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.