Wednesday, January 06, 2016

 

DENMARK FOLLOWS SWEDEN ON EU BORDER CHECKS OF MIGRANTS.

JEWISH KING JESUS IS COMING AT THE RAPTURE FOR US IN THE CLOUDS-DON'T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD.THE BIBLE TAKEN LITERALLY- WHEN THE PLAIN SENSE MAKES GOOD SENSE-SEEK NO OTHER SENSE-LEST YOU END UP IN NONSENSE.GET SAVED NOW- CALL ON JESUS TODAY.THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE EARTH - NO OTHER. 1 COR 15:23-JESUS THE FIRST FRUITS-CHRISTIANS RAPTURED TO JESUS-FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT-23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.(THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE)

Opinion-Preventing the return of Europe's authoritarian right By Michael Meyer-Resende-JAN 5,16-EUOBSERVER

BERLIN, Today, 09:29-So now it’s Poland. For the last five years Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban has dismantled democratic checks and balances and declared the end of the liberal aspect of liberal democracy.The other EU member states and Brussels huffed and puffed, but did not want to take any serious action against the erosion of democracy.Understandably there was little appetite for another EU crisis, but it was the moment to nip the idea of illiberal democracy in the bud before it spreads. That moment has passed.Being rammed through parliament in no time, the attack of Poland’s Law and Justice party on the country’s Constitutional Court and media bears the hallmarks of an Orban manoeuvre, but it is even more breath-taking, coming within weeks of being elected with 38 percent of votes.The ideology of Orban’s Fidesz party and the Polish Law and Justice party are sometimes described as a rebellion of a majority which feels marginalised. While this may be their self-perception, it’s not how these parties behave.There are many models of democracy and there is nothing wrong with a party that promotes re-calibrating the balance of power somewhat towards majority decision-making, for example by introducing referendums, or by reducing the scope of a Constitutional Court.But such delicate shifts should come after consultation rather than being made overnight and they should not result in one branch of power being completely undermined.Orban paints an image of himself as a man of the people, who is not hiding behind laws and bureaucracy, ready to make tough decisions. Yet, he is not relying on the power of persuasion.He has barricaded his ideology behind a pliant constitutional court, tamed media and a new constitution which he never dared put to a referendum. The OSCE’s election observers had serious concerns about the level playing field in Hungary’s elections.-Democracy-At heart, these new right-wing parties are not the robust pro-people forces they claim to be. They are afraid of the people and skew the system to make sure their positions become immune to democratic challenge.In short, they look much like the old authoritarian right.After the Second World War the right wing in Europe broke its link with authoritarian rule, paving the way for stable democratic pluralism in Europe. Hungary’s Fidesz and the Polish Law and Justice party are now re-establishing the link.Socially conservative positions are no problem for democracies. EU member states ruled by conservative parties have adopted all kinds of conservative policies, but they do not try to lock down the pluralistic process. Many in Europe hope that Poles will withstand the onslaught on their democratic order and solve the problem at home. This would indeed be the best outcome, but given how the Law and Justice party steamrolls state institutions, only a massive social mobilisation could stop it. Will enough Poles conclude that while they wanted a new government, they do not want to end democracy? In the EU a democracy problem in one member state is a democracy problem for all, because member states have votes in legislating for the whole Union. Democratic shortcomings in one member state contaminate the entire system, which is built on the premise of including only functioning democracies.This is why the main remedy to an erosion of democracy in a member state is the suspension of voting rights of that member state in the EU Council according to article 7 of the EU Treaty.Despite clear language in the EU Treaty on human rights and democracy, in the case of Hungary the European Commission did not make an overall assessment and instead focused on limited issues where it had a more specific legal basis.When Fidesz got rid of judges by lowering the retirement age, the commission approached this as a matter of age discrimination, rather than an attack on the independence of the judiciary.Under pressure for its limited response to the developments in Hungary, the commission then adopted a “rule of law framework,” essentially a dialogue with a member state to find out if it is willing to change course sufficiently to avoid the article 7 process. Until today it has not used the framework.Poland’s Law and Justice party, in its outright refusal to accept a judgment of the country’s highest court and its transparent attempt to paralyse it, has provided a smoking gun that proves that domestic rule of law does not work any more.The rule of law framework should therefore be applied to Poland and it should have already been used for Hungary.The commission will discuss this on 13 January.It should decide to launch these procedures now and deserves the support of the other EU member states.Europe cannot look the other way when authoritarian rule is raising its head in a member state.When joining the EU, states made a clear choice for pluralistic democracy. They should not be allowed to go back on that obligation. Michael Meyer-Resende is the director of Democracy Reporting International, a Berlin-based NGO (@Meyer_Resende). This is his personal opinion

EUROPEAN UNION ARMY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI5_pMvLZd8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytWmPqY8TE0&feature=player_embedded

DANIEL 7:23-25
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast (EU,REVIVED ROME) shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth,(7TH WORLD EMPIRE) which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.(TRADING BLOCKS)
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings(10 DIVSION REGION WORLD GOVERNMENT) that shall arise: and another shall rise after them;(#11 SPAIN) and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.( BE HEAD OF 3 NATIONS)
25 And he (EU PRESIDENT) shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.(3 1/2 YRS)

DANIEL 8:23-25
23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king (EU DICTATOR) of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences,(FROM THE OCCULT-NEW AGE MOVEMENT) shall stand up.
24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power:(SATANS POWER) and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes;(JESUS) but he shall be broken without hand.

DANIEL 11:36-39
36 And the king (EU DICTATOR) shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers,(THIS EU DICTATOR IS JEWISH) nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.(CLAIM TO BE GOD)
38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces:(WAR) and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god,(DESTROY TERROR GROUPS) whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many,(HIS ARMY LEADERS) and shall divide the land for gain.

REVELATION 19:19
19 And I saw the beast,(EU LEADER) and the kings of the earth, and their armies,(UNITED NATIONS TROOPS) gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse,(JESUS) and against his army.(THE RAPTURED CHRISTIANS)

Czech president and PM disagree on migrant 'invasion'-By EUOBSERVER-JAN 5,16

Today, 09:26-Czech PM Sobotka on Monday criticised "simplistic" anti-migrant comments by Czech president Zeman, who told press the Muslim Brotherhood, a Middle East movement, has orchestrated the migrant "invasion" in order to "take control" of Europe. Czech diplomats also accuse Zeman of whipping up "religious hatred" in town-hall type speeches.

Domino effect: Denmark follows Sweden on EU border checks By Lisbeth Kirk-JAN 5,16- EUOBSERVER

Copenhagen, Today, 08:52-“May I see your ID?”From midnight on Monday (4 January), guards in neon-coloured vests started photographing the ID cards of all passengers boarding trains in Copenhagen in the direction of Sweden.Security guards are not trained police, but private contractors hired by Denmark's rail company, DSB (Photo: EUobserver) They are not trained police. Denmark’s rail company, DSB, hired them from private firm Securitas in order to pre-scan passengers to avoid responsibility for letting unidentified people into Sweden.“If you don’ have photo-ID, then you aren’t allowed into any train bound for Sweden. It’s as simple as that,” one guard told EUobserver.Controls on the Danish side took less than one minute on the first day of the new scheme.The 150-strong squad of Securitas guards patrolling the train platform on the Danish side of the border appears big enough to carry out the task. But it comes at a price: DSB expects the new checks will cost it €1.2 million per month - a fee it may pass on to customers.When arriving in Sweden on the other side of the Oresund Strait, passengers are again asked to present their photo-ID. This time it's Swedish police checking the documents.A fence has also been built on the train platform in Hyllinge, the first stop on the Swedish side, to make sure everybody is checked before entering the country.-End of Nordic Passport Union-The new Swedish controls, imposed to reduce the flow of asylum seekers from mainland Europe, end 60 years of passport-free travel between Nordic states.A protocol exempting Nordic countries’ nationals from the obligation to have a passport or residence permit while living in another Nordic country was agreed already in 1954.Later on, the Nordic states joined the European passport-free Schengen zone.Since 1996, EU structural funds also helped to finance the construction of the Oresund bridge, which, since 2000, connects the Danish capital to Malmoe, Sweden's third largest city.The Oresund region integration has been a success.Every day, approximately 15,000 people commute across the water to work or study. Most travel from Sweden to Denmark, but Sweden has also begun to recruit workers from Denmark, especially nursing and medical staff and construction workers.People are now worried the integration will be rolled back.Christina Nyhlen crossed the Sound on Monday to look after her 14-year old stepdaughter on the first day of the new ID regime. The girl commutes between her mother in Copenhagen and her father in Sweden every week, but goes to school in Copenhagen every day.In future, she will have to change trains and have her ID checked in Copenhagen in order to return to Sweden. This will add at least 30 minutes to her schoolday. "We have not been informed of this in a proper way, so I thought best to be with her on the first day of the new scheme,” Christina Nyhlen said."It was a beautiful idea with open borders, but hard to handle," said another passenger, Mai Northcote Soerensen.She is Danish and travels to Malmoe to visit her also Danish boyfriend. He found a place to live in Sweden, because housing is hard to find in Copenhagen and prices are lower on the Swedish side."Closing the doors to the refugees is so depressing and really, I doubt this will help," she noted.Her words were echoed by Danish PM Lars Loekke Rasmussen at a press conference earlier the same day."This is not a happy moment ... it’s a step backward," he said. "We have invested billions in transport infrastructure and into promotion of the Oresund region.”-Domino effect in Europe-Loekke Rasmussen’s Liberal minority government, also on Monday, imposed its own, temporary, ID controls on the Danish-German boundary in parallel with the Swedish checks.The moves are part of a domino effect in Europe, which began with border restrictions in Austria, Croatia, Germany, and Hungary.The Danish decision was mentioned in Ramussen's New Year speech and comes despite a drop in the number of asylum seekers crossing into Denmark in recent weeks. Just 55 refugees a day are now arriving in Denamrk, the PM noted.He explained, at Monday’s press conference, that the controls are needed to avoid Denmark becoming too popular a destination for refugees after Sweden tightened its borders.Ninety one thousand would-be refugees have arrived since September, with 13,000 of them applying for asylum in Denmark. Looking at the whole of last year, 15,000 people applied for asylum in Denamark and 160,000 applied for protection in Sweden.The Danish spot-checks on the German border will be in place for an initial period of just 10 days, but they can be prolonged if the government decides they should be, with Loekke Rasmussen indicating they’ll stay in place until the EU’s external borders - as far away as Greece and the Western Balkans - are adequately controlled.The Danish integration minister, Inger Stoejberg, on Monday also said that 400 soldiers will be trained with a view to assisting Danish police in the new border regime.The Danish PM pre-informed German chancellor Angela Merkel by phone, as well as Torsten Albig, the minister-president of the northern German lande of Schleswig-Holstein, before introducing the new system.But despite the friendly exchange of information, the latest blow to the EU’s foundational principle, of free movement, has caused alarm in Berlin.The German foreign ministry spokesman, Martin Schaefer, said the passport-free Schengen zone is "in danger.”"Freedom of movement is an important principle - one of the biggest achievements [in the EU] in recent years," the spokesman said.Schaefer added that Germany “regrets” Denmark's decision."This could negatively affect the good communal life in the German-Danish border region and could especially be a burden on commuters," commented Torsten Albig, the minister-president of the northern German lande of Schleswig-Holstein.

WILL THAT BE PORK OR PIGS BLOOD ON THE ISLAMIC MOSQUES TO BE DEFILED. ANOTHER PERSON TRIES TO GET EVEN WITH ISLAMIC-MUSLIM TERRORISTS ACTIONS AGAINST EVERYBODY.. GRAB YOUR CAMELS FOLKS-NO CARBON EMMISIONS BY DRIVING CAMELS LIKE THE CAMEL BOY MUSLIMS DO.NEXT THERE WILL BE A DEAD CAMEL LEFT OUTSIDE A MOSQUE.

Police search for vandal who left bacon at Florida mosque-Reuters By Barbara Liston-JAN 5,16-YAHOONEWS

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Florida police were trying on Monday to identify a man with a shaved head and wearing camouflage clothing who was caught on surveillance camera breaking windows, cameras and lights with a machete at a mosque and leaving bacon on the doorstep.The footage showed the man entering the carport of the Masjid Al-Munin mosque in Titusville near Cape Canaveral in central Florida late Friday night and vandalizing it, Titusville police spokeswoman Amy Matthews said.It was the third time in less than a month that vandals have left pork products at mosques in the United States, said the civil rights group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has called for state and federal investigations.Muslims are prohibited from consuming pork products, and hate groups advocate using pigs or pork to try to desecrate mosques, according to CAIR.The man, who also had a tattoo on his arm, appeared from the video to be acting alone, said Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida which oversees that mosque and nine others.Musri said the incident was the first of its kind against Muslims in the 40 years they have been in Titusville.Vandalism against Muslims has risen since attacks by Islamist militants on civilians in Paris and San Bernardino, California, Musri said.He said the incidents have been further stoked by anti-Muslim sentiments expressed by Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson."These statements legitimize the thoughts of people who are radical," Musri said. "They feel these leaders are agreeing with them, so it's becoming more acceptable for them to say so, to do so."CAIR said cases of damage, destruction, and vandalism of mosques, and intimidation attempts reached a record high in 2015 since the organization began tallying incidents in 2009.At the end of December, vandals in Las Vegas wrapped bacon around door handles of the Masjid-e-Tawheed mosque, CAIR said.The FBI has opened an investigation into a pig's head thrown on Dec. 6 from a pickup truck at the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in Philadelphia.(Editing by Karen Brooks and Grant McCool)

Focus-EU in 2016: Reports of death exaggerated? By Andrew Rettman-JAN 5,16-EUOBSERVER

BRUSSELS, Today, 08:17-Some pundits began writing EU obituaries already in 2009. They said the sovereign debt crisis would kill the euro, destroy public trust in EU institutions, and catapult far-right and far-left parties into power.Seven bailouts later, a trillion-euro money-printing scheme by the European Central Bank, new regulatory powers for the European Commission, and the bloc is on course for modest growth in 2016.But Greek finances are still a mess, public trust is low, and radical parties are growing stronger in France, Germany, Portugal, and Spain.New obituaries came in 2014, also for Nato, when Russia invaded Ukraine, threatening an east-west rupture on how to react. The EU and US stuck together on Russia sanctions. EU states will extend them in January. Nato, in a show of strength, is to take in Montenegro, possibly at its Warsaw summit in July, and Russia, newly bogged down in Syria, has frozen Ukraine hostilities.But Russia is still cultivating an EU fifth column. Its troops are still in Ukraine and the war could reignite at any moment, bringing the old fears back.-2015 obituaries-The 2015 obituaries carried more weight.EU Council chief Donald Tusk said the refugee crisis could destroy Schengen, the EU’s free movement zone. European Commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the single market and the euro “don’t make sense” without it. German leader Angela Merkel said the crisis could unravel the EU and provoke “military conflicts” in the Western Balkans.The Dutch EU commissioner, Frans Timmermans, spoke of a “cascade effect,” which starts with Schengen lockdowns, leads to paralysis of “every aspect of European integration,” and ends in EU collapse as sudden as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.EU states will, next year, try to seal Greek borders, pay Turkey to keep refugees in place, and go further on refugee-sharing.They’re expanding Frontex, the EU borders agency, and posting hundreds of Frontex officers to the Greek-Macedonia boundary. They’re expanding Europol, the joint police agency.They’re paying Turkey €3 billion, tranche by tranche, to take care of migrants at home. They’re also preparing to open more accession chapters, if Turkey-Cyprus talks go well, and to grant visa-free travel by October.Turkey has warned refugees will keep coming until the Syria war ends, however. France, Germany, and the UK are joining the US in bombing Islamic State (IS). But with Russia bombing Western-backed rebels, prospects look bleak.-Security cooperation-The IS murders in Paris in November show the cost of failure.When Dutch PM Mark Rutte, who takes over the EU presidency in January, outlined priorities, he spoke of deeper EU security cooperation. But he said he “can’t guarantee” to stop more Paris-type attacks.The Islamist terror threat is grist to the mill of populist leaders, for instance, in Hungary and Poland, which oppose refugee sharing.The Visegrad bloc in central Europe is trying to tear down Juncker’s scheme to relocate 160,000 people. The scene is set for a battle in March, with Juncker to propose “permanent” sharing rules and an overhaul of “Dublin” asylum laws.Recalling Timmermans “cascade,” Austria, Denmark, Germany, Slovenia, and Sweden have reimposed Schengen borders. Luxembourg has proposed a two-year Schengen lockdown. The Netherlands has floated the idea of a “mini-Schengen,” and Germany has created a core group of pro- refugee states.The fragmentation goes even deeper, with Merkel’s coalition also split on migrants.-British referendum-It’s not a good time to hold the British In/Out referendum.British PM David Cameron wants to do it in June, but talks on EU reform are slow. If he does it in autumn, it coincides with the peak season for refugee arrivals, fuelling the Out camp.He can’t do it in 2017 because it would clash with French and German elections. One of his demands is to protect non-euro states from ever-deeper eurozone integration - another EU fault line.The big issues make Juncker’s legislative agenda look small.To-do items include getting EU states to agree burden-sharing on CO2 cuts and concluding a free-trade pact with the US.Other items include: creating pan-EU bank deposit guarantees; halting corporate tax avoidance; creating a digital single market and an energy union; creating a “circular economy” to cut waste; helping EU workers move from state to state; and launching a “mandatory” lobbyist register.When Mark Twain, the US writer, once read his own obituary, he said: “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”EU officials are fond of the cliche that “every crisis is an opportunity.” They say that doing the small things right helps fix the big problems.For his part, Steven Blockmans, a Belgian scholar of EU affairs, says doomsday predictions are tools of political pressure. He took issue with Timmermans’ Berlin Wall analogy, noting that the EU isn’t a Soviet bloc held together by force.It’s an alliance of willing participants, with a history of compromise for the sake of joint prosperity and security.The next 12 months will show who’s guilty of exaggeration.

Syrian refugees pose challenges for B.C. schools-[CBC]-January 5, 2016-YAHOONEWS

As most B.C. kids return to classes after the winter break, many Syrian refugee children are looking forward to their first day of school in years."I cannot wait to go to school," said Shergo Kurdi, the 15-year-old nephew of Tima Kurdi."I couldn't wait until I am in Canada and to be a kid again and to start my new life."Shergo Kurdi and his sister Haveen haven't been able to attend school since 2012.Now, along with other Syrian refugee children that have been arriving in B.C. in recent weeks, they are beginning the process of being placed in classrooms and filling in the gaps in their education. An average of three years' missed education-The interrupted education is one of the biggest challenges for school districts welcoming Syrian refugee children. "Based on what we have seen so far, and what we are expecting, an average student has missed school for three years. So we're looking at a three years' gap in schooling," said Haval Ahmad, a settlement worker at the Burnaby School District."Some schools existed in the refugee camps, but really there were no sets of standards." UNICEF says 13.7 million out of 34 million school age children in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Sudan are not getting an education, almost double the number five years ago.Ahmad says Burnaby is beginning to see the first few registrations of what he expects to be hundreds of new students in the coming months, as Canada settles 25,000 Syrian refugees.The first step for refugee students is to take an English Language Learner (ELL) assessment.But Ahmad says it can take months to determine exactly what level of courses they should be taking. "For instance, a student could be doing really good in math, but because of their English vocabulary, they might not understand the concepts."Where to put these students? Another challenge is where to put the new students, in a school system that is already often stretched to capacity. Caroline Lai, the manager of Surrey Schools' English Language Learner Welcome Centre, says they are also expecting a few hundred Syrian refugee students."If they do all live in one area, then I think ... we'll be devising a plan of having students perhaps transported to different schools that are not as full."Lai says it's important that Syrian students be placed into regular classes with their own age group, rather than concentrated in a class geared just for refugees. "Our goal is to empower students and to integrate them," she said. "We don't want to take that high school experience away from them or their elementary school experience away from them."However, Lai says many Syrian refugee students over the age of 15 won't be able to graduate from high school, since they won't accumulate enough credits. She says in that case, students will be encouraged to continue their education as adult learners after age 19.Lai says a professional development day will be held for B.C. teachers in February to help them prepare for teaching Syrian refugee students.

Liberals drop legal appeal of unconstitutional Conservative refugee measure-[The Canadian Press]-January 5, 2016-YAHOONEWS

OTTAWA - The Liberal government says it won’t fight to preserve Conservative government rule changes that made it impossible for some rejected refugee claimants to pursue appeals.A Federal Court ruled in July that it was unconstitutional for the Conservatives to strip the right of appeal for refugee applicants from a list of countries the government deemed to be “safe.”The former Harper government began a legal appeal of that judgment, but lost power in the October election that vaulted Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to power.The lingering legal battle was just one of many left over from the Conservative era, when the courts repeatedly found Conservative laws to be in breach of the charter.Diane Laursen, a spokeswoman for Immigration Minister John McCallum, says the government has withdrawn the legal appeal in the refugee case, which was brought by the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers on behalf of rejected refugees from Croatia, Hungary and Romania.The Conservatives brought in a list of Designated Countries of Origin to weed out refugee claimants — countries that were deemed to have proper courts, human rights and rule of law and were thus less likely to produce genuine refugees.The Liberals have said they will amend the rules.“Our government has promised to provide citizens of Designated Countries of Origin a right to appeal refugee decisions,” Laursen said Monday in an email.“Withdrawing this (constitutional) appeal is another important step towards fulfilling the government’s commitments and reviewing our litigation strategy.”The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers had announced the government’s decision to drop the legal case on social media earlier in the day, but did not respond to a request for comment.Federal Court Justice Keith Boswell ruled last July that the “safe” country policy was discriminatory, because it denied an appeal process to refugee claimants from the designated countries that was available to all other refugee applicants.“It also serves to further marginalize, prejudice and stereotype refugee claimants from DCO countries which are generally considered safe and ‘non-refugee producing,’” said the Federal Court judgment.“Moreover, it perpetuates a stereotype that refugee claimants from DCO countries are somehow queue-jumpers or 'bogus’ claimants who only come here to take advantage of Canada’s refugee system and its generosity.”— Follow @BCheadle on Twitter

The Latest: Cruz says Obama gun actions won't last long-[Associated Press]-January 5, 2016- YAHOONEWS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest on President Barack Obama's executive actions to tighten gun control in the United States (all times EST):12:50 p.m.:Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says President Barack Obama's new actions to more tightly regulate gun sales aren't worth the paper they're written on.During a campaign stop in Onawa, Iowa, the Republican presidential candidate repeated his promise to repeal all of Obama's executive actions, including the latest ones on guns.Cruz says that "when you live by the pen, you die by the pen." And he added that his own pen "has an eraser on it."___12:45 p.m.:Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is criticizing President Barack Obama as a weak commander-in-chief who is more focused on undercutting Americans' rights to bear arms than combatting terrorism.In a statement, the Kentucky Republican on Tuesday dismissed Obama's actions to more tightly regulate gun sales. He says Congress will track the actions closely to ensure they follow the Constitution and federal law.McConnell says that the American people are seeking a leader to counter terrorist threats from Islamic State militants and al-Qaida, but instead Obama is giving them "lectures, distractions, and attempts to undermine their fundamental Second Amendment rights."___12:35 p.m.:Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton is offering her positive reviews of the president's actions on gun regulation in a tweet.Clinton tweeted her thanks to the president. She called his executive actions "a crucial step forward on gun violence."And she added that the next president "has to build on that progress_not rip it away."Clinton's Democratic opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, also praised the president's actions.Sanders says he'd continue Obama's actions if elected president.Sanders accused Republicans of placing the interests of the National Rifle Association ahead of children and innocent Americans.___12:25 p.m.:President Barack Obama was moved to tears in an unusually emotional display during his announcement of new executive actions on guns.Obama said "it gets me mad" every time he thinks about the 20 first-graders who were killed in the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school in December 2012.But his emotions had already begun to overtake him by the time he said that.Obama spoke at the White House on Tuesday about rights that had been denied victims of other mass shootings. He mentioned freedom of religion taken from parishioners killed at a South Carolina church and freedom of assembly taken from movie-goers killed at cinemas in Colorado and Louisiana. He also mentioned the violence in his Chicago hometown.Obama paused and wiped a tear from the corner of his left eye. Tears flowed freely down both cheeks.___12:20 p.m.:House Speaker Paul Ryan says no matter what unilateral action President Barack Obama takes on gun control, "his word does not trump the Second Amendment."The Wisconsin Republican says in a statement that the president's steps to expand background checks to cover more firearms are certain to be challenged in the courts. Ryan also is stressing that whatever the president does can be overturned if a Republican is elected president in November.Ryan said Obama has never respected the right to safe and legal gun ownership that the country has valued since its inception.He says Obama "knows full well that the law already says that people who make their living selling firearms must be licensed, regardless of venue. Still, rather than focus on criminals and terrorists, he goes after the most law-abiding of citizens."Ryan said Obama's words and actions "amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty."___12:15 p.m.:President Barack Obama says that contrary to the claims of some GOP presidential candidates, he's not plotting to take away everyone's guns.Speaking in the East Room at the White House, Obama is defending his executive actions to tighten criminal background checks.The president said Tuesday his actions are consistent with the constitutional right to right to bear arms. The president noted that he taught constitutional law, and added: "I know a little about this."Obama says some constraints on freedom are necessary to protect innocent people. He notes that the right to free speech also comes with the limitation that you can't yell "fire" in a theater.___12 p.m.:President Barack Obama is opening his announcement on new gun actions by remembering former Rep. Gabby Giffords.Giffords was a member of Congress when she was gravely wounded five years ago this week in a shooting at a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. More than a dozen others also were shot.Obama later spoke at a memorial service in Tucson for those who didn't survive. He says that wasn't the first time he had to talk to the nation following a mass shooting, nor would it be the last.The president went on to name cities around the country that have mourned the loss of life in other mass shootings. They include Fort Hood, Texas; Aurora, Colorado; Oak Creek, Wisconsin; Newtown, Connecticut and, most recently, San Bernardino, California.Obama punctuated his list by saying "Too many." The audience gathered in the White House East Room followed him by softly echoing "too many."___11:50 a.m.:The White House usually does the tweeting when President Barack Obama speaks.But the president of a leading gun violence prevention group joined the action Tuesday for Obama's announcement of new executive actions on guns.Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign, live tweeted as Obama spoke from the White House East Room.An early tweet quoted the president as saying "Need to do something not to debate the last shooting but to prevent the next one!"Gross became involved in gun violence prevention after his brother was shot on the observation deck of the Empire State Building in 1997.Before arriving at the White House, Gross tweeted that he was "gonna tell Prez Jim & Sarah give huge thumbs up!"Gross was referring to Jim Brady and his wife, Sarah, the organization's founders. Jim Brady, who was press secretary to President Ronald Reagan, was shot in the head during the assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981. Jim Brady died in 2014. Sarah Brady died last year.___11:45 a.m.:The father of a first-grader killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School is introducing President Barack Obama's speech on gun regulation.Mark Barden's son, Daniel, was one of 20 students killed at the school three years ago.Barden now helps lead a program called Sandy Hook Promise. The group seeks to prevent gun-related deaths through the enactment of what it calls "sensible gun violence prevention laws, policy and regulations." Several other parents of Sandy Hook children also participate in the group.In the three years since the Sandy Hook shootings, Barden says, far too many lives have been lost to gun tragedies. He says that "as a nation, we have to do better."Barden's group is particularly appreciative of Obama's focus on getting people more access to mental health care.___11:30 a.m.More GOP candidates are chiming in with criticism of President Barack Obama's executive actions to tighten gun regulation in the U.S.Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says Obama is "obsessed" with undermining the Second Amendment.During a town hall-style meeting in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Rubio told reporters Tuesday that the president's new executive actions on guns undermine Americans' constitutional right to bear arms.Rubio says he opposes gun violence but that the president's plans won't help prevent it. The GOP presidential candidate says he'll work to overturn the executive actions.Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, for his part, is labeling Obama's actions "a blatant, belligerent abuse of power."___11 a.m.Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says President Barack Obama is acting unlawfully and showing disregard for the Second Amendment with his actions on gun control.Bush is panning Obama's set of measures in an op-ed in Iowa's Cedar Rapids Gazette. He's comparing the gun actions to Obama's executive action on immigration and says Obama is flouting the proper constitutional process for lawmaking.Bush says it's even more important to defend gun rights because of Islamic State-linked attacks and mass shootings in Paris and California.Obama is unveiling the new actions at the White House on Tuesday. He's aiming to expand background checks to cover more firearms by requiring more people to register as federally licensed gun dealers.Bush and his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination have said they'll undo Obama's actions if elected.

DRUG PUSHERS AND ADDICTS

1 PET 5:8
8 Be sober,(NOT DRUGED UP OR ALCOHOLICED) be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

REVELATION 18:23
23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries (DRUGS) were all nations deceived.

REVELATION 9:21
21 Neither repented they of their murders,(KILLING) nor of their sorceries (DRUG ADDICTS AND DRUG PUSHERS), nor of their fornication,(SEX OUTSIDE MARRIAGE OR PROSTITUTION FOR MONEY) nor of their thefts.(STEALING)

Woman who plowed car into Las Vegas crowd had used marijuana: prosecutor-Reuters-December 30, 2015 1:56 PM-YAHOONEWS

(Reuters) - An Oregon woman charged with murder for plowing her car into a crowd on a Las Vegas Strip sidewalk, killing one person and injuring dozens of others, had marijuana in her system following the incident, county officials said on Wednesday.Lakeisha Holloway, 24, faces one count of murder through use of a deadly weapon in the death of a 32-year-old Arizona woman who was among those struck by the sedan on Dec. 20.Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said a toxicology examination showed that Holloway tested positive for marijuana and marijuana metabolites. The county did not say when Holloway had consumed the marijuana, traces of which can linger in a person's system for days, weeks or months. Marijuana for medical use is legal in Nevada and Oregon, which also allows recreational use.Holloway, who police said had her 3-year-old daughter with her in the car, also has been charged with child abuse or neglect and leaving the scene of a collision."There is no reasonable explanation or excuse for the actions of this defendant," Wolfson said in a brief statement. "The results of the toxicology test do not change the initial charges filed against Ms. Holloway."Holloway, who is due back in court on Jan. 20, repeatedly drove her Oldsmobile sedan onto the sidewalk, ramming pedestrians as bystanders pounded on the windows and tried to pull open her car door to stop her, police said.She was being held in a "medically restricted" jail unit for inmates requiring increased supervision including those on suicide watch, police said.(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio)

Marijuana derivative 'shatter' poses risks, policy challenges-[CBC]-January 5, 2016-YAHOO NEWS

It's been called "marijuana on steroids."And it comes with a THC concentration far beyond anything a run-of-the-mill joint would offer.With that potency, along with the dangers from its production, shatter is offering police and policy makers a new set of challenges, perhaps particularly as the federal government moves toward legalizing marijuana."It's the highly variable [tetrahydrocannabinol] concentration that you see where a lot of people get into dangers," says Matthew Young, a senior research and policy analyst at the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse."They don't really know how much they're taking. Without knowing how much they're taking, they don't necessarily know the effects it's going to have on their mind and body."Strong marijuana derivatives like shatter are nothing new. But shatter has been drawing more public and police attention in recent months because of the potential for explosion as it is made, using the volatile solvent butane to extract the THC from the marijuana "shake" or plant leftovers."The risks and the hazards related to the production of shatter are as high if not higher than a methamphetamine lab because of the amount of solvents that's being used," says Luc Chicoine, the RCMP's national drug program co-ordinator." Those solvents go in the air. Often it's being done in residences and in enclosed areas, and then you're increasing the risk for explosion."-Hard to get the numbers-Tracking shatter — which can have a consistency like hard caramel or peanut brittle — across Canada is not that easy. Police reports don't necessarily break out shatter separately from other forms of marijuana, although news releases sometimes mention its seizure."Typically shatter won't be found by itself," says Mike Serr, deputy chief constable of the Abbotsford Police Department and chair of the drug abuse committee for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.While shatter has been turning up in police reports across the country, it has emerged in particular in B.C.Going back to 2013, police have come across seven marijuana oil extraction labs in the Lower Mainland. Six of those discoveries were the result of an explosion, says Serr, In most cases, there was at least one person injured. In one instance, it led to a death.Serr sees several reasons for the increasing attention being paid to shatter."I think the culture around marijuana is changing. People are always looking for new products, derivatives, edibles and those kinds of things," he says, noting also a "change in the culture" because of all the talk about the possible medical uses of marijuana and legalization.Vancouver marijuana activist Dana Larsen, on the other hand, sees a more repressive reason."Partly I think [it's] just because the police like to make a big deal out of cannabis products and scare people," he says, noting cannabis users have been making "very potent and pure" marijuana extracts for hundreds of years."I think it's just a new product that's becoming more popular, although it's been on the market for several years now. Even shatter itself isn't really that new, but the police and media are usually a few years behind where the cannabis culture is."-Rising popularity-Wherever that cannabis culture is, there are clearly those within it who are intrigued by the THC concentration of shatter, which some estimates put as high as 85 or 90 per cent."It's not like the marijuana that a lot of the older people remember, which was 10 or 12 per cent," says Serr."This is basically marijuana on steroids. It's 30 to 90 per cent highly concentrated. Some users have referred to it as smoking three joints at once. The people who are looking for the next level of high are seeking out these types of product."These higher concentrations have raised concerns around the effects of shatter, particularly on young people."The first user or the second-time user that has used THC on the street, now they think that shatter is an easier way to carry it around."You need less so you don't need rolling paper. You don't need a big joint, you can just apply it to a regular cigarette or hot knife it or inhale the THC. But now you're looking at [something] three, four, five times more potent," says Chicoine."It's not a concern with lethal overdose, but we do know there can be an overdose on cannabis in so much as you can have a very different experience from what you're expecting that can be quite frightening and traumatic to the individual going through the experience," says Rebecca Jesseman, a senior policy adviser at the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.-Not for the first-time user-If someone does consume a much greater quantity of THC than was expected, reactions could include anxiety and heart palpitations.Larsen says that for a first-time user, "probably doing a big glob of shatter" isn't the best way to start."But if you're an experienced user and you need or prefer to have a stronger dose in a smaller amount as opposed to having to consume a lot of cannabis to get what you need, it can be quite effective."He also argues that marijuana products such as shatter should be available under legalization."If they're not, people will continue to make them in their homes and we shouldn't be doing that," he says."They can be dangerous to make and should be done in a lab or in some kind of safe conditions and that I think is the role of the government …  to regulate the producers of these kind of products."Amendments this year to federal medical marijuana regulations mean derivatives can be made by someone who has a licence, says Serr. But "people could not use organic solvents such as butane" to make those derivatives."Even though edibles, cookies, brownies, some oils are legal, the process to make shatter is still illegal," he says. "It's a bit confusing right now with the multiple court cases and the multiple regulations we're under."-Confusion over regulations-Still, as the federal government moves toward legalization, dealing with the level of concentration within marijuana products will be one issue policy makers will most likely have to consider.In doing so, they may look to other jurisdictions for their experiences.The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse issued a report a few weeks ago entitled "Cannabis Regulation: Lessons Learned from Colorado and Washington State.""If we wanted to really take away the lessons we learned … in Colorado and Washington, it would be either prohibit or put very strict controls on these higher THC products and these different product formats until we have the research, until we know what the impacts are and really focusing on a public health approach," says Jesseman."It's really easier as we accumulate knowledge to relax restrictions as appropriate than it is to impose more severe restrictions."

Oregon activists picked the wrong battle, militia leaders say-Reuters By Andy Sullivan-JAN 5,15-YAHOONEWS

(Reuters) - Self-styled militia members who seized federal property in rural Oregon in an effort to galvanize opposition to the U.S. government appear to have made a tactical error - potential allies say they picked the wrong battle.As armed anti-government activists occupied a snowy wildlife refuge for a third day to call attention to a land-use dispute, militia leaders from similar groups across the country criticized the seizure of federal land and a building.The protesters have said they aim "to restore and defend the Constitution" to protect the rights of ranchers and ignite a national debate about states' rights and federal land-use policy they hope could ultimately force the federal government to release tracts of Western land.Their occupation of the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge comes as the number of paramilitary groups is on the rise in the United States, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy group that tracks their numbers.But the latest call to arms appears to have failed to resonate with like-minded groups whose support would be crucial for creating a coalition of armed militia members substantial enough to thwart a law enforcement operation."There's a better way to go about things," said Brandon Curtiss, president of Three Percent of Idaho, a militia group that has been involved in the dispute. "If you want to make a change like that, you need to get the county citizens behind you to go through the proper channels."The protesters have rallied behind Oregon ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, who were found guilty of arson on public land near their property. They were initially sentenced to 12 months in prison, below the federal minimum for arson, but a U.S. judge raised the sentences to five years.The Hammonds, who turned themselves in as planned on Monday at a federal prison in California, have said they do not support the protesters or their leader, Ammon Bundy, whose father, Cliven Bundy, was at the center of a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights in Nevada that ended with federal agents backing down in the face of about 1,000 armed militiamen, many on horseback.The Pacific Patriot Network, an umbrella group for militias in the region, said it did not support seizing federal property even if it understood the underlying frustration with the federal government. "This land use issue is decades old and it's boiling up in frustration. That's what you're seeing," spokesman Joseph Rice said.The Oath Keepers, another paramilitary group that participated in the 2014 Bundy ranch dispute in Nevada, also distanced itself from the latest standoff.-' WISH TO HELL HE HADN'T DONE THIS'-Some militia leaders said Bundy was using the dispute to provoke the federal government with little regard for the local community."Here you have a guy who believes he's on a mission from God. What the Hammonds want and what the community wants is immaterial," said Mike Vanderboegh, a founder of the III Percent Movement, which draws its name from the notion that only 3 percent of Americans actively participated in the Revolutionary War.Vanderboegh and other leaders said they worried Bundy would provoke a violent response from the U.S. government similar to the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, that ended in the deaths of 76 people.Three Obama administration officials said federal authorities had been told to avoid a violent confrontation, in line with official U.S. policy after the deadly clashes at Waco and in 1992 at Ruby Ridge, Idaho-Armed U.S. paramilitary groups, which had been on the wane since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, have seen their ranks swell in recent years, driven by fears among the far right that President Barack Obama will threaten gun ownership and erode local rights.The movement has also been energized by confrontations between ranchers, miners and federal regulators in the Western United States, where the government owns vast stretches of land.The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates there are 276 active militia groups today, one-third more than before last year's standoff.The latest incident began after militia groups from Oregon and Idaho staged a peaceful march in the nearby city of Burns on Saturday to protest what they see as heavy-handed management by bureaucrats with little interest in local concerns.Other militia leaders declined to question Bundy's motives but said he stood little chance of getting the federal government to back down."If you want me to demonize this guy, I won't do it," said Bob Wright, a commander of the New Mexico Militia."But I wish to hell he hadn't done this," he said.(Reporting by Andy Sullivan in Washington; Editing by Jason Szep and Peter Cooney)

Sympathy for jailed ranchers, anger at occupiers in Oregon town-Reuters By Jonathan Allen and Jim Urquhart-JAN 5,16-YAHOONEWS

BURNS, Ore. (Reuters) - Residents of the Oregon town thrust into the spotlight after self-styled militiamen took over a U.S. wildlife refuge voiced sympathy for the jailed ranchers whose plight inspired the action and but were critical of the armed protesters.Saturday's takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge outside the town of Burns, Oregon, marked the latest protest over federal management of public land in the West, long seen by conservatives in the region as an intrusion on individual rights.Ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son, Steven, who on Monday surrendered to serve longer prison terms for setting fires that spread to federal land, had been regulars at a town diner where residents were sympathetic and said they feared the federal government wanted to seize ranch lands for its own use."The BLM wants that land bad and they'll probably end up getting it," said Tim Slate, a butcher who said he had gone out to slaughter the Hammonds' cattle many times over the years, using an acronym for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. "The federal government wants to take over the state of Oregon and turn it into a park."Diners voiced skepticism about protest leader Ammon Bundy, the son of a Nevada rancher who along with a large group of armed men successfully stared down federal agents in 2014 when the government attempted to confiscate his livestock because he refused to pay grazing fees."I don't think it's right to take over a public building," said James Arndt, a retired painter. "I'm kind of mixed about that."He echoed other residents of the town of some 3,000 people about 280 miles (451 km) southeast of Portland, who viewed the occupation as the work of outside agitators. Lawyers from the Hammonds have sought to disassociate themselves from the occupiers, saying that the action did not represent their clients' will.Authorities have closed schools for the week in the area out of concerns of possible violence, although so far the occupation has been peaceful.'DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION'-Bundy said his group had named itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and was defending the Constitution and personal liberty against the federal government.A Twitter page under Bundy's name said the group had no intention of leaving the refuge until its conditions are met.The protesters have said they aim "to restore and defend the Constitution" to protect the rights of ranchers and start a national debate about states' rights and federal land-use policy that they hope will force the federal government to release tracts of Western land.Harney County Sheriff David Ward, in a statement on behalf of himself and County Judge Steven Grasty on Monday, asked group members to stand down."It is time for you to leave our community, go home to your families, and end this peacefully," Ward said.Both protesters and authorities have declined to say how many people are involved in the occupation. About a dozen occupiers have been visible at the site.The FBI said it was working with state and local law enforcement for a peaceful resolution and federal law enforcement officials have kept their distance from the wildlife refuge, which is closed to visitors. They are following U.S. policy guidelines instituted to prevent such standoffs from turning deadly as they did in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas in the early 1990s.The success of the 2014 standoff at the Bundy ranch, likely emboldened the group to occupy the refuge, observers said."They forced the federal government at gunpoint to stand down. They won," said Heidi Beirich, director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups."The group that's holed up there in Burns seems to think they're going to take that same idea to another level: You solve your issues over land usage or grazing fees or whatever by refusing to pay up and then using weapons to run cops off the land."(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball and Andy Sullivan in Washington and Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Bill Trott)

STORMS HURRICANES-TORNADOES

LUKE 21:25-26
25 And there shall be signs in the sun,(HEATING UP-SOLAR ECLIPSES) and in the moon,(MAN ON MOON-LUNAR ECLIPSES) and in the stars;(ASTEROIDS ETC) and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear,(TORNADOES,HURRICANES,STORMS) and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:(DESTRUCTION) for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.(FROM QUAKES,NUKES ETC)

Ottawa residents remain frustrated over snow-clogged streets-[CBC]-January 4, 2016-YAHOO NEWS

Nearly a week after Ottawa's first major snow storm of the season, complaints continue that many side streets are still reduced to one lane and many sidewalks remain clogged with snow and ice.Staff at the Centretown Community Health Centre said clients, including seniors and people with physical disabilities, are forced to take a risky route into the building on Cooper Street just west of Bank Street.A three-foot snowbank at the ParaTranspo stop in front of the building has turned to ice despite calls to the city, said health centre executive director Simone Thibault."If you're in a wheelchair, you can't get in," Thibault said. "It feels very frustrating to staff, and frustrating for our clients. It's cold. It's hard enough for people to get here with mobility issues."Catherine McKenney, the councillor for the Somerset ward where the health centre is located, said she has been inundated with complaints."I've never seen anything like it, in terms of lack of sidewalk plowing," she said.Ottawa was hit with more than 25 centimetres of snow last Tuesday.

Texas blizzard kills 15,000 cows-AFP-January 4, 2016 12:00 PM-YAHOONEWS

Chicago (AFP) - A freak blizzard killed at least 15,000 dairy cows in the US state of Texas and for almost two days kept farmers from milking some of those that survived, officials said Monday.The brutal winter storm dumped heavy snow on the northern part of Texas on December 26. Farmers have not yet fully assessed the damage."They're still trying to dig out, but at least it stopped snowing," Kirsten Voinis, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association of Dairymen, told AFP.Texas ranchers typically let their cows graze in pastures rather keeping them locked up in barns. The storm hit too suddenly for them to get their cows inside.The association estimates that the storm killed about ten percent of mature dairy cows in the region. It does not yet have an estimate as to how many calves and heifers were killed.Safely disposing of the carcasses will be a major challenge."We usually send them to rendering, but we're not sure if rendering will be able to handle a number this big," Voinis said."We're trying to figure out if there's wintering capacity, or if we do have to bury them. That opens up other issues... water quality and how it impacts your land."Many of the surviving cows will also likely give less milk for months to come. They are typically milked twice a day, but the bad roads and blowing snow meant farm workers were unable to get some cows into their barns to be milked for as much as two days."When a dairy cow goes that long without being milked, her milk supply starts to dry up," Darren Turley, executive director of the Texas Association of Dairymen, said in a statement." That means the dairy cows in this region will give less milk for months to come. Less milk going to market will be felt by consumers, as well as by dairy farmers."

Southern Illinois battles flooding as Mississippi River builds downstream-Reuters-January 4, 2016 11:11 AM-YAHOONEWS

(Reuters) - Residents of flooded areas in far southern Illinois anxiously waited for the swollen Mississippi River to peak on Sunday, with hundreds electing to remain in their homes, as states downstream prepared for the rising waters.About 125 structures were flooded in hard-hit Alexander County, the southernmost point in Illinois, where three families near one breach stayed dry behind sandbag fortifications and private levees, county board Chairman Chalen Tatum said.The National Weather Service on Sunday canceled a flash flood watch for Alexander and two other Illinois counties, where record or near-record river levels have threatened levees.Days of downpours totaling 10 inches or more in spots pushed the Mississippi and smaller rivers over their banks in several states. At least 31 people have died in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Arkansas, most of them after vehicles drove into flooded areas.Nine people have died in the Illinois flooding and a dozen counties have been declared disaster areas there, said Patti Thompson, spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.In Alexander County, officials knocked on more than 500 doors to urge people to leave voluntarily, though many stayed, Tatum said. The voluntary evacuation could run another four days and no injuries or deaths have been reported, he said."The levees have a lot of pressure on them," Tatum said, adding that a breach two days ago in a levee west of Miller City in the county has reached a quarter-mile wide. "We hope they hold, but I don't want to bet someone's life on it."Tatum said many more homes were affected by a flood in 2011 and expressed frustration that already approved buy-outs of more than 100 homes and small businesses related to that flooding have been stalled by an Illinois state budget impasse.The Mississippi receded further from dangerous levels at St. Louis and farther south at Thebes, Illinois, and Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on Sunday, the NWS said.Significant flooding was expected into mid-January along the Mississippi River at points downstream, from Tennessee to Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana."I hope it's going to slow down," said Kristy Morgan, an assistant manager of Little General Marathon Gas in Tiptonville, a small city in the northwest corner of Tennessee."All I know is they have been working around the clock doing sand-bagging," Morgan said of city and county personnel and emergency agencies in the area.The river is expected to crest at the moderate flood stage on Thursday in Memphis, Tennessee, according to the NWS. In Louisiana, where crests at some points along the river are not expected until mid-January, officials are checking levees daily.The river is expected to reach major flood stage from Arkansas City, Arkansas, to Natchez, Mississippi, the NWS said. Islands and camps inside the levee structures would be expected to flood, with some backup flooding from rivers that flow into the Mississippi, the NWS said.Exxon Mobil Corp said its refined products terminal in Memphis remained closed. On Friday the company decided to shut the terminal just south of downtown, which has a capacity of 340,000 barrels, as flood waters threatened to inundate it.(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis, Erwin Seba in Houston and Tim Ghianni in Nashville; Editing by Dan Grebler)



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