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The Editor, 21/08/2012
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.
SYRIAN REBELS ON BORDER WITH ISRAEL
During a visit to an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) base on Mount Avital on the Golan Heights, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was told by senior IDF officials that Syrian rebel forces, among them Salafists, have taken up positions along the border with Israel, with the exception of the Quneitra enclave which is still in the hands of the Syrian army.
“We are monitoring the changes taking place in Syria, and there are many changes taking place, and they affect Israel’s security,” Netanyahu said.
He said Israel was interested in creating a physical barrier with Syria similar to the one build in the South.
“We are monitoring the changes taking place in Syria, and there are many changes taking place, and they affect Israel’s security,” he said.
COUP ATTEMPT IN ERITREA?
It appears a coup attempt may be unfolding in Asmara, Eritrea's capital. Dissident soldiers have reportedly taken over the Eritrean Ministry of Information facility and possibly the country’s central bank. Tanks and troops loyal to Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki are reportedly headed toward the ministry to retake the building, the site of the country's sole television station. Eritrean opposition radio outlet ERENA has reported that Afewerki, his wife and some army officers have been arrested.
The extent of Afewerki's control in Asmara is not clear, but if a coup is under way it is likely an internal military power grab triggered by the president's poor health. Afewerki, who has in the past traveled abroad for closely guarded medical treatment, may finally have died. Rather than let events spiral beyond their control, army officers who had been the foundation of the Eritrean regime may have launched a power grab to avoid a breakdown in order or to prevent a rival military or political faction from securing power.
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