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8/22/2014

Parents of Beheaded Journalist Drawing on Faith

In an appearance in front of their home Wednesday, John and Diane Foley, parents of murdered journalist Jame Foley, made frequent references to God.

They’ve done this before.   Once again, John and Diane Foley appeared on national television Wednesday (Aug. 20), to speak in clear and deliberate voices about their son, conflict journalist James Foley — only this time, it wasn’t to plead for his release from captors but to hail him as a hero who wanted to help people, and to thank the public for the outpouring of support that has flooded in since officials confirmed a videotaped beheading of their son was authentic.   Standing in front of the family home in Rochester, N.H., John Foley told reporters in the kind of voice of strength he and his wife have displayed over the years, “We’ve been through this before. Let ‘er rip.”   In years past, the Foleys have taken to television to draw attention to the cause of their son, who was abducted in November 2012 in Syria and also held captive for 44 days in 2011 after being captured in Libya.   Account after account describes the Foleys as determined, faithful Roman Catholics. After their son disappeared in 2012, they launched the FreeJamesFoley.org website to serve as a clearinghouse for information that might lead to his release. In October 2013, they joined Today’s Matt Lauer to wish their still-captive son a happy 40th birthday and to keep his cause alive. Even when interviewers noted that Foley’s career took him to many volatile places, his father was quick to defend him.   “He’s not reckless,” John Foley said. “He’s been ... read more
8/22/2014

Pope to Iraqi President: ‘I Appeal to You with My Heart Full of Pain’

Pope Francis wrote to the president of Iraq, calling for an end to the “brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities” and urging political leaders to end the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Pope Francis wrote to the president of Iraq, calling for an end to the “brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities” and urging political leaders to end the humanitarian crisis in the country.   Francis said in his letter to Iraqi President Fouad Massoum:   “I appeal to you with my heart full of pain while I follow the brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities who are forced to leave their homes, as their places of worship are destroyed.”   Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the pope’s official envoy to Iraq, delivered the pope’s message during his recent trip to that country. The two met at the Vatican on Thursday (Aug. 21). The pope previously appealed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to intervene to end the crisis.   Earlier this week, Francis revealed during a media conference with reporters that he was ready to travel to Iraq to try to find a solution to the ongoing violence.   The pope surprised many pundits when he endorsed military action to stop “unjust aggression” by Islamist militants and their attacks on religious minorities in Iraq.   “In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” Francis said. “I underscore the verb ‘stop.’ I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.’”   It was the clearest endorsement for using military force by a pope in at least 100 years.   Filoni, a former papal nuncio to Iraq and ... read more
8/22/2014

Recovered from Ebola, US Missionary Kent Brantly Discharged

An American doctor treated for Ebola, Kent Brantly, was discharged from Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital Thursday. Another American aid worker, Nancy Writebol, was discharged Tuesday.

An American doctor treated for Ebola, Kent Brantly, was discharged from Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital Thursday (Aug. 21). Another American aid worker, Nancy Writebol, was discharged Tuesday (Aug. 19).   “God saved my life,” said Brantly, looking gaunt, at a press conference Thursday, at which the room applauded his appearance. He thanked his medical team and the millions of people around the world praying for his recovery. “Please do not stop praying for the people of West Africa.”   Bruce Ribner, medical director of the hospital’s infectious disease unit, said Brantly will go to an undisclosed location with his wife and children after the press conference.   Brantly and Writebol, a volunteer with SIM USA, were flown to Emory from West Africa in early August and were treated in the hospital’s specialized unit.   Ribner said the hospital performed extensive blood and urine tests on both patients and consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before deciding the two missionaries were ready to be released. Neither pose any risk to the public, he said. Five doctors and 21 nurses cared for Brantly and Writebol during their stay.   In his statement, Brantly said his family arrived in Liberia last November and he saw his first Ebola patient in June. “We took every precaution to protect ourselves from this dreaded disease,” Brantly said.   On July 23, just a few days after sending his family home, however, Brantly said he woke up feeling sick, and soon learned that he ... read more
8/22/2014

Christian Couple Responds to Viral Share a Coke Baby Announcement

A couple’s video Share A Coke baby announcement recently went viral on YouTube. The couple, a California children’s pastor and his wife have now responded to the video’s popularity.

A couple’s video Share A Coke baby announcement recently went viral on YouTube. The couple is seen drinking cans of Diet Coke and having their voices change as the video progresses. At the last can of Coke, the couple’s voices return to normal and “Dad” and “Mom” Coke cans are revealed to the camera. The video has garnered almost 4 million views.    The couple, a California children’s pastor and his wife have now responded to the video’s popularity. Patrick McGillicuddy, the father-to-be said he “really enjoys that kind of creativity. I just love being able to give people joy from something creative.”   The couple had no idea that their silly video would go viral.   McGillicuddy said, “I have to ask myself, ‘Am I finding worth and value from a video or am I able to rest in being accepted by Christ?’ Sure, there’s a certain amount of validity that comes from acclaim, but the beauty of the video was that we didn’t intend for this to happen. It was such a special thing that we did together. It was very affirming that people enjoyed it, but at the end of the day, I come home and my life is about 1) Whitney and 2) Jesus.”   Whitney McGillicuddy said that she and Patrick were able to announce their pregnancy to friends and family and celebrate privately before making their now very public video.    The video can be viewed here.      Publication date: August 22, 2014 ... read more
8/22/2014

Boko Haram Takes Over Nigerian Police Academy

Militant group Boko Haram seized a Nigeria police academy located in Gwoza, in the organization’s latest act of violence.

Militant group Boko Haram seized a Nigeria police academy located in Gwoza, in the organization’s latest act of violence.   It was reported that several hundred militants stormed the Liman Kara police college with tanks. Militants bombed one tank at the entrance to school to get inside.    It is unknown how many casualties there were in the attack; the school had five units training, with 60 students in each unit.    Boko Haram had taken over the town of Gwoza two weeks before; the police academy was one of the only government buildings that the militants did not already control from the previous attack.    Nigerian soldiers do not have the resources to battle the extremist group. One source said, "Some of the soldiers complain that their weapons do not match those of Boko Haram.”    It is unknown how many Boko Haram members exist. Some officials speculate the group is working to gain influence in Chad, Cameroon and Niger, in addition to its presence in Nigeria.      Publication date: August 22, 2014 read more