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  • Why Iraq Is So Desperate to Retake Mosul Dam From ISIS

    via Time

    by Rebecca Collard

    Updated Aug. 17 2:44 p.m. E.T

    When Saddam Hussein built the Mosul dam three decades ago it was meant to serve as a symbol of the strength of Iraq and his leadership. He was following a tradition of big, but often ill-considered infrastructure projects in some Middle East dictatorships that seem more like a muscle-flex by a country’s leader than a project for the people.

    Now that dam — the country’s biggest, holding back 11 billion cubic meters of water and producing over 1,000 megawatts of electricity — is at the center of a military struggle between Iraqi and Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. and the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), which took control of the structure on Aug. 7.

    Kurdish forces retook part of the dam early Sunday, the Associated Press reported, aided by U.S. and Iraqi air strikes. The Americans brought along some serious hardware to the fight; a combination of bombers, fighter jets, attack planes and unmanned drones, according to U.S. Central Command, conducted 14 strikes on Sunday and nine the day before. The show of force proves that the threat posed by ISIS control of the dam is finally being taken seriously.

    “We told the Iraqi government a month ago that we needed to protect this strategic structure,” said Shirouk al-Abayachi, a member of the Iraq parliament for the Civil Democratic Alliance, and previously an adviser to the Ministry of Water Resources. “Any group manipulating this dam away from its original purpose is dangerous.”

    Control of the dam gives ISIS the ability to do exactly that, and the consequences could be devastating. The group has several ways to leverage its control of the dam, say experts. “One of the things Saddam Hussein was really good at in his reign was choking off water supplies to Shi‘ites in the south,” said Christopher Harmer, who is a senior analyst with the Institute for the Study of War, and who served several stints with the U.S. army in Iraq. “ISIS now controls the water flowing into Baghdad and to the agrarian areas south of Baghdad. They are in a position to impose a famine on the rest of Iraq.”

    Alternatively, the militants could destroy the dam, sending a 60-ft. wave ripping down the Tigris River, washing away Mosul, a city of 1.5 million people, and days later flooding Baghdad with meters of water. ISIS is unlikely to do that while Mosul remains under its control. But it means that Iraqi forces must take control of the dam, said Harmer, before making a move on Mosul.

    But even with U.S. military help, retaking the large piece of infrastructure will not be easy. The ISIS militant army, which a year ago seemed like a relatively small extremist faction in Syria, now controls swaths of territory both there and here in Iraq, as well as shored-up weapons and influence.

    The fear now is that with control of water and electricity, the dream of creating a caliphate — or an Islamic state — is becoming closer to a reality for the extremists, famed for enforcement of strict Islamic law, beheadings and massacres.

    “Al-Qaeda has always been just a terrorist organization,” said Harmer. ISIS broke off from al-Qaeda last year and has since promoted itself as the premier jihadist organization. “Al-Qaeda kind of, sort of, talked about establishing a caliphate sometime in the future, but they never had any stated ambition of taking over a state. ISIS is showing a differing level of ambition. ISIS has said, We are going to run a state and therefore we are going to provide all of the state services.”

    Even if ISIS doesn’t use Iraq’s biggest dam as a weapon, its fragile condition means it still poses an enormous threat while in the militants’ hands. In September 2006, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers described it as “the most dangerous dam in the world.” The dam is built on an unstable bed of sand, slit and clay and requires daily grouting just to hold back the water.

    “Iraq alone cannot deal with this. The Mosul dam is in a critical situation with ISIS in control,” said al-Abayachi. Just weeks of neglect could see the dam burst sending flood waters that could leave hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead in its path. “We need help from the international community.”

  • Attention Pro-Lifers: Be Careful Where You Send Your ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Donation

    via Life News

    by Rebecca Taylor

    You have no doubt seen a video of a friend on Facebook being doused with buckets of ice water. What would possess a human being to do something so chilling? It is the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a devastating, progressive neurodegenerative disease that is fatal and has no cure.

    Here is how Ice Bucket Challenge works. People video themselves getting doused with ice water then share that video on social media. They challenge others to do the same in the next 24 hours. If anyone rejects the challenge they are encouraged to give $100 to an ALS charity.

    icebucketchallengeBringing money and awareness to ALS is a noble goal indeed. The Ice Bucket Challenge seems like a silly stunt, but it is working. It has gone viral, and money is pouring in to ALS charities. Celebrities, politicians, and everyday people are getting cold and wet to help those with this devastating disease

    The ALS Association, the “preeminent ALS organization”, reports that they have taken in over $4 million this year; four times what was donated last year.

    But not all ALS charities are the same.

    For example the ALS Association reported that that last year they gave $500,000 to Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS), the largest association of ALS clinical researchers in the world. Likely, the ALS Association will give more to NEALS this year with the popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

    NEALS helps run clinical trials for ALS. On their website, they say that a “NEALS-affliated” trial is one where the “sponsor of the trial has contracted NEALS Coordinating Centers to help conduct the trial. A sponsor may contract NEALS to manage an entire trial or just a portion of the work.”

    I found a NEALS-affliated active trial on their website that clearly states it uses stem cells that originated from an electively aborted fetus. The trial is being funded by NeuralStem Inc. and the description states:

    These stem cells have been engineered from the spinal cord of a single fetus electively aborted after eight weeks of gestation. The tissue was obtained with the mother’s consent.

    Of course the fetus, from whom the “tissue” was taken, did not “give consent.”

    So if you give to the ALS Association your money may end up supporting clinical trials that use aborted fetal cells. Even if the money is not directly going to facilitate such research, it will be going to organizations that see no problem in using aborted innocents as biological material for medical use. That legitimizes and encourages the practice which is unacceptable in my estimation.

    So who can you give your Ice Bucket Challenge money to? I know of one charity that is not focused on funding the research, but on making the lives of those with ALS better through technology and on raising awareness for the disease. Team Gleason, founded by former NFL player and ALS patient, Steve Gleason, has the following mission:

    • Help provide individuals with neuromuscular diseases or injuries with leading edge technology, equipment and services.
    • Create a global conversation about ALS to ultimately find solutions and an end to the disease.
    • Raise public awareness toward ALS by providing and documenting extraordinary life adventures for individuals with muscular diseases or injuries.

    No one is ever certain where every penny of their charity dollars go, but I think Team Gleason is a better choice, just in case you are challenged and an ice bath is not for you!

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – August 15, 2014 – Hour 1

    Kresta in the Afternoon – August 15, 2014 – Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast

    • Description: Listen to Al's cd, "The Biblical Basis for Marian Dogma"
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast (continued)

    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast (continued)

    • Segment Guests:
  • Kresta in the Afternoon – August 15, 2014 – Hour 2

    Kresta in the Afternoon – August 15, 2014 – Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast (continued from Hour 1)

    • Description: Listen to Al's CD, The Biblical Basis for Marian Dogma
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast (continued)

    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast (continued)

    • Segment Guests:
  • Kresta in the Afternoon – August 14, 2014 – Hour 1

    Kresta in the Afternoon – August 14, 2014 – Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    From Sedevacantist to Full Communion: The Story of a Religious Order

    • Description: After the death of Blessed John Paul II and the election of Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, a community of Sedevacantist religious women began a spiritual journey that would eventually lead to their petitioning the bishop of Spokane, WA for full communion with the Catholic Church. This extraordinarily bold step, of course, required prayerful discernment, ongoing study and much personal sacrifice. In June of 2006, their miracle of faith bore fruit when Sr. Mary Eucharista, SMMC, and numerous members of her community received a letter from Bishop Skylstad that formally approved the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church as a Public Association of the Faithful within the Diocese of Spokane, WA. We talk to Sr. Mary Eucharista about the journey.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    From Sedevacantist to Full Communion: The Story of a Religious Order (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    From Sedevacantist to Full Communion: The Story of a Religious Order (continued)

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – August 14, 2014 – Hour 2

    Kresta in the Afternoon – August 14, 2014 – Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Kresta Comments

    + Segment #2 of 3

    A Call for the “Annihilation of the Islamic State in Iraq”

    • Description: One of the most influential Christian thinkers in the US, Dr. Robert George, has led a bi-partisan, interfaith effort to call for the annihilation of the Islamic State in Iraq over their calculated plans to liquidate religious minorities in the Middle East. The letter read in part, “The so-called Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS/ISIL) is conducting a campaign of genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and others in Iraq. In its fanatical effort to establish a caliphate, ISIS/ISIL has engaged in crimes against humanity by deliberately causing mass starvation and dehydration, and by committing unconscionable acts of barbarism against noncombatants, including defenseless women, children, and elderly persons. It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the ISIS/ISIL genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities.” Dr. George joins us.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Knights of Columbus Announces Fund to Help Christians Threatened with Extinction in Iraq

    • Description: The Knights of Columbus announced yesterday that it is establishing a fund to assist those – particularly Christians as well as other religious minorities – facing a horrific and violent persecution and possible extinction in Iraq and the surrounding regions. The Knights has pledged an initial $500,000 and will match an additional $500,000 in donations from the public. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson is here to discuss their efforts.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Carl Anderson
        Carl is the thirteenth Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. He is also the author of several books including the New York Times bestseller, A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World.
      • Resources:
  • Today on “Kresta in the Afternoon” – Aug 14

    Talking about the “things that matter most” on August 14

    The Best of Kresta in the Afternoon

    4:00 – From Sedevacantist to Full Communion: The Story of a Religious Order After the death of Blessed John Paul II and the election of Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, a community of Sedevacantist religious women began a spiritual journey that would eventually lead to their petitioning the bishop of Spokane, WA for full communion with the Catholic Church. This extraordinarily bold step, of course, required prayerful discernment, ongoing study and much personal sacrifice. In June of 2008, their miracle of faith bore fruit when Sr. Mary Eucharista, SMMC, and numerous members of her community received a letter from Bishop Skylstad that formally approved the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church as a Public Association of the Faithful within the Diocese of Spokane, WA. We talk to Sr. Mary Eucharista about the journey.

    5:00 – Kresta Comments

    5:20 – A Call for the “Annihilation of the Islamic State in Iraq” One of the most influential Christian thinkers in the US, Dr. Robert George, has led a bi-partisan, interfaith effort to call for the annihilation of the Islamic State in Iraq over their calculated plans to liquidate religious minorities in the Middle East. The letter read in part, “The so-called Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS/ISIL) is conducting a campaign of genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and others in Iraq. In its fanatical effort to establish a caliphate, ISIS/ISIL has engaged in crimes against humanity by deliberately causing mass starvation and dehydration, and by committing unconscionable acts of barbarism against noncombatants, including defenseless women, children, and elderly persons. It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the ISIS/ISIL genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities.” Dr. George joins us.

    5:40 – Knights of Columbus Announces Fund to Help Christians Threatened with Extinction in Iraq The Knights of Columbus announced yesterday that it is establishing a fund to assist those – particularly Christians as well as other religious minorities – facing a horrific and violent persecution and possible extinction in Iraq and the surrounding regions. The Knights has pledged an initial $500,000 and will match an additional $500,000 in donations from the public. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson is here to discuss their efforts.

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – August 13, 2014 – Hour 1

    Kresta in the Afternoon – August 13, 2014 – Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Kresta Comments

    + Segment #2 of 3

    A Call for the “Annihilation of the Islamic State in Iraq”

    • Description: One of the most influential Christian thinkers in the US, Dr. Robert George, has led a bi-partisan, interfaith effort to call for the annihilation of the Islamic State in Iraq over their calculated plans to liquidate religious minorities in the Middle East. The letter read in part, “The so-called Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS/ISIL) is conducting a campaign of genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and others in Iraq. In its fanatical effort to establish a caliphate, ISIS/ISIL has engaged in crimes against humanity by deliberately causing mass starvation and dehydration, and by committing unconscionable acts of barbarism against noncombatants, including defenseless women, children, and elderly persons. It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the ISIS/ISIL genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities.” Dr. George joins us.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Knights of Columbus Announces Fund to Help Christians Threatened with Extinction in Iraq

    • Description: The Knights of Columbus announced yesterday that it is establishing a fund to assist those – particularly Christians as well as other religious minorities – facing a horrific and violent persecution and possible extinction in Iraq and the surrounding regions. The Knights has pledged an initial $500,000 and will match an additional $500,000 in donations from the public. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson is here to discuss their efforts.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Carl Anderson
        Carl is the thirteenth Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. He is also the author of several books including the New York Times bestseller, A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World.
      • Resources:
  • Kresta in the Afternoon – August 13, 2014 – Hour 2

    Kresta in the Afternoon – August 13, 2014 – Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    August 6 and 9: The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan

    • Description: In the last week we commemorated the anniversaries of the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today we discuss the morality of the decision with Fr. Wilson Miscamble, author of The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan. We explore the American use of atomic bombs, the role these weapons played in the defeat of the Japanese Empire, and Harry Truman's decision making regarding this most controversial of all his decisions.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Fr. Wilson Miscamble
        Fr. Miscamble is a professor of US History at the University of Notre Dame

    + Segment #2 of 3

    August 6 and 9: The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    August 6 and 9: The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan (continued)

  • Today on “Kresta in the Afternoon” – Aug. 13

    Talking about the “things that matter most” on August 13

    4:00 – Kresta Comments

    4:20 – A Call for the “Annihilation of the Islamic State in Iraq”
    One of the most influential Christian thinkers in the US, Dr. Robert George, has led a bi-partisan, interfaith effort to call for the annihilation of the Islamic State in Iraq over their calculated plans to liquidate religious minorities in the Middle East. The letter read in part, “The so-called Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS/ISIL) is conducting a campaign of genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and others in Iraq. In its fanatical effort to establish a caliphate, ISIS/ISIL has engaged in crimes against humanity by deliberately causing mass starvation and dehydration, and by committing unconscionable acts of barbarism against noncombatants, including defenseless women, children, and elderly persons. It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the ISIS/ISIL genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities.” Dr. George joins us.

    4:40 – Knights of Columbus Announces Fund to Help Christians Threatened with Extinction in Iraq
    The Knights of Columbus announced yesterday that it is establishing a fund to assist those – particularly Christians as well as other religious minorities – facing a horrific and violent persecution and possible extinction in Iraq and the surrounding regions. The Knights has pledged an initial $500,000 and will match an additional $500,000 in donations from the public. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson is here to discuss their efforts.

    5:00 – August 6 and 9: The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan
    In the last week we commemorated the anniversaries of the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today we discuss the morality of the decision with Fr. Wilson Miscamble, author of The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan. We explore the American use of atomic bombs, the role these weapons played in the defeat of the Japanese Empire, and Harry Truman’s decision making regarding this most controversial of all his decisions.

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