Saturday, October 31, 2015

Protesters, Police in Greece Clash at Border Fence; Protesters Claim Migrants Die at Sea Due to Fence

Protesters clashed with police guarding a border fence in northern Greece today (October 31, 2015), following a series of sea accidents that killed dozens of migrants seeking refuge from war-torn Syria and other Asian countries, according to the AP website.

About 500 anti-government protesters -- who traveled from Athens and several towns in northern Greece -- were involved in the clashes near the border with Turkey, after challenging a police cordon blocking access to the fence that spans more than six miles.

The demonstrators are demanding that Greece tear down the fence and allow refugees to cross by land instead of risking their lives on the sea crossing to Europe. Some of the youths hurled rocks at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. No injuries or arrests were reported.

The government says it cannot remove the fence for "practical reasons."

US Sends Special Forces to Syria to Help Rebels; Will Provide Mil. Expertise to Rebels Fighting IS

The United States says it will send a small number of special operations forces to Syria that will advise rebels, but that the deployment will not be a combat mission, the RFERL (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) website reports today (October 31, 2015).

The announcement yesterday came amid a call by the United States, Russia, and other countries for the UN to launch a new diplomatic effort to end the four-and-one-half-year civil war in Syria.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington that U.S. President Barack Obama had ordered the deployment of fewer than 50 commandos to assist moderate forces seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"Those special operations forces will be in Syria and they'll be offering some training, some advice, and some assistance to moderate opposition forces that are fighting IS [Islamic State] in northern Syria right now," Earnest said.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Billy Graham Warns US Churches on Persecution; States Immunity to Persecution in US Is Unusual

The Rev. Billy Graham has issued a written warning to America's churches: "Prepare for persecution," the Christian Post website reports today (October 30, 2015).

The renowned preacher and founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association penned a commentary that was posted on his website and is slated to appear in the November edition of Decision magazine.

In the magazine, Graham notes that the American church has been largely unfamiliar with persecution, writing that this "immunity to persecution that Christians in our country have experienced in the past two or three centuries is unusual."

Graham went on to list "five ways to fortify yourself so that you will be able to stand that day." These include: Making sure of one's relationship to God; walking with God; regularly reading Scripture; praying always; and meditating on Christ.

Polish Court Refuses to Extradite Polanski to US; Film Director Raped 13-Yr.-Old Girl,But Fled US

A Polish court in Krakow today (October 30, 2015) rejected a bid by the United States to extradite film director Roman Polanski to face charges of having had sex with a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s, according to the USA Today website.

The 82-year-old director -- who pleaded guilty to statutory rape in 1977 -- fled the U.S. at that time to avoid sentencing.

Polanski did not appear in court today for the ruling. Instead, he was a passenger on a small plane that left Krakow for France just before the ruling. Polanski holds dual citizenship in Poland and France. France does not extradite its citizens.

The Academy Award-winning director has been under much scrutiny in the case following the election last weekend of a conservative government in Poland. Officials from the Law and Justice Party -- which is expected to head Poland's government in November -- have said that Polanski should be sent to the U.S. to go on trial for the 1977 rape.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

IS Posts Pix of Kids with Knives to Foster Terror; Sees Next Generation One of Stabbings,Slaughter

The Islamic State (IS) is flooding social media with images of children holding knives, in support of the recent Palestinian stabbing attacks against Jews in Israel, the Clarion Project website reports today (October 29, 2015).

They accompany the pictures with the need for violence and the battle cry "Slaughter The Jews."

"Teach your children to love Palestine and take up knives," one such caption read. "Oh people of Palestine. The next generation will be the generation of stabbings and slaughter."

The images come following the release of a Hebrew language video by the Islamic State's propaganda wing threatening to destroy Israel and slaughter all the Jews.

China Dumps Its 36-Year Policy of Just One Child; Will Now Allow Couples to Have up to 2 Children

After 36 years, communist China has finally decided to end its infamous one-child policy, and will now allow couples to have up to two children, the Breitbart website reports today (October 29, 2015).

The news was reported by the state-run Xinhua news agency, citing a statement released by the fifth plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party that has been meeting in Beijing.

Chairman Deng Xiaoping enacted the one-child policy in 1979 as a measure aimed at control, but the hotly contested law had created a series of gender imbalances and ultimately proved counterproductive for the new phase of social and economic development of the Asian giant.

Punishments for having a second child ranged from high monetary fines and the loss of employment to forced abortions, and the policy is estimated to have prevented 400 million births since its inception.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Nigerian Mil.Rescues 338 Boko Haram Captives; But None of 219 Kidnapped Schoolgirls Rescued

Nigerian troops have rescued 338 captives -- almost all children and women -- from Boko Haram camps in a northeastern forest, the USA Today website reports today (October 28, 2015).

Thirty of the Islam extremists were killed yesterday in attacks on camps on the fringes of the Islamic insurgents' holdout in Sambisa Forest, according to a Defense Headquarters statement.

The military posted photographs of several guns and ammunition it said were seized in the attacks, along with images of bodies of alleged insurgents.

Nigerian troops have rescued hundreds of Boko Haram captives this year, but none of the 219 girls kidnapped from a school in Chibok town. Their mass abduction in April 2014 sparked international outrage against the Islam extremists and Nigeria's government for failing to rescue them. Most of the captive schoolgirls are being used as sex slaves -- and many have given birth to children -- according to a Boko Haram captive who managed to escape recently.

Episcopal Bishop Gets 7 Yrs. for Hit-Run Death; Heather Cook Killed Thomas Palermo Last Dec.

Former bishop of The Episcopal Church of Maryland, Heather Cook, 59 -- who caused the death of a 41-year-old father in a drunken hit-and-run incident two days after Christmas in 2014 -- said "sorry" as she was sentenced yesterday to seven years in prison, the Christian Post website reports today (October 28, 2015).

Cook -- who was relieved of her position with the church earlier this year -- made history in 2014 when she became the first female bishop and second-highest ranking official of the Episcopal Church of Maryland.

On December 27, 2014, the car she was driving hit Thomas Palermo, the married father of two and a software engineer as he rode his bicycle in Baltimore.

Cook fled the scene twice and was later found to have been drunk and texting, as her struggle with alcoholism made national and international headlines.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Obama May Be Using Ground Forces in Iraq,Syria; May Deploy Them This Week for More Clout on IS

President Obama's most senior national security advisers have recommended measures that would move U.S. troops closer to the front lines in Iraq and Syria, officials said, a sign of mounting White House dissatisfaction with the lack of progress against the Islamic State (IS), the Washington Post website reports today (October 27, 2015).

The debate over the proposed steps -- which would for the first time position a limited number of Special Operations forces on the ground in Syria and put U.S. advisers closer to the firefights in Iraq -- comes as Defense Secretary Ashton Carter presses the military to deliver new options for greater military involvement in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

The changes would represent a significant escalation of the American role in Iraq and Syria. They still require formal approval from Obama, who could make a decision as soon as this week or could decide not to alter the current course, said U.S. officials.

The recommendations came at Obama's request and reflect the president's and his top advisers' concern that the battle in Iraq and Syria -- which only uses U.S. and allied airstrikes against IS troops -- is largely stalemated and in need of new ideas to generate a greater momentum against Islamic State forces.

Netanyahu to Lawmakers: "No Palestinian State;" Israel to Control All Land for Foreseeable Future

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed yesterday that he does not envision a two-state solution for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories any time soon, the Huffington Post website reports today (October 27, 2015).

"At this time, we need to control all of the territory for the foreseeable future," he told lawmakers at a parliamentary committee meeting.

Netanyahu accused members of the opposition government -- who have lobbied for renewed two-state negotiations -- of indulging in an "unrealistic fantasy."

"You think there is a magic wand here, but I disagree," he told them. "I'm asked if we will forever live by the sword -- yes."

Monday, October 26, 2015

Detroit Billboard Says "America First Not Israel;" Seeks to Abolish Harmony among American Jews

A large billboard in Detroit that reads "America First Not Israel" is causing controversy, and some are accusing its message of being anti-Semitic, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (October 26, 2015).

The sign -- placed on 8 Mile Road in Detroit -- says it was "Paid for by Deir Yassin Remembered," a New York-based organization that has been posting similar signs throughout the United States.

The Anti-Defamation League's Heidi Budaj said the ad is trying to "drive a wedge between the American people and the state of Israel." She added... "while many of the Jewish people in the United States support the state of Israel as a Jewish state, we are loyal to Americans."

Last month, there was much disagreement among Jewish people in the United States, as a plethora of American Jews supported Israel -- rather than the United States -- by opposing President Barack Obama's pact with Iran to prevent it from producing a nuclear weapon. Instead, these American Jews supported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's efforts to prevent the United States from signing the nuclear pact with Iran. Many other American Jews supported the U.S. pact with Iran, which was approved.

IS Hit Squads Kill Christians in Syrian Camps; Kidnap Christian Girls,Sell Them as Sex Slaves

The Islamic State (IS) is sending hit squads into Syrian refugee camps to kill Christians, the Clarion Project website reports today (October 26, 2015).

The strategy is part of a larger commitment to wipe out Christianity, according to a former Islamic State jihadi, who was sent to a refugee camp but changed his mind about his mission.

One aid worker said, "They're like a mafia. People are even killed inside the camps, and the refugees are afraid to say if they saw somebody get killed. If you ask them, they'll say, 'I don't know, I was asleep.'"

The jihadi squads are also kidnapping Christian girls and selling them into sex slavery.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pope Calls for a More Open-Hearted Cath.Church; Criticizes Bishops at Synod for Resisting Changes

Pope Francis closed a contentious bishops' meeting on family issues today (October 25, 2015), calling for a more open-hearted, compassionate Church rooted in people's lives and not a programmatic, and one that fears changes and challenges, according to the Reuters website.

At the end of the three-week synod gathering, the bishops agreed to a qualified opening toward divorcees who have remained outside the Church and currently cannot receive communion.

But the final document sidestepped the issue of whether the Church should use more welcoming language towards homosexuals.

"A faith that does not know how to root itself in the life of people remains arid and, rather than oases, creates other deserts," the pope said. Pope Francis has stressed -- since his election in 2013 -- that the 1.2 billion-member Church should be open to change, side with the poor, and rid itself of the pomp and stuffiness that has alienated so many Catholics.

Rabbi,2 Jewish Worshippers Stabbed in France; Attacker Yelled Anti-Semitic Slurs during Attack

In another all-too-common attack on Jews in France, a rabbi and two Jewish worshippers were stabbed yesterday outside a synagogue in Marseilles, the Times of Israel website reports today (October 25, 2015).

According to the French daily newspaper Le Figaro, the knife-wielding assailant was drunk and could be heard shouting anti-Semitic slurs at the time of the assault.

According to the report, the assailant is mentally unstable and is known to local police. He was arrested near the scene shortly after the attack.

One of the victims sustained serious injuries from multiple stab wounds to the abdomen. A police source told Le Figaro his injuries were not life-threatening.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Synod Has Mercy for Divorced, Unwed Couples; But Fails to Approve Changes in Cath.Teachings

Divided clerics at a landmark Vatican summit on the family echoed the more inclusive tone of Pope Francis today (October 24, 2015), extending a more welcoming hand to divorced and unmarried couples, while stopping short of calling for clear alterations in church policies and leaving the ground-breaking pontiff as the ultimate decider of change, according to the Washington Post website.

The three-week summit -- known as a synod -- marked the culmination of a two-year process to recalibrate the faith's approach to families in the 21st century. Under Francis's direction, bishops and cardinals set a new precedent by tackling issues once considered taboo in the Roman Catholic Church.

Yet, the still significant opposition in the synod to rapid changes in rules also suggested how far off Catholics may still be from seeing Francis's revolutionary style turned into practice.

The document went further than some expected. But even top clerics conceded that liberal Catholics with high expectations of change under Francis might still be disappointed. Cardinal Donald Wuerl -- the archbishop of Washington, D.C. -- said: "One false expectation is that Catholic teachings would be changed. That is not going to happen."

Eight Church Robbers Now on Trial in Germany; Sent Money and Stolen Items to Syria to Fund IS

Eight men -- led by a Moroccan -- are on trial in Germany for stealing from churches and schools in order to fund the Islamic State (IS), the Christian Headlines website reports today (October 24, 2015).

The men aiding the Islamic State stole 19,000 Euros worth of goods from churches and schools in Cologne and Siegen.

In the court case, chief prosecutor Nadja Gudermann said that the men stole church offertory funds, collection boxes, crosses, chalices, and a number of other valuable objects "dedicated to church services and religious worship."

In addition to pilfering from churches, the men are also accused of stealing money, laptop computers, and a cash card from schools. The men sent the stolen items to Syria to fund Islamic State fighters in their terrorist campaign.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Wife of Football Player Aborted Baby of Pastor; Pastor Had Affair with Player's Wife,Killed Him

Tykia Smith -- wife of the late semi-pro football player Deante Smith, 25 -- allegedly aborted a pregnancy that resulted from an affair with her pastor of the City of God Church in Detroit, the Christian Post website reports today (October 23, 2015).

According to friends and family members, she then pretended she miscarried before her husband was shot dead by the pastor during a confrontation inside his church last Sunday.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said yesterday that it is reviewing the case to see what charges may result from Smith's death. The pastor shot Smith several times with a semi-automatic pistol after Smith approached him while holding a brick.

Emotions continue to run high among family members and friends of Smith over his death at the hands of his estranged pastor, identified as Keon Allison. They have condemned the adulterous affair between the pastor and Smith's wife, and called on officials to quickly arrest Allison for murder.

US to"Bibi:" Inflammatory Rhetoric Needs to Stop; Rips Israeli PM for Blaming Holocaust on Muslim

The White House warned Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu against "inflammatory rhetoric" yesterday after the Israeli prime minister claimed a Palestinian Islamic leader convinced Hitler to carry out the Holocaust, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (October 23, 2015).

Netanyahu on October 20 said Hitler was not planning to exterminate the Jews -- he was only planning to expel them from Europe -- until he met Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian nationalist, in 1941. Netanyahu -- who has been enraged by a multitude of violent incidents in Israel by Palestinians in recent weeks --  added that al-Husseini convinced Hitler to "burn the Jews."

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, "I don't think there's any doubt here at the White House who is responsible for the Holocaust that killed six million Jews."

He added: "We here continue to stress publicly and privately... the importance of preventing inflammatory rhetoric, accusations or actions on both sides [that] can feed the violence... inflammatory rhetoric needs to stop."

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pope Francis Creates a New Vatican Department; Will Reveal Statutes for Laity,Family,Life in Dec.

Pope Francis has announced the creation of a new Vatican department for laity, family, and life, The Catholic Herald website reports today (October 22, 2015).

He made the announcement at last night's session of the Synod of the Family in Rome.

The idea of the new dicastery was proposed to the Pope by the Council of Cardinals, his body of cardinal-advisers.

The statutes of the new body are expected to be released in December.

Athens Jewish Cemetery Vandalized by Neo-Nazis; Group Sprays Swastika, Anti-Jewish Notes on Wall

The main Jewish cemetery in Athens was vandalized last night with swastikas and anti-Jewish graffiti, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (October 22, 2015).

A Nazi swastika and vulgar messages were sprayed on one of the cemetery walls. A swastika and the German word "Raus," meaning "get out," along with the tag C-18 were sprayed on the cemetery gate pillar.

C-18 refers to Combat 18 Hellas, a small neo-Nazi group operating in Greece. The group posted pictures on its website and claimed responsibility for what it called the "beautiful artistic intervention at the Jewish cemetery."

The community of Athens in a statement condemned the vandalism perpetrated by "cowardly Nazis" and called on Greek authorities to find and prosecute the perpetrators. It said Greek society must condemn the attack, because "tolerance of these phenomena affects the whole society."

Kerry, Netanyahu Meet to End Violence in Israel; Kerry Optimistic about Steps to End the Violence

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he was cautiously optimistic following talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday about possible steps to end the latest wave of deadly violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories, the Wall Street Journal website reports today (Octoner 22, 2015).

Following his four-hour meeting with the Israeli leader in Berlin, Kerry said he planned to raise the proposals -- which he didn't specify -- with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman, Jordan on October 24.

Kerry described his meting with Netanyahu "as one that gave me a cautious measure of optimism that there may be a way to defuse the situation and begin to find a way forward."

Since mid-September, nine Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting, and stoning attacks by Palestinians. Nearly 50 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Polish Bishop Defrocks Priest Fired by Vatican; Krzystof Charamsa Admitted Oct. 3 He Is Gay

A Polish bishop today (October 21, 2015) defrocked a high-ranking Catholic priest fired by a furious Vatican earlier this month after he came out as gay on the eve of a key synod of the family, according to the Yahoo News website.

Bishop Ryszard Kasyna decided that Krzystof Charamsa should no longer be able to celebrate mass, administer sacraments like communion and baptism, or wear a cassock.

Charamsa had held a senior position working for the Vatican office for protecting Catholic dogma, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The 43-year-old priest sparked outrage at the Vatican on October 3 by publicly declaring his homosexuality on the eve of a bishops' synod set to touch on the divisive issue of the Catholic Church's relationship to gay believers.

Bibi Enrages Arabs and Jews with Hitler Rant; Claims Islam Head Swayed Hitler to Kill Jews

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu was slammed by both Palestinians and Israelis today (October 21, 2015) for stating that a Palestinian Islamic leader convinced Adolf Hitler to exterminate European Jews during World War II, the Euro News website reports.

Netanyahu's comments have been described as "historically inaccurate" by Holocaust scholars. Critics say his statements amount to incitement against modern-day Palestinians amid a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence and tension.

Netanyahu was speaking to a group of Jewish leaders yesterday and said... "Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time [when Hitler was visited in late 1941 in Berlin by Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini], he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, 'If you expel them, they'll all come here. So what should I do with them?' he asked. He said, 'Burn them.'"

Tom Segev -- a leading Israeli historian who has conducted extensive research on the Holocaust -- said today that the notion that Hitler needed to be convinced to exterminate the Jews was "entirely absurd." Segev stressed, "one  cannot say Hitler needed his [Husseini's] advice."

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pro-Govt. Source: Three Russians Killed in Syria; Fought Next to Syrian Govt. Forces,Hit by Rebels

A senior pro-government military source in Syria said today (October 20, 2015) that at least three Russians fighting alongside Syrian government forces were killed and several more wounded when a shell hit their position in the coastal province of Latakia, according to the Reuters website.

The deaths -- which occurred last night -- are the first known Russians being killed in Syria since Moscow began its military support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on September 30. Rebels seeking to oust President Assad are believed to have fired the deadly shell.

Rami Abdulahman -- head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which monitors the Syrian civil war -- told Reuters that his sources in the area had confirmed the deaths of Russians, but did not have an exact figure.

The pro-government source -- who is familiar with military events in Syria -- said that at least 20 Russians were at the post in the Nabi Youris area when the shell struck.

US Mil. Lands 12 Ground-Attack Planes in Turkey; A-10 Planes Designed to Cause Fatal Impact on IS

The US military has deployed a dozen A-10 ground-attack planes to the air base at Incirlik in southern Turkey, a US official said today (October 20, 2015), according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the move had "added capability" to the coalition's efforts against the Islamic State (IS).

The 12 planes --famous for their tank-destroying capabilities -- arrived a few days ago and have already been scheduled to fly missions in support of the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria, the official told AFP.

Known by troops on the ground as "Warthogs," A-10 planes are heavily strengthened and designed to withstand direct hits from armor-piercing rounds.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pope:Either One Serves God,or One Serves Wealth; Jesus Alerts Us Stay Away from All Kinds of Greed

Pope Francis bluntly reminded the congregation at Mass today (October 19, 2015), at Casa Santa Marta, that we cannot serve two masters: either one serves God, or one serves wealth, the Independent Catholic News website reports.

Jesus "is not against wealth as such," but He warns against placing one's security in money. This is something which risks, "turning religion into an insurance agency." In addition, attachment to money is divisive, as illustrated by the Gospel account of "the two brothers arguing over the inheritance," the pope said.

"Let us consider how many families we know, whose members have fought, who are fighting, who don't even say 'Hello!' to each other, who hate each other -- all for an inheritance. This is just one of the cases: the love of family, love of children, siblings, parents -- none of these is the most important thing -- no, it's money, and this destroys..."

Pope Francis continued: "I am sure all of us know at least one family so divided. Jesus is clear: 'Be careful and stay away from all kinds of greed: it is dangerous.' Greed: for, it gives us a security that is not true and it brings you to pray -- yes, you can pray, go to church -- but also have a heart that is attached to material wealth, and that always ends badly." To be a true Christian, a person must live a life in which the love of God transcends the love of money.

Cleveland Area Rabbi Gets 22 Years for Sex Abuse; Rabbi Frederick Karp Abused Females, 2 under 18

A Cleveland-area rabbi will serve 22 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of a minor, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (October 19, 2015).

Rabbi Frederick Karp, 51, was sentenced on October 15 in Baltimore County Circuit Court in Maryland, the home county of the victims, all females. He had been scheduled to go on trial later this month, but reached a plea bargain agreement.

Karp -- the former director of spiritual living at Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood, Ohio -- was sentenced to 35 years, with 13 years suspended, plus five years of supervised probation after he is released.

The abuse took place when family friends visited the Karps' suburban Cleveland home, and also when he visited the family, over a five-year period that ended last December. The victims lived in Baltimore County at the time of the incidents. Two of the three victims were under the age of 18.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Anglican Bishops Ask UK to Accept 50K Refugees; Say PM's Offer to House 20K in 5 Yrs. Not Enough

More than 80 Church of England (Anglican) bishops today (October 18, 2015) called on the British government to take in at least 50,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years, according to the Christian Today website.

Headed by Bishop of Durham Paul Butler, they state that the prime minister's current offer to house 20,000 in five years does not go far enough.

The 84 bishops describe the situation in Syria as "one of the largest refugee crises ever recorded," arguing that "a moral crisis of this magnitude calls each and all of us to play our parts."

They state: "We believe such is this country's great tradition of sanctuary and generosity of spirit that we could feasibly resettle at least 10,000 people a year for the next two years, rising to a minimum of 50,000 in total over the five-year period you foresaw in your announcement..."

Polish Pres.Warns Migrants May Bring Epidemics; Says Govt.Must Protect Poles from Epidemic Risks

Poland's President Andzej Duda today (October 18, 2015) said his government should take steps to protect its citizens if it took in migrants, as they could bring "possible epidemics," the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports.

The statements are potentially embarrassing for former Polish premier Donald Tusk, who is now the EU (European Union) president, and who has criticized the growing trend among European nations to set up new barriers to keep out refugees from Syria and elsewhere.

Duda said if the government was ready to accept migrants it should take measures "to ensure that Poles are well-protected against epidemiological risks."

Poland had long been reluctant to take in migrants, but finally agreed to accept about 5,000 of the 120,000 people to be shared out between the 28-member EU, up from its initial 2,000.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hungary PM: Islam Was Never Part of Europe; Says Islam Is the "Rulebook of Another World"

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban -- who received worldwide criticism last month after Hungarian police tear-gassed refugees trying to enter the country -- said yesterday that "Islam has never been part of Europe," the IB (International Business) Times website reports today (October 17, 2015).

Speaking to German magazine Focus about the influx of immigrants into Europe, Orban said: "The language of the European elite is ideological and dogmatic. Islam has never been part of Europe; it came to us."

He conceded that thousands of Turkish immigrants who arrived in Germany for work in the 1960s did so for economic reasons and now "belong to German history and therefore Europe's too." He added, "But spiritually, Islam was never part of Europe. It's the rulebook of another world."

He criticized France and Germany for refusing to encourage "any doubts" over multiculturalism. "We in Hungary decide what we want or don't want. We don't want that," he said.

Pope Calls for Church to Be More Decentralized; Wants Lay Cath. to Play Role in Church Rulings

Pope Francis called today (October 17, 2015) for a Catholic Church that is far more decentralized, where the laity plays a greater role, bishops' conferences take care of certain problems, and even the papacy is rethought, the AP website reports.

Francis issued the call during a ceremony today to mark the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, a consultative body formed during the Second Vatican Council that was intended precisely to encourage more collegiality in the running of the church by inviting bishops to offer their advice to Rome.

Over the past five decades, the synod has been little more than a talk-fest. But Francis has sought to re-energize it, and the contentious meeting under way at the Vatican, in which conservative and progressive bishops are squaring off over ministering to families, has been the result.

Francis noted that he launched the family synod process two years ago by sending out a questionnaire to Catholic families around the world asking for their input -- a strong sign that ordinary lay Catholics have an important role to play in the governance of the church and spreading the faith.

Friday, October 16, 2015

US Hist.:Poles Killed More Jews Than Germans; Poland Hits Jew with Libel Suit for His Assertion

Polish prosecutors yesterday opened a libel probe against a U.S. historian after he claimed Poles killed more Jews than Germans during World War II, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (October 16, 2015).

Last month, German newspaper Die Welt ran an article by the Polish-born Princeton University professor Jan T. Gross in which he sought to explain Poland's wariness of accepting Syrian migrants streaming into Europe by referring to anti-Semitism during World War II.

"The Poles, for example, were indeed rightfully proud of their society's resistance against the Nazis, but in fact did kill more Jews than Germans during the war," wrote the 68-year-old Jewish historian.

The Warsaw prosecutor's office has since received more than 100 complaints from individuals and organizations saying they found Gross's claim offensive, according to office spokesman Przemyslaw Nowak. Nowak told public television that the prosecutor's office was acting under a paragraph of the criminal code that "provides that any person who publicly insults the Polish nation is punishable by up to three years in prison."

Bulgarian Border Guard Kills an Afghan Refugee; Shoots Migrant Sneaking in Bulgaria from Turkey

A Bulgarian border guard shot and killed an Afghan man after he illegally entered the European Union (EU) country from Turkey, the Daily Caller website reports today (October 16, 2015).

The man was part of a group of around 50 migrants trying to sneak into Bulgaria, which is part of the EU. The remaining refugees were detained after the incident.

Officials say the man died when a bullet -- meant to be a warning -- ricocheted and hit him after the migrants resisted arrest.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the incident is the first of its kind since the start of the migrant crisis, and the agency is "deeply shocked." It also called for an independent investigation of the death from the Bulgarian authorities.

Boko Haram Kidnapped Schoolgirl Flees,Freed; Most Girls Married Islam Mil.,Many Gave Birth

One of the 276 schoolgirls -- kidnapped in April of 2014 by the Nigerian Islamic militant terror group Boko Haram -- recently escaped and was found by herdsmen who brought her to soldiers in the area, the Breaking Christian News website reports today (October 16, 2015).

Noting that dozens of the kidnapped girls were still alive, the escaped girl stated that, "All of us were forced to become Muslims but kept in camps far from each other. You can only see and recognize those in your camp, as any of us who refused being Islamized was either beheaded or shot at point blank range."

She told the authorities that of the girls who still remained in the hands of Boko Haram, many are pregnant or have given birth, and some have contracted diseases from being raped.

Many of the kidnapped girls were sold as sex slaves, while the rest are being held captive somewhere in Nigeria's Samibisa National Forest.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Portland Synagogue Is Defaced with Hate Graffiti; Vandals Paint Swastika, Insult Pres. Obama on It

Portland, Oregon police are on the lookout for the perpetrators of an act of synagogue vandalism in the southwestern part of the city that took place early yesterday morning, the Jewish Press website reports today (October 15, 2015).

According to Rabbi Michael Kaplan of Congregation Ahavath Achim-Sephardic on Portland's Barbur Boulevard, a Nazi swastika had been spray-painted on the synagogue building's exterior, next to a misspelled Satanic slur about President Obama, declaring that "Oboma is 666."

Six hundred sixty-six appears in chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation of the Christian Bible, where it is called "number of the beast," a belligerent creature that appears in the book's apocalyptic vision.

Rabbi Kaplan said that after the graffiti had been discovered, around 7 am yesterday, a coat of paint was applied to cover it.

Obama:US Troops Will Remain in Afghanistan; Due to Taliban's Surge of Power, Terror Threat

Although President Obama had been planning to end the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2016, he decided today (October 15, 2015) to extend the mission beyond that time, as the Taliban terrorist group recently gained control of much land in the country, the ABC News website reports.

"As commander in chief, I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again," Obama said today. "Afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be."

The President had planned to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 except those needed to protect the U.S. embassy in Kabul. With today's change of strategy, at least 5,500 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2016.

A new United Nations study released last week shows that the Taliban threat level is now "high" in half of Afghanistan's administrative districts. The study also reveals that the Taliban is operating in more of Afghanistan than at any time since 2001, when the U.S. sent its first troops there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Polish Priest Is Defrocked for Fathering Child; Wooed Woman,22,at WYD Meeting in Krakow

A Polish priest has been stripped of his duties after fathering a child with a woman he met while working as spokesman for the upcoming World Youth Day (WYD) in Krakow, Poland, the Catholic News website reports today (October 14, 2015).

Tomasz Kijowski -- a member of the Salesian order -- has been banned from performing his duties and wearing his clerical robes or collar.

Andizej Golebiowski -- spokesman for the Krakow Salesians -- said, "The reason for this situation is that he has fathered a child."

Kijowski met his 22-year-old partner at a planning meeting for the World Youth Day, which will be held in Krakow in July, 2016.

More Violence Breaks Out Today in Jerusalem; Israeli Police Shoot, Kill Man Wielding a Knife

Violence has broken out again today (October 14, 2015) near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate Plaza, where Israeli police shot and killed a Palestinian man armed with a knife, according to the CNN website.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the incident began when border police saw a man who seemed nervous and suspicious to them.

As officers approached him, Samri said, he lunged at them with a knife. The man then ran toward another police unit, members of which yelled out, "He's a terrorist," before they fatally shot him, Samri said.

The Israel Security Agency identified the perpetrator as Basel Sider, 19, of the West Bank city of Hebron. He had no record, the agency said.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Franklin Graham Rips IS Genocide on Christians; Stunned at World Apathy toward IS's Savage Acts

Evangelist Franklin Graham -- son of world famous evangelist Billy Graham -- said today (October 13, 2015) that despite the genocide and various horrific human rights abuses being perpetrated on Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, the world appears to be mostly silent and apathetic, the Christian Post website reports.

Graham also called on believers to pray for the end of the "horrendous evil" being done in the name of religion.

"It is genocide -- and the world seems largely silent about it. Genocide perpetrated by the Islamic State against Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities of Syria and Iraq," Graham said today.

He recalled a number of the atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS) terror group in the past couple of months, including the murder, crucifixions, and beheadings of groups of Christians, torturing children, raping women, and forced conversions to Islam.

Thousands Support Anti-Islam Rally in Germany; "Hang" Chancellor Merkel for Open Refugee Stand

German prosecutors have opened an investigation after a demonstrator held up a mock gallows with nooses marked for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her deputy today (October 13, 2015) at a protest organized by the anti-Islam movement PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West), the Reuters website reports.

Several thousand people took part in today's rally in the eastern German city of Dresden. Germany -- a favored destination for refugees fleeing war in the Middle East -- expects a record 800,000 to a million asylum seekers to arrive this year.

Public prosecutors in Dresden said a criminal investigation had been opened into persons unknown for disturbing the peace and threatening crimes, as well as public incitement to commit crimes.

Many Germans are adamantly opposed to Merkel's welcoming stance of unlimited Muslim refugees. German federal police say there have been at least 26 arson attacks on refugee shelters in the first nine months of 2015.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Terror Expert:Girls Now Used as Terror Bombers; Less Suspecting Than Boys, Hide Weapons Better

A member of Israel's Knesset and author of two books on suicide bombers said today (October 12, 2015) that "girls are useful as terrorists, because they appear less suspicious than their male counterparts, and because it is easier for them to hide weapons under their (Islamic) garments, according to the Algemeiner website.

Anat Berko, a member of the Likud Party, noted the increasing rate of young females carrying out the terrorist attacks against Israelis that have become a near-daily occurrence over the last several weeks. She said using girls as terrorists is "a tactic, not a coincidence."

Today alone, two of the four stabbings in Jerusalem were committed by teenage girls.

Berko pointed out the "benefit" of using children -- especially girls -- to carry out acts that get them killed. "There is nothing better for portraying victimhood  in the international media than wounded or dead youngsters," she said.

Taliban Threat in Afghanistan Worst Since 2001; Sept. UN Study Shows Taliban Threat as "High"

Newly released UN statistics show the Afghan Taliban is now operating in more of Afghanistan than at any time since 2001, when the U.S. first became involved militarily in the country in order to assist it in fighting terrorism, the Clarion Project website reports today (October 12, 2015).

This data was compiled even before the September 28 fall of Kunduz, the first provincial capital to be under Taliban control since the Taliban were defeated.

In September, UN security officials rated the threat level as "high" or "extreme" in roughly half of Afghanistan's administrative districts. Many others that are ranked have a "substantial" threat level.

In many districts, government loyalists only control government compounds and buildings in the center, with Taliban insurgents holding much of the countryside. One police chief, who has been pinned down for months with 400 police officers, said: "We do not have any way to escape. If we get any means of escaping, I will not stay for a second in the district. The government is failing in their governing, and it's better to let the Taliban rule."

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Nigeria's Boko Haram Group Blamed for Killing 9; Teen Girls Execute Suicide Bombings in Cameroon

Two teenage girls carried out suicide bombings in a northern Cameroon village today (October 11, 2015), killing at least 9 and wounding 29 others, the country's government spokesman said, blaming Nigeria's Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram, according to the Newsmax website.

The Cameroon bombings come after five coordinated suicide bombings in neighboring Chad yesterday, which killed at least 36 people and wounded some 50 others in a village near Lake Chad.

In Cameroon, the early morning attack today hit a food market in Kangeleri near Mora town in the country's north, said Cameroon's Minister of Communications Issa Tchiroma Bakary.

Boko Haram has used dozens of girls and women in recent suicide bombings in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger, raising fears it is using kidnapped victims to target countries that have pledged to contribute to a regional force to combat the insurgents.

Israeli Jets Kill Pregnant Mom,Toddler in Gaza; Violence between Israelis,Palestinians Soaring

A pregnant Palestinian mother and her toddler daughter were killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza today (October 11, 2015), as violence between Israelis and Palestinians threatened to spiral out of control, according to the France 24 website.

Nur Hassan, 30, and her daughter Rahaf Hassan, 2, were killed when their house in the northern Gaza Strip sector of Zeitun was demolished by the Israeli attack, with three others still trapped under the ruins.

Israel said it targeted "two Hamas weapon manufacturing facilities" in response to two rocket launches at Israel yesterday, as well as a number of attempts by Palestinians to violently break into Israel from Gaza.

One of the rockets had hit an open field in southern Israel and the other was intercepted, while nine Palestinians were killed during the border clashes with Israeli soldiers.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pope Seeks World Leaders to Solve Mideast Crises; Condemns Relativism as a Temptation of the Devil

Pope Francis has called on world leaders to work together to resolve the conflicts in the Middle East, the Christian Today website reports today (October 10, 2015).

At the Synod of the Family in Rome yesterday, he urged all 270 bishops and cardinals to pray for peace and reconciliation. He also condemned "relativism," warning it was a temptation of the devil.

Addressing the synod, the Pope said: We are painfully affected and we follow with great concern what is happening in Syria, in Iraq, in Jerusalem, and the West Bank... War brings destruction and multiplies the suffering of the people."

He urged the international community to "use the instruments of international law, diplomacy, to resolve the current conflicts."

Explosions Kill at Least 95 in Ankara,Turkey; Deadliest Terrorist Attack in Turkey's History

Two devastating explosions struck today (October 10, 2015) in the heart of Ankara -- the capital of Turkey -- killing at least 95 people who had gathered for a peace rally, and heightening tensions just three weeks before snap parliamentary elections, the NY Times website reports.

The blasts -- which officials called the deadliest terrorist attack in modern Turkey's history -- occurred near Ankara's main train station just as Kurds and leftists planned to march to protest the recent resumption of armed conflict between the Turkish state and Kurdish militants. It is a conflict that has been waged for nearly three decades, but in recent times the two sides had seemed to be on the path to peace.

The prime minister's office said late today that 246 people were wounded in addition to at least 95 people who had been killed.

Turkey is now facing a number of destabilizing forces: violence related to conflicts with Kurdish rebels and the Islamic State group; political instability; economic uncertainty; and a growing flow of refugees from the civil war in Syria.

Friday, October 9, 2015

US Dumps Effort to Train Force of Syrian Rebels; Will Equip,Arm Rebel Groups Fighting IS in Syria

The U.S. is abandoning its goal of training a new force of Syrian rebels and will now focus on equipping, arming, and supporting established groups already fighting against the Islamic State (IS) group inside Syria, the Yahoo News website reports today (October 9, 2015).

The change reflects the failure of the current approach, which has produced only a handful of combat-ready rebels and drawn widespread criticism in Congress.

Officials said the new approach would focus on equipping and enabling established Kurdish and Arab rebel groups, rather than recruiting and vetting a new cadre of rebels, training them in Turkey and Jordan and re-inserting them as an infantry force into Syria.

The $500 million Congress provided last year for the program will be used more for equipping select rebel groups inside Syria, with limited training activity.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

IS Backer in Death Threat to Bin Laden's Killer; UK Islam Convert Sally Jones Helps IS in Syria

The U.S. Navy Seal -- who fired the fatal shot that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden -- has received personalized death threats from an Islamic State (IS) supporter, the Clarion Project website reports today (October 8, 2015).

Former marine Rob O'Neill had his address in Butte, Montana posted online by an Islamic State-affiliated Twitter account.

Undersheriff George Skuletich of the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Department told the media that O'Neill no longer lives in Butte, but the threat had been received and was being taken seriously by law-enforcement officers.

The Twitter account belonged to Sally Jones, a British convert to Islam who traveled to Syria and joined the Islamic State. She was married to Junaid Hussain, another British citizen who played a senior role in the Islamic State as a hacker. Hussain was killed in a drone strike in August.

Palestinian Stabs 5 with Screwdriver in Tel Aviv; None of Injuries Are Serious, Attacker Shot Dead

A 19-year-old Palestinian man -- who stabbed five people with a screwdriver in Tel Aviv -- was shot dead, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (October 8, 2015).

Yesterday afternoon's attack -- which occurred across the street from the headquarters of Israel's military -- was the second stabbing attack of the day by a Palestinian assailant and the fifth in the past two days.

None of the injuries were considered serious.

The assailant -- from eastern Jerusalem -- attempted to grab a soldier's weapon before he began stabbing her, Israeli police said. He stabbed four other bystanders while fleeing toward the Azrieli Mall on a busy thoroughfare before he was shot by a soldier on the street.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pope: Remarriage of Divorcees Is Not Acceptable; Marriage Is for Life,Remarried Seen as Adulterers

Pope Francis has told bishops taking part in a three-week Catholic Church review of family teachings that its stance on the indivisibility of marriage was not up for discussion, despite hopes of an opening towards remarried divorced people, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (October 7, 2015).

The pontiff spoke out after concerns among conservatives over a bid by liberals to allow remarried divorced people to take communion.

The Church holds that marriages are for life, and therefore people who remarry are seen as adulterers.

Liberals have touted the idea that remarried divorced people might be able to return to the Church on a case by case basis.

US Threatens Israel on New W.Bank Settlements; Won't Veto UN Motion Calling Settlements Illegal

The United States issued Israel an ultimatum this week: Announce new settlement construction and Washington won't veto a French-sponsored UN Security Council resolution declaring West Bank settlements illegal, the Times of Israel website reports today (October 7, 2015).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls by senior ministers for construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank in response to an increase in Palestinian terrorism, at a meeting of his security cabinet on October 5.

That was because the Obama administration had warned Netanyahu against announcing new construction over the Green Line in response to the uptick in terrorism, Channel 2 reported yesterday.

In March, the Obama administration said it would re-evaluate its automatic-veto policy at the UN, as a result of Netanyahu's assertion in a pre-election interview that there would be no Palestinian state as long as he remained Israeli prime minister.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Vatican May Be Sending Gay Priests to Be Cured; Former Priest Refused Care at Rehab Monastery

A former clergyman revealed today (October 6, 2015) that the Vatican has been sending gay priests to a monastery to "cure" them of homosexuality, according to the Christian Today (British) website.

Mario Bonfanti said he was asked to go to the Venturini monastery in Trento, northern Italy, after it was discovered he was gay.

Despite having maintained his vow of celibacy, the priest was dismissed from his parish in Sardinia three years ago when he refused.

Following Bonfanti's allegations, the head of Venturini monastery, Father Gianluigi Pasto, told Italian reporters: "I can only say that here we help the priests become healthy."

Russia Defies Turkey's Airspace for Second Time; Has Ground Troops in Syria to Back Assad Forces

Russian involvement in the four and one-half year-old Syrian civil war is escalating, with NATO's secretary general confirming today (October 6, 2015) that a second incursion by Russian planes into Turkish airspace and saying Russian ground troops are in Syria as well, the CNN website reports.

"Russian combat aircraft have violated Turkish airspace," Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. "This is unacceptable."

Stoltenberg also said that "substantial buildup of Russian forces in Syria" includes ground troops in connection with the air base they have." He believes that Russia is not targeting Islamic State (IS) troops, but rather American-trained rebels who oppose the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia is a strong ally of Assad, while the United States is his enemy and wants him overthrown. Russia's recent entry -- just one week ago -- into Syria's civil war to assist Assad's failing troops may well result in a more serious war involving Russia, Turkey, and the United States, as well as Syria and the Islamic State.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Lesbian Bishop Seeks to Remove Church Crosses; Claims Removal Would Avoid Offending Muslims

The world's first lesbian bishop of a mainstream Christian denomination -- who is "married" to a woman priest -- has called for one of Sweden's seaport churches to remove its crosses, so as to avoid offending Muslims, the WND (World Net Daily) website reports today (October 5, 2015).

Bishop Eva Brunne of the Lutheran Church of Sweden has proposed to remove the Christian symbols of the Seamen's Church in Freeport to make it more inviting for visiting sailors from other religions.

Her plan calls for removing crosses and other Christian symbols while setting up a prayer room inside the church that marks the direction of Mecca.

"Making a room available for people of other faiths does not mean that we are not defenders of our own faith. Priests are called to proclaim Christ. We do that every day and in every meeting with people," according to Brunne. "But that does not mean that we are stingy toward people of other faiths."

Cal. Grants Terminally Ill the Right to End Lives; Gov. Brown Signed End of Life Option Act Today

Granting terminally ill patients the right to end their lives with a doctor's help, California Governor Jerry Brown today (October 5, 2015) signed the End of Life Option Act, the San Jose Mercury News website reports.

The new law -- which goes into effect in 2016 -- allows physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to Californians diagnosed as having less than six months to live.

Brown -- a former Jesuit seminarian -- said, "In the end, I was left to reflect on what I want in the face of my own death." All the major Christian branches -- including Roman Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, and Protestantism -- are opposed to assisted dying.

California joins five other states in which aid in dying is legal: Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana, and New Mexico.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pope Opens 3-Week Synod of Bishops on Family; Homily Inspires Love between Man and Woman

Pope Francis today (October 4, 2015) reaffirmed Catholic opposition to gay marriage, as he opened a three-week gathering of bishops from around the world, but said the Church had to show love and understanding towards all, according to the Reuters website.

Francis presided at a solemn Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to open the meeting -- known as a synod -- on the theme of the family in the modern world.

But the run-up to the synod -- attended by some 300 bishops and other delegates -- has been dominated by gay issues.

Francis dedicated one-third of his homily to the topic of love between man and woman and its role in procreation. "This is God's dream for His beloved creation: to see it fulfilled in the loving union between a man and a woman, rejoicing in their shared journey, fruitful in their mutual gift of self," he said.

Card.:Communion OK for Remarried Divorcees; Process of Conversion Can Come by Confession

Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric said today (October 4, 2015) that divorcees who remarry against the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church could be readmitted to Holy Communion on a case-by-case basis, the Telegraph (British) website reports.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said a historic gathering of bishops from around the world called by Pope Francis -- which begins meeting at the Vatican today -- to discuss family issues, is unlikely to come up with a "categorical solution" to what has become one of the thorniest questions facing the Church.

But he said that, while there would be no sweeping dispensation to readmit those in second marriages in the face of Catholic teaching on divorce, a view was emerging that individuals could be received after undergoing a potentially lengthy and painful process of "conversion."

Cardinal Nichols said this "pathway" would be different for each person but could draw on elements of the Catholic sacrament of confession with people required to discuss and face up to the damage caused by the breakup of their first marriage and, where appropriate, take practical steps to put things right.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Vatican Sacks Polish Priest Who Stated He Is Gay; Priest: Cath. Church Must Change Stance on Gays

A Polish priest has been removed from a Vatican position at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, after telling an Italian newspaper that he is gay, the Euro News website reports today (October 3, 2015).

Krzystof Charamsa, 43, says it is time for the Catholic Church to "open its eyes" and change its stance on homosexuality.

It comes as bishops arrive in Rome for a synod -- which begins tomorrow -- focusing on family issues, with homosexuality expected to be on the agenda. Charamsa and gay activists had planned a demonstration outside the Vatican, but changed the venue hours before.

"My decision to 'come out' is a very personal decision in the homophobic world of the Catholic Church. It has been very difficult and very hard," said Charamsa.

Bldg. Begins on World's 1st Underwater Church; Greek Orth.Church Off Crimea to Woo Tourists

Construction of the world's first-ever underwater church -- a Greek Orthodox Church -- has begun off Russia's Crimean coast in the Black Sea, the Christian Headlines website reports today (October 3, 2015).

The church will be built around 20 meters under the water, 100 meters off the coast of Cape Fiolent which is near the Crimean seaport city of Sevastopol. Archimandrite Tikhon has authorized the project and hopes it will become a tourist attraction.

A three-meter tall cross with an anchor design has already been erected underneath the waves and is the first piece of the church in place. Divers also plan to install a table and massive concrete candle holders soon.

"Inside there will be images, icons -- everything that you would find in a church," Tikhon stated. The church will be named St. Nicholas, who is the patron saint of sailors.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hungarian Church Thanks God for Migrant Help; Views Protection from Migrants as a Task by God

The church in a southern Hungarian diocese -- heavily affected by an influx of migrants from Asia and Africa -- has thanked the right-wing government for regarding its efforts to seal Hungary's borders against further migration as "a task given by God," the Religion News website reports today (October 2, 2015).

Hungary -- a landlocked country whose government has been criticized by EU (European Union) peers for its anti-foreign stance -- has become a main transit route for hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving via the Balkans to the south.

More than 280,000 migrants -- fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa -- have passed through Hungary in central Europe this year so far, with most of them seeking sanctuary in wealthier countries of the western EU.

"We are thankful to God that our country has a government now which regards the protection of our country and people as a task given by God... while it promotes and practices brotherly love towards those arriving in our homeland," the Reformed Church of Csongrad diocese said in a statement this week. Csongrad county lies on the border with Serbia -- the border in which Hungary recently erected a razor fence over 100 miles long, in order to prevent migrants from entering its territory.

Regret Imbues Vatican Over Pope-Davis Meeting; Vatican Tries to Ease Controversy,Makes It Worse

A senior Vatican official, who declined to be named, said today (October 2, 2015) that a "sense of regret" now pervades the Holy See over Pope Francis's secret meeting with Kim Davis -- the Kentucky clerk who had been jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples -- as that meeting has overshadowed almost all other aspects of the pope's U.S. visit, according to the Raw Story website.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi -- seeking to eliminate controversy resulting from the secret meeting -- said Davis was one of "several dozen" people who had been invited by the Vatican ambassador to see Francis. But Davis's lawyer -- who informed the press of the secret meeting after the pope returned to Rome -- said that Davis and Pope Francis met alone behind closed doors in the embassy, while all the other guests remained in open areas.

The Vatican also claimed today that it did not ask Davis to meet with the pope, but Davis's lawyer said the Vatican contacted Davis shortly after she was released from jail and requested that she meet with Pope Francis during his U.S. visit. Davis's lawyer also said that Vatican security personnel picked up Davis and her husband from their Washington, D.C. hotel and drove them to the Vatican Embassy to attend the private meeting.

Indeed, in trying to minimize the controversy that has resulted from Pope Francis's secret meeting with Kim Davis, the Vatican has instead made this scenario worse with its half-truths, distortions, and even lies.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Russian Orth. Church Praises Syrian Air Strikes; Sees Strikes as a "Holy Battle" against Terrorists

Russia's air strikes in Syria against ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) -- which began this week -- have been praised as a "holy battle" by the Russian Orthodox Church, the Christian Today website reports today (October 1, 2015).

"The fight with terrorism is a holy battle and today our country is perhaps the most active force in the world fighting it," said Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church's public affairs department.

An official statement from the Church's Patriarch Kirill states: "Russia took a responsible decision to use military forces to protect the Syrian people from the woes brought on by the tyranny of terrorists."

Patriarch Kirill -- who often speaks out on political issues in support of the Kremlin -- added that armed intervention was necessary in Syria because "the political process has not led to any noticeable improvement in the lives of people, and they need military protection."

Oregon Bakers Won't Pay a Lesbian Couple $135K; Cite Econ. Hardship, Appeal Ruling of Labor Head

The owners of a Portland, Oregon bakery are refusing to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to a lesbian couple who they denied service, the Christian Broadcast Network website reports today (October 1, 2015).

Oregon labor commissioner Brad Avakian awarded the damages in July, saying that when owners Melissa and Aaron Klein refused to bake a wedding cake for the couple that they violated their civil rights by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

The lesbians originally sought just $400, the price of one of the Kleins' custom cakes.

The Kleins have appealed Avakian's ruling and are citing financial hardship. Since the ruling, they've had to close their business. However, a Labor Bureau spokesman claims that the Kleins have raised nearly half a million dollars in crowd-funding efforts and should be able to pay.

Israeli Parents of Four Shot to Death in Samaria; Killed in Seconds by Palestinian Terrorists' Shots

Two Israeli parents were shot to death shortly before 9 o'clock last night when terrorists opened fire at their vehicle traveling on the road between the Jewish communities of Itamar and Elon Moreh in Samaria, the Jewish Press website reports today (October 1, 2015).

At least two terrorists targeted the vehicle as a husband and wife in their thirties with their four children drove past the Arab village of Beit Furik.

Military sources said bullets were found at the scene from two different firearms -- a rifle and a handgun.

The children -- a four-month-old baby, and four-year-old, seven-year-old, and nine-year-old boys -- were physically uninjured.