New Trouble for Euro in Portugal

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Just weeks after European leaders tamped down a banking crisis in Cyprus, troubles in the euro zone have again reared their head, this time in Portugal.

In an address to his beleaguered nation on Sunday, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho warned that his government would be forced to cut spending more and that lives “will become more difficult” after a court on Friday struck down some of the austerity measures put in place after a bailout package two years ago.

The renewed tension in Portugal raised the threat of further trouble elsewhere in the euro zone, where ailing members have struggled to rebuild economic growth after enduring wrenching spending cuts.

“The risks in the euro zone have increased markedly over the past six weeks or so,” wrote Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy, a London-based consultancy that assesses risk on sovereign debt.

A critical moment for the latest trouble took place on Friday, when Portugal’s Constitutional Court struck down four of nine contested austerity measures that the government introduced as part of a 2013 budget that included about 5 billion euros, or $6.5 billion, of tax increases and spending cuts. The ruling left the government short about 1.4 billion euros of expected revenue, or more than one-fifth of the 2013 austerity package.

Specifically, the court, which began reviewing the legality of the government’s austerity measures in January, ruled as unconstitutional and discriminatory the government’s plans to cut holiday bonuses for civil servants and pensioners, as well as to reduce sick leave and unemployment benefits.

Since Greece’s bailout in 2010, spikes in the borrowing costs of troubled euro countries have spread from one country to another as investors have tried to anticipate possible problems elsewhere in the currency union.

With that contagion risk in mind, politicians in Spain wasted no time over the weekend trying to distance their country from the latest turmoil in Lisbon.

Esteban González Pons, a senior official of the governing Popular Party, told a gathering of the party on Sunday that “Spain is not in the situation of Portugal.” He added, “If Portugal is in worse shape than Spain, it is because they have not taken the necessary measures that we have taken in our country.”

In May 2011, Portugal became the third euro zone country, after Greece and Ireland, to negotiate an international bailout. Lisbon received 78 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund and European creditors in return for introducing spending cuts and tax increases. Since then, however, Portugal has failed to meet its promised budgetary goals. Its economy has instead continued to sink into one of Europe’s most severe and prolonged recessions, spurring labor strikes and huge street demonstrations.

But Mr. Passos Coelho, in his first public address since the court ruling on Friday, defended the record of his nearly two-year-old government and pledged to do “everything to avoid a second bailout.” He ruled out, however, introducing tax increases.

The prime minister addressed the nation on Sunday after an emergency meeting of his cabinet on Saturday, as well as talks with the Portuguese president, Anibal Cavaco Silva.

Cyprus received a bailout of 10 billion euros from international creditors last month. It may need even more to save its banks, a top German policy maker said on Sunday.

“The situation in Cyprus has stabilized in the last few days,” Jens Weidmann, president of the Bundesbank, the German central bank, told Deutschlandfunk radio. “However, I wouldn’t rule out that the need for liquidity in Cyprus could increase.”

The crisis in Cyprus reflects how urgent it is for the euro zone to establish a means to shut down failed banks without burdening taxpayers or endangering the financial system, Mr. Weidmann said.

“There continues to be a problem with banks that may be too connected and too big to wind down without creating a danger for the financial system,” he said.

After the Portuguese court ruling on Friday, António José Seguro, the leader of the main Socialist opposition party, urged Mr. Passos Coelho to call an early general election. Two years ago, a Socialist administration was forced to resign and call a snap election after failing to win sufficient parliamentary backing for its own program of austerity measures.

Unlike the Socialists at the time, Mr. Passos Coelho holds a comfortable parliamentary majority, at the helm of a coalition between his Social Democrats and the smaller, conservative Popular Party. Mr. Passos Coelho and lawmakers from his governing center-right coalition on Wednesday defeated a motion of no confidence in Parliament, which had been backed by the Socialists.

Portugal is aiming to cut its budget deficit to 5.5 percent of gross domestic product this year from 6.4 percent in 2012, but that target has recently been put into question by economists because of a deepening recession that has also pushed Portugal’s unemployment rate close to 18 percent, compared with 12 percent when Mr. Passos Coelho came to power two years ago.

While the Constitutional Court’s ruling is a blow for the government in terms of its credibility and budgetary plans, it also gives Mr. Passos Coelho new arguments to persuade international lenders to grant Lisbon additional leeway in meeting its budgetary targets, according to some analysts.

Mr. Passos Coelho said on Sunday that he would seek to explain to creditors how the court’s ruling had left Portugal “in a situation of great difficulty.”

International lenders have already agreed to give Portugal until 2015 to cut the deficit to 3 percent, which is two years later than was agreed two years ago, when the bailout was negotiated.

“It was already clear that Portugal would not meet its budgetary targets anyway, even without this court decision,” said Pedro C. Magalhães, a professor of politics at the University of Lisbon. “The government wants to make it absolutely sure, before the public and especially before our creditors, that it is perceived as having done all it could, that the blame for failure is shifted to the court and that any further relaxing of budgetary targets is seen as being forced by unforeseen circumstances and not by the government’s own lack of commitment.”

Despite Portugal’s recent budget slippage, the I.M.F. has maintained its confidence in the government of Mr. Passos Coelho, especially after Lisbon managed to return to the bond markets in January with a debt issuance of 2.4 billion euros. Lisbon was expected to follow up on that improvement soon by issuing 10-year benchmark bonds for the first time since the bailout.

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Attack On Cairo Cathedral A Message To Egypt Christians: “Leave or Die”

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Six Egyptians have been killed and almost 100 injured over the last four days in sectarian violence of a kind that activists and analysts tell The Tower is unprecedented in modern Egypt.

Four Christians and a Muslim were killed in sectarian clashes in a Cairo suburb on Saturday. A Muslim mob subsequently attacked the Sunday funeral procession held for the four at Cairo’s Coptic Orthodox cathedral, leading to another death and scores of injuries. Mourners who took cover in the cathedral compound were attacked with rocks and Molotov cocktails. Sectarian tension has continued into Monday in the Egyptian capital and its surrounding areas.

Egypt’s 10-percent Christian minority has historically been subject to religious and economic discrimination. The situation has worsened since the 2011 ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his replacement by the Muslim Brotherhood-linked government of Mohammed Morsi, and there has been a massive Christian exodus from the country.

But Mina Rizkalla, a U.S.-based Coptic activist, told The Tower that the weekend’s violence was a severe escalation.

“Since the establishment of modern Egypt we have never seen attacks against Copts reach the Coptic Cathedral, where the Coptic Pope lives, and which Copts view as their safest and holiest place. The scenes of tear gas and shooting in the cathedral… [can’t be] removed,” he said.

Rizkalla said that attacking the cathedral sent a “clear” message to Egypt’s Coptic community: “Leave or die.”

Egyptian media continues to describe the attackers as “unknown assailants.” Egypt’s Interior Ministry blamed the mourners for the violence and said the riot police intervened to stop it. That account is in tension with eyewitness accounts, which depict Muslim attacks in response to Coptic anti-government chants:

Clashes erupted immediately after the service between the emerging mourners and a crowd outside the cathedral. It was unclear who started the violence. But later dozens of riot police with armored vehicles and tear-gas canons appeared to enter the fray on the side of crowds of young Muslim men who were throwing rocks and fire bombs at the mourners.

In what seemed like a siege of the cathedral, tear-gas canisters fell inside the walls of its compound, sending gas into the sanctuary and two nuns running for shelter in a nearby loading dock. Later, some of the young civilians who had been attacking the cathedral switched to taunts, making lewd gestures involving the sign of the cross. The riot policemen made no attempt to stop them, either from throwing rocks toward the cathedral or insulting the Christians.

The role played by Egyptian police has come in for particularly withering criticism:

But Remon Wageh, a church worker, blamed what he called radical Muslims for the violence. “The minute the Christians loaded the coffins into cars after the service, a group of bearded radicals threw rocks at us,” he said. “The police just stood by watching, doing nothing,” he said. “They protected the radicals who were hiding behind a line of officers in the street outside the cathedral.” Police officers were not available to comment on the accusation. The interior minister later went to the scene at Mursi’s request to investigate but did not speak to the media.

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Coptic Christians under siege as mob attacks Cairo cathedral

Alastair Beach sees gunfire exchanged as armed gang descends on funeral of five  Christians killed in recent sectarian clashes

Coptic Christians protest against the killings of people during clashes in Cairo between Christian protesters and military police, in Los Angeles

Hundreds of Christians were under siege inside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral last night as security forces and local residents, some armed with handguns, launched a prolonged and unprecedented attack on the seat of Egypt’s ancient Church.

At least one person was killed and at least 84 injured as Christians inside the walled St Mark’s cathedral compound came under a frenzied assault from their assailants in the main road outside.

The fighting erupted after a mass funeral for five Copts who were killed during violent clashes in a north Egyptian town on Saturday. A Muslim man also died in the clashes, which happened after an Islamic institute was daubed with offensive graffiti.

Following yesterday’s service thousands of Christians poured out on to the street and began chanting slogans against Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian President and long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Late last night President Morsi issued a statement in which he said he had spoken to Pope Tawadros II, the leader of the Coptic church, and had given orders for the cathedral and citizens to be guarded. He said protecting the lives of Muslims and Christians was a state responsibility and added: “I consider any attack on the cathedral as an attack on me, personally.”

The man killed in the clashes outside the cathedral was named by the state news agency, MENA, as Mahrous Hana Tadros, a Christian name. MENA said 11 of the 84 injured were police officers.

Earlier, witnesses described how they were attacked by locals from Abbasiyya, the north-east Cairo neighbourhood where the cathedral is located. After being hit by rocks from the roofs of nearby buildings, the mourners were reportedly forced back into the cathedral compound.

Wael Eskandar, an Egyptian blogger who attended the funeral, said he saw people being showered with broken bottles from the roof of an apartment block opposite. After being attacked, he said, the people “started racing out of the side street and destroying the nearby cars”. He added that he was not sure if those attacking the vehicles were mourners. As night fell the streets around St Mark’s were echoing to the sound of gunshots and exploding tear gas canisters. Young men on either side of the 18ft-high compound wall exchanged a continuous hail of rocks and broken masonry. Others hurled Molotov cocktails and let off fireworks.

The security forces positioned outside the cathedral launched volley after volley of tear gas into the compound. Some of the thousands of onlookers gathered in the road cheered as the canisters rocketed towards Christians perched on the walls overlooking the main street.

One young man, his right hand clasped around a shiny steel handgun, clambered on top of a petrol station alongside the cathedral and blasted a single round at those trapped inside. He was helped down by a friend who was also carrying a handgun, before they both jogged off through a nearby line of riot police who had been watching the young man take aim. Soon afterwards there was a flash from inside the compound as a young man stepped up on to the perimeter wall and fired a weapon towards the thousands of onlookers below.

A second later a number of people recoiled as they were hit by birdshot. Handguns and other weapons, many of them homemade, are becoming a more common feature of the violence which has regularly convulsed the country since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

“Only God can save us from what is happening right now,” said Mina Zakaraya, a 25-year-old Coptic seminarian who was positioned inside the compound. At the cathedral’s rear entrance, panicked young men ushering people inside demanded to see the cross which most Copts have tattooed on their wrist.

“I’m worried about the situation in Egypt,” said Makram Girgis as he sat on the steps leading up to the imposing cathedral building.

“The Muslim Brotherhood and extremist groups here want us to leave. They don’t accept Copts. But this was our country, ever since the time of the pharaohs.”

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Christians, here’s why we’re losing our religion

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Recent research indicates that the number of people who do not consider themselves a part of an organized religion is steadily on the rise.

Interestingly enough, though the number of those religiously unaffiliated is increasing, there is little to no trend in the number of those who express atheist or agnostic beliefs. People aren’t saying they don’t believe in God. They’re saying they don’t believe in religion. They are not rejecting Christ. They are rejecting the church.

This begs the question, “Why are we losing our religion?”

Some may be losing their religion, but I challenge the notion that faith in general is waning.

I believe, instead, the trend of people who don’t identify as part of an organized religion speaks to an increasing wariness of labels in our culture. Those labels carry baggage for many who might have been hurt by the Church or let down by religion.

You see, religion alone can only take a person so far. Religion can make us nice, but only Christ can make us new. Religion focuses on outward behavior. Relationship is an inward transformation. Religion focuses on what I do, while relationship centers on what Jesus did. Religion is about me. Relationship is about Jesus.

In order to become a new person, we need Christ. Only through an active ongoing relationship with Jesus can we become transformed and overcome the labels that bind us.

In fact, I’ve struggled with what people think of my label: pastor. For many, this label carries emotional baggage.

When I meet someone new, I get to talk to him or her like a regular person. We joke around, talk about our families, and then the inevitable happens. “What do you do for a living?” When I answer this question, I typically get one of two responses. I either get an onslaught of Christianese phrases — “Oh, praise the Lord! What a blessing, brother Craig!” or I get stonewalled, and the conversation dies as quickly as it started.

One time when this happened, the person I was talking with politely shared that he didn’t like religious people. I chimed in that I didn’t like religious people either. His mouth nearly dropped to the floor. I explained that religion is about rules, but being a Christian is about relationship.

Now I’m not saying is that religious organizations are useless. Obviously, I’m a part of one. I am the pastor of a church and truly believe what Bill Hybels asserts: “The local church is the hope of the world.” But in order to reach the current generation and generations to come, we must change the way we do things. That’s why we like to say, “To reach people no one is reaching, we have to do things no one is doing.”

As churches, we don’t have the liberty to change the message, but we must change the way the message is presented. We have to discover our “altar ego”—and become who God says we are instead of who others say we are.

Peeling off the labels that cling to our reputation brings great freedom for us as individuals and as the global body of believers known as the Church. Only when we push past those artificial constraints can we truly become who God created us to be.

For example, many people think churches are “all about money.” The think that churches just want people to give to them but that they rarely give back.

Besides investing in our communities and helping the poor, our church moved beyond the labels and status quo to embrace generosity in a way that some have called crazy. We’ve created and given away millions of YouVersion Bible Apps every month—more than 85 million to date. We give away our weekend teachings to hundreds of churches every week, for free. Rather than selling products our church creates, we give away as much as we can. More than 100,000 pastors and leaders downloaded more than three million resources last year.

Despite the lack of religious affiliation the research shows, the interest in these spiritual resources has never been greater. As a church, we don’t see these research trends as a threat, but as an opportunity for us to do more.

First magic mushroom depression trial hits stumbling block

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The world’s first clinical trial designed to explore using a hallucinogen from magic mushrooms to treat people with depression has stalled because of British and European rules on the use of illegal drugs in research.

David Nutt, president of the British Neuroscience Association and professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, said he had been granted an ethical green light and funding for the trial, but regulations were blocking it.

“We live in a world of insanity in terms of regulating drugs,” he told a neuroscience conference in London on Sunday.

He has previously conducted small experiments on healthy volunteers and found that psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, has the potential to alleviate severe forms of depression in people who don’t respond to other treatments.

Following these promising early results he was awarded a 550,000 pounds ($844,000) grant from the UK’s Medical Research Council to conduct a full clinical trial in patients.

But psilocybin is illegal in Britain, and under the United Nations 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances it is classified as a Schedule 1 drug – one that has a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical use.

This, Nutt explained, means scientists need a special license to use magic mushrooms for trials in Britain, and the manufacture of a synthetic form of psilocybin for use in patients is tightly controlled by European Union regulations.

Together, this has meant he has so far been unable to find a company able to make and supply the drug for his trial, he said.

“Finding companies who could manufacture the drug and who are prepared to go through the regulatory hoops to get the license, which can take up to a year and triple the price, is proving very difficult,” he said.

Nutt said regulatory authorities have a “primitive, old-fashioned attitude that Schedule 1 drugs could never have therapeutic potential”, despite the fact that his research and the work done by other teams suggests such drugs may help treat some patients with psychiatric disorders.

Psilocybin – or “magic” – mushrooms grow naturally around the world and have been widely used since ancient times for religious rites and also for recreation.

Researchers in the United States have seen positive results in trials using MDMA, a pure form of the party drug ecstasy, in treating post-traumatic stress disorder.

“What we are trying to do is to tap into the reservoir of under-researched illegal drugs to see if we can find new and beneficial uses for them in people whose lives are often severely affected by illnesses such as depression,” Nutt said.

The proposed trial would involve 60 patients with depression who have failed two previous treatments.

During two or three controlled sessions with a therapist, half would be given a synthetic form of psilocybin, and the other 30 a placebo. They would have guided talking therapy to explore negative thinking and issues troubling them, and doctors would follow them up for at least a year.

Nutt secured ethical approval for the trial in March.

In previous research, Nutt found that when healthy volunteers were injected with psilocybin, the drug switched off a part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex, which is known to be overactive in people with depression.

“Even in normal people, the more that part of the brain was switched off under the influence of the drug, the better they felt two weeks later. So there was a relationship between that transient switching off of the brain circuit and their subsequent mood,”, he said. “This is the basis on which we want to run the trial.”

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Five die in Christian-Muslim clashes in Egypt

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Five Egyptians were killed and eight wounded in clashes between Christians and Muslims in a town near Cairo, security sources said on Saturday, in some of the worst sectarian violence in Egypt for months.

Christian-Muslim confrontations have increased in Muslim-majority Egypt since the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 gave freer rein to hardline Islamists repressed under his rule.

Four Christian Copts and one Muslim were killed when members of both communities started fighting and shooting at each other in El Khusus north of the Egyptian capital, the sources said. State news agency MENA put the death toll at four.

An angry crowd smashed shops belonging to Christians, residents said. A Reuters reporter saw a burned-out Coptic day care center and several damaged shops belonging to Christian traders. An apartment inhabited by Muslims was also burned.

Residents said the violence broke out on Friday when a group of Christian children were drawing on a wall of a Muslim religious institute.

A Reuters reporter saw what looked like a swastika drawn on the wall. Muslim residents said it had offended them because it looked like a cross.

“I saw the kids drawing on the wall after afternoon prayers so I grabbed them and told them to remove what they’d just written,” said Mahmoud Mahmoud al-Alfi, a Muslim resident.

Then another man arrived and started beating the children, drawing a large crowd, he said. The situation escalated when someone drew a gun and fired into the air, killing one boy with a stray bullet.

“Suddenly the area was full of weapons,” Alfi said, while weeping Muslim women sat nearby in front of a house, showing pictures of a man they said had been killed during the clashes.

The president’s office expressed condolences to the victims and vowed to fight any sectarian violence.

“The presidency … totally rejects any attempt against the unity and cohesiveness of Egyptian society and will decisively confront any attempt to spark sectarian strife among Egyptian people, Muslim and Christian,” according to a statement.

Muslim leaders were also quick to condemn the sectarian violence which comes as Egypt struggles with a severe economic crisis and high inflation after two years of political upheaval.

Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, of Egypt’s leading Islamic authority Al-Azhar, urged measures to prevent the situation from escalating and to “preserve the national character which characterises the Egyptian people, Muslims and Christians,” MENA said.

“The sectarian riots which happened in El Khusus are unacceptable and grave,” Saad al-Katatni, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood political party, said on his Facebook website. “There are some who want to set Egypt ablaze and create crises.”

President Mohamed Mursi, a Brotherhood leader elected in June, has promised to protect the rights of Copts, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 84 million people.

TIGHT SECURITY

On Saturday the situation was calm but tense in the small town where Muslims and Christians live close to each other but in separate streets. Security was tight with police vehicles parked in the main streets.

Police detained 15 people, a security source said.

In a Christian neighborhood dozens of angry young men gathered at noon on Saturday, chanting “with our blood and soul we sacrifice ourselves for the cross”. The crowds left after a priest came and asked them to leave to calm tensions.

“There are people who want to cause sectarian strife between Muslims and Christians,” said a Christian man who gave his name as Kameel. “I’ve been here longer than 30 years and I have never seen any violence or extremism in our area.”

Sectarian tensions have often flared into violence, particularly in rural areas where rivalries between clans or families sometimes add to friction. Love affairs between Muslims and Christians have also sparked clashed in the past.

Since Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising, Christians have complained of several attacks on churches by radical Islamists, incidents that have sharpened longstanding Christian complaints about being sidelined in the workplace and in law.

As an example, they point to rules that make it harder to obtain official permission to build a church than a mosque.

Last month, a court sentenced a Muslim to death for killing two people in a dispute with Christians in a southern town.

In October 2011, 25 people, most of them Coptic demonstrators, were killed in clashes with troops in Cairo.

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Evangelical Christianity, Catholicism Labeled ‘Extremist’ in Army Presentation

A U.S. Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief describes “Evangelical Christianity” and “Catholicism” as examples of “religious extremism,” according to the Archdiocese for the Military Services and the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, who shared a copy of the documents with The Christian Post.

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“The number of hate groups, extremists and anti‐govt organizations in the U.S. has continued to grow over the past three years, according to reports by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They increased to 1,018 in 2011, up from 1,002 in 2010 and 602 in 2000,” reads the first page of the slide presentation labeled “Extremism & Extremist Organizations.”

Listed alongside “extremist” groups and organizations like the Klu Klux Klan and al-Qaida, the U.S. Army slideshow has “Evangelical Christianity” as the first bullet, followed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Ultra-Orthodox Judaism and farther down on the slide, Catholicism.

According to the training documents, “Extremism is a complex phenomenon” that is present in every religion due to “some followers that believe that their beliefs, customs and traditions are the only ‘right way’ and that all others are practicing their faith the ‘wrong way,’ seeing and believing that their faith/religion superior to all others.”

Alliance Defending Freedom provide slides from the Power Point presentation used by the U.S. Army Reserve in training soldiers on religious extremism.

(Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom via The Christian Post)
Alliance Defending Freedom provide slides from the Power Point presentation used by the U.S. Army Reserve in training soldiers on religious extremism.

“Men and women of faith who have served the Army faithfully for centuries shouldn’t be likened to those who have regularly threatened the peace and security of the United States,” retired Col. Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said in a statement that included a link to controversial Power Point presentation. Crews reportedly was alerted to the training material by a concerned soldier.

There are no dates on the slides to indicate when the training might have been presented to soldiers, but the Army Chief of Chaplains office has said that the training was an isolated incident and the slides were not sanctioned by the U.S. Army Department. A separate Army spokesman told the Navy Times that the materials were presented last year to soldiers and once discovered, were discarded.

“The archdiocese is astounded that Catholics were listed alongside groups that are, by their very mission and nature, violent and extremist,” the Archdiocese for the Military Services said in a statement, as reported by World Magazine. Roman Catholics make up 20 percent of active-duty members of the military, while other faith groups and denominations, such as Muslims, Buddhists and Southern Baptists, are less than 2 percent of the U.S. military.

“It is dishonorable for any U.S. military entity to allow this type of wrongheaded characterization. It also appears that some military entities are using definitions of ‘hate’ and ‘extreme’ from the lists of anti-Christian political organizations. That violates the apolitical stance appropriate for the military,” added Col. Crews.

One “anti-Christian political organization” in question is the Southern Poverty Law Center, cited as a source in the training documents. The SPLC has drawn criticism from conservatives over its designation of faith-based organizations as “hate groups,” such as the case with nonprofit, pro-family organization the Family Research Council. On its current list of 1,007 “known hate groups operating across the country,” the SPLC cites the Washington, D.C.-based group as “anti-gay” due to its biblical views on marriage and sexuality.

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As Predicted, James Holmes Was Taking Violence-Linked Antidepressant Drugs

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It likely comes as no surprise to those who have been following the disturbing trend of mass shooters over the years, but a new Los Angeles Times report has confirmed that Holmes had been taking the prescription psychotropic drugs Zoloft and Clonazepam (Klonopin) — one of which is the same drug that the Colombine Eric Harris was on.

For months now the alternative news media has been predicting that Holmes was most certainly on antidepressant drugs as we know 90% of school shootings have links to psych meds, but until now it has only been announced that certain prescription medication was seized (and listed as Vicodin by some sources). Ultimately, we received a large degree of flak and downright hate for predicting that Holmes was on these drugs like to aggression and suicide, but it’s simply following a very blatant pattern.

As the LA Times reports, the following prescription medication was found:

“…prescription medication for sertraline, a generic version of Zoloft used to treat depression, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder; and Clonazepam, usually prescribed to treat anxiety and panic attacks”

In my article from when the incident happened, I immediately wrote a piece about how Holmes was most definitely on hardcore pharmaceuticals based on previous trends. At the time, it was being reported that he was taking Vicodin, but there was no doubt in my mind that he was on at least one antidepressant-type drug. I’ve since updated the piece with a link to the confirmation, but you can see in many of the comments individuals were very doubtful that Holmes was on any type of drug.

As more information comes out on the case, it will likely reveal an increasingly deep history of prescription drug abuse on behalf of Holmes. Just as the Columbine incident continued to develop into a horrific story of drug abuse and an obsession with mind alteration, it appears this case will follow a similar trend.

Prescription drug abuse that is found with antidepressants, that even at normal levels have been linked to violence, suicide, and aggression.

Side effects for the baseline drug Prozac alone include:

  • Suicidal behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Violent actions and reckless behavior

And once again, these were side effects that up until 2005, when Harvard psychiatrist Martin Teicher blew the whistle on the cover up, were completely hidden from the public. As detailed in the USA Today article on the subject, Teicher explains how Prozac manufacturer Eli Lilly & Co. lied for 15 years denying the very real link between Prozac and suicide. In his own words, Teicher said that the public was being treated like ”guinea pigs” in a mass experiment.

And the Klonopin Holmes was on is even more dangerous, and as Paul Joseph Watson details, has been called the world’s “deadliest drug” by certain publications. It has been linked to substantial aggressive and violent behavior, and that’s just the beginning.

People and websites like Mike Adams of NaturalNews, Alex Jones & crew of Infowars, World Net Daily, Lew Rockwell, and myself have all done the research and held their ground on the issue even amid the ‘political correct’ assault over the issue in which people actually decided to attack us over publishing the trends. And now, these websites are enjoying record traffic and credit as they reveal their predictions were 100% accurate.

Meanwhile, Big Pharma continues to pump these drugs out and promote them for young children. Yet no one blames Big Pharma for providing a potential ‘tipping point’ for these deranged individuals.

China reports 2 more cases of new bird flu virus

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Shanghai has reported two more cases of human infection of a new strain of bird flu, raising the number of cases in eastern China to 18. Six of the people who contracted the virus have died.

Health officials believe people are contracting the H7N9 virus through direct contact with infected fowl and say there’s no evidence the virus is spreading easily between people.

Shanghai’s government said Saturday the latest victims are a 74-year-old peasant and a 66-year-old retiree. The city has been ordered by the agriculture ministry to halt its live poultry trade and slaughter all fowl in markets where the virus has been found.

The capital cities of the neighboring provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu also have suspended sales of live poultry. Both provinces have reported H7N9 cases.

China bird flu sends Europe, Asia stocks down

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China’s newest strain of avian flu, which has killed at least six people, has sent stock markets downhill. Local stocks were first to suffer, with shockwaves heading across Asia and into Europe. The news mainly hurt tourism and travel-related shares.

Shares in Chinese airlines declined to their lowest in nearly four years following the news of six deaths from the H7N9 bird flu virus.

The deaths are more than a third of the 14 confirmed human infection cases in China. Most of the affected were on the eastern coast near Shanghai. Mass slaughter of poultry has been ordered in the region and all live poultry markets are closed.

Earlier in the week Shanghai issued a level 3 flu alert, the second lowest stage of four.

The number of flu victims has been low, it’s believed, due to the fact the H7N9 virus cannot be transmitted from human to human. The WHO says no such cases have been registered so far.

Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines Co. which deploys around 78 per cent of its capacity on the domestic market, was down 10.6 per cent on Friday, the stock’s biggest one-day decline since April 27, 2009.

European airlines are also down over the flu fears. Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, IAG and Ryanair fell by between 3.3 and 4.7 per cent.

The sector is reacting to fears of a new pandemic of bird flu in China, which would hurt air traffic,” a Paris-based airline sector analyst told Reuters. “For now, investors are pricing in a bad scenario, although if you look back four years ago, Chinese authorities did a good job dealing with the pandemic back then, and the airline sector didn’t suffer much.”

In Hong Kong, the overall index closed at a four-month low, led by falls in airline shares over fears of reduced demand for air travel. Shares of Air China dropped 9.8 per cent, which was company’s worst single-day loss in nearly four years.

People are worried the new bird flu would develop into a disaster like SARS [‘Severe acute respiratory syndrome’, which killed thousands in 2003],” Davin Wu, a transportation analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG, told Bloomberg. “At least leisure travelers will be cutting back their trips to China.

Analysts say the situation will only improve as the Chinese flu danger is over.

Though geopolitical analyst and author William Engdahl told RT that it is way too early to start the alarm, as the symptoms of the H7N9 are rather common.

“I think it’s way too early. WHO lists the symptoms of H7N9 as pneumonia, severe cough, fever and shortness of breath. These are symptoms that can apply to a myriad of illnesses. 6 people have died in China in a population of 1.3 billion, but we haven’t conclusive proof of what exactly they died of. They may have had severe pneumonia and other respiratory complications and simply died of those. But because doctors identified this H7N9, they claim it’s the death owing to the bird flu” he said.

He supposes that the pharmaceutical industry might be flaring up the hysteria and influencing health organizations.

“It’s interesting WHO is again recommending ‘Tamiflu’, a company that Donald Rumsfeld has huge interest in. And it was involved when he was Secretary of Defense, buying loads of this Tamiflu to American soldiers. Look in detail what happened during the 2008 flu hysteria. WHO was corrupt to the top levels. The scientific advisory board of the WHO was influenced. Most of the members were receiving money from the big farm industry. The farm industry was sitting on the recommendation meetings to tell Margaret Chan of the WHO to declare a pandemic. They changed the definition of pandemic in April of that year to include only geographical spread of certain symptoms which were the common cold,” Engdahl told RT.

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