Jesus stated that His kingdom is not of this world. Neither is ours:
Since the entire 4,000 population left Teleskof seven months ago to flee an Islamic State (ISIS) advance across Iraq, two lone Christian women in their 60s remain the only residents of this ghost town east of Mosul.
“When ISIS came all the people of our city fled, but I didn’t have any family or relatives and I wasn’t able to run so I stayed here,” said Sarya Matto, one of the two women now living in a tiny room with no electricity or services.
“I had a friend left here like me and when I found out the two of us got into a room, closed the doors and remained quiet.”
Matto and her companion Madi Salim say that 10 days into their hiding ISIS militants came knocking on their door.
“Though our house was far from the city center, 10 days later we heard human voices,” said Sarya. “Then they knocked on our door. They were speaking Arabic. We didn’t open the door but they broke it down and came in. They were three, wearing long beards. They asked us for money but we didn’t have any. They searched the house, then one of them saw my gold cross necklace and tore it from my neck.”
Matto recalled her ordeal with tearful eyes, saying she was trembling with fear the moment she faced the three militants.
“One of them said we should kill them, the other said ‘why waste our bullets,’” recalled Sarya. “Then they beat us with their rifle butts and left.”
Matto said that the ISIS advance on the town was so terrifying that everyone fled in haste and no one helped she and Salim flee. Without relatives or immediate family, their best bet was to stay and hide.
Matto said that after 15 days of hiding in the dark room she and her friend heard men speaking Kurdish outside, and they figured it was the Peshmerga.
“We immediately opened the door and we cried a lot when we saw them,” said Matto, remembering the evening at the end of August when the Kurdish Peshmerga recaptured Teleskof from ISIS. “They helped us. They brought us food and water.”
The tiny house where they remain is still dark and cold, without running water or electricity.
Even since Teleskof was liberated no one has dared return, because the town is too close to daily battles with ISIS. The entire population that fled the ISIS onslaught settled in the Kurdish province of Duhok.
“No one in the world has done to anyone what ISIS did to us,” said Matto, referring to the plight of tens of thousands of Christians killed, enslaved or driven from their homes by ISIS.
“These women have no one,” said Sharif Muhsin, a Peshmerga soldier who first found them in August. “When we got here, we found them very weak and emaciated.”
Mohsin said that a few people who claimed to be relatives have since come to Teleskof to visit the women, “but no one has come to take them away.”
Christians are frightened to reveal their religious beliefs to colleagues at work, equality chiefs admit.
When they do declare their Christianity, whether in the office or on the shop floor, they are often mocked or treated like bigots – and their children are even ridiculed at school.
Christians also think their faith is being pushed out of its role as a cornerstone of life in Britain, according to a major study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
And ironically, many feel they are being persecuted by the same anti-discrimination and equality laws supported by the equality watchdog.
Nearly 2,500 people of all faiths were quizzed about religion at work for the nationwide study. It follows years of conflict over Christians’ right to act in accordance with their religious beliefs.
A series of high-profile court battles have left many feeling that the law is tilted against them and that gay rights trump their own.
Many of the major test cases have been backed by the equality commission itself, including the successful Supreme Court case brought by a gay couple against hoteliers Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who declined to rent them a room because they were not married.
The commission is currently backing a legal claim against a Belfast-based Christian-run bakery that wouldn’t bake a cake bearing a slogan that supported gay marriage.
Of those who responded to the commission’s survey, 1,030 said they were Christian. The next largest group –188 – were atheist. People of other faiths made up the rest.
Russia has the right to deploy nuclear arms in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine last year, a Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday.
Mikhail Ulyanovsk, the head of the ministry's department on arms control, added that he knew of no plans to do so.
"I don't know if there are nuclear weapons there now. I don't know about any plans, but in principle Russia can do it," Mr Ulyanovsk was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that Russia was still arming and training rebel forces in eastern Ukraine, as he called for the warring parties to help foreign monitors to reinforce a ceasefire.
Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari claimed Wednesday that Iran can defeat the US in "any scenario."
At a convention in Tehran, Jafari boasted "we have grown so much (more) powerful that we don't feel concerned about the enemy's unwise attitude. We can go past any enemy scenario, and this has been proved in our contemporary history," according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
Clarifying which enemy he was referring to, Jafari said "the US should find a way to survive and continue its endangered life, but we are surprised at the enemy's insistence on costly and useless scenarios," in reference to the sanctions imposed on Iran.
A day earlier at a meeting of the Assembly of Experts that elected Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi as its new chairman Tuesday morning, Jafari made the claim that the US had created the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group to counter Iran's expanding influence in the region, which it is exercising through various terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.
A member of the assembly, Hojjatoleslam Ali Eslami, told the news agency on Wednesday that "Jafari addressed the Experts Assembly members and said Iran has gained such desirable success in dealing with regional issues that it has led to the US failure."
Eslami said the Revolutionary Guards commander had stated "today, not only in Palestine and Lebanon but also the Iraqi and Syrian people admit the Islamic Revolution's influential role and appreciate the Iranian nation in this regard, despite enemy propaganda."
Iran is currently engaged in nuclear talks with the US and world powers ahead of a March 31 deadline, with Israel warning that the deal being formulated will leave Iran with nuclear breakout capabilities and pose a danger to the entire world.
Just a few days ago, the bull market for the S&P 500 turned six years old. This six year period of time has been great for investors, but what comes next? On March 9th, 2009 the S&P 500 hit a low of 676.53. Since that day, it has risen more than 200 percent. As you will see below, there are only two other times within the last 100 years when the S&P 500 performed this well over a six year time frame. In both instances, the end result was utter disaster. And as you take in this information, I want you to keep in mind what I said in my previous article entitled “7 Signs That A Stock Market Peak Is Happening Right Now“. What we are witnessing at this moment is classic “peaking behavior”, and there is a long way to go down from here. So if historical patterns hold up, those with lots of money in the stock market could soon be in for a whole lot of trouble.
According to Societe Generale analyst Andrew Lapthorne, there was an S&P 500 bull market run of more than 200 percent over a six year time period that ended in 1929.
We all know what happened that year.
And there was another S&P 500 bull market run of more than 200 percent over a six year time period that ended in 1999. In the end, all of those gains were wiped out when the dotcom bubble burst.
And now we are near the end of another great bull market for the S&P 500. The following is an excerpt from a recent Business Insider article…
“Such a strong six year run up in US equities has only been seen twice since 1900, i.e., back in 1929 and 1999, neither of which ended well,” Lapthorne wrote.
So how will this current bull market end?
Needless to say, a lot of people are not very optimistic about that right now.
And there was another very interesting bull market that ended in 1987…
And as I keep reminding people, so many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed just prior to the last great stock market collapse are happening once again.
For example, just yesterday I explained that there has been only one other time over the past decade when we have seen the U.S. dollar surge in value in such a short period of time.
That was in 2008, just prior to the last financial crisis.
Another example is what has happened to the price of oil. Since the middle of last year, the price of oil has fallen by more than 50 dollars a barrel.
In all of history, that has happened only one other time.
That was in 2008, just prior to the last financial crisis.
Having previously noted that "this is the best shorting opportunity since 2007-9," Billionaire hedge fund manager Cripsin Odey warns that (just as Goldman has noted) the global economy is h"eaded for recession and central banks will not be able to able to come to the rescue because they have exhausted the arsenal of policy weapons." No matter what happens, he chides, the market shrugs it off as they are "kind of relying on central banks pulling a rabbit out of a hat." They will not, "Central banks are not all singing and all dancing," and cannot avoid the consequences of what they are doing, concluding, "you and I have got grandstand seats here [to an imminent market shock]," and investors are about to "find out just how illiquid it really is out there."
One of the world's leading hedge fund managers has warned that global economies are headed for recession and central banks will not be able to able to come to the rescue because they have exhausted the arsenal of policy weapons. As The Sydney Morning Herald reports,
As he previously concluded, we are in the first stage of this downturn. It is too early to see what will happen – a change of this magnitude means the darkness and mist is very great. We will make some mistakes but with our thinking we won’t make the major mistakes. The problem is where you stand – I am amazed to see so many are fully invested given that equities are already fighting the downtrend.
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