On Capitol Hill This Week
Volume XV, Number 13b
* * * INTERNATIONAL ISSUES * * *
May 19 - 23, 2008
"You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth. " (Psalm 60:4,5 NKJV)
|On Capitol Hill This Week; Vol. XV, No. 13b|
- HOMELAND SECURITY HOSTS CONFERENCE FOR CHURCHES
- U.S. WARNS TOURISTS OF "SMALL-UNIT COMBAT" AT MEXICO BORDER
- CHINA ON ALERT AGAINST QUAKE RADIATION LEAKS
- CHINA MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR QUAKE VICTIMS
- U.S. TO SEND NORTH KOREA 500,000 TONS OF FOOD AID
- BUSH TELLS KNESSET: U.S. "STANDS BY ISRAEL IN WAR ON TERROR"
- BIN LADEN DECLARES: "HOLY WAR UNTIL PALESTINE IS LIBERATED"
- BUSH TO ARAB WORLD: "FREEDOM AND PEACE WITHIN YOUR GRASP"
- IRANIAN MISSILE HITS ASHKELON MALL; CHILDREN ARE WOUNDED
- RUSSIA: IRAN MUST BE PREVENTED FROM GETTING NUCLEAR BOMB
1. HOMELAND SECURITY HOSTS CONFERENCE FOR CHURCHES
The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI), joined by U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, todayconvened a Compassion in Action Roundtable titled, "Partnerships in Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery: The Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Building Resilient Communities." Hosted by OFBCI Director Jay Hein, the Roundtable will explore the critical and increasing role of faith-based and community organizations across America in disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts. Additionally, the event will spotlight innovative policies and technologies enabling public- private partnerships to help build resilient communities. (Christian Newswire) Read more.
· As the government works with the faith-based community to design strategies to respond to an attack on our homeland, pray for all in authority, that they might have wisdom in planning. God is in control; seek Him for your own preparedness strategies for you and your loved ones, as well.
· "Jesus said, "My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27)
2. U.S. WARNS TOURISTS OF "SMALL-UNIT COMBAT" AT MEXICO BORDER
The U.S. State Department has issued an alert, warning travelers that the "equivalent to military small- unit combat" is taking place across the southern U.S. border in Mexico and that Americans are being kidnapped and murdered there. "Recent Mexican army and police force conflicts with heavily-armed narcotics cartels have escalated to levels equivalent to military small-unit combat and have included use of machine guns and fragmentation grenades," said the State Department alert. "Confrontations have taken place in numerous towns and cities in northern Mexico, including Tijuana in the Mexican state of Baja California, and Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez in the state of Chihuahua. The situation in northern Mexico remains very fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements there cannot be predicted." The State Department particularly urged that Americans be wary when traveling in that part of Mexico closest to the United States. "U.S. citizens are urged to be especially alert to safety and security concerns when visiting the border region," said the alert.
Murder and kidnapping of Americans has become routine in Tijuana, which sits just across the border from San Diego, California, according to the State Department, and sometimes heavily armed attackers wear the uniforms of the Mexican police or military. "Dozens of U.S. citizens were kidnapped and/or murdered in Tijuana in 2007," says the alert. "Public shootouts have occurred during daylight hours near shopping areas. Criminals are armed with a wide array of sophisticated weapons. In some cases, assailants have worn full or partial police or military uniforms and have used vehicles that resemble police vehicles." (CNSNews.com)
· Father, this news is distressing, but at the same time it should cause us to think about the relationship we have with Mexico and the "open border." First LORD, we want to pray for those who may innocently find themselves in the "wrong place at the wrong time"; we ask for their safety. Second LORD, we pray for those in the business of drugs - whether buying or selling. From this report, it looks as though they are taking each other out; we do ask though, that this drug business be stopped. The bottom line of this is that drugs are but another god - a Baal - placed above You and we ask for You to intervene. . .
· "You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did at Baal Peor. The LORD your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, but all of you who held fast to the LORD your God are still alive today." (Deuteronomy 4:3-4)
3. CHINA ON ALERT AGAINST QUAKE RADIATION LEAKS
China is on precautionary alert against possible radiation leaks from the deadliest earthquake to hit the country in three decades, according to government website seen on Friday. The disaster area is home to China's chief nuclear weapons research lab in Mianyang, as well as several secretive atomic sites, but no nuclear power stations. Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian convened an emergency meeting late on Monday, hours after the 7.9 magnitude tremor rocked the southwestern province of Sichuan, and activated the lowest tier of a four-stage system of ranking radiation leaks, the ministry said on its website (www.zhb.gov.cn). Nuclear scientists were evacuated from the area as a precaution, a source with knowledge of the evacuation said. "Everyone was evacuated. No one was left," the source, who requested anonymity, told Reuters. (Reuters)
· Father, this shows You have power over all things - even nuclear power! All things are in and under Your control, and in that we can take comfort. We are in awe of this revelation. At the same time, LORD, we pray that You would have mercy and compassion on the people of China during this devastation. We ask, LORD that nuclear leaks would not be another thing to compound this already tragic situation.
· "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." (Exodus 33:19)
4. CHINA MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR QUAKE VICTIMS
China stood still Monday in mourning over tens of thousands of earthquake victims, and the government appealed for more international aid to cope with the country's deadliest disaster in a generation. Construction workers, shopkeepers and bureaucrats across the bustling nation of 1.3 billion people paused for three minutes at 2:28 p.m. - exactly one week after the magnitude 7.9 quake hit central China. Air-raid sirens and the horns of cars and buses sounded in memory of the dead.
The confirmed death toll from the May 12 quake rose to 34,073, the State Council, China's Cabinet, said Monday. Another 9,500 remained buried in Sichuan and more than 29,000 were missing, the provincial government said, according to Xinhua. Officials have said they expect the final death toll to exceed 50,000, with more than 245,000 reported as injured. Quake- related losses to companies totaled $9.5 billion, Deputy Industry Minister Xi Guohua said. (AP)
· As China mourns its dead, lift up this nation in prayer. May our Lord use this tragedy to soften the hearts of the Chinese, that they might bow their knee to a power greater than themselves -- the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom their salvation is assured.
· "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
5. U.S. TO SEND NORTH KOREA 500,000 TONS OF FOOD AID
The Bush administration said yesterday it will restart food aid to North Korea and provide it with more than 500,000 tons of food -- the largest one-year amount since 1999. U.S. officials said aid will begin to flow for the first time since 2005 because they reached a breakthrough with Pyongyang on oversight of how the food would be distributed, including random inspections and allowing Korean-speaking aid workers into the country.
Officials said the deal was unrelated to a separate effort to implement North Korea's promise to give up its nuclear weapons, but both the nuclear deal and the food agreement were reached after sustained diplomacy by U.S. officials. Talks on the food aid began last October at the administration's request, about the same time the United States and its negotiating partners achieved a breakthrough on the nuclear disarmament talks. Officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development made three trips to Pyongyang in the last eight months to achieve the deal.
"We don't see any connection," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "We're doing this because America is a compassionate nation and the United States and the American people are people who reach out to those in need." (Washington Post)
· Keep a watchful eye, in prayer, over all news coming out of North Korea these days. Praise God for the breakthrough in the talks over nuclear disarmament; and praise God that we are a nation that still shows compassion to our enemies. May our compassion lead each one in that nation -- from its leaders to the common man -- to the knowledge of our Savior. Pray.
· "If yoir enemy is hungry, feed him . . ." (Rom. 12:20) "Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." (Luke 6:28)
6. BUSH TELLS KNESSET: U.S. "STANDS BY ISRAEL IN WAR ON TERROR"
"I'm honored to be here . . . America is proud to be Israel's closest ally and best friend in the world; our alliance is unbreakable," visiting US President George W. Bush told a special Knesset session held in his honor May 15. "You have worked tirelessly for peace and freedom. When Americans look at Israel we see a pioneering spirit, talent and determination of a free people refusing to let any obstacle stand in the way of their destiny," Bush said.
Bush went on to criticize the deadly tactics of extremist groups and denounced anti-Semitism, especially by those who want to wipe the nation "off the map." "We believe that religious liberty is fundamental to civilized society, so we condemn anti-Semitism in all forms, whether by those who openly question Israel's right to exist, or by others who quietly excuse them," he said.
Bush pledged that the United States has an unbreakable bond with Israel. "Some people suggest that if the US would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away," the US president said in his prepared address. "This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of our enemies, and America rejects it utterly. Israel's population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you."
During the historic address Bush also referred to the Iranian threat, saying that allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons would be an "unforgivable betrayal of future generations." "Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon," the American leader said. "America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions." Bush continued to say that "in 60 years Israel will be celebrating its 120th Independence Day, the Palestinians will have their own state . . . Iran and Syria will be peaceful nations, Hamas, Al-Qaeda and Hizbullah will be defeated, the Middle East will be a peaceful region and Israel and its neighbors will be best of friends." (Ynet News; Reported by: Bridges for Peace)
· Praise God for the very positive declaration of support for Israel made by President Bush.
· "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." (Genesis 12:3)
7. BIN LADEN DECLARES: "HOLY WAR UNTIL PALESTINE IS LIBERATED"
Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden said in a new audio message released Friday that the terrorist organization will continue its holy war against Israel and its allies until it liberates Palestine. The terrorist leader's third message this year came as US President George W. Bush was wrapping up his visit to Israel to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state.
Bin Laden said the fight for the Palestinian cause was the most important factor driving al-Qaida's war with the West and fueled 19 Muslims to carry out the suicide attacks against the US on September 11. "To Western nations this speech is to understand the core reason of the war between our civilization and your civilizations. I mean the Palestinian cause," said bin Laden in the close to 10 minute message. "The Palestinian cause is the major issue for my (Islamic) nation. It was an important element in fueling me from the beginning and the 19 others with a great motive to fight for those subjected to injustice and the oppressed," added bin Laden.
The authenticity of the message could not be verified, but it was posted on a Web site commonly used by al- Qaida and the voice resembled the one in past bin Laden audiotapes. "Sixty years ago, the Israeli state didn't exist. Instead, it was established on the land of Palestine raped by force," said bin Laden. "Israelis are occupying invaders whom we should fight. We will continue our struggle against the Israelis and their allies," said bin Laden. "We are not going to give up an inch of the land of Palestine."
Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel dismissed bin Laden's new message. "We do not relate or pay attention to the words of this terrorist lunatic," he said. "The time has come for him to be apprehended and pay for his crimes." (AP, Jerusalem Post)
· Father, Your Word says it all - who is the foolish one? It is not those that are allies of Israel, but he who calls himself her enemy. It was YOU who set her boundaries, and no one else. "Remember how the enemy has mocked you, O LORD, how foolish people have reviled your name." (Psalm 74:17)
· "How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. And who is like your people Israel-the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, O LORD, have become their God." (2 Samuel 7:22-24)
8. BUSH TO ARAB WORLD: "FREEDOM AND PEACE WITHIN YOUR GRASP"
President Bush lectured the Arab world Sunday about everything from political repression to the denial of women's rights but ran into Palestinian complaints he is favoring Israel in stalled Mideast peace talks. "Freedom and peace are within your grasp," Bush said despite scant signs of progress.
Winding up a five-day trip to the region, Bush took a strikingly tougher tone with Arab nations than he did with Israel in a speech Thursday to the Knesset. Israel received effusive praise from the president while Arab nations heard a litany of U.S. criticisms mixed with some compliments. "Too often in the Middle East, politics has consisted of one leader in power and the opposition in jail," Bush said in a speech to 1,500 global policymakers and business leaders.
"America is deeply concerned about the plight of political prisoners in this region, as well as democratic activists who are intimidated or repressed, newspapers and civil society organizations that are shut down and dissidents whose voices are stifled," Bush said. "I call on all nations in this region to release their prisoners of conscience, open up their political debate, and trust their people to chart their future," Bush said.
Scattered applause followed, with barely a ripple of reaction later to his declaration than Iran must not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.
Bush headed back to Washington with little to show for the trip. Egypt's leader questioned his seriousness about peacemaking and there was not enough progress in the peace talks to warrant a three-way meeting of Bush with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, did not conceal his disappointment over Bush's remarks to the Israeli parliament. The speech barely mentioned Palestinian hopes.
The heart of Bush's speech was a warning that Mideast nations lag behind the developing world and cannot count on their oil wealth forever. Bush urged countries to make their economies more diverse, open to free trade, with lower taxes and protection for intellectual property rights. Also, he urged an expansion of women's rights as "a matter of morality and of basic math. No nation that cuts off half its population from opportunities will be as productive or prosperous as it could be. Women are a formidable force, as I have seen in my own family and my own administration." (FOXNews.com)
· Praise the Lord for President Bush's ability and determination to chastise the Arab world for its shortcomings that prevent growth in economics and socialization. Bush did not make the Arab world happy, but then he has nothing to lose politically. He said what Americans know needed to be expressed. Pray that Bush' points will sink deep into the Arab world conscience, replacing Islamic traditions and thinking with ideas that allow the Arab world to enter the 21st century. Now, more than ever, President Bush needs our prayers for divine protection.
· "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." (Proverbs 27:6)
· Praise the Lord, too, that the planned peace talks never took place. And praise God for the President's safety throughout this trip. Praise God.
· "Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us." (Isaiah 8:10)
9. IRANIAN MISSILE HITS ASHKELON MALL; CHILDREN ARE WOUNDED
Hours after President George W. Bush arrived in Israel, Iranian Grad missiles fell on an Ashkelon mall, trapping people under rubble. A spokeswoman at the Barzilai Hospital said a mother and her two-and-a-half- year-old daughter, as well as a doctor, were seriously injured. The three were in a local Kupat Holim clinic when the missile hit.
According to Magen David Adom officials at the site, over 83 people were transferred to hospital, 19 suffered light to moderate wounds and the rest were treated for shock. In the evening the mother and daughter were transferred to the Tel Hashomer Hospital. The missiles penetrated the roof of the mall and the top two floors.
The Islamic Jihad first claimed responsibility for the attack, but later the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine also claimed involvement.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and informed her about the rocket attack that occurred in Ashkelon. He offered to take Rice to the scene of the rocket attack. The defense minister also announced that he will limit his time with US President George W. Bush in order to deal with [the] security situation.
Addressing the conference in Jerusalem on the evening of May 14, Bush declared that one must remain strong and decisive in the face of those seeking to kill innocent people for political gain. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the rocket attack in Ashkelon is unacceptable and that Israel is committed to stopping rocket attacks on Israel. President Shimon Peres wished the wounded a speedy recovery and declared that Israel will not allow terror to destroy the country. Hours after the attack, Israel lodged a complaint with the United Nations Security Council. (Reported by: Bridges for Peace)
· Pray that Israel will find the way to bring a stop to the incessant bombing from Gaza.
· "But the LORD your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies." (2 Kings 17:39)
10. RUSSIA: IRAN MUST BE PREVENTED FROM GETTING NUCLEAR BOMB
In a speech to the "Facing Tomorrow" conference in Jerusalem, Sergey Mironov, chairman of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's parliament, has addressed the issue of the Iranian nuclear program. "If we deduce that Iran is refusing the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Russia will act appropriately. A nuclear Iran will be a threat to global peace. Russia will not allow for that to happen."
Mironov added, "Obviously Russia opposes a nuclear Iran, an Iranian nuclear program is only possible for the purposes of civilian use. Iran must be prevented from obtaining a nuclear weapon, as that would be a threat to civilization. To this end, the Iranian leadership must be pressed to the wall and its steps must be closely monitored."
Meanwhile, Iran's President Ahmadinejad again predicted Israel's demise. "The Zionist regime is dying," said Ahmadinejad during a speech in northern Iran. "The criminals assume that by holding celebrations, they can save the sinister Zionist regime from death and annihilation." Earlier this week, the Slovenian EU presidency had condemned Ahmadinejad for his anti-Israel statements in which he called Israel "a stinking corpse." Tehran's Foreign Ministry rebuked the Slovenian statement: "The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns this irresponsible statement and expresses regret over the fact that the current EU presidency is under the influence of the Zionist regime and its lobby in Europe." (By Staff, World Jewish Congress, May 15, 2008) [Reported by: Bridges for Peace]
· Pray that Ahmadinejad will never get the opportunity to unleash his hatred of Israel in a destructive attack.
· "So it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said: 'Rise up, O LORD! Let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You.'" (Numbers 10:35)
This alert will not be published next weekend, in honor of the Memorial Day holiday. Congress will also go into recess on Friday evening, resuming its business on Monday evening, June 2.
The next edition of "On Capitol Hill This Week" will be published on Monday, June 2.
|This Week, Worship Our Lord As . . .|
This Week, Worship Our Lord As . . .
TRUE GOD (Eh-lo-heem Eh-met)
"But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King. (Jer. 10:10)
Thank You that You revealed Yourself to me -- the True God. I desire no other gods, but You, the True God. As all men search for truth, how thankful I am to know You.
(Taken from: Intimate Moments with the Hebrew Names of God, by Barri Cae Malin and Shmuel Wolkenfeld; Bridge-Logos Publishers; Gainesville, FL, 32614. ISBN: 0-88270-801-5)