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.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Over 100,000 People Die of COVID-19 in Brazil; Protest Held in Rio to Slam Govt. Poor Handling

There have been more than 100,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in Brazil and more than three million  cases, the Euro News website reports today (August 9, 2020).

Consequently, protesters launched one thousand red balloons into the sky over Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach in memory of those who died.

The protest was organized by the Rio for Peace organization.

It was staged as a criticism of the way the government has managed the coronavirus pandemic.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Judge Orders Church to Stop Worship Services; Says They Violate Governor's No Worship Orders

A Ventura County state judge issued a temporary restraining order today (August 8, 2020) to Pastor  Rob McCoy of Godspeak Calvary Chapel Church, prohibiting the church from meeting under Governor Newsom's unconstitutional COVID-19 singing and no worship orders.

Anyone who visits the church to worship could be held in contempt of court.

However, Gov. Newsom's orders allow the church to feed, shelter, and provide social services, but the same people in the same building cannot worship.

In other words, non-religious services are acceptable, but religious services are banned.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Athens Muslims Fear Change May Delay Mosque; Converting Istanbul Museum to Mosque May Hurt

After Turkey turned Istanbul's Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque last month, Muslims in Athens fear their own official place of worship -- delayed for over a decade -- will be held back even longer, the AFP website reports today (August 7, 2020).

The project to open a state-sanctioned mosque in Athens -- the only European capital that does not have one -- was launched in 2007.

But it immediately ran into strong opposition from the powerful Greek Orthodox Church, as well as from nationalist groups.

"I think after this incident [converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque], it might be even more difficult to open the official mosque that we have awaited for ten years," says Imam Atta-ul Naseer, who runs a makeshift mosque in a central Athens apartment.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Pope Names 6 Women to Vatican Finance Council; Is Most Number.of Women Ever Named to Vatican

Pope Francis has appointed six women to the council that oversees Vatican finances, the Reuters website reports today (August 6,  2020).

Francis has already appointed women as deputy foreign minister, director of the Vatican Museums, and deputy head of the Vatican Press Office, as well as four women as councillors to the Synod of Bishops.

Today's new appointments marked the largest number of women named at one time to Vatican posts.

The previously all-male Council for the Economy now consists of six women and one man.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Lebanon Blast Kills Over 100, Injures 4,000 More; Govt. Blames Tragedy on a Stockpile of Chemicals

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab is appealing for international aid after yesterday's deadly explosion in Beirut, the Newsy website reports today (August 5, 2020).

The force of the blast in Beirut was as strong as a 3.5 magnitude earthquake.

The blast has killed more than 100 people, and injured over 4,000.

The government has linked the tragedy to a stockpile of chemicals stored near the port.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Work Resumes on Church Destroyed on 9/11/01; Abp. Elpidophoros, Gov. Cuomo Praise Building

After a three-year halt due to financial problems, work resumed yesterday on a Greek Orthodox Church being built to replace the one destroyed by Muslim terrorists in the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, the Religion News website reports today (August 4, 2020).

Archbishop Elpidophoros, the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, stood on a balcony on the unfinished church, and used holy water and sprigs of basil to bless the construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine of the World Trade Center.

"We have heard the voice of the Lord and we are rebuilding our church," he said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was there to see work resume, said the continuing reconstruction is more proof of New Yorkers' persistence to rise from the ashes of the terror attacks.

Monday, August 3, 2020

COVID Ends 6 Decades of US Drivers' Growth; Pandemic Has Impact on Autos as on Airlines

COVID-19 has cleared streets around the world for months now, which has drivers in the U.S. poised to reverse a growth streak that has lasted for more than six decades, the UPI website reports today (August 3, 2020).

Similar to the airline industry, the pandemic's impact has severely depressed auto travel.

Experts believe it will take some time for traffic to return to pre-outbreak levels.

At risk is a 60-year streak of U.S. uninterrupted growth in "vehicle miles traveled" or VMT.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

CDC Director Emphasizes Reopening Schools; Asserts It's in "Public Health Interest" to Do So

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says school most definitely should reopen in the fall, as it is in the "public health interest" to do so, the Drudge Report website reports today (August 2, 2020).

Dr. Redfield said: "The isolation that these adolescents are feeling ... increased drug overdose deaths and now increased suicides."

He added, "I think we have to be honest that the public health and interest of the students in the nation right now is to get a quality education and face-to-face learning..."

Dr. Redfield also believes kids need to be with other kids, and parents need to be able to work.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Mexico Surpasses UK for Coronavirus Deaths; Only US and Brazil Have a Bigger COVID Toll

Mexico now has the third highest death toll from coronavirus in the world, after it reported 688 new deaths, overtaking the UK's count, the Euro News website reports today (August 1, 2020).

On July 31, Mexico health authorities reported a new national record for COVID-19 infections, with 8,458 new cases recorded in 24 hours.

This brings to 424,637 the total number of infections recorded since the virus appeared in the country.

Only Brazil (92,475) and the U.S. (153,314) currently have a bigger death toll from the virus , according to a Johns Hopkins University toll.