Thursday, May 31, 2018

Poland Seeks US Troops to Deter Russian Attack; Is Willing to Pay US $2B for an Armored Division

Poland's defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on May 28 that he has held talks with U.S. officials about having thousands of U.S. troops permanently stationed in Poland, as a deterrent to possible Russian aggression, The New American website reports today (May 31, 2018).

A Polish defense ministry statement says that there is a "clear and present need for a permanent U.S. armored division deployed in Poland," for which Poland is willing to provide financial backing that could reach $2 billion.

"Establishing such a force is necessary to present an unequivocal challenge and deterrence to Russia's increasingly emboldened and dangerous posture that threatens Europe," the proposal reads.

While Poland's generous financial offer is appreciated by the U.S., it will probably not be implemented because it could entangle the U.S. in a foreign alliance that could result in another overseas military operation.

Denmark Denies Garments That Cover the Face; "Burqa Ban" Seen as Directed at Muslim Women

Denmark joined some other European countries in deciding today (May 31, 2018) to ban garments that cover the face, including Islamic veils such as the niqab or burqa, according to the World Israel News website.

In a 75-30 vote with 74 absentees, Danish lawmakers approved the law presented by the center-right governing coalition.

The government said that it is not aimed at any religion and does not ban headscarves, turbans, or the traditional Jewish skull cap.

However, the law is popularly known as the "Burqa Ban" and is mostly seen as being directed at the dress worn by some Muslim women.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

US Rocket Strike Kills at Least 50 Taliban Leaders; Afghan Attack Likely to Hinder Taliban Operations

A U.S. military official revealed today (May 30, 2018) that a U.S. rocket artillery attack in Afghanistan on May 24 killed at least 50 Taliban leaders, according to the Daily Caller website.

Firing guided rockets, the U.S. strike obliterated a command-and-control position in Musa Qala in Helmand province where numerous senior Taliban leaders were gathered, Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, said.

"It's certainly a notable strike," he explained, revealing that an unspecified number of senior and lower-level commanders have been killed since then.

He added that attacks would likely disrupt Taliban operations, but not necessarily the battlefield combat.

Televangelist Jesse Duplantis Wants $54M Jet; Says He Feels He Is Led by God to Purchase Jet

Televangelist and prosperity gospel minister Jesse Duplantis is under scrutiny for asking donors to pay for a new multi-million-dollar jet he says he needs to spread God's Word, the Christian Headlines website reports today (May 30, 2018).

Duplantis said on a recent episode of "This Week With Jesse" that he feels led by God to purchase a Falcon 7X jet. A new Falcon 7X jet costs $54 million.

"We're believing God for a brand-new Falcon 7X, so we can go anywhere in the world one stop," Duplantis said.

Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, criticized the need for a new jet. "You cannot make this insanity up," Akin wrote on Twitter. "This is why the prosperity gospel is no gospel. It is heresy plain and simple."

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Man Shouting "Allahu Akbar" Kills 3 in Belgium; Attacker Killed, Believed to Be Muslim Terrorist

A man shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great" in Arabic) today (May 29, 2018) shot three people to death -- including two police officers -- in the Belgian city of Liege, according to the World Israel News website.

A number of officers were wounded in an exchange of fire. Police killed the attacker.

"Beyond the attacker, who was shot, there are three dead, two police officials and a passer-by," Michel Firket from Liege city hall said.

Witnesses said the shooter shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the attack. The Arabic phrase is often used by Muslim terrorists during attacks.

Oxford U. Jewish Ctr. Hit with Anti-Semitic Hate; Culprits Leave Racist Notes,Set Fire Outside Bldg.

In two anti-Semitic incidents involving the same Jewish community center at Britain's Oxford University, perpetrators spread white powder and started a fire outside the building, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (May 29, 2018).

Talcum powder was flung over the garbage bins at the Chabad Student Center on May 23 and offensive letters left at the building. On May 25, racist notes were left around the building and a fire was started outside the building.

Police and firefighters raced to the scene after reports of the white powder being thrown. It was analyzed and found to be non-harmful.

Eli Brackman, the Chabad rabbi who runs the center, said he believed the powder was thrown in an attempt to spread panic and fear, with people believing initially it might be a more dangerous substance. He added that the center was concerned but pledged not to be deterred by "displays of hate."

Monday, May 28, 2018

"Terrorists" Kill Four Russian Soldiers in Syria; Russia Kills 43 Rebels in Deir el-Zour Province

A clash with "terrorists" in eastern Syria killed four Russian soldiers and wounded several others, the AP website reports today (May 28, 2018).

Russian and Syrian government troops have been fighting rebels and members of the Islamic State (IS) group in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour in recent weeks.

The Russian Defense Ministry said "two Russian military advisers died at the scene." It added that five others were wounded, two of whom died in a Russian military hospital.

The ministry said 43 insurgents were killed in the nighttime battle.

Ex-Presidents See Rise in Poland-Ukraine Discord; Seek Closer Harmony to Offset Russian Aggression

Five ex-presidents from Poland and Ukraine have made a joint appeal for reconciliation between their nations as growing nationalism in both societies and provocations from Russia have strained the alliance, the Fox News website reports today (May 28, 2018).

Poland-Ukraine relations have been strained in recent years, mostly over disagreements rooted in historical grievances.

The ex-presidents said they were concerned about the strains and that unity is needed today, given "the challenge of Russian aggression to Ukraine." Russia seized control of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in 2014 and has attempted to seize more Ukrainian land since then.

The appeal was presented at a news conference in Warsaw by the two former Polish presidents, Aleksander Kwasniewski and Bronislaw Komorowski, and also signed by Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma, and Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Erdogan Moves Turkey toward Islamist Theocracy; Turkey Cannot Be Trusted, Is No Longer a US Ally

Turkey, under the government of Recep Erdogan, cannot be trusted and is no longer an ally of the U.S., the Washington Times website reports today (May 27, 2018).

Erdogan has slowly but surely moved Turkey from the secular heritage of Kemal Ataturk, who knew full well the dangers of returning Turkey to its Islamist, imperialist, Ottoman roots.

We now have a full-fledged Islamist theocracy on NATO's southern flank, actively thwarting America's agenda in the Middle East.

NATO needs to move against this clear and present danger to the alliance. Creeping Sharia law and anti-American behavior, anti-EU behavior, is not in harmony with being a member of NATO. The U.S. cannot trust Turkey in any future conflict with Russia.

Israel Builds a Sea Barrier to Block Gaza Attacks; Will Be Only Sea Barrier of Its Kind in the World

The Israeli Defense Ministry announced today (May 27, 2018) that work began today on the construction of a fortified marine wall -- to be the only one of its kind in the world -- to prevent terror attacks from the Gaza Strip via the sea, according to the Times of Israel website.

The barrier -- constructed in the area of Zikim beach -- is designed to withstand the battering of the water and to be in use for many years, the ministry said.

Construction of the barrier -- described by the ministry as an "impregnable breakwater" -- is expected to be finished by the end of 2018. The statement did not mention the estimated cost of the barrier.

It will have three levels: one under the water; then a level of armor stone, known for its durability; and barbed wire along the top. The entire barrier will itself be protected with another wire security fence.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Four Md.Teens Paint Racist Notes at High School; Charged with Hate Crimes,Posted Slurs,Swastikas

Four Maryland teenagers were charged with hate crimes after racist graffiti, homophobic slurs, and swastikas were discovered spray-painted on a high school campus, the Fox News website reports today (May 26, 2018).

The graffiti was found at Glenelg High School on May 24 just before an awards ceremony for seniors.

Following an investigation -- which included reviewing a surveillance video -- police arrested four seniors: Seth Taylor, 18, of Elliott City; Tyler Curtiss, 18, of Brookeville; Joshua Shaffer, 18, of Mt. Airy; and Matthew Lipp, 18, of Woodbine.

The four students face "multiple counts of destruction of property based on race, color, religious belief, sexual orientation, or national origin," officials said.

Putin Urges US to End Its Sanctions on Russia; Says Normal US-Russian Relations Avoid Force

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday urged President Donald Trump to reconsider Washington's attempts to isolate Moscow, the Yahoo News website reports today (May 26, 2018).

The U.S. and its Western allies have increasingly sanctioned Russia in recent years in response to illicit interference in foreign affairs -- especially its illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in 2014.

Putin said normal relations with the U.S. were essential to prevent military might from being the only deciding factor in settling international disputes.

Russia's seizing of Crimea has sparked a massive military buildup by countries located near Russia to enable them to defend themselves in the event of Russian aggression.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Trump Makes It Easier to Expel Federal Workers; Executive Orders Mend "Merit System Principles"

President Trump today (May 25, 2018) ordered a crackdown on poor performance and misbehavior within the ranks of the federal workforce, according to the Washington Times website.

Trump signed three executive orders that reform civil service rules by expediting termination for cause, revamping union contracts, and limiting taxpayer-funded union work at agencies, said a senior administration official.

"Today the president is fulfilling his promise to promote more efficient government by reforming civil service rules," said Andrew P. Bremberg, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. He added the president was instituting "merit system principles."

"These executive orders will make it easier for agencies to remove poor-performing employees and make sure taxpayer dollars are more efficiently used," Bremberg said.

Irish Vote Overwhelmingly in Favor of Abortion; Exit Polls Reveal 69.4% of Voters Favor Abortion

Exit polls show that Ireland voted today (May 25, 2018) for abortion to be legalized in a landslide result of 69.4 percent to 30.6 percent in its abortion referendum, according to the Mirror (British) website.

Voters in the once deeply Catholic country were asked if they wished to scrap a prohibition that was enshrined in the constitution by referendum 35 years ago, and partly lifted in 2013 only for cases where the mother's life is in danger.

Thousands of Irish citizens living overseas traveled home to exercise their right to vote on the issue.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who is in favor of change, said today that he was "quietly confident" the high turnout was a good sign.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Pope to Bishops: Don't Accept Gay Seminarians; Day after He Told Gay Man God Loved Him Gay

Pope Francis warned Italian bishops at a closed-door gathering this week to vet carefully applicants to the priesthood and reject anyone they suspected might be homosexual, the Yahoo News website reports today (May 24, 2018).

"Keep and eye on the admissions to seminaries, keep your eyes open," the pope was quoted as saying by newspaper La Stampa's Vatican Insider service. "If in doubt, better not let them enter."

Francis' meeting with Italian bishops came just a day after a Chilean man, who suffered clerical sexual abuse, quoted the pope as telling him in a private conversation that God had made him gay and loved him that way.

The Vatican declined to comment on the report which touched off fierce media speculation that Francis was softening the Church stance on homosexuality. It has previously condemned homosexuality as an immoral disorder if actively practiced.

Grad Speaker Forced to Remove God References; Valedictorian to File Suit for Censoring of Speech

Officials at an Illinois high school who forced their Christian student valedictorian to remove references to Jesus, God, and his faith from his graduation speech will soon be facing a lawsuit after First Liberty Institute -- one of the nation's top religious liberty law firms -- decried the move as a violation of the student's constitutional rights, the Christian Post website reports today (May 24, 2018).

"The most important thing in your life is to find... intimacy with God," Sam Blackledge, the 18-year-old valedictorian of West Prairie High School in Sciota, wrote in his prepared remarks for his graduation on May 19.

He said he turned in a copy of the speech to school officials, but ten minutes before his graduation ceremony, school administrators told him to remove all references to God from his speech and warned him not to discuss his faith.

Jeremy Dys, a lawyer with the nonprofit religious freedom firm First Liberty Institute, who has taken on Blackledge's case, said what the school did was a violation because the valedictorian's speech is protected by federal law. "They actually violated the Constitution," Dys added.

NFL Players Must Stand during National Anthem; Non-Standing Players to Remain in Locker Room

Among repeated protests during the playing of the national anthem during the past two seasons, the NFL yesterday passed a revised policy that mandates players and team personnel present on the sideline "shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem," the USA Today website reports today (May 24, 2018).

The revision allows players who would not wish to stand to remain in the locker room.

Also under revision, each franchise will have the power to issue its own policies, which could include fines for players protesting the anthem, under the conduct detrimental provision of the league's personal conduct policy.

The league also now has the power to fine any franchise that has representatives who do not stand or "show respect" while present on the sideline for the anthem. President Donald Trump has been critical of football players who don't stand during the playing of the national anthem, saying they should leave the United States permanently.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

US May OK Israeli Sovereignty of Golan Heights; Israel Captured Golan Heights from Syria in 1967

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said today (May 23, 2018) that Israel is now urging the Trump administration to acknowledge the Jewish state's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, according to the World Israel News website.

Katz believes that in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, its declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and its embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognition of Israeli sovereignty of the Golan Heights would send another strong message to Iran and Israel's other foes in the region.

Israel captured the Golan Heights in 1967 when Syria had control of the region.

The Golan Heights serves as a significant geopolitical territory to the Jewish state because it serves as a buffer zone by protecting Israel from Iranian aggression.

Minibus Crash into a Truck Kills 9 in Hungary; Minibus Driver Was Broadcasting on Facebook

The driver of a minibus involved in a deadly crash that killed nine people in Hungary yesterday was broadcasting on Facebook at the time of the accident, the Euro News website reports today (May 23, 2018).

Eight passengers and the driver died as the vehicle -- registered in Romania -- smashed into a large flat truck yesterday afternoon.

Four of the dead were identified as Romanian by the Hungarian Foreign Affairs Ministry, which initiated a crisis cell to assist the victims' families.

They were traveling back from Slovenia where they were doing seasonal agricultural work.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Father of Santa Fe Shooter: My Son Is a Victim; Says Son Is a Victim of Bullying, Not a Criminal

The father of the alleged Santa Fe (Texas) High School shooter, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, told a news outlet in Greece today (May 22, 2018) that his son was a victim of bullying, according to The Daily Beast website.

"Something must have happened now, this last week," Antonios Pagourtzis said. "Somebody probably came and hurt him, and since he was a solid boy, I don't know what could have happened..."

He added that Dimitrios Pagourtzis took a shotgun and handgun that he owned from his closet. "My son, to me, is not a criminal, he's a victim," the father said.

Lawyers for Pagourtzis said that they were investigating "teacher-on-student" bullying, possibly involving the teen's football coaches, but the school district claimed those accusations were false.

Booklet Tells Swedes How to React to Aggression; Nearness to Russia Sways Sweden to Defend Itself

Sweden will send out instructions to its citizens next week on how to cope with an outbreak of war, as the country faces an aggressive Russia across the Baltic Sea, the Reuters website reports today (May 22, 2018).

The 20-page pamphlet, titled "If Crisis on War Comes," gives advice on getting clean water, spotting propaganda, and finding a bomb shelter, in the first public awareness campaign of its kind since the days of the Cold War.

The pamphlet also tells Swedes they have a duty to act if their country is threatened. "If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up," the booklet says.

Sweden and several other countries located near Russia have been on alert since Russia's illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in March, 2014. Sweden has also accused Russia of repeated violations of its airspace during the past few years -- accusations that Russia has denied or ignored.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Job Market Optimism under Trump Highest Ever; Americans Are Most Assured They Will Find a Job

A new Gallup poll released today (May 21, 2018) shows that the average American is more optimistic about their ability to find a job under the Trump administration than at any point previously recorded, according to the Free Beacon website.

Data released by Gallup shows that 67 percent of Americans believe now is a "good time" to find a quality job. The results were buoyed across gender lines, with 71 percent of males and 59 percent of females decidedly optimistic about the job market.

The data stretched across all ages, income, and education groups.

The data is at the highest point recorded, since Gallup began asking respondents about job market optimism in August 2001.

Feminists Being Drawn to New Kind of Witchcraft; Say Pres.Trump,"Me Too" Trend Cause Witchcraft

A growing number of young people -- mainly women -- are being drawn to a new brand of feminist witchcraft, the Religion News website reports today (May 21, 2018).

Some of the women are from families that have practiced witchcraft for generations, while others are new to the world of magic.

But what they all have in common is feminism.

In Salem, Massachusetts -- where around 20 people were executed in the late 1600s after being accused of being witches -- a new generation of mainly women has been drawn to the activity. They say it is politics -- specifically President Donald Trump and the "Me Too" movement -- that is driving people to take up witchcraft.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pope: Holy Land Needs Dialogue, Reconciliation; Over 110 Palestinians Killed in Gaza Since March

Pope Francis said today (May 20, 2018) that "gestures of dialogue and reconciliation" are needed for the Holy Land and all the Middle East, according to the Fox News website.

He told faithful in St. Peter's Square today he had "united himself spiritually" to a prayer vigil held yesterday in Jerusalem, which, he noted, is holy for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. During Mass today, Francis cited the "heartening" situation in Gaza and prayed that hearts be changed so peace arrives.

Palestinian authorities say more than 110 Palestinians have been killed by live fire of Israeli troops during violence across the border between Gaza and Israel since late March.

The U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has also fueled violence.

Islam Radicals Attack Russian Orthodox Church; Kill One Worshiper,Wound Another in Chechnya

Police in Chechnya -- a Russian state made up mostly of Muslims -- killed four Islamic militants yesterday when the group raided a Russian Orthodox church with guns, axes, and Molotov cocktails, according to the Daily Caller website.

Shots rang out during yesterday's service and cries of "Allahu Akbar" ("God is the greatest" in Arabic) could be heard as congregants scrambled to close and bolt the doors, Father Sergiy, the priest at Archangel Michael Church in Chechnya's capital of Grozny, said.

The terrorists killed one congregant outside the church building, wounded another inside the church as they attempted to gain entry, and killed two officers when police arrived at the scene. Police killed all four attackers.

Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya's leader, said the gunmen initially took hostages. He issued a statement condemning their attack and threatened to kill anyone daring to carry out similar acts.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia Detains Women's Rights Activists; Felt Women Wanted More Rights Than Driving

Saudi Arabia has detained several prominent female activists who campaigned for women's right to drive motor vehicles, taking the women into custody, The Telegraph website reports today (May 19, 2018).

Human rights groups said the activists demanding women be free to drive were detained on May 17.

The activists were detained as Saudi Arabia prepares for the driving ban of women to come to an end on June 24.

It is believed the women were detained because the Saudi government is concerned they would use the end of the driving to call for further advances in women's freedom -- such as an end to the male guardianship system that severely limits Saudi women's ability to travel independently.

Trump Cuts Planned Parenthood,Abortion Funds; Plan Will Save Taxpayers Some $260M Annually

Taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers under Title X -- which provides $260 million annually to contraception and other family planning initiatives -- will be cut under a proposed rule the Trump administration announced yesterday, the Christian Post website reports today (May 19, 2018).

The proposal by the Trump administration seeks to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion industry by requiring a clear physical and financial separation between Title X services and services that perform, support, or refer to abortion as a method of family planning.

The changes are being instituted to reflect the view that taxpayer funds should not be used to provide abortion services and that abortion is not family planning.

Pro-Life organization Susan B. Anthony  List -- which seeks to end abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives -- praised Trump for the move.

Friday, May 18, 2018

US Jews Condemn Israeli Massacres of Gazans; Join Near NY Senators' Offices to End Atrocities

Activists from the Progressive organizations, Jewish Voice for Peace New York City and Jews Say No, gathered outside the offices of New York senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand on May 16 to express their solidarity with the unarmed Palestinian protesters being massacred by the Israeli military in Gaza, The Real News website reports today (May 18, 2018).

They demanded that politicians speak out and stop U.S. support for the bloodshed.

The two Jewish groups called on Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand to condemn the killing of protesters in Gaza and to support the right of Palestinians to live in freedom and to go back to their homes.

The activists said that not all Jews -- and not even the majority of Jews -- support these policies of the Israeli government. They added, "We are Jews, we are New Yorkers, and we will not vote for you if you do not speak out against these atrocities."

Russia Opens 19-Km Bridge in Crimean Peninsula; Ukraine Pres.:Russian Occupants to Use It to Quit

Russia has built a new bridge linking it to the Crimean peninsula -- which it illegally seized from Ukraine in March 2014 -- over the Kerch Strait and has opened the bridge to traffic, the Euro News website reports today (May 18, 2018).

The 19-kilometer bridge took two years to build and cost more than three billion euros.

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said the bridge would be used by "Russian occupants when they have to leave the Ukrainian peninsula [permanently]."

The European Union and the United States still maintain sanctions they imposed on Russia for illegally annexing Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in 2014.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Greek,FYROM PMs Talk FYROM Name Change; FYROM PM Sees Name Change by June Summit

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his "meaningful" meeting with FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) premier Zoran Zaev today (May 17, 2018) in Sofia, Bulgaria had gone some way to ending the FYROM name dispute, but added "there is still much to be done," according to the Greek Reporter website.

"I believe that we have covered a large part of the distance but there is more to cross. It is a difficult procedure and we are examining step by step all the details..." Tsipras said.

Earlier today, Zaev told reporters that teams from both Greece and FYROM were working on a roadmap which would see a deal before an EU (European Union) summit in June.

Earlier reports speculated that immediate NATO membership plus EU accession steps could be offered to Skopje if a deal about the country's name is struck with Greece. Currently, the door is closed to Skopje's membership of both bodies over its issue of the name "Macedonia," which is also the name of a province that has existed in northern Greece for centuries and that borders FYROM.

Gallup:37% of Americans Satisfied with US Aura; US Shows Highest Satisfaction Today Since 2005

The results of a Gallup poll published today (May 17, 2018) show that 37 percent of  Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States -- the highest rate since 2005 -- according to the UPI website.

The rise in satisfaction this past month from 29 percent in April has been attributed to a large increase among political independents, from 26 percent to 35 percent, and a smaller increase among Republicans, from 57 percent to 63 percent, the Gallup survey indicates.

Meanwhile, 14 percent of Democrats are satisfied, essentially unchanged from the past three months, when 13 percent of Democrats said they were satisfied.

Gallup speculated the results could indicate trouble ahead for Democrats. "If satisfaction remains where it is or increases, as opposed to falling back as it did after the increase in February this year, it could aid the Republican Party in the 2018 midterm elections," Gallup said.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Franklin Graham Predicts Jesus Will Return Soon; Sees His Return Linked to US Jerusalem Embassy

The Rev. Franklin Graham -- son of world-famous evangelist Billy Graham -- has made note of prophecy surrounding the return of Jesus Christ as Christians and Jews mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel and the U.S. embassy's official opening in Jerusalem, the Christian Post website reports today (May 16, 2018).

"[Seventy] years ago today, the State of Israel was established. In fulfillment of prophecy, God brought the nation into being, and He is sustaining them for the day when the Lord Jesus Christ Himself will return and establish His throne in Jerusalem as Scripture tells us," Graham wrote on Facebook.

"I believe it is significant that the United States has formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and is moving our embassy there," he added.

"This has been promised by past U.S. presidents and administrations, but it had never become a reality, until now," wrote the evangelist. As with many evangelical preachers and megachurch pastors, Graham believes there is a link between biblical prophecy and the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Offer of $100K to Bomb US Jerusalem Embassy; Iranian Student Justice Group Will Pay Bomber

A hardline Iranian organization is offering a $100,000 reward to any person who bombs the newly opened U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, the Free Beacon website reports today (May 15, 2018).

A group known as the Iranian Justice Seeker Movement is reported  to have disseminated posters calling for an attack on the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, which has been opposed by Palestinian and Iranian officials as an affront to the holy city.

"The Student Justice Movement will support anybody who destroys the illegal American embassy in Jerusalem,," the poster states in Farsi, Arabic, and English.

"There will be a $100,000 prize for the person who destroys the illegal American embassy in Jerusalem," the poster adds.

Racism, Hate Speech Are Increasing in Croatia; Serbs,Roma,LGBT Community Primary Targets

A new report shows that racism and hate speech are rising rapidly in Croatia and the government is not doing enough to tackle the problem, the Euro News website reports today (May 15, 2018).

Serbs, Roma, and the LGBT community are the main targets, according to the Council of Europe.

Official data submitted by Croatian authorities indicates there were 35 hate speech incidents in 2016, up from 24 a year earlier.

But figures supplied by the Serb National Council claims 331 cases of ethnically-motivated violence, threats, and hate speech were directed at Serbs in 2016, compared with 189 one year before.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Turkey Recalls Its Ambassadors to US and Israel; Due to Embassy Move, Deaths of 55 Palestinians

Turkey today (May 14, 2018) said it was recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Israel to protest U.S. relocating its embassy to Jerusalem, according to the Newsmax website.

The move came after deadly protests took place in Gaza ahead of and during the ceremony in Jerusalem.

At least 55 Palestinians were killed, and 2,700 injured, in clashes along the Gaza-Israeli border, making it the deadliest day there since the 2014 Gaza war.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel a "terrorist state" as a result of the savage Israeli killings, and said today's massacre was a "genocide" inflicted upon the Palestinians.

US Opens Its Jerusalem Embassy in Ceremony; Israelis Kill 37 Palestinian Protesters at Border

The United States officially opened its controversial Jerusalem embassy today (May 14, 2018) in a ceremony that included a video address by President Donald Trump, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

Trump told the ceremony that the U.S. remained committed to reaching a lasting Middle East peace, although the move of its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has provoked outrage. The move has also resulted in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asserting that the U.S. will no longer be allowed to serve as mediator in any future Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Earlier today, violent clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip's border, leaving 37 Palestinians dead from Israeli fire and hundreds wounded in the conflict's bloodiest day in several years.

Tens of thousands had gathered near the border in protest while smaller numbers of stone-throwing Palestinians approached the fence and sought to break through, with Israeli snipers positioned on the other side. Palestinians insist that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestine state.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Gunmen Attack Afghan Bldg.,Killing at Least 10; Eight Terrorists Injure 42 in Lengthy Gun Battle

At least 10 people were killed and more than 40 injured today (May 13, 2018) in a coordinated attack by suicide bombers and gunmen at a government building in the city of Jalalabad in Afghanistan, according to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website.

Attahullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said a suicide car bomb exploded outside the building, which belongs to the provincial finance directorate.

The attackers then stormed the building, trading fire with security officials for several hours.

"There were eight terrorists who carried out a coordinated attack in Jalalabad city, killing 10 people," Khogyani said. He added that 42 other people were wounded during a gun battle and that security forces killed six of the attackers.

Family of Bombers Attacks Churches in Indonesia; Muslim Suicide Terrorists Murder 7 in 3 Churches

A family of six suicide bombers -- including two young children -- carried out deadly attacks on three churches in Indonesia's second largest city today (May 13, 2018), according to the USA Today website.

It was one of the worst attacks on Christians in Indonesia, which has more Muslims than any other country in the world.

At least seven people plus the six bombers died in the attacks in Surabaya, according to police. About 41 people were injured in the attacks, which Indonesia's president condemned as "barbaric."

National Police Chief Tito Karnavian said the father exploded a car bomb, two sons ages 18 and 16 used a motorcycle for their attack, and the mother was with daughters ages 12 and 9 for her attack.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Islamic State Terrorist Stabs Five People in Paris; One Victim Dies, Police Shoot the Terrorist Dead

The person who stabbed five people in Paris tonight (May 12, 2018) -- killing one of them -- yelled the Arabic phrase "Allahu Akbar," meaning "God is great," during the attack, city prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters at the scene, according to the CNN website.

Four people were wounded during tonight's knife attack in the touristy 2nd arrondissement, or district, of Paris.

Two of the victims were gravely wounded and two others were lightly injured, police said.

The attacker, who French President Emmanuel Macron called a terrorist, was shot and killed by police. The media wing of the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement published online.

Israel Closes Gaza Border Due to Riot Damage; Army Estimates Repair of Damage to Cost $9M

The Israeli military today (May 12, 2018) announced the closure of the Kerem Shalom border crossing into the Gaza Strip, a day after Palestinian rioters trashed key infrastructure serving the only entry point of outside goods into the Hamas-run Strip, according to the Times of Israel website.

The military said the Kerem Shalom crossing would remain closed until the "extensive damage" caused to the torched gas lines, electricity infrastructure, and a conveyor belt used to transfer goods into the Strip is repaired.

The army estimated the damage to Kerem Shalom would cost $9 million to repair.

Earlier today, Israeli officials toured the Kerem Shalom area and said they were "astonished by the devastation and destruction Palestinians left in their wake."

Friday, May 11, 2018

Biden Rips White House "Rock Bottom" Morality; Trump Aide Damns McCain:"He's Dying Anyway"

Former Vice President Joe Biden had two words today (May 11, 2018) to describe the moral standing of the Trump administration after a White House aide made a cruel joke yesterday about Sen. John McCain of Arizona: "Rock Bottom," according to the Huffington Post website.

White House aide Kelly Sadler yesterday mocked the health of the Arizona senator and Vietnam veteran, who is fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer.

"He's dying anyway," Sadler said when referring to McCain's opposition to the appointment of Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's pick to lead the CIA.

Biden -- whose son Beau died in 2015 of a similar type of brain cancer -- said, "John McCain is a genuine hero, a man of valor whose sacrifices for his country are immeasurable. As he fights for his life, he deserves better -- so much better."

Trump Says He'll Lower Prescription Drug Costs; Hits Greedy Drug Makers, Pharmacies for Ripoff

President Trump vowed today (May 11, 2018) to "derail the gravy train for special interests" as he outlined a strategy to lower the cost of prescription drugs by promoting tougher negotiation, more competition, and measures to stop foreign countries from taking advantage of American industry, according to the NY Times website.

Trump said the current system has been corrupted by greedy businesses and middlemen who have made "an absolute fortune" through "dishonest double-dealing" at the expense of consumers who need medicine to extend or improve their lives.

"Everyone involved in the broken system -- the drug makers, insurance companies, distributors, pharmacy benefit managers, and many others -- contribute to the problem," he said in a speech in the Rose Garden.

Millions of Americans now order their prescription drugs from Canadian drug companies, because the cost of drugs in Canada is less than half the cost for the same drugs in the U.S. Canadian drug prices are much lower than those in the U.S. because the Canadian government determines the cost of drugs, not the pharmaceutical companies as in the U.S., which tend to set exorbitant prices for their drugs.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Child Rapist Polanski May Sue Oscars Academy; Claims Academy Illegally Expelled Him for Rape

Film director Roman Polanski is back in the news a week after he described the "Me Too" movement as "mass hysteria" and "hypocrisy," the Euro News website reports today (May 10, 2018).

This time he is threatening to sue the Oscars Academy after he was expelled from its ranks, 40 years after admitting having sex with a minor girl.

Polanski claims the Academy's move was illegal and is demanding a fair hearing. The decision was taken in line with the organization's new standards of conduct adopted following many sexual harassment scandals that have shaken the film industry during the past year.

The 84-year-old Oscar-winning director of "Rosemary's Baby" pleaded guilty in 1977 to unlawful sex with a then 13-year-old girl. He then illegally fled the U.S. for Poland -- Polanski is a Polish Jew -- and has lived there and in France since his rape conviction, in order to avoid serving jail time in the U.S.

Israel Strikes 50 Iranian Military Targets in Syria; Seen as "One of Greatest Operations of Israeli AF"

Israel struck 50 Iranian military targets in Syria after 20 rockets were fired toward Israel's front defensive line in the Golan Heights today (May 10, 2018) by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp's Quds Force, according to the Jerusalem Post website.

The targets all belonged to the Iranian Force, and most were located near the Syrian capital of Damascus.

IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said the Israeli retaliation was "one of the greatest operations of the Israeli Air Force in the past decade."

"We won't accept Iranian entrenchment in Syria and the Quds Force has paid a heavy price (for the Iranian rocket attack on Israel)," Manelis added.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Ex-Vatican Bank Head on Trial for Embezzlement; He and His Lawyer Believed to Have Stolen $68M

The former president of the Vatican bank has gone on trial on charges he and his lawyer embezzled 57 million euros ($68 million) from Vatican real estate sales, the Fox News website reports today (May 9, 2018).

Angelo Caloia appeared in the Vatican courtroom today; his 95-year-old lawyer and co-defendant, Gabriele Liuzzo, was absent, citing his age.

During the nearly four-hour hearing, the two defendants were accused of selling apartments below market rates and then reselling them at market rates, and pocketing the difference.

Vatican authorities have frozen 17 million euros ($20 million) in the defendants' Vatican bank accounts, and another 10 million euros ($12 million) in Liuzzo's Swiss accounts, the court heard.

Three Suicide Bombers Hit Afghan Police Stations; At Least 6 Are Wounded, IS Claims Responsibility

Three suicide bombers and gunmen today (May 9, 2018) targeted several police stations in the Afghan capital, according to the UPI website.

The first bomber struck a police station in the western part of Kabul, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh.

Two different suicide bombers then struck the entrance of a police station in the city center, Danesh added.

Officials say at least six were wounded in the blasts, but that number is expected to rise. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Iowa OKs Most Restrictive Abortion Ban in US; Excludes Abortion after Fetal Heartbeat Occurs

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has approved what's being called "the most restrictive abortion ban in the country," the Christian Headlines website reports today (May 8, 2018).

Reynolds signed the bill on May 4 as supporters cheered her on. Meanwhile, outside protesters shouted, "My body, my choice."

"I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred," Reynolds said before signing the bill. The law will go into effect July 1, 2018.

Under the law, physicians will not be allowed to perform most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. A heartbeat can usually be heard about six weeks into pregnancy.

Trump Dumps "Horrible,One-Sided" Iran Deal; Sets Up Highest Level of Sanctions against Iran

President Donald Trump announced today (May 8, 2018) that the U.S. will be exiting the Iran nuclear deal and said that the U.S. will be "instituting the highest level of economic sanctions" against the country, according to The Daily Beast website.

He referenced intelligence documents that Israel published last week, which showed that Iran pursued a covert nuclear-weapons program in the 1990s, before the 2015 deal was reached.

"We have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie," Trump said.

He claimed the documents "conclusively show a history of pursuing nuclear weapons. It was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never ever been made."

Southern Baptist Women Reject Paige Patterson; Say He Must No Longer Hold Baptist Leader Role

More than 2,000 Southern Baptist women have signed a letter asking the trustees of a Fort Worth, Texas seminary to take action against its embattled president after audio and video clips emerged -- dating as far back as the year 2,000 -- in which he counseled physically abused women to quietly pray, and described a 16-year-old girl's body as "built," the Christian Headlines website reports today (May 8, 2018).

The letter does not explicitly demand a resignation, retirement or reprimand for Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the key leaders of the conservative resurgence in the denomination, the nation's largest Protestant group.

But it does suggest Patterson cannot be allowed to continue to lead -- a stunning development for a revered leader in the denomination and an indication of just how pervasive the "Me Too" movement against sexual harassment and assault of women has become.

"The Southern Baptist Convention cannot allow the biblical view of leadership to be misused in such a way that a leader with an unbiblical view of authority, womanhood, and sexuality be allowed to continue in leadership," the online letter says.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Israel Expecting Imminent Iranian Missile Strike; Revenge for Israeli Strikes on Iran's Syrian Bases

Israeli defense officials are expecting an imminent Iranian missile strike from Syria -- most likely targeting a military base in northern Israel -- the Jewish Press website reports today (May 7, 2018).

Defense officials believe that Iran wants revenge for the April 9th strike on the T4 army base in Syria, which killed at least seven members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Following the T4 attack, there was a second massive strike in northern Syria on an Iranian controlled base and a secondary base as well as a third facility north of Aleppo, which is believed to have killed dozens of Iranian soldiers, as well as causing a 2.6-magnitude earthquake.

Israel has threatened to strike Iran directly if Iran launches an attack against it.

Trump Rips Kerry for Iran Talks on Nuclear Deal; Says Kerry May Have Violated Law by Negotiating

President Trump blasted former Secretary of State John Kerry today (May 7, 2018) for engaging in "possibly illegal" negotiations with Iranian officials to salvage the Obama administration's nuclear deal, according to the Washington Times website.

"The United States does not need John Kerry's possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal," Trump tweeted. "He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!"

Kerry met twice with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in recent months in a private effort to save the deal that Trump has been threatening to scrap. Trump has a May 12 deadline to decide whether or not to renew the nuclear deal.

Kerry's discussions have led to accusations by some U.S. officials that he may have violated the Logan Act, which bars private citizens from negotiating on behalf of the U.S. government without authorization.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

At Least 12 Killed in Afghan Mosque Explosion; Mosque Was Used as Voter Registration Center

A bomb blast today (May 6, 2018) inside a mosque in eastern Afghanistan that was being used as a voter registration center killed at least 12 people and wounded 33 others, according to the NY Post website.

The attack took place in the city of Khost, the capital of the province of the same name.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but both the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS) affiliate reject democratic elections and have targeted them in the past.

Last month, an IS suicide bomber attacked a voter registration center in Kabul, killing 60 people and wounding at least 130 others. Afghanistan plans to hold elections in October, the first since 2014.

Pope Urges Missionaries to Respect All Cultures; Tells Them Not to Give Orders in Spreading Faith

Pope Francis yesterday urged one of the Catholic Church's biggest but most contentious missionary movements to respect different cultures and not try to conquer souls as it spreads the faith around the world, the Miami Herald website reports today (May 6, 2018).

Francis headlined a big rally marking the 50th anniversary of the Neocatechumenal Way's arrival in Rome.

The community founded in Spain in the 1960s seeks to train Catholic adults in their faith and each year sends out families on mission around the globe.

Francis warned the 34 new missionary groups heading out not to dictate to others or follow pre-ordained scripts, but to accompany the faithful patiently. He also urged them to love and respect the cultures and traditions of other people.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Rabbi Panken, HUC Pres.,Killed in Plane Crash; "Ardent Supporter of Reform Judaism in Israel"

Rabbi Aaron Panken, the president of Hebrew Union College (HUC), was killed today (May 5, 2018) piloting a small aircraft in the Hudson Valley area of New York state, according to the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website.

The plane crashed in a wooded area in the town of Wawayanda, near the New Jersey border. A passenger, Frank Reiss, a flight instructor, was injured.

An HUC release announcing Panken's death said he was 53 years old and a licensed commercial pilot. It also asserted that Panken was an "ardent supporter of Reform Judaism in Israel."

Panken had led the Reform movement's flagship seminary since 2014. Prior to serving as the chief executive officer of HUC's four campuses -- in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York -- the native New Yorker held senior positions at the school, including vice president for strategic initiatives, dean of the New York campus, and dean of students. He was ordained in 1991.

Jewish Headstones Destroyed in Athens Cemetery; Anti-Semitism Hits Greece as It Permeates Europe

Greek police said today (May 5, 2018) that unknown assailants destroyed several Jewish headstones in a cemetery in a southwestern suburb of Athens, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

"Marble grave headstones were damaged in the Jewish part of the Nikaia cemetery," a police spokesman said.

The head of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), Minos Moissis, said he was "very angry" about the desecration, in a Facebook post.

The vandalism comes amid a wave of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, after a spate of recent incidents across the continent.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Pope: Three "P's" Are Basis of Consecrated Life; Says Prayer,Poverty,Patience Imperative Pillars

Pope Francis said today (May 4, 2018) that three "p's" -- prayer, poverty, and patience -- remain the pillars in the consecrated life, according to the Rome Reports website.

The pope said "prayer" helps people return to God, who has called them to that life. It also reminds them that they work for God and not for their own interests or institutions.

"Poverty" is like a wall that protects them from vanity and pride.

And "patience" consists in confronting the little things of community life, even the sacrifice of oneself and carrying on one's shoulders the problems and sufferings of the world.

Trump Sets Up White House Faith-Based Office; Provides Federal Funding to Faith-Based Groups

President Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday, creating the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the Christian Post website reports today (May 4, 2018).

"The executive branch wants faith-based and community organizations, to the fullest opportunity permitted by law, to compete on a level playing field for grants, contracts, programs, and other Federal funding opportunities," reads the order in part.

In his remarks at the Rose Garden event, Trump said: "The faith initiative will help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, in our communities, and in our great country."

Critics of the new executive order -- including Americans United for Separation of Church and State -- have argued that it will further advance discriminatory measures in the name of religion.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

House of Rep. Chaplain Allowed to Keep His Job; Speaker Ryan Reverses Dismissal Due to Outrage

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said late today (May 3, 2018) that the chamber's chaplain will remain in his position after he unexpectedly asked Rev. Patrick Conroy to resign two weeks ago, outraging some lawmakers and the Jesuit priest himself, according to the AOL website.

Conroy released a letter today rescinding his abrupt resignation which Ryan -- a Catholic and the top Republican in the House -- said he had accepted.  Conroy's last day had been scheduled for May 24.

"My original decision was made in what I believed to be the best interest of this institution," Ryan said in a statement.

Democrats said Conroy's ouster was in fact due to a prayer Conroy led that was critical of the tax overhaul Republicans passed at the end of last year without any support from the Democratic party.

Today Being Observed as National Day of Prayer; Pres.Trump to Mark It with White House Service

Today (May 3, 2018) is a federally proclaimed national day of prayer, which President Trump will mark with a prayer service at the White House, according to the Washington Post website.

Such days of prayer have a long history in the U.S., beginning in Colonial America. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln declared days of prayer.

In 1952, Harry Truman signed into law the national day of prayer -- to be observed on the first Thursday in May -- that we are observing today. Some Americans object to the U.S. government holding a national day of prayer each year, because they believe it violates America's separation of church and state.

Presidents and governors have also proclaimed days of prayer for natural disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey last summer, and for human-created tragedies such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Two Jewish Cemeteries in Seattle Are Desecrated; Being Used by Homeless,Drug Addicts,Prostitutes

The managers of two historic Jewish cemeteries in Seattle, Washington are asking for the city's help in preventing desecration and vandalism at the sites, the Israel National News website reports today (May 2, 2018).

The Jewish community says groups of homeless people -- many of them drug addicts -- have set up camp at the cemeteries.

Ari Hoffman, a vice president of Seattle Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath Synagogue and a member of its cemetery committee, said the headstones have been defaced, and that needles and other discarded drug paraphernalia have been found on the tombstones. He also said that prostitutes use the cemetery for their clients.

Across the street, the Historic Sephardic Jewish Cemetery is experiencing similar vandalism.

Abbas: Holocaust Was Fault of Jews Themselves; Says Jews' Money Practices Responsible,Not Rel.

In a bitter speech against Jews broadcast on Palestinian TV on April 30, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered what he called a "history lesson" in which he claimed that the Holocaust was the fault of the Jews themselves, the Washington Post website reports today (May 2, 2018).

During his 90-minute remarks to the Palestinian lawmakers in Ramallah, Abbas said European Jews' "social function" -- specifically "usury and banking and such" -- was the basis for animosity toward them and led to their mass murder. Abbas claimed his views were supported by Jewish authors, whose books conclude "that animosity toward Jews was not because of their religion, but because of their social activities."

The "history lesson" prompted backlash in and outside of Israel. "With utmost ignorance and brazen gall, he claimed that European Jews were persecuted and murdered not because they were Jews, but because they gave loans with interest," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement that Abbas's "latest diatribe reflects once again the depth and persistency of the anti-Semitic attitudes he harbors."

Russian Orth.Head:Only Rel. Can End Terrorism; States Rel. Can Disarm Rel. Radicalism,Terrorism

According to the head of the Russian Orthodox Christian Church, only religion can stop terrorism, the Crux website reports today (May 2, 2018).

"I do not see any other grounds for argument capable of disarming the ideological basis of radicalism and terrorism, other than a religion one," Patriarch Kirill said.

He also called on believers to turn the tables on those who use religious teachings to incite violence.

"If radicals appeal to religious truths and use religious ideas for motivating extremist actions, then only religion itself can overturn all of this," he insisted.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

US May Create 6th Mil.Branch Called Space Force; Would Join 5 Longterm Branches of Armed Forces

President Donald Trump today (May 1, 2018) told the West Point Black Knights football team his administration is "seriously thinking" of creating a sixth military branch called the "Space Force," according to the Free Beacon website.

Trump invited the football team to the White House to present the players and coach with the coveted Commander-in-Chief trophy after they defeated both Air Force and Navy last season.

Trump told the cadets the Space Force would join the five current branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

"We are getting very big in space, both militarily and for other reasons, and we are seriously thinking of the Space Force," Trump said.

US Admits Few Central American Asylum Seekers; Lets in 8 Members of Caravan from Mexico Border

U.S. border inspectors allowed some of the Central American asylum seekers to enter the country for processing today (May 1, 2018), ending a brief impasse over lack of space, according to the Newsmax website.

But the migrants who crossed Mexico in a caravan may face a long legal path.

Caravan organizers said eight members of the group, criticized by President Donald Trump that traveled from southern Mexico to the border city of Tijuana, were allowed in to be interviewed by asylum officers, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not provide a number.

About 140 others were still waiting in Mexico to turn themselves in at San Diego's San Ysidro border crossing, the nation's busiest, said Alex Mensing, project organizer for Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which is leading the caravan.