Why was Ronald Thomas Smith II, an American teaching at Benghazi's International School, shot to death last Thursday in Libya, even as he "was looking forward to his first Christmas in the United States with his wife and toddler son"?
Most Western media and analysts dismiss the killing as a random act of violence incited by a recent al-Qaeda video.
However, by connecting the dots and looking at precedence, it appears that Smith's Christianity, specifically his talking about it among Muslims, was the motive behind the slaying. more >>
North Korean media reported Thursday that the "worse than a dog" uncle of Kim Jong Un has been executed, describing him as a traitor who tried to overthrow the oppressive government.
State media announced Thursday that the leader's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who had previously been considered a very powerful figure in North Korean government, was executed after "attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state." The report announcing Jang's death called him a "traitor to the nation," "worse than a dog" and "despicable human scum."
Earlier this week, state media had announced that Jang had been removed from his position as No. 2 in the country after he allegedly participated in criminal acts including corruption, gambling, womanizing, and drug use while visiting a foreign country. He was also accused of abusing his power. Jang was married to Kim's aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, the younger sister of previous leader Kim Jong Il. more >>
This week, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official disarmed a potentially dangerous sock monkey at the St. Louis, Mo., airport.
"You're kidding me, right?" Phyllis May, a woman who makes sock dolls in Redmond, Wash., asked the TSA agent who wanted to take the gun, the Huffington Post reported. May made the mistake of leaving her hand-made dolls and sewing supplies in her carry-on bag.
When the bag went through the screening process and was not given back quickly, May worried. When a TSA agent held up the bag, asking whose it was, May was thunderstruck. "I realized oh, my God, this is my bag," she told Idaho news station KTVB. more >>
In the United States of America, whenever a cause wants to garner national awareness, it often attempts to do so by staging an event in Washington, DC.
Indeed, one of the many hazards of driving in the District of Columbia is simply never knowing when a road will be blocked off so that a large group of people with signs, flags, and chants can cross.
Although plenty of protests, rallies, and demonstrations have seen immense success, getting a certain number of people at a given place for a given event is never guaranteed. more >>
The "Joint Plan of Action" signed with Iran by the so-called P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S.) on Nov. 24 in Geneva caused Shiite Arabs to celebrate, Sunni Arabs to worry, and Saudis to panic. The Saudi response will have far-reaching and unpredictable consequences.
As Iran's chief negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, brought home a deal worth about US $23 billion to Iran, Arab Shiites fell into step with Tehran. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq expressed his "full support for this step." President Bashar al-Assad of Syria welcomed the agreement as "the best path for securing peace and stability." Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri of Lebanon called it the "deal of the century." And Hezbollah considered the agreement a "great victory for Iran."
Among Sunni Arabic-speakers, in contrast, responses ranged from politely supportive to displeased to alarmed. Perhaps most enthusiastic was the Egyptian governmental newspaper Al-Ahram, which called the deal "historic." Most states stayed mum. Saudis expressed the most worry. Yes, the government cabinet officially stated that "If there is goodwill, then this agreement could be an initial step toward reaching a comprehensive solution to Iran's nuclear program," but note the skepticism conveyed in the first four words. more >>
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins led seven members of Congress known for their strong ties to evangelical Christians on a nine-day swing through Israel's Holy Land earlier this month, touring the country's most important religious sites and meeting with top-level Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The trip, sponsored by the U.S. Israel Education Association with grants from several Christian and Jewish organizations, included Congressmen Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Steve Scalise (R-La.).
The delegation spent the majority of their time behind what is known as the "green line," or the areas near Samaria that mark the line between Israel territories captured during the Six-Day War in 1967. While experiencing the Holy Sites helped the Congressmen gain an appreciation for Israel, Perkins noted the most important aspect of the trip was time spent with Netanyahu and other government officials and their concern for the recent agreement the Obama administration reached with Iran over the country's nuclear arsenal. more >>