Sunday, December 06, 2015

Sunday Post

Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

A merry Hanukkah to all y'all.

And on the feast of Saint Nicholas, too.

Just in: Guy Turcotte has been found guilty of murdering his children:

Guy Turcotte was found guilty on Sunday of second-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of his two young children more than six years ago.

It was Turcotte's second trial on two charges of first-degree murder in the slayings of Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie, 3. He was found not criminally responsible in 2011.

The 11 jurors returned with a verdict on their seventh day of deliberations.

Turcotte, 43, admitted to causing the deaths but his lawyer was seeking a verdict of not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder.

A muffled "Yes" could be heard in the courtroom when the verdict was announced. It came from the direction of Isabelle Gaston, the mother of the slain children.

Sentencing arguments will take place on Dec. 18.

This man meant to murder his children. He is a monster.

Belgium cracks down on Islamists:

Islamic State's attack on Paris has triggered shifts in great power strategy in the Middle East, but just as significant for Europeans may be change afoot inside an office block near Brussels' Gare du Nord station.

The Belgian capital was home to some of the Paris attackers and a logistical planning base for the operation. Dubbed by some "Jihad Central", the city was locked down for days for fear local radicals could strike at home.

Now, stung by international accusations that underfunding and political in-fighting had left its security services the weakest link in Europe's counter-terrorism defenses, Belgium is ploughing resources into an intelligence agency that faces the biggest concentration of Syria-linked militants in the West.

Staffing for the Surete de l'Etat (State Security), of which little is publicly known beyond its address in an anonymous federal government office building near Brussels' northern rail terminus, could rise by a quarter, according to government budget projections reviewed by Reuters.

And for the first time in memory, Belgium has plans to send its spies abroad, the Justice Ministry confirmed in response to a question from Reuters.

Belgian security chiefs have repeatedly complained that they cannot handle up to 900 home-grown Islamist militants, among the highest per capita rates in Europe - and certainly not with existing funds.

However, it took a foiled attack, including a shoot-out in the eastern town of Verviers, in January to reverse a planned budget cut and release 200 million euros ($212 million) of security spending. The Paris attacks led to a further 400 million euro package last month.

(SEE: horse, barn, out of)

ISIS claims responsibility for terrorist attacks in Yemen:

A huge explosion killed the governor of Yemen's southern Aden province and six of his bodyguards on Sunday, security officials said, in an attack that was later claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate.

Gov. Gaafar Mohamed Saad was travelling to his office when the explosion struck his convoy in the southern port city. Authorities are investigating the exact cause of the explosion. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

An IS affiliate claimed the attack in a statement circulated online by supporters, saying the bomb was concealed in a parked car along the convoy's route. The group referred to Saad as a "tyrant" and warned the "heads of the infidels" in Yemen that it would carry out "operations to chop off their rotten heads."

IS has claimed a series of bombings that killed 159 people and wounded 345 this year in Yemen, according to an AP count.

The extremists have been able to expand their reach in the chaos of Yemen's larger conflict, between a loose array of pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition and Shiite Houthi rebels, who control the capital, Sanaa, and large parts of northern Yemen. Pro-government forces drove the Houthis out of Aden earlier this year.

A local al-Qaida affiliate has exploited the chaos to seize territory in Yemen's south and east, and has a growing presence in Aden. On Saturday, masked gunmen in Aden killed a military intelligence official and a judge known for sentencing al-Qaida militants. No one claimed those attacks.

It's just a merry part all around. 

 Can't we just ban the ACLU? They're just an answer to a question no one asked or cares to:

High school students who have been rehearsing a live nativity scene as part of their annual Christmas Spectacular are now scrambling to rework the show — sans Mary and baby Jesus — after a federal judge issued an order to nix the religious reenactment from the show.

But for a public school to have planned to perform a nativity scene in the first place is “really out there,” Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, tells Yahoo Parenting. The national organization joined the ACLU of Indiana in filing a lawsuit against Concord High School in Elkhart, Ind., on behalf of an unnamed, non-Christian family that complained about the religious scene. “It’s the kind of thing you’d expect in a Catholic school or private school or something out of the ’50s, but not today,” Gaylor says. “This had our jaws dropping.”

Oh, please. Your jaws drop at the very idea that entire countries can take a day off in December thanks to some Jewish carpenter every year. If the Mass of Christ didn't bother you fun-haters, something else would.

You're like a slow-moving ISIS with fewer sledgehammers.

I don't remember your being up in everyone's grills over shahada in Tennessee schools.

 Wind or solar? You decide:


Halifax observes the ninety-eighth anniversary of an explosion that destroyed nearly half of the city:

Nearly a century ago, two ships collided in the narrows of the Halifax harbour and caused a devastating explosion that brought the First World War to the shores of North America.

The 98th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, which left roughly 25,000 people dead, injured or homeless, was marked on Citadel Hill today with a canon blast at the time of the disaster.

At 9:04 a.m. on Dec. 6, 1917, the French cargo ship SS Mont-Blanc, loaded with explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo, creating the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons.

Destroyed buildings, with harbour in background
Halifax two days after the explosion looking toward Dartmouth across the harbour.

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