Posted by Kendall Harmon

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered a curfew Saturday in the city of Ferguson and declared a state of emergency after fresh violence erupted overnight amid public anger over the shooting death of an unarmed young black man by a white police officer.

The curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m., starting Saturday night.

“This is a test,” Nixon said at a news conference, saying “the eyes of the world” are watching to see how the city handles the aftermath of the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown, 18.

The announcement comes after community activists had taken to the streets and social media Saturday in hopes of preventing another night of looting and violence in Ferguson after at least three businesses fell victim to a predawn rampage by young men who targeted local stores as others tried desperately to stop them.

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Posted August 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The pattern is becoming all too familiar to residents of Nigeria’s embattled northeast: Gunmen believed to be members of the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram descend on a village, burn houses, round up scores of young people, load them onto trucks and then drive away.

Four months after Boko Haram shocked the world by abducting nearly 300 girls from a rural school, fighters shouting “God is great” snatched dozens more young people from another village in recent days, according to officials, local journalists and Nigerian news media.

This time, the target was boys and young men, who were waved into trucks at gunpoint, prompting fears that they would be hauled off and forced to fight for the militants in their war against the Nigerian state.

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Posted August 16, 2014 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An ethics committee has been set up to tackle moral issues faced by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the area's police and crime commissioner.

The independent committee is one of the first of its kind in the country and aims to make recommendations on moral and ethical dilemmas.

It will look at issues such as surveillance operations and the use of body cameras and water cannon.

Members of the public can make referrals to the committee.

The panel of 13 is chaired by the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker.

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Posted August 5, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At a Vatican conference held July 29 to mark the World Day Against Trafficking, a U.S. diplomat said that the scourge of modern slavery will not be ended until the economic attitudes that lead to human trafficking are changed.

“One cannot simply protect the victims, and bring the victims into a place of safety, if one doesn’t do anything to change the underlying cultural assumptions that help create and foster this slavery, this exploitation, if one does not change the underlying economic assumptions that treat people as commodities,” Luis CdeBaca, the U.S. ambassador at large for trafficking in persons, said July 29 via video conference.

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Posted July 31, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wearing long hijabs, the anonymous women squeeze quietly into crowds, barely noticed.

One slipped in among students gathered Wednesday at a notice board of a college campus in the northern Nigerian city of Kano. She detonated a hidden bomb, killing herself and at least five others, wire services reported.

On Sunday, a 15-year-old female suicide bomber blew herself up near a temporary university site, with no other casualties. Another pushed into a queue of women buying kerosene at a fuel station Monday, detonating a bomb that killed herself and at least three others. Hours later, an 18-year-old woman approached a shopping mall and detonated a bomb. She killed only herself.

No group has claimed responsibility for the rash of daily attacks in Kano, but experts say they bear the marks of the Islamist extremists led by Boko Haram. Police in adjacent Kastina state arrested a 10-year-old girl wearing a suicide vest Tuesday, government spokesman Mike Omeri said Wednesday. Two other Boko Haram suspects were arrested, he said.

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Posted July 30, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How easily the world forgets. It has been only three months, but it feels like a lifetime since more than 200 Nigerian girls were snatched from their school in the dead of night by the brutal Boko Haram. Vigils and marches around the world marked the girls’ 100 days in captivity, and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan managed to emerge from his cocoon to finally meet the parents of the abducted girls. I guess we should thank God for his small mercies. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in his role as a UN global ambassador, tried to keep up hope for the girls’ return on the bleak anniversary, but his words had a hollow ring.

“The world has not forgotten these girls. Not in a 100 days. Not for one day,” Brown wrote.

Yes it has. The universal outrage that greeted the abduction, and the massive effort to mobilize the global community to confront the terrorists and rescue the girls, has dissipated. Western governments talked tough, promised big, but in the end, did precious little to help save the girls. A world-wide Bring Back Our Girls campaign led by politicians, religious leaders and celebrities swept across continents and energized people. There was hope, but it was only fleeting. Once the sad faces that tugged at our heartstrings disappeared from our TV screens, the outrage faded, and governments moved on to the next crisis in the headlines, promises forgotten. People returned to their busy lives, and the Bring Back Our Girls campaign fizzled. More than 200 girls are brazenly abducted, and what the world does is to shed a little tear, then shrug its shoulders and move on. It is hard to imagine the horror that confronts these girls every waking moment. The terror, the helplessness and the feeling of abandonment must be excruciating.

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Posted July 29, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is one:
Your opinion, in “Repeal Prohibition, Again,” that marijuana should be legalized is based in part on an assumption that during Prohibition “people kept drinking.” Prohibition reduced the public’s alcohol intake considerably. The rate of alcohol-associated illness dropped in similar fashion. Prohibition was perhaps a political failure, but an impressive success from a public health standpoint.

Both alcohol and marijuana can lead to the chronic disease of addiction, directly affect the brain and negatively affect function. As more than 10 percent of our population has addictive disease, your statement that marijuana is “far less dangerous than alcohol” doesn’t reflect decades of research demonstrating risks associated with both of these drugs.

Why would we possibly wish to add to the alcohol- and tobacco-driven personal and public health catastrophe with yet another substance to which some people will become addicted?

Some people use marijuana currently. Legalize it, and more people will use more marijuana, leading to more addiction, lower productivity and higher societal costs....
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Posted July 29, 2014 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

Read it all from this past weekend.

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Posted July 29, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...there are forces at work here that we should recognize, name and resist.

First is the upper-class, competition-driven vision of childhood as a rigorously supervised period in which unattended play is abnormal, risky, weird. This perspective hasn’t just led to “the erosion of child culture,” to borrow a quote from Hanna Rosin’s depressing Atlantic essay on “The Overprotected Kid”; it has encouraged bystanders and public servants to regard a deviation from constant supervision as a sign of parental neglect.

Second is the disproportionate anxiety over child safety, fed by media coverage of every abduction, every murdered child, every tragic “hot car” death. Such horrors are real, of course, but the danger is wildly overstated: Crime rates are down, abductions and car deaths are both rare, and most of the parents leaving children (especially non-infants) in cars briefly or letting them roam a little are behaving perfectly responsibly.

Third is an erosion of community and social trust, which has made ordinary neighborliness seem somehow unnatural or archaic, and given us instead what Gracy Olmstead’s article in The American Conservative dubs the “bad Samaritan” phenomenon — the passer-by who passes the buck to law enforcement as expeditiously as possible.

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Posted July 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United States and other western nations have ignored the religious motivation of the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram and must understand the theological dynamics in Nigeria in order to curb terrorism in the western African country, the archbishop of Nigeria's Anglican Church told Baptist Press.

For a long time, "the United States did not come out to say anything about Boko Haram," Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria, said in an interview. "They kept talking about economic problems, [saying] that Boko Haram is fighting because of economic problems. That is not true ... The United States deliberately ignored the fundamental issues of religious ideology."

Based in northeast Nigeria, Boko Haram has killed an estimated 10,000 people since 2002 with an escalation in murders recently. In April the group received wide media coverage for kidnapping 273 schoolgirls, 219 of whom remain missing and may be enslaved as wives of Muslim men. Loosely translated, the phrase Boko Haram means "Western education is sinful."

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Posted July 15, 2014 at 6:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Assistance from chaplains is an invaluable part of law enforcement, police and political leaders said Monday.

Ministers provide “comfort, encouragement, solace, confession” during stressful times for police officers and crime victims, U.S. Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole told 375 chaplains gathered in downtown Columbia.

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Posted July 14, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A statewide program aimed at curbing recidivism rates among youthful offenders has been producing dividends in its early years, South Carolina Department of Corrections officials report.

The department incorporated the Intensive Supervision Services as a part of the Division of Young Offender Parole and Reentry Services in 2011. The program sought to reduce the rate that youthful offenders 17 to 25 years old return to jail. That rate historically has exceeded 50 percent, marking what the SCDC considered the least successful rate of any age group under parole supervision.

So far, the program has served 1,240 youthful offenders, and of that number, 57 violated terms of their parole – and went back to jail – while 140 others have graduated from the program and reentered their communities. A parole violation, like the failure of a drug test, doesn’t always result in a return to jail but can result in a graduated response such as additional rehabilitation or tracking bracelets.

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Posted July 7, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Intersociety, on Monday, observed that Christians living in the Northern part of Nigeria are at greater risks of being killed by the Boko Haram Sect.

The group said over 258 Northern Nigerian Christians have been killed by the deadly sect within the last seven days, with the aim to eliminate Christians in the entire Nigeria and imposing Islamic Religion on Nigeria.

In a statement signed by the chairman, Board of Trustees of the organization, Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi and released to journalists in Awka, Intersociety alleged that the ethno-religious cleansing campaigns launched in July 2009 was also targeted at forcing the federal authorities in the country to return the presidency to core northern Muslims.

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Posted July 1, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was late when John heard a knock at the door of his house in a village in Borno state, north-eastern Nigeria. “Today”, a voice outside shouted, “will be the end of your life”. Nine gunmen then burst into his house and dragged him outside. After setting fire to his car, they beat him to the ground, shot him twice in the head and left him for dead. Rushed to the nearest decent hospital, he was lucky to survive. A pair of cavernous scars bears testimony to his ordeal. That was two years ago. He is still too frightened to go home.

He is one of a rising tide of people who have been forced out by members of Boko Haram, the extreme Islamist group that has been tightening its stranglehold across the country’s north, while the armed forces strive heavy-handedly and in vain to bring it under control. It has attacked targets farther south, too. On June 25th a bomb it was presumed to have planted went off in Abuja, the capital, killing at least 21 people.

No one is certain how many people have been uprooted. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, a Swiss-based, Norwegian-backed group, reckons that 3.3m Nigerians have fled their homes, not just because of Boko Haram. Inter-communal fighting and floods have added to the toll of families forced to flee. If this figure is correct, Nigeria now has the world’s third-highest number of displaced people, after Syria and Colombia.

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Posted June 29, 2014 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suspected Boko Haram militants have abducted more than 60 women and girls, some as young as three, in the latest kidnappings in northeast Nigeria and over two months since more than 200 schoolgirls were seized.

Analysts said the kidnapping, which happened during a raid on Kummabza village in the Damboa district of Borno state, could be an attempt by the Islamist group to refocus attention on its demands for the release of militant fighters.

Boko Haram has indicated that it would be willing to release the 219 schoolgirls that it has held hostage since April 14 in exchange for the freedom of its brothers in arms currently held in Nigerian jails.

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Posted June 25, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He observed that the country is facing a tripartite war from the Islamic religious sect known as Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen and unknown gun men adding, " hundreds of innocent Nigerians have lost their lives to these elements in the last few years. Nigeria is now facing full blown war."

While reading out major headlines from a national Newspapers starting from February 17, [Gabriel] Akinbiyi he observed, "From the headlines you will find out that the country has consistently come under the attack of terrorists. Nigeria is at full blown war"

He observed that "Boko Haram has become a sophisticated and well established international organization. Even if the inventors themselves should be given Nigeria to govern today they would not be able to do better that what obtains now in terms of curbing them.

He however added that only God can deliver Nigeria from their hands. "for God do it for us as a nation, we must return to Him as a nation in repentance and faith, call upon him in earnest prayers and He will do it." He said.

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Posted June 20, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Rev. Enoch Mark heard American drones were flying into Nigeria to find his two kidnapped daughters—among the 223 schoolgirls held hostage by Boko Haram—he thought his prayers for a speedy rescue might be answered. Two months later, he has lost faith.

As U.S. officials stitch together preliminary intelligence gleaned from the skies, the insurgency on the ground is rapidly seizing territory and eliminating Christians and Muslims who oppose it.

On Sunday, Boko Haram burned down a village called Kwaraglum near Chibok, the town where girls were abducted from their boarding school in April, said a local vigilante stationed nearby. That same day, they also struck another nearby town, Ndagu, said Simon Jasini, whose older brother was among 10 people killed in the raid. The group is suspected of a bombing on Tuesday that killed 14 people watching the World Cup in the city of Damaturu, said a resident who accompanied state officials to the hospital.

Back in Chibok, Rev. Mark and what family he has left head up a mountain each night so they can sleep hidden behind rocks.

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Posted June 19, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

hen President Uhuru Kenyatta blamed "local political networks" on Tuesday for extremist attacks on several coastal villages, Kenyans were left wondering whom to believe: their president or the Somali terrorist group that claimed responsibility.

The Shabab, an Al Qaeda affiliate, claimed that it carried out the attacks, which killed dozens of people Sunday and Monday in Mpeketoni town and several villages near the tourist resort of Lamu.

The attacks — and the political response to them — threatened to deepen ethnic tension in a country still recovering from ethnic violence that followed the 2007 disputed election.

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Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At least 12 women were abducted during the latest attack by suspected Islamists on Kenya's coast, residents have told the BBC.

Fifteen people were killed in the overnight raid on two villages near the town of Mpeketoni, local police say.

Somalia's al-Shabab group said it had carried out the attack but the government is still blaming bandits.

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Posted June 17, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hundreds more Nigerian schoolgirls may be living in jungle slavery after being captured by Boko Haram militants, according to a mediator.

Stephen Davis, a friend of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that the number of captives could be twice as many as the 300 students taken from a school in the restless north of the country in April.

He suggested that senior figures in Nigeria were supporting the extremists and cautioned that any rescue attempt would simply result in many of the girls being killed. The kidnappers would then seize more students in the following days, according to Mr Davis, a former Canon Emeritus at Coventry Cathedral, who has been in Nigeria for the past month.

He said that the only way to resolve the hostage crisis would be for a peace deal to be reached with members of the Boko Haram leadership, who appeared to be open to talks.

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Posted June 9, 2014 at 6:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suspected Islamist militants pretending to be preachers rounded up and killed at least 42 villagers in northeastern Nigeria, a police source said, as an escalating insurgency increasingly targets civilians.

The shootings on the outskirts of the city of Maiduguri late on Wednesday came a day after officials said raiders killed scores in three other settlements in Borno state, where the Boko Haram militant group first launched its campaign to carve out an Islamist caliphate.

The attackers, who were wearing military-style uniforms, drove into the village of Bardari, told people to gather for a sermon and opened fire, the police source told Reuters. "The people couldn't identify them in time as terrorists," the source added.

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Posted June 7, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigerian police have banned public protests in the capital Abuja for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls seized by Islamist militants in April.

Abuja police commissioner Joseph Mbu said the rallies were "now posing a serious security threat".

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Posted June 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Nigerian government knows where nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls are being held by Islamic extremists but is incapable of using force to rescue them, the country's defense chief said Monday.

Air Marshal Alex Barde made the comment in remarks to demonstrators supporting the military in Abuja on Monday, the state-run Nigerian News Agency reported.

He said the government cannot disclose the whereabouts of the girls, who were taken from a remote area of northeastern Nigeria by the extremist group Boko Haram.

"We want our girls back. I can tell you that our military can and will do it, but where they are held, can we go there with force?'' Barde said, the agency reported.

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Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Jos, Most Reverend Benjamin Kwashi, has instructed security agencies to comb Jos for 6 out of the 10 bombs planted in the city by Boko Haram as confessed by one of the suspects arrested in connection with the twin bomb blast that rocked the city last week.

He gave the instruction on Sunday in Minna when delivering sermon titled “the good shepherd” at the dedication of the Minna Cathedral of the Anglican Communion and the presentation of four Archbishops.

“There was a twin bomb blast few days ago in Jos in which many people were killed. Just yesterday when I was about to come to Minna, another bomb exploded in Jos again. We are aware that one of the Boko Haram arrested by the security has confessed that they planted 10 bombs in the city. We are also aware that one of the bombs has been seen and detonated by the police. But where are the remaining six? The police must urgently search and recover the hidden bombs to save lives and property”, he said.

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Posted May 25, 2014 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suspected Islamist Boko Haram gunmen have attacked three villages in northern Nigeria, killing 28 people and burning houses to the ground in a pattern of violence that has become almost a daily occurrence, police and witnesses have said.

Separately, a suicide bombing that was meant to happen at the TV screening of a football match in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Saturday killed three people before the bomber reached the target, a witness told Reuters.

The bomber approached the Jos Viewing Centre while people were watching Real Madrid play Atletico Madrid, but he failed to get there before his car exploded, a local journalist at the scene, Mohammed Shittu, said.

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Posted May 25, 2014 at 4:49 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Boko Haram, the insurgent terrorist group bearing down on Nigeria, has attacked again. This time, officials say, the militant Islamist group hit three villages Wednesday, not far from where they took hundreds of schoolgirl’s hostage.

It’s not even 24 hours after a twin bombing in Jos, which killed 118 Tuesday. On Sunday, a suicide bombing rattled nerves in Sabon Gari, Kano State.

The tactics point to a new terror technique by the insurgent group: the use of random attacks and explosives in a deadly sequence. It means they’re no longer a small insurgency. The United Nations has linked them to another menace.

Jerry Dykstra, a spokesman for Open Doors USA, echoes those concerns. “They’re being empowered by other terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. [sic] It’s disturbing, and we as Christians need to pay attention because [Nigeria is] the most...[populous] Christian country in all of Africa.”

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Posted May 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A mob torched Bature’s evangelical church last Monday, one of at least six churches and mosques destroyed in three days of religious clashes that took over the town of Kachia.

As many as 40 people died, police said, and hundreds of Christians and Muslims are now living in displacement camps.

Kachia is in the northwestern Nigerian state of Kaduna, which makes up part of the middle belt splitting the country’s largely Christian south from the mainly Muslim north. These bisecting regions are often home to mixed populations and have long simmered with sectarian friction.

Kachia sits right on top of the fault lines.

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Posted May 20, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Definitive pronouncements about the group are hazardous, since its communications with the outside world are fragmentary and its tactics and motivations remain murky. Even the group’s leadership is a mystery. The Nigerian government has claimed to have killed Mr. Shekau at least three times, although there is wide disagreement here on whether Mr. Shekau or a secret successor is in charge.

American intelligence officials say they have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the recent video or that the individual who appears in it is Mr. Shekau.

Said to be in his mid-30s to his early 40s, Mr. Shekau was born in a remote village on the border with Niger, in the neighboring state of Yobe. When he was a young boy he was taken by his father for Quranic studies to a mallam, or “learned one,” in Maiduguri, a center of Islamic teaching. “He was the most troublesome of all of his students,” the mallam’s son recalled last week, outside his one-story mud-walled house in a dense neighborhood here. “He was arguing with the mallam all the time,” said the teacher’s son, Baba Fanani.

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Posted May 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The whereabouts of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in northern Nigeria remain unknown a month after their kidnapping. Never the less, the Archbishop of Canterbury has cautioned against military intervention by Western nations to find them.

Writing in the Church Times (below), Archbishop Welby says that defeating Boko Haram, the Islamist militants who snatched the teenagers from their school in Chibok, would take a combination of local police work, winning the hearts and minds of Muslims inthe region, and economic development.

He also writes: "External intervention is always difficult. In the first place, our history as the colonial power, and the role of the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan, makes both countries (and indeed much of the 'Christian West') suspicious for many Muslims."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 16, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was like a scene from a movie, except there was no Iron Man swooping to the rescue. More than a hundred girls sitting in a clearing, chanting the Koran. Their eyes downcast, the girls were swathed in ghostly grey and black hijabs. Their captors said this was evidence that they had “converted to Islam”, but their fear was palpable. They held themselves unnaturally still, as though to move would mean death.

Many of the girls were abducted on April 14 from a school in northern Nigeria, which means they have had less than a month to memorise those Koranic verses, or at least to have the chants beaten into them. More than half of the 276 stolen girls were missing from the terrorists’ video. Among them were Rebeccas and Esthers and Ruths – lovely, strong Biblical names. One girl was led to the front and told to give a Muslim name, not her Christian one. You wondered about her missing sisters and whether they had displeased their captors by refusing to surrender either their name or their faith.

“These girls you occupy yourselves with… we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims,” jeered Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram. He addresses the camera as if he were straight out of Evil Villain school.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 15, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But little attention has been paid to the group's formal Arabic name: Jam'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-da'wa wal-Jihad. That roughly translates as "The Fellowship of the People of the Tradition for Preaching and Holy War." That's a lot less catchy than Boko Haram but significantly more revealing about the group and its mission. Far from being an aberration among Islamist terror groups, as some observers suggest, Boko Haram in its goals and methods is in fact all too representative.

The kidnapping of the schoolgirls throws into bold relief a central part of what the jihadists are about: the oppression of women. Boko Haram sincerely believes that girls are better off enslaved than educated. The terrorists' mission is no different from that of the Taliban assassin who shot and nearly killed 15-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai—as she rode a school bus home in 2012—because she advocated girls' education. As I know from experience, nothing is more anathema to the jihadists than equal and educated women.

How to explain this phenomenon to baffled Westerners, who these days seem more eager to smear the critics of jihadism as "Islamophobes" than to stand up for women's most basic rights? Where are the Muslim college-student organizations denouncing Boko Haram? Where is the outrage during Friday prayers? These girls' lives deserve more than a Twitter hashtag protest.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The morning after Mkeki Ntakai learned of the mass kidnapping by Boko Haram, he fired up his rickety motor scooter and sped down a dirt road in northern Nigeria to find his 16-year-old daughter.

Mr. Ntakai was joined by more than 100 fathers, uncles and big brothers, all seeking several hundred girls taken by force from a boarding school in the remote hamlet of Chibok. The men followed a trail of hair ties and scraps of clothing the girls dropped to lead rescuers. One found his daughter's flip-flop; another retrieved a remnant of a school uniform.

But the kidnappers had too big a head start. Three weeks later, the trail has gone cold for the 223 girls still missing. More than 50 managed to escape in the first few hours, jumping out of the beds of pickup trucks or slipping away while they were supposed to be washing dishes.

The rest are presumed held by the jihadi group, whose leader Abubakar Shekau said he would sell the girls as slaves.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted May 10, 2014 at 9:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Barring a rescue of the abducted women, Jonathan’s standing will deteriorate,” Philippe de Pontet, Africa analyst at Eurasia Group, said in an e-mailed note yesterday. “The political implications are damaging for the Jonathan administration, which has been seen as ineffective in its response.”

Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, which means “western education is a sin” in the Hausa language, has claimed responsibility for the April 14 abduction of 276 girls from their dormitories in Borno state in the northeast. He has threatened to sell the girls in “markets” and marry them off, helping galvanize a global campaign to free them joined by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.

Read it all.

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Posted May 9, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A public affairs analyst, Mr Sola Ojewusi, has blamed the federal and state governments over the kidnap of over two hundred school girls in Chibok, Borno State.

Speaking as a guest on Sunrise Daily, Channels Television’s breakfast programme on Monday, Ojewusi blamed the lack of synergy between the governments and the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

Reacting to a comment credited to the Head of WAEC’s National Office in Nigeria, Charles Eguridu, Ojewusi said “there seems to be a disconnect right from all forces that should have given the security needed to this kind of people involved.

Read it all.

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Posted May 6, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria’s government faced mounting pressure to locate school girls seized three weeks ago in an abduction claimed by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which in a video has threatened to sell them in “markets.”

Gunmen on April 14 raided dormitories in an all-girls secondary school in remote Chibok in northeastern Borno state and drove off in trucks with more than 200 students. About 275,000 people have signed a petition posted on Change.org demanding the government do more to rescue the girls amid demonstrations in the capital, Abuja, commercial hub, Lagos, and cities including New York, London, Atlanta and Washington.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 6, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has released a list of names of the girls Boko Haram terrorists abducted at the Government Girls College, Chibok, in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, northeastern Nigeria, on April 15.

The full list of names may be viewed at the end of the article.

According to CAN, among the girls abducted were 165 Christian girls and 15 Muslim girls.

The Punch reports that figures it obtained from Evangelist Mathew Owojaiye, President of Old Time Revival Hour, and former chairman of Northern States Christian and Elders Forum (NOSCEF), also estimated the number of the abducted girls at about 180.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan met through the night with security, school and state officials and issued a new directive that "everything must be done" to free the 276 girls held captive by Islamic extremists, one of his advisers said Sunday.

It was the first time the president met with all stakeholders, including the principal of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in northeastern Nigeria where the girls and young women were kidnapped in a pre-dawn raid April 15, presidential adviser Reuben Abati told reporters.

Nigerians' outrage at the failure to rescue the students and protest marches last week in major Nigerian cities as well as New York City have spurred to action Jonathan's government, which many see as uncaring of the girls' plight.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted May 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suspected members of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram are believed to be holding 187 girls hostage in north-eastern Nigeria, after kidnapping them from their boarding school in Chibok at night.

Several girls managed to escape and get back to their families during the kidnapping on 14 April, but most are still being held. The Christian Association of Nigeria has called for prayer and fasting for the girls' safe release.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 2, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The BBC's Will Ross speaks to Abba Moro, the Nigerian Interior Minister...

Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMediaTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 1, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Demonstrators are to march through the Nigerian capital Abuja to press for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by militants two weeks ago.

They say they will march to the National Assembly and demand more action from the government, which has been criticised for not doing enough.

The Islamist group Boko Haram has been blamed for abducting the girls from their school in Chibok, Borno state.

Boko Haram has not yet made any response to the accusation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted April 30, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The jihadist group's escalating campaign of terror has claimed 4,000 civilian lives in just four years, and Boko Haram is now linked to the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls. But who are they?

Their name means "western education is forbidden", and while the group has targeted many schools - and schoolchildren - it has also attacked churches, mosques, police stations, government buildings, bus stations and even a UN compound, as well as carrying out assassinations and kidnappings.

The sect claims to be fighting for a strict sharia state in northern Nigeria and is believed to receive guns and money from Salafist al-Qaeda-linked insurgent groups in the Islamic Maghreb and beyond. Boko Haram is estimated to have killed 4,000 people during its four-year-insurgency. The Nigerian military is estimated to have killed almost as many in its efforts to hunt down and kill the insurgents....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 26, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to ensure the release of 230 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, who were abducted by members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Professor Soyinka made the call on a day a coalition of women's rights in Borno expressed their readiness to mobilise thousands of women to embark on a voluntary search and rescue mission into the notorious Sambisa forest, to ensure the release of the abducted students.

Senate President, David Mark, on his part described the abduction of the girls as sacrilegious.

Meanwhile, members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, have threatened to kill the abducted students, should the search to recover them continue.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted April 24, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev David Smith from Oakfield Methodist Church, Rev Kelvin Bolton from Christ Church and Holy Trinity and Father Stephen Maloney from All Saints Church Anfield led the service and read the names of the 96 from the Book of Remembrance.

It took eight poignant minutes.

The stadium then fell silent for a minute in memory of the victims of that terrible day in Sheffield at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureSportsUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Around 100 girls are thought to have been abducted in an attack on a school in north-east Nigeria, officials say.

Gunmen reportedly arrived at the school in Chibok, Borno state, late last night, and ordered the hostel's teenage residents on to lorries.

The attackers are believed to be from the Islamist group, Boko Haram, whose militants frequently target schools.

Read it all.

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Posted April 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One hundred and thirty five civilians have reportedly been killed in North East Nigeria since Wednesday. The killings, which took place in the State of Borno, were carried out in at least three separate attacks.
The attackers are suspected to be from the Islamist Boko Haram movement. Human rights organizations say that at least 1,500 people, half of them civilian, have been killed in the region this year.
Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni spoke to Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos in Plateau State which is also in the North Eastern region of Nigeria. Archbishop Kaigama appeals for help and support in tracing the roots of the Boko Haram group in what could prove a necessary attempt to reveal who is behind the group, who provides its militants with arms, what is its scope beyond wreaking fear, death and destruction…

Read and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gunmen have killed 135 civilians in north east Nigeria since Wednesday, a senior official from the region has told the BBC.

Borno state senator Ahmed Zannah said the killings took place in at least three separate attacks in the state.

The attackers are suspected to be from the Islamist Boko Haram movement.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Will Ross reports on the challenge of fighting Boko Haram, and watches rare footage filmed by the group of a recent attack.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A big-hearted restaurant owner known as "Momma" leads a group in Arlington, Washington called the Soup Ladies who for 10 years have been dishing up meals for first responders. They are feeding hot meals to search and rescue workers at the site of a tragic mudslide roughly 70 miles away in Oso.

Watch the whole thing from NBC.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsDieting/Food/NutritionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 30, 2014 at 3:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Nicholas Orogodo Okoh, believes strongly that the on-going National Conference must not fail, saying it is a great opportunity to resolve the challenges faced by Nigeria. He also speaks on the Boko Haram insurgency which has claimed many lives and affected the Church in the North-east and the controversial anti-gay law.

Excerpts from interview:
There are allegations lately that corruption has crept into Christianity with some men of God accused of sharp practices. How do you react to this?
I think you used an omnibus word ‘sharp practices’. I don’t know what it means because it could mean so many things. Can you be more specific?
Corruption has one definition, unethical practice. That is exactly what I am talking about.

Read it all (from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two women who were abducted by Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria have given a rare account of life as captives of the Islamist militants.

"They asked me if I am Christian or Muslim. I said I am Christian," said 23-year-old Liatu, as she recalled her ordeal in the hands of Boko Haram.

"On the 11th day [in captivity], they brought a man to me and said that he liked me and I should convert to Islam so that he can marry me."

She was stopped at a roadblock set up last year by the Islamist militant group. She said any Muslims employed by the government were killed on the spot, as Boko Haram had earlier warned them to leave their work.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Federal Government yesterday unveiled a new approach to tackling insurgency in the country.

National Security Adviser Mohammad Sambo Dasuki announced the new strategy in Abuja.

He said said the new approach, dubbed "Nigeria's Soft Approach to Countering Terrorism", includes adopting a means of de-radicalising extremists and stopping others from being radicalised.

Other items in the strategy plan are news ways of mobilising the society, strategic public communication and economic revitalisation of the North-East states affected by insurgency.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A group, Nigeria Arise Against Terror (NAAT), has called on the international community to help the federal government in the fight against terrorism.

NAAT stated this in support of the clarion call by the Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, for global effort to urgently end the orgy of terrorism ravaging the North-east region of the country.

In a statement issued by NAAT Publicity Secretary, Malam Abba Aliyu, at the weekend in Abuja, the interim National Coordinator of the group, Hon. Emeka Kanu-Nwapa, said NAAT had reasons to believe that most of the attacks in the region recently suggested that the war has gone beyond the Boko Haram insurgency and has now gone international.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 18, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The groundbreaking agreement to work closely together across the different faith communities was signed by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo on behalf of Pope Francis. The Argentinian bishop is chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences which brought together a broad coalition of anti-trafficking experts for a workshop last November. He was joined by New Zealand Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre here in Rome and representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See. Also on hand to sign the founding declaration was Dr Mahmoud Azab, representing the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, one of the most important centres of Sunni Islam located in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The other key figure who put his signature to the document was Australian businessman Andrew Forrest, founder of a philanthropic organisation called the Walk Free Foundation. Set up after Forrest’s daughter travelled to Nepal where children were being caught up in a trafficking for prostitution ring, its aim is to stamp out this modern form of slavery by galvanizing and supporting action at local, national and international level. Planned actions include urging governments to publicly endorse the establishment of the Global Fund to End Slavery and persuading multi-national businesses to commit to eradicating slavery from their supply chains. By mobilizing the world’s major faith communities, this new Network hopes to bring an end by 2020 to what Pope Francis has dared to call a crime against humanity.

Read and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireSexualityViolence* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis Other FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 18, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis have given their backing to a ground-breaking ecumenical initiative to combat modern slavery and human trafficking.

The agreement to help eradicate an injustice affecting up to 29million people was co-signed on March 17th by the Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Science, Bishop Sanchez Sorondo and Mr Andrew Forrest, the founder of the large international philanthropic anti-slavery organisation from Perth, Western Australia "Walk Free".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireSexualityViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 17, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At 12.30pm last Friday, computer programmer Rowan Laurence, 32, saw a strange sight on Brick Lane — “as is quite normal down there,” he says. The sight in question was a well-dressed man in dark skinny jeans and brown brogues carrying a large wooden crucifix on his back, striding under the railway flyunder in the direction of Aldgate East. As is also quite normal down there, Laurence snapped what he saw and uploaded it to Instagram, captioning the picture “Jesus Lives”.

Two hours later, the good people of St Matthew’s, the lovely 18th-century church 10 minutes’ walk away in Bethnal Green, were in a panic. Their beautiful and historic altar cross, installed in the church after it was bombed on the first day of the Blitz in 1940, was gone. There was no trace of further damage in the church, nor anything else stolen, so the Rev Kevin Scully emailed his parishioners for help. By 4.15pm a local blogger informed of the theft had seen Laurence’s image from Brick Lane and a parishioner sent it to the vicar....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 13, 2014 at 7:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sudanese authorities arrested a pastor in Omdurman as he was preaching on Sunday (Feb. 23) and threatened that he would “face justice” unless he resigned his position, sources said.

Personnel from the Criminal Investigation Department entered the compound of Omdurman Evangelical Church and arrested the Rev. Yahya Abdelrahim Nalu as part of a government plan to take over properties of the church’s denomination, the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC), the sources said. Omdurman is opposite Khartoum on the River Nile.

The Federal Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments seeks to replace Nalu, senior leader at the church and moderator of the SPEC Synod, with a government-appointed committee that favors turning SPEC properties over to the government, they said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After herding the female students into a classroom, Islamist militants from the group Boko Haram fatally burned or shot dozens of male students in an attack late Monday on a state college in northeastern Nigeria, officials said on Tuesday. It was the fourth school assault attributed to the group in less than a year.

The assailants, who have vilified public education as blasphemous, then burned down dormitories and other buildings and shot at anyone trying to escape. None of the women were reported to have been harmed.

Abdulla Bego, a spokesman for the governor of Yobe State, where the attacks took place, said the killers had traveled in nine pickup trucks to the attack site, the Federal Government College Buni Yadi, about 45 miles from the state capital, Damaturu. They staged the ambush when soldiers in a military garrison assigned to protect the school were absent.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Nigerian senator has expressed outrage over the security forces' failure to prevent a second attack on a town by suspected Islamist militants.

Gunmen believed to be from the Boko Haram group killed several residents and burnt down Izghe over the weekend.

A week earlier, 106 people were killed by gunmen in a raid on Izghe.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted February 25, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Indications that the fight against the dreaded Boko Haram is far from being won as the sect leader, Abubakar Shekau, yesterday in a new video threatened to kill more prominent Nigerians.

Shekau, whose acclaimed death is still being trailed by controversy, threatened to kill former Military Head of States, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari.

Other personalities on the list of Boko Haram are Kano State governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his Borno State counterpart, Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and Alhaji Ado Bayero.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted February 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Tuesday and called on him to "pull back government forces" and "exercise maximum restraint" following deadly clashes in Kiev between police and protesters.

Biden "made clear" the United States condemns violence "by any side," but "that the government bears special responsibility to deescalate the situation," according to a summary of the telephone conversation released by the White House.

Read it all and join me in praying for the situation in the Ukraine.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 18, 2014 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the wake of the prescription painkiller epidemic, heroin, much of it Mexican, has wormed its way into unsuspecting communities far from the Southwestern border as a cheaper and often more easily obtained alternative. Ms. Ivy’s was believed to be the seventh fatal heroin overdose in eight months in this town of 13,000 on the St. Croix River near Minneapolis. Two months after her death, and before yet another young Hudson woman died — at a “sober house” — of a heroin overdose in October, nearly 500 townspeople crowded into the First Presbyterian Church for a forum called “Heroin in Hudson: A Community in Crisis.”

Ms. Ivy’s death certificate, recently released, revealed that a mix of drugs was to blame; the police declined to specify the drugs since her death remains under investigation. But “Alysa was a heroin abuser, and her addiction to drugs killed her,” said Patty Schachtner, the St. Croix County medical examiner.

“It’s a tightknit community, and these kids all knew each other,” Ms. Schachtner said of those who overdosed. “They were not what you might expect. They were not the faces of heroin addiction we see on television.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyRural/Town LifeYoung Adults* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 12, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The amount of coverage of Rocco's untimely death -- including that in the Post-Gazette -- was mentioned almost everywhere I went last week. No one called the coverage unseemly exactly, but it was often called excessive. Even PG political cartoonist Rob Rogers, who can reliably be counted on to offer a contrarian view on almost everything, penned a genuinely sentimental cartoon in honor of Rocco.

One of my colleagues, a fellow dog lover, said that the Rocco story struck a chord because whatever one's view of police and their tactics in any given neighborhood, it is difficult to find people who don't like dogs. YouTube probably wouldn't exist if it weren't for our tendency to anthropomorphize our pets' behavior. A cat playing a piano is one of the most viewed videos in history.

Heartwarming videos of dogs going bonkers greeting their masters returning from stints in Iraq and Afghanistan garner millions of hits, "likes" and tweets on social media. It is impossible to witness such deep cross-species friendship in these videos without shedding a tear if you're a dog lover.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and Issues* General InterestAnimals

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Posted February 11, 2014 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While heroin use is still low compared to marijuana, law enforcement officials and drug treatment experts say heroin has made a comeback after a decade-long outbreak of narcotic painkiller abuse. The prescription pain pills, such as OxyContin, are opioids that produce a potent high similar to heroin if abused.

"We're seeing a resurgence of heroin," says Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "It cuts across all demographic groups. We used to think of a heroin as an inner city problem, but it's now a problem we're seeing across the nation among all populations and all ages."

As authorities crack down on clinics that prescribe pain pills by the thousands and pharmaceutical companies change their formulas so the pills are more difficult to abuse, opiate addicts are turning to cheaper and more-plentiful heroin. An 80 mg OxyContin pill can sell for up to $100, while a five-dose-a-day heroin habit costs less than $60, according to federal law enforcement officials.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

World Watch Monitor is curating news coverage of the attacks on [this past] Sunday in north-eastern Nigeria. At least 22 worshippers died at a church in Yola, while 300 homes were burnt down in a village in neighbouring Borno state and at least 52 people were killed. Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out both attacks.

World Watch Monitor is using Storify to collect and organise the widespread news coverage. The Storify report appears below.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 31, 2014 at 3:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Travel keeps getting easier for Cuba's surging Christian community even as practicing their faith keeps getting harder. Case in point: Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, a Cuban Baptist pastor who once appeared on CT's cover and has since become a Bonhoeffer-inspired activist blogger.

Last fall, Lleonart Barroso made an unusually high-profile trip to Washington, D.C., visiting the Congressional Caucus on Religious Freedom and issuing a 30-point challenge to his Communist government. Last weekend, he found his house in central Cuba surrounded by security police, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Security agents quickly seized the pastor as his wife and two children watched from inside the house.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FirePsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCaribbeanCuba* Theology

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Posted January 31, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It all started when the Rev. Rob Dewey, police officer turned Episcopal priest, saw a need for chaplains at police scenes to counsel and support those affected, from first responders to victims and their families.

The need became an unfunded dream that became Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy, a growing nonprofit Judeo-Christian ministry turning 25 years old.

Its chaplains have counseled countless residents who have landed, by choice or by fate, at the doorstep of violent death and life's other most devastating traumas.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersPolice/Fire* South Carolina

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Posted January 26, 2014 at 11:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A crude device exploded near a police station in a Cairo suburb on Friday, security sources said, hours after a car bomb killed at least four people near the Egyptian police headquarters in the center of the Egyptian capital, and a second blast in the city killed a police officer.

A loud blast was heard in the Talbeya neighborhood in Giza, a large district on the outskirts of Cairo, witnesses told Reuters. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The first and deadliest blast of the day was the car bomb at the police headquarters in the heart of Cairo -- a hugely symbolic attack on the eve of the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt

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Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two protesters have been killed in clashes with police in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Prosecutors confirmed they had died from bullet wounds. They are the first fatalities since anti-government protests began in November.

Wednesday's clashes began after police moved in to dismantle a protest camp.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeUkraine

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Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When President Goodluck Jonathan announced new leaders for the defense department, the army, the navy and the air force on Thursday, he did not give a reason. But political consultant Fabian Ihekweme said it appears the president is trying a different approach to the security crisis.

“You may recall a few days ago that a new anti-terrorist outfit has been created out of the Nigerian military. So it is the same new strategy being developed by the president to tackle the Boko Haram menace,” said Hekweme.

Human Rights Watch said 40 people were killed and 50 were injured Tuesday when a car bomb exploded outside a post office in Maiduguri, the original home of the Islamist militant group known as Boko Haram.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMilitary / Armed ForcesViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A car bomb has exploded in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, killing at least 17 people.

The Islamist group Boko Haram said it carried out the attack. A suspect has been arrested, the military says.

The bomb went off near a market, sending up a large plume of smoke. People were seen fleeing the scene covered in blood.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 15, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Charleston Police Department is seeking to set up a family violence squad to combat often hidden crimes that scar families, turn children into tomorrow's criminals and contribute to the state's dubious distinction as the nation's No. 1 place for women killed by men.

The 433-officer police department is applying for a nearly $150,000 federal grand to hire, train and equip a full-time investigator to handle criminal domestic dispute cases as the first step toward what Chief Greg Mullen envisions as establishing a special family violence squad.

Mullen said the plan is to focus exclusively on family violence so police can investigate better, prepare for more effective prosecutions, be more supportive of victims and possibly head off more violence.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 13, 2014 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was the small details which made the latest case of modern day slavery such uncomfortable reading.

Life has never been particularly kind to Craig Kinsella. Suffering from moderate learning difficulties and with an IQ of no more than 85, he has often struggled to keep the frayed edges of his world from unravelling. Even before last summer he bore the emotional scars of his own abusive childhood and of having watched his own two children being taken into care and his marriage break down.

Yet nothing could match the heartache inflicted on him by David and Donna Rooke and their son Jamie.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 9, 2014 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In what looks like another reprisal attack, Boko Haram insurgents yesterday attacked Kayamula village of Konduga local government area of Borno State. They killed nine people, while several residents received gunshot injuries.

Kayamula village is located on the outskirts of Maiduguri metropolis, a distance of about 10 kilometres away from Maiduguri Giwa military barracks where several members of the Boko Haram sect were arrested and detained by security operatives.

LEADERSHIP gathered from reliable sources that the insurgents invaded the village about 2am and opened fire on residents using AK-49 rifles and explosive devices, a situation that led to the killing of nine innocent people and injuring of several others.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 9, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Sumter police officer rescued a suspected DUI driver after he crashed into a pond Friday night.

Sumter police officer Quentin Eley noticed two cars stopped on Second Millpond Bridge with their hazard lights on. After asking a few questions, he learned there was a car in the water and a man still inside.

He knew he had to do something and fast....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* South Carolina

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Posted January 5, 2014 at 5:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speaking exclusively to PREMIUM TIMES at his Abeokuta residence on Wednesday morning, shortly before he headed out to church for Christmas service, the retired primate of the Anglican Church said the gunmen pounced on him and his driver as he was leaving this foundation's office along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

He said the four-men gang blocked his car, and pulled him and his driver out at gun point. One of the bandits then took over the steering wheel while another member pinned down the cleric and his driver at the back.

Two other gang members followed behind in a Toyota Primera car they brought for the operation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 26, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A masked armed man blocked the road ahead before five more emerged from hiding and dragged Mamdouh Eskander Farid from his car.

“They tied my hands and gagged me to stop my screams. Then one hit me on the back of my head with the butt of his rifle and I lost consciousness,” said the 58-year-old Christian worker at a health clinic in Minya province, Upper Egypt. When he came to, he did not know where he was, but Mr Farid’s ordeal had just begun. His captors wanted £180,000 — an inordinate ransom for a man who supports a family of nine on just £120 a month.

Like many other Christians in Egypt, Mr Farid will be spending the festive season in fear — terrified of a spate of kidnappings that poses a new threat to their beleaguered minority, which makes up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s majority Muslim population. Dozens have been abducted and some tortured by armed gangs who have demanded ransoms of between £4,000 and £30,000.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

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Posted December 24, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since the army went on the offensive in the north last May over 1,200 civilians have died in Boko Haram related violence up north. The number of Boko Haram attacks has diminished in the last few months but there is still violence, usually at least one major terrorist attack a week plus a lot of less spectacular violence. The Boko Haram sustain themselves by stealing from locals and because these border areas are so thinly populated there are not enough soldiers to guard all of it all the time.

The army is adapting more quickly to new Boko Haram tactics. For example, the army is now sending troops to guard border villages on those days when many local farmers bring in products for sale at the market place.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 19, 2013 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The UN says more than 1,200 people have been killed in Islamist-related violence in north-east Nigeria since a state of emergency was declared in May.

The UN said the figure related to killings of civilians and the military by the Islamist group Boko Haram in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

It also includes insurgents killed by security forces repelling attacks.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Cybercriminals generally fall into one of three categories, he says. First there are the "Anonymouses of the world" or the hacktivists—people who expose information about a company or government they morally oppose. Second is organized crime. "They're realizing there's far more money in cybercrime than prostitution," Mr. DeCesare says. "You can buy somebody's I.D. for less than $10 online." Third are activities funded by states and other political groups. "Every government has a cyber division," he says, including the U.S. But cyber dangers now stretch beyond state lines to groups such as al Qaeda. "Cybercrime is a lot like that—[the country is] almost not relevant anymore," making it difficult to hold governments accountable.

From a consumer standpoint, Mr. DeCesare knows from personal experience how easy it is to be fooled online. One of his three children once clicked on a site that turned out to be pornographic. "A Selena Gomez site was not what it was advertised to be," he remembers. Mr. DeCesare now cautions his children against going to celebrity-related websites, which are common points of attack. The "bad guys," he says, often build their own sites around popular stars.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FirePsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted December 16, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir says an attempted coup by soldiers loyal to his sacked former deputy Riek Machar has been put down.

It comes after heavy gunfire overnight in the capital, Juba.

Mr Kiir told reporters in the capital that the government was in full control and the culprits being pursued, and announced a night-time curfew.

Several people are reported wounded and hundreds of civilians have sought refuge at the UN mission in Juba.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 16, 2013 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

THE Bishop of Osun North Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Right Reverend A.T Olaoye, at Okuku, has called on the Federal Government to be wary of the military and the police, saying that some of the security agents were thwarting government’s efforts in the fight against insurgency in the country, just as he cautioned the Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, to exercise caution in the implementation of the new education policy for the state.

Olaoye lamented that “it is worrisome to note that we are still battling with the terrorists’ attacks till now”, accusing some officers in the military and the police for allegedly leaking intelligence reports to members of the Islamic group, thereby thwarting the efforts of the federal government in restoring peace in some troubled states in the North.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMilitary / Armed ForcesViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism

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Posted December 16, 2013 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Delhi police...[Wednesday] cane-charged and water cannoned Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi, several other bishops, nuns, pastors as they led a rally in Parliament Street demanding to end the discrimination against dalit Christians.

Several priests and nuns and lay leaders were injured badly in the police action. Christian leaders then courted arrest and were taken to parliament street police station as they mached on defying police orders.

This is the first time after in1997, that Bishops and Church leaders have been arrested while protesting for dalit cause.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndia* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 14, 2013 at 7:57 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

-- The trafficking of human beings is a crime against humanity and must be stopped, Pope Francis told diplomats.

"It's a disgrace" that people are treated "as objects, deceived, raped, often sold many times for different purposes and, in the end, killed or, in any case, physically and mentally damaged, ending up thrown away and abandoned," he said.

The pope's comments came Dec. 12 in a speech to 17 new ambassadors to the Vatican who were presenting their letters of credential to the pope. Among the 17 were ambassadors representing the state of Palestine, Kuwait, Sierra Leone and Iceland.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMenSexualityViolenceWomen* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 13, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An attack by suspected Islamist militants on a Nigerian air force base indicates the Boko Haram group retains its military capacity even after a seven-month offensive by government forces.

“It is a big deal, it shows the capability of Boko Haram is growing,” Murtala Touray, senior Africa analyst at IHS Country Risk in London, said today by phone. “For Boko Haram to plan this attack, it shows they are a force to be reckoned with, they can take on the Nigerian army.”

The pre-dawn raid took place yesterday in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, about 860 kilometers (535 miles) northeast of the capital, Abuja. Two air force personnel were wounded, 24 attackers were killed and three military aircraft and two helicopters were damaged, military spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a statement e-mailed to journalists....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Boko Haram militants launched a daring raid against Nigerian troops on Monday in an attack that indicates the Islamist group is still capable of deadly strikes in spite of a six-month military crackdown.

The onslaught by what witnesses described as “hundreds” of militants against a military barracks and an air force base in Maiduguri, the capital of the north-eastern state of Borno, where Boko Haram is strongest, left scores dead, helicopters burnt and barracks destroyed, according to local news reports.

The authorities responded by imposing a 24-hour curfew across the state, and Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president, summoned senior military officials to a meeting.

Read it all (if necessary, another link may be found there).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Do you know what it is? Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / Youth

0 Comments
Posted December 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mexico’s deadly drugs war is not just a question of supply and demand but a symptom of the rise of Satan, according to some Catholic leaders. With the death toll at about 80,000 and counting, the number of exorcisms is rising.

Father Carlos Triana, an exorcist in Mexico City, said: “We believe that behind all these big and structural evils there is a dark agent and his name is The Demon. As much as we believe that the Devil was behind Adolf Hitler, possessing and directing him, we also believe that he [the Devil] is here behind the drug cartels.”

Exorcisms and spiritual cleansings are common in Mexico, a superstitious country where Catholicism overlaid the religious beliefs of its indigenous inhabitants, including the Aztecs.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMexico* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheodicy

0 Comments
Posted December 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The dangerous "knockout" attacks on strangers in large U.S. cities are leading to arrests, more officers flooding the streets and more warnings for vigilance among an unsuspecting public.

Hoodlums have dubbed the violent practice as the 'Knockout Game,' where teens try to randomly knock out strangers with one punch.

The attacks have raised concerns across the country. Recent attacks have occurred in New York, New Haven, Conn., Washington, D.C. and suburban Philadelphia.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence

0 Comments
Posted November 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Despite this relative calm in urban areas, Boko Haram killings and kidnappings have not diminished. Recent analysis of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Nigeria Security Tracker indicates that they have in fact increased.

Fighting has instead shifted to rural areas. The media reports Boko Haram efforts to cut off access on the road between Kano and Maiduguri by targeting truck drivers, whom they behead using chain saws.

There are also media reports of Boko Haram carrying out forced conversions to Islam in rural areas, with the alternative being death.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMilitary / Armed ForcesViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 21, 2013 at 5:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Police in the central province of Henan arrested the pastor Zhang Shaojie, leader of the Church of Nanle County , and more than 20 Christian staff and faithful. The authorities have not stated the reason for detention, but some sources speaking to ChinaAid argue that the pastor has "angered" the authorities for the defense of his faithful against the abuses committed by Communist officials.

Zhang is part of the Three-Self Movement, the "official" Protestant Church built by Mao Zedong in the early years of his government.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 21, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Maiduguri, the prisoner tells journalists that foreign fighters from three neighboring countries were among the insurgents in the Islamist rebellion, fueling widespread fears of the violence spreading beyond Nigeria.

"We do have members of the group from Chad, Cameroon and Niger who actively participate in most of our attacks," he says.

Boko Haram boasts of links to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, adding to the fears of a nation already prone to deadly explosions of tribal and sectarian violence.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMilitary / Armed ForcesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 20, 2013 at 7:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the gloom of a hilltop cave in Nigeria where she was held captive, Hajja had a knife pressed to her throat by a man who gave her a choice - convert to Islam or die.

Two gunmen from Boko Haram had seized the Christian teenager in July as she picked corn near her village in the Gwoza hills, a remote part of northeastern Nigeria where a six-month-old government offensive is struggling to contain an insurgency by the al Qaeda-linked Islamist group.

In a new development, Boko Haram is abducting Christian women whom it converts to Islam on pain of death and then forces into "marriage" with fighters - a tactic that recalls Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army in the jungles of Uganda.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMilitary / Armed ForcesReligion & CultureViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here in Africa’s most populous country, where an insurgency by the brutal Islamist group Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people in recent months, it is easy to despair over sectarian strife between Muslims and Christians – and between Muslims.

Yes, easy to despair, were it not for the remarkable example set by an imam and pastor in Nigeria, an oil-producing country on the West African coast whose population is evenly split between Muslims and Christians. The two men are former militia leaders whose forces directly fought each other, yet they reconciled after each was moved by a sermon on forgiveness – one preached in a mosque, and one in a church. They have been spreading the practice of tolerance and reconciliation for nearly two decades since forming the Interfaith Mediation Center here in Kaduna, in northern Nigeria, where I train staff in dialogue techniques that bridge divides of ethnicity and religion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

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Posted November 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop of Enugu North Diocese, Anglican Communion, Rt Rev Sosthenes Eze has warned that Nigeria may be thrown into anarchy leading to disintegration if nothing is done now to stem the many crises the country is facing.

Bishop Eze who gave this warning yesterday during the first session of the Second Synod of the Diocese which held at St. Luke’sAnglican Church, Okpatu, Enugu North decried the awkward state of the nation.

He said that unless Christians and indeed all Nigerians turn to seek the face of God, the nation would surely slide into anarchy that would tear it apart.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Veteran Chris Delplato wanted to be a firefighter for a long time.

"Ever since I was a little kid — [toy] truck and everything," Delplato says. But he only just got his dream job, after first joining the Navy and cruising around the Persian Gulf.

He was hired by New Jersey's North Hudson Fire Department, which brought on 43 veterans this year.

Read or listen to it all and also enjoy all 9 pictures.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMilitary / Armed ForcesPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

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Posted November 11, 2013 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Federal grants of $7 million awarded to this city were meant largely to help thwart terror attacks at its bustling port. But instead, the money is going to a police initiative that will collect and analyze reams of surveillance data from around town — from gunshot-detection sensors in the barrios of East Oakland to license plate readers mounted on police cars patrolling the city’s upscale hills.

The new system, scheduled to begin next summer, is the latest example of how cities are compiling and processing large amounts of information, known as big data, for routine law enforcement. And the system underscores how technology has enabled the tracking of people in many aspects of life.

The police can monitor a fire hose of social media posts to look for evidence of criminal activities; transportation agencies can track commuters’ toll payments when drivers use an electronic pass; and the National Security Agency, as news reports this summer revealed, scooped up telephone records of millions of cellphone customers in the United States.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FirePsychologyScience & TechnologyUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 14, 2013 at 7:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[LUCKY] SEVERSON: Bobby Dellelo knows what it’s like. He was in solitary for over five years.

BOBBY DELLELO (Former Solitary Prisoner): It was a horror show. You go insane in there. You go crazy. You hear guys saying, “Yeah, ho.” “No, what?” The ventilator called his name. The thing that really scared me in there is I was watching my humanity and compassion slipping out of my grasp.

SEVERSON: John Rosser is chairman of the Washington, DC Corrections Officers Union. He thinks, as do many prison guards nationwide, that solitary is getting a bad rap. It’s necessary to preserve the safety of inmates and guards within the prison.

SGT. JOHN ROSSER (DC Corrections Officers Chairman): I do not see how you could run a prison system at all without some type of segregation. And I don’t prefer to use the term...

SEVERSON: ...solitary?

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FirePrison/Prison MinistryPsychologyViolence* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he was ‘moved to tears’ to welcome recently-released Nigerian archbishop Ignatius Kattey and his wife, Mrs Beatrice Kattey, to Lambeth Palace yesterday.

The Most Revd Ignatius Kattey, who is Dean and Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province, and Mrs Kattey were kidnapped on 6 September near their residence in the southern city of Port Harcourt. Mrs Kattey was released a few hours later, but Archbishop Kattey was held for more than a week.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted October 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Days after the attack, a man who manages a clothing store in the Westgate Mall sorts through damaged shoes, shirts and ties. He's visibly shaken from his trip back into the place he escaped under gunfire. Much of the damaged clothing is from bullet holes.

"These are all waste now," he says. "Even it if it is small hole, it is waste." He says there's no insurance for a terrorist attack, and some of the most expensive suits and shoes are missing.

Other shop owners reported Rolex watches, diamond jewelry and mobile phones looted, allegedly by Kenyan soldiers during the fight against the terrorists. The allegations have shaken people in Nairobi, who just a week ago were hailing the soldiers as heroes.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaKenya* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has sent a message of support to an anti-human trafficking conference organised by the Christian organisation Hope for Justice.

In a message sent to the Hope Conference 2013, which took place last Friday and Saturday in Leicester, Archbishop Justin said that trafficking was 'one of the greatest scandals and tragedies of our age'. He prayed that the conference 'might help to transform awareness, as the world urgently needs to wake up to the scale of human trafficking that is modern day slavery’.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireSexualityViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 2, 2013 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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