Signs of the Times

­­God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thessalonians 2:11-12)

Abortions Drop 7% to Historic New Low

The number of abortions dropped to a new all-time low across the United States in 2017. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group considered to have the most comprehensive abortion data, reported a 7-percent drop in abortions between 2017 and 2014, NPR reports. There were 862,320 abortions reported in 2017, down from 926,200 in 2014, according to the report. The abortion rate also fell to 13.5 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, down from 14.6 in 2014 and 16.9 in 2011. Not since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed abortion on demand in 1973 through Roe v. Wade have abortion numbers been so low.

Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Being Established

The city council of another Texas city voted this week to become a sanctuary city for the unborn, making it the sixth in the state and the ninth nationwide this year to pass such a declaration. Council members in Gilmer, Texas, voted 4-1 Tuesday to declare the town a “sanctuary city for the unborn,” one day after another Texas town, Tenaha, passed a similar ordinance. “[Gilmer is] a safe haven where the unborn has a right to come here and not worry about being aborted.” None of the cities have abortion clinics. One goal is to discourage the clinics from moving within their city limits.

Bodies of 2,246 Unborn Babies Discovered at Abortionists Home

The bodies of 2,246 aborted babies were found in the home of a recently deceased abortionist. Abortionist Dr. Ulrich Klopfer performed abortions at The Women’s Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana and at other Indiana facilities until his medical license was suspended in 2016. As the watchdog group Operation Rescue has extensively documented, Klopfer had a history of abuses, including failing to report statutory rape of a 13-year-old and a 10-year-old. The remains were found when family members were going through the deceased Klopfer’s belongings and reported them to the county Sheriff.

Planned Parenthood’s Sex Curriculum in Public Schools

Many school districts are covertly teaching an extreme curriculum written by none other than abortion giant Planned Parenthood, the Family Research Council reports. Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) program, which has been infiltrating our nation’s classrooms with near impunity for years, has reached a nearly indescribable level of obscenity. The pornographic, anti-biblical, and anti-science curriculum has recently erased “biological sex” from their lessons and replaced it with the phrase, “sex assigned at birth.” And if that wasn’t enough, Planned Parenthood has even created an app called “Roo,” a chatbot that gives kids advice without parental consent. The app is designed to replace communication between a parent and a child on topics regarding sex, values, and important life decisions.

  • Our public schools have become indoctrination centers for the religion of secular humanism which exalts humans above God.

Arizona Court Upholds First Amendment Religious Liberty Rights

Two Arizona calligraphers at the heart of yet another religious liberty battle won a major victory Monday with the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling that business owners have the right to choose not to provide certain products to same-sex weddings. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski own Brush & Nib Studio, a small business founded on Christian values. They say they serve any customer regardless of sexuality but draw the line at being forced to produce custom messages endorsing events that violate their beliefs. Since 2016, they’ve fought the city of Phoenix over an LGBT “anti-discrimination” ordinance they argued violated their freedom of speech and religion, because it threatened them with fines and prison time. The state’s highest court sided with them Monday in a 4-3 ruling that the ordinance “runs afoul of the First Amendment.

House Initiates Impeachment Process Against President Trump

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the start of a formal impeachment inquiry Tuesday against President Donald Trump, she said his contacts with Ukraine’s president “changed everything” for Democrats. Trump’s acknowledgement that he urged Ukraine to investigate his presidential rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden, spurred Democrats led by Pelosi to expedite their investigations. “We have to strike while the iron is hot,” Pelosi told her caucus, according to a senior Democratic aide who was in the private meeting.  “This is a national security issue – a national security issue – and we cannot let him think that this is a casual thing.” She announced that the House “is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry” and that she was “directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.” House Democrats have been investigating Trump on a variety of fronts since regaining control of the chamber in January, probing whether he has obstructed justice, profited unconstitutionally from his namesake business or fallen under the influence of foreign countries. Trump has dismissed the investigations as partisan harassment after special counsel Robert Mueller found no conspiracy between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

  • Once an officeholder is impeached by the House of Representatives, a trial is held by the Senate to determine whether the accused is guilty of the charges. If a guilty verdict is returned, only then can the accused be removed from office. The Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to convict President Trump.

Trump Opposes Globalism at U.N. General Assembly, Slams Iran

President Trump on Tuesday used his speech to the U.N. General Assembly to decry Iran’s “bloodlust,” while touting the importance of national sovereignty, warning: “The future does not belong to globalists.” “If you want freedom, take pride in your country,” he said. “If you want democracy, hold on to your sovereignty and if you want peace, love your nation. Wise leaders always put the good of their own people and their country first. The future does not belong to globalists, the future belongs to patriots. The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations who protect their citizens, respect their neighbors and honor the differences that make each country special and unique.” Trump then pivoted to Iran, urging the Islamic regime to put its people first and to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons and support of terror in the region. He told delegates that the U.S. does not seek conflict with other nations but that “I will never fail to defend America’s interests.” Trump also condemned the clerical regime which rules Iran, for blaming “everyone else for the problems they alone have created,” even as “fanatics have long used hatred of Israel to distract from their own failures.”

Trump Touts Religious Freedom for All at Summit

President Donald Trump made a surprise appearance at a climate-change summit at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. Trump spent about 15 minutes at the summit and didn’t speak. He listened to remarks by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, then departed for a scheduled speech at a religious freedom summit where he delivered a speech on religious freedom and global persecution against believers. President Trump said people of all faiths are being jailed, sanctioned, tortured and killed — often at the hands of their government — simply because they expressed their beliefs. With more than 80 percent of the world’s population living under religious restrictions, according to Pew Research Center, President Trump’s keynote address at an event called the Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom is a major step for religious freedom. “This is the first time any leader of a nation has addressed the U.N. on religious persecution,” Pastor Robert Jeffress said. President Trump on Monday announced $25 million in funding to protect religious freedom and religious sites around the world, and asked the world’s governments to join together to end religious persecution.

U.S. at Odds with U.N. Decisions/Direction

A new State Department report shows that the United Nations is out of sync with U.S. interests in more than two-thirds of votes — likely raising further concerns within the Trump administration about the organization and America’s financial commitment to it. “The United States continues to be diplomatically isolated on development and Israel-related resolutions,” the report on voting practices at the U.N. in 2018 said. The U.S. and the U.N. General Assembly as a  whole were in alignment just 31 percent of the time in 2018, the same as 2017. This is down from the final year of the Obama administration, when they were in agreement 41 percent of the time. The U.S. voted against 70 percent of assembly resolutions requiring a vote, more than any other U.N. member state.

New U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft took her seat Thursday at the U.N. Security Council, finally bringing a permanent replacement for Nikki Haley seven months after she resigned. The former ambassador to Canada said, “I come to the U.N. not only as the president’s emissary but as a voice of America’s unwavering commitment to democracy, freedom, human rights and, whenever possible, the peaceful resolution of conflicts.” “In a world marked by humanitarian crises and geopolitical challenges, strong American leadership is absolutely critical and I intend to provide it,” she said.

Climate Change Activists Protest Prior to U.N. Summit

Activists calling for action on climate change disrupted morning commutes across Washington, D.C., Monday morning, just days after hundreds of thousands demonstrated alongside school children for Global Climate Strike rallies around the world. A boisterous crowd of at least 200,000 people turned out to chant and march in Manhattan last Friday, joining hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of protesters from Australia to Thailand to London. While supporters of all ages turned out, the day was billed as a walkout by high school students to call on world leaders to step up their efforts against climate change, carbon emissions and other environmental issues. New York City schools excused the city’s 1.1 million students from class in order for them to participate.

  • Extreme weather will continue to worsen as a key sign of the end-times (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

U.S. Immigration Laws Weak Compared to Other Nations

Jumping the border in Singapore is punishable by six months in prison — and not less than three strokes with a cane. In Russia, it can earn you up to two years in a prison labor camp. Pakistan goes as high as 10 years in prison, while India allows for up to eight years behind bars for those who sneak across its boundaries. It’s a far cry from the U.S., where illegal entry is a misdemeanor, with a maximum of six months in jail. In reality, most of those who are prosecuted — and only about 1 in 5 border jumpers are — are sentenced to time served and are out within days. The U.S. has one of the world’s weaker laws for illegal entry, according to the data in a study by the Library of Congress, which surveyed statutes in more than 160 nations and released its findings amid a heated debate over whether America’s penalties are too stiff.

Deal Signed With El Salvador to Stem Immigration

The Trump administration signed a deal Wednesday with El Salvador that would effectively seal off the region, preventing asylum-seekers traveling through Central America in order to enter the United States. This agreement, signed on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, paves the way to send asylum-seekers to Honduras, one of the world’s most violent countries, like its neighbors. A similar arrangement was signed with Honduras last week; a more comprehensive agreement was previously sealed with Guatemala. President Trump said at a news conference at the United Nations that the agreements, coupled with a crackdown by Mexico following tariff threats by his administration, “will make a tremendous difference in our southern border.” Most families arrested or stopped at the US-Mexico border are from the area known as the Northern Triangle: Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador. While they would not be returned to their home countries, they would be sent to other countries they passed through. For example, Hondurans must travel through Guatemala to reach the US by land. The deal completes a central component of Trump’s strategy to deter asylum-seekers from entering the US through Mexico.

  • The agreement was swiftly condemned by immigrant advocates. “We will say it again and again: people cannot be forced to seek safety in countries where they will not be safe,” said Charanya Krishnaswami, the advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA.

Limits Lowered on Admitting Refugees to Record Low

The number of refugees admitted for resettlement in the United States in the next 12 months have been lowered once again to a record low, according to new regulations announced by the State Department. The administration says it will admit 18,000 refugees in the next fiscal year, the lowest number since the program began in 1980, the Guardian reports. The cap was 30,000 last year and 110,000 in the final year of the Obama administration. President Trump also issued an executive order Thursday stating that the federal government will seek the approval of state and local governments before resettling refugees, both to “identify the best environments for refugees” and “to be respectful of those communities that may not be able to accommodate refugee resettlement.”

Immigration Update

A USA TODAY review of dozens of communities along the border – and some far from it – shows that local governments have spent at least $7 million over the past year to care for thousands of undocumented migrants released after being detained by the federal government. Leaders in those communities say it’s their moral responsibility to care for migrants who are often sick, exhausted from their journey and usually out of money. City leaders from both political parties say they are frustrated with the Trump administration for what they describe as an unfunded mandate, forcing local communities to pick up the pieces of a broken federal immigration system.

Homeland Security will finally end “catch-and-release” of Central American immigrant families caught crossing the border illegally, acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan announced Monday, saying the department has finally gotten a handle on the migrant surge that had sowed chaos at the border over the last year. McAleenan said families that attempt to claim asylum will usually be sent to wait in Mexico while their cases proceed in U.S. immigration courts. Those who don’t attempt to claim asylum will be quickly returned to their home countries. The announcement is a sign of how much progress McAleenan has made in changing the dynamics at the border, cutting record levels of families migrating illegally and striking a series of deals with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to gain their cooperation in repatriating their citizens.

Historically, 90% of the migrants who illegally crossed the southwest border of the United States came from Mexico. They were single adult men, typically seeking work in the U.S. They paid smugglers – known in Mexico as coyotes or polleros – to help them evade the U.S. Border Patrol. When caught, they were usually quickly deported. That border is nearly unrecognizable today, reports the USA Today. The percentage of adult males from Mexico crossing the border has plummeted. Meanwhile, the percentage of asylum-seeking adults with children in tow or children arriving without parents has soared, especially from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, three countries in Central America with high rates of poverty and violence. Smugglers once guided groups of adult males through remote and often dangerous areas of the desert to evade the Border Patrol. Now, they are known to take migrant families and children to areas in plain sight of the Border Patrol, where the migrants simply surrender. Other migrants travel together in large caravans, perceived as a cheaper and safer alternative to traveling through Mexico to the U.S. border.

Billions of Birds Gone in U.S.

North America has lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970, a recent study said, which also found significant population declines among hundreds of bird species, including those once considered plentiful. Overall, the drop was from about 10 billion birds in 1970 to about 7 billion now. “Multiple, independent lines of evidence show a massive reduction in the abundance of birds,” said study lead author Ken Rosenberg, a senior scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy, in a statement. “We expected to see continuing declines of threatened species. But for the first time, the results also showed pervasive losses among common birds across all habitats, including backyard birds.” The cause is primarily habitat loss, as birds are losing the places they need to live, find food, rest and raise their young.

Colt Suspending Production of Military-Style Weapons for Civilians

The American firearms company Colt is suspending production of military-style weapons for civilian use, including the popular AR-15. Colt’s president and CEO Dennis Veilleux attributed the West Hartford, Connecticut-based company’s shift to changes in consumer demand and a market already saturated with similar weapons. The company will concentrate on fulfilling military and law enforcement contracts with its rifle manufacturing, Veilleux said, adding the company also is expanding its lines of pistols and revolvers. Veilleux acknowledged there has been some criticism from gun rights advocates for moving away from the civilian market for assault weapons.

Bans on Vaping Products Increasing

Walmart said it will stop selling e-cigarettes at its stores, becoming the latest company to crack down following an outbreak of illnesses and deaths associated with vaping. The nation’s largest retailer said it will complete its exit from e-cigarette sales after selling what’s currently available on store shelves. Walmart joins several other corporations limiting the reach of e-cigarettes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was investigating more than 450 cases of a lung disease linked to vaping. Media giants Viacom, CBS and WarnerMedia all revealed this week that they would stop running advertisements for e-cigarettes.

Federal Agencies Binge-Buy in Last Month of Fiscal Year

Federal agencies have shelled out tens of millions of dollars on cars, movie cameras and other items in a contract spending spree that happens across government at the end of every fiscal year. All told, roughly 20% of the $500 billion in government spending each year on disclosed contracts is in the fiscal year’s last month, according to watchdog groups. The State Department dropped more than $33 million on passenger cars in the first two weeks of this month and the Justice Department spent more than $3 million on movie cameras, records show. Not to be outdone, the U.S. Mint has spent more than $60 million on raw gold and silver. An estimated $66 million has gone to debt collectors trying to claw back money spent on student loans, records show. During the final fiscal month last year, taxpayers picked up the tab for lobster tails, video games, golf carts and more, a report at OpenTheBooks.com found. Extrapolating from the past few years to 2019, it appears at least $100 billion will be spent in September.

Persecution Backfires Against Chick-fil-A

Eight years ago, boycotts were launched against Chick-fil-A restaurants after gay-rights activists protested the company’s support of a pro-family group and the son of the founder made a statement in support of traditional marriage. The result? The chain’s sales have more than doubled to $10.5 billion in 2018, up nearly 17% percent from the year before, making it the third largest fast-food restaurant, behind only Starbucks and McDonald’s, reports World Net Daily. The chain has opened nearly 700 more locations in recent years.

Economic News

Currently, annual U.S. interest payments represent just 9.8% of tax revenues, lower than any time in the 1980s and 1990s, when they peaked at 18.4%, according to the USA Today.

The average rent in the U.S. rose 3.3% in August from a year earlier, reaching $1,472, according to RENTCafe.

Sales of passenger vehicles plunged 31% in July, according to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Tuesday. It’s the ninth straight month of declines and the sharpest one-month drop in more than 18 years. The slump has prompted companies to slash over 330,000 jobs through the closing of car dealerships and cutbacks at component manufacturers

The average age of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads reached an all-time high of 11.8 years in 2018, according to research firm IHS Markit.

More than a decade into the longest economic expansion on record, almost two-fifths of Americans said in a new Bankrate poll that their main financial priority was just keeping their heads above water on living expenses rather than saving money. Another 19 percent of said dealing with credit card debt is their top priority.

In a new survey by New York Life, the No. 1 financial regret cited among U.S. adults is not saving for retirement.

According to a recent study by The Ascent, as many as 35% of millennials indicate that they own a credit card in order to make purchases they cannot afford, which will only sink them deeper and deeper in debt.

Persecution Watch

A group of Rohingya Christians amongst the 750,000 mainly-Muslim Rohingya people, who fled genocide at the hands of the Myanmar Army as refugees, are now doubly persecuted as they face renewed violence from Muslims within refugee camps in Bangladesh. A church leader has contacted Barnabas Aid to tell of an upsurge in violence this month and to plead for prayers for the isolated group of several hundreds of Rohingya Christian converts from Islam. Already belonging to what some have called the “most persecuted people on earth”, the small community of Rohingya believers are now being subjected to anti-Christian violence from extremist Muslim Rohingya around them in the camps in Cox’s Bazaar district.

Eritrea is the center point of some of the most intense persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in modern times. As of September 17, 2019, three of the Witnesses have been unjustly incarcerated for 25 years. In addition, 39 men and 10 women who are Witnesses are also imprisoned. All Witnesses currently in prison have never been charged, appeared in court, or sentenced. Therefore, they do not know when they will be released. Four Witness men have died while in prison, and three died after they were released because of the harsh conditions they suffered.

Flee, convert or die – this is the stark choice repeatedly laid before the Christians of Burkina Faso by Islamist terrorists. “Stop doing the church services and turn to Islam, you and your congregation, or we will visit you and kill you,” they warned. The pastor and his extended family fled just in time, but four other local Christians were killed a few hours later when the terrorists arrived. Terrorist violence began in Burkina Faso in 2015, but in 2019 Christians became the primary target of the terrorists. Clinging faithfully to Christ, at least 59 of His followers have been killed by terrorists this year, singled out because of their active commitment to the Lord. Thousands of others have fled. There have been no reports of any renouncing their faith.

China has been harvesting organs from religious minorities and “prisoners of conscience,” a China Tribunal claimed Tuesday to United Nations. Forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including the religious minorities of Falun Gong and Uyghurs, but also Tibetans and House Christians, has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale,” China Tribunal lawyer Hamid Sabi said. There have been “hundreds of thousands of victims” in “one of the worst mass atrocities of this century,” according to Sabi.

Israel

Israel’s recent parliamentary elections ended with a virtual tie between the two leading contenders, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue & White leader Benny Gantz. By week’s end, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had surprisingly handed Netanyahu an initial mandate to try to form a ruling coalition, urging him to pursue a national unity government above all. All the main players are saying good things about the unity idea, but it may just be posturing in order to paint everyone else as uncompromising and angling for a dreaded third election, notes ICEJ News. But it may also be a realization that there are greater concerns for the nation looming on the near horizon and they need to somehow close ranks and prepare for some expected regional turbulence ahead.

Iran

Britain has concluded that Iran was responsible for attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday. He said the UK would consider taking part in a US-led military effort to bolster the Gulf kingdom’s defenses. Britain had previously held back from attributing blame for the drone and missile attack, after Saudi Arabia and the United States said Iran was responsible. Johnson said he would meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at this week’s UN General Assembly.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on 9/20 that the U.S. will send troops to the Middle East in response to an attack last weekend on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, but officials offered few specifics about the scope of that response. Blaming Iran for a “significant escalation of violence,” Esper said nations in the region requested U.S. assistance, specifically Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Esper described the mission as “defensive” and officials said it would be a “moderate” deployment and “not thousands” of troops.

On Monday, Iran said the British oil tanker Stena Impero was free to leave after two months of detention. Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiyee was quoted in FARS, Iran’s semi-official news agency, as saying the Iranian government had decided to condone the vessel’s previous violation of maritime regulations. The IRGC had seized the ship on July 19 and accused it of violating maritime rules and regulations in the Strait of Hormuz, FARS reported at the time. The ship’s seizure had been seen as a sign of retaliation against the previous British detention of an Iranian tanker at Gibraltar. The British released the tanker in mid-August.

Islamic State

The Islamic State claimed responsibility on Saturday for the bombing of a minibus that killed 12 people near the entrance to a major Iraqi pilgrimage center. The attack was one of the most lethal since the fall of the Islamic State’s de facto capital at the end of 2017. It was also one of the few Islamic State attacks south of Baghdad since the group’s self-declared caliphate collapsed. The bomb, left on the minibus by a passenger, exploded at a checkpoint at one entrance to Karbala. Iraqi security forces said they had arrested a cell of three young men who were responsible.

Afghanistan

At least 48 people have been killed in two separate suicide attacks in Afghanistan on Tuesday. In Parwan province, to the north of Kabul, a Taliban suicide bomber targeted an election campaign rally where Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani was set to speak, killing 26 people and wounding 42. Ghani was not hurt in the attack which happened at a checkpoint near the rally venue, according to Wahida Shahkar, a spokesperson for the governor of Parwan. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior, said that of the 26 people killed 22 were civilians and four were security staff. Women and children were among the victims, Rahimi confirmed.

Hong Kong

Protesters in Hong Kong trampled a Chinese flag, vandalized two subway stations and set at least two street fires on Sunday, as pro-democracy demonstrations took a violent turn once again. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, now in their fourth month, have often descended into violence late in the day and at night. A hardcore group of protesters says the extreme actions are needed to get the government’s attention. On Saturday, police used tear gas and rubber rounds against protesters who threw gasoline bombs toward them and set fires in streets. Hong Kong’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, has agreed to withdraw an extradition bill that sparked the protests in early June. But the anti-government protesters are pressing other demands, including fully democratic elections in the semiautonomous Chinese territory and an independent investigation of complaints about police violence during earlier demonstrations.

Bahamas

Officials are grappling with how to deal with 1.5 billion pounds of debris left behind in Marsh Harbour after Hurricane Dorian decimated the community in Abaco, Bahamas. That number is from just one section of the areas that took the brunt of Dorian’s wrath. The landscape was littered after Dorian with splintered homes and buildings, boats, cars and every sort of debris associated with daily life. The death toll from the storm officially remains at 53, but 692 people are listed as missing. More than two weeks after Hurricane Dorian wiped out entire neighborhoods, East Grand Bahama still looks like a war zone, and the stench of death is everywhere say rescue workers. An estimated 4,000 Dorian survivors have sought refuge in Florida.

Brazil

Brazil’s president slammed socialism as a death-dealing ideology and defended his country’s sovereignty over the Amazon rainforest in a hard-hitting address at the United Nations on Monday. Jair Messias Bolsonaro, elected in October 2018 and inaugurated January 1, 2019, also exhorted the UN not to overstep its mandate and pointed to the Gospel as a guiding light. “We are not here to erase nationalities and overrule sovereignty in the name of an abstract ‘global interest,'” Bolsonaro said during general debate at the 74th U.N. general assembly. “When it comes to matters related to climate, democracy, human rights, to the equality of rights and duties between men and women and many others, all we need to do is contemplate the truth, following John 8:32,” Bolsonaro said. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Environment

The Special Report on Oceans and the Cryosphere released Wednesday offers a bleak picture. It warns that the world’s oceans have reached or are nearing critical tipping points: Oceans have gotten warmer, more acidic and are losing oxygen, resulting in a cascade of negative effects that are wreaking havoc on coral and other marine ecosystems, threatening the collapse of the world’s fisheries and turbocharging deadly hurricanes and tropical storms. As glaciers and ice sheets have melted faster, and rising temperatures have warmed the surface of the sea, the planet’s marine zones have absorbed the heat. But now, the systems are now at or near overload and threaten to collapse.

Planpincieux glacier on Italy’s Mont Blanc mountain rage is threatening to collapse at any moment, sparking evacuations and road closures in the area. About 250,000 cubic meters of ice is at risk of collapse from the glacier. The glacier has recently been moving about 20 inches per day, due to a fissure caused by higher-than usual summer temperatures in Europe. Experts are unable to predict exactly when the ice will break away. Most of the homes in the area are summer homes, and no residents in the town have been evacuated, though tourists have been banned from the dangerous area.

Earthquakes

At least 20 people have been killed in a magnitude 6.5 earthquake on one of Indonesia’s least populated islands. At least 20 were killed and about 100 were injured. More than 2,000 people took refuge in various shelters. The quake hit at 6:46 a.m. local time Thursday about 20.5 miles northeast of Ambon in Indonesia’s Maluku province. Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said dozens of homes, a number of buildings and other public facilities were damaged, including a major bridge in Ambon.

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake rattled Puerto Rico just hours before Tropical Storm Karen was forecast to pound an island still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria two years ago. No serious damage or injuries were immediately reported from the quake, centered about 50 miles northwest of the island when it struck just before midnight Monday. Several strong aftershocks further rocked many residents. Meanwhile, a light rain was falling on San Juan on Tuesday morning as Tropical Storm Karen made its way toward the island. The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning, forecasting heavy winds and rain beginning later in the day.

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook Istanbul on Thursday, sending school children and residents into the streets and collapsing the minaret of a mosque in Turkey’s commercial and cultural center. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said the earthquake struck in the Sea of Marmara at 1:59 p.m. at 4.4 miles deep and was felt throughout the western Marmara region, which includes Istanbul. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said that there were no reports of deaths from the quake.

An earthquake hit western Albania last Saturday afternoon. Initial reports said the quake was measured at magnitude 5.8 and injured over 100 people. According to the Albania Defense Ministry, the Institute of GeoSciences, Energy, Water and Environment reported the quake struck 8 miles north of the port city of Durres at 12:04 p.m. local time. The Defense Ministry said the first quake was felt all along Albania’s west coast and far to the east. Witnesses in Durres and the capital of Tirana reported damaged homes and apartments. An aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 sent residents running out of homes and apartments. A total of 350 aftershocks have continued to rattle the Albanians.

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake damaged homes and buildings and cracked roads Tuesday in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Although local news reported deaths, those reports were unconfirmed. Injuries were confirmed in Mirpur. Giant cracks opened in roads near the epicenter, and media reports said cars fell into some of them. The quake struck at 4:01 p.m. local time about 2 miles southeast of the Mirpur district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and was felt across much of northern Pakistan. The temblor shook walls in Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad, about 55 miles northwest of Mirpur.

Weather

Tropical Storm Karen brought heavy rain to the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday, triggering landslides and knocking out power. With the storm inching toward Puerto Rico, Gov. Wanda Vázquez declared a state of emergency Monday and ordered public schools closed on Tuesday in advance of Karen. Schools were also closed in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

The slow-churning remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda dangerously flooded parts of Texas and Louisiana on last week, scrambling rescue crews and volunteers with boats to reach scores of stranded drivers and families trapped in their homes during a relentless downpour that drew comparisons to Hurricane Harvey two years ago. The National Weather Service estimated that Jefferson County was deluged with more than 40 inches of rain in a span of just 72 hours. Officials in Harris County, which includes Houston, said there had been a combination of at least 1,000 high-water rescues and evacuations to get people to shelter. More than 900 flights were canceled or delayed in Houston, and further along the Texas Gulf Coast, authorities warned that a levee could break near Beaumont in Jefferson County.

Residents of Arizona on Tuesday continued to clean up damage left behind by remnants of Hurricane Lorena. A possible tornado damaged mobile homes, knocked down trees and snapped power lines in Wilcox, Arizona, about 67 miles east of Tucson. More than 1,800 customers lost electricity. Earlier Monday afternoon, a tornado touched down in the Cave Creek and New River areas near Phoenix. There were no reports of damage in that sparsely populated area. It was the first time in five years the National Weather Service’s Phoenix office issued a tornado warning. The Phoenix area also saw street flooding that stranded vehicles across the metro area on Monday, including a school bus with about 120 children onboard.

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