Sunday, May 31, 2015

Nazi War Thugs Got $20.2M in US Social Security; Nazi Benefits Ended in Jan. 2015 with a New Law

The United States Social Security Administration paid out some $20.2 million in retirement benefits to suspected Nazi war criminals and other Nazi collaborators, the Forward (Jewish) website reports today (May 31, 2015).

A report prepared by the Social Security Administration's inspector general -- scheduled to be released to the public next week -- showed that some $5.7 million was paid to individuals who were found to have played a role in the Nazi persecution and had been deported; and more than $14 million was paid to people who weren't deported but were found to have assisted the Nazis during the Holocaust.

A total of 133 Nazi war criminals and other Nazis received the benefits, according to the report.

The payments occurred between February 1962 and January 2015. Last January, a new law called the No Social Security for Nazis Act came into effect. At that time, the four remaining beneficiaries who were still living lost their retirement benefits. The report does not list the names of those who received the benefits.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hundreds Protest Against Islam Near AZ Mosque; Protesters, Counterprotesters Trade Obscenities

More than 200 protesters -- some armed -- berated Islam and its Prophet Mohammed outside an Arizona mosque last night in a provocative protest that was denounced by counterprotesters shouting "Go home, Nazis," the Reuters website reports today (May 30, 2015).

The anti-Muslim event outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix was organized by an Iraq war veteran who posted photos of himself online wearing a T-shirt with a crude slogan denigrating Islam and waving the U.S. flag.

Demonstrators on both sides screamed obscenities at each other as police in riot gear separated the two groups, each with about 250 people.

"This is in response to the recent attack in Texas," organizer John Ritzheimer wrote on his Facebook page announcing the event at a mosque targeted in Phoenix because the two Texas gunmen -- both Muslims who were killed --  had worshiped there.

Anti-Semitism on Col. Campuses Sees Big Growth; Past Academic Yr. Has 38% Rise Over Previous Yr.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) warned yesterday that the past academic year has seen a significant increase in anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic activities across American college campuses, the Times of Israel website reports today (May 30, 2015).

The anti-Semitism watchdog said it had recorded 520 anti-Israel events on campuses during the 2014-2015 year -- a whopping increase of 38 percent over the previous year. It also counted 29 campaigns related to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, noting this was almost double the instances seen in the previous year.

The ADL also listed various cases of anti-Semitism on campuses, many of which involved vandalism, graffiti, and hateful epithets targeting Jewish students.

"These incidents are troubling and are generating heightened concern in the Jewish community about the atmosphere on campus for Jewish students," ADL Director Abraham Foxman said. "While the vast majority of Jewish students report feeling safe on their campuses, the incidents reported at certain schools are disturbing and must be proactively addressed." 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Syrian Christian Fighter Beheads an IS Militant; Does So to Give IS "a Taste of Its Own Medicine"

A Syrian Christian fighter has beheaded an Islamic State (IS) group militant to avenge people beheaded by the jihadists in northeastern Syria, the Agence France-Presse website reports today (May 29, 2015).

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the incident took place yesterday in Hasakeh province, where IS holds large areas of the countryside.

The Christian fighter -- a member of the minority Assyrian community -- found the jihadist in the local village of Tal Shamiram.

"He took him prisoner and when he found out he was a member of IS, the Assyrian fighter beheaded him in revenge for abuses committed by the group in the region," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Mich.Muslim Forced to Remove Hijab Sues Police; This Doing "Was the Worst Experience of My Life"

A Muslim-American woman in Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit against the Ocean County Sheriff Department for allegedly violating her First Amendment rights, when she was arrested earlier this month and forced to remove her hijab, the IB (International Business) Times website reports today (May 29, 2015).

Fatme Dakroub of Dearborn Heights, Michigan said the experience "was the worst experience of my life." (The hijab is a headscarf worn by many Muslim women to convey their modesty.)

Dakroub was vacationing with her children on May 17 when police stopped her car for a traffic violation. Police arrested her and forced her to remove her hijab.

The lawsuit was sent to the U.S. District Court in Western Michigan alleging the sheriff's department had violated Dakroub's First Amendment rights.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Putin: Russians Killed in Ukraine Is a State Secret; Order Seen as Ploy to Deny Rus.Troops in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin today (May 28, 2015) declared the deaths of Russian troops killed in special operations during peacetime to be a state secret, a move that activists fear could be used to silence efforts to bring attention to the deaths of Russians fighting in Ukraine, according to the Slate website.

Putin's office -- which has consistently denied that Russian troops have been sent to Ukraine -- did not explain the reasons for the new decree.

The order comes amid media reports that Russia is once again moving heavy weaponry and military vehicles -- many with license plates and identifying insignia removed -- to Ukraine.

Despite abundant evidence of Russian troops fighting in Ukraine -- including some captured and interviewed by Ukrainian forces -- Russian authorities have consistently denied this fact, suppressing the details of how soldiers were killed and even burying some in unmarked graves.

UK's Hasidic Belz Sect Bars Women from Driving; Mars "Traditional Rules of Modesty in Our Camp"

The Hasidic Belz sect of Britain -- which runs day schools for boys and girls in north London -- has barred women members from driving motor vehicles, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (May 28, 2015).

A letter sent out last week by the sect's rabbinic leaders said that allowing women to drive goes against "the traditional rules of modesty in our camp."

The letter also said that as of August students would not be allowed to enter school if their mothers drove them there.

The policy of not allowing students to come to school if their mothers drive came from the Belzer rebbe in Israel, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Italian Mafia Boss Nabbed in Brazil after 30 Years; Pasquale Scotti Led Naples' Camorra Mafia Group

An Italian mafia boss -- who had been on the run for 30 years -- has been arrested in Brazil, the Euro News website reports today (May 27, 2015).

Pasquale Scotti was captured in the northeast city of Recife in a joint operation with INTERPOL (International Police).

The 56-year-old -- who is half Brazilian -- was convicted in absentia for the illegal possession of firearms and more than 20 homicides. The Italian authorities have begun extradition proceedings against him.

Scotti was the boss of the Camorra mafia group in Naples and was arrested in a shootout in 1983. But he escaped from a hospital, and despite multiple raids Italian police were unable to find him.

Bibles Are Issued in Cuba for 1st Time Since 1969; Ministries Hope New Policy Leads to Rel. Revival

Bible distribution is now legal in Cuba for the first time since 1969, the Christian Headlines website reports today (May 27, 2015).

The Castro communist regime had banned the practice for 46 years,  but is allowing the distribution of the Bible as part of an experimental program, which it said it could halt at any time.

Ministries -- such as Revival Fires -- have already responded to the change in policy and have distributed 265,000 Bibles to Cubans. The ministry plans to send even more, with a goal of one million Bibles distributed.

Ministries hope that the change in policy will lead to a religious revival in the communist country.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cardinal:Irish Gay Vote a "Defeat for Humanity;" Vatican Sec.of State Rips Irish for Impious Vote

The Irish vote last week to allow gay marriage marked a "defeat for humanity," said Cardinal Pietro Parolin today (May 26, 2015),  the Vatican secretary of state and the Pope's top lieutenant. The comments mark the highest-level reaction from the Catholic Church to Ireland's groundbreaking referendum, according to the FT (Financial Times) website.

Cardinal Parolin was reflecting the unease and dismay the Irish result had triggered within the upper reaches of the Vatican, which opposes same-sex marriage and campaigned against its approval in Ireland.

"I am very sad because of this result -- the Church needs to strengthen its efforts to spread its message," Cardinal Parolin said in Rome today. "I really think we should not just speak of this as a defeat for Christian principles, but also a defeat for humanity," he added.

Irish voters backed gay marriage by a wide margin -- with 62.1 percent in favor and 37.9 percent against -- in a sign of rapid social transformation in the small and overwhelmingly Catholic country. Ireland has now become the first nation in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular referendum.

Austrian Boy,14,Planned to Bomb Train Station; Contacted IS Mil. in Syria, Serves 8 Mos. in Jail

A teenage boy from Austria has pleaded guilty to planning to bomb a Vienna train station. The 14-year-old downloaded bomb-making instructions onto his Playstation games console and contacted religious militants in Syria linked to the Islamic State (IS) group, the Euro News website reports today (May 26, 2015).

His lawyer, Rudolf Meyer, was asked by reporters what motivated the boy to do what he did.

"It's due to being socially excluded to a certain extent, being discriminated against," said Meyer. "If Western countries don't see that money needs to be spent to fight radicalization, it won't just be him, but thousands of of other youths."

The teen was sentenced to two years in jail. Sixteen months were suspended. He will serve the remaining eight months in a juvenile detention center.

Monday, May 25, 2015

IS: We've Enough Wealth to Buy Nuclear Weapon; It Could Smuggle Weapon into US through Mexico

By this time next year, the Islamic State (IS) may have fulfilled the most feared scenario defense that officials can come up with -- terrorists with nukes -- the UPI website reports today (May 25, 2015).

In its online English propaganda publication, Dabiq, the Islamic group said it has accumulated enough wealth that it can buy a nuclear weapon and sneak it into the United States within the next 12 months.

The group laid out the concept in a self-congratulating article that outlines the nuclear possibility. The report states that the weapon could be purchased in Pakistan and smuggled into the United States via its southern border with Mexico.

National security experts have long feared such a worst-case scenario, as they say it would combine two of the most dangerous elements on earth at the present time -- hardline religious anarchists and a weapon that could achieve mass murder on a global scale.

IS Mil.Kill at Least 400 Captives in Palmyra, Syria; Kill Women and Children,Throw Bodies on Streets

Syrian state TV has revealed that Islamic State (IS) fighters have killed at least 400 people -- including women and children -- in Palmyra since capturing the ancient Syrian city four days ago, the News Daily website reports today (May 25, 2015).

The Sunni Muslim militants seized the city of 50,000 people -- site of some of the world's best preserved Roman ruins -- just days after capturing the city of Ramadi in neighboring Iraq.

The two IS victories were the Islamic State's biggest successes since a U.S.-led coalition began an air war against its fighters last year. The IS victories have resulted in the U.S. re-evaluating its airstrike policy, with the possibility of also using ground troops in Syria and Iraq.

The IS militants have a history of carrying out mass killings in regions they capture -- often beheading bodies and throwing them on the streets, as they did in Palmyra -- and of destroying ancient monuments, which they view as symbols of paganism.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Many Christians Observe Pentecost in Jerusalem; Largest No.of Pentecost Celebrants in 2,000 Yrs.

Thousands of Christians from all over the world have come to Jerusalem as part of a movement called "Empowered 21." They came to worship, pray, and celebrate Pentecost 2015, which is on May 31 this year, the CBN (Christian Broadcast Network) website reports today (May 24, 2015).

Organizers of Empowered 21 believe the gathering represents the largest meeting of believers in Jesus to celebrate Pentecost since the first one nearly 2,000 years ago. They represented every continent.

"Empowered 21 is a relational network. This is a key word," Empowered 21 President and Global Co-Chairman Billy Wilson told CBN News. "We are relating together in the Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered movement around the world."

"So this is the bringing together of Pentecostal and Charismatics across denominational lines to talk about unity, the power of the Holy Spirit, and how we can help new generations connect with God," he added.

US Defense Sec.:Iraqi Mil.Had "No Will to Fight;" Had Ramadi Troop Ratio of 10 to 1,Still Retreated

The Islamic State (IS) was able to seize the key Iraqi city of Ramadi because the Iraqi military "showed no will to fight," US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a TV interview that aired today (May 24, 2015), according to the USA Today website.

He offered sharp criticism of the Iraqi security forces and defended the Obama Administration's use of air strikes against the Islamic State during the interview on CNN's "State of the Union." Carter said the Iraqi forces outnumbered IS fighters by a ratio of 10 to 1 in the provincial capital but retreated.

"What apparently happened is the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered," Carter said. "In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force. That says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight IS and defend themselves."

"We can give them training," he said. "We can give them equipment. We obviously can't give them the will to fight."

Saturday, May 23, 2015

US Afghan Gen.Says IS Recruiting in Afghanistan; IS Entices Taliban Fighters Seeking Coup of Govt.

The commander of international forces in Afghanistan said today (May 23, 2015) that the Islamic State (IS) group is actively recruiting in Afghanistan but is not yet operational there, according to the Newsmax website.

Gen. John Campbell said the group's sophisticated social media campaign was attracting Taliban fighters based in Afghanistan and Pakistan who are disgruntled with the lack of progress in more than 10 years of fighting to overthrow the Kabul government.

Consequently, many were pledging allegiance to the IS group, which controls much of Syria and Iraq.

"We don't want it to continue to grow," he said, adding that efforts were being made to ensure its presence did not reach levels in Afghanistan similar to Syria and Iraq.

Popular Vote in Ireland Is 1st to OK Gay Marriage; Vote Shows Loss of Sway of Ireland's Cath.Church

Ireland yesterday became the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote, sweeping aside the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church in a resounding victory for the gay rights movement and placing the country on a path of social change, the NY Times website reports today (May 23, 2015).

The vote was almost two to one in favor of legalizing  same-sex marriage.

Turnout was large -- more than 60 percent of the 3.2 million people eligible to vote cast ballots.

Not long ago, the vote in the predominantly Roman Catholic country would have been unthinkable. The Catholic Church still dominates the education system and abortion remains illegal, except when a mother's life is at risk. Nonetheless, the influence of the church in Ireland has declined significantly amid scandals in recent years, while attitudes -- particularly among the young people -- have become more permissive and secular.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 21 in Saudi Mosque; IS Claims Attack,Worst Saudi Terrorism in Decade

A suicide bomber unleashed a blast in a Shiite mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia today (May 22, 2015), killing at least 21 worshipers and wounding dozens more in the deadliest attack seen in the kingdom in more than a decade, according to the ABC News website.

Loyalists of the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the bombing. This may have been an attack on Shiite Muslims by Sunni Muslims, since IS militants tend to be Sunnis.

Today's bombing took place in the village of al-Qudeeh in the eastern Qatif region, the heartland of Saudi Arabia's Shiite Muslim minority, which has long complained of discrimination in the country, ruled by ultraconservative Sunni Islam.

The bomber stood among the worshipers in the Imam Ali mosque. Then he detonated his explosives as people began to file out, said Habib Mahmoud, managing editor for the state-linked Al-Sharq newspaper in Qatif.

Switz. Defends Funding Israeli Exposure Group; Says "Breaking the Silence" Helps Human Rights

Swiss government officials defended their decision to fund an exhibition by "Breaking the Silence," an Israeli group whose purpose is to reveal Israeli war crimes and other immoral acts, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (May 22, 2015).

Breaking the Silence is scheduled to put on the exhibition next month in Zurich, with funding from the Swiss federal government and the city, Swiss officials confirmed this week, citing Switzerland's "commitment to increasing dialogue about human rights."

Founded in Israel in 2004, Breaking the Silence uses testimonies -- mostly anonymous -- by Israeli soldiers who recount their experiences serving in the West Bank and their interactions with Arab population there as well as in eastern Jerusalem, Lebanon, and Gaza. The group's founders have said they want to end Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

In Israel, Breaking the Silence has generated a heated debate, with supporters crediting the group with raising awareness to what they consider to be immoral effects of occupation, while critics accuse them of spreading falsehoods and helping Israel's enemies weaken and isolate the Jewish state.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

IS Mil.Tighten Grip on Historical City of Palmyra; IS Controls Most of Syria,US Airstrikes Fail Goal

Islamic State (IS) militants tightened their hold on the Syrian city of Palmyra today (May 21, 2015), dumping decapitated bodies of Christians and military opponents in the streets and blaring calls from mosque loudspeakers for residents to turn in government soldiers, according to the Washington Post website.

The IS militants' capture of Palmyra -- about 130 miles northeast of the Syrian capital of Damascus -- has raised global alarm about the fate of the ancient ruins in the historical city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It also subjected yet another urban population to the harsh rule of the Islamist extremists, as tens of thousands of people remained in the city.

The IS militants' advance came just days after the Islamic State seized the key Iraqi city of Ramadi, undermining U.S. assertions that the group is largely on the defensive after months of airstrikes by a U.S.-led international coalition. Although the Iraqi government vowed to take back Ramadi, IS militants continued to gain ground east of the city today.

The jihadists' new gains mark a significant propaganda victory for the Islamic State -- which now controls most of Syria -- and a severe blow to a U.S.-backed military airstrike offensive. Several high-ranking elite U.S. military officers -- extremely skilled in today's modus operandi of the battlefield -- have informed President Obama that the U.S. cannot defeat the IS militants in Iraq and Syria unless the U.S. uses ground troops, in addition to the airstrikes. Unfortunately, Obama has ignored their advice.

Muslim Fanatics Now Kill 100K Christians a Year; Create Record Level of Cultural, Human Genocide

Some 100,000 Christians are now being killed every year by Muslim fanatics because of their faith, according to statistics from a recent Pew Research Survey and the International Society of Human Rights, the Clarion Project website reports today (May 21, 2015). Surprisingly, the West has not taken any effective action to combat or contain the incredible number of Christian killings.

The ongoing Islamic slaughter has created a "cultural and human genocide" on levels unprecedented in modern times, the recent survey indicates.

Bishop John McAreavey -- chairman of the Council of Justice and Peace -- said the statistics amount to 273 Christians killed daily, or 11 every hour.

He added that an ever greater number of Christians are "being tortured, imprisoned, exiled, threatened, excluded, attacked, and discriminated against on a widespread scale."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Israeli PM Stops Banning Palestinians from Buses; Was OKd Due to W.Bank Jewish Settlers' Pressure

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped in to quash a law only hours after it went into effect today (May 20, 2015), as it threatened to blow up into a public relations disaster, according to the Euro News website.

New Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon accepted a longstanding Jewish settlers' demand and banned West Bank Palestinians who work in Israel from using the same buses as Israelis.

The attempt to enforce the measure is a clear sign of the growing militant settler influence over the government, which has gone further to the right following the latest election.

"There is absolutely no security justification for the bus segregation policy; it is merely the result of the military establishment caving in to pressure by settlers. We are talking about a population of Palestinians who have work permits, who have proven they do not pose a security threat to Israel. What this actually is, is one step in furthering apartheid in the West Bank," said human rights organization Yesh Din's Emily Schaeffer.

Terrorist Injures 2 Police Officers in Jerusalem; Hit Them with Vehicle,Killed by Security Forces

An Arab terrorist today (May 20, 2015) injured two police officers -- one of them a woman -- with his vehicle in eastern Jerusalem near the Mount of Olives, the Jewish Press website reports.

The terrorist was killed by security forces as he tried to shift into reverse and kill the victims.

District police commander Moshe Edri praised the police officer who shot the terrorist, thus preventing others from being injured.

The policewoman suffered moderate injuries and the policeman received light injuries. They were transported by ambulances to local hospitals for emergency treatment.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pax Christi Calls for the Recognition of Palestine; Urges All UN Members Accept State of Palestine

In a final statement at the end of their meeting in Bethlehem today (May 19, 2015), Pax Christi (Peace of Christ) International reaffirmed its recognition of the state of Palestine, a ban on Israeli settlements, and its stand in favor of nonviolent struggle against occupation, according to the Independent Catholic News website. The following is a summary of today's Pax Christi statement:

"The World Assembly of Pax Christi urges all UN-member states to recognize the state of Palestine and to ban Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine.

"The 160 participants in the Assembly of the International Catholic peace movement in Bethlehem/West Bank from 13th to 17th May are deeply concerned about Israeli policies that deny the rights of the Palestinian people and preclude the possibility of a two-state solution.

"Pax Christi International supports Palestinians in their nonviolent struggle to end occupation and Israelis who stand for human rights and international law, including as applied to Palestinians."

French Attack Survivor Will Leave Charlie Hebdo; Cartoonist Luz Says Pressure Is Too Much to Bear

One of the few cartoonists to survive an Islamist militant attack on France's Charlie Hebdo journal -- best known for its cartoons mocking the Islam Prophet Mohammad -- is leaving the publication because he can no longer bear the pressure, the Religion News website reports today (May 19, 2015).

Renald Luzier -- better known simply as Luz -- announced his decision in an interview in Liberation, the newspaper that has housed Charlie Hebdo and helped it publish since an attack last January in which most of his cartoonist colleagues were killed. The Charlie Hebdo office was attacked by radical Muslims who believe cartoons against Mohammad are blasphemous.

"The time came when it was just all too much to bear. There was next to nobody to draw the cartoons. I ended up doing three or every four front-pages. Every print-run was torture because the others are no longer there," Luz said.

Luz drew the cover picture of a tearful Mohammad with the words "All is forgiven" on the first post-attack edition of Charlie Hebdo -- which sold some eight million copies across the world compared to a normal week's sales of around 60,000 -- but he had recently said he would no longer draw cartoons of  Mohammad because he was fed up with the matter.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ireland Expected to OK Gay Marriage This Week; Poll Shows Voters Will Approve It Easily May 22

Irish voters are set to back the introduction of gay marriage by a margin of more than two-to-one this week and become the first country to approve the policy in a national plebiscite, according to a new poll, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (May 18, 2015).

The "Irish Times" poll of 1,200 voters on May 16 showed 58 percent planned to vote in favor of the measure -- which has the support of all the main political parties -- compared to 25 percent against and 17 percent undecided.

The plebiscite will be held this Friday, May 22nd.

The advantage of the Yes side has slipped, however, to 33 percentage points from 41 since the last poll two months ago.

Scores Arrested in Israel in Several Crime Rings; Cops Grab Vehicles,Property,Bank Accts. in Raid

In one of the biggest criminal raids ever conducted in Israel, police today (May 18, 2015) arrested scores of suspects, following an intensive investigation into a number of notorious Israeli crime rings that are accused of a string of felonies -- including drug trafficking and murder -- the Times of Israel website reports.

Over 50 suspects across Israel were apprehended in their homes early this morning and brought in for interrogation as officers seized vehicles, properties, and bank accounts.

The raid was the culmination of a multi-year investigation conducted by the Israel Police's anti-fraud Lahav 433 unit together with the Tel Aviv district police.

Police Chief Yohanan Danino termed the operation "one of the most significant probes ever conducted against crime organizations in recent memory." Israeli police were not allowed to get into specific details in the case because a partial gag order is still in effect.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Egypt Executes Six Convicted Muslim Terrorists; Hangings Occur After Morsi Gets Death Sentence

Egyptian authorities today (May 17, 2015) executed six men convicted of attacking soldiers and police officers, the Big News Network website reports.

The men were put to death by hanging today after a military court handed down death sentences against them last October.

The hangings were carried out after former President Mohammed Morsi and numerous leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were sentenced to death yesterday for escaping from prison during the 2011 revolution.

The executed terrorists were arrested during raids by security forces and were found guilty of murdering two officials in the Arab Sherkes zone, and attacking a bus carrying soldiers in the Al Amiriya area and a security post in Mostorod, all of which are located in Qaliubiya province north of Cairo.

Taliban Suicide Bomber Rams EU Auto in Kabul; At Least 2 Afghans, 1 Briton Killed in the Attack

A suicide car bomber rammed a European Union (EU) vehicle near the main airport in Afghanistan's capital today (May 17, 2015), killing at least two Afghans and a British national in the latest attack in the city, according to the France 24 website.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL), which advises Afghan law enforcement authorities.

The insurgents have launched a multitude of attacks around the country since the reduction of most foreign troops last year to a small training force.

EUPOL spokeswoman Sari Haukka-Konu confirmed that one of the mission's vehicles was hit by an explosion near Kabul airport. She also said that one person traveling in the vehicle was killed.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pope Calls Abbas "Angel of Peace" at Vatican Chat; Praises Abbas for "Destroying Bad Spirit of War"

Pope Francis today (May 16, 2015) praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as an "angel of peace" during a meeting at the Vatican, the Times of Israel website reports.

Francis made the compliment today during the traditional exchange of gifts at the end of an official audience in the Apostolic Palace. He presented Abbas with a medallion and explained that it represented the angel of peace "destroying the bad spirit of war." Francis told Abbas the gift was appropriate, since "you are an angel of peace."

Abbas is in town for the canonization tomorrow of two new saints from what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. It also comes just a few days after the Vatican finalized a bilateral treaty with the "state of Palestine," making explicit its recognition of Palestinian statehood.

Abbas, for his part, offered Francis relics of the two new saints. The Vatican's new bilateral treaty with Palestine has angered Israel -- which is opposed to an independent Palestine state -- now threatening it will soon take punitive action against the Vatican, after it determines its "next step."

Three Men Attack Jewish Woman in Paris Suburb; Shouted "Hitler Did Not Finish His Work" to Her

A French Jewish woman was assaulted by three men in an anti-Semitic attack in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles on May 13, the Algemeiner website reports today (May 16, 2015).

The three assailants were of African origin and shouted "Hitler did not finish his work" and "dirty race" while assaulting the woman, according to a French anti-Semitism watchdog.

The victim filed a complaint with local police shortly after the assault.

Because the attack was so violent, it was recommended that the woman take a 15-day furlough from work to recuperate, said the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Orth. Rabbi Gets 6 Yrs. for Filming Nude Women; Barry Freundel Secretly Taped Women's Mikvahs

Rabbi Barry Freundel was sentenced to six and a half years in prison today (May 15, 2015) for secretly videotaping more than 100 nude women for several years in the Washington, D.C. synagogue he headed, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports.

"You repeatedly and secretly violated the trust your victims had in you, and you abused your power," Senior Judge Geoffrey Alprin of D.C. Superior Court said at the sentencing. Alprin also fined Freundel more than $2,000.

Prosecutors had sought 17 years in prison after Freundel -- the former spiritual leader of a prominent Washington  Orthodox synagogue -- pleaded guilty in February to 52 counts of misdemeanor voyeurism. Freundel's lawyers sought community service. Freundel had also recorded over 100 more naked women since April 2009, but was not charged with, because the statute of limitations had expired.

The rabbi -- now 64 -- was arrested last October and charged with six counts of voyeurism after investigators found hidden cameras in the National Capital Mikvah's shower room and in his home. He was fired from Kesher Israel -- the congregation he had led for 25 years and which abuts the ritual bath, or mikvah -- soon after his arrest.

IS Captures Capital of Iraq's Largest Province; Seen as Critical Blow to US-Backed Mil.Effort

Islamic State (IS) fighters took control of key sites today (May 15, 2015) in the heart of Ramadi -- capital of Anbar, Iraq's largest province -- in what marked a significant blow to a US-backed military campaign to retake territory from Muslim militants, according to the Washington Post website.

The Islamic State offensive -- which began with ambush-style attacks last night -- touched off panicked attempts to flee the city and avoid the militants' tightening noose on routes to safety.

"It was just like scenes of carnage in a World War II movie with bombing all around and dead people in the streets," said Ali Dulaimi, a 28-year-old student at Anbar University.

He fled central Ramadi for calmer neighborhoods with his three brothers and parents, but has not been able to find a way out of the city.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

ISIS Leader Posts Message on Jihadist Websites; Urges All Muslims to Carry Guns, Fight for ISIS

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) released an audio message which it claims is from its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The message was posted on jihadist websites, and urges all Muslims to carry guns and fight on behalf of the "caliphate," the Jewish Press website reports.

The ISIS leader also had a veiled message for the last several U.S. presidents.

He said, "O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war."

He called upon Muslims around the world to either make their way to the Islamic State or "fight in his land, wherever that may be," according to the online message.

Taliban Kills 14 in Guesthouse Attack in Kabul; Says It Hit Hotel Due to Presence of Foreigners

The Taliban today (May 14, 2015) claimed responsibility for an attack on a guesthouse in Afghanistan that killed 14 people -- including an American -- the USA Today website reports.

Gunmen opened fire in the restaurant of Kabul's Park Palace Hotel as it hosted a party for foreigners last night.

The siege lasted for hours. Fifty-four hostages were rescued. Police said all the attackers were killed in a shootout.

In an email distributed to media, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the militants targeted the hotel because of the presence of foreigners. The hotel's neighborhood is home to United Nations compounds and a hospital.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Vatican Officially Recognizes Palestine as a State; Pope Meets with Palestine Pres.Abbas on May 16

Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, on May 16th, the Rome Reports website announced today (May 13, 2015).

The news of the visit comes on the same day the Vatican officially recognized Palestine as a state a year ago.

It's part of a bilateral treaty that has yet to be signed, but it does refer to Palestine as a state instead of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Even though the Holy See has referred to Palestine as a state over the past year, this marks the first official diplomatic communication to clearly refer to it as such.

New Study:More Atheists Than Ever Now in US; Non-Affiliated with Any Rel. Continues to Grow

A new study by the Pew Research Center shows that the number of Americans who do not affiliate themselves with any religion has grown to 56 million -- an all-time high -- the Christian Headlines website reports today (May 13, 2015).

The group -- called the "nones" -- is mow the second largest group in the United States; evangelicals are the largest religious group.

The nones group contains 31 percent atheists, a rise from 25 percent in 2007. The nones also include people who say they believe in God but do not associate with any religion, as well as those who consider themselves "spiritual" but do not believe in God.

Greg Smith -- Pew research director -- said the survey findings "point to substantive changes" among those who do not affiliate with any religion. Non-affiliated people have grown increasingly organized as they fight to keep religion separated from public life through lawsuits.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rabbi:Europe Anti-Semitism Foils Jews' Judaism; "More Important to Stay Alive Than Stay Jewish"

The president of one of Europe's leading Orthodox Jewish networks said today (May 12, 2015) that the recent upsurge of attacks against Jews in Europe has driven many Jews away from an active Jewish life, according to the Algemeiner website.

"We're dealing with a large number of Jews who because of the risk involved, and terrorist attacks, have stopped coming to Jewish events," Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt told the Algemeiner website. "It's more important [for these Jews] to stay alive than to stay Jewish."

The 51-year-old Swiss-born Conference of European Rabbis (CER) president -- who is also the Chief Rabbi of Moscow -- said apathy was a greater risk to the Jews in Europe because as an issue it is more elusive than both anti-Semitism and assimilation.

"While assimilation and anti-Semitism can be addressed directly, apathy is a much harder issue to address... There is a certain percentage of Jews saying 'I'd be better hiding,'" Goldschmidt said. "Our message to our community is that this is not the answer."

Austrian Catholics,Protestants Apologize to Jews; Churches Regret Anti-Semitism During Holocaust

The Catholic and Protestant churches in Austria have apologized to Jews for their anti-Semitism and support of the Nazis during and prior to the Holocaust -- in which some six million Jews were killed --  the Ecumenical News website reports today (May 12, 2015).

The two churches issued two separate apologies on May 8 -- the day Austria commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The Catholic Church "must acknowledge its share of responsibility for the creation of a climate of disdain and hatred" for Jews before the Nazi period and the lack of "pity and solidarity with our Jewish fellow citizens" during the Holocaust, said Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn.

The Austrian Protestant Council of Churches also expressed "particular shame" for "complicity against Jews and other groups... that were considered 'unfit to live.'"

Monday, May 11, 2015

Macedonian Pres.:Police Averted Terror Attack; Fighting Kills 22 People, Including 8 Policemen

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said police prevented a "coordinated terror attack" after an armed group battled officers in northern Macedonia on May 9, the VOA (Voice of America) website reports today (May 11, 2015).

The fighting in the city of Kumanovo -- an Albanian ethnic area -- left 22 people dead, including eight police officers and 14 gunmen. Thirty-seven policemen were wounded.

President Ivanov told a meeting of the Macedonian national security council yesterday that the gunmen were trying to cause chaos and fear, and that the lives of civilians were at risk.

"The perpetrators of this terrorist act and all those involved will pay dearly for what they tried to do to the Republic of Macedonia and its citizens. I want to clearly point out that we will not allow escalation of tensions," Ivanov said.

Swedish Boat on Way to Gaza to Break Blockade; Seeks to End Israeli Blockade, Opening Gaza Port

A trawler left its port in Sweden last night to travel some 5,000 nautical miles in order to break Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (May 11, 2015).

The boat -- named Marianne of Gothenburg and purchased jointly by Ship to Gaza Sweden and Ship to Gaza Norway -- is the first ship in the Freedom Flotilla III to leave for Gaza.

The boat does not have room for a significant cargo, but will be carrying solar panels and medical equipment. It is carrying five crew members and eight passengers.

Sweden officially recognized the state of Palestine in October 2014. The Ship to Gaza organization is calling for an immediate end to the naval blockade of Gaza; opening of the Gaza Port; and secure passage for Palestinians between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Castro Thanks Pope for Reviving US-Cuba Bonds; Cuban Communist Head:"I'll Go Back to Church"

Cuban President Raul Castro met with Pope Francis at the Vatican today (May 10, 2015) and thanked the pontiff for his critical role in rekindling relations between the United States and Cuba, according to the USA Today website.

The communist leader also said he was so impressed with the pope that "I will go back to praying and go back to the church, and I'm not joking." (One of the parameters of communism is that it is a godless economic system.)

The meeting lasted nearly one hour, and both men spoke in Spanish. Castro -- the brother of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who brought the communists to power in Cuba over 55 years ago -- had much praise for Francis after the meeting.

"When the pope goes to Cuba in September, I promise to go to all his Masses, and with satisfaction," Castro said at a news conference at the office of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, whom he met after the Vatican talks. "I read all the speeches of the pope, his commentaries, and if the pope continues this way, I will go back to praying and go back to the church, and I'm not joking," he added.

Russian Soldiers Quit Army Due to Ukraine Duty; One Russian Who Quit Says "That's Not Our War"

Some Russian soldiers are quitting the army because they are being forced to fight in Ukraine, several soldiers and human rights activists have told Reuters, the international news website reports today (May 10, 2015).

Their accounts contradict the Kremlin's continued assertions that no Russian soldiers have been sent to Ukraine, and that any Russians fighting alongside rebels there are "volunteers."

Evidence of Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine is abundant: Russian army equipment found in the country, Ukrainians who say they were captured by Russian paratroopers, etc. In other words, the evidence confirms that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not telling the truth when he says that Russian soldiers have not been assigned to fight in Ukraine.

One former Russian tank soldier from Moscow (whose name is not being revealed for fear of retaliation) told Reuters he quit the Russian army because he would not have gone to Ukraine voluntarily: "No, what for? That's not our war. If our troops were officially there it would be a different story."

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Buses Burned in Denmark in Anti-Israel Attack; Muslims Mad Bus Co. Ended Ads Against Israel

Four buses in Copenhagen were found on fire yesterday morning, and a fifth bus was covered with anti-Israel graffiti, the Jewish Press website reports today (May 9, 2015).

Last week the city's transit authority ordered ads calling for the boycott of Israel removed from its buses, angering anti-Semites.

The ads were considered "too offensive" by the transit authority.

With a significant increase in its Muslim population during the past year, Denmark has experienced an upsurge in anti-Semitic incidents in recent months. Earlier this year, an Arab Muslim terrorist killed two Jews in a Copenhagen cafe and outside a local synagogue.

Ex-Egyptian Pres. Mubarak Is Set Free by Court; Removed in 2011, Served 3 Years for Corruption

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak -- overthrown during Egypt's Arab Spring riots in 2011 -- was freed today (May 9, 2015) after a Cairo court upheld a previous three-year sentence for corruption charges, a term he's satisfied given time already served, the Washington Examiner website reports.

The Cairo Court of Appeals gave the go-ahead to free Egypt's former president, who stepped aside in 2011 after 30 years of rule during protests in Egypt that became known as the beginning stages of Arab Spring, which spread to other Middle East countries.

The court fined Mubarak and his sons, Gamal and Alaa, for several million dollars to address embezzlement charges. Gamal and Alaa also saw their sentences reduced by the court.

Mubarak had originally been sentenced to life in prison in 2012. But he got another trial the next year in which the three-year prison sentence for embezzlement was levied in May 2014. He was cleared of those charges in November 2014, but then was retried.

Friday, May 8, 2015

IS Now Using Internet to Attract US Terrorists; Calls on IS Backers to Commit Deadly Acts in US

FBI Director James Comey said today (May 8, 2015) that Islamic State's (IS) influence is on the rise in the United States. His warning follows the Mohammed cartoon contest attack carried out earlier this week by two gunmen who drove all the way from Arizona to Texas, according to the Christian Broadcast Network website.

Federal agents estimate those two are among hundreds of IS followers in the United States who are now being bombarded on the Internet with calls to take deadly action.

Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi are the Phoenix roommates behind the Texas terror attack and the newest faces of homegrown terrorism.

Comey says young IS recruits like them are being drawn in by the group's slick, online messages of war. During the past year, at least 53 Americans have been charged with trying to travel to Syria to join ranks with IS. But thousands of others living in the United States may be consuming the online "poison."

Over 200 Rescued Nigerian Women Are Pregnant; One Woman:"They Turned Me Into Sex Machine"

More than 200 women and children rescued last week by the Nigerian military from Boko Haram's stronghold in the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, Nigeria are pregnant, the Christian Post website reports today (May 8, 2015).

On April 28, 234 women and girls were rescued from the militant Islamic group in northeastern Nigeria -- where they were being used as sex slaves -- and sent to a refugee camp in Yola where they are now being treated and receiving aid.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, at least 214 of the women are visibly pregnant. The screening is still going on.

Asabe Aliyu, a 23-year-old mother of four who was abducted from Delsak village six months ago by Boko Haram militants, said, "They turned me into a sex machine. They took turns sleeping with me. Now, I am pregnant and I cannot identify the father."

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pope: Islamic Cartoons "Pour Gasoline on Fire;" Vatican Paper Views Cartoons as "Blasphemous"

The Vatican's semiofficial newspaper blasted a series of cartoons of Islam's Prophet Muhammad as "blasphemous," but also condemned the "mad and bloodthirsty" extremists who opened fire this week at a Texas exhibit of the cartoons, the Religion News website reports today (May 7, 2015).

The front-page article in L'Osservatore Romano likened the exhibit in Garland, Texas to "pouring gasoline on the fire" of religious sensitivities and was critical of its sponsors -- the American Freedom Defense Initiative, and professional provocateur Pamela Geller.

Police on May 3 shot and killed two gunmen who opened fire outside the exhibit that was designed to provoke Muslim sensitivities; the Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the attack that injured a security guard, and promised more attacks to come.

L'Osservatore Romano said the Texas event "resembles only remotely the initiatives of 'Charlie Hebdo,'" referring to the French satirical weekly whose office was attacked by Islamist extremists in January. Twelve people were gunned down at the Paris premises by the Islamist militants, who targeted magazine staff for publishing similar cartoons.

France OKs Broad Spying Law against Terrorism; Like US Patriot Act,Cuts Citizens' Human Rights

The French parliament has approved a landmark intelligence-gathering law that gives the nation sweeping powers to spy on its citizens, the Clarion Project website reports today (May 7, 2015).

The government says the new law -- which was sparked by the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris in January -- is aimed at preventing Islamic terrorism.

But civil rights groups say the law -- which has been nicknamed "the French Patriot Act" -- is so vague and intrusive and centralizes surveillance power to such an excessive extent, that it poses an unacceptable threat to civil liberties in France.

The fact is that the law goes far beyond the prevention of terrorism and includes vague language that critics say is confusing and opens the door to future abuse. For example, the law states that surveillance is allowed if it supports "major foreign policy interests," promotes "industrial and scientific interests," and/or prevents "attacks on the Republican form of [government] institutions."

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Four Germans Nabbed for Plotting Islam Attacks; Found Group to Attack Mosques, Had Explosives

German authorities conducted raids across Germany today (May 6, 2015), seizing explosives and arresting four people accused of founding a right-wing extremist group to attack mosques and housing for asylum seekers, according to the NY Times website.

Police arrested three men and a woman accused of leading the group during raids by some 250 investigators on homes in Saxony and four other states, the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Prosecutors allege the four helped found the "Oldschool Society" group and were planning to attack asylum-seeker housing, mosques, and well-known members of the Islamic-extremist Salafist scene in Germany.

The four arrested are being held on terrorism charges and are also accused of having procured explosives.

Four Afghan Men Get Death for Woman's Death; Severely Beat and Burned Her for Burning Koran

A judge in Afghanistan has sentenced four men to death following a lethal attack on a woman in Kabul, the Euro News website reports today (May 6, 2015).

The men were part of a mob that killed 27-year-old Farkhunda on a street in the Afghan capital on March 19.

Judge Safiullah Mujadidi gave eight other men sentences of 16 years, while 18 others were found not guilty due to lack of evidence.

Farkhunda was accused of setting fire to a copy of Islam's holy book, the Koran. She was severely beaten and then set on fire. Nineteen police officers will also be sentenced this week for their perceived inaction while she was being beaten and burned.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

NATO Begins Big War Games on Russia's Border; Wages Huge Mil. Exercise to Protect Baltic States

Britain and NATO are launching their biggest war games on Russia's doorstep amid growing tensions over Russian President Vladimir Putin's military aggression, the Telegraph (British) website reports today (May 5, 2015).

The largest-ever NATO anti-submarine exercise -- including the Royal Navy -- is under way off the coast of Norway just weeks after reports of Russian submarines encroaching into foreign waters.

At the same time, British troops are taking part in the biggest military exercise seen in Estonia since that Baltic nation regained its independence from Soviet Russia more than two decades ago.

The war games come as tensions grow with Russia over its aggression in Ukraine, and fears that the Baltic nations could be next in President Putin's sights for aggression.

IS Claims Responsibility for Garland, Tex. Attack; Warns US Bigger Attacks,"Terrible Things" Ahead

The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility today (May 5, 2015) for the foiled attack on a controversial Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest near Dallas, Texas, that ended with both assailants being shot dead by a policeman. The announcement was made on the IS radio station, according to The Daily Beast website.

This marks the first time that IS has claimed it was behind an attack on U.S. soil. Until just a few months ago, U.S. officials were insisting the group was focused entirely on Syria and Iraq. (Mexican officials also revealed last month that IS has at least two cells in that country -- one near the Texas border and the other close to New Mexico.)

The Islamic State's official radio station, al Bayan, first announced the claim for responsibility describing gunmen Elton Simpson -- a convert to Islam -- and Nadir Soofi as "two soldiers of the caliphate." In a news bulletin, al Bayan said the event at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas was targeted because it "was portraying negative pictures of the Prophet Muhammad."

The IS report boasted of more attacks to come soon, warning, "We tell America that what is coming will be even bigger and more bitter, and that you will see the soldiers of the Islamic State do terrible things."

Monday, May 4, 2015

Md. Episcopal Bishop Resigns Due to DUI Killing; Heather Cook Killed Bicyclist in Hit-and-Run Case

An Episcopal bishop charged with committing the felony crime of a fatal hit-and-run while driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol has resigned from her ecclesiastical position, the Christian Post website reports today (May 4, 2015).

Church officials announced that Heather Cook resigned as bishop suffragan for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

Elected as the first female bishop of the Maryland Diocese, Cook was involved in a hit-and-run accident last December that killed 41-year-old Thomas Palermo, who was riding a bicycle.

In January, Cook was charged with several crimes, including driving under the influence and was placed in the Baltimore City Detention Center. Cook later posted a $2.5 million bail and admitted herself into an in-patient alcohol treatment program.

Hundreds of Ethiopian Israelis Riot in Tel Aviv; Riot Over Police Brutality toward Black Soldier

Police on horseback charged at hundreds of ethnic Ethiopian citizens in central Tel Aviv yesterday, as an anti-racism protest descended into one of the most violent demonstrations in Israel's commercial capital in many years, The Guardian website reports today (May 4, 2015).

The protesters -- who included several thousand people from Israel's Jewish Ethiopian minority -- were demonstrating against what they say is racist police brutality after the emergence last week of a video clip that showed policemen shoving and punching a black soldier for no valid reason.

Demonstrators overturned a police car, smashed shop windows, destroyed property, and threw bottles and stones at officers in riot gear at Rabin Square in the heart of the city.

At least 56 officers and 12 protesters were injured, some requiring hospital treatment, police and an ambulance service official said. Forty-three people were arrested. Police used water cannons, stun grenades, and tear gas to try to clear the crowds.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Paris Vandals Desecrate Plaque in Memory of Jew; AJC Outraged by Vandalism of Ilan Halimi Plaque

A major Jewish group expressed shock today (May 3, 2015) after vandals in Paris desecrated a plaque in memory of Ilan Halimi, a French Jew who was kidnapped, tortured, and killed in 2006, according to the Algemeiner website.

"Outrage!" the American Jewish Committee (AJC) wrote on Twitter, adding, "First they tortured and killed Ilan Halimi, a French Jew, in 06. Now the plaque in his memory has been destroyed in a Paris suburb."

The memorial plaque was found smashed yesterday in Bagneux, a southern suburb of Paris, and has been removed for repairs, according to French daily "Le Figaro." The vandals have yet to be identified.

Bagneux mayor Marie-Helene Amiable today said she was "extremely shocked" by the incident and described the vandalism as "outrageous" and "unacceptable."

IS Militants Kill 300 Yazidi Prisoners in N. Iraq; Kills Them to Cause Others to Be Sunni Muslims

Islamic State (IS) militants shot to death some 300 Yazidi prisoners in northern Iraq on May 1, the Chicago Tribune website reports today (May 3, 2015).

The killings took place at a prison camp near the town of Tal Afar, some 90 miles east of the Syrian border or 260 miles northwest of Baghdad, legislator Mahma Khalil said.

"The militants want to spread horror among them to force them to convert to Islam or to do something else," Khalil said. Yazidis tend to follow a unique religion that includes Zoroastrianism.

Khalil added that those killed included men, women, and the elderly. He said that some 1,400 Yazidis are still held in that camp. The Islamic State group is comprised of militant Sunni Muslims, who believe that Christians and even Shiite Muslims deserve death.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Jimmy Carter: Gaza Strip Situation "Intolerable;" Meets Abbas,Won't "Waste Time" with Netanyahu

The Gaza Strip situation is "intolerable," former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said today (May 2, 2015) during his Middle East visit, according to the Washington Examiner website.

Carter told reporters in Jerusalem that he is aiming to help form a Palestinian state, but didn't even try to arrange a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who he believes opposes a two-state solution.

"What we have seen and heard only strengthens our determination to work for peace," Carter, who is 90, told reporters. "The situation in Gaza is intolerable. Eight months after a devastating war, not one destroyed house has been rebuilt and people cannot live with the respect and dignity they deserve."

Carter met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and he laid a wreath on the grave of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The former U.S. President said he had "no interest" in a meeting with the Israeli prime minister because it would be "a waste of time," since Netanyahu is opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

At Least 52 Syrians Killed by US-Led Airstrike; Erred Attack Struck Civilians, Killed 7 Children

The death toll from an inaccurate airstrike yesterday by United States-led forces on the northern Syria province of Aleppo has risen to 52 -- including seven children -- the VOA (Voice of America) News website reports today (May 2, 2015).

Rami Abdulrahman -- who runs the British-based Observatory for Human Rights -- said the death toll from the airstrike was the highest civilian loss in a single attack by U.S. and Arab forces since they started the air raids last September against hardline Islamist militant groups in Syria such as Islamic State (IS).

American-led forces are also conducting airstrikes against the IS group in Iraq.

The Britain-based Observatory said the raid had mistakenly struck civilians in a village on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River in Aleppo province, killing members of at least six families. It also said at least 13 people were still missing from yesterday's raid.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hillary Clinton Says Rel. Should Accept Abortion; Urges Changing Historical Traditions,Rel. Beliefs

Several pro-life and Christian leaders have blasted Hillary Clinton for saying in a recent speech that religion should change to accept abortion. Speaking at the Women in the World Summit, Clinton lamented that too few women are able to access safe abortion facilities, the Christian Headlines website reports today (May 1, 2015).

"Far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth," Clinton said.

She continued that American culture -- including religion -- needs to change for abortion reform to take place.

"Rights have to exist in practice -- not just on paper," she added. "Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed."

Four Israeli Troops Arrested for Raping Soldier; Took Turns Raping Female Troop at Israel Base

Four Israeli troops are suspected of raping a female soldier in one of the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) worst-ever sex crime cases, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (May 1, 2015).

Military Police detectives suspect the soldiers took turns raping the female soldier last month at the Hatzerim Israel Air Force base near Beersheba, according to a report yesterday by Israel Radio. One of the soldiers is believed to have filmed at least part of the assault.

The suspects -- who are responsible for maintenance on the base -- have been placed under arrest pending the investigation. The alleged victim was at first reluctant to press charges against the four, but was persuaded to do so at the request of her commanding officers, the IDF spokesperson's unit said in a statement.

"When the Investigating Military Police received the complaint, it initiated an investigation and the soldiers were placed under arrest," the statement read. "In parallel, the complainant is receiving treatment at the Support and Trauma Center, and her treatment is being closely monitored by superior officers."