Thursday, December 8, 2016

US Official:50K IS Troops Killed in Iraq and Syria; Backs US General's August Estimate of 45K Killed

A senior military official for the first time says the U.S.-led coalition has killed 50,000 Islamic State (IS)  militants in the last two years in Iraq and Syria, the Newsmax website reports today (December 8, 2016).

The official said it was a conservative estimate, but it's a bit more than what others have estimated before.

The official wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly, so he spoke on condition of anonymity.

His estimate appears to be in agreement with one given by Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, who said in August that about 45,000 Islamic State combatants have been killed in Iraq and Syria.

Vatican Asserts Homosexuals Must Not Be Priests; Issues New Text:"The Gift of the Priestly Vocation"

In new guidelines on the priesthood, the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy has reiterated that men with "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies" should not be admitted into seminaries and, therefore, should not become priests, the Catholic News website reports today (December 8, 2016).

That position was initially stated by the Congregation for Catholic Education in 2005, but it was re-stated in a document released yesterday.

The new document also deals with other matters, including the value of indigenous and immigrant vocations and the importance of inoculating future priests against infection by "clericalism."

The new text -- titled "The Gift of the Priestly Vocation" -- was dated Thursday, December 8, feast of the Immaculate Conception, and a public holiday in Italy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IS Troops in Mosul Hospital Strike Iraqi Forces; Use Machine Guns,Coalition Bombs IS Building

The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State (IS) extremists in Iraq intentionally struck a hospital in Mosul today (December 7, 2016) to protect Iraqi forces from IS fighters inside the building, according to the VOA (Voice of America) News website.

The coalition said Iraqi forces requested "immediate support" after receiving heavy machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenade fire from IS forces in a building at the Al Salem hospital complex.

It is unclear how many casualties resulted from the IS strike.

Islamic State had been using the hospital as a command and control headquarters, according to the coalition. The airstrike was targeted to the location where IS fighters were firing on Iraqi forces.

Pope Francis Notes Spreading Fake News Is a Sin; Compares It to People Fascinated with Excrement

Pope Francis said today (December 7, 2016) that media that focus on scandals and spread fake news to smear politicians risk becoming like people who have a morbid fascination with excrement, according to the NY Post website.

Francis told the Belgian Catholic weekly Tertio that spreading disinformation was "probably the greatest damage that the media can do" and using communications for this rather than to educate the public amounted to a sin.

Using precise psychological terms, he said scandal-mongering media risked falling prey to coprophilia, or arousal from excrement, and consumers of these media risked coprophagia, or eating excrement.

The Argentine-born pontiff excused himself for using such terms in order to get his point across.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

German Chancellor Merkel Calls for a Burqa Ban; Hardens Her View Due to Anti-Migrant Sentiment

German Chancellor Angela Merkel today (December 6, 2016) proposed a partial ban on the face veil, hardening her party's once-progressive view on immigration in the face of rising anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, according to the Vice News website.

Speaking at the Christian Democratic Party conference, Merkel suggested that the burqa and the niqab -- head coverings traditionally worn by Muslim women -- are "inappropriate" and insisted that German law "takes precedence over codes of honor, tribal or family rules -- that has to be spelled out clearly."

While some of her closest colleagues in the party have previously suggested a ban on face coverings -- purportedly for security reasons -- this is the first time Merkel has made such a strong statement publicly.

Merkel has often been criticized for her handling of Europe's refugee crisis, after she opened German borders to allow over a million people -- most of them fleeing war in the Middle East and Africa -- to live in Germany in 2015.

NYPD Sees a Rise in Post-Election Hate Crimes; Jews Targeted Most with 24 of the 43 Incidents

The New York Police Department said it has seen a dramatic rise in hate crimes following the election of Donald Trump, with the majority of incidents directed at Jews, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (December 6, 2016).

There has been a 115 percent increase in bias crimes in New York City following election day, with Jews being targeted in 24 of the 43 incidents during that nearly month-long period. The anti-Semitic incidents represented a threefold increase from November 2015.

In total, hate crimes have increased 35 percent from 2015, the NYPD's chief of detectives, Robert Boyce, said.

"We had a huge spike right after election day; it's somewhat slowed a little bit," Boyce said. "We're seeing across the board an increase right now."

Monday, December 5, 2016

About 5K Women in Nigeria Have AIDS for Life; Most Were Raped by Boko Haram Islamic Group

At least 5,000 people across 27 refugee camps in the northern Nigerian state of Borno have the auto-immune virus HIV (AIDS). Most of these are women who were rescued from or escaped Boko Haram captivity and were raped by the Islamic jihadist militia, the Clarion Project website reports today (December 5, 2016).

"We have heard of many supporting non-governmental organizations in Borno but none of them has approached us to offer assistance to the IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] with the virus," Hassan Mustapha, the Coordinator of HIV/AIDS told the media.

Boko Haram is a jihadist group that has waged a campaign of terror -- mainly against Christians --  across northern Nigeria since 2009. They pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) in March 2015 and are now the Islamic State in West Africa.

Boko Haram was responsible for over 6,000 deaths in 2015, more than any other terrorist group in the world.