In an interview with the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun, on July 4, 1925, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was asked if he thought that the revolutionary turmoil in China, India, Persia, Egypt, and other Eastern countries was a sign that the Western powers had dug themselves graves in the East and would end up being buried there.
With turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa continuing to spread in the wake of the departure of Egypt’s longtime dictator and U.S. stooge Hosni Mubarak, it is difficult to predict the short-term, let alone the long-term, future for that profoundly troubled region. Inspired by the relative ease and nonviolence with which determined resistance managed to unseat long-entrenched dictatorships, first in Tunisia and then in Egypt, people elsewhere in the Arab world are finding the struggle for self-emancipation much tougher slogging.
“This is the most exciting story I’ve ever covered in my life,” gushed veteran journalist Charles Sennott. “I’ve been a reporter for 25 years. I’ve covered the Middle East for more than 15 of those years. It was just so thrilling, so breathtaking, so unpredictable, and really a journey for the whole country of Egypt but also for those correspondents who’ve covered the Middle East for a long time.”
The Bible says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:8-9). Every day, people across the world prove to live the teachings of the Bible, particularly at times of greatest sorrow and strife. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami is no exception, as men, women, and even animals emerged as heroes and givers of love.
Japan’s tsunami, triggered by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake — one of the world's five most powerful in recorded history — is projected to leave tens of thousands dead in its wake. Two thousand bodies have already been uncovered on the shores of Miyagi prefecture, an area that suffered the majority of the damage.
Owing to Japan's nuclear power ordeal, the inevitable debate over nuclear power and its impact on the environment and human health is beginning to stir once again. Japan’s 9.0 magnitude earthquake and its resulting tsunami last Friday shattered the northeast section of the country, and its after-effects have devastated the infrastructure and surrounding landscape. The Fukushima Daiichi plant was designed for a 8.2 magnitude earthquake, which was the worst-expected earthquake for a 500-year time frame. Because the Richter scale is logarithmic, the quake that rocked the Fukushima nuclear power plant was actually more than six times its design withstandability.
A tsunami triggered by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake wreaked havoc on Japan Friday at 2:46 p.m. The megaquake is the largest in Japan’s recorded history, and the world’s seventh most powerful earthquake, spawning a destructive tsunami that wiped out boats, homes, and people, and caused widespread fires in its path. It prompted tsunami warnings in the entire Pacific, South America, Alaska, Canada, and the entire U.S. west coast. The death toll from the disaster has already exceeded 680 as of Saturday at midnight local time. Meanwhile, 300,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes by the Japanese National Police Agency.
The latest victim of Jihadist violence in Pakistan is the man who was the only Christian serving in that nation’s government. Until his murder on March 2, Shahbaz Bhatti was Pakistan’s Minorities Minister; when he accepted that office in 2008 he said that he was doing so for the sake of the “oppressed, down-trodden and marginalized” of Pakistan. Now he has given his life while fulfilling that responsibility.
Even as Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani (picture, left), was declaring his nation’s harsh blasphemy laws to be “categorically excluded” from any possibility of reform, those very laws were allegedly being used once again to persecute a Christian woman for the sake of private gain.
The campaign in Pakistan against Parliamentarian Sherry Rehman is emphasizing the same brutal aspect of Islamic law which was written in blood at the time of the assassination of Governor Salman Taseer: Any politician who opposes the imposition of the death penalty for blasphemy has "proven" that they too are guilty of blasphemy.
In one of the most ironic and revealing moves in the unfolding of relations between the United States and China, China has announced that it is seeking a shift to the gold standard. According to the World Gold Council, the market development organization for the gold industry, China’s appetite for gold has been rapidly expanding: It consumed 175.2 tons of gold in the fourth quarter of 2010, bringing its grand total for the year to 579.5 tons, or 18.5 million ounces. By comparison, the United States consumed a mere 233.3 tons of gold in 2010. While it is unknown how much of China’s gold acquisitions were made by private citizens, industry, or central banks, speculations remain as to what the country's true intentions are regarding its continued massive purchase and use of the gold.