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American missionaries contract Ebola: 2 responses

Dr. Kent Brantly (right) with colleagues Stephen Snell (left) and an unidentified doctor at center having a discussion at Chimala Mission Bible School in Chimala, Mbeya, Tanzania, May 25, 2013 (Credit: Kellum Tate via Facebook) Dr. Kent Brantly is a missionary with Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief organization headed by Franklin Graham.  The 33-year-old married father of two calls himself "a young Christian doctor putting his faith to work in the world."  He began serving the West African nation of Liberia as a physician in October 2013.  Not long after, he found himself on the front lines of the worst Ebola outbreak ever recorded.  Now he has been infected by the deadly disease.

The Ebola virus disease is named for the Ebola River valley in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it was first observed in 1976.  The virus is transmitted to humans from contact with infected wild animals.  It then spreads through human-to-human contact via body fluids.  Mortality rates are as high as 90 percent, though fatalities from the current outbreak are around 60 percent.  There are no vaccines or cures.

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Radical grace 20 years after Rwandan genocide

Gespard (R), puts his arm around, and holds hands with, a man named Innocent (L), who killed Gespard's brother, along with four other people during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 (Credit: www.jeremycowart.com) Could you forgive the man who murdered your brother?  That's what a man named Gespard has done.  And that's the kind of radical grace that is transforming a nation known for one of the worst genocides in history.

Twenty years ago, over a million people were killed in a span of 100 days in the central African nation of Rwanda.  When Rwanda was a colony of Belgium, a tribal minority known as Tutsi came into favor because of their European appearance.  In 1962, the Hutu majority overthrew the Belgian-installed Tutsi government.  A civil war between the two tribes began in 1990.

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Reba McEntire's 'Pray for Peace' goes viral

Reba McEntire, looking down while flashing the peace sign, in a screen grab from her Pray for Peace video (Credit: Reba McEntire via Facebook) What do Kelly Clarkson, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, and The Band Perry have in common?  They are all supporting Reba McEntire's new song, "Pray for Peace."  She calls her song "a gift from God."  It repeats over and over the simple imperative, "pray for peace."  Then it calls us to pray for our mother, father, children, leaders, and families, to pray for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.  The song's music video had 5,629,031 likes on July 21.

There's no doubt we need peace.  The Gaza conflict continues, with disclosures that Hamas is using hospitals and United Nations schools to shelter and fire weapons.  Israel has also found another "terror tunnel" containing Israeli uniforms, maps, and weapons.

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Hamas and Israel: the pathway to peace

Israeli soldiers mourn during the funeral of their comrade Bnaya Rubel in Holon, near Tel Aviv July 20, 2014. (Credit: Reuters/Nir Elias) U.S. and European air carriers halted flights to Israel yesterday after a rocket attack near Ben Gurion Airport.  Is this a sign of things to come?  Will the conflict between Hamas and Israel get worse before it gets better?

To predict the future, it's important to understand the past.  Unfortunately, much of the media's coverage of the present conflict has ignored the real motives behind Hamas' aggression toward Israel. (For more on Western bias against the Jewish state, see "Is the media being unfair to Israel?")  "Hamas" is an Arabic acronym for "Islamic Resistance Movement."  It published its official charter in 1988, calling for the destruction of Israel and raising "the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine."

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Is the world more unstable than ever?

Israeli soldiers stand on top of their tanks and armoured personnel carriers (APCs) across from the northern Gaza Strip July 18, 2014 (Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner) Does it seem that crises are erupting all around the world?  That's because they are.

Around the Muslim world: the ground war in Gaza continues, as Hamas deploys missiles capable of reaching 80 percent of Israel.  ISIS is advancing in Iraq while fighting continues in Syria.  Afghanistan is embroiled in an electoral crisis that threatens to return the country to civil war.  Pakistan, a nuclear power, is dealing with the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.  Negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program have reached a critical point and could collapse.  Hezbollah is watching Israel's conflict with Hamas as it decides whether or not to respond; its missiles would be much more difficult for Israel's Iron Dome to defend.

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