Advocacy groups urge greater IRS clarity for nonprofits; Gender-specific greetings not allowed at CUNY (UCNN #565)

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ISIS launches assault on oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk


ISIS militants have attacked Kirkuk in northern Iraq, an effort that might be an earnest attempt to capture the key oil-rich city or perhaps to divert Kurdish troops fighting to capture the Islamist extremist group’s stronghold of Mosul. Continue Reading…

Hezbollah threatens more attacks on Israel; says it’s ready for wider war

Israeli soldiers deploy to secure a portion of the Israel-Lebanon border on Jan. 28 (Ariel Schalit / Associated Press)

Israeli soldiers deploy to secure a portion of the Israel-Lebanon border on Jan. 28 (Ariel Schalit / Associated Press)

Hezbollah warned it may carry out further attacks on Israel in retaliation for an airstrike that killed six of its fighters, saying it’s not seeking a wider war but is ready for one.

Hezbollah’s attack on a convoy that killed two Israelis on Wednesday was a response to the Jan. 18 strike in Syria, which also killed a general from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the Shiite group’s chief Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech via video link Friday to his supporters in southern Beirut. Israel hasn’t confirmed or denied that it was responsible.

“This assassination has led to adverse consequences and will lead to more adverse consequences,” Nasrallah said. There’s a difference between the casualties suffered by the two sides, “and we’ll see how we’re going to deal with it,” he said, adding that while Hezbollah doesn’t want war with Israel, “we don’t fear it.”

The Hezbollah leader’s comments were his first since the airstrike, which has escalated tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border and led to some of the most serious clashes since the 2006 war.

Both sides have been seeking to calm the situation. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told Israel Radio on Thursday that Hezbollah had sent a message via the United Nations monitoring force in Lebanon to say there’d be no further action. Lebanon’s LBC television reported that Israel told the UN peacekeepers its operation was over, too.

Iran, Hezbollah’s main backer, also signaled that military action against Israel was over for now.

“Hezbollah’s recent attack on Israel was a response with the lowest degree of severity,” the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, told reporters in Tehran on Friday, according to Fars news agency. “We hope that they take the lesson not to repeat such mistakes.”

Nasrallah called the attack in Syria a “premeditated assassination” against a group of unarmed men traveling in two civilian cars. He said they were inspecting the area of Quneitra, which sits near a United Nations-patrolled no-man’s land that separates Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights.

Israel captured the southern section of the strategic plateau from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed it in a step that isn’t internationally recognized.

Hezbollah and Iranian forces are fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country’s civil war, against opponents dominated by jihadist Sunni groups. Nasrallah said the decision to retaliate was “very clear” from the start. “They killed us in broad daylight, we killed them in broad daylight,” he said. The group had prepared for the worst when it carried out the attack and had taken measures accordingly, he said.

Hezbollah, which runs one of Lebanon’s main political parties as well as a military wing, is considered a terrorist group by Israel and the United States.

Nasrallah said the group is no longer bound by any rules of engagement with Israel, without explaining. He said that if any party cadre is killed “we will blame Israel for it and consider it our right to respond anywhere, at any time and in whatever way we see fit.”

SOURCE: Donna Abu-Nasr
Bloomberg News

Romney says he Will Not Run for President in 2016

Mitt Romney

After a three-week flirtation with a new campaign for the White House, Mitt Romney announced Friday that he will not seek the presidency in 2016. Continue Reading…

Google Settles With UK’s Information Commissioner; Will Change Policy Regarding Collection of Personal Data


While Google continues to work through implementing Right To Be Forgotten legislation in Europe, there are some more developments around how Google handles consumer data and privacy. The search giant has reached an agreement with the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office over how it collects personal data in the country, signing and publishing a lengthy document outlining its commitment to make changes to its current privacy policy (the one first unveiled in January 2012 and implemented in March 2012 in Europe, which basically pulled together 70 of Google’s existing privacy policies).

The changes, the biggest of which will be completed by June 2015 , will put Google in line with the UK’s Data Protection Act, and will also see the company taking steps over the next two years for further improvements. It will also carry out user testing in the process. We’re embedding the full document below.

In a statement, Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO, pointed out that Google hadnot been found to cause “substantial damage and distress to consumers” but that the changes were necessary anyway:

“This undertaking marks a significant step forward following a long investigation and extensive dialogue. Google’s commitment today to make these necessary changes will improve the information UK consumers receive when using their online services and products.

“Whilst our investigation concluded that this case hasn’t resulted in substantial damage and distress to consumers, it is still important for organisations to properly understand the impact of their actions and the requirement to comply with data protection law. Ensuring that personal data is processed fairly and transparently is a key requirement of the Act.

“This investigation has identified some important learning points not only for Google, but also for all organisations operating online, particularly when they seek to combine and use data across services. It is vital that there is clear and effective information available to enable users to understand the implications of their data being combined. The detailed agreement Google has signed setting out its commitments will ensure that.”

The settlement document, co-signed by Google’s general counsel/SVP Kent Walker and UK information commissioner Christopher Graham, is not quick reading. The majority of it is a rundown of what has happened in the last three years, from the introduction of Google’s policy, explaining what it does, and how the ICO started to investigate it. Probably the most important part of it for now is the list of seven commitments that Google has made for what it will do in the future:

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Romney to Inform Supporters About Possibility of 2016 Presidential Bid Today


Former Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has made a decision on whether to go forward with a third presidential bid and will tell to supporters which way he is going in a Friday morning call, a source familiar with Romney’s plans tells CNN. Continue Reading…

How Will Nigeria’s Christians Vote? Some say Current President is Ineffective and Too Close to the Country’s Mega-Pastors; Others Fear Muslim Candidate has Hidden Agenda

President Jonathan and his challenger Muhammadu Buhari are appealing to the religious vote in Jos

President Jonathan and his challenger Muhammadu Buhari are appealing to the religious vote in Jos

As tensions rise ahead of elections in Nigeria, some fear the country’s unity will face a new test and divisions will be exacerbated by a vote which sees a Christian presidential candidate from the south, Goodluck Jonathan, facing stiff competition from Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim candidate from the north. Continue Reading…

72 Sunnis killed in Iraq by government-backed Shiite militia

Iraqis pick through the wreckage of their home they said was destroyed by Shiite militiamen in Tikrit, northern Iraq.  (Credit: Ali Mohammed/European Pressphoto Agency)

Iraqis pick through the wreckage of their home they said was destroyed by Shiite militiamen in Tikrit, northern Iraq. (Credit: Ali Mohammed/European Pressphoto Agency)

Some of the men were shot on their doorsteps, their bodies left crumpled in the streets. Others were lined up, led to a field and killed there. Their relatives, ordered to stay in their homes, heard the gunfire. Continue Reading…

Julius Owusu Releases New Book on Being Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus the Baptist

Julius Owusu Releases New Book on Being Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus the Baptist

Often, Christians fail to recognize Jesus Christ as the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit, thus setting them ablaze to live victorious Christian lives. The Holy Spirit is not a Person of the past, but is still present and active in the body of Christ today.  Continue Reading…

U.S. urges calm after Israel, Hezbollah attacks; Nigerian governors call for foreign intervention against Boko Haram (UCNN #564)

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