Archive for November, 2020

Signs of the Times (11/27/20)

November 27, 2020

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Abortions in U.S. His All-Time Low in 2018

Americans have another reason to give thanks this week. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows abortions have once again hit an all-time low as more babies are being saved from abortion than ever before. The new CDC report covers the year 2018 and confirms America’s abortion decline continues. The report indicates the number of babies killed in abortions has declined 1.4% from 2016-2018 and the abortion rate — the percentage of women having an abortion or choosing life for their baby — has declined 2.% as more women opt against abortion. Since 2009, the number of babies killed in abortions has dropped 21.8% and the abortion rate has declined 24.2 percent.

Texas and Louisiana Can Defund Planned Parenthood, Appeals Court Rules

A federal appeals court on Monday delivered a major win to the pro-life community in Texas and Louisiana when it ruled that officials in the two states can cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed earlier decisions and gave the green light for Texas and Louisiana to pull Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Eleven of the court’s 16 justices signed the majority opinion. The ruling could also affect Mississippi, which is within the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction.

Court Allows Tennessee to Enforce Down Syndrome Abortion Ban

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Tennessee can begin outlawing abortions because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, as well as prohibit the procedure if it’s based on the race or gender of the fetus. Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee enacted the so-called “reason bans” earlier this year as part of a sweeping anti-abortion measure. The law gained national attention because it banned abortion as early as six weeks. The law was immediately blocked by a lower federal court just hours after Lee signed it into law. However, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision will allow the state to enforce the reason bans while abortion rights groups continue their court battle against that law.

Senate Confirmed Trump’s 227th Judge This Week

The U,S. Senate may be holding a lame-duck session, but that hasn’t slowed down the Republican effort to confirm President Trump’s judicial nominees. The Senate this week confirmed the 227th federal judge nominated by President Trump. That includes 168 district judges, 53 appeals court judges, three U.S. Supreme Court justices and three members of the U.S. Court of International Trade. The 53 appeals court judges are the most of any president in a single term since President Carter. The 227 total of confirmed judges are more than any Republican president in a single term in modern history, outpacing Presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Reagan and Nixon.

  • President Trump’s enduring legacy will be the placement of conservative judges throughout the judiciary, swinging the pendulum back from its recent liberal slant.

Deaths From Terror Attacks Down 59% Since 2014

Deaths caused by terrorist attacks around the world have fallen by more than half in just the last five years, declining again in 2019, according to an annual analysis released Wednesday by the Institute for Economics and Peace, a prominent Australian think tank. Overall for 2019, the survey recorded 13,826 terror-related deaths, down 15% from the year before and down 59% from 2014. Keys to the decline include the steady withering of the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq and “increased counter-terrorism coordination at both the state and international level” around the world.

Thanksgiving Sees Millions of American Going Hungry

Thanksgiving Day saw millions more Americans in need of food amid the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Food banks have consistently seen a 60 percent increase in demand compared to this time last year, and continue to require more food and resources to provide to people in need,” reports the Feeding America organization. They estimates that 15 million more people live in food insecure homes in the U.S. this year than before the pandemic.

Thanksgiving Travel Down 60% But Still Almost a Million/Day

While travel appears to be significantly down from years prior, roughly 900,000 to 1 million people per day passed through U.S. airport checkpoints from Friday through Wednesday. That was a drop-off of around 60% from the same time a year ago, but the more than 1 million people screened at airports Wednesday was the largest since the start of the pandemic.

Native Americans Want Their Land Back, Deface 4 Historical Monuments

Nearly 400 years after the Pilgrims landed in America,, the descendants of the very tribe at the heart of the Thanksgiving holiday are still fighting to reclaim their lands — a fight that ironically hinges on whether or not the tribe meets the federal government’s definition of “Indian.” The words “land back” were spray-painted on statues and buildings in multiple cities. The LANDBACK campaign is an Indigenous movement against white supremacy and for Indigenous food sovereignty, housing, and clean air and water.

Portland Police Arrest 3 for Thanksgiving Day Vandalism Spree

Three people were arrested in Portland after police say they caused “thousands” of dollars’ worth of damage vandalizing at least 10 businesses in the wee hours of Thanksgiving Day, police said. According to authorities, callers reported seeing a group of people who were dressed in black clothing and breaking windows and spray-painting graffiti. Grocery stores, banks, an auto service center, a package distribution and mailing center, and local business storefronts were damaged.

NYC Employs Covid Checkpoints to Catch & Fine Holiday Travelers

New York’s statewide 14-day holiday quarantine mandates that travelers quarantine, or take a test showing they’re negative. Violations of self-quarantine will be enforced in New York City and may carry fines of $1,000 to $2,000, the mayor’s office has said. NYC Sheriff Joseph Fucito that they will conduct spot checks when out-of-state buses drop riders off at the curb, and will also check cars with out of state licenses plates. Test-and-trace teams will also be on the ground to help direct people to testing sites while providing “education” about quarantine at various ‘checkpoints.’

Supreme Court Blocks Limits on Religious Services in NY

The Supreme Court placed religious freedom before pandemic precautions Wednesday night, temporarily blocking recent rules in New York that severely restricted gatherings at houses of worship in areas hit hardest by COVID-19. The court’s new, more conservative majority ruled 5-4 that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s limits on churches, synagogues and other houses of worship to 10 or 25 worshipers in hard-hit regions appeared to violate the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause. “Even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten,” the court’s majority opinion said.

Trump Officially Allows Biden’s Transition to Begin, But Won’t Concede

The Trump administration cleared the way Monday for President-elect Joe Biden to begin his official transition, allowing Biden’s team to get access to briefings, office space, secure computers and other government services needed for the transfer of power. The announcement from Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, marked a formal recognition by President Donald Trump’s administration that Biden won the Nov. 3 election, even though the president has refused to concede and continues to make allegations of voter fraud. Murphy’s letter to Biden came hours after Michigan’s four-member elections board voted to certify Biden’s win in that state by 154,187 votes. And on Friday, Georgia’s Republican governor certified his state’s results after a hand recount, which ended with Biden ahead of Trump by about 12,000 votes.

UK Vaccine May Have Significant Advantage, But Test Data Flawed

A third COVID vaccine candidate is reporting strong results—and this one would be easier to transport and store than the first two. AstraZeneca says interim results show that its vaccine is up to 90% effective, slightly less than the 95% reported by Pfizer and Moderna. But while its highest rate is lower than those of the first two, the vaccine made by AstraZeneca—and developed by Oxford University—appears to have a key advantage. It does not need to be shipped and stored at sub-zero temperatures and thus could more easily kept at hospitals and doctors’ offices. AstraZeneca is a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company with its headquarters in Cambridge, United Kingdom and Södertälje, Sweden.

  • AstraZeneca and Oxford University on Wednesday acknowledged a dosing error that is raising questions about preliminary results of their experimental COVID-19 vaccine. The group of volunteers that got a lower dose seemed to be much better protected than the volunteers who got two full doses. In the low-dose group, AstraZeneca said, the vaccine appeared to be 90% effective. In the group that got two full doses, the vaccine appeared to be 62% effective. Combined the vaccine appeared to be 70% effective.

D.C. Council Approves Bill Allowing Children to Get Vaccinated Without Parents’ Consent

A bill passed by the D.C. Council on Tuesday would allow children as young as age 11 to obtain vaccinations without their parents’ consent. Under the legislation, if a doctor determines that a minor is capable of informed consent, they would be able to seek government-recommended vaccinations even if their parents object. They also could get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus — which is recommended for older children but opposed by some parents because the virus is sexually transmitted and they object to their teenagers having sex.

Coronavirus Drug Combo, Baricitinib plus Remdesivir, Gets Emergency Approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday issued emergency approval to a drug combo to treat moderate to seriously ill coronavirus patients. The combo, rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib plus Gilead’s remdesivir, was authorized to treat hospitalized patients 2 years or older requiring oxygen. The FDA said the drugs cut patients’ time to recovery in a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-sponsored trial. “The odds of a patient’s condition progressing to death or being ventilated at day 29 was lower in the baricitinib plus remdesivir group versus the placebo plus remdesivir group,” the FDA stated.

COVID-19 Antibodies Last at Least 6 Months Says New Study

Researchers from the University of Oxford tested 12,000 frontline workers for COVID-19 antibodies. None of the 1,246 workers who had antibodies got sick. David Eyre, an infectious disease consultant at Oxford and one of the study authors, said on Twitter “it’s very unlikely, at least for 6 months,” that people can become reinfected with COVID-19. This study mirrors the recent results of research from Iceland. Scientists measured the levels of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the blood of approximately 30,000 study participants, including 1,200 who tested positive for the virus and recovered. They found 91.1% of those who had recovered from COVID-19 had antibodies against the virus months after infection.

Danish Study Says Masks Make Only a Slight Difference Against Covid-19

The first large, randomized controlled trial of its kind showed no statistically significant difference in COVID-19 cases between people who wore masks and those who did not. The Danish study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a “recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others did not reduce, at conventional levels of statistical significance, incident [COVID-19] infection compared with no mask recommendation.” Among 6,000 participants in Denmark, half were told to wear masks and half were not. The researchers found 42 of the participants who were told to wear masks contracted COVID-19, while 53 in the control group got the disease. The authors concluded the difference was not statistically significant.

Most COVID Spreaders Are Asymptomatic

Most COVID-19 infections are spread by people who show no symptoms at all—another reason why it’s good to wear masks and take other simple precautions, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC and others estimate that 59% of all infections are transmitted from people who are not exhibiting symptoms, the agency says. The CDC explains that 24% of coronavirus transmitters are asymptomatic, 35% pre-symptomatic, and 41% were experiencing symptoms when they transmitted the infection.

Covid-19 Cases/Hospitalizations/Deaths Continue to Rise in U.S.

The 7-day average number of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. reached a new record on Tuesday of 175,521, up from 34,596 on 9/11 and much higher than the previous peak of 66,692 on 7/19. The 7-day average number of deaths rose to 1,623, up from 702 on 10/10, and higher than the summer peak of 1,229 on 8/1, but still below the spring peak of 2,228 on 4/16.  

  • More than 2,100 people died in the U.S. because of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest daily death toll since May. Deaths have been steadily rising since October but hadn’t surpassed 2,000 in a day since May 6, when more than 2,300 people died.
  • The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to rise, hitting a record for the 17th straight day Thursday with more than 90,400 admissions, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
  • Only Iowa and Hawaii have seen their 7-day average new cases decline in recent days. The other 48 states are continuing to rise or remain at a high peak level as of Wednesday, 11/25.
  • Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer for Phoenix-based Banner Health, said that their hospitals will get above 125% of their licensed bed capacity starting about Dec. 4, and that will continue to be the situation for some extended period of time, likely through mid-January.

U.S. Sees Huge Spike in COVID Cases in Children

The US has just seen its largest single week increase in coronavirus cases in kids. There were 144,145 new cases among children 17 and under from Nov. 12 to 19—”by far the highest weekly increase since the pandemic began,” the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday. That total marks a 28% increase over the previous week ending Nov. 12, which saw 112,000 new COVID-19 cases among children which was also a new record. Almost 1.2 million U.S. children tested positive as of Nov. 19, representing 11.8% “of all cases in states which report cases by age.

  • When it comes down to where children are safest during the coronavirus pandemic, CDC Director Robert Redfield says schools are the best place to be. At a coronavirus task force briefing held at the White House on Thursday, Redfield said evidence shows that students are contracting the respiratory illness from family gatherings and local events rather than schools. “The truth is, for kids K-12, one of the safest places they can be, from our perspective, is to remain in school.”

COVID Blamed for Thousands of Non-Virus Deaths Among Elderly

Almost 100,000 long-term care U.S. residents have died in the coronavirus pandemic, and advocates for the elderly say tens of thousands more are succumbing to neglect by overwhelmed staffs and deterioration from isolation imposed as protection from COVID. Stephen Kaye, professor at the Institute on Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco, analyzed data from 15,000 facilities, finding that for every two COVID-19 victims in long-term care, there is another who died prematurely of other causes. Those “excess deaths” beyond the normal rate of fatalities in nursing homes could total more than 40,000 since March, he said.

Europe Sees Dip in New Covid-19 Cases

European officials announced a modest gain in the continent’s battle against the virus. New cases of COVID-19 decreased to 1.8 million cases last week, down from over 2 million the week before. Dr Hans Henri Kluge, World Health Organization regional director for Europe, credited adherence to “risk-reducing behavior.” Still, an average of 4500 lives are lost to COVID-19 in Europe every day, Kluge said. He described further lockdowns as a last resort and said that if mask use reached 95%, lockdowns would not be needed.

Plans for Covid Passports Already Underway – Precursor to Mark of the Beast

Before the COVID vaccine is even approved, it is becoming mandatory for travel, reports Liberty Counsel. “This week the CEO of one international airline said that the company planned to deny their services to anyone that didn’t provide proof that they had taken the COVID-19 vaccine. TicketMaster (a large online event ticket vendor) is building the technology to require all participants of certain events to submit health documents (tests or vaccine) or potentially a phone app of movements and questions. But China took this even one step further; they want every traveler to have their own QR code so this communist nation can decide who can travel internationally, enter buildings, or be forced into isolation.”

  • The ‘Mark of the Beast’ (Revelation 13:16-17, 14:9-11) will be an indelible mark or chip on/in the hand or forehead which will be required to “buy or sell,” that is to survive. The vaccine passport is not quite there yet, but the groundwork is being established.

California Ratcheting Up Covid Restrictions

California’s residents—at least 94% of them—are going under curfew starting Saturday night. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that from then until at least Dec. 21, those living in the 41 counties that are in the state’s purple tier (the strictest level of lockdown due to coronavirus numbers) must be home between the hours of 10pm and 5am, with some exceptions.

  • In Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, public health officials said infections are skyrocketing, with approximately one out of every 145 people infected with the virus. That estimate was at 1 in 880 residents two months ago, according to the Los Angeles Times.
  • A reinstated ban on outdoor dining in Los Angeles County can go into effect Wednesday, a judge ruled, after a restaurant industry group had tried to block the restriction. The rule will limit restaurants in the nation’s most populous county to takeout and delivery.

Contact Tracers Overwhelmed, Giving Up in Some Areas

Early in the pandemic, public health workers all over the United States launched efforts to trace outbreaks back to their origins, whether at busy restaurants or crowded meatpacking plants. But with the virus now spreading rapidly in much of the country, overwhelmed state and local health officials are scaling back those contact tracing efforts, or even abandoning them altogether.

GOP Poll Watcher and Fraud Expert Says PA Election Process Broken

Gregory Stenstrom, a Navy veteran and forensic computer scientist, testified Wednesday before the State Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, about an election process in Delaware County he described as being “forensically destructive.” “In all cases the chain of custody was broken,” the GOP poll watcher said. “It was broken for the mail in ballots, the drop box ballots, the election day USB card flash drives.” Not one procedure defined by the Delaware County Board of Elections and Election Process Review was followed. “We have multiple other witnesses who saw it, including Democrat poll watchers.”

Pennsylvania Judge Halts Vote Certification Process

President Trump‘s legal fight over the Nov. 3 election scored a rare win Wednesday when a Pennsylvania state court sided with Republicans contesting the state results. The judge halted further certification of the state’s election results. The win, though far from reversing the projected nationwide win for presumed President-elect Joseph R. Biden, kept alive Trump‘s claims that widespread mishandling of ballots tainted results in states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona.

Republican AG Certifies Georgia Recount Victory for Biden

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Friday that Presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden won the state’s 16 Electoral College votes, confirming results from an audit that was released Thursday. Raffensperger called himself a “passionate conservative” and a “proud Trump supporter.” “Like other Republicans, I’m disappointed our candidate didn’t win Georgia’s electoral votes,” he said. “Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,” Mr. Raffensperger said. “As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct.”

LGBT Group Urges Biden to Strip Accreditation of Christian Schools, Colleges

The nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group is urging the future Biden administration to help pull the accreditation of Christian colleges and schools if they don’t have a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Under a current law known as the Higher Education Opportunity Act, accrediting agencies are told to ensure their standards “respect the stated mission of the institution of higher education,” including a school’s “religious” mission. HRC says the language “could be interpreted to require accrediting bodies to accredit religious institutions that discriminate or that do not meet science-based curricula standards.” Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, calls such a recommendation “sinister.” “I’ve not seen any document like this before – the Human Rights Campaign is effectively calling for religious colleges and schools to be coerced into the sexual revolution or stripped of accreditation,” Mohler said

ICE Arrests 154 Illegal Immigrants Who Failed to Self-Deport

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has rounded up 154 illegal immigrants who’d promised the government they would self-deport within a few months but turned around and defied that promise. One had been defying his promise for more than 20 years, said Tony Pham, acting director of ICE. One had been defying his promise for more than 20 years, said Tony Pham, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He said the goal was to send a message to “thousands” of others who are still defying their promise that ICE hasn’t forgotten about them, and may go looking for them.

Judge Orders Trump Administration to Stop Expelling Unaccompanied Migrant Children

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has barred President Donald Trump’s administration from deporting any more migrant children who arrived to the U.S.-Mexico border by themselves, chipping away at a policy that U.S. border officials have been using for months to quickly remove more than 200,000 migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued a preliminary injunction last Wednesday ordering the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to stop expelling unaccompanied migrant children using an emergency order published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That policy has allowed U.S. border and immigration officials since March to hold migrant children in custody in holding facilities or hotels in border states like Texas and Arizona and then quickly expel them to Mexico or other countries, without the possibility to seek asylum.

Pandemic Yields Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The coronavirus pandemic is driving U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to their lowest level in three decades. Driven largely by a steep drop in air and automobile travel, the nine percent reduction in 2020 emissions projected by a private research organization would put the nation back on track to meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord, although President Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the agreement.

Economic News

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to 778,000, evidence that the U.S. economy and job market remain under strain as coronavirus cases surge. The Labor Department’s report said jobless claims were up from 748,000 the week before. Before the virus struck hard in mid-March, weekly claims typically amounted to roughly 225,000. They shot up to 6.9 million during one week in March. The number of people who are continuing to receive traditional unemployment benefits is now 6.1 million, up from fewer than 1.7 million a year ago, but declining from a high of over 12 million in the spring.

About 12 million Americans will lose their unemployment insurance Dec. 26 when two coronavirus aid programs expire. They include 4.6 million workers who will have exhausted their 26 weeks of state jobless benefits and received an additional 13 weeks under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. About 3 million of those who lose PEUC checks are eligible for an additional round of “extended benefits” for up to 20 weeks from 18 states whose unemployment rates are high enough to trigger the relief. An additional 7.3 million workers will lose their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – benefits doled out to workers who traditionally aren’t covered by jobless aid, including the self-employed, independent contractors and workers caring for sick relatives.

Following a quarter of modest improvement in corporate spending, the Coupa Business Spending index suggests that businesses are continuing to adjust to the new normal and are beginning to return to pre-COVID spending levels, albeit at a slower rate than in the previous quarter. Though still cautious about the global economic outlook, businesses are spending more in areas related to remote work, such as technology, shipping and freight, and contingent workforce support.

The surging coronavirus infections have once again initiated a round of consumer stockpiling. Grocery stores are seeing toilet paper completely bought out. At Kroger, customers can purchase a maximum of two items when it comes to products like bath tissue, paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand soap. Giant, a grocery chain in the Northeast, recently put a limit of one on purchases of larger toilet paper and paper towel sizes and four on smaller toilet paper and paper towel sizes. H-E-B in Texas has instituted limits of two on purchases of disinfecting and antibacterial sprays, while other stores have limited toilet paper and paper towels to two.

Home sales rose again in October, at their highest pace in 14 years, according to the National Association of Realtors. But a record low inventory of available homes and a greater number of luxury homes sold have pushed the median home price up to a record $313,000, almost 16% more than a year ago.

Apple Inc. has agreed to a $113 million settlement with more than 30 states that accused the iPhone maker of concealing issues with batteries by throttling phone performance with a software update in 2016. “Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement. The investigation was backed by Republican and Democratic officials from 33 states plus the District of Columbia.

Amazon has added 427,300 employees over the past 10 months, bringing its global work force to more than 1.2 million, up more than 50 percent from a year ago. Such rapid growth is unrivaled in the history of corporate America. It far outstrips the 230,000 employees that Walmart, the largest private employer with more than 2.2 million workers, added in a single year two decades ago.

Airstrike on Iranians in Syria Blamed on Israel, 8 Killed

At least eight members of a pro-Iranian militia were killed in airstrikes attributed to the Israel Air Force, a leading Syrian rights group said Wednesday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Syrian opposition organization based in Britain, said those killed belonged to “pro-Iranian militias and Lebanese Hezbollah” and the dead were “non-Syrian nationalities.” Iranian military advisers and Iranian-armed militias have been in Syria for several years propping up the government of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, with Iran and Hezbollah attempting to entrench themselves near the border with Israel.

Yemen Rebels’ Missile Strikes Saudi Oil Facility

Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they struck a Saudi oil facility in the port city of Jiddah early Monday with a new cruise missile (most likely Iranian supplied), just hours after the kingdom finished hosting its virtual Group of 20 summit. The kingdom acknowledged the attack hours later. Videos of an explosion at a Saudi Arabian Oil Co. facility in Jiddah had circulated on social media all day and a satellite photo confirmed damage at the site. A projectile struck a fuel tank at the Jiddah distribution station and ignited a fire.

Israel Announces ‘Green Passports’ for Covid-19 Recoverees

The head of Israel’s national coronavirus program, Prof. Nachman Ash, announced the introduction of what the ministry is calling a “green passport” for Israeli residents that will be issued to those who have recovered from the virus and tests show that they have antibodies in their system to protect them. Ash also said that in the coming days the ministry will distribute over a million serological tests so that Israelis can be tested for antibodies to show they are not at risk of being infected or passing on the infection. The green passport will then allow them to travel freely around the country and possibly for traveling abroad. He warned the nation Thursday that despite the expected arrival of millions of doses of vaccine, the pandemic will be with the country for at least another year.

U.S. Imposes Sweeping Sanctions On Iran

The United States on Wednesday imposed broad sanctions targeting Iran, blacklisting a foundation controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and taking aim at what Washington called Iran’s human rights abuses a year after a deadly crackdown on anti-government demonstrators. The sanctions announced by the U.S. Treasury Department, which also targeted Iran’s intelligence minister, are the latest action to reinforce the “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran pursued by President Trump’s administration. They come little more than two months before Trump is supposedly due to hand over power to Joe Biden.

237 Nigerian Christians Murdered in Fulani Militant Attacks Since July

Haruna Kuye, the community leader of a predominantly Christian village in southern Kaduna State, Nigeria, and his teenage son, Destiny Kuye, both Christians, were killed when armed men entered their home in the early hours of November 17. Fulani militants are suspected of carrying out the brutal attack in Mazaki village, in the Zangon Kataf local government area. Mr. Kuye’s wife and daughter were both also injured in the attack. The latest attack raises to at least 237 the death toll from Fulani militant attacks on Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt communities since the beginning of July.

Turkey Cracking Down On Foreign Christian Workers

In recent years, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has become increasingly oriented toward a radicalized form of Islam. Once a staunch ally of the United States and Europe and a respected member of NATO, the country is now pursuing a more aggressive stance toward neighboring countries and has cracked down fiercely on dissenters, journalists, and politicians who oppose Erdogan’s hard line politics. At the same time, the Turkish government’s hostility towards Christianity has become increasingly obvious in recent years as the government harasses and restricts foreign Christian workers, reports the Family Research Counsil.

Wildfires

A wildfire raging in a small community on the California-Nevada border destroyed dozens of buildings and killed at least one person. The Mountain View Fire ignited during high winds on Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon, it had burned more than 32 square miles in Mono County, California. Evacuation orders were issued in the communities of Walker, Coleville and Topaz. A map of the fire area showed at least 90 buildings were destroyed. The fire was 20% contained and forward progress was stopped.

Weather

Eight deaths are being blamed on Tropical Cyclone Gati, the first hurricane-strength system to hit Somalia in recorded history. Several buildings were destroyed in Hafun. Streets and houses were flooded in Hafun and in the cities of Hurdiya and Bosaso. Flooding is expected to continue with as much as 8 inches of rain forecast this week. That area of northern Somalia typically gets about 4 inches of rain a year.

Thousands of people across Central America face a lack of drinking water, food and basic supplies after back-to-back hurricanes slammed the region, destroying homes, hospitals and other critical infrastructure and piling one disaster on top of another. Countries hit by Eta were still assessing damage and beginning the recovery process when Iota struck. Eta caused widespread flooding and landslides that left at least 130 people dead and dozens of others missing or presumed dead. At least 19 deaths have so far been blamed on Iota in Nicaragua and Honduras.

A powerful storm blew through Texas days before Thanksgiving causing roofs to collapse, damage to buildings and multiple power lines down. A tornado hit Arlington, Texas, on Tuesday night, causing significant damage. Police said some buildings collapsed and at least three apartment complexes were destroyed. At least three people were hospitalized with minor injuries. At least 75 families in Arlington were displaced following the tornado.

Signs of the Times (11/18/20)

November 18, 2020

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.. (1Peter 4:7-10)

Atheist Complaint Stops School from Filling Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child

A Kansas middle school has discontinued its participation in the popular Operation Christmas Child project following allegations from the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation that involvement of a public school is unconstitutional. Liberty Middle School in Pratt, Kan., previously participated in Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse that involves volunteers around the world packing shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items for children in need. Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian ministry, impacts around 10 million children annually during each year’s Operation Christmas Child.

Moderna Reports Good Results for Its Vaccine

A week ago, Pfizer reported excellent early results on its COVID vaccine. Now, a second major contender also is reporting data, and the results are even better. Moderna announced Monday that preliminary results suggest its coronavirus vaccine is 94.5% effective. The U.S. might have two highly effective vaccines available on a limited basis by year’s end. However, it could be spring before both are widely available to most Americans. Moderna developed its vaccine with the Vaccine Research Center, which is part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases. Noubar Afeyan, Moderna co-founder and chairman, says the company’s innovations enable it to “keep the vaccine under refrigeration conditions for up to 30 days,” enabling broad distribution. The Moderna vaccine was developed with funds from President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed program.

Pfizer Results Get Even Better, Will Seek Emergency Use Approval

More good news from Pfizer and BioNTech, its German partner in the race to produce a coronavirus vaccine: They’re expecting to seek an emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration “within days.” A final analysis of their late-stage vaccine trials showed that the vaccine proved 95% effective, even in older age groups. This surpasses preliminary results reported last week showing a 90% efficacy rate. The observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age was over 94%.

58% Now Say They Will Get Vaccine

Fifty-eight percent of Americans say they are now willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new Gallup poll released Tuesday. That is up from a low of 50% in September. In contrast, 49% of Republicans say they would be willing to be vaccinated, while 69% of Democrats would be. In addition, 61% of men are willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine – up 5 percentage points from a September poll, while 54% of women say they would be willing to be vaccinated – an increase of 10 percentage points since September.

Anti-Vaxxers Positioned as Threat to National Security – Mark of the Beast?

Anti-vaxxers will be positioned as a threat to national security. Strong-arm tactics will be employed to force compliance, such as being placed on “no-fly” lists by airlines, no school for kids, no access to commercial institutions, etc. This could become the Mark of the Beast if it prevents people from buying and selling based on a digital marker placed on/in the wrist or forehead to indicate whether a person has been vaccinated or not. (Revelation 13:17-17, 14:9-11)

Coronavirus Continues to Surge Across U.S.

The seven-day average of new daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to 158,265 up from 35,046 on 9/11. The previous two peaks were 66,692 on 7/21 and 31,709 on 4/10. Hawaii is the only state showing a decline in cases. Deaths have begun to climb as well, lagging new cases by 2-3 weeks. The seven-day average of deaths per day has risen to 1,155 on 11/17, up from 697 on 10/6. This is lower than the two previous peaks which were 1,229 on 8/1 and 2,228 on 6/16.

  • The mortality rate is substantially lower during this surge than during the previous two peaks in the summer and spring.

Tougher Covid-19 Restrictions Enacted by Many States But Not Florida

Thirty-six states – plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – now require people to wear face coverings in public statewide. Iowa, Utah and North Dakota joined the list in recent days, and Maine, Ohio and West Virginia strengthened their mandates last week.

  • California on Monday became the latest state to reimpose sweeping restrictions amid a resurgence of the coronavirus. Many businesses will need to roll back their indoor operations once again. Churches, restaurants, and gyms must halt indoor operations, while retail establishments can remain open at 25% capacity, covering 41 of 58 counties for 94% of the state’s population.
  • Starting Thursday, Ohio residents must stay home between the hours of 10pm and 5am, with some exceptions, for at least three weeks. The curfew, issued by Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday, will exempt people who work during those hours, and will still allow people to carry out essential activities involving things like food, repairs, health and medical needs, and more. However, dining out is among the activities prohibited during those hours, and violators could face a misdemeanor charge that carries with it a $750 fine and 90 days behind bars.
  • Under rules announced by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, in-person high school and college classes are suspended for three weeks along with eat-in dining at restaurants and bars. Casinos, movie theaters and some other businesses will temporarily close.
  • New York City will close public schools as virus cases rise. The nation’s largest school system and return to all-remote learning, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has vowed not to lock down the state again despite the widespread upturn in coronavirus cases. “The governor will not lockdown and hurt families who can’t afford to shelter in place for 6 weeks. Especially not for a virus that has a 99.8% survival rate,” a spokesperson for Mr. DeSantis.

38% of Thanksgiving Celebrations to Include More than 10 People

Researchers from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center conducted a national survey about how Americans plan to spend the holidays. According to the results, about two-in-five Americans (38%) still plan on attending gatherings with more than 10 people. And about a third of the respondents said they will not be requiring people to wear masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against Thanksgiving celebrations that include anyone other than those living in your immediate household in order to prevent further outbreaks.

Winter Snowbirds Flock to Arizona Despite Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is not stopping the annual influx of visitors from coming to Arizona from the north, and there’s little preventing travelers from bringing the virus with them. Sky Harbor International Airport is busy, Arizona’s sunny weather makes it a popular spot for people who are choosing to travel, and Trip Advisor just named Sedona and Scottsdale as top Thanksgiving destinations. The state of Arizona is also under pressure to revive an industry whose downturn is estimated to have lost the state $10 billion in travel-related spending so far this year. While some other airports have started offering rapid COVID-19 testing, Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix is not one of them. The state of Arizona recommends winter visitors quarantine for 14 days, but it’s not a requirement, and arriving visitors have no travel forms to fill out, as they do in some other states.

Weddings Sparked Several Covid-19 Outbreaks

Yet again, a wedding reception held in defiance of coronavirus guidelines has fueled an outbreak. The Washington state nuptials were held in Ritzville on Nov. 7, when receptions were allowed with a limit of 30 attendees. This one had more than 300. At least 17 guests tested positive after the wedding and authorities are urging more of the attendees to get tested. At least three other weddings have turned into superspreader events: a Maine wedding in early August has now been linked to at least 177 cases and seven deaths (30 of the 55 guests ultimately tested positive); a Long Island wedding last month is linked to dozens of cases; and an Ohio wedding held Oct. 31 is one of the latest linked to an outbreak. Almost half of the 83 guests at that wedding tested positive, including the bride and groom and two of the couple’s grandparents who had to visit the emergency room for severe symptoms.

More Than 120 Church Leaders Call for a Review of U.K. Ban on In-Person Services

More than 120 church leaders in the United Kingdom are asking for a judicial review of the United Kingdom’s decision to ban in-person worship services as part of a lockdown amid COVID-19. According to a statement from the group, the “measures involve a direct and serious interference with the independence of religious organizations and freedoms of religious people,” The Christian Post reports. Amid another wave of increasing coronavirus infections in the country, the country ordered a national lockdown lasting until Dec. 2. Under the order, bars, restaurants, and non-essential retail stores and gyms are closed. Places of worship are to be closed for services and only remain open for private prayer. Schools and workplaces will remain open.

UN World Food Program Warns of Devastating Famines in 2021

The UN World Food Program was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020, and the head of that agency is warning of the potential for absolutely devastating famines around the globe in 2021.  The COVID-19 lockdowns that were instituted all over the world this year created tremendous hardship in many wealthy countries, but in poorer nations the economic devastation has created alarming waves of hunger.  There was hope that things would get better when lockdowns were being lifted, but now a new round of lockdowns is being imposed, and many experts are warning about what this could mean for those living in deep poverty in 20 countries over the next three to six months.

California Judge Rules Gov. Newsom Overstepped Authority with Mail-In-Ballot Order

A California judge has ruled that Gov. Gavin Newsom overstepped his authority when he issued an executive order requiring vote-by-mail ballots sent to all registered voters. The ruling put a permanent injunction on Newsom, prohibiting him from changing existing law under the California Emergency Services Act. However, The ruling does not affect the results of the 2020 general election. Judge Heckman said that Newsom’s action could set a precedent that would allow governors to abuse emergency authority to amend statutory law or create new statutory law during a state of emergency.

General Services Administrator in Middle of Election Dispute

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy is the government official whose responsibility is to Presidential election result, a process known as “ascertainment” that would allow the official presidential transition to begin. As the only obstacle between President-elect Joe Biden and the formal start of the presidential transition, Murphy is struggling with the weight of the disputed presidential election being dropped on her shoulders, feeling like she’s been put in a no-win situation, according to people who have spoken to her recently. Facing mounting pressure from both sides, and even death threats, the sources say Murphy is working to interpret vague agency guidelines and follow what she sees as precedent. Sources told CNN she will base her decision on what she sees as the precedent set by the 2000 election, where there was not a clear winner for more than a month. Murphy, a Trump appointee with a lengthy career as a congressional aide and at GSA, has declined interview requests and the GSA declined to comment.

Trump Campaign Loses Several Election Fraud Lawsuits

Last Friday, nine cases challenging Joe Biden’s election win in key states were denied or dropped. The Trump campaign lost six cases in Montgomery County and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania over whether almost 9,000 absentee ballots should be thrown out. The Trump campaign dropped a lawsuit in Arizona seeking a review by hand of all ballots because it wouldn’t change the result. Poll-watchers in Michigan lost their case to stop the certification of votes in Detroit, and a judge rejected their allegations of fraud.

  • President Trump’s campaign on Monday denied reports that they withdrew a central part of its lawsuit seeking to stop the certification of the election results in Pennsylvania. Ahead of a Tuesday hearing in the case, the Washington Post claimed that Trump’s campaign dropped the allegation that hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots—682,479, to be precise—were illegally processed without its representatives watching. The remaining claim in the lawsuit centers on disqualifying ballots cast by voters who were given an opportunity to fix mail-in ballots that were going to be disqualified for a technicality.

Thousands of Uncounted & Wrongly Counted Ballots Found in Georgia

Just days after a recount was ordered in Georgia, thousands of ballots that had previously been uncounted on election night were discovered in Floyd County. The batch of 2,631 ballots were from early voting. According to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, election officials failed to upload the votes to a ballot-scanning machine and had apparently left the memory card in the machine. According to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, election officials failed to upload the votes to a ballot-scanning machine and had apparently left the memory card in the machine. However, those ballots are not enough to change the outcome in Georgia. On Wednesday second Georgia county found a batch of thousands of votes that had not been counted on election night. Of the uncounted votes, 1,577 were for President Trump, 1,128 went to Joe Biden, 43 went to Libertarian Jo Jorgensen with seven write-ins.

  • Then on Thursday, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party said. “One of our monitors discovered a 9,626 vote error in the DeKalb County hand count. One batch was labeled 10,707 for Biden and 13 for Trump. The actual count for the batch was 1,081 for Biden and 13 for Trump,” reports Todd Starnes

President Trump Pays $3 Million for Recount in Two Wisconsin Counties

President Donald Trump’s campaign has paid $3 million for a recount of two heavily Democratic Wisconsin counties, saying Wednesday that they were the site of the “worst irregularities.” Trump paid for the recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties overnight Tuesday and planned to submit the required paperwork to trigger the recount on Wednesday, the campaign said in a statement. In the two counties Trump chose for the recount, Democrat Joe Biden received 577,455 votes compared with 213,157 for Trump. Biden won statewide by just 20,608 votes.

Pro-Trump Rally Results in Skirmishes/Arrests in DC

Tens of thousands of people clad in red, white and blue rallied and marched in support of outgoing President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., on Saturday afternoon to protest “voter fraud” in the 2020 presidential election. As night fell, skirmishes between the Million MAGA March protesters and counter-protesters broke out across the city. At least 20 people had been arrested as of Saturday evening on a variety of charges, including assault and weapons possession, One stabbing was reported, two police officers were injured and several firearms were also recovered by police. Police have arrested a suspect in connection with fireworks that were thrown at a D.C. restaurant, hitting Trump supporters after Saturday’s march.

Trump Fires Homeland Security Cyber Chief Who Called Election Secure

The Department of Homeland Security’s cyber chief, who presided over an elaborate election security effort guarding against foreign interference and fraud, was ousted by President Donald Trump on Tuesday as part of a continuing post-election purge of top national security officials. Trump announced the dismissal in two tweets Tuesday night. The dismissal of Christopher Krebs, director of DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, follows the agency’s declaration that the general election was the most secure in U.S. history. “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” the agency reported Thursday in an assessment joined by a coalition of election security groups, including the National Association of State Election Directors.

Seniors Turning to Pot for Health Issues

Marijuana is fast becoming a favorite medication among older Americans, a new study finds, with cannabis being used to ease pain, sleep disturbances, and psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression. Among more than 550 patients surveyed, 15% had used cannabis within the past three years, and 50% of users said they used it regularly, mostly for medical purposes. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego reported that for 61% of the patients, cannabis use started after age 60.

Joe Biden’s Cancer Charity Spent $3 Million on Salaries, $0 on Research

Joe Biden’s cancer charity spent more than $3 million on salaries and zero on cancer research and grants during a two-year period, according to tax filings reviewed by the New York Post. The Biden Cancer Initiative was founded by Joe Biden and wife, Jill, after Joe’s oldest son, Beau, died in 2015 from brain cancer. The charity took in $4.8 million in contributions in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 and spent $3 million on payroll and nearly $1 million on travel and conference expenses. Gregory Simon, president of the Biden Cancer Initiative and former Pfizer executive, reportedly received $429,850 during the 2018 fiscal year, and Danielle Carnival, former chief of staff for Obama’s Cancer Moonshot Task Force, was paid $258,207 in 2018. The charity suspended operations in 2019 when Biden began running for President.

FAA Lifts Ban on Boeing 737 Max

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday cleared Boeing’s 737 Max to fly again after grounding the jet for nearly two years due to a pair of crashes that killed 346 people. Agency Administrator Steve Dickson said last week the FAA was in the final stages of reviewing changes to the Max that would make it safe to return to the skies. False assumptions, mismanagement, rushed deadlines, miscommunication and outright deception led to the failure to catch the design flaws of the 737 Max that led to the crashes, a 238-page report from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released in September found.

Millennials Now Becoming the ‘Sandwich Generation’

Millennials, age 24 to 39, graduated from college just as the Great Recession of 2007-09 was upending the economy, setting back their careers and salaries. They took on hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt. And now, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re suddenly becoming the largest contingent of the “sandwich generation,” the cohort of adults providing financial and other support to both children and elderly parents. For years, the sandwich generation featured middle-aged Americans — Gen Xers and baby boomers. With the oldest millennials turning 40 next year, that group already has started to age into the financially-crunched ‘sandwich’ predicament as their boomer parents reach their 60s and 70s.

Economic News

An estimated 11 to 13 million renter households are at risk of eviction, according to Stout, an investment bank and global advisory firm. It predicts there could be as many as 6.4 million potential eviction filings by January 1, 2021 if the CDC moratorium on evictions is lifted. The emergency CDC order, which went into effect on September 4th nationwide, temporarily prohibits new and previously filed evictions from occurring in an effort to prevent further transmission of the coronavirus. But the order is set to expire at the end of the year and faces legal challenges. Since the order does not cancel or freeze rent, all of the tenant’s back rent will be due come January 1.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated last Thursday that the U.S. economy will need more stimulus from both the government and the central bank to get through the crisis. The Bank of England warned earlier this month of a douple-dip recession for the UK economy as the country re-entered national lockdown. The European Union is facing a similar fate. “In large part because of a significantly better containment of the virus, most Asian economies are performing better than their Western counterparts,” said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics.

Retail sales increased by only 0.3% to $553.3 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis in October, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday. That’s down from a revised 1.6% in September, causing economists to worry about “a difficult winter.” Economists at Morgan Stanley noted that retail sales are still up 8.5% from the same month last year and stand at $26 billion above their pre-pandemic February levels.

Low interest rates have helped fuel a boom in the US housing market: Last quarter Americans’ mortgage debt climbed to a record high of nearly $10 trillion, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported Tuesday. Between July and September, mortgage debt increased by $85 billion to a total of $9.86 trillion, a record high. And though mortgage debt is now much higher than it was during the housing boom ahead of the 2008 financial crisis, it’s notable that the share of borrowers with credit scores above 760 points is far higher than it has been in the past.

About 300 companies that received as much as half a billion dollars in pandemic-related government loans have filed for bankruptcy, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of government data and court filings. Many of the companies, which employ a total of about 23,400 workers, say the funds from the Paycheck Protection Program weren’t enough to keep them going as the coronavirus and lack of additional stimulus payments weighed on their businesses. The total number of companies that failed despite getting PPP loans is likely far higher. The Journal only analyzed the big borrowers from the program.

The Trump administration is asking oil companies to identify where they would like to drill on Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as it races to open the pristine wilderness to development and lock in drilling rights before the Biden administration takes over.

U.S. To Withdraw Troops From Afghanistan, Iraq

The United States on Tuesday announced that it will reduce its troops’ presence in both Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 each by January 15 of next year. “By January 15, 2021, our force size in Afghanistan will be 2,500 troops. Our force size in Iraq will also be 2,500 by that same day,” Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said during a live press conference. The United States has around 4,500 troops currently in Afghanistan and over 3,000 in Iraq.

Rockets Fired By Iranian Militia Strike U.S. Embassy Complex in Baghdad

Three rockets, apparently fired by an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, landed in the U.S. Embassy complex within Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone late Tuesday, amid rising tensions with Iran in the supposed waning days of the Trump administration. A U.S. military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in advance of a formal statement, said initial reports indicated there had been no injuries to U.S. personnel or damage to American facilities. Another rocket reportedly landed elsewhere in the zone, and the Iraqi army said in a statement that another three fell outside the area, killing a young child and wounding five Iraqi civilians.

Israel Strikes Iranians in Syria, 10 Reported Killed

The Israel Air Force attacked multiple targets in Syria early Wednesday in response to the discovery of bombs planted on the Israel-Syria border by an Iran-backed military squad. On Tuesday, the IDF said its troops had discovered and neutralized several improvised explosive devices (IEDs) “which were placed by a Syrian squad led by Iranian forces.” In response, overnight, IDF fighter jets struck military targets belonging to the Iranian Quds force and the Syrian Armed Forces. During the strike, storage facilities, headquarters and military compounds were struck. In addition, Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries were also struck. The initial death toll included 5 Iranians, 3 Syrians and 2 others, possibly Lebanese or Iraqis. There were also multiple injuries.

IDF Pounds Hamas after Rocket Attacks from Gaza

The Israeli Defense Forces bombed several terror targets in the Gaza Strip last Sunday morning in response to rocket attacks on Israeli cities earlier in the night. Gaza-based terrorists fired two rockets. One rocket was fired to the Ashdod area but did not set off an alarm or cause damage, probably landing in the sea. The second rocket set off alarms in the Ashdod area. An Iron Dome defense battery engaged the rocket. In response, IDF tanks and helicopters struck Hamas underground infrastructure and military posts in Gaza.

Palestinian Authority Announced Restoration of Ties with Israel

A senior Palestinian official announced Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is restoring ties with Israel. The Hamas terrorist group in Gaza denounced the move as a betrayal of “national values and principles.” The PA’s announcement means it will again engage in security coordination with Israel after ending such cooperation six months ago. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had announced the cessation in coordination in response to Israel’s plans to officially extend sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. But those annexation plans have been put on hold since economic cooperation deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

At Least 20 Killed, Church Desecrated by Islamic Militants in Congob

More than 20 people were killed in an attack by suspected Islamist militants in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo on October 30. At least 15 of the 21 dead were women, local witnesses said. Members of the jihadi militia group Allied Democratic Forces are suspected of carrying out the assault on Lisasa village in which a church was desecrated, a health center looted and homes set on fire. A number of people were also abducted. The attack happened days after jihadists killed at least 18 people in Baeti village in North Kivu province. A church and a number of homes were burned during the raid, which the Islamic State claimed was carried out by its members. The ADF is believed to have close ties to the Islamic State.

Peru’s Interim President Resigns Midst Massive Protests

Manuel Merino announced his resignation Sunday after Peru’s Head of Congress Luis Valdez said that all of the legislature’s political parties agreed to ask for the “immediate” resignation of Merino during an emergency Congress session. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Lima, Peru, on Saturday for the sixth consecutive day, protesting the impeachment of President Martín Vizcarra over corruption allegations and the appointment of interim president Merino. Multiple lawmakers also resigned following the protests. Peruvians watched in hope as the nation’s third president in just over a week was sworn into office Tuesday. In Lima, many were cautiously optimistic the elder statesman Francisco Sagasti could steer the nation back to stability.

China Signs Huge Asia Pacific Trade Deal with 14 Countries

China has just joined forces with fourteen countries across the Asia Pacific region to sign a huge free trade deal nearly a decade in the making. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership covers 2.2 billion people, or nearly 30% of the world’s population. The deal includes several of the region’s heaviest economic hitters aside from China, including Japan and South Korea. New Zealand and Australia are also partners, as are Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. The deal would eliminate tariffs and quotas on 65% of the goods that are traded in the region.

Earthquake in Nevada is Second of the Year

A 5.5 magnitude earthquake in Nevada is the second earthquake this year. The epicenter of the quake was at the southwest corner of the state in a town called Mina, close to its border with California. A series of aftershocks lingering around the 3.0 magnitude level followed the first earthquake. No damage or injuries were reported.

Wildfire in Reno Destroys a Dozen Buildings

A dozen buildings were damaged or destroyed by a wind-fueled wildfire that burned through a neighborhood in southwest Reno, Nevada, Tuesday. The blaze, dubbed the Pinehaven Fire, burned about 2.3 square miles in the Caughlin Ranch area. Evacuation orders remained in place overnight. The cause of the fire was unknown, but it broke out in high winds that ushered in a cold front. A gust of 77 mph was recorded in the area Tuesday afternoon.

Study Says World Beyond Tipping Point on Climate Change

Even if human-caused greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced to zero, global temperatures may continue to rise for centuries afterward, according to a scientific study published last week. “The world is already past a point of no return for global warming,” the study authors report in the British journal Scientific Reports. The only way to stop the warming, they say, is that “enormous amounts of carbon dioxide have to be extracted from the atmosphere. If we want to stop this melting process we must do something in addition [to reducing carbon emissions]. For example, suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it underground, and make Earth’s surface brighter,” the report said.

Strong Midwest Storm Knocks Out Power to Over 750,000

More than three-quarters of a million homes and businesses were left without electricity Sunday when strong winds and severe thunderstorms blasted through the Midwest and into the East. One person was killed by a falling tree. The high winds were being whipped up as a vigorous jet-stream disturbance drove a strong cold front through the Midwest and Northeast. Gusts as high as 79 mph were measured just off the Lake Erie shoreline. Chicago’s Midway Airport measured a gust to 69 mph.

Second Hurricane in Two Weeks Strikes Nicaragua

For the second time in two weeks, Nicaraguans are digging out of the destruction left by a major hurricane. Hurricane Iota slammed ashore Monday just 15 miles from where Hurricane Eta made landfall on Nov. 3. The storm has weakened but it could still cause deadly landslides as it plows into Honduras. With sustained winds of 155 mph, Iota ripped roofs off of buildings and shredded trees. Torrential rains flooded streets. At least four deaths were being connected to the storm.

Hurricane Iota Record 30th Storm of 2020

Iota is the record 30th named storm of this year’s extraordinarily busy Atlantic hurricane season. It’s also the ninth storm to rapidly intensify this season, a dangerous phenomenon that is happening increasingly more often.

  • End-time weather will continue to grow more extreme (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

Signs of the Times (11/13/20)

November 13, 2020

As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:36-39)

Pfizer Reports Positive Results for Early Covid-19 Vaccine

Pfizer says early data suggest its COVID-19 vaccine works well. The company said Monday that its vaccine appears to be 90% effective in preventing infections, without serious side effects. These are early results, however, and the numbers could drop as the late-stage study continues. Still, the numbers are better than expected. Pfizer is on track to seek an emergency authorization from the FDA to produce the vaccine by the third week of November. By then, half of the 44,000 people in its study will have been monitored for two months after receiving a second dose. If all goes well, the company has said it could make enough doses to immunize up to 20 million people by the year’s end.

Ely Lily’s Antibody Drug Approved for Emergency Use

On the same day Pfizer announced its big news on the coming coronavirus vaccine, more positive news from the pharmaceutical industry: Eli Lilly’s experimental antibody drug has been given the green light by the FDA. Bamlanivimab, the first such drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19, is now allowed for emergency use. t’s the first treatment authorized for those with earlier-stage infections who are not hospitalized, filling what the Wall Street Journal calls a “gap in treatment.” The one-time IV treatment can be given to anyone 12 and up with mild to moderate symptoms that have not required hospitalization, but who are at high risk of moving to more severe symptoms.

Covid-19 Cases, Hospitalizations & Positivity Rate at Record Levels

New confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases rose above 163,000 Thursday just eight days after the country had its first 100,000 day. Over the past week, there has been an average of 134,078 cases per day, an increase of 72 percent from the average two weeks earlier. Case numbers are spiking across most of the United States, leading to dire warnings about full hospitals, exhausted health care workers and potential lockdowns. Deaths, though still well below their peak spring levels, averaged more than 1,000 per day in mid-November.

  • U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations surpassed 60,000 for the first time Tuesday, continuing a steady rise that has seen hospitalizations more than double in less than two months, the COVID Tracking Project reported Wednesday. Almost 62,000 Americans were hospitalized due the COVID-19 on Tuesday. The previous record for hospitalizations was 59,780 on April 12, after which the number began a gradual decline that reached 28,608 on Sept. 20. Since then, however, the number has been rising steadily, almost by 50% in the last two weeks.
  • The country’s test positivity rate averaged 8.7% over seven days as of early Thursday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. That’s above a summer’s highest seven-day average of about 7.9% in mid-July. The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, has suggested that communities’ positivity rates should be below 5% to comfortably have schools open. White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx has said test positivity rate is the statistic she watches the closest, because it is “the most sensitive indicator” of how the coronavirus situation is unfolding at any particular time and place.

Biden’s Science Advisor Calls For Immediate Nationwide Lockdown

If Joe Biden is ultimately inaugurated in 2021, the odds are increasing that one of his first acts will be to invoke a national lockdown. Dr. Michael Osterholm, who serves as director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, is the latest scientist to join Joe Biden’s “special coronavirus transition advisory team.” A nationwide lockdown would drive the number of new cases and hospitalizations down to manageable levels while the world awaits a vaccine, Osterholm told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday. “We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments,” he said. “The problem with the March-to-May lockdown was that it was not uniformly stringent across the country.”

  • Americans are less likely to comply with another coronavirus lockdown than they were in the spring, with more than half saying in a new poll that they’re very unlikely to stay home this time around, according to a new Gallup Poll released as record numbers of cases skyrocket nationwide.

Secret Service and Campaign Officials Infected with Coronavirus

More than 130 Secret Service officers are said to be infected with coronavirus or quarantining in the wake of President Trump’s campaign travel. The spread of coronavirus — which has sidelined roughly 10 percent of the agency’s core security team — is believed to be partly linked to a series of campaign rallies that President Trump held in the weeks before the Nov. 3 election. In addition, a growing numbers of prominent Trump campaign allies and White House officials have fallen ill in the wake of campaign events.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Takes 4 Coronavirus Tests, 2 Positive, 2 Negative

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Thursday he took four coronavirus tests on the same day, with two showing positive results, while the other two were negative. Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD,” Musk said in a tweet, possibly referring to Becton Dickinson and Co’s rapid antigen test. When asked by a Twitter user if he showed any symptoms, Musk said he had symptoms of a “typical cold.”

Public School Enrollment Plummets as Private Schools Gain

Ongoing and renewed shutdowns of public schools across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in severe public school enrollment declines. Families are increasingly turning away from public schooling and toward private education options during the pandemic—a trend that is likely to continue even after the virus fades, experts say. According to a recent Gallup poll, the rate of homeschooling has doubled since last year to nearly 10 percent of total students, while the rate of children enrolled in a district school declined seven percent to 76 percent of the overall US K-12 student population. Private school options make up the other 14%.

Judge Rules for Trump Campaign in Pennsylvania Vote Challenge

President Trump scored a legal victory Thursday in one of several cases in Pennsylvania in which his campaign is challenging the results of the presidential election. Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt ordered that the state may not count ballots in which the voter failed to provide proof of identification by Nov. 9. The judge ruled that Kathy Boockvar, the secretary of the commonwealth, lacked the authority to overrule the state legislature and extend the deadline to Nov. 12. On Friday, a hearing is scheduled to take place regarding thousands of ballots the Trump campaign claims should not have been counted because they lacked required information.

  • Another batch of around 4,000 mail-in-ballots ballots from Arizona’s Maricopa County went 53% for Biden and 43% for Trump on Thursday, reports the Arizona Republic. Biden’s lead of 11,343 votes in the state is now larger than the estimated number of ballots still to be counted.

Pennsylvania Says 10,000 Mail-in Ballots Arrived After Election Day

Pennsylvania election officials announced Tuesday only about 10,000 mail-in ballots arrived during the three days after Election Day, a number that is too little to make up for President Trump’s roughly 47,000 vote deficit currently in the keystone state. The conflict over the late-arriving ballots was at the center of a case pending before the Supreme Court, where Republicans — and the Trump campaign — hope the justices take up the dispute. It’s unlikely that the high court would agree to hear the case when the number of late-arriving ballots would not change the state’s election results.

USPS Worker Admits to Fraudulent Allegations, Then Recants Again

The United States Postal Service worker who claimed a postmaster in Erie, Pa., told employees to backdate ballots that were mailed after Election Day has admitted he made up the allegations, sources told the Washington Post. The claim was investigated by the USPS Office of Inspector General and the sources say the worker admitted it was false and signed an affidavit recanting. But the worker himself is on YouTube refuting the Post story, telling that he was “coerced” into signing the affidavit. His allegations are key to a Trump lawsuit about election fraud in Pennsylvania.

GOP Declares 11,000 Election Fraud Incident Reports

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and White House Communications Director Kayleigh McEnany announced Tuesday that the RNC has secured 11,000 fraud incident reports. Of those reports, more than 500 people have signed sworn affidavits documenting fraud. Upon threat of perjury, these individuals have sworn under oath to the veracity of the voter or election fraud they witnessed or experienced. In Wayne County, MI, 234 people have signed sworn affidavits testifying to what appears to be pervasive election fraud. Relatives reported that their deceased family members are showing up on voting records as having voted.

  • Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver says, “One of my former employees who is a law professor was fraudulently registered to vote in Michigan under her maiden name, at her parents’ address, as a Democrat. She lives in Virginia, has been married for many years and is a registered Republican. It appears many other women were also falsely registered under their maiden names.”

Trump’s Own CISA Organization Declares Election Was Most Secure in History

Election 2020 “was the most secure in American history,” according to a joint statement from a group of top government security and election officials. The statement from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security declared in no uncertain terms, “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” It went on to reference the “many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation” before reasserting the officials’ “utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections.” CISA was formed by Trump himself in 2018, and Christopher Krebs, a Trump appointee, has been at its head since its inception. Another Trump appointee, Bryan Ware, was the assistant director for cybersecurity at CISA—but he resigned Thursday, and a source says the White House asked for his resignation earlier this week. His resignation letter makes it clear he did not want to leave. The Federal News Network says it appears a “house cleaning” may be underway, with Trump continuing to clear out anyone who’s not a loyalist.

Record Number of Women Elected to U.S. Congress

At least 135 women have been elected so far — 103 Democrats and 32 Republicans — to serve in country’s 117th Congress, according to data updated Tuesday by the Center for American Women and Politics. That breaks the previous record of 127 women set in 2019 and represents another step in the right direction, CAWP Director Debbie Walsh said in a statement. That’s almost 25% of the total number of positions.

Pope Francis Vows to Eradicate Sexual Abuse after McCarrick Report

Pope Francis pledged Wednesday to rid the Catholic Church of sexual abuse and offered prayers to victims of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a day after the Vatican released a detailed report into the decades-long church cover-up of his sexual misconduct. The Vatican report blamed a host of bishops, cardinals and popes for downplaying and dismissing mountains of evidence of McCarrick’s misconduct starting in the 1990s. In particular, it blamed St. John Paul II for having appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington in 2000, and making him a cardinal, despite having commissioned an inquiry that found him guilty of sexual misconduct. Pope Francis defrocked the 90-year-old McCarrick last year after a separate Vatican investigation found he sexually abused adults as well as children.

Federal Reserve Chief Says Economy We Once Knew is Over

The Covid-19 pandemic brought the economy to a screeching halt, and while it has started its long road to recovery, the economy we knew is probably a thing of the past, said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday. “We’re recovering, but to a different economy,” Powell said during a virtual panel discussion at the European Central Bank’s Forum on Central Banking. The pandemic has accelerated existing trends toward increasing use of technology, telework and automation, he said. While technological advances are generally positive for societies over the long term, Powell said, on a short-term basis they create disruption. As markets adjust to the new normal the pain isn’t shared evenly, especially for lower-paid workers and those in jobs requiring face-to-face interactions.

Economic News

Improvement in the job market since April has come largely from workers on temporary layoff who have been called back to work. But the number of those who have lost their jobs permanently is rising. Since April, the number of jobs permanently lost has risen from 2.6 million to 4.5 million in October. This includes those whose employers have gone out of business, have cut back on staff permanently or have had temporary jobs come to an end.

The number of Americans applying for state unemployment benefits inched down last week to the lowest level since March but still remained significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels. The latest jobless claims figures from the Labor Department, which cover the week ending Nov. 7, show that 709,000 workers sought aid last week, about four-times the pre-crisis level. Still, it’s well below the peak of nearly 7 million in late March, when states first implemented lockdown measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Nearly 3.6 million Americans were out of work for at least 27 weeks in October, a stunning jump of nearly 50% from September, according to the jobs report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They now account for one-third of the unemployed, up from less than one-fifth a month earlier.

New York’s historic Roosevelt Hotel shut down last month, the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic that has upended the city’s tourism and retail markets. Many more hotels and retail properties in the nation’s biggest cities across the country are struggling. In the New York area, the owners of 43 hotels were delinquent on loans. Another 30 owners of shopping malls and storefronts in the greater Chicago area were also delinquent on loans.

A survey issued by the American Medical Association late last month found the average revenue in medical practices has dropped by 32%, making it difficult for some medical practitioners to keep going. Revenue reductions were 50% or greater for nearly 1 out of 5 physicians through August with subsequent months likely making the situation even worse.

Iran’s Enriched Uranium Stockpile Is 12 Times Nuclear Accord’s Cap

Iran is continuing to build up its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and now holds roughly 12 times the amount permitted under the 2015 nuclear agreement, the United Nations Atomic Agency said in a new report. The findings underscore the challenge the incoming Biden administration faces in persuading Iran to fully return to the 2015 nuclear deal: The stockpile of low-enriched uranium, when further refined, can be used to fuel a nuclear weapon. Iran is also taking steps to potentially accelerate its production of low-enriched uranium.

Egyptian Helicopter Crash Kills Six Americans

Eight soldiers, including six Americans, were killed Thursday when a helicopter belonging to an international peacekeeping force crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Israel’s 669 aerial rescue unit responded to a call for help and evacuated one US soldier who survived the crash, flying him to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba where he was listed in critical condition. Although Islamist terrorists are very active in the region, the Multinational Force and Observers said that “at this point, there is no information to indicate the crash was anything except an accident.”

Massacre in Mozambique by Islamist Militants

Three days of savage violence afflicted northern Mozambique from November 6-8, reports Barnabas Aid. In Muatide village, a soccer field became a killing ground, when more than 50 people were beheaded and then chopped into pieces by ferocious Islamist militants. In Nanjaba village, gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” stormed into the community, setting homes on fire, beheading villagers and abducting women. Northern Mozambique has been afflicted by Islamist extremist violence for the past three years. Christians, moderate Muslims and anyone else who rejects the jihadists’ ideology is a target. When residents from the village of Quisanga returned to their homes after fleeing to the bush to escape a massacre, they found bags of body parts hanging in the trees.

54 Ethnic Amharas, Mostly Christian Women, Children and Elderly, Massacred in Ethiopia

Survivors of a massacre at a school in the western Oromia region of Ethiopia reported that at least 54 ethnic Amhara, most of whom are thought to have been Christians, died, according to a body count made after gunmen opened fire on a gathering of about 200. Around 60 armed terrorists identified themselves as the Oromo Liberation Army. “This senseless attack is the latest in a series of killings in the country in which members of ethnic minorities have been deliberately targeted,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s regional director for East and Southern Africa. The Oromo Liberation Front is a political party established in 1973 by Oromo people in Ethiopia who believe that they constitute a separate nation. The movement is the culmination of over 70 years of uncoordinated resistance by Oromos against Ethiopian central government.

Guatemala’s President Prohibits Planned Parenthood from Operating in the Country

Interior Minister Oliverio García Rodas resigned from his position after he initially approved an agreement between Guatemala and Planned Parenthood. Guatemalan President Dr. Alejandro Giammattei issued a statement after Rodas rescinded the agreement. “I recognize life from its conception, and therefore, in my government, I will not tolerate any movement that violates what is provided in our political Constitution of the Republic, that goes against the values with which I was raised and that conflicts with my principles as a doctor, I am a faithful defender of life and I am empathetic in stating that I will not endorse in my government the creation, registration, or start-up of any organization that goes against life.

Armenia, Azerbaijan Agree to Ceasefire, Russia to Deploy 2,000 Peacekeepers

Armenia and Azerbaijan announced an agreement early Tuesday to halt fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan under a pact signed with Russia that calls for deployment of nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeepers and territorial concessions. Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a 1994 truce ended a separatist war in which an estimated 30,000 people died. Sporadic clashes occurred since then, and full-scale fighting began again on Sept. 27. Several cease-fires had been called but were almost immediately violated. Christians in Armenia have called the conflict genocide at the hands of Islamic Azerbaijan.

UN Votes To Crack Down On Somalia’s Al-Shabab Extremists

The U.N. Security Council voted Thursday to prevent the sale or shipment to Somalia of components of improvised explosive devices if there is “significant risk” they may be used to manufacture the often deadly devices that are increasingly being used in attacks by al-Shabab extremists. The resolution, adopted by a 13-0 vote with Russia and China abstaining, reaffirmed the arms embargo on Somalia and banned the resale or transfer of any weapons or military equipment sold or supplied to help develop Somalia’s National Security Forces and security sector. Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab remains the most active and resilient extremist group in Africa, controlling parts of southern and central Somalia and often targeting checkpoints and other high-profile areas in the capital, Mogadishu. It has fired several mortars this year at the heavily defended international airport, where the U.S. Embassy and other missions are located.”

Norway Criminalizes Private Criticism of LGTBQ People

Norway’s parliament has voted to expand the protections that the LGBTQ community has enjoyed in that nation since 1981 by expanding the definition of “hate speech” that can land a person in prison. Norway already was among the most liberal countries in Europe, but homophobic crimes have risen, a recent report said. So parliamentarians agreed to expand their penal code. Now those found guilty of hate speech face a fine or up to a year in prison for private remarks, and a maximum of three years for public comments. Opponents of the change pointed out it could be used to criminalize free speech, even in private.

Earthquakes

An earthquake rattled southern New England on Sunday morning, but there were no reports of major damage. The quake, with a magnitude of 3.6, was felt in most of Rhode Island, all of eastern Massachusetts and parts of southern New Hampshire. The earthquake, centered a few miles off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts, in Buzzards Bay, struck at 9:10 a.m.

Wildfires

South America’s Pantanal region, the world’s largest wetland, has been hit by the worst wildfires in decades. The blazes have already consumed about 28% of the vast floodplain that stretches across parts of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. The fires have destroyed unique habitats and wrecked the livelihoods of many of the Pantanal’s diverse indigenous communities. But their damaging impact reaches far beyond the region. Wetlands like the Pantanal are Earth’s most effective carbon sinks — ecosystems that absorb and store more carbon than they release, keeping it away from the atmosphere. At roughly 200,000 square kilometers, the Pantanal comprises about 3% of the globe’s wetlands and plays a key role in the carbon cycle.

Weather

Knee-deep floodwaters covered streets and roadways across South Florida on Monday as Tropical Storm Eta lashed the state. The storm made landfall in the Florida Keys at 11 p.m. Sunday, but by then Eta had lashed the state with rain for most of the day. The National Weather Service said it had a report of 18 inches of water standing in an intersection in Miramar. Trees were down in several locations, including in Key Largo. Tropical Storm Eta later dumped torrents of blustery rain on Florida’s west coast as it moved over Florida for the second time, making landfall north of the heavily populated Tampa Bay area Thursday morning. Eta is the record-breaking 12th named tropical system to strike the continental U.S. this season. 

The death toll from Hurricane Eta in Central America has climbed to more than 100 and it continues to rise. Rescuers are still digging through mud and debris where a landslide unleashed by the remnants of the storm buried a village in Guatemala. More than 100 people remain missing in Quejá, about 125 miles from the capital, Guatemala City.

Meanwhile, subtropical storm Theta formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday night, making 2020 the most active hurricane season on record with 29 storms so far. And with weeks to go until the official end of the Atlantic hurricane season, yet another storm looks to be forming south of Puerto Rico and there’s a 70% chance it will become the 30th named storm.

Tens of thousands of people were without power Wednesday across the Midwest as a potent storm system brought severe weather and several inches of snow that caused hundreds of crashes across Minnesota. A new daily record for snow was reported on Tuesday at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where 5.5 inches of snow fell. The snowstorm was part of a frontal system heading eastward, which caused severe weather for locations to the south. Tornado warnings were issued across portions of Wisconsin and Illinois as a line of severe thunderstorms roared through the region. Major damage was reported in Racine County in Wisconsin, where downed trees and power lines littered neighborhoods. 

The death toll continued to rise Thursday evening in North Carolina as torrential rainfall caused flooding that inundated homes and businesses, washed out roads and bridges and forced dozens of rescues and evacuations. At least seven deaths were blamed on the weather, including three people who were caught up in floodwaters at a campground. While the heavy rain has subsided, the National Weather Service in Raleigh warned that flooding remains a threat as rivers, including the Haw, Neuse, Tar and Cape Fear, continue to rise. Flood warnings were in effect Friday morning for more than 30 counties. Water continued to flood homes and roadways. A 5-mile section of Interstate 95 in Johnston County remained closed.

  • End-time weather will continue to grow more extreme (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

Signs of the Times (11/6/20)

November 6, 2020

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. (1Thessalonians 5:1-9)

The Slow Slog to 270 Electoral Votes Mired in Slew of Lawsuits

Republican lawyers filed a barrage of lawsuits in closely contested states including Nevada, Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania after Election Day seeking to challenge Democratic votes. The Biden campaign, however, says it is ready to “successfully repel” legal action. Both parties asked supporters for more donations Wednesday to fund all the legal action. President Trump does not have plans to concede the election but has called for recounts in several states. Biden sits at 264 electoral votes in states where races have been called by several media outlets while Trump has 214 in called races. President Trump has also charged that extensive fraud has marred the election which he believes will be uncovered by many of the lawsuits.

  • The Republican National Committee has legal teams on the ground in four battleground states and announced Friday there are numerous incidences of “voting irregularities.” Legal teams for the RNC are in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The Nevada Republican Party sent a criminal referral late Thursday to the U.S. Justice Department asking for an investigation into cases of voter fraud. “Thousands of individuals have been identified who appear to have violated the law by casting ballots after they moved from Nevada,” the organization said.
  • Democratic nominee Joe Biden edged ahead of President Donald Trump in the all-important battleground of Pennsylvania for the first time Friday. Biden leads the president by more than 6,000 votes as of Friday morning, a difference of just 0.1% which has triggered a recount.
  • Thousands of military ballots have yet to be counted in Georgia, which some say could give a boost to President Trump’s numbers in the state, even as Democratic nominee Joe Biden pulled slightly ahead Friday morning by 0.02% in the race to claim the state’s 16 electoral votes.

Michigan Postal Worker Alleges Election Fraud

A postal worker in Michigan alleges that he was ordered to backdate late mail-in ballots to make them valid, according to a Project Veritas investigation. “We were issued a directive this morning to collect any ballots we find in mailboxes, collection boxes, just outgoing mail in general, separate them at the end of the day so that they could hand stamp them with the previous day’s date,” the postal worker said. The employee of the Traverse City Post Office identified his boss as Jonathan. Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe called Jonathan to ask questions, but Jonathan hung up.

Other Significant Election Results

Oregon became the first state to decriminalize hard drugs like heroin, cocaine and meth in a 59-41% vote as of early Wednesday morning. Only small amounts of drugs are decriminalized. Possession of larger amounts is still a felony. The “Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act” will transition Oregon’s drug policy from a punitive, criminal approach to “a humane, cost-effective, health approach.” “People suffering from addiction are more effectively treated with health care services than with criminal punishments,” the bill reads. “A health care approach includes a health assessment to figure out the needs of people who are suffering from addiction, and it includes connecting them to the services they need.” Oregon will now offer addiction services funded by marijuana tax revenue, which is more than $100 million a year in the state. 

  • It appears that Republicans will retain a majority in the Senate while the Democrats will hold onto their majority in the House of Representatives.
  • The conventional wisdom about abortion and gender took a major blow on Election Day when 13 new pro-life women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives – doubling the number of women in the chamber who oppose legalized abortion.
  • New Mexico has elected an all-women-of-color slate to the U.S. House of Representatives, for the first time in the state’s history, and the second time in U.S history. The first U.S. state to have an all-women—of-color House delegation was Hawaii in 1990.
  • Alabama voters Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that could lead to the removal of racist language from the state Constitution. The 1901 Constitution was framed to disenfranchise Blacks and poor whites, and includes language that bans interracial marriage and requires public schools to be segregated.
  • The state of Mississippi will fly a new state flag with a magnolia in the center and the phrase “In God We Trust” after voters approved the design Tuesday. It will replace a Confederate battle flag-themed banner that state lawmakers retired months ago as part of the national reckoning over racial injustice.

Pre-Election Polls Prove Faulty One Again

For a second straight presidential election, Trump outperformed many of the public opinion surveys. On the eve of Tuesday’s election, an average of the national surveys indicated Biden with a whopping 7.2 percentage points. As of Wednesday morning Biden was edging Trump by just 1.6 percentage points in the national popular vote. The president carried battleground Florida and its 29 electoral votes over Biden. At last check, his margin of victory stands at 3.4 points. But an average of the final public surveys on the eve of the election that was compiled by Real Clear Politics indicated the former vice president with 0.9 point edge. Veteran GOP pollster Neil Newhouse explained that “there are a bunch of folks out there who don’t trust polls and therefore opt out of polls. They don’t want to disclose to others who they support.”

Protests Across the Country Continue as Election Remains Unclear

Police and protesters across the country battled Wednesday night and into Thursday morning as the nation holds its breath waiting for an outcome in the presidential election. In Minneapolis, nearly 200 people were detained and in Portland, the Oregon National Guard was deployed to quell the unrest. Police in Minneapolis arrested hundreds of people Wednesday night as they blocked a highway to demonstrate in favor of progressive causes. Protesters in New York harassed outdoor dinners, set trash cans on fire and spit on police as they chanted anti-police slogans.

Buddhists, Christians, Jews & Muslims Gather for Prayer

A more peaceful gathering occurred in New York City Wednesday, where Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and people of other faiths prayed and sang together in post-election solidarity outside a Manhattan church. “We are here together as we figure out how to make a just and loving democracy—no matter the outcome of this election,” said the Rev. Jacqui Lewis, pastor of Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village.

Facebook/Twitter Label Trump Tweets as Misleading

Facebook and Twitter on early Wednesday warned social media users that President Donald Trump’s claims regarding the election results are potentially misleading, including his claim that he had won the election. After the president falsely claimed in a speech around 2:30 a.m. ET that he had won the race and alleged fraud on the behalf of his opponents, Facebook labeled a video feed featuring those comments: “With votes still being counted, no clear winner has been determined at this time. Final results may be different from initial vote counts, as ballot counting will continue for days or weeks. Source: Bipartisan Policy Center.” 

Economy Rated Most Important Factor for Voters

CNN exit polls show that COVID-19 wasn’t the top issue for Americans this election year, with only 1 in 6 voters citing the pandemic as most important to their vote. In comparison, one-third of voters named the economy as their most critical issue and 1 in 5 cited racial equality. About 1 in 10 each cited health care policy and crime and violence as their top issue. The polled voters were fairly evenly split on whether the country’s economy is doing well, more than half said the coronavirus pandemic has caused them financial hardship. However, more voters said they are better off today than four years ago (around 4 in 10) than say they are worse off today (2 in 10).

U.S. Postal Service Fails to Deliver Mail-In Ballots on Time

The U.S. Postal Service failed to comply with a court-ordered deadline Tuesday to sweep mail-processing facilities in more than a dozen states for missing election ballots that could number in the hundreds of thousands. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington ordered the sweep Tuesday morning after the Postal Service said its delivery performance had dropped over the past five days and could not say whether more than 300,000 ballots received in its facilities had been delivered. The Postal Service said in its update to Sullivan that it was unable to conduct the sweep because it would have “significantly” disrupted its Election Day activities. Instead, the agency said, it would continue its preplanned daily review process in its 220 facilities nationwide that process ballots and would try to deliver any remaining ballots. Timely delivery of the ballots has been a concern and voting rights activists worry the loss of ballots, especially in battleground states, could alter the results of the presidential election. 

  • More than 150,000 ballots were caught in Postal Service processing facilities and not delivered by Election Day, agency data showed Friday. The ballots that didn’t reach election officials in time included more than 12,000 in five of the states that have yet to be called for either President Trump or Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Record 121,888 Covid-19 Cases Recorded in U.S. in One Day

A fall surge of COVID-19 seems to be in full effect, as the United States surpassed 100,000 new daily cases for the first time on Wednesday and then again Thursday. Wednesday’s one-day record count of 102,831 was the first U.S. daily total to break 100,000, then shattered by Thursday’s count. So far this month, 20 states have hit record highs for new Covid-19 cases. Worldwide, 1,000,000 coronavirus cases were reported in less than 36 hours — a rate of 7.8 cases every second.

  • The U.S. is now averaging 895 deaths a day, and the number is rising rapidly. The U.S. reported 1,210 deaths Thursday, the third day in a row the nation lost more than 1,000 people
  • Hospitalizations have shot up by 260% in the last month in New Mexico and health officials added they expect to run out of general hospital beds “in a matter of days.” Idaho is seeing a record number of daily cases and hospitals are also running out of space for COVID-19 patients.
  • An election judge supervisor who tested positive for COVID-19 and was aware of the test result still worked at a Missouri polling place and has since died, health officials say. The election official worked at a suburban St. Louis polling site in St. Charles County, where nearly 2,000 people voted on Tuesday.

Third Wave of Cases Surges Higher Than Previous Two Peaks, But Deaths Lower

According to the New York Times, America’s first peak of 7-day average of Covid-19 cases occurred on April 10 at 31,709 new confirmed cases per day. The second summer peak occurred on July 19 with a 7-day average of 66,692. As of Thursday, the third peak (and still climbing) reached 91,878. Deaths, however, tell a different story. The first 7-day average peak occurred on April 16 at 2,198 deaths per day. A second peak occurred on August 1 at 1,229 deaths/day. As of Thursday, the 7-day average deaths per day has risen to 847 from a low of 697 on October 10.

  • A rough measure of the death rate at each of the three peaks can be estimated by dividing the 7-day average (from the New York Times graph) of cases/day by the 7-day average deaths per day. This gives us a death rate of 6.9% in the spring, 1.8% in the summer and currently 0.9%. So we can conclude that the infection rate is increasing but the death rate is substantially lower now, a result of further mutations of the coronavirus strain.

Surging Covid-19 Cases Prompt States to Issue New Restrictions

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued orders earlier this week to force all restaurants and bars to keep a log of every customer, including name, phone number and time of visit. On Friday, new coronavirus restrictions in Massachusetts began, including a statewide face mask mandate, closure of some businesses, and limits to indoor and outdoor gatherings. In Maine, Gov. Janet Mills issued a mask mandate regardless of whether people can physically distance from others. In Connecticut, new measures are going into effect Friday, which will place new limits on restaurants, religious ceremonies and event spaces. The governor also announced Thursday tightened restrictions around private gatherings, which will extend through the Thanksgiving holiday season. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced new restrictions taking effect Sunday, including a stay-at-home advisory that will last from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weeknights and will begin at 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Navajo Nation late Wednesday announced two additional weekend-long curfews, citing a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Europe Continues to Expand Covid-19 Restrictions

New Covid-19 restrictions are in place in Austria, Greece and Sweden. Germany imposed a partial shutdown Monday, with Italy, France, Kosovo and Croatia also implementing tighter measures. England went back into lockdown on Thursday, though schools and universities are expected to stay open. 

Denmark to Kill 15 Million Minks to Curb Covid-19

Denmark says it plans to kill all farmed mink in the county, at least 15 million animals, rather than take any chances with a mutated version of the coronavirus. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen warned Wednesday that according to a government report, a version of the virus spreading from minks to humans weakens the body’s ability to produce antibodies, threatening the effectiveness of future COVID vaccines. “The virus has mutated in mink. The mutated virus has spread to humans,” Frederiksen said. She said the mutated virus has been found in at least 12 people. “It is very, very serious,” she said. “Thus, the mutated virus in minks can have devastating consequences worldwide.” Authorities say almost half the 783 human COVID cases in northern Denmark are related to mink.

Cases of Coronavirus in Children is Escalating

While children represent only 11.1% of all coronavirus cases in the United States, that number is steadily growing, according to a report released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. Over 61,000 new child COVID-19 cases were reported last week – the highest since the pandemic began. Nearly 200,000 new child COVID-19 cases were reported from Oct. 1 to Oct. 29. Over 853,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic.

Cough Droplets Can Travel Well Beyond Six Feet New Study Shows

A new study suggests that a person coughing can disperse droplets well beyond six feet, the current norm for social distancing. The new study was published on Tuesday in the journal Physics of Fluids. The researchers — from Singapore’s Agency of Science, Technology and Research — used numerical models to simulate the trajectory of droplets expelled by a person who suddenly coughs outdoors. The study suggests that at wind speeds of 2 meters per second — or about 4 miles per hour — the travel distances for droplets around the sizes of 100 micrometers can reach 21.6 feet at 86 degrees Fahrenheit. This isn’t the first time a model has suggested that a cough can travel farther than six feet. In May, separate research out of Cyprus that also published in the journal Physics of Fluids found that a light breeze could carry some droplets as far as 18 feet.

Blacks Less Likely to be Violent-Crime Victims than Whites, Hispanics

Violent crime against Black Americans has dropped 43% over the past 14 years, and they are now less likely to be victims of violent crime than White or Hispanic people, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a branch of the Justice Department. “If you look at this data, it refutes the idea that crime is out of control in Black communities but also the racial justice narrative that Whites are murdering us,” said Wilfred Reilly, who teaches political science at Kentucky State University and is also a Black man. The analysis found that violent crime against Black people dropped faster than violent crime against White people (24%) and Hispanic people (18%) from 2005 to 2019. By 2019, 18.7 Black people per 1,000 were victimized by a violent crime that year, compared with 21 Whites and 21.3 Hispanics per 1,000 people of those ethnicities, respectively.

Economic News

The U.S. economy added 638,000 jobs in October as payroll growth roughly held steady despite a surge in COVID-19 cases and Congress’s failure to provide more aid to unemployed Americans and struggling businesses. The unemployment rate fell from 7.9% to 6.9%, the Labor Department said Friday. Although last month’s employment gains were large by historical standards, the increases have slowed for four straight months since peaking at 4.8 million in June. The nation has recovered only 12 million, or 55%, of the 22 million jobs wiped out by the pandemic. Recovering the rest could take several years, economists say, as states begin to hunker down again as Covid-19 cases rise once again.

Another 751,000 Americans claimed first-time jobless benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s down slightly from the prior week. On top of that, 362,883 workers not eligible for regular state benefits, such as the self-employed or gig workers, claimed aid under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Added together, first-time claims stood at 1.1 million last week without seasonal adjustments, largely unchanged from the level of the past few weeks. Meanwhile, continued jobless claims, which count workers who have applied for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 7.3 million, down by about half a million from the prior week, a slower decline compared with previous weeks.

The Federal Reserve kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low near zero Thursday and signaled its readiness to do more if needed to support an economy under threat from a worsening coronavirus pandemic. The economy in recent weeks has weakened after mounting a tentative recovery from the deep pandemic recession in early spring. Several Fed officials have expressed concern that Congress has failed so far to provide further aid for struggling individuals and businesses.

In a major win for gig economy companies, California voters passed a costly and controversial ballot measure to exempt firms like Uber and Lyft from having to classify their gig workers in the state as employees rather than as independent contractors. Backed by more than $200 million from Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Uber-owned Postmates, Proposition 22 was the costliest ballot measure in California’s history.

Pet food and supplies chain Pet Valu will close its 358 locations and its office in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Liquidation sales are expected to begin “in the coming days.” With stores throughout the Northeast and the Midwest, Pet Valu blamed a “severe impact from COVID-19.”

Despite Peace Deal, UAE, Bahrain & Sudan Continue Anti-Israel Voting at UN

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan stuck to their old anti-Israel voting patterns this week at the United Nations despite the recent advancements in peace deals the three countries made with Israel. On Monday, all three nations voted to adopt a resolution that referred to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of Haram al-Sharif, one of seven resolutions passed that singled out or condemned Israel at a committee of the United Nations General Assembly. Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, called the resolution an “audacious attempt to rewrite history.” He said the UN voted on “the annual ‘Palestinian package’ of resolutions” that single out Israel for condemnation.

Four Dead, Fifteen Wounded in Vienna Terrorist Attack

Four victims have been confirmed dead following a terror attack in Vienna in which at least one shooter fired at people enjoying a night out in the city on the eve of a national lockdown. The death toll includes two men and two women, in addition to the one shooter. Fifteen others, including a police officer, were seriously injured, seven of whom suffered life-threatening injuries. The shooter was a 20-year-old dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia, who had a previous terrorism conviction. He was shot and killed by police, according to Austrian security officials. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said the man—who was carrying an assault rifle and wearing a fake suicide vest—was a “radicalized” Islamic State “sympathizer,” based on videos found in his home. The Islamic State claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the deadly attack in Vienna.

Military Strikes on Christians in Nagorno-Karabakh Raise Specter of Another Armenian Genocide

The scale and ferocity of the current Azeri-Turkey offensive, including raining Israeli-made cluster bombs down on innocent civilians even as they sheltered in church buildings, has intensified the justifiable concern among Armenian Christians of a rising threat of ethnic cleansing from their historic Christian land.  On November 1, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that the indiscriminate attacks on densely populated areas in the region, with associated loss of civilian life and destruction of infrastructure, “contravenes international humanitarian law” and “could be a war crime.”

Weather

Hurricane Eta destroyed homes, knocked down trees and caused flooding and a deadly mudslide along Central America’s Caribbean coast as it came ashore late Tuesday afternoon, packing heavy rain and sustained winds of 140 mph. Eta made landfall just south of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua at around 4 p.m. EST. It hovered just offshore for hours, pummeling the region with winds and rain. Nicaragua’s National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Attention tweeted that about 30,000 had evacuated to shelters. Eta continued to bring devastation to Honduras, Nicaragua and other parts of Central America on Thursday, even after weakening to a tropical depression. Flooding drove hundreds of people from their homes, and torrential rain — between 7 and 14 inches in some places — caused deadly mudslides. More than 50 deaths are being blamed on the storm, including at least 37 people who were killed by landslides in Guatemala.

A decade ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished a sprawling sand dune that snaked along the 7.7-mile Gulf of Mexico coastline on Grand Isle, Louisiana. With a hard-packed clay core known as a burrito levee, it’s the primary defense between storm surge and the homes, businesses and infrastructure that serve tourists and residents alike on the narrow barrier island about two hours south of New Orleans. But multiple hits by tropical systems this year – three hurricanes and two tropical storms made landfall in Louisiana – stripped away the sand along a 2,000-foot-long stretch of the structure, ripped through the heavy fabric that covers the burrito and breached the levee in several places. But rising sea levels mean storm surge is becoming an even bigger threat. And coastal Louisiana, where land is disappearing at the same time seas are rising, is widely considered to be ground zero.

Much needed rain is finally coming to fire-ravaged western states, but it will come with very strong winds leading the big weather system that will bring rain and snow as well as a large temperature drop. Much needed rain is finally coming to fire-ravaged western states, but it will come at a cost, with strong winds leading the big weather system that will bring rain and snow. Much of Nevada and portions of eastern California will see winds pick up Friday morning and continue through the afternoon, at times gusting up to 50 mph. This is a concern because gusty winds, dry conditions and low humidity levels increase fire danger.

Signs of the Times (11/2/20)

November 2, 2020

“Oh Lord, You’re beautiful, Your face is all I seek, for when Your eyes are on this child, Your grace abounds to me. Oh Lord, please light the fire, that once burned bright and clear. Replace the lamp of my first love, that burns with Holy fear. I want to take Your word and shine it all around. but first help me to just live it Lord. And when I’m doing well, help me to never seek a crown. For my reward is giving glory to You.” (Keith Green)

More Than 95 Million Americans Have Already Voted as of Monday Morning

More than 95 million Americans have voted nationwide with one day left until Election Day as of Monday morning, according to a survey of election officials. These votes represent more than 45% of registered voters nationwide and are a modern-day record for early turnout. Eighteen states and Washington, DC, have seen more than half of their registered voters cast ballots already. Nationwide, the 95.5 million ballots already cast represents 70% of the more than 136.5 million ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election.  

Judges Appointed by Trump Uphold Voting Limits Prior to Election Day

An analysis by The Washington Post found that nearly three out of four opinions issued in federal voting-related cases by judges picked by President Trump were in favor of maintaining limits on voting rules in the 2020 campaign. The pattern shows how President Trump’s success installing a record number of judges in his four years in office has played a critical role in determining how people can vote this year and which ballots will be counted. The liberal Washington Post considers this a bad thing, but this is why conservatives support Trump regardless of his character flaws.

Texas Supreme Court Denies Republicans’ Petition to Throw Out Over 100,000 Ballots

On Sunday, the Supreme Court of Texas denied a request by the state’s Republicans to reject over 100,000 ballots cast through curbside voting in Harris County, Texas. These efforts follow an October 22 decision by the Texas Supreme Court denying a GOP bid to shut down curbside voting — also know as drive-thru voting. The petition claims that drive-thru voting is an illegal expansion of curbside voting, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

D.C Businesses Board Up, ‘Non-Scalable’ Fence Around White House

D.C. business owners are boarding up buildings ahead of potential protests over the election, and the White House is expected to put up a “non-scalable” fence. The fence reportedly will stretch around the Ellipse and Lafayette Square. Protests over police brutality and racism in the summer turned violent at times in the District as fires were set and buildings were damaged and looted. Police Chief Peter Newsham said Thursday that he is unaware of any “credible threats of violence” ahead of Election Day on Tuesday, but that the “entire” department will be on duty and time off will be restricted for the following days.

Police Pepper-Spray Voter Turnout Marchers in North Carolina

Saturday’s “I Am Change” march to a polling place in Graham, North Carolina, ended with multiple arrests and injuries following a police crackdown on the demonstration. “You have created this chaos; we will not stand down,” said Rev. Gregory Drumwright, the primary organizer of both marches, as law enforcement issued a disperse order. “We have a legal right to occupy this ground, and I have a legal right to occupy this ground until 2 p.m., and I will stay here and demonstrate our legal rights.”  Drumwright had received a permit prior to the event to occupy the area in front of the courthouse until 2pm. The march was a get-out-the-vote event.

Counter-Protesters Attack Trump Supporter at Beverly Hills Rally

The Beverly Hills Police Department declared an unlawful assembly Saturday after counter-protesters attacked a Trump supporter at the USA Freedom Rally in Beverly Hills, California which featured several Republican California congressional candidates. A group of counter-protesters, mostly clad in black, the hallmark of Antifa, marched from Roxbury Park to the site of the USA Freedom Rally. “A couple of the members got into a violent attack on a pro-Trump member, a police spokesman said. “A couple of the members got into a violent attack on a pro-Trump member

NYPD Arrests 10 After Cops and Anti-Trump Protesters Clash in Manhattan

New York City police made 10 arrests Sunday following a violent clash with anti-Trump protesters in Manhattan. About 300 anti-Trump demonstrators had gathered at Madison Square Park to confront pro-Trump caravans crisscrossing the New York region ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election. Protesters said they were angry that a reporter had been arrested, but an NYPD spokeswoman said no one with NYPD press credentials had been arrested. The anti-Trump group marched to the West Side Highway, before dispersing after concluding the Trump caravans were likely avoiding Manhattan.

Portland Police Declare Riot after Protesters Break Multiple Windows

Police in Portland, Oregon, declared a riot Saturday night after officers observed protesters damaging multiple businesses, the Portland Police Bureau said. Police in Portland, Oregon, declared a riot Saturday night after officers observed protesters damaging multiple businesses, the Portland Police Bureau said. According to police, members of the group threw objects at police and pepper sprayed members of the community. Police say they also shattered windows at several businesses, including two phone stores, a coffee shop, a computer store, a community bank, a hotel, a restaurant, a financial office and two realty offices.

Trump Supporters, Protesters Clash at Robert E. Lee Monument in Virginia

A political rally on Sunday led to confrontations between Trump supporters and protesters at a Robert E. Lee monument in Virginia. Police said the mobile political rally, which dubbed itself as a “Trump Train,” entered Richmond on Sunday afternoon. Police said there was a confrontation as the rally passed the statue at Monument and Allen avenues. Protesters attempted to block the convoy as it tried to round the monument. Some of the demonstrators were aggressive toward the drivers and their vehicles, according to the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record.

Trump Supporters Shut Down Blue State Highways, Surround Biden Bus

Pro-Trump supporters clogged freeways in at least three historically Democratic strongholds Sunday in support of the president days before Tuesday’s election. In Cheesequake, N.J., a video posted to Twitter showed hundreds of vehicles on a congested Garden State Parkway as people in a pro-Trump convoy stopped, blocked the highway, got out and waved “Trump 2020” and pro-police flags. A line of cars with pro-Trump flags also shut down the highway between Seaford and Montauk in Long Island. A similar lineup was also seen on New York State Route 25. A Daily Beast reporter in Maryland witnessed another caravan of Trump supporters in wheels. The same scene was also reported Sunday in Pasadena, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles. The groundswell of support comes after Trump supporters in trucks surrounded a Joe Biden campaign bus in Texas, prompting staffers to call 911 on Friday. The vehicles formed a so-called “Trump train” while waving flags and honking horns as the bus traveled on Interstate 35, bound from San Antonio to Austin.

Dispute Over Trump Yard Sign in Kansas Leaves 3 Shot

Three people were shot Sunday in Kansas during a confrontation between multiple people and a man who believed they had stolen several of his lawn signs supporting President Trump. When officers responded to the scene in North Topeka at 11 p.m., they found one person had been shot several times inside a car that had crashed. That individual was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. Two other victims also showed up at the hospital with gunshot wounds in connection with the case, police said.

Twitter Restores NY Post’s Account After Censoring Report on Hunter Biden

Twitter said Friday evening that it restored the New York Post’s ability to tweet following a change to the policy that the social media giant used to justify restrictions placed on the Post’s account. Earlier this month, Twitter blocked users from sharing New York Post articles involving Hunter Biden’s emails that reflect poorly on the presidential campaign of his father, Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden. Twitter prevented its users from sharing and sending the articles via direct message as well, and prevented users who had done so from continuing to tweet — including the New York Post. Earlier Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended his company’s decision to block the newspaper from publishing on his platform at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, citing the company’s hacked materials policy. “We didn’t want Twitter to be a distributor for hacked materials,” Mr. Dorsey said at a Senate Committee hearing.

Supreme Court Sides with Black Lives Matter Activist

The Supreme Court overturned a ruling Monday against Black Lives Matter leader DeRay Mckesson, who led a protest in Louisiana that caused brain damage to a police officer. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled Mckesson could be held liable for negligent conduct that occurred at his protest, but the high court disagreed in a 7-1 opinion. The case stemmed from Mckesson organizing a demonstration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2016 against a local police shooting of Alton Sterling. When police moved to arrest protesters gathered along the highway, one demonstrator threw concrete at an officer, causing him to lose teeth and suffer brain trauma. That unnamed officer sued Mckesson, moving to hold him liable for the negligent conduct in organizing the protest which resulted in the assault — even though the actual individual who threw the concrete remains unidentified.

California Regulates Thanksgiving With Big Brother Protocols

In addition to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s unconstitutional orders that discriminate against churches and places of worship, he has now released onerous government restrictions on Thanksgiving gatherings. The mandatory restrictions for Thanksgiving gatherings include: No more than three households, including hosts and guests; The names and contact information of guests must be recorded so they can be “contact traced; Must be held outside; no more than two hours; Guests may use restrooms only if they are sanitized between use; Six-foot distancing in all directions; Everyone should frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer; Food and drink must be in single-serve disposable containers; No food or drink on the table other than your plate and cup; Masks must be worn and removed only briefly to eat or drink; Masks can also be removed for urgent medical needs (an asthma inhaler, medication or light-headedness); Singing, chanting and shouting are strongly discouraged, but if they occur, a face covering must be worn; The singing should be quiet; Instrumental music is allowed but no wind instruments.

  • Big Brother Newsome has overstepped constitutional freedoms so severely that he has moved beyond socialism to totalitarianism.

Britain/Belgium/France/Austria Institute Second Covid-19 Lockdowns

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a “circuit break” lockdown in England for the month of November as the nation struggles to contain the coronavirus. The lockdown will commence Nov. 5 and end Dec. 2, when the country will return to the tiered system based on the latest data. Residents will be allowed to leave their homes only for essential reasons, such as education, work, shopping and exercise. All non-essential businesses will be closed.  Pubs, bars and restaurants will close for general service, but can still provide takeaway services. Schools, colleges and universities will remain open.

  • Meanwhile in Europe, hard-hit Belgium imposed a partial lockdown in an attempt to gain control of the virus’ spread. In France, authorities ordered another four-week lockdown that began Friday, and Austria planned to shut hotels and restaurants in a second shutdown.

Thanksgiving in Canada Leads to Coronavirus Spikes, U.S. Next?

Three weeks after Canadians celebrated their Thanksgiving holiday, the country is seeing a national spike in cases. Several cities and provinces have shattered single day records for coronavirus infections, and Canada’s top doctors say the holiday — held on October 12 — is partly to blame. Canada is now experiencing a stubborn second wave of Covid-19, despite widespread mask-wearing mandates. Will the U.S. suffer the same fate, as Americans begin making plans for their holiday that is quickly approaching? Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s medical officer of health, warned that while family gatherings may seem harmless, they are a prime example of how the coronavirus can spread.

New Study Says Immunity to Covid-19 Lingers for Months

A new study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that 90% of people who recover from COVID-19 have immunity for at least 5 months. While that contradicts a British study published Tuesday that said antibodies decline more than 26% within three months, the American scientists said they found just the opposite conclusion. Professor Florian Krammer, a virologist at Icahn who lead the study team, said in a statement that “more than 90% of people who were mildly or moderately ill produce an antibody response strong enough to neutralize the virus, and the response is maintained for several months.” The drop off in antibodies noted in other studies likely came from the initial immune system response, with the plasma blasts that launch the initial attack against pathogen invaders waning after a while.

  • Following the science is difficult when studies contradict one another as they have with masks.

Study Links Vitamins A, D & E to Fewer Colds

People who get enough vitamin A, D, and E may be less likely to complain of coughs and sore throat, though it’s not clear the nutrients are the reason why, new research suggests. The study, of over 6,100 U.K. adults, found that those who consumed more of the vitamins were less likely to have “respiratory complaints” — like coughs, “chest” infections, trouble breathing, and sore throat. Vitamin A and E from food or supplements were tied to a lower likelihood of respiratory woes, as was vitamin D from supplements.

  • Several other studies have linked Vitamin D to less severe Covid-19 symptoms

Archbishop Vigano, Technocracy News & Dr. Mercola Reveal Totalitarian ‘Great Reset’

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, says in a letter to President Trump that, “A global plan called the Great Reset is underway. Its architect is a global élite that wants to subdue all of humanity, imposing coercive measures with which to drastically limit individual freedoms and those of entire populations. In several nations this plan has already been approved and financed; in others it is still in an early stage…The purpose of the Great Reset is the imposition of a health dictatorship aiming at the imposition of liberticidal [i.e. destructive to liberty] measures, hidden behind tempting promises of ensuring a universal income and cancelling individual debt. The price of these concessions from the International Monetary Fund will be the renunciation of private property and adherence to a program of vaccination against Covid-19 and Covid-21 promoted by Bill Gates with the collaboration of the main pharmaceutical groups. Beyond the enormous economic interests that motivate the promoters of the Great Reset, the imposition of the vaccination will be accompanied by the requirement of a health passport and a digital ID, with the consequent contact tracing of the population of the entire world. Those who do not accept these measures will be confined in detention camps or placed under house arrest, and all their assets will be confiscated.”

  • Technocracy News also reports that the World Bank is throwing its full weight behind the Great Reset. “For decades, the global elite hid their plans behind environmental extremists, but now they have fully revealed themselves as being the master architects from the very beginning. The World Bank, IMF and Bank for International Settlements are in a coordinated tryst to reform the planet.”
  • Dr. Joseph Mercola also clearly delineates “the threats we face from Technocracy, aka Sustainable Development, aka the Great Reset, aka the Global Green New Deal… Two of the last pieces of the totalitarian takeover will be the transition to an all-digital currency linked to digital IDs. With that, enforcement of social rules will be more or less ensured, as your finances, indeed your entire identity, can easily be held hostage if you fail to comply.”

27 Missing Children Found in Virginia

During a five-day operation dubbed “Operation Find Our Children,” deputy U.S. Marshals located 27 missing kids in Virginia. The Justice Department coordinated the effort with the Marshals Service’s regional Fugitive Task Force; special agents, police officers, and detectives from multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies; employees of the Virginia Department of Social Services; and a team of medical professionals and experts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “The U.S. Marshals Service is leading the way in a nationwide effort to rescue and recover missing and exploited children, and aid in the prevention of human trafficking,” a press release states. Since 2005, the U.S. Marshals Service has recovered more than 2,000 missing children. This year, more than 440 other children have also been found in operations in Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, Louisiana, and other states.

Economic News

Last week, stocks had their worst week since March, when the market tumbled under the first wave of coronavirus infections and lockdowns. All three major indexes recorded their second straight month of losses. The Dow fell 6.5% on the week while the S&P 500, the broadest measure of Wall Street activity, dropped 5.6%.The tech-heavy Nasdaq finished down 2.5% on Friday, for a drop of 5.5% on the week. Stocks are up Monday midst pre-election uncertainty.

More than half of the 140,000 gas stations in the U.S. now are selling gas for just under $2 a gallon. And gas that cheap will soon be coming to many consumers in the rest of the nation. The last time that more than half the stations sold regular gas for less than $2 a gallon was June 18. Crude oil prices have been dropping due to concerns about a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two owners of a combined 130 or so malls across the US have filed for bankruptcy, signaling that the pandemic and shifting consumer habits continue to rattle the retail industry. CBL Properties and PREIT filed for Chapter 11 on Sunday and both will continue operating while they navigate the restructuring process.

FIC Restaurants, the company that owns the Friendly’s chain in the northeastern U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Sunday, becoming the latest in a series of casual dining companies to falter amid the pandemic. The move comes amid a flurry of bankruptcy filings for restaurant chains, including most recently the companies that own Ruby Tuesday and California Pizza Kitchen. Restaurants that rely heavily on sit-down dining have generally fared poorly amid restrictions on their capacity and fears of the coronavirus as the pandemic continues.

12,000 Muslims Protest on Temple Mount Against France’s Macron

Some 12,000 Muslims participated in a mass protest last Friday at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, chanting slogans against French President Emmanuel Macron. While Friday prayers at the third holiest site in Islam typically draw large crowds, last Friday was the Mawlid holiday, which marks the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. The holiday, coupled with outrage over Macron’s comments on Islam, are thought to be the cause of the massive turnout. Macron said in a speech that Islam was a faith “in crisis all over the world” and that the time had come for reforms to the religion. Protests over Macron’s remarks have taken place across the globe, with mass protests held in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iran and Pakistan.

Voter Data Copied by Iran in Effort to Influence Election

Voter registration information in at least one state was recently accessed from abroad as part of an Iranian hacking campaign targeting next week’s White House race, U.S. officials said Friday. The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency conclude that the data was copied by the same culprit responsible for intimidating emails purportedly sent recently by the Proud Boys. Voter information copied from the state election site was subsequently used in a propaganda video to voter email accounts.

Navy SEAL Team Rescues American Hostage in Nigeria

An American hostage has been rescued in Nigeria by SEAL Team 6 in a daring raid. Without suffering any casualties, the elite commandos parachuted into Nigeria and rescued Philip Walton, 27, who had been taken hostage by armed men last week. Walton was kidnapped in Niger, where he lives. “We had to get him before any potential trade or sale,” one U.S. official said. President Trump tweeted out a show of support, calling the SEAL team members “brave warriors,” and saying that “our nation salutes the courageous soldiers behind the daring nighttime rescue operation.”

Nineteen killed at Kabul University in Afghanistan

Gunmen stormed Kabul University on Monday as it hosted a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan, sparking an hours-long gun battle and leaving at least 19 dead and 22 wounded at the war-torn country’s largest school. The ministry’s spokesman, Tariq Arian, also said there were three attackers involved in the assault, all of whom were killed in the ensuing firefight. The attack came as the insurgents are continuing peace talks with the U.S.-backed government. Those negotiations, taking place in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, aim to help the U.S. finally withdraw from America’s longest war, though daily bloodshed continues and an Islamic State affiliate has launched attacks on Shiites in the country.

Weather

Slow-moving Hurricane Eta, which rapidly intensified overnight, is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge, strong winds and nearly 3 feet of rain. It could lead to catastrophic flooding and landslides across Central America. Sustained winds from Eta strengthened to 110 mph Monday morning. Eta’s center is expected to approach the northeastern coast of Nicaragua Monday afternoon, and make landfall early Tuesday. The storm will also deliver heavy rainfall with estimates of 15 to 25 inches, and isolated amounts up to 35 inches in Nicaragua and Honduras.

  • Eta is the 28th named storm of the active 2020 hurricane season and ties the record for the number of named storms in a single season set back in 2005.

Typhoon Goni made landfall in the Philippines province of Catanduanes early Sunday as the strongest landfalling typhoon on record. The powerful storm swept away about 13,000 shanties and houses in Catanduanes with its 16-foot storm surge. At least 16 people were killed in Catanduanes and nearby Albay province. Three people are still missing. As many as 390,000 people were displaced by the typhoon, which knocked out power to 125 cities and towns. The Philippines Red Cross told the BBC 80 to 90% of the buildings in the Catanduanes town of Virac were damaged by the storm.

  • End-time weather will continue to grow more extreme (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

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