In a display of disregard for public opinion, leaders of the ruling Australian Labor Party (ALP) pushed through legislation in the lower house of parliament that will burden their nation with a whole new form of taxation: a carbon tax. Following the razor thin legislative "victory" — a vote of 74 to 72 — opposition leader Tony Abbott (left) of the Liberal Party (LP) gave a “pledge in blood” that his party would dismantle the new tax as soon as his party regains power.
Troubled European nations' credit ratings are continuing to plummet. On October 13 Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spain to AA-, three steps beneath the optimum AAA rating. Last week the Fitch agency also downgraded Spanish credit worthiness (as well as Italian). S&P’s cited weak growth in Spain's economy (estimated at one percent this year, a reduction from February's 1.5 percent projection) as well as the general dire situation of the PIIGS EU member-states (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain).
There has been a series of varying reports on the latest news concerning 32-year-old Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani (pictured at left), who had been condemned to death by an Iranian court for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. According to Baptist Press News, Reuters News Service had reported on October 11 that Iran’s Supreme Court had sent the case back to the original court that had tried him, ruling that there had been insufficient investigation into the charges against the pastor. “The court will issue a new verdict,” Reuters reported, citing the Iranian Student’s News Agency (ISNA) as its source.
British authorities have rescued at least 400 children who were brought to Britain often for use in blood rituals conducted by witch doctors, the BBC reported this week. The BBC’s data come from child protection organizations and Scotland Yard, and document the problem: the superstition of juju, or the use of objects in rituals of witchcraft.
The anti-Christian policy of the Egypt military rulers became even more readily apparent as they blamed Christian victims and “enemies of the revolution” for a series of violent clashes which left over two dozen people dead. In another tragic example of a military junta blaming its victims for its oppressive actions, Major General Adel Emara denied widespread reports of the military’s actions, which murdered dozens of Christians, According to one Associated Press report, Emara “tried to clear the military of any blame in the killings. He denied troops opened fire at protesters, claiming their weapons did not even have live ammunition. He said it was not in ‘the dictionary of the armed forces to run over bodies ... even when battling our enemy.’ "
American Christians may not see eye-to-eye on the justness or wisdom of their government’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but one thing on which they should be able to agree — because the facts are indisputable — is that the wars have been devastating for their coreligionists in those countries. Hundreds of thousands of Christians, including members of one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, have either fled from or been killed in Iraq since 2003. Now, according to the U.S. State Department, the situation for Christians in Afghanistan has become so dire that not a single church remains in that country.
Under a new European Union (EU) edict on toy safety, unsupervised children below the age of eight will no longer be permitted to blow up balloons due to choking hazards, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph. Balloons and other toys — including magnetic fishing games, toy lipsticks, and recorders — have been added to the expanding catalog of Euro Zone regulations that are further empowering the region’s nanny state government.
The military regime ruling Egypt is under fire after it responded to weekend protests by Coptic Christians in Cairo with deadly force, leaving hundreds wounded and dozens dead. An official investigation is ongoing.
Following another church attack last week blamed on Islamist extremists, Christian activists marched to the state-run TV station headquarters in the capital. The demonstrators were demanding government protection from Muslim attacks and the resignation or firing of a provincial governor.
Muslims are suspected of poisoning dogs in Spain because of the Islamic teaching that such pets are unclean, according to a report from Soeren Kern, an analyst with the Strategic Studies Group based in Madrid.
Writing for the Hudson New York website, which studies international affairs and focuses on human rights and terrorism, Kern reported that authorities have found more than a dozen dogs poisoned in Catalonia in northeast Spain.
The people of Scandinavia have historically been among the healthiest in the world. Their diet includes a great deal of fish, which is good for the cardiovascular system and high in proteins. An outdoor life is also popular in northern Europe, and a disproportionate number of famous explorers come from this region. There are some serious health problems among these people — alcoholism is high — but by and large, the Scandinavians live long and healthy lives.