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Orangutans Win Personhood, Oil Could Bring Down Putin, Scripture Pervasive in Philippines

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James Asquith's News Tips

VATICAN CITY
Pope Francis delivers "epic" message to the Roman curia ALETEIA
 
"Christmas is a time to heal" — Pope Francis tells Vatican staff RADIO VATICANA
 
Pope Francis has created a new diocese in southern India’s Tamil state 
— 
the Diocese of Kuzhithurai RADIO VATICANA
 
NORTH AMERICA
Cyber Wars: North Korea experiencing severe internet outages — North Korea has experienced sweeping and unprecendented internet outages for hours before coming back online late Monday. One computer expert said the country’s online access was "totally down." The White House and the State Department declined to say whether the US government was responsible ABC  DAILY MAIL
 
The Power of Prayer: "Miracle Priest" rises from wheelchair and walks — A Catholic priest who was paralyzed from the chest down in a fall four years ago says he is proof that prayer can heal NBC
 
Prayer for Police campaign launches in wake of slain NYPD officers; Candlelight vigils held nationwide — An African-American pastor has launched a prayer campaign for police officers around the nation in the wake of the murders of two NYPD officers GOSPEL HERALD
 
The Freedom from Religion Foundation’s lawsuit against Franklin County in Virginia has been turned down by Judge Tanya Pratt who has ruled that the nativity scene in front of the Franklin County Courthouse can remain in place for Christmas CHARISMA
 
Freedom from Religion’s revenge attack in Nebraska: One day after a local Catholic group put up its first-ever nativity scene at the Nebraska State Capitol’s first floor rotunda, the Freedom from Religion Foundation put up a sign next to the nativity which reads: "Religion is but myth and superstition" CHRISTIAN TIMES
 
Sheriff Arpaio predicts war on police: "I’m afraid it’s going to spread across the nation" BREITBART
 
Catholic colleges tell poor kids to go elsewhere TIME
 
The New America: Protestors heckle police at slain officer’s memorial BREITBART
 
Officer killed in New York shooting was due to be installed as a lay chaplain CHRISTIAN POST
 
Anonymous Good Samaritan returns lost wallet with $305 cash and adds some Bible verses CHRISTIAN POST
 
Episcopal Diocese forgives $93,000 debt — The pastor of Christ Image Community Church in Saginaw will tell you he just experienced an early Christmas miracle when the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan erased a $93,000 debt owed by the independent church ACNS
 
Bishop Coyne of Indianapolis picked to head Vermont diocese CNA
 
LATIN AMERICA
Argentine court declares orangutan a "non-human person" — It just takes one judge, wanting to make history, to kick the props out from under our tottering societal embrace of human exceptionalism LIFE SITE
 
ISRAEL
"Israel facing two-pronged assault" says Netanyahu — Israel is facing a two-pronged assault on its existence: from terrorist threat and political conspiracy, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said CBN
 
Hamas test-fires rockets in show of defiance — Hamas has test-fired rockets from the Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean Sea for the second time in nine days, in a display of defiance and provocation towards Israel who, according to Hamas, "do not deserve to exist" BLOOMBERG
 
 
As the world turns it back on Israel, a surprising ally emerges BIN
 
RECOMMENDED ON ALETEIA
2014 Papal Address to the Curia: This has to be one of the Pontiff’s best deliveries to-date! I can honestly say that it is the sort of message I could imagine our Lord delivering – and that isn’t a remark I make lightly. Francis’ address to the curia is an absolute must read. I believe his message will become a pastoral resource for decades to come. Bravo Papa Franceso, bravo! ALETEIA
 
Amicie Pélissié du Rausas interviews Cardinal Müller who explains his understanding of "Liberation Theology" saying, "It also means overcoming selfishness in ourselves, the sin of being simply centered on oneself. The key thing is to use freedom in the love of God and for others." ALETEIA 
 
Kathleen Berchelmann’s "Its Takes a Family" provides a first-hand account of her parenting experience in which she explains: "My children are more than just a carbon footprint or trash generators. We are grateful for our children and we joyfully accept the privilege of raising them." And — "Parenting has become a fight against culture, against how everyone else thinks children should be raised. A parent’s job is to filter through the thousands of messages presented to our children daily and choose which ones we will promote in our own homes. There is more than one right way to raise a child, yet everyone thinks their way is best." ALETEIA
 
Marge Fenelon tells us about the "Miracle of the Poinsettia" and as I write this I have one just a few feet away from me, for I love the plant. Marge tells us about the "miracle" of the poinsettia also known as "Flowers of the Holy Night" and in considering what we might bring to Christ at this time of the year she says "I wanted super-spectacular-high-minded-soul-lifting-wildly-successful striving. Instead, all I’ve got is a decent try – a handful of roadside weeds." Read the story, you’ll enjoy it! ALETEIA
 
Read Tom Hoopes’ "Four Joys of Christmas" for a personal reflection on the poignant moments and significant symbolism which surrounds the season ALETEIA
 
BRITAIN & IRELAND
How oil has become the world’s most potent weapon: Forget nuclear arms. The US and Saudis are behind an oil price crash that could topple regimes in Russia and Iran (Ah ha, people are catching on, at last. But the real concern is not the US and Saudia Arabia but instead watch out for a potential future alliance between Russia and Iran together with an "Islamic" invasion of Saudia Arabia. Once that happens there is likely to be a re-aiming of the "oil weapon" but, crucially, targeted against the West!) DAILY MAIL
 
Richard Dawkins suggests it’s faith that makes people capable of committing evil on the scale of the Taliban and Islamic State — (This argument will eventually be turned upon those faithful to the Christian Scriptures) CHRISTIAN TODAY
 
Britain facing poverty: One in six families with children are too poor to heat their homes, forcing thousands to go cold over the winter DAILY MAIL
 
Northern Irish leaders near deal to save Catholic-Protestant government FOX
 
Show some kindness to homeless, says priest IRISH INDEPENDENT
 
EUROPE
Belarus in full-blown hyperinflation panic: Government blocks news, online stores; bans all forex trading for two years IW
 
AFRICA
Another bomb attack in Nigeria  — Two bomb attacks at a bus station and a market in north Nigeria on Monday has killed at least 27 people and wounded around 60, officials say REUTERS
 
MIDDLE EAST
Author who walked with ISIS: "They are more dangerous than people know" — "These are not stupid people,"the 74 year old said. "One of the people we met had just finished his law degree. He had great job offers, but he turned them down to go and fight. We met fighters from Europe and the United States. One of them was from New Jersey. Can you imagine a man from New Jersey traveling to fight for the Islamic State?" Todenhoefer added that ISIS militants are so dedicated to the cause, they are not only willing, but eager to die on the battlefield GOSPEL HERALD


State Department renames ISIS:
 The US State Department is to use the word "Daesh" to refer to ISIS after perceived "unfair" association between ISIS and Islam. 
The change is a result of comments made by the Foreign Minister of France who said, "I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims, and Islamists,  the Arabs call them Daesh" (Such nonsense! Firstly ISIS is Islamic (albeit an aggressive manifestation of it) and secondly this new name means precisely the same thing, just in Arabic! It also has some associated meanings (read the article) which, in my view, plays straight into the hands of these murderous thugs. 
Well done State Department — not!) GOSPEL HERALD
 

 
Vicar of Baghdad: The love of the refugee child Jesus is all that’s left for Christians in Iraq this Christmas CHRISTIAN POST
 
Bishops witness steadfast faith of Middle East Christians — Australian bishops say they have seen ‘Christ reborn again’ among refugees in Lebanon and Iraq CATHOLIC HERALD
 
ASIA
Christian Philippines! There is a city in the Philippines which requires that a verse of Scripture be painted on the city’s motorized rickshaws. Any driver caught without a Bible verse on his vehicle is fined .. or has their licence revoked! "With a Biblical message on the back of the vehicles, commuters get to see a Christian message every day, and we believe this helps to preserve the peace of our city," says Lucille Lagunay a city councilor. (Really? Amazing! Well, that is certainly different from the attitude one encounters in the West! Here’s my Scripture contribution to the city of Tagbilaran in the Philippines: "Whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" and which you are certainly not guilty of — a Merry Christmas to the Philippines!) CBN
 
British Ambassador to Nepal accused of supporting Christian missionaries CHRISTIAN TODAY
 
FAMILY MATTERS
Aleteia for Children: Hear Kaitlyn Mahaer singing Holy Night and .. there surely can’t be anyone left who hasn’t heard of (and listened to) Jotta from Brazil but, just in case you are the one .. here is Jotta singing Agnus Dei — Merry Christmas!
 
The country which banned abortion: Since Chile’s ban on abortion, not only has maternal health improved but the number of women seeking illegal abortion has plummeted! LIFE SITE
 
Newborn baby saved in China (from a toilet) after mother abandoned him DAILY MAIL
 
ADDITIONAL
Persecuted Christianity SNZ
 
The Year In Review: Miraculously healed Muslim lays down his life for Christ (A compelling testimony well worth reading) CHARISMA
 
The beauty of Handel’s Messiah CHRISTIANITY
 
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