Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Signs of the Times

December 10, 2018

­God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. (Psalm 46;1-3)

Praise Reports

President Donald Trump nominated pro-life, conservative lawyer William Barr to the position of attorney general Friday. Barr, who also served under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, would succeed former AG Jeff Sessions. His confirmation seems likely in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate, though Democrats almost certainly will attack Barr’s opposition to Roe v. Wade. Barr said he did not agree with the infamous abortion case during his Senate confirmation hearing in 1991. He said he thought Roe was wrongly decided, and abortion laws should be left up to the states, the LA Times reported at the time. Barr also said he does not think the right to privacy “extends to abortion.”

“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert shared the moment he turned away from atheism and back to Christianity with America Media recently. According to CBN News, Colbert was brought up Catholic, but at some point, he turned away from religion, believing that the God he was raised to believe in was not real. That mindset would be flipped on its head, however, by a gift from a kind stranger one cold day in Chicago. Colbert shared that when he was 22 years old, he was standing on a street corner in Chicago, when a man noticed him and gave him a small, green Gideons New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. Colbert said that he cracked open the frozen pocket bible to the glossary and turned to the first verse on dealing with anxiety. It was Matthew, chapter 5, it was the Sermon, ‘And so I say to you, do not worry, for who among you by worrying can change a single hair on his head or add a cubit to the span of his life?’ And I was absolutely, immediately lightened,” Colbert recalled. Colbert said he stood on the street corner on that cold Chicago day until he read Jesus’ entire Sermon on the Mount. “My life has never been the same,” Colbert stated.

Disneyland lit up over the weekend as Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt gave an impassioned delivery of the Gospel of Luke during the park’s annual Candlelight Processional. In Chris Pratt style, he also added in a few of his own thoughts on the love of God.  The exclusive processional is part of a tradition that has been going strong for decades, dating all the way back to the park’s opening in 1955. The event features a processional of local choirs, a variety of Christmas songs performed by a live orchestra, candle lighting, a bell choir, and a retelling of the original Christmas story, this year told by Christian actor, Chris Pratt. Pratt took time in between songs to quote Scripture and shared a few personal experiences with the audience. He spoke of his own journey in fatherhood and compared it to God’s immense love for His children.

The European Union unanimously adoption of a statement on combating anti-Semitism across the continent. The measure passed by the council’s 28-member states calls on its member states to “adopt and implement a holistic strategy to prevent and fight all forms of anti-Semitism.” It also expresses EU determination to “ensure a future for Jewish people to live with the same sense of security and freedom as all other citizens in the European Union,” while urging E.U. member states that have not yet adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism to endorse it.

A coalition of medical, legal and policy organizations representing more than 30,000 health professionals nationwide praised the Trump administration for its efforts to officially uphold the scientific definition of sex on the federal level. Citing controversial Obama-era impositions of gender ideology into federal policy, the group stated, “Not only is an expanded definition of sex unscientific, but it has also proven harmful.” The American College of Pediatricians, the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, and the Catholic Medical Association sent the letter, which was also endorsed by 32 legal organizations, policy groups and individuals, including physicians, therapists, academics and bioethicists.

A footnote has been added to a trade agreement being negotiated with Mexico and Canada. In the original agreement, America promised to create laws establishing a protected employment class for those confused about their gender or orientation. Now the footnote states that current U.S. laws fulfill this promise.

Persecution Watch

In Virginia, a high school teacher was fired last week for telling administrators he wouldn’t call a girl a boy. Peter Vlaming, the popular French teacher at West Point High, didn’t set out to become the newest face in the war on religious liberty. But then, he probably never dreamed using the correct pronoun would cost him his teaching career either. “I’m totally happy to use [her] new name,” he said. When it came to other references, he would try “to avoid female pronouns… because I’m not here to provoke…” But he was clear, “I can’t refer to a female as a male, and a male as a female in good conscience and faith.” That wasn’t good enough for the students’ parents — or West Point High’s leadership, who suspended Vlaming in October — and then last night, ended his tenure for good.

Facebook censored an image of Santa Claus kneeling before the Baby Jesus that it had deemed “violent or graphic content.” Facebook had obscured the picture, explaining that the “photo was automatically covered so you can decide if you want to see it.” However, after a report on LifeSiteNews about the matter went viral, Facebook is no longer censoring the image. It remains unclear why the image of Baby Jesus and Santa was deemed by Facebook to be “violent and graphic content.”

There have been some 15 cases where Christian wedding businesses have been taken to court for refusing to serve same-sex couples. The cases were noted in Family Research Council’s new report, “Religious Liberty and the ‘Wedding Vendor’ Cases.” “People of faith increasingly find themselves facing lawsuits (along with censure and hostility) when they refuse to renounce their religious beliefs on marriage and sexuality in living out their faith,” says Alexandra McPhee, director of Religious Freedom Advocacy at Family Research Council. “One need look no further than the wedding industry, where small business owners are being forced to make the choice between violating their faith and freely running their businesses.” In many of the cases, the court has awarded damages to complainants.

A Florida teacher objected when he was told his job would include watching a female middle school student strip and shower inside the boys’ locker room. Shockingly, the school lawyer threatened him saying, “This might cost you your job.” The school requires that he and other P.E. teachers monitor the locker rooms, including those open showers. He let the principal know, “I’m a Christian, and this policy doesn’t work for me in a lot of areas.” Robert has worked for this school district for 24 years without any negative reviews. The school administration tried to make an example of him. They planned to put him on administrative leave until Liberty Counsel took up the case. “At this point, this system’s rogue school board flatly refuses to inform parents of the lack of a privacy forced upon their sons and daughters unprotected,” noted Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.

Dozens of Irish doctors walked out of an emergency meeting about abortion Sunday after they said their concerns about conscience protections are being ignored. About 300 doctors attended the meeting by the Irish College of General Practitioners EGM in Dublin to discuss the government’s plans to legalize abortions starting Jan. 1, 2019, NewsTalk reports. Dozens walked out after complaining that leaders have been ramming through the pro-abortion legislation without consulting the medical community or giving it ample time to prepare. Many doctors also fear being forced to help abort unborn babies against their consciences.

Most Transgender Kids Will Change Back When Older, Studies Show

Experts in the field are urging caution for parents of transgender children and teens, citing studies that show minors often change their minds about transitioning when they’re adults. The phenomenon of kids and teens changing their minds about their transgender status once they grow older is called “desistance,” according to KQED, a public radio station in San Francisco. This happens — for example — when a child who is born male identifies as a girl during the child or teens years but then changes back to a male identity when an adult. Studies show that anywhere from 63 to 94 percent of self-identified transgender children and teens change their minds, KQED reported. In 2013, Amsterdam researcher Thomas Steensma released a study showing that 63 percent of transgender teens he studied had desisted by the ages of 15-16. “Problem is, nobody can tell the difference between the kids who will continue to have gender dysphoria and those who will not,” Dr. Jack Drescher, a Columbia University professor, told KQED.

Supreme Court Refused to Consider Effort to Defund Planned Parenthood

The Supreme Court refused Monday to consider efforts by Republican-led states to defund Planned Parenthood. Despite its new, more conservative tilt, the court let stand federal appeals court rulings that allowed the reproductive health organization’s patients to contest laws in Louisiana and Kansas that stripped its Medicaid funds. The court’s refusal to hear the case represents a setback for conservative interest groups in many states that have sought aggressive action against Planned Parenthood and abortion providers in general. Three of the court’s conservatives – Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch – dissented and said the court should have taken up the issue. Notably, Chief Justice John Roberts and new Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not join the dissent.

Terrorism Deaths Down in 2017, But Far-Right Terrorism Rising

Deaths from terrorism declined in 2017 for the third straight year, but far-right extremism was on the rise, according to the 2018 Global Terrorism Index, which found that deaths resulting from terrorism decreased 27% worldwide last year. Ninety-six of the 163 countries tracked by the index saw an improvement; 46 had declines. Sixty-seven countries had at least one death from terrorism in 2017 — a drop from 2016’s record high rate of 79 countries, according to the report. The report was produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace, a nonpartisan think tank that develops metrics to study peace and its economic impact. It defines terrorism as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation” and pulls its data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. There was a sharp decrease (52%) in deaths from terrorist attacks attributed to ISIS. Syria and Iraq which saw the most dramatic declines in numbers of deaths due to terrorism. Iraq saw 5,000 fewer deaths and Syria saw 1,000 fewer.

Migrant Caravan Update

A Honduran woman is believed to be the first member of the migrant caravan to have a child in the United States after scaling the border wall with her family and giving birth within 24 hours. After somehow climbing the border wall, Serrano-Hernandez and her family were met by three border patrol agents who demanded they return to Tijuana. The family refused and asked for asylum. They were taken to the Imperial Beach Station in San Diego County for processing. The move is likely to reignite the debate surrounding “anchor babies” and birthright citizenship. President Trump threatened in October to end birthright citizenship with an executive order, although others believe it would require a constitutional amendment. U.S. inspectors at the main border crossing in San Diego are processing up to about 100 asylum claims every day. Some desperate migrants are crossing the border illegally, avoiding the long processing wait.

Global Carbon Emissions Reach Record High

Global emissions of carbon dioxide have reached the highest levels on record, scientists projected Wednesday, in the latest evidence of the chasm between international goals for combating climate change and what countries are actually doing. Between 2014 and 2016, emissions remained largely flat, leading to hopes that the world was beginning to turn a corner. Those hopes have been dashed. In 2017, global emissions grew 1.6 percent. The rise in 2018 is projected to be 2.7 percent. That would bring fossil fuel and industrial emissions to a record high of 37.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year. The increase is being driven by nearly 5 percent emissions growth in China and more than 6 percent in India. Emissions by the United States grew 2.5 percent, while emissions by the European Union declined by just under 1 percent.

U.S. & Others Challenge Climate Change Language

The United States joined a controversial proposal by Saudi Arabia and Russia this weekend to weaken a reference to a key report on the severity of global warming, sharpening battle lines at the global climate summit in Poland aimed at gaining consensus over how to combat rising temperatures. Arguments erupted Saturday night before a United Nations working group focused on science and technology, where the United States teamed with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to challenge language that would have welcomed the findings of the landmark report, which said that the world has barely 10 years to cut carbon emissions by nearly half to avoid catastrophic warming. In 2015, as countries of the world negotiated the Paris climate agreement, they asked the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to produce a report in 2018 “on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.” It’s this report that has now become a flash point at the talks.

EPA Rolls Back Coal Rule Despite Climate Change Warnings

The Trump administration will reverse an Obama-era coal emissions rule as part of its effort to loosen restrictions on the coal industry, just days after a U.S. government report warned that aggressive action is needed to curb greenhouse gases and ease the impact of global warming. “We are rescinding unfair burdens on America’s energy providers and leveling the playing field so that new energy technologies can be part of America’s future,” Andrew Wheeler, the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and a former coal industry lobbyist, said Thursday. The rule change would lift restrictions on coal emissions that effectively limited the construction of new plants. The reversal won’t lead to the immediate construction of new coal-fired power plants, but it does send an immediate political signal that the Trump administration is intent on shoring up the coal industry and other energy interests.

  • Extreme weather (including warming) is prophesied in the Bible for the end-times (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11), so it’s going to happen regardless of what governments do or not do to combat the elements.

Many Receiving Obamacare’s Medicaid are Ineligible

Louisiana’s legislative auditor wanted to know how the state’s expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare was doing, so he picked 100 people who were deemed eligible under the rules. He found that 82 of them made so much money that they shouldn’t have qualified for the benefits they received, reports the Washington Times. Auditor Daryl G. Purpera, who issued his findings last month to little fanfare outside of Louisiana, figured if those statistics hold true for the rest of the expanded Medicaid population in his state, then the losses to ineligible beneficiaries could be as high as $85 million. A federal inspector general’s report this year found 38 out of a sample of 150 Medicaid beneficiaries in California were potentially ineligible – that’s 25%. Taken statewide, that would mean more than 350,000 questionable recipients.

Thousands of Rape Kits Destroyed Inappropriately

The Washington attorney general said Tuesday he will notify every law enforcement agency in his state and direct them to ensure that rape kits are not being inappropriately destroyed. His action comes in response to a CNN investigation into the destruction of rape kits nationwide and on the heels of a Missouri police chief’s apology to victims. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the destruction of kits by a police department in his state “disturbing” and directed state police to contact the agency and ensure it is “complying with state law regarding the handling of rape kits.” The CNN investigation was published last week and revealed that 25 law enforcement agencies in 14 states destroyed rape kits in 400 cases before the statutes of limitations expired or when there was no time limit to prosecute. The number is likely much higher. There are an estimated 17,000 law enforcement agencies in the country; CNN surveyed 207. The 400 cases represent and average of 1.93 per agency. If that average holds across all agencies, that would mean 32,850 rape kits have been destroyed.

Ceasefire in Tariff War Between China & U.S. Holding

China’s government said Thursday it will promptly carry out a tariff cease-fire with Washington and is confident they can reach a trade agreement, suggesting Beijing wants to avoid disruptions due to the arrest of a tech executive. Talks during the 90 day period during which President Donald Trump has agreed to suspend U.S. tariff hikes will start by focusing on farm goods, energy and automobiles, said a Ministry of Commerce spokesman, Gao Feng. Asked to confirm whether Beijing promised to buy American goods immediately, Gao said China will “immediately implement the consensus reached by the two sides on farm products, cars and energy.”

That optimistic tone contrasted with Chinese criticism of Canada’s arrest of an executive of technology giant Huawei who a Toronto newspaper said is accused by the United States of trying to violate trade curbs on Iran. Influential state media linked to China’s ruling Communist Party on Friday described Washington as a “despicable rogue” attempting to “stifle” China’s global rise by arranging for the arrest of a top executive at one of its major technology firms. Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies – China’s largest telecommunications equipment maker – was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 as she changed planes. Canada’s Justice Department said Meng, 46, who is the daughter of the company’s founder, was detained due to a United States extradition request. It provided no reason for why Meng was taken into custody but Canadian media reported she was arrested on suspicion of evading U.S. sanctions by selling American-made components to Iran.

Three U.S. Businessmen Arrested for Sales to Iran & Afghanistan

Three Virginia businessmen were charged with attempting to defraud the United States Military by engaging in illegal commerce in Iran and laundering money internationally in an attempt at winning contracts in Afghanistan. According to the Department of Justice, bidders were required to certify that they abide by the Iran Sanctions Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens and companies from engaging in commercial activity in Iran. The company allegedly violated the sanctions by shipping warehouse materials to Iran and then, eventually, Afghanistan. Abul Huda Farouki, 75; his brother Mazen Farouki, 73; and Salah Maarouf, 71, were each charged in an indictment filed in the District of Columbia with two counts of major fraud, one count of conspiracy to violate the restrictions on doing business with Iran, four counts of substantive violations of those restrictions, and one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering.

Neo-Nazi Convicted for Murder in Charlottesville for Car Assault

A man with neo-Nazi beliefs who brazenly assaulted counter-protesters at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year was found guilty Friday of first-degree murder. James Alex Fields, Jr. plowed his 2010 Dodge Challenger into the crowd, killing 32-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer. A jury in Charlottesville deliberated for seven hours before convicting Fields, 21, a Nazi sympathizer from Maumee, Ohio. The jury also found Fields guilty of five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, three of malicious wounding, and one hit-and-run count. In all, 35 other people were wounded in the Aug. 12, 2017 assault. White nationalist Richard Spencer called the verdict a “miscarriage of justice” and said Fields “was treated as a terrorist from the get-go.” Spencer popularized the term “alt-right” to describe a fringe movement loosely mixing white nationalism, anti-Semitism and other far-right extremist views.

UK Claims Facebook Offered Advertisers Special Access to User Data

A key British lawmaker alleged Wednesday that Facebook maintained “whitelisting agreements” that gave select companies preferential access to valuable user data, echoing a key claim from an app developer that has been embroiled in a lawsuit with the social network in a California court. Damian Collins, chairman of a British parliamentary committee that has led a wide-ranging investigation into Facebook and its dealings with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica released documents that long have been sealed in a California court. The committee’s summary says, “Facebook have clearly entered into whitelisting agreements with certain companies, which meant that after the platform changes in 2014/15 they maintained full access to friends data. It is not clear that there was any user consent for this, nor how Facebook decided which companies should be whitelisted or not.”

UK Postpones Brexit Vote Doomed to Fail

Facing almost certain defeat, British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday delayed a vote in Parliament to approve her controversial Brexit deal — a move met with immediate scorn in the chamber. It was cast as the act of a “shambolic government” in “complete disarray.” May’s Conservative government does not have a majority in the House of Commons, and opposition parties — as well as dozens of Conservative lawmakers — say they will not back the Brexit deal May and EU leaders agreed upon last month. The vote had been set for Tuesday. It is not clear when it will be rescheduled. Britain voted in 2016 to leave the 28-nation bloc, and invoked Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in March 2017, triggering a two-year exit process.

Economic News

U.S. employers added a disappointing 155,000 jobs in November as hiring slowed amid worker shortages, the country’s trade fight with China and wild stock market swings. However, tShe number of open jobs rose in October to the second-highest on record, evidence that U.S. employers remain determined to hire despite ongoing trade disputes and rocky financial markets. The unemployment rate was unchanged at a near half-century low of 3.7 percent, the Labor Department said Friday. Monthly job increases have been surprisingly strong this year, averaging more than 200,000, despite a historically low unemployment rate that’s leading to widespread worker shortages. The 10% tariff the Trump administration slapped on $250 billion in Chinese imports has dinged business confidence, analysts say.

America turned into a net oil exporter last week, breaking 75 years of continued dependence on foreign oil. The shift to net exports is the dramatic result of an unprecedented boom in American oil production, with thousands of wells pumping from the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico to the Bakken in North Dakota to the Marcellus in Pennsylvania. Last week’s dramatic shift came as data showed a sharp drop in imports and a jump in exports to a record high. Given the volatility in weekly data, the U.S. will likely remain a small net importer most of the time.

The U.S. Treasury yield curve briefly inverted for the first time in more than a decade last week. The difference between three- and five-year Treasury yields dropped below zero, marking the first portion of the curve to invert in this cycle, a key indicator of an economic slowdown. An inverted yield curve is an interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the same credit quality. It’s important to keep in mind the timeline between inversion and economic slowdowns — it’s not instantaneous. The  yield curve inverted for the first time since August 2005, some 28 months before the recession began. Nevertheless, investors were spooked causing a 799 point drop in the Dow last Tuesday and another 559 Friday.

Americans continued to abandon passenger cars in November, transitioning rapidly into crossovers, SUVs and pickups as automakers increasingly strived to shift their products to the changing driver preferences. Automakers sold slightly fewer vehicles overall in November, compared with last year. Part of the decline may be due to rising interest rates, which are making car payments more expensive. But much of the fall is due to the plunging popularity of passenger cars. Sales of compacts fell 18.4 percent in November and sales of midsize cars declined 15 percent, according to Cox Automotive. But sales of compact SUVs and crossovers rose 11.6 percent and sales of midsize SUVs and crossovers increased 11.7 percent.

A Chinese court has banned the sale and import of most iPhone models in a stunning decision sure to escalate the nasty trade war between the United States and China. The court granted a pair of preliminary injunctions requested by Qualcomm, an American microchip maker. Qualcomm claims that Apple violates two of its patents. The ruling was announced publicly Monday but put into effect last week. Apple accused Qualcomm of playing dirty tricks, by recognizing a patent that had already been invalidated by international courts. Apple said it will pursue a legal response in court.

In December 2017, bitcoin prices hit a record high of just under $20,000. Flash forward to December 2018 and bitcoin is now trading a little below $3,400. That’s a more than 80% plunge. Bitcoin is at a 15-month low. Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency getting hit either. Ripple/XRP, ethereum, stellar, litecoin and numerous other cryptocurrencies have plunged in the past week.

Middle East

A U.S.-sponsored draft resolution that condemned the Palestinian Islamic terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza with an iron fist, garnered unprecedented support at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, while ultimately falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass. The U.S. attempted to condemn Hamas for firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians and using airborne incendiary devices to commit millions of dollars of damage in arson terror. Before the vote on the resolution, the 193-member world body had narrowly voted to require a two-thirds majority for approval as sought by Arab nations, rather than the simple majority urged by the United States. In the end, the vote on the resolution to condemn Hamas was 87 in favor against 57 opposed, with 33 abstentions — a plurality but below the two-thirds requirement to adopt it. The vote to require a two-thirds majority was much closer, 75-72, with 26 abstentions and several countries changing their votes to “yes” at the last minute.

In the first major flare-up since Operation Northern Shield began last week, the IDF fired on three suspected Hezbollah terrorists who approached the border with Lebanon. The operation on the northern border is intended to destroy cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah that Israel believes were intended to facilitate a full-scale attack on the Galilee region. The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said IDF soldiers “shot toward the figures according to orders to open fire. The three escaped. The work continues as planned.” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General and the Security Council demanding that they condemn the Hezbollah terrorist tunnels “in the strongest terms possible” and hold the Lebanese government “responsible for the dangerous destabilization of the region.

Israel warned Lebanon that if Hezbollah doesn’t stop its efforts to produce precision missiles, Israel will strike the terrorist group’s targets within Lebanon, Israeli and American sources told The Wall Street Journal. Israeli sources told the paper that they fear that precision technology Hezbollah is obtaining from Iran will turn their missiles into a far more deadly arsenal. Although Hezbollah maintains an arsenal of between 120,000-130,000 missiles already, according to most estimates, they are not precision-guided. Should they obtain such technology, it would put key Israeli areas at risk.

A pregnant woman was among seven people injured last weekend in a shooting attack outside the community of Ofra, north of Jerusalem. Her condition is critical. The others are in light to moderate condition. “Shots were fired at Israeli civilians standing at a bus station from a passing Palestinian vehicle. IDF troops nearby responded by firing towards the vehicle, which successfully fled the area. The IDF Spokesman announced that in the wake of Sunday night’s shooting attack at the Ofra junction, IDF soldiers, the Border Police and security forces are combing the villages in Samaria and Binyamin in search of the terrorists. Authorities said the mother’s condition will stabilize, but both she and the baby have a long way to go before they are out of danger.

Iran

Diplomats from European countries on Tuesday blasted a recent Iranian missile test as “inconsistent” with a key U.N. Security Council resolution, as they struggle to keep the Iran deal intact amid U.S. pressure to get tough on the Islamic regime. Iran test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile on December 1st, which the U.S. said had the capability to strike parts of Europe and the Middle East. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the missile was capable of carrying multiple warheads and was in violation of Security Council Resolution 2231 — which calls on Iran to refrain from “any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” Resolution 2231 was the Security Council’s enshrinement of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from last May. The other signatories were Germany, U.K., France, China and Russia.

Iran’s capital of Tehran, a city of 13 million people, is sinking – fast. That’s the assessment of geo-scientists Mahdi Motagh and Mahmud Haghshenas Haghighi of the German Research Centre in Potsdam who used satellite data images to monitor subsidence across the region between 20013 and 1017. Their analysis shows that the land is sinking radically due to depletion of groundwater aquifers, as reported in Nature.com. But, given the radical Shiite regime’s regular threats against Israel, some rabbis see the possibility of divine retribution – reminding them of the biblical challenge to Moses in Numbers 16 by Korah, who was swallowed up by the earth along with his followers. The collapse has spread to encompass the city’s airport which is sinking up to 10 inches a year.

France

After more than two weeks of protests that have led to blocked roads, torched cars, looting and chaos in some of Paris’ wealthiest neighborhoods, France’s prime minister suspended Tuesday a fuel-tax hike that triggered the demonstrations. Edouard Philippe temporarily called off plans to increase a diesel tax. Philippe said the suspension of a new tax on fuel would last for six months and that planned increases to gas and electricity costs would also be temporary halted. The move, announced live on TV, is aimed at easing tensions after more than 100 people were injured and 400 arrested in Paris over the weekend. At least three people have died since the unrest started on Nov. 17 and the Arc de Triomphe, one of France’s most revered landmarks, was damaged last weekend. Despite the capitulation, protests have continued. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France’s high taxes, tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday. Some protesters scuffled with police who fired tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week’s rioting. Blue armored vehicles beneath the Arc de Triomphe and rows of helmeted, thickly protected riot police blocked the demonstrators’ passage down the Champs-Elysees avenue toward the heart of presidential power. The violent protests are a sign of the growing disconnect between the country’s citizens and its elites.

Russia

Russia is “in material breach” of a landmark arms control treaty and the United States will withdraw from the pact in 60 days unless Russia comes back into compliance, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday. Pompeo announced the 60-day window at a NATO meeting in Brussels, calling Russia’s actions part of a “larger pattern of lawlessness.” The INF Treaty, signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, bars the U.S. and Russia from deploying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 310 and 3,400 miles. The U.S. has long accused Russia of violating the pact – stretching back to the Obama administration. Russia has denied it’s violating the treaty.  European countries warned that the U.S. withdrawal would spark a new arms race and leave them vulnerable to Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of an arms race if the U.S. follows through on its threat to back out of the INF treaty.

China

Millions of Chinese nationals have been blocked from booking flights or trains as Beijing seeks to implement its controversial “social credit” system, which allows the government to closely monitor and judge each of its 1.3 billion citizens based on their behavior and activity. The system will be used to reward or punish people and organizations for “trustworthiness” across a range of measures. Scheduled for full implementation by 2020, the social credit system has already blacklisted more than 15 million Chinese residents from travel. This system of surveillance and governance uses a social scoring system based on the state’s perceived trustworthiness of the individual. Not only are social media and financial accounts tied into a person’s “score” – much like a credit score number – but also friends and associates are compelled to distance themselves from an offending person, otherwise, their score can be dropped too.

Jamaica

In the wake of a Free Press investigation that found sexual assaults of tourists are a long-standing and unchecked problem in Jamaica, where an estimated one American is raped a month according to State Department statistics. Multiple victims have come forward with stories about cover-ups, confidentiality agreements and payoffs by resorts looking to protect their reputations and revenue. Over the last several years, Jamaican resorts have silenced multiple sexual assault victims, discouraging them from calling the police or pressing charges, downplaying their fears and offering free hotel stays or cash refunds in exchange for a promise not to sue or tell anyone what happened.

Weather

The melting of Greenland’s massive ice sheet has now accelerated, scientists announced Wednesday, and shows no signs of slowing down, according to a new study. “Melting of the Greenland ice sheet has gone into overdrive,” said Luke Trusel, a glaciologist at Rowan University and lead author of the study. “Greenland melt is adding to sea level more than any time during the last three and a half centuries, if not thousands of years,” he said. Ice loss from Greenland is the single largest contributor to global sea-level rise, which is predicted to lead to inundation of low-lying islands and coastal cities around the world over the next several decades and centuries. At the moment, conservative estimates of global sea level rise predict an additional half a meter or more by the end of the century.

Heavy rain in California last Thursday killed at least one person, trapped people in their cars in San Diego and triggered several mudslides that forced the closure of numerous roadways. In Orange County, residents in Trabuco Canyon were under mandatory evacuations Thursday because of a high mudslide risk at the Holy Fire burn scar. In Riverside County, residents in several zones were ordered to evacuate near Lake Elsinore because of burn scars left behind by the same wildfire. A Southwest Airlines plane skidded off a wet runway Thursday morning at Hollywood Burbank Airport north of Los Angeles. No injuries were reported. Heavy snow in the higher elevations forced the closure of a major highway, I-5.

Wide swaths of the Carolinas and parts of Georgia woke up to power outages Sunday morning as Winter Storm Diego continued to dump snow and ice across the Southeast. More than 148,000 customers had no electricity in North Carolina, nearly 78,000 were in the dark in South Carolina, 26,000 in northeast Georgia, and almost 18,000 in Tennessee. More than 1,400 flights were canceled on Sunday. More than 250,000 customers remained without power Monday after On Sunday, the storm killed at least two people in North Carolina and stranded drivers for hours on a Virginia interstate. Authorities are urging residents to remain home on Monday as the storm continues to dump paralyzing snow, sleet or freezing rain across North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The warmer side of Diego brought heavy rainfall, strong winds and thunderstorms to many parts of the Southeast over the weekend. In Florida, an EF1 tornado caused minor damage in Pasco County on Sunday morning. Heavy rainfall caused street flooding in Mobile, Alabama.

Signs of the Times

December 3, 2018

­Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Praise Reports

A Christian couple from Idaho was handed a major victory after a four-year battle that came as a result of religious discrimination. A jury in northern Idaho recently awarded the couple—Jeremy and Kristy Morris of Hayden—$75,000 in their lawsuit against West Hayden States First Addition Homeowners Association, ruling the HOA illegally discriminated against the pair on religious grounds. Every year, the Morrises are known for erecting elaborate Christmas decorations, complete with twinkling lights, live music and a nativity scene with actors portraying the holy family. The controversy first arose when they decided to move to a new home in 2015. The Christian couple had been transparent about their plans to continue their annual Christmas display, which they called a “ministry,” but were greeted with a letter from the HOA board, explaining why they could no longer set up their holiday decor. The family made an extra effort to ensure they were not in any way violating the HOA’s rules, even making special arrangements for parking for those who come to see the display every year. One of the reasons included in the HOA’s letter, though, was the Morrises’ Christian faith. In response to the victory, Jeremy Morris said, “Our family will live wherever we want to live to spread the message of Jesus Christ and the birth of our savior. We’re looking forward. We’re positive. We’re excited.”

Veteran rap artist Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus Jr., announced that he was a born-again Christian as he released his first ever gospel album. The 17-time Grammy nominated rapper and R&B artist released his album Bible of Love in March of this year which features big names in the gospel music industry including Fred Hammons, the Clark Sisters, Marvin Sapp and Pastor John P. Kee. Snoop noted that he was working on a “gangster album” before he started his gospel project, but he felt rushed by the process. When he fell into the gospel album, however, he said he felt a sense of calm. When talking about the album’s release with Hollywood Today, the musician noted that his mother was an evangelical Christian, and she had been waiting for a long time for Snoop to answer God’s call to make worship music.

Migrant Caravan Issues Continue to Worsen

The Mexican federal immigration agency is preparing to open a second emergency shelter Thursday for thousands of Central American migrants who traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum in the United States. Mexico had opened up Unidad Deportiva Benito Juarez, an open-air sports complex less than a mile from the border, to house the migrants, as U.S. immigration officials process around 40 asylum applicants a day. But some migrants have complained of a lack of food and water at the complex, as well as being exposed to rain, mud and other elements. There are currently around 6,000 migrants there, 4,000 of which are men. The rest are about split evenly between women and children. Migrants who came with the caravan are suffering from respiratory infections, tuberculosis, chickenpox and other serious health issues, Tijuana’s Health Department warned on Thursday morning. Out of 6,000 migrants currently residing in the city, over a third of them (2,267) are being treated for health-related issues. Heavy rainfall made tough living conditions even rougher for the migrants at a makeshift outdoor shelter near the U.S.-Mexico border, as plans to open up a second, roofed shelter languished for most of Thursday. Violence against Border Patrol agents continued to spiral this week with authorities reporting one agent held at gunpoint by an illegal immigrant in California, and two agents in Arizona facing attacks by hand.

  • Border Patrol agents arrested an admitted MS-13 gang member and a newly released convicted murder last weekend. Both traveled to the border with the migrant caravan. Agents discovered that 46-year-old Miguel Angel Ramirez was released from a prison in Honduras four months earlier and had been held there on a murder conviction.
  • In one of his first acts in office, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has signed an agreement with his counterparts from three Central American countries to establish a development plan to stem the flow of migrants seeking asylum in the U.S.

Court Nixes Trump Push to Cut ‘Sanctuary City’ Funds

A federal judge says the Trump administration can’t withhold over $29 million from six states and New York City in a clash over their immigration policies as so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions. Friday’s decision involves Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington state, and the state and city of New York. Other federal courts have issued similar rulings. The government imposed new conditions last year on a public safety grant. The new requirements included telling federal agents when immigrants in the country illegally are getting out of custody. U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos says the conditions are unconstitutional.

Trump Signs North American Trade Pact, but Must be Ratified by Congress

President Trump celebrated a major political win Friday, joining the leaders of the Mexican and Canadian governments in signing a new North American trade deal that overhauls the rules governing more than $1.2 trillion in regional commerce and closes the door on a quarter-century of unbridled globalization. But the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement faces uncertain prospects in Congress next year, where Democrats will control the House of Representatives and may be reluctant to help the president fulfill a 2016 campaign promise as he gears up to run for reelection. In the Senate, Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), who backs expanded trade, says he will oppose the deal unless changes are made to investor protection provisions. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a likely Democratic presidential candidate, said Thursday that she would oppose the trade pact as inadequate for American workers, foreshadowing a possible 2020 campaign plank. Major U.S. industries and agricultural interests are unhappy that the president has not removed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Mexico and Canada, as administration officials promised during the final stages of the three-way negotiations.

North American Trade Agreement Promotes LGBT Agenda

Canada’s Prime Minister is seeking to change U.S. “Civil Rights” law by advancing a pro-LGBT initiative housed in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), reports Liberty Counsel. The pro-LGBT language would establish special rights for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as the supreme law of the land via the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. It’s clear that Liberal Party Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the driving force behind the pro-LGBT language. In an interview, the PM asserted, “Canada will always try to engage, be very direct about always and consistently standing up for human rights and at the same time try and create a relationship that allows us to perhaps advance, nudge, move forward in a way that will be better for their citizens as well as ours.”

Canada Promoting Euthanasia in Hospital Waiting Rooms

An advertisement being run on TVs in the emergency waiting rooms of a health system in Canada, where those who are hurting, injured, depressed and suffering wait for help, is promoting … euthanasia. “Campaigners have hit out at the adverts saying they normalize deliberate killing, and present euthanasia as a ‘reasonable and even preferred method of alleviating suffering,” reported the Christian Institute in the United Kingdom. The institute quoted Wesley Smith, of the Discovery Institute, who said those who are in those waiting rooms are the “vulnerable,” who “may be afraid, in pain or depressed.” He said: “The ad makes no mention of palliative care or other means to reduce or eliminate suffering without killing. It does not describe that counseling can help people regain the desire to live. There is no hint that suicide prevention services might be available. And it obscures the fact that MAiD is a euphemism for homicide by lethal injection,” he said.

Trump to Let States Divert Obamacare Funds to Non-ACA Plans

The Trump administration plans to allow states to direct billions of dollars of Obamacare subsidies to health plans that don’t meet the law’s requirements. The change is intended to make insurance more affordable and expand consumer choice. Premiums for Affordable Care Act health plans have increased in recent years, straining the budgets of many middle-class people who don’t qualify for the law’s subsidies. But critics say the new policy could undermine the ACA by driving costs up for people who want more comprehensive coverage. The policy would allow states to restructure how the premium subsidies in the ACA market are targeted and decide what type of plans can receive them. Under the law, premium subsidies can be used only to purchase health plans that meet the law’s standards, known as qualified health plans. The ACA’s pre-existing condition protections cannot and would not be waived, said Seema Verma, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Thousands of U.S. Seniors Victims of Abuse and Self-Neglect

Last year, state adult protective services (APS) intervened in more than 142,000 cases to protect seniors at risk from what is termed “self-neglect” – seniors who have become too physically or mentally incapacitated to care for themselves and have no other care providers. State-based APS agencies completed more than 713,000 investigations in fiscal year 2017 and identified nearly 235,000 victims of abuse, including the self-neglect cases. The elder abuse data is not complete. It’s correct in terms of what’s reported, but there are so many cases that aren’t reported. Elder abuse can range from physical or sexual assault against vulnerable seniors to financial scams to abandonment or neglect by caregivers. But the most common threat is self-neglect: an elderly person unable to provide for their own clothing, shelter, food, medication or other basic needs, and having no one to provide care for them. And it is a problem that is growing as the population ages.

Drug Traffickers Bribed Postal Workers to Deliver Cocaine

Sixteen US Postal Service workers got sentences of between three to nine years in federal prison for accepting bribes to deliver cocaine on their routes in Atlanta. Drug traffickers bribed the postal workers, sometimes with amounts as low as $250, to deliver drugs to designated addresses, the US Attorney’s Office said in a statement last week. Federal agents learned about the operation in 2015, while working to take down a drug trafficking organization in Atlanta. To help pinpoint corrupt workers, federal agents used a confidential source who posed as a trafficker looking for postal employees to deliver cocaine and marijuana. “The defendants agreed to deliver the packages and negotiated the amount of the bribes they would charge, while law enforcement agents watched from a distance and recorded the interactions,” the US Attorney’s Office said.

HIV Cases At All-Time High in Europe

The HIV epidemic in Europe is still growing at an alarming rate, particularly in Eastern Europe, according to a new report. The number of new HIV diagnoses in the region continued to rise in 2017, but the pace of the increase is slowing, according to the report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the WHO Regional Office for Europe. Still, nearly 160,000 people were newly diagnosed with the infection in the region in 2017. More than 130,000 of those diagnoses were in Europe’s eastern region, the most ever reported there. Rates were highest in Russia, where 71 new cases were diagnosed per 100,000 people in 2017, followed by Ukraine and Belarus. “The significance in this report is that we can see a sharp difference between Eastern Europe and the European Union where the number of HIV infection numbers is dropping,” said Dr. Masoud Dara, coordinator of communicable diseases and HIV team lead at WHO Europe.

  • God’s plan of monogamous sex between husband and wife is the surest way to avoid HIV

U.S. Life Expectancy Drops for Third Straight Year

In 1918, the double whammy of World War I and the worldwide flu pandemic drove down American life expectancy for a third year in a row. A century later, another triple-year decline has been recorded—and this time, suicide and drug overdoses are major causes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual report, US life expectancy dropped to 78 years and 7 months in 2017, down around a month from the year before, the AP reports. Men could expect to live 76.1 years, and women 81.1. Public health experts called the statistics alarming, noting that early deaths among middle-aged people did the most to bring life expectancy down. After 22 years of steady rises, life expectancy dropped in 2015 and again in 2016, though it will need to drop a lot more to reach the level of 1918, when life expectancy was 39. Another CDC report found that the number of drug overdose deaths rose almost 6,600 in 2017 to 70,237, CNN reports. The suicide rate rose to its highest in at least 50 years, with rates much higher in rural counties than in urban ones.

Economic News

Experts were expecting that new home sales in the U.S. would rise in October, but instead they plunged 8.9 percent, a two-and-a-half-year low reported the Commerce Department last Wednesday.  That number is far worse than anyone was projecting. New home sales have now missed expectations for seven months in a row, and the similarities to 2008 are starting to become undeniable. One survey found that the percentage of Americans that plan to buy a home over the next 12 months has fallen by about half during the past year.  Mortgage rates have steadily risen as the Federal Reserve has been hiking interest rates, pricing any Americans out of the market.

Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell said that interest rates are just slightly below what he considers a “neutral” level. That’s a sharp change from his position last month, when he said the central bank still had a “long way” to go before it reached that equilibrium. As a result, markets surged upward. The Dow Jones industrial average also surged Monday with a big boost on the news that President Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, will let the trade war cool for 90 days as they try to negotiate an agreement. After meeting Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 conference, President Trump agreed to hold off on raising existing tariffs on $200 billion of goods for 90 days, pending new talks. Trump says China has agreed to cut tariffs on cars it imports from the United States.

The tiny Arab nation of Qatar announced Monday it will withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, in January, mixing its aspirations to increase production outside of the cartel’s constraints. The surprise announcement from Qatar’s minister of state for energy affairs, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, again throws into question the role of the cartel. It would also mark the first time a Mideast nation has left the cartel since its founding in 1960. Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, wants to raise its oil production and plans to increase its gas exports from 77 million tons per year to 110 million tons.

In an effort to cut costs and hassles, a small but growing crop of retailers have stopped accepting cash. Some restaurants in large cities began shunning the greenback a couple of years ago, but an increasing number of nonfood chains are going cashless at some or all of their locations . They include clothing retailers such as Bonobos, Indochino, Everlane and Reformation; Amazon bookstores; Casper Mattress; Drybar hair styling; The Bar Method fitness studios; and United and Delta airlines (both at ticket counters and for in-flight food and drinks). The trend is partly rooted in the growth of credit- and debit-card transactions and the spread of digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Cash isn’t dead, but it’s no longer king.

  • The danger in the cashless economy favored by the one-world government folks is that with the flick of a digital switch, all your money (savings, checking, investments, etc.) can be taken from you or made unavailable for whatever reasons governmental authorities choose (e.g. religious beliefs labeled as ‘hate crimes’).

Persecution Watch

Jennifer Christie used her traumatic experience to spread a powerful message about choosing life but has recently found herself the victim of numerous attacks by abortion activists. After being raped while on a business trip in 2014, she soon learned that she was pregnant and gave birth to a son nine months later. Despite the distressing situation she faced, Christie made the decision to appear in a pro-life video and speak for rape victims who become pregnant and make the choice to keep their babies. The Christian Institute reports that since she appeared in the pro-life video, Christie has become the target of abortion activists who sent her horrific videos showing the rape and mutilation of women. Another video depicted strobe lighting was sent to Christie in an effort to provoke her photosensitive epilepsy.

A Texas court has barred a father from teaching his 6-year-old son that he is a boy or from dressing him like a boy – even though the child chooses to be a boy around the dad. The boy, named James, is stuck in a custody case between the father and the mother, who insists the boy is a transgender girl, The Federalist reported. A gender transition therapist diagnosed James with gender dysphoria, and the boy’s teachers at school treat him like a girl, calling him “Luna.” He uses the girl’s restroom. But when the child is around his father, he refuses to be acknowledged as a girl. The mother wants to terminate the father’s parental rights.

  • Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6)

Faced with the “daily threat of murder” in the Middle East, Christians are on the verge of “imminent extinction,” according to the archbishop of Canterbury. “In the birthplace of our faith, the community faces extinction,” Archbishop Justin Welby wrote in the Sunday Telegraph. Archbishop Welby added Christians are facing “the worst situation since the Mongol invasions of the 13th Century.” The call comes after the report in the UK’s Express that just 11 of the 4,832 Syrians who were resettled in the UK in 2017 were Christian. “Christians are being subjected to horrendous persecution in Syria,” Bright Blue senior researcher, James Dobson, told the Express. The threat has the most senior clergyman in the Church of England calling for taking in of more Christian refugees from the Middle East.

Middle East

The Palestinian Authority is demanding an urgent meeting of the Arab League to address the increasingly public and cordial relations between Israel and Arab/Moslem countries. “What we see in recent weeks – from [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s visit to Oman and the visit of the president of Chad to Israel, and now we talk about Bahrain, Sudan and about ties with Saudi Arabia. It raises question marks! Therefore, the Arab and Islamic position needs to be clarified,” PA official Nabil Shaath told Haaretz. Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed optimism about the prospects of peace in the Middle East and underscored Israel’s evolving and rising status in the region. “Our relations with the countries of the world are flourishing in an unprecedented manner. Our relations with the moderate countries in the Arab and Muslim world are being forged openly,” he said.

In response to President Trump’s “deal of the century” for Middle East peace, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani gave a fiery address to the Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran on Monday, saying among other things that “They have called it the ‘deal of the century’ to achieve a number of major goals. Their first goal is to increase the power of Israel in the region… The other goal is to end the story of Palestine by telling Palestinian refugees to stay in other countries and not to return to their homeland. We will stand against the Israeli regime and will not let the deal take place in this region.”

The United Nations on Friday launched its latest attack on Israel as part of its ongoing attempt to marginalize and delegitimize the Jewish state. The international body passed six anti-Israel resolutions in just one day, attacking everything from the Jewish people’s role in ensuring religious freedom in Jerusalem to Israel’s right to control territory it captured in the Golan Heights after Syria attacked the Jewish state in 1967. With regard to the Jerusalem motion, the resolution denies the fact that under Israeli administration of the city, members of all faiths have access to holy sites. Conversely, under Jordanian rule prior to 1967, Jews faced severe discrimination with regard to access to holy sites, with a number of these sites destroyed. The other resolutions passed on Friday were designed to promote pro-Palestinian bias in initiatives addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict. Among the nations that either voted against the resolutions or abstained were the United States, Australia, Guatemala, and Hungary.

Afghanistan

Gunmen attacked a British security contractors’ compound in Kabul, killing at least 10 people and wounding 19 hours after the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, outlined plans for peace in the country. The Taliban claimed responsibility for last Wednesday’s attack, which began when a car bomb exploded outside a G4S facility on the main road leading eastwards out of the Afghan capital. “A number of gunmen entered the G4S compound right after the car bomb,” said Najib Danish, a spokesman for the interior ministry. The attack on a well-protected site underlines how insecure Kabul remains despite efforts by the US and the Afghan government to open peace talks with the Taliban to end more than 17 years of war.

Honduras

As the migrant caravan that originated in Honduras treks north, the brother of that country’s president—a former lawmaker in the Central American nation—has been arrested and indicted in the U.S. on drug and weapons charges, reports Judicial Watch. Juan Antonio Hernandez is the younger brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who has blamed leftist interests for manipulating migrants to destabilize the country. The younger Hernandez is a former member of the National Congress of Honduras and the U.S. officials say he’s a bigtime drug trafficker who has moved tons of cocaine through the region in the last decade with the help of Honduran politicians and law enforcement officials. The former Honduran legislator and his criminal associates teamed up with some of the world’s deadliest transitional criminal networks in Mexico and Colombia, according to federal authorities, to flood American streets with illicit drugs. This case illustrates the dire security issues created by crime infestation and rampant drug trafficking in Central America at a time when thousands of migrants from that region are demanding asylum in the U.S. Judicial Watch traveled to the Guatemalan-Honduran border to cover the caravan when it first left the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula. They found that the caravan included gang members and mobs of young angry men, as well as Africans, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Indians.

France

Furious French protesters clashed with police for a third weekend over rising taxes and French President Emmanuel Macron’s leadership, prompting the arrest of at least 107 demonstrators. The authorities rounded up dozens of protesters, some wearing black hoodies, after they built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris near the Arc de Triomphe, threw rocks at police officers and lit debris on fire. In an effort to push back the protesters from the area, police used tear gas and water cannons. Other demonstrators meanwhile gathered near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said he was “shocked” by the violent clashes and condemned the protesters who painted a graffiti on the monument. The authorities say they counted about 5,000 protesters. Amidst the violence, several hundred peaceful protesters, dubbed “yellow vests” for their fluorescent vests, marched towards the Champs-Elysees with a banner reading “Macron, stop taking us for stupid people.” Protesters are particularly angry about Macron’s gas tax hike earlier this year in a bid to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels. The new tax will increase the price of fuel by about 30 cents per gallon, making it one of the most expensive in Europe.

Ukraine

Ukraine’s president has announced a call-up of reservists amid tensions with Russia. Relations between the two neighbors have strained further following the Nov. 25 incident in which Russia fired upon and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko responded by introducing martial law for 30 days in much of Ukraine. Poroshenko said Monday that reservists will be summoned for training as part of martial law. He also said that some military units will be redeployed to strengthen the nation’s defenses. Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for the naval incident that further escalated the tug-of-war that began in 2014 when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and supported separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Earthquakes

More than small 1400 aftershocks have hit parts of Alaska since Friday, when a 7.0-magnitude tremor knocked out power, ripped open roads and splintered buildings near Anchorage. While the majority of the aftershocks were measured at magnitude 2.5 or less, about 350 small earthquakes were higher than 2.5 and around a dozen registered higher than magnitude 4.5. The original quake’s epicenter was about eight miles north of downtown Anchorage and caused structural damage to buildings and buckled roadways. Fortunately, no deaths or injuries were caused by the quake. Anchorage is Alaska’s most populous city with about 300,000 residents, more than 40 percent of the state’s total population.” There is major infrastructure damage across Anchorage,” said the Anchorage Police Department. “Many homes and buildings are damaged. Many roads and bridges are closed.” Alaska records an average of 40,000 quakes every year, including more large tremors than the other 49 states combined. Alaska experienced the second-largest earthquake to ever hit the US — a 9.2-magnitude in 1964. The state is located along the Pacific “Ring of Fire” which joins the Pacific and North American plates.

A report released last month evaluated the seismic vulnerability of San Francisco’s tallest buildings and revealed that 68 of the city’s high-rises all share a similarity that could make them particularly vulnerable during the next major earthquake. The Tall Buildings Safety Strategy written by the Applied Technology Council, a California-based research organization, studied the vulnerability of 156 buildings that exceed 240 feet. The report revealed that 68 of the buildings — all built between 1964 and 1989 — have steel skeletons that were welded together using a technique that has been found susceptible to breaking during an earthquake. The report says that bringing these buildings up to current building codes could take two to six months, assuming the owners were willing to do it. There’s a 72 percent chance a magnitude 6.7 earthquake will strike the San Francisco Bay area before 2043, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The nearby San Andreas fault has a possible maximum earthquake magnitude of 8.0, the USGS stated in a separate report.

Wildfires

More than 138 wildfires broke out in northeast Australia Wednesday, forcing thousands to flee. High winds, dry air and severe heatwave conditions were combining to make the fire danger extreme. The fire danger was rated catastrophic in areas of central Queensland, the first time the highest danger rating had been applied to the state, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. She said 34 schools had been closed in the most threatened regions. She warned families not to go out, to keep together and prepare to leave if needed. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll said at least ten homes had been destroyed since Saturday in areas where the fire danger remained too high for teams to enter and assess damage.

Weather

A storm system that tore from the Plains into the Southeast this weekend produced more than two dozen tornadoes and left behind a trail of destruction in several states. Five people were injured in southeast Georgia, including four at a nearby Naval base, when a tornado struck Camden County Sunday around 4 p.m. The same system had spawned a tornado Saturday that left more than 100 homes damaged and 25 people injured in Taylorville, Illinois. The storm system also was responsible for at least four tornadoes that caused extensive damage in Oklahoma and killed one person in a southwestern Missouri.

Just weeks after California’s Camp Fire wiped the town of Paradise off the map, heavy rainfall triggered debris flows, causing road closures and yet another round of evacuations in burn areas. As many as 100 vehicles were stuck on Honey Run Road in Butte County and were unable to flee Butte Creek Canyon. About 50 people were trapped in their homes above one of the flows. South of Chico, Highway 99 was closed in both directions. Thursday afternoon, Orange County authorities ordered the evacuation of Trabuco Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains, where a wildfire burned earlier this year. A mudslide trapped vehicles and prompted the California Highway Patrol to close Highway 38 between Valley of the Falls Drive and Sugar Pine Circle in San Bernardino County.

Flash flooding from the heaviest November rain day in decades killed at least two people in Sydney, Australia. Heavy rain from a string of thunderstorms fell November 21st in the capital of New South Wales, triggering power outages, knocking down trees and creating traffic chaos, the BBC reports. At one point the city received its average monthly rainfall total in a period of two hours. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph were also recorded. The flash flooding occurred during rush hour, forcing authorities to shut down public transportation, which only added to the traffic chaos. Air, ferry and train services were also halted because of the storms.

Signs of the Times

November 27, 2018

­Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)

Science Shocker: Adam and Eve for Real

In a major shock to evolutionary science, a sweeping survey of the genetic code shows the human race sprang from a single adult couple. The research was led by the Rockefeller University and the University of Basel, Switzerland, and stunned all involved. “This conclusion is very surprising,” said David Thaler, research associate from the University of Basel. “And I fought against it as hard as I could.” While still holding to an old Earth with these modern humans dating back between 100,000 to 200,000 years, the timeframe is far more recent than previous claims in the evolutionary theory. Another surprise for the scientists, however, was that nine of every 10 animal species also come from a single pair of beings. Senior research associate Mark Stoeckle and Thaler, the two scientists who headed the study, concluded 90 percent of all animal species alive today come from parents that all began giving birth at roughly the same time, less than 250 thousand years ago — throwing into doubt the patterns of human evolution.

Abortions in the United States Hit New All-Time Low

The abortion rate in America continues to decline as the work of pro-life advocates empower more women to choose life for their unborn babies. A new report by the Centers for Disease Control showed abortions at an all-time low since 1973, the year when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, according to the Washington Post. The report, released Nov. 21, recorded 638,169 abortions in 2015, a 2-percent drop from 2014. The abortion rate declined to 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age. That is a 26-percent decline since 2006, Newsmax reports. Among teenagers, the rate declined even more drastically – a full 54 percent since 2006, according to the CDC. Comparing racial demographics, the CDC found the highest abortion rate was among black women at 25.1 abortions per 1,000 and the lowest was among white women at 6.8 per 1,000. Age comparisons indicate women in their 20s had the highest abortion rate.

Chaos at Border as Migrants Storm Fence

As thousands of migrants from Central America wait in makeshift Tijuana shelters for a chance to apply for asylum in the U.S., a process that could take months, some have organized protests to pressure U.S. officials to devote more resources to speed up the process. On Sunday, one of those protests, peaceful at first, turned chaotic when several hundred migrants broke away, overwhelming Mexican federal police officers before rushing a border fence and attempting to illegally enter the U.S. In response, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers shut down both south and northbound traffic at the San Ysidro border crossing south of San Diego for nearly six hours. The closure disrupted one of the busiest border crossings in the world at the tail end of a holiday weekend when border crossings are typically packed with travelers. CBP officers fired tear gas after some migrants threw projectiles at them, U.S. officials said. Several CBP officers were hit by the projectiles. It was unclear whether any migrants were injured. President Trump threatened Monday to “close the Border permanently if need be” and called on Mexico to deport members of the migrant caravan after skirmishes broke out between border agents and migrants at the Southern border this weekend. The Mexican Interior Ministry said it would immediately deport about 500 Central American migrants who tried to “violently” breach the border with the U.S. just south of California and that it would reinforce the border.

  • Critics are hammering the Trump administration over using tear gas, but they are glossing over a similar episode that occurred under then-President Barack Obama. The same tear-gas agent that the Trump administration is taking heat for deploying against a border mob this weekend is actually used fairly frequently — including more than once a month during the later years of President Barack Obama’s administration, according to Homeland Security data. Border Patrol agents revealed in interviews that the migrants storming the U.S.-Mexico border over the weekend were using women and children as human shields as they launched rocks at agents.
  • San Diego Sector Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott pushed back on the narrative that his agents are tear gassing women and children. We ended up making about 42 arrests, only eight of those were females and there were only a few children involved. The vast majority of people we are dealing with are adult males,” Scott said. “Similar to what we saw with the first wave, the caravan that came up about a week or so ago, the group immediately started throwing rocks and debris at the agents. Taunting the agents. Once our agents were assaulted the numbers started growing. We had two or three agents at a time initially facing hundreds of people at a time. They deployed tear gas to protect themselves and to protect the border.”

Federal Report Say U.S. Impacts of Climate Change are Intensifying

A massive report issued by the Trump administration on Friday emphasizes the dire threat that human-caused global warming poses to the United States and its citizens. “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities,” researchers say in the report, officially Volume II of the National Climate Assessment. The 1,600-page report details the climate and economic impacts U.S. residents will see if drastic action is not taken to address climate change. This is the fourth National Climate Assessment. It was mandated by Congress in the late 1980s and is prepared every four years by the nation’s top scientists from 13 agencies. Climate change threatens the health and well-being of the American people by causing increasing extreme weather, changes to air quality, the spread of new diseases by insects and pests and changes to the availability of food and water, the researchers say. President Donald Trump is rejecting a key conclusion of a dire report on the economic costs of climate change released Friday by his own administration saying, “I don’t believe it.”

  • The Bible says that end-time weather will become quite extreme (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

UN Reports World Falling Woefully Short of Emissions Goals

According to a United Nations report released Tuesday, however, projected emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, from nations around the world fall woefully short of the 2 degree Celsius goal set in the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. In fact, the report states that the current emission targets for all countries would result in an average global temperature rise of 3.2 degrees Celsius (5.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. The 2018 Emissions Gap Report is the flagship annual report from the UN Environment Program and acts as a report card on how countries are doing on their individual contributions to the Paris Climate Agreement. This year’s report shows the largest gap ever, resulting from increasing emissions and slow action to mitigate. According to Tuesday’s report, global emissions of CO2 in 2017 were 53.5 gigatons (a gigaton is 1 billion tons), the most ever released into the atmosphere, representing an increase of more than 1% over 2016 emissions. Global emissions need to be 25% lower than this figure by 2030 in order to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius and 55% lower in order to limit to 1.5 degrees, the report claims.

The Most Dangerous Place for a Woman is Her Home

More than half of all female homicide victims worldwide – 137 every day – were killed by a member of their own family last year, according to a new United Nations study. Research published by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) found that of the approximately 87,000 women and girls intentionally killed in 2017, about 58 percent died at the hands of someone who was either an “intimate partner” or a relative. This amounts to six women being killed every hour by people they know, the report said. It was released Sunday to coincide with the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In 2017, roughly 82 percent of victims of homicide perpetrated by intimate partners or family members were female – just 18 percent of  the victims were male.

The global average of 1.3 female homicide victims per 100,000 female population, has been stable for more than half a decade. However, there are regional variations. Africa and the Americas were the regions where women are most at risk of being killed by intimate partners or family members, the study found. In Africa, the rate was around 3.1 victims per 100,000 female population. In the Americas, it was 1.6 victims. The lowest rate was found in Europe, with 0.7 victims per 100,000 female population.

First Gene-Edited Babies Claimed in China

A Chinese researcher claims that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies – twin girls born this month whose DNA he said he altered with a powerful new tool capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life. If true, it would be a profound leap of science and ethics. A U.S. scientist said he took part in the work in China, but this kind of gene editing is banned in the United States because the DNA changes can pass to future generations and it risks harming other genes. Many mainstream scientists think it’s too unsafe to try, and some denounced the Chinese report as human experimentation. The researcher, He Jiankui of Shenzhen, said he altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting thus far. He said his goal was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have – an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus.

CDC Confirms 116 Cases of Rare Polio-Like Illness

There have been 116 confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a polio-like illness in the U.S. this year, mostly affecting children, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease affects a person’s nervous system and cause weakness in their arms and legs. Cases of the disease have been found in 31 states, according to an update Monday from the CDC. More than 90 percent of patients affected by AFM are children, said the agency. In most cases, patients had a mild respiratory illness before developing the disease. Symptoms include drooping face and eyelids, difficulty moving eyes and swallowing, and slurred speech. In severe cases, patients may have trouble breathing because of muscle weakness. The CDC said it was setting up a task force to investigate what causes the disease and find better treatments for patients.

European Union Approves Brexit Deal with United Kingdom

In a bittersweet landmark, European Union leaders gathered Sunday to seal an agreement on Britain’s departure next year – the first time a member country will have left the 28-nation bloc. At a summit in Brussels, the leaders endorsed a withdrawal agreement that would settle Britain’s divorce bill, protect the rights of U.K. and EU citizens hit by Brexit and keep the Irish border open. They will also rubber-stamp a 26-page document laying out their aims for future relations after Britain leaves at midnight Brussels time on March 29. British Prime Minister Theresa May hailed the deal as the start of a new chapter for Britain, but European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the U.K.’s departure was a tragedy. The deal must still be ratified by the European Parliament, something parliament President Antonio Tajani said was likely in January. More dauntingly for May, it also needs approval from Britain’s Parliament. Large numbers of Parliament members on both sides of the debate oppose the divorce deal and threaten to vote it down when it comes to the House of Commons next month. Brexiteers think it will leave the U.K. tied too closely to EU rules, while pro-Europeans say it will erect new barriers between Britain and the bloc – its neighbor and biggest trading partner.

Economic News

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 2,400 points (over 9%) since early October, in part reflecting a fear that the Federal Reserve is hiking interest rates more aggressively than the economy can handle. The housing and auto industries, the frontline when it comes to borrowing costs, are already getting squeezed. It’s quite likely that the U.S. central bank will raise rates again in December, the fourth hike of 2018. But the bulls on Wall Street are hoping that Fed chief Jerome Powell signals a slower pace in 2019. The Fed could drop clues when it releases minutes from its November meeting this coming Thursday. The sharp decline in the market is also due to fears on Wall Street of a looming growth slowdown and the U.S.-China trade war.

U.S. oil prices plummeted 7% Friday and sank deeper into a bear market that has alarmed investors and made drivers around the world happy. The latest wave of selling knocked crude below $51 a barrel for the first time since October 2017. Anxiety about oversupply and diminished demand have sent crude down by a third since it soared to a four-year high above $76 a barrel in early October. Observers have gone from fearing $100 oil to expressing concern over why its price collapsed so quickly. Oil bulls are hoping OPEC and Russia come to the rescue by announcing steep production cuts at a meeting next month in Vienna.

At one time in the United States, being employed was enough to stay out of poverty. However, in many parts of the country, being employed is no longer enough to alleviate financial challenges. There were 7.6 million Americans in the labor force living in poverty in 2016. The economy has added millions of jobs since the recession ended, but many of these jobs are not the same as those that were lost. Nationwide, retail trade and the accommodation and food services industry added over one million jobs over the past three years, but individuals working in these industries are among the most likely to earn poverty wages.

General Motors is killing multiple passenger cars, including the Chevrolet Impala, Volt and Cruze. The move — part of a sweeping cost-cutting plan unveiled Monday — comes as Americans are abandoning passenger cars in favor of crossovers, SUVs and pickups. General Motors is poised to close factories in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland and Canada, kill off several passenger cars and slash 15 percent of its salaried workforce in a sweeping cost-cutting plan designed to boost its profits. The Detroit-based automaker said it would end production by the end of 2019 at its Lordstown Assembly plant in northeast Ohio; its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in southeast Michigan; its Oshawa Assembly plant in Ontario; its Baltimore Operations parts plant; and its Warren Transmission Operations plant in southeast Michigan. GM has about 1,500 employees at the Detroit plant, 1,600 at the Lordstown factory and 2,500 in Oshawa. CEO Mary Barra is seeking to reposition GM for a future defined by self-driving cars, ride-sharing networks and electric vehicles. GM’s biggest employee union, the United Auto Workers, vowed to fight the plan.

Wisconsin is on track to lose more dairy farms this year than in any year since at least 2003, according to state Agriculture Department figures for dairy producer licenses. For many farmers, the price they’ve received for their milk hasn’t covered their expenses. Some have lost thousands of dollars a month, and there’s not much relief in sight as the marketplace is flooded with the commodity they produce. As of Nov. 1, the dairy state had lost 660 cow herds from a year earlier, and the number of herds was down nearly 49 percent from 15 years ago. However, the number of dairy cows in Wisconsin has remained steady even as the number of farms has fallen. That’s because the remaining dairy operations are, in many cases, much bigger. But even some of the bigger farms have not survived. For many farmers, it’s no longer a matter of how they’re going to endure a fourth year of financial hardship. Rather, it’s how they’re going to exit the business and get on with their lives.

Persecution Watch

Chick-fil-A fired back at a private New Jersey university that believes the restaurant doesn’t belong on the menu for students over its Christian values. Rider University asked students earlier this year what fast-food chain they would like to see on campus, circulating a survey in which students can select their preferred choice. But once it became clear students were craving Chick-fil-A, the university excluded the option, citing concerns over the company’s attitudes towards LGBTQ community. The chain pushed back against the university’s characterization, saying the restaurant is merely providing food and doesn’t have any agenda. “Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on food, service and hospitality, and our restaurants and licensed locations on college campuses welcome everyone. We have no policy of discrimination against any group, and we do not have a political or social agenda,” the restaurant’s spokesperson told CBS News.

Iran’s ‘moderate’ President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday called Israel a “cancerous tumor” established by Western countries to advance their interests in the Middle East. Addressing an annual Islamic Unity Conference on Saturday, Rouhani went on to refer to Israel as a “fake regime” set up by Western countries. Rouhani said the United States cultivates close ties with “regional Muslim nations” to protect Israel, an apparent reference to Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s Sunni Arab allies. The two countries support opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen. Iran supports terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas that are pledged to Israel’s destruction, in addition to positioning Iranian troops in Syria close to Israel’s border.

After a family in southeast Kenya put their faith in Christ this month, Muslims gave them one day to return to Islam or be killed, the father said. “We were given a day to either recant the Christian faith or face the sword, as well as lose all the privileges the Muslims had given to us,” Abdul Abuk-Bakr of Sera village, Garsen, told Morning Star News. Abu-Bakr had suffered a serious illness for more than two months, visiting various hospitals without improving, when a pastor whose name and church are undisclosed visited him the evening of Nov. 3, Abu-Bakr said. The pastor prayed for Abu-Bakr in Jesus’ name, and the married father of two received instant healing. Given a day to return to Islam, on Nov. 6 the family sought refuge at the church site.

Israel

Security forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank were on high alert Monday afternoon following an apparent terrorist car ramming attack at the Gush Etzion junction just south of the capital wounded three soldiers. “One of the patrol soldiers fired and neutralized the terrorist. The soldiers were evacuated to receive medical treatment in a hospital,” the IDF statement said. The incident comes amidst a showdown between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in eastern Jerusalem. The Israel Police arrested 32 residents of eastern Jerusalem on Monday morning, suspected of serving in the Palestinian Authority security apparatus despite being Israeli residents and receiving, in several cases, welfare benefits from the government. Additionally, several of those arrested are suspected of involvement in PA plans to punish eastern Jerusalem residents who attempted to sell properties to Israeli Jews. Also on Sunday, the Israel Police arrested the Palestinian Authority Governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Geith, for his involvement in the plans.

Islamic State

Counter-attacks by the Islamic State group have killed at least 47 US-backed fighters over two days as the jihadists struck from their embattled holdout in eastern Syria, a war monitor said Saturday. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Kurdish-led alliance supported by a U.S.-led coalition is battling to expel the jihadists from a pocket in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor on the Iraqi border. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said the jihadists launched “three separate assaults” on Saturday. The monitor said the counter-attacks targeted the villages of Al-Bahra and Gharanij and an area close to the Al-Tanak oilfield, which is commercially active but is also an SDF military position. SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali confirmed “a series of attacks” led by ISIS in these three locations and said fighting had taken place all day, with the Kurdish-led ground forces receiving coalition air support. Militants launched an overnight attack against US-backed forces in eastern Syria for the second time in four days on Monday, according to activists.

Iran

Iran has not declared all its chemical weapons capabilities to the global chemical weapons agency in The Hague, in violation of an international non-proliferation convention, the U.S. ambassador to the organization said on Thursday. Ambassador Kenneth Ward told a meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that Iran had failed to report a production facility for the filling of aerial bombs and maintains a program to obtain banned toxic munitions. “The United States is also concerned that Iran is also pursuing central nervous system-acting chemicals for offensive purposes,” he said. Ward cited the discovery of chemical-filled artillery projectiles, mortars and aerial bombs of Iranian origin as proof that Iran did not fully disclose its capabilities.

Afghanistan

Three U.S. service members were killed and three more were wounded by an improvised explosive device Tuesday in Afghanistan, according to officials with the NATO mission to the country. One American contractor was also wounded when the IED detonated, officials said in a press release. The attack took place near Ghazni city, in the eastern Afghan province of the same name. Ghazni city, located 100 miles from Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, was also the site of an intense battle between U.S.-backed Afghan forces and the Taliban over the summer. According to the Defense Casualty Analysis System, 10 U.S. military members, not including these latest casualties, have been killed and 107 have been wounded in Afghanistan so far in 2018.

Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko demanded Monday the immediate release of Ukrainian sailors and warships after they were attacked and seized by Russia in the Kerch Strait, a body of water between Russia’s mainland and Crimea, the peninsula that the Kremlin annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Poroshenko described the Russian attack as a “deliberate action,” involving the use of weapons against Ukrainian sailors, six of whom were wounded. According to a statement by Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the attack was carried out on three Ukrainian navy vessels as they were crossing from the Ukrainian port of Odessa on the Black Sea to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. The Kerch Strait connects the two seas. The Ukrainian foreign ministry said that the sea crossing was in accordance with multilateral and bilateral international treaties and navigational rules, while its Russian counterpart said in a statement that the Ukrainian naval ships were in “gross violation of the rules of peaceful passage” in Russia’s territorial waters in the Black Sea. Ukrainian lawmakers were set to consider a presidential request for the introduction of martial law in the country on Monday following the incident. Ukraine’s president demanded Monday that Russia immediately release Ukrainian sailors and vessels seized in the incident. The two neighbors have been locked in a tense tug-of-war since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, but the incident late Sunday pitted the two militaries against each other, placing them on the verge of open conflict.

China

China’s Orwellian social engineering dictatorship plans to micromanage every citizen in their country – all 1.4 billion of them. Beijing announced an “action plan” this week for monitoring residents’ behavior, adding that the city expects to have its social credit system fully implemented by the end of 2020. Beijing plans to reward and punish its residents based on data that will be collected from various departments monitoring citizens’ social behavior, according to the detailed “action plan” posted on Monday to the city’s municipal website. By the beginning of 2020, the announcement declares, China’s capital city will have all residents officially locked into the permanent surveillance program, part of a broader effort to have every Chinese citizen rated on a “social credit system” decreeing what public services a person can use based on their obedience to laws and loyalty to the communist regime.

  • China is evolving into the world’s first technocracy in which government policies and actions are data-driven.

Environment

The Southwest Florida coast may finally be getting a break from red tide. Water samples show far fewer areas with high concentrations of Karenia brevis, the organism that causes the blooms. Researchers say it has become patchy and typical of a seasonal bloom. “Patchy means animals are now able to move in and out of the red tide bloom,” said Tracy Fanara, an environmental scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory. Fanara said the bloom now resembles those that are normally seen from August to December and ending in February and March. The red tide bloom has plagued Southwest Florida beaches since fall of 2017. It was the worst in a decade. In August, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency because of the bloom. The algae make the water toxic for marine wildlife. In addition to tons of small fish, this current bloom has killed dolphins, goliath grouper, manatees and hundreds of sea turtles.

The federal government issued an ultimatum to an energy company to stop an oil spill that has been leaking thousands of gallons into the Gulf of Mexico every day for more than 14 years. In an order issued by the U.S. Coast Guard, Taylor Energy Co. was told to “institute a … system to capture, contain, or remove oil” from the site or face a $40,000 per day fine for failing to comply. Up to 700 barrels of oil per day have leaked from Taylor Energy’s former site 12 miles off the coast of Louisiana since the platform was destroyed during Hurricane Ivan in 2004, according to an analysis issued by the Justice Department. Each barrel contains 42 gallons.

Hundreds of sea turtles stunned by cold temperatures have washed ashore along Cape Cod over the last several days. Robert Prescott, director of Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, said that 173 of the 227 sea turtles recovered by the group since Wednesday have died as of Sunday morning. Most of the turtles discovered were endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles. “It was like they were flash-frozen, flippers in all weird positions like they were swimming,” said Prescott. The organization said endangered sea turtles end up trapped because of the cape’s hook-shaped geography. As a result, they are “cold-stunned,” as their systems shut down when their body temperature drops along with the temperature inside the water.

One-hundred forty-five pilot whales that washed ashore on a southern New Zealand beach have died. Many were euthanized by conservation workers. A hiker discovered the beached whales stranded ashore Saturday on Stewart Island, a remote island with a population of about 375 people. Conservation workers believed the whales were beached a day before they were found. “Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low,” Ren Leppens, the Department of Conservation’s operations manager for the island, said in a statement. “The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanize.” On Sunday at the northern end of the country, 10 pygmy killer whales were found washed ashore at Ninety Mile Beach. Two have died and conservation workers are trying to save the other eight by floating them from a different beach on the East Coast. It’s unclear what caused either stranding.

Earthquakes

More than 700 people have been injured after a magnitude 6.3 earthquake shook western Iran near its border with Iraq on Sunday night. More than 160 aftershocks were recorded in the region, including two quakes stronger than magnitude 5. Officials reported damage at buildings both in town and in rural Kermanshah, as well as to some roadways. The temblor also downed power lines and caused power outages into the night as temperatures hovered around 46 degrees Fahrenheit. The earthquake struck near Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran’s Kermanshah province where more than 600 people were killed in a quake last year.

Wildfires

The death toll in California’s deadliest wildfire has continued to climb even as firefighters have fully contained the blaze. Cal Fire reported Sunday morning that the Camp Fire in Butte County was 100 percent contained. The number of people who have died in the fire is at least 88, with 203 people still missing. The fire began Nov. 8 in the parched Sierra Nevada foothills and quickly spread across 240 square miles, destroying most of Paradise in a day. Nearly 19,000 buildings, most of them homes, are gone. Thousands of residents lost their homes and all their belongings. The firefight got a boost last week from the first significant winter storm to hit California. It dropped an estimated 7 inches of rain over the burn area over a three-day period without causing significant mudslides. Firefighting efforts will continue because, within the perimeter, there are stumps and burning roots that are underground.

Weather

A winter storm packing heavy snow and high winds was disrupting flights and snarling highways across a swath of the Midwest on Monday as America struggled back to work after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Blizzard and near-blizzard conditions were roaring through the region from Chicago to Kansas. Chicago could get a foot of snow before the weather eases later Monday. Other hard-hit areas were seeing anywhere from 6 to 18 inches. Almost 200,000 homes and businesses in Illinois were without power Monday, along with more than 50,000 in Michigan and Indiana. Parts of Illinois experienced whiteout conditions, 50-mph gusts and up to 2 inches of snow per hour. Almost 2,000 flights had been canceled Sunday and Monday. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport was hardest hit, but Kansas City, Milwaukee; Omaha and Des Moines were among major arteries also scrambling with canceled and delayed flights. Airline delays in or out of Chicago had a ripple effect nationwide. Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and Boston were among other airports dealing with collateral scheduling issues. The weather led most major airlines to waive change fees.

Signs of the Times

November 20, 2018

­Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Matthew 5:10-11)

A Pro-life Victory in Kenya

Kenyan medical authorities have banned Marie Stopes, the international abortion provider, from offering any kind of abortion services, reports Breaking Christian News. In September 2018, Marie Stopes was instructed to desist from promoting its services via Kenyan radio networks. The advertisements being run were seen by many as “drumming up” business for abortion with a direct appeal to teenage girls. The advertisements were not only judged to be offensive in terms of taste in this deeply Christian country, but for some they also appeared to be undermining existing Kenyan law on abortion, which only permits abortion in the case of a threat to the life of the mother. Advertising for abortion is not permitted under Kenyan law and is also prohibited under local medical practitioner rules. So, the breaching of the broadcast rules by Marie Stopes in September 2018 initiated an inquiry from Kenyan medical authorities. This resulted in a letter being sent on November 14, 2018 from the Kenyan Medical Practitioners Board to Marie Stopes stating that: “Marie Stopes Kenya is hereby directed to immediately cease and desist offering any form of abortion services in all its facilities within the republic.”

Planned Parenthood Ad Shows Live Baby Girl Says, ‘She Deserves to Be a Choice’

Planned Parenthood found itself engulfed in controversy when an advertisement in support of the organization was recently posted to the internet. The ad in question depicted a short video of a live baby girl before displaying the caption “she deserves to be a choice.” Although the ad is only 40 seconds in duration, it has elicited strong reactions from many who have seen it. Texas Governor Greg Abbott posted his horrified reaction to Twitter, saying: “This has to be a joke.” Patricia Heaton, widely known for her outspoken support of the unborn in infamously liberal Hollywood, took to Twitter to ask: “Um…which ghoul at @PPFA decided this was a good idea? ‘Let’s show a beautiful infant girl, then list the criteria she needs to meet in order to avoid being aborted!” Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire commented that the ad “seems almost to go out of its way to highlight the beauty and lovability of the child. It presents human life—wondrous, miraculous life—and says, ‘Yes, it is good to kill this person.”

  • Attempts to justify child murder show how delusional and insane abortion supporters have become. “Now the Spirit clearly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith and pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1)

Christian Worship in the White House

On Tuesday, worship leaders brought Jesus to the White House through praise and worship songs. In videos posted online, several prominent Christian artists and worship leaders are seen gathered in the White House singing popular worship songs like “What a Beautiful Name,” and “How Great Is Our God.” Recording artist Tauren Wells said, “What a privilege to declare the name of Jesus in worship and in prayer today at the White House. I was challenged, informed, convicted, & inspired at the #faithbriefing w/ many peers in the CCM industry. The church has a great opportunity to rise with grace & truth in this hour.” Contemporary Christian band Citizen Way was also present at the Faith Briefing, which according to Faithwire, aimed to update Faith leaders on faith-based initiatives that have been enacted under the Trump administration.

Christianity Under Relentless Attack

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is being sued for demanding that a Christian organization allow “atheists or other non-Christians to lead their Bible studies” if it wants to be recognized on campus. But the Alliance Defending Freedom went to federal court in Colorado to defend the students. The lawsuit challenges the school’s assumption that it can deny registered status to groups if they select leaders that share the group’s religious perspectives. It also points out other discriminatory actions by the school against the Christian group, including that “non-religious groups are allowed to select members who support their purposes. And the university allows fraternities that admit only men and sororities that admit only women to continue as registered student organizations, in contradiction to the university’s policy against ‘discriminating based on sex.’” ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said that despite “claiming inclusiveness and diversity as its core values, the University of Colorado is failing to foster real diversity of thought and is, instead, discriminating against a Christian group based on its beliefs.”

ABC’s Good Morning America celebrated an 11-year-old drag queen as a trailblazer this month, although many viewers pushed back and said the show had crossed the line in sexualizing children. Host Michael Strahan introduced a video of Desmond Napoles — also known as “Desmond Is Amazing” — by saying the child was “inspiring to many” and was “trailblazing” a path for other children. Moments later, after the video, the boy strutted down a runway toward the Good Morning America set, wearing a blonde wig and a yellow and white dress and a lot of makeup. Napoles said his mom doesn’t let him drink caffeine but that she is proud of his drag queen side life. His mom, Wendylou Napoles, then said, “It really touches me deeply that there are other children out there that he’s reaching and they’re listening to him and he’s influencing them to be themselves.” Napoles wore women’s clothes and marched at a gay pride event at age eight.

  • Satan is destroying God’s design for gender and family, with more and more unwitting people jumping on the devil’s bandwagon

Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s New Asylum Rules

A federal judge in San Francisco late Monday blocked new rules put into place by President Donald Trump that limit the ability of migrants to request asylum, a legal blow to the administration’s efforts to curb legal immigration and opens the door for more members of the migrant caravan to request asylum in the U.S. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled that the administration’s new policy of cutting off asylum to migrants who enter the country illegally appears to run afoul of U.S. law that specifically allows them to do so. The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act states that any foreigner who arrives in the USA, “whether or not at a designated port of arrival,” may apply for asylum. But on Nov. 9, Trump tried to overrule that law, signing a presidential proclamation ending the ability of migrants to request asylum if they enter the country illegally.

Caravan Migrants Sheltered as Mexicans Tell Them to Go Home

Migrants in a caravan of Central Americans scrambled Wednesday to reach the U.S. border, arriving by the hundreds in Tijuana Wednesday, while U.S. authorities across the border were readying razor wire security barriers. More than a dozen members of the migrant caravan were arrested last Wednesday night along U.S.-Tijuana border. A small group was arrested near the beach in an area called Playas de Tijuana. A large group was arrested in the mountains east of Otay Mesa, a San Diego community that straddles the Mexican border, the source said. All were arrested for trying to cross the border illegally. Six Bangladeshi nationals were apprehended at the Texas border with Mexico in two separate incidents within a 12-hour period over the weekend. The migrants paid up to $27,000 each to be moved into the U.S. by cartel-connected human smugglers. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security said Monday afternoon that more than 500 criminals are traveling with the migrant caravan gathered on the other side of a San Diego border crossing.

Mexicans Tell Caravan Migrants to Go Home

Hundreds of Tijuana residents, opposed to what they described as the “chaos” of the Central American migrant caravan, gathered at a prominent roundabout in Tijuana Sunday morning, before marching to a large, makeshift shelter, which now holds about 2,400 migrants. They chanted “Mexico! Mexico!” and “yes to migrants, no to invaders!” They waved banners and signs with messages urging the migrants to go home and urging the government to take action. The migrants stranded in Tijuana are complaining about cramped living spaces, exposure to the cold at night, limited access to food and safety concerns as the makeshift shelter they’ve been living in is nearing capacity, with more migrants are on the way to this border community. Meanwhile, Mexico and three Central American countries have filed a protest with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights over President Trump’s new asylum policy, arguing their citizens should be allowed to flee their countries to find refuge in the U.S.

MIT-Yale Study Says U.S. Has More Undocumented Aliens Than Reported

The U.S. may have double the number of undocumented immigrants as commonly estimated, according to a new study by MIT and Yale that has the potential to further fuel the debate over one of the nation’s most politically charged topics. While the U.S. government and several outside groups have put the number of undocumented migrants at about 11 million or 12 million, the paper issued Friday by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University gives a “conservative estimate” of 16.7 million in 2016, with an average projection of 22.1 million. The cost of harboring illegal immigrants in the United States is a staggering $113 billion a year — an average of $1,117 for every “native-headed” household in America — according to a study conducted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. FAIR’s opponents in the bitter immigration debate describe the organization as “extremist,” though it is regularly called upon to testify before Congress. In Texas, the additional cost of immigration, $16.4 billion, is equal to the state’s current budget deficit; in California the additional cost of $21.8 billion is $8 billion more than the state’s current budget deficit of $13.8 billion, according to the report.

Robots Are Rapidly Replacing Immigrant Farm Workers

The rationale for immigrant workers has always been “we need them for jobs American’s won’t do.” Within 10 years, 90 percent of human labor on farms and will be replaced by robots, forecasts Technocracy News. Farmworkers at California’s Taylor Farms, one of the world’s largest producers and sellers of fresh-cut vegetables, recently unveiled a fleet of robots designed to replace humans — one of the agriculture industry’s latest answers to a diminishing supply of immigrant labor. The smart machines can assemble 60 to 80 salad bags a minute, double the output of a worker. Enlisting robots made sound economic sense, Taylor Farms officials said, for a company seeking to capitalize on Americans’ insatiable appetite for healthy fare at a time when it cannot recruit enough people to work in the fields or the factory. A decade ago, people lined up by the hundreds for jobs at packing houses in California and Arizona during the lettuce season. No more.

Trump Backs Bipartisan Bill to Reform Sentencing Guidelines

President Trump on Wednesday announced his support for a bipartisan reform of federal sentencing guidelines, an ambitious effort to fix a punitive, decades-old justice system. . The First Step Act, which will still need to pass the Senate, will overhaul the country’s criminal justice sentencing for the first time in a generation and support rehabilitation efforts for federal prisoners and allow judges to exercise more discretion when sentencing nonviolent offenders, particularly for drug offenses. The bill is particularly welcomed for reforming the federal three strikes rule that mandates a life sentence for three or more convictions. Under the new legislation, the convictions would trigger a 25-year sentence instead. Many have received life sentences for minor offenses. The three strikes rule, introduced by then-President Bill Clinton, has long been criticized for exploding U.S. prison populations and the prison system costs, while being an ineffective way to combat crime.

Error in Major Climate Study Revealed

A major new climate study in the journal Nature got worldwide media coverage for finding that the oceans warmed dramatically faster than previously thought — but now the researchers have retracted that conclusion after a man in the United Kingdom blogged about flaws he discovered in the paper. Just two weeks after publication, the study authors have revised their paper, and now conclude that the oceans are warming fast — but at the same rate as other measurements have found. The error was first discovered by Nic Lewis, a retired British man who holds a bachelor’s degree in math from the University of Cambridge and who reads science papers for fun. Lewis said that the reviewers who approved that paper may have looked less closely for errors because the conclusion agreed with the typical belief that global warming is an extreme crisis.

Facebook-New York Times Fight Gets Ugly

Facebook slammed a blockbuster New York Times report for “inaccuracies” and cut ties with a GOP-opposition firm funded by George Soros. The newspaper painted a scathing portrait of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s top leaders. In a 6,100-word story, the Times reports that over a two-year period, the social network’s tactics were to delay, deflect and deny as it faced increasing scrutiny over Russian disinformation and the corrosive spread of hate speech. The report also claims that the company’s leadership was not quick enough to combat the growing menace of fake news on its platform. In a Thursday blog post, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social media giant took issue with numerous aspects of the Times piece. However, in a statement to Fox News, a spokesperson for the Times did not retract any of the conclusions in the report, saying: “Our story is accurate and we stand by it. The months-long investigation by a team of reporters was based on interviews with more than 50 sources including current and former Facebook executives and other employees, lawmakers and government officials, lobbyists and congressional staff members.”

FDA Announces Ban of Menthol Cigarettes, & Restrictions on E-Cigarettes

In sweeping moves intended to curb smoking and vaping among youth, the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday tightened tobacco enforcement, announced plans to ban menthol cigarettes and many flavored small cigars and moved forward with a prohibition on the sale of sweet-flavored electronic cigarette liquid at convenience stores and gas stations. The actions come in response to data released last Thursday that show dramatic increases in vaping among young people. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb has called the use of nicotine-delivering e-cigarettes by youth an “epidemic.” E-cigarette use was up 78 percent among high school students and 48 percent among middle-school students from 2017 to 2018, according to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey released by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Deaths by Alcohol Increased 35% Over Last Decade

From 2007 to 2017, the number of deaths attributable to alcohol in the U.S. increased 35 percent to 88,000 in 2017, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Deaths among women rose 67 percent. Deaths among men rose 29 percent. However, teen deaths from drinking were down about 16 percent. The District of Columbia had the highest rate of death from alcohol in the country. The increased death rate in adults has been obscured by the opioid epidemic. But alcohol kills more people each year than overdoses – through cancer, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis and suicide, among other ways. Less than 60 percent of the U.S. adult population drinks alcohol. Binge drinking accounts for about half of all deaths attributable to alcohol. The Trump Administration’s tax cut last year included an 18 percent break for in the federal tax on beer, wine and liquor, making it cheaper to drink. States with more stringent alcohol control policies had lower rates of binge drinking, according to a 2014 analysis of state laws and taxes.

British Brexit Plan Undermined by Political Chaos

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to secure her country an orderly withdrawal from the European Union were dealt a major blow Thursday with the abrupt resignation of Dominic Raab, the minister responsible for negotiating Brexit. In his resignation letter, Raab, Britain’s Brexit secretary, said he could not “in good conscience” support the deal because it “presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.” His resignation comes just hours after May won the support of her bitterly divided Cabinet for a draft deal to leave the EU after months of stalled talks and setbacks that have threatened the messy divorce known as Brexit as well as May’s leadership. But May had to make big concessions to the EU to achieve the deal. Britain. The deal would prevent a “hard border” returning between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom and has helped ensure peace there.

Economic News

The wave of selling on Wall Street intensified Tuesday, with big losses in popular tech stocks extending the recent stock market slide and erasing the 2018 gains of the Dow and broad S&P 500 stock index. The selling pressure was again focused in the hard-hit technology sector, where shares of all the so-called FAANG stocks — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet — were all lower. All five stocks, which had been leading the market higher during the bull market, are now down more than 20 percent from their highs in the past year, which puts them in bear-market territory. The biggest decliners are Facebook, which has been hounded by data privacy issues, down more than 40 percent from its recent peak, and Netflix, which is off nearly 38 percent. The losses reflect investors bracing for the end of the fantastic economic and profit growth that marked the past year. Analysts expect a deceleration in 2019 driven by tariffs, the fading impact of the tax cuts and higher borrowing costs caused by the Federal Reserve raising interest rates again.

Three of the top four economies are suffering, raising fears of a global economic slowdown which could spread to the U.S. by next year. The economies of Germany and Japan shrank in the third quarter, according to data published Wednesday, providing a sharp contrast to another quarter of strong U.S. growth. In China, there are signs of a deepening economic malaise. Germany’s economy shrank for the first time since 2015 in the third quarter, partially due to a decline in exports as a result of the U.S.-China trade war. Japan’s lackluster third quarter was caused by natural disasters. n China, the world’s second largest economy, new data revealed weaker consumption growth, subdued confidence and disappointing credit growth.

China has just dumped its biggest load of United States treasuries in 8 months.  China’s share of U..S Treasuries holdings had the highest decline since January back in September, as the ongoing and ever-increasing trade tensions with Washington forced the world’s biggest economy to take measures to stabilize its national currency. Although the country is still the biggest foreign holder of the U.S. foreign debt, China has slashed its share by nearly $14 billion, with the country’s holdings falling to $1.15 trillion from nearly $1.17 trillion in August. China is following Japan’s lead, as their share of U.S. Treasuries fell to $1.03 trillion, the lowest since October of 2011. Other nations are also divesting from the dollar as well making the U.S.’s currency highly unstable.

Gas prices are plunging as the Thanksgiving holiday travel period approaches. A dramatic drop in oil prices over the last several weeks is fueling the decline. Gas prices neared a four-year high in October, when they briefly topped $2.90 per gallon, but have since retreated. Ample global supplies of petroleum, which is refined into gasoline,  have played a key role in delivering savings for consumers. The national average was $2.61 per gallon on Tuesday morning, down 14 cents from a week earlier and 22 cents from a month earlier, according to AAA. But those prices are still up 19 cents from a year ago.

Middle East

A senior Israeli official indicated that an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire was reached between Israel and Hamas, as well as other Gaza terrorist groups, last week amid after Hamas had launched more than 400 rockets into Israel, injuring 27 Israelis. Four top ministers opposed the reported ceasefire: Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Education Minister Naftali Bennett. Israel avoided early elections after a key coalition partner in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government said on Monday that he would not withdraw his party, keeping the coalition intact despite a crisis triggered by a violent flare-up with Gaza militants. Education Minister Naftali Bennett said his hard-line, pro-settler Jewish Home party would give Netanyahu another chance to address the security challenges facing Israel, listing off threats from Gaza and Lebanon, among others, which he wanted dealt with more firmly. Bennett had earlier threatened to resign and his about-face eased the most serious coalition crisis Israel’s government has faced since it was formed in 2015. He acknowledged that the turnaround could hurt him politically, but said he felt it was in the country’s interests to give Netanyahu one last chance.

The United States has voted for the first time against a U.N. resolution in favor of Syria’s possession of the Golan Heights, which it lost after attacking Israel in the 1967 war. The United Nations General Assembly’s “decolonization committee” voted 152-2 in favor of a resolution attacking Israel’s control of the Golan Heights, with 14 abstentions. The U.S. previously abstained on the resolution, but on Friday it voted “no” for the first time, joined by Israel, which has retained control of the area since Syria and three other Arab nations attacked Israel in 1967’s Six-Day War. The Golan Heights remains a strategic linchpin for Israel, protecting it from the Iranian military, which operates freely in Syria and is sworn to Israel’s destruction, and also from Islamic terror groups such as ISIS. The resolution, which passed along with eight other anti-Israel resolutions, declares Israel’s jurisdiction and administration of “the occupied Syrian Golan” to be “null and void.”

A Palestinian terrorist was shot and critically wounded last week after stabbing four policemen when the terrorist infiltrated a police station and attacked the officers. An initial inquiry indicates that the knife-wielding terrorist scaled the fence of the Armon Hanatziv station. All injured officers, several of them young Border Policemen, were evacuated to Shaare Zedek Hospital in the capital and were later released from the hospital after receiving medical treatment. The Armon Hanatziv neighborhood is situated adjacent to Palestinian neighborhoods, near the hostile neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, which has been the site of several terror attacks, some of them lethal.

Yemen

Intense fighting broke out in Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah late on Monday, shattering a lull in violence that had raised hopes of a ceasefire holding between a Saudi-led coalition and Houthi insurgents as the United Nations tried to resume peace talks. Coalition warplanes conducted more than 10 air strikes on Houthi positions. The coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had last week ordered a halt in its offensive against the Houthi-held Red Sea port city, now a focus of the war, amid pressure from the West to end a conflict that has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine. The two countries also pledged on Tuesday a new $500 million food aid program for Yemen, aiming to reach 10 to 12 million people. The Iranian-aligned Houthi group announced early on Monday it was halting drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their Yemeni allies, in one of its biggest concessions since it quit the southern port city of Aden in 2015. The Houthi movement also said it was ready for a broader ceasefire if the coalition “wants peace”. Later Yemeni information minister Moammar al-Eryani said the Houthis had “fired a missile towards Saudi lands.”

Syria

A military operation by a United States-backed Kurdish coalition against the last pockets of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, in northeast Syria seems far from ending soon. The ISIL is successfully absorbing the attacks of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish as well as Arab and Assyrian militias. Since the start of the SDF offensive in the northeastern province of Deir Az Zor on May 10, ISIL fighters have been blending in with the civilian population, making identifying the group’s members difficult, according to an SDF commander. Despite the fact that ISIL seems doomed militarily, it has powerful sleeper cells who help it to forestall the coalition movements by strewing mines everywhere; in trees, on roads, in fridges, inside toys, and under blankets. Civilians in the area are paying the highest price. The Doctors Without Borders’ hospital in Kurdish-controlled al-Hasaka, 185km north of Deir Az Zor, receives an average of one patient per day with injuries caused by landmines and IEDs. Most of the injured come from Deir Az Zor and more than half are children.

Saudi Arabia

The United States sanctioned 17 Saudi Arabian nationals Thursday in connection with the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The announcement came just hours after Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said he will seek the death penalty for five suspects among 11 charged in the killing of the Washington Post columnist last month in Istanbul.  Among those sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department was Saud Al-Qahtani, a former senior adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The sanctions immediately freeze the U.S. assets of the 17 individuals targeted and prohibit Americans from doing business with them.

Volcanoes

Guatemalan officials are urging evacuations after increased activity at the Volcano of Fire just months after the volcano killed at least 194 people. Disaster coordination authorities have asked 10 communities in Guatemala to evacuate and go to safe areas. The 10 communities have at least 2,000 residents, but each community will decide if they evacuate or not. The 3,763-meter (12,300-feet) Volcano of Fire is one of the most active in Central America. An eruption in June killed 194 people and left at least 234 missing, although organizations supporting the communities have insisted there are thousands of missing persons. It spewed more ash and lava in October, prompting warnings for the nearby communities.

Wildfires

More than a week after the Camp Fire was sparked in Northern California, the death toll from the deadliest wildfire in state history continues to grow, with the fire 66% contained as of Tuesday morning. At least 79 people have died in the fire, officials said, including seven people whose remains were discovered Thursday. But search teams continue to sift through an estimated 10,000 destroyed structures for signs of the people who remain unaccounted for, an ever-changing list of names amid the frenzy of new and canceled missing-persons reports. The number of missing people increased dramatically over the weekend, to more than 1300. Search efforts to find the remains of victims have taken on a new level of urgency as rain threatens to wash away or muddy evidence of human remains. Three deaths were confirmed in the Woolsey Fire in Southern California bringing the statewide total to eighty. State officials also have another disaster on their hands: air quality so bad that millions couldn’t go outside. A statewide public health emergency was declared because of the smoke billowing from the blazes. Air quality reached such unhealthy levels in parts of the state, especially in the Bay Area, that schools, universities, and businesses closed.

Many people did not receive emergency alert warnings about the Camp Fire, and some who did received them too late. Instead, they learned of the danger not from authorities but through their own eyes and ears, or from concerned friends and family. In a press conference on Tuesday, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea defended the county’s use of the emergency alert system during the fire. He said the situation was “extraordinarily chaotic and rapidly moving” and so it took time for fire experts to get to the scene, determine the fire’s direction and warn the affected people — time they just didn’t have. At one point, the fire was consuming the equivalent of 80 football fields per minute.

Weather

An early winter storm spread chaos and misery from the Midwest to New England to the Deep South last week, causing at least seven deaths and triggering a New York-area commuter nightmare with jammed roadways, fuming travelers, and buses stalled for lack of snow tires. The St. Louis area had as 8 inches of snow, parts of suburban Philadelphia got 5 inches, and sections of New Jersey were on target for 8 inches, while parts of southern New England was bracing for up to to 6 inches as the storm moved east. More than a foot of snow fell across portions of the Poconos in Pennsylvania and the Catskill Mountains in New York and 6 to 10 inches of snow accumulated from western Maryland to northeastern Massachusetts. Parts of upstate New York received more than 18 inches of snow.

Many commuters and students who got stuck in the snowstorm-induced traffic jams that brought the New York City metropolitan area to a grinding halt Thursday night still weren’t home as of Friday morning, as reports emerged of drivers sleeping in their cars and children forced to spend the night at schools. In New Jersey, the West Orange Public School district said as of 9 a.m. Friday it is still working with the police department and city officials to send students home. The district – which serves more than 6,000 students – says it kept some students overnight after numerous buses had to turn around Thursday “due to the number of abandoned vehicles and road conditions throughout the county.”

Signs of the Times

November 13, 2018

­And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:6-8)

Vatican Orders U.S. Bishops to Delay Moving on Sexual Abuse Crisis

The Vatican has told the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to delay voting on measures to hold bishops accountable for failing to protect children from sexual abuse, the president of the conference said in a surprise announcement Monday morning. In his announcement, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said he was “disappointed” by the Vatican’s decision, which he said he learned of on Sunday afternoon. Pope Francis will convene a meeting of bishops from around the world in February to address the sexual abuse crisis, which has roiled the church on several continents, including North America, South America and Australia. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had been expected to debate and vote on several “concrete measures to respond to the abuse crisis,” according to a news release about the meeting in Baltimore.

Catholic Groups Protest Pope’s Stand Against Abortion

Catholics for Choice organized a group of 50 abortion providers and advocacy organizations across more than 20 countries to send a joint letter to Pope Francis decrying the Pontiff’s comments that compared providing abortion care to contracting a killer. “Once again Pope Francis has revealed he has a serious blind spot when it comes to the needs of women,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice. “He claims a devotion to the world’s poorest people, but he failed to show compassion or understanding about the impact that unsafe abortion has on the poorest women globally. Almost 50,000 women die, and millions more suffer serious injuries, due to unsafe abortions every year. It is negligent, dangerous and cruel to ignore these daily realities.”

  • Murder is never the right solution

Thousand Oaks Makes 307 Mass Shootings in 311 Days in U.S.

Thousand Oaks, California, added its name to a dark roster: the site of the 307th mass shooting in the U.S. on the 311th day of this year, reports. The Wednesday night massacre at the Borderline Bar and Grill, which left 13 people dead, including the gunman, became the nation’s latest mass shooting. According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a not-for-profit organization that provides online public access to information about gun-related violence, 328 people died in those incidents, and 1,251 were injured. The latest incident was also the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. in 2018 since 17 classmates and teachers were gunned down at a Parkland, Florida, school on Valentine’s Day. 2018 has seen several high-profile mass shootings: Five people were gunned down in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 28; Ten were fatally shot at Santa Fe High School on May 18; Four people killed at a Waffle House in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 22; and a Bakersfield, CA, man fatally shot five, including his wife, before killing himself.

New Rule Makes Illegal Border Crossers Ineligible for Asylum

The White House announced last Thursday that it will crack down on “meritless” claims of asylum by illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border. The new rule will require that migrants who wish to claim asylum do so at an official border crossing. President Trump enacted the rule Friday in a presidential proclamation.  “Consistent with our immigration laws, the President has the broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens into the United States if he determines it to be in the national interest to do so,” Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a joint statement. “Our asylum system is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims from aliens who place a tremendous burden on our resources, preventing us from being able to expeditiously grant asylum to those who truly deserve it.  Today, we are using the authority granted to us by Congress to bar aliens who violate a Presidential suspension of entry or other restriction from asylum eligibility.”

  • The new rule presents a difficult choice to the 6,000 caravan migrants. With long lines, and long wait times adding up to several months at legal border crossing sites, most migrants will have no choice but to turn around or pursue jobs in Mexico. Others, impatient, will try to cross illegally. If caught, they will lose the right to apply for legal entry for 3 to 10 years.

Number of Illegal Immigrant Families Set Record in October

The number of illegal immigrant families entering the U.S. shattered the record in October, according to new numbers released Friday. A staggering 23,121 parents and children traveling as families were caught jumping the border last month. That’s nearly 40 percent higher than any month on record. It’s also nearly 400 percent more than the number recorded just a year ago. Last week, Border Patrol agents nabs nearly 450 illegal immigrants on Tuesday and Wednesday. Those two days were more than the 450 nabbed in all of November last year. The numbers underscore the challenge the Trump administration is facing as it tries to tamp down on what appears to be a run for the border by Central Americans, particularly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Pushed by grim conditions back home and enticed into the U.S. by lax policies, children and families from those countries have come to dominate the border immigration problem.

Illegal Immigrant Criminal Released by Sanctuary County Kills Three

An illegal immigrant released by a “sanctuary” county in New Jersey was charged last week with a triple homicide halfway across the country in Missouri, authorities said Friday. Luis Rodrigo Perez stands accused of being the gunman in a shooting rampage last week that claimed the lives of two men and one woman at two homes. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had tried to deport Perez after he was arrested on domestic violence charges in Middlesex County, New Jersey, last year. But the county, which has a noncooperation policy with ICE, refused to alert federal agents when it released Perez in February, ICE said. “Had ICE’s detainer request in December 2017 been honored by Middlesex County Jail, Luis Rodrigo Perez would have been placed in deportation proceedings and likely sent home to his country — and three innocent people might be alive today,” said Corey Price, acting ICE executive associate director.

Appeals Court Says Trump Can’t End DACA

A federal appeals court last Thursday upheld a ruling blocking the Trump administration from ending the Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from being deported. The ruling from a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means a nationwide injunction allowing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to continue will remain in effect. “We conclude that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that the rescission of DACA — at least as justified on this record — is arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law,” reads the opinion from Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. In September 2017, the Trump administration announced plans to phase out DACA, but lower court judges blocked the administration from doing so and ordered that renewals of protections for recipients continue until the appeals are resolved.

Antifa Expands its Hit List as Political Violence Escalates

When a mob of left-wing antifa activists descended Wednesday night on Fox News personality Tucker Carlson’s D.C. home, it signaled a new phase in the political violence and angry confrontations that now are targeting the news media. Political violence has been rising in the U.S. since 2012, according to the Global Terrorism Database. Increasingly aggressive activists have pushed political confrontation to the limit since 2016, accosting Republican lawmakers and Trump administration officials in restaurants and in the halls of Congress. And now they’re going after conservative journalists at their homes. Antifa is short of anti-fascist, though the group has anarchist leanings and targets anyone perceived as not in step with a far-left agenda.

Hate Crimes Rose 17% Last Year and Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes Rose 37%

Law enforcement agencies reported 7,175 hate crimes in 2017, up from 6,121 a year prior. More than half of such crimes — about 3 out of every 5 — targeted a person’s race or ethnicity, while about 1 out of 5 targeted their religion. The increase was fueled in part by more police departments reporting hate crimes data to the FBI, but overall there are still a large number of departments that do not send hate crimes to the federal database. The sharp increase in hate crimes in 2017 came even as overall violent crime in America fell slightly, by 0.2 percent, after increases in 2015 and 2016. Of the more than 7,000 incidents reported last year, 2,013 targeted black Americans, while 938 targeted Jewish Americans. Incidents targeting people for their sexual orientation accounted for 1,130 hate crimes, according to the FBI. Anti-Semitic hate crimes rose 37 percent in 2017. Anti-Islamic hate crimes declined 11 percent last year, with 273 such incidents, the data show.

Israel Concerned About Increased Anti-Semitic Incidents in U.S.

The Knesset’s Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs is concerned over the sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., which culminated with the recent attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh where a gunman shot 11 Jewish worshipers to death and wounded several others. “Israel must demand that the authorities in the United States eradicate the phenomenon and impose harsher punishment,” Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise stated. The U.S. Jewish community is the second-largest in the world and numbers some six million people. The Anti-Defamation League in its annual audit found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the US rose by 57 percent in 2017, the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since the American NGO began tracking such data in 1979.

Judge Blocks Keystone Pipeline

A federal judge in Montana has blocked construction of the $8 billion Keystone XL Pipeline after criticizing the Trump administration for not properly studying its environmental impact. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris’ order on Thursday came as Calgary-based TransCanada was preparing to build the first stages of the oil pipeline in northern Montana. Environmental groups had sued TransCanada and the U.S. State Department in federal court in Great Falls. Morris ruled that the government’s analysis didn’t fully study the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of current oil prices on the pipeline’s viability, or include updated modeling of potential oil spills. “The Department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal,” Morris wrote.

Less Than One-Third of Americans Meet New Fitness Standards

Less than a third of Americans, and only one in five teenagers, meet new physical fitness guidelines issued by the federal government Monday. The guidelines, which officials said could be easily achieved by most, call on adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and two sessions of muscle-strengthening activity each week. Children ages 6 through 17 should get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per day and three sessions of muscle-strengthening per week. Moderate-intensity activity includes walking briskly, riding a bike on level ground with few hills and playing doubles tennis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Muscle-strengthening activity includes lifting weights, “heavy gardening,” such as shoveling, and yoga.

Worldwide Decline in Fertility Rate

There has been a remarkable global decline in the number of children women are having, say researchers. Their report found that the declining fertility rate meant nearly half of countries were now facing a “baby bust” – meaning there are insufficient children to maintain the country’s population size. The researchers said the findings were a “huge surprise” and noted that there would be profound consequences for societies with “more grandparents than grandchildren”. The study, published in the Lancet, followed trends in every country from 1950 to 2017. In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. The fertility rate all but halved to 2.4 children per woman by last year. But that masks huge variation between nations. The fertility rate in Niger, west Africa, is 7.1, but in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus women are having one child, on average. In the UK, the rate is 1.7, similar to most Western European countries. In the U.S., the rate is 1.8. It’s mostly economically developed countries including most of Europe, the US, South Korea and Australia that have lower fertility rates.

Worst Ever Ebola Outbreak in Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is facing the worst Ebola outbreak in the country’s history, according to officials. More than 200 people have died from the disease since August and almost 330 confirmed or probable cases have been reported. This outbreak — the second this year — began in North Kivu province before spreading to Ituri province in the east of the country. It’s the 10th time since 1976 that Ebola has struck the DRC. The country’s Minister of Public Health, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said Sunday that violence against health officials and civilians by militant groups battling for control in the affected region have thwarted efforts to contain the outbreak. Two health workers died in one attack, according to the minister, while last month 11 civilians and one soldier were killed in Beni, a city of 800,000 people and the epicenter of the outbreak. More than 1 million refugees and internally displaced people are in North Kivu and Ituri, according to World Health Organization (WHO), and their movement through and out of the provinces is a potential risk factor for the spread of Ebola.

Economic News

President Trump and Republicans in Congress vowed that this year’s big tax cut would unleash a wave of business investment that would juice economic growth. But increases in capital spending for businesses of all sizes slowed dramatically in the third quarter, raising questions about whether the tax-cut benefits are already fading. Business investment edged up at an annual rate of just 0.8% in the July-September period, down from 11.5% and 8.7% in the prior two quarters, and the smallest advance since late 2016, the Commerce Department Some economists say the pullback reflects business worries over the tariffs and likely foreshadows a broader slowdown in the economy.

China and the United States are locked in a trade war, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at Chinese exports. They leaped almost 16% in October compared with the same month a year earlier. That was significantly higher than analysts had forecast and even stronger than last month’s growth. The performance is surprising because October was the first full month during which new U.S. tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods were in effect. One reason for the surge is companies are eager to avoid even higher duties in a few months’ time: The US tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods that kicked in on September 24 are set to rise from 10% to 25% at the end of the year.

Saudi Arabia will reduce oil supply next month in response to lower demand, and more cuts could follow next year. Speaking at a conference in Abu Dhabi, Saudi energy minister Khalid Al Falih said the kingdom’s oil output would fall by 500,000 barrels per day in December. Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies could reduce supply further next year if needed, he added. Global oil prices tumbled into a bear market last week, down more than 20% from their recent peak. As of the close of markets on Monday, crude oil has now lost ground for 11 consecutive days, the longest slide since oil futures trading was introduced on the NYMEX in March 1983.

Middle East

Israel and Hamas are on the brink of outright war. Over 400 rockets, mortars and anti-tank missiles had been fired into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip by late Tuesday morning, while the IDF reported striking 150 targets in the Strip belonging to Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror militia. Additionally, IDF ground units had been moved into position outside the Strip in possible preparation for an incursion. “The IDF is determined to fulfill its mission of defending Israeli citizens, and is prepared and ready for a variety of scenarios, as necessary,” said an IDF statement. At press time, at least one Israeli citizen had been killed and 85 wounded, while sources in the Strip reported that several Hamas and PIJ terrorists have also been killed and wounded.

The Israeli army has defended a secret operation inside Gaza that left one of its officers dead, after it was forced to pull out its soldiers in an effort that ended in the deaths of seven Palestinians, including a senior Hamas military commander. The incident, near the city of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza strip, led to a barrage of 200 rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel late last week that injured at least 16.The sudden escalation of tensions threatens to derail recent initiatives aimed at alleviating the humanitarian situation facing Gaza’s two million residents. Hinting that the operation was part of a wider intelligence-gathering sweep, IDF chief spokesman, Ronen Manelis said, “It is the sort of thing that takes place every night, and in most instances remains under the media’s radar.”

Israel and Hezbollah have been adversaries for decades now, dating back to the Jewish state’s involvement in the Lebanese civil war. However, bolstered by the military and financial support of its Iranian patron, the Lebanese terror group now poses a threat to Israel unlike anything the Jewish state has seen in recent history. A new report from the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s Hybrid Warfare Task force, headed by several retired senior U.S. military officials, says that, “Today, Hezbollah possesses more firepower than 95 percent of the world’s conventional militaries, and more rockets and missiles than all European NATO members combined.” According to the report, the next conflict with Hezbollah will “bear little resemblance to anything that has come before between Israel and its adversaries. Changes in the strategic environment in the 12 years since the last Israeli-Hezbollah conflict will translate into unparalleled death and destruction.”

Islamic State

U.S.-backed Syrian fighters resumed their ground offensive Sunday against the Islamic State group in the last territories controlled by the extremists in eastern Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement that the decision to resume the fighting came after threats from Turkey against the Kurdish-led force dropped due to diplomatic activities. The SDF said in late October it was temporarily suspending its campaign against IS in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, accusing Turkey of jeopardizing its efforts. The group said that the aim of the renewed operation that began two months ago is “to work for the final defeat of Daesh organization,” using an Arab acronym to refer to the group. Turkey considers the SDF a terror threat and an extension of Kurdish rebels waging an insurgency within Turkey. U.S. support for the Kurdish-led forces has resulted in increased tension between Washington and Ankara.

Syria

Washington will focus on pressuring Iran financially and contesting its activities in Syria, Iraq and Yemen where the Persian nation enjoys broad influence, the U.S. envoy to Syria said last Wednesday, adding that Tehran should withdraw all Iran-commanded forces from Syria. Ambassador James Jeffrey said that Iran enjoys influence in several countries in the region where it backs well-armed militias that are deployed in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Speaking about Iran’s future in Syria, Jeffrey said: “Iranians are part of the problem not part of the solution.” Jeffrey said the Trump administration is now focusing on putting financial pressure on Iran and “secondly contesting more actively Iran’s activities particularly in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.” Washington this week imposed a new list of sanctions against Iran’s vital oil exports, banking and transport industries.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said “a war situation” is impending as the U.S. extends sanctions on the country.

Somalia

The death toll from three car bombs detonated near a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia has risen to 52 people. Around 100 people were injured in the blast which happened near a hotel popular with visitors to the country and international journalists. Five of the attackers attempted to storm the Sahafi hotel but were shot and killed by policemen. Fifty-two Somali officials were rescued from the scene of the attack and from a nearby hotel, police said. Those who carried out the attack were dressed in police uniforms, but they were Al Shabab attackers, said a government spokesperson at the scene. Al Shabab, an al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group, claimed responsibility. Since 2006, the group has carried out repeated attacks in Mogadishu against different targets — killing international aid workers, journalists, civilian leaders and peacekeepers — as well as Somalia’s government and military targets. It wants to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Yemen

Under increasing pressure from Congress, the Trump administration will curb its assistance to Saudi Arabia’s deadly military campaign in Yemen, officials confirmed Friday. The Defense and State departments said Friday that the U.S. would stop refueling Saudi fighter planes as the regime undertakes bombing campaigns that have resulted in thousands of civilian casualties. The New York Times first reported the decision, casting it as a move by the administration to punish Saudi Arabia for its role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who had been critical of the Saudi regime. Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey last month, after trying to obtain documents he needed to marry his fiancé. Khashoggi’s death sparked international outrage, as well as intense scrutiny of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. President Donald Trump and other top administration officials have until now resisted calls to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia or otherwise penalize the regime for Khashoggi’s death, citing the royal family’s assistance in U.S. efforts to counter Iran.

North Korea

North Korea is conning the United States, building up secret, smaller missile bases even after publicly touting the dismantling of its main launch site, according to a new review of satellite images by a top think tank. Citing new satellite pictures, the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Beyond Parallel program identified what appears to be missile operating bases that have never been acknowledged by North Korean officials. The report identified about 15 to 20 bases being operated by the Korean People’s Army’s Strategic Force, based on information from officials in the government, defense and intelligence, as well as North Korean defectors. “The ballistic missile operating bases are small, dispersed throughout the nation, and, with few exceptions, located in narrow mountain valleys,” the CSIS report stated.

Wildfires

On both ends of the Golden State, weary crews continued to work tirelessly to contain two massive wildfires that have killed at least 44 and devastated entire towns. An additional 13 bodies were recovered Monday in northern California, bringing the death toll in Northern California’s Camp Fire to 42, making it the deadliest in the state’s history. The fire is also the most destructive fire on record, burning an estimated 6,700 structures. Two people died earlier in the Woolsey Fire in Southern California bringing the statewide toll to 44 this month. The Camp Fire has surpassed California’s other deadliest fires, including the 2017 Tubbs Fire, which claimed the lives of 22, according to Cal Fire. The 1933 Griffith Park Fire killed 29 people. Searches for the missing also continue. Officials have received more than 1,500 calls asking about people unaccounted for in the Camp Fire which devastated the town of Paradise. A mandatory evacuation order was issued Sunday evening for the entire city of Calabasas, home to 24,000 Southern California residents. The intense wildfire raging through Southern California forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, including several celebrities whose homes were incinerated.

Weather

In Jordan, at least 11 people have been killed and the kingdom’s main tourist attraction, the ancient city of Petra, was closed after being hit by one of the biggest floods the area has seen in decades, according to local officials. Friday’s deluge hit numerous areas of Jordan and rescuers continued their efforts to find missing people around the Wala reservoir in central Jordan. The torrents came two weeks after 21 people, most of them children, were killed in flash floods near the Dead Sea.

Signs of the Times

November 7, 2018

­Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. (1Timothy 4:1)

There Are Now More Wiccans than Presbyterians in U.S.

There may now be more Americans who identify as practicing witches… than there are members of mainline Presbyterianism, reports Crosswalk.com. Wicca is among the fastest-growing religions in the country. Almost half a million people practice it in the United States alone. A book titled Teen Witch: Wicca for a New Generation sold more copies for its publisher than any other book in its 95-year history. Websites devoted to Wicca have been cited as the most visited religious websites on the internet. Wicca has effectively repackaged witchcraft for Millennial consumption. No longer are witchcraft and paganism satanic and demonic. Rather, it’s now called a ‘pre-Christian tradition’ that promotes ‘free thought’ and the ‘understanding of earth and nature.’” Despite biblical warnings against the practice of witchcraft, the Rev. Valerie Love, who describes herself as a practicing Christian witch and an ordained minister of spiritual consciousness, is insisting that there is nothing wrong with Christians being witches and has recently launched a school to help Christians tap into magic.

Despite Violence by Islamic Terror Group, Thousands in Nigeria Are Turning to Christ

Despite an Islamic terrorist group’s violence, thousands in Nigeria are becoming Christians, said Todd Nettleton, of Voice of the Martyrs. Islamists in the Fulani tribe recently raided a village in the city of Jos in late September. Twenty people were killed in their homes. Emeka Umeagbalasi, board chairman of the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, said Christians have been shot to death, with homes and churches also destroyed. Still, according to The Christian Post, “thousands” of Fulani are committing their lives to Jesus. Nettleton added that the Voice of the Martyrs is helping to provide food, sleeping mats and mosquito nets to Christians who have been forced to flee because of the violence.

Canada’s Child Services Rejects Couple as Foster Parents over Religion

Hoping to foster a child in their home, husband and wife Levi and Amanda denBok applied with Children’s Aid Services (CAS) but were informed via letter that their religious beliefs disqualified them, The Christian Post reported. The couple shared the rejection letter in a Facebook post, describing how they were asked by a CAS adopting agent what church they attend and if they believe the Bible is true. In the interview, the husband and wife were asked: “Are you one of those churches that still believes the Bible is true?” The agent then informed the couple that the Bible was written “thousands of years ago” and the world has since changed. Dr. Charles McVety, who leads Canada Christian College as president, says the married couple’s beliefs don’t match the supposed “values” of the province of Ontario and its leaders. Yet it’s widely known, he says, that CAS favors same-sex couples as foster parents over religious couples.

Guam Catholic Church to File for Bankruptcy Due to Abuse Lawsuits

Guam’s Catholic church will file for bankruptcy — a move that will allow the archdiocese to avoid trial in dozens of lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by priests and move toward settlements. Archbishop Michael Byrnes announced Wednesday that mediation efforts that began in September led the church to bankruptcy. “This path will bring the greatest measure of justice to the greatest number of victims,” Byrnes said. “That’s the heart of what we’re doing.” Byrnes said the bankruptcy will provide “finality for victim survivors that they’ve been heard and understood.” Attorney Leander James, who is working with abuse victims in Guam, said in a statement the move will help resolve current lawsuits from more than 180 claims of abuse through settlements.

Study Shows Homosexuality is Strongly Linked to Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse

A new report by Ruth Institute has studied the question that those in authority in the Catholic Church have assiduously avoided for decades: Is there a correlation between the presence of a high proportion of homosexuals in the priesthood and the incidence of clergy sex abuse?  The report examines how “homosexual subcultures” within Catholic seminaries may have contributed to creating an environment where homosexual clergy were more likely to abuse minors.  “Although over 8 in 10 of victims have been boys, the idea that the abuse is related to homosexual men in the priesthood has not been widely accepted by Church leaders,” wrote Father Paul Sullins, a retired Catholic University of America sociology professor. “The data show that more homosexual men in the priesthood was correlated with more overall abuse and more boys abused compared to girls. Usually in sex abuse of minors, two-thirds of victims are girls.”

Democrats Seize House While Republicans Expand Control of Senate

Democratic candidates gained about two dozen House seats as Republicans expanded their hold on the Senate. A Democratic House majority will end two years of Republican control of all levers of government and is expected to press for President Trump’s tax returns and investigate his administration. The most expensive and consequential midterm elections in modern times came to a dramatic finish that underscored the nation’s deep polarization, but fell short of delivering the sweeping repudiation of Trump that Democrats expected. President Trump helped Republicans win hotly contested Senate races in Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, and proclaimed the election’s outcome a “tremendous success.” Republicans held their grip throughout the South and in rural and exurban areas. But Democrats — propelled by women and minority voters especially — notched victories in districts that just two years ago helped send Trump to the White House. Trump endorsed California Democrat Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House on Wednesday morning.

Women and Minorities Achieve Gains Nationwide

From a pair of Native American women to a Somali refugee to the first openly gay man elected governor, the 2018 midterm elections brought a series of history-making votes that marked major accomplishments for women, minority and LGBT candidates. A record number of women are projected to win seats in the House in a massive night for female candidates across the political spectrum. Democrats Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will become the first Native American women elected to Congress. Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party will become the first Muslim women in Congress. Rep. Marsha Blackburn became the first female senator to represent Tennessee and Arizona is guaranteed to elect its first female senator. Following GOP Sen. Jeff Flake’s decision last year not to seek re-election, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and GOP Rep. Martha McSally are in a race too close to call as of Monday morning. Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis is the first openly gay man elected governor.

Ballot Measures Address Abortion, Marijuana, Medicaid, Transgenders, Fracking

There were more than 150 statewide measures on ballots this midterm election. Alabama and West Virginia voted measures into their constitutions that restrict abortion. Alabama’s amendment to the constitution gives a fetus the same rights as a human who has been born. West Virginia’s Amendment 1, narrowly passed. Also known as the No Constitutional Right to Abortion Amendment, it explicitly states that its Constitution has nothing in it that “secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” Michigan became the tenth state that allows recreational marijuana use. However, North Dakota, voters rejected an initiative that would have allowed for recreational use for adults over 21. Missouri said yes to medical marijuana. Voters in Utah, Idaho and Nebraska voted yes to expand Medicaid eligibility to people under 65 whose income is 138% of the federal poverty level. Montana voters rejected Medicaid expansion.

Voters said yes to California’s Proposition 4 that will authorize $1.5 billion in bonds for children’s hospitals. In Massachusetts, preliminary voting results with Question 3 seem to suggest voters said yes to keeping a law that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in public places like restaurants, stores, hotels and hospitals. There’s no federal law that provides such protections for people who identify as transgender. Voters in Colorado have rejected a measure that would have banned drilling of fracking wells within 2,500 feet of occupied buildings, water sources and other “vulnerable” areas. Voters in San Francisco backed a plan to tax rich companies to help the homeless.

Another Kavanaugh Accuser Admits to Fabricating Rape Story

One of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s accusers admitted this week that she made up her lurid tale of a backseat car rape, saying it “was a tactic” to try to derail the judge’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, reports the Washington Times. Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee revealed the fraud in a letter to the FBI and Justice Department Friday, asking them to prosecute Judy Munro-Leighton for lying to and obstructing Congress. Mr. Grassley said Ms. Munro-Leighton is a left-wing activist who hijacked another “Jane Doe” anonymous report about a backseat rape and claimed it as her own story, calling it a “vicious assault.” “I am Jane Doe from Oceanside CA — Kavanaugh raped me,” Ms. Munro-Leighton wrote in an Oct. 3 email claiming to have been a victim of the judge. Mr. Grassley’s investigators tried to reach her for a month but were unsuccessful until this week, when they spoke to her by phone and she confessed that she was not the original Jane Doe.” Kavanaugh turned down $600,000 raised by supporters during his brutal confirmation hearing that involved multiple uncorroborated allegations of sexual misconduct.

Migrant Caravan Coordinator Says Demand for Mexican Failed

The leading migrant caravan trying to make its way to the United States border is admitting defeat after asking the Mexican government to provide dozens of buses to speed up the group’s journey northward. The setback comes days after caravan leaders asked for “safe and dignified” transport to Mexico City, a checkpoint along the way for a group that has been dwindling in size as members either apply for protected status in Mexico or drop out over fatigue exacerbated by the sweltering weather conditions they have been facing. It has been a tumultuous journey so far for the leading caravan, which is now estimated to contain around 4,000 people – down from a peak of more than 7,000. At least 270 people traveling among the thousands in the new migrant caravans have criminal records, Homeland Security said last Thursday. The caravan is now in Mexico City, roughly 600 miles from McAllen, Texas and more than twice that to Tijuana, their stated goal. Their day of departure from Mexico City remains unknown

Armed Militia Groups Head to Border

Gun-carrying civilian groups and border vigilantes have been roused by President Trump’s call to restore order and defend the country against caravans of Central American migrants moving through Mexico. They’re packing coolers and tents, oiling rifles and tuning up aerial drones, with plans to form caravans of their own and trail American troops to the border. The prospect of armed vigilantes showing up beside thousands of U.S. troops — along with Border Patrol agents, police officers and migrants — is considered serious enough that military planners have issued warnings to Army commanders.

Gitmo Terrorists Obama Released Now Reinforce Taliban in Qatar

The Guantanamo terrorists released by Barack Obama in exchange for a U.S. Army deserter have joined the Taliban’s “political” office in Qatar. The move reinforces the terrorist group’s operations, according to the Spanish international news agency that broke the story last week. The five men were incarcerated at the U.S. military prison in southeast Cuba because they held positions of great importance with the terrorist group, including Chief of Staff of the Taliban Army and the Taliban Deputy Minister of Intelligence. One U.S. Senator referred to the freed jihadists as the “Taliban Dream Team.” The nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), determined that the president broke a “clear and unambiguous” law when he traded the high-level terrorists for Bergdahl, who went AWOL in Afghanistan in 2009.

Humanity has Wiped Out 60% of Animal Populations Since 1970

Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilization. The new estimate of the massacre of wildlife is made in a major report produced by World Wildlife Foundation and involving fifty-nine scientists from across the globe. It finds that the vast and growing consumption of food and resources by the global population is destroying the web of life, billions of years in the making, upon which human society ultimately depends for clean air, water and everything else. “This is far more than just being about losing the wonders of nature, desperately sad though that is,” said Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF. “This is actually now jeopardizing the future of people. Nature is not a ‘nice to have’ – it is our life-support system.”

FDA Approves Opioid Painkiller 1,000 Times Stronger than Morphine

A new opioid tablet that is 1,000 times more potent than morphine and 10 times stronger than fentanyl was approved by the Food and Drug Administration Friday as a fast-acting alternative to IV painkillers used in hospitals. The painkiller Dsuvia will be restricted to limited use only in health care settings, such as hospitals, surgery centers and emergency rooms, but critics worry the opioid will fuel an already grim opioid epidemic. Dsuvia will not be available at retail pharmacies or for any home use. The medication, which comes in a single-use package, also should not be used for more than 72 hours. The medicine comes in a tablet that can dissolve under the tongue. Side effects of the potent drug include extreme tiredness, breathing problems, coma and death.

Economic News

U.S. and European stock markets rose sharply as the U.S. midterm election results will force President Donald Trump to share power with his Democrat opponents. “This was the most benign result possible from this midterm election,” wrote analysts at Gavekal Research. “Historically, legislative gridlock has been modestly positive for U.S. equity markets.

The economy added a healthy 250,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said Friday in the last employment report before midterm elections. The unemployment rate was unchanged at a near 50-year low of 3.7 percent. Annual wage growth topped 3 percent for the first time in nine years. Average hourly earnings rose 5 cents to $27.30, pushing the annual gain to 3.1 percent, strongest since April 2009, from 2.8 percent in September.

Social Security pays 63 million Americans about $1 trillion in benefits annually, 5% of our country’s entire gross domestic product (GDP), which was about $19 trillion in 2017. About 90% of people aged 65 and older collect Social Security benefits. One reason Social Security isn’t likely to ever run out of money is because it’s financed to a great degree by taxes collected from workers. In 2017, about 87.7 percent of funds coming into the program came from payroll taxes, while 8.5 percent came from interest and 3.8 percent came from taxes on benefits. The Social Security program is more efficient than most people might think. Out of its budget of roughly $1 trillion, only 0.6 percent is used for administrative expenses.

Middle East

The PLO Central Council voted last week to suspend its recognition of the State of Israel and halt security coordination with the IDF. “The [PLO] is making a mistake. It’s worrisome that Ramallah is going in this direction,” Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon told Army Radio on Tuesday. “Over the last year, Ramallah has become more and more extreme, and is torpedoing any chance of an agreement.” These sentiments were echoed by several other Israeli officials. However, analysts pointed out that the PLO’s resolution was non-binding and still requires the approval of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

North Korea

North Korea has warned it could revive a state policy aimed at strengthening its nuclear arsenal if the United States does not lift economic sanctions against the country. The statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Friday evening said North Korea could bring back its “pyongjin” policy of simultaneously advancing its nuclear force and economic development if the United States doesn’t change its stance. North Korea accused Washington of derailing commitments made by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump at their June summit in Singapore to work toward a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

Iran

The Trump administration announced Friday the snapback of crippling economic sanctions on Iran’s oil, banking, shipping and other sectors – reimposing penalties lifted by the Obama administration as part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The White House hopes the sanctions – set to go into effect Monday and aimed at more than 700 Iranian individuals and entities – will strangle Iran’s economy and force the regime into a new round of negotiations. The U.S. wants Iran to curb its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism, among other steps. As Iranians braced for the full restoration of the economic sanctions, their government signaled it would be open to talking to the United States about a new nuclear arms accord if Washington changes its approach to discussing the agreement it abandoned this year. “Mutual trust is not a requirement to start negotiations – mutual respect is a requirement,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

Islamic State

An American-backed military offensive has stalled against the Islamic State’s last vestige in eastern Syria. Booby traps, land mines and a militant counterstrike during a fierce sandstorm after the campaign began in September have knocked the coalition back on its heels. And last week, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led militia that is fighting the Islamic State with American help, suspended operations after Kurdish positions farther north were shelled by Turkey — not far from United States advisers. American diplomats and generals rushed to ease tensions with the Turks, who consider Kurdish fighters terrorists despite their partnership with the United States. But the episode underscores the shifting nature of the fight against the Islamic State. ISIS is still a potent threat as it pivots from its battlefield losses in Iraq and Syria to directing guerrilla insurgencies in the Middle East and beyond.

A huge deployment of up to 30,000 Iraqi fighters has been ordered along Iraq’s western border amid fears that Islamic State could enter from Syria in a repeat of its 2014 offensive. Two Iraqi Army brigades, each with 3,000 to 5,000 troops, have been redeployed to border areas over the past two days in order to prevent extremist fighters crossing over. In addition, Shiite Muslim militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), announced that 20,000 fighters have been redeployed to the same border “to provide border security after some Syrian villages fell under the control of ISIS.” Iraq is desperate to avoid a repeat of the losses it sustained four years ago when the extremist Sunni Muslim group took over the province of Nineveh and declared a caliphate before spreading farther into Iraq. Many areas of Syria and Iraq were only recently liberated from ISIS control, although Iraq’s western province of Anbar is still home to many of the group’s militants.

Pakistan

Pakistan’s highest court on Wednesday ordered the release of a poor, illiterate Christian woman who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy, setting off a wave of demonstrations by hardline Islamists nationwide. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction against Asia Bibi, accused in 2009 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a case that sparked violent protests in the overwhelmingly Muslim nation of 200 million people. Bibi commented that Muslims were “unclean” so her co-workers accused her of insulting the prophet. She was later beaten, and the women complained to a local religious leader who pressed for the blasphemy charge. Blasphemy carries a death sentence under Pakistani law. Two Pakistani government officials were murdered in 2011 in assassinations linked to their support of Bibi. But the future of blasphemy laws in Pakistan is far from settled. The laws remain popular in Pakistan, and Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed support for them during the recent election campaign. Violent protests broke out in the wake of the Pakistan Supreme Court’s acquittal of Bibi.

Afghanistan

The U.S. military in Kabul says a U.S. service member has been killed in an apparent “insider attack” in the capital Kabul. The statement said the attacker was a member of the Afghan security forces and initial reports indicate the assailant was immediately killed by other Afghan forces. Another U.S. service member was wounded in the attack. The wounded service member is undergoing medical treatment and is in stable condition. The death of Brent Taylor — the North Ogden, Utah, mayor and soldier who was killed Saturday in Afghanistan — reverberated far beyond his small city in northern Utah. Just before his death, he posted in Facebook: “As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election (Tuesday), I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote,” Taylor wrote in the post. “And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ God Bless America.”

Yemen

Violence in Yemen’s key port city of Hodeidah is the worst seen in months, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator has warned, putting more civilian lives at risk in the war-torn country. Fighting has escalated since U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis a week ago called on all participants in the Yemen civil war to agree to a ceasefire in the next 30 days and start peace talks. Humanitarian workers fear that more than 100 civilian deaths may have occurred in the past week alone in Hodeidah. The city, with its key port installations that bring in UN and other humanitarian aid, has become the center of the conflict in Yemen between Arab allies led by Saudi Arabia and Houthi rebels backed by Iran.

Earthquakes

A swarm of earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault, the largest measuring a 4.1 magnitude, rumbled through the Hollister area and the Salinas Valley last Friday morning. CBS San Francisco reported that the quakes rattled nerves but caused no major damage. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 4.1 quake hit at 5:58 a.m. PDT 12 miles southwest of the small community of Tres Pinos. It was followed by quakes measuring 3.6, 3.2 and 3.0. Officials are saying that this shaking was caused by “movement along the San Andreas Fault system”, and the initial magnitude 4.1 quake was quickly followed by a series of more than 20 aftershocks. Experts say California is overdue for a huge earthquake with some warning a major magnitude 7.0 is likely within the next 30 years. In recent months there has been an alarming amount of seismic activity worldwide along “the Ring of Fire”, and there have been times when the number of global earthquakes has been way above normal, with the number of global earthquakes over the last 30 days more than 50% above normal, according to Earthquake Track.

Weather

A recent United Nations report warned that the world had just a dozen years left to avoid some of the most catastrophic effects of climate change. A new study suggests that assessment was far too optimistic. Researchers using a new method to calculate the amount of heat absorbed by the world’s oceans say the buildup of heat over the last 25 years is 60% higher than previous estimates, meaning the world is warming significantly faster than expected, the BBC reports. In the study published in the journal Nature, the researchers, who measured gases released by the oceans, warn that our planet appears to be more sensitive to the release of greenhouse gases than earlier believed—and that dealing with the problem will be even more of a challenge.

A total of 22 confirmed tornadoes across six states were spawned by a severe weather outbreak in the South overnight Monday into Tuesday morning, leaving a trail of damage and killing at least one person. The National Weather Service gave one tornado a preliminary EF2 rating, with an estimated wind speed of 135 mph. Numerous trees were reported down.

At least 11 people died in Italy last week due to historic flooding throughout the country, officials said Tuesday. In Venice, more than 70 percent of the city was inundated as water levels rose over five feet above normal. In addition to heavy rain, sea water was also pushed into the city by a powerful storm and exacerbated by high tides.

Signs of the Times

October 30, 2018

­When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” 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. (Revelation 6:3-4)

Satanist Middle School Girls Arrested for Conspiring to Kill Classmates

Two middle school girls were arrested in Bartow, Florida on last Tuesday, after plotting to kill fifteen classmates as an act of Satan worship. The girls, one 11 and one 12-years-old, brought scissors, knives and a pizza cutter to school with them in order to stab, kill and dismember unsuspecting students in a school restroom. “They wanted to kill at least 15 people and were waiting in the bathroom for opportunity to find smaller kids they could overpower to be their victims,” Bartow Police Chief Joe Hall said at a press conference on Wednesday. According to CBN News, investigators believe the girls planned on drinking the blood of their victims’ out of a goblet in worship of the devil. The school’s vice principal found the girls in the bathroom before anyone was harmed after one of the girls was reported missing from her classroom.

Shooting Massacre in Jewish Synagogue

The man accused in a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning screamed anti-Semitic epithets, including “All Jews must die,” as he fired at random. Bowers, 46, was armed with one assault rifle and three handguns during his shooting spree inside the Tree of Life synagogue as innocents were worshipping. By the end of the 20-minute attack, 11 were dead and six left seriously injured, including several police officers. Just before entering the building, a social media account appearing to belong to Bowers posted an anti-Semitic message to the website Gab, a fringe social media website utilized in large part by white nationalists and members of the far-right. The anti-Semitic rants on social media prompted authorities to designate the FBI as the lead agency to investigate the attack as a hate crime.

Pipe Bomber Arrested After Sending 12 Bombs to Democrats

A56-year-old Florida man named Cesar Sayoc mailed a total of 14 packages containing pipe bombs to Democrat leaders and supporters, none of which detonated, but all of which were real. A former boss said Sayoc called himself a white supremacist. Online, with two accounts on Facebook and three on Twitter, Sayoc often posted provocative photos and memes attacking liberals. His white Dodge van was plastered with pro-Trump messages and stickers showing prominent liberals in crosshairs. A sticker reading “CNN Sucks” was also on the van.

Warning Signs of Domestic Terrorists Fully Displayed on Social Media

After virtually every mass shooting, after every high-profile hate crime over the past decade, the story played out much the same: all the warning signs were on full display on social media. As if on cue, reports circulated of social media abuse moments after the world learned the names of alleged mail bomber Cesar Sayoc and Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers. Sayoc threatened Democratic politicians on Twitter. Bowers spouted his anti-Semitism on Gab, a smaller, far less restricted social network that has become a favorite for hate groups. Social media has given people a platform to spew hate speech and radical beliefs to other disaffected people, amplifying what are otherwise fringe opinions. A few have turned that hate into violence. Now tech leaders have a responsibility to rein in their social media creations which have grown too unwieldy for them to control. So far, balancing Big Tech’s responsibilities to society and its duties to investors has proven difficult.

Migrant Caravan Includes Gang Members and Middle East Agitators

The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it can confirm that gang members and males from the Middle East and Asia are in the caravan headed for the United States that began in Honduras. DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton said “there are individuals within the caravan who are gang members or have significant criminal histories.” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said his team with the caravan found citizens from Asia and the Middle East, mostly young men, and indications the caravan was organized from the outside. The Judicial Watch team believes Americans are likely involved in the financing, Fitton said. Investigative reporter Sara Carter, who is in Guatemala, found it’s mostly men crossing the Guatemalan border. She said they are giving a rehearsed answer: “This is not politics – this is about poverty.” There were women and children but they were at the front of the caravan (smaller numbers). None would say who the organizers are but several said it was organized,” she tweeted.

The migrants turned down a Mexican offer of benefits if they applied for refugee status and stayed in the country’s two southernmost states. The Pentagon said Monday that they will deploy up to 5,000 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to prevent members of a migrant caravan from illegally entering the country. About 2,100 National Guard troops are already fanned out across the border under an order from President Donald Trump earlier this year.

Trump Sends U.S. Troops to Border

Hundreds of U.S. troops are set to make their way to the southern border to help Homeland Security and the National Guard as a caravan with thousands of migrants pushes north with the goal of crossing into America, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News on Thursday. The official said roughly 800 soldiers will be sent to the area to offer “logistical support,” including providing tents and vehicles. There are currently 2,100 National Guard troops on the southern border assisting Homeland Security. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that “we do not have any intention right now to shoot at people.” The migrant caravan as of Friday is still in southern Mexico, more than 1,000 miles away from the nearest entry point into the U.S. Its size is estimated to be around 7,000, but many of those currently walking are suffering from exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke.

14,000 Illegals from Dangerous Countries Caught Since 2008

A Newsmax analysis of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) arrests over the past decade reveals that nearly 14,000 “special interest aliens” have been apprehended trying to sneak into the United States by crossing the southern border. The administration has been generally denounced in the mainstream press for President Trump’s claim that the mass-migration caravan includes “unknown Middle Easterners.” Trump has since conceded he has “no proof of anything,” but added, “I think there’s a very good chance, honestly, that you have people in there.” Recent history justifies that concern.

Trump Announces Intention to End Birthright Citizenship

President Donald Trump is trying to follow through on one of his campaign promises by ending birthright citizenship, a 150-year-old law enshrined in the Constitution that grants U.S. citizenship to anybody born on U.S. soil. The law has been the target of anti-immigration groups for years, who claim it’s been abused by undocumented immigrants and companies that peddle “birth tourism.” But defenders say it’s been established in U.S. law, upheld by the Supreme Court. Trump’s announcement that he will end the practice through an executive order just days before the midterm elections is sure to draw immediate legal challenges that could lead all the way to the Supreme Court.

San Francisco’s Efforts to Register Non-Citizens to Vote a Failure

San Francisco reportedly spent $310,000 on a new registration system aimed at getting non-citizens to cast votes in school board elections. The program resulted in 49 new voters, which turned out to cost the city $6,326 each, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The paper called the effort “pretty much a bust.” The new voters are only able to vote in a school board race. The Times said 29 percent of its 54,063 students are English-language learners. San Francisco is not the first place with such a measure. In Maryland, where an estimated 15 percent of residents are foreign-born, at least six cities allow noncitizens to vote in local elections. In Massachusetts, the cities of Amherst, Cambridge, Newton and Brookline have advanced laws to allow noncitizen voting, but they cannot implement them because they need the approval of state lawmakers, who have not yet acted.

Public School Invites Drag Queen to Career Day

The grownups in charge of Rocky Top Middle School in Thornton, Colorado thought it would be a good idea to invite a drag queen named “Jessica L’Whor” to interact with boys and girls at Career Day, reports Todd Starnes. “That pretty much sums up what is wrong with our nation’s public school system,” he notes. Parents were outraged and rightfully so because the taxpayer-funded school did not send out any notification that the children would be hanging out with a drag queen. “I was pretty appalled. I was pretty surprised. It was a shock because no one was notified,” parent Jen Payer told television station Fox 31. “This person is an adult entertainer and is talking to 12-year-old students about something that’s adult [in] nature,” parent Heather Rogers told television station KDVR.

Theaters Censor “Gosnell” Movie About Serial-Killer Abortionist

Despite its strong performance last weekend, where it ranked in the top 10 of all movies nationwide, theaters are now censoring the “Gosnell” movie profiling a murderous abortionist who was sent to prison after killing babies in live-birth abortions. Even though the movie made more than $1.2 million on 668 screen last weekend, 28% percent of movie theaters — including some of the best performing — inexplicably dropped the movie last weekend. “The Gosnell Movie is doing incredibly well despite attacks from all sides. Industry veterans say they have never seen such campaign by the establishment to shut down a successful movie but we’re happy to report that so far none of it is working,” the film’s producers told LifeNews.

  • The pro-abortion crowd will go to great lengths to preserve their right to commit child murder

Droves of Seniors Filing for Bankruptcy

Older Americans are increasingly likely to file for bankruptcy, and their representation among those in bankruptcy has never been higher. Data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project shows more than a two-fold increase in the rate at which older Americans (age 65 and over) file for bankruptcy and an almost five-fold increase in the percentage of older persons in the U.S. bankruptcy system. The magnitude of growth in older Americans in bankruptcy is so large that the broader trend of an aging U.S. population can explain only a small portion of the effect. According to the study, a three-decade shift of financial risk from government and employers to individuals is at fault, as aging Americans are dealing with longer waits for full Social Security benefits, 401(k) plans that replace employer-provided pensions and more out-of-pocket spending on items such as health care. Health care spending per capita in the U.S. increased nearly 29 fold in the past 40 years, vastly outpacing the growth of the economy. About 40% of middle-class Americans face a slide into poverty as they enter their retirement, concludes a recent study by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School.

Over Half Of Americans Get More In Welfare Than It Pays In Taxes

More than half of Americans receive more money in various types of government transfer payments (Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security) than they pay in federal taxes, reports the Mises Institute. According to a report released this year by the Congressional Budget Office using data from 2014, only the top two income quintiles in the United States pay more in taxes than they receive in government transfers. In the bottom fifth of income, households pay only $400 in taxes while receiving more than $16,000 in various types of tax-funded transfer payments. The next highest quintile paid $3,800 in taxes while receiving $17,700 in tax-funded transfer payments. The middle quintile paid $$9,600 in taxes while receiving $15,400 in government transfers. The second highest quintile paid $18,600 in taxes while receiving $14,000 in transfers, and the top-fifth paid $75,000 in taxes while receiving just $11,700 in government transfers.

62% of U.S. Middle Class Just Scraping By

Despite an unemployment rate that has reached a 50-year low of 3.7 percent, most jobs across the U.S. don’t support a middle-class or better lifestyle, leaving many Americans struggling, according to a new study by Third Way. Sixty-two percent of jobs fall short of that middle-class standard when factoring in both wages and the cost of living in the metro area where the job is located. The study also found that 30 percent of jobs are “hardship jobs,” meaning they don’t allow a single adult to make ends meet. Another 32 percent are “living wage” jobs, enough to get by but not to take vacations, save for retirement or live in a moderately priced home. Only 23 percent are middle-class jobs, allowing for dining out, modest vacations and putting some money away for retirement. And, just 15 percent are “professional jobs,” paving the way for a more comfortable life that includes more elaborate vacations and entertainment and a more expensive home.

Student Loan Debt Becoming Insurmountable

According to a new Bloomberg Report, the student debt crisis is about to take a turn for the worse, as the next generation of millennial graduates could be trapped in insurmountable debts. Over the last decade, the federal student loan segment of the economy experienced an explosion in growth. As the cost of college soars, the result is a widening default crisis that even Fed Chairman Jerome Powell recently warned: “Burgeoning levels of student loan debt could slow down economic growth over time.” Millennials have frantically tapped into student loans, up almost 157% in cumulative growth over the decade. By comparison, Bloomberg notes that auto debt has grown by 52% while mortgage and credit card debt fell by 1%. Student loan debt has breached the $1.5 trillion level under the Trump administration, making it the second largest household debt segment among all Americans, after mortgages.

Economic News

The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.5% in the third quarter, the government said Friday. That’s still strong, though lower than the 4.2% clip the economy grew during the second quarter. It was the sixth consecutive quarter with growth above 2%. The last time a president had such a hot economy heading into the congressional elections in his first term was President Carter in 1978, who was sitting on a 4.1 percent growth rate.

Real disposable personal income grew at an annual rate of 2.5%, the same as last quarter. That’s slightly above the 2.35% average growth since the end of the last recession in late 2009. The 4.0% increase in consumer spending “is a phenomenal performance,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at the Bank of the West.

The Trump administration has been rolling back regulations auctioning off millions of acres of drilling rights which has raised environmental concerns in many states. It total, more than 12.8 million acres of federally controlled oil and gas parcels have been offered for least this year, triple the annual average offered during the second term of the Obama administration.

Middle East

IDF aircraft struck several positions in the Gaza Strip occupied by the Islamist terror militia Hamas last Wednesday evening in response to a rocket attack into Israel from the Strip earlier in the evening. “The Hamas terrorist organization is responsible for everything happening in and out of the Gaza Strip, and it will bear the consequences for the terrorist acts carried out against the citizens of Israel,” said the IDF spokesperson.

Riots continued on the border between the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and Israel last week, despite a move by Jerusalem Tuesday evening to rescind a ban on fuel for the Strip’s electrical power generators, paid for by Qatar and facilitated by Israel, the latest restrictions on Gaza to be lifted by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Syria

The US-led coalition fighting ISIS conducted two strikes against two ISIS “command centers” that were operating inside mosques in Syria in less than a week, the coalition said in a statement. The coalition said that 12 ISIS fighters were killed in the first strike, which took place October 18 in as-Susah, Syria. “The facility was a mosque, which the law of war protects from targeting unless it is used for a military purpose,” the coalition said, adding that ISIS “repeatedly planned and actively coordinated attacks” on coalition troops and their local Syrian allies from that location. The second strike took place last Monday. That strike “destroyed several buildings” used by ISIS to launch attacks against Syrian Democratic Force partners in As Susah, Syria.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian authorities changed their account Thursday of how journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed, for the first time calling his death a “premeditated” murder. Public prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb said in a statement that the conclusion was reached by Saudi investigators after reviewing evidence given to them by Turkey. The Saudi government initially said Khashoggi was killed in a “brawl” and a fistfight that escalated inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Korea

The North and South Korean militaries agreed Friday to completely destroy 22 front-line guard posts by the end of November as they discussed their next steps in implementing a wide-ranging military agreement signed last month to reduce tensions. They also agreed to conduct a joint survey early next month of a 43-mile-long waterway near their western border where civilian vessels from both countries eventually will be allowed to pass freely, according to a statement released after the general-level talks at the border village of Panmunjom. Friday’s talks came a day after the Koreas and the U.S.-led U.N. Command completed removing firearms and troops from a jointly controlled area at the border village. The Koreas have also been clearing mines from front-line areas and plan to start their first-ever joint search for remains of soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War in April.

Russia

Widespread discontent, fueled by a massively unpopular pension reform, has sent the approval ratings for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his ruling party tumbling to historic lows — just seven months after Mr. Putin triumphantly won a re-election campaign meant to cement his grip on power. But in a development that is likely to alarm Mr. Putin’s critics at home and abroad, the beneficiaries of his plunging poll numbers are the old-line Communist Party and the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), whose leader often urges the Kremlin to carry out nuclear attacks against Moscow’s foes. The left and right fringe parties made big gains in recent regional elections, embarrassing Mr. Putin’s United Russia party, reports the Washington Times. Forty-five percent of Russians now say they would back Mr. Putin in hypothetical presidential elections, down from 67 percent at the start of the year, according to the Public Opinion Foundation, a Kremlin-linked pollster.

Brazil

Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal declared Sunday that anti-establishment congressman Jair Bolsonaro, a champion of traditional Brazilian values, has won the country’s election for the presidency of Latin America’s biggest country and the world’s fourth-largest democracy. Bolsonaro, who cast himself as a political outsider despite a 27-year career in Congress, is the latest of several leaders around the globe to gain prominence by mixing tough talk with right-wing positions. But he also is very much a product of a political tempest in Brazil that made his messages less marginalized: widespread anger at the political class amid years of corruption, an economy that has struggled to recover after a punishing recession and a surge in violence. Bolstering his rebel image is his reputation for offensive statements and sometimes extreme views, including insulting women, black people and the LGBT community.

Jamaica

Jamaica is the island paradise that the government says has a pervasive sexual assault problem, the place where two Detroit women were raped in September, and an estimated one American is raped each month. Over the last seven years, 78 U.S. citizens have been raped in Jamaica according to State Department statistics from 2011-17. Perhaps most alarming for tourists is that sexual assaults are occurring inside gated resorts — the place they are led to believe that they are most safe. According to U.S. Embassy reports, 12 Americans were raped in Jamaica last year, half of them inside resorts by hotel employees. The U.S. government suspects this number may be higher as sexual assaults are often underreported, and the embassy figures don’t include victims from other countries.

Environment

Nearly 2 billion children – about 93 percent of the world’s children under the age of 15 – breathe toxic, putrid air that’s so polluted it puts their health and well-being at serious risk. The United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 600,000 children died in 2016 from lower respiratory infections caused by dirty air. Air pollution can affect children’s cognitive ability and can also trigger asthma as well as cancer. Children who have been exposed to high levels of air pollution may be at greater risk for chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease later in life. The problem is most severe in low- and middle-income countries, the report said, primarily nations in Africa, Southeast Asia, the eastern Mediterranean and western Pacific. The report said that overall, about 7 million people around the world die each year because of air pollution. One-third of the deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease stem from polluted air, the WHO said.

Volcanoes

Government scientists are classifying 18 U.S. volcanoes as a “very high threat” because of what’s been happening inside them and how close they are to people. The U.S. Geological Survey is updating its volcano threat assessments for the first time since 2005. The danger list is topped by Hawaii’s Kilauea, which has been erupting this year. The others in the top five are Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier in Washington, Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano and California’s Mount Shasta. The agency says a dozen volcanoes have jumped in threat level since 2005. Twenty others dropped in threat level. Among those where the threat score is higher are Alaska’s Redoubt, Mount Okmok, Akutan Island and Mount Spurr. Threat scores also rose for Oregon’s Newberry Volcano and Wyoming’s Yellowstone.

Wildfires

A bushfire burning in Western Australia raged on after burning more than 2 million acres of land – roughly six times the size of Los Angeles. The ‘gigafire’ is burning about 75 miles southeast of Broome as windy conditions and warm spring weather have fanned the flames. It’s burning in a remote area, but it prompted a shutdown of the Great Northern Highway days ago. The fire was sparked by lightning on Oct. 11. Since then, firebreaks and backburning tactics have been used to keep the inferno away from homes and towns. No deaths or structural damage have been reported.

Weather

Areas from New Jersey to Maine saw street flooding and power outages as a nor’easter raked the coast on Saturday. Tens of thousands of customers lost electricity at various times as powerful winds knocked over trees and downed power lines. The strong winds blasted cars along the coast in Massachusetts, with wet sand, leaving them looking as if they were covered in snow.

Severe storms pounded Rome last week, leaving parts of the city to deal with knee-deep hail and flooding. Many roads became impassable and looked more like ice-covered rivers. Motorists were forced to abandon their submerged cars in the mixture of high water and ice flooding. At least six Metro stops were closed when runoff from high water and ice flowed underground. Piles of hail resembling large snowbanks were left over parts of the city.

Two days of heavy flooding rains and high winds have left at least nine dead in Italy. More than 5,800 firefighters have responded to some seven thousand rescue calls for flooding, landslides and removal of fallen trees, particularly in Tuscany, Lazio, Veneto, Lombardy, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Liguria. Numerous towns and villages became isolated after roadways were flooded. On Monday, three-quarters of Venice was inundated by an exceptionally high tide buffeted by high winds from the storm. The city frequently experiences flooding, but these were the highest levels in nearly a decade.

In Lake Constance, a new island has emerged. In Berlin, and a river is flowing backward due to an ongoing drought. A large number of lakes and ponds are seeing dead fish along their banks. Barges are hardly being loaded so they don’t run aground. This is the scene in Germany after a long and dry summer has left the country’s lakes and rivers at record low levels. The levels are causing chaos for the inland shipping industry while causing environmental damage and billions of dollars in losses. The drought has hit nearly 90 percent of the country this year.

Super Typhoon Yutu, an absolute monster of a storm — the strongest on Earth this year — just hit American territories in the Pacific, and forecasters are predicting catastrophic damage. With sustained winds of 178 mph as its eye passed directly over the island of Tinian, Yutu caused catastrophic damage. Mayor Joey P. San Nicolas said Thursday, “The homes, main roads have been destroyed. Our critical infrastructure has been compromised. We currently have no power and water. Our ports at this time are inaccessible and several points within the island are inaccessible.” The power plant has been damaged, and the power “distribution system is completely destroyed,” San Nicolas said. With no running water, Tinian stores have not reopened. President Trump issued an emergency disaster declaration for Saipan and Tinian, along with the rest of the Northern Marianas

When all the hurricanes and tropical storms that have formed in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans this year are added together, the 2018 hurricane season is the most active season ever recorded. To determine the strength of a given season, scientists use the “Accumulated Cyclone Energy” (ACE) index, which adds together the intensity and duration of all the tropical storms and hurricanes that formed. So far in 2018, the ACE for the Atlantic and eastern Pacific seasons together is 432 units of energy, shattering the record of 371, which was set in 1992. On average, the two ocean’s combined ACE is 221 units. As the global climate heats up in the decades ahead, sea water will also warm, potentially fueling more storms.

  • As we’ve been saying for several years now, based on the Bible alone, that weather will continue to become more severe as the ramp-up to the end-times continues (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

Signs of the Times

October 22, 2018

­Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near. (Luke 21:28)

Israel At the Brink of War?

Another extremely bloody border protest on Friday has pushed Israel and Hamas to the brink of war. Last Friday, 10,000 Hamas protesters showed up at the border fence, and 130 of them got shot during the violence that erupted. An Israeli military spokeswoman said about 10,000 demonstrators massed at the border and that some threw burning tires, grenades and explosive devices at the troops across the fence. On Wednesday, a rocket that was fired from Gaza obliterated a home in southern Israel, and another rocket landed not too far from Tel Aviv. On Thursday Israel had ramped up armored forces along the Gaza border. Reuters has reported some 60 Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers now stationed at a deployment area along the border, which is the largest reported mustering of forces since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.

Egyptian mediation has failed and Israel is on its way war. That was the message Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman delivered Monday to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Israel has recently seen an increase in the intensity and the volume of violence and attacks emanating from Gaza, which culminated in Wednesday’s rocket attack on Israel which destroyed a home in Beersheba. Palestinian riots on Israel’s border with Gaza are not “popular protests” as Hamas depicts them but rather carefully orchestrated violence organized by the terror group, he said. “Fifteen thousand people do not show up by foot at the border fence,” Liberman said. Israel has “reached a situation where there is no alternative – anything other than the hardest, heaviest blow that we are capable of dealing Hamas in the Gaza Strip will not help.”

Number of Migrant Families Soars in September, Caravan Coming

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 16,658 migrant family members in September, an 80 percent increase from July, after the administration ended its “zero tolerance” policy of separating parents and children at the border. Having campaigned on a promise to stop illegal immigration and build a border wall, President Trump is faced with the number of migrants increasing rapidly – and, there is a caravan of around 5,000 migrants mostly from Honduras and Guatemala on their way through Mexico to the U.S. The caravan grew in size from an initial 1,500 migrants as people from other nations have jumped in along the way. They broke through barricades or swam into Mexico over the weekend. Local leaders say hundreds of people who were part of the migrant caravan have given up their journey and are returning to their homes in Honduras and Guatemala. But perhaps 2,000 others entered Mexico illegally and vowed to cross that country, with the U.S. their goal.

President Trump threatened to summon the military to close the U.S.-Mexico border and upend a trade deal, expressing mounting frustration with the large caravan approaching the border. The caravan broke down a border crossing Friday and streamed onto a bridge on Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala in the face of a heavy presence of Mexican and Guatemalan law enforcement officers. The migrants, who say they are escaping poverty, poor working conditions and violence, slept overnight Saturday on a bridge over the Suchiate River with no fresh supplies of water or food and without bathrooms, eyewitnesses said. hundreds of immigrants grew frustrated with the pace of processing by Mexican officials and swarmed the Suchiate River, swimming, floating and pulling themselves across the muddy waters in order to reach the U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen warned Sunday that the illegal immigrant caravan heading toward the U.S. could be exploited by cartels that control most of the illegal flow of people through Latin America. In a startling revelation, Guatemala’s president announced in the country’s largest newspaper that nearly 100 ISIS terrorists were apprehended as the caravan passed through. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is requesting that the United Nations help process the group to determine whether they have valid asylum claims or should be returned to their home countries. President Trump warned that, “Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.”

  • If the migrants achieve safe haven in Mexico, their continuation on to the U.S. has nothing to do with escape from violence in their home state and they are no longer asylum seekers. There is no need for them to come to the U.S. except solely to feed off our welfare state.

U.S. and Britain to Pull Out of Nuclear Agreement with Russia

President Trump says he’ll exit the nuclear arms control agreement with Russia because Russia has violated it “for many years” and it’s preventing the U.S. from developing new weapons. Britain’s defense secretary says his country stands “absolutely resolute” with the United States. Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson blames Russia for endangering the treaty. He’s calling on the Kremlin to “get its house in order.” Williamson told the Financial Times that Moscow has made a “mockery” of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The 1987 pact prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 miles to 3,400 miles. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Sunday that a unilateral U.S. withdrawal would be “very dangerous” and lead to a “military-technical” retaliation.

Alabama Supreme Court Rules an Unborn Baby is a Person

The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that an unborn baby is a “person” under the law, and, consequently, the death of that person can be punished with execution. Further, in a special concurrence, Justice Tom Parker called on the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that created a “right” to abortion.  Justice Parker called Roe v. Wade an “legal anomaly and logical fallacy.” “I urge the United States Supreme Court to overrule this increasingly isolated exception to the rights of unborn children.” Parker affirmed the Alabama court’s rationale that “unborn children are persons entitled to the full and equal protection of the law.” He asserted Roe v. Wade is “without historical or constitutional support.”

Trump Administration Considers Defining Gender Biologically

The Trump administration may move to rigidly define gender as a fixed status determined biologically by the genitalia a person is born with, reversing Obama-era policies that granted federal recognition to transgender individuals, according to a Sunday report from The New York Times. The paper said it obtained a memo detailing how the Department of Health and Human Services plans to create a legal definition of gender. The definition would be implemented under the Title IX law, which bans discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs, the Times reported. The HHS memo said that gender should be defined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable,” the Times said. A person’s gender would be strictly male or female and it would be unchanging.

Cyclist Labeled ‘Transphobic’ for Not Wanting Biological Men in Women’s Race

The cyclist who finished third in a women’s world championship race won by a biological man says she is working to change the rules. Wagner-Assali finished third Sunday in the 35-44 female age bracket at the UCI Masters track cycling championships in Los Angeles. Rachel McKinnon, a transgender woman who was born a man, won the race. Wagner-Assali tweeted on Sunday that the race was “NOT fair” and that “just because it’s a CURRENT UCI rule doesn’t make it fair or right. And rules can be changed.”

EPA Announces Decline in U.S. Greenhouse-Gas Emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 2.7 percent last year, the first year of the Trump presidency, even as the administration slashed environmental regulations and global emissions continued to climb. “Thanks to President Trump’s regulatory reform agenda, the economy is booming, energy production is surging and we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions from major industrial sources,” said Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the EPA. The yearslong decline in U.S. emissions has been widely credited to the oil and gas boom. Power plants increasingly turned from coal to natural gas as innovations in extraction technology resulted in lower prices. “These achievements flow largely from technological breakthroughs in the private sector, not the heavy hand of government,” Mr. Wheeler said. “The Trump administration has proven that federal regulations are not necessary to drive [carbon dioxide] reductions.”

Study Finds Majority Exhausted by Political Divide

Cable news depicts a divided country, with talking heads fighting from the left and right on deeply polarizing political issues. But according to a new study, the United States might not be as split as the media portrays, reports CNN. More in Common, an initiative dedicated to understanding political polarization, recently released the results of their project called “The Hidden Tribes of America.” They found that 67% of the country is what the organization calls the “Exhausted Majority,” a group that is displeased by America’s polarization and would like for people to find a common ground. “It’s these strident, hateful, often uncompromising us versus them voices” that are receiving attention, the report states. The research found that 70% of people said they blame both the left and the right for the conflict over Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

Violent Political Rhetoric Continues

In addition to the two pro-lifers attacked last week, a 65-year-old man was hospitalized on Monday after being viciously attacked while praying outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Florida. Also, the University of Mississippi has condemned a tweet by a faculty member that called on activists to abandon civility and harass Republican senators in public. “Don’t just interrupt a Senator’s meal, y’all,” James Thomas, an assistant professor of sociology, tweeted from his @Insurgent_Prof account. “Put your whole damn fingers in their salads,” he wrote. “Take their apps and distribute them to the other diners. Bring boxes and take their food home with you on the way out. They don’t deserve your civility.” A small group of angry diners confronted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a restaurant Friday night, but were met with calls from other customers to leave the Kentucky Republican alone. President Donald Trump praised Montana Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte Thursday for assaulting a reporter during his campaign last May, saying “any guy who can do a body slam … he’s my guy” and made a gesture mimicking a body slam.

35 Million Voter Records Hacked

Two threat-intelligence firms warn that voter information for some 35 million U.S. citizens is being sold on a popular hacking forum. The stolen data, according to the researchers, contains details such as full name, phone numbers, physical addresses, voting history and other voting-related information. The peddled data comes from 19 states. ZDNet said that the seller claims “data is refreshed each Monday of every week,” suggesting either continued access to the compromised servers or another source. The Anomali Labs team said, “This suggests the breach is not necessarily a technical compromise but rather an extensive operation involving cooperation within the election organizations.”

Feds Charge Russian with Meddling in 2018 Election

The Justice Department announced charges Friday against a Russian operative the government says was meddling in this year’s elections, marking the first set of charges to be issued following the 2016 presidential election. Federal prosecutors said the operation was a continuation of Russia’s attempt’s to sow discord in American politics. They accused Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, of St. Petersburg, Russia, of being the accountant for “Project Lakhta,” the Russian operation the U.S. says used social media to stir anger and resentment in the 2016 campaign. “This case serves as a stark reminder to all Americans: Our foreign adversaries continue their efforts to interfere in our democracy by creating social and political division, spreading distrust in our political system,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Texas Democrats Ask Noncitizens to Register to Vote, Send Unwanted Texts

The Texas Democratic Party asked non-citizens to register to vote, sending out applications to immigrants with the box citizenship already checked “Yes,” according to new complaints filed Thursday. The Public Interest Legal Foundation alerted district attorneys and the federal Justice Department to the pre-checked applications, and also included a signed affidavit from a man who said some of his relatives, who aren’t citizens, received the mailing. The Texas secretary of state’s office said it, too, had gotten complaints both from immigrants and from relatives of dead people who said they got mailings asking them to register. A Texas man grew so frustrated over receiving text messages from the U.S. Senate campaign of U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, that he’s taking the organization to court. A class-action lawsuit filed against the Beto for Texas campaign on behalf of all Texans alleges the group sent text messages to voters without obtaining permission to contact them, therefore violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The law bans the use of automated telephone equipment to send texts or calls to a person’s cellphone without their permission — except for emergency purposes.

$26 Billion Needed to Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Power Grid

Hurricane Maria blasted through Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, battering the island’s outdated power grid and plunging the U.S. commonwealth into darkness for nearly a year. The lack of power has been a major challenge for Puerto Ricans recovering from the storm and was a key factor in widespread fatalities after the hurricane. The death toll from the storm is 2,975, based on estimates from a study by George Washington University researchers. Restoring power has been a slower, much bigger project than expected because it was a very fragile system. Federal officials have spent more than $3 billion to end the longest blackout in U.S. history and return the Puerto Rican power grid to pre-storm conditions. Now comes the long, tough task of improving the system – at a cost of billions of more federal dollars – to avoid future massive blackouts. Puerto Rican officials have estimated it will take another $26 billion to upgrade the island’s energy grid.

405 Rapes by Police Officers Over 9 Years

According to research from Bowling Green State University, police officers in the US were charged with forcible rape 405 times between 2005 and 2013. That’s an average of 45 a year. Forcible fondling was more common, with 636 instances. Yet experts say those statistics are, by no means, comprehensive, only those cases where police officers were actually charged. Otherwise, data on sexual assaults by police are almost nonexistent, they say. Yet experts say those statistics are, by no means, comprehensive. Data on sexual assaults by police are almost nonexistent, they say. Arrests depend on a victim making a report and a law enforcement agency making that report public, after the arrest, by no means certain.

Economic News

According to the Social Security Administration, the median annual wage in the United States is just $30,533, meaning half of Americans make more and half less than this amount. The federal poverty level for a family of five is $29,420, and yet almost half the workers in the entire country don’t make that much on a yearly basis. You would think that someone making “the median income” in a country as wealthy as the United States would be doing quite well, but not so. The mainstream media focus on the average annual income which rose to $44,564 in 2017. But the average is skewed by those who make far more. A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute found that the gap between the wealthy and the poor is the largest that it has been since the 1920s, and America’s once thriving middle class is rapidly evaporating.

The world’s second biggest economy grew 6.5% in the third quarter of this year. That’s its worst performance since the depths of the global financial crisis in early 2009 and weaker than economists expected. Government efforts to rein in debt are putting the brakes on growth, and US tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese exports are set to make things worse. Chinese stock markets and the country’s currency have been pummeled in recent months by fears about the economy and the trade war.

Persecution Watch

Twitter locked LifeSiteNews out of their Twitter account last week over an article posted four years ago that provided expert analysis on the rise in sexually-transmitted diseases among homosexuals. The 2014 article by Dr. Gerard M. Nadal, a molecular biologist and microbiologist who is also president and CEO of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, showed that, “reason for the documented continued rise in syphilis (primarily affecting homosexuals)” is due to the “upward trend in unprotected sex” and 60% of homosexual men failing to disclose their symptoms or status to sex partners. He cited data from mainstream sources such as the CDC, a then-recent New York Times report, and a 2006 study in the journal AIDS Behavior. On October 18, 2018, however, LifeSiteNews received the following message, notifying staff that Twitter was locking the account because the 2014 tweet sharing the story’s neutral, factual headline violated “our rules against hateful conduct,” and somehow “promote[d] violence against, threaten[ed], or harass[ed] other people on the basis of […] sexual orientation […], or serious disease.”

Attackers ransacked, looted and burned a church in the Kossey district of Niger’s capital Niamey on 11 October, leaving the building a charred shell, its floor covered with debris and broken and blackened musical instruments. Niger’s tiny Christian minority make up less than 1% of the population, but had traditionally lived peacefully and unthreatened alongside the large Muslim majority. The rise of jihadist groups in the Sahel region, including Boko Haram, Islamic State in West Africa and groups affiliated with Al Qaeda has led to an escalation in tension. In 2015, more than 70 churches in Niger were destroyed when Muslim mobs attacked Christian places of worship following publication of a cartoon of Muhammad on the front cover of the French Charlie Hebdo magazine.

After the arrest of thirteen Christians in the western part of Darfur, Sudan, a state-appointed committee has demanded that a church in Omdurman turn over its properties. According to Christian News, Sudanese security arrested thirteen Christians on Saturday from a house they had gathered at. Three people have been released so far, but it’s unclear what the charges are for the others. Law allows the National Intelligence and Security Services to hold people in detention for up to four and a half months before they have to be released or charged. Meanwhile, another church in Sudan is being forced to hand over its land. Other churches are also battling with the government over ownership of its properties. Many have faced fines and even closure. After the secession of South Sudan in 2011, Sudan president Omar al-Bashir promised he would tighten sharia laws and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language.

Pro-abortion protesters firebombed a church Sunday during violent rallies in Trelew, Argentina. Police arrested 10 protesters after they threw Molotov cocktails at a Catholic church and the Trelew City Hall and painted graffiti on stores, homes and churches across the city. The protest, National Encounter of Women, brought about 50,000 abortion activists to the city streets. Some women protested topless, throwing stones and flaming objects at Our Lady Auxiliadora church, according to the report. People reportedly were inside the church praying while the violence occurred outside. However, there was no mention of injuries.

Middle East

The United States on Thursday downgraded the status of its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinian Authority (PA) by placing it under the authority of the U.S. Embassy to Israel. The U.S. consulate had for years served as a de facto embassy to the Palestinian Authority but will now be known as the Palestinian Affairs Unit of the Embassy to Israel. It will remain in its current location, at least for now, the State Department said. The move was immediately denounced by the PA and applauded by Israel. In a statement, Pompeo said the merger of the consulate into the embassy is intended to “achieve significant efficiencies and increase our effectiveness.” He denied that it signaled any change in U.S. policy toward Jerusalem or the Palestinian territories.

Islamic State.

ISIS has taken nearly 700 people hostage including several European and US Nationals in Syria and has vowed to kill 10 a day, Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed. The jihadi group is holding their prisoners captive somewhere south of the Euphrates River in the war-torn nation, he said. Speaking in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Putin added that ISIS was expanding its control in territory controlled by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces and blasted America for a “catastrophic” failure. Putin said: “Islamic State terrorists have delivered ultimatums and made certain demands, threatening to shoot ten people every day. “Some U.S. and European citizens are among the hostages,” he said, although he did not specify what the terrorists’ demands were.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi authorities claimed late Friday that dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi died during a “brawl” inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul, a sharp reversal from previous assertions by the regime that the Khashoggi had left the diplomatic facility unharmed more than two weeks ago. The announcement, made on state TV and also released via the official Saudi Press Agency, said 18 rogue Saudi nationals had been arrested in connection with the case. The regime also announced that several top intelligence officials had been ousted, including the deputy president of intelligence and an adviser to the crown prince, Ahmed bin Hassan bin Mohammed Assiri. It is the first time the kingdom has admitted Khashoggi is dead. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and U.S. permanent resident, entered the consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2 to obtain paperwork he needed to marry his fiancé. Turkish officials say they have evidence he was tortured and murdered inside the embassy. Khashoggi was living in the U.S. in self-imposed exile, amid concerns he was in danger because of his criticisms of the regime. President Trump accused the Saudis of lying about the death of Khashoggi, but also said that he would prefer that the 33-year-old prince remain at the political helm of his nation.

Afghanistan

The powerful police chief of Kandahar province in Afghanistan was killed Thursday in an attack following a security meeting with the top U.S. commander in the city, three Afghan officials told CNN. Two Americans also were wounded in the shooting attack at Kandahar Palace. U.S. Army Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was present but uninjured in the attack. The police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq Achakzai, was one of the most prominent security figures in Afghanistan. The Taliban released a statement claiming responsibility. The shooter was killed by the U.S. military. All of those shot were in close proximity to Miller. U.S. officials believe that Raziq was the target because the shooter had the first choice of shot and went for Afghans, not Miller.

Korea

The U.S. and South Korea decided Friday to suspend another major joint military exercise to give the diplomatic process with North Korea “every opportunity to continue.” Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo decided to suspend Exercise Vigilant Ace as a show of good faith. The exercise was due to take place in December. Last year’s iteration of the Vigilant Ace involved 12,000 U.S. troops and some 230 military aircraft from the U.S. and South Korea. President Donald Trump has criticized U.S. military exercises with South Korea, calling them expensive and provocative.

Canada

People in Canada are cheering, enduring long lines and honking their car horns in support as the country’s first marijuana dispensaries open their doors last Wednesday. Adults of at least 18 years old will be allowed to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public, according to a bill that passed the Senate in June. They will also be allowed to cultivate up to four plants in their households and make products such as edibles for personal use. Marijuana will not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco. Consumers are expected to purchase the drug from retailers regulated by provinces and territories or from federally licensed producers when those options are not available. Whether entering or leaving Canada, it is illegal to have marijuana with you, and you could face criminal charges. Following the legalization, things went great … for exactly one hour. The Winnipeg Police posted a photo later that day of a (redacted) traffic ticket one of its officers had to write for “consuming cannabis in a motor vehicle.” The police department stated that, “Just like alcohol, consuming cannabis is legal – and like alcohol, consuming it in your vehicle is **not**”

Environment

An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in U.S. history. Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Many of the wells have not been capped, and federal officials estimate that the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever. The Taylor Energy spill is largely unknown outside Louisiana because of the company’s effort to keep it secret in the hopes of protecting its reputation and proprietary information about its operations, according to a lawsuit that eventually forced the company to reveal its cleanup plan. The spill was hidden for six years before environmental watchdog groups stumbled on oil slicks while monitoring the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster a few miles north of the Taylor site in 2010.

As the red tide continues to move northward along Florida’s east coast, a new breakaway bloom is moving through the Keys. Counties across the state have been dealing with the Karenia brevis algae, and the marine life it’s killed, for months. Now, Indian River is the latest Florida county forced to close its beaches because of red tide. Brevard County’s Melbourne Beach, Indialantic and Cocoa Beach also confirmed their waters, too, have tested positive for medium levels of the toxic algae. Officials said their counties’ beaches would remain open, but signage would be put up warning of red tide’s presence. Red tide’s neurotoxins are deadly to marine life and can irritate people’s skin; it can even cause respiratory issues, especially for people with asthma. Fish choked by red tide have washed up on beaches across the state.

Earthquakes

A trio of strong earthquakes struck off the Canadian coast near Vancouver Island Sunday night. The strongest was 6.8 magnitude which struck at a depth of about 6 miles some 150 miles west of Tofino, Canada. The other two were around 6.5 magnitude. There were some smaller ones as well as some aftershocks. The quakes were lightly felt onshore and that as of now no injuries were reported.

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake struck the Texas Panhandle early Saturday. The earthquake was centered about 9 miles northeast of Amarillo at a depth of 3 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. No damage or injuries have been reported. The USGS noted that the risk for damage is very low for this magnitude. More than 800 people reported the quake which struck about 8 a.m. local time.

Weather

Forecasters say Hurricane Willa has grown rapidly into a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 storm in the eastern Pacific, on a path toward Mexico’s western coast. Landfall is predicted for late Tuesday or early Wednesday, likely as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said. Willa is expected to “produce life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall over portions of southwestern and west-central Mexico.” It will also spawn life-threatening surf and rip conditions.

An extreme drought that depleted half of Utah’s reservoirs has prompted Gov. Gary Herbert to declare a state of emergency. The declaration allows drought-affected communities, agricultural producers and others to begin the process of accessing state or federal resources. “The drought is at a level unseen for many years and will not be solved with a small series of storms. In some areas, the drought is at, or near, historic levels,” Herbert said. The declaration comes on the heels of the state’s driest year on record. Snowpack was at a record low last winter, and water levels at 16 of the 49 major Utah reservoirs are currently below 20 percent.

The death toll has risen in eastern India after powerful Tropical Cyclone Titli brought landslides and flooding to the region. At least 52 people are dead in the wake of the storm. In the hard-hit state of Odisha, formerly Orissa, home to 43 million people, hundreds of homes were destroyed, trees were downed and hundreds of thousands were left without electricity. Tropical Cyclone Titli roared ashore as a Category-2 equivalent storm, packing winds of up to 93 miles per hour.

Signs of the Times

October 16, 2018

­And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Luke 21:25-26)

American Pastor Detained in Turkey, is Freed

Andrew Brunson, the American pastor who was imprisoned and then placed under house arrest in Turkey due to his alleged ties to an outlawed group, was ordered freed on Friday and sentenced to time served, a Turkish judge ruled. The decision ended a tense diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and Turkey that began after Brunson’s October 2016 arrest on terror and treason charges. The 50-year-old pastor was detained by Turkey as part of a massive government crackdown following a failed coup months earlier. Brunson was officially sentenced to three years and one month in prison for the conviction; but, because he had already served two years in detention, he wasn’t required to spend any more time behind bars. Brunson on Friday again denied accusations that his Izmir Resurrection Church aided Kurdish militants. “My entire family thanks the president, the administration, and Congress for their unwavering support,” Brunson said as he began the journey home. When He got to the U.S., the first thing he did was visit President Trump to thank him and pray for him.

Muslim Family Saves Ancient Christian Texts from ISIS Destruction

A Muslim family risked their lives to save two ancient Christian texts from destruction by the Islamic State in Iraq. According to The Christian Post, two ancient Syriac Orthodox manuscripts evaded destruction for three years while ISIS controlled the city of Mosul, Iraq. ISIS destroyed numerous cultural and religious relics in the area and has burned hundreds of Christian texts. One Muslim family who wished to remain anonymous for their safety, however, was determined to keep the texts safe despite threat of being killed if caught. Father Paulos Thabit Mekko is now temporarily in possession of the manuscripts until they can be returned to their rightful owners. The priest told Asia News that he believes that the manuscripts were stolen from the Syriac Orthodox Church of the Immaculate, a church that was demolished by ISIS.

Atlanta Fire Chief Receives Settlement After Faith-Firing

The former fire chief of Atlanta who has argued over the last few years that he was fired for his Christian faith and beliefs got some good news yesterday. On Monday the city of Atlanta agreed to pay Kelvin Cochran $1.2 million in the wake of a federal district court ruling in December 2017 that found some of the city’s policies that led to his termination are unconstitutional. The case began in 2014 after Cochran self-published a men’s devotional book he had written on his personal time. Attorney Kevin Theriot of Alliance Defending Freedom said, “Government officials can’t force employees to get permission before engaging in free speech,” says the attorney. “As the court found, the city can’t leave such decisions to the whims of government officials.” The court determined last year that Atlanta’s rules restricting non-work speech were too broad and allowed city officials to unconstitutionally discriminate against views with which they disagree.

Victory for Christian Bakers in Northern Ireland

After a four-year legal battle, Christian bakers in Northern Ireland have won their case at the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom. The owners of Ashers Baking Company came under fire for refusing an order for a cake from a gay rights activist who wanted them to make a cake saying, “Support Gay Marriage.” The court ruled last Wednesday that Ashers acted lawfully and didn’t discriminate against anyone. The judges held it was the message the bakery objected to, not the customer. Daniel McArthur, general manager of Ashers bakery, says it’s never been about denying service to anyone. “We didn’t say no because of the customer. We’d served him before and we’d gladly serve him again. It was because of the message.”

Norwegian Court Sides With Doctor Fired for Refusing to Do Abortions

On 11 October 2018, the Supreme Court of Norway set a new precedent on conscientious objection and freedom of conscience in the medical profession. The Court found that Dr. Katarzyna Jachimowicz acted within her rights when refusing to follow through with a medical procedure to which she had a moral objection. The Court told health authorities to respect the right to conscientious objection for medical professionals in their employment. “Today’s Supreme Court decision marks an important step in the right direction, not only for doctors, but for people of faith in all professions. The ruling protects one of the most fundamental rights, the right to act in accordance with one’s deeply held beliefs,” said Håkon Bleken, who represented Dr. Jachimowicz before the Court.

Quebec Proposes Banning Religious Symbols at Work

The new administration in Quebec, Canada is working to prevent its employees from wearing religious symbols while at work. The Coalition Avenir Quebec platform, Quebec’s new premier François Legault’s political party which is proposing the rule, states, “Religious signs will be prohibited for all persons in position of authority, including teachers.” The platform continues saying, “after 10 years of discussion on the subject and on reasonable accommodations, it is more than time to act and adopt legislation clearly establishing the secularity of the state.” CBN News reports, employees who choose not to follow the rule will lose their jobs.

Canadian Hospital to Perform Euthanasia on Minors Without Parental Involvement

A recent report from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto states that they are not only ready to do euthanasia on children but their policy states that a child should be able to die by euthanasia without the consent or knowledge of the parents. According to an article by Sharon Kirkey for Sun Media, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto published their policy on euthanasia and assisted suicide as a report in the recent Journal of Medical Ethics. Kirkey explains that the ethicists at the Children’s Hospital believe that there is no difference between killing someone and letting them die. The working group said it wasn’t convinced that there is a meaningful difference for the patient “between being consensually assisted in dying (in the case of MAID – Medical Assistance in Dying) and being consensually allowed to die (in the case of refusing life-sustaining interventions).” KIrkey further explains that most Canadian provinces allow mature minors to make decisions about their own care, including withdrawing or withholding life support. She also reports that in Ontario a minor can provide consent for treatment or withdrawal of treatment if they understand the “reasonably foreseeable consequences” of their decision.

  • The culture of death creeps forward despite trying to stay under the radar

Political Rhetoric Stokes Violence in U.S.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder told a Democratic crowd last week that “Michelle [Obama] always says ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. No. When they go low, we kick them. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.” Hillary Clinton said last Tuesday “you cannot be civil” with Republicans. Earlier this year, Democratic U.S. House Representative Rep. Maxine Waters called on her supporters to publicly confront and harass members of the Trump administration. That rhetoric has provoked violence, with two separate incidents of pro-choice individuals striking pro-life supporters and another incident where a vehicle was set on fire because it had a pro-Trump bumper-sticker. In addition, the Republican son of former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, was assaulted last week at a pro-Kavanaugh rally on the Stanford University campus. Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner sent a message to his opponent Gov. Tom Wolf in a video Friday, saying, “I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.”

Violence Erupts at Portland Prayer March

Members of opposing groups violently clashed in downtown Portland, Ore., on Saturday night during an event that was billed as a march for “law and order.” Participants with the conservative Patriot Prayer group and counter-demonstrators with Antifa got into a bloody melee outside a popular bar where members on both sides used bear spray, fists and batons to beat each other, the Oregonian reported. Police fired pepper balls and other non-lethal impact munitions to break up the brawls and there were no immediate reports of arrests. Police reported seeing participants from both groups with hard-knuckle gloves, knives and firearms. Authorities said four people received medical attention. The Patriot Prayer group gathered around 6 p.m. near Pioneer Courthouse Square and marched through downtown holding a sign that read “Replace PDX Mayor!” The violence erupted after three dozen people waving American flags and reciting patriotic chants walked toward a street memorial for Patrick Kimmons, 27, a black man who was fatally shot by Portland police last month. At the vigil, they were met by counter-protesters chanting “Black Lives Matter.”

Thousands of Women Activists March for Upcoming Elections

With less than four weeks to go before the midterm elections, thousands of activists descended upon Chicago and Massachusetts Saturday to urge voters — particularly women — to head to the polls and express their anger about the GOP-led Senate’s confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The demonstrations dubbed “March to the Polls” are follow-ups to the Women’s March movement sparked by President Donald Trump’s election. Those marches drew hundreds of thousands to rallies in every state and more than 30 countries to denounce the administration. Planners in Massachusetts have called on women and allies to take to the streets at a time of their choosing Saturday. Meanwhile, crowds started forming early Saturday in downtown Chicago with several candidates setting up booths to pitch their platforms and recruit volunteers.

Senate Confirms 15 Judges after GOP/Democrats Strike Deal

The Senate confirmed 15 of President Trump’s judicial picks Thursday night after GOP leaders reached a deal with Democrats, clearing about a third of the backlog and closing up shop through Election Day to give senators a chance to campaign. Three of the judges are for the powerful circuit courts of appeals, while the other 12 were for district court positions. Some Republicans had hoped senators would stay in town to work on all 49 judicial picks who’d been ready for floor votes. But the 15 was the best deal the GOP could get, representing the amount of judges who could realistically have been confirmed if the Senate had devoted full time to confirmations over the next few weeks. Liberal activists were incensed that Democratic leaders agreed to the votes.

Attorney General Sessions Declares Five Groups as Top Threats

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday designated five groups, including the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Central American street gang MS-13, as “top transnational organized crime threats,” targeting them for stepped up prosecutions by the Justice Department. Sessions identified the other three groups as Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion, a Mexican criminal group; the Sinaloa Cartel, an international organized crime syndicate based in Mexico; and Clan del Golfo, a Colombian drug cartel. Speaking to a group of law enforcement officials in Washington, Sessions described the designations as “our next steps to carry out President Trump’s order to take MS-13 and other [transnational criminal organizations] off of our streets. Taking on transnational criminal groups like the cartels is a priority for this president and for his administration.”

Obamacare Experiencing a Resurgence

Obamacare, a program that President Trump last year declared “dead,” is enjoying a resurgence, with insurers expanding their offerings and the average premium finally beginning to drop, albeit slightly, from astronomical levels. The administration now even hints that enrollment might increase next year, suggesting a level of stability and health that might surprise Republicans, who hoped to kill the 2010 health care law, and Democrats, who accused Mr. Trump of sabotaging it. It’s a major turnaround from the past few years, when premiums for key “benchmark” plans spiked, customers were wary of signing up and insurers pulled out of markets, saying they couldn’t find ways to make the economics work. “While some have publicly been accusing us of sabotage, the truth is we’ve been doing everything we can to mitigate the damage of Obamacare,” said Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the federal HealthCare.gov portal.

Single Mothers, the Disabled & Native Americans Have Highest Poverty Rates

The U.S. Census estimates that 13.4 percent of Americans, about 42 million, lived below the poverty line in 2017. Among recent single mothers, an astounding 44.3 percent live in poverty. In comparison, just 11.4 percent of married recent mothers are below the 2017 poverty line as reported by the USA Today. The poverty rate for the disabled is 25.7%. As is the case with many conditions associated with poverty, causality goes both ways. Those who have a disability have a higher risk of becoming poor, and those who are poor have a higher risk of becoming disabled. Native Americans are still dealing with the effects of 400 years of persecution and discrimination, with a poverty rate of 25.4%, the highest poverty rate for any U.S. racial group. Black and African Americans living in the United States have a poverty rate of 23.0% with Hispanics and Latinos at 19.4%. Non-citizen immigrants have a poverty rate of 20.4%).2Overall, more women live in poverty (14.5%) than men (12.2%).

Economic News

The federal government is running up its credit bill again. The deficit rose to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, up 17% from last year, according to final figures released Monday by the Treasury Department. The fiscal year ended September 30. That’s the largest deficit since 2012, when the country was still spending massively to stimulate an economy struggling to recover. The deficit reached a high of $1.4 trillion reached in 2009. Government receipts were flat this year from last year. Corporate tax collections fell $76 billion, or 22%, due to the Republican-backed tax cut. But that drop was more than offset by increased revenues from individual and self-employment taxes. Spending rose 3% over the previous year, fueled in part by increases to the defense budget agreed upon in September 2017 as part of a deal between Republicans and Democrats to head off a government shutdown. Social Security and interest on the federal debt also contributed to the increase.

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in nearly 50 years, workers are finally starting to see their paychecks grow a little faster. Weekly wages rose at an annualized rate of 3.3% in the third quarter, the Labor Department announced Tuesday, which beats the 2.6% increase in inflation over the same period. That’s better than the 2% increase in wages in the second quarter, which wasn’t enough to make up for inflation. Wages have been the missing piece of America’s economic recovery, with flat or very slow growth.

The number of job openings reached an all-time high of nearly 7.1 million in August, the Labor Department also reported on Tuesday. That keeps the number of unemployed workers per job opening at 0.9, which is as low as it’s ever been. The number of layoffs, however, edged up by 176,000 to 1.8 million in August.

The U.S. Postal Service is asking for the biggest price jump on stamps in its history. Facing pressure from the Trump administration to address a revenue shortfall, the Postal Service on Wednesday proposed raising the price of 1-oz. letters from 50 cents to 55 cents, which would be a record increase if approved. The price of each additional ounce would go down slightly. The USPS said in a press release that, “The Postal Service has some of the lowest letter mail postage rates in the industrialized world and also continues to offer a great value in shipping.” The steep price increases come at a time when the USPS’ losses have been mounting, dragged down in part by a requirement that the quasi-public agency pre-fund the cost of retiree health benefits. As letters and advertising mailers have been replaced by e-mail and online ads, the USPS has been making less and less money. Revenue from first class mail declined from $28.4 billion in fiscal year 2015 to $25.6 billion in 2017. Package revenues fueled by the rise in e-commerce have been a bright spot, bringing in $19.5 billion in 2017, up from $15 billion in 2015. But it hasn’t made much of a dent in the $58.7 billion net deficit that the Post Office has accumulated over the years.

Antitrust officials gave CVS the green light on Wednesday to purchase Aetna, the nation’s third-largest health insurance company, in a $69 billion deal that could potentially transform the health-care industry and change how millions of Americans receive basic medical services. The Justice Department approved the deal on the condition that the companies sell off Aetna’s Medicare Part D prescription drug business. The tie-up will allow CVS — whose retail pharmacy business serves 5 million customers a day — to turn more of its brick-and-mortar locations into front-line clinics for basic medical services and patient monitoring. Driving that new approach to care will be the immense amounts of data generated not only by CVS’s 9,800 retail outlets and 1,100 MinuteClinics, but also from Aetna’s 22 million medical members.

Sears declared bankruptcy Monday. Sears Holdings plans to close another 142 unprofitable stores, as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, on top of 46 store closings announced in August. Liquidation sales at the additional stores are expected to begin within two weeks, according to the court filing. The company has 687 stores remaining, including Kmart locations. It’s possible more stores – even all stores – could end up closing if the company fails to reach a viable restructuring agreement in bankruptcy. The company has closed several hundred stores in recent years as it tries to stabilize its finances amid deteriorating sales.

Persecution Watch

A retired Lutheran minister is facing eviction from a senior living community for holding a Bible study. First Liberty Institute filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development on behalf of Rev. Kenneth Hauge and his wife. “It is both shameful and illegal to threaten elderly residents with eviction simply for holding a Bible study,” First Liberty Institute’s Lea Patterson told the Todd Starnes Radio Show. “Treating residents unequally simply out of hostility to religion violates federal law and taints Virginia’s long history of religious freedom.” In early 2018, the apartment manager agreed to let the residents hold their meeting in a community room. But in July, they reversed course and instituted a new policy banning residents from using the room for “religious purposes.” That same day the retired pastor received a cease and desist letter — warning that unless he stopped leading the Bible study his lease would be terminated.

Cathi Herrod, Director of the Center for Arizona Policy, reports that a football coach in Washington State was fired for a fifteen-second silent prayer after a high school football game. Coach Kennedy sued for wrongful termination and lost his case at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, First Liberty has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich led other states in filing an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to hear the case. “If the U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear the case, then the Ninth Circuit ruling stands, and applies to Arizona because that’s the circuit court we’re in,” notes Herrod.

Facebook’s rejection of promotions for a film debuting this weekend in theaters across the nation is “censorship pure and simple,” claims a producer of “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.” Phelim McAleer told WND on Friday he believes Facebook and others “don’t want this film to succeed” because of the broader implications of the story of notorious Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted in 2011 of multiple counts of first-degree murder for late-term and after-birth abortions. An attempt to promote the film and trailer through Facebook by paying to “boost” a post with a link to an article published by a mainstream Hollywood publication was denied because it constituted “political speech.” The film’s promoters provided WND with examples of many other posts about the movie that Facebook declined to boost. Despite a media blackout and virtually no coverage outside conservative media circles, Gosnell made the list of top 10 movies across the United States over the weekend with just a limited release.

An Iraq War veteran who lost both legs and a hand in combat says he’s prepared to sue Facebook if the social-media giant does not restore two pages it unpublished, including one he depends on to support his family. In an interview with WND, Brian Kolfage charged Facebook had a political motive for shutting down a page for the Right Wing News site he manages and another that promotes his company, Military Grade Coffee, which donates 10 percent of its proceeds to wounded veterans. As WND reported, Kolfage, who served in the U.S. Air Force, invested more than $300,000 in ads at Facebook’s urging to increase his reach to 3.5 million fans. His pages were among 559 pages and 251 accounts that were deleted last Thursday by Facebook, which claimed the account holders were engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” Facebook said the violations included the creation of fake profiles and the spamming of Facebook groups.

Christians in southern India are increasingly living in fear as the level of violence against them continues to rise, sources said. The southern states of Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala saw at least 60 cases of persecution of Christians in the first nine months of 2018, compared with 36 such attacks in the first nine months of 2017, according to religious freedom advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)-India. The political arm of the Hindu extremist Sangh Parivar (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliates) “are provoking the Hindus in their speeches at public gatherings to cause communal tension,” the Rev. Sagaya Raj, deputy secretary of the (Roman Catholic) Tamil Nadu Bishops Council told Morning Star News. In one case, a mob of nomadic Hindus in Veppur village, Vellore District, on Sept. 13 attacked an elderly Christian woman as she took her usual late-evening walk.

More than 300 Christian children in two different schools in China’s Zhejiangprovince were told by their teachers that they had to fill out a form saying they follow “no religion.” Chinese children have been filling out a form to state their religion for years, but this was the first year there was pushback against children who said they were Christians. According to World Watch Monitor, when children filled out the form and indicated they were Christians, their teachers told them to fill out the form again and choose “no religion” instead. The source said these children come from “families of fervent believers who do not compromise their faith,” so more than half of the children checked the box indicating they were Christians a second time.

Middle East

An Israel Air Force (IAF) aircraft on Tuesday morning attacked a cell of Palestinian terrorists who were launching arson balloons towards Israel from the northern Gaza Strip. This attack occurred as several bunches of balloons connected to suspicious objects, possibly explosive charges, landed at several points in Israeli territory surrounding the Strip. Tensions on Israel’s border with Gaza have become more strenuous in recent days, with the Palestinian-initiated violent incidents growing in volume and intensity. Over 30 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire during a mass violent riot along the beach near the Israeli border on Monday evening, Gaza’s health ministry said. Israeli forces struck a Hamas post in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday afternoon after two terrorists planted an explosive device near the security barrier. Following an infiltration attempt Friday in which 20 Palestinians succeeded in breaching the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced that all fuel supplies Israel provides the coastal enclave will cease immediately. The infiltration occurred as 14,000 Palestinians rioted in several places along the border fence as part of the ongoing “march of return.” The ruling Hamas terror group has been staging border riots and terror attacks for the past six months. It has intensified the protests in recent weeks as Egyptian-mediated cease-fire efforts have faltered. While Israel has been working to ease tensions on the border and thwart a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, its leadership has warned that Hamas’ actions are leading the area towards a full-scale war.

  • War in the Middle East will trigger a wider conflagration that will usher the antiChrist into power.

Saudi Arabia

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday amid unconfirmed reports the Saudis are preparing to assert that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed during an interrogation that went terribly wrong. U.S. resident and Washington Post contributor Khashoggi vanished two weeks ago while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say they have evidence Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the diplomatic compound, but Saudi officials have called the allegations “baseless.” According to reports by CNN and the New York Times, the Saudi government may soon release a report claiming Khashoggi was accidentally killed as a result of a planned rendition back to Saudi Arabia.

Tensions between the United States and Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Khashoggi could have a big impact on oil prices. Saudi Arabia held $166.8 billion in Treasury securities as of July, According to the U.S. Treasury Department. That made it the 10th largest foreign holder of government bonds — ahead of larger economies such as India, France, Canada and Germany. So, if Saudi Arabia wanted to inflict pain on the United States, it could — in theory — weaponize those bonds by selling them off. In addition, the United States still imports 7.9 million barrels of foreign crude per day and a sizable chunk comes from Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter. Shares in the  Saudi Arabia stock market have plunged as investors worry about U.S. sanctions.

Afghanistan

The number of civilians — mostly women and children — killed or injured by airstrikes in Afghanistan has risen a startling 39% year on year, according to UN figures released Wednesday, casting fresh scrutiny on the use of air power by the United States and its Afghan partners at a time of near-record bombing and increasing violence. The UN report shows airstrikes, carried out by both US and Afghan aircraft, have killed or injured 649 civilians so far this year, 39% higher than the same first nine months in 2017, and more than the 631 killed or injured by airstrikes in all of last year. Sixty percent of this year’s casualties have been women and children, according to the report. The rise comes after the departed US commander for the war promised a “tidal wave of air power” to combat a resurgent Taliban. The UN report comes as the US ratchets up its involvement in what has become the country’s longest-running war. The US has boosted its support for the Afghan Air Force through training and weapons supply, raising concern over the air force’s use of US-supplied non-guided bombs that have taken a clear toll on civilian lives.

Earthquakes

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rattled Indonesia’s Java island Thursday, killing at least three people and collapsing homes. The quake shook the tourist hotspot of Bali two weeks after a major quake-tsunami disaster in a central region of the archipelago. Indonesia’s disaster agency said the nighttime quake was centered at sea, 34 miles northeast of Situbondo city, and also felt in Lombok. The agency said the worst affected area was in Sumenep district, East Java, where three people died in one village and several homes were damaged. The country is still working to recover from the earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 2,000 people and left perhaps thousands more buried deeply in mud in some neighborhoods of Palu city in central Sulawesi.

A strong aftershock rocked Papua New Guinea shortly after the first magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit early Thursday morning, which triggered a tsunami threat along the island’s coasts. A magnitude 6.2 aftershock was recorded over an hour after the original quake struck, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The aftershock’s center was about 60 miles southwest of Kokopo and struck at a depth of 77 miles. The original quake’s center was recorded around 77 miles east of Kimbe, a town in New Britain, Papua New Guinea, which has a population of just over 27,000. The tremor struck with a depth of about 24 miles. No reports of damage or injuries have surfaced from the quake.

Weather

In the aftermath to Hurricane Michael’s deadly assault on the Florida Panhandle and the southeast, Federal officials said Friday it remains too dangerous to return to areas flooded by storm surge such as in Bay County. Emergency teams are focused on restoring communications and transportation. But Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said debris and storm devastation in some areas prevents a safe return yet. In Panama City, the power is out, gas lines are shut down and cell phones couldn’t get service. Residents scrounged for food and drinks, and fetching buckets of bayou water to flush their toilets. About 4,000 victims had applied to FEMA by Friday morning for financial assistance to repair their homes. But that number is expected to grow as transportation and communications networks were restored. About 2,900 people stayed in Red Cross evacuation centers and emergency shelters in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. About 1,000 volunteers are helping provide shelter, food and health services in five states. FEMA is working with state officials on housing options such as mobile housing, rental units and retrofitting buildings. The death toll has risen to 28 in four states, but search and rescue teams are still combing through the debris for many people reported missing. Thousands remain without power as of Monday.

A bridge has collapsed after heavy rain in parts of south-central Texas triggered major flooding along several rivers and creeks, where evacuations and water rescues are underway. A section of the FM 2900 bridge collapsed in Kingsland on Tuesday morning, sending chunks of the bridge down the Llano River. Residents within a quarter mile of the river in the city of Llano were urged to evacuate Tuesday. The river rose to its second highest crest on record Tuesday morning in the city about 75 miles northwest of Austin and home to more than 3,000. As much as 10 inches of rain had fallen in western Llano County in the 30 hours ending Tuesday morning. Farther west, water rescues were reported Tuesday morning in Segovia, prompting a flash flood emergency to be issued. The Lower Colorado River Authority announced Tuesday that it was closing several lakes to the public, including Travis, Marble Falls, LBJ, Inks and Buchanan. Water from the Johnson Fork Creek was flowing over Interstate 10 in Kimble County on Tuesday morning.

At least two people have been killed in Britain as Storm Callum smacked the region with the heavy rain and flooding. Wales has been hit with the “worst flooding in 30 years,” according to the BBC. Flood defenses in Carmarthen were breached for the first time since their construction 30 years ago after the River Towy burst its banks, flooding homes and cutting off power for some 2,000 homes and businesses. Officials say one man died in a western Wales landslide while another was swept away by rough seas in Brighton on the southern coast of England. Storm Callum brought wind gusts as high as 86 mph to Capel Curig in the northwestern portion of Wales.

At least 13 people have died after flash flooding hit the Aude region of southern France. Roads were cut off and cars overturned after three months’ worth of rain fell in six hours overnight Sunday into Monday, causing rivers to flood. Seven hundred firemen and seven helicopters have been mobilized in response to the flooding, which has reached unprecedented levels in the Aude valley. Storms also hit Portugal on Sunday, leaving thousands without power near the capital, Lisbon.

Signs of the Times

October 9, 2018

­May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1Peter 5:10)

China Plans to Rewrite the Bible

China recently announced a five-year plan to rewrite the Chinese Bible with the goal of bringing it in line with socialist ideals. They are also looking to incorporate Buddhist and Confucian teachings. There are also plans under consideration that would rewrite commentaries and hymnals, reports Crosswalk. The Chinese Communist government has already removed thousands of crosses from churches and ordered the churches to erect pictures of Chairman Mao and Chairman Xi [Jinping], as persecution in China continues to increase.

  • For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18)

Kavanaugh Sworn In as Supreme Court Justice

The Senate confirmed Brett M. Kavanaugh as the 114th Supreme Court justice on Saturday by one of the narrowest margins in history amid mass protests, ending a vitriolic battle over his nomination and solidifying a conservative majority on the court. As a throng of angry demonstrators stood on the steps of the Capitol, the Senate voted to approve Kavanaugh’s nomination by a 50 to 48 margin in what will certainly be one of President ’s most enduring legacies: two Supreme Court justices in two years. The brutal confirmation fight is likely to have far-reaching implications in next month’s midterm elections. Republicans are confronting an electrified Democratic base led by women infuriated by the treatment of Christine Blasey Ford. Yet Republicans say the battle to get Kavanaugh confirmed — in the face of Democratic opposition and ugly “mob” of anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators — only motivated a fractured GOP electorate on a singularly unifying issue for conservatives — the federal judiciary.

Are False Reports of Sexual Assault Rare?

The assertion from forces against Brett M. Kavanaugh that false allegations of rape or attempted rape are extremely rare is rebutted by a number of studies, researchers say. Liberals on TV and social media said repeatedly during the Senate confirmation process that only 2 percent of charges are lies. Brent E. Turvey, a criminologist, wrote a 2017 book that dispels this notion. His research, and that of two co-authors, cited statistical studies and police crime reports. One academic study showed that as many as 40 percent of sexual assault charges are false. The Pentagon issues an annual report on sexual assaults in the military. Nearly one-quarter of all cases last year were thrown out for lack of evidence, according to a report released in May. Mr. Turvey wrote that the FBI in the 1990s pegged the falsity rate at 8 percent for rape or attempted rape complaints. Mr. Turvey, who directs the Forensic Criminology Institute, says the 2% figure “is not only inaccurate, but also it has no basis in reality. Reporting it publicly as a valid frequency rate with any empirical basis is either scientifically negligent or fraudulent.”

Justice Department Indicts 7 Russian Spies in Hacking Plot

Seven Russian GRU intelligence officers were charged with hacking computers associated with 250 athletes and anti-doping sports organizations in the U.S. and around the world, Justice Department officials announced Thursday. The criminal activity described in the 41-page indictment came in Russian retaliation for people and organizations who revealed Russia’s doping program for its athletes — revelations that led to stripping dozens of Olympic medals from Russian athletes. The hacking that began in December 2014 and continued until at least May 2018 intruded into computers and networks of U.S. citizens and corporations, and international corporations and their workers around the world, officials say. The conspiracy aimed at publicizing stolen information as part of an influence and disinformation campaign designed to undermine and retaliate against the efforts of international anti-doping organizations and officials who had publicly exposed a Russian state-sponsored athlete doping program and to damage the reputations of athletes around the world by falsely claiming that such athletes were using banned or performance-enhancing drugs.

UN Climate Group Says Changes Required by 2030

Governments around the world must take “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, says a stark new report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report issued Monday says the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030, precipitating the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people. The planet is already two-thirds of the way there, with global temperatures having warmed about 1 degree C. Global net emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach “net zero” around 2050 in order to keep the warming around 1.5 degrees C, the IPCC asserts.

  • Whether global warming is manmade or not, it is a key indicator that the end-times are ramping up (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

Anti-Vaccine Japan Has World’s Lowest Child Death Rate

Japan has the lowest infant mortality rate following its ban on mandatory vaccinations, and they urge other countries to follow this firm stance, writes Amanda-Mary Jewell at FreedomsPhoenix.com. The citizens of Japan are statistically proven to be the healthiest and longest-living people in the world. The country also has the lowest infant mortality rate on the planet. The Japanese Government banned a number of vaccines that are currently mandatory in the United States and has strict regulations in place for other Big Pharma drugs and vaccines in general. The Japanese banned the use of multi-shot vaccinations such as the MMR vaccine (the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine), following a record number of children developing adverse reactions, including meningitis, loss of limbs, and even sudden death. “Despite the fact that it has been blamed in vaccine courts for causing autism, vaccine supporters still deny the correlation between the MMR vaccination and skyrocketing rates of autism spectrum disorder, which now affects at least one in 45 children, with even higher rates of diagnosis among boys,” Jewell said.

International Monetary Fund Warns of Second Great Depression

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated last week that “large challenges loom for the global economy to prevent a second Great Depression.” At this moment, global debt levels are higher than they have ever been before in all of human history, and in their report the IMF specifically identified “global debt levels” as one of the key problems that could lead to “another financial meltdown.” The IMF warned, “The world economy is at risk of another financial meltdown, following the failure of governments and regulators to push through all the reforms needed to protect the system from reckless behavior. With global debt levels well above those at the time of the last crash in 2008, the risk remains that unregulated parts of the financial system could trigger a global panic. The extended period of ultralow interest rates in advanced economies has contributed to the build-up of financial vulnerabilities.”

Economic News

Unemployment fell to a nearly 50-year low in September even as employers added a disappointing 134,000 jobs amid increasing worker shortages and possible effects from Hurricane Florence. Professional and business services led the job gains with 54,000. Health care added 30,000; transportation and warehousing, 24,000; construction, 23,000; and manufacturing, 18,000. The unemployment rate fell from 3.9 percent to 3.7 percent, lowest since December 1969, the Labor Department said Friday. Average hourly earnings rose 8 cents to $27.24, lowering the annual gain to 2.8 percent from a nine-year high of 2.9 percent in August. The weaker-than- expected jobs total combined with the tick down in average wage growth allayed fears of spiking inflation and the need for the Fed to raise short-term interest rates more aggressively, money managers and economists said.

The yield on the US 10-year Treasury rose above 3.2% Thursday morning. That’s the highest it’s been since July 2011. On Wednesday, the 10-year yield gained more than on any day since the November 2016 presidential election. The 30-year yield also popped above 3.3%, its highest level since October 2014. Bond yields are rising because of America’s strength. Intent on keeping inflation in check, the Federal Reserve is gradually raising its target interest rate, making borrowing more expensive. That also increases the cost of paying back existing debt, which could slow spending — and the economy along with it.

Gas prices are creeping up nationally, now pennies a gallon away from their highest level since 2014, just in time for the November midterm elections when California will vote on rolling back its gas tax. Average prices topped $2.90 a gallon for unleaded Wednesday for the first time since June, having risen about 6 cents a gallon in the past month. If they rise by about another eight cents, they will be the highest in four years. In California, which is second only to Hawaii as the state with the highest fuel prices, voters will decide whether to repeal a tax that raises $5.1 billion a year for road and bridge repair and public transit. California taxes 95.5 cents on every gallon.

India’s currency resumed its headlong plunge on Friday, stoking concerns that the world’s fastest-growing major economy could be heading for a slowdown. The rupee crossed 74 rupees to the US dollar for the first time ever, after the country’s central bank surprised markets by holding off on raising interest rates. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided against hiking rates for the third time this year despite expectations that it would act to tame inflation caused by rising oil prices and the crashing currency, which makes imports more expensive. The Indian rupee has fallen around 15% against the surging dollar this year, making it one of the world’s worst performing currencies. India’s stock market has suffered along with the rupee. The country’s benchmark index, the Sensex, has dropped more than 8% in the past month.

Middle East

The city of Jerusalem will evict the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in light of the organization’s illegal activities and incitement of Palestinians against Israel, according to Mayor Nir Barkat last Thursday. In a statement, Barkat said the new U.S. policy cutting $300 million to the controversial organization inspired the move, which will see unlicensed UNRWA-run schools, medical centers and sports facilities transferred to Israeli authorities. “The U.S. decision has created a rare opportunity to replace UNRWA’s services with services of the Jerusalem Municipality,” he said. “We are putting an end to the lie of the ‘Palestinian refugee problem’ and the attempts at creating a false sovereignty within a sovereignty.”

Despite the United States recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and relocating its embassy from Tel Aviv in May, Americans born in Jerusalem are still unable to list “Jerusalem, Israel” on US. passports. A group of 55 House Republicans sent a letter to US President Donald Trump several weeks ago, urging him to instruct the State Department to permit American citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their birth country on their passport. “The president has made clear that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem remain subject to final-status negotiations between the [Israelis and the Palestinians],” a State Department spokesperson told JNS. “We have not changed our practice regarding place of birth on passports or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad at this time.”

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton put the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official status into perspective at a Wednesday press briefing when he announced that the United States would no longer be a signatory party to the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ). “The president has decided that the United States will withdraw from the optional protocol and dispute resolution to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. This is in connection with a case brought by the so-called state of Palestine naming the United States as a defendant [in the ICJ], challenging our move of our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Bolton said. Palestine is “not a state now. It does not meet the customary international law test of statehood. It doesn’t control defined boundaries. It doesn’t fulfill the normal functions of government. There are a whole host of reasons why it’s not a state.”

A 23-year-old Palestinian terrorist from the nearby village of Shweika, near Tulkarem, handcuffed and shot two employees Sunday morning at the Barkan Industrial Park in Samaria at close range with a Carl Gustav assault rifle. President Reuven Rivlin issued a statement, saying, “This was not only an attack on innocent people going about their daily lives, it was also an attack on the possibility of Israelis and Palestinians co-existing peacefully,” The Barkan Industrial Park includes approximately 120 businesses and factories and a workforce of 20,000, half of them Palestinian Arabs. The terrorist was employed at one of the factories.

Iran

The Trump administration is giving greater priority to Iran and radical groups it backs in a new U.S. counterterrorism strategy document released last Thursday that further increases the pressure from Washington on Tehran. The strategy, unveiled by National Security Adviser John Bolton, is the first issued since 2011 when the Obama administration’s view of counterterrorism was focused almost exclusively on the threat posed by al Qaeda after the death of its founder, Osama bin Laden. The priority given to Iran this time around reflects President Trump’s drive to contain Iran’s influence in the Middle East, curtail its ballistic missile program and backing of extremist groups and force it to the negotiating table by re-imposing U.S. sanctions.

In response to an Iranian lawsuit against the US at a UN-sponsored International Court of Justice (ICJ) that cited a little-known “Treat of Amity” between the two countries, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that the U.S. is pulling out of the treaty. Pompeo added that the decision was “39 years overdue” and accused Tehran of “abusing the ICJ for political and propaganda purposes.” while the clerical regime which rules Iran blasted the Trump Administration as an “outlaw regime.” ICJ President Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, said U.S. sanctions on goods “required for humanitarian needs…may have a serious detrimental impact on the health and lives of individuals on the territory of Iran.” The ruling ordered the US to rescind such sanctions, listing items to be removed from the sanctions as including spare parts, repair equipment and related services for the airline industry in Iran. However, multiple legal scholars have asserted that the UN court has no jurisdiction over matters of US national security.

Syria

Two Syrian rebel groups began withdrawing their heavy weapons Saturday from a northwestern area of the country where Russia and Turkey have agreed to set up a demilitarized zone, opposition activists said. Rami Abdurrahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Free Idlib Army and Failaq al-Sham started removing artillery and mortar pieces from areas close to the town of Maaret al-Numan. The Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) rebel alliance said in a statement the process of withdrawing heavy weapons had begun, but the fighters would remain in their positions within the demilitarized zone to assist Turkish troops monitoring and patrolling the area.

Afghanistan

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on an election rally in the Afghan province of Nangarhar last Tuesday, according to a statement on the group’s Amaq news agency. The militant group said a bomber had killed 35 and wounded more than 50 after detonating his suicide vest. Afghan officials earlier said at least 13 were killed and more than 30 wounded, warning the toll was likely to rise. The Islamic State has claimed a series of attacks this year that have killed scores of people in Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia

The disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has sent a chilling message to dissidents abroad, stoking fears among activists of a broadening crackdown beyond the kingdom’s borders. Unnamed Turkish officials said Friday that Khashoggi, 58, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Activists say the reports about Khashoggi are the latest political “bombshell” in a series of moves to crush dissent under the leadership of 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “The era of bin Salman is the era of surprises that are foreign to this country’s history. Based on what we know of his rule, it looks like the tragedies won’t stop,” Ali Adubisi, director of the Berlin-based European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, told CNN. Khashoggi, who was critical of bin Salman in opinion pieces for The Washington Post, entered the consulate last Tuesday to collect paperwork that would allow him to remarry. He has not yet re-emerged, according to his fiancée, his friends and his colleagues at The Washington Post.

Russia

Russia’s Vostok-18, the largest military exercise of the 21st Century, conducted Sept. 11-17, was little noted by the press who were fixated on now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s adolescent sex life. However, Russia’s new nuclear doctrine — similar to Khrushchev-era thinking, like Marshal Sokolovsky’s 1962 “Military Strategy” on steroids — relies on nuclear firepower and relatively small armies that are highly mobile and survivable, and able to knife through Europe in a week or two. Russia’s new generation nuclear weapons for strategic EMP attack and tactical battlefield use make this possible, noted Dr. Peter Pry, once the CIA’s top expert on Russia’s nuclear forces, in Newsmax.

India

After a year of fits and starts, India’s #MeToo movement has leapt forward over the past week, getting concrete action in two of the country’s most powerful industries: entertainment and the news media. Inspired by Ms. Dutta and Ms. Kukreja, as well as by the Senate testimony of Christine Blasey Ford in the United States, dozens of women in journalism began coming forward on Friday, describing a range of inappropriate behavior by male reporters and editors at some of India’s biggest news organizations. The flurry of activity has created a commotion among the educated elite here, but it has had little immediate effect on the vast majority of women in India, a deeply patriarchal and traditional society in which women and girls often have little control over their lives and are frequently abused.

Montenegro

People who don’t stand during Montenegro’s national anthem could be fined up to 2,000 euros ($2,290), according to new legislation proposed by the government. People who don’t stand during Montenegro’s national anthem could be fined up to 2,000 euros ($2,290), according to new legislation proposed by the government. The draft amendment was passed by the country’s Cabinet last week. People with disabilities would be exempt and allowed to pay their respects in “other ways” that have not been defined in the legislation. Montenegro is located along the Adriatic Sea to the west of Serbia.

Environment

The red tide bloom that’s been in the waters off Florida’s Gulf Coast for months is now choking the state’s Atlantic waters from Miami Beach to Palm Beach. Trey Claus, whose family has been fishing off southeastern Florida for three generations, has never seen anything like it — and neither has anyone he knows. “This might put a halt to our season, which is not a good thing,” Claus, 30, said. Should the red tide bloom settle in, mass fish kills will transpire. Some of Florida’s pristine, white sand beaches have been shuttered because of red tides, which are caused by algae found almost exclusively in the Gulf of Mexico. The natural phenomenon is deadly to marine life and can irritate people’s skin and lead to respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma.

Beachgoers in Beach Haven, New Jersey, were surprised to see blue, disc-shaped organisms with long, dark tentacles showing up on shore. After a closer look, locals found out they were jellyfish, but not like any they had seen before on Garden State beaches. They were identified as blue button jellyfish, a free-floating critter than measures about an inch across. The powerful winds from Hurricane Florence pushed the tropical jellyfish out of the Gulf Stream down near Florida up north.

Volcanoes

Less than a week after a devastating earthquake and tsunami, a volcano erupted Wednesday on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Mount Soputan is on the northern tip of the island, about 370 miles northeast of Palu, where more than 1,400 people were killed. The volcano spewed a column of ash nearly 20,000 feet into the sky. No evacuations were immediately ordered. A government volcanologist said it’s possible the eruption was accelerated by the magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck last week.

Earthquakes

At least 12 people have died and 170 people were injured after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck off the northwestern tip of Haiti just after 8 p.m. local time Saturday evening. The quake’s center was located about 12 miles west-northwest of Ti Port-de-Paix, Haiti, and struck with a depth of about 7.3 miles. Homes were destroyed in Port-de-Paix, Gros Morne, Chansolme and Turtle Island. Rescue workers say part of a hospital and an auditorium collapsed. The quake was felt lightly in the capital, Port-au-Prince, as well as in the neighboring Dominican Republic. A 5.2 magnitude aftershock rattle Haiti on Sunday, raising fears of more deaths.

Weather

Heavy rains from Hurricane Michael forced hundreds of people from their homes in Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador, killing thirteen over the weekend as the intensifying storm continues its push towards the Gulf Coast. More than 260 homes were damaged in the southern part of Honduras. Some 6,000 people have been impacted by flooding and landslides. At least 18 people were rescued during the storm. Michael also brought heavy rains to Cuba on Monday. Winds increased to near 100 mph Tuesday morning. Michael is forecast to strengthen to a Category 3 prior to landfall Wednesday on the Florida Panhandle. Forecasters predict the hurricane will generate a life-threatening storm surge. On Sunday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Sunday for 26 counties in the Panhandle and Big Bend coastal region of northern Florida. Alabama’s governor on Monday also issued a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Michael as the storm draws closer in the Gulf of Mexico.