1. According to the Associated Press, an Israeli Cabinet minister has called on the United States to intervene in the Syrian civil war after intelligence organizations reported the use of chemical weapons. The U.S has warned such weapons cross a red line and last week said the weapons were probably used. Israel says they were definitely used. Environment Minister A-mir Pe-retz said action should have been taken long ago due to the high civilian death toll. He added, "We expect whoever defines red lines will also do what is needed, first and foremost the U.S. and of course the entire international community."
2. According to CBS Los Angeles, two schools in California are introducing palm scanners in hopes of speeding up the cafeteria lunch line. In a trial program, students are being asked to use their palm prints to register for their mid-day meals. The palm scanner works by taking a two-inch image of the vein paths on students' hands. Once that palm is scanned, the image is taken and broken down into 1's and 0's becoming a unique number for that student. Five parents have so far opted out of the program, citing privacy concerns.
3. According to United Press International, Spanish researchers said that the European Union will be unable to meet its agricultural policy goals unless it embraces genetically engineered crops. Paul Christou and colleagues at a university in Spain said studies suggest the EU's stand on genetically-modified crops is undermining its competitiveness in the agricultural sector and that of its humanitarian activities in the developing world. A de facto moratorium exists in Europe on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops such as maize, cotton and soybean, even as the same products are imported because of insufficient capacity to produce them by conventional means at home. The scientists stated that without a change in this policy, "ultimately the EU will become almost entirely dependent on the outside world for food and scientific progress because the outside world has embraced the technology which is so unpopular in Europe."
4. According to International Christian Concern, countries like North Korea, Pakistan and Somalia top the list as some of the world's worst persecutors of Christians, but none of these countries hold the highest Christian death toll. In 2012, that shameful distinction went to Nigeria where almost 70% of Christians killed globally were murdered. Because Nigeria's federal government has proven unable to protect Christians in northern Nigeria, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, a militant group from southern Nigeria, has threatened to begin attacking Muslims and Islamic institutions. The possibility of religious war, coupled with these overwhelming statistics makes Nigeria the deadliest place on earth to be a Christian.
5. According to Christianity Today, Christians, Muslims, and civil authorities in one area of Jerusalem have signed a local treaty of friendship that, if successful and replicated, could ease religious tensions in the Holy City and other Middle East communities. AsiaNews reports that "leaders were pushed to seek such an agreement after sectarian clashes broke out in recent months, in the wake of the establishment of a Christian subdivision in a Muslim area in East Jerusalem." The signatories of the treaty, "whose clauses range from mutual respect to conciliation in disputes over land and the construction of new housing," represent 63 Christian families from the subdivision as well as Muslim leaders from the neighborhood. This treaty is just the latest peace effort between Muslims and Christians in the Holy Land, where attacks on Christian buildings -- known as "price-tag attacks" -- have become more common.
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