Thursday, November 30, 2017

Govt. Expert:US Is Already on a Path to Fascism; Warns Trump Defies Laws,Rips Dem.Institutions

An international politics expert, who studies authoritarian regimes, said President Donald Trump was already taking steps to gather tyrannical power, the Alter Net website reports today (November 30, 2017).

Brian Klaas -- an expert on global democracy and political power -- said Americans should worry about Trump's willingness to flout the law and attack democratic institutions.

He added, "You have demonization of the press and also attacking CNN, saying we should boycott them. There are constant ethics violations."

Klaas warned that what's happening now in the U.S. lines up with the early stages of authoritarian regimes he has studied in other countries.

Vandals Toss Paint on Lesvos Refugee Shrine; Monument Observed Refugees Who Drowned

A monument set up in memory of the refugees who perished at sea in 2012-2013 as they tried to cross from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesvos was vandalized yesterday by unknown individuals, the Greek Observer website reports today (November 30, 2017).

The monument, which bears the inscribed names of the victims, was splattered with black paint.

A local activist movement called "Movement for the Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean" condemned the incident.

"One wonders what the perpetrator or perpetrators intended by attacking the memory of those people. If anything, they have disregarded universal values and traditions which our ancestors first highlighted, such as respecting the dead, whoever they are," it said in a statement.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cath. Church Files Lawsuit against DC's Metro; Due to Transit Agency Rejecting Ad Lifting Rel.

The Catholic Church is taking Metro to court after the Washington-area transit agency rejected an ad campaign promoting a website aimed at encouraging attendance at parishes throughout the D.C. area, the Washington Times website reports today (November 29, 2017).

The Archdiocese of Washington filed the lawsuit yesterday after Metro rejected an advertisement promoting  the website "" The ad has a backdrop depicting shepherds with their flock of sheep looking up into a starry sky.

While no overtly religious message is included in the text of the ad itself, the website explains that "Jesus is the perfect gift," and includes links for visitors to find the nearest Catholic parish.

In its court filing, the Archdiocese claims Metro rejected the design, saying it "depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion."

Ex-Croatian Mil. Leader Drinks Poison and Dies; Due to Conviction of War Crimes by Dutch Court

A former Croatian military and political leader died today (November 29, 2017) after he drank a bottle of poison -- just moments after a conviction on war crimes was upheld in a Dutch courtroom -- according to the UPI website.

Slobodan Praljak appeared in court today and lost his appeal of a 20-year conviction in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Moments after the verdict, he stood and said, "Praljak is not a criminal. I reject your verdict."

Praljak, 72, then took a small brown bottle from his pocket and drank its contents.

Praljak's attorney then shouted, "My client has taken poison."

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"Women Can Take Some Blame for Harassment;" Angela Lansbury: Women Often Enticing to Men

As Hollywood grapples with mounting allegations of sexual harassment, Angela Lansbury says she really believes women must -- at least partially -- be held accountable in instances of sexual harassment by men, the USA Today website reports today (November 28, 2017).

In an interview with "Radio Times" today, the actress who played Jessica Fletcher in the TV series "Murder, She Wrote," said women are to some degree responsible.

"There are two sides to this coin," Lansbury, 92, said. "We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us -- and this is where we are today."

"We must sometimes take blame, women," she continued. "I really do think that. Although it's awful to say we can't make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped."

Chaldean Abp. Seeks Help for Iraqi Christians; Urges Pres.Trump Help Evacuees Come Home

The Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda, is urging President Donald Trump to help 20,000 Iraqi Christian families that have been driven out of their homes following attacks and dangers from Islamic State (IS) extremists, the Christian Post website reports today (November 28, 2017).

Warda said that 20,000 Iraqi Christian families -- or around 100,000 people -- still need vital assistance following years of attacks by Islamic radicals and other conflicts that have driven them out of their homes.

"This is a just case," Warda said in his plea to the Trump administration.

"They are persecuted, they are marginalized, and they are in need," he said of the Christians.

Opponent of Migration Stabs German Mayor; Mayor of Altena Had Exceeded Migrant Quota

A mayor in western Germany has survived a knife attack amid suspicions of a link to his liberal immigration policy, the BBC website reports today (November 28, 2017).

Andreas Hollstein, mayor of Altena, was stabbed in the neck in a kebab shop and had hospital treatment.

The town in North Rhine-Westphalia is well-known for having accepted more than its quota of migrants.

Witnesses of the stabbing said the assailant -- now in custody -- shouted criticism of the mayor's asylum policy during the attack last night.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Tufts Univ.Bans Speech of Anthony Scaramucci; Due to Tufts Newspaper Writeup Critical of Him

Officials at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts have canceled an event with Anthony Scaramucci after President Trump's former communications director threatened a lawsuit over an opinion piece published in the student newspaper, the CBS News website reports today (November 27, 2017).

Scaramucci was scheduled to speak today at the university's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, but Tufts canceled his speech.

Earlier this month, 26-year-old graduate student Camilo Caballero wrote a piece in The Tufts Daily newspaper criticizing Scaramucci's position on a Fletcher School advisory board.

Scaramucci's lawyer has threatened to take legal action against Tufts unless the newspaper retracts its "false and defamatory allegations of fact."

Muslim Cultural Center Is Vandalized in Warsaw; Milieu of Ethnocentrism, Racism Pervade Poland

Police said today (November 27, 2017) that vandals smashed a dozen windows at the Muslim Cultural Center in Warsaw, which houses one of two mosques in the Polish capital, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

The incident comes amid an atmosphere of intolerance that has grown since Poland's right-wing government took power in 2015.

The vandals also damaged the frame of a large tent erected in the center's garden.

At a massive far-right march earlier this month in Warsaw, some of the participants chanted "Pure Poland, white Poland" and "Refugees get out," further illustrating the ethnocentric and racist milieu that now pervades Poland.

Church of Sweden Ends "He" in Referring to God; Says God Is Not Human in Defending Its Change

The Church of Sweden has decided to make some changes on how clergy refer to God the Father, the CBN News website reports today (November 27, 2017).

The church's 251-member board voted recently to end terms like "He" and "Lord" and use the more gender-neutral term "God."

According to the board, these changes will go into effect in May of 2018.

"Theologically, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations; God is not human,"church head Archbishop Antje Jackelen said in defending the Church of Sweden change.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

US Ends Arms Supply to Kurds to Please Turkey; Abandons Kurds Who Helped Defeat IS in Syria

The U.S. will cut off its supply of arms to Kurdish fighters in Syria in a move by President Trump that is sure to please Turkey but further alienate Syrian Kurds who bore a significant role in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group, the LA Times website reports today.

In a phone call on November 24 with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump said he'd "given clear instructions" that the Kurds receive no more weapons.

The White House confirmed the move in a cryptic statement about the phone call that said Trump had informed the Turks of "pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria."

The move is expected to help improve U.S.-Turkey relations that have been strained in recent months. Turkey had opposed the U.S. supplying weapons to Kurdish fighters to use against the IS, because it feared the Kurds would use these weapons against Turkey in their fighting to establish their own independent state in Turkey.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Trump Admin. Decides to Reopen PLO Office; Feels Closing It Disrupts Mideast Peace Effort

The Trump administration has quietly reversed its decision to close down the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) office in Washington, D.C. over a court issue, amid concerns the move would jeopardize President Trump's larger, ambitious effort to achieve Middle East peace, the Fox News website reports today (November 25, 2017).

Last week, U.S. officials said the Palestinian Liberation Organization mission in the nation's capital must close, in accordance with a U.S. law related to the Palestinians having tried to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis.

Then, officials abruptly reversed course late yesterday after the Palestinians decided to end all communications with the White House as a result of the closing.

State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said the U.S. had instead "advised the PLO Office to limit its activities to those related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians."

Iraqi Forces Say IS Retreating Deep into Desert; IS Has Been Driven Out of All the Towns in Iraq

Iraqi forces said today (November 25, 2017) that Islamic State (IS) group fighters are withdrawing deep into the desert to escape an offensive aimed at a final defeat of the jihadists, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

IS has already been driven out of all the Iraqi towns it once held, but Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said he will not proclaim victory until the jihadists have been cleared from the western desert bordering Syria.

The Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) paramilitary force said its fighters had taken control of 77 villages and hamlets since the launch of the offensive on November 23.

At its peak in 2014, IS ruled over seven million people in a territory as large as Italy encompassing large parts of Syria and nearly a third of Iraq.

"No Jews Allowed" Banner Razed at Polish Hotel; Posted Since Spring by Anti-Semitic Hotel Owner

Polish police seized a banner reading "no Jews, speculators and traitors allowed" from the entrance to a hotel that is owned by an ultranationalist who is jailed for anti-Semitic hate speech, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (November 25, 2017).

Officers were sent to Dom Polski hotel near the western city of Wroclaw on November 23 following the surfacing of images on social networks showing the banner on the gate of the  hotel in the eastern suburb of Cesarzowice.

The hotel -- which featured the banner since last spring -- is owned by Piotr Rybak, who earlier this year was sentenced to three months in prison for burning an effigy of a Jew at a 2015 demonstration in Wroclaw against Muslim immigration.

The regional prosecutor's office is looking into charging Rybak with another indictment for racist hate speech in connection with the banner, according to Malgorzata Kalus, spokesperson for the prosecutor department.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Author:Islam's Goal Is to Wipe Out Christianity; Says Islam to Achieve Goal Due to West's Denial

The West is still in denial about radical Islam's goal to eradicate Christianity, an Italian author wrote this week in a journal article, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (November 24, 2017).

Giulio Meotti, cultural editor for "Il Foglio," wrote that once radical Islam gains a foothold in Europe, it will easily dismantle Western Christianity, just as it did to Christianity in the Middle East.

In his article, titled "Europe: Destroyed by the West's Indifference? Perhaps It Is a Sign of Denial by the West," Meotti writes that "the disappearance of entire Christian populations and their ancient civilizations never seems to disturb anyone."

Meotti says the news media is primarily to blame for this dilemma, since it tends to defend everything coming from Islam. He adds, "The same establishment [the media], however, lies in a coma when Christian symbols come under attack."

At Least 235 People Die in Egypt Mosque Attack; Egypt Undergoes Its Worst Terrorist Attack Ever

Egypt today (November 24, 2017) suffered its worst terrorist attack in its history -- which occurred at a mosque in Northern Sinai Province -- according to the Euro News website.

Reports say at least 235 worshippers were killed and another 109 wounded during Friday prayers at the mosque in Bir al-Abed town.

The terrorists set off explosions and around 40 gunmen then shot at worshippers as they fled the mosque, and when ambulances arrived to treat the wounded they shot at them as well.

President al-Sisi declared three days of mourning and addressed the nation. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the attackers brandished an Islamic State flag when they opened fire.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Israeli PM Rips Assistant for Insulting US Jews; Said US Jews Too Pampered,Don't Serve in Mil.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scolded his deputy foreign minister today (November 23, 2017) for "offensive" remarks in which she said U.S. Jews were "too comfortable" to understand threats to Israel, according to the Newsmax website.

Tzipi Hotovely of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party apologized later on Israeli public television.

In an interview yesterday on Tel Aviv-based i24 News TV channel, Hotovely was asked about the growing gulf between Israel and U.S. Jewry, particularly youth.

"Maybe they're too young to remember how it feels to be a Jewish person without a Jewish homeland, without a Jewish state," she said in English, adding that U.S. Jewry "never send their children to fight for their country."

Palestinians Refuse to Take White House Call; Freeze Ties with US Due to PLO Office Closing

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to speak to White House officials over the phone this week, as he threatened to freeze ties with the U.S. due to President Trump's decision to close down a Palestinian mission in Washington, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 23, 2017).

On November 21, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said he had been instructed by Abbas to put ties with Washington on ice after the U.S. State Department informed Abbas that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) office in DC would be closed because Palestinians had violated a 2015 U.S. Congressional mandate.

"In practice, by closing the office they are freezing all meetings and we are making that official," Malki said.

The Palestinian freeze is likely to derail efforts by the Trump administration to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Report: Rel. Persecution Soars Due to Islamism; Islamist Hyper-Extremism Debars Rel.Freedom

A new report released today (November 22, 2017) reveals that the emergence of "Islamist hyper-extremism" is primarily responsible for a shocking rise in religious persecution across the world, according to the Christian Today website.

Violent terror attacks inspired by Islamist ideology have now taken place in one in five countries, the report found, highlighting that most religious persecution is from militant organizations, not governments.

"A virulent and extremist form of Islam emerged as the number-one threat to religious freedom," according to the report, "Religious Freedom in the World," by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Researchers examined 196 countries across the globe and of these, 38 showed "unmistakable evidence of significant religious freedom violations."

"It emerged that a massive upsurge in violence and instability linked to Islamism had played a significant role in creating an explosion in the number of refugees," the report said. It found a "key objective" of Islamist hyper-extremism is to eliminate other religious communities from land, which has resulted in a mass exodus of Christians from the Middle East.

Russian Church Head: End of History Is Near; Warns Society Must Unite to Avoid Apocalypse

The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church said this week that the world is on the brink of slipping into "the abyss of the end of history," the Yahoo News website reports today (November 22, 2017).

The apocalypse "is already visible to the naked eye," Patriarch Kirill told congregants after a service at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on November 20.

He said there could be a saving grace for the world: society uniting.

"That's why the church, art, culture, our writers, scientists -- all those people who love the Motherland -- should come together because we are entering a critical period in human civilization," Kirill added.

Suicide Bomber Kills 50 at a Nigerian Mosque; Boko Haram Group Believed to Be Responsible

A teenage suicide bomber attacked as worshippers gathered for prayers at a mosque in northeastern Nigeria, killing at least 50 people, the Religion News Service website reports today (November 22, 2017).

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing in Mubi town in Adamawa state, but suspicion fell on the Boko Haram extremist Islam group.

Boko Haram is based in the neighboring Nigerian state of Borno and has been responsible for scores of similar attacks in recent years.

A police spokesman said the young man detonated his explosives while mingling among the worshippers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Poland Faces Fines for Ignoring EU Court Order; Refuses to Stop Logging a World Heritage Forest

Poland has been given 15 days to comply with a court order to end logging in one of Europe's oldest forests or face daily fines of 100,000 euros, the Euro News website reports today (November 21, 2017).

The ruling has been made by the European Court of Justice and relates to large-scale logging in the Bialowieza forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the border between Poland and Belarus.

The latest controversy between the European Union (EU) and an obstinate Poland -- there have been several nasty controversies between the two in recent months -- was sparked by the country's bold decision to triple logging quotas in the area last year.

The EU has warned Poland that this forest logging must cease, as it threatens the habitats of the rare birds and animals that live in the forest, including the European bison.

Ultra-Orth.Jews Damage Jerusalem Draft Bldg.; Protest Israel's Desire to Draft Yeshiva Students

A Jerusalem army draft office has come under attack by ultra-Orthodox protesters who tried to set fire to the building, the Talk Radio (British) website reports today (November 21, 2017).

A video of yesterday's incident shows protesters stopping people from leaving or entering the draft office, while they tried to light two fires at the entrance.

The army has said the protesters attempted to start fires on signs and other items and a spokesperson said: "There were no injuries. There was of course some property damage, but nothing too serious."

Several demonstrations have been held in Israel this week, following the decision of the Jaffa Military Court to imprison 11 ultra-Orthodox "draft dodgers." Police have so far arrested 32 protesters this week, as the debate on whether ultra-Orthodox men studying in yeshivas (Jewish theological schools) should take part in compulsory military service or if they should be exempt from the draft.

Monday, November 20, 2017

US Names N.Korea a State Sponsor of Terrorism; Pres.Trump: "Should Have Happened Years Ago"

President Donald Trump announced today (November 20, 2017) that the U.S. will designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, saying the move would ratchet up sanctions against the repressive nation to "the highest level," according to the Politico website.

"We will be instituting a very critical step and that will start right now," Trump said in remarks at the top of a Cabinet meeting at the White House. "Today, the United States is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago."

North Korea joins just three other nations -- Iran, Sudan, and Syria -- on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism.

"In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil," the president said today as he explained the designation.

IS Threatens to Attack Vatican on Christmas Day; Video of Vatican Shows Words "Christmas Blood"

The Islamic State (IS) terror group has threatened to attack the Vatican on Christmas day, in what they are calling a "Christmas blood" attack, the Christian Headlines website reports today (November 20, 2017).

In a video released by IS supporters, a masked figure is shown driving toward the Vatican with a gun and a backpack, supposedly containing a bomb. The video is accompanied by the words "Christmas blood. So wait..."

Christmas is a time when IS has stepped up their attacks. One such attack occurred in 2015 when an IS terrorist carried out an attack in San Bernardino, California which killed 14 people.

Terror experts have warned that, because IS recently lost territory they previously controlled in Iraq and Syria, they will probably focus their efforts on isolated attacks in various parts of the world.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pope: Helping Poor Is Our Passport to Paradise; Welcomes Poor to Vatican Today for Mass,Meal

Pope Francis welcomed the poor, homeless, and unemployed as guests of honor for a Mass and gourmet meal in the Vatican today (November 19, 2017), saying that helping the needy was one way of obtaining a "passport to paradise," the Reuters website reports.

Francis celebrated Mass marking the Roman Catholic Church's first annual World Day of the Poor, which he established to draw the attention of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics to the neediest.

Most of the needy attendants were from Italy, but charity groups also brought people from France, Spain, Germany, and Poland.

The pope said in today's homily: "In the eyes of the world they [the poor] have little value, they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven; they are our 'passport to paradise.'"

Slave Auctions in Libya Violate Human Rights; Migrants Sold Like Merchandise by Smugglers

Human rights are being violated in Libya as the migrants who are trying to reach Europe through North Africa are sold at the slave auction for about $400, the Inquisitr website reports today (November 19, 2017).

They are sold to buyers for manual labor or farm work as shown in an investigation.

CNN investigators searched this modern-day slavery and witnessed the actual slave auction in Libya. They saw that dozens of people were being auctioned in the space of six or seven minutes.

This is the fate of some desperate migrants who are trying to escape their countries -- like Nigeria -- looking for peaceful and green pastures in Europe. On the other hand, they were victimized by these mean smugglers in Libya, who just wanted to make money regardless of the inhumane way they did so.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Killer of Egyptian Priest Is Sentenced to Death; Muslim Fanatic Stabbed Orth.Priest with Knife

The man who brutally murdered a Coptic Orthodox priest on the streets of Cairo, Egypt last month has received a preliminary death sentence, The Orthodox Church Info Blog reports today (November 18, 2017).

Mohamed Sonbaty -- a man well-known to police as a violent Muslim fanatic -- was convicted of killing Coptic priest Fr. Samaan Shehata, and the South Giza criminal court issued the preliminary death sentence on November 15.

The court will issue the final verdict on January 15, 2018.

During the trial, Sonbaty admitted he had followed the priest in a car and forced him out; then he attacked and killed him with a knife.

US Troops Had 20K Sex Assaults in Past 4 Yrs.; Pentagon Report Reveals Huge No. of Assaults

The Pentagon said in a report yesterday that U.S. troops have reported more than 20,000 allegations of sexual assault at military installations over the past four years, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

The report, by the Defense Department's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, details allegations by service branch for the fiscal years 2013-2016, with the Army -- the largest branch of the military -- reporting 8,294 cases in all.

The Navy reported 4,788 cases, the Marine Corps 3,400, and the Air Force 8,876.

The U.S. military has some 1.3 million active duty troops.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Pope Warns of Need to Back Clean Environment; Calls for a Dialogue on Building Future of Planet

Pope Francis issued a strong message yesterday to negotiators at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany, warning them not to fall into "four perverse attitudes"  regarding the future of the planet -- "denial, indifference, resignation, and trust in inadequate solutions" -- the Eco Watch website reports today (November 17, 2017).

Francis has long pressed for strong climate action and wrote his 2015 encyclical on the environment.

Yesterday, he renewed his "urgent call" for renewed dialogue "on how we are building the future of the planet."

"We need an exchange that unites us all," Francis said, "because the environmental challenge we are experiencing, and its human roots, regards us all, and affects us all."

Farrakhan Ignites Controversies in D.C. Address; Urges Pres. Trump to Repent for US Black Abuse

Before a crowded ballroom at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan called on President Trump to repent for America's mistreatment of black people over the centuries, the Religion News website reports today (November 17, 2017).

"America is a great nation but America needs to reflect on her sins," Farrakhan told hundreds of supporters who showed up yesterday for an event billed as "a major message" to the Trump administration.

For more than two hours, the 84-year-old Islam leader dove into all sorts of controversies -- from slavery to the sexual harassment currently pervading the U.S. by national leaders and celebrities.

The Nation of Islam's influence has declined significantly since its heyday in the 1960s, when the movement claimed to have half a million adherents. Its numbers are now much smaller.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Suicide Bomber Kills 14 at Afghan Pol. Meeting; Another 18 Wounded in Attack Conducted by IS

A suicide bomber killed at least 18 people today (November 16, 2017) at a political gathering in the Afghan capital of Kabul in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, according to the AP website.

Another 18 people were wounded. The casualties included security forces and civilians.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the attacker struck the entrance to the wedding hall where the meeting was being held.

The Islamic State claimed the attack in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency.

Pope States Silence Is Imperative during Mass; Mass Is Not a Time to Chat but to Glorify Jesus

The Mass is "the prayer par excellence, the highest, the most sublime, and at the same time, the most 'concrete'... it is an encounter with the Lord," Pope Francis said yesterday in his catechesis during the General Audience with pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (November 16, 2017).

"But what is prayer, really?" Pope Francis asked. "It is first of all dialogue, a relationship with God." He continued, "Man was created as a being in personal relationship with God, who finds his full realization only in the encounter with His Creator."

God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- is Himself  "a perfect relationship of love that is unity."

But dialogue also means knowing how to remain silent, in the presence of the other. The Holy Father emphasized the importance of moments of silence when we go to Mass. The liturgy, he said, is not a time for chatting, but a time to recollect ourselves, to prepare our hearts for the encounter with Jesus.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

EU Takes Punitive Action against Polish Govt.; Says Poland's New Laws Ruining Its Judiciary

European Union (EU) lawmakers have launched action against Poland over concerns that the government has compromised the independence of the judiciary and risks breaching fundamental European values, the Fox News website reports today (November 15, 2017).

In a resolution adopted today by 438 to 152, with 71 abstentions, the lawmakers triggered the first stage of a so-called rule of law procedure against the Polish government.

The procedure could lead to the suspensions of Poland's EU voting rights.

The EU says new laws in Poland undermine judicial independence and the rule of law. Poland insists the EU has no right to interfere in its domestic affairs.

Australians Vote to Support Same-Sex Marriage; Parliament Will Legalize It Due to Majority Vote

Australia is poised to become the 26th nation to legalize gay marriage after the results of a survey were revealed yesterday, showing a majority support redefining the marital union to include same-sex couples, the Worthy News website reports today (November 15, 2017).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported 61.6 percent of Australians support such a measure, while 38.4 percent are against it.

Votes were cast by 12.7 million people, nearly 80 percent of the nation.

The poll is non-binding, but parliament promised to put forward a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage if voters supported it.

Trump Team Drafting Middle East Peace Plan; "Ultimate Deal" to End Israel-Palestinian Feud

Seeking what he calls "the ultimate deal," President Trump and his advisors are drafting a Middle East peace plan to end the bitter land dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, the Christian Headlines website reports today (November 15, 2017).

Trump's peace plan is expected to address the status of Jerusalem and settlements in the West Bank.

Also, Trump is believed to be in favor of a two-state solution, which has been central to previous negotiating efforts.

Jason Greenblatt, the president's chief negotiator, said: "Our goal is to facilitate, not dictate, a lasting peace agreement to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians and security across the region."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Anti-Semitic Posters Found at Univ. in Canada; Swatikas,"True Heroes of WW2" Posted at UBC

Officials at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada say pro-Nazi posters have been found at the school, The Star (Canadian) website reports today (November 14, 2017).

Philip Steenkamp, UBC's vice president of external relations, said in a statement that the "disturbing" posters were discovered on War Memorial Gym on November 11. The university was hosting Remembrance Day ceremonies in the gym that morning.

Photos of the posters show images of swastikas and Nazi troops with the words "the true heroes of WW2."

B'nai Brith Canada issued a statement condemning those who put up the posters. "Once again, we see anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism raising their ugly heads at a B.C. university," said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B'nai Brith Canada.

Museum of the Bible Opens in D.C. This Week; Calls on People to Engage with Impact of Bible

The highly anticipated Museum of the Bible is opening in Washington, D.C. this Friday, November 17, the Christian Headlines website reports today (November 14, 2017).

"The Museum of the Bible promises to be "an innovative, global, educational institution whose purpose is to invite all people to engage with the history, narrative and impact of the Bible," according to its website.

It will feature recreations of the Israelite Temple, towns where Jesus walked, and many other displays and interactive features.

Steve and Jackie Green are the co-founders of the Museum. "We have the confidence that if we are true to pointing people to this book, true to the facts, that God will show up and He will impact people's lives," Steve Green said.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Some 30K Visas Given to Terror State Citizens; Trump Seeks to Abolish Diversity Visa Program

Nearly 30,000 foreigners from state sponsors of terrorism have gotten U.S. visas since 2007 through the diversity visa lottery, the Daily Caller website reports today (November 13, 2017).

President Donald Trump wants Congress to end the program, which benefits foreigners from nations that don't have high levels of immigration to the U.S.

He increased his pressure against the program after an Uzbek radical Muslim recipient of the diversity visa lottery killed eight people in a recent terrorist attack in New York City.

Statistics released by the White House today show that since 2007 the program has given permanent residence visas -- also known as green cards -- to 20,739 Iranians, 7,232 Sudanese, and 812 Syrians. The program gives out 50,000 visas annually to immigrants chosen at random.

Iraqi Legislators May Allow Girls to Marry at 9; Some Say Muhammad's Wife Married at Age 9

Human rights advocates say that Iraq has moved a step closer to allowing girls as young as nine to marry, the Euro News website reports today (November 13, 2017).

The proposal is part of a draft law recently approved by 40 MPs that would see the restoration of religious courts, according to Equality Now (EN).

The proposed legislation would allow religious courts to decide a girl's age of marriage.

Suad Abu-Dayyeh, EN's Middle East consultant, said, according to some interpretations by Muslims, the wife of Prophet Muhammad "was married at the age of nine. That is why some religious sects in Iraq are following that."

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Many Protest Sexual Harassment in Hollywood; March on Blvd. to Take "Me Too" into Real Life

Armed with signs, catchy phrases, and a motivation to take "Me Too" beyond the internet and into real life, hundreds of women, men, and children gathered on Hollywood Boulevard today (November 12, 2017), according to the Independent (British) website.

The "Take Back the Workplace March" and the "Me Too Survivors March" joined forces in the heart of Hollywood, near the entrance to the Dolby Theater where the Academy Awards take place.

They walked side by side past the tourists, costume shops, and strip clubs.

Some came with their families, some came with friends. Attendees ranged in age from four to over 68.

Religious Protesters Halt Traffic in Islamabad; Oppose Govt. Attempt to Disavow Muhammad

Thousands of religious protesters converged on Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, yesterday in a growing confrontation with the Pakistani government  over official attempts to amend a law that requires all political candidates to affirm that Muhammad -- who lived in the 7th century -- was Islam's final prophet, the Washington Post website reports today (November 12, 2017).

More than 95 percent of Pakistanis are Muslims.

The demonstrators were stopped by security forces and shipping containers placed across major roads, halting most traffic in the capital region.

They remained there as night fell and vowed to stay indefinitely.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Pope Repeats Primary Role of Using Conscience; Upset Cath. by Backing Conscience over Dogma

Pope Francis today (November 11, 2017) reaffirmed the "primary" role of using one's conscience to navigate tough moral questions in his first comments since he was accused of spreading heresy by emphasizing conscience over hard and fast Catholic rules, according to the Fox News website.

Francis issued a video today to a conference on his controversial 2016 document on family life, "The Joy of Love."

The document has badly divided the Catholic Church, with some commentators warning that it risks creating a schism, given its cautious opening to letting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion.

Francis told the conference that priests must inform the consciences of the faithful "but not substitute them." He also stressed the distinction between one's conscience -- where God reveals Himself -- and one's ego that thinks it can do as it pleases.

Museum in Indonesia Removes Its Nazi Exhibit; Hitler-Auschwitz Display Caused World Outrage

An Indonesian museum that allowed visitors to take photos with a life-size wax sculpture of Hitler against a backdrop of Auschwitz concentration camp has removed the exhibit following international outrage, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 11, 2017).

De ARCA Statue Art Museum in the Javanese city of Jogjakarta drew swift condemnation from several rights groups after details of the controversial display were published in foreign media.

The museum's operations manager, Jamie Misbah, said, "Our purpose to display the Hitler figure is to educate."

Historians have blamed poor schooling for the lack of awareness and sensitivity in Indonesia regarding the Holocaust.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Tenn. Church Is Hit for Hiring Woman Pastor; SBC May End Its Ties with Jefferson City Church

A Tennessee Baptist church may lose its voting rights and be severed from the state Baptist Convention because of its decision to hire a female pastor -- which the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) does not allow -- the Christian Post website reports today (November 10, 2017).

The decision of the First Baptist Church (FBC) in Jefferson City to hire Ellen DiGiosia to to be senior pastor has resulted in a committee of the Tennessee Baptist Convention to deem the congregation "not a cooperating church."

DiGiosia is the only female pastor leading a church connected with the Tennessee Baptist Convention (TBC). Although other women lead Baptist churches in the state, those congregations are not linked to the TBC.

"It is regrettable when one of our churches makes a decision that results in a broken confessional relationship with out TBC network of churches," said Randy Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

New Study: Orth. Christians Don't Want Unity; Like Being Ind.of Pope as They Have Since 1054

The Great Schism of 1054 -- which split the Christian Church into Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic divisions -- still has significant religious ramifications across the globe, the Newsweek website reports today (November 10, 2017).

According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, very few Orthodox Christians say they want to be reunited with the Catholic Church.

Today, there are some 260 million Orthodox Christians around the world -- 77 percent live in Eastern Europe -- and their beliefs still differ from those of their Catholic brethren who follow the teachings of the pope.

"The view that Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism should reconcile is a minority position in every Orthodox population surveyed across Central and Eastern Europe, except Romania," the Pew study found.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Holy Smoke! Vatican No Longer Sells Cigarettes; Pope:Vatican Must Not Endanger People's Health

The Vatican announced today (November 9, 2017) that it would no longer sell cigarettes to employees in its duty-free shop and supermarket, thus giving up an estimated 10 million euros ($11 million) a year in profits , according to the Religion News website.

Pope Francis made the decision because "the Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people."

A statement cited World Health Organization data finding that smoking is the cause of more than seven million deaths annually around the globe.

A 2015 book based on leaked Vatican documents, "Avarice," reported that cigarette sales bring in an estimated 10 million euros a year to the Vatican City State and are the second-most-important source of income after tax-free gas sales.

NAACP Asks Congress to Ban National Anthem; Says Star-Spangled Banner "Racist,Pro-Slavery"

The California chapter of the NAACP is urging Congress to  abolish "The Star-Spangled Banner," describing the U.S. national anthem as racist, the Washington Times website reports today (November 9, 2017).

The African-American organization wants Congress to trash the national anthem after passing a resolution at its October 26-29 state conference describing the tune as "one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon."

A second resolution was passed in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a leader of last season's protests during the national anthem.

The NFL kneeling began as a protest against the deaths of black men at the hands of police -- not the lyrics of the national anthem -- and has since grown to encompass social-justice issues in our society.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Pope: You Shall Not Use Phones in Church Mass; Mass Encounters Passion, Resurrection of Christ

In what may remind Christians of the Ten Commandments, Pope Francis told an audience today (November 8, 2017) that Mass is not a show, but a beautiful, transformative encounter with the true loving presence of Christ, according to the America Magazine website.

That is why people need to focus their hearts on God, not focus their smartphones for pictures during Mass, he said.

When the priest celebrating Mass says, "Let us lift up our hearts," he is not saying, "lift up our cellphones and take pictures. No. It's an awful thing" to do, the pope said today during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

"Please, Mass is not a show. It is going to encounter the Passion, the Resurrection of the Lord," he said to applause.

Poland Urges Citizens to Multiply Like Rabbits; Produces Video Promoting Births as Pop.Drops

Poland's health ministry has created a video to promote procreation, encouraging the country's citizens to "take rabbits as an example," the USA Today website reports today (November 8, 2017).

Rabbits are often associated with fertility as they are known to produce a lot of offspring.

The video is part of a TV and radio campaign financed by Poland's health ministry, which is trying to encourage Polish citizens to live healthy lifestyles in their reproductive years -- between the ages of 18 and 45 -- to promote reproductive health.

According to World Bank statistics, Poland has one of the lowest fertility rates in Europe and the country's population has been decreasing since it peaked in the late 1900s, dipping below 38 million in 2015.

Air Force Academy Student Wrote Racist Notes; Black Student Claiming to Be Victim Is Expelled

Racist messages written on whiteboards at the Air Force Academy in September that made national news were written by a black student supposedly victimized by the messages, the Daily Caller website reveals today (November 8, 2017).

A report from KKTV11 states that "one of the cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School targeted by racist remarks has been found responsible for the act."

The cadet candidate has been expelled from the school, the TV channel added.

Messages that read "Go home nigger" were discovered drawn on whiteboards outside the rooms of African-American cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy in late September. The writings sparked national outcry, after a speech from Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, head of the Air Force Academy, condemned the racism.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Assad: US and Turkey Illegal Invaders in Syria; Vows to Retake Raqqa Now in Hands of Rebels

A top adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said today (November 7, 2017) that U.S. and Turkish troops are "illegal invader forces" on Syrian territory, and Syria will "deal with them," according to the Reuters website.

Bouthaina Shaaban also said that Damascus would not give up on the northern city of Raqqa, which was liberated from the Islamic State (IS) terror group last month by U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian rebels.

"We will deal with this issue as we deal with any illegal invader force on our lands," she said.

Assad's forces -- helped by Russian air power and Iran-backed militias -- have managed to reestablish control over most of Syria during the past two years.

Billy Graham Is Celebrating 99th Birthday Today; Preached Message of Christ to Over 200M People

Reverend Billy Graham -- the world-famous evangelist who spread the word of Christ in more than 185 countries -- became 99 years old today (November 7, 2017), according to the Christian Headlines website.

Dr. Graham has preached the message of Christ's freedom and forgiveness around the world, reaching over 200 million people.

He's had the privilege of leading hundreds of thousands of people to pray to receive Jesus Christ into their lives as Lord and Savior. He has also authored 33 books.

Billy Graham has been named by Americans as "One of the Ten Most Admired Men in the World," a record-breaking 60 times with the Gallup poll.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

US Millenials Have Had Enough of Capitalism; America's Youth Favor Socialism as Alternative

A new survey has found that 44 percent of America's millenials would rather live in a socialist society than a capitalist country, the Alternet News website reports today (November 4, 2017).

The research and data firm YouGov surveyed 23,000 people aged 16 and over for the survey.

The socialist movement saw a significant increase in youth favoring the socialist principles advocated by Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Marion Smith, executive director of Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, said, "Millenials are increasingly turning away from capitalism, and toward socialism and even communism as a viable alternative."

Friday, November 3, 2017

Judge: No Prison for Afghan Deserter Bergdahl; Trump in Campaign Called Bergdahl a "Traitor"

A military judge ruled today (November 3, 2017) that Bowe Bergdahl, who pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, should serve no prison time for endangering his comrades by walking off his Afghanistan post, according to the Yahoo News website.

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump had called for Bergdahl, 31, to face stiff punishment and called him a "traitor."

The judge gave Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, a dishonorable discharge, reduced his rank from sergeant to private, and said he must forfeit pay equal to $1,000 per month for 10 months.

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 14 years in prison, citing serious wounds to service members who looked for Bergdahl for five years.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Pope Gives Anti-War Homily at US Mil.Cemetery; "Please Lord Stop.... No More Useless Massacres"

Pope Francis made one of his most emotional anti-war addresses today (November 2, 2017), saying during a visit to a U.S. military cemetery that the world seemed to be headed into war bigger than any before, according to the Reuters website.

Francis said a Mass for several thousand people at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in the town of Nettuno -- south of Rome -- on the day Roman Catholics commemorate their dead.

The burial ground is the final resting place for 7,860 American soldiers who died in the liberation of southern Italy and Rome in 1943 and 1944 during World War II.

"Please Lord, stop. No more wars. No more useless massacres," the pope said, speaking in a sad improvised homily.

Ambas.Rips UN for Faulting US Cuban Embargo; Says UN Lacks the Authority to End the Embargo

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, blasted the United Nations yesterday in a defiant speech to the 193-member General Assembly before it adopted a resolution calling for an end to the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, the Yahoo News website reports today (November 2, 2017).

Haley called the resolution a "political theater."

"This assembly does not have the power to end the U.S. embargo," Haley said.

"It [the U.S. embargo] is based in U.S. law, which only the U.S. Congress can change," she added.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

UK Plans to Give Benefits to Terror Suspects; Helps Those Investigated, Dropped by Police

The British government is planning to give rent subsidies and other benefits to terror suspects, the Clarion Project website reports today (November 1, 2017).

The plan -- called Operation Constrain -- will target 20,000 extremists previously investigated by the British government for possible terrorist links.

The scheme -- set to begin next year -- will focus only on "persons of interest," who were investigated by M15, Britain's secret service, but then dropped from surveillance.

Police and social workers would contact them and determine what assistance -- including job training, a rent subsidy, priority for state-owned housing, etc. -- would be most effective, and what to provide.

Netanyahu to Trump:Let Pollard Move to Israel; Court Ruled Convicted Spy Must Remain in US

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked U.S. President Donald Trump to allow convicted spy Jonathan Pollard to immigrate to Israel, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 1, 2017).

Pollard served nearly 30 years in prison on a conviction of spying for Israel and has been prevented from moving to the Jewish state since his 2015 release.

In May, a U.S. federal appeals court rejected Pollard's request to lift restrictive parole conditions that were established following his prison release.

Pollard, 62, must remain in the U.S. for five years after his prison release, despite his strong desire to move to Israel.