eNews For The Week Of April 24, 2012
In This Week’s Issue
- Would-Be Terrorists Thwarted From Africa to Asia - (Read)
- Humans Were Human Earlier Than Thought - (Read)
- Happy Birthday Israel - (Read)
Important News Headlines
A ministerial team that had been appointed by the government on Sunday announced on Monday that three communities in Judea and Samaria will be legalized. The three communities are Sansana, Rechelim and Bruchin. All three communities were built in the 1990s based on decisions of previous governments. The announcement means the communities will receive a legal status which hadn't been given to them until now. Some were cautious about the announcement, though. "There is a fear that today's message regarding the legalization came to prepare the ground to destroy Migron, the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El and Givat Assaf. Netanyahu must know that no one among those who are faithful to the Land of Israel will buy more of these tricks," said MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union)
After Chuck Colson passed away on Saturday, obituaries naturally remembered him first and foremost as the lawyer and Watergate conspirator who went to jail for obstructing justice. They also noted that, while in prison, he found Christ and dedicated himself to prison ministries. Colson took literally Christ's command to visit and comfort those in prison, a ministry that middle-class congregations had previously ignored. He got prisons to set aside wings or buildings for inmates who wanted to live in a structured, faith-based environment. He got congregations to see it as part of their mission to partner with prisons and individual inmates, leading prison programming aimed at turning men's lives around. Most of all, he got law-abiding citizens on the outside to encounter inmates, face to face, not as nameless, faceless threats but as their brothers to be redeemed. And, in doing so, Colson changed the terms of debate.
The Washington Post
Former Palestinian intelligence official Muhammad Abu Shahala has reportedly been sentenced to death by the Palestinian Authority for selling a Hebron home to Jews. In response, Jewish officials from the community in Hebron are calling for international officials now to get involved—in order to save Abu Shahala's life.
"According to various news agencies, Mr. Muhammad Abu Shahala, a former intelligence agent for the Palestinian Authority, has been sentenced to death, following a hurried trial. His crime: selling property to Jews in Hebron," said David Wilder and Noam Arnon, of the Jewish community in Hebron. Finally, the Hebron Jews urge action. "We appeal to all international leaders to demand the annulment of the death warrant and pending execution of Muhammad Abu Shahala, to be followed by his immediate release from imprisonment, for he has committed no crime."
The Weekly Standard
While lavish celebrations were being held to mark the centenary of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung's birth, a great number of people across the country are literally starving to death. More than 20,000 North Koreans in South Hwanghae province have died of starvation since former leader Kim Jong-il's death in December last year, according to the Japanese daily Tokyo Shimbun. The paper added that the North's new leader Kim Jung-un has recently instructed authorities to distribute rice from military rations to the hunger-stricken residents.
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Articles And Commentary
WOULD-BE TERRORISTS THWARTED FROM AFRICA TO ASIA
Terrorists occasionally succeed in their planned murders, as when 50 people were killed when a car bomb exploded near an Assembly of God church in Kaduna Nigeria, April 8. However, more often than not, terrorist plots fail miserably. This last Saturday night five suspected Nigerian Islamists were killed when the IEDs they were assembling accidently detonated during a firefight with government soldiers. While terrorists make constant efforts to paralyze a population through destruction and bloodshed, a variety of would-be terrorist attacks have been prevented this week, demonstrating that, whichever way one looks at it, terrorism is a doomed occupation.
Three Pakistani and two Afghani Taliban suspected of connections to the Haqqani Terrorist Network were arrested in Kabul before they were able to detonate the 11 tons of explosives – enough to fill ten pickup trucks – hidden carefully under sacks of potatoes in their large produce truck. The intended victim of the attack was Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of Afghan leader Hamid Karzai’s vice presidents, according to a video-taped plan of attack confiscated by the Afghanistan National Directorate for Security.
NDS spokesman Shafiqullah Tahiry told a news conference the explosives were trucked to Kabul from Pakistan. "Imagine if 10,000 kilograms of explosives, which was already inside Kabul" had exploded, "what a disaster could have happened," Tahiry said.
Jalaluddin Haqqani of Pakistan’s Haqqani family once led the battle against the Russians in Afghanistan but now works with the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
A 19-year-old Arab man was arrested on the Wednesday before Passover when he tried to carry seven explosive devices, three knives, and rifle shells through the Bekaot checkpoint in the Jordan Valley. Officials believe the young man intended to use the bombs to attack Israelis during the Passover. In January an Arab man was shot to death when he approached the Bekaot checkpoint crying, “Allahu Akbar” and refused to stop when ordered. Two pipe bombs were found on his body.
Northern Samaria has become a terrorist bee’s nest in the six months since 200 terrorists were released in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Border police arrested two 17-year-old Arabs from the village of Balata near Shechem (Nablus) on Saturday after the suspicious young men were found to possess four pipe bombs as well as a gun, ammunition, and at least one knife. The two teenagers had taken a taxi to the Tapuach junction border in the Central West Bank and gotten out before the vehicle could be inspected. When the border police sought to do a routine search, the teens attempted to flee. The young men were captured and the pipe bombs detonated.
This is just one of many attempts in northern Samaria over the past year. In January, 12 pipe bombs were confiscated at the border when four men, also from Balata attempted to get through.
Israelis traveling in the Sinai Peninsula were encouraged to go home after the National Security Council’s Counterrorism Bureau warned Saturday of terrorists planning an attack on Israelis visiting the area. The IDF has repeatedly thwarted terrorist plots during the past few months. Since former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak fell, the Egyptian security forces have had a difficult time keeping terrorists from sabotaging the natural gas pipeline that runs from Egypt to Israel and Jordan.
Thailand To Hong Kong:
Soldiers and check point guards were not alone in thwarting would-be attacks. A 31-year-old Mongolian businessman has been called a hero after stopping a Filipino man from opening the cockpit door of a plane flying from Thailand to Hong Kong last week. The terrorist intended to crash Cathay Pacific flight 712, imperiling the lives of the 216 passengers on board, but Z.Buyannemekh jumped up and choked the man when a flight attendant struggled to stop him from entering the cockpit. Buyannemekh held the man until a second pilot could handcuff him. They then tied the man to a chair and guarded the wailing, struggling Filipino until the plane could safely land.
When asked whether he were a soldier or police officer, Buyannemekh said, “I was proud to answer that I was just a regular citizen of Mongolia. I think there is something in the genes and blood of the Mongolians.”
The airline has given Buyannemekh free flight privileges for life.
HUMANS WERE HUMAN EARLIER THAN THOUGHT
Science artists love to depict early humankind as intelligent apes – standing upright, but hairy in a specifically primate-looking fashion, eyes and ears high on the head. Yet, as paleoanthropologists uncover more information about ancient (or not-so-ancient) humans, the evidence consistently points toward a race of beings that were intelligent and capable, different from anatomically modern humans primarily in that they camped out in caves. Recent discoveries show that fire was tamed by the earliest of humans, and they used it for more than just keeping warm.
Researchers from Boston University found ash and bone remnants in Wonderwerk Cave in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, according to details published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. The ash and bones and been heated to nearly 1000 degrees Fahrenheit (500 C) in what appear to be a consistent series of controlled fires 100 feet inside the cave. The site has been dated to the early Acheulean period, about a million years ago, a time when Homo erectus (Homo ergaster in Africa) was busy making tools. Whether or not the dating methods give correct ages in the timeline of human history, it does offer strong evidence that humans were using fire to cook their food much earlier than previously thought. (We will use the "millions of years" timeline only for "before" and "after" purposes, not as an absolute timeline.)
Prior to this discovery, there were indications that humans used fire as early as 1.5 million years ago, but most paleoanthropologists agreed that only the 400,000-year-old use of fire could be well-established. It is well known that Neanderthals and modern humans used fire; it appears that early Homo erectus was able to control fire as well.
Paleoanthropologists commonly place H. erectus at between 1.9 million and 143 thousand years ago, when these early humans lived in groups found in spots from Indonesia and China all the way to the southern tip of Africa. Because the brain cases of H. erectus were on average smaller than the brains of people today (yet within the modern-day range of brain size), with thicker face and jaw bones, artists often portray H. erectus with ape-like features. Yet, the evidence has long demonstrated that these early men were just as human as the humans of today. We cannot go back in time and have a conversation with them, but we can examine the tools they left behind, and they were not the handiwork of a people who were intellectually defective.
Homo erectus craftsmen chiseled tools from stone in a distinctive teardrop or oval shape, chipping stone hand axes and other cutting tools from the earliest time of their known existence. The cutting tools were used to butcher the large animals they hunted. The H. erectus people are always described as hunters and gatherers, yet their tools also included picks, which means they also spent time digging in the ground. While the "cave man" has long assumed to have been intellectually weak, the sophistication of the artifacts indicates otherwise. (Let's see Warren Buffet go out and use his bare hands and local rocks to make a stone knife sharp enough to field dress a deer.)
While there has been question about whether H. erectus could communicate as we do today, this people did have a human hyoid bone. Also, the Broca's area of the H. erectus brain was like that of modern humans, according to studies of skull endocasts done by Thomas Wynn. Scientists have been slow to agree that H. erectus communicated just as well as we do (perhaps better), but the paleoanthropological community has also been reluctant to agree that Neanderthals sat around chatting, and Neanderthals had larger brains than modern man. Considering their sophisticated tool production, sufficient brains and a hyoid bone, there seems to be little reason to believe that H. erectus did not use spoken language, except for the same assumptions about early man that cause the artists to draw him looking like an upright chimpanzee.
Red Deer Cave People:
Even modern man gets sketched as ape-like because he is determined to have "primitive" features. A recent article on the Red Deer Cave People in Southwest China published in last week's China Daily shows a fine ape-man pencil drawing at the top, even though the Red Deer Cave People were dated to less than 15,000 years ago, nearly 60,000 years after the time when scientists say men were using fire to blacksmith tools. According to the common paleoanthropology timeline, these are young humans who should look anatomically modern, yet they have "archaic-looking" parietal lobes, large molars, and thick skull bones – qualities that H. erectus also shared. The most important difference is their lack of a strong modern human chin. "They look very different from all modern humans, whether alive today or in Africa 150,000 years ago," Darren Curnoe of the University of New South Wales told the BBC.
The Red Deer Cave People were also tool makers that used shovels and stone hammers. Even pyramids and quartz stone-cutting tools have been found in their isolated Asian home.
"It is not rare to see fossils that carry both early and modern Homo sapien traits. In the same era, there were many human groups in China. Red Deer Cave people could just be ordinary Chinese," an anonymous paleoanthropologist in China told reporters.
The skulls of modern humans are relatively similar, but that does not mean that ancient people who had different skull characteristics were any less human than we are. It simply indicates that certain human family groups died out (perhaps during Noah's Flood?), while one group lived on.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ISRAEL
A new $11 million memorial will be built on Mt. Herzl to honor Israel's fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, receiving approval from the Knesset just ahead of Israel's birthday celebrations. The State of Israel will celebrate its 64th birthday on Thursday, April 26, and there are plenty of people around the world who are still willing to need and feed the much-coveted Holy Land.
Sirens sounded on Tuesday evening as Israel's Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers began at sundown. The sirens will wail again Wednesday morning on one of Israel's most serious days. The day has great meaning for the Israelis, many of whom have friends or family who have died. Wednesday evening, however, the mourning will turn into joy as celebrations begin for Israel's Independence Day. The 5th of Iyyar marks the 64th anniversary of State of Israel and another year of Israel's successful survival in a hostile world.
Tuesday evening began the sober day in Israel as its people remembered the 22,993 men and women who have died for Israel since 1860. That was the year Jews began to leave the safety of Jerusalem to build new Jewish neighborhoods. At 8:00pm Tuesdat night, a one-minute siren sounded in communities all across Israel. Vehicles stopped, and Israelis rose to their feet to remember their fallen countrymen. Again the sirens will sound on Wednesday morning at 11:00am. Again everybody will stop what they were doing and stand in honor of the fallen for two minutes. Military ceremonies around the country will begin immediately after the sirens have quieted, and other ceremonies will be held to honor the Victims of Terror as well as foreign volunteers from around the world who came to fight on Israel's behalf during the War of Independence.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a ceremony in Yad Lebanim in Jerusalem Tuesday evening, along with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Supreme Court President Asher Grunis, Israel's Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Netanyahu wrote to the families of Israel as he does every year, saying, "As a son to a bereaved family, Memorial Day has special significance for me. This day isn't just a national memorial day, it is also a private memorial day for me and the members of my family." The Prime Minister's brother Yonatan Netanyahu was killed during the famous Operation Entebbe raid on July 4, 1976, in which 102 Air France hostages were saved after PFLP terrorists hijacked the plane to Entebbe, Uganda.
At sundown Wednesday, Remembrance Day will end and Israel's Independence Day festivities will begin. The late Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the first Chief Rabbi of the IDF and the man who set the date for Remembrance Day, explained the transition between the two days in this way:
"We view the warriors who fall in battle as those who sprout forth life. The life of a nation grew out of this blood... This day must be more than mourning: We must remember, we must grieve, but it must [also] be a day of majesty and vision."
Stage shows and concerts will kick off in the evening, and the celebration will continue throughout Thursday. The army will hold air and sea displays, and a ceremony for outstanding soldiers will be held. The International Bible Quiz will take place in Jerusalem.
"Who would have thought that after having had to fight seven wars, endure two Intifadas and bear-up against ongoing terrorist attack that the Jewish state would remain democratic and free despite little peace with its neighbors and no resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?" writes Los Angeles Rabbi John Rosove.
Israel has had a rough 64 years, from its War of Independence in 1948, to battles for its existence in 1967 and 1973, and through the constant threat of terror acts within its borders. Israel's security forces are some of the best trained in the world. At one time, every one of Israel's near neighbors was its enemy. It faced hostile armies on all borders. Now, Israel is at peace with Jordan and maintains a relatively stable non-war with Syria as well as the new government in Egypt for the time being. It has serious enemies in the international community and among terror groups within its territories, but it also has some very strong friends. Even then, with God's help, Israel can take care of itself.
Israel's population has grown in the past 64 years. There are 7,881,000 Israelis on this year's Independence Day, up from just 806,000 when the nation was established. About 73.5 percent of Israelis are Jews and 20.6 are Arabs. About 161,000 babies were born in Israel during the last year, and more than 19,000 immigrants have come to live in country, while another 8,000 moved away.
Israel is the land of the Bible, and Jerusalem is the City of David, the city in which the Messiah will take His throne. As Israel celebrates another year of its existence, it also brings us one year closer to that day when the Son of David will begin his earthly rule, and the wolf will lay down in peace with the lamb. There will be plenty of false cries of "peace" before that day, followed by great turmoil. Still, that day will come, and the Messiah will reign, praise the Lord.
Happy Birthday, Israel.
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