Showing posts with label world news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label world news. Show all posts

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Latest: Israeli Troops Kill Gunman Near Gaza Fence

The Latest: Israeli Troops Kill Gunman Near Gaza Fence

The Latest: Israeli troops kill gunman near Gaza fence
Gaza's Health Ministry says a 26-year-old Palestinian was killed after exchanging fire with Israeli troops along the perimeter fence surrounding the coastal territory.

The Israeli military says an "armed terrorist" approached the frontier early Sunday and opened fire toward troops on the other side, who responded by shooting at the attacker. The army says a tank also targeted a nearby military post operated by the Islamic militant group Hamas.

The Palestinian ministry identified the deceased as Marwan Nasser. It was not clear if he was a member of an armed group, and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Saturday, Israeli troops killed four Palestinian militants who the army said had tried to carry out a cross-border attack. Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, said the attack was an "individual act" carried out by frustrated youths and was not planned by the group.

Clashes have erupted between Muslim worshippers and Israeli police at a major Jerusalem holy site during prayers marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.

It was not immediately clear what sparked the violence at the site, which Muslims refer to as the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and Jews refer to as the Temple Mount. Thousands of Muslims had flocked to the site early Sunday for holiday prayers.

It is the holiest site for Jews and the third holiest for Muslims. It has long been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli police barred entry to the compound to Jewish visitors on Sunday before clashes erupted. Sunday is also the Ninth of Av, the Jewish day of mourning for the destruction of the two Biblical temples built on the site in antiquity.

(YahooNews)
Trump Boosts Bills To Teach His Favorite Book — The Bible — In Public Schools

Trump Boosts Bills To Teach His Favorite Book — The Bible — In Public Schools

Trump boosts bills to teach his favorite book — the Bible — in public schools
President Trump signaled his support on Monday for state bills that would allow public schools to teach courses in the Bible, which he once proclaimed was his favorite book.

Trump’s tweet came minutes after “Fox & Friends” aired a segment Monday morning on pending legislation in six states — Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia — that would allow Bible literacy courses to become a part of a public school education.

“Nothing beats the Bible,” Trump famously said on the campaign trail in 2015 — not even “The Art of the Deal.”

The Christian activists who crafted the template for inserting the Bible into public school curricula celebrated the president’s endorsement of the idea.

“We were excited to see it happen,” Steven Fitschen, president of the National Legal Foundation, told Yahoo News. “The model bill that we were involved with is for the state level, but we were excited to see him use his bully pulpit, so to speak.”

Fitschen said the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation — a nonprofit group formed by former Virginia Republican Congressman J. Randy Forbes to promote “restoring Judeo-Christian principles” — hired him to help draft the text of legislation that could withstand First Amendment challenges to teaching the Bible in schools.

“We looked at what was already in existence and tried to craft a model bill so we could eliminate any constitutional problems, so there could be a course that taught about Islam or Buddhism or any other religion. Many other schools already have comparative religion courses,” Fitschen said. “The reason we centered in on the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament, is the history of the country, how much of our idiom and our political framework, all these things that were biblically derived because of the historical situation with many of the early colonists.”

The American Civil Liberties Union blasted both the attempt to infuse Bible literacy courses in public schools and Trump’s support of it. Its concern is that, notwithstanding Fitschen’s self-proclaimed commitment to religious neutrality, in practice the courses could, at least in some states, amount to a form of Christian evangelism.

“Yet again, President Trump is exploiting religious divisions to score political points. Public school Bible courses are rarely taught neutrally and objectively as required by the Constitution,” Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, told Yahoo News in an email. “Instead, these courses usually resemble Sunday school classes that blatantly violate students’ and parents’ First Amendment rights. Religious education is best left to families and faith communities, not public school officials.”

Just as the pro-business American Legislative Exchange Council crafts model bills that can be adapted and introduced in states across the country, the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation’s blueprint for inserting the Bible into public schools follows a similar starter-kit approach.

“We don’t get involved with the legislative battles,” Fitschen said. “Instead what we do is we put together model bills that we think would work in any of the 50 states, and it’s up on the foundation website.”

While bills following the foundation’s template failed to pass in Alabama, Iowa and West Virginia last year, Kentucky passed its version, House Bill 128, in 2017, over objections from the ACLU, and it was signed into law by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

Supporters of Bible literacy classes say the text is being taught as a historical and cultural document, but the ACLU contends that including it in the curriculum is a way to promote religion.

In several of these classes, teachers are using the Bible to impart religious life lessons and actively inculcate Christianity,” the ACLU of Kentucky wrote in a letter last year to schools seeking clarity on how the text would be presented to students.

Bills written by pro-religious groups that seek to influence the public school curriculum are not uncommon in the U.S. A new Florida measure authored by the Florida Citizens Alliance and sponsored in the state’s Legislature by Republican Rep. Dennis Baxley seeks to require public schools to teach alternatives to climate change and evolution.

A September poll from the Public Religion Research Institute found Trump’s approval rating from white evangelicals holding firm at 71 percent, and Monday’s tweet probably won’t change that.

A course in Biblical literacy might have helped Trump, who once mistakenly referred to one of the New Testament books as “Two Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians” — embarrassingly, at a speech at the evangelical Liberty University.

On its website, the National Legal Foundation says its mission is to “prayerfully create and implement innovative strategies that, through decisive action, will cause America’s public policy and legal system to support and facilitate God’s purpose for her.”

Both the NLF and the CPCF view their goal of seeing Bible literacy taught in schools in all 50 states as a longterm project.

“I expect in some the states where it has failed they’ll try again,” Fitschen said.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Tanzania Mourns 64 Killed In Fuel Tanker Blast

Tanzania Mourns 64 Killed In Fuel Tanker Blast

Tanzania mourns 64 killed in fuel tanker blast
Tanzania was in mourning Sunday, preparing to bury the dead after 64 people perished when a crashed fuel tanker exploded as crowds rushed to syphon off leaking petrol.

President John Magufuli declared a period of mourning through Monday following the deadly blast near the town of Morogoro, west of Dar es Salaam.

He will be represented at the funerals by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, an official statement said.

The burials will start Sunday afternoon, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Jenista Mhagama announced during the morning after relatives identified the dead.

The latest in a series of similar disasters in Africa left 64 dead and 70 injured, said Morogoro governor Stephen Kebwe.

Thirty-nine seriously hurt patients had been taken to hospital in Dar es Salaam while the others were being treated in Morogoro, 200 kilometres (125 miles) west of the economic capital of Tanzania.

Footage from the scene showed the truck engulfed in flames and huge clouds of black smoke, with charred bodies. The burnt-out remains of motorcycle taxis lie scattered on the ground among scorched trees.

A video posted on social media showed dozens of people carrying yellow jerricans around the truck.

President Magufuli called Saturday for people to stop the dangerous practice of stealing fuel in such a way, a common event in many poor parts of Africa.

Magufuli issued a statement saying he was “very shocked” by the looting of fuel from damaged vehicles.

“There are vehicles that carry dangerous fuel oil, as in this case in Morogoro, there are others that carry toxic chemicals or explosives, let’s stop this practice, please,” he said.

Last month, 45 people were killed and more than 100 injured in central Nigeria when a petrol tanker crashed and then exploded as people tried to take the fuel.

Among the deadliest such disasters, 292 people lost their lives in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in July 2010, and in September 2015 at least 203 people died the South Sudan town of Maridi.

(AFP)
Norway Mosque Shooting An ‘attempted Act Of Terror’

Norway Mosque Shooting An ‘attempted Act Of Terror’

Norway mosque shooting an ‘attempted act of terror’
The shooting at a mosque near Oslo is being treated as an “attempted act of terror”, Norwegian police said Sunday, with the suspect appearing to harbour far-right, anti-immigrant views.

“We are looking at an attempted act of terror,” acting chief of the police operation Rune Skjold told a press conference.

Skjold said the investigation had shown that the man appeared to hold “far-right” and “anti-immigrant” views.

The suspect entered the al-Noor Islamic Centre on Saturday afternoon armed with multiple weapons and opened fire before being overpowered by a man who suffered “minor injuries” in the process.

Only three people were inside the mosque at the time of the attack, and police said they recovered two firearms from the scene but did not specify which type.

Norway was the scene of one of the worst-ever attacks by a right-wing extremist in July 2011, when 77 people were killed by Anders Behring Breivik.

– Suspicious death –

Hours after the attack on Saturday, the body of a young woman related to the suspect was found in a house in Baerum.

Investigators are treating her death as suspicious and have opened a murder probe.

Norwegian media reported Sunday that the dead woman was 17 years old and the suspect’s adopted younger sister.

Police said earlier Sunday they had tried to question the suspect, described as a “young man” around 20 years old with a “Norwegian background” who was living in the vicinity but he did not want to “give an explanation to police”.

The man had been known to police before the incident but according to Skjold he could not be described as someone with a “criminal background”.

There has been a recent spate of white nationalist attacks in the West, including in the United States and in New Zealand where 51 Muslim worshippers were killed in March at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

The al-Noor Islamic centre in Norway shares its name with the worst affected mosque in the New Zealand attacks.

On Saturday, Norwegian media reported that the suspect was believed to have put up a post to an online forum hours before the attack where he seemingly praised the New Zealand assailant.

In the online post, references were made to a “race war” and it ended with the words “Valhalla awaits”.

The authenticity of the post or the exact identity of its author has not yet been established.

The suspect in the Christchurch killings wrote a hate-filled manifesto in which he said he was influenced by far-right ideologues including Breivik.

Breivik detonated a massive bomb in Oslo that killed eight people and then opened fire on a gathering of the Labour Party’s youth wing on the island of Utoya, killing another 69 people, most of them teenagers.

– Heightened security –

Local Norwegian newspaper Budstikka said it had contacted the mosque in Baerum in March after the Christchurch massacre and that officials there had said security would be tightened.

The attack took place on the eve of the Muslim celebration of Eid Al-Adha, marking the end of the Muslim pilgrimage Hajj, stoking fears among Norway’s Muslims.

“The terror attack in Baerum is the result of long-lasting hate of Muslims that has been allowed to spread in Norway, without Norwegian authorities having taken this development seriously,” the Muslim organisation Islamic Council Norway said in a statement.

Oslo police increased security around Sunday’s celebrations, including ordering their patrols to be armed, which is generally not the case.

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the shooting a “direct attack on Norwegian Muslims,” as well as an “attack on freedom of religion.”

“Today we stand shoulder to shoulder with Norwegian Muslims in condemning the attack,” Solberg said in a Facebook post.

The prime minister was scheduled to attend Eid Al-Adha celebrations at an Oslo mosque on Sunday afternoon.

According to official estimates from 2016, about 200,000 Muslims live in Norway, representing nearly four per cent of the total population.

(AFP)

Friday, August 9, 2019

“It Was As If God Had Travelled” - 1000 Days Of Captivity Ahiable On Joy Fm

“It Was As If God Had Travelled” - 1000 Days Of Captivity Ahiable On Joy Fm

Jewel Ahiable in the studios of Joy FM Thursday

It was disheartening, I become sick, it was a very painful experience, I called for God but it was like he had travelled far away.

“I picked the knife to stab myself then I heard a voice that said …..” Jewel Ahiable shared on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Thursday.
He was recounting the experience of his 1000 days captivity in the hands of Somali Pirates which happened on 29th March 2010.

Ahiable’s story comes on the back of recent kidnappings in Ghana.  Thursday’s ‘I survived,’ a segment on the SMS, was to give an inside story of what pertains when one is under captivity.

God is always ready and wants to direct our path, he said of the moments he felt God was trying to sway him from accepting a job which led to his prolonged misery on the sea.

Ahiable who now works as an evangelist had returned from all-night prayers when he had an offer to work as an electrical engineer on the ship, MV Iceber1.

He saw the offer as God’s blessings following the vigil prayers. But it was not. Later events proved that.
The pain that followed that innocuous action, he remarks, was “excruciating.”

It was all bliss and smooth sailing until the ship he was on, was hijacked by Somali Pirates.

The condition for their freedom was ransom payment of $10miliion. That did not happen as the owner of the ship, who lived in Dubai, was adamant to pay.

The hijacker who took offence with this exacerbated their plight to stampede the vessel owner to pay them.
During that period he saw and witnessed ears being split into two, teeth broken, they went days without food and when they had food, it was cooked with seawater mixed with engine oil.

That was not all, they drunk water which leaked from air conditioners and were housed in a compartment of the ship with little ventilation.

They were objects of mockery for their captors on many occasions.
They were brought out on days their masters were bored to entertain themselves.
They will ask them to say their last prayers. With a simulation process of being shot, bullets would be fired just above their heads into the sea.
This was being done amidst their responsibility of working on the ship to keep it afloat.

As an electrical engineer, he was constantly called upon to fix the many electrical challenges that affected the ship.
He is not bitter about his experience. Ahiable believes God allowed this to happen to him for a purpose.

God has a purpose for everything. That is why I am here sharing my story,” he said.
He thanked God for making a way for their escape when they least expected.

According to him, there was no sign that ‘we were going to be rescued. No negotiations were going on, all human efforts had ceased but I kept trusted in God.

He says rescue came after 13 days of that letter after writing a letter to God. It was the 33 rd month of his captivity on his 33rd birthday when finally saw freedom.
(MyJoyonline)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Trump Freezes Venezuelan Government’s Assets

Trump Freezes Venezuelan Government’s Assets

Trump Freezes Venezuelan Government’s Assets
Washington has frozen the assets of the Venezuelan government due to the “continued usurpation of power” by President Nicolas Maduro, according to an executive order issued by President Donald Trump.

The sanctions, which came into effect on Monday, represent a significant escalation of U.S. attempts to force Maduro, who won a second term in a disputed election last year, from office.

The U.S. has already used sanctions to target Venezuelan government officials, the central bank and its state-run oil and gas sector, from which the country derives the vast majority of its export earnings.

The Venezuelan economy has collapsed under Maduro, with inflation reaching 130,060 per cent last year and shortages of food and medicines driving millions of people abroad.

The leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Juan Guaido, declared himself interim president in January but despite immediately winning the support of dozens of countries has failed to dislodge Maduro.

On Monday Trump accused Maduro’s government of “human rights abuses, arbitrary arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens, curtailment of free press, and ongoing attempts to undermine Interim President Juan Guaido of Venezuela and the democratically-elected Venezuelan National Assembly.”

The announcement came a day ahead of the International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela in the Peruvian capital Lima, a meeting of representatives from than 50 countries seeking to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Venezuela.

Trump’s hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton is to represent the U.S. at the meeting.

In a tweet published around the same time as the executive order, Bolton said he was looking forward to a “productive day”.

(DPA/NAN)

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Seven Maoist Rebels Killed In Central India Gunfight

Seven Maoist Rebels Killed In Central India Gunfight

Seven Maoist rebels killed in central India gunfight

Indian special forces killed seven suspected Maoist rebels in a raid on a jungle camp Saturday that triggered a gunfight lasting several hours, police said.

The far-left rebels in the central state of Chhattisgarh are part of a long-standing conflict that has left tens of thousands dead since the 1960s.

They were in a camp in dense forest in Rajnandgaon district, some 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the state capital Raipur.

“So far seven bodies have been recovered from the encounter spot,” a senior police officer in the district told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He said arms and ammunition were recovered from the camp.

Chhattisgarh is mineral rich but among India’s poorest states, and guerrillas are demanding greater rights over land and resources.

A landmine blast on Wednesday was blamed on the rebels, and killed one paramilitary.

Maoist-inspired insurgents in the so-called Naxalite movement are present in at least 20 Indian states but are most active in Maharashtra, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh.

The government has deployed tens of thousands of police and special commandos in a bid to eradicate the groups.

(AFP/Punchng)