Thursday, December 31, 2020

Pope Cancels New Year's Services Due to Sciatica; Won't Appear in First Vespers,World Day of Peace

Pope Francis is suffering from "a painful sciatica" and has canceled his participation both at First Vespers and the singing of the "Te Deum" in St. Peter's Basilica this evening, December 31, as well as the Mass for the World Day of Peace on January 1, according to the America Magazine website. 

He will, however, recite the Angelus at midday on January 1 from the library in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, a Vatican spokesman said.

Pope Francis, 84, has suffered from sciatica for decades, and in 2007 he was paralyzed for some days in Rome when he came for a meeting and could not participate in that event. The sciatica is the reason why he walks unevenly, as has been more noticeable recently.   

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Trump Exec. Order Boosts In-Person Learning; Covers Tuition, Scholarships,Tutoring,Therapy

President Trump signed an executive order on December 28 that will expand school choice options for in-person  classes during the pandemic, the Washington Times website reports today (December 30, 2020).

The order provides "emergency learning scholarships" through the Community Services Block Grant program under the Health and Human Services Department to cover tuition and fees for any child who does not have access to in-person learning. 

The grants may be used for private or parochial schools, homeschooling, "microschools," and learning pods, as well as for special education and associated services such as therapy and tutoring. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Biden Slams Trump for Failing to Share Key Info; Not Receiving Defense and National Security Info

 U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said today (December 29, 2020) the lack of information provided to his team by the Trump administration is "nothing short of irresponsible," according to the Sky News website. 

Biden said those working on the transition ahead of his inauguration next month were still not getting the defense and national security details they needed. 

"We encountered obstruction from the political leadership of that department [the Pentagon]," he said, adding: "And the truth is many of the agencies that are critical of our security have incurred enormous damage,"

Monday, December 28, 2020

Pope Hits Vatican Finance Controls after Scandal; Secretariat Loses Its Clout Due to Million $ Deals

Pope Francis has issued a new decree making charity funds more transparent and tightening controls on Vatican finances after a scandal over a luxury London property deal, the Reuters website reports today (December 28, 2020).

The main target is the Secretariat of State, which must relinquish management of its funds, investments, and real estate and submit to supervision by two other economic offices. 

In 2014, the Secretariat invested about 200 million euros ($244 million) as a partner in a deal to buy a luxury building in London. The deal paid tens of millions of fees to middlemen in attempts to change the terms. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Mass.Gov. Vetoes Bill Allowing Abortions to Birth; Bill Allowed Teen Abortions without Parental Say

The governor of Massachusetts has vetoed a pro-abortion bill to legalize abortions up to birth and to allow young girls to get abortions without a parent's knowledge or consent, the Life News website reports today (December 27, 2020).

The State House and Senate sent the bill back to Gov. Charlie Baker on December 22, rejecting changes he made earlier this month to protect teens from secret abortions without their parents' knowledge.  

Baker amended the bill to limit its expansion of late-term abortions and to require parental consent before underage girls get abortions. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Mgmt. Can Make Employees Get COVID Vaccine; Law Designed to Prevent Threat to Other Workers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has determined that employers will be allowed to require employees to get COVID-19 vaccine, and block them from entering the workplace if the refuse, the Huff Post website reports today (December 26, 2020). 

The commission said that such a requirement does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which forbids employers from performing medical exams on employees. 

While the ADA usually shields people from having their employers inquire about their personal health, it does permit employers to ensure that any one employee "shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace." 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Pope Rips Vaccine Nationalism in Xmas Message; Poorer Nations Must Not Get COVID Vaccine Last

 Pope Francis today (December 25, 2020) called on nations to share coronavirus vaccines and spoke of the economic and social toll the pandemic was taking, as Christians worldwide celebrated a Christmas Day like no other, according to the NBC News website.

"May the Son of God renew in political and government leaders a spirit of international cooperation, starting with health care, so that all will be ensured access to vaccines and treatment," he said in a scaled-back Christmas Day celebration.

Francis also called for global unity amid the pandemic, which he said had worsened "grave economic and social imbalances." He stressed the need for international cooperation and criticized the so-called "vaccine nationalism," where poorer nations could receive the vaccine last.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Minn. Town Lets Whites-only Group Use Church; Felt Denying Request Violates Group's Rel. Rights

 City council members in Murdock, Minnesota (population 273) have approved a permit allowing a Whites-only group to use the abandoned Lutheran church as a regional site to gather, the UPI website reports today (December 24, 2020).

The 3--1 vote on December 9 to approve a request by the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA) for a conditional use permit had nothing to do with beliefs or race, according to a statement by Murdock Mayor Craig Kavanagh.

He said the council felt legally bound to approve the permit after being advised by "multiple legal sources" that denying the request could be a violation of the AFA's religious rights.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Poll:Most Pop. Rel. of Young Americans Is None; A Third Claim to be Atheist, Agnostic, or "None"

 A new study by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) shows that the most common religious identity among Americans ages 18 to 29 is "none," the Huff Post website reports today (December 23, 2020).

More than one-third of young adults (34%) surveyed identified as religiously unaffiliated -- telling researchers they were atheist, agnostic, or "nothing in particular."

Religious people who had at least one "none" in their immediate social circle were also more likely to say that people don't need to believe in God to be moral and have good values. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Year 2020 Is about to Be Deadliest in US History; US Overpasses 300K Coronavirus Deaths Already

The U.S. is set to reach a grim milestone of more than 300,000 coronavirus deaths, making it the deadliest year in American history due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the RT website reports today (December 22, 2020). 

Initial figures suggest that the U.S. will record more than 3.2 million fatalities in 2020, an increase of over 400,000 compared to the previous year. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), America has experienced 315,318 deaths from coronavirus, with new daily infections in the country continuing to spike, regularly hitting around the 200,000 mark. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Miss France Runner-up Is Hit by Anti-Semitism; Thousands of Tweets Show Racism Rules France

The runner-up in this year's Miss France beauty contest said it was disheartening to see that "we are still here in 2020" in response to a barrage of anti-Semitic abuse she received online after mentioning that her father was Israeli, The Telegraph (British) website reports today (December 21, 2020).

Paris prosecutors said today they had opened an inquiry into "racist insults and provoking racial hatred" against April Benayoum, 21, who is reigning Miss Provence and came in second in the national pageant on December 19. 

The offence of publishing anti-Semitic remarks carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros. 

Among the 40,000 tweets citing Miss Provence and Israel on December 19, one reads "Hitler forgot about this one," and another "Don't vote for a Jew."

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Pope Rips St. Peter's Sq. Sci-fi Nativity Scene; Urges Crowd Visit Traditional Exhibit Instead

Pope Francis today (December 20, 2020) added his own thumbs-down to widespread criticism of an unorthodox nativity scene in St. Peter's Square, telling visitors to instead visit a nearby  traditional exhibition, according to the Reuters website.

At his last Sunday blessing and address before Christmas, Francis also said the holy day that marks the birth of Jesus had been "kidnapped" by consumerism.  

Speaking from his window overlooking the square, Francis twice urged people to visit an outdoor exhibit under the square's colonnade where some 100 small traditional nativity scenes are on display. 

He made no mention of the main nativity in the center of the square, a large assembly of statues that includes an astronaut and a character reminiscent of Darth Vader from Star Wars.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Mormons Remove Prejudice,Racism in Handbook; Loving God Is Based on Obeying Commandments

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints added new language to the faith's handbook yesterday, telling members to root out prejudice and racism, the AP website reports today (December 19, 2020). 

The faith's past ban on Black men in the lay priesthood, which stood until 1978, remains a delicate issue for members and non-members alike. 

In the handbook from the faith widely known as the Mormon Church, the new section on prejudice reminds some 16 million members around the world that a person's standing with God depends on devotion to the commandments, not the color of one's skin.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Pope: Let's Divert Arms Money to Fight Covid-19; Also Ensure Vaccines Reach Poor, Weak Nations

 Pope Frsancis urged world leaders yesterday to divert funds used for armaments to confront problems, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure vaccines reach the poor and most vulnerable nations, the Reuters website reports today (December 18, 2020). 

In his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace, which is celebrated on January 1, Francis also repeated a call for the establishment of a global fund with money slated for weapons to be used instead to help eradicate poverty. 

The annual message, this year titled "A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace," is traditionally sent to heads of state, government, international organizations, and other religions.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

New Intel:Russia Has Built Mil. Along E. Europe; Includes Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and Lithuania

 New intelligence finds that Russia in recent years built up and repositioned military forces in a key region that borders countries in Eastern Europe, the Worthy News website reports today (December 17, 2020). 

The strategically important district borders Ukraine, Belarus, and other neighboring countries.

It includes the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and also the heavily armed Russian exclave Kaliningrad, which is nestled in the Baltic coast between Poland and Lithuania. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Hunter Biden's Deals with China Being Revealed; Received Some $6M from a Chinese Energy Firm

Hunter Biden, President-elect Joe Biden's son, is under federal investigation for his relationship with a prominent Chinese  energy firm and has since been subpoenaed for records of his overseas business ventures, the Daily Caller website reports today (December 16, 2020).

The probe into the foreign dealings follows a December 9 announcement from Hunter Biden in which he announced he is being investigated by Delaware authorities for possible tax crimes. 

The probe had been put on hold during Joe Biden's campaign for U.S. President. 

A few days after the U.S. presidential election of 2020, federal investigators announced Hunter Biden was the subject of scrutiny related to his business dealings with one of China's largest energy companies, CEFC. The corporation, which holds possible ties to the country's communist regime, wired about six million dollars to accounts and firms controlled by the President-elect's son between 2017 and 2018.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

McConnell Compliments Joe Biden as President; Head Senator Says Electoral College Has Spoken

 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Democrat Joe Biden today (December 15, 2020), calling him the president-elect and saying the Electoral College "has spoken," according to the Newsmax website.

The Republican leader's statement delivered in a speech on the Senate floor ends weeks of silence over President Donald Trump's defeat. It comes after electors met yesterday and affirmed Biden's election win.

McConnell prefaced his remarks with praise for Trump's four years in office, saying Trump and Vice President Mike Pence "deserve our thanks."

Monday, December 14, 2020

US Sanctions Turkey for Its Russian Missile Deal; OKd a Russian Missile Defense System Hit by US

The Trump administration today (December 14, 2020) sanctioned Turkey, a NATO ally, over its purchase of a Russian missile defense system -- a long awaited move that comes just weeks before President Donald Trump leaves office -- according to the USA Today website.  

The new sanctions include a ban on U.S. export licenses and loans to Turkey's defense procurement agency and an asset freeze on its president, Ismail Demir, among other government officials. 

It is not clear why the Trump administration waited until now to impose the penalties, as Turkey finalized its acquisition of the Russian military system more than a year ago. 

Turkey's foreign ministry condemned the U.S. sanctions and vowed to retaliate. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Pope Urges Countries to Fight Climate Change; Vatican to Hit Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

Pope Francis urged countries yesterday to work towards net zero carbon emissions and committed Vatican City -- the world's smallest state --  to reaching the target by 2050, the Reuters website reports today (December 13, 2020).

Francis, who has championed environmental causes since his election in 2013, told a U.N. climate summit the 108-acre city-state surrounded by Rome would be doing its bit to fight climate change. 

He committed the Vatican "to reducing net carbon emissions to zero by 2050." as well as intensifying environmental management efforts and furthering the rational use of natural resources such as water and planting more trees. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Israel, Morocco Agree to Have Diplomatic Ties; Morocco Follows UAE,Bahrain,and Sudan Path

Israel and Morocco have agreed to normalize relations, President Donald Trump announced this week, marking the fourth Arab-Israeli agreement in four months, the  CBN News reports today (December 12, 2020). The other three Arab countries to renew diplomatic ties with Israel are the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Sudan.

As his time in office winds down, Trump said Israel and Morocco would restore diplomatic and other relations. U.S. officials said it would also include joint overflight rights for airlines. 

The Trump administration has also been trying to bring Saudi Arabia  into the Arab-Israeli grouping, but without success.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Biden and Harris Named Time's Person of the Yr.; A Vice President Is Named for the First Time Ever

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2020, the CBS News website reports today (December 11, 2020).

The annual recognition, which is awarded to "the individual or group of people who affected the news or our lives the most, for better or worse," was announced yesterday.

This is the first time a vice president has been named as a Person of the Year, Time said. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Hunter Biden Is under Federal Tax Investigation; Admits Being Examined for China Business Deals

 Federal prosecutors have been investigating Hunter Biden, President-elect Joe Biden's son, to determine if he failed to report income from China-related business deals, the Washington Post website reports today (December 10, 2020). 

The tax investigation began in 2018 and was confirmed yesterday by Hunter Biden in a statement saying he had just been advised of it. 

"I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. attorney's office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs," Hunter Biden said in a statement. 

Hunter Biden's attorney, George Mesires, did not respond to requests by the Washington Post for additional information about the case.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Supreme Court Backs School Bathroom Policy; Transgender Students Select Bathroom Gender

A group of parents filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms according to the gender they identify with, the Newsy website reports today (December 9, 2020). 

The Supreme Court this week struck down the appeal looking to overturn protections for the transgender students in Oregon. 

A small group of parents filed the appeal in an effort to keep the transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms according to the gender they identify with. 

But the Supreme Court decision will allow the school district policy of letting the students use the facilities they choose to stay in place.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

COVID Vaccines to Roll Out to States Next Week; Health Care Workers, Nursing Homes 1st Served

 The first shipments of coronavirus vaccines are set to roll out to all 50 states in roughly one week, but initial supply will be limited, the Newsy website reports today (December 8, 2020). 

An advisory panel to the CDC recommended last week that the nation's health care workers and long-term care facility residents get the vaccine first 

States do not have to follow the CDC's recommendations -- but most probably will.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Vatican States Pope to Visit Iraq in March 2021; Will Be the First Pope to Ever Visit the Country

 The Vatican announced today (December 7, 2020) that Pope Francis will travel to Iraq in March 2021, according to the National Catholic Register website. 

He will be the first pope to ever visit the country, which is still recovering from the devastation inflicted by the Islamic State (IS).

The four-day papal trip to Iraq March 5--8 will include stops in Baghdad, Erbil, and Mosul.

The pope will also visit the Christian communities in the Nineveh plain, which were ravaged by the Islamic State from 2014 to 2016, causing a plethora of Christians to flee the region.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Trump Atty. Giuliani Hospitalized for COVID-19; Made Public Appearances Recently with No Mask

Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City and President Donald Trump's personal attorney, has tested positive for COVID-19, the USA Today website  reports. 

Giuliani, 76, was admitted to Georgetown University Medical Center today (December 6, 2020).

Andrew Giuliani tweeted that his father was "resting, getting great care, and feeling well."

Trump's attorney has made several public appearances within the last week, including one at a Michigan State House panel and another at a Georgia State Senate hearing. Images from both events show Giuliani speaking in close proximity to others without a mask.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

ABP:Biden Should Not Receive Holy Communion; Says Biden's Support of Abortion Flaunts Sacrilege

A retired Catholic archbishop yesterday said President-elect Joe Biden "should not receive Holy Communion" because of his support of abortion, the Washington Examiner website reports today (December 5, 2020). 

Archbishop Charles Chaput, writing in the religious journal "First Things," said Biden's vocal support for abortion means that he is not in good standing with the Catholic Church and that priests should not give him Holy Communion until he ceases to advocate for abortion-friendly policies. 

"Public figures who identify as 'Catholic' give scandal to the faithful when receiving Communion by creating the impression that the moral laws of the Church are optional," Chaput wrote. "And bishops give similar scandal by not speaking up publicly about the issue and danger of sacrilege."

Friday, December 4, 2020

Biden:Americans to Wear Masks for 1st 100 Days; Masks to Be Mandatory in Govt. Bldgs., Airplanes

 President-elect Joe Biden has revealed his plan to ask all Americans to wear masks during the first 100 days of his administration, The Daily Beast website reports today (December 4, 2020).

"Just 100 days to mask, not forever,"  Biden said. 

He will make masks mandatory in places like government buildings, airplanes, and interstate transit, a move public health officials are expected to support.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

US Has Record 3,157 COVID Deaths in Single Day; Due to Millions of Thanksgiving Visits, Gatherings

The U.S. has reported more than 3,100 coronavirus-related deaths in a single day -- a record for the country -- the Sky News website reports today (December 3, 2020).

The 3,157 deaths far exceed the previous record of 2,603 set in April, and cases are topping more than 200,000 a day.

The figures indicate the U.S. is slipping deeper into trouble and the worst is yet to come, following the Thanksgiving holiday where millions ignored advice of medical experts and governors,  and visited family and friends across the country. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

UK Is First Country to OK Pfizer COVID Vaccine; "A Historic Moment in Fight against COVID-19"

The United Kingdom has become the first country in the world to approve the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner, with an initial wave of inoculations scheduled to begin next week, the NY Daily News website reports today (December 2, 2020).

The British regulatory agency, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority, announced today it approved the treatment from the New York based drug-maker and German company BioNTech for emergency use.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla praised the vaccine's emergency authorization, calling it "a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19."

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Researcher Sees Episcopal Church Death by 2050; Drop in Membership Numbers May Lead to Doom

The future of the Episcopal Church seems bleak as plummeting membership numbers may lead the denomination to close its doors for good in the next few decades, the Christian Headlines website reports today (December 1, 2020).

Rev. Dwight Zscheile, an Episcopal priest and professor, told ChurchLeaders that the future is "dire" for the denomination and he predicts the denomination will cease to exist "by around 2050."

"The overall picture is dire. Not one of decline as much as demise within the next generation unless trends change significantly," Zscheile said.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Russian Jehovah Witnesses Jailed for Extremism; Not Welcome in Russia,Greek Orth. Church Rules

 Several Jehovah's Witnesses have been sentenced in Russia recently for being members of the religious group that Moscow has labeled as extremist and banned in the country, the RFE/RL website reports today (November 30, 2020). 

A court in the Siberian city of Omsk today sentenced 48-year-old Sergei Polyakov to three years in prison after finding him guilty of "organizing the activities of an extremist group."

Polyakov's wife, Anastasia Polyakov, and two other Jehovah's Witnesses, Dinara Dyusekeyeva and Gaukhar Bektemirova, were convicted of "taking part in the activities of an extremist group" and handed suspended two-year prison terms each.

For decades the Jehovah's Witnesses have been viewed with suspicion in Russia , where the dominant Greek Orthodox Church is championed by President Vladimir Putin.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Fauci:Thanksgiving Visits May Make Surge Worse; Social Distancing,Masks Still Needed to Lick Virus

 Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's leading infectious disease expert, warned today (November 29, 2020) that the travel-heavy Thanksgiving holiday could make the current surge in COVID-19 cases even worse for December, the AOL website reports. 

"What we expect, unfortunately,  as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in," he said. 

Dr. Fauci urged Americans to be careful upon their travel back home, and to take proven steps like social distancing and wearing masks. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Pope Elevates 13 Cardinals in St. Peter's Basilica; Warns Them Not to Use Titles for Personal Gain

Pope Francis raised 13 new cardinals to the highest rank in the Catholic hierarchy today (November 28, 2020) and immediately warned them not to use their titles for corrupt, personal gain, presiding over a ceremony marked from beginning to end by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the AP website.

Two new "princes" of the church -- from Brunei and the Philippines -- didn't make it to Rome because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions, though they were shown on giant screens watching it from home in the nearly empty St. Peter's Basilica. 

Throughout the socially distanced ceremony, which lasted about 45 minutes, cardinals new and old wore protective masks. 

During the homily, Francis warned the new cardinals against falling into corruption or using their new rank for personal advancement, saying just because they have a new title, "Eminence," doesn't mean they should drift from their people. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

National Math,Reading Tests Delayed Until 2022; Annual Assessment Tests Skip 2021 Due to COVID

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) said this week  that the national math and reading tests -- used annually to track U.S. students' knowledge in those subjects -- are being postponed until 2022 due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Reuters website reports today (November 27, 2020). 

"I have determined that NCES cannot at this time conduct a national-level assessment in a manner with sufficient validity and reliability to meet the mandate of the law," NCES Commissioner James Woodworth said.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos supported the postponement of the national testing for a year, as NCES testing is federally mandated and funded. 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

High Court Ends NY Church Limit Due to COVID; Rules Limiting Church Attendees Violates Const.

 The Supreme Court placed religious freedom before pandemic precautions last night (November 25, 2020), blocking recent rules in New York that restricted gatherings at houses of worship in areas hit hardest by COVID-19, according to the USA Today website. 

The justices split 5-4 with new justice Amy Coney Barrett in the majority.

The court's more conservative majority ruled that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's limits on churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship to 10 or 25 worshipers in hard-hit regions appeared to violate the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause.

"Even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten," the court's majority opinion said. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Biden to End Trump Policies by Executive Orders; Join Climate Accord, WHO, OK Worldwide Travel

When Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the U.S. on January 20, he plans to reverse several of Donald Trump's policies by executive orders, the CBN News website reports today (November 25, 2020).

First, Biden plans to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. "Climate change, global warming is a threat to humanity," Biden said. "We have a moral obligation to deal with it."

Biden also wants to rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO).

Biden will also use executive powers to repeal Trump's travel ban from heavily Islamic countries where terrorists find refuge, like Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

NYC Synagogue Fined $15K for Secret Wedding; Mayor Said Synagogue Tried to Hide Ceremony

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio accused a New York City synagogue of trying to conceal a wedding from officials and fined the temple $15,000 for hosting a massive maskless wedding, the Daily Caller website reports today (November 24, 2020).

The wedding celebration occurred on November 8 in celebration of Yoel Teitelbaum, grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum.

Mayor de Blasio called the clandestine ceremony at Brooklyn's Yetev Lev temple "just unacceptable."

The building has a capacity of 7,000 people.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Trump Finally Lets Biden Begin Pres. Transition; But Insists His Case for Fraud Election Continues

President Trump finally gave Joe Biden the green light to begin his transition to the White House today (November 23, 2020), marking the clearest sign yet that the incumbent understands he lost the election, according to the NY Daily News website.

In a tweet, Trump said he is "recommending" Emily Murphy, his head of the General Services Administration, sign the appropriate papers that allow Biden's transition team to access the government resources that the president has been holding up.

Still, Trump insisted that his case for subverting the election "strongly continues."

"We will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!" Trump tweeted.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

COVID Vaccinations May Start as Soon as Dec.11; US Expected to Return to Normalcy in May 2021

The chief scientific adviser of Pfizer's new COVID-19 vaccine said today (November 22, 2020) that Americans may receive the vaccine from December 11, and the country's immunization rate could climb high enough to allow for a return to normalcy by May 2021, according to the RT website. 

The FDA vaccine advisory committee is scheduled to meet on December 10 and may grant Pfizer's request for emergency  use authorization that day, Dr. Moncef Slaoui said today. 

The Trump administration stands ready to ship the vaccine to immunization sites in all 50 states within 24 hours, so recipients would receive the first doses on December 11. 

The administration plans to deliver 20 million doses in December and around 30 million each month thereafter at no charge to recipients.  

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej Dies of COVID; Govt. Declares Three Days of Mourning in Serbia

Several thousand worshippers and clergy filed into St. Sava Church in Belgrade  today (November 21, 2020) to pay their respects to Patriarch Irinej, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who died at the age of 90 after contracting COVID-19, according to the Reuters website. 

Irinej tested positive for t he coronavirus on November 4 and died November 20, prompting the Serbian government to declare three days of national mourning in the predominantly Orthodox Christian country.

Serbia, with a population of some seven million, has reported 110,351 COVID-19 cases and 1,140 deaths. 

The Serbian Orthodox Church has about 12 million followers, mainly in Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Pope Slams Those Who Resist COVID Rules; Praises People Who Care for Others in Need

 In an interview this week, Pope Francis called for patience and solidarity while criticizing those who complain about restrictive measures during the coronavirus pandemic, the Newsmax website reports today (November 20, 2020).

He praised what he called urban heroes "who take responsibility toward others and look

for a concrete solution so no one is left behind."


"We need change. The pandemic brought our organizational and developmental models into a crisis; it exposed many injustices, the troubling silence and social and health failures, subjecting a great number of our brothers to the processes of social exclusion and degradation," the pope said.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

US Coronavirus Death Toll Has Surpassed 250K; One Million COVID Cases Reported in Past Week

 More than a quarter-million people in the U.S. have died of COVID-19 as of today (November 19, 2020), according to the Washington Post website. 

The death toll surpasses even the White House's worst predictions from the spring, and it will likely rise much higher, as infections accelerate and hospital systems across the country face imminent overloads.

Officials said they are alarmed by the dramatic spread, with over one million new cases reported in the past week.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Pfizer Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is 95% Effective; Plans to Submit Vaccine for Approval Within Days

Drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said today (November 18, 2020) they would be submitting their coronavirus vaccine candidate for regulatory approval "within days" after their final analysis revealed the treatment was 95% effective with no major side effects, according to the NY Daily News website.

The drug's phase 3 trial -- now complete -- confirmed the vaccine was consistently effective across "age, gender, race, and ethnicity demographics," the company said in a statement.  

Of the 41,135 adult volunteers who have received the treatment so far, none has exhibited any serious side effects. 

However, nearly 4% of volunteers said they'd been experiencing  fatigue, while another 2% reported headaches after the second shot.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Trump Planned to Hit Iran for a Nuclear Growth; Was Dissuaded by Senior Advisers Not To Do So

 President Trump sought options last week for attacking Iran to stop its growing nuclear program, the NY Times website reports today (November 17, 2020).

"President Trump asked senior advisers in the Oval Office meeting last Thursday whether he had options to take action against Iran's main nuclear site in the coming weeks," U.S. officials said yesterday.

The meeting occurred a day after international inspectors reported a significant increase in Iran's stockpile of nuclear material.

Several senior advisers dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike, warning that it could escalate into a broader conflict. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Greek Orth. Church Rips Criticism of Communion; Says State's Communion Ban Due to COVID Amiss

Greece's Orthodox Church today (November 16, 2020) condemned as misplaced and "neurotic" criticism of the pursuit of Holy Communion which has been banned by the Greek government in the presence of the public during coronavirus lockdown curbs, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.

The Holy Synod, the church's ruling body, said it had cooperated with the state from the beginning of the crisis and complies with health measures. 

The church insists it is impossible for COVID-19 or any disease to be transmitted through Communion, the tradition of handing out bread and wine from the same spoon and chalice. 

Doctors and experts say the coronavirus can be transmitted through saliva.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Trump Today Admits Biden "Won" for First Time; Won't Concede, Claims Vote Stacked against Him

Donald Trump said for the first time today (November 15, 2020) that president-elect Joe Biden "won" the U.S. election, but added that he is not conceding, according to the Sky News website.  

He made the original admission in a tweet along with claims the vote was deliberately stacked against him.

Despite losing the Electoral College by 74 votes and the popular vote by five million votes, Trump has refused to accept the result.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Scotland Enacts Law Banning Child Spanking; Lets Police Investigate, Charge, Jail Spankings

A new law that went into effect in Scotland today (November 14, 2020) requires a person who spanks a child to serve time in jail, according to the WND website.

The law, which bans "mild physical discipline," authorizes police to investigate, charge, and jail anyone for the offense. 

The Scottish Parliament, in the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act of 2019, now calls such discipline "assault."

Friday, November 13, 2020

Biden,Pope Discuss Working Together on Issues; Agree on Equality, Climate Change, Immigration

President-elect Joe Biden and Pope Francis had a phone conversation yesterday in which they discussed working together on issues such as equality, climate change, and immigration, the Crux website reports today (November 13, 2020).

The president-elect thanked His Holiness for extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation for His Holiness' leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world.

Biden is set to become the second Catholic president in U.S. history, and the first since John F. Kennedy 60 years ago.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Churches Fight COVID Orders Limiting Crowds; File Court Cases Arguing Limit Level Is Unconst.

As the COVID-19 pandemic surges again in the U.S., churches are fighting state and local orders that cap attendance at services at lower numbers than allowed at nonreligious places and events, the UPI website reports today (November 12, 2020).

Governors and other officials who issue the orders say the restrictions are necessary to minimize the spread of coronavirus. 

But religious institutions across the U.S. have filed numerous court challenges arguing that the different capacity limits and social distancing requirements for them are unconstitutional.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Biden Gets to Work Despite Trump Obstruction; Harris' Husband to Leave Law Firm, Work in DC

 Asked about Republicans blocking him from receiving intelligence briefings traditionally shared with incoming presidents, Joe Biden said "we don't see anything slowing us down," the AP website reports today (November 11, 2020).

Biden described Trump's unprecedented position as little more than  an "embarrassing" mark on the outgoing president's legacy. 

Meanwhile, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, Doug Emhoff, said today he plans to leave his California law practice by Inauguration Day to focus on White House duties. He is the first man to hold the role of vice presidential spouse. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Cath. Church OK'd UK Clergy Who Abused Kids; Moved Sex Abusive Priests to Different Parishes

The Roman Catholic Church in Britain betrayed its moral purpose over decades by protecting those who sexually abused children rather than caring for their victims, an independent inquiry said today (November 10, 2020), according to the Reuters website. 

In a report, it said the Church had consistently prioritized its own reputation, moving abusive priests and monks to different parishes where some continued to prey on children.

The Catholic Church received more than 900 complaints involving over 3,000 instances of child sex abuse in England and Wales between 1970 and 2015.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Pfizer Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is 90% Effective; Expects Vaccine to Bring Pandemic under Control

Pfizer Inc. said today (November 9, 2020) that its COVID-19 vaccine may be a remarkable 90% effective, based on early and incomplete test results that nevertheless brought  a big burst of optimism to a world desperate for the means to finally bring the catastrophic outbreak under control, according to the AP News website.

"We're in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope," Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer's senior vice president of clinical development, told the Associated Press.  

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide, including almost a quarter-million in the U.S. alone.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

OR Man Nabbed for Distributing IS Propaganda; Explained Online How to Kill,Maim with a Knife

A Portland, Oregon area man was arrested for distributing ISIS propaganda online -- including explainers on how to kill and maim with a knife and how explosive devices work --  the New York Post website reports today (November 8, 2020). 

Hawazen Sameer Mothafar, 31, of Troutdale is accused of helping the ISIS terrorist group recruit new members and encouraging supporters to carry out attacks. 

Mothafar allegedly edited, produced, and distributed articles for the pro-ISIS media site Al Dura'a al Sunni between February 2015 and November 5 of this year -- including one titled "Effective Stabbing Techniques."

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Biden Defeats Trump in the 2020 Pres. Election; Gets 270 Electoral Votes Needed,Thanks to Penn.

 Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election today (November 7), sending President Trump to a bitter defeat four years after he shocked the world by winning the White House with an unexpected victory over  Hillary Clinton, according to the Yahoo News website. 

Biden crossed the 270-vote threshold in the Electoral College today after the Associated Press called Pennsylvania for him. He also received over 77 million popular votes -- the most of any presidential candidate ever.

The Trump campaign has filed multiple lawsuits in several states to contest the legitimacy of certain ballots, but those lawsuits are not expected to affect Biden's presidential victory.

Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Cal., became the first Black woman and first Asian American elected vice president in U.S.history. Biden, 77, is also the oldest person ever to be elected president.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Philly Mayor to Trump:Put on Your Big Boy Pants; Acknowledge Defeat and Congratulate Joe Biden

 Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kennedy said today (November 6, 2020) that President Donald Trump needs to "put his big boy pants on" and accept defeat as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden takes the lead in battleground states across the country, according to the Daily Caller website. 

"He needs to acknowledge the fact that he lost and he needs to congratulate the winner," Kennedy added. 

Kennedy's suggestion comes despite Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Dealey said today they have "upwards" of 40,000 ballots left to be counted, adding it will take "several days" to complete.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

GOP Pols: Trump's Attacks on Election Baseless; Says People Trying to "Steal" Election from Him

Republican lawmakers were quick to criticize Donald Trump today (November 5, 2020), after the president made a series of baseless claims that people were attempting to "steal" the election from him, according to t he USA Today website.  

The remarks included baseless claims that the election was driven by fraud and corruption and came as former Vice President Joe Biden's lead in the race grew. 

"If you count the legal votes I easily win. If you count the illegal votes they can try to steal the election from us," Trump told reporters in the White House briefing room.

There is no evidence of illegal voting or election fraud. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Student Sues School for Banning Jesus Mask; Miss.3rd Grader Can't Wear "Jesus Loves Me"

A school district in Mississippi has been sued for banning a third grade student from wearing a facemask in class that has "Jesus Loves Me" written on it, the Christian Post website reports today (November 4, 2020).

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Lydia Booth on November 2 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. 

Defendants named in the suit include the Simpson County School District, the Board of Education for Simpson County, Superintendent Greg Paes, Assistant Superintendent Robert Sanders, and Simpson Central School Principal Antoinette Woodall.

ADF Legal Counsel Michael Ross said in a statement that public schools must "respect the free expression of students that the First Amendment guarantees to them."

Pres. Election May Take Days to Elect a Winner; Contested Election Won't Damage US Democracy

 With the outcome of the 2020 presidential election still hanging on the uncounted votes in a handful of battleground states, President Donald Trump has already prematurely declared victory and said he will take the election fight to the Supreme Court, the Yahoo News website reports today (November 4, 2020).

Joe Biden said: "It's not my place or Donald Trump's place to declare who has won this election. That's the decision of the American people."

The situation  has compounded the worry felt by many that a contested election would severely undermine faith in American democracy. 

However, in the past, contested elections have not tended to damage the process of democracy because the rules of handling such disputes exist and have been followed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Troops Deploy Amid Fear of Riots after Election; Intel:US Will See Violence No Matter Who Wins

The nation's military reserve force began deploying across the U.S. today  (November 3, 2020) amid mounting concerns that the 2020 presidential election's outcome may lead to civil unrest or even war, according to the Worthy News website. 

The National Guard took up tasks ranging from "cyber defense" against attacks on computer systems to providing security around polling stations, military sources said. 

They were also standing by in case of post-election civil unrest. 

Intelligence shows that no matter who wins the presidential election, there are legitimate concerns for cities to brace for brutality.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Terrorists Kill Several, Wound Many in Vienna; "This Is Hardest Day for Austria for Many Years"

 Austria's interior minister said today (November 2, 2020) that the death toll in a terrorist shooting in Vienna last night has increased, according to the UPI website. 

Karl Nehammer said "several" people had died and at least one of the shooters was still on the loose in a press conference. 

"This is the hardest day for Austria for many years," Nehammer said. 

Around 8 p.m. last night, shooters armed with automatic rifles opened fire on multiple locations, including a street near a synagogue, police said. One attacker, shot and killed by police outside St. Rupert's church, was carrying an explosive belt and had a bag filled with ammunition.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Protestant Pastors Extend Endorsing Candidates; Up by 50% Over 2016, Public Split on Endorsing

A new survey conducted by LifeWay Research shows that while Americans are divided on whether it's appropriate for pastors to personally endorse candidates for public office, the percentage of Protestant pastors doing so has increased by nearly 50% over the last four years, the Christian Post website reports today (November 1, 2020).

Thirty-nine percent of Americans do not agree with pastoral endorsements, even if it is outside their church role, according to the survey of 1,200 people.

Forty-three percent say it's appropriate and 19% are unsure.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Greek Orthodox Priest Shot Twice in Lyon, France; French Cartoons of Islam Angering Many Muslims

A person with a sawed-off rifle shot a Greek Orthodox priest today (October 31, 2020) in Lyon, France, according to the AOL website. 

Authorities say the priest was shot twice in the abdomen while closing his church, and is now in critical condition. 

The motive is unclear, but comes just days after a Muslim man killed three people at a church in the French city of Nice.

Tensions have been high between France and Muslim nations recently due to the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's publishing of images of Mohammad, which is forbidden under Islam. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Loughlin Goes to Prison for Two-Month Sentence; Full House Star Paid USC $500K to Accept 2 Girls

 Lori Loughlin reported to prison today (October 30, 2020) in the college admissions scandal, the Yahoo News website reports.

The "Full House" actress, 56, surrendered to the Federal Bureau of Prisons and will be serving out her two-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California. 

Loughlin will be released from prison just before the new year.

After fighting the charges for more than a year, Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannuli, agreed to plead guilty in the scam, which saw them pay $500,000 to college admissions fixer William "Rick" Singer to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits, despite neither having participated in the sport. 

Pope Vows to Tackle Corruption in Cath. Church; Fired Vatican Cardinal of Late for Embezzlement

Pope Francis said in an interview published today (October 30, 2020) that he is determined to root out corruption in the Catholic Church, but that he is not overly optimistic because it is a centuries-old human problem, according to the Reuters website.

In an interview with the Italian news agency AdnKronos, Francis also said he listens to his critics but can't allow himself to get bogged down by every negative thing they say.

In a shocking move last  month, Francis fired Cardinal Angelo Becciu, a former top Vatican official, accusing him of embezzlement and nepotism.  

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Knife Attacker Kills Three People in Nice, France; Man Kills Them in Church, Beheads a Woman, 70

A man armed with a knife today (October 29, 2020) killed three people -- two women and a man -- in a Muslim terrorist attack at a church in Nice on France's Cote d'Azur, according to The Guardian website.

The killings occurred at about 9 a.m. inside the Notre-Dame Basilica in the center of Nice.

One of the victims was a 70-year-old woman, who was beheaded. A man, believed to be the church warden, was the second victim. A woman in her 40s was critically injured and ran from the church, but died of her injuries. 

The attacker, Brahim Aoussaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian national, was shot in the shoulder by police and taken to a hospital. He shouted "Allahu Akbar" several times while being arrested by police. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Turkey in Legal Action on Charlie Hebdo Cartoon; Mag. Depicts Turkey Pres. Lifting Woman's Dress

Turkey has vowed to take "legal, diplomatic actions" over a cartoon of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the BBC website reports today (October 28, 2020).

The cartoon depicts Turkey's president lifting the dress of a veiled woman.

Turkish prosecutors have launched an official investigation into the satirical magazine.

Tensions between France and Turkey are high after President Emmanuel Macron recently pledged a tougher stance against radical Islam.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Americans Have Cast a Record 66M Early Ballots; Puts 2020 Election on Track for Historic Vote No.

 With one week still remaining until Election Day, Americans have already cast a record-breaking 66 million early ballots, putting the 2020 election on track for historic levels of voter turnout, the NPR website reports today (October 27, 2020).

That is some 19 million more pre-election votes than was cast in the 2016 election.

The U.S. Elections Project, a database run by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, calculates that nationally, voters have cast more than 48% of the total votes counted in the 2016 election.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Erdogan:Muslims Treated Like Jews before WWII; Says Muslims in Europe Attacked, Face Genocide

 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today (October 26, 2020) that Islamophobia in Europe has reached levels comparable to the treatment of Jews before World War II, according to the Euro News website.

He suggested that Europe was accustomed to "relocations, inquisitions, and genocides," and that Muslims across the continent were being attacked. 

In the same speech, Erdogan called for a boycott of products from France amid a spiralling row with Emmanuel Macron over the French president's perceived attitude toward Islam and Muslims. 

"The rising Islamophobia in the West has turned into a wholescale attack on our book, our prophet, we consider holy," he said. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Biden May Name Past Pres.Obama to High Court; May Also Raise Size of Supreme Court to Refine It

According to CNN, Joe Biden has said that he would "nominate former President Barack Obama to the highest court," the Political Press website reports today (October 25, 2020). 

And it would not be an unprecedented move, as former President William Howard Taft was the 27th president and then became the 10th chief justice of the Supreme Court. 

Biden admitted today on the "60 Minutes" program that if he is elected President on November 3, he plans to establish a committee made up mostly of legal scholars to scrutinize the Supreme Court and institute its long-overdue reforms to improve it.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Bishops Slam Pope's Backing Gay Civil Unions; Say View Is Contrary to Catholic Belief,Doctrine

 Several senior American bishops have spoken out against Pope Francis for his endorsement of same-sex civil unions, saying that his views "do not correspond to the constant teaching of the Church," the Newsmax website reports today (October 24, 2020).

Francis said in a recent TV documentary that "homosexuals have a right to be part of the family" and noted that he "stood up for" a "civil union law" to protect same-sex couples. 

Cardinal Raymond Burke condemned the pope's remarks: "Such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful, inasmuch as they are contrary to the teaching of the Church," Burke said. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Trump Plays a Key Role in New Sudan-Israel Ties; Sudan Joins UAE, Bahrain with a Diplomatic Pact

 President Donald Trump announced today (October 23, 2020) that Sudan will start to normalize ties with Israel, making it the third Arab nation to do so as part of U.S.-brokered deals in the run-up to election  day, according to the Euro News website. 

The deal, which would deepen Sudan's engagement with the West, follows Trump's conditional agreement this week to remove the North African nation from the list of state sponsors of terrorism if it pays compensation to American victims of terror attacks. 

It also delivers a foreign policy achievement for Trump just days before the U.S. election and boosts his ally, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Recently, the U.S. brokered diplomatic pacts between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. Jordan recognized Israel in the 1990s.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Senate Committee OKs Barrett for Supreme Court; Democrats Boycott Vote, Desired It after Election

The Senate Judiciary Committee today (October 22, 2020) pushed through President Donald Trump's conservative pick for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, as Democrats boycotted the vote saying it was too close to the November 3 election, according to the AFP website.

The unanimous vote, with all Democrats absent, sets the stage for full Senate approval early next week on Barrett, who will tilt the high court firmly to the right.

Yesterday, Democrats labelled the nomination process a "sham" that broke former Republican promises to never vote on a Supreme Court nominee so close to a presidential election.

"My Democratic Senate colleagues and I boycotted the Supreme Court nominee committee vote today," Senator Kamala Harris, a committee member who is the Democratic nominee for vice president, said. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pope Calls for Civil Union Laws for Gay Couples; OKs Major Departure from Set Vatican Doctrine

 Pope Francis called for the passage of civil union laws for same-sex couples in a documentary that aired in Rome today (October 21, 2020), in a major departure from the position held by the Vatican doctrinal office, according to the NBC News website. 

""Homosexuals have a right to be part of the family," the Pontiff said in "Francisco," a documentary about his life.

"They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or made miserable because of it."

"What we have to create is a civil union law." he added. "That way, they are legally covered. I stood up for that."

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Greece Decides to Build a Wall on Turkey Border; Will Cost Some $74M, Completed by End of April

 Greece's government has finalized plans to build a 15-foot-high wall along its northeast border with Turkey, over concerns that migrants may try to stage mass crossings into the European Union country, the ABC News website reports today (October 20, 2020).

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said that 16 miles of wall would be added to an existing six-mile section of fence in a $74 million project due to be completed by the end of April.

A standoff occurred at the border earlier this year after Turkey said it would no longer prevent migrants trying to reach the EU, and tens of thousands tried to cross into Greece. 

The two countries are also at odds over energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean in a dispute that has triggered a dangerous military buildup in the region and fears of conflict. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Trump: Americans Are Tired of Hearing Dr. Fauci; Fauci on Television Yesterday Warns of New Surge

President Trump said today (October 19, 2020) that Americans are tired of hearing from Dr. Anthony Fauci "and all these idiots" about COVD-19, and he had considered firing the health adviser except for the media backlash it would cause, the Washington Times website reports.  

In a conference call with his campaign staff, Trump said "people are tired of COVID." 

"People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots," Trump asserted,  a day after Dr. Fauci appeared on "60 Minutes" on CBS and warned of a new surge in COVID cases.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Police Disperse Some 2,000 Protesters in Prague; Protest against Govt. Measures to Fight COVID-19

Czech riot police deployed tear gas, flashbang grenades, and water cannon to disperse some 2,000 protesters who refused to leave Prague's Old Town Square after a rally against government measures to fight the coronavirus, the RT website reports today (October 18, 2020). 

The defiant demonstrators clashed with police, pelting the officers with stones and firecrackers. 

Several dozen people were reported injured in the skirmish, including members of the police force. 

The rally was gathered to object to government rules on the COVID-19 epidemic. Dozens of arrests were made relating to the riot.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Trump:Jesus Only Person More Popular Than Me; When Told "You're Most Famous Person in World"

Despite a disapproval rating of about 50 percent, Donald Trump told loyalists in North Carolina on October 15 there is only one person, past or present, more popular than himself: the son of God, the Independent website reports today (October 17, 2020). 

"Someone said to me the other day, 'You're the most famous person in the world by far.' I said, 'no I'm not.' They said, 'Who's more famous?'"

I said, "Jesus Christ," Trump said of the conversation with t he unnamed individual. 

The crowd roared its approval in the deeply religious southern state and the president laughed. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Teacher Beheaded in France for Mohammed Slur; Police Kill Islamist Terrorist Holding a Knife, Gun

A history teacher, who showed his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in class, was beheaded near his school in a Paris suburb today (October 16, 2020) by a suspected Islamist terrorist who shouted "Allahu Akbar," ("God is the Greatest"), The Telegraph website reports. 

Police confronted and shot dead a man armed with a kitchen knife and an air gun.

Minutes later, officers found the body of the male teacher, who worked in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine northwest of Paris.  

Thursday, October 15, 2020

"Not Our Faith" Group Rejects Voting for Trump; Trump Uses Christianity "For His Own Purposes"

A bipartisan group of Christians has created a political action committee in order to encourage Christians not to vote for President Trump, the Christian Headlines website reports today (October 15, 2020).

The group dubbed "Not Our Faith" released its first digital ad, "Not Our Vote, Not Our Faith" this week, which already has over 11,000 views on its YouTube channel. 

The ad accuses President Trump of using Christianity "for his own purposes," urging Christians to see that they "don't need Trump to save them. The truth is that Trump needs Christians to save his flailing campaign."

"Ask yourself, is our culture healthier or more broken after the last four years?" the video asked. "Are we more unified or divided and are we more or less of a Christian nation?" 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Head of Greece's Golden Dawn Party Gets 13 Yrs.; Additional Neo-Nazi Party Members Also Jailed

The leader of Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party today (October 14, 2020) was sentenced to 13 years in jail, according to the Euro News website. 

Nikos Michaloliakos and six of the party's former lawmakers were convicted of "leading a criminal organization" last week. All but one were sentenced to 13 years in jail today.

Eleven other former parliament members were jailed for between five and seven years for being members of a criminal organization.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

J&J Pauses Its Vaccine Trial to Probe an Illness; Drugmaker Eli Lilly Pauses It for Safety Concern

A pharmaceutical campaign to thwart the coronavirus suffered twin setbacks this week, with Johnson & Johnson pausing its late-stage vaccine trial because of an unexplained  illness and a separate drugmaker taking a time-out as it vets a neutralizing antibody treatment, the Washington Times website reports today (October 13, 2020).

"We're letting safety protocol follow proper procedure here," J & J Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk said today. "Pauses are something that's not uncommon."

He noted that 60,000 people are involved in the study, so an adverse event isn't shocking. 

Also today, drugmaker Eli Lilly said its data safety monitoring board recommended a pause in the clinical trial of its monoclonal antibody treatment. It did not specify what the safety concern was.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Dr. Fauci: Trump Campaign Ad Is "Harassing Me;" Fauci's Months-Old Praise of Health Officials Used

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, today (October 12, 2020) demanded that the Trump campaign refrain from using him in future campaign ads, saying it would be "outrageous" and "terrible" if he was featured in another commercial that would "come back to backfire" on Team Trump, The Daily Beast website reports.

"By doing this against my will, they are, in effect, harassing me," Fauci said. 

Fauci became angry when he saw President Trump's campaign featuring him (Fauci) in a video advertisement and using remarks made in the past out of context. 

"The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials," Fauci said.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Priest Who Had Sex with Women in Church Fired; Priest,Two Women in La. Had Sex in Church Altar

A Catholic church in Pearl River, Louisiana has burned the altar where its former priest was caught having sex with two women, the Miami Herald website reports today (October 11, 2020).

The former pastor at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Travis Clark, has been removed from ministry and is no longer on the diocese payroll. 

Clark, 37, was arrested September 30 with Mindy Dixon and Melissa Cheng on obscenity charges after a passer-by reported seeing them having sex on the church's altar. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Pope: Punish Companies Hindering Environment; Says We Must Act Urgently to Aid Climate Change

 Pope Francis today (October 10, 2020) urged people to pull investments from companies that are not committed to protecting the environment, according to the Reuters website. 

Francis spoke in a video message for an online event called "Countdown Global Launch, A Call to Action on Climate Change."

"Science tells us, every day with more precision, that we need to act urgently -- if we are to have any hope of avoiding radical and catastrophic climate change," he said.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Enrollment Declines in Many US School Districts; COVID Safety Rules Hindering Learning Process

 Comprehensive national data are not available yet, but media reports from around the U.S. show enrollment declines in dozens of school districts across 20 states, the NPR website reports today (October 9, 2020).

Six months after schools around the country shut their doors amid coronavirus lockdowns, these fall enrollment declines come as schools have been scrambling to improve remote learning offerings and to adopt safety procedures to allow buildings to open for in-person classes, some for only two or three days a week.

For example, Chris Reykdal, Washington state's superintendent of public instruction, this week announced a 2.8% decrease in enrollment statewide, driven by a 14% drop in kindergarten. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Trump:All US Troops Out of Afghanistan by Xmas; Could Be in Effort to Enhance Reelection Chances

 President Donald Trump says he wants all U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan by December 25, 2020, which would be sooner than he previously proposed, the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website reports today (October 8, 2020).

"We should have the small remaining number of our brave men and women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!" Trump tweeted. 

Trump's message comes four weeks before the U.S. presidential election and as he seeks to keep his 2016 election promise to bring "endless wars" to a close. 

The U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan began 19 years ago after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and has become the longest war in U.S. history.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Man Nabbed for Wrecking NYC Church Statue; Shown Knocking It Over,Hurlimg It onto Street

Police have made an arrest  after a man was caught on camera vandalizing a religious statue in Brooklyn, the CBS News website reports today (October 7, 2020).

The statue stood outside Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace on West 17th Street and Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island. 

It depicts Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most iconic images of the Virgin Mary.

Surveillance video shows a man grabbing the statue of the Blessed Mother, knocking it over, and hurling it onto the sidewalk. Police have charged Manhattan resident Daniel Ventre, 37, with criminal mischief.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Inquiry Info:Church of England Aided Pedophiles; Allowed Them to Continue Working with Children

 A shocking new inquiry has found that the Church of England forgave some 400 pedophiles, and even allowed them to continue working with children, the RT website reports today (October 6, 2020).

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) found that between 1940 and 2018 some 300 people employed by the church, as clergymen or in trusted positions, were convicted of child sex abuse. 

They were "forgiven" for their crimes by the church and allowed to continue their duties, often in close proximity to children, the IICSA found. 

"The cultures of the Church of England facilitated it becoming a place where abuses could hide," the report reads.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Survey:61% of Evangelicals to Vote for Trump; Most Black Evangelicals Are Voting for Biden

A new online poll from Lifeway Research shows that just two in ten evangelicals plan to vote for Joe Biden in the presidential race, the Christian Headlines website reports today (October 5, 2020). 

White evangelicals tend to support President Trump in a landslide, with a 7 to 1 ratio out of every 10 voters.

Black evangelicals are overwhelmingly Biden supporters  by about the same margin.

Overall. the survey found that 61 percent of evangelicals plan to vote for the President. 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Pope: COVID-19 Proves Capitalism Has Failed; Issues Encyclical Rejecting Church Backing War

Pope Francis says the coronavirus pandemic has proven that the "magic theories" of market capitalism have failed and the world needs a new type of politics that promotes dialogue and solidarity and rejects war at all costs, the  Euro News website reports today (October 4, 2020). 

Francis today laid out his vision for a post-COVID world by uniting the core elements into a new encyclical, "Fratelli Tutti" (Brothers All), which was released on the feast day of his namesake, the peace-loving St. Francis of Assisi.

In the encyclical, Francis rejected even the Catholic Church's own doctrine justifying war as a means of legitimate defense, saying it had been too broadly applied over the centuries and was no longer viable. 

"It is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a just war," Francis wrote in the most controversial new element of the encyclical.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Cath. Must View More Than Abortion in Voting; Bishop Says Racism,Concern for Poor,Sick Imp.

 A Texas bishop said this week that abortion should not be the only issue that Roman Catholics care about when they decide how to cast their votes in the 2020 elections, the Huff Post website reports today (October 3, 2020). 

El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz lamented the fact that some Christians are "single-issue" voters when it comes to abortion -- while ignoring issues such as racism, workers' rights, and climate change. 

Seitz pointed to how Pope Francis has challenged Catholics to treat their concern for the lives of the poor, sick, and marginalized as "equally sacred" as the "unborn."

Friday, October 2, 2020

NY Cath. Diocese Is Largest to File Bankruptcy; Over 200 Abuse Cases in Rockville Ctr. Diocese

A Roman Catholic diocese in New York City's suburbs has become the largest in the U.S. to declare bankruptcy to protect itself from a wave of lawsuits filed over past sexual abuse by clergy members, the AP website reports today (October 2, 2020).

The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday. It is the eighth largest diocese or archdiocese in the U.S., serving more than 1.4 million Catholics on Long Island. 

"The financial burden of the litigation has been severe and only compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic," Bishop John Barres said.

More than 200 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy members have been filed against the diocese since the 2019 passage of New York's Child Victims Act, which suspended the statute of limitations to allow sex abuse victims to pursue decades-old allegations of abuse against clergy members. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Dr. Fauci Says Some Businesses Should Be Closed; Says Closing Them Will Slow Spread of COVID-19

Some businesses might be operating as normal throughout the U.S., but that doesn't mean they should be, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Yahoo News website reports today (October 1, 2020).

In fact, during a recent appearance on MSNBC, he said that three types of businesses may be most likely to spread the novel coronavirus.  

Dr. Fauci emphasized that closing gyms, bars, and restaurants helped Arizona, New York, and Texas slow the spread of COVID-19.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Greek Orth. Church Goes to UN on Hagia Sophia; Rips Turkey for Turning UNESCO Site to Mosque

 The Greek Orthodox Church of the United States said yesterday it is petitioning the United Nations to coerce Turkey into protecting Orthodox Christianity's cultural heritage following the Turkish government's conversion of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque, the AP website reports today (September 30, 2020).

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said it was pressing the UN in the areas of cultural rights, minority rights, and freedom of religion and beliefs to hold Turkey accountable "for its deliberate policies to erase the cultural heritage of Orthodox Christians."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a radical Muslim dictator, issued a decree in July that turned Hagia Sophia into a Muslim house of prayer. 

The structure, a UNESCO world heritage site, had served as one of Christendom's most important cathedrals and then a mosque for centuries, as well as a museum for the past 86 years.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Most in US Unwilling to Take COVID-19 Vaccine; Only 44% Would Take It, Even with $100 Bonus

 A new poll shows that mounting skepticism around a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. continues, with less than half of people saying they'd take one -- even if they were offered $100 -- the RT website reports today (September 29, 2020).

Of the 1,000-plus adults who participated in the Axios-Ipsos poll, only 44% said they'd take a vaccine if offered the incentive  of $100.

They would be even less likely  to get the vaccine if they were the ones who had to pay $100, saying they'd be unwilling to take on the cost.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Trump to Distribute Millions of COVID-19 Tests; Will Help Reopen Schools,Return Parents to Work

President Donald Trump today (September 28, 2020) announced plans to distribute millions of Abbott Labs' 15-minute COVID-19 tests in the coming weeks, a move aimed at expanding access and helping reopen schools that are seen as key to getting parents back to work, according to the Newsmax website. 

The federal government will send out 6.5 million rapid tests to governors this week and expects to ship 100 million tests over the next several weeks, based on states' populations. 

The White House will encourage states to use the tests to screen teachers, check symptomatic children to see if they have contracted the virus, or conduct baseline surveillance.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Half of Pandemics Who Lost Job Still Have None; A New Study Shows a Third Returned to Old Job

Roughly six months after the coronavirus began to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy, about half of those who lost their jobs say they are still without one, the Vox website reports today (September 27, 2020). 

A new Pew Research Center study, which surveyed 13,200 U.S. adults in the first two weeks of August, found some limited recovery with respect to employment. 

Of all those who said they had lost a job, a third have returned to their old job, and 15 percent say they have a new job.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Trump Names Anti-Abortion Judge to High Court; Most Likely Will Lead to Reversal of Roe V. Wade

President Donald Trump today (September 26, 2020) nominated the conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the Euro News website reports. 

A staunch Catholic, Barrett has seven children and described abortion as "always immoral."

The Republican-dominated Senate is planning to confirm her in a vote before the presidential  election on November 3 and the Democrats are powerless to stop it. 

Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court will provide the court with a majority of conservative justices and will probably result in the reversal of the court's shocking Roe V. Wade decision of 1973, which legalized abortions for the first time in U.S. history.


Friday, September 25, 2020

Dr. Fauci Gives "Magic" Way to Defeat COVID; Says Entire Country Must Unite, Stop Fighting

 Despite COVID-19 still thriving in several parts of the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci -- the nation's leading infectious disease expert -- said today (September 25, 2020) that there is one thing that could help turn the coronavirus pandemic around, but it would require all of our participation, according to the Yahoo News websitre.

"I think apart from a vaccine, which we'll have to wait a few months for, if I were to wave a wand now, it would be to get the entire country uniformly pulling together in a public health way to get these cases down," he confessed.

Fauci wants people to remember that we shouldn't be fighting each other  -- as has been the case in America, especially with the "highly charged political season with big-time, high-stakes elections."

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Trump Is Jeered by Crowd at Ginsburg Casket; Yells "Honor Her Wish!" and "Vote Him Out!"

President Donald Trump was loudly jeered and subjected to chants of "Honor her wish!" and "Vote him out!" during his visit today (September 24, 2020) to pay respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg's casket at the Supreme Court, according to The Daily Beast website. 

The crowd was incensed by Trump's determination to ignore the late justice's dying wish to not be replaced before Election Day.

The president stood silently beside the casket with first lady Melanie Trump as the crowd voiced its disapproval.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Pastors See Church Worship Drop after Pandemic; Most Presume Attendance Decline after It Is Over

A new survey by the Barna Group shows that a little more than half of U.S. pastors expect their worship attendance to decline after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, according to the Christian Post website.

Barna recently released the findings of  week 17 of their Church Pulse Leader Survey, which drew from a poll of 422 Protestant pastors taken September 10-18.

For week 17. 46% of pastors said they expect attendance to have "declined slightly" by the end of the crisis, while 6% responded that they expect to have "declined dramatically." 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Coronavirus Death Toll in US Surges Past 200K; Huge Toll May Play Vital Role in Pres. Election

America's coronavirus death toll topped 200,000 today (September 22, 2020), a grim and once unimaginable milestone that is almost certain to have a significant impact on the nearby election  day, according to the NY Daily News website. 

Doctors at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reported the bleak benchmark based on figures supplied by state health authorities.

Today's grim tally comes about eight months after the first confirmed coronavirus case in the U.S. and less than four months after the death toll topped 100,000 on May 27.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Americans Want SCOTUS Judge after 2020 Vote; Majority Prefer Vacancy Filled after Nov. Voting

A new poll shows that most American adults would prefer the vacant Supreme Court seat to be filled after the 2020 election, the Christian Post website reports today (September 21, 2020).

A Reuters poll, released yesterday of over 1,006 American adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points shows that 62% of respondents think that the vacancy left by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be filled after the November election. About 23% said they disagreed. 

Eight out of 10 Democrats believe that Ginsburg's seat should not be filled until after the election, while about five out of 10 Republicans said the same.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Pope to LGBT Parents:God Loves Your Children; Parents Assist Assoc.for Info to LGBT Families

Pope Francis yesterday told a group of parents of LGBT children that "God loves your children as they are," the American Magazine website reports today (September 20, 2020).

He did so at a brief encounter with some 40 parents of LGBT children after a public audience  in the Renaissance  courtyard of San Damaso in the Vatican.

The parents are members of an Italian association, Tanda di Gionata (Jonathan's Tent), which welcomes and provides information to LGBT Christians, their families, and pastoral workers.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Pentagon Sending about 100 US Troops into Syria; Will Hinder Russian Troops from US Eastern Area

The Pentagon is sending about 50 U.S. troops and about a dozen figthting vehicles to Syria, following a series of encounters between the U.S. and Russian militaries, the NBC News website reports today (September 19, 2020).

The troops and vehicles will serve as a show of presence to discourage the Russian military from crossing into the eastern security area where U.S. forces operate.

The commander of the U.S. Central Command told NBC News that Russian misbehavior on the ground had a Russian ground patrol entering into the eastern Syria security area -- an area they were not authorized to be in. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

High Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies; Known for Fighting for Women, Minority Rights

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who ascended from a working class Brooklyn neighborhood into a pivotal liberal role on the nation's highest court, died today (September 18, 2020), according to the NY Daily News website.

"Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature," said Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. today.

Ginsburg was known for fighting for the rights of women and minorities.

She was nominated to the nation's highest court in 1993 and served on it for the next 27 years.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Trump Says US Marxist Education Hurting Kids; "Will Destroy Our Country" If It's Not Removed

President Trump painted a grim and divisive portrait of the state of American education today (September 17, 2020), claiming that elementary schools to colleges are being overrun by "radical" teachers bent on destroying "our children" with "Marxist doctrines,"  according to the NY Daily News website. 

The president was talking about an educational framework known as critical race theory, which holds that the founding of the U.S. is from slavery and racism, with their impacts still reverberating today. 

"Critical race theory and crusade against American history is toxic propaganda, ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together," Trump said in a speech from the National Archive Museum. "It will destroy our country."

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Vandal Destroys a Jesus Statue in El Paso, Tex.; Parish Members in State of Shock, Heartbroken

 Members of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso say they were in shock yesterday after a vandal destroyed a 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus outside St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Washington Times website reports today (September 16, 2020).

"I am in shock and we at the Cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation," Father Trini Fuentes said. 

The vandalism continues a trend by vandals since May of targeting Christians and their symbology across the U.S.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Trump Admits He Planned to Kill Syria's Assad; Deterred by Defense Sec. Mattis from Doing So

 U.S. President Donald Trump has admitted he wanted to "take out" Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2017 but was deterred by then Defense Secretary James Mattis, the RT website reports today (September 15, 2020).

"I would have rather taken Assad out," Trump told Fox & Friends today, insisting "I had him all set,"  but "Mattis didn't want to do it."

"Mattis was against most of that stuff," Trump told the channel.

Trump went on to blame Mattis for "not doing the job in Syria or Iraq with respect to ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria]," claiming the U.S. "took out 100 percent of ISIS as well as the terrorist group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," but only after Trump fired Mattis.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Trump OKs Executive Order to Slash Drug Costs; Ties Costs with Those of Lowest Foreign Nations

 The White House is moving forward with a plan to dramatically slash drug costs after talks broke down with the pharmaceutical industry's major lobby, the POLITICO website reports today (September 14, 2020).

President Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that he signed a new executive order for a "most favored nations" plan. 

The plan would tie payments for certain Medicare drugs to the significantly lower costs the treatments sell for abroad. 

Currently, prescription drugs in many foreign countries are less than half the cost as in the U.S., which has resulted in more than a million Americans purchasing their drugs from Canada and other foreign countries each year.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Pope Addresses Wave of Protests of This Summer; Issues Appeal for Peaceful Demonstrations,Accord

Pope Francis today (September 13, 2020) addressed the wave of protests that have swept through the globe this summer -- some of which have turned violent -- issuing an appeal for peaceful demonstrations, according to the Crux website. 

"While I encourage the protestors to present their requests in a peaceful way, I appeal to all those who have public and governing responsibility to listen to the voice of their citizens." he said. 

Speaking to local Catholic communities where these protests are taking place, the pope urged faithful, "under the guidance of their pastors,. to operate in favor of dialogue, in favor of reconciliation." 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Vatican: "Urgent" to Return to In-Person Masses; Calls Presence in Churches "Vital, Indispensable"

The Vatican said today (September 12, 2020) it was "necessary and urgent" to return to in-person Masses as soon as anti-coronavirus measures permit, according to the AP website. 

The head of the Vatican's liturgy office, Cardinal Robert Sarah, said in a letter to bishops, conferences that virtual liturgies, while useful, were no replacement for the real thing. 

He added physical presence by the faithful in churches was "vital, indispensable, and irreplaceable."

In recent weeks, Pope Francis has returned public gatherings and has celebrated a handful of public Masses before limited, socially distanced groups. 


Friday, September 11, 2020

Fauci: US Won't Return to Normalcy Until 2021; COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Distributed by Then

 Daily life in the U.S. won't return to normal until late 2021 when a vaccine for COVID-19 could be widely distributed, Dr. Anthony Fauci said today (September 11, 2020).

In an interview on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he  is confident there will be a vaccine available by the end of this year or early 2021.

"But by the time you mobilize the distribution of the vaccine and get a majority or more of the population vaccinated and protected, that's likely not going to happen until the end of 2021," he said. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Pope Lauds PA Terror Leader Abbas in Encyclical; Associates the Terrorist and Antisemite with Jesus

 The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will sign a new encyclical on "human fraternity" that will include praise for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas -- a known terror supporter and inciter, and a rabid antisemite -- the Clarion Project website reports today (September 10, 2020).

An encyclical -- or letter from the pope -- is a serious and important form of communication by a pope historically used to express a pope's opinion on any given issue. 

In the encyclical, Pope Francis writes: "Let us all, brothers, consider the Good Shepherd who to save His sheep bore the suffering of the Cross." 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

US to Pull 2,200 Troops from Iraq This Month; Similar Drop in Troops to Occur in Afghanistan

The Pentagon announced today (September 9, 2020) it will reduce its presence in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000 troops this month, according to the RT website.

The withdrawal illustrates Baghdad's progress in building its own forces.

The U.S. recognizes "the great progress the Iraqi forces have made,"  Marine General Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said in a recent visit to Iraq.

The drawdown in Iraq is likely to be confirmed soon by Donald Trump, along with a similar drawdown in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Video: Cath. Voting for Democrats Will Go to Hell; Priest Posts Video Ripping Pols' Abortion Backing

A video by a Catholic priest in which he condemns Democrats as "godless" and warns Catholics not to voter for them, has gained the approval of at least one American bishop, the Religion News website reports today (September 7, 2020).

"Here's a memo for clueless. baptized Catholics out there," said the Rev. James Altman , pastor of St. James the Less Catholic parish in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, in the video.

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas endorsed the video on Twitter.

The video includes photos of former Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- both Roman Catholics -- who strongly support abortion, even though it is condemned by the Catholic Church.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Russia's "Sputnik V" COVID-19 Vaccine Is Flying; Approved for Public Use, 1st Anti-COVID Vaccine

The first batch of Russia's pioneering coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, has been approved for public use and has entered civilian circulation, the RT website reports today (September 7, 2020).

The vaccine "has undergone necessary quality tests" and "has entered civilian circulation," the Russian Ministry of Health announced today,

Today's progress makes Russia the first country to officially unveil its own coronavirus vaccine.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Pope: Gossiping Is "Worse Plague" Than COVID; Condemns Gossiping as Destroyer of Cath.Church

Pope Francis today (September 6, 2020) urged his subjects to refrain from gossiping and instead "offer silence and prayer" during his weekly address above St. Peter's Square, according to the Mirror (British) website.

He condemned gossiping as "a worse plague" than coronavirus that could be used to divide the Roman Catholic Church during his weekly blessing.

"The devil is the great gossip. He is always saying bad things about others because he is the liar who tries to split the Church," Francis added.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Noertheastern U. Expels 11 Freshmen for Partying; Violate COVID Social Distancing Rules, Lose $36K

Northeastern University announced yesterday it dismissed 11 first-year students after they were caught violating social distancing rules in the latest and most aggressive attempt to prevent the pandemic from disrupting plans to return to Boston's campus this fall, The Boston Globe website reports today (September 5, 2020).

The students were caught at the nearby Westin Hotel, which is being used as a temporary dorm this semester, last Wednesday night without masks and not social distancing, according to the university.

The dismissed students will not be allowed to take courses from home this semester but will be permitted to return in the spring.

They were part of a special one-semester program for freshmen that was prepaid and cost $36,500. That money will not be refunded, per university rules.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Survey: 30% of Evangel's Don't See Jesus as God; Only 48% of American Adults Believe Jesus Is God

Preliminary results of the State of Theology survey show 30% of Evangelicals and over 50% of  all American adults do not believe Jesus is God, the Christian Post website reports today (September 4, 2020). 

The poll was conducted from March 10 to 18 among 3,002 U.S. adults, including 630 professing evangelicals.

Conducted by Ligonier Ministries in collaboration with LifeWay Research, the survey found that only 48% of American adults believe a central tenet of Christianity: Jesus is God who came to earth as a man to shed His blood for the forgiveness of sin.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Trump Admin.Ends Aiding NY Subways,Schools; Strips Millions of Dollars in COVID-19 Aid Fund

Transit systems, schools, and other public facilities in New York could soon become much dirtier because of a policy change enacted by the Trump administration that will strip millions of dollars in coronavirus aid for the state, the NY Daily News website reports today (September 3, 2020).

It's a gut punch no one saw coming, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said today.

Since the outset of the pandemic, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has helped New York and other states cover the costs of coronavirus-fighting efforts.

But FEMA now says, "These are not immediate actions necessary to protect public health and safety."

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

CDC to States: Offer COVID Vaccine By Nov. 1; CDC Contracts with McKesson Co. in Huge Effort

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told all U.S.

 governors last week to prepare for the "large-scale" distribution of a coronavirus vaccine by November 1, 2020, the NBC News website reports today (September 2, 2020).

In the August 27 letter, Dr. Robert Redfield said the agency had contracted a pharmaceutical company, McKesson, to potentially distribute hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to local health departments and medical facilities across the country in the fall.

Redfield called the effort "massive" and asked governors for their help expediting applications for distribution facilities that will be set up and operated by McKesson.

Redfield added, "If necessary. the agency asks you to consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from being fully operational by November 1, 2020."

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

NYC Schools' Reopening Delayed Until Sept. 21; Deny Sept. 10 to Give Teachers More Prep Time

New York City's 1.1 million school children will not return to classrooms until late September, after Mayor Bill de Blasio said the controversial return to school will be delayed, The New York Times website reports today (September 1, 2020).

Some educators denounced the original restart date of September 10, raising concerns that the system was not ready to reopen safely.

Classes will now begin on September 21, giving officials in the country's largest school district another 10 days to prepare.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Christian Girl, 14, in Pakistan Flees from Rapist; Court Orders She Return to Her Rapist Husband

A 14-year-old Christian girl, who was ordered by a Pakistani court to return to the Muslim man who raped her and forcibly married and converted her to Islam, has escaped and is hiding in Pakistan, the Christian Post website reports today (August 31, 2020).

Catholic teenager Maria Shahbaz has fled the home of her husband, Mohammad Nakash, weeks after the Lahore High Court ruled that she was legally married to her rapist abductor and ordered her to be returned to his custody.

Judge Raja Muhammad Shahid Abbasi ruled earlier this month that Shahbaz must return to the home of the married man who kidnapped her at gunpoint and whom the judge referred to as her "husband."

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Pope:We Must Share to Reflect God's Love for Us; We Must Welcome Gift of Hope during Pandemic

Pope Francis focused his General Audience on the importance of equality and sharing of goods in order to reflect God's love for us and for Creation during this time of trial caused by the pandemic, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (August 30, 2020).

The Holy Father began his catechesis by inviting the faithful to "welcome the gift of hope that comes from Christ, "especially during the pandemic, in which "many risk losing hope."

Christ "helps us navigate the tumultuous waters of sickness, death, and injustice, which do not have the last word over our final destination," he said.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Nurses Are the Main Victims of COVID Workers; Spend More Time with Patients,Lack Equipment

A study by Kaiser Health News (KHN) and The Guardian found more nurses died from the coronavirus pandemic than any other of the 177 confirmed deaths of healthcare workers, the Newsmax website reports today (August 29, 2020).

KHN and The Guardian reported 68 of those deaths were nurses, and 21 of those were doctors.

Shortages of protective equipment, under-staffing, and an overburdened healthcare system are believed to be the main reasons for the large number of healthcare workers' deaths.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Research Org.:One in 5 Churches May Close Soon; Worshipers Find Non-Deep Relations Due to Virus

A Christian research organization has concluded that one in five churches may close permanently in the next 18 months because of COVID-19 shutdowns, the Christian Post website reports today (August 28, 2020).

According to David Kinnaman, president of the Barna research organization, many churches have seen far fewer people attending since loosened lockdowns, compared to pre-pandemic attendance.

Why has attendance been significantly reduced at many churches?

Kinnaman explained: "[Congregants are] recognizing that the relationship that they thought were much deeper with people were actually not as deep as they expected."

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Russian,US Mil.Vehicles Crash in NEast Syria; Russia Blames US, US Blames Russia for Crash

The Russian and U.S. governments have blamed each other for a collision between Russian and U.S. armored vehicles this week in northeastern Syria in which several U.S. troops were injured, the BBC website reports today (August 27, 2020).

A Russian video appears to show a Russian military vehicle in a desert convoy ramming a U.S. armored vehicle, as a Russian helicopter flies low overhead.

Russia says the U.S. obstructed a patrol.

A U.S. defense official said Russian forces had entered a "security zone" they had agreed not to enter.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Faithful Can Visit Pope in Person as of Sept. 2; Had a 6-Month Hiatus of Persons Due to Virus

The Vatican announced today  (August 26, 2020) that after a nearly six-month hiatus, faithful will again be able to see Pope Francis in person beginning next week with his first public general audience since Italy lifted its lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to the CRUX website.

Pope Francis began holding his weekly public events via livestream from the Vatican's apostolic palace since Italy's lockdown last spring.

However, the Vatican announced today that as of Wednesday, September 2, 2020, Francis will again hold his general audiences outside with faithful, free of charge.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

New Cases of Coronavirus Decline in US by 21%; Experts Credit Mask-Wearing to COVID-19 Drop

The number of Americans newly diagnosed with the coronavirus is falling, even as the disease continues to claim nearly 1,000 lives in the U.S. each day, the Health News website reports today (August 25, 2020).

Experts say the decrease can be credited to more mask-wearing.

About 43,000 new cases are being reported daily across the U.S., down 21% from early August, according  to Johns Hopkins University.

While the U.S., India and Brazil have the highest numbers of new cases in the world, the downward trend is encouraging.

Monday, August 24, 2020

NYC Schools to Use Streets and Parks for Classes; Will Provide "Outdoor Learning" in Healthier Air

New York City schools will be able to use their yards, along with streets and nearby parks, as part of a new "outdoor learning" plan Mayor de Blasio unveiled today (August 24, 2020), according to the NY Daily News website.

Under the plan, schools won't be required to use outdoor space, but principals who want to can apply to the Education Department to participate.

While school is scheduled to start in less than three weeks, de Blasio insisted educators will have enough time to use the new approach.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Tenn. Parents Asked Not to View Online Classes; Criticism of Plan Now Lets Parents View Classes

A school district in Tennessee is facing criticism after parents were asked to refrain from listening in during their children's online classroom instruction, the WND website reports today (August 23, 2020).

Rutherford County Schools in Murfreesboro, Tenn., had asked parents to sign a form agreeing to give teachers privacy with students.

The district soon came under fire, and retracted its stance, asking parents not to listen to what their children were being told during virtual classes.

Parents are now no longer being asked to stay away from participating in the educational experience of their children.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Northern Calif. Fire Now Second Largest Ever; Burns across 5 Counties, Hits Over 314K Acres

A massive wildfire in Northern California is now the second largest in state history as it has scorched nearly one million acres, the NBC News website reports today (August 22, 2020).

The fire that is burning across five counties -- Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo, and Stanislaus -- has spread to more than 314,000 acres.

The fire was 15 percent contained today.

This is now "the second largest wildland fire in state history," said Sean Kavanaugh, incident commander with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Lori Loughlin,Husband Get Jail for College Ploy; Had Daughters Accepted at USC with Fraud Acts

"Full House" actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were sentenced today (August 21, 2020) to respective prison terms of two months and five months for participating in a vast U.S. college admissions fraud scheme, according to the Reuters website.

Loughlin, 56, chocked up as she apologized to U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton in Boston for the "awful decision" she made to help her two daughters gain an "unfair advantage" in the college admissions process and get into their preferred school.

She and her husband were sentenced after they pleaded guilty last May to engaging in a fraud scheme at securing spots for their two daughters at the University of Southern California (USC) as fake athletic recruits.

Gorton also ordered Loughlin and Grannulli to pay respective fines of $150,000 and $250,000 and complete 100 and 250 hours of community service.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Trump: Shutting Down Colleges Is Dangerous; Students Pose a Greater Safety Threat at Home

President Trump yesterday blasted universities that have canceled in-person classes amid coronavirus outbreaks, saying the move could ultimately cost lives rather than saving them, the Newser website reports today (August 20, 2020).

Trump said the virus is akin to the seasonal flu for college students and that students pose a greater safety threat at home with older family members than on college campuses.

He cited no evidence to support either contention.

"It's significantly safer for students to live with other young people than to go home and spread the virus to older Americans," Trump said.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Trump Says 300 Miles of Border Wall Is Done; Army Engineers Build 10 Miles of Wall a Week

President Trump announced at an outdoor rally in Yuma, Mexico yesterday that his administration has completed nearly 300 miles of border fence since he took office,  according to the Worthy News website.

He told the crowd packed inside an airport hangar that builders are "setting records" with the sudden surge in the rate they are installing 18-to-30-foot tall steel bollard beams across the four states that line the southern U.S. border.

At present, the Army Corps of Engineers are putting up 10 miles of barrier per week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Trump's Hidden Agenda to Move US Embassy; Moved Embassy to Please American Evangelicals

President Donald Trump said yesterday that his administration decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv to please evangelical Christians, the CBN News website reports today (August 18, 2020).

"We moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem," Trump said at a rally in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. "That's for

the evangelicals."

"You know what's amazing with that? The evangelicals are more excited about that than the Jewish people..."

Monday, August 17, 2020

Iran Paid Bounties to Taliban to Kill US Troops; Russia Also Paid Bounties to Kill US Troops

Iran paid bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afgfhanistan, the Insider website reports today (August 17, 2020).

The bounty plot was cited by U.S. officials as part of the justification for the drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassam Soleimani.

The report on Iran comes after reports a few months ago revealed that Russia had also paid bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops.

U.S.intelligence personnel identified payments linked to six attacks carried out by the Taliban in 2019.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Italy Closes Clubs as Young COVID Cases Soar; Double Young Covid Cases Than 3 Weeks Ago

Italy will shut down discos and clubs and make it compulsory to wear a mask outdoors in some areas at night in the first reimposition of restrictions as cases of coronavirus pick up across the country, mainly among young people, the Reuters website reports today (August 16, 2020).

New cases in the past week in Italy were more than double those registered three weeks ago, with most people aged below 40.

The new rules start tomorrow (August 17) and will run until early September.

Masks will be required between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. in areas close to bars and where gatherings are likely.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

US and Poland Sign a Defense Peace Agreement; Sets Up a Permanent US Mil. Presence in Poland

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Warsaw today (August 15, 2020) to sign an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the countries, according to the Reuters website.

Under the agreement, the Drawsko-Pomorskie military training area will turn into the center for combat training in Poland.

The agreement will establish a permanent U.S. military presence in Poland and deploy around 1,000 additional troops there.

It is also expected to discourage Russia from attacking Poland, in contrast to its recent aggression in Ukraine, where it seized the Crimean peninsula.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Palestinians:Israeli-UAE Diplomacy Hurts Peace; Say Recognizing Israel Requires Big Concessions

Israeli's recent agreement to establish diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) marks a weak moment in its relation with Arab countries and hinders a quest for Mideast peace, the Fox News website reports today (August 15, 2020).

The UAE decided  to agree to diplomatic ties with Israel by taking Israel's planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank off the table.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the plan to stop the annexation was only "temporary."

From the Palestinian perspective, the UAE not only failed to stop annexation, but also undermined an Arab view that recognition of Israel only come in return  for significant Israeli concessions in peace talks.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Poll: Fewer in US Happy with Women Treatment; Only 46% of Women Happy with Their Treatment

While slightly more than half of Americans say they are satisfied with society's treatment of women, a new survey released today (August 13, 2020) shows that the share is way down from where it was five years ago, according to the UPI website.

According to the Gallup poll, conducted from July 8 to July 24, 54% of respondents said they're "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with the treatment of women -- a decline of 10% from 2015.

The share is also well below record highs in the upper 60s and low 70s, Gallup found between 2001 and 2013.

The survey showed that more men (62%) are satisfied with the treatment of females than are women (46%). Four years ago, that split was 66% and 61%.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Biden Picks Kamala Harris as His Running Mate; First Black Woman to Compete on a Pres. Ticket

Joe Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate yesterday, making history by selecting the first Black woman to compete on a major party's presidential ticket, the Yahoo News website reports today (August 12, 2020).

Biden's selection also acknowledges the vital role that voters will play in his bid to defeat President Donald Trump.

The 55-year-old first-term senator, who is also of South Asian descent, is one of the party's most prominent figures.

In announcing the pick yesterday, Biden called Harris a "fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country's finest public servants."

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Russia Is 1st Nation to Register COVID Vaccine; Declares Vaccine Proven Effective against Virus

Russia became the first country today (August 11, 2020) to officially register a COVID-19 vaccine and declare it ready for use, according to the Newsy website.

Russian president Vladimir Putin said today one of his daughters has already received it.

Putin also said the vaccine underwent necessary tests and has proven effective.

Experts say rolling out vaccines without proper testing can create a false sense of security.

Monday, August 10, 2020

One-fourth of NYC School Students Pick Remote; 700,000 to Attend Classes Part-time with Hybrid

New York City officials announced it will be back to school -- from home --  for more than a quarter of New York City's one million public schools students who have signed up for remote-only learning this fall, the NY Daily News website reports today (August 10, 2020).

With some 260,000 schoolkids online full-time, more than 700,000 are set to attend class part-time with the city's hybrid learning plan to reduce crowding in school buildings.

The results come after Gov. Cuomo cleared the path for schools to open in September, based on continuing low rates of COVID-19 infections across the state.