The Peacebuilding Prince

One Jordanian leader shares his deep desire to preserve the Arab Christian world.
Interview by Cornelis Hulsman
Prince Hassan bin Talal, brother of the late King Hussein of Jordan, is worried about the future of Christians all over the Arab world, including the Holy Land-the name he gives to the combined area of Israel, the Palestinian region, and his homeland of Jordan. The prince holds two degrees from Oxford University and is renowned worldwide for his views on the relationship of religion and society. He often talks about religion in cultural rather than theological terms, approaching religious issues fundamentally from the viewpoint of the secular state's compelling interests-the reduction of unhealthy political disputes, terrorism, and religious wars.
The prince has been working to ensure that those of disparate religions in the Middle East can learn to live with one another in an atmosphere of mutual respect. He doesn't want any religious groups to disappear, because he feels they all have something to offer society. Most importantly, he has devoted himself to bolstering the Christian community, one of the most threatened religious bodies in the region, especially in Muslim-majority nations.
Jordan receives good marks for its protection of religious freedom. Jordanian …

Danger of losing Lebanon 'imminent'

Hezbollah will try to take over government by summer
Editor's Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.
When Americans consider the most critical “fronts” in the war on terror, the top four are almost always Iraq, Afghanistan, the ongoing conflict in Israel's Palestinian territories and the various unknown theaters where U.S. special forces and intelligence collectors operate.
Few, however, consider Lebanon a critical front. Sure, the Middle East nation has Hezbollah, but it also has Starbucks, resort hotels, trendy restaurants and a fashion industry that in many ways competes with Manhattan and Milan.
But Lebanon is a front in which the enemy – the Iranian-Syrian axis and its proxy army, Hezbollah – has the upper hand, because it appreciates the country's geostrategic value and has capitalized on the fact that the West seems not to.
Tom Harb, secretary general of the pro-democracy World Council of the Cedars Revolution, says the danger of losing Lebanon is imminent.
“Hezbollah will try to take …

Anxiety of Queen over sharia law controversy

By Andrew Pierce
The Queen is distressed by the row over Islamic law which she fears threatens to undermine the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury and damage the Church of England.
Have your say: Are the Queen's concerns justified?
Archbishop's speech to General Synod in full   
Speaking to the General Synod, Dr Williams refused to apologise for his remarks but admitted he had been 'clumsy'
According to a royal source, the Queen has not expressed any view on whether Dr Rowan Williams was unwise to say it was “unavoidable” that aspects of the sharia legal system could be incorporated into English law.
But as Supreme Governor of the Church of England she has been dismayed by the controversy that the remarks have generated at such a difficult period in the history of the Established Church, which faces possible schism over the issue of homosexual clergy.
The Queen, who approved the appointment of Dr Williams on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, takes her role as Supreme Governor very seriously.
One royal source said: “I have no idea what her view is on what the Archbishop said about sharia law. But the Queen is worried, coming at such a difficult …

Panic in the beehive

By Finlo Rohrer
If the UK lost its honey bees the countryside would face devastation, and that is exactly what beekeepers fear could happen.
Imagine a country lane. Hawthorn hedgerow on either side, clouds scudding overhead, apple blossom drifting gently by, the only noise the gentle hum of honey bees and the chirping of birds. What could be a more idyllic vision of British country life?
Then fast-forward 10 years.
The hedgerow is deteriorating, the birds are silent, the orchard is disappearing and the countryside is changed. Why? The hives are empty. Their once-buzzing occupants mysteriously vanished.
Environment and rural affairs minister Lord Rooker envisaged just such a scenario recently when he warned: “Bee health is at risk and, frankly, if nothing is done about it, the fact is the honey bee population could be wiped out in 10 years.”
In a few weeks' time, Britain's thousands of amateur beekeepers will face what might be called “Bee-Day”. In the south of England, the weather will be warm enough that apiarists can lift the tops off their hives for the first time and find out if their colonies have survived the winter.
And these beekeepers are worried. Every winter some colonies …

EU plans biometric border checks

Mr Frattini said the EU must use “the most advanced technology”
Biometric tests at Frankfurt airport 
Visitors to the EU could face digital fingerprinting at airports under plans to beef up border security, EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini has said.
He said travellers from outside the EU could face a biometric test as part of their visa while those not needing a permit would be checked on arrival.
There are also plans to improve border surveillance and land and sea patrols.
Rights group Privacy International said the move could create a “fortress Europe” for foreigners.
And the European Council on Refugees in Exile complained that the tighter the restrictions, the harder it would become for people to seek safety from persecution.
'Highest security level'
The proposals for a radical shake-up of the EU's border security were unveiled by Mr Frattini in Brussels. 
Mr Frattini says the plans will have to be agreed by member states
He said the measures would apply to all 24 members of the Schengen accord, and it was up to countries such as the UK and Ireland whether to join in.
The commissioner said the EU had to use “the most advanced technology to reach the …

The Ultimate Valentine

This week happy couples around the country will exchange tokens of love
and affection in celebration of Valentine's Day. If this week has put
you in the mood for a little romance, we recommend you take a look at
what has to be the most charming little book in the Bible.
The book of Ruth is often studied (even in secular colleges) as a
masterpiece in miniature for its romantic elegance and literary value –
and its charming glimpse into life in ancient Israel. It is a classic
love story of loyalty and devotion, and yet it also contains some
surprising insights that go far beyond the historical narrative itself.

One of the principal characters is Naomi, a Bethlehemite, who, because
of a famine, migrates with her husband and her two sons to distant
Moab. The two sons take Moabite women for wives. During the ten years
that follow, Naomi's husband and both her two sons pass away, leaving
her destitute.
Upon hearing that things have turned for the better in her native
Bethlehem, Naomi decides to return home. She encourages the two young
girls to make new lives for themselves among their own people. However,
Ruth refuses, insists upon …