Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trump to UN: US Is Ready to Destroy N. Korea; May Need to Destroy It to Defend US and Allies

President Donald Trump's first address to the United Nations General Assembly yesterday made it very clear that the US may soon need to destroy North Korea, the UPI website reports today (September 19, 2017).

"If the United States is forced to defend itself and its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," he said.

He added that North Korea's nuclear program "threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life," as a result of its nuclear weapons program.

He also said he believes that "Rocket Man" Kim Jong Un is "on a suicide mission."

Monday, September 18, 2017

US Sending Over 3,000 Troops to Afghanistan; Will Have Over 14K Troops in Its Longest War

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today (September 18, 2017) that the U.S. is sending another 3,000 troops to Afghanistan, an increase of over 25 percent in the number of American forces there, according to the VOA News website.

Mattis told reporters today at the Pentagon that the boost in U.S. troop strength would be "over 3,000," but he declined to name a specific number.

"Most of them are on their way or under orders now," Mattis said, "and I'd prefer not to give any more information that helps the enemy."

The new deployment will raise the number of U.S. forces in the South Asian country to more than 14,000, as the 16th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan -- sparked by the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States -- approaches in America's longest war ever.

Study: Rel. Liberty Attacks Up by 133% in 5 Yrs.; Rel. Attacks Surging in All Areas of Society in US

Attacks on religious liberty have increased by 133 percent in the last five years, according to a new report by the First Liberty Institute, the Christian Headlines website reports today (September 18, 2017).

The First Liberty Institute -- a conservative legal group -- said in its annual report, "the total number of documented incidents in this report increased by over 15 percent over the past year and now includes more than 1,400 religious liberty incidents.

In 2011, the group reported that there were 600 cases of attacks on religious liberty.

"It's school cases, it's military cases, it's open public places cases, employment cases. Unfortunately, it is not [just] one particular area [of society], it's across the board," said First Liberty CEO and Chief Counsel Kelly Shackelford.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Northeastern Univ.,Hillel International in Feud; NU Branch,International Hdqtrs. in Power Fight

As board chairman of the Northeastern University Hillel, Sheldon Goldman is witnessing what he terms an administrative "inquisition" by Hillel International against his chapter, programs, and staff, the Jewish Press website reports today (September 17, 2017).

Northeastern relations with Hillel International began deteriorating, says Goldman, after Northeastern's Hillel Israel Fellow, who was slated to receive a prestigious award at the Hillel International General Assembly held in Orlando, Florida in December 2016, saw the honor mysteriously withdrawn.

Goldman's replacement of the Israel Fellow with a well-qualified individual was not approved by Hillel International, and without a valid reason.

The nearly year-long conflagration conflict between Hillel International and its Northeastern University chapter continues today, with no sign of of a rapprochement.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Tunisia Lets Muslim Women Marry Non-Muslims; Spouse Is No Longer Required to Convert to Islam

Tunisia has abolished a decades-old ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims, the Times of Israel website reports today (September 16, 2017).

The announcement comes a month after President Beji Caid Essebsi called for the government to scrap the ban that began in 1973.

Until now, a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Tunisian woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof.

Tunisia is viewed as being ahead of most Arab countries on women's rights, but still discriminates against women -- especially in matters of inheritance.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Some 2500 Christians Revere Return to Nineveh; IS Defeated, Christians Chant Hymns in Aramaic

About 500 Christian families -- up to 2,500 people -- celebrated their long-awaited homecoming to Iraq's Nineveh Plains with ceremonies marking a fresh start in their old towns and villages, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (September 15, 2017).

In Qaraqosh, the largest of Nineveh's Christian towns, priests and others holding olive branches processed through the streets chanting hymns in Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ.

Protected by security personnel in armored vehicles, the procession was headed by priests holding crucifixes.

A service was held at the Immaculate Conception Syriac Catholic Church in the town center in a building desecrated and burnt by the Islamic State (IS) terrorists.

Bomb Explodes in London Train, 22 Injured; Police Investigating Incident as Terror Attack

At least 22 people were injured today (September 15, 2017) after a bomb exploded in a West London Underground station during rush hour, causing a fire inside a train and a stampede of panicking commuters, according to the Huffington Post website.

The blast at the Parsons Green Tube stop was caused by an improvised explosive device, Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said. Police said they were investigating the incident as terrorism. No arrests have been made.

London residents shared photos of the area, with one post showing a bag on fire inside a train car. Several witnesses reported seeing injuries, and a Metro reporter said some people were badly burned.

A BBC journalist said she saw a woman taken in an ambulance with burns "top to toe."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Latin Mass Fans Celebrate 10th Anniv. in Rome; Pope Away,Says 1960s Vernacular Reforms Rule

Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome today (September 14, 2017) for their annual pilgrimage facing indifference to their cause -- if not outright resistance -- from none other than Pope Francis, according to the America Magazine website.

Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of the Latin Mass, Francis seems to be doing everything possible to roll that back or simply pretend it never happened.

In recent weeks, he has affirmed with "magisterial authority" that the reforms of the 1960s allowing for Mass to be celebrated in the vernacular rather than Latin were "irreversible."

More recently, he gave local bishops conferences authority to oversee those translations, rather than the Vatican.

Boko Haram Frees 100 Kidnapped Chibok Girls; Kidnapped 270 in 2014,Most Became Sex Slaves

More than 100 high school girls kidnapped in 2014 by Boko Haram Islamist militants are finally preparing to return home to the northern Nigerian town of Chibok, the Euro News website reports today (September 14, 2017).

The women have been staying at a government-owned facility in the capital of Abuja where they have been undergoing psychological and medical care.

Some 270 girls were abducted in 2014 by the Islamist group -- which used most of them as sex slaves -- but 82 were freed in May this year after mediation with the Nigerian government, adding to 24 who were released or escaped last year.

The Boko Haram militant group has killed more than 15,000 people and displaced at least two million others in a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate in northeastern Nigeria.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

IS Calls on Jihadis to Join Group in Philippines; Asks Terrorists to Fight for Caliphate in Marawi

A recent Islamic State (IS) video calls on would-be jihadis to join the terrorist group in the Philippines, rather than its crippled core caliphate in Syria and Iraq, the Daily Caller website reveals today (September 13, 2017).

The video specifically instructs any would-be travelers in the Asia-Pacific region to go to the Philippines instead of trying to travel to the core caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

"Come forth to the land of jihad. Perform hijrah. Come forth to ... Marawi," a militant instructs in the video.

IS fighters remain besieged in the southern Filipino city of Marawi, where they have mounted a months-long surprisingly robust insurgency. The IS terror group also has active affiliates in Afghanistan, Egypt, and Libya, each of which commands the loyalty of hundreds, if not thousands, of fighters.

Court: Trump Can Bar Muslim Nation Refugees; Will Hear Arguments against Trump Ban Oct. 10

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday agreed with the Trump administration and issued an order effectively allowing the White House to bar about 24,000 refugees from entering the U.S., The Daily Beast website reports today (September 13, 2017).

The court granted a request to put on hold an earlier federal appeals court ruling that prevented the White House from applying President Trump's travel order to several thousand refugees who already signed contracts with resettlement agencies.

The travel ban -- which has sparked several lawsuits as it attempts to prevent Muslim terrorists from migrating to the U.S. -- imposed a 90-day ban on people entering the U.S. from six predominantly Muslim countries and a 120-day ban on refugees.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments against the ban on October 10.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sweden Cops OK Neo-Nazi March by Synagogue; March Is Scheduled for Same Day as Yom Kippur

Sweden's main organization for Jews is appealing a police decision to grant the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) permission to stage a march near a synagogue in Gothenburg on September 30, according to the Christian Today website.

The march is set to fall on the same day as the major holy Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.

"It's the day of the year when many Jews who normally don't go to the synagogue will gather there," Jewish leaders wrote in an opinion piece in the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

They added, "Aside from our fear for our own security, it evokes uncomfortable associations for us Jews."

Female Educated Americans Tend to Heed Rel.; 70 Percent of American Adults Remain Christian

Educated, female Americans are more likely to identify with religion, according to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), which sampled more than 101,000 U.S. adults between January 2016 and January 2017, the Mercator Net website reports today (September 12, 2017).

The findings show that overall Christianity still dominates the country's religious landscape, with about 70 percent of American adults identifying as Christian.

However, white Christians -- once predominant -- now comprise only 43 percent of the population.

Also, there is now an increased Latino presence within the Catholic Church, especially among the young (52 percent of Catholics under 30 are Hispanic).

Monday, September 11, 2017

Pope: Man Is Stupid to Deny Climate Change; "When You Don't Want to See, You Don't See"

Pope Francis said yesterday that climate change denials amid catastrophic hurricanes are a reminder that humans are not a particularly smart species, the Huffington Post website reports today (September 11, 2017).

"Man is stupid," he said, referring to a passage in the Old Testament. "When you don't want to see, you don't see."

The pope added that the scientific community has been "clear and precise" in linking human activities to the ongoing crisis and that "each [person] has a moral responsibility, bigger or smaller."

Pope Francis' comments came during a flight from Colombia to Rome, which passed over areas of the Caribbean Sea left devastated by Hurricane Irma.

Tufts Students: Israel a White Supremacist State; Print Guide Saying Hillel Lacks Campus Diversity

An alternative students' guide published by student activists at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts labels Israel a white supremacist state, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (September 11, 2017).

The so-called "disorientation guide" also reduced the university's Hillel to a "Zionist" organization that offers nothing of value to the private campus's diversity or culture.

The guide also takes at face value complaints from an African-American organization that a Hillel-sponsored event about gun control was meant to "exploit" black people "for their own pro-Israel agenda."

The conflation of "Jewish" and "Zionist" is not a new phenomenon on the left, although the guide was a pretty stark example of an entire minority group on campus being erased or devalued with a few taps of a keyboard by those who purport to stand up for religious and ethnic minorities.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Anti-Semitic Thugs Beat, Rob Family Near Paris; Tell 3 Victims: "You Are Jews, You Have Money"

A Jewish family was beaten, held hostage, and robbed in their home near Paris because of their religion, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (September 10, 2017).

Three attackers burst into the house in the Paris suburb of Livry-Gargan on September 4, beat three members of a Jewish family, and threatened to kill them.

The assailants told the three victims: "You are Jews, you have money. We take money from Jews to give to the poor."

The assailants made off with jewelry, cash, and credit cards.

Hungary PM Hits European Union Court Ruling; Says Hungary to Keep Rejecting Migrant Quotas

Hungary's prime minister said his country will not change its stance on immigration, the Euro News website reports today (September 10, 2017).

Viktor Orban's comments come after the top court of the European Union (EU) dismissed a challenge by Hungary and Slovakia last week against migrant quotas. The EU could fine Hungary heavily -- and take other punitive action against it -- if it fails to abide by the court ruling.

"This court ruling is no reason to change our policy which rejects migration," Orban said.

He added that creating a link between immigration and EU cohesion funding was against EU's rules, and was "immoral."

Friday, September 8, 2017

New Study: US White Christians Fading Fast; Being Replaced by Younger Non-White Races

A new study by the Public Religion Research Institute finds that white Christians in America are giving way to younger members who tend to be of different races, the Religion News website reports today (September 8, 2017).

Also, American evangelicals are quickly losing members.

Americans are also continuing to move away from organized religion, as atheists, agnostics, and those who say they do not identify with any particular religion -- the group known as "nones" -- hold steady at 24 percent of the population.

White Christians -- 81 percent of the U.S. population in 1976 -- now account for only 43 percent of Americans.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Kosovo Names Church for St. Teresa of Calcutta; Church in Pristina Is Called St. Teresa Cathedral

The Catholic cathedral in Kosovo's capital has been consecrated to the saint formerly known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Catholic Herald website reports today (September 7, 2017).

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and religious leaders from Kosovo as well as Albania -- where Mother Teresa was born -- were among the hundreds of people in Pristina who attended a consecration ceremony on September 5 for the landmark, now named St. Teresa Cathedral.

The Italian-style cathedral with two 230-foot towers opened on 2010.

September 5 was the 20th anniversary of Mother Teresa's death. Pope Francis canonized her in 2016.

Pope Urges Colombia Bishops to Unite for Peace; "Christ Is Word of Reconciliation in Your Hearts"

"I have come to proclaim Christ to undertake a journey of peace and reconciliation in His name," Pope Francis said today (September 7, 2017) in a powerful keynote speech to Colombia's 130 bishops, according to the America Magazine website.

The pope knows that the bishops are divided over Colombia's peace process.

He appealed to them to be united so that the church in Colombia can throw its full weight behind peace-building and creating a culture that promotes reconciliation.

He added, "Many people can help with the challenges facing this nation, but your mission is unique. You are not mechanics or politicians but pastors. Christ is the word of reconciliation written on your hearts."

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Iowa High Students in KKK Hoods Burn Cross; Five Males Disciplined,Photo Posted on Twitter

Five male students at Creston (Iowa) Community High School have been disciplined after a photo showing the five wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods circulated on the Internet today (September 6, 2017), according to the Omaha website.

The photo -- posted on Twitter and Facebook -- shows the students in front of a burning cross. One of the students is holding a rifle with a scope on it, while another is holding a Confederate flag.

Principal Bill Messerole said the five in the photo are students. He called the issue a "student discipline issue that has been dealt with."

He would not specify how the students were disciplined. The investigation into the incident is continuing.

EU Court Rules Hungary Must Accept Migrants; Hungary Calls Ruling "Appalling, Irresponsible"

The highest court of the European Union (EU) rejected a legal challenge today (September 6, 2017) from Hungary and Slovakia against a mandatory quota to accept migrants from Greece and Italy, according to the Euro News website.

EU leaders agreed to the policy to relocate 160,000 people from the Mediterranean countries back in September 2015 as Europe struggled to find ways to deal with an influx of migrants.

Hungary and Slovakia wanted to have the scheme canceled, but the judges dismissed their argument.

Although the EU court's decision is final, the Hungarian government warned the "real battle" was about to begin. Hungary also called today's ruling "appalling and irresponsible."

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

New Survey Finds Strong Drop in UK Anglicans; More Than Half of UK People Have No Religion

Figures released today (September 5, 2017) reveal that the number of Anglicans in Britain has dropped by 50 percent in less than two decades, according to the Christian Today website.

The British Social Attitudes survey's data on religion show that the number of people in Britain who describe themselves as having no religion at all is at its highest level ever.

More than half, or 53 percent, of the British public now describe themselves as having "no religion."

This is up from 48 percent in 2015.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

New Study: Anti-Semitism Rising in Poland; Upleap Seen Due to Anti-Migrant Sentiment

A new study reveals that Poland has seen a rise in anti-Semitism over the last two years, the AFP website reports today (September 2, 2017).

The University of Warsaw's Center for Research on Prejudice found acceptance for anti-Semitic hate speech rose significantly from 2014 to 2016 compared to previous years.

Researchers attribute the increase to a spike in Islamophobia and anti-migrant sentiment.

Around 11 percent of adults and 24 percent of younger Poles admitted to making frequent anti-Semitic remarks.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Joel Osteen Has Lost Respect of Most Americans; Rebuke Excuses for Delay in Opening His Church

Being viewed as a coldhearted person by millions of Americans for his lack of brotherly love and empathy required of a pastor in a crisis, Houston's famous megachurch pastor Joel Osteen kept the doors of his church closed during Hurricane Harvey because he was never asked by the city to open its doors, the AOL website reports today (September 1, 2017).

At first, Osteen used the excuse that his 16,500-seat church was closed due to "safety issues" caused by the flooding.

Osteen's excuses for failing to open his church have been rejected by millions of Americans, in view of the fact that scores of other places -- including Islamic mosques -- took immediate action to open their buildings to flood victims.

Osteen did open his church to flood victims three days after Hurricane Harvey began to strike Houston, but most Americans feel that decision was "too little, too late," and now lack the respect they once had for the megachurch pastor.

Pope,Patriarch Appeal for Care of Environment; Issue Joint Message to Heal Wounded Creation

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew "urgently appeal" to all those "in positions of responsibility" in the social, economic, political, and cultural fields "to support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation," the American Magazine website reports today (September 1, 2017).

They do so in a joint message for the third World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, on September 1, in which they urge people to pray for the care of the human and natural environment, which "are deteriorating together" and affecting especially the planet's most vulnerable people, the poor.

The fact that the pope, the leader of the world's 1.3 billion Catholics, and the patriarch, the first among equals in the leadership of the Orthodox Church with its 280 million members, decided to issue a joint message is the clearest indicator that they consider this as an issue of the utmost gravity and importance for humanity today.

They implore these leaders "to hear the cry of the earth" and "to attend to the needs of the marginalized" and "above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation."

Thursday, August 31, 2017

US Is Deploying More Troops to Afghanistan; Thousands More Expecterd to Defeat Taliban

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today (August 31, 2017) that the Pentagon will send additional troops to Afghanistan, where U.S.-backed security forces are stalemated in a war against the Taliban and other insurgent groups, according to the USA Today website.

Mattis did not specify how many additional troops would be going there, but the top coalition commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, has said a few thousand more troops would be required to break the stalemate in America's longest war.

Currently, about 11,000 U.S. forces are in Afghanistan in addition to several thousand troops from coalition partner countries.

Mattis said he has begun signing deployment orders to dispatch the additional forces.

Jews File a Complaint for Anti-Semitic Chant; Arabs Shouted "Kill Jews" at Rotterdam Rally

A Jewish umbrella group has filed a police complaint over demonstrators in Rotterdam, Holland, shouting in Arabic about killing Jews, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (August 31, 2017).

The Dutch Central Jewish Board said in a statement yesterday that the July 22 incident occurred at a rally advertised by a newly formed organization called the Palestinian Community in the Netherlands, or PGNL.

Participants in the rally, which was protesting the use of security measures by Israel around the Al-Aqsa mosque following a deadly terrorist attack there, shouted in Arabic, "Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning," the statement said.

The cry relates to an event in the seventh century when Muslims massacred and expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, located in modern-day Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Turkey Protests US Indicting Erdogan's Security; Struck Peaceful Demonstrators against Erdogan

Turkey's foreign ministry said today the country protests 'in the harshest way" a U.S. court decision to indict 19 people, including 15 Turkish security officials, according to the VOA (Voice of America) News website.

The statement published late today follows yesterday's grand jury decision in Washington to charge the defendants with severely attacking peaceful demonstrators during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 16.

Turkey claims that security outside the ambassador's home was negligent and didn't ensure the safety of Erdogan's entourage amid sympathizers of an outlawed Kurdish militant group, according to the statement.

The ministry also called the indictment "biased" and regretful."

NY Man Nabbed for Trying to Join IS in Syria; Parveg Ahmed Faces 20-Year Prison Sentence

U.S. law enforcement officials were able to track down a young man from Queens, NY after he tried to enter Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) militant group, the Clarion Project website reports today (August 30, 2017).

Anti-terror experts had been following Parveg Ahmed, a 22-year-old Muslim native of Bangladesh.

Ahmed traveled to Jordan with an informant where he was arrested before he could enter Syria.

He faces 20 years in prison if convicted.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Christian Girl Sent to Muslim Foster Parents; Girl,5, Is Forced to Remove Crucifix Necklace

A council that forced a Christian girl in London to live with Muslim foster parents is facing fury and will be forced to explain its decision to the children's commissioner, the Christian Today website reports today (August 29, 2017).

Members of Parliament have been urged to launch an inquiry into the incident after it was revealed the girl, aged five, was forced to remove a crucifix necklace.

Anne Longfield, the children's commissioner for England, said she would be in contact with the council to demand the facts.

She added, "A child's religious, racial, and cultural background should be taken into consideration when they are placed with foster carers."

Pres. Trump:"All Options on Table" for N. Korea; Says N. Korean Launch over Japan "Outrageous"

U.S. President Donald Trump asserted today (August 29, 2017) that "all options are on the table" in responding to the government of Kim Jong Un after North Korea launched a missile over Japan in an "outrageous" act, according to the Christian Post website.

"The world has received North Korea's latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt to its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior," Trump said.

He also asserted, "All options [against North Korea] are on the table."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the North Korean missile launch an "unprecedented and grave threat' to his nation.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Israeli PM Rips UN as Its Sec.-Gen. Visits Israel; Says Iran Using Syria, Lebanon to Destroy Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today (August 28, 2017) with blistering criticism of the international body's treatment of Israel, according to the Times of Israel website.

Netanyahu told Guterres that Iran is building sites in Syria and Lebanon for manufacture of "precision-guided missiles," with the aim of deploying them against Israel.

Iran has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad's government forces in the civil war that has ravaged Syria for the past seven years.

"Iran is busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment, and it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as waterfronts against its declared goal to eradicate Israel," Netanyahu said.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Pope's Chief Guard Expects IS Attack on Vatican; Says It's Only "a Matter of Time" for an IS Attack

The chief of the Swiss Guards -- the force that protects the Vatican -- said it's only "a matter of time" before an attack that is inspired or directed by the IS (Islamic State) militant group against the home of the Catholic Church, the Newsweek website reports today (August 27, 2017).

Commander Christopher Graf said that the security force for Pope Francis is prepared for any IS terrorist act.

"Perhaps it is only a matter of time before an attack like that happens in Rome. But we are ready also for this," he added.

Created in the 16th century, the force is one of the oldest armies in the world and consists solely of young Swiss men.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Islamic Man Nabbed for Driving at London Police; Injured Three Officers Outside Buckingham Palace

Police in London said today (August 26, 2017) that a man was arrested after driving at police outside Queen Elizabeth II's Buckingham Palace residence with a four-foot sword in his car, according to the Times of Israel website.

Upon being challenged by officers, the 26-year-old attacker "reached for what we now know to be a four-foot sword which was in the front passenger foot well," the police statement said.

The man, who repeatedly shouted Allahu akbar (God is greatest) was incapacitated with CS spray. The Islamic radical was arrested under the Terrorism Act.

Three unarmed officers were injured while detaining the man, two of them requiring hospital treatment.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Judge:Idaho Inmates Can Have Kosher Meals; Jewish Inmates Ate Just Fruit during Passover

A federal judge in Idaho has ruled that the state's Department of Correction must provide kosher meals for prisoners in all Idaho prisons, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (August 25, 2017).

The ruling is a result of a religious freedom lawsuit filed in May by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) on behalf of four Jewish inmates.

Two of the Jewish plaintiffs ate only fruit and matzah in April because they were not provided with kosher-for-Passover meals.

Some 35 states and the federal government now provide kosher food for observant Jewish prisoners.

At Least 2 Worshippers Killed in Afghan Mosque; IS Suicide Bomber,Gunmen Storm Kabul Mosque

A suicide bomber and a group of gunmen attacked a mosque in Kabul today (August 25, 2017) as worshippers gathered to pray, killing at least two people and injuring several more, according to the UPI website.

The suicide bomber detonated his explosives outside the Imam Zaman mosque in Afghanistan's capital city.

Then, at least three gunmen stormed inside the mosque and opened fire.

In addition to the two worshippers killed, at least 14 others were injured. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Serbia Breaks Its Diplomatic Ties with FYROM; Due to FYROM Aiding Kosovo to Join UNESCO

Serbia withdrew its diplomats from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) this week, the Euro News website reports today (August 24, 2017).

The withdrawal is believed to be due to FYROM's efforts to help Kosovo become a member of UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Serbia does not recognize the independence of Kosovo -- which seceded as a province of Serbia and declared itself an independent nation in 2008 -- and opposes all attempts of Kosovo to join international organizations as a sovereign country.

Serbia is primarily a Greek Orthodox Christian nation, while Islam is the main religion of Kosovo.

US Bishops Form Ad Hoc Committee on Racism; Will Inspire Church and Society to Fight Racism

In the wake of the recent white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, the U.S. bishops have announced that they are establishing a new Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, the National Catholic Register website reports today (August 24, 2017).

"Recent events have exposed the extent to which the sin of racism continues to inflict our nation," said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. bishops' conference, yesterday.

He added, "Marches by hate groups such as KKK and Neo-Nazis are outrageous to the sensible mind and directly challenge the dignity of human life."

Jesuit Bishop George Murry of Youngstown, Ohio will chair the new committee, which will focus on galvanizing the Church and society to fight the evil of racism and minister to its victims. It will also focus on engaging racism within the Church.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Nursery School Islam Children Are Radicalized; Study in Belgium Finds Hatred of Non-Muslims

A nursery school in Belgium has noticed signs of radicalization in their students, the Clarion Project website reports today (August 23, 2017).

An internal audit conducted at the school in Flanders reported their Muslim nursery school children were making "death threats" against non-Muslim children, treating the non-Muslims as "pigs," and making gestures to the non-Muslim children that described slitting their throats.

The Muslim nursery school children were also observed reciting verses of the Koran during playtime and refusing to hold hands with non-Muslim children.

Moreover, the Muslim children did not attend school on Fridays for religious reasons.

Female Students Strip Searched at Western Wall; Guards Had 4 Women Lift Their Shirts and Skirts

Guards at the entrance to the Western Wall complex in Jerusalem "strip searched" four female rabbinical students today (August 23, 2017) ahead of the Women of the Wall's monthly prayer service at the holy site, according to the Times of Israel website.

The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), which serves as the legal arm of the Reform Movement in Israel, said the four students of Hebrew Union College were delayed and questioned by guards, then were asked to lift up their shirts and skirts.

The director of the IRAC said the searches were "a new low" for the Western Wall rabbinate, which is strongly opposed to the Women of the Wall.

"This is a new low for the Rabbi of the Kotel trying to intimidate, humiliate, and exclude liberal women trying to pray at the Western Wall..." Rabbi Noa Sattath said in a statement.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Priest Says He Was KKK Member Decades Ago; Steps Down at St. Leo Church in Fairfax City,VA

Forty years ago, William Aitcheson was a University of Maryland student and Ku Klux Klan member who burned a cross in the front yard of a black newlywed couple's home, the Washington Post website reports today (August 22, 2017).

He was sentenced to jail time and ordered to pay about $20,000 to the family. Then he found God.

Aitcheson attended a seminary in Rome, became a reverend, and was ordained as a Catholic priest. He returned to the East Coast and served in several Virginia churches, including his most recent post at St. Leo the Great in Fairfax City, where he has been for four years.

Seeing images from the recent deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville spurred Aitcheson to make a confession of his own. He said he's temporarily stepping down from his post.

India's Top Court:Muslim Divorce Law Unconst.; Law Let Muslim Men Divorce Wives on the Spot

India's Supreme Court ruled today (August 22, 2017) a Muslim instant divorce law unconstitutional, a victory for Muslim women who have argued for decades that it violates their right of equality, according to the Reuters website.

The law allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives by uttering the word "talaq" ("divorce") three times.

The court said the government should frame new divorce legislation to replace the triple talaq practice.

"Finally, I feel free today," said Shayara Bano, who was divorced through triple talaq and was one of five women who initiated the case.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Swastikas, Anti-Semitic Slurs Hit Michigan Park; "Jews Die," "Free USA" Are Among Printed Slurs

Swastikas and anti-Semitic and racial slurs were discovered in a skate park in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (August 21, 2017).

The Veterans' Memorial Park was closed for several hours on August 18 after the 15 swastikas and slurs -- which included "Jews die" and Free USA" -- were discovered.

Ann Arbor police are investigating the incident and have increased patrols around city parks.

Mayor Christopher Taylor said in a statement, "Hate speech goes against the moral fiber of the Ann Arbor community."

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Barcelona Head Rabbi Urges Jews Move to Israel; Warns Spain Is Hub of Islamist Terror for Europe

The chief rabbi in Barcelona, Spain has urged Jews to move to Israel because Europe has been "lost" to radical Islam, and Spain has been a "hub of Islamist terror for all of Europe" for years, the Newsmax website reports today (August 20, 2017).

"I tell my congregants, 'Don't think we're here for good,' and I encourage them to buy property in Israel," Chief Rabbi Meir Bar-Hen said on August 18, a day after an Islamist terror attack struck Barcelona.

"This place is lost," he said. "Don't repeat the mistake of  Algerian Jews, of Venezuelan Jews."

Fourteen people died and some 130 were injured in a terror attack when a van plowed into a Barcelona tourist area on August 17.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Finnish Police:Stabbing Spree a Terrorist Attack; Moroccan Muslim Charged with Killing 2 Women

Finnish police today (August 19, 2017) said a stabbing spree in Finland yesterday was a terrorist attack, and have identified the suspect as an 18-year-old Moroccan Muslim citizen, according to the Times of Israel website.

"The act had been investigated as a murder, but during the night we received additional information which indicates that the criminal offenses are now terrorist killings," police said in a statement.

The suspect was an asylum seeker who targeted women in his attack, police said.

Two women were killed in yesterday's attack, and eight other people were injured. Among the eight were six women and two men, police added.

Friday, August 18, 2017

One American Is Killed in Spain Terrorist Attacks; At Least 14 Killed, 100 Injured in Spain Terrorism

The State Department said today (August 18, 2017) that at least one American was killed and one was wounded in terrorist attacks in Spain yesterday, according to the USA Today website.

A fourth person was arrested today and five suspects were shot dead following the van attack in Barcelona and car attack in the resort of Cambrils that killed 14 people and injured more than 100.

The suspects in custody are three Moroccans and one Spaniard.

Spanish authorities said the dead and injured -- mostly tourists visiting Spain -- come from 24 countries.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New TX Law Limits Abortion Insurance Coverage; Ensures No Texan Is Required to Pay for Murder

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill this week that limits insurance coverage for abortion procedures, the Christian Headlines website reports today (August 17, 2017).

The law does provide exemptions for abortions done to save the life of a woman.

Abbott said that he was "proud to sign legislation that ensures no Texan is ever required to pay for a procedure that ends the life of an unborn child."

The new law will go into effect on December 1, 2017.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tunisian Pres. Calls for Equality of Islam Women; Opposes Women's Inheritance Being Half of Men's

Tunisia is a predominantly Islamic nation that is now taking action to achieve full gender equality, the Clarion Project website reports today (August 16, 2017).

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi -- in a recent speech on National Women's Day -- announced the formation of a new committee to study how to achieve gender equality.

In particular, he is seeking to end the Islamic inheritance system that sees a woman inherit half of what a man receives.

He also has called for the government to allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men.

Intel Info:Iran Is Building Missile Factory in Syria; Satellite Photos Confirm Missiles Could Hit Israel

Israeli satellite imaging reveals that Iran has been building a factory in Syria that can be used to produce and store long-range missiles capable of striking Israel, the Times of Israel website reports today (August 16, 2017).

Satellite images of the site in northern Syria show a Scud Missile factory being built near the city of Baniyas, south of Latakia, in an area seen as a bastion of support for the embattled Assad regime.

Intelligence data indicates that construction on the site began in 2016 and is expected to be finished by the end of 2017.

Iran is also building subterranean weapons factories for the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Boston Holocaust Memorial Vandalized 2nd Time; Anti-Semitism Is Alive and Well in City of Boston

A pane of glass was shattered last night at the New England Holocaust Memorial -- the second time in less than two months the Boston memorial was vandalized -- the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (August 15, 2017).

A 17-year-old male suspected of the vandalism is in custody, a spokesman for the Boston Police Department said.

In a post on Twitter, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said, "I'm saddened to see such despicable action in this great city."

The same memorial was also damaged just six weeks ago in a previous anti-Semitic hate crime.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Turkey Policeman Killed by Islamic State Brute; Stabbed by Suspect While Escorting Him to Cell

A policeman has been stabbed to death in Istanbul, Turkey by a suspected Islamist militant who was in custody, the Euro News website reports today (August 14, 2017).

The state news agency Anadolu said the aggressor had been driven to police headquarters and was being taken to his cell when he struck.

He was immediately shot dead by security forces.

The man -- suspected of having links to the Islamic State (IS) -- had been detained because he was suspected of preparing a terrorist attack.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Greek Orth. Church Aims to Block Land Sale; Appeals to Israel Supreme Court to Get Land

The Greek Orthodox patriarch in the Holy Land announced yesterday that the Greek Orthodox Church will appeal an Israeli court decision that approved the sale of prime church property to companies representing Jews seeking to expand their presence in Jerusalem's Old City, the Times of Israel website reports today (August 13, 2017).

The Jerusalem District Court upheld the deal two weeks ago.

Patriarch Theophilos III claimed yesterday that the lower court ruling was "politically motivated" and said the church would appeal to Israel's Supreme Court.

The Greek Orthodox Church is one of the largest property owners in the Holy Land, including a large amount of land in Jerusalem's Old City.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

US Asks Iraq's Kurds to Postpone Vote on Ind.; Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq Oppose Ind. Kurdistan

The U.S. has asked Iraq's Kurds to postpone a referendum on the independence of their autonomous Kurdish region -- planned for September 25 -- the VOA News website reports today (August 12, 2017).

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the request today, during a phone call to the president of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government, Massoud Barzani.

The U.S. State Department is concerned that the referendum will distract from "more urgent priorities" such as the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) militants. Kurdish fighters are playing a significant role -- backed by U.S. military advisers and equipment -- in helping to defeat the IS in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq -- which have large Kurdish populations -- are all opposed to the establishment of an independent Kurdish state.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Pastor:God Endows Trump Authority to Kill Kim; Bible Empowers Rulers to Wage War to End Evil

Rev. Robert Jeffress -- one of the president's key Christian advisers -- asserted God has given President Trump the "authority to take out [North Korean tyrant] Kim Jong-Un," the Religion News website reports today (August 10, 2017).

Jeffress' statement follows Trump's deadly warning this week that North Korea would "be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," if it continues to threaten the U.S.

The Texas preacher -- who leads a congregation of more than 10,000 people at First Baptist Church in Dallas -- is a strong Trump supporter.

Jeffress explained that the Bible makes it clear that "God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary -- including war -- to stop evil."

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Youth Holocaust Memorial in France Smashed; Plaque in Lyon Had Names of 44 Kids, 7 Adults

A French memorial to young victims of the Holocaust has been vandalized, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (August 9, 2017).

The memorial -- a plaque in Lyon bearing the names of 44 children and seven adults who were deported in 1944 from the children's home of Izieu -- was knocked off its base in a public garden and smashed.

Most of the children were killed in Auschwitz.

Jean Levy, head of a charity committed to preserving the memory of the deported children, said "We are horrified but we won't give up. We'll rebuild it."

Six Soldiers Wounded by Car in Paris Suburb; Police Shoot, Arrest Suspect for Terror Attack

French authorities shot and arrested a suspect of a vehicle attack today (August 9, 2017) on a group of French soldiers in Paris, according to the UPI website.

Six soldiers were injured when they were struck by a car this morning -- an incident officials are regarding as an act of terrorism.

The soldiers left a building at around 8 a.m. and were knocked down by a BMW near the city hall of Lavallois-Perret, a Paris suburb.

The suspect was shot by police and arrested on a highway leading from Paris. He was not identified by police.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

IS Training Fighters to Carry Out Attacks in West; Fighters Now Prepare for Suicide Bombings in UK

A captured Islamic State (IS) fighter has revealed that the terrorist group is training fighters to carry out attacks in the United Kingdom (UK) and other western countries, the Christian Headlines website reports today (August 8, 2017).

The IS fighter was captured by Kurdish forces in Syria and revealed that the jihadists have attacks planned in Europe.

The jihadis-in-training are being put through a rigorous program which prepares them to carry out suicide bombings in the UK.

They are also being indoctrinated in IS ideology.

Monday, August 7, 2017

At Least 11 Killed in Nigerian Church Shooting; May Be Due to Dispute between Area Members

At least 11 people have been killed and 18 wounded in a shooting spree in a church in southeastern Nigeria, the Euro News website reports today (August 7, 2017).

It is believed a dispute between members of the local community was behind the attack in the Catholic church in Ozubulu in the state of Anambra.

Willie Obiano, the Governor of Anambra, visited the scene and spoke to the crowds of people gathered outside.

"What has transpired here that led to the killing of very innocent people, and in all places a holy place inside the church, is very sacrilegious," Obiano said.

N. Korea Blasts Latest Sanctions Imposed by UN; Says They Violate Its Rights,Vows to Take Action

North Korea denounced the United Nations' latest sanctions imposed on it, saying they infringe on its sovereignty, and vowed to take "righteous action" -- including a "thousand-fold revenge" against the United States -- the Reuters website reports today (August 7, 2017).

The government statement reiterated Pyongyang's stance that it will never place its nuclear program on the negotiating table as long as the U.S. maintains a hostile policy against the North.

It did not specify what action it will take, but said it will continue to test long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

"There is no bigger mistake than the United States believing that its land is safe across the [Pacific] ocean," the statement emphasized.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Explosive Hurled in Window of Minn. Mosque; FBI Leads Investigation on Bloomington Attack

An improvised explosive device (IED) was hurled through a window into the office of the imam at a mosque near Minneapolis, Minnesota early yesterday morning, the Jewish Press website reports today (August 6, 2017).

Some 15 to 20 people were inside the mosque when the bomb exploded, but were not injured by the blast, which occurred at around 5 a.m. at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the attack.

In a statement condemning the attack, Minn. Governor Mark Dayton said, "Every place of worship, for all Minnesotans of every faith and culture, must be sacred and safe."

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Christians Believe Poverty Is Person's Own Fault; Non-Christians Say Poverty Due to Circumstances

A new poll shows that white evangelical Christians are far more likely to believe than the average U.S. citizen that being poor is one's own fault, the Christian Today website reports.

The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family found that religion is a significant predictor of how Americans perceive poverty.

The poll found that 46 percent of all Christians said a lack of effort was generally to blame for someone being poor, compared to 29 percent of all non-Christians.

Non-religious Americans say difficult circumstances are more to blame, rather than lack of effort at 65 to 31 percent.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Bibi Checked for Bribes,Fraud,Breach of Trust; Israeli Police Confirm He Is Being Investigated

Israeli police confirmed today ( August 4, 2017) that Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is being investigated for "fraud, breach of trust, and bribes," according to The Daily Beast website.

Netanyahu's former chief of staff, Ari Harow, reached a deal with prosecutors today to become a state's witness in the corruption case against Netanyahu, thus preventing himself to be found guilty of any charges in the case.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and calls the investigation a "witch-hunt."

His wife, Sara, also was interviewed by police this week in a separate investigation.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

First Christian Woman Elected Mayor in Iraq; Lara Zara Is Mayor of Algosh in Nineveh Plain

The small Iraqi town of Algosh on the war-torn Nineveh Plain has elected a female Christian as mayor, in a first for that country, the Christian Today website reports today (August 3, 2017).

Lara Yussif Zara, a Catholic, was the unanimous choice of the municipal council on July 27.

Zara replaces another Iraqi Christian, Abdul Micha, who was dismissed from the post after charges of corruption.

She has become the first ever Christian woman to be elected as a mayor in Iraq.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Trump Seriously Considering Bombing N. Korea; Said Bombing to Occur If Its Missile Tests Persist

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said President Donald Trump told him that if North Korea continues its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests there will be a war "to destroy  North Korea's program and North Korea itself, the Breitbart website reports today (August 2, 2017).

Graham said, "President Trump has said I will not allow them to get an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top to hit America. They are headed that way..."

Graham continued, "He [President Trump] is not going to allow the ability of this madman [Kim Jong Un] to have a missile to hit America."

"If there's going to be a war to stop him, it will be over there. If thousands die, they're going to die over there. They're not going to die here..."

Trump DOJ Sues Colleges on Affirmative Action; Says Affirmative Action Denies Rights of Whites

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing a concerted campaign against affirmative action policies in higher education, the Daily Caller website reports today (August 2, 2017).

The New York Times has obtained an internal announcement circulated within DOJ's civil rights division, a department unit which enforces anti-discrimination laws.

The report claims that the purpose of the DOJ effort is to identify and litigate against policies which disadvantage white college applicants.

Several U.S. colleges and universities discriminate against white students -- a policy often called "discrimination in reverse" -- by denying whites admission while accepting black students and other minorities who are less qualified in their grades and other admission criteria.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Jordan Repeals "Marry the Rapist Victim" Law; Rapist No Longer Set Free for Marrying Victim

Jordan's parliament today (August 1, 2017) scrapped a provision in the kingdom's penal code that had allowed a rapist to escape punishment if he married his victim, according to the AP News website.

Cheers and applause erupted from a packed spectators' gallery as legislators voted to repeal the provision.

The vote was hailed as a major step forward for women in the conservative kingdom.

"This is a major victory for the women's movement and human rights movement in Jordan," said Salma Nims, the secretary general of the Jordanian National Commission for Women.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Putin Orders 755 US Diplomats Ousted by Sept. 1; Largest Purge of Diplomats from Any Nation Ever

In what is believed to be the largest expulsion of diplomats from any country in history, President Vladimir Putin has ordered several hundred American staff to leave diplomatic missions in Russia, the Euro News website reports today (July 31, 2017).

The decision was made on July 28 in retaliation for new U.S. sanctions against Moscow, but Putin has now confirmed that the 775 diplomats must leave Russia by September 1, 2017.

The exodus will bring the U.S. diplomatic workforce to 455 -- the same as Russia's complement in Washington.

The Russian government is also seizing holiday properties and a warehouse used by U.S. diplomats.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Poland Belittles EU's Lawsuit on Court Overhaul; Says EU Charges of Discrimination Lack Authority

Poland rejected a move by the European Union (EU) yesterday for a probable lawsuit to halt the just-passed overhaul of the country's lower courts, claiming the EU lacked such authority, the Bloomberg Politics website reports today (July 30, 2017).

The escalation in an almost two-year row over court independence and the government's respect for the rule of law opens the way for the EU to file suit.

Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law last week several significant changes in the common courts, which the commission says violate EU rules.

Among the changes in Poland's courts that the EU says violates EU discrimination is one in which Poland has set a retirement age of 60 for female judges but 65 for male judges.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

N. Korean Leader:We Can Hit US with an ICBM; Analysts Agree N.Korea Can Reach US Mainland

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said today (July 29, 2017) that the second flight test of an Intercontinental Balistic Missile (ICBM) demonstrated his country can hit the U.S. mainland, according to the Yahoo News website.

The Korean Central News Agency said that Kim expressed "great satisfaction" after the Hwasong-14 missile reached a maximum height of 3,725 kilometers (2,314 miles)and traveled 998 kilometers (620 miles) before accurately landing in waters off Japan.

The agency added that the test was aimed at confirming the maximum range and other technical aspects of the missile it says was capable of delivering a "large-sized, heavy nuclear warhead."

U.S. analysts had estimated that North Korea's first ICBM on July 4 could have reached Alaska, and said yesterday's missile appeared to extend that range significantly.

Slovak Is Charged with Using Neo-Nazi Symbols; Parliament Party Leader Backs WWII Nazi Ideas

The leader of a far-right party with seats in the Slovak parliament has been charged with crimes related to the use of neo-Nazi symbols, the Times of Israel website reports today (July 29, 2017).

Marian Kotleba, head of the People's Party Our Slovakia, has been charged, according to police spokesman Martin Waldl.

He gave no other details, but police are investigating whether the party gave financial gifts of 1,488 euros to several poor families in March. The number 1,488 has a symbolic meaning for neo-Nazis.

Kotleba openly admires Slovakia's World War II-era Nazi puppet state. His party has 14 lawmakers in the 150-seat parliament.

Friday, July 28, 2017

One Killed,Several Hurt in German Supermarket; Cops Nab Man,Yelled "Allahu Akbar" after Attack

Police arrested a blood-soaked man today (July 28, 2017) after at least one person was killed and several injured at a supermarket in Hamburg, Germany, according to the Breitbart website.

The attack took place at a supermarket in the Barmbek neighborhood of Hamburg at around 3 p.m. local time.

The man involved, who has not yet been identified to the press, ran into the supermarket and began attacking customers with a "long kitchen knife" leading to the death of at least one victim.

One witness to the attack said that the man stabbed the customers and yelled "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is Greatest") immediately after the attack.

Russia Retaliates on US for Levying Sanctions; Seizes 2 Diplomatic Bldgs.,Cuts Embassy Staff

Russia took its first steps today (July 28, 2017) to retaliate against proposed American sanctions for Moscow's suspected meddling in the 2016 election, seizing two American diplomatic properties and ordering the United States Embassy to reduce its staff by September, according to the NY Times website.

The move came a day after the U.S. Senate approved a measure to expand economic sanctions against Russia.

The latest move by the Kremlin strikes another blow against the already dismal diplomatic relations between the two sides, with each new step moving Moscow and Washington farther from the rapprochement anticipated just a few months ago.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that if the U.S. ordered any further sanctions, Russia would again retaliate.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Some 160K German Cath.Quit Church in 2016; Less Than 2015 When 180K Cath. Left Church

New figures show that about 160,000 Catholics left the Church in Germany last year, the Catholic Herald website reports today (July 27, 2017).

The number represents an improvement on 2015, when 180,000 faithful left the Catholic Church -- or opted out of paying a church tax compulsory for members.

Nearly a third -- or 23 million -- of the people in Germany are Catholic.

Fr. Hans Langendorfer, bishops' conference secretary, said: "We should not forget our real mission in the figures... to joyfully proclaim the Gospel."

Cal. Imam Calls on Allah to Annihilate All Jews; Also to Free Al-Aqsa Mosque from "Filthy Jews"

Jewish groups have asked Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney's office to investigate a California imam who gave a sermon calling on Allah to "annihilate" Jews "down to the very last one" -- and asked his congregants to take part in the slaughter -- the Fox News website reports today (July 27, 2017).

Imam Ammar Shahin gave the sermon at the Islamic Center of Davis, California on July 21. He also asked Allah to liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Israel from "the filth of the Jews," and cited an Islamic text that calls for a Judgment Day fight between Muslims and Jews.

"Oh, Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them," said Shahin in both Arabic and English in his sermon.

"The sermon is very anti-Semitic and violent," Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Executive Director Steven Stalinsky said. "It's not surprising that the imam/mosque are denying this and saying that it is incorrect or out of context."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Erdogan: Era of Bowing to West Demands Over; Turkey's Decades-Long Effort to Join EU Still Nil

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that the era of a submissive Turkey bowing to every Western demand is over, the Al Jazeera website reports today (July 26, 2017).

Erdogan's comments came as top European Union (EU) officials held talks with Turkey's foreign minister in Brussels, Belgium. Turkey has eliminated freedom of the press and has denied human rights and jailed many foreigners without a trial in the predominantly Muslim country.

"The West wants Turkey to do, without question, whatever they want... I am sorry to say that Turkey no longer exists," said the Turkish dictator.

Turkey's decades-long bid for EU membership remains in the deep freeze and shows no signs of thawing.

Trump Bans Transgender Troops form Military; Democrats Call It Disgraceful Attack on Troops

President Trump said today (July 26, 2017) that the U.S. military will not accept transgender troops into its ranks or allow them to serve in any capacity, according to the USA Today website.

Trump said that, after consulting "with my generals and military experts," the U.S. government "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military."

He added, the U.S. military "must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

Democrats disagreed. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., head of the House Armed Services Committee, called Trump's order "an unwarranted and disgraceful attack on men and women who have been bravely serving their country."

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Trump Praises Lebanon for Blocking Entry of IS; Will Continue US Support to Counter Syrian Mil.

U.S. President Donald Trump today (July 25, 2017) praised Lebanon's efforts to guard its borders to prevent Islamic State (IS) and other militant groups from gaining a foothold inside their country, and promised continued American help, according to the VOA News website.

"America's assistance can help ensure that the Lebanese army is the only defender Lebanon needs," Trump said at a White House news conference after talks today with Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.

Trump did not specify what level of support Lebanon would receive.

Lebanon's military has received hundreds of millions in military assistance from the United States and Britain in recent years, as part of efforts to bolster Lebanon against a threat from militants across the Syrian border.

Israel Removes Metal Detectors at Aqsa Mosque; Will Use Advanced Technology Measures Instead

After several days of violent protests, bloodshed, and a diplomatic crisis with Jordan over placement of metal detectors at the entrances to the Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, the Israeli government today (July 25, 2017) removed the detectors, according to the NY times website.

The turnaround came after a day of intense discussions between the leaders of Israel and Jordan.

The Israeli Security Cabinet said it would replace the metal detectors with less-obtrusive security measures based on advanced technologies.

It is uncertain whether or not Muslims will begin to pray again in the temple, as a result of Israeli use of advanced technologies.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Suicide Car Bombing in Kabul Kills Dozens; Taliban Claims Attack,Targeted Intel Workers

A suicide car bombing in Afghanistan's capital early today (July 24, 2017) killed at least two dozen people and injured many more, according to the UPI website.

The car exploded as a bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mines passed in the Dehbori district of Kabul.

The bomb exploded near the residence of Mohamed Mohaqeq, deputy to Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted two buses carrying employees of Afghanistan's intelligence agency to work.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Abbas Halts All PA Security Meetings with Israel; Says Israel Has Temple by Use of Metal Detectors

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has canceled all security coordination meetings between Israeli and Palestinian officials, as a protest for the installation of metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, the Times of Israel website reports today (July 23, 2017).

This is the first time Abbas has ordered a severance of security ties since he was elected PA president a decade ago.

Abbas criticized the use of the metal detectors at the Temple Mount compound -- placed there by Israel after a July 14 terror attack in which three Arabs shot dead two Israeli police officers with guns they had smuggled into the holy site.

Abbas claimed the metal detectors were "falsely presented as a [security] measure to take control over Al-Aqsa mosque."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Pentagon Study:US Role in World "Collapsing;" US Has Lost Its Lead Position in World Affairs

A new Pentagon study concludes that the U.S.-backed framework of international order established after World War II is now "collapsing," leading the U.S. to lose its position of "primacy" in world affairs, the Raw Story website reports today (July 22, 2017).

The article was produced in partnership with AlterNet and Insurge Intelligence.

The document concludes that the world has entered a new phase of transformation in which U.S. power is in decline, international order is unravelling, and the authority of governments around the world is crumbling.

Having lost its status of  "pre-eminence," the U.S. now inhabits a dangerous, unpredictable "post-primacy" world, whose defining feature is "resistance to authority."

Friday, July 21, 2017

Muslims Pray, Protest Outside Jerusalem Shrine; Mad Israel Installed Metal Detectors in Holy Site

Thousands of Muslims prayed today (July 21, 2017) in the streets near a contested shrine in Jerusalem's Old City to protest the installation of metal detectors at the holy site, according to the Religion News website.

In three areas near the Old City, Israeli forces fired tear gas to dispense small groups of Palestinian stone-throwers.

Muslim leaders had urged the faithful not to enter the sacred compound until Israel removes the detectors.

Israel installed the metal detectors after three Palestinians launched an attack from the shrine, killing two Israeli policeman a week ago.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Most US Protestants Don't Adopt Denomination; New Poll Shows Formal Structure Not Important

A new survey shows that there are now more Protestants in the U.S. who do not identify with a particular denomination than those who do, the Christian Post website reports today (July 20, 2017).

Gallup research reveals that the number of Christians who said they belonged to a specific denomination has dropped from 50 percent in the year 2000 to 30 percent in 2016.

The poll was done by telephone in the months of May and December 2016, polling a combined total of 2,053 American adults living in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The survey concludes that trends in religious identity indicate that "while many Americans remain religious in a broad sense, a formal structure in which to do so has become less important."

Turkey Leaks Positions of US Mil. Bases in Syria; Endangers US Security Because US Backs Kurds

Turkey's state-run news agency has leaked the positions of U.S. military bases and special forces stationed in northern Syria, as Ankara continues to vent anger over Washington's support for Syrian Kurds on its southern border, the Newsweek website reports today (July 20, 2017).

Anadolu news agency reported that the U.S. has 10 military points in northern Syria to assist the People's Protection Units -- or YPG -- in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

The YPG is a militia that Turkey says is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party -- or PKK -- a group that Turkey, the United States, and European Union have listed as an extremist organization, which has waged a decades-long insurgency against Turkey, in an effort to establish its own independent state.

The news agency said the bases are "usually hidden for security reasons," but proceeded to list 10 bases in the northern and northeastern Syrian districts of Al-Hasakah, Kobane, Manbij, and Raqqa -- a move that could split relations between the NATO partners.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Israeli Court: Women Must Pay Child Support; Rules Existing Law Discriminates against Men

In a landmark decision, Israel's Supreme Court ruled today (July 19, 2017) that divorced women should also participate in child support payments, according to the Times of Israel website.

The dramatic ruling brings to an end the current norm, whereby fathers are solely responsible for alimony, even if their wives make more money than they do.

The ruling -- handed down by an expanded bench of seven justices -- applies in cases where the children are aged 6 to 15, and was in response to petitions lodged by two divorced fathers.

Fathers will continue to pay all child support for children below the age of 6.

GA Mosque on Alert after Mass Slaughter Threat; Man Left 8 Voice Messages of Killing Worshipers

The Georgia chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today (July 19, 2017) that mosques in the state are on high alert after one mosque received a series of threatening phone calls, according to the Raw Story website.

"White people of this country are going to kill you out of this country," said an unidentified man who left multiple voice mail messages promising a "mass slaughter" of worshipers.

The calls began on June 22 and appear to be coming from a Missouri phone number.

CAIR did not specify which mosque in particular is under threat, but said the man has left at least eight messages.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Min.Satanic Monument Draws Much Opposition; Christians Say It Has No Business in Public Park

A provocative satanic monument approved for a city-run veterans' park in Minnesota has elicited strong opposition from local Christians and other groups who say the offensive object has no business in a public park, the Breitbart website reports today (July 18, 2017).

In May, the Satanic Temple received permission to place the monument -- a black cube inscribed with pentagrams with an upside-down soldier's helmet on top -- in Belle Plaine's Veterans Memorial Park, as city officials said that the application for the monument meets the criteria of city policy.

Protesters have held prayer rallies in the park, insisting that the monument not be erected.

One protester, Susie Collins, said the monument "is not the message of life and love, it is the message of death and decay."

Saudi Woman Is Arrested for Wearing Miniskirt; Saudi Women Need Man's Consent to Go Outside

A woman in Saudi Arabia -- who sparked outrage after sharing a video of herself wearing a miniskirt -- has been arrested for appearing in indecent clothing, the Euro News website reports today (July 18, 2017).

The social media star known as Khulood is seen walking around empty streets.

The video caused anger throughout Saudi Arabia, which has some of the world's strictest laws for women.

Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive motor vehicles, and must also have permission from a male guardian to do things, including work and travel.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Suicide Bomber Kills 8 in Nigerian Mosque; Injures 15 Others in Boko Haram Territory

Eight people were killed today (July 17, 2017) when a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives at a mosque in northeast Nigeria, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

The head of the Bomo state emergency management agency, Ahmed Satomi, said the blast happened at about 5:30 a.m. in the London Ciki area of Maiduguri, which has been at the epicenter of the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group since 2009.

"She killed eight people and injured 15 others," Satomi said.

The mosque was being guarded by civilian JTF (Joint Task Force) militia during prayers, he added.

Afghan Forces Defeat Taliban in Strategic Area; Win Over Key Afghan Southern District of Nawa

In a victory battle that is certain to enhance the morale of American and Afghan troops, Afghan security forces -- backed by U.S. military advisers and air power -- have evicted Taliban insurgents from a strategically southern district, the VOA News website reports today (July 17, 2017).

The Afghan forces entered Nawa district in southern Helmand province early today and established government control over it.

U.S. airstrikes overnight against three Taliban bases in the area killed more than 20 insurgents, allowing Afghan forces to retake control of the area.

A search and cleaning operation is now underway in the district where insurgents have heavily mined areas around key installations.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Shocking Surge in Hate Crimes on UK Jews; Surged 44%, 2016 Is Worst Year on Record

Hate crimes targeting Jews escalated for the third straight year in the United Kingdom, reaching its worst level on record, the Christian Today website reports on July 16, 2017.

Antisemitic hate crime has surged 44 percent since 2014, making 2016 the worst year on record.

Almost half of police forces did not charge a single one of the antisemitic crimes reported to them.

Just 1.4 percent of antisemitic crime in the UK was prosecuted -- 15 cases -- last year.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Family of CRI Founder Asks CRI Pres. to Resign; "Bible Answer Man" Turned to Greek Orthodoxy

Family members of Dr. Walter Martin -- founder of the Christian Research Institute (CRI) -- are calling on current CRI president Hank Hanegraaff to step down, due to his conversion from evangelicalism to the Greek Orthodox faith, the Christian Post website reports today (July 14, 2017).

A majority of family members have signed a statement asking the "Bible Answer Man" to leave his leadership post.

Jill Martin Rische -- the eldest daughter of Dr. Martin -- said she and many other evangelical Christians were "shocked and surprised" when Hanegraaff formally converted in a Greek Orthodox Church in April. At that time, Hanegraaff said attending a Greek Orthodox Church service made him feel like he was in heaven.

Rische argued that Hanegraaff has since been teaching a blend of Eastern Orthodoxy and evangelical Christianity on the "Bible Answer Man" show, which she called "fundamentally dishonest."

Two Israeli Policemen Shot Dead in Jerusalem; Killed by Three Palestinians at Temple Mount

Three Palestinian assailants opened fire on Israeli police from inside a major Jerusalem holy site today (July 14, 2017), killing two officers before being shot dead, according to the Religion News website.

The sacred compound sits at the fault line of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has triggered major confrontations in the past.

Israel today closed the site -- known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount -- for further weapons sweeps.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to allay Muslim fears, saying that the status quo at the Muslim-administered site "will be preserved."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Poll:North Korea More Dangerous Than IS; 49% Favor Military Intervention in North Korea

A recent survey shows that U.S. voters regard North Korea as a greater threat to the U.S. than the Islamic State (IS), according to the UPI website.

The poll, conducted from July 7-9, shows 40 percent of 1,983 respondents regard North Korea as the country's greatest threat.

About 30 percent of the participants said the Islamic State poses the greatest threat, and 16 percent said Russia is the most dangerous nation to U.S. national security.

Nearly half, or 49 percent, of survey respondents said they support military intervention in North Korea.

Suicide Bomber Slams Explosives Car in Idlib; Scores Killed,Injured in Rebel-Held Syrian City

A suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into a gathering of jihadist rebels near the rebel-held northwestern Syrian city of Idlib yesterday, killing and injuring scores of people, the VOA News website reports today (July 13, 2017).

Idlib province is dominated by Islamist jihadist groups, although there is a presence of moderate Free Syrian Army groups.

The Syrian province -- which borders Turkey -- has long witnessed infighting between the main jihadist groups vying for power.

Although opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rule, insurgents are riven by deep divisions on ideology and rivalry that sometimes erupt in deadly clashes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pope Says Europe Must Be a Federal Community; Otherwise It Won't Count for Anything in World

Pope Francis has been reported as saying that Europe "must become a federal community or it will no longer count for anything in the world," the Christian Today website reports on July 12, 2017.

His comments were made in an interview with Eugenio Scalfari, the 93-year-old founder of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Francis said he was afraid of "very dangerous alliances among [foreign] powers that have a distorted vision of the world: America and Russia, China and North Korea..."

The pope added: "The countries [of Europe] will act if they recognize one truth: either Europe becomes a federal community or it will no longer count for anything in the world."

Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Terrorism Charges; Also Is Guilty of Trying to Kill a Federal Judge

An Ohio man has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges as well as trying to murder a federal judge, the Clarion Project website reports today (July 12, 2017).

Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 39, traveled to Yemen to deliver $22,000, equipment, and other assistance to Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American who was then head of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Mohammad also admitted to soliciting an undercover FBI employee who was posing as a hitman to kidnap and murder U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary for $15,000.

Zouhary was assigned as the judge in his case.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

European Court Upholds Belgium's Full Veil Ban; Rejects Discriminatory Charge by Muslim Women

The European Court of Human Rights upheld Belgium's ban on the Islamic full-face veil today (July 11, 2017), rejecting a legal challenge by two Muslim women to wear the niqab, according to the Euro News website.

The court in Strasbourg, France found that the 2011 Belgian law banning clothing that covers the face was not discriminatory and did not violate freedom of religion.

The court argued that Belgium had the right to enforce this ban because it is "necessary in a democratic society" for the "protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

By wearing the full veil in public, women risk being fined and serving up to seven days in jail.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pope: Bread Used for Eucharist Requires Gluten; Bread Made without Wheat Invalid for Eucharist

Pope Francis has decided that bread used to represent the Body of Christ in the Eucharist ceremonies must have gluten, the UPI website reports today (July 10, 2017).

A letter sent from Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments reminded bishops of the need to have wheat in the ceremonial bread.

"The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat..." Sarah wrote.

He added that bread made from another substance different from wheat is not valid for the Eucharistic Sacrament.

Anti-Semitic Graffiti Spray Painted in Denver; "Hitler Was Right" Painted on Colo. Highway

Anti-Semitic graffiti was spray painted on a highway underpass near a high school in a Denver suburb, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (July 10, 2017).

"Build that wall" and "Hitler was right" were painted next to a drawing of a swastika near a high school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

The graffiti is the sixth anti-Semitic incident in the metro-Denver area in recent months.

Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Scott Levin said "There is no place for such hateful, bigoted messages in our community."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

UNESCO: Hebron Is a Palestinian Heritage Site; PM Netanyahu Calls Action "Delusional Decision"

The Palestinians hailed a UNESCO decision yesterday to declare the Old City of Hebron an endangered Palestinian world heritage site, a move that sparked outrage from Israel and the U.S., the Times of Israel website reports today (July 8, 2017).

UNESCO's heritage committee voted 12 to three -- with six abstentions -- to give Palestinian heritage status to the Old City in the center of Hebron, home of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, revered as the burial place of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs.

Both the U.S. and Israel protested vigorously against the motion.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed UNESCO for "yet another delusional decision," and vowed to protect the site.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Trump Warns North Korea on Its Missile Tests; May Use Missile Strikes on Missile Facilities

U.S. President Donald Trump has used tough rhetoric in response to North Korea's missile tests, the Reuters website reports today (July 6, 2017).

U,S, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Pyongyang's test launch of an intercontinental missile on July 4 a global threat, as Alaska may now be within range.

Most options for countering North Korea fall into four categories: economic sanctions, covert action, diplomatic negotiations, and military force.

Trumps military options range from a sea blockade of North Korea to cruise missile strikes on nuclear and missile facilities to a broader campaign to overthrow North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Turkey's Erdogan Seizes Control of 50 Churches; Seizes Churches to Bring Sharia Law to Turkey

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has seized control of 50 Syriac churches, the Christian Headlines website reports today (July 5, 2017).

Erdogan and his government are intentionally targeting Christian churches in their attempt to bring Sharia Law to Turkey.

Among the churches taken over by the government is the 1600-year-old Mor Gabriel Monastery -- one of the world's oldest places of worship.

Turkey -- a predominantly Islamic country -- has a long history of being hostile toward Christians.

Monday, July 3, 2017

France, Germany, Italy Discuss Migrant Crisis; EU Asks More Nations Open Ports to Migrants

Interior ministers from France, Germany, and Italy together with the European Union (EU) migration commissioner met in Paris this week to discuss Italy's migrant crisis, the Euro News website reports today (July 3, 2017).

Italy has threatened to block ships that have been transporting an "unsustainable" flow of migrants to its shores.

Italy has admitted more than 500,000 migrants since 2014, and the numbers are growing.

The EU wants other member states to allow migrant boats to dock in their ports in order to alleviate the growing pressure on Rome.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

German Pres. Denounces Growing Antisemitism; Claims Social Media Disseminates Jewish Hatred

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier this week denounced growing anti-Semitism in Germany,  the Jerusalem Post website reports today (July 1, 2017).

Speaking at the 100th anniversary of the Augsburg synagogue, the president noted that while most Germans stand against anti-Semitism, a growing trend of anti-Jewish hatred is being spread on social media, in part due to some Muslim immigrant groups.

"Social media often propagates the spread of hate and anti-Semitic provocation," he said.

Despite this, however, Steinmeier noted that, in comparison to France, Germany's Jews are staying put, rather than immigrating to Israel.

UN Chief:"Clear Understanding" for Cyprus Deal; Cyprus Peace Talks Will Continue All Next Week

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said today (July 1, 2017) there is now a "clear understanding" about what is needed to reach an agreement to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus, according to the Washington Post website.

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said today that the recognition of the "essential elements" of a possible accord emerged from a meeting Guterres had with the rival sides during high-level peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland.

Guterres met yesterday with Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in an attempt to give the three-day-old talks a momentum boost.

He also met with diplomats from Cyprus' "guarantors" -- Britain, Greece and Turkey. Officials say that they are optimistic of achieving a peace deal, and that the negotiations in Geneva are likely to continue all next week.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Boko Haram Group Head Condemns Christians; Asserts Christians, Muslims Can't Live Together

The leader of the Nigerian Boko Haram terrorist group posted a video message this week in which he said that it is impossible for Muslims and Christians to live together peaceably, the Christian Headlines website reports today (June 30, 2017).

Boko Haram is responsible for the deaths of over 20,000 people.

The group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, said in the video that it is impossible for Muslims and Christians to work together.

He also called on Muslims to implement Sharia law, and said that non-Muslims could be allowed to exist if they "remain by the side without interference."

German Parliament Affirms Same-Sex Marriage; Merkel Hopes Vote Leads to "More Social Peace"

The German parliament today (June 30, 2017) passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage after Chancellor Angela Merkel -- who voted against the measure -- encouraged her conservative Christian Democratic Party to vote their conscience, according to the UPI website.

Members of Germany's Bundestag voted 393 to 226 to pass the bill, and four people abstained.

Merkel voted no, saying "For me marriage as defined by the law is the marriage of a man and a woman."

She said she hoped a vote in favor would bring about "more social peace."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Upstate NY Mikva Const. Site Hit with Swastikas; Vandalism Occurred in Bloomingburg in Catskills

A Jewish religious immersion pool under construction in a new ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of an upstate New York village was vandalized this week with graffiti and swastikas, the Times of Israel website reports today (June 29, 2017).

The vandalism at a mikvah in Bloomingburg, in the Catskills area, was discovered on June 25.

The new Satmar neighborhood was built to solve a housing shortage in the ultra-Orthodox community.

The local sheriff's office has opened an investigation into the anti-Semitic hate crime.

Turkey Schools Now Required to Have Mosques; Teachers Union Slams Prayer Rooms as Unconst.

Turkey's Education Ministry unveiled new regulations this week that require every new school in the country be outfitted with gender-separated Muslim prayer rooms, the Euro News website reports today (June 29, 2017).

The new regulations were published in the government's official newspaper and call for public and private schools under the purview of the government to also have an area for ritual washing before praying.

The prayer room will be required for Islamic worship, according to the new regulations, which the Labor Union of the Laborers of Education and Science decried as going against the Turkish constitution.

The teachers union accused the Turkish government -- led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  -- of "abandoning secular, scientific and contemporary education" and replacing it with religious studies.

Iraq Declares the End of ISIS' Rule in Mosul; Iraqi Gen.:"Their Fictitious State Has Fallen"

The Iraqi government today (June 29, 2017) declared the end of ISIS' rule in Mosul after recapturing the terror group's de facto capital in the country, according to the Daily Beast website.

"Their fictitious state has fallen," said Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool.

The victory marks the end of more than eight months of all-out war in the city, where ISIS declared its caliphate three years ago. Thousands of civilians have been killed in the fighting.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is reported by Kurdish media outlets to be heading to Mosul to deliver a "victory speech."

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Australian Cardinal Charged with Sexual Assault; George Pell Top Cath. Cleric to Face Sex Charges

Police in the Australian state of Victoria said today (June 28, 2017) that Australia's senior Roman Catholic prelate -- and one of Pope Francis' top advisers -- has been charged with sexual assault, according to the NY Times website.

The prelate, Cardinal George Pell, became the highest-ranking Vatican official in recent years to face criminal charges involving accusations of sexual offenses.

"Cardinal Pell has been charged on summons, and he is required to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court" on July 18, Shane Patton, the deputy police commissioner, said at a news conference.

The charges were served on the cardinal's legal representatives in Melbourne. Commissioner Patton said there were multiple complainants, but refused to provide further details about them, including their ages.

IS Radicals Decapitate Civilians in Philippines; Philip. Pres.:"Dogs of Hell" Trained in Mideast

Christians and other civilians trapped in Marawi City in the southern Philippines are being decapitated and used as sex slaves and human shields by an Islamic State (IS) affiliated terror group, the Christian Post website reports today (June 28, 2017).

Although the Maute group jihadists, who are aligned with IS and operating under its command, have been reduced to holding just a few blocks in the city, they have been carrying out horrific atrocities.

The terrorists are still holding some 100 Christian hostages, survivors who have escaped said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has called the IS invaders "dogs of hell," said most of the jihadists were trained in the Middle East and "brought the ideology back home and promised to declare war against humanity."

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Greek,Turkish Leaders of Cyprus Meet for Unity; UN Envoy: It's Best Chance for Unity Since 1974

Rival Cyprus leaders meet today (June 28, 2017) to resume efforts to solve one of the world's longest-running political crises in what the island's UN envoy billed as the "best chance" for peace, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

The make-or-break talks in Geneva, Switzerland are geared towards ending the decades-old division of the island and striking a lasting deal between its Greek- and Turkish-speaking communities.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops seized the northern third of the island in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking to unite Cyprus with Greece.

UN envoy Espen Barth Eide said today he was confident of the talks: "It's a unique opportunity because after all of these decades of division it is possible to solve," he told reporters in Geneva.

Trump Alerts Assad on Chemical Attack Plan; Says Assad to "Pay a Heavy Price" If He Does

The White House -- as a result of intelligence info -- today (June 27, 2017) accused the Syrian government of preparing a chemical weapons attack against rebels in that country's civil war, and warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that it will "pay a heavy price" if such an attack is carried out, according to the UPI website.

A White House statement says: "As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria."

The statement continues: "If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price."

The Syrian government launched a chemical weapons attack on April 4 that killed more than 80 civilians, including many children. Trump responded to that attack by firing 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air force base.

Monday, June 26, 2017

High Court OKs Trump's Ban on Muslim States; Ends Lower Court Ruling,OKs Trump's Authority

The U.S. Supreme Court today (June 26, 2017) allowed the Trump administration to enforce its 90-day ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries, overturning lower court orders that blocked the ban, according to the Yahoo News website.

The decision is a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.

The justices will hear arguments in the case in the fall.

Several lower courts had ruled that the travel ban was illegal because it discriminated against Muslims, but the Supreme Court decided that by virtue of the office of President, Trump has the authority to issue such a ban in order to safeguard the national security of the United States.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Jewish Pilgrims Blocked from Joseph's Tomb; Need Prior Authorization to Enter Nablus Area

About 20 Jewish pilgrims were arrested today (June 25, 2017) as they tried to reach Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank town of Nablus, according to the Times of Israel website.

Nablus forbids Israelis entry without prior authorization with Israeli officials.

Four of the Israeli suspects managed to reach the tomb before they were arrested.

The rest of the group was intercepted on an approach road to Nablus by Israeli security forces.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

EU: Mostly Illegal Migrants Now Entering Italy; EU Plans to Cut Flow of African Illegal Migrants

European Union (EU) officials -- including EU Council President Donald Tusk -- have admitted most of the migrants coming from Africa into Italy are not legitimate refugees or asylum seekers, but illegal migrants, the Breitbart website reports today (June 24, 2017).

Tusk said that illegal migration had gone up 26 percent in Italy compared to last year.

He added the current EU policy was "not enough" and the Mediterranean route needed to be controlled, proposing the EU support the Libyan coastguard.

The EU also plans to work closer with Libya and other countries in north Africa in order to ease the return of illegal migrants.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Abbas to Kushner: I'll Keep Paying Terrorists; Says Israel Is Using Issue to Avoid Peace Talks

A meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and White House official Jared Kushner left the Palestinian leader fuming and refusing to agree to demands that Ramallah cut off payments for convicted terrorists and their families, the Times of Israel website reports today (June 23, 2017).

Abbas accused the U.S. of taking Israel's side and refused a demand to stop paying salaries to several hundred prisoners serving time for the most serious crimes.

Kushner, who is U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and chief Middle East adviser, met with Abbas in Ramallah on June 21.

Yesterday, Abbas defended payments to Palestinian prisoners as a "social responsibility," and said Israel was using the issue as a pretext to avoid peace talks.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Study:Attending Church Helps One Live Longer; Non-Attendants More Likely to Die Prematurely

A new study has found that church attendance is good for your health, as those who attend services experience less stress and enjoy longer lives, the Christian Headlines website reports today (June 22, 2017).

Vanderbilt University professor and Baptist minister Marino Bruce spearheaded the study, alongside Keith Norris, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Bruce said, "We found in our study that attending church is actually good for your health, particularly for those who are between the ages of 40 and 65."

He added, "For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who attended church at some point over the last year."

IS Destroys Mosul's 845-Year-Old Great Mosque; Does So Since Iraqi Forces about to Take It Over

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has destroyed Mosul's al-Hadba minaret and the 845-year-old Great Mosque of al-Nuri, or Noor mosque, where leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is believed to have declared the "caliphate" in 2014, the UPI website reports today (June 22, 2017).

U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon. the spokesman for the coalition battling the IS group, said, "This act of ISIS desperation clearly shows how close the Iraqi security forces are to victory in Mosul."

A coalition official said the Islamic State destroyed the mosque and the minaret because Iraqi forces were closing in on the structure.

"This is a crime against the people of Mosul and all of Iraq, and is an example of why this brutal organization [ISIS] must be annihilated," U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin said.

Car Bomb Explosion Kills Dozens in Afghanistan; Occurred Near Bank Where Many Waited for Pay

A car bomb explosion in the southern Afghan province of Helmand today (June 22, 2017) left dozens of people dead and several others wounded, according to the Euro News website.

The device went off outside a bank in Lashkar Gah where civilians and members of the security forces were waiting to collect their pay.

There has been no claim for responsibility but insurgent groups -- including the Taliban -- have in the past targeted banks where police, soldiers, and other government employees pick up their wages.

It's the latest in a series of recent attacks in the nation, illustrating a steadily worsening security situation across Afghanistan.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pope to Excommunicate Mafia Convicted Cath.; Will End Friendship of Church to Mafia Figures

Pope Francis has told the Vatican commission to work on a new process for excommunicating Catholics convicted of corruption or mafia-related crimes, the Christian Today website reports.

The move against the mafia marks a step change in Vatican policy, in which involvement in organized crime becomes literally unpardonable because it is a way of life rather than a single sin.

Excommunicated Catholics cannot take communion or be married in church.

Organized crime is entrenched in Italy and in several South American countries. Francis has been severely critical of the closeness of the Church to mafia figures, which sees children named after mobster godfathers and religious processions stopping outside the homes of mob bosses as a form of respect.

Swastikas Painted inside a Jerusalem Synagogue; Vandals Also Tried to Burn Synagogue Rel. Books

Swastikas were discovered painted on the walls of  a synagogue in central Jerusalem today (June 21, 2017), according to the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website.

The vandalism was discovered in the Hasidic Lelov synagogue in the Nachalot neighborhood. Swastikas were also painted on the outside walls of nearby apartment buildings.

Police said the vandals also attempted to set fire to religious books in the synagogue.

Swastika attacks on synagogues in Israel are rare.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Poland Refuses to Accept Any More Migrants; Will Block Them to Reduce Islamic Terrorism

Despite the threat of sanctions from the European Union (EU), the Polish government has decided to not allow any more Muslim migrants into its country to help reduce the risk of radical Islamic terrorism, the CNS News website reports today (June 20, 2017).

"We, Poland, are learning from the mistakes of others... and we will not open our doors to Islamic migrants," said Ryszard Czarnecki, the Polish European Parliament deputy, in early June after the terrorist attack in Manchester, England on May 22.

Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have refused to take in their designated share of some 160,000 migrants, who apparently are overloading Italy and Greece.

The EU could take the three defiant nations to the European Court of Justice, which could impose heavy financial fines on them.

Jewish Deli in Chicago Area Hit with Hate Crime; Message "Free Gaza" Spray-Painted Outside Deli

A popular Jewish deli in suburban Chicago was vandalized in what is being investigated as a hate crime, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (June 20, 2017).

The message "Free Gaza" was spray-painted on the sidewalk outside the Shmaltz Deli in Naperville, Illinois on June 18.

"The reason they left it [the message] there, obviously painted it there, is because it is a Jewish deli," Naperville Police Commander Lou Cammiso said.

Deli owner Howard Bender cleaned the graffiti and hung a sign where the words were spray-painted reading "Hate Has No Home Here."

Monday, June 19, 2017

Alabama Man Arrested for Terrorism Support; Aziz Sayyed,22, Also Being Investigated by FBI

A 22-year-old man from Huntsville, Alabama was arrested by local authorities on charges of soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism, the Clarion Project website reports today (June 19, 2017).

Aziz Sayyed, who is a U.S. citizen born in North Carolina, is also being investigated by the FBI.

Details in the case were not released, but Roger Stanton, the FBI special agent in charge, said, "We successfully mitigated a threat today with this arrest."

The arrest came as a direct result of a tip given to police, said Huntsville Police Department Chief Mark McMurray.

Man Plows Van into Crowd by London Mosque; Kills One,Wounds 10,Tried to "Kill All Muslims"

A man arrested after a van plowed into a crowd of worshipers near a mosque in north London today (June 19, 2017) is now being held on suspicion of terrorism, according to the CNN website.

One man died and 10 people were injured in the assault.

The 47-year-old white man was wrestled to the ground by members of the public and then arrested at the scene. The man shouted he wanted to "kill all Muslims."

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack was directed at Muslims and condemned it as "every bit as sickening" as deadly Islamist attacks that hit the country in recent months.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

US Blasts Syrian Govt. Jet for Bombing Rebels; US to Syria:Won't Tolerate Attacks on US Allies

Despite having Russian support in the seventh year of its civil war, the Syrian government now knows it cannot intimidate America, as the  U.S. Navy shot down a Syrian government fighter jet today (June 18, 2017) in retaliation for dropping bombs on U.S.-backed rebels, according to the UPI website.

The U.S. attack on the Syrian government occurred near Raqqa, the defacto capital for ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) which is battling both the Syrian government and the U.S.-led coalition within the country.

The U.S. explained its attack on the Syrian government in a statement, saying Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces attacked members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a loose coalition of Syrian Kurds and Arabs backed by the U.S.

"The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward Coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated," the U.S. statement said.

Bombing at Mall in Colombia Kills 3, Wounds 9; Mayor of Bogota Calls It Cowardly Terrorist Act

A strong explosion yesterday from a bomb rocked one of the busiest shopping centers in Colombia's capital, Bogota, killing three people, including a 23-year-old French woman, and injuring nine others, the Yahoo News website reports today (June 18, 2017).

Witnesses told of being evacuated from movie theaters and stores after the blast in a second-floor women's restroom at the upscale Centro  Andino in the heart of Bogota's tourist district.

Ambulances and firetrucks rushed to the scene and the injured were taken to a hospital, where two later died.

Police said a bomb from an undetermined explosive had caused the destruction. Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa called it a "cowardly terrorist bombing."

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Radical Islam Fuels Extremist Views in Sweden; IS Propaganda Is Major Factor for New Upsurge

The Swedish security service SAPO says the number of people in Sweden with extremist views has grown to several thousands, mainly among people with sympathies for radical Islam, the Fox News website reports today (June 17, 2017).

SAPO's head, Anders Thornberg, says, "We have never seen anything like it" and propaganda from the Islamic State [IS] group was a key factor.

He also says the figure was in the hundreds a few years ago, and it was "a historic challenge with extremist environments growing."

Thornberg told Sweden's news agency TT Friday that SAPO gets about 6,000 pieces of intelligence every month, up from 2,000 five years ago. He didn't go into specifics.

Germany's 1st "Liberal Mosque" Opens in Berlin; By a Feminist Opposed to Male-Dominated Islam

Germany's first "liberal mosque" has opened inside a Protestant church it is renting in Berlin, the RT (Russia Today) website reports today (June 17, 2017).

"Fundamentally, the mosque's door is open to everyone, with one exception: No one will come in with a niqab or burka," organizer Seyran Ates, who moved to Germany from Turkey when she was six years old, said.

Banning the headwear often worn by females in the Muslim community isn't the only modern-day twist being brought to the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque, which is named after Islamic philosopher Ibn Rushd and iconic German author Johann Wolfgand von Goethe. According to Ates, men and women will be allowed to pray and preach together, rather than separately. Members of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community will also be welcomed.

Ates, a feminist, peace activist, and lawyer, said she felt it was "ultimately irresponsible" for a progressive Muslim woman like herself to simply complain about conservative Islamic organizations, rather than start her own mosque. She admitted she received some "very violent and obscene" threats for opening the liberal mosque, which prompted her to request police protection.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Israeli Policewoman Stabbed Dead in Jerusalem; Old City Crowded with Muslims during Ramadan

Israeli police shot dead three Palestinians today (June 16, 2017) after a deadly knife attack outside the Old City of Jerusalem, in which a policewoman died, according to the BBC website.

Two of the Palestinians attacked police officers with guns and knives while the third stabbed the policewoman, police say.

The Old City has been crowded currently with tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The dead policewoman has been identified as Hadas Malka, 23 years old.

Trump Briefs New Cuba Policy in Miami Speech; Limits US Travel,Business to Help End Tyranny

President Donald Trump told cheering Cuban-Americans in Miami, Florida today (June 16, 2017) that his new restrictions on U.S. travel to and business dealings with Cuba will help bring down the communist regime that has oppressed its people for more than a half-century, according to the USA Today website.

"With God's help, a free Cuba is what we will soon achieve," Trump said in unveiling plans that reverse some of the revamped Cuba policies made by predecessor, President Barack Obama.

The current Cuban regime has been in place since 1959 and weathered a U.S. economic embargo from 1962 to last year, when most of the restrictions were lifted.

While banning individual self-directed travel to Cuba, trips for specific educational, government, religious, and social purposes will still be permitted. Also, the two nations will still have opened embassies in their capital cities, as they will retain diplomatic relations.

Israeli PM Honors Greek Jews Lost in Holocaust; Leads Holocaust Museum Ceremony in Salonika

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday honored the Greek Jewish community lost during the Holocaust at the dedication of a site to build a Holocaust museum in Salonika, Greece's second largest city, the Times of Israel website reports today (June 16, 2017).

Netanyahu, who is in Greece for a tripartite summit with that country and Cyprus, attended the dedication with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, as well as the son and daughter of Moshe Ha-Elion, 93, a Greek Holocaust survivor who this year lit a torch at the national ceremony for Holocaust memorial day.

Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife, Sarah, praised Israeli ties with Greece and Cyprus, calling the three countries "the real democracies in the Mediterranean basin."

The countries signed several joint statements, including dealing with energy and cultural exchanges, during the two days of meetings.