing for war by increasing troops on the borders of Ukraine as well as maintaining military presence in the country’s neighboring states. “We are preparing for war. The increase of [US] troops on the eastern border [of Ukraine with Russia], more troops, more planes to the Baltic States, to Romania, [and] to all of the countries bordering Russia at the same time that the Russians are maintaining their own defense capability [show that], we are really in something of a prewar situation,” he added.
“I think that you are looking at a situation which can very easily lead to war and that is a war between nuclear powers,” he added. The analyst noted that Washington is trying to impose more sanctions on Russia as part of an attempt “to find a scapegoat” for the turmoil in Ukraine. Tensions between the US and Russia heightened after Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16. Meanwhile, pro-Russia rallies have been a common scene across eastern Ukrainian cities over the past weeks with protesters demanding local referendums on either independence or integration into Russia. Press TV


Thousands of Christians have gathered in Jerusalem to light torches and candles from a holy flame that ‘miraculously’ emerged from the tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the eve of Orthodox Easter. The Holy Fire ignites, apparently of its own accord, from the tomb of Jesus Christ at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It has been descending on the church for more than 1,500 years and it is believed that the year in which it doesn’t light will be the last year in the history of man. The fire descends on Jerusalem during a prayer by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine, who then passes the flame to pilgrims. The pilgrims light 33 candles –that have all been tied together – from the fire to symbolize every year of Christ’s life.  As the fire doesn’t burn during the first moments after its appearance, pilgrims wash their faces and heads in it, apparently suffering no injury. A delegation from the St. Andrews foundation will be taking the Holy Fire from Jerusalem to Moscow and dozens of Russian cities – from Sevastopol to Yakutsk, in addition to other Orthodox churches abroad, including Rome and Tallinn.
A special flight to bring the flame to Moscow will leave from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, arriving in the Russian capital at 10:30 pm local time.  This year marks the eleventh consecutive Easter that The Holy Fire, which symbolizes the miraculous light of the Resurrection, is being brought to Russia from Israel.  This year it will be taken for the first time to Crimea, the former Ukrainian region that became part of Russia in March. The flame, described by Orthodox Christians as an annual miracle, was lit on Holy Saturday – the day preceding Orthodox Easter – after Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem delivered his prayer.  In the morning the room had been carefully checked for any possible sources of fire. After this, the room was sealed in the presence of Israeli police.  The patriarch then passed the fire over to believers. Although the Holy Fire has been a major Eastern Orthodox ritual for so long, Western Catholic and Protestant churches do not recognize the practice. More

55% of Spain accepts Homosexuality as “Morally Acceptable”, Tops 40 Countries in Poll

 –  Great news for Spain’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community: the nation tops a list of 40 countries most accepting of homosexuality, according to aPew Research Center’s Global Views on Morality poll. Fifty-five percent of Spanish participants surveyed in the poll described homosexuality as “morally acceptable,” while 38 percent deemed it “not a moral issue.” Just six percent felt that homosexuality was “morally unacceptable.” The results were less optimistic in nations like Ghana and Russia, where 98 percent and 72 percent of participants deemed homosexuality “morally unacceptable,” respectively. In the United States, 35 percent felt that homosexuality was “not a moral issue,” while 37 percent described it as “morally unacceptable.” Twenty-three percent of Americans felt it was “morally acceptable,” according to the poll. The Global Views on Morality survey also examined national views on issues like extramarital affairs, abortion and alcohol consumption. You can read more about the survey hereMore



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