Friday, July 31, 2015

Palestinians Plan Attacks for Child's Arson Death; Abbas Calls It War Crime,Crime against Humanity

There have been calls for revenge in the West Bank after a Palestinian toddler was burned alive in an arson attack blamed on radical Jewish settlers, the Euro News website reports today (July 31, 2015).

Ali Saad Dawabsheh, 18 months old, died in this morning's attack on his home in Duma, a village near the city of Nablus.

Amid the grief at his funeral, there were calls for revenge. Palestinian officials hold Israel responsible.

"It is a war crime and a crime against humanity," said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. It will most likely be added to the list of war crimes against Israel that the Palestinians have already  presented to the world court in The Hague.

Jewish Radicals' Arson Kills Palestinian Toddler; Thugs Threw Firebombs into West Bank Homes

Suspected Jewish radicals carried out an arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler in the occupied West Bank today (July 31, 2015), according to the Forward website.

Masked perpetrators entered the village of Duma, outside Nablus, and broke the windows of two Palestinian homes, sprayed Hebrew graffiti, and threw firebombs that ignited the homes.

An 18-month-old child was killed and three of his relatives have been hospitalized in Israel with severe burns.

Ibrahim Dawabsheh, a Duma resident, said he heard people shouting for help from the house and rushed to it. "I saw two masked men outside," he said. He went to get help, but when he returned the masked men had gone.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fed. Judge:10 Command.Monument Can Remain; Monument Outside Pa. High School Not Injurious

A federal judge has dismissed a case brought against a Pennsylvania school district's display of the Ten Commandments outside of a New Kensington high school, the Christian Examiner website reports today (July 30, 2015).

U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry wrote that the plaintiffs, Marie Schaub and her daughter -- represented by the Freedom from Religion Foundation -- "failed to establish that they were forced into 'direct, regular, and unwelcome contact' with the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of Valley High School."

The judge also wrote that because there was no "injury" to the woman or her daughter, there was no need to discuss removal of the monument that has been in place since 1957.

In short, they had no standing because they were unaffected by the monument's presence.

Paris,Muslims Mad Over Bundchen's Burqa Use; Used Burqa as Disguise to Plastic Surgery Clinic

The city of Paris and many Muslims became furious yesterday over supermodel Gisele Bundchen's wearing of a burqa as a disguise, so she could slip in and out of a Parisian plastic surgery clinic, the Page Six website reports today (July 30, 2015).

Bundchen and her younger sister wore the traditional Muslim clothing -- during the holy month of Ramadan -- so the supermodel could have secret work done on her eyes and her breasts, which she felt had sagged due to her two pregnancies.

It is illegal for a woman to wear a burqa in public in France, as a result of a law passed in 2010, in an effort to prevent terrorists from hiding their faces.

A clerk at Islam Fashion in Astoria called Bundchen's stunt "disrespectful to Islam." Shazia Raheel, 40, said, "This is a religious garment. It is not so you can hide when you're going for a doctor's appointment."

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Report:53% Rise in UK Antisemitic Episodes; First Half of 2015 Shows Huge Increase from 2014

Reported antisemitic incidents in the United Kingdom were up 53 percent in the first half of 2015 as compared to the corresponding period the year before, the British Community Security Trust (CST) revealed in a new study, the Algemeiner website reports today (July 29, 2015).

The upward trend of recorded antisemitic incidents in 2015 was consistent with the past three years, with 473 events reported between January and June in 2015, compared to 309 in 2014 and 223 incidents in 2013.

CST -- a charity that oversees security efforts in Britain's Jewish communities -- said 44 of this year's attacks were considered violent, with two of them constituting "extreme violence" or threat of life.

But the majority of incidents were the 353 cases of what the CST called "abusive behavior," including hateful graffiti, antisemitic vituperation and abuse through social media or hate-mail. Thirty-five incidents included damage and desecration to Jewish property, and 36 included direct antisemitic threats.

Ga. Man Gets 15 Years for Attempting to Help IS; Judge Unmoved by Islam "Brainwashed Me" Rant

A Georgia man was given the maximum sentence yesterday for attempting to provide material support to Islamic State (IS) after a judge was not persuaded by his tearful plea, the Daily Caller website reports today (July 29, 2015).

Leon Nathan Davis, 37, of Augusta, Georgia, pleaded guilty in May. He tearfully told the judge "I am an American" at his sentencing hearing yesterday before being given 15 years in federal prison, after which he will spend the rest of his life under supervised release.

Authorities had been monitoring Davis for more than a year before arresting him in Atlanta as he was about to leave on a plane for Turkey.

Davis told the the judge: "I allowed myself to stray away from the truth of my [Islam] religion, which is peace, love, and humility." He added: "They brainwashed me into thinking that hatred and death were the way into heaven."

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Evidence Reveals Turkey Collaborated with ISIS; Direct Deals between Turkey and IS "Undeniable"

Damning evidence was found when U.S. special forces killed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Sayyaf in May, revealing that NATO member Turkey has in fact been collaborating with the brutal jihadists, the Free Republic website reports today (July 28, 2015).

The British Guardian reported on July 26 that when Abu Sayyaf's compound was raided in eastern Syria, it was discovered that Turkey is the main buyer of smuggled ISIS oil which was managed by Abu Sayyaf to economically prop up the terror group.

The report quoted a senior Western official, who said that the findings at the compound showed direct deals between Turkish officials and ISIS leaders, and called them "undeniable."

It was just last week -- after an IS suicide bomber killed 30 people in the Turkish city of Suruc on July 20 --  that Turkish jets bombed IS forces in neighboring Syria for the first time, and Turkey allowed the U.S. to use its land to conduct airstrikes against IS forces in Syria and Iraq.

CNN Poll: Most Americans Opposed to Iran Deal; Fear It Will Lead Iran to Building Nuclear Weapon

A new CNN poll found that a majority of Americans want Congress to reject the Iran nuclear deal, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (July 28, 2015). Israel's government adamantly opposes the deal, saying it would lead Iran to building a nuclear weapon.

The poll published today showed that 52 percent of respondents wanted Congress to reject the deal, while 44 percent wanted it approved. The phone poll of 1,017 adults was conducted between July 22 and 25, and has a margin of error of three percentage points.

Congress has until mid-September to decide whether or not to approve the sanctions relief for nuclear restrictions deal reached between Iran and six major powers on July 14.

President Barack Obama -- who claims the deal is the only means of keeping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon -- has said he will veto a rejection by Congress. Opponents of the deal would need to muster two-thirds majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to override the veto and kill the deal.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Many Germans Quit Membership in Cath.Church; Most Against Paying Unique German Church Tax

Many Germans have renounced their membership of the Catholic Church, according to new statistics, the Catholic News website reports today (July 27, 2015).

Figures show that the numbers leaving the Church in 2014 was 22 percent higher than in the previous year, going from 178,805 to 217,716.

Not only has this reduction affected the size of the Catholic community, but also the amount of income that the Church receives via the Church tax.

If a person is baptized as a child in Germany, he (or she) is considered a member of the Church and liable to pay the Church tax, an arrangement that was formalized in the 19th century. It is believed that the existence of this tax acts as a major factor in motivating many Germans to make a formal renunciation of their faith.

Man Stabbed to Death, Wife Hurt at Md. Church; Occurred Last Night at Anna Prayer Urbana

A Virginia man was charged today (July 27, 2015) with stabbing a man to death and seriously wounding the man's wife during a service at a Maryland church and retreat center last night, the One News Now website reports.

Song Su Kim, 30, of Falls Church, Virginia, was charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree attempted murder, and two counts of assault, according to the Frederick County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies responded to a 911 call reporting the stabbings at the Anna Prayer Counseling and Retreat Center in Urbana, near Sugarloaf Mountain about 50 miles west of Baltimore, and found a "very bloody scene," Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said. The stabbings occurred as the service was ending.

A man died at the scene and his wife was in serious but stable condition at a Baltimore trauma center, Jenkins said. A motive wasn't immediately clear. The victims were from Korea, but their names have not been released.

Mike Huckabee Compares Iran Deal to Holocaust; Claims It Will "March Israelis to Door of the Oven"

Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee -- a former Baptist pastor -- has come under fire from both Jewish groups and the Deemocratic party after comparing America's nuclear accord with Iran to the Holocaust, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (July 27, 2015).

Speaking with Breitbart News on July 25, the former Arkansas governor said that President Obama -- by signing the nuclear deal with Iran -- "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven."

"This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people," he said.

Huckabee's comments drew immediate condemnation from the Democratic National Committee, the National Jewish Democratic Council, and the Anti-Defamation League.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Palestinians, Police Clash in Jerusalem Mosque; Israeli Police Enter Mosque, Put End to Protest

Israeli Police today (July 26, 2015) clashed with Palestinians at the al-Asqa mosque in Jerusalem, the Independent (British) website reports. July 26 marks Tisha B'Av, the annual day of mourning in Judaism marking the destruction of an ancient Holy Temple by the Romans in 70AD.

Several police were wounded in the incident, but police used stun grenades and tear gas to end the Palestinians' protest. There were no reports of Palestinian casualties.

Police entered the mosque -- which is the third holiest site in Islam -- this morning after receiving reports that Palestinians had barricaded themselves inside armed with rocks and firebombs.

The site of the mosque -- known as the Noble Sanctuary by Muslims and the Temple Mount by Jews -- is a holy site for both religions.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saudi King's French Riviera Stay Sparks Protest; Over 100K Petition against Closing Public Beach

Saudi Arabian King Salman and a 1,000-member entourage arrived today (July 25, 2015) for holiday on the French Riviera, where over 100,000 residents have petitioned against closing the public beach outside his villa, the VOA (Voice of America) News website reports. Saudi Arabia is considered the most sacred Islamic nation, because the Prophet Muhammad was born in the Saudi city of Mecca -- the holiest city of Islam.

The king and his inner circle's three-week visit at the family's seafront villa in Vallauris will be a boon for the local economy. Hotels, restaurants, and luxury shops along the Mediterranean coast welcome the visit.

But closing the public beach for privacy and security reasons has stirred up a local storm. A petition against the "privatization" of the Mirandole beach below the Saudi villa gathered more than 100,000 signatures in a week.

The mayor of Vallauris also wrote to President Francois Hollande to protest unauthorized work done by the Saudis at the property, where a slab of concrete was poured directly onto the sand to install an elevator. Mayor Michelle Salucki wrote: "We understand the security reasons and the nation's greater interest. But nobody can exonerate himself from the laws of the land."

Obama Clashes with Kenya Pres.Over Gay Rights; Kenya Pres.:Homosexuality Stays Crime in Kenya

President Barack Obama urged African nations to abandon laws criminalizing homosexuality, clashing with his host in Kenya, who called gay rights a "non-issue" for Kenyans, the Yahoo Finance website reports today (July 25, 2015).

Obama compared anti-gay policies to racial segregation and said equal treatment for all groups is crucial to both economic growth and the fight against terrorism.

"I've been consistent all across Africa on this," Obama said during a news conference today in Nairobi, Kenya with Uhuru Kenyatta, the president of Kenya, where homosexual acts are illegal and gays often are subject to harassment.

Kenyatta said that Kenyans are more focused on countering militants, bringing women into the economy, and improving the nation's infrastructure. "The fact of the matter is that Kenya and the United States share so many values," Kenyatta said. "But there are some things that we must admit we don't share."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Wall St. Journal: Spy Jon. Pollard to Be Released; May Be Released in Next Few Weeks or on Nov.21

The Wall Street Journal reported today (July 24, 2015) that the Obama administration -- in an effort to show that it is not hostile to Israel --  is preparing to release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, 60, within the next few months, according to the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website.

Pollard, a former analyst for the U.S. Navy, may be released in the next few weeks or by November 21 -- the date he is officially eligible for parole under rules in place when he was sentenced to life in 1987 -- for selling top secret U.S. intelligence information to Israel.

The Wall Street Journal quoted administration officials as saying they hoped Pollard's release would help smooth U.S. relations with Israel, endangered in recent weeks because of the nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers. However, they also emphasized that Pollard's release is not related to the Iran deal.

"Mr. Pollard's status will be determined by the United States Parole Commission according to standard procedures," Alistair Baskey, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told the JTA. Two years ago, when the Obama administration considered releasing Pollard, Vice President Joe Biden adamantly rejected the idea, saying "over my dead body."

Turkish Jets Bomb IS Troops in Syria for 1st Time; Turkey Arrests Some 300 IS and Other Extremists

Turkish fighter jets early today (July 24, 2015) bombed positions of Islamic State (IS) jihadists inside Syria for the first time, as police in Turkey arrested hundreds of suspected extremists after a wave of violence, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports.

The air raids against IS targets marked a dramatic hardening of Turkey's attitude towards the group. The warplane strikes killed nine and wounded 12 IS fighters on jihadist positions in Syria.

Turkey had previously been criticized by the U.S. and other anti-IS nations for not doing enough to combat the jihadists.

IS members were among almost 300 suspected extremists arrested in early morning raids in Istanbul and other Turkish cities, authorities said, while Kurdish militants and Marxist radicals were also detained. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

IS Supporters Secure Secret Fortress in Bosnia; Many Terrorists Now Own Land in Osve Village

 Islamic State (IS) supporters have built a secret stronghold in an isolated village in Bosnia named Osve -- about 60 miles from Bosnia's capital of Sarajevo -- the Clarion Project website reports today (July 23, 2015).

Many known terrorists have bought land in Osve and locals report hearing gunshots regularly from the village. Security services have been investigating terrorist connections there since May.

Bosnia -- a predominantly Islamic nation that had been part of the former Yugoslavia -- is a key conduit to and from Syria, given its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. Weapons are also far more readily available in Bosnia than they are in the rest of Europe, a by-product of  the country's civil war in the 1990s.

Some 330 Bosnians have already gone to Syria to wage jihad in support of the Islamic State.

Turkey Lets US Use Its Land for Airstrikes on IS; OKs Its Use After IS Bomber Killed 30 in Turkey

Obama administration officials said today (July 23, 2015) that the United States and Turkey have reached an agreement in which manned and unmanned American warplanes will carry out airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, near the Syrian border, according to the NY Times website.

The agreement came after months of negotiations that culminated yesterday with a phone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Obama.

The development came as Turkish forces were reported to have engaged in their first combat with Islamic State forces on the Syrian side of the border. Also, at least 30 people were killed in Turkey on July 20, as a result of an explosion in the Turkish town of Suruc by an ISIS suicide bomber.

Allowing the U.S. the right to use its land to conduct airstrikes at nearby ISIS-controlled territory in Syria was a step Turkish authorities had been reluctant to take until now to protect Turkey's 500-mile border with Syria, where ISIS is firmly established. However, ISIS' unexpected aggressive action against Turkey earlier this week has caused Turkey to become a "game changer," as one Obama administration official called it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Poll Shows Pope's Popularity in US Declining; Due to His Unequivocal Stands on Non-Rel.Issues

Growing conservative disaffection with Pope Francis appears to be taking a toll on his popularity in the United States, with a new Gallup poll showing his approval rating dropping to 59% from 76% early last year, the Catholic News website reports today (July 22, 2015).

"This decline may be attributable to the Pope's denouncing of 'the idolatry of money' and attributing climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality -- all issues that are at odds with many conservatives' beliefs," wrote Gallup analyst Art Swift yesterday when the survey was published.

Some observers have predicted that many who embraced the Pope's candor and his views on a range of social justice issues would temper their ardor as they realized he would not change church teachings on hot-button issues such as abortion or contraception or gay marriage.

The poll comes just as American Catholics are set to welcome the Pope this September for his first visit to the U.S. The result essentially returns Francis to approval levels he had in the first months after his election.

Italian Police Nab 2 ISIS Supporters Near Milan; Tunisian,Pakistan Muslims Planned Terror Acts

Italian police have arrested two men suspected of spreading threatening online messages in support of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Euro News website reports today (July 22, 2015).

The pair -- a 35-year-old Tunisian national and a 27-year-old Pakistani -- are also believed to have plotted terrorist attacks in Italy. Both men are Muslims and reside in the town of Brescia, near Milan.

Police say the Tunisian man created a Twitter account from which he is alleged to have tweeted "threatening messages signed Islamic State." The messages were usually pictures, with some of Italy's most famous landmarks in the background.

Italy's Head of Anti-Terrorism Forces, Lamberto Giannini, said evidence suggested the accused wished to promote conflict both inside and outside Italy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

EU Court: Same-Sex Unions Must Be Recognized; Rules Italy Fails to Recognize Its Citizens' Rights

In a landmark decision, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) -- which hears human rights cases involving its 47 European Union (EU) member countries -- has ruled that the European Convention on Human Rights provides a right to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships, the Slate website reports today (July 21, 2015).

In the case of Oliari and Others v. Italy, the judges ruled in favor of three same-sex couples who had brought the case against the Italian government, unanimously agreeing that Italy, in failing to make available "a specific legal framework providing for the recognition and protection of same-sex unions," was in violation of Article 8 of the ECHR.

Article 8 of the Convention states that "everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home, and his correspondence."

Same-sex couples in Italy have no legal path to achieve recognition of their relationships, including civil unions or registered partnerships. The ECHR's finding is expected to pressure Italy into giving gay and lesbian couples legal recognition. Most European Union countries already recognize same-sex unions.

Israel Passes Harsh Law to Jail Stone-Throwers; New Law Ends Having to Prove Harmful Intent

Israel's Knesset passed a bill yesterday that would send people who throw stones at civilian vehicles to prison for up to 10 years, without having to prove harmful intent in their actions, the Times of Israel website reports today (July 21, 2015).

The bill allows for a maximum incarceration period of 20 years if it can be proven that the throwers intended to inflict harm.

Also under the new law, obstructing police activity by throwing stones at officers or police vehicles is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The bill amends an existing law that allows stone-throwers to be jailed for 20 years, but only if it can be proven they intended to inflict harm.

Monday, July 20, 2015

At Least 30 Killed in Explosion in Turkish Town; Seen as IS Suicide Bombing in Town Near Syria

At least 30 people were killed today (July 20, 2015) in an explosion in the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc, some 10 kilometers from the border with Syria, the Euro News website reports.

Turkish officials said that evidence suggested an ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) suicide attack had caused the blast.

It occurred outside a cultural center in the town. Pervin Buldan -- a senior MP in the pro-Kurdish HDP Party -- said the incident occurred as Turkish and Kurdish youths gathered at the center ahead of a planned trip to the Syrian town of Kobani.

Local officials say they are investigating the possibility it may be a suicide bombing. The Interior Ministry is labeling the incident a "terrorist attack." It said around 100 people are being treated for wounds in local hospitals and there are concerns the death toll will rise.

Cuban Embassy Opens Today in Washington, DC; Diplomatic Relations Renewed after 54-Yr.Hiatus

A huge crowd -- comprised of both protesters and supporters -- gathered today (July 20, 2015) to witness the raising of the flag of Cuba over the Cuban Embassy, the first time it has flown there since the U.S. broke off diplomatic relations 54 years ago, shortly after Cuba became a communist country, according to the USA Today website.

As American and Cuban diplomats stood side by side, three Cuban guards marched out of the building, attached the flag to a recently-constructed flag pole and raised it above Washington's 16th Street, just two miles north of the White House.

The move signaled the latest -- and most visible -- step in the ongoing changes between the U.S. and Cuba, as a result of a rapprochement set off by Pope Francis. President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced in December that the two countries would end their five-decade diplomatic freeze and have been negotiating for months to reach today's opening of the Cuban Embassy.

While the U.S. Embassy in Havana also opened today, the U.S. State Department said it won't host a similar flag-raising ceremony in the Cuban capital until later this summer, when Secretary of State John Kerry plans to attend and oversee the event.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Turkey Bars Some 500 Trying to Enter from Syria; Attempts to Deter Criticism of Jihadists' Free Rein

Turkey's security forces detained nearly 500 people attempting to cross the border from war-torn Syria yesterday, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (July 19, 2015).

Turkey's army said, "488 people were detained by the land forces command border units while trying to cross into Turkey from Syria and 26 while attempting to cross into Syria from Turkey.

Turkey -- a member of NATO -- has long been under international pressure to tighten the security of its volatile 566-mile border with Syria to cut the flow of jihadists who try to join ranks of Islamic State (IS) militants who have made recent gains in Iraq and Syria.

In an apparent bid to deflect criticism from the United States and other nations hostile toward the IS, Turkish authorities have arrested dozens of suspected IS militants during the past week.

Over 500 French Jews Arrive in Israel This Week; Soaring French Anti-Semitism Induces 3K to Exit

Due mainly to a soaring anti-Semitic climate in France during the past year or so, some 130 French Jews arrived in Israel today (July 19, 2015), with an additional 400 expected by week's end, in the first leg of a summer aliyah that's expected to bring up to 3,000 new immigrants from France by the end of summer, the Christian Broadcast Network website reports.

Summer is an ideal time for families with school-age children to make aliyah; that is, to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return, which says if you have one Jewish grandparent, you're eligible for Israeli citizenship.

Last year, more Jews from France immigrated to Israel than from any other country, due primarily to a significant increase in French anti-Semitism.

Israeli Absorption Minister Ze'ev Elkin welcomed the new immigrants "with open arms." He said, "Every plane that arrives in Israel strengthens Israel and strengthens the French Jews who have come home."

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saudi Arabia Says It Broke Up Planned IS Attacks; Arrested 431 Over Past Few Weeks for Terror Acts

Saudi Arabia said today (July 18, 2015) it broke up planned Islamic State (IS) attacks in the kingdom, announcing it has arrested over 400 people in its raids, according to the USA Today website.

In a statement today carried on the official state news agency, the Interior Ministry also accused those arrested over the "past few weeks" of conducting several attacks, including an Islamic State-claimed suicide bomb in May that killed 21 people in the village of al-Qudeeh, in the oil-rich eastern Qatif region. It was the deadliest militant assault in the kingdom in more than a decade.

The number arrested to date is 431, most of them citizens, in addition to participants from other nationalities.

Those arrested were also behind a number of militant websites used in recruiting, the ministry said.

Sen.Rand Paul:Restrict Muslim Immigration Now; Must Be Done to End Muslim Savage Terror Acts

In the aftermath of the Chattanooga, Tennessee shootings in which five U.S. military personnel were killed on military sites by a Muslim terrorist, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is seeking to restrict immigration to the U.S. from predominantly Islamic countries, The Daily Beast website reports today (July 18, 2015).

Paul said, "I'm very concerned about immigration to this country from countries that have hotbeds of jihadism and hotbeds of this Islamism."

He added, "I think there does need to be heightened security. Nobody has a right to come to America, so this isn't something that we can say, 'oh their rights are being violated.'"

Accused Chattanooga shooter Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez -- a Muslim -- was born in Kuwait and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. In fact, all of the serious acts of terror committed in America -- from 9/11/2001 to the present day -- have been committed by Muslims.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Huge Car Bombing Kills Over 100 at Iraqi Market; IS Conducted Bombing,Used 3 Tons of Explosives

A suicide bomber struck at an Iraqi market today (July 17, 2015), killing more than 100 people, according to the Newser website.

The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility, boasting that the vehicle used in the blast had three tons of explosives.

The explosion brought down multiple buildings in the town of Khan Bani Saad, northeast of Baghdad.

The market was packed with people who were buying food in preparation for the end of the feasting month of Ramadan.

Director of Moscow Jewish Museum Shot in Neck; Fights for Life in an Apparent Anti-Semitic Attack

In what police believe may be an anti-Semitic attack, the director and founder of a Moscow Jewish museum was shot and seriously injured yesterday outside the institution by an unidentified assailant, the Times of Israel website reports today (July 17, 2015).

Sergei Ustinov -- a writer and businessman who is a prominent member of Moscow's Jewish community and who also serves as vice president of the Russian Jewish Congress -- was shot by a lone assailant who delivered a single projectile to Ustinov's neck before fleeing the scene.

Ustinov is in critical but stable condition, according to a report.

Police said they were investigating several possible motives for the crime, including a business dispute and anti-Semitism.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Islamic Mil. Attempts Beheading Tourist in Rome; Puts Knife to Her Throat, Police Able to Stop Him

A man screaming "Allahu Akbar" put a knife to the throat of a tourist in Rome today (July 16, 2015), after forcing her to her knees, the Clarion Project website reports.

He grabbed 26-year-old Chiara Frisco in Rome's iconic Coliseum, and held her hostage for several minutes. During this time, he screamed, "It is God that sends me."

When police arrived, the attacker tried to drag Frisco through the crowded Forum, but police were able to disarm and arrest him.

One of the officers who intervened at the scene said, "He made the girl kneel and held the knife to her throat. It seemed like an ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] film that you see online. I was afraid that he would cut her throat but we could not shoot; there were too many people."

Jewish Family Attacked, Robbed in Paris Suburb; Targeted Since "They Were Jewish,Have Money"

A French Jewish family was assaulted and robbed in their suburban Paris home yesterday by three masked men of African descent with handguns, the Times of Israel website reports today (July 16, 2015).

A report by the National Bureau for Vigilance Against anti-Semitism (BNVCA) said the family -- the parents and their daughter -- suffered from serious wounds that required all three to be hospitalized.

BNVCA said the perpetrators told the family they had targeted their home because "they were Jewish and have money."

The perpetrators stole 2,500 euros (about $2,740), a Mercedes car, and keys to the family's jewelry shop in Paris' 10th arrondissement (district).

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Greek Lawmakers OK Tough Austerity Reforms; Vote 229 to 64 for 86B Euro Bailout Over 3 Years

Greece's parliament today (July 15, 2015) approved tough new austerity reforms by a large majority, the Euro News website reports.

The result was 229 votes to 64 in the 300-seat chamber. There were six abstentions and one absentee.

The passing of the bill was set as a condition by Brussels for an 86 billion euro bailout over the next three years.

The vote came after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras -- who had been facing a revolt by his own Syriza party -- made an emotional speech to get them on board. Even though he had declared his dislike for the terms agreed with Greece's creditors, Tsipras said he had done his best for the country.

Ex-Auschwitz Guard Gets 4-Year Prison Sentence; Oskar Groening, 94,Guarded Prisoners' Holdings

Seventy years after the end of World War II, a guard who worked at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland was convicted in Germany today (July 15, 2015) on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder and given a four-year prison sentence, according to the USA Today website.

Oskar Groening, 94 -- nicknamed the "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz" -- may be one of the last people to face trial in Germany for Nazi-era crimes. He trained as a bank clerk before joining Germany's SS (storm troopers) military unit as a soldier.

A judge in the northern German city of Lueneburg convicted Groening for his role at the camp following testimony that he presided over prisoners' belongings and collected their money before they were marched to their death in gas chambers.

Groening did not dispute the charges and admitted "moral guilt" for the atrocities that allowed the Nazi regime to murder hundreds of thousands of Jews.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Eight Police Officers Injured in N.Ireland Rancor; Denied Protestant Parade from Passing Cath.Bldg.

Eight police officers were injured on July 12 when they were pelted with bottles and beer cans at an Orange Order parade in Northern Ireland, the Euro News website reports today (July 14, 2015).

The Protestant loyalists reacted angrily when a cordon was erected to stop the march from passing a Catholic estate.

Thousands of pro-British Protestants hold marches every year on July 12 in the British-ruled province to mark the 1690 victory by King William of Orange that sealed Protestant domination in a tradition that Catholics view as provocative.

Three decades of fighting between mostly Protestant loyalists who want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom and Irish Catholic nationalists -- who want it to be part of a united Ireland -- led to the deaths of more than 3,000 people before a 1998 peace agreement.

Enraged Netanyahu Blasts Nuclear Deal on Iran; Deal Makes World "Much More Dangerous Place"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the nuclear deal announced by world powers and Iran today (July 14, 2015) a "mistake of historic proportions" and vowed to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, according to the USA Today website.

"I call on all of Israel's leaders to set aside petty politics and to unite around the most fateful issue for the security of the state of Israel," an enraged Netanyahu said.

The Israeli leader also emphasized that his nation is not bound by the deal, and reserves the right to defend itself.

The deal makes the world a "much more dangerous place," Netanyahu said, adding it will free up billions of dollars that Iran can use to support terrorism.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Son of Boston Police Capt. Arrested as Terrorist; Alexander Ciccolo's Flat Loaded with Terror Gear

The estranged son of a respected Boston police captain was arrested July 4 by FBI agents as part of a counter-terrorism operation against alleged domestic terrorists inspired by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), the ABC News website reports today (July 13, 2015).

Alexander Ciccolo, 23, of Adams, Massachusetts was taken into custody on gun charges after buying two pistols and two rifles from an undercover FBI confidential informant, federal officials said.

In a search of his apartment, officials reported they found it loaded with bomb-making equipment, including a pressure cooker, a variety of chemicals, an alarm clock, along with attack planning papers, and jihad paperwork. FBI agents said he used the name Abu Ali al-Amriki and neighbors said he was a recent convert to Islam.

"This is a very bad person arrested before he could do very bad things," one senior federal official briefed on the arrest told ABC News.

Suicide Bomber Attacks Nigerian Church, Kills 6; Many Others Wounded in Packed Sunday Service

A suicide bomber attacked a packed evangelical Christian church service in Nigeria yesterday, killing at least six people and wounding many others, the Christian Broadcast Network website reports today (July 13, 2015).

The attack occurred on Sunday, July 12, at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in northeast Nigeria.

Garba Manu -- a witness to the incident -- said the bomber arrived on a motorized rickshaw.

"As soon as he entered, a loud explosion ripped through the church which is under construction," he said. "I saw him walking in and he didn't raise any suspicion."

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pope Appeals to World Leaders to Help the Poor; Asks Them to Accent Human Dignity,Not Money

On his visit in Asuncion, Paraguay yesterday, Pope Francis appealed to world leaders to seek a new economic model to help the poor, and to shun policies that "sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit," the Catholic News website reports.

"Putting bread on the table, putting a roof over the heads of one's children, giving them health and an education, these are essential for human dignity," he said.

He urged politicians and business leaders "not to yield to an economic model which is idolatrous, which needs to sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit."

He said those charged with promoting economic development must ensure it had "a human face" and he blasted "the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. Corruption is the plague, it's the gangrene of society," he added during a speech at the rally, attended by Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes.

Israel Nabs Several Jews for Miracle Church Fire; Church Is One Jesus Fed 5K on 5 Loaves, 2 Fish

Israeli police said today (July 12, 2015) they have arrested several Jewish suspects over an arson attack last month at a shrine where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of loaves and fishes, the Newsmax website reports.

The arson had sparked widespread condemnation and concern from Christians globally, with the site visited by some 5,000 people each day.

The Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha -- located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee -- is where many Christians believe Jesus fed 5,000 in the miracle of the five loaves and two fish.

One of the buildings within the compound was completely destroyed in the blaze, but the church itself was not damaged. Hebrew graffiti was found on another building within the complex, reading "Idols will be cast out or destroyed." The text is part of a common Jewish prayer.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Car Explosion Damages Italian Consulate in Cairo; Done to Send a Message to Italy:Expect Terrorism

A powerful explosion hit and seriously damaged the Italian consulate in Cairo, Egypt today (July 11, 2015), the Asia News website reports. The bomb was placed in a car parked near the building, one of the oldest in the area.

The blast occurred on Saturday morning when the offices of the diplomatic mission were closed. Fr. Rafic Greiche -- spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church -- said this points to the probability that "the goal was not to kill many people, but to send a message to the West and to Italy: terrorism is coming."

In fact, the car bomb killed only one person, a passerby. Four other people were injured, but none seriously.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Egyptian priest believes it is "a terrorist attack: it couldn't be anything else. In addition, the authors of the act wanted to show that the Egyptian government is weak and is not able to protect foreigners in its territory, not even embassies and consulates."

Jewish Boy,13 Beaten in Paris Anti-Semitic Attack; Attacked by 6 Men, Got Stitches for Head Wounds

A Jewish boy from Paris was beaten and robbed outside his school by six young men in an anti-Semitic attack, the Times of Israel website reports today (July 11, 2015).

The incident occurred on July 7 in the French capital's 19th arrondissement (administrative district), near the Gare du Nord train station, according to a report published by the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism.

The 13-year-old boy -- who was not named -- was followed by six men of African descent as he exited the school while wearing a kippa, the report said. One of his aggressors shouted: "Take that, dirty Jew" while the group was hitting the boy. One of the young men also stole the boy's cellular phone before fleeing the scene.

The boy was taken to a hospital where he received stitches to wounds on his head.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Pope Calls for an End to "Genocide" of Christians; Asserts Islamic Mil. Must End "Third World War"

Pope Francis yesterday demanded an immediate end to what he called "a genocide of Christians" taking place in the Middle East and beyond, describing it as "a third world war," the France 24 website reports today (July 10, 2015).

Pope Francis -- who has never been afraid to weigh into delicate issues, both religious and political -- made the comments in Bolivia, the second stop on a three-nation tour (Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay) to his home continent of South America.

"Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured, and killed for their faith in Jesus,"  the pope said.

"In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end."

Seventh-day Adventists Deny Women Pastors; Vote 1381 to 977 Against Women's Ordination

The Seventh-day Adventists voted on July 8 not to allow their regional church bodies to ordain women pastors, the Religion News website reports today (July 10, 2015).

The vote at their 60th General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas was 1,381 to 977.

The Seventh-dady Adventist denomination has more that 18 million members worldwide.

While some Protestant denominations have ordained women pastors for several years, the Seventh-day Adventists form part of a block of Christian groups that do not. These groups include the Roman Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, Southern Baptists, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Greece Loses 50K Tourists a Day Due to Its Debt; Tourism Companies Offer 50% Off on Greek Trips

Tourists planning a luxury getaway to Greece and the Greek isles are being increasingly hesitant to keep their bookings, thanks to both an economic crisis plaguing the nation's banks and the Greek government's inability to process thousands of illegal migrants sailing into island ports from Turkey, the Breitbart website reports today (July 9, 2015).

In order to keep revenue up, companies are offering steep discounts and encouraging tourists not to cancel trips.

Some tourism companies are offering up to 50 percent off on pre-packaged holidays to Greece in attractive European markets whose consumers may be hesitant to visit a Greek island.

Turkish newspaper "Hurriyet" -- which notes that Turkish tourists have been among the world's most loyal to Greece -- reports that around 50,000 tourists have canceled trips to Greece a day since June 25, when the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made clear his country would not be able to make its monthly debt installment to the European Union and the International Fund.

FBI Says It Thwarted July 4 IS-Inspired Attacks; Over 10 People Recruited Online by IS Arrested

U.S. authorities thwarted plots to kill people in the United States around the July 4 holiday, FBI Director James Comey said today (July 9, 2015), according to the Reuters website.

Comey said more than 10 people inspired by the Islamic State's (IS) recruitment online have been arrested over the past four weeks, some of which were focused on attacks around the July 4 holiday.

FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning to local law enforcement to be on alert for attacks around July 4. No such attacks occurred.

Comey did not give details on the number of plots thwarted or their targets.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Pope Francis Causes Discord on Flight to Bolivia; Due to Consuming Coca Leaves Used in Cocaine

Pope Francis arrived in La Paz, Bolivia today (July 8, 2015), continuing a Latin American tour filled with supporters, sermons, selfies, and a touch of controversy -- by chewing on coca leaves, the primary substance of cocaine -- the Yahoo News website reports.

While the pope will be in Bolivia until July 10, he was only scheduled to be in La Paz -- Bolivia's capital -- for a few hours. The decision was made because of the city's high altitude. Pope Francis only has one lung, a result of a lung infection suffered as a teenager.

On his flight from Ecuador to Bolivia today, Pope Francis drank tea containing coca leaves -- a popular remedy for curing altitude sickness -- and also the primary substance used to make cocaine, which is legal in Bolivia.

Bolivia is the second stop on the pope's three-country swing through Latin America. He arrived in Ecuador on July 5 and heads to Paraguay on July 10.

Police Seize $1.75B in Assets from a Mafia Family; Sweep of Marineo Family in Palermo Is Huge One

Italian authorities said today (July 8, 2015) they had seized assets worth more than 1.6 billion euros ($1.75 billion) from a family of five Sicilian pensioners believed to have links to a prominent mafia clan, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports.

The huge sweep of businesses, property and bank accounts "represents, in total value, one of the biggest seizures ever made," the anti-mafia department (DIA) said.

Authorities said the syndicate cultivated ties with the Italian anti-mafia movement in an effort to hide its activities from police.

The operation in Palermo, Sicily -- viewed as the central headquarters of Italy's mafia -- was aimed at "known entrepreneurs from the Palermo area who belong to the Marineo mafia family, linked to the Corleone clan," the DIA said.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

In Ecuador Pope Calls for Lat. American Freedom; Gives Homily on Jesus' Last Supper before Death

Standing amid a million people in a park in Quito, Ecuador commemorating South America's 200-year-old cry for independence, Pope Francis yesterday called for unity among its people and for rejection of authoritarianism, the Catholic News website reports today (July 7, 2015).

With blunt words addressed directly to the people of the continent of his birth at an open-air Mass, the Pope tied together the Christian proclamation of faith with Ecuadoreans' centuries-long struggle to stop exploitation of their resources and their very selves.

In a homily focused on Jesus' intense prayer to God on the night before His death -- when He prayed for the unity of His disciples and all they would evangelize -- Francis called for a joining together of that Christian prayer and the continuing struggle for Latin American freedom.

"I imagine these whisperings of Jesus during the Last Supper as a cry that we celebrate in this Mass," said Francis, mentioning that the celebration was being held in a park commemorating Ecuador's 1809 declaration of independence -- the first such declaration of freedom from colonial-era rule on the entire continent.

Israeli:"Reform Jews Can't Be Considered Jews;" Rel. Services Minister: They Reject Jewish Law

Israel's religious services minister said today (July 7, 2015) in a radio interview that "Reform Jews cannot be considered Jews," the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports.

"A Reform Jew, from the moment he stops following Jewish law, I cannot allow myself to say that he is a Jew," David Azoulay, of the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party, said this morning on Army Radio. "These are Jews that have lost their way, and we must ensure that every Jew returns to the fold of Judaism, and accept everyone with love and joy."

"Those who follow Reform Judaism living in the Diaspora are in the majority people who are wrong," he said, stressing that halachah -- or Jewish law -- determines the rules for conversion. "We want to take care of all those Jews returning to Judaism according to Jewish law."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Azoulay's remarks about Reform Judaism, saying in a statement released this afternoon from his office that they do not reflect the position of the Israeli government.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Egypt's Army Kills Scores of Sinai Islamist Mil.; Pres. Sisi:More Than 200 Killed in Recent Days

Egypt's army killed dozens of Islamist militants over the July 4th weekend in North Sinai, as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stepped up an offensive against an increasingly brazen insurgency, the France 24 website reports today (July 6, 2015).

Egyptian air strikes and ground operations killed 63 jihadists in the volatile Sinai region on July 5, a day after Sisi announced that more than 200 insurgents had been killed in recent days.

The Sinai peninsula has recently witnessed some of the heaviest fighting between security forces and Islamist militants since the army toppled president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.

Sisi rallied troops in El-Arish, the provincial capital, in an unannounced visit on July 4. In remarks broadcast on television, Sisi said: "To say that everything is under control is not enough. The situation is totally stable."

Hungary OKs a Border Fence to Block Migrants; Acts to Protect 175-Kilometer Border with Serbia

Hungary's parliament has approved the construction of a border fence to prevent the flow of migrants into the European Union (EU) member state, the Euro News website reports today (July 6, 2015).

The four-meter-high fence stretching along the 175-kilometer border with Serbia has been criticized by Hungary's neighbors, human rights groups, and the European Union. 

The new legislation will also allow Hungary to reject asylum claims from people traveling from Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan through other so-called safe countries without asking for asylum there.

Hungary's right-wing prime minister Viktor Orban said his country needed to be protected from a tide of migrants crossing its border with Serbia.

Friday, July 3, 2015

New Survey: Finland Excels Europe in Happiness; Social Equality,Free Health Care Spark Happiness

A survey just released shows that Finns are the happiest people in Europe, the Euro News website reports today (July 3, 2015).

Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland -- these Northern European countries -- topped the latest Happiness Equality Index Europe 2015 poll.

The report is from the Happiness Research Institute, an independent think tank that explores "why some societies are happier than others."

Nordic countries are often associated with happy news, as well as social equality, generous maternity and paternity leave, low crime, free health care, and, yes, high taxes.

IDF Kill Palestinian Stone-Thrower in W. Bank; Broke Jeep Windshield,Ignored Warning Shot

A Palestinian teenager was shot and killed by an IDF (Israeli Defense Force) troop early today (July 3, 2015) near the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, after the youth threw stones at a military vehicle, according to the Times of Israel website.

The Israeli Defense Forces said troops driving a vehicle near the West Bank village of al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, came under a hail of stones and boulders, which shattered their windshield.

The soldiers exited the vehicle and called to the stone-throwers to stop, firing a warning shot in the air. When the attack continued, the troops opened fire.

According to Israeli media reports, the Palestinian teen, named as Muhammad al-Kasbeh, 17, was shot by the commander of the Binyamin Brigade, Col. Yisrael Shomer, who was traveling in the military jeep.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pope Calls on World's Faithful to Pray for Greece; Assures Greek People of His Closeness and Love

Pope Francis today (July 2, 2015) called on the faithful of the world to unite in prayer for Greece, as it now veers on a path toward bankruptcy, according to the Catholic News website.

In a statement released by the Holy See, the Pope expressed his closeness to the Greek people as they face increasing economic and social turbulance. A referendum has been scheduled to be held in Greece on July 5 in order to determine Greece's future economic course of action.

The Pope's statement referred to the "economic and social situation of the country as worrying" and said that the Pope "conveys his closeness to all the Greek people, with a special thought for the many families gravely beset by such a complex and keenly felt human and social crisis."

It concluded by saying that Pope Francis invites all the faithful to "unite in prayer for the good of the beloved Greek people."

Obama Blocks Ally Support to Kurds Fighting IS; Rejects Strategic Help in World's Gravest Crisis

The United States has blocked attempts by its Middle east allies to fly heavy weapons directly to the Kurds fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadists in Iraq, the Free Republic website reports today (July 2, 2015).

Some of America's closest allies say President Obama is failing to show strategic leadership over the world's gravest security crisis in decades.

They now say they are willing to "go it alone" in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if it means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channelled through Baghdad.

High level officials from the Persian Gulf and other states have revealed that all attempts to persuade Obama of the critical need to arm the Kurds directly as part of more vigorous plans to confront ISIS have failed. The officials say they are now looking at new ways to take the fight to ISIS without seeking U.S. approval.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Czechs Opposed to Immigrants Protest in Prague; Anti-Islam Groups Sore Accept Refugees

Several hundred people protested in Prague yesterday against the acceptance of refugees in the Czech Republic at a meeting organized by anti-Islam movements, the Prague Monitor website reports today (July 1, 2015).

They criticized the government's decision to voluntarily accept up to several hundred immigrants.

About 30 people came to express the opposite view and some of them were pelting the protesters with eggs.

The Bloc against Islam -- which staged the demonstration against immigrants along with We Do Not Want Islam in the Czech Republic movement -- announced that it would run in the regional election to be held in the autumn of 2016.

Islamic Mil. Begin Wave of Attacks in Sinai Pen.; At Least 30 Killed, 40 Other Soldiers Wounded

Islamic militants today (July 1, 2015) unleashed a wave of simultaneous attacks -- including a suicide car bombing -- on Egyptian army checkpoints in the restive north of the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 30 soldiers, according to the Washington Times website.

The attacks took place just south of the town of Sheikh Zuweid and targeted at least six military checkpoints, officials said. The militants also took soldiers captive and seized weapons and several armored vehicles, they added.

At least 40 other soldiers were wounded, said the officials.

Egypt's military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir, said fighting was still underway in the area between the armed forces and the militants. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for today's attack, but it bore all the hallmarks of an Islamic State (IS) affiliate.