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Gaza Mosques Targeted, MH17 Black Box, HIV Breakthrough

A family flees the Donetsk area as intense fighting continues in the city.
A family flees the Donetsk area as intense fighting continues in the city.

Israel’s assault on Gaza and Hamas rocket fire into Israel show no sign of abating. Gaza’s Health Ministry officials reports 604 Palestinians killed in 15 days, with more than 3,700 injured. Most of the victims are civilians. Nine Israeli soldiers were killed yesterday, taking the total to 27 since the ground intervention started.

More than 70 sites were targeted in early morning strikes, including five mosques. Al Jazeera said Israeli soldiers fired at the building where the network has its Gaza offices, just hours after Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman branded the Qatari media organization “a terrorist wing” and said he was considering banning it from broadcasting in Israel.

Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said that the Israeli military (IDF) deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for the “unimaginable restraint” it is showing in Gaza. Read more from The Times of Israel.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who pledged $47 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza, will continue talks with UN chief Ban Ki-moon as they meet Egyptian and Arab League officials in an attempt to broker an end to the escalation of violence. This morning, Israel reportedly rejected a five-hour humanitarian truce for fear that Hamas would use it to reinforce its positions.

Focusing on the social media aspect, British journalist Paul Mason explains why Israel is losing the war.

EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss imposing new sanctions on Russia for its support of rebel groups in eastern Ukraine, amid accusations from the West that they shot the MH17 aircraft down with the help of Moscow.British Prime Minister David Cameron has issued a blunt statement, calling for “hard-hitting sanctions.” As possible sanctions are likely to focus on financial services, trade and defense cooperation and energy exports, The Daily Telegraphexplains however that some countries are reluctant to see their economy suffer as a result, and lists how the sanctions would affect major European countries.

Russian media are reporting that the Ukrainian army launched air strikes on a town located 30 kilometers from the crash site, appearing to violate a 40-kilometer ceasefire ordered by Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.

The train carrying the decomposing bodies of the victims of last Thursday’s crash, most of whom were Dutch, has meanwhile arrived in the Kiev-controlled city of Kharkiv and will continue en route to Amsterdam. Earlier, pro-Russian rebels handed over the aircraft’s black boxes to Malaysian experts, who said they were “in good condition.”

Russia replied to Western accusations yesterday, claiming to have proof that a Ukrainian combat jet was approaching the MH17 plane shortly before it crashed. The New York Times published pictures of the wreckage which it says shows marks of impact by a supersonic missile.

The South Korean police announced today that a badly decomposed body they found in the southern part of the country in June was that of the fugitive owner of the operator of the ferry that sank in April, killing 294 people, mostly high school students. Yonhap news agency reports that the discovery of the 73-year-old’s body ends a months-long manhunt. According to the local chief of police, the exact time and cause of death are still unclear, although the corpse was found near “several empty bottles of alcoholic beverage and an empty bottle of shark liver oil product.”

A Saudi couple has announced plans to finance the building of the northernmost mosque in the world, not all that far from the North Pole.

A family flees the Donetsk area as intense fighting continues between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian protesters who currently control the city.

A new Human Rights Watch report accuses the FBI of bad anti-terror policy.

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto announced he was withdrawing from the disputed presidential race, denouncing a “flawed, not democratic” electoral process,” The Straits Times quotes him as saying. Prabowo has been described as the “likely loser” of the election, the results of which were to be announced today.

At least 55 senior police officers were arrested in Turkey as part of a criminal probe over allegations of graft and corruption, Hürriyet reports. The move marks a new step in the fight against what the country’s Prime Minister and candidate to next month’s presidential election Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the “parallel state” created by the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

German daily newspaper Die Welt’s Filipp Platov reports on a rising anti-Semitic movement through Western Europe, fed with recent protests against Israel’s military offensive into Gaza, in France and Germany. "‘You Jews are animals,’ one participant at the Frankfurt protest had written on a placard. In the interests of decency, he had then half-heartedly tried to cross the words out and had written something less incendiary on the other side. But he didn’t actually have the decency to leave the sign at home.” Platov also heard cries of “Israel, child murderers” during that demonstration, while some protesters waved flags of international terror organizations.
Read the full article, From Berlin to Paris, Gaza Support Seethes With Anti-Semitism.

Danish researchers have managed to activate and expose hidden HIV cells to the immune system using an anti-cancer drug called romidepsin, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Their discovery was presented at the AIDS 2014 symposium in Melbourne, which experts travelling in the MH17 flight were supposed to attend.

Roles have been reversed in the hilltop town of Pachmarhi, India, where monkeys have gone out of control — to the extent thathumans are now forced to live in cages.


The German soccer team partied so hard they literally broke the World Cup.

— Crunched by Marc Alves.

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Is Disney's "Wish" Spreading A Subtle Anti-Christian Message To Kids?

Disney's new movie "Wish" is being touted as a new children's blockbuster to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. But some Christians may see the portrayal of the villain as God-like and turning wishes into prayers as the ultimate denial of the true message of Christmas.

photo of a kid running out of a church

For the Christmas holiday season?

Joseph Holmes

Christians have always had a love-hate relationship with Disney since I can remember. Growing up in the Christian culture of the 1990s and early 2000s, all the Christian parents I knew loved watching Disney movies with their kids – but have always had an uncomfortable relationship with some of its messages. It was due to the constant Disney tropes of “follow your heart philosophy” and “junior knows best” disdain for authority figures like parents that angered so many. Even so, most Christians felt the benefits had outweighed the costs.

That all seems to have changed as of late, with Disney being hit more and more by claims from conservatives (including Christian conservatives) that Disney is pushing more and more radical progressive social agendas, This has coincided with a steep drop at the box office for Disney.

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