Saturday, February 29, 2020

US and Taliban Ink Afghanistan Peace Agreement; Finally End Longest (19 Years) War in US History!

The U.S. and the Taliban terror group today (February 29, 2020) signed a deal that lays out conditions for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan, according to the RT website.

The agreement was signed by U.S. peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, and one of the Taliban's senior leaders, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in Qatar's capital of Doha today.

The deal will see Washington and its allies withdrawing their troops from five bases in Afghanistan within the next 135 days. The remaining American soldiers will leave the country in 14 months, if the Taliban fulfills its commitments.

The war in Afghanistan -- which began shortly after the 9/11/ 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S. -- has become the longest war in U.S. history!

Turkey Sneaks Migrants to Cyprus Via Its North; Then Leads Them South to Offset Greek Majority

Cyprus' interior minister yesterday accused Turkey of deliberately channeling migrants for months to the ethnically-divided island's Greek Cypriot south to change the composition of its predominantly Greek population, the Yahoo News website reports today (February 29, 2020).

Nicos Nouris said up to two-thirds of arriving migrants reach the internationally-recognized south through the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north that is recognized only by Turkey.

"We maintain that there is a very specific purpose and aim, which is to alter the island's demographic character, and clearly we cannot continue to accept migrants in such numbers," Nouris told The Associated Press.

Cyprus was split along ethnic and religious lines in 1974 when Islamist Turkey invaded the independent island and seized the northern third of it following a failed coup by supporters of union with Greece. Cyprus joined the EU (European Union) in 2004, but only the Greek Orthodox Cypriot south enjoys full membership benefits.Turkey is the only country in the world that recognizes the northern third split of the island.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Retired Polish Abp Ordered to End Clerical Duties; Abp Lenga Referred to Pope Francis as a "Heretic"

A retired archbishop in Poland, who called Pope Francis a "heretic," has rejected a Church instruction barring him from public appearances and vowed to go on denouncing "heresy and sectarianism," the Catholic Herald website reports today (February 28, 2020).

"Christ gave me authority through the Church to proclaim the truth, and I'll do so as long as I live." said retired Archbishop Jan Lenga, 69, who lives in Lichen, Poland, after serving in Kazakhstan.

"I won't yield to degradation by those whose own statements and actions are entangled with heresy and sectarianism," he said. "What right do they have to recall what pertains to the Church when they themselves never upheld it?"

Bishop Wieslaw Mering of Wloclawek ordered Archbishop Lenga to stop preaching, celebrating Mass, or speaking to the media, after the archbishop accused Pope Francis of "spreading untruths" and refused to include the pope in prayers.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Pope Urges Cath. to Go to Confession during Lent; Asserts That Only Jesus Is Able to Heal Our Heart

Pope Francis yesterday (Ash Wednesday) called on Catholics to go to confession during Lent to experience God's healing love, the CNA (Catholic News Agency) website reports today (February 27, 2020).

"Only Jesus, who knows and loves our heart, can heal it. Lent is a time of healing," Francis said in the Basilica of Santa Sabina.

Before going to confession, the pope recommended people should stand in front of the crucifix and contemplate Christ on the cross.

While looking at the crucifix, the pope said one can repeat the following prayer: "Jesus, you love me, transform me." After welcoming God's love and crying in front of the cross, receive God's forgiveness in confession, he said.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Sanders Calls Netanyahu a "Reactionary Racist;" Israel Calls upon Americans to Abandon Sanders

Israel's foreign minister has urged anyone who supports Israel to abandon Sen. Bernie Sanders after the Democratic nomination frontrunner condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "reactionary racist," The Daily Beast website reports today (February 26, 2020).

Sanders, who is Jewish,  made the remark during a Democratic debate last night in South Carolina.

He said he was "very proud of being Jewish," but opposed Netanyahu and said he would think about reversing President Donald Trump's move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called Sanders' remark on Jerusalem a "horrifying comment" and said: "Naturally, people who support Israel will not support someone who goes against these things."

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Singer Placido Domingo Sexually Abused Women; Over Two Dozen Women Said He Harassed Them

An investigation into legendary singer Placido Domingo by the U.S. union representing opera performers found more than two dozen women who said they were sexually harassed by the superstar when he held senior management positions at Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera, the Huffpost website reports today (February 25, 2020).

The investigation -- conducted by lawyers hired by the American Guild of Musical Artists -- concluded that the accounts from 27 people showed a clear pattern of sexual misconduct and abuse of power by Domingo spanning at least two decades. 

Domingo issued a statement today saying: "I respect that these women finally felt comfortable enough to speak out, and I want them to know that I am truly sorry for the hurt that I caused them..."

Two of the women told investigators that they had sexual relations with Domingo, because they felt compelled to submit to his potential to damage their careers. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

Man Nabbed for Painting Swastika on Synagogue; Nebraska Temple's Video Footage Aided in Arrest

A suspect accused of vandalizing a synagogue in Nebraska was arrested on February 21 by the Lincoln Police Department, the World Israel News website reports today (February 24, 2020).

Noah Miller, 21, is being charged with felony vandalism for spray painting a swastika and racial epithets on the door and steps of the South Street Temple in Lincoln on January 13.

Investigators were given video surveillance footage of the vandalism by the temple that showed an adult male spray-painting the door and steps of the temple.

The vandalism of the synagogue and Miller's arrest follows a recent upsurge of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. over the past few years.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Giorgio Armani:Fashion Industry Rapes Women; With Short-Lived Trends, Sex-Driven Marketing

Fashion Designer Giorgio Armani accused the fashion industry on February 21, 2020 of "raping" women with short-lived trends and sex-driven marketing, as he presented his Emporio Armani line at Milan Fashion Week, the Reuters website reports.

"Women keep getting raped by designers, by us," Armani, 85, told reporters on the sidelines of the show for the line aimed at younger customers.

"If a lady walks on the street and sees an ad with a woman with her boobs and ass in plain sight and she wants to be like that too, that's a way of raping her," Armani said.

"You can rape a woman in many ways, either by throwing her in the basement or by suggesting  that she dresses in a certain way," he added.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Most Evangelical Christians Live Outside America; New Study Finds Most Evangelicals Living in Asia

A new study has found that evangelical Christians make up a huge swath of the world's population, but most of them reside in Asia, Africa, and Latin America -- not in North America -- the Christian Post website reports today (February 22, 2020).

French researcher, Sebastian Fath, estimates that there are about 660 million evangelicals in the world, representing a little over a quarter of all 2.5 billion Christians.

The largest share of evangelicals live in Asia, with about 215 million adherents. China has 66 million, India has 28 million, Indonesia has 16 million, the Philippines has 13 million, and South Korea has 9 million.

Africa has the second-highest number of evangelical Christians with 185 million. Nigeria has 58 million, Kenya has 20 million, Ethiopia has 18 million, and both DRC Congo and South Africa have 15 million.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Holy Land Experience Will Lay Off Most Workers; Orlando Christian Experience Closing 90% of Park

The Holy Land Experience -- a Christian-themed amusement park in Orlando, Florida -- will be laying off most of its employees and shutting down 90% of the park after Easter, the Christian Post website reports today (February 21, 2020).

"Among the eliminated positions are 43 actors and musicians, 17 guest services associates, as well as numerous techs, retail employees, and food service workers," the "Orlando Sentinel" reported.

Mike Everett, general manager of The Holy Land Experience, said, "The Scriptorium, which holds rare and unique biblical artifacts, and a scale model of ancient Jerusalem and the city of David, will continue to serve as the park's main educational attractions."

The management team will be scouting out "the best and most efficient use of the property, assessing other economic opportunities, including redevelopment," Everett added.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Catholic Diocese in Penn. Files for Bankruptcy; Paid $12M in Aug. for Cleric Sex Abuse Claims

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania filed for bankruptcy yesterday, six months after it disclosed it had paid millions of dollars to people sexually abused as children by its clerics,  the Yahoo News website reports today (February 20, 2020).

The diocese joins at least 20 others across the U.S. in seeking protection from creditors through the federal bankruptcy system.

In August, the diocese paid 106 people a total of over $12 million to compensate for claims of sexual abuse they suffered as children from its clerics.

Officials said yesterday the current total is 111 settlements.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

French Pres. Declares He'll End Islam Separation; Goal Is to Reduce Foreign Influence,Respect Laws

In an effort to reduce the influence and power that Muslims have been gaining in France in recent years, French President Emmanuel Macron announced yesterday that France would crack down on Islamist separatism and would end a system in which foreign countries send imams to preach in French mosques, the Euro News website reports today (February 19, 2020).

The aim, Macron said, is to "reduce foreign influence" and "ensure that the laws of the Republic are respected by everyone."

"I will not let any country feed separatism," the French president said.

France's Muslim community is the largest in all of Europe.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Boy Scouts of America Today Files for Bankruptcy; Hit with 300 Lawsuits from Sexually Abused Men

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has filed for bankruptcy, as it faces some 300 lawsuits from men who say they were sexually abused as scouts, the NPR website reports today (February 18, 2020).

The organization says it will use the Chapter 11 process to create a trust to provide compensation to victims.

Scouting activities will continue throughout the process.

Jim Turley, BSA National Chair, sent a letter to victims of abuse, in which he stated: "I am outraged that individuals took advantage of our programs to commit these heinous acts."

Monday, February 17, 2020

Taliban:Peace with US Will Be Signed on Feb. 29; Agreement to End 18-Yr.-Old War in Afghanistan

The Taliban said today (February 17, 2020) it will sign a peace agreement with the United States by the end of this month in the presence of international guarantors to end the 18-year-old war in Afghanistan, according to the VOA News website.

The two adversaries have agreed to hold the signing ceremony in Doha, the capital of Qatar, which hosted the 18-month U.S.-Taliban negotiations.

The deal is expected to be inked on February 29.

Representatives from all neighbors of Afghanistan, the United Nations Security Council, Islamic countries, and the European Union would be among those invited to witness the peace ceremony.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Greek Govt. to Employ Many Migrants in Agric.; Will Perform Agriculture Jobs Greeks Won't Do

The Greek government is planning to create a "job vacancy" scheme where refugees and migrants can find seasonal work in agriculture fields, the Keep Talking Greece website reports today (February 16, 2020).

The government plans to set up a "migrants' job agency" for farmers, so they can find workers for their fields.

The scheme aims to revitalize the countryside and the rural economy, as Greeks normally do not seek such jobs. Many neighbors from Albania come to Greece each year to work these seasonal jobs.

Workers for seasonal jobs and for various crops are sought all over Greece, and the government and relevant ministries have set up a committee assigned to find a solution to the problem.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Pope Rejects Proposal for Some Married Priests; Reaffirms Cath. Tradition of Celibacy for Priests

Pope Francis on February 12 dismissed a proposal to allow some married men to be ordained in remote areas, reaffirming the Roman Catholic Church's centuries-old commitment to celibacy among priests, the Reuters website reports today (February 15, 2020).

The decision -- one of the most significant of his papacy -- appeared a victory for conservative senior clergy, who have feared a slippery slope towards a married priesthood throughout the Church if the recommendation was approved.

It was put forward by Latin American bishops as a means of easing an acute shortage of priests in the Amazon region, and passed by 128 votes to 41 at a Vatican assembly, or synod, of Roman Catholic bishops.

The issue of married priests has been a focus of deep divisions within the Church, and Vatican sources say it is now likely to give way for the rest of Francis's papacy.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Jehovah's Witnesses Nabbed, Tortured in Russia; Is Considered an Extremist Rel. by Russian Govt.

Two Jehovah's Witnesses have been convicted of extremism  in Russia and four more arrested, one of whom reported being tortured in custody, the ABC News website reports today (February 14, 2020).

A court in Kamchatka today sentenced Mikhail Popov and his wife Yelena to fines of 350,000 and 300,000 rubles ($5,500) and $4,700) for engaging in extremist activities related to their membership in the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Earlier this week the police raided some 40 homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in Chita, a city in southern Siberia, and arrested four members of the group.

One member, Vadim Kutsenko, was beaten and tasered by men who identified themselves as officers of Russia's National Guard, his lawyer Artur Ganin said.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Afghan "Insider Attacker" Kills Two U.S. Soldiers; Six Americans Wounded in Attack,Attacker Killed

Two U.S. Special Forces soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on February 8, after a man in the uniform of Afghanistan's army opened fire on U.S. troops, the WND website reports today (February 13, 2020).

The attack took place during a joint Afghan-U.S. operation, Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said.

The Pentagon identified the slain servicemen as Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28.

Gutierrez was from San Antonio, Texas. Rodriguez was from Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Pope:Repenting for One's Own Sins Is Essential; Says Mourning Leads to Relationship with Jesus

Pope Francis said today (February 12, 2020) that recognizing and repenting for one's own sins and errors is difficult, but essential, according to the Crux website.

"To understand one's sin is a gift from God, it is the work of the Holy Spirit" who helps each person realize "the evil I have done or that I may do," the pope said during his weekly general audience.

The pope continued a new series of talks on the Eight Beatitudes by reflecting on Jesus' second "paradoxical" proclamation, "Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted."

This kind of mourning is more than mere grief, he said; it is "an inner sorrow that leads to a new relationship with the Lord and with each other."

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Greece to Set Up Refugee Camps on Its Islands; Allows Refugees to Leave Their Areas Each Day

Greece will set up new camps for asylum seekers on its Aegean Islands, in an effort to end months of overcrowding, the Euro News website reports today (February 11, 2020).

The new camps will allow asylum seekers to go out during the day, but they will be locked at night.

Over 40,000 asylum seekers are currently in Greece. The new camps will be designed to accommodate 20,000 refugee seekers who will be limited to a three-month stay within the camps.

The Greek government has worked to acquire additional land for the camps on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Kos, and Leros. It expects them to be operational by the middle of this year.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Funding Secured for 1,000 Miles of Border Wall; Defense, Homeland Security Depts. Grant $8.4B

The Trump administration is shifting its border wall focus from procuring resources to breaking ground on new construction after securing funds for 1,000 miles of new wall along the southern border, White House officials told the Daily Caller website exclusively today (February 10, 2020).

An official told the Caller, "The president has kept his promise to secure the border. With funding available, the administration will build up to approximately 1,000 miles of border wall along the southwest border."

According to White House officials familiar with the fiscal year 2021 proposal, the budget request for Customs and Border Patrol jumped to $15.6 billion, up roughly 7 percent from last year's enacted total.

Officials added that the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security will provide $8.4 billion to wall construction.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Thai Soldier Shot Dead for Killing 29 in Gun Bout; Police: Killings Believed Sparked by Land Dispute

A soldier, who shot and killed at least 29 people and wounded 57 others in a shopping center in Thailand yesterday (February 8, 2020),  has been shot dead by security forces, in what has been the bloodiest shooting in the country's history, according to the Euro News website.

The suspect has been identified as Sgt. Maj. Jakrapanth Thomma, 32, according to the Defense Ministry.

The shooting began around 3:30 p.m. local time in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat.

A police officer said the soldier initially shot dead another soldier and woman, wounding also a third person, over a land dispute.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Taliban Kills 5 or 6 US Soldiers in Afghanistan; Months of US-Taliban Peace Talks Have Failed

The Taliban claimed today (February 8, 2020) that five or six U.S. soldiers were killed after exchanging fire in Afghanistan, according to the Daily Star (British) website.

U.S. and Afghan troops were fired on while conducting an operation in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, the U.S. military today confirmed.

U.S. military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said there were multiple casualties, but could not confirm numbers.

U.S. diplomats have been in talks with the Taliban for months to agree to a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan in exchange for security guarantees.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Pompeo Taps International Rel.Freedom Alliance; Designed to Abet Rel. Freedom around the World

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has launched a new International Religious Freedom Alliance, the Christian Today website reports today (February 7, 2020).

He said the new alliance would "push the issue of religious freedom around the world."

He also stressed that "Egregious perpetrators of religious persecution have long operated with impunity."

"Today, partners from all over the world are answering the call to protect and promote religious freedom."

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Pope: Tax Cut for Wealthy Is a "Structure of Sin;" Says Wealthy Must Pay Billions of $ to Help Poor

Pope Francis said yesterday that tax cuts for the wealthy constitutes a "structure of sin," and called for international wealth distribution, the Breitbart website reports today (February 6, 2020).

"Every year hundreds of billions of dollars, which should be paid in taxes to fund health care and education, accumulate in tax haven accounts," the pontiff told the participants in a Vatican seminar.

"Today's structures of sin include repeated tax cuts for the richest people, often justified in the name of investment and development," Francis told the meeting organized by the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences.

With the passage of time, the number of poor people increases rather than decreases, Francis said, and "the poor are always poorer, and today they are poorer than ever."

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Greek Govt. Giving 2,000 Euros for Newborns; Designed to Stem Greece's Declining Birth Rate

In an effort to encourage young families to have children, the Greek government is giving an allowance of  2,000 euros for the birth of every child, the Euro News website reports today (February 5, 2020).

The measure, which went into effect at the beginning of this year, is designed to stem the declining birth rate in Greece.

For the first time in the country's modern history, its population is starting to decrease.

This is due to numerous reasons, including the lack of good medical facilities in some areas, linked to austerity measures that have been imposed on Greece over the years.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Greek Orth. Church Synod: "Abortion Is Murder;" Fetus Is a Human Being from Time of Conception

The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in Greece decided today (February 4, 2020) to take a clear position on abortion -- an issue that has triggered uproar among the Greek society in recent weeks -- by agreeing that "abortion is murder," according to the Keep Talking Greece website.

"The Holy Synod took into consideration the issues that have recently arisen on the subject of abortion," a statement said.

"Based on the Holy Bible and the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church of Christ, the Holy Synod expresses its theological position on the fetus as a complete and integral human being from the moment of the conception and therefore it considers voluntary abortion as a murder and does not accept it," the statement stressed.

It added, "It should be recalled that abortion is legal in Greece since 1986. And there come these unworldly men living in strict celibacy who rule that what is legal in the state laws is illegal in religious terms."

Monday, February 3, 2020

Church Builds Tiny Houses for Homeless Vets; Forest Lake, MN Church OKs Tiny House Ties

A Minnesota congregation has approved the development of a tiny house community on their church's property to house homeless veterans, the Christian Post website reports today (February 3, 2020).

Faith Lutheran Church of Forest Lake recently voted to approve the project, with the hope that the tiny house community, known as "Sacred Settlement," will be completed by 2021.

Faith Lutheran Church Senior Pastor John Klawiter told the Christian Post that the concept of the Sacred Settlement "matches the values of our congregation in many ways."

"We have a lot of members who have served or are actively in the military. We have a newly established veterans committee that will walk alongside any of the veterans that live in the Sacred Settlement," Klawiter said.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Islam Terrorist Stabs 2,Is Shot Dead in London; Was under Police Surveillance as Terror Backer

Two people were stabbed and a terrorist was shot dead by police today (February 2, 2020) in an Islamist-inspired terror attack in south London, according to the Sky News website.

Sudesh Amman was wearing a fake bomb vest when he attacked people in the southern London area of Streatham.

He had been sentenced in December 2018 to three years and four months in jail, after a court heard that he had shared his extremist views with those close to him.

Amman was under police surveillance at the time of today's attack.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Arab League Rejects Trump's Mideast Peace Deal; Abbas: Palestinians to Cut All Ties with US, Israel

The Arab League today (February 1, 2020) unanimously shot down U.S. President Trump's Middle East peace plan, saying it would not lead to a just peace between Israel and Palestine, according to the RT website.

Trump's deal has already been rejected by the Palestinian side.

The 22 League members met in Cairo today to discuss the deal -- touted by Trump as the "deal of the century" -- for peace between Israel and Palestine.

Speaking at the meeting, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he will cut all ties with the U.S. and Israel over the pro-Israel plan, and would not go down in history as the person who "sold out Jerusalem."