White House: Final deal with Iran could include uranium enrichment

In first on-the-record confirmation, National Security Council says US willing to negotiate strictly limited enrichment program after Tehran agreed to accept rigorous monitoring and limits on level, scope, capacity, stockpiles.

Irish Police Tipped Off IRA In Police Murders

THE Irish government has apologised after a judicial review found Irish police colluded with the IRA in the murders of two Northern Ireland police officers in 1989.

Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were shot dead by members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) shortly after returning to Northern Ireland following a meeting with Irish police in Dundalk on March 20, 1989.

“Whilst Judge Smithwick does not find direct evidence of collusion in the killings, he concludes, on the balance of probabilities that collusion did occur,” said Eamon Gilmore, minister for foreign affairs.

The Smithwick Tribunal was set up in 2005 to investigate suggestions of collusion by members of the Republic’s police force, known as the garda, or other state employees in the murders of the two men.

“The findings of Judge Smithwick are both incredible and shocking and confirm the existence of ‘a mole’ in Dundalk station – this led to my father’s death,” said Buchanan’s son Will in a statement on Tuesday.

The Breen family solicitor said the tribunal “has brought significant consolation to the family as they come to terms with the treacherous realities, now laid bare, which surrounded the dreadful murder of their loved one.”

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the murders “were two stark examples of the brutality which pervaded this island for many dark years.”

More than 3500 people were killed and thousands more injured over three decades as pro-British Protestants and republican Catholics perpetrated atrocities.

“It is important to say immediately, on my own behalf and that of the government, that I apologise without reservation for any failings identified in the report on the part of the state or any of its agencies,” Shatter added.

Amnesty International said the findings were a “deep concern”.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland program director, said: “We now need a new mechanism to investigate the past in Northern Ireland.

“The victims of every killing, just like the families of officers Buchanan and Breen, have a right to hear truth and see justice.”

Out Of Control

Out of Control

by Hal Lindsey

Back in the summer of 2008, the Associated Press ran a story by Alan Fram and Eileen Putnam with the headline, “Everything seemingly is spinning out of control.”

The article said “Everything,” but it wasn’t about the whole world so much as a view of the world through the eyes of the mainstream American press. Their examples illustrate that point of view. They wrote, “Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.”

Today, that list seems almost quaint. The plight of polar bears turns out to have been greatly exaggerated. Gas prices were peaking when the AP article appeared. They hit $4 a gallon that summer, but by December had fallen to $1.61. In 2013, gas also rose to about $4 a gallon during the summer and has again fallen. But this year the low point is still twice as high as 2008′s. Gas prices are important because, like it or not, family economies and the world economy all still run, to one extent or another, on fossil fuel.

As for what has happened to home prices . . . read them and weep. Even though they have stabilized for now, they dropped at least 35% in most markets, and more than 55% in many others. In retrospect, the 2008 numbers that upset the Associated Press, seem pretty good.

The cost of health care (and especially health insurance) is particularly scary for many Americans right now. Washington gave health care costs more attention than any other single issue in the last five years — not necessarily a good thing. While some people will have insurance who did not have it before, they will be subsidized largely by lower middle class Americans who were already struggling to buy their own health insurance. Those folks are wondering if the new system is going to price them out of the market entirely.

In the last few months, al-Qaeda insurgents have once again turned Iraq into a cauldron of violence. US troops left there in 2011, but the sands of Iraq remain stained with American blood. Will it have been spilled for nothing? 2013 was a tough year there. And the long term prospects for Afghanistan are worse now than they were five years ago. The entire Middle East stands poised for ever greater violence.

The article said the war on terror seemed “without end.” Today it looks worse than that. It reminds me of the sorcerer’s apprentice. One terrorist goes down, and ten terrorists rise.

From a moral prospective, things are much, much worse today than they were in 2008. When U.S. POWs were released from Viet Nam in the early ‘70s, many of them experienced extreme culture shock as they tried to reenter society. They couldn’t believe how much everything had changed. The last five years have seen changes even more extreme than those years. The institutions that once protected us, our families, our freedoms, and our very lives, no longer seem reliable.

I want to make clear that, even though we had a presidential election in ‘08, this is not a political statement. Yes, President Obama made some awful mistakes. He called good evil, and evil good. Nevertheless, I’m convinced that the moral trajectory of this country would have been roughly the same if John McCain had been elected. This isn’t about elections. It’s about the thoughts and intents of the hearts of 300 million Americans.

But friends, God never promised that the world would be reliable. Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Matt 6:19-21 NKJV]

We correctly associate that verse with money, but it applies to everything. The world is not reliable. Heaven is. Love human beings, but don’t put your faith in them. Put your faith in God.

There is a thriving market among today’s super rich for heavily armored cars and houses that amount to fortresses. They used to have safe rooms. Now they have “safe cores.” They have computer assisted surveillance equipment that can differentiate between a deer in the bushes and a human, at night and hundreds of yards away. Still, they’re not fully safe. In the world, there are no safe places.

Only in Jesus can we have full security. Only on Him can we build with full confidence. He said, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” [Matt 7:24-27 NKJV]

Don’t build your house on sand. Don’t build your life on that which is inherently unstable and unreliable. Build on the solid Rock. Build your life on Jesus.

Kim Jong Un Fires Uncle, Executes Aides

Jang Song-thaek was probably sacked as vice-chairman of the National Defence Commission and as a department head of the ruling Workers’ Party, an MP Jung Cheong-rae said, citing a senior South Korean official in its National Intelligence Service (NIS).

Analysts who watch the North’s power structure say Mr Jang’s removal would not have been possible without the approval of the third Kim to rule in the family dynasty.

The move is likely to tip the balance in favour of the top political operative for the army, Choe Ryong-hae, which could mean a symbolic victory for the 1.2 million-strong military. Mr Choe, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, has been the most prominent figure to accompany Mr Kim at public events and is a reminder of the state’s political roots in military power.

There was no mention of Mr Jang’s fate on North Korea’s KCNA news agency, the primary source of information for outsiders, which regularly carries editorials threatening the South and the United States.

Two members of the South Korean parliament’s Intelligence Committee told separate news briefings that the NIS had confirmed the public execution of two close aides to Mr Jang on grounds of corruption. “The briefing by an NIS senior official was that they believe Jang Song-thaek has lost his posts,” said Mr Jung, who is the ranking opposition member of the intelligence committee. A ruling party member of the committee held a separate news briefing and delivered a similar report.

The removal of Mr Jang, a key figure in the power transition following the death of Mr Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011, could tip the balance in the fiercely competitive group of confidants surrounding the current leader but was unlikely to impact on Kim Jong-un’s hold on power, experts said.

“Jang Song-thaek is a person who at one point Kim Jong-un had to cut out as he solidifies his own power structure,” said Koh Yu-hwan of Dongguk University in Seoul, a leading expert on the North’s leadership.

“I think the young elite had Kim get rid of Jang, meaning that he will rule without  a guardian.”

Accordion-playing Mr Jang, 67, is married to Kim Jong-un’s aunt, Kyong Hui. She is a daughter of the North’s founding leader and “eternal President” Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994. Mr Jang was widely seen as an advocate of economic reform and a key question is what his downfall will mean for the shattered economy.

“There is a risk involved with removing someone that close to the [economic reform] programme,” said Dr John Swenson-Wright, a senior fellow at Chatham House, a think-tank.

While Mr Jang’s dismissal could symbolically tip the balance of power in favour of Mr Choe, analysts say it is unlikely to signal a return to the military grandstanding of Mr Kim’s father.


Ukraine protesters threaten tighter blockade over spurned EU pact

KIEV – Ukraine’s government faced a tightening blockade of key buildings by protesters in the capital Kiev on Wednesday amid a crisis over its rejection of closer ties with the European Union that has piled pressure on the creaking economy.

Protesters threatened to extend their blockade to the office of President Viktor Yanukovich, who flew to China on Tuesday leaving behind a country in turmoil over his government’s decision last month to spurn a landmark EU trade accord.

The crisis has exposed once more the East-West tug-of-war playing out in Ukraine, which has oscillated between the EU and former Soviet master Moscow since the 2004-5 Orange Revolution overthrew the post-Soviet political order.

Yanukovich’s prime minister, Mykola Azarov, said his cabinet would hold its weekly meeting on Wednesday in the government building, paving the way for a possible showdown with the protesters, who have blocked the entrances since Monday.