Monday, May 31, 2021

Fauci:US Must Not See Victory Despite Low Rates; COVID Victory Will Occur as More Get Vaccinated

 Dr. Anthony Fauci. the top infectious diseases expert in the U.S., has warned it is too early to declare victory against COVID-19 as cases fall in the country to the lowest rates since last June, the Guardian website reports today (May 31, 2021).

"We don't want to declare victory prematurely because we still have a ways to go,"Fauci told the Guardian in an interview.

"But the more and more people that can get vaccinated, as a community, the community will be safer and safer."

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Israeli Parties Join Forces to Oust PM Netanyahu; Bennet to Be Prime Minister, Lapid to Follow Him

 A diverse coalition of Israeli opposition parties said today (May 30, 2021) that they have the votes to form a unity government to unseat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving leader and its dominant political figure for more than a decade, according to the Washington Post website. 

Under their agreement, reached after weeks of negotiations spearheaded by centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid, former Netanyahu defense minister and ally Naftali Bennett will lead a power-sharing government. 

Bennett, 49, would serve as Israel's next prime minister, according to terms of the deal reported by Israeli media, to be succeeded in that role by Lapid, 57, at a later date.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Biden's $6T Budget Is Highest Ever Since WWII; Budget Condemned by Republicans in Congress

 President Joe Biden has announced his first annual budget -- a $6 trillion package that includes investments in fighting climate change and steep tax hikes for the wealthy and corporations, the Sky News website reports today (May 29, 2021).

However, it needs approval from Congress and has been condemned by Republicans. 

Biden's budget would surpass record levels of debt relative to the GDP (gross domestic product) that have stood since the Second World War.

Friday, May 28, 2021

School Opposes Christian Words in Grad Speech; School Relents When Org. Backs Student's Rights

 A high school in Michigan has reversed course after initially telling a graduating senior that references to her Christian beliefs were "not appropriate" for her upcoming valedictory speech, the Christian Post website reports today (May 28, 2021).

After receiving a demand letter from the First Liberty Institute, officials at Hillsdale High School relented after pressuring student Elizabeth Turner to alter the valedictory speech for her June 6 graduation ceremony.

"I'm grateful I will be able to share my faith with my classmates, and I pray that God uses this situation to advance His Kingdom.," Turner said in a statement yesterday shared by First Liberty Institute, a legal nonprofit organization that defends First Amendment rights. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

More Protestant Churches Close Than Open in US; In 2019, 3K Protestant Churches Opened, 4K Gone

 A new study shows that more Protestant churches are closing down than opening in the U.S., and further decline appears "inevitable," the Christian Post website reports today (May 27, 2021).

Estimates made by the Nashville-based Lifeway Research, show in 2019 -- well before many churches were forced to close in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic -- about 3,000 Protestant churches were started in the U.S., but 4,500 Protestant churches closed down.

The findings came from an analysis of congregation data collected from 34 denominations and groups representing some 60% of Protestant churches in the United States.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

US Rebuilds Palestinian Ties Destroyed by Trump; Blinken Brings Back Role of US Mideast Mediator

 U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the seat of the Palestinian government in Ramallah yesterday with promises of additional aid, a reopened consulate in Jerusalem, and a broad sympathetic pledge to rebuild ties that had been severed by the previous administration in favor of Israel, the NY Times website reports today (May 26, 2021).

It was an attempted revival of America's former role as a more neutral mediator in the Middle East's most severe conflict.

It was also a sharp turnaround from the policies of former President Donald Trump who sided with Israel by closing a political channel with the Palestinian Authority and cutting off humanitarian assistance to millions of Palestinians.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Pope Dumps Altar Boy Youth Home from Vatican; Sparked by Accusations of Sexual Abuse by Priests

 Pope Francis has ordered a residence for altar boys who serve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to move out of the Vatican, after the home became the subject of a sexual abuse trial, the Reuters website reports today (May 25, 2021).

In a statement today, the Vatican said the pope had told the rector, Father Angelo Magistrelli, to find new premises in Rome outside the Vatican walls by September.

The St. Pius X Pre-seminary was founded in 1956 by Pope Pius XII to house altar boys who serve Mass in St. Peter's and are thinking of becoming priests. 

Two priests are currently on trial with alleged abuse that occurred at the pre-seminary.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Growth in Anti-Semitic Incidents Affecting US; Due to Israel Bombing Gaza, Killing Hundreds

Anti-Semitic vandalism and attacks increased in American cities during the 11 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas, due to Israel killing hundreds of people in Gaza, the CBN website reports today (May 24, 2021). 

Police in New York City arrested a man in connection with the beating of a Jewish man in Times Square last week, labeling the brutal act a hate crime. 

Waseem Awawdeh of Brooklyn was arrested and charged with assault as a hate crime, gang assault, menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon, according to police. 

In Los Angeles, a violent brawl broke out as pro-Palestinian demonstrators attacked Jewish diners at a restaurant last week.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Pope Praises Unity in Church, Rejects Ideologies; For 1st Time Since Pandemic, 1,000 Attend Mass

 Pope Francis called for unity in the church and rejection of the ideologies "that divide and separate us," as he celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on the feast Pentecost, the America website reports today (May 23, 2021).

He told believers worldwide that "the Holy Spirit is telling the Church that today is the time for comforting."

In a sign that the situation has improved in Italy since the pandemic struck more than one year ago, for the first time a large congregation od 1,000 believers of many nationalities, wearing masks and respecting social distance, participated in the celebration in the basilica on May 23. 

The world-famous Sistine Chapel Choir led the singing in Latin at the joy-filled celebration.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

More Than Half a Million Bees Were Left to Die; Left Weeks in Hot UPS Truck in Shrewsbury,MA

 More than half a million bees died in Massachusetts after they were left in a hot UPS truck for weeks, the USA Today website reports today (May 22, 2021).

A million bees were meant to be shipped to beekeepers in New England, but were held up in the town of Shrewsbury, nearly 50 miles west of Boston, due to faulty packaging, according to UPS. 

A beekeeper had been called in by UPS on May 20 because they had been getting loose, but more than half of the bees had already died. 

Whatever bees survived were located and released by the beekeeper UPS brought in.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Fisker to Donate 1st Electric Popemobile to Pope; Fisker Inspired by Pope's Regard of Environment

 Los Angeles-based Fisker Inc. plans to supply the first pure electric vehicle for Pope Francis next year, it said today (May 21, 2021), with features such as a solar roof and carpets made of recycled plastic bottles from the ocean, according to the Newsmax website. 

Co-founders Henrik Fisker and Dr. Geeta Gupta-Fisker met the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican City, the company said. 

"I got inspired reading that Pope Francis is very considerate about the environment and the impact of climate change for future generations," said Fisker. 

The electric vehicle being donated to Pope Francis costs about $37,500 in the United States. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Sanders Seeks to Block $735M Israel Arms Sale; Due to Israel's Current Deadly Bombing of Gaza

 Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is preparing to introduce a resolution today (May 20, 2021) disapproving of the U.S. sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel, according to the Washington Post website.

The resolution aims to halt the planned sale to Israel by the Biden administration of JDAMs, or Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and Small Diameter Bombs, as the worst hostilities in several years continue between Israel and Hamas. 

"At a moment when U.S.-made bombs are devastating Gaza, and killing women and children, we cannot simply let another huge arms sale go through without even a congressional debate," Sen. Sanders said.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Congress Seeks Boycott of 2022 Beijing Olympics; Due to Beijing Genocide, Abuse against Minorities

 Congressional leaders today (May 19, 2021) called for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics -- if they are scheduled in Beijing -- due to ongoing "genocide" against Uyghurs and other minorities in China, the NC Register website reports.

"In granting Beijing host status for the Olympic Games, we are crowning a barbarous regime with laurels while we should be condemning their abuse and genocide," stated Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ  today.

According to intelligence reports, some 1.8 million Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities have been detained in a network of camps, where survivors of prisoners have reported indoctrination, beatings, torture, and other abuses.  

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

EU: Number of Deaths in Gaza "Unacceptable;" Calls for a Ceasefire to Protect Civilians in Gaza

 The European Union's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said today (May 18, 2021) that the high number of civilian casualties, including women and children, in Gaza is "unacceptable," the Euro News website reports. 

After a meeting of EU's foreign ministers, he said that 26 out of 27 member nations agreed to a statement that includes: "the priority is immediate cessation of all violence, and implementation of a ceasefire in order to protect. civilians and to provide humanitarian access in Gaza."

Borrell said Hungary was the only nation that had not agreed to the statement.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Roe vs. Wade; May Require States Deny Abortions after 15 Weeks

 The Supreme Court today (May 17, 2021) said it would hear a major challenge to the reach of the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling and decide whether states may bar nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the LA Times website reports. 

The justices voted to hear an appeal from Mississippi that urges the court to "reconsider the bright line visibility rule" that says states may not prohibit abortions until the time a fetus is visible or capable of living on its own. 

This is the court's first major move to reconsider abortion rights since Justice Amy Coney Barrett replaced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September. Barrett has acknowledged being opposed to abortion, while Ginsburg supported abortion. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Church of Scotland to Drop "Husband and Wife;" Due to Church Planning to OK Same-Sex Couples

 The general assembly of the Church of Scotland soon will be reviewing a plan to drop the phrase "husband and wife" from its marriage ceremonies, the WND website reports today (May 16, 2021). 

It's because the church is planning to dive headlong into affirming same-sex couples. 

The Christian Institute described the plan as "radical," and noted that later this month the leaders of the religious organization will consider a specific plan to kill references to "husband and wife."

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Israel May Invade Gaza "at Any Given Moment;" Prepares Its Tanks, Armored Vehicles, Artillery

 The fighting between Israel and Gaza continued today (May 15, 2021), as Israel amassed thousands of troops along the Gaza border ahead of a probable ground invasion into the Hamas-controlled territory, according to the CBN News website. 

The military called up an additional 9,000 reservists to the Gaza frontier two days ago, indicating that the conflict is escalating.

Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman said tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery were being prepared "for mobilization at any given moment."

Friday, May 14, 2021

Pope Slams Companies that Discourage Maternity; Says Families Must Be Respected at Family Forum

Pope Francis went after companies that discourage maternity at a Rome conference addressing Italy's demographic winter, the CRUX website reports today (May 14, 2021).

"For the future to be good, it is therefore necessary to take care of families, especially young families, assailed by worries that risk paralyzing their life plans," Francis said today, addressing the General State of Birth, an online event organized in Rome.

Among those attending the event, organized by the Forum of Family Associations, was Italy's Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, and Rome's Mayor, Virginia Raggi. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Biden Sends Envoy to Mideast to De-escalate War; Current Conflict Is Escalating into Full Scale War

 Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced today (May 13, 2021) that the Biden administration has dispatched a top State Department diplomat to the Middle East to try to de-escalate the deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas, according to the USA Today website. 

United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, warned yesterday that the situation "is escalating toward a full scale war."

More than 80 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, including 17 children and seven women, according to Gaza's Health Ministry, and another 480 people have been wounded. 

A total of seven people have been killed in Israel.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Vatican May Deny Communion to Abortion Pols; US Cath.Bishops Meet in June to Decide on Issue

 The Vatican sent a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) giving advice and warnings regarding a possible move by the American leadership to deny communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, the Christian Post website reports today (May 12, 2021).

Cardinal Louis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Catholic Church, sent a letter to USCCB President Archbishop Jose Gomez on the issue this week, warning that having a blanket policy to deny communion to pro-abortion politicians could prevent unity in the Church.

In June, the USCCB will hold a national meeting to consider a draft document that, if approved, would recommend that pro-abortion Catholic politicians be denied communion.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Activists Condemn Deadly Raid in Rio de Janeiro; Police Killed 28 People in a Drug Raid on May 6th

 Catholic activists in Brazil are demanding an independent investigation into  the most lethal police operation in the history of Rio de Janeiro, which resulted in the deaths of 28 people, the CRUX website reports today (May 11, 2021).

The activists have joined civic organizations and social movements in condemning the massacre of May 6, and demanding an independent investigation on the actions of the policemen involved in it.

The anti-drug raid began in the morning of May 6 in the city's Jacarezinho slum.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Bombing Near Kabul School Kills Some 50 People; At Least 100 People Also Wounded in the Bombing

 A bombing near a school in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 8 killed at least 50 people, many of them young students, the NPR website reports today (May 10, 2021).

At least 100 people were wounded in the attack,. and casualties may continue to rise. 

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani blamed the Taliban for the bombing.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

French Generals: a Civil War Is Heading to France; Due to Numerous Islamic Terror Attacks in Nation

 A coalition of retired French military generals is warning that a civil war could soon come to the European nation because its government is failing to control mass migration and "creeping Islamism," the WND website reports today (May 9, 2021). 

In a letter, the leaders pointed to the problems of cultural Marxism, runaway multiculturalism, and the growth of no-go zones -- neighborhoods where it is unsafe for non-Muslims to venture -- noted Soeren Kern, a senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

The letter came after a series of Islamic terror attacks, including the beheading of a teacher.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Half US Mormons Won't Take a Vaccine Shot; Study: 50% Are Vaccine Hesitant or Refusers

 Fifty percent of Mormons  in the U.S. say they have gotten or will definitely get vaccinated against COVID-19, while the other half are either "vaccine hesitant" or "vaccine refusers," according to a recent study by PRRI and Interfaith Youth Corps, the Religious News website reports today (May 8, 2021).

The number of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the sample was small -- 105 people out of   5,625 respondents overall. This means the margin of error is relatively high.

Nonetheless, the PRRI/IFYC findings are sobering.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Biden Leaves Out God in National Day of Prayer; All Proclamations before Biden's Referred to God

 Every presidential proclamation since 1953 -- the first year proclamations were required under law -- had included "God" until this year, when  President Joe Biden left out the word "God," the National Register website reports today (May 7, 2021).

Biden's May 5 statement says "throughout our history, Americans of many religions and belief systems have turned to prayer for strength, hope, and guidance..."

He added, "We unite with purpose and resolve, and recommit ourselves to the core freedoms that helped define and guide our Nation from its earliest days..."

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Girl May Get Prison for Rigging Queen Contest; Used Mother's Access to Cast Fraudulent Votes

 A Pensacola, Florida high-school student accused of rigging her high school's queen election will be charged as an adult, the WND website reports today (May 6, 2021). 

Emily Grover and her mother Laura Carroll, assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School, were arrested in March after authorities said the duo used Carroll's special access to the district's student data system to cast hundreds of fraudulent votes for Grover in the homecoming queen election at Tate High School.

Carroll remains free on $6,000 bond, and Grover is free on $2,000 bond. Prosecutors said the mother and daughter each face a maximum 16-year sentence. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

US Birth Rate Undergoes a Huge Decline in 2020; Records Its Largest Decline in More Than 40 Years

Birth and fertility rates in the U.S. declined again last year, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed today (May 5, 2021)  -- with births down 4% to the lowest level in more than 40 years --  according to the UPI website. 

The total and general fertility rates in 2020 also declined 4% from 2019 to record lows. The report said at the current level, there are more people dying every day than are being born.

The decline from 2019 to 2020 is the largest single-year decrease in nearly 50 years.

The U.S. birth rate last year was down to about 56 births per 1,000 women of child-bearing age, which is the lowest rate on record. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Police Lock Ontario Church for Dismissing Court; Ignored Provincial Restrictions to Reduce COVID

 A judge in Ontario, Canada has allowed authorities to lock the doors of a church that has refused to follow provincial restrictions on gatherings aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, the Christian Post website reports today (May 4, 2021).

The attorney general's office for Ontario province had police lock the doors of Trinity Bible Chapel of Waterloo through May 8 to prevent in-person worship services. 

The move came as part of a temporary injunction against the chapel in which Justice John Krawchenko concluded that closing the church was a matter of public safety.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Germany's Oktoberfest Voided for 2nd Yr. in Row; Beer Gatherings Blocked Due to COVID Pandemic

 Germany's Oktoberfest beer extravaganza, scheduled to bring together hundreds of thousands of people from September 18 to October 3 in Munich, has been canceled for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Euro News website reports today (May 3, 2021).

The health situation remains too uncertain for the "most comprehensive gathering of all"  to be held in the autumn, Bavarian Minister-President Markus Soder said at a press conference. 

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter described the announcement as "bitter" but said that "it certainly does not come as a surprise to most."

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Olympia Dukakis, Oscar-Winning Star, Dies at 89; Cousin of Mass. Gov.,Northeastern Prof. Dukakis

 Olympia Dukakis, the veteran stage and screen actress who won an Oscar for her role in the romantic comedy "Moonstruck," has died at the age of 89, the National Herald website reports today (May 2, 2021).

Dukakis died yesterday in her home in New York City, according to Allison Levy, her agent at Innovative Artists. She referred to her 1988 Oscar win as "the year of the Dukakii" because it was the year Masachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis , her cousin, was the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. 

The former Mass. governor has been a distinguished professor of political science at Northeastern University in Boston since 1988.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Greek Orth. Christians Celebrate Easter May 2; Happy to Return to Church after Video Services

 Hundreds of millions of Greek Orthodox Christians around the world will celebrate Easter on Sunday, May 2, this year, the wwlp website reports today (May 1, 2021).

This time last year, the congregation at St. George's Greek Orthodox Church in Springfield, Mass. were watching their Easter services through a screen due to the coronavirus pandemic. But this year, they can enter the church doors, take a seat in the pews, and reunite through song and prayer as a community.

"It's very important for us to be back because the church is all about the people, we make the church," said Rev. Father Dionysios Koulianos at the Springfield church.

"It's definitely a wonderful feeling to be back here, especially to be back as a whole, although it's not the same with the masks theologically," said George Patrakis, head altar boy.

Pope Sets a Limit on Generous Gifts for Cardinals; Can No Longer Accept Gifts Worth Over 40 Euros

 Pope Francis has decreed that cardinals and other Vatican staff can no longer accept gifts worth more than 40 euros in his latest crackdown on corruption within the Holy See, the Yahoo News website reports today (May 1, 2021).

It will mean an end to the lavish  gifts and generous cash donations that cardinals and monsignors have received in the past from benefactors and supporters.

"All employees are prohibited to receive gifts worth more than 40 euros," the pope said in a strongly-worded document that was issued on April 29 by the Vatican.