Tuesday, August 30, 2016
NORTH KOREA DENOUNCES US CONDEMNATION,WARNS USA OF ACTION.
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)
THE FIRST JUDGEMENT OF THE EARTH STARTED WITH WATER-IT ONLY MAKES SENSE THE LAST GENERATION WILL BE HAVING FLOODING
6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
GOD PROMISED BY A RAINBOW-THE EARTH WOULD NEVER BE DESTROYED TOTALLY WITH A FLOOD AGAIN.BUT FLOODIING IS A SIGN OF JUDGEMENT.
North Carolina, Florida menaced as tropical systems churn-[Reuters]-By Letitia Stein-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. forecasters issued a tropical storm warning for coastal North Carolina on Monday, while another system churning in the Gulf of Mexico could make landfall in Florida later in the week.The two systems, still unnamed tropical depressions, were expected to strengthen into tropical storms by Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.The North Carolina tropical storm warning came as a system in the Atlantic Ocean, gusting winds around 35 miles per hour (55 km), was expected to pass near the state's Outer Banks region late on Tuesday, then turn quickly out to sea.The threat to Florida was expected later in the week from a system that has been dumping torrential rain on western Cuba as it churns a path into the eastern Gulf of Mexico.Forecasters said the system could make landfall on Thursday around northern Florida's Gulf Coast, then cut across Georgia and impact the Carolinas on its way to the Atlantic.The hurricane center also warned that western Cuba could get pounded with as much as 12 inches (30 cm) of rain, potentially triggering life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.Heavy rains could hammer much of Florida through Thursday, with forecasters warning that up to 10 inches (25 cm) could fall on parts of its Gulf Coast, raising the threat of flooding.The next two tropical storms of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season will be named Hermine and Ian.The developing systems come as the season's first major Atlantic hurricane, Gaston, was expected to remain a hurricane for several days. Gaston was blasting 105-mile-per-hour (165 km) winds on Monday afternoon, posing no current threat to land and located about 570 miles (915 km) east of Bermuda.(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Alan Crosby and Andrew Hay)
Hess evacuates some U.S. Gulf of Mexico staff on storm threat-[Reuters]-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Hess on Monday said it was securing its U.S. Gulf of Mexico facilities and evacuating non-essential personnel as a precaution ahead of Tropical Depression Nine.Other operators in the Gulf of Mexico, including BP, Shell, Anadarko, and BHP Billiton have taken similar measures.The system is expected to be upgraded to a tropical storm by Tuesday, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center. (Reporting by Liz Hampton)
16 When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread:
5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.(A DAYS WAGES FOR A LOAF OF BREAD)
Egypt's parliament chief refers wheat corruption report to prosecutor general-[Reuters]-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
CAIRO (Reuters) - A parliamentary fact-finding commission's report on corruption in the country's wheat industry was referred to the prosecutor general and an anti-corruption watchdog agency by the speaker of the Egyptian House of Representatives on Monday.The report, which was also presented to members of Parliament on Monday and reviewed by Reuters in advance, found that the government played a key role in "wasting public funds" in its costly food subsidy program.From silo contracts to budgetary analysis to testimony from industry officials, the more than 500 pages of fact-finding on wheat corruption pointed to government involvement in mismanaging, and at times facilitating graft in, subsidies intended to encourage agriculture and feed tens of millions.The speaker of the House, Ali Abdelaal, said he referred the report to the prosecutor and the Illicit Gains Authority, among other state bodies, for them to take any necessary action.Egypt, the world's largest importer of wheat, has been mired in controversy in recent months over whether much of the roughly 5 million tonnes of grain the government said it procured in this harvest exists only on paper, the result of local suppliers falsifying receipts to boost government payments.The parliamentary committee found former Supplies Minister Khaled Hanafi, who resigned on Thursday amid growing criticism of his management of the subsidies, politically responsible. His exit was the biggest fallout from the wheat scandal to date.A Reuters special report earlier this year detailed how the government's wheat supply chain was riddled with corruption - from fraudulent wheat purchases by local suppliers to hacked smart cards that allowed bakers to steal flour - that has cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars per year.(Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein)
South Africa's drought recovery could be stalled by uncertain rain prospects-[Reuters]-By Tanisha Heiberg-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
PRETORIA (Reuters) - South Africa's recovery from its worst drought in over century could be stalled as anticipated rain relief from a La Nina weather system remains uncertain, the South African Weather Service said on Monday.An earlier prediction of a moderate La Nina, which is associated with higher rainfall, for the spring/summer season between September and February, had eased farmers' drought fears. But the South African Weather Service said it was uncertain how much rain there would be.An El Nino weather pattern which ended in May triggered drought conditions across southern Africa. South African temperatures reached historic peaks and 2015 was the driest year since records began in 1904.South Africa's maize crop was decimated with current forecasts pointing to a 26.6 percent lower harvest this year due to the severe drought. White maize, the food staple, doubled in price last year, helping to fuel inflation.Indian Ocean conditions may not be conducive for rainfall during spring with most climate models indicating a marginal prospect of above normal rainfall conditions toward early summer, the Weather Service said."If we have got the current conditions prevailing we are most likely to have high temperatures going forward," said Nhlonipho Nhlabatsi, a senior research manager with the Weather Service.Most parts of South Africa are still experiencing drought conditions and water stress despite the strong El Nino dissipating, the Weather Service said."The recovery of South Africa from drought conditions may take some time, depending on rainfall and temperature conditions over the coming spring through summer 2016/17 season," it added.(Editing by Adrian Croft)
1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land,(EARTH) because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.
3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.
2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.
3 I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.
More than 300 reindeer killed by lightning in Norway-[AFP]-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
Oslo (AFP) - More than 300 wild reindeer have been killed by lightning in southern Norway, officials said Monday, in the largest such incident known to date.The 323 reindeer, including 70 young, were found on Friday by a gamekeeper on the Hardangervidda plateau, a national park where Europe's largest herd of some 10,000 wild reindeer roam freely.Television footage showed the animals' dead bodies lying close together on the ground."There were very strong storms in the area on Friday. The animals stay close together in bad weather and these ones were hit by lightning," an official from the Norwegian Environment Agency, Kjartan Knutsen, told AFP.Reindeer are social creatures and usually move in packs."It's unusual. We've never seen anything like this on this scale," Knutsen said.Norwegian authorities have yet to decide what to do with the animals."We're going to decide soon whether to let nature run its own course or whether we will do something," he said.Of the 323 reindeer killed, five had to be put down due to their injuries.Thee are some 25,000 wild tundra reindeer in Norway, located in the southern mountain ranges, according to experts.
Washington state begins killing wolf pack for preying on livestock-[Reuters]-By Steve Gorman-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
(Reuters) - Wildlife agents authorized to eradicate a group of 11 wolves for repeated attacks on cattle in Washington state have hunted down and killed six animals from the condemned pack and are searching for the rest, a state game official said on Monday.State biologists fatally shot two members of the so-called Profanity Peak wolf pack from a helicopter on Aug. 5 after confirming five fatal wolf attacks on livestock in that area. Further lethal-control efforts were later called off.But eradication orders were renewed, and expanded to the entire pack, on Aug. 19 when the state Fish and Wildlife Department determined the same group of wolves was behind additional attacks that left two calves dead and a third injured.Aerial kill teams have since destroyed four more wolves, including a pup, and wildlife agents are looking for the remaining five members of the targeted pack, said Craig Bartlett, a spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Department."We've never taken out an entire pack before," Bartlett said, adding officials could still decide at some point to suspend the hunt and spare some of the remaining wolves if livestock attacks appear to have been halted.In the meantime, he said, the number of cattle killed or injured by wolves in the area had grown to 12.The Profanity Peak wolves make up one of 19 wolf packs known to inhabit Washington, 15 of them in the eastern third of the state where federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves were lifted in 2011.Wolves are still listed as endangered under state law, which allows officials to remove wolves found to be repeatedly preying on livestock. But the population has grown steadily since 2008, when the first pack documented in Washington in many decades was confirmed, and they now number about 90 animals statewide, Bartlett said.The current effort targeting the Profanity Peak pack marks the third time state officials have used lethal means against wolves. The two previous efforts, in 2012 and 2014, resulted in the deaths of 10 wolves, but some members of those packs ended up being spared, Bartlett said.(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)
Clinton aide Abedin dumps husband Weiner over new scandal-[The Canadian Press]-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
NEW YORK — Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is done playing the good wife to Anthony Weiner, announcing Monday she is leaving the serially sexting ex-congressman after he was accused of sending raunchy photos and messages to yet another woman.Abedin, who as vice chair of Clinton's campaign is destined for big things if the Democrat is elected president, stayed with Weiner after a sexting scandal led him to resign from Congress in 2011 and after a new outbreak of online misbehaviour wrecked his bid for New York mayor in 2013. She didn't leave even when a recent documentary blew up tense moments in their marriage to big-screen proportions.But on Monday, she effectively declared she had had enough."After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband," she said in a statement issued by the campaign. "Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life."The New York Post published photos late Sunday that it said Weiner had sent last year to a woman identified only as a "40-something divorcee" who lives in the West and supports Republican Donald Trump. The photos included two close-ups of Weiner's bulging underpants.In one of the pictures, Weiner is lying on a bed with his toddler son while texting the woman, according to the Post. The tabloid also ran sexually suggestive messages that it said the two exchanged.Weiner told the Post that he and the woman "have been friends for some time.""She has asked me not to comment except to say that our conversations were private, often included pictures of her nieces and nephews and my son and were always appropriate," the 51-year-old Democrat told the newspaper.Weiner didn't return a call, text or email from The Associated Press. He deleted his Twitter account Monday.The Post didn't say how it obtained the photographs and messages.Abedin, 40, is a longtime Clinton aide and confidante who is often referred to as the candidate's second daughter.Trump immediately seized on the aide's marital split to accuse Clinton of "bad judgment." He suggested that Weiner might have compromised national security, but offered no evidence to support the allegation."I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information," Trump said in a statement. "Who knows what he learned and who he told?"Abedin has been under scrutiny during the probe into Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Federal prosecutors declined to file charges in the investigation, but FBI Director James Comey said Clinton and her aides had been "extremely careless" in their handling of classified information.Abedin began working for the former first lady as a White House intern and became a trusted aide as Clinton won a seat in the Senate representing New York in 2000, ran for president in 2008 and served as President Barack Obama's secretary of state. Former President Bill Clinton officiated when Abedin and Weiner married in 2010.The marriage would provide years of fodder for political commentators, armchair psychologists and spouses all over America who wondered: How could she stay with him? Abedin was pregnant with the couple's son, Jordan, when a photo of a man's bulging underpants appeared on Weiner's Twitter account in 2011. After initially claiming his account was hacked, Weiner acknowledged inappropriate online communication with several women.Two years later, Abedin was all in for her husband's mayoral bid, raising money, appearing on the campaign trail and participating in interviews in which the couple talked about rebuilding their trust and marriage. Then a new series of sexually explicit pictures and messages emerged, and Weiner was forced to acknowledge he kept sexting after he had resigned from Congress.Still, Abedin said, "I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him, and ... we are moving forward."Voters weren't ready to forgive, however. Weiner lost the Democratic primary.Weiner has since remained in the public eye, commenting on politics on cable news shows. "Weiner," the documentary offering a cringe-inducing inside view of his mayoral campaign and its unraveling, played in theatres earlier this year and is set to air on Showtime this fall.He recently refused to answer when asked whether he was still sexting, telling The New York Times Magazine in an interview published Aug. 16: "I'm not going to go down the path of talking about any of that."Some psychology experts, while cautioning they haven't treated him, suggested his behaviour smacks of extreme impulsiveness, compulsion or addiction."Impulsivity is something that a lot of people really struggle with," said Jeannette Stern, a New York therapist. While there are various approaches people can try to change such behaviour , she noted, "they have to really be willing to stop."Jennifer Peltz And Ken Thomas, The Associated Press
European experts float post-Brexit 'partnership' with Britain-[Reuters]-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A senior German lawmaker, an adviser to the French prime minister and a former deputy head of the Bank of England have proposed that a post-Brexit Britain form a new "continental partnership" with the EU.In a paper published on Monday by the Brussels-based Bruegel think-tank, five experts argue that Britain be given a say in the affairs of a more closely integrated European Union in return for contributing to shared security and budgets as well as accepting a degree of easy immigration for European workers.A key aim would be to avoid a rancorous split following the British vote to quit the Union on June 23, further diminishing the clout the continent will have in the world."Neither the UK nor the continuing members of the EU can escape their geographical interdependencies. Both have a stake in economic and political stability in Europe," they wrote."Today's volatile and dangerous world requires its nations to collaborate to confront new and multiple challenges. The longer-run prospect of a future world in which Europe is only one amongst many powerful regions demands the same."The group comprises: Jean Pisani-Ferry, who runs policy planning for Socialist French Prime Minister Manuel Valls; Norbert Roettgen of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, who chairs the Bundestag foreign affairs committee; former Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker; Belgian economist Andre Sapir, a former adviser to the European Commission president; and Bruegel Director Guntram Wolff.Some Brexit campaigners who argue that geography matters less in the digital economy and that Britain should not barter sovereignty for access to the EU's markets.Their advocacy of a deal, unlike that currently given to other non-EU states such as Norway or Switzerland, that would give Britain access to EU markets while accepting voters' rejection of full free movement for EU workers reflects types of Brexit compromise that officials are starting to think about.British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants a new kind of relationship from those already set up by the Union.The Bruegel authors suggest a Europe of two circles in which the EU core, bound more tightly than today around the euro - would consult with Britain and others like Norway, Switzerland and one day perhaps Turkey or Ukraine - giving outer members of such a Continental Partnership a voice but no veto on policy.(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; @macdonaldrtr; editing by Andrew Roche)
Portugal's Guterres still leads race for U.N. chief after third ballot-[Reuters]-By Michelle Nichols-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres still leads the race to become the next United Nations Secretary-General after a third U.N. Security Council secret ballot on Monday, diplomats said.The 15-member council cast a ballot for each of the remaining 10 candidates, and the choices were: encourage, discourage or no opinion. Guterres received 11 encourage, three discourage and one no opinion, diplomats said.The Security Council will hold secret ballots until a consensus is reached on a candidate to replace U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon of South Korea who steps down at the end of 2016 after serving two five-year terms.Guterres, who was prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015, also won the first two rounds of secret ballots by the Security Council.In the second ballot on Aug. 5 he picked up 11 encourage, two discourage and two no opinions, while in the first poll on July 21, Guterres received 12 encourages and three no opinions."Some favorites are emerging," British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters on his way in to the poll on Monday, adding he would encourage some candidates to consider dropping out."The whole point of the straw polls is to gradually winnow down the field," he said.In Monday's poll Slovakia's Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak jumped to second spot with nine encourage, five discourage and one no opinion, followed by Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, who is director-general of U.N. cultural organization UNESCO, and former Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, who both had seven encourage, five discourage and three no opinion, diplomats said.Argentinian Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra dropped to fifth spot from third, followed by former Macedonian Foreign Minister Srgjan Kerim, and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who heads the U.N. Development Programme.Former Slovenian President Danilo Turk, Moldova's former Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman and former U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica filled the last three spots.Former Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic dropped out of the race prior to the second ballot, while Montenegro Foreign Minister Igor Luksic withdrew last week.Civil society groups and nearly a third of the 193 U.N. member states, led by Colombia, have pushed for the first woman secretary-general. But hopes for a woman to lead the United Nations appear to be fading.Diplomats said the council aimed to recommend a candidate to the 193-member General Assembly for election by October. Ultimately, the five permanent veto-wielding council members - the United States, Russia, Britain, China and France - must agree on a candidate.(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish)
North Korea denounces UN condemnation, warns US of action-[Associated Press]-EDITH M. LEDERER-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea has denounced a U.N. Security Council statement condemning its four latest ballistic missile launches, calling it "a hostile act" perpetrated by the United States and warning that it could precipitate America's "self-destruction."A Foreign Ministry statement sent to U.N. correspondents on Monday also warned that North Korea "has substantial means capable of reducing aggression troops in the U.S. mainland and the operational theater in the Pacific to ashes in a moment."A press statement approved Friday night by all 15 Security Council members, including North Korea's ally China, called the four launches in July and August "grave violations" of a ban on all ballistic missile activity.The council expressed "serious concern" that North Korea had carried out the launches after six ballistic missile firings between April and June, "in flagrant disregard" of the council's repeated demands to halt all missile launches and nuclear tests which violate U.N. resolutions.North Korea's Foreign Ministry accused the United States of instigating the statement and "abusing" the Security Council, to deter the country's "legitimate right to self-defense."The ministry called the council statement "a reckless provocation harassing peace and stability on the Korean peninsula."It accused the Security Council of deliberately disregarding a complaint sent by the North Korean government about U.S.-South Korean military exercises currently underway. North Korea has threatened retaliation for these exercises, which it views as a rehearsal for invasion by the U.S. and other adversaries."This is an illegal action taken by the world body to side with the U.S. in the acute standoff between the DPRK and the U.S. without an iota of impartiality," the ministry said, using the initials of the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.North Korea singled out the council's condemnation of the latest submarine launch of a ballistic missile on Aug. 24, days after the U.S. and South Korea began their annual military exercises.North Korea usually responds to the annual South Korea-U.S. military drills with weapons tests and fiery warlike rhetoric-South Korean officials said the missile flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles), the longest distance achieved by the North for such a weapon. That means all of South Korea, and possibly parts of Japan, are within its striking distance.The Foreign Ministry recalled its warning to the U.S. of military action if it criticized the submarine missile launch and "enraged people of the DPRK.""Now that the U.S. posed threats to the dignity and the right to existence of the DPRK defying its serious warning, it will continue to take a series of eventful action steps as a full-fledged military power," the statement said.Acquiring the ability to launch missiles from submarines would be an alarming development because missiles fired from submerged vessels are harder to detect in advance. U.S. Strategic Command said last week that the latest North Korean missile launch did not pose a threat to North America but that the U.S. military "remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations."North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons development programs have brought heavy international sanctions down on its head, but Pyongyang says they are justified because of the threat posed by the U.S. and South Korea.
US-backed Kurds move east of Euphrates in Syria: defense official-[AFP]-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
Washington (AFP) - US-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria have "all" moved east of the Euphrates River, a US defense official said Monday, an action Washington hopes will reduce conflict between two partner forces.The development comes after Turkey warned it would carry out more strikes on Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) near the key border town of Jarabulus unless they moved to the east.Speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations, the official told AFP the YPG had headed east over the past day or so."All the YPG are on the east of the Euphrates," the official said.Still, he said, some Kurds may remain to the west of the river, but these were not part of the YPG.Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook earlier said the YPG move east had "largely occurred."The situation in northern Syria is yet another complication in the country's already tangled civil war, and potentially throws a wrench in US plans to defeat the Islamic State group in the region.The US-led coalition has been backing the YPG with training and equipment to fight IS, while at the same time the United States has also supported "Vetted Syrian Opposition" groups fighting with the Turks in northern Syria.Ankara has said it killed 25 Kurdish "terrorists" in strikes on YPG positions on Sunday -- meaning the two US-backed partner forces are now fighting each other.Turkey's operation aims to push the YPG back across the Euphrates to prevent it joining up a region east of the river already under its control with a Kurdish-held area to the west.Ankara fears the emergence of an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria would bolster Kurdish rebels across the border in southeast Turkey.
Oil wells south of Mosul burn days after key town retaken-[Associated Press]-SUSANNAH GEORGE and BALINT SZLANKO-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
QAYARA, Iraq (AP) — The skies above this small northern Iraqi town are black with smoke and ash rains down from around a half dozen oil wells that Islamic State group fighters set ablaze as Iraqi troops moved in to retake Qayara last week.The apocalyptic scene underscores the sort of destruction that the militants are likely to wreak as Iraqi forces move toward Mosul, the biggest prize still held by IS in Iraq.Unlike previous ground assaults against IS in Iraq that left entire cities and villages emptied of civilians, thousands of civilians remained in Qayara as militants inside quickly folded up and fled, a sign of their weakening morale and damaged supply lines, commanders say. That means residents did not join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of people displaced by recent fighting with IS and now languishing in camps around the country.But the situation for the some 9,000 civilians still in Qaraya is precarious. The battle left the town without electricity and little running water, and the large international aid groups who normally help the displaced say they cannot deliver aid to people so close to frontline fighting.Najim al-Jobori, the commander of military operations in Nineveh Province where Qayara and Mosul are located, said Iraqi forces are increasingly trying to keep civilians in place while pushing IS fighters out. The Qayara operation, he said, raises his hopes that the approach on Mosul will become increasingly easier as morale among IS fighters crumbles-He said that previously when an airstrike hit an IS unit, the survivors would stay and keep fighting. "But now, you never see that anymore, they all just run."Hundreds of civilians poured out into Qayara's main street Sunday as a convoy of Iraqi officials pulled into the town just days after the military retook it. Some children rushed to cheer on the Iraqi army Humvees, other families peered cautiously from behind garden gates in the town, which before 2011 had a population of 79,000.Walls still painted with colorful Islamic State group instructions and warnings were only partially obscured with hasty swipes of paint. IS banners at the town's entrance stood shredded.Salim Atiyya, a government employee, said that initially in the lead-up to the military's assault on the town, planes dropped leaflets on his neighborhood telling residents to flee along a road leading west. But IS fighters immediately mined the road with roadside bombs. A few days later, leaflets were dropped telling residents to stay put."At the beginning of course we were so scared," the 33-year-old Atiyya said. "We found the smallest room in our house away from windows and doors and we all moved into there," he said. Extended family members also moved in, seeking safety, and eventually "18 of us were all in that one small room," he said.Warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition bombed militants in the town for three days, and then Iraqi forces moved in, recapturing Qayara with only minor clashes. The militants set fire to the oil wells initially to try to thwart airstrikes, but then as they realized they were losing ground they set as many wells alight as possible in an attempt to leave behind a ruined prize, residents said.After the militants fled, Atiyya said he and his family emerged and found the bodies of three IS fighters killed by an airstrike in the street in front of his home."We took them and threw them in the garbage dump," he said, adding, "if you go there now you'll see it's filled with the dead from Daesh" — using the Arabic acronym for IS.But now al-Jobori says his men are unable to control the oil well fires. It's an IS tactic the Iraqis fear they will continue to face as they close in on Mosul: There are a number of small wells under IS control around the city that the militants are likely to set ablaze as well, though they are nowhere near the size of Iraq's more significant oil fields in the south, the Kurdish region and around Kirkuk."The ash falls down like paint powder," said Atiyya. "You will try to wash your clothing, but the color, it never comes out."Another resident, Ahmed Salih, gestured to the clouds of thick black smoke billowing over the town. "The children and the elderly, they are the ones suffering the most," he said, adding that IS began burning oil as a defensive measure three months ago and respiratory problems have since then become commonplace.Salih's tire shop stood shuttered along the main drag. Most of the shops on either side were damaged by small arms fire or destroyed by airstrikes or explosives laid by IS.The United Nations estimates more than 3.3 million Iraqis have been forced from their homes by violence since 2014. The government and aid groups are already struggling to help the displaced, and now they are gearing up to deal with an estimated 1 million who could be driven from their homes during to campaign to retake Mosul.But keeping residents in their homes raises problems of its own. The U.N. refugee agency said it has been unable to reach Qayara to assess the situation there because it remains so close to fighting."We are concerned that if people are prevented from leaving their homes, it could place them at additional risk," the agency told The Associated Press in an emailed statement.On Sunday, Sheik Abdul-Latif al-Himaim, the head of Iraq's Sunni Endowment, an agency that oversees religious affairs for Sunni Muslims, toured Qayara. He said his agency's charity arm plans to bring aid to the town as it has to other displaced Iraqis.But just a few kilometers down the road, there's still no sign of aid from the endowment to a dusty camp called Teena, which houses hundreds of people displaced by previous fighting in the area."Honestly, the situation there is miserable," said Iraqi Army Col. Karim Rodan Salim, stationed at nearby Qayara air base. "None of the aid groups can reach here easily, any supplies brought there are finished in two days."Iraqi forces retook Qayara air base more than a month ago. Now, they are building it up to accommodate the massive numbers of troops needed to push further north toward Mosul.On Monday, dozens of trucks carrying military equipment, blast walls and vehicles clogged the roads leading to the base. As a convoy of coalition armored vehicles passed, carrying munitions and cartons of Gatorade, children from the Teena camp swarmed the sides of the road to beg, yelling, "Water!" in English.-__Associated Press writer Salar Salim contributed to this report.
French minister: enemy seeks to divide Muslims, non-Muslims-[Associated Press]-ELAINE GANLEY-August 29, 2016-YAHOONEWS
PARIS (AP) — France's interior minister said Monday that the country is at war with an enemy trying to pit Muslims against non-Muslims, making it urgent to create a strong bond between the nation and citizens of the Islamic faith.Bernard Cazeneuve also said it was crucial to tailor the religion to the values of secular France, "a pillar of the republic."He spoke after a day-long conference with Muslim leaders, professionals and some lawmakers to try to mount a project meant to bind Muslims to the nation, a task given new urgency after deep divisions surfaced over burkini bans in 30 French beach towns and after extremist attacks that also stigmatized Muslims.A high court struck down the burkini bans Friday, but the high-pitched debate that quickly seeped into France's political sphere revealed raw tensions between the secular establishment and sectors of France's estimated 5 million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.Cazeneuve, speaking to reporters, said a "strong and calm" relationship with Muslims is "urgent and particularly necessary.""France is at war with terrorists, at war with an enemy trying to divide it and pit the French against each other, fracture the nation's body, sap the republic," Cazeneuve said."We must not fall into this mortal trap."The July 14 attack on revelers in Nice, the killing of a priest in Normandy on July 26 and the June killing of a police couple in their home — all claimed by the Islamic State group — have focused tensions on Muslims.A French prosecutor opened an investigation into suspected racial discrimination after two Muslim women said they were ordered out of a restaurant over the weekend with the owner heard saying on an iPhone video, "I don't want people like you in my place. ... Get out."Cazeneuve warned in an interview with France's Roman Catholic newspaper La Croix that if the political class cannot unite all French "the dynamics of division may prove dangerous." However, he ruled out on Monday drafting a national law banning burkinis.The daylong conference is the latest step in creating an "Islam of France" that respects French secular values. Muslims must be "committed to a total defense of the Republic in the face of terrorism, in the face of Salafism," Cazeneuve told the paper, adding French values must "transcend all others."In France, the interior minister's responsibilities include maintaining good relations with religious denominations.Authorities plan to create a Foundation of Islam of France and an association working with it to train imams in the history of the nation and its secular values — and better track foreign influence on French Muslims, and ultimately try to keep it at bay. Doing away with foreign financing is tricky because France by law cannot directly fund houses of worship, nor can it provide theology courses for imams.The goal is to formally launch the foundation and association by year's end or early next year, an official, not authorized to speak publicly on the issue, said on condition of anonymity. Courses on Islamology are also to be offered to French to acquaint them with the religion."What is at stake is very important," said Abdallah Zekri, who heads the Observatory Against Islamophobia. "Firstly, we must end the arguments over the burkini, which make no sense."He told reporters that some people wanted to use burkinis to stigmatize Muslims, while politicians looking to France 2017 presidential race seized the issue "for vote-catching reasons."He also contended that humiliating Muslims "has facilitated the work of Daesh (Islamic State) recruiters" of vulnerable Muslim youth.More French Muslims have joined the ranks of IS militants than from other European nations — with at least 600 French citizens in Syria or Iraq, 160 killed and 1,800 either considering or en route.Cazeneuve listed some security measures to counter the encroachment of extremists: so far this year, France has expelled 15 foreigners considered a threat — six in August and more than 80 since 2012. Some 20 mosques or prayer rooms considered imbued with radicalism have been closed in recent months.___Jeffrey Schaeffer and Sylvie Corbet contributed to this report.
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