The Colorado theatre shooting suspect James Holmes made his first court appearance yesterday. District Attorney Carol Chambers said the complex case will require the investigation to continue right up to the trial, which could begin within a year. A final decision on whether to seek the death penalty will be made within 60 days of the suspect's arraignment. Formal charges against 24 year old James Holmes are scheduled for Monday July 30th. Most disturbing about the case is that those who knew Holmes describe him as quiet, intelligent and seemingly well adjusted. He grew up in an affluent San Diego suburb, played soccer and obtained his honors degree at the University of Colorado in Neuroscience. But a former classmate from the University of Colorado suggested another cause for the killings, describing Holmes as someone who had lost touch with reality after becoming 'obsessed' with video games. Twelve people died in the shooting rampage and 58 were injured. At least five remain in critical condition. The apartment of Holmes was booby-trapped with explosives and chemical devices.
Meanwhile…. Mourners in the city of Aurora, Colorado linked arms in solidarity, surrounding a community vigil. Protesters from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church tweeted they planned to attend the event; so the human chain was an attempt to shield the vigil participants.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church are known to picket events, military funerals and civilian—even those including children -- to protest against what they deem…"sin".
An onslaught of bombings and shootings killed more than 103 people across Iraq yesterday, making it the deadliest day so far this year. The attacks followed a declaration of a new offensive by the leader of al-Qaeda, who also warned that the militant group is reasserting its might since the departure of US troops in December.
As fighting goes on, Christians in Damascus and Aleppo are terrified of being targeted …according to Senior Bishop Antoine Audo. He said they are worried about a repeat of the catastrophe that happened in Homs back in the spring when the Christian quarter came under fire, leading to the mass exodus of more than 120-thousand people. Christians and Muslim sympathizers with the al Assad regime continue to be in grave danger.
European Union foreign ministers arrived in Brussels yesterday for a meeting to discuss Syria as well as other international issues; like the security of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction in Syria. The Arab League says it will offer Syria's president "a safe exit" from the country if he resigns and leaves the country.
The suicide bus bombing last Wednesday that killed six people, five of them Israelis, in a Bulgarian seaside resort will not stop Israelis from traveling wherever they wish, Israel's Tourism Minister said. However, since the attack, Bulgarian media have reported that thousands of Israelis have cancelled bookings or cut short their trips. Israel said the attack was connected to Iran. Israeli President Shimon Peres says Iran has launched an open war against Israel….
Four global church bodies have issued a statement calling upon government leaders to clamp down on arms. A four-week conference got underway earlier in the month on the UN Arms Trade Treaty….intended to regulate the international arms trade and clamp down on the transfer of weapons to criminal and terrorist groups. The World Evangelical Alliance, World Council of Churches, Pax Christi International and Caritas warned of the human toll of illegal arms sales. The Churches also noted that there is no international regulation, so people are not being protected under the treaty the way they should be.
320 volunteers from around the globe descended on the north-eastern corner of Greece. They are part of Operation Joshua, a Hellenic Ministries project to distribute modern Greek New Testaments, both audio and printed, to 125,000 households. Jonathan Macris, President of Hellenic Ministries identified with Gideon's army, saying his ministry is trusting that this region of Greece will never be the same again. They're also distributing 17,000 Turkish Bible packs to the Islamic villages on the Turkish border.
IN SPORTS NEWS…..
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has announced a $60 million fine against Penn State University as part of the fallout from the child sex abuse scandal involving former coach Jerry Sandusky. The university also is banned from bowl games for four years. The NCAA also vacated all of Penn State's football wins from 1998 to 2011, stripping the late Joe Paterno of the title of being the coach with the most wins in major college football history. NCAA president Mark Emmert had this to say…..SOT 26 seconds