1. According to The Associated Press, the spokesman for Iran’s armed forces says that military commanders have been given the authority to respond immediately to enemy attacks. The military also says that Iran is keeping “all options on the table”, language similar to that used by President Barack Obama when he spoke on the possibility of military action against Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s latest warning comes one month after the country’s Supreme Leader said the U.S. couldn’t stop them if they decided to build nuclear weapons.
2. According to The Telegraph, Christians living in Libya have been rounded up, beaten, and accused of proselytism, in the latest sign of militant Islam affecting the country since the revolution. The men, who are Egyptian Copts working in Benghazi, were seized by an Islamist militia but handed over to the government. One man died from torture. The authorities have condemned the attack, but have taken no further action.
3. According to The Financial Times, Chinese doctors have performed more than 330 million abortions since the government implemented a controversial family planning policy 40 years ago. China’s one-child policy has been the subject of a heated debate about its economic consequences as the population ages. Forced abortions and sterilisations have also been criticised by human rights campaigners. As China’s working-age population begins to decline, planning rules will pose an increasing drag on economic growth and contribute to the country’s severe gender imbalance.
4. According to The Guardian, Israel’s military intelligence chief has claimed that Iran and Hezbollah have built a 50,000-strong parallel force in Syria to help prolong the life of the Assad regime and to maintain their influence after his fall. He said that Iran intended to double the size of this Syrian “people’s army”, which was being trained by Hezbollah fighters and funded by Tehran, to bolster a depleted and demoralised Syrian army. Israel opposes the western arming of Syrian rebels because of its fears that the weapons will end up in the hands of such groups.
5. According to Israel National News, Jewish groups dedicated to the Temple Mount and Temple renewal are planning to sacrifice a goat as a reminder of what Passover looked like in Temple times. The ritual slaughter is to take place in Jerusalem just opposite the Temple Mount. Even though Israel’s Veterinary Services will not authorize the planned sacrifice, organizers said that the sacrifice would take place as planned on the Thursday before Passover with or without government approval.
The Bible says in 2 Timothy 4:1-2: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.”
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