Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Bill Cosby Is Freed from Prison by a Penn. Court; His Due Process Violated,Sex Conviction Vacated

 Bill Cosby left prison for his Philly home shortly after 2 p.m. today (June 30, 2021), as a result of Pennsylvania's highest court vacating his sex assault conviction, according to the Newser wesite

The court determined that Cosby's due process rights were violated.

Cosby has served more than two years of a 3-10-year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia. He was convicted of drugging and molesting  Andrea Constand in 2004 at his home.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Americans Get Mixed Messages on Covid Masks; WHO Urges Using Masks, CDC Says Not Needed

 There are more and more mixed messages on masks, even for those vaccinated against COVID-19, the CNN website reports today (June 29, 2021).

The World Health Organization is encouraging even the vaccinated to keep the masks on -- especially indoors -- as the Delta variant of COVID-19 ricochets around the world.

On the other hand, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a month ago told vaccinated Americans they could largely take the masks off, indoors and out. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Pope Welcomes a Greek Orthodox Delegation; Says Pandemic Should Be Lesson in Humility

 Pope Francis welcomed a delegation from Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate Bartholomew I of Constantinople today (June 28, 2021),  urging Catholic and Orthodox faithful not to "squander" the "dramatic crisis"caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CRUX website reports.

The delegation is in Rome this week to celebrate the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The pope said the pandemic "is a lesson in humility showing that it is not possible to live healthy lives in an unhealthy world, or to go on as we were, without recognizing what went wrong."

Sunday, June 27, 2021

US Uses Air Strikes against Iran Militia Groups; Due to Militias in Syria,Iraq Firing at US Troops

 The U.S. military conducted air strikes against Iran-backed militias near the Iraq-Syria border today (June 27, 2021), the Daily Caller website reports. 

The strikes targeted "operational and weapons storage facilities" in Syria and Iraq, according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.

"The strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope," Kirby added.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Hot Air Balloon Crashes, 4 Dead,1 Wounded; Crashed into Power Line in Albuquerque, NM

A hot air balloon crashed into a power line today (June 26, 2021) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, killing  four people and seriously injuring one more, the Daily Caller website reports.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue said the gondola fell about 100 feet after hitting the power line at about 7 a.m.

Police said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Court Suspends Giuliani's New York Law License; Lied to Force Courts to Favor Trump's Pres. Win

 An appeals court yesterday suspended Rudi Giuliani from practicing law in New York state because he made false statements while trying yo get courts to overturn Donald Trump's loss in the Presidential race, the Newsy website reports today (June 25, 2021).

An attorney disciplinary committee said in its motion to suspend Giuliani's license  that there was "uncontroverted evidence" that Giuliani had made false statements to the courts that the election was stolen through fraud. 

The committee also wrote, "False statements intended to foment a loss of confidence in our elections and resulting loss of confidence in government generally damage the proper functioning of a free society."

Thursday, June 24, 2021

One Dead,51 Still Missing as Fla. Bldg. Crumbles; Most of 12-Story Miami-Area Tower Is Destroyed

 A severe thunderstorm halted the search for the 51 people still unaccounted for after a 12-story oceanfront apartment building partially collapsed in Florida early this morning, the Daily News website reports today (June 24, 2021). 

At least one person was killed and another 10 were injured after the condo tower -- located in the Miami-area town of Surfside -- crumbled around 1:35 a.m., police said. 

About half of the building's 130 units were destroyed, while others were left entirely exposed when the walls gave way.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Five Polish Kids Destroy 63 Jewish Headstones; Told Police They Wanted Slabs to Build Fortress

 Several children in Poland toppled 63 headstones of Jewish graves because they wanted to use the slabs to build a fortress, they told police, the JTA website reports today (June 23, 2021).

The group of five 12-year-olds had been working on the project for several days at the graveyard in Wroclaw in western Poland. 

Police stopped them after hearing hammering noises today. Some of the headstones were smashed; others were knocked down. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

US Daily COVID Deaths Lowest No. in 14 Months; Average No. of COVID Deaths Is Now 293 per Day

 For the first time since March 2020 -- when the COVID-19 pandemic was first declared -- U.S. daily COVID deaths have dipped below 300 per day, the NEWSER website reports today (June 22, 2021).

The average number of deaths per day is now 293, Johns Hopkins data shows. 

That average had peaked at more than 3,400 in January of this year.

Monday, June 21, 2021

V.P. Harris Is Not Const. Eligible for President; Nor V.P.,as Her Father Was Never a US Citizen

 Vice President Kamala Harris is not a natural-born citizen of the U.S. and thus is  ineligible to serve as president of the U.S., or even to continue in office as vice president, according to the New American website. 

That is the contention of a lawsuit filed in a federal court in California. 

The case against Harris asserts at the time of her birth, her father was in the U.S. as a temporary visitor in the student visa program, and never was a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

US Cath. Bishops Draft a Document on Eucharist; Mull If Abortion-Backing Pols May Get Eucharist

A committee of U.S. Catholic bishops is getting to work on a policy document that has stirred controversy among their colleagues before a word of it has even been written, the Yahoo News website reports today (June 20, 2021).

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the drafting of a document "on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church" that some bishops hope will be a rebuke to politicians who support abortion rights but continue to receive Communion. 

The 168-55 vote  -- opposed by a minority of bishops amid impassioned debate during virtual meetings -- came despite appeals from the Vatican for a more cautious and collegial approach.

Friday, June 18, 2021

SBC May End Ties with Cal.'s Saddleback Church; Saddleback Recently Ordained 3 Women Pastors

 A  committee that determines whether churches are conforming to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) affiliation rules will consider whether Saddleback Church, a prominent California congregation led by bestselling author Rick Warren, can continue in fellowship with the SBC, since Saddleback recently ordained three women pastors, the Christian Headlines website reports today (June 18, 2021).

Shad Tibbs, pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Trout, Louisiana, made the request on June 15, the first day of the Southern Baptists' two-day annual meeting. 

Tibbs called on the SBC to "break fellowship with Saddleback Baptist Church as they have ordained three ladies as pastors..."

Thursday, June 17, 2021

High Court Backs Obamacare,Hits State Dissent; Rules States Did Not Show Harm by Obamacare

 The U.S. Supreme Court today (June 17, 2021) kept the Affordable Care Act --  more commonly known as Obamacare -- ruling in a 7-2 decision that Texas and 17 other states lacked a standing to challenge its constitutionality, the Fox News website reports. 

The states had argued that the law's individual mandate was unconstitutional once it no longer carried a penalty because it had been justified as falling under the congressional power of taxation. 

The court ruled that because the plaintiffs had not demonstrated any past or future harm, they were not in a position to bring the claim.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

House Joins Senate, OKs a New Federal Holiday; Picks June 19 as Commemorating End of Slavery

 The U.S. House today (June 16, 2021) passed legislation designating June 19 as a new federal holiday, just one day after the Senate voted unanimously to approve a similar bill commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., the LA Times website reports. 

The House bill passed 415 to 14, and will now go to President Biden's desk just days before the date arrives. 

"What I see here today is a racial divide crumbling, being crushed  this day under a momentous vote that brings together people who understand the value of freedom," said Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Domestic Violent Extremism Worst Terror Threat; Now Greater Than al-Qaida, Islamic State Threats

 U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas says that domestic violent extremism now constitutes a greater terrorism threat to the U.S. than threats from al-Qaida, the Islamic State, and other radical jihadi groups, the Yahoo News website reports today (June 15, 2021).

"I consider it and I think we consider it collectively the most significant terrorism-related threat impacting the homeland," Mayorkas said. 

He made those comments as he unveiled the U.S. government's first national strategy for combating the domestic terror threat -- a problem that has taken an increased urgency in the wake of the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Monday, June 14, 2021

High Court Mulls Rule on Harvard Admissions; Seeks Biden Admin.Views on Affirmative Action

 The U.S. Supreme Court today (June 14, 2021) asked Joe Biden's administration to give its views on whether the justices should hear a challenge to Harvard University's consideration of race in undergraduate student admissions, according to the Reuters website. 

The case, should it be taken up by the court, would give the court's conservative majority a chance to end affirmative action policies of Harvard used to increase the number of Black and Hispanic students on American campuses. 

The action by the court signals the interest of at least some of the nine justices in considering an appeal brought by a group called Students for Fair Admissions, founded by anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum, of a lower court ruling that upheld Harvard's program. 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Israel Parliament Ends Netanyahu's Long Rule; Naftali Bennett Was Elected PM on 60-59 Vote

Israel's parliament today (June 13, 2021) narrowly approved a new coalition government, ending the historic 12-year rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the AP website reports.  

Naftali Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu turned rival, became prime minister after the 60-59 vote.

Promising to try to heal a divided nation, Bennett will preside over a diverse and fragile coalition comprised of eight parties and deep ideological differences.

Tex. Gov. to Build Wall to Reduce Illegal Migrants; Migrants Spiked When Biden Ended Trump's Wall

 The governor of Texas has announced that the state will build a border wall in an effort to stem the flow of migrants since the Biden administration has refused to secure the border, the Christian Post website reports today (June 13, 2021).

At a Border Security Summit in Val Verde County, Texas on June 10, Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans to construct boeder barriers as part of an effort to take a more active tole in stopping the flow of migrants illegally entering the state by taking them unto custody.

"The ability to arrest will be enhanced by building border barriers," he said.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Wisc.Court:State Can't Make Rel. Schools Close; Law that Lets State Close Schools Not Unlimited

 The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that local health departments cannot ban private and religious schools from holding in-person classes during health emergencies like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Christian Post website reports today (June 12, 2021).

In a 4-3 decision, the court also ruled yesterday that Public Health Madison & Dane County infringed on constitutional religious rights.

Writing for the majority, Justice Rebecca Bradley said the law that authorizes local health departments to take preventive measures during a health emergency "cannot be reasonably read as an open-ended grant of authority."

Friday, June 11, 2021

Poll:70% of US Adults Back Same-Sex Marriage; Sets Record in Gallup Upward Trend since 1996

A new Gallup poll revealed that U.S. support for same-sex marriage has reached an all-time high, with more people believing it should be legally recognized, the Christian Headlines website reports today (June 11, 2021).

The report revealed that 70 percent of American adults endorse same-sex marriage, setting a new record in Gallup's trend since 1996, where only a minority of Americans (26 percent) supported legal marriage between same-sex couples. 

Support has continuously grown over the years, with over half of Americans supporting same-sex marriage in 2011 and 60 percent supporting it in 2015. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Inflation Rose 5% in May, Biggest Rise since 2008; Economists Say It May Be Due to End of Pandemic

 The Labor Department said today (June 10, 2021) that inflation rose 5% in May when compared to the previous year, which is higher than expected and the biggest spike since the summer of 2008, the Newser website reports.

The big question is whether it's a pandemic-related blip, and the economic stakes are high if not. 

What economists call the "base effect" is at play here, notes the Wall Street Journal. Last year, prices were depressed more than usual because of pandemic shutdowns, and this year's figure looks big in comparison.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

LA Nun Pleads Guilty to $835,000 School Theft; Retired School Principal Used Money to Gamble

 A Los Angeles nun, who took a vow of poverty, agreed to plead guilty yesterday to federal charges for stealing more than $800,000 to pay for a gambling habit, the LA Times website reports today (June 9, 2021).

Mary Margaret Kreuper, 79, of Los Angeles was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, the U.S. attorney's office said. 

The now retired elementary school principal acknowledged that over a decade ending in 2018, she embezzled about $835,000 in donations, tuition, and fee money from St. James Catholic School in the LA suburb of Torrance.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

French Pres. Slapped in Face in Southern France; Two Arrested for Assaulting Emmanuel Macron

 Two people have been arrested after French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face by a bystander during a visit to southern France today (June 8, 2021), according to the Euro News website.

The incident occurred in Tain-l'Hermitage, around  90 kilometers south of Lyon.

Macrin,who was on a visit to a Drome hospitality school, was struck in the face while shaking hands with a member of the public.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Demolition Destroys Orthodox Church in Bosnia; Church Built Illegally on Muslim Woman's Land

 An Eastern Orthodox Church built illegally on the property of a Bosnian Muslim woman was demolished on June 5 in the village of Konjevic Polje in the Serbian-controlled province of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website reports today (June 7, 2021).

The removal of the church, built on land belonging to Fata Orlovic after she was forced to flee during the 1992-1995 civil war, was ordered by the European Court of Human Rights in October 2019.

Early on June 5, workers with construction machinery and a crane brought down the white-colored church and its tower bell.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Justice Dept. to Allow Journalists Hide Sources; Journalists Won't Have to Reveal Sources of Info

 The Justice Department announced yesterday that it will no longer use subpoenas or other legal methods to obtain information from journalists about their sources, the Washington Post website reports today (June 6, 2021). 

"The Department of Justice -- in a change to its long-standing practice -- will not seek compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain information from members of the news media doing their jobs," Anthony Coley, the department's top spokesman, said in a statement.

President Joe Biden said on May 21 that he would not allow the Justice Department to seize journalists' phone and email records. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Fed. Judge Kills Cal.Ban on Assault Weapons; Rules Ban Violates Const. Right to Bear Arms

 A federal judge yesterday overturned California's three-decade-old ban on assault weapons, ruling it violates the constitutional right to bear arms, the USA Today website reports today (June 5, 2021). 

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled that the state's definition of illegal military style rifles unlawfully deprives  Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states. 

He issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law, but stayed it for 30 days to give the state time to appeal. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Food Prices Climb at Quickest Rate Since 2010; High May Increases Include Oil, Sugar, Meats

A United Nations analysis shows that food prices around the world climbed in May at their fastest rate in more than a decade, the UPI website reports today (June 4, 2021). 

The Food and Agriculture Organization's Food Price Index averaged 127.1 points last month , which amounted to an increase of about 4% over April. Compared to May 2020, prices were up 40%..

The index is at its highest value since September 2011. The April-to-May rise is the index's largest since 2010.


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Homeschooling Skyrockets up to 700% in 2020; Black Americans Rose Most, from 3.3% to 6.1%

 Between May and October 2020, homeschooling more than doubled among U.S. households with school-age children, from 5.4 percent that spring to 11.1 percent that fall, the Worthy Watch website reports today (June 3, 2021).

Black and Hispanic Americans were the most likely to switch to homeschooling, while white and Asian Americans were the least likely. 

All demographics reported large increases in homeschooling between spring and fall 2020, but black Americans increased homeschooling the most, quintupling from 3.3 percent to 16.1 percent.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Gay Weddings in Germany Bud Vatican Tensions; Vatican Views Gay Weddings as "Not Legitimate"

 When Antje Mahler told her parents in her teens that she was a lesbian, her family struggled to come to terms with her sexuality, the Religion News website reports today (June 2, 2021). 

"Your religion is the first thing they take away from you when you come out of the "closet," said Mahler, who was raised Catholic in Bavaria, Germany's largest and traditionally most Catholic state. "It's as if when you're queer, you're not allowed to be religious anymore."

But Mahler was heartened by a campaign led by priests, deacons, and laity at 110 Catholic churches in Germany to bless same-sex couples, in defiance of a recent statement issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican that such blessings were "not legitimate" and that same-sex unions are "not ordered to the Creator's plan."

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Pope Revises Church Law with New Abuse Rules; Bishops to Discipline Clerics Who Abuse Minors

 Pope Francis today (June 1, 2021) issued the most extensive revision to Catholic Church law in four decades, insisting that bishops take action against clerics who abuse minors and vulnerable adults, commit fraud, or attempt to ordain women, according to the Reuters website. 

The revision, which has been in the works since 2009, involves all of section 6 of the Church's Code of Canon Law and will take effect on December 8.

In a separate accompanying document, the pope reminded bishops that they were responsible for following the letter of the law. 

The new section was expanded to include such crimes as "grooming"of minors or vulnerable adults for sexual abuse, and possessing child pornography.