Toll mounts as thousands flee Balkan flooding/Flagged for Freedoms? Palestinians decry rampant abuse at hands of IDF/MERS arrives in the Netherlands


An Honest Letter to the Pro-Choice Activist Who Filmed Her Own Abortion

Emily Letts
On Mother’s Day, Emily Letts, you probably honored yours as I did mine on this annual celebration of motherhood. I purchased two large hanging floral baskets for my mother’s patio. Maybe you bought chocolates or fresh flowers for your mother, like millions of other Americans. I’m writing this open letter today because I’ve read your comments published in a magazine for women and watched your YouTube video, “This Is My Story” about your own prospect of becoming a mother after ending your first pregnancy at the clinic where you work. Hopefully my words are constructive. I don’t as a rule read the magazine that published your story or frequent the websites that originally posted your video. But after it went viral, the video was impossible to avoid; it landed on websites I read regularly. It’s brought you some acclaim and, unfortunately, some hateful vitriol from people who disagree with you. More


Michael Sam vs. Tim Tebow: Is It a Double Standard or Just Pure Christian Intolerance?

Tim Tebow bowed a knee to Jesus Christ in prayer before every football game and took plenty of flack for his so-called “Tebowing.” Indeed, NFL players mocked his ritual—but not one of them that I know of was sent to Christian sensitivity training to learn how not to offend the faith-filled footballer and his many fans. So why did Miami Dolphins second-year defensive back Don Jones get fined by his team for tweeting “OMG” and “horrible” after the St. Louis Rams drafted Sam? Why did he get excused from the team, despite deleting the comments and now apologizing? Donald Trump suggested on Fox News there’s a double standard at work. “We’ve become so politically correct in this country that the country is going to hell,” Trump said. “People are afraid to talk. They’re afraid to express their own thoughts. I’ve heard many people—I’m not even speaking for myself, but I’ve heard many people that thought the display after he was chosen was inappropriate. And whether or not it was, I don’t know. But it was certainly out there a little bit.” More

Publisher Parts with NRB After Confronted About ‘God and the Gay Christian’ Book

 A recognized Christian book publisher has parted ways with the organization National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) after it was confronted about its involvement in printing the pro-homosexual book God and the Gay Christian. The book, which was written by Matthew Vines of the homosexual activist Reformation Project and published by Convergent Books, asserts that homosexuality is not sinful and “expresses what it means to be a faithful gay Christian.” Convergent Books is a division of Penguin Random House, and seeks to present itself as “an open, inclusive and culturally engaged exploration of faith.” Although it differs from the WaterBrook Multnomah imprint, which publishes books with more of a focus on evangelical beliefs, such as those written by John Piper, David Jeremiah and Randy Alcorn, both labels are handled by the same leadership. Therefore, both were allegedly involved with Vines’ book. More

Iranian president to meet Chinese counterpart during 3-day visit to Shanghai starting May 20, Islamic Republic News Agency reports. * Rouhani will also address conference on interaction and confidence building, IRNA says, citing Parviz Esmaili, senior official at Iran presidential office. More

Pakistan deploys army in war to control outbreak of Polio – residents must be vaccinated before leaving the country

 – Pakistan’s prime minister says the country is on a war footing to deal with the spread of polio and the army has been called in to help. The World Health Organization has asked Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria to ensure that all residents and long-term visitors are vaccinated for polio before travelling abroad. The WHO says the disease has been diagnosed in 10 countries. This year there have been 74 registered cases of polio worldwide and 59 of them have come from Pakistan. Pakistan’s failure to stem the spread of polio has triggered global emergency health measures, with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommending that all residents must show proof of vaccination before they can leave the country. Monday’s emergency measures also apply to Syria and Cameroon, which along with Pakistan are seen as posing the greatest risk of exporting the crippling virus and undermining a UN plan to eradicate it by 2018. Pakistan is in the spotlight, accounting for more than a fifth of the 417 cases reported globally in 2013. The virus has recently spread to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Syria, and has been found in sewage in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and greater Cairo, Bruce Aylward, WHO’s assistant director general, said. More

Second MERS case confirmed in Netherlands

A second case of the potentially deadly MERS virus has been identified in the Netherlands, a spokeswoman for the country’s National Public Health Institute told CNN. It comes one day after authorities confirmed the first case. The cases in the Netherlands involve two family members who had traveled together to Saudi Arabia. It is one man and one woman who contracted the disease, said Harald Wychgel, spokesman for the Netherlands ministry of health. The health ministry, citing privacy reasons, did not provide additional details except to say that the pair shared a room for two weeks in Saudi Arabia. Officials do not know if one person infected the other or if both became infected at the same location. One of the two, however, had visited a camel farm. It is estimated that nearly 75% of dromedary — or single-hump camels — in Saudi Arabia have come into contact with the MERS virus, researchers said in February. “It is also known that both patients have underlying conditions that make them probably more susceptible to infection with this virus,” the health ministry said in a statement. The announcement comes as the World Health Organization said the spread of the virus has become more urgent, but at least for now, is not calling it a global health emergency. More


Saudi Arabia reports 3 more MERS deaths, as WHO calls on countries to step up prevention

Health authorities in Saudi Arabia have reported three more fatalities from the MERS respiratory virus, taking the death toll in the world’s worst-hit country to 163. The health ministry website also revealed on Saturday that 520 cases have been recorded in the country since MERS appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It said three women died on Friday; a 48-year-old in Riyadh, a 67-year-old in Taif, and woman in Jeddah whose age was not disclosed. A spate of cases among staff at King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah last month sparked public panic and the dismissal of its director and the health minister. Other nations including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Netherlands, the UAE and the US have also recorded cases, mostly in people who had been to Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said its emergency committee, which includes global medical and policy experts, had flagged mounting concerns about the potentially fatal virus. The WHO called on countries to improve infection prevention and control, collect more data on MERS and to be vigilant in preventing it from spreading to vulnerable countries, notably in Africa. More


More than 20 dead, thousands evacuated in Bosnia, Serbia floods

– More than 20 people have been killed in the worst floods in more than a century in Serbia and Bosnia, authorities said on Saturday, with thousands evacuated from towns still under threat from rising rivers. The death toll in Bosnia alone reached 19, including nine found on Saturday when waters receded from the northeastern town of Doboj. Thousands of volunteers joined soldiers, police and fire-fighters in building flood barriers made of sandbags in the Serbian capital Belgrade and the western town of Sabac. The River Sava hit its highest-recorded level in Serbia, the army said, rising at a rate of three centimeters (one inch) per hour after several days of the heaviest rainfall in almost 120 years. Three people were confirmed dead in Serbia by Friday, and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said there were more fatalities in the town of Obrenovac, 30 km (18 miles) southwest of Belgrade, where soldiers deployed huge amphibious vehicles to rescue hundreds of people crammed into a primary school. Authorities in Serbia said they would not give a death toll for Obrenovac, a town of some 30,000 people, until the waters had receded and the extent of the damage was clear. More

harvest army



Toll mounts as thousands flee Balkan flooding


Efforts to rescue Nigerian girls stall









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