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The Editor, 21/08/2012
EGYPT: TWO PRESIDENTIAL AIDES RESIGN
Two of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's aides have resigned as clashes and protests continue outside the presidential palace, Al Arabiya and Ahram Online reported Dec. 5. According to one of the aides, the resignations came in protest of the harm the Muslim Brotherhood has done to the country and the revolution.
Meanwhile web-based news outlet Ahram Online has declared its full support for the strike action undertaken on Tuesday by a large number of major Egyptian newspapers and TV stations in defence of freedom of the press, freedom of expression, civil liberties and the rule of law.
SECOND NIGHT OF TROUBLES IN NORTHERN IRELAND
A second night of serious disorder in Belfast injures 15 police officers - posing an immediate challenge for Theresa Villiers, the new Northern Ireland secretary.
Three officers were taken to hospital during trouble that saw rioters throw 15 petrol bombs at police lines in the Carlisle Circus area in the north of the city.
Officers used water cannon and fired six baton rounds at the crowds as troubled flared last night.
Rioters also hurled stones, bottles, fireworks and rocks and hijacked a van in Denmark Street before pushing it towards police lines.
COURT PAPERS SERVED AT MINISTER'S FAMILY HOME
Rev Dr William Philip and five other senior members of the St George's Tron congregation in Glasgow were served with near identical documents to those already served to the minister at a prayer meeting earlier this week, following a blunder.
The worshippers and ministers have been threatened with eviction from church premises and the manse after St George's Tron became the first full congregation to split from the Kirk in opposition to the ordination of gay ministers.
Yesterday, law officers handed papers to the minister's wife as the Kirk seeks possession of a number of items, including bibles, hymn books and a church organ.
Mr Philip said: "Choosing to serve the same interdict twice and harass not just our church leaders but their families in their own homes is quite unnecessary. They seem to have no idea how intimidating this has been.
"I was shaking for at least an hour this morning. It is just horrible."
SYRIAN AMBASSODOR TO ALGERIA DEFECTS
Syria's ambassador to Algeria, Numair Ghanem, is seeking political asylum in France, becoming the seniormost Syrian official to defect in four months, Bloomberg reported Dec. 10, citing Al Arabiya.
An unidentified Syrian official denied the report, which came as rebels and government forces clashed near the presidential office in Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Syrian regime is on the defensive but will continue to fight for every inch of territory.
CHINA PROVOKES JAPAN BY AIRSPACE VIOLATION
Japan launched 8 fighter jets in response to an airspace “violation” by a Chinese plane that strayed into territory above disputed islands in East China Sea. Japan slammed the move as “deplorable” and lodged a formal complaint against the Chinese.
DEEPENING PLIGHT OF SYRIAN CHRISTIANS
As the crisis in Syria appears to be reaching a critical phase, Barnabas Fund has charted the suffering of the Christian community in a categorised timeline to show how targeted violence against them has intensified. Will the international community take note of their plight before it is too late?
US GUN LOBBY CITE ISRAEL SCHOOL SECURITY
Breaking a week-long silence after the devastating mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the National Rifle Association’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, is defending his lobby’s position by citing Israel for model school safety measures worth emulating in the US.
“Israel had a whole lot of school shootings until they did one thing,” LaPierre said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “They said, ‘We’re going to stop it,’ and they put armed security at every school, and they have not had a problem since then.”
Read full report:
Comment: What does this say about America? What does this say about what Jewish schools have to do?
TWO TOP SYRIAN GENERALS DEFECT
According to Turkish Foreign Ministry officials two Syrian air force generals have defected and crossed the border into Turkey. The generals were regional air force commanders, the officials said.
This past week has seen a sharp increase in diplomatic activity surrounding the fate of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Reports suggest that though he might lack the power to negotiate a peaceful transition, he and the Alawite forces that back him will have the power to wage war.
Thousands of Alawites have fled to Tartus on the coast for safety in the event of a Sunni rule. The Sunni Islamists along the Syria-Lebanon border are plotting a confrontation with Iranian-backed Hezbollah, while the Kurds in the northeast are clashing with Sunnis and looking to declare autonomy.
Putting all this together, the prospects for a diplomatic settlement in a post-al Assad Syria are not great. A power vacuum and continuing civil war is a real prospect.
Throughout these uprisings there are multiple agendas and allegiances: existing dynastic regimes, Sunni, Shia, secularist, military powers...
And around it all Russia, the US, Iran, the UN, etc. vying for influence in a changed environment.
An oracle concerning Damascus:
"See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. (Is. 17:1).
POLITICAL CRISIS IN IRAQ
There are conflicting reports circulating about whether the Parliament in Iraq is due to be dissolved.
Former Iraqi prime minister and head of the al-Iraqiyya coalition Ayad Allawi called on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to resigns saying “Iraq does not belong to one person.”
In a move that could draw Iraq back into the throws of religious infighting and potential civil war, the fledgling Baghdad government may be on the brink of dissolving parliament within days, a source tell U.S. News.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who leads the Shiite majority government, has used strong-arm tactics to marginalize opponents, mostly among minority Sunnis, says an official at private intelligence company Stratfor. These actions, along with some spill over from the civil war in Syria, have lead to violent protests in Iraq in recent days.
OBAMA DECLARED 'MINISTER OF GOD'
Barack Obama is “an appointed minister of God to do what is good,” according to the prayer of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell at the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast held at the Richmond, Va., convention center.
The annual breakfast yesterday drew more than 1,000 people, including many of the state’s leaders. In addition to McDonnell, others offering prayers included Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, House Speaker William Howell and state Democrat Chairwoman Charniele Herring.
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