Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pope:"Human Cruelty Did Not End in Auschwitz;" Compares Atrocities in World Today to Auschwitz

Pope Francis said yesterday, "Human cruelty did not end in Auschwitz," the Times of Israel website reports today (July 30, 2016).

In Krakow, Poland -- following his historic visit to the infamous Nazi death camp in Auschwitz -- the pope compared contemporary atrocities around the world to the atrocities in Auschwitz.

Citing torture and overcrowded prisons, the pope said, "We say, yes, there we saw the cruelty of 70 years ago, how people died being shot or hanged or with gas. Today in many parts of the world where there is war, the same thing is happening."

While at Auschwitz yesterday, Francis engaged in a silent prayer. He also wrote in a guestbook there, "Lord have mercy on your people! Lord, forgiveness for so much cruelty!"

Friday, July 29, 2016

Erdogan Tells West "Mind Your Own Business;" "Those Peeved by Rebels' Fate Not Our Friends"

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told the European Union (EU) and the United States to "mind your own business" after the West expressed alarm over the barbaric crackdown against suspected accomplices in the failed coup, the Telegraph (British) website reports today (July 29, 2016).

"Some people give us advice. They say they are worried. Mind your own business! Look at your own deeds," Erdogan said at the presidential palace.

"Not a single person has come to give condolences either from the European Union... or from the West," said Erdogan.

He added: "Those countries or leaders who are not worried about Turkey's democracy, the lives of our people, its future -- while being so worried about the fate of the putschists -- cannot be our friends."

Maternity Hospital in Syria Is Hit by Air Strike; Two Visitors at Hospital Killed,Three Wounded

A maternity hospital in Syria's Idlib province -- supported by Save the Children -- has been hit by an air strike, the Euro News website reports today (July 29, 2016).

Two visitors to the hospital have been killed and three others wounded in the attack.

It is unclear who conducted the raid, but the area is under rebel control, and has been subject to Russian and Syrian government assaults in the past.

Amnesty International condemned the bombing, saying "Deliberate attacks on hospitals and medical facilities are serious violations of the laws of war and can never be justified."

Thursday, July 28, 2016

FBI Chief:IS Mideast Defeat Won't End Attacks; Sees IS Terror Attacks Increasing in Europe, US

FBI Director James Comey warns that defeating the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria will most likely lead to the spread of more terrorist attacks in the West, the NY Times website reports today (July 28, 2016).

"At some point there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we've never seen before," FBI Director James Comey told an audience at a cybersecurity conference at Fordham University yesterday.

"Not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield," Comey added.

The FBI Chief believes that the eventual defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will result in a flood  of Islamic terrorist attacks around the world -- especially in Europe and the United States.

Italy Deports Imam Due to Muslim Extremism; Iron Policy Prevents Italy from Terrorist Deaths

Using a no-tolerance policy toward hostile Muslims who may be a threat toward Italy's national security, Italian authorities have deported a Moroccan imam known to be a Muslim extremist for "reasons of public order and state security," the Breitbart website reports today (July 28, 2016).

The 51-year-old Salafi Imam Mohammed Madad -- who had named his own daughter "Jihad" -- was expelled from the country on July 26 by order of Italy's Ministry of Interior, and may not apply for a visa to return to Italy for the next 15 years.

Italian counterterrorism units had had the man under surveillance because of his radical profile, and lately his sermons had taken on an increasingly radicalized, violent and anti-Western tone.

In contrast to France and Belgium -- which have had scores of citizens killed by Islamic radicals in recent years -- nobody has been killed by Muslim terrorists in Italy. Leading military analyst Edward Luttwak asserts that Italy has been successful in thwarting Islamic terror attempts because of its swift and decisive action against radical individuals.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

French Pres.Says IS Threat in France Worst Ever; Sees France Winning a Long War against IS Hate

Following the murder of an elderly priest in a church yesterday in northern France by two men linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), French President Francois Hollande today (July 27, 2016) warned that the militant threat in the country has never been so severe, according to the Euro News website.

In a brief televised address, the French leader spoke of a war against Islamist militancy.

He said, "I also owe you the truth: This war will be long. It is our democracy that is being targeted, it is the bulls-eye and it will be our shield."

Hollande concluded: "It is our unity that makes us strong so French men and women, let us form a blockade, that is how we will win the war against hate and zealotry."

Pope: World at War as Seen in Priest's Killing; Says It's Not a Rel. War But a War of Interests

The world is at war -- but it's not a war of religions -- Pope Francis told journalists today (July 27, 2016) on the Papal flight to Poland for World Youth Day (WYD) in the shadow of the beheading of a priest in France, according to the Catholic News website.

The killing of an 85-uear-old priest in a Normandy church yesterday added to security fears surrounding Francis' five-day visit for WYD, which were already high due to a string of violent attacks in France and Germany.

Polish officials say they have deployed tens of thousands of security officials to cover the event in the city of Krakow.

Asked by journalists on board the flight about the slaying of the priest, Francis explained: "It is a war of interests, for money, resources. I am not speaking of a war of religions. Religions don't want war. The others want war."

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hungary PM Says Every Migrant Is a Terror Risk; Sees Migrants as Poison Not Welcome in Hungary

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban has described the arrival of asylum seekers in Europe as "a poison" -- as every single migrant poses a terror risk -- which his country did not want or need, The Guardian website reports today (July 26, 2016).

As the beheading of an elderly priest in Normandy, France today by Islamic State (IS) supporters became the latest in a string of violent attacks to shake Europe this summer, Orban fuelled fears of Middle Eastern and African immigrants as well as praising Donald Trump's plans for U.S. foreign policy.

"Hungary does not need a single migrant for the economy to work, or the population to sustain itself, or for the country to have a future," he told a joint press conference in Budapest with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern.

The Hungarian leader added that "every single migrant poses a public security and terror risk." He also asserted: "For us migration is not a solution but a problem... not medicine but a poison, we don't need it and won't swallow it."

Pope Rips Barbarous Murder of French Priest; Two IS Terrorists Slit Throat of Priest at Mass

In a Vatican statement today (July 26, 2016), Pope Francis announced his "most radical condemnation" of an Islamic State (IS) terrorist attack, in which two knife-wielding men slit the throat of Fr. Jacques Hamel, 85, while he was celebrating morning Mass in Normandy, France, and took several other people hostage before being shot and killed by police, according to the Breitbart website.

Papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that the Holy See was "shocked" by this latest news, "creating immense sorrow and worry."

Lombardi said that the Pope "shares in the sorrow and horror over this absurd violence," offering his "most radical condemnation" of the act as well as his prayers for the victims.

"We are particularly struck because this horrible violence took place within a church, a sacred place in which God's love is preached, with the barbarous murder of a priest and the involvement of the faithful," Lombardi added.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Amnesty Inter.:Turkey Abusing Many Detainees; Has Proof Detainees Are Tortured,Beaten,Raped

Amnesty International has published a statement indicating that detainees in Turkey are being tortured amid the spate of arrests after the July 15 failed coup, the Euro News website reports today (July 25, 2016).

"Amnesty International has gathered credible evidence that detainees in Turkey are being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centers in the country," the statement reads.

"The organization is calling for independent monitors to be given immediate access to detainees in all facilities in the wake of the coup attempt, which include police headquarters, sports centers, and courthouses."

Amnesty International's Europe director John Dalhuisen said.... "The grim details that we have documented are just a snapshot of the abuses that might be happening in places of detention."

At Least 15 Wounded in German Restaurant Blast; Attacker Was Syrian Muslim, Was Denied Asylum

In what is believed to be the fourth Muslim terrorist attack in Germany within the past week, at least 15 people were wounded after an explosion at a restaurant/bar on July 23 in Ansbach, Germany, the USA Today website reports today (July 25, 2016).

Authorities say the attacker -- a 27-year-old Syrian Muslim who was denied asylum -- died in the blast when the device he was carrying exploded.

Police sealed off the area around Eugene's Wine Bar.

Carda Seidel, the mayor of Ansbach, told reporters yesterday that the blast was deliberate. The blast took place outside of a popular music festival. Ansbach is a community near Nuremberg.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

At Least 61 Killed,207 Wounded in Kabul Attack; ISIS Responsible for Attack on Minority Muslims

At least 61 people were killed and another 207 wounded today (July 23, 2016) after an explosion tore through a protest in Kabul -- the capital of Afghanistan -- by minority Shiite Hazaras, according to the Reuters website.

"Opportunist terrorists" took advantage of the protest to kill and wound "a number of our countrymen, including security and defense personnel," President Ashraf Ghani said.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

The protest was organized by ethnic Hazaras, a minority Shiite Muslim group in the predominantly Sunni Muslim country.

Friday, July 22, 2016

EU Warns Turkey on Disavowing Human Rights; Failed Coup No Excuse for Unacceptable Actions

European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has warned Turkey it should not be using democratic institutions to undercut human rights, the Euro News website reports today (July 22, 2016).

In the wake of a failed coup, Mogherini said, "There is no excuse, there is no way in which the reaction can undermine fundamental freedoms and rights."

"What we are seeing, especially in the fields of universities, media, the judiciary, is unacceptable," she added.

Tens of thousands of people have been suspended, detained, or placed under investigation in Turkey since last week's attempted coup.

At Least 6 Are Killed in a Munich Shopping Center; Ten More Wounded by Apparent Terrorist Shooter

At least six people have been killed and 10 wounded in a shooting today (July 22, 2016) at a shopping center in Munich, Germany, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

The mall near the southern German city's Olympic stadium was surrounded by police after shots were fired. Police are calling the incident -- which may have involved as many as three shooters -- suspected terrorism.

"There is a major police operation under way in the shopping center," Munich police said on Twitter, urging people to avoid the area.

Emergency vehicles were seen in the streets outside, as passers-by looked on.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Brazil Nabs 10 Islamists Planning Terror Attacks; Nabbed 2 Weeks Before Rio de Janeiro Olympics

Brazilian authorities arrested 10 members of an Islamist militant group that was organizing terrorist attacks, officials announced today (July 21, 2016), raising tension around the country just two weeks before the start of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, according to the NY Times website.

The Federal Police said in a statement that the suspects belonged to a group called the Defenders of Sharia (Islamic law).

The arrests were announced at a time when the Brazilian authorities are coming under scrutiny over security preparations for the Olympics.

Responding to the truck massacre last week in Nice, France, Brazil's sports minister, Leonardo Picciani, told reporters yesterday that "the government is absolutely convinced that the Games will be safe."

French PM Puts Vile Labor Reform Bill into Law; Weakens Unions, Eases Layoffs, Adds Work Hrs.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has forced a controversial labor reform bill through parliament without a vote, the Euro News website reports today (July 21, 2016).

Valls resorted to a measure known as the "49-3," which allows the government to sidestep a parliamentary debate and a vote on proposed legislation in order to transform a bill into a law.

The bill led to months of violent clashes between police and labor protesters who accuse the Socialist government of trampling on democracy and dismantling hard-won worker protections.

The new law weakens union powers, makes layoffs easier, and extends the hours of the work week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

IS Militants Kill 3 French Special Forces in Libya; Downed Helicopter of French Troops Fighting IS

Three French soldiers were killed in Libya on July 17 "while on a mission," the French Defense Ministry announced today (July 20, 2016) in the first official confirmation that French special forces have been active in Libya in operations against the Islamic State (IS), according to the Washington Post website.

The Defense Ministry declined to confirm the reported details of the soldiers' deaths, but President Francois Hollande -- addressing a military training center in southwestern France -- specifically mentioned a "helicopter crash."

An Islamist militia -- known as the Defending Benghazi Brigade -- asserted responsibility for the helicopter downing.

There are an estimated 2,000 to 5,000 Islamic State fighters across Libya, which has been gripped by unrest and political upheavals since a Western-aided uprising in 2011 deposed longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi, who was captured and killed by rebels.

Franklin Graham:America Is on Edge of Anarchy; Due to Secularists, Progressives Fleeing from God

In the midst of the nation's grief following the targeted killings of police officers in Texas and Louisiana, leading evangelist Franklin Graham says he fears America has lost God's hand of protection and is on the edge of anarchy, the Christian Post website reports today (July 20, 2016).

Graham -- president of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse -- this week said: "Our country, I don't have to tell you, is in trouble, you know that. The only hope for this country is God. It's not the politicians, it is God," Graham explained. "But God uses politicians and we pray for the politicians, that they will listen to God's voice and that they will hear His voice."

Graham stressed that although God has blessed America more than any other nation on Earth, the country is heading in the wrong direction morally, spiritually, and racially.

"As a nation, we have been running away from God -- the secularists, the progressives, many of these people, most of them are people who would be atheistic. And we have taken God out of our country," Graham said. "We have taken Him out of our nation. We have taken Him out of our government. We have taken Him out of the education system. And, our country is beginning to implode. We are on the precipice of anarchy."

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Muslim Man Stabs Mom, 3 Daughters in France; Due to Being"Scantily Dressed"at an Alps Resort

An eight-year-old is fighting for her life after a mother and her three daughters were stabbed in a French holiday resort for being "scantily dressed," the Creeping Sharia website reports today (July 19, 2016).

The French family was targeted while holidaying in Garda-Colombe in the Hautes-Alpes near Montpellier in southern France.

The 46-year-old woman and the girls -- ages 8, 12, and 14 -- were attacked before the knifeman fled the scene, according to police. The eight-year-old girl was airlifted to a hospital in nearby Grenoble with a punctured lung and is in critical condition.

The 37-year-old attacker has been identified by police as Mohamed Boufarkouch, a Muslim native of Morocco.

Turkey Fires 21K Teachers in Post-Coup Payback; Part of Pres.Erdogan's Attempt to Purge His Foes

Turkey's post-coup crackdown took a more sinister turn today (July 19, 2016) after tens of thousands of teachers were fired and all the country's university deans were told they faced suspension, the Telegraph (British) website reports.

The licenses of 21,000 staff working in private schools were revoked and more than 15,000 employees at the education ministry were sacked, and the state-run higher education council demanded the resignation of 1,577 university deans.

The purge is part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's heavy-handed attempt to root out supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric accused of orchestrating the failed revolt, whose movement is accused of infiltrating state institutions.

Ankara claims Gulen -- who wields enormous influence in Turkey through loyalists in various apparatus as well as a private school network -- hatched the plot to end Erdogan's 13 years in power from his home in Pennsylvania.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Afghan Teen Hurts Several Train Riders with Ax; Cuts at Least 4 on German Train, Killed by Police

A youth believed to be an Afghan Muslim refugee attacked several passengers with an ax tonight (July 18, 2016) aboard a German commuter train, injuring at least four people before being shot and killed by police, according to the Washington Post website.

Three of the victims sustained serious injuries before the assailant fled from the train and was confronted by police officers in the southern German province of Bavaria. The youth shouted "Allahu Akhbar" -- Arabic for "God is Great" -- before he was shot, two German security officials said. He had previously said he was a loyal supporter of the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Bavarian Interior Ministry officials described the attacker as a 17-year-old Afghan national who had arrived in Germany as an unaccompanied refugee.

The assault occurred amid heightened fears in Germany about possible terrorist attacks, coming four days after 84 people were killed in a jihadist-backed attack in Nice, in the French Riviera.

Black Pastor:Obama Fostered a Lawless Society; Says Obama's Political Rhetoric Has Divided US

The leader of a coalition of black pastors says the political rhetoric of President Barack Obama and his administration has caused a serious division in America and has "fostered a lawless society," the Breitbart website reports today (July 18, 2016).

Rev. William Owens, President of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP), tells Breitbart News the ambush attack of police officers in Baton Rouge "should not happen in America."

"Obama and his administration have caused division in our nation and have fostered a lawless society," Rev. Owens asserts.

He explains: "We have a president who has divided us as a nation with his political rhetoric. In America, gays are divided against straight people, rich against poor, women against men, blacks against whites, black lives matter against police -- which our president promotes."

Turkey Fires 8K Police Officers for Coup Attempt; Over 290 Died in Attempt to Dump Pres. Erdogan

Some 8,000 police officers in Turkey were fired today (July 18, 2016), as more than 24 generals were being interrogated over the attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, according to the Daily Beast website.

Erdogan vowed to purge the government of the "virus" that caused the coup against him on July 16, and has so far rounded up and dismissed 30 regional governors and more than 50 high-ranking civil servants.

At least 290 people died, some from tanks and helicopters firing on civilians.

Some 6,000 people have been detained since the attempted coup, with half of those coming from the military.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

French President Hollande Hit for Costly Haircuts; Spends Some $11K a Month on Presidential Barber

French President Francois Hollande is facing a scandal over the exorbitant price of his haircuts, the Newsmax website reports today (July 14, 2016).

The revelation that the Socialist leader -- elected on a populist mandate of taxing the super-wealthy -- spends about 10,000 euros ($11,000) a month on his presidential barber, has been dubbed "Coiffeurgate."

The scandal deepens the uphill struggle of Hollande, 61, to recapture the Elysee palace in next May's general election.

The original story by Le Canard Enchaine newspaper was confirmed yesterday by French government spokesman Stephane LeFoll, who tried to defend his boss for the haircut's exorbitant cost.

About 80 Dead, 100 Hurt in France Terror Attack; Truck Rammed into Crowd in Nice on Bastille Day

An terrorist killed about 80 people and injured over 100 today (July 14, 2016) when he drove a truck -- loaded with arms and explosives -- at high speed into crowds watching Bastille Day fireworks in the French Riviera city of Nice, according to the Reuters website.

Police shot and killed the driver, 31 -- a Muslim Tunisian native -- who fired at the crowd and drove at a high speed for over 100 yards along the Promenade des Anglais seafront before hitting the mass of spectators.

Regional Sub-prefect Sebastien Humbert told France Info radio it was a clear criminal act. Residents of the Mediterranean city were advised to stay indoors.

Social media carried images of people lying lifeless in pools of blood. Local mayor Christian Estrosi has warned in the past of the risk of Islamic attacks in the region, following Islamic State (IS) bloodshed in Paris and Brussels over the past 18 months.

Turkey Is Seeking to Improve Its Ties with Syria; Due to Millions of Its Refugees Going to Turkey

Following recent improvements in its relations with Russia and Israel, Turkey today (July 14, 2016) indicated it is now seeking to mend its ties with Syria, according to the Euro News website.

Speaking at a ruling AK Party Headquarters, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildrim said improved relations with Syria were needed in the fight against terrorism and for stability in the region.

"Russia, Israel....we will widen our circle of friendships both domestically and abroad. We have started to do this abroad. We have normalized our relations with Israel....I am sure that we'll eventually return to normal relations with Syria, too. We do need it."

Such a move would be a reversal of Turkey's Syria policy. Up to now, it's been pressing hard for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, claiming he has killed 400,000 innocent people. But Turkey is under pressure with millions of refugees crossing its border from the war in Syria, while also fighting terrorism on two fronts -- from ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and Kurdish militants.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Airstrikes Killed 24 in 2 Rebel-Held Syrian Towns; Three of Those Killed by Govt. Forces Are Children

At least 12 people were killed in airstrikes on the rebel-held western Syrian town of  Rastan today (July 13, 2016), according to the Reuters website.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said another 12 people were killed in rebel-controlled Ariha -- north of Rastan -- including three children.

Rastan -- about 100 miles north of Damascus -- is part of a rebel-held pocket of territory surrounded by government forces.

Ariha -- further north -- is in the rebel-controlled province of Idlib, and borders Turkey.

Obama Admin.Tried to Dump Israel's Netanyahu; Sent $350K in Taxes to Israel Group to Oust Him

The U.S. State Department paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers' grants to an Israeli group that used the money to build a campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in last year's Israeli parliamentary elections, a congressional investigation revealed yesterday (July 12, 2016), according to the Washington Times website.

Some $350,000 was sent to OneVoice to support the group's efforts to back Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement negotiations.

But OneVoice used the money to build a voter database, train activists, and hire a political consulting firm with ties to President Obama's campaign -- all of which set the stage for an anti-Netanyahu campaign -- the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a bipartisan report.

Netanyahu won the election, and the U.S. spending was not deemed illegal because the State Department never put any conditions on the money. Investigators also said OneVoice did not turn explicitly political until days after the grant period ended.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Putin OKs Banning Evangelism Outside Churches; Foils Rel.Worship in Russia Not Done in Churches

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law last week a measure punishing any kind of religious evangelization outside of churches, which some observers have called one of the most restrictive moves in post-Soviet history, the Christian Post website reports today (July 12, 2016).

The new law -- which is supposed to be aimed against the spread of terrorism and extremism -- blocks the sharing of faith in any place that is not a government-sanctioned house of worship.

"The church is appalled at the news of the new law. About 7,000 evangelical/Protestant churches are in fasting and prayer at the moment over the news," said Hannu Haukka, president of Great Commission Media Ministries.

Several Christian groups in Russia have already spoken out against the draconian measures, with the Seventh-day Adventist's Moscow-based Euro-Asia Division stating that it is nearly "impossible" for religious believers to comply with the requirements.

Poll:Harmful Views of Muslims Surge in Europe; May Be Due to Rise in Muslim European Attacks

A new poll released yesterday by the Pew Research Center shows that in several European nations, unfavorable views of Muslims surged in 2016 -- perhaps due to increased terrorist attacks by Muslims on the continent -- the Washington Post website reports today (July 12, 2016).

In Britain, the figure jumped nine percentage points to 28 percent. In Spain and Italy, unfavorable views jumped eight percentage points each, to 50 percent and 69 percent respectively. In Greece, unfavorable views were found in 65 percent of the country -- a jump of 12 percentage points from 2014, the last time the question was asked in Greece.

Across the 10 European countries surveyed, a median of 59 percent felt that an increase in refugees would increase the likelihood of terrorism in a country -- a figure higher than it is for concerns about the economic effect or crime in most countries.

In Hungary, 76 percent of respondents linked refugees with terrorism, while 71 percent of Poles reached the same conclusion. Even on the lower end of the scale, large minorities felt this way: 40 percent of Spaniards were found to believe that refugees were linked to terrorism, the lowest of any of the countries surveyed.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pope Names American New Vatican Spokesperson; Also Names a Spaniard First Woman Vice-Director

It was announced today (July 11, 2016) that Greg Burke -- the former American journalist and communications adviser for the Vatican -- has been named the new director of the Holy See press office. The new vice-director will be Spaniard Paloma Garcia Ovejero -- the first woman ever to be appointed to the position -- according to the Catholic News Agency (CNA) website.

Burke, a St. Louis native, received the appointment from Pope Francis after the current director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, submitted his resignation to the pontiff.

"The purpose of my work is very clear: to serve the Pope," Burke told journalists after today's announcement was made.

Ovejero, a Madrid native, told CNA her appointment felt "natural." "Isn't the Virgin Mary the first woman in the Church? Aren't the women those who ran to announce the resurrection [of Christ]? So it seems to be very natural..."

US Reform Jews Denied Western Wall Praying; Rip Israel Govt. for Not Having a Space to Pray

The president of America's Union for Reform Judaism blasted the Israeli government today (July 11, 2016) for delaying a plan to give liberal Jews a special space to pray at a Jerusalem holy site, and vowed to escalate his movement's struggle with public demonstrations and legal action, the Washington Post website reports.

"For the government to collapse would be the signal of a real rupture of the North American-Israel relationship," said Rabbi Rick Jacobs.

The liberal Reform Movement is the largest stream of Judaism, representing some 1.5 million people. Reform congregations hold mixed-gender prayers, employ female rabbis, and have members who drive to synagogue on the Sabbath -- all customs that go against Orthodox Judaic tradition.

Reform synagogues are common in the United States but are sparse in Israel, where Orthodox synagogues prevail. In January, Israel announced it would enlarge and officially recognize a special mixed-gender prayer area at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, but the plan to expand the egalitarian space has stalled. The Western Wall is managed by an ultra-Orthodox rabbi who opposes Reform customs on the holy site.

Carter Says US to Send 560 More Troops to Iraq; Will Assist Iraqi Forces Recapture Mosul from IS

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today (July 11, 2016) -- while on an unannounced visit in Iraq -- that the United States will send 560 more troops to Iraq to help establish a newly retaken air base as a staging hub for the long-awaited battle to recapture the city of Mosul from IS (Islamic State) militants, according to the Washington Examiner website.

Most of the new troops will be devoted to the build-up of the Qayara air base, about 40 miles south of Mosul, and include engineers, logistics personnel and other forces, Carter said in Baghdad.

"These additional U.S. forces will bring unique capabilities to the campaign and provide critical enabler support to Iraqi forces at a key moment in the fight," Carter said.

He revealed President Barack Obama's decision during a talk to troops at the airport in Baghdad. The increase brings the total U.S. force authorization in Iraq to 4,647, and comes just three months after Obama's last announcement of additional troops.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Osama Bin Laden's Son Vows to Retaliate on US; Promises Attack on US for Assassinating His Dad

Osama Bin Laden's son has vowed to take revenge on the United States for killing his father in a 21-minute-long rant on social media, the Express (British) website reports today (July 10, 2016).

Hamza Bin Laden, about 25, pledges to plough on with Al-Qaeda's campaign of terror against America in the video clip posted on Twitter.

In the recording -- released by Al-Qaeda -- Bin Laden warns he is out to avenge the assassination of his father who masterminded the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

The terror chief was shot dead in 2011 after an elite unit of U.S. troops swooped on the compound where he was hiding in Pakistan, a predominantly Muslim country.

Terrorist Dies in Gaza as Tunnel Caves In on Him; Terror Tunnel Placed Close to Israel's Erez Border

A terrorist with the Islamic Jihad terror organization died today (July 10, 2016) after his terror tunnel leading to Israel collapsed on him, according to the Jewish Press website.

Seven other Islamic Jihad members in the tunnel were saved in a rescue operation that took three hours.

The dead Gazan man was identified as Ibrahim Al-Masri, 28, from Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigade.

The terror tunnel was located near the Erez border crossing, which is at the northern end of Gaza. This is the first time it has been publicized that an Islamic Jihad tunnel collapsed.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

ISIS Mil. Shoot Down a Helicopter in Homs, Syria; Two Russian Pilots on Board Killed, IS Lauds God

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) militants shot down a military helicopter near Palmyra in Syria yesterday, killing two Russian pilots on board, the Telegraph (British) website reports today (July 9, 2016).

The two men had been attacking a detachment of IS fighters in the Homs region when the Syrian Mi-25 helicopter they were in ran out of ammunition, the Syrian ministry said.

"The turning helicopter was hit by militants' gunfire from the ground and crashed in the area controlled by the Syrian government army. The crew died," it added.

Video footage published today by ISIS's affiliated news showed a helicopter being shot and crashing to the ground against cries, "It's fallen, God is greatest."

Pope Francis Cuts Wings of Vatican Finance Czar; Separates Managers,Supervisors of Vatican Assets

Pope Francis today (July 9, 2016) clipped the wings of his finance czar Cardinal George Pell by effectively removing many of the administrative functions of the Vatican's key financial office from his department, according to the Washington Post website.

 In a new law -- which takes effect today -- Francis reversed a 2014 law that had transferred the main operational section of the patrimony office to Pell's Secretariat for the Economy.

Francis says he was restoring these administrative functions to the APSA (Administratiton of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See) office because he realized there needed to be an "unequivocal and full separation" between those who manage Vatican assets (APSA) and those who supervise them (Pell).

Pell -- a longtime critic of the Vatican's financial inefficiencies -- had assumed control in a bid to assert authority over different areas of the Vatican's finances. Over time, however, Francis has trimmed his reach.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Airstrikes in Syria Kill at Least 23, Wound Dozens; Unclear If Syrian or Russian Planes Waged Strikes

Airstrikes today (July 8, 2016) on a village in northwestern Syria have killed more than 20 people and wounded dozens more, the Newsmax website reports.

Today's airstrikes hit the village of Darkoush in Idlib province -- near Syria's border with Turkey -- on the last day of a three-day cease-fire announced by the Syrian army. Despite the declared truce, violence has continued unabated.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 23, including two children.

It was not clear whether it was Syrian or Russian warplanes that carried out the airstrikes on Darkoush.

US to Retain 1K Troops in Poland to Deter Russia; Part of NATO Plan to Hit Any Russian Aggression

In an effort to prevent a piggish Russia from consuming parts of eastern Europe -- as it did with Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in 2014 -- the United States announced today (July 8, 2016) it will deploy 1,000 troops to Poland as part of a broader NATO effort to reassure former eastern Soviet-controlled nations do not encounter Russian aggression, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

Speaking at a NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland today, President Barack Obama said the U.S. troops would serve "shoulder to shoulder" with Polish forces.

They are expected to conduct frequent training missions and will be "mechanized," meaning they would have regular infantry equipment, including armor personnel carriers.

The troops will rotate through Poland plus the three small Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, acting as a tripwire to deter any Russian aggression.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

IS Broadens in Europe, Mideast, N. Africa, Asia; Now Operates in 7 Countries Besides Iraq, Syria

A new U.S. State Department security report indicates that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) -- which has controlled major regions of those two countries for the past two years --  is expanding to seven emerging areas of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, the Worthy News website reports today (July 7, 2016).

"In addition to establishing its base in Syria and Iraq, and naming official provinces in numerous countries, [the Islamic State group] has demonstrated a heightened capability to carry out and operate in the [seven] countries," the report by the Overseas Security Advisory Council states.

The council is a State Department organization that provides security support to American businesses operating overseas.

The seven new IS theaters of operation are Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.

US Sanctions N. Korean Leader Kim for 1st Time; Cites Human Rights Abuses by Worshiped Tyrant

The United States yesterday sanctioned North Korean communist dictator Kim Jong Un for the first time, citing "notorious abuses of human rights," in a move diplomats say will infuriate the head of the nuclear-armed country, the Euro News website reports today (July 7, 2016).

The sanctions -- the first to target any North Koreans for rights abuses -- affect property and other assets within the U.S. jurisdiction.

"Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea continues to inflict intolerable cruelty and hardship on millions of its own people, including extrajudicial killings, forced labor, and torture," Acting Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin said in a statement.

But inside North Korea, adulation for the tyrannical Kim, 32, is mandatory, and he is considered infallible.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pope Vows He Won't Yield to Conservative Critics; Nor Will He Fight Them:"I Don't Chop Off Heads"

Pope Francis has pledged he will not be deterred from making changes by the strong rhetoric of the ultra-conservative wing of the Catholic Church, the Christian Today website reports today (July 6, 2016).

There are some people in the Church who say no to everything, he admitted.

He will not live in fear of them or go around looking over his shoulder, but nor will he fight them. "I don't chop off heads. That was never my style. I've never liked doing that," he said.

"I reject the conflict. I want a church that is open, understanding, that accompanies wounded families," he asserted.

Former National Guardsman Planned to Join IS; Charged with Plotting to Carry Out US Terorism

A former Virginia National Guardsman has been charged with plotting to carry out a terrorist attack in the U.S. in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Clarion Project website reports today (July 6, 2016).

Mohamed Bailor Jalloh -- a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Sierra Leone in West Africa -- was arrested July 3 and the charges were announced on July 5.

According to federal prosecutors, Jalloh made contact with IS operatives in Nigeria during a six-month trip there last year. At that time, he allegedly considered fighting for IS in Libya.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. He was ordered jailed without bond.

Obama Plans to Keep 8400 Troops in Afghanistan; Unable to Withdraw Troops Due to Taliban Rebels

President Obama announced today (July 6, 2016) revised troop plans for Afghanistan, keeping 8400 U.S. troops in the country when he steps down early next year -- the clearest indication yet of his inability to end the long war there -- according to the Washington Post website.

"I strongly believe that it is in our national security interest, especially after all the blood and treasure we've invested in Afghanistan over the years, that we give our Afghan partners the very best opportunity to succeed," said Obama, speaking at the White House.

Obama -- who came into office promising to end the wars started by his predecessor -- has already changed his timetable for removing troops from Afghanistan several times as local forces struggle to contain a resilient Taliban insurgency.

There are now about 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, tasked with a dual mission to support local forces and hunt down al-Qaeda and other militants. That's much smaller than the force of about 100,000 stationed in Afghanistan during Obama's 2010-2011 troop surge.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Turkey Jails 17 Defendants Over Istanbul Attack; Blames Airport Attacks on Ex-Soviet IS Radicals

Turkey jailed 17 suspects today -- including 11 foreigners -- over last week's suicide bombing at Istanbul's main airport, which President Tayyip Erdogan described as the work of Islamic State (IS) militants from the ex-Soviet Union, according to the Reuters website.

Today's arrests bring the total number of people jailed pending trial to 30 over the triple suicide bombing at Ataturk Airport, which killed 45 people and wounded hundreds -- the deadliest is a series of terrorist bombings this year in Turkey.

"The incident is of course completely within the framework of Daesh, a process conducted with their methods," Erdogan told reporters after praying at an Istanbul mosque at the start of the holiday. Daesh is an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

"There are people from Dagestan, from Kyrgyzstan, from Yajikistan," Erdogan said, referring to a mainly Muslim province of Russia's North Caucasus region, and two former Soviet states in central Asia. "Unfortunately, people from neighboring northern Caucasus countries are involved in this business."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Gunman Kills 5, Wounds 20 in a Cafe in Serbia; Killed Wife First, May Have Suspected Cheating

A gunman killed five people and wounded at least 20 others early today (July 2, 2016) when he opened fire with an automatic weapon in a crowded cafe in northern Serbia, police said. The suspect was arrested, according to the Newsmax website.

The attack occurred in a village close to the town of Zrenjanin, some 30 miles northwest of Belgrade.

A police statement says a man identified only as Z.S. first killed his wife and another woman before randomly shooting at others in the "Makijato" cafe.

Witnesses said the attacker came to the cafe and saw his wife there with a group of friends. He then went home and came back with a gun. Serbia's Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said that the probable motive for the killings was jealousy.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Churches,Mosques Closed in Lagos Due to Noise; Nigerian City of 20M Experienced Noise Pollution

Authorities in Nigeria's commercial hub of Lagos have shut down dozens of churches, mosques, and hotels in a bid to cut noise pollution, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (July 1, 2016).

The sprawling city of 20 million people is notorious for heavy traffic jams and deafening noise of churches and mosques that use horns and loudspeakers to spread their message.

"It is true that 70 churches, 20 mosques, and 11 hotels, club houses and beer parlors have been shut down across the state," an official of Lagos State Environment Protection Agency (LASEPA) told AFP.

She said LASEPA boss Rasheed Adebola Shabi ordered the closure after the churches and mosques refused to comply with a government order to reduce noise pollution.

IS Claims It Killed Coptic Orth. Priest in Egypt; Killed Him Due to "Waging War Against Islam"

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for shooting to death a Coptic Orthodox priest in Egypt yesterday, the Foreign Desk News website reports today (July 1, 2016).

Father Raphael Musa -- the priest of St. George Church in El-Arish in the northern Sinai -- was returning from mass yesterday when he was shot in the head many times by an unknown assailant, according to police.

Shortly thereafter, ISIS claimed responsibility for the killing in an online post accusing Musa of "waging war against Islam."

Egypt is battling the Islamic State in the Sinai by the group's local affiliate, Wilyat Sinai, considered one of ISIS's most brutal affiliates.

Israeli Man Killed by Palestinians in Family Car; Wife Is in Serious Condition in W.Bank Shooting

An Israeli man was killed and his wife was severely wounded today (July 1, 2016) in a shooting attack near a West Bank settlement, according to the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website.

The attack near Beit Hagai took place as the family traveled in their car on Route 60, Army Radio reported. Two of the family's children were wounded: a 15-year-old boy, Pedayah, who sustained moderate wounds and his 13-year-old sister, Tehilah, who was lightly wounded.

The man was identified as as Michi Mark, a man in his 40s from the West Bank settlement of Otniel, situated eight miles southwest of Hebron. His wife, Havah, was shot in her head and is not conscious.

Individuals with a car with Palestinian license plates overtook Mark's vehicle and opened fire with automatic weapons, authorities said. Israel Defense Forces troops -- who are searching the area in a massive manhunt for the shooters -- discovered 19 bullet casings at the scene of the attack.