Signs of the Times

­­So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)

Judge Rules Dad Has Say in Gender ‘Transition’ of 7-Year-Old

The judge presiding over the case of James Younger, the seven-year old boy whom the mother wants to put through chemical castration via a gender “transition, ruled that the father will have joint conservatorship over James, which includes making joint medical decisions for the child. Mr. Younger and his ex-wife, Dr. Anne Georgulas, were in court last week fighting over custody and decision-making abilities for James and his twin, Jude. Dr. Georgulas wants to continue to “transition” James “into” a girl called “Luna.” Mr. Younger wanted to take a “wait and see” approach rather than start the child on puberty blockers. Eleven out of 12 jurors decided Monday that Mr. Younger should not be granted Sole Managing Conservatorship over his twin boys. Dr. Georgulas admitted in court she is not actually the twins’ biological mother and used in-vitro fertilization via an egg donor to gestate them. Judge Kim Cooks also put a gag order on the father so that he cannot speak to the press about the case and decided that the father is not required to pay attorney fees. The judge’s decision means that the Save James website will have to be shut down.

Businesses Cut Ties with Church over Sermon on Transgenderism

A Missouri pastor’s Bible-based sermon on transgenderism has sparked vocal opposition from the local LGBT community and several local businesses to cut ties with the church. The Oct. 13 sermon by Keith Simon of The Crossing Church in Columbia, Mo., was based on Genesis 1:27 which “teaches that God created two genders,” Simon said. “Gender is not a social construct. Men and women are foundational to God’s plan. God is not pleased when we blur genders.” But Pastor Simon also said Christians must approach the issue with compassion for others because everyone – believers and transgender people alike – is broken.  However, Simon’s sermon prompted a Change.org petition urging the True/False Film Festival and Ragtag Cinema – both of which are sponsored by the church – to cut their ties with the congregation. The church began the sponsorships a decade ago as a way to partner with the community. “It’s hate speech, and it’s harmful,” the petition said of the sermon. The petition pledged a boycott of the festival and cinema until they severed their partnerships with the church

Transgender Cyclist Dominates Women Competitors

Transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon keeps dominating women’s cycling. And she keeps creating controversy all the way. Last weekend at the Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester, England, the 37-year-old Canadian first set a world record in qualifying for the 35-39 age category 200-meter sprint, then went on to defend her title in the finals. Her success, however, has been overshadowed by frustrated competitors. In an interview with Sky News, former cycling champion Victoria Hood said, “It is not complicated. The science is there and it says that it is unfair. The male body, which has been through male puberty, still retains its advantage; that doesn’t go away. I have sympathy with them. They have the right to do sport but not a right to go into any category they want.”

Professor Fired for Saying Polar Bears are Thriving

Nobody has done more to sink the claim that climate change is endangering polar bears than zoologist Susan Crockford — and she paid for it with her job. After 15 years as an adjunct assistant professor, Ms. Crockford said the University of Victoria rejected without explanation in May her renewal application, despite her high profile as a speaker and author stemming from her widely cited research on polar bears. Ms. Crockford accused officials at the Canadian university of bowing to “outside pressure,” the result of her research showing that polar bear populations are stable and even thriving, not plummeting as a result of shrinking Arctic sea ice, defying claims of the climate change movement. Her dismissal, which she announced Wednesday in a post on her Polar Bear Science blog, has spurred alarm over the implications for academic freedom and the rise of the “cancel culture” for professors and scientists who challenge climate catastrophe predictions.

Witches Gather Friday Night to Cast Spells Against Trump

As if battling House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against him wasn’t enough, President Donald Trump will next have to face a “binding spell” cast by “thousands” of witches late Friday night. As Halloween approaches at the end of the month, several media outlets are reporting witches who oppose President Trump are planning to cast a “binding spell” on his administration. Such reports of witchcraft being used against the President are nothing new. Witches have been trying to cast spells against Trump since his inauguration in 2017. Scheduled for Oct. 25 at 11:59 pm, these self-proclaimed “witches” are planning to conduct a ritual which is meant to “bind,” but not harm the President unlike a “curse” or a “hex.” Last year, their 13,000-member Facebook group was casting spells against President Trump on a regular basis.

Opioid Makers/Distributors Settle Landmark Lawsuit

A key drug maker and multiple distributors facing a historic opioid lawsuit reached a landmark settlement Monday with two Ohio counties suing makers and distributors of the highly addictive painkillers. Terms of the settlement involving McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., AmerisourceBergen Corp. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. amounts to about $260 million. A possible trial involving Walgreens was put on hold. U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster has encouraged a settlement, which would provide affected communities the funds to combat opioid addiction much sooner than the lengthy process of going through a trial and the likely appeals afterward.

Persecution Watch

A school-board member in the United Kingdom was suspended for questioning a staff decision to introduce, without consultation, LGBT Pride Month and LGBT books to the school library. Maureen Griffith, 74, has served since the early 1990s as a governor at the Alperton Community School in Brent, North London, reported Christian Concern, a division of the Christian Legal Center, which is representing her. “What has taken place at this school is a microcosm of what is happening across our society and sends a clear message to teachers, governors and students: if you oppose the LGBT agenda you will be silenced and punished,” said Andrea Williams chief executive of the center.

A public university that warned faculty to persuade professors not to grade based on merit. The College Fix reports such workshops are popping up at universities from Washington, D.C. to Idaho. Boise State University is hosting an event next week called “Inclusive Teaching Means Inclusive Grading, Too.” A workshop of the exact same name at University of Tennessee-Knoxville aimed “to engage instructors in conversations and activities designed to foreground diversity and inclusion in considerations of assessment and grading practices.” The University of Michigan held a faculty workshop with a similar name.

A 50-year-old Palestinian man, who converted to Judaism this year just before Rosh Hashana, has been held in captivity and tortured by Palestinian Authority (PA) forces over the past two weeks. The victim is a resident of Hebron and works at a supermarket in the Jerusalem area. He claims that his family had set him up for arrest in order to prove their allegiance to the Palestinian regime. His own siblings have mercilessly beaten him, while the PA has burned his arms and legs, Ynet reported.

Communist authorities destroyed a 3,000-seat megachurch over the weekend, using a large excavator to tear apart the building as members and citizens watched helplessly, according to China Aid. The large four-story building was located in the province of Anhui which has about 60 million residents. The congregation was part of China’s officially recognized network of churches. Communist officials lacked the proper legal paperwork to order the destruction, China Aid reported. “This is yet another clear example showing the escalation of religious persecution today by the Chinese Communist regime,” said Bob Fu, president of China Aid.

On Russian TV, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov urged nations in the Arab world to band together to wipe Israel off the map. In an interview aired Tuesday, the head of the Chechen Republic told  Russian television network RT that Arab nations in the Middle East should join forces to attack Israel. In a meeting in Jordan in August, Kadyrov called Jews “the main enemy of Islam.” Around 95% of the citizens of the Chechen Republic are Muslim

Economic News

A fresh round of U.S. tariffs on $7.5 billion in European goods took effect Friday in retaliation for what the World Trade Organization deemed were illegal subsidies for airplane maker Airbus. The case, which wove its way through the system for nearly 15 years, culminated in a ruling against the European Union. The new tariffs apply to a wide range of imports from the EU but are concentrated mostly on the four countries deemed responsible for the subsidies: France, Germany, Spain and the U.K. Large civil aircraft will be hit with 10% tariffs, while everything else included in this round will be hit with 25% tariffs. However, wine, cheese, fruit, seafood and clothing will also be hit with tariffs.

In a surprise move, opposition and rebel British lawmakers voted Saturday to postpone an important Brexit vote, legally forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to request a delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union. A reluctant Johnson sent a letter requesting the delay late Saturday night, but he also made clear that he personally opposed delaying the U.K.’s exit, scheduled for Oct. 31. Johnson has repeatedly vowed not to delay Britain’s EU exit, saying that any delay increases the likelihood of a “no-deal” Brexit, which experts warn could harm Britain’s economy and lead to border chaos. But, on Friday Johnson said that if lawmakers want more time to scrutinize his Brexit deal, “they can have it, but they have to agree to a general election on Dec. 12.” He would need two-thirds support in Parliament for an election to be set. His last push for an election was rejected.

Israel

After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a coalition government, Israel’s political process continued on Wednesday evening as Blue and White leader Benny Gantz formally accepted the mandate to form a government during a brief ceremony at the President’s Residence. A few hours later at midnight, the clock started ticking on a 28-day period during which Gantz will attempt to form a governing coalition and avoid a third Knesset election that no one wants but which many analysts have said appears to be highly likely. While Netanyahu remains at the helm of his Likud party, his announcement marked the second time this year that he has been unable to form a government.

Syria

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says that under current plans all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the military will continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State group to prevent its resurgence. The developments made clear that one of President Donald Trump’s rationales for withdrawing troops from Syria was not going to come to pass any time soon. “It’s time to bring our soldiers back home,” he said Wednesday. But they are not coming home. Reports of sporadic clashes continued between Turkish-backed fighters and the U.S.-allied Syria Kurdish forces despite a five-day cease-fire agreement hammered out last Friday between U.S. and Turkish leaders. Hundreds of trucks carrying American troops have crossed into Iraq in a long military convoy Monday, marking the largest withdrawal of US forces from Syria. The vehicles were pelted with rotten potatoes and tomatoes by Syrian-Kurdish people who feel betrayed by the withdrawal.

  • President Donald Trump is considering a proposal to leave about 200 American troops in eastern Syria to combat ISIS and prevent Syrian government forces and their Russian allies from seizing control of oil production facilities in the region, Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed Monday.
  • President Trump announced Wednesday that conditions have been met between Turkey and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for what he called a “permanent ceasefire” between the two sides and that the United States is lifting sanctions on Ankara that were implemented following the invasion of northern Syria.

Afghanistan

The United States is already reducing the size of its troop force in Afghanistan despite the lack of a peace deal with the Taliban, at a time when President Trump has expressed reluctance to remain engaged in costly wars abroad. In a news conference on Monday, the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin S. Miller, confirmed that the size of the American force in the country had already quietly dropped by 2,000 over the last year, down to roughly 12,000. The eventual force size could drop to as low as 8,600. Rather than a formal withdrawal order, they are reducing the force through a gradual process of not replacing troops as they cycle out.

The Taliban stormed a checkpoint in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 15 policemen in the latest attack by insurgents, an Afghan provincial official said Tuesday. The multi-pronged attack on the checkpoint in the Ali Abad district of northern Kunduz province began late on Monday night and set off an hours-long gun battle, according to Ghulam Rabani Rabani, a provincial council member. Along with the 15 policemen killed, two other officers were wounded in the assault, he said. The attack came as Afghan troops have been battling the Taliban for the past few weeks in Kunduz’s Dashti Archi area.

United Kingdom

Authorities found 39 people dead in a truck in an industrial park in England on Wednesday and arrested the driver on suspicion of murder in one of Britain’s worst human-smuggling tragedies. The truck and the trailer with the people inside apparently took separate circuitous journeys. British police said they believe the container went from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet, England, where it arrived early Wednesday. Police believe the truck traveled from Northern Ireland to Dublin, where it took a ferry to Holyhead in Wales before picking up the trailer at the dockside in England. Authorities say they have no idea how long the container was in Belgium. The truck was registered in Bulgaria to a company owned by an Irish citizen, but its point of origin was unclear. The 39 victims were Chinese nationals, police said Thursday.

Spain

The conflict with the restive northeastern region of Catalonia has entered a “new phase” with the sentencing of its former separatist leaders to prison this week, said Spain’s caretaker prime minister, Pedro Sánchez. On Friday, the Catalan independence movement delivered a new show of force in Barcelona. Five columns of separatist protesters marched from different parts of the region into the city amid a general strike. Friday afternoon’s demonstration drew about 525,000 people, according to local police. The large rally followed days of unrest in Barcelona and other Catalan cities to protest the jailing of nine separatist leaders over a failed bid to break away from Spain in 2017. The Socialist government of Mr. Sánchez has vowed to end the turmoil after protesters clashed with the police and set fires in the streets of Barcelona and other cities for four nights.

Bangladesh

Four people were killed Sunday when Bangladesh police fired on a crowd after clashes erupted over a Facebook post that angered Muslims. Thousands of people took to the streets in the town of Borhanuddin, in Bangladesh’s southern Bhola district, to protest the post that allegedly criticized the Prophet Muhammad. The offending post was published Friday from the account of a 25-year-old Hindu man in the area. The man told police his Facebook account was hacked. An angry crowd gathered in a field near the police station on Sunday demanding justice. Police said they had no plans to apply deadly force as the protest was calm at first, but some in the crowd became violent and started to throw stones and bricks at officers. Ehsanullah said police initially fired pellet guns in a bid to disperse the crowd after up to 100 people tried to break into the room where the officers were taking refuge. When that didn’t work, they used live bullets to protect themselves from the mob. Dozens of people, including police, were injured.

Puerto Rico

Officials with the Department of Housing and Urban Development purposely missed a September deadline to release billions of dollars in hurricane recovery funds to Puerto Rico, saying they don’t trust the U.S. territory’s housing agency to handle the money properly. Some members of Congress said the move violated federal law that was set in the appropriations bill that included the funds. The move was the latest in the continuing dispute between the Trump administration and Puerto Rico over federal support following Hurricane Maria, which devastated parts of the island just over two years ago.

Venezuela

Bartering at the pump has taken off as hyperinflation makes Venezuela’s paper currency, the bolivar, hard to find and renders some denominations all but worthless, so that nobody will accept them. Without cash in their wallets, drivers often hand gas station attendants a bag of rice, cooking oil or whatever they have. This barter system, while perhaps the envy of cash-strapped drivers outside the country, is just another symptom of bedlam in Venezuela – socialism gone wild.

Chile

Protests and violence in Chile spilled over into a new day and raged into Sunday night despite the president cancelling a subway fare hike that has prompted violent demonstrations. Officials in the Santiago region said three people died in fires at two looted supermarkets early Sunday – among 60 Walmart-owned outlets that have been vandalized, and the company said many stores did not open during the day. Five more people later were found dead in the basement of a burned warehouse and were not employees, authorities said. Authorities said 10,500 soldiers and police officers were patrolling the streets in Santiago as state of emergency and curfew remained in effect for six Chilean cities. Security forces used tear gas and jets of water to try to disperse crowds.

Environment

Thanks to unusually warm temperatures high above Antarctica this month, the ozone hole shrank to its smallest size on record, scientists reported Monday. An annual phenomenon in the stratosphere above Antarctica, the ozone hole is a dramatic thinning of the ozone layer that’s typically boosted in size by colder temperatures. This is the third time in 40 years that weather systems have caused warm temperatures that limit ozone depletion. The ozone layer is important because it acts like a sunscreen, blocking potentially harmful ultraviolet energy from reaching our planet’s surface. Without it, humans and animals can experience increased rates of skin cancer and other ailments such as cataracts.

A Chesapeake Bay landmark has been swallowed up by rising waters. Tens of thousands of teachers and schoolchildren have visited the Fox Island Education Center over the past 40 years, learning important lessons about Chesapeake Bay’s waters, vegetation, wildlife and ecology. Those lessons will be no more. The education center is closing at the end of its current season. Rising sea levels have claimed so much of the surrounding marshes and wetlands that it has become too hazardous for visitors, a problem that is exacerbated when severe weather hits the area. The island’s marshes and shallow grass beds that are now inundated by water protected the land from erosion. Now that they are gone, the island is washing away.

Wildfires

Rapidly spreading wildfires have forced evacuations in Northern California and Southern California. The town of Geyserville in Sonoma County was ordered to evacuate about 6:30 a.m. Thursday after the Kincade Fire grew rapidly overnight to over 15.6 square miles amid strong winds. Meanwhile, another fire broke out in north San Bernardino, about 55 miles east of Los Angeles. The Old Water Fire forced evacuations of about 80 homes. The fire was burning about 4 miles east of California State University, San Bernardino.

Power has been cut to more than 190,000 homes and businesses in Central and Northern California due to a high wildfire threat. PG&E has shut off power to about 179,000 customers in parts of 17 counties. About half of the SoCal shutoffs are in San Bernadino County, where a wildfire the Old Water Fire is burning. PG&E is warning that even more widespread outages are possible this weekend if the fire threat continues. Meanwhile, Southern California Edison has cut power to 15,000 in five counties, and is considering blacking out a total of nearly 300,000 customers in seven counties, according to the company’s website.

Weather

At least three tornadoes spawned by Tropical Storm Nestor overturned at least one semi-trailer on Interstate 4 and caused damage to homes and other buildings in central and southwest Florida. Nearly 18,000 people were without power in Florida at 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The remnants of what was once Tropical Storm Nestor damaged several homes early Sunday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Nestor brought more than just tornadoes and rain to Florida over the weekend. The storm also pushed red tide closer to shore in some parts of Southwest Florida, bringing with it dead fish and sea turtles and causing respiratory issues for some people.

Severe storms ripped through the South Sunday night into early Monday, spawning a damaging tornado in Dallas and contributing to the death of one person in Arkansas. In Dallas, thousands of public school students in Dallas will be attending classes in different locations for at least the rest of the school year after the strong tornado left a 15-mile-long trail of destruction in the northern part of the city. Three people have been hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries. Several homes and businesses were damaged, power lines downed and tree limbs were scattered across roadways. The city said there were reports of gas leaks north of Walnut Hill in north Dallas. Seven people escaped a structure that collapsed in northwest Dallas. As of 8 a.m. Monday, more than 242,000 customers were without power in Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Louisiana.

  • Weather will continue to grow more extreme as the end-times continue to ramp up(Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

 

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