NYC Arab School Opens in Firestorm

On the day a controversial Arab culture school opened in Brooklyn, a coalition gathered on the steps of New York City Hall to voice their opposition, expressing concerns about Islamic indoctrination and demanding more transparency from city officials.

The Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), which opened to about 60 sixth graders in Brooklyn on Sept. 4, plans to expand its classrooms for grades 6-12 over the next several years, but opponents don't want to even see the school open for another year. Stop the Madrassa, a group of parents and teachers opposed to the school, called for its immediate closing.

New York City Schools Chancellor Joe Klein stressed that the KGIA is a secular public school, and he would shut it down if it became a religious school. Opponents, however, believe it already is a religious school.

It was discovered in August, after the resignation of founder and Principal Debbie Almontaser, that she had shared office space with an Islamist group that sells T-shirts encouraging New York Muslims to join an "intifada." via Institute on Religion and Public Policy News Service

Lebanese Army Defeats Militants

Thousands of Lebanese on Sept 4th lined roads and cheered troops triumphant after crushing al-Qaida-inspired Islamic militants in a three-month-long battle that became the country's worst internal fighting since the 1975-90 civil war. But military leaders warned that the war on terror is not yet over and asked the international community to help arm the country's military.

Defense Minister Elias Murr told reporters that 222 Fatah Islam militants had been killed and 202 captured. The army lost 163 soldiers in the fighting which erupted May 20 and ended Sept. 2 with the army's final assault after the militants attempted a breakout from Nahr el-Bared. At least 20 civilians were also killed in the three-month standoff that had forced the camp's more than 30,000 refugees to flee.

Associated Press via Institute on Religion and Public Policy News Service

Adult Stem Cells May Help Treat Heart Attacks, MD

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have discovered a unique population of adult stem cells derived from human muscle that could be used to treat muscle injuries and diseases such as heart attack and muscular dystrophy.

The researchers isolated and characterized stem cells taken from blood vessels (known as myoendothelial cells). These cells are easily isolated using cell-sorting techniques, proliferate rapidly, and can be differentiated in the laboratory into muscle, bone and cartilage cells. As a result, these characteristics may make them ideally suited as a potential therapy for muscle injuries and diseases.

"Finding this population of stem cells in a human source represents a major breakthrough for us because it brings us much closer to a clinical application of this therapy," said Dr. Johnny Huard, co-leader of the study, published in the September issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology.

He also said that the therapies derived from the adult stem cells would avoid the immune system rejection issues that normally accompany the use of embryonic ones. "Because this is an autologous transplant, meaning from the patient to himself, there is not the risk of rejection you would have if you took the stem cells from another source," he explained.

"TV Family Hour Filthier Than Ever"

LOS ANGELES, September 6, 2007 () - A new Parents Television Council study of Family Hour programming conclusively shows that children watching television during the first hour of prime time are assaulted by violence, profanity, or sexual content once every 3.5 minutes of non-commercial airtime. During the 2006-2007 study period, almost 90% of the 208 television shows reviewed contained objectionable content.

The PTC found that Fox is the worst broadcast network overall, noting its 20.78 instances of violent, profane and sexual content each hour-nearly double the amount of similar content shown on any of the five other major broadcast networks. Fox's "American Dad" took the cake for worst series overall, based on the alarming 52 instances of objectionable content that was packed into each hour of programming.

By contrast, the CW Network featured the cleanest programming overall; and reality and game shows "Deal or No Deal" (NBC), "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?" (Fox), "Identity" (NBC), and "Grease: You're the One That I Want" (ABC) were named the best overall due to the lack of foul language, violence and sexual content.

Ancient Beehives Are Discovered in Israel

Archaeologists from Hebrew University of Jerusalem say they have discovered proof of the biblical description of Israel as "the land of milk and honey." Archeology professor Amihai Mazar Eleazar L. Sukenik revealed that the first apiary (beehive colony) dating from the biblical period has been found in excavations he directed this summer at Tel Rehov in Israel's Beth Shean Valley. It reportedly dates from the 10th to early 9th centuries B.C., placing it during the reign of King Solomon. As reported in Science Daily, experienced beekeepers and scholars who visited the site estimated that as much as half a ton of honey could be culled each year from these hives. According to the report, "A particularly fascinating find at the site is an inscription on a ceramic storage jar found near the beehives that reads, ‘To nmsh.'" This refers to Nimshi, known in the Bible as the name of the father, and in several verses the grandfather, of Israelite King Jehu, founder of the dynasty that usurped power from Omri (2 Kings 9-12).

Breaking Christian News via MissionNet

Kazakh Churchmen May Face Charges Of High Treason

Members of Grace Presbyterian Church in the town of Karaganda in northeastern Kazakhstan, a country in Central Asia, have been questioned by the country's secret police. Pastor Vyacheslav Vorobyov said that members of his congregation were being asked by the secret police (KNB) about "all aspects" of the church's operations. Four members of Grace Church are being investigated on charges of high treason as well as Senior Pastor Aleksei Kim of the same church in another eastern town of Oskemen.

Church members deny that the four have committed treason, but fear that the KNB is preparing criminal cases against them. High treason carries a sentence between 10 and 15 years in prison. Both the Karaganda and the Oskemen churches have been able to continue to meet for worship, but members have said that continuing uncertainty is putting a lot of pressure on the churches. The problems began on Aug. 24 when the KNB raided the churches.

Forum 18 News Service, Assist News Service via MissionNet

Pastor's Brother Is Stoned to Death by Hindu Extremists

A series of attacks on a Dalit Christian pastor in southeastern India's Tamil Nadu State earlier this year ended in the murder of his brother by Hindu extremists in August. Pastor Paul Chinnaswamy of the Krishnagiri District has also seen his house vandalized, and he and his son have been arrested on unfounded charges of "forced conversion."

After two attacks by Hindu extremists in April and May, the worst blow came on July 29, as two Hindu extremists who had earlier attacked the 51-year-old pastor arrived at the house of his older brother, Amos, a Christian convert from Hinduism. Amos had angrily shouted at the two extremists when they and others had attacked the independent church leader earlier this year, said Sajan George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians.

"The two men pulled down a small hut that was put up in front of Amos' house and hit him with a log on his head and back," George explained. "When he fell down, they crushed his head with large boulders and threatened the shocked wife and mother-in-law that they would be killed if they, too, did not throw stones at his body."

Compass Direct News via MissionNet

Burma Tribe Seeks To Print New Bible Translation

Five Christian farmers in Myanmar (Burma) who began translating the Bible into the language of the Ngawn Tribe in 1990 completed 10 copies of the translation in 2006 using only a manual typewriter. These copies were kept safe and loaned to native believers in the tribe of about 20,000. This year the workers put the New Testament into computer format and are now praying for the means to print 10,000 copies. They have located a Christian printer who would like to help. The five farmers are selling their crops to gradually raise money to print these Bibles, and after they are printed they plan to complete the Old Testament as well. The Ngawn Tribe first learned about Christ in 1908 from a neighboring villager. Christian converts were severely persecuted until the British deputy commissioner stationed in the district sent police to stop it. In recent years, however, Christians have faced increasing persecution by the corrupt military junta, infamous for its human rights abuses. Christianity has mainly spread throughout Myanmar's ethnic minority groups, which the junta seeks to subjugate. Actively promoting Buddhism, the junta aims to destroy churches in the country.

Christian Aid Mission

Iranian Christians Ask for Bibles

Requests for Bibles and New Testaments for Christians in Iran is at an all-time high, reported International Antioch Ministries (IAM), the nonprofit outreach foundation of the Iranian Christian Church. Requests for Bibles in Iranian languages, particularly by new believers, are being received daily.

IAM believes that this growing demand for Persian Bibles and New Testaments is being fueled by a number of factors. One is the rising number of Christian converts in Iran. According to IAM, the number of Christians in Iran is growing quickly. Estimates vary from 500,000 to as high as 1 million. Another factor comes from the difficulties of obtaining and keeping Bibles caused by confiscations by Iranian officials and the Muslim "religious police." Even though it is illegal to print Bibles in Iran, let alone distribute them widely, demand for the gospel is increasing exponentially.

International Antioch Ministries, PR Web Media

U.S. Again Denies Funding Pro-Abortion UN Population Effort

White House Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte has announced that the Bush Administration would deny funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for a sixth year in a row, on the grounds that the program cooperates with forced abortion and sterilization in China.

The decision follows a congressional vote narrowly approving the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, a measure that prohibits funding for coercive population control programs. The amendment, which has prevented such funding since its origination in 1985, was approved by a 53-41 vote.

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