Tuesday, January 03, 2017

 

NORTH KOREAS KIM SAYS CLOSE TO TEST LAUNCH OF INTERCONTINENTAL BALISTIC MISSLE.

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)

CHINA AND KINGS OF THE EAST MARCH TO ISRAEL 2ND WAVE OF WW3 (200 MILLION MAN ARMY)

REVELATION 16:12-16
12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates;(WERE WW3 STARTS IN IRAQ OR SYRIA OR TURKEY) and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.(THE TURKEY ATATURK DAM ON THE EUPHRATES CAN BE SHUT AND DRIED UP ALREADY BY TURKEY)
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon,(SATAN) and out of the mouth of the beast,(WORLD DICTATOR) and out of the mouth of the false prophet.(FALSE POPE)
14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.(WERE 2 BILLION DIE FROM NUKE WAR)
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.(ITS AT THIS TIME I BELIEVE WHEN AMERICA GETS NUKED BY RUSSIA ON THE WAY TO THE MIDEAST)

DANIEL 11:44 (2ND WAVE OF WW3)
44 But tidings out of the east(CHINA) and out of the north(RUSSIA, MUSLIMS WHATS LEFT FROM WAVE 1) shall trouble him:(EU DICTATOR IN ISRAEL) therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.( 1/3RD OF EARTHS POPULATION)

REVELATION 9:12-18
12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four(DEMONIC WAR) angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.(WORLDWIDE WAR)(TURKEY-IRAQ-SYRIA)(EUPHRATES RIVER CONSISTS OF 760 MILES IN TURKEY,440 MILES IN SYRIA AND 660 MILES IN IRAQ)
15 And the four(DEMONIC WAR) angels were loosed,(WORLDWIDE WAR) which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.(1/3 Earths Population die in WW 3 2ND WAVE-2 billion)
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand:(200 MILLION MAN ARMY FROM CHINA AND THE KINGS OF THE EAST) and I heard the number of them.
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.(NUCLEAR BOMBS)
18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.(NUCLEAR BOMBS)

North Korea's claim on ICBM test plausible: experts-[Reuters]-By James Pearson-YAHOONEWS-January 2, 2017

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea has been working through 2016 on developing components for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), making the isolated nation's claim that it was close to a test-launch plausible, international weapons experts said on Monday.North Korea has been testing rocket engines and heat-shields for an ICBM while developing the technology to guide a missile after re-entry into the atmosphere following a lift-off, the experts said.While Pyongyang is close to a test, it is likely to take some years to perfect the weapon.Once fully developed, a North Korean ICBM could threaten the continental United States, which is around 9,000 km (5,500 miles) from the North. ICBMs have a minimum range of about 5,500 km (3,400 miles), but some are designed to travel 10,000 km (6,200 miles) or further.North Korea's state media regularly threatens the United States with a nuclear strike, but before 2016 Pyongyang had been assumed to be a long way from being capable of doing so.-"The bottom line is Pyongyang is much further along in their missile development than most people realize," said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the U.S.-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California.She said the North's test in April of a large liquid-fuel engine that could propel an ICBM was a major development."The liquid engine test was astounding," Hanham said."For years, we knew that North Korea had a Soviet R-27 missile engine design. They re-engineered the design of that engine to double its propulsion".North Korea has said it is capable of mounting a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile but it claims to be able to miniaturize a nuclear device have never been independently verified.The isolated nation has achieved this progress despite U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions for its nuclear tests and long-range rocket launches dating back to 2006. The sanctions ban arms trade and money flows that can fund the country's arms program.North Korea has enough uranium for six bombs a year and much of what it needs for its nuclear and missile programs relies on Soviet-era design and technology. Labor is virtually free.It can produce much of its missile parts domestically and invested heavily in its missile development infrastructure last year, funded by small arms sales and by taxing wealthy traders in its unofficial market economy.-PROPAGANDA OFFENSIVE-Throughout the year, North Korean state media showed images of numerous missile component tests, some of which revealed close-up details of engines and heat shields designed to protect a rocket upon re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.The propaganda offensive may have revealed some military secrets, but it may have also been a bid to silence outside analysts, many of whom had remained skeptical of the North's missile program."They're answering the public criticisms of U.S. experts," said Joshua Pollack, editor of the U.S.-based Non proliferation Review. "A lot of people had questioned whether they had a working ICBM-class heat shield"."So they showed us".Despite the research, Pyongyang has experienced considerable difficulties getting its intermediate-range Musudan missile, designed to fly about 3,000 km (1,860 miles), off the ground. It succeeded just once in eight attempted launches last year.North Korea has fired long-range rockets in the past, but has characterized those launches as peaceful and designed to put an object into space.Still, the South Korean defense ministry believes the three-stage Kwangmyongsong rocket used by Pyongyang to put a satellite in space last February already has a potential range of 12,000 km (7,457 miles), if it were re-engineered.Doing so would require mastering safer "cold-launch" technology, and perfecting the ability of a rocket to re-enter the earth's atmosphere without breaking up."North Korea is working hard to develop cold-launch technology and atmospheric re-entry but South Korea and the U.S. will have to assess further exactly which level of development they have reached," South Korean defense ministry official Roh Jae-cheon told a briefing on Monday.North Korea began stepping up its missile development in March 2016, Roh said, but added that there were no "unusual signs" related to test preparations, according to the South Korean military.That same month, Kim Jong Un was photographed looking at a small, ball-like object that North Korean state news agency KCNA said was a miniaturized nuclear warhead - the device North Korea would need to fulfill its ICBM threat."2016 marked the year North Korea truly ramped up their WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) program," Hanham at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey said."I think we're going to see a (ICBM) flight test in 2017".(Additional reporting by Jeongeun Lee; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

North Korea's Kim says close to test launch of ICBM-[Reuters]-By Tony Munroe and Jack Kim-YAHOONEWS-January 1, 2017

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Sunday that the isolated, nuclear-capable country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).North Korea tested ballistic missiles at an unprecedented rate during 2016, although some experts have said it is years away from developing an ICBM fitted with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the United States."Research and development of cutting edge arms equipment is actively progressing and ICBM rocket test launch preparation is in its last stage," Kim said during a televised New Year's Day speech.The country has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The sanctions were tightened last month after Pyongyang conducted its fifth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 9.A successful ICBM test launch would mark a significant step forward for secretive Pyongyang's weapons capability. ICBMs have a minimum range of about 5,500 km (3,418 miles), but some are designed to travel 10,000 km (6,214 miles) or further. California is roughly 9,000 km (5,592 miles) from North Korea.However, North Korea has struggled to reliably deploy its intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile, succeeding just once in eight attempted launches last year.U.S. State Department spokeswoman Anna Richey-Allen on Sunday called on North Korea "to refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric that threaten international peace and stability, and to make the strategic choice to fulfil its international obligations and commitments and return to serious talks."She urged "All states to use every available channel and means of influence to make clear to the DPRK and its enablers that launches using ballistic missile technology are unacceptable, and take steps to show there are consequences to the DPRK's unlawful conduct."The Musudan is designed to fly about 3,000 km (1,860 miles), posing a threat to South Korea and Japan, and possibly the U.S. territory of Guam.South Korea's Defence Ministry declined to comment on whether North Korea would test launch an ICBM soon.-TRUMP REQUESTED NORTH KOREA BRIEFING-According to a senior U.S. intelligence official, President-elect Donald Trump's first, and at that time only, request for a special classified intelligence briefing was for one on North Korea and its nuclear weapons programme.North Korea and its nuclear programme has also been of interest to retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, Trump's choice for national security advisor and a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.An Chan-il, a former North Korean military officer who defected to the South and runs a think tank in Seoul, said Kim will gauge Trump's comments about his country for potential interest in dialogue and determine whether to try and conduct an ICBM test launch."If Trump comes in and the North does not get a good signal in terms of how the relationship between the two countries is going to go, that’ll give them another reason to do it," An said.Kim also said that the North would continue to develop its pre-emptive nuclear strike capability if the United States and South Korea continue to conduct annual joint military exercises.There are 28,500 U.S. troops based in South Korea, and North Korean state media often describes annual joint exercises as preparation for an attack.In February, North Korea launched a satellite into space, which was widely seen as a test of long-range ballistic missile technology.A senior U.S. military official said last month that North Korea appears able to mount a miniaturised nuclear warhead on a missile but is still struggling with missile re-entry technology necessary for longer range strikes.Although it fired a variety of missile types last year, North Korea is not known to have test-launched a ballistic missile since October.(Reporting by Tony Munroe, Jack Kim and Nataly Pak; Additional reporting by John Walcott and Yeganeh Torbati in Washington; Editing by Michael Perry and Sandra Maler)

S. Korea leader bolsters military against rival Pyongyang-[Associated Press]-KIM TONG-HYUNG-YAHOONEWS-December 31, 2016

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's acting leader, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, sought to bolster the armed forces in a New Year's message aimed as much at potential North Korean provocation as the morale of southern troops.Hwang, who is leading the country while a court decides on whether to accept the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye and remove her from office, knows that North Korea may be his biggest challenge. Last year Pyongyang staged a string of missile test-launches and two nuclear tests, and, with instability in Seoul and a new president set to take over this month in Washington, many expect more trouble from North Korea."Our people have firm faith in our troops as they maintain stern military readiness with strong willpower," Hwang said in a recorded message for the troops.Hwang said Seoul will spend whatever it takes to support the armed forces.South Korea's opposition-controlled parliament last month voted to remove Park over a corruption scandal. State prosecutors have accused her of colluding with a longtime confidante to extort money and favors from companies and allowing her friend to interfere with government affairs.Park's powers will remain suspended until the Constitutional Court decides whether she should permanently step down or be reinstated. The trial could take up to six months, and if the court formally removes Park from office, a presidential election will be held within 60 days.Hwang, who had a largely ceremonial job before Park's impeachment, has been running affairs as opposition politicians pledge to erase some of Park's signature policies.Hwang has vowed to maintain unpopular agreements with Japan over the sharing of military intelligence and the compensation for South Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japan's World War II military.He has also dismissed calls by the opposition to reconsider a decision to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system to cope with North Korean threats.The plans to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, has angered not only North Korea but also China, which suspects that the system would allow U.S. radar to better track its missiles.

South Korea considers 'measures' as China blocks charter flights-[Reuters]-By Hyunjoo Jin-YAHOONEWS-January 2, 2017

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's government and airline companies will meet on Tuesday to discuss China's rejection of applications by Korean carriers to add charter flights between the two countries for early this year, a government official said on Monday.South Korean Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said on Sunday he would look into whether China's decision, which came ahead of a traditional surge in Lunar New Year travel, was "related to" the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea.Yoo told reporters there were "several suspected cases of non-tariff barriers" following last year's decision to deploy the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and South Korea needed to determine China's "real intention".China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on a holiday, while China's Civil Aviation Administration was not immediately reachable.China worries that the THAAD's powerful radar can penetrate its territory and has objected to the deployment, which South Korea and the United States say is aimed solely at countering any threat from North Korea.South Korean carriers Asiana Airlines, Jeju Air and Jin Air, an affiliate of Korean Air Lines, said their applications for charter flights to China were rejected for January and February, with no reason given."It is regrettable," a spokesman at Jeju Air said.The companies already operate scheduled flights to China but wanted to add charter flights at busy times.The transport ministry had sent a letter to China's ministry seeking cooperation on the proposed flights and it would also meet the companies to ponder a next step, a ministry official said."We will hold a closed-meeting with major airline affiliates tomorrow morning to discuss measures,” the ministry official said, without elaborating on what type of measures might be considered.China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines had asked South Korea to hold off on approving their applications to add charter flights in January, citing "a situation in China", said the official who is not authorized to speak to media and declined to be identified.A China Eastern press official denied that it had asked South Korea to hold off approving applications to add charter flights. A China Southern media official was not immediately available.The Korea Tourism Organization said charter flights typically accounted for 4 to 5 percent of available seats between the two countries."Travelers can switch over to regular scheduled flights, so we do not expect huge losses," said Han Hwa-joon, China team director.Shares in South Korean cosmetics-related companies and airlines dropped on news reports of the charter denials. Korean cosmetics are a hot-selling item for visitors from China, South Korea's biggest source of tourists.Shares in cosmetics maker Amorepacific Corp were down 5 percent on Monday, their biggest daily percentage loss since Oct. 25 and Korean Air Lines Co Ltd shares fell 2.2 percent to their lowest level since July 14.(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Additional reporting Yun Hwan Chae and Dahee Kim in SEOUL and Chen Aizhu in BEIJING; Editing by Tony Munroe, Robert Birsel)

China says won't allow Hong Kong to be used as subversion base-[Reuters]-YAHOONEWS-January 1, 2017

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will not allow anyone to use Hong Kong as a base for subversion against mainland China or to damage its political stability, Beijing's top official in the territory told state television.Chinese leaders are increasingly concerned about a fledgling independence movement in Hong Kong, which returned to mainland rule in 1997 with a promise of autonomy known as "one country, two systems", and recent protests in the city.In an interview with state television broadcast late on Sunday, Zhang Xiaoming, the head of China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, said Beijing will not interfere in matters that purely affect Hong Kong's autonomy."As far as Hong Kong is concerned, nobody is permitted do anything in any form that damage the country's sovereignty and security, they are not allowed to challenge the central government's authority or that of Hong Kong's Basic Law, they are not allowed to use Hong Kong for infiltration subversion activities against the mainland to damage its social and political stability," Zhang said.China's parliament last month staged a rare interpretation of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution, to effectively bar pro-independence city lawmakers from taking office there.Chinese President Xi Jinping told outgoing Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying last month that China's central government strongly supports efforts by the Hong Kong government to curb moves by some promoting independence for the global financial hub.The former British colony returned to China under the "one country, two systems" agreement that ensured its freedoms and wide-ranging autonomy, including a separate legal system.But Communist Party rulers in Beijing have ultimate control, and some Hong Kong people are concerned they are increasingly interfering to head off dissent.(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill)

EARTH WORSHIP

DEUTERONOMY 17:3-4
3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:

DEUTORONOMY 4:15-19
15  Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
16  Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
17  The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,
18  The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
19  And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

2 KINGS 23:5
5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.

Alberta carbon tax takes hold, gas prices go up-[CBC]-YAHOONEWS-January 1, 2017

After a year of protests and heated debate between government parties, Alberta's carbon levy has gripped the province."I understand why some people are concerned and have questions, after all the levy is a new cost," deputy premier Sarah Hoffman said at a news conference on Sunday."Today I call on all those who have been fighting our climate leadership plan to stand with us."As of Jan. 1, the levy — termed "price on carbon" by Alberta's NDP and "carbon tax" by opposition parties — added 4.5 cents per litre for regular gasoline and 5.3 cents per litre for diesel.Prices crept past $1 per litre, on average, in the final days of 2016.On New Year's Day, fuel bills at some gas stations jumped nearly five cents per litre.To offset the added cost, Hoffman said more than 60 per cent of Albertan families will receive a full rebate for the levy."We're proud to act and move forward on this," she said, before citing benefits such as job growth, a more diverse and stable economy, as well as protecting the environment.Money from the levy will be re-invested into the province, Hoffman added."Yes, we could have waited for Ottawa to act and have a plan imposed on us, but Albertans don't lead from behind. With a climate leadership plan we rightfully take our place as global energy leaders."-'Breaking the land lock'-Without a carbon levy, Hoffman said the Trans Mountain pipeline could not have been approved by the federal government. If completed, the project would open Alberta's oilsands to international markets."Make no mistake, our climate leadership plan is the reason that Alberta is breaking the land lock," Hoffman said.The "yelling, screaming and finger-pointing by former governments" has failed to address that specific challenge, she added."To be frank, I think they don't even want us to get pipelines because I think they care more about this government failing, than about Albertans benefiting from all of the opportunity that exists as we move forward."-Ignored call for referendum-The carbon levy's launch ignores a call by Alberta's Wildrose opposition party to hold a referendum first.In December, Wildrose leader Brian Jean said the NDP needed approval for the carbon levy because it wasn't mentioned during the 2015 election campaign.He also argued the levy would cost Albertans unnecessarily in the years before an even higher, federally-mandated carbon levy takes hold. Under the federal plan, the price on carbon will increase to $50 per tonne by 2022.If his party wins the next election, Jean has said he's prepared to sue the federal government over its carbon levy.

DANIEL 7:23-24
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-10 WORLD REGIONS/TRADE BLOCS)
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings(10 NATIONS-10 WORLD DIVISION WORLD GOVERNMENT) that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.(EITHER THE EUROPEAN UNION DICTATOR BOOTS 3 COUNTRIES FROM THE EU OR THE DICTATOR TAKES OVER THE WORLD ECONOMY BY CONTROLLING 3 WORLD TRADE BLOCS)

LUKE 2:1-3
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2  (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

Magazine-EU legitimacy in question By Eric Maurice-EUOBSERVER

BRUSSELS, 30. Dec 2016, 09:22-Referendums are dangerous for the EU. In recent years, almost all popular votes on EU matters ended up with the same answer: No.The vote with the most far-reaching consequences was Britain's EU membership referendum on 23 June, when 51.9 percent of voters chose the most radical option: leaving the Union.Only weeks before, in April, 61.1 percent of voters in a Dutch referendum had rejected an EU-Ukraine association agreement, casting doubts on the bloc's strategy to stabilise the war-torn country.These two referendums in 2016 followed one in Denmark, at the end of 2015, when a closer cooperation with other EU countries in some justice and home affairs issues was dismissed by 53 percent of voters."I'm fundamentally not a big friend of referendums," European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said in June, days before the UK vote."One always breaks out in a sweat when someone dares to ask the opinion of the people," he told Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.Admittedly people do not always vote only on the question asked in a referendum, and domestic politics often has an influence on their final decision.-The 'last‑chance commission'-Juncker's lack of confidence in the public's judgement seems to be reciprocated.According to the latest Eurobarometer survey - the regular EU study of public opinion - conducted last spring and published in July, just 33 percent of Europeans said they had trust in the European Union and 34 percent had a positive image.The level of trust was slightly above the 31 percent low reached in 2013-2014, just before Juncker became commission chief, but down from 40 percent in spring 2015."This will be the last‑chance commission," Juncker warned in 2014. "Either we will succeed in bringing our citizens closer to Europe, or we will fail."Two years later, the EU is about to lose a member and anti-EU movements are gaining ground in several countries.Dutch and French far-right leaders, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen, are leading in opinion polls ahead of elections next year. And in Austria, far-right candidate Norbert Hofer nearly missed the presidency in a rerun election in December.In countries such as Poland and Hungary, elected leaders have pursued programmes putting them in a collision course with EU policies or values, but they stop short of running for the EU exit door.Even in Germany, immune from large far-right movements since World War II, the year 2016 has seen the rise of the anti-migrant and anti-EU Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.Launched in 2013, the AfD won a symbolic victory in September when it finished second in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern elections, ahead of chancellor Merkel's CDU in her own region.-From democratic to legitimacy deficit-In 2016, opposition to policies like the eurozone's austerity push developed into a broader critique of the EU's role in issues, including the refugee crisis and free trade.Another referendum was organised in Hungary against the EU's policy of sharing asylum seekers. Only 44 percent of voters participated, but 98 percent of the valid votes cast rejected the idea that the EU should impose mandatory quotas.Even the EU's trade policy, of which the commission has led the charge for decades, is under growing criticism. France, a founding member of the Union, called for more national involvement.The ultimate proof of contention regarding the EU's role came when the Belgian region of Wallonia held up the signing of an EU-Canada trade deal. Canada ultimately had to negotiate directly with Wallonia to ensure its concerns were taken into account.After the much talked about democratic deficit of the 1990s and 2000s, the EU seems now to suffer from a legitimacy deficit.-Legitimacy from common benefit-"Historically, the EU drew its legitimacy from common benefit. It brought more prosperity, affluence, accountability. The benefits outweighed the costs," Jiri Priban, director of the Centre of Law and Society at Cardiff University, told EUobserver.But with time, the EU has become a more political project and "the question of its legitimacy will hit at every new step", he noted."Every law expresses a certain public spirit," he said. But now, "the EU is turning into a machinery of decision-making and it is losing its spirit and is producing ghosts of the past, like nationalism, ethnic hatred and authoritarianism".The EU, faced with what Juncker has called "a polycrisis" - from economic crisis to refugee crisis - is also more fragile than other levels of powers."Europe is the weakest level of power of all, because European identity is so weak," Herman van Rompuy, a former European Council president, said during a conference in Brussels in November.He said that when a problem arises, "we switch from a functional question to an existential question", thus slowing action and encouraging anti-EU forces.-'People respect leadership'-For Priban, EU democracy was threatened at national level by austerity policies and constraints on governments. To regain legitimacy with European citizens, the EU needs a new deal to create investments and jobs and recreate the common benefit narrative.Van Rompuy also explained that EU leaders were neither decisive enough nor protective enough of their citizens."The lack of trust is so profound that we cannot expect to overcome it in a few years," he said, adding that the EU needed to show better leadership and give concrete results on the economy, security or migration."People respect leadership even if they don't agree," the former EU leader said.This story was first published in EUobserver's Europe in Review 2016 magazine.

FORGET PEACE-GET RID OF THE USELESS ISRAEL HATER UNITED NATIONS IMMEDIATELY.

New UN chief urges New Year's resolution: 'Put Peace First'-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-January 1, 2017

Antonio Guterres took the reins of the United Nations on New Year's Day, promising to be a "bridge-builder" but facing an antagonistic incoming U.S. administration led by Donald Trump who thinks the world body's 193 member states do nothing except talk and have a good time.The former Portuguese prime minister and U.N. refugee chief told reporters after being sworn-in as secretary-general on Dec. 12 that he will engage all governments — "and, of course, also with the next government of the United States" — and show his willingness to co-operate on "the enormous challenges that we'll be facing together."But Trump, with his "America First" agenda, has shown little interest in multilateralism, which Guterres says is "the cornerstone" of the United Nations.So as Guterres begins his five-year term facing conflicts from Syria and Yemen to South Sudan and Libya and global crises from terrorism to climate change, U.S. support for the United Nations remains a question mark.And it matters because the U.S. is a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council and pays 22 per cent of the U.N.'s regular budget and 25 per cent of its peacekeeping budget.Immediately after the United States allowed the Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank on Dec. 23 in a stunning rupture with past practice, Trump warned in a tweet: "As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th," the day he takes office.Trump followed up three days later with another tweet questioning its effectiveness. "The United Nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!"John Bolton, a conservative Republican and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in an interview with The Associated Press that Guterres would be well advised "especially given the incoming Trump administration" to follow the model of his predecessor, Ban Ki-moon, and do what member governments want.If he tries to follow what Ban's predecessor, Kofi Annan, did as secretary-general and try to be the world's top diplomat and what some called "a secular pope," Bolton said, "I think especially in the Trump administration, he would run into big trouble very quickly."Guterres has made clear that his top priority will be preventing crises and promoting peace.In the first minute after taking over as U.N. chief on Sunday, Guterres issued an "Appeal for Peace." He urged all people in the world to make a shared New Year's resolution: "Let us resolve to put peace first.""Let us make 2017 a year in which we all — citizens, governments, leaders — strive to overcome our differences," the new secretary-general said.He has said there is enormous difficulty in solving conflicts, a lack of "capacity" in the international community to prevent conflicts, and the need to develop "the diplomacy for peace," which he plans to focus on.Guterres has said he will also strive to deal with the inequalities that globalization and technological progress have helped deepen, creating joblessness and despair especially among youth."Today's paradox is that despite greater connectivity, societies are becoming more fragmented. More and more people live within their own bubbles, unable to appreciate their links with the whole human family," he said after his swearing-in.Guterres said the values enshrined in the U.N. Charter that should define the world that today's children inherit — peace, justice, respect, human rights, tolerance and solidarity — are threatened, "most often by fear.""Our duty to the peoples we serve is to work together to move from fear of each other, to trust in each other, trust in the values that bind us, and trust in the institutions that serve and protect us," he said. "My contribution to the United Nations will be aimed at inspiring that trust."Guterres won the U.N.'s top job after receiving high marks from almost every diplomat for his performance in the first-ever question-and-answer sessions in the General Assembly for the 13 candidates vying to replace Ban, whose second five-year term ends at midnight on Dec. 31.In an interview during his campaign with three journalists, Guterres said the role of secretary-general should be "an honest broker, a consensus builder" who engages as much as possible, in many circumstances discreetly."It's not just to have a personal agenda, because it would be regrettable or ineffective, or to appear in the limelight. No. On the contrary, it's to act with humility to try to create the conditions for member states that are the crucial actors in any process to be able to come together and to overcome their differences," he said.Whether the Trump administration will join Guterres and U.N. efforts to tackle what he sees as "a multiplication of new conflicts" and the myriad problems on the global agenda remains to be seen.Trump's choice as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley who is the governor of South Carolina, has a reputation as a conciliator, which could be very useful especially in dealing with the Security Council and the four other permanent veto-wielding members — Russia, China, Britain and France, all of whom have their own national agendas.But she will be taking instructions from the president.Richard Grenell, who served as U.S. spokesman at the U.N. during President George W. Bush's administration and has been working with Trump's transition team, downplayed the prospect that Trump will withdraw from or even disregard the United Nations.He said in an AP interview earlier this month that Trump is talking about reforming the U.N. and other international organizations so "they live up to their ideals."Guterres also wants to reform the United Nations to make it "nimble, efficient and effective." He said "it must focus more on delivery and less on process, more on people and less on bureaucracy," and ensure that the more than 85,000 U.N. staff working in 180 countries are being used effectively.Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press.

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)

China starts 2017 engulfed by smog, issues pollution alerts-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-Jan 2, 2017, 4:15 AM

Beijing and other cities across northern and central China were shrouded in thick smog Monday, prompting authorities to delay dozens of flights and close highways.The Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau extended an "orange alert" for heavy air pollution for three more days. Beijing's smog had initially been forecast to lift by Monday.The "orange alert" is the third level, preceding a "red alert," in China's four-tiered warning system. On Sunday, 25 cities in China issued "red alerts" for smog, which triggers orders to close factories, schools and construction sites.Air pollution readings in northern Chinese cities were many times above the World Health Organization-designated safe level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of PM 2.5, the tiny, toxic particles that damage lung tissue. The readings exceeded 400 by Monday afternoon in several cities in the northern province of Hebei.Expressways in Shijiazhuang, Hebei's capital, and more than a half-dozen other cities there were temporarily closed, according to notices posted on the official microblog of the province's traffic police.More than 300 flights out of the northern city of Tianjin were cancelled Sunday due to poor visibility.Authorities have deployed teams of inspectors to check on polluting factories, reports said.China has long faced some of the worst air pollution in the world, blamed on its reliance of coal for energy and factory production, as well as a surplus of older, less efficient cars on its roads.Researchers at Germany's Max Planck institute have estimated that smog has led to 1.4 million premature deaths per year in China, while the non-profit group Berkeley Earth in California has had a higher figure, 1.6 million.The Associated Press.

Sept-Îles, other eastern Quebec communities assess damage from violent storm-[CBC]-YAHOONEWS-January 1, 2017

Residents of Sept-Îles and 17 other eastern Quebec communities who suffered property damage in a violent storm Friday will be entitled to financial aid from the government.The winter storm, which meteorologists call a "weather bomb," brought high waves and winds that damaged some 40 buildings and homes in Sept-Îles alone.Quebec's Ministry of Public Security said other municipalities that will benefit from financial aid include Cap-Chat, Gaspé, Matane, Natashquan, Rimouski, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts and Percé, among others.Public security ministry officials were on the ground to assess the damage.At least two homes may have to be demolished and a number of others moved after high waves carved away already eroded portions of the river bank.Eight families in Sept-Îles were forced from their homes and three are now in the care of the local Red Cross.Not all properties covered by program-Only primary residences affected by the storm will have damages covered under the government aid program.Secondary homes won't be covered, which is bad news for property owners like Bernard Leclerc."There's about five feet of water in the basement, plus debris like ice, earth and pieces of wood that were carried in by the sea," Leclerc said.He put the cost of the damage at around $10,000.

WORLD POWERS IN THE LAST DAYS (END OF AGE OF GRACE NOT THE WORLD)

EUROPEAN UNION-KING OF WEST-DAN 9:26-27,DAN 7:23-24,DAN 11:40,REV 13:1-10
EGYPT-KING OF THE SOUTH-DAN 11:40
RUSSIA-KING OF THE NORTH-EZEK 38:1-2,EZEK 39:1-3
CHINA-KING OF THE EAST-DAN 11:44,REV 9:16,18
VATICAN-RELIGIOUS LEADER-REV 13:11-18,REV 17:4-5,9,18

WORLD TERRORISM

GENESIS 6:11-13
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.(WORLD TERRORISM,MURDERS)(HAMAS IN HEBREW IS VIOLENCE)
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence (TERRORISM)(HAMAS) through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

GENESIS 16:11-12
11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her,(HAGAR) Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael;(FATHER OF THE ARAB/MUSLIMS) because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
12 And he (ISHMAEL-FATHER OF THE ARAB-MUSLIMS) will be a wild (DONKEY-JACKASS) man;(ISLAM IS A FAKE AND DANGEROUS SEX FOR MURDER CULT) his hand will be against every man,(ISLAM HATES EVERYONE) and every man's hand against him;(PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM BEING BEHEADED) and he (ISHMAEL ARAB/MUSLIM) shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.(LITERAL-THE ARABS LIVE WITH THEIR BRETHERN JEWS)

ISAIAH 14:12-14
12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,(SATAN) son of the morning!(HEBREW-CRECENT MOON-ISLAM) how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14  I (SATAN HAS EYE TROUBLES) will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.(AND 1/3RD OF THE ANGELS OF HEAVEN FELL WITH SATAN AND BECAME DEMONS)

JOHN 16:2
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.(ISLAM MURDERS IN THE NAME OF MOON GOD ALLAH OF ISLAM)

IS claims New Year's attack on Istanbul nightclub-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-January 2, 2017

ISTANBUL — The Islamic State group on Monday claimed responsibility for the New Year's attack at a popular Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people, including one Canadian, and wounded scores of others.The IS-linked Aamaq News Agency said the attack was carried by a "heroic soldier of the caliphate who attacked the most famous nightclub where Christians were celebrating their pagan feast."It said the man opened fire from an automatic rifle in "revenge for God's religion and in response to the orders" of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.The group described Turkey as "the servant of the cross."Earlier, Turkish media reports had said that Turkish authorities believed the IS group was behind the attack and that the gunman, who is still at large, comes from a Central Asian nation and is likely to be either from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan.According to Hurriyet and Karar newspapers, police had also established similarities with the high-casualty suicide bomb and gun attack at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport in June and was investigating whether the same IS cell could have carried out both attacks.The gunman killed a policeman and another man outside the Reina club in the early hours of 2017 before entering and firing at an estimated 600 people partying inside with an automatic rifle.Nearly two-thirds of the dead in the upscale club, which is frequented by local celebrities, were foreigners, Turkey's Anadolu Agency said. Many of them hailed from the Middle East.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed late Sunday that a Canadian was among those who died in the massacre.“We mourn with the people of Turkey today and with all countries who lost citizens in this vicious attack," Trudeau said in a statement.“We also grieve the senseless loss of a Canadian citizen and remain steadfast in our determination to work with allies and partners to fight terrorism and hold perpetrators to account.”The mass shooting followed more than 30 violent acts over the past year in Turkey, which is a member of the NATO alliance and a partner in the U.S.-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. The country endured multiple bombings in 2016, including three in Istanbul alone that authorities blamed on IS, a failed coup attempt in July and renewed conflict with Kurdish rebels in the southeast.The Islamic State group claims to have cells in the country. Analysts think it was behind suicide bombings last January and March that targeted tourists on Istanbul's iconic Istiklal Street as well as the attack at Ataturk Airport in June, which killed 45 people.In December, IS released a video purportedly showing the killing of two Turkish soldiers and urged its supporters to "conquer" Istanbul. Turkey's jets regularly bomb the group in the northern Syrian town of Al-Bab. Turkish authorities have not confirmed the authenticity of the video.Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the attacker left a gun at the club and escaped by "taking advantage of the chaos" that ensued. Some customers reportedly jumped into the waters of the Bosporus to escape the attack.___Bassem Mroue reported from Beirut. Suzan Fraser in Ankara, and Cinar Kiper in Istanbul, contributed to this report.With file from The Canadian Press.Dusan Stojanovic And Bassem Mroue, The Associated Press.

Gunman kills 39 in Istanbul nightclub, manhunt under way-[Reuters]-By Humeyra Pamuk and Nick Tattersall-YAHOONEWS-January 1, 2017

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A gunman opened fire on New Year revelers at a packed nightclub on the shores of Istanbul's Bosphorus waterway on Sunday killing at least 39 people, including many foreigners, then fled the scene.Some people jumped into the Bosphorus to save themselves after the attacker began shooting at random in the Reina nightclub just over an hour into the new year. Witnesses described diving under tables as the assailant walked around spraying bullets from an automatic rifle.The attack shook NATO member Turkey as it tries to recover from a failed July coup and a series of deadly bombings in cities including Istanbul and the capital Ankara, some blamed on Islamic State and others claimed by Kurdish militants.Security services had been on alert across Europe for new year celebrations following an attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that killed 12 people. Only days ago, an online message from a pro-Islamic State group called for attacks by "lone wolves" on "celebrations, gatherings and clubs"."At first we thought some men were fighting with each other," said a Lebanese woman who gave her name as Hadeel and who was in the club with her husband and a friend. "Then we heard the sound of the gunfire and ducked under the tables."We heard the guy screaming Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest), all three of us heard that ... We heard his footsteps crushing the broken glass," she told Reuters. "We got out through the kitchen, there was blood everywhere and bodies."Officials spoke of a single attacker, a "lone wolf" in the parlance of Islamic State, but some reports citing witnesses including on social media suggested there may have been several.The incident bore echoes of an attack by militant Islamists on Paris's Bataclan music hall in November 2015 that, along with assaults on bars and restaurants, killed 130 people.Nationals of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon, Libya, Israel, a Turkish-Belgian dual citizen and a Franco-Tunisian woman were among those killed, officials said. Saudi newspaper al-Riyadh said five of the dead were from Saudi Arabia.France said three of its citizens were wounded.A massive security operation unfolded to track down the fugitive assailant or assailants and any conspirators.Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 15 or 16 of those killed at Reina were foreigners but only 21 bodies had so far been identified. He told reporters 69 people were in hospital, four of them in critical condition.Turkey is part of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State and launched an incursion into Syria in August to drive the radical Sunni militants from its borders. It also helped broker a fragile ceasefire in Syria with Russia."As a nation, we will fight to the end against not just the armed attacks of terror groups, but also against their economic, political and social attacks," President Tayyip Erdogan said in a written statement."They are trying to create chaos, demoralize our people, and destabilize our country ... We will retain our cool-headedness as a nation, standing more closely together, and we will never give ground to such dirty games," he said.Reina is one of Istanbul's best known nightspots, popular with local high society and foreigners. Some 600 people were thought to be inside when the gunman shot dead a policeman and civilian at the door, forced his way in and then opened fire.Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said the attacker used a "long-range weapon" to "brutally and savagely" fire on people, apparently referring to some form of assault rifle.U.S. President Barack Obama expressed condolences and directed his team to offer help to the Turkish authorities, the White House said. President Vladimir Putin Putin said Russia remained Turkey’s reliable partner in fighting terrorism, according to a statement from the Kremlin.-"POLICE MOVED IN QUICKLY"-Dozens of ambulances and police vehicles were dispatched to the club in Ortakoy, a neighborhood on the city's European side nestled under one of three bridges crossing the Bosphorus and home to nightclubs, restaurants and art galleries."I didn't see who was shooting but heard the gun shots and people fled. Police moved in quickly," Sefa Boydas, a Turkish soccer player, wrote on Twitter."My girlfriend was wearing high heels. I lifted her and carried her out on my back," he said.Hurriyet quoted Reina's owner, Mehmet Kocarslan, as saying security measures had been taken over the past 10 days after U.S. intelligence reports suggested a possible attack.Turkey faces multiple threats including spillover from the war in Syria. Beside its cross-border campaign against Islamic State, it is fighting Kurdish militants in its southeast.The New Year's Day attack came five months after a failed military coup, in which more than 240 people were killed, many of them in Istanbul, as rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and fighter jets in a bid to seize power.More than 100,000 people, including soldiers and police officers, have been sacked or suspended in a subsequent crackdown ordered by Erdogan, raising concern both about civic rights and the effectiveness of Turkey's security apparatus.On Dec. 28, the Nashir Media Foundation, which backs Islamic State, urged sympathizers to carry out attacks in Europe during the holiday period and to "replace their fireworks with explosive belts and devices, and turn their singing and clapping into weeping and wailing".A month ago, a spokesman for Islamic State urged supporters to target "the secular, apostate Turkish government".Turkey has seen repeated attacks in recent weeks. On Dec. 10, two bombs claimed by Kurdish militants exploded outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul, killing 44 people.A car bomb killed at least 13 soldiers and wounded 56 when it ripped through a bus carrying off-duty military personnel in the central city of Kayseri a week later, an attack Erdogan also blamed on Kurdish militants.The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead as he gave a speech in Ankara on Dec. 19 by an off-duty police officer who shouted "Don't forget Aleppo" and "Allahu Akbar".In June, around 45 people were killed and hundreds wounded as three suspected Islamic State militants carried out a gun and bomb attack on Istanbul's main Ataturk airport.(Additional reporting by Yesim Dikmen and Daren Butler in Istanbul, Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara, Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem, Jan Strupczewski in Brussels, Laurence Frost in Paris, Maria Kiselyova in Moscow; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Ralph Boulton)

Spain: 1,100 migrants try to breach N. African border fence-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-January 1, 2017

BARCELONA, Spain — More than 50 Moroccan and Spanish border guards were injured repelling around 1,100 African migrants who attempted to storm a border fence and enter Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta, Spanish authorities said Sunday.A regional government spokesman told The Associated Press that 50 Moroccan and five Spanish border guards were injured early on Sunday when the large group of migrants tried to enter Spain.The spokesman said two migrants managed to reach Spanish soil. Both were injured in scaling the six-meter (20-foot) -high border fence and were taken to a hospital by Spanish police. He spoke anonymously in line with government policy.A further 100 migrants climbed the fence, but Spanish agents sent them directly back to Morocco.Last month, more than 400 migrants succeeded in breaching Ceuta's fence in one of the biggest crossing attempts of recent years.Hundreds of sub-Saharan African migrants living illegally in Morocco try to enter Ceuta and Melilla, Spain's other North African enclave, each year in hope of getting to Europe.Most migrants who try to cross are intercepted on the spot and returned to Morocco. Those that make it over the fences are eventually repatriated or let go.Thousands more try to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea, often in small craft unfit for the open sea.Also on Sunday, a ship of Spain's maritime rescue service rescued 52 migrants trying to reach Spain's southern coast in a small boat.Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press.

Hundreds flee fighting near Syria's capital despite truce-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-January 1, 2017

BEIRUT — Hundreds of civilians fled a mountainous region outside the Syrian capital on Sunday, where government forces were battling several insurgent groups, including an al-Qaida-linked outfit excluded from a recent nationwide cease-fire.The Syrian military said some 1,300 people fled the Barada Valley region since Saturday. The region has been the target of days of airstrikes and shelling despite the truce, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey and appears to be holding in other parts of the country, despite some reports of fighting.The truce went into effect early Friday, and the government and the opposition are expected to meet for talks in Kazakhstan later this month. Russia, a key military ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Turkey, a leading sponsor of the rebels, are acting as guarantors of the agreement, which excludes the al-Qaida-linked Fatah al-Sham Front and the Islamic State group.On Saturday, The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution supporting efforts by Russia and Turkey to end the nearly six-year conflict in Syria and jump-start peace negotiations.The military said those fleeing Barada Valley were relocated to safer areas and their names were registered by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the opposition's Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said there were buses in the region ready to evacuate civilians but could not confirm how many people had left.He said the Barada Valley region is not part of the cease-fire because of the presence of Fatah al-Sham Front, formerly known as the Nusra Front.The Barada Valley Media Center said Lebanese Hezbollah militants were firing on villages and towns in the water-rich region as Russian and government aircraft carried out raids for the 10th consecutive day Saturday. The Lebanese militant group has sent thousands of fighters to Syria to bolster Assad's forces.The Barada Valley is the primary source of water for the capital and its surrounding region. The government assault has coincided with a severe water shortage in Damascus since Dec. 22. Images from the valley's Media Center indicate its Ain al-Fijeh spring and water processing facility have been destroyed in airstrikes. The government says rebels spoiled the water source with diesel fuel, forcing it to cut supplies to the capital.The Observatory and the Aleppo Media Center, an activist collective, meanwhile reported government airstrikes on rebel-held villages near the northern city of Aleppo, which was recently returned to full government control.State news agency SANA said two suicide attackers blew themselves up in the coastal city of Tartus, killing two security officers who had stopped them shortly after midnight, as residents were celebrating New Year's Day.A news website close to Iran's Revolutionary Guard meanwhile said Gen. Gholam Ali Gholizadeh, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, was killed fighting in Syria. It did not provide further details. Iran is also closely allied with Assad.___Associated Press writer Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran contributed.Bassem Mroue, The Associated Press.

Islamic State kills 24 in Baghdad blast, cuts road to Mosul-[Reuters]-By Kareem Raheem and Ghazwan Hassan-YAHOONEWS-January 2, 2017

BAGHDAD/TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - An Islamic State car bomb killed 24 people in a busy square in Baghdad's sprawling Sadr City district on Monday, and the militants cut a key road north from the capital to Mosul, their last major stronghold in the country.An online statement distributed by Amaq news agency, which supports Islamic State, said the ultra-hardline Sunni group had targeted a gathering of Shi'ite Muslims, whom it considers apostates. Sixty-seven people were wounded in the blast.U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are currently fighting to push Islamic State from the northern city of Mosul, but are facing fierce resistance. The group has lost most of the territory it seized in a blitz across northern and western Iraq in 2014.The recapture of Mosul would probably spell the end for its self-styled caliphate, but the militants would still be capable of fighting a guerrilla-style insurgency in Iraq, and plotting or inspiring attacks on the West.Three bombs killed 29 people across the capital on Saturday, and an attack near the southern city of Najaf on Sunday left seven policemen dead. Monday's blast in Sadr City hit a square where day labourers typically gather.Nine of the victims were women in a passing minibus. Their charred bodies were visible inside the burnt-out remains of the vehicle. Blood stained the ground nearby.A separate blast near a hospital in central Baghdad killed one civilian and wounded nine, police and medical sources said."The terrorists will attempt to attack civilians in order to make up for their losses, but we assure the Iraqi people and the world that we are able to end terrorism and shorten its life," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told reporters after meeting with visiting French President Francois Hollande.Hollande, whose country has faced a series of militant attacks in the past two years, said French soldiers serving in a U.S.-led coalition against the jihadists in Iraq were preventing more mass killings at home.-ROAD TO MOSUL-Since the drive to recapture Mosul began on Oct. 17, elite forces have retaken a quarter of the city in the biggest ground operation in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Abadi has said the group will be driven out of the country by April.Clashes continued in and around Mosul on Monday. The counter-terrorism service (CTS) blew up several Islamic State car bombs before they reached their targets, and linked up with the Rapid Response forces, an elite Interior Ministry unit, said spokesman Sabah al-Numani.CTS was also clearing North Karma district of remaining militants, the fourth area the unit has retaken in the past week, he said.Islamic State targeted military positions away from the main battlefield, killing at least 16 pro-government fighters and cutting a strategic road linking the city to Baghdad.Militants attacked an army barracks near Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of the capital, killing four soldiers and wounding 12 people, including Sunni tribal fighters, army and police sources said.They seized weapons there and launched mortars at nearby Shirqat, forcing security forces to impose a curfew and close schools and offices in the town, according to local officials and security sources.Shirqat mayor Ali Dodah said Islamic State seized three checkpoints on the main road linking Baiji to Shirqat following the attacks. Shelling in Shirqat had killed at least two children, he told Reuters by phone.In a separate incident, gunmen broke into a village near Udhaim, 90 km (56 miles) north of Baghdad, where they executed nine Sunni tribal fighters with shots to the head, police and medical sources said.In the same area, at least three pro-government Shi'ite militia fighters were killed and seven wounded when militants attacked their position with mortar rounds and machine guns, police sources said.(Additional reproting by Ahmed Rasheed and Saif Hameed in Baghdad and Isabel Coles in Erbil; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

1 of Chicago's bloodiest years ends with 762 homicides-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-January 1, 2017

CHICAGO — One of the most violent years in Chicago history ended with a sobering tally: 762 homicides, the most in two decades in the city and more than New York and Los Angeles combined.The nation's third largest city also saw 1,100 more shooting incidents last year than it did in 2015, according to data released Sunday by the Chicago Police Department. The statistics underline a story of bloodshed that has put Chicago at the centre of a national dialogue about gun violence.The numbers are staggering, even for those who followed the steady news accounts of weekends ending with dozens of shootings and monthly death tolls that hadn't been seen in years. The increase in homicides compared to 2015, when 485 were reported, is the largest spike in 60 years.Police and city officials have lamented the flood of illegal guns into the city, and the crime statistics appeared to support their claims: Police recovered 8,300 illegal guns in 2016, a 20 per cent increase from the previous year.Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said during a news conference Sunday that Chicago is among many U.S. cities that have seen a spike in violence, including in attacks on police. He said anger at police, including in the wake of video released that showed a white Chicago officer shooting a black teenager 16 times, has left criminals "emboldened" to violent crimes.He also said it's becoming clearer to criminals that they have little to fear from the criminal justice system."In Chicago, we just don't have a deterrent to pick up a gun," he said. "Any time a guy stealing a loaf of bread spends more time pre-trial in jail than a gun offender, something is wrong."Johnson, who has for months complained about Illinois' lax gun laws, said he thinks more and more gang members are arming themselves because the price for being caught is small compared to other large cities. He said gang members he has spoken to consider the court system "a joke."The bulk of the deaths and shooting incidents, which jumped from 2,426 in 2015 to 3,550 last year, occurred in only five of the city's 22 police districts on the city's South and West sides, all poor and predominantly black areas where gangs are most active.Police said the shootings in those areas generally weren't random, with more than 80 per cent of the victims having previously been identified by police as more susceptible because of their gang ties or past arrests.The city has scrambled to address the violence. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced last year that 1,000 officers would be added to the police department. At the same time, police officials have been trying to figure out why homicides and shootings — which began climbing the year before — suddenly surged.On Sunday, Johnson said he hoped several initiatives — including more street cameras in some of the city's most dangerous neighbourhoods , and the expansion of gunshot-detection systems — would lead to more arrests and drive down the violent crime rate.Johnson has said several factors have contributed to the increased violence. He noted 2016 was the first full year since the city was forced in November 2015 to release video of the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald, the black 17-year-old boy who was shot 16 times by a white police officer.The video cost former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy his job, sparked major protests around the city, and led to federal and state investigations of the police department.It also left Johnson with the task of trying to restore public trust in what appeared to be a weakened police force, a perception that was only buttressed by a dramatic drop in the number of arrests in 2016.The police department has cited several factors for the declining numbers, including a concerted effort not to make minor drug arrests and focus on gun violence. Johnson pointed to gun arrests and gun seizures as evidence that his officers are aggressively fighting crime.But critics said they have no doubt that officers have become far more reluctant to do their jobs since the McDonald video was released and the officer who killed the teen was charged with murder."It's almost like a pull back so they (gangs) can kill each other sort of thing," said the Rev. Marshall Hatch, a prominent minister in one of Chicago's most dangerous neighbourhoods on the West Side.Johnson acknowledged in a recent interview with The Associated Press that officers have become more cautious — in part out of fear of becoming the next "viral video." He also said a state law that took effect last January requiring officers to fill out lengthy contact cards when they stop someone has resulted in fewer stops, because the cards require more paperwork for officers and the cards are "scrutinized" by federal judges.He said those concerns are not lost on criminals."Criminals watch TV, pay attention to the media," he said. "They see an opportunity to commit nefarious activity."Don Babwin, The Associated Press.



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