Archive for June, 2018

Signs of the Times

June 25, 2018

­“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10 NIV)

‘I Can Only Imagine’ Soars to No. 1 on DVD Sales Chart

The faith-based film I Can Only Imagine shocked Hollywood at the box office in March and it’s doing the same in the DVD market this month, soaring to No. 1 in sales and rentals in data released Thursday. I Can Only Imagine(PG) debuted at No. 1 in sales in its first week on DVD, according to the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart for the week ending June 16. Tomb Raider was No. 2, Black Panther No. 3, Sherlock Gnomes No. 4, and A Wrinkle In Time No. 5. I Can Only Imagine also was No. 1 in rentals for the week ending June 17, according to Media Play News Market Research and Redbox. The movie tells the story behind the famous MercyMe song, detailing how singer Bart Millard’s abusive father came to Christ late in life. It finished in the Top 4 at the box office in its first three weekends and has grossed $83 million.

SPLC Loses Lawsuit Over its Hate-Group Designation

According to PJMedia, at least 60 organizations targeted by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate” map are considering legal action against the left-wing smear factory after the SPLC was forced to apologize and pay more than $3 million to Maajid Nawaz and his Quilliam Foundation for putting them on its “hate” list. Christian legal nonprofit leader, Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, said, “We haven’t filed anything against the SPLC, but I think a number of organizations have been considering filing lawsuits against the SPLC, because they have been doing to a lot of organizations exactly what they did to Maajid,” SPLC spokesman Richard Cohen said, “Although we may have our differences with some of the positions that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have taken, they are most certainly not anti-Muslim extremists. We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Mr. Nawaz, Quilliam, and our readers for the error, and we wish Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam all the best.”

Trump Signs Executive Order to Stop Separating Children from Parents

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last Wednesday that will end a policy that separates families at the border. “We’re going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don’t stand for and that we don’t want,” Trump said. The order will end the separation of migrant families who had been split by the policy. Under the new order, the families will be detained together while they wait for court dates. Trump’s reversal on the policy came after facing a firestorm of criticism about the policy which had been put in place years ago but had never been enforced. However, the order does not affect close to two-thousand children who’ve already been separated from their parents after entering the country illegally.

Despite President Trump signing an executive order allowing adults to be detained with children after crossing into the United States illegally, the outrage over his administration simply enforcing the law continues. The Trump administration released its plan Saturday for putting back together the thousands of families it separated at the border — but the reunions won’t happen quickly. Under the plan, however, those children will keep waiting in custody, with reunifications only happening once the parents’ deportation proceedings are completed. The families will either be reunited before deportation or, if the parent is released from detention, after the parent applies to serve as the child’s sponsor under HHS rules. President Donald Trump doubled down Monday on his weekend tweet suggesting that undocumented immigrants be sent home without a hearing if they entered without passing through a legal port of entry.

  • According to a new poll from Rasmussen Reports, the majority of voters are holding illegal aliens accountable for the current separation crisis, not Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement or President Trump. 54% of Likely U.S. voters say the parents are more to blame for breaking the law.

Children Comprise Over Half of Worldwide Refugee Population

Children made up 52 percent of the refugee population in 2017, up from 41 percent in 2009, according to a study from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released last week. In South Sudan, 64% of the refugee population were children. The population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was composed of 54% children. There were a total of 173,800 unaccompanied and separated child refugees worldwide in 2017. The largest number of unaccompanied child refugees were in Ethiopia, which hosted 43,300 of them. Kenya reported 18,300 of these children within their borders last year. And 45,500 of the 138,700 unaccompanied child refugees worldwide applied for refugee status. “Whenever children are traveling alone they are vulnerable, far more vulnerable than adults. They are at greater risk of being exploited, or being hurt, of falling into the hands of traffickers,” spokesman Gary Seidman said. “Children traveling alone are at a much higher risk for sexual violence and abuse.”

Sixty-Eight Million Displaced People in 2017

The total number of refugees and internally displaced people reached a record high last year of 68.5 million people, up from 65.6 million from 2016. Of the 68.5 million people forcibly displaced, 25.4 million were refugees, 40 million were IDPs and 3.1 million were asylum-seekers, or displaced people waiting to receive refugee status.  According to U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filppo Grandi, “We are at a watershed, where success in managing forced displacement globally requires a new and far more comprehensive approach so that countries and communities aren’t left dealing with this alone,” Grandi said. Syria, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the greatest number of displaced people in 2017, both internally and around the world. These countries had 12.6 million, 7.9 million and 5.1 million displaced people, respectively. In total, 68 percent of all refugees came from just five countries, including Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia. Seven of the eight countries that accepted the most displaced people are developing economies. Turkey accepted the largest number in 2017 for the fourth consecutive year. Turkey, Pakistan, Uganda, Lebanon, Iran, Germany, Bangladesh and Sudan accepted 3.5 million, 1.4 million, 1.4 million, 998,900, 979,400, 970,400, 932,200 and 906,600, respectively.

ICE Conducts Largest Workplace Raid Under Trump

Federal immigration officials on Tuesday raided a large meat supplier based in Massillon, Ohio, and arrested more than 100 workers suspected of using stolen or fraudulent identification to gain employment. Authorities said they made 146 arrests during the raid, which ICE said makes it the largest worksite raid nationally in at least a decade. Officials arrived with criminal and federal search warrants to collect documents on more than 200 employees. The warrants were served at Fresh Mark’s facilities in Salem, Massillon and Canton, Ohio. Most of the workers involved are from Guatemala. The company’s web site indicates it employs more than 1,000 employees. Francis said the raid was the result of more than a year-long investigation.

U.S. Withdrawing from UN Human Rights Council

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday, accusing the body of bias against US ally Israel and a failure to hold human rights abusers accountable. “Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council,” said Haley. “The world’s most inhumane regimes continue to escape its scrutiny, and the council continues politicizing scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in its ranks. For too long,” Haley said, “the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias.” Based in Geneva, the Human Rights Council is a body of 47 member states within the United Nations tasked with upholding human rights.

White House Proposes Unprecedented Reorganization of Federal Government

The White House on Thursday proposed the most comprehensive plan to reorganize the federal government in 100 years, including a merger of the departments of Education and Labor, and a proposal to add work requirements for welfare programs. “Businesses change all the time, government doesn’t,” said White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. The sweeping reorganization plan stems from an order signed by Mr. Trump in March 2017 calling for a review of the federal government to streamline agencies and reduce waste. In a presentation to the Cabinet, Mulvaney cited examples of bringing all food-safety regulations under the Agriculture Department, instead of sharing those responsibilities with the Food and Drug Administration. “If it’s cheese pizza, it’s FDA, but you put pepperoni on it and it becomes a USDA product. I mean, come on?” he said. “An open-faced roast beef sandwich is USDA, a closed-faced roast beef sandwich is FDA. Not making this up. You can’t make this kind of stuff up. This would only happen in the government.” The plan would also move the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, from the USDA to Health and

Supreme Court Cracks Down on Government Snooping

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that the government cannot monitor people’s movements for weeks or months by tracking the location of their mobile phones without a warrant. It was a narrow decision that does not question conventional surveillance techniques and tools, such as security cameras. However, the ruling could have broad implications for privacy rights in the digital age, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion and was joined by the court’s four liberal justices. The court’s other conservative justices vehemently disagreed, but the justices on both sides of the ideological spectrum said rapid advances in technology make decades-old rules on data privacy inadequate. It was another in a series of digital privacy verdicts issued by the high court, following rulings in recent years that police cannot use GPS equipment to track vehicles or search cellphones without a warrant.

Supreme Court Rules States Can Tax Online Retailers

The Supreme Court upended the nation’s Internet marketplace Thursday, ruling that states can collect sales taxes from most online retailers. The decision, which overturns an earlier Supreme Court precedent, will boost state revenues at the expense of consumers and sellers who have avoided sales taxes in the past. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the 5-4 decision, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, saying the decision should be left to Congress, and was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The high court ruled in 1967 and again in 1992 that companies without a physical presence in a state did not have to collect sales taxes. But those rulings applied mostly to mail-order catalog companies. In 1992, Amazon had not yet begun selling books out of Jeff Bezos’ garage. In response, online sellers Wayfair, and Newegg, said online retailers could face some 12,000 local tax jurisdictions and warned of economic chaos.

Number of Whites in U.S. Shrinks for First Time

The number of non-Hispanic white people in the United States decreased for the first time in the nation’s history between 2015 and 2016, according to new figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The data show the nation’s white population is aging rapidly. Young white Americans are delaying their decision to have a family and the flow of foreign immigrants from European countries has ebbed. At the same time, minority populations are growing much faster, hastening a demographic shift that has been decades in the making. The average non-Hispanic white American is 43.5 years old, according to the new data. The average Hispanic American, by contrast, is 29.3 years old. The median age of a U.S. resident crept up to 38 years in the last year. Utah’s residents are the youngest state in the nation, with a median age of 30.9. At the other end of the spectrum, Maine has the nation’s oldest residents, with a median age of 44.7. New Hampshire’s median age is 43.1, while residents in Florida, West Virginia and Vermont are all north of 42 years old. The Census Bureau said the Hispanic population continued to grow, reaching 58.9 million in the middle of 2017, up 2.1 percent from the year before. The number of African Americans rose 1.2 percent to 47.4 million, and there are 22.2 million people of Asian heritage, up 3.1 percent over last year.

Economic News

­The Federal Reserve said Thursday that 35 major financial institutions, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, would okay under even the grimmest of economic conditions. The results reflected the first round of the Fed’s annual stress test. While the U.S. economy is solid right now, with an unemployment rate of 3.8%, the Fed’s yearly checkup imagines a much harsher reality. In this year’s exam, banks were tested against an economy with 10% unemployment, a plummet in housing prices and a severe recession in Europe and elsewhere. Even under that dire scenario, the banks would have more capital than they had in the years leading up to the Great Recession, Fed Vice Chairman Randal Quarles said. This was the third year in a row that all the banks have maintained capital levels above the minimum the Fed requires.

The European Union on Friday began imposing tariffs on about $3.4 billion of U.S. products, ranging from industrial goods to consumer items and agricultural products. The move came in response to President Donald Trump’s recent tariffs on imported steel and aluminum — 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively. The Trump administration has accused Europe of unfair trade practices and called for lower tariffs. European critics have accused Trump of violating international trade rules. Affected products range widely and include orange juice, yachts, kidney beans, cranberries, cigarettes, shorts, garden umbrellas, upholstered seats and illuminated sign parts.

Members of the OPEC cartel emerged from a summit meeting on Friday with an agreement to boost crude oil production. The deal announced at a press conference in Vienna is aimed at easing fears of a global supply crunch and helping to bring down prices that had spiked by as much as 20% this year. OPEC will increase its output to the maximum allowed under the terms of a 2016 production agreement. Nigerian Energy Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu said that production could increase by 600,000 to 700,000 barrels a day. The price increase is also aimed at curbing U.S. shale oil production which becomes unprofitable when crude oil prices are substantially lower.


Since September, 113 candidates, pre-candidates, and current and former politicians in Mexico have been killed ahead of its elections, according to Etellekt, a policy consultancy in the country — and there are still about two weeks to go. Earlier in June, within the span of 24 hours three female political candidates were shot dead. But the violence isn’t only against political candidates. In May, 2,890 people were killed — an average of 93 a day, or almost four victims an hour. The total number of victims surpasses the 2,746 recorded in March to make May the deadliest month this year, and it topped the 2,750 victims registered in October, making May the deadliest month in two decades, the period for which the government has released homicide data. According to the Mexican government, the homicide rate so far this year is up 75 percent over the same period in 2015. Baja California, which borders the U.S. in northwest Mexico, was also the most violent among Mexico’s 32 states, with a homicide rate of 29.47 per 100,000 people. The reason why there is so much violence in areas along the U.S. border is because the drug cartels are extremely active there and they will kill anyone who gets in their way.

Middle East

Arab nations informed US President Donald Trump’s ‎Middle East envoys that they would back a U.S. peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians regardless of whether Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agrees to discuss it, according to a report by Israel Hayom. ‎Senior officials in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and ‎the United Arab Emirates met with White House ‎adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. Special ‎Representative for International Negotiations Jason ‎Greenblatt in recent days and reportedly conveyed this message. They also said they have become fed up with Abbas’ rejectionism. However, officials in all four nations made it clear ‎to both American envoys that they would not be party to any ‎deal that compromises Palestinian interests. ‎United with Israel reported that Abbas rejected the U.S. peace plan before even seeing it.

Israeli Defense Force units and civil defense organizations stationed near the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip were on high alert last Wednesday morning following an overnight barrage of 45 rockets fired at Israeli communities from inside the Strip. Three of the rockets landed inside the Strip, seven were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system and three landed in border communities, causing damage to buildings and vehicles but no casualties. The IDF launched strikes on Hamas targets in response. Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip on Tuesday night came under a massive barrage of rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists, eliciting a prompt response by Israel’s Air Force (IAF,) which bombed Hamas targets in Gaza.

A Saudi-led military coalition said Yemeni forces captured the airport of Hodeidah Wednesday, a milestone in their bid to wrest control of the Red Sea port from Houthi rebels without causing a humanitarian catastrophe. The battle for Hodeidah is a potential turning point in Yemen’s more than three-year-old war, which pits the coalition of mostly Arab countries against the Houthis, an Iran-aligned political and cultural group that has expanded power from its northern stronghold to much of the country’s west since 2014.


The Syrian regime’s main military ally, Russia, carried out airstrikes Sunday in the country’s southwest, defying a cease-fire pact with the U.S. and Jordan, as forces aligned with President Bashar al-Assad pushed to capture one of the last opposition strongholds. The Russian strikes, which have been accompanied by regime barrel bombs and mortar shells, are the latest signs of the high-stakes military maneuvers unfolding in a volatile corner of southwest Syria. Forces aligned with President Assad have threatened a ground offensive, dropping leaflets that demand the surrender of rebels in the area. At least five civilians have been killed in the bombardment, which also destroyed a hospital and emergency rescue center. For weeks, the U.S. has warned the Syrian regime not to violate a cease-fire agreement brokered last year with Russia and Jordan. The UN said 750,000 people in southwestern Syria may be in danger amid a fresh wave of violence in southwestern Syria.


Afghan officials said Wednesday that at least 13 soldiers were killed and eight more wounded in attacks by Taliban militants in the western Badghis province. It was the first major assault by the Afghan Taliban after a brief truce with the government for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday over the weekend. The Afghan Ministry of Defense said reinforcements had been deployed to the region and the fight was ongoing. Another regional official told the Associated Press that 30 soldiers were killed when the Taliban fighters targeted two checkpoints in Badghis. Abdul Aziz Beg, head of the provincial council in Badghis, said fighters first attacked the checkpoints then ambushed arriving reinforcements in Bala Murghab district.


A deadly explosion struck a huge rally for Ethiopia’s reformist new prime minister on Saturday shortly after he spoke and was waving to the crowd that had turned out in numbers unseen in recent years in the East African nation. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said “a few people” had been killed and others injured. He called the blast a “well-orchestrated attack” but one that failed. “The prime minster was the target,” a rally organizer, Seyoum Teshome, told the AP. “An individual tried to hurl the grenade toward a stage where the prime minister was sitting but was held back by the crowd.” Three suspects, two men and a woman, were immediately arrested. The explosion in packed Meskel Square in the capital, Addis Ababa, came after weeks of sweeping reforms that had shocked many in Africa’s second most populous nation after years of anti-government tensions, states of emergency, thousands of arrests and long internet shutdowns.


Turkey’s national electoral board early Monday pronounced incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the winner of the previous day’s election with an “absolute majority” of valid votes. The head of the Supreme Election Council, Sadi Guven, said 97.7 percent of votes had been counted, and that the remaining ballots would not affect the outcome. The vote also ushered in an executive presidency system giving Erdogan —  who previously was a figurehead — sweeping new powers. In an address to the nation earlier, Erdogan, 64, said “Turkey has given a very good democracy lesson to all the world.” Opposition leaders however framed the elections as a choice between democracy and further authoritarian rule.

Saudi Arabia

The sound of revving engines filled roadways and parking lots at shopping malls early Sunday as this desert kingdom became the world’s last country to lift its ban on women driving. Parking spaces were painted pink before this historic move. Car companies such as Ford and gasoline retailer Shell launched advertising campaigns that featured female drivers who are now potential customers. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman lifted the ban as part of a package of changes designed to loosen the rigid rules governing the Muslim country’s society and economy. The king’s son and successor, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, spearheaded the changes amid unstable oil prices that threaten to destabilize the country’s political order.


Lava flowing out a part of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii is creating ‘rapids’ as it joins a larger river of lava traveling at about 15 miles per hour. Rapids aren’t the only jarring result of the eruption, which has lasted longer than a month. Lava “bergs” as big as vehicles have been reported. When lava reaches the ocean it reacts violently with the water, shattering into glass shards and creating steam plumes rich in hydrochloric acid, USGS notes, which feels like battery acid if in contact with skin. The USGS says the lava is flowing at about 1.5 miles-per-hour when it is near the ocean entry point.


Thousands were forced to evacuate and several structures were destroyed as several wildfires burned in Northern California. Authorities ordered the entire Spring Valley community to evacuate and multiple roads in the area were shut down due to the Pawnee Fire, At least 12 structures have been destroyed and 600 more are threatened by the blaze, which has burned more than 12 square miles. There is no containment on the inferno as of Monday morning. A fire further north in Tehama County destroyed “multiple residential and commercial buildings,” but was nearly halfway contained and some evacuees were allowed to return home. Another wildfire, also in Tehama County, consumed 5.5 square miles, but no buildings were damaged and it was partially contained. A smaller fire in Shasta County was mostly contained and had damaged no structures as of Sunday.


Severe weather struck parts of Colorado last week, leading to reports of tornadoes and hail up to the size of baseballs that dented cars and shattered their windshields. A confirmed twister was spotted north of the Denver International Airport, according to the National Weather Service. A possible tornado was reported near the town of Keenesburg, 51 miles north of Denver. Large hail pelted the southern Denver metro area and buried interstates in the northern Denver outskirts.

Signs of the Times

June 18, 2018

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

Record Support for Gay Relations, Pornography and Polygamy

A record percentage of Americans believe that gay and lesbian relations, pornography and polygamy are morally acceptable, although a plurality believe that abortion is morally wrong, according to a new Gallup poll. Gallup released its annual Values and Beliefs survey last week, which began in 2001. This year’s poll examined Americans’ beliefs on 21 issues. A record high of 67% of American adults believe that gay and lesbian relations are morally acceptable, an increase from last year’s previous high of 63%. The results set records on several other issues: 76% say divorce is morally acceptable (up from 73% last year); 43% say pornography is morally acceptable (previous high: 36% in 2017); 19% say polygamy is morally acceptable (previous high: 17% in 2017).

Religious People have Longer Lifespans than Atheists

A just-released study found that religious people live an average of four years longer than atheists. Researchers at Ohio State University analyzed 1,000 obituaries published across the United States since 2011 and found a correlation between faith and longevity. Baldwin Way, associate professor of psychology at Ohio State and co-author of the study, said religious strictures on unhealthy practices such as alcohol consumption, drug use and sex with multiple partners, may explain the findings in part. Many religions also “promote stress-reducing practices that may improve health, such as gratitude, prayer or meditation,” Mr. Way said.

Top Court in Canada Rules LGBT Rights Supersede Religious Freedom

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Monday, June 18, that LGBT sexual equality “rights” trump religious rights in an unprecedented blow against religious freedom in Canada. In a pair of 7-2 rulings, the court ruled that it was “proportionate and reasonable” for the law societies of British Columbia and Ontario to refuse accreditation to future Trinity Western University students because the proposed Christian law school’s “community covenant” would discriminate against LGBTQ people. The ruling means that future grads from Trinity Western University’s law school—if the school, in fact, opens—will not be able to practice law in Ontario and B.C. This decision will have far-reaching impacts against religious freedom in Canada.

President Trump Says North Korea No Longer a Nuclear Threat

President Donald Trump claimed that “there is no longer a nuclear threat” from North Korea after arriving back in Washington from Singapore where he met with Kim Jong Un for a historic summit. “Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer.” Of course, as with Iran, North Korea hasn’t yet proved its trustworthiness. However, for the moment, at least, the threat appears to be vastly improved.

North Korea’s official media described the unprecedented summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un as a “historic” success for the North Korean leader, underscoring the meeting’s propaganda value for a regime long isolated from the international community. The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed that President Trump agreed to lift sanctions on Pyongyang as relations between the countries improved. However, that’s not quite true. Trump said the sanctions “will come off when we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor,” referring to Washington’s insistence that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program.

‘Zero Tolerance’ Border Policy Separating Children from Parents

In April, the Trump administration directed U.S. Attorney’s Offices along the southwest border to criminally prosecute adult migrants for entering the country illegally. In the past illegal entry had been handled as a civil matter. Since children cannot be held in the detention centers, they are placed elsewhere. The practice of separating children from their parents has been touted by the Trump administration as an amplified effort to deter migrants from entering the country illegally. Since the “zero tolerance” policy was announced at least 1,995 children have been separated from 1,940 adults. These are only the children of parents who entered the country illegally, not those of parents who apply for asylum at border entry points. The separated children are being housed at shelters for unaccompanied children. Unaccompanied immigrant children have been held in detention facilities across the U.S. since before the 1990s. The Office of Refugee Resettlement is the agency under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that is responsible for the children. They award contracts to licensed child-care providers to house them. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the policy Monday, “Illegal actions have and must have consequences. No more free passes, no more get out of jail free cards.”

First Ladies Speak Out Against Zero Tolerance Policy

America’s first ladies, current and former, have weighed in on the “zero tolerance” policy that is leading to migrant families being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. “Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” Melania Trump’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, told CNN Sunday. “She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.” Laura Bush, wife of former president George Bush, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post, “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

60,000 DACA Criminals Allowed to Stay in U.S.

Nearly 60,000 immigrants with arrest records — including 10 accused of murder — have been allowed to stay in the United States under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed Monday. According to DHS, 59,786 DACA recipients have been arrested while in the U.S. — approximately 7.8 percent of all who have been approved to remain in this country under the program since it was created in 2012. Of the 53,792 DACA recipients with a “prior” arrest, more than 4,500 had been arrested on allegations of assault or battery; 830 arrests were related to sex crimes — including rape, sexual abuse or indecent exposure; and 95 arrests were made on warrants for kidnapping, human trafficking or false imprisonment. The DHS statistics do not indicate how many of the arrested immigrants were convicted of crimes, nor do they indicate whether charges were reduced or dropped. They also do not indicate how many arrested DACA recipients were deported as the result of a conviction.

U.S. Clearing Backlog of Asylum Cases

The government is making headway on the asylum backlog for the first time in years, clearing more cases in May than it received, as officials finally think they have hit on ways to tamp down on people abusing the system as a backdoor method of illegal immigration. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services took in 7,757 cases last month, but completed 7,959 cases. The success came on both sides of the ledger. New cases have been cut nearly in half when compared to the peak years during the Obama administration, while the number of cases closed more than doubled compared to the Obama years. And those achievements came even before the Justice Department’s decision this week to tighten standards for asylum. That move should speed USCIS’s ability to reduce a backlog that’s reached nearly 320,000 cases.

2,300 Suspected Online Sex Offenders Arrested

A three-month, nationwide operation targeting individuals suspected of Internet child sex crimes has resulted in the arrest of more than 2,300 people, the Department of Justice announced last week. The operation, known as Broken Heart, took place between March and May. The operation targeted individuals suspected of a variety of online sex crimes, including involvement in child pornography, child sex trafficking and the enticement of children for sexual purposes. Approximately 25,200 sexual abuse complaints were investigated during in the course of the operation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “Any would-be criminal should be warned: this Department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimize our children.”

Trade War Heats Up

China announced retaliatory tariffs designed to hit President Trump’s supporters in farm states and the industrial Midwest. The measures, announced barely an hour after the White House went ahead with 25 percent import tax on $50 billion of Chinese imports to the United States, brought the world’s two biggest economies into a tit-for-tat trade war that business leaders and Republicans in Congress have feared. Trump had promised that if China retaliated, the United States would “pursue additional tariffs.” The U.S. tariffs follow an administration report in March that complained China had forced foreign companies to surrender their technology secrets in return for market access and had pilfered other advanced U.S. technologies through a campaign of cybertheft and investment in Silicon Valley start-ups. India has also proposed hiking tariffs on 30 US products in order to recoup trade penalties worth $241 million, according to a World Trade Organization filing. moving forward with plans to hit back at the United States over trade.

Economic News

Overall enrollment in the country’s food stamp program has dropped to its lowest level in more than eight years as the economy continues to improve and the Trump administration attempts to tackle fraud in the program. According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), enrollment in the program dropped in March to 40,083,954. The last time food stamp participation dipped this low was in February 2010, when 39,588,993 people were enrolled in the program. The agency expects about 8.8 million to leave the program in the next 10 years.

The International Monetary Fund believes the U.S. economy will post solid growth this year and next, helped by a sizable boost from tax cuts. But then it says growth will slide as huge budget deficits drag growth far below the Trump administration’s goals. In its annual assessment of the U.S. economy, the IMF says growth will hit 2.9 percent this year and 2.7 percent next year. Both are significant increases from last year’s 2.3 percent expansion. However, after an initial boost from the $1.5 trillion tax cut package, the IMF forecasts growth will slow steadily in future years, dropping to 1.4 percent by 2023.

The Federal Reserve hiked America’s benchmark interest rate a quarter point last Wednesday to 1.75 to 2 percent, a move that will likely cause a slight increase in mortgage, credit card, auto and small business loan rates. The hike was widely expected, and is the Fed’s second of 2018. The central bank signaled it is likely to do two more increases by the end of this year. The U.S. economy continues to strengthen, the Fed indicated, and it no longer needs the historically low interest rates that were put in place in the aftermath of the financial crisis to stimulate growth. Unemployment is already at 3.8 percent, the lowest since 2000, and the Fed believes it will fall to 3.6 percent by the end of the year, which would be the best rate since the 1960s.

Retail sales rose 0.8% in May, the government reported Thursday — much better than expected. Spending was up 5.9% from a year ago. And the gains were broad: Spending surged at clothing stores, at restaurants and at home-improvement stores. In fact, the jump in spending at physical stores in May outpaced what the government calls non-store retailers, a category that includes Amazon and other online retailers. (It also includes catalog retailers, vending machines and even newspaper delivery. American shoppers appear to be feeling more confident because of a strong economy and job market.

A federal judge last Tuesday approved AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, a deal that promises to reshape the media industry. After a six-week trial, Judge Richard Leon ruled that the government had failed to prove that the deal violates antitrust law. AT&T vowed to close the deal by June 20 — meaning that HBO, CNN, Warner Bros. and Time Warner’s other brands will change hands next week. The deal will combine Time Warner’s TV shows and movies with AT&T’s enormous distribution system, including cell phone and satellite networks. AT&T said it needed Time Warner to survive in a rapidly changing media landscape, especially to compete against giants like Netflix and Amazon. Wall Street is betting the court decision will spark a wave of other deals.

Middle East

A large terrorist network operating in the Nablus (Shechem) region that plotted major attacks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem has been foiled by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), IDF and Israeli Police in recent months, the security agency revealed Sunday. The network consisted of over 20 operatives, most of who belong to Hamas, and includes individuals with a “rich history of terrorist activities and the production of explosive devices,” the Shin Bet statement said. Interrogation of the detainees revealed that they had planned to carry out major attacks in large Israeli cities, including planting a bomb in Tel Aviv, a suicide attack in Jerusalem and a shooting attack in Samaria. Shin Bet agents discovered a powerful 10-kilogram explosive device with cellular activation while investigating the case as well as 15 additional kilograms of explosives alongside bomb-making materials and instructions.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Wednesday rejected a US motion against Hamas, but affirmed a Palestinian-led initiative against Israel that condemned the Jewish state for the actions it took to prevent thousands of Gazans from overrunning its border fence. The UNGA also criticized Israel’s counter-terror and policing actions against Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. The initiative was passed by 120-8, with 45 abstentions. The text made no mention of Hamas, a terrorist group which controls the Gaza Strip and which has a long history of violent attacks against Israel. EU countries who supported the Palestinians were Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. EU countries that abstained were Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom (yes, the UK is still in the EU despite Brexit, with its exit still under negotiation).


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he needs the assistance of Iranian and Hizballah forces in Syria and they will stay for as long as they deem necessary. In an interview with Iran’s Al-Alam TV late on June 13, Assad said Iran did not have any military bases in Syria, unlike Russia, but he said that if there was “a need for Iranian military bases, we will not hesitate” to provide them. “Iran is an allied country, as [is] the case with Russia,” he said. Assad said he had received critical support from Iranian advisers and fighters as well as Iraqi Shi’ite militias and the Lebanese fighters in Hizballah’s militia in his seven-year civil war against Sunni rebels, which has killed more than a half-million people. He said those fighters were still needed for the government to regain control an estimated 40 percent of the country that is still controlled by rebel forces.

Syrian state media reported Monday that an airstrike against pro-government forces in the far east of the country caused casualties, while Iraqi officials said 20 Shiite paramilitaries were killed just across the border. The Syrian state TV report said the airstrike was carried out by the U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State group. But a coalition spokesman said it had not carried out any strikes in the area. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said the airstrike killed 38 foreign fighters allied with the Syrian government, mostly Iraqis. Shiite militias fighting alongside government forces in Syria include large numbers of Iraqi, Lebanese and Afghan fighters.


As a cease-fire by the Afghan government and the Taliban took hold, security forces and insurgents celebrated and took pictures together for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramada. But at one of those celebrations in the eastern province of Nangarhar, an explosion went off Saturday afternoon, killing at least 36 people and wounding more than 65, among them civilians and members of both the Taliban and the Afghan security forces. Dozens of Afghan troops were being killed every day in the run-up to the cease-fires, raising doubts about whether a sudden cessation of fighting would take hold. But for much of Friday and Saturday, Afghans were happily surprised, stunned even, by how widely the truces had been embraced. The blast that took casualties from both sides was a reminder of how complex the Afghan war remains.


A week after it was announced that French carmaker Peugeot-Citroen had left the Iranian market, Japan’s Mazda and South Korean Hyundai have also suspended contracts with Iran. Hyundai had resumed cooperation with Iran after the ratification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. However, after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to leave JCPOA, Hyundai also prepared itself to end cooperation with the Iranian company Kerman Khodro. In an interview with the parliament-affiliated website, Valiyollah Maleki said June 12, “Mazda and Hyundai’s interests in the U.S. market are much more than in Iran, and they will not sacrifice their profit for the sake of Iran.” The European Investment Bank has balked at an EU proposal to do business in Iran to help offset U.S. sanctions and save the 2015 nuclear deal. The EU relented under pressure from the United States – where the bank raises much of its funds.


Yemeni forces, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, launched an assault on Yemen’s most important port early Wednesday, despite efforts by the United Nations to broker a deal to avert a battle it said could trigger a massive humanitarian crisis. Its forces have “started a military operation to liberate the city of Hodeidah,” from Houthi rebels, Yemen’s government media office said in a statement. The ground attack on Hodeidah and its surrounding areas was being supported by intensifying strikes from the air and sea by coalition forces, according to one person there and local press reports. Mohammed al Jabir, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen, said on Twitter that “Hodeida will be liberated, and the Yemeni people will gain back a major artery of life. An essential lifeline that was previously plagued by the Iranian backed Houthi militia.


Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are at risk as the monsoon season takes a firm hold of southern Bangladesh. The camps, teeming with some 700,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, are ill-equipped to handle the intensive rains. Last week, the refugee camps were hard hit by the first rains of the season, which reportedly killed three people and triggered at least 131 landslides. An estimated 12 inches of rain fell within a 24-hour period that began June 9 and continued through the weekend. In preparation for the monsoon season, 29,000 of the 200,000 refugees most at risk were moved to safer ground.


New Delhi officials have ordered a two-day halt to construction in an attempt to reduce choking pollution that has cloaked the city in smog and dust. The government’s Central Pollution Control Board rated the city’s air quality Friday as “severe” – the worst possible category – for the fourth day in a row. New Delhi’s level of PM2.5, tiny particulate matter that can dangerously clog lungs, exceeded 170 Friday morning, more than six times higher than the World Health Organization considers safe. The New Delhi government has made scattered attempts in recent years to try to control worsening air pollution, including stricter emission norms for cars and a tax on diesel-fueled trucks entering the city. But experts say there is little that can be accomplished without concerted national efforts, as the pollution has only gotten worse.


At least three people are dead and more than 300 have been injured after a strong earthquake knocked over walls and ignited scattered fires around metropolitan Osaka in Western Japan on Monday. The earthquake struck around 8 a.m. north of Osaka at a depth of about 9 miles, A falling concrete wall at a school killed a 9-year-old girl during the 5.3 magnitude quake. The other two fatalities were both men in their 80s. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 214 people were treated for injuries at hospitals. Most of the injured were in Osaka – Japan’s second largest city. Injuries reported in Kyoto and three other neighboring prefectures were all minor.


Massive eruptions of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano and Guatemala’s Fuego volcano captivated the entire world in recent days, and now it looks like even more volcanoes are starting to wake up. Yellow alerts were issued last week for Mexico’s Mt. Popocatepetl and Alaska’s Great Sitkin volcano. Mt. Popocatepetl and Great Sitkin both sit along the “Ring of Fire” that roughly encircles the perimeter of the Pacific Ocean, and many are becoming concerned that we may be witnessing some sort of “chain reaction” as volcanoes all over the globe begin to exhibit signs of increased activity. This even includes some unusual happenings at Yellowstone National Park where the Steamboat Geyser, the largest in the world, has now erupted eight times in less than three months. Until this recent series of eruptions, the last time Steamboat blew was in September 2014. Experts say that a major eruption at Yellowstone would cause a major catastrophe.

Authorities ordered new evacuations due to the activity at Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire Friday as troublesome climatic conditions and still-smoldering volcanic material continued to create a dangerous situation. Molten material, water and sediment spilling through four canyons prompted local disaster agency Conred to tell residents in the town of El Rodeo to leave their homes. The number of confirmed dead rose to 109 after 10 more bodies were taken in by morgues, the National Institute of Forensic Science said. Another 200 remain missing.

  • Increased earthquake and volcanic activity is a key end-time indicator (Revelation 6:12-14)


Rainfall left behind by Hurricane Bud helped fire crews battle blazes that continued to burn in Colorado and Wyoming Sunday. The 416 Fire wildfire in southwestern Colorado had more than doubling in size amid dry, gusty conditions before the rains arrived. More than 2,100 homes had been evacuated since the fire broke out June 1. Hundreds of residents were permitted to return to their homes Friday. There have been no reports of homes being damaged by the blaze. The fire burning 10 miles north of Durango had consumed 53 square miles as of Monday morning and was 25 percent contained.

Just north of the Colorado border, a blaze near Laramie, Wyoming, exploded in size last week, prompting the evacuation of numerous homes in several small communities and closing roads. The Badger Creek burned about 31 square miles and destroyed three structures. The cause of the fire is under investigation and is 85% percent contained Monday thanks to the precipitation.


Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting at a rapidly increasing rate, now pouring more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually and raising sea levels a half-millimeter every year, a team of 80 scientists reported Wednesday. The melt rate has tripled in the past decade, the study concluded. If the acceleration continues, some of scientists’ worst fears about rising oceans could be realized, leaving low-lying cities and communities with less time to prepare than they had hoped. Antarctica, the planet’s largest ice sheet, lost 219 billion tons of ice annually from 2012 through 2017 — approximately triple the 73 billion-ton melt rate of a decade ago, the scientists concluded. From 1992 through 1997, Antarctica lost 49 billion tons of ice annually.

Some residents of Alaska are having to double check the calendar to make sure it’s still June after encountering cold temperatures and snow this week. Fairbanks, Alaska, saw its temperature drop to 36 degrees last Tuesday, the coldest so late in the season since 1960. The average low temperature in Fairbanks this time of year is 49 degrees and the average high is 71 degrees. About 4-8 inches of snow also fell across parts of Alaska last week.

Major flash flooding swamped several towns on Sunday morning from northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin to Upper Michigan after heavy rainfall swept through the region. Residents of Houghton County, Michigan, were urged to shelter in place. The county received 4 to 7 inches of rain in seven hours. At least 60 sinkholes were reported between the Houghton and Hancock areas, Floodwaters caused “extensive washouts.” Flooding entered the administrative building on the Michigan Technological University campus in Houghton. Significant flooding was also reported in northeast Minnesota and northern Wisconsin early Sunday.

Signs of the Times

June 12, 2018

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.  (Psalm 34:17-18)

Another Win for Religious Freedom at Christian Colleges

A federal district court is blocking the federal government from enforcing the Obama abortion-pill mandate against Christian colleges in Indiana and California. “After reconsideration of their position, defendants with the federal government now agree that enforcement of the rules regarding the contraceptive mandate against employers with sincerely held religious objections would violate the RFRA.” the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, wrote. The order also declares that the mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by President Bill Clinton. The 1993 Act ensures that interests in religious freedom are protected. The Obama-era mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception through their health plans under threat of heavy penalties. The Department of Justice, under the Trump administration, abandoned its defense of the flawed mandate, which the Department of Health and Human Services implemented during the previous administration.

Parents Objecting to Transgender Boys Winning Girls’ Track Events

Parents in Connecticut have launched petitions to prevent transgender boys from running in girls’ track and field events, saying the current rules governing transgender teenagers gives boys an unfair advantage. The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) – which governs high school sports in the state – allows athletes to compete as the gender with which they identify. That rule benefited Cromwell High School’s Andraya Yearwood, a boy who is racing in girls’ events and who won consecutive 100-meter sprint titles in Class M as a freshman and sophomore. Another boy competing as a girl, Bulkeley High School’s Terry Miller, won the 100- and 200-meter open races this year, setting records in each meet. There are now many transgender athletes competing across the state, the Hartford Courant reported. CIAC policy doesn’t tie gender to biological sex. The rules are different on the collegiate level and in international competitions, which require an athlete to complete hormone treatment to level the playing field.

Gallup Poll Shows Americans Still Pro-Life

More Americans (48 percent) still believe abortion (the killing of an unborn baby) is morally wrong, while 43 percent believe it is morally acceptable, according to Gallup in their most recent poll. These poll numbers have remained consistent over the past several years. Thanks to modern medical advances and the educational work of the pro-life movement, the humanity of the unborn child is clearer than ever to the average American, notes In addition, Gallop found that a slim majority of Americans are buying into the false “death with dignity” claims of the euthanasia movement, with 54 percent saying doctor-assisted suicide is morally acceptable. In contrast, 42 percent said the deadly practice is morally wrong. Americans widely oppose suicide itself, with 75 percent describing it as morally wrong, compared to 20 percent who find it morally acceptable, according to the poll.

Barna Survey Finds Christians Ignorant of Great Commission

A recent survey from Barna Group found that 51% of churchgoers don’t even know the term Great Commission, which refers to the mandate that Jesus gave to His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15 to evangelize the world. Even more ominously, the Barna survey found that only 10% of churchgoing Millennials said that they have “heard of and remember the Great Commission.” That’s alarming! Only 1 in 10 young people age 22-37 know the central mission of the church, notes the American Family Association. In addition, a recent study released on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, 40% of Millennials in the U.S. don’t know 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

Thousands of Kachin Christians Facing Ethnic Cleansing

The past year has seen the cruel ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims of western Myanmar (Burma). It is good that the international media have repeatedly highlighted the appalling way in which these innocent people have been treated by their own government. But Christian ethnic groups in the north of the country have suffered for over 40 years with barely a glance from the world’s press, reports Barnabas Aid. Ten thousand Kachin Christians fled aerial bombardment in April in their homeland Myanmar and are in desperate need of food, clothes and other practical help. Sheltering in churches, they join many thousands of other displaced Kachin Christians who have been living for years in camps. All have lost their homes and livelihoods. It is the Burmese army who are their persecutors – burning villages, bombing from the air, forcing whole communities to flee again and again. Sky News has said there is no aid agency operating amongst the Kachin. But Barnabas Fund, working through our local Christian partners in Myanmar, is already helping the homeless Kachin people.

  • You can send donations to Barnabas Aid here

Historic Summit Meeting with North Korea Yields Promises but No Details

Nearly five hours of unprecedented talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un culminated on Tuesday with declarations of a new friendship but just vague pledges of nuclear disarmament. Trump meeting with Kim on Tuesday was, an historic summit that was filled with pomp but lacking in detail. When Trump and Kim met, it began with a handshake, the first time a sitting U.S. president has ever met with a leader of North Korea face-to-face. Trump declared that the summit would lead to denuclearization in North Korea, but he noted that this was only the beginning of such negotiations. However, it’s a major upgrade from when Trump was threatening North Korea with “fire and fury” last year, and North Korea warned it could attack Guam. Trump has “committed to provide security guarantees,” while Kim has “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Trump also said he would withdraw troops from South Korea and stop playing “war games” military exercises with the country. Trump and Kim held a wide-ranging press conference that went on for longer than an hour. Trump noted during the news conference that there would likely be a need for another meeting, and that he would “absolutely” invite Kim to the White House.

  • Basking in the afterglow of his apparently constructive meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump said that he’d soon like a “real deal” with the U.S.’ other long-time enemy Iran.

Trump’s Decision to End Military Exercises has South Korea Concerned

President Trump, as part of the historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, reversed longstanding U.S. policy by calling for an end to military drills on the Korean Peninsula and saying he wants to bring U.S. troops home from the region. “We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should,” Trump said after his meeting with Kim. “But we’ll be saving a tremendous amount of money.” He also said he wants to “bring our soldiers back home” from the region, though added this is not “part of the equation right now.” While both moves would align with Trump’s general principles of cutting costs and pulling soldiers back from conflicts where possible, they are causing concern in Seoul, South Korea, which views the presence of U.S. troops and the military exercises as important to regional security. “At this current point, there is a need to discern the exact meaning and intent of President Trump’s comments,” Seoul’s Defense Ministry said, adding that there have been no discussions yet with Washington on modifying military drills set for August.

Trump Refuses to Sign G-7 Joint Statement

President Trump feuded with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and threatened to impose penalties on foreign automobile imports Saturday, capping an acrimonious meeting of the Group of Seven industrial nations that further frayed ties between the United States and its closest allies. Trump said Saturday evening that he had instructed U.S. officials to withdraw support for a joint statement with other member nations he had backed just hours earlier, saying the United States would not join after Trudeau publicly criticized Trump’s trade policy. “Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!” Trump wrote on Twitter after leaving the summit. Earlier Saturday, Trudeau criticized Trump’s recent decision to place tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, saying it was “insulting” that Trump cited U.S. national security as his reason for doing so. Trump’s abandonment of the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear agreement and his decision to impose protectionist tariffs on European steel and aluminum products have established an unprecedented level of animosity between the United States and Europe.

Zero Tolerance on Border Overflowing Courts and Holding Facilities

The government’s new “zero tolerance” policy toward undocumented immigrants and its tactic of separating families at the border has taxed the immigration system, from overflowing holding facilities to crammed courts. Before the policy was enacted in May, the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas would see about 20 to 30 immigrants a day charged with crimes. On Wednesday morning, 72 shackled defendants shuffled into the courtroom, filling nearly all six rows of wooden pews. They had all been charged with a federal misdemeanor for crossing into the U.S. without papers. Thirteen of them had been separated from their children, some as young as six years old. Another similarly-sized hearing was scheduled for later in the afternoon. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said the policy is intended to act as a deterrent to others considering crossing illegally into the U.S. But critics maintain the policy has created a self-inflicted crisis, similar to one in 2014, when more than 70,000 unaccompanied minors flooded over the U.S. southern border with Mexico, overrunning holding facilities and courtrooms.

The Trump administration has started moving up to 1,600 immigration violators awaiting deportation hearings into federal prisons, a first-of-its-kind transfer that shows how many more immigrants are being rounded up under the president’s push to crack down on illegal immigration. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said Thursday that the agency entered into an agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Prisons to make the beds available for people caught illegally crossing the border.

ICE Arrests 114 Undocumented Workers in Ohio Raid

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested 114 undocumented immigrants working at an Ohio gardening business in one of its largest workplace raids in recent years. In April, ICE arrested nearly 100 people accused of being in the US illegally at a Tennessee meatpacking plant. At the time, immigration rights groups said that operation was ICE’s largest workplace raid in a decade. The mass arrest is part of the Trump administration’s aggressive stance on immigration, and particularly its pledge to increase crackdowns on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. “Not only are we going to prosecute the employers that hire illegal workers, we’re going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers,” said Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan.

U.S. Suicide Rate Continues to Increase

Two celebrity suicides this past week have captured the attention of the mainstream media. However, they fail to note that suicide rates in the U.S. have been increasing for years. On average, 123 Americans commit suicide every single day, and now suicide has become the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. But among Americans between the ages of 10 and 34, it is now the second leading cause of death. Suicide rates in the United States “have risen nearly 30 percent since 1999” according to according to a report released last Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says that rates have increased “among both sexes, all racial/ethnic groups, and all urbanization levels”, and so this is not just a trend that is affecting one particular demographic group. And virtually all age groups are seeing major increases as well.  For example, hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts and attempts at children’s hospitals approximately doubled over a recent 7 years period.

  • Such is the effect of the increasing godlessness in our once-Christian nation.

Obamacare Premiums Will Soar in 2019

Obamacare premiums could jump by double digits again next year, reports CNN. Insurers in several states have requested large rate hikes for 2019, with many pointing to steps taken by President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress as the main reasons why. New York insurers want to hike rates by 24%, on average, while carriers in Washington are looking for a 19% average premium increase. In Maryland, CareFirst is asking for an average 18.5% rate bump for its HMO plans and a 91% spike for its PPO policies (which have far fewer enrollees), while Kaiser Permanente wants to boost premiums by more than 37%, on average. Many insurers cite two key drivers of the increases: Congress’ elimination of the penalty for the individual mandate — which requires nearly all Americans to have coverage or pay up — and the Trump administration’s expected expansion of two types of health plans that don’t have to adhere to Obamacare’s regulations.

Facebook Gave Chinese Companies Access to User Data

Facebook has data-sharing partnerships with at least four Chinese electronics companies, including a manufacturing giant that has a close relationship with China’s government that has been flagged by U.S. intelligence as a security threat. The social media company said that the agreements, which date to at least 2010, gave private access to some user data to Huawei, a telecommunications equipment company that has been flagged by American intelligence officials as a national security threat, as well as to Lenovo, Oppo and TCL, reports the New York Times.

Mexico Hits U.S. With Tariffs

Mexico hit back at the United States on Tuesday, imposing tariffs on around $3 billion worth of American pork, steel, cheese and other goods in response to the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum levies, further straining relations between the two countries as they struggle to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement. The tariffs came as the Trump administration threw another complication into the fractious NAFTA talks by saying it wants to splinter discussions with Canada and Mexico and work on separate agreements rather than continue three-country discussions to rewrite the 1994 trade deal. The Trump administration hit Mexico and Canada with 25 percent steel tariffs and 10 percent aluminum tariffs on June 1 as part of a campaign to pressure the countries to agree to America’s demands on a revised NAFTA. The United States also imposed metals tariffs on the European Union, Japan and other countries as part of an effort to stop the flow of imported metals, which the administration has said threaten national security by degrading the American industrial base.

Economic News

The total costs of Social Security will exceed total income this year for the first time since 1982, according to the annual Social Security and Medicare trustees report released on Tuesday, as funds for Medicare are expected to run dry earlier than expected. The trustees forecast that 100% of benefits will be covered through 2034, after which the trust funds for Social Security, which also cover old age and disability insurance programs, will only be able to cover about 79% of benefits. Meanwhile, Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund is expected to run dry in 2026, three years earlier than what the trustees had predicted in last year’s report. At that time, funds will be sufficient to cover just 91% of Medicare Part A costs. Challenges for both programs are exacerbated by the aging of the baby boomer population, without an equivalent proportion of workers available to replace them in the workforce.

U.S. inflation accelerated in May to the fastest pace in more than six years, reinforcing the Federal Reserve’s outlook for gradual interest-rate hikes while eroding wage gains that remain relatively tepid despite an 18-year low in unemployment. The consumer price index rose 0.2 percent from the previous month and 2.8 percent from a year earlier. The annual gain was the biggest since February 2012 and follows a 2.5 percent annual increase in April. The pickup in headline inflation partly reflects gains in fuel prices, though the annual 2.2% gain in the core measure was the most since February 2017.The Fed is widely projected to raise borrowing costs this week for the sixth time in 18 months

For the first time in at least 20 years, there are now more job openings than there are people looking for work. The total number of job openings was 6.7 million at the end of April, with an especially large increase in manufacturing jobs. One of the reasons for this shortfall: The open jobs and the people looking for work aren’t in the same place. Also, available workers might not have the skills employers are looking for. Even with all the advances in job search platforms like LinkedIn, companies still have trouble finding workers with the exact qualifications they need, and very often end up hiring people from competitors rather than out of unemployment.

The total costs for a typical family of four insured by the most common health plan offered by employers will average $28,166 this year, according to the annual Milliman Medical Index. The estimate includes the average cost of health insurance paid by employers and employees, as well as deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. The largest portion of that amount goes to pay for health insurance. Last year, the premium for the most popular health plan offered by employers — what is known as a preferred provider organization — for family coverage was $19,481, according to the annual survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust. Employers paid $13,430 and employees paid $6,050 of the premium on average.

The U.S. dethroned Hong Kong to retake first place among the world’s most competitive economies, thanks to faster economic growth and a supportive atmosphere for scientific and technological innovation, according to annual rankings by the Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Center. The U.S., which reclaimed the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2015, scored especially well in international investment, domestic economy and scientific infrastructure sub-categories while earning below-average marks in public finance and prices. The renewed top ranking aligns with the positive U.S. growth narrative over the past year. Growth averaged 2.9 percent in the four quarters through March, versus 2 percent in the prior period.

Middle East

Iran’s Supreme leader again openly called for Israel’s complete destruction as his country continues its program to develop nuclear weapons and long-range missiles with which to deliver them. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted Sunday that Iran’s “stance against Israel is the same stance we have always taken. Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen.” Khamenei’s tweet over the weekend was followed by an announcement Monday that he had ordered Iranian atomic authorities to increase the nation’s nuclear enrichment capacity, claiming the step did not violate the 2015 nuclear deal, which European countries are desperately trying to salvage after the U.S. pulled out.

Firefighters continued to battle several large blazes in southern Israel Wednesday morning amidst an onslaught of incendiary kites sent into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. A massive fire was still burning near the campus of Sapir College in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, while other fires burned in or near communities including Kissufim, Nirim, Miflasim, Ein Hashlosha and Nir Am.

North Korea

Kim Jong Un’s overhaul of his top military leadership a week before the summit with President Trump may be a sign that the North Korean leader is worried about opposition from the country’s powerful armed forces as he heads into the talks, some analysts said Monday. All three of North Korea’s top military officials have been replaced, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Sunday. Opposition from the country’s powerful armed forces could limit how far Kim is willing to go in dismantling his nuclear arsenal. At a minimum Kim could cite those concerns to Trump as an excuse for moving slowly with denuclearization.


Airstrikes by the Syrian government on a village in rebel-held Syria have killed at least 44 civilians and injured a further 80, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has said, in the biggest attack in the area so far this year. The UK-based war monitor as well as the Syrian Civil Defence service said the attack on Zardana in Idlib province overnight on Thursday involved a “double tap”, in which planes returned to bomb the same area after paramedics arrived at the scene. Eight strikes hit the small settlement after dark, during which people were breaking the Ramadan fast. Both the Syrian and Russian air forces operate over Idlib, but the area has been subject to a de-escalation agreement between government and rebel forces since 2017.


American warplanes have destroyed about 40 U.S.-supplied Humvees that the Taliban captured from Afghanistan’s military over the past several years, according to coalition military statistics. The statistics highlight a recurring problem: Taliban fighters have frequently attacked Afghan government outposts throughout the country, capturing U.S.-supplied equipment and then disappearing into the countryside with their U.S.-made booty. If the equipment can’t be recaptured with a ground attack it is destroyed from the air. The 40 Humvees were destroyed in U.S. airstrikes since January 2015, shortly after U.S. combat forces left Afghanistan and Afghan government troops took the lead in fighting the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia issued its first driver’s licenses to 10 women on Monday as the kingdom prepared to lift the world’s only ban on female drivers in three weeks. But some who campaigned for the right to drive remained under arrest. Saudi women had long complained of having to hire costly male drivers, use taxis or rely on male relatives to get to work and run errands. A government statement said the 10 women who were issued licenses already held licenses from other countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Lebanon and Canada. They took a brief driving test and eye exam before being issued the licenses. Other women across the country have been preparing for the right to drive on June 24 by taking driving courses on female-only college campuses. Some are even training to become drivers for ride-hailing companies like Uber.


Two explosions rocked Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano summit Monday, sending ash into the air and triggering at least one magnitude 5.4 earthquake. On Saturday, a small explosion on the summit triggered a magnitude 5.2 earthquake. Officials say there’s no way to know when the Kilauea Volcano will stop erupting on the Big Island, where more than 600 homes have been destroyed by lava. On Monday, officials began letting some residents return to their homes as lava flowing into the ocean posed no new threat. Roughly a mile of new land has formed from lava that flowed from Kilauea and reached Kapoho Bay.


A wildfire in southwestern Colorado grew to 31 square miles Monday, prompting more evacuations north of Durango. The 416 Fire is burning 8 miles north of Durango and is 15 percent contained. No homes have been damaged. The fire is one of several blazes burning in Colorado, New Mexico and California amid dry conditions and severe drought. One blaze in California claimed three lives. Officials said a woman and her two small children were found dead in a camping trailer burned by a wildfire that grew east of Monterey, California. A Ute Park blaze burning in northern New Mexico has consumed 57 square miles but was 92 percent contained as of Monday. The fire destroyed 14 unoccupied structures at the Boy Scouts’ Philmont Ranch overnight as it burned near Highway 64 in Ute Park. The Buzzard fire, ten miles east of Reserve, New Mexico, has burned 64 square miles and was 69% contained as of Monday. In Arizona, three wildfires burned a total of 15 square miles, but all were almost fully contained. No structures or injuries have been reported.


May shattered heat records across the U.S. as sizzling warmth was reported nationwide, federal scientists announced last Wednesday. The previous warmest May was in 1934 during the height of the Dust Bowl. Overall, the average May temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 65.4 degrees, which is 5.2 degrees above average Around 8,600 local heat records were also broken or tied during the month. “The warmth was coast-to-coast,” said climate scientist Jake Crouch from NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information. The heat was particularly noteworthy in the central U.S., especially in the upper Midwest and Ohio Valley. On May 28, the temperature in Minneapolis soared to a record 100 degrees, the city’s earliest 100-degree reading on record.

The drought in the U.S. southwest continues unabated. Arizona is in the worst shape, with 100% of the state experiencing drought, with 74% under extreme drought conditions, according to the National Drought Monitor. 100% of New Mexico is also suffering from drought, with 62% in extreme drought.

Signs of the Times

June 4, 2018

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Colorado Baker

A divided Supreme Court on Monday absolved a Colorado baker of discrimination for refusing to create a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple, ruling that the state exhibited “religious hostility” against him. The 7-2 verdict criticized the state’s treatment of Jack Phillips’ religious objections to gay marriage in 2012, several years before the practice was legalized nationwide. The justices ruled that a state civil rights commission was hostile to him while allowing other bakers to refuse to create cakes that demeaned gays and same-sex marriages. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the court’s, departing from his long history of opinions in favor of gay rights dating back a generation. The narrow ruling here focused on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips. The court said the broader issuse, though, “must await further elaboration.”

Supreme Court Overturns Ruling Giving Undocumented Teen Access to Abortion

A unanimous Supreme Court on Monday declined to set a precedent for whether or not an undocumented teen in U.S. custody can get an abortion. The court granted a request from the Trump administration to wipe away a lower court opinion that allowed an undocumented teen in Texas to get an abortion last year. Although the teen has obtained the procedure, the administration wanted the opinion vacated so as not to create a precedent for other similar cases that could come up. The dispute arose weeks ago when the ACLU challenged the Trump administration’s new policy that prohibits federally funded shelters from taking any action to facilitate abortion access for unaccompanied minors.

Judge Blocks Iowa’s Heartbeat Abortion Ban

A judge has granted the abortion lobby’s request to temporarily block enforcement of Iowa’s new ban on aborting babies with detectable heartbeats, pending a final verdict on the law’s constitutionality. Polk County District Court Judge Michael Huppert made the decision Friday in a brief hearing. Attorneys representing the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Iowa City’s Emma Goldman Clinic claim the law violates both Roe v. Wade and the Iowa Constitution. Lawyers with the conservative Thomas More Society, which is representing Iowa in the place of Democratic state Attorney General Tom Miller, had agreed to the injunction ahead of time in the interest of “getting to a resolution on the merits sooner.” Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the law, which is the strongest in the United States, on May 4. It is expected to stop most abortions, starting between 6-8 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, and threats to a mother’s life.

Appeals Court Uphold ‘In God We Trust’ on Currency

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Thursday that the federal government can lawfully print “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency. The plaintiffs are a coalition of atheists and humanists who claim the motto’s appearance on U.S. currency burdens their deeply-held beliefs, in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment. The non-believing plaintiffs say the inscription forces them to carry and spread a message with which they disagree, while endorsing a religious position they hold to be false. The coalition is represented by Michael Newdow, a fixture of church-state controversies. In her opinion for the three-judge panel, Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch, an Obama appointee, rejected all of the claims. She explained that the burden placed on their beliefs was not substantial enough to constitute a violation. Other means of payment like credit cards or checks remain available to them, she noted, and the plaintiffs had failed to show why these auxiliary methods are not “feasible alternatives.

Planned Parenthood Caught in Sexual Abuse Coverups

The Planned Parenthood abortion chain has been caught repeatedly performing abortions on abuse victims as young as 12 and 13 years old, failing to report suspected sexual abuse to authorities, and sending victims back to their abusers. A new investigative report chronicles these cases and reveals Planned Parenthood’s decades-long pattern of helping child sex abusers cover up their crimes. As LifeNews has documented multiple times, Planned Parenthood has a history of not reporting statutory rape or sexual abuse to authorities. The abortion corporation frequently covers up cases of rape with abortion and refuses to report rape cases to law enforcement. Planned Parenthood is required by federal law to report suspected cases of sexual assault and abuse to law enforcement. But it has a long history of ignoring this requirement. Former employees have spoken of an unwritten “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding the potential sexual abuse of children.

Trump-Kim Summit Back on Schedule for June 12

President Trump announced Friday that his summit meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is back on schedule for June 12. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday presented a vision of a “connected and prosperous” North Korea with the nation’s envoy during preparations for the summit “If North Korea denuclearizes, there is a brighter path for North Korea,” Pompeo told reporters after hours of talks in New York City with the North’s Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol. “We envision a strong, connected and prosperous North Korea that maintains its cultural heritage but is integrated in the community of nations.” Pompeo referred to “the expected summit” on June 12 between Trump and spoke of a choice before the North’s leadership to take the country in a new direction. While the negotiations ahead will be difficult, he said he believes the North’s leaders “are contemplating a path forward where they can make a strategic shift, one that their country has not been prepared to make before.”

‘Zero Tolerance’ at Border Causing Child Shelters to Fill Up Fast

The number of migrant children held in U.S. government custody without their parents has surged 21 percent in the past month, according to the latest figures, an increase driven by the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” crackdown on families who cross the border illegally. Although the government has not disclosed how many children have been separated from their parents as a result of the new measures, the Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that it had 10,773 migrant children in its custody, up from 8,886 on April 29. Under the “zero tolerance” approach rolled out last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, anyone who crosses into the United States illegally will face criminal prosecution. In most cases, that means parents who arrive with children stay in federal jails while their children are sent to HHS shelters.

Media Uses Obama-Era Photo to Trash Trump

The image of two illegal immigrant children sleeping on the floor in a chain-link fence “cage” swept the internet last weekend, sparking misdirected anger from activists who blamed President Trump for the conditions — which were actually from 2014, when the photo was taken, under President Obama. In fact, many of the illegal immigrant children are set up in comfy dormitories, coloring with “multicultural crayons,” watching their favorite soccer teams from back home on the extensive cable system, even kicking the ball around themselves on a beautiful new soccer field — all paid for by taxpayers at an average of $670/day, according to the Washington Times.

President Trump Signs Right to Try into Federal Law

President Trump signed the federal version of the Right to Try into law last week. This law gives new hope to Americans struggling with a terminal illness. Federal law now protects the right of dying patients to obtain and use cutting-edge medicines without asking first for government permission. The bill requires any manufacturer or sponsor of an eligible investigational drug to report to the Food and Drug Administration on any use of the drug on a “Right to Try” basis. The FDA will post an annual summary report of “Right to Try” use on its website. Under the new law, eligible drugs must have still undergone the FDA’s Phase I safety testing.

Cancer Treatment Better in Canada than in U.S.

Americans paid twice as much as Canadians for health care, but they didn’t get twice the benefit, according to a new study of patients with advanced colorectal cancer who lived, in some cases, mere miles from each other. The patients had similar diagnoses, levels of education, financial situations and other demographics that commonly affect health outcomes and mortality. Some of their ages were different, but the biggest difference between them is on which side of the border they live. The research was presented Friday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago. Using data from hospitals, Dr. Todd Yezefski of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Washington found that a total of about $12,345 was spent a month on the cancer patients in his study who lived in western Washington, whereas the monthly spending for British Columbia patients was $6,195. American patients in western Washington with advanced colorectal cancer survived about 21.4 months with treatment; in British Columbia, it was 22.1 months.

Millions of U.S. College Students are Mentally Disabled

“As many as one in four students at some elite U.S. colleges are now classified as disabled, largely because of mental-health issues such as depression or anxiety,” starts the Wall Street Journal’s recent report on the alarmingly high level of mental disorders and psychological problems currently plaguing America’s college students. The Journal cites a few examples: California’s Pomona College has “22 percent of students … considered disabled this year, up from 5 percent in 2014.” At three Massachusetts colleges – Hampshire, Amherst and Smith – as well as Yeshiva University in New York, “one in five students are classified as disabled. At Oberlin College in Ohio, it’s one in four. At Marlboro College in Vermont, it’s one in three. It’s the same story whether at elite private colleges or big public state universities. The Journal report includes just one sentence addressing causes: “Psychologists have many theories to explain the rise in mental-health diagnoses among college-age students, from social-media habits to less stigma around mental illness.” One online report, “The top mental health challenges facing students,” cites depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction and suicide as the top issues, and the American Psychological Association, in its “Campus Mental Health” report, mentions rising levels of “sexual assault and self-injury” and the need to “develop suicide prevention programs” as possible causes.

Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends

As Facebook sought to become the world’s dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users’ personal information, reports the New York Times. Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, “like” buttons and address books. But the partnerships, whose scope has not previously been reported, raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders.

Mexico & Europe Retaliate for Trump’s Tariffs on Metals

President Trump imposed tariffs last Thursday on imported steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, triggering immediate retaliation from U.S. allies against American businesses and farmers. The tariffs — 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum —mark a major escalation of the trade war between the U.S. and its top trading partners. In response, the E.U. said it would impose duties “on a number of imports from the United States,” referring to a 10-page list of targets for retaliation which included Kentucky bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. European leaders also vowed to proceed with a complaint to the World Trade Organization. “This is protectionism, pure and simple,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission.

Economic News

The U.S. economy added 223,000 job in May as U.S. companies continued their hiring spree, according to the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report released Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, the lowest since 2000. The black unemployment rate fell to 5.9% in May — the lowest since the government started keeping track in 1972. Hiring was strong across the board with retail and health care leading the surge in May. Blue-collar jobs have also picked up in the past year as rising oil prices and the global economic rebound are driving more demand for construction and manufacturing workers. The United States has gained 95,000 manufacturing jobs and 110,000 construction jobs from the start of the year through May. Wage growth ticked up slightly to 2.7 percent over the past year, but is still sluggish.

Consumer spending rose more than expected in April, a sign of optimism about the U.S. economy. But people are also saving less — and that’s a potentially worrisome sign if the economy takes a sudden turn for the worse. The U.S. Commerce Department reported last Thursday that personal expenditures rose 0.6% in April. Economists had forecast just a 0.3% increase. Personal income rose just 0.3%, so the savings rate fell to 2.8%. That’s only the third time since the 2008 financial crisis that the savings rate has dipped below 3%.The savings rate was routinely below 3% before the Great Recession as consumer confidence was soaring thanks to surging stocks and skyrocketing home prices. But once the bottom fell out of both the housing and stock markets, consumers adopted more of a bunker mentality mode. The savings rate shot all the way up to 8.1% by May 2009.

Middle East

The “Great March of Return” riots along the border between the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and Israel continued over the weekend, despite last week’s declaration of a cease-fire. In addition to the riots, rockets were launched from Gaza at Israeli communities alongside arson attacks using kites, which destroyed hundreds of acres of unharvested crops and forests in Israel. The Israeli Air Force responded to the violence with strikes on Hamas terror infrastructure in the Strip. Another attempt to infiltrate through the fence by two Palestinian terrorists was broken up by the IDF Monday afternoon, with one terrorist being killed in the incident. On Sunday, Palestinians from Gaza breached the border fence and torched construction equipment within Israeli territory, after which they fled back to the Strip, the army reported.

Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists on Saturday night launched six rockets at Israel’s civilian population in the south, triggering alarms and sending thousands of civilians running for shelter. The Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted four of the projectiles, while one exploded in an open area and another fell inside Gaza. No Israelis were harmed, and no damage was caused by the projectiles. In response to the renewed fire on Israel, Israel Air Force (IAF) fighter jets targeted 10 terror sites in three military compounds belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip. Later in the night, as the rocket attacks on Israel continued, IAF fighters bombed five additional terror targets at a military compound belonging to Hamas’s naval force in northern Gaza.

Earlier last week, the Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups relentlessly fired more than 100 rockets and mortars at Israeli communities surrounding the Strip, one of which exploded in a kindergarten located in the Ein Hashlosha community. Fortunately, the children had not yet arrived at the school. While the majority of the explosive projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system or exploded in open spaces, some fell inside Israeli communities and seven Israelis, including three soldiers, were injured in the shelling. The IDF revealed that some of projectiles launched throughout the Palestinian terror offensive were Iranian-made rockets. Responding to the attacks, Israel Air Force fighter jets and attack helicopters overnight struck some 25 military targets belonging to Hamas, the most extensive airstrikes in four years.

Reports emerged on Thursday that Iranian forces and their Shi’ite proxy militias in southern Syria are preparing to redeploy further north, following a week of intense meetings between representatives from Israel, Jordan, the US and Russia aimed at achieving this objective. “Israel appreciates Russia’s understanding of our security needs, especially with regard to the situation on our northern border,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said. “It is important to continue the dialogue and to keep an open line between the IDF and the Russian army.”

Islamic State

American warplanes are working overtime against Islamic State targets in Syria, with the number of combat sorties against the terror group surging in May compared to recent months, says new airstrike figures released by command officials Friday. U.S. and coalition combat aircraft flew 225 airstrikes last month, hitting 280 known Islamic State or ISIS redoubts in Syria, located mostly in the volatile Euphrates River Valley, said American commanders with the U.S.-led counterterrorism mission Operation Inherent Resolve. “This demonstrates a 304 percent increase over the 74 strikes conducted in March and a 123 percent increase over the 183 strikes recorded in April,” according to Friday’s statement. “Operation Roundup will continue to build momentum against Daesh remnants remaining in the Iraq-Syria border region and the [Euphrates River Valley],” command officials said in the statement, using the derogatory Arabic term for ISIS.


Iran’s regime has not stopped its drive to secure technology and scientific knowledge to produce weapon of mass destruction, the intelligence agency of the German state of Baden-Württemberg disclosed in a report last week. “Iran continued to undertake, as did Pakistan and Syria, efforts to obtain goods and know-how to be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction and to optimize corresponding missile delivery systems,” said the intelligence document. The intelligence agency — the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution — monitors threats to Germany’s democratic, constitutional order.


Denmark’s parliament on Thursday approved a law forbidding the wearing of garments covering the face in public, joining a number of European countries that have already introduced such bans. The law is being seen by many as targeting the dress worn by some conservative Muslim women, such as the niqab or burqa, and is being introduced amid concerns about growing Islamophobia in Europe. The law, carried by a 75-30 vote, forbids the wearing of full-face veils such as the niqab, balaclavas, face-covering ski masks, face masks and fake beards. First-time offenses can incur a fine of $157 with repeat offenses carrying higher penalties up to 10,000 kroner or a jail sentence up to six months.


Socialist party leader Pedro Sanchez is set to take over as head of Spain’s government after toppling long-time rival Mariano Rajoy in Parliament. The 46-year-old Sanchez has pledged to open talks with Catalan separatists. Sanchez, the leader of the socialist PSOE party, became the designated prime minister after Rajoy’s government was ousted in a vote of no confidence. Sanchez filed the motion following a corruption scandal involving Rajoy’s center-right People’s Party. It likely spells a new era for the EU’s fourth-largest economy which had been ruled by Rajoy’s conservatives since 2011. During his time in opposition, Sanchez — a former economics professor — harshly opposed spending cuts imposed by the conservatives and pledged to extend welfare rights.


Sunday marked one month since the first fissures began to spew lava into neighborhoods near the Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, and yet another earthquake at the main crater was triggered by an eruption that sent ash thousands of feet into the air. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.5 magnitude tremor occurred at 3:50 p.m. local time Sunday afternoon. Although there was no tsunami threat, ash shot up to 8,000 feet in the air. There were 500 additional quakes in the summit area of Kilauea in a 24-hour period over the weekend — the highest rate ever measured at the summit area

Over the weekend, a 400-year-old lake vanished within hours after lava entered it and boiled away all of its water. Locally known as “Ka Wai a Pele,” the centuries-old freshwater lake has been described as one of the Big Island’s most scenic and natural spots. Despite orders to leave their homes and threats that those who ignore the mandatory evacuations could face arrest, rescue crews airlifted three people out of an area where they’d become trapped by lava Sunday morning. Officials also said those who need to be saved from areas that were ordered to evacuate could be forced to pay for their own rescue. So far, at least 87 homes have been destroyed by Kilauea’s lava flows, and 128 structures have been lost overall.

Kilauea’s volcanic haze is having far-reaching impacts. It has reached the American territory of Guam, located some 4,000 miles from the Big Island. Island. Officials warned residents and visitors to take precautions, as some could experience respiratory problems. Residents near the fissures have been warned that dangerously high levels of sulfur dioxide are emerging from several vents, and vulnerable residents could be sickened.

Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego, or “Volcano of Fire,” erupted violently Sunday. Sunday’s explosion sent a large plume of ash and molten rock into the air, killing more than two dozen people. Another 20 people were injured. However, officials fear both the number of deaths and injured will rise with so many people still unaccounted for. Nearby villages were blanketed in ash, while lava flows reaching temperatures of 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit spewed down the mountainside. Over 3,000 people fled their homes and an estimated 1.7 million people were affected by the eruption


Fires in Colorado, New Mexico and California have forced evacuations amid dry conditions and severe drought. A quickly spreading wildfire in southwestern Colorado has spurred evacuations for over 800 homes, La Plata County officials told the Associated Press. The blaze, dubbed the 416 Fire, was spotted north of Durango Friday morning and was being fueled by shifting winds onto the San Juan National Forest. More than 3 square miles were scorched by Monday morning. The fire is 10 percent contained. In addition to the more than 800 homes evacuated, another 700 homes were told to be ready to leave on a moment’s notice. About 500 residences are threatened in the Highway 550 corridor. Highway 550 was partially reopened Sunday.

Residents have been ordered to evacuate an area of northern New Mexico as an aggressive wildfire quickly burned more than 56 square miles of land through the weekend. The Ute Park Fire destroyed 14 unoccupied structures at the Boy Scouts’ Philmont Ranch overnight as it burned near Highway 64 in Ute Park. More than 200 buildings in Ute Park are threatened by the fire, and some 550 structures are threatened in Cimarron. Precipitation helped firefighters battle the blaze Sunday, and it is now 23 percent contained. Cimarron is under a mandatory evacuation order.

A new fire erupted near Laguna Beach, California, Saturday afternoon. Residents of some 2,000 Aliso Viejo homes were allowed to return late Saturday night after they were evacuated earlier in the day. The Aliso Fire, grew to 150 acres in Aliso Viejo and Laguna Beach’s Top of the World neighborhood. More than 400 firefighters battled the blaze, which is now 40 percent contained.


Evacuations were ordered last Wednesday morning below Lake Tahoma Dam in western North Carolina after a pair of landslides led to concerns about the dam’s integrity. Water was reported spilling over the sides of the dam just after midnight Wednesday Lake Tahoma is located about 5 miles northwest of Marion, North Carolina, or about 27 miles east-northeast of Asheville. Torrential rain from tropical storm Alberto triggered widespread flooding in the southern Appalachians. At least two people in North Carolina and one in Virginia are dead following Alberto’s prolific rainfall. Overall, nine people have died in the storm. Another round of heavy rain Sunday triggered additional flash flooding swamping roads in West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia, prompting a state of emergency in eight West Virginia counties.

More than eight months after Hurricane Maria tore across Puerto Rico and knocked out power to virtually the entire island of 3.3 million people, full power restoration remains another two months away with the new hurricane season under way as of June 1. It’s a highly fragile and vulnerable system that really could suffer worse damage than it suffered with Maria in the face of another natural catastrophe,” Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. Power authority director Walt Higgins said that only about 11,000 customers remain without power.