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Gaza/Israel Tolls, No New Cold War, Sounds Of Cedars

Mourning in Jerusalem
Mourning in Jerusalem

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A second Gaza school was hit by Israeli Defense Forces, killing at least 19 people. Today’s assault was on the United Nations-run Abu Hussein School in Gaza's Jabaliya refugee camp where displaced Gazans have sought shelter, CNN reports (video included). In total, at least 32 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire overnight in Gaza, where there is a growing shortage of clean water and electricity. More than 3,500 families have reportedly lost their homes.

Today’s strike on the school, which included women and children among the dead, followed an attack Thursday on another U.N.-run school in northern Gaza, that killed 16 and left hundreds wounded.

All told, at least 1,200 Palestinians and 55 Israelis have been killed since July 8 in the conflict between Hamas and Israel. For more details, The New York Times has a graphic detailing the war’s day-by-day toll.

Hamas released a video showing what it’s like going through tunnels into Israel and attacking a military position, a raid in which five Israeli soldiers died.

According to the Jerusalem Post, a poll released this week showed 86.5% of Jewish Israelis surveyed oppose a ceasefire because “Hamas continues firing missiles on Israel, not all the tunnels have been found, and Hamas has not surrendered.”

Both EU officials and President Barack Obama announced new and harsher economic sanctions against Russia for its policy in Ukraine, including its arming of separatists there. The new measures include an arms embargo and limits on access to European capital markets for Russian state-owned banks, reports The Washington Post, which characterizes the July 17 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine as “the most galvanizing event for Europe.”

“It’s not a new Cold War,” Obama said during the announcement of new “Level 3” sanctions Tuesday. Read more about it here.

Five people were killed today in a landslide in western India after heavy monsoon rains. As many as 150 others are trapped, AFP reports. Debris from a hill collapsed onto homes while residents of the remote Malin village were asleep.

Al-Qaeda has taken at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, according to an investigation by The New York Times.



Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond characterized the spread of the deadly Ebola virus as a “very serious threat” to the UK, The Telegraph reports. The disease, which the newspaper notes can be fatal for up to 90% of infected victims, has killed more than 670 people in an outbreak across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Public Health England has issued an urgent warning to doctors to watch for signs of the disease after an infected man was allowed to travel through an international hub. An official said the virus was “clearly not under control.”

Die Welt reporter Nikolaus Doll traveled from Berlin to the South Pacific island of Samoa, which used to be a German colony and is now facing an array of social and economic problems, some linked to foreign rulers of the past. “The German colonial heritage is quite noticeable in many other ways here. For a long time, Samoans benefited from it. Yet it now seems to have become an obstacle on the way to Samoa's prosperity. The island might look like the perfect exotic paradise — but it is an illusion…”
Read the full article: Samoa, Tropical Paradise Burdened By German Past

Microsoft plans to launch its Xbox One gaming console in China on Sep. 23, making it the first foreign company to start selling consoles in the world’s third-biggest gaming market after a ban on the devices was lifted this year, Reuters reports.

You may know that the cedar tree is the national symbol of Lebanon. It’s also at risk from environmental damage, which has led the Ministries of Environment and Education to a team of bioacoustic engineers who have extracted the natural sounds emitted in the Barouk Forest by a cedar tree. See and hear how a tree sounds on our oh-so-global music blog: Hit It!

Stockholm’s contest to choose the color of its new Metro line is costing taxpayers $72,887 (half a million kroner), but here’s why “it’s worth it.”

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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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