A storm blamed for at least 41 deaths in six states spread into the Northeast on Monday, coating trees, power lines and roads with a shell of ice up to a half- inch thick and knocking out power to more than half a million homes and businesses. Three nights of freezing temperatures have also destroyed up to three-quarters of California's $1 billion citrus crop, according to an estimate issued Monday as forecasters warned the weather could continue.
• Father we speak warming to this weather, and ask Your mercy and restoration to all of the land and people in the ravaged areas. You have promised in Genesis that seedtime and harvest shall not perish from the earth, so we ask that You cover the crops with grace. • "Those from among you shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to dwell in." (Isaiah 58:12)
2. Senator Barack Obama Takes First Step Toward Presidential Bid - AP
Feeling a wind at his back, freshman Sen. Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he is taking the step political pundits have been predicting for months and filing papers for a presidential exploratory committee. Obama, who if elected would become the first black president in the United States, said . . . he was "struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics."
• Lord we ask that as each new candidate enters the Presidential race, may You grant truth and wisdom to both candidates and voters. Let our nation be guided by Your plan for us rather than political ideas. • "The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations." (Psalm 33:11)
3. Castro Reportedly in Grave Condition - AP
Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is in "very grave" condition after three failed operations and complications from an intestinal infection, a Spanish newspaper said Tuesday. The newspaper El Pais cited two unnamed sources from the Gregorio Maranon hospital in the Spanish capital of Madrid. The facility employs surgeon Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, who flew to Cuba in December to treat the 80-year-old Castro.
• Lord may Your Spirit reveal truth to Fidel Castro before he dies. And may the people of Cuba be free of distatorship and oppression. • "And He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings." (Daniel 2:21)
4. "Millennium Bomb" Sentence Tossed - AP
Federal court vacates sentence of Ahmed Ressam, who was convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport.
• Lord we ask Your intervention in this situation, and pray that Your justice will prevail in spite of the court's decision. We pray that You will protect our nation from dangerous men. If an appeal is possible, we ask that it be granted and favor rest upon it. • "Who caused judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared and was still." (Psalm 76:8)
5. SPECIAL REPORT: Lawmakers, Advocacy Groups Rally to Keep Two Border Patrol Agents From Jail - AP --- Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos embraced his wife, Monica Ramos, two days before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison (Courtesy El Paso Times)
Two Texas Border Patrol agents who shot a Mexican drug runner in the backside on the U.S. side of the border are hoping a last-ditch pardon from President Bush will save them from serving more than a decade in prison. Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean are scheduled to turn themselves in to authorities Wednesday to begin serving 11 and 12 years, respectively, for the February 2005 non-fatal shooting.
Several groups, including Friends of the Border Patrol, The Minutemen and Grassfire.org, have been trying through petitions to keep the agents out of prison — through either a motion to U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone to allow them to remain free on bond during an appeal or through a presidential pardon from Bush. About a dozen rallies took place across the country in support of the agents last week.
Several lawmakers, including Reps. Ted Poe, R- Texas; Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.; Walter Jones, R- N.C.; Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.; and Duncan Hunter, R- Calif. last week sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales asking him to allow Ramos and Compean to remain free on bond pending the appeal of their convictions. "Based on my experience as a former judge, I have looked at this case and our federal government was on the wrong side," Poe said Tuesday.
BREAKING NEWS: Border Agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos have been ordered by Judge Kathleen Cardone to surrender to the United States Marshal by 3 pm (EST) today!
Both agents had filed a motion with the court to remain free on bond while they appeal their case. With this ruling, the agents must begin serving their sentences beginning today! (Daily Bulletin)
• Father, justice has become twisted in our nation, and no sound judgment is at our gates. We ask that You restore truth to our courts, remove all unrighteousness from our entire legal system, and bring blessing once again to our nation. • "For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you. He makes peace in your borders, and fills you with the finest wheat." (Psalm 147:13-14)