A group of masked gunmen took by force 13 Egyptian Coptic Christians from a housing complex in Sirte, Libya, on Saturday, reports have said. The attacks signal a rising wave of religious extremism against Christians, who've faced a number of similar attacks in the past few weeks in the Islamic country.
"Christians in Libya are in extreme danger from Islamic extremists who have shown they are actively hunting them down. It is imperative that the Egyptian government work with relevant authorities to provide for the security and safety of its citizens who are currently in Libya and provide a way for them to safely exit the country as they attempt to flee the violence," said Todd Daniels, International Christian Concern regional manager for the Middle East.
"We mourn together with the families affected by these actions, urge the government to quickly act to protect Christians, and pray for the safe return of those who have been kidnapped today in Libya." more >>
Chick-fil-A, America's leading fast-food chicken restaurant, warned this week that the payment information for customers at some of its restaurants might've been breached.
"Chick-fil-A recently received reports of potential unusual activity involving payment cards used at a few of our restaurants. We take our obligation to protect customer information seriously, and we are working with leading IT security firms, law enforcement and our payment industry contacts to determine all of the facts," the company said in a statement posted on its website.
"We want to assure our customers we are working hard to investigate these events and will share additional facts as we are able to do so. If the investigation reveals that a breach has occurred, customers will not be liable for any fraudulent charges to their accounts — any fraudulent charges will be the responsibility of either Chick-fil-A or the bank that issued the card. If our customers are impacted, we will arrange for free identity protection services, including credit monitoring," the statement further noted. more >>
As the Episcopal Church of Maryland reels over last Saturday's fatal hit-and-run accident involving their second-highest ranking official, Heather Cook, 58, some Episcopalians say she should've never been promoted so soon after her 2010 DUI, while others say they weren't informed about her scandalous brush with the law before her election last spring.
Cook, who was elected as the first female bishop of the Episcopal Church of Maryland in May, hit 41-year-old married father of two, Thomas Palermo, as he cycled on a Baltimore roadway Saturday afternoon then fled the scene as he lay dying. She only returned to see what she had done after other cyclists reportedly chased her down.
An investigation into her background by several media outlets this week highlighted details of a shocking 2010 DUI where she was reportedly so drunk she couldn't complete a sobriety test. more >>
A reported drop in low-level policing by the NYPD has led to a 66 percent decline in arrests, according to the New York Post.
Police officers concerned about their safety following the double murder of two police officers in Brooklyn on Dec. 20, 2014, have allegedly stopped writing citations and making arrests for misdemeanor crimes.
Since the double homicide, a number of officers have reportedly abandoned enforcement of low-level offenses, which according to the New York Post, has led to a 66 percent drop in arrests for the week starting Dec. 22, 2014, compared to that of 2013. more >>
Actor Michael Keaton has said in an interview that his upcoming movie "Spotlight," about the Catholic sex abuse scandal in Massachusetts, threatened to make him "angry and depressed" due to the dark subject matter. Keaton also revealed that he grew up going to Roman Catholic school, and said that it had a positive impact on his life and helped shape him as a person.
"I liked going to Catholic school. Not as [expletive] as some people think. My experience was fine. It was classic knuckle-rapping and stand in the corner and corporal punishment. But it was just sort of what it was. I didn't come away scarred for life," Keaton told Prestige Hong Kong magazine in an interview on Thursday.
"It kind of builds who you are. I was an altar boy. I liked being an altar boy. Me and my buddies got to go and serve mass and go to school. I didn't go to church all the time just 'cause I was an antsy kid. It was a good experience for me. It probably does shape who you are and what you believe in." more >>
Outgoing Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley commuted the death sentences of four prisoners, stating that the deaths would not serve the "good of the people."
O'Malley decided to commute the sentences of the final four prisoners on death row: Heath William Burch, Vernon Lee Evans Jr., Anthony Grandison Sr., and Jody Lee Miles. They'll remain at the North Branch Correctional Institution for the rest of their lives, as O'Malley repealed the death penalty throughout the state.
"The question at hand is whether any public good is served by allowing these essentially un-executable sentences to stand," O'Malley said in a statement. "In my judgment, leaving these death sentences in place does not serve the public good of the people of Maryland — present or future." more >>