Friday, April 30, 2021

Pentagon Braces for Taliban Attacks as US Exits; Biden Will End US Afghan Role by Sept. 11, 2021

 The Pentagon is preparing for possible Taliban attacks on U.S. and coalition forces as they withdraw from Afghanistan, a prospect that complicates the outlook for winding down America's longest war, the Newsmax website reports today (April 30, 2021).

President Joe Biden's decision to proceed with a final withdrawal by September adds a new element of security risk as the remaining 2,500 to 3,500 American troops, along with about 7,000 coalition troops and thousands of contractors, begin departing. 

Biden has said all will be gone by September 11, the date of the 2001 terrorist attacks that prompted the U.S. to invade Afghanistan in the first place.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Student at a Univ. in Ohio Dies from Hazing; Fraternity Had Him Drink Bottle of Whiskey

 Eight young men have been charged in connection with the death of Ohio's Bowling Green State University student Stone Foltz during a booze-fueled fraternity hazing, The Daily Beast website reports today (April 29, 2021).

Six face serious charges including involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, and assault, all of which carry prison terms. 

Foltz, 20, died of alcohol poisoning after a Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity event on March 4. Attorneys for his family say he was made to drink an entire handle of whiskey.

Greek Patriarch Performs "Washing of the Feet;" Ceremony Is Tribute to Jesus' Disciple Washing

 The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem today (April 29, 2021) performed the traditional "washing of the feet" ceremony outside the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus was entombed and then resurrected, according to the Euro News website. 

The ritual, conducted by Theophilos III before the clergy and this year, because of the pandemic, only a small crowd of local pilgrims, symbolizes humility.

The ceremony is performed on the last Thursday before Easter at the start of a three-day commemoration that marks the three days from Jesus' death on the cross to His resurrection. It is a traditional tribute to Jesus' washing of the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper. 

The Greek Orthodox Easter is being celebrated this year on Sunday, May 2. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Cal. New Ethnic Studies Program Is Criticized; Parents Review It as Discrimination in Reverse

 California's new ethnic studies curriculum for public schools is being  put to an early test in Orange County, the LA Times website reports today (April 28, 2021).

The curriculum is intended to give students an accurate look at the histories and contributions of Asian, Black, Latino, and Native American communities. 

But some parents slam the studies as divisive and anti-white. The debate is being closely watched as a case study of sorts by other parts of the state.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Turkey Rips Biden's OK of Armenian Genocide; Calls on Biden to Reverse Decision on Genocide

 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is calling on President Biden to reverse his decision to publicly acknowledge that the massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire (modern day Turkey) during World War I was an act of genocide, the CBS News website reports today (April 27, 2021).

Erdogan said yesterday that Biden took the wrong step and urged the two countries to look toward the future. The fact is U.S.-Turkey relations are now the worst they've been in decades, as Turkey angered the U,S, by purchasing several special weapons from Russia earlier this year.

Biden is the first U.S. President to acknowledge the mass killing by the Ottoman Empire was an act of ethnic cleansing, as Turkey was able to pressure previous presidents not to agree to the genocide. Turkey has continued to deny the genocide to the present day.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Mo. Christian College Sues Biden on Dorm Policy; Must Allow Male,Female Students in Same Rooms

 The College of the Ozarks, a small Christian college in Point Lookout, Missouri, has sued the Biden administration over its demand that, following a ruling by the Supreme Court, colleges must allow male and female students in the same bathrooms, dorm rooms, and dormitories, the New American website reports today (April 26, 2021).

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)is assisting the college in its fight to retain its right to follow its religious tenets. 

The president of the college, Dr. Jerry Davis, said the move is just part of the escalating attack on religious freedom in the United States: "Religious freedom is under attack in America and we won't stand on the sidelines and watch."

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Pope:Migrants Begged for Help at Sea Ignored; Death of 130 Migrants Could Have Been Saved

Pope Francis today (April 25, 2021)  decried as shameful the deaths of 130 migrants in the Mediterranean, saying they pleaded for two days for help fir their overcrowded, foundering rubber dingy in the sea off Libya but potential rescuers chose "to look the other way," according to the AP website.

Francis called the sea tragedy last week "a moment of shame."

Rescue centers in Libya, Malta, and Italy had been alerted, according to the European Union border protection agency Frontex, whose plane had located the dingy.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

US Lifts Its Pause Quickly in J&J Vaccine Shots; Shots Resume Despite Blood Clots of 15 Patients

 Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine will be back in circulation this weekend after the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) accepted an advisory panel's decision that the benefits of the shots outweigh the risks, the LA Times website reports today (April 24, 2021). 

The CDC's action lifted a 10-day pause that went into effect April 13 after federal safety monitors received reports of rare but potentially deadly blood clotting disorders in 15 people who received the J&J vaccine. 

The restart means that  the single-dose shots will return to mass vaccination drives, pharmacies, and doctors' offices immediately.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Biden to Confirm Turkey's Armenian Genocide; Turkey Denies Killing 1.5M Armenians in WWI

 President Joe Biden is expected to officially recognize the Armenian genocide despite opposition from Turkey, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who said the administration will release more details in the coming days, the Christian Post website reports today (April 23, 2021).

April 24, 2021 will mark the 106th anniversary of  when the Ottoman Empire (modern Turkey) began to massacre its Armenian Christian minority, resulting in 1.5 million deaths. 

At a press briefing this week, Psaki was asked if the Biden administration would observe the anniversary as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

"I expect we will have more to say about Remembrance Day on Saturday (April 24). But I don's have anything to get ahead of that at this point in time," responded Psaki. Turkey continues to deny its Armenian genocide to this day,

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Pope OKs Unique Prayer for May to End COVID; Asks Cath. Around World Pray to End Pandemic

 Pope Francis has announced a "marathon" month of prayer throughout May with the aim of ending the COVID-19 pandemic, the Daily Mail website reports today (April 22, 2021).

The pope has encouraged Catholics around the world to dedicate next month to praying for the end of the virus which has seen more than three million people die. 

The month will involve 30 Marian shrines, which are dedicated to the Virgin Mary, across the globe which will encourage worshippers to pray, reports the official Vatican News website. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Christians Feeling Exalted after Church Services; 67% of Adults Felt Encouraged Most of the Time

 A new poll released this month shows that a large majority of Christians who attend church worship services are encouraged and inspired by the experience, the Worthy News website reports today (April 21, 2021).

The Barna Research Group's 2021 State of the Church survey found that 82% of practicing Christians who attended church in the last six months had left a worship service feeling encouraged "most of the time."

Of U.S. adults who had been to church in the last six months, 67% said they felt encouraged "most of t he time" after a service.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Two-thirds of World's Pop. Persecuted for Rel.; Christians Are the Most Persecuted Rel. Group

A papal charity says that at least two-thirds of the world's population live in countries where religious freedom is not upheld, and the most persecuted religious group are Christians, the Crux website  reports today (April 20, 2021).

The 2021 Religious Freedom Report by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) found that around 5.2 billion people live in countries where there are grave violations in religious freedom, including three of the world's most populous nations: China, India, and Pakistan.

Religious minorities tend to be the most targeted, and in recent years, the faith-based persecution by authoritarian governments has intensified.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Americans 16 Yrs.,Older Can Get COVID Vaccine; White House Hastens Eligibility Date from May 1

 All Americans 16 years and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, the CNN website reports today (April 19, 2021).

The White House has moved up the blanket eligibility date from May 1 and is now embarking on a media blitz to get more shots into arms. 

More than half of U.S. adults have now had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but there is still a long way to go to achieve herd immunity and vanquish the growing threat of coronavirus variants.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Castro 60-Year Ruling of Cuba Comes to an End; Raul, Fidel's Brother, Quits Due to Keen Protests

 For the first time in more than 60 years, a Castro will not be ruling Cuba, with Raul, brother of Fidel, stepping down as head of the country's all-powerful Communist Party, the Yahoo News website reports today (April 18, 2021).

The repressed island nation of 11 million people is at a precarious tipping point, with the economy in tatters and the clamor for personal freedoms growing as more Cubans gain access to the internet. 

There have been protests, hunger strikes, and even clashes with police as an underground opposition movement has increasingly ventured into the open.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Prince Philip Laid to Rest at Windsor Castle; Philip Was Britain's Longest-Serving Prince

 Queen Elizabeth II today (April 17, 2021) bid farewell to her late husband, Prince Philip, at a royal funeral like no other, restricted by coronavirus rules but reflecting his long life of military and public service, according to the Newsmax website. 

The Duke of Edinburgh, who died on April 9 at the age of 99, was interred in the Royal Vault at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle after a 50-minute service attended by just 30 guests.

The Queen, 94, was dressed in mourning black, with a white-trimmed, black face mask. Close family, also masked, sat socially-distanced in the historic 15th century Gothic chapel.

Philip -- described by royals as "the grandfather of the nation" -- was Britain's longest-serving royal consort and was married to the Queen for 73 years. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Franklin Graham:God Only Hope for Our Nation; Like Whole Country Is Upside Down Right Now

 "What's happened politically in our country is a disgrace, but I just believe that the only hope for our nation is God," said Franklin Graham, CEO of the worldwide Christian ministry Samaritan's Purse, the WND website reports today (April 16, 2021).

Graham condemned the Democrats' move to try to add four justices to the Supreme Court, which is widely viewed as an attempt to shift the court to the left. 

He also said, "It just seems like the whole country is upside down right now. We just need to pray that God will not only bring His voiced... but that people will call on Him because our country is in great trouble."

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Biden Sanctions Russia for Its US Involvement; Expels 10 Russian Diplomats, Bans US Trading

 The Biden administration imposed its first sanctions on Russia today (April 15, 2021) to punish Moscow for the "Solar Winds" cyber espionage attack against the U.S. government and private companies, and for efforts to influence the 2020 presidential election, according to the Washington Times website. 

The executive order signed by President Biden expels 10 diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Washington, sanctions more than three dozen individuals and entities, and bans U.S. financial institutions from trading in newly issued Russian state debt and bonds.

Biden, who spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone on April 13, said the sanctions were a response to the "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States posed by specified harmful foreign activities of the government of the Russian Federation."

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Biden: US to WIthdraw All Afghan Troops by 9/11; Says It's Time to End America's Longest War

 President Biden will announce today that the U.S. will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11 in a speech from the White House this afternoon, seeking to end America's involvement in a two-decade-long war that has killed more than 2,000 U.S. service members and cost trillions of dollars,  the Washington Post website reports today (April 14, 2021).

"It is time to end America's longest war," Biden will say, according to excerpts released by the White House."It is time for American troops to come home."

Biden  will deliver his remarks from the Treaty Room, the same location where President George W. Bush announced that the war in Afghanistan had begun in 2001.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Calif. Stops Using J&J Vaccine Due to Problems; At Least 6 Reports of J&J Blood Clots in US

 California will temporarily stop administering the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, following reports of six serious blood clots nationwide, the LA Times website reports today (April 13, 2021).

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the stoppage was "out of an abundance of caution."

He also said the state remained "on track to fully reopen by its target date of June 15."

Monday, April 12, 2021

US Cardinal: Cath. Pols Must Not Back Abortion; Those Who Back It Must Be Denied Communion

 An American cardinal claims that politicians who support abortion rights are guilty of apostasy and should be excommunicated and denied communion, the Christian Headlines website reports today (April 12, 2021).

Cardinal Raymond Burke made the comments on his website, saying that "many Catholics and non-Catholics" have asked how "Catholic politicians and civil officials" who "publicly and obstinately defend and promote the practice of abortion on demand" can "approach to receive Holy Communion." 

Burke's answer: They should not receive communion.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Pope Sends Condolence Letter to Queen Elizabeth; Commends Prince Philip to Merciful Love of Christ

 Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin has sent a condolence message on the Pope's behalf to Queen Elizabeth II, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (April 11, 2021).

"Saddened to learn of the death of your husband Prince  Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, His Holiness Pope Francis offers heartfelt condolences to Your Majesty and the members of the royal family," Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin wrote in a telegram addressed to Queen Elizabeth. 

"Recalling Prince Philip's devotion to his marriage and family, his distinguished record of public service and his commitment to the education and advancement of future generations, His Holiness commends him to the merciful love of Christ our Redeemer," the Cardinal wrote.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

SCOTUS Ends Cal.COVID Rule on Home Worship; State Can't Limit Home-Based Religious Worship

 The Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) has ruled that California cannot enforce coronavirus-related restrictions that have limited home-based religious worship, including Bible studies and prayer meetings, the Newsmax website reports today (April 10, 2021).

The order from the court late yesterday is the latest in a recent string of cases in which the high court has barred officials from enforcing some coronavirus-related restrictions applying to religious gatherings.

Five conservative justices agreed that California restrictions that apply to in-home religious gatherings should be lifted, while the court's three liberals and Chief Justice Roberts would not have done so.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Prince Philip of Britain Dies Today at Age of 99; Born in Greece,Married Queen Elizabeth in 1947

 Britain's Prince Philip, a stalwart supporter of his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, for oven seven decades, died at the age of 99 today (April 9, 2021), the ABC News website reports. 

"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," Buckingham Palace said in a statement today... "The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth married in 1947 and marked their 73rd wedding anniversary on November 20, 2020.

Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born June 10, 1921, in a villa on the Greek island of Corfu. His parents were Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Bettenberg.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Biden Recommits $235M in Aid to Palestinians; Restores Most of $360M Cut by Trump in 2018

 President Joe Biden's administration plans to provide $235  million of aid to Palestinians, restoring part of the assistance cut by Donald Trump, the BBC website reports today (April 8, 2021). 

Two-thirds will go to the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees, which has suffered a financial crisis since it lost $360 million of U.S. funding in 2018.

Biden wants to "restore credible engagement" by the Palestinians in long-stalled peace talks with Israel.

Palestinian leaders accused Trump of being heavily biased towards Israel. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

New Study:COVID Raised Economic Inequality; US, Latin America Are Most Affected by COVID

 Amnesty International said today (April 7, 2021) that COVID-19 has increased social and economic inequality in the U.S. and several Latin American countries, the UPI website reports. 

The 400-page analysis says North, South, and Central America have been worst hit by the crisis, with about 55 million cases and 1.3 million  deaths to date. 

The U.S., Brazil, and Mexico have the world's highest COVID death tolls. 

The study shows that women, refugees, migrants, underprotected health workers, indigenous, and Black people and other groups have borne the brunt of the pandemic.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Northeastern Requires All Students Be Vaccinated; Need Shots against COVID to Attend Fall Classes

Northeastern University announced today (April 6, 2021) that all of its students will be required to have the COVID vaccine by the first day of classes in the fall 2021 semester, according to the CBS website. 

"In order to get herd immunity, we need to get a maximum number of people vaccinated," Ken Henderson, chancellor and senior vice president for learning, said in a statement.

"This vaccination requirement is the next step to "Protect and Pack" so we can continue to study, learn, and research side by side," Henderson added. 


Monday, April 5, 2021

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Cases of Rel.Bias; 2 Men Accused Employers of Violating Rel.Rights

 The U.S. Supreme Court today (April 5, 2021) refused to hear two cases that could have expanded religious rights, turning away cases in which employees accused companies of violating anti-discrimination law by insufficiently accommodating requests for time off to meet religious obligations, according to the Reuters website.

The justices declined to hear appeals by two men of different Christian denominations -- a Jehovah's Witness from Tennessee and a Seventh-day Adventist from Florida -- of lower court rulings that rejected their claims of illegal religious bias. 

The lower courts found that accommodations the men sought would have placed too much hardship on the employers. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Pope Francis Celebrates Subdued Easter Mass; Mass Is Held in St. Peter's Basilica, Not Square

 Pope Francis presided over a subdued Easter Mass at the Vatican with few participants, all wearing masks and carefully spread out along the pews, the Yahoo News website reports today (April 4, 2021). 

It was the second year in a row that the coronavirus pandemic forced the Vatican to hold the Easter celebration in St. Peter's Basilica rather than in a packed St. Peter's Square overflowing with faithful and flowers. 

There were about 200 people at the Mass including cardinals, priests, nuns, the choir, and a few lay people.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

NM Christian Camp Preps to House Migrant Kids; Acts to House 2400 Sole Kids from Mexico Border

 A private Christian camp in northern New Mexico is looking for volunteers and donations as it prepares for the arrival of immigrant children from the U.S.-Mexico border as federal holding facilities become more crowded, the CBN website reports today (April 3, 2021). 

The organization was asked by the White House and the  U.S. Health and Human Services Department to house and feed 2,400 unaccompanied children at its property near Santa Fe. 

Glorieta Camps executive assistant Josh Nelson said that the organization has been talking with federal officials recently and he was unsure when a contract would be finalized. He added that the camp is prepared to take children, but that it could only do so for 60 days to avoid having to cancel its own summer programs.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Pope Sees Homeless Receiving Vaccine for COVID; They Are Given Vaccine on Good Friday at Vatican

 Pope Francis visited with homeless persons and others in need at the Vatican as they received doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Good Friday (April 2, 2021), the UPI website reports. 

Wearing a mask, the pope marked Good Friday by greeting worshipers in the atrium of Paul VI Audience Hall, where physicians and volunteers gathered to administer the vaccine. 

Officials said hundreds of people have received the vaccine at the Vatican this week.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

President Biden's Dog Bites 2nd Person in Month; Who Let the Dogs Out? Hoot! Hoot! Hoot! Hoot!

 President Joe Biden's dog, Major, has been involved in his second biting incident within a month, The Guardian website reports today (April 1, 2021).

The dog "nipped someone while on a walk" around the White House south lawn on March 29, according to Jill Biden's press secretary, Michael LaRosa.

The individual was seen by the White House medical unit and returned to work. 

The German shepherd only returned to the White House from Delaware last week, along with his older sibling, Champ, after biting an employee of the U.S. Secret Service on March 8.