Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pregnant Mother Gets 10 Months for Being AWOL; Went to Canada in 2006 to Avoid Mil. Duty in Iraq

Private First Class Kimberly Rivera -- a conscientious objector and pregnant mother of four children -- was sentenced to military prison yesterday (April 29, 2013) for refusing to serve in the Iraq War, according to the Democracy Now website.

Rivera, 30, was on a two-week leave from the Army in December 2006 when she decided she would not return to Iraq for a second term of duty. Unfortunately, the U.S. military does not allow a person to leave the service before his or her enlistment date ends.

Seeking asylum in Canada, Rivera and her family fled to Toronto -- thus becoming AWOL (absent without official leave) from the service -- in February 2007, and lived there until their deportation to the United States last year.

On April 29, 2013, a military court sentenced her to 10 months behind bars -- effective immediately -- and she received a bad conduct discharge. Her fifth child is due in December. Kimberly's husband, Mario Rivera, is now the primary caretaker of their four young children.

Obama: Homeschooling Is Not a Right of Parents; Seeks to Usurp Right Americans Had for Centuries

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently shocked a plethora of Americans when he said that "homeschooling is not a parent's right," the Charisma News website reports today (April 30, 2013).

Nations -- like Germany and Sweden -- have shown that when governments take away homeschooling rights, it's a prelude to no parental rights. Most homeschoolers in America have been left alone by the government for centuries.

The Romeike family came to the United States from Germany five years ago to homeschool their children in freedom, because they were opposed to the anti-Christian teachings that are common in the German schools. A federal judge in the U.S. granted the family asylum.

But now the Obama administration is trying to deport them, arguing that homeschooling is not a parental right. The Romeike family case is currently before a federal appeals court.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tsarnaev Family Received Over $100K in Benefits; Amount of Taxpayer Funds Granted Was Stunning

The Tsarnaev family -- the two suspected terrorist brothers and their parents -- benefited from more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance ranging from cash and food stamps to Section 8 housing from 2002 to 2012, the Boston Herald website reports exclusively tonight (April 29, 2013).

"The breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning," said a person with knowledge of documents handed over to a legislative committee today.

The state of Massachusetts has handed over more than 500 documents to the 11-member House Post Audit and Oversight Committee, which today met for the first time and plans to call in officials from the Department of Transitional Assistance to testify.

"I can assure members of the public that this committee will actively review every single piece of information we can find because clearly the public has a substantial right to know what benefits, if any, this family or individuals accused of some horrific crimes were receiving," said state Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick), the committee's chairman.

Greek Parliament Axes 15,500 Civil Service Jobs; Cuts Required for Greece to Get $11.5B in Loans

The Greek parliament passed a bill yesterday (April 28, 2013), which will see up to 15,500 public-sector workers laid off by 2015. The job cuts are among conditions set by the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return for 8.8 billion euros in emergency loans, according to the France 24 website.

The bill in Parliament -- which passed on a 168-123 vote -- will allow for Greece's first civil service layoffs in more than a century.

About 2,000 civil servants will be laid off by the end of May, with another 2,000 following by the end of the year, and a further 11,500 by the end of 2014 for a total of 15,500.

The legislation is the latest wave of Greece's draconian austerity program. Greece agreed this month with its bailout rescue lenders -- the EU and the IMF -- to implement the measures as a condition to receive new emergency loans worth 8.8 billion euros ($11.5 billion).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Man Stabs 4 Choir Members at Cath. Mass Today; Did It at St. Jude Thaddeus Church in Albuquerque

Police say a knife-wielding man ran into an Albuquerque, New Mexico Catholic Church around noon today (April 28, 2013), jumping pews before stabbing four choir members, according to the New York Daily News website.

He yelled "fake preacher!" as he started his stabbing spree, witnesses said.

Several parishioners jumped on and held down the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Lawrence Capener, an Albuquerque police spokeswoman told the New York Daily News.

The four victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Officer Tasia Martinez said. The suspect is not a member of St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church on the city's west side, where the stabbings occurred.  He faces numerous felony charges, Martinez added.

KY Woman Defies Cath. Church, Ordained a Priest; Rosemarie Smead to Start Her Own Congregation

In an emotional ceremony filled with tears and applause, a 70-year-old Louisville, Kentucky woman was ordained a priest yesterday, as part of a dissident group operating outside of official Roman Catholic Church authority, the Reuters website reports today (April 28, 2013).

Rosemarie Smead is one of about 150 women around the world who have decided to defy the Roman Catholic Church by not waiting for it to lift its ban on women priests, but to be ordained and start their own congregations.

In an interview before the ceremony, Smead said she is not worried about being excommunicated from the Catholic Church -- the fate of the other women ordained outside of Vatican law.

"It has no sting for me," said Smead, a petite gray-haired former Carmelite nun. She added, "It is a Medieval bullying stick the bishops used to keep control over people and keep the voices of women silent. I am way beyond letting octogenarian men tell us how to live our lives."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Man Wearing Burqa Robs a Md.Liquor Store; Police Arrest Him After His SUV Slams a Car

A burqa-wearing man -- pretending to be a woman -- is in police custody after an armed robbery and dramatic police chase yesterday afternoon, the Creeping Sharia website reports today (April 27, 2013).

Police say around 3 p.m. Harford County Sheriff's deputies were called to Third Base Liquors on South Fountain Green Road in Bel Air for a report of a robbery. When officers arrived witnesses told them a man wearing a burqa covering his entire face -- except for his eyes -- entered the store and asked the clerk about beer.

Police say the man altered his voice to sound like a woman and chose a case of beer. As the clerk leaned over to pick up the beer, the fake lady flashed a gun and announced a holdup. The clerk gave the burqa-wearing female impersonator an undisclosed amount of cash and the robber left the store and jumped into a white SUV.

A short time later, police saw the SUV in Edgewood and attempted to stop it. As the Divine wannabe fled west on Route 40, he clipped a car and lost control. The man was critically injured and taken to Shock Trauma for treatment. Police have not yet identified the driver.

Russia Taking No Chances on Muslim Terrorism; Arrests 140 Suspected Islam Radicals in Moscow

Some 140 suspected Islamic extremists were arrested by Russian authorities yesterday in a raid on a place of worship in southern Moscow, the Big News Network website reports today (April 27, 2013).

More than 30 of those arrested in Dar Ul-Arham were foreign nationals.

Members of Russia's Federal Security Service and police conducted the raid.

Suspected Muslim radicals -- some from Russia's predominantly Muslim-populated North Caucasus region -- have visited the site in the past.

Friday, April 26, 2013

MI Mother Calls Anne Frank Diary "Pornographic;" Slaps School District with Lawsuit for Requiring It

Anne Frank's "The Diary of a Young Girl" is required reading in many schools, and a mother in Northville, Michigan has filed a formal complaint over it, the Inquisitr website reports today (April 26, 2013).

Gail Horalek has filed a formal complaint against her daughter's school district over the Anne Frank book, because it contains passages she believes are too graphic for seventh graders.

The unedited version of the diary -- which was published in 1996 -- describes Frank's discovery of her own genitalia in some detail, which Horalek considers "pornographic."

She believes that the Meads Mill Middle School -- which her daughter attends -- should have asked parents for permission before assigning the book. "The problem is the school is giving the seventh graders inappropriate material and not explaining it to the parents," she told the Northville Patch newspaper.

Taliban Causes Afghan Bus Crash That Kills 45; Bus Crashed into Truck Demolished by Taliban

A bus collided today (April 26, 2013) with the wreckage of a truck that had been attacked by Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan, killing 45 people aboard the bus in a fiery crash, according to the News Daily website.

The battered oil tanker had been left in the middle of a narrow road near the border of Kandahar and Helmand provinces for several days after insurgents attacked it. Police considered the area too dangerous to enter, officials said.

Before sunrise today, the bus smashed into the truck and burst into flames, said Abdul Razaq, the provincial police chief of Kandahar.

Police, soldiers, and ambulances rushed to the crash site in a desolate area. Many of the victims were burned beyond recognition, Razaq said.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

U.S.: Syria Used Chemical Weapons on Its Rebels; Obama Said He'd Send Troops If It Used Chemicals

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons several times in the two-year civil war ravaging Syria, the White House and Pentagon chief announced today (April 25, 2013), according to the Yahoo News website.

But officials at the White House said they want more time to examine the evidence and confirm beyond doubt the Assad regime crossed the all-important "red line" by using chemical weapons.

The accusation could have serious implications for U.S. policies toward Syria, and lawmakers from both parties argued today that additional action must be taken against Syria. President Obama had warned Syria over a year ago that if it used chemical weapons in its civil war, the U.S. would send troops to Syria to support the rebels.

"The U.S. intelligence community assesses with some degree of varying confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin," Hagel said. "In talking to our intelligence people over the last couple of hours, they have a reasonable amount of confidence that some amount of chemical weapons was used," Hagel added.

US Rips UN Officer Who Defended Boston Terror; Said Bombings a Result of US Favoritism of Israel

Ambassador Susan Rice -- who represents the U.S. at the United Nations -- has demanded the dismissal of Richard Falk, a top UN official who recently sought to justify the deadly Boston Marathon bombings as a reaction to American policy towards the Middle East, the Spero Forum website reports today (April 25, 2013).

Serving as the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, Falk implied that the bombings were the wages of an American "geopolitical fantasy of global domination," as well as America's unyielding alliance with the state of Israel.

"As long a Tel Aviv has the compliant ear of the American political establishment, those who wish for peace and justice in the world should not rest easy," Falk wrote in an article published in Foreign Policy Journal.

Abraham Foxman -- executive director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) -- denounced Falk, saying in a statement: "His outrageous assertion that the Boston terror attack can be traced to U.S. and Israeli policy is not surprising, given his notorious record of anti-Israel and anti-American propaganda."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Two Muslims Planned to Derail a Train in Canada; One Says Charges Faulty, Not Based on Holy Book

One of two Muslim men accused in an alleged al Qaeda-backed plan to derail a passenger train in Canada appeared in court today (April 24, 2013) and disputed the authority of Canadian law to judge him, saying the criminal code was not a holy book, according to the Reuters website.

Chiheb Esseghaier -- a Tunisian-born doctoral student -- faces charges that include conspiracy to murder and working with a terrorist group.

He and another suspect, Raed Jaser, are charged with plotting to derail a passenger train, and U.S. security sources say they sought to attack at a bridge near the American-Canadian border. The two were arrested on April 22 after a joint Canadian-U.S. investigation.

In a brief hearing today where he was ordered back into custody, Esseghaier, 30, said the allegations against him are based on laws that are unreliable because they are not the work of God. "All of these conclusions were taken out based on the criminal code," he told a Toronto court. "The criminal code is not a holy book."

Mosque of Marathon Bombers Has Jihad Ties; Some of Its Members Investigated for Terrorism

The mosque attended by the two brothers accused in the Boston Marathon bombing has been associated with several other terrorist suspects, has invited radical speakers to a sister mosque in Boston, and is affiliated with a Muslim group that critics say nurses grievances that can lead to extremism, the Jihad Watch website reports today (April 24, 2013).

Several people who attended the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, Massachusetts have been investigated for Islamic terrorism, including a conviction of the mosque's first president, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, in connection with an assassination plot against a Saudi prince.

And its sister mosque in Boston -- known as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center -- has invited guests who have defended terror suspects. One of its imams, Abdullah Faaruuq, lost his job as the chaplain and religious adviser of the Muslim Society at Northeastern University last year, because a video shows him supporting convicted Muslim terrorists in the United States.

Americans for Peace and Tolerance -- an interfaith group that has investigated the mosques -- says the Cambridge and Boston mosques teach a brand of Islamic thought that encourages grievances against the West, distrust of law enforcement, and opposition to Western forms of government, dress and social values.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Car Bomb Ruins Half of French Embassy in Libya; Govt. Calls It an Act of Terror by Muslim Militants

A car bomb destroyed about half of the French Embassy in Libya early today (April 23, 2013) in the most significant attack against a Western interest in the country since the killing last September of the American ambassador, Christopher Stevens, according to the New York Times website.

Two guards were injured in the explosion -- one critically -- but most of the employees had not yet arrived, Libyan and French officials said.

The attack was a new blow to the transitional government's hopes to establish an improved sense of public security after the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi nearly two years ago. It was the largest blast in Tripoli since the end of his rule, one of the largest in a string of attacks on diplomatic missions, and the first major one in the capital.

Both the French and Libyan governments labeled the explosion an act of terror, and the pattern of attacks on Western diplomatic missions indicated the responsibility of Islamist militants. Many Libyan militants have vowed to fight what they see as a foreign crusade to remake their country as a Western-style liberal democracy instead of an Islamic state. They also resent the Western powers for their recent military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the history of European colonialism in most of Africa.

Two Kidnapped Orthodox Bishops Freed in Syria; Nabbed While on Humanitarian Work In Aleppo

Two Syrian bishops -- who were kidnapped by gunmen yesterday while carrying out humanitarian work in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo -- have been released, the Al Jazeera website reports today (April 23, 2013).

Greek Orthodox Bishop Tony Yazigi said the kidnapped bishops -- Bishop Boulos Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church and Bishop John Ibrahim of the Assyrian Orthodox Church -- were released today and arrived safely in the city of Aleppo.

It was not immediately clear who kidnapped the men. Syrian state media reported that the two bishops were seized by rebels while they were on a humanitarian mission, and their driver was killed.

But the opposition accused the regime of being behind the abduction, which was condemned by Pope Francis and the Russian Orthodox Church. The kidnapping was a byproduct of the two-year civil war between rebels and Syrians loyal to President Assad. More than 70,000 Syrians have been killed since the conflict began in March 2011.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kerry Asks Turkey to Open Halki Orth.Seminary; Seminary on Island Off Istanbul Closed in 1971

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Turkey yesterday to reopen a Greek Orthodox theological school on an island off the coast of Istanbul that Turkey has kept closed since 1971, the Ekathimerini (Greek) website reports today (April 22, 2013).

"It is our hope that the Halki seminary will open," Kerry said during a press conference in Istanbul after two days of talks on the Syrian crisis and the Mideast peace process. The United States and the European Union (EU) -- which Turkey desperately seeks to join -- have been urging Turkey to reopen the Halki seminary for several years, but Turkey has pigheadedly refused to do so.

Kerry said he discussed religious freedom in overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey and the possible reopening of the theological school in talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Turkey promised in the past that it would reopen the Halki seminary, but it never carried out its promise.

Kerry also met yesterday with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew -- the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians -- who told the U.S. Secretary of State, "Over the last few months and years, there has been progress in the government's behavior towards the Patriarchate and more generally towards minorities." He also said the reopening of the Halki seminary is a great need for the Patriarchate's present and future.

Many Afghan Schoolgirls Feared Sick by Poison; Taliban Opposes Girls' Ed, Seeks to Terrify Them

As many as 74 schoolgirls in Afghanistan's far north fell sick yesterday after smelling gas, and were being examined for possible poisoning, the Reuters website reports today (April 22, 2013).

Local officials said the girls became ill after smelling gas at their school, Bibi Maryam, in Takhar province's capital, Taluqan. The city is about 250 kilometers north of the country's capital, Kabul.

The Takhar governor's spokesman, Sulaiman Moradi, blamed "enemies of the government and the country" for the mass illness and said the aim was to stop girls from going to school. The Taliban -- which is opposed to girls being educated -- has conducted similar activities in the past, in an effort to convince girls to quit school.

The girls were taken to the provincial hospital and most were released after being treated, although several remained in a critical condition last night, the head of the hospital, Dr. Jamil Frotan, said.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Head of UGCC Meets with Patriarch Bartholomew; Honors 1025th Anniv. of Rus-Ukraine Christianity

During a trip organized in the context of the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of Baptism of Rus-Ukraine, the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) and Head of the Department of Foreign Relations of UGCC, Bishop Borys Gudziak, met with Patriarch Bartholomew I in his residence in Istanbul on April 20, the Religious Information Service of Ukraine website reports today (April 21, 2013).

"In my opinion, this visit is very important and it was made on our initiative. For the Church of the ancient Constantinople is the Mother Church of all the Christians of the Kyivan tradition who received the faith in the Baptism of the holy Prince Volodymyr Equal-to-the Apostles," commented the Head of the UGCC.

He stressed that the Ecumenical Patriarch today is an important moral authority both in the Orthodox world and in the Christian world in general.

The UGCC Head assured the Ecumenical Patriarch of the readiness to develop the relations with the Church of Constantinople. In particular, he spoke about the prospects of renewal of the Kyiv Study Group which included theologians and scholars of the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches of USA and Canada and of the UGCC.

COMMENTARY: Steps the U.S. Must Take to Prevent Terrorism from Occurring in Our Nation

On April 15, 2013, Americans witnessed an infamous day of terror, as three Americans were killed and more than 175 others were seriously wounded -- many even lost their legs -- by two pressure-cooker bombs that exploded within seconds of each other near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon.

Two Muslim brothers -- one aged 26 and the other 19 -- are believed to have placed bags containing the bombs near the Marathon finish line, in an effort to kill and wound as many Americans as possible. The 26-year-old brother was killed in a battle with police, while the 19-year-old is in serious condition under heavy guard at a Boston hospital.

The FBI discovered that the brothers had placed the bombs near the huge crowd, after reviewing surveillance videotapes of department stores, as well as a plethora of photos and videotapes taken by individuals at the Marathon.

The mind-boggling question that many Americans are now asking is, "Why would these two young men (or more precisely vicious animals) want to kill and maim countless innocent Americans who did nothing to them to deserve such a savage act?" The answer can be found in their radical religious philosophy.

These men were born in Chechnya -- a predominantly Islamic province located in the Caucasus Mountains area of Russia. Many Chechens have been killed by Russians during the past two decades, as they have conducted some violent riots -- including one that killed many children at a school -- in seeking independence for Chechnya.

Moreover, many Chechens tend to be jihadists; that is, radical Muslims who are constantly "at war" with Christians, Jews, and all other non-Muslims. It is primarily these jihadists -- and not all Muslims -- who are terrorists. Jihad often leads to a person's obsession with religion, where Islam becomes the most important phenomenon in a person's life that must always and unconditionally be supported -- even if that means a person will have to lose his life in doing so.

That is why these two brothers carried out their heartless terrorist acts, and have no sympathy whatsoever for those they killed or maimed. In fact, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis believes they were planning to carry out more acts of terror, based on the huge supply of explosives found in their Cambridge apartment. Police and federal authorities also believe that the brothers were part of a larger terrorist cell, and are continuing their investigation as they search for additional terrorists.

But just how can we prevent such terrorist acts from occurring in our nation? We believe that three major steps must be followed to prevent terrorism.

First of all, the U.S. must better screen foreigners it allows to enter our nation, thus ensuring that they have no jihad or anti-American background.

Secondly, Americans must constantly be vigilant of any suspicious activities -- such as a person dropping off a bag and leaving the area --  and anti-American behavior, and report them to police and federal authorities.

Thirdly, the FBI -- as well as other federal security personnel -- must scrutinize the activities of jihadists and other anti-Americans who live in our country.

The 26-year-old Marathon bomber had been interviewed by the FBI in 2011 as a result of a tip from Russia that he was suspected of being a jihadist when he lived in Chechnya; however, the FBI did not find any incriminating information about him. This scenario conveys why the activities of jihadists -- or even suspected jihadists -- need to be scrutinized by federal authorities as long as they live in the United States, if terrorist activity is indeed to be prevented.

Hopefully, our government's use of the above three steps will prevent terrorism from occurring in our great nation.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rebel Cath. Group Begins Criticism of New Pope; SSPX Rips Francis' "Man-Centered Philanthropy"

A rebel Catholic group -- which was at the heart of major controversies that plagued former Pope Benedict -- has begun criticizing his successor, Pope Francis, for the popular approach he has taken since his election last month, the Worldwide Religious News website reports today (April 20, 2013).

In a letter to supporters this week, the head of the ultra-traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) asked whether the new pontiff's focus on serving people could be only "man-centered philanthropy" rather than true religious leadership.

Bishop Bernard Fellay's sharp criticisms of the Vatican attracted attention during Benedict's papacy because the now-retired head of the Roman Catholic Church wanted to reintegrate the once-excommunicated group fully into the Roman fold.

Francis -- the former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio -- has upset many Catholic traditionalists by avoiding Vatican pomp, presenting himself as a humble servant of the poor, and showing little interest in returning to centuries-old traditions.

Woman Suicide Bomber Kills Five in Pakistan; Explodes Outside Hospital Near Afghan Border

A woman suicide bomber blew herself up outside a hospital in Pakistan's northwest tribal region today (April 20, 2013), killing five people and injuring four others, according to the Big News Network website.

The bomber detonated her explosive-laden jacket at the main entrance of the District Hospital in Bajaur near the Pakistan border with Afghanistan.

The blast damaged many vehicles in the area.

Witnesses said the woman wearing a veil tried to enter the hospital, but security personnel at the gate asked her for checking. That's when she blew herself up.

Friday, April 19, 2013

FBI Quizzed Older Marathon Bomber 2 Yrs. Ago; Due to Russia Warning US of Muslim Radicalism

The FBI admitted today (April 19, 2013) they interviewed the now-deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev two years ago, but failed to find any incriminating information about him, according to the CBS News website.

The FBI interviewed Tsarnaev -- the elder brother of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who was arrested in Watertown, Massachusetts tonight -- at the request of Russia to see if he had any extremist ties, but failed to find any linkage.

CBS News correspondent John Miller reports it is likely Russia asked the U.S. to have the elder Tsarnaev questioned because of suspected ties to Muslim extremists in the predominantly Islamic province of Chechnya in Russia.

Although the FBI initially denied contacting Tsarnaev, the brothers' mother -- who lives in Chechnya with the brothers' father --  said they had indeed contacted her older son in an interview with "Russia Today." She also said her older son got involved in "religious politics" about five years ago, and may have been involved in "jihad" (a radical segment of Islam that is opposed to all other religions).

EU Aids Serbia, Kosovo Reach Historic Agreement; Pact Partitions Areas for Kosovo Albanians, Serbs

Serbia and its former province of Kosovo struck an historic deal today (April 19, 2013) to settle their fraught relations, opening the door to European Union (EU) membership talks for Belgrade in a milestone for the region's recovery from the collapse of Yugoslavia, according to the Reuters website.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the prime ministers of both sides had initialed an agreement during talks in Brussels, capping six months of delicate negotiations after over a decade of deep animosity since Kosovo broke away in war.

"It's very important that now what we are seeing is a step away from the past and for both of them a step closer to Europe," Ashton told reporters.

Serbian officials said the deal remained subject to approval by "state bodies" back in Belgrade. "We will inform the EU by letter on Monday whether we accept the deal or not," Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic told reporters. EU diplomats said there was very little chance of Serbia reversing course.

The pact tackles the ethnic partition of Kosovo between its Albanian majority and a small Belgrade-backed pocket of some 50,000 Serbs in the north -- a schism that has dogged regional stability since Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 2008.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

SUNY Prof. Is Arrested for Screaming Profanities; Said She Could Swear by "My 1st Amend. Rights"

A professor at SUNY (State University of New York) Buffalo has been arrested for repeatedly screaming profanities at students who were presenting a pro-life display on campus, calling the photographs "profane," the Christian News website reports today (April 18, 2013).

Laura Curry -- who teaches a humanities course at the university -- began to argue with campus police officers when they told her to watch her language. She was taking issue with a display by the campus group UB Students for Life, which demonstrated similarities between human rights abuses throughout history -- such as slavery and racism -- with the murder of unborn children.

"Where does it say I can't use the f--- word in public?" Curry asked police. "I can swear because that's part of my vocabulary. That's part of my First Amendment rights."

She proceeded to repeat several times that she was not doing anything wrong, but it was the presentation that was rather obscene. When she swore again, officers placed her under arrest. Officials at SUNY Buffalo have confirmed that Curry is now facing criminal charges.

Atheists Seek to End MS Annual Prayer Breakfast; Hattiesburg Annual Prayer Breakfast Will Be Held

In the latest assault on religious freedom, atheists in Hattiesburg, Mississippi are attempting to end an annual prayer breakfast, the Charisma News website reports today (April 18, 2013).

Alliance Defending Freedom has sent a letter to Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree to encourage him to continue the Mayor's Annual Prayer Breakfast, despite an atheist group's false claims that the event is unconstitutional.

"Public officials should be able to recognize public prayer activities just as America's founders did," said Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks. "The mayor need not give in to the demands of activist groups that twist the true meaning of the First Amendment. He and the town of Hattiesburg are free to continue to participate in this long-revered American tradition."

The Mayor's Annual Prayer Breakfast -- set for May 2 -- coincides with the National Day of Prayer, a yearly event in which national, state, and local leaders of all faiths are invited to pray for the nation. The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress and was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Survey: Most Polish H.S. Pupils Are Anti-Semitic; Most Would Be Unhappy to Learn Lover Is Jewish

A shocking recent survey shows that most Polish high school pupils are openly anti-Semitic, the Austrian Times website reports today (April 17, 2013).

The study -- carried out at four schools in Poland's capital of Warsaw -- reveals that more than 60 percent of those asked would be "unhappy" if they discovered their boyfriend or girlfriend is Jewish.

And one in four said they thought the city's Jewish ghetto -- where World War II German occupiers sealed Jewish occupants into a controlled zone -- was "a success."

Warsaw's Jewish leaders commissioned the poll to mark the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, where hundreds of armed ghetto dwellers rose up against Nazi forces. "This is sad, shocking news," said one Jewish community leader.

New Zealand's Parliament Legalizes Gay Marriage; Is 13th Country to Do So, First in Asia-Pacific Area

New Zealand became the 13th nation in the world -- and the first in the Asia-Pacific region -- to legalize gay marriage after the country's Parliament approved a bill yesterday, with a 77-44 vote, The Daily Beast website reports today (April 17, 2013).

Cheers erupted in the hall as the votes were counted after two hours of debate, which featured one legislator talking about her daughter's first formal with her girlfriend.

"Like countless other young women, she hopes for love, marriage, children, and a house with a white picket fence," Majo Mathers said to applause.

One member of Parliament -- who voted against the bill -- said he had become more open to gay marriage since being elected, but added that "our society is probably more divided than this House is on this issue."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pope Expresses His Grief Over Boston Bombings; Prays Bostonians Unite to Combat Evil with Good

Pope Francis, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, has sent a telegram to Cardinal Sean O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, in response to the attack that took place yesterday afternoon in the city during its annual marathon, causing three deaths and leaving more than 175 people injured, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (April 16, 2013).

"Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence perpetrated last evening in Boston, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes me to assure you of his sympathy and closeness in prayer.

"In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God's peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering, and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response.

"At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good, working together to build an ever more just, free, and secure society for generations yet to come."

EU Official Urges Greece Ban Golden Dawn Party; Says Neo-Nazi Party Opposes Democracy in Greece

A top European Union (EU) official said today (April 16, 2013) that it would behoove Greece to ban its ultra right-wing Golden Dawn Party, according to the Global Post website.

The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks said in a report that Greece had failed to control the spread of violence committed by followers of the fascist party.

"A number of attacks have been linked to members or supporters, including parliamentarians, of the neo-Nazi political party 'Golden Dawn'" the report read.

It went on to say, "What is also particularly worrying is that from statements made by the party's leadership and ideological documents available on its official website, it is clear that 'Golden Dawn' is a party that is against parliamentary democracy, and treats it with contempt. This is unfortunate, since Greece is the birthplace of democracy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

India Carries Out "One-Month Wives" Sex Tours; Muslim Men Pay Parents for Borrowing Daughters

A 17-year-old girl has exposed the scale of Islamic sex tourism in India, where Muslim men from the Middle East and Africa are buying "one-month wives" for sex, the Telegraph (British) website reports today (April 15, 2013).

Campaigners for Muslim women's rights said while short term "contract marriages" are illegal in India and forbidden in Islam, they are increasing in Hyderabad in southern India, where wealthy foreigners, local agents, and Qazis -- government-appointed Muslim priests -- are exploiting poverty among the city's Muslim families.

The victim, Nausheen Tobassum, revealed the scale of the problem when she escaped from her home last month after her parents pressured her to consummate a forced marriage to a middle-aged Sudanese man who had paid around 1200 pounds for her to be his "wife" for four weeks.

She told police she had been taken by her aunt to a hotel where she and three other teenage girls were introduced to a Sudanese oil company executive. The "groom," Usama Ibrahim Mohammed, 44, and married with two children in Khartoum, later arrived at her home where a Qazi performed a wedding ceremony.

Vatican: Pope Backs Restraint on US Nuns' Ideas; Opposed to Feminist Themes against Cath. Faith

The Vatican said today (April 15, 2013) that Pope Francis supports the Holy See's crackdown on the largest umbrella group of U.S. nuns, thus dimming hopes that a Jesuit pope -- whose emphasis on the poor mirrored the nuns' own social outreach -- would take a different approach than his predecessor, according to the Associated Press website.

The Vatican last year imposed an overhaul of the "Leadership Conference of Women Religious" after determining the sisters took positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." Investigators praised the nuns' humanitarian work, but accused them of ignoring critical issues, including fighting abortion.

Today, the heads of the conference met with the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, who is in charge of the crackdown. It was their first meeting since Mueller was appointed in July.

In a statement, Mueller's office said he told the sisters that he had discussed the matter recently with Francis and that the pope had "reaffirmed the findings of the assessment and the program of reform."  The conference -- for its part -- said the talks were "open and frank," and noted that Mueller had informed the nuns of Pope Francis' decision.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Justin Bieber Ripped for Note in Anne Frank Book; Said He Hoped She Would Have Been a "Belieber"

Teen pop star Justin Bieber is taking much criticism after the Anne Frank House reported he visited the Amsterdam museum and wrote in the guest book that he hoped the young Holocaust victim would have been a "belieber" -- the popular term for his fans -- the TVNZ (New Zealand) website reports today (April 14, 2013).

A post on Saturday (April 13) on the Facebook page of the museum said Bieber had visited the previous night and stayed over an hour, along with a group of friends and guards as fans waited outside to "see a glimpse of him."

"In our guestbook he wrote: 'Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber,'" the museum said in the Facebook post.

A large share of the hundreds of commentators on the museum's Facebook post reacted negatively to Bieber's use of the word "belieber." "Anne Frank a belieber? That is by far one of the most self-serving things I've ever read, like ever," Facebook user Tania Saez Pinto wrote.

Churches Reject a Sculpture of a Homeless Jesus; Blanketed Jesus Is Housed on Seminary Campus

A new sculpture of Jesus looks a lot like a homeless person lying on a bench -- which, ironically, is why it had trouble finding a home -- the Newser website reports today (April 14, 2013).

Artist Timothy Schmalz carved Jesus huddling under a blanket so that "marginalized" people could relate to Him. After all, Jesus was  portrayed as homeless.

But two prominent Catholic churches still passed on his work. "It was very upsetting because the rectors liked it, but when it got to the administration, people thought it might be too controversial or vague," says Schmalz.

The sculpture ultimately found a home in a downtown area of Toronto outside a Jesuit theological school.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ousted NYC Gay Parishioner Seeks Reinstatement; Diocese: Ministerial Services Demand Cath. Dogma

A parishioner, who was removed from volunteer duties at a Roman Catholic Church on New York's Long Island after he married another man, is demanding reinstatement, the Christian Broadcast Network website reports today (April 13, 2013).

Nicholas Coppola said he'll deliver petitions signed by more than 18,000 supporters to the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Coppola -- who has been openly gay for years -- has been a Eucharistic minister, religion teacher, and visitor for home-bound sick.  Last October, he married his partner under New York's same-sex marriage law.

The diocese says anyone in public ministerial positions must take public positions consistent with Catholic teachings.

Texas Man Charged with Making Terrorist Threat; Former JP Eric Williams Being Held on $1M Bond

A former Kaufman County, Texas justice of the peace was charged with making a "terroristic threat" today (April 13, 2013), after authorities searched his home as part of the ongoing investigation into the killings of two prosecutors in the county, according to the ABC News website.

Eric Williams, 46, of Kaufman, was booked into the Kaufman County Jail this morning. His bond was set at one million dollars.

The search was executed after the fatal shooting of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, whose bodies were found in their Forney, Texas home on March 30. In January, Assistant district Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned outside the county courthouse.

Williams was not named a suspect in the deaths of the Kaufman County officials. But the district attorney's office prosecuted and convicted Williams last year for two counts of felony theft, which resulted in him losing his justice of the peace position.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Albany High Teacher Is Facing Disciplinary Action; Had Students Write Theme on "Why Jews Are Evil"

A tenth grade English teacher at Albany (New York) High School faces disciplinary action -- including termination -- the New York Times website reports today (April 12, 2013), for having his students write a composition on the topic "How do I convince my teacher that I think Jews are evil?"

That question was posed to about 75 students this week by the unidentified teacher as a "persuasive writing" exercise. The students were instructed to imagine that their teacher was a Nazi and to construct an argument that Jews were "the source of our problems," using historical propaganda and traditional high school essay structure.

"Your essay must be five paragraphs long, with an introduction, three body paragraphs containing your strongest arguments, and a conclusion," the assignment read. "You do not have a choice in your position: You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!"

Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, superintendent of Albany's schools, said, "That's not the assignment that any school district, and certainly not mine, is going to tolerate." Dr. Vanden Wyngaard -- who met with Jewish leaders in Albany and made a public apology today -- said the assignment was apparently an attempt to link the English class with a history lesson on the Holocaust.

France's Legislature Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage; New Law Is Expected to Go Into Effect by Summer

The French Senate voted today (April 12, 2013) to legalize same-sex marriage in France, putting a landmark bill on track to become law by summer, according to the Associated Press website. France's lower legislative branch had already voted in favor of same-sex marriage.

The vote in the upper house of Parliament -- led by President Francois Hollande's Socialists -- comes despite boisterous protests. Opponents -- mostly conservatives and fervent Roman Catholics -- had sought to defend traditional marriage.

France's justice minister -- one of the bill's loudest supporters -- said the reform recognizes that many children are already living with same-sex parents and deserve the same protections afforded children of opposite-sex parents.

"These are children that scrape their knees, eat too much candy, don't like broccoli, drive you crazy... we protect them," Christine Taubira told senators following the vote. The justice minister added the reform will "move our institutions towards even more freedom, equality, and personal respect."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

WA Florist Sued for Refusing to Serve Gay Couple; Won't Do Wedding Due to Her Rapport with Jesus

A Washington state florist is being sued for refusing to supply flowers for a same-sex wedding, the Inquisitr website reports today (April 11, 2013).

Barronelle Stutzman -- who owns Arlene's Flower Shop in Richland, Washington -- was approached by a gay man who wanted her to supply flowers for his upcoming wedding.

"He said he decided to get married, and before he got through I grabbed his hand and said,'I am sorry. I can't do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ,'" Stutzman said. "We hugged each other and he left, and I assumed that was the end of the story." It wasn't, as she is being sued for discrimination.

Stutzman said she believes she has the right to refuse service -- even though the state says she is not allowed to. Under Washington state law, sexual orientation is a protected class. The state's attorney general Bob Ferguson has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Stutzman.

France's Chief Rabbi Resigns Due to Two Scandals; Gilles Bernheim Used Plagiarism, Lied on Resume

Faced with heavy pressure from France's Jewish community to resign, French Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim announced today (April 11, 2013) that he was stepping down from his post amid two scandals, according to the Times of Israel website.

Bernheim, 60, announced his decision during an emergency meeting with the Consistoire, the Jewish religious service body that employs him.

Amid revelations that he committed plagiarism in books he wrote and used unearned academic titles on his resume, Bernheim had acknowledged on April 9 of making "serious mistakes."

Pending new elections, Paris Chief Rabbi Michel Guggenheim and rabbinic educator Olivier Kaufmann will jointly hold the chief rabbi post for an interim period, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Internet Service Says Porn Being Seen at Vatican; Adult Film Stars Lea Lexis, Krissy Lynn Favorites

The Vatican -- home of the spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics -- has a new, spicy scandal on its hands: Someone living in the small city-state has been illegally downloading pornography on the Internet, the Salon website reports today (April 10, 2013).

According to a story in the New York Post, a file-sharing website used an anti-piracy service to examine the Vatican's download history and found that at least one resident of the Holy See has been illegally downloading porn.

While the Internet Protocol records don't reveal who is doing the viewing, they do show what is being viewed. Adult film stars Lea Lexis and Krissy Lynn and transgender actress Tiffany Starr are being viewed more than any other porn stars.

Not surprisingly, no one at the Vatican was willing to comment on its Internet porn viewing.

Pope Tawadros Rips Egypt Pres.on Church Attack; "Church Never Subjected to This in 2,000 Years"

Pope Tawadros II -- head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt -- yesterday accused Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a radical Muslim,  of negligence in his response to the recent deadly clashes outside Cairo's Coptic cathedral, the Jihad Watch website reports today (April 10, 2013).

Morsi had telephoned Tawadros after last Sunday's violence which saw crowds pelt mourners with stones after they emerged from a funeral service for Coptic Christians who were killed by Muslims. 

Shocking television images showed police fire tear gas at St. Mark's cathedral, which has long complained of discrimination and has been the target of frequent attacks by Muslims.

Pope Tawadros called on Egyptian authorities to take a strong position against such kinds of attacks. He even went so far as to assert: "This flagrant assault on a national symbol, the Egyptian church, has never been subjected to this in 2,000 years."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Russian Orth. Head:Feminism Is Very Dangerous; States a Woman Must Focus on Family, Not Work

The head of the thriving Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, said today (April 9, 2013) that feminism was a "very dangerous" phenomenon, offering an illusion of freedom to women who should focus on their families and children, according to the Reuters website.

Some three-quarters of Russians consider themselves Russian Orthodox Christians and Kirill has fostered increasingly close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin who has portrayed the church as the guardian of Russia's national values.

"I find very dangerous this phenomenon, which is called feminism, because feminist organizations proclaim a pseudo-freedom of women that should in the first place be manifested outside marriage and outside the family," Kirill said at a meeting of an Orthodox women's group.

"Man turns his sight outward, he should work, make money. While a woman is always focused inwards towards her children, her home. If this exceptionally important role of a woman is destroyed, everything will be destroyed as a consequence -- family and, if you wish, the homeland," Patriarch Kirill emphasized.

Poland Will Unveil Pope John Paul Statue on Sat.; Is the Tallest Statue in the World of Beloved Pope

Workers in Poland are putting the finishing touches on a new statue of the late Pope John Paul II that its backer is calling the tallest one of the pontiff in the world, the Huffington Post website reports today (April 9, 2013).

The 45.3-foot white fiberglass figure will tower over the southern Polish city of Czestochowa, home of the predominantly Catholic country's most important pilgrimage site, the Jasna Gora monastery.

Funded by a private investor and put on his land, the statue of the Polish-born pontiff shows him smiling and stretching his arms to the world. Today, workers are joining the pieces together and painting them before the official unveiling of the statue on Saturday (April 13) to be attended by church and government authorities.

Leszek Lyson -- who is funding the project -- called Pope John Paul "a great and good man who has done a lot for the world: Ended communism and opened borders in Europe, reached out to people in his pilgrimages around the world." Lyson added, "The statue should make everyone stop and think about life."

Monday, April 8, 2013

ACLU Seeks to Ban Bible Donations in KY Schools; Warns School Districts of Lawsuit Unless Rite Ends

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky sent a letter to 174 public school superintendents on April 4, citing the possibility of a lawsuit in the 2013-2014 academic school year if they continue to allow The Gideons International to distribute Bibles, the New Testament, and religious literature to students on public school campuses, the Christian Post website reports today (April 8, 2013).

In the letter accompanying the Open Records Act request, William Sharp -- the ACLU Kentucky staff attorney -- states that the distribution of religious literature on public school grounds during school hours violates federal law.

Sharp wrote... "the practice violates both federal and state constitutional guarantees barring governmental endorsement of religion, and it also impermissibly encroaches upon parents' prerogative to direct the religious upbringing of their children."

Michael Aldridge -- the executive director of the Kentucky ACLU -- said in a statement: "Directing the religious upbringing of one's own children is one of the most fundamental rights a parent can have. When government officials, including school officials, take it upon themselves to usurp that parental prerogative, they exceed their governmental authority and undermine religious liberty."

Report: Germany Owes Greece $211B from WW II; Greece Never Given Reparations for German Loans

Greece may have discovered a new way to solve its huge debt problems: Get Germany to pay it billions in decades-old war reparations, the Newser website reports today (April 8, 2013).

The Greek finance ministry commissioned a secret report that says Germany owes the country big time over World War II. Greek calculations point to some $211 billion, or 80 percent of Greece's GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

The 80-page, top-secret report emerged yesterday. "Greece never received any compensation ... for the loans it was forced to provide to Germany or for the damages it suffered during the war," To Vima (a Greek newspaper) reported.

The report came after researchers perused 190,000 pages of documents -- including court rulings and legal texts -- many of which had been kept in bags in the basements of government buildings.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Muslim Women Blast Femen Proteststs for Them; Call Topless Protests Women's Liberation Rubbish

The Ukrainian-based women's protest group Femen drew the anger of some Muslim women of their "International Topless Jihad Day," which was held on April 4 in several European capitals -- such as Berlin, Paris, and Kiev -- in order to support the rights of Muslim women, the Global Post website reports today (April 7, 2013).

"We Muslim women and those who stand with us, need to show Femen and their supporters, that their actions are counterproductive and we as Muslim women oppose them," wrote the group "Muslim Women Against Femen."

Thirteen members of the Muslim group -- which claims that Femen is Islamophobic and imperialist -- wrote about their objections to the Ukrainian group. Their statement says, in part: "We are proud Muslimahs, and we're sick of your colonial, racist rubbish disguised as 'women's liberation!'"

Inna Shevchenko -- Femen's leader -- responded to the anti-Femen group with a statement of her own. She wrote, in part: "You know, through all history of humanity, all slaves deny that they are slaves being scared to fight for freedom."

Anti-Semitic Incidents Rise Up 30 Percent in 2012; Vandalism of Jewish Cemeteries, Synagogues Soar

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) found a 30 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the world in 2012, according to an annual report the organization published today (April 7, 2013) in cooperation with Tel Aviv University, the Times of Israel website reports. 

The study linked the surge of Europe's economic troubles and a deadly attack on Jewish schoolchildren last year in Toulouse, France.

"It appears that rather than the Toulouse attacks being a shock to the system, they had the opposite effect and perhaps allowed terrorist groups in Europe to become more emboldened," EJC President Moshe Kantor said at an anti-Semitism press conference today at Tel Aviv University, pointing to attempted terror attacks across the continent against Jewish targets.

In Europe, Hungary -- which has more Jews than any other country in central Europe -- experienced the most worrying anti-Semitic trends, the study revealed. Tel Aviv University said that 686 worldwide attacks were recorded in 34 countries -- ranging from physical violence to vandalism of synagogues and cemeteries -- compared to 526 in 2011. The sharp increase followed a two-year decline.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

First Woman Runs Prayer at Mormon Conference; Jean Stevens Closes the Prayer for 100K Mormons

For the first time in the event's 183-year history, a woman led a prayer today (April 6, 2013) at the semiannual gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- also known as the Mormon Church -- according to the Associated Press website.

Jean Stevens led the morning session's closing prayer for the more than 100,000 Mormons gathered in Salt Lake City, Utah for the two-day general conference, and the millions more watching via satellite, Internet broadcast, and radio.

Among other church roles, Stevens is a member of a three-person board that advises and assists parents on teaching their children about the Mormon faith, which has more than 14 million members worldwide.

Women hold leadership positions in the Mormon Church but are not allowed to be bishops or presidents of stakes, which are geographic areas similar to Catholic dioceses. At past Mormon conferences, women have regularly given speeches and could pray in the audience, but could not lead a prayer.

Five Killed in Christian-Muslim Clashes in Egypt; Church Near Cairo Is Attacked, Partly Set on Fire

Five Egyptians were killed and eight wounded today (April 6, 2013) in clashes between Christians and Muslims in a town near Cairo, in the latest sectarian violence in the most populous Arab nation, according to the Yahoo News website.

Four Christians and one Muslim were killed when members of both communities started shooting at each other in Khusus outside the Egyptian capital, security sources said.

State news agency MENA quoted a Christian as saying unidentified assailants had attacked a local church during the clashes and set parts of it on fire. Police had stepped up security at the church after Muslim youths began gathering in the area, and detained 15 people.

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi -- a Muslim Brotherhood leader elected last June -- has promised to protect the rights of Coptic Orthodox Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 83 million people.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pope Francis Remarks on Sexually Abusive Priests; Victim Backers View Remarks as "Empty Rhetoric"

Pope Francis today (April 5, 2013) called on the Catholic Church to take decisive action against sexually abusive priests, to bring offenders to justice, and to protect children, in his first remarks on an issue that dominated the papacy of his predecessor and is likely to loom large in his own reign, according to the Christian Science Monitor website.

But groups representing victims of clerical sex abuse dismissed his remarks as "empty rhetoric"  and called into question whether he was really determined to tackle the scandals head on.

"Kids won't be helped by a 'continuation' of the tiny symbolic gestures taken by Pope Benedict. Kids will be helped by decisive changes. Thus far, Pope Francis hasn't even discussed, much less adopted, even a single reform," says Barbara Dorris, from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

The group said Pope Francis had already called into question his credibility on the clerical sex abuse issue within the first 24 hours of his papacy, when he met Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston, who resigned in disgrace amid allegations that he had covered up years of abuse by priests. Cardinal Law resigned as Boston's archbishop a decade ago and fled to Rome to avoid prosecution, after being accused in dozens of law suits of failing to protect children from predatory priests.

Bomb Attached to Donkey Kills Afghan Policeman; New Terrorism Technique Also Wounds 3 Civilians

Determined to be creative and unsuspecting in its practice of terrorism -- while at the same time saving a human life in its own group -- the Taliban  attached a bomb to a donkey in Afghanistan that exploded, killing a policeman and wounding three civilians, the Cybercast News Service website reports today (April 5, 2013).

Local government spokesman Sarhadi Zwak says the donkey blew up in front of a police security post in the Alingar district of Laghman province.

He added that Taliban militants carried out today's attack.

Terrorists are finding new and creative ways to thwart stepped up security measures in their bid to undermine confidence in the Afghan government, as United States and other foreign combat forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Turkish Pharmacist in Calif. Gets 5 Years in Prison; Wired Money to Pakistan for Attacks on US Troops

A California Muslim woman from Turkey has been sentenced to five years in prison for wiring money to Pakistan to help fund terrorist attacks against U.S. military personnel, the Creeping Sharia website reports today (April 4, 2013).

Oytun Ayse Mihalik, 40, of La Palma, California pleaded guilty in August to one count of providing material support to terrorists. She admitted to providing a total of $2,050 in three wire transfers to a person in Pakistan with the intention that the money would be used for attacks against U.S. military personnel and other people in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.

"While the sum of money involved in this case may not seem substantial, there's no doubt the funds this defendant sent overseas would have covered the cost of an attack on U.S. soldiers," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's homeland security investigations in Los Angeles.

Mihalik -- who worked as a pharmacist in California -- has been in federal custody since she was arrested last August, after she attempted to board a flight to escape to her native Turkey.

Femen Holds Topless Rallies in European Capitals; Has "International Topless Jihad Day," Slams Islam

Several topless female activists staged rallies in front of mosques and Tunisian embassies across Europe today (April 4, 2013) to protest what they called an Islamist crackdown on Arab women's rights, according to the Raw Story website.

Protesters from the Ukrainian-based women's power group Femen held "International Topless Jihad Day" today in several capitals -- including Berlin, Kiev, and Paris -- and painted their torsos with slogans such as "Bare Breasts Against Islamism."

"We're free, we're naked, it's our right, it's our body, it's our rules, and nobody can use religion, and some other holy things, to abuse women, to oppress them," Femen member Alexandra Shevchenko said at a demonstration in front of a Berlin mosque with temperatures near the freezing point.

Today's rallies were sparked by the case of a Tunisian activist calling herself Amina Tyler who caused a scandal in Islamist nations last month when she posted pictures of herself  online with the words "My Body Belongs to Me" emblazoned across her naked breasts. Some Islamist clerics have declared that Tyler be stoned to death for posting her topless photos online.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague May Become Heated; Heated Benches Being Installed in Czech Churches

Believers in St. Vitus Cathedral -- situated within the compound of Prague's Castle, the presidential seat -- may not be freezing any more in winter, because the Prague Archbishopric is considering installing heated benches in the church within a planned interior renovation, the Prague Monitor website reports today (April 3, 2013).

The average temperature in Prague's stone churches without heating is about two degrees centigrade in winter months. Such a low temperature also occurred during the Easter holiday last week.

More and more Czech churches have therefore decided to install a special heating in the benches' cushions. This is a more efficient and economical method than heating the whole spacious church.

Vladimir Hulin-Mihalec -- from the Terko CZ company making heated carpets and cushions -- said some 40 churches in the Czech Republic have ordered the equipment to heat the floor or benches from his firm. The 2011 census shows that only 10 percent of the 10.5 million population in the Czech Republic -- a predominantly atheist country -- are believers, most of them Roman Catholics.

Amsterdam Looks at Ways to Reward WW II Jews; Fined Jews for Tax Default When Away at "Camps"

Officials in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, are to look at ways to compensate Jews who returned from World War II Nazi concentration camps and were fined for not paying property taxes while they were "away," the Dutch News website reports today (April 3, 2013).

The revelations that dozens of "camp" survivors were sent bills for non-payment of ground rent during the war were made in Parool, a Dutch newspaper.

The bills were sent to Jews who were driven from their homes during the Nazi occupation, who went into hiding or were transported to the death camps, the Parool said. Students discovered evidence of the bills and payments while digitalizing Amsterdam city council records. 

"It is a serious situation that needs to be examined," Amsterdam's mayor Eberhard van der Laan said in the Parool. "The legal aspect [of the charges] was looked at with formality, bureaucracy, and coldness rather than the empathy towards victims," Van der Laan said.

Afghan Taliban Suicide Hit Kills 53 in Courtroom; All 10 Taliban Fighters on Trial Manage to Escape

Nine Taliban suicide bombers killed themselves and 44 others today (April 3, 2013) in an attack on a courtroom in western Afghanistan, where 10 of their comrades were on trial, according to the Reuters website.

Causing the biggest death toll in a single attack since 2011, the nine terrorists -- strapped with explosives -- stormed the governor's compound in the capital of Farah province, bordering Iran, where the trial was taking place.

Thirty-four of the dead were civilians -- the rest were Afghan security forces -- the governor's spokesman Abdul Rahman Zhwandai said. The Taliban said all 10 of its fighters who were on trial were freed.

Farah province -- where U.S. and Italian troops were stationed -- saw a sharp deterioration in security last year, with increased targeting of government officials and a regrouping of insurgent networks, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Archeologists Find a Deadly Gate to Hell in Turkey; Was Reckoned in Greek Mythology as Pluto's Gate

Italian archeoligists have found the "gate to hell," The Blaze website reports today (April 2, 2013).

Located in Pamukkale, Turkey, the newly-discovered cave was known in ancient Greece as Pluto's Gate. It is a doorway to hell -- one that was discussed and revered in Greco-Roman mythology (at that time Pamukkale was known as Hierapolis).

The historic sources who discussed Pluto's Gate noted that its opening had lethal vapors. Greek geographer Strabo -- who lived between 64 B.C. and 24 A.D. -- described the gate to hell as follows: "The space is full of vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death. I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell."

The archeologists -- led by Prof. Francesco D'Andria of the University of Salento in Italy -- discovered the gate to hell while excavating in the area.

Greece Neo-Nazi Party Woos Greek Emigrants; Enrolls Greeks in US, Canada, Germany, Austl.

Greece's fiercely anti-immigrant Golden Dawn (neo-Nazi) party has a new group it is targeting for membership: emigrants, the Newser website reports today (April 2, 2013).

A rep for the party -- which uses a swastika-like logo -- says it has decided to create cells "wherever there are Greeks;" it intends to set up offices in Germany, Australia, Canada, and the United States to seek recruits among a Greek diaspora estimated to number seven million.

The neo-Nazis' biggest push so far has been in the U.S., home of some three million people of Greek heritage -- many of whom have retained close ties to their homeland.

Greek community leaders in the U.S. have denounced the neo-Nazi organization. "These people and their principles will never be accepted in our community. Their beliefs are alien to our beliefs and way of life," says the co-founder of the Hellenic American Leadership Council.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Saudi Rel. Police Now Allow Women to Ride Bikes; Permitted to Ride Them Only in Recreational Areas

A Saudi newspaper says that Saudi Arabia's religious police are now allowing women to ride motorbikes and bicycles, but only in restricted, recreational areas of the kingdom, the Drudge Report website reports today (April 1, 2013).

The Al-Yawm daily today cited an unnamed official from the powerful religious police as saying women can ride bikes in parks and recreational areas, but they have to be accompanied by a male relative and dressed in the full Islamic head-to-toe abaya.

Saudi Arabia follows an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam and bans women from driving motor vehicles. Women are still forbidden from riding bicycles in public places.

The unnamed official says women may not use the bikes for transportation purposes, but "only for entertainment" and that they should shun places where young men gather "to avoid harassment."

More Jews Live in Israel Than in US for 1st Time; Six Million Jews Live in Israel, 5.5 M in America

For the first time since Israel became an independent nation in 1948, there are more Jews living in Israel than in the United States, thus making the Jewish state the home of the largest Jewish population in the world, the Breitbart website reports today (April 1, 2013).

There are now 6 million Jews in Israel and 5.5 million in America, 2 million of whom live in New York. About 500,000 Jews live in France, and almost 300,000 live in the United Kingdom.

Among the 8 million residents of Israel, there are 1.6 million Arabs and 350,000 non-Arab Christians or other groups.

The number six million has obvious significance to Jews the world over, since six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. But it can now be legitimately claimed that a plurality of Jews live in Israel.

Historic Damascus Synagogue Looted, Destroyed; Jobar Synagogue Was Holiest Jewish Site in Syria

The 2,000-year-old Jobar Synagogue in the Syrian capital of Damascus -- the country's holiest Jewish site -- was looted and burned to the ground yesterday, the Times of Israel website reports today (April 1, 2013).

The Syrian army loyal to President Bashar Assad and rebel forces are blaming each other for the destruction of the historic synagogue.

The synagogue is said to be built on the site where the prophet Elijah concealed himself from persecution and anointed his successor, Elisha, as a prophet. It had been damaged last week by mortars reportedly fired by Syrian government forces.

The rebels said the Syrian government looted the synagogue before burning it to the ground. On the other hand, the government said the rebels burned the synagogue and that so-called Zionist agents stole its historic religious items in an operation that had been planned for several weeks.