Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Ronald Reagan Made Racist Comment to Nixon; Called Reps. from Africa "Monkeys" in Tel. Call

Ronald Reagan called representatives of an African country's government "monkeys" in a 1971 telephone call with then President Richard Nixon, the Yahoo News website reports today (July 31, 2019).

The National Archives this month released audio of the call between Nixon and Reagan, who was then GOP governor of California.

"To see those monkeys from those African countries. Damn them, they're still uncomfortable wearing shoes," Reagan told Nixon.

Apparently, Reagan made the comment to Nixon after seeing Africans on television dancing without shoes.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Megachurch Staffer Faced with Indecency Charge; Matthew Tonne Allegedly Raped 11-Year-Old Girl

A young woman, who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a youth minister at a church camp in Texas, is suing the Village Church for more than one million dollars for gross negligence and the emotional distress the abuse caused her, the Religion News website reports today (July 30, 2019).

The Village Church's former associate children's minister, Matthew Tonne, allegedly violated the woman when she was an 11-year-old girl at a 2012 program run by the Dallas-area megachurch in Texas.

Tonne had left a meeting of adult leaders and allegedly assaulted the girl as she lay in her bed.

Tonne was indicted in January by a Dallas County grand jury on a charge of indecency with a child involving sexual contact. He has denied the allegations.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Suicide Attack Hits Afghan VP Candidate's Office; At Least 20 People Killed, 50 Wounded in Attack

At least 20 people have died in a suicide attack at the Kabul office of Afghan president's running mate, The Daily Beast website reports today (July 29, 2019).

The attack happened at the office of Amrullah Saleh who is running to be vice president with President Ashraf Ghani in the September elections. Fifty people were wounded in the attack.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-American diplomat leading the U.S. side in peace negotiations with the Taliban, said: "The attack on Amrullah Saleh's political party offices was grotesque and a clear act of terrorism."

Saturday, July 27, 2019

At Least 150 Migrants Drown Off Libyan Coast; Nations Are Called on to Avoid Such Tragedies

At least 150 people drowned yesterday, after a boat carrying migrants sank eight kilometers off the coast of Libya, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (July 27, 2019).

The boat was carrying around 250 people from a number of African and Arab countries.

Following this tragedy, many organizations working with migrants and refugees have called for action to protect the lives of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

Francesca Cuomo, Communications Officer at the Jesuit-run Centro Astalli, told Vatican Radio it is calling on national institutions to put plans in place to avoid further loss of life.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Woodstock 50th Anniv. Celebration to Be in Md.; Won't Be Held in NY Due to Money,Permit Issues

Woodstock will be celebrating its 50th birthday in Maryland next month, after experiencing financial and permit issues in New York state, the UPI website reports today (July 26, 2019).

Its 50th anniversary celebration will be held August 16-18 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.

Organizers were unable to hold the celebration in New York state, since their financier backed out and local officials in upstate New York refused to approve a permit.

Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia is an outdoor amphitheater 270 miles south of Bethel, New York, the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Trump Admin.Sets New Barrier for Immigrants; They Must 1st Pursue Haven in a Third Country

The Trump administration has unveiled a new rule to bar almost all immigrants from applying for asylum at the southern border, requiring them first to pursue safe haven in a third country through which they had traveled on the way to the U.S., the Reuters website reports today (July 25, 2019).

The Dept. of Homeland Security said the rule would set a "new bar" for immigrants "by placing further restrictions on eligibility who seek asylum in the U.S."

The American Civil Liberties Union questioned the legality of the new rule, and plans to challenge it in court.

The measure goes into effect on July 30.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Israel Air Force Bombs Syria Near Golan Heights; Bombing Designed to Thwart Iran's Mil. Buildup

The Israeli Air Force launched an attack of the Tel al Hara area in the Dara's district in southern Syria today (July 24, 2019), according to the WIN (World Israel News) website.

Tel al Hara is a strategic hill situated adjacent to the Israeli Golan Heights and overlooks it.

The targets hit were Syrian army positions and those of forces militiamen loyal to the Syrian army.

Strikes against targets in Syria carried out by Israel are meant to thwart Iran's military buildup in the country, and especially on Syria's border with Israel.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

German Cath.Church Loses 200K Members; Membership Has a Big Loss in Recent Years

The Catholic Church in Germany saw a significant drop in membership this past year, losing more than 200,000 members in 2018, the Catholic World Report website states today (July 23, 2019).

According to the German Bishops' Conference, the Catholic Church in the country declined by 216,078 members last year. Protestant churches saw a similar drop, with 220,000 members leaving during that time period.

Fr. Hans Langendorfer, SJ, secretary of the German Bishops' Conference, said the numbers show a need for the Church in Germany to be "more self-critical and constructive."

He added, "The current statistics are worrying. There is nothing to gloss over about the numbers; they confirm a trend that has shaped the Church in recent years."

Monday, July 22, 2019

US Sends 500 Troops,Equipment to Saudi Arabia; Saudi King OKs Buildup to Counter Iran's Attacks

The U.S. is sending troops and military equipment to Saudi Arabia, as tensions flare with Iran, the Worthy News website reports today (July 22, 2019).

The U.S. Central Command said: "This movement of forces provides an additional deterrent, and ensures our ability to defend our forces and interests in the region from emergent, credible threats."

The U.S. will send 500 troops, Patriot missiles, and F-22 stealth fighters to the Prince Sultan Air Base near the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia's state press agency said King Salman "approved hosting U.S. Armed Forces in the Kingdom ... to preserve its peace."

Syrian Christians Ask US to End Turkey Buildup; Say Turkey Gathering Troops to Invade N. Syria

Syrian Christians are calling on the U.S. to help protect them after Turkish troops were seen gathering on the border between the two volatile nations, the Christian Headlines website reports today (July 22, 2019).

The Syrian Military Council, which is supported by the U.S. government, said, "Turkey has amassed its forces and its jihadist proxies at that point. It clearly aims to invade Northern Syria."

The U.S. has issued a firm warning to Turkey.

"Unilateral action into northeastern Syria by any party is of grave concern," said a Pentagon spokesperson. "We would find any such actions unacceptable."

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Polish Police Nab 25 for Attacks on LGBT March; Ruling Party Sees LGBT as Threat to Polish Values

Police arrested 25 People in eastern Poland yesterday after homophobic attacks on a city's first equality march, the Euro News website reports today (July 21, 20119).

Men attacked several males and one female LGBT activists taking part in the Pride march in the city of Bialystok.

Interior Minister Elzbieta Witek said "Officers ensure security regardless of the ideas, values, and beliefs proclaimed by citizens.

The ruling Law and Justice party has depicted LGBT campaigners as a threat to  traditional Polish values.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Pope Appoints Director of Holy See Press Office; Speaks Italian, English, Spanish, French Fluently

Pope Francis yesterday appointed British-born Matteo Bruni as the new Director of the Holy See Press Office, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (July 19, 2019).

Born on November 23, 1976 in Winchester, Bruni graduated in modern and contemporary foreign languages and literature from Rome's La Sapienza University.

He has been working since July 2009 at the Holy See Office.

Besides Italian, he is fluent in English, Spanish and French.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Trump Dumps Turkey from Fighter Jet Program; Due to Turkey Buying Russian Air Defense System

Washington's decision to exclude Turkey from an American-led fighter jet program goes against the "spirit of alliance," the Turkish government said today (July 18, 2019), according to the Yahoo News website.

In a major break with a longtime ally, U.S. President Donald Trump's administration said yesterday Turkey is being kicked out of the F-35 program because it is buying the Russian S-400 air defense system.

Turkey's Foreign Minister said: "We call on the United States to come back from this mistake that will cause irreparable damage to our strategic ties."

Turkish President Recep Erdogan refused to bow to U.S. pressure to cancel the S-400 agreement with Russia, defying the U.S. and other NATO allies.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

New Poll Shows Clergy Are Seen as Irrelevant; Doctors, Teachers Are Viewed More Positively

A new poll of 1,137 adults released this month shows that doctors, teachers, scientists, and members of the military are viewed more positively than clergy, the Religion News website reports today (July 17, 2019).

The less frequently people attend church, the more negative their views.

Among those who attend church less than once a month, only 42 percent said they had a positive view of clergy members.

While frequent church attenders still hold clergy in high regard -- about 75 percent viewed them positively -- they gave them only passing grades on several personal attributes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Trump Tells 4 Upset Congresswomen to Leave US; Jews: He's Using Israel to Justify His Racist Tweet

When U.S. President Donald Trump this week told four freshmen liberal congresswomen -- all women of color -- to "go back" to where they came from because of their constant complaints against the U.S., he was accused by several groups of being a racist, the Times of Israel website reports today (July 16, 2019).

The four congresswomen are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

"So sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion," Trump tweeted.

Liberal U.S. Jews said Trump's insertion of Israel into the melee was an attempt to use Israel as a scapegoat for his racist tweet.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Minister:Greece to Be EU's Most-Friendly Nation; Plans to Revitalize Greece's Business Growth

Greece's new Minister for Growth and Investments Adonis Georgiadis said today (July 15, 2019) that Greece will become "the most business-friendly country of the European Union (EU)," according to the Euro News website.

Georgiadis has been given one of the most challenging jobs in Greece by newly-elected Prime MinisterKyriakos Mitsotakis: Revive the country's economic growth.

"We're going to reduce taxation and we are going to vanish bureaucracy," Georgiadis said.

He added, "If you want to earn money, and make business, now is the time to come to Greece."

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Pope Francis Names Six Women to Roman Curia; Sends a Message Pope Wants to Advance Women

Pope Francis has appointed six women religious as full members of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL), the America Magazine website reports today (July 14, 2019).

"We have to admit that things move very slowly in the church," Sharon Holland, I.H.M., said. "But this is a piece of really good news."

"It sends the message that pope Francis is serious about women and that there is a desire to do things better," Sister Holland added.

Carol Zinn, S.S.J., executive director of the L.C.W.R., said the appointments "are much more about honoring what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ and a baptized member of the people of God."

Friday, July 12, 2019

Gallup Poll: More Pro-Lifers Than Pro-Choicers; No. of Americans Calling Abortion "Illegal" Rises

Gallup released its annual public-opinion poll on abortion policy, and its results contain some good news for abortion opponents, the Christian Post website reports today (July 12, 2019).

According to the survey, most Americans identify as pro-life, with 49 percent of respondents calling themselves "pro-life," and 46 percent calling themselves "pro-choice."

This is the first Gallup since 2013 in which a higher percentage of respondents identified as "pro-life" rather than "pro-choice."

The new survey also found that the percentage of Americans who think abortion should be "illegal" increased from 53 percent to 60 percent between 2018 and 2019.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Seven Dead after Heavy Storm Blasts N. Greece; Hailstorm, Rain, Gale Winds Slam Thessaloniki

Hailstorms, heavy rain, and gale-forced winds slammed the Halkidiki region of northern Greece last night, killing at least seven people, the UPI website reports today (July 11, 2019).

The unusual storm arrived near the popular vacation area of Thessaloniki and lasted for about 15 minutes.

Officials said about 30 people were hurt.

"It is the first time in my 25-year career that I have lived through something like this," Athanasios Kaltsas, director of the Nea Moudania Medical Center, said. "It was so abrupt and so sudden."

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Israel Minister:Intermarried Jews Like Holocaust; States Jews Lost 6M People Due to Intermarriages

Israel's new minister of education said last week that the rate of intermarriage among U.S. Jews is "like a second Holocaust," the Times of Israel website reports today (July 10, 2019).

Rafi Peretz made the statement at a cabinet meeting on July 1, according to three people who were in the room.

Peretz, a former chief rabbi of the Israeli army, said the assimilation of Jews around the world -- and mostly in the U.S. -- was "like a second Holocaust."

He added that due to intermarriages in the last 70 years, the Jewish people "lost 6 million people," according to the report.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Terrorist Runs France's E. Jerusalem Youth Org.; Daoud Ghoul Was Convicted of Being a Terrorist

France is funding a youth program in eastern Jerusalem that is being run by a convicted terrorist, the World Israel News website reports today (July 9, 2019).

The project, initiated by the "Decentralized Cooperation Network for Palestine," is funded by various local French government bodies to the amount of 400,000 euros.

The contact person for the project is Daoud Ghoul, founder of the Al Bustan cultural center.

He was convicted of membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 2015. PFLP is listed as a terrorist group by E.U., U.S., Canada, and Israel.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Trump to Sign Exec. Order to Cut Drug Prices; Americans to Pay Lowest Nations' Drug Prices

The White House is writing an executive order to reduce what the U.S. pays for drugs, so that it's more in line with the lowest prices paid elsewhere in the world, the Worthy News website reports today (July 8, 2019).

"As you know, for years and years other nations paid less for drugs than we do," Trump said on July 5 at the White House.

He added, "We're working on a favored nation clause, where we pay whatever the lowest nation's price is..."

A "favored nations clause" refers to a contract in which a seller gives buyers the same best terms that it offers to other buyers.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Greece's Exit Polls Show the End of Tsipras' Rule; New Democracy Party Tops Tsipras' SYRIZA Party

Voting in national elections in Greece began today (July 7, 2019), and opinion polls forecast Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' SYRIZA party will lose to the conservative New Democracy party.

Tsipras appealed to voters today, arguing "the country's progress should not be disrupted."

Tsipras' ruling SYRIZA party is expected to lose in favor of the New Democracy party, headed by Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

An exit poll credited New Democracy with 42 percent of the votes and SYRIZA with 30 percent.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Israeli City Inaugurates "Donald Trump Square;" Due to Trump's Unequalled U.S. Support of Israel

The central Israel city of Petah Tikvah has inaugurated a city square n honor of President Donald Trump, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (July 5, 2019).

Donald Trump Square was inaugurated on July 3 to thank Trump for his support of Israel, especially for his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"Israel never had a [U.S.] president who is as supportive and helpful as U.S. President Donald Trump," Petah Tikvah Mayor Rami Greenberg said.

He added, "It is only fitting to name a major square in the fourth largest Israeli city after him."

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Pope Francis Gives Orth. Head Relics of St. Peter; Patriarch Bartholomew Calls Move Brave Gesture

In what Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople  described as a "brave and bold" gesture, Pope Francis gave the patriarch a famous reliquary containing bone fragments believed to belong to St. Peter, the America Magazine website reports today (July 3, 2019).

The only time the bronze reliquary has been displayed publicly was in November 2013, when Pope Francis had it present for public veneration as he celebrated the closing Mass for the year of Faith.

The bronze case contains nine of the bone fragments discovered during excavations of the necropolis under St. Peter's Basilica that began in the 1940s.

At the ceremony June 30 to receive the relics and venerate them, Patriarch Bartholomew said, "Pope Francis made this grand, fraternal and historic gesture" of giving the Orthodox fragments of the relics of St. Peter.

Outgoing EU President Tusk Replaced by Woman; Tusk Says "I'm Really Happy.Europe Is a Woman"

Outgoing President of the European Union (EU) Donald Tusk held a press conference after German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen was nominated as EU president, the Euro News website reports today (July 3, 2019).

The European Council nominated von der Leyen for the position.

The decision now lies in the European Parliament's hands, as it must approve von der Leyen's nomination by an absolute majority.

"I'm really happy about it. After all, Europe is a woman..." Tusk said of von der Leyen's nomination.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Ocasio-Cortez States US Is "Headed to Fascism;" Claims Pres. Trump Is Making Fascist Decisions

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the conditions of U.S. migrant detention facilities "horrifying" in an interview last night in Clint, Texas, the AOL website reports today (July 2, 2019).

"Are we headed to fascism? Yes," the congresswoman said.

"If you actually take the time to study, and look at the steps, and see how government transforms under  authoritarian regimes, and look at the political decisions and patterns of this president, the answer is yes."

Last month, Ocasio-Cortez sparked controversy when she described the migrant detention facilities as "concentration camps on our southern border."

Monday, July 1, 2019

Trump OKs Military Tanks for July 4 Celebration; New Tanks Will Be on Display in Washington, DC

President Trump has confirmed that there will be military tanks at the Fourth of July celebration in Washington, D.C., The Daily Beast website reports today (July 1, 2019).

Trump shared the news with reporters in the Oval Office today.

"We have the brand new Sherman tanks and we have the brand new Abram tanks," Trump said.

The tanks weigh some 60 tons each and can be damaging to the streets.