Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Judge Rips 4 Cardinals Who Question Pope's Rule; Can He OK Communion of Remarried Divorcees?

A senior Vatican judge said today (November 30, 2016) that four cardinals who recently published a letter asking Pope Francis to clarify "Amoris Laetitia" (or allowing remarried divorced Catholics to receive communion) could lose their red hats over the "very grave scandal" they've caused, according to the Catholic News website.

"What Church do these cardinals defend? The Pope is faithful to the doctrine of Christ," said Fr. Pio Vito Pinto. (The four ultra-conservative cardinals -- led by U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke -- have asserted that allowing remarried divorced Catholics to receive communion is a violation of Catholic doctrine.)

"What they have done is a very grave scandal, which could even lead the Holy Father to take away their red hats, as it's happened already in some other times in the Church," Fr. Pinto added.

The Vatican judge appointed in 2012 by emeritus Pope Benedict XVI as head of the Vatican's main working court -- also known as the Roman Rota -- was quick to clarify that his words don't mean Francis has made such a decision. They simply mean that he could.

Norway Cath.Church Fined for Padding Members; State Pays Rel. Minorities Based on Membership

The Norwegian Catholic Church has been fined 1m kroner (about $142,000) for exaggerating the number of members it has, in order to receive more state aid, The Guardian website reports today (November 30, 2016).

Oslo prosecutors slapped the fine on the Diocese of Oslo, responsible for keeping national records of Catholics living in the Scandinavian country.

The diocese is accused of having gone through telephone directories looking for immigrants with names suggesting that they were from Catholic countries and adding them to the list of members of the church between 2011 and 2014, sometimes without their knowledge.

In Norway -- a predominantly Protestant country -- the state finances the various religious minorities in proportion to the number of church members.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Jimmy Carter:US Can Recognize Palestinian State; Pres. Obama Must Do So to Achieve Mideast Peace

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, in a New York Times op-ed yesterday, called on President Barack Obama to recognize a Palestinian state before he leaves office on January 20, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (November 29, 2016).

"I am convinced that the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short," Carter wrote.

"The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on January 20 is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership," he wrote.

Carter added, "Such a resolution should include security guarantees for both Israel and a Palestinian state... and a possible peacekeeping force under the auspices of the United Nations."

Ohio State Attacker Posted Angry Facebook Rant; Anger at Muslim Torment Conveys Terror Motive

An Ohio State University student -- who was angry at the way Muslims were treated around the world --  has been identified as the suspect behind the gruesome attack yesterday on the school's Columbus campus, the USA Today website reports today (November 29, 2016).

The attacker, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, was shot dead by police, but not before driving a car into a group of people and then attacking victims with a butcher's knife.

Eleven people were injured, but all are expected to survive. Artan, a Muslim, was born in Somalia and was living in the U.S. as a permanent resident.

Investigators found a message he posted on Facebook before the attack in which he expressed anger about the treatment of Muslims around the world, conveying that the attack was most-likely terrorist-driven.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Kirill:Trump Is Only US Pol Who Can Defeat IS; Russian Rel.Head Assured by Trump's Tenacity

In a recent interview with "Russia Today," Patriarch Kirill -- the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church -- said that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is the only American politician who has given Christians hope in defeating barbaric ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) terrorism, the Christian Today website reports today (November 28, 2016).

The Russian religious leader said that although he does not know Trump personally, he has been encouraged by Trump's strong stance against terrorism.

Kirill then likened IS terrorism in the Middle East today to what happened during World War II when the world's powers united to defeat Nazi Germany.

If they were able to do that then, then they should be able to defeat ISIS today, Kirill said.

Obama, Biden Spurn Fidel Castro's Funeral; Cuba's Communist Dictator Was US Enemy

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will not attend the funeral of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, which is scheduled for December 4, the Newsmax website reports today (November 28, 2016).

The decision appeased top Republicans who had demanded the president avoid the ceremony for the 90-year-old Castro, an atheist, who died on November 25. Even Castro's sister -- who left his dictatorial regime in Cuba to live in Florida -- said she won't be attending her brother's funeral.

Castro turned Cuba into a communist country in 1959, after a successful revolt allowed him to take control of the government. Shortly thereafter, Cuba became a close ally of Soviet Russia and an enemy of the United States.

Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba were broken in the early 1960s, and remained broken throughout the remainder of Castro's rule in 2009. At that time, Castro's younger brother, Raoul Castro, took control of the Cuban government, and has remained its communist leader to the present day.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

ISIS Shoots at Israelis in Syrian Golan Heights; Israel Reacts with Airstrike,Kills 4 ISIS Troops

An Israeli airstrike killed four ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) fighters in the Syrian Golan Heights today (November 27, 2016), according to The Daily Beast website.

The airstrike was called after Israeli troops came under fire in the region. No Israeli soldiers were injured in the attack.

The militants were believed to be members of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, which the U.S. considers to be a terrorist organization and which has pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Parts of the Golan Heights are controlled by Israel, seized from Syria in a war in 1967. The Israeli soldiers were on their side of the border when the ISIS fighters shot at them.

Pro-Trump Hate Letter Is Sent to Calif. Mosques; Calls Muslims "Filthy," Says Trump to Cleanse US

Three California mosques received an anonymous letter calling Muslims "vile and filthy," praising President-elect Donald Trump, and saying he plans to "cleanse" America, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (November 27, 2016).

The same, short anti-Muslim letter -- addressed to "Children of Satan" -- was sent in recent days to mosques in San Jose in northern California and Long Beach and Claremont in the Los Angeles area, said the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which condemned the letters.

The letter called on Muslims to "pack your bags and get out of Dodge," CAIR said.

Trump -- the letter added -- is "going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And he's going to start with you Muslims."

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Vatican Panel Discourses OKing Female Deacons; Reformers Hope It Leads to Women Being Priests

A papal commission on the role of female deacons met for the first time yesterday in a move reformers hope will open the door to women eventually entering the Catholic clergy, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (November 26, 2016).

At the present time, only men can serve as priests or as deacons in the Catholic Church.

The new commission -- which includes six women among its 13 members -- has been instructed to examine whether women regularly acted as deacons in the early Christian church.

Advocates of women playing a greater role in church governance say they did, so there should therefore be no barrier to them serving as deacons now.

Suspect Nabbed for Fatality at Cath. Care Home; Believed He Worked at the France Home in Past

A 47-year-old man today (November 26, 2016) was arrested and charged with murder after a woman member of a staff was killed by a masked intruder at a care home for retired missionaries in Monferrier-sur-Lez in the south of France on November 24, according to the Independent Catholic News website.

The alleged murderer is an unemployed former paratrooper and father of two children.

A spokesman said there was no evidence to suggest the attack was terror related. It is believed that the man had worked at the home in the past.

After receiving an emergency call from the home on November 24, police found a 54-year-old woman had been tied up and stabbed to death, and set up a manhunt in the district surrounding the home.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Two Migrants Die in Gas Blast on Lesbos Island; Migrants Respond with Fire, Burn Much of Camp

A woman and a child have died in an explosion at the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, the Euro News website reports today (November 25, 2016).

According to local police, the blast was caused by gas as the woman was cooking.

Migrants started a fire after the explosion, burning a large part of the camp.

The past few months have seen several violent incidents at refugee camps on a number of Greek islands, where the number of migrants -- mostly from war-torn Syria and Iraq -- is more than double the capacity of the island camps.

IS Truck Bomber Kills 56 at an Iraq Gas Station; Another 45 Wounded,Several Cars Catch on Fire

A truck bomb tore through a gas station south of Baghdad yesterday, killing at least 56 people -- including 20 Iranians -- in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 25, 2016).

Police and hospital officials confirmed the toll and said another 45 people were wounded in the attack, which destroyed the gas station and set several cars on fire.

The IS group claimed the attack in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency, saying it was a suicide truck bomb.

Iraqi officials said the target of the attack appears to have been a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims heading home after taking part in a major Shiite religious observance in the Islamic holy city of Karbala.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Arab Media Celebrate Many Fires Hitting Israel; "Israel Is Burning," Similar Posts Go on Twitter

Arab social media networks today (November 24, 2016) were rife with inflammatory celebratory reactions in light of the myriad of brush fires that have been blazing across central and northern Israel for the past three days, the Jerusalem Post website reports.

Dry conditions and high winds have spread the flames across central and northern regions of Israel as well as parts of the West Bank.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said this morning that he suspected that up to half of the fires had been intentionally ignited by arsonists. Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that those who set them could not be Jewish, thus implying that the fires were set by Islamic terrorists.

One of the most popular Twitter tweets commending the fires reads, "Israel has prevented the muezzin (a Muslim prayer crier) calls to prayer, and then it was engulfed in fire."

Manhunt in France after Killing at Rel. Residence; Woman Is Stabbed at a Catholic Retirement Home

French police searched today (November 24, 2016) for a masked gunman suspected of stabbing an elderly woman to death in a retirement home for Catholic missionaries in southern France, according to the Yahoo News website.

A large police operation was launched to search for the attacker, believed to be armed with a shotgun and a knife.

The military police could not say whether the incident was linked to a terrorist act.

A gendarme security spokesman said today that more than 100 members of the security forces were dispatched to the village of Montferrier-sur-Lez, near the city of Montpellier in the southern tip of France.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Patriarch Kirill:Multiculturalism Has No Future; Christians Need Their Own Ethnic, Rel. Identity

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has doomed multiculturalism, saying it has "no future," the Christian Today website reports today (November 23, 2016).

He said it "implies different cultures mixing, different cultures and religions poured together and shaken vigorously to create a kind of cocktail."

Kirill said that Russia was an example for the rest of the world to follow. "Russia is a multiethnic country, but the idea of multiculturalism has never been promoted."

He added, "This approach, which allows people to express their ethnic and religious identity freely, has especially flourished recently, in modern Russia... We live in the same country, so all of us must observe the law and be nice to each other."

Iraqi Forces Retake Monastery in Nineveh Plains; IS Ransacked the 4th Century Monastery in 2 Yrs.

The history pages of Iraq's Christian community lie in charred fragments on the floor of a fourth century monastery near Mosul which IS (Islamic State) militants ransacked during a two-year occupation that Iraqi forces ended this week, the Catholic News website reports today (November 23, 2016).

The jihadists at the Mar Behnam monastery burned a collection of books about Christian theology, scrapped off inscriptions written in Syriac -- the language used by Jesus -- and demolished sculptures of the Virgin Mary and the monastery's patron saint.

"Their fundamental goal was to destroy Christian history and civilization in the Nineveh plains," said Duraid Elias, commander of the Babylon Brigades, a Christian militia that helped retake the site.

The Nineveh plains -- a sprawling region north and east of Mosul -- are a mosaic of ethnic and religious communities with roots dating back to ancient Mesopotamia.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

EU Leaders Call for the End of Turkey Entry Talks; Due to Post-Coup Purges,Loss of Freedom of Press

The leaders of the European Parliament's largest group has called for the European Union (EU) to halt membership talks with Turkey because of its post-coup purges, the Euro News website reports today (November 22, 2016).

"Our message to Turkey is very clear: accession negotiations should be frozen immediately," said Manfred Weber, the head of the largest faction in the European Parliament, the center-right European People's Party.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- who has tried unsuccessfully for several years to allow Turkey to join the EU -- said the EU will have to "live with the consequences," if the decision is taken to stop Turkey's admission talks.

More than 125,000 people in Turkey have been suspended or dismissed over July's failed military coup. Some 36,000 have been arrested and media outlets closed.

Man Being Held for Planned Times Square Attack; IS Backer Tried to Copy Nice Attack That Killed 80

A man who tried to join the Islamic State (IS) group voiced support for a terrorist truck attack in New York's Times Square like the one that killed scores of people in Nice, France in July, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 22, 2016).

In a conversation about the Nice attack intercepted by federal authorities, Mohamed Rafik Naji told an unnamed associate that the IS leaders "want an operation in Times Square," according to court papers.

"I was saying if there is a truck, I mean a garbage truck, and one drives it there to Times Square and crushes them," said Naji, a legal U.S. resident from Yemen.

Naji was ordered held without bail following his arrest yesterday. In the Nice attack, an IS supporter drove a 19-ton truck onto a seaside crowd on Bastille Day (July 14), killing more than 80 people.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pope OKs All Priests to Absolve Sin of Abortion; Retains Consent He Gave in Holy Year of Mercy

Pope Francis is allowing all Catholic priests to absolve the "grave sin" of abortion, extending special permission he had granted them in 2015 for the just-ended Holy Year of Mercy, the Catholic News website reports today (November 21, 2016).

Releasing "Misericordia et misera," an apostolic letter concluding the Year of Mercy, the Pope wrote that "there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach," while reiterating that "abortion is a grave sin."

In his letter released yesterday, Pope Francis gave all priests permanent permission to grant absolution to those who confess to having procured an abortion.

"I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion," he wrote.

Suicide Bomber Kills 27 in Afghan Shiite Mosque; Thousands of Afghan Civilians Killed Since 2001

A suicide bomber killed at least 27 people and wounded dozens today (November 21, 2016) in an explosion at a crowded Shiite mosque in Kabul, the Afghan capital, according to the Reuters website.

The attacker entered the Baqir-ul-Olum mosque shortly after midday as worshipers had gathered for a ceremony, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Thousands of civilians have been killed in Afghanistan in the 15 years since the Taliban regime was brought down in the U.S.-led campaign in 2001.

In July, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that 1,601 civilians had been killed in the first half of this year alone -- a record since it began keeping figures in 2009.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Restaurant in Portugal Vandalized by Jew Haters; Hit Due to Chef Attending Food Festival in Israel

Anti-Israel activists vandalized a restaurant in Portugal because its head chef participated in a food festival in Israel, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (November 20, 2016).

The perpetrators -- believed to be activists for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel -- on the eve of November 18 spilled red paint on the front of the Cantinho do Avillez restaurant in the northern Portuguese city of Porto and posted several signs, including one reading "Free Palestine."

The attack followed picketing opposite the restaurant by BDS activists over the participation of chef Jose Avillez in the Round Tables festival in Tel Aviv, Israel this month.

Robert Singer, CEO of the World Jewish Congress, condemned the BDS movement for the hate crime, which he said was anti-Semitic.

IS Kills 4 Members of Pakistan's Security Forces; IS Affiliate in Pakistan Making Powerful Growth

The Islamic State (IS) group today (November 20, 2016) claimed the killing of four members of Pakistani security forces who were shot dead yesterday by gunmen on a motorcycle in the southwestern city of Quetta, according to the ABC News website.

The IS affiliate in Pakistan has grown in recent months by attracting disgruntled Taliban militants and by partnering with a violent sectarian group that targets Pakistan's Shiite minority.

IS claimed the attack on a Sufi shrine earlier this month that killed more than 50 people.

Pakistan has stepped up security for Shiite processions today and tomorrow to mourn Imam Hussein, the slain grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thousands Protest in Poland against Ed Reforms; Reforms Would Change 3-Tier School System to 2

Tens of thousands of protesters from across Poland protested in Warsaw today (November 19, 2016) against education reforms proposed by the right-wing government that critics say could see thousands of jobs slashed, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

"I call upon Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and the government not to destroy the assets" of the current education system, said Slawomir Broniarz, head of the main teachers' union.

Broniarz called for a "massive social front" to mobilize against the reforms, saying there would be "chaos" if the changes were made.

The reforms call for changing the three-tier school system to just two levels, which means that many high schools will be closed.

New Catholic Cathedral Inaugurated in Norway; Number of Cath.Rising Fast in Lutheran Country

Norway's Roman Catholics have inaugurated a new cathedral -- the first in Europe in a decade -- as the predominantly Lutheran country sees the number of Catholics swell, mainly due to immigration from Poland and the Philippines, the Washington Post website reports today (November 19, 2016).

A Mass yesterday at the cathedral was attended by Pope Francis' envoy, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

The $11.7 million New Saint Olav cathedral is located in Trondheim, some 243 miles north of Norway's capital of Oslo.

With 125,000 registered members, Norway has Scandinavia's largest Catholic community. In 2015, Norway's state Lutheran Church had about 3.8 million members, or 73 percent of the population.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thousands March against Turkey Brussels; Angry at Erdogan's Control of the Press, Academia

Several thousand demonstrators have taken to the streets of Brussels, Belgium -- where the European Union (EU) headquarters are located -- to protest against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Euro News website reports today (November 18, 2016).

They included several pro-Kurdish groups, angry over Erdogan's crackdown on the media, the judiciary, and academia.

Participants at the march -- mainly organized by the Turkish opposition party HDP -- said Erdogan was behaving like a dictator by jailing dissidents and political opponents.

"We would like to appeal and ask the European [Union] countries to sever their ties with the Turkish government, and that sanctions are applied," said a demonstrator, who had traveled from Cologne, Germany.

Is the Pope Catholic? Not Enough for 4 Cardinals; 4 Disputing Communion for Remarried Divorcees

An interview with Pope Francis on cardinal criticism of his efforts to make the Catholic Church more open and pastoral in its ministry, was published today (November 18, 2016) in "Avvenire," the official newspaper of the Italian hierarchy, according to the Religion News website.

The Pope's interview was sparked by four hard-line cardinals who have grave concerns about Francis' approach to interpreting Catholic doctrine. Without mentioning the cardinals by name, Francis said, "They are acting in bad faith to foment divisions."

The four critics -- led by U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke -- had written privately to Francis in September, asking him if a document he issued in April could be interpreted to mean that divorced and remarried Catholics could receive Communion.

Earlier this week, the four cardinals went public with the letter to Francis because they learned he had no intention to responding to their concerns. Burke then told the "National Catholic Register" that if  Francis did not offer a clarification soon, the next step by the cardinals would be to make "a formal act of correction of a serious error" -- a phrase that some believe is tantamount to accusing the Pope of heresy!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pakistan Nabs 8 Operating IS Recruitment Cell; Group Disciplined Young Men to Fight in Syria

Authorities in Pakistan say they have captured a group of eight militants operating a recruitment cell in the country at the behest of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Syria, the VOA (Voice of America) News website reports today (November 17, 2016).

Counter-terrorism forces in an overnight operation arrested the men in Lahore, the second-largest Pakistani city and capital of the populous Punjab province.

Authorities seized mobile phones, laptops, and IS propaganda material from the group.

The detainees were recruiting young men to send them illegally to Syria via Afghanistan and Iran -- the two immediate neighbors of Pakistan sharing long porous frontiers.

At Least 50 Arrested at Greek Isle Migrant Camp; Refugees Set Tents Afire,Smash Cars,Loot Shops

At least 50 people were arrested today (November 17, 2016) on the Greek Island of Chios after violence at a migrant camp, according to the Euro News website.

Refugees set tents on fire before looting nearby shops, smashing cars, and stealing fireworks to launch at local residents.

The riot was triggered after those inside the Souda camp clashed with supporters of the far-right Golden Dawn Party.

Four people were taken to the hospital as a result of the unrest. Thousands of refugees from the Middle East and Asia -- including the war-torn countries of Syria and Iraq -- remain on several Greek islands, since most European countries refuse to accept them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Air Strikes Blast Syria's Rebel-Controlled Aleppo; Hammer Children's Hospital, Blood Bank, Kill 32

Air strikes bombed neighborhoods around a children's hospital and a blood bank in Syria's rebel-controlled eastern Aleppo today (November 16, 2016) in a second day of renewed bombing that has killed at least 32 people, according to the Reuters website.

Today's air raids formed part of a wider military escalation by the Syrian government and its allies -- including Russia -- which fired coordinated volleys of missiles at rebels yesterday and for the first time used its only aircraft carrier.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights -- a British-based war monitor -- said the air strikes were carried out by Russian or Syrian warplanes.

Air raids also continued in the countryside west of Aleppo from which rebels have launched assaults on government-held areas. An air attack on the village of Balbao killed at least 19 people -- including three children -- the Observatory said.

Obama in Greece:We Must Correct Ec. Inequality; Society Must End Elite Favoritism, Help the Poor

In an emotional and powerful speech in Athens, Greece -- the birthplace of democracy -- U.S. President Barack Obama said today (November 16, 2016) that globalization has brought many economic benefits to the world, but needs a "course correction" to address growing inequality, the Euro News website reports.

"When we see people, global elites, wealthy corporations seemingly living by a different set of rules, avoiding taxes, manipulating loopholes... this feeds a profound sense of injustice," Obama added.

Obama's visit to Athens was originally planned as a farewell tour of his presidency, but became focused on reassuring jittery allies of strong military support after the surprise election victory of Donald Trump.

Despite Trump saying during the presidential campaign that he would only help NATO if its allies paid their way, Obama stressed that NATO will remain a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Germany Sacks "True Religion" Org. for Aiding IS; Seen as "Collecting Pool" for Would-be IS Fighters

A German organization that calls itself the "True Religion" and that is known for distributing German-language copies of the Quran was outlawed today (November 15, 2016), after the authorities accused it of recruiting jihadists to fight in Iraq and Syria, according to the NY Times website.

Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister, said the government had banned the True Religion organization, because it acted as a "collecting pool" for would-be Islamist fighters.

Starting this morning, officers raided 190 premises in more than half of Germany's 16 states. Materials were secured, but there were no detentions.

De Maiziere said that 140 of the group's supporters are known to have traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight for the Islamic State (IS).

Israel Husbands Now Must Grant "Gets" to Wives; Ordered to Do So by Rabbinical Court or Face Jail

A Jewish man in Israel who refuses to grant his wife a religious divorce after being ordered to do so by a rabbinical court can now face criminal charges and be jailed, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (November 15, 2016).

Under a new policy directive issued yesterday by the state prosecutor, Shai Nitzan, his office will seek a significant prison sentence for a husband convicted of violating the rabbinical court's order to give his wife a "get," or religious divorce.

A religious court cannot impose a get, and a man must give the Jewish religious divorce on his own free will.

A woman who is unable to obtain a get is known as an agunah, or chained woman. Under Jewish law, she cannot remarry. In the United States, only Orthodox Jewish women -- not Conservative or Reform Jewish women -- being divorced are required to obtain a get from their husbands in order to remarry.

FBI:Hate Crimes of Muslims Are up 67% in 2015; Jews Go On as Most Often Target of Hate Crimes

FBI statistics released yesterday show that reported hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. rose in 2015 to their highest levels since those seen since those following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 15, 2016).

The reporting period covers the calendar year 2015.

In 2015, there were 257 incidents of anti-Muslim bias compared to 154 incidents the prior year, an increase of 67 percent.

Jews and Jewish institutions remain the most frequent target of religious-based hate crimes, representing 53 percent of all those reported. Crimes against Jews increased about 9 percent.

Monday, November 14, 2016

ICC: US Forces Might Have Tortured Afghans; Appear to Have Tortured 61 Detained Persons

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors said today (November 14, 2016) that a preliminary probe indicates that members of the U.S. armed forces and the CIA may have committed war crimes by torturing detainees in Afghanistan, according to the Newsmax website.

The prosecution office said in a report late today that U.S. forces "appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture" in Afghanistan, mainly in 2003 and 2004.

The report adds CIA operatives may have tortured at least 27 detainees in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the same time period.

Prosecutors say they will decide "imminently" whether to seek authorization to open a full-scale investigation in Afghanistan.

Iraqi Forces Arrive in Mosul,Battle Suicide Bombs; IS Militants Now Wounding Many Mosul Civilians

Iraqi forces have been battling waves of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) suicide bombs, as they advance deeper into eastern Mosul, the Euro News website reports today (November 14, 2016).

Troops are converging from several fronts on Iraq's second largest city.

Mosul is ISIS' last major controlled region of Iraq.

Medical teams have been treating several injured civilians. ISIS militants are said to have turned on civilians when Iraqi soldiers arrived.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mike Dukakis Calls for End of Electoral College; Northeastern Pol.Science Prof.Says It's Outdated

A former Democratic presidential nominee is calling for the Electoral College to be abolished after Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but still lost the presidency to Donald Trump, the Washington Examiner website reports today (November 13, 2016).

Michael Dukakis -- who lost to George H.W. Bush in 1988 -- told Politico that the Electoral College "should have been abolished 150 years ago."

"Hillary won this election, and when the votes are [all] counted, by what will likely be more than a million votes. So how come she isn't going to the White House in January?" he said.

Dukakis -- who has been a distinguished professor of political science at Northeastern University in Boston for the past 25 years -- called on Congress to make ending the Electoral College a priority during President Obama's remaining time in office.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Turkey Declares a Travel Warning Not to Visit US; Says Anti-Trump Demonstrations Likely to Go On

Turkey issued a travel warning for its citizens today (November 12, 2016) about going to the United States, citing violent protests following this week's presidential election, according to the Newsmax website.

In a statement today, Turkey said the anti-Donald Trump demonstrations "occasionally featured acts of crime and violence," and noted that security forces had "detained many demonstrators."

It added that "based on demonstrators' social media posts, it's clear that the demonstrations will likely continue for some time."

Earlier this month, Turkey criticized a U.S. decision to order family members of employees posted to the Istanbul Consulate to leave because of several recent terrorist attacks in Turkey. Today's travel warning by Turkey may have been, in reality, a retaliation against the U.S., whose earlier travel ban angered Turkey.

Taliban Explosion Strikes NATO Afghan Air Base; Suicide Bomber Kills Four Americans,Wounds 17

A Taliban suicide bomber -- dressed as a laborer -- blew himself up today (November 12, 2016) at the NATO air base at Bagram north of the Afghan capital Kabul, killing four Americans and wounding 17 people, according to the France 24 website.

Two U.S. military service members and two U.S. contractors were killed, and 16 other U.S. service members were wounded, along with a Polish soldier who was part of the NATO mission.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the military will investigate what happened to determine what steps could be taken to improve protection for the base.

President Barack Obama had originally planned to have all U.S. forces out of the country by the end of his term, but later decided to keep 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to help Afghan forces contain the Taliban insurgency.

Friday, November 11, 2016

IS Executes Scores, Piles Up Chemicals in Mosul; Is Now Using "Phosphor Projectiles," Sulfur Pits

The United Nations human rights office said today (November 11, 2016) that Islamic State (IS) fighters have executed scores more people around the northern Iraq city of Mosul this week and are stockpiling deadly chemicals in civilian areas, according to the Reuters website.

A mass grave with over 100 bodies found in the Mosul suburb of Hammam al-Alil was one of several Islamic State killing grounds, UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said.

"Clearly, there are many other killing fields. We also have reports of other mass graves which we haven't yet been able to verify," Shamdasani told reporters.

Iraqi troops have found large stockpiles of sulfur, and the IS has used "phosphor projectiles" near Mosul, Shamdasani said. She added that the IS has also "placed sulfur pits [in Mosul] in close proximity to civilians."

Franklin Graham:"God Showed Up" to Aid Trump; Resulted in the "Biggest Pol.Upset of Our Lifetime"

Evangelist Franklin Graham said that prayer -- and God's answer to it -- helped Donald Trump and Mike Pence pull off "the biggest political upset of our lifetime," the Washington Post website reports today (November 11, 2016).

Graham -- son of world-famous evangelist Billy Graham and president of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and Samaritan's Purse -- told the Washington Post, "I could sense going across the country that God was going to do something this year. And I believe that at this election, God showed up."

Yesterday -- a day after Trump was elected to become America's 45th president -- Graham said God had answered their prayers.

Evangelical leaders from across the country -- including Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, and Ralph Reed -- stood by Trump during a heated election time.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Taliban Suicide Attacker Kills 2, Wounds 100; Slams Explosives Truck on German Consulate

A Taliban truck -- loaded with powerful explosives -- slammed into the German consulate in Afghanistan's northern Mazar-i-Sharif city today (November 10, 2016), killing at least two people and wounding more than 100 in a major militant assault in the war-torn country, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

The Taliban called it a "revenge attack" for U.S. air strikes in the province of Kunduz earlier this month that left 32 civilians dead.

The huge explosion -- followed by sporadic gunfire -- reverberated across the usually tranquil city, causing windows to break and civilians to seek cover.

"The suicide attacker rammed his explosives-laden truck into the wall of the German consulate," local police chief Sayed Kamal Sadat told AFP.

IS Lauds Donald Trump's Pres. Election Victory; Says His Pres. Will "Lead to Civil War," Ruin US

Muslim extremists celebrated President-elect Donald Trump's victory at the polls yesterday, hoping his triumph will "lead to civil war," the USA Today website reports today (November 10, 2016).

"Rejoice with support from Allah, and find glad tidings in the imminent demise of America at the hands of Trump," said the al-Minbar Jihadi Media network, which is affiliated with the Islamic State (IS), according to the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group.

"Trump's win of the American presidency will bring hostility of Muslims against America as a result of his reckless actions," the al-Minbar Jihadi Media network continued.

In another Muslim extremist by-product of Trump's victory, the Afghan Taliban urged Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and to "not pursue interests at the expense of other countries," SITE reported.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Schindler's List Be Holocaust Memorial; Schindler Saved Lives of 1K+ Jews at Czech Site

A disused building in the Czech Republic -- where German industrialist Oskar Schindler employed more than a thousand Jews to save them from the gas chambers -- is being turned into a Holocaust memorial, The Guardian website reports today (November 9, 2016).

Parts of the complex in Brnenec -- close to Schindler's birthplace in Svitavy -- were given the status of cultural monument this month, according to the Czech culture ministry.

Built in the 19th century, the laboratory, mill, chemical depot, front door, and a square used for roll call "have close historical links... to the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Brnenec," the ministry spokeswoman, Simona Cigankova, said.

During World War II, Schindler (1908-1974) saved the lives of 1,200 Jews by employing them in his enamelware and munitions factories in Nazi-occupied Poland and Czechoslovakia. His ability to prevent Jews from being murdered by Nazis is portrayed in the popular 1993 film, Schindler's List.

Netanyahu Hails Trump as True Friend of Israel; Views US-Israel Alliance Heading to New Heights

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (November 9, 2016) congratulated Donald Trump on his election victory for U.S. President, saying the Republican is "a true friend of the state of Israel," according to the Times of Israel website.

Netanyahu's remarks were released a few hours after Trump proclaimed victory over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in a surprise electoral coup.

"We will work together to advance security, stability, and peace in our region," Netanyahu said in a statement.

"The bond between the U.S. and Israel is based on shared values, shared interests, and a shared future. I am sure that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the special alliance between Israel and the U.S., and we will bring them to new heights," he added.

Vatican Congratulates Trump on His Pres.Victory; Prays Jesus Enlightens Him to Bring World Peace

Congratulating Donald Trump today (November 9, 2016) for his victory in the U.S. presidential election, the Vatican secretary of state expressed hope that people would work together  "to change the global situation, which is a situation of serious laceration, serious conflict," the Catholic Herald (British) website reports.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin -- Pope Francis' top aide -- spoke about the election today during a meeting at Rome's Pontifical Lateran University.

"We send our best wishes to the new president that his administration may truly be fruitful," the cardinal said.

He added: "And we also assure him of our prayers that the Lord would enlighten and sustain him in his service to his country naturally, but also in serving the well-being and peace of the world."

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ohio Man Trying to Join ISIS in Libya Arrested; Said He Attempted to Fly Overseas to Join Jihad

An Ohio man accused of trying to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been arrested while trying to fly to Libya, the CBS News website reports today (November 8, 2016).

The federal prosecutor in Columbus, Ohio says Aaron Daniels was taken into custody yesterday at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport after a month-long investigation.

After his arrest yesterday, Daniels admitted he was attempting to fly overseas to join jihad.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman said Daniels wired $250 to now-deceased ISIS operative Abu Isa Al-Amriki in January.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Ukrainian Moscow-Allied Orth.Church Set on Fire; Russian-Ukrainian Hostilities Lead to Rel.Violence

A church has been firebombed in central Ukraine in an attack illustrating profound religious divisions of the country, which have worsened as a result of Russia's seizing Ukraine's Crimean peninsula two years ago, the Christian Today website reports today (November 7, 2016).

Molotov cocktails were hurled at the Church of SS Cyril and Methodius in Pavlograd, according to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The church -- which sustained significant damage -- is part of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), which is under the authority of Patriarch Kirill, head of the ROC. A rival branch of the Orthodox Church -- the Kiev Patriarchate -- rejects Russian control of Ukrainian churches and is associated with Ukrainian nationalism.

The Orthodox Church statement said three Molotov cocktails were thrown, with the resulting fire damaging prayer books and the central part of the church, including icons and frescoes.

FBI Questions Muslims in 8 States on Terrorism; Muslim Rights Head: Questions Unconstitutional

A civil rights organization for American Muslims says the FBI questioned Muslims in at least eight states on November 5 and 6, seeking information about a possible threat from al-Qaeda to carry out pre-election terror attacks, the Washington Post website reports today (November 7, 2016).

The Muslims were asked eight questions -- including several special to al-Qaeda -- said Hassan Shibly, a lawyer and the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Florida.

He said his clients were asked whether they knew the al-Qaeda leaders killed in U.S. military airstrikes last month, who U.S. officials believe were connected to the alleged plot, and whether they knew of anyone who wished to cause harm to Americans at home or abroad.

Shibly said it appeared only Muslims of Afghani and Pakistani descent were questioned. He called the FBI actions "outrageous" and "unconstitutional."

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Kurdish, Arab Troops Launch Attack on Raqqa; Mission to Retake IS-Controlled Capital in Syria

U.S.-backed rebels today (November 6, 2016) began an operation to retake the city of Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Syria, according to the Newsmax website.

The Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) -- an alliance of of Kurdish and Arab armed forces -- said its operation to retake Raqqa is called "Euphrates Anger."

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on October 25 that the battle to retake Raqqa in Syria would "overlap" with the assault on the city of Mosul in Iraq.

Since it was formed in early 2015, the SDF has seized much territory along the Syria-Turkey border from the Islamic State, and pushed the jihadist group back to within 18 miles of Raqqa.

Pope Francis Holds a Jubilee Mass for Prisoners; "We Are All Sinners,Often We Too Are Prisoners"

Pope Francis held a special Jubilee of inmates, at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, today (November 6, 2016), according to the Yahoo News website.

He later urged political leaders across the world to respect the dignity of inmates and offer them amnesty whenever possible.

"Today we celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy for you and with you, our brothers and sisters who are imprisoned," Francis told them. He said while breaking the law involves paying the price, "hope must never falter."

He added, "We forget that we are all sinners and often, without being aware of it, we too are prisoners."

Saturday, November 5, 2016

ISIS Kills Scores of Its Own Troops Fleeing Mosul; IS Leader Told Troops Not to Retreat in Total War

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group is executing its own fighters by the dozen as they attempt to flee from the city of Mosul in the face of an offensive by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, the IB (International Business) Times website reports today (November 5, 2016).

The UN's Human Rights Agency said some 50 IS fighters -- accused of desertion -- were killed at the Ghazlani military base in Mosul.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of IS, said in a speech to residents of Mosul on November 3 that there could be no retreat in a "total war." Reports have emerged that IS troops are disguising themselves as refugees to leave Mosul without being shot.

The UN also reported today that hundreds of women were being used as human shields by IS troops fighting the approaching Iraqi forces.

Cath.Church:Devil Uses Pols Like Hillary Clinton; Satan Converts Christian Values to Worldly Ones

A Roman Catholic Church in San Diego, California told its parishioners the devil works through politicians like Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton -- whose strong support for abortions contradicts the teaching of the Catholic Church --  and warned that voting for Democrats is a "mortal sin," the Reuters website reports today (November 5, 2016).

The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church made the statements in a weekly leaflet given to churchgoers, a copy of which remains on the church's website.

"Satan has deceived many Christians to convert to worldly values from Christian ones," the October 30 bulletin says.

Roman Catholic Bishop of San Diego, Robert McElroy, said in a statement: "While we have a moral role to play in explaining how Catholic teaching relates to certain public policy issues, we must not and will not endorse specific candidates ... or engage in partisan political activity of any kind."

Friday, November 4, 2016

Turkish Pres.:Germany Is a Haven for Terrorists; Erdogan Angry Germany Harbors PKK Members

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today (November 4, 2016) lashed out at the German government, claiming that the migrant policies of Chancellor Angela Merkel have made Germany a haven for terrorists, according to the Breitbart website.

The controversial power-obsessed president -- who has consolidated his power in the wake of the failed coup to overthrow him in July -- said that Germany was harboring members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is illegal in Turkey. In fact, Turks and Kurds are now arch enemies, as Kurds seek to establish their own independent state in Turkey.

"Germany has become an important port for terrorists, " Erdogan said.

He warned that the German open door policy during the height of the migrant crisis -- Germany accepted more than a million migrants in 2015 -- would come back to haunt Germans, saying: "Hey Germany, be aware that these terrorists will hit you like a boomerang."

Car Bomb Rocks City of Diyarbakir in S.E.Turkey; At Least Eight Killed and 100 Wounded by Attack

A car bomb rocked the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir today (November 4, 2016), killing at least eight people and wounding more than 100 others, the Euro News website reports.

It came just hours after police detained several politicians of the Kurdish region's biggest party.

The blast struck a central area, near a police station where some of the Kurdish party leaders were being held in a terrorism probe.

It tore off facades of buildings and firefighters were searching debris for people trapped there. The Kurdistan Workers Party -- or PKK -- is believed to be responsible for today's attack.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Freed Boko Haram Women Raped by Guards; Nigerian Women Are Abused by Police,Others

The Human Rights Watch group said today (November 3, 2016) that many women and girls who had survived the violence and sexual abuse of the Nigerian Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, have been raped by government officials in northern Nigeria where they sought safety, according to the CNN website.

Dozens of women and girls who stayed at camps for the displaced in Borno State's capital, Maiduguri, told Human Rights Watch (HRW) they were sexually abused or coerced into sex by camp leaders, vigilante group members, policemen, and soldiers.

Several women were abandoned after they became pregnant.

Mausi Segun, senior Nigeria researcher at HRW, said, "It is disgraceful and outrageous that people who should protect these women and girls are attacking and abusing them."

Two US Troops Killed by Taliban in Afghanistan; US Troops Have Been in Afghanistan for 15 Years

Two U.S. service members were killed today (November 3, 2016) battling Taliban Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan alongside local troops, according to the Newser website.

NATO described the Americans killed -- and two other Americans wounded -- in the assault as being part of "a train, advise, and assist mission" in Afghanistan's Kunduz province. The American casualties have not yet been identified.

Although U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan are officially over, thousands of U.S. troops remain in the country.

U.S. special forces first entered Afghanistan in October 2001 -- due to the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S. -- in an effort to kill terrorists and suppress terrorist activities. At that time, Afghanistan was considered by the U.S. to be the root of terror strategies and the predominant haven for terrorists.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Iraqi Jets Kill 116 IS Militants in Mosul Bombing; Iraqi Gen.:Beginning of True Liberation of Mosul

Iraqi fighter jets killed 116 Islamic State (IS) group fighters during bombing raids on the IS-stronghold city of Mosul yesterday, including 67 who were at a meeting in a hotel swimming pool that has been described as the terrorist group's "war room," the Vice News website reports today (November 2, 2016).

Details of the attacks were provided by the Kurdish news outlet, Rudaw.

The air attacks came on the same day that Iraqi special forces entered Mosul -- Iraq's second largest city -- for the first time in over two years.

"Now is the beginning of the true liberation of the city of Mosul," Staff General Taleb Shegnati al-Kenani, commander of the Iraqi special forces, said on Iraqiya state TV, which is located in a building that Iraqi troops took control of as they began their offensive to retake Mosul.

Mich.Town to US Govt.:We Won't Take Migrants; See Muslim Terrorists Pretending to Be Migrants

A Michigan town has sent the federal government a clear message: "We have no interest in participating in your so-called 'Refugee Resettlement Program,'" The New American website reports today (November 2, 2016).

Waterford Township trustees in Oakland County, Michigan passed a resolution on October 31 telling the federal government not to resettle any refugees -- including those from Syria -- within the township's boundaries.

Waterford Township is not the first entity to cry foul over the feds' migrant-resettlement scheme. The states of Texas, New Jersey, and Kansas have also refused to accept any Muslim migrants, since they fear terrorists can easily pretend to be migrants. (Several of the terrorists who committed terror attacks in France that killed over 150 innocent people one year ago this month entered France as "migrants.")

Moreover, the five richest Arab nations -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar -- have all refused to accept one single Syrian migrant despite being so close to the migrants' native land, and maintaining much more similar religious and cultural traditions with the Middle East migrants than the United States.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pope: Church Will Never Ordain Women Priests; Doubtable Since Jesus Chose Only Men Apostles

The Catholic Church insistence that it cannot ordain women to the priesthood and episcopacy is a teaching likely to last forever, Pope Francis said today (November 1, 2016) aboard the Papal flight returning from Sweden to Rome, according to the Catholic News website.

Responding on the plane to a question by a woman reporter regarding women priests and bishops being accepted by the Catholic Church, the Pope said the question was settled in 1994 by St. John Paul II, who taught that because Jesus chose only men as His 12 apostles, the ordination of women in the Church was not possible.

Pope Francis was then asked: "Really? Never?"

And he responded, "If one carefully reads the declaration of St. John Paul, it goes in that direction, yes." There are several theories as to why Jesus did not choose any women to be His apostles, one theory  being that Jesus did not want women to have to suffer from the agony that accompanies being an apostle.

Iraqi Troops Get into IS-Controlled City of Mosul; Some Civilians Flee City,Others Used as IS Shields

More than two years after the Islamic State (IS) terror group took control of Mosul -- Iraq's second largest city -- Iraqi forces today (November 1, 2016) entered the outer edges of the city, according to The Daily Beast website.

Lt. Gen. Abdelwahab al-Saedi, a commander with the counterterrorism forces, said, "We are dealing with pockets of resistance and booby traps."

The push into Mosul from the east followed Iraqi government forces taking several nearby villages.

Some civilians were still fleeing Mosul by convoys, while others were being used by barbarous IS troops as human shields against the Iraqi forces.