Prayer and Meditation for Friday, October 20, 2017 — “You are worth more than many sparrows” — Beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees

Peace and Freedom

Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 471

Image result for cast into Gehenna, photos

Reading 1 ROM 4:1-8

Brothers and sisters:
What can we say that Abraham found,
our ancestor according to the flesh?
Indeed, if Abraham was justified on the basis of his works,
he has reason to boast;
but this was not so in the sight of God.
For what does the Scripture say?
Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
A worker’s wage is credited not as a gift, but as something due.
But when one does not work,
yet believes in the one who justifies the ungodly,
his faith is credited as righteousness.
So also David declares the blessedness of the person
to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven
and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not record.

Responsorial Psalm PS…

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Inside Islamic State’s Other Grisly War, a World Away From Syria

Peace and Freedom

Islamists in the Philippines pledged allegiance to ISIS, devastated a city and built a model for jihadists after the fall of Raqqa

Image may contain: one or more people, house and outdoor

MARAWI, Philippines—On the third day of his captivity, during one of the most violent jihadist rebellions outside the Middle East and Africa, Ronnel Samiahan watched Islamist militants make an example of a fellow hostage who had tried to break free.

After dragging the conscious man onto the street and pulling his head up by the hair, the militants began sawing at his neck with a knife. Five minutes later, the executioner thrust the severed head toward the remaining hostages, warning, “If you try to escape, this is what is going to happen to you,” recalled Mr. Samiahan, a Christian local laborer.

Islamist militants took over this city of 200,000 people in late…

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Russia / Strategy Media Update (339) – 18 October 2017

To Inform is to Influence

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

</end editorial>



Summary of SECDEF address at AUSA. Good Åslund essay on Russian funds tied up in the West – how much of these assets might be claimed by a post-Putin Russia trying to get back what kleptocrats stole? Zaslavskiy on the corrosive impacts of dirty Russian money in the West begging the question of what has been Russia’s most important export post 1992? Oil? Gas? Weapons? Or Corruption, political chicanery, and Tsarist/Soviet style neo-colonialism? Intersection book on post Crimea Russia summarised.

Whitmore PV OpEd on Kremlin make believe is very good – the big question is how many of these phantasms are believed to be fact in Muscovy? Prigozhin and the Troll Factory explored, while Russia is now buying up media companies in Europe to overcome the credibility collapse of RT/Sputnik, and not so bright European governments are letting them do it as…

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Crippled by sanctions, North Korea may not last a year, defector says

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‘Desperate’ need to force diplomatic opening with US driving North Korea’s provocative behaviour, defector Ri Jong-ho says

By Robert Delaney
South China Morning Post

Tuesday, 17 October, 2017, 11:17pm

A former North Korean government official who defected to the US says North Korea is struggling against tough sanctions – and doubts the hermit state can last a year.

“Never before has the country faced such tough sanctions. I don’t know if North Korea will survive a year with these…

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Xi’s Grand Vision for China Prioritizes Party Power Over Reform — “Deceleration in economic growth that leads to economic dislocation among workers could all of a sudden overwhelm the agenda.”

Peace and Freedom

Bloomberg

  • Speech has few clues on whether Xi will back painful changes
  • Xi confident in supremacy of one-party development model
What Xi’s Party Congress Speech Means for Investors
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Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the opening session of the Chinese Communist Party’s five-yearly Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 18, 2017. Credit Wang Zhao – AFP – Getty Images

President Xi Jinping laid out a sweeping vision to transform China into a strong global power while guaranteeing Communist Party rule for decades. Investors are skeptical it will lead to any major economic reforms.

In a speech to party cadres that went on for more than three hours, Xi on Wednesday outlined a three-decade road map to entrench China’s great power status. By 2050, Xi said the country would be a global leader in innovation, influence and military might.

“Our country is approaching…

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Four British missionaries kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria

Peace and Freedom

A militant group pictured in the Niger Delta in 2010. Kidnapping is not uncommon in the area CREDIT:AFP/GETTY
  • Police are trying to rescue the four people, who were taken by gunmen last week
  • They were providing ‘medical care and religious activities’ in Burutu, Delta state
  • Chief Theo Fakama said locals were ‘saddened’ by the kidnapping as the victims
  • Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria 

Four Britons have been kidnapped in Nigeria‘s southern Delta state, a police official said on Wednesday.

The police are attempting to rescue the four people, who were taken by unidentified gunmen on October 13, said Andrew Aniamaka, a spokesman for Delta state police.

He says they include a doctor, his wife and two other men who were involved in preaching…

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Russian Woman Says She Will Challenge Vladimir Putin in Next Election — “I am against revolution.”

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AFP

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© AFP/File | Russian journalist, former reality TV host and socialite Ksenia Sobchak intends to run for president

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russian journalist, former reality show host and socialite Ksenia Sobchak announced Wednesday that she intends to stand for president in 2018 as an opposition candidate.

“My name is Ksenia Sobchak. I am standing for president,” she wrote on a website announcing her bid, declaring that her campaign slogan is “I am the ‘none of the above’ candidate.”

Russian elections used to allow voters to tick a box titled “none of the above” to reject all candidates.

As an independent candidate, Sobchak will have to collect 300,000 signatures in her support.

President Vladimir Putin has not yet announced his expected candidacy in March 2018 polls.

In a letter published on the website of Vedomosti business daily, Sobchak said she realised she would be viewed as an unlikely candidate.

But…

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