GREECE’S membership of the euro was pushed further towards the precipice last night as other eurozone members were told to prepare for an “amiable divorce”, in a move that could tip Britain deeper into recession.Arriving in Brussels, David Cameron said the EU needed a “decisive plan” to deal with the Greek crisis, and that the eurozone needed to “get behind the single currency” to ensure it was stable.Amid signs that the crisis could unravel across the continent, Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, warned that his country could not survive much longer paying the current high borrowing rates imposed upon it as a result of the uncertainty.French president François Hollande said “the top priority” was to inject funding into the European financial system “to ensure that European banks, all European banks, can be consolidated”.Leaders who discussed the crisis at an informal dinner last night said the talks were not intended to come forward with any firm new proposals. That is likely to come at another summit at the end of June, after Greek elections had taken place.
Iran has significantly stepped up its output of low-enriched uranium and total production in the last five years, which would be enough for at least five nuclear weapons if refined much further, a US security institute said.The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a think-tank which closely tracks Iran's nuclear program, made the analysis on the basis of data in the latest quarterly UN watchdog report which was issued on Friday.During talks in Baghdad this week, six world powers failed to convince Iran to scale back its uranium enrichment program. They will meet again in Moscow next month to try to defuse a decade-old standoff that has raised fears of a new war in the Middle East that could disrupt oil supplies.
According to the Brotherhood, the almost complete vote counting for president looks like this.
Mohamed Mursi (Brotherhood) 28.4 percent
Ahmed Shafiq (Mubarak-era general and last prime minister) 24.6
Abdul Moneim Abul Fotouh (so-called “moderate Islamist” but supported by radical Islamist Salafists) 18.1
Hamdeen Sabahi (radical anti-American “left” Nasserist) 17.1%
Amr Moussa (radical nationalist pragmatist) 11.6%.
The Brotherhood claims that this means it will win the second round.
IF MURSI BECOMES PRESIDENT (winning second round run-off):
Remember that he and the Brotherhood are now not even trying to hide their extremism, openly demanding an immediate Sharia state and a Caliphate. In fact, I’d suggest they could have done much better in the first round if they had continued to pretend more moderation. Also Mursi was not an attractive candidate personally. Remember he was not the Brotherhood’s first choice but stepped in at the last moment when someone else was disqualified.
This would set off a crisis that will dominate the region for a decade or two. This would be a catastrophe equal to and perhaps greater than the Iranian revolution. No exaggeration. If there isn’t a war with Israel within three years (Hamas backed by Egypt or even involving Egypt) it would be a miracle.
Note that what’s most important is not the presidency in isolation but:
- Brotherhood control over parliament and president and writing constitution.
- Brotherhood triumphalism, which we have seen repeatedly, belief in victory leading to arrogance and more extremism.
There will be panic. Christians and liberals will start packing their bags.
Conservative faith leaders of all stripes gathered on Thursday in Washington, D.C., to discuss the future of religious freedom in America. This event is the latest in a series of developments that were sparked by the Obama administration’s controversial contraceptive mandate. What started as a Catholic protest against the regulatory structure has expanded to include people of all faiths.Little did the federal government suspect that its new regulations forcing religious groups to provide birth control free of charge would create such a wide-ranging firestorm among divergent faith communities. Religion News Service has moreinformation about the collaborative effort that is underway:While there were some stark calls, like Land’s, for religious freedom protections, the 350-person group also called for civility in addressing liberty-related issues. The contraceptive mandate was the main topic on the agenda, but the faithful delved into other subjects that they fear could come under attack. These issues include the freedom for believers to abstain from workplace activities that contradict their views and for religious groups to continue to have the freedom to hire people they so choose.... it seems the contraceptive mandate has rallied people of diverse faith views to at least come to the table and chat.
The Jewish holiday of Shavuot is set to begin Saturday night adjoining the Sabbath – lasting for its one Biblical day (from sunset to the next sunset) in Israel, and two days in the rest of the world.
Shavuot (Pentecost, Feast of Weeks), as well as Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot (Tabernacles), are the three pilgrimage festivals on which Jews are bidden to visit Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of people are in fact expected to arrive at the Western Wall throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning, though the Biblicalto visit Jerusalem on these days applies fully only when the Holy Temple is built.The current custom of gathering at the Wall for the holiday began spontaneously on the Shavuot holiday of 1967 (5727), which followed the Six Day War and the liberation of Jerusalem by only a few days. Realizing that masses of people would descend upon the Wall and its narrow walkway, the authorities razed the old buildings within 100 meters from the Wall in order to make room. It was the first holiday in 1,900 years in which throngs of Jews congregated at the Western Wall.The holiday of Shavuot marks the Jewish People's receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai 3,323 years ago, as the rabbis calculated that this was the day. It also marks the day after the 49-day Sefirat HaOmer counting period, which begins on the Passover holiday. The counting denotes the fact that the ultimate purpose of the Exodus from Egypt was for the Jewish People to receive the Torah and begin its national/spiritual existence as the People of the Book.
Features of the joyous Shavuot holiday include:
* remaining awake all night to study Torah; known as Tikkun Leil Shavuot.
* the bringing of the Bikurim (First Fruits) to the Holy Temple (temporarily suspended, until the Temple is rebuilt); greenery is placed arund and synagogue to recall this.
* the time of the wheat harvest;
* the public reading of the Book of Ruth for several reasons, among them: Ruth accepted Judaism as the Jews did on the holiday, the story takes place during the Shavuot season, and King David, her descendant, died on Shavuot.
* a wide-spread custom of eating dairy foods on Shavuot, as the Torah is compared to "milk and honey under the tongue".