Monday, December 31, 2018

US, Israel Set to Block Palestinian UN Statehood; Fight Current PA Drive to Attain Statehood in UN

The U.S. and Israel are working to block a renewed Palestinian Authority (PA) drive to become a member state of the United Nations, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (December 31, 2018).

"We are prepared to stop the initiative," said Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon.

Approval of the UN move would hand the Palestinians unilateral statehood recognition outside the context of any final status agreement with Israel.

There are 139 countries which -- outside the context of the UN -- recognize Palestine as a state, with 120 of them that maintain full diplomatic relations.

Abortion with 41M Killed in 2018 Leads Deaths; Tops Cancer,Smoking,Traffic Deaths Combined

Worldometers reports today (December 31, 2018) that there were some 41.9 million abortions performed in the year 2018, according to the Breitbart website.

By contrast, 8.2 million people died from cancer in 2018, 5 million from smoking, and 1.7 million died of HIV/AIDS.

Worldometers -- a free reference website -- keeps a running tally through the year of major world statistics, including population, births, deaths, etc.

There were more deaths from abortion in 2018 than all deaths from cancer, malaria, HIV/AIDS, smoking, alcohol, and traffic accidents combined.

Palestinian Sentenced to Life for Land Sale to Jew; Palestinian Law: Selling Land to Jews Is Treason

The Ramallah Grand Criminal Court sentenced a Palestinian identified only by his initials I.A. to life in prison with hard labor after it found him guilty of selling Palestinian land to Jews, the World Israel News website reports today (December 31, 2018).

The "unidentified" Palestinian is, in fact, Issam Akel, an Arab who holds American citizenship and an Israeli identification card.

He was brought before the court on December 23, and sentenced for "selling property in occupied Jerusalem to Jewish settlers."

The sale of land to Jews in Palestinian society is considered a religious offense as well as treason and can be punishable by death.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Woman Charged with Fatally Shooting 6 Puppies; Discarded Puppies' Remains over an Embankment

A Virginia woman has been charged with fatally shooting six puppies and discarding their remains over an embankment, the ABC News website reports today (December 30, 2018).

Augusta County Sheriff's Office charged 39-year-old Betty Hemp, of Middlebrook, with six counts of felony animal cruelty and six misdemeanor charges of illegal dumping.

Hemp was freed on $2,500 bond after her arrest on December 23.

Investigators believe the dogs were between four to six months old.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Pentagon:Afghanistan May Be Close to Settlement; Additional US Advisers in 2018 Hampered Taliban

Afghanistan seems more likely than at any time in recent history to come to a favorable political settlement, according to a report released this week by the Pentagon, which cited effects of a recent military escalation coupled with diplomatic initiatives, the VOA News website reports today (December 29, 2018).

In a yearly assessment required by the U.S. Congress, the Pentagon this week submitted a detailed report on the war in Afghanistan to U.S. lawmakers, detailing the country's progress and challenges in  fiscal year 2018-2019.

"The current military situation inside of Afghanistan remains at an impasse. The introduction of additional advisers and enablers in 2018 stabilized the situation, slowing the momentum of the Taliban march ..." the report said.

"Diplomatic, religious, military, and social pressures, enabled by the conditions-based strategy, and buoyed by increased international engagement, have forced the Taliban senior leadership to debate whether to enter negotiations with the Afghan government," the report added.

Terrorist Bomb Kills 4 on Tour Bus in Egypt; Egypt Police Kill 40 "Terrorists" in Response

Egyptian police killed 40 suspected terrorists in a crackdown today (December 29, 2018), after a roadside bomb hit a tour bus claiming the lives of three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian guide, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

Thirty alleged terrorists were killed in separate raids in Giza province, home to Egypt's famed pyramids and the scene of last night's deadly bombing, while 10 others were killed in the restive North Sinai, the interior ministry said.

It said authorities had received information the suspects were preparing a spate of attacks "targeting state institutions, particularly economic ones, as well as tourism, armed forces, police, and Christian places of worship."

A security source said the raids took place early this morning, hours after last night's bombing of the tour bus.

Friday, December 28, 2018

UN Faces a $220M Budget Shortfall for 2019; Time May Be Ripe to Abolish Ineffective Org.

American diplomats attached to the United Nations headquarters in New York have failed in their attempt to get other countries --such as Brazil, India, and Turkey -- to step up their funding of UN "peacekeeping" forces, The New American website reports today (December 28, 2018).

As of now, the organization faces a $220 million budget shortfall for the upcoming year.

"Unfortunately, in a deeply dissatisfying and disappointing turn of events, every country decided that reform was good and right for the UN, but not how it is financed," said Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet, the U.S. representative for UN reform on December 22.

President Donald Trump has reinstituted the cap of the U.S. share of UN peacekeeping at 25 percent, which President Barack Obama had waived. Trump has also called for abolishing the UN, since he sees it as being a wasteful and ineffective money drainer.

Trump Threatens to Close Entire Southern Border; He's Upset Congress Won't Provide Funds for Wall

President Donald Trump threatened today (December 28, 2018) to "close the Southern Border entirely" if he doesn't receive the funding necessary for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Newsmax website reports.

His warning on Twitter came as a week-long partial government shutdown appeared likely to stretch into 2019 because of an impasse over funding for the president's proposed border wall.

Trump wrote: "We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give use the money to finish the Wall and also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress and President who would approve!"

Trump's latest ultimatum comes a day after House members said they didn't plan any votes this week.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Bomb Explodes Outside Church in Central Athens; Police Officer,Church Caretaker Hurt in Explosion

An explosive device wounded a police officer and a civilian when it detonated outside a church in central Athens early today (December 27, 2018) shortly before liturgy was due to begin, according to the Euro News website.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack outside the St. Dionysios church in the Kolonaki quarter. It is the seat of the country's Catholic Archbishop.

The police officer and the church caretaker were taken to a hospital. Their injuries were not life-threatening.

"I do not understand why they've hit the church. Jesus means love..." said Father George from the church.

Memorial to Greek Jews of Holocaust Vandalized; Memorial in Kastoria Is Covered with Black Paint

A memorial to the Jews of a northern Greek town who were sent to Auschwitz by the Nazis during World War II was vandalized, the Times of Israel website reports today (December 27, 2018).

The Memorial to the Jewish Martyrs of Kastoria, in Greece's northern region of West Macedonia, was covered with black spray-paint on December 25.

"In this place, on March 24, 1944, the Nazis gathered the 1,000 Jews of Kastoria and transported them to death camps in Auschwitz. Only 35 survived," the inscribed marble slab reads. Local volunteers helped to clean up the memorial.

The World Jewish Congress called for authorities to crack down on vandalism of Holocaust memorials.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Anti-Semitism Cancels Chicago Women's March; Two Said Jews Exploited Blacks, Led Slave Trade

The Chicago chapter of the Women's March decided to cancel the rally they had scheduled for January 19 amid reports of anti-Semitism in the national group's leadership, the Daily Caller website reports today (December 26, 2018).

"There's no march, there's no rally," Sara Kurensky, Women's March Chicago board member, said yesterday to the Chicago Tribune. "We're going to provide ways for people to organize and take action in their local communities."

Last month, two of the Women's March's founders, Carmen Perez and Tamika Mallory, accosted a Jewish woman who was in the meeting, spouting false allegations that Jewish people 'bore a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people," and "were proven to have been  leaders of the American slave trade."

Earlier this week, Mallory told The NY Times: "We've all learned a lot about how white Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy. ALL jews are targeted by it."

Sweden Now Replacing Cash with Mobile Apps; Many Banks and Businesses Don't Handle Cash

More and more Swedes are using mobile apps to send and receive payments as the country pushes for a cash-free society, the Euro News website reports today (December 26, 2018).

Many banks and businesses no longer handle cash and refuse to deal with it. Consumers instead must pay with card or mobile applications.

Churches in Sweden are funded by optional tax, which around 60 percent of Swedes paid in 2017.

One church in Stockholm, Sunbyberg Church, is the first church in Sweden to go cashless. The church warden said it is very difficult to handle cash donations, as no bank in the area accepts  cash.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Some 90K Soldiers Guard Churches in Indonesia; Allow Christians to Attend XMas Services Assured

Some 90,000 soldiers will be guarding more than 50,000 churches across Indonesia in an effort to thwart terror attacks during Christmas, the Christian Post website reports today (December 24, 2018).

"We have coordinated with police, military, and Islamic groups to maintain the security, so that Catholics can attend Christmas masses comfortably and safely," an Indonesian security coordinator said.

The church in Surabaya, East Java, was attacked by suicide bombers last May.

At that time, the terrorists, linked with the Islamic State terror group, targeted three churches in the world's most populous Islamic nation, killing 18 people.

PA Nabs 44 Palestinians Who Sold Land to Jews; PA Law Allows Them Accused of "High Treason"

The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced yesterday that its security forces have thwarted attempts by Palestinians to sell land and houses in the West Bank and east Jerusalem to Jewish buyers, and the PA's Preventive Security Service said it has arrested 44 Palestinians suspected of involvement in the real estate transactions, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (December 24, 2018).

The statement is part of a stepped-up PA campaign to deter Palestinians from selling properties to Jews.

PA law bars selling land to a "hostile state or any of its citizens."

In recent weeks, Palestinian religious authorities have repeatedly warned Palestinians against engaging in such deals and said that anyone who violates the law would be accused of "high treason."

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Trump Ends Troops in Syria Despite Criticism; Decision Trump Made in 2016 Pres. Campaign

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said today (December 23, 2018) that President Donald Trump campaigned two years ago to withdraw troops from Syria and will continue because the move is popular -- even if it led to the resignations of his Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and a special envoy to the region -- according to the USA Today website.

"This is not a snap decision. And it's not a surprise to anybody because it's exactly what the president said he was going to do," Mulvaney said.

He added: "If a Cabinet secretary simply has such a misalignment with the president's priorities that he cannot serve him, that is the right reason to leave."

"I think the relationship between these two men [Trump and Mattis] has been fraying," Mulvaney asserted. "I think the president no longer relied on Mattis to be able to deliver the president's vision."

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Pope Says Abusive Priests Are "Vicious Wolves;" Says Bishops Must Now Report Them to Police

Pope Francis said yesterday that Catholic priests who sexually abuse children are "vicious wolves" who should turn themselves into authorities, The Telegraph website reports today (December 22, 2018).

His remarks came at the end of the year in which he was accused of mishandling an abuse scandal in Chile and in which the Vatican's third most senior figure, economy minister Cardinal George Pell of Australia, was put on trial in Melbourne for sexually abusing boys.

Any priest who abused a child was "a vicious wolf ready to devour innocent souls," the pope said in his annual address to the Curia, the Vatican's governing body.

The pope acknowledged that the Catholic Church had hugely underestimated the phenomenon and failed to punish predatory priests and the bishops who cover up for them, often by moving them from parish to parish rather than reporting them to the police.

Top US Envoy for Coalition against IS Resigns; Upset with Trump's Troop Withdrawal in Syria

Brett McGurk, the top U.S. envoy to the International coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS), has resigned in protest of President Trump's decision to abruptly withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, the Washington Post website reports today (December 22, 2018).

His resignation comes on the heels of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis's announced departure this week because of differences with the White House over foreign policy, immediately following Trump's decision.

McGurk's departure is effective December 31.

Earlier this month, McGurk said that the Islamic State was far from defeated despite its loss of territory. "Nobody working on these issues day to day is complacent. Nobody is declaring a mission accomplished," McGurk said at a State Department briefing. "Defeating a physical caliphate is one phase of a much longer-term campaign."

Friday, December 21, 2018

Planned Parenthood: Abortion Is a Human Right; Condemns Trump's Effort to Defund Organization

Planned Parenthood's new president has argued that abortion is a basic human right and denounced what she called "repeated attacks from the Trump administration" against her organization, the Christian Post website reports today (December 21, 2018).

Dr. Leana Wen, who replaced Cecile Richards as head of the nation's largest abortion business that receives over $500 million in taxpayer funding every year and performs over 320,000 abortions annually, told People magazine in an interview published this week that she viewed abortion as "a basic human right."

"Reproductive health care is health care," Wen said. "And health care is a basic human right."

In her interview with People, Wen also denounced efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, claiming they are politically-driven attacks on their health care services.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Trump May Cut No. of US Troops in Afghanistan; Begins to Lack Patience with Overseas Mil. Roles

President Donald Trump is considering significantly drawing down troops from Afghanistan, two U.S. officials said today (December 20, 2018) in the latest sign his patience is thinning with America's longest war and overseas military interventions in general, according to the Newsmax website.

The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said thousands of the 14,000 troops could be sent home as a result of deliberations, the disclosure of which could undermine ongoing peace efforts with the Taliban.

The drawdown would follow Trump's decision yesterday to completely withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria -- a move that has bewildered allies and triggered harsh reaction from Republican allies in Congress. It has also shocked U.S. military commanders.

More than 2,400 U.S. forces have died in the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan, and Pentagon officials have repeatedly warned that a precipitous exit would allow militants to develop new plots on America like the September 11, 2001 attacks that plunged the U.S. into an era of open-ended warfare.

Israel to Intensify Place in Syria after US Leaves; Prevents Iran from Having Land Near Its Border

Israel will step up its fight against Iran in Syria after the United States withdraws its troops from her neighbor to the north, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (December 20, 2018).

"We will continue to take very strong action against Iran's attempts to entrench itself in Syria. In neither of these sectors do we intend to lessen our efforts; we will intensify them..." Netanyahu said today.

Yesterday, President Donald Trump announced a full and accelerated pullout of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, a move that could leave a vacuum that Iran will be eager to fill.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria -- mostly in secret during Syria's seven-year civil war -- to prevent Iran from gaining a foothold near its border and to keep weapons from traveling through the territory to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Pope Has Message for 52nd World Day of Peace; Public Officials Must Encourage Human Virtues

The Vatican has issued Pope Francis' Message for the 52nd World Day of Peace, which takes place on January 1, 2019, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (December 19, 2018).

In his message, the pope reflects on the role of "good politics at the service of peace." Those who hold political office, he says, must exercise their office in service to others, basing their work on the foundation of charity and human virtues.

At the same time, Pope Francis warns of the vices that can afflict politics, including corruption, xenophobia, racism, lack of concern for the environment, and contempt for exiles.

He encourages politics to "foster the talents of young people and their aspirations" in order to promote peace, noting that "Everyone can contribute his or her stone to help build the common home."

World's 1st Christian Airline to Service Churches; Judah 1 to Become World's Only Christian Airline

An aviation ministry located in Texas is set to become the world's first Christian airline, the CBN website reports today (December 19, 2018).

The ministry known as Judah 1 announced last week that the Federal Aviation Administration had accepted its application to switch from as private operator to becoming its own airline. 

The ministry currently serves Christians traveling around the world and domestically for mission trips and religious tours. 

"We serve mission-minded Christian people of all denominations traveling to the mission fields of the world. Our planes have delivered hundreds of missionaries and transported thousands of pounds of cargo. It is very rewarding to know how many Judah 1 and our partners have helped..."   states Judah 1's website.

Pentagon Denies Trump Claim of IS Syria Defeat; Says Campaign to Defeat and Contain IS Ongoing

The Pentagon contradicted President Donald Trump's claim today (December 19, 2018) that Islamic State (IS) militants had been defeated in Syria, according to the Raw Story website.

Trump claimed on Twitter today that the IS had been defeated in Syria, and there would be 'full" and "rapid" withdrawal of U.S. troops from the civil war-torn nation.

"The coalition has liberated the ISIS-held territory, but the campaign is not over," said Dana White, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs.

"We have started the process of returning U.S. troops home from Syria as we transition to the next phase of the campaign," White added.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Netanyahu Says Israel Develops Unique Missiles; Warns They Can Reach Anywhere,Hit Any Target

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that Israel is developing missiles with "special capabilities that no other country has," during a visit to state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries, the Times of Israel website reports today (December 18, 2018).

"They are developing offensive missiles here that can reach anywhere in the area and any target," Netanyahu said.

He added: "They are developing weapons systems here with special capabilities that no other country has."

Netanyahu, who recently appointed himself defense minister, made the comments a day after he revealed that "Israel infiltrates Iran periodically" for intelligence-gathering purposes.

Women's Pay Won't Equal Men's Pay for 202 Yrs.; Report Finds Women Lacking in Managerial Roles

It will take more than 200 years before women and men worldwide have economic parity, according to the annual Global Gender Gap Report released today (December 18, 2018) by the World Economic Forum, the Euro News website reports.

On pay alone, women continue to earn about 20 percent less on average than men, according to International Labor Organization findings cited in the report.

One factor holding women back is their being underrepresented in senior positions, the report said.

"In the workplace, women still encounter significant obstacles in taking on managerial or senior official roles," the report read, stating that it will take 202 years for the economic gap to close.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Patriots Owner Kraft Visits Pittsburgh Synagogue; In Memory of 11 Jews Killed in Jewish Hate Crime

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is Jewish and lives in Newton, Massachusetts, traveled to Pittsburgh last Saturday ahead of the team's game against the Steelers to visit the Tree of Life synagogue building and attend Shabbat services, the Jerusalem Post website reports today (December 17, 2018).

On Saturday morning, Kraft visited the building in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood where 11 worshippers were killed in a shooting attack -- the deadliest attack of Jews ever in the United States. 

After Kraft paid his respects at the site, he attended services at the nearby Rodef Shalom synagogue, where he was invited to speak. 

He told the congregation that as big as the Steelers-Patriots game is, attending services with Jews in Pittsburgh was even bigger to him.

Evangelizing by Christians in America Declining; Christians Fear Reprisal If Speaking Bible Truth

As Americans identifying with faith continues to decline, the fear of standing out as a Christian is growing, the Christian Post website reports today (December 17, 2018).

This is having a negative impact on evangelism efforts.

Bo Rice, assistant professor of evangelism and preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, says many Christians are too afraid to stand for beliefs that might be seen as offensive to others in a diversifying culture.

"Unfortunately, we have reached a point in American history where Christians are afraid to speak biblical truth in love out of fear of retribution," Rice said.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Vandals Destroy Inflatable Black Santa Claus; African-American Couple to Display New One

An Oregon family was shocked to discover that an inflatable black Santa Claus on their front lawn had been slashed by vandals just 24 hours after they put it on display, the Yahoo News website reports today (December 16, 2018).

Fritz and Belinda Richard, who are African-American, have lived in Bethany, Oregon for 21 years.

On December 12, Fritz Richard installed the 8-foot-tall Santa in their front yard, only to see it slashed several times 24 hours later.

The Richards plan to purchase a replacement Santa, and several of their neighbors said they also will purchase a black Santa in a move of solidarity.

US:Iran Planning Mideast Massive Regional War; Intel Shows Iran Built Terrorist Tunnels to Israel

The Trump administration has disclosed that Iran is behind the construction of several underground tunnels leading into Israel that Hezbollah militants and other terror forces have been using to conduct attacks, the Free Beacon website reports today (December 16, 2018).

Senior U.S. officials say these tunnels mark a massive escalation by Iran's terror proxies. They also believe that Iran is planning a "massive regional war" in the Middle East.

The Israeli military destroyed several of these tunnels during the past week.

The U.S. has ensured Israel of its complete support, as Israel works to thwart Iran's terror enterprise.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

US-Backed Troops Hit IS' Last Syrian Bastion; Coalition Aids Troops with Airstrikes,Artillery

Fierce fighting is ongoing in eastern Syria, as U.S.-backed Syrian fighters are trying to advance against the Islamic State (IS) terror group in its last major stronghold in the country, the VOA News website reports today (December 15, 2018).

Thousands of forces from a Kurdish alliance have been pushing into the town of Hajin in the Middle Euphrates River Valley (MERV), according to U.S. officials.

"The progress in MERV is going well and the coalition is assisting with artillery and airstrikes," Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against IS said.

He added: "The end of days for ISIS in the MERV is getting closer to reality; however, they still have the capability for coordinated attacks."

Ukraine Orth. Leaders OK Church Ind. of Russia; Metropolitan Epiphanius Will Head Orth.Church

Ukrainian Orthodox Church leaders today (December 15, 2018) approved the creation of a unified church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate and elected a leader to head the new church, according to the Newsmax website.

The vote -- held in a closed-door synod in Kiev's St. Sophia Cathedral -- is the latest in a series of confrontations between Ukraine and authorities in Russia.

The leader of the new autocephalous (self-governing) Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be Metropolitan Epiphanius, a 39-year-old bishop from the Kiev Patriarchate.

"God heard our appeals and gave us this anticipated unity," Epiphanius told a crowd of thousands who had gathered outside the cathedral today to hear the good news.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Cath.Ministry Shows Kids Jesus' Love with Gifts; Sends 70K Poor Kids Gifts, as Jesus Is Gift to Us

Volunteers gathered at the Box of Joy headquarters in Miami, Florida this week to pack gifts for children around the world as part of their annual evangelical initiative spearheaded by Cross Catholic Outreach, the Christian Post website reports today (December 14, 2018).

The outreach's mission is to spread the love of Jesus Christ to all its recipients.

They expect to reach 70,000 children living in extreme poverty in Central America and around the world.

Steve Bostian, Director of Box of Joy, said: "These gifts come [to the children] unconditionally, just like Jesus is the greatest gift of all. He is an unconditional gift from God, to us."

Hungary's So-Called "Slave Law" Sparks Protests; Could Make Workers Work 8 More Hours a Week

Protesters clashed with police in the Hungarian capital of Budapest last night against a new law that has been called the "slave law." the Euro News website reports today (December 14, 2018).

The change allows employers to ask staff to work up to 400 extra hours per year of overtime instead of 250.

It could amount to another eight hours a week for some workers, equivalent to an extra working day.

It also allows employers to delay payments for the extra hours for up to three years.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Killer of 3 at Strasbourg Market Killed by Police; Was Hiding in Warehouse,Shot by French Police

The suspected mastermind of the Strasbourg Christmas Market shooting this week has been killed by police, The Daily Beast website reports today (December 13, 2018).

Cherif Chekatt, 29, a Muslim radical, was found by police in a warehouse near his residence in the "Neudorf area" of Strasbourg, where they shot him dead.

In a statement, the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the market shooting.

Five people were arrested for the mass shooting that left three people dead and 12 wounded.

Cardinal Pell Convicted on Abuse of Choirboys; Highest-Ranking Vatican Cleric to Be Convicted

Cardinal George Pell -- one of Pope Francis' closest advisers -- has been convicted in an Australian court on five counts related to the abuse of two choirboys in 1996, the UPI website reports today (December 13, 2018).

Pell, 77, currently on a leave from his post as the Vatican's economy secretary, was charged last year for "historical sexual assault offenses" by Australian police.

On December 11, he was found guilty on the charges in a Melbourne court. The verdict makes him the highest-ranking Vatican official to face such a conviction.

Pell was released on bail after his conviction. He will be sentenced in February. He is also scheduled to face a second trial early next year involving a different incident, probably in February or March.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

US Troops Will Remain in Syria for Several Years; IS Terrorists Won't "Disappear" Even after Defeat

A top Department of State official has revealed that the U.S. military will remain in Syria for the foreseeable future, even after the American-led coalition completely defeats the Islamic State's physical caliphate, the Breitbart website reports today (December 12, 2018).

Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for U.S.-led coalition against ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), noted that although the terrorist group only controls one percent of the land it once held, its "clandestine cells" will continue to pose a threat indefinitely.

He added, "Nobody is saying that they [IS terrorists] are going to disappear. So we want to stay on the ground and make sure that stability can be maintained in these areas."

ISIS's last stronghold -- with some 2,000 fighters -- in Syria is along the country's border with Iraq.

Anti-Semitic Posters Hit SUNY's Purchase College; Contained Swastikas and an Image of Adolf Hitler

Nazi-themed posters were hung last weekend at the State University of New York's Purchase College, the Times of Israel website reports today (December 12, 2018).

The posters were identified on December 9 in several areas around the SUNY campus located about 30 miles north of New York City. They contained an image of Adolf Hitler and swastikas.

"That this hateful act took place on the last night of Hanukkah when our Jewish community members were celebrating the survival of their religion, makes it even more reprehensible," Dennis Craig, Purchase's officer in charge and vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, said in a statement.

"Messages of hate, while becoming more and more prevalent in our country, have no place on our campus and will be treated with the utmost severity," he added.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Two Nuns Stole $500,000 from Cal.Cath.School; Spent Stolen Money by Gambling It in Las Vegas

Two nuns have admitted they embezzled some $500,000 and spent it on gambling in Las Vegas, the Yahoo News website reports today (December 11, 2018).

Sisters Mary Kreuper and Lana Chang, who worked at St. James' Catholic School in Torrance, California, stole the money from school funds and gambled with it in casinos.

The nuns -- said to be best friends -- took money from an account used for tuition fees and donations, and were caught during a routine audit.

The sisters, who have just retired, have expressed remorse for their actions, and the school is not bringing criminal charges against them.

One Dead, 10 Injured in French Market Shooting; France on High Alert Since 2015 Due to IS Terror

At least one person was killed and 10 people were wounded today (December 11, 2018) in a shooting near a Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg, according to the Reuters website.

Police locked down the area and launched a hunt for the shooter, who fled the scene.

Police said the gunman has been identified.

France remains on high alert after a wave of terror attacks by Islamic State (IS) militants since 2015, in which about 240 people have been killed.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Supreme Court OKs Planned Parenthood Funding; Won't Hear KS, LA Appeals to End Public Funding

The Supreme Court has sided with Planned Parenthood in its fight for funding, denying appeals by Kansas and Louisiana that sought to end their public funding through Medicaid, The Independent website reports today (December 10, 2018).

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh unexpectedly aligned with four liberal justices in declining to review the petitions that would have placed a ban on abortion providers.

Defunding Planned Parenthood has been a key priority for Republicans.

The top court left the rulings from the lower court that halted Kansas and Louisiana from revoking public healthcare funding from Planned Parenthood and its affiliates.

Italian Priests Plan to Shelter Evicted Migrants; New Law Ends Humanitarian Care for Migrants

Italian priests say migrants will find safe shelter at churches if they are forced out of detention centers, after the Italian government passed a bill that would strip them of humanitarian protection, the Euro News website reports today (December 10, 2018).

The new law ends humanitarian protection and will restrict asylum to those refugees affected by war and political persecution.

"You don't leave migrants in the street as the government has allegedly done with its migration-and-security decree," Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said.

He added that the Vatican's position is clear: "A profound sense of solidarity must prevail; you can't put people in this position. You must always focus on people and their rights."

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Pregnant Woman,6 Others Shot at Israel Bus Stop; Terrorist Fired Shots from Passing Vehicle in Ofra

A pregnant woman was left in critical condition and six others suffered moderate to light injuries in a terror attack tonight (December 9, 2018), when shots were fired from a passing car at a crowd of  people waiting at a bus stop outside the Israeli West Bank settlement of Ofra, according to the Times of Israel website.

The woman, 21, suffered wounds to her upper body and was rushed to a hospital. She was in her 30th week of her pregnancy and was undergoing surgery at the hospital.

A man, 26, with moderate wounds was taken to the same hospital, as were two others who had light injuries. Another person, 22, with moderate injuries, and two 16-year-old girls with light injuries were taken to another hospital.

The car from which the shots were fired was believed to have at least two occupants. The IDF launched a manhunt for the terrorists.

US Supreme Court Upholds Trump's Border Wall; Rejects 3 Groups' Claims Wall Hurts Environment

The U.S. Supreme Court has rebuffed a challenge by three conservation groups to the authority of President Donald Trump's administration to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a victory for Trump who has made the wall a centerpiece of his hardline immigration policies, the Free Beacon website reports today (December 9, 2018).

The justices declined to hear the groups' appeal of a ruling by a federal judge in California rejecting their claims that the administration had pursued border wall projects without complying with applicable environmental laws.

The three groups are the Center for Biological Diversity, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Defenders of Wildlife.

Trump has clashed with U.S. lawmakers over his plans for an extensive and costly border wall that he has called necessary to combat illegal immigration and drug smuggling. Congress has not yet provided him with the $5 billion in funding he wants for the wall.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

School Principal Is Let Go for Ban of Xmas Items; Neb. Principal Violated Const. Rights of Students

A Nebraska elementary school principal, who banned all Christmas-related items in her school, has been placed on administrative leave, the USA Today website reports today (December 8, 2018).

Jennifer Sinclair, principal of Manchester Elementary School -- located near Omaha -- sent her staff a memo on holiday symbols that does not reflect the Elkhorn Public Schools District's policies, according to a district statement.

Religious freedom advocacy group Liberty Counsel argued the school ban of Christmas items violated the students' constitutional rights.

In fact, the Christmas items that Sinclair banned were secular items, not religious items.

Some 10K Paris Protesters Set Fires, Raze Stores; Chant for President Emmanuel Macron to Resign

The elegant streets of central Paris were transformed into something like a war zone today (December 8, 2018), as anti-government protesters gathered to demonstrate against higher taxes for the third consecutive weekend, prompting unprecedented police action, according to the Independent (British) website.

Out on the graffiti-laden, boarded-up streets about 10,000 people from the outer suburbs and elsewhere in the region chanted repeated calls for President Emmanuel Macron to resign.

More than 600 people were arrested in the capital alone.

Some of the demonstrators set objects on fire in the middle of the road, ripped down signs, and smashed shop windows. The crack of tear gas canisters was heard throughout the day, and police used the tactic of "kettling" demonstrators, herding them into a small space and then, in some cases, firing rubber bullets at the crowd.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Huge Oil and Gas Resources Found in Texas, NM; Largest Oil,Gas Resources Ever Discovered in US

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced yesterday the Permian Basin's Wolfcamp shale and Bone Spring formation spanning parts of West Texas and eastern New Mexico hold the largest potential oil and gas resources ever discovered, the Breitbart website reports today (December 7, 2018).

Federal surveyors note the Bone Spring plays could offer roughly seven times the amount of oil as the Bakken shale in North Dakota.

"Christmas came a few weeks early this year," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "American strength flows from American energy, and as it turns out, we have a lot of American energy."

Zinke added: "Before this assessment came down, I was bullish on oil and gas production in the United States. Now, I know for a fact that American energy dominance is within our grasp as a nation."

Key Ukrainian Church Meeting Set for Dec. 15; Clerics to Adopt Charter for Ind. Orth. Church

Ukraine's Orthodox Christian clerics will gather for a meeting next week that is expected to form a new, independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the country's leader said, as the authorities ramped up pressure on priests to support the move, the AP website reports today (December 7, 2018).

The Ukrainian Church has been part of the Russian Orthodox Church for centuries, but Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has pushed for the creation of an independent church.

Poroshenko said that Orthodox communities would gather on December 15 to adopt the charter of the new Ukrainian Church and choose its leader.

The newly formed community would then be expected to receive independence from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Istanbul-based institution considered the "first among equals" of leaders of the world's Orthodox Churches that has already drafted a charter of an independent Ukrainian Church.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

EU Steps Up Fight against Rising Anti-Semitism; Says Hatred against Jews "Remains Widespread"

European Union (EU) countries agreed today (December 6, 2018) to intensify the fight against a rising anti-Semitism and boost security for Jews throughout Europe, according to the Globe Post website.

The 28-nation bloc's interior ministers adopted a declaration acknowledging hatred against Jews "remains widespread."

"The declaration invites member states to adopt and implement a holistic strategy to prevent and fight all forms of anti-Semitism," it said.

The ministers also urged member states that have not done so to adopt a common definition of anti-Semitism to better identify and investigate attacks against Jews.

School Bans Xmas Trees, Music, Candy Canes; Legal Org.:Ban Violates Student Const. Rights

A legal organization, that specializes in religious liberty issues, is urging a Nebraska school principal to overturn her directive that banned anything related to Christmas -- including Christmas music, Christmas carols, Christmas trees, candy canes, and the colors red and green -- the Christian Headlines website reports today (December 6, 2018).

"I come from a place that Christmas and the like are not allowed in schools, as over the years in my educational career, this has evolved into the expectation for all educators," Jennifer Sinclair, the principal of Manchester Elementary School, wrote in a letter to faculty.

The banned items involve not only religious symbols, but also secular ones, including Santa.

Liberty Counsel, a legal group that specializes in First Amendment issues, wrote the superintendent of Elkhorn Public Schools, urging him to overturn the policy. "The ban violates the U.S. Constitution by showing hostility toward Christianity," the letter read.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Unmarried Pregnant Cath. School Teacher Fired; Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy Violates Her Contract

A respected English teacher in Pennsylvania was fired on November 30 from her job at the Catholic high school where she was employed for four years for becoming pregnant while unmarried, the Yahoo News website reports today (December 5, 2018).

Naiad Reich was ready to start a family and she planned the pregnancy to coincide with a June birth so she wouldn't have to take maternity leave from her post at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School in Coal Township, PA. When she announced her happy news to Sister Mary Anne Bednar, though, the principal was not impressed.

"Her response, honestly, is one that will sit with me for a very long time, because she was very displeased," Reich said.  "She said it would be a problem and she had to contact the diocese."

The Roman Catholic Harrisburg Diocese officials quickly reached a decision: Reich's out-of-wedlock pregnancy was a violation of a morality clause in her contract. If Reich and her partner, Matt Graboski, had no plans to get married in the near future, she'd have to be let go.

Satanic Statue Now on Display at Illinois Capitol; Stands Alongside a Nativity Scene and a Menorah

A "snaketivity" gifted by the Chicago branch of the Satanic Temple stands in the Illinois Capitol rotunda this month alongside a nativity scene and a menorah, the Washington Examiner website reports today (December 5, 2018).

The so-called "snaketivity" is a statue of an arm holding an apple in its hand and a snake wrapped around the arm.

A spokesman for Illinois' secretary of state said that the Satanic Temple is recognized as a religious organization, and awarded the same freedoms and rights.

A sign near the statue says: "The State of Illinois is required by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to allow temporary, public displays in the state capitol so long as these displays are not paid for by taxpayer dollars..."

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Palestinian Head Abbas Meets with Pope Francis; Asks Pope Back E. Jerusalem as Palestine Capital

The Vatican expressed concern over the status of Jerusalem yesterday, as Pope Francis and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held their first meeting since the U.S. stirred international chaos by moving its embassy there last May, the World Israel News website reports today (December 4, 2018).

"Particular attention was reserved for the status of Jerusalem, underlining the importance of recognizing and preserving its identity and the universal value of the Holy City for the three Abrahamic religions," a Vatican statement said, referring to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

U.S. President Donald Trump infuriated the Arab world last year when he reversed decades of policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and deciding to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Palestinians -- with broad international backing -- want eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, while Israel views the whole city as its own capital. Abbas has refused to allow the Palestinians to take part in any Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in which the U.S. would serve as mediator because he believes the recent U.S. policy on Jerusalem betrayed the Palestinians and favored Israel.

Italian Police Arrest a New Mafia Boss in Sicily; Also Nab 45 More Mafia Gangsters in Palermo

Italian police arrested the suspected new head of the Sicilian mafia and 45 other alleged gangsters today (December 4, 2018), dealing a major blow to the mob as it tried to rebuild after years of setbacks, according to the Reuters website.

Settimo Mineo, an 80-year-old jeweler with a previous mafia conviction, was elected to take the helm of the crime group Cosa Nostra (or "Our Thing"), at a secret meeting of mob families from in and around the Sicilian capital of Palermo in May.

It was the first such gathering of the powerful Palermo clans since their previous leader, Salvatore "Toto" Riina, was arrested in 1993 and convicted of ordering dozens of murders.

Riina died in prison last year while serving 26 life sentences. Italian media have long speculated over who might have replaced him, but prosecutors said today that the Palermo mobsters waited until after his death to select a successor.

Single-Gender Groups Sue Harvard for Prejudice; U. Won't Let Students Hold Lead Roles on Clubs

Sororities, fraternities, and students sued Harvard University yesterday over a rule that punishes students in single-gender clubs from holding leadership positions on sports teams and campus groups, the Daily Caller website reports today (December 4, 2018).

The federal lawsuit calls into question "freedom from sex discrimination," while the state suit is over "right to free association and equal treatment based on sex."

The federal lawsuit argues the university must not dictate what kind of groups students can join.

Harvard's sanctions also ban students in single-gender clubs from receiving college endorsements for prestigious fellowships like the Rhodes Scholarships. Another discriminatory lawsuit against Harvard is currently being heard in court, in which Harvard has been charged against accepting Asian American students, while using lower admission criteria in accepting Black and Hispanic students.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Wall St. Won't Hire Women Due to #MeToo; Afraid Women Can Present "Unknown Risk"

A Bloomberg report said today (December 3, 2018) that male executives on Wall Street are so frightened by the #MeToo movement that they're avoiding women altogether, according to the Washington Times website.

Interviews with more than 30 senior executives suggest that the #MeToo movement has led to "gender segregation" in the workplace, as women tend to be rejected for jobs, Bloomberg reported.

One adviser told the publication just hiring a woman these days can present "an unknown risk."

"Women are grasping for ideas on how to deal with it, because it is affecting our careers," said Karen Elinski, president of the Financial Women's Association and a senior vice president at Wells Fargo & Co. "It's a real loss."

Pope Lights Advent Candle for Peace in Syria; Appeals for Prayers So Christians Stay in Syria

During the Angelus yesterday with pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis reflected on the meaning of Advent and lit a candle for peace in Syria, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (December 3, 2018).

Advent is not just a time of preparation for Christmas, he said. We are also looking forward to the return of Christ at the end of time, as well as our own, personal encounter with Jesus at the end of our lives.

The pope warned that if we see Christmas only through the lens of consumerism, as a "worldly celebration," then "Jesus will pass us by, and we will not find Him." Let us await Jesus, Pope Francis said, "and let us desire to await Him in prayer."

He then called for prayers and concrete aid for Christians to remain in Syria. "Advent is a time for hope," he said. "At this time, I would like to make my own the hope of peace of the children of Syria."

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Syria: Coalition Fired Missiles on Its Positions; Missiles Caused Material Damage in East Syria

Syria's state news agency said today (December 2, 2018) that the U.S.-led coalition has fired several missiles at Syrian army positions in the country's east, causing material damage, according to the National Post website.

The news agency's report says the positions targeted today are in the Ghorab Mountains south of the eastern town of Sukhna.

There has been no confirmation from the U.S.-led coalition.

U.S. troops have a base in Tanf in southern Syria near the Jordanian and Iraqi borders, and U.S. troops are also in the country's north, near the border with Turkey.

Israeli Police Call for Indicting PM Netanyahu; Accuse Him of Bribery, Fraud, No Public Trust

Israeli police today (December 2, 2018) recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, on bribery, fraud, and breach of public trust charges, according to the Jerusalem Post website.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit gave his permission for the publication of the recommendations, and will make the final decision on whether to indict Netanyahu.

The case revolves around Netanyahu promoting regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bezeq telecom company in exchange for positive coverage of the prime minister on Bezeq's subsidiary new website, Walla.

Police have already recommended indicting Netanyahu on corruption charges in two other cases.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Anti-Semitism Continues to Rise at US Colleges; Swastikas Painted in Office of Columbia U. Prof.

Anti-Semitic incidents on U.S. college campuses have been seeing an upward trend in the last few weeks, with Teachers College at Columbia University becoming the latest target, the College Post News website reports today (December 1, 2018).

On November 28, Jewish faculty member Elizabeth Midlarsky found her office walls painted with red swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs.

"I walked in the door of my office and found myself staring at a swastika and was absolutely shocked," Midlarsky said.

The university said in a statement: "We unequivocally condemn any expression of hatred, which has no place in our society.We are outraged and horrified by this act of aggression and use of this vile anti-Semitic symbol against a valued member of our community."

Pope: Having Gays in the Clergy "Worries Me;" Says Gays Must Not Live Together in Rel.Places

Pope Francis said recently that having gays in the clergy "is something that worries me" and that some societies are considering homosexuality a "fashionable" lifestyle, the AP website reports today (December 1, 2018).

Francis described homosexuality within the walls of seminaries, convents, and other religious places as "a very serious question."

"In our societies, it even seems homosexuality is fashionable. And this mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church," Francis said.

Catholic teaching considers homosexual activity sinful, and that everyone -- except married heterosexual couples -- should abstain from sex.

Ukrainian Pres. Thrilled by Its Church's Ind.; Ecumenical Patriarch OKs Ind. Orth. Church

 A thrilled President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine said Ukraine is securing its own independent church, ending centuries-old ties to a Russian clergy that Kiev accuses of meddling in its affairs, the Reuters website reports today (December 1, 2018).

Poroshenko's comments were a result of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul -- home of the global spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians -- announcing it had drafted a constitutional charter for an autocephalous (or self-governing) Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

"Today, at the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, historical decisions have been taken on the creation of an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church," Poroshenko said in a televised address.

He added: "Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will soon announce when the Ukrainian clergy will meet to pick the head of the new church."

Friday, November 30, 2018

Poroshenko:Russian Tanks on Ukraine Border; Seeking Civilized World to Unite against Russia

The Ukrainian president said today (November 30, 2018) that Russian military tanks are massing along his country's border, according to the Sky News website.

Petro Poroshenko has shown Sky News images of what he claims are tanks lining up along the border, close to where Russia stores its ammunition.

Poroshenko said: "There is no red line for [Russian President] Putin and this is the very strong reason why we should be together, the whole civilized world."

 On November 25, Russia seized three Ukrainian ships and their crew off the coast of Crimea -- a Ukrainian peninsula that Russia also seized in 2014 -- claiming the ships were in Russian waters. Poroshenko has called the captured sailors "prisoners of war" and is seeking pressure on Russia from the international community for their release.

Cath.Archdiocese in NM to File for Bankruptcy; Due to Lawsuits Arising from Clergy Sex Abuse

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico will file for bankruptcy protection as it faces litigation arising from accusations of sexual abuse by clergy, the Reuters website reports today (November 30, 2018).

The move comes nearly three months after New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas requested Catholic Church officials in the state -- including the Archdiocese of Santa Fe -- provide his office with documents related to possible abuse by priests.

The archdiocese will file for bankruptcy protection by the end of next week, but is committed to providing financial compensation to victims, Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester said.

Child sex abuse by clergy has cost the Catholic Church in the U.S. billions of dollars in settlements in the two decades since a series of molestation cases were uncovered in Boston in 1992.

Ukraine Bans Russian Men from Entering Nation; Blocks Russians from Forming Armies in Ukraine

Ukraine has banned entry to Russian adult men aged 16-60, President Petro Poroshenko tweeted today (November 30, 2018), according to the Euro News website.

The president said the restrictions had been put in place to prevent Russians from forming "private armies" to fight on Ukraine soil.

The decision comes after the conflict between the two countries escalated on November 25, when Russia seized three Ukrainian ships and their crew, claiming they had illegally entered Russian waters.

Russia was not planning to retaliate by banning Ukrainian men from entering its country.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Congress Provides Relief to IS Genocide Victims; OKs Emergency Relief to IS Victims in Iraq, Syria

A bill that aims to provide humanitarian relief to victims of the Islamic State's genocide in Iraq and Syria has been passed by the U.S. Senate and House, and is heading to President Trump's desk, the Christian Post website reports today (November 29, 2018).

The bill is designed to "provide emergency relief to victims of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Iraq and Syria" and "provide accountability for perpetrators of these crimes."

The bill would authorize and direct the U.S. government to fund entities, including faith-based organizations that were targeted by the Islamic State (IS).

It was passed over four years after IS took large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Over 2K Tijuana Migrants Have Serious Diseases; Could Spread Diseases to Americans Upon Enrtry

At least 30 percent of the Central American migrants in Tijuana, Mexico are sick with communicable diseases they might spread to Americans in schools, hospitals, welfare and employment offices and other public places, The New American website reports today (November 29, 2018).

And by "sick" officials in Mexico mean serious diseases. In fact, the diseases many of the migrants carry are deadly -- or can be.

Out of 6,000 migrants currently residing in Tijuana, over a third of them (2,267) are being treated for health-related issues.

Diseases of the migrants include tuberculosis, AIDS, and chickenpox. Also, they've brought in real bugs, and over 100 carry lice and skin infections.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Trump May Cancel Meeting This Week with Putin; Due to Russia Capturing 3 Ukrainian Ships Nov.25

U.S. President Donald Trump says he may cancel a meeting scheduled with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week, as a result of a maritime clash between Russia and Ukraine, the BBC website reports today (November 28, 2018).

Trump said he was waiting for a "full report" after Russian ships fired on and seized three Ukrainian boats on November 25.

Ukraine described it as an "act of aggression" but Russia said the ships had illegally entered its waters.

 In reacting to the clash, the U.S. urged European nations to do more to support Ukraine and to impose tougher sanctions against Russia.

Pope: Ten Commandments Are God's "X-Rays;" Let Us Examine Our Hearts for Christ's Healing

Pope Francis said today (November 28, 2018) that the Ten Commandments are God's "x-ray," as they allow Christians to examine their hearts to see where disordered attachments and desires have made them in need of Christ's healing, according to the Crux website.

He added: "The Decalogue is [Christ's] 'x-ray;' it is described as a photographic negative that lets His face appear -- as in the Holy Shroud [of Turin]."

"Here is what the Decalogue is for us Christians: to contemplate Christ in order to open us to receive His heart, to receive His desires, to receive His Holy Spirit," the pope said today.

God invites His children to obey His commandments, the pope explained, in order to release themselves "from the deception of idolatries," which only empty and enslave.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Amb. Friedman: "Deal of the Century" Delayed; US Amb. to Israel Denies Politics Blocking Pact

"The United States remains committed to sharing its vision for peace with Israel, the Palestinians, and other regional stakeholders at the appropriate time," U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said yesterday, following reports that the publication of President Donald Trump's "deal of the century" Mideast peace pact is being postponed as a result of the political situation in Israel, the World Israel News website reports today (November 27, 2018).

"Our timing, our strategy and our messaging is and will be entirely our own... " Friedman added.

"[Prime Minister] Netanyahu prefers that there is not to be any announcement of the plan, especially following the recent incidents in the Middle East and the political situation in Israel," an Israeli official said.

Ambassador Friedman denied that report, saying: "Mr. Kushner, Mr. Greenblatt and I are of one mind in terms of how best to proceed..."

Three US Service Members Killed in Afghanistan; Three Wounded by a Detonated Explosive Device

Three U.S. service members were killed and three more wounded in Afghanistan today (November 27, 2018) when an improvised explosive device detonated near Ghazni city, according to the Euro News website.

One American contractor was also injured.

The wounded were evacuated to receive medical care.

In accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the names of the service members killed in action were being withheld until 24 hours after their next of kin have been notified.

Monday, November 26, 2018

New Study:Most Women Killed in Their Homes; Some 137 Women Killed Every Day by a Relative

Every day, 137 women across the world are killed by a family member or partner, according to new data released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Euro News website reports today (November 26, 2018).

A total of 87,000 women were intentionally killed in 2017.

Of that number, 30,000 were killed by an intimate partner, "making the home the most likely place for a woman to be killed," UNODC said.

The UN data found that the largest number of women killed by intimate partners and family members was in Asia (20,000). In Europe, 3,000 women were killed by a partner or family member that same year.

Russia Bags 3 Ukraine Naval Ships Near Crimea; Aggression May Lead to Russian-Ukrainian War

Russia today (November 26, 2018) ignored Western calls to release three Ukrainian naval ships and their crews it fired on and captured near Crimea yesterday and accused Kiev of plotting with its Western allies to provoke a conflict, according to the Reuters website.

Ukraine accused Russia of military aggression and put its armed forces on full combat alert.

With relations still hostile after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, the current crisis risks pushing the two countries towards a major war.

The European Union, Britain, France, Poland, Denmark, and Canada all condemned Russia's aggression.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Deal with Mexico Has Asylum Seekers Wait There; Can't Enter US Unless Claims Recognized in Court

The Trump administration has won the support of Mexico's incoming government for a plan to remake U.S. border policy by requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims move through U.S. courts, the MSN website reports today (November 25, 2018).

President Donald Trump described the arrangement in a pair of tweets last night: "Migrants at the Southern Border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court," Trump wrote. "No 'Releasing' into the U.S... All will stay in Mexico."

The president then issued a threat. "If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border. There is no way that the United States will, after decades of abuse, put up with this costly and dangerous situation anymore!" Trump wrote.

Earlier yesterday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said: "President Trump has developed a strong relationship with the incoming Lopez Obrador Administration and we look forward to working with them on a wide range of issues."

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Some 8K Protesters Set Paris Streets on Fire; Protest against Rising Fuel Taxes,Ec. Policies

Violence erupted on the streets of Paris today (November 24, 2018), as about 8,000 protesters faced off against thousands of police deployed to contain the demonstrations, according to the ABC News website.

As angry protesters blocked streets and lit various materials on fire -- including large sheets of plywood and garbage bins -- police hurled tear gas and shot water cannons on the crowds, the majority of which were centered near the Champs-Elysees.

Today was the eighth day of protests over rising fuel taxes and French President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies.

Since the protests began on November 17, two people have been killed.

IS Attack Kills 24 US-Backed Fighters in Syria; Attack Launched in East Syria from IS Holdout

The Islamic State (IS) terror group killed 24 US-backed fighters in the last two days in an attack launched from its embattled holdout in eastern Syria, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (November 24, 2018).

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Kurdish-led alliance -- backed by the US-led coalition -- is battling to expel the jihadists from a pocket in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor on the Iraqi border.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor says the jihadists broke out of that pocket yesterday to attack a nearby village where SDF fighters and coalition advisers are based.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said 24 SDF fighters were killed in yesterday's IS attack, and violent clashes continued to rage today as coalition air planes carried out air strikes in the area.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Dept. of Justice Won't Let Pollard Move to Israel; Provided US Classified Info to Israel for a Payoff

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will not allow former spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard to serve the remainder of his parole probation in Israel, the Jewish Press website reports today (November 23, 2018).

The DOJ denied the request submitted by Pollard's attorney on October 1 -- although the denial only became public this week -- due to the "seriousness of the offense" and "serious law enforcement concerns."

Pollard was arrested in 1985, convicted and then sentenced in 1987 to life in prison on a single count of passing classified information to Israel for money. He was released on "mandatory parole" in 2016 after serving two-thirds of the sentence.

However, Pollard is still living with severe restrictions, including a house arrest that includes a 7:00 pm to 7:00 am curfew, travel restrictions that limit him solely to parts of Manhattan -- where he lives -- during daytime hours, round-the-clock wearing of a GPS monitoring system, and free monitoring and inspection of his computers and of any employer who might hire him.

Leaning Tower of Pisa Slowly Reducing Its Lean; Not as Tilted as It Once Was Due to Action on It

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is not as tilted as it once was after it straightened slightly as a result of engineering work to protect the tourist attraction, This Is News website reports today (November 23, 2018).

Experts of the tower's Surveillance Group, which monitors restoration progress, said the monument was "stable and very slowly reducing its lean" following 17 years of observation.

The 186-foot construction straightened by 1.5 inches, according to engineering professor Nunziante Squeglia of Pisa University.

The Italian landmark has stood slightly to one side ever since building started in 1173.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

US Missionary Killed by Indian Island Tribesmen; Tribesmen Rejected Him, Killing Him with Arrow

An American missionary trying to meet and convert one of the most isolated tribes in the world offered them fish and other small gifts before the tribesman killed him and buried his body on the beach, the National Post website reports today (November 22, 2018).

John Allen Chau, 26, of Vancouver, Washington, an instagram adventurer who also led missionary trips abroad, traveled to the Andaman Islands -- an Indian territory in the Bay of Bengal.

Chau's journal of his last days, shared with the National Post by his mother, shows a treacherous journey in a small fishing boat to the area where the small tribe lived in huts. The men acted angrily  to his presence as he tried to speak their language and sing "worship songs" to them, he wrote.

Apparently, one of the tribesmen shot at Chau with an arrow, which is believed to have killed him.

US to Install ID Posts on Syria-Turkey-Border; Will Help Turks,Kurds Defeat the Islamic State

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said yesterday that the U.S. military will install observation posts along Syria's northern border with Turkey to help minimize tensions between the Turks and Washington's Kurdish allies in the fight against the Islamic State  (IS) terrorist  group, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (November 22, 2018).

"We are putting in observation posts in several locations up along the northern Syrian border," Mattis told reporters.

He added that the goal was to ensure the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, "are not drawn off that fight," so "that we can crush what's left of the geographic caliphate. "

They will be very clearly marked locations day and night so that the Turks know where they're at," he added, noting that the decision was taken in close cooperation with Turkey.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

U. of Colorado:Atheists Must Lead Bible Studies; Ratio Christi Sues Univ.,Seeks Christian Leaders

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is being sued after demanding that a Christian organization permit "atheists or other non-Christians to lead their Bible studies" in order to be recognized on campus, the Worthy News website reports today (November 21, 2018).

The Alliance Defending Freedom stated: "The university refused to grant Ratio Christi registered status because it only allows those who share and personally hold beliefs consistent with the group's mission to serve as its leaders."

"As a Christian apologetics organization, Ratio Christi seeks to defend the Christian faith and explain how the Bible applies to various current cultural, ethical, and political issues.

"Any student of any faith can become a member of Ratio Christi, as long as he supports the group's purpose. But Ratio Christi requires that those who lead the Christian organization must share its religious beliefs..."

Poland Now Plans to Rescind Its Court Reforms; EU Warned Reforms Belittled Poland's Judiciary

Following threats of fines and the loss of its right to vote in the EU (European Union), Poland is now working on a proposition to change some laws that apply to the country's Supreme Court, including changing the age when judges are required to retire, the Euro News website reports today (November 21, 2018).

It follows legislation that was implemented last summer, requiring Supreme Court judges to retire at the age of 65 instead of 70.

It affected more than a third of judges in Poland's top court.

Critics said at the time that the reform was the latest in a series of government measures aimed at politicizing the judiciary.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Suicide Bomber Kills 50 Clerics in Afghan Capital; Clerics Were Celebrating Birthday of Muhammad

A suicide bomber targeted a gathering of hundreds of Islamic scholars in the Afghan capital of Kabul today (November 20, 2018), killing at least 50 people as Muslims around the world marked the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, according to the AP website.

Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh said another 83 people were wounded in the attack, with 20 of them in critical condition and the toll likely to rise.

The suicide bomber was able to sneak into a wedding hall in Kabul where hundreds of Muslim religious scholars and clerics had gathered to mark the holiday.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but both the Taliban and a local Islamic State (IS) affiliate have targeted religious scholars aligned with the government in the past.

Swastika Defaces Jewish Mural at Duke Univ.; Mural a Tribute to 11 Jews Killed in Pittsburgh

A red swastika was painted on a mural at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in memory of the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue attack in Pittsburgh, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 20, 2018).

The swastika -- discovered November 18 -- was daubed on top of a gold Star of David painted by Duke students next to the names of the 11 victims killed during Shabbat services last month.

It is the third swastika to be found on the Duke campus in recent weeks, according to the Duke newspaper.

Duke President Vincent Price condemned the vandalism in a statement yesterday. He wrote: "That such a craven and cowardly act of vandalism -- a desecration of a memorial to individuals who were killed because they were Jewish and practicing their faith -- should happen anywhere is extremely distressing."

Monday, November 19, 2018

Tijuana Citizens Protest against Caravan Migrants; Call Central Americans "Criminals" and "Invaders"

Hundreds of angry residents took to the streets in downtown Tijuana, Mexico yesterday to protest the caravan of Central American migrants that has been streaming into the city in recent weeks, the Daily Caller website reports today (November 19, 2018).

Carrying Mexican flags and singing the national anthem, the demonstrators marched to a sports complex where about 2,000 of the migrants are being housed.

There, they denounced the mostly Honduran migrants as "criminals" and "freeloaders" who are openly flouting Mexican law.

"This is an invasion!" shouted local carpenter Luis Alexis Mendoza. "We demand respect. We demand that our laws be followed."

Syrian Army Removes IS from Southeastern Syria; IS Continues Its Terror in Eastern Syria Near Iraq

The Syrian army said today (November 19, 2018) that Islamic State (IS) militants had been cleared from a rugged area in southeastern Syria, where they had been holding out for months against a campaign to defeat them, according to the Euro News website.

In a statement, Syria's army high command said it had taken full control of the Tulul al-Safa heights, a volcanic plateau east of Sweida province.

The area was Islamic State's last stronghold in southern Syria, the statement said.

Islamic State is still active in eastern Syria in a pocket east of the Euphrates River near the border with Iraq.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Pope:Indifference Is the Perverse Root of Poverty; We Must Take Action Like Jesus to Help the Poor

"We Christians cannot stand with arms folded in indifference or thrown up in the air in helpless resignation," the pope said in his homily yesterday, the World Day of the Poor, the Catholic News website reports today (November 18, 2018).

"As believers, we must stretch out our hands as Jesus does with us, freely and lovingly offering help to the poor and all those in need," the pope said at the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

About 6,000 poor attended the Mass as special guests; they were joined by volunteers and others who assist disadvantaged communities.

"God always hears the cries of those in need," the pope said in his homily. "But what about us? Do we have eyes to see, ears to hear, hands outstretched to offer help?"

Protests in Norway against Tighter Abortion Law; Opposed to Restricting Women's Abortion Access

Thousands of protesters demonstrated in several Norwegian cities yesterday against restricting women's access to abortion, the Christian Today website reports today (November 18, 2018).

In Norway's capital of Oslo, the demonstrators marched through the city center carrying banners with slogans such as "My body my right" and "Defend abortion."

"The new law that's proposed is limiting women's rights," said Ine Lund, a 22-year-old criminology student. "I feel it should be up to the woman to choose."

The demonstrations were sparked by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg's plan to tighten abortion laws, including forbidding abortions after the twelfth week of pregnancy.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Ethiopia Muslims Bribe Christians to Convert; Promise Christians Jobs, Scholarships, Homes

A Christian leader has revealed that young Christians in Ethiopia are being lured to convert to Islam by promises of jobs, education, help to buy houses, and other aid, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (November 17, 2018).

Ethiopian Christians -- desperate to escape poverty -- are being bribed to join the Muslim religion, Aid to the Church in Need was told by a religious leader who asked to remain anonymous to protect his safety.

He said: "The [Muslim employers] are getting the younger ones -- with scholarships, promises for jobs, and so on."

He added: "Unemployment is at a very high rate in Ethiopia, so this is very attractive to the young people..."

Friday, November 16, 2018

Number of Missing in Cal. Fire Soars Past 1,000; Pres Trump Plans to Visit Fire Victims on Nov. 17

The number of people listed as missing in a devastating northern California wildfire soared past 1,000 today (November 16, 2018), as the remains of eight additional victims were found by rescuers, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters that the number of people unaccounted for had jumped from 631 to 1,011 in the last 24 hours as authorities receive more reports of people missing.

He said that on a positive note, 329 people who had been listed as missing since the fire broke out had so far been accounted for.

President Donald Trump is set to visit the region on November 17 to survey the damage and meet victims of the fire that has devoured an area roughly the size of Chicago.

CIA: Saudi Prince Ordered Khashoggi's Death; Used Many Intel Sources to Reach Conclusion

The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month, contradicting the Saudi government's claims that he was not involved in the killing, the Washington Post website reports today (November 16, 2018).

The CIA's assessment -- in which officials have said they have high confidence -- is the most definitive to date linking Mohammed to the operation, and complicates the Trump administration's efforts to preserve its relationship with a close ally.

A team of 15 Saudi agents flew to Istanbul on government aircraft in October and killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate, where he had come to pick up documents that he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.

In reaching its conclusions, the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence -- including a phone call that the prince's brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States -- had with Khashoggi.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Trump Slams French Pres. Macron in 5 Tweets; Macron to Trump:France Is US Ally, Not Vassal

French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday told Donald Trump that France was the United States' ally, and not a vassal state, after the U.S. president attacked him in a series of tweets that demonstrated how much their relationship had soured, the Yahoo News website reports today (November 15, 2018).

In five posts sent this week after a visit to Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Trump reminded France of its near-defeat by Germany in two world wars, took a swipe at its wine industry, and mentioned Macron's falling approval ratings.

Asked whether he was offended by Trump's tweets, Macron spoke at length about the long military alliance between the two countries, from America's War of Independence onwards.

"The United States are our historic ally and will continue to be. It's the ally with which we take all the risks, with which we carry out the most complicated operations. But being an ally doesn't mean being a vassal state," Macron said.

Four Israel Police Officers Injured in Jerusalem; Attacker Entered Police Station,Stabbed Officers

Four Israel police officers were injured today (November 15, 2018) in a stabbing attack at a police station in eastern Jerusalem, according to the Jewish News Daily website.

The stabber came to the entrance of the police station in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem and attacked three officers with a knife.

Other officers shot and seriously injured the attacker. A fourth police officer was injured by the live fire.

The attacker and the officers were taken to Shaarey Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem for treatment.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

FBI: US Hate Crimes on Jews Rose 37% in 2017; Most Hate Crimes in 2017 Since 2001 Terror Yr.

Hate crimes against Jews in America rose by more than a third (37 percent) last year and accounted for 58 percent of all religion-based hate crimes, according to data released yesterday by the FBI, the Worthy News website reports today (November 14, 2018).

Overall, hate crimes increased by 17 percent in 2017, the data showed, with 7,175 hate crimes reported, up from 6,121 in 2016.

The number of hate crimes based on religion is the second highest ever, behind only 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.

The report noted a 23 percent increase in religion-based hate crimes in 2017 to 1,564, representing about 20 percent of all hate crimes.

Central American Migrants Begin to Cross to US; US Border Patrol, Troops Sending Migrants Back

Hundreds of Central American migrants from the caravan have reached the U.S. border today (November 14, 2018), and scaled the fence that separates Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California, according to the WND (World Net Daily) website.

They are almost all young men, with few women and children.

Some members of the caravan have confessed they previously were deported from the U.S. as illegal aliens.

Some migrants who made it over the fence or through openings onto U.S. soil quickly ran back as Border Patrol agents approached.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Deadly Fire Traded across Israeli-Gaza Border; Eight People Killed in Israel-Palestine Clashes

Eight people have been killed in a flare-up of violence between Israeli and Palestinian militants in Gaza, the BBC website reports today (November 13, 2018).

Seven Palestinians died in the strikes on Gaza, while a Palestinian civilian was killed in a rocket attack in southern Israel.

Later, Egypt brokered a ceasefire.

The military wing of Hamas -- the Islamist movement that dominates Gaza -- said it would "abide by this declaration as long as the Zionist enemy commits to it."

Monday, November 12, 2018

UK Couple Who Named Baby "Adolf" Convicted; Showed Picture with Baby Behind Swastika Flag

A couple in Britain, who named their baby after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, have been convicted in Birmingham, England for being members of a far-right group, the Euro News website reports today (November 12, 2018).

Adam Thomas, 22, and Claudia Patatas, 38, were found guilty of being members of National Action after a four-week trial. The organization was banned in 2016 under the UK's Terrorism Act.

The court heard Thomas and Patatas gave their baby son the middle name "Adolf" in honor of Germany's late Fascist leader.

Investigators uncovered pictures of Thomas cradling the boy while donning white Ku Klux Klan robes and another with the couple posing with the baby behind a swastika flag. The couple will be sentenced next month.

At Least 31 People Have Died in 2 Cal. Fires; Thousands of Homes Burned in Worst Fires

Nearly three dozen people have now died in wildfires burning across California, as crews fight today (November 12, 2018) to get control of the flames, according to the UPI website.

Officials said two large fires in Northern and Southern California have led to the deaths of at least 31 people, burned thousands of homes, and forced some 150,000 people to evacuate.

"This week, California has experienced the most destructive fires we have seen in its history," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Scott Jalbert said.

The town of Paradise has taken the brunt of the damage, with 23 dead. Celebrities who have lost their homes in the current fires include Miley Cyrus, Gerard Butler, Martin Sheen, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Caitlyn Jenner, and Rainn Wilson.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Man Sets Car on Fire,Then Stabs 3 in Australia; Islamic State Claims Responsible for Terror Act

A man was shot dead by police yesterday after he set a car on fire and stabbed three people -- one fatally -- on a busy street in Melbourne, Australia, in what authorities say was an act of terrorism, the Yahoo News website reports today (November 10, 2018).

Police officers responded to reports of a vehicle fire in Melbourne's central business district when they were confronted by a man brandishing a knife and threatening them.

Officers shot the man as he ran toward them, police said. None of the officers was hurt.

The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Ala. Voters OK Displays of Ten Commandments; "First State to Acknowledge That We Want God"

In the elections held last Tuesday (November 6), voters in Alabama approved the public display of the Ten Commandments, the Christian Headlines website reports today (November 9, 2018).

The vote adds an amendment to the state's constitution that reaffirms religious liberty for all people, allows the display of the Ten Commandments according to certain constitutional standards, and forbids the expenditure of public money in defense of the amendment on the displays it authorizes.

The measure -- favored by more than 71 percent of Alabama voters -- reads: "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama in 1901, providing for certain religious rights and liberties; authorizing the display of the Ten Commandments on state property and property owned or administered by a public school or public body; and prohibiting the expenditure of public funds in defense of the constitutionality of this amendment."

The amendment's leading advocate, Dean Young, said: "The people we were hearing from are super excited to have this opportunity to go down in history as the first state to acknowledge that we want God, that is the Christian God, in their Constitution..."

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Missouri Diocese Abuse Report Names 33 Clergy; Accused or Removed over Sexual Abuse of Minors

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri said today (November 8, 2018) that 33 priests or religious brothers in the diocese have been "credibly accused" and/or removed from the ministry over sexual abuse of minors, according to the ABC News website. 

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight released a complete list of the names that followed an internal investigation begun in February. 

The list includes 25 priests from the diocese, three priests from other areas who previously served in the Jefferson City diocese, and five members of a religious order. 

Fourteen of the 33 men named are dead. The diocese said the most recent case of physical sexual abuse found in the investigation occurred in 1997. Only one man on the list was criminally convicted. 

Pope Francis Calls for Cleaner Drinking Water; Lack of Safe Drinking Water "Immense Shame"

Pope Francis today (November 8, 2018) called the lack of drinking water in the world an "immense shame" in the 21st century, according to the UPI website.

Speaking at a one-day international conference at Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, the pope said better access to drinking water must be provided to people around the globe.

He said people dying from lack of clean water "is an immense shame for humanity in the 21st century."

The pope added that corruption and corporate greed are often put ahead of needs of people who need clean drinking water to live. He called on those attending the conference to express urgency in the matter.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Greek Govt. Takes 10K Clergy Off Fed. Payroll; Govt.Will Use State Subsidy for Clergy Salaries

Greece and its Orthodox Church tentatively agreed yesterday to remove some 10,000 priests from the state payroll, in a deal that will enhance a clearer distinction between church and state, the Reuters website reports today (November 7, 2018).

The Greek Orthodox Church has played a leading role in the life of the country for many centuries and is its official religion under the constitution.

Under the deal, reached between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Archbishop Ieronymos of the Church of Greece, the state will transfer an annual state subsidy to a special church fund for the payment of priests' salaries.

The current annual cost of the priests on the government's payroll is about 200 million euros.

Brooklyn Gang Attacks Hasidic Boy in Hate Crime; Then Shatter a Synagogue Window during Services

A young Hasidic boy was attacked this past Saturday (November 3) by a gang of half a dozen hoodlums in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn just moments before the older teens proceeded to smash the window of a synagogue where Jews were inside praying, the Jewish Press website reports today (November 7, 2018).

The boy was walking along the sidewalk on Franklin Avenue when the young hoodlums ran up around him, and then knocked his hat off before moving on to attack the synagogue.

The gang hurled a metal pole through a glass window of the lower-floor synagogue, shattering it.

New York City Police have refused to label the attack a hate crime.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Egypt May Ban Islamic Face Veil to Cut Crime; Would Prevent Criminals from Hiding Identity

A bill in Egypt's parliament would ban the niqab, or Islamic face veil, from being worn outside, in public institutions and restaurants, in an effort to prevent criminals from using the veil to hide their identities, the World Israel News website reports today (November 6, 2018).

The bill proposes a fine of 1,000 Egyptian pounds (about $55) for wearing the niqab in public. Repeated offenses would carry heavier fines.

Egyptian lawmaker Ghada Ajami told the local media: "Security troubles in Egypt are accelerating these bold decisions in light of attempts to target state institutions, and increasing criminal and terrorist crime rates."

She added: "We are currently in an ongoing war against terrorism, we should do our best to end it. The veil or niqab is used by many people as a cover for the crimes that they are committing; it is not part of the personal freedom as some say."

Pamela Anderson Says Feminism Going Too Far; Says It Paralyzes Men,Slams Weinstein Accusers

In an interview with Australia's "60 Minutes" TV program on November 4, former "Baywatch" star Pamela Anderson said feminism now goes too far, and the Me Too movement "paralyzes men," the Huffington Post website reports today (November 6, 2018).

"I think feminism can go too far," the actress and model said. "I'm a feminist, but I think that this third-wave feminism is a bore. I think it paralyzes men."

She also told reporter Liam Bartlett that the "Me Too" movement is "a bit too much" for her, adding "I'm sorry, I'll probably get killed for saying that."

Anderson went on to victim-blame many of the Harvey Weinstein accusers who first went public with accusations last fall. "My mother taught me don't go to a hotel with a stranger. If someone answers the door in a bathrobe and it's supposed to be 'a business meeting' maybe I should go with someone else," she said.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Principal Ends Student Praying during Free Time; Lawyers: He Violated Students' 1st Amend. Rights

Lawyers with First Liberty Institute -- one of the nation's premier defenders of religious liberty -- have confronted a Texas high school principal's decision to "quarantine" students who wanted to pray together during non-class time, the WND (World Net Daily) website reports today (November 5, 2018).

"Ya'll don't do that again," the principal, Lee Frost, told the students after they met during a lunch period, sat at an empty table, and quietly prayed together.

Frost then told the students they could pray only if they went on the cafeteria's stage behind the curtain, outside of the school building, or in the gym while no one was present.

"Students should not have to hide or be exiled to pray for each other," said Keisha Russell, associate counsel for First Liberty. "School officials need to remember that students don't lose their First Amendment rights at the school house gate..."

Fla. Woman's Nazi-Themed Yard Enrages Jews; Has Skeletons Saluting Hitler, Auschwitz Events

A Florida woman -- who says she is Jewish -- has angered neighbors and received death threats over a Halloween display in her yard that evokes Auschwitz, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (November 5, 2018).

The display -- erected last week ahead of Halloween -- is full of skeletons,  some saluting Hitler and others with concentration camp numbers on their arms and yellow Stars of David on their chests.

Behind the skeletons is a sign reading "Arbeit Macht Frei," or "Work Sets You Free," the statement found on the entrance of the Auschwitz Nazi camp.

Susan Lamerton, who owns the home in New Port Richey, near the west coast of Florida, told a Tampa TV station that she is Jewish and she put up the display after fighting with the homeowners association over landscaping.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Egypt Forces Kill 19 Mil. Who Killed Christians; Mil. Had Killed 7 Christians Going to Monastery

Egypt said today (November 4, 2018) that security forces have killed 19 militants in a shootout, including the gunmen suspected of killing seven Christians in an attack on pilgrims traveling to a desert monastery, according to the Newsmax website.

The Interior Ministry said the militants were tracked to a hideout in the desert west of the central province of Minya, the site of yesterday's attack, which also left 19 people wounded.

An Islamic State (IS) affiliate centered in the Sinai Peninsula has repeatedly targeted  Christians in recent years.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi led the 2013 overthrow of an elected but radical Islamist president and has since waged a sweeping crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands of Islamists and other activists.

Utah Mayor,Guard Troop Dies in Afghanistan; Was Shot Dead by One of His Afghan Trainees

The mayor of a Utah town, who was also a Utah Army National Guard major training commando in Afghanistan, was fatally shot today (November 4, 2018), by one of his Afghan trainees, according to the AP website.

Brent Taylor, 39, had a yearlong leave of absence as mayor of North Ogden north of Salt Lake City for his deployment in Afghanistan.

Maj. Gen. Jefferson Burton, the adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, said Taylor's mission was to help train and build the capacity of the Afghan national army.

Burton added: "He was with folks he was helping and training. That's what's so painful about this..."

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Ukraine Pres. Meets Head Patriarch in Istanbul; Thanks Him for Approving Ukraine Church Ind.

Ukraine's president met the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople today, as some Ukrainian clerics prepare to break ties with the Russian Orthodox Church, according to the VOA News website.

President Petro Poroshenko and Patriarch Bartholomew I spoke in Istanbul today, after the patriarchate's October 11 decision to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. As a result, Russia broke off ties with the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Poroshenko thanked the patriarch, who is the "first among equals" (among patriarchs) and is considered the ex officio leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The Ukrainian Church had been under the Russian Orthodox Church since 1686. Ukrainian clerics are now being asked to join the independent Ukraine Orthodox Church or remain affiliated with Russia.

Palestinian Council Disbars Recognition of Israel; Does So Till Israel Recognizes a Palestinian State

The Palestinian Central Council has voted to suspend its recognition of the State of Israel util Israel recognizes a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, the World Israel News website reports today (November 3, 2018).

"We recognize the right to resist the occupation in all methods that comply with international law," the Palestinian Central Council said.

The Council, which is the policy-making body of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to follow its ruling, which also called for cutting all ties with Israel.

The decision requires the approval of another committee before it can be implemented.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Alec Baldwin Arrested in NYC for Punching Man; Punched Over Parking Spot Taken in West Village

The New York Police Department said Alec Baldwin, the actor, was arrested today (November 2, 2018) after he allegedly punched a man over a parking spot in lower Manhattan, according to The Daily Beast website.

Baldwin was arrested around 1:30 p.m. on 10th Street in the West Village.

He was charged with assault and harassment, and released from the NYPD.

Baldwin had someone holding a parking spot for him, and while he was moving his car to the spot, someone else tool the space. After Baldwin noticed the space had been taken, he approached the man and punched him.

Police Nab 13 in Ultra-Orthodox Draft Protest; Arrest of Yeshiva Student Sparks Israel Protest

Thirteen ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters were arrested in Bnei Brak, Israel yesterday after they attacked police officers and blocked a major central highway during a demonstration against the army draft, the Times of Israel website reports today (November 2, 2018).

Hundreds took part in the demonstration that was initiated by the radical ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem Faction over the recent arrest of a yeshiva student who failed to register at a military draft office.

Protesters calling "We'd rather die than be recruited" blocked central streets in the Tel Aviv suburb, causing heavy traffic congestion.

Many in the ultra-Orthodox community shun military service that applies to most Israelis, and students at religious seminaries have been exempt from serving in the army. However, last September, Israel's highest court ruled that Israel's draft law granting most yeshiva students army exemptions was unconstitutional, and gave the government until December 2, 2018 to pass an amended version of the law.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Report: N. Korean Men Sexually Abuse Women; "They Consider Us Like Sex Toys at Their Mercy"

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) revealed in a report today (November 1, 2018) that North Korean officials often commit sexual abuse against women with near total impunity, the BBC website reports.

HRW said such abuse is so common that it has become a part of ordinary life in North Korea.

The report -- based on interviews with 62 North Korean women who fled the country -- revealed a culture of open unaddressed abuse, particularly from men in positions of power, such as party officers, prison guards, police, and soldiers.

"They consider us [sex] toys. We are at the mercy of men," Oh Jung-hee, a former trader in her 40s told the report's authors.

Italy Plans to Reward Parents to Have 3rd Child; Would Grant Them Farmland to Raise Birth Rate

Italy is considering giving land to families who have a third child in a bid to reverse the country's declining birth rate, the Euro News website reports today (November 1, 2018).

The plan -- put forward by the far-right League party -- was included in the government's draft budget for next year.

Italy has the lowest birth rate in the European Union and it has been falling every year since 2010, according to Eurostat.

The parcel of agricultural land -- currently owned by the state -- would be granted to parents who have a third child between 2019 and 2021.

Cal.Synagogue Vandalized 4 Days after Pittsburgh; Anti-Semitic Graffiti Sprayed on Irvine Synagogue

Anti-Semitic graffiti has been found sprayed on a Southern California synagogue, just four days after a shooter in Pittsburgh killed 11 Jews in the deadliest attack against the Jewish community in U.S. history, The Daily Beast website reports today (November 1, 2018).

The Irvine Police Department said the vandal's message was put on the side of the Beth Jacob Synagogue at 1 a.m. on October 31.

Surveillance film shows a hoodie-wearing suspect fleeing the scene on a bike.

"I just feel very sad that in America, in 2018, we still have to worry about anti-Semitism," said Allen Berzovsky, president of the temple's board.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Exclusive: Support for Al-Qaeda Is Growing in US; Some Muslim Financial Donations Go to Terrorists

There is a growing support for al-Qaeda among some groups of disaffected African-American converts in inner-city areas across the U.S., the Clarion Project website reports exclusively today (October 31, 2018).

In some areas, Muslim worshipers are asked to make financial donations to causes in African nations. Clarion Project intelligence analysts believe that some of this cash finds its way into the hands of terrorists.

Cities where al-Qaeda's popularity is on the rise include New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and heavily-populated areas in California and Texas.

Al-Qaeda perceives the American government as launching a war against Muslims, and for Osama bin Laden and his followers that was sufficient to follow the Quaran call to fight those who fight you.

Turkish Prosecutor: Khashoggi Strangled, Cut Up; Killed Upon Entering Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

Turkey's public prosecutor said today (October 31, 2018) that Jamal Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered upon arrival at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month as part of a premeditated plan to kill the prominent Saudi journalist and dispose of his body, according to the Washington Post website.

The statement marked the most conclusive official description to date of what happened to the prominent journalist.

It also intensified pressure on Saudi Arabia to find its way out of a crisis that has elicited sharp criticism from Western allies.

Irfan Fidan, the Turkish prosecutor, said Khashoggi was "strangled as soon he entered the consulate" in line with "premeditated plans."

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Trump Pays Tribute to 11 Killed in Synagogue; Many Pittsburgh Jews against Him Attending

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump stepped into the vestibule of a Pittsburgh synagogue today (October 30, 2018) to light candles for 11 Jews slain in the worst instance of anti-Semitic violence in American history, according to the Times of Israel website.

 Outside the Tree of Life synagogue, the Trumps placed stones for each victim, a Jewish burial tradition, and placed small white roses just steps from where a gunman opened fire during Sabbath services last Saturday and further shook a nation reeling from jarring expressions of political violence and hate.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was conducting services when the shooter opened fire, accompanied the Trumps and spoke at each stop, explaining and gesturing at the stars that make up the makeshift memorial.

Many Pittsburgh Jews did not want Trump to attend the memorial services, because they believe that he is a "nationalist" extremist, similar to the German Nazis during World War II that killed some six million Jews.

Trump Ends Benefits of US Born Migrant Babies; Will Issue an Executive Order Ending Citizenship

President Donald Trump said he will change federal law to remove citizenship to babies born inside the U.S. to non-U.S. citizens, the UPI website reports today (October 30, 2018).

The president said he will issue an executive order changing how the 14th Amendment is applied to children of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Such an order would be his most aggressive move yet to end so-called "anchor babies." It would most likely be challenged in federal court.

"With all of those benefits [of citizenship], it's ridiculous," Trump said. "And it has to end."

Monday, October 29, 2018

Some 5,200 US Force Heads to Mexico Border; Subdues 7K Migrant Caravan from Entering US

The Pentagon is deploying 5,200 active duty troops to beef up security along the U.S.-Mexico border, officials announced today (October 29, 2018), in a bid to prevent a caravan of some 7,000 Central American migrants from illegally entering the U.S., according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

About 2,000 National Guardsmen are already deployed at the border.

Nonetheless, the migrants were crossing the Suchiate River from Guatemala into Mexico on rafts made from truck tires, or by forming human chains to avoid being swept away.

Others swam across after Mexican authorities refused to open a Guatemala-Mexico border bridge, located about 1,000 miles from the U.S. border.

Trump Rips News Media for Anger Pervading US; Asserts Fake News Must End to Restore Harmony

President Donald Trump today (October 29, 2028) blamed the news media for the "great anger" that is spreading across the U.S., according to the Raw Story website.

Writing on Twitter, the president said: "There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news."

"The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open and obvious hostility and report the news accurately and fairly," he added.

Trump concluded: "That will do much to put out the flame of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony."

Over 90K People Meet in Tex. to Praise Jesus; Event Seen as Start of "New Jesus Movement"

Over 90,000 people came together last week at the Texas Motor Speedway to praise Jesus and hear the word of Christ, the Christian Headlines website reports today (October 29, 2018).

A Minneapolis-based ministry called PLUSE hosted an event called "Together 2018," in an effort to set hearts on fire for Christ and the Bible.

PLUSE partnered with over 1,000 churches across the country in order to coordinate the event. "Together 2018" featured major Christian artists like Jesus Culture, Bethel Music, Lecrae, and Jonathan Taylor and invite speakers including Robert Morris, Francis Chan, Todd White and Ravi Zacharias among others to share the Good News.

Nick Hall, the founder of PLUSE, said that this event is the beginning of "a new Jesus movement."

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Russian Arms Official: Russia Preparing for War; Due to US Departure from Nuclear Missile Treaty

A Russian senior arms-control official says his nation is "preparing for war" over President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear missile treaty, the WND (World Net Daily) website reports today (October 28, 2018).

Andrei Belusov made the declaration after Russia lost a vote at the United Nations to gather support from other nations for the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty.

Belusov said: "Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I have confirmed it. We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people -- we are preparing for such a war."

Trump accused Russia last week of violating the agreement many times, resulting in his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement.

Sinead O'Connor Converts to Islam Religion; Scorned for Ripping Photo of Pope on "SNL"

Despite the fact that Islam treats women as second-class citizens, Irish singer Sinead O'Connor has revealed that she has converted from Christianity to Islam and has changed her name, the Yahoo News website reports today (October 28, 2018).

The "Nothing Compares 2 U" star explained that her decision was the "natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian's journey," adding her new name was Shuhada' Davitt, replacing her name of Magda Davitt.

An outspoken critique of religion throughout her career, Davitt was ordained a priest by a breakaway church, but the Catholic Church did not recognize the ceremony, since it does not allow women to become priests.

The singer gained scornful worldwide attention in 1992, after she ripped a picture of  Pope John Paul II -- and referred to him as "evil" -- during an appearance on the TV show "Saturday Night Live."

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Catholic Church Synod Fails to Reassure Youth; Month-Long Vatican Bishops' Meeting a Fiasco

Hailed as a chance for the Catholic Church to reconnect with today's youth, a month-long meeting at the Vatican ended today (October 27, 2018) with a whimper as bishops from around the world failed to see eye to eye, according to the France 24 website.

The 267 prelates attending the met had been tasked with finding a way to breathe fresh life into a centuries-old institution suffering from both a damaging global sex abuse crisis and widespread secularity in the West.

The synod's concluding document "looks like an IKEA catalogue," one bishop said.

He added, "You have everything you need for the bathroom and the kitchen, in all styles, so everyone can identify with it."

Gunman Kills Eight at Synagogue in Pittsburgh; Asserts "All These Jews Need to Die" at Services

Saying "All these Jews need to die," a gunman killed eight people and injured several others today (October 27, 2018) at a Pittsburgh synagogue, according to the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website.

The incident occurred around 10:20 a.m. at The Tree of Life, a 150-year-old Conservative Jewish congregation in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

The suspect was identified as Robert Bowers, a 46-year-old white male who surrendered to a SWAT team on the scene.

Police said at least three officers were wounded in the gunfire exchanges.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Mattis Approves More Troops for Mexican Border; Trump:Caravan Infiltrated by "Middle Easterners"

The Pentagon today (October 26, 2018) approved a request for additional troops at the Mexico border -- likely to total over 1,000 -- to help the U.S. Border Patrol, as President Trump seeks to block a caravan of some 7,000 Central American migrants from entering the U.S., according to the Newsmax website.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed off on a request for help from the Department of Homeland Security, according to a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, since the planning has not yet been publicly announced.

There are already about 2,000 National Guard troops at the Mexico border under a previous Pentagon arrangement.

Trump, who claimed "Middle Easterners" have infiltrated the caravan, said he was using the military to respond to a "National Emergency."