Wednesday, January 31, 2018

PM: France Faces New Form of Anti-Semitism; Includes More Violence, Attacks on Young Kids

France is facing a "new form of anti-Semitism" marked by violence, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said today (January 31, 2018), deploring an assault last week in a Paris suburb on an 8-year-old boy wearing a Jewish skullcap, according to the VOA News website.

The attack occurred in Sarcelles, a northern suburb with a large Jewish population. (Young Jewish children are often attacked and bullied in France today by Muslims.)

French media described the attackers as teenagers who ran away after tripping and kicking the boy to the ground. There have been no arrests.

Philippe noted the emergence of a new kind of anti-Semitism in France, which has the largest Jewish population in western Europe.

Exclusive:Islamic Camps Train Terrorists in US; Muslims of the Americas Is Islam Terrorist Cult

Newly-released FBI documents confirm that the Jamaat ul-Fuqra Islamic terror group is training members in isolated communes across America and Canada, the Clarion Project website reports exclusively today (January 31, 2018).

The group's "Islamberg" headquarters in upstate New York is its most well-known "Islamic village." Several Fuqra members are being investigated by the FBI.

Fuqra -- which now goes by the name of Muslims of the Americas (MOA) among other titles -- is a cultish Islamist group with a history of crime and terrorism. The group is led by Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani in Pakistan.

Clarion Project also recently reported that Fuqra's General Counsel, Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, is running for Congress in Massachusetts.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

US Lifting Its Ban on Refugees from 11 Countries; Those Seeking to Enter US Face Tougher Security

The United States announced yesterday it was lifting its ban on refugees from 11 high-risk countries, but said those seeking to enter the U.S. would come under much tougher scrutiny than in the past, The Globe Post website reports today (January 30, 2018).

Applicants from the 11 countries -- unnamed but understood to include 10 Muslim-majority nations and North Korea -- will face tougher "risk-based" assessments to be accepted.

"It's critically important that we know who is entering the United States," said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Although not identified by the government, the 11 countries are believed to be: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Muslim Students Knife,Beat Christians in Kenya; Attack Christian Students Opposed to Converting

Muslim students at a high school in Nairobi, Kenya on January 23 beat and stabbed Christians who refused to convert to Islam, the Christian Headlines website reports today (January 30, 2018).

Tensions had been growing for weeks at Jamhuri High School in northern Nairobi. Due to increased hostilities, the boarding school had designated separate bathrooms and separate sections in the library for Christians and Muslims.

On the night of January 23, some Muslim students forcefully tried to induct Christian students into the Islam faith and those who refused were knifed, while others were physically beaten, according to a local source.

At least 35 of the school's 1,500 students were injured, including some Muslims, in the conflict. Some Christian students required hospital treatment for stab wounds. The school has been closed indefinitely.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Atheist Group Won't Ruin Ben Carson's Values; FFRF Sues Him Due to His Weekly Bible Study

"I will not stop being a Christian while in service to my country," Ben Carson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said in response to a lawsuit filed against him by an atheist group, unhappy that he is attending a weekly Bible study, the USSA News website reports today (January 29, 2018).

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is also opposed to any government resources being used by Carson at the meetings.

Carson said, "I refuse to be intimidated by anti-religious groups into relinquishing my spirituality or religious beliefs."

He added, "One of the principles of our nation's founding is freedom of religion..."

NJ Mom Sues School for Islamic Indoctrination; Says Middle School Tried to Convert Son to Islam

A New Jersey mother is suing officials and teachers in her son's middle school, charging that seventh-grade students were subjected to Islamist propaganda and explicit calls to convert to Islam, the Clarion Project website reports today (January 29, 2018).

The suit -- filed in a U.S. district court against Chatham Middle School -- claims the students' First Amendment rights were violated in a World Cultures and Geography class.

Libby Hilsenrath, whose son was exposed to the course material, brought her concerns to the attention of the local school board, but they were disregarded.

Richard Thompson, a lawyer who represents Hilsenrath in the lawsuit, remarked: "What would people say if our public schools taught Christianity as the true faith?" He called the course "Islamic indoctrination."

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Erdogan Wants to Clear Out Kurds in All of Syria; Striking US-Backed Kurds Increases US Tensions

President Tayyip Erdogan said today (January 28, 2018) that Turkey will "clean" its entire border with Syria, indicating that Turkey's current offensive on the Kurds in northern Syria's Afrin region will be extended further, according to the Reuters website.

Since Turkey's attack on Afrin began nine days ago, it has increased tensions between Ankara and Washington, which supports Kurdish troops.

Erdogan said Turkey might conduct operations eastward in Syria all the way to Iraq to clear the Kurds from its frontier.

More than a week into their offensive, however, Turkish troops have made little progress fighting into the hilly terrain against the U.S.-equipped and unrelenting Kurds.

Israeli PM:Poland Can't Deny Backing Holocaust; Poland Decides to Jail Anyone Stating a Pole Role

"One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied," said a furious Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement today (January 28, 2018) regarding a new law approved by the Polish parliament making it a crime to mention Polish complicity during the Holocaust, according to the Washington Post website.

Polish lawmakers voted on January 26 for a bill that would fine or jail people who blame Poland or Poles for Nazi atrocities committed on its soil during World War II, including the deaths of millions of Jews at the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and other camps in Poland.

The bill -- which would jail even foreigners up to three years for using terms such as "Polish extermination camps" -- passed Poland's lower legislature overwhelmingly, and is expected to become a law soon.

Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Center, said in a statement the new law was "liable to blur the historical truths regarding the assistance the Germans received from the Polish population during the Holocaust."

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Greece Reveres Holocaust Remembrance Day; Holocaust Museum in Greece Will Honor Jews

The Greek Foreign Ministry issued a statement today (January 27, 2018) to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, which it described as "humanity's small tribute to the memory of the millions of Jews exterminated in the Nazi concentration camps," according to the Ekathimerini (Daily) website.

It is estimated that some 60,000 Greek Jews died during World War II.

"The Greek State will never forget the heinous crimes perpetrated against the Greek Jews," said the ministry. "Greece unequivocally condemns all forms of anti-Semitism and has undertaken systematic efforts to combat intolerance and racism," it asserted.

"In the context of this ongoing effort to redress historical injustices against the Greek Jewish community, the work that is to begin soon on the construction of the Thessaloniki [Greece's second largest city] Holocaust Museum is an important step in the institutional enshrinement of the memory of the Holocaust," the ministry added.

At Least 95 Dead,158 Wounded in Afghan Attack; Attacker Used Ambulance Filled with Explosives

The Taliban orchestrated a suicide car bombing that claimed the lives of at least 95 people and wounded 158 others today (January 27, 2018) in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, according to the Fox News website.

Wahid Majroh, a spokesman for the public health ministry, said that the toll might still rise, because reports from the hospital show many of the wounded appear to be in critical condition.

The attacker used an ambulance filled with explosives to pass through a security checkpoint, telling police he was transporting a patient to a nearby hospital, said Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesperson for the Interior Ministry.

"The majority of the dead in the attack are civilians, but of course we have military casualties as well," Rahimi said.

Friday, January 26, 2018

German Anti-Semitism Soars 70 Yrs. after WWII; Over 1.5M Muslim Refugees in 2016 Fuel Hatred

The legacy of anti-Semitism is still haunting Germany, the Fox News website reports today (January 26, 2018).

The evidence, as Germany marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day tomorrow (January 27),  is unavoidable. There are swastikas on buildings, desecrated Jewish cemeteries, anti-Semitic comments flooding social media, Israeli flags burned at demonstrations, and physical assaults on Jews.

According to the latest figures available from the Ministry of the Interior, there were 1,468 anti-Semitic offenses reported in 2016. German Jews are concerned about the 1.5 million Muslim refugees who entered Germany in 2015-16 because many come from countries where hatred of Jews is religious doctrine.

Jewish leaders like Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Jewish Community of Munich and Northern Bavaria, express frustration with the situation. Knobloch laments the fact that more than 70 years after the Holocaust, Jewish public life is not possible without police protection.

Trump: No Palestinian Funds Until Peace Talks; Says Recognition of Jerusalem Encourages Talks

Sitting next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, U.S. President Donald Trump told the press that the U.S. would no longer transfer monetary aid to Palestinians unless they entered peace negotiations with Israel, the Times of Israel website reports today (January 26, 2018).

Trump said: "That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace, because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace, and they're going to have to want to make peace too..."

Netanyahu called Trump's Jerusalem recognition a "historic decision." He added it would advance the prospects for a peace agreement.

Trump said his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital promotes the peace process to begin. "We took Jerusalem off the table, so we don't have to talk about it anymore. They never got past Jerusalem."

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Jordan King: No Mideast Peace Deal without US; Jerusalem Can Be a Glorious City or Violent One

King Abdullah of Jordan said today (January 25, 2018) that there will be no peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without the U.S., despite U.S. President Trump's Muslim-enraging decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post website.

"We cannot have a peace process or peace solution without the role of  the United States," said the King of Jordan at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"The subject of Jerusalem has to be part of a comprehensive solution for Israel and the Palestinians," Abdullah said.

He added that the outcome of the embassy move "comes back to how we see Jerusalem in the future." The city is as important to Christians as it is to Muslims. "It could be a tremendous city or it can lead to violence, the likes of which we've never seen before."

Paris' Seine River Is Flooding Parts of the City; Closes 7 Metro Stations, Lower Floor of Louvre

Following weeks of heavy rain in Paris, the Seine River continues to rise -- now putting its famous Louvre Museum in danger -- the ABC News website reports today (January 25, 2017).

The water level is expected to reach 20 feet by January 27, which is 13 feet higher than its normal height, according to the latest official weather bulletin.

The rise of the water level has caused seven metro stations alongside the river in Paris to close down. They will remain closed until January 31.

The flood is also affecting the Louvre Museum, located next to the Seine. France's most visited Museum -- home of the Mona Lisa -- has closed its lower level of the Department of Islamic Arts until January 28.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Syrian Christians Seek End to Turkey Aggression; Want UN to End the Attacks on Kurds in N.Syria

Christian churches in Syria are crying out for help amid deadly attacks by Turkish forces on Kurdish areas of the nation ravaged by a brutal civil war during the past seven years, the Christian Post website reports today (January 24, 2018).

Churches in northern Syria's Afrin area are calling on the United Nations not to ignore their plight as they face "great danger from Turkey and its jihadist alliance," which began a military campaign in the Afrin region last week on grounds that Kurdish militias pose a "security threat."

As clashes between Syrian Democratic Forces and Turkish-led forces that include allied militant factions have taken place throughout the region over the last several days, thousands of civilians have fled their homes and a number have been killed as a result of the conflict.

The violence is also impacting religious minorities in the region -- including Christians and Yazidis -- who have experienced a level of religious freedom under the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria that advocates say is not enjoyed by religious minorities living in other parts of the Middle East.

Pope Compares Fake News to Snake in Bible; Devil Persuaded Eve to Eat a Forbidden Fruit

Pope Francis today (January 24, 2018) decried the "evil" or "fake news" in a message marking World Communications Day, saying those who create untruthful stories use "snake tactics," according to the Religion News website.

Speaking today to mark the Catholic feast day of Francis de Sales -- the patron saint of journalists -- the pontiff compared the proliferation of "fake news" to the story of the serpent in the biblical book of Genesis.

Noting how the snake (the devil in disguise) persuaded Eve to eat fruit from the forbidden tree, the pope said: "There is no such thing as harmless disinformation; on the contrary, trusting in falsehood can have dire consequences."

Francis also focused on the role of journalists, whom he called "the protectors of news." He said reporters have a "weighty responsibility" to make sure stories are accurate, adding "theirs is, in every sense, not just a job; it is a mission."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

At Least 22 Killed in Twin Benghazi Car Bombs; Not Clear Who Is Responsible,But IS Suspected

At least 22 people have been killed in two car bombs near a mosque in the Libyan city of Benghazi, The World Bulletin website reports today (January 23, 2018).

Some 20 to 30 more people were wounded by the blasts, which took place within minutes of each other.

The first vehicle blew up in front of a mosque in the central al-Sleimani neighborhood, as worshippers were leaving the building after evening prayers. The second car exploded shortly afterwards in the same area.

It is not yet clear who was behind the attacks, but the Islamic State (IS) terror group has gained a foothold in Libya where it has carried out attacks in the past.

Neo-Nazis Thrive in Poland, Praise Adolf Hitler; Head of Jewish Community Says Govt. Must Act

Following a television report about neo-Nazis in Poland, the leader of the country's federation of Jewish communities said the extremists are thriving due to inaction by the government, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (January 23, 2018).

A TVN report over the weekend featured young men filmed displaying swastikas and speaking positively about Adolf Hitler. The report showed about 10 individuals from the Pride and Modernity group who celebrated Hitler's birthday on April 20 at a private residence with a cake featuring a swastika glaze.

Leslaw Piszewski, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland, called out Polish authorities on Facebook in responding to the documentary.

"What else has to happen for us to look open our eyes; the authorities say that fascism and nazism are not tolerated in Poland," he wrote. "I want to believe in these words, but let authorities do their job."

Monday, January 22, 2018

Greeks Protest "Macedonia" in Name of FYROM; Its Name Blocks FYROM from Joining NATO, EU

Thousands of Greeks turned out in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki yesterday to show their anger over the use of the name "Macedonia" by neighboring FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), as Athens and Skopje seek a solution to the long-running row, the Euro News website reports today (January 22, 2018).

Greece says the title "Macedonia" by FYROM implies a territorial claim over its bordering northern province of the same name, where Alexander the Great was born. (FYROM has built statues of Alexander the Great in its capital of Skopje in a delusional effort to honor him as a Slav, when in fact historians agree that Alexander was of Greek heritage, not Slavic.)

Pantelis Paschalidis, a member of Naoussa Cultural Club said: "There is no reason to discuss the self-evident. The Slavs came a long time after Alexander the Great and they have nothing to do with the culture of Greece."

This month Athens and Skopje agreed to renew efforts to settle the 25-year-old name dispute, which has blocked the ex-Yugoslav republic's attempt to join NATO and the European Union (EU).

Jan.22 Is "National Sanctity of Human Life Day;" Declared by Trump to Subdue Roe v Wade Anniv.

President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation declaring January 22 -- which is the anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court abortion-approval decision in Roe v Wade -- as "National Sanctity of Human Life Day," according to the Christian Post website.

In an official statement released on January 19, President Trump explained in the proclamation that the observance is meant to "affirm the truth that all life is sacred, that every person has inherent dignity and worth, and that no class of people should ever be discarded as 'non-human.'"

"Reverence for every human life, one of the values for which our Founding Fathers fought, defines the character of our Nation. Today, it moves us to promote the health of pregnant mothers and their unborn children," read the proclamation.

Trump's human life proclamation comes as he became the first sitting president to address the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Turkish Tanks, Troops Roll into Northern Syria; Fight with US-Backed Kurdish Troops by Border

Turkish ground forces pushed into northern Syria's Afrin province today (January 21, 2018), after Turkey launched artillery and air strikes on a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia it aims to sweep from its border, according to the Express (British) website.

Turkey launched the invasion seeking to oust from the Afrin region the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers a terror group.

The invasion risks further increasing tensions with Turkey's NATO ally, the United States, which has supported the YPG in the fight against Islamic State (IS) terrorists.

Syria's ongoing civil war has killed more than 340,000 people and displaced millions since it erupted in 2011.

Iraqi Court Rules Woman IS Member Must Die; First Foreign Woman to Get Death for Aiding IS

An Iraqi court today (January 21, 2018) sentenced to death a German woman of Moroccan origin for Islamic State (IS) membership, according to the Reuters website.

The German national was captured by Iraqi forces during the battle for Mosul, last year, a spokesman said, declining to identify her. She is the first foreign woman to be sentenced to death in Iraq for joining the militant group.

The woman was convicted of participating in attacks on Iraqi security forces and offering the terrorist group logistical support.

Iraq declared victory last month over the Islamic State, which had seized control of nearly one-third of the country in 2014. However, IS continues to carry out bombings and other terror attacks in the country from time to time.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Gunmen Storm Kabul Hotel in Afghanistan; Shoot at Guests and Staff, Set Hotel on Fire

Gunmen burst into Kabul's luxury Intercontinental Hotel today (January 20, 2018), shooting at guests and staff and setting the building on fire, officials said, as security forces battled to end the more than eight-hour-long assault, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

Special forces were lowered by helicopters onto the roof of the landmark hilltop hotel during the night-time siege, interior ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told AFP, adding two attackers had been killed.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest assault in the war-torn Afghan capital.

"Seven wounded people have been taken to hospital," Rahimi said. He added that fatality figures will be released once the operation ends.

WCC:Future of Jerusalem Must Be Shared One; Must Be Holy City of Christians, Jews, Muslims

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit addressed the status of Jerusalem at the international "World Conference in Support of Jerusalem" on January 17-18 in Cairo, Egypt, under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (January 20, 2018).

In his address, Tveit stressed: "The future of Jerusalem must be a shared one. It cannot be the exclusive possession of one faith over against the others, or of one people over against the other. Jerusalem is, and must continue to be, a city of three religions and two peoples."

"Jerusalem is regarded as a holy city and loved, genuinely and deeply loved, by all three Abrahamic faiths -- Jews, Christians, and Muslims," Tveit said.

He added, "That love and profound attachment must be respected and affirmed in any solution that might be envisaged, if it is to be viable."

Friday, January 19, 2018

Turkey Shells Kurds in Mil.Move in N. Syria; Move Angers US Whose Troops Train Kurds

Turkey began shelling Kurdish fighters in northern Syria today (January 19, 2018), as it ramped up threats to launch a full military offensive across its border, a move that will increase tensions with the U.S., according to the CNN website.

Senior Turkish officials have warned for days of an imminent strike into the Kurdish-held region of Afrin in northern Syria, after the U.S. announced it was training a 30,000-strong border force in Syria made up predominantly of Kurdish fighters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- who earlier this week warned the U.S. that it was "playing with fire" by supporting the Kurds in Syria -- today accused the U.S. of creating an "army of terror" along its southern border.

Ankara, which has long fought Kurdish unrest in southeastern Turkey, is determined to prevent the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Turkey -- or even across the Turkish border in Syria.

Pope Agonizes Chile's Abused Victims of Slander; Backing Accused Bishop Loses Respect of Vatican

In a shocking rebuke to Chile's pedophile victims of priests -- and one that will most likely have a negative impact on the Catholic Church for many years -- Pope Francis yesterday accused the pedophile victims of slander, as he backed Bishop Juan Barros by refusing to believe that he was complicit in covering up the sex crimes of Rev. Fernando Karadima, the Newser website reports today (January 19, 2018).

Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Barros was complicit, the accusations against him are "all calumny."

The pope's remarks drew shock from Chileans and immediate rebuke from victims and their advocates. They noted the accusers were deemed credible enough by the Vatican that it found Karadima guilty of sexually abusing young boys.

Barros' most vocal accuser, Juan Carlos Cruz, said that Francis' remarks showed "nothing has changed" [regarding the Vatican condoning the role bishops play in clerical sexual abuse].

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Trump Sets Up New Division for Health Workers; Allows Rel.Liberty Protection to Medical Workers

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unveiled a new division meant to defend the conscience rights of medical professionals who may hold moral or religious objections to things like abortions or gender reassignment surgery, the Christian Post website reports today (January 18, 2018).

Known as the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, the entity will exist under HHS's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and help enforce conscience rights.

OCR Director Roger Severino said in a statement today that religious freedom laws are "just empty words on paper if they aren't enforced."

Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan stated that the new division was part of the Trump administration's overall effort to advance religious liberty protections.

Germany OKs Official to Check Anti-Semitism; Anti-Semitism Rising Due to Muslim Migrants

German lawmakers voted today (January 18, 2018) to appoint a commissioner to coordinate the government fight against anti-Semitism, and to implement tougher laws on anti-Semitism, according to the Jewish Press website.

The measure created the commissioner post to develop and implement a strategy to root out anti-Jewish sentiment and crime.

Anti-Semitism is rising significantly in Germany and incidents were seen at recent pro-Palestinian Authority demonstrations in Berlin, among other sites.

An increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents taking place in Germany are being carried out by Muslim migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, as Germany accepted more than a million migrants during the past two years. Some German Jews avoid going outside in public, while many others hide the fact that they are Jewish, for fear of being attacked.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Abbas: War Likely If Jerusalem Isn't PA Capital; Trump Needs to Choose between Peace and War

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas today (January 17, 2018) threatened war if U.S. President Donald Trump does not allocate Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, according to the Israel National News website.

In a Cairo speech, Abbas said: "Jerusalem is the key to peace if it is our capital, and if it is not -- it is the key to war. Trump will need to choose."

Abbas said Trump provoked millions of Muslims by choosing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"There is no such thing as a Palestinian who will give up even one millimeter of Jerusalem," he claimed.

Putin Says Communism Similar to Christianity; Backs It for Equality,Brotherhood, Own "Bible"

Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared communism to Christianity and likened Bolshevik revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin to a "saint" in a new interview, the Express (British) website reports today (January 17, 2018).

Putin claimed communist ideology has all the hallmarks of religion in that it is based on equality, brotherhood, and it has its own "holy scripture."

Speaking in an interview for a TV documentary called "Valaam," he said: "Faith has always accompanied us, it strengthened when our country, our people faced particularly difficult times."

"There were such severe years of militant atheism during the Soviet period when priests were killed, churches were destroyed. But at the same time a new religion was being created -- communist ideology, which is very similar to Christianity, in fact."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Pope Meets with Victims of Sex Abuse in Chile; Apologizes for Abuse; Prays,Cries with Victims

Pope Francis met today (January 16, 2018) with victims of sex abuse by priests in what Holy See spokesman Greg Burke described as a "strictly private" encounter following lunch in the Apostolic Nunciature in the Chilean capital of Santiago, according to the Crux Now website.

Burke would only say that it was a small number of people who told the pope of their suffering. He added that the pope "listened to them, and prayed and cried with them."

Francis, this morning, issued a heartfelt apology for abuse at the presidential palace of La Moneda.

The three outspoken victims of Father Fernando Karadima today criticized the presence in the papal Mass of the Bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros, whom they accuse of covering up Karadima's abuse -- charges he strongly denies.

US Denies $65M to UN Agency for Palestinians; Trump: Palestinians Unappreciative for US Aid

A U.S. State Department official said today (January 16, 2018) that the U.S. sent $60 million to keep the UN relief agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) in operation, but withheld a further $65 million while it urged other nations to pay more, according to the Times of Israel website.

"The United States has been UNRWA's single largest donor for decades. In years past, we contributed some 30 percent of UNRWA's total income," he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month threatened to cut U.S. aid to the Palestinians, saying that Washington gets "no  appreciation or respect" from the Palestinians.

He added, "With the Palestinians no longer calling to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"

Monday, January 15, 2018

Enraged Erdogan Says US Is "Playing with Fire;" Warns Turkey May Attack US Troops in N. Syria

Turkey yesterday warned the U.S. it was "playing with fire" over plans to set up a 30,000-strong force to police its border with Syria, saying it had tanks ready at the frontier, the Independent website reports today (January 15, 2018).

The U.S. announced plans yesterday for a "border security force" -- made up of Kurdish and Arab fighters -- to prevent a resurgence by the Islamic State (IS) terror group. It will be tasked with securing Syria's northern border with Turkey and its eastern border with Iraq.

Ankara has repeatedly warned Washington over its support for the Syrian Kurdish People's Defense Unit (YPG), which Turkey considers a terrorist group.

Yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could barely control his rage. "A country we call an ally [the United States] is insisting on forming a terror army on our borders," he said in a speech in Ankara... "Our mission is to strangle it before it's even born."

Greek Lawmakers OK New Austerity Measures; Vote Could Lead Greece to a Bailout-Free Track

Greece's parliament today (January 15, 2018) approved a plethora of reforms demanded by international lenders in exchange for fresh bailout funds, according to the Euro News website.

The bill for fiscal, energy, and labor reforms -- which contains 400 articles -- was approved by a majority of 154 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament.

"Today's vote is pivotal for the country to successfully emerge from bailouts in seven months," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told parliament, urging the lawmakers to approve the bill.

Business owners and Greece's creditors hope the measure will limit the frequency of strikes and improve productivity, which lags about 20 percent behind the European Union average.

Twin Suicide Bombings Kill 38 People in Iraq; Worst Attack in Iraq Since IS Defeated in Dec.

Twin suicide bombings rocked Baghdad today (January 15, 2018), killing 38 people in the deadliest attack since Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State (IS) terror group last month, according to the AP News website.

The bombers targeted the bustling Tayran Square, in the heart of the capital, setting off their explosive vests among laborers and street vendors during the morning rush hour.

More than 100 people were wounded, according to police and hospital officials.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of IS. Although Iraqi forces drove IS from all the territory it once held, the militant group is expected to carry out terrorist attacks in the country from time to time.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Abbas:Palestinians to "Slap Back" for Trump Act; Ends Role of US in Achieving Mideast Peace Plan

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said today (January 14, 2018) that Palestinians will "slap back" for the humiliation they've suffered from the Trump administration and replace the U.S. with other international players in future peace negotiations with Israel, according to the Bloomberg website.

Opening a conference of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Central Committee in Ramallah today, Abbas criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and for proposing a reduction in aid to the Palestinians.

Trump's actions favored Israel and were a "slap in the face" to Palestinians, he told a packed hall at the Presidential Palace in a speech that was broadcast live. "We will slap back," he said.

"We are in a very dangerous stage," Abbas said. "There is nothing more important than Jerusalem." (The PA still insists that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a Palestinian state.)

Hotelier in Uruguay Won't Accept Israeli Couple; Rejects Israeli Politics, Finds Jews to Be Difficult

A Uruguayan hotelier rejected an Israeli couple as guests, saying he disagrees with Israeli politics, the Israel National News website reports today (January 14, 2018).

Amit Bradush, 22, and his partner received a personalized email message from the hotelier explaining their reservation had been canceled because his political view was "very contrary to the policies of your country."

"They are not welcome in my house," Buena Vista ecological resort's owner Mauricio Pinero wrote, saying that the pre-payment had been reimbursed. He added that young Israeli guests who are on their post-army trek are particularly difficult.

Jewish and Israeli officials have criticized the discriminatory action, which drew intense media coverage in Uruguay -- the first country in South America to officially recognize Israel as an independent nation.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Greek Police Fire Tear Gas at Athens Protesters; Thousands Protest against Future Austerity Bill

Riot police used tear gas on protesters in Athens, Greece yesterday, as thousands of people gathered in the streets to demonstrate against a new austerity bill coming up for a vote on January 15, the VOA News website reports today (January 13, 2018).

The police deployed tear gas when a small group of demonstrators tried to enter the parliament building.

The bill -- which has triggered demonstrations all week in the Greek capital -- is expected to be one of the last major packages of cuts before the end of Greece's European Union bailout package in August. It would limit workers' rights to strike and speed up property foreclosures.

The General Confederation of Greek Workers union (GSEE) said the bill "deals a killing blow to workers, pensioners and the unemployed... effectively eliminating even constitutionally safeguarded rights, such as the right to strike."

Germany Will Limit Its Yearly Refugees to 200K; Merkel OKs Lower Cap to Attain Party Harmony

Germany will limit the number of asylum seeker arrivals to around 200,000 annually under a draft coalition agreement sealed yesterday in marathon talks between the country's two largest parties, The Globe Post website reports today (January 13, 2018).

"We determine that the number of new arrivals... should not exceed the range of 180,000 to 220,000 per year," states a copy of the document agreed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats.

Merkel had long resisted a strict upper limit on asylum seekers coming to Europe's top economy, as demanded by her CDU's Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union. (Merkel's decision to let more than one million refugees into Germany since 2015 has deeply divided the country.)

After winning an election with a reduced majority in September, Merkel agreed to a soft cap on Germany's refugee intake in a bid to silence bitter squabbling within her conservative camp.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Suicide Attacker Kills 6 Afghan Police Officers; Drives Explosive-Packed Auto into Police Bldg.

A suicide bomber drove an explosive-packed Humvee into a police compound in Afghanistan today (January 12, 2018), killing at least six officers and destroying a building, according to the Tip News website.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn attack on the Maiwand district police headquarters in the southern province of Kandahar.

The vehicle was carrying an estimated 6,600 pounds of explosives, Maiwand district police chief Sultan Mohammad said.

"We have six police officers martyred and five wounded," Mohammad said, adding the figures could change.

Greece Limits Power of Sharia Law for Muslims; Muslims Can Now Take Disputes to Greek Court

The Greek parliament this week made the practice of Islamic sharia law in family disputes optional for the country's Muslim minority, changing a century-old policy, the Eurasia Review website reports today (January 12, 2018).

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the vote an "historic step" that "extended equality before the law to all Greeks."

The legislation will allow Muslim litigants to opt for a Greek court to resolve family disputes, rather than appealing to Islamic jurists known as muftis.

For family law matters, Greek Muslims generally seek recourse to muftis for things like divorce, child custody, and inheritance. Rights groups have been critical of sharia law, saying that it frequently discriminates against women.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Trump Rips Immigrants from "Shithole" Nations; States Protection for Haitians, Africans Must End

In an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers today (January 11, 2018), President Donald Trump described Haiti and African nations as "shithole" countries in slamming the idea of restoring protections for immigrants from those regions, according to the Yahoo News website.

"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said.

He then said the U.S. "should have more people from places like Norway."

White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah defended Trump's statement, saying: "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people."

Mideast Terror Acts Triple Since Jerusalem Turn; There Were 84 Attacks in Nov.Versus 249 in Dec.

New statistics released today (January 11, 2018) by Shin Bet security service show that the number of terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank tripled following U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, according to the Times of Israel website.

On December 6, Trump made his announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, sparking raging riots by Arab Muslims, who want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a Palestinian state.

In the month of December, there were 249 terror attacks in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel, compared to 84 in November and 71 in October, according to Shin Bet's statistics.

The most serious of these were two stabbing attacks, one at the Jerusalem bus station in which a security guard was stabbed in the heart and seriously wounded, and the second near Ramallah where a man stabbed a Border Police officer in the shoulder, moderately injuring him.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Germany Combating "Imported Anti-Semitism;" Resolution Would Expel Anti-Semitic Migrants

Germany is rethinking its approach to combating anti-Semitism after a protest against President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital turned the anti-Jewish prejudices of some Muslim immigrants into a national issue, the Religion News website reports today (January 10, 2018).

In the month since immigrants burned an Israeli flag at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and chanted anti-Semitic slogans, politicians have proposed appointing a federal commissioner on hate crimes against Jews.

Members of the German parliament are in the process of passing a resolution calling for migrants who promote hatred of Jews to be expelled.

"Whoever rejects Jewish life in Germany or questions Israel's right to exist can have no place in our country," the draft resolution says.

PA Paid Terrorists, Families over $347M in 2017; Those Killing Israelis Given Almost $3K Monthly

The Palestinian Authority (PA) paid terrorists and their families more than $347 million last year, according to its own records, the Worthy News website reports today (January 10, 2018).

The Israeli Defense Minister yesterday presented the data on the PA's payments to terrorists to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset (Israel's Parliament).

The PA pays terrorists who are sentenced to three to five years in prison $580 per month.

Those sentenced to 20 years or more in prison receive five times that amount for the rest of their lives for their crimes, which are more severe, and often involve murdering Israelis.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Greek, FYROM Officials Meet on Name Dispute; FYROM Rep Expects Name Change by 6 Months

Senior officials from Greece and FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) met today (January 9, 2018) to renew efforts to resolve the countries' ongoing name dispute, according to the Greek Reporter website.

FYROM Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar  Osmani spoke to reporters in Athens after a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and other senior officials.

Osmani said FYROM was committed to finding a resolution for a name change within six months.

The name dispute remains an emotional topic in Greece, which sees FYROM's name as an attempt to claim jurisdiction over a bordering northern Greek province called Macedonia -- the birthplace of Alexander the Great.

Israel Decides to Keep Stores Closed on Sabbath; May Block Municipal Bylaws That OK Openings

Israel's Knesset by a one-vote margin approved a bill today (January 9, 2018) that will keep supermarkets and other businesses closed on the Sabbath, according to the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website.

The so-called mini-markets bill passed this morning in a 58-57 vote on its second and third readings.

Under the measure, the interior minister can strike down new municipal bylaws that would allow some businesses to remain open on Shabbat. The current interior minister is Aryeh Deri, head of the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party.

Critics have said it is unlikely that Deri will allow municipal bylaws that permit stores to be open on Shabbat to remain on the books.

Aussie Same-Sex Couples Marry under New Law; Australia Is 26th Nation to Legalize Gay Marriage

Australia's first same-sex marriage ceremonies took place after midnight today (January 9, 2018), as the new law making such unions legal took effect, according to the UPI website.

In November, almost 62 percent of the country's voters favored legalizing same-sex marriage, which led the way for the government to pass the new law.

Australia became the 26th country to recognize same-sex marriage.

"To be able to come back here and redo our vows and actually make it legal and finally have equality in Australia is amazing," Deanne Ribeiro said after legally marrying her wife, Diana.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Egypt,Saudis OK with Trump's Jerusalem Move; Latently Back a Non-Jerusalem Capital PA State

President Donald Trump's decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel defied several decades of Arab demands that East Jerusalem be the capital of a Palestinian state, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch website reports today (January 8, 2018).

But the New York Times has obtained telephone recordings to several influential talk shows in Egypt by Capt. Ashsraf al-Kholi, an intelligence officer, attempting to convince listeners to accept Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"Strife with Israel was not in Egypt's national interest," al-Kholi emphasized. Palestinians, he suggested, should accept the West Bank PA (Palestinian Authority) home town of Ramallah as their capital.

Also, days before Trump's expected announcement on Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia had quietly signaled its agreement of Jerusalem being the Israeli capital. At that time, the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Salman, privately urged PA President Mahmoud Abbas to accept Palestinian statehood without a capital of East Jerusalem, according to several Arab leaders who heard Abbas's version of events.

Israel Publishes a "Blacklist" of BDS Groups; Covers 20 Groups,Bars Members from Israel

The Strategic Affairs Ministry in Israel published a list of organizations yesterday that it says promote the boycott of Israel, and that it will block members of these groups from entering the country, the Times of Israel website reports today (January 8, 2018).

The "blacklist" covers some 20 groups the ministry said are part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

"We have moved from defense to attack," the Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement that listed the 20 groups.

He added, "Boycott organizations need to know that Israel will act against them and will not allow [them] to enter its territory in order to harm its citizens."

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Car Bomb Blast Kills 18 in Syrian City of Idlib; Govt.Vies for Last Rebel-Held Syrian Province

At least 18 people were killed today (January 7, 2018) in a car bomb blast in Syria's largest rebel-held city of Idlib, according to the Newsmax website.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a car bomb was detonated this evening in Idlib, the capital of a province with same name.

Photos of the blast show heavy damage along a major avenue in the city, with several buildings damaged and vehicles overturned.

The Syrian military has assigned one of its top commanders to lead the offensive into Idlib, the last major stronghold for rebels in Syria, as the country's ongoing civil war enters its seventh year.

Historic Bulgarian Church Restored in Istanbul; Sveti Stefan Orth.Church Built on Iron Skeleton

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov today (January 7, 2018) unveiled the historic Iron Church in Istanbul after a seven-year restoration project, according to the VOA News website.

In today's opening ceremony, Erdogan said the 120-year-old Sveti Stefan Orthodox Church remains the "single example" of a church built on an iron skeleton.

The cross-shaped Bulgarian church was built on the banks of Istanbul's Golden Horn in 1898 with 500 tons of prefabricated iron components shipped from Austria. Its restoration since 2011 cost an estimated $3.5 million.

Erdogan said the church contributes to the "beauty and wealth of Istanbul" and is the latest example of Turkey's efforts to restore synagogues, chapels, and churches.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Pope:Good Christian Helps Needy, Hungry, Poor; His Epiphany Mass Guides Christians to Do Good

A good Christian should "not sit around" waiting for things to happen and should do good "even when unasked," Pope Francis said today (January 6, 2018) during an Epiphany Mass, according to the Yahoo News website.

"To do good without counting the cost, even when unasked, even when you gain nothing thereby, even if it is unpleasant: That is what God wants," he said.

"[God] asks us to offer something for the least of his brothers and sisters. Who are they? They are those who have nothing to give in return: the needy, the hungry, the prisoner, the poor," Francis said.

After today's Mass, the pope addressed crowds in St. Peter's Square from the window of his study and extended "the most cordial wishes" to Catholics who are Greek Catholic Church worshipers and to Christians of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, who celebrate Christmas on January 7.

Ten Nations Named to Religious Hall of Shame; Persecute, Imprison, Kill People for Rel. Beliefs

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) says religious persecution has gotten worse around the world, the CBN (Christian Broadcast News) website reports today (January 6, 2018).

The USCIRF said people continue to be persecuted, imprisoned, and even killed for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief.

Its annual report highlights severe religious violations that are taking place in 10 countries: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

"North Korea religious freedom is completely non-existent. That is just one part of the huge lack of human rights in that country," noted USCIRF Chair Daniel Mark.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Egyptian Parliament Debates Outlawing Atheism; Already against Egyptian Law to Defame Religion

It may soon be a criminal offense to be an atheist in Egypt, the Religion News website reports today (January 5, 2018).

The legislation to criminalize atheism was proposed on December 24 by Amro Hamroush, head of Parliament's committee on religion.

"It must be criminalized and categorized as contempt of religion because atheists have no doctrine and try to insult Abrahamic religions," Hamroush said.

It is already against Egyptian law to "insult" or "defame" religion. A conviction can result in up to five years in prison.

Think Tank:Islam Will Be 2nd Largest Rel. in US; Projects More Muslims Than Jews in US by 2040

By the year 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as the second-largest religious group in the U.S. after Christians, based on the projections by a leading American think tank, the Euro News website reports today (January 5, 2017).

Pew Research Center estimates there were some 3.45 million Muslims living in the U.S. in 2017.

While Pew says there are more people in the U.S. today who are Jewish, it predicts there will be more Muslims by the year 2040.

"The U.S. Muslim population will grow much faster than the country's Jewish population," the research center explained, citing a 2017 survey of U.S. Muslims and official census data as the basis for its prediction.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Most Refugees into US in 2017 Are Christian; Most Emigrating under Obama Were Muslim

In the year 2017, under the Trump administration, the majority of refugees admitted into the U.S. have been Christian, the Christian Headlines website reports today (January 4, 2018).

This is a reversal of the religion of refugees who were admitted into the U.S. under President Obama.

Under Obama, the majority of refugees were Muslim, but under Trump, 60 percent are Christian.

Also, only 13 percent of refugees admitted into the U.S. this past year have been Muslim, making the Christian to Muslim ratio roughly six to one.

La. Allows Students to Pray in Public Schools; Take That,You Atheist Supreme Court Judges

In what could be a harbinger for other states to follow, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) have teamed up to produce a 15-page guide that seeks to alleviate the "confusion" about the religious freedom rights of students and teachers in public schools, the Christian Post website reports today (January 4, 2018).

The two politicians -- both lawyers -- released "Louisiana Student Rights Review," a document that aims to provide guidance on prayer and religious expression in public schools.

The guidance decries the notion that public schools in the U.S. must be religious-free zones. (A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 ruled that prayer in U.S. public schools is illegal.)

"To the contrary, both federal and state laws specifically protect religious freedom rights in public schools," the document reads.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Chelsea Clinton Denies Backing Church of Satan; Wished The Church of Satan a "Happy New Year"

Chelsea Clinton has some explaining to do, the Daily Caller website reports today (January 3, 2018).

Last night, the former first daughter wished a well-known Satanic organization a "Happy New Year."

The Church of Satan responded to Clinton, in part: "To us, Satan is the symbol that best suits the nature of who we are carnal by birth -- people who feel no battles raging between our thoughts and feelings, we do not embrace the concept of a soul imprisoned in a body..."

Clinton denied she worships Satan, saying she is Methodist and her husband is Jewish. She also declared that "we can be civil" to those with different religious beliefs.

Israel to Pay African Migrants to Leave Country; Threatens Jail for Any Still in Israel after March

In a move that many people are viewing as bigotry and racism, Israel said today (January 3, 2018) that it would pay thousands of African immigrants living illegally in the nation to leave, threatening them with jail if they are caught after the end of March, according to the AOL website.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a barrier Israel completed in 2013 along its border with Egypt had cut off a stream of "illegal infiltrators" from Africa after some 60,000 crossed the desert frontier.

The vast majority came from Eritrea and Sudan and many said they fled war and persecution as well as economic hardship, but Israel treats them as economic migrants.

Teklit Michael, a 29-year-old asylum seeker from Eritrea living in Tel Aviv, said in response to the Israeli plan that it was akin to "human trafficking and smuggling."

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

US Soldier Killed, 4 Wounded in Afghanistan; During a Combat Battle Near Pakistan Border

One U.S. soldier was killed and four others wounded during a combat engagement in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, the Reuters website reports today (January 2, 2017).

The incident took place yesterday in Achin, Nangarhar province, a U.S. military statement said.

Two of the wounded soldiers are being treated at a medical facility and are in stable condition.

Nangarhar -- which is on the Pakistan border -- has become a stronghold for the Islamic State (IS) terror group in Afghanistan.

Tunisian Demonstrators Rip Holocaust Display; See It as Zionist Propaganda for Genocide Myth

A Holocaust exhibition at the National Library in Tunis has been met with fierce opposition, with demonstrators tearing down posters and condemning "propaganda" for the "decades-old myth about a genocide for the Jewish people," the Times of Israel website reports today (January 2, 2017).

The exhibition was the initiative of Tunisian historian Habib Kazdaghl.

"This is a historical documentary exhibition which exposes and denounces Nazi propaganda," he said.

In the demonstration, dozens of people chanted, "Free, free Palestine. Out with the Zionists." They then went on to remove posters about the exhibition.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Trump Ends Billions of $$ in US Aid to Pakistan; Says Pakistan Lies to US,Hides Afghan Terrorists

President Donald Trump lashed out at Pakistan on Twitter today (January 1, 2018), expressing anger at Islamabad's harboring terrorists and lying to the U.S., and stating that U.S. foreign aid to Pakistan will be terminated as a result, according to the Breitbart website.

Trump said: "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"

Trump accused Pakistan of giving "safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror." (Pakistan has pretended to be an ally of the U.S. for over 15 years, when in fact it is a radical Islam nation that secretly houses terrorists and other enemies of the U.S., including 9/11/2001 mastermind terrorist Osama bin Laden, who was hiding in Pakistan where American elite forces killed him, after they managed to determine his location through intelligence information.)

"We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond," the president said.

Pope: Spend More Time with Silence in 2018; Slams False Depiction of Reality Set by Media

In a New Year's Day homily delivered at St. Peter's Basilica today (January 1, 2018), Pope Francis called for an end to "empty chatter" and urged the world to spend more time observing silence in 2018, according to the Daily Beast website.

He said doing so would  "keep our freedom from being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words, and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting."

The pontiff also warned against the "false" depiction of reality created by social media last year and urged young people to find "meaning" outside of Twitter.

His comments today came as President Trump -- the only American president known for using social media to vent -- embarked on his latest Twitter tirade. Trump began the new year by slamming Pakistan for its "lies and deceit" and saying Iran is "failing at every level."