Sunday, February 28, 2021

Men Abduct Hundreds of Schoolgirls in Nigeria; Armed Men Take Girls into Forest around 2 A.M.

Hundreds of schoolgirls were abducted in the early hours of February 26, when armed men raided a state-run school in Zamfara State, northwest Nigeria, the CNN website reports today (February 28, 2021). 

The schoolgirls were taken from their hostels by gunmen who raided the Government Girls Secondary School in the town of Jangebe, a high-ranking government official told CNN.

A police officer was killed in the attack, according to the government official.

"They came on about 20 motorcycles and they marched the abducted girls into the forest," the source said. "The bandits arrived around 1:45 a,m. and they operated 'till about 3 a.m."

Saturday, February 27, 2021

J&J One-Shot COVID Vaccine Gets FDA Approval; With Pfizer and Moderna Allows Plenty of Vaccine

The battle against COVID-19 took a major step forward yesterday, as the U.S. moved closer to distributing the first one-shot COVID-19 vaccine, after an independent expert advisory panel recommended drug regulators authorized the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use, The Guardian website reports today (February 27, 2021). 


The authorization would be a significant boost to the Biden administration's vaccination plans, making Johnson & Johnson's vaccine the third available to the public. Johnson & Johnson told a congressional hearing this week that it expects to deliver 20 million doses by March and a total of 100 million doses before the end of June. 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine -- along with Pfizer and Moderna -- should provide the U.S. with more than enough supply to vaccinate every vaccine-eligible person.


Friday, February 26, 2021

Romanian Orth.Church Won't Alter Baptism Rite; Many Would Not Immerse Infants after One Died

Romania's Orthodox Church said it will continue immersing infants in water during baptism ceremonies, rejecting calls across the country to change the ritual after a six-week-old baby died after being baptized earlier this month, the Reuters website reports today (February 26, 2021).

The baby died of cardiac arrest in the northern Romanian city of Suceava after the traditional ritual, which involves immersing children in holy water three times.  

The case has divided Church officials and believers, with tens of thousands of Romanians petitioning the Church to sprinkle water on the babies' heads instead. Most of Romania's 20 million people are Greek Orthodox Christians and the Church has much influence. 

High Court Lets Episcopal Church Leave Diocese; OKs Lower Court Ruling of $100M to Split Church

Officials in the Episcopal Church are reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court opting to not reverse a decision of a lower court granting a breakaway diocese $100 million in church properties, the Christian Post website reports today (February 26, 2021). 

The Supreme Court declined, without comment, to hear the combined cases of All Saints Episcopal Church v. Diocese of Fort Worth and Episcopal Church et al. v. Diocese of Fort Worth.

As a result, an earlier decision from the Texas Supreme Court in favor of the breakaway Anglican diocese will be allowed to stand, with a lower court judge tasked with implementing it. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

US Bombs Military Facility in Syria Used by Iran; Is First Military Action Carried Out by Pres.Biden

The U.S. launched airstrikes in Syria today (February 25, 2021), targeting military facilities near the Iraq border used by Iranian-backed militia groups, the LA Times website reports. 

The Pentagon said the airstrikes were retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops. 

The airstrikes served as the first military action undertaken by the Biden administration.

Poll:Almost Half Trump Voters Would Leave GOP; Would Depart GOP If Trump Created a New Party

A new poll, conducted by Suffolk University in Boston and USA Today, has found that almost half of Trump voters would leave the Republican party if Trump were to create a new one, the Christian Headlines website reports today (February 25, 2021). 

Trump, who received more votes than any Republican presidential nominee in U.S. history, continues to be highly esteemed by his passionate base. 

The survey found that 46 percent of Trump voters would support Trump if he created a hypothetical third party. On the other hand, 27 percent said they would remain with the Republican Party over the third party. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Biden: Schools Must Still Give Standardized Tests; Given for 2020-21 School Year Despite Remote Ed

 The U.S. Department of Education has announced that schools will still be required to administer standardized tests for the 2020-2021 school year despite months of upheaval in which many students failed to step foot inside a school building, the Huffpost website reports today (February 24, 2021).

President Joe Biden made the decision without any feedback from Miguel Cardona, Biden's nominee for education secretary.

Cardona has not yet been confirmed. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Fla. Officials Refuse to Lower Flag for Limbaugh; One Says He Liked Hate Speech,Bigotry,Division

 Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants flags in the state flown half-staff when famous resident Rush Limbaugh is laid to rest, but some Florida officials aren't having it, the Newser website reports today (February 23, 2021).

"Lowering to half-staff the flag of the United States of America is a sacred honor that pays respect to fallen heroes and patriots. It is not a partisan political tool," says Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. 

Fried continues: "Therefore, I will notify all offices under my direction to disregard the Governor's order to lower flags for Mr. Limbaugh -- because we will not celebrate hate speech, bigotry, and division."

Monday, February 22, 2021

Half-Million People in US Have Died from COVID; More Died Than in WWII, Korean, Vietnam Wars

 More than half a million people in the U.S. have now died from COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic about a year ago, The Daily Beast website reports today (February 22, 2021).

That figure is over twice that of any other nation, and more American deaths than occurred in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War combined. 

From failing to test early and effectively for cases to mediocre and halting lockdowns, everything about the U.S. COVID-19 response has been lackluster. 

The recent rollout of vaccines and the easing of post-holiday surges are now showing early signals of reducing deaths. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

NATO Delays Its May 1 Afghan Withdrawal Plans; Taliban Broke Its Peace Deal with US Many Times

 NATO defense ministers at a two-day video conference at the Brussels headquarters postponed the decision to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan by a date previously agreed upon by the U.S. and the Taliban, since the current level of violence in the country is considered too high, the Euro News website reports today (February 21, 2021).

"We believe there is still time to make progress on a political settlement before the May 1st deadline," said NATO official Jens Staltenberg. 

More than 10,000 NATO troops remain in Afghanistan, of which about a quarter are Americans.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Biden-Netanyahu Relations on Shaky Grounds; Have Opposing Views on Iran,Palestinian Deals

President Joe Biden's relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be on shaky ground  despite the longstanding special relationship between the U.S. and Israel, the Newsmax website reports today (February 20, 2021).

The politicians have opposing outlooks on how to handle the growing threat of Iran and Israeli-Palestinian relations.  

Moreover, Netanyahu and President Barack Obama  -- whose vice president was Joe Biden -- had a highly contentious relationship, one that some Israeli experts have called the worst ever between a U.S. president and an Israeli prime minister. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Serbian Orth. Church Enthrones New Patriarch; Patriarch Porfirije to Lead Church of 12M People

Hundreds of people, including top officials and clergy, gathered in Belgrade today (February 19, 2021) to mark the enthronement of Porfirije, the new Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, a day after his election, the Reuters website reports. 

Porfirije, 59, Serbia's 46th Patriarch, is seen as a modernist inside the conservative church.  He is the successor to Patriarch Irinej, who died in November from COVID-19 at the age of 90.

Porfirije, will lead a church of about 12 million people in Serbia, the other five former Yugoslav republics, Kosovo, and dioceses in the U.S., Australia, and Western Europe. 

Flanked by bishops in their ornate robes at his enthronement, Porfirije was handed over a crosier, a stylized staff that is a symbol of his office and a white stiff hat.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

CDC: US Life Expectancy Drops by a Yr. in 2020; Due Mainly to the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

 Life expectancy in the U.S. declined by a year during the first half of 2020, due in large part to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released today (February 18, 2021) by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the UPI website reports. 

From January through June of last year, life expectancy at birth for the total population of the U.S. was 77.8 years, down from 78.8 years in 2019.

For Black Americans, life expectancy fell by nearly three years over the same period, to 72 years from 74.7  years. Among Hispanic Americans, it dropped by roughly two years to 79.9 years from 81.8 years from 2019 through June 2020.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Rush Limbaugh Dies of Lung Cancer at Age of 70; Operated Most Listened-to Radio Talk Show in US

Rush Limbaugh, the talk titan who made  right-wing radio financially viable in American media and himself a Republican kingmaker years before Fox News, died today (February 17, 2021) of lung cancer at the age of 70.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Kathryn, at the beginning of Limbaugh's radio show, from which he's been absent for almost two weeks.

A longtime cigar-smoker, Limbaugh succumbed to cancer after battling drug addiction and loss of hearing earlier in his career. 

Limbaugh's show was the most listened-to talk radio broadcast in the U.S., with an estimated weekly audience of 15.5 million listeners at his peak.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Bill Would Allow Fathers to Stop Abortions; Woman Having Abortion to Be in Contempt

 Two Tennessee lawmakers have proposed a bill that would permit a biological father to petition a court to halt a woman who is pregnant with his unborn child from getting an abortion, the Newsmax website reports today (February 16, 2021). 

The bill, which was introduced by state Sen. Mark Pody and state Rep. Jerry Sexton, states that once the injunction is issued, the court must hold a hearing with both parties within 14 days. 

If a woman violates the injunction and obtains an abortion, "the court may hold the respondent in civil or criminal contempt and punish the respondent in accordance with the law."

The legislation does not apply to instances of rape. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Poll: Most Americans Want 3rd Major Pol. Party; Most Prefer Term Independent over Dem. or Rep.

 A new Gallup poll has found support for a major third U.S. political party steadily rising. as more people than ever refer to themselves as independents while Democrats and Republicans are dropping in approval, the RT website reports today (February 15, 2021). 

Only 33 percent of respondents said they felt the two major political parties are adequately representing the system, which is the lowest response to that question, save for 20 percent in 2013. 

Half of U.S. adults are also now referring to themselves as independents, the highest number ever recorded by Gallup in a poll.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Trump Had Planned to Kill Syrian Pres. Assad; Due to Assad's Gas Attacks, But Swayed Not to

A former adviser to President Trump has revealed that Trump had to be talked down from ordering the assassination of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the Independent website reports today (February 14, 2021).

KT Macfarland, former deputy national security adviser, said that weeks after he took office in 2017, the former president insisted that he would "take him out" after seeing pictures of a sarin gas attack on civilians. 

Trump finally agreed not to have Assad killed after several defense department officials convinced him that killing the Syrian dictator would be an act of war.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Trump Thanks GOPs for Impeachment Acquittal; Says Pol. Movement for Future "Only Just Begun"

Donald Trump thanked Senate Republicans -- most of them -- for his impeachment acquittal today (February 13, 2021), and proclaimed that the political movement he began with his 2016 election  has "only just begin," the USA Today website reports. 

The final Senate vote was 57 to 43. The Senate needed 67 votes to convict Trump.

"We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future, Trump said.  

While thanking GOP allies, Trump -- who is considering another presidential run -- attacked Democrats by saying, "It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law."

Friday, February 12, 2021

Gov. Cuomo Ripped for COVID Death Cover-Up; Many Want Him Impeached for Cutting True No.

Top Republicans and some Democrats in New York are blasting Gov. Andrew Cuomo after the New York Post reported one of his top aides privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers for withholding the real number of nursing home deaths from COVID-19, saying they feared the Trump administration would use those numbers against them, the CBN website reports today (February 12, 2021). 

The disclosure came as the Democratic governor and his administration were already facing backlash over their handling and reporting of outbreaks in nursing homes. 

Some Republicans want Cuomo impeached or investigated for the alleged cover-up.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Fauci:All Americans Could Get Vaccines by April; April Is "Open Season" for General Public's Shots

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser for COVID-19, said today (February 11, 2021) that most members of the general public could become eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine as soon as April, according to the NY Times website. 

States have so far been prioritizing vaccines for older people and health care and essential workers, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.  

"I would imagine by the time we get to April, that will be what I would call, for better wording, 'open season,'" Dr. Fauci said today. "Namely, virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated."

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

CDC:Double-Masking Cuts COVID Spread by 95%; Study Conveys Importance of Good-Fitting Masks

Double-masking or wearing a cloth face covering over a medical procedure mask, increases a person's protection against exposure to COVID-19 virus particles by more than 90%, according to an analysis released today (February 10, 2021) by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the UPI website reports. 

In addition, when two people in close contact are both double-masking or wearing properly fitted medical procedure masks over their nose and mouth,  protection against coronavirus transmission increases more than 95%, the data showed.  

The findings highlight the importance of good fit to maximize overall mask performance, the agency researchers said. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Cath.Schools Have Least Students in 50 Years; Study: COVID Pandemic Caused Student Loss

A new study finds that Catholic schools in the U.S. face the sharpest decline in enrolment of students in nearly 50 years, the Catholic Herald website reports today (February 9, 2021).

The study -- published by the National Catholic Education  Association (NCEA) -- found that following the COVID-19 pandemic, enrolment figures at Catholic schools had fallen fastest since 1972/73.

Since 2019/20, there has been an overall decline of over 110,000 students (6.4%) across Catholic schools. 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Cath.Priests to Sprinkle Ashes on People's Heads; Will Sprinkle Ash Wed.Instead of Forehead Cross

 Roman Catholic priests around the world will take COVID-19 precautions when they distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday next week, including sprinkling ashes on top of people's heads rather than using them to make a cross on their foreheads, the Catholic News website reports today (February 8, 2021).

The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments issued a note on the "distribution of ashes in time of pandemic," directing priests to say "the prayer for blessing the ashes" and then sprinkle "the ashes with holy water, without saying anything."

"Then he addresses all those present and only once says the formula as it appears in the Roman Missal, applying it to all in general: 'Repeat and believe in the Gospel' or 'Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.' "

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Pope Names Women for 1st Time to Vatican Posts; One Is to Synod of Bishops,Other to Vatican Court

Pope Francis has appointed two women to Vatican posts previously held only by men, giving women more empowerment in the male-dominated Holy See, the Reuters website reports today (February 7, 2021). 

He appointed Nathalie Becquart, a French member of the Xaviere Missionary Sisters, yesterday as co-undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, a department that prepares major meetings of world bishops. 

The previous day, Francis named Italian magistrate Catia Summaria as the first woman Promoter of Justice in the Vatican's Court of Appeals.

The pope still adamantly rejects allowing women priests in the Roman Catholic Church, although he did say he is considering the conduciveness of allowing women deacons in the near future.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Supreme Court Rules Cal. Churches Can Open; Gov. Newsom's Closing Dictate Violates Const.

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday lifted California's ban on indoor church services during the COVID-19 pandemic, ruling that Gov. Gavin Newsom's strict orders violate the Constitution's protection for the free exercise of religion, the LA Times website reports today (February 6, 2021).

The justices, in a 6-3 decision, granted an appeal from a south San Diego church that has repeatedly challenged the state restrictions on church services. 

The ruling overturned decisions by  federal judges in San Diego and San Bernardino, and the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco, which had upheld the state's orders. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Biden Speaks at 2021 National Prayer Breakfast; Rips Extremism,White Supremacy,US Terrorism

 President Joe Biden spoke at the 2021 National Prayer Breakfast yesterday, using the occasion to condemn "political extremism"and call on Americans to unite as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, the Christian Post website reports today (February 5, 2021).

Biden -- the first Roman Catholic to serve as president of the U.S. since John F. Kennedy in 1963 -- delivered a speech at the annual breakfast that took place virtually this year because of COVID-19.

In his speech, the president weighed in on the "violent assault on the U.S. Capitol... an assault on our democracy, on our Capitol, a violent attack that threatened lives and took lives."

Biden added, "We know now we must confront and defeat political extremism, white supremacy, and domestic terrorism."

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Denmark May Need to Give Rel.Sermons to Govt.; Due to Radical Islamic Groups Backing Terrorism

 Christian leaders in Denmark say a proposed law would require leaders of all faiths to translate their sermons into Danish and submit them to the government, the CBN News website reports today (February 4, 2021).

The new measure is primarily aimed at radical Islamic groups, but it will also affect churches. It is scheduled to be reviewed this month at the Danish Parliament. 

The country has a population of more than 270,000 Muslims, and most of the sermons in the mosques are preached in Arabic. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Pope Praises Cath.Church in US as Courageous; Church Must Not Be Divided, But Have 1 Heart

"The church in the United States is a church that has been courageous -- the history it has and the saints -- and has  done so much," Pope Francis said during an interview with journalists from Catholic News Service (CNS) on February 1 at the Vatican, according to the RNS website. 

The audience marked the 100th anniversary of the news agency, which is an arm of the United States . Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

"A divided church is not the church," the pope told the CNS reporters. He made a distinction between unity and uniformity, calling for a church of "unity with differences, but one heart."

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Fauci Says Vaccine Use to Get Better Fast; Biden's 200M More Doses Allows 300M Shots by Summer

 Dr. Anthony Fauci said today (February 2, 2021) that vaccine distribution to fight the coronavirus in the U,S, will "get better very quickly," according to t he CNN website. 

With the Biden administration's recent purchase of 200 million additional doses, the president says this will now be enough doses to fully vaccinate 300 million people by the end of the summer -- almost the entire U.S. population.

Meanwhile, Japan is planning to extend its state of emergency as case numbers rise. The president says the country's 2020 Olympics -- postponed from last year -- are set for Japan this summer, and will go on no matter what.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Tony Bennett Says He Has Alzheimer's Disease; Iconic Singer 1st Diagnosed with Disease in 2016

Tony Bennett and his family today (February 1, 2021) revealed that he has been battling Alzheimer's disease, according to The Hollywood Reporter website. 

The 94-year-old iconic singer was first diagnosed with  Alzheimer's in 2016.  

The popular singer can still recognize family members, but he is still not always sure where he is or what is happening around him, hus wife, Susan Crow, said.