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World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Rebuilding of Iraq Offers Hope and Peace
By Sabah Hajjar :: 42533 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Fallujah, IRAQ - Chaldeans are taking an active role in rebuilding Iraq.  Although Chaldeans have been shut-out of the Iraqi government, that hasn’t stopped courageous Chaldeans from finding ways to rebuild the land they love.  “This land is our father and mother.  We were born from this ground.  We have a bond with this land.  We are the native people of this land for nearly ten thousand years,” says Ibtissam Halibu. 

Halibu’s husband currently serves in the Iraqi government as a field engineer and is one of the nearly thousands of Chaldeans serving Iraq.  Chaldeans are helping the U.S. Military and the Iraqi police bring peace to a nation torn by insurgents bent on creating instability and chaos.

Even though the U.S. Military receives little recognition for the redevelopment effort in Iraq, American Soldiers and Marines continue to risk their lives improving the quality of life for all Iraqi’s.  “I have seen first hand of new schools, health clinics, and police stations being built everyday,” says Walid Poules, an engineer and construction contractor.

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Chaldeans React to World Youth Day
By Evon Elias :: 80831 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Michigan, USA – In the hours before dawn stirs, a “youth” of the world is waking up to say a prayer, only to see that every way he turns, on the cold ground with sleeping bags and blankets, scores of his own peers are wrapped up tightly and are entranced in a dream which has arisen in their minds. And as he quietly turns to face the church and kneel, he allows his fingers to softly intertwine, securing faith, hope and love between the smoothes of his palms. He then gently lifts his head to look upon the rock of his faith, and smiles as his heart says its prayer.

While many Catholic youths across the globe gather for events, prayers, and other such occasions in their towns, for five days every two to three years, the youthful believers of Catholicism make their way to one special spot in the world to unite with the Holy Father and other religious leaders. As Pope John Paul II stated in his letter to Cardinal Eduardo Francisco Pironio on the event of the seminar on World Youth Days organized in Czestochowa, a city in southern Poland, this is done “ to consolidate the ordinary youth ministry by offering new encouragement for commitment, objectives which foster ever greater involvement and participation.”

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Chaldean Refugees Trapped in Mexico & U.N. Calling for Aid
By Rita Abro :: 21 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends
Monterrey, MEXICO – Chaldeans forced to leave Iraq have few choices.  As Christians in a country that continues to embrace radical Islam Chaldeans are fleeing by the hundred thousands.  Rafid Bedou, frustrated and angry says, “What choices do we have?  If we stay in Iraq they rape and torture our daughters and kill our sons.  Iraq is turning into a living hell.” 
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Tariq Aziz Begs To Live in Rome
By Rita Abro :: 24 Views :: World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Rome, ITALY - Tariq Aziz, who served as deputy prime minister of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, has issued a plea to the Italian government and the Vatican for permission to live in Rome while he awaits trial on human-rights charges.

Giovanni DiStefano, an Italian lawyer for the former Iraqi official, explained that his client would like the Italian government and/or the Vatican to guarantee that he will appear to appear when his case is ready for trial. DiStefano said that he is asking the Iraqi court to release Aziz on bail.

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Chaldean Seminary and Theological University Moved and Inaugurated
By Ziad Bitti :: 23 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Ankawa, IRAQ– A century old seminary has been forced to leave Baghdad.  Under pressure of violence and continual attacks the Chaldean Seminary and Theological University was forced to close.  Baghdad stands as the center of the civil strife in Iraq between violent Muslim Shi’ite and Sunni groups.  Christians in the region have been forced to leave Baghdad after numerous killings, kidnappings, and torture of community leaders.  As the capital of Iraq is being emptied of its Christians, property and land is being stolen by Sunni and Shi’ite militias.

Erbil’s Chaldean bishop, Mgr Rabban al-Qas, said that the doors to the Chaldean Major Seminary and Babel College, Iraq’s only theological faculty run by the Chaldean Church, have reopened in Kurdistan after shutting down because of the growing insecurity in the Iraq. The two institutions were in fact officially inaugurated last Thursday after moving from Baghdad to Ankawa, near Erbil, in Kurdistan.

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US Criticized for Continuing to Abandon Iraqi Refugees
By Rita Abro :: 19 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Michigan, USA - The United States continues to come under criticism by humanitarian groups for ignoring their responsibility in providing for up to 3 million Iraqis displaced from their homes.  American reputation and leadership continues to plummet among international leaders after continuing allegations of an illegal war against Iraq and ignoring the humanitarian crisis aftermath. 

Echoing former US president Fords implication that the US may be liable for taking unfounded preemptive military action against Iraq, calls for a war tribunal against the US increases across the globe

Aid organizations report a rapidly mounting crisis of refugees inside Iraq and in neighboring countries as thousands flee sectarian violence every day. The United Nations estimates that there are more than 1.5 million Iraqis displaced within the country and a similar number living as refugees in Jordan, Syria and elsewhere.

The Michigan based Chaldean Federation of America (CFA) has been working tirelessly with US legislators to bring to light the crisis and need for support.  The CFA has expressed positive working relations with legislatures like Democrat Senator Carl Levin but continues to run into obstacle after obstacle dealing with the State Department or White House administration. 

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Spiraling Sectarian Violence in Irqq - Not Random
By Ziad Bitti :: 11 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - Like other minority members in Iraq, Mardon Matrood, a 44-year-old Assyrian shopkeeper in Baghdad, has had enough of the country's sectarian violence.

"Minorities in Iraq are targeted by insurgents and militias, who want us out of the country as they promote what they call the 'cleansing of Iraq, of non-Muslim communities'," said Matrood who is living with his family of six in an abandoned government building.

Four months ago Matrood's family failed to pay a ransom of US $50,000 to kidnappers who had abducted his nephew. The nephew was later found dead.

"We are a poor family.  We couldn't pay [the ransom money] and after two weeks we were informed that the police had found his body near a mosque in Adhamiyah district (northern Baghdad). It was totally mangled, burned and tortured," Matrood said.

Spiraling sectarian violence has threatened the decades-long peaceful coexistence in Iraq between members of different religions, sects and tribes. Now Sunni and Shi'ite extremists are targeting minorities in a bid to force them out of the country.

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Chaldean Leaders of Iraq Forced to Call off Public Displays of Christmas for Safety Sake
By Sam Yousif :: 8 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Baghdad, Iraq – Continual pleas for neutrality and safety by the indigenous people of Iraq have fallen on deaf ears.  The Chaldean minorities remains targets by insurgents bent on destabilizing Iraq and turn the modern nation into a fanatic Islamic regime.   Chaldeans are not only the targets of Islamic fundamentalist but also Kurdish, Shia, and Sunni militias that pick apart the minority group in order to claim their land or raise ransom money to fund their military groups. 

“We have become pawns in this deadly game of chess that threatens to wipe out a people who have remained in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) for over ten-thousand years,” says Yousif Kanno a Chaldean antiquity historian.

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Red Cross Emblem Proliferation Becomes A Concern
By Rita Abro :: 8 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Baghadad, Iraq - Former medical volunteer in Iraq, Ramy Bakko shrugs and nods his head in confusion over the proliferation of the Red Cross emblem.   “Evil works in small ways.  Evil works to divide and conquer.  These new Muslim Iraqi people want to take over our country.”   Ramy Bakko was attacked for using Red Cross equipment in a Muslim country.  “They say I should be a Red Crescent. I tell them I am, I show them my shirt and badge, they call me a spy and that I am to be killed.  If not by God’s grace I would have been killed if one of the men did not recognize me for helping his child.  They let me go free and say if I use a Red Cross they will spill my red blood.”

The Chaldean medical doctor serves for the international aid society that provides humanitarian aid during times of war.  Often protected under the Red Cross or Red Crescent societies volunteers are called to help the injured.  “I have no job so I try to help those who are hurt.  I don’t care if they are Christian, Muslim, or Jew.  I try to save a life.  Because as you can see, my reward is one day my life will be saved.”

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Saddam Sentenced To Death By Hanging
By Guest Reporter :: 13 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's High Tribunal on Sunday found Saddam Hussein guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to hang for the 1982 killing of 148 Shiites in the city of Dujail. The visibly shaken former leader shouted "God is great!"

Saddam's half brother and former intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of the former Revolutionary Court, were sentenced to join Saddam on the gallows for the Dujail killings after an unsuccessful assassination attempt during a Saddam visit to the city 35 miles north of Baghdad.

The death sentences automatically go to a nine-judge appeals panel which has unlimited time to review the case. If the verdicts and sentences are upheld, the executions must be carried out within 30 days.

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Pope and Chaldean Patriarch Meet
By Ziad Bitti :: 24 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Castelgandolofo, Italy - Pope Benedict said on Sunday he hoped Iraq's Christian minority could continue to live in peace with the Muslim majority in a country where people of both religions faced tragedy on a daily basis.

The Pontiff, who has been trying to patch up relations with Muslims after a controversial speech last month, said Iraq had traditionally been a place of harmony between Muslims and Christians.

Benedict said the leader of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church visited him on Friday and told him of the "tragic reality faced every day by the dear population of Iraq where Christians and Muslims have lived together for 14 centuries as children of the same land.

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Can We Talk? Hosni Mubarak should call Benedict XVI
By Guest Reporter :: 17 Views :: Community & Culture, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Guest reporter DANIEL HENNINGER of the Wall Street Journal reports:

Who says the world lacks leaders? After again expressing his "respect" for Islam, Pope Benedict XVI at his weekly Vatican audience two days ago moved one of his knights forward on the global chessboard of Islamic politics.

Amid amped-up security in St. Peter's Square, the pope said: "I trust that after the initial reaction, my words at the University of Regensburg can constitute an impulse and encouragement toward positive, even self-critical dialogue both among religions and between modern reason and Christian faith."

Setting aside the impeccable understatement of "the initial reaction"--churches torched world-wide--it is close to thrilling in a world of persistent confusion about the intentions of contemporary Islam to see the pope step forward, not back, and speak without apology on behalf of "modern reason."

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Freedom of Expression in Turkey Spared This Time
By Rita Abro :: 10 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

ISTANBUL, Turkey - A Turkish court has acquitted a prize-winning author of charges of insulting the nation in a book about the massacres of Armenians, Assyrians, and Chaldeans during World War I, saving the government from a fresh embarrassment in its bid to join the European Union.

 The acquittal of Elif Shafak came in the opening hearing of her trial Thursday, held in a cramped courtroom in central Istanbul under tight security in case of violence by nationalist protestors.

The judges based their decision on a lack of evidence to prove that Shafak, 35, "denigrated the Turkish national identity" in remarks by fictional Armenian characters in her best-selling novel "The Bastard of Istanbul" or "Baba ve Pic" (The Father and the Bastard) in Turkish.

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Chaldean Leaders Call For Calm and Reason
By Rita Abro :: 15 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Michigan, USA  -- "Poor uneducated Muslims are led blindly into ongoing violence and outrage is coached by irresponsible leaders," says Bashar Sitto.  “Moderate and modern Muslims seem to have lost control to the radical fundamentalists who have hijacked Islam.” 

For the oppressed minority Christians in the Muslim dominated governments, like the Chaldeans of Iraq, fear runs high as they remain vulnerable to potential acts of violence of fanatical Muslims stirred to act with hatred.

Supported by irresponsible media bent on sensationalizing the news and highlighting a Muslim-Christian divide even where one does not exist, only contribute to the grave state of sectarian relations in Iraq today.

The world remains stunned at the easy manipulation and hypersensitivity of Muslims, who refuse to accept the Pope’s academic discussion and focus on a quote taken out of context.  Iraqi religious scholar Abdel Hussam Hussain feels the Islamic governments are at risk as more fanatical elements gain control of interpreting Islam.  Hussain feels the threat of an eventual overthrow of current Islamic are in grave danger.

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Abductions of Iraqi Christians Hit Close to Home
By Rita Abro :: 21 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Guest reporter Kelly Thornton of the Union-Tribune reports:

 

California, USA -- B.E. was hoping for a call about a house-painting job. Instead, the Iraqi immigrant living in El Cajon heard his sister's voice, with terrible news from Baghdad.

A family member had been abducted by masked gunmen demanding a $30,000 ransom.

Kidnapping is nothing new in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, but lately there's a new twist: Some of the targets are Iraqi Christians likely to have family members in the United States or Europe who can pay to save them.

B.E. – who insists on anonymity because of concern for his family – began frantically seeking help from relatives and friends in El Cajon. Family members in Chicago, Detroit and Europe did the same

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