Monday, November 30, 2015

ISIS Now Controls a Key City in Libya Near Italy; Controls Oil-Rich City of Sirte on NW Med. Coast

Despite having been bombarded by the U.S. and several of its allies with a plethora of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria during the past year, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is now consolidating its control over a key city in Libya less than 400 miles from the Italian island of Sicily, the Yahoo News website reports today (November 30, 2015).

Over the past year, ISIS has been deepening its presence in Sirte, an oil-rich city along Libya's northwestern Mediterranean coast.

ISIS jihadists first gained a foothold in Sirte in early 2015. Today, the city is an "actively managed colony of the central Islamic State, crowded with foreign fighters from around the region," according to the New York Times.

Since October 2014, the radical Islamic group has steadily moved to take over Sirte and transform the city into ISIS's capital in North Africa.

Russian Jets Strike Market in Syria Killing 40; Dozens Wounded as Airstrikes Support Assad

Russian jets today (November 30, 2015) struck a market in Syria's Idib province, with reports of at least 40 killed, according to the Euro News website.

Witnesses say, in a second, the hustle and bustle of street trading in the rebel-held town of Ariha was reduced to a deadly silence.

Dozens of people were also wounded.

Ariha fell to Syrian rebels in May during an advance that resulted in the whole of Idib province falling to the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia began a major bombing campaign in Syria on September 30 to help its ally Assad, who suffered a series of setbacks earlier this year -- including the loss of Idib province and areas near the coast, which are of crucial strategic importance.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Turkey, EU Agree on Containing Syrian Migrants; EU Will Pay Turkey $3.2B to House 2.2M Syrians

Turkey promised to help stem the flow of migrants in Europe in return for cash, visas, and renewed talks on joining the European Union (EU) in a deal struck today (November 29, 2015) that the Turkish prime minister called a "new beginning" for the uneasy neighbors, the Reuters website reports.

Leaders of the EU met Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels, Belgium today to finalize an agreement hammered out by diplomats over the past month, as Europeans struggle to limit the strain on their 28-nation bloc from taking in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing from a civil war.  Many European nations have built fences -- some over 100 miles long -- on their borders to block the entry of Syrian refugees, because they fear radical Muslim terrorists from Syria's Islamic State (IS) might infiltrate their countries.

A key element in the EU-Turkey deal is 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in EU aid for the 2.2 million Syrians now in Turkey. The money is intended to raise their living standards and to persuade more of them to stay put, rather than attempt perilous crossings  to the EU via the Greek islands.

The final offer of "an initial" 3 billion euros represents a compromise between the EU -- which offered that sum over two years -- and Turkey, which wanted it every year. The money will be paid out bit by bit as conditions are met.

Pope Lands in War-Torn Central African Republic; Says "I Come as a Pilgrim and an Apostle of Hope"

After landing in war-torn Central African Republic (CAR) today (November 29, 2015), Pope Francis urged the country's leaders to work for peace and reconciliation, particularly through disarmament and a stable administration, according to the National Catholic Register website.

"As the Central African Republic progressively moves, in spite of difficulties, towards the normalization of its social and political life... I come as a pilgrim of peace and an apostle of hope," the Pope said.

He praised the efforts made by both national and international authorities in working to find a solution to current tensions, and expressed his hope that the country's coming elections would allow the CAR "to embark serenely on a new chapter of its history."

The Pope landed in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui this morning. His November 29-30 visit to CAR comes at the end of a larger tour of the African continent that also took him to Kenya and Uganda, and falls just one month ahead of CAR's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Over 100K Go to Pope's Outdoor Mass in Uganda; Hails Uganda's Housing Many War-Torn Refugees

Huge crowds of Ugandans greeted Pope Francis today (November 28, 2015), as he held a mass youth rally and honored martyred Christians on his landmark three-nation trip to Africa, which he dubbed "the continent of hope," according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

The 78-year-old pontiff was greeted by wild cheers and singing at a shrine to the martyrs at Namugongo, just outside the capital Kampala, that honors more than 40 Christians who were executed in the 19th century for refusing to recant their faith.

Over 100,000 people had waited from before dawn at the open-air shrine to attend the mass -- a highlight of the pope's visit to Uganda -- the second leg of his trip after Kenya, and before traveling to war-torn Central African Republic (CAR) tomorrow.

Hailing Uganda's outstanding response in accommodating hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighboring war-torn nations, the pope in his opening speech said, "The world looks to Africa as the continent of hope."

Italy Plans to Close All of Its Clandestine Mosques; Will Shut "Garage Islam" Terror-Planning Havens

Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano announced yesterday that the Italian government will close down all clandestine mosques in the country as part of the fight against terrorism, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 28, 2015).

"In Italy, we have four mosques and over 800 places of Muslim worship," said Alfano.

"We are going to close the clandestine and unregulated places, not to hamper the religion but so that it can be practiced in places which are in order," he added. Some radical Muslims -- not only in Italy but also in several other countries -- have used mosques to "put up a front" in which they plan terrorist attacks.

The interior minister was speaking at a meeting in the southern town of Lecce on the subject of terrorist risks and the influence of so-called "garage Islam" -- the non-registered places of worship where many of the estimated one million Muslims living in Italy go to pray.

Friday, November 27, 2015

FBI Tracks 1,000 IS Suspects in US 24 Hrs. a Day; At Least a Dozen Agents Watching Each IS Savage

Hundreds of FBI agents did not enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with their families yesterday, because they were ensuring that the U.S. would not be attacked -- as Paris was on November 13 -- by Islamic State (IS) radical terrorists. The FBI has about 1,000 active Islamic State probes inside the U.S., and new reports have revealed that at least 48 of those suspects are considered to be so high-risk that the bureau has deployed elite surveillance teams and the latest equipment to track them, the Washington Times website reports today (November 27, 2015).

The squads -- known as mobile surveillance teams or MSTs -- are following the men and women, who are believed to be Islamic radicals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in case they plan to commit acts of terrorism.

Republican Sen. Dan Coats -- who sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence -- would not comment on the specific details of the surveillance or the suspects, but admitted that the around-the-clock tracking is an indispensable commitment for the FBI.

"The FBI together with law enforcement agencies across the country are engaged in this. It takes enormous amounts of manpower to do this on a 24-7 basis. It takes enormous amounts of money to do this," Sen. Coats said. At least a dozen FBI agents are assigned to each of the approximate 1,000 U.S. terrorist probes.

Pope Rips New Colonialism in Nairobi Slum Visit; Views Land, Jobs, Housing to Be "Sacred" Rights

Pope Francis on a visit to Kangemi slum in Nairobi, Kenya today (November 27, 2015) said those living in such communities are victims of "new forms of colonialism" by rich countries and said the urban poor have a "sacred right" to have their basic needs met, according to the Wall Street Journal website.

The pontiff heard about the conditions Nairobi's slum dwellers have to endure: living in shacks made of tin sheeting, using pit toilets, and purchasing water from communal taps.

"These are the wounds inflicted by minorities who cling to power and wealth, who selfishly squander while a growing majority is forced to flee to abandoned, filthy and rundown peripheries," the pope said, on the third day of a trip to Africa.

Land, jobs, and housing are "sacred" rights, he said, and criticized "new forms of colonialism that would make African countries parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel." More than half of Nairobi's residents live in slums, according to the United Nations.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Russia Employs Econ. Action on Turkey Over Jet; Freezes Joint Projects, Cuts Imports from Turkey

Russia threatened to implement an economic retaliation against Turkey today (November 26, 2015) and said it was still awaiting a reasonable explanation and an apology from Turkey for shooting down its warplane, but Turkey dismissed the threats as "emotional" and "unfitting," according to the Reuters website.

In an escalating war of words, President Tayyip Erdogan responded to Russian accusations that Turkey has been buying oil and gas from the Islamic State (IS) in Syria by accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his backers -- which includes Russia -- of being the real source of the IS group's financial and military power.

The shooting down of the Russian jet by the Turkish air force on November 24 was one of the most serious clashes between a NATO member and Russia, and further complicated international efforts to battle Islamic State militants.

As an initial retaliation against Turkey, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered his government to draw up measures that include freezing some joint investment projects and restricting food imports from Turkey. Russia has also decided to suspend its visa-free travel agreement with Turkey, thus significantly decreasing the number of Russian tourists that will visit Turkey.

Syrian Church Head: Christians,West Betrayed Us; Syrian Christians Need to Reside with IS Terrorists

A Syrian Greek Catholic Church leader has condemned both U.S. foreign policy and Western media for ignoring Christian persecution and even worsening the conflict in Iraq and Syria, the Christian Post website reports today (November 26, 2015).

"Innocent people, especially Christians, have no support. The West has betrayed us," Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan said.

"Western democracies have conspired against Syria and produced the destruction of the nation's infrastructure, the demolition of houses, towns, villages, monuments, and archaeological sites," he added.

Younan also asserted that Christians are being targeted and are unable to live "in this chaos that produces militias, armed gangs, [Islamic State] terrorist groups, and Islamic parties."

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pope Arrives in Kenya, Blasts Conflict, Terrorism; More Worried About Mosquitoes Than His Safety

Pope Francis arrived in Kenya today (November 25, 2015) -- the start of a three-nation tour of Africa -- welcomed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and yelling crowds at the airport in the capital city of Nairobi, according to the BBC website.

The Pope said conflict and terrorism fed "on fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration." He played down his own security, joking he was "more worried about the mosquitoes."

A leading Muslim cleric in Kenya welcomed the Pope's visit, saying it gave hope to the "downtrodden in the slums."

Pope Francis's five-day visit to Africa will also see him go to Uganda and Central African Republic, which has been hit recently by Christian-Muslim conflict.

Israeli Lawmakers Discard Orth.Jews' Mil. Service; Similar Law Invalidated by Supreme Court in 2012

Israeli lawmakers approved an amendment this week that postpones the mandatory military conscription of haredi Orthodox men and removes the penalties for not enlisting, the Forward website reports today (November 25, 2015).

The amendment to the Equal Service Law was approved on November 23 by a vote of 49 to 36.

Under the amendment, the law will not go into effect until 2020, with a second set of deadlines in 2023. The new amendment also cancels penalties against yeshiva students who do not enlist and collectively against the haredi Orthodox community if enlistment quotas are not met.

The centrist Yesh Atid party -- led by Yair Lapid -- said it would appeal the amendment to the Supreme Court. The Tai Law -- which allowed haredi men to defer army service indefinitely -- was invalidated by Israel's Supreme Court in February 2012 and expired in August of that year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Brussels Top Rabbi:No Future for Jews in Europe; Chief of European Jewish Assoc. Disclaims Belief

The chief  rabbi of Brussels, Belgium said yesterday that there is "no future for Jews in Europe," provoking criticism from the head of a European Jewish group, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphjic Agency) website reports today (November 24, 2015).

Rabbi Avraham Gigi told an Israeli radio station about the sense of fear on the streets in Belgium -- now in a lockdown state in order to prevent radical Islamic terrorist attacks --  and added, "People understand there is no future for Jews in Europe." He also stressed the importance of Jews going to Israel, although he added that Jews should move there out of love for the country, not because of fear.

In a statement issued today, Rabbi Menachem Margolin -- director of the European Jewish Association -- said his organization "is determined to continue our work to ensure that the three million Jews who live on our continent can continue to command a safe home and to be able to freely and proudly identify themselves as Jews."

Margolin stressed the development of Jewish communities across Europe, including synagogues, Jewish schools, and other community institutions.

Turkey Slams Russian Jet Due to Airway Breach; Rebels at Scene Fatally Shoot 2 Parachute Pilots

Turkey shot down a Russian warplane today (November 24, 2015), promising an angry retaliation from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and heightening tensions in the global struggle over the future of Syria and the fate of the Islamic State (IS), according to the USA Today website.

The Turkish military said two F-16s shot down the Russian Su-24 attack aircraft after it breached Turkey's airspace -- and after Turkey issued 10 warnings in five minutes.

Russia defense ministry denied the plane ever strayed from Syria airspace.

The plane went down in the Bayirbucak region of northwestern Syria near the Turkish border. Rebels at the scene fatally shot two parachuting pilots, Alpasian Celik -- the second-in-command of a Turkmen rebel force -- told multiple media outlets.

Monday, November 23, 2015

State Dept. Issues Travel Alert for US Citizens; Expects Terrorist Acts during Holiday Season

The State Department released a worldwide travel alert today (November 23, 2015) for Americans, citing increased terrorism threats worldwide and advising U.S. citizens to "avoid large crowds or crowded places," especially during the holiday season, according to the Washington Times website.

Today's alert -- which also warned Americans of the risks of using public transportation and attending theater and sporting events -- is effective for three months and only expires on February 24, 2016, the State Department said.

The alert comes 10 days after Islamist State (IS) terrorists killed 130 people in several Paris locations, and while Brussels -- the capital of neighboring Belgium -- is on lockdown.

The alert -- which cited no geographic boundaries -- said, "U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events."

Italian Mafia Tells IS to Stay Out of New York City; Warns IS the Mob Will Fight It If It Comes to NYC

The Italian Mafia in New York City issued a warning to the Islamic State (IS) group yesterday: "If you come to the five borroughs, you're going to find yourself in a fight with the mob," the Raw Story website reports today (November 23, 2015).

The Italian crime organization said it is better positioned to provide security than federal organizations like the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

"They often act too late or fail to see a complete picture of what's happening due to lack of 'human intelligence,'" Giovanni Gambino, the son of a New York mob boss said.

He added: "The Mafia has a bad reputation, but much of that's undeserved. As with everything in life, there are good, bad, and ugly parts -- the rise of global terrorism gives the Mafia a chance to show its good side."

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Police in Belgium Arrest 16 in Anti-Terror Raids; Carry Out 22 Raids to Prevent Paris-Like Attacks

Determined to prevent Islamic State (IS) terrorist attacks -- similar to those that killed 130 people in Paris last week -- Belgian police made 16 arrests today (November 22, 2015) in anti-terror raids, but suspected Paris-attacks gunman Salah Abdeslam remains at large, according to the BBC website.

A total of 22 police raids were carried out today across Brussels and Charleroi, Belgian prosecutor Eric van der Sypt told a news conference.

Brussels will remain on the highest level of terror alert, Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel said. Universities, schools, and the city's metro system will all remain closed.

Michel added that intelligence information indicated that Belgium could experience "an attack similar to the one in Paris, with several individuals who could also possibly launch several attacks at the same time in multiple locations."

Pollard's 1st Wife Sues Israel for Millions of $; Seeks Govt. to Recognize Her as Israeli Agent

Anne Pollard -- the first wife of the American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard -- is suing the Israeli security establishment for millions of dollars for "injustices" caused to her in the years leading up to his release from prison, and is demanding to be officially recognized as an Israeli operative, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 22, 2015).

The Pollards were arrested in 1985 in the U.S. for espionage. Anne served three and a half years in prison, and her former husband was released on November 20, after serving 30 years. To mark the occasion, Ann Pollard returned from Israel -- where she now lives -- to Washington, D.C., where the two were arrested almost exactly 30 years ago.

Anne Pollard is seeking millions of dollars in reparations from Israel, as she claimed her image had been deliberately tarnished by Israeli officials, who she said even portrayed her as "insane." Also, she is demanding to be formally recognized as an Israeli agent.

After Anne's parole, Jonathan Pollard filed for divorce, claiming that he did not want her to have to wait for him, as he expected to spend the rest of his life in jail. But once the divorce was finalized, Pollard -- who can be viewed as a modern-day Judas for betraying the United States for money -- remarried, and his new wife, Esther, began to work on the campaign to secure his release.                           

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Vatican Orders Trial of 5 for Leaking Secret Info; Led to 2 Books Portraying Corruption at Vatican

The Vatican today (November 21, 2015) ordered five people -- including two Italian journalists -- to stand trial for leaking and publishing secret documents, in the latest development in a leaks scandal which is rocking the papacy, according to the Reuters website.

The trial -- which will begin on November 24 -- stems from the publication of two recent books which depict a Vatican plagued by mismanagement, greed, corruption, and where Pope Francis faces stiff resistance from the old guard to his reform agenda.

The Holy See was embarrassed and angered by the books, which it said used information that should never have been allowed to leave the walls of the city state.

Prosecutors said three Vatican officials -- including a high-ranking priest -- formed "an organized criminal association" with the aim of "divulging information and documents concerning the fundamental interests of the Holy See and the State."

Russian Bombing of Syria Is Heaviest in Civil War; Strikes Killed 36 People,Heaviest Since March 2011

In a show of power against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group for planting a bomb on a Russian plane recently that killed all 224 passengers over Egypt, Russia bombed the IS yesterday with the heaviest strikes in Syria since the Syrian civil war began nearly five years ago, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (November 21, 2015).

The United Nations, meanwhile, passed a motion yesterday calling for action against IS, a week after 130 people were killed in Paris, sparking international condemnation and fears of similar attacks elsewhere.

Russian and Syrian warplanes carried out more than 70 strikes in eastern Deir Ezor province yesterday, killing at least 30 people including 10 children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The raids hit several cities and towns as well as three oil fields, and were the heaviest bombardment in the region since the Syrian civil war began in March 2011.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Photos of Harvard Law Black Instructors Defaced; Black Strips of Tape on Photos Called Hate Crime

As racial tensions are now sweeping many U.S. universities, portraits of several black professors were found vandalized at Harvard Law School yesterday -- a day after a campus rally for black students -- the Telegraph (British) website reports today (November 20, 2015).

Black strips of tape were placed diagonally over at least five photo portraits, Harvard officials said.

All of the portraits that were targeted depict black professors.

Martha Minow -- the law school's dean -- said the vandalism was being treated as a hate crime. Harvard police are investigating.

US-Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard Is a Free Man; Was in Prison 30 Yrs. for Selling Classified Info

After three decades behind bars, American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard was released from prison today (November 20, 2015), the Times of Israel website reports.

Pollard, 61, was freed on parole from the Butner, North Carolina facility where he has been serving a life sentence for spying on the United States on Israel's behalf.

The Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization confirmed Pollard had been freed and reunited with his second wife, Esther. After exiting the prison before dawn, the Pollards have arrived at the apartment where they will spend the weekend and are grateful to those who lobbied on their behalf, the organization said in a statement, without specifying their location.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Pollard's release and said he has "longed for this day." Although Pollard would like to renounce his US citizenship and move to Israel now, his parole requires him to remain in the United States for five years, and President Obama has indicated that he will not interfere in Pollard's parole stipulation of remaining in the U.S. for at least five years.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

House Votes Decisively to Forbid Syrian Refugees; Defies Pres. Obama's Weak Approach to Terrorists

Distrust with President Obama's approach to terrorism boiled over today (November 19, 2015), as a bipartisan House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to "pause" his plans to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States for at least one year, according to the Washington Times website.

Nearly four dozen Democrats joined Republicans to defy a White House veto threat and pass the bill, which siphons final decision-making powers over refugee admissions from Obama's control and instead requires chiefs of the FBI, Homeland Security, and national intelligence -- all congressionally confirmed positions -- to personally vouch for each refugee.

The vote proved an embarrassment for Obama, who called on Capitol Hill to "settle down" and accused lawmakers of being anti-Muslim and lacking compassion. But the lawmakers -- mindful of the Paris terrorist attacks last week that killed at least 129 innocent people and planned by a Syrian Muslim "refugee" -- insisted that  precautions were essential to prevent similar attacks from occurring in the United States.

"The American public has very little faith in this administration," Rep. Ken Buck, Colorado Republican, told administration officials who were on Capitol Hill to try to sway lawmakers just ahead of the refugee vote.

Franklin Graham:IS Has Declared War on World; Declares US Must Now Take Combat Action on IS

Evangelist the Reverend Franklin Graham has stated that the recent Islamic State (IS) attacks in Paris and Beirut have shown that "Islam has declared war on the world," and the United States and other free nations must now take offensive action against the uncivilized IS to destroy it, the Christian Post website reports today.

"Islam has declared war on the world, and it's high time we acknowledge it and respond decisively," Rev. Graham wrote on his Facebook page.

He added, "I don't know about you, but I don't want to live under Islam. I will bow my knee to no one except Almighty God."

Graham -- head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association -- also wrote that the United States needs "to elect a president and leaders willing to take the fight to the Islamic State. We need to join forces with Russia who was our ally in World War II, France who is our oldest ally, Germany, and others to destroy this enemy."

Mastermind of Paris IS Attacks Confirmed Killed; Killed in Police Raid, Identified by Skin Samples

The Belgian jihadi -- suspected of masterminding deadly Islamic State (IS) attacks in Paris on November 13 -- was killed in a police raid on a suburban apartment building yesterday, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 19, 2015).

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins' office said Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, was identified based on skin samples. His body was found in the apartment building targeted in the chaotic and bloody police raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis yesterday.

Police launched the operation after receiving information from tapped phone calls, surveillance, and tipoffs suggesting that Abaaoud was holed up there.

Killed along with Abaaoud was a woman who blew herself up with an explosives vest at the beginning of the raid. Eight people in the apartment were arrested.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Poles Opposed to Refugees Burn Effigies of Jews; Many Protesters Say Refugees May Be Terrorists

Dozens of demonstrators in the western Polish city of Wroclaw participated in burning effigies of Jews fully equipped with side curls and Orthodox Jewish black hats, the Algemeiner website reports today (November 18, 2015).

The demonstration was part of a larger protest against admitting refugees of the civil war in Syria into Poland. Demonstrators warned that many of the refugees were actually economic migrants and terrorists.

The demonstration took place on a portable stage in front of the Wroclaw city hall. Police contained the demonstration but allowed it to occur, with no arrests.

Many in Europe are concerned with the influx of refugees fleeing the violence in Syria, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives over the past nearly five years and caused widespread devastation. Poland has decided to accept 5,000 refugees.

Turkish Fans Show Hatefulness at Football Game; Shout "God Is Great" during Paris Attacks Silence

Some Turkish football fans shouted "God is great" yesterday and booed the opposing Greek team during a minute's silence for the victims of the recent Paris attacks, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (November 18, 2015).

Watched by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras, a number of fans broke the minute's silence for the victims of gun and suicide bomb attacks in Paris on November 13 that left 132 people dead and were claimed by the Islamic State (IS).

The fans chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God Is Great), booed the Greek team, and also shouted slogans in favor of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul's Basaksehir stadium.

The game ended in a goalless tie.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Jordan's King Warns IS Savagery Leads to WWIII; Calls on Free Countries to Unite Now to Destroy IS

Jordan's King Abdullah II warned today (November 17, 2015) of a "third world war against humanity," describing the radical Islamic State (IS) group as "savage outlaws of religion" in the wake of the Paris attacks that killed at least 129 people, according to the Raw Story website.

"This is a war, as I've said repeatedly, within Islam," he said, stressing the high number of Muslim victims of the IS group.

Abdullah said groups such as IS "expose themselves daily as savage outlaws of religion, devoid of humanity, respecting no laws and no boundaries."

"So therefore we must act fast and holistically to tackle and respond to the interconnected threats whether it is in this region, Africa, Asia or in Europe," he said.

Russia Says Bomb Downed Its Plane Over Egypt; Has Proof a Terrorist Attack Killed 224 on Plane

Russian officials said today (November 17, 2015) they had evidence that the plane that crashed in Egypt last month was downed by a bomb -- the first time those investigating the crash have cited proof  of terrorist involvement -- the Wall Street Journal website reports.

"We can definitely say that this is a terrorist attack," Federal Security Service of Russia head Alexander Bortnikov said during a television meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Bortnikov said authorities had evidence that the Airbus A321 was downed by a homemade bomb, carrying the explosive equivalent of up to one kilogram of TNT.

The plane -- flying from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh on the Red Sea to St. Petersburg, Russia -- broke apart over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31, killing all 224 people on board. The radical Islamic State (IS) group said it downed the plane because Russian jets have been carrying out airstrikes on its troops in Syria.

Monday, November 16, 2015

At Least 23 Governors to Reject Syrian Refugees; Say Accepting Them Promotes Paris-Like Attacks

A current of opposition against allowing Syrian refugees into the United States intensified today (November 16, 2015) when at least 23 U.S. governors -- citing security concerns -- said they would refuse to accept Syrian refugees into their states as a result of the Paris attacks, even as President Obama said such actions "would be a betrayal of our values," the LA Times website reports.

In addition to the governors, Republican members of Congress -- including the chairmen of the Senate Armed Services, Senate Intelligence, and House Homeland Security committees -- have called for a halt to admitting Syrian refugees to the United States. A House Judiciary subcommittee hearing is set for November 19.

Several top Republican candidates for U.S. president also called for rejecting Syrian refugees. Some of the terrorist attackers in the Paris bloodbaths have been identified as Syrian refugees.

The issue gained political traction today as the world reeled from the horror of the Paris terrorist attacks that killed at least 129 people in a string of bombings and shootings on November 13. The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the coordinated Paris attacks on six locations. Today, IS threatened to conduct similar attacks in the United States.

IS Threatens to Conduct Paris-Like Attack in US; Warns in Video Nations Bombing Syria to Be Hit

The Islamic State (IS) warned in a new video today (November 16, 2015) that countries taking part in air strikes against Syria would suffer the same fate as France, and threatened to attack in Washington, D.C., the Daily Beast website reports.

The video -- which appeared on the site used by Islamic State to post its messages -- begins with news footage of the aftermath of the November 13 Paris shootings in which at least 129 people were killed.

The message to countries involved in what it called the "crusader campaign" was delivered by a man dressed in fatigues and a turban, and identified in subtitles as Al Ghareeb the Algerian.

"We say to the states that take part in the crusader campaign that, by God, you will have a day, God willing, like France's and by God, as we struck France in the center of its abode in Paris, then we swear that we will strike America at its center in Washington," the man said.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Some 1500 Mormons Leave Church in Past Week; Due to Church Baptism Ban of Gay Couples' Kids

About 1500 Mormons are resigning from the Mormon Church -- also called the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints (LDS) -- to protest a new policy that labels same-sex couples apostate and bans children of same-sex relationships from being baptized, the CNN website reports today (November 15, 2015).

A call for mass resignations started about a week ago, after the LDS Church released new guidelines for lay leaders known as "Handbook 1."

One policy prohibits the "natural or adopted" children of parents in same-sex relationships from receiving a name and a blessing in a ceremony performed by the Mormon priesthood, according to the handbook.

"The fact that it affects children really upset people," said Attorney Mark Naugle, who is helping people resign from the church. "Most people are disaffected from the church already, and this was the final straw," he added.

France Wages Biggest Air Strikes Ever in Syria; Payback for IS Attacks in Paris Killing Over 130

French fighter jets launched their biggest raids in Syria to date, targeting the Islamic State's (IS) stronghold in Raqqa just two days after IS claimed coordinated attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people, the Reuters website reports today (November 15, 2015).

"The raid -- including 10 fighter jets -- was launched simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Twenty bombs were dropped," a defense ministry statement said.

The operation -- carried out in coordination with U.S. forces -- struck a command center,  a recruitment center for jihadists, a munitions depot, and a training camp for fighters, it said.

The killing of more than 130 people in Paris on November 13 was the worst violence France has seen since World War II. Many people in France -- as well as in other countries -- are now calling for the democratic nations of the world to wage a war against Islamic fanatics in order to eliminate them from society.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

CRIF Calls for a "Merciless War" on Radical Islam; French Jews Say World War Needed to Crush ISIS

France's umbrella group of French Jewish communities, CRIF, today (November 14, 2015) called for "merciless war" against radical Islam, according to the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website.

CRIF's unusually harsh-worded statement followed news that at least 129 people were killed last night in a series of terrorist attacks in Paris and its northern suburb of Saint-Denis, which French President Francois Hollande said were an "act of war" committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"The global war against the monstrosity of jihadist fanaticism must become an absolute priority of democratic nations," CRIF wrote in a series of messages on Twitter.

It added: "We must fight it [jihadist fanaticism] without mercy, without relenting, in order to vanquish it."

Pope: Attacks on Paris "Piece" of World War III; Says No Rel. or Human Justification for Attacks

Pope Francis today (November 14, 2015) called last night's attacks in Paris "a piece" of the "piecemeal Third World War," the Vatican Radio website reports.

In a telephone interview today with the Italian Bishops' Conference official television network, Pope Francis said the attacks are "not human."

"I am close to the people of France, to the families of the victims, and I am praying for all of them," Pope Francis said.

When asked if this is part of the "piecemeal Third World War" the Holy Father has mentioned many times before, Pope Francis said "this is a piece of it," adding "there is no religious or human justification for it."

Friday, November 13, 2015

Over 150 Feared Dead in 6 Paris Terror Attacks; Deadliest Violence Paris Has Seen Since WW II

Terrorists on a murderous rampage killed scores of people today (November 13, 2015) in several separate attacks, including at least 100 held hostage at a concert hall before police swept in, the USA Today website reports.

Explosions and gunfire erupted as the heavily armed security forces poured into the theater where a California rock group was playing. The attackers tossed explosives at the hostages, then blew themselves up with suicide belts as police closed in. At least two suspects were killed in the siege.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said today that the death toll -- spread across six sites in Paris -- could top 150. He added five attackers may have been killed. In addition to 100 people killed at the concert venue, at least 11 died in a Paris restaurant, and at least three died when bombs went off outside a stadium, police said.

It was the deadliest violence Paris has seen since World War II. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) -- a radical Islamic group -- has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Terrorists Kill Israeli Father,Son in West Bank; Two Palestinian Gunmen Shot at Their Vehicle

An Israeli father and his teenage son were killed today (November 13, 2015) by two Palestinian gunmen who fired on their vehicle south of the West Bank city of Hebron, according to the Times of Israel website.

The mother of the family was lightly injured, and a second son suffered moderate injuries. The family's three daughters were not hit by the gunfire but were treated for shock.

The two Israelis killed were later identified as a man in his 40s and his son of about 18. The family was on its way to relatives in the town of Meitar for Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath) when the attack occurred.

The mother and her second son, a 16-year-old boy, were taken to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba for treatment. Security forces entered a number of villages in the area -- supported by military helicopters -- to where the suspected terrorists could have fled.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Europe Nations Erect Fences to Block Migrants; Slovenia Is Latest Nation to Build Border Fence

Tiny Slovenia has become the latest in a line of nations putting up barriers against a surge of Muslims seeking to reach Western Europe, the One New Now website reports today (November 12, 2015).

Slovenian police said today that they have erected a three-mile fence in one day despite a border spat with neighboring Croatia.

Hungary's government has stopped all migrant traffic through its territory with more than 120 miles of fence on its borders with Serbia and Croatia.

Further east, Bulgaria was the first in the region to fence off its border with Turkey. Greece has a short fence with Turkey as well, finding that a river was not enough of a deterrent to keep out Muslims.

Two Suicide Bombers Kill at Least 37 in Beirut; PM Tells Lebanon Rival Groups to Avoid Strife

At least 37 people were killed and 181 wounded today (November 12, 2015) in two suicide bomb attacks in a residential area of Lebanon's capital, Beirut, according to the BBC website.

The bombers blew themselves up in a busy street in the southern suburb of Burj al-Barajneh, a stronghold of the shia Islamist Hezbollah movement. A third planned suicide bomber -- found among the dead -- apparently was killed by the second suicide bomber's attack before he got to set off his bomb.

The Sunni jihadist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam condemned the attacks as "unjustifiable" and called on Lebanon's rival factions to unite against "plans to create strife."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

FBI Nabs Three Men Plotting to Kill Jews, Blacks; Wanted to Kill Them in Houses of Worship in Va.

The FBI has foiled a plot by two white men to kill Jews and blacks in synagogues and churches, the Jewish Press website reports today (November 11, 2015).

Canine dogs and 15 police cars raided the home of one of the suspects, Ronald Beasley Chaney, and arrested him and his partner, Robert Curtis Doyle. An accomplice, Charles Haldeman, also was arrested.

The FBI received a tip in late September that Chaney and Doyle had scheduled a meeting to discuss a plot to bomber or shoot at Jews and blacks in houses of worship in Virginia and a gun dealer in Oklahoma. They had said they wanted to start a race war.

The FBI placed them under surveillance and used three undercover agents who agreed to sell them weapons and explosives. The three are to be arraigned in a Richmond, Virginia court on November 12 for charges of conspiracy to possess firearms.

Pope:A Family Needs to Talk at the Dinner Table; Jesus Chose Dinner Table to Teach His Disciples

Pope Francis said today (November 11, 2015) that a family that chooses to watch TV or play with their smartphones -- rather than talk at the dinner table -- is "hardly a family," the Catholic Herald (British) website reports.

"When children at the dinner table are glued to the computer, or the telephone and do not listen to one another, they are not a family, they are retired," the Pope said today during his weekly general audience.

Continuing his catechetical series on family life, the Pope reflected on the theme of togetherness, which is manifested at the dinner table. The Pope said that "to share a meal -- and not just food, but also affection, stories, events -- is a fundamental experience."

The Pope added Christians have a special vocation to foster family togetherness. The dinner table, he noted, is the place chosen by Jesus to teach His disciples and where He summarized the meaning of His death on the cross "that nourishes true and everlasting love."

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Russia Hints Act of Terror Downed Jet in Egypt; But Refuses to State Publicly Bomb Downed Jet

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has acknowledged for the first time that an act of terror may have been behind the downing of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 people, the Euro News website reports today (November 10, 2015).

It's the nearest the Russian government has come to saying a bomb may have caused the crash.

Both Russia and Egypt have yet to announce the cause of the disaster and both countries have dismissed as premature U.S. and British assessments last week that a bomb was the likely cause. The leading U.S. theory is that an airport worker at the Red Sea resort of Sham el-Sheikh may have planted the suspected bomb aboard the Russian plane.

Russian communications intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies show that Russia firmly believes a bomb brought down the jet, but Russia does not want to admit it publicly.

Judge Favors Milwaukee Archdiocese Abuse Plan; Allows $21M Settlement for 330 Victims by Clergy

A federal judge yesterday approved a bankruptcy plan for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee that includes a $21 million settlement for 330 victims of sexual abuse by clergy, the Religion News website reports today (November 10, 2015).

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Susan Kelley approved the church's Chapter 11 reorganization plan more than four years after the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection.

The U.S. Catholic Church has been hit with a series of sexual abuse accusations aimed mainly at clergy who targeted youths over the past two decades.

The scandals have cost the U.S. Catholic Church about $3 billion in settlements and driven prominent dioceses like Milwaukee's into bankruptcy.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Obama, Bibi "Kiss and Make Up" at White House; Shun Iran Nuclear Deal, Focus on Joint Interests

At a White House amiable meeting today (November 9, 2015), U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu consoled their bitter disagreement over the Iran nuclear deal and focused on other more pleasant interests -- including enhanced U.S. military aid for Israel -- the LA Times website reports.

In their first sit-down summit after a year of rocky relations, the two leaders made a public show of praising their countries' unique political, cultural, and military ties. They also agreed to set aside their differences to work harmoniously on issues of critical concern.

Obama condemned a recent surge of Palestinian violence against "innocent Israeli citizens" and reaffirmed Israel's right to protect itself.

Netanyahu pledged his support for a two-state solution based on a "demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state."

Jordan Policeman Kills 5, Including 2 Americans; Attacker Shot Dead, Also Wounded Seven People

A Jordanian police officer opened fire today (November 9, 2015) at a regional police training center in the Jordanian capital of Amman, killing two Americans, two Jordanians, and a South African before being shot dead, the Yahoo News website reports.

The attacker also wounded seven people, including two Americans, Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Momani said.

He added authorities are investigating whether the attacker's motive was personal or political.

Jordan -- a close U.S. ally that has a peace treaty with Israel -- has long been seen as an island of relative stability in a turbulent Middle East.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pope:Leaks Won't Deter Him from Reform Effort; Rips Two Authors for Revealing Confidential Info

Pope Francis today (November 8, 2015) broke his silence over the leaking of confidential Vatican documents, which he described as a "deplorable act" that will not stand in the way of his ambitious reform agenda, according to the Religion News website.

Speaking to followers in St. Peter's Square, the pontiff criticized revelations made in two books published last week that explore Francis's efforts to overhaul financial mismanagement within the Vatican walls.

"Stealing those documents was a crime. It's a deplorable act that does not help," the pope said, adding that the leaked information was based on a study he had personally requested.

"I wish to reassure you that this sad event certainly does not deter me from the reform project that we are carrying out, together with my advisers and with the support of all of you," said Francis, telling his followers they should not be upset by recent events.

Palestinian Killed after Slamming Car at Bus Site; Wounded 4 Israeli Civilians,All Taken to Hospital

Four Israelis were wounded -- two of them seriously -- today (November 8, 2015) in a car-ramming terror attack at Tapuah Junction in the West Bank, the Times of Israel website reports.

A group of Israelis was waiting for a bus at the site. The Palestinian driver approached the intersection, then accelerated into the waiting crowd, according to witnesses and police.

The four wounded -- all civilians -- were evacuated to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.

The driver, identified by authorities as 22-year-old Sleiman Shahin from Ramallah, was shot and killed by Border Police forces at the junction.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fire Ravages Empty Bldg. for Refugees in Sweden; Sweden Has Seen 20 Arson Fires in Recent Weeks

Swedish authorities say an empty building intended to house refugees was burned to the ground today (November 7, 2015) in southwestern Sweden, the latest suspected arson fire to hit asylum centers or buildings being renovated for refugees, according to the Newsmax website.

Police in Vastra Gotaland say they suspect today's blaze that raged through a cluster of buildings and destroyed one completely to be arson.

Earlier today, a center housing unaccompanied children in southern Sweden had its windows smashed and anti-foreigner slogans sprayed on it.

In recent weeks, the Scandinavian country has seen over 20 arson attacks as an influx of refugees has surged. Sweden says migration authorities are overstretched and up to 190,000 asylum-seekers are expected to arrive this year.

Pope Attacks Clergy Who Live for Love of Money; Clergy Can't Talk Poverty, Lead Life of a Pharaoh

Pope Francis has criticized careerist cardinals who are too attached to money, the Christian Today website reports today (November 7, 2015).

"If a believer speaks out about poverty, and leads the life of a Pharaoh, this cannot be done," he said in an interview with "Straatnieuws," a Dutch newspaper sold on the streets by homeless people.

The pope added, "In the Church, there are those who instead of serving, or thinking of others, take advantage of the Church. The careerists who are too attached to money," he said.

He concluded, "How many priests and bishops have we seen like that? It's sad, isn't it?"

Friday, November 6, 2015

Mormons Bar Baptism of Same-Sex Couples' Kids; Children Allowed to Join Church When They're 18

Children living in a same-sex household may not be blessed as babies or baptized until they are 18, the Mormon Church declared in a new policy. Once they reach 18, children may disavow the practice of same-sex cohabitation or marriage and stop living within the household and request to join the church, the Washington Post website reports today (November 6, 2015).

The policy changes -- which also state that those in a same-sex marriage are to be considered apostates -- set off confusion among many Mormons after the policy was leaked online.

The changes in the handbook for local church leaders for the Mormon Church -- also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) -- were confirmed yesterday by church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

The LDS Church teaches that marriage is an institution created by God for one man and one woman. For Mormons, one must be married to achieve the fullness of salvation.

Antioch Patriarch:Muslims May Control Europe; Because of Their Stronger Faith, Larger Families

In a stunning interview, the Maronite patriarch of Antioch (Syria), Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, has contended that Islam has a clear, two-pronged strategy to take over Europe: religion and procreation, the Breitbart website reports today (November 6, 2015).

The cardinal said that Muslims look on Christians as weak and believe that since they have few if any children and barely practice their faith, Islam will easily conquer them. Sadly, he said, Muslims take their faith more seriously than most Christians, and they are gaining ground because of it.

"I have often heard from Muslims that their goal is to conquer Europe with two weapons: their faith and their birthrate," al-Rahi said in a recent interview with "Famiglia Cristiana," an Italian Catholic weekly magazine.

For the Muslims, the cardinal said, "the practice of faith is essential and fundamental. In Saudi Arabia they go to Friday prayers even if they need a walking stick. They know the Koran by heart, and when they talk they often cite it. The same is not true for Christians who do not refer either to the Bible or the teachings of the Church."

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Three Million Migrants to Arrive in EU by 2017; Over 3400 Migrants Have Died in Sea This Year

The European Commission said today (November 5, 2015) that it expects some three million asylum seekers to arrive in the EU (European Union) by 2017, according to the Euro News website.

Those heading to Europe now will be met by increasingly wintry weather.

"We need to prepare for up to 5,000 people to continue arriving every day from now until February next year," said UNHCR spokesman William Spindler.

"We have seen the number of tragedies in the Aegean increasing in recent months because of the deterioration of the weather conditions. So more people are going to die if we don't act now." Over 3,400 migrants and refugees have already died trying to reach Europe this year by sea.

Vandals in Spain Get in Church, Smash Crucifix; Also Spray Paint Word "Allah" on Wall in Arabic

Vandals in Malaga, Spain broke into a church and smashed a crucifix along with statues of Mary and Jesus on the cross, and spray-painted the word "Allah" on the wall in Arabic, the Clarion Project website reports today (November 5, 2015).

The attack took place in the town of Rincon de la Victoria at the Church of Our Lady of Carmen. The damage was discovered by a priest, Agustin Carrasco.

Police are investigating the attack.

Spanish police arrested three Moroccan men in an Islamic State (IS) inspired terror cell who were reportedly ready to stage an attack on the Spanish capital earlier this week.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

US Intel Reveals ISIS Bomb Downed Russian Jet; Jet Landed in Sinai Pen. Killing All 224 on Board

Days after authorities dismissed claims that ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) brought down a Russian passenger jet, a U.S. intelligence analysis now suggests that the terror group or its affiliates planted a bomb on the plane, the CNN website reports today (November 4, 2015).

Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed on October 31 in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula after breaking apart in midair, killing all 224 people on board. It was en route to St. Petersburg, Russia from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. ISIS claimed responsibility for destroying the plane within minutes after the tragedy occurred. Today, ISIS still insisted it brought down the plane and challenged skeptics to "prove otherwise."

The latest U.S. intelligence suggests that the plane crash was most likely caused by a bomb on the plane planted by ISIS or an ISIS affiliate, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter. ISIS has become extremely angry with Russia since it began to bomb ISIS troops in Syria last month, in an effort to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Consequently, ISIS may well have planted a bomb on the plane as a retaliation of Russia's current military involvement in Syria.

Based on the intelligence collected by the U.S. in the Sinai Peninsula -- both before and after the plane crash -- it appears that a bomb was placed on the plane. "There is a definite feeling it was an explosive device planted in luggage or somewhere on the plane," the official said.

Medic for Jewish Rescue Org.Stabbed in Brooklyn; David Katz,34, Is in Hospital in Serious Condition

A volunteer Hatzolah (Jewish rescue organization) medic was stabbed last night in Brooklyn's Crown Heights section, and the attacker escaped, the Jewish Press website reports today (November 4, 2015).

David Katz, 34, was stabbed in the back by a man who sneaked up and ambushed him from behind at around 8:20 p.m. on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Rogers Avenue. Katz was taken to Kings County Hospital, where he is in serious but stable condition.

The masked stabber -- who fled the scene -- was described as a six-foot-tall black male.

It is not yet certain if the attack was a Jewish hate crime or was a copycat crime of the current multitude of stabbings of Jews in Israel by radical Muslims.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

IFRC Grants Greece Extra 9M Euros for Migrants; Will Benefit Migrant Rescue Operation Off Lesbos

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cross Societies (IFRC) says it will increase the aid it gives to Greece, the Euro News website reports today (November 3, 2015).

It comes after the Greek coastguard dealt with a huge rescue operation off the island of Lesbos. In terms of numbers, it is the biggest rescue of the migrant crisis so far.

The International Organization of Migration (IOM) estimates that at least 435 people drowned in October alone trying to reach Greece across the Aegean Sea.

It hopes 200,000 migrants will benefit from the nine million euros extra funding, which will pay for migrant aid and staff.

Afghan Woman Stoned to Death for Adultery; Death Occurred in Taliban-Controlled Region

Officials in Afghanistan said today (November 3, 2015) that a young women was stoned to death after being accused of adultery, and her killing was recorded in a video, according to the Yahoo News website.

The 30-second clip run in Afghan media shows a woman in a hole in the ground as turbaned men gather around and hurl stones at her with chilling nonchalance.

The woman -- named by officials as Rokhsahana and aged between 19 and 21 -- is heard repeating the shahada, or Muslim profession of faith, her voice growing increasingly high-pitched as stones strike her with sickening thuds.

The killing took place about a week ago in a Taliban-controlled area just outside Firozkoh, the capital of central Ghor province, officials said, confirming the video which was sourced and released by international broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Vatican Arrests Two of Its Own for Leaking Info; Due to 2 Books about to Reveal Vatican Scandals

The Vatican has arrested two members of a commission Pope Francis set up to study reforms, on suspicion of leaking confidential documents, the Reuters website reports today (November 2, 2015).

Spanish Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda -- number two at the Vatican's Prefecture for Economic Affairs -- and Italian laywoman Francesca Chaouqui -- a public relations expert -- were arrested yesterday. Vallejo Balda, 54, was believed to be the highest-ranking member of the Vatican's central bureaucracy -- known as the Curia -- ever to have been arrested.

Chaouqui, 33 -- whose sexy photo of herself on her Facebook page raised Vatican eyebrows when she was appointed to the commission in 2013 -- was released today after she agreed to cooperate with the investigation, the Vatican said.

The two arrests come just days before two Italian authors are due to release books that their publishers say will reveal new evidence of scandals in the Vatican and alleged conspiracies by the old guard to undermine Francis's reform efforts.

Rabbi Council Prohibits Women as Orth. Rabbis; Jewish Orth. Women Can Hold Educational Jobs

The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) has formally adopted a policy prohibiting the ordination or hiring of women Orthodox rabbis, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 2, 2015).

The policy announcement on October 30 came after a direct vote of the RCA membership.

The resolution states: "RCA members with positions in Orthodox institutions may not ordain women into the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title used; or hire or ratify the hiring of a woman into a rabbinic position at an Orthodox institution; or allow a title implying rabbinic ordination to be used by a teacher of Limudei Kodesh in an Orthodox institution."

It concludes: "This resolution does not concern or address non-rabbinic positions such as Yoatzot Halacha (advisers on Jewish law), community scholars, Yeshiva University's Graduate Program for Women in Advanced Talmudic Study, and non-rabbinic school teachers."

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Italian Football Fed. Pres. in Anti-Semitic Rant; Asserted "It's Best to Keep Jews Under Control"

Italian Football Federation President Carlo Tavecchio is under attack for making anti-Semitic remarks, the Algemeiner website reports today (November 1, 2015).

Tavecchio was caught on tape using a derogatory Italian word for Jew -- "ebreaccio" -- during a conversation with a representative of the sports website Soccerlife.

During Italy's umbrella organization for amateur soccer, Tavecchio complained about the involvement in the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti on the part of real estate mogul Cesare Anticoli, a prominent Italian Jew and proud Israel-supporter.

Segments of the audio were released by the Italian daily "il Corriere della Sera," in which Tavecchio can be heard saying about Anticoli: "I don't have anything against Jews, but it's best to keep them under control."

Polemic Erdogan Is Re-elected as Turkey's Pres.; Critics: He Has a Poor Record on Human Rights

Turkish President Recep Erdogan's AKP party won a majority in Turkey's parliament today (November 1, 2015), securing re-election for Erdogan, according to the Washington Examiner website.

Erdogan is a controversial figure in the Middle East and Europe for his vehement opposition to a Kurdish state. Some critics claim that he focuses more on killing Kurds than he does on eradicating the Islamic State (IS), which operates in Syria near its border with Turkey.

Critics also charge that he has a poor record on human rights and a wavering commitment to a free press in Turkey, all while affording himself a lavish lifestyle at public expense.

Nonetheless, Erdogan remains popular in Turkey with his party not only winning re-election and a plurality of seats, but also expanding his hold on power today with an AKP absolute majority.

Car-Ramming Driver Hits 3 Israeli Border Guards; Attack Caused Serious Head Wound to One Officer

Three Israeli Border Police officers were injured today (November 1, 2015) in a car-ramming attack near the Palestinian village of Beit Anun, near Hebron, the Times of Israel website reports.

One of the officers sustained serious injuries from a head wound and was evacuated to Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.

The other two sustained light injuries and were taken to the city's Shaare Zedek Hospital.

The attacker fled the scene after hitting the officers, and Israeli police were searching the area for the assailant, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. Israeli police fired at the assailant's vehicle -- which bore Palestinian license plates -- before it fled.