Friday, January 19, 2018

Turkey Shells Kurds in Mil.Move in N. Syria; Move Angers US Whose Troops Train Kurds

Turkey began shelling Kurdish fighters in northern Syria today (January 19, 2018), as it ramped up threats to launch a full military offensive across its border, a move that will increase tensions with the U.S., according to the CNN website.

Senior Turkish officials have warned for days of an imminent strike into the Kurdish-held region of Afrin in northern Syria, after the U.S. announced it was training a 30,000-strong border force in Syria made up predominantly of Kurdish fighters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- who earlier this week warned the U.S. that it was "playing with fire" by supporting the Kurds in Syria -- today accused the U.S. of creating an "army of terror" along its southern border.

Ankara, which has long fought Kurdish unrest in southeastern Turkey, is determined to prevent the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Turkey -- or even across the Turkish border in Syria.

Pope Agonizes Chile's Abused Victims of Slander; Backing Accused Bishop Loses Respect of Vatican

In a shocking rebuke to Chile's pedophile victims of priests -- and one that will most likely have a negative impact on the Catholic Church for many years -- Pope Francis yesterday accused the pedophile victims of slander, as he backed Bishop Juan Barros by refusing to believe that he was complicit in covering up the sex crimes of Rev. Fernando Karadima, the Newser website reports today (January 19, 2018).

Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Barros was complicit, the accusations against him are "all calumny."

The pope's remarks drew shock from Chileans and immediate rebuke from victims and their advocates. They noted the accusers were deemed credible enough by the Vatican that it found Karadima guilty of sexually abusing young boys.

Barros' most vocal accuser, Juan Carlos Cruz, said that Francis' remarks showed "nothing has changed" [regarding the Vatican condoning the role bishops play in clerical sexual abuse].

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Trump Sets Up New Division for Health Workers; Allows Rel.Liberty Protection to Medical Workers

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unveiled a new division meant to defend the conscience rights of medical professionals who may hold moral or religious objections to things like abortions or gender reassignment surgery, the Christian Post website reports today (January 18, 2018).

Known as the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, the entity will exist under HHS's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and help enforce conscience rights.

OCR Director Roger Severino said in a statement today that religious freedom laws are "just empty words on paper if they aren't enforced."

Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan stated that the new division was part of the Trump administration's overall effort to advance religious liberty protections.

Germany OKs Official to Check Anti-Semitism; Anti-Semitism Rising Due to Muslim Migrants

German lawmakers voted today (January 18, 2018) to appoint a commissioner to coordinate the government fight against anti-Semitism, and to implement tougher laws on anti-Semitism, according to the Jewish Press website.

The measure created the commissioner post to develop and implement a strategy to root out anti-Jewish sentiment and crime.

Anti-Semitism is rising significantly in Germany and incidents were seen at recent pro-Palestinian Authority demonstrations in Berlin, among other sites.

An increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents taking place in Germany are being carried out by Muslim migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, as Germany accepted more than a million migrants during the past two years. Some German Jews avoid going outside in public, while many others hide the fact that they are Jewish, for fear of being attacked.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Abbas: War Likely If Jerusalem Isn't PA Capital; Trump Needs to Choose between Peace and War

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas today (January 17, 2018) threatened war if U.S. President Donald Trump does not allocate Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, according to the Israel National News website.

In a Cairo speech, Abbas said: "Jerusalem is the key to peace if it is our capital, and if it is not -- it is the key to war. Trump will need to choose."

Abbas said Trump provoked millions of Muslims by choosing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"There is no such thing as a Palestinian who will give up even one millimeter of Jerusalem," he claimed.

Putin Says Communism Similar to Christianity; Backs It for Equality,Brotherhood, Own "Bible"

Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared communism to Christianity and likened Bolshevik revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin to a "saint" in a new interview, the Express (British) website reports today (January 17, 2018).

Putin claimed communist ideology has all the hallmarks of religion in that it is based on equality, brotherhood, and it has its own "holy scripture."

Speaking in an interview for a TV documentary called "Valaam," he said: "Faith has always accompanied us, it strengthened when our country, our people faced particularly difficult times."

"There were such severe years of militant atheism during the Soviet period when priests were killed, churches were destroyed. But at the same time a new religion was being created -- communist ideology, which is very similar to Christianity, in fact."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Pope Meets with Victims of Sex Abuse in Chile; Apologizes for Abuse; Prays,Cries with Victims

Pope Francis met today (January 16, 2018) with victims of sex abuse by priests in what Holy See spokesman Greg Burke described as a "strictly private" encounter following lunch in the Apostolic Nunciature in the Chilean capital of Santiago, according to the Crux Now website.

Burke would only say that it was a small number of people who told the pope of their suffering. He added that the pope "listened to them, and prayed and cried with them."

Francis, this morning, issued a heartfelt apology for abuse at the presidential palace of La Moneda.

The three outspoken victims of Father Fernando Karadima today criticized the presence in the papal Mass of the Bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros, whom they accuse of covering up Karadima's abuse -- charges he strongly denies.