Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Signs of the Times

August 23, 2019

­­We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed… For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. (2Corinthians 4:8-9,17)

Georgia Declares ‘Killing a Living Child is Not Healthcare’

As Georgia fights to defend the legality of its ban on aborting babies with beating hearts, state Attorney General Chris Carr took the opportunity to affirm that Georgia does not recognize abortion as a legitimate form of medical practice. “It is well-settled that ‘a fetus is a living organism within the womb, whether or not it is viable outside the womb,'” the Republican AG argued in a motion filed Monday in US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. “Accordingly, a State may properly recognize that an unborn child is alive even before ‘viability’ and—consistent with its power to protect unborn life—may prohibit the killing of that child by restricting certain types of pre-viability abortions.” Killing a living unborn child does not constitute ‘medical care’ or ‘health care,’ Carr declared. The filing was a motion opposing the ACLU’s, and Planned Parenthood’s request for an injunction against enforcing the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, which forbids abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, except in cases of rape, incest, physical medical emergencies, and pregnancies deemed “medically futile.”

Thousands of Australians March for Life

As the winter night fell in Sydney, nearly ten thousand pro-life Austrailians amassed in the heart of the city, protesting a radical proposed new law permitting abortion on demand until birth. Thousands of protestors marched from Martin Place to the front of New South Wales Parliament buildings where legislators in the state’s Legislative Council, or upper house, were debating the bill. The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019, which will permit even sex-selection abortion, was passed through New South Wales Legislative Assembly, or lower house, on August 8 by a vote of 59 to 31. It now has to pass through the New South Wales Legislative Council, or lower house, and receive the Governor’s assent for it to become law.

Planned Parenthood Opts Out of Title X Program

Planned Parenthood announced on Monday that it has withdrawn from the Title X federal family planning program. Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for implementation of the Protect Life Rule, which prohibits Title X money from going to clinics that conduct or refer for abortions. Planned Parenthood asked the court to reconsider and enjoin the Protect Life Rule, but it declined to do so on Friday, August 16, 2019. That prompted Planned Parenthood to forgo approximately $60 million in federal funding in favor of continuing abortion referrals at its facilities that do not conduct abortions.

Three, No Four Potential Mass Shooters Stopped

Three potential mass shooters in three states are now in custody after arrests over the weekend, authorities say. Police say the men in Connecticut, Florida, and Ohio were arrested thanks to tips from the public. In the Ohio case, police say 20-year-old white nationalist James Reardon was arrested Saturday over an Instagram post that suggested he wanted to attack a Jewish community center. In Connecticut, 22-year-old Norwalk resident Brandon Wagshol was arrested after authorities received a tip that he was trying to buy large capacity rifle magazines from out of state. The Norwalk Police Department and the FBI say they discovered that Wagshol had posted on Facebook expressing interest in carrying out a mass shooting. Authorities say a raid on Wagshol’s home uncovered numerous weapons, along with items like a titanium body armor and a combat helmet. In the Florida case, Tristan Scott Wix, 25, was arrested Friday after he sent his ex-girlfriend texts threatening a mass shooting and she contacted authorities. In one message, the Daytona Beach resident said he wanted to “break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever.”

  • A California hotel cook who was upset over a work-related human resources issue was arrested Thursday after he threatened a mass shooting and stored guns and ammunition at his home, police said.  Authorities said Rodolfo Montoya, 37, told a co-worker he was going to shoot fellow employees and guests at the Long Beach Marriott. Multiple firearms, an assault rifle, tactical gear, dozens of high-capacity magazines and hundreds of bullets were seized from Montoya’s home.

Portland Alt-Right/Alt-Left Faceoff Mostly Peaceful

A heavy police presence largely kept members of the Proud Boys and other far-right groups separated from far-left, anti-fascist activists at a downtown park Saturday, mostly avoiding violent clashes that have marred earlier confrontations. The far-right forces were largely identifiable by their camouflage body armor and helmets, while the far-left antifa groups covered their faces with masks or bandanas. At least 13 people were arrested, and four people have minor injuries, according to Portland Police. Although the day was largely peaceful, police said they seized weapons such as metal and wooden poles, bear spray and shields from demonstrators. Police, some on bikes, many wearing helmets and armor, lined or patrolled the main road between the business district and the park to try to keep competing groups apart.

Immigration Update

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, crossed the seven-year mark of operations last week. The anniversary sparked a new round of introspection, with immigrant rights advocates saying the program has proved its worth by helping give opportunity to a generation of young people who have become doctors, soldiers, lawyers and teachers. But the program does have a darker side: those who use their reprieve for criminal activities. Several DACA recipients have been arrested for smuggling immigrants into the U.S. for money, the Washington Times reports. The Department of Justice has submitted a legal brief to the Supreme Court arguing that President Donald Trump was acting within the law when he ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The Trump administration announced on Wednesday that the DHS would be scrapping the court-ordered Flores agreement, which prohibits children from being held in detention for more than 20 days. The administration argues the measure will allow it to keep families together while they are being processed through the U.S. immigration system. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan”This is a game-changer… Because of the current Flores settlement agreement, everybody knows… you grab a kid, that’s your U.S. passport into the United States because we can’t hold you more than 20 days. That’s not long enough to go through the immigration proceedings. That’s catch and release… This new rule is going to address this.”

Ransomware Attacks Against 40 U.S. Cities

This has been the summer of crippling ransomware attacks. Wilmer — a town of almost 5,000 people just south of Dallas — is one of 22 cities across Texas that are simultaneously being held hostage for millions of dollars after a sophisticated hacker, perhaps a group of them, infiltrated their computer systems and encrypted their data. More than 40 municipalities have been the victims of cyberattacks this year, from major cities such as Baltimore, Albany and Laredo, Tex., to smaller towns including Lake City, Fla. Lake City is one of the few cities to have paid a ransom demand — about $460,000 in Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency — because it thought reconstructing its systems would be even more costly. Intelligence officials say many of the ransomware attacks have come from Eastern Europe, Iran and, in some cases, the United States. The majority have targeted small-town America, figuring that sleepy, cash-strapped local governments are the least likely to have updated their cyberdefenses or backed up their data, reports the New York Times.

Terrorists Turn To Bitcoin For Funding

Hamas, the militant Palestinian group, has been designated a terrorist organization by Western governments and some others and has been locked out of the traditional financial system. But this year its military wing has developed an increasingly sophisticated campaign to raise money using Bitcoin. In the latest version of the website set up by the wing, known as the Qassam Brigades, every visitor is given a unique Bitcoin address where he or she can send the digital currency, a method that makes the donations nearly impossible for law enforcement to track. The site, which is available in seven languages and features the brigades’ logo, with a green flag and a machine gun, contains a well-produced video that explains how to acquire and send Bitcoin without tipping off the authorities. Terrorists have been slow to join other criminal elements that have been drawn to Bitcoin and have used it for everything from drug purchases to money laundering. But in recent months, government authorities and organizations that track terrorist financing have begun to raise alarms about an uptick in the number of Islamist terrorist organizations experimenting with Bitcoin and other digital coins.

China Retaliates Against U.S. with $75B in Tariffs

The trade war between the U.S. and China escalated further Friday as China announced a new set of tariffs on American products. The China State Council announced it would impose tariffs ranging from 5% to 10% on an additional $75 billion in U.S. goods. The new tariffs are poised to go into effect in stages, with the first round beginning Sept. 1 and the second Dec. 15. This development comes after President Donald Trump earlier this month announced a new round of tariffs on Chinese imports – 10% on $300 billion in products. The two sides have so far failed to reach an agreement on a comprehensive trade pact. Tariffs on U.S. goods exported to China could make it more expensive for Chinese consumers to purchase American items and hurt sales for the American companies, while many Chinese products and raw materials are becoming more expensive for Americans. The stock market consequently plunged around 2% after the announcement on  Friday. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was ‘ordering’ U.S. companies to look at ways to close their operations in China and make more of their products in the United States instead.

  • American manufacturing activity is slowing as rising tariffs have made materials more expensive. The sector shrunk for the first time since September 2009. The global manufacturing sector might already be in a recession, said Charles Schwab chief investment strategist.

Economic News

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell vowed to ‘sustain the expansion’ but wouldn’t commit to deep interest rate cuts that President Trump has demanded. Powell said the U.S. economy is in a “favorable place” but the trade war presented a “complex, turbulent” situation. He vowed the Fed would “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,” suggesting another interest rate cut might be coming.

The U.S. deficit is estimated to soar by $800 billion more than expected over the next ten years because of the new budget deal and emergency border spending, says the Congressional Budget Office. A two-year budget deal struck between lawmakers and the White House will help push the nation into levels of debt unseen since the end of World War II, the Congressional Budget Office said. The office added that the effect of higher trade barriers might also hurt economic growth.

It’s been more than 10 years – a record long time, in fact – since the U.S. economy experienced a recession. More signs are popping up that another one could be on the horizon. The loose definition of recession is two straight quarters of declines in real gross domestic product, the broadest gauge of U.S. growth. Economists look at leading economic indicators to predict when a recession is coming. One of those is the inverted yield curve, the signal that occurred last week in the bond market and sent stocks into a tizzy. That’s when the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond sinks below the yield on the two-year bond. But the inversion only indicates a recession is coming. It doesn’t predict when it will arrive.

Freight shipments within the U.S. by all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – fell 5.9% in July 2019, compared to July 2018, the eighth month in a row of year-over-year declines, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments, which tracks shipments of consumer and industrial goods but not of bulk commodities such as grains. This decline along with the 6.0% drop in May were the steepest year-over-year declines in freight shipments since the last recession. Freight shipments often go into recession sooner than the overall economy, so this might be a signal that recession is coming.

U.S. consumer sentiment fell to 92.1 in August, the lowest since the start of 2019, according to data released last Friday. A reading below 100 indicates negative consumer expectations. The dip points to further uncertainty in the U.S. economy, as consumers navigate wild market swings and a constantly shifting trade environment. Economists expected the preliminary read on August consumer sentiment to reach 97, down from 98.4 in July. However, the Commerce Department released solid July retail sales figures. Spending at retail stores and restaurants rose 0.7% during the month, after a 0.3% gain in June.

Meanwhile, U.S. industrial production just slipped back into contraction territory and the IHS Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index just fell to the lowest level that we have seen since September 2009. The total number of bankruptcy filings in the United States has been steadily shooting up, and it rose another 5 percent during the month of July. And, 74% of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics believe that a recession will begin in the United States by the end of 2021.

The Labor Department is revising down the number of jobs that employers added to payrolls by 501,000 during the 12-month period that ran from April, 2018, through March of this year. The government initially estimated the economy added 2.5 million jobs during those 12 months, or just over 200,000 a month. Now it appears it will be closer to 170,000 a month on average.

Persecution Watch

Hundreds of Christians lost their lives in the first half of 2019 alone as a wave of attacks by heavily-armed, mainly Muslim destroyed entire communities, Fulani militants continued to gather momentum in an agenda of “religious cleansing” that is aiding Boko Haram’s attempts to establish an Islamist caliphate in north-eastern Nigeria. The carnage has gone largely unchallenged by the Nigerian Federal Government.

When a marked security car passed a Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade group marching in the Easter parade in Gombe, Nigeria, no one thought much about it. Then suddenly the car turned and sped back towards the boys and girls as they marched, cruelly plowing into them from behind. Six boys and three girls, aged between eleven and 21, died instantly and 13 in total were reported to have perished in the heart-breaking incident.

A Virginia state agency targeted, harassed, and discriminated against a Christian realtor, Hadassah Carter, simply for putting a Bible verse (John 3:16) on her website and including “Jesus loves you” in her email signature. The Virginia state agency actually required her real estate broker to watch and report her religious speech at her job. To make matters worse, it is the Virginia state agency that is claiming religious discrimination, turning logic on its head, notes ACLJ. There are no actual complaints against Hadassah for any discrimination. In fact, she was first targeted by the government when SHE defended one of her own clients from discrimination.

An Obama-appointed federal judge is forcing Wisconsin taxpayers to provide costly sex reassignment surgery and hormonal procedures for low-income transgender residents who get free medical care from the government, reports Judicial Watch. In a recently issued ruling U.S. District Judge William M. Conley wrote that Medicaid, the publicly funded insurance that covers 65.7 million poor people, cannot deny the medical treatment needs of those suffering from “gender dysphoria.” Officials estimate it will cost up to $1.2 million annually to provide transgender Medicaid recipients in the Badger State with treatments such as “gender confirmation” surgery, including elective mastectomies, hysterectomies, genital reconstruction and breast augmentation. The intricate operations are typically done by plastic surgeons.

Israel

The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement garnered lots of media attention this past week when Israel banned BDS supporters, U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from visiting Israel, calling them enemies of Israel. It is important to recognize that the intention BDS is not merely to get Israel to improve the lives of the Palestinians, but is, in fact, an effort to completely destroy Israel. BDS founder Omar Barghouti, said, “No Palestinian — rational Palestinian, not a sellout Palestinian — will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.” What terrorist groups hope to succeed by exterminating Israel with bombs and missiles, BDS seeks to accomplish the same thing economically.

Researchers from the Geological Survey of Israel and the universities of California and Miami published an article this week in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters assessing that a recent uptick in seismic activity in and around Israel’s Sea of Galilee were caused by large-scale groundwater extraction, while also predicting that a large-scale earthquake is likely to occur in the foreseeable future. “The geological history of the fault combined with the close proximity to populated areas suggest that future pumping in the region should be closely monitored,” the study concluded.

Islamic State

Five months after American-backed forces ousted the Islamic State from its last shard of territory in Syria, the terrorist group is gathering new strength, conducting guerrilla attacks across Iraq and Syria, retooling its financial networks and targeting new recruits at an allied-run tent camp, American and Iraqi military and intelligence officers said. A recent inspector general’s report warned that a drawdown this year from 2,000 American forces in Syria to less than half of that, ordered by Mr. Trump, has meant the American military has had to cut back support for Syrian partner forces fighting ISIS. For now, American and international forces can only try to ensure that ISIS remains contained and away from urban areas. Although there is little concern that the Islamic State will reclaim its former physical territory, a caliphate that was once the size of Britain and controlled the lives of up to 12 million people, the terrorist group has still mobilized as many as 18,000 remaining fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Iran

The U.S. Justice Department issued a warrant to seize an Iranian oil tanker detained in Gibraltar, a day after a judge in the British overseas territory ordered its release. The tanker “Grace 1” was seized last month in a British Royal Navy operation off the coast of Gibraltar. Authorities suspected it of violating European Union sanctions on oil shipments to Syria. Its seizure aggravated fears of a conflict in the Persian Gulf, where Iran claims control of the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway for oil shipments. But despite a last-minute U.S. attempt on Thursday to keep the oil tanker detained in Gibraltar, a court there ordered its release. Monday, the ship left for Greece. The United States has removed nearly 2.7 million barrels of Iranian oil from global markets daily as a result of Washington’s decision to reimpose sanctions on all purchases of Iran’s crude, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.

Afghanistan

A suicide bomb attack at a wedding in Kabul on Saturday killed 63 people and wounded 182. Among the victims were women and children. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. It said a Pakistani fighter detonated an explosive vest amid a large gathering of Shia Muslims. The terror group also said a car bombing followed the initial attack. The venue is in western Kabul, an area home to many of Afghanistan’s Shiite Hazara minority. It is also near the Darul Aman palace, where President Ashraf Ghani is expected to celebrate Afghan Independence Day on Monday. Afghanistan’s president on Monday vowed to “eliminate” all safe havens of the Islamic State group as the country marked a subdued 100th Independence Day after the horrific wedding attack.

South Korea

South Korea said Thursday it will end an intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan, a move that prompted immediate concern from U.S. military officials in the wake of repeated North Korean missile tests. A Pentagon spokesman said intelligence sharing is key to a united defense strategy in the region. The United States, South Korea and Japan are stronger and safer when they work together, he said. South Korea’s presidential office announced the decision to nix the intelligence-sharing pact in retaliation for Japan’s decision to downgrade South Korea’s trade status.

Hong Kong

Heavy rain fell on tens of thousands of umbrella-toting protesters Sunday as they marched from a packed park and filled a major road in Hong Kong, where mass pro-democracy demonstrations have become a regular weekend activity this summer. While police had granted approval for the park rally, they didn’t approve an accompanying march. Demonstrators nevertheless fanned out and filled the streets, as there was not enough space at the designated assembly area. In Beijing, You Wenze, a spokesman for China’s ceremonial legislature, condemned statements from U.S. lawmakers supportive of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Organizers claimed that 1.7 million people took part in the protest.

India

Local officials say that at least 2,000 Kashmiris — including business leaders, human rights defenders, elected representatives, teachers, and students as young as 14 — were rounded up by the federal security forces in the days right before and right after the Indian government unilaterally stripped away Kashmir’s autonomy. The detainees have not been able to communicate with their families or meet with lawyers. Their whereabouts remain unknown. Most were taken in the middle of the night, witnesses said. Critics say that even under India’s tough public safety laws this is illegal, and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is bending the Indian legal system to cut off any possible criticism in Kashmir.

Indian baby girls are being aborted simply because of their gender. For a family living in poverty, a house full of sons is deemed more profitable, since they are considered the main breadwinners. Afraid of what a daughter will cost, many families choose to simply never have one. In the past three months, 216 babies were born in a handful of villages across northern India, according to a recent report. Not a single one of those babies was a girl. Despite the fact that gender-selective abortions were outlawed by the Indian government in 1994, the practice still occurs. While many other nations have either a balanced gender ratio or one that tips in favor of females, India’s population is skewed. As of 2018, there were only 92 females for every 100 males in the country.

Bangladesh

At least 1,200 tin shacks were destroyed in the Chalantika slum late on Friday, officials said. Many homes had plastic roofs, which helped the flames to spread. No deaths have been reported, although several people were injured. Most residents are low-wage earners and many were away after the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. There is no word on the cause of the fire. The number of people made homeless by the fire is unclear, with Reuters news agency reporting it to be 3,000 people and AFP putting the number at 10,000.

Environment

Beaches along Lake Michigan in northwest Indiana remain closed after a steel mill spilled cyanide and ammonia that led to a large fish kill. ArcelorMittal, a steel and mining company, said in a statement that the spill resulted after its Burns Harbor mill, about 32 miles southeast of Chicago, “experienced a failure at the blast furnace water recirculation system. This isolated event resulted in the release of wastewater containing elevated levels of ammonia and cyanide.”

Wildfires

For the second time in a week, a wildfire has forced evacuations on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. More than 8,000 people have been ordered from their homes on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria on Monday as authorities declared a wildfire “unstoppable”. The fire has destroyed more than 23 square miles on the island that is part of Spain’s Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa. Nine helicopters and two planes were aiding at least 600 people including firefighters and army emergency personnel who were working in shifts to tackle the blaze.

Fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are generating smoke that can be seen from space and may have caused a daytime blackout more than 1,700 miles away in the country’s largest city. In the middle of the day on Monday, the sky above SãoPaulo was blanketed by smoke from the wildfires raging in the Amazon region. Reuters reported the Amazon rainforest has experienced a record number of fires this year, citing new data released by the country’s space agency. Amazonas, the largest state in Brazil, has already declared a state of emergency over the fires. Though the Amazon rainforest has been fire-resistant for much of its history because of its natural moisture and humidity, drought and human activities are creating conditions conducive to wildfires. The Amazon has 80% more fires this year than last. The vast majority of the fires have been set by loggers and ranchers to clear land for cattle.

Weather

Alaska has been in the throes of an unprecedented heat wave this summer, and the heat stress is killing salmon in large numbers. Scientists have observed die-offs of several varieties of Alaskan salmon, including sockeye, chum and pink salmon. The scientists and the director of the Yukon Inter-Tribal Fish Commission looked for signs of lesions, parasites and infections, but came up empty. Nearly all the salmon they found had “beautiful eggs still inside them.” Because the die-off coincided with the heat wave, they concluded that heat stress was the cause of the mass deaths.

A line of severe thunderstorms that roared across Kansas last Sunday morning reportedly brought winds so powerful they caused two trains with more than 100 cars to derail. Severe storms brought high winds and at least one tornado to parts of Iowa early Tuesday morning. Four semitrailers were blown over by high winds on Interstate 80 near Adair, about 50 miles west of Des Moines. At least two fires are believed to have been caused by lightning during the storms, one at a home and one at an apartment building.

With more than a month to go, India’s monsoon season has claimed more than 1,000 lives. More than 18 million people have been affected by the floods. Most of the deaths have been caused by drowning, wall collapses and landslides. Rainfall has been average this year, but has tended to come in heavy doses instead of being more spread out.

At least five people were killed and 150 injured by a series of lightning strikes in a mountain range on the border of Poland and Slovakia Thursday afternoon. Three people remained missing Friday morning and rescuers were still combing the area looking for other victims.

Signs of the Times

August 16, 2019

­­See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1Thessalonians 5:15-18)

‘Unplanned’ Rockets to Amazon’s #1 Best-Selling DVD

“Unplanned,” a movie which recounts the life of a woman who left behind a job as a Planned Parenthood abortion manager, has become not only a box office success but it became the number one DVD in Amazon sales on its first day of sales this week, reports Breaking Christian News. Capturing the true story of Abby Johnson, “Unplanned” relates how she quit a job as director of an abortion facility in Texas in 2009 after experiencing a conversion and renouncing abortion. “Unplanned” has grossed more than $18 million in cinemas during the course of 19 weeks (foreign markets not included). With a production budget of $6 million, the movie is already an unqualified success. The DVD of “Unplanned” can be purchased at Walmart and Amazon, as well as other retailers.

Kentucky Bans Abortions after Heartbeat Detected

Kentucky has just become another state to ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, which is often around six weeks of pregnancy. The “fetal heartbeat bill” was signed by Republican Governor Matt Bevin last Thursday. Two other pro-life bills were also signed the same day. Senate Bill 50, also called the Chemical Abortion Reporting Act, states that doctors must inform patients of reversal medication abortions. House Bill 5, the Human Rights of the Unborn Child and Anti-Discrimination Act, forbids abortions based off of sex, race or perceived disability.

‘In God We Trust’ Signs to Be Posted in Every Louisiana School

Every school building in Louisiana must display the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” under a new law that goes into effect this school year. Social studies classes also must teach students about the national motto by fifth grade under the new law. The law says, “each public school governing authority shall display the national motto in each building it uses and in each school under its jurisdiction.” A Democrat, Sen. Regina Ashford Barrow, was the bill’s lead sponsor. She said that America has suffered morally by taking God out of public schools. She was inspired to promote the bill by the governor’s prayer breakfast and by the senate’s practice of praying.

Judge Rules Transgender Students Can Choose Bathroom to Use

A Virginia school district’s policy that bars transgender students from using the bathroom they choose violates the Constitution, a federal judge has ruled. According to The Christian Post, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that Gloucester County’s School Board policy that prohibited Gavin Grimm, a transgender student, from using the boys’ bathroom violated the 14thAmendment, which grants equal protection of laws, and also violated Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which says no person can be discriminated against on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities. Judge Arenda Wright Allen also ordered that the school district change Grimm’s transcripts to Grimm’s new identity as male and that the district also pay the student’s attorney fees.

States Sue Feds Over Rollback of Coal Climate Rules

A coalition of 29 states and cities on Tuesday sued to block the Trump administration from easing restrictions on coal-burning power plants. The move could ultimately limit how much leverage future administrations would have to fight climate change by restricting what are believed to be a major source of Earth-warming pollution. The Clean Power Plan required states to implement plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2022. The Plan encouraged the closing of heavily-polluting plants and replacing those energy sources with natural gas or renewable energy. The lawsuit — by 22 states and seven cities — is the latest swing of the legal pendulum in a long-running dispute over how to regulate emissions from coal plants.

Immigration Workers Threatened by Leftists

Shots were fired into an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office and another facility associated with the agency in San Antonio, Texas, early Tuesday. Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday that the latest attack on an ICE facility in Texas could be the result of politicians and pundits “demonizing” federal agents for enforcing existing laws. ICE workers are facing a rapidly escalating series of amid a rising tide of anti-ICE rhetoric from the left fueled by congressional Democrats, media voices and presidential hopefuls. Protesters in Florida from groups such as Never Again Action and Black Lives Matter Alliance of Broward County threatened workers and former employees of the GEO Group, a private contractor used by ICE. One protester threatened the family of GEO Group’s former general counsel, John Bulfin. “We know where all your children live throughout the country … John Bulfin you have kids in [bleeped out], you have kids in [bleeped out],” the protester yelled. “We know everything about you and you won’t just be seeing us here.” “We know where you sleep at night,” another protester shouted.

Immigration Update

In one of President Trump’s most significant immigration moves to date, the Trump administration announced plans to penalize immigrants who use or might use public benefits, a move aimed at curbing legal immigration. Applicants could be denied green cards and other immigration benefits if they use food assistance, housing vouchers or other forms of public welfare. The new rule means many green card and visa applicants could be turned down if they have low incomes or little education, because they’d be deemed more likely to need government assistance in the future.

Immigration authorities believe that the poultry companies raided last week intentionally hired undocumented workers, search warrants say. There were clear signs that the companies were hiring people who could not legally work in the country, the search warrants allege: Some workers wore ankle monitors, gave Social Security numbers belonging to the deceased or were hired twice by the same manager using different first and last assumed names, reports the Washington Post.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans support admitting Central American refugees into the United States, compared to 39% who do not, according to a new Gallup poll. That’s up from 51% approval in December versus 43% against. Of course, the results are widely skewed by politics: 85% of Democrats approve, compared to 13% who disapprove while 24% of Republicans approve and 71% disapprove. In addition, 58% of independents approve, while 37% disapprove.

Google Staffer Releases Documents Exposing Censorship of Pro-Life, Conservative Web Sites

A Google staffer released documents Wednesday exposing a massive censorship campaign where the ubiquitous Google search engine purposefully censored pro-life and conservative web sites, including LifeNews.com. Google Insider Zachary Vorhies has given an interview to watchdog group Project Veritas where he discusses how he documented Google censorship of leading pro-life and conservative web sites for over a year. He made the decision to go public in an on-the-record video interview after Google went after him following the release of the information to Project Veritas. Project Veritas has released hundreds of internal Google documents leaked by Vorhies. Among those documents is a file called “news black list site for google now.” The document, according to Vorhies, is a “black list,” which restricts certain websites from appearing on news feeds for an Android Google product.

Economic News

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell below the yield on the two-year. That hasn’t happened since 2007 and, historically, an inverted yield curve signals that an economic slowdown is coming. That caused the Dow Jones stock market index to fall over 800 points (down 3%) early Wednesday. Investors are worried about a mix of things, including the effect of the trade war between the United States and China, unrest in Hong Kong, uncertainty around the Brexit in Europe and the projected pace of interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve.

As a result of the trade war, Chinese factory output, retail spending and investment weakened in July, suggesting the world’s second-largest economy faces downward pressure on growth. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, contracted 0.1% in the second quarter of the year from the previous three-month period as global trade conflicts combined with troubles in the auto industry to hamper its economy.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Tuesday said it would delay until Dec. 15 the tariffs on many Chinese products, including cellphones, laptop computers, video game consoles, some toys, computer monitors, shoes and clothing. However, 10% tariffs will go into effect Sept. 1 on about $300 billion in Chinese imports extending the import taxes on just about everything China ships to the United States in a dispute over Beijing’s aggressive trade policies. Some products are being removed from the tariff list for “health, safety, national security and other factors,” the office said.

The average American is struggling to make ends meet each month, with 59% of U.S. adults saying they live paycheck to paycheck, according to a recent survey from Charles Schwab. Furthermore, nearly half of survey participants say they carry credit card debt and struggle to keep up with the payments. Only 38% of people have an emergency fund, and one in five Americans don’t have a any money at all saved for retirement. Record American household debt has reached $14 trillion including mortgages and student loans, and is $1 trillion higher than during the Great Recession of 2008. Credit card debt of $1 trillion also exceeds the 2008 peak. There was a 5% increase in total bankruptcy filings in July 2019 from the previous month.

Mortgage rates are lower than they’ve been in years, causing a tsunami of refinancing. The average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.93% last week for loans of $484,000 or less — the first time those loans have been below 4% in nearly three years. Rates are even lower on larger mortgages and on 15-year loans. That sparked a 37% jump in the number of refinancing loans last week compared to the previous week.

The U.S. Postal Service reported that revenue was flat at just above $17 billion for the second quarter of 2019. It lost $1.1 billion for the quarter that ended June 30. Many point to the inefficient, massive infrastructure as the root cause. The USPS has 497,157 career employees and 31,324 retail post offices. With heavy competition from email, FedEx and UPS, the future of the Postal Service is very much in doubt.

Persecution Watch

As authorities in Mainland China continue their crackdown on Christian churches, Catholic dioceses in the north are reporting the Communist government is banning educational gatherings for kids, forcing churches to cancel summer camps. According to the Union of Catholic Asia News, one parish was forced to cancel its camp after publicly promoting it, while another one—held in secret—went on as planned and without incident. Another diocese had to move a summer class from a large parish to a smaller one in a rural village out of fear of retaliation.

Church leaders have urged India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take immediate action against violent extremists after a series of attacks against Christians left a pastor and two of his congregation badly beaten. The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) called on the government and district authorities to take steps to safeguard the rights of religious minority communities and to provide protection for churches against attack.

A gang of Buddhist monks viciously beat up a Christian student in Sri Lanka on 4 August, according to Bishop Asiri Perara, the president of the country’s Methodist Church. The attack took place immediately after a Sunday worship service held at a home in the town of Mahiyanganaya, in central Sri Lanka. Three monks targeted the head, stomach and spine of their young victim, a Bible college student.

Middle East

On Sunday, Jews around the world marked Tisha Be’Av, a date on the Hebrew calendar when a long list of calamities have afflicted the Jewish People throughout history, including the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. The Western Wall in the capital’s Old City was the site of a procession at the start of Tisha Be’Av on Saturday evening. Riots broke out on the nearby Temple Mount Sunday as Moslem protesters gathered to mark the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha. They then attacked Jewish visitors to the site. Several Israeli political leaders decried the situation whereby Jewish worshipers are unable to visit their holy sites without fear of being attacked.

Israel will bar a visit by two of its sharpest critics in the U.S. Congress, Democrats Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, who planned to tour the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the country’s deputy foreign minister said on Thursday. President Trump had earlier urged Israel on Thursday not to allow the visit by Tlaib and Omar, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and members of the Democratic party’s progressive wing. The pair have voiced support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Under Israeli law, backers of the BDS movement can be denied entry to Israel for being hostile toward Israel. The move has ignited a massive outcry from Washington Democrats, as Netanyahu’s government stood by the decision arguing that the U.S. lawmakers have an anti-Israel agenda. After Israel said it would allow Tlaib to enter the country to visit her 90-year-old grandmother—on the condition she not promote a boycott of Israel—Tlaib rejected the offer. “Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother,” Israel’s interior minister Aryeh Deri tweeted.

Iran

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Gibraltar defied US intervention and ordered the release of an Iranian oil tanker which had been seized by that territory’s police force, with assistance from British Royal Marines, as it attempted to pass through the strategic waterway because of suspicions that Iran was attempting to send oil to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in violation of US and EU sanctions. The order to release the Iranian tanker was the latest move in a geostrategic chess match between Iran and the US, The original seizure of the Iranian tanker on 4 July sparked a series of events including the shoot-down of a US military drone over the Persian Gulf and sabotage attacks on oil tankers flagged by several countries, as well as seizures of British-owned oil tankers by naval units of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

German exports to Iran fell by nearly half in the first six months of 2019, data showed on Monday, suggesting companies are scaling back business ties with Tehran to avoid trouble with the United States after Washington reimposed sanctions.

Syria

Women in the Kurdish town in northeastern Syria form a long shoulder-to-shoulder line to prevent Turkish troops from invading their towns. Their formation is what they call their very own human shield – comprised of self-declared feminists belonging to their group called “Kongra Star” with the tagline “Woman, Life, Freedom.” If Turkey attacks, “they have to go through civilian women first.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had re-ignited tensions with the U.S. after warning that his troops would be sent over the border to combat the Syrian-Kurdish forces, known as the SDF. While Turkey views the fighters as terrorists given their ties to the Kurdish separatists’ group the PKK, they are backed and armed by the United States, who utilized the SDF as the ground force in the fight against ISIS.

North Korea

U.N. experts reported that they are investigating at least 35 instances in 17 countries of North Koreans using cyberattacks to illegally raise money for weapons of mass destruction programs – and they are calling for sanctions against ships providing gasoline and diesel to the country. The report said that North Korea illegally acquired as much as $2 billion from its increasingly sophisticated cyber activities against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges. Neighboring South Korea was hardest-hit, the victim of 10 North Korean cyberattacks, followed by India with three attacks, and Bangladesh and Chile with two each. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that Kim Jong Un told him he was ready to resume talks on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and would stop missile testing as soon as U.S.-South Korea military exercises end.

Russia

An explosion at a northern Russian base that killed at least five scientists last week involved a small nuclear reactor, state nuclear officials said. The blast occurred Thursday on a platform in the White Sea off Nyonoksa and reportedly caused nearby radiation spike in Severodvinsk. State-controlled nuclear energy company Rosatom said the explosion occurred during a test of “a nuclear isotope power source” for a rocket. The SSC-X-9 Skyfall is a prototype cruise  missile that could reach any corner of the world with a nuclear reactor as its power source. The Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority on Thursday said “tiny amounts of radioactive iodine” had been detected at an air-filter station, one week after the mystery-shrouded explosion at a Russian military test range.

Hong Kong

One of the world’s busiest airports canceled all flights after thousands of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters crowded into the main terminal Monday afternoon. Hong Kong International Airport said in a statement that the demonstration “seriously disrupted” airport operations. Hong Kong has experienced more than two months of mass protests calling for democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into police conduct, with both the protesters and police adopting ever-more extreme tactics. Many protesters wore eye patches after reports that a young woman lost an eye after being hit by a police beanbag round fired at close range during protests on Sunday. A massive traffic jam soon formed on the highway leading back to Hong Kong’s city center, with some people walking in the sweltering weather. Bearing batons and pepper spray, Hong Kong riot police officers clashed with anti-government protesters who crippled the airport on Tuesday for the second straight day, chaos that underscored the deepening unrest gripping the city.

Australia

Three British men are being hailed as heroes after confronting a knife-wielding man who killed one woman and wounded another in downtown Sydney before trying to stab others Tuesday while yelling “Allahu akbar,” according to police and witnesses. Authorities have not labeled the stabbing rampage as an act of terrorism, but the 21-year-old suspect with a history of mental illness had collected information online about mass killings in North America and New Zealand. The incident unfolded around 2 p.m. near a busy intersection in Australia’s largest city when the man carrying a 12-inch knife attempted to stab multiple people.

Environment

Scientists say they’ve found an abundance of tiny plastic particles in Arctic snow, indicating that so-called microplastics are being sucked into the atmosphere and carried long distances to some of the remotest corners of the planet. The researchers examined snow collected from sites in the Arctic, northern Germany, the Bavarian and Swiss Alps, and the North Sea island of Heligoland. Their findings were published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. Previous studies have found microplastics—which are created when man-made materials break apart—in the air of Paris, Tehran, and Dongguan, China. The highest concentrations of microplastics were found in the Bavarian Alps. The Arctic samples were less contaminated, but still the third-highest concentration. The research demonstrated the fragments become airborne in a way similar to dust and pollen. While there’s growing concern about the environmental impact of microplastics, scientists have yet to determine what effect, if any, the minute particles have on humans or wildlife.

Natural Resources Department data shows a growing “dead zone” in Chesapeake Bay. The area with little to no oxygen spread to 2 cubic miles by late July, making it one of the worst in decades. By comparison, July dead zones averaged about 1.35 cubic miles for the past 35 years. The worst section includes the lower Potomac and Patuxent rivers and much of the Bay, from Baltimore to the mouth of the York River. University of Maryland environmental scientists say heavy rains washed wastewater and agricultural runoff into the bay and produced oxygen-stealing algae. Scientists warn that it could harm crabs, oysters and the state’s seafood industry.

The city of Newark, New Jersey, has begun handing out bottled water after tests showed some homes still have high lead levels despite having filters installed. Residents were able to pick up bottled water beginning Monday. Officials said that’s about 14,000 households. The city has distributed about 38,000 of the filters in the past eight months. Since 2017, when Newark exceeded the federal “action level” of 15 parts per billion of lead during testing of residential homes, city officials had maintained the problem was nothing like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Earthquakes

A 4.2 magnitude earthquake shook portions of Kansas on Friday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The center of the quake was roughly 3 miles from Hutchinson. There were no reports of major damage or injuries, although residents reported minor damage with things falling off shelves and walls.

Wildfires

Firefighters continued Wednesday to battle a major wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the Greek island of Evia, where hundreds of people had been evacuated from four villages and a monastery. The flames were fanned by strong winds, hampering efforts to control their spread and carrying smoke from the fire as far as Athens, the Greek capital. Evia is the second-largest Greek island after Crete and the nature reserve is part of the European Union’s Natura 2000 network of protected areas.

More than 1,000 people have been unable to return to their homes as a wildfire continues to burn on Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands off the coast of northwest Africa. Wind gusts up to 45 mph fanned the flames. The wildfire grew to more than 5.5 square miles overnight, officials said Monday.

Weather

July was the Earth’s hottest month on record, federal scientists announced Thursday. The global temperature for July was 62.13 degrees Fahrenheit, which was 1.71 degrees higher than the average for the 20th century, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. It beat the previous record warm month, which was July 2016. Records date back to 1880. Last month marked the 43rd consecutive July and the 415th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average.

A tornado last Friday ripped across the southern part of Luxembourg, damaging homes and injuring several nearly two dozen people. Roofs were ripped off of about 100 homes. Seven people were taken to the hospital, at least one with serious injuries. Tornadoes are unusual but not unheard of in the small European country of only about 600,000 people, sandwiched between Germany, Belgium and France. A tornado was also reported in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

At least 18 people were killed Saturday after Typhoon Lekima struck China’s coast south of Shanghai, knocking down houses and trees Another 14 people were missing after Lekima hit land at 1:45 a.m. on Saturday in Zhejiang province. A river that was blocked by a landslide rose 10 meters (30 feet) and then broke through the debris, flooding homes. More than 1 million people were evacuated before the storm struck.

Torrential monsoon rains have left at least 200 people dead in India and Pakistan. Major landslides hit Kerala’s Wayanad and Malappuram districts. Officials fear that many people are trapped beneath the surface. Several houses are still covered under 10-12 feet of deep mud. More than 165,000 people have fled their homes for relief camps. In Myanmar, 53 people were killed and 47 rescued as landslides forced thousands from their homes on Sunday The downpours have also inundated much of Pakistan where at least 17 people have died.

Signs of the Times

August 9, 2019

­­But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2Timothy 3:1-5)

Apple News Restores LifeSiteNews After Protest

Last week, Apple News abruptly disabled LifeSite’s channel, and deleted all of their content from their platform. Since last week, over 57,000 people signed a petition demanding that Apple re-enable LifeSite’s channel. Approximately 1000 of those signatories also opted to send a physical postcard to Apple’s headquarters, demanding LifeSite’s channel be re-instated. Wednesday, the Apple News team informed LifeSite that they have “re-evaluated” our channel. LifeSite’s channel and articles are once again available on the Apple News app. Apple News is an app that is available on all Apple devices. It aggregates news content from thousands of publishers. Apple users can “follow” their favorite news sites and receive customized updates.

Another Court Rejects Attempts to Remove Christian Symbols

A federal appellate court on Thursday rejected an attempt by the Wisconsin-based atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation to censor the image of a cross from Lehigh County’s historic seal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia ruled 3-0 that after the Supreme Court upheld the Bladensburg Cross war memorial as an historic monument, Lehigh County can maintain its seal as a symbol that “has become part of the community.” Lehigh County’s seal, which has been in use for over 70 years without any complaints, features a cross representing the county’s early German settlers who fled persecution in their homeland seeking religious freedom in America. The seal also features over a dozen other images representing important aspects of the county’s rich history and culture. Becket, a non-profit religious rights law firm, represented Lehigh County, arguing that the Constitution allows communities to maintain religious symbols in the public square in recognition of the significant role of religion in our history and culture.

School Prayer Zone Signs Placed in South Carolina

As students and parents prepare for a new school year in Richland County, South Carolina, they’ll be greeted by a sign different than usual: one inviting them to pray. The “School Prayer Zone” signs look similar to regular road signs but feature green male and female stick figures praying. A Biblical reference, 2 Chronicles 7:14, is also included in the bottom right corner, according to CBN News. Vanessa Frazier, founder and director of Christ Teens, worked with the South Carolina Department of Transportation for three years and hopes the signs will “create a wall of prayer around the schools.” The signs are placed on privately owned properties of churches near schools, making the signs legal.

Gillette Bombs With ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Ads

“Your stupid boycotts will never make a dent in a company like P&G,” one liberal scoffed back in January. Turns out, they didn’t just make a dent. After a string of male-bashing, transgender shaving ads, the parent company of Gillette got nicked so badly, market experts wonder if the brand will survive, reports The Family Research Council. Gillette’s CEO insists the radical activism was “worth the price.” So far, that price is a whopping $8 billion dollars. To most customers, a razor company dabbling in gender politics never made sense in the first place. Gillette used to be “the best a man can get.” Now the company can’t even acknowledge what a man actually is! Things for the brand started to unravel earlier this year when P&G gave the green light to a controversial commercial about the culture’s “toxic masculinity.”

GOP Freezes Twitter Spending After McConnell’s Site Locked

The Republican Party, the Trump campaign, and other GOP organizations say they are freezing their spending on Twitter to protest the platform’s treatment of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Twitter temporarily locked McConnell’s campaign account Wednesday after it shared a video in which some protesters spoke of violence outside his Kentucky home where he is recovering from a shoulder fracture. The social media platform said in a statement that users were locked out temporarily due to a tweet “that violated our violent threats policy, specifically threats involving physical safety.”

  • Ironic that the violent threats came from liberals whom Twitter favors

Censorship By Big Tech Against Conservative/Christian Site Growing

Although today’s Big Tech companies, from Google and YouTube to Facebook and Twitter, steadfastly insist they don’t discriminate against conservatives, an ever-enlarging mountain of cases demonstrates otherwise. And as if hundreds of cases weren’t proof enough, the courageous undercover researchers at Project Veritas videoed Twitter employees openly admitting that their company “shadow bans” conservatives. (Shadow banning essentially means a user can post a message to Twitter, but no one else sees it.) In February, Project Veritas also got a Facebook insider confirming on camera that the social media giant discriminates against conservatives through software manipulation, using “special features” to “de-boost” their traffic – especially near elections. After releasing two videos exposing voter fraud by the left, Twitter shut down the account of James O’Keefe of Project Veritas in October 2016, just before the November presidential election. Radio host and PragerU President Dennis Prager said Wednesday that freedom of speech is being denied by Google, with content from his own platform repeatedly restricted by YouTube (owned by Google).

  • Those who once championed tolerance have now become intolerant. Click here for a detailed listing of dozens of censorship cases by Big Tech

Two Mass Shootings in 24 Hours, 251 This Year

As gunfire ripped through America in an unprecedented 24 hours, a bleak milestone in a nation pocked by gun violence was marked: There have been 251 mass shootings in 2019. A shooting spree early Sunday at an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio – which left at least nine dead and 16 hurt – notched an even darker statistic: It occurred on the 216th day of the year, meaning there have been more mass shootings than days so far this year. That incident followed a rampage Saturday at a Walmart jammed with back-to-school shoppers in El Paso, Texas, that left 20 dead and 26 injured.

  • The Ohio gunman described himself on social media as a pro-Satan “leftist” who wanted Joe Biden’s generation to die off, hated President Trump and law enforcement, and hoped to vote for Sen. Elizabeth Warren for president. “I want socialism, and I’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding,” he wrote in one tweet, reports the Washington Times.
  • The El Paso shooter, Patrick Crusius, is suspected of posting an anti-immigrant manifesto online that warned of an “Hispanic invasion of Texas” prior to the shooting rampage in the heavily Hispanic border city. Federal prosecutors are treating the El Paso shooting as a case of domestic terrorism.

The bloody 24 hours also came in a particularly painful week: Two people were shot and killed at a Walmart store in Southaven, Mississippi, south of Memphis on Tuesday, and three people were killed by gunfire Sunday at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California. The shooting that killed 20 people at a crowded El Paso shopping area will be handled as a domestic terrorism case, federal authorities said Sunday as they weighed hate-crime charges against the suspected gunman that could carry the death penalty.

  • The root cause of the increase in mass murders is spiritual – the Second Horseman is provoking susceptible people to commit murder (Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:4)

President Trump Condemns White Supremacy and Racism

For the first time, President Trump strongly condemned white nationalism and hate: “In one voice, our nation must condemn racist bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated,” Trump said. “Hate has no place in America.” Trump vowed that the nation will respond with “urgent resolve” to a weekend of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Trump did not express support for broad gun control but called for action on mental illness, video games and the “perils of the internet and social media,” saying he wants “red flag” laws to prevent more tragedy. “We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process,” Trump said. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he will propose bipartisan legislation encouraging states to enact red flag laws of their own. Trump also called for the FBI to prioritize domestic terrorism cases.

  • Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine has proposed that his state adopt a version of a “red flag law” which would allow authorities to take firearms from a person deemed by a court to be dangerous.

Study of Gun Control Indicates Murder Rate Can be Reduced by a Third

A study by Boston University analyzed 10 different state firearms laws over a 26-year period and found three that, when enforced in conjunction with one another, reduced the rate of homicides and suicides by more than a third. They concluded that state and local laws affecting who can purchase and carry firearms may, in fact, be more effective than banning the sale and possession of automatic or semi-automatic weapons. Neither banning assault weapons nor banning high-capacity magazines shows any statistical significance in reducing firearm-related homicide rates, according to the study.

  • Gun control will mitigate the number and extent of mass murder incidents, but it won’t stop all the killing. Why? Because the Second Horseman of murder (Revelation 6:4) has been loosed upon the earth. Whether by gun, knife, bomb, missile, drone, whatever, murders will become more and more frequent until the Lord Jesus returns and rules and reigns on the New Earth in the New Jerusalem.

Mass Shooters Not Just White Males

The attacks in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend that have taken at least 31 lives have put a spotlight on the problem of young, isolated white men carrying out mass shootings. But a list of the people arrested or charged in the 255 mass shootings recorded this year — defined as four or more people shot or killed — shows the problem isn’t confined to white men or motivations of white supremacy. If there’s a thread, it’s young men whose biological father was missing in their lives. After the Parkland school massacre in Florida, the Heritage Foundation cited a study showing that among the 25 most-cited school shooters since Columbine, 75 percent were reared in broken homes. Most, according to psychologist Peter Langman, an expert on school shooters, came from homes that also experienced infidelity, substance abuse, criminal behavior, domestic violence and child abuse.

ICE Raid Nets 680, But 300 Released

U.S. immigration officials raided numerous Mississippi food processing plants Wednesday, arresting 680 mostly Latino workers in what marked the largest workplace sting in at least a decade. On Wednesday, about 600 ICE agents fanned out across food processing plants operated by five companies, surrounding the perimeters to prevent workers from fleeing. Those arrested were taken to the military hangar to be processed for immigration violations. More than 300 had been released by Thursday morning with notices to appear before immigration judges. Those released included 18 juveniles. More than 100 civil rights activists, union organizers and clergy members in Mississippi denounced the raid, but the state’s Republican Gov. Phil Bryant commended ICE for the arrests, tweeting that anyone in the country illegally has to “bear the responsibility of that federal violation.” Mississippi residents rallied around children left with no parents and migrants locked themselves in their homes for fear of being arrested.

Illegal Immigration Plummets as Mexico Steps Up

Illegal immigration across the southwestern border has been cut dramatically over the past two months, officials revealed Thursday, pointing to President Trump’s deal with Mexico to step up that country’s enforcement as the chief reason. The Border Patrol nabbed about 72,000 people who sneaked across the border in July — a reduction of almost half compared with the peak of two months ago. Border cities that were so overwhelmed that they declared states of emergency are getting back to normal, with drops of 70% or more in the regions of El Paso, Texas, and Yuma, Arizona. Where border facilities had more than 19,000 people in custody at one point in June, they had about 4,700 in custody Thursday. Based on Mexican government figures and reporting by The Associated Press, at least 40,000 migrants who have reached the U.S. border with Mexico are on a waiting list for an initial attempt to seek asylum or waiting for a court hearing in the U.S. after being sent back.

Boy Scouts Called ‘Largest Pedophile Ring on Earth’

Claiming to represent hundreds of sexual abuse victims, an organization called Abused in Scouting called on Congress to address what it calls the “largest pedophile ring on earth.” At a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, AIS lawyers announced their first lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America. Lawyer Stewart Eisenberg told reporters the team has a file of some 350 alleged predators from 48 states and the District of Columbia. “Each one of these 350 abusers has probably dozens of other victims who have not come forward,” he said. More than 800 people between the ages of 14 and 88 have reported to AIS they were sexually abused as scouts.

Economic News

America’s housing market has stagnated for four years. In June, existing home sales decreased 1.7% from May and 2.2% from a year earlier. That’s about on par with where home sales were in 2015. Interest rates are dropping and American mortgages are cheaper than they’ve been in years. The US economy is strong. That’s a recipe for a booming housing market — but it’s not. Although mortgages have become cheaper, houses haven’t. Homes are moving out of the price range for many buyers because of an undersupply of available homes. A shortage of construction workers, has slowed new home construction. It also remains unclear how much the removal of the homeowner mortgage interest tax incentive has hurt the housing market.

Beijing responded to President Trump’s threat to place new tariffs on Chinese goods on Monday by letting its currency, the Chinese yuan, sink to the weakest level in over a decade and ordering state-owned companies to reportedly halt their purchases of U.S. agricultural products. A weaker yuan makes Chinese goods cheaper for overseas buyers, which may be necessary as China just lost its spot as the U.S.’s biggest trading partner. Trade data released Friday by the Department of Commerce showed U.S. imports from China fell by 12% in the first six months of the year, allowing Mexico to supplant it as the U.S.’s biggest trade partner. President Trump slammed China’s decision, calling it “a major violation” and the Treasury Department officially labeled China as a “currency manipulator” and will now coordinate efforts with the International Monetary Fund “to eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions.”

Frazzled investors are rushing to buy gold and government bonds as fears of a global recession, sparked by a trade war, grow more real. The push into safer investments lifted US gold futures briefly above $1,500 per ounce on Wednesday for the first time in more than six years. U.S. Treasury yields, which move opposite price, collapsed to levels unseen since just before President Donald Trump’s 2016 election. Meanwhile, investors sold stocks. The Dow fell as much as 589 points Wednesday in the first minutes of trading, resuming a weeklong slide triggered by fears of a prolonged trade standoff between the United States and China.

Fears that Germany could be dragged into recession by the trade war between the United States and China were stoked on Wednesday by data showing that production in Europe’s manufacturing powerhouse plunged in June. Industrial output dropped more than 5% compared to the previous year, a performance that suggests Europe’s largest economy may have contracted in the second quarter. Germany relies heavily on exporters that sell a disproportionate amount of goods to China and the United States. Central banks in India, Thailand and New Zealand cut interest rates amid fears of worsening  U.S.-China relations. These moves signify the possibility that these trade wars might morph into a broader currency war, some analysts say.

The Trump administration froze all Venezuelan government assets Monday in a dramatic escalation of tensions with Nicolás Maduro that places his socialist administration alongside a short list of adversaries from Cuba, North Korea, Syria, and Iran that have been targeted by aggressive US actions. The ban blocking American companies and individuals from doing business with Maduro’s government and its top supporters, which takes effect immediately, is the first of its kind in the western hemisphere in over three decades, following an asset freeze against Gen. Manuel Noriega’s government in Panama and a trade embargo on the Sandinista leadership in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

Persecution Watch

Authorities in China have erased the words Bible, God and Christ from classic children’s stories including Robinson Crusoe and The Little Match Girl as part of moves to redact Christian references. The popular stories are among four works by foreign writers are featured in a new Chinese school textbook for fifth grade pupils, aged around 11, that offers students an “understanding of other cultures”, according to the Ministry of Education. But author Daniel Defoe’s description of how castaway Robinson Crusoe recovers three Bibles from the remains of his shipwreck has been altered from the original 1718 novel to read that Crusoe saved “a few books” Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson said in his 1845 short story, The Little Match Girl, that “when a star falls, a soul goes to be with God”. In the sinicised (made Chinese) version, the text reads, “When a star falls, a person leaves this world.” The Chinese authorities announced new policies of sinicisation in a White Paper on religion in early 2018, with the intention of selectively reinterpreting Christianity and Scripture.

Interrupting a worship service, police in Algeria sealed a church building in north-central Algeria, less than three months after locking shut another site in the same area. Three days earlier Pastor Takilt was issued a three-day ultimatum to remove all contents from the building and a summons to report to the brigade. After emptying the premises of all furniture and other items, the two officers rushed to seal every door, including an outdoor bathroom “I am deeply saddened by so much injustice – it breaks my heart,” pastor Messaoud Takilt told Morning Star News. “This is not surprising since other Christian places of worship have been closed and sealed as was the case today. But anyway, we will continue to celebrate our services outside while the Lord gives us grace for a final solution.”

Israel

An estimated 150,000 rockets threaten Israel from just one terrorist organization, Hezbollah. Yaakov Lappin, a military and strategic affairs correspondent, explained the Lebanese Hezbollah is “the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor, and its surface-to-surface firepower arsenal – estimated at around 150,000 projectiles – is larger” than the arsenal of most state armies. The report explained Hezbollah has built its arsenal through “smuggling projectiles into 200 southern Lebanese villages, as well as launch sites in the Bekaa Valley in east Lebanon.”

Middle East

Reports out of the Palestinian Authority administered areas indicate that difficult economic conditions are having an increasingly negative effect on the lives of ordinary people. “For the last seven months, we have been paid half of our salaries. Teachers and public employees can barely buy basic goods for their families,” Hilmi Hamdan, general secretary of the Palestinian Teachers Union, told The Media Line. He added that despite the hardships, the majority of Palestinians support the PA’s position of refusing to accept tax revenues and import duties collected by Israel. “The Palestinian people as a whole are being affected due to Israeli occupation policies and its financial blackmail of the PA. Israeli policies” Hamdan continued, “aim to pressure our leadership to accept the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ [the Trump Administration’s peace plan] and end the Palestinian cause…we stand with the PA and its position.”

Iran

Another foreign oil tanker was seized in the Persian Gulf, Iran’s state media said Sunday – the third such ship to be detained by Tehran amid high tensions between Iran and the U.S. after Washington renewed sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced it detained the ship’s foreign crew for smuggling 700,000 liters – about 185,000 gallons – of fuel from Iran. Seven sailors were detained. The ship was reportedly seized near Farsi Island, a small, barren enclave in the Persian Gulf.

Syria

The United States and Turkey agreed on Wednesday to create a safe zone in northeastern Syria that would allow Turkey to protect its borders from Syrian-Kurdish forces that it regards as a terrorist threat and provide Syrian refugees in Turkey a safe space to return home. Defense officials from both countries issued separate but similar statements after three days of talks in Ankara, the Turkish capital. The statements gave no details on the size of the zone or how it will be policed.

Afghanistan

A powerful Taliban car bomb exploded on Wednesday outside the entrance of a police station in Kabul, the Afghan capital, killing 14 people and injuring at least 145 others as peace negotiations between the militants and United States diplomats continued. The explosion, following repeated warnings from the United Nations on rising civilian casualties, was the latest to strike a heavily populated area during the morning rush hour.

Yemen

The Saudi-led coalition’s closure of the airport in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, has prevented thousands of sick civilians from traveling abroad for urgent medical treatment, two international aid groups said in a joint statement. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE, the Sanaa airport’s three-year closure has amounted to a “death sentence” for many sick Yemenis. The two groups appealed late Monday on Yemen’s warring parties to come to an agreement to reopen the airport for commercial flights to “alleviate humanitarian suffering caused by the closure.” The Saudi-led coalition, backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government, has been at war with the rebels, known as Houthis, since 2015, and has imposed a blockade on ports that supply Houthi-controlled areas.

North Korea

North Korea on Tuesday fired two more missiles, marking the fourth time it has done so since July 25. The unidentified missiles traveled across the country from the west and into the sea; the previous launches all took place in the east. The launch comes a day after US-South Korean military exercises reportedly began, much to the North’s displeasure. While the annual drills are being characterized as understated this time around. The exercises are slated to be computer simulations, not involving combat troops and military gear. Nevertheless, North Korea sees them as a violation of deals made with the two countries. A representative for the foreign ministry was quoted by state media as saying, “Despite our repeated warnings … the joint military exercise targeting” North Korea have begun, and we “will be compelled to seek a new road as we have already indicated.”

Russia

More than 600 protestors have been arrested in Moscow for an “unauthorized protest.” The group came together to demand far elections in Russia. People are upset that the elections commission said opposition candidates cannot take part in Moscow elections planned for September 8, BBC reported. Roughly 1,500 people took place in the protest. More than a thousand people protested at a similar rally in St. Petersburg, which was authorized by city officials. Many protest leaders have been in jail since last week, with sentences up to 30 days. Investigators have also opened a criminal probe investigating those organizing mass civil unrest, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in jail.

India

The Indian government said on Monday that it was revoking a constitutional provision that had for decades given a unique degree of autonomy to Kashmir, a disputed mountainous region along the India-Pakistan border, reports the New York Times. For many years, Kashmir has been governed differently than other parts of India. India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party has deep roots in a Hindu nationalist ideology and one of its campaign promises during the election this year had been removing the special status of Kashmir, which is predominantly Muslim. The Indian government also said that it would support a parliamentary bill to split the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which includes the Kashmir Valley, into two federal territories: Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a state legislature. Separatist groups, including some that are armed and maintain links to neighboring Pakistan, have been chafing for independence from India for years. About 8,000 supporters of a Pakistani Islamist party are marching Friday toward the Indian embassy in Islamabad to denounce New Delhi’s actions to change the special status of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Philippines

On Tuesday, the Philippines declared a “national dengue epidemic” according to a release from its Department of Health. There have been more than 146,000 recorded cases of dengue fever from Jan. 1 through July 20, 2019, with a total of 622 deaths, up 98% from 2018. Dengue viruses are spread by the same species of mosquito that spread chikungunya and Zika, among other viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dengue is common in more than 100 countries around the world. Up to 400 million people are infected yearly with 22,000 dying from dengue on average. Because there are four different dengue viruses, a person can be infected by the virus up to four times in their life. According to the CDC, about 1 in 4 people infected with dengue will become ill.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez was sworn in as governor Wednesday after the island’s Supreme Court earlier in the day overturned the swearing-in of Pedro Pierluisi last Friday. Pierluisi was sworn in after former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resigned due to massive protests from Puerto Ricans frustrated with corruption, mismanagement and a leaked obscenity-laced chat in which Rosselló and 11 other men made fun of women, gay people and Hurricane Maria victims. Rosselló, before stepping down, appointed Pierluisi secretary of state while legislators were in recess. Although Puerto Rico’s House approved his nomination, the Senate did not. Secretary of State would be the next person in line to become governor. The Senate sued and argued that it need to approve Rosselló’s appointment. The Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled in the favor of the Senate. The Justice Secretary was next in line to be sworn in. Vázquez had previously said she had “no interest” in becoming governor. However in a statement Wednesday, Vázquez said she would step up as governor. “Puerto Rico needs assurance and stability,” she said.

Mexico

Mexican police found nine bodies hanging from an overpass Thursday alongside a drug cartel banner threatening rivals, and seven more corpses hacked up and dumped by the road nearby. Just down the road were three more bodies, for a total of 19. The killing spree reported by prosecutors in the western state of Michoacan marked a return to the grisly massacres carried out by drug cartels at the height of Mexico’s 2006-2012 drug war, when piles of bodies were dumped on roadways as a message to authorities and rival gangs. While the banner was not completely legible, it bore the initials of the notoriously violent Jalisco drug cartel, and mentioned the Viagras, a rival gang. “Be a patriot, kill a Viagra,” the banner read in part. “Meanwhile, in another part of Mexico, an angry crowd beat and hanged seven suspected kidnappers, leaving some of their bodies dangling from trees. This year is on course to be Mexico’s worst year for murders.

Earthquakes

Japan was struck by a strong earthquake centered just off the coast of northern Honshu on Sunday evening, but there are no reports of casualties or damage. The United States Geological Survey says Sunday’s quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.3. It was centered just over 30 miles east-northeast of Namie, Japan. The earthquake shook northern and central parts of Honshu, including Tokyo. In 2011, Fukushima was hit by a powerful quake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Environment

The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself. The report, prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary form in Geneva on Thursday, found that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly. A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the report. Climate change will make those threats even worse, as floods, drought, storms and other types of extreme weather threaten to disrupt, and over time shrink, the global food supply. Already, more than 10 percent of the world’s population remains undernourished, and some authors of the report warned in interviews that food shortages could lead to an increase in cross-border migration. Data from a European climate agency on Monday showed that last month edged out July 2016 for the warmest month ever around the globe.

  • End-time weather will continue to grow more extreme, including scorching heat, bigger storms with large hail, floods in some places, drought in others (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

Wildfires

A wildfire burning in central Montana has prompted the evacuation of dozens of homes and has authorities concerned it could spread quickly through dense forest full of dead trees killed by bark beetles. The Horsefly Fire broke out Monday afternoon about 60 miles northeast of Helena and has burned more than 500 acres. Of 77 homes ordered to evacuate, Sheriff Leo Dutton said people in 27 homes complied with the evacuation orders, 17 homes decided to remain and there was no answer at 33 homes. Throughout the western United States, the numbers of bark beetles, or mountain pine beetles, have exploded. Their infestations have killed millions of trees, which can make firefighting a challenge.

Weather

Heavy storms knocked down tree and power lines and caused flash flooding Wednesday evening in the metropolitan Philadelphia area and across the state line between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where an EF0 tornado briefly touched down. Several people were rescued from cars stranded in standing water in Haverford Township just outside of Philadelphia. Nearly 53,000 customers were without power across the region. Flooding snarled rush-hour traffic around the Philadelphia area, and portions of interstates 76 and 476 were blocked by water.

At least 57 people have died during a stifling heat wave in Japan that has also sent more than 18,000 to hospitals with heat-related medical issues. More than half of those were people 65 and older. On Thursday, temperatures were forecast to reach 102 degrees in some parts of the country, a rarity in Japan.

Signs of the Times

August 2, 2019

­­For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Muslim Workers Save 20 Kenyan Christians From Al-Shabaab Attack

A brave group of Muslim workers have been hailed as heroes for saving the lives of their Christian colleagues. The incident occurred as a group of Christian construction workers were building a government hospital in Kutulo, Mandera County, when news came through that Islamic terror group Al-Shabaab was on its way to execute all the Christians. The Muslims working at the same site immediately ushered the Christians away from the area, ensuring that they reached safe refuge. Not stopping there, the Muslim workers then went face-to-face with the gunmen as they arrived. “They confronted the gunmen who proceeded to the site and failed to get what they wanted.

Kentucky Law Requires ‘In God We Trust’ to Be Displayed in Schools

According to a new law passed in Kentucky, prominent banners displaying “In God We Trust” will be hung in schools across the state, reports ChristianHeadlines.com. “Local boards shall require each public elementary and secondary school to display the national motto of the United States, ‘In God We Trust,’ in a prominent location in the school,” the law, which passed in February, reads. Kentucky is one of several states, including Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Arizona, and South Dakota, who now require the words displayed. Because “In God We Trust” is on money and license plates, some lawmakers have argued that the required signage is about reaffirming history. Some have stuck to the religious argument. “Let’s keep hope alive,” South Dakotan Republican state Sen. Phil Jensen said. “This is our legislature, our history, a nation that trusts God.”

Ex-Drag Queen Exposes Evil Lifestyle and Points to Jesus

What sort of people are these “Drag Queens,” who are brought in by public library officials to read books to young children? MassResistance has already published several exposés of them—revealing child molestation convictions, lurid sex businesses, and lots of depraved and pornographic social media posts. Former Drag Queen Kevin Whitt says, “I was a homosexual, transsexual, drag queen and prostitute for 20 years. I used to go and perform in drag shows with the same people [that are in these libraries]. I used to perform in every drag venue in Dallas. I used to host my own drag shows. I went to a gender therapist when I was younger, and whenever I went I told them I had been raped and molested [as a child], they said, ‘Oh, you’re just supposed to be a woman.’ I did try to seek out help, but all that was given to me was the affirmation of homosexuality and transsexuality. Five and a half years ago I found Jesus and I got set free … Ever since then my life has been so much better than it ever was, I’m so much happier than I ever was.” Today, Kevin is the director of our Dallas MassResistance chapter, and he is helping parents confront the “Drag Queen” horrors in public libraries.

Apple News Bans LifeSiteNews Without Warning

A little over one week ago, Apple approved LifeSiteNews’ application to publish their news on their Apple News platform. Wednesday, without warning, Apple News abruptly reversed course, telling LifeSite that they had deleted our channel and all of our content from their platform. Apple claimed that LifeSite’s channel “didn’t comply with our Apple News guidelines.” Specifically, they stated that LifeSite’s “channel content shows intolerance towards a specific group. Apple’s e-mail provided no details about which content they deemed offensive, or which “specific group” LifeSite’s content allegedly showed intolerance towards. Conservatives have expressed alarm in recent years that a small number of large tech giants, often located in predominantly left-wing jurisdictions, are acting as gatekeepers to an increasing amount of the world’s information.

  • You can sign a petition and/or send a postcard to Apple from LifeSite News here.

76% Oppose Infanticide But Not Democratic Presidential Candidates

The vast majority of likely voters support requiring doctors to provide medical care for babies who are born alive during botched abortions, according to a poll released Monday. The poll, which was published by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, found that 76% of those surveyed support such a requirement. All the Democratic Presidential Candidates do not support legislation to force doctors to care for live babies of botched abortions. “Our polling shows that the Democratic party is out of step with American voters and the values that have made this country great,” Heritage Action for America Executive Director Tim Chapman told the Daily Caller News Foundation. The poll also found that 46% of those surveyed said they considered themselves pro-life, while 48 % said they considered themselves pro-choice. Similarly, 45% of those surveyed said that they believe abortion should “illegal in most cases,” but with “some exceptions.”

SCOTUS Allows Use of $2.5B From Military For Border Wall

The Supreme Court ruled last Friday evening that President Trump can indeed protect America’s border by using $2.5 billion of Pentagon money to build portions of the border wall. The justices, by a vote of 5 to 4, lifted orders by a federal judge in Oakland and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that had barred the administration from using the Pentagon’s money to build a border wall. The court’s four liberal justices dissented.

Judge Tosses Democratic Party Lawsuit Against Trump Campaign

A U.S. judge on Tuesday dismissed a Democratic Party lawsuit arguing that the Russian government, President Donald Trump’s campaign and WikiLeaks carried out a conspiracy to influence the 2016 U.S. election. U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan said he could not hear the claims against Russia, which were the focus of the case, because of a legal doctrine called sovereign immunity that shields foreign governments from litigation in the United States. Koeltl also said holding WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign liable for dissemination of hacked emails would infringe on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Democratic National Committee’s computer systems were hacked during the campaign and WikiLeaks published party emails.

218,400 Migrant ‘Family Members’ Released Into U.S. Since December

About 218,400 people who illegally entered the U.S. or showed up without proper documentation at a port of entry at the southwest border were allowed into the country since late December. For now, they are not subject to deportation – at least until they get a hearing in about two to five years, according to the Examiner. Those released were officially classified as family units – meaning each person arrived at the border with a child or parent. However, adults sometimes arrive with children who are unrelated and then claim to be a family, the Washington Examiner reported. The Examiner noted a 2015 court ruling mandated Immigration and Custom Enforcement cannot hold a child more than 20 days, forcing the agency to set free those people because immigration judges are unable to hear new cases for two to five years. Those released are permitted to live an any part of the U.S. while they await the court hearings.

  • Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union said more than 900 migrant children have been forcibly separated from their parents despite a 2018 court ruling. The ACLU is asking for a court hearing.

Shooter Kills Three at California Garlic Festival

The latest mass shooting happened Sunday in Gilroy, California, after a 19-year-old snuck onto the grounds of the Gilroy Garlic Festival and killed three people. At least twelve others were injured. He carried out the massacre using an AK-47 style rifle — a weapon that officials say can’t be legally purchased or transported into California. But the man bought the rifle legally in Nevada. And so the shooting will no doubt focus a spotlight on Nevada’s gun laws, some of which are among the nation’s least restrictive. When a gun show takes place in Nevada, rates of gun deaths and injuries rise in neighboring California during the next two weeks, according to a study published in 2017 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Poor FAA Oversight Allowed Boeing 737 Max to Fly

In the days after the first crash of Boeing’s 737 Max, engineers at the Federal Aviation Administration came to a troubling realization: They didn’t fully understand the automated system that helped send the plane into a nose-dive, killing everyone on board, the New York Times reports. Engineers at the agency scoured their files for information about the system designed to help avoid stalls. They didn’t find much. Regulators had never independently assessed the risks of the dangerous software known as MCAS when they approved the plane in 2017. More than a dozen current and former employees at the F.A.A. and Boeing who spoke with The New York Times described a broken regulatory process that effectively neutered the oversight authority of the agency.

Capital One Data Breach Affects More than 100 Million

On Monday, Capital One announced a massive breach involving more than 100 million customers, compromising information such as Social Security numbers, credit scores and credit card transaction data. The incident led to the arrest of a 33-year-old woman in Seattle, Paige A. Thompson, a former software engineer for Amazon Web Services. According to Capital One, the incident was discovered on July 19. The FBI said the data theft occurred between March 12 and July 17, court records show. The bank said credit scores, credit limits, balances, payment history and contact information were compromised. Although Capital One said no credit card numbers or log-in credentials were compromised, about 140,000 Social Security numbers of credit card customers were left vulnerable, as well as 80,000 linked bank account numbers of secured credit card customers.

Economic News

President Trump says he will impose new tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports starting next month, ending the brief ceasefire in trade war. The 10 percent import penalty will start Sept. 1, a cost that would mean almost all goods sent to the United States from China would face tariffs. The tariffs could push the cost of many consumer products higher in the second half of the year. Stocks are on track for their worst drop since May as traders continue to take cover following President Donald Trump’s latest escalation of his trade war with China. Tech companies, particularly cell phones and computers, are already feeling the pain from the trade war.

As expected, the Fed lowered its federal funds rate by a quarter-percentage point to a range of 2% to 2.25%. The move is likely to ripple through the economy and financial system, nudging down rates for credit cards, home equity lines and auto loans and theoretically sparking more economic activity. While the rate cut should aid borrowers, it will frustrate savers who were just starting to benefit from higher bank account yields. The Federal Reserve said there is no plan for further rate reductions, which drove the stock market steeply down.

U.S. hiring remains solid with 164,000 jobs added in July, marking 106 consecutive months of growth. Hiring has been softer this year than in 2018, but it remains at a healthy pace. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%, just above a 50-year low, the Labor Department said Friday. The share of American adults working or looking for jobs ticked up to 63% from 62.9%, close to the highest levels in the past five years. A healthy labor market that’s offering more jobs and higher wages has attracted discouraged workers, seniors, disabled people and others on the sidelines – a positive development for household incomes.

The Senate passed a broad two-year budget deal that increases spending and suspends the debt ceiling, sending it to President Trump to sign. The deal increases military and domestic spending by $320 billion over two years and suspends the debt ceiling through July 31, 2021, eliminating the threat of a default until after the 2020 presidential election. Trump has indicated he approves of this budget deal and will sign it into law.

Radically transforming energy consumption under the “Green New Deal” (GND) would cost the average household at least $70,000 in the first year of its rollout, and a cool quarter-million dollars total after five years, says a new study conducted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Power the Future. The Green New Deal would transform the energy sector by de-carbonizing transportation and retrofitting U.S. commercial and residential buildings. Within the first year of implementing the program, the average household would incur at least $70,000 in expenses — followed by roughly $45,000 in annual expenses for each of the following 2-5 years and over $37,000 after that time frame.

Russia

The United States plans to test a new missile in coming weeks that would have been prohibited under a landmark, 32-year-old arms control treaty that the U.S. and Russia ripped up on Friday. The U.S. pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty that President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed in 1987, raising fears of a new arms race. The U.S. blamed Moscow for the death of the treaty. It said that for years Moscow has been developing and fielding weapons that violate the treaty and threaten the United States and its allies, particularly in Europe. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg similarly blamed Russia for what he described as repeated blatant violations of the treaty. Now, the U.S. is free to develop weapons systems that were previously banned. The U.S. is planning a test flight of such a weapon in coming weeks.

President Donald Trump is imposing more sanctions on Russia in connection with the 2018 poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter. A Russian lawmaker said Friday that Trump’s executive order issued late Thursday will make it less likely to establish normalized U.S.-Russian relations. The order prohibits global financial institutions from making loans and providing other assistance to Russia and bans U.S. banks from making certain loans to the Russian government.

North Korea

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday, according to South Korea’s military, another warning sign that the Trump administration’s push for denuclearization is in jeopardy.    It was the second North Korean weapons test in less than a week. On July 24th, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles in what the regime said was a “solemn warning” to South Korea over its plans to conduct joint military exercises with the U.S. and its ongoing weapons development. Wednesday’s missiles flew about 250 kilometers, according to a statement from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. They were launched from the Hodo peninsula on the country’s east coast, the South Korean military said. “These missiles tests are not a violation of our signed Singapore agreement,” Trump tweeted on Friday, referring to Kim’s pledge last year to halt long-range missile and nuclear testing during their summit last summer.

Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reiterated that America will keep the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf open to maritime traffic, amid high tensions with the Islamic Republic of Iran. In a talk at the Economic Club of Washington D.C. on July 29, Pompeo responded to a question about the U.S. commitment to keep the vital waterway open at any cost militarily, saying, “We are gonna keep it open.” The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most strategically important choke points. At its narrowest point, the Strait of Hormuz is 21 miles wide, but the width of the shipping lane in either direction is only two miles wide, separated by a two-mile buffer zone. A third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost 25% of total global oil consumption passes through the strait, making it a highly important strategic location for international trade.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister Wednesday, a dramatic step bound to escalate tensions. The move by the Trump administration to punish Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had been anticipated after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last month that President Trump had directed him to sanction Zarif. But the sanctions were delayed after State Department officials argued that would close the door to diplomacy.

Afghanistan

Just hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump wants a reduction in American troop levels in Afghanistan before the 2020 election, the U.S. military announced that two U.S. service members had been killed in that country on Monday. police told CNN that an Afghan solider opened fire on the service members. A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousof Ahmadi, also confirmed the incident. The American service members are the fourth and fifth to be killed in Afghanistan in a little over a month.

The Trump administration is getting ready to pull thousands of troops from Afghanistan in exchange for concessions from the Taliban, including a cease-fire and a renunciation of al-Qaida, as part of an initial deal to end the nearly 18-year-old war. The agreement — which would require the Taliban to begin negotiating a larger peace deal directly with the Afghan government — could cut the number of U.S. troops in the country from roughly 14,000 to between 8,000 and 9,000.

A roadside bomb tore through a bus in western Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 32 people, including children, a provincial official said. Fifteen others were wounded with most in critical condition, indicating the death toll could rise. The bus was traveling on a main highway between the western city of Herat and the southern city of Kandahar. No one immediately claimed responsibility, but Taliban insurgents operate in the region and frequently use roadside bombs to target government officials and security forces. The Taliban have kept up a steady tempo of attacks even as they have held several rounds of peace talks with the United States aimed at ending the 18-year war.

More civilians were killed by Afghan and international coalition forces in Afghanistan than by the Taliban and other militants in the first half of 2019, the U.N. mission said in a report released Tuesday. The report refers to civilians killed during Afghan and U.S. military operations against insurgents, such as airstrikes and night raids on militant hideouts. Insurgents often hide among civilians. The U.S. formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014 but still provides extensive air and other support to local forces battling militants.

Nigeria

Suspected Boko Haram extremists killed at least 65 people over the weekend in an attack on villagers gathered at a funeral in Nigeria. Eleven other civilians were wounded during the attack. The assailants, who roared up on motorbikes and opened fire on mourners returning to their village from a funeral. It marked the deadliest extremist attack against civilians in the northeastern region this year. Muhammad Bulama, council chairman of the Nganzai local government area, called it a reprisal after villagers and civilian defense forces fought off a Boko Haram ambush in the area two weeks ago, killing 11 extremists.

South Sudan

In the more than five years since the end of civil war in South Sudan, the fledgling country has disintegrated into the stuff of a horror movie. The UN recently released a report detailing widespread and ongoing human abuses in the African nation. The 212-page report deplored the “mass rape, killings and torture” taking place in South Sudan, where investigators found people have been detained and tortured in “secret, vermin-ridden detention centers” for years on end, while “children have been run down by tanks, girls as young as seven raped, babies drowned, starved or smashed against trees.” Since December 2013, South Sudan has been torn apart by bloodshed that has displaced more than one-third of the country’s 12 million population, and left an estimated 400,000 people dead, according to a State Department-funded study released in late September. Most U.S taxpayers are entirely unaware they have given more than $10 billion to support South Sudan over the years, and each year still fund more than one-quarter of all the international aid awarded to the country.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia planted more than 353 million trees in 12 hours on Monday, which officials believe is a world record. In 2017, India set the world record when around 1.5 million volunteers planted 66 million in 12 hours. The burst of tree planting was part of a wider reforestation campaign named “Green Legacy,” spearheaded by the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Millions of Ethiopians across the country were invited to take part in the challenge. A total of 353,633,660 tree seedlings had been planted, the country’s minster for innovation and technology, Getahun Mekuria, tweeted. The national tree planting campaign aims to plant 4 billion trees during “the rainy season” — between May and October. Less than 4% of Ethiopia’s land is forested, compared to around 30% at the end of the 19th century.

Hong Kong

Police in Hong Kong fired tear gas and rubber bullets repeatedly Sunday to drive back protesters blocking streets with road signs and umbrellas in another night of pitched battles in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. It was the second night in a row that tear gas was used in escalating pro-democracy protests. The demonstrations began early last month to voice opposition to an extradition bill that has since been suspended, but the movement has grown to encompass a broader push for full democracy.

Brazil

The destruction of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil has increased rapidly since the nation’s new far-right president took over and his government scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching and mining. Protecting the Amazon was at the heart of Brazil’s environmental policy for much of the past two decades. At one point, Brazil’s success in slowing the deforestation rate made it an international example of conservation. While campaigning for president last year, Mr. Bolsonaro declared that Brazil’s vast protected lands were an obstacle to economic growth and promised to open them up to commercial exploitation. Brazil’s part of the Amazon has lost more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover since Mr. Bolsonaro took office in January, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year, reports the New York Times.

Environment

More than half a dozen cases of flesh-eating bacteria, including three that were fatal, have been linked to the Gulf of Mexico in the past several months. The Gulf’s water and surrounding bays, warm and rich in nutrients, are perfect homes for bacteria that can cause necrotizing fasciitis, the formal name for flesh-eating bacteria. With climate change warming the world’s oceans, these infections will become more frequent and be found in a wider range of places, say the authors of a report in a recent Annals of Internal Medicine.

Earthquakes

According to the Los Angeles Times, there have been more than 80,000 earthquakes in the state since July 4th, and most of those quakes were aftershocks of the two very large events that hit the Ridgecrest area early in the month.  The aftershocks been creeping into areas close to two major earthquake faults which is concerning for some seismologists on whether it could trigger another huge temblor. “Some aftershocks have rumbled northwest of the Searles Valley earthquake, approaching the Owens Valley fault. That fault triggered an earthquake of perhaps magnitude 7.8 or 7.9 in 1872, one of the largest in California’s modern record,” the article explains. “The Ridgecrest aftershocks have also headed southeast toward the Garlock fault, a lesser-known fault capable of producing an earthquake of magnitude 8 or more. The fault along the northern edge of the Mojave Desert can send shaking south and west into Bakersfield and Ventura and Los Angeles counties.”

A strong earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Java island on Friday. Indonesia’s geophysics agency urged residents to move to higher ground after the 6.9 magnitude quake struck Friday about 7 p.m. local time. The USGS said the quake was centered 151 kilometers (94 miles) from Banten province off the island’s southwest coast. It says it hit at a depth of 42.8 kilometers (32 miles). Buildings in the capital city of Jakarta swayed for nearly a minute during the quake. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

Two strong earthquakes hours apart struck a group of sparsely populated islands in the Luzon Strait in the northern Philippines last Saturday, killing at least eight people, injuring about 60 and damaging ancestral houses famous among tourists. The quakes measured 5.4 and 5.9 at relatively shallow depth. The quakes collapsed homes of stone and wood and roused residents from sleep. More than 2,000 residents of Itbayat — nearly all of the island’s population of mostly fishermen — were advised not to return to their homes and stay in the town plaza as successive aftershocks shook the region.

Wildfires

Nine firefighters have been injured and more than 20 homes are under mandatory evacuation orders as multiple fires burn in the Pacific Northwest. The region is struggling with drought and high temperatures. The Left Hand Fire has burned more than 3.9 square miles near Mount Rainier in Washington and was 15 percent contained as of Monday night. The Level 3 evacuation order for the area was issued Monday morning. Another 270 homes are under a Level 2 alert, which means residents should be prepared to leave at any time. Several roads in the area were also closed. The Milepost 97 blaze near Canyonville has burned more than 18 square miles and is 15 percent contained as of Monday. Nine firefighters were injured battling the fire. The fire is believed to have sparked from an illegal campfire. Washington and Oregon have the most widespread drought among the Lower 48 states. The first six months of 2019 were the eighth-driest first half of any year in Washington state in records dating to 1895.

Hundreds of Russian towns and cities are shrouded in heavy smoke from wildfires in Siberia and the Far East Thursday, and the blazes appear to be spreading in remote terrain. Avialesookhrana, Russia’s aerial forest protection service, said more than 30,000 square kilometers (11,850 square miles) are on fire, with the vast majority in areas that are hard to reach. Although the fires have not hit populated areas, heavy smoke from them is affecting about 800 communities. States of emergency have been declared in the regions of Irkutsk, Buryatia, Sakha and Krasnoyarsk. Some of the fires are believed to have been started by lightning strikes.

Weather

Storms moving across the Eastern United States have flooded streets and knocked down trees and power lines from North Carolina to Maine Wednesday. Flash flood warnings continued Thursday after numerous motorists had to be rescued from flooded vehicles in Greensboro, North Carolina. Parking lots flooded at Revolution Mills, a large housing, shopping and work complex, as Buffalo Creek rose to nearly 19 feet, a new record, Some parts of the city had more than 7 inches of rain. Thousands were left without electricity when severe weather slammed York County in Maine. Hail fell in Portsmouth, Maine.. Flights at Boston Logan International Airport were brought to a halt for more than an hour storms rolled across Massachusetts. Wind gusts up to 74 mph were recorded. More than 12,500 customers were without power in Massachusetts. Some 20,000 homes and businesses were without power in New Jersey and nearly 11,000 outages were reported in Pennsylvania.

Signs of the Times

July 26, 2019

­­The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3)

South Dakota Puts God Back in Schools

Students in South Dakota will notice a new addition to their schools this fall thanks to a new state law. The law, which goes into effect this month, mandates that every public school in the state must display the national motto–”In God We Trust.” The law says that “The display shall be located in a prominent location within each school. The display may take the form of a mounted plaque, student artwork, or any other appropriate form as determined by the school principal. The display shall be easily readable and shall be no smaller than twelve inches wide by twelve inches high.” One provision in the law stipulates that the state attorney general will “provide legal representation at no cost to the school district, employee, school board, or member of the school board,” in the event of lawsuits.

Christianity Continues to Decline in U.S.

According to the Pew Research Center, Christianity is declining in America. In the early 1990s, 86% of Americans identified themselves as Christian. By 2007 that number had dropped to 78.4%, and only 7 years later, in 2014, the percentage had dropped another 6% to 70.6%.Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” has jumped dramatically. From 2007 to 2014 their number jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%. Also, the number of Americans who identify with non-Christian faiths has grown, especially among Muslims and Hindus. Charisma News notes that, “Interestingly, all of this has been happening while we have been “taking our cities for God,” “pulling down demonic strongholds,” “re-digging wells of revival” and launching a “new apostolic reformation.”

  • The end-time ‘falling away’ is well underway, a significant sign that the ‘day of the Lord’ is coming soon, although there are still prophecies yet to be fulfilled (Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first. and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2Thessalonians 2:3-4)

Judge Blocks 3 New Arkansas Abortion Laws

A federal judge blocked three new abortion restrictions from taking effect Wednesday in Arkansas, including a measure that opponents say would likely force the state’s only surgical abortion clinic to close. US District Judge Kristine Baker granted a 14-day temporary restraining order shortly before midnight Tuesday. The order blocks the state from enforcing the new laws, including a measure prohibiting the procedure 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy. The laws also included a requirement that doctors performing abortions be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. An official with a Little Rock clinic that performs surgical abortions says it has one physician who meets that requirement, but he only works there a few days every other month. Baker also blocked a law prohibiting doctors from performing an abortion if it’s being sought because the fetus was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

  • San Francisco employees on official business won’t be permitted to travel to states with restrictive abortion laws under a new law passed Tuesday. The law also prohibits the city from contracting with companies headquartered in states with restrictive abortion laws. The city’s 11-member board of supervisors passed it unanimously.

Judge Blocks Policy to Minimize Central American Asylum Claims

A federal judge halted the Trump administration’s new policy intended to block most Central American migrants from claiming asylum when they reach the U.S., ruling Wednesday that the move treads beyond the powers Congress had granted. Judge Jon S. Tigar, an Obama appointee sitting on a federal court in California, issued a nationwide injunction ordering the administration not to move forward. It marked a stunning reversal for President Trump, who earlier in the day had won a favorable judgment on the same issue from a different judge in the District of Columbia. Judge Tigar said the administration cut too many procedural corners, made “arbitrary and capricious” decisions, and ignored the protections Congress has laid out for people seeking asylum. The asylum policy, announced last week, gives immigration officers the power to refuse to hear asylum claims from immigrants who leave their home countries and cross through other countries to reach the U.S.

DHS to Expand Speedy Deportations in Interior U.S.

The Trump administration announced plans Monday to speed up deportations for illegal immigrants in the interior, applying the same standards that have been at play at the border to now apply to the country as a whole. With more illegal immigrants managing to sneak into the interior amid the border surge, the new powers are necessary to be able to oust them from the communities where they end up, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a notice published online officially announcing the new policy. The first iteration of deportation sweeps against illegal immigrant families netted just 35 migrants — and only 18 of them were actual targets, ICE announced portraying a slow start to an operation that had sparked a massive backlash from immigrant-rights activists. The 18 targets were out of a universe of more than 2,000 illegal immigrants who’ve been ordered removed by judges, and who were defying those orders. The other 17 people nabbed were “collateral” arrests, meaning they happened to be present at the time Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were looking for targets.

150 Migrants Drown in Shipwreck off Libya Coast

Up to 150 Europe-bound migrants, including women and children, were missing and feared drowned on Thursday after the boats they were traveling in capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya. The International Rescue Committee said the tragedy was a stark reminder of the humanitarian crisis emerging out of Libya and of the urgent need for search and rescue missions to be resumed in the Mediterranean. Two boats carrying around 300 migrants capsized around 75 miles east of the capital, Tripoli. Around 147 migrants were rescued and returned to Libya. After the uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees seeking a better life in Europe. Traffickers and armed groups have exploited Libya’s chaos since his overthrow, and have been implicated in widespread abuses of migrants, including torture and abduction for ransom.

Countries Taking in the Most Refugees

There are over 70 million refugees in the world today. According to CARE, 24 people are forced to flee their homes every minute. This means that roughly 34,000 people a day run away from their countries in fear of their lives. The displaced people include refugees, asylum seekers and other displaced people. Many have sought solace in neighboring countries, which is why Turkey, Pakistan, Uganda and Sudan are the top four in accepting refugees, according to 24/7 Wall Street. The next five are Germany, Iran, Lebanon, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. The U.S. ranks 17th.

Trump Vetoes Legislation Blocking Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

President Donald Trump on Thursday vetoed three bills aimed at blocking his administration from selling American-made weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The measures would have stopped an imminent shipment of 124,000 precision-guided missiles and the fuses to detonate them, among other items. The White House argued that the ban on arms sales conflicted with U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives, by negatively affecting America’s defense partnership with key allies and “signaling that we are willing to abandon our partners and allies at the very moment when threats to them are increasing.”

Terrorism Alliance Between U.S., Brazil, Argentina & Paraguay

On July 22, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay entered into an alliance with the United States to counter “illicit activity” and terrorism in the Tri-Border Area (TBA), the region that straddles the three South American countries’ borders. The “three plus one” alliance, which targets Hezbollah and Iran specifically, was made at the Buenos Aires Summit with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The announcement follows Argentina’s decision to formally designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, which coincided with the 25-year anniversary of the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) headquarters in Buenos Aires. Both Hezbollah and its financial sponsor Iran are blamed.

Russian Election Meddling Worse Than Thought

On Thursday, a bipartisan report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee found that Russia targeted election systems in every state in the 2016 elections—”an effort more far-reaching than previously acknowledged and one largely undetected by the states and federal officials at the time,” per the New York Times. The committee didn’t find any manipulation of vote counts or voter registry files—though it noted its insight into that “is limited.” But it found “an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure” that was aimed at identifying security weak points, though “Russian intentions regarding US election infrastructure remain unclear.” The Times notes the report shows a “cascading intelligence failure,” though the report’s general assessment is that the Russians were apparently conducting a “fact-finding mission [more] than anything else.” But that’s actually alarming, as the report suggests the aim might have been to pinpoint vulnerabilities that could be exploited later.

  • Iran, other countries prepared to follow Russia’s disinformation playbook in 2020, researchers say. A broad range of independent researchers see this potential from operations in Saudi Arabia, Israel, China, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Federal Government to Resume Capital Punishment

Attorney General Bill Barr said Thursday the federal government will resume capital punishment and will move forward with plans to execute five inmates on death row for the first time in more than 15 years. The Justice Department said Barr has directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to adopt a proposed addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol that will clear the way for the executions. Barr has also directed the bureau of prisons to schedule the executions of five death-row inmates. Barr said, “Under administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding.  The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

School Shootings Increasing In U.S.

Since 2009, at least 180 of America’s schools experienced a shooting. These tragedies are as diverse as our nation, but the depth of trauma is hard to convey. There is no standard definition for what qualifies as a school shooting in the US. Nor is there a universally accepted database. So, CNN built their own. They examined 10 years of shootings on K-12 campuses and found two sobering truths: school shootings are increasing; and, no type of community is spared. They happened in big cities and in small towns, at homecoming games and during art classes, as students are leaving campus in the afternoon and during late-night arguments in school parking lots. And they are happening more often. From 2009 through 2103, there were on average about 10 school shootings per year. 2014 and 2015 averaged about 16, while 2016 through 2018 averaged about 29 per year. With little federal data on school shootings, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s behind the recent increase.

Feds Indict Officials at Companies that Distributed Millions of Opioids

A federal grand jury has indicted pharmaceutical wholesaler Miami-Luken, two of its top former officials, and two pharmacists with conspiring to illegally distribute millions of prescription painkillers in some of the states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. The indictment says the distribution of oxycodone and hydrocodone was “outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.” The wholesaler distributed 2.6 million hydrocodone tablets and 2.3 million units of oxycodone to a pharmacy in a West Virginia town of only 1,400 people between 2011 and 2015, the Justice Department said. Emails acquired by the government show drug execs indifferent to the opioid crisis, desiring to ship as much as possible to enhance profits.

In 20 years, drug manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and practitioners acted as street drug couriers and shipped “hundreds of millions” of suspicious opioid doses into two Ohio counties, according to a motion filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio. Companies certified to manufacture and distribute the drugs are required by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to monitor for “suspicious” orders, defined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as those of unusual size, frequency or pattern. For some defendants, “these ‘suspicious order’ shipments represented as much as 80% of the total opioid transactions and as much as 92% of the dosage units shipped” to Summit and Cuyahoga counties, court documents said.

Green Economy Turns Brown As Homelessness Surges In Bay Area

San Francisco recently released the results of its 2019 point-in-time homeless census conducted in January, and the news appeared nothing less than disastrous, as SF’s homeless headcount increased by the hundreds despite the city’s seemingly ceaseless efforts to provide relief, report. The 2019 homelessness spike in SF came amid a tide of similar baleful results across the Bay Area. Five out of nine Bay Area Counties—i.e., all of those not located in the North Bay—saw their homeless counts spike during the same period, with each of these counties reporting worse homelessness surges than SF. “The applied policies of the UN’s Agenda 21 and the New Urban Agenda is wreaking havoc in American cities, but no one is admitting that the homeless crisis is a direct result of those policies,” notes Technocracy News.

House Approves Trump’s Spending Hikes, Debt Holiday

The House approved new budget limits Thursday, which includes increased spending and debt over the next two years. The vote showed a growing rebellion among Republicans over surging deficits and President Trump’s willingness to sign hefty funding increases. Trump had pleaded with conservatives to back him and vote for the bill, which his top lieutenants had negotiated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, but it was Democrats who delivered the bulk of the votes to pass the measure. The final vote tally was 284-149, with more than 90% of Democrats backing it. More than two-thirds of Republicans defied Mr. Trump and opposed the bill. The deal includes increases for both defense and domestic spending, though the domestic side grows slightly faster, Democrats crowed. And having the debt deal in place should lower the risk of another government shutdown over the next 24 months. The Senate will vote on the measure next week, but is expected to pass it.

Economic News

The economy grew at an annual rate of 2.1% in the second quarter, the Commerce Department announced Friday. That’s better than economists had expected, but slower than the 3.1% pace in the first quarter. The middling result was propelled by a strong increase in consumer spending and government spending, but was dragged down by a large decrease in business investment, particularly in real estate, which had been much stronger in 2018. Consumer spending grew at a 4.3% annualized rate in the second quarter, up from only 1.1% in the prior quarter. Spending on durable goods, which includes long-lasting items like cars and furniture, was particularly strong, growing at a 12.9% annualized rate. Consumers saved 8.5% of their disposable, after-tax income in the first quarter and that rate remained at a still-strong 8.1% in the second.

U.S. manufacturing has declined for 118 straight months, The IHS U.S. Manufacturing PMI fell to 50.0 in July 2019, the lowest since September 2009. Output declined the most since August 2009 and employment dropped for the first time in six years. Survey respondents noted that a downturn in the automotive sector and heightened global economic uncertainty were factors behind the decline. The data revealed that export sales were particularly off. The Eurozone’s manufacturing sector is also in decline. The weighed PMI Composite index for July fell closer to the 50 mark separating growth from contraction, drifting from 52.2 to 51.5.

Nissan announced Thursday that it would be laying off 12,500 employees. Japan’s second biggest automaker, said profits were almost completely wiped out in the first quarter of its fiscal year. Operating profit plunged 99% in the quarter compared to a year earlier. Revenue, meanwhile, dropped nearly 13% compared to a year ago. The company added it will reduce its product lineup by at least 10% by the end of fiscal year 2022. “Loss-making overseas facilities would be the main targets,” CEO Hiroto Saikawa said, adding that the company had already suspended manufacturing lines in Indonesia and Spain.

Here’s another early warning signal of possible recession: Fewer goods are being shipped across the country. Truck, rail and air freight volumes fell 5.3% in June from the same period a year ago, the seventh straight annual decline, according to the closely watched Cass Freight Index. That followed a 6% drop in May. The persistent drops could portend trouble for the economy because shipments reflect demand for a wide range of consumer and industrial goods.

Credit reporting agency Equifax has reached a deal to pay up to $700 million to state and federal regulators to settle probes stemming from a data breach that exposed the personal information of nearly 150 million people. It will be the largest settlement ever paid for a data breach. The amount of the settlement could change depending on the number of claims still to be filed by consumers. Equifax will pay at least $300 million and as much as $425 million to compensate affected people with credit monitoring services. The Federal Trade Commission said Equifax failed to properly safeguard peoples’ personal information despite claiming in its privacy policy that it implemented “reasonable physical, technical and procedural safeguards” to protect their data.

Facebook must pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, by far the largest penalty ever imposed on a company for violating consumers’ privacy rights. Facebook also agreed to adopt new protections for the data users share on the social network, and to measures that limit the power of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Under the settlement, which concludes a year-long investigation prompted by the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social networking giant must expand its privacy protections across Facebook itself, as well as on Instagram and WhatsApp. It must also adopt a corporate system of checks and balances to remain compliant.

T-Mobile’s mega-merger with Sprint can move forward, the Justice Department said Friday, paving the way for an unprecedented combination of America’s third- and fourth-largest wireless providers. The DOJ’s blessing marks a critical breakthrough for T-Mobile and Sprint as they seek to join forces against Verizon and AT&T. Critics argue the merger will lead to higher prices and less innovation, but the merger may not close until a multi-state lawsuit to block the deal is resolved.

Investors worried about climate change are warning the world’s biggest cement producers to reduce their emissions or face extinction. A group of investors that manages $2 trillion on Monday pressured cement makers to accelerate efforts to reduce their emissions. Cement production, which uses huge amounts of heat and energy, is responsible for 7% of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, more emissions than all but two countries (U.S. and China). Firms that don’t move quickly to change their practices risk losing access to capital, according to the investors.

For years, Chinese investment into the United States had been accelerating, with money pouring into autos, tech, energy and agriculture and fueling new jobs. But growing distrust and trade wars between the United States and China has slowed the once steady flow of Chinese cash into America, with Chinese investment plummeting by nearly 90 percent since President Trump took office.

Persecution Watch

Two hundred Christian families escaped alive when Boko Haram militants attacked the village of Roum in Cameroon’s Far North Region on July 10. Why did they all survive? Because they had decided to sleep in the bush instead of in their houses – a precaution taken because of so many other recent attacks on nearby villages. The foresight of the Roum Christians saved their lives, but they still lost everything they owned. The jihadists set fire to their homes, killed their livestock and plundered their food-stores of millet. With their clothes, bedding and other possessions destroyed, the believers are now living in a local school.

Syrian Christian Suzan Der Kirkour, 60, was raped repeatedly, tortured and stoned to death near her home in Idlib governorate by Islamist militants, reportedly linked to an Al-Nusra Front rebel group active in the area, a Barnabas Aid contact has reported.

A pregnant mother of two children was among three Christians killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in north-central Nigeria the night of July 14 and morning of July 15, sources said. The herdsmen attacked the Christian communities of Ancha, Tafigana, Kperie, Hukke and Rikwechongu, killing the three Christians and burning down 75 houses and two church buildings, according to area residents.

Israel

A measure to oppose the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement receives strong, bipartisan support in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday – 398 members voted in favor and just 17 against. The BDS movement seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel, as well as U.S. companies with commercial ties to Israel. The majority in both parties supported the bipartisan resolution, which was opposed by 16 Democrats – including, of course, pro-BDS activists Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

Israeli work crews on Monday started tearing down dozens of illegally built Palestinian Arab homes in an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood, in one of the largest operations of its kind in years. The demolition is a sensitive issue as the buildings sit in Area A, over which the Palestinian Authority is supposed to have control over civilian and security matters. However, the buildings are close to the separation barrier, which Israel credits with reducing terrorist attacks. Seven years ago the IDF banned construction of buildings within 250 meters of the separation barrier.

Iran

Iranian lawmakers on Sunday said they believe their country should impose a “toll” on all ships that pass through the vital Strait of Hormuz. The proposal comes just 48 hours after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) seized a British oil tanker traveling through the Strait, a key shipping channel in the region. After the Trump administration imposed a full embargo on exports of Iranian oil earlier this year, Tehran has targeted foreign vessels sailing through the strait. In addition to detaining multiple ships, the U.S. has alleged that Iran carried out a series of limpet mine attacks on oil tankers. Meanwhile, British officials said the country will weigh economic sanctions against Iran in response to the ship seizure.

On Monday, Iran said it arrested 17 of its own citizens who were spying for the US, reports Reuters. Iran said some would be executed, but it did not say how many. According to the state-run Fars news agency, the CIA recruited workers at nuclear and military sites, as well as in the private sector, and wooed them with promises of jobs in the US and easy US visas, per USA Today. Iran said it broke up the spy network last month. Neither the CIA nor the U.S. government has responded to the allegations.

Syria

Air strikes by the Syrian government and its allies on schools, hospitals, markets and bakeries have killed at least 103 civilians in the past 10 days, including 26 children, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement on Friday. “These are civilian objects, and it seems highly unlikely, given the persistent pattern of such attacks, that they are all being hit by accident,” Bachelet said, adding that the rising toll had been met with “apparent international indifference”.

Somalia

At least 17 people were killed in a car bombing in Mogadishu on Monday, medical sources tell VOA’s Somali service. The director of Mogadishu’s largest hospital, Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, said another 28 people were taken to the hospital with injuries. The explosion occurred when a suspected suicide bomber detonated a vehicle near a hotel close to the busy K-4 junction in Mogadishu. Witnesses told VOA Somali that the vehicle was turned back from a security checkpoint that leads to Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport. Al-Shabab militants claimed responsibility for the attack.

A suicide bomber walked into the mayor’s office in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, during a high-level security meeting on Wednesday and detonated explosives, seriously injuring the mayor and killing at least six people, according to local authorities. The mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman, was in critical condition with head and stomach injuries, officials said. James Swan, an American diplomat who is the United Nations’ special representative for Somalia, had visited the mayor’s office earlier Wednesday but left before the attack, the authorities said. The Shabab, an Islamist extremist group with links to Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility and said that Mr. Swan was the intended target, according to Radio Andalus, the group’s radio station. The Shabab, which seeks to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government, often target government offices and other high-profile places in Somalia’s capital.

North Korea

A day after two North Korean missile launches rattled Asia, the nation announced Friday that Kim Jong Un supervised a test of a new type of tactical guided weapon that was meant to be a “solemn warning” about South Korea’s plans to hold military exercises with the United States. The message in the country’s state media quoted Kim and was directed at “South Korean military warmongers,” the AP reports. It comes as US and North Korean officials struggle to set up talks after a recent meeting on the Korean border between Kim and President Trump seemed to provide a step forward in stalled nuclear negotiations. Although the North had harsh words for South Korea, the statement stayed away from the kind of belligerent attacks on the United States that have marked past announcements, a possible signal that it’s interested in keeping diplomacy alive.

United Kingdom

Boris Johnson will become Britain’s new prime minister on Wednesday. The governing Conservative Party revealed Tuesday that the Brexit hardliner won a ballot of about 160,000 Conservative members to replace Theresa May, who announced her resignation last month. Johnson, a former London mayor, had been the heavy favorite. He wooed Conservatives by promising to succeed where May failed and lead the UK out of the European Union on the scheduled date of Oct. 31—with or without a divorce deal. Several Conservative ministers have already announced they will resign to fight any push for a “no-deal” Brexit, an outcome economists warn would disrupt trade and plunge the UK into recession. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is an eccentric character who is prone to gaffes, often projects a disheveled demeanor and has a tendency to offend allies and foes alike that has drawn comparisons to President Donald Trump.

Puerto Rico

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said late Wednesday that he will resign on Aug. 2 after nearly two weeks of furious protests and political upheaval touched off by a leak of crude and insulting chat messages between him and his top advisers. Puerto Ricans had already been frustrated with corruption, mismanagement, economic crisis, and the sluggish recovery from Hurricane Maria nearly two years ago.. A crowd of demonstrators outside the governor’s mansion in Old San Juan erupted into cheers and singing after his announcement on Facebook just before midnight. Addressing the protests, Rosselló said, “The demands have been overwhelming and I’ve received them with highest degree of humility.” Rosselló, a Democrat elected in 2016, is the first governor to resign in the modern history of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory of more than 3 million American citizens. However, the massive crowds showed no sign of dispersing as they also protested Rossello’s successor, Secretary of Justice Wanda Vazquez, an embattled figure also tainted by the corruption scandals that have roiled the administration.

Mexico

Murders in Mexico jumped in the first half of the year to the highest on record, underscoring the vast challenges President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador faces in reducing violence in the cartel-ravaged country. There were 14,603 murders from January to June, versus the 13,985 homicides registered in the first six months of 2018. Mexico is on course to surpass the 29,111 murders of last year, an all-time high. For years Mexico has struggled with violence as consecutive governments battled brutal drug cartels, often by taking out their leaders. That has resulted in the fragmentation of gangs and increasingly vicious internecine fighting.

China

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said Tuesday the bureau has more than 1,000 open investigations into Chinese efforts to steal U.S. businesses’ confidential intellectual property. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Wray said China poses a bigger threat than Russia to the U.S. China is trying to “steal their way up the economic ladder at our expense,” he told the lawmakers. Over the past two years, the FBI, Justice Department and White House have accused the Chinese government of plotting to steal both U.S. government-funded research and private businesses’ intellectual property.

Volcanoes

Indonesia’s Tangkuban Perahu Volcano erupted Friday near the country’s third-largest city, sending a plume of ash into the sky that landed more than a mile from the volcano. The volcano, which erupted at 3:48 p.m. local time Friday, is located about 20 miles north of Bandung, the capital of West Java and home to more than 2.3 million people. Visitors and residents were warned to be alert for more possible volcanic activity. Indonesia is part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire and has dozens volcanoes, with some of the most active on the populated islands of Java and Bali.

Wildfires

There are currently 78 wildfires burning in Alaska, with most of them at zero percent containment. So far, these fires have consumed 2,056,514 acres (3,213 square miles – almost 3 times the size of Rhode Island. The largest of these is the Chalkyitsik Complex (4 fires) in the Upper Yukon Zone, fifteen miles east of Chalkyitsik. So far, 482,087 acres have been torched in mostly timber forest. Numerous structures threatened, with just two lost so far. In total, just 7 structures have been lost to these 78 fires.

A wildfire burning near Flagstaff, Arizona, has forced the evacuation of about two dozen homes north of the city and prompted authorities to give pre-evacuation notices to thousands more. The Museum Fire has torched more than 2.1 square miles in the Coconino National Forest and is 10 percent contained. The recreation area is known for horseback riding, camping, hiking and mountain biking. More than 500 firefighters and a dozen aircraft have been battling the blaze since it broke out on Sunday.

Lightning sparked more than a dozen wildfires Monday in northern Nevada. While many of the blazes have since been contained, crews continue to battle several fires sparked by a line of thunderstorms that swept through the region Monday afternoon. The Summit Fire near Winnemucca in Pershing County is the largest of these and has scorched more than 10 square miles as of Tuesday afternoon. The Midas Fire, located three miles southwest of the town of Midas in Elko County, has burned 2.6 square miles.

Eight firefighters and 12 civilians have been injured in wildfires burning through central Portugal. the fires began Saturday in the district of Castelo Branco, northeast of Lisbon, the capital. More than 1,000 firefighters, supported by 10 firefighting aircraft and hundreds of vehicles, are battling the fires. At least one village has been evacuated. In recent years, the country has witnessed some of its deadliest fires on record, with 106 people killed in 2017.

Weather

A relentless heatwave gripped the U.S. from the central states to the East Coast last weekend, killing at least seven. As the stifling heat — expected to affect 200 million people — settled in for at least a fifth day, the National Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisory from parts of the Texas Panhandle to the Ohio Valley, around the Great Lakes, parts of the Mid-Atlantic and in the Northeast. An Excessive Heat Warning is issued when the combination of heat and humidity is expected to make it feel like it is 105 degrees or greater. Temperatures reached the upper 90s from the Carolinas to Maine on Sunday, and the heat index hit 110 degrees in some places.

London and places across Europe sweltered under all-time high temperatures Thursday as the second heat wave this summer baked the continent. Paris soared to a record high of 108 degrees.  Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands also set all-time heat records, while London set a record for July of 98.4 degrees. So far, 6 deaths have been linked to the heat wave. Normally temperate Europe — where air conditioning is rare — isn’t equipped for the temperatures frying the region this week. So, tourists frolicked in fountains to seek relief, and authorities and volunteers fanned out to help the elderly, sick and homeless hit hardest by the heat. Trains were canceled in Britain and France, and French authorities urged travelers to stay home.

More than half a million homes and businesses in Michigan and Wisconsin remained without electricity Sunday morning after violent thunderstorms rolled across the Upper Midwest on Friday and Saturday. Saturday’s round of severe storms erupted over South Dakota, producing wind gusts up to 79 mph before moving into Wisconsin, Minnesota and eventually, Michigan. Numerous large trees were reportedly downed in Appleton, Wisconsin, by high winds. Many vehicles sustained damage from downed trees. Hail as big as baseballs that left numerous cars damaged along a Minnesota interstate Friday. A roof was ripped off one business, and siding was partially torn from a hotel in Wisconsin. Flash flooding closed several roads early Monday and sent water into businesses in areas in and around St. Louis, Missouri. Interstate 64 westbound was shut down in St. Louis after a car stalled in high water.

The death toll from monsoon flooding in South Asia rose to 164 Sunday Saturday as millions of people and animals continue to face the brunt of it in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Some 4.8 million people spread over 3,700 villages were affected by the floods. More than 147,000 people have taken shelter in 755 government-run camps across Assam, India.

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

Signs of the Times

July 26, 2019

­­The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3)

South Dakota Puts God Back in Schools

Students in South Dakota will notice a new addition to their schools this fall thanks to a new state law. The law, which goes into effect this month, mandates that every public school in the state must display the national motto–”In God We Trust.” The law says that “The display shall be located in a prominent location within each school. The display may take the form of a mounted plaque, student artwork, or any other appropriate form as determined by the school principal. The display shall be easily readable and shall be no smaller than twelve inches wide by twelve inches high.” One provision in the law stipulates that the state attorney general will “provide legal representation at no cost to the school district, employee, school board, or member of the school board,” in the event of lawsuits.

Christianity Continues to Decline in U.S.

According to the Pew Research Center, Christianity is declining in America. In the early 1990s, 86% of Americans identified themselves as Christian. By 2007 that number had dropped to 78.4%, and only 7 years later, in 2014, the percentage had dropped another 6% to 70.6%.Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” has jumped dramatically. From 2007 to 2014 their number jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%. Also, the number of Americans who identify with non-Christian faiths has grown, especially among Muslims and Hindus. Charisma News notes that, “Interestingly, all of this has been happening while we have been “taking our cities for God,” “pulling down demonic strongholds,” “re-digging wells of revival” and launching a “new apostolic reformation.”

  • The end-time ‘falling away’ is well underway, a significant sign that the ‘day of the Lord’ is coming soon, although there are still prophecies yet to be fulfilled (Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first. and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2Thessalonians 2:3-4)

Judge Blocks 3 New Arkansas Abortion Laws

A federal judge blocked three new abortion restrictions from taking effect Wednesday in Arkansas, including a measure that opponents say would likely force the state’s only surgical abortion clinic to close. US District Judge Kristine Baker granted a 14-day temporary restraining order shortly before midnight Tuesday. The order blocks the state from enforcing the new laws, including a measure prohibiting the procedure 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy. The laws also included a requirement that doctors performing abortions be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. An official with a Little Rock clinic that performs surgical abortions says it has one physician who meets that requirement, but he only works there a few days every other month. Baker also blocked a law prohibiting doctors from performing an abortion if it’s being sought because the fetus was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

  • San Francisco employees on official business won’t be permitted to travel to states with restrictive abortion laws under a new law passed Tuesday. The law also prohibits the city from contracting with companies headquartered in states with restrictive abortion laws. The city’s 11-member board of supervisors passed it unanimously.

Judge Blocks Policy to Minimize Central American Asylum Claims

A federal judge halted the Trump administration’s new policy intended to block most Central American migrants from claiming asylum when they reach the U.S., ruling Wednesday that the move treads beyond the powers Congress had granted. Judge Jon S. Tigar, an Obama appointee sitting on a federal court in California, issued a nationwide injunction ordering the administration not to move forward. It marked a stunning reversal for President Trump, who earlier in the day had won a favorable judgment on the same issue from a different judge in the District of Columbia. Judge Tigar said the administration cut too many procedural corners, made “arbitrary and capricious” decisions, and ignored the protections Congress has laid out for people seeking asylum. The asylum policy, announced last week, gives immigration officers the power to refuse to hear asylum claims from immigrants who leave their home countries and cross through other countries to reach the U.S.

DHS to Expand Speedy Deportations in Interior U.S.

The Trump administration announced plans Monday to speed up deportations for illegal immigrants in the interior, applying the same standards that have been at play at the border to now apply to the country as a whole. With more illegal immigrants managing to sneak into the interior amid the border surge, the new powers are necessary to be able to oust them from the communities where they end up, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a notice published online officially announcing the new policy. The first iteration of deportation sweeps against illegal immigrant families netted just 35 migrants — and only 18 of them were actual targets, ICE announced portraying a slow start to an operation that had sparked a massive backlash from immigrant-rights activists. The 18 targets were out of a universe of more than 2,000 illegal immigrants who’ve been ordered removed by judges, and who were defying those orders. The other 17 people nabbed were “collateral” arrests, meaning they happened to be present at the time Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were looking for targets.

150 Migrants Drown in Shipwreck off Libya Coast

Up to 150 Europe-bound migrants, including women and children, were missing and feared drowned on Thursday after the boats they were traveling in capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya. The International Rescue Committee said the tragedy was a stark reminder of the humanitarian crisis emerging out of Libya and of the urgent need for search and rescue missions to be resumed in the Mediterranean. Two boats carrying around 300 migrants capsized around 75 miles east of the capital, Tripoli. Around 147 migrants were rescued and returned to Libya. After the uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees seeking a better life in Europe. Traffickers and armed groups have exploited Libya’s chaos since his overthrow, and have been implicated in widespread abuses of migrants, including torture and abduction for ransom.

Countries Taking in the Most Refugees

There are over 70 million refugees in the world today. According to CARE, 24 people are forced to flee their homes every minute. This means that roughly 34,000 people a day run away from their countries in fear of their lives. The displaced people include refugees, asylum seekers and other displaced people. Many have sought solace in neighboring countries, which is why Turkey, Pakistan, Uganda and Sudan are the top four in accepting refugees, according to 24/7 Wall Street. The next five are Germany, Iran, Lebanon, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. The U.S. ranks 17th.

Trump Vetoes Legislation Blocking Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

President Donald Trump on Thursday vetoed three bills aimed at blocking his administration from selling American-made weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The measures would have stopped an imminent shipment of 124,000 precision-guided missiles and the fuses to detonate them, among other items. The White House argued that the ban on arms sales conflicted with U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives, by negatively affecting America’s defense partnership with key allies and “signaling that we are willing to abandon our partners and allies at the very moment when threats to them are increasing.”

Terrorism Alliance Between U.S., Brazil, Argentina & Paraguay

On July 22, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay entered into an alliance with the United States to counter “illicit activity” and terrorism in the Tri-Border Area (TBA), the region that straddles the three South American countries’ borders. The “three plus one” alliance, which targets Hezbollah and Iran specifically, was made at the Buenos Aires Summit with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The announcement follows Argentina’s decision to formally designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, which coincided with the 25-year anniversary of the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) headquarters in Buenos Aires. Both Hezbollah and its financial sponsor Iran are blamed.

Russian Election Meddling Worse Than Thought

On Thursday, a bipartisan report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee found that Russia targeted election systems in every state in the 2016 elections—”an effort more far-reaching than previously acknowledged and one largely undetected by the states and federal officials at the time,” per the New York Times. The committee didn’t find any manipulation of vote counts or voter registry files—though it noted its insight into that “is limited.” But it found “an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure” that was aimed at identifying security weak points, though “Russian intentions regarding US election infrastructure remain unclear.” The Times notes the report shows a “cascading intelligence failure,” though the report’s general assessment is that the Russians were apparently conducting a “fact-finding mission [more] than anything else.” But that’s actually alarming, as the report suggests the aim might have been to pinpoint vulnerabilities that could be exploited later.

  • Iran, other countries prepared to follow Russia’s disinformation playbook in 2020, researchers say. A broad range of independent researchers see this potential from operations in Saudi Arabia, Israel, China, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Federal Government to Resume Capital Punishment

Attorney General Bill Barr said Thursday the federal government will resume capital punishment and will move forward with plans to execute five inmates on death row for the first time in more than 15 years. The Justice Department said Barr has directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to adopt a proposed addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol that will clear the way for the executions. Barr has also directed the bureau of prisons to schedule the executions of five death-row inmates. Barr said, “Under administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding.  The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

School Shootings Increasing In U.S.

Since 2009, at least 180 of America’s schools experienced a shooting. These tragedies are as diverse as our nation, but the depth of trauma is hard to convey. There is no standard definition for what qualifies as a school shooting in the US. Nor is there a universally accepted database. So, CNN built their own. They examined 10 years of shootings on K-12 campuses and found two sobering truths: school shootings are increasing; and, no type of community is spared. They happened in big cities and in small towns, at homecoming games and during art classes, as students are leaving campus in the afternoon and during late-night arguments in school parking lots. And they are happening more often. From 2009 through 2103, there were on average about 10 school shootings per year. 2014 and 2015 averaged about 16, while 2016 through 2018 averaged about 29 per year. With little federal data on school shootings, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s behind the recent increase.

Feds Indict Officials at Companies that Distributed Millions of Opioids

A federal grand jury has indicted pharmaceutical wholesaler Miami-Luken, two of its top former officials, and two pharmacists with conspiring to illegally distribute millions of prescription painkillers in some of the states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. The indictment says the distribution of oxycodone and hydrocodone was “outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.” The wholesaler distributed 2.6 million hydrocodone tablets and 2.3 million units of oxycodone to a pharmacy in a West Virginia town of only 1,400 people between 2011 and 2015, the Justice Department said. Emails acquired by the government show drug execs indifferent to the opioid crisis, desiring to ship as much as possible to enhance profits.

In 20 years, drug manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and practitioners acted as street drug couriers and shipped “hundreds of millions” of suspicious opioid doses into two Ohio counties, according to a motion filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio. Companies certified to manufacture and distribute the drugs are required by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to monitor for “suspicious” orders, defined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as those of unusual size, frequency or pattern. For some defendants, “these ‘suspicious order’ shipments represented as much as 80% of the total opioid transactions and as much as 92% of the dosage units shipped” to Summit and Cuyahoga counties, court documents said.

Green Economy Turns Brown As Homelessness Surges In Bay Area

San Francisco recently released the results of its 2019 point-in-time homeless census conducted in January, and the news appeared nothing less than disastrous, as SF’s homeless headcount increased by the hundreds despite the city’s seemingly ceaseless efforts to provide relief, report. The 2019 homelessness spike in SF came amid a tide of similar baleful results across the Bay Area. Five out of nine Bay Area Counties—i.e., all of those not located in the North Bay—saw their homeless counts spike during the same period, with each of these counties reporting worse homelessness surges than SF. “The applied policies of the UN’s Agenda 21 and the New Urban Agenda is wreaking havoc in American cities, but no one is admitting that the homeless crisis is a direct result of those policies,” notes Technocracy News.

House Approves Trump’s Spending Hikes, Debt Holiday

The House approved new budget limits Thursday, which includes increased spending and debt over the next two years. The vote showed a growing rebellion among Republicans over surging deficits and President Trump’s willingness to sign hefty funding increases. Trump had pleaded with conservatives to back him and vote for the bill, which his top lieutenants had negotiated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, but it was Democrats who delivered the bulk of the votes to pass the measure. The final vote tally was 284-149, with more than 90% of Democrats backing it. More than two-thirds of Republicans defied Mr. Trump and opposed the bill. The deal includes increases for both defense and domestic spending, though the domestic side grows slightly faster, Democrats crowed. And having the debt deal in place should lower the risk of another government shutdown over the next 24 months. The Senate will vote on the measure next week, but is expected to pass it.

Economic News

The economy grew at an annual rate of 2.1% in the second quarter, the Commerce Department announced Friday. That’s better than economists had expected, but slower than the 3.1% pace in the first quarter. The middling result was propelled by a strong increase in consumer spending and government spending, but was dragged down by a large decrease in business investment, particularly in real estate, which had been much stronger in 2018. Consumer spending grew at a 4.3% annualized rate in the second quarter, up from only 1.1% in the prior quarter. Spending on durable goods, which includes long-lasting items like cars and furniture, was particularly strong, growing at a 12.9% annualized rate. Consumers saved 8.5% of their disposable, after-tax income in the first quarter and that rate remained at a still-strong 8.1% in the second.

U.S. manufacturing has declined for 118 straight months, The IHS U.S. Manufacturing PMI fell to 50.0 in July 2019, the lowest since September 2009. Output declined the most since August 2009 and employment dropped for the first time in six years. Survey respondents noted that a downturn in the automotive sector and heightened global economic uncertainty were factors behind the decline. The data revealed that export sales were particularly off. The Eurozone’s manufacturing sector is also in decline. The weighed PMI Composite index for July fell closer to the 50 mark separating growth from contraction, drifting from 52.2 to 51.5.

Nissan announced Thursday that it would be laying off 12,500 employees. Japan’s second biggest automaker, said profits were almost completely wiped out in the first quarter of its fiscal year. Operating profit plunged 99% in the quarter compared to a year earlier. Revenue, meanwhile, dropped nearly 13% compared to a year ago. The company added it will reduce its product lineup by at least 10% by the end of fiscal year 2022. “Loss-making overseas facilities would be the main targets,” CEO Hiroto Saikawa said, adding that the company had already suspended manufacturing lines in Indonesia and Spain.

Here’s another early warning signal of possible recession: Fewer goods are being shipped across the country. Truck, rail and air freight volumes fell 5.3% in June from the same period a year ago, the seventh straight annual decline, according to the closely watched Cass Freight Index. That followed a 6% drop in May. The persistent drops could portend trouble for the economy because shipments reflect demand for a wide range of consumer and industrial goods.

Credit reporting agency Equifax has reached a deal to pay up to $700 million to state and federal regulators to settle probes stemming from a data breach that exposed the personal information of nearly 150 million people. It will be the largest settlement ever paid for a data breach. The amount of the settlement could change depending on the number of claims still to be filed by consumers. Equifax will pay at least $300 million and as much as $425 million to compensate affected people with credit monitoring services. The Federal Trade Commission said Equifax failed to properly safeguard peoples’ personal information despite claiming in its privacy policy that it implemented “reasonable physical, technical and procedural safeguards” to protect their data.

Facebook must pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, by far the largest penalty ever imposed on a company for violating consumers’ privacy rights. Facebook also agreed to adopt new protections for the data users share on the social network, and to measures that limit the power of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Under the settlement, which concludes a year-long investigation prompted by the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social networking giant must expand its privacy protections across Facebook itself, as well as on Instagram and WhatsApp. It must also adopt a corporate system of checks and balances to remain compliant.

T-Mobile’s mega-merger with Sprint can move forward, the Justice Department said Friday, paving the way for an unprecedented combination of America’s third- and fourth-largest wireless providers. The DOJ’s blessing marks a critical breakthrough for T-Mobile and Sprint as they seek to join forces against Verizon and AT&T. Critics argue the merger will lead to higher prices and less innovation, but the merger may not close until a multi-state lawsuit to block the deal is resolved.

Investors worried about climate change are warning the world’s biggest cement producers to reduce their emissions or face extinction. A group of investors that manages $2 trillion on Monday pressured cement makers to accelerate efforts to reduce their emissions. Cement production, which uses huge amounts of heat and energy, is responsible for 7% of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, more emissions than all but two countries (U.S. and China). Firms that don’t move quickly to change their practices risk losing access to capital, according to the investors.

For years, Chinese investment into the United States had been accelerating, with money pouring into autos, tech, energy and agriculture and fueling new jobs. But growing distrust and trade wars between the United States and China has slowed the once steady flow of Chinese cash into America, with Chinese investment plummeting by nearly 90 percent since President Trump took office.

Persecution Watch

Two hundred Christian families escaped alive when Boko Haram militants attacked the village of Roum in Cameroon’s Far North Region on July 10. Why did they all survive? Because they had decided to sleep in the bush instead of in their houses – a precaution taken because of so many other recent attacks on nearby villages. The foresight of the Roum Christians saved their lives, but they still lost everything they owned. The jihadists set fire to their homes, killed their livestock and plundered their food-stores of millet. With their clothes, bedding and other possessions destroyed, the believers are now living in a local school.

Syrian Christian Suzan Der Kirkour, 60, was raped repeatedly, tortured and stoned to death near her home in Idlib governorate by Islamist militants, reportedly linked to an Al-Nusra Front rebel group active in the area, a Barnabas Aid contact has reported.

A pregnant mother of two children was among three Christians killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in north-central Nigeria the night of July 14 and morning of July 15, sources said. The herdsmen attacked the Christian communities of Ancha, Tafigana, Kperie, Hukke and Rikwechongu, killing the three Christians and burning down 75 houses and two church buildings, according to area residents.

Israel

A measure to oppose the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement receives strong, bipartisan support in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday – 398 members voted in favor and just 17 against. The BDS movement seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel, as well as U.S. companies with commercial ties to Israel. The majority in both parties supported the bipartisan resolution, which was opposed by 16 Democrats – including, of course, pro-BDS activists Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

Israeli work crews on Monday started tearing down dozens of illegally built Palestinian Arab homes in an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood, in one of the largest operations of its kind in years. The demolition is a sensitive issue as the buildings sit in Area A, over which the Palestinian Authority is supposed to have control over civilian and security matters. However, the buildings are close to the separation barrier, which Israel credits with reducing terrorist attacks. Seven years ago the IDF banned construction of buildings within 250 meters of the separation barrier.

Iran

Iranian lawmakers on Sunday said they believe their country should impose a “toll” on all ships that pass through the vital Strait of Hormuz. The proposal comes just 48 hours after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) seized a British oil tanker traveling through the Strait, a key shipping channel in the region. After the Trump administration imposed a full embargo on exports of Iranian oil earlier this year, Tehran has targeted foreign vessels sailing through the strait. In addition to detaining multiple ships, the U.S. has alleged that Iran carried out a series of limpet mine attacks on oil tankers. Meanwhile, British officials said the country will weigh economic sanctions against Iran in response to the ship seizure.

On Monday, Iran said it arrested 17 of its own citizens who were spying for the US, reports Reuters. Iran said some would be executed, but it did not say how many. According to the state-run Fars news agency, the CIA recruited workers at nuclear and military sites, as well as in the private sector, and wooed them with promises of jobs in the US and easy US visas, per USA Today. Iran said it broke up the spy network last month. Neither the CIA nor the U.S. government has responded to the allegations.

Syria

Air strikes by the Syrian government and its allies on schools, hospitals, markets and bakeries have killed at least 103 civilians in the past 10 days, including 26 children, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement on Friday. “These are civilian objects, and it seems highly unlikely, given the persistent pattern of such attacks, that they are all being hit by accident,” Bachelet said, adding that the rising toll had been met with “apparent international indifference”.

Somalia

At least 17 people were killed in a car bombing in Mogadishu on Monday, medical sources tell VOA’s Somali service. The director of Mogadishu’s largest hospital, Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, said another 28 people were taken to the hospital with injuries. The explosion occurred when a suspected suicide bomber detonated a vehicle near a hotel close to the busy K-4 junction in Mogadishu. Witnesses told VOA Somali that the vehicle was turned back from a security checkpoint that leads to Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport. Al-Shabab militants claimed responsibility for the attack.

A suicide bomber walked into the mayor’s office in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, during a high-level security meeting on Wednesday and detonated explosives, seriously injuring the mayor and killing at least six people, according to local authorities. The mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman, was in critical condition with head and stomach injuries, officials said. James Swan, an American diplomat who is the United Nations’ special representative for Somalia, had visited the mayor’s office earlier Wednesday but left before the attack, the authorities said. The Shabab, an Islamist extremist group with links to Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility and said that Mr. Swan was the intended target, according to Radio Andalus, the group’s radio station. The Shabab, which seeks to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government, often target government offices and other high-profile places in Somalia’s capital.

North Korea

A day after two North Korean missile launches rattled Asia, the nation announced Friday that Kim Jong Un supervised a test of a new type of tactical guided weapon that was meant to be a “solemn warning” about South Korea’s plans to hold military exercises with the United States. The message in the country’s state media quoted Kim and was directed at “South Korean military warmongers,” the AP reports. It comes as US and North Korean officials struggle to set up talks after a recent meeting on the Korean border between Kim and President Trump seemed to provide a step forward in stalled nuclear negotiations. Although the North had harsh words for South Korea, the statement stayed away from the kind of belligerent attacks on the United States that have marked past announcements, a possible signal that it’s interested in keeping diplomacy alive.

United Kingdom

Boris Johnson will become Britain’s new prime minister on Wednesday. The governing Conservative Party revealed Tuesday that the Brexit hardliner won a ballot of about 160,000 Conservative members to replace Theresa May, who announced her resignation last month. Johnson, a former London mayor, had been the heavy favorite. He wooed Conservatives by promising to succeed where May failed and lead the UK out of the European Union on the scheduled date of Oct. 31—with or without a divorce deal. Several Conservative ministers have already announced they will resign to fight any push for a “no-deal” Brexit, an outcome economists warn would disrupt trade and plunge the UK into recession. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is an eccentric character who is prone to gaffes, often projects a disheveled demeanor and has a tendency to offend allies and foes alike that has drawn comparisons to President Donald Trump.

Puerto Rico

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said late Wednesday that he will resign on Aug. 2 after nearly two weeks of furious protests and political upheaval touched off by a leak of crude and insulting chat messages between him and his top advisers. Puerto Ricans had already been frustrated with corruption, mismanagement, economic crisis, and the sluggish recovery from Hurricane Maria nearly two years ago.. A crowd of demonstrators outside the governor’s mansion in Old San Juan erupted into cheers and singing after his announcement on Facebook just before midnight. Addressing the protests, Rosselló said, “The demands have been overwhelming and I’ve received them with highest degree of humility.” Rosselló, a Democrat elected in 2016, is the first governor to resign in the modern history of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory of more than 3 million American citizens. However, the massive crowds showed no sign of dispersing as they also protested Rossello’s successor, Secretary of Justice Wanda Vazquez, an embattled figure also tainted by the corruption scandals that have roiled the administration.

Mexico

Murders in Mexico jumped in the first half of the year to the highest on record, underscoring the vast challenges President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador faces in reducing violence in the cartel-ravaged country. There were 14,603 murders from January to June, versus the 13,985 homicides registered in the first six months of 2018. Mexico is on course to surpass the 29,111 murders of last year, an all-time high. For years Mexico has struggled with violence as consecutive governments battled brutal drug cartels, often by taking out their leaders. That has resulted in the fragmentation of gangs and increasingly vicious internecine fighting.

China

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said Tuesday the bureau has more than 1,000 open investigations into Chinese efforts to steal U.S. businesses’ confidential intellectual property. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Wray said China poses a bigger threat than Russia to the U.S. China is trying to “steal their way up the economic ladder at our expense,” he told the lawmakers. Over the past two years, the FBI, Justice Department and White House have accused the Chinese government of plotting to steal both U.S. government-funded research and private businesses’ intellectual property.

Volcanoes

Indonesia’s Tangkuban Perahu Volcano erupted Friday near the country’s third-largest city, sending a plume of ash into the sky that landed more than a mile from the volcano. The volcano, which erupted at 3:48 p.m. local time Friday, is located about 20 miles north of Bandung, the capital of West Java and home to more than 2.3 million people. Visitors and residents were warned to be alert for more possible volcanic activity. Indonesia is part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire and has dozens volcanoes, with some of the most active on the populated islands of Java and Bali.

Wildfires

There are currently 78 wildfires burning in Alaska, with most of them at zero percent containment. So far, these fires have consumed 2,056,514 acres (3,213 square miles – almost 3 times the size of Rhode Island. The largest of these is the Chalkyitsik Complex (4 fires) in the Upper Yukon Zone, fifteen miles east of Chalkyitsik. So far, 482,087 acres have been torched in mostly timber forest. Numerous structures threatened, with just two lost so far. In total, just 7 structures have been lost to these 78 fires.

A wildfire burning near Flagstaff, Arizona, has forced the evacuation of about two dozen homes north of the city and prompted authorities to give pre-evacuation notices to thousands more. The Museum Fire has torched more than 2.1 square miles in the Coconino National Forest and is 10 percent contained. The recreation area is known for horseback riding, camping, hiking and mountain biking. More than 500 firefighters and a dozen aircraft have been battling the blaze since it broke out on Sunday.

Lightning sparked more than a dozen wildfires Monday in northern Nevada. While many of the blazes have since been contained, crews continue to battle several fires sparked by a line of thunderstorms that swept through the region Monday afternoon. The Summit Fire near Winnemucca in Pershing County is the largest of these and has scorched more than 10 square miles as of Tuesday afternoon. The Midas Fire, located three miles southwest of the town of Midas in Elko County, has burned 2.6 square miles.

Eight firefighters and 12 civilians have been injured in wildfires burning through central Portugal. the fires began Saturday in the district of Castelo Branco, northeast of Lisbon, the capital. More than 1,000 firefighters, supported by 10 firefighting aircraft and hundreds of vehicles, are battling the fires. At least one village has been evacuated. In recent years, the country has witnessed some of its deadliest fires on record, with 106 people killed in 2017.

Weather

A relentless heatwave gripped the U.S. from the central states to the East Coast last weekend, killing at least seven. As the stifling heat — expected to affect 200 million people — settled in for at least a fifth day, the National Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisory from parts of the Texas Panhandle to the Ohio Valley, around the Great Lakes, parts of the Mid-Atlantic and in the Northeast. An Excessive Heat Warning is issued when the combination of heat and humidity is expected to make it feel like it is 105 degrees or greater. Temperatures reached the upper 90s from the Carolinas to Maine on Sunday, and the heat index hit 110 degrees in some places.

London and places across Europe sweltered under all-time high temperatures Thursday as the second heat wave this summer baked the continent. Paris soared to a record high of 108 degrees.  Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands also set all-time heat records, while London set a record for July of 98.4 degrees. So far, 6 deaths have been linked to the heat wave. Normally temperate Europe — where air conditioning is rare — isn’t equipped for the temperatures frying the region this week. So, tourists frolicked in fountains to seek relief, and authorities and volunteers fanned out to help the elderly, sick and homeless hit hardest by the heat. Trains were canceled in Britain and France, and French authorities urged travelers to stay home.

More than half a million homes and businesses in Michigan and Wisconsin remained without electricity Sunday morning after violent thunderstorms rolled across the Upper Midwest on Friday and Saturday. Saturday’s round of severe storms erupted over South Dakota, producing wind gusts up to 79 mph before moving into Wisconsin, Minnesota and eventually, Michigan. Numerous large trees were reportedly downed in Appleton, Wisconsin, by high winds. Many vehicles sustained damage from downed trees. Hail as big as baseballs that left numerous cars damaged along a Minnesota interstate Friday. A roof was ripped off one business, and siding was partially torn from a hotel in Wisconsin. Flash flooding closed several roads early Monday and sent water into businesses in areas in and around St. Louis, Missouri. Interstate 64 westbound was shut down in St. Louis after a car stalled in high water.

The death toll from monsoon flooding in South Asia rose to 164 Sunday Saturday as millions of people and animals continue to face the brunt of it in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Some 4.8 million people spread over 3,700 villages were affected by the floods. More than 147,000 people have taken shelter in 755 government-run camps across Assam, India.

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

Signs of the Times

July 19, 2019

­­Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God.  (Isaiah 43:1-3)

New Rules Stem Flow of Taxpayers Money to Abortion Clinics

A new Trump administration rule that went into effect Monday immediately ended taxpayer dollars going to abortion referrals at publicly funded family planning centers. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, sued the administration, along with 20 states and the District of Columbia, in an attempt to stop Health and Human Services, or HHS, from diverting Title X family planning funding going to abortions. But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, with two judges appointed by Trump, rejected the plea. The administration formally notified clinics that it will begin to enforce the ban on abortion referrals as well as a requirement that clinics maintain separate finances from facilities that provide abortions. The requirement that abortion facilities cannot be under the same roof as family planning clinics will take effect next year.

  • Planned Parenthood removed Dr. Leana Wen as president Tuesday citing the need for a more aggressive leader, less than a year after appointing her, an apparent victim of recent losses in court.

Judge Upholds Daleiden’s Right to Expose Planned Parenthood

Undercover investigator David Daleiden was vindicated in court Wednesday from the bogus lawsuit Planned Parenthood filed after his videos exposed the abortion giant for selling aborted baby parts. Daleiden has maintained from the beginning that he and the Center for Medical Progress followed all applicable laws in the course of its investigative journalism and that the lawsuit was politically-motivated retribution as opposed to a suit based on legitimate damages. In a big victory for the First Amendment freedoms of citizen journalists, a federal judge in San Francisco indicated his intent to decisively cut back Planned Parenthood’s retaliatory lawsuit against The Center for Medical Progress for the undercover videos documenting Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby parts. In his tentative ruling, which he instructed the parties to treat as if it were substantially final, Judge William Orrick III rejected Planned Parenthood’s false accusations that CMP citizen journalists, including David Daleiden, attempted to incite “threats” and “violence” by publishing the undercover videos.

President Trump Again Defunds UNFPA, Which Promotes Abortion

For the third year in a row, President Donald Trump has ordered the defunding of the UNFPA, a United Nations population control agency which promotes abortions worldwide. In 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order defunding the UN population group because it pushes abortions on other countries. He renewed the order again in 2018 and has renewed the order again this year. Trump’s decision means the pro-abortion UN group will not receive $32.5 million in taxpayer funds to promote abortion and population control around the world.

UK Parliament Votes to Impose Abortion on Northern Ireland

Members of UK Parliament (MPs) voted Thursday to impose abortion upon the region and people of Northern Ireland. The vote, which took place in the House of Commons this afternoon, saw MP’s support the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Bill, which would see unborn children stripped of protections by 328 to 65 votes – a majority of 263. The Bill will see the repeal of section 58 and section 59 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act which are currently the only safeguards protecting unborn children from the threat of abortion in Northern Ireland. Michael Robinson, Director of Parliamentary Communications for pro-life SPUC, said: “The UK has one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the world. Since 1967, our laws have permitted the killing of more than 9 million babies and injured countless women physically and psychologically. The Abortion Act has brought only misery and destruction. No society which is genuinely committed to equality and human rights could tolerate such a law.”

New Rule Limits Which Migrants Can Seek Asylum

A new rule that fundamentally changes U.S. asylum law which will dramatically reduce the number of migrants who can apply at the border went into effect Tuesday. An immediate legal challenge is expected. The new rule, published in the Federal Register, stipulates that any migrant who passes through another country before arriving at the US border must seek asylum there first instead of in the U.S. For example, migrants from Honduras or El Salvador who walk north to the U.S. border and pass through Guatemala and Mexico would be ineligible to apply for asylum in the U.S. Instead, they must apply in Guatemala or Mexico. The impact of the new rule is that, with limited exceptions, only people from Mexico could apply for U.S. asylum, and they make up a small number of current applicants.

Majority of Mexicans Oppose Flow of Migrants

According to a new poll, the majority of Mexicans say immigrants are a burden on their country, and favor deporting those migrants who travel through Mexico to reach U.S. More than 6 in 10 residents say they are frustrated by the heightened migration from Central America, because migrants take jobs and benefits that should belong to Mexicans, according to a Washington Post-Reforma survey. The findings negate the perception that Mexico is sympathetic to the surge of Central Americans through their country.

Obama Also Touted Deportation of Illegal Immigrants

Most Americans are surprised to learn that former President Barack Obama also touted the deportation of criminal aliens. In 2014, Obama explained his administration’s deportation policy in an immigration address from the White House. “We are a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable, especially those who may be dangerous. That’s why over the past six years deportations of criminals are up 80 percent, and that’s why we’re going to keep focusing on threats to our security,” Obama said.

Antifa Terrorist Attack Against ICE in Tacoma, Washington

A domestic terrorist attack was carried out against an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Tacoma, Washington. A member of Antifa, an organization that should be classified as a terrorist group, approached the facility with an AR-15, started threatening people and then proceeded to throw incendiary devices at the facility. He was shot and died as a result of his behavior. The 69-year-old armed man killed by Washington state police as he attacked a local Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center Saturday sent a manifesto to friends the day before the assault in which he wrote “I am Antifa,” and was being lionized by members of the leftwing group as a “martyr.” The group Seattle Antifascist Action described assailant Willem Van Spronsen a “good friend and comrade” who “took a stand against the fascist detention center in Tacoma” and “became a martyr who gave his life to the struggle against fascism.” Democrats have been calling for elimination of ICE for nearly a year. In the past few months, their rhetoric about the agency has escalated and a number of members have referred to ICE agents as Nazis.

Feds Release 3,100 Inmates under First Step Act

The Justice Department announced that more than 3,000 inmates are being released Friday from custody after their sentences were reduced for good conduct under the First Step Act, which President Trump signed into law in 2018, aiming to rehabilitate inmates to go back into their communities and avoid reoffending. “Our communities are safer when we do a better job of rehabilitating offenders in our custody and preparing them for a successful transition to life after incarceration,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. Out of the about 3,100 inmates released, the largest number were drug offenders with the second-largest group having committed weapons crimes. The third group were sex offenders.

U.S. Shoots Down Iranian Drone, Iran Captures Tanker

President Trump says a U.S. warship destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Trump says the USS Boxer took defensive action after the drone closed to within 1,000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down, in the latest “hostile” action by Iran. He’s calling on other countries to condemn what he says are Iran’s attempts to disrupt the freedom of navigation and global commerce in the strategic Persian Gulf waterway. Iran on Friday denied President Trump’s statement that a US warship destroyed an Iranian drone, suggesting that the U.S. shot down its own drone.

Meanwhile, Iran claimed Thursday that it seized a foreign-registered oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, the country’s state-run media announced. The ship was apparently captured Sunday. Twelve crew members were on the Panamanian-flagged vessel when it was taken near the Strait of Hormuz. The Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps, a powerful organization with deep links to the military and business, said the tanker tried to smuggle a million liters of oil. Nationalities of the crew members were not known.

House Votes to Block Sales of Weapons to Saudi Arabia & Emirates

The House approved legislation Wednesday to block President Trump from selling U.S.-made weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, triggering a high-profile confrontation with the White House over the controversial transaction. The vote showcased the backlash against a pending deal to send $8.1 billion in bombs, precision-guided missiles, ammunition and other arms to the Saudis and its Middle East partners. A handful of Republicans and one Independent joined most Democrats in supporting the measures, despite a White House veto threat.  Democrats have expressed deep concern over the Trump administration’s pro-Saudi policies, even as the kingdom engaged in series of high-profile human rights violations – including the slaying of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Lawmakers have also grown increasingly alarmed by the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians and created a horrific humanitarian crisis.

Global Health Emergency Declared over Deadly Ebola Outbreak

The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency over the long-simmering Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after the deadly virus spread to a populous border city with Rwanda. More than 1,600 people have died since August in the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. And more than 30 new cases are being reported each month in northeast DRC, which is largely a regional war zone. The committee reported 2,512 confirmed or probable current cases, including 136 health workers affected, and 40 deaths. This is just the fifth global emergency declaration in history. Previous emergencies were declared for the devastating 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people, the emergence of Zika in the Americas, the swine flu pandemic and polio.

Opioid Overdoses Drop as Fentanyl Deaths Skyrocket

Drug overdose deaths last year dropped for the first time in nearly three decades, according to a report this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data show that overdose deaths fell 5% in 2018, the first major decline during an addiction epidemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of people this decade. While the drop is encouraging, experts say more than 68,000 deaths last year from drug overdoses remains a significant public health challenge. Prescription opioid painkillers, long blamed as the root of the crisis, are fading as a cause of drug overdose deaths. The CDC reported 12,757 overdose deaths from prescription painkillers in 2018, down from 14,926 deaths in 2017. Four other drug categories – methamphetamine and other stimulants, cocaine, heroin and fentanyl – each caused more fatal overdoses last year than opioids such as oxycodone and Vicodin. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid often sold as a street drug, surpassed prescription opioids in 2015 as the most lethal overdose substance and now is linked to nearly three times as many deaths.

Economic News

The House of Representatives approved the Raise the Wage Act Thursday, which would boost the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade. In a 231-199 vote along party lines, the House passed the legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the current rate of $7.25. In an even more drastic increase, the bill calls for having the same minimum wage for tipped workers, raising it from $2.13 an hour. However, the Senate is likely to vote it down.

America’s debt load is about to hit a record. The combination of cheap money and soaring debt helped fuel the decade-long economic expansion and bull market, but America’s gluttony of loans could work against it if its fragile economic balance shifts, CNN Business reports. In the first quarter of 2019, the United States’ total public- and private-sector debt amounted to nearly $70 trillion, according to research by the Institute of International Finance. Corporate America’s debt situation isn’t much better. An increase in bank lending has helped non-financial corporate debt climb to new highs: 74% of GDP, according to the IIF. Concerns about rising debt levels aren’t confined to the United States. Overall, the world is borrowing more than it is producing. It is living beyond its means. Such a massive pile of debt puts the U.S. and the at risk to sudden shifts in market conditions.

Last year, 22.5% of all CEO replacements were women. For the first six months of 2019, 21.6% of all CEO vacancies have been filled by women. That total has grown from 12.4% in 2010 and jumped over the 20% bar for the first time last year. A record 271 women were named as new CEOs last year, while 131 have taken on a new CEO role in the first six months of this year.

A shortage of canned vegetables is causing supermarkets across the country to post apologetic signs. The sign in Kroger reads, “Due to a poor harvest season, we are experiencing shortages on many of our canned vegetable items. We hope to be back in stock on most items by the end of August.” Similar notices have gone up in Walmart and other grocers. The shortage is due to the heavy rains in the Midwest that caused major crop losses.

China’s economic growth has slumped to its lowest level in nearly three decades as the world’s second largest economy feels the effects of a prolonged trade war with the United States. The country’s gross domestic product grew at 6.2% in the quarter ended June, the slowest quarterly growth rate since 1992 and down from 6.4% in the previous quarter, according to government figures released on Monday. The Chinese economy will continue to face “downward pressure” in the second half of this year, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

Persecution Watch

Life has become increasingly difficult for Christians in Nigeria, as persecution continues to rise and an average of 10 Christians are dying for their faith every day. Ninety-one million Christians live in Africa’s most populous nation, but many of them face consistent harassment and violence from Muslim extremists. David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA, recently spoke about the struggles facing Nigerian Christians on the Pure Flix Podcast. He explained that “There are these Islamic terrorist groups with safe haven in the north and the government has done little to nothing to root them out. That makes the north of Nigeria one of the most dangerous places for Christians.”

Anti-Christian violence has continued to spread across the West African nation of Burkina Faso, with four more believers shot dead in cold blood at the end of June. According to Christian Persecution charity Open Doors USA, on June 27, heavily armed militants were spotted entering the village of Bani with the aim of hunting down followers of Jesus. The small community was gripped with a paralyzing fear as the militants proceeded to order everyone to lie down. They searched tirelessly for anything that might identify the individuals as Christ-followers. Then, tragically, they succeeded—four men were found to be wearing crosses around their necks. They were dragged away from the group and brutally executed.

Middle East

Palestinian terrorists claim to have shot down an Israeli drone over the central Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The Israel Defense Forces confirms a drone went down but says it’s not clear if the drone was shot down or suffered a technical failure. Israel is a world-leader in drone development and was one of the first to use drones in combat. Last Monday, the IDF shot down a drone that crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Hamas in Gaza has attempted to launch drones into Israel before. In 2018, the Israeli news site Ynet reported that drones had dropped explosive devices onto Israeli homes in the south. The report raised the fear that this might become a new method of attack in the next round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

Amid mounting tensions between Israel and Hamas, one of the terror group’s top officials in Gaza sent out a call on Friday to Palestinians throughout the world to attack Jews. At a speech delivered at a “March of Return” rally on Friday, July 12, broadcast on the terror group’s television station, Al-Aqsa TV, Political Bureau member Fathi Hammad said, “There are Jews everywhere. we must attack every Jew on planet Earth! We must slaughter and kill them, with Allah’s help,” He appealed to the “seven million Palestinians abroad,” to “lacerate them and tear them to pieces.”

Israel

High-profile Democrats are rejecting a controversial resolution from Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. affirming the right to boycott Israel, even as they rally behind her and two other first-term congresswomen attacked by President Trump. The Muslim lawmakers’ resolution likens Israel to Nazi Germany, Imperialist Japan and the Soviet Union. While the resolution doesn’t explicitly name Israel or the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Omar told media outlets that the resolution concerns the Jewish state. California Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman, one of the senior Jewish lawmakers in the House, told The Jerusalem Post that the resolution proposed by the fellow Democrat will not be taken seriously. “I can’t imagine that any committee is going to mark up or take seriously any pro-BDS resolution,” Sherman said.

  • An investigative reporter who has helped compile compelling evidence that Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., committed immigration fraud by marrying her brother and lying about it under oath now cites multiple sources within the Minneapolis Somali community who claim the congresswoman entered the United States in 1995 as a fraudulent member of the Omar family. In other words, her real name is not Omar, reports David Steinberg for Alpha News.

Iran

Iran’s foreign minister has suggested for the first time that the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program could be up for negotiations with the U.S., a possible opening for talks as tensions remain high between Tehran and Washington over the collapsing nuclear deal. Mohammad Javad Zarif offered an initially high price for such negotiations – the halt of American arms sales to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two key U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf. But the fact that he mentioned it at all potentially represents a change in policy. Recently, Iran has inched its uranium production and enrichment over the limits of its 2015 nuclear deal, trying to put more pressure on Europe to offer it better terms and allow it to sell its crude oil abroad.

A decision by the European powers not to enforce sanctions on Iran for its recent breaches of the JCPOA nuclear deal was met with exasperation by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said on Monday that it “reminds me of Europe’s appeasement in the 1930s. Then as well, there were those who buried their heads in the sand and did not see the approaching danger. Apparently, there are those in Europe who will not wake up until Iranian nuclear missiles fall on Europe. But then it will be too late.”

Syria

At least 12 people were killed and scores wounded on Tuesday in aerial strikes believed to have been carried out by the Syrian air force on a popular market in a village in opposition-held northwestern Syria, rescuers and residents said. Residents and rescuers said bombs dropped on Maar Shoreen village in southern Idlib province by planes which monitors said were Syrian army jets left a trail of death and destruction and wounded scores in a main street of the village’s market. Hundreds of civilians have been killed since a Russian-led assault on the last rebel bastion in northwestern Syria began nearly two months ago, rights groups and rescuers said.

Russia has sent special forces in recent days to fight alongside Syrian army troops in northwestern Syria where they have been struggling for more than two months to seize the last opposition bastion, senior rebel commanders said. Moscow, a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad, denied on Thursday that it had sent special forces to Idlib, maintaining that Russia has no ground troops in Syria. The rebel commanders said Russian officers and troops had been behind front lines directing the operation in northern Hama and adjoining Idlib province since it began in April, using snipers and firing anti-tank missiles. They said this was the first time Russian ground forces had joined in the battle.

  • Ezekiel 38-39 prophecies that Russia and Persia (Iran/Syria) will join forces for the end-time war against Israel

North Korea

North Korea has threatened to renege on commitments made to the United States on denuclearization, accusing the Trump administration of breaching the “spirit” of the negotiations by planning joint military exercises with South Korea. North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday that the military drills were a “rehearsal for war” and broke promises President Trump made when he met Kim Jong Un at a summit in Singapore in June 2018. “With the U.S. unilaterally reneging on its commitments, we are gradually losing our justifications to follow through on the commitments we made with the U.S. as well,” the statement said.

Italy

Police in northern Italy arrested three men, at least one of whom had been a member of a neo-fascist political party, after uncovering a massive cache of weapons, Nazi paraphernalia and a missile that they were allegedly attempting to sell. Fabio Del Bergiolo, 50, who had run for a legislative office as a member the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party, was among the three men arrested Monday. Police said their investigation began about a year ago in the city of Turin as authorities were looking into Italian extremists connected with a Russian-backed insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Multiple assault rifles, pistols, shotguns, bayonets and ammo were among the weaponry police seized from Del Bergiolo’s house. An air-to-air missile was also seized in Pavia and, while there were no explosives in it, was in working condition.

Turkey

President Trump has announced that the U.S. is going to halt sales of its F-35 stealth fighter jet to Turkey because the country received a new missile defense system from Russia. U.S. officials previously have expressed concerns about Moscow’s potential intelligence gathering if Turkey came to be in possession of both the advanced American aircraft and the Russian missile-defense technology. The U.S. initially agreed to sell 100 of the jets to Turkey – with the first two arriving in June.

Japan

At least 33 people were killed and dozens more injured in a suspected arson attack at one of Japan’s most famous animation studios Thursday morning. Police say a man “threw a liquid and set fire to it” in the attack at the Kyoto Animation’s 1st Studio building. At least 36 people were injured, some of them critically. The suspect, a 41-year-old man, was injured in the attack and was arrested after he was taken to a hospital. Police say he admitted starting the fire. Survivors who saw the suspect told local media that he was not one of their colleagues. His motive is unclear, though witnesses say they heard him complain that Kyoto Animation had plagiarized his novel before he splashed flammable liquid from a bucket and set it on fire.

Puerto Rico

An afternoon of extraordinary protests demanding the immediate resignation of Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló of Puerto Rico turned chaotic late on Monday when police in riot gear launched tear gas and pepper spray into a crowd of thousands of demonstrators. Henry Escalera, the police commissioner, told reporters that some protesters had thrown cobblestones, bottles and tear gas of their own at the officers during the more than two-hour standoff. The tense confrontations marked an escalation of the dramatic political crisis that began in Puerto Rico after hundreds of pages of a private chat on the messaging app Telegram between Mr. Rosselló and some of his closest aides were leaked on Saturday, revealing a slew of crude and inappropriate exchanges. The leak, coming on the heels of high-profile federal corruption arrests last week, unleashed months of pent-up frustration over Mr. Rosselló’s handling of Hurricane Maria, his education policies and the federal oversight board that controls Puerto Rico’s troubled finances.

Earthquakes

According to recent data from Earthquake Track, the entire globe has averaged 193 earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or greater per day so far in 2019. That is very high, but it pales in comparison to what we have witnessed over the last week.  Within seven days last week, the planet has experienced an average of more than 677 earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or greater per day, more than 3 times above normal.

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake shook the eastern San Francisco Bay area at 1:11 p.m. Tuesday. Four minutes later, a magnitude 4.5 quake hit near Ridgecrest, which, earlier this month, was rattled by a pair of massive temblors, including the most powerful shaker (a magnitude 7.1) to strike California in 20 years. And, then, at 1:24 p.m., the Bay Area felt another rumble, this time a magnitude 3.2, again centered near Blackhawk, an unincorporated community east of Oakland. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries after any of Tuesday’s quakes. And the number of very large earthquakes is at a frighteningly high level as well.  According to the USGS, there were 121 earthquakes of at least magnitude 4.5 around the world within those seven days.

  • Jesus said some of the signs of the end-times were “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7)

A strong earthquake hit Friday near the Greek capital of Athens, causing residents to run into the streets in fear and firefighters to check for people trapped in elevators. The U.S. Geological Survey gave it a preliminary magnitude of 5.3. The quake sparked limited power cuts and communication problems around Athens and the fire brigade reported receiving calls about people being trapped in elevators. The most powerful quake to hit the Greek capital in the last 20 years came in 1999, when a temblor of magnitude 6.0 caused extensive damage and killed more than 140 people.

Wildfires

A heat wave combined with strong winds sparked fires throughout Israel on Wednesday, with hundreds being evacuated from threatened areas and 15 homes being damaged by the flames. Firefighters were able to get most of the fires under control toward the evening. Evacuations took place in several locations, including the towns of Aderet, Neve Michael and Roglit near Jerusalem, Or Yehuda near Tel Aviv, near the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and in Shavei Shomron in Samaria. In Or Yehuda, five houses caught fire in the Ramat Pinkas neighborhood, and firefighters had to rescue several residents. Over 120 cases of heat-related injuries around the country were reported.

Weather

The heat wave covering much of the United States has killed two people in Maryland and caused roads to buckle in Kansas where the temperature reached 100 degrees. With temperatures expected to rise into the mid-90s or higher in the central and eastern states, communities are opening public buildings as shelters and encouraging residents to check on relatives. It was 90 degrees or hotter for nearly 90% of the country this week. Organizers of the Verizon New York City Triathlon canceled Sunday’s scheduled event because of the extreme heat. The event had 4,000 entrees. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 90s in New York City over the weekend, with the possibility of temperatures exceeding 100 degrees in some parts of the tri-state areas and in Washington, D.C, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and St. Louis. Dozens of record hot temperatures are likely.

Hurricane Barry pushed ashore along the Louisiana coast west of New Orleans on Saturday and quickly weakened to a tropical storm. Fears of devastating storm surges and catastrophic flooding didn’t materialize. However, tropical storm Barry’s slow slog inland brought flood and tornado warnings and downed trees from Louisiana to Mississippi early Sunday after forcing late night rescues. More than 150,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in the two states Sunday morning. The storm continued to afflict, an already waterlogged Mississippi and Louisiana on Monday, leaving more than 50,000 Louisiana homes and businesses without power. Up to 14 inches of rain had fallen just north of Lake Charles, Louisiana. In Alabama the rains overwhelmed sewer systems, disgorging. 250,000 gallons of raw sewage along Alabama’s coasts. The remnants of Barry brought flooding into southwestern Arkansas overnight Monday and early Tuesday. Several roadways were flooded and one woman had to be rescued after driving into swiftly moving water in Arkadelphia. An animal shelter was flooded, killing one dog and forcing others to swim to safety.

More than 100 people have died after monsoon rains triggered flooding and landslides in Southern Asia, including at least 50 people in Nepal in the past few days, officials said Sunday. Two more people were killed when a three-story building in India collapsed. Another 30 people were missing in Nepal, swept away by swollen rivers or buried by mudslides. Nine key highways remained blocked by floods and mudslide. In Bangladesh, at least a dozen people, mostly farmers in rural areas, have been killed by lightning since Saturday as monsoon rains continue to batter parts of the low-lying country. About 40,000 people have had heir homes submerged underwater.

Signs of the Times

July 12, 2019

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

Egypt Legalizes Churches in Sweeping New Approval

A committee set up by the Egyptian government has approved the legalization of 127 churches which were previously being run in an illegal capacity. A law passed in 2016 hoped to speed up the process of legalization, with thousands of churches being built without a permit and operating in fear of government reprisals. Prior to the law being passed, it was notoriously difficult to gain state approval with congregations finding themselves at risk of prosecution. Since the law passed, some 1,021 have been granted permits by the committee, according to International Christian Concern. While the committee still has many churches to legalize, this is a promising start for a country in which Coptic Christians have faced fierce levels of violence and persecution for decades.

Most Biologists Agree that Life Begins at Conception

A University of Chicago Ph.D. student recently defended a dissertation in which he asked thousands of biologists when life begins. A large majority of the biologists he surveyed, even those who are committed to the pro-choice position, said human life begins at conception. Steven Jacobs undertook his research for his dissertation in the Department of Comparative Human Development. The research took him five grueling years and roused the ire of many academics, who, according to the college fix, accused him of academic dishonesty, claimed he politicized science, and compared him to the Ku Klux Klan. Jacobs wanted to bring fact-based research into the debate over abortion in an effort to move the debate past the question of when life begins and into other questions by showing that there is already a scholarly consensus on when life begins.

Appeals Court Allows Defunding of Planned Parenthood

The three-judge 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously overruled several federal district judges, allowing the defunding of millions from Planned Parenthood to move forward. Planned Parenthood called this ruling “devastating.” Now the 11 judges of the full 9th Circuit have agreed to hear the case. The reality is this case is likely headed to the Supreme Court. Planned Parenthood takes the lives of over 300,000 babies each year, all while taking and spending our tax dollars on abortion. The premise is that U.S. citizens should not be forced to fund the abortion industry. The rule, which originated under President Reagan, requires federal Title X funding to go to facilities that do not provide abortion. That cuts out Planned Parenthood, which in recent years has taken $50 million to $60 million of those funds.

California Teachers Can Send Student for an Abortion Without Notifying Parents

Imagine sending your daughter off to school only to find out that she was headed for an abortion appointment instead. Then imagine this: her teachers knew and never told you. In California, parents don’t have to imagine it. Thanks to a new undercover video, they know — it’s already happening, reports the Family Research Council.  The Our Watch organization sent someone into a training session who then pushed “record.” What they caught was a coordinated effort to keep parents in the dark about one of the most dangerous decisions a teenager could ever make. “Regardless of how old the student is,” ACLU attorney Ruth Dawson says in the video, “they can walk into a doctor’s office and consent to services without their parental consent. Those services are pregnancy and prenatal care, contraception and emergency contraception, abortion — and for these there is no parental notification.” No matter what, she said, “Young people have the right to leave school and seek confidential medical services without the consent or notification of their parents and guardians.”

NYC Schools to Allow Children to Claim Whatever Gender they Choose

In New York City public schools, students can choose their classes, their sports, and how their genders, reports the Family Research Council. Starting this fall, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza is radically changing the city’s policy on registered names, dress codes, bathrooms, locker rooms, and athletics. Carranza is giving the green light to everything from unofficial name changes to unisex school uniforms. “Schools are safe havens for students to develop their passions and discover their true identities, and these new guidelines celebrate and affirm all students,” Carranza stated. For the first time, kids in the 2019–2020 school year will be able to “self-report names and genders” when enrolling in the city’s public schools. Once the families submit their “name and gender change request form,” every piece of school-related data — including report cards, diplomas, and even official enrollment numbers — will reflect this non-reality. As if that weren’t enough, “school dress codes must be… free of gender stereotypes and must be written, enforced, and applied equally to all students regardless of gender.”

Trump Drops Census Citizenship Question, Orders count from Existing Records

President Trump on Thursday ordered the Census Bureau to try to figure out how many American residents are citizens, but ditched plans to include the question on the 2020 count, caving to political hurdles and legal realities. Speaking from the White House, Mr. Trump said he was issuing an executive order to all agencies in the federal government to pool their existing data and send it to the Commerce Department, which will try to come up with a count without having to stick the question on the census itself. Trump said the analysis will be able to calculate not just citizens and non-citizens, but will finally produce a count of the illegal immigrant population.

Top Psychologist Group Now Promotes Group Sex

The American Psychological Association has been known for taking extreme positions on health issues and lifestyle choices, such as its “guidelines for practice with men and boys.” The document asserts “traditional masculinity” is harmful, and “it is entirely normal for a boy … to wear a dress.” Now, the APA is advocating that “swingers” — who routinely exchange sexual partners among themselves — become a legally protected class with special rights and privileges. Liberty Counsel, known for defending religious and civil rights in court, said APA has created a task force “to refute monogamous marriage and to normalize ‘consensual non-monogamous’ relationships.” The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States, with over 118,000 members.

  • The psychologists themselves have gone nuts and are in dire need of divine therapy

House Votes to End U.S. Involvement in Yemen and Iran

The House approved a measure Thursday that would force President Donald Trump to end U.S. military support of Saudi Arabia’s military operations in Yemen. Next they passed a proposal that would bar Trump from launching a military strike against Iran. The twin legislative actions represent a new level of congressional push back against Trump’s foreign policy, as Democrats use their House majority to rebuke the president over his aggressive stance toward Iran and his cozy ties with Saudi Arabia. Both amendments are being considered as part of a broader defense bill. The Senate approved its version of the defense bill last month without those contentious add-ons. The two chambers will have to reconcile the competing versions in the coming weeks. Trump has already vetoed a stand-alone bill to end the U.S. role in Yemen. Republicans in Congress said that limiting U.S. involvement in Yemen would give Iran a green light to spread its influence across the region.

ICE Deportation Sweep to Begin this Weekend

ICE officers will begin President Trump’s promised deportation sweep this weekend, targeting about 2,000 illegal immigrants who have been ordered deported but are defying those judges’ orders to remain in the country, The New York Times reported Thursday. The operation is meant to target members of illegal immigrant families who have arrived in the border surge. They have gone through their court hearings, been ordered deported, have been contacted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about scheduling an orderly removal, and have ignored all of those entreaties. ICE officials have said any other illegal immigrants encountered at the same time are viable targets for arrest and deportation themselves. Democrats and immigrant-rights activists, moving to thwart the operation, took to Twitter to tell illegal immigrants not to open doors for ICE officers.

Judge Rejects Plan to Force Drug Companies to Display Prices

A federal judge on Monday blocked a Trump administration regulation that aimed to require drug makers include their prices in television ads. President Donald Trump vowed to lower pharmaceutical prices last year amid public outcry. However. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta struck down the plan one day before the disclosure rule was set to go into effect. Drugmakers fought the rule with a lawsuit in June. “No matter how vexing the problem of spiraling drug costs may be, HHS cannot do more than what Congress has authorized,” Mehta wrote. “The responsibility rests with Congress to act in the first instance.”

Number of Terrorist Attacks Declining Worldwide

Thousands of terrorist attacks take place each year, most in regions suffering from broader patterns of political violence such as the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. Assaults in the U.S. and Europe comprise a small percentage. However, the number, prevalence and lethality of terrorist incidents has decreased significantly around the world since a recent near-term peak in 2014, reports the USA Today. At the same time, security experts say the threats are more widespread geographically, more liable to amplification as social media lowers the barrier of entry, and as terrorists and would-be extremists appear intent on adapting and changing their methods in an extremely worrying direction: less sophistication but higher impact.

Booming Economy Tough on Military Recruitment

The thriving U.S. economy has and created one of the toughest environments in decades for military recruiters. The sustained strength of the U.S. economy over the past five years has taken the recruitment challenge to a whole new level. The true depth of the problem came into focus last year when the Army fell short of its recruiting goal for the first time in over a decade. Consequently, the military is doling out bigger bonuses and tweaking its approach in order to attract the nation’s best young talent.

University of Texas Promises Full Scholarships for Some

In an effort to ease access to college, the University of Texas pledged Tuesday to provide full scholarships to in-state undergraduates whose families make $65,000 or less annually. The University of Texas System Board of Regents voted to establish a $160 million endowment from the state’s Permanent University Fund in order to offer the scholarships by fall 2020. The money will supplement existing federal and state financial aid programs. The move will allow the university to fully fund the education of more than 8,600 in-state students, or about a quarter of the university’s undergraduates. The endowment will also help alleviate some financial burden for an additional 5,700 in-state students from families with incomes of $125,000 or less.

Alaska to Slash Money for Universities

The University of Alaska could lay off more than 1,000 and cut dozens of programs, thanks to a dramatic slash in money it gets from the state – a 41% cut from a line-item veto by Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy. Alaskan oil production and worldwide oil prices have declined in recent years, so the state has used billions in savings to balance its budget. But it’s running out of money. At the University of Alaska’s Anchorage branch, Chancellor Cathy Sandeen predicts around 700 layoffs and 40 programs eliminated if the Legislature fails to override Dunleavy’s veto. “Everyone can clearly see that the state of Alaska can no longer afford to continue down the path of oversized spending, outsized government, and out-of-line priorities,” Dunleavy said.

California Governor Signs Illegal Immigrant Healthcare Law

California has become the first state to offer taxpayer-funded health benefits to adults living in the country illegally. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Tuesday that makes low-income adults age 25 and younger eligible for the state’s Medicaid program regardless of their immigration status. State officials expect the plan to cover about 90,000 people and cost taxpayers $98 million. California already covers children ages 18 and younger regardless of immigration status. The law will not give health insurance benefits to everyone 25 and younger, but only those whose income is low enough to qualify. Newsom and Democratic legislative leaders say they plan to further expand coverage to more adults in the years to come.

Economic News

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday strongly hinted at a potential rate cut later this month, citing unresolved trade tensions and worries over the weakness of the global outlook. Powell told House lawmakers that since the Fed’s last interest-rate policy-setting meeting in June, these two factors have the potential to drag down the U.S. economy and remain a serious concern. His testimony before the House Financial Services Committee comes as President Donald Trump continues his relentless public pressure campaign on the Fed to cut interest rates to juice the U.S. economy.

For the first half of the year, vehicle deliveries fell 2.4% to 8.4 million vehicles. This puts the pace for new vehicle sales on track to fall below 17 million for the year, which would be the worst level since 2014. These lowered estimates are a result of rising interest rates, higher prices and rising consumer debt. Greater reliance on ride-hailing vehicles (Uber, Lyft) may also have been a factor. Some analysts say that ‘carmageddon’ has begun.

The layoffs have started at Deutsche Bank as the struggling lender embarks on a dramatic overhaul that will reduce its workforce by 18,000. CEO Christian Sewing confirmed during a conference call that layoffs had started Monday in Asia. He said Deutsche Bank teams in other parts of the world would also be affected. Sewing unveiled a restructuring on Sunday that will eliminate roughly one in five jobs at the German bank. The bank has said its workforce will shrink to roughly 74,000 employees by 2022. Urgent action was needed after recent attempts at restructuring failed to produce consistent profits. The bank reported an annual profit last year for the first time since 2014.

Persecution Watch

At least 100 men, women and children have been incinerated in a “well-targeted attack” on Christians by jihadists in central Mali, according to reports. The exact number of victims who died in Sobame Da, a mainly Christian village, isn’t known because many of the bodies were burned beyond recognition. The Barnabas Fund, a global ministry to the persecuted Christian church, said the heavily armed Muslim attackers struck at night. The Barnabas Fund contact said they “burned the entire village including all the people who stayed or did not dare to go out. Only a few men were able to escape.” The BBC reported it was just the latest and worst of recent attacks by jihadi groups.

Amazon.com has removed from its site books featuring the testimonies of people who formerly identified as gay or lesbian. Among the authors are Anne Paulk of the Restored Hope Network and pastoral counselor Joe Dallas, the Christian Post reported. Dallas’ book “Desires in Conflict: Hope for Men Who Struggle with Sexual Identity” and Paulk’s book “Restoring Sexual Identity: Hope for Women Who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction” were removed within the past few days. Paulk, a former lesbian, said in an interview with WND in February that the affiliated groups in the Restored Hope Network have helped many people overcome same-sex attractions through the power of God. Dallas, in an email to the Christian Post, said Amazon’s decision is “no surprise since today’s culture is caving to the goals of the LGBTQ political movement, which have always included the silencing [of] any disapproval of homosexuality.” The Christian Post also noted that Amazon has pulled the works of the late Joseph Nicolosi, a founder and president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, NARTH. Nicolosi advocated the practice of reparative therapy to help people overcome homosexual desires.

Israel

Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Tuesday that over the past three years, Mossad, the country’s national intelligence agency, has prevented at least 50 terror attacks in 20 countries planned by Islamic terror groups and Iran. Mossad also provided key information that thwarted a dozen attacks in Turkey, despite their strained relations. The other countries helped by Israel were not named in the Channel 12 report, although several are known. In June 2018,  for instance, the Mossad supplied European spy agencies with vital intelligence that headed off an Iranian-led plot to bomb a Free Iran rally just outside of Paris, which was attended by 25,000 people.

Middle East

Since the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in June 2014, the Palestinian Authority has paid over 350,000 shekels (over $ 98,000) in terror rewards to the Hamas terrorist convicted of planning their abduction as well as to the families of two other terrorists who carried it out and who were later killed while resisting arrest, reports Palestinian Media Watch. Having now served five years in prison, Al-Qawasmi is having his salary doubled by the PA, from 2,000 to 4,000 shekels a month. The organizer of this murderous attack has already been paid 98,400 shekels by the PA since his arrest, says the watchdog, which says it has closely monitored the ‘Pay for Slay’ policy.

On Monday, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that the Palestinian Authority is liable for civil damages for terror attacks during the Second Intifada. The landmark decision was won by Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center, an Israel-based organization that defends Israel and Jews through legal systems worldwide. In this case, it represented the families of eight victims of Second Intifada terror. The ruling could force the PA to compensate the families for as much as one billion shekels ($279 million) in damages. The Second Intifada (2000-2005) was an orchestrated period of violence encouraged by the PA, then led by PLO Chief Yasser Arafat.

Iran

The United States on Wednesday accused Iran of “nuclear extortion” and threatened further sanctions against Tehran, which has begun stockpiling and enriching uranium beyond the limits set in the 2015 accord that President Trump has abandoned. The United States called an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna on Wednesday in response to the Iranian moves, while a senior French envoy was in Tehran exploring ways to reopen negotiations on compliance with the deal.

Britain will soon get “slapped in the face” for last week’s capture of an Iranian supertanker, a cleric was quoted as saying Friday amid rising tensions between the two nations in the Gulf. The warning came Friday when the Iranian government called on Britain to immediately release the oil tanker that British Royal Marines seized last week on suspicious it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman accused London of playing a “dangerous game” a day after police in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on the southern tip of Spain, said they arrested the captain and chief officer of the supertanker. Gibraltar has insisted its decision to detain the Iranian tanker was taken alone and not on orders from any government. Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory on Spain’s south coast.

The British government announced on Thursday morning that “Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the strait of Hormuz.” The statement added that a British warship, HMS Montrose, was “forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away. We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region.” Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) denied the accusations.

Syria

Britain has agreed to deploy additional special forces in Syria alongside France to allow the US to withdraw its ground troops from the ongoing fight against the remaining Isis forces in the country. US officials briefed on Tuesday that Britain and France would contribute 10% to 15% more elite soldiers, although the exact numbers involved remain secret. The decision was first reported in the journal Foreign Policy, which described the development as “a major victory … for Donald Trump’s national security team” because few other countries had been willing to help out.

At least 544 civilians have been killed and over 2,000 people injured since a Russian-led assault on the last rebel bastion in northwestern Syria began two months ago, rights groups and rescuers said on Saturday. Russian jets joined the Syrian army on April 26 in the biggest offensive against parts of rebel-held Idlib province and adjoining northern Hama provinces in the biggest escalation in the war between Syrian President Bashar al Assad and his enemies since last summer. The Syrian Network for Human Rights,(SNHR), which monitors casualties and briefs various UN agencies, said the 544 civilians killed in the hundreds of attacks carried out by Russian jets and the Syrian army include 130 children. Another 2,117 people have been injured.

Afghanistan

Taliban and Afghan representatives, including some government officials, agreed on Tuesday to a basic road map for negotiating the country’s political future, a major step that could help propel peace efforts to end the long war, now in its 18th year. In a joint declaration after two days of unprecedented and often emotional discussions in the Qatari capital, Doha, the two sides emphasized a need to work for reducing “civilian casualties to zero” and assuring women their fundamental rights in “political, social, economic, educational, cultural affairs.” The declaration is not binding, and at best is a starting point for when the two sides meet later for negotiations that could lead to fixed terms.

Turkey

Russia began delivery of an advanced missile defense system to Turkey on Friday, a move expected to trigger U.S. sanctions against a NATO ally and drive a wedge into the heart of the Western military alliance. The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown to a military air base near the capital Ankara, the Turkish Defence Ministry said, sealing Turkey’s deal with Russia which Washington had struggled for months to prevent. The United States says the Russian military hardware is not compatible with NATO systems and that the acquisition may lead to Ankara’s expulsion from an F-35 fighter jet program. Turkey says the system is a strategic defense requirement, particularly to secure its southern borders with Syria and Iraq. It says that when it made the deal with Russia for the S-400s, the United States and Europe had not presented a viable alternative.

Puerto Rico

The arrests Wednesday of two former senior officials who served in Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s administration have led the chair of the House committee that oversees Puerto Rico to call for the governor to step down. The federal indictment says the two former senior officials illegally directed federal funds to politically connected contractors. The arrests come a month after Congress approved a controversial disaster aid bill that earmarked additional funding for Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Environment

The world is drowning in trash, and the waste generation rates are only increasing, according to the World Bank. Due to population growth and urban areas growth, the amount of trash countries produce is only expected to rise – by some estimates as much as 70% between 2016 and 2050. While much of the focus is on individuals and families and the amount of trash they generate, residential trash is only a fraction of the garbage produced by certain industries. Between 30% and 35% of the total amount of generated waste in most developed countries is attributed to building sector activities such as construction, renovation, and demolition processes, according to the official EU statistical data. Canada produces the most waste per capita. The U.S. ranks third in trash per capita, but first in total trash.

All of Mississippi’s 21 Gulf Coast beaches have been closed to swimming because of an expanding toxic blue-green algae bloom. Visitors can still use the beaches, the MDEQ said, but they should avoid contact with the water. The blue-green algae, known as cyanobacteria, can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. The cyanobacteria has been caused, in part, by the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway, 27 miles upriver from New Orleans. For the first time in the spillway’s 90-year history, it has been opened twice because of flooding in the Mississippi River. The governors of Mississippi and Louisiana have asked for disaster declarations because of the damage done to their states’ fishing industries by the flooding. The flow of fresh water reduces salinity, making it difficult for oysters to survive. The runoff also is rich in nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, that causes the cyanobacteria to bloom. The blooms deplete oxygen in the water, creating a “dead zone” that can result in fish kills and other devastating effects.

A mild winter and warm spring have led to an infestation of hundreds of millions of toxic caterpillars across parts of Europe. The plague of oak processionary caterpillars has led to schools and parks being closed, event cancellations and hospitalizations in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. A mature oak processionary caterpillar, named for their preference for oak trees and the way they travel in nose-to-tail processions, has as many as 700,000 hairs. The tiny hairs have a toxin that can cause rashes, eye irritation, coughing and allergic reactions. The hairs, which have hooks that grip the skin, are carried by the wind. Even their nests, which can cover several square feet, are too toxic to touch. In addition to their effects on humans, the 1-inch caterpillars devastate forests as they feed on young leaves of oak trees. The caterpillars typically emerge at the beginning of May to feast and turn into moths between July and September.

Earthquakes

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake rattled Southern California residents again last Friday evening (7/5), a day after a magnitude 6.4 quake caused roads to crack and gas lines to rupture near the Mojave Desert. This latest, larger earthquake was five times bigger and was centered about 11 miles north-northeast of Ridgecrest, California, and occurred at around 8:20 p.m. PDT. Ridgecrest is home to 28,000 residents. Friday’s temblor knocked several homes off their foundations in the Ridgecrest area, knocked out power to thousands, caused several fires to break and resulted in some minor injuries. Southern California could see as many as 30,000 aftershocks in the next six months and one or two of them could reach magnitude 6, seismologists say. A 4.9-magnitude earthquake was reported near Ridgecrest, California, on this Friday morning (7/12) — one week after the 7.1-magnitude temblor struck Southern California, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Climate Change

Scientists in Finland found “practically no anthropogenic [man-made] climate change” after a series of studies. “During the last hundred years the temperature increased about 0.1°C because of carbon dioxide. The human contribution was about 0.01°C”, the Finnish researchers bluntly state. This has been collaborated by a team at Kobe University in Japan, which has furthered the Finnish researchers’ theory, stating: “New evidence suggests that high-energy particles from space known as galactic cosmic rays affect the Earth’s climate by increasing cloud cover, causing an ‘umbrella effect.’” The Kobe research was recently published in the journal Science Daily. The findings are hugely significant given this ‘umbrella effect’ — an entirely natural occurrence — could be the prime driver of climate warming, and not man-made factors.

  • Whatever the cause of climate change, the Bible prophesies that 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)

Weather

The Mississippi River has been above flood stage for the longest recorded time in history and now Tropical Storm Barry will bring heavy rain and a storm surge of 3 to 6 feet to Southeast Louisiana. Parts of the French Quarter were flooded and a flash flood emergency was declared in New Orleans as heavy rainfall pounded the city Wednesday. Many drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles on flooded roads. The torrential rain was associated with an area of low pressure that developed into Tropical Storm Barry on Thursday. Barry is forecast to make landfall around Louisiana on Saturday as a major storm or hurricane. More than 4 million people are under flash flood watches from south-central Louisiana to the western Florida panhandle as the system moves over the warm waters. Barry was packing sustained winds near 50 mph, still well short of the hurricane designation of 74 mph, but could bring up to 20 inches of rain in New Orleans.

Signs of the Times

July 5, 2019

­­For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. and in Your book, they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Supreme Court Dodges Debate Over Dismemberment Abortions

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Friday to revive Alabama’s ban on a specific grisly abortion procedure, but not before Justice Clarence Thomas criticized the institution for allowing “dismemberment abortions.” The case involved a 2016 Alabama law prohibiting dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion — a late-term procedure in which an unborn baby is torn apart limb by limb, until the womb is empty. The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the law, although two of the three judges indicated they would have upheld the law but were bound by Supreme Court precedent. “The notion that anything in the Constitution prevents States from passing laws prohibiting the dismembering of a living child is implausible,” Thomas wrote.

  • At some point, the Supreme Court will have to resolve this increasingly divisive issue. Their cowardice is only adding fuel to the fire.

NYC to Forgo $1.3M in Federal Funds In Order to Promote Abortion

New York City will forgo $1.3 million in federal funds for its public hospitals rather than follow a new Trump administration rule that prohibits health care providers from promoting abortion or making referrals for abortion. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the rule in February impacting Title X, a government family-planning program. The new rule prohibits the use of Title X funds to “perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.” Critics such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio call it the “gag rule.” An appeals court panel in June let the rule go into effect. Planned Parenthood, the American Medical Association and 20-plus states had sued to try and block the rule.

Babies Do Survive Abortions, Care Must be Provided

Three babies survived botched abortions but later died in 2018 in Minnesota, according to a new state Department of Health report. The news comes as Democrats in Congress block a federal bill to require that basic medical care be provided to newborns who survive abortions. Democrats have argued that legislation to protect abortion survivors is a waste of time and not necessary. But data from Minnesota, the Centers for Disease Control and other sources indicate that babies do survive abortions, and laws are needed to protect them.

Trump Is First President to Set Foot in North Korea

President Donald Trump met Sunday with Kim Jong Un in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, and became the first sitting U.S. president to step onto North Korean territory. “Stepping across that line was a great honor,” While Trump had said the meeting was supposed to be little more than a quick handshake, he and Kim wound up speaking for close to an hour in a nearby building. Trump told Kim after walking him on the North Korean side of the border, claiming “a lot of progress has been made” in the wake of their two past summits in Singapore and Vietnam. After meeting with Kim for nearly an hour, Trump said both sides will set up “teams” to revive negotiations to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, a goal that has proved elusive for years.

  • North Korea accused the Trump administration Wednesday of talking out of both sides of its mouth — saying the U.S. is publicly pushing the narrative of open dialogue between the two nations but is “more and more hell-bent” on hostile acts. The United States and the other countries have accused North Korea of violating UN sanctions by importing more than the annual limit of 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products, which are key for the Asian country’s economy.

Trump Administration Drops Plan for Citizenship Question in Census

The Trump administration has dropped plans to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census just days after the Supreme Court put a freeze on the move. The court said the government had provided a “contrived” reason for wanting the information and needed a better justification if it wanted to add it. The decision to back away from the controversial question was a victory for civil rights advocates concerned that the query would lead to an inaccurate count of immigrant communities that could skew representation and federal funding. However, contradicting both his Department of Justice and his secretary of Commerce,

  • President Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to keep fighting to have a citizenship question added to the 2020 census, perhaps as an executive order.

Conservative Journalist Attacked by Antifa Protesters in Portland

An Oregon photojournalist who covers Portland’s frequently violent protest scene was taken to the hospital Saturday after being attacked by black-masked antifa activists. Andy Ngo, an editor at the online platform Quillette, said he was struck on the head and face “multiple times” by antifa protesters, who also threw objects and a milkshake at him as he tried to walk away. The attack, recorded in part by the Oregonian and posted on Twitter, came during Saturday’s Rose City Antifa counter-protest against a rally held by the far-right group Proud Boys in downtown Portland. Mr. Ngo, a gay, Asian, right-leaning journalist, had bloody cuts and bruises on his face. “I just got beat up by the crowd — no police at all — in the middle of the street,” Mr. Ngo said in the post. “And they stole my GoPro. And they punched me several times in my face and head, and I’m bleeding.” At the same protest, an elderly man was brutally beaten by the Antifa terrorists with baseball bats. Another man who came to his defense was cracked in the skull and suffered serious injuries.

Migration Update

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, and senior pastor of New Seasons Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, shared his firsthand experience touring a migrant detention center during a press briefing Monday. Instead of the deplorable conditions touted by the media, what he saw at the same facility was “drastically different.” Rev. Rodriquez said, “We found no soiled diapers, no deplorable conditions and no lack of basic necessities.” The pastors left encouraged by the commitment and dedication of America’s Border Patrol and immigration officers, “many of which are Latinos, by the way.”

The new president of El Salvador on Monday took responsibility for the June deaths of a father and daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande in a bid to reach the United States, saying the onus is on his government to make the country a safer place — and one where migration is “an option, not an obligation.” President Nayib Bukele, who took office a month ago with the promise of making El Salvador a safer and better place, said his government is responsible for fixing the problems that have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee in the first place.

Apprehensions by the Border Patrol along the U.S.-Mexican line fell in June, according to preliminary data obtained by CNN. It marks the first month since January apprehensions have dropped. In all, there were 95,000 apprehensions on the border last month, compared to 132,887 in May. However, the June figures were still much higher than the same time last year, when 34,089 people were apprehended. A drop in border crossings is common during the summer months.

California Now Requires Background Check for Bullets

As of July 1st, a new California state law requires virtually all buyers to go through background checks before being able to buy bullets. California already had some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, banning most assault weapons and restricts the sale and possession of large capacity magazines. There’s also a 10-day waiting period prior to the sale or transfer of a firearm, among other restrictions. The passage of Proposition 63, a gun control measure approved by 63 percent of California voters in 2016, strengthens those laws by taking aim at the sale of ammo. The new law — championed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, a longtime advocate of gun control — is meant to protect the public by keeping ammunition from getting into dangerous hands, the state says.

Economic News

The Labor Department reported Friday that 224,000 jobs were added last month — much better than expected, suggesting that the economy is stronger than what some analysts claimed. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent. But the big rebound in jobs growth — only 72,000 jobs were added in May according to revised figures released Friday — may complicate the picture for the Federal Reserve. Investors were hoping for a half-point drop in interest rates soon, but that may not happen now, sending the Dow down Friday.

The U.S. economy broke a record for its longest expansion ever Monday. Economic expansion has continued for more than 10 years. Growth is now in its 121st month since the Great Recession ended in June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. The rate of growth, however, has been slower than during other periods of economic expansion. For example, during that previous record-holding period in the ‘90s, the average growth was 3.6 percent per year. The 10 previous economic expansions, going back to World War II, averaged a 4.3 percent. But this current expansion period has averaged just 2.3 percent growth per year.

The Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all finished at a record high on Wednesday. For the S&P 500, it was the third straight record day. The Dow closed 0.7%, or 179 points, higher, at 26,966 points, beating the previous record set last October. The Nasdaq Composite closed up 0.8%, at 8,170 points, surpassing its previous high set May 3. The stock market closed early on Wednesday at 1 pm ET ahead of the Independence Day holiday on Thursday. Markets will be closed on July 4.

Israel

Israel’s Ethiopian community protested the shooting of a teen by an off-duty police officer, shutting down roads throughout the nation on Tuesday with rallies that halted the flow of traffic for hours. Solomon Teka, 18, a member of Israel’s Ethiopian Jewish community, was shot to death on Sunday. Following his funeral in the city of Haifa, protesters swept the country, blocking major highways and battling with police in clashes that were described as “unprecedented. There were reports of extreme violence, including the torching of police cars, as major Israeli highways were completely shut down for hours, leaving tens of thousands of travelers stranded. By Wednesday morning, police had arrested 136 people. Over 50 policemen were wounded. Five people were taken to the hospital. Nineteen vehicles were damaged, including a number of ambulances.

Middle East

Many officials in Western nations, including the United States, have regarded the Muslim Brotherhood as a relatively moderate movement that has eschewed violence. But an official statement made it clear this week that as far as the Brotherhood is concerned, there will be no peace in the Middle East as long as Israel exists. And in a revealing video report, Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the United States and abroad made it clear that their ultimate objective remains the replacement of every governmental system on earth with Islamic law. “The Muslim Brotherhood condemns all forms of normalization with the Zionist enemy, and all the actions leading up to the Zionist-American deal, and confirms that all Arab regimes involved in the ‘Deal of the Century’ are anti-Arab peoples, and traitors to the Palestinian cause,” the Muslim Brotherhood said on its Facebook page.

Iran

The GOP-controlled Senate defeated a measure Friday that would have blocked President Donald Trump from launching a military strike against Iran unless he got explicit congressional approval. The 50-to-40 vote came after a rare congressional debate over war powers and amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The measure needed 60 votes to pass. Democrats and some Republicans have grown alarmed by the Trump administration’s rhetoric and actions on Iran. Speaking on Al-Alam TV,  Mojtaba Zonnour, chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian parliament, said, “If America attacks us, Israel will survive for less than half an hour.”

British special forces seized a supertanker off Gibraltar carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European and U.S. sanctions against the war-torn country. Iran responded by declaring the action illegal and summoning the British ambassador to the Foreign Ministry in Tehran to explain the ship’s arrest. The diplomatic row heightened tensions just as the U.K., France and Germany try to keep the Islamic Republic from walking away from an international deal to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.

Iran’s Fars news agency reported on Monday that the Islamic Republic’s stockpile of enriched uranium has exceeded the 300 kg limit set by the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal. The report comes two days after Iranian officials declared that if the European powers wanted to preserve the JCPOA they must find a way to accommodate Iranian demands for relief from economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani issued a fresh ultimatum Wednesday over its civilian-use nuclear program, saying the country would on Sunday “take the next step” toward increasing its enrichment of uranium unless European powers are able to find a way to offset the impact of the Trump administration’s sanctions on its economy. The higher-level enrichment Rouhani said will commence July 7 is still far off the levels Iran would need to produce weapons-grade nuclear materials, but it narrows the time it would take to make a nuclear bomb.

Al-Qaeda

A U.S. military airstrike Sunday struck an Al Qaeda leadership and training facility in northern Syria where militants were “plotting external attacks” against American citizens, officials said. The U.S. Central Command said Monday in a statement the strike occurred near the northern province of Aleppo. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-linked war monitor, said Monday the strike killed eight members of the Al Qaeda-linked Horas al-Din, which is Arabic for “Guardians of Religion.” The Observatory said the dead included six commanders: two Algerians, two Tunisians, an Egyptian and a Syrian. Al Qaeda-linked militants control wide swaths of northern Syria, mostly in Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold in the war-torn country. U.S. military officials said northern Syria remains a “safe haven” for Al Qaeda leaders actively coordinating terrorist attacks.

Syria

After eight years of bloody fighting, the Syrian civil war may finally be coming to an end. The Syrian army launched an offensive to retake Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold. If Idlib falls, opposition against President Bashar Assad’s regime will virtually be over. The humanitarian cost of the offensive has been devastating. An estimated 526 civilians — 131 of them children — have been killed by the army’s relentless airstrikes since the end of April, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. There is no safe place people can hide or run to for help, as even hospitals, clinics and ambulances have been targeted, despite strong condemnation from the U.N. Reports suggest the army may be setting crop fields on fire, cutting vital food supplies to the three million people who live in Idlib and the surrounding area. More than 300,000 people have been displaced, straining the overcrowded and under-supplied refugee camps in northern Syria.

Afghanistan

When the Taliban overran the district center of Maruf in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar this year, the government resorted to a familiar tactic: Simply relocate the district office 25 miles to the south to say it had not fallen. From its new location, the government tried to offer basic services and even sent a team of election workers to register voters before presidential elections scheduled for September. But in the pre-dawn hours on Sunday, the Taliban, whose fighters had encircled the old center of Maruf for nearly two years, came for the new location — ramming as many as four vehicles packed with explosives into the government compound, leaving a trail of death and carnage. Security officials estimated the number of dead, mostly police officers, at 34 to 50.

Russia

The U.S. is underestimating Russia’s aggression on several fronts, including in its use of propaganda and disinformation to sway public opinion globally, according to a Pentagon white paper shared with Politico. The “Strategic Multilayer Assessment,” which details national security threats posed by Russia, recommends U.S. intervention in Moscow’s provocative activities in order to avoid political warfare.  These activities include threatening other states militarily, or compromising their societies, economies, and governments by employing a range of means and methods to include propaganda, disinformation, and cultural, religious, and energy coercion “In this environment, economic competition, influence campaigns, paramilitary actions, cyber intrusions, and political warfare will likely become more prevalent,” Navy Rear Adm. Jeffrey Czerewko, the Joint Chiefs’ deputy director for global operations said. “Such confrontations increase the risk of misperception and miscalculation, between powers with significant military strength, which may then increase the risk of armed conflict.”

China

President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed Saturday to resume high-level negotiations for a landmark new trade agreement, a development they hope will end a trade war has roiled markets and raised prices worldwide. The new talks are designed “to see if we can make a deal,” Trump told reporters at the end of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Trump said he will hold off on new tariffs on China as talks progress “at least for the time being.” He also announced that China agreed to buy more agriculture products from the United States. President Trump announced Saturday that U.S. suppliers will be allowed to sell components to Huawei following talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Last month Chinese tech giant Huawei was placed on a blacklist that effectively bars U.S. companies from supplying it with computer chips, software and other components without government approval. The Trump administration has previously said Huawei is a national security issue, not a trade problem.

Hong Kong

A group of protesters smashed out the bottom of a floor-to-ceiling window at Hong Kong’s legislature Monday as a crowd of thousands marched through the city demanding democracy on the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China. Police repelled the protesters with pepper spray and tear gas. The use of police force comes after protesters surrounded and camped inside the building for hours. The protesters are opposed to a government attempt to change extradition laws to allow suspects to be sent to China to face trial. The proposed legislation, on which debate has been suspended indefinitely, increased fears of eroding freedoms in the territory, which Britain returned to China on July 1, 1997. Protesters want the bills formally withdrawn and embattled leader Carrie Lam to resign. The demonstrations were condemned Tuesday by China’s mainland government as a challenge to Beijing’s authority which “trampled” rule of law and required swift prosecution.

Dominican Republic

The Senate’s top Democrat said Sunday that the U.S. government should step up efforts to investigate the deaths of at least eight Americans in the Dominican Republic this year. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives should lend support to the FBI and local law enforcement, said Sen. Chuck Schumer, noting the agency has offices in the Caribbean and the technical and forensic expertise to aid the investigation, the AP reports. Tainted alcohol is thought to be a possible explanation. “Given that we still have a whole lot of questions and very few answers into just what, if anything, is cause for the recent spate of sicknesses and several deaths of Americans in the Dominican Republic, the feds should double their efforts on helping get to the bottom of things,” Schumer said in a statement.

Environment

Last winter was warmer than usual in Alabama, leaving residents facing an unpleasant hazard in summer: Wasps’ nest the size of small cars, containing thousands of irritable yellow jackets. The nests, also known as perennial nests, occur when numerous yellow jackets survive the winter. In a typical year, cold weather and the lack of food kill off all the members of a colony except the queen. These “super nests” can contain anywhere from 90,000 to 250,000 wasps.

Earthquakes

California hasn’t stopped shaking after its strongest earthquake in 20 years. The 6.4 magnitude quake that hit the Mojave Desert Thursday morning was followed by at least 159 aftershocks of magnitude 2.5 and higher, including six higher than magnitude 4. The quake, which was felt as far away as Las Vegas and Phoenix, hit near the town of Ridgecrest, around 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Kern County Fire Chief David Witt says the quake caused multiple injuries and at least two house fires as well as gas leaks and cracked roads in the town of 28,000. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for the county. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck early Friday near the same region. California Institute of Technology seismologist Lucy Jones says the quake will probably only have a “minimal” effect on the San Andreas Fault, but the region should still expect more aftershocks and possibly a larger quake.

Volcanoes

At least one person died Wednesday during a volcanic eruption on the Italian island of Stromboli. inlocal time Wednesday afternoon, sending ash and debris thousands of feet into the air. One person died while hiking on the volcano. One other person was reportedly injured during the blast. The Stromboli Volcano is one of the most continuously active volcanoes on the planet, and records show it has been continuously erupting since February 1934, but this eruption was unusually large, authorities said.

Wildfires

During an unprecedented heat wave, dozens of wildfires are burning in Alaska, which have prompted evacuation orders and air quality alerts in the Anchorage and Fairbanks areas. Residents of two neighborhoods about 20 miles northwest of Fairbanks were ordered to evacuate just after midnight Sunday. Residents of three other neighborhoods in the area were told to prepare for evacuation. Some 120 fires were burning as of last Friday morning, the Associated Press reported. The National Weather Service issued a dense smoke advisory for Anchorage, as officials considered whether to ban outdoor grilling and cancel the city’s July Fourth fireworks.

Weather

Record-smashing heat has scorched Alaska over the past few days, and even worse heat is in store for the week ahead week. On Saturday, downtown Juneau, Alaska’s capital city, hit 83 degrees, breaking a record that had stood for 110 years. Anchorage recorded a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit at the city’s airport Thursday, smashing the previous record of 85 degrees. June was both the hottest and driest on record in Anchorage. Along the state’s northern coast, melting sea ice is the main worry because of extremely warm ocean temperatures. The unusual springtime heat along the north coast melted sea ice at record rates. The ice disappeared far earlier than normal this spring, alarming coastal residents who rely on wildlife and fish.

Heavy monsoon rain killed at least 33 people in India and paralyzed the megacity of Mumbai, forcing government officials to close schools and businesses across the city. More than 14 inches of rain fell in just 24 hours Monday, triggering wall collapses in poorly constructed housing in three separate places, killing thirty. Two others died in a submerged vehicle in flash flooding. At least 12 people were killed and another 11 went missing Tuesday after heavy monsoon rains caused a dam to breach in western India. At least 15 people are dead and another eight remained missing Thursday after heavy monsoon rain caused a dam to breach in western India.

Heavy rain forced the evacuation of more than 1 million residents Wednesday in southern portions of Japan’s main island of Kyushu. Residents in three southern prefectures on the island were directed to head to shelters amid fears of landslides and flooding. Kyushu has been plagued by heavy rain since last Friday, where 31 inches has fell on parts of the island from a stalled front sitting over the region.

A tornado tore through a bustling city in northeastern China Wednesday evening, killing six and injuring at least 190. The large tornado tore through Kaiyuan City in China’s Liaoning Province around 5:15 p.m. local time. The twister reportedly knocked out power and damaged buildings along its path, particularly in the industrial district of Tiexi, the Global Times reported.

A freak summer hailstorm buried parts of a Mexican city in up to 5 to 6 feet of ice, engulfing cars on the street in a stunning display. Guadalajara, the capital city of Jalisco with a population of almost a million and a half people, saw at least six of its neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city blanketed in the massive hail accumulation on Sunday. At least 200 buildings and 50 vehicles were damaged. While hailstorms aren’t uncommon in summer in Jalisco, nothing of this magnitude has ever been recorded. Guadalajara is northwest of Mexico City and is about 5,000 feet above sea level.

  • 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

June 28, 2019

­­Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. (Galatians 1:3-5)

Supreme Court Refuses to Revive Alabama Abortion Ban

The Supreme Court won’t revive Alabama’s ban on the most commonly used procedure in second-trimester abortions. The ban has been blocked by lower courts. The justices on Friday rejected the state’s appeal in which it sought to enforce a law enacted in 2016 that bans the abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall calls the procedure “dismemberment abortion.” Courts have blocked similar laws in Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas. Court records show 93% of abortions in Alabama occur before 15 weeks of pregnancy. For the 7% of abortions that occur later, almost all are by dilation and evacuation. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson found that the Alabama law would amount to a virtual ban on abortion in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Thompson’s ruling blocking the law, but two of the three judges on the panel said they voted to affirm only because they are bound by past Supreme Court decisions in support of abortion rights.

Rhode Island Signs Law Permitting Abortions up to Birth

On Wednesday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the Reproductive Privacy Act into law, allowing late-term abortions on unborn babies, including part-birth and dismemberment abortions. According to the Christian Post, the bill states, “Neither the state, or any of its agencies, or political subdivisions shall restrict an individual person from preventing, commencing, continuing, or terminating that individual’s pregnancy prior to fetal viability.” The bill states that late-term abortions are only allowed when necessary if the mother’s life or health is at risk. The Catholic governor claimed signing the bill shortly after it was approved by the Rhode Island General Assembly was the “right thing to do.” LifeNews called into question the broad term of “health” of the mother, which could qualify for any situation.

Poll Shows Most Americans Oppose Abortion

Gallup has released new National polling data on the issue of abortion and the results show increasing pro-life sentiment across the United States as more people say they oppose all or most abortions than have said so in recent years. In the past, the Gallup survey has found that roughly half or just over half of Americans oppose all or almost all abortions. This time, Gallup found that 60% of Americans take a pro-life position on abortion wanting all (21%) or almost all (39%) abortions made illegal. The poll found just 38% of Americans take a pro-abortion position wanting all (25%) or almost all (13%) abortions legal. That is down from the 43% pro-abortion figure Gallup found last year.

Pregnant Woman Changes Mind Mid-Abortion, Saves Twin Babies

A North Carolina woman undergoing a chemical abortion had a change of heart when she learned she was carrying twins and was able to save her babies thanks to the work of a pro-life pregnancy center. The woman was six weeks pregnant when she visited a Charlotte, N.C., abortion clinic – A Preferred Women’s Health Center – with the goal of ending the pregnancy. “Oh – twins,” the technician at the abortion clinic said while performing an ultrasound. The pregnant woman had always wanted twins, but she swallowed the first pill without having time to consider the consequences. A chemical abortion is a two-step process involving a pair of drugs, RU-486 (mifepristone) and misoprostol. Together, they’re known as the abortion pill. Leaving the clinic, the woman heard a sidewalk counselor: “It might not be too late for you – AbortionPillReversal.com– they can still help you save your baby.” The woman visited the website and called the phone number that was listed. She wanted to save her babies. Reversal treatment involves an extra boost of progesterone to offset the effects of mifepristone. About 750 babies have been born thanks to the treatment and to pregnant women changing their minds.

Conservatives Worry About Big Tech Liberal Bias

Conservative frustration with Big Tech bias bubbled over this week amid fresh evidence of behind-the-scenes political manipulation at Google, spurring calls for federal action to prevent the industry from putting its thumb on the scales of the 2020 election, citing a hidden-camera video released this week by Project Veritas showing a Google executive discussing the need to prevent “the next Trump situation.” YouTube has now deleted the Project Veritas video revealing a senior Google executive discussing what appears to be the tech giant’s plan to influence the 2020 elections.  Google intends to influence and control public perception so as to manipulate and determine national political election outcomes. It does this by using AI algorithms to skew search results, presenting only their political views, and suppressing dissenting or alternative views. The Media Research Center repeated its call Wednesday for a Justice Department investigation into bias at the social media giants, saying “they are simply too powerful for ordinary citizens to challenge.”

House and Senate Pass Competing Border Bills

Five months after labeling the border a “manufactured” crisis, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led Democrats on Tuesday to approve a $4.5 billion humanitarian assistance package President Trump had requested to deal with the record surge of illegal immigrants. But Democrats took their pound of flesh in the vote, deleting some of the president’s priorities from the final bill, such as money for investigators to stop human traffickers or more detention beds for ICE. Instead, they packed the measure with new rules on how President Trump can spend the money and, on the conditions that migrants can face when they arrive at the border. Meanwhile, the Senate passed its own measure, which Pelosi at first rejected. The House and Senate bills were similar in the amount of money but they differed over how to spend it. Border authorities, the Pentagon and deportation officers get money in the Senate bill that’s absent from the House version. But Congress sent President Trump a $4.6 billion humanitarian aid package on Thursday after Speaker Nancy Pelosi capitulated to Republicans and Democratic moderates and dropped her insistence on stronger protections for migrant children in overcrowded border shelters.

Migrant Update

Illegal immigrant children caught at the border are now, and always have been, getting soap, toothpaste and other basic hygiene necessities — at taxpayers’ expense — a top Border Patrol official told Congress on Wednesday. Brian S. Hastings, chief of the Border Patrol’s law enforcement operations, said shocking claims by lawyers who visited facilities and said children were going without necessities were distorted. In fact, he said, the storeroom at border facilities “frankly looks like Costco,” with shelves of what the agency calls “consumables” — blankets, soap, and other basic necessities. “We provide three meals, hot meals a day, and snacks are unlimited,” he added.

The Department of Homeland Security projects a 25% drop in border crossings in June. Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan says U.S. and Mexican efforts to deter migration have been having an early effect. Migration patterns tend to dip in the hot summer months, but the expected decline is larger than predicted.

A Massachusetts federal judge appointed by former President Barack Obama ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents cannot make arrests at courthouses in the state, dealing a major blow to the agency. Judge Indira Talwani of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled Thursday that ICE agents are barred from “civilly arresting parties, witnesses and others attending Massachusetts courthouses on official business while they are going to, attending or leaving the courthouse.”

Supreme Court Blocks 2020 Census Citizenship Question

The Supreme Court has blocked a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census for the time being in a major setback for the Trump administration. The bitter controversy centers around whether the administration can ask all recipients a citizenship question on the 2020 census for the first time since 1950. Writing for a 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts concluded that there was sufficient reason for concern about why the Commerce Department wanted to add the question. Roberts had the support of the four liberal justices. The decision raises the question of whether the administration will have enough time or the ability to add the citizenship question before the census begins. The administration previously told the court that the questionnaire needed to be printed by the end of June.

Supreme Court Refuses to Overturn States Gerrymandering

A deeply divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that federal courts may not intervene to block even the most partisan election maps drawn by state lawmakers, allowing such gerrymandering to continue. The 5-4 opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by the court’s other conservatives said partisan election maps drawn by North Carolina Republicans and Maryland Democrats are constitutional despite their one-sided nature. The high court has never before declared unconstitutional an election map drawn for blatant partisan advantage. Justices have reasoned that elected officials are expected to joust for power in that fashion, while courts should be reluctant to intercede. The decision was loudly denounced by the court’s liberal justices.

Human Trafficking in America Among Worst in World

The United States is again ranked as one of the worst countries in the world for human trafficking. According to a recently released report by the State Department, the top three nations of origin for victims of human trafficking in 2018 were the United States, Mexico and the Philippines. The Department of Justice provided more than $31 million for 45 victim service providers that offered services to trafficking survivors across the country, up from $16 million to 18 organizations in 2017, according to the report. The trafficking industry is fueled by an unceasing demand. It’s here that officers focus their enforcement actions. And it’s where advocates focus their education efforts to end the illicit trade. “We have a major issue here in the United States” said Geoff Rogers, co-founder of the United States Institute Against Human Trafficking. “The United States is the No. 1 consumer of sex worldwide. So, we are driving the demand as a society.”

Alaska Most Dangerous State for Women

For decades, travelers, transplants and natives have taken pride in surviving and thriving in this remote state, unlike any other in America. But the isolation has consequences, too. The reality is that many women in Alaska have to survive something far more dangerous than anything they might encounter in the wild: the men they interact with every day. Across the state, and not just in rural areas, women are raped, beaten and murdered by their spouses and relatives at higher rates than anywhere else in the United States. Reported rape in Alaska is 2.5 times the national average. A staggering 59% of adult women in Alaska have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence or both. Alaska has the highest rate of female homicides at 3.40 per 100,000 women. Louisiana is second at 2.42 with Nevada third at 1.98.

Illinois Becomes 11th State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Illinois on Tuesday became the 11th state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for recreational use after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that permits residents to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis at a time and non-residents up to 15 grams. The move also implements the nation’s first comprehensive statewide cannabis marketplace designed by legislators. In addition, nearly 800,000 people with criminal records for purchasing or possessing 30 grams of marijuana or less may have those records expunged. The law provides for cannabis purchases by adults 21 and older at approved dispensaries, which, after they are licensed and established, may start selling Jan. 1, 2020. That means possession remains a crime until then.

Sheriffs Says Legal Marijuana Causing More Crime/Accidents

The National Sheriffs’ Association, in a poll of its members, said legal marijuana is resulting in more crime and highway accidents, the Washington Examiner reported. The association surveyed 467 sheriffs and found: 65% said crime has increased where marijuana has been legalized; 84% linked legalized marijuana to impaired driving and accidents; 74% said they need “an increase in personnel, resources and training” to handle the jump in marijuana-related cases; and 85% want more research into the effects of cannabis.

Economic News

A new survey from financial information website Bankrate.com found that working-class Americans have a less favorable view of the economy than the experts do. All nine of the experts rated the economy as being “excellent” or “good,” compared to just 59% of the 10,000 workers surveyed. In addition, 39% of everyday Americans said the economy was “not so good” or “poor.” Everyday Americans also said they expect a recession to hit sooner than the experts predict. A fifth of Americans polled said they believe the recession has already begun, and 21% said they expected it to begin within six months or a year. However, all the experts said they don’t expect a recession to begin for either one to two years or more than two years.

America’s corn, soy and wheat farmers are having a terrible year. Heavy rains and floods across the growing regions have destroyed crops and caused farmers to miss planting windows. May 2018 through April 2019 was the wettest 12-month period on record for the United States, according to the US Department of Agriculture. On June 17, corn futures hit their highest level in five years. For the year, they’re up more than 17%, which puts futures on track for the steepest annual price increase since 2010. Corn has been hurt the most followed by soy and then wheat. The full extent of the losses won’t be known for a few more months.

Middle East

On Thursday, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip launched a new wave of arson attacks, using incendiary devices attached to balloons to ignite fires in Israeli territory in the southern region. In total, Palestinians caused around 24 fires in southern Israel’s Gaza belt, according to a Times of Israel report. The Palestinian arson campaign began in March 2018 and has fluctuated between periods of heavy and lighter attacks, with not a day passing during which an arson attack didn’t take place. Thursday’s campaign represented an uptick in arson attacks, which involve Palestinians using balloons, kites, and even a live falcon to send incendiary devices into Israel, where they start massive fires that have destroyed thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves, costing Israelis millions of dollars.

The economic portion of the Trump administration’s long-awaited “deal of the century” Mideast peace plan was unveiled on Saturday, which calls for a mix of public and private financing and intends to create at least a million new jobs for Palestinians. The 10-year plan calls for projects worth $27.5 billion in Judea and Samaria and Gaza, and $9.1 billion, $7.4 billion and $6.3 billion for Palestinians in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, respectively. Projects envisioned include those in the health care, education, power, water, high-tech, tourism, and agriculture sectors. It calls for the creation of a “master fund” to administer the finances and implementation of the projects that it says are akin to the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II.

Israel

Israel security officials say Russia is behind the disruptions that plagued Israel’s civilian navigation systems for the past three weeks. Israel’s Army radio called it a “hostile attack.” The interference took place even as Russia’s National Security Adviser took part in a historic tripartite meeting in Jerusalem earlier this week. Russia denies that it had anything to do with the disruptions that Israel’s GPS systems experienced. If Russia is responsible, it appears to contradict the message of warming ties broadcast at the meeting that took place from June 24-26 between Russia, Israel and the U.S. The meeting was noted as historic since the national security advisers from the three nations had never met before for a trilateral meeting.

Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday for talks with the kingdom’s leaders to discuss “ways to counter the malign Iranian influence in the region.” Pompeo also will next visit Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in a bid to consolidate allies in the region en route to strengthening a global coalition against Iranian aggression. President Trump struck back Monday at Iran by issuing “hard-hitting” financial sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates. The sanctions ordered by President Donald Trump are in response to Iran shooting down a U.S. drone last week. The U.S. claims the $100 million, unmanned aircraft was flying over international waters while Iran says the drone was over its territory.

U.S. Cyber Command launched a retaliatory cyber-strike last week against an Iranian spy group, according to a U.S. official and a former US intelligence official familiar with the matter, reported CNN. USCC attacked the spy group, which has ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, after Iran attacked ships in the region, the officials said. The U.S. official added the online strike targeted an Iranian spy group’s computer software that was used to track the tankers that were targeted in the Gulf of Oman on June 13. Iran denied reports in the U.S. media that the U.S. carried out a successful, retaliatory cyberattack that disabled Revolutionary Guard systems that control rocket and missile launches.

Tunisia

Two suicide bombers struck security forces in quick succession on Thursday morning in the Tunisian capital, killing at least one police officer and wounding at least eight other people, the Interior Ministry said. It was the second suicide assault on the streets of Tunis in nine months, stoking worries of renewed instability in a country that emerged as a rare democratic success after the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. The first bomber on Thursday morning struck a security patrol in the city center, near the site of the October attack, killing one police officer and wounding other officers and passers-by, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Ten minutes later, another bomber detonated a device at the back door of a police building in the El Gorjani area of the city, wounding four security officers, the ministry said. The building is part of a large complex that includes the headquarters of an antiterrorism brigade.

Afghanistan

Two U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, the American-led NATO mission in Afghanistan said in a statement. A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the two service members were killed in an ambush in eastern Wardak Province. The deaths occurred one day after an unannounced visit to Kabul, the Afghan capital, by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Meanwhile, the U.S. is holding direct talks with the Taliban in Doha, the Qatari capital. The seventh round of the talks are scheduled to begin on Saturday. The Taliban refuses to talk directly with the Afghan government, which it considers a puppet of the U.S. More than 2,400 U.S. service personnel have died in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led coalition invaded the country after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Islamic State

The Islamic State terror group has established conditions for a comeback that “could be faster and even more devastating” than when it first burst onto the world stage, according to a new report out Wednesday. ISIS’s Second Comeback: Assessing the Next ISIS Insurgency, by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), also warns the terror group is likely to reclaim territory both in Syria and in Iraq, where it is already seizing control. “ISIS has systematically eliminated [Iraqi] village leaders and civilians who cooperated with anti-ISIS forces,” the report says. “It has re-imposed taxes on local populations in its historical support zones, displacing civilians and de facto controlling small pockets of terrain in Iraq.”

United Kingdom

An ad showing a father with his feet up while the mother is doing the housework would be outlawed in the United Kingdom under new regulations that ban using certain gender stereotypes to sell products. The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority, the ASA, issued the ban in December and gave companies a six-month grace period, which expired last week. The ASA’s chief executive, Guy Parker, said the ban was the result of a study the ASA conducted that concluded stereotypes in advertising can have “real-world psychological, physical, economic, social and political harm for individuals and groups.” The ASA said advertisements “must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.”

Environment

A new federal study of oil that’s been seeping into the Gulf of Mexico from a platform toppled by Hurricane Ivan more than 14 years ago confirms that the spill is bigger than what the energy company who owns the platform has claimed. The platform, 12 miles off the coast of Louisiana, fell over after an underwater mudslide triggered by the hurricane on Sept. 15, 2004. The study, released this month by NOAA and done in conjunction with researchers from Florida State University and Florida International University, estimates that as much as 4,500 gallons per day could be leaking from the site. The platform is owned by Taylor Energy, which says oil sheens on the water surface indicate that only about 2.4 to 4 gallons of oil per day are seeping out. This isn’t the first time the energy company’s numbers have been refuted.

An outbreak of toxic bacteria is ruining some beach plans in Mississippi, where authorities are warning people not to swim or eat seafood from polluted coastal waters. Residents shouldn’t even allow their pets to come in contact with water that has a greenish-blue hue. The toxic cyanobacterium can cause rashes, diarrhea and vomiting. Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Joe Spraggins blames fresh water entering the Mississippi sound. A New Orleans spillway has been open for a historically long time to relieve pressure on levees from the flooded Mississippi River. The freshwater influx is creating a dead zone without oxygen where marine life can’t survive.

As summer hits its peak and the July Fourth holiday nears, an outbreak of blue-green algae on New Jersey’s largest lake has prompted the state’s environmental department to warn people to stay away from the water. Contact with it can cause rashes, flu- or allergy-like symptoms, gastroenteritis, respiratory irritation and eye irritation. Lake Hopatcong straddles Sussex, Passaic and Morris counties. Just 44 miles northeast of New York City, it’s a popular summer holiday destination. The warning advised people to refrain from any water activities, including boating, kayaking and wading. Fish from the lake should not be eaten, it said. The warning will remain in place “for weeks, if not longer.”

Earthquakes

The Israeli Geophysical Institute reported on Wednesday afternoon that a 3.8 magnitude earthquake had hit in the southern Dead Sea region, south of Jerusalem. No injuries or damage were immediately reported but residents and tracking stations from the Sea of Galilee in the north to Eilat in the south reported feeling tremors.

Volcanoes

Papua New Guinea’s Mount Ulawun, considered one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, spewed ash into the sky on Wednesday, prompting officials to issue an eruption warning as scared residents fled. Witnesses described the scenes of ash spewing high into the sky above the volcano’s 7,657-foot summit. “The sky has turned black,” Kingsly Quou, manager of the nearby Mavo Estates palm plantation, told Agence France-Presse.

Raikoke Volcano on the Kuril Islands of Russia, south of the volcanically active Kamchatka Peninsula, erupted last weekend for the first time since 1924 and the images from space were out of this world. A large plume of ash and volcanic gases shot up from the volcano’s 2,300-foot-wide crater about 4 a.m. local time on Saturday, June 22, ending a dormant period that had been ongoing for the past 95 years.

Wildfires

Alaska has been besieged by 19 large wildfires (over 100 acres) which have burned 116,851 acres (182 square miles). Most of them show no containment yet, with only one of the smallest at 66% containment. Most of the fires are being managed with “a strategy other than full suppression.”

The Woodbury fire in Arizona has burned 123,404 acres (192 square miles) of wilderness area. No structures have as yet been lost. The small town of Roosevelt had, been evacuated, but are now allowed to return. Area, road and trail closures remain in effect. The fire was 68% contained and command was turned over to local units Friday.

A massive fire in the Florida Everglades has burned 65 square miles of brush and grasslands since it started on Sunday. Officials were forced to close a stretch of Interstate 75 known as Alligator Alley Tuesday afternoon when the inferno’s thick smoke made travel dangerous along the highway. No homes or populated areas were threatened by the blaze, burning in a 165,000-acre conservation area in Broward County. As of Thursday, it was 65% contained.

Spontaneous combustion of a manure pile on a farm likely sparked a 13,000-acre wildfire now burning out of control in northeastern Spain, authorities say. Many horses and sheep died in the blaze that rolled across the rural terrain, forcing the evacuation of at least 53 residents in Spain’s Catalonia region. Officials called it the area’s worst wildfire in 20 years.

Weather

Record-shattering temperatures are scorching much of Europe this week as searing heat from North Africa overspreads the normally mild continent. Several deaths are being blamed on the heat wave blanketing much of Europe. Several locations in France topped 104 degrees on Wednesday. France is expected to experience 110 degrees in the southern parts of the country by Friday. Germany broke its all-time heat record for June on Wednesday when the temperature soared to 101.5 degrees in Coschen, which is about 65 miles southeast of Berlin. Authorities in Germany also imposed speed limits on some autobahns amid fears of buckling road surfaces, and some French schools stayed closed as a precaution. Both Poland (100.8 degrees) and the Czech Republic (102) also set June high temperatures on Wednesday. firefighters in Spain are struggling to contain a wildfire fueled by the hot and dry conditions on Thursday. The fire, in the northeast region of Catalonia, has burned about 21 square miles of land.