Signs of the Times

­He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2))

Atheist Group Says School Can’t Organize Prayer Support for Sick Girl

A Michigan high school has removed a video of community members praying for a coach’s ill daughter after complaints from an atheist group, reports ChristianHeadlines.com. In August, members of the community came together to form a “family circle” on the football field and support and pray for a young girl named Harper, who is the daughter of the Lake City High School head football coach. She is in the hospital suffering from a severe intestinal infection. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group, says the event was unconstitutional because it included a public prayer. The high school subsequently removed the video to avoid more controversy and a possible lawsuit. But members of the community are now upset. “Outside factors should stay out of our community,” Bruce DeBoer, owner of the Tasty Treat, told the television station. “At that point in time this was to help a young girl and everyone supported it.”

Academy of Pediatrics Supports Sex Reassignment for Children

In a new medical policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics says it supports the surgical and hormonal transition of transgender children and teens. According to The Christian Post, the document discusses ways for parents and health care providers to affirm the gender choices of patients, including encouraging primary care doctors to install gender-neutral bathrooms in their offices and signs that show the office is LGBT inclusive. The statement also suggests diversity training for employees to be “helpful for educating clinical and administrative staff.” AAP is also recommending that doctors use the term “gender affirmation” instead of “gender transition” to discuss the gender identities of children and teens. The guideline also supports the use of chemical treatments to stop normal puberty, which gives time for the family to “explore gender identity, access psychosocial supports, develop coping skills and further determine treatment goals.”

  • Worldwide insanity continues to increase as society gives heed to the doctrine of demons (Now the Spirit [a]expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. 1Timothy 4:1)

271 Indian Christians Face Criminal Charges for Evangelizing

Two-hundred and seventy-nine Christians in a northern part of India have been charged with crimes, including trying to convert Hindus to Christianity with drugs and spreading lies about Hinduism. Previously, a court in August cleared the charges, but Deputy Police Superintendent Anil Kumar Pandey says the Christians are accused of “various criminal offenses, like fraud, defiling places of worship and prejudice against national integration.” Said Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians: “In Uttar Pradesh Hindu radicals have fabricated unfounded accusations against innocent Pentecostal Christians.” “There has been a surge in persecution against Christians,” he added. “Pentecostal pastors and Christian groups are under the constant watch of radical elements and the police.” According to religious freedom group ADF India, Christians in the Uttar Pradesh area experienced 26 attacks on them in just the first half of 2018.

China Leads the Way to Dystopian Technocracy

China’s chilling dictatorship is moving quickly to introduce social scorecards by which all citizens will be monitored 24/7 and ranked on their behavior, reports Technocracy News. The Communist Party’s plan is for every one of its 1.4 billion citizens to be at the whim of a dystopian social credit system, and it’s on track to be fully operational by the year 2020. An active pilot program has already seen millions of people each assigned a score out of 800 and either reap its benefits or suffer its consequences — depending on which end of the scale they sit. Under the social credit scheme, points are lost and gained based on readings from a sophisticated network of 200 million surveillance cameras — a figure set to triple in 18 months. The program has been enabled by rapid advances in facial recognition, body scanning and geo-tracking. The data is combined with information collected from individuals’ government records — including medical and educational — along with their financial and internet browsing histories.

Terror Attacks Declined Worldwide to 8,584 in 2017

There were 8,584 terrorist attacks around the world in 2017, a 23 percent decline from 2016, according to a recent State Department report. As a result, more than 18,700 people were killed, about a quarter of whom were the perpetrators themselves. The. death toll represented a 27 percent drop from the previous year. Much of the reason for the decline was the improved security situation in Iraq, according to Ambassador Nathan Sales, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism. More than half of all terrorist attacks worldwide took place in just five countries: Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Pakistan and the Philippines. And 70 percent of all deaths from terrorist attacks occurred in a different, if overlapping, set of five countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia and Syria. The security situation in Afghanistan continued to worsen as a result of coordinated attacks by the Taliban, including the group’s affiliated Haqqani network, the report noted.

South/North Korea Sign Historic Agreement

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a broad agreement in Pyongyang on Wednesday that both said would usher in a new era of peace on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea agreed to take further steps towards denuclearization, including permanently dismantling its Dongchang-ri missile engine test site and launch pad and allowing international inspectors to observe the process, Moon announced at a joint news conference with Kim following the signing ceremony. Kim said the two sides have taken active measures to free the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons and threats and turn it into a “land of peace.” According to the text of the Pyongyang agreement, the North also said it was willing to take additional measures such as decommissioning its Yongbyon nuclear facility if the United States made further concessions. Momentum between the US and North Korea has sputtered since then, with Pyongyang hoping for a peace declaration officially ending the Korean War after 65 years and relief from punishing international sanctions, but Washington holding firm on demands for complete denuclearization first.

Trump Administration Cuts Refugee Admissions to 30,000

The Trump administration announced last Monday it will cut the maximum number of refugees allowed into the country next year to 30,000, citing national security concerns and the need to restore integrity to the system. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the administration is lowering the refugee cap from 45,000 in fiscal 2018 to 30,000 in fiscal 2019. It will be the lowest ceiling since the refugee program began in 1980. Former President Barack Obama raised the ceiling to 110,000 in 2017, and the U.S. allowed in almost 85,000 refugees in 2016 — the last full year of the Obama administration. But the Trump administration has taken a much tougher line on immigration and refugee entry, focusing on the need to fully vet those coming into the U.S. Pompeo said even with the cut, the U.S. will continue to be the most generous nation in the world when it comes to immigration.

Project Veritas Unmasks Anti-Trump ‘Deep State’ Antagonists

Project Veritas released a video Tuesday of a member of the anti-Trump “deep state,” a career civil servant who says on camera he is there to work not for American taxpayers but the Democratic Socialists of America. The government employee is identified as Stuart Karaffa, a State Department staffer and “a ranking member of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America.” The first video shows Karaffa “engaged in radical socialist political activity on the taxpayer’s dime, while advocating for resistance to official government policies.” He claims it’s “impossible to fire” federal employees, so he has little concern, and he also boasts that oversight of his activities is virtually nonexistent. Project Veritas said this is just the first installment of its undercover video investigation. Two more “Deep State” radicals are playing starring roles in another Project Veritas undercover video released Wednesday, with one admitting, “There’s a lot of talk about how we can like, resist from inside.” Allison Hrabar, a Justice Department paralegal, confesses using government-owned software and computers to push a socialist agenda. revealing that federal employees appear to be using their positions inside our government to resist or slow the Trump administration’s policies. “It appears some laws have been broken in the process,” Project Veritas explains.

Chicago Police Solve Fewer than One out of Six Homicides

Chicago police solved fewer than one in six homicides committed in the city in the first half of 2018, continuing a troubling decline in the number of perpetrators being brought to justice in one of the nation’s most violent cities, data obtained by USA TODAY shows. Chicago’s homicide clearance rate – the percentage of cases in which police arrest or identify a suspect – fell from 17.1% in 2017 to 15.4% during the first six months of 2018, the data shows. If that rate holds through the end of the year, it would be the sixth consecutive annual decline. Police in the nation’s third-largest city are having even less success solving nonfatal shootings, according to the data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Police only cleared 50 of 900 nonfatal shooting incidents in the first half of 2018, a rate of 5.6%.

Tariff War Heats Up

China has fired back at the United States after President Donald Trump ramped up the trade war with his biggest wave of tariffs yet. The Chinese government imposed tariffs on U.S. goods worth $60 billion following the Trump administration’s announcement that it was hitting $200 billion worth of Chinese goods with new tariffs. The US tariffs start at a rate of 10%, before rising to 25% at the end of the year. They come into effect on September 24, and will apply to thousands of Chinese products, ranging from food seasonings and baseball gloves to network routers and industrial machinery parts. China’s new tariffs will be levied at rates of 5% or 10%, depending on the product, from the same date. More than 5,000 US goods will be affected, including meat, nuts, alcoholic drinks, chemicals, clothes, machinery, furniture and auto parts. However, China is running out of imported American goods to target, since the U.S. imports far more Chinese goods than it exports to China.

Economic News

What trade war? The Dow just soared to its first record high since late January. The milestone shows that Wall Street is mostly unfazed by the escalating trade clash between the United States and China. The S&P 500 also notched an all-time high on Thursday. The Dow has spiked about 3,300 points since a low on April 2, when investors were more worried about trade. They’re betting that the strong US economy will power through the outbreak of tariffs. Stocks spiked late last year and in January after Republicans enacted a sweeping corporate tax cut. If the Dow closes above 26,616.71, it will mark the 100th record close for the index since President Donald Trump’s election in November 2016, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits fell to a new 49-year low for the third straight week.

The median U.S. stock, when measured by share price relative to earnings over the past 12 months, for example, is almost 50 percent more expensive than at the top of the internet stock bubble in 2000 But it’s not just that one pricey data point that scares him. It’s the long list of other so-called valuation gauges that suggest record expensiveness. The U.S. stock market is also trading at a record valuation today relative to home prices. And thanks to much better performance compared to foreign shares recently, they are now 17 percent more richly priced relative to overseas stocks than they have been in 16 years. And in the post-war era, the total value of U.S. stocks relative to sales has never been as expensive as it is today. Analysts say that an expected return to more normal price levels relative to earnings will either occur due to falling stock prices or a continuation of strong earnings gains accompanied by a flat, trendless market.

Women on average make about 80 cents for every dollar a man does. In Silicon Valley, the wealth gap is even wider, extending to the most potentially lucrative currency on the planet: stock options. Women get half the amount of equity of their male colleagues at start-ups, giving them unequal access to the Silicon Valley’s wealth generation machine, according to a first-of-its kind study by an investor group and an equity management firm that are urging the technology industry to take action. For every dollar of equity for men, women hold 47 cents, according to the study of nearly 180,000 employees at more than 6,000 companies released this week by #Angels and Carta. Female founders have it even worse: They own 39 cents for every dollar of equity of a male founder.

Middle East

In his address to the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, President Donald Trump repeated his determination to forge a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, reiterating that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem advances that goal. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon immediately praised Trump’s remarks. “The president proves again that the US is on the right side of history. While standing on the side of Israel in the struggle for stability in the Middle East, the United States leads the United Nations into a new era that ends its obsession with Israel and pushes back against the Iranian regime,” Danon remarked. Regarding Iran, Trump said the 2015 nuclear deal was a “windfall” for the Islamic Republic, whose leaders “sow chaos, death and destruction.” “We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons,” he declared. “We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues.”

Syria

White House national security adviser John Bolton said Monday that the United States wouldn’t be leaving Syria so long as Iranian forces continued to operate there, suggesting the Trump administration had embraced an expanded mission in the embattled country beyond the defeat of the Islamic State. Bolton directly linked any future withdrawal of American troops from Syria to the departure of Iranian forces from the nation. Iran has joined Russia and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to back Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in a war in its eighth year. For years, the Pentagon has said the U.S. military mission in Syria would conclude once U.S.-backed forces defeated the Islamic State and secured the territory the group once occupied.

Syria inadvertently shot down a Russian military plane after an Israeli attack on Syrian positions, killing 15 people on board, Moscow said. Russian state media said Syrian anti-aircraft missiles shot the maritime patrol aircraft down amid an attack by Israeli jets in the Latakia region of north-west Syria. Moscow blamed Israel for putting its aircraft in the line of fire and said it only had a minute’s notice of the strike. In a rare acknowledgment of its military activity in the region, Israel expressed “sorrow” for the loss of Russian life, but blamed the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. The IDF said it had followed well-established protocols in communicating with Moscow, which are intended to prevent such incidents.

Iran

At least 25 people were killed and 60 others injured in an attack on a military parade in Iran’s southwestern city of Ahvaz on Saturday, Iran’s state news IRNA said. The dead and wounded were both military personnel and civilians including a journalist who was watching the parade. Terrorists disguised as Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and Basiji (volunteer) forces, began shooting from a long distance while inside the park, at the armed forces as well as civilians watching the parade. Three of the attackers were gunned down during clashes with the security forces and one other arrested. The separatist group the Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement in Ahwaz, which is aligned with Saudi Arabia, claimed responsibility for this attack. The attack happened in a province bordering Iraq that has a large ethnic Arab community, many of them Sunni. Revolutionary Guard’s acting commander Gen. Hossein Salami vowed revenge against the attack’s perpetrators and what he called the “triangle” of Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

Libya

Islamic State is staging a resurgence in chaotic Libya, claiming more than a dozen attacks in the North African country this year and threatening to disrupt the flow of oil from one of the world’s most significant suppliers. The group’s re-emergence comes two years after Libyan forces backed by U.S. air power dislodged the extremist group from its stronghold in the coastal city of Sirte, and it erodes one of the signature victories in the years-long U.S-led military campaign against the militants. The latest attack came last week when gunmen wearing explosive vests and carrying assault rifles stormed Libya’s state oil company, one of the country’s most important and heavily guarded institutions. Explosions shook the building and two employees died in the assault.

China

Amnesty International is demanding China end its campaign of “systematic repression” and reveal the whereabouts of nearly 1 million predominantly Muslim people who have been “arbitrarily detained” in the country’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. The organization released a report Sunday night that includes interviews with more than 100 people outside of China whose relatives reportedly have been tortured, detained, or forced into “re-education camps” from a rural region of northwest China, known as the XUAR. The human rights group called on world leaders to stop the Chinese government’s “vicious campaign against ethnic minorities.”

Environment

Scientists are worried that the ‘good’ bugs that are crucial to as much as 80 percent of what we eat — native bees, ladybugs, mayflies, fireflies, and yes, even lovebugs — are less abundant than in summers past. Yes, some insects are pests. But they also pollinate plants, are a key link in the food chain and help decomposition. “You have total ecosystem collapse if you lose your insects. How much worse can it get than that?” said University of Delaware entomologist Doug Tallamy. If they disappeared, “the world would start to rot.” Research has shown dwindling individual species in specific places. University of Nevada, Reno, researcher Lee Dyer and his colleagues have been looking at insects at the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica since 1991. There’s a big insect trap sheet under black light that decades ago would be covered with bugs. Now, “there’s no insects on that sheet,” he said. Last year, a study that found an 82 percent mid-summer decline in the number and weight of bugs captured in traps in 63 nature preserves in Germany compared with 27 years earlier.

Smog-filled skies are a familiar sight to Southern Californians, but residents breathed dirty air for almost three straight months this summer. Southern California violated federal smog standards for 87 consecutive days beginning June 19, setting the area’s longest bad-air streak in the past two decades according to state monitoring data.   California claims eight of the country’s most ozone-polluted cities, including the No.1-ranked Los Angeles/Long Beach area. Besides threatening sensitive vegetation and ecosystems, ozone pollution can aggravate asthma, bronchitis or emphysema symptoms. It has also been linked to coughing and pain when breathing deeply, lung and throat irritation and wheezing and trouble breathing during exercise or outdoor activities. About 23 million people in the United States have asthma, which disproportionately affects children, lower-income communities and minorities, according to the EPA.

Weather

Ten days after Hurricane Florence roared onto land along the coastal Carolinas, hundreds of roads remain closed, thousands of residents remain out of their homes or under evacuation watches, and hundreds are still being rescued from rising waters. The death toll from the storm has reached 43, and tentative damage estimates in the range of $50 billion place the storm among the 10 most costly hurricanes in U.S. history. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said teams conducted more than 350 rescues over this past weekend, raising the total to more than 5,200 since Florence slammed through the state. Ten river gauges in the state still showed major or moderate flood stages. More than 400 roads remained closed across the state, although the last blocked segment of I-95 was reopened late Sunday. Parts of I-40 have slowly been emerging from the floodwaters, but other sections could remain underwater for another week.

Severe storms which packed some tornadoes tore through southeastern Minnesota Thursday evening, toppling trees and power lines, damaging homes and flipping airplanes housed in a hangar at a municipal airport. There were several reports of tornadoes in Faribault and Waterville, about 50 miles south of Minneapolis. Several small planes were flipped and damaged by high winds at the Faribault Municipal Airport. No injuries were reported but several homes were also damaged in the storms.

More than 8 inches of rain fell at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport between Friday and Saturday, causing one death and damage to dozens of homes. The Dallas Fire Department said at least 15 people were rescued from the rising waters at about 7 a.m. Saturday. Up to 45 homes in Everman, south of Fort Worth, were damaged by floodwaters as some residents were forced to scramble onto roofs to escape rising water. As the heavy rain pushed eastward, parts of the Ohio Valley also saw flooding Sunday. In central Kentucky, numerous roads were inundated by floodwaters, and in Scott County, several drivers had to be rescued after they became stuck in flooding.

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