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Archive for the ‘Aid News.’ Category

US Pledges $1 Billion in Aid to Ukraine.


The Obama administration has pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine as Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the strife-torn country, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The financial assistance was seen as an attempt by the United States to show solidarity with Ukraine, which has had its Crimea region invaded by Russian forces following the overthrow last month of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said, “The United States is prepared to work with its bilateral and multilateral partners to provide as much support as Ukraine needs to restore financial stability and return to economic growth if the new government implements the necessary reforms.”

The money was expected to shore up the country’s troubled economy and to help Ukraine finance purchases of energy imports while the former Soviet republic seeks a larger bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

A senior administration official with Kerry told the Journal, “You’re seeing already a response from the United States that is isolating Russia politically and diplomatically and offering strong support for the new Ukrainian government.”

American technical experts will be sent to Ukraine to help sort out the country’s growing financial and energy problems, sources said. U.S. advisers will also help Kiev uncover assets believed to have been stolen by Yanukovych’s government.

The Journal also reported that experts will also be sent to help Ukraine prepare for its May 25 general elections.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

Saudis Challenge Hezbollah Lebanon Dominance; Offers Army $3B.


Saudi Arabia will channel $3 billion to the Lebanese army over five years in an effort that analysts interpret as a direct challenge to Hezbollah‘s dominance over Lebanon, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The aid comes in the wake of the Dec. 27 car bomb assassination of Mohamad Chatah, a leading Lebanese Sunni politician and critic of Hezbollah.
The money, which challenges what the BBC termed Hezbollah’s “unchecked power,” has the potential of altering Lebanon’s political structure and could exacerbate sectarian tensions.
Gulf sources told the Journal that the Saudis do not want a direct confrontation with Hezbollah only to “rebalance” its influence in Lebanon.
Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, a Christian, said Lebanon would use the Saudi money to purchase weapons from France, the BBC reported.
The Journal described the money as intended to strengthen the government’s forces against Hezbollah which is backed by non-Arab Iran. Sleiman described it as intended to enable the Lebanese army to “confront terrorism.”
The Saudi money far exceeds Lebanon’s entire $1.7 billion annual defense budget, according to the Journal.
Demographics play a key role in Lebanon.
Of the 4 million Lebanese, Christians comprise about 41 percent the population; Shiites, 36 percent, and Sunnis about 20 percent. There are also other sects including 250,000 Druze.
Saudi Arabia, which is Sunni, supports the Sunni insurgency against the Assad regime in neighboring Syria, while Shiite Hezbollah has committed fighters to Assad.
Many Lebanese army officers are Shiite and some Sunnis distrust the force as being partial to Hezbollah, the Journal reported.
Meanwhile, the Saudis have been critical of what they see as the lack of American assertiveness in the region particularly regarding Syria and Iran’s nuclear program.
They have responded by more closely aligning with France and generously backing regional allies including the military regime in Egypt.
An earlier U.S. offer to provide $8.7 million to Lebanon’s army was ridiculed as too little by Sleiman, the Journal reported.
There are signs that al-Qaida is gaining a foothold among the Sunni population in Lebanon particularly in Tripoli and Sidon.

The Saudis, while adhering to a strict form of Islam, are longtime antagonists of al-Qaida.

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© 2013 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.
By Elliot Jager

Son: Billy Graham’s Health Rapidly Declining.


The Rev. Billy Graham‘s health has been declining this past week, says his son.

“My father’s health has declined quite a bit in last few days,” The Rev. Franklin Graham told WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C., during a Christmas charity event at the Billy Graham Library. “I’m not even sure he knows Nelson Mandela has passed away. His vitals are good, but he’s just extremely weak.”

The legendary evangelist, 95, was hospitalized for two days in November with a respiratory illness, reports Fox News. He has been in ill health for several years, but this time, his son says his elderly father “just hasn’t been able to get his strength back.”

Story continues below.

Billy Graham is listed in polls as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the World.” In his younger years, his famous Christian crusades took him all over the world to preach to more live audiences than any other evangelist in history, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. More than 215 million people in 185 countries have seen him in person, while millions more watched his messages through television, video, film and on the internet.

“My one purpose in life,” he said, “is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”

In November, the elder evangelist released a personal message to America, posting the 30-minute “My Hope America” video special hours before his 95th birthday party. He had worked with a video crew over the past year on the project called “The Cross,” Graham worked with a video crew over the past year to record his personal message in a program called “The Cross,” 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Pastor Overcomes Personal Tragedy to Help Needy Children.


 

Operation Holiday Hope
Operation Holiday Hope will reach nearly 150,000 children in the U.S. and around the world this Christmas season. (Courtesy of Metro World Child)

Metro World Child announced Wednesday the launch of Operation Holiday Hope, the international humanitarian organization’s annual campaign to provide Christmas gifts to inner-city children in need.

Through donations of just $10 per child, Operation Holiday Hope will reach nearly 150,000 children in the U.S. and around the world, providing need-based gifts alongside a message of salvation and love.

“Far too many children in New York City and in urban centers around the globe are facing the challenges of poverty, abuse, violence and hopelessness,” says pastor Bill Wilson, founder of Metro World Child. “Giving a child a gift at Christmas—whether it’s a new, wrapped toy or a much-needed hot meal—lets a child know he or she is loved and that there is hope for a brighter future.”

Metro World Child is a faith-based organization that serves nearly 100,000 inner-city children each week with after-school programs, Sunday school services, child sponsorship, personal home visits and special programs like Operation Holiday Hope. The organization is committed to providing hope and building futures for children living in adverse conditions around the world, helping them find a new path through the life-changing love of Christ.

With Operation Holiday Hope, children receive a need-based gift after attending a fun, interactive Sundayschool program. Among the more than 121,000 children who received gifts last year were 35,000 children living in New York City’s poorest neighborhoods, who received a new, wrapped toy. For many children, it was the only Christmas gift they received. In other parts of the world, gifts take the form of hot meals where children are hungry or warm socks and boots where winter temperatures are below freezing.

In the past four years, Metro World Child has provided nearly a 1/2 million gifts through Operation Holiday Hope, reaching children in India, Kenya, New York, Philippines,Romania, Somalia and South Africa. As the Operation Holiday Hope 2013 fundraising effort gets underway, Metro World Child asks supporters to visit its website, operationholidayhope.org to donate and help the organization reach even more children this year.

Pastor Who Lost His Kids: ‘God Will Not Forsake Us’.


 

Typhoon Haiyan
Two weeks after Typhoon Haiyan struck, villagers are still struggling to survive. (Operation Blessing, Facebook)

Aid is still urgently needed several weeks after super Typhoon Haiyan battered the central Philippines.

Survivors are trying to cope with the loss of loved ones, homes and possessions. Two weeks after Typhoon Haiyan struck villagers are still struggling to survive.

People living in the interior communities are finding it difficult to go where they can get medical aid and relief goods because they must trudge through filthy debris.

But some are still unselfishly helping others, like one pastor who lost half of his family in the disaster.

The stinky piles of garbage are everywhere. And dead bodies are still being discovered, like the granddaughter of Rico Villalino, who shared his heartache with CBN News.

“That is my granddaughter along the road. We just found her this morning. The other one is still missing. We also lost our house. Everything is gone,” he said.

One female pastor, who accompanied CBN News, prayed for Villalino and invited him to attend church.

Many like Villalino have turned to God because of the tragedy. But even the most faithful church workers have also experienced hardship and loss.

All three of Pastor Dante Lingo’s children were swept away by the surging waters.

“We were holding on to the beam of our ceiling when the big waves collapsed our house and we were swallowed by the big waves,” Pastor Lingo, from Hope in Christ Christian Fellowship, told CBN News.

Only one son survived. When the waters subsided they found the bodies of their sons aged 13 and 7 clutching each other, while the body of their 5-year-old daughter was found the next day.

“We will miss them so much. We worked so hard for their future,” Dolor Lingo, the children’s mother, said.

“They helped us in our feeding ministry. We feed the children but all that is gone. We don’t know where to start but we believe God will not forsake us. He has a purpose why we are still alive,” she said.

Dolor is also grieving over the death of her mother and 13 other family members.

The news team noticed a wound on Dolor’s foot. They took her and surviving family members to a CBN Disaster Relief medical clinic.

A doctor examined and cleaned Dolor’s wound. She was also given tetanus shot, vitamins and medicines for her family.

The family also spend time with a CBN counselor who listened to them and prayed for their needs.

“We did not expect that people like you will come here to help us. Your smiles make our hearts smile as well. Especially with what happened to our family, you have comforted and encouraged us,” Pastor Lingo said.

“The Lord said in the Bible, ‘Whoever wants to follow me should carry his cross everyday,'” he continued.

“What happened to our life is like what happened to Job. He lost his children and his possessions. This is a very difficult time for us but we shall cling to the Lord because He alone gives us strength. And we will cling to His Word because His Word alone will sustain us,” he added.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

LUCILLE TALUSAN/CBN NEWS

US Military Scales Down Aid Efforts in Philippines.


The U.S. military has began scaling back its emergency relief operations in the Philippines as work shifts to recovery and rehabilitation in typhoon-hit areas, a U.S. aid agency official said on Saturday.

Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm to make landfall this year, struck the central Philippines on Nov. 8, killing more than 5,200 people, displacing 4.4 million and destroying an estimated $274 million worth of crops and infrastructure.

The U.S. Navy has pulled out its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, but still has ten C-130 aircraft delivering relief supplies. Last week, the United States had 50 ships and aircraft in the disaster zone.

Jeremy Konyndyk, director for Foreign Disaster Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), said the U.S. military had started to reduce its presence to allow civilian aid agencies to step up efforts.

“What we have seen, particularly over the past week, is now civilian and private-sector commercial capacity has started coming back up again and that is taking the burden off of the military actors,” Konyndyk told Reuters in an interview.

“You don’t want the military playing that role in the long run, they are an interim bridging capacity there, but in the long run, that really needs to be civilian role.”

Konyndyk said there had been significant progress in meeting people’s basic needs as more roads and ports opened in the worst-hit Leyte and Samar islands.

“Food has been distributed to 3 million people, shelter kits have been delivered to tens of thousands of families. I think the situation with immediate humanitarian needs is becoming stabilised.”

Aid delivery was gathering pace as access to affected areas improved, the U.N. humanitarian office said it its latest report. However, major issues remained including the distribution of food and access to clean water and shelter material.

Konyndyk said the next step was for USAID and other international aid agencies to refocus their efforts on long-term recovery and reconstruction, giving priority to shelter and livelihoods for farmers and fishermen.

The United States has increased its typhoon aid to nearly $52 million, but latest estimates from the United Nations showed the disaster rehabilitation plan would cost $348 million. Only 38 percent of the plan is funded.

The United Nations is working to finish a blueprint for a Haiyan Action Plan reconstruction strategy by Dec. 9. The World Bank has increased to almost $1 billion its aid to support relief and reconstruction..

President Benigno Aquino is separately seeking extra budget from Congress to finance relief and rehabilitation efforts.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Freeze of Aid Whips Up Anti-US Sentiment in Egypt.


CAIRO — Washington’s decision to withhold millions of dollars in mostly military aid to Egypt is fueling anti-U.S. sentiment and the perception that Washington supports Mohammed Morsi, the Islamist president the military ousted in a July coup.

That could boost the popularity of the military chief, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, whom the United States is trying to pressure to ensure a transition to democracy and ease the fierce crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

The aid freeze could also embolden Morsi’s supporters to intensify their campaign of street protests in the belief that the military-backed government is losing the goodwill of its top foreign backer.

The protests, met by a fierce response by security forces that has left hundreds dead, have kept the new government from tackling Egypt’s pressing problems after 2 ½ years of turmoil.

Still, Egypt’s military-backed government is unlikely to abandon the road map it announced when Morsi was removed in a July 3 coup — to amend the nation’s Islamist-tilted constitution and put the changes to a nationwide vote before the end of the year, and hold parliamentary and presidential ballots in early 2014.

“Egypt is not so desperate that it needs to compromise on its political agenda,” George Friedman, founder of the U.S.-based global intelligence firm, Stratfor, wrote this week. “The United States will be the one to eventually readjust to the old reality of backing unpopular regimes that can preserve U.S. influence in the Nile River Valley.”

Warnings that Washington might cut off aid were met with a defiant response in the Egyptian media.

“Let American aid go to hell,” screamed the banner headline of Thursday’s edition of Al-Tahrir, an independent daily that is a sworn critic of the Brotherhood and the United States.

Egyptian newspapers and television have for weeks taken a deeply hostile line toward the United States, portraying Washington as unhappy to see Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood lose power and lambasting it for allegedly meddling in Cairo’s affairs.

The United States announced it was freezing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, most of it meant for the armed forces, as a show of displeasure over Morsi’s ouster and the subsequent crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist allies. Washington said the aid would be restored if “credible progress” was made toward setting up an inclusive, democratically elected government.

In its announcement Wednesday, the State Department did not provide a dollar amount of what was being withheld, most of it linked to military aid, but officials in Washington said it included 10 Apache helicopters at a cost of more than $500 million, M1A1 tank kits and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

The United States. also is withholding $260 million in cash assistance to the government. The United States had already suspended the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets and canceled biennial U.S.-Egyptian military exercises.

In Egypt’s first official reaction, the Foreign Ministry said the United States move raised questions about Washington’s commitment to supporting the Arab nation’s security goals at a time when it is facing terrorist challenges.

That was a reference to a burgeoning insurgency by Islamic militants, some with al-Qaida links, in the strategic Sinai Peninsula, as well as scattered attacks in other parts of the country.

In its statement, the Foreign Ministry said Cairo was keen to maintain good relations with Washington, but will independently decide its domestic policies. It also said Egypt will work to secure its “vital needs” on national security, a thinly veiled threat that it would shop elsewhere for arms and military hardware.

One official said the military was considering stripping U.S. warships of preferential treatment in transiting the Suez Canal or curbing use of Egypt’s air space by U.S. military aircraft. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue with the media.

Cairo has built close ties with Washington in the 34 years since Egypt became the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel. The aid has long been seen as Washington’s reward for Egypt’s commitment to peace after it fought four wars against Israel between 1948 and 1973.

The Egyptian military may have gained the most from those close relations, using $1.3 billion annually to replace its aging Soviet-era arms and warplanes with high-tech American weapon systems, state of the art jet-fighters, Apache gunships and battlefield tanks.

Over the years, thousands of Egyptian officers from all branches of the military traveled to the United States for training or to attend military schools.

The biennial war games, codenamed “Bright Star,” gave the two militaries large-scale human contact in a simulated battlefield and in 1991, Egyptian troops fought alongside the Americans as part of the U.S.-led coalition that drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.

El-Sissi, a career infantry officer who attended the U.S. War Academy, has credited the United States for its huge role in modernizing the Egyptian military over the past three decades.

In a three-part interview published this week in a Cairo daily, he said he appreciated the dilemma the Obama administration found itself in after Morsi’s ouster, having to carefully navigate between respect for U.S. laws on aid to foreign nations where a democratically elected government is toppled and a reliable ally that has for decades safeguarded its interests in a volatile and strategic region.

But the suspension is unlikely to push him to back down.

The military-backed regime in Egypt enjoys the support of key Arab nations, including ones with deep pockets like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These allies have poured billions of dollars into Egypt’s anemic coffers and are likely to continue to do so to win the common fight against Islamists.

The 58-year-old el-Sissi, who has not ruled out a presidential run in elections due next year, stands to gain more popularity at home. In a country where anti-U.S. sentiment runs high, mostly over Washington’s perceived bias in support of Israel, anyone seen to be standing up to the United States gains in popularity.

Already el-Sissi is being widely compared to the late charismatic president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, whose socialist-leaning rule and tense relations with Washington earned him near divine status among Egyptians and fellow Arabs.

In contrast, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s toppled autocratic leader, jealously protected and maintained close ties with the U.S. from the time he took office in 1981 and for the next 29 years. One goal of the revolution that toppled him was to end what many Egyptians see as Washington’s undue influence over Cairo’s policies under Mubarak.

“The popular mood does not seem to care” about the aid suspension, said Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a prominent Egyptian scholar who has a dual-Egyptian-U.S. nationality. “As a matter of fact, most Egyptians who can speak out feel, ‘Just as well, we would like to end this Catholic marriage with the U.S.,'” he told Associated Press Television in an interview.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: NEWSmax.com

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