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Once Again, Obama Statement On Terror Victims Doesn’t Mention That They’re Christians
Alex Griswold - Daily Caller

Once again, President Barack Obama has released a statement denouncing a mass terror attack on persecuted Christians, without mentioning the fact that they were killed for their faith.

When 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded by ISIS in February, the president’s statement condemning their deaths did not mention they were killed for their faith. Later, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he “[couldn't] account for” the omission.

When nearly 150 students at a Kenyan university were massacred on Friday, the Islamist terrorists affiliated with al-Shabaab separated the Christians from the Muslims, killing only the Christians. But in Obama’s statement condemning the slaughter, once again there was no mention of the fact that the students were killed for their faith:

Michelle and I join the American people in expressing our horror and sadness at the reports coming out of Garissa, Kenya. Words cannot adequately condemn the terrorist atrocities that took place at Garissa University College, where innocent men and women were brazenly and brutally massacred. We join the world in mourning them, many of whom were students pursuing an education in the pursuit of a better life for themselves and their loved ones. They represented a brighter future for a region that has seen too much violence for far too long. We also commend the heroism of the responders who lost their lives in the selfless protection of the students and faculty. I know firsthand the extraordinary resilience and fundamental decency of the people of Kenya. So I know that the people of Garissa and all of Kenya will grieve, but their determination to achieve a better and more secure future will not be deterred. And neither will the resolve of the United States. We will stand hand-in-hand with the Kenyan Government and people against the scourge of terrorism and in their efforts to bring communities together. This much is clear: the future of Kenya will not be defined by violence and terror; it will be shaped by young people like those at Garissa University College – by their talents, their hopes, and their achievements. This is a message I will relay to the Kenyan people when I visit Kenya in July. Even at this difficult hour, the Kenyan people should know they have an unwavering friend and ally in the United States of America.

Secretary of State John Kerry likewise did not mention any religious overtones to the attack.

The United States strongly condemns al-Shabaab’s terrorist attack on Garissa University College in Kenya today. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the innocent victims who were killed in the attack. We also direct our thoughts to the many who sustained injuries. The United States stands resolutely with the government and people of Kenya in the effort to end the scourge of terrorism. The attack once again reinforces the need for all countries and communities to unite in the effort to combat violent extremism.

But just like Earnest’s confusion over the omission in February, Deputy White House Press Secretary Eric Schultz seemingly didn’t realize the omission the following day. “I hope you saw our statement yesterday on that,” he said during a press conference. ” We extend — we condemn in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack, and we extend our deep condolences to the families and all the loved ones killed in this heinous attack, which reportedly included the targeted of Christian students.”

Bubonic plague found in Arizona after fleas infect prairie dog burrow

Fleas near a popular hiking trail outside Flagstaff, Arizona have tested positive for the bubonic plague. The insects were found in prairie dog burrows in Picture Canyon. State officials warned visitors and residents to avoid contact with prairie dogs.

Public health officials noticed a prairie dog burrow where animals appeared to be dying off and saw at least one dead prairie dog, Randy Philips, division manager with the Coconino County Public Health Services District, told the Arizona Daily Sun.

"It looked like something that could be associated with death due to plague," Philips said.

The first round of testing took place over a limited area of Picture Canyon, just north of the Wildcat Wastewater Treatment Plant in east Flagstaff. On Thursday, they went back to sample more flea colonies over a much broader area, Phillips said. Those results are due back later this week.

On Saturday, officials began clearing and disinfecting burrows in the area with insecticides, in an attempt to prevent any possible outbreak of the plague.

Arizona has experienced 64 cases of the disease since 1950, when the first known human case of plague occurred. Since then, there has been an average of one to two human cases per year, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Only one person has died from the disease since 2000, and two others survived after contracting it.

"Plague activity in nature has been known to wax and wane over time, and this is influenced largely by climate conditions and rodent and flea populations," ADHS says on its website.

Three states in the American southwest ‒ Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico ‒ are responsible for 80 percent of human cases of the plague, Dave Engelthaler, programming director with pathogen research nonprofit TGen North, told the Arizona Daily Sun.

The last time the plague was found in Arizona was September 2014, when fleas in Doney Park tested positive for the disease, the Arizona Republic reported at the time.

Researchers believe it may be because the Southwest’s climate, topography and rodent populations are similar to the high desert grasslands of central Asia where plague first evolved, David Wagner, a professor at Northern Arizona University’s Microbial Genetics and Genomics Center, told the Arizona Daily Sun.

“It found a similar place to make a new home,” Wagner said.

Fleas on rabbits and other small rodents ‒ including prairie dogs, ground squirrels, rats and mice ‒ carry the Yersinia pestis bacteria that causes the bubonic plague. Prairie dogs are especially vulnerable to the disease due to their social nature, and outbreaks can quickly wipe out 90 percent of a local prairie dog population.

"If you normally see prairie dogs then next day they're gone, there is a good chance plague is coming," Engelthaler said.

Humans usually contract the plague after being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the bubonic plague bacterium or by handling an animal infected with plague, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To prevent the disease from spreading to humans, ADHS warns visitors and residents not to allow pets to roam freely, as well as treating them with flea-prevention medications; to avoid contact with sick or dead animals and to stay away from rodent burrows; to wear insect repellents to keep fleas away when hiking or working in areas where plague might be active; and to wear rubber gloves when skinning and cleaning game animals.

Today, modern antibiotics are effective in treating plague, the CDC says. However, the disease can cause serious illness or death without prompt treatment.

Plague symptoms include fever; headache; pain or swelling in the groin, armpit or neck area; weakness; and, occasionally, nausea. Symptoms usually appear within two to six days after exposure.

Southern California reportedly faces cut in water deliveries this summer
Fox News

Southern California's water wholesaler reportedly is planning to cut deliveries of imported water to 26 cities and districts in response to the state's ongoing drought.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the rationing measure by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) will take effect July 1 and was in the works before California Gov. Jerry Brown mandated a 25 percent cut in water use by the state's cities and towns last week.

The size of the cutback has not been revealed, but the Times reports that the MWD could reduce deliveries by between 10 and 20 percent, which would amount to between 200,000 and 400,000 fewer acre-feet of water. An acre-foot of water is enough to supply two households for one year.

If a local agency needs more water than their allocation, they will be required to pay a surcharge of up to $2,690 per acre-foot for extra deliveries. That could raise the cost of water by roughly fourfold for agencies and, possibly, residents.

MWD, which imports water to Southern California from Northern California and the Colorado River, last resorted to rationing measures during a previous drought in 2009 and 2010. In that case, no local agencies needed to place pricey orders for going over their allocation. However, the Times reports that communities may have a harder time keeping within their allocation since water use has been cut back already.

MWD General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger told the Times that reducing deliveries would slow a drop in the agency's water reserves, which has plummeted from 2.7 million acre-feet at the end of 2012 to 1.2 million acre-feet at the end of 2014.

"With prudent management," Kightlinger said, "we're good for another two, three years of drought."

Brown announced the water use restrictions after the latest Sierra Nevada snowpack measurement on April 1 measured to 5 percent of its historical average, the lowest in 65 years of record-keeping.

Brown's previous call for a voluntary 20 percent cut in water use in January 2014 resulted in great variations among communities and an overall reduction of about 10 percent statewide. Brown did the same as governor in 1977, during another severe drought, asking for a voluntary reduction of 25 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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