Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Fauci:COVID-19 Cases May Reach 100,000 a Day; Blames Big Surge on Reopening Too Soon, Neglect

Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress today (June 30, 2020) that new coronavirus infections could increase to 100,000 a day if the nation doesn't get its surge of cases under control, according to the USA Today website.

"We've really got to do something about that and we need to deal with it quickly," he testified.

Fauci said the surge has been caused both by some areas reopening too soon and by people not following guidelines.

Fauci also told Congress "If we are going to contain this, we've got to contain it together."

Supreme Court OKs Scholarships for Rel.Schools; Banning Scholarships for Rel. Schools Is Unconst.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today (June 30, 2020) that Montana's exclusion of religious schools from a state scholarship program funded by tax credits violates the Constitution, according to the NPR website.

The 5-4 decision is a victory for parents who wanted to use the tax credit to help send children to religious schools.

The decision is also a victory for conservative religious groups.

About 70% of all private schools in Montana are religiously affiliated.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Europeans Lose Trust in US Due to Pandemic; COVID-19 Results in Europe's Anxious Feeling

Extensive new polling reveals that the coronavirus crisis has caused a dramatic deterioration in the European public perception of the U.S., The Guardian website reports today (June 29, 2020).

More than 60% of respondents in Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, and Portugal said that they had lost trust in the U.S. as a global leader.

The survey shows that the shock of the pandemic has "traumatized" European citizens, leaving them feeling alone and vulnerable.

Negative attitudes of the U.S. were most marked in Denmark (71%), Portugal (70%), France (68%), Germany (65%), and Spain (64%).

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Coronavirus Cases Pass 10M Mark Worldwide; Case Surges in Some US States Cause Reclosing

Johns Hopkins University data shows the total number of coronavirus cases passed 10 million globally today (June 28, 2020), according to the NY Daily News website.

The U.S., Brazil, Russia, and India reported the most cases.

COVID-19 has also killed nearly 500,000 around the world, and more than 125,000 Americans in the last six months.

The virus continues to spread in the U.S., which has now caused several states with surging infection rates to reverse decisions on reopening their economies.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Russia Paid Bounties to Kill US Afghan Troops; Report: Taliban Was Paid to Kill NATO Troops

The N.Y. Times reported yesterday that Russia's military intelligence agency paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants who killed NATO troops -- including Americans -- according to the Newsmax website.

The info was gathered this year from interrogations of Afghan militants and criminals, the Times said.

Seventeen American soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan last year.

Russian officials contacted by the NY Times claimed no knowledge of the operation.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Poll:60% in US Don't Feel Human Life Is Sacred; Over Two-Thirds Feel People Are Basically Good

A new survey shows that around six in 10 Americans do not believe that human life is inherently "sacred," though more than two-thirds believe human beings are "basically good," the Christian Post website reports today (June 25, 2020).

The survey results were released this week by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University.

Some 2,000 adult respondents in the U.S. were questioned in the survey.

Only 39% of the respondents said they agreed with the statement: "human life is sacred."

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Trump Left in Dust by Biden in NY Times Poll; Poll Shows Biden with 50% of Vote,Trump 36%

President Donald Trump trails presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 14 percentage points in the first New York Times/Sienna College poll of the 2020 election cycle, the Daily Beast website reports today (June 24, 2020).

The numbers reveal the president is in deep trouble -- they show that his personal popularity has plummeted as he's failed to get a grip on the novel coronavirus pandemic and following the angry and militaristic response to police-brutality protests.

Nearly three-fifths of voters surveyed said they disapproved of Trump's handling of the pandemic and only a third said the government should prioritize restarting the economy even if it exacerbates public-health risks.

Overall, the poll shows Biden on 50% of the national vote, compared to to just 36% for Trump.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Dr. Fauci to Congress: COVID-19 Still Spreading; Hits Trump View That Reduce Testing Cuts Cases

Dr. Anthony Fauci went to Congress and had some firm words about the coronavirus pandemic, the NY Daily News website reports today (June 23, 2020).

The top pandemic doctor warned that the deadly virus is still spreading fast in many parts of the country -- especially in some states that reopened early.

Fauci disagreed with President Trump's suggestion that reduced testing for coronavirus leads to fewer caseloads.

"None of us have been told to slow down on testing. That's just a fact," said Fauci. "It's the opposite, we're going to be doing more testing, not less."

Gallup:Record No. in US Reject Death Penalty; Survey Found 40% of US Adults Are against It

A new survey released today (June 23, 2020) shows that capital punishment is now considered morally unacceptable to a record number of Americans, according to the UPI website.

Gallup said its poll found just 54 percent of U.S. adults said the death penalty is morally acceptable, a decline of six percent from last year and four points lower than the previous all-time low..

The annual Values and Beliefs survey found that 40 percent of respondents said the death penalty is morally wrong, the highest rating since Gallup began asking the question in 2001.

Last year's survey also showed a record-high number of those who favor life sentences over executions.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Calif. City Bans Church from Holding Services; City of Salinas Says Church Has Limited Effect

A California evangelical church is being forced to sell its property due to a city ordinance that prohibits houses of worship from occupying the first floor of downtown buildings, the Christian Post website reports today (June 22, 2020).

A federal court in San Francisco Bay Area recently sided with the city of Salinas, ruling that churches generate limited interest and do not draw tourists, and therefore distract from the city's goals of vibrancy.

"We have appealed this case to the Ninth Circuit, and we are optimistic that a  different result will be reached upon review by a higher court," said Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), noting that while the church is banned from gathering, the city is allowing theaters and live entertainment to operate.

"This continues to be one of the most striking examples of unequal treatment under the law than children's theatre, two cinemas, and event center that share the city's downtown corridor with New Harvest Fellowship," said PJI  Chief Counsel Kevin Snider, the attorney representing the church.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Tulsa Braces for Trump Rally amid COVID Surge; Holding Rally in Tulsa Draws Outrage from Many

Tulsa, Oklahoma is braced for Donald Trump's first campaign rally since the coronavirus pandemic struck the U.S., The Guardian website reports today (June 20, 2020).

The indoor rally, at Tulsa's 19,000-person capacity BOK Center, comes as the city and state of Oklahoma experience a surge in COVID-19 cases, and local public health officials urge the campaign to reschedule the event.

Trump's decision to hold the mass rally in Tulsa next week has drawn outrage from the local black community as well as others.

Large fences, road blocks, and heavy police presence have already surrounded the area of Trump's rally.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Two Women Jailed for Yellowstone Mockery; Walked into Forbidden Area Causing Damage

Two Philadelphia women landed in jail for two days and ordered to pay $450 each in fines and restitution for leaving the path of Yellowstone National Park and walking into an environmental sensitive area, the Newser website reports today (June 19, 2020).

Tara Davoli, 31, and Sarah Piotrowski, 30, were also banned from the park for two years.

Authorities say the two women damaged orange bacterial mats at the Opal Pool in the Midway Geyser Basin in the June 11 incident.

Leaving the boardwalk in thermal areas of the Park has left some people seriously injured.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Former Advisor Writes Book on Trump's Faults; John Bolton:Reelection Was Trump's Main Goal

U.S. President Donald Trump urged China to influence U.S. elections and often misunderstood basic geography and international politics, a scathing new book about the Trump administration claims, according to the Euro News website.

Former Trump national security advisor John Bolton writes in his new tell-all memoir of his time in the administration that during a 2019 conversation in Japan with Xi Jinping, Trump spoke about the 2020 U.S. election, "alluding to China's economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win" by buying more soybeans and wheat.

Bolton said this was among several conversations the U.S. president had which "formed a pattern of fundamentally unacceptable behavior that eroded the very legitimacy of the presidency."

Bolton was Trump's national security advisor for 17 months before quitting -- Trump said he was fired -- in September 2019.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Dr. Fauci: No Need for 2nd COVID-19 Lockdown; Says Many Southern States Now Have More Cases

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there's no need to talk about a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, because the country is still in the first one, the Daily Beast website reports today (June 17, 2020).

"We are seeing infections to a greater degree than we had previously seen in certain states, including states in the southwest and in the south," Fauci said.

He added. "I don't like to talk about a second wave right now, because we haven't gotten out of our first wave."

Fauci's comments come as counties across the U.S., including in states as Arizona, California, North Carolina, Alabama, and South Carolina continue to see coronavirus cases and related hospitalizations increase.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Trump Signs Executive Order on Safe Policing; Bans Police Use of Excessive Force,Chokeholds

President Donald Trump signed an executive order today (June 16, 2020) on "safe policing for safe communities," according to the CBN News website.

The order encourages police agencies nationwide to adopt best practices on the use of force.

"Chokeholds will be banned except when an officer's life is at risk," Trump said.

The executive order also launches a co-responder program where health and social workers will join officers on nonviolent calls, such as those dealing with mental health.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Supreme Court Ruling Protects LGBT Workers; LGBT Workers Cannot Be Fired for Orientation

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today (June 15, 2020) that federal civil rights law protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers from being fired based on their orientation, according to the UPI website.

The 6-3 vote is a significant victory for LGBT Americans and advocates. The ruling says Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers LGBT workers from employment discrimination.

Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority, saying Title VII makes it illegal to discriminate based on a person's sex and the landmark law covers gay and transgender Americans.

The justices ruled that sexual orientation and transgender status applies in that description.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Record Spikes COVID-19 Cases in Many States; Reopenings, Memorial Day Gatherings Blamed

New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in record numbers swept through more U.S. states today (June 14, 2020), as most push ahead with reopenings, according to he Reuters website.

Alabama reported a  record number of new cases for a fourth day in a row today.

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Carolina all had record numbers of new cases in the past three days.

Many state health officials attribute the increase at least in part to gatherings over the Memorial Day holiday weekend in late May.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Pope: No Cure for COVID-19 until We Help Poor; We Must Help Poor to Regain Jobs, Happy Living

Pope Francis said today (June 13, 2020) fears over the financial fallout of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic should prompt greater sympathy for the poor for political or economic recovery to occur, according to the Crux website.

The pope insisted that the pandemic has challenged the foundations of society, throwing countless people and families into insecurity.

"The loss of employment, and of opportunities to be close to our loved ones and our regular acquaintances, suddenly opened our eyes to horizons that we had long since taken for granted," the pope said.

He insisted, "Until we revive our sense of responsibility for our neighbor and for every person, grave economic, financial, and political crises will continue."

Friday, June 12, 2020

Poll:25% of Americans See Trump as Man of Faith; Rating Dips Due to COVID-19, Floyd Death Views

About a quarter of Americans say they see President Donald Trump somewhat or strongly as a "man of faith," the Christian Headlines website reports today (June 12, 2020).

According to the Politico-Morning Consult Poll, 55 percent of respondents said they somewhat or strongly disagree that the president is a "man of faith."

Trump has recently faced an onslaught of criticism and a loss of support from Christians.

His approval ratings have dipped overall because of his response to the coronavirus pandemic and his response to nationwide protests following the racist killing of George Floyd.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

PC Head:Churches Must Not Rush to Open; Present Services Require Less COVID Cases

The head of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has cautioned congregations against reopening for in-person services amid renewed concerns over the spread of coronavirus, the Christian Post website reports today (June 11, 2020).

PCUSA General Assembly Stated Clerk, the Rev. Herbert Nelson, posted a video online this week on the issue of churches reopening amid eased restrictions on in-person gatherings.

Nelson explained that while worship is important and restrictions are being loosened, churches should "take our time" and "not rush" into reopening for in-person services.

Nelson went on to stress that "the reality is that we are truly called in all these days to remember the preservation of life and that vessel which God has given to each and every one of us."

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

J&J:Human Trials on COVID Vaccine Set for July; Speeds Up Its Process Originally Set for September

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson said today (June 10, 2020) it will accelerate the development of its COVID-19 vaccine by launching human trials in late July instead of September, according to the Washington Times website.

The study will examine the investigational vaccine's safety and its ability to produce an immune response in more than 1,000 adults in the U.S. and Belgium.

J and J's chief scientific officer, Dr. Paul Stoffels, said its Janssen division sped up the timeline based on " the strength of the preclinical data we have seen so far and interactions with the regulatory authorities."

It wants to provide one billion doses globally through the course of 2021, provided the vaccine is safe and effective.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

French Co. Invents a New Self-Cleaning Fabric; Kills COVID-19 by Activating Ultraviolet Rays

A French company specializing in self-cleaning and stain fabrics has fond a solution to make public transport safer amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Euro News website reports today (June 9, 2020).

The company, Trajet, recently developed a disinfectant and decontaminating velvet  capable of eliminating almost 100 percent of viral load due to a process called photocatalysis.

"We,ve managed to integrate a conductor, which we call a catalyst, into our fabric. It activates when it contacts ultraviolet rays," said Trajet President Jerome Blanc.

He added, "The purpose of this reaction is to oxidize compounds and turn them into harmless molecules, like water or salt.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

George Bush, Mitt Romney Won't Back Trump; Many Republicans Will Vote for Biden for Pres.

Former President George W. Bush and Sen. Mitt Romney are two Republicans who won't support the re-election of Donald Trump for President in 2020, the NY Times website reports today (June 7, 2020).

Also, former Secretary of State Colin Powell announced today that he will vote for Joe Biden, telling CNN that Trump "lies about things" and Republicans in Congress won't hold him accountable.

Biden himself intends to roll out his "Republicans for Biden" coalition later in the campaign, after fully consolidating his own campaign.

Public expressions of opposition to Trump from Republicans have accelerated in recent days over his repeated calls for protesters to be physically constrained, "dominated," as he put it, and his administration's order to forcefully clear the streets outside the White House so he could walk out for a photo opportunity while holding up a Bible have had a negative impact on Trump.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Marine Corps Bans Usage of Confederate Flags; Seen as Being Related to Divisive Racist Beliefs

The U.S. Marine Corps today (June 6, 2020) banned the public display of the Confederate battle flag, according to the Alternet website.

"Depictions of the Confederate battle flag are unauthorized in public and work spaces aboard an installation," the Marine Corps wrote in guidance to the troops.

The ban applies to bumper stickers, clothing, and flags among other items.

"The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no p;ace in our Corps," the Marines explained.

Friday, June 5, 2020

US Southern Baptist Rel. Has a Historic Drop; Drops 300K Members between 2018 and 2019

Total membership in the nation's largest Protestant denomination fell at a historic rate between 2018 and 2019, the Religion News Service website reports today (June 5, 2020).

The Southern Baptist Convention said it had 14.5 million members in 2019, down about 287,655 from the previous year.

Membership dropped 2 percent, the largest single-year drop in more than 100 years.

The decline reflects a larger trend of Americans leaving Christianity at a rapid pace. According to the Pew Research Center, 65 percent of Americans describe themselves as Christians, down 12 percentage points during the past decade.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Va. Gov. to Bring Down Robert E. Lee Statue; George Floyd Protesters Covered It in Graffiti

One of the nation's most notorious monuments to the Confederacy -- a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia -- is set to be pulled down in a victory for civil rights activists, the Daily Beast website reports today (June 4, 2020).

Gov. Ralph Northam today announced plans to remove the statue from its massive pedestal in Richmond's Monument Avenue and put it into storage "as soon as possible."

The statue was covered in graffiti last weekend by people protesting the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Gen. Lee was a prominent Confederate general in America's Civil War.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Pope Slams George Floyd's Racist Death as a Sin; Asserts We Must Not Turn a Blind Eye to Racism

Pope Francis prayed for George Floyd in his weekly Wednesday audience today (June 3, 2020), calling Floyd's tragic death and racism a "sin," according to the USA Today website.

Addressing people in the U.S. from the Vatican, Francis said he has "witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation" in the days after Floyd, 46, died in police custody when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes to make sure he strangled Floyd to death.

"My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life," the pope said.

Francis added he is joining the church in St. Paul  and Minneapolis and across the U.S. 'in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism."

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

DC Bishop Rips Trump for Bible Photo at Church; "Trump Opposed to Jesus' Love,Sacrificial Living"

Mariann Budde, the bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C., blasted President Trump for staging a visit to St. John's Church near the White House last night, the Yahoo News website reports today (June 2, 2020).

As Trump prepared to speak in the Rose Garden, police in riot gear and using tear gas, began violently removing peaceful protesters so that Trump could safely make it to the church where he posed for a photo outside the church while holding up a Bible.

"The president just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian religion, at one of the churches of my diocese without permission, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our churches stand for." Budde said. "I am outraged."

Budde wanted to make it clear that her diocese does not back the president's message. She added that following Jesus and His way of love do not back the president, since "we follow someone who lived a life of nonviolence and sacrificial love."

Monday, June 1, 2020

Montenegro May Be First COVID-Free Nation; Will Claim Honor June 2 Based on WHO Rules

Montenegro, a small Balkan country north of Greece with some 600,000 people, is claiming it is about to become the first coronavirus-free country in Europe, the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website reports today (June 1, 2020).

Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic announced on May 25 that no continued cases were registered in the mountainous country on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. His announcement came a day after the last known coronavirus-infected patient had recovered.

Now, if no new cases are reported, Montenegro plans to declare itself coronavirus-free on June 2, in step with guidelines set out by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Technically, Montenegro would not be the first country to declare itself coronavirus-free. Slovenia did the same recently, only to later report fresh cases.