Pastor Who Is an American Citizen Is Still Being Held by Haitian Gang After He Was Abducted Three Weeks Ago

Pastor Jean Pierre Ferrer Michel, a founding member of the church Jesus Center in Delmas 29, Haiti, is pictured (R) in the inset photo. His daughter (R) in this screenshot from an appeal video calls for his release by kidnappers. | Screenshot: Facebook/La Diane
Pastor Jean Pierre Ferrer Michel, a founding member of the church Jesus Center in Delmas 29, Haiti, is pictured (R) in the inset photo. His daughter (R) in this screenshot from an appeal video calls for his release by kidnappers. | Screenshot: Facebook/La Diane

Thirteen days before 16 Americans and a Canadian were brazenly kidnapped at gunpoint by a notorious gang on the eastern outskirts of Haiti’s capital last weekend, a prominent pastor and two of his congregants were abducted on the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Pastor Jean Pierre Ferrer Michel, a founding member of the church Jesus Center in the Delmas 29 neighborhood, was grabbed on Sunday, Oct. 3, by armed men dressed as Haiti National Police officers while in his four-wheel-drive Nissan Patrol in the parking lot of his Port-au-Prince church. It was just before 8 a.m.

More than three weeks later, Michel, who is a U.S. citizen, still has not been freed along with one of his male congregants, even though an undisclosed ransom amount has been paid, his family said. Michel’s captivity has largely been ignored except for mentions in the local Haitian press.

“They don’t talk about it, like they are talking about the case of the group of 17. But this man is an American citizen, too,” said a family friend who spoke to the Miami Herald on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the ongoing case. “It’s not the same attention that the 17 people who they abducted in Croix-des-Bouquets are getting.”

The lack of attention compelled Michel’s wife, Maryse Michel, to release a video Tuesday in Haitian Creole pleading for his release.

“They have yet to release him after 17 days,” Michel said, denying rumors that her husband was back at home. “He’s without his medication. He’s an old man who is nearly 80 years old, and doesn’t have a lot of years in front of him. I’ve come to plead, and I came to ask everyone who it concerns: Release the pastor. Release my husband. Give the children back their father. Give the family back their brother because we did everything already. They are still holding them. They have to let them go. We did everything we were supposed to do.”

The family friend said both the U.S. Embassy and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been contacted about the abduction because of Michel’s American citizenship. While the gang released the female congregant, it continues to hold Michel and the other abducted church member hostage.

The gang’s initial ransom request was more than $15 million for the three, including $8 million for Michel.

“When they say dollars, you don’t know if they are talking about American dollars or Haitian,” said the family friend, who noted the gang behind the abduction has never identified itself. “They asked us for a ransom, the two families came together and paid a ransom and after we paid it, they called and said the money wasn’t enough and they cannot release them. Since then, there has been no contact.”

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Source: Miami Herald

Watch Out People: Woman Finds Amazon Has Thousands of Recordings of Her From Home Devices

A woman was shocked to discover how much information Amazon had collected on her from just a few devices – and created a video to shared the shocking truth with others.

TikTok star @my.data.not.yours uploaded a clip for her fans documenting all the information that the tech giant had collected about her.

She said she put in a request but didn’t expect them to have too much, but was ‘not totally comfortable’ with what she discovered.

It turned out that Amazon had her location, all her phone contacts, and thousands and thousands of recordings of her voice – collected from products that she gladly bought and placed in her home.

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In the video, she said: “I requested all the data that Amazon has on me, and here’s what I found.

“For reference, I have two dots and one echo, plus a few smart bulbs.”

She then opens a zip filed that had previously been downloaded and it contains many folders, which are titled ‘Alerts’, ‘Answers’, ‘Audio and Transition’, ‘Lists’, ‘Routines’, ‘Shopping’, ‘Skills’, and ‘Video’, amongst others.

She continued: “I decided to click on the audio one and this is what they have. These are all short voice clips which is so scary and this is one of me turning on the light. There are 3534 short audio clips in this folder alone.

“I then clicked on contacts and it turns out they have a full list of contacts from my phone and I never remember syncing that.

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Source: Mirror

Israeli diver discovers ancient Crusader sword

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli scuba diver has salvaged an ancient sword off the country’s Mediterranean coast that experts say dates back to the Crusaders.

Israel’s Antiquities Authority said Monday the man was on a weekend dive in northern Israel when he spotted a trove of ancient artifacts that included anchors, pottery and a meter-long (yard-long) sword.

The diver was about 150 meters (170 yards) off the coast in five-meter-deep (5.5-yard-deep) water when he made the discovery.

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Source: AP

Ravi Zacharias’s Daughter Steps Down to Launch New Ministry

The CEO of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) has stepped down to start a new apologetics organization.

Sarah Davis led RZIM through her father Ravi Zacharias’s death, the posthumous investigation of his sexual abuse, and the breakup and dramatic downsizing of the global apologetics ministry. Now, she will go out on her own and launch a new ministry called Encounter.

According to incorporation papers filed with the state of Georgia, Encounter’s purpose is “carrying the Gospel invitation to individuals and engaging in their questions so that they may encounter the love of Christ and enter relationship with Him.” It will also engage “thoughtful individuals in Gospel conversations,” and work on “training and discipling messengers of Christ’s love for their spheres of influence.”

The mission is not that different from the one stated on RZIM’s incorporation papers filed in the state of Georgia in 1986, when Davis was 10. RZIM was founded for “proclamation of the Gospel throughout the world” and “assistance in the development of evangelical Christian leadership.”

Davis, now 46, declined to answer questions about the new ministry. An RZIM spokesperson did not return a request for comment.

Davis’s departure may pave the way for RZIM’s relaunch. The ministry announced in March it would regroup and rebrand as soon as a complete culture review was finished.

The exit appears to mark an end to the internal struggle over that culture review. RZIM leadership disagreed over whether the ministry bears any corporate responsibility for Zacharias’s sin and whether there was a need for a full examination of RZIM’s culture and practices to move forward.

According to multiple people familiar with inner conflict at RZIM, Davis contracted Guidepost Solutions to review the ministry’s structures, finances, and practices, including the handling of abuse allegations. The RZIM board of directors moved to limit the scope of the investigation and keep any findings from becoming public.

The Guidepost evaluation was aimed at identifying “areas of unhealth,” according to Davis, and help the ministry “do everything we can to prevent any kind of abuse in the future.”

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Source: Christianity Today

From the Son of Jamaican Immigrants to a Pentagon Heavyweight: How the First Black Secretary of State Colin Powell Went From Childhood in the Bronx, to Soldier in Vietnam, and Rose Rapidly to Lead the US Into Iraq and Afghanistan

Colin Powell, the Harlem-born son of Jamaican immigrants who was awarded military honors for saving fellow soldiers from a burning helicopter crash in Vietnam and went on to become the first black Secretary of State, has died at age 84.

The former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was fully vaccinated but died of COVID-19 complications, his family announced on Facebook.

He had previously been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that impacts the body’s ability to fight infections. Powell also suffered from Parkinson’s and underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 2003.

He was born in New York on April 5, 1937 to Luther and Maude Powell, who arrived in Philadelphia on a ‘banana boat’ steamer from Jamaica in the 1920s.

Powell spent his youth being educated in the New York City public school system through college, when a military career first attracted his attention.

A larger-than-life figure across global community, Powell rose from modest means to oversee some of the most significant foreign policy shifts across the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The retired four-star general’s decades-long legacy was marred by a 2003 speech to the United Nations Security Council in which he claimed Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Using information that was later proven false, the then-Secretary of State used the purported evidence to justify the US invasion of Iraq. He stepped down from his position at the end of Bush’s first term.

Powell told ABC in 2005 he regarded the speech as a ‘blot’ that will ‘always be a part of my record,’ adding ‘It was painful. It’s painful now.’

But the former chief diplomat was highly regarded across multiple administrations beginning as a White House Fellow under Richard Nixon.

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Source: Daily Mail

Fully-vaccinated Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, 84, Dies of Coronavirus While Battling Parkinson’s and Blood Cancer: Biden Lowers Flags and Leads Tributes to ‘Warrior’ Foreign Policy Powerhouse Who Served Four Presidents

Colin Powell, the first black Secretary of State who formulated foreign policy under several presidents, died Monday morning at the age of 84 of complications from COVID.

The Pentagon powerhouse who served as a soldier in Vietnam and went on to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was fully vaccinated and battling blood cancer and Parkinson’s when he passed away at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland, according to his family.

Retired Four-Star General Powell, who was also suffering from Parkinson’s, is survived by his wife of 59 years, Alma, and three children, and has a celebrated career that saw him rise up the military ranks after growing up in a Jamaican immigrant family in Harlem.

Alma Powell also had a breakthrough case of COVID but responded to treatment, according to reports.

President Joe Biden released a statement shortly after noon on Monday, four hours after his death was announced, commending Powell as having ‘the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat’ and commemorating his humble beginnings.

He also ordered all US flags across government buildings and military posts nationwide to fly half staff until October 22.

‘Jill and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and a patriot of unmatched honor and dignity, General Colin Powell,’ Biden said. ‘The son of immigrants, born in New York City, raised in Harlem and the South Bronx, a graduate of the City College of New York, he rose to the highest ranks of the United States military and to advise four presidents. He believed in the promise of America because he lived it. And he devoted much of his life to making that promise a reality for so many others.’

‘As a Senator, I worked closely with him when he served as National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as Secretary of State. Over our many years working together – even in disagreement – Colin was always someone who gave you his best and treated you with respect.’

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Source: Daily Mail

St. John’s College at Cambridge University breaks 350-year-old tradition by allowing women and girls to become choristers

St John’s College at Cambridge University will break a 350-year-old tradition by allowing girls and women to become choristers for the first time.

Girls and women will be allowed to join the historically all-male group at St John’s College choir that was set up in 1670 from next year.

Andrew Nethsingha has directed the choir for 14 years and is a former organ scholar at St John’s.

The College said he had ‘spearheaded’ the move, strengthening his ‘reputation for encouraging young singers’.

It added he was known for ‘championing contemporary music and commissioning new work from established and emerging composers’.

Mr Nethsingha said it was a ‘great and historic day’ for the choir.

He said: ‘I hope this small step will bring the day closer when there is gender equality amongst composers, organists and conductors, as well as among politicians, business leaders and in all other walks of life.

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Source: Daily Mail

Stacey Dash was taking ’18 to 20 pills-a-day’ at the height of her Vicodin addiction as she opens up about past drug use for the first time on Dr. Oz: ‘I lost everything’

Stacey Dash has revealed for the first time that she was addicted to the prescription opioid Vicodin.

‘I was taking 18 to 20 pills a day,’ the 54-year-old actress admitted to Dr. Oz, adding that she ‘lost everything’ due to the expensive nature of the highly addictive habit.

Dash, who recently celebrated five years of sobriety, labeled her addiction her ‘deepest, darkest secret’ in a Facebook post teasing her appearance on Thursday’s episode.

While speaking to Dr. Oz, the Clueless star said overcoming her addiction helped heal her animosity towards her ‘sick’ parents, who also suffered from drug addiction during their lives.

‘I’m clean five years and in this five years, my greatest blessing is that not only have I been able to be honest with myself and become a better person — but I’ve been able to understand my parents and that they did love me and that they were doing the best they could and that they were just sick, they were addicted,’ she told the host.

Stacey’s mother Linda and father Dennis have since passed away.

Dr. Oz remarked to Dash that a Vicodin addiction is ‘expensive,’ with the Rehab Spot citing that the average street price per pill can range from $5 to $25.

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Source: Daily Mail

Apple Censors Bible Apps in China

Apple has taken down a Quran app and a Bible app in China at the request of Chinese officials, the company confirmed to the BBC.

The apps, which are called Quran Majeed and Bible App by Olive Tree, were first reported as having been taken down by activist website Apple Censorship on Tuesday.

Apple directed the BBC to its Human Rights policy, which says: “We’re required to comply with local laws, and at times there are complex issues about which we may disagree with governments and other stakeholders on the right path forward. ”

Apple told the BBC that Chinese officials had said the apps breached laws on hosting illegal religious texts.

Quran Majeed has over 5 million downloads on the Google Play Store, while Bible App by Olive Tree has just over 1 million.

The developer of the Quran Majeed app confirmed to Insider the app had been removed from China’s App Store, and said Apple had instructed it to contact the the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

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Source: MSN