In this Christmastime Celebration it may be time to pause and wonder what has happened to all of those Christian Syrian refugees? Compromising more than 10% of the Syrian Iraqi Arab population, why are there no Christians fleeing the wars? Two thousand years ago a similar extensional crisis was upon the Levant, with the threat to all infants under the age of two years, by Herod, who feared reports of a ‘new King’ being born. This threat necessitated the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, to survive amongst the rump Isralite community there, until the threat had dissipated.
That today is the experience of thousands of Syrian and Iraqi Christians. They are either excluded from the normal refugee camps, either through fear – with a long history of massacres of Christians in the region – or through secular and Islamist prejudice. The Barnabas Fund ( a global Christian charity) asked Christian leaders in the Middle East if they knew of any Christians in refugee camps. One told us, “we did once have a couple who tried to live there, we had to get them out in the middle of the night when we heard people were planning to kill them.”
Many Christians fleeing the war in Syria live in half-built buildings or makeshift shelters, not dissimilar from the cold, damp conditions in which Jesus was born. Just as Herod’s slaughter of the innocents in Judea targeted a specific group, i.e. Jewish boys under two, so the Sunni inspired genocide in Syria specifically targets Christians and other non-Sunni Muslim minorities such as Yazidis and Allawite sect Shi’a.
Italy’s third largest bank, Monte dei Paschi, one of the oldest banks in the world, is on the brink of needing a State bail out yet again, after efforts failed to convince private investors to provide fresh capital. A last ditch attempt to persuade Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund to invest in the bank failed spectacularly, and the hope for other efforts to raise money to prop up the bank have been dashed.
Failing a last ditch surprise capital bail out, Monte dei Paschi will miss the European Central Bank’s Dec. 31 deadline to raise 5 billion euros ($5.2 billion). The Italian parliament has had to authorised 20 billion euros in new public debt on the December 21 to inject into Monte dei Paschi and other smaller banks in case the required private capital funding doesn’t eventuate. Italian media have claimed that the government’s bail out plan for Monte dei Paschi could take up to three months to facilitate. Starting with a State guarantee of the bank’s borrowing to ensure that Monte dei Paschi doesn’t run out of liquidity initiating a ‘run on the bank’. Currently the Bank claims to only have available liquidity to take it to the end of March 2017.
Much has been made recently in regarding the demographics of the contested 2016 US Presidential Election. Many studies have thrown up graphics that claimed that the Great Democrat ‘Blue Wall’ had been breached by the successful Republican candidate Donald Trump’s candidature. Swathes of Statewide Blue voting patterns were regularly used by both sides to reflect either the electoral ‘security’ of the Democratic North East and the West Coast Democrat heartlands or the task ahead for the Republicans. The Republican candidate claimed a landslide win within the electoral college, whereas the Democrat contender claims the raw demographic majority by some 2 million votes. Both a correct to some degree in their claims but the most electorally significant position has to be measured at the County sized electoral map. The ‘local ‘ county political landscape tells a very sober tale for the Democrat Party.
The Electoral College was a mechanism that prevented high density urban areas exercising overarching political control, over the more sparsely populated areas of the US, thus ensuring national geographic unity. Looking at the electoral map through the lens of all of the counties within the US, a very interesting picture emerges. Though the Democrats claim the raw numbers by a margin of 2 million votes, the US counties map shows that Democrat support is extremely patchy and restricted to about half a dozen or so small, highly urbanised, geographic regions across the nation.
Hydraulic fracturing generated $3.5 trillion in new wealth between 2012 and 2014 in spite of falling oil prices, according to a new study, but today’s rising prices could be even better for the U.S. economy.
From 2012 to 2014, the shale oil industry generated 4.6 million new jobs due to an energy boom and the resulting low gas prices, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) <http://marcelluscoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/NBER-paper.pdf> . Expensive energy could be a huge net positive for the U.S. fracking economy because rising oil prices mean more drilling.